Jordan Simonelli of Triad drops back in the pocket while looking for a receiver downfield. The Cardinals face a tough 5-0 West Liberty team tonight. (Journal-Tribune photo by Sam Dillon)
The Cardinals of Triad battled their way to a fourth-quarter victory last week against Southeastern.
Head coach Zach Winslow said for his team to be competitive tonight they will need to make the contest at West Liberty a four-quarter game.
“I challenged the kids to rise to (West Liberty’s) level and make it a four-quarter game,” he said.
The Tigers have been a juggernaut this year, rolling to a 5-0 record and averaging 53 points per game.
Winslow, though, hopes the rivalry between the neighboring districts will help even out things.
“It is a new rivalry to me and to hear the staff and players talk about it this week has me fired up,” said Winslow. “Hopefully it will make things more even than what you see on paper.”
The Tigers have a solid balanced offense to thank for their high-scoring games.
West Liberty has two backs who have found success this season.
Holden Nease has tallied 490 yards and eight touchdowns and finds himself as the fourth-best rusher in the Ohio Heritage Conference.
Trent Berry has added 377 yards and seven touchdowns.
And if the ground game isn’t getting it done, the second-best quarterback in the league can.
Trevor Woodruff has a 75 percent completion rating as the gunslinger and has tallied nearly 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns in five weeks.
Woodruff also has some talent downfield as targets, with five different receivers having earned more than 100 yards.
Despite the tall order for the Cards this week, Winslow said his defense “found belief” in themselves with last week’s win.
“I think the defense realized they can get stops, go forward and do the same thing,” he said.
Winslow said getting early defensive stops could be the difference for Triad.
“That will hopefully help take some of the wind out of their sails,” he said.
Winslow continued by saying that even with those stops, the Cardinals will have to make the most of their offensive opportunities.
A balanced attack is what he believes can be successful.
“Pounding the ball up the middle is a recipe for a three-and-out,” Winslow said. “We have to take what we can get.”
The Cardinals have shown the ability to run a balanced offense in the past five weeks.
Triad threw for 78 yards and ran for 124 against Southeastern.
Winslow is comfortable picking up yards with either attack.
Jordan Simonelli has tallied 692 yards in the air for Triad and has a solid wideout in Logan McCoy, who leads the league in receiving yards with 440.
Winslow can also look to Coleman Hauck to help on the ground.
He has rushed for 247 yards and finds himself in the top half of backs in the Ohio Heritage Conference.
Either way, Winslow believes there is opportunity to win against the Tigers if the Cardinals can eliminate the self-inflicted wounds of negative yards and turnovers.
Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at West Liberty High School.
...For the full story, select an option below.