Cameron Jewell of Jonathan Alder (2) picks up yardage during last week’s victory over Kenton Ridge. The Pioneers will face Bellefontaine on Friday for their Homecoming game. (Photo submitted)
Jonathan Alder’s football Homecoming game on Friday will pit two teams that have matching 1-1 records in the Central Buckeye Conference.
The Pioneers and Bellefontaine are both a game behind London (2-0) and Shawnee (2-0) in the circuit’s Kenton Trail Division.
The contest is coming on the heels of Alder’s 24-21 victory over Kenton Ridge.
“That was a nice win for us,” said JA coach Nathan Snedeker. “The guys overcame a lot of adversity to rally for the victory.
“Kenton Ridge is a tough, physical team, so it was good to get back on track with the victory.”
The Pioneers will encounter a Chieftain squad that runs the spread offense.
However, that doesn’t mean Bellefontaine will throw the ball all over the field.
As a matter of fact, the Chieftains have the third-leading rusher in the CBC in Chris Fogan.
He’s gained 718 yards on 121 carries and stands just a few yards back of JA’s Cameron Jewell, who has gained 721.
Bellefontaine has used a pair of quarterbacks this fall.
Tavien St. Clair has completed 40 passes in 70 attempts for 622 yards. He’s tossed six touchdowns and has been intercepted only once.
Riley Neer has also taken snaps in the passing game with 36 completions in 56 tries for 326 yards.
“Both of their quarterbacks understand their offense,” said Snedeker.
The Chieftains’ top receivers are Ethan Yoder (24-349) and Collin Dietsch (23-249).
“They throw the ball well, but we’ve also got to keep track of Fogan,” said Snedeker.
He said Bellefontaine will be one of the fastest teams the Pioneers will face this fall.
“They’re the fastest we’ve seen so far, at least on film,” he said. “You just can’t simulate that type of speed in practice.”
Instead, Alder must make sure its defense is technically sound to overcome the Chieftains’ advantage.
“We just have to get all of our defenders in the best position as possible.”
Bellefontaine will employ both odd and even-man defensive fronts.
“We will see some stack fronts and a 4-5-2 defense,” said Snedeker. “Their front six are very solid and their linebackers get downfield very well.”
What challenge will that present to the Jonathan Alder defense?
“We will have to identify all of their different fronts and understand what blocking schemes we need to use,” said Snedeker.
Alder will once again be without the services of senior wide receiver-defensive back Jonathan Keith.
He suffered a shoulder injury a couple of weeks ago and is still labeled as “ouchy” by Snedeker.
Although Keith hasn’t been able to play, he’s still making contributions to the Pioneers.
“Jonathan is an extension of our coaching staff when he’s on the field,” said Snedeker. “However, he was very vocal and supportive of the rest of the team while on the sidelines last Friday.”
Bellefontaine will take an overall record of 5-2 into the game, while the Pioneers sport a 3-4 mark.
Snedeker said the triumph over Kenton Ridge was vital for the squad’s future success.
“It gave us back that winning feeling, especially after a difficult loss the previous week to London,” he said.
What will be the keys to victory this week?
“We will have to be technically sound on defense and get our running game going,” said Snedeker.