September 22, 2015

The Beavercreek Beavers (3-1) travel to Columbus on Friday night to take on the Bishop Hartley Hawks (3-1).  It will be the first meeting between the Beavers and Hawks, and a rare opportunity for the Beavers to face a Columbus-area team.  The Beavers only other trip to Columbus in the past decade, and quite possibly longer, came in 2012 when Beavercreek nearly pulled an upset on the road at highly-ranked Hilliard Davidson.  In that game, the Beavers scored late to trail 14-13, but opted to go for the two-point conversion and the win and were stopped just inches short of the goal line.  The Beavers hope this trip is different.

Both teams come into this game coming off a loss in week 4 — Beavercreek falling to GWOC-South foe Springboro 28-0, and Hartley falling at home to Columbus St Francis DeSales 38-27.  While the two schools do not share a common opponent this year, they do have a second-degree common opponent in Chaminade Julienne HS, which was beaten by Hartley opponent Columbus St Francis DeSales 42-17 in week 2, the team that beat Hartley last week.  CJ was also beaten by Beavercreek opponent Carroll HS 42-6 last week.  Beavercreek beat Carroll 21-16 in week 2.  The Hawks are playing their fifth straight home game of the season, while the Beavers are taking to the road for the third time this season.  Beavercreek is 2-0 in road games.

Hartley, like Beavercreek, is a run-first, run-heavy team, averaging 358 yards per game on the ground.  The Hawks’ rushing attack is led by senior running back Quri Hickman (5’11” 233 lbs), who averages 148 yards per game, with 7 touchdowns this season.  Hickman recently ran for 230 yards and three scores in a 44-14 win over Marion Franklin in week 3.  Hickman has 595 yards on 82 carries so far this season.  The Beavercreek defense currently leads the GWOC in rushing defense, giving up a paltry 47.8 yards per game, and has not yet allowed any runner to gain more than 51 yards in a game.

Beavercreek is led by senior running back Tim Bradshaw, the second-leading rusher in the GWOC with 639 yards, and the leader of the Beavers’ rushing attack which averages 315 yards per contest.  Junior Noah Corrigan and senior Stone Kincer provide depth in the backfield and have provided a change of pace on the outside.  Junior Justin Terrell is the leading receiver for Beavercreek with 5 catches on the season, with 2 of those catches going for touchdowns.   Defensively, the Beavers have been tough up front with seniors Brian Loose and Mike Davis anchoring the defensive line.  Junior Jack Knipper (21 tackles) and senior Alex Bush (20 tackles) have been able to plug up the middle, allowing the Beavers to shut down the run.  On the outside, seniors Caleb Boone (team-high 30 tackles) and Danny Holstein (28 tackles) have been able to make some big plays and the Beaver secondary has defended well against the pass this season, led by junior Julian Linkhart (6 tackles and 2 INT in 2 games) and senior Hayden Maloney, who came up with a huge goal line interception a week ago.

KEYS TO THE GAME: These two teams may be mirror images of each other — both want to establish the run and control the clock.  Both have high-powered rushing offenses with a featured  back.  Last week, Beavercreek engineered a drive that ate up over 11 minutes of the third quarter, but they came away with no points after being stuffed on 4th and goal inside the one-yard line.  The game plan is no different this week, as the Beavers will again look to establish the run, but they must be able to come away with points on long drives  To win, the Beavers must avoid turnovers and special teams’ mistakes.  In addition, the Beavers’ defense must be fundamentally sound in tackling Hickman — he’s a big back that doesn’t go down easily.  Go Beavers!

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