September 5, 2016

Friday night the Beavers will take to the road for the first time this season, heading to Fairborn to take on the Skyhawks.  Beavercreek has won four-straight games against Fairborn, and has not lost in Fairborn since 2006.  Last year, the Beavers built a 35-7 lead early in the third quarter and then held on for a 35-23 win.

Fairborn is still looking for its first win on the season, coming in at 0-2 after two non-GWOC losses to Tecumseh and Bellbrook.  The Skyhawks have been turnover plagued so far, with four turnovers at Tecumseh and three turnovers in the home loss to Bellbrook.  The Skyhawks return their top offensive threats from a year ago – QB Wesley Watts, RB KJ Redmon, and WRs Brandon Easterling and Gracen Barnhart.  On defense, Easterling is leading the team in tackles and junior LB Isaac Carlton had a breakout game against Bellbrook with 15 tackles.  Last year against the Beavers, Watts threw for 203 yards and two touchdowns – both to Barnhart (52 and 81-yard scoring strikes).

Beavercreek has been solid in opening wins at home over Xenia and Carroll, despite 3 turnovers in each game.  The Beavers have given opponents a heavy dose of the triple option behind a GWOC-leading 359.5 yards per game.  The Beavers use a number of threats, with Rodney Alston, Cody Hocker, Noah Corrigan, Justin Terrell, and Kaden Wenger all having double digit carries so far this season.  Hocker and fellow junior QB Jake Maloney have been splitting time at quarterback, often alternating series.  Hocker saw steady action in the second half against Carroll and scampered 77 yards for a score to put the game away.  While Hocker plays QB, Maloney will split out at receiver.  The Beavers’ defense has been lights out so far, refusing both Xenia and Carroll positive yards on the ground.  The defense is lead in the middle by LBs Jack Knipper and Nick Thurston, who along with DL/DEs Jay Drennen, Stevie Llanas, and Caleb Thomas have been salty against the run this year.  The secondary is experienced with starters Jordan Williams and Jack Kowalski at corner, and Julian Linkhart at safety.  Bryce Neuse has also made some great plays in coverage, with one interception on the season.

KEYS TO THE GAME:  The Skyhawks looked to be a threat this year with the number of returning starters at key positions, but thus far the Skyhawks have been fairly inept on offense against non-GWOC opponents.  That does not bode well for Fairborn, as Beavercreek once again brings in a formidable rushing attack, one that sliced through the Skyhawk defense for 382 yards on the ground a year ago.  The Creek O-line should be able to open holes up the middle and Corrigan and Terrell should have some success on the outside.  On defense, Watts will see more pressure from the Beavers than he saw a year ago, as Knipper and Thurston will provide blitz pressure up the middle.  Hurried throws may turn into turnover opportunities for an aggressive Creek secondary.  Fairborn can’t afford to turn the ball over if they want to keep it close.  On special teams, Fairborn must be careful in defending Linkhart on kick and punt returns, who is a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball.  Look for Creek to roll up the yards on offense and put tremendous pressure on a one-dimensional passing attack from the Skyhawks.  Go BEAVERS!