For the second straight year the matchup between the Oak Hill Oaks and the Sciotoville East Tartans will decide who wins the SOC Division I Championship, as both teams enter Friday's game at Davis Stadium undefeated in conference play. The outcome will also have playoff implications for both squads.
"The winner of this game will be put in the driver's seat," said Oak Hill head coach Nathan Dugan. "But after this game we will both still have two conference games left. Looking at the schedule and the teams we both have left to play, neither of us has lost a league game, so it puts an extra emphasis on this one."
Last year these two teams met in week eight in the same situation and East pulled off a 27-26 win at Allard Park in Sciotoville. The victory snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Oaks, and eventually gave East their first league title since a three-peat in the 2006, 2007, and 2008 campaigns.
The Tartans (6-1 overall and 3-0 in SOC Division I play) come into Friday's contest riding a five-game winning streak after dropping a 42-6 decision to Danville in week two. It was Danville who defeated the Tartans last year in the Division VII playoffs, thus ending what had been an undefeated season for East.
The only like opponent the two teams have faced coming into this game is the Northwest Mohawks. Oak Hill won by a 42-7 score last week while East took a 55-7 decision two weeks ago. Oak Hill will have Eastern Pike and Green left on their schedule while East has Symmes Valley and Notre Dame. Of these teams, only Symmes Valley has a winning record.
Oak Hill owns a 28-19-3 edge in the series that dates all the way back to 1925. The Oaks have a 16-7-2 edge at Oak Hill and are 4-1 in meetings at Davis Stadium. Offensively, East would appear to have a slight advantage coming into Friday's game averaging 45 points per contest while allowing just 15.7. Oak Hill, appearing to have had a tougher schedule, are averaging 26.7 points per game while giving up 11.6.
"They (Sciotoville East) are a very balanced football team," Dugan said. "The thing about a team that has put up a lot of points is you say they've got a strong offense line or a strong receiving corps, but they are team that has done both. They are about 50-50 run-pass so that lets you know they have the ability to hurt you in a lot of ways, and they have a good size offensive line, probably the biggest we will go against this year.
"They have a quarterback that can create things. He's very good at extending the play by scrambling and looking for his big tight end, who can find open spots in zones and make plays happen after he catches it. They also have a hard nose running back that runs well between the tackles, so they have a lot of things they can do. They are multi-dimensional, and from what we have seen on film, they can exploit defenses in a lot of different ways."
One thing the Oaks have to definitely look out for is the aggressiveness of the Tartans. They will try to intimidate the Oaks, but they can't let that happen of make a mistake that would possibly result in a penalty that could cause the loss of a big play or possibly an ejection of a key player.
The Oaks must play mistake free football, and play hard for all four quarters. The winner will for all intents and purposes be the league champion while the loser will be the runner-up and possibly sitting home for the playoffs.