The Times West Virginian

Sports

October 4, 2013

County rivals thirsty for a win

FAIRMONT — Both East Fairmont (1-3) and North Marion (0-5) are thirsty for a win.

One team’s thirst will be quenched Friday night when the teams clash at Husky Field in Rachel.

North Marion, which is still searching for its first win, needs to pick things up if they hope to make a late-season push. But coach Daran Hays isn’t looking back at his team’s record.

“I think the biggest thing is to focus on us,” said Hays.

Hays said that his team is putting its first few games behind them and focusing on the future. That means focusing on what they do best and finishing the season strong, as well as focusing on the future of the program.

“I’m done re-inventing the wheel,” Hays said. “We’re going back to our basic stuff. Treat the game simple and do what we feel comfortable doing.”

And, for North Marion, that means getting the ground game going early and often

 “We don’t want to sprint out and throw the ball. If we throw the ball more than 10 or 12 times, we’re doing something wrong, “ Hays explained. “When we get into predictable passing situations, it’s not good. Drew (Harker) is solid in play action, not pocket passing.”

Hays also believes his guys up front are solid run blockers but sometimes struggle with their pass blocking. Playing to their strengths on the ground, the Huskies will look to get Ryan Elliott the ball.

“Ryan’s going to give it all he’s got, but we’ve got to be more effective overall,” Hays said of the ground game.

Elliott, who’s coming off a 100-yard game last week, said earlier in the week that his plan is to help out in every facet of the game, and he hopes that his running abilities keep teams honest and that Harker can open up the passing game.

The Huskies will likely be without leading wide receiver Chase Banker, who is likely to be out with an injury, but the team has been facing adversity each week it seems.

“Adversity has been the key to our season, and we’ve handled it well at times,” said Hays. “Chase has gotten our sideline livened up, though.”

As for East Fairmont, coach Bill Haddox is under the same mentality as coach Hays in the fact that he’s not looking to change his team’s focus.

“We’ve just got to make tackles on defense,” Haddox said. “Cut down on our mistakes and do well when they come at us.”

When it comes to stopping North Marion’s run game, Haddox believes he already has a good feel for how they play.

“They play a little bit like us,” Haddox said.

Offensively, the Bees will be looking for their playmakers to step up.

“Scotty’s our playmaker,” Haddox said. “He does more with the football than most. He’s a little back, but he runs hard.”

In the passing game, Delaney hooked up with 6-foot-5 receiver Myles Johnson for a long score last week, but Johnson only caught two passes the entire game.

Delaney is still feeling our his wide receivers but will be looking for guys like Ronnie Miles and Matt Hopwood to step up on the outside if the Bees try to go back to their passing game.

As for the county rivalry? Coach Hays and his team are well aware of what’s on the line.

“It’s huge. There’s not a lot of debate about it,” Hays said. “This game has probably become more of a rivalry in the past 10 to 12 years. Last year our kids took this loss the most to heart. Nobody wants to lose their homecoming game or both county games.”

Coach Haddox said, “(The rivalry) hasn’t crossed my mind.”

Email Matt Welch at mwelch@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.

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