GAMEDAY: Belpre, Warren renew rivalry
BELPRE — Belpre High and Warren High are scheduled to resume their football rivalry at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Ralph Holder Stadium.
The two Washington County schools have not squared off on the gridiron since 2010.
“This is a big rivalry that goes back several years,” said BHS head coach Mike DeVol, who at one time during his coaching career back in the late 1990s guided Warren against the Golden Eagles. “Our kids are looking forward to the game. It should be a great game.”
Said Warren first-year boss Matt Kimes, “We shouldn’t have to do too much to get the kids fired up for this game. Most of the kids know each other, and there’s really no secrets. We’re battle-tested, and I believe we’ll be ready for Belpre.”
Belpre, No. 10 in Ohio Division VI, Region 21 with a 5-2 overall record, is currently in the hunt for a postseason berth. The Golden Eagles, after dropping their first two games of the season, have won five straight. During that five-game stretch, they’re averaging 44.2 points per game.
“Our last three games of the season are really tough, and we’ll need to be well-prepared for all of those teams,” DeVol said.
After Warren, BHS will be at Eastern (5-2) and then home against Waterford (5-2) in the regular-season finale.
The Warriors currently own a 4-3 mark and are No. 21 in D3, Region 11. The royal blue and white gridders are averaging 36.9 points a game this season.
“We have the ability to score, and we’ve been in every game we’ve played,” Kimes said.
“I told our kids we could easily be 7-0. But we just need to continue to get better and improve.”
Said DeVol, “Matt Kimes is doing a great job this season. He has some really talented athletes over there.”
After viewing the Warren-Williamstown game film, Belpre is expecting an aerial assault from the Warriors.
“Their quarterback Kurt Taylor is doing a great job,” DeVol said. “And, he has some fine receivers in Evan Gandee and Brian Simoniette, who used to play for Belpre a couple of years ago.
“So, we’re going to have to be ready.”
In Warren’s 33-27 setback to Williamstown last Friday evening, the 6-foot-3, 170-pound Taylor attempted 47 passes (26 of 47 for 293 yards) and completed a combined 24 to the 6-0, 170-pound Gandee (13) and the 6-2, 180-pound Simoniette (11).
Tight end Josh Welch is another receiver that Belpre will need to keep an eye on.
WHS rushed for only 44 yards against the Yellowjackets with 5-11, 170-pound Brayden Gerber and 5-8, 165-pound John Shoup doing most of the ball carrying.
“We’ve struggled at times running the football,” Kimes said. “So, when that happens, we lean towards our strength (passing) and go with what’s working.”
Belpre, on the other hand, was a little more balanced on offense in its last game, a 42-12 triumph at South Gallia, with 192 rushing yards and 142 passing yards.
“We’re mainly a running team,” DeVol said. “But if we have to pass, we can do so.”
Said Kimes, “Belpre has really good skills people, and they’re big up front on the line.”
Connor Baker, a 6-2, 185-pound junior, is the Golden Eagles’ signal caller, but the team’s primary go-to guy in the backfield has been 5-7, 140-pound senior Logan Adams.
The speedy Adams scored four touchdowns last Friday night, three rushing and one on a pick-six.
“We have two running backs out with injuries,” DeVol said, “and Logan has been carrying us on his shoulders.”
To keep Warren’s defense honest, though, Baker has a good wide receiver in 5-11, 140-pound Walker Feick, who had six receptions for 142 yards against South Gallia.
If the contest comes down to a field goal, both Warren’s Joel Chevalier and Belpre’s Tyce Church have excellent range.
“I believe the key to the game will be which team controls the clock,” DeVol said.
Ron Johnston can be reached at email@example.com