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Belpre, Eastern meet with playoff seeding on the line

Photo by Tyler Bennett Belpre’s Conner Baker brings his team to the line against Shenandoah.

BELPRE — Two teams that scored timely wins last week are set to do battle at 7 p.m. with playoff positioning in mind, when the Belpre Golden Eagles (2-2) host the Eastern Eagles (2-2).

Belpre bounced back from a 41-0 loss to Trimble with a 26-14 victory over South Gallia. On the other side, Eastern prevailed over Waterford in a battle of the trenches in a 10-8 win. Given how Ohio formatted its 2020 football season, and the fact that only six regular game are being played, a win could give the victorious team a home playoff game. Belpre head coach Lance Binegar talked about what hangs in the balance on Friday night.

“We want to win. Basically, I tried to explain to these kids that unless they win, this could be the very last game they get to play on Belpre Stadium,” he said. “I’ve got 12 or 13 seniors, so I’m definitely senior-heavy. I just keep trying to relay to them that this is it, this is in front of your home crowd.”

Playmakers from last year’s squad under head coach Mike DeVol are still around, as Connor Baker under center and Cody Daughtery in the backfield create a pivotal matchup for EHS and head coach Pat Newland.

Newland’s bunch comes in with the defensive prowess to make this game another physical affair, and Newland himself wants his team to be prepared for anything. That’s what helped them last week.

“We had a great week of practice, and we just knew every yard in that (Waterford) game was going to be fought for,” he said. “We got multiple guys to the ball, and if you think good-tackling teams are only going to send one guy to tackle, you’re wrong. Good-tackling teams are teams that get a lot of guys to the ball.”

With both sides showing an emphasis on physicality, Binegar is taking what he applied during his tenure at Parkersburg Catholic across the bridge to BHS.

“I definitely have used a lot of stuff that I used at Parkersburg Catholic. My first year there was not very good, but then the kids stayed the course and bought in, and we were very successful the next couple years,” he said. “I kind of got brought in (to Belpre) late in the year. I was two weeks behind. The kids are starting to buy in, they’re starting to relate. They’re picking up stuff a lot faster, for the fact that a lot of them are seniors.”

Ohio’s first playoff rankings come out on Wednesday, and in this battle of the birds, Newland wants to control the tempo as his team did in the Waterford win to wear Belpre down. EHS ran for 202 yards, as Blake Newland ran for the game’s only touchdown from scrimmage.

“We got ahead early, and we didn’t want to make any mistakes,” coach Newland said. “We were controlling the ball on offense. In the time of possession, we had a great advantage in that. We were just holding the ball and keeping it away from them. We were just going to keep holding the ball and keep pounding.”

Contact Josh Hughes at jhughes@newsandsentinel.com

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