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South looks to end skid vs. Linsly

Patriots hope to say goodbye to 3-game losing streak

Photo by Joe Albright Parkersburg South’s Braden Whipkey (40) and Dalton Veon (74) tackles a Bridgeport rusher during the Patriots’ matchup against Bridgeport last week.

PARKERSBURG — Like many area teams, Parkersburg South had to make a change in its 2020 football campaign, as Linsly visits the Erickson All-Sports Facility for a 7 p.m. kickoff. The sudden change in schedule came earlier in the week, after South’s original opponent was unable to play due to the pandemic.

The short turnaround brings an element of the unknown to this matchup, as head coach Nate Tanner’s Patriots (1-4) look to snap a 3-game losing skid. On what he knows about the visiting Cadets (3-2), Tanner looked at film from two of their games and took what he can from that film study.

“Well, I have two games on Linsly. One was against Wheeling Park, which was several weeks ago. The other one I have is their most recent game against a team up in Pennsylvania,” he said. “Offensively, they’re a spread offense. I would say last week when they played, they were pass-first, and they didn’t run the ball very much. Against Wheeling Park, they tried to do a little bit of everything. I think that was due to them not having very much success (in a 56-20 loss).”

In last week’s loss to Bridgeport, the Patriots gave the ball away four times, as turnovers continue to haunt them. Ball security is paramount to PSHS getting back on track and, Tanner wants his team to execute smart possessions. Bridgeport had a ten-minute advantage in the time of possession in that contest.

“I think offensively, we have got to be able to run the football,” Tanner remarked about his team that was outrushed 370-60. “If we can run the football and have a lot of success in the run game, we have a good chance of winning.

“If we can’t run the football and get behind the chains, and we have to throw a majority of the time, I just think that makes it tougher to be successful. I’m not saying we aren’t good at throwing the football, but I think whenever you can impose your will and run the football, it just helps with everything.”

Quarterback Sam Schuler has had his arm tested a lot in 2020. Through five games, the senior is tossing almost 40 times per game. In relief of Brandon Penn, Schuler threw 28 times during the Patriots’ 2019 run. Penn himself only threw 19 times per game. While Tanner wants his run game to take the pressure off his quarterback, he knows he can trust Schuler, who is growing more comfortable in his role.

“He does a good job every single week. We haven’t made it easy on him the past couple weeks, because we’ve had to throw the ball 30-40 times a game,” Tanner said of his signal-caller. “Anytime you ask a high school quarterback to do that, makes winning a game extremely tough. That’s why I said what I said about running the football. Sam, he’s a resilient kid, and he shows up every day and tries to get better. I think he’ll continue to progress and get better.”

On the other side of the football, South’s linebacking corps is making a difference, and according to Tanner, the linebackers and secondary are the key to a successful defensive night.

“Our two inside linebackers, Devin Gaines and Brent Parkhurst have been playing extremely well,” he said. “I think whenever they do a good job in the middle, stopping the run, it makes things really tough for the opponents. I think our secondary, they do a solid job whenever they expect the pass. There have been some times where we’ve been burned on play action and whatnot, but I think some of that’s attributed to our youth and inexperience.”

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