WHEELING - When you are down and ailing it is always nice to look for a little pick-me-up, something to make things just a little better.
For Linsly and Coach B.J. Depew, that something may be heading to Lockhart Alumni Field Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. in the form of Western Reserve Academy (2-4), a team that Cadets have had much success with in recent years.
Sitting at 1-5 on the campaign, Linsly pulled off a come-from-behind victory against Magnolia in its first game, but has fallen to some heavy hitters the likes of Parkersburg South, Wheeling Central and Ohio-ranked powers, and unbeatens, Shadyside and Columbus Bishop Ready in recent weeks.
"We have been in games in the first half, come out get physical and don't make many mistakes. But for some reason things just don't seem to go our way after that," Depew said. "We just haven't been able to keep in games late, and it is not for a lack of effort."
In four of the Cadets' five losses they have led one game 7-6, trailed last week 6-0 and were scoreless in the other two at the break.
But while the Pioneers have won two games, both against winless opponents, they have dropped six straight to the Cadets, and been outscored by a whopping 265-68 margin. That includes last year's 58-13 pummeling.
Coach Jeff Hildebrand's squad does, however, have the ability to score, putting up an average of 27 points a contest, they have just had trouble stopping people, allowing 33 markers a game.
Quarterback Austin Petsche makes the Pioneers go, sitting just 48 yards shy of the 2,000-yard mark for the season with 12 touchdowns and eight picks. Petsche is also the team's leading rusher with 222 yards.
And when Petsche does look to throw the football there are two guys that the secondary had better have an eye on in Dalyan Hermann and John Saucier. That duo has combined for 87 catches, 1,293 yards and 10 scores.
Hermann had 12 grabs for 153 stripes and two scores a week ago while Saucier added eight catches for 106 and a touchdown. Kicker Griffin Trau is also a scoring threat for WRA.
"They are a no-huddle, five-wide, up-tempo offense and they normally only run when the quarterback decides to take off," Depew said. "They like to spread the field and sling it, which is really shifting gears for us defensively because most of the teams we have faced like to run the football.
"But we have seen them in this offense a couple of times now so we will be ready for it. The biggest problem for us is the fact that this is a team you have to play good defense against and we are missing two of our defensive backs.
"Jameson Murry is also our quarterback (as well as defensive back) and he is not sure if he can play and the doctors aren't saying anything so we are preparing like he will not be there.
"But we have other kids who will step in and take the challenge and help us out."
With Murry nursing a shoulder injury, sophomore Jibri Blount has taken over under center and while he has to keep defenses honest, his biggest chore is giving the ball to bruising running back Chinelo Oparanozie, who is closing in on 1,000 yards with seven scores.
While Western Reserve Academy dropped a 58-23 decision to Brookfield a week ago, Linsly, which will be celebrating Homecoming on Saturday, was blanked 34-0 by powerful Bishop Ready.
"All I know is we prepare well for each game and one of these weeks we are going to get one, I just hope it is this week,'' Depew said.