Week in and week out it seems that when you are looking for the best matchups on the Ohio Valley high school football schedule, Linsly always seems to be involved in one of those contests.
That will not change in Week 9 as the Cadets will welcome a strong Gilmour Academy team to Lockhart Alumni Field on Saturday afternoon. After losing the opener, the Lancers have reeled off seven consecutive victories including a 49-19 victory against Edgewood, Oh. Last week.
Coach Shawn Dodd's Gilmour squad, which averages 40 points a game and allows only 18, is sitting at No. 6 in the latest Ohio Division V, Region 15 playoff chase and cannot afford a loss at this point.
"We know that every game means the world to them," Linsly coach B.J. Depew said. "They haven't been in the playoffs for a while and they are on a seven-game winning streak right now, so we have told the kids how much they have riding on this game.
"But for us, it is just another quality contest against another good team."
Linsly, which is 6-2 after a 16-9 victory at Kiski a week ago, defeated the Lancers at Gates Mills, Ohio a season ago.
Gilmour Academy can come at you on the ground or through the air and have enough athletes to hurt you either way. Lanky lefty Matt Botek has thrown for 917 yards and 16 touchdowns while rushing for 168 yards. He has a very good crop of receivers, including Ishmael Hargrove (283, 6td), Rodell Golphin (243), Ryan Conry (208) and A.J. Wright (201). Frankie Grk has also hauled in four scoring tosses.
Golphin is the team's leading rusher with 967 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The Lancers have been impressive on defense with Wright and Hargrove combining for 13 sacks and Connor Lesko intercepting seven passes. Hargrove has a total of 86 tackles, while Lesko has also been very dangerous as the team's top return man.
"Botek has a very nice arm and can hurt you rushing the ball as well, which he did to us last year," DePew said. "And Wright is a big target that they like to split out and get good matchups against with defensive backs. They return a lot of kids from last year, but they ran the quarterback more.
"They are actually a little more conventional this year and really kind of look a lot like us. One of the key things for them is the fact that they are very big up front and average about 240 pounds on the line.
"The bottom line is that they are a very good football team with a lot to play for right now. We have not had many weeks where we felt going in that we were clearly the better football team. There have been a lot of toss ups and this is another on that list."
Jameson Murray is the Cadets quarterback and has thrown for nearly 1,000 yards while bruising tailback Chimechi Oparanozie is sitting at the 1,000-yard rushing mark.
"We have some things we need to work on offensively," Depew said. "We had a ton of penalties that held us back last week and we have to improve on that. The coaches were very excited about the effort on defense and how enthusiastic and ready to play the kids were against Kiski."