Updated Fri, Oct 28, 2011 11:47 am
For the second year in a row, the Jackson Ironmen and the Gallia Academy Blue Devils have asserted themselves at the top of the SEOAL. After last week’s rout at Chillicothe, the Ironmen claimed at least a share of the league crown. The only way they won’t have it all to themselves is if the Blue Devils (6-3, 3-1) travel to Jackson and beat them on their home turf this week. Gallia Academy kept their playoff and league hopes alive last week with a 27-13 win over the fading Warren Warriors. The Blue Devils sit at the 11 spot in the Division III, Region 12 standings, just four spots behind Jackson. While the Ironmen control their own destiny, a win for Gallia Academy this week could possibly vault them into their first playoff game since 2006 and grab them a share of the league title.
Mike Eddy and the Blue Devils would love nothing more than to play spoiler to Jackson’s perfect season, especially after what happened in this matchup last season. With the outright SEOAL title and a playoff spot on the line, the Blue Devils defense collapsed against the power running game of the Ironmen and Klay Arthur. Jackson won the game 41-18 at Memorial Field in Gallipolis.
This year’s teams seem to have switched game plans according to their talent. Last year, Gallia Academy relied on the speed of Austin Wilson and Ethan Moore to run a flashy, spread offense. Jackson relied heavily on their power rush attack with Arthur and Drew Ervin. After losing skill players but returning an offensive line, Mike Eddy has transformed his offense in to a strong rush attack, using play action for most passes. Head coach Andy Hall of Jackson has used his new quarterback Austin Osborne to spread out the field with a fast paced offense that utilizes the deep ball and ground game.
The Blue Devil defense may be the toughest one that Jackson has seen all season long, but they have shown vulnerabilities against the pass. After throwing four touchdown passes last week, don’t be surprised to see Osborne air it out this week to deep threat Ty McNelly, who caught three of those touchdowns last week. Gallia Academy will have to use misdirection and possibly even a little trickery to move the ball on the tenacious Ironmen defense. Regardless of the outcome of this game, we seem to have a little bit of a rivalry brewing in the SEOAL. Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m. at Holzer Field.