Say what you will about Blanchester being 1-4 at the midpoint of the 2019 season, but the Wildcats have played a daunting pre-league schedule.
Aside from a win over 1-4 Taylor, Blanchester has losses to 3-2 Washington, 4-1 Waynesville, 3-2 Goshen and 4-1 Clinton-Massie.
No matter the outcome, losses tend to mount mentally on teams as much as physically.
That’s where the Wildcats are heading in to the first SBAAC National Division game this week at home against Clermont Northeastern.
“We have to get some confidence back this week,” BHS coach Jon Mulvihill said.
And while National Division schools offer teams more similar in size to Blanchester, the road gets no easier. The combined record of five non-league teams 16-10. The combined record of five National Division teams is 15-11.
BHS has just three points in its last two games, but Mulvihill said it was a collective effort in the 37-0 defeat at Goshen last week.
“Goshen outplayed us in every phase of the game,” he said. “Mental mistakes and missed assignments were a key factor in the final result.”
Mulvihill noted the play of Kadin Berwanger, a 6-0, 170-pound senior.
“Kadin has developed into one of our strongest defenders,” the coach said. “He’s taken on a new position and he his playing his assignment very well overall.”
The Rockets are 3-2 with losses to Division V Region 20 powerhouses Madeira and Summit Country Day.
“CNE is much improved,” said Mulvihill. “They have athletes all over the field. Offensively they can line up in double tight one play then shotgun spread the next and are proficient at both. Defensively, they’re aggressive and fast. Their returners have the ability to score.”
QB Landon Amann and RB Cole Joslin are the leaders of the CNE offense while David Pride leads the defense as one of the top overall players in the National Division.
Friday’s contest will be Blanchester’s annual Homecoming game. Blanchester has won eight straight games against CNE, dating back to the last Rockets win, 39-27 in 2010. The Wildcats have held the Rockets scoreless in the last three meetings and have outscored CNE 45-9 on average in the last eight meetings.