A couple of high-powered offenses and stingy defenses meet Friday night as Blanchester visits Bethel-Tate in one of the SBAAC National Division showdowns.
So it may be special teams that decide the outcome as a pair of National unbeatens meet.
“Their special teams have some dangerous players returning kicks,” BHS head coach Jon Mulvihill said. “We’ll have to be smart with how we kick the ball.
“Our special teams plays has been pretty consistent and I hope that continues. It’s a big part of the game and could determine this one.”
Blanchester is 11-4 in the last 15 meetings with Bethel-Tate. The teams did not play during 2004. The Wildcats have won the previous two games.
The series has had some close games. Of the last 15, six have been decided by 8 points or less, including last season’s 30-24 triumph by Blanchester.
“Bethel week is and has been serious for a while now,” said Mulvihill. “The boys are ready to give it their best and that’s all I can ask for.”
The game pits two of the top passers in the SBAAC – Brayden Sipple of Blanchester and Chris Long of Bethel-Tate.
“They’re no-huddle, tempo, wide open,” Mulvihill said of the Tigers with the ball. “They push the pace and give a bunch of different looks.”
BHS will be facing a tough Tiger squad on defense.
“They’re fast and aggressive,” the BHS coach said. “Expect to see a bunch of blitzes and tight coverage.”
Blanchester defeated Williamsburg last week 42-0 but it probably wasn’t as easy as the score would indicate.
“We have a lot to clean up,” said Mulvihill. “We dropped a lot of passes in the first half and made some mental mistakes that we simply should not make. We came out better in the third quarter.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports