Despite being 1-0, East Clinton head coach Jeremy Yankey heads into Friday night’s county battle with Blanchester a little bit concerned about his Astros.
When the first-year head coach looks at the Wildcats, he sees “a very physical team on both sides of the ball.”
His Astros, however, didn’t display that same tenacity in their season-opening win against Batavia, 25-19.
“I still feel like we need to be a more physical team,” said Yankey.
East Clinton travels to Blanchester Friday night. Kickoff at Barbour Memorial Field is set for 7 p.m.
Blanchester lost to Clinton-Massie 51-7 in the opener. But the first-string BHS offense had success against the Falcons, scoring early to take a 7-0 lead.
But after QB Tristan Greene went out of the game, the Wildcats were not the same offensively. BHS head coach Jack O’Rourke said Greene will not play Friday but the other three who played against CM will be available. He was not certain who would start at QB.
The Astros used an opportunistic defensive effort in its win over the Bulldogs. Batavia outgained East Clinton 417 to 222 last Friday but the Astros came up with four turnovers and converted one directly into a touchdown when Anthony Osburn returned an interception for a score late in the game.
Osburn also rushed 17 times for 122 yards and three TDs. “I like the effort that Anthony gave us running the ball,” said the coach.
Erik Moore was 7-for-17 passing for 77 yards but threw three interceptions. J.T. McCarren caught three passes for 25 yards while Brian Barnes caught two for 25 yards.
Barnes led the defensive surge with six tackles, including a sack. He also had an interception and two fumble recoveries. Jaren Evans had six tackles, Moore had five, Cameron Conner four, Austin Hanners three and Wyatt Floyd three.
Yankey was pleased with the play of senior D.J. Luttrell, the massive 6-1, 286-pound senior lineman.
“His leadership is great,“ said Yankey. “He is like an OL (offensive line) coach on the field.”
The temperature Friday is expected to be much hotter than the first game or even most scrimmages East Clinton has participated in this season. Yankey has advised his players to adjust accordingly.
“We have been telling our players that they must hydrate well this week,” he said. “We will need to get our two-way players a break during the game.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports.