The meat grinder schedule for the Blanchester High School football team continues this week as SBAAC National Division play opens.
The Wildcats (1-4) will play unbeaten Bethel-Tate (5-0) 7 p.m. Friday night. Blanchester will celebrate its annual fall Homecoming at Barbour Memorial Field.
Blanchester is the defending SBAAC National Division champions.
“Bethel comes in undefeated, which is enough said,” BHS coach Brandon Sammons said. “They throw it a lot, have an athletic quarterback and can put points up in a hurry. We have to contain their QB. He’s been an instant shot in the arm for them this year.”
Seth Becker, the Bethel-Tate signal-caller, transferred from Western Brown. Becker has thrown for 1,359 yards and 9 touchdowns while running for 474 yards and 9 more scores.
Sammons said the Tigers like to bring pressure and have several big, physical kids up front. Nate Owens is the top Bethel-Tate tackler thus far this season.
Blanchester was defeated by unbeaten Goshen 41-0 last week. Haunted by turnovers and mistakes, the Wildcats must play flawless football to have a shot at the high-powered Tigers.
“Our first five games are tougher than any other team in the National Division when you look at who the teams are,” Sammons said. “Our kids have been tested, and put through some heavy trials in these first five games. We’ve lost some kids to injury, which is always tough, but we have a lot of young guys who have gained experience, and we need them to settle in and start playing their game. We control our own destiny. If we can focus on that, we’ll be fine.”
Bethel-Tate head coach Jeff Essig said his squad is not looking beyond Blanchester.
”Blanchester’s record of 1-4 doesn’t really represent how good they truly are.,” Essig said. “They have played Wilmington, Mariemont and Goshen who all three are very good playoff projected teams.”
Though unbeaten, Essig said his non-league has been a bit soft. None of the teams the Tigers have defeated have a winning record.
“But you can only play who is on your schedule,” Essig admits.
Essig is leary of the early portion of the game Friday night. The Tigers have struggled to get out on top.
“We must improve how we start games offensively, because in our last few games we have not been able to jump out ahead of our opponents like we should,” he said. “We have had to play from behind in three of our five games. I am very proud of how our team always finishes the game, but we must start faster.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email email@example.com or on Twitter @wnjsports