Not much has changed in the short time Bridgeport's Bruce Carey and South Harrison's Brad Jett have been with their respective teams.
Carey, entering his fourth season, has taken the Indians to three playoff appearances, while Jett has done the same with a pair of berths in the last two seasons. Both teams pound on the opposition with a punishing ground attack, and nothing has changed this season. However, that's not where the similarities end. The two teams meet tonight at Wayne Jamison Field in Bridgeport at 7:30.
"This game's always a rock 'em, hard hitting one," Carey said. "I know South Harrison looks forward to playing Bridgeport and I know Bridgeport looks forward to playing South Harrison. It's always been a good game, and I expect the same this year. To me, this has always been a gauge that I use to see what kind of hitters we are because we know (South Harrison) is going to come and hit and be very physical."
The Indians (2-0) waltzed through their first two opponents, defeating a pair of Class AAA schools, Preston and Buckhannon-Upshur, by a combined 90-24. The Indians ground game is averaging 300.5 yards, led by junior Mike Honce (88 ypg). Senior tailback Brian Berry is next at 86.5 ypg, while senior fullback Jeremy Hinzman has rushed for 160 yards on 16 carries, for an average of 10 yards per carry.
South Harrison (1-1) will counter with a hard-hitting defense and a ground game, led by senior tailback Drew Toth.
Toth is second in the Big 10 with 173 yards per game, however, quarterback Joey Bush has been effective, connecting on seven of eight attempts for 119 yards.
"I don't expect to see either team do anything different than what they've done in the past," Carey said. "The key to this game is minimizing the mental mistakes. That's what we've been working on all week."
Elsewhere, Robert C. Byrd (2-0) plays host to East Fairmont (1-1).
The Eagles have not allowed an opponent to score this year and are averaging 34.5 points. The defense is giving up just 92.5 yards of total offense per game.
Senior tailback Scott Ross has rushed for 295 yards and four TDs in two games and is averaging 11.3 yards per carry. Junior tight end R.J. Coleman has 162 yards and three TDs on four receptions.
"This will be a good test for us," Robert C. Byrd coach Richard Iaquinta said. "(East Fairmont) has some real nice skill player and are quick in a lot of places. They played University very tough, so we know we'll be in for a battle."
Back Robbie Keefover is averaging 68 yards, while quarterback Jeff Noechel has thrown for 131 yards and two TDs.
In other games involving Big 10 teams, Philip Barbour (1-1) visits Grafton (1-1), Liberty (0-2) plays host to Webster, Tucker County (0-2) is at Lincoln (0-2) and Lewis County (1-1) visits North Marion (1-1).
Elsewhere, Notre Dame (2-0) visits Cameron.
In NCAC play, University (2-0) is at Buckhannon-Upshur (0-2) and Fairmont Senior (1-1) travels to Morgantown (2-0). Elkins (0-2) is at home to Nicholas County (0-2).
In other games in the area, Doddridge County is at Calhoun County, Wirt County travels to Gilmer County, Braxton visits Midland Trail and Tygarts Valley is at Hamlin.
Sports writer Mike Nutter can be reached at 626-1444.