The Press Newspaper
The Genoa football team has advanced to the postseason five straight seasons, going 8-5 in the playoffs during that span, won four league titles, and, came a game away from reaching the Division IV state final in 2008.
On Friday, Woodmore will get their chance to move a step closer to joining the ranks of the elite when they host the Comets.
Genoa has won the last five meetings in convincing fashion. Woodmore's last win came in 2006 when the Wildcats defeated the Comets, 25-14.
Like they've done in years past, the Comets have relied on a potent rushing attack and stout defense that has staked them to a 6-0 overall record and a 3-0 mark in the Northern Buckeye Conference heading into last Friday’s game at Elmwood. In six games, Genoa outscored its opponents by a combined 335-69 with only two coming close to resembling competitive scores.
Genoa back Kyle Nutter ran 41 times for 228 yards and four touchdowns while eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark in the Comet’s 48-27 win over a good Otsego team. Wisely, the Comets have used the running game to set up the pass throughout the season, sometimes catching opponents off guard with the play-action pass. In Genoa's two closest games (Oak Harbor, Otsego), Genoa quarterback Logan Scott has connected with receivers on critical touchdowns helped to secure victories.
If the Wildcats are to have any chance of winning the game, they'll have to contain Nutter and be ready for the occasional pass.
Woodmore coach Britton Devier has a plan to keep Nutter in check.
“Not giving up big plays will be a high priority,” said Devier. “Our D-line has to play on the line of scrimmage and we have to get guys to the football. Genoa will pound Nutter, pound Nutter, pound Nutter (and) then hit you with a play action (pass) for a touchdown.”
Woodmore's offense, meanwhile, is much different from Genoa’s. The Wildcats employ a spread that looks to get the ball out in space and take advantage of one-on-one matchups. Save for a 55-point output against Cardinal Stritch in week two, Woodmore's offense averaged 16.3 points in the team's first five games before putting up 60 on Fostoria in their defeat of the Redmen last week.
In the win, Wildcats quarterback Jake Matwiejczyk connected on 17-of-25 passes for 274 yards, five touchdowns and an interception. He also ran 10 times for 150 yards and scored three times. Evan Ulinski caught five passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns and Tony Rozzi had five catches for 58 yards and two scores.
Genoa coach Tim Spiess spoke about how he plans to contain Matwiejcyk and the Woodmore passing attack.
“Defending Woodmore's offensive attack will be a great challenge,” Spiess said. “Woodmore has a staff that has now been together for a few years and they do a very good job of preparing their athletes. Woodmore has a very athletic and talented quarterback who is surrounded by very good receivers. You cannot spend so much time on their passing game that you lose sight of the fact they run the football very effectively. I am not certain you can stop (their spread offense), but we will have to figure out a way to slow them down.”
Slowly but surely, the Wildcats are moving in the right direction. The program has seen steady progress since Devier took over in 2010 and is looking to take the next step this season. It won't be easy, though. With Genoa having established itself as the league's top team again this season, Eastwood Rossford, Otsego and Elmwood, all of whom share a 3-3 overall record with Woodmore, are battling to sustain themselves in the NBC's upper echelon.
For Devier, the process is moving along gradually and he's hoping the team's hard work will pay off as they head into the stretch run of the season.
“We have to keep working on the details,” Devier said. “Our schemes are simple and we try to build off the things we do well. Each player is challenged to compete with themselves each day to get better on and off the field.”