Category: Symmes Valley

It’s Vikings vs. Mohawks for winner-take-all SOC I

It’s Vikings vs. Mohawks for winner-take-all SOC I

Northwest vs Symmes Valley


Photo’s by Robert Stevens

McDERMOTT – Rusty Webb, whether or not his Symmes Valley Vikings win or lose on Friday night, will hopefully be correct about one thing.

“This is going to be good,” said Webb, the veteran Viking head coach.


What Webb was referring to is Friday night’s ground-and-pound affair for this year’s Southern Ohio Conference Division I championship – as 8-1 Symmes Valley visits 6-3 Northwest for a winner-take-all conference title tilt inside nicely-renovated Roy Rogers Field.


Kickoff at Northwest High School is set for 7 p.m., as the winner officially unseats Oak Hill as the new SOC I football champion.


Both run-oriented squads, with Symmes Valley’s wishbone and Northwest’s traditional two-tight end double-wing set, are a perfect 4-0 in the league – as both were part of the 2014 tri-championship along with Oak Hill.


The Vikings last won the SOC I outright in 2011, while Northwest has never – repeat never – ever captured an outright league championship.


Hence, history is possibly in the making for first-year head coach Bill Crabtree – a Northwest alum – and his young Mohawks.

“It’s exciting. These kids have a chance to do something that’s never been done here. That’s a great feeling,” said the coach. “We owed it to our six seniors to give them a good season. It’s just been exciting for all of them. What better way to top it off than with an outright SOC I championship. I think these kids are ready to rise to the occasion. We’ve challenged them all season and they’ve risen up each time we’ve challenged them.”


The Vikings are equally as youthful – with only five seniors compared to Northwest’s six.


“We are a very young team with mostly sophomores, a few juniors and freshmen. A lot of these kids played last year and played in last year’s four-overtime game against Northwest (32-26 Northwest win). There is no substitute for experience, and that experience last year against many of these same Northwest kids this year is very valuable” said Webb. “We couldn’t ask anything more than having an opportunity, as young as we are, to be playing for an SOC I championship in week 10.”


And, not just an SOC I crown for the Vikings, but a Division VII, Region 27 playoff berth as well.


The top eight teams in each region qualify for the playoffs – with the top four squads earning first-round home bouts.


Symmes Valley, despite its 8-1 tally and only loss against Division V arch-rival Chesapeake, is only ninth in the official Ohio High School Athletic Association Region 27 computer ratings.

A win over the Mohawks should elevate the Vikings into the top-eight and thus a playoff spot, but nothing is for certain either entering – and immediately following – Friday night.


Actually, one thing is certain.


There will be a new SOC I champion.


The Division V Oaks, after a decade of dominance in winning the division outright seven times in 10 years, moved up to the larger-school SOC II.


That opened the door for the remainder of the half-dozen SOC I clubs, although Northwest is now the biggest fish in that pond – as it is also a Division V program.


But the Mohawks have struggled on the gridiron for the majority of their 60 seasons – having experienced just eight winning ones (1961, 1970, 1974, 1975, 1985, 1994, 2016 and 2019), while going just 71-245 all-time in conference play.


In fact, from 1959 thru last season, Northwest had won just 31-and-a-half-percent of its games (181-391-2).


Although, after going 2-60 in SOC II bouts from 2000 thru 2013 – with wins over Minford in 2005 and Waverly in 2010 being the two triumphs – the Mohawks have benefited from their move to the SOC I for football only.


In addition to the 2014 tri-championship, Northwest went 5-5 that year – before going 7-3 the next season, and securing the second-best single-season record in school history.


The Mohawks can tie that mark with a victory on Friday, and also improve their all-time SOC I record to 20-14.


So far, the Mohawks have outscored their SOC I opposition by a whopping school-record 188-68 count, including 69 points alone against Green – in which running back Brayden Campbell tied the OHSAA’s single-game record with nine rushing touchdowns.


However, it won’t be easy against the 30-man Vikings, as Northwest’s numbers are over 45.


Symmes Valley will line up in the wishbone, and run right at the Mohawks like it does everybody else.


“Symmes Valley is big and strong like they always are,” said Crabtree. “We’ve told the kids all week to expect them to come out and try and hit us in the mouth. As far as the numbers game goes, we’re both actually truly playing with about 15 or 16 kids.  We have a lot of kids that are practice players for us, but when it comes down to it on a Friday night, we’re playing with very comparable size across the board and skill sets. It’s going to come down to who wants it more come Friday night.”


Northwest will counter with its overly-tight and foot-to-foot line splits – in which all 11 players are essentially within 10 yards of one another.


Campbell is already over the 1,200-yard rushing mark for the Mohawks, while fellow running back Nathan Rivers is around 800.


“Northwest wants to run first. They have very good size up front and are very physical with a couple of speedy backs,” said Webb. “We need to be physical with them at the point of attack, be able to get off blocks and make good tackles.”


In short, certainly expect an old-school smash-mouth football game – in which turnovers are going to be killers, combined with penalties putting either or both teams behind the chains.


And, with this much rushing expected, don’t anticipate the contest lasting much longer than a couple of hours.


“Rusty (Webb) doesn’t change much. He’s done the same thing for probably 20 years. Unless he throws a bunch of wrinkles at us at once, we think we know what to expect. They run the ball, and it’s been successful for them. Same goes for us,” said Crabtree. “We’ve figured out what works best for us, and we stick with that. We’re looking for a big night. It’s exciting just to go in and see who’s better at what we do.”


Indeed, hopefully, it’s going to be good like Webb said – as the better team becomes the reigning, defending and undisputed SOC I champion.

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8Levi Niece202216550
9Wyatt Owens202310270
10Levi Ross20231050

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Vikings, Bobcats open SOC I slate; Ironton @ Chesapeake, Trimble @ Waterford, Logan @ Athens


Photo by Robert Stevens

Symmes Valley vs Green

Don’t look now, but the Symmes Valley Vikings are quietly creeping up the Division VII, Region 27 playoff ladder.


They are also aiming – with the Oak Hill Oaks having moved up to the Southern Ohio Conference Division II – to significantly scale the totem pole of the SOC I.


But so too are the Green Bobcats – with their numbers and hopes on the rise and coming off their first winning season and state playoff appearance since 1990.

With Northwest now the largest SOC I school for football, and according to many observers the favorite for this season’s division championship, the 4-1 Vikings and 3-2 Bobcats will surely have something to say about that – as they open SOC I action on Friday night in Lawrence County.


Kickoff at Symmes Valley High School is set for 7 p.m.


The Vikings, whose lone loss was to archrival and Division V Chesapeake, have shut out Fairfield Christian (37-0) before steamrolling Fairview (50-6) and Sciotoville East (47-6) in non-conference clashes the past two weeks.


The Vikings vanquished South Gallia 14-12 in the opener, and are currently 10th in the official OHSAA Region 27 computer ratings.


The Bobcats are 12th in those same computer rankings, but Green is coming off a bad 26-22 setback at Fairview (Ky.).


Green will now likely need to run the table to qualify for a second straight playoff appearance, and it doesn’t help that the three teams it has defeated – Cincinnati Dohn Community (1-4), Manchester (0-5) and Federal Hocking (1-4) – are a combined 2-13.


That trio will also unlikely yield anymore possible playoff points.


The run-oriented Vikings are considered a heavy favorite, despite the Bobcats winning two of the past three meetings – albeit by a combined 11 points (32-28 in 2016 and 22-15 in 2018).


The series is lopsided in Symmes Valley’s favor with only those two victories by the Bobcats – besides Green’s only other win since the turn of century in 2006.


Oak Hill has dominated the division for the past decade, as the Vikings split the crown with the Oaks and Mohawks in 2014 – while winning it outright in 2011.

Northwest now wins the numbers game by being a Division V program – with the other five SOC I squads belonging to Region 27.

1Josh Ferguson20215-101751081111113230
2Ethan Patterson20226-001557155073330
3Jack Leith20206-03170904816000
4Luke Leith20216-0116014148451025
5Nick Strow20225-10160351350000

But numbers on the field are with the Vikings, as three backs (Josh Ferguson 51 carries, 426 yards and 4 TD; Jack Leith 46 carries, 236 yards and 4 TD; Eli Patterson 28 carries, 229 yards and 2 TD) have amassed at least 28 carries, 231 yards and two touchdowns.


Jack Leith has completed 9-of-14 passes for 156 yards and four TDs, as three players have at least three receptions – with Luke Leith’s three catches all going for scores.


Gavan Yates, a starting Symmes Valley offensive lineman, has successfully kicked 13 extra points and one field goal.


 Ironton at Chesapeake

Chesapeake vs Ironton


In another matchup of 4-1 at 3-2, but also along the lines of David vs. Goliath, Ironton (4-1) invades Chesapeake (3-2) for maintaining front-running status in the Ohio Valley Conference.


Kickoff inside Phil Davis Stadium in Chesapeake is set for 7 p.m.


The Fighting Tigers, the consensus preseason favorite for the OVC championship along with defending champion Gallia Academy, bounced back from their only loss of the season (16-10 in overtime at Ashland) – with an expected league defeat of South Point (38-2) last week.


Ironton is 2-0 in the league, and attempting to make it 5-for-5 against the Panthers in all of their meetings since joining the OVC in 2015.


The Fighting Tigers took the league championship in their first two campaigns.


The Panthers are 1-1 in the league, having lost 55-27 at Gallia Academy – before  winning a shootout at Coal Grove last week by a final score of 45-38.


Ironton, however, is a heavy favorite against the Panthers, which have remained much healthier through the first half of this year.


There is also a bevy of state playoff points at stake, as the Tigers (8.95 computer points average) trail only Minford (9.65 CPA) for the top spot in Division V Region 19, but have five more Level-2 points than do the Falcons.

Speaking of Minford, Ironton will benefit from a Wheelersburg victory over the Falcons this week, while Minford is rooting for a Panther upset of the Fighting Tigers.


Chesapeake’s only other loss is against the Falcons in week two, as the Panthers (5.6 CPA) currently occupy the eighth and final playoff spot in Region 19.


The top eight teams in each region qualify for the playoffs – with the top four squads earning first-round home bouts.


Trimble at Waterford

Waterford vs Trimble

So somebody, anybody, finally scored upon the undefeated Trimble Tomcats this season.


But while the Tomcats didn’t win that trivial battle, they did win their latest war – defeating the Worthington Christian Warriors 34-6 to move to 5-0.


This week, Trimble returns to Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division play – and tangles with the host Waterford Wildcats, which will arguably be their toughest opponent in the remainder of the regular season.


Waterford, with only a lopsided loss against arch-rival but Division VI Fort Frye, stands at 4-1 – and welcomes the defending champion Tomcats for the inside track to the latest TVC-Hocking championship.


Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.


Both clubs are 3-0 in the TVC-Hocking, and while the Wildcats have allowed only 34 points in three conference tilts, the Tomcats – against 3-2 Belpre, 3-2 Meigs Eastern and 1-4 South Gallia – have not surrendered a single solitary one.


Waterford will need not only to score against the Tomcats, but they will need to do so several times.


They didn’t against Fort Frye in being blanked 49-0, and Trimble – like the Cadets – is considered one of the top Division VI programs in the entire state.


Zane Heiss has completed 22-of-54 passes for 496 yards and four touchdowns, as Nick Fouss has caught 14 passes for 372 yards and three scores.


Heiss has also been a primary running threat from the quarterback spot, rushing for 335 yards and four TD on 33 carries, while Holden Dailey leads the Wildcats with 369 yards and 10 touchdowns on 36 attempts.

Joe Pantelidis has the most carries for Waterford with 40, and has 290 yards with a trio of touchdowns.


Waterford will face Trimble’s vaunted wishbone rushing attack, as Connor Wright will enter Friday’s affair at four carries short of 100 – and already 99 rushing yards shy of exactly 1,000.


Wright also has 13 touchdowns.


Quarterback Cameron Kittle has rushed for 285 yards on 32 attempts and five trips to paydirt, while completing 15-of-21 passes for 354 yards with seven scores.


The Wildcats sit sixth in the Division VII, Region 27 computer ratings, so an upset win would open so many doors for them.


Waterford won back-to-back TVC-Hocking titles in 2016 and 2017, following Trimble’s run of three consecutive from 2013 thru 2015.


The Tomcats’ last league loss was at Waterford two years ago, as Trimble has captured 13 consecutive conference victories.


Trimble (8.8) trails only New Middletown Springfield (9.5) and Fort Frye (9.15) for the top spot in the Region 21 computer ratings.


Logan at Athens

Athens vs Logan

Talk about two programs really needing – and even craving – a victory, and against an old enemy at that.


That’s the setting for Friday night’s matchup at Rutter Field in The Plains, as longtime rivals Logan and Athens square off in an important and now non-league duel – despite both entering with losing records.


Kickoff at Athens High School is set for 7:30 p.m.


The Chieftains are 1-4 and the Bulldogs are 2-3 – something seldom seen or even heard of when the Route 33 rivals did battle during their former Southeastern Ohio Athletic League days.


Logan, now an independent program playing in Division II, landed its first victory of the season last week – an 18-7 Thursday night special over host Chillicothe.


The Chieftains had scored just seven points apiece in each of their previous four bouts, but snapped a school-record 11-game losing streak by stymieing the offensively-struggling Cavaliers.


Logan – whose four losses are to teams with a combined 16-4 record – turns its attention to the Bulldogs, which have won two consecutive in this series, which was renewed four years ago.

However, in the two-decade stretch from 1996 thru 2016, Athens lost 14 in a row to Logan, as the Bulldogs departed the SEOAL – and joined the Tri-Valley Conference starting in 2008.


It’s been an excellent move for Athens, which has won or shared six TVC-Ohio championships over the past decade, including its first last season since a four-year span from 2011 thru 2014.


But the Bulldogs began this season at 0-3, losing to 4-1 Waverly (30-27) and undefeated Jackson (31-26) by a combined eight points – before falling 42-20 at undefeated Parkersburg South in West Virginia.


As a result of those non-league losses, Athens must win out if it is to have any shot at qualifying for the Division III, Region 11 playoffs.


The Bulldogs, with a computer points average of 4.0, are only 17th in Region 11.


This week, Athens’ finesse and spread-the-field formation attack indeed will be tested against the Chieftains’ physicality.


Under the direction of first-year head coach Nathan White, junior Joey Moore is thriving at quarterback – having completed 86-of-137 passes for 1,204 yards and 14 touchdowns.


Moore is also the Green and Gold’s leading rusher, totaling 377 yards and four TD on 93 carries.


At least six Athens receivers have at least six receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown, as Nate Trainer is easily Moore’s top target – with 35 catches for 522 yards and four scores.


Look for Logan to try and play ball control, and keep Moore and company confined to the sidelines, as Caden McCarty (105 carries for 437 yards) and quarterback Braeden Spatar (100 carries for 350 yards) spearhead a 1-2 Chieftain rushing attack.


McCarty has scored six rushing touchdowns for 36 points – as the Purple and White have only scored 46 points all season.

Spatar has thrown just 51 passes, but has completed 31 of them for 286 yards and one TD, including 14 for 148 yards to Garret Mace.


Chesapeake overwhelms Symmes Valley 49-6


Symmes Valley00606Loss

Chesapeake overwhelms Symmes Valley 49-6

by Moses Leos III

Photo by Robert Stevens thegoldstudio

WILLOW WOOD — A 21-point first quarter barrage paved the way for the Chesapeake Panthers to notch a lopsided 49-6 road win over the Symmes Valley Vikings Friday.

With Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) play on the horizon, Panthers head coach Todd Knipp said getting back in the win column “is always good.”

Head Coach Todd Knipp

Current Team
Past Teams
Rock Hill
“Defensively we played much better than we have. Last week (against Minford), we got smacked in the mouth,” Knipp said. “It felt good to be able to come out, to perform on defense and make tackles in space.”



Shouldering the load for Chesapeake (2-1) was an offensive attack that overpowered and overwhelmed Symmes Valley (2-1) for most of the contest. Leading that charge running back Kamren Harless who rushed for 96 of Chesapeake’s 282 yard output in the first half.Helping Harless was quarterback Donald Richendollar, as well as running backs Carson Nida, Will Todd and Logan Walsh.

Knipp said his backfield is a “special group” and that all of them play well for one another. He also lauded the team’s offensive line, who despite their youth, are gelling and have improved their level of play over the last couple of weeks.

“They’re doing a real good job right now, complimenting one another,” Knipp said.

Chesapeake surged out to a 21-0 lead after the first frame highlighted by an 18-yard touchdown run from Todd, along with a 47-yard punt return from Harless. The Panthers added 14 more unanswered points prior to intermission, including a two-yard touchdown run by Richendollar that gave Chesapeake a 35-0 halftime lead. Richendollar finished with three rushing touchdowns.

Knipp said he knew getting off to a strong start was important. Despite an early first quarter turnover, Chesapeake scored touchdowns on four of their next five first half drives.

“It was good because it gave us a boost and kept the game going and we couldn’t give it up,” Richendollar said. “We had the game flowing the whole time.”

Meanwhile, Chesapeake’s defense limited the Viking offense to less than 150 yards in the first half. Rusty Webb, Vikings head coach, said keeping up with Chesapeake’s overall team speed, which Symmes Valley couldn’t replicate in practices, was a challenge for most of the contest.

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Richendollar said the Panthers kept getting after the ball on the defensive side, while also adhering to fundamentals.

“We had to go out on defense and come at them and stuff,” Richendollar said. “We worked on tackling and blocking and we did a lot better tonight.”

Jack Leith
Current Team
Symmes Valley
However, Symmes Valley made the necessary adjustments and orchestrated a lengthy third quarter drive that led to a two-yard touchdown plunge by Jack Leith, cutting the Panther advantage to 35-6.

Webb lauded his team’s ability to make key adjustments, which he felt will be critical as they head into conference play later this season.

Fairview KY vs Symmes Valley

00 days 00 hrs 00 mins 00 secs

“This is always a good test for our kids. It lets us know where we’re at and what we need to work on. The goal is to always make the playoffs and win the conference. We need to play good competition and Chesapeake definitely provides that.”

But the Vikings drew no closer as Chesapeake’s defense tightened its grip and kept the Vikings scoreless the rest of the way. Meanwhile, Chesapeake tallied two more scores down the stretch, including a third score from Richendollar.

Head Coach Rusty Webb

Current Team
Symmes Valley
Despite the loss, Webb said the Vikings continue to look forward as they march toward Southern Ohio Conference (SOC) play.

“We’re still very young. We’re mostly a sophomore dominated team,” Webb said. “It could have been easy to fold our tent. But the kids didn’t, they played all four quarters. That’s what we’ll need going forward.”



Gallia Academy vs Chesapeake

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All eyes for Chesapeake now center on their OVC opener against Gallia Academy and readying for their spread offense, Knipp said.

“If we have a better practice Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, we’ll play harder,” Richendollar said.



Ch- Will Todd 18 run, Randy Wilson XP

Ch- Kamren Harless 50 punt return, Randy Wilson XP

Ch- Donald Richendollar 14 run, Randy Wilson XP


Ch- Logan Walsh 27 run, Randy Wilson XP

Ch- Donald Richendollar 4 run, Randy Wilson XP


SV- Jack Leith 2 Run


Ch- Donald Richendollar 5 run, Randy Wilson XP

Ch- Marcus Burnside 34 run, Randy Wilson XP


Chesapeake overwhelms Symmes Valley 49-6

A 21-point first quarter barrage paved the way for the Chesapeake Panthers to notch a lopsided 49-6 road win over the Symmes Valley Vikings Friday.Full Recap Here

Posted by on Saturday, September 14, 2019

Symmes Valley

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4Derek Crum000005-20000
7Jack Leith1312013641000
9Levi Niece00000320000
14Levi Ross00000460000
29Ethan Patterson000004500120
33Wyatt Owens00000100000
# Defense Sacks Tackles INT FGM FGA


2Logan Walsh000007571000
3Carson Nida000001520000
4Will Todd 000006971000
5Kamren Harless000008880000
6Lucas Shepherd00000140000
9Grayson Walsh00000190000
14Donald Richendollar 0100012443000
28Izaiah Willis00000170000
32Marcus Burnside000002431000
35Ian Hicks000001160000
# Defense Sacks Tackles INT FGM FGA


Date Time League Season
September 13, 2019 7:00 pm SEO 2019