Throw the football. That’s probably on the minds of fans attending tonight’s fourth and final edition of the “Battle of Elyria.”
After all, both quarterbacks — Elyria Catholic senior Jeremy Holley and Elyria junior Hunter Parsh — are seasoned passers capable of putting up gaudy numbers.
Just don’t forget about either team’s running games.
“I never go into a game thinking we’re just going to wing it all over the place,” Elyria coach Kevin Fell said. “You’ve got to be able to run the football.”
“What we’re really focusing on is to work hard and play hard,” EC coach Mike Polevacik said. “We don’t feel we did that vs. Huron. I just think we came out and just thought we had to show up.”
Huron stunned the Panthers 39-28 last week, while Elyria barely got past Amherst, 28-25. It was an eye-opener for both sides.
Holley threw for 302 yards against Huron and Parsh finished with 267, but both threw crucial interceptions.
Both teams are solid in the running game, Elyria with seniors Jumarr Lewis and Jordan Connell and EC with junior Justin Rankin.
It could be the real key to tonight’s game.
“The line came up great (at Amherst),” said Connell, who scored four touchdowns and rushed for 132 yards. “At first I wasn’t coming up as hard as I should, so we made adjustments for the second half so we all could be on one page. Hard work in practice (this week). We’re going to get everything right.”
Connell played both ways for the Pioneers and he and Lewis will see action in the secondary against the Panthers. Lewis hurt his back early in the Amherst game but should be back this week.
The two complement each other.
“His injury was more related to the heat, really,” Fell said of Lewis. “We need both of them. I’ve been running this type of offense for several years now, but I’ve always said you have to be able to run the football.”
It’s football 101. You have to be able to run the ball on offense and stop the run on defense.
“We controlled the run the last couple years,” Fell said of the games against the Panthers. “I think they’ve got a very good running back. We have to be ready to play. That’s been our philosophy: Stop the run first.”
“Last year, we moved to empty (backfield) because we couldn’t run the ball,” said Rankin, who had 131 yards on 19 carries against Huron. “This year, that’s not happening.”
Rankin doesn’t want to come away with a loss in what could be the final meeting of the schools.
“I’ve talked to a lot of the seniors,” he said. “They don’t want to go out with a loss, that’s for sure. It’s one of the most important games on our schedule. We could earn a lot of computer points, but after this game we have to concentrate on Midview, Avon — it’s not just this one — it’s the whole schedule.”
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.