Wapakoneta at Defiance
Wapakoneta fans may need to take moment to familiarize themselves with Nick Lopez’s name.
They’re going to hear a lot of it Friday night when the Wapakoneta Redskins travel to Defiance to take on the Bulldogs in a Western Buckeye League matchup.
He runs the ball, he catches the ball, he defends, he plays special teams.
“I read one of [Defiance] Coach [Jerry] Buti’s comments a few weeks ago and he said the No. 1 thing they do when they go to an away game is make sure Nick Lopez is on the bus before they pull out,” Wapak coach Doug Frye said. “So in this case they’ll probably make sure Nick Lopez is in the locker room early enough and he’s ready to go. And he has a legitimate point because that young man is very talented.”
Lopez has rushed for 577 yards (144.3 per game) with eight touchdowns this season. The 5-foot-8, 160-pound senior has eight receptions for 130 yards.
He is second on the team in tackles with 35. And he has returned three kickoffs for 77 yards.
No stats were available on how much popcorn he sells at halftime.
“Nick Lopez is going to get the ball at least 75 percent of the time and maybe 80 percent of the time, whether it’s run or pass,” Frye said. “The No. 1 thing we’d better do defensively is at least hold Lopez down. I have a lot of respect watching him play.“
[He is] an exceptional player and we’ll have our hands full stopping him.”
Defiance is coming off an uncharacteristic down season. The Bulldogs were 1-9 overall and 1-8 in the WBL a year ago.
They are currently 2-2 and 1-2, with wins over Napoleon and Celina and losses to Bath and Ottawa-Glandorf.
Last week O-G’s Tristan Parker rushed for 244 yards on 23 carries as the Titans crushed Defiance 42-7.
While that might bode well for Wapak’s Wing-T trio of Connor Pickens, Josh Windle and Kevin Kraft, don’t expect Defiance to roll over defensively.
“We had some classic matchups when I coached next door [at St. Marys],” Frye said. “It’s never easy to attack Coach Buti’s defense because they’re going to blitz you and come upfield. And if you allow them to dictate the tempo of the game, then you’re in for a long night.
“We’re a little bigger than them in the trenches as we have been for the most part this season. But we have to be able to handle their speed and their blitzing and their athleticism.”
O-G at Kenton
2010: O-G 22, Kenton 20
Streak: O-G has won three of the last four meetings between the WBL powerhouses.
Notes: The Western Buckeye League’s trio of undefeated teams will be pared down by at least one on Friday night when Ottawa-Glandorf travels to Kenton for a showdown of two state-ranked teams with much different ways of getting there.
Kenton comes into the game ranked second in the state in the Division IV Associated Press poll after impressively downing Shawnee 34-7.
While Maty Mauk continues to shine, it’s Kenton’s defense that continues to shine brightest. The Wildcats are giving up a WBL-low 11 points per game while also possessing the best offense at 41 points per game.
Maty Mauk is 109-of-160 for 1,489 yards, 17 touchdowns and five interceptions along with 405 yards rushing this season through four weeks.
The Titans will bring a power running game to the contest.
O-G improved to 4-0 with a 42-7 win over Defiance last week by scoring 36 unanswered points from the second quarter on.
The Titans rolled up 402 yards on the ground, with 243 of those yards coming from running back Tristan Parker.
O-G threw the ball four times against the Bulldogs.
Elida at Shawnee
2010: Elida 20, Shawnee 0
Streak: In three wins over Elida heading into the 2010 game, Shawnee had scored 170 points, but a resurgent Elida beat Shawnee for the first time since 2005.
Notes: Elida enters this game as the top dog in Division III’s Region 10 standings after the first playoff Harbin Rankings were released.
Elida went over 40 points for the second straight week in a 43-6 pummeling of Van Wert.
Shawnee is 2-2, but it has faced a brutal schedule with Marion Local, O-G and Kenton dotting the first four weeks.
Now Shawnee will play another WBL title contender on Friday night.
Bath at Van Wert
2010: Bath 47, Van Wert 27
Streak: Bath's win over Van Wert last season snapped a three-game winning streak by Van Wert over the Wildcats.
Notes: Bath tailback Aaron Smith will look to bounce back from a 74-yard rushing performance in Bath's 36-19 loss to St. Marys...Van Wert is scoring 19.9 fewer points this season than they were this season (9.8 ppg) and the Cougars are giving up a WBL worst 40 points per game.