By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
MILLERSBURG — Cory Warford was a one-man wrecking machine last week against Phillipsburg-Osceola.
The senior running back rushed for 200 yards on 18 carries and scored three touchdowns in the season-opening win for Line Mountain.
This week, the Eagles open the Tri-Valley League season on the road at Millersburg.
“Whenever we go there, it’s usually a good, tough game,” Eagles coach Rodney Knock said.
Knock said that getting the season-opening win was vital for his young team.
“This group of kids needed that win as they worked so hard over the summer,” he said. “I am proud of that group to see how far they have came.”
After last year’s 56-0 win at Phillipsburg, the Eagles had 27 points scored on them in this year’s opener thanks in part to the play of Mounties quarterback Curtis Matsko.
“Matsko gave us fits as we did not see him last year,” Knock said. “They have improved across the board and they have some really good athletes. We played good football overall.”
Friday’s game will feature a match-up of first-year quarterbacks who are making their second varsity start in Ryan Reed for Line Mountain and Millersburg’s Ethan Troutman.
“Ryan played well last week.” Knock said. “The Millersburg kid is one of the good athletes they have.”
“Ethan’s been the one to step up and be the leader in the huddle,” Millersburg coach Brad Hatter said. “I am not sure if the game will be decided by the quarterbacks, but they will be a major contributor as to who goes on and wins the game.”
The game itself is a big rivalry not only with the close proximity of the schools, but it was just a few years ago that the game decided the outcome of the league title.
“Back in 2006 and 2007 when we had our run and it was us and Line Mountain for the title, we played them last game of the season and it was basically a championship game,” Hatter said. “Hopefully we can be a bit more competitive with them this year.”
Last year, the Eagles won 38-0.
“We did some things well on offense and defense but we got caught looking into the backfield a few times last week,” Hatter added. “Line Mountain does some similar things that Big Spring did and we are going to have to execute better on Friday.”
Millersburg opened its season with a 42-12 loss to Big Spring.
“After we looked at film, I saw some fight in the kids in the second half and we came out and scored on the opening drive of the second half,” Hatter said. “We got some of our younger kids in the game for some varsity experience and we can build on that.”
Both coaches come into the game with the same goals in mind; to win the TVL championship.
“Watching them on film, Millersburg made a lot of mental mistakes but they have always played us tough as we expect to get their best on Friday night,” Knock said.
“We remind our kids that Line Mountain has scored 80-some points on us in the last two games.” Hatter said. “We haven’t scored anything.”