Coming off a pair of blowout victories, the Hartley High School football team expects a tougher task Friday, Sept. 15, when it travels to Chillicothe.
A win over the Cavaliers could help the Hawks down the line in terms of playoff points considering both teams are 2-1 and Chillicothe is in Division II, one division higher than the Hawks.
On Sept. 8, Hartley beat East Cleveland Shaw 56-0 while Chillicothe lost to Marion-Franklin 40-26.
The Cavaliers opened with wins over Teays Valley (31-27 on Aug. 25) and Licking Heights (28-7 on Sept. 1), the latter of which made the playoffs a year ago. Their loss came against a Red Devils team that is 3-0.
"This is a huge football game for us because they're a Division II team and they're going to win some games," coach Brad Burchfield said. "It's a crucial game because unfortunately a lot of the teams in (the CCL) aren't having banner years (playoff) point-wise for us, and it's a really important game that we play well."
Chillicothe features a dual-threat quarterback in Branden Maughmer. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound senior completed just five of 18 passes for 96 yards and was intercepted three times against Marion-Franklin, but rushed 20 times for 166 yards.
On the season, Maughmer has 432 yards and six touchdowns on the ground and has thrown for 327 yards and two scores.
Senior fullback Connor Mathis (5-11, 180) has rushed for 161 yards and a touchdown and junior wide receiver Zach Coats has 12 catches.
Against Marion-Franklin, junior wide receiver J.J. Harris threw for a touchdown and returned a kickoff 85 yards for a score.
"The quarterback is a fantastic player," Burchfield said. "He's got a lot of accolades, but I don't think there's any super-secret defense that we play. We've got to have good fundamentals and tackle him and make sure we get a lot of guys around him."
Against Shaw, Elijah Carter rushed 15 times for 165 yards and a touchdown to lead Hartley's offense. Ben Dankow ran for 80 yards and one score and Alexander Blackmon, Kiron Anderson, Nick Cone, Jalan January and Anthony Carfagna each had a rushing touchdown.
Carfagna has split time at quarterback all season with Miles Fleming.
Defensively, George Dunor, Angelo Evans, Ryan Heuser and Garrett Tipton all had an interception against Shaw.
"We certainly did play a lot of kids, but we have to get better, too," Burchfield said.
"Our defense has to play together. Our skill guys have to understand the ball handling."