Making the trip to Bath High School on Friday?
You might want to pack your mouth guard.
Between Connor Pickens and Aaron Smith, some fillings are going to get rattled.
Wapakoneta‚Äôs Pickens and Bath‚Äôs Smith will take center stage as the feature backs when the Redskins and the Wildcats square off at 7:30 in a Western Buckeye League football game.
In Week 2 wins, Pickens and Smith combined for 550 rushing yards and six touchdowns.
Pickens totalled 267 yards on 33 carries with two touchdowns in a 29-18 win over Elida.
And Smith carried the ball 24 times for 283 yards and five touchdowns in Bath‚Äôs 49-35 win at Defiance.
The strategy with both runners is simple ‚ÄĒ square up with the line and run over people.
‚ÄúThey‚Äôre a typical Bath football team where they‚Äôre physical in the trenches,‚ÄĚ Wapak coach Doug Frye said. ‚ÄúThey have a very good linebacker corp and match up with our run game. So it‚Äôs definitely going to be a stark contrast from previous weeks‚Äô ballgames. It‚Äôs going to be two very physical teams going after it.‚ÄĚ
Smith presents a new problem for Wapak in terms of the 2011 season. In two games the Redskins have squared off against two pass-happy spread offenses.
Bellefontaine‚Äôs leading rusher was 5-foot-9, 157-
pound Dorion Hughes, who ran for 27 yards on seven carries in Week 1.
Elida‚Äôs Colin Blymyer (5-7, 165) gained 86 yards on 11 carries.
Hughes and Blymyer are Mini Coopers to Smith‚Äôs M1-A1 Abrams tank.
The Bath senior checks in at 5-10 and 230. He was the WBL wrestling runner-up in the heavyweight division as a junior.
‚ÄúWe haven‚Äôt even really scrimmaged a team that just came after us,‚ÄĚ Frye said. ‚ÄúOur defense gets a lot of that in practice from us. But throughout the scrimmage season and the game season, we have not faced a team that comes after us like that. So that‚Äôs going to be a challenge.‚ÄĚ
Smith missed Week 1 with an injury. But in his absence, 6-0, 195-pound sophomore Keanu James racked up 152 yards and four TDs in a 40-6 win over Allen East.
‚ÄúHe‚Äôs big, but not as big as Smith,‚ÄĚ Frye said. ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt know of a running back that really is. He‚Äôs very similar. Just a younger version of Smith, basically.‚ÄĚ
Experienced senior Brad Davis (6-0, 165) quarterbacks the Wildcats offense.
‚ÄúHe‚Äôs a kid that can make some plays too,‚ÄĚ Frye said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs not just Smith. ... They‚Äôre big in the trenches. They‚Äôre physical on both sides. I really believe this is the best Bath team they‚Äôve had in many, many years.‚ÄĚ
The Redskins‚Äô trench play hasn‚Äôt been anything to sneeze at. Wapak‚Äôs offensive line took over the game in the second half of the win over line, opening huge holes for Pickens.
‚ÄúWe took a big step in the right direction,‚ÄĚ Frye said.
Wapak also faces the challenge of refocusing after last week‚Äôs emotional win over the Bulldogs.
‚ÄúEvery message we‚Äôve sent all year has been level of consistency,‚ÄĚ Frye said. ‚ÄúNo matter if things are good or bad, we‚Äôre going to come back the same way and work the same way.‚ÄĚ