- Eyes On
Take a moment to familiarize yourself with Nick Lopezâ€™s name.
Youâ€™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 varsity football matchup.
He runs the ball, he catches the ball, he defends, he plays special teams.
â€śI read one of [Defiance] Coach [Jerry] Butiâ€™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,â€ť Wapak coach Doug Frye said. â€śSo in this case theyâ€™ll probably make sure Nick Lopez is in the lockerroom early enough and heâ€™s ready to go. And he has a legitimate point because that young man is very talented.â€ť
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.
â€śNick Lopez is going to get the ball at least 75 percent of the time and maybe 80 percent of the time, whether itâ€™s run or pass,â€ť Frye said. â€śThe No. 1 thing weâ€™d better do defensively is at least hold Lopez down. I have a lot of respect watching him play. ...
â€ś[He is] an exceptional player and weâ€™ll have our hands full stopping him.â€ť
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-Gâ€™s Tristan Parker rushed for 244 yards on 23 carries as the Titans crushed Defiance 42-7.
While that might bode well for Wapakâ€™s Wing-T trio of Connor Pickens, Josh Windle and Kevin Kraft, donâ€™t expect Defiance to roll over defensively.
â€śWe had some classic matchups when I coached next door [at St. Marys],â€ť Frye said. â€śItâ€™s never easy to attack Coach Butiâ€™s defense because theyâ€™re going to blitz you and come upfield. And if you allow them to dictate the tempo of the game, then youâ€™re in for a long night.
â€śWeâ€™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.â€ť
If Frye and offensive coordinator Mark Law are planning on implementing more of the â€śFlingâ€ť into the Wing-and Fling offense, theyâ€™re keeping their cards pretty close to the vest.
â€śOur No. 1 objective os to win the game,â€ť Frye said. â€śSo whatever it takes to win the football game weâ€™re going to do. As I said before the season and as we progressed from Game 5 last year on, that is definitely part of our attack and a part that we want to grow.â€ť
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30.