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Football: Martins Ferry, Coshocton Familiar With Each Other

November 3, 2011

MARTINS FERRY - Dave Bruney and his Martins Ferry Purple Riders find themselves in familiar territory - the postseason.

Better still, the Riders will not have to take a lengthy bus ride to get there.

Saturday's OHSAA Division 4, Region 15 quarterfinal battle between Ferry and Coshocton will be staged at Purple Riders' Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

''Yes, it's nice to be at home," Bruney said. ''It's great for the community and our support groups. We feel we have a first-rate facility.''

In turn, the Riders will be facing a first rate opponent in Coshocton, a member and 2011 champion of the East Central Ohio League. The Redskins are under the guidance of second-year coach Jim Woodrum who has been with the program nearly two decades.

This marks the third time Ferry and Coshocton have locked horns in the playoffs.

A year ago, Ferry faced a similar scenario, playing host to Campbell Memorial in Week 11. That game turned into a four-quarter slugfest with the Riders surrendering one scoring drive and falling by a 7-0 count.

Bruney expects another battle in the trenches Saturday between two teams that love to line up and come out swinging.

''Coshocton runs a wing-T offense and they run it well,'' the Riders coach said. ''We think they have a good offensive line with good size.''

The Riders offense features one of the most potent 1-2 rushing attacks in the valley. Seniors Tyrel Simmons and C.J. Williams have teamed to torment opposing defenses on a week-by-week basis.

The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Simmons has piled up 1,185 yards and scored 17 touchdowns. Simmons has produced much of his best work the past two weeks with superb outings against St. Clairsville and Bellaire, respectively.

Williams is a different style runner. He's generated a shade less than 1,000 yards on the ground, scoring 16 touchdowns. He's also proven an effective receiver out of the backfield.

Directing the Riders attack is savvy senior Jonathan Carlier, a physical 5-11, 200-pound vet. Carlier has not been asked to air it out with frequency, though he owns a solid 61-percent completion rate.

The leading receiver is 6-2, 165-pound junior Cody Schau who Bruney refers to as, ''a very dependable young man with good hands. We never hesitate throwing Cody's way.''

Woodrum was in Bellaire last Saturday to witness the Purple Rider's 37-0 punishment of Bellaire.

''The first thing you notice about Ferry is how well-schooled and well-coached they are,'' Woodrum said. ''We like to think we're a physical team and so is Martins Ferry.''

Woodrum referenced Coshocton's two prior playoff matchups against Ferry.

''We went into our archives and brought out the tapes from 2001 and 2002,'' he said. ''What we discovered about Ferry was this: same team, different personnel.''

The 8-2 Redskins have generated a little less than 3,000 rushing yards but have spread the wealth in doing so.

Quarterback Brody Philabaum is a 6-0, 180-pound senior who has better than 1,000 passing yards on his resume. Senior Jacob Bresciani (5-11, 190) converted to the backfield when the Skins' regular fullback was lost for the season. Bresciani has logged better than 100 yards each time.

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