BEALLSVILLE - Cameron and Beallsville, two struggling teams that came into the season with higher expectations than the results so far, meet Friday night on the Blue Devils' gridiron.
The visitors from Marshall County have won once in three starts for veteran coach Jim Rogers. Beallsville, hoping to make a big splash in its first season under coach Paul Kanzigg, is 0-3.
Cameron had a chance to get past the .500 mark last Saturday night but fell 22-14 to Clarksburg Notre Dame. Although disappointed about the loss, Rogers offered a rather humorous explanation about the outcome.
Cameron's Jordan Hart
Beallsville's Teryn Jarrett
''It was the first day of squirrel season but instead of shooting any squirrels, we kept shooting ourselves in the foot,'' he said. ''We were totally out of sync offensively. ''Our quarterback was just 10 of 32 with one pick, we gave up a safety on a bad snap and we let the ball roll too much on special teams. Those things are correctable but it was the third game of the season and we shouldn't be making those kind of mistakes.''
The Dragons' 6-foot-8 quarterback Logan Routt still passed for 178 yards and two touchdowns in the close defeat, giving him 578 yards through the air after three games. A big chunk of his total last week came when he teamed with Jordan Hart for a 69-yard score. Routt also found Mark Walker for a touchdown from 16 yards out.
While most coaches talk about their teams being unable to finish games, Rogers would love to see Cameron walk off the field at halftime with a lead. The Dragons trailed by a point in the season-opening loss to Bishop Donahue, then rallied from a 20-7 halftime deficit to top Valley for the Dragons' only victory. It was 2-0 at the half on the gift safety presented to Notre Dame.
''It's been frustrating, but we're not giving up by any means,'' Rogers promised ''We need a win to get the kids' confidence back.''
Even though the Blue Devils are winless and are experincing some major injury problems, the Dragons are anticipating a close, hard-fought game.
''Beallsville is kind of struggling like us and Dave's (Caldwell) not there but they are still Beallsville. They've got a couple of kids that can move the football,'' Rogers added.
''I still think we have some promise,'' said Kanzigg, a 12-year assistant coach before succeeding the retired Caldwell.
Although several standouts graduated from last year's 10-3 Ohio regional finalist squad, the Blue Devils brought back stellar quarterback Teryn Jarrett and five other two-way starters.
The 6-3 Jarrett passed for 1,544 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior and he is coming off an 8-for-20, 133-yard, one-interception game in the 39-14 loss to Bishop Donahue.
However, a couple of major injuries that saw two Blue Devils players taken to the hospital early in the fourth quarter resulted in that game halted at that point last Friday night.
Running backs Drew Tubaugh and D.J.Lucas have been lost for an indefinite period of time, adding to the Beallsville early season woes. Kanzigg is hopeful that three-year line standout Kyle Groves, who has yet to play in 2012, will be cleared to play this weekend.
Groves started the last two seasons and has especially been missed on the defensive side of the ball.
''We need to work on and improve our fundamentals,'' Kanzigg stressed. ''Right now we are not executing very well. We had some open receivers the other night and did not get the completions that might have kept us in the game.''
If the Blue Devils play well, he believes his team can come out with a victory against Cameron. ''While they are fairly balanced on offense, our key will be to put pressure on the quarterback. He can hurt you if you don't get to him,'' Kanzigg added.