OAK GLEN - Job No. 1 for Oak Glen Friday night in its home matchup with John Marshall is stopping the Monarchs' Trevor Hardesty.
Easier said than done.
Golden Bears' coach Ian Whittington doesn't need to be reminded of that.
In two games this season, Hardesty has rushed for 331 yards and six touchdowns. Last week, in a 52-6 victory against Buckeye Local, he had 166 yards and five touchdowns.
"Obviously, he is a very good football player," Whittington said. ''He's probably one of the best backs in the Valley. He's someone we're going to have to focus on if we want to win this game. He is big and physical and runs down hill very well."
The good news for Oak Glen (0-3) is it is coming off its best performance of the season, albeit a loss to a good Indian Creek team. The final was 35-14 but the game was tied going into the fourth quarter.
Whittington saw that as a good sign.
Especially given the circumstances.
The Golden Bears lost the one player they knew could be a weapon going into the season in quarterback Chase Hartley to a broken leg in the season opener.
Whittington was forced to scramble in that game, an inserted different players to finish it.
The next week, he held an open competition for the job, between two sophomores and a freshman.
The winner was sophomore Zach Porter.
"It was just his poise," Whittington said of what impressed him about Porter. He's a smart kid, a 4.0 student, and he does everything we ask him to do. We aren't asking a whole lot now but we are putting in more and more every week."
The results between Week 2 Porter and Week 3 from Porter were easy to see.
Last week completed 6 of 14 attempts for 63 yards and a touchdown. Alec Swiger was also a weapon with 112 yards rushing and a touchdown.
It was what Whittington was hoping to see with a young team that features eight sophomores and two freshmen somewhere in the starting lineup.
"Playing a good game against a very good Indian Creek team was big for us," Whittington said. "I think the growing pains are starting to leave and the kids are starting to recognize game speed. Yes, we are young, but I'm playing for this season, not the future. We can make something good out of this season."
Whittington believes it could start this week.
"Obviously, they have depth and size," Whittington said of the Class AAA Monarchs. "I want to see us play physical and go toe-to-toe with them. I think that we have a chance. There is no way I'm counting out my young kids. It's a winnable game if we come out and play mistake-free football and we battle."