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Football Lookahead: Park Latest Power to Pop up on Brooke’s Tough Slate

September 26, 2013
By DAVE MORRISON , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Wheeling Park coach Chris Daugherty readily acknowledges the belief that his team plays a demanding schedule.

Even more to the point, he acknowledges that Brooke potentially plays a more demanding schedule.

"We told the kids that we think we play one of the tougher schedules out there," Daugherty said. "If anyone plays a tougher schedule than we do, it has to be Brooke. If Brooke wasn't scheduling some of the tougher opponents out there, (it) might be 3-1 right now. You open at Morgantown, everyone knows how good they are. Then you play a very good University team and a great program in Steubenville. Allderdice (Pittsburgh) isn't bad either. That's one heck of a stretch."

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The Wheeling Park Patriots have been quick out of the gate in 2013.

It could be argued that the schedule reaches its apex when Park (3-0) plays host to the Bruins (1-3) on Friday night at Wheeling Island Stadium.

Brooke coach Sean Blumette wouldn't have it any other way.

"We knew the schedule was going to be tough," Blumette said. "We prepared for it. One thing we have found, it's easier to get the kids motivated. They like going against good competition and want the chance to prove themselves on a weekly basis. We have improved since we played Morgantown in the opener."

The competition will be keen against undefeated Park.

In Class AAA, No. 3 Park, the Bruins will face what University coach John Kelley called the "best stable of backs I have ever seen" in Wheeling Park's backfield.

Indeed, the Park four-headed backfield monster of Bryce Ingram, Savion Johnson, Geremy Paige and Theo Blackston got a whole lot better when Ingram returned from injury last week against University.

He wound up leading the team with 83 yards on the ground.

"I would be in agreement with that," Blumette said. "You look at a team like Morgantown and Chazzy Thomas and he is lightning quick and is an outstanding back. Park has four backs they can bring at you, each one offering a little bit of a different look from the other. They certainly have versatility at the position.

"They have weapons everywhere. They have guys they can hand it to, they have guys they can throw it to and a great quarterback leading the whole thing (Zach Phillips)."

Johnson leads Park with 264 yards and two touchdowns. Paige has 146 yards and a score.

Phillips had completed 22 of 42 passes for 368 yards and three touchdowns.

Many think this might be one of the better Park teams in several years.

As such, the Patriots will not take the Bruins lightly.

"We feel they're very similar to University," said Daugherty, who saw University's 44-21 victory against the Bruins at Brooke two weeks ago.

Daugherty saw a different game than the final score indicated.

"You take four, five plays away from University in that game and it's a different ball game.

"Their quarterback (Aaron Walker) does a great job with their offense and the running back, (Justin) Lougherie is a good player. When they run their zone read, he reads it well and gets his six, seven yards."

"Playing at the island is always tough," Blumette said. "But we'll show up and we'll be ready to play."

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