While fans in the stands at Kettlewell Stadium for Friday night's game between Martins Ferry and Indian Creek might have the postseason on their minds, the two head coaches will have their attention focused squarely on the task at hand.
The Purple Riders' Dave Bruney and the Redskins' Andrew Connor are well aware of all the postseason possibilities and the like. However, without a victory this week's Buckeye 8 encounter, those goals might not be possible.
"We're just taking things one week at a time," Bruney said. "It's a moot point if you don't focus on the task immediately in front of you. If we take care of that, we'll be fine."
Brian Styles (with ball) and Martins Ferry will take on Indian Creek on Friday night at Kettlewell Memorial Stadium in Wintersville.
The Purple Riders, ranked eighth in the latest Associated Press Division Division V poll, enter the 7 p.m. contest 6-1. Ferry is also fifth in the Region 17 computer ratings.
A victory against the Division IV Redskins would go a long way in helping the Purple Riders earn a home playoff contest. To do that, Bruney said his team will need to be stout in every phase.
"They're a good team on both sides of the ball," Bruney stressed. "It's kind of like looking in the mirror. They do a lot of the small things really well."
Indian Creek's ground game was true to form last Friday during a 33-14 beating of Union Local in Morristown.
The Redskins piled up 389 yards on the ground, paced by a pair of 100-yard rushers. Blake Roar ran for 104 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries, while quarterback Jonathan Woodbury carried the ball 12 times for 102 yards.
It's no secret that running the ball is the Redskins' bread and butter.
"They play hard," Bruney said. "Any time you play them, it's a challenge because of that."
The victory at Union Local was a nice bounceback for a club that had lost two straight to St. Clairsville and Bellaire. The victory helped the Redskins stay at eighth in the Division IV, Region 13 computer rankings, slightly ahead of a 2-4 Columbus Watterson squad and two spots ahead of 6-1 Meadowbrook.
"After two tough losses it was kind of a make or break game for us,"Connor said. "I thought the kids responded well."
Connor added he was pleased with the play of his defense as well, as with Woodbury at quarterback.
"But the penalties ... we had way too many of those," he said of the 14 flags for 135 yards. "That's something you can't do to yourself."
Especially against a team has talented at the Purple Riders.
"They're your typical Ferry team," Connor said. "Coach Bruney and his staff have done a great job. One thing you know is they won't beat themselves. They will be well-disciplined and you can't do anything to aid them."
One of the things that makes Ferry so potent, especially on offense, is its balance. The Purple Riders have four players with more than 329 yards - Arjay Burress (625), Marcus Sutton (567), Bruce Burger (387) and Brian Styles (329).
Styles is pretty adept at throwing the ball, too.
"They have a lot of weapons," Connor said. "They are very proficient on offense and they know how to finish drives."
Ferry topped Buckeye Local 43-6 in its final regular-season home game of the season. Bruney has been pleased with how Styles has handled the quarterback role.
"He's done a great job both running and throwing the ball and creating some big plays for us," he said.
"As a team, we're just looking forward to improving and getting better each week."