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Football Lookahead: Beallsville Hoping to Surprise Some People vs. 10-0 Trimble

November 7, 2013
By RICK THORP , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Overcoming obstacles has been a constant for the Beallsville football program this season.

So, who's to say it can't overcome another one Saturday night?

''We hope to surprise some people,'' Blue Devils coach Paul Kanzigg said.

Beallsville will make the trek southwest to Athens County to face unbeaten Glouster Trimble.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

Since the OHSAA expanded the playoff field to eight teams per region in 1999, instances of a No. 8 seed upsetting a No. 1 seed have been few and far between.

Last year, it happened twice.

So, there's a chance. That's all Kanzigg and the Blue Devils are looking for when they battle the Tomcats.

''Once you're in there, you don't know,'' he said of the school's ninth playoff berth in school history and first in two years. ''Anything could happen.''

''We've faced some pretty good competition this year. If we can protect our quarterback I think we can make a real ballgame out of it. I feel we can slow them down. They've only given up five touchdowns all year. But you have to believe in yourselves.''

Yes, five TDs. That's all the Tomcats have allowed. One came against Wahama in Week 2, two came against Eastern in Week 7, and the other two came against Southern in Week 9.

Trimble's other seven games were shutouts. In fact, the Tomcats have trailed once all season, 14-7 vs. Southern.

''Their defense is pretty impressive,'' Kanzigg said. ''We'll go with what we do. We'll spread the ball around.''

Chase Mercer guides the Beallsville offense. The sophomore quarterback has thrown for 997 yards and 13 touchdowns, with six interceptions. He missed three games, including last week because of injuries, but he'll be back Saturday night.

''They run a similar offense to ours,'' Trimble coach Phil Faires noticed. ''They like to throw it and they get better and better as the game progresses.''

The Blue Devils backfield consists of senior fullback Bruce Sefert (397 yards, 9 TD) and tailback Joey Cunningham (470 yards, 3 TD). The two back is senior Derek Lucas (46 rec., 545 yards, 5 TD).

Junior Mikey Palmer (34 rec., 534 yards, 7 TD) is the split end.

''We think we can move the ball through the air,'' Kanzigg said.

The rest of the offense includes Levi Phillips (tight end), Cole Susac (center), Dalton Secrest (right guard), Kris Palmer (left guard), Aaron West (inside tackle) and Tristan Palmer (outside tackle).

''Their offensive and defensive lines look pretty strong,'' Faires said.

Kris Palmer is the nose tackle in Beallsville 5-3 defense, with Tristan Palmer and Secrest the tackles.

West and Sefert are the ends and Susac is the middle linebacker, with Lucas and Phillips the other backers. Robert Valentine and Mikey Palmer are the corners and Mercer is the safety.

This season's Trimble squad is the first undefeated one for the school since 1989 and is the third in its history.

This also marks the first time a senior class has gone to the playoffs every season.

Last fall, the Tomcast opened the playoffs with a 41-6 triumph against Colonel Crawford before falling to eventual state runner-up Newark Catholic in the regional semifinals.

Senior Konnor Standley directs the Trimble offense. He has thrown for 1,787 yards and a school-record 25 touchdowns with five interceptions.

Fullback Jacob Koons, a senior, has nearly 500 yards combined rushing and receiving, while wideout Austin Downs has caught 58 passes for a school-record 1,076 yards and 14 TDs.

''Konnor does it all,'' Faires said. ''We like to have the ball in his hands.

''He and Jacob were the only two junior captains I've ever had. They were also our captains this season.''

Bryce Mathers is the Tomcats tailback. Justice Jenkins has also played there this year, too, due to Mathers sustaining some injuries.

The tight end is Wyatt Bragg.

Along the line, Austin Spears is the center, Jon Stevens and Jonathan Roback are guards with Micah Couch and Tanner Koons at tackles.

Defensively, Caullen Lunsford is the nose tackle.

Tanner Koons and Stevens are the tackles, while Couch and Jacob Altier are the ends.

Jacob Koons, Standley and Terry Simerly are the linebackers. Downs and Jenkins are the corners, while Bragg is the free safety.

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