Linsly Seeks 7th Straight Win Friday Against River
HANNIBAL — Linsly is on a roll.
The Cadets have won six straight games since dropping their opener at Ohio small-school power Mogadore. As a result, Coach B.J. Depew’s charges sit comfortably atop the OVAC 2A standings.
After impressive victories against Wheeling Central and Western Reserve in its last two starts, Linsly will again face another stern challenge Friday when the Cadets travel to Monroe County where potent River awaits.
“I am really pleased with the work everyone in this program is doing, from the players to the coaches to our trainers. It really is a team effort and I feel fortunate to be a part of it. On the field, the kids are playing hard-nosed aggressive football,” Depew said. “At the same time, they are also playing very smart and they are doing a great job executing the game plan. The last two weeks have been big steps forward for us and they did a lot to put to rest the feelings from last year when we lost close games to those same two opponents.
“The most pleasant surprise has been the attitude of the kids. From the very first day, they have been upbeat, determined and fun to coach. There were no signs of a letdown after the Week 1 loss and there has been no sign of complacency even after some very big wins. They continue to come ready to work and get better. They want to finish. I am very pleased with their attitude.”
Coach Mike Flannery’s Pilots are 4-3, all three losses coming to heavyweights — Shenandoah, Meadowbrook and Shadyside. The Lukas Isaly-led squad is coming off a 62-20 shellacking of Bridgeport.
Isaly accounted for five TDs in the blowout, three by air and two on the ground. For the season, the two-time first-team All-Ohioan has completed 70 of 133 tosses for 879 yards and 10 TDs. The dual-threat quarterback is just as lethal with his feet, rushing 146 times for 851 yards for 14 more scores.
His top complement on the ground is Drew Wagnild. The 200-pound senior has rushed for 502 yards with four TDs.
Isaly’s favorite targets are senior Drew Dietz and freshman dandy Michael Johnson. Dietz has landed 29 passes for 414 yards and six TDs while Johnson has hauled in 13 for 209 yards.
“River is a good football team and Lukas Isaly is the best overall athlete we have seen so far. To watch Isaly live and on film, it is easy to see how he has earned so many accolades up to this point in his career,” Depew said. “Coach Flannery has put together an offense that gives defenses a lot to look at and a lot to prepare for. We are working through that preparation now and it is a lot. They make good use of all of their athletes and if we focus exclusively on Isaly, they have plenty of other guys who can beat us. Once again, we will be counting on our defense to step up to the challenge of facing a well-coached and talented offense. “
Linsly, meanwhile, has been operating successfully utilizing two quarterbacks in senior Luke Mueller and junior Wyatt Hirt. Mueller has completed 51 of 86 throws for 600 yards and three TDs while Hirt has clicked on 29 of 58 aerials for 533 stripes and five TDs.
The Cadets also possess an effective ground game, spearheaded by Eli Petho. The bullish junior has toted the leather 65 times for 508 yards and six TDs. He exploded for 142 yards and three TDs in last Saturday’s pasting of Western Reserve.
Nick Falbo is another ground threat. The talented senior has garnered 304 yards on 35 totes and seven TDs.
Trevin Tush brings big-play capability to the Cadets’ receiving corp. The dynamic sophomore has caught 22 passes for 328 yards and four TDs. Petho has snared 10 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown.
“We need to find creative ways to counter their physicality. I have seen them three times and yet to find a weakness,” Flannery said. “Their defense is relentless in pursuit of the ball and they have so many playmakers.
“Their quarterbacks do a great job of managing the game, getting the ball out quickly. We need to know where Petho and Falbo are at all times. The one thing I know for sure is our players have tenacious resiliency. We will be prepared.”
Depew is expecting a hostile environment in Hannibal.
“Playing on the road will also be a challenge. We got off to a slow start last week at WRA after four straight weeks of not playing at our opponents’ home field. We recognize that we will be seen as the enemy when we travel to Hannibal on Friday and everyone in town is going to be ready for us,” Depew said. “Our guys will have to come together and be ready for a real battle. But our team thrives on that. We honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. Environments like the one we have coming up Friday night at River is what makes high school football so much fun.”
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Martin Flannery Field.