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The west side is the place to be on Friday night as our U.S. Marines Backyard Battle and WCPO Channel 9 Game of the Week is at Oak Hills, where Harrison will try to get the best of the home team Highlanders. The two squads had opposite results in their opener. Harrison looks to continue its winning ways after surviving at rival East Central in the Border War. Oak Hills renewed its rivalry with Elder only to come up short.
The Highlanders have owned Harrison since 2008. The Wildcats will look to reverse their fortunes and have the talent to do so. Oak Hills will be ready as it looks to avoid an 0-2 start.
HARRISON WILDCATS (1-0) at OAK HILLS HIGHLANDERS (0-1)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
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PLAYERS TO WATCH: Quarterback Jake Weber is the catalyst for the Harrison offense. The reigning SWOC Offensive Player of the Year has ran for 17 touchdowns and thrown for 22 more TDs with only seven interceptions since the beginning of 2013. Junior Mitchell Hogue amassed 173 all-purpose yards against East Central. Most of his damage came as a receiver, where he had six receptions for 113 yards and a score.
The Oak Hills defense has some gifted players with Davonte McGhee, Brian Kurtz, Jordan Holt and Montell Brown. Look for this cast to step up and have a big night on Friday. On offense, Jason Walters is a spark plug. The senior racked up 233 all-purpose yards against Elder, including 139 on seven receptions and a touchdown.
TEAM TRENDS: This will be the eighth straight season in which these two teams have met, with Oak Hills winning the last six times. Harrison will be searching for explosiveness on offense. In 2013, the Wildcats scored at least 41 points in five of their seven victories. In their four losses, Harrison allowed an average of 39.8 points per contest.
Oak Hills stumbles into the affair having lost three in a row. Putting points on the board has been a problem as the Highlanders continue to look to become more consistent. Defensively, Oak Hills did not play poorly vs. Elder, but turnovers by the offense put their backs against the wall on more than one occasion. It will be the defense fueling the fire for Oak Hills in its quest for victory number one in 2014.
HARRISON’S KEYS TO VICTORY: A fourth quarter comeback was a good sign for Harrison in its win over East Central. The Wildcats led for most of the game only to fall behind early in the last stanza. Relinquishing a lead at Oak Hills may not mean the same outcome. Grabbing an early advantage and maintaining it will be difficult but it needs to be a top focus for Harrison.
OAK HILLS’ KEYS TO VICTORY: More attention to detail must be paid for the Highlanders after committing four turnovers versus Elder. Getting the run game going is also going to be a top priority. Oak Hills carried the ball 32 times against the Panthers, gaining just 34 yards. That combination did not produce the results that head coach Dan Scholz was looking for. The coach is expecting more from his offense in Week 2.
Prediction: OAK HILLS 28, HARRISON 17
Greg is a co-founder of TSF and is now entering his ninth season as a Featured Analyst for the website. The Xavier University grad also serves as the Content Manager for the website and is widely considered one of the top high school football experts in the region. If you are interested in covering your team, please CONTACT US.