The Sherando and Musselman (W.Va.) football teams have shared the same opponents the last two weeks, and one of them will finally get to go home with some smiles on their faces when they share the field with each other at 7 p.m. tonight at Waldeck Field in Bunker Hill, W.Va.
In Week 2, Sherando (0-3) lost 41-14 to Jefferson (W.Va.) while the Applemen (1-2) lost 56-14 to Martinsburg. They swapped opponents last week and the Warriors fell 58-7 to Martinsburg while Musselman dropped a 47-12 decision to Jefferson.
The Applemen struggled with mistakes against Jefferson, fumbling twice, giving the Cougars a short field on a bad punt snap and throwing an interception that was returned 60 yards for a touchdown as part of a 27-point third quarter that completed the scoring.
Both Sherando and Musselman have gotten the chance to see how the other performs in a lot of similar situations the last two weeks.
“Anytime you do a film exchange, and both exchanges from you and the opposing team are the same two teams, I think there’s some familiarity there,” Sherando coach Jake Smith said. “I think it allows you to kind of gain an idea of who they are as a result of having those common opponents. On the flip side of that, they get a really good idea of who we are as well.”
There is still some mystery with Musselman. Applemen starting quarterback Bayden Hartman (17 of 35 for 299 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions) did not play against Jefferson last week.
Smith noted that Musselman has multiple athletes it can use in a Wildcat look. Ray Adames (6-foot-2, 180 pounds) directed the offense last week.
“He’s a terrific athlete,” Smith said. “He’s taken a kickoff back for a touchdown, he’s extremely dangerous at wide receiver. He’s a good corner. He has a lot of speed and gets to the edge when he’s in the Wildcat, and he has the ability to throw the ball.”
Smith said Kobe Hayslette (three rushing TDs) can also take direct snaps.
“He runs really hard,” Smith said. “He’s a very physical runner, very powerful runner. He gets downhill immediately.”
Sherando’s defense is led by senior linebacker Aydan Willis, who has recorded 42 tackles (16 solo), including six for a loss of yardage.
“We’ve got to win on first and second downs so we have a manageable third-down scenario for us,” Smith said.
On defense, Smith said Musselman likes to load the box and stop the run first.
“It’s something we’ve seen and we should be prepared for,” Smith said. “[Musselman has] good tacklers.”
The Warriors will need a more effective running game than last week, when top back Cam Sullivan managed only four yards on nine carries and the Warriors had minus-15 yards on 28 total attempts. Sherando will try and loosen the Applemen defense up behind quarterback Dylan Rodeffer (28 of 71 for 413 yards, three TDs and two interceptions) and a receiving corps that may not include AJ Santiago (17 catches, 266 yards, two TDs), who left last week’s game with an injury.
Martinsburg rolled up a 615-154 yard edge against Sherando last week, but the Warriors did seem to get more comfortable as the game went on, particularly with their passing game.
“I thought we competed extremely well against Martinsburg,” Smith said. “I’d like to see our kids compete in the same fashion again on Friday. We know Musselman is going to be a very physical football team. We have to match that physicality. I think last week was good preparation for that, and if we mimic the game play in that regard as far as our ability to go out and compete and play physical, I think we’ll have an opportunity on Friday night.”