The McClain Tigers are looking to bounce back in the Frontier Athletic Conference in week eight of the high school football season after a disappointing performance in week seven that saw the Tigers fall at home to the Chillicothe Cavaliers by a score of 63-7.
The Tigers will travel to Washington Court House on Friday, Oct. 12, to take on the FAC rival the Washington Blue Lions who are coming off of a home loss of their own in week seven when they lost to the Hillsboro Indians 71-50.
The Blue Lions enter the game averaging 43 points per game on the season while allowing opponents to score 37, and have allowed 69 and 71 points, respectively, in weeks six and seven.
McClain enters the contest averaging 19 points on offense while allowing the opponent to average 34 points per game, including the 63 points they surrendered to the Cavaliers in week seven.
The Tigers will have the opportunity to score points against a Washington defense that has struggled to stop opposing offenses all season.
The key for McClain will be its ability to block effectively and open holes for leading rusher Dalton Mischal, who was the lone bright spot for the Tigers in week seven and was responsible for their only score.
Another key factor for McClain is the status of starting quarterback Eric Anderson, who was knocked out of the game against Chillicothe with an apparent shoulder injury.
Anderson is leading the Tigers in passing this season in limited attempts and has completed four of five passes out of the McClain triple option offense for 81 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
McClain will also need to step up on the defensive side of the ball if it wants to have a chance against the Blue Lions offense powered by Gio Thomas at quarterback, Dillon Steward in the back field and the receiving tandem of Omar Porter Jr. and Eli Lynch.
Thomas is averaging 220 yards per game through the air and has thrown 20 touchdowns and only four interceptions while completing 57 percent of his passes.
Steward and Thomas are the leading rushers for the Blue Lions with seven and six touchdowns, respectively, on the year.
Porter Jr., Lynch and Steward are the top receiving threats for Washington and have combined to catch 16 of Thomas’ touchdown tosses in 2018.
The inability of both teams to stop opposing offenses could lead to a track meet breaking out at Gardner Park in Washington Court House for the second week in a row.
There is a good possibility that the Tigers pick up the win on Friday at Washington based on the improving play of the Tigers at this point in the season and the lack of defense displayed by the Blue Lions in the 2018 season.
Win number three for the McClain Tigers could happen Friday, so mark your calendars and plan to make the trip to Gardner Park to show your support for the Tigers as they continue to improve.
Ryan Applegate is the Sports Editor for The Times-Gazette.