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Ashland Times Gazette - High stakes for Ashland against Uniontown Lake

ASHLAND — Although it’s only Week 4 in the football season, there is a lot at stake for Ashland High when it heads to Uniontown to take on the Lake Blue Streaks on Friday. Since both teams are in Division II, Region 7, there are valuable computer points to be gained for the winner. Lake sits at 1-2 overall for the year, but its record is misleading as its two losses are by a combined three points to Dover (3-0) and Copley (2-1).

Much like Clyde, which AHS (2-1) faced in Week 2, the Blue Streaks are a run-first offense, led by running back Cameron Martin (486 rushing yards, 7 TDs). Operating primarily out of the I-Formation, Lake churns out 258.7 yards per game on the ground, which could spell trouble for the Arrows, who have yielded over 200 yards on the ground in two straight games. Linebackers Mason Harpster (team-high 34 tackles, sack), Gavin Rohr (27 tackles, 2 TFL) and Jacob Robertson (21 tackles) will lead the charge to try and slow down the ground attack. “I’m not sure you’re going to slow him (Cameron Martin) down,” Ashland head coach Scott Valentine said. “You just have to get a lot of guys there, and you have to make sure you secure the tackles and get him on the ground. He’s a strong, tough runner. He’s going to break tackles if you don’t do a good job. That’s why we need to have two or three guys get there and get him on the ground.”

Quarterback Paul Troyer has completed 17-of-46 passes for 189 yards and one TD. Troyer’s top target is Tye Hunt, who has caught six passes for 181 yards and one score. Allowing only 127.7 yards per game through the air, Ashland’s secondary should have a clear advantage in the passing game. Something has to give between the AHS offense and Lake defense, as the Arrows are averaging 30.7 points per game and 407.7 total yards per game while the Blue Streaks yield just 21.3 points and 266.3 total yards.

Linebackers Noah Collins (24 tackles) and Dylan Reeves (24 tackles, 5 TFL, 2 sacks) anchor the Blue Streaks’ defense. “They run a three-man front, and they’ll bring some guys off the edges,” Valentine said. “Their up front guys are quick and they move and they’re strong kids. ... They like keeping everything up front of them (in the secondary). They don’t want to give you a big play, and they attack downhill once the ball’s thrown.” Quarterback Keagan Armitage (721 passing yards, 8 TDs) will look to find success against a Lake secondary which has allowed only four passing TDs for the season.

After running for 144 yards in last week’s 42-24 win over Tiffin Columbian, Armitage is now also the Arrows’ leader in rushing yards. Manny Langston (20 receptions, 262 yards, 3 TDs) has been Armitage’s security blanket throughout the first three games, but fellow wideout Kamrin Knowlton-Goings (196 yards) has been the offense’s big-play threat as all three of his catches have gone for TDs. Bryke Williams came out of nowhere last week and rushed for 87 yards on eight carries — he had six carries for 18 yards in the first two weeks — so he will give Lake someone else to worry about when preparing for the game.

The identity of this year’s team is beginning to take form; however, some things are still being determined as Valentine’s squad heads into the final week of non-league play. “We’ve made some position changes with some guys, so I think we have a better identity, but we’ve had some guys in our JV games do a pretty good job, so we’re looking to see how they can fit in,” Valentine said. “So our identity can still change. Throughout a season injuries can happen and things like that, so you’re just always progressing as you go through.”

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