The 3-0 Copley Indians have shown a couple of things to me this season. The first is that they can win when their star running back Aregeros Turner is struggling. If he has a big game, they are very difficult to defeat. He has had only struggled in one of his games thus far and in that one he still had two rushing touchdowns. The second thing I have seen is that they have played good defense in all of their victories. That doesn’t include the fourth quarter against the Orrville Red Riders, a game in which they were up big and let up. The Indians and Turner will look to continue to have success as they open up their conference play against the 2-1 Tallmadge Blue Devils.
The Blue Devils started off their season on the road against the Ravenna Ravens. This was a back and forth, tough game for both squads that saw Ravenna defeat Tallmadge 29-26. The stats were actually pretty equal with the Ravens edging out the Blue Devils in total offense 361-310.
The next two games Tallmadge played were both at home against the Ellet Orangemen and the Garfield Rams. The Blue Devils defeated the Orangemen 37-15 and in that game, their quarterback Anthony Gotto completed 15 of his 21 passes for 260 yards and three touchdowns.
In their game against Garfield, Tallmadge won by a score of 27-0. Gotto had another good game, throwing for 199 yards, but the Rams turned the ball over three times and the running game went for another 139 in the rout.
Copley’s defense is going to need to play the way it has in the first few weeks if it wants to win again this week. Tallmadge’s only loss, was on the road and Gotto was struggling to complete passes. He threw for 114 yards, but he only completed seven of his 17 passes. In that game, the team rushed for 196 yards. I think a recipe for success for the Indians is to get pressure on Gotto and make it tough for him to complete passes. They want him to air it out, so if they can keep him rattled with incomplete passes and turnovers, I think their run defense can handle keeping this offense from getting points.
For the Indians’ offense, giving Turner his touches will be first. He needs to have at least 15 running plays in this game. When Ravenna defeated Tallmadge, they totaled 226 yards on the ground. That was split mostly between two backs. With a running back like Turner, if they can get him going, their offense will have success.
Getting the passing game going will be something they will need to use as well to keep the Blue Devils off guard. Turner can be a definite asset in the passing game with his speed, but he will need John Kromalic, the Indians’ quarterback, to be on point and help from the rest of the receivers.
Last year when these two teams met, Tallmadge scored the 42-14 victory over Copley. Gotto in that game threw 25 passes and completed 18 of them for 300 yards with two touchdowns. The running game also added 223 yards. I do think Copley’s defense has gotten better since then so I don’t see that being a repeat. Plus 152 of the rushing yards were by Tyrin Williams, who has graduated. Turner didn’t play last year due to a broken leg. I think this game will be much different this year.
Tallmadge has won both of their home games and lost their only one on the road. I think with a much improved defense and with Turner carrying the ball in the backfield, Copley will win this year. My prediction for the game is that the Indians will win 35-17. Turner will have at least 2 rushing touchdowns and 100 yards rushing.
This game will be played at Copley High School on Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. in Copley, Ohio.