In their biggest game of the season, to date, the Grand Valley Mustangs put it on the line — literally — when they took on archrival Pymatuning Valley on Friday night at Laker Stadium.
According to first-year coach John Glavickas, that was the difference in the Mustangs (4-3, 1-0) coming out on top in a tough, hard-fought matchup, 15-12.
“After looking at the film, I felt we won the battle the battle up front,” he said. “That was the difference.
“(Pymatuning Valley’s Quintin) Ratliff was all he was made out to be, and more. Boy, is that kid quick! We were just able to run the ball straight ahead. I thought our defense did a nice job keeping everyone else under control. With Ratliff, it’s just one seam and he’s gone.”
Now even with two-time defending champion Ledgemont in the all-important loss column of the Northeastern Athletic Conference standings, Glavickas & Co. will take on Southington on Friday night. With the Wildcats’ home field still not ready to be utilized, the contest will be played at Thiel College. GV leads the all-time series, 16-5, including a 48-0 romp last fall.
And Glavickas plans on putting the onus on the guys on the front lines of both his offense and defense against the Wildcats (3-4, 0-1), who are coming off a 30-6 victory at Lutheran East on Saturday afternoon.
“The key to victory is controlling the line of scrimmage,” he said. “We also have to take care of the careless penalties sometimes we accrue. The third thing is we have take care of their running game early. We need to make them do things they don’t always do. We also need to get the job done on special teams. No big plays.”
With three victories this season, coach Ryan Clone’s Wildcats won’t catch the Mustangs off-guard, Glavickas said.
“Watching Southington’s film, they are a good team,” he said. “Their record is 3-4 right now. One more win and they would have the same record as us. They are able to run the ball well and bring it on the defensive side of the ball.”
With GV looking to man up at the line of scrimmage, this could be a collision of similar styles, Glavickas said.
“They like to run power football. They like to go two tight with a stacked-I backfield,” he said. “On the defensive side of the ball, they like to run a 3-3 stacked and a 4-4.
“I think if we try to spread them out, they will run the 4-4. If we try to run the ball, they will sit in their 3-3.”
And the Wildcats like the spread the wealth.
“There really isn’t one guy who comes out and gets you,” Glavickas said. “They rely on a bunch of guys to carry their offense and defense.”
And though the Mustangs are three victories from Grand Valley’s first conference championship since Hall of Fame coach Jim Henson’s 1997 monster of a squad rolled to a 10-0 regular season, the East Suburban Conference crown and a spot in the playoffs, Glavickas says hold the horn, in regards to that kind of noise.
“It has been brought up, but we are just concentrating on winning against Southington,” he said. “One game at a time. If we take care of one game at a time, other things will fall into place.
“We’re just talking Southington right now.”
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