The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

September 18, 2013

Madison going to school

Willis vows Blue Streaks will be ready for Saturday afternoon clash at US


Star Beacon

MADISON TOWNSHIP — Two years ago, the Madison Blue Streaks rolled into Hunting Valley, peacocking with a 3-0 record fresh off a win against archrival Perry for a Saturday afternoon game against University School.

And the favored Blue Streaks laid an egg, coming out flat, turning over the football and, as a result, limping out of town with a 20-14 defeat in tow.

Don’t expect a repeat performance from that 2011 debacle, though, as coach Tim Willis’ Blue Streaks return to Hunting Valley for another Saturday afternoon clash with the Preppers.

“We have a very mature football team, which will be able to go about playing football, no matter when we play,” Willis, the dean of area coaches, now in his 14th season at the helm.

And as the Blue Streaks (2-1) and the Preppers (0-3) set for the fifth all-time matchup in a series that is tied 2-2 after Madison’s 35-14 triumph last fall at Blue Streak Memorial Stadium, Premier Athletic Conference play is at hand.

“In the PAC, you have to come to play every week,” Willis said.

Madison is coming off an emotional 34-6 conquest of homestanding Perry last week at Alumni Stadium in the annual possession of the Little Brown Jug, marking its third-consecutive triumph in the series.

“It always feels good to get that win,” Willis said. “The players prepared and it paid off. It’s great to keep that Brown Jug in the trophy case at Madison.”

As far as this week goes, don’t be deceived by University’s 0-3 record.

The Preppers have bowed to Shaker Heights, 54-27, Bedford, 33-10, and Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin, 40-6.

However, the first two US opponents are 3-0 and the latter is 2-1.

The Preppers run a spread offense and a 4-3 on defense.

“US is such a different kind of team than Perry in that they pass 80 percent of the time,” Willis said. “We have to work on the pass defense all week and try to confuse the quarterback on his reads.”

Willis has some pretty solid ideas about what his Blue Streaks, who will be without the services of sophomore wide receiver-cornerback Braden Jerome (sprained knee) this week, will need to get done to move to 3-1 on the season and kick off conference play on a positive note.

“We must affect the quarterback, by using multiple coverages,” he said. “And be able to attack the perimeter on offense.”