Lynn Groll, Tony Haynes and Andrew Mickey look back at week 3, hand out Offensive Player of the Week to Otsego’s Trent Leiter and co-Blockhead of the Week to Leiter and Columbus Grove’s AJ Schafer.
Hated neighbors Columbus Grove and Pandora-Gilboa will settle the score for 2021 a year after the COVID-adjusted 2020 season denied the rivals a shot at bragging rights.
The Rockets will host the Bulldogs on Friday night in the annual Putnam County tussle.
The adversaries first played in 1951, and since 1973, have played every year up until the shortened 2020 season.
“Pandora absolutely despises us,” said Grove headman Andy Shafer. “They are extremely rah-rah for the game and coach (Matt) Hershey is going to be extra this year because of not playing last year and because of the number of kids we graduated.
“They have a lot of weapons and are extremely athletic. They’re playing with a lot of younger kids and we’re going to preach to our kids this week to be physical with their younger kids. I’d like to say the edge goes to us but I will also say – in this game – you’re going to get Pandora’s best.”
Grove leads the all-time series, 44-20.
“This is always a big game for us,” said Hershey. “Both teams have their respective Beat Grove or Beat Pandora shirts. Last year when the covid-reduced schedules came out, everyone around town asked why we weren’t playing Grove. This game is just something the whole community looks forward to. Obviously with Grove’s recent success it puts a chip on our shoulder to not be considered the little brother.”
PDF of 2021 Black Swamp Football Preseason Magazine
A major test awaits Pandora-Gilboa on Friday with the Rockets hosting fellow BVC slugger Arlington.
The Red Devils are just one in a line of BVC powers awaiting the Rockets, which face Leipsic, McComb and Liberty-Benton over the final four weeks of the regular season before playoff action starts.
P-G headman Matt Hershey is not treating this season any different than past seasons.
“With our remaining schedule being all the BVC heavy hitters we are not treating it any other way,” said Hershey. “We are working to win every game. There may be no true BVC champion this year but everyone will know who the champ was at the end of the season. Hopefully we play well enough to be in that conversation.”
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