NBC powers meet Friday

LUCKEY – Eastwood and Genoa have been the undisputed football kings of the Northern Buckeye Conference
since its formation for the 2011-12 school year.
In fact, the Comets and Eagles have dominated league play prior to the formation of the NBC. Before the
Suburban Lakes League dissolved following the 2010-11 school year, Genoa and Eastwood were perennial
threats. Genoa won the last four SLL championships. In the five years prior to Genoa’s title run,
Eastwood captured a share of the SLL title three times, and won it outright twice.
It’s not hard to see why league coaches think the path to a league title will go through those
communities again this year.
"Eastwood and Genoa have been the elite team for nine, 10 years and Lake has had some nice teams but
we haven’t had that league championship," Lake coach Mark Emans said last week when his team was
preparing for its NBC opener against Otsego. "So we just have to continue to work each day."

It’s also not hard to see why Eastwood coach Jerry Rutherford thinks his team’s season will likely be
decided in the next two weeks. The Eagles have a highly anticipated date with Genoa (3-1) this Friday
and follow that up with a showdown against Lake next Friday.
For an Eastwood team that heads into this week with a 3-1 record and is coming off back-to-back shutout
wins, it’s almost inconceivable that its fate could be decided with nearly half of its schedule still to
play. But that has become life in the NBC.
"We think our nonleague schedule and scrimmages have prepared us for teams like this,"
Rutherford said. "We feel that we’re getting to the point that we’re healthy and comfortable with
what we’re doing on both sides of the ball. We’re playing pretty well. So yeah, it’s a big week for
Eastwood brings in one of the best rushing attacks in the area. Through four games, the Eagles have
rushed for 1,169 yards, led by Grant Geiser and Devin Snowden. In their first three games, Geiser rushed
for 335 yards and Snowden had 267.
Then last weekend in Eastwood’s fourth game against Woodmore, the duo was front-and-center as the Eagles
rushed for 395 yards and six touchdowns.
"We go into each game and one of our objectives is to out-rush the opponent," Rutherford said.
"We have a number of really good running backs."
Out-rushing the opponent is easy enough when you bring in a strong rushing game. It becomes even easier
when you have a suffocating run defense. In four games, Eastwood’s defense is allowing just over 38
rushing yards per game and 1.5 yards per carry.
Those numbers include the game against Clyde, the Eagles’ only blemish of the season. The Fliers are 4-0
and are ranked No. 2 in the Division III state poll.
"Clyde was a tough game. They have a really good football team and a great program. We had some guys
out, but we have them back and healthy and that’s made a big difference," Rutherford said.
"I think it’s been guys getting to the football. Our guys are pretty prepared. They work hard
defensively during the week, our staff does a good job of getting them ready. We responded. A lot of it
is I think they recognize things. We have a lot of guys who have played a lot of football for us."

But now Eastwood gets its biggest test of the season against a Genoa team that put up more than 300 yards
on the ground last week against Rossford.
And, much like it has been for the past seven years, Rutherford knows whoever comes out victorious in
this game will be in the driver seat for the NBC title.
"They’re going to play hard and play physical," he said. "That’s how they’ve played the
last seven years. It still looks like the same Genoa teams we’ve always played."