Local Sports, Preston, Sports

PREP NOTEBOOK: Knights can’t get in their own way against John Marshall; Mon County group plans rally near Milan Puskar Stadium

KINGWOOD, W.Va. — Contain the run, don’t miss assignments and don’t get in your way is what Preston High football coach Jonathan Tennant has been pushing this week in practice following a season-opening 32-0 loss to North Marion (1-0), and heading into a road game against John Marshall (1-0). 

“They’re a lot like us, they like to run the football in the I-formation,” Tennant said. “Dalton Flowers ran for 270 yards against Weir, so we’ve got to stop him, or control him at least. Can’t let him get past the line of scrimmage because he’s very fast. Offensively, we’ve just got to take care of ourselves [and] we’re going to try and protect the ball. Defensively we’ve got to stop the run because that’s their bread and butter. And hopefully, make a few plays on special teams.” 

The Knights (0-1) struggled with turnovers last Friday, giving up the ball five times. While four of those came in the first half, most were in critical territory – one happening on the Huskies’ 3-yard line. Even though they had a high turnover rate in the first half, the Knights defense still held tight, only allowing NMHS to take a 6-0 lead at the half. At some point in the second half, there was a lapse, as NMHS was allowed to put up 26 points – 13 in each quarter. Tennant points to exhaustion as part of that defensive lapse, noting with so many turnovers, his players weren’t able to get adequate time to recover. 

“We had some blown assignments and got beat physically a couple of times,” Tennant said. “It’s hard on a team when you have so many turnovers if the defense has to keep coming out. I was really proud of them the way they had a couple of 4th-down stops and stopped them at the goal line on 4th down, but we couldn’t take advantage of that momentum because every time we’d take the field on offense, we’d turn it over. When we didn’t turn it over, we moved the ball effectively. It was a lot closer than the score indicated.” 

Senior running back J.J. Townsend led the team in total offense in Week 1 with 87 yards and will be an integral part of this week’s plan, too. And should quarterback Trevor Thomas get more time to work in the pocket, he should show an increase in production after securing just 32 yards on a 3 of 11 performance. But according to Tennant, the low numbers from his quarterback were a mix of missed assignments on the line and Thomas scrambling when he didn’t need to sometimes. 

“Their defense is pretty fast and there’s nothing really to exploit, we just have to take care of ourselves,” Tennant said. “We can’t let Preston beat us like Preston beat us last week. That’s what we have to do better. Trevor has to stay in the pocket. A lot of times he didn’t have to scramble, a lot of times he did. We’re counting on him to make good decisions and hopefully, it will turn out better this week.” 

Kickoff vs. John Marshall is slated for 7 p.m.

High school sports rally planned for WVU’s season opener

A group of parents and Monongalia County athletes is planning a peaceful rally in support of letting local teams play. This is in response to Mon County going red due to a spike in cases once WVU students returned to campus. 

“Bring signs, megaphones and your voice,” the Facebook event page read. “This will be a peaceful rally. We want to do this the right way and still be able to have our voices heard.” 

The rally will be held at the 201st Infantry-Field Artillery Memorial at the intersection of Chestnut Ridge Road and Don Nehlen Drive. If unfamiliar with the spot, it is designated by a tank. Organizers ask that attendees wear a mask and stand 6-feet apart as to follow social distancing guidelines. The event will begin at 9 a.m., three hours before the noon kickoff in WVU’s season-opening game against Eastern Kentucky. 

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