We continue to pay tribute to classic head-to-head matchups with as TSF Backyard Battle series makes its way to Marx Stadium on Friday night as the Walnut Hills Eagles play host to the Western Hills Mustangs.
Walnut Hills is coming off a huge win over Wyoming in a 23-22 nail-biter in a Crosstown Showdown battle against Wyoming. They have a few extra days to prepare for Western Hills, who fell in a 28-6 contest at Lakota West in their opener.
Let's take a deeper look at the matchup:
WESTERN HILLS (0-1) AT WALNUT HILLS (1-0)
Site: Marx Stadium
Kickoff: 7:30 P.M.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Fans will want to keep a keen eye on both schools starting running backs. Walnut Hills has won their last three games dating back to last season. Kenny Davis has been a terror during that streak with over 300 yards rushing, 600 plus all-purpose yards and two kickoff returns for touchdowns. Classmate Kamree Maull is healthy and a perfect complement to Davis in the backfield. Dion Dawson is a punishing runner for Western Hills. Mustangs' receiver Josh Smith is one of the top rated pass catchers in Ohio.
TEAM TRENDS: Last season Western Hills won this matchup in overtime, 35-28. There is motivation for Walnut Hills to avenge that loss. If the Eagles would have pulled out a victory in that contest they would have been in the playoff hunt and solidified a winning record in 2010. The Mustangs are looking to avoid going 0-2 to start the year for the fourth time in the last five seasons.
WALNUT HILLS' KEYS TO VICTORY: The Eagles must stay grounded after last week's big win over Wyoming. There is still plenty of work ahead to focus on. Walnut Hills will need to do an even better job of winning the war on both sides of the line. This is the only Division I team on the schedule so the importance of grabbing a victory must translate into a sense of urgency on the field.
WESTERN HILLS' KEYS TO VICTORY: Correcting last week's mistakes will be the biggest hurdle the Mustangs have to conquer this Friday. The defensive line must stand their ground in the trenches. Western Hills gave up 393 yards on the ground to Lakota East in their opener. That led to the team losing the time of possession battle by 12 minutes. Making tackles near the line of scrimmage will cure a lot of those woes.
PREDICTION: WALNUT HILLS 27, WESTERN HILLS 14
*Written by: Greg Shoemaker, TriStateFootball.com