PORTER - The first major shakedown in District B-4 will take place tonight when Welch visits Porter.
“We have tough games down the road, but this is a big one now,” said Welch head coach Josh Schertz.
Both teams are unbeaten in B-4 play, Welch standing 4-0 while Porter is 3-0. Copan also is 3-0 while Watts is 2-1 and Gans 2-2.
Everyone catches up with the Cats next week on the district slate when they play their second non-district contest - hosting Summit Christian.
They originally were to have played Shidler, but that school has opted to co-op football with Woodland.
“Copan is in there, too,” Schertz said. “That is down the road (Week 10). These are the best two teams. We'll see where we match up.”
Both posted shutout wins last Friday, Welch blanking Oaks 18-0 while Porter crushed Cave Springs 60-0.
That was the Pirates' fourth straight blowout. They've beaten Midway, Gans, Arkoma and Cave Springs by a combined 212-44 margin with two shutouts thrown in.
“I don't know if you can judge us by our last two games,” Porter head coach Ron Coppedge said. “We overmatched some of the teams we've played, and Welch did the same thing. We've still got some things we need to work on. We're just trying to get better every week and try not believe in all the hype.”
Tailback Cody Taber is the Pirates' leading rusher with about 700 yards on fewer than 70 carries, Coppedge said. He's complemented by senior quarterback McBride and sophomore fullback Marcus Bruner.
“The two seniors make a pretty powerful 1-2 punch,” Coppedge said. “Then when you add the sophomore fullback into the mix, it's a pretty good little backfield.”
“They are probably the two best backs in the district,” Schertz said. “They are looking to cut back (on runs). We have to stay in our lanes or it will be touchdown. We've noticed on the film that two out of three touchdowns is on a cutback. We will have to do our job.”
Coppedge is wary of a Welch offense that has put up some impressive numbers of its own, thanks to the play of guards Bo Waggoner and Tyler Epperson.
“We will have to take care of the ball, sustain some drives,” Schertz said. “Our line will determine the outcome of the game. If we can open up some holes and block, that will be the key to winning.”
Quarterback Chance Sandusky has accounted for 584 yards in total offense. He's rushed for 408 yards, including 200 in a 41-12 blowout of South Coffeyville. Billy Jackson has added 276 yards, with 120 of that coming against Oaks.
“Coach Schertz is doing a good job,” Coppedge said. “I can see after that first loss to Kiefer (12-6 in overtime), he made some adjustments and has them rolling. That No. 10 (Sandusky) is doing a good job for them. Epperson and Waggoner are a couple of athletes you need to take seriously. They will be keys to whether we can move the ball.”