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February 23, 2020

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Bulldog battle at Ada Friday on Homecoming

By Cort Reynolds
The high-powered Ada football team hosts fellow Bulldogs Columbus Grove Friday in a week seven Homecoming battle.

Grove capitalized on Crestview errors to beat the Knights 24-20 last Friday, knocking them out of a first-place tie in the Northwest Conference.

Two-time defending champion Spencerville sits alone atop the NWC standings at 3-0 after defeating Ada (2-4, 1-2 NWC) soundly 58-14 in week six.

CG stands 3-3 overall and is tied for second place in the NWC race with Allen East and Crestview at 2-1. Grove rates 11th in the Div. VI, Region 23 computer rankings while Ada is 21st.

Ada is 0-2 at home so far while CG is 2-1 on the road. After a season-opening 32-18 win at Pandora-Gilboa, Grove lost three in a row to Leipsic (28-14), Patrick Henry (33-21) and AE (14-11).

CG then regrouped to whip Paulding 47-9 and earn their first league win before knocking off Crestview in week six to even their overall record.

Grove junior quarterback Blake Reynolds is one of the best throwers in the area. "I would argue that he is the best pure quarterback in the league," said Christopher. "But they do a lot of called runs for him, and he reminds me a lot of (former Ada QB) Mitchell Faine.

"You think they are a spread team that wants to throw it around, but they use Reynolds and their backs to run the ball a lot," he continued. "They are pretty balanced offensively, throwing enough to keep you honest and to be able to run with consistency."

CG has allowed 122 points in six games (20.3 ppg) and has scored 149 points (24.8 ppg).

"We have given up 198 points the last three weeks (66 ppg), and that is not good," said Christopher.

Ada has been outscored 289-216 this season, a 48.2 to 36 points per game average margin. The potent Bulldogs went scoreless in the second half at Spencerville after tallying 138 points over the previous 10 quarters.

"On defense Grove will probably blitz a lot, bringing five or six rushers, and pressure our offensive line, which has been getting significantly better each week," said the coach. "We have really improved fundamentally on the line.

"If we pick up the blitzes, we will be okay," he added. "I think Grove is a better matchup for us than what we have seen the last few weeks. They are more similar to us in the trenches than the lines we have faced recently."

Ada suffered numerous injuries at Spencerville, forcing the team to adjust on the fly in-game, as well as this week in preparation for Grove.

"We will have to have some guys step up and play some significant roles with all our injuries, especially at receiver and on defense in the secondary," admitted Christopher.

"Daniel Mattson will have to step in at cornerback, and with Landon (Blankenship) out probably for the year with a knee injury, we will have to shuffle people around.

"We will have to be quick learners this week in practice to adjust to all the new positions," he added.

Ada lost at Grove 56-7 last year. In 2017 at War Memorial Stadium, the purple and gold shut out CG 37-0 by rushing hard and harrassing Reynolds, who was only a freshman starter at the time.

"We need to get some pressure on Reynolds, get some penetration and make them run laterally," said Christopher. "We want to make then do things they don't want to do. They want to make them run-oriented; Reynolds is a very good passer."

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Friday night in War Memorial Stadium after the Homecoming ceremonies.