EAST LIVERPOOL - After four consecutive home games, the East Liverpool Potters go on the road Friday traveling down the Ohio River to Wheeling Island Stadium where they will face state-ranked Wheeling Park. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.
The Park Patriots are 4-0 and coming off of a 34-16 triumph over rival Brooke. The Potters are 1-4 having dropped their last two games.
This will be the Potters first game on an artificial surface this year. In the coming weeks, they will be on artificial surfaces at Oak Glen and Weir.
"Artificial surfaces these days are not like the Brillo Pads they were in the days of old," East Liverpool coach Rick Prescott said. "We have explained to our players that the turf is similar to a dry, pristine surface. We've also explained the ball will bounce a little bit differently than it does on the friendly confines of Patterson Field."
Despite being regarded as the underdog, Prescott is relishing the trip down the river.
"As a competitor, you look forward to going into that type of hostile environment," he said with a smile. "We are hoping to go down there, surprise them and show the valley what Potter football is all about."
Park rushed for 412 yards versus Brooke, paced by Bryce Ingram's 188 yards and three touchdowns. His scores came on runs of 68, 53 and 45 yards. This was the speedy Ingram's second game back from a stress fracture in his back. He had missed Park's first two games and their two scrimmages.
Sophomore Savion Johnson ran the ball 21 times churning out 155 yards, including a 38-yard scoring jaunt.
"They have a stable of running backs," Prescott said. "They're a pretty good group.
"We have to shut down the run," East Liverpool defensive end Chad Reed said. "It's important that they know that East Liverpool is here to play ball. We have to hit and hit hard."
The Potters have had it impressed upon them the importance of controlling the Patriots' running attack.
"We have to wrap up and take them to the ground," East Liverpool lineman Cole Hamilton said. "We can't let them run up and down the field on us. It's important that we control the ball and keep their offense off the field."
Prescott is hoping that once again the Potters' special teams can come up with some big plays.
"Our special teams have improved drastically since the start of the season," he said. "It has become a definite strength. It gives us a spark by putting the ball in good position."
An example of the Potters' success on special teams was D.J. Austin's 52-yard punt return, which gave the Potters the ball on the John Marshall 18-yard line early in the quarter last week.
Against Salem in Week Three, Austin returned a punt 60 yards for score.
Prescott revealed what he will be reminding his team of as they get on the bus and also get ready to take the field on the island.
"Number One, we must execute long drives. Number Two, we must stop the run. Number Three, we want to play a physical game," he said. "We have to play solid defense and make them put the ball in the air."