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‘Battle of the Bridge’ rivalry renews

NEW MANCHESTER, W.Va. — The Oak Glen football team is looking to puts last week’s heartbreaking loss behind it, while rival East Liverpool is looking forward to getting back onto the field.

Oak Glen and East Liverpool will renew their rivalry when the two rivals meet at 7 p.m. Friday night on Homecoming at Oak Glen.

“We did not play last year unfortunately,” Arneault said. “It is good to get the game back on the schedule. The game is called the ‘Battle of the Bridge.’ The kids all know each other. East Liverpool is the school closest to us. The kids all no each other. They grew up playing against each other.”

Brooke trailed Oak Glen, 14-6, in the fourth quarter, however, the Bruins score the final 15 points to stun the Golden Bears, 21-14, on Paul “Bud” Billiard Field inside Brooke Memorial Stadium.

“It highlighted some of the things we have to work on,” Oak Glen (2-2) head coach Ted Arneault said about the loss. ”

On the other side, East Liverpool (1-5) was gearing up to play Warrnesville Heights when the Tigers had to canceled the game against the Potters due to some of the Tigers testing positive for COVID-19. That game will be made up Oct. 29 at Patterson Field.

“There are a few factors that goes into that,” Arneault said asked if either team has an advantage from playing or from not playing last week. “If you didn’t play, you may rusty going into this week’s game, but then again it depends on how healthy you are. If you are beat up, the week off may be a good thing as it would give your team a chance to rest and to get healthy.”

The Potters have plenty of talented athletes on the offensive side of the ball.

“They have a few athletes who can play at quarterback that will enhance their running game,” Arneault said. “They like to spread you out. They have good running backs.”

So far this season, East Liverpool has lost to West Branch, 47-6, Salem, 42-20, Beaver Local, 48-0, Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin, 27-0 and Edison, 34-24. East Liverpool lone victory came back in Week 2 against Indian Creek as the Potters defeated the Redskins, 35-14. East Liverpool also had to cancel a game against Harrison Central.

“They have played a tough schedule,” Arneault said. “They are battle tested.”

East Liverpool has good size on the defensive line and speed in the secondary.

“They are very similar to Brooke,” Arneault said. “They are very athletic. They have a defensive tackle who is being recruited by Division I teams. Their secondary is stingy. They fly to the ball. They make it hard to run the ball.”

The boys from Columbiana County have a size advantage over their rivals from Hancock County.

“They are definitely the larger football team,” Arneault said. “Our offensive line is not very big. Our guys average around 200 pounds. Their line is very big and tall. We are definitely outsized.”

Though the Potters have the size advantage, the Golden Bears are still going to look to run the football come Friday night.

“We have to be efficient when he throw the football,” Arneault said. “They are a talented team.”

Oak Glen has been dealing with injuries and other issues throughout the season.

“We have more injuries,” Arneault said. “Kholoton Goodlin is most likely out for the year. Buck Franklin is week to week. He’s out this week. We have some kids in quarantine. We are expected to get them back. They are going to miss some practice time. We also sustained some injuries we did not have.”

The loss to the Bruins dropped the Golden Bears to 20th place in the West Virginia Class AA playoff rankings.

“It is a big game for us,” Arneault said. “It is great we are playing them again. It is Homecoming.”

East Liverpool will play Weir next week on the road at Jimmy Carey Stadium.

After East Liverpool, Oak Glen is scheduled to play North Marion, John Marshall and Wheeling Central. The Huskies are eighth in Class AA, the Monarchs are 15th in Class AAA and the Maroon Knights are ninth in Class A.

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