Thursday, Apr 19, 2018
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Eastwood, Woodmore tangle for SLL lead

All's been perfect for Eastwood and Woodmore through the first month of head-to-head football action in the Suburban Lakes League.

For at least one of the two that changes tonight when they square off at Pemberville in a major SLL game. Both own 4-0 SLL records and share first.

“If you can come out of that game unbeaten then you're moreso in the driver's seat,” Woodmore coach Lou Bosh said.

Eastwood, 6-1 overall, understands more than anyone in the SLL the significance of maintaining a winning streak against league opponents. The Eagles collected last year's league title by streaking to a 7-0 record.

“It will be a good test for us,” said Eastwood coach Jerry Rutherford. “Our kids realize this is going to be a big game.”

Eastwood continues to thrive this season with a wide-open offense directed by versatile quarterback Kevin Leady. But the contending Wildcats, 5-2 overall, are a team that flourishes on defense.

“The first thing you look at with Woodmore is what their defense has done,” Rutherford said. “They've got a pretty solid 11 guys that do their job of getting to the football and making tackles.”

Woodmore's defense has been a brainteaser for opposing offenses. The Wildcats have allowed only two touchdowns in four league contests and have recorded two shutouts.

Dana Wend, Derek Schlea and Brian Perkins lead a tackle-hungry defensive unit for Woodmore with more than 150 tackles this season.

As for Eastwood, “They have a strong offensive line and their defense is very consistent and they don't give up the big play,” Woodmore's Bosh said. “The key for us is to control the football, and we can't afford to give up the big play.”

There is no secret as to what drives the Eagles' offense - it's the play of Leady, who leads the SLL in touchdowns with 16 and is a threat as a runner and passer. He's rushed for a league-best 1,312 yards and has passed for 1,038, which ranks second in the SLL.

“They're a very talented team,” Bosh said. “Obviously the Leady kid poses a problem, whether running or throwing.”

“It's our offense against their defense,” Rutherford said. “I think we're capable of scoring points and getting yards. We're capable of playing well, but we can't afford to make mistakes.”

The Wildcats' offense has not been as productive as that of the Eagles, but it tends to be more diverse. Running backs Wend, Chandler Shirer and Jeremy Harpel and quarterback Mike Kayden have shared most of the load.

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