Game of the Week: Tenth-ranked Keith hosting Billingsley in battle of the Bears

Published 7:14 pm Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Keith defenders wrap up a Southside running back during last Friday’s meeting between the two rivals. Keith hosts Billingsley on Friday in Orrville. -- Shane Gaut

The No. 10 Keith High School Bears will look to continue their winning ways when they host the Billingsley Bears Friday at 7 p.m. in a region game.

Harry Crum, head football coach of Keith (5-0, 3-0 Class 1A-Region 3), said his team faces a tough matchup in Billingsley (3-2, 2-1 Class 1A-Region 3).

“They’re a historic program, they’ve won two state championships under their former coach, legendary coach James Carter and I know they’re looking to get back to prominence,” Crum said. “So I know that they’re going to come in here and they’re going to play hard. We’ve exchanged film and they’re a physical group up front and they just look like they play that traditional, smash mouth football.”

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While both Bears teams have met four times before, with Billingsley winning all of them including the last meeting in 2005 by a score of 42-24, Friday will mark the first meeting between them in the newly configured Class 1A-Region 3.

Billingsley dropped down from Class 2A after making a run that saw them appear in the Class 2A state playoffs last season.

As the teams haven’t met since 2005, there will be a bit of unfamiliarity, yet at the same time, the game will be like looking in the mirror for the two Bears teams.

“Sometimes when we play against new teams where a team’s facing our wing-T for the first time, a lot of teams really don’t want to deal with an offense as old as the one we have. Sometimes it’s hard to prepare for it,” Crum said, “but on the flip side, they [Billingsley] run the wing-T also. So they will have some familiarity with it. It’ll just be two sets of Bears going at it in a good, old fashioned Bear Brawl.”

Crum added controlling the football and strong defensive play will go a long way in determining the winner.

“We’re going to have to minimize the mistakes, minimize turnovers,” Crum said. “Defensively, we’re just going to have to play solid, sound defense, make tackles and just play that style of Keith ball we’ve been playing the last few weeks.”