By DOUG DONNELLY
SAND CREEK – When Whiteford and Sand Creek meet on the football field, there’s a pretty good bet that one of the teams will be entering the game ranked among the state’s best in one or more poll.
The last several years, that ranking has belonged to Whiteford, which has frequently been ranked over the past four seasons. This year, however, its Sand Creek who brings a lofty ranking into the contest. The Aggies were ranked No. 4 this week by the Detroit Free Press and host Whiteford at 7 p.m. Friday.
“Every week is a challenge and this week is no different,” Whiteford coach Jason Mensing said. “We have a lot of young guys who played a lot of snaps last week vs. Morenci. It was a big win, but looking at our season and looking at what we have ahead of us, we know every week is going to be a battle.”
The Aggies have started the season 2-0 with a 52-7 win over Pittsford and a 62-24 victory over Britton Deerfield. Needless to say, the Sand Creek offense has been rolling. In fact, with 114 points in the first two games is the most points Sand Creek has ever scored in the first two weeks of a season.
“I really like where we are as a unit offensively,” said Sand Creek coach Scott Gallagher. “We have been able to install some new stuff and expand on the offense. When you know what you are doing, you can do that.”
The Aggies are running the Single Wing offense for the third season. It has several unique features such as no designed quarterback – the ball could be snapped to any of the three backs – and two tackles are next to each other on the offensive line.
For Sand Creek, those tackles are senior Jackson Marsh and junior Tommy Perkey (5-10, 250).
“He’s developed and really matured,” Gallagher said of Perkey. “He’s a young junior, too. He can move.”
Sand Creek’s backfield features Will Alexander, John Alexander and Jacob Alston. Both Alexander’s were 1,000-yard rushers a year ago and Alston started this season with a 132-yard performance against Pittsford. Will Alexander has run for four touchdowns and passed for four touchdowns in two games.
Gallagher said Will Alexander has worked hard on his passing during the offseason.
“He’s put a lot of time into it,” Gallagher said. “He knows as well as we do that to beat a really good team, you have to be able to mix it up some. He’s been doing much better at that.”
Whiteford has a very balanced run-pass game last week, putting up more than 500 yards of total offense, including 174 passing yards from quarterback Shea Ruddy. Ruddy also rushed for more than 100 yards.
“They are very dangerous,” Gallagher said of the Bobcat attack. “They make you cover them sideline to sideline. (Ruddy) is very mobile and accurate.”
Whiteford has won the past eight games between the two teams, dating back to 2011. There have been some lopsided Bobcat wins during that time, something Gallagher said his Aggies are well aware of. Beating Whiteford is an important measuring stick for his team.
“We have not only been beaten by them, but they’ve throttled us a couple times,” he said. “We’re ready for a battle because we know it’s going to be a battle.”