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Call this Friday night "Big Chance Friday," if you will.
Staunton River heads to Liberty for what should be a tight contest.
It will give the Golden Eagles another chance at a first victory of the season.
It will also give River a chance at beating Liberty for a second straight time. Last year, the Eagles prevailed, 19-6, at the Nest, for Staunton River's first win over Liberty since Moby was a minnow.
The game gives Liberty a chance at a second straight win this season. It also provides a chance for the Minutemen to improve on last year's 1-9 mark a mere two games into their season.
Finally, it will give local fans a chance to see some rock-solid football.
We like the way these two teams match up. If you're expecting a low-scoring chess game of a contest, however, you may want to look elsewhere. The points should be plentiful at Minutemen Stadium.
How they'll be scored, however, is anyone's guess.
We do know that Liberty will be sticking to its knitting. That is, the M-Men will rely on their patented stack-I option. Don't look for a lot of spread or fancy jazz. Head Coach Chris Watts' offense has been good to the Liberty faithful over the years. He'd like nothing better than his youngish team to master the option early in the season.
Staunton River showed that it can stop the run, doing so against Jefferson Forest quite well. Of course, stopping the one-back pistol that JF runs is significantly different from stopping the three-back I that Liberty will throw at the Eagles. Middle linebacker Madisyn Viera looked strong against JF, and will have to do so this week if the Eagles are to have a shot.
In particular, the Eagle will have to prevent Liberty tailback Matt Smith from breaking containment on the outside.
While Liberty only threw 25% of the time against Blacksburg, the Minutemen could be licking their chops after seeing the numbers JF posted in the air against Staunton River. Liberty quarterback Austin Porter is not the most proven passer, but he is a proven athlete and he has many serious options at receiver.
The Eagle offense is keyed by the one-two punch of quarterback Deshawn Martin and tailback Chris Tyree.
Those two were especially productive on the ground against JF, piling up close to 300 yards between them.
Tyree is like a battering ram with legs while Martin's speed can be a game-changer when you least expect it.
River Head Coach Chuck Poston wants to gear up his air attack. Liberty's four interceptions against Blacksburg, however, might have him holding back a bit.
"Staunton River always gives us its best (even during the lean years)," said Watts. "Now their doing well...I can't tell you how many times we've been down 7-0 to them."
Poston said, "I know a Liberty team will be disciplined, play hard and be physical. But being physical is something we preach every day. We'll continue to do what we do."