Wesleyan Wolves (5-A)
Coach: Franklin Pridgen
Record: 4-2, 1-2
Last week: Lost to ELCA 54-17
Mount Vernon Mustangs (5-A)
Coach: Wayne Dabbs
Record: 3-3, 1-2
Last week: Lost to Holy Innocents’ 49-14
Wesleyan is coming off losses to two of the best Class A teams in the state, Holy Innocents’ and Eagle’s Landing Christian. The Wolves, themselves ranked No. 2 in the power rankings prior to the region losses, would be unlikely to see ELCA again until late in the playoffs.
“Our guys are tired of losing,” head coach Franklin Pridgen said. “While our record is good, we don’t like the taste that’s been in our mouths the last couple of weeks. We’re hungry to change that.”
The Wolves will need a sharp defensive effort against Mount Vernon’s wide-open spread, led by quarterback Blake Kytle and receiver Andrew Douglas. Both are juniors and rank among the most prolific in their positions in the state. Kytle is second in yards, in any classification, and Douglas is fourth.
“They line up in some quirky formations,” Pridgen said. “Their coaching staff puts a lot of pressure on defenses. They put their best players in space and they get them the ball.
“They are definitely a pass first team. They are not a downhill run team, which is very different from the teams we’ve faced the last two weeks.”
Wesleyan’s defense features a number of players who have been effective bottling up offenses this season. Josh Aspinwall (53 tackles), Cardo Gottlich (38), J.D. Chipman (36) and Tanner Bivins (35) are the Wolves’ top tacklers this season. Senior two-way lineman Collin Conduah has been a major factor in the trenches as well.
“We feel good about our match-ups, but it’s just a matter of, can we get lined up right and communicate effectively,” Pridgen said. “It’s as much about organization as execution. They definitely want to confuse you.”
Mount Vernon’s defensive coordinator is a former Wesleyan assistant and helped the Wolves to a state title during his time at the school.
“He’s a dear friend and it’s always a little strange to see him on the other sideline,” Pridgen said. “I know he’ll have his guys coached up on defense.”
When: Friday, 4 p.m.
Last meeting: Wesleyan won 34-19 last year
Location: Mount Vernon Presbyterian