Old-school rivalry grudge match between Philo and Maysville


Maysville coach Craig Clarke talks to some of his players during Thursday evening walkthroughs.

By Nick McWilliams, Sports Director

Philo has some unfinished business with Maysville, and things will be resolved with some good, old-fashioned football.

The Panthers topped the Electrics in a 13-10 slugfest, taking advantage of a key fourth down stop with two minutes to go before forcing a late turnover. Isaac Gill finished with over 200 yards of total offense and the lone Philo touchdown, but hard running from senior Carson Jarrett led to the late-game win.

But it’s a new year.

Gone are the likes of Gill and Jarrett, and in are new seniors Hunter Adolph and Caden Mercer. One emulates an efficient passing offense and solid game management for the Electrics, while the other provides a bruising running style that matches Maysville coach Craig Clarke’s Wing-T offense perfectly.

On paper, it’s a showdown of 4-3 squads. But a closer look shows a different story.

While Maysville currently sits ranked 19th in the Div. III, Region 11 with plenty of ground to make up, Philo is battling to secure the final spot in the Div. IV, Region 15 bracket. Even worse for the Electrics, a pair of Muskingum Valley League teams — New Lexington and John Glenn — are ranked just in front of them.

On one hand, the Panthers are playing for pride and the hopes of some things to go their way to make the postseason. On the other, it’s make it or break it time for Dirk Lincicome and company, who need to keep winning.

But you would never guess the Electrics are worried about playoff implications, as the team still seems to be practicing loose and meshing well. Following two straight losses with little run game, Philo pounded out 231 yards on the ground as a team.

Lincicome credited that turnaround to Adolph, who he says has been identifying defensive looks more efficiently as of late.

“I think we’re getting our quarterbacks to understand how to read (defenses) a little bit better, and how to take what the defense gives us in the running game as well as the passing game,” he said. “And (we’re) just trying to play a little bit more intelligent behind the center and getting us in the right play. Not trying to force things that aren’t there.”

That kind of better decision making has opened up the field for running back Casey Munyan, as well as fullback Brock Luburgh. The passing game has been hot and cold all year, but found success against Coshocton last week, which would prove to be a big asset against the Panthers.

Maysville, who is fresh off a 48-6 win over West Muskingum, does not hide their attack. They’re going to run at, through and over defenses with multiple runners in the same style of offense Clarke has been using for decades.

In his seventh season with the Panthers, that offense is leading a grinding attack that can blow right past a defense that is unprepared for the physical challenge. Defensively, Maysville is equally as physical, but Clarke knows how difficult attacking the offense of Philo can be.

“Philo presents a diversified offense,” he said after Thurday’s practice. “They can run, they can throw, they got a nice quarterback that directs them and their line is getting a lot better. That presents problems because you can’t really key on one thing. So we’ve got to be very disciplined on our defensive sets and making sure that we just read our keys and fly to the football.”

Although Philo is stingy against the run, Maysville’s passing attack from senior Cole Tompkins can still burn opponents if they fail to lock down receivers, even without the kind of blazing speed you would normally expect.

The two rivals each have their own reasons for wanting this game badly, but the bragging rights up for grabs could be the most tantalizing.