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Tri-Valley with big test looming against Barberton running back Kyree Young

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Tri-Valley with big test looming against Barberton running back Kyree Young

Can Tri-Valley's linebacker corps match up against star Barberton running back Kyree Young.

Can Tri-Valley's linebacker corps match up against star Barberton running back Kyree Young.

Can Tri-Valley's linebacker corps match up against star Barberton running back Kyree Young.

Can Tri-Valley's linebacker corps match up against star Barberton running back Kyree Young.

By Nick McWilliams, Sports Director

All season long, the Tri-Valley defense has been tested against high-powered offenses and physical run games. In nearly every contest to this point, the Scotties have answered the call.

But Friday brings a while new challenge — stopping Kyree Young.

Most from the Muskingum County area might not be aware of who Young is. After all, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound sophomore plays football some 100 miles away.

But heading into Friday’s opening round game of the 2018 state tournament, fans should get more acquainted.

The second-year back has ripped apart the Suburban League American Division to the tune of more than 1,800 yards and 24 touchdowns, notching games two 200-yard games and never rushing for less than 113 yards in a game. As Young goes, so does the Magics offense.

Tri-Valley had its worst performance to date against Zanesville in terms of stopping the run, forfeiting 180 yards to a combination of six different ball carriers. Last week against Maysville, the Scotties allowed 126 yards to the run-oriented Panthers.

Young possesses plenty of speed in the open field, and a one-cut ability that rivals any other running back Tri-Valley has faced all season long. While he fields plenty of touches throughout every game, his statistics have benefited from long runs from over-anxious defenses crashing the line and missing running lanes.

One of the biggest talking points for coach Kevin Fell all season long has been his team’s ability to contain and snuff out plays, sticking to individual assignments and not falling into the trap of being caught out of position while trying to make something happen, rather than playing in their assigned task. That philosophy will be put to the test Friday night.

The defensive line is where much of the magic happens — no pun intended there — for the defense, but linebacker could be the x-factor. Kaden Lawler and Chase Kendrick have been consistent forces all year, and will need to continue that trend Friday.

If the weather remains drizzly, things could lean heavily on the run game for both sides, which could spell trouble for the Scotties.

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