Fredonia seeks 5-0 start

The first two weeks, Fredonia’s defense allowed just 14 points. The last two weeks, it has allowed 43.

Head coach Mike Marshall knows that tonight, when the Hillbillies take on Class C South foe Allegany-Limestone, the defense will have to step up its play.

“I’d like to see our defense step up and see us get a lot more three-and-outs,” Marshall said. “Our defense has to start picking it up.”

The Hillbillies’ defense, to its credit, has faced two tough offensive opponents the last two weeks in Salamanca and Southwestern, but may not be able to get by on bending, but not breaking.

“The last couple of games, our opponents have had the ball a lot more than we have,” Marshall added. “We just have to stop them. We’ve been lucky enough to keep them out of the end zone, but three-and-outs are what I’m looking for this week.”

One reason the defense has been on the field as much as it has this year is the production the Hillbillies are getting out of their offense.

“You can’t slow them down,” Marshall said. “And you can’t tell them not to give their best effort, because that would just cripple you in the long run. Once these guys get the ball, their goal is the end zone every single time.”

Junior running back Matt McCarthy has accounted for most of the offense this season for Fredonia, as he has rushed for 624 yards on 44 carries. He’s added 10 touchdowns, four of which have been for 50 or more yards, including scampers of 99 and 84 yards against Salamanca.

“We’re hoping to keep it going,” Marshall said. “I’ll have to make some adjustments, some players will have to play different positions that they haven’t played before, but I think we’ll be able to keep that high pace.”

McCarthy, however, may miss the game tonight after being injured last week against Southwestern.

“He’s kind of iffy,” Marshall said. “His knee was hyper-extended last week. He’s just taking it slow day by day to see what he can do. Between him and Cody Smith, we have a couple of key people that are out right now. But we’ll see what happens at game time.”

Marshall isn’t too worried though, as his Hillbillies are not just a one-man show. Senior Weston Ley is a dual threat throwing and running the ball at quarterback and junior John Piper has had a productive season at wide receiver and quarterback.

“There’s no doubt that it helps to have depth,” Marshall said. “When you have to substitute those players in, you don’t take a big drop in talent and that gives me a little bit of comfort.”

A win tonight over the Gators would put the Hillbillies in the driver’s seat for bringing home another division title.

“They’re coming off a good win against Gowanda,” Marshall said. “So I anticipate them to be pretty tough.

“It will be our first real long bus ride,” Marshall continued. “It takes a toll on (the players) and it takes them out of the urgency of the game.”