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Ohio Valley Conference opens league play

Sep. 27, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

PROCTORVILLE, Ohio -- Ohio Valley Conference football teams can finally focus on league play. That should make the coaches happy considering what they endured during the non-conference encounters.

No OVC school has a winning record. Fairland, despite losing three straight, leads with a 2-3 mark. Coal Grove, the preseason pick to repeat as champion, is 1-3. Chesapeake and River Valley are both 1-4 . Rock Hill and South Point wrapped up the first half of the season 0-5.

Fairland opens OVC play Friday at home against South Point. Kickoff for Homecoming is 7:30 p.m. Elsewhere, Rock Hill visits Coal Grove and Chesapeake travels to River Valley.

"We want to win the league. That's our goal," Fairland Dragons coach Dave Carroll said Tuesday before practice. "South Point is hurdle No. 1."

Fairland started with wins over Portsmouth West and Meigs. The downslide began with the 12-9 loss at Tolsia. The Dragons generated just 127 total yards and had 12 penalties for 100 yards. The slide continued with a 42-7 loss to once-beaten Wheelersburg. The Pirates amassed 393 total yards and Fairland 218.

Last week, Fairland found out why Columbus Bishop Hartley (5-0) is No. 1 in the Ohio Division IV Associated Press poll. The Hawks rushed for 387 yards, racked up 553 total and limited the Dragons to 130 total yards (all rushing) in a 56-6 victory.

"Tolsia and Wheelersburg, we didn't show up," Carroll said. "We showed up against Hartley. That's the best team I've seen. They were superior in every phase of the game."

South Point, 1-9 last season, has a new coach in Rick Marcello. The best showing to date for the Pointers was a 27-19 loss at Vinton County in Week 4.

"A new coach and like us they're playing a lot of young kids," Carroll said. "You don't know which team will show up."

Fairland's roster features just three seniors. Against Bishop Hartley, Carroll had six sophomore and a freshman in the starting lineup. At times, the Dragons have had just one senior on the field on offense and defense. Running backs Nathan Campbell and Kyle Sowards have battled injuries, but should be ready to go Friday night.

"There's growing pains," Carroll said.

Carroll admits the non-league schedule was trying, but it also served the purpose of getting the Dragons ready to make a run at the OVC crown.

"We've played good competition," Carroll said. "I hope we're ready."