Gallia Academy scouting report: Third head coach in three years has GAHS in SEOAL title chase
CENTENARY, Ohio — Josh Riffe is the third Blue Devil head football coach in the last three seasons.
Despite having only 34 players (including freshmen) on the roster, the school from the French City is 4-4 overall and, at 2-0 in league play, controls its own destiny in the SEOAL title race.
The Blue Devils were dominated in games against Athens, Point Pleasant (West Virginia), and Belfry (Kentucky) by a combined score of 151-3, but those three teams are a combined 23-1.
Gallia Academy averages just over 18 points and over 230 yards per game, but the Blue Devils aren’t likely to win a game that ends up in a shootout. They have only scored more than 30 points once all season.
Quarterback Kole Carter (6-0, 185, junior) does it all for the Blue and White. The southpaw leads the team with 400 yards and four touchdowns on 142 carries on the ground and has completed 45 of 86 passes for 590 yards, six touchdowns, and only three interceptions.
The Gallians’ spread offense sees Carter operate out of the shotgun, usually with Eric Ward (5-10, 175, junior) with him in the backfield. Ward has gained 119 yards on 43 carries with one score. Blake Wilson (5-10, 170, senior) plays as a slot back and has rushed for 230 yards and three touchdowns on 39 carries to go along with four catches for 57 yards and a touchdown receiving.
Senior Eli Miller (5-10, 185) is second on the team with 354 yards rushing and three scores on just 30 carries and also has one catch for 53 yards and a touchdown, but he has missed significant portions of the season due to injury. His status for Friday night is unknown.
Wes Jarrell (6-3, 220, junior) plays the other slot back and adds nine catches for 80 yards and a touchdown as well as 16 rushes for 97 yards.
Payton Halley (5-8, 165, senior) is the leading receiver with 11 catches for 149 yards. Matt Bailey (5-8, 135, junior) and Russell Matthew (5-11, 160, junior) will both line up at receiver as well while Eric Sheets (6-2, 175, senior) and Seth Wills (6-2, 220, senior) are the tight ends. Sheets has made six catches for 100 yards and a score while Wills adds five grabs for 33 yards.
Gallipolis averages 212 yards per man from tackle to tackle and is led by veterans Brett Johnson (6-2, 230, junior) at tackle and Justin Reynolds (5-11, 210, junior) at center. Anthony Sipple (6-2, 225, junior) and Brett Hively (6-0, 175, junior) are the guards with Ty Howell (6-1, 220, sophomore) rounding out the line at tackle.
The Blue Devil defense has allowed 230 points — but 151 came against the trio of Athens, Point Pleasant, and Belfry. In Gallipolis’ other five games, they are allowing under 16 points per contest.
Gallia Academy lines up in a base 4-4 defense but will shift into a 50-front (moving an outside linebacker to the defensive line) against power running formations.
Cole Sparlin (6-1, 165, senior), Sheets, Wills, and Hively all play at defensive end while Sipple, Johnson, and Logan Few (5-11, 260, senior) play inside at the tackle positions.
Ward, Reynolds, Halley, and Jarrell are the starting linebackers. Sheets can drop to linebacker from defensive end if needed to add depth.
Jarrell is the key to the Blue Devil defense, although he too has missed a lot of playing time due to injury. Jarrell has the versatility to play anywhere on the field, gets off blocks well, and is a great open-field tackler.
Matthew and Bailey are the cornerbacks with Wilson playing the free safety role. Garrett Burns (5-8, 145, freshman) adds depth in the secondary.
Dylan Saunders (5-11, 220, senior) is an excellent placekicker and punter. Halley and Bailey will return kickoffs and punts for GAHS.
Logan football historian Spencer Waugh of loganfootball.com previews the Chiefs’ opponent every Thursday in The Logan Daily News.