GALLIPOLIS — Gallia Academy hit a speed bump last week in the shape of the Warren Warriors.
The Blue Devils, picked to repeat as champions in a pre-season poll conducted by SEOAL media, were on their way to a league championship showdown with Logan on Friday night… but the Warriors had other ideas.
Gallipolis had not lost to Warren in 15 years and had real playoff hopes before the Warriors dominated the Blue Devils by controlling the clock through a physical ground game and winning, 31-21.
Prior to that loss, the Blue Devils had dropped games to state-ranked Athens (62-19) and Kentucky power Belfry (41-19). Neither of those teams has lost a game.
Jarrell has rushed for 790 yards and 15 touchdowns on 125 rushing attempts and passed for 1,728 yards and 19 touchdowns. Jarrell has completed 114 of 200 passes and been intercepted seven times — three of those being last week against Warren.
Jarrell has accounted for nearly 80 percent of the Blue Devils’ total offensive production.
Running back Ty Warnimont (5-9, 175, senior) has been limited by injury and he will be questionable to play on Friday night. He has rushed for 188 yards and a touchdown on 36 carries. In his place, sophomore Eric Ward (5-10, 172) has rushed 23 times for 130 yards and a touchdown.
GAHS will play a wide-open, pass happy offense, deploying four receivers and even emptying the backfield playing five-wide with no running back. Logan Allison (6-0, 181, senior) and Wes Jarrell (6-2, 205, sophomore) will both be used as slot backs.
Allison is a big-play threat, catching 40 passes for 691 yards and 10 touchdowns and rushed 27 times for 175 yards and three scores. Wes Jarrell, QB Wade Jarrell’s brother, has 28 catches for 426 yards with four scores and rushed eight times for 56 yards.
Reid Eastman (5-10, 152, senior) has caught 30 passes for 438 yards for four touchdowns.
Other receivers include Seth Atkins (6-0, 173, senior), Kole Carter (5-9, 172, sophomore), and Payton Halley (5-7, 156, junior).
The Gallians average 228 pounds per man from tackle to tackle on the offensive line. Center Owen Moore (6-3, 276, senior) and guard Brian Williams (6-3, 276, senior) lead the group and are joined by guard John Byus (5-11, 236, senior) and tackles Jose Roberts (6-1, 198, senior) and Justin Reynolds (5-10, 191, sophomore).
As good as the Gallia Academy offense has been, the defense has struggled to equal their production: the Blue and White are allowing over 32 points and nearly 350 yards per game.
In the Blue Devils’ three losses, those numbers rise to 44 points and 476 yards per game.
Williams and Josh Johnson (6-0, 191, junior) have been productive from their defensive end positions while Byus, Anthony Sipple (6-1, 212, sophomore), and Moore will rotate at the two defensive tackle spots.
Wes Jarrell might be the Blue Devils’ best all-around defensive player and he will line up at outside linebacker but have the freedom to move around and make plays. Eli Miller (5-9, 170, junior), Carter, and Warnimont (if healthy) will all play at inside linebacker. Eric Sheets (6-0, 168, junior) and Atkins will rotate at the other outside linebacker position.
Allison and Eastman will be the cornerbacks with Blake Wilson (5-9, 152, junior) playing free safety. Halley will also see time in the secondary.
Dylan Saunders (5-10, 197, junior) handles placekicking duties and has converted 36 PATs and two field goals. Allison is a special teams dynamo who will punt and has also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, including one last week against Warren.
Logan football historian Spencer Waugh of loganfootball.com previews the Chiefs’ opponent every Thursday in The Logan Daily News.