Know your foe: Speedy Tigers look for bounce back win
The Columbus East Tigers will make their first trip to Hocking County in 95 years on Friday night and will become one of only a handful of teams to have played the Chieftains at the Hocking County Fairgrounds (1923), Bill Sauer Field (1925), and Logan Chieftain Stadium.
The 1925 game was the official dedication for the old Hilltop stadium, known better in later years as Bill Sauer Field. In that game Logan pulled off a 9-0 upset to record the first win at the longtime home of the Chieftains.
East is 2-1 all-time against the purple and white while the Columbus City League is 11-7 all-time against LHS.
East’s most-famous football alumnus is no doubt Charles “Chic” Harley, who went on to star at Ohio State. When Ohio Stadium was built starting in 1920, it was on the back of Harley’s success leading to the Horseshoe’s nickname of “The House that Harley Built.” Today the Tigers play their games at Harley Field.
Mike Bell is in his first season as the Tiger grid boss. Last season the orange and black were 6-4, their first winning season since 1999.
The Tiger offense is another shotgun spread featuring a dynamic quarterback and the quickest set of receivers the Chieftains will see all season.
Ishmeal Spann-Bowers (5-9, 175, sophomore) and Jeremiah Thomas (6-0, 185, senior) are tremendously quick and operate in the slot and as wide receivers.
In the backfield quarterback Malachi Williams (6-4, 190, junior) will get the ball to his skill players in space but is also capable of punishing defenses with his legs. Michael Hereford (5-11, 173, senior) is a quick, powerful running back.
Other receivers include Preist Jackson (5-10, 165, sophomore) and Solomon Vaughn (6-0, 170, sophomore) while Wayne Lindsey III (5-10, 180, sophomore) can play in the slot or as a running back.
Kamron Roberts (5-9, 220, junior) is a fullback and Xayvion Brooks (6-5, 255, senior) is a tight end when the Tigers want extra beef.
Up front, the Franklin Countians are absolutely massive. The left side of the line is anchored by tackle Jayden Oliver (6-4, 395, senior) and guard Khalil Jones (6-5, 320, senior) while the smaller right side sees Jonathan Scott (6-2, 268, junior) at tackle and Andre Green (6-5, 280, junior) at guard with Unishyis Grimes (5-11, 200, sophomore) playing center. Briston Harris (5-11, 190, junior) is the first lineman off the bench.
Defensively the Tigers line up with four down linemen and a pair of linebackers with five defensive backs. The two hybrid strong safeties are comfortable playing in the box against opposing run formations.
Brooks and Green are the starters on the ends with Junior Breaston (6-2, 270, sophomore) and Thomas Hardin (5-10, 168, sophomore) playing the tackle spots. Jones and Oliver add depth on the interior line while Isaac Ortiz (6-1, 219, senior) will also play on the end.
Roberts and James Whatley (5-10, 200, sophomore) are the linebackers.
Spann-Bowers and Lindsey III are the cornerbacks while Vaughn is the free safety. Playing the hybrid safety positions are Thomas and Jackson with Hereford adding depth.
Spann-Bowers is a threat on kick and punt returns while Thomas will handle punting chores. The Tigers are likely to try for two-point conversions after scoring touchdowns, but Javier Salas (5-9, 160, senior) is the placekicker.