The Mingo Central Miners travel up U.S. 52 to take on Cardinal Conference foe Tolsia Friday night.
Mingo defeated the Rebels at home last year, but this matchup on the road could be much tougher. Both teams finished 5-5 last season, however the Miners made it into the playoffs, while Tolsia just missed out.
Tough, close losses last year to Mingo Central and Tug Valley kept the Rebels from making the playoffs.
As for the start of this season, the Miners lost a tough game in their 2013 home opener to Wyoming East 27-26. Tolsia lost to the two-time defending Class AA state champion Wayne 28-0 in their opener. The Wayne Pionoeers and Tosia Rebles are bitter rivals.
Tolsia played the Pioneers on the road. However, the much-improved Tolsia team only trailed 7-0 at halftime.
Young sophomore quarterback Blake Rose leads the offense of head coach Mike Smith. The Rebels also have fullback/linebacker Jennings Holland, while Wes Waller, Brandon Ward and Luke Presley are players to watch for Tolsia.
Mingo Central running back junior Chance Lester led Central with 116 yards on 14 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns in the first game. Sophomore Deonte Joplin had 84 yards on 16 attempts, senior Dekwon Willis had 34 yards on nine tries and sophomore quarterback Stevie Hammond had 45 yards on nine attempts and a TD.
Senior wide receiver and defensive back Alex “Booger” Lee is also crucial on both sides of the ball and on special teams for Mingo Central. He had an interception last week.
Mingo Central head coach Yogi Kinder was obviously disappointed in the tough loss last week. He hopes his team can get back on the winning track against the Rebels this week.
The Miners made some early mistakes, which is usual for a season opener. They came out in the second half and started playing much better on offense and defense.
Then an injury to Wyoming East fullback Coty Bishop caused a 45-minute delay in the contest. That seemed to shift the momentum back to Wyoming East.
A late TD by Lester pulled MCHS to within one point, but the 2-point conversion was ruled no good as Lester tried to break the plain of the end zone for the lead.
Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Tolsia.