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Tigers face another tough test tonight

ELKINS — Elkins remains on the road tonight as the Tigers travel to Lewis County High School for Week 2 of the high dchool football season.

For the Minutemen, a playoff team from a season ago, this will be their first game of the season.

Last week’s scheduled contest against Braxton County was cancelled because the Eagles did not have enough eligible players for the opening game.

The Tigers, meanwhile, dropped a 35-12 decision to a talented Robert C. Byrd team. However, EHS only trailed 14-6 with a minute to go in the first half, before Byrd scored two touchdowns in that final minute, to take an insurmountable 28-6 lead into the locker room.

For EHS coach Evan Hott, he felt the last minute of the first half was the difference.

“We were down 14-6 and they scored twice, very quickly right before half,” Hott said. “We spoke before the game about forgetting about mistakes, moving on and letting go of those types of things … we got some air knocked out of us after the late scores, and I don’t think we regained any momentum after it.”

After dealing with RCB running back Jeremiah King last week, Elkins will face another talented runner in Lewis County’s Marshall Hobbs.

A compact 5-foot-11, 190- pound runner, who was a first team all-Big 10 and second team all-state performer last season, he has the ability to put up big numbers.

Hott said, stopping Hobbs and the Minutemen ground game will be a key to success.

“Lewis runs the Wing-T,” he said. “They are a typical Lewis team with good backs and a big line. Hobbs has been one of the best backs in our conference for years and we must tackle him, better than we tackled last week.”

Even in defeat, the Tigers did have bright spots in Week 1, as Rodney Vandevender ran for 105 yards and had a score to lead Elkins. T.J. Guire had a solid night as well, leading the Tigers in tackles with 12 and adding a second-half TD.

Freshman Nate Hulver, in his debut as a Tiger, added an interception on defense and made eight tackles, while Trevor Smith, had seven stops and had a quarterback sack.

This week the Tigers will return two players to the fold that were unable to play last week, and both should bolster the Tiger lineup.

Senior wingback and defensive back Ben Boggs, a starter last season, will bring even more quickness and experience to the Elkins lineup, while Dante Ramirez, a transfer from the state of Virginia, brings an intensity that will be much needed and welcomed.

“Dante will be a big addition for us in all three phases,” Hott said. “He brings a tenacity to practice, his passion for the game is evident and he has worked very hard to get where he is.”

EHS has been hard at practice this past week and has been tweaking the little things in preparation for tonight’s game.

“While it was nice to be back out there last week and playing again, we saw we have a lot of things to work on,” Hott said. “So we were able to gain some good teaching points from the opener for our kids.

“Offensively we need to talk better and settle down. We missed too many blocks and a lot of that has to do with communication and lack of focus. Defensively we need to flow better as a team and tackle better … it’s the little things. Practice this week was the best we’ve had from an offensive perspective, the boys had great focus and I was proud of their attention to detail and execution.”

Kickoff from South Weston is set for 7 p.m.

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