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Middies seeking first celebration on new turf

The new-look Barnitz Stadium is set to be christened Friday night.

Middletown High School’s football team is eager to get acquainted with its FieldTurf and eager to get a win as well after dropping its season opener to Elder last week.

Springfield will be the opponent. The Wildcats are coming off a 42-8 beating from Trotwood-Madison.

“We had picture day at the stadium. That’s all we’ve done there so far,” Middies coach Troy Everhart said. “This week is about getting people to come out and see the new stadium and giving them a product that they’re real happy to watch.”

Everhart said Springfield is loaded with athletes, but injuries have been debilitating. Wildcats coach Eric Gillespie said as many as 15 starters were out during the preseason, and some are still on the mend.

“It’s been everything. Shoulders, knees, ankles, concussions, you name it,” Gillespie said. “When everybody’s healthy, we feel like we’ve got a fair amount of depth. If we can get everybody back and cut down on our mistakes, we feel we can be a good football team.”

Senior quarterback/linebacker Davonte James (6-3, 232), a West Virginia University commit, reinjured his shoulder last weekend, but Gillespie said he may be ready to start both ways against the Middies.

Senior Derek Williams is the other quarterback, and senior wide receiver Thaddeus Snodgrass has committed to Kentucky. Springfield gained minus-17 yards on 36 rushes against Trotwood.

“No. 21 (senior cornerback Justus Banks) might be the fastest kid in the state,” Everhart said. “No. 55 (senior linebacker Dorian Hunter) is dangerous. I like No. 75 (senior Devin Nye) on the line.

“They’ve got dangerous speed all over the field. It just depends on when the light goes off with them. They want to hit a couple dinks and dunks and try to get their guys in open space. Defensively, they clearly want to be in an eight-man front with the premise of stopping the run.”

Middletown failed to score an offensive touchdown against Elder, yet still had a chance to win down the stretch. Everhart said a number of second-team players will get some playing time in Week 2.

“That’s not a knock on the guys on the 1s. It’s a testimony to the guys on the 2s,” the MHS coach said. “I’ve been real pleased with our attitude. We’ve actually had a much better work week this week than we did last week. Now we want to see execution on the field.”

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