By Chad Bryan
The #15 Chardon Hilltoppers (3-0, 3-0) will take on the #18 Riverside Beavers (3-0, 1-0) on Friday night at Chardon Memorial Field.
Head coach Mitch Hewitt’s Hilltoppers are powered by defense and the running game. They look to build upon a 2019 season that saw them end up with a 10-3 record after a heartbreaking 22-19 loss to Aurora in the Division III, Region 9 title game.
Hewitt’s squad welcomes back 25 seniors, including eight starters on defense, from a team that is no stranger to big games. Chardon handed a tough Streetsboro team their first loss in the playoffs last season and their three losses came to teams who finished a combined 36-3 in 2019.
Riverside is another team that seemed on the cusp of putting something special together in 2019, with four of their six losses coming by single digits, two of those in overtime. Head coach Dave Bors saw his team battle with some very good teams like Mayfield and Kirtland despite a 4-6 overall record.
The Beavers have put it all together in 2020 to the tune of a 3-0 record, outscoring their opponents by a combined score of 109-14. Their run defense has been absolutely stifling.
Friday night’s contest will be a matchup of strength vs strength, matching Chardon’s powerful running game against a Riverside defense that has been all but smothering against the rushing game this season. This game will serve as a building block for one of these teams to take the promise they showed in 2019 to the next level. For the other, at the very least, it will be a barometer of exactly where the team is four weeks into the 2020 season.
Kickoff is at 7:00 pm.
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