On the bus ride to Gallipolis, the Warren football team probably should listen to the 1981 Olivia Newton-John hit song "Physical" to get pumped up for Gallia Academy.
Because that's the kind of game - very physical - the Andy Schob-coached Warriors (4-4 overall, 2-2 SEOAL) can expect when they face the Mike Eddy-led Blue Devils (5-3, 2-1) in a Southeastern Ohio Athletic League matchup at Memorial Stadium at 7:30 p.m. this Friday.
"Gallia has a very strong and physical team," Schob said. "They line up and run the ball right at you, but are also athletic enough to run spread and Wing-T as well." Gallia probably has the best defense we will face this season and will present a very big challenge to move the ball consistently."
Yess, Gallia is a smash-mouth kind of team that likes to run the football and mix it up in the trenches. Never was that more evident than in the Blue Devils' 10-7 triumph at Portsmouth last Friday night.
GA rushed for 300 yards on 43 carries against the Trojans (2-6, 1-3). Leading the ground assault was Brandon Taylor, who gained 225 yards on 20 attempts. Cody Russell added 66 yards on 16 carries and one touchdown from two yards out.
Needless to say, Warren's defense will probably be keying on Taylor, who incidentally kicked a 32-yard game-winning field goal against Portsmouth. He has booted five fields in six tries this fall.
Also, Taylor has rushed for 1,008 yards on 178 carries and six touchdowns.
The Blue Devils are quarterbacked by Wade Jarrell, who is considered a dual threat to either run or pass the ball. Against the Trojans, he completed six of 12 passes for 51 yards. Oddly enough, Gallia is undefeated on the road with a 4-0 mark. At home, the Blue Devils are 1-3.
While Gallia may be a run first, pass second team, Warren is probably just the opposite.
The Warriors are coming off a disappointing 15-13 homecoming setback to Chillicothe last Friday night.
"We have had to come back after several end game disapointments this year," Schob said, "and we will come back from this one too."
QB Dylan Leffingwell, back from a knee injury suffered in the Parkersburg South game, completed 15 of 30 passes for 129 yards and had two interceptions.
The 6-foot-3, 211-pound junior also ran for both of the royal blue and white's touchdowns. This fall, he's completed 108 of 183 passes (59.3 percent) for 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Leffingwell's primary receivers were Jeremy Fivecoait and Jeremy Hastie, who combined for 10 catches and 97 yards against the Cavaliers.
Fivecoait leads the team with 49 receptions for 753 yards and nine TDs.
This season, Gallia has allowed 858 passing yards.
Thing is, Warren is very capable of playing physical football and running between the tackles as in its 40-34 double overtime win at Logan the previous week, Hastie rushed for 153 yards on 28 carries and two TDs.
Josh Mays is Warren's leading ground gainer with 495 yards on 87 carries and seven TDs. Hastie is next with 341 yards on 47 carries and two TDs.
On the season, Gallia has allowed 815 rushing yards.
If the Warren-Gallia Academy game comes down to a field goal, the Warriors have Chas Miller, who has excellent range.
"The winner of this game is guaranteed at least second place in the SEOAL, which is a big step if we could accomplish this with a win," Schob said. "We have not finished this high or even had a winning record in league play in at least 13 years. Our league is extremely competitive, and we must continue to compete."