Fredonia (3-0) will look to remain undefeated tonight in Class C South football action as it takes on nemesis Southwestern (2-1) at the Orange Bowl at 7:30 p.m., and to do that, the Hillbillies will likely need another solid performance from junior running back Matt McCarthy.
"I'll tell you that (Southwestern's) got to put some kind of focus on him," Fredonia head coach Mike Marshall said. "The last two weeks he's ran wild against different defenses, so he's got to be the person to stop I would think."
McCarthy has racked up 412 yards on 19 carries while scoring six touchdowns in Fredonia's wins over Falconer and Salamanca, and Marshall is confident he'll be up to the challenge the Trojans will present tonight.
Fredonia’s Matt McCarthy will be called upon to have another big day for the Hillbillies to defeat the Southwestern?Trojans.
"I think so," Marshall said. "We had a good day of practice and everyone looked sharp, so I'm expecting everyone will be ready to play."
Fredonia's success tonight will not rest solely on the running ability of McCarthy, as Marshall knows the Hillbillies' defense will have to come to play.
"We're going to have to step it up on defense," Marshall said. "And not give up as many yards or plays as we did last week.
"I think that Salamanca really stepped up their play (last week)," Marshall continued. "I wasn't expecting them to be as tough as they were, but they really came to play and they were a hard-hitting team and they came to play hard."
The Hillbillies' defense will have to contend with the throwing arm of junior quarterback Noah Weinstein and the running of half back Mike Bellardo.
"They have a couple of playmakers," Marshall said. "It looks like they have a good running attack and I noticed that they passed quite a bit against Allegany-Limestone. So, we've got to look for everything and anything can happen with the style of offense that they run. It's a little similar to Salamanca, but they've got a little twist to it that can bring in some surprises."
After allowing 14 points through its first two games, the Fredonia defense was tested in its win over Salamanca last week as it gave up 22 points, and in order to shore things up on defense, Marshall knows where the help will have to come from.
"I thought our safeties played a little soft," Marshall said of the unit's performance last week. "I thought they sat there and waited for the play to happen before they reacted. So, we're trying to get them to react quicker once they identify (if the play) is a pass or a run."
Since 2010, when Fredonia defeated Southwestern for the Section 6 Class C crown at Ralph Wilson Stadium, the two schools have played one tough game after another, and Marshall doesn't expect anything less tonight.
"Last year, we weren't able to meet with them," Marshall said. "But when we go against Southwestern, it's always a battle no matter what type of team either one of us have."