CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- George Washington and Paul Blazer haven't been playing very long - tonight marks just the third installment of their interstate series - but they're certainly getting a feel for each other.
Even with a bevy of new skill-position players on both sides, neither goes in blindly when the teams tangle at 7:30 tonight in Ashland (Ky.).
The Patriots (1-0) and Tomcats (1-1) have each scouted each other twice, one regular-season game and one scrimmage, so the 70 miles separating the schools seems a good bit closer.
First-year Ashland coach Tony Love, in fact, expects GW to throw a few more looks at his team tonight than the Patriots did in an opening win against South Charleston.
"You always throw in a few wrinkles each week as you develop your offense and your defense,'' Love said. "You want to put in a couple different wrinkles and formations. I've seen that with [GW] over the last couple of years.
"You throw a toss pass in there, a reverse in there - those-type things that everybody does. But we know we have to stop their power running, or at least limit what they do in their running game. It's a tall task for us.''
George Washington ran for 526 yards and all five of its touchdowns in last week's 34-27 win against SC, led by Draven Riffe (25 carries, 256 yards, three TDs), Jacob Jackson (nine carries, 134 yards, two TDs) and fullback Mason Blake (13 carries, 110 yards).
"Of course, when you've had [Dustin] Crouser and [Ryan] Switzer there the past couple years, you're not going to replace them very easily,'' Love said, "but these guys more than do the job when they get in there.''
The Tomcats sport plenty of new players themselves, having returned just two starters on offense and two on defense from the team that won 21-14 last year at Steve Edwards Sr. Field.
One of those is sophomore tailback Quentin Baker, who carried 23 times for 89 yards against GW a year ago. His quarterback, however, is new in junior Hunter Prince.
Prince got the job under center only in late July when the returning starter, senior Aaron Elam, opted not to come out for football but instead concentrate on baseball.