No home advantage when ACGC, BOLD meet
Trying to beat Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City and BOLD on its home football fields is about as easy as trying to take away a teenager's cell phone.
But when the two teams butt heads, the visitors have had the upper hand in recent years. Of the last 10 meetings between ACGC and BOLD, the home team has won only twice.
ACGC will host BOLD Friday night in Grove City in what is likely to be for the West Central South Conference title. One of those teams has won or shared the WC South or Two Twelve Conference titles 15 of the last 16 seasons.
So it seems strange that even though both teams win about 90 percent of the time at home over the past two decades, suddenly struggles to beat the other at home.
"I can't explain it," said ACGC coach Terry Karlsgodt.
"It must be the extra 40 minutes (the players and coaches) have to focus on the bus ride," mentioned BOLD coach Steve Solem.
Both teams are 4-0 in the loop this season and 5-0 overall. BOLD is ranked No. 5 in the Associated Press Class AA poll and ACGC is No. 10.
The teams have similar styles. They are very successful scoring with an emphasis on running, high-percentage pass plays and a solid defense.
"We know we have to stop their running game," said Karlsgodt. "(Mitch) Neubauer is tough. He's an excellent back. And (quarterback Grant) Solem has done well running the ball. He's bigger and stronger than he was last year."
Neubauer is second in the area with 854 yards and is averaging nearly 10 yards per carry. Solem has rushed for 401 yards and 10 touchdowns.
BOLD's philosophy going into the game is virtually the same as its upcoming opponent.
"We have to shut down their running," said Steve Solem. "Both teams show good D's and both show a good running game. We've given up a few big plays, but we just bounce back."
While ACGC has thrown only 33 passes this season and BOLD only 26, both quarterbacks are among the proficiency leaders in the area. ACGC's Jordan Tanner, son of assistant coach Jeff Tanner, is 21-for-33 for 384 yards and five touchdowns for a 103.60 rating, fifth in the area. Solem, the coach's son, is 16-for-26 for 362 yards and five touchdowns for a 129.01 rating, second in the area.
ACGC's running attack features Kurtis Huisman, the area scoring leader by a wide margin, who has rushed for 539 yards (8.7 average per carry) and nine touchdowns. Buboltz had 582 yards (6.3 average) and eight touchdowns. Huisman has 16 touchdowns overall this season to go with 16 extra-point kicks. Buboltz is third in the area with 64 points (10 TDs and 2 extra-point conversion runs). Solem is fifth with his 60 points.
If ACGC can force BOLD to throw the ball, it has a torrid pass rush with Buboltz leading the area with eight sacks and Micah Larson with five.
BOLD's Cody Goldschmidt is among the area leaders with three interceptions.
Karlsgodt expects a huge crowd and the school is adding extra bleachers to the visitor's side.
"I don't know who the favorite is," he said. "But I do expect it to be a good game."