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NEWVILLE >> One year ago, Big Spring was winless in the Mid Penn Colonial Division.

It's no secret that the Bulldogs are a much improved team from last season. They are already 2-1 and had a signature win over Dover in Week 2. But when division play begins this week, Big Spring will have a serious setback.

The Bulldogs must take on Greencastle-Antrim without starting quarterback Jaret Petty, who is also the team's leading rusher.

"They are definitely improved," Blue Devil coach Chuck Tinninis said. "They're real big up front, and their quarterback is a big play waiting to happen."

Petty suffered an ankle injury in the final minutes last week against Boiling Springs, so the Blue Devils (3-0) won't have to worry about him. But there are other big playmakers for the Bulldogs.

"They have that big guy at running back (Tristan Robb)," Tinninis said. "They're a formidable team. It's been a little while since they've made noise in the division, but this year, they have a new coach and a new beginning. Anything can happen."

Greencastle will certainly need to watch out for those big plays. The Blue Devils were burned by three 50-plus yard plays that got them into a 21-21 tie with West Perry last week.

Robb is second on Big Spring with 202 rushing yards, while Ryan Adams has also amassed 125 yards on the ground so far this season. Sophomore Ethan Lee will get the nod at quarterback, and he was just 1-for-5 for eight yards against the Bubblers after Petty's injury.

"Ethan has prepared right alongside our other two quarterbacks (backup Nick Black is also injured)," Big Spring coach Cory Hoffman said. "Ethan was there for winter workouts, early morning lifting, 7-on-7s, all of that. Obviously the first time under the lights with the weight of the team riding on his shoulders is difficult for any sophomore, but he's prepared. He'll be OK."

On the flip side, Greencastle has one of the top quarterbacks in the area. Spencer Meyers has already thrown for 530 yards and has a completion percentage of 59.4 percent.

The Blue Devils have also established a strong rushing game. Demetrius Burton leads the way with 355 yards on 37 carries, while James Hines has 217 yards on 34 carries.

"In our offense, it's hard to focus on one guy," Tinninis said. "It's not like we're running the eye and Demetrius is the main guy carrying the ball. We distribute the ball to many different players. Bailey Parker can slide right into his spot. Even (Derek) Measell and (Kyrin) Zimmerman, we have a lot of different people we can give the ball to."

Defensively, the Blue Devils know that they have to be better at making adjustments, and they are prepared to do just that.

"With assignment football, we have some breakdowns," Tinninis said. "But I believe we corrected that pretty well in the second half last week. Tyler Jeffreys has done a nice job at inside linebacker. We moved him from JV outside backer, and he's done fabulous."

Now the Blue Devils just have to take advantage of the opportunity they've been given.

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