It was a big sigh of relief for coach Whit Parks and his Fort Loramie Redskins last week, after they made the lengthy trip to Hardin County and came away with a one-sided victory over Hardin Northern, 55-22, for their first win of the season.
“We desperately needed that,” Parks said. “We really came out ready to play, and we scored a couple of touchdowns before we ever had the ball. When you can score in the kicking game, that’s always big. We got the lead early, and the kids just played good, solid football the rest of the way. We have to get to work and still correct some fundamental things, a lot of little things that every team has to deal with. But the kids continue to play hard and have had a good attitude through this whole thing.”
The Redskins should be able to make it two in a row this week when they finally play a home game, Friday night at 7 p.m. against Waynesfield-Goshen, which comes in with an 0-5 mark. By comparison, Waynesfield lost 35-20 to Hardin Northern.
Last week at Northern, Parks unveiled his latest scheme to try to overcome the host of injuries the Redskins have had to deal with. He moved senior wing back/blocking back Dan Berning to tailback, and it gave the offense a two-headed running attack.
It paid huge dividends too, because Berning rushed for 147 yards on 16 carries, and Jake Ward, who had been carrying much of the load himself, added 137 yards on 11 carries.
“Dan ran well,” said Parks. “It’s about the third move we’ve made in the backfield, and now we’re back to the two-pronged attack with him and Jake Ward. And the guys that have had to fill in at other positions for those guys have done the job.”
And so potent was the running game last week that the Redskins went to the air just six times. Ward is on pace for a 1,000-yard season, with 637 yards rushing in his first five games. He’s gone over the 100-yard mark in four of Loramie’s games so far.
Parks was pleased to announce that the Redskins came out of last week’s game without any injuries.
“Really, we’re healthy this week for the first time all season,” Parks said. “And hopefully we can keep it that way. Everybody we’ve asked to come in for those guys that were injured have really stepped up to the plate and done the job. And that’s why you create the team concept.”
Waynesfield has given up a lot of points in its first five games, an average of 28.2. But Parks said his Redskins will have to be ready, especially on defense.
“They have a big quarterback who’s real good,” the coach said. “They do a lot of things around him, and they’re spread out and throwing the ball a lot. This should be a good test for our secondary. Those kids will have to be on their toes.”
It is only the second home game of the season for the Redskins Friday night, and their first since the season opener.
The Anna Rockets recorded a huge win last week, one that vaulted them to near the top in the latest Division 5 computer rankings.
The Rockets were forced out of their routine by a Saturday night contest last week at Delphos St. John’s, never an easy place to play. But they rose to the challenge and routed the Blue Jays 42-21.
The win not only put the Rockets at 4-1 on the season, it vaulted them to No. 3 in Region 20 of Division 5 in the latest computer rankings. The top eight make it to postseason.
The win also set up a midseason showdown in the Midwest Athletic Conference. Perennial powerhouse Marion Local will invade Anna Friday night, and bring with it a 4-1 record, the only blemish coming at the hands of unbeaten Coldwater.
While it would be a big boost in the computer rankings for the Rockets, it would also solidify a spot in the postseason for the Flyers, since Anna is one division up and also owns a 4-1 mark.
The game is the first of a key stretch of games for the Rockets, who are trying to get back to postseason play for the first time since the 2010 season. After Friday, the Rockets stay at home to face St. Henry, then two weeks later host unbeaten Coldwater.
Last week, the Rockets built up a 28-7 lead thanks to the running of Aiden Endsley, who finished the night with 153 yards rushing on 23 carries. One of his touchdown runs went for 65 yards, and he started the second-half scoring with an 82-yard kickoff return for a score.
However, the Blue Jays cut the lead to 28-21 with just under five minutes to go and decided to go for an onside kick. But Anna’s Reid Lininger picked the ball off on a bounce and ran it back for a 48-yard touchdown that iced a big win for the Rockets.
Anna’s defense, meanwhile, forced three fumbles and also picked off a pass.