FORT LORAMIE — Having to work under pressure can reveal things about a team’s makeup. And in a 34-14 loss in last Friday’s season opener against Minster, Fort Loramie coach Spencer Wells liked what he learned.
The Redskins fell behind 20-0 late in the second quarter but pulled within 27-14 late in the third. They had the ball early in the fourth and were trying to cut Minster’s lead to six points.
“I definitely liked that they didn’t quit,” Wells said. “They fought really hard all the way through. You could tell there in the fourth quarter when we were driving with about 10 minutes to go, everyone on our sideline felt that we were going to come back and win. That’s encouraging that they weren’t doubting themselves and were playing hard.”
The Redskins will try avoid falling in an early hole when they travel to Cincinnati Madeira for a nonconference game on Friday. Madeira, which was 5-5 last season, opened the season with a 31-9 win over Norwood.
“We’ve had a great week of practice so far,” Wells said. “We’ve been stressing attention to detail and focus and discipline. They have responded well and have practiced really hard.”
Madeira, which plays in the Cincinnati Hills League, had 264 yards of offense in its season opener. Senior quarterback Tyler Richmond threw for 104 yards and also ran for 29 on 10 carries. Richmond ran for one touchdown, while two other running backs scored the team’s other three TDs.
“They’ve got a couple of really big and physical lineman that we’ve been preparing for,” Wells said. “They’ve got a lot of good skill guys. They’re a pretty well-balanced team. Their quarterback has the ability to scramble and extend plays, which is something we’ve been prepping for. They’re an athletic team with size, and we’re definitely going to have to be prepared for Friday.”
Sophomore quarterback Collin Moore got his first career start against Minster. He threw for 157 yards and one touchdown and also ran for 18 yards on 10 carries.
“He had a great demeanor throughout the entire game. For being a sophomore and his first start, against a big rival like that, he handled it really well,” Wells said. “We didn’t hold anything back offensively. We called what we were comfortable with and didn’t feel like we had to protect him by any means. He had a good start, and we’re pretty excited about his future.”
Brookville at Anna
Anna got its offense going in a season opener last Friday but allowed 401 yards in a 42-27 loss at Middletown Fenwick.
The Rockets will look for a better defensive performance in their home opener on Friday against Brookville.
“I liked the way we kept fighting and that we didn’t quit (last Friday), but we’ve got to execute better,” Anna coach Nick Marino said. “We’ve got to be sharper and be more disciplined on some things, and that’s what we are hoping to see this week.”
The Blue Devils opened the season with a 26-22 win over Tri-County North. They trailed 22-6 heading into the fourth quarter but scored three late touchdowns to earn the win.
“I think they were able to wear them out,” Marino said. “They out-executed them in the fourth quarter. We’re looking for them to be a tough team with the way they finished that game.”
Brookville relied heavily in recent seasons on running back Bailey Wallen, who is now at Urbana. He gained more than 1,300 rushing yards each of the last three seasons and surpassed 2,000 yards last year.
Wallen is now playing at Urbana University, but the Blue Devils still have a strong rushing attack. Five players ran for 205 yards on 44 carries against Tri-County North, and quarterback Mason Stout completed 9-of-23 passes for 188 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.
“They run the ball really well,” Marino said. “They’re physical and they fire off the ball low. They play a style that we don’t see very often, just lining up and trying to drive it down your throat. That’s something we have to be able to defend.
“They’ll get into a spread offense and try to throw it around at times. They’ve got a couple of good receivers on the edge. …We’ve got to stop the run, but after that, we’ve got to stay disciplined and keep our eyes where they’re supposed to be and do our job. They run the ball so well, a lot of times people will get sucked up because of that.”
Anna racked up 348 yards of offense against Fenwick. Riley Huelskamp ran for 129 yards on 24 carries and scored two touchdowns in the opener, while Bart Bixler completed 10-of-15 passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns.
“We’ve got to protect the quarterback a little bit better and we’ve got to make better decisions,” Marino said. “It was kind of sloppy. Had a lot of the sloppiness you sometimes see in game one. We’ve got to do a better job and make sure we’re sharper this week.”
Lehman Catholic at Miami East
The Cavaliers were able to move the ball in a 23-6 season-opening loss to Fort Recovery, but two interceptions and one fumble were costly.
Turnovers would likely hurt the Cavaliers in their Week 2 game against Miami East. The Vikings opened the season with a 47-10 rout of Milton-Union and racked up 371 yards of offense, the vast majority of which came on the ground.
Justin Brown led Miami East with 115 rushing yards on 15 carries. Brown and Vincent Villella scored five of the Vikings’ seven touchdowns.
Senior quarterback Elliott Gilardi led Lehman’s offense in the opener. He completed 20-of-32 passes for 178 yards and rushed for 28 yards on 20 carries. Senior Bradly Haynes caught five passes for 65 yards.
Covington at Minster
Though the Wildcats beat Fort Loramie by 20 points in last Friday’s season opener, they’ll likely be trying for a bit better defensive performance after allowing 309 yards.
They’ll get a much different offensive look against another Cross County Conference opponent in Covington. After airing it out two years ago in coach Ty Cates’ first season as coach, the Buccaneers are back to relying on the run for the majority of their offensive production.
Minster will try to replicate St. Henry’s defensive performance against Covington. After the Buccaneers moved the ball well against Anna in a Jamboree scrimmage, they gained 48 rushing yards and had two total first downs in a 22-0 season opening loss to St. Henry.
Mississinawa Valley at New Bremen
New Bremen’s offense moved well in a 27-12 season-opening win at New Bremen last week. The Cardinals will look for more success against the Blackhawks, which beat Cedarville 36-6 in a season opener.
New Bremen beat Mississinawa Valley 30-0 last year.
Riverside at Mechanicsburg
The Pirates had seven turnovers in a 28-0 season-opening loss to Ansonia. They can’t repeat that against Mechanicsburg, which has been the class of the Ohio Heritage Conference in recent seasons.
The Indians look to be Champaign County’s best football squad this year, too. They opened the season with a 54-14 depantsing of Springfield Kenton Ridge, which was 6-4 a year ago.
Delphos Jefferson at Versailles
Versailles struggled on both sides of the ball in a season opener at Celina and will look for improvement in its home opener against Delphos Jefferson.
The Tigers won’t be the only ones hoping for better results. Jefferson lost to Lima Shawnee 49-0 in Week 1.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.