FORT LORAMIE — Fort Loramie will get its biggest Cross County Conference challenge of the season this week.
The Redskins (2-1) will travel to Miami East (3-0) for a key CCC game on Friday, a week after dismantling traditional CCC power Covington 33-14.
The Vikings, which made the playoffs in Division V last year and finished first in the CCC, won each of their first three games by at least 31 points. They blasted National Trail 38-3 to open CCC play last week.
“They’ve got a really nice team and a really good group of seniors,” Fort Loramie coach Spencer Wells said. “You watch the film, and you can just see that they’re big and physical. We’re going to have to be ready to go.”
Miami East’s offense averages 443 yards per game, with an average of 380 coming on the ground. Senior running back Justin Brown has rushed for 542 yards and seven touchdowns on 40 carries while senior fullback Vincent Villella has gained 359 yards and scored five TDs on 55 carries.
“They don’t really hide what they want to do on offense,” Wells said. “They’re really big up front — they’ll be the biggest team we see up front all regular season. They’ve got some really skilled backs and have a unique offense that throws a lot of problems at your defense. We’re going to have to play really disciplined and really read our keys because if you don’t, they can break big plays on you fairly quickly.”
Miami East has allowed an average of 11.3 points per game in the first three weeks. The Vikings have picked off five passes, recovered one fumble and had 13 sacks. Junior outside linebacker Kaleb Nickels leads the team with 27 tackles.
“A lot of their same guys on offense play defense, and they put their best athletes out on the field,” Wells said. “You can tell they’re a well-coached team. They know what they’re doing and know their responsibilities and get to the football really well.”
Fort Loramie had 471 yards of offense in last Friday’s win over Covington. Sophomore quarterback Collin Moore completed 14-of-19 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns, while Nathan Ratermann completed one pass, which was a 72-yard touchdown. Moore led the team with 66 rushing yards and one touchdown, while Max Hoying ran for 44 yards and one score.
Carter Mescher led Fort Loramie with five catches for 209 yards and two touchdowns, while Mason Kemper caught two passes for 60 yards and one touchdown.
“The theme of our practice the last couple of weeks had been focusing on us and just executing and really having a disciplined approach on both sides of the ball,” Wells said. “The start to that game was great to see. Offensively and defensively, each guy was doing their job. If we get all 11 doing that, you can see we have a lot of potential. Right now, we’re just trying to do that consistently.”
Covington had 241 yards of offense. Hoying led the Redskins with nine tackles while Carson Moore had six.
Fort Loramie lost to Miami East 27-26 last year, its only CCC loss. The Redskins won their last six CCC games by 24 points or more.
St. Henry at Anna
If wasn’t the most fun offseason for Anna. After struggles in scrimmages against Mechanicsburg and Covington, coach Nick Marino knew plenty of work was needed.
The Rockets showed in a Midwest Athletic Conference opener at New Bremen on Friday just how hard they’ve been working — and how much they’ve improved.
The squad jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead over the previously undefeated Cardinals and cruised to a 42-7 win.
Anna (2-1) has a bigger MAC challenge ahead this week in St. Henry (3-0), which is ranked No. 7 in Div. VI in this week’s state Associated Press poll.
The Redskins opened the season with a 22-0 win over Covington and then rolled over Eaton 62-0 in Week 2. They beat Delphos St. John’s 37-7 last Friday.
St. Henry averages 358.67 yards and 40.33 points per game. Most of the squad’s offense has come on the ground.
Senior running back Zach Niekamp leads the MAC with 393 rushing yards and has scored eight touchdowns while KJ Jacobs has rushed for 130 yards and two touchdowns. Sam Lefeld has completed 21-of-36 passes for 286 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
St. Henry’s defense has allowed a total of 90 yards and seven points in its first three games. Ethan Thieman and Sam Hartings have each recorded two sacks, while Jay Knapke and Daylen Froning each have grabbed two interceptions.
Anna averages 337.67 yards and 39 points per game and allows an average of 311 yards and 25.3 points per game on defense.
Ridgemont at Lehman Catholic
Lehman Catholic will hope to keep its late-game momentum against Graham going as Northwest Central Conference play gets underway this week.
The Cavaliers (1-2) will host Ridgemont (1-2) in an NWCC opener on Saturday at Alexander Stadium in Piqua. Lehman scored 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter against Graham last Friday to earn its first win.
Senior quarterback Elliott Gilardi completed 14-of-27 passes for Lehman for 181 yards and one touchdown and ran for 63 yards on 21 carries. He also had a 60-yard interception return in the fourth quarter. Gabe Knapke, Brendan O’Leary and Tyler Sollman all had between 48 and 58 receiving yards for the Cavaliers.
Lehman has averaged 300 yards per game in its first three games — and may best that against the Golden Gophers.
Ridgemont opened the season with a 27-24 win over Ridgedale but has since lost 63-2 to Triad and 58-6 against Lakota. The Gophers went 0-10 last year and didn’t come any closer than 30 points in a conference game.
Minster at Coldwater
Minster needed a late touchdown in the fourth quarter to beat Fort Recovery in a MAC opener last Thursday. The Wildcats continue a tough slate in the front half of conference play with Coldwater this week — and more drama may be in store.
Coldwater and Minster both enter Friday’s matchup 3-0 and a played a nail biter last season, which the Cavaliers won 17-16.
Coldwater started the season with a lopsided win over Kenton, beat perennial Div. IV power Clinton-Massie 31-28 in week 2 and beat Versailles by four touchdowns in a MAC opener last Friday.
The Cavaliers average a MAC-best 385.67 yards per game and are third in the league with an average of 39 points per game.
Coldwater junior quarterback Jake Hemmelgarn has completed 55-of-73 passing attempts for 746 yards and 10 touchdowns with two interceptions. Cole Frilling leads the team with 177 receiving yards and five touchdowns, while Noah Miller and Ben Wenning also have over 100 receiving yards and one TD apiece. Mitch Niekamp leads the team with 178 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
Minster, which is ranked No. 1 in Div. VII in this week’s state poll, averages 353.67 yards and 33.67 points per game on offense and allows an average of 349.67 yards and 20.67 points per game on defense.
New Bremen at Fort Recovery
The Cardinals will try to bounce back from their disappointing loss to Anna at Fort Recovery on Friday.
New Bremen allowed season-highs in yards (322) and points (42) against the Rockets. They had trouble stopping Anna’s rushing attack of Bart Bixler (133 yards) and Riley Huelskamp (51). They’ll get a different look in the pass-oriented Indians, though.
Fort Recovery will try to bounce back from a disappointing MAC opening loss to Minster. The Wildcats scored a touchdown in the final minute to earn a 28-22 win despite being outgained by Fort Recovery 406 yards to 249.
The Indians average 307 yards of offense per game, with 213 coming through the air. Clay Schmitz is second in the MAC with 641 passing yards and has thrown for five touchdowns.
The Cardinals scored 75 points in their first two games but couldn’t find the end zone against Anna until late in the fourth quarter. They managed 235 yards of offense and eight first downs in the loss.
Versailles at Parkway
Versailles followed a Week 1 blowout loss to Celina with a Week 2 blowout win over Delphos Jefferson. The Tigers may again be able to follow a blowout loss with a blowout win this week.
Versailles (1-2) will look to bounce back from a 35-7 loss to Coldwater in a MAC game at Parkway (0-3) this Friday.
The Panthers have been outscored 138-63 in their first three games, including a 51-7 loss to Marion Local last week. Parkway averaged 234 yards per game (ninth in the MAC) and allowed an average of 363.67 yards per game (10th) in their first two games.
Despite giving up a lot of points in Weeks 1 and 3, Versailles’ defense ranks in the top half of the MAC in yards allowed per game (290.67). Evan Hiestand leads the MAC with four sacks, while Derek Cavin has recorded two.
Marion Elgin at Riverside
After failing to score in its first two games, Riverside’s offense got on track in a home nonconference game against neighbor Indian Lake on Saturday. Led by senior running back Luke Roby, the Pirates racked up 292 yards of offense (with all but 29 coming on the ground) and earned a 21-7 win.
Riverside (1-2) will open NWCC play on Friday night with Marion Elgin (1-2). Elgin, which is in its second year in the conference, beat Mount Gilead 40-24 last Friday and amassed 542 yards of offense in the win. The Comets were outscored 89-56 in their first two games.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.