Area football preview: Anna on upswing heading into final 2 weeks


Rockets have clinched playoff berth already with 6 wins

By Bryant Billing - bbilling@sidneydailynews.com



Anna’s Riley Huelskamp runs with pressure from Fort Recovery defenders during a Midwest Athletic Conference game on Oct. 5. Huelskamp ran for 176 yards on 35 carries in the Rockets’ win over state-ranked Coldwater last Friday.

Anna’s Riley Huelskamp runs with pressure from Fort Recovery defenders during a Midwest Athletic Conference game on Oct. 5. Huelskamp ran for 176 yards on 35 carries in the Rockets’ win over state-ranked Coldwater last Friday.


Jason Alig | Sidney Daily News

Fort Loramie’s Carter Mescher runs during a Cross County Conference game against Covington on Sept. 7 in Fort Loramie. The Redskins have won their last three games by at least 44 points.


Steve Egbert | Sidney Daily News

After a shaky start to the season, Anna has surged and will look to close out the 2018 season with an 8-2 record by winning its last two games.

The Rockets stayed in the Midwest Athletic Conference title race by taking advantage of three turnovers and beating previously undefeated and No. 1 ranked Coldwater 21-20 in the rain last Friday. Anna (6-2, 5-1) has already locked up a playoff berth according to Drew Pasteur’s Fantastic50.net.

It will be tough for Anna to earn a Division V, Region 18 home playoff game — Pasteur gives them only a 46 percent chance at that with wins the last two weeks. But winning the last two games shouldn’t be hard for the Rockets.

Anna will host Parkway (1-7, 1-5) in its last home game this Friday before traveling to Delphos St. John’s (2-6, 1-5) next Saturday afternoon.

Few would have guessed after Week 1 that the Rockets would have kept up several weeks later with the Cavaliers, who were the top-ranked team in Div. VI.

But after a slow finish in preseason that included subpar performances against Mechanicsburg and Covington in scrimmages and a season-opening 15-point loss to Fenwick, Anna has pulled off several big wins thanks in part to the rushing of Bart Bixler and Riley Huelskamp and a defense that comes up with stops in key moments.

It was a big defensive performance last Friday for the Rockets that helped them earn their third close win over a tough MAC team this year. Anna beat St. Henry (6-2) by one point in Week 4 and Fort Recovery (3-5) by five points in Week 7.

Anna held Coldwater to 335 yards of offense last week, had one interception and recovered two fumbles — one of which at its own 1-yard line with 21 seconds left in the game.

The Rockets average 345.5 yards and 33.3 points per game. Huelskamp is second in the MAC with 1,070 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns while Bixler is fourth with 714 yards and eight TDs and has thrown for 739 yards and nine TDs. Jeffrey Richards leads Anna’s receiving corps with 406 yards and three TDs and is tied for first in the MAC with five interceptions.

Anna allows an average of 349.5 yards and 27.75 points per game on defense. Kam Steward ranks third in the MAC with 77 tackles, while Brandon Shannon is ninth with 63 tackles. Shannon is tied for first in the conference with three fumble recoveries, while Richards is tied for second with two.

Parkway averages 297 yards and 21.9 points per game and allows a MAC-worst 415.4 yards and 38.6 points per game. Nick Hawk is fifth in the league in rushing yards (696), while quarterback Eli Rich has thrown for 753 yards.

Fort Loramie at National Trail

Fort Loramie has clinched a playoff berth and first-round home game according to JoeEitel.com and will look to hold onto its No. 1 seed in Division VII, Region 28 when it travels to National Trail on Friday.

The Redskins (7-1, 6-0 Cross County Conference) continued their run through the second half of their schedule last Friday with their biggest win of the season yet, a 69-6 victory over Tri-Village.

National Trail (4-4, 2-4) may pose more of a challenge. After a 38-3 loss to Miami East in Week 3, the Blazers have either won big against CCC opponents or lost close games. They lost 26-20 in overtime to Twin Valley South, 24-21 to Tri-County North and 20-17 to Ansonia. The Redskins beat Ansonia by 27 points in Week 5 and beat Twin Valley South 52-6 on Sept. 28.

Fort Loramie had 537 yards of offense against the Patriots, which managed 127.

Nick Brandewie ran for 110 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries while Max Hoying ran for 90 yards on six carries with two TDs. Nate Meyer and Sam Barhorst also scored one rushing touchdown apiece.

Collin Moore completed 7-of-7 passes for 109 yards with three touchdowns. Mason Kemper, Carter Mescher and Devin Wehrman each caught a touchdown pass.

Moore has thrived under stellar protection from his offensive line, which entered Week 8’s game without having allowed a sack all season. Moore has thrown for 1,181 yards and 14 touchdowns with one interception.

Hoying has gained 451 rushing yards on 66 carries with five touchdowns, while Brandewie has gained 407 yards on 50 carries with five TDs. Mescher leads the receiving corps with 28 receptions for 462 yards with six touchdowns. Kemper and Mark Seger also have over 200 receiving yards and a combined seven touchdown receptions.

Hoying leads Fort Loramie with 46.5 tackles, while Carson Moore has 29.5 and Wehrman has 26.5. CJ Billing has recorded a team-high two sacks. Jake Ratermann and Seger have each intercepted three passes.

Lehman Catholic at Lima Perry

Lehman got back in track in a big way with a 52-6 win over Upper Scioto Valley in Northwest Central Conference action last Friday.

The Cavaliers have little room for error the last two weeks of the season as they face their two toughest conference opponents. Because of Lehman’s 22-3 Week 6 loss to Waynesfield-Goshen and Riverside’s 20-18 win over Lima Perry last Friday, there’s a three-way tie for first place heading into Week 9.

The Cavaliers (5-3) and Pirates are tied with Perry for first place in the NWCC with 4-1 records. Two wins would secure Lehman the league title outright, while splitting would leave hope alive for share of the title. Lehman will also likely earn a playoff berth by beating just one of the two opponents, but losing both would likely keep them out of the postseason.

Elliott Gilardi returned against Upper Scioto Valley last week after missing most of the Waynesfield-Goshen game. He completed 9-of-10 passes for 121 yards and three touchdowns, while Tyler Sollman ran for 120 yards and one touchdown.

The Cavaliers average 317.8 yards per game.

Minster at Versailles

Minster will look to build off one of its best defensive performances of the season when it travels to Versailles for a MAC game on Friday.

Minster (5-3, 3-3 MAC) held undefeated Marion Local to 199 yards of offense in a 7-6 loss last Friday. It was a big improvement for the Wildcats’ defense, which allows an average of 358.5 yards and 22.9 points per game.

Versailles dropped to 2-6 overall and 1-5 in MAC play in a 14-7 loss to New Bremen last Friday. The Tigers allow an average of 310.8 yards and 26.9 points per game on defense and average 273.6 yards and 17.8 points on offense. Ryan Martin has thrown for 1,060 yards and six touchdowns, while Jake Poling has rushed for 414 yards and six touchdowns.

Minster averages 359.4 yards and 29.8 points per game. Junior quarterback Jacob Niemeyer has thrown for 1,278 yards and nine touchdowns and has rushed for 571 yards and five touchdowns while junior running back Alex Schmitmeyer has rushed for 655 yards and 12 TDs.

Delphos St. John’s at New Bremen

New Bremen is looking for its first playoff berth since 2004 and can greatly increase its chances with a win over Delphos St. John’s on Friday. The Cardinals (5-3, 3-3) can also clinch their first above-.500 record since 2004.

Delphos St. John’s (2-6, 1-5) won its first MAC game of the season last week with a 27-22 victory over Parkway. The Blue Jays average a MAC-worst 193.4 yards and 14.3 points per game and allow an average 346.3 yards and 30.9 points on defense.

New Bremen, which beat Versailles 14-7 last Friday, averages 243.4 yards and 18.5 points per game and allows an average of 255 yards and 20.1 points. Senior quarterback Nolan Bornhorst has thrown for 926 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Ridgemont at Riverside

Last Friday’s win over Lima Perry secured a Div. VII, Region 28 playoff berth for Riverside according to Drew Pasteur’s Fantastic50.net.

Now the focus for the Pirates (5-3, 4-1 NWCC) will be on trying to finish as high a seed as possible and winning at least a share of a conference title. They’ll look to take another step toward those goals on Friday against hapless Ridgemont (1-7, 0-6), which has lost every NWCC game by at least 39 points.

The Pirates average 302 yards per game, with an average of 266.8 coming on the ground. Senior Luke Roby leads the team with 797 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns, while Joel Cotterman (403 yards) and Ben Sacks (369 yards) have each scored two touchdowns.

Anna’s Riley Huelskamp runs with pressure from Fort Recovery defenders during a Midwest Athletic Conference game on Oct. 5. Huelskamp ran for 176 yards on 35 carries in the Rockets’ win over state-ranked Coldwater last Friday.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2018/10/web1_DSC_0121-1.jpgAnna’s Riley Huelskamp runs with pressure from Fort Recovery defenders during a Midwest Athletic Conference game on Oct. 5. Huelskamp ran for 176 yards on 35 carries in the Rockets’ win over state-ranked Coldwater last Friday. Jason Alig | Sidney Daily News

Fort Loramie’s Carter Mescher runs during a Cross County Conference game against Covington on Sept. 7 in Fort Loramie. The Redskins have won their last three games by at least 44 points.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2018/10/web1_SDN090818FNL8.jpgFort Loramie’s Carter Mescher runs during a Cross County Conference game against Covington on Sept. 7 in Fort Loramie. The Redskins have won their last three games by at least 44 points. Steve Egbert | Sidney Daily News
Rockets have clinched playoff berth already with 6 wins

By Bryant Billing

bbilling@sidneydailynews.com

Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.

Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.