FORT LORAMIE — Fort Loramie senior Collin Detrick lives next door to sophomore quarterback Collin Moore, and the two have played a lot of backdoor football together over the years.
Detrick knew his younger neighbor was talented, but he’s still amazed at how much he’s progressed this year in his first season as a starter. Detrick and the team’s other offensive lineman have had a lot to do with that growth.
Fort Loramie’s offensive line enters a Division VII regional semifinal against Lehman Catholic on Saturday with an unpresented statistic to its credit: 0 sacks allowed.
“It still amazes me,” Detrick said of the unit having allowed no sacks. “That’s something we’re still very proud of. That something we take pride ourselves on, taking care of our quarterback.”
The stellar protection has allowed Moore to gain confidence in the pocket according to Fort Loramie first-year coach Spencer Wells.
Though the Redskins (10-1) have dominated their last six opponents and beaten each by at least 41 points, they started the season with a meatgrinder that included defending Div. VII champion Minster, Cincinnati Madeira, Covington and Miami East. Each of the four schools won at least seven games, and all made the playoffs.
Wells said it’s incredible the squad did not give up a sack against those four squads — and did the same against the next seven opponents.
“One thing we’ve built into our pass game is to have some sort of release route to make sure if he gets pressure, he knows where his check-down is, and he’s able to get rid of the football,” Wells said. “That has been key for us at times, but moreso than anything, our offensive line does a great job communicating and just playing fundamental.”
Junior Josh Pangilinan starts at center for the Redskins. Senior Logan Siegel starts at left guard, and junior Blake Holthaus is the backup. Senior Grant Imwalle starts at left tackle, Detrick starts at right guard and junior Griffin Meyer starts at right tackle. Imwalle and Meyer both earned first team all-Cross County Conference honors.
Detrick said the group is more physically fit this season and has benefited from more conditioning. Aside from the added strength, Wells credits the group’s smarts and communication for helping lead the team’s explosive offense.
And the Redskins’ spread offense is explosive — they average 43.2 points and 417 yards per game. Moore has thrown for 1,539 yards and 18 touchdowns with two interceptions, while four players have over 500 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns.
“It’s funny how our offense has expanded since Week 1,” Wells said. “A lot of the concepts we rely on now, we didn’t even have in Week 1. I think when you go through a first-year install, you have to kind of pick and choose what you enter the season with. If you have smart players like we do, you’re able to expand as the season goes.
“It’s just been neat to see. As an offensive coach, I’ve been able to put in a lot of different concepts because (our line) is really smart. They talk really well up front and they communicate well. I think that’s something that stands out to me. Through the course of the season, we haven’t been able to hold anything back. We’ve been able to expand, and they take it on and are quick learners.”
The sackless streak may end against Lehman. The Cavaliers have recorded 18 sacks this season and 21 tackles for loss, and Wells said he’s been impressed with the team’s ability to pressure opponents. He said he’s particularly impressed with freshman linebacker John Edwards, who leads Lehman with 86 tackles and six tackles for loss.
“They can play a zone defense with zone coverage behind, and then they can go man and bring a variety of pressures and get after it,” Wells said. “We’ve got a big job ahead of us to make sure we’re ready for their blitz combinations. Their middle linebacker, when he blitzes and decides he’s going downhill, he’s going, and he’s going with a head of steam. We’re going to have to be fundamental with our technique to take that on and be able to slow him down.”
Detrick said he’s confident that if Lehman gets a sack or two, Fort Loramie can continue to move the ball consistently.
“Our blocking’s got to be there,” Detrick said. “If we can get that down and get our technique right, we’ll be pretty good. It’s a lot of details this week.”
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.