Fort Loramie didn’t expect to miss a beat in Spencer Wells’ first season at the helm. Not only did the Redskins not miss a beat, but they picked up the tempo.
The Redskins’ offense moved like a Concorde plane through much of the season and helped the program have its best campaign in its 14-year history. The Redskins finished 12-2 overall, won their first-ever Cross County Conference title and won their first regional championship before falling to McComb in a Division IV state semifinal.
Wells took over at Fort Loramie in January of 2018 after an icy winter for the program that included former coach Whit Parks resigning as a result of an anonymous online survey conducted by the district.
The team turned the page fast. Wells implemented a new spread formation on offense and 4-3 formation on defense in summer camp, which the players learned quickly.
The squad cruised through its scrimmages, and Wells was optimistic heading into the season. The return of 10 starters from an 8-3 campaign in 2017 helped with the optimism.
The year started like most others, though — with a loss to Minster. The Wildcats scored the first three touchdowns of the game and beat the Redskins 34-14 in Fort Loramie.
Fort Loramie didn’t struggle much again until after Thanksgiving.
The Redskins picked up a 45-29 win in Week 2 at Cincinnati Madeira and had 360 yards of offense in the win. They led 28-3 early in the third quarter before lightning caused the conclusion of the game to be postponed to Saturday.
After giving up over 300 yards of offense in its first two games, Fort Loramie’s defense steadily improved. The Redskins beat Covington 33-14 in Week 3 at home to open CCC play and held the Buccaneers to 237 yards in the win. Fort Loramie sophomore quarterback Collin Moore threw four touchdown passes to Carter Mescher in the victory.
Fort Loramie then followed with its toughest CCC victory of the year by beating Miami East 21-7 in Week 4 in Casstown. The Vikings scored on their first drive, but Fort Loramie took a 14-7 lead by halftime and added another touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The Redskins then steamrolled their way through the rest of their CCC slate to finish regular season, starting with a 37-10 victory at home against Ansonia in Week 5. Though Ansonia took an early 10-7 lead, Fort Loramie scored 30 unanswered points to put it away.
The Redskins then won their remaining regular-season games with running clocks in the second half due to having a lead of over 30 points: 52-6 at Twin Valley South in Week 6, 64-20 at home against Mississinawa Valley in Week 7, 69-6 at Tri-Village in Week 8, 57-6 at National Trail in Week 9 and 42-0 at home against Tri-County North in Week 10.
The Redskins put up incredible offensive numbers in regular season. Moore threw for 1,361 yards and 15 touchdowns with two interceptions and was one of four players who ran for more than 464 yards. The squad’s offensive line didn’t allow a sack, either.
Fort Loramie finished first in Division VII, Region 28 and earned a first-round home playoff game against Hamilton New Miami. It went much the same as the Redskins’ late-season CCC games — they built a 28-0 lead by halftime and cruised to a 41-0 victory.
The Redskins followed with another running-clock win, this time by beating Lehman Catholic 35-0 at Piqua’s Alexander Stadium in a regional semifinal. Convoy Crestview beat Minster (the defending D-VII state champs) the same night in Wapakoneta to set up a regional final in Lima.
After an early back-and-forth game, Fort Loramie pulled away late to beat the Knights 48-20 and earn its first regional title. The Redskins outscored Crestview 34-6 in the second half to earn the win.
The run came to an end in a state semifinal in Wapakoneta the following week, though. Fort Loramie lost 28-14 to eventual state champion McComb, which built an early 21-7 lead. McComb quarterback Tanner Schroeder ran for two touchdowns, threw for two TDs and picked off three passes to help the squad beat Loramie.
Despite the loss, Wells was proud of the squad for a historic season.
“I’m honored to have coached this team,” Wells said. “What they did for our program this year — they made history. We asked them to leave a legacy, and they did. Our 12 seniors no doubt left a legacy. We’ve got an offseason to work and get better and get past this point. We had never been to this point, and that’s a credit to our seniors.”
Moore, Mescher, Grant Imwalle, CJ Billing, Collin Detrick, Max Hoying and Mark Seger were named first team all-Southwest district after the season.
The Redskins will open the 2019 season on Aug. 30 at Minster.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.