If this season’s Newark Catholic quarterback, who was the junior shooting guard for the Green Wave last March, racks up 31 points again tonight versus another Shelby County foe, the Fort Loramie football team may be in for a long evening.
In the 2021 regional basketball tourney at Vandalia-Butler, Cole Canter was “a one-man show” flashing a hot, long-range, jump shot against the Division IV basketball state champion Botkins Trojans. Although, the black and gold shut down Canter’s teammates with suffocating team defense, and Trojan Jameson Meyer buried seven three-pointers to ignite the offense. The result: a resounding 75-50 region semi-final triumph for Botkins.
The Redskins may need a “Botkins-like” performance tonight. Canter will likely fall short of “31”— five football touchdowns and an extra point. But Fort Loramie knows Canter’s football squad is more well-rounded than his hoops team. Maybe, a lot more.
In fact, NC and Marion Local are two of the top four or five favorites to play for the D-VII state football championship in December. The Green Wave return 16 of 22 starters, including Canter, from a 7-4, state semi-final club in 2020.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at the beautiful, 6,100-seat White Stadium in Newark, which has been updated and refurbished several few times over the years and features a superb artificial turf playing surface. The facility is home to both NC and the Newark High Wildcats.
Columbus-area media are billing the Fort Loramie-Newark Catholic confrontation as the state’s best Division-VII match-up of the entire weekend.
Two excellent signal callers pace each squad’s offense. Canter’s counterpart at quarterback, junior Caleb Maurer of Fort Loramie, is showcasing offensive statistics that parallel those of the NC senior. Each is completing passes at a 60 percent clip. Maurer’s quarterback rating exceeds 150. He has thrown five touchdowns; Canter, four. The NC quarterback has rushed the ball 19 times at eight yards per carry.
Behind the 6-3, 186-pound Canter, Newark Catholic is 3-0 and ranked number one in D-VII Region 27. Fort Loramie, 2-1, is one of ten schools in D-VII Region 28 that has lost just once. The Redskins fell by a single score to state champ New Bremen in the postseason last November and routed Minster in their 2021 opener.
Air time is 6:25 for the pre-game online on ScoresBroadcast.com and on radio on WMVR, 105.5 TAM-FM in Sidney. Prior to the 7 p.m. kick-off, Redskins fourth year head coach Spencer Wells and NC’s third year head coach Ron Aiello are featured.
“Canter is a leader who can run and throw effectively,” said Wells with a smile. “We have a lot of talent on offense and at quarterback, too.”
He added, “We’ve been inconsistent at times during practice and on Friday nights. Offense, defense, special teams…all phases of our game…will have to play extremely well for us to win this big battle on the road.”
Coach Wells noted further that he may expand his club’s look on offense for the Saturday night tilt at Newark Catholic.
Jacob Pleiman, a Redskins 6-2, 205-pound, senior, who plays both offensive tackle and defensive end, remains out, but could return soon. Otherwise, Fort Loramie is “a healthy club,” Wells said.
The rushing game has been formidable with Damon Mescher and Jacob Sherman exploding repeatedly for significant gains on first down runs from scrimmage. Receiver Logan Eilerman reeled in more than 20 air strikes from Maurer against Minster and Versailles
The offensive line has been stellar. Wells heralded the play of center Wes Gehret, tight end Gabe Meyer, tackles Isaac Raterman and Taran Fleckenstein, and guards Karson Tennery and Tristan Fleckenstein.
Defensively, Nate Boerger, Calvin Hoying, Meyer and Mescher have combined to register more than 40 tackles.
For NC, Dan Gray, a 282-pounder who stands at 6-3, anchors the offensive and defensive lines.
Meanwhile, the Redskins “D” will have its hands full with speedy NC running back Mason Hackett, a 5-7, 180-pound junior, who is averaging nearly 7 yards per carry. Brandon Buchanan, a 6-3, 190-pound wide receiver, leads a quartet of very good pass catchers.
“We have to wrap up these guys and tackle better on Saturday night,” Wells said. “This was a point of emphasis all week long at practice.”
He added, “We have to get Canter and company off the field after third down. We can’t allow him to have a big night.”
NC has tallied 34, 38 and 35 points in its three victories. But its opponents have combined to win only twice.
“We have a lot of respect for Fort Loramie, which is by far our toughest opponent to date,” said Coach Aiello of NC.
“Newark Catholic is very aware of the outstanding traditions in high school sports that have been earned by the programs in that tough Shelby County league.”
The Green Wave found out first hand last March. Fort Loramie would like to make Saturday night’s game a “strong reminder.”