This Friday, the Columbus Academy Vikings football team will fashion glistening white uniforms with a slick-looking chestnut maroon and silvery grey scheme. Ivory and cobalt blue were on display a week ago by the Edon Bombers.
But the real “schemes,” or collections of unique offensive and defensive plays and formations these two teams install each week to succeed, are as different as night and day.
Certainly, Division V Academy (1-4) on both sides of the ball has the potential to give the Redskins (4-2) greater challenges than were posed by D-VII Edon, which Fort Loramie clobbered 42-7.
For one thing, Friday’s visitors possess a tailback named Jake Calodney, a “hammer” and a 5-11, 200 pound, senior who crashes the line of scrimmage for five yards per pop. Calodney has the build and running prowess similar to Mason Hackett of Newark Catholic, who torched Fort Loramie two years in a row.
To enhance the Academy rushing scheme, eight-year head coach Robin Miller occasionally employs two tight ends and two running backs. Last week versus the Redskins, Edon was often in a five receiver formation with an empty backfield.
The Bombers lacked a “hammer” and, in fact, handed the ball off to the tailback only “twice” and for no gain both times. Fort Loramie had the luxury of defending pretty much just one guy, the Edon quarterback, who threw the football or took off on his own two feet on virtually every play. He tossed his first picks of the year — four of them — against a fired up Fort Loramie “D,” which excelled.
As Redskins head coach Spencer Wells noted, the blowout of Edon represented the Redskins “peak performance of the season so far.” But he knows Academy offers a contrasting and imposing challenge — a potentially powerful running attack — which has the capability to control the football.
“Our offensive and defensive lines have jelled as a unit. Their communication up front against Edon was exceptional,” Wells said. “Now our goal is to stay focused and consistent for four full quarters each and every Friday night.”
“No let up,” he added. “We need urgency each game from the get-go.”
For sure, Fort Loramie’s superb line play was one “hammer” the squad used to help pin down the resounding triumph seven days ago.
ScoresBroadcast.com covered that game and will be at Fort Loramie High School for play-by-play and color again on Friday night at 6:25 p.m. Coaches Wells and Miller are featured in the pregame, along with Drew Pasteur, whose “Fantastic 50” website projects game outcomes and the postseason playoff picture. Pasteur chairs the mathematics and computational sciences department at the College of Wooster.
Hits 105.5 FM simulcasts Friday’s game, also at 6:25 p.m.
By the way, Pasteur forecasted Fort Loramie’s lopsided win on Sept. 23 and calls for a repeat tonight. But he added, in conversing with ScoresBroadcast.com, that “Academy is not a typical one win-four loss D-V program.”
Coaches around the Ohio Division of Academy’s Mid-State League who meet the Vikings regularly say that Coach Miller has sustained the school’s excellent football tradition over the last seven years and his teams play extremely hard each week. In Miller’s tenure, Academy won three of four versus Newark Catholic during a five-year span and downed perennial power Harvest Prep, 20-10, two years ago.
Unlike Edon, Academy will have fewer players going both ways and will insert more with a couple years of varsity experience. Academy is a “60-40,” run-pass team; Edon’s “running” was pretty much down the field in passing routes.
Miller said his Vikings are hungry — starving for a big victory — and relish the opportunity to hit the road and pull off an upset.
According to Wells, the Academy defensive line may very well be the most solid in “strength and technique” that the Redskins will confront in 2022. He said the Vikings often display a 4-2-5 defensive scheme, much like Newark Catholic, with a pair of the five deep backs flashing as high safeties.
Standout linebacker Harold Hacker paces the club with 30 tackles. Strong safety Carson James has recorded more than 20. Emanuel Jenkins is a gifted, speedy receiver.
Two senior Academy running backs hammered the Redskins for nearly 200 yards last October. Waiting his turn, Calodney played behind that duo and is having a fine final season, surging for about 80 yards per game on the ground and another 25 through the air.
Miller spent seven years as a defensive assistant at Licking Valley under 47-year head coach Randy Baughman and has been at the helm of the Academy program since 2015. Miller’s Academy clubs average seven to eight victories each campaign. The current season, so far, has been an aberration.
“We are not where we want to be in late September. But we are paying attention to the details, playing with pride, and performing better and better,” Miller said.
“We have a lot of respect for Fort Loramie which is very well coached. In a fabulous game, we were fortunate to beat them at our place, 29-28, in 2021.”
Next year, the series resumes at Academy in Gahanna on the fourth Friday of the schedule.
Tonight, the Redskins will counter Calodney and company with a renewed rushing attack that now features Will Holland pounding for over five yards per carry and nearly 75 per contest. Logan Eilerman climbed the ladder for three more touchdown passes last week and increased his reception total to 44. And quarterback Caleb Maurer has zipped the football for nearly 1600 yards in six contests and nailed his receivers 64 percent of the time.
On defense, Calvin Hoying, Isaac Raterman and Nate Boerger have flattened ball carriers for 113 tackles.
“This is a dangerous D-VII club with weapons everywhere on the field,” Miller said. “Coach Wells and his staff have so many highly athletic ‘tools’ to work with.”
Yep. The Redskins have a few “hammers” of their own.