It’s a big week for both the Anna Rockets and the Fort Loramie Redskins in high school football.
Both teams are looking for their first wins of the season after playing some top-flight competition in the first three weeks of the campaign.
The combined record of the opponents is 8-1, for both the Rockets and the Redskins.
In the case of Anna, the game Friday night at home with Parkway is big because the Rockets need to get a win before going into back-to-back games against Midwest Athletic Conference bullies Coldwater and Marion Local. And also because Parkway is not mentioned in the same breath as those first three foes, the Panthers coming to town this week with an 0-3 record.
“They will run the spread and they’re really big,” said Anna coach Nick Marino. “Their quarterback is 6-4, 225, and their offensive line is big and does a decent job. And they have big kids on the defensive side as well. So we have to come out and play well, and take care of our execution.”
The Rockets gave 3-0 Fort Recovery all it could handle last week, outgaining the Indians on the night. But turnovers interfered and kept the Rockets from getting their first win.
“We turned the ball over a few too many times,” said Marino. “We outrushed them and were pretty even through the air. But again, we didn’t finish.”
He said the Rockets need to pay attention to the little things.
“We have to keep working on the little details,” said Marino. “We always talk to our guys about having a plan to win. We did not win special teams, we did not take care of the ball, and we had three or four plays defensively that cost us. But I thought we played a lot better defensively and we made some big strides offensively. But we have to get to the point where we finish.”
Colin Wuebker, Anna’s quarterback, called his own number a lot and it resulted in 134 yards rushing on 24 carries. And running mate Connor Rioch added 87 yards on 14 carries.
The Redskins’ game is big because it’s the first in Northwest Central Conference play, and comes against the team many think might be the one to beat in the league this year, the Riverside Pirates. And if last year’s game is any indication, it should be a good one Friday at Loramie. The Redskins escaped with a 22-21 victory in overtime over the Pirates.
While the Redskins are 0-3, Riverside comes in at 3-0, although the schedules do not compare. Riverside’s three opponents so far, Arcanum, Arcadia and Cedarville, are a combined 2-7.
“We have to take a step here pretty soon and win a game,” said Loramie coach Whit Parks. “The attitude is good, the kids are working hard, and all the parts are here. But we have some young guys in some key spots and it’s a work in progress. We competed very hard last week (against Bluffton) but just made some critical mistakes. And we couldn’t make big plays when we needed to.”
He said Loramie’s biggest concern Friday night will be stopping 5-11, 205-pound running back Connor Cotterman of Riverside. So far in three games, he’s averaging 156 yards rushing and has 469 on the season. He averaged 13 yards per carry in his first three games.
“He’s a really good running back, actually good on both sides of the ball,” said Parks. “They’re a wing-T team and they want to grind it out against you. And they’ve been able to do that. It’s a real challenge for our defense.”
Riverside quarterback Trey Helmlinger has attempted just 14 passes so far, hitting only three for 14 yards.
Loramie is averaging just under 100 yards rushing per game, but sophomore quarterback Austin Siegel has done a good job throwing. He’s hitting over 50 percent on 21 of 41 for 224 yards.
“We need to run the ball better,” said Parks. “We haven’t been able to get the running game going. But we’re not discouraged.”
Reach Ken Barhorst at 937-538-4818