For Fort Loramie and Lehman, it’s a chance to qualify for postseason play.
For the Anna Rockets, it’s wanting a win to start the building process for next season.
The Fort Loramie Redskins have been quite a story this season under first-year head coach Whit Parks.
After coming up emtpy in their first four games, the Redskins have reeled off five wins in a row and are headed to postseason play with a victory Friday night at Lima Perry.
In addition, a win would give them no worse than a share of the Northwest Central Conference, which Fort Loramie will leave after this season to head to the Cross County Conference.
“I think we’re playing with a lot of confidence,” said Parks of his squad, which is coming off perhaps its best win of the season, a 16-12 victory in a game that saw them trail 12-0 before the first quarter was half over. “I wasn’t real happy with the way we started last week. We didn’t have the edge I thought we should have had. But to the kids’ credit, they really turned it up a notch. So our focus this week is to have that edge right from the start.”
The Redskins play at 2-7 Lima Perry Friday night with a lot on the line. And despite Perry’s record, it’s a team to be taken seriously. For one thing, the Commodores forced Lehman to come up with a big turnover and a score late in the game to pull out a 28-25 win.
“We really have to take them seriously,” said Loramie’s coach. “They have some very good athletes, and at the skill positions, they’re as talented as any team we play in our league. And up front, they have linemen who go 270, 290, kids you don’t see a whole lot in our league.”
The Redskins were No. 8 in this week’s computer rankings, and the top eight advance. Being No. 8, Parks said his team has to win to get in.
“We’ve talked about it this week, and last week too,” he said. “With every win comes bigger stakes.”
Lehman coach Dick Roll said Wednesday that “if we win, we’re in.”
So… the Cavaliers are in, because they will win Friday night at Sidney Memorial Stadium against 0-9 Waynesfield-Goshen in the final game of the regular season.
Waynesfield has been at the bottom of the Northwest Central Conference all season, and two weeks ago, the Tigers lost to a Ridgemont team that Lehman beat 62-0 last week.
Roll will likely use Friday’s game to get other kids some action and rest some key players, if the contest goes as expected.
“Our big thing this week is we want to stay sharp and get better,” Roll said. “Our whole week this week, we backed off and worked on little techniques before we get into postseason, because in spite of the score last week, we had some breakdowns.
“I believe in playing kids when I can play them, and I don’t like lopsided scores,” he added. “So we’ll see what happens.”
As for Waynesfield, Roll said his biggest concern is that the Tigers present alignment problems.
“They do with some of their formations,” he said. “And we haven’t seen a team that goes under center for a long while. With their motions, alignment, and multiple formations, we have to make sure we line up right.”
The Rockets had won two in a row to get to 3-5 on the year, but Minster came to town, started fast, and left with a 35-14 victory to leave Anna at 3-6 heading to St. Henry Friday to end the season.
“We obviously need to play better, and start better than we did last week,” said Anna coach Nick Marino. “We could have played better. We had a couple guys go down and we had to adjust to that a little bit, but we could have responded better. Now it’s on to St. Henry, and that’s our full focus.”
The Rockets will likely be without starting quarterback Travis Meyer, who was one of the players injured last week.
“Everybody else should be ready to go,” said the coach. “The big thing we have to do against St. Henry is stop the run. They run the ball really well. And we have to get a hat on a hat because they blitz a lot on defense. It’s a pressure defense and we have to try to neutralize that.”
A win in the season finale is important, he said.
“It would be nice to build on it,” he said. “And it would be nice for our seniors and our community.”
St. Henry had playoffs on its mind until losing back-to-back games the past two weeks to Minster and Fort Recovery. Both were close, with Minster winning 24-21 and Recovery beating the Redskins 8-7.
Reach Ken Barhorst at 937-538-4818