Van-Far/Community R-VI co-op football coach Blake Logan knew his squad had their hands full last Friday night with a North Callaway team, considered by many as one of the best teams in the area.
After all, his team was without its two top quarterbacks and lost another key player during the week due to disciplinary issues.
Those challenges, turnovers, and an injury during the game to starting tailback Logan Boyd led to a 46-6 loss to the Thunderbirds. Van-Far had four fumbles and two punts blocked in the first half in the 40-point loss.
The two blocked punts by the Thunderbirds’ Anthony Moses tied a state record held by five other players.
“The big thing is when playing against a good team like North Callaway, you don’t want to aid them,” Logan added. “When you have four fumbles, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing. We need to do the small things like holding onto the football.”
Running back Devontay Wilkerson provided the Indians’ offense a big spark in the loss. Wilkerson finished with 23 carries for 103 yards, one touchdown, and one fumble.
“He had a good individual game, probably the best game of the year,” Logan said. “He was still hampered by his ankle injury. I think he’s finally getting to 100-percent physically so you are starting to see what he can do. It’s good to see and hopefully he can be another weapon for us out of the backfield for the rest of the season.”
Van-Far did drive the ball to midfield on their first possession before punting the ball away to give the Thunderbirds the ball deep in their own territory.
Six plays later, North Callaway’s explosive rushing attack went 84 yards to take a 7-0 lead with a successful extra point kick.
After both teams exchanged punts, Boyd fumbled the ball away on the Indians’ 27 yard line as he stretched for extra yardage. Four plays later, North Callaway scored on an eight yard touchdown run. The failed extra point kick kept the score at 13-0.
The Thunderbirds then scored their second touchdown in :33 seconds as Wilkerson was stripped of the ball on Van-Far’s first play. The ball was picked up and ran in 32 yards for a touchdown for a 19-0 edge. Early in the second quarter, Moses blocked his first of two punts in the quarter after a bad Van-Far snap. North Callaway scored three plays later for a 26-0 lead.
Wilkerson’s next punt four plays later was blocked, giving the Thunderbirds the ball near midfield. Six plays later, they scored on an eight yard touchdown passing play to go up 32-0.
On Van-Far’s next offensive play, a bad snap allowed North Callaway to recover the ball on the Indians’ 21-yard line. One play later, the Thunderbirds connected on a 21-yard touchdown passing play to go up 39-0.
The Indians began to move the ball with under six minutes left in the half when a snap was fumbled and North Callaway recovered on Van-Far’s 39.
Five plays later, North Callaway went up 46-0.
Van-Far had just 52 total yards of offense in the first half while North Callaway had 127 yards passing and 177 yards rushing for 304 total yards.
With the mercy clock in effect in the third quarter, neither team scored as North Callaway had inserted mostly JV players into the lineup.
After North Callaway opened the fourth quarter with a failed 33-yard field goal attempt, Van-Far’s offense turned to Wilkerson. Wilkerson carried the ball eight times during the 80-yard drive and picked up 52 yards. He scored on a five yard touchdown run with 4:53 left in the game. A bad snap on the two-point conversion attempt kept the score at 46-6.
On the following kickoff, Van-Far’s Brian Kurz recovered a fumble on the Thunderbirds’ 40 yard line. Van-Far went four-and-out and the game came to an end.
Boyd had just five carries for minus two yards and one fumble as he didn’t play the second half after suffering an injury in the first half.
Logan said he kept him out for cautionary reasons.
Conner Albrecht had four carries for 21 yards. Quarterback Nick Barnes had four carries for 14 yards.
Offensively, Van-Far’s offense finished with minus six yards passing. The total was the second fewest amount of passing yards in a single game in state history. Three other teams were tied with minus nine yards.
The Indians did have 138 yards rushing.
North Callaway finished with 390 total yards of offense as they had 12 different players pick up rushing yards.
While Van-Far has hit a recent tough stretch, the Indians players and coaching staff are excited for a chance to reverse things with a win over rival Bowling Green this week.
The Bobcats enter the game with a 2-5 record. They have wins over Winfield and Louisiana. Losses came against Orchard Farm, North Callaway, Wright City, Clopton/Elsberry, and Montgomery County.
“I feel like we can compete with Bowling Green if we can stop their option attack,” said Logan, who went to high school and college with Bowling Green’s coach and is familiar with the Bobcats’ offense.
The game is set for 7 p.m. Friday, October 12 in Vandalia.