One year ago, the Van-Far/Community R-VI football team opened its season with a tough 49-0 loss to Living Word Christian of O’Fallon. They also lost the total yardage battle, 379-130.
What a difference a year makes. With an influx of dedicated younger players and key leadership from its upperclassmen, the Indians crushed North Shelby 46-0 in its home opener last Friday night in Vandalia.
Van-Far/Community R-VI won this year’s opener after outgaining North Shelby in total yards, 412-95.
“I thought we came out and executed quite well for how young we are,” said Van-Far/Community R-VI head coach Blake Logan. “…I thought a lot of the young kids stepped up and had pretty good games and they need to continue to get better.”
Logan said before the season began that he felt senior quarterback Lucas Robinson could be a special player if he could cut down on his mistakes and make good decisions.
He responded to the challenge against the Raiders. Robinson had six carries for an astounding 236 yards and four touchdowns. He also completed 7-of-8 passes for 79 yards and one touchdown.
His 39.3 yards per carry were the second most by a player in a single game in state history.
The record was set by a Rock Bridge player in 2006 who had eight carries for 324 yards or 40.5 yards per carry.
“Lucas obviously had the game of his career,” Logan said.
“He is starting to put things together that he doesn’t have to hit a home run on every play, although he did it a lot of times with his feet. On two of his long runs, he rolled out to pass and made a wise decision, tucked it, and ran.”
Logan also credits his young offensive line featuring three rookies in helping the Indians rush for 333 yards.
“This is hands down the smartest starters on the offensive line that I’ve had since I’ve been here,” Logan added. “I thought we played well and opened up some holes for Lucas…”
Defensively, the Indians pitched a shut out.
Linebacker Conner Albrecht led the Indians in tackles with nine, two of them for a loss.
Jamie Householder and Joseph Clithero each added six tackles.
Anthony Fairchild had five tackles, which included three of them for a loss and one sack.
Logan also noted solid play from defensive backs Nick Barnes and Wyatt McDowell for keeping North Shelby’s runners contained.
Van-Far/Community R-VI scored their first touchdown of the game just five minutes into the first quarter.
After Sharrod Connor returned a punt into North Shelby’s territory, the Indians scored on Robinson’s 38-yard touchdown run. Robinson then completed a pass to Albrecht for a two-point conversion and an 8-0 lead.
Albrecht paced the defense on North Shelby’s next drive with an 11 yard loss on one tackle.
Connor then returned a short punt inside North Shelby’s 20 just three plays later.
Robinson then completed a three play drive for 19 yards after completing a 13-yard touchdown pass to Barnes. The failed two point conversion kept the score at 14-0.
The Indians scored on their next possession that started at the end of the first quarter on their own 43-yard line.
Van-Far/Community R-VI marched 57 yards on five plays as Albrecht took a 13 yard run into the endzone to push the score to 20-0 after a failed two point conversion.
North Shelby had a bad punt early in the second quarter to set up another Indians’ score.
This time Robinson took the second play and scrambled 57 yards for a touchdown and a 26-0 edge.
The Raiders appeared ready to answer the Indians on their next possession with several successful running plays up the middle.
North Shelby marched 50 yards on 10 plays before a North Shelby fourth down pass went incomplete in the endzone and the line of scrimmage was the 10 yard line.
Just before halftime, Robinson rolled into the open field, juked several defenders, and scored on a 70-yard touchdown run with 4.3 seconds left.
A completed two-point conversion pass from Robinson to Connor to Albrecht pushed the score to 34-0.
The Indians rushed for 203 yards in the first half alone while North Shelby had just 43 total yards.
Receiving the kickoff in the second half, the Indians continued to pound North Shelby’s defense.
Robinson ran for another 57-yard touchdown run on the Indians’ second play to turn on the mercy clock with a 40-0 lead.
Five minutes later, the Indians scored their final touchdown on Connor’s 26-yard touchdown run.
Connor finished with four carries for 39 yards and one touchdown. He also had one reception for 27 yards.
Albrecht had six carries for 42 yards and one touchdown. He also had one catch for 16 yards.
Householder added two catches for 14 yards; McDowell had one catch for one yard; Parker Wallace had one carry for five yards; Jacob Garner had two carries for 11 yards; and Barnes added two catches for 21 yards and one touchdown.
Van-Far/Community R-VI will host MMA this Friday night. The Colonels will be playing their first game of the season under a new head coach.
Logan said he doesn’t know much about MMA’s personnel. He did note that one running back is 6’5” and 235 lbs.
“We’ll have to definitely gang tackle with him,” Logan said.