Though the Van-Far/Community R-VI football team is rather young this season with 16 of its 25 players participating on the varsity level for the first time, Van-Far head coach Blake Logan believes his dedicated underclassmen and better leadership might lead the Indians to a successful season.
“To improve from last year, I think we’ve already done that with the attitude change,” Logan said. “We have better leadership this year. The better attitude and better leadership has already made a big change in the attitude of the locker room, our way of practicing, the tempo of practices, and our outlook as a team and they’re binding to a family mentality. If we keep it throughout the year, hopefully it will be a successful season more than these guys have had at any level of football.”
The Indians are returning nine players with varsity experience. They include Sharrod Connor (RB/WR/DB), Lucas Robinson (QB/LB), Wyatt McDowell (WR/DB), Johnny Hicks (WR/LB), Jamie Householder (RB/WR,DB), Nick Barnes (WR/DB), Joseph Clithero (WR/DB), Conner Albrecht (RB/LB), Adam Hombs (OL/DL/LB), and Anthony Fairchild (OL/DL).
Four of the five players from Community R-VI are returning lettermen. There are also nearly 10 players representing Community R-VI at the Junior High level.
With a big group of younger players, Logan is thankful to have the biggest coaching staff he’s had since taking over the Indians’ program.
His assistant coaches include Don Aulbert, Nick Lower, Brandon Talbot, Scott Eickhoff, and R.J. Bachatold.
Offensively, the Indians will be led by senior quarterback Lucas Robinson.
His backfield will include Connor (who is out with illness), Householder, and Albrecht.
Fairchild (LG) and Hombs (RT) will lead the offensive line. They will be joined by Michael Colson (C), Nathan Beatty (LT), and Andrew Snodgrass (RG).
An athletic receiving corps will allow Logan to use what he calls a pistol-spread offense. The receivers include Barnes, McDowell, Householder, and Connor.
“We will try to attack the defense’s weakness, through the air or on the ground,” Logan said. “And with Lucas being a dual threat (pass/run), we can put pressure on the defense.”
Defensively, the Indians will line up in a 4-2-5 defense.
Fairchild (DE) along with tackles Beatty, Colson, and Brandon Otis will provide a push up front.
The linebacking corps includes Albrecht, Clithero, Jacob Garner, Robinson, and Householder. Householder was the team’s leading tackler a year ago. The secondary will feature Barnes, McDowell, Parker Wallace, and Connor.
For special teams, there is no clear front runner for the kicking game. Barnes is listed as the team’s punter.
Connor, Householder, and Robinson could take on returning duties.
Logan said he added some JV games to the schedule this year as he is also the school’s athletic director.
“We’ll have a lot of guys getting valuable experience,” he added.
Van-Far opens the season at home this Friday night against North Shelby, a team coached by former Indians’ football coach Todd Cripe.
North Shelby is entering the game with a long losing streak and with less players than what Van-Far has.
But Logan is quick to point out that the number of players situation was the same mistake Winfield made last year when the Indians gave them trouble.
“They have a good quarterback who runs the naked bootleg and pass option,” Logan added. “I’m looking forward to the challenge and I think the kids are looking for it to. And they have a good fullback…”
Van-Far/Community R-VI football gets valuable experience at Jamboree
In spite of missing some key players to injury and illness, the Van-Far/Community R-VI football team gained valuable experience and had some success in the Jamboree held Friday, August 15 in Paris. The game was moved from Monroe City to Paris due to some field issues.
Van-Far head coach Blake Logan said what fans might have noticed was the aggressiveness displayed by the defense in scrimmages with Monroe City, Scotland County, and Schuyler County.
“I thought we were a lot more aggressive on defense than I’ve seen us be in the past,” he said. “We were playing down hill and I thought we pursued pretty well. At this point, I was pretty impressed with how we pursued the football.”
Logan added that the offense struggled as the offensive line wasn’t aggressive coming off the line. The Indians were without Sharrod Connor and Jamie Householder at running back and other defensive positions so many first time players gained valuable experience.
“For a lot of the guys, they’ve never played (at this level),” Logan said. “I thought they composed themselves pretty well but there is a lot of room for improvement before Friday.”
In the scrimmage with Monroe City, the offense struggled as Monroe City’s line shot out lower and quicker.
After struggling with running the ball, Van-Far had some success throwing the ball. Neither team scored in the scrimmage.
The Indians’ offensive line had trouble protecting quarterback Lucas Robinson in the scrimmage against Scotland County.
“They were more physical than us up front,” Logan said.
Defensively, the Indians were fortunate that Scotland County didn’t take advantage of a couple of blown coverages.
Scotland County rode their big fullback to a 7-0 win.
After two games, the Indians started to get the hang of things in time for a scrimmage with Schuyler County.
Defensively, the Indians shot better off the ball and did a good job of stuffing the run.
Jacob Garner picked up a tipped pass for an INT at the goal line to keep Schuyler County off the scoreboard.
Robinson ran the ball well on offense, completing four to five passes.
He hit Barnes for a big 25-yard gain.
“That was one of the best balls I’ve seen Lucas throw and it was a very good catch by Nick,” Logan said. “He’s doing a lot better of not forcing passes. If he cuts down big time on his turnovers and makes better decisions, he can be a pretty special quarterback…Nick had an outstanding night at wide receiver.”
Robinson connected with wide receiver Wyatt McDowell for one touchdown behind solid blocking from Joseph Clithero and Barnes. Garner scored the final TD to give Van-Far the win.