By Barry Dalton
The Van-Far Indians football team heads to Louisiana to battle the Bulldogs on Friday, Sept. 25. Each team will be looking for its first victory of the season during the Bulldogs’ homecoming game.
“Louisiana has improved a lot this year,” said Van-Far Head Coach John Kliewer. “They have a lot more kids out playing football. They’re not just a one man show like previous years. Now they have more guys that can make plays.”
Although the Indians have failed to notch a win in two tries this year, Kliewer said that the Indians have a good shot at bringing home the win. The Bulldogs are winless in four games so far.
“We need to limit our mistakes,” Kliewer noted. “In both games, we’ve either had a turnover or a penalty that has taken us out of rhythm on offense. Which in turn has put us in bad situations on defense as well.”
Kliewer wasn’t making excuses but when pressed he admitted that the season had not played out the way he had envisioned it to begin the year. Just hours before leaving on the bus for the team’s jamboree with the Mexico Military Academy, it was cancelled due to a football manager testing positive for COVID-19, and then 24 hours before its first game of the year, the school went into quarantine for 10 days, cancelling the team’s first two scheduled games.
“The start of the season has been one curveball after another,” Kliewer said. “Given all that, the guys kept their heads up and worked hard at staying ready.”
The Van-Far/Community varsity football team comes in having lost a low-scoring squeaker to Mark Twain 6-8 on Sept. 12 and was on the wrong end of a blowout to North Callaway, 45-0 last Friday. The Bulldogs come into Friday having lost four straight, most recently falling to Clopton/Elsberry 27-6. North Callaway blew out Louisiana 74-22 earlier this year.
Coach Kliewer says he continues to be proud of his players in this unprecedented time.
“They’ve had to deal with a lot this year,” he said. “They know that each week is like a playoff game, COVID could shut down another game or the rest of the season. It’s not easy for them, but they keep coming back every day with a competitive attitude. We’re going to be better for it. These players are a great group to coach.”
The Indians and Bulldogs have both lost to North Callaway this year, and each hopes to pick up its first win of the season on Friday, Sept. 25.