While the Van-Far/ Community R-VI football team was full of confidence entering their game undefeated against an 0-2 Montgomery County squad last Friday night, they were unable to match the Wildcats’ energy level from even before the kickoff.
Coming in with solid losses to tough programs Hermann and Winfield, Montgomery County was hungry for their first win and left Vandalia with an 18-3 victory.
Montgomery County’s players were loud before the game and used that energy on the opening drive as Corey Kroll scored on a 51-yard touchdown run on their second play for a 6-0 lead.
“We talked to them all week that the game would be about who was going to hit who first and they definitely hit us first,” said Indians’ head coach Kevin Baldwin. “…When they got the long run and scored, it seemed to shock us. Offensively, we just couldn’t get anything going.”
The Indians’ Jordan Garner started on his team’s first drive with a big 15 yard run, which unfortunately was the longest run of the evening for Van-Far/Community R-VI.
The drive ended on Josh Hodde’s missed 35-yard field goal attempt.
Van-Far/Community R-VI’s offense started its next drive inside their own 10 yard line. After a three-and-out and punt, the Wildcats took over on the Indians’ 38-yard line.
Fortunately, the use of a five man defensive front helped to stall the Wildcats drive on the 34.
A bad snap for an 11 yard loss led to another Indians’ punt and the Wildcats took advantage.
They scored on a 44-yard touchdown pass to go up 12-0 as the conversion attempt failed.
Two more bad snaps led to a loss of 10 yards in two plays then a five yard loss gave the Indians minus 15 yards on the same series before a punt.
Montgomery County took advantage of good field position near midfield to march 47 yards on nine plays for a 21-yard touchdown and an 18-0 lead.
Van-Far/Community R-VI started their last first-half drive on the Wildcats’ 42.
Quarterback Parker Wallace had a 10 yard gain and also completed a 19 yard pass to Hodde. Hodde was then unable to haul in a contested pass on third down.
What looked to be a 25-yard field goal attempt turned into a fake but Wallace’s pass went incomplete to Eric Hombs in the end zone.
The Indians had just 46 total yards of offense in the first half while the Wildcats had 65 in the air and 113 on the ground for 178 total yards.
Van-Far/Community R-VI’s players started the second half with more intensity and it carried over on the football field early in the third quarter.
Wallace completed an eight yard pass to Hodde on the first play then followed two plays later with a 22-yard hook-up.
Unfortunately, while on the three yard line, a bad snap pushed the ball back to the seven. This eventually set up Hodde’s 25-yard field goal attempt, which he nailed to get the Indians on the board, 18-3.
After the Indians’ defense forced the Wildcats to punt the ball from the area of their end zone on the next drive, the Indians’ offense moved the ball to Montgomery County’s 31.
Wallace scrambled for seven yards and connected with Eric Hombs for five more yards. The drive stalled after two carries for a loss and an incomplete pass. Hodde’s 35-yard field goal attempt was short.
Two plays later, Trey Miller recovered a Wildcats’ fumble on their 35 yard line.
Wallace appeared to have a big 13 yard run after receiving a great block from Hodde to allow him to get the last couple of yards before being driven out of bounds.
Unfortunately, the officials called Hodde with a penalty for a hit on a defenseless player, which stunned many of the fans nearby, especially since the official throwing the flag was not the one on the sideline.
Though the Indians tried to regain their momentum with Wallace’s 12 yard pass to Hodde on the next play, another bad snap led to a 17 yard loss just a few plays later. The drive ended on an incomplete pass.
Montgomery County drove the ball to the Indians’ 14 when a drive stalled on an incomplete pass.
Van-Far/Community R-VI started to move the ball on their next possession when Hodde completed a pass to Eric Hombs, but Hombs fumbled the ball with 5:44 remaining.
The Indians did convert a long fourth down later in the fourth when Wallace found Hodde for a 26-yard passing play but that drive stalled before the game was over.
Due to bad snaps, the Indians had just three rushing yards in the loss and 124 total yards of offense. The Wildcats had 73 yards passing and 154 on the ground for 227 total yards.
Wallace completed 10-of-22 passes for 121 yards and had nine carries for minus 11 yards.
Hodde had six catches for 93 yards along with four carries for minus 10 yards. He was also 0-for-1 passing.
Sharrod Connor had three carries for 31 yards before leaving the game in the first half with an injury.
Garner added nine carries for 19 yards.
Miller had six carries for minus 26 yards and two catches for 12 yards.
Eric Hombs added two catches for 16 yards and one fumble. Montgomery County’s Kroll had 30 carries for 137 yards, one touchdown, and one fumble. He also caught two passes for 55 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, it was noted that Eric Hombs had an overall solid night for the Indians.
The Indians head back on the road this week to take on rival Bowling Green, who is currently 0-3 with losses to St. Clair, Palmyra, and Clopton-Elsberry. Baldwin said the Bobcats like to mix things up offensively but put emphasis on their passing game.
“We’ve got to win the game up front and take control of the ball game,” he said. “Whoever can take physical control of the ball game is probably going to win it.”