The Van-Far/Community R-VI football team gained valuable experience from participating in a Jamboree last Friday night at Monroe City.
“Any experience is a great experience, whether it is good or bad performance,” said head coach Blake Logan. “Any reps are good reps.”
The Indians first participated against the host Panthers in their debut on a new field in front of a home crowd.
Van-Far/Community R-VI appeared ready for the match-up with the defending Clarence Canon champions when Joseph Hazel made a tackle for a five yard loss on the very first play.
Unfortunately, Monroe City responded with three carries for more than 10 yards, including a 21-yard gain before scoring their first touchdown.
Van-Far began their first offensive series with two successful plays.
Sophomore quarterback Parker Wallace completed a six yard pass to Nick Barnes, before Barnes’ fumble was recovered by Wyatt McDowell.
Freshman running back Trey Miller, who was featured back due to injuries previously suffered by Sharrod Connor and Jacob Gardner, had a seven yard gain.
One play later, Wallace through an interception.
The ball was reset on Van-Far’s 40 as the scrimmage was played on a 60-yard field. He then threw another interception that was ready to become a pick-six.
The Indians went back to running the ball as Wallace had 11 yards and Miller added 15 more yards rushing.
In the second scrimmage against Scotland County on a 40-yard field, the Indians’ defense gave up a first touchdown in just six plays.
A 22 yard pass put Scotland County just eight yards from scoring a second touchdown. fortunately, Hunter Houghton recovered a fumble two plays later to end a drive after a bad snap.
On offense, Miller had 15 yards rushing and fellow freshman Eric Hombs added a nine yard carry before a Wallace pass was intercepted and was heading for a pick six.
A fumble on a pitch play happened near the end of the scrimmage.
The Indians put things together on both sides of the ball in the third scrimmage as they dominated Schuyler County.
On offense, Wallace settled into his own by completing an 11 yard pass to McDowell and a nine yard pass to Barnes on back-to-back plays.
Miller added in an 18-yard run after he lowered his shoulder to run over one player. He scored a touchdown on the next play.
Wallace then connected again on a 15-yard pass to McDowell.
Defensively, the Indians dominated Schuyler County with seven tackles for a loss in only 12 plays.
They also had one fumble recovery as Treyson Culwell came up with a loose ball. Miller finished the night with 11 carries for 70 yards and one touchdown over the three scrimmages.
“You have to put things in perspective; we had a sophomore quarterback and two freshmen running backs starting in the backfield…,” Logan said about the Jamboree. “I thought we held our own in the backfield. Trey and Eric are probably the best set of freshmen I’ve had for skill positions…(Trey) is holding the ball a lot tighter to his body than he has in the past. Once he gets more comfortable, he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.”
Overall on offense, Coach Logan said the team was shaky with having first year starters on that side of the ball. He also said there were open receivers missed and linemen were sometimes spectators when running the ball. He was pleased with the invaluable experience his players had on offense.
Defensively, Coach Logan said some wrinkles still need to be ironed out and at times some players were overpowered in the trenches and not always in the right area.
“I think we got better on all aspects as the night went on,” he added.
Logan also said some players showed signs of not being in game shape as of yet.
Football season kicks off Friday, Aug. 21
There is a lot of excitement surrounding this year’s Van-Far/Community R-VI football team, one season after picking up a district win and finishing one game under .500.
Offensively, the Indians are led by four award-winning receivers in Nick Barnes, Sharrod Connor, Jamie Householder, and Wyatt McDowell.
Connor, who also comes out of the backfield, will be joined by talented sophomore Jacob Garner to lead the rushing attack. Unfortunately, both players are currently sidelined with injuries.
Freshmen running backs Trey Miller and Eric Hombs are expected to make an impact in their absence.
Leading the charge on the offensive line includes seniors Anthony Fairchild and Michael Colson along with all-conference junior Andrew Snodgrass and sophomore Kyle Ebers.
Sophomore Parker Wallace is taking over the quarterback position after the Indians lost Lucas Robinson to graduation, who is now playing at Westminster College.
Wallace saw some limited time in the lineup last season and gained valuable experience in last Friday night’s Jamboree. He struggled early but finished strong in the final scrimmage against Schuyler County.
“Offensively, I’d like to be balanced,” said Van-Far/Community R-VI head coach Blake Logan. “I’d like to be able to run the ball and would like to see an equal amount of rushing and passing yards as a team. We’ll be going with what’s working. We’re hoping to establish the run. I have four all-conference receivers so I plan on utilizing them.”
On the defensive side the ball, Fairchild leads the attack one year after recording 12 sacks, including seven in one game. The seven was the second most by a single player in a game in state history.
Adam Hombs, Ebers, Snodgrass, and Colson, as well as newcomer Alex Flowers, will play key roles on the defensive front in stopping the run and closing up space.
Joseph Clithero, Colten Jensen, Gardner, and Householder may see time at the linebacker position. In the secondary, the Indians will turn to Eric Hombs, Barnes, Connor, McDowell, and Householder.
“I expect 11 players play to the ball every play, whether it’s a TD pass or it’s a sack,” Logan noted. “They have to take good angles and have to be sure with tackles in an open field…First thing’s first and that’s stopping the run.”
All-state punter Nick Barnes returns after totaling 29 punts last year for 1,307 yards for a 45.06 yards per punt average. The total was just shy of the state record of 47.70.
The Indians do not have any placekickers on the roster.
There first game is at 7 p.m. on Friday, August 21 at North Shelby. The home opener is one week later against MMA at 7 p.m. on Friday, August 28.