It took a little while for the Van-Far/Community R-VI Indians football team to get going as they scored just eight points in the first quarter of its home opener last Friday night.
In spite of a slow start, the Indians’ offense put together a balanced attack and eventually cruised to a 48-6 victory over Central (of Arnold).
Head coach Kevin Baldwin knows his team still has room for improvement but was pleased overall with how they responded after a tough week of practice featuring many tackling drills.
One week earlier, the Indians’ defense allowed more than 400 yards of offense to MMA. On Friday night, they gave up just 109 total in the win.
“I think (the tough week at practice) obviously helped,” Baldwin noted. “We tackled much better this week than we did last week.”
Baldwin also said he was pleased with the improvement through adjustments made by his defensive ends Kyle Ebers, Verlyn Johnson, and others.
“We worked really hard on their assignments and understanding their assignments…” Baldwin said.
After both teams exchanged fumbles on their first possession, the Van-Far/Community R-VI offense responded with a six play, 57-yard drive. Quarterback Parker Wallace completed a 13-yard pass to Colten Jensen, who made a spectacular catch. Trey Miller then scored on a 17-yard touchdown run. Wallace’s keeper for two points gave the Indians an 8-0 lead.
Central’s offense stalled near midfield on their next drive before the Indians had another 57-yard march down the field for a touchdown. Josh Hodde had a 53-yard touchdown run down the sideline and his extra-point kick pushed things to 15-0.
The Indians’ defense was led seconds later by Joe Hazel with one sack and both Nathan Beatty and Jacob Garner combining for a second sack to force the Panthers to punt the ball.
With just 47 yards to go, the Indians took eight plays to score on Sharrod Connor’s 23-yard touchdown run. Hodde’s kick pushed the lead to 22-0 and it stayed that way until halftime.
Before the half, Hodde attempted a 40-yard field goal attempt that was just one rotation away from going through the uprights.
“He hit a 36 in practice,” Baldwin later noted.
The game got crazy near the start of the third quarter.
Wallace first completed a 40-yard touchdown pass to Jensen for a 28-0 lead.
Central responded with an 89-yard kickoff return after the Panthers’ player broke four tackles.
Just seconds later, Connor returned a kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown and a 35-6 edge. There were three touchdowns scored in just :41 seconds.
‘I thought it was a good deal for our kids to answer after the kickoff return, to get back out and get after them,” Baldwin said. “…We really challenged our special teams (this week).”
In the fourth quarter, Connor added a 10-yard touchdown run.
Miller’s defensive hit and Kyle Ebers’ fumble recovery then led to Miller scoring on a 25-yard touchdown run on offense for the final score.
Wallace completed 8-of-11 passes for 127 yards and one touchdown. He also had five carries for 15 yards. Connor had 10 carries for 91 yards and two touchdowns with one catch for 13 yards. Miller tallied nine carries for 69 yards and two touchdowns. He caught two passes for 10 yards. Garner had 10 carries for 61 yards. Jensen had three catches for 100 yards and one touchdown.
“This week we decided to come up with a different approach, we come out of the shoot and started throwing the ball,” said Baldwin, who added that the game against MMA dictated a need to stay with the run the week before.
The Indians host Montgomery County this Friday, who features a solid running back. They are 0-2 with a 56-14 loss to Hermann and 70-46 loss to Winfield.