The Van-Far/Community R-VI football team executed its game plan of running the ball through Wright City’s defense early in the Wildcats’ Homecoming game last Friday. The Indians scored on their opening drive and were poised to knock off a much improved team.
Unfortunately, injuries, a few missed tackles, and mistakes in the coverage game were too much for the Indians to overcome in a 44-18 loss.
“We came out and executed the game plan for the first couple of possessions on both sides of the ball,” said head coach Blake Logan. “We had a player go down and then began to miss tackles and had a few mistakes in coverage and they made us pay. Very frustrating to deal with the amount of injuries we have dealt with this year. However, as I keep telling the guys, when someone goes down, it is an opportunity for someone else to step up.”
Van-Far/Community R-VI’s offense was dominant on their first possession of the game.
Three plays later after a Nick Barnes’ 10 yard gain, the Indians picked up a first down on a reverse for another 10 yards by Jamie Householder.
The Indians ran 11 of their first 12 plays on the ground and scored on Barnes’ five yard touchdown. Barnes gained 32 yards on the 63 yard drive before a two-point conversion pass failed for a 6-0 lead.
Van-Far/Community R-VI’s defense looked equally good on the Wildcats’ first possession as it held Wright City to minus four yards and a punt on their first series.
The momentum of the game shifted just three plays later when Barnes went out with an apparent knee injury.
Though quarterback Parker Wallace did connect with Householder for a 20-yard pass on the next play, he was picked off two plays later to end a drive deep in Wright City territory.
The Wildcats took advantage with a 67-yard touchdown run and a successful extra-point kick for a 7-6 lead.
Wright City nearly had a punt return for a touchdown just a few minutes later but it was called back for a block in the back penalty.
The Indians defense then settled down by forcing a turnover on downs and later recovering a fumble when Anthony Fairchild stripped a ball carrier with a recovery by Householder to stop a drive.
Midway through the second quarter, a tough passing interference call extended a Wildcats drive that ended on a 12-yard touchdown pass. Devin Fleming blocked the extra-point kick to keep the score at 13-6.
Another Indians’ four-and-out for the offense was followed by a four play, 43-yard drive that ended with a 23-yard touchdown pass and extra-point kick for a 20-6 edge before halftime.
The Indians had 151 yards of offense in the first half to the Wildcats’ 128 as Wright City took advantage of good field position.
Wright City opened the third quarter with a eight play, 57 yard drive that ended with a 15-yard touchdown pass. The failed kick kept the score at 26-6.
The Indians offense put together a solid drive after the score that unfortunately ended with Wallace being stripped of the ball near midfield with a return to inside the 20.
Two plays later, Wright City connected on a 20-yard touchdown pass for a 32-6 edge.
Wright City began marching down the field again near the end of the third quarter when the Indians gained some needed momentum when Householder intercepted a pass and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown. The failed two-point conversion kept the score at 32-12.
Two plays later, the Wildcats answered with a 29-yard touchdown run and a kick blocked by Adam Hombs, keeping the score at 38-12.
The Indians defense picked up two fumble recoveries early in the fourth quarter as Jacob Garner recovered one after officials missed what should have been a fumble recovery on the kickoff.
Michael Colson recovered a fumble a little later with 6:43 left in the game.
The Wildcats scored their final touchdown on a 75-yard run for a 44-12 edge.
Freshman quarterback Caden Wilburn then made the most of his opportunity in the lineup as he connected with Householder on a beautiful 43-yard touchdown pass down the sideline.
The failed two-point conversion kept the score at 44-18.
Van-Far/Community R-VI had 85 yards passing and 105 yards rushing for 190 total yards of offense. Wright City had 103 yards passing and 232 yards rushing for 335 total yards.
Barnes had six carries for 40 yards and one touchdown in the first two drives of the game before leaving with an injury. Garner had 18 carries for 51 yards while Householder added seven receptions for 66 yards and one touchdown.
Wallace completed 9-of-13 passes for 46 yards and two interceptions. He also ran the ball 13 times for eight yards with one fumble.
Wilburn completed 2-of-5 passes for 39 yards and one touchdown. He also had two carries for three yards.
Defensively, Fairchild led the Indians with 10 tackles, three tackles for a loss, one sack, and one forced fumble.
Garner had three tackles, a forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries. Adam Hombs had nine tackles and two tackles for a loss. Andrew Snodgrass added seven tackles and one tackle for a loss.
“Anthony Fairchild is continuing his very solid senior season on the defensive side of the ball,” Logan added.
The Indians are on the road again this Friday at 7 p.m. and will take on Clopton/Elsberry and their potent offense led by their junior quarterback who makes plays in the air and with his feet.