A new era of football in Audrain County began last Friday night as both the Van-Far R-I and Community R-VI School Districts took the field for the first time in game uniforms to participate in the annual Jamboree in Monroe City.
Van-Far head coach Blake Logan was curious to see how his mixed lineup of first time players, players returning to Van-Far after missing time in recent years, and the few returners he has would come together under the Friday night lights.
At least on night one, his Indians responded with an energy not felt by Van-Far fans in some time as the Indians appeared to be the top team in head-to-head scrimmages with Monroe City, Schuyler County, and Scotland County.
“Overall, as a team, they surprised me, especially defensively because we haven’t had the numbers to go 11 on 11,” Logan said. “The guys are playing well and showing signs of hope and a lot of potential.”
Van-Far opened its night on offense for 12 plays against Monroe City as the scrimmage allowed both teams to play at least a dozen plays on both sides of the ball.
Though the Indians only marched 24 yards, they did have a couple of breakthrough plays. Devontay Wilkerson had a 15 yard run while quarterback Lucas Robinson connected with Wilkerson on a 11 yard passing play.
Logan Boyd had four carries for 10 yards.
Defensively, Brian Kurz recovered a fumble on Monroe City’s second play of their offensive series after Community R-VI’s Tyler Mays helped to make a play to cause the fumble.
Six plays later, Van-Far overcame a 15 yard personal foul with Trey Hull’s fumble recovery. The Indians held Monroe City to just 28 total yards of offense.
“The defensive line looked pretty good for the most part,” Logan said.
“Both (Brian) Kurz and (Brandon) Billings had good efforts getting push up front…For Kurz, you can tell the weight room has helped him out…Billings is a run stopper; a tough nosed kid that goes out there, loves playing, and it shows. Any good defense starts from the inside out.”
In the scrimmage with Scotland County, Van-Far struggled early as Scotland County took the ball 33 yards to the seven yard line.
Once again, Van-Far’s defense stopped the drive as Ethan Gooch recovered a fumble inside the 5 yard line.
Woodrow Jackson broke up a pass on Scotland County’s last offensive play.
The Indians took the field on offense and turned the ball over in four plays when a pass in the backfield was considered a live ball when it hit the ground.
Van-Far responded with a 24 yard run by Wilkerson followed by Robinson taking a bad snap and tossing the ball 18 yards to Boyd in the endzone for a touchdown.
Against Schuyler County, Robinson took a bad snap and scrambled 31 yards before Hull scored on a five yard touchdown run.
On the next drive, Robinson connected with Boyd for a 37 yard gain then on a three yard touchdown pass for a second score.
On defense, Van-Far linebacker Conner Albrecht had a sack for a loss of seven yards against Schuyler County.
Schuyler County did score late during the scrimmage.
Robinson finished the night with 81 yards passing and two touchdowns.
He also picked up 29 yards on the ground.
Boyd had 18 yards rushing and 58 yards receiving with two touchdowns.
Wilkerson had 69 yards rushing and 17 yards receiving.
Van-Far’s defense allowed 135 yards rushing and just eight yards passing in three scrimmages at Monroe City.
“I’m liking the linebacking crew; multiple guys stepped up and filled the gaps,” Logan said.