One year ago, the Van-Far/Community R-VI football team found themselves on the wrong side of an 82-14 thumping at the hands of South Callaway.
While the Bulldogs did lose many of their standout players from 2014 to graduation, a recently tradition-rich program with a large coaching staff traveled to Vandalia last Friday night hoping for an easy victory.
This year’s Indians didn’t oblige. They scored the final 12 points before a completed pass on a two-point conversion was caught just out the back of the endzone and lost by only two points, 34-32.
Van-Far/Community R-VI did this in spite of entering the game with just 18 players dressed due to a recent injury bug that has hit the team. This includes being down five starters on both sides of the ball.
“Overall, I was happy with the effort put forth by the guys in a game in which so many impact players were unable to dress,” said head coach Blake Logan.
“We had some mental and physical errors that really hurt us but the resolve we showed coming from behind late in the game was something I was really proud of.”
South Callaway started the game by receiving a gift when the Indians couldn’t hold onto a bloop kick, giving the Bulldogs the ball.
One play later, South Callaway scored on a 35-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead.
On the Indians’ first drive, quarterback Parker Wallace completed two straight passes before throwing an interception on the Bulldogs’ 36-yard line.
The Indians’ defense responded as hit stopped South Callaway’s next drive on a fourth down inside the 30. Five plays later, Wallace connected with Barnes on a beautiful over the shoulder pass going down the sideline for a 59-yard touchdown play. The two-point conversion put the Indians up 8-7.
South Callaway’s rushing attack found a hole in the Indians’ defense with 29 seconds left in the first quarter as they scored on a 47-yard run. A successful kick gave the Bulldogs a 14-8 edge.
Van-Far/Community R-VI continued to show resolve as they marched 62 yards on nine plays before scoring on Wallace’s 20-yard touchdown pass to Barnes. A failed two-point conversion kept the game tied at 14-14.
The Indians’ defense began to struggle with South Callaway’s counter running attack as the Bulldogs scored untouched on a 28-yard touchdown run for a 20-14 lead.
Just before halftime, Michael Colson recovered a fumble on a broken up handoff to stop the Bulldogs on the Indians’ 14 yard line.
Van-Far/Community R-VI had 157 total yards of offense while South Callaway had 225 yards rushing and 235 total yards in the first half.
In the third quarter, South Callaway followed a 41-yard run with a 40-yard touchdown run in back-to-back plays. A successful kick push the Bulldogs up 26-14.
Van-Far/Community R-VI didn’t back down. Trey Miller gained 17 yards during five carries to establish the run on the next drive.
Wallace then connected with Jamie Householder on one pass for eight yards, another for 24 yards, before eventually connecting again on a six yard touchdown pass.
A failed two-point conversion kept the score at 27-20.
The Bulldogs responded with an 81 yard drive on nine plays as they scored on a 21-yard touchdown run. A successful kick pushed the lead to 14 points at 34-20.
Just before the end of the third quarter, Miller had a 16-yard run that was soon followed by a big 16-yard pass from Wallace to Klayton Haddock to keep a drive alive.
One player later, Wallace found Barnes for the third time on a 14-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion failed to keep the gap at eight points.
After the Indians’ defense forced South Callaway to put the ball from their own 39-yard line, the Indians started a potential game-tying drive on their own 19 with 8:21 left in the game.
Van-Far/Community R-VI marched 81 yards on 12 plays and scored on Barnes’ 19-yard touchdown run. Barnes had come in for an injured Wallace and scored on his very first play. Wallace re-entered the game and passed the ball to Barnes on the two-point conversion, but Barnes caught the ball just out of the back of the endzone.
South Callaway managed to hold onto the ball for the final 2:58 to seal the win.
Wallace finished by completing 13-of-26 passes for 211 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception.
“Parker Wallace played with much more confidence and made much better and quicker decisions with the ball,” Logan said.
“I also gave up some freedom/responsibility to make decisions at the line of scrimmage by making him read the defensive front. He did a very good job of putting our run game at an advantage by taking what the defense was giving us.”
Barnes finished with eight catches for 151 yards and three touchdowns. He also had two carries for 20 yards and one touchdown.
“Nick Barnes showed he is the best wide receiver in the area…” Logan said.
Logan also noted his physical and aggressive play in the linebacker position.
Householder had four catches for 46 yards and one touchdown.
Defensively, Anthony Fairchild had 14 tackles and two tackles for a loss. Joe Clithero added 10 tackles, Miller had nine tackles and one tackle for a loss, and Andrew Snodgress had one sack. Barnes finished with seven tackles.
“When he plays well, our defense will generally follow his lead,” Logan said about Fairchild.
Logan also said he was happy with how Miller is running with a low pad level and punsing tacklers on offense while doing a good job of taking care of his responsibility on defense.
The Indians will take on an 0-4 Montgomery County this Friday night for the Wildcats’ Homecoming game.
They run a single-wing offense and try to disguise their carrying of the ball.