WAPAKONETA – In the past two weeks, Wapakoneta has gritted out two exciting victories.
The Redskins pulled out an incredible come-from-behind last second win to beat St. Marys, 24-22, in the final game of the season and then followed it up with another big win over playoff nemesis Trotwood-Madison, 24-21, in the first postseason game Friday.
In both games, the Redskins have had to rally to record wins and all while dealing with injuries and fatigue.
Now the bruised and battered Redskins must get up for its second round playoff match against Bishop Fenwick at 7 p.m at Piqua Alexander Stadium Friday night.
“The past two weeks we have been down in the second half and credit our kids for staying the course,” Redskin head coach Travis Moyer said. “ I think it has been a very resilient group that hasn’t buckled under pressure and continues to fight and scrap for 48 minutes. I am extremely proud of that.”
Moyer added that the team has needed players to step up as the Redskins deal with nagging injuries and points to players like Jeven Woodruff who made a big play against Trotwood-Madison to help the Redskins win.
“We can say that about a number of our guys, Moyer said. “Tyler Shroyer stepped up this past week. The thing we challenge our guys is you never know when your numbers is going to be called and you have to prepare yourself Monday through Thursday and if you go in you need to compete at a high level so I really credit those kids for their preparation.”
Moyer said his concern about his team is playing such high level of competition it has been both physically and emotionally draining for his squad and he said he has challenged his team to continue to grind as they prepare for Bishop Fenwick (10-2).
“We have to continue to grind,” Moyer said. “This is step No. 2 to goal No. 1 of winning a state championship and you are going to see great teams from here on out and great competition. It is us getting physically and mentally right each and every week.”
Moyer added that film study comes extremely important during the playoffs because of the lack of knowledge of their opponent.
“This time the year it is difficult because we are playing teams that we are not familiar with,” Moyer said. “At this point of the year you are doing the best you can in the amount of time you have to learn about the team you play, the league that they play in and their competition.”
The Falcons come into the game riding a six-game winning streak and their lone two losses came to state ranked squad.
In 11 games, Sully Janeck has passed for 1,952 yards and 18 touchdowns. Against Chaminade-Julienne in the first round, the senior signal caller has a crisp 14 of 23 for 190 yards and two touchdowns.
Senior tailback Jack Fessler is the Falcons’ top ground gainer with 1,737 yards and 24 touchdowns. In their first playoff game, Fessler racked up 64 yards and two touchdowns. Receiver Thomas Vogelsang has 38 catches for 741 yards and eight touchdowns.
During the regular season, Fenwick’s offense averaged 33.2 points a game and 223 yards rushing and 176.2 yards passing.
“Offensively they have the ability to spread you out and they have the ability to run or through the football which always makes it tough on a defense,” Moyer said. “It is going to be a huge challenge for our defense and we are going to have to do a good job tackling in the open field and keep guys in front of us.”
Defensively, the Falcons are giving up 18.2 points a contest and yield an average of 194 yards on the ground and 137 through the air.
Senior defensive back Henry Nenni is the top tackler on the team with 132 total tackles and one interception. Linebacker Leo Bell has recorded 108 tackles for the year.
“Defensively that have multiple fronts and are physical front and athletic on the back end,” Moyer said. “When we get an opportunity to make a big play we have to take advantage of that opportunity and to me the line of scrimmage is going to be critical on both sides of the ball.”
Division VI, Region 22
ATTICA SENECA EAST (10-1) vs. COLUMBUS GROVE (8-3)
at Tiffin Frost Kalnow Stadium
Columbus Grove won its first postseason game, 21-7, over Carey and now the Bulldogs set their sites on Attica Seneca East.
Riding a six-game winning streak, the Tigers are coming off a 33-9 win over Loudenville in their first postseason matchup.
Tiger quarterback Chase Foos has passed for 1,491 yards and 16 touchdowns with five interceptions. Spearheading the ground game is Blaine Swartzmiller who led the Northern 10 conference with 2,067 yards and 25 touchdowns. He is averaging more than 180 yards per game and against Loudonville he gained 255 yards on 30 carries and four touchdowns.
D.J. Ruffing is Seneca East’s top receiver with 29 grabs for 329 yards and one touchdown.
LIMA CENTRAL CATHOLIC (9-1) vs. MARION LOCAL (10-1)
at Wapakoneta Harmon Field
Lima Central Catholic is coming off an impressive 40-18 win over Covington in the first round of the playoffs. The Thunderbirds will have their hand’s full against a tough Marion Local squad who posted a 55-7 win over Spencerville.
The Flyers running back Nolan Habodasz had three touchdowns and quarterback Nathan Bruns through for a trio of scores.
Defensively, Marion Local held Spencerville’s vaunted running game to 110 yards on the ground. The Thunderbirds come into the game having rushed for more than 356 yards on the ground.
COLDWATER (9-2) vs. ST. HENRY (9-2)
at Sidney Memorial Stadium
Familiar foes face in the second round of the playoffs as Midwest Athletic Conference rivals square off .
Coldwater had no trouble in its opening round playoff game by dispensing of Cincinnati Deer Park 49-14.
Coldwater quarterback Jack Hemmelgarn was 14-for 23 for 215 yards.
St. Henry is also coming off a big first round win after beating Mechanicsburg 37-7. The Redskins rolled up 298 yards and limited Mechanicsburg to 116.
St. Henry running back Zach Niekamp rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns and quarterback Sam Lefeld was 10-for-12 for 111 yards and one touchdown.
During the regular season, St. Henry defeated Coldwater 28-10.