It was one of those nights when everything came together for the Blanchester High School football team.
Last Friday night at Barbour Memorial Field against Fayetteville-Perry, the Wildcats blasted the Rockets 69-0 and dominated the game in just about every imaginable fashion.
“We had a goal of keeping Fayetteville under 100 yards and scoreless and we exceeded that,” BHS coach Brandon Sammons said.
The Wildcats defense held the Rockets to -10 yards rushing on 25 attempts and 19 yards passing on 6-of-12.
Brayden Sipple and Clayton Schirmer set BHS single season yardage records for passing (Sipple) and receiving (Schirmer).
And Blanchester clinched a share of the SBAAC National Division title with the lopsided victory.
“… On our turf on Senior Night, it adds to the special nature of the night,” Sammons said.
This week the Wildcats go to Lees Creek to face the East Clinton Astros. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. It’ll be Senior Night for ECHS.
“East Clinton is obviously struggling this year, but they are coming off a very close loss to CNE who is still in the playoff hunt,” Sammons said. “They have players and if they can put it all together (they) could really challenge us down to the wire.”
A fast start for BHS would help, Sammons said.
“We have to handle our business and really come out firing on all cylinders to set the tone early,” he said.
East Clinton enters the game 0-9. Blanchester is 4-5 with a four-game winning streak, after losing the first five games of the year. The Wildcats are 12th in the Div. V Region 20 standings but only the top eight teams advance to the post-season. It’s unlikely BHS gets enough help by defeating the Astros to move up four spots. A win among the first five non-league games of the season would have put Sammons’ troops in the mix for the post-season.
“The schedule can be worked a bit better to allow for some early success like our league foes are doing,” said Sammons. “CNE is still fighting for a playoff spot. Look at their initial schedule. It doesn’t look anything like our (schedule). I know they are trying to do something about those issues, so time will tell how that plays out.”
Sammons said the football program has plenty of good kids, but they’ll need to dedicate themselves to a productive off-season, listen to the coaches’ message and not allow others to derail their focus.
“The biggest thing is buy-in on the wholesale from the players,” Sammons said. “Too many guys don’t show up consistently over summer or the offseason, when they are not in another sport. Summer is the big thing. You see guys coming up with injuries and if they are there consistently, those little nagging things usually are stifled.
“From there buy-in to the message and not allowing outside influences to sway them is huge. Too many voices giving opinions instead of allowing coaches to do what they do without having to fight undermining and negativity outside the four walls of the locker room. Overall it’s a good group of kids but one or two incidents, issues can really get into the minds of young people. Football is the toughest sport in high school to do as a team. Kids have to have a mindset and keeping that sharp is a major priority everywhere.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports