ftrecoveryatannaThis week, the Fort Recovery Indians are 2-0 heading into Midwest Athletic Conference play, and following their 54-0 blowout win over Waynesfield-Goshen they are only one of two unbeaten teams that remain in the Midwest Athletic Conference.  On Friday, they travel to Anna to face the 1-1 Rockets.  “It was definitely important for us to win our first two games, but more important I’m happy with the way we were able to battle some adversity and come back in our first game,” explained Indian head coach Brent Niekamp.  “We had some guys do a lot of growing up in that game which I think will serve us well in the future.  I thought our passing game improved from week one to week two and I also think we did a better job defending the pass.”

Last Friday, the Indians lit the scoreboard up for more than fifty points for the first time in four years as they piled up 355 yards of offense against the Tigers, while allowing a total of just 108 yards.  In the victory, Darien Sheffer and Kyle Schroer each scored a pair of touchdowns, while Kyle Timmerman rushed for more than 100 yards on 18 carries.  “Kyle Schroer has had a couple of good weeks receiving and he also had a nice kick return and interception return last Friday,” Niekamp praised.  “Seth Riegle has been pretty solid at linebacker on the defensive side of the ball.  This week we will have to be very disciplined both defensively and offensively.   Our quarterback (Darien Sheffer) has gained some valuable experience and will need to take another step forward, while our defensive line and linebackers know they have a major challenge this week .”

Following a 1-0 start to the 2013 season a couple of weeks ago, the Anna Rockets slipped to 1-1 last Friday with a 35-45 loss to the Brookville Blue Devils.  The Rockets trailed by 24 points when the teams headed to the locker room at halftime, but stormed back to score 21 points in the third quarter and trailed 31-21 as the fourth period got underway.  The two teams traded touchdowns in the final quarter, but it wasn’t enough as Anna fell by the ten-point margin.  Christiaan Williams scored four touchdowns for the Rockets in his teams’ loss.  In two games, Williams has run for nearly 500 yards and seven touchdowns while quarterback Josh Robinson has tossed the ball for 333 yards with a 59% completion rate.  Defensively, Wes Showalter leads the Rockets with 30 total tackles, two forced fumbles,
and two recovered fumbles.   “Brookville was as physical as any team we’ve played in a while – we came out flat and spotted them 24 points,” Anna head coach Bryan Rioch commented.  “To our kids credit though, we responded well in the second half.  We have the same challenge this week – our kids are stinging from the embarrassment of the loss and we will be motivated.”

While this series has been dominated by the Rockets in the past five seasons by an average margin-of-victory by over 35 points, both coaches understand that is in the past and Friday kicks off Midwest Athletic Conference play.  “We need to make Ft. Recovery one dimensional by stopping the run,” Rioch pointed out.  “We need to win first down and force them into passing situations.  Conversely, on
offense we need to establish the run, take care of the ball, and stretch the defense vertically and horizontally.  When you play in the MAC, records are irrelevant.  We need to be prepared to bring our A game.”

Niekamp added, “They have a good running game with Williams.  He is a big back who is a good runner and is a huge part of their offensive success.  Offensively, I think we need to be consistent – we’ve been able to make some good plays, but we have to continue to eliminate mistakes and keep the chains moving.”

by Robb Hemmelgarn