Saturday, October 11th, 2008
Redskins hold off Indians' comeback
By Randy Bruns
FORT RECOVERY - The St. Henry Redskins rocketed out to a fast start on offense and held on for dear life in the second half for a 37-21 victory over the Fort Recovery Indians on Friday night at Barrenbrugge Field.
The win snaps St. Henry's three-game losing streak and puts the Redskins at 5-3 overall and 3-3 in the Midwest Athletic Conference. Fort Recovery falls to 3-5 on the year and 1-5 in league play.
The Redskins built up a seemingly insurmountable 31-0 advantage early in the second half but they had to batten down the hatches from that point on against the high octane Indians passing attack.
Indians quarterback Greg Kahlig had a big numbers night, as the junior hit on 27 of his 55 pass attempts for a school-record 401 yards. Senior receiver Frank Thien also got into the record-breaking act with 180 receiving yards to top the old mark of 160.
The Redskins got on the board on their first possession of the night after driving quickly down the field. An incompletion finally stalled the drive, but Jon Speck came on to boot a 23-yard field goal to start the scoring.
It didn't take nearly as long to score the next time the visitors got the ball. After a short run, quarterback Brad Stahl found Jordan Post downfield and hit him with a perfect pass that resulted in a 45-yard touchdown. The two classmates hooked up again later in the first half, this time on a hitch-and-go route that ended in a 25-yard scoring strike.
Stahl wasn't finished, though, and engineered another laser-quick scoring drive late in the half. This time his favorite target was Victor Fortkamp, as the junior moved the sticks with a15-yard reception and two plays later hauled in a 65-yard heave from Stahl and didn't stop until he found paydirt.
St. Henry started the second half much like it finished the first. Nick Rindler returned the kickoff 47 yards, and on the first offensive play, Brent Prenger sprinted 35 yards for a touchdown that made the score 31-0 just 28 seconds into the second half.
Though the score was lopsided, the Indians' passing game made the second half interesting. After throwing an interception in Redskins territory on the Indians' first drive, Kahlig found his groove on his next crack behind center.
A 39-yard touchdown pass to Craig Tobe got the Fort Recovery end zone cannon booming midway through the third, and on the next drive, Kahlig hit Thien on a 52-yard gainer down to the one-yard line. The signal caller then snuck in for a score, and though the point-after failed, the home fans had some hope.
Midway through the fourth quarter the hosts converted consecutive fourth-down plays to continue the momentum, but St. Henry's Josh Schneider came up with a big play that put the kibosh on Fort Recovery comeback hopes. The senior defensive back intercepted a batted Kahlig pass and hauled it back 46 yards for a touchdown that put the visitors back up by 24 points and effectively put an end to the contest.
Though the final score doesn't show it, a quick look at the statistical summary for this game shows a close affair. The Indians actually outgained the Redskins by a hair (409 yards to 395) and also had more first downs (24 to 17). It was the visitors' big plays that made the difference, however, as four of their scores came on plays of 25 yards or more.
"We talked all week about what we would need to do to have a shot," said Fort Recovery coach Brent Niekamp. "We had to control the ball when we had it, but we also knew we could not allow them to have big plays and that was the difference. They made some plays in the first half and we didn't so my hat's off to them."
St. Henry coach Jeff Starkey was heartened by his squad's early offensive prowess but wasn't too impressed by their second-half play.
"We came out and played well on defense and then we hit some big plays on offense," said Starkey. "But it's been the story of team this year - we had too many ups and downs and we couldn't play at that level for four quarters. We have to make some plays on third down and we're not making enough of them."
Both teams will hit the road for MAC games on Friday. St. Henry will head north for a big computer-points game with Delphos St. John's, while Fort Recovery travels east on State Route 119 to take on the Marion Local Flyers.