By Mark Ruschau
ROCKFORD -- There's an old saying that goes something like this: "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry."
Going into the second game of his head coaching career Friday at Panther Field against Parkway, Fort Recovery coach Brent Niekamp had a simple plan, control the tempo of the game and limit the number of turnovers, thus shortening the game, and hopefully his team would come up with a needed big play.
Niekamp's boys worked his plan to perfection as they trailed the Parkway Panthers just 3-0 midway through the second quarter, then things suddenly went quite awry for the Indians, as Parkway scored 13 points in the final eight minutes of the half to take a 16-0 lead en route to a 30-7 win in the Midwest Athletic Conference opener for both schools.
Parkway evens its overall mark at 1-1 while Fort Recovery falls to 0-2.
"After last week we talked about finishing the game and making big plays and that's what we did tonight," said Parkway coach Jason Henline. "We still have some things to clean up but we're an improved team and we're just going to keep getting better." "What we wanted to do was keep the game low scoring and control the tempo and we thought that was our best shot," said Niekamp. "We thought that controlling the tempo was the best way of keeping on an even keel and what happens, we get a couple of bad breaks and then we got a little bit rattled. Those are the type of things that we keep fighting through.
"I thought we did a good job controlling both sides of the line of scrimmage," continued Niekamp. "Those mistakes were what got us last week and they got us again this week."
Things looked good for Fort Recovery early in the second quarter as it put together a drive which it moved from their own 43 to a first down at the Parkway 28. Michael Trobridge was stopped on consecutive plays for no gain, but on third down disaster hit the Tribe as the snap from center went over the head of quarterback Toby Metzger and was recovered by Parkway's Jordan Thompson at the Parkway 49.
After being stopped on three plays Parkway punter Jason Fisher pinned the Indians at the Fort Recovery 22.
After two running plays gained the Indians six yards, Metzger was sacked for a nine-yard loss on third down by Nick Reigle. On fourth down, Bobby Rammel's punt was blocked by Mark Snyder and scooped up by Jordan Thompson and returned five yards for a touchdown to make the score 9-0.
After a three-and-out by Fort Recovery, the Parkway offense struck quickly as it went 69 yards in two plays with quarterback David Bell hooking up with Thompson on a 53-yard scoring strike to up the Parkway lead to 16-0.
On the ensuing offensive series, Fort Recovery moved from its own nine to a first down at the Parkway 42. On first down, Trobridge gained five yards on the ground. After an incomplete pass, Matt Tobe gained five yards and a first down at the 32.
After a delay penalty, Metzger hooked up with Tony Diller for a nine-yard gain to the 28, but on second down, bad things again happened to the Indians as Metzger was picked off in the end zone by Dallas Agner to end the half.
Unlike last week when they gave up a 13-0 lead in losing to Crestview, Parkway continued to play well as it added two more scores on a run by Josh Fisher and a Bell touchdown pass of 10 yards to Mark Snyder.
The Panther defense was solid as they were able to keep the Indians off the scoreboard until the final two minutes.
"I don't think we were as intense as we were last week," said Henline. "When it was time when we needed to step up we responded. We just need to get ready to play next week."
Long led the Parkway rushing attack with 87 yards on 18 carries while Bell was 7-of-10 without an interception for 146 yards.
Michael Trobridge led the way for the Indians on the ground as he rushed for 128 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown.