FORT LORAMIE – After just missing the playoffs the last two seasons, the Fort Loramie Redskins are off to their best start in their brief history. Now, if they can just finish the same way.
In 2005, their inaugural varsity season, the Redskins dropped three of their final four games to finish 5-5 and 10th in Division VI, Region 24. Last season, Loramie lost two of its final three to end up 7-3 and ninth in Region 24. Is this the year the Redskins break through? Could be. But don’t ask Loramie coach Jon McCumber where his Redskins sit in Region 24. He’s not looking — or talking — playoffs.
“(Postseason) the evilest of all evil words,” McCumber said. “I admit I got sucked into that last year and look what happened. I don’t want anything to do with that word until Week 11.”
For the record, the Redskins — who play an independent schedule — are sixth in Region 24. They could jump a spot or two with a big win Friday. Loramie (3-0) faces its biggest challenge this season at Ada (2-1). Bulldogs quarterback Zac Dysert, the defending D-VI offensive player of the year and Miami University verbal commitment, guides the quick-strike offense against a Redskins’ defense prone to giving up such plays.
“Unfortunately that’s the bread and butter of Ada,” McCumber said. “There’s different ways you can go about erasing one kid. I’d like to sit here and say that’s all (Ada) has, but it’s not.”
The Redskins certainly have the potential to keep up with Ada. Quarterback Jay Schulze has favorite targets in Tyler Rose and Kyle Gasson and the ground game is balanced with Mitch Westerheide, Derek Barhorst and Mitch Raterman. Tregg Barga and Nathan Brandewie anchor the line on an offense averaging 47 points. The names are mostly the same on defense, which allows 24 points, with just 39 kids out.
“That’s fine with me. Those are the toughest 39 kids in school,” McCumber said.
It’s easy to see where the players get it. During last week’s 32-27 win over Dixie, Loramie’s fans stuck out a 90 minute rain delay.
“We had about 200 people take a Greyhound bus and RVs and follow us to the game,” McCumber said. “All those people stayed. That mentality, never give up, it filters down to the kids. It was those fans that right after we won we went over and thanked them. It comes down to those parents. You started it and you finish it.”
That’s exactly what the Redskins are trying to do in 2007. What started with a 43-12 win over Minster (its first in three tries) Loramie hopes doesn’t end in Week 10 against D-II Canton Timken. The win over backyard-rival Minster, a Midwest Athletic Conference team, was reason for increased optimism. But it also came with a price for McCumber. That dreaded playoff word appeared.
“Someone asked me about that after the freakin’ Minster game,” McCumber said. “You just can’t tell right now. So many people (around the state) are living fictitious dreams of making the playoffs. … We have a schedule where teams bring great athletic talent to the field. All it takes is one night and you’re sitting at home Week 11.”