Badin High School’s football team is hoping to continue its resurgence this fall.
The Rams were a competitive 5-5 in Nick Yordy’s first season at the helm last year after going 2-8 in 2016, and Yordy likes the progress he’s seeing.
“The kids continue to buy into what we’re doing,” he said. “We had a good offseason, the kids were putting extra work in, and we’re expecting to see continuous improvement. We’re not going to get caught up with wins and losses. I think we made a good step in the right direction last year. Now it’s about building on that.”
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Badin did lose halfback Lavassa Martin, who set a single-season school record with 1,441 rushing yards in 2017. But the Rams have a considerable amount of experience this year.
Yordy said the battle for the starting quarterback position is ongoing. Junior Zach Switzer (6-5, 185) and sophomore Bobby Young (5-11, 170) are hoping to replace the graduated Jordan Flaig. Switzer saw a little bit of action last season, completing 4 of 9 passes for 58 yards.
“They both do some different things,” Yordy said. “We’re going to wait until the next scrimmage (at Little Miami on Thursday night) to make the final decision. We’re going to make them compete, and I think that helps them with being locked in and focused.”
The Rams might throw the ball a little more this year with either QB, though don’t look for Air Yordy to take flight.
“I think we have the potential to throw the ball more,” Yordy said. “There were games last year where we only threw two passes, and there’s nine guys in the box. Now I think we have the ability to where if they’re going to put nine guys in the box, we’re able to counter that a little bit by throwing the ball.
“But for us to be successful — and I said it last year — we have to continue to run the football. We have to win time of possession. We want to get first downs and keep the clock rolling.”
Senior halfback Davon Starks (5-11, 170) has shown big-play explosiveness the last two seasons, though he didn’t finish either because of a heart issue and a broken collarbone.
Starks will be the primary back in Badin’s wishbone/double-wing offense, and senior Luke Tabler (5-11, 155) and junior Alex DeLong (5-10, 160) are also in the halfback mix.
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Senior Ethan Wishart (5-9, 190) is the most experienced fullback, with sophomore Dallas Rawlings (5-8, 165) also competing there. Yordy said keep an eye on junior Keegan Gormley (6-2, 205) at fullback and linebacker — he’s a transfer from St. Xavier who has to sit out the first three games.
“We’re excited he’s here,” Yordy said of Gormley, who came to Badin after the first quarter last year. “Once he has the opportunity, I think he’s going to get out there and make some plays.”
Juniors Marshall Flaig (6-1, 165) and Josh Hegemann (5-9, 140) look to be the leading wide receivers.
Up front, senior center Dylan Schmitt (6-0, 260), senior guard Andrew Jones (6-0, 235), senior tackle Jackson Mills (6-4, 225) and senior tight end Grayson Taylor (6-0, 235) are returning starters.
Junior Nathan Schuster (6-3, 240) is the leading candidate for one of the tackle spots. Senior Bryan Henson (5-11, 200), junior Tony Fagundes (6-0, 195) and junior Evan Schlensker (6-0, 175) are battling for a guard position.
“The offensive line has gotten stronger this offseason,” Yordy said. “I think we can do more pulling stuff with those guys up front. Last year, we were more of a power team.”
The Rams’ 4-4 defense has all three starters (Flaig, Tabler and Starks) back in the secondary. DeLong and Hegemann are quality DBs as well.
Inside linebackers Henson, Wishart and Schlensker return. The outside backers include junior Ethan Hurst (5-8, 150), senior Brady Rolfes (5-11, 160) and sophomore David Schweinefuss (6-3, 190). Young could play outside linebacker or in the secondary.
On the line, Taylor and Jones are back as ends, Mills is an experienced tackle, and Schmitt and Schuster are nose guards. Senior John Berg (6-2, 210), junior Emari Smiley (5-10, 180) and sophomore Jayden Carter (6-1, 190) are competing for time as well.
Senior soccer player Luke VanSteenkiste (5-10, 165) will do the place-kicking. He’s also among the punting group that includes junior Rocky Anzalone and Gormley.
“We’ve got a good group of skilled guys offensively and defensively from 10th grade up to the 12th grade,” Yordy sad. “Some of those sophomores are probably going to have to step up a little bit and show that they can play the game.”
Coach: Nick Yordy, second season (5-5)
OHSAA designation: Division III, Region 12
Playoff history: 22-21 in 22 appearances (1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015)
2017 record: 5-5 overall, 3-4 in the Greater Catholic League Coed Central Division (second)
Schedule: Aug. 24 — at Ross, 7 p.m.; Aug. 31 — vs. Talawanda at Hamilton, 7 p.m.; Sept. 7 — at Edgewood, 7 p.m.; Sept. 14 — at Fenwick, 7 p.m.; Sept. 21 — at Roger Bacon, 7 p.m.; Sept. 28 — vs. Carroll at Hamilton, 7 p.m.; Oct. 6 — vs. Purcell Marian at Monroe, 7 p.m.; Oct. 12 — vs. Alter at Fairmont, 7 p.m.; Oct. 19 — vs. Chaminade Julienne at Fairfield, 7 p.m.; Oct. 26 — vs. McNicholas at Hamilton, 7 p.m.