Badin football ‘focused’ on task at hand

Top-seeded Rams face Wapakoneta in Division III regional semifinals

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

HAMILTON — Nate Ostendorf was being playfully mocked by a couple of his defensive teammates during an interview session and a break in practice earlier this week.

“OK, come on, guys,” he grinned.

The Badin High School senior linebacker — who leads the team with 102 tackles — shrugged it off, put his game face back on and finished up what turned out to be one of the Rams’ best practices of the season.

“We’re focused,” Badin coach Nick Yordy said. “We’ve got a great group of seniors. They know what’s at stake coming up. They’re fun to be around at practice. I don’t want this thing to ever end — and I don’t think any coach wants it to for that matter. They’re loose, but they’re focused. We’ve had some great practices recently.”

The state’s second-ranked Rams (12-0) square off against Wapakoneta (10-2) on Friday in a Division III, Region 12 semifinal at 7 p.m. at Greenville’s Harmon Field.

No. 1 seed Badin, the Greater Catholic League Coed champion, knocked off No. 5 Wapakoneta 16-9 in this exact postseason game a season ago when the Rams took a 13-3 lead into the half and were able to hold on.

“I know they’re coming for us for revenge,” Ostendorf said. “But coming out in Week 1, shutting out Hamilton was big time — a big story. Starting out the season well and continuing all the way through until now — we’re hitting our stride.”

Two potent — consistent — offenses collide against a pair of capable defenses. Badin has outscored opponents 383-129 during its 12-game winning streak, while Wapakoneta is outscoring its opponents 439-98.

The Western Buckeye Conference champion Redskins are winners of 10 straight. Wapakoneta recorded its fifth consecutive WBC title and its eighth league crown in the past nine full seasons.

“We’re taking it in stride — one week at a time. That’s kind of been our motto all year,” Yordy said. “We can’t look past anyone at this point in the season. We’re not looking at the future, and we can’t take anything for granted or expect anything. These kids know that. It’s really hitting home right now.”

Wapakoneta quarterback Caleb Moyer threw for 1,538 yards and 11 touchdowns during the 2023 regular season. His favorite targets are Grant Jolly and Kaden Page, who had a combined 95 catches for over 1,100 yards and eight scores through the first 10 games.

Running back Jace Knous scampered for 1,204 yards and 15 touchdowns for the Redskins prior to the start of the postseason, and on the defensive side of the ball, Reece Schnarre wrapped up a team-leading 92 tackles.

Wapakoneta knocked off Vandalia Butler 42-7 to reach Friday’s semifinal, while Badin beat Bellbrook 24-6.

“We’re excited to go up against them again,” Yordy said. “We’re just hoping to make a few more plays than they do. That’s what it’s going to come down to.”

Badin senior quarterback Alex Ritzie completed 10 of 13 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown a week ago, including a 76-yard TD connection to Carson Cheek to get the Rams rolling.

Sophomore Lem Grayson found the end zone twice and rushed for 90 yards in the win over Bellbrook.

“We’re a very aggressive team,” said Jed Ngoy, Badin’s senior right guard. “We’re a disciplined team as well. We’re just going to go into Friday and look forward to trying to get the job done.

“We know they’re going to give us a fight, but we know we’re going to come out just as aggressive. That’s the plan, and we’re ready for it.”

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