Prep football: Badin-Fenwick ‘a great way’ to get GCLC play started

Fenwick’s Jack Fessler cuts through the Clinton-Massie defense during last Friday night’s game at Krusling Field in Middletown. C-M held on for a 21-18 victory. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ANGIE MOHRHAUS

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Fenwick’s Jack Fessler cuts through the Clinton-Massie defense during last Friday night’s game at Krusling Field in Middletown. C-M held on for a 21-18 victory. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ANGIE MOHRHAUS

First-year Fenwick High School football coach Dan Haverkamp has followed the Greater Catholic League and all of its divisions since he was a young boy, so the GCL Coed rivalry between his Falcons and Badin isn’t completely new to the former St. Xavier player and assistant.

Haverkamp said the matchup Friday at Fenwick is a “great way” to open his first GCLC season.

Both teams started the year 2-0, but are looking to bounce back from losses in Week 3. The Falcons are coming off a 21-18 defeat at the hands of Clinton-Massie, while the Rams suffered a 35-10 loss to Edgewood last week.

“I’m excited to get GCL play going,” said Haverkamp, who lived across the street from GCLC school McNicholas when he was young. “It’s a great way to get started and set the standard for the GCL because it’s going to be a good one.”

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Fenwick has won the last five meetings with Badin, and the Rams are looking to reverse that trend. None of the current players have experienced a win against the Falcons, but came close last season in a 20-14 decision.

The Rams finished 5-5 overall last year and 3-4 in the league, while Fenwick was 6-4 and 5-2.

“We try not to get too caught up in stats and records and things like that, but I think the kid are aware of it,” second-year Badin coach Nick Yordy said of the five-game losing streak against the Falcons. “We’re still just focusing on ourselves and eventually that will take care of itself.”

Badin struggled with turnovers last week and couldn’t get its running game going against a stout Edgewood team.

Yordy said cleaning up those mistakes will be important against Fenwick.

“This week we talked a lot about limiting the mistakes we make, the unforced errors,” Yordy said. “You can’t have those and expect to beat good teams like Fenwick. We’ve got to go out and perform. We have to establish the running game. Badin has had a lot of success in the past running the football, and that’s what we need to do a little better.”

Rams quarterback Zach Switzer is a capable passer, but Badin’s offense had just 81 yards rushing last week, led by running back Davon Starks’ 37 yards.

Fenwick had a strong defensive performance last week against Massie and will be looking to repeat that this week, but Haverkamp hopes to see the offense come together as well.

“The offense and defense have flashed potential,” Haverkamp said. “Our offense was strong the first week (in a 42-27 win over Anna), and the defense was strong last week, but now we look to put those two pieces together and play complete games against GCLC opponents. We’ve got to have all sides of our ball clicking.”

Fenwick is running a spread offense under Haverkamp, a veer from the traditional Wing-T offense of the Falcons’ past, but he said players have adapted well, and the offense fits the personnel with the talented receivers on the roster and a capable passer in quarterback Sully Janeck.

The Falcons still run the ball, but want to make opponents choose whether to take away the pass or the run.

“They are very diverse offensively,” Yordy said. “They are running team historically, but their quarterback is able to throw and maneuvers well in the pocket. They are a little wishbone, but also open up and spread — they do a lot of formations and looks. On defense, we have to be really disciplined and focused every play. Defensively, they do a good job preventing the big play, so the key for us will be to sustain drives.

“It’s a good rivalry game. Last week, we wanted to see where we were as a team before getting into league play, and we didn’t execute well. Hopefully, we’ve got those things cleaned up and we’ll be ready to go.”

Friday’s game

What: Badin (2-1) at Fenwick (2-1), 7 p.m.

Where: Krusling Field, 4855 State Route 122, Middletown

Series: Hamilton Catholic/Badin leads 17-8, but Fenwick has won the last five meetings, including 20-14 in 2017

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