Prep football: Badin, Fenwick look to make noise in GCL Co-Ed

Fenwick's Logan Miller runs the ball during their football game against St. Francis DeSales Friday, Sept. 27 at Bishop Fenwick High School. St. Francis DeSales won 42-22. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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Fenwick's Logan Miller runs the ball during their football game against St. Francis DeSales Friday, Sept. 27 at Bishop Fenwick High School. St. Francis DeSales won 42-22. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

During a 2020 high school season filled with upheaval even before the first game, George Moore figures the best way to approach his first season as Fenwick’s coach is to try to keep normal as much as he can.

That includes keeping the same attitude when it comes to making the state playoffs. Sure, no matter how many games they play, every team qualifies this season. That doesn’t mean teams should take the regular season lightly.

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“Honestly, we’ll go about it the same way,” the Falcons’ coach said by telephone on Monday. “Typically, you have to worry about the (Harbin) computer points, but there’s still a sense of urgency, because you want a better playoff position. You don’t want to be playing the top-seeded team in the first round.

“With everything that’s going on, you never know when you’re last game is guaranteed, so you have to play every game like it’s your last one.”

Adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ohio High School Athletic Association mandated a six-game regular season with every team qualifying for the playoffs in 2020. Some school districts decided to cancel fall sports seasons, which left other teams and leagues scrambling to fill schedules.

Moore previously was Fenwick’s softball coach, so he felt first-hand the virus’ impact when spring sports were shut down. He’s also witnessed up close and personal how participating in sports can help impressionable teenagers weather the coronavirus storm.

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“That’s something I’ve preached,” said Moore, whose team is scheduled to open the season with a non-conference game against Edgewood on Friday. “I’m no doctor. I’m no psychologist, but I read as much as anybody about what’s going on. I know suicide and depression are on the rise for people in the (age) 0-24 category. Human beings aren’t built for isolation, especially high school kids. I think playing football provides a sense of structure and discipline they’re not always going to find at home.

“Still, it’s just weird,” he added. “Never in my life did I think something like this would happen. I understand the gravity of it. I never thought we’d be dealing with it in the fall.”

‘A whole lot of expectations'

Badin has seven all-league players returning from a team that finished 9-4 overall and 4-1 in the league, tying Chaminade-Julienne for the championship. The Rams lost their regular-season game to the Eagles, but still reached the Division III regional final. They open their season with a non-conference game at neighborhood-rival Ross on Friday.

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“We return quite a bit on defense, which is good, but we’ve got to replace some pretty good football players on offense,” said Badin coach Nick Yordy, the 2019 Greater Catholic League Co-Ed Coach of the Year. “We have a whole lot of expectations. We’re excited to see how it turns out.”

Yordy admits that never thought about reaching out to coaching acquaintances in Indiana or Kentucky about how to handle a season during which every team qualifies for the playoffs.

“Actually, that’s a really good idea,” he said. “There’s been so much going on that I figured we’d worry about that as we got closer to it. We’ll figure out how the basketball and baseball coaches do it. It’s a foreign area. We just want to get through these six weeks.”

The Rams open the season Friday night at Ross.

5 Players To Watch

Clay Badylak, senior, QB, McNicholas – Finished second in the league with 1,649 passing yards in 2019.

Jayden Carter, senior, DL, Badin – First-team all-league as a junior in 2019.

C.J. Hicks, junior, LB, Alter – Four-star recruit is an Ohio State University commit

Logan Miller, senior LB, Fenwick – Led the league with 109 tackles in 2019.

Landyn Vidourek, junior, QB, Badin – Won three-way competition for starting quarterback job with Rams, replacing Zach Switzer, who finished third in the GCLC with 1,453 passing yards last season.

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