- Mark Schmetzer Contributing Writer
The Badin Rams did themselves no favors in their pursuit of McNicholas in the Greater Catholic League Coed Central Division football standings with a 20-14 loss to Fenwick last week.
Rams coach Nick Yordy believes Badin (4-2, 2-1), one game behind the Rockets going into Friday’s contest at Carroll, still can glean some positives from the last-minute loss.
“We talked to the kids about it,” the first-year BHS coach said. “It was a tough loss. To be there and have a shot to win it — we felt like we were in pretty good shape. We just needed to make a play. We didn’t, and their kids did. We told the kids, ‘You can’t sit around and mope about it.’ We talked about worrying about ourselves, being focused on ourselves and executing going forward.
“These kids are good, tough kids They’re trying to use it as a little bit of motivation.”
Badin is averaging 304.8 rushing yards per game, led by senior Lavassa Martin — the GCLC’s top rusher with 826 yards and nine touchdowns on 78 carries — and junior Davon Starks (78 carries, 507 yards, six TDs).
“Badin reminds me of all the run teams we face,” Carroll coach Ben Rulli said. “It’s interesting to see a conference that used to be heavily oriented to spread offenses going back to running the ball on every play. The good news is we’re familiar with the game.
“It seems like their coach has it going on down there in his first year,” Rulli added, pointing out the balance of Badin’s attack with senior Kegen Rogers (61 carries, 386 yards, three TDs) also in the mix. “They have three running backs who are outstanding. They run the ball hard and then flip over and play great defense.
“We know Badin has a great ballclub, senior-laden with a great backfield.”
Rams junior cornerback Luke Tabler leads the GCLC with four interceptions on defense.
Carroll (1-5, 0-3), which edged Badin 21-17 last season after the Rams had won five straight in the series, has lost five consecutive games, the last three by shutout. That includes a 28-0 loss to McNicholas last Friday.
“We’re a young ballclub getting better every week,” Rulli said. “If you look at us a little deeper as a team, we’re a bunch of young kids getting experience. We’re investing in the future. We’re working hard and getting better every day. We’re just young, but the good news is we’re all coming back.
“Each unit is getting better every week. We’re coming together as a team. It might not show in our won-lost record, but we’re doing things different than in Week 1. Our defensive line is getting better week-to-week. The first couple of weeks, they were struggling. Last week, in the second half against McNicholas, they played tremendously. Our defense is carrying us. We only gave up seven points in the second half.”
That’s what Yordy sees on video.
“They’re not a bad football team,” he said. “In the GCL, you’re going to face a quality opponent every week. We’ve got a lot of respect for Carroll. If we don’t go out and play to our ability and execute, we’re going to be in a football game. They’ve been in games the past couple of weeks. They’re right there.
“They’ve got a pretty good front. Their defensive line is good. They’ve got some size up front and some athletic kids who move well. We’ve got to know our assignments. Their defensive line is worrisome. They run the spread offense. They’re running the ball and throwing the ball. They’ve got a pretty balanced attack. We’ve got to make sure we’re coached up.”