Prep football: Badin would love to challenge Alter like it’s 1999

Badin’s Andrew Jones (64), John Berg (50) and Ben Grawe (24) lead their team onto the field for the season opener at Ross on Aug. 24. Badin won 41-20. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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Badin’s Andrew Jones (64), John Berg (50) and Ben Grawe (24) lead their team onto the field for the season opener at Ross on Aug. 24. Badin won 41-20. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

The narrative won’t change until Badin High School’s football team changes it. And that is easier said than done.

The Rams are headed to Kettering to face Alter in a Greater Catholic League Coed Division crossover game Friday night at Fairmont’s Foreman Field, and Badin’s losing streak against the Knights is an even 20.

Sept. 24, 1999 … that’s the last time the Rams defeated Alter. Badin coach Nick Yordy was a college football player at Thomas More that fall. BHS senior lineman Andrew Jones hadn’t even been born yet.

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“All year we haven’t really taken any stock in streaks,” Jones said Wednesday afternoon. “We’ve had streaks against almost every team we’ve played. But this year we’ve been a forward-looking team. We look at mistakes, fix ’em and move on to the next week.”

Yordy, a 1997 Badin graduate, said simply, “If you’re worried about a streak, then I think you’re focusing on the wrong thing. That’s the least of our worries right now.”

For the record, the Rams’ victory in 1999 was a 14-7 decision. Justin Peters ran for both touchdowns and Joe Roberto kicked the extra points for Badin, while nose guard Lee Miles had 15 tackles and a fumble recovery. Ben Koller scored for the Knights.

“There will be a time when it does come to an end. Nobody wins forever,” Alter coach Ed Domsitz said. “We just always hope that it’s next year rather than this year.”

The veteran coach said he’s impressed with the Rams (5-2) and the success they’ve had this season. They have a two-game lead in the GCLC Central Division with three to play and are serious contenders in the Division III, Region 12 playoff race.

Of course, Alter (6-1) is in Region 12 as well, so these teams might see each other again in a couple weeks.

“It doesn’t surprise me that Badin is 5-2,” Domsitz said. “What’s impressive is that they’re doing it with some young kids too. I saw their freshmen last year, and that was a particularly good group. Badin is always physical. You know there’s going to be some bodies flying around.”

Domsitz said the Knights are dealing with more injuries this year than they have in recent seasons, but the wheels keep turning. Since dropping a 12-6 contest to Fairmont in the season opener, Alter has outpointed its last six opponents 274-54.

The ground game is keyed by sophomore Branden McDonald (6-1, 224), who has 823 yards and 13 touchdowns on 76 carries, and senior Lamar Landers, who has 433 yards and five TDs on 64 carries.

Adding to the Knights’ offensive potency is University of Missouri-bound senior quarterback Connor Bazelak, who is 60-of-99 for 853 yards and seven TDs. He’s also run the ball 35 times for 219 yards and four scores.

“We’re pleased with our progress. Our offensive line has come a long way since the first two weeks,” Domsitz said.

Jones, a defensive tackle and offensive guard, said Badin’s defensive front knows what’s coming.

“We’re up for any challenge,” he said. “We’re not the biggest guys, but we’ll bang with every single person in the GCL. This should be classic, old-school football. That’s the kind of football we love.”

The Rams will try to run the ball as well. Senior Davon Starks (122 carries, 720 yards, 10 TDs) and junior Alex DeLong (78 carries, 512 yards, three TDs) have led the green-and-white runners all year.

Badin was 5-2 last season and finished with losses to Alter, Chaminade Julienne and McNicholas. But Jones said these Rams have a different mentality and a work ethic to back it up.

“There’s some guys starting that I never thought would be doing this well,” Jones said. “That’s all just pure aggression and playing hard. Playing your heart out and just love of the game, that’s what it’s all about.”

Yordy took a couple tough losses from the Knights as a player, 28-21 as a senior and 14-7 as a junior. He’s dismissing any favorite or underdog labels for Friday’s game.

“I never go into a game thinking we should win or we have absolutely no shot,” Yordy said. “It’s a football game with high school kids, and you play four quarters. We’re in for a test on both sides of the ball. It’ll be interesting to see where we’re at and how respond to it.

“All of our goals as a team are still attainable. It’s a great thing as a coach at this point in the season to be able to sit there in the locker room with your kids and say that.”

Domsitz said the length and grind of the season will sometimes put teams “in a mental fog” at this point in the year.

“One of the most difficult things in all of football is to be up and ready to play mentally, intellectually and physically all 10 weeks,” he said. “I will say this for our team this year: We have answered the whistle every single week. There were times I didn’t think we prepared well during the week, but these kids have been ready to play every game, so I can’t complain about that.”

Friday’s game

What: Badin (5-2, 3-1 GCLC Central) vs. Alter (6-1, 4-0 GCLC North) at Van Buren Middle School, 7 p.m.

Where: Foreman Field at Roush Stadium, 3775 Shroyer Road, Kettering

Series: Alter leads 24-10 and has won the last 20 meetings, including 35-0 in 2017

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