Badin’s Marshall Flaig (5) knocks away a pass intended for Jackson Gifford of Ross during their season opener Aug. 24 at Robinson Field in Ross Township. Badin won 41-20. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Prep football: Region 12 stakes are high as Badin braces for Chaminade Julienne

HAMILTON — Badin High School’s football team still hasn’t beaten the Alter Knights since 1999, but the Rams showed some competitive fire last weekend.

Alter fought off Badin for a 17-7 victory in Greater Catholic League Coed Division play. The previous two years, the Knights had won by a combined score of 83-0.

“Going into that game, we knew nobody really thought we had a chance,” junior cornerback Marshall Flaig said. “We just wanted to play Badin football, smashmouth, pound ’em, and we made some plays. Obviously the outcome wasn’t what we wanted, but I think we proved a little bit to ourselves that we can hang with anyone.”

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Rams coach Nick Yordy made it clear that he won’t celebrate a defeat, but he liked his squad’s effort and physicality.

“A loss is a loss,” Yordy said. “We’re not going to get too big on moral victories. We had a chance to be in the ballgame, and a couple breaks didn’t go our way. We learned from it, we moved on.”

Badin, 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the GCLC Central Division, has another huge contest Friday night against Chaminade Julienne (7-1, 4-1 GCLC North) at Fairfield Stadium.

Four GCL Coed teams are starting Week 9 in the top eight of the Division III, Region 12 computer ratings and thus would make the playoffs if they started this week. They are Alter (first), CJ (second), Fenwick (fourth) and Badin (seventh).

“Right now we’re thinking, ‘We win, we’re in,’ so it’s a big game for us,” Flaig said. “At the beginning of the season, we were thinking playoffs. We wanted to make a statement that Badin football’s for real. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

The Rams have already clinched a share of the Central championship. Their last league title and playoff berth came in 2015.

“We’re not worried about a league championship right now. We’re not worried about what happens with the playoffs. We’re worried about Chaminade,” Yordy said. “We know we’ve got a good opponent in front of us.”

The Eagles dominated the first five weeks of the year, then lost quarterback Ryan Minor, running back Marquis Henry and nose guard Marquel Henry because of the new Ohio High School Athletic Association transfer rule that allows players to participate in the first five games before sitting out the rest of the season.

Fenwick’s Ben Gustely (47) and Joe Perrotti (43) apply the pressure as Chaminade Julienne quarterback Luke Chandler fumbles the ball during an Oct. 5 game at Krusling Field in Middletown. Fenwick posted a 34-19 win. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ANGIE MOHRHAUS

Since the halfway point, CJ struggled to beat Roger Bacon 35-28, gave up 445 rushing yards in a 34-19 loss to Fenwick and fought off McNicholas 20-14.

Eagles coach Marcus Colvin said there’s no question his team has been affected by the loss of the three players, but he noted that CJ’s schedule has gotten much better as well.

“We knew the last half of the season was that gauntlet of the GCL,” said Colvin, whose squad has a Week 10 date with Alter. “It’s unfortunate that we lost those three guys, but I’m actually pretty proud of our kids. I think they believe that even though we’ve taken a hit at midseason, we can still make a good run here.

“We’ve had to be a little bit more inventive and creative in what we’re trying to do just to help some guys playing in positions for the first time. But we’re hanging in there. We’re also realists this week in that we know Badin’s a really good football team, and we know what’s on the line for them. I thought they met Alter fairly equally in terms of the physical nature of the game, and that’s pretty impressive to me.”

The Eagles’ three offensive leaders are freshman quarterback Luke Chandler (48-of-85, 613 yards, three TDs), junior running back Quincy Johnson (139 carries, 925 yards, 14 TDs) and senior wide receiver Dominic Wilcox (35 receptions, 644 yards, eight TDs).

CJ’s rushing defense, which got shredded by Fenwick, allowed just 48 yards on 25 carries by McNick, which has a pass-heavy offense.

Still, the Eagles defense didn’t give up a touchdown. The Rockets scored on a fumble return and an interception return.

“McNick did a good job pitching and catching in the rain, but I thought we played well defensively,” Colvin said. “We understand that Badin wants to run the ball. We have to do a great job of being gap sound and technically sound, and that’s something I just don’t think we really were against Fenwick. We really just laid an egg out there holistically. I think we’ll play better this week.”

The Rams’ ground attack relies on a quality line and the 1-2 rushing punch provided by senior Davon Starks (143 carries, 805 yards, 11 TDs) and junior Alex DeLong (86 carries, 524 yards, three TDs).

Defensively, Badin junior linebacker Evan Schlensker has a team-best 86 total tackles.

“No big plays — that’s the thing we go by here,” Flaig said of the Rams’ defense. “We need to make them drive the field, then hopefully we can make a play and stop them.”

Friday’s game

What: Chaminade Julienne (7-1, 4-1 GCLC North) vs. Badin (5-3, 3-2 GCLC Central) at Fairfield, 7 p.m.

Where: Fairfield Stadium, State Route 4 and Stadium Drive, Fairfield

Series: Dayton Catholic/Chaminade/Chaminade Julienne leads 29-21-2 and has won the last two meetings, including 24-22 in 2017

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