Badin High School football coach Nick Yordy is telling his players this week not to take too much stock in their early-season success against Bellbrook as they prepare for a playoff rematch.
The Rams beat Bellbrook, 17-7, in Week 2, but the Golden Eagles (10-2) changed quarterbacks since then and running back Seth Borondy caught fire after that to explode to 2,613 yards rushing over the last 11 games.
Badin (12-0) has evolved in perhaps less noticeable ways and built confidence during an impressive perfect season, but now the teams meet again in a high-stakes Division III, Region 12 final Friday at Trotwood’s Miami Valley Hospital SportsPlex with a berth to the state semifinals on the line.
Lakota West (11-1) is the only other area team still alive, and will meet Moeller (10-3) in the Division I, Region 4 final Friday at Mason.
“It’s tough to take too much from that (first) game because it was Week 2, and they are a totally different team,” Yordy said. “They’ve improved, but like I tell the guys, so have we. Their running back is an extremely good football player. He’s been carrying the load, with something like 700 yards in the last three games. We have to be aware of where he is on the field and try to contain him. They made a change at quarterback and went to a younger guy, but the starter is playing tight end for them so it’s not like they benched him. It’s a quality team in all three phases, and we’re going to have to come ready to play.”
In the first matchup of the season, back on Aug. 27, the Rams held Borondy to 87 yards on 23 carries. He scored his team’s lone touchdown, but that was the second and last time he failed to rush for 100 yards in any game. Borondy has rushed for more than 200 yards in all three playoff games, amassing 766 yards and eight touchdowns.
Yordy doesn’t find any comfort in knowing the Rams had limited Borondy’s damage. His defense played well enough in that game and has all season, but Borondy has shown more than capable of making things difficult Friday.
“I don’t feel good about anything,” Yordy said. “They get him the ball in a lot of different ways, as a wide receiver, fullback, halfback. He’s getting 20-30 carries a game or at least touches. You can’t focus too much on him. They’ve got a good fullback and their quarterback with some play-action has opened their offense up a little more, which has helped.”
Badin’s defense – led by senior defensive linemen Logan Neu and Hunter Harrison -- has been stellar all season, allowing just 8.3 points per game and posting shutouts in five games, including the first two playoff games.
Yordy has seen improvement in all three phases, though. The Rams have the ability to be balanced in the offense with Landyn Vidourek passing for 1,234 yards and 13 touchdowns and adding 865 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground while running back Jack Walsh has 1,438 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns.
“Special teams are playing well the past couple weeks, the offense had moments with a lot of penalties but cleaned that up, we’ve gotten more people involved and the defense week after week is playing hard and getting to the ball fast,” Yordy said. “Everyone is making constant improvement.”
“People know we have a pretty good defense,” he added. “It stands out on film, and we are going to need them this week with what Bellbrook has offensively. Offensively, we have to put some points up because Bellbrook can put up some points.”
Badin, led by a strong class of experienced seniors, has played in big games before and is hoping that also helps Friday. The Rams are playing in their second regional final in three years, but since the playoffs expanded last season, this marks the third straight time advancing to at least a third round.
“We have played in some big games and against good teams,” Yordy said. “Credit to our league, McNick is in a regional final as well, Alter, Chaminade those teams we play week to week. We get on a bus every week because we don’t have a home field. We have our routine and don’t change much during the week. That’s worked so far and we rely on it and hopefully it keeps us going another week.”
Lakota West is playing in its second straight regional final after beating St. Xavier in the semifinals to avenge a Week 1 loss to the Bombers, who had knocked the Firebirds out of the playoffs in this stage last year.
Now they face another Greater Catholic League South team in Moeller, which opened the season with a 42-27 win over Lakota East and suffered a 49-16 loss to St. X. The Crusaders beat Greater Miami Conference foes Oak Hills, Fairfield and Princeton to get to the regional final.
“We’ve gotten better every week, and hopefully we can keep this thing going,” West coach Tom Bolden said last week.