By Ken Barhorst
It was a first for Dick Roll, said the longtime Lehman coach.
He was talking about last week’s 35-30 shootout with Riverside that his Cavaliers won, and he commented “I’ve been coaching for 40 years and I’ve never seen or been involved in a game where both teams scored the first three times they had the ball.”
That’s how it went at Piqua’s Alexander Stadium, when the Cavs and the Pirates met. After a wild start to the game, the defenses took over, and when it ended, the difference was Lehman’s five successful PAT kicks and Riverside’s 0-for-5 on conversion attempts.
“Our coaches made some good adjustments and we were finally able to stop them,” Roll said. “From about the second quarter on our defense played extremely well, but we had a couple of turnovers that hurt us.”
Pulling out the win was huge for the Cavaliers because it was a good computer points game. When the rankings came out this week, Lehman was third in its region of Division 7, and with really only one challenge remaining in the last four weeks, the Cavs will likely still be playing in week 11.
The quest resumes Friday night when the Cavs board the bus for the long trip to Hardin Northern, which comes into the game with a 2-4 record. The two wins have come over Northwest Central Conference bottom teams Waynesfield (0-6) and Ridgemont (2-4).
Lehman closes out the season with those two teams, after the annual county battle with Fort Loramie next week.
The Cavs were forced to play much of the game last week without quarterback Elliott Gilardi, who was knocked out of the contest with a concussion. Roll said Gilardi could be ready to play, but with Fort Loramie coming up next week, he may not play Gilardi at all Friday night.
“He’s going through the concussion protocol,” Roll said. “I think he’ll be ready, but I don’t know if we’ll play him.”
In addition, running back Jake Earhart is again questionable this week. He played sparingly in the win last week, and if he plays this week, it will probably be much the same.
Roll said he was a bit surprised by Fort Loramie’s 55-22 win over Northern two weeks ago.
“I thought Northern was decent, and they are well-coached,” Roll said. “I think Fort Loramie was trying to prove a point. They wanted to set an example and they did. But Northern has a couple of kids that we’ll have to watch. They like to get the ball to their tight end.”
Roll calls this week “trap week” because Hardin Northern falls between Lehman’s two closest rivals in the NWCC in Riverside and Fort Loramie.
“We made some improvements last week,” Roll said. “I thought the line played well, and we got back to the standard they set in week one. We had great pass protection and good run-blocking. Now we have trap week, a game between two big games. So we have to be careful.”
Reach Ken Barhorst at 937-538-4818