Following a close and disappointing loss to Kenton Ridge in Week 2, Indian Lake head coach Dave Coburn said his Lakers were getting a crash refresher course in Football 101: Blocking, tackling, turnovers, special teams. The first quiz was scheduled against Upper Scioto Valley in Lewistown Sept. 11.
“I’d give them an ‘A’,” Coburn said of his Lakers after watching Nate Kaffenbarger return both a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns and Cole Merritt rush for two more scores as the Lakers pasted the Rams, 49-3, in a non-league match-up. “I say ‘A’ because the execution was so much better in all of the areas,” Coburn continued. “And we won.”
This was the second straight Friday Indian Lake had less than ideal weather for a football game. The Lakers Sept. 4 game at Kenton Ridge had to be postponed until the following day because of thunderstorm activity in the Springfield area on game night. There was no in lightning in Lewistown Sept. 11, but there was rain aplenty, which Coburn admitted worked to Lakers advantage.
“Once (USV) got down, with our defense playing so well and the weather, it was too much,” Coburn said. “We didn’t allow them to get anything going.”
Merritt opened the scoring in the first quarter with an 18-yard dash to the end zone. Following the kickoff, the Lakers forced a punt, which Kaffenbarger took 80 yards to the house for his first TD. Joey Davison scrambled 17 yards in the second quarter to put the hosts up three scores at halftime. Indian Lake quickly added three more scores in the third – a 36-yard pass from quarterback Alex Jacobs to Joey Davidson, a three-yard rumble by Andrew Hulbert, and Merritt’s second TD run, this one for 38 yards – which finished off the Rams.
Upper Scioto Valley’s only score came on a 26-yard field goal by Trey Freytag in the fourth quarter. That score was quickly offset as Kaffenbarger struck again on the kickoff, this time catching the ball on his own 34-yard-line and taking to the house for the game’s final score.
The sloppy field conditions put a dent in offensive numbers for the Lakers as they ran for 224 yards on the night, with Merritt leading the way with 136 yards on just 11 attempts, but they made the most of what they had as Hulbert’s only carry of the night went for a TD, as did Jacobs’ only completion, the 36-yard TD pass to Davidson.
The Lakers will spend the rest of the football season playing Central Buckeye Conference opponents. Indian Lake is one few schools that has two games circled on its schedule year after year, regardless of the sport, those schools being Logan County neighbors Bellefontaine and Benjamin Logan. 2015 is no different.
The Lakers get their shot at the Chieftains this Friday, Sept. 18 at AcuSport Stadium in Bellefontaine. The Chiefs, who made the playoffs last year, have struggled mightily in 2015, going winless in their first three games, including a rain-soaked, double-overtime 6-0 loss to Urbana Sept. 11.
Tom Stephens is a regular contributor to this newspaper.