Fort Loramie coach Spencer Wells and the Redskins celebrate a 48-20 D-VII, Region 28 championship defeat of Convoy Crestview at Lima on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Photo: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Photo: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Fort Loramie football rallies around first-year coach

It didn’t take long for first-year coach Spencer Wells to make an impact on the Fort Loramie football team.

Wells emerged as the go-to guy following the resignation of former coach Whit Parks after a playoff season in 2017. It was the first head coach position for Wells, previously the offensive coordinator at Wapakoneta.

“They bought in right away,” said Wells, a football and basketball standout at Delphos St. John’s. “I thanked them for that because we really hit the ground running with our weight program. I had a lot of support from the community and the administration from the get-go. That really helped lead to the success we’re having right now.”

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The dream season continues when Fort Loramie (12-1) plays McComb (12-1) in a Division VII high school football state semifinal at Wapak’s Harmon Field on Saturday (7 p.m.).

In Friday’s Week 14 games, Alter (12-1) will play Norwalk (10-3) in a D-III state semi also at Wapak and Marion Local (12-1) is paired against Attica Seneca East (12-1) at Lima Spartan Stadium. Both those games are at 7 p.m.

The winners advance to the Week 15 state championships at Canton’s Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium Nov. 29 through Dec. 1. Following all the state semifinal results, the Ohio High School Athletic Association will announce one of the seven divisions that will play for a state championship on Thursday, Nov. 29. Three each will be held the next two days.

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Loramie is a small-school playoff regular, advancing to the postseason nine out of the last 10 seasons. But the Redskins had just three total playoff wins going into this season and had never advanced past the second round.

That all changed when Fort Loramie overwhelmed Convoy Crestview 48-20 in a Week 13 D-VII, Region 28 final last Saturday at Lima. That matched the three previous playoff wins and pushed Loramie’s win streak to 12. Only neighboring rival Minster, the D-VII defending state champ, defeated Loramie in the season opener. Crestview knocked out Minster in the Region 28 semifinals.

Loramie has been on a mission ever since that loss to Minster. Wells noticed a change in the Redskins by midseason, when practice “stepped up a notch,” he said.

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“Throughout the year, that’s been motivation for us. We’ve heard a lot of people talk about a lot of different teams and our guys just kept plugging away and getting better and better. Pretty much, every week since the halfway point I’ve said this is our best week of practice.”

Loramie’s first five opponents in the regular season were all playoff teams. The Redskins went 8-0 to dethrone Miami East and win an outright Cross County Conference title in their second season. Loramie is a long time member of the Shelby County Athletic League in all other sports.

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In the five games prior to Crestview, Loramie had outscored opponents 244-12. Led by linebackers CJ Billing, a senior, and sophomore Max Hoying, the Redskins have allowed seven points or less in seven games. Crestview snapped a three-game shutout streak.

Offensively, sophomore quarterback Collin Moore has accounted for more than 2,000 yards and senior running back/receiver Carter Mescher another 1,000 yards.

“It’s been a fun year and hopefully, we can keep it rolling,” said Wells.

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