Prep football: Badin ignoring history, ready to take a shot at Alter

Bryan Henson is focusing on the here and now when it comes to Badin High School’s football team.

The Rams last defeated Alter in 1999, which was quite literally before his time, and the junior linebacker doesn’t see a lot of value in reviewing the past.

“I think that’s more of a spectator’s view of it,” Henson said. “We’ve got to come out and play. We don’t really need to look at the past. We weren’t even around back then.”

Alter (6-1) will carry a 19-game winning streak in the series with Badin into Friday night’s Greater Catholic League Coed Division game at Hamilton’s Virgil Schwarm Stadium.

Knights coach Ed Domsitz doesn’t spend much time thinking about the last 19 games against the Rams, though he hasn’t forgotten the last matchup at Schwarm Stadium. In 2015, Alter was forced to rally for a 27-22 victory.

“We’re down 19-0 and I was thinking, ‘My God, I wish I was someplace else,’ ” Domsitz said. “Some of those ballgames have been tremendous ballgames.

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“We always expect this from Badin: It’s going to be a physical football game. They never disappoint when it comes to that. Whatever you get from them, you’ve got to earn it. They’re not giving you much.”

First-year head coach Nick Yordy has brought a smashmouth running mentality to the Rams (5-2), and they’ve been pretty good defensively as well. They beat Carroll 31-0 last week after blanking Talawanda 46-0 in Week 2, marking the first time since 2005 that Badin has recorded two shutouts in a season.

The Knights will present a far greater challenge than either of those teams, and Yordy knows it.

“They’re good at what they do, and they’ve got threats all over the field … offensively, defensively and special teams,” he said. “When you’re out there against a team like that, when you’re in a position to make a play, you’ve got to make it.”

Alter is a bit more balanced this year offensively, something that’s not really good news for opposing defenses.

Junior John Bivens (6-0, 204) is a special running back with speed and power. Bivens has rushed for 850 yards and 13 touchdowns on 85 carries.

Connor Bazelak (6-4, 205) is the Knights’ junior quarterback. He’s completed 46 of 80 passes for 757 yards and eight TDs.

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“I think Connor Bazelak is one of the best passing quarterbacks we’ve ever had,” Domsitz said. “He can throw. He can run. He’s a tall kid, so he can see the field, and he does a nice job of reading progressions. You put his ability to throw along with John Bivens as a runner, and we’ve been able to do some things on offense.”

The defense has beamed as well, starting with senior linebackers Alden Simms (6-2, 198) and Lane Harshbarger (5-8, 190). Domsitz said senior end Brian Dalidowicz (6-1, 210) has blossomed over the past couple weeks.

Alter has outscored its last six opponents 279-47 after opening the year with a 13-12 loss to Fairmont.

“Really, we have played well all year,” Domsitz said. “We didn’t score enough points to beat Fairmont. As it turned out, Fairmont’s got a pretty decent football team, but the kids have bounced back. We did not want to let that first game define our season.”

Bivens is the GCLC’s second-leading rusher. No. 1 is senior Lavassa Martin, who has 937 yards and nine touchdowns on 90 carries for a Badin offense that doesn’t throw the ball very much.

“They don’t have as many formations or a great variety of plays this year, but they seem to execute,” Domsitz said. “They’re aggressive kids, and I see that on both sides of the ball. They’ve adjusted pretty well to the coaching change.”

The Rams’ top tackler is sophomore safety Marshall Flaig, who returned a blocked field goal (by Kyle Rosteutscher) for a touchdown against Carroll last week. Junior cornerback Luke Tabler leads the league with four interceptions.

“We’ve got a lot of big guys up front, and we’re just playing tough like Badin should be,” Henson said of the Rams’ defense. “The coaches have preached that all year. Do your jobs, play tough, play hard, make a mistake at a thousand miles an hour.”

Both teams are in Division III, Region 12 this year. The Knights are currently ranked fifth, the Rams 17th.

“I think it’s going to be one of those interesting ballgames in Week 8,” Domsitz said. “I see two teams that have a lot to play for.”

Badin trails 23-10 in the series.

“We’re aware of the history, but I told the kids we’re not going to harp on that,” Yordy said. “You’ve got to have a sense of belief that you can go out and compete and win a game, and I think we’re playing to the best of our ability right now.

“We’ve got guys dinged up like everybody else does, but if you’re not dinged up at this point of the year, then you’re probably not playing hard enough. But we’ve got no major injuries, and we’re ready to go.”


Friday’s game

What: Alter (6-1, 4-0 GCLC North) vs. Badin (5-2, 3-1 GCLC Central) at Hamilton, 7 p.m.

Where: Virgil Schwarm Stadium, 1165 Eaton Ave., Hamilton

Last year: Alter won 48-0

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