16 Demons to be honored on Senior Night
Is Washington football head coach Randy Schrader hiding a dangerous passing game?
If he is, don’t expect to see it when the Demons face Fort Madison, Friday at Case Field at 7:30 p.m.
Fort Madison head coach Todd McGhghy is convinced that Washington has a strong enough passing game to keep opponents from focusing solely on the running game.
“Their quarterback and productivity in the passing game isn’t there because they haven’t had to use it,” McGhghy said.
He said that once the passing game is unleashed, Washington will show its balance on offense.
“When someone starts locking down those split ends and throwing nine, 10 guys in the box, then you will see how good their quarterback is,” McGhghy said. “I think everyone respects him enough to take some of that away.”
Junior Daryn Sebelius has been untested, throwing just 65 passes seven games into the season.
The last time Sebelius was relied upon to move the football was a two-minute drill at the conclusion of a 14-7 loss to Pella. Since then Schrader is convinced the reps his quarterback gets in practice keep him sharp.
“We work on the passing game every day,” Schrader said.
Sebelius did toss a pair of touchdowns against Mt. Pleasant, which could be evidence of Schrader’s confidence in the passing game.
With how Washington has been getting out of the gate, it has been able to control the clock with a sound running attack.
“It is good to know at halftime that you are going to come out with a win, depending on what our second team does,” said running back Alex Coker.
Washington has outscored opponents 193-34 in the first half of games.
Overall it has outscored opponents by 205 points.
“That is a tribute to our coaching staff,” Coker said. “They really get us going on defense. They make sure that we swarm. If one guy breaks free we have enough guys to come up and make the tackle.”
Both running attacks are in the top 10 of the state with Washington having an edge at 2,064 yards to 1,747.
With two games left, Washington has clinched a playoff berth, but with two wins would win the District title outright.
“We want to set the standard for a lot of things,” Coker said. “Getting in the playoffs is one of them. We play hard and get our job done.”
Another indicator that the postseason is around the corner could be seen with the sweats and pants players were wearing at Wednesday’s practice.
“Oh, yeah, when you get in the playoff this is how it is going to be,” Coker said. “Dress warm and don’t let it affect you.”
Friday is Senior Night with 16 players set to graduate.
“We want to make sure it is a special night for our seniors,” Schrader said. “Take care of business on that. Then we have to travel to Centerville for an outright district championship.”
Washington continues to build depth in the back field. Instead of coasting to victory, running backs are fighting for every extra yard in hopes of getting more playing time. Junior Jacob Hennigan rushed for 68 yards on nine carries last week against Mt. Pleasant. He, Sebelius, seniors Tanner Knupp, Carl Sivels, Garrett Covington, Coker and sophomore Hansen provide depth.
“We have a pretty good stable of running backs,” Schrader said.
In Fort Madison’s last game — an overtime loss — it fell in the district standings. It now needs to win its last two and needs help.
“They were down 22 at half to Fairfield, they came roaring back, so there is no quit in them,” Schrader said. “They had 20 letter winners coming back; they have some athletes down there. They like to run the football; that is what they do.”
McGhghy sees a lot of similarities with Washington’s offense and the wishbone formation.
“Their shotgun diamond set is nothing more than the old-school wishbone,” McGhghy said. “That is 11-man football. You cause problems up front.”
Meanwhile Fort Madison has struggled with discipline issues on both sides of the ball.
“If things had panned out the way they should have, we would be looking at Washington as we got a pretty good shot,” McGhghy said. “Now it is tough to convince them that they have a shot.”