A couple of back-to-back come-from-behind wins has put the Lehman Cavaliers back in the hunt for a league title and a playoff berth as they prepare for a unique Friday night this week.
The Cavs handed Riverside its first loss of the season Friday by turning a fumble into a score late in the game last week, and it vaulted them to the No. 9 spot in this week’s computer rankings in Division 7. The top eight qualify for postseason play.
“We rose to the occasion,” said head coach Dick Roll. “The biggest thing is that the kids played with emotion and played with some urgency. This is the first win we’ve had this season where the kids really showed any emotion, so I think they’re growing up.”
Now comes a much-anticipated game, since it was announced a few weeks back that Lehman’s Homecoming game would be played at Lehman High School, and not Sidney Memorial Stadium. That games comes up this week, when Hardin Northern invades Friday for another Northwest Central Conference game.
Portable bleachers and lights were brought in to make the game possible Friday night. The lights are already in place and the bleachers were moved to the field Wednesday.
It will be a four-day event, starting with a bonfire and pep rally Thursday evening. As part of the rally, Lehman will honor former coaches, including Chuck Asher and Dave McFeely. The son of the late Bob Heil, Lehman’s first coach, will also be present.
Friday will be the game, and there are more activities planned for Saturday and Sunday.
“It’s exciting, but as a football coach, I’m more concerned about us getting the job done,” said Roll. “All the stuff going on is for the people, the fans. Our job is to play football.”
The Cavs did just that last week in upsetting Riverside and raising their own mark to 3-3. Quarterback Stephen Monnin was the difference, rushing for 198 yards on 26 carries and scoring two touchdowns.
“Running is Stephen’s strong point,” said Roll. “Early in the season, we didn’t want to run him much because we didn’t want him to get beat up. Then he got hurt and couldn’t run, and that hurt us against Upper Scioto Valley and Lima Perry. But we were able to turn him loose last week and he came up big. I don’t think Riverside knew he was that good of a runner.”
Hardin Northern also comes in at 3-3, and Roll said it’s a program that’s on the rise after nearly folding the tents a few years back.
“They deserve a lot of credit for hanging together,” said Roll. “I think getting in our league has helped them and the longer they go, the better they’re going to get. This year, their style is similar to ours. Both teams will be trying to create mismatches.”
Reach Ken Barhorst at 937-538-4818