After an emotional home victory over long-time rival Wellington-Napoleon in last week’s Rumble on the River, the Orrick Bearcats turn their attention to their third road game in four weeks.
The Class 1 top-ranked Bearcats travel to Alma to meet the Santa Fe Chiefs, who are coming off their first victory of the season.
Orrick Coach Pat Richard is not worried about a letdown from his troops as they take aim on their 33rd straight victory.
“Not the way we played,” he said. “We went into Monday knowing the film wasn’t going to be real good and it wasn’t. We saw a lot of things to work on and we’re doing that. We’ve had a couple of great days in practice and I think it’s going to be a great Friday.”
The Chiefs have struggled on offense this season as they opened up the 2009 campaign with 50-14 loss to Knob Noster with the only two Santa Fe touchdowns coming late against the Panther junior varsity. The following week the Chiefs fell to University Academy 46-0 before entering the win column last Friday night with a 22-20 victory.
Santa Fe jumped out to a 22-6 lead over the Dragons, but a failed 2-point conversion late in the contest spoiled the Wentworth comeback effort and kept the game from going overtime.
Coach Richard feels the victory could provide a spark for the Chiefs.
“For them to get a big win and to get some positive momentum going into this week has to help them,” he said. “They are a young team that hasn’t won in a while and maybe that might give them a boost heading into Friday.”
The Santa Fe option offense is run by junior quarterback Ross Tieman, who also doubles as the Chiefs’ outstanding linebacker.
Senior running back Josh Livingston will also get a few carries along with Lucas Miller. When Tieman decides to throw the ball, he looks to wide receiver Cody Schmidt.
The key to the Santa Fe attack according to Richard is Tieman.
“You have to stop him,” he said. “He does such a great job of riding the ball to the fullback and then stepping around and making plays. Now they’re getting him on the edge and running a lot more speed option with him. He’s a good player and hopefully we can slow him down a little bit.”
No one has been able to slow down the Orrick juggernaut rushing attack that has averaged over 400 yards a game despite facing some 5-man, 6-man and sometimes last week, a 7-man defensive front. The Bearcats attempted just one pass in Friday nights 24-12 win over the Tigers, but Richard knows that his team will have to get the air game going eventually.
“I think we have to work the passing game a little more just because of the fact that when we have to throw, we have to be successful at it,” he said. “So these next two weeks, we have to work at it and hopefully we can improve.”
PHOTO: Logan Eubank led the Orrick ground forces Friday night with 185 yards in a 24-12 victory over Wellington-Napoleon. The Bearcats are averaging over 400 yards a game rushing this season. (Photo by JoEllen Black/The Daily News.)