It will be a much-improved Windsor Greyhound team lining up across from the Orrick Bearcats Friday night at Simmons Field for the 7 p.m. kickoff. After back-to-back campaigns of 0-10 in 2005 and 2006, the Greyhounds improved to 3-7 two seasons ago and last year broke even at 5-5.
After falling to Wellington-Napoleon 45-14 in the season opener, Windsor has recovered by winning its last three outings – all in convincing fashion. The Greyhounds’ 42-6 thumping of Crest Ridge in the third week was the first time they put the turbo clock on an opponent since 2004. Last week, Windsor dominated St. Paul Lutheran 35-14.
“Since coach (Dave) Wanninger has been there, they have kind of resurrected the program and he’s had a lot of success,” Orrick Coach Pat Richard said. “They’ve co-oped with Green Ridge and getting that other school has helped them get more numbers. They don’t have lots of numbers this year as a team, but they’ve got a lot of quality. He’s got good kids and they play hard.”
Windsor’s offense has averaged 32 points a game this season with the help of new running back Skyler Belzer.
The transfer from Cole Camp has scored 8 touchdowns this season to go along with 564 yards on 42 attempts. He has filled the void left by all-conference running back Matt Madole who, after rushing for over 1,000 yards last year, has been limited to just 182 yards rushing in just two games played this season.
Belzer ran for three touchdowns and 154 yards in last week’s Homecoming victory. Richard said it will be key for his defense to put the brakes on the Hounds’ top runner.
“The Belzer kid has had a heck of a year,” Richard said. “He’s had huge runs and the tape we have on him shows him making a good long run against Wellington and three huge runs against Sweet Springs and Crest Ridge. He’s a playmaker and can go the distance anywhere on the field, so it will be a big focus for our defense to try and slow him down.”
Richard adds that another key for Windsor’s success has been the improved play of their offensive line.
“They only had one returning lineman from last year and you can see the improvement of them each week,” he said. “They look a lot better than they did in week one against Wellington, and Belzer is enough of a threat to where if they can just get a piece of you up front, that kid can go the distance at any moment.”
Meanwhile, Richard adds that his own team is now in the mode of improving each week.
Orrick came out last week and had 40 points on the board before you knew it at Santa Fe.
“I thought last week was a good game for us because we didn’t play with exceptional intensity, but I thought our technique got a little better,” Richard explained. “I thought we played better. We had talked all week about a five second commitment, with our linemen drive blocking for five seconds, and I think we got a lot more of that. If we weren’t getting five seconds, we were at least getting three and at that point the running back is gone.”
Although the offensive numbers were down, it was due to the Orrick defense coming up with four fumbles and an interception providing excellent field position.