Mercy rule enacted by visiting Orioles

Jason Ferguson

By the third play of last Friday evening’s football game against the visiting Lennox Orioles what was likely already going to be an extremely difficult proposition for the Custer High School football team became next to impossible.
That’s because on the second play of the game the Wildcats lost quarterback/safety Roland Sedlacek to a severe ankle injury, and on the very next play starting offensive lineman Clayton Maude exited the game and did not return.
Things only got worse for the Wildcats from there as the Orioles did what they wanted when they wanted in a 51-0 pummeling that was over by halftime due to the mercy rule.
“Losing Roland...he’s a valuable part of the program, and without him it’s rough,” head coach Dave Williams said. “He makes the calls on both sides of the ball (including in the secondary for the defense).”
Senior Connor Adams took over as quarterback for the balance of the game, with Williams saying Adams did well but wasn’t as prepared as he should have been, which he blamed on himself.
“Coach Williams is part of the problem,” he said.
The Orioles scored on their first possession of the game on a Carter Benning touchdown reception from Braeden Wulf. The pass covered 30 yards and was completed on a third-and-12 play.
Zacharia Rezac scored the Orioles’ next touchdown on a two-yard plunge up the middle, and Lennox scored again after a Wildcat turnover on a 10-yard strike from Wulf to Conner Eich.
Custer’s next possession ended when Adams was dropped in the end zone for a safety, and the Orioles took the ensuing free kick and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown to make the score 31-0 with 11:36 left in the second quarter.
Lennox scored again after another Custer three-and-out, this time on a 10-yard touchdown reception by Porter Ihnen.
While the Orioles were piling up points the Wildcats were unraveling, piling up mistakes—some of the personal foul variety—that had Williams calling the discipline of the program into question.
“Discipline is the whole key of this program,” Williams said. “When it gets to a point where players are feeding on negativity and doing things they shouldn’t be doing...I don’t know what to say.
“I know they are frustrated. I know they are mad. The discipline issue comes from them being frustrated. We have to regroup.”
Lennox made the score 44-0 with 6:13 left in the first half via a four-yard swing pass for a touchdown, and put the finishing touches on the game with a 10-yard touchdown run  by Corban Hanneman on the team’s next possession.
Custer managed only 19 yards and one first down in the game.
“I thought we could hang with these guys,” Williams said before once again lamenting discipline issues among both players and coaches, team youth and mounting injuries.
The Wildcat offense has been mostly nonexistent all season, and figures to get more difficult in Sedlacek’s absence. Williams said the team might have to switch offenses altogether.
“We just have to get it fixed. We might have go to something different,” he said. “We have to get it simplified.”
Friday the team travels East River again to take on the Vermillion Tanagers at 6 p.m. The Tanagers are 1-3 on the season and have a pair of common opponents to Custer, having lost by nine to Lennox and 33-0 to West Central.
Numbers are becoming an issue for the Wildcats once again with injuries piling up, although the team hopes to get Reid Saufley and Riley Willaby back from injury this week.
Williams said the Tanagers are another team the Wildcats should be able to compete with but must get things corrected for that to happen.
“We have to go back to the drawing board and figure out what we have to do,” he said.

User login