By Chris Chaney
The Williamsburg Wildcats notched their fourth victory of the season and first in two years over Southern Buckeye Conference rival and neighbor Batavia on Oct. 4, 48-26, thanks to a three-headed rushing attack that the Bulldogs couldn’t contain.
“It was a hard-fought game and pretty much everything that we expected out of Batavia,” Williamsburg head coach Scott Lefker said. “It’s definitely a rivalry game, most of the boys have known each other since they played together in pee-wee.
“Barring the penalties, we were really happy with the way that we played. We expected it to be physical and that’s the way it played out.”
A chippy affair from the word go, the two teams that reside off of Batavia-Williamsburg Pike combined for 32 penalties, costing them over 300 yards.
The game was tight through the first three quarters, with Williamsburg owning its biggest lead at 28-13 before Batavia answered with a KeShawn Foley to Shawn Adams 5-yard pass. At 28-20, the Wildcats left the Bulldogs in their dust, outscoring Batavia 20-6 in the fourth quarter.
“We felt like we surprised (Batavia) with our running game,” Lefker said. “We had a few new formations for them and we were able to get the ball to a few different backs.”
Junior running back Mason Hall led the way for Williamsburg, carrying the ball 22 times for 188 yards and a touchdown. Senior quarterback Lane Edminsten rushed 18 times for 115 yards and two touchdowns and senior wide out turned runner Cody Minnie rushed nine times for 95 yards and score.
“By getting Cody Minnie the ball in the backfield — he hasn’t been a tailback for us, he’s one of our wide receivers — he’s the fastest kid we have on our team and putting him back there was something that they didn’t have an answer for,” Lefker said. “They had to pick where they wanted to stack us. When they came inside with their guys, we went outside and vice versa, so it seemed like we could keep their defense on their heels.”
As for the Wildcat defense, Lefker’s group did what few other teams have been able to do over the past two seasons and that was to somewhat contain Foley.
“We did absolutely nothing (differently),” Lefker said. “We played the same defense that we’ve been playing the last four weeks. We’ve gotten the question, ‘what do we do to spy him?’ or ‘who do we use?’ or ‘how many guys do we spy with?’ We actually didn’t spy with anybody. We’ve played four Wing-T teams in the last four weeks and we felt good about what we had. We didn’t want to take one guy out of position just to look at their quarterback.
“I felt like our kids were up to the challenge. We might have been the only team in Clermont County that thought we could beat Batavia. All of our kids believed it and when it was time to play football, we showed up. We thought we had a better team and I think that showed up on the field.”
Currently, the Wildcats are 4-2 overall and 2-0 in the SBC, taking the driver’s seat into the final few weeks of the season in terms of winning a conference championship. Burg has back-to-back games against SBC-National opponents and finishes out their season with interdivisional games against Norwood and Goshen, which could dictate if the Wildcats earn a playoff berth.
“Our goal is the same as it was at the beginning of the year and that’s to win the league,” Lefker said. “We feel like we’re in a good position. We’re not going to take CNE or Bethel lightly. We know that they have struggled, but they both have good athletes and coaches and we’re not going to rest on laurels just beating Batavia.
“We want to win the league and go to the state playoffs and see how deep we can get into the playoffs. Right now, it’s just win every week, we’re not going to look ahead.”
Lefker said that the Wildcats will have to make some defensive adjustments heading into the final month of the season. With the Wing-T being the offense of choice for their opponents the last four weeks, the next four use a more spread-out offense with their passing attack as their weapon of choice.
“We’ve been up against four predominantly running teams and now we’re going into a stretch of four spread teams, so we have to change our mindset on defense,” Lefker said. “We need to make sure our athletes are in position to play the pass and our big guys are still able to play the run.
“Norwood and Goshen are our last two games and they both have quarterbacks who can throw and run. We’ve got to make sure defensively we’re set up to defend the spread offense, so that’s going to be key.”
A win over Bethel-Tate on Friday, Oct. 11 will guarantee the Wildcats a share of the SBC title and wins over Bethel and CNE the following week, Oct. 18 will give them their first outright league title since 2001.
Kick off against the Tigers is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Ken Osborne Field.