The Wabash Apaches did something tonight that it hasn’t done in five years, finish a winning season. Head Coach Adam Handley is in his 3rd season with the Apaches. Each year his team has gotten better and better, and this year he set the goal for a winning season. “We could easily be 6-2, but we had a few things not go our way, or we turned the ball over and we are at 4-4 with a chance to finish he season 5-4 in our last game”, Handley said. It wasn’t only Handley who was looking for the win. “Me personally, I want to go out there and win. This has been a year where every night is my Senior Night. It is our last home game, and I am going to go out there and do whatever it takes to help us win,” Senior Bryant Boggs told me.
The Apaches knew Whitko’s offensive strength was their running back screens, and the Apache defense stifled the screen all night. Senior Defensive Lineman Cash Carmichael was a disruptive force in the Wildcat backfield all evening. Linebacker Isaiah Eis flew to the ball, containing the Wildcats Offense. “We have one goal, and that is to get off the field and get the ball back to the offense,” Senior Linebacker Keegan O’neill said. The Defense did it’s job and gave the offense the ball, and Handley’s quick striking offense took care of the rest. The Apache run game has struggled this year, which has put more pressure on the passing game to execute. The Apache offense was averaging 88 yards a game rushing, vs 229 yards passing. A few weeks ago, Handley made some adjustments to the running game, and it got into a groove Friday night. The Apaches finished the night with 217 yards rushing and 4 rushing touchdowns between Jr. Colten Learned (2), Sr. Cameron Green (1) , and Sr. Isaiah Eis (1). Sr. Quarterback Joe Leland found Sr. Wide Receiver Bryant Boggs for two touchdowns as well. Boggs and Leland have had a connection all year, and Boggs finishes the regular season with 896 yards receiving and 10 receiving touchdowns. “It just goes back to the years of playing together. We can look at each other and know what the other is going to do,” Leland said.
Another bright spot for the Apaches this year has been kicker Grant Carandante. Carandante’s kickoffs have been a weapon for the Apaches. His placement of the ball is spot on. It has allowed the Apaches to recover onside kicks, or puts it deep in a position for the Apaches to make a tackle without a big gain by the opposing team. Another incredible note that makes Carandante all the more impressive is that a dual sport athlete, he only had 45 minutes of practice each week with the football team. This past week was his first full week of practice with the team.
The offense and defense were clicking on all cylinders, and it came at the perfect time as they head to Manchester for the first round of sectionals. The Apaches accomplished their goal of a winning regular season,. The funny thing about goals are as soon as you accomplish one, there is another one waiting to be acomplished. The Journey starts next week at Sectionals, and the Apaches are ready.
Offensive Box Score:
Joe Leland: 9/13 for 167 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Colten Learned: 18 rushes for 101 yards, and 2 touchdowns
Joe Leland: 12 Rushes for 60 yards
Isaiah Eis: 2 rushes for 16 yards and 1 touchdown
Cameron Green: 4 rushes for 8 yards and 1 touchdown
Bryant Boggs: 7 receptions for 129 yards and 2 touchdowns
Antonio Grant: 1 Reception for 19 yards
Colton Learned: 1 Receptions for 19 yards
Grant Carandante: 5/6 PAT