By ANDY WOLF
After the ball slipped out of Jayden Stanton’s hand, Toledo Waite’s Anthony Ashford stepped in front of Stanton’s target, intercepted the pass and raced 35 yards the other way for a quick score.
Stanton, a Fostoria High School sophomore, was able to shake off the mistake and still impress first-year coach Derek Kidwell by making consistent reads in a scrimmage against the Indians Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
“Jayden is extremely coachable, learning a new offense at an rapid pace,” Kidwell said of the spread offense he is installing. “I was pleased with how he looked today. We have to be able to run the ball with our running backs more than we were able to today.”
No official score was kept between the teams, but the first-string Redmen offense was unable to reach the end zone in both offensive sessions outside of the red zone scenarios.
Waite scored two touchdowns in the first session — the first on Ashford’s pick-six and the second on a 15-yard keeper by quarterback Jeremy Pratt — in which down and distance was not kept.
Neither team’s first stringers were able to score during the second session with down and distance being kept.
M.C. Harris also intercepted an underthrown pass by Stanton in the first session.
Despite the lack of touchdowns, the Redmen still found plenty of yardage through the air.
After his first interception, Stanton was able to connect with junior C.J. Twining for 21 yards, hit senior Kaleb Bemis for 20 yards and find sophomore Jordyn Bunley for another 20-yard gain, all over the next three series.
From there, both teams took turns at the end zone from the 10-yard line. The Indians were able to power past the Redmen for scores on five straight plays.
“I didn’t like that stand,” Kidwell said. “That’s just a lack of will and lack of desire from us. That was probably the worst thing of the whole scrimmage. Somebody has to step up and make a play.”
For FHS, Stanton was able to connect on two 10-yard touchdown passes.
In the second session, Stanton found Kaleb Bemis, who evaded the defense all the way down to the 6 yard line for a 29-yard gain. But the Redmen were unable to punch it in from there as Stanton’s fourth-down keeper was stuffed at the 2.
Even though the Redmen didn’t scheme specifically for the Indians, Kidwell noted their struggles to win at the line of scrimmage.
“The first thing is we’ve got to get better at tackling,” Kidwell said. “We’ve got to get better at stopping the run defensively.”
Still the Redmen were able to flash some playmaking ability on the defensive side of the ball.
Galvan picked up a sack and a fumble recovery and Kobey Bemis recovered a fumble on first and goal for Waite at the 4.
Sophomore Skylar Cramer added an interception for the second string.
“If we’re going to give up some yardage, I’d rather bend, then don’t break,” Kidwell said. “I told them, ‘At least you made them line up one more time and fumble the ball.'”
Kidwell also noted that good things will happen with good effort and the effort definitely showed against the Indians.
“We’re lacking some strength up front right now and that’s just due to our youth,” Kidwell said. “We’re going to change that culture and it isn’t going to happen overnight.”
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