Tornadoes, Redmen renew their rivalry

Columbian coach Judd Lutz recognizes that his team is going to Bellevue tonight as the underdog.

The Redmen come into tonight’s game 3-1, and are getting votes in the Division IV statewide poll. They also are coming off blowout wins over Clyde and Toledo Rogers.

The Tornadoes enter tonight 1-3.

Lutz says he’s fine with whatever other people want to call his team. He said the squad uses it as motivation.

“We let other people label us as an underdog, and we use those clippings when given the opportunity,” Lutz said. “You gotta embrace whatever role you see fit.”

But even if Bellevue comes into the game as a favorite, its coach, Ed Nasonti, sees some good things that Columbian is doing.

“I see their quarterback (Todd Simonds) making plays, good receivers, good size,” Nasonti said. “And you can’t dismiss they have some upperclassmen that are in starting roles.”

Still, Lutz admitted he was disappointed in last week’s loss at Ontario, and will be looking for the Tornadoes to make strides tonight.

“Last Friday was an absolute disappointment as far as the product we put on the field, because we did have a really good week of practice,” Lutz said. “We got better Monday through Thursday, and for whatever reason, on Friday, it didn’t show up. Sometimes you get that.

“The thing we need to take care of for sure on offense is taking care of the quarterback, winning at the line of scrimmage in certain areas,” he said. “It’s going to be tough to dominate across the board, we know that, but we’ve got to win in some areas in the run game, and be able to keep our quarterback upright and comfortable in the pass game, because there’s plays to be made.”

One thing’s for sure: Bellevue quarterback Alec Foos has shown he can make plays, running and passing.

“He makes a bad play into a really good play for them,” Lutz said. “Keeping eyes on him, keeping bodies on him is a must, and when you do get a chance to hit him, you try to hit him square, but he’s done a really good job of showing he’s hard to take down and it’s hard to get a really good shot on him. He’s one of the better quarterbacks, dual threat kind of guys in the area.”

When asked about Bellevue’s potent offense – which has scored more than 100 points over the last two weeks – Nasonti pointed to the play up front.

“When you’re successful on offense, you have to look at our offensive line,” Nasonti said.

Nasonti added Bellevue has numerous weapons, whether it be Foos, running back Bryce Ray or receiver Dakota McPeak.

Lutz is aware of all of them.

“You can’t discount any position for them,” Lutz said. “They’ve got it in all facets.”

That includes the defense.

“Defensively, they’re a heavy pressure defense that’s gonna hang their hat on trying to stop the run,” Lutz said.

The TC coach said it will be a tough game. But he and his staff have had a message to the players.

“They’re not playing super humans. They’re not playing superman,” Lutz said. “They’re playing another high school team that has good players, good players just like us. Every team we play is going to have good players. They put their pants on one leg at a time, just like us. We’ve got to come out and not worry about them, but worry about us.”

Nasonti said that even with his team’s success, its not satisfied.

“I don’t pay any attention to a lopsided win, we just try to evaluate the kids,” Nasonti said. “Even though we’ve had some lopsided wins, we still have a lot of things to coach the kids up on.”

Kickoff is at 7 p.m.