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Tornadoes begin home slate with Toledo Waite

Columbian won’t need to Waite much longer for its home opener.

The Indians, who were 5-5 last season, travel to Frost-Kalnow Stadium tonight for a non-conference matchup.

Waite lost its season opener 22-6 to Sylvania Northview last week. Columbian fared better, topping Fremont Ross 35-7.

But despite the point differential in that win, Columbian coach Judd Lutz said the Tornadoes will still have plenty to clean up.

“We made a couple schematic errors, assignment-wise, offensively, defensively,” Lutz said of the game against Fremont Ross.

The coach noted that on one play, TC got in the wrong gaps, and it led to a Ross score.

“Besides that, played pretty well,” Lutz said. “But still, a lot of things to still improve on, on how to defeat blocks, and how to adjust with certain formations or motions. And then offensively, blocking assignments and route assignments, make sure we’re running the right route on time, and blocking the right guys the right way up front. (Fremont Ross) had a really good defensive line last week, but we made them look really good at times, because we just weren’t taking care of business.”

Lutz said the Tornadoes will need to take care of business tonight against the Indians, who he said have a number of talented players.

“They’ve got a good amount of athletes who play with some pretty good technique,” Lutz said. “Offensively they’ve got them on the perimeter with wide receivers and running backs, and even a couple quarterbacks.”

Lutz said Waite has a number of playmakers on the offensive side.

“Offensively, they do a good job of spreading it around,” he said. “They’re not a one-man team by any means, they’ve got a couple of very good players that we need to account for, but no one we can focus solely on … they spread it around enough to make you play really sound defense.”

The coach said the Indians also present challenges with their defense, especially if you want to run the ball.

“They don’t play a lot of man-to man, and kind of pack the box,” Lutz said. “And so, you’ve got to be able to get open, catch the ball, hang on to it, and if you’re gonna run it, be very sound in the run game, and very possibly break a tackle or two, because you simply can’t break them all when they’re in the box like that.”

Nick Koerper started at quarterback last week against Ross, filling in for an injured Chase Frankhauser. He is expected to do so again tonight.

“Nick is still the guy at quarterback this week,” Lutz said. “We’re gonna get Chase back really soon, just this week would be a little too soon. So Nick’s gonna be ready to go, and has already had couple very good days of practice, learning from last week’s game action and applying some stuff.

“We’re anxious to get Chase back, but probably not just yet,” he said. “But he’s gonna continue to help us on defense, and still very engaged with the offense from a coaching and players standpoint, day in and day out. We liked what we saw out of Nick for sure, and we’re anxious to get Chase back at any point.”

Koerper will be aided by tailback Nick Jackson, who had one of his biggest games last week, running for more than 90 yards and a touchdown.

“He definitely played a great game, did a great job running really hard, making the right cut, setting up his blocks to where he was well-deserving of getting the bulk of the carries last week, and becoming the hot hand,” Lutz said. “You always want to find who’s got the hot hand and feed him as much as possible. That was him last week for sure; good chance it could be him again this week, but we’ll see. We want to continue to spread it around and not wear anybody out and keep them fresh. That was something I thought was really a difference-maker in the last game, was our freshness in the second half and late in the game, how hard we were still able to play, because I think we did a good job of rotating kids in and out, and we want to play a lot of guys.”

Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

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