The Central Heights football team dominated every phase of the game Friday in its homecoming victory. The Vikings rolled to a 32-0 win over McLouth.
The game was stopped early in the third quarter as McLouth — which suited 13 players — suffered an injury to one of its players and did not have enough players to finish the game.
For Central Heights, the victory tasted sweet after opening the season with five straight losses, including a multiple overtime game against Oskaloosa.
“It was the best week of practice we had all year, physical and supporting each other,” Viking coach Bob Risch said. “They continue to grow every week. To be able to come out here — put that together and have success — feels great. We are not satisfied yet. These players want more. They will continue to work hard and keep going.”
Risch said the Vikings’ excitement for the game and learning never wavered through the season.
“That excitement has only grown,” he said. “They have a lot of heart. They put in the work every single day, just the desire and want to put on a performance. We have grown so much together this year. We continue that grind every single week.”
Risch said the players' attitude is simple: play hard every practice.
“The desire to compete and play is there,” Risch said. “The kids want to play. The want it so bad. With our struggles early on, that excitement continues to build every week. You can see it come together. We are starting to put pieces together. To have the fans see it, it is great.”
One area of big improvement is the mental part of the game. Risch said the players have learned to go to the next play.
“That success we get on some plays that builds to the next play,” Risch said. “One successful play turns into three. If there was a bad play, we did not let it turn into three. We let it roll off their backs. We continue to think about the next play.”
Central Heights’ offensive and defensive lines controlled the action.
“All week long, we talked about this is their game,” Risch said. “They controlled the line. They did that from snap one. Defensive line made plays and the offensive line made giant holes and were working together.”
Risch said the players’ focus ramped up during preparation for the game.
“Our focus this week has been exceptional,” he said. “Homecomings are notorious for distractions. Credit that to the (players).”
Risch said the backs and receivers continued to grow as they executed the plays.
“To be able to feel that gap and just hit it,” he said. “It comes with confidence. The more we rep it, the more work, the more comfortable they get.”
Central Heights closes the regular season Friday against West Franklin at Ottawa University’s AdventHealth Field. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.