A dominating performance by OHS football team in big victory
The smiles. The hugs and high fives were all over the field Friday night in Baldwin City for the Ottawa High School football team.
The Cyclones executed well in every phase in the 42-0 win over Baldwin. The wins have been short in number in recent years with just three in four years, coming into the 2021 season.
The student body rushed the field to celebrate the victory with the players.
“It feels amazing,” Ottawa senior lineman Jared Ferguson said. “It means a lot to us. We have been losing. In seven years, that scoreboard has not seen 42 points for Ottawa.
“This team is my brothers. We fought through everything. Just three months ago, we were slow and steady. Now, we are kicking butt. I like the way our team is going. The hard work did pay off.”
Ottawa coach Walt Alexander was beaming after seeing the Cyclones performance.
“They have come miles,” he said of the improvement from day one. “It has taken a lot of work. We practiced four days a week from June 1 all the way to August. They got a little reward for their hard work.
“We are making strides in the right direction. It is really rewarding to see smiles on their faces and these parents faces. They deserve that.”
Alexander saw the character of the Cyclones, who were coming off a 56-7 loss to Piper.
“The boys I honestly feel—from my whole coaching career —from week one to week two most improved team I have seen,” Alexander said. “They really got better this week. It is how they played.
“We made a commitment we were going to be mentally and physically tougher this week. The true measure of a team is how you react when adversity strikes. What kind of men are we? I could not be more proud of them, the effort tonight from everybody.”
Ottawa controlled the game from start to finish. The offensive and defensive lines were dominant.
“Our offensive line is improving,” Alexander said. “Our defensive line is improving. Those are two of the most important aspects of the team. My hats is off to the O-line. They really were far behind. Zion [Woodin] ran downhill better. Noah [McCullough] is running everything smooth. We got that little spark, [Josue] Navarro. He sure can jet. It was a total team effort. It is a boost of confidence. It will make us better for next week.”
Alexander liked how the Cyclones prepared during the week and the pay off came in a big way.
“We made so many adjustments this week,” he said. “It does not matter who you are playing when you can line up correctly. Alignment assignment was so much better. We executed better.
“We fixed a lot of things and cleaned some things up from last week. The kids were inspired. They flew to the ball. We made great plays. Even when things went bad, we played through it. They are starting to learn.There was not just one or two kids making plays. It was a whole lot of kids making plays.
“It was a great victory for our kids and community. Hope it carries into more.”