By SCOTT COTTOS
Fostoria High School has a football program that is steeped in tradition, but one common sight for Redmen fans will begin a suspension with Friday’s home opener.
With 21 consecutive losses spanning back to the end of the 2011 season, changes are needed in the program. One that will take place before Fostoria hosts Cardinal Stritch at 7 p.m. Friday at Memorial Stadium is hoped by the Redmen to be very short-lived. But it will be noticeable to everyone familiar with Fostoria football.
“You’ll notice we won’t coming out of the tunnel,” first-year Fostoria coach Derek Kidwell said, referring to the pathway from the under the stands to the home sideline. “We won’t be coming out of the tunnel until we win a football game. I told them it’s going to be locked until we win a game, so we’ll be coming out by the concession stand.
“My personal philosophy is you have to deserve to come out of the tunnel. It’s not a right, it’s a privilege.”
Kidwell knows well about Fostoria’s winning tradition, having quarterbacked the 1991 state championship team during a 20-year era in which his father, Dick Kidwell, coached the Redmen to 174 victories.
Derek’s first win as Fostoria’ coach was put on hold with last week’s 30-12 loss on the road to Toledo Scott. He’d like for the Redmen to end the losing skid in his return to the home sideline at Memorial Stadium.
“I may feel some emotion, but this isn’t about me,” he said of returning to his old stomping ground. “This is about these 40 kids who are playing football for us and accepting the challenge of rebuilding this program.”
Kidwell said that with Scott having a significant size advantage, a young Redmen squad was simply “manhandled” at the line of scrimmage. But he also cited a number of mistakes that, if corrected, would enhance his team’s chances of defeating the Cardinals.
“We’ve got to go out there and beat Stritch,” he said. “We can’t go out there and turn the ball over and make mistakes and beat ourselves.”
The mistake of letting the Bulldogs’ Deshawn Darden loose for a 38-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter proved critical for Fostoria last week. That score not only upped Scott’s lead to 18-6, but it came immediately on the heels of a Redmen score and flipped the momentum of the game.
“They don’t know how to win,” Kidwell said of his players. “They don’t know how to hold momentum. But you’ve got to give (the Bulldogs) credit. They saw the momentum was on our side and somebody on their team stepped up and made a play. That was the difference in the game.”
Kidwell hopes the Redmen can end the long losing streak against a team that last week snapped a 19-game skid of its own with a 12-8 season-opening win over Toledo Woodward.
The Cardinals operate out of a spread offense in which quarterback Joe Sinay throws “70 to 80 percent of the time,” according to Kidwell.
Kidwell wants his own spread to have a greater balance than Stritch’s between running and passing. But however a win may come, he’ll gladly take it.
“They say you improve the most from game one to game two,” he said. “Hopefully we improve a lot from game one to game two. This is a very winnable game for us.”
Fostoria’s starting offensive backfield will have sophomores Jayden Stanton and Ryan Phillips at quarterback and running back, respectively. The wide receivers will be senior Kaleb Bemis, juniors Kobey Bemis and Jordan Marshall and sophomore Dae’Mir Johnson. Sophomore Darien Tey will be the center, with junior Kyle Kreh and sophomore Gage Scott at the guards and senior Alex Navarro and junior Brystan Baeder at the tackles.
The defensive line will have Baeder and sophomore Xavier Galvan at the ends and Scott and freshman Montrese Brooks at the tackles. Phillips and Navarro will be the inside linebackers, with the Bemis brothers at the outside linebackers. Johnson and Marshall will be the cornerbacks and Stanton will be the safety.
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