BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The Bloodhound football team will put their winning season on the line Friday night with a tough matchup against 7-1 Washington.
The Demons have been without starting quarterback Ryan Reighard for most of the season, but their only loss was to district powerhouse Solon, a 40-0 setback. The Demons have a few lopsided wins to their credit as well including a 73-0 bombing of West Burlington two weeks ago. But Reighard could see some action at quarterback as Washington gears up for the playoffs.
Washington sophomore Luke Turner is having a good season behind center completing 60 of 100 passes for 905 yards and nine touchdowns against four interceptions. Turner also leads the Demons on the ground with 719 yards rushing.
But Fort Madison has the district’s top rusher in yards with Alex Gully at 1,122 yards on the ground. He also has 15 touchdowns, including five last week in a 48-24 win over Keokuk on the road, just one behind Oskaloosa quarterback Seth Howard with 16 rushing scores.
Fort Madison Head Coach Tony Shiffman said Washington will most likely come out in a spread offense and try to move the ball around. However, the Demons should get senior Reighard back under center. Reighard broke his forearm early in the season and has been playing defense but not playing on the other side of the line.
“They’re a very good football team. They’re a big, physical football team and well-coached and hit the weight room,” Shiffman said.
He said his Bloodhounds again are going to go on the field with a mindset of having fun, but thinking about their final game.
“It’s their legacy,” he said. “It’s how they’re remembered. Ten years down the road people are going to remember a lot of games, but they’ll remember if you come out and beat a top 10 team like Washington.”
He said the Demons will come out in a spread offense and test the Hounds’ speed and corners.
“They’re spread. They’ll get in some two and three wide stuff, but they like to run the power and a power read game and they have a good physical line so they can get out and run, too,” Shiffman said.
The Hounds were a bit banged up last week with starting linebacker Diego Lozano out with a shoulder injury, Danen Settles, who has been having a decent season on the line also didn’t play last week.
“We’re a little banged up right now and it’s hit or miss on who’s practicing, but they don’t want to get embarrassed. I’m more worried about going out and just executing our offense. We’re just gonna go out and play and see what happens.
The Hounds are 4-4 on the season and Shiffman said he’s a bit frustrated by that record, but also realizes that the Hounds have taken some important strides this year.
“I’m kind of indifferent right now,” Shiffman said of this being the last game of the season. “I’m a bit frustrated that we’re 4-4 and I think we should be 6-2. It is what it is, but we’ve done leaps and bounds better than previous years.”
He said the team’s mantra “brick-by-brick” is taking hold and he said that has had a big impact on the successes the team did have this year.
“That’s not going to be something we get rid of either. That’s been our battle cry and we’re going to keep putting those bricks together, in the weight room, recruiting in the hallways – it’s a big part of what we do and we’re going to keep using that.”
Shance Redd-Donald, despite missing the Solon game three weeks ago, is still leading the district in receiving with 688 yards and nine touchdowns. Washington’s Jaivonn Willis is right behind Redd-Donald with 593 yards and seven touchdowns. The Demons’ Dalton Myers is fifth in the district with 319 yards and three TDs. Fort Madison’s Lorenzo Riles II has 213 yards and one touchdown.
Junior Tristin Westphal-Edwards and senior Tanner Murphy have combined for close to 100 tackles on the year to lead the Demons. Lozano and junior Sam Hayes lead FMHS with a combined 74 tackles.