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TC opponent has played two ranked teams close

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By Larry Goffinet

TELL CITY—Tell City’s next football opponent has probably gained more respect in its last two losses than it did in a 4-1 start.

Forest Park will bring a 4-4 record to Tell City Friday at 7 p.m.

The Rangers, in just their second varsity season, were 4-1 after beating Pike Central Sept. 18, but Coach Terry Wagner admits that was the easier part of their schedule. The four teams they beat now have a combined 4-28 record, with two of them still winless.

But the last two weeks the Rangers have stayed within a touchdown of South  Spencer, currently ranked No. 6 in the Class 2A state coaches poll, and Heritage Hills, No. 5 in the Class 3A coaches poll.

Though Wagner said he set a preseason goal of five wins for his team, he admitted Monday that he is surprised the Rangers have played two ranked teams that close “because when we played North Posey (just before the South Spencer game) we just got blown off the field (losing 29-8).”

Wagner said that after that game he let his players know that they needed to “set their standards higher.”

Despite having one of the state’s top rushers, “we still have a hard time moving the ball on the ground against big teams,” said Wagner. And he noted, “Tell City has a big line.”

Going into last week’s game against Heritage Hills, Craig Voges, the Rangers’ 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior running back, was 11th in the state in rushing with 1,089 yards.

But Forest Park’s entire team rushed for only 57 yards on 25 carries against the Patriots.

Still they led 16-14 with four minutes left, scoring their touchdowns on a fumble return and a pass.

Grant Welp, a 6-2, 170-pound junior, quarterbacks the Rangers. “When he’s on, he’s very good,” said Wagner. “But he hasn’t got that consistency yet.”

Wagner said the Rangers “have run everything” on defense. “Friday night we ran the old Joe Talley 6-5 (trying to stop Heritage Hills’ running game).

“We’ve run some 5-4 and 4-4. It depends on who we’re playing.”

He said “it’s kind of hard to put a defensive plan together for” Tell City because the Marksmen run a variety of plays to both sides. “You can’t find any tendencies in their offense.”

He is especially concerned about the Marksmen’s running backs.

“I think (Trent) Gunn is probably going to be one of the best backs we’ve gone up against,” said Wagner. “He’s big, he’s fast, and he’s strong. And (fullback Kyle) Osborne is a cannonball.”

Still Wagner has some defensive standouts who may be up to the task. Kyle Schwinghamer, a 6-2, 170-pound junior free safety, has five interceptions. “I think he can play small Division I (in college),” said Wagner.

Voges plays inside linebacker and Nathan Kloeck, a 5-10, 150-pound sophomore, excels at defensive end with his quickness.