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July 14, 2020

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Ada gridders look to bounce back at Arlington

By Cort Reynolds
ADA - The Ada football team looks to rebound from a season-opening loss when they visit rugged non-league foe Arlington in week two Friday night.

"Arlington runs the ball well, they are a very physical team," said Ada second-year head coach Shawn Christopher. "Noah Thibaut (a junior running back who transferred from Kenton) is their go-to guy. Their fullback (junior Bryce Gast) runs extremely hard, and is a load at 203 pounds.

"Their quarterback, senior Jaret Vermillion, looks to run a lot even when he drops back to pass. He is a good, dangerous runner."

Vermillion is a first-year starter who replaced graduated standout QB Jacob Russell. A good athlete, he hauled in a 57-yard touchdown pass at Ada last season.

Senior back Carter Essinger also returns after netting 54 yards on 12 carries last year vs. the Bulldogs. "Essinger gets a lot of touches," said Christopher.

On defense, the Devils "fly around and are very physical up front," said Christopher.

Tyson Speyer, a 6-5, 223-pound senior end, leads the Arlington defense. "He is a game-changer, someone you have to account for every play," Christopher warned.

The Devils defend out of a 4-2-5 alignment, with Speyer lining up outside.

After struggling to contain the New Bremen rushing attack in a week one 51-21 loss, Ada hopes to improve its run defense at Arlington.

"We need to stop the run first," noted the coach. "Then we can force them into situations where they have to throw the ball on second or third and long."

The Red Devils (1-0) crushed Riverdale 46-7 on the road in their opener Friday night. The score was a bit misleading since the Falcons trailed only 14-7 and were on the verge of scoring when a 98-yard return gave the Devils a 21-7 halftime lead.

Another Falcon turnover gave Arlington a short field early in the third period, and they capitaluzed to scored again and blow it open.

Arlington ran the ball on 68 percent of its plays, and on the other 32 percent of pass plays Vermillion ends up scrambling a lot.

Arlington bested the Bulldogs 37-6 last year in Ada as Russell completed 13 of 14 passes for 197 yards and three TDs, with two scores going to graduated 6-3 receiver Ivan Berry.

The Bulldogs were victorious 34-20 in their last trip to Arlington in 2017. The Red Devils won at Ada in 2016, 20-7.

"Arlington will be a really tough game," said Christopher. "We just have to continue to get better and stay optimistic. They will play as hard as possible, and are well-coached.

"It is a huge week for us," he continued, "in order to get in position to go 2-1 in non-conference play."