Rangers still searching for way to sustain spark

Herald Sports Writer

REO — The opening four plays of the second half illustrated how Forest Park may not be as far away from being successful as the Rangers’ record indicates.


Forest Park’s Bryce Bettag caused a fumble on the kickoff, and teammate Jhazz Bieker jumped on the ball. Josh Voegerl rumbled in from 7 yards out three plays later, nearly slicing the deficit in half and completely changing the flow of the game.
Then everything changed.  

South Spencer scored a touchdown on its ensuing possession, concocting a scoring blitz that led to a 47-10 defeat of Forest Park on Friday night at Fred Ayer Field in a Pocket Athletic Conference rumble.

Starting at the 5:47 mark of the third quarter, South Spencer scored 27 unanswered points. In less than six minutes. 

“It was 20-10 and we’ve got some momentum going and then it was 40-10,” Forest Park coach Ross Fuhs said. “It seemed like seven minutes took an hour.”

“After the fumble we scored almost right away and seemed to get everybody pumped up and ready to get going,” added Voegerl, who gained a game-high 145 rushing yards on 22 carries. “But it was just like previous games: Once we get down again, they score against us. Our mood just changes at the snap of a finger.”

Forest Park (1-6, 0-5) caused three turnovers, gained 165 rushing yards, outside of three sacks, and registered five tackles for loss.

But the Rangers also, at times, didn’t wrap up defensively or follow the correct blocking assignments on offense, Fuhs said.

Instead of wrapping up, Fuhs said defenders either dove at the ball carrier or put their head down — neither of which he approves during the week.

“Stuff in practice has got to carry over into the game,” Fuhs said.

Some of it did. For the second straight week, Francis Bohnenkamper intercepted a pass. The senior linebacker is more confident at this point in the season, with Fuhs saying Bohnenkamper may not have been able to make those plays earlier this fall.
But he was prepared.

“We practiced that route probably 50 times in practice,” Fuhs said of the route Bohnenkamper jumped. “We knew it was coming and he had confidence in himself and he jumped it and did what he was taught.”

Bohnenkamper also finished with three catches for 67 yards, including receptions of 32 and 30 yards from Trent Bayer.

South Spencer (2-5, 2-4) benefited from three rushing touchdowns by Denver Burden, who gained 71 yards on 17 carries. Jake Burden also recorded a rushing touchdown, while Dakota Risse and A.J. Kempf, who returned an interception for a touchdown, caught scoring strikes from Cole Woodburn. 

Forest Park, meanwhile, played the fourth quarter without regard for the scoreboard.

Alec Hassfurther dragged down Denver Burden for a loss twice in a three-play sequence. On the Rangers’ last significant possession, Voegerl chewed up 38 yards on four plays. Then on the Rebels’ last offensive snap, Bohnenkamper recovered a fumble.

All that transpired in the game’s final two minutes. 

“The younger guys, they’re pretty good and in practice they run hard,” said Voegerl, who dedicated his successful night to the offensive linemen. “I just want them to see that you should play through your hardest all the way through the game.”

That’s exactly the type of mindset Fuhs wants to see — all the time. And from everybody.

“It’s huge, that’s the kind of attitude we need,” Fuhs said. “We’ve got to play hard for four quarters, because every team we play is going to do that so we have to be able to match that.

“I thought we played pretty hard for four quarters. We just weren’t able to quite keep up with them. But the young guys got to take notice of that and that’s what I expect from them when they get in.”

Contact John Patishnock at jpatishnock@dcherald.com.

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