With a difficult Western Buckeye League schedule looming on the horizon, Doug Frye could easily be forgiven for overlooking Week 1 opponent Bellefontaine.
But the second-year Wapakoneta Redskins football coach is not a man who is easily distracted.
Just ask Mrs. Frye.
“One time, about 15 years ago, when I was at Danville High School, we were playing in a tight game, and there was a skydiver that came down on the field that was supposed to hit Mount Vernon’s field and hit Centerburg’s field,” Frye said.
“My wife talked to me about the skydiver after the game. And I had no knowledge that the skydiver had hit the field.
“My focus is pretty much straight-ahead all the time.”
Right now Frye is focused on the Bellefontaine Chieftains and what has been a roller-coaster game.
Wapak kicks off its 2011 season at 7:30 Friday night when it hosts the Chieftains.
Two years ago Bellefontaine christened the brand new Field Turf at Harmon Field with a 45-0 drubbing of the Redskins.
Wapak repaid the favor in the first game of the Frye era with a 42-7 win at Bellefontaine.
“This has been a game that has traditionally favored the visiting team,” Frye said.
Frye said the defensive focus in the offseason has been stopping the pass. The Redskins will get two early tests with Bellefontaine’s spread offense in Week 1 and Elida’s in Week 2.
“Our defense is going to get challenged right from the get-go,” Frye said. “It’s good that we’ve scrimmaged the people that we have. It’s prepared us.
“And of course in practice our defense gets a lot of looks at the running game. So we’ve helped in both areas.”
The Wapak defense struggled on third downs in its two scrimmages. Frye said that will have to change Friday night.
“If it’s third-and-long, defensively, we need to finish and get off the football field,” he said.
In a 21-7, two-quarter scrimmage win over Minster last week, Wapak got a big play on defense from transfer Kevin Kraft, who ended a Minster drive with an interception and long return.
Kraft also made a big play on special teams, returning the kickoff after Minster’s only touchdown 85 yards for a score.
Turnovers and special teams could be a major factor in the game.
“The coaches point to the No. 1 stat over the win-loss is the plus-minus turnover ratio,” Frye said. “We need to take care of the football.”
If they stay focused, the Redskins should be able to do just that.
Even if a skydiver drops in.