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Buckeye Central Downs Monroeville in Tournament

  

          Josh Dentinger allowed four hits over seven innings and struck out 10 and Buckeye Central beat Monroeville (4-1) in the first round of the division four tournament on Tuesday.

          They will play at Firelands Conference leader Norwalk St. Paul on Thursday in a sectional final game.

          Coach Chad Jensen says Dentinger was super on Tuesday night and he says his ace got better and the night went on.  “We got a great performance from our ace Josh Dentinger.  He struck out 10 and didn’t walk anybody.  He really got better as the night went on.  He got stronger.  He only threw 85 pitches.  We really didn’t really know what to expect from them,” he told Swankonsports.com after the win on Tuesday night, “They had a lot of kids with these unbelievable stats, so we kind of nibbled a little bit and threw a lot more breaking balls early and then we realized that Josh really had his good stuff and just went at them with fastballs late in the ball game.  He was really dominate for us and we needed that to get a good start in the tournament.”

          Dentinger didn’t walk anybody all night long and Jensen says he had great command of all of his pitches.  “Josh has only walked eight all year in 45 innings I think.  He had great command.  I think I remember him going to a full count maybe twice all night and just really pounding the zone and getting ahead and making them guess.  Again he got stronger as the night went on.  He was just really overpowering down the stretch.  We needed a great performance from him and he delivered,” he said.

          Buckeye Central scored four times in the bottom of the third inning on Tuesday on RBI hits by Kidron Wechter, Adam Krebs and Payton Phenicie.

          St. Paul (17-5), #4 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coaches poll in the small school division, is coming off a two game sweep of Mapleton, which has moved the Flyers into first place by themselves in the Firelands Conference.

          Jensen says they are a very talented team and the Bucks (8-17) are going to have to be at their best to get the win.  “St. Paul is a great team and they are well coached.  Coach Carper does a great job with St. Paul, I have known him for years.  They are tough kids.  They are very good in football, basketball and baseball.  These kids know how to win.  They know how to compete.  They hit the ball well and they get good pitching too.  They are a really solid, well rounded team.  All year long we have battled in our league and our league is very challenging.  We are going to put our best foot forward and see what happens.  Our kids are going to play hard and they are going to give their best effort and they are going to prepared and ready to go.  We will just see what happens,” said Jensen.

 

Published 5/10/17

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Buckeye Gets Ridgedale

  

          Brady Biglin went seven innings allowing one run on five hits and Buckeye Central beat Ridgedale (3-1) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference baseball game on Tuesday.

          Coach Chad Jensen says Biglin realized his potential on Tuesday night against the Rockets.  He says now he has to build on that.  “We got a great start from Brady Biglin, one of our sophomores.  He has been up and down this year for us.  We are just continuing to work with him.  He has tons of potential and he finally put it all together (Tuesday) night.  He only threw 84 pitches in seven innings.  He was throwing three pitches for strikes and kept their kids off balance.  We knew what we had in him.  It was just a matter of him adapting to the varsity game and just getting out there and throwing strikes, just having great confidence.  He did a great job (Tuesday) night.  I think it is a sign of things to come,” said Jensen.

          Buckeye (7-12,2-8) has struggled at times, like a (19-1) loss to Carey in conference play on Monday, but Jensen says there have been some bright sports.  “Our kids compete everyday.  They compete and they play hard.  They do what is asked of them.  There are times we look like we are going to turn the page and then we do a couple of things that inexperienced teams do, but I think it is part of the process.  The one thing that I love about this team is they are coachable, they listen, they do what is asked of them, and they make mistakes, yes, but we correct it, and they don’t make it again.  We are in that process were we are just continuing to teach and coach these guys up and just teaching them how to play at the varsity level.  We do see signs of turning the corner.  We struggled the last couple of games we played, but we did great (Tuesday) night, so it one of those things were just have to continue to improve.  That is all we talk about everyday is improve each day,” he said.

          Buckeye plays Bucyrus (6-8,3-7) on Wednesday in “N10” play.  The Redmen lost to Colonel Crawford (5-4) on Tuesday.

          The OHSAA has introduced a pitch limit for kids this year.  Jensen says it has definitely affected the way he manages the pitching staff.  “It has affected us quite a bit.  The one day rest thing, the 31-50 range, that is where it has affected us.  I generally don’t pitch a kid of 125 pitches anyway, usually it is not even over 100.  So, the back end hasn’t affected us, but it is that over 30 range, that is where it has affected us.  (Monday) against Carey I had to take kids out, Carey got us pretty good, so I didn’t want to waste our arms in case I needed them (Tuesday) night,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday night, “I had to get them out under 30.  It has really affected us in that 30 to 50 range where if you go over 30 you have to have a day of rest.  You just have to be more cautious because generally a kid that a kid can throw 35 pitches and most of our kids could throw the next day, but it is illegal now.  That has been the biggest change that zero to one day rest.”

 

Published 4/26/17

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Buckeye Central Holds off Mohawk

  

          Buckeye Central got past Mohawk (6-4) on the opening day of league play in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference on Wednesday.

          Josh Dentinger stuck out eight over five innings for the Bucks (3-1,1-0) and Trent Craft added three more K’s over his two innings.

          Plus, coach Chad Jensen says although they only had seven hits they were able to get them at key times.  “There is no question it was a big win for us and for our young players.  Mohawk is a great team.  They have excellent players.  They have the best returning player in the league in Austin Harper.  Our kids really did well.  We got excellent starting pitching from Josh Dentinger and excellent relief from Trent Craft,” he told Swankonsports.com after the win, “We got some big clutch hits.  Trent hit a couple of doubles for us and Josh had a double and Peyton Phenicie had a double for us.  We just did the little things.  We played good defense and threw strikes and just got some clutch hits and put the bat on the ball and really improved.  We have been stressing with our guys to improve each day and we did a lot of good things (Wednesday) to improve and did a good job.”

          Jensen says you have to be good situational hitters and that is something they were able to do on Wednesday.  “You have to put the ball in play.  We were able to take advantage of things.  Their pitcher Harper had a little trouble and was behind a lot.  We were able to get some good fastball counts where he had to throw us strikes.  Our kids did a really good job of setting on fastballs and we put the bat on the ball.  We put the ball in play and that was one of the things that I was really pleased with that when we need to put the ball in play we did.  When you do that you put pressure on the defense and that is what we want to do put pressure on the defense and make them make plays and that is what we were able to do,” said Jensen.

          Colonel Crawford beat Carey (13-7) and Seneca East shut out Ridgedale (4-0) in other “N10” games on Wednesday.  A game between Wynford and Bucyrus was suspended due to darkness with the Royals leading (6-3) in the sixth inning. 

          Buckeye Central is supposed to play Mohawk (1-1,0-1) again on Friday, but it looks like rain.  Jensen says they have plenty to work on if they are not able to play.  “That is one thing about this sport compared to others.  When you have a game scheduled you may not play or you want to practice outside and you can’t now you have to go in the gym.  We have a lot of things we have to work on and we know that.  We are a young team and we are still inexperienced.  We get game experience each game we play, but there are things to work on.  If we are in the gym for a couple of days we just want to work on things we need to work on.  The kids understand that and they have been working hard.  We just have to get better and work to improve and get ready to Mohawk again,” he said.

 

Published 3/30/17

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Buckeye Central Counting on Pitching, Speed

  

          Buckeye Central is going to be a young baseball team this year that is going to need to get better to compete in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference this spring.

          Coach Chad Jensen says he likes the work ethic that his players have shown so far this year.  “Our kids have really worked hard.  It started last summer.  The kids really worked hard in the summer.  They worked really hard in the preseason.  Our non-basketball guys go it going in the winter and they really worked hard with great attendance.  The kids have really done well.  We have had our basketball players about a week now.  They are working hard, they are doing what we ask them to do.  We just need to get outside and try to put it all together,” he said.

          At this point, Jensen says this is a team that is going to rely on its pitching and it speed on the bases to be able to win games.  “A lot of things are in development right now.  We have four returning letter winners and three starters, so we are going to be a little inexperienced.  What I have seen so far I like.  I think we have three starting pitchers that I am confident that we can throw out there and have a chance to win.  I like our team speed.  I think we can run the bases hopefully pretty well.  Our kids are really coachable and they do what is asked of them.  So, that is what I have seen so far.  When you go live those things can change.  What I have seen so far those couple of things could be a strength for us,” said Jensen.

         Buckeye is going to have to get better fast in a regular season that only last about seven weeks.  Jensen says there are really four teams that are favorites going into the season.  “We play one game at a time and see where we are at at the end of the year.  I think there are some very quality teams in our league.  Our league is so tough in baseball.  When I look at the top four I think you have defending champ Wynford, you have Seneca East, you have Mohawk, who returns the best player in the league, and you have Upper Sandusky, who has double the boys of the rest of us,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “It depends how fast we get used to the varsity game.  We have a lot of newcomers.  They have worked hard, but it might be a little bit of a shock to them early on.  Hopefully, if we take a loss we get better and improve and play our best baseball at the end of the year.  As always we try to win every game and our kids are going to compete and I hope when it is all said and done we get good opportunity to compete.”

 

Published 3/15/17

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Buckeye Central Girls in Regional

  

          Buckeye Central has reached the girls’ regional tournament for the first time in a decade and they face Ottoville in the division four regional semi-finals on Thursday night at Elida High School.

          Buckeye Central (21-4) finished second behind Upper Sandusky in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference this season.

          Coach Greg Moore says they have had great chemistry and they work very hard at the game.  “I think number one is our senior leadership.  We have one starter that has started for four years and the other three seniors have started since their sophomore year and that is when Jenna (Kahl) came in, our junior.  We have great experience, we have great leadership.  They have great work ethic.  They love to play and their chemistry is so good.  They love each other on and off the court and sometimes that is hard to find.  Just their work ethic is unbelievable,” said Moore.

          It doesn’t hurt to have Kahl, who put together a near triple double in Buckeye’s (70-64) win over Norwalk St. Paul in the district final last Saturday night.

          Buckeye has played a pretty good schedule with Upper Sandusky and Rievrdale and Willard.  “You can add both Carey games in there and Cardington got beat by 11 by Africentric in the district championship last Saturday.  We upped the schedule, we upped the ante a little bit and the girls rose to the occasion.  Carey had a very good ball club, Upper everybody knows.  We toughened up the schedule and I think the kids just accepted the challenge.  I have to take my hat off to them they are just so fun to coach,” said Moore.

          Ottoville (21-3) has great talent too.  Moore says the Big Green is fact pretty big and they are going to be somewhat deliberate when they have the ball in their hands.  “They shoot the ball extremely well.  They have had a lot of success in the past.  They play up in that Putnam County League.  There is some good basketball played up there in Northwest part of Ohio.  They are very, very patient on offense,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “They get the looks that they want.  They move the ball well.  They have got a nice 6’1” girl that can go inside and out.  They also play very, very good defense.  They are going to run and jump you.  They are going to show you the diamond.  They are going to change defenses.”

          Moore says they have not going to change what has been successful for them.  He says they are going to up tempo and look to shoot it from deep.  “We just have to be strong with the ball and do the little things.  I told the girls you have to play Buckette basketball.  We aren’t going to change anything this time of year.  We are going to do what we do best.  We like to get up and down the court, there is no secret what we like to do.  We like to shoot the three.  I think it is going to be a fun game (Thursday) night,” he said.

 

Published 3/09/17

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Buckeye Central Meets Norwalk St. Paul

  

          Buckeye Central faces Norwalk St. Paul Friday night in a division four sectional final at Sandusky Senior High School.

          The winner advances to play in the district tournament next week.

          Buckeye rallied to beat Plymouth (56-55) in a semi final game played on Tuesday night.

          The Bucks (10-13) trailed by as many as 11 in the third quarter, but coach Phil Loy says they never gave up.  “It was nice when we have lost so many games by one, two or three points.  It is nice to be on the other end of that.  Hopefully, all of that experience of losing close games really paid off.  I give our kids credit.  I am proud of them.  We were down 11 in the third quarter and things don’t seem to be going your way,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Plymouth is making shots and making plays.  We find a way to battle back and make some plays of our own to slowly stating to etch into that lead.  The fourth quarter we came up and made some big plays.  I am really proud of how we finished that game.  I thought Plymouth was playing really well.  For us to overcome some foul trouble and win that game was key for us.”

          Norwalk St. Paul (15-7) is one of the bigger teams in any division in North Central Ohio.  Loy says that height will make it difficult for them.  “They are really big.  We know we have to play really well for four quarters (Friday) night.  Their length is a concern of mine, it is a concern of anybody’s.  They have a couple 6’5”, 6’4”, 6’3” guys on the floor and their length can really hurt you,” he said.

          Tempo?  Is that a factor?  Loy says they want to be smart when they push the pace.  “Their bigs are pretty athletic.  I don’t know if we want a game in the 60’s.  They don’t appear to want a game in the 60’s.  We both are kind of low scoring.  It is not to say that we don’t want to push the ball up the floor every opportunity you can, but if it is not there then we need to make sure we do a good job of executing our offense,” he said.

          Anytime you are at a disadvantage when it comes to height you want to keep the ball out of the paint.  Loy says they have to have good ball pressure on the Flyers guards.  “Their bigs are so affective with the high, low action that if you don’t put good pressure on them on their guards out front or on the wings its just makes it easy for them to throw the ball in and it makes it a lot tougher on our bigs to defend.  So, ball pressure is just something that we have to take a lot pride in and work hard at just to not allow them to execute their offense,” said Loy.

 

Published 3/03/17

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Buckeye Central Counting on Defense

  

          Buckeye Central has not been able to score much this year, but they have been able to defend and they hope that pays dividends when they play Plymouth at the sectional tournament at Sandusky Senior High School on Tuesday night.

          They have played in an enormous number of close games this year, but coach Phil Loy says they haven’t been able to slam the door.  He hopes experience allows them to do that on Tuesday.  “Hopefully that is the good thing about this 9-13 record.  I think 12 of those losses we were in the game in the fourth quarter.  We just have not had the best of luck finishing games this year, a lot of close games, a lot of close losses.  So, hopefully that will pay off at tournament time.  With that experience hopefully we learn from those losses and I think we have, but our record hasn’t shown it,” said Loy.

          Buckeye Central (9-13) lost to Plymouth (5-17) in the first game of season (59-48) back on the first weekend of December.

          Loy says he believes Plymouth is pretty good and he has thought so all season, even though their record doesn’t show it.  “I thought in the second half when we played them in that first game they were pretty good and they would win over half of their games and for some reason their record is 5-17.  If you watch them on film or you watch them live they look pretty good.  They are a very dangerous team,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “They have a nice mix of personnel with good guard play, athletic guards that can attack the basket and can shoot it and they have a nice post player inside.  The games that we have seen, just like us, they are in every game that I have seen, so I think it is a game that we are going to have to play really well for four quarters.”

          Many times in the tournament defense is the name of the game.  Buckeye has used a strong defense to good success in recent years in the tournament.  Loy says that is what they are going to rely on against Plymouth on Tuesday night.  “Nothing against them, but I think we are playing pretty good defensively.  We just got done holding a Wynford team that over the last 10 games had been averaging 66 points a game and we hold them to 37.  Unfortunately we weren’t able to put points on the board.  We take a lot of pride in what we can do defensively and hopefully Tuesday night is no different,” he said.

 

Published 2/28/17

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Tempo is Going to be Key for Buckeye Central

  

          13 of Buckeye Central’s 21 games have been decided by nine points or less, six of them by five points or less and two of them by one point.

          So, yes if coach Phil Loy had any hair it would probably be all gray by now.

          They lost (58-56) to Crestview in non-conference action on Tuesday night and Loy says he hopes all of these nail biters are going to help them down the road.  “Hopefully games like that will benefit us during tournament time.  I feel like we have been in very game this year with the exception of one.  We have lost a lot of close games and we have won a lot of close games.  That experience hopefully will pay off,” he said.

          Buckeye is (6-7) in games decided by less than nine.  They are (3-3) in games determined by less than five.  They are (0-2) in one point games.

          Tournament games tend to be more possession by possession and closer than regular season games.  Loy believes that experience is going to be a plus.  “I guess that is the way we will look at it starting next week.  Playing all of these close games you hope kids learn from their mistakes and what works and what doesn’t.  Being able to play under that pressure versus winning big or losing big when you don’t experience that.  I think in tight games where kids learn that each possession is so important I think will pay off,” said Loy.

          One of those point losses came in overtime to Wynford (51-50) on January 14.  The Bucks (9-12,7-8) host the rival Royals (11-10,9-5) on Friday night in New Washington.  Wynford lost to unbeaten Upper Sandusky (96-56,) beat Firelands Conference leader New London (67-61) and lost to River Valley (89-80) all in the last week.

          Wynford has been so crazy up and down they can be hard to figure, but Loy knows this much they are going to have to be good at controlling the tempo in order to win.  “I think they are a very dangerous team.  They shoot a lot threes.  They like to put up a lot of points.  They gave up a lot of points to Upper Sandusky.  They have up a lot of points (Tuesday) night to River Valley.  They beat a really good New London team.  They are really hard to figure out,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We have to make sure we control the tempo.  I thought we did a pretty good job of that the first time we played them.  It is always tough to play at Wynford, so hopefully that will benefit us being able to play at home on Friday night.  Again controlling the tempo, limiting turnovers, and hopefully doing that we will be successful.”

 

Published 2/23/17

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Patience Key for Buckeye Central

  

          Buckeye Central plays one of its biggest rivals in Colonel Crawford in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Friday night in North Robinson.

          Last Saturday, they downed Bucyrus (50-42) in an “N10” game and coach Phil Loy was pretty pleased with what he saw from the Bucks.  “It was a good win I thought we were pretty solid.  Bucyrus came out and jumped on us quick.  They were able to knock down some threes early and we missed some opportunities.  We were up on us 8-2 early and we had to get a time out and settle down a little bit and refocus and we go on 18-2 run to end the quarter.  At that point we kind of went back and forth a little bit.  We made some mini runs and were able to stretch it out to 17 points late in the game.  Overall, I was pretty happy.  We kind of lost our focus a little bit at the end and we kept sending them to foul line and they knocked down some free throws and make that game a little bit closer.  Bucyrus is playing better, they are streaky, they have good athletes, but all in all I thought our kids played pretty well,” said Loy.

          The first time the Bucks played Colonel Crawford (15-4,12-2), #3 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the small school division, they gave them a run for their money with Crawford winning (55-44) on January 7.  Loy says they were right in it.  “This game is always a big rivalry game.  The kids know each other really well and Dave and I are really close friends.  It is going to be a great environment at their place.  I think it is going to be pretty hot in there, it normally is.  It is going to be a large crowd, it is going to be a great atmosphere to play in,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “The first time we played them in was a great match-up.  We just kind of let them go on a run in the third quarter and kind stretch that lead out to 11.  We had a lead most of the first half and kind of lost it there in the third quarter.  In the fourth quarter we kind of got back into it a little bit.  We expect their best effort again on Friday.”

          Buckeye Central (9-10,7-7) needs to control the tempo of the game.  Loy says they can’t let the Eagles get out and run.  “They are playing really well.  They can be a good match-up.  They have really good guard play and shoot it really well and they have size.  They are the biggest team in the league.  We have to control the tempo.  They like to push the ball up the floor hard.  We don’t want a game in the upper 50’s or 60’s or higher.  We want a game in the upper 40’s or low 50’s if we can.  That is kind of tempo we are looking at.  We have to do a better job of being patient.  I thought the last time we played them we got impatient and took a lot of quick shots, so hopefully that is kind of our focus this week and hopefully that will put us in position to win,” said Loy.

 

Published 2/15/17

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Big Week for Buckeye Central

  

          Buckeye Central played some pretty good basketball last week and if they can get a couple more win this week against Carey and Bucyrus that will help them when it comes to getting a better seed in the division four district.

          They led unbeaten Upper Sandusky (45-42) early in the fourth quarter, but lost to the Rams (61-54) last Friday.  Coach Phil Loy was very pleased with a lot of things they did against Upper.  “I was proud of the way we played over the weekend.  The first time we played Upper they handed it to us at home.  We had a decent first half against them and had a lead for a while.  Then we tried to play their pace and that didn’t work for us.  It was tough pulling the reins back on them the first time we played them.  The second time we just talked all week long about being disciplined and having good spacing and beating their pressure with the pass and not so much putting the ball on the floor,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “I thought our kids did a really good job.  We got really good looks.  This weekend we shot it better than we have all year long.  We shot over 50 percent from the field.  We were right there.  We had a three point lead in the fourth quarter against them on the road.  We just couldn’t hang on to it.  We still are within five points late in the game.  We got some open looks at just couldn’t knock them down.”

          They beat Ridgedale (55-44) on Saturday in league play.  Loy says it was a game where they had to overcome some things.  “Saturday we came out and were a little lethargic.  The kids had some dead legs.  We weren’t real deep.  We had one kid that didn’t play this weekend that was home with the flu and still hasn’t returned back to school yet.  So, that was a concern of mine.  That was a big part of it and we came out and had an ugly first half against Ridgedale and it is tied at 17 all.  I thought in the second half we kind of picked it up and gutted it out.  We made some shots and picked it up defensively and finished strong,” he said.

          Buckeye Central (8-9,6-6) plays at Carey (10-7,8-4) in Northern 10 Athletic Conference play on Tuesday night.  Carey had two wins over the weekend, beating Wynford (76-66) in overtime on Friday night in a league game and then downing Vanlue (68-50) on Saturday night.

          Buckeye had the lead on the Blue Devils the first time they played, but were turned away (54-46) on December 30 in their first meeting.  Loy says the Blue Devils really like to push it and they are going to have to play more of a complete game to it.  “They have really good guard play.  They are quick, they are athletic.  They are good perimeter shooters.  They like to push the ball up the floor.  They have a nice post player.  He is a 6’4” freshman, who is a big strong kid.  The first time we played them at our place we played them pretty well, but we didn’t finish the game.  Hopefully we don’t have the same thing (Tuesday) night.  We were up seven going to the fourth quarter and lost the lead and lost the game.  It is going to take four quarters of basketball.  It is going to take us playing really good defense to beat them,” said Loy.

          Then if they could get a win over Bucyrus (3-13,3-9) on Saturday they would be over .500 and Loy says that would look pretty good.  “Especially if we can get a win (Tuesday) on the road against a really good Carey team where it has been difficult for teams to play I think that would look good on our resume.  We need some things on our resume to bump us up a notch or two.  If we can get win on Saturday that will help even more,” he said.

 

Published 2/07/16

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Patience a Big Key For Buckeye Central

  

          Buckeye Central drew the short stick this week, or at least one of them, as they travel to Upper Sandusky to play they unbeaten Rams on Friday night in Northern 10 Athletic Conference action.

          They host last place Ridgedale on Saturday night.

          Last Saturday, they lost to Galion (69-59) in a non-conference game.

          Coach Phil Loy says the Tigers had some of their bench players really step up plus they didn’t make shots and that is a bad combination.  “It is a situation where if you don’t play very good defense against a team that is somewhat athletic they can hurt you.  They got out and ran on us some.  They had some backup kids that hurt us, kids that where seeing some limited playing time.  They had two guards that came off the bench and scored 27 points.  Their main players didn’t hurt us.  That was really our focus their point guard and their two bigs.  I think the big difference was their backup guards came in and shot the ball very well.  They were 10-21 and that was not the way they were shooting all year,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “It was contagious once they made a shot.  They banked in one or two and they just kept feeding off of that.  You mix that in with us only being able to go 1-9 from threes and shoot 18-33 from the foul line.  I don’t care who you are playing it is tough to win any game with those kind of stats.  Hats off to them they played with a lot of energy.  We got off to a quick start, but that quickly got wiped out by a couple of threes.  Give them credit they played with a lot of heart and did what they had to do to win the game.”

          Buckeye Central (7-8,5-5) plays at Upper Sandusky (16-0,10-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the large school division, on Friday night.  The Rams are coming off a (69-28) walloping of Ridgedale last Saturday.

          Upper beat Buckeye (71-37) the first time they played.  Loy said they actually had the lead early until they started making mistakes.  “The first time we played them we were winning 16-12 in the first quarter and we missed a couple of shots inside and I thought it could have been 20-12 after the first quarter.  We got up as much as 21-14 and then we kind of missed some shots and started turning the ball over.  We have to be patient.  What Upper does so well is they want to speed you up.  They will speed you up and force you to take bad shots and make bad passes.  Those are things we are working on this week.  Don’t try to force the issue and take bad shots.  If we can do that we can hopefully compete in this game.  We kind of watched some of that film from early on saw some good things that we did and hopefully we can build on that,” said Loy.

          The Buckeye coach says Upper is just so balanced, and has so many perimeter shooters, they are just hard to guard.  “That puts a lot of pressure on you because they have so many weapons.  Like in their Crawford game you put on your focus on the Dibles and Adams and Kinley will step out have four threes on you.  If you try to put all your attention on someone like Wes Vent somebody else is going to hurt you.  They can hurt you in so many ways offensively and they can turn you over defensively.  It is hard to put your focus on one or two players because they move the ball do well and kids know their roles and even if they are not high percentage three point shooters they do a nice job of getting high percentage shots inside,” he said.

 

Published 1/31/17

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Buckeye Central Reaching Goal of Consistency

  

          All season Buckeye Central has been looking for more consistency in their performance and last week they were able to find it.

          They beat Mohawk (51-44) and Seneca East (53-40) in a pair of “N10” road games.

          Coach Phil Loy says on both nights they did a pretty good job of what they wanted to do on both ends.  “I thought we had a really consistent weekend.  I thought we played a consistent four quarters in both games.  We got off to a quick start.  On Friday night we got into some foul trouble.  Jacob Shade picked up two quick fouls and didn’t play in the second quarter and Mohawk made a run on us and then we were able to finish the half on a run.  In the second half I thought we played consistent and maintained an 8,10 point lead.  Happy with that win,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “Unfortunately we had a kid get hurt.  One of our starters got hurt near the end of the game, middle of the fourth quarter, and he was not able to play on Saturday.  That concerned me going to Seneca East, I knew that would be a tough game no matter what.  Without one starter another starter calls me and says he is sicker than a dog and went to the hospital and the doc doesn’t want him to play.  He ended up making the trip and playing a little bit.  You tell me we are going to Seneca East without a couple of starters and come away with a 13 point win I think that a good win for us.”

          That consistency, the ability to play four quarters, has been elusive for the Bucks, so last week put a smile on Loy’s face, that’s for sure.  “That is probably what I was most proud of is that we played a solid four quarters in both games.  We did have a big letdown in that one quarter.  Hopefully we are growing and turning that corner and hopefully we are going to continue to be more consistent,” he said.

          Buckeye Central (7-7) plays host to Galion (2-12,) of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference red division, in a non-conference game on Saturday night.

          The Tigers have struggled to get wins, but Loy says this is going to be a challenge for them nevertheless.  “You throw out their record they are a bigger school playing in a pretty nice conference and they have played a pretty tough schedule.  I think watching them on film and seeing them a couple of times in person I think they are getting better.  I know they are going to come in here and give us their best shot.  Just like when we played Willard and they gave us everything we wanted and Willard didn’t have a very good record either.  This is very much the same way.  They have good athletes.  They have kids that can shoot.  They have just been struggling to score at times.  Sometimes you look at them and they look really good,” said Loy.

 

Published 1/25/17

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Buckeye Still Needs a Little More

  

          Buckeye Central is a good team that is still trying to become a pretty good team.

          They play two Northern 10 Athletic Conference road games this weekend at Mohawk on Friday and at Seneca East on Saturday.

          Last Saturday, Buckeye lost a close one to rival Wynford (51-50) in overtime.  Coach Phil Loy says it was a game where they were ahead, but they could never put the Royals away and it cost them. “It was a game that I thought, even though it was a two, four point game, six point game in the second half I thought we were in somewhat control of that game, but we could never get over the hump.  We were missing free throws and putting them at the line and we had too many costly turnovers down the stretch.  It is a game that we have to learn from.  We need to continue to build on some leadership here and get this thing going because we are a better team than I think our record is right now.  We are losing a lot of close games.  We have to find a way to get over that hump,” said Loy.

          Buckeye Central (5-7,3-5) plays at Mohawk (3-9,2-6) in an “N10” game on Friday night.  Mohawk won the first meeting (46-44) in December.  Loy says the Warriors are young, but they have quite a bit of talent they can put on the floor.  “If you watch a lot of film on Mohawk and Mohawk has spurts where they play pretty well.  They do some nice things they are a physical team with some nice size and they don’t shoot it that bad from the perimeter.  We are going to have to be better than we were the first time we played them.  I thought defensively we were not very good, consistently any how.  We turned them over a lot, but we could never take advantage of it,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Hopefully, Friday night we can do a much better job of playing defense, getting up and down the floor, and making shots.  When we played them the first time I thought this is going to be a team that is much improved from what they were last year, but their record doesn’t show it right now.  I think they played really, really well against us and we didn’t play very good and hopefully we can switch things around Friday night.”

          It’s a trip to Seneca East (7-5,3-5) on Saturday night.  The Bucks beat the Tigers (60-49) on December 16.  It was a game where they shot the ball well and Loy hopes for a repeat on Saturday.  “They are averaging around 55 a game.  They have a couple of guards.  One is averaging 18 and one is averaging 12 and half and the guards are good rebounding guards.  You have to guard the perimeter.  They have big guys inside.  They have big, strong bodies.  They are 7-5, they are having a decent year.  We got them at home and I thought played pretty well at home and shot the ball pretty well at home.  Again now we are on the road and hopefully we can shoot it well against them on Saturday,” he said.

 

Published 1/20/17

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Bucks With a Couple of Tough Games

  

          Buckeye Central is closing in on being a better basketball team.  It is mostly consistency that is still holding them back.

          They play a non-conference home game against Willard on Thursday night and then travel to Wynford for an “N10” battle on Saturday night.

          They gave Colonel Crawford a little bit of a scare last Saturday night before losing (55-44) to the Eagles.

          Coach Phil Loy says they did a lot of good things they just couldn’t make enough shots when it counted.  “I thought for the most part we did play pretty well.  In the third quarter we had a little bit of a letdown where.  We got a lot of good opportunities for shots against their zone and we just could find the basket.  If we make a few of those shots.  We lost a few of their shooters and lost them in transition a little bit and we had a few breakdowns in the fourth quarter.  If you take that away I think that is a game we could have won.  We feel that way.  We just have to keep improving and making sure we are taking care of the basketball and playing four quarters.  Overall I like the way we played it is just a matter of making shots,” said Loy.

          Willard (1-9) plays at Buckeye Central on Thursday night.  It has been a struggle for the Flashes in Northern Ohio League play this season, but Loy says the Flashes present some problems for them.  “Watching them on film multiple games and I got to see them in person they have some decent size.  They have a 6’5” kid that can play away from the basket and inside, a 6’2” kid that is pretty strong and likes to post up a lot and a 6’7” kid off the bench.  So, I think they have some length definitely compared to us.  At times they look pretty good.  I really like the stuff they do,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “They execute things pretty well.  Sometimes they also have a hard time finding the basket and turning it over much more than coach Long wants.  They are a dangerous team.  They have been in games.  They almost beat Norwalk.  I watched them on film against Hopewell-Loudon.  Hopewell-Loudon is a 9-1 team and they looked really good against them and executed offensively really well and did some nice things defensively.  I think it is a game we definitely can’t take lightly they are just as good as well are. We have to make sure we execute and do the things we are supposed to do to win that game.”

          Buckeye Central (4-6,3-4) plays at Wynford (4-6,4-3) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Saturday night.  This rivalry dates back to the 60’s and Loy says the teams are pretty comparable.  “We expect nothing other than a really tight ballgame with Wynford.  It always seems to be a really good contest.  This is a rivalry from when I played back in the 80’s and I remember as a young kid in the 70’s watching Buckeye-Wynford.  It has always been good battles, a big rivalry, big crowds.  You expect nothing less on Saturday night.  They have some good athletes and they are very comparable to us.  They have one of the better players in the league in Jack Reed and they have  a quick point guard in Hoffman.  They have some size inside.  It is going to be a tough contest for us,” said Loy.

 

Published 1/11/17

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Buckeye Has to Clean Some Things Up

  

          Sometimes when you are a team that is improving you have to take a few steps back and that is what happened to Buckeye Central in the fourth quarter last Friday against Carey.

          The Blue Devils outscored them (20-5) and railed to beat the Bucks (54-46) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game.

          Coach Phil Loy says they didn’t execute very well.  “I thought we played pretty good for the most part, but we were still missing shots and missing free throws.  I thought we had a few too many turnovers at halftime.  We still have a seven point lead on a really good team.  Carey is very guard oriented.  They handle the ball well and they shoot the ball pretty well.  They are just a dangerous team,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We had seven point lead and we started the fourth quarter with a missed layup and we turn it over a couple of times and missed some free throws and that is not good down the stretch against good teams.  They hit a couple of threes and before we know it that seven point lead was gone and we are tied and the next thing you know we are down a possession.  Those are things we need to correct and play four quarters.”

          Buckeye Central (3-5,2-3) plays at Bucyrus (1-7,1-4) on Friday night in an “N10” game.  Upper belted Bucyrus (83-39) last week.

          Loy says the Redmen have shown a lot of growth this year and they will need to play well to beat them on Friday.  “They are better than they were last year.  They return a large nucleus of their team and they are very athletic.  Last year they didn’t have their starting point guard.  He had a knee injury, so he is back.  They are struggling to win games, but I think they are a very dangerous team.  For us this year we can’t over look anybody, with them especially.  All of our focus is on Bucyrus Friday night.  They don’t have big, physical strong guys, but I think they are athletic and they are dangerous.  It is a team that we have to make sure we play four quarters and take care of the basketball.  We have to make sure we rebound.  We have to get better defensively as well.  I think if we do those things hopefully we will put ourselves in position to win,” said Loy.

          Then on Saturday, the Bucks host Colonel Crawford in the first “Battle of 602” this year,  The Eagles (7-3,5-1), #2 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the small school division, lost to Northmor (59-47) on Tuesday night.  That broke a six game winning streak.

          They stand in second in the conference and Loy says they have good players all over the floor.  “They have a nice nucleus.  They have size.  They have good guard play and they can finish inside.  This is a team that keeps getting better every game, every week.  They play four freshmen.  They are no longer freshmen they just keep getting better.  I have watched them on film and they are very dangerous.  They are a scary ball club.  I think they are a team that is right there down the stretch with a chance to win the league title,” he said.

 

Published 1/04/17

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Buckeye Central Meets Carey

  

          Buckeye Central plays at home against Carey on Friday night in a game that both schools hope can help them secure a place in the upper half of the Northern 10 Athletic Conference at season’s end.

          Last Friday, the Bucks played pretty well against Ridegdale in a win (67-44) in conference play.

          Coach Phil Loy says over the last three quarters of that game they really played some pretty good basketball.  “I am happy overall with the win.  We got off to a little bit of a slow start, not so bad offensively.  We were down by one after the first quarter and I didn’t think we defended or rebounded as well as we could have.  Things started to change a little bit for us in the second quarter, the third quarter we really kind of opened it up and outscored them 21-6 and had a really good second half overall.  I am not sure why it always seems to be a tough place to play.  Maybe it is the travel.  Anyhow we were pleased with the win,” said Loy.

          More than a month into the season, the Bucks are still searching for more consistency.  Loy says they are getting a lot closer to getting there.  “I think a lot of that is the inexperience, the youth, and maybe a little bit of the leadership.  Hopefully, that is slowly starting to change.  The kids are starting to see a little bit of what happens when you execute things the way you are supposed to.  We haven’t necessarily put four quarters together yet.  We were close the other night we had probably three, good, solid quarters.  For us to continue to win, or compete, we are going to have to be able to put four quarters together,” he said.

          Carey (3-4,3-1) plays at Buckeye (3-4,2-2) on Friday night.  Loy knows this is a pretty good Carey team that has won games and challenged some good opponents on their schedule.  “Carey is a dangerous team.  Their record is 3-4, the same as ours.  They lost to a solid Riverdale team at the beginning of the year, they lost to a Van Buren team that is pretty good.  They came from behind against Colonel Crawford, they were down 13 in that game and came back and won by seven.  Then they competed against at Upper Sandusky team at Upper.  They ended up losing by 13 in that game, but I thought they competed really hard and did some really nice things in that game.  They turned around and beat a Mohawk team pretty handily, they beat Wynford, and ended up losing to New Riegel on the road, which we know is a tough place to play,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “They were without a couple of starters in that game.  We know we have our hands full on Friday night.  They are quick, they are athletic, they run and push the ball up the floor and they shoot the ball really well.”

 

Published 12/28/16

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Buckeye Central Has to Have Focus

  

          Buckeye Central got handled Tuesday night by unbeaten Upper Sandusky and they have to bounce back as they play at Ridgedale on Friday night.

          Upper drilled Buckeye Central (71-37) on Tuesday night.  Coach Phil Loy says they got off to a good start, but they were not able to maintain that level of play.  “I thought we came out and were ready to play.  We played with a lot of energy and made some things happen.  We created some turnovers and we got out and pushed the ball in transition.  It is a game where we don’t want to get out and run with them, but we were and they are a lot deeper than we are.  I knew that if we kept that pace it would come back and bite us.  You try to pull the reins back on your kids a little bit and it was pretty difficult.  We were up 21-14 a couple of minutes into the second quarter and playing pretty well and then all of the sudden their pressure got a little bit bigger and we started to turn it over. We made some big shots early and we continued to shoot those shots and they weren’t falling for us.  We were allowing Upper Sandusky to get out and run a little bit.  They did a better job of tacking care of the basketball.  We are only down nine at halftime and I told the kids we have to clean up a few things.  If we were in double figures of them at halftime, and you told me that at the beginning of the game, I would have told you we were fine,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “The wheels started falling off about the middle of the second quarter, so we come out in the third quarter and we just get off to a bad start with some turnovers.  We ended up with I believe we had 23 turnovers, which is more than double what we normally have, so we just have to do a better job taking care of the ball.  Once the wheels started falling off we couldn’t do anything to stop it and they made big shot after big shot and we couldn’t find the bottom of the basket.  It was kind of an ugly ending for us, not what we wanted, and hopefully we can turn things around.”

          Loy says Upper Sandusky makes it very hard to get into your offense and things that look open really aren’t.  “Getting into your offense can be rather difficult, especially when they just started trapping everywhere and they force you further and further away from the basket and if your not patient, if your not strong with the ball they rotate so well out of their traps that you think you have a good shot and the next thing that you know it’s a turnover and they do a great job of getting themselves in position on drives and rotating over and taking charges.  It just became a lot more difficult for us to run any type of offense.  They are good and they are really deep.  One of their best players was back on Tuesday that just made them that much more deeper.  They just had a lot more horses than we did,” said Loy.

          Buckeye Central (2-4,1-2) plays at Ridgedale (2-4,0-3) on Friday night in Northern 10 Athletic Conference.  Loy says the Rockets have good point guard play and it is a gym where they lost last year.  “I think they lost their best player after the second game.  He hurt his knee and I think he is having surgery this week.  Hopefully everything goes well for him there.  He is a big 6’5” center that gave us problems last year and the year before.  We went down there last year and got beat and I felt like we were the better team, but we came away with like a five point loss.  They graduated a couple of nice players, but they still have a very good player in their point guard in Preston Burton.  He does a lot of nice things he can attack the basket, shoot from the perimeter, handles pressure really well.  Their down side is they are not really deep.  They struggle to have depth and that is something we need to take advantage of,” said Loy.

 

Published 12/23/16

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Buckeye Central Still Learning

  

          Buckeye Central has some experience, but they also have some guys that are new to varsity basketball and are still trying to figure out what it takes a little bit.

          They get two more chances this weekend as they play at home against Seneca East in Northern 10 Athletic Conference play on Friday night and then visit New Riegel for a non-conference contest on Saturday.

          Last Saturday, in their opening “N10” game they lost (46-44) to Mohawk in a game where the Warriors didn’t score in the third quarter and still won.

          Coach Phil Loy says the got into a lot of foul trouble in the first half and that hurt them a lot.  “First of all give Mohawk a lot of credit their new coach has done a nice job with them.  They play with a lot of energy and they have structure.  They are buying into what he is doing.  They play hard.  They play physical and they made some plays.  For us, I have four guys setting on the bench in foul trouble in the first half.  I have three starters with two fouls and another starter with three fouls sitting the bench it almost puts kids in a tough situation.  We are down 11 points at the half and I give our guys credit they came out and played well in the second half,” he told Swankonsports.com, “Again we are just playing a half of basketball, but I attribute a lot of that to foul trouble.  We outscore them 9-0 in the third quarter, but we are still down two points.  It was a battle back and forth in the fourth quarter and we just kind of ran out of time.  Our kids played hard and we are still stressing to these guys how important every possession is, taking good shots, and being patient.  On the defensive end we have to make plays.  We are a little young, but we are getting there.  Hopefully, we are learning from these mistakes.
          Seneca East (3-0,1-0) comes calling on Friday night in New Washington.  The Tigers were (59-34) winners over Ridgedale in their first league game.

          Loy says they have a couple of big time scorers.  “They seem like they are playing much better.  They have started 3-0 and have beaten pretty decent teams in Tiffin Calvert, Plymouth, and Ridgedale.  Plymouth is a team that got us at their place on opening night and the next night Seneca East turned around and beat them at their place.  They do have two really good scorers in Johnny Diehm and Alex Forehand that are probably scoring two-thirds of their points.  They are both averaging 18.5 points a game and they are both getting about 10 rebounds a game.  For a couple of guards that is really good.  Our focus has got to be on those guys.  They have some other players around them too.  They have some good size and some good athletes,” said Loy.

          New Riegle (2-1) pounded Kansas Lakota (60-37) in a river division game in the Sandusky Bay Conference last Friday.  Their only loss is to Upper Sandusky.  Loy says this will be another in a long line of good games against the Blue Jackets.  “New Riegel has a really nice team.  They have had good teams over the years.  We have played them for a long time and they have always been good battles.  This year we expect no different.  They are a team that has some decent size to them. Some veterans, they are a little like us in that they don’t have a lot of varsity experience.  We expect a really good match up when we go to New Riegel on Saturday night,” he said.

 

Published 12/16/16

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Buckeye Central Looking for Consistency 

 

          Buckeye Central lost both of their games on the opening weekend, but there are a lot good things to build on as they prepare for their first league game on Saturday night against Mohawk at home.

          In their first game at Plymouth, the Bucks got off to a hot start, but they had some periods when they didn’t play well and ended losing (59-48) last Friday.

          Coach Phil Loy they made some defensive mistakes and that hurt them against the Big Red.  “Over the weekend I told the kids there were a lot of positives.  We are a young team as far as experience at the varsity level.  We go on the road at Plymouth, and I think Plymouth is going to end up being a pretty good, and they shot the ball well, especially in the second half.  That is a game where we get off to a 15-2 start.  We were shooting lights out and I knew that wasn’t going to last forever.  We played a pretty decent second quarter, but we played a really bad second half.  We just didn’t take care of the ball.  We gave them some pretty easy points in transition.  We lost them in their sets with their really good three point shooters and that hurt us going down the stretch,” said Loy.

          On Saturday night at home, South Central edged Buckeye (52-51) in a game that was close the entire fourth quarter.  Loy was happy with how they responded in the second half of the game.  “We come out on Saturday we knew we were really up against the wall against a really good South Central team that is picked to win the Firelands Conference.  We gave up too many points in the first quarter to them.  We talked about that between quarters.  We battled back and cut it to seven and they went the length of the floor in three or four seconds and got a shot off and make it at the buzzer to be up nine.  We come out in the second half and played really good.  We played with a lot of intensity.  I felt we moved the ball a lot better.  We did a lot of nice things,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We actually took a four point lead and it was back and forth throughout the rest of the game.  We came up on the short end of the stick there, but there were a lot of positives.  Obviously with a young team there are things we have to learn and get better at like taking care of the basketball and being able to execute things down the stretch.  We are looking for consistency and if we can get that, and keep improving on that every night, I think we will be pretty good by the end of the year.”

          The talent is there for Buckeye Central and Loy says by the end of the season they are going to be a pretty good team.  “We have a nice mix of kids we just don’t have a whole lot of experience.  We need some of these kids to step up and it may take a while before some of these kids are fully comfortable with their roles.  I think once we get to that point hopefully we can play four quarters of basketball night in and night out with everybody,” he said.

          Mohawk (0-1) lost to New Riegel in their opener (51-38) last Friday.  Loy says they are going to field a pretty young team too.  “I have not watched a whole lot on them yet.  I know they lost at home to New Riegel and New Riegel is usually a decent team.  They lost by 13.  I know they lost four or five pretty good seniors last year.  They have got a new coach.  They will be young too, so it should be a pretty good match-up,” he said.

 

Published 12/06/16

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Buckeye Central Looking For Leaders

  

          Buckeye Central has some athletic kids this year that can do some things with the ball, but they need some leaders, especially vocal leaders, on the floor.

          They host two Firelands Conference teams, Plymouth on Friday, and South Central on Saturday, in non-conference games this week.

          Coach Phil Loy says they have had some bright moments during the preseason, but he needs some players to set up and be leaders for this team.  “It has been going good, but I would like to see more leadership and more communication out of this group.  We lost some pretty good seniors last year and some guys that were vocal.  We need guys that can fill those shoes.  I think if we could get that we could be pretty good,” he said.

          He adds he can’t force players to become leaders they have to embrace that concept with one arms.  “We definitely need guys that want to embrace that.  I can’t force that on you.  I want you to be a leader, but you have to want to be a leader.  I need guys that when they step on the floor are always going to give 110% and guys that every time they step on the floor are going to communicate and be that coach on the floor.  If we get to that point or not will make or break our season,” said Loy.

         Point guard is a leadership position, but Loy says leaders don’t have to be point guards either.  “We have had some good ones in the past, but we have also had leaders that haven’t necessarily been point guards, but it makes it a lot easier if the guy trying to run the show to get things started at the offensive end or the guy that is trying to dictate what we are doing defensively can just be that leader.  It makes it a lot nicer if it is a point guard,” said Loy.

          Plymouth was a team last year that upset two of the leaders in the Firelands in South Central and New London.  Loy says they have some shooters.  “I expect a team that is going to play us extremely hard.  They played us extremely hard last year,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “I think it is a good bunch of kids he has coming back.  It looks to be a group of kids that can really shoot the ball.  We have to make sure we defend the perimeter on Friday night.”

          South Central is the defending Firelands Conference champion and they return five major contributors.  Buckeye beat them by one last year and Loy expects another close game.  “The last couple of years we have played three times and it seems like the game has come down to the last minute.  They are a tough, well coached ball club.  They have a lot of talent coming back and some good ones coming in, a couple of good freshmen.  We expect a really tough ball game as well on Saturday.  They are athletic and they shoot the ball well and have some good size,” said Loy.

 

Published 12/01/16

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For Buckeye Central Defense is a Key

  

          Buckeye Central has been one of the more consistent boys’ basketball programs in North Central Ohio over the last five to 10 years and they hope this can be another year when they can be competitive in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference.

          Coach Phil Loy believes with the Bucks they have a group that wants to work together and one that knows what they have to do to win.  “I like a lot of what I see because I think we have good team chemistry and we have a great work ethic.  The kids are excited to play.  They are playing hard.  They don’t really care who is scoring they just want play.  So, I really like that so far this season.  If anything we are just a little inexperienced, so we are learning.  When you are playing a team like Norwalk St. Paul that has the length they do we have got to be very fundamentally sound.  That is what we are harping on here so far (Thursday) night.  We have to do a better job of boxing out.  We are no longer playing against our JV team where you can just kind of bump them a little bit and we are just bigger and stronger and we can go get them.  We are not a very big team,” he told Swankonsports.com during a scrimmage Thursday with Norwalk St. Paul and Crestline, “You are going to play teams like this and you are going to play other teams with some length and we have to do all of the little things correctly.  I think when we do that we are going to be in a lot better position to compete.  Even though we are competing here (Thursday) night, we are doing a good job against both these teams, I think we are get a lot better.”

          The Bucks are not very big this season and Loy says they are going to have to run the floor and get some easy looks to score.  “We are going to have to push the pace as long as we can do it under control.  Last year we had a player if he got the rebound he could take it down and he saw the floor better than anybody I have ever coached or played against and he was a great quarterback on the floor.  I think we have some of those same players this year, but I think for us with our size we are going to have to be very good defensively and create turnovers and then push the ball.  It doesn’t mean you have to get a shot, but it might give you the opportunity to get a good shot,” he said.

          Defense has been a cornerstone of the success of the Buckeye Central program and Loy says playing well on that end of the floor is going to be really important this season.  “I have always told kids through the years that is one thing we can control how good we are going to be defensively.  We can be sound offensively, but there is no guarantee we are going to make shots.  Defensively, especially this team, we have to be very good.  It has to be a one done.  There can not be easy looks for people.  These kids are buying into it.  They are working hard and I think we will get there eventually,” said Loy.

 

Published 11/18/16

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Buckeye Central Ready to Play Biggest Rival

  

          Buckeye Central isn’t going to win a league championship and they aren’t going to make the playoffs, but they can end their season with a tremendous upset.

          The Bucks (2-7,2-5) play a game Friday night at Wynford (9-0,7-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, in Northern 10 Athletic Conference action.

          The Royals lead Seneca East by a game in the conference standings.

          Last week, the Bucks played one of their better games of the season in a (34-6) loss to Colonel Crawford, also a very good team.

          Coach Rob Detterman says his players did some very good things last week, they just made too many mistakes against a good team.  “We were very physical the whole game.  We probably played one of our better games.  We had problems converting when we were in the red zone trying to score.  What really hurt us is we made two early mistakes and kind of spotted them 14 points on fumbles.  They scored on their first series.  We went down and scored and then stopped them on a three and out we muffed a punt and they got it in the red zone again and were able to score in a couple of plays.  We kind of dug a big hole for ourselves early, but we kept battling the whole game,” said Detterman,

          When it comes to Wynford, Detterman says the Royals are good.  He says they play very hard and are always hustling to make the big plays on both sides of the ball.  “You can just tell how well they are coached.  Coach Helbert and his staff do and awesome job with each and every position group.  Every kid that is on that field plays their tail off.  They come off the ball hard.  They are flying everywhere they are going and they are never moving at a slow speed,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “Just the overall speed at each and every position and how fast they play as a team.  Even though they have a special kid in Zach Hoffman the rest of the team is also very, very good.  They just move as fast as they can.  They know what they are doing.”

          Buckeye Central knows they are the underdog in this game.  However, Detterman says they have nothing to lose, so why not come out and play hard and see what happens.  “They are excited.  We are realistic and we know we have a giant mountain to climb in front of us if we are going to beat these guys.  We are going to have to play a perfect game and get a couple of lucky breaks our way also.  We said (Monday) why not us?  Why can’t it be us?  We are going to give it all we’ve got and see what we can get done,” he said.

 

Published 10/25/16

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Buckeye Central Needs to Carry Forward

  

          Buckeye Central produced a tremendous rally to beat Bucyrus last week and they need to take that momentum into their game at home against Colonel Crawford this week.

          Trailing by three scores last week, the Bucks (2-6,2-4) rallied to beat Bucyrus (41-40) to win their second league game of the season

          Coach Rob Detterman says his players really responded to what they told them during the halftime break last week.  “We were down by 19 points twice.  We were by 19 at halftime.  We didn’t make a lot of changes in our game plan.  We made some minor tweaks at halftime, but we just challenged our kids to play harder.  They just weren’t playing up to snuff and what we thought they chould do in the first half.  They took it to heart,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, “They went out there and really started to perform in the second half.  They showed the toughness they have and the resilience they have had to have all year to battle through some of the injury problems and things we have had.  We are really proud of them when you see kids respond to adversity like that and actually conquer it.”

          Detterman is in his first year as the Buckeye head coach after coming over from Tiffin Calvert, where he was an assistant.  He says he has gotten great leadership from his seniors.  “I really have to commend my seniors because those kids have continued to play hard all year and work hard in practice and never give up.  It would be easy for them to get down with a first year head coach and not the season they wanted, but they have continued to work, so I couldn’t be more proud of those guys,” he said.

          Colonel Crawford (6-2,4-2) beat Lucas (47-20) in a non-conference game last week.  Their only losses come to unbeaten Wynford and once beaten Seneca East. 

          Detterman says they have to attack the game with confidence.  “I have respect for coach Teglovic.  He runs a great program.  I have competed against him every year I have been a coach, whether it was a game or a scrimmage.  They definitely do a great job.  The odds are stacked against us, but we aren’t afraid we are going to continue to come out and work hard and see what we can do,” said Detterman.

          The Eagles have featured the power run game this year and Detterman says they know they have to compete at the point of attack.  “We have to be tough in the box and we have to make our tackles.  That is something we have struggled with and it is something that changed last week.  The first half we missed a lot of tackles and the second half we started making tackles.  We need to bring that forward to this week.  They are good at breaking tackles and they want to come right at you.  Their offensive is explosive and we know we have to be ready for a battle up front,” he said.

 

Published 10/17/16

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Buckeye Wants to Keep it Fun

  

          Buckeye Central is not going win the Northern 10 Athletic Conference title this year and they probably aren’t going to make the playoffs either, but they can still get better and they can still have fun too.

          That’s what they did last Friday when they drilled Ridgedale (42-0) in an “N10” game for their first win of the season.  Coach Rob Detterman says they were able to get healthy and limit their mistakes.  “We had a couple of kids come back and the other thing we did is we stopped making some of the mistakes we were making and that is really something we have been concentrating on is trying to correct our own problems.  That is something we were able to do last week.  We had a penalty on our first drive that sort of stalled out our first drive, but after that we were able to avoid the big mistakes that were shutting us down a lot earlier in this season.  So, we were happy to see that progress and hopefully we can roll forward and get our assignments correct form here on out,” said Detterman.

          The first year coach admits they have had to reassess their goals this year and he says the kids continue to play hard.  “We kind of redefined our goals after our rough start.  We made three simple little things.  We want to continue to work hard everyday, continue to get better, and continue to have fun.  We want to make sure the kids are enjoying the game of football,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, “I think that is something we always have to do is let them be kids and let them have fun at it and I think that has helped keep that attitude good.  We have definitely continued to play hard no matter what circumstances we have had this year.  Whether we were out numbered with injuries hurting us or we were down by a lot our kids have never hung their heads they have always played hard.”

          Buckeye Central (1-5,1-3) plays host to Carey (2-4,2-2) in New Washington in a conference game on Friday night.  Carey lost (45-30) to Ontario in a non-conference game last week.

          Detterman says they are better than that record might tell you and they are physical.  “Carey is definitely a much better team that their record indicates.  They have had a tough schedule for sure.  They have lost a couple of close games.  They are very physical and have got a lot of good football players.  They don’t mess around they come right at you.  It is going to be a challenge to match that physicality.  We will see what we can do, but it will be a challenge for sure,” said Detterman,

          He adds they are going to have to battle at the point of attack against the Blue Devils.  “They want to pound it right at you and I know that is going to be a challenge.  They do try and lull you to sleep with their running game and then hit you with the play action pass when they get the opportunity,” said Detterman.

 

Published 10/03/16

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Buckeye Central Still Has Solid Effort

  

          There have been a bunch of injuries and more losses than they have wanted, but the young football players at Buckeye Central still are excited about playing football and getting better.

          A (32-7) loss to Upper Sandusky in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game last Friday was the Bucks fifth loss in as many games, but coach Rob Detterman says their players still have a good attitude.  “It may be lost with the community, but the kids are working hard.  They still have a good attitude.  They are taking on the challenges and they are playing hard every down of every game.  They understand they we have had a lot of injuries.  Those kids are starting to come back know.  They know our chances are getting better as we go on.  They haven’t given up on the season in anyway at all,” he said.

          Buckeye Central (0-5,0-3) plays at Ridgedale (0-5,0-3) in a game between winless teams on Friday night in “N10” action.

          Ridgedale lost (36-0) to Crestline in a non-conference game last week.  Despite their record, Detterman says the Rockets have some talented players in the skilled positions.  “They have some pretty quick kids and athletic kids in skilled positions.  We definitely have to respect that.  We have to try and contain them and keep them inside.  They want to run to the outside and get to the edges,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “It looks like they like to throw quite a bit and challenge you deep.  Defensively they like to play a man to man defense and see if you can beat them one on one.  We like our chances, but we are taking them 100 percent serious and putting everything we have into this week.”

          When it comes to winning this Friday, Detterman says they have to reduce the mistakes they have been making.  “We have to cut down on our own mistakes.  We need to make sure we throw the ball away when it needs to be thrown away and not throw it up into double coverage.  Turnovers have kind of killed us.  We need to know our assignments.  We have gotten better at that every week, but we need to stop making the mistakes and get it down to where we are doing the right things all of the time.  That is the number one thing we need to work on,” said Detterman.

 

Published 9/29/16

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Mistakes Still Hurting Buckeye Central

  

          With a couple of their big play makers on the sidelines with injuries, Buckeye Central has to be a very efficient team if they are going to win football games and so far that hasn’t happened.

          Last week, they lost a non-conference game (36-14) to Crestline and they host Upper Sandusky (2-2,1-1) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Friday night.

          Coach Rob Detterman says they did some good things early in the game last week, but they just made too many mistakes.  “We were able to move the ball quite a bit early.  Our offensive line was dominate early in the game.  We were able to drive down the field.  In our second series of the game we drive right down the field and got a bad holding penalty and just made some mistakes and it’s third and long and fourth and long and we can’t convert and that gave the momentum over to them.  We just can’t get out of our own way sometimes, but we are still working on it,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “A lot of it has to do with how much we have had to shuffle kids around and try to get people to fit into different spots due to some our injuries.  We are going to keep trying and trying to get better.”

          Right now, Buckeye Central doesn’t have players that are making big plays and that means they have to play football with very few mistakes.  “We don’t have a big play threat right now.  The two kids that we had on the team that are capable of that haven’t played since the first half of the first game.  We are trying to develop that with a couple of our younger kids.  We did start to see a little bit of that in the second half last week.  Something we are hoping to do is make a few more big plays.  We definitely have to be able to clean up our penalties and play mistake free football if we are going to have a chance to win,” he said.

          Upper Sandusky beat winless Ridgedale (48-0) last week in a conference game.  Detterman says they can do a lot of things when they have the ball in their hands.  “They do a couple of different things.  They will spread you out and do empty backfield with five wide receivers and try to throw it quite a bit.  Go with an unbalanced line and an “I” backfield.  They can hit you with their big running back Shane Pack.  He is a load, he is a big kid, he is about 6’2”, 240.  He is probably bigger than anybody we have on our team.  He is definitely a good running back with speed, but more than anything he has some toughness.  He is going to be tough for us to handle,” said Detterman.

 

Published 9/21/16

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It’s a Big Week For Buckeye Central

  

          Buckeye Central is winless so far this season and they haven’t executed very well on Friday nights.  That has to change.

          Last week, unbeaten Seneca East blasted the Bucks (46-14) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game.  Coach Rob Detterman says they just made too many mistakes early in the game to give themselves a chance against a really good team.  “They were definitely a good team.  We knew that coming in.  We didn’t do anything to help ourselves early.  We made a lot of mistakes early.  As good teams do they capitalized on every single one of them we made.  They kind of set the tone early and the first half did not go our way at all,” he said.

         Buckeye plays at Crestline (1-2) in a non-conference game on Friday night at Hudson Stadium.

          Detterman says they must continue to work hard in practice and then be able to take those things they are trying to perfect to the field on Friday nights.  “That is what has been a little frustrating this year.  Some of the things we work on in practice the most are the same mistakes we keep making on Friday nights.  We told the kids this is the week we have to start getting it right,” he told Swankonsports.com on  Tuesday, “We have to gets things turned around, do what we are coached to do, and get them right on the field.  We definitely have the opportunity to right the ship this week.  Crestline is no push over.  They are a very talented, very athletic football team, that is much better than they have been in the past.”

          After losing to a solid Monroeville team (47-13) in their opener the Bulldogs have played pretty well in a (10-7) win over Grove City Christian and a (26-21) loss last week to South Central.

          Crestline has struggled in recent seasons to regain their lost football tradition, but Detterman says this is a football team that has shown it can be petty good.  “They are a couple of plays away from being 2-1.  They lost a nail bitter last week against South Central.  We have seem them on film once before and they are a very athletic team also.  Crestline is definitely going to give us everything they have and it is going to be a battle.  We can’t overlook them in any way at all,” he said.

 

Published 9/14/16

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Buckeye Central Ready to Fight

  

          Buckeye Central has been fighting injuries and inconsistency so far this season and things don’t get any easier when they host Seneca East in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Friday night.

          The Bucks played a spirited second half last week, but fell to Mohawk (26-12) in their “N10” opener.

          Coach Rob Detterman says they got behind by too much early in the game, but he really liked they way they continued to fight.  “It was a physical football game.  We started out a little slow and they jumped out to a 20-0 lead and that really hurt us.  It limited out opportunities to come back from there.  It kind of changed our game plan a little bit, but we did respond and that is something I have been looking for out of these kids for the last three weeks,” he told Swankonsports.com on Labor Day, “We have been a little beat up, but we are starting to respond and fight back.  We are showing some spirit.  I was proud of how our kids played last week.”

          Having lost their first two games, Detterman says they need to taste some success.  “We definitely want to turn that around.  We play games because we want to win games.  It is something we are striving to do and we practice every week to win,” he said.

          It won’t be easy, as the Bucks (0-2,0-1) host Seneca East (2-0,1-0), coming off a (60-8) destruction of Ridgedale.  Detterman says the Tigers are physical and they are good.  “Seneca East is a very talented football team.  They have lots of veterans on their team, lots of the seniors.  They have great size, great athleticism, and they are well coached.  So, it is going to be an uphill battle for us.  They have a lot of numbers too, which is going to give them another advantage.  We are up for the challenge and we are going to give it our best effort.  We are going to work all week and see what we can do against them,” said Detterman.

          In the past couple of years Seneca East has thrown the ball around a lot, but Detterman says what they have shown so far in 2016 is a willingness to pound the ball.  “They are looking to throw it too.  They have gone to more of a running game than I think they have done in the past.  I really not aware of exactly what they have done in the past, but I was told that they like to throw it around a lot.  They have some really good athletes.  Brock Martin comes to mind as a kid that is a strong runner, very fast and very physical.  We will have our hands full with that physicality and trying to match it,” said Detterman.

 

Published 9/06/16

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Trenches Big For Buckeye Central

  

          Buckeye Central needs to get healthy and they must be able to compete at the point of attack when they play at Mohawk in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Friday.

          Last week, they led at the Plymouth (13-7) at the half, but gave up 26 unanswered points in the third quarter and lost (39-19) to the Big Red in their opener.

          Coach Rob Detterman says their lack of depth caught up to them against Plymouth.  “We kind of ran into our numbers issue.  We suffered a couple of injuries.  One right before half and one immediately after half and with our lack of depth we struggled coming back.  We did lose our running back, who was having a really good first half.  He broke his collar bone.  Then probably our best athlete Jeff Hall came up a little bit lame and was unable to come back into the game,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, “We should have Ethan back in four or five weeks and Jeff could be back this week.  It hurt us when you lose a couple of players and we don’t have a lot of depth it is hard to deal with sometimes at a small school.”

          He says they have told other players it is an opportunity for them to step up and play a bigger role on the team.  “That has been our message the last couple of weeks because we have dealt with injuries through the preseason too.  Our message to our young guys has been how do we respond to things?  We don’t want to react.  We want to put some thought into what we are doing.  We want to respond properly and we want to take advantage of opportunities.  When some guys went down some younger guys got an opportunity to step into those roles,” said Detterman.

          Mohawk won their first game (39-14) at Fremont St. Joe last Friday.  Detterman says the Warriors want to be a power football team and run the ball between the tackles.  “Mohawk is kind of an old school team from what I can tell.  They like to pound it between the tackles.  A lot of a two back set.  Play with a tight end.  Not the stuff you see a lot of today, but the kind of football I really like.  They play hardnosed football, so we look forward to a good game with them,” he said.

          Battling in the trenches and playing run defense is something Detterman believes they have the tools to do.  “That was something we did pretty well the other night.  We had a little bit of a let down.  The wind kind of went out of our sails a little bit when we lost those guys, but our young guys up front played pretty well.  Hopefully, we are going to see that major improvement from week one to week two.  Hopefully we can compete at the line of scrimmage,” said Detterman.

 

Published 8/29/16

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Running Game Key For Buckeye Central

  

          The running game, on both sides of the ball, is going to likely determine the outcome when Plymouth travels to Buckeye Central for a non-conference game to open the season on Friday night.

          After suffering through some injuries during the preseason first year coach Rob Detterman feels like they are going to be ready to go when they take the field Friday.  “We feel pretty good about where we are at.  We have went through a few bumps in the road.  We’ve had a lot of injuries that we are starting to get back now, so we are excited to get going,” he said.

          Detterman feels their bread and butter this year is going to be running the football.  There are some young guys in spots up front, but he feels they will be able to do the job.  “We feel we are going to be good at running the ball.  We are young up front, but we have the mindset that we should be able to run the ball and get those three or four yards whenever we need them.  That is something we are definitely going to hang our hat on,” he said.

          After taking a look at Plymouth, Detterman feels they are going to see a lot of the option offense out of the Big Red on Friday.  “Plymouth shows a lot of option.  Coach Genders has taken their offense back over this year and I know he is an option guy.  I know they have a big, strong fullback in Seth Bailey, who we have to stop.  He is definitely a downhill runner.  He is about 230 pounds, a very good football player,” said Detterman.

          Assignment football is the name of the game when you are trying to defend the option.  After seeing it in a scrimmage last week against Crestview, Detterman feels they will be able to defend it well.  “All of the kids have to know their jobs and we have really been focused on that this week,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We are fortunate to have run into a similar opponent in Crestview last Friday in our final tune up scrimmage when we were petty unhealthy for that and we didn’t fare very well.  A lot of kids did get some experience looking at the option.  I think they have a better idea what they are up against this week.”

 

Published 8/25/16

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Buckeye Must be More Physical

 

          Buckeye Central is going to be a young football team that is improving, but need to more physical at the point of attack.

          They open the regular season a week from Friday when they host Plymouth in a non conference game.

          Coach Rob Detterman says the two scrimmages they have had so far have shown them a lot of things.  “We have definitely learned a lot about ourselves.  We are still looking for players.  We have a lot of young guys competing for spots on the offensive line.  That battle is starting to thin out a little bit and we are starting to see where our guys are going to be.  We have had two successful scrimmages.  One we did pretty well in against Willard last Tuesday and then we scrimmaged Tiffin Calvert, who I expect to be a very good football team on Saturday.  We learned a lot about ourselves and we definitely have some areas to work on,” said Detterman.

          He says this is the time you want to address any issues you may be having.  “We can’t fix them after the season starts, well we can, but we definitely want to fix them before we get to game one.  The game that counts,” he said.

          Buckeye defensive players have been getting to the ball carrier, but they have been having trouble getting him down.  Plus, Detterman says their young offensive line needs to execute better.  “Tacking is one thing we are working on.  We really went at it (Monday.)  We are doing a good job of getting to the ball, but running through our tackles as been an interesting process.  We seem to be a team that can wrap up, but we are not getting our feet through the tackle,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “Our young O-line we are trying to get those guys to fire off a little better.  They are doing a good job with the technical stuff.  They just aren’t at the speed that we want them to be at yet.”

          Football is physical and successful teams know how to be that.  Detterman says they do a good job of running their plays and knowing where they are supposed to be on defense, but they need be more physical.  “There is no doubt about it, especially when you are going to be playing a lot of young kids like we are.  You can look really good and have a lot of summer all stars.  I learned through my years of coaching that when the hitting starts you start to find out who your players are.  Sometimes you are surprised pleasantly and sometimes you are surprised in a bad way.  We are learning and we do like what we see.  We just want to get a little more physicality out of them,” said Detterman.

 

Published 8/15/16

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Detterman Brings Some New Things to Buckeye

 

          Buckeye Central faces life without Grant Loy, but they are not devoid of Loys, his brother Max returns to the fold.

          There is also a new coach in Rob Detterman, a New London grad, and former Tiffin Calvert assistant.

          He says his group has been putting in good effort.  “We are working hard.  We are very thin in numbers.  We don’t have a lot, so we know we have to be really tough and we have to get going and give it all we got.  Our 31 kids have to be better than the other team’s 31 kids,” he said.

          There will be some kids going both ways with the Bucks and Detterman says they are trying to make sure the kids are ready to go hard for four quarters.  “We practice a little different than other teams.  We have our conditioning early in practice and make sure our kids get tired fast and then we work at a really high pace.  We don’t take very many breaks in practice, if any.  The water is available to them at any time, but we like to practice at a high rate and keep their heart rate up the whole practice,” said Detterman.

          Being up tempo will be part of the Buckeye Central offense, but Detterman says they want to be able to do a lot of things.  “That is part of our plan to use several different tempos as we go, so we can switch our tempos from huddle to no huddle in the middle of a drive if we want to.  We do practice that and in our practice (Tuesday) we ran four different team sessions, which four different tempos.  That is something we are looking to do,” he said.

          With a new coach there is always going to be an adjustment period, but Detterman believes they are kind of over that and are moving forward.  He says the seniors have been great leaders.  “I have been here since March.  We have been lifting strong.  I really have to thank the seniors.  They embraced me.  We have a nice group and have done a lot of senior meetings throughout the summer.  They have embraced the changes, they have learned it really fast,” he told Swankonsports.com after practice on Tuesday, “That is something I was concerned about, how will the seniors react to change?  My experience in my high school days, when going into your senior year if you get a new coach it could definitely be overwhelming and you think you are not going to be very good with the transition, but we tried to meet that up front, talk about that.  They have bought into what we want to do.  So far, so good.”

 

 

Published 8/03/16

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Buckeye Central Beats Mohawk

 

          Buckeye Central broke an eight game losing steak with an (8-6) win over a solid Mohawk team in Northern 10 Athletic Conference baseball on Thursday in New Washington.

          Grant Loy had two hits, including a grand slam, and five RBI and Tanner Zaebest added three hits for the Bucks.  Sophomore Josh Dentinger got the win going six innings, allowing nine hits, walking two and striking out five.

          Coach Chad Jensen says it was a relief to get a win.  "Mohawk is an excellent team and we have been in a little bit of bad streak here.  We kept telling the kids as long you keep playing hard and play the game the right way things will go in your favor and that's what happened (Thursday) night.  We were able to get timely hits, got a few clutch hits, got a grand slam from Grant Loy, a big clutch hit from Jared Shook, and big save from Ethan Summers.  It is was a good team effort," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday night, "In this bad streak that we have had we have told the kids to just be consistent and keep playing the game hard and things will happen."

          Buckeye Central (10-13,4-11) has been on the short end of some games against tough "N10" teams like Wynford, Colonel Crawford and Seneca East over the last couple of weeks.  Jensen says it has been about consistency.  "We have just been inconsistent the last couple of weeks.  We have hit the ball overall, all year, pretty well.  It has just been being able to put seven innings together.  Be able to get a quality start with quality, clutch hitting and he got that (Thursday) night.  We got six quality innings from sophomore Josh Dentinger and that gave us a boost.  We got some big hits along the way.  Mohawk has some good hitters and is just a quality team.  We hung around and where able to get some big hits.  Mohawk battled back, but we got some big pitches from Josh and were able to shut the door in the seventh," said Jensen.

          The postseason starts from Buckeye on Saturday when they host winless Mansfield St. Peter's in a division four first round game.  Jensen believes they are going to be ready for the tournament because of who they have played in the regular season.  "We have to be ready there is no question about it.  We told our kids that we feel like our league has prepared us.  Our league is extremely tough.  It is the toughest top to bottom that I have been a part of in 15 years as a coach.  So, we feel our league has prepared us.  The tournament does start Saturday and the kids know it's win or go home.  We have told them if you play the game the right way things will fall into place," he said.

 

Published 5/06/16

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Buckeye Wins Third Straight

 

          Buckeye Central banged out 12 hits in route to a (8-2) win at Carey in Northern 10 Athletic Conference baseball on Monday evening.

          Buckeye lost three games last week, plus had to deal with real life issues, but coach Chad Jensen says they have been able to battle back.  "It was a tough week for our kids last week, but we had a good weekend at Plymouth and played well and played well against Carey, really did, got some base hits, played excellent defense, good starting pitching, good relief pitching, just solid play all around.  I have great respect for our kids, we have a lot of character kids, all of our kids are great character kids.  We are looking forward to playing everyday and getting better," said Jensen.

          Grant Loy, Jacob Shade, Nash Ehresman, and Josh Dentinger all had two hits on Monday and Loy and Shade each had two RBI for the Bucks.

          Payton Phenicie started an threw four shutout innings and Tanner Zaebest pitched the final three in notch the save.

          Buckeye also had 10 stolen bases, three by Loy.

          Jensen says they have shown signs they can be good on offense, but they need to be more consistent.  "We have seen flashes, we have certainly go through spurts where we hit the ball pretty well.  We came back and scored 13 last week after being down 13-0.  We didn't quite have enough to win, but we have scored some runs here and there.  We just need to be able to put it all together, put seven innings together and get solid pitching and defense and put it all together.  We were able to do that (Monday.)  We just need to get more consistent with everybody," said Jensen.

          Buckeye Central (7-4,2-4)  plays at Upper Sandusky (8-5,5-2,) who fell out of sole possession of first place in the league when Bucyrus beat them (9-5) on Monday, on Tuesday.  Upper outscored Buckeye (15-13) last Thursday.  They host Carey against Wednesday, as part of five games this week.

          Jensen says they look forward to the challenge.  "We play everyday this week.  We have Upper on Tuesday, and Carey again on Wednesday, Crestline in a non-league on Thursday, and Bucyrus on Friday.  So, we play everyday this week, with three more league games this week," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday night, "It really challenges your pitching staff.  Our kids are excited about playing and playing everyday after a couple of weeks ago when it rained a lot.  The "N10" is certainly a challenging league and everyday you get everybody's best.  We just want to go out and put our best foot forward."

 

Published 4/19/16

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Buckeye Central Ready to Go

 

          Just like a lot teams around North Central Ohio, the Buckeye Central Bucks are just waiting to play a little baseball and hopefully that happens on Tuesday.

          With sunshine and a high temperature in the mid 40's predicted, Buckeye Central (3-1) is scheduled to host Northmor (2-2) in a non-conference game at their place on Tuesday afternoon.

          Coach Chad Jensen says it has been almost a week for them and they just want to get out and play some ball in a real game.  "We really want to play.  Our kids are really chomping at the bit.  We haven't played since Wednesday.  Thursday we were in the gym, Friday we were rained out.  So, we haven't been outside much in the last few days.  Tuesday looks like the best day.  It's going to be in the 40's and sunny.  That's good baseball weather in Ohio, so we will take what we can get," he said.

          In their last game, last Wednesday, they lost to defending Northern 10 Athletic Conference champion Seneca East (11-5) in a conference game and Jensen says they want to get that bad taste out of their mouth.  "We definitely want to get back on the winning track.  We have an opportunity to win and play well.  Northmor is not going to be easy, they are well coached and those kids will be prepared for us.  It will be a good game and nothing we will take for granted," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday night, "We want to get out and have an opportunity to play well and improve from the last time.  The Seneca East game it was 6-5 in the 6th and we kind of imploded.  We want to get that out of our mouth and get a better feeling and just play better.  If we play better we will be pleased with that."

          Of course, you can't get out and play or practice in bad weather.  Plus, Jensen says it forces you to make decisions on who gets to pitch for you too.  "The weather messes up your rotation.  We threw four guys off the mound (Monday) indoors that haven't thrown for a while that we need to stay fresh.  It does take a little bit of strategy.  You have to think who is up?  Who hasn't pitched?  Who's turn is it?  So, we have kind of gone with that.  Basically who's turn it is not if is league, just who's turn it is," he said.

          Also on Monday, Buckeye Central three sport star Grant Loy announced, via Twitter, that he would be furthering his academic and football career at Bowling Green State University.  Loy is Buckeye's best player in three sports, football, basketball, and baseball.  He is the best overall athlete in the conference and one of the best in the area.  Loy is also a fine student, carrying a nearly 4.0 GPA.  Although his father Phil is Buckeye's basketball coach, Grant has made it known he wanted to play football at the next level.

 

Published 4/04/16

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Buckeye Wins; Jensen Reaches Milestone

 

          Payton Phenicie stuck out nine and allowed only two hits over five innings and Buckeye Central downed Monroeville (3-1) Monday in what was Chad Jensen's 200th win as their head coach.

          Buckeye (3-0) had beaten Fremont St. Joe (8-1) and (14-1) in a doubleheader on Saturday.  "We are definitely happy with what we have accomplished so far.  The kids have worked hard and done everything we have asked of them.  We have thrown strikes and gotten some timely hits and played solid defense.  We know we have a lot more to go, but it is always nice to get off to a good start," said Jensen.

          Pitching has been the key for the Bucks so far, allowing only three runs in three games.  Jensen says Phenicie was able to keep Monroeville off balance on Monday.  "We have been able to start our top three pitchers, numbers one and two in the doubleheader, and number three on (Monday.)  Peyton Phenicie pitched really well (Monday.)  He got ahead of hitters and changed locations really well and he did all kinds of little things to keep them off balance," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday night, "We had one of our seniors, Ethan Summers, come in a close the door and get a save for us.  So, it was a good team effort and kids played well and we were able to get some key outs down the stretch."

          Jacob Shade has two hits and two RBI against Monroeville on Monday.

          It will be a big rest of the week for the Bucks as they play defending Northern 10 Athletic Conference champion Seneca East on Wednesday and Friday to begin league play. 

          Jensen says the Tigers have become a big rival and this will be their first true test of the season on Wednesday.  He says Seneca East is sort of a measuring stick if you will when it comes to being competitive in the N10 this spring.  "Seneca East, they were the champs last year.  They are the ones that we want to emulate right now.  They have a lot of kids back.  We have had a lot of great games with them over the years, even before they were in our league.  In baseball it certainly has been a rivalry.  Several times we have played them three times because of the tournament.  It has developed into a rivalry.  They have gotten us, we have gotten them.  It is going to be our toughest challenge to date come Wednesday and Friday.  They are by far the best team we have played so far and the kids are excited to face them.  We want to see what we can do to challenge them," said Jensen.

 

Published 3/29/16

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Buckeye Central Will be Experienced

 

          Buckeye Central will be one of the more experienced baseball teams in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference this spring and they hope they can turn that into wins.

          Coach Chad Jensen says they have been able to get outside due to the weather and get some work in with players that already have a lot of experience.  "We have been able to get outside a lot this year.  We have been fortunate to have good weather.  So, that has been a plus for us.  We do have nine seniors, 10 letter winners, we have a lot of experience coming back.  We have been able to get out on the field coupled with veteran players and leaders on our team it has been very good for us.  We are just hoping to improve we each day.  We had some growing pains last year with some guys playing some new spots.  We are hoping we can put it all together and compete everyday this year," said Jensen.

          Like any level of baseball, high school teams start with pitching and Jensen believes they have a solid starting staff and now it will be about finding other pieces.  "We have some guys that threw some innings for us starting with Grant Loy, a senior, four year letter winner for us.  He is our number one, the ace of our staff.  It's starts with him and hopefully he can log some innings for us.  Then we have Jacob Shade and Peyton Phenicie.  Jacob is a junior and Payton is a sophomore, guys that have pitched for us, and Tanner Zaebst, a senior, who starts and relieves and does a little bit of everything for us," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "Those four our returners for last year.  To fill in the rest of the staff we have some seniors battling and some underclassmen battling.  It has been a competition to see who can fill out beyond those top four.  There has been good competition for us and a lot of kids that want to play and want to fit into roles.  We are just hoping that all works out for us soon."

          For Bucks, (11-16) last year, to contend for the conference title this year they are going to have to be a lot more consistent at the plate than they were last year.  Jensen says he likes what he sees.  "Scoring runs is a must.  One thing we have to get better from last year is we have to become more consistent with the bats.  That is one thing we have really focused on here early the season.  Again at the plate we have a lot of experience and we hope we can put it all together and be able to hit consistently.  We have shown so far that we are headed in that direction, but you really never know until you get out there against another team and see where you are at.  So far, I am happy with the progress we have made," he said.

 

Published 3/15/16

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Buckeye Expects Close One

 

          Buckeye Central and Wynford boarder each other in Crawford County and their boys' basketball teams play each other for a division four district title on Friday night at Lexington High School.

          The Bucks (17-6), #4 in the final Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the small school division, won the two regular season games in Northern 10 Athletic Conference play.

          They also hung on to beat Norwalk St. Paul (52-48) in semi final action on Wednesday night.

          They had a significant second half lead on the Flyers, but coach  Phil Loy says they had to make some free throws in the end to secure the victory.  "It was an evenly matched game in the first half.  We were missing a lot of shots.  They did a good job of packing it in on us and limiting Grant's touches and daring us to shoot.  I just thought we were a little inpatient and taking some quick shots.  We weren't making them and then we were out of position and not being able to get offensive rebounds.  We still had a six point lead and I felt good about it at halftime.  The third quarter we came out and made some shots and we got some stuff in transition and we were able to stretch the lead to 15 and it was 12 going to the fourth.  They picked up their pressure.  Give them credit they changed some things up," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "They went to a diamond press, they trapped some out of the 1-3-1.  The thing about Norwalk St. Paul is they've got some length.  They have some kids that are really long, with some long arms, they are shot blockers.  They gave us some problems early on and they made some shots and we don't and the next thing you know it's a ballgame.  Especially Grant Loy goes six for six at the four line to keep our lead and keep it two possessions pretty much throughout the end of the game. So, if we don't make those we are in a lot of trouble."

          Wynford (14-9) had a big second half on Wednesday night and they beat Mansfield Christian (66-52) to advance.  Loy says they have very good guard play and some size too.  "Wynford played really well, that doesn't surprise me, but it did surprise me with the margin of victory.  I really felt that would be a tight game that could go either way.  I thought they were pretty evenly matched.  A little bit had to due with Mansfield Christian's big guys getting into foul trouble, so they ended up going small and Wynford kept a big guy on the floor and Mansfield Christian didn't have an answer.  They were getting a lot of offensive rebounds and getting a lot of put backs.  Mansfield Christian, if you go small you are going to have to rely on guard play and making perimeter shots, and they weren't doing that.  Shots were going in and out and the next thing you know that lead, that was maybe a four point lead, goes up to an eight and a ten and a 15.  Wynford is definitely a dangerous team.  They have quick, athletic guards that can shoot it and they have some size inside," said Loy.

          Buckeye Central won (52-38) and (69-49) in their two meetings with Wynford so far, but Loy believes this one will be a lot closer.  "Playing an elite team for a third time we do know each other pretty well.  We are close rivals and the kids know each other and this will be another tough ballgame.  There won't be any secrets.  They may change some things up defensively and may add a twist here and there at the offensive end.  Other than that it is just a matter of going out and executing.  We won the first time by 14 and second time by 20 at their place, but I expect this one here to be a tight ballgame.  If you don't defend and you don't shoot it well, which could happen on any given night, you are going to have a close ballgame.  Our kids will be ready and I am sure their kids will be ready, it should be a fun ballgame," said Loy.

 

Published 2/26/16

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Buckeye Playing a St. Paul Team with Some Height

 

          Buckeye Central takes a six game winning streak into the post season tournament, but they are going to play one of the biggest teams they have met all year.

          The Bucks (16-6), #4 in the final Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the small school division, face Norwalk St. Paul (8-14) in the first round of the division four tournament on Wednesday night at Lexington High School.

          Buckeye coach Phil Loy says they have be doing a lot of good things.  "I am happy with the way we are playing.  Defensively we have stepped it up.  That is always good.  That's what you want going into the tournament.  You want a team that is playing really well and getting after it and hopefully we can continue that on through the tournament.  Offensively I think we are doing a really good job as well, shooting the ball and executing, and moving the basketball.  We are getting some good looks.  We'll see, we have won our last six games and hopefully we can continue," he said.

          Buckeye Central has enjoyed a lot of tournament success in recent years.  Making it to the district final last year and the regional semi finals the year before.  Loy hopes that helps them this year.  "Tournaments are just a different feel.  Everything you is just a little bit different.  When you show up for a game it's about getting ready, not shooting around before a JV game.  The perpetration is just a little bit different.  The energy, the excitement, and all of that, is a little bit different.  But, we have had kids, it all starts with Grant Loy, who has been through it for four years, with the tournaments, and is a four year letter winner.  Scott Heydinger is a three year letter winner, so he has been through it.  We have had some good runs getting to the regionals and the district finals.  They have played in those games.  We hope that experience will help us here," said Loy.

          When it comes to Norwalk St. Paul, Loy believes the match-ups could spell trouble for them.  "The thing is a Mike Smith basketball team is always going to be well prepared and that is the thing to look out for.  He has definitely done his homework and his kids are going to be prepared.  They have had a couple of nice wins there and even their losses, they have had a couple of close losses or games they have competed in for four quarters and maybe just couldn't finish the game or had one bad quarter.  I believe they are playing better basketball right now.  What is dangerous about them is they have some length," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "Offensively it could be a little more of a challenge because they start everybody over six foot, they bring 6'3" or 6'4" off the bench.  So, they have got some size that can create some problems.  They use that length to their advantage.  They don't have the best record, but I think they got off to a slow start a little bit with football, so their record is a little deceiving.  We have to make sure our kids are focused and ready to go."

 

Published 2/24/16

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Buckeye Playing Really Well

 

          It's hard to imagine a team that had a better weekend then did the Buckeye Central Bucks, who beat rivals Colonel Crawford and Wynford in "N10" games.

          Coach Phil Loy was thrilled with the effort and execution he got in a  (52-33) win over Crawford and a (69-49) victory at Wynford.  "I am very proud of our team.  If you would have told me before the weekend that we would have beaten Colonel Crawford by 19 and go to Wynford and win by 20 I wouldn't have believed you, but our kids are playing extremely well, just great team basketball and getting after it really hard defensively.  I think that is what we did over the weekend.  Those are two really good wins over teams that were in the top four in our conference," said Loy.

          Defense has been the difference for the Bucks, now in second place in the conference.  Loy says their defense has gotten a lot better as the season has gone along.  "To start the year we kind of struggled with it a little bit.  We weren't consistent, but it seemed as the season went on we became a lot more consistent and really getting after it and rebounding better and that is showing now with our record," he said.

          Buckeye Central hosts Riverdale (4-16) in a non-conference game coming up on Tuesday night.  Loy says Riverdale plays hard and has had some success against "N10" teams.  "I expect a team that plays really hard.  They are well coached.  Coach Taylor does a nice job with them.  They start three seniors and two juniors and a few juniors off the bench.  They are struggling a little bit this year in a really tough conference in the "BVC."  They have played some teams tough.  When I saw them play, and watch them on film, they execute their stuff really well," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "They play extremely hard, it's just a matter of getting four quarters.  They have played three teams in our conference.  They beat Carey early in the year, which is a very good win.  They beat Bucyrus by 15 at Bucyrus and they lose to Mohawk by one just a couple of weeks ago.  We expect nothing but their best (Tuesday) night."

          Buckeye Central (14-6,11-4) is at Mohawk (4-16,2-13) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Friday night.  The Bucks won the first meeting, but only (44-36) back in early January.  Loy says they want to get down the floor.  "That is a game where we will want to get up and down the floor and do some things.  One of the teams they played extremely tough was us the first time around at home.  They had us down 13-5.  They play really hard.  They play with a lot of energy.  They have a really good point guard that is a tough match up.  They have a really tall inside player, a four man in Alex Jeffries that is a good 15 foot jump shooter and is really long and a good rebounder.  Us being down 13-5 the first time we played them at home it was a struggle for us to get a lead by halftime.  It is not a game we blew them out by any means.  We only won that game by eight points," said Loy.

 

Published 2/16/15

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Buckeye With Both Crawford and Wynford

 

          Buckeye Central is coming off a pair of "N10" wins last week and now they face two of their bigger rivals in Colonel Crawford and Wynford on Friday and Saturday.

          After beating Carey (61-47) last Friday, the Bucks downed Bucyrus (66-47) on Saturday.  After a slow start, coach Phil Loy says they played pretty well against the Redmen.  "Anytime you can win on the road in the "N10" I think it is a good win.  We got off to a slow start.  They did come at us and threw a lot of different defenses at us.  They brought a lot of energy and our guys were kind of sluggish to start and we got down 8-2 in that game.  After a time out we kind of got refocused and from that point forward, from the middle of the first quarter, I thought we played pretty well," he said.

          Colonel Crawford (14-5,10-3) plays at Buckeye Central (12-6,9-4) on Friday night. The Eagles won (47-42) in North Robinson in December.  Loy says they are just hard to defend.  "It is a very good Colonel Crawford team, maybe not the best that they have had over the years, but they are very solid.  They have some nice big men, but the strength is they have three kids that can shoot it from the perimeter and they are finding some other guys that can score for them as well," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "They are tough to guard because they run their offenses so well.  They do a very good job of setting screens and getting guys open.  I thought the last time that we played them we played pretty well, but there were times when we lost the shooters and they got some open shots and that hurt us down the stretch."

          The three county schools in Crawford County have a rivalry dating back to the 1960's and Loy says this weekend should be fun.  "This will be fun both nights.  I think Friday night will be a our biggest crowd of the year.  They always bring a really good crowd and we will have a really good crowd for this one as well.  Kids look forward to games like this when it is two schools that are as close as we are and know each other so well it should be a lot of fun and a great atmosphere," he said.

          Wynford (12-6,9-4) is one the hottest teams in North Central Ohio.  They have won seven in a row since a (52-38) loss to Buckeye on January 8.  Loy describes the Royals as a team playing with a bunch of confidence right now.  "They just keep getting better and keep playing with more and more confidence.  With a new coach as the season goes I think you start understanding things more and more and just continue to get better.  The are playing with a lot of confidence.  I don't think they have lost a game since the last time that we played them.  That is seven straight wins for them.  The last time we played them, we played pretty well and shot the ball pretty well.  So, now we have to go on the road and play a team with a lot of confidence.  We are going to have to shoot the ball well and play with confidence there too," said Loy.

 

Published 2/11/16

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Buckeye Has to get back After it

 

          Buckeye Central has now lost two straight games and they need to get back on track as they head into the tournament in a couple of weeks.

          They lost at Ridgedale (66-57) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Saturday night.  Coach Phil Loy says the Rockets are tough to handle and they didn't take advantage of some opportunities.  "It is a tough place to play at Ridgedale I think and Ridgedale is pretty good.  They are just above .500, but they have three players that are really nice players, probably first and second team players in our league.  A big kid, in the Eldridge kid that is 6'5", he is good shot blocker, he finishes well, and has a nice touch, and is the leading rebounder in our league, averaging 12 rebounds a game.  They have two guards that are good three point shooters and are nice players and attack the basket.  Those guys are averaging 12, 15, and 18 points a game," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "If you go down there and don't shoot the ball very well you are in for a dogfight and that was what we were up against.  We didn't shoot it very well, but we were still down one, with the ball, with four minutes left in the game.  Some bad things happened we turned it over and they capitalized on it and the next thing you know we walk away there without a win.  It is a game we would like to have back, but it is a tough place to play."

          On Friday night, the Bucks (10-6,7-4) host the Carey Blue Devils (8-8,6-5) in an "N10" game.  Buckeye won by 19 (62-43) the first time they played, but Loy says they are clearly better.  "Carey is a young team and I think the second half of the season they have grown quite a bit.  We watched them play Liberty-Benton on Monday and Liberty-Benton is a nice team, they have some good size and they are physical.  It was a high scoring game and Carey hung with them.  It ended up 82-72.  Carey is playing with a lot of confidence.  They shoot the three really well and anytime you can shoot the three, and have multiple guys that can shoot it, you are going to be in the ballgame.  So, we have a tough one on Friday night," said Loy.

          Then on Saturday they travel over to Bucyrus to meet the young Redmen (1-15,1-10) and Loy says they have to have focus because this could be a season maker for Bucyrus.  "I think coach (Tony) Rose kind of instilled that into them, so the kids are still playing hard.  They had a nice win against Mohawk and they have hung with some teams.  They are young, their starting five is four sophomores and a freshman.  They are a young team, but they are still playing with confidence.  I think they believe if they can get this one game that is going to make their season.  If they finish strong going into the tournament maybe they can win a couple of games.  Anytime you go on the road in the "N10" its is not and easy day," he said.

 

Published 2/05/16

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Confidence Still Building For Buckeye

 

          Buckeye Central lost to unbeaten Upper Sandusky last Saturday night, but instead of losing confidence, they may have gained some due to the way they played.

          The final was (53-46) and coach Phil Loy feels they may have thrown a scare into the Rams in what was their closest final of the season so far.  "I told the kids after the game I was very proud of the way they played.  I thought we did a great job.  Upper Sandusky is averaging 76 points a game and we hold them to 53.  It was a great defensive effort.  The second half we hold them to 16 points.  We forced them into the turnovers, which led to some transition baskets for us.  We did not want a track meet with these guys.  They want to force you into a track meet and ware you down.  In the first quarter, and you can't help it sometimes, it did become a track meet.  It was 21-14 and I told the kids between quarters that we don't want that pace.  Unfortunately they come out in the second quarter and go on a 16-5 run.  A lot of that was due to that fact that Grant Loy had a bloody nose and he couldn't get it stopped, so he is in the training room the whole second quarter.  So, I don't have him for the whole second quarter.  They created some match up problems for us and they build an 18 point lead at halftime.  At halftime my kids weren't down," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "They thought there were definitely some things we can change on the floor.  We come out the third quarter and go on a 13-2 run and we have cut it to six.  It ended up nine going to the fourth quarter.  There were a couple of times we even cut to four and had some good looks from the perimeter that we missed.  If we could have got a few of those to fall it would have been a different outcome.  I was really proud of how they played and if we can continue to play that way I think we will be really successful."

          Loy says you never want to lose game, but in this case he believes they learned some good things about themselves.  "I think it helped our confidence, not losing helped it, but they fashion that we did.  The first time that we played them we lose by 24 points and we just didn't defend the way we are capable of defending and I thought Saturday night we just defended very well.  We were the one forcing them into turnovers in the second half and making it a tight ball game for them.  It is exciting and I know the kids are confident, but we have to keep that going and build onto that," he said.

          Buckeye Central (10-5,7-3) is at Ridgedale (7-7,4-6) for a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Saturday night.  They beat the Rockets (36-32) in their first game.  Loy knows this is a team that can challenge them.  "They play well at their place.  I think they are playing with some confidence.  Upper beat them (77-51) the night before we played them and they kind of beat them up just with the style that Upper plays.  Ridgedale doesn't have a whole lot of depth.  They have what I would consider their big three and then they have two other good role players on that starting five.  They have to be careful that they don't get into foul trouble.  Those big three are averaging 18, 15, and 12 points.  Their big kid inside, the Eldridge kid, is the league leader in rebounds with over 12 rebounds a game.  The two role players that they have, they can make some buckets and they are good defenders.  We have to go down there and have the right mindset that we know it is going to be a tough ballgame with them.  We have to play well going down there Saturday," said Loy.

 

Published 1/27/16

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Buckeye Starting to Roll

 

          Buckeye Central understands what their identity is and what they have to do to win and they are doing it.

          That has resulted in four straight wins, including a (63-47) win over Seneca East in "N10" play last Saturday.  Coach Phil Loy says the players did a pretty good job of doing what he asked.  "I challenged the kids that Seneca East has been really good lately at scoring when they get dribble penetration and they are also getting the ball into the post.  I challenged them that we had to stop any dribble penetration and make sure we also had gap help.  So, defensively we were really stressing that.  Make them have to beat us from the outside.  For the most part I thought we did a pretty nice job," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "In the first half they didn't get the dribble penetration and the guys that were scoring from the perimeter weren't scoring, but they were pounding into the post and we had some foul trouble there, so we had to be careful.  I thought overall we did a really good job.  The offensively I thought we had good ball movement.  Grant (Loy) had another good night, but I felt like the other guys fed off of him as well."

          The Bucks host Crestline (1-12) in a non-conference game on Friday night.  Loy says they need to understand the Bulldogs are probably feeling pretty good after a (53-39) win over Bucyrus last Thursday.  "They are like probably 1-12 right now, but their last game, which is their most important, was a big win.  They went to Bucyrus and watching that game, they kind of dominated that game.  They got up 20 in that game early, which was a surprise.  Watching them play, they play with a lot of energy.  They don't have a whole of experience, but I think coach Lyle has been doing a great job with them and they are getting better.  They are going to start two freshmen, two sophomores and a senior.  They play hard and they are continuing to get better and understand what it takes.  It is not a game where we are just going to step on the floor and expect to get a win by 10 plus points.  We are going to have to come out and play our game and hope for the best," said Loy.

          Then on Saturday, Buckeye (9-4,7-2) is at home for league leader Upper Sandusky (13-0,9-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the large school division.  Loy says the Rams are deep.  "They are all athletic.  They are good athletic bunch and there is a bunch of them.  They have good numbers.  He has nine, 10 guys he can play in his rotation and they can just continue to do what they do.  They rely on their defense as far as running and jump and trapping you, getting in passing lanes and making you hurry up and force you into turnovers.  Then they go down and after the turnover they are just shooting layups.  If they do set up in the half court they do have some kids that can shoot it from the perimeter and they have some good athletic post players," he said.

          When trying to break the press, Loy says his guys have to have great court vision.  "Ball handing, court vision, being able ton see the floor, understanding where the traps are coming from.  They do a good job of rotation and they guy that is coming to set the trap they have somebody rotating to cover that guy, so it is not always the same.  The guy that is setting the trap it is not always his guys that is open it might be another direction, so we have to be able to see the floor.  You have to be disciplined, you have to be patient.  I think if we can do those things we can make it a ball game,' said Loy.

 

Published 1/19/16

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Buckeye Knows Who They are

 

          Buckeye Central shares second place in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference with Colonel Crawford, two games behind Upper Sandusky, heading into a home game with Seneca East on Saturday night.

          They beat Mohawk (44-36) last Saturday and coach Phil Loy says it was another step in the right direction.  "We had some spurts there where we had some dry spells offensively.  We have some things we need to correct on the defensive end, but we got a couple of wins in the "N10" and I thought overall we played pretty well," he said.

          It is three straight wins for the Bucks and Loy says they are starting to understand who they are and what they need to do to be successful.  "We were kind of young team at the start, but I think as the season goes on I think we are understanding more and more how important it is to be really good defensively.  We have always kind of been that way.  That is what we hang our hat on and the kids understand that," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "They also understand tat we want to be efficient at the offensive end.  If we can push the ball and get something easy that's great, but we have to be disciplined at the offensive end.  You have to know what your strengths are, what your weaknesses are and who can shoot from where and whatever.  By this time of the year everybody has a good understanding of all of that."

          The Bucks (8-4,6-2) host Seneca East (3-9,1-7) in a "N10" game on Saturday.  Buckeye won the first one (60-51) in early December.  Loy says their goal is to improve on that performance.  "The first time that we played them it was a tight ball game.  We were down two points going into the second quarter and we were up maybe seven at halftime.  We could never really pull away from them.  I think we are a better ball club than we were early in the year.  We were in some serious foul trouble in that game.  That has kind of changed a little bit of who we are.  Hopefully we are better in the areas that we struggled with early in the year and most of that was at the defensive end," said Loy.

          You have to make adjustments the second time you play a team, but Loy says there is a great deal of familiarity to.  "We played them at the beginning of the year and we have changed some things around.  They have seen us on film plenty of times and we get to see them quite a bit.  There really isn't really any secrets.  Once you played them you kind of understand the personnel.  As far as them changing their offense and defense a little bit, tweaking things, we have to be prepared for it," he said.

 

Published 1/14/16

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Two back; Buckeye Needs Win over Wynford

 

          Buckeye Central led Colonel Crawford last week for much of the game and let it get way and now they need a win for sure when they host rival Wynford on Friday night in Northern 10 Athletic Conference action to stay in the race.

          They had the lead for about 28 minutes last Wednesday and coach Phil Loy says Crawford made the plays down the stretch and they didn't and that was the difference in the (47-42) game.  "The game I thought we played solid.  I thought we played well, especially for 28 minutes.  We built a seven point lead and we missed shot inside that would have took it up to nine.  We had four crucial turnovers down the stretch.  They turned up the pressure a little bit and we didn't handle it as well as we should have.  For whatever reason we just sort of fell into a panic mode and we didn't look to attack the basket and when we did we missed some shots inside.  Nothing fell for us in the final three, four minutes.  Give them credit for what they did defensively, but also for what the did offensively," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "The Burkhart kid hit a tough three where I thought we guarded him pretty well and another one when I thought we lost him.  So, there was a quick six points and they made their free throws down the stretch.  I am upset with the loss, when you lose a game that you thought you were in control of most of the game, but the kids played hard and never quit.  Crawford is a very good team."

          On Saturday, Buckeye Central beat Plymouth (49-48) and Loy thought they learned from the Colonel Crawford loss.  "We have had some close games this year and we had another one this past Saturday and we came out on top in that.  That was a game where we got ourselves down by eight.  We were struggling some and we didn't play a great game.  It was a little sloppy for us.  We had some trouble scoring and in the last eight minutes we found a way to win.  Hopefully you learn from your mistakes.  Hopefully, we learned from the loss to Colonel Crawford and some of our other losses.  Hopefully, we are growing and learning and getting better," he said.

          Wynford (5-5,3-3) will be at Buckeye (6-4,4-2) on Friday night.  The Royals has lost their last two to good teams in unbeaten Upper Sandusky (86-68) and New London (60-39,) but Loy says they are still a pretty good team that is improving.  "You watch them on film and they are a very dangerous team.  They have some speed.  Their guards are quick.  Their guards can shoot it.  They have some size inside as well.  They go 6'5" and 6'7", they don't start both of those guys.  They are 270 or 300 pounds.  Their guards like to shoot it and the like to attack the basket.  They are playing with more confidence now and just getting a feel.  They have had a tough time with coaching changes.  It looks like they are starting to play pretty confident and play pretty well," said Loy.

          The two Crawford County schools have been rivals for the last 50 years and Loy says nothing will change on Friday night.  "That goes way back, even before I was playing.  You have two comminutes that know each other very well and it has always been that way and it is great.  It doesn't matter if one team is good and the other is bad, or we are both bad, or we are both good, it always seems to be good competitive basketball," he said.

 

Published 1/06/15

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Contenders Meet in the "N10"

 

          Colonel Crawford and Upper Sandusky share the Northern 10 Athletic Conference lead, but Buckeye Central is just a game back.

          Buckeye is at Crawford on Wednesday night in a key early season game in the "N10."

          The Bucks (5-3,4-1) have won three straight over Ridgedale (36-32), Carey (62-43) and Bucyrus (67-43) last Wednesday.  Coach Phil Loy says they are rounding into shape.  "I think in the last three games we are slowly getting back to where we think we can be.  We are playing a lot better and we are playing with confidence and we are starting to shoot the ball a lot better.  These last three games have been confidence builders, but (Wednesday) night we play Colonel Crawford at Colonel Crawford and it will be a tough environment.  It will be a tougher test for us, but we need to keep doing what we are doing," he said.
          It has been nothing spectacular, Loy just says they have been pretty good at executing their game plan.  "We have to just take care of ourselves and know what works for us and stick to the basics.  That is what has got us here in these last three games and work with your strengths.  (Wednesday) night we just have to do a really good job of defending.  Colonel Crawford is very good at executing their sets and stuff.  We just have to make sure we communicate and do a good job of execution at both ends of the floor and we should be okay," he said.

          Buckeye is at Colonel Crawford (7-1,5-0), #4 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the small school division, on Wednesday night.  Loy says this a typical Crawford team, a good one, that knows its strengths.  "They start three guards that are really good perimeter shooters.  It seems like every year they run their same stuff and they always have a guy that they can plug into those positions and they don't really lose a beat," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "This year is no different, like I said, they have three guys that are good shooters, but they have size inside.  They have guys that understand their role and they just do a really good job of executing.:"

          There is some intensity in this Route 602 rivalry.  Loy says Wednesday night should be no different either school.  "Coach Sheldon and I are really good friends.  These are two communities that connect to each other that are really close.  I think there will be a good crowd and their have been some good battles over the years.  Since I have been coaching there have always been good battles between these teams and I expect nothing different (Wednesday) night," he said.

 

Published 12/30/15

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Buckeye Central Starting to Turn the Corner

 

          Buckeye Central got two conference wins last week and that is exactly what they needed to boost their confidence.

          Now, they host Bucyrus in an "N10" game on Wednesday night in New Washington.

          Last week, the Bucks (4-3,3-1) edged Ridgedale (36-32) and then outscored Carey (62-43) in league contests.  Coach Phil Loy says they were different kinds of games, but they found a way to win each night.  "Last Thursday against Ridgedale I thought we were playing better and playing better as a team, but we really struggled to score in that game.  We started missing shots early and we couldn't catch any breaks and we couldn't make any shots.  But, I like the way we played overall.  I like the way we played defensively," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "On Saturday, we go down to Carey, which I think is always a tough place to play in that old facility.  We have never really played that well there.  They had played Upper Sandusky I thought really close.  They got some good wins over there with a young ball club.  They want an up tempo game.  They want to press you and trap you.  They are a team that shoots more threes than any team in the league.  I really thought we did a good job overall.  We shot a lot of high percentage shots in that game.  We got to the line a lot in that game.  I didn't necessarily like the way we handled the ball early in that game.  Overall, I was very pleased with the outcome.  I think we are making big strides and we are playing better as a team and we are gaining more confidence."

          Bucyrus (0-7,0-4) is coming off an (85-33) drubbing at the hands of Upper Sandusky on Saturday.  Loy says this is a young team, but one that is getting better.  "We are going to get their best effort.  Coach Rose does a really good job of getting his kids to play hard and understand the game, but they are inexperienced.  If I look at my scouting report from last year, the top ten guys aren't even on there any more.  It is a really young ball club, but they will play hard.  They have a couple of kids that can shoot it from the perimeter and they have a little bit of size as well.  It's a game where we are going to have to continue to make strides to get where we want to be. Continue to play good defense and hopefully we can continue to make some shots," he said.

          Loy says they can't go into the game thinking it is going to be an easy win or they will be in for a dogfight.  "That is true with any team like that.  You don't want them to have any confidence that they can play with you.  We hope that we can jump on them early and make some shots and try to open it up a little bit.  They are a team that is going to continue to play hard.  Last year, we didn't play very well when we went over to Bucyrus and we ended up losing that game.  They continued to get more confidence as the game went on.  We let them hang around and the next thing you know they bit us.  Hopefully we have learned from things like that," said Loy.

 

Published 12/23/15

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Buckeye Has Work to do

 

          Buckeye Central is trying to break in some new players this year and right now there have been some growing pains in the process.

          Last Saturday, the Bucks were drilled by "N10" co-leader Upper Sandusky (69-42) last Saturday.  Coach Phil Loy says their play was not very good and they made a lot of mistakes on both ends of the floor.  "We didn't play well.  We didn't play well from start to finish.  We talked about that afterwards.  This is something we are working on.  We have get better defensively, we have to be better at communicating, and better at executing our offense.  We have a young team and I think we have had a good week of practice.  Hopefully, things have improved," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "The other thing we have talked about is have to keep our turnovers down under 10 when we are playing a team like Upper Sandusky and we had just a lot of careless turnovers.  So, we gave away a lot of possessions in that game.  I think if we correct those things we are going to be a much better team."

          After this week's games against Ridgedale on Thursday and Carey on Saturday the Bucks enter the holidays and Loy says that will allow them to concentrate on fixing some things.  "It is tough when you are on break and the kids are not in their routine, but the good side is our whole focus will be on basketball.  We are taking finals this week and we are right in the middle of it, so will see how (Thursday) goes.  We started finals (Wednesday), we have finals (Thursday) and all day Friday.  The kids are working hard at taking tests and hopefully that doesn't affect our play on Thursday," he said.

          Ridgedale (2-2,0-2) comes to New Washington on Thursday night for an "N10" game.  Loy says the Rockets can put a solid starting five on the court and they have had some problems with Ridgedale in the past.  He says they will have to play well.  "They play six or seven guys, but they have four guys that really never come out of the ball game unless they are in foul trouble.  Those four, I think, are pretty solid players.  They return four of their starters from last year and I remember when we went down to Ridgedale last year we were down nine in the first half.  If you don't defend, if you don't box out, if you don't take care of the ball, they are a team that can get hot on you and the next thing you know it's a ballgame.  We were tied at halftime and we could never pull away from them.  Playing at home last year it was a little bit different.  We didn't allow them to get any type of rhythm.  I felt defensively we did a much better job and that is what we need to do (Thursday) night," said Loy.

 

Published 12/17/15

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Tough week For Buckeye Central

 

          Buckeye Central is a developing basketball team, a good one, but a developing one, and there are going to be some bumps in the road.

          There was one those last Saturday against New Riegel and now they face two tough road games this week in which they will need very good performances at Mansfield St. Peter's on Thursday and at Upper Sandusky, in Northern 10 Athletic Conference play, on Saturday.

          Tied at halftime last week, things fell apart in the second half last week and they lost (54-31) to New Riegel, scoring only two points in the third quarter and only 10 in the second half.  Coach Phil Loy says they have to learn from the loss.  "You would like forget it ever happened, but it is something we have to set down and look at and make sure that doesn't happen again.  So, we can't forget about it.  We have to learn from the mistakes that we made.  It seems like there were a bunch of them.  It seems like when things started going wrong for us we just couldn't stop it," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "New Riegel is a really good team and once they got some momentum they took it and ran with it.  This week we have just as tough a challenge.  St Pete's and Upper Sandusky are two similar teams to New Riegel and maybe even better.  So, we have a few days here to correct some mistakes an hopefully, be ready to play on Thursday."

          The Bucks (2-1) are at St. Peter's (1-1) on Thursday.  Loy says the Spartans are tough to guard, especially on the perimeter.  "They are a tough guard, especially if they have a lead.  They like to spread you out a little bit.  Their guards are very confident with the ball.  They handle the ball pretty well.  They are young on the perimeter.  They don't have that big, physical inside presence that they have had in the past.  That is what we have seen up to this point.  But, still they are just very dangerous and a tough match-up," he said.

          It may be a non-conference game, but Loy knows this game with St. Peter's carries a lot of importance.  "This is a quality team that could make a run in the tournament it is definitely one we could see down the line in tournament play.  Games like this, the game with South Central, the game with St. Pete's, teams like that, are teams we are going to see in the tournament.  What you do now, even though it is early in the season, could have an impact on how things go in the tournament draw," he said.

          Upper Sandusky (3-0,1-0) was a (74-61) winner over Carey in their league opener on Saturday night.  Loy says the Rams have all of the elements of a good team.  "They have got some weapons.  They have got  some good size.  They have some experienced players.  They have really good shooters and smart players.  We are going to go to their place and I think it is going to be a tough battle.  A lot of people say they are they favorite in the league.  I would like to say that we are up there, but I think we have a long, long way to go.  For us to go on the road Thursday and Saturday it is a tough challenge for us this week," he said.

 

Published 12/08/15

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Buckeye Central Ready to Play

 

          Buckeye Central players are kind of tired of the preseason and they are eager to play someone else in a game that really matters.

          In their case, it will be a visit to South Central to play the Trojans in a non-conference game on Saturday night.  They beat the Trojans in last year's division four sectional final.

          Coach Phil Loy says he likes what he has been seeing from his team and is looking forward to seeing what they can do against another team.  "I think so far we have been having some good practices.  We try to bring in some alumni occasionally to mix things up.  A different look because the preseason can be kind of long and tiring, always banging against each other all of time.  You kind of want to mix things up.  The kids have been playing hard and have been playing with a lot of energy and enthusiasm every day and that's all we can ask," he said.

          Loy doesn't want his kids to be stale, which he believes is a concern.  He says Saturday night can't get here soon enough.  "It just seems like even with this short preseason, and stuff starting early, it just seems like we are at a point that we want to get started.  The kids just want to go out and actually play a real game.  They are kind of tired of practicing here.  So, you kind of mix things up in practice and make them competitive.  Maybe practices aren't as long and you have to do things to keep their attention and their enthusiasm going and mix things up.  The bottom line is kids want to play somebody different at this time of year," said Loy.

          South Central, who plays Mansfield St. Peter's on Friday night, is the Firelands Conference favorite.  Loy says with six players returning that saw a lot of time they are going to be an excellent test.  "They were a really good team last year.  A really, really good team last year," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "We played them in the sectional finals at that game could have gone either way.  They return a lot of good players.  They lost some good ones like we did, but they return a lot of good ones and they have some experience.  It is going to be a really good test for us early on, especially on the road."

          Scoring should not be a problem for South Central and Loy says they can really stretch a defense.  "They have really good guard play and they have some size inside.  I feel like when they put their five guys on the floor you have to worry about all of them.  It's not like we aren't going to guard this guy or help off of this guy.  Right now, what we know is I think they are going to be a very dangerous team that can hurt you in different ways," he said.

 

Published 11/26/15

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Upset of Wynford Could Set up Playoff Berth for Buckeye

 

          Buckeye Central is not going to win the Northern 10 Athletic Conference title this year, but they can still make the division seven playoffs and win this week over their arch rivals would be a big help.

          Last week, they trailed (28-20) late in the third quarter, but they lost to second place Colonel Crawford (48-26) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game last Friday.

          Bucks coach Jeff Niedermier says they gave great effort, but they just couldn't score enough points.  "Up until the fourth quarter it was a one score game.  We dropped a long pass that would have kept us in it.  A couple of turnovers and things we had down in the red zone.  Overall, we couldn't ask any more out of our guys.  We played hard, but unfortunately we didn't get the win," said Niedermier.

          On Friday night, the Bucks (5-3,3-3) play at home against first place Wynford (7-1,6-0), #4 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, in an "N10" game.  Niedermier says the Royals have great talent.  "When you watch them on film they are a very good team.  We have our work cut out for us again this week.  We are going to have to play fundamental football against them and do the best we can," he said.

          In many of their games Wynford has been a team that has had many more rushing yards than passing yards, but Niedermier says that is because they have not had to throw it much.  "They do want to run the ball, but they haven't had to throw the ball against a lot of teams.  When they have they have done very well.  I feel like they do both well.  It is more of a matter that they haven't had to throw the ball this year," he said.

          Wynford, of course, carries a boat load of computer points and Niedermier says a win could give them a pretty good chance to play on week 11.  "If we could get that win on Friday I feel it would solidify our spot in the playoffs.  Then the next week we could get another win there hopefully.  We have to take care of this week first and if we get it done we will be looking good for the post season," he said.

 

Published 10/20/15

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Buckeye Faces Big One Against Crawford

 

          Buckeye Central trails "N10" leader Wynford by two games and Colonel Crawford remains back by one as the Bucks lock horns with the Eagles Friday night in North Robinson.

          A win is an absolute must for both teams in terms of the conference and very important for both when it comes to the playoffs.  Buckeye is fifth in its division seven region and Crawford is third in its division six region.

          After a tough loss to Carey (32-16) where they lost on basically the last play, Buckeye Central responded with a (48-19) win over Bucyrus last week.  Coach Jeff Niedermier says that was much needed.  "We needed to bounce back.  It was a tough loss the week before against Carey.  It was a game that our guys really tried hard in and thought we should have won, but things happened.  We responded well in the week of practice and we came back and were able to get a win against Bucyrus," he said.

          Colonel Crawford (6-1,4-1) has only one loss and that comes to Wynford (41-14) on week three of the season.  Niedermier says the Eagles are really athletic beginning with quarterback Will Kirkpatrick.  "They have some really good athletes over there.  They have Kirkpatrick in their backfield.  He is a dual threat.  He can run the ball obviously.  I think he is the top rusher in the "N10."  He can pull up and throw the ball too," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "He is a dual threat back there.  Defensively they are very stout up front.  They are a tough defense, they are hard nosed.  It is going to be a hard hitting game for us."

          Normally you think of forcing the quarterback out of the pocket, but Niedermier says Kirkpatrick becomes more dangerous that way.  "He is one of the quarterbacks that you don't want to flush out of the pocket.  If you give him some running room out there he will pull it down and run it on you and he gains a lot of yards that way.  He is a guy that you have to keep contained back in the pocket.  You don't want to flush him out without any contain guys out there," he said.

          Buckeye Central (5-2,2-2) has shown good balance to behind quarterback Grant Loy and running back Cody Roberts.  Niedermier says the Eagles are tough to run against.  "Their four down linemen up front are really good athletes and their middle linebacker is very good also.  It is going to be a very good challenge and we are going to have to have some guys rise to the occasion and try and put it to them this week," said Niedermier.

 

Published 10/15/15

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Bucks ready for Bucyrus

 

          Buckeye Central has lost two Northern 10 Athletic Conference football games, both in dramatic fashion, but they still have a positive outlook on the season.

          Carey's Jonathan Rachter scored with just 16 ticks left last week and the Blue Devils upended Buckeye (32-26) in an "N10" game.  Buckeye had to scored three Td's in the space of seven minutes to get back in the game, but coach Jeff Niedermier says they just couldn't pull it out.  "We kind of got behind there going into half it was 8-0, which wasn't that bad, but they got the ball coming out and they put two quick scores on us.  We were down 20-0.  Our kids were finally able to put some scores on the board and tie it up.  It kind of ended up being the last team with the ball there and unfortunately it wasn't us," said Niedermier.

          Seneca East beat Buckeye (40-34) and overtime this year in their other conference loss.

          Niedermier says there hasn't been any pouting this week in practice.  He says the kids have come back ready to work.  "They were upset after the game, you could tell.  It was a tough game and not where you want to be at the end of it.  They have been positive this week and they know we have to get back on track and start winning here to get our goals done.  They have responded well and have had a good week of practice," he said.

          Buckeye Central (4-2,2-2) is at home in New Washington for Bucyrus (1-5,0-4) in an "N10" game.  Niedermier says the Redmen are starting to come around and they showed some things, especially in the first half of a (35-0) loss to Upper Sandusky last week.  "Bucyrus is a good football team.  We don't play a bad football team I feel.  We have had a few problems that we are trying to get fixed here in practice and make sure we are sound on defense and able to stop them," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "Offensively they have a really sound defense, so we are putting together a scheme we think will work for us and hopefully Friday night we will be able to get the job done."

 

Published 10/09/15

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Buckeye Central Faces Another Challenge

 

          Buckeye Central is in the thick of the race in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference and they need to keep winning.

          The Bucks destroyed Ridgedale (55-0) last week as Cody Roberts ran for than 200 yards on the night.  A positive note, according to coach Jeff Niedermier, is they have continued to get better as this season has unfolded.  "A couple of plays different and we could be unbeaten.  Like I have said before that might have been a loss that we needed to really propel our guys to where we needed to go and improve.  So, we have improved a lot each week since that one loss.  I think we have a good package ready to go," he said.

          Buckeye (4-1,2-1) trails Wynford by a game in the "N10" standings.  Neidermier says they need to continue to get better if they are going to be there in the end.  "It is the little nuances of the game that we try to get these guys.  Little things, especially up front blocking," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "Things that can help to make the play that much better that they recognize that help make our offense better.  It is the little things that we see each week that we try to get corrected and help them.  Hey if you do this a little bit different it can help the play go a lot further."

          They are at Carey (1-4,0-3) on Friday night in a league game.  The Blue Devils are not as good as they were last year, but Niedermier says they have some weapons.  "They are a hard hitting football team.  No doubt about it.  They have some great athletes.  They are going to come out and they are going to be ready to play.  We have to be ready to play assignment football with our defense to stop their offense.  On offense, we have to execute," said Niedermier. 

 

Published 10/01/15

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Buckeye in "N10" Race; Must Keep Focus

 

          Buckeye Central trails Northern 10 Athletic Conference leader Wynford by a game in the football standings as they prepare to host the Ridgedale Rockets on week five of the high school football season on Friday night.

          In maybe their best performance of the year, the Bucks (3-1,1-1) held Upper Sandusky to only 190 yards of offense and two scores in a (31-14) road win last week.

          Coach Jeff Niedermier says their defense was ready for a Ram team that had shown some explosiveness.  He said they were really good tacklers last week and that was a positive change.  "Our defense really showed up and played big time last Friday night.  Guys were tackling well, they were wrapping up," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "They weren't getting yards after contact, which is what we like to see and that is something we have been working on that we hadn't necessarily done well in the three previous games before that.  They really played well on Friday night."

          Grant Loy threw for 199 yards and a score and the Bucks ran for three td's.  Niedermier says he liked the balance they showed.  "Our keys going into that game was to get into formations that were going to open up some plays for us.  We were able to run the ball a little bit and throw the ball pretty well.  Offensively we did very well also," he said.

         Ridgedale (0-4,0-2) has found it difficult to find success on the football field again this season.  They have only scored four times all year.

          However, Niedermier says they aren't good enough to lose focus and still have success.  He says they have to keep their noses to the grindstone.  "They have some good players.  They have struggled a little bit as far as wins and losses.  It's a team that we can't take lightly.  I was telling my guys we can't take any of these teams lightly and we have to go in and have the same focus we had as if we were up at Upper Sandusky again.  Our kids can't lose any focus and we have to keep getting better every week," said Niedermier.

 

Published 9/22/15

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Buckeye Central Back Doing Good Things

 

          A week after losing to Seneca East in overtime, the Buckeye Central Bucks bounced back with a win last week over Ridgeway Ridgemont in a non-conference game.

          Now it is time to get back to play in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference this week with a trip to Upper Sandusky to play the Rams on Friday night.

          Buckeye (2-1,0-1) belted Ridgemont (54-6) last week and coach Jeff Niedermier says they responded to the loss to Seneca East in a positive way.  "I thought our guys came out strong.  We told them that this was a week that we need to fight back and get back in the grove again.  We had a pretty decent week of practice.  We played good football last Friday.  We still have a lot of stuff that needs to be corrected from watching film, but I think we showed a little bit of growth and got back on the right track," said Niedermier.

          Grant Loy threw three touchdown passes last week, but Niedermier says they were also able to run the ball and that is what they have to be able to do.  "We were able to throw and run the ball despite of the weather.  It showed the focus of our guys to get the job done and they played pretty well last Friday," he said.

          Upper Sandusky (2-1,2-0) hammered Ridgedale (37-7) last week in conference play.  Niedermier says the Rams are the biggest school in the league and they have some guys that can play, but he says so do they.  "They are a good team.  Division wise they are a lot bigger than us, they are three divisions up.  They have a lot of bodies, so it is going to be a tough game for us," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "I think we have some stuff offensively that we can run against them.  Defensively, we have watched enough film that we can find that football and stop it."

          The Rams have shown the ability to break some big plays and Niedermier says they have to be good at containment.  "We have been preaching already this week to our guys, the linebackers and the ends, that they have to play assignment football, they have to contain, they have to play their spot, they can't get off level with the other guys.  When you create creases for these guys they take off and put up some points up on you," said Niedermier.

 

Published 9/16/15

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Buckeye Still Working to get Better

 

          Buckeye Central lost a tough one last week in overtime and now they need to continue to work to get better as they are getting ready to host Ridgeway Ridgemont in a non-conference game on Friday night in New Washington.

          Last week, Buckeye put up more than 360 yards of offense.  Grant Loy threw for over 220 yards and three touchdowns.  However, they gave up almost 450 yards to Seneca East and the Tigers won (40-34) in overtime in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game.  The difference a Brennan Martin's td run in overtime.  Martin also scored with less than two minutes left in overtime to tie the game.

          Coach Jeff Niedermier says they had some chances to win, but didn't take advantage.  "It was a tight game.  Kind of what I thought it would be.  We had our chances and didn't always capitalize.  At the end of the game it was all tied up and went to overtime.  Our guys left it all on the field I felt we just didn't end up on the right side of the scoreboard," said Niedermier.

          The coach thought his team executed better than they did in a first week win over (30-6) over Plymouth, but knows they still need to get a lot better.  "A lot of things I thought we did better, but there is still a lot to improve on.  Seneca East is a very good football team and it was a challenge for us and it showed us some things we can grow on and improve going into week three," he said.

          With a loss in league play that means the Bucks probably can't afford any more in order to win the league title.  Niedermier says they still have a lot to play for.  "Absolutely and that's what we told our guys it is not even close to being over.  It was a tough loss to take.  It was definitely a game we felt we could have won, but we can't stop we have to keep getting ready for the next game," he said.

          Ridgemont (0-2) has played two widely different games so far this year.  They dominated Vanlue (43-12) on week one and lost to Mt. Gilead (48-12) on week two.  Niedermier says Ridgemont has some players that can make big plays.  "They are a good team.  They run a 4-4 defense and it's a defense that we have already seen a couple of times already so our guys are familiar with what we have to block.  They do blitz a lot which we haven't seen a lot yet this year, so we have to prepare for that in practice," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "Offensively, they like to run the ball, they are quick, and have some decent guys up front.  It is going to be a good challenge for us."

 

Published 9/09/15

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Buckeye Central Wants to Make Two in a Row

 

          Buckeye Central put together a very nice performance on week one when they dominated Plymouth to the tune of (30-6) on the opening night of the season.  Now they want a repeat.

          They play at Seneca East (1-0) in the opening to the Northern 10 Athletic Conference season on Friday night.

          The held Plymouth to just one score and 161 yards last week and coach Jeff Niedermier says they did a lot good things.  "Our guys did really well verses Plymouth.  We went in and got the job done.  There is a lot we can take away from the film, a lot to learn from it, a lot to grow from and I think they did that this week," said Niedermier.

          Running back Cody Roberts finished with 169 yards and three scores against Plymouth.  Niedermier says they got some things done up front.  "We were able to come out and our offensive line was able to open up holes and our trio of running backs were really able to pound the ball on them and get yards for us, which in turn opened up our passing game," he said.

          Seneca East drilled South Central (55-28) in its first game, doing pretty much anything they wanted on offense.  Niedermier says they have a nice combination of size and speed.  "They are a good team," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "They have a lot of good skilled players and they are fairly big up front, so it is going to be a big challenge for us this week against them.  We have to play assignment football defensively and make sure we stay at home and just make the right plays."

          If they are going to compete with Wynford, Colonel Crawford and Carey for the "N10" title this is a game that the Bucks have to have and Niedermier knows it.  "Every year we go into the season and our first goal is try to make a run for the league and for us that starts the week.  If you want a shot in this league it is very competitive and you have to make every week count," he said.

 

Published 9/03/15

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Focus at Key For Buckeye

 

          Buckeye Central will be the guest when Plymouth opens up its new football field on Friday night as the host the Bucks in non-conference play.

          The Bucks are a veteran team this season that is led by Grant Loy at quarterback and includes a dozen more seniors on a division seven team.

          Coach Jeff Niedermier says his kids, especially the seniors, are really ready to get this season started.  "They are fired up and ready to go to get their season started.  It's always a long camp and they are always ready for this first game," he said.

          Putting up points probably won't be a problems for the Bucks and Niedermier thinks they can be pretty good on defense too as long has they don't get a lot of guys hurt.  "I think they can.  We are experienced, but our depth isn't what we would like it to be, especially defensively.  So, as long as we stay healthy and our guys play fundamental football we should have no problem," he said.

          Plymouth returns to the Buckeye schedule this year and this is a longtime rivalry featuring a number of close games.  Niedermier says this one should be no different.  "From what we have see Plymouth can play the game really well.  They do a lot of things well.  Just like in the past this is always a game that is tough, a hard hitting football game," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "Two similar schools in my opinion.  I think our kids always come out ready to play.  It is always a hard hitting football game for us."

          There will be some ceremony at Plymouth on Friday night with the opening of the new field.  Niedermier says they need to remember what they are there for.  "We told the kids there will be a lot of extra curriculars going on, but the end of the night we are there to play a football game.  We told or guys that there will probably be a lot of extra things going on, but we have to go there and take care of business," he said.

 

Published 8/28/15

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Buckeye Central Coming Along

 

          Buckeye Central is one of the smallest schools in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference, but don't count them out when it comes to competing for the football title.

          Jeff Niedermier, the Bucks head coach, says his kids have shown the kind of improvement he is looking for.  "We have had a lot of strides toward were we want to head.  The offensive line is really coming together nicely.  They are showing a lot of improvement over the last couple of weeks and so have our skilled guys.  We have a pretty good core of skilled guys coming into this year and they have improved every day," he said.

          This season the Bucks are going to be more experienced than they have the last two and that is a good thing, according to Niedermier.  "We have a lot of experience all around on our football team.  We only lost a few skilled guys from last year and only one offensive lineman.  So, when we got back into camp this year it was really easy to get back into what we were doing last year," he said.

          Four weeks of camp without playing another team in a game that counts can be a long time, but Niedermier thinks the scrimmages help in that respect.  "I think the scrimmages do help out.  The kids are always excited when we play another team.  They are always wanting to run some play that we don't necessarily want to run at the time," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "When you are in scrimmages you want to make sure you are running your basic formations so that you have them down pat against other people.  They are staying hungry and they are ready for the first week for sure, but they know we have to press through one more day of camp and another scrimmage."

          Wynford is the defending "N10" champ and Niedermier says they are really the team to beat this year too.  "I think Wynford is going to be tough again like they always are.  I have heard a lot of good things out of the Crawford camp, so I think that is going to a good team.  We have Upper, and they are a couple of divisions bigger than they rest of us, so you can't forget about them.  And Carey and Bucyrus.  So, there are a lot of tough teams to beat from our eyes.  We just have to come to play every week," he said.

          Buckeye Central opens the regular season with Plymouth in a non-conference game on August 28.

 

Published 8/20/15

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Buckeye Central Making Progress

 

          Buckeye Central is bringing back a football team that has some experience and that is going to help them compete again this season in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference.

          Last season, the Buckeye won four of their first five games, but finished at .500 for the year (5-5) and in 5th (4-4) in the N10.

          Coach Jeff Niedermier feels they have made some significant improvement during workouts already this summer.  "We have progressed a lot over the summer I feel.  We did a couple of seven on sevens there in July.  The first couple of days of camp things are looking pretty good.  It looks like we have taken several steps forward from last season," he said.

          A big key for the Bucks is the play of three sport star Grant Loy, who will be the Bucks starting quarterback this year.  "We have quite a few veterans coming back this year, one of which is Grant Loy coming back at our quarterback position.  Grant has come a long way over the summer, improving from where he was at last season and everything is looking really good with him right now," he said.

          In football everything starts up front and Niedermier had some concerns about the trenches, but he says those kids are really showing some improvement.  "Something we had a concern with coming into the first couple of days of camp was our offensive line," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "We are a little undersized, but what we have seen so far with those positions is they have really come together.  They are firing off the ball hard and getting after it.  They have kind of put my nerves at ease so far with that position I think we are going to be okay."

          Team chemistry is a big factor in high school football.  Niedermier says players have to get along.  "With the kids they see more of each other than they do the rest of their families at this time of year.  They spend countless hours with each other during the day.  They get that brotherhood bond.  Sometimes there are some little fights we have to quash, but that happens anytime you get in that situation," he said.

          Buckeye Central travels to Plymouth to kick off the season on August 28.

 

Published 8/05/15

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Buckeye Gets to Wynford Early

 

          Buckeye Central scored six times in the first inning and Austin Lutz made it stand up as the Bucks beat the Wynford Royals (8-5) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Wednesday.

          Wynford had beaten Buckeye (6-0) on Monday and Bucks coach Chad Jensen says impressed by how they were able to bounce back, but he says that is not unexpected from this bunch.  "One thing our kids have done all year is the next day is a new day and they definitely did that (Wednesday).  Wynford got a good pitching performance on Monday against us.  We hit the ball hard, but right at people.  (Wednesday) we jumped out on them and got six runs in the bottom of the first and that really set the tone," he told Swankonsports.com after the win on Wednesday, "Wynford had some base runners and scored a little bit in the middle innings, but jumping on them early was really big for us.  Our senior Austin Lutz pitched awfully well for us and we got a good game from him, so it was really nice for our kids to come back."

          Jensen added that they stayed patient at the plate in that first inning and were able to come up with some big hits.  "Their pitcher had a little bit of trouble throwing strikes and we had great at bats and went deep into counts and got some clutch hits  We had a clutch single from Jaret Shook and we had a clutch single from Cody Roberts.  We got some really clutch two out singles that got us runs.  Then Austin Lutz threw six strong innings.  We did what we had to do," he said.

          Buckeye Central (9-13) will meet Mansfield St. Peter's (1-19) in a division four sectional semi-final on Saturday at Buckeye Central. 

          Jensen says he figured teams like Plymouth, Mohawk and Crestline would be seeded ahead of them, but he thought the process went pretty well for them, especially considering they will be at home.  "We knew those three teams had similar records, a game or two above .500, and we were setting there at 8-11 and we knew we were going to be behind them and we were in a spot were we could host a game.  That's important for us.  We enjoy our home field advantage.  That is kind of how it worked out.  Then St. Pete's ended up having to play us.  We are hoping to have a nice crowd.  We enjoy the tournament atmosphere and we are hoping we have a nice day, " said Jensen.

 

Published 5/07/15

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Bucks Score Three in the 7th to beat Crawford

 

          Cody Roberts RBI single punctuated a three run seventh inning and Buckeye Central rallied to beat Colonel Crawford (7-6) in Northern 10 Athletic Conference action on Wednesday.

          Coach Chad Jensen says they were patient at the plate in the seventh and that was a big plus for them.  "Our kids really did a great job in the seventh.  You just had a feeling that we weren't out of it.  It was 6-3 in the bottom of the sixth and we got a run in the sixth.  Then in the seventh Jaret Shook got a nice leadoff single for us.  They ended up walking three in a row.  We were able to get a sac fly from Austin Lutz to tie it up.  We got a big single from Cody Roberts to score the winning run.  We were very patient at the plate and we did a lot of good things," he told Swankonsports.com after the win, "We have been on both sides of it.  Last Thursday, we lost giving up three runs in the bottom of the seventh against Bucyrus.  I'm glad we could be on good side (Wednesday) night."

          Buckeye had 10 hits and Jensen says they hit the ball pretty well all night and they had some confidence entering that final inning.  "We told our kids that in those clutch situations you have to treat it like any other at bat.  We hit the ball hard all night, we just hit it right at people.  We just said do what you have been doing.  Know the strike zone, understand it, hit it where it's pitched and put it in play and we were able to do that," he said.

          One of the big keys to the comeback, according to Jensen, was they understood the strike zone and made the Crawford pitchers throw strikes.  "They were worn down.  They threw a couple of guys that had thrown earlier in the week.  It was a situation were they had to throw strikes, our kids were patient, they didn't miss by much, but our kids understood the strike zone.  It was really well played on both sides.  Crawford did a great job all game long and did some great things, we were just able to have last at bats and it really helped us this time," he said.

          Grant Loy started and struck out eight for the Bucks.  Tanner Zaebst got the win in relief. 

          The two teams play again Thursday, this time in North Robinson.

 

Published 4/30/15

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Buckeye Pounds Carey

 

          Jacob Shade threw a two hitter and Buckeye Central collected 16 hits on their way to a (13-2) win over Carey in Northern 10 Athletic Conference baseball action on Wednesday.

          Grant Loy had two hits, one of them a double, four RBI for the Bucks.  Shade and Austin Lutz both had three hits in the win.  Coach Chad Jensen said they did a great job with the bats against Carey.  "We are really happy with how we swung the bats (Wednesday).  We hadn't hit the ball.  We are very hot and cold, we are very up and down.  (Tuesday) night we got beat.  We hit the ball, but we hit it right at people.  Crestline made a lot of good plays against us," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday night after the win, "(Wednesday) I thought we swung the bats well.  We had 16 hits and the shots that we had that were caught the other night fell in (Wednesday).  That is kind of how baseball goes and it went in our favor (Wednesday)."

          Wednesday night's game was a big contrast to Tuesday night when  the Bucks dropped an N10 game to Crestline (15-5).  Jensen says the kids had to understand that it is quality at bats they are seeking because if the you do that the hits will come.  "That is hard for 16, 17-year-old kids because they want to get a hit every time.  We try to tell them it is quality at bats that we are looking at.  If they hit the ball hard and go 0-3, but have quality at bats that is the kind of stuff we are looking for.  They will eventually fall in.  (Wednesday) was one of those things.  We have had kids hit the ball hard and made outs and (Wednesday) we got a few bloopers in.  I have been doing this for a long time and it really evens out," said Jensen.

          With four N10 games this week, Jensen says they needed to get a quality start from Shade and that is exactly what he provided.  "We got a great pitching performance (Wednesday) from our sophomore Jacob Shade.  He pitched so well.  He was able to pitch five innings and he gave up two unearned runs.  He allowed only two hits in five innings.  We have four league games in a row here.  We really needed to extend our arms and he was able to do that for us.  He has really pitched well for us all season.  We are really excited about him," he said.

          Buckeye Central (5-10,4-6) plays Bucyrus (2-8,2-5) on Thursday.  The Redmen upset Upper Sandusky (9-5) on Wednesday.

 

Published 4/23/15

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Buckeye Central Becoming Better

 

          Buckeye Central has won two of its three games so far this week and coach Chad Jensen believes they are headed in the right direction.

          The Bucks (4-5,3-4) play at Ridgedale (2-3,2-3) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Friday.  They beat the Rockets (7-5) at their place on Wednesday.

          Coach Jensen says he has seen a lot of good signs this week.  "We are definitely getting better there is no question about it.  Saturday we didn't play really well, so we challenged our kids to play at a higher level, to play at a higher intensity, a higher sense of urgency.  Monday we played Upper Sandusky, and got beat 5-1, but we played a lot better and hit the baseball really well.  They are a good team, so I thought we were starting to play better.  Tuesday we played a solid Crestline team and got by them after we were down.  Then beat Ridgeale on Wednesday.  Their number one pitcher Bo Britton is a very solid kid and we were able to get them after being down.  So, we are getting better each day.  Certainly we are not quite where we need to be yet, but we are getting there," said Jensen.

          Jensen says when you are not batting or in the field you still have to be paying attention, and he says that is something they are learning.  "You need to be in the zone during play.  We talk about we can't be focused for two and half hours straight, but what you can do when the pitch is delivered you can be in the zone, be focused on the task, and understanding the situation," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "When we are batting making sure we are all up and paying attention to the game and focused on our teammates and watching the pitcher and watching his pickoff move and any advantage we can get when we get a chance to run the bases.  Sometimes with a young team we lack that.  They don't pay attention, they don't observe.  Not that they are doing anything wrong.  We need to be more observant and that's what we talked about."

          Baseball is kind of a thinking man's game.  Jensen says this is a team that has to be sound in its fundamentals in order to be successful.  "You have to be a good athlete to be able to hit a round object with a round cylinder, but you certainly can have skills that you can develop though repetition.  We talk with are kids all of the time about fundamentals and lots of reps.  We take a ton of ground balls and tons of fly balls and stuff like that.  We have to be fundamentally sound.  We are starting to hit better, but we have to be sound defensively.  We have to be consistent.  Then when you throw in a couple of athletes that helps too," he said.

 

Published 4/17/15

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Buckeye Central a Work in Progress

 

          Buckeye Central has some younger players and some veterans in new positions this spring and their success this season is going to be predicated on how well those kids adapt.

          Coach Chad Jensen says at least early in the season it is going to be a learning experience for the Bucks.  "It is all about improvement.  We have some fresh faces and some veteran guys playing different roles.  It really has been guys getting used to playing different positions and different roles early on, which has been a little bit of a struggle.  We are starting to come together.  We had a really nice scrimmage (Tuesday) and I think kids are starting to figure out what their role is going to be and learning how to play at the varsity level.  Some of these kids haven't done that and we saw a little bit of that (Tuesday)," said Jensen.

          Actually Jensen says they are still in the process of evaluating where everybody fits into their program this year.  "Some other kids are not sure what their roles are.  It is important in this preseason to get an idea.  We have some kids that are not sure about.  Can they play varsity?  Would it help them to play more JV?  We want assess what would help us win more as well.  It is more than just kids embracing their roles, which they need to once we establish that.  A key is figuring out what some of these roles will be for these kids," he said.

          Of course, this is the first year for the Northern 10 Athletic Conference and they will crown their first baseball champion in May.  Jensen calls Upper Sandusky the early season favorite in the N10.  "I don't think there is any question that the front runner for the league is Upper Sandusky.  They have two really good pitchers in Cody Gabriel and Carson Mittermeier.  Those two guys are top notch pitchers and they just have a plethora of athletes.  They have a lot of kids to choose from.  To me they are definitely the front runner," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "Seneca East will be solid.  They lost a lot of kids, but their JV's were really solid last year.  Other than that it is really hard to tell.  Wynford lost a lot of kids.  I really think it is going to be up fro grabs.  I think a lot teams are going to be looking for their identity and looking at where they stand.  For us we have to get good pitching and continue to get better hitting and we will see what happens."

          Buckeye opens the season on Saturday by traveling to Fremont St. Joe for a doubleheader.  Their first N10 games are April 1 and 2 against Seneca East.

 

Published 3/25/15

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Buckeye Knows What it Takes

 

          Friday night, Buckeye Central will be playing in its second straight division four district final and they are hoping for the same result as last year.

          Last season, they beat Sandusky St. Mary's to advance to the regional.  Friday night they meet Plymouth for the district title.

          They beat St. Mary's (70-54) Tuesday night in a semi-final game.  It was a solid effort and coach Phil Loy says they have been expecting that in recent weeks.  "You definitely want to be playing you best basketball right now and I think that is something we are doing.  The kids pretty excited about it.  They seem to be playing relaxed, with a lot of energy and a lot of confidence. We are finally healthy, which we weren't in the middle of the season and I think that has a lot to do with it too.  This is the time of year, if you are going to play your best basketball, it better be now," he said.

          Plymouth (24-1), #1 in the final Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the small school division, edged Mansfield St. Peter's (48-41) on Tuesday.  Loy says district player of the year Tyrell Edmiston is a difference maker.  "He is the one that makes that team roll.  He is so good and you have to pay so much attention to him.  If he is not in the game like he wasn't the other night, he is a game changer and it is a different ball game.  You watch that game and St. Pete's is a lot more confident, and they should be, when he is out of the game.  He just alters so many shots. If he is not getting the block or getting the rebound, he is changing your shot to where scoring isn't as easy as it was," said Loy.

          Edmiston blocked five shots in the first quarter against St. Peter's.  Loy says he makes you really execute in order to get good shots.  "The shots that you have got throughout the year, that you would take, you may reconsider.  If you are looking to get a shot down low and post somebody up, you may reconsider how you do things against Plymouth just because with him there," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "When you are at a standstill on the block and you are going to go up for a shot he is so good at timing things up.  He has such a great vertical and long arms it is tough to shoot over him.  We just have to make sure we move the basketball, get good ball movement, and hopefully we can get some good looks that way."

          Austin Wrum and Grant Loy both scored 21 points in Tuesday night's win over St. Mary's.  They are both tremendous scorers, but coach Loy says they need to get scoring from other sources.  "We need to get scoring consistently out of Ollis and Heydinger and even Cole Stacklin.  If those guys can give us five to 10 points like they have on various nights that just takes the load off Grant Loy and Austin Wurm.  I'm sure most teams are putting a lot of focus on those two.  That kind of leaves the other three on the floor open and we want them to be confident and take good shots.  We don't want them to hesitate on anything because they are going to get good looks.  If they can get some scoring for us that is a huge bonus," said Loy.

          There is always going to be some trepidation in a district final, but Loy believes the success they had last year will help them Friday night.  "All five of our starters played a huge role in our success last year.  They know what it is like because they have been in this game before.  They know what it is like, the whole environment, the whole atmosphere.  They want to get back to where we were last year and take it one step further.  They know Friday night is a huge, huge obstacle.  We are going to have to play our best basketball, but the experience that we have from last year can go a long way," he said.

 

Published 3/13/15

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Buckeye Eliminates St. Mary's

 

          Austin Wurm and Grant Loy scored 21 points a piece and Buckeye Central advanced to the division four district final for the second year in a row with a (70-54) win over Sandusky St. Mary's on Tuesday night at Willard High School.

          They play Firelands Conference champ Plymouth for the district title on Friday night.

          Loy had 11 and Wurm five as the Bucks (17-8) took an eight point lead (19-11) after the first quarter.  Coach Phil Loy thought they were able to get their leading scorers the ball in some good spots.  "That was huge.  I thought that Austin Wurm and Grant Loy did a great job of getting some shots.  We ran a we plays that got them some good looks and they finished.  They can create such a match-up problem and they can score inside and out.  I thought they did a nice job of jump starting us," he told Swankonsports.com after the game, "I thought all of our guys played extremely well and played with a lot of confidence.  It was a little struggle there for a couple of minutes, but once we got going we felt pretty comfortable and built ourselves a nice lead."

          Buckeye never trailed in the game.  St. Mary's (21-4) senior guard Melvin Jackson had a game high 23 points and he hit a triple that tied the score (6-6) with 3:14 left in the first half.  St. Mary's coach Lyle Falknor says they had problems handling Buckeye's physicality.  "Their strength and physical size hurt us.  We just didn't handle that at all.  I don't know how many shots we missed in a row at the beginning of the game, but it was simply because we got bumped and couldn't handle it.  That's district basketball," he said.

          Loy says they like to play physical defense and they did a good job of making the Panthers take tough shots.  "I didn't know if we would be able to or not.  We are a team that likes to play that way and I think our defense did a nice job on them," he said.

          Buckeye Central led by 20 twice in the fourth quarter and they got a nice game from post player Seth Ollis, who finished with 12 points.  "Seth Ollis played a nice game.  If we can get some good scoring, some good rebounding, some good defense out of Cole Stacklin and Seth Ollis and if we can get Scott Heydinger to make some shots and just distributing the ball.  I thought they all did a great job (Tuesday) night.  We are pretty good when that all happens," said Loy.

          Plymouth beat Buckeye Central (47-44) on the opening night of the season.  Loy says he hopes they can be competitive on Friday night.  "I hope its a good game, they are just very strong.  They are playing with a lot of confidence right now.  They are very well coached.  It should be a good match-up," he said.

 

Published 3/10/15

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Defense the key For Buckeye Central

 

          For the second straight year Buckeye Central faces Sandusky St. Mary's in the division four district tournament, this time in the semi-finals Tuesday night at Willard High School.

          The Bucks (16-8) edged South Central (53-46) in a sectional final last Friday night.  Grant Loy scored 17 points and Austin Wurm added 14 for the Bucks and coach Phil Loy says they made the key plays at the end of the game.  "I thought we did a pretty solid job of finishing that game, just making some good decisions and coming up with some good plays.  Austin Wurm hit the big three late.  We got a turnover late that was converted into a layup.  We made six of seven free throws down the stretch, actually the one we missed was with three seconds left when the game was already out of hand.  We did a really good job of finishing that game, so I am really proud of them," said Loy.

          Many times in district level tournament games it comes down to free throw shooting and Loy says you just have to believe you are going to make them.  "You have to have a lot of confidence and step to the line and imagine yourself making that shot and having a lot of confidence in doing that and good things will happen.  Two of the guys that shot free throws are 60 percent free throw shooters, but down the stretch they were seniors.  They were just determined to win an had a lot of confidence and made them when they counted," he said.

          Sandusky St. Mary's (21-3) hammered Mansfield Christian (71-49) in their sectional final.  Loy says the Panthers are very explosive.  "They do like to get up and down the floor and so did South Central.  Those two teams were similar in the fact that they just want to get the rebound and go.  Sandusky St. Mary's does a great job in doing that," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "Melvin Jackson, one of their guards, is very athletic, a very quick guard.  He gets out, they get him the ball and he comes with a full head of steam, makes some good decisions and finishes pretty well.  That will be a big test for us to make sure we get back defensively."

          They did a very good job of slowing down South Central and Colonel Crawford in a (44-42) loss a couple of weeks ago.  Loy says they must make St. Mary's take tough shots.  "We don't have a problem playing fast we just want to make sure that if it isn't a great shot we just want to be patient.  We have done a really good job of, and we have really been working hard on our defensive transition, in making sure we always have guys back and slowing them down and making them shoot tough, contested shots.  Tuesday night we are going to have to make sure we do that as well," said Loy.

          The Bucks won (67-60) last year and the Panthers edged Buckeye (63-62) three years ago.  Loy says this has developed into kind of a rivalry.  "There was a lot on the line last year in that district final game at Willard.  That game came down to the wire and I expect this game to be the same.  I think there is going to be a great crowd from both communities.  It's going to be a great atmosphere and it's going to be a lot of fun," he said.

 

Published 3/10/15

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Buckeye Has to Slow Down South Central

 

          In one of the better sectional final match-ups in the North Central Ohio area Buckeye Central faces South Central in division four on Friday night at Norwalk High School.

          Buckeye (15-8) advanced with a (61-29) win at the expense of Danbury Lakeside on Wednesday night.  Coach Phil Loy thought they got it going after a bit of a slow start.  "I thought our guys did a good job, especially in the second and third quarters where we outscored them 34-3.  I think we settled down, in the first quarter we might have been a little hyped up or a little unfocused, I'm not sure what it was, but it was kind of a tight ballgame there for the first four minutes," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "They made some shots on us, but I didn't think we did a good job executing our offense.  Once we got things settled down after about the first four minutes I thought we played very well.  It gave a us a chance to play the whole bench in the fourth quarter."

          South Central (18-5) drilled Lucas (75-43) on Wednesday night.  Loy says the Trojans are a team that expects to be successful.  "I expect this to be a really good game, South Central is a very good ball club.  Right now, it seems like they playing with a lot of confidence.  I watched them again (Wednesday) night before us.  The seem to play together well, so it should be a really good match-up," he said.

          The Trojans have shown some "spurtability" and Loy says in order to contain them they must handle the basketball, be patient, and get good shots.  "We have to make sure we take care of the basketball.  When they press us we just have to make sure we make good decisions.  In the half court we need to take advantage of certain areas and make sure we can get some good looks inside.  We want to get up the floor a little bit too, but if it's not there we want to be patient and make them have to play defense on us.  They want to get out and get in the passing lanes and create turnovers and get it and go.  So, we have to make sure we don't turn the ball over and we are patient in the half court to get the shot we want and then make sure we get back on defense.  What we can't do is give them easy shots in transition.  A steal and an easy layup or a turnover in the press.  I guess the big thing is take care of the basketball and make sure we out rebound them," said Loy.

          Buckeye Central went to the regionals last season and players like Austin Wurm, Grant Loy and Scott Heydinger were major contributors.  Loy hopes their tournament experience is a factor Friday night.  "I would like to think our tournament experience has its advantages with us being there and being in the districts the last several years these kids know what it takes.  I know our kids feel this is a game that we should be able to get if we play well, but we also respect South Central tremendously and we know they are a very good ball club.  I think it is a game where we are going to have trouble matching up with them a little bit, but on the flip side they are going to have trouble matching up with us, so it should be a very interesting game," said Loy.

 

Published 3/06/15

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Buckeye Central Ready for the Tournament

 

          Buckeye Central has been playing some pretty good basketball lately and they feel they are prepared for the post season tournament, which begins this week.

          The Bucks perhaps didn't play quite as well as maybe they have the last few weeks, but they were business-like for the most part in a (52-39) win over Mohawk in Northern 10 Athletic Conference play on Friday.  Coach Phil Loy says they were able to overcome some obstacles.  "Mohawk is a team that is playing a lot better right now, they are playing with some confidence and they have some good athletes.  They are looking to attack the basket a lot more.  It seemed like they had picked up their intensity on defense prior to playing us on Friday night.  It was senior night for us and we started four seniors, so it changed our lineup a little bit.  A lot of times on senior night it is tough to stay focused," he told Swankonsports.com, "Even though we got to a quick lead it didn't seem like we were fully focused like we needed to be.  We say that and we were up 41-17 late in the third.  It wasn't exactly the fourth quarter I would have liked to have.  They outscored us 19-7, but we subbed some and I think we let our guard down a little bit."

          Buckeye Central advanced to the regional tournament last season and has enjoyed a lot of tournament success under Loy.  He says their program is based on defense.  "That is something we hang out hat on we want to make sure defensively we do a solid job.  We want to create some turnovers and we want our defense to create some offense.  We really want to get after it defensively and I think you have to be if you want to have some success in the tournament," he said.

          Buckeye Central (14-8) will play Danbury Lakeside (3-19) in a division four sectional semi-final on Wednesday night at Norwalk High School.  If they win they will play South Central (17-5) or Lucas (4-16) in the next round on Friday.

          Loy says when it comes to placement on the bracket they wanted to stay away from Plymouth (21-1), the Firelands Conference champion.  "It was kind of funny because I think the first five teams chose to play and not take any of the byes.  Plymouth typically does that, Sandusky St. Mary's typically does that.  South Central being in the conference with Plymouth chose to go away from Plymouth, so they chose to go down.  That was our thinking the whole time.  We felt the toughest team in the tournament was going to be Plymouth and if we were fortunate enough to get that far in the tournament that we wanted to make that a district final game.  So, we wanted to stay away from that bracket as well.  I was kind of hoping South Central would go up in that bracket at Ashland, but I was pretty sure they wouldn't. We decided we were going to stay away from Plymouth," said Loy.

          When accessing Danbury, Loy says they are a lot like Mohawk, which is good for them.  "I see a lot of Mohawk, which is good, it was like Mohawk was good preparation for us.  They are real similar with not real strong post play, but some big kids that work hard.  They are not a great perimeter shooting team, but they have a couple of kids that can shoot it a little bit.  Maybe not as good as we have seen in the N10 or anywhere in our schedule.  They have some athletic kids and that always makes teams dangerous.  We are going to prepare for them very similar to what we did Mohawk.  They are a team that will play you man, a team that will play you some zone, they will try to pick you up full court man and play some zone presses," said Loy.

 

Published 3/02/15

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Buckeye Central Building for Tournament

 

          Buckeye Central does not have the win-loss record they have had over the last several years due to injuries and some other factors, but the Bucks are team right now that nobody wants to play.

          They host Mohawk (2-18,2-14) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Friday night.  Then they are scheduled to face Danbury-Lakeside in a first round division four tournament game next Wednesday in Norwalk.

          Last week, they took N10 champ Colonel Crawford to the wire before losing (44-42) and then they broke Wynford's five game losing streak (52-31) last Friday.  Coach Phil Loy says they have their guys back in place and they are operating on all cylinders.  "I think the kids are feeling pretty confident right now.  We are healthy and I think we are jelling at the right time.  When we were missing guys we were kind of shuffling guys around and we were just kind of out of sink.  In the long run it kind of helped us out because it got more kids involved and made our bench deeper and got kids playing other positions a little bit, so we are a little more versatile.  In our last couple of games I felt we played very well," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "Going to Colonel Crawford and playing in that environment against one of the best teams in the area and we had them, we should have won that game, but we didn't finish it as well as we would like.  I thought defensively against Wynford, who had been playing really well and scoring a lot of points, I thought we did a good job of holding them down.  I really like where we are at right now and hopefully it can continue."

          Mohawk lost to Fremont St. Joe (63-45) Monday night, breaking a modest two game winning streak.  However, Loy says he thinks the Warriors are a dangerous team.  "A big reason for that is their point guard is back.  He had missed seven games and I really think he makes them go.  When you lose your best player, and he happens to be your point guard, I think you really struggle.  He is back and is averaging double figures in points and he makes them better.  They lost their first 17 games, but now I think they have a little bit of life with him coming back.  They play three games this week.  They play Monday, Tuesday, Friday, so we could be facing a basketball team playing pretty well." he said.

          Buckeye Central advanced all of the way to the regional tournament last year and they have some guys back from that team.  Loy thinks that experience will help them this year.  "I think the tournament experience we got last year goes a long way.  When you play that much longer in the post season you had great environments to play in and we had some tough battles with some teams.  I think that experience will pay off.  I think we will be better this year because of that.  We didn't take the bye this year and we have an extra game there and i think that give us even a little more experience.  That is not something we normally do.  Usually over the past several years we have always had a bye.  This year we are playing that first game.  Hopefully we can get rid of some jitters there and that will pay off as well," said Loy.

 

Published 2/24/15

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Even in Losses, Buckeye Getting better

 

          Buckeye Central has probably played unbeaten Colonel Crawford tougher than anyone in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference.

          Crawford clinched an outright title on Monday night when they beat Buckeye Central (44-42) in a hotly contested game.  Todd Entemann hit a big three late and scored 21 points for the Eagles.  Austin Wurm had 14 for the Bucks.

          Bucks coach Phil Loy says his kids were really excited to play Crawford, one of their biggest rivals, and he says they played very well until the very end.  "I am really proud of the kids and the way they played (Monday) night.  That was a hostile environment.  It was a packed house.  It was extremely hot with the pool being in there.  With the pool being in the school the locker rooms are extremely hot, the gym is extremely hot and then you pack in the people that they had it made it worse.  It was a very good tournament atmosphere.  Our kids played well and they were excited to pay in it," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "They were prepared.  We knew it would be a game of runs.  We got down and we fought back and it was back and forth.  We got up seven late in the fourth and we just didn't finish the game off the way we would like to.  So, I know the kids are kind of sick to their stomach right now just knowing that things didn't go like we were expecting down the stretch.  They have to be really proud of their performance and I like our chances from here on out."

          They were able to hold the Eagles to only 35 percent from the field. Loy says they were able to make them take tough shots.  "I thought it was a great game defensively for both teams.  For us to be able to hold them down in scoring like that in both games, both times we played them.  I am really proud of what our kids did defensively in limiting their shots and just making everything tough for them," he said.

          Buckeye (12-8,10-6) lost Wynford (73-66) last Thursday and they play the Royals again this Friday this time at home.  Wynford (11-8,10-6) beat Upper Sandusky (67-59) on Monday night.  Loy says the Royals are red hot.  "They are playing extremely well.  I think they have won five in a row.  Their last two wins have been pretty impressive.  They shot the ball extremely well the first time we played them.  It seemed like they didn't miss a shot.  Hunter Miller did not miss a shot.  He went five for five from behind the arch, he made every free throw, he made every two.  They shot about 70 percent from three against us.  (Monday) night they did the same thing.  They are playing really well.  Upper got up on them early and had a good lead in the first half and then Wynford comes storming back, so they are playing with a lot of confidence.  I like it that we are home, they have been shooting it very well at their place.  We just have to make sure we can get out on shooters and hope they don't shoot as well as the first time we played them," said Loy.

 

Published 2/18/15

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Buckeye Must contain Fast Break

 

          Buckeye Central is going to have to continue to use defense in order to win games.  They are were able to do that last week against Bucyrus and hope to do the same against Wynford and Colonel Crawford this week.

          Grant Loy didn't play on Saturday night against the Bucyrus due to injury, but they held the Redmen to only 31 points in the (45-31) win.  Bucyrus shot only 22 percent.  Coach Phil Loy says it was their defense that turned the trick.  "It was a good win for us, especially with us having injuries.  I though they did a good job the night before against Upper Sandusky.  They scored 62 points and I am thinking right now we can't score 62 points, so we are going to have to do a really good job defensively and I felt we did that.  The only downside to that game was we had a lot of careless turnovers in that game.  For us to have a lot of careless turnovers and for them to score only 31 points is a credit to our defense," said Loy.

          With all the injuries they have had this season, Loy says that defense has been the biggest key for them all year.  "Defense is about working hard and about communication.  That is what our kids have been doing.  We have been pretty solid defensively all year long," he said.

          Buckeye Central (12-6,10-4) plays at Wynford (9-8,8-6) in an N10 game on Thursday night.  Loy says he expect to Royals to try and pick up the pace of the game.  "As a team they are probably one of the best perimeter shooters in the league.  They have three guys that shoot it very, very well, around 40 percent or above.  They do like to get up and down the floor.  They do try to make their defense create some offense.  They want to pick you up full court a lot of times.  They want to trap you and switch defenses a lot.  They want to pick you up at half court and trap out of that.  If they force a turnover they push the ball up the court hard.  They just shoot it quick and we have to know where there shooters are at all times," said Loy.

          The Bucks will be at Colonel Crawford (19-0,15-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the small school division, on Saturday night for a league game.  One that could give the Eagles the outright title.  Loy says again transition defense will be big for them.   "It is tough to slow them down because I think Dylan Gulley is probably one of the best point guards in the area.  He is so quick, he makes great decisions, and handles the ball so well.  He can get to the basket so well and he is also a very good perimeter shooter.  They do push the ball up the floor hard and they have perimeter guys that can shoot it," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "I think our preparation with playing on Thursday against Wynford will help us will somewhat prepare us because its not like it is two totally different teams.  It is teams that are very perimeter oriented.  Both nights we are going to have to make sure we get back.  Our defensive transition has to be good in slowing both teams down."

 

Published 2/11/15

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Two Big Ones for Buckeye This Weekend

 

          Buckeye Central is locked in a four way battle with Upper Sandusky, Carey, and Bucyrus for second place in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference and they play Carey on Friday and Bucyrus on Saturday.

          Colonel Crawford leads the conference standings by three games with five left to play.  They can clinch no less than a share of the title this weekend with wins over Ridgedale and Crestline, two second division teams.

          Buckeye kept itself in position with a (51-37) win over Ridgedale last Saturday behind 21 points from Austin Wurm.  Coach Phil Loy says it was a game that he was a little nervous about before the tip-off.  "It was a game I was afraid of going in with us not being healthy and not playing two starters, we struggled at their place the first time played them, they shoot the ball extremely well inside of the arch, they shoot the ball very well from 10-15 feet.  Their guards do a very good job and they have two big men that are third and fourth in the league in rebounding.  Without us having our point guard Scott Heydinger and Grant Loy I was definitely concerned going in, but our kids stepped up and it turned out good," said Loy.

          They have enjoyed a excellent year so far, but Loy says the injuries are really starting to pile up and it has been a very big concern, more so than in any year he can remember.  "For some reason this year has been our worst year for injuries.  It is down to the point to where I don't want to do too much in practice.  At this time of year you do shorten practices up.  We are lucky to go and hour and a half because you are trying to save guys legs and everything.  (Tuesday) out of our 17 guys that we have for JV/varsity 10 of them practiced.  Of my starters, I think I had one starter in there because we have had little nagging injuries with everybody else.  I think we are getting through it.  Will we be 100 percent?  No, but I am hoping we have everybody for this weekend," he said.

          The Bucks (11-5,9-3) plays at Carey (13-3,10-3) in an N10 game on Friday night.  Buckeye won the first meeting (56-53) at their place.  Loy says the Blue Devils are just very explosive.  "Carey is a very dangerous team.  In my book, and I think in a lot of other coach's minds, Carey was the favorite this year in the league because they were very good last year and they returned three of probably the top seven players in the league.  All three of them are just very athletic, great scorers, and just great basketball players.  We got them the last time.  Scott Heydinger did not play because he just suffered an ankle injury prior to the game.  I think we built an 11 point lead on them going into the fourth quarter, but they are so dangerous that they got it right back and had a chance to tie it at the buzzer," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "We were fortunate to get out of that with a win.  Now we are going on the road and playing there.  We expect their best.  They play well at home.  Hopefully we are healthy, but either way I expect it to be a game that comes down the wire."

          Buckeye Central lost and overtime game to Bucyrus (48-46) on December 30.

 

Published 2/05/15

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Buckeye Central Must Continue to Move Forward

 

          Buckeye Central has worked its way into a solid position in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference, a share of second place, and for a good seed in the upcoming division four tournament.

          Now, they have to continue that process as they play a different kind of double weekend in the league with Ridgedale on Saturday and Wynford on Monday in conference games.

          Last Saturday, the Bucks picked up a big win when they downed Upper Sandusky (45-42) in conference action.  Coach Phil Loy says it is the defense they played that proved to be the difference.  "I think we are headed in the right direction.  Saturday night was a big game for us because we went deeper into our bench and kids had to step up and play.  We have been stressing about how we have to get a little better defensively.  I think last week in practice and in the games on Friday and Saturday I think we showed that pretty good and hopefully we can continue that as the season winds down," he said.

          This Saturday, Buckeye (10-5,8-3) plays at home against Ridgedale (6-9,4-8) in N10 action.  The Bucks won (61-52) in the first time through the double round robin, but Loy says it was far from easy.  "Ridgedale is not a team that is very deep, they play six guys, and primarily five, but all five of those guys are pretty good players.  It's a good mix of some inside players with some strength and size and some good guard lay that doesn't turn it cover a great deal and they shoot it pretty well.  We went down there the first time and playing at their place they built a seven point lead on us after the first quarter and it was all we could do to get it back to tied at halftime.  We only beat them by nine in the game and even then within five in the last minute or two," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "They were shooting it so well and they area streaky team.  They don't shoot it great from the perimeter. from behind the arch, but they are a good three point shooting team in getting some penetration and some layups of just hitting that mid range jumper that you don't see a lot of teams get anymore, but they are pretty solid with that.  They are a team that we have to make sure we are focused when they come in here on Saturday."

          Wynford (6-8,5-6) plays host to the rival Bucks on Monday night.  Loy says their perimeter shooting makes them dangerous.  "It is a good rivalry that we have had for many years.  Wynford is not having as good a year as they have wanted too either, they are right around .500, but I think they are getting better.  What makes them dangerous is they are a good three point shooting team.  They have three guys that are probably in the top 12 in the league in shooting threes, and they are dangerous with that.  They want to pick you up full court and press and trap and trap in the half court and not let you get into your offense.  They like to get out and go and they can be very dangerous and we have to make sure we are ready to go in that one as well," said Loy.

 

Published 1/30/15

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Improvement the Key For Buckeye

 

          Buckeye Central has a doubleheader of Northern 10 Athletic Conference games this weekend with Crestline on Friday and Upper Sandusky on Saturday.

          Coach Phil Loy says they have been working on their defense and he felt they did a good job last Saturday night in defending Seneca East in a (71-41) win over the Tigers in N10 play.  "I thought we did a great job of getting off to a quick start.  We were really focusing all week last week and again this week on of just getting better defensively.  I think there are areas where we aren't as strong as I felt like we should be at this point.  So, we have just spent a lot of time on that and I think showed on Saturday against Seneca East and hopefully it will show again this week," he said.

          Offensively Loy says they are making a lot of progress in understanding what they are supposed to be doing, but he says there still some things that are holding them back on defense.  "I think we are doing a better job right now of understanding what our roles are.  I think we kind of had some problems with that early on.  I think at the defensive end is where we need to get better.  It is the small things.  We need to be a better rebounding team.  We need to have better weak side help, better gap help on the drive and close out better.  So, those are the little things that if we can correct all of that and make it tough for teams to score, that is the big focus right there.  At the offensive end it is just understanding their roles making better decisions and getting good shots and stuff.  I think that is coming along," said Loy.

          Buckeye Central (8-5,6-3) plays host to Crestline (1-11,1-8) on Friday night in an N10 game.  They beat the Bulldogs (72-21) in their first meeting.  Loy says their goal is to improve their play.  "They have been playing some teams pretty good lately.  They lost a close one with Mansfield Christian and Mansfield Christian is a pretty good team that lost an close game to Plymouth.  Crestline is right there down the stretch and had a chance to cut it to four, six there late.  They lost a close one to Bucyrus and I thought that was a good sign of them getting better.  The first time we played them we played extremely well and beat them pretty good.  I want our kids to focus on us getting better," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "We can't focus on that fact that the first time we played them we beat them pretty bad.  We need to focus on let's get better.  They can be a dangerous team.  They have one of the better post players in the league in Nate Coffman.  He is averaging 16.5 points a game and 11 rebounds.  He is a horse inside and we have to make sure we do a good job of containing him and yet they have some guards that I think are playing better."

          Buckeye travels to second place Upper Sandusky (9-2,8-1) on Saturday night.  Loy says at this point in the season they have to be continually improving.  "Hopefully we have the right focus because at this point you don't want to take a step back.  You have to make sure you are moving forward if you want to contend for the league and get yourself ready for tournament you can't let yourself have any setbacks.  That is our big focus to make sure we get better on Friday night," he said.

 

Published 1/23/15

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Buckeye Meets Ontario

 

          Buckeye Central is one the better small schools basketball teams again this year they are stepping up this week to play an old rival, the Ontario Warriors, now of the Northern Ohio League.

          They face Seneca East in an N10 game on Saturday.  A team they beat (85-64) the first time they played them.

          Last week, the Bucks downed Mohawk (63-27) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game.  Coach Phil Loy says it was good to get a win, especially after losing to Colonel Crawford the week before.  "It has been in interesting January here.  It was good for us to get back on track.  It is kind of odd for us to go from Saturday to Saturday and it had been two weeks since we had won a game.  So, we wanted to make sure we got back on track with Mohawk.  We knew they were down a little bit and we just wanted to make sure we got off to a quick start and we did that we got off to a 19-0 start right before the end of the first quarter.  That is what we needed and I thought it was good for our confidence," he said.

          Buckeye (7-4) will host Ontario (10-1), #2 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the large school division, on Friday night.  Loy says the Warriors are athletic and they want to play fast.  "They are a team that is going to want to up tempo the game and get you making quick decisions and bad decisions and try to force you into turnovers.  That is something we have been working on this week.  They go nine deep they are athletic," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "They have very good guards, they have good shooters, they will spread you out,  Defensively they are going to get up in you and get out in passing lanes and try to deny passes and get steals.  We have to make sure we control the tempo and we don't do things that we don't want to do.  If we take care of the basketball I think it could be a competitive game."

          If they are going to be able to have success on Friday night, Loy says they must be able to keep Ontario out of the paint where they cause so much havoc.  "For one I think their post player is pretty good, Andrew Rathburn.  He just works hard and he is strong and solid and can post up deep.  We have to limit his touches, but you also have to limit the touches of Lennel Shelby.  They like to post him up, especially if there is a smaller guard on him.  They will do that multiple times.  Even getting their dribble penetration out of the paint.  With them you have make them beat you from the perimeter, but they do have some guys that can knock down shots.  Some of them are streaky and some of them are pretty good.  You have to know who is out there and kind of take your chances,' said Loy.

 

Published 1/15/15

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Buckeye Must Find Ways to Score

 

          Buckeye Central lost two tough games to good teams last week and didn't score more than 50 points either time and they need to get on the scoreboard a little more.

          They lost to at Bucyrus (48-46) in overtime last Tuesday and they were beaten by undefeated Colonel Crawford (48-38) on Saturday.

          Coach Phil Loy says in the Bucyrus game they were dealing with some injuries and where forced to go to bench and that was part of the reason for the set back.  "These have go to be learning moments for us.  It was a tough loss on Tuesday going on the road to Bucyrus.  We didn't exactly play very well, but we also were hit with injuries.  We were hit with injuries during the game, a couple of kids went down.  One goes down right on the first possession and doesn't return and another goes down later.  We are playing our point guard at like 75 percent.  So, things were not stacked in our favor going over there.  Give Bucyrus credit they were home for the first time in like six games and they shot the ball extremely well," said Loy.

          Austin Wurm and Grant Loy have been explosive scorers for the Bucks this year, but coach Loy says they have to find some more kids they can rely on more.  "We are starting to see some combination or junk defenses here these last couple of games and I guess we are learning form that because I think we will see a lot more of that.  Teams are really starting to focus on shutting down Austin and Grant and we have to learn how to win games when that is going on.  So, moving without the basketball and making some other things happen and hopefully we are getting better in that area," he said.

          Buckeye (6-4,4-3) will be at arch rival Wynford (5-5,4-3) in a pivotal game in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference at the "House of Thrills" on Friday night.  Loy says the Royals are a team that likes run the floor.   "They really want to get up and down.  They have had some high scoring games.  They scored 94 against Ridgedale in double overtime.  They are not really big.  They are very guard oriented.  They have athletic guards that shoot the three.  In a sense they are somewhat like a version of Colonel Crawford.  They do have a post player, but the guards are what can hurt you," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "They like to shoot a lot of threes, so I would say similar to Crawford.  We are going to have to make sure we get back defensively and guard the arch on Friday night."

          Both schools trail Colonel Crawford by three games in the league standings and Loy says this is must win for them.  "It's a league game and we can't afford to fall back any farther than we are.  After you come off a couple of tough losses I feel we can make some corrections and we could have won those games.  We have to have a good week of practice and correct some things and get better in some areas.  To us this is a must win game," he said.

 

Published 1/06/15

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Bucks Pick up Huge Win

 

          Buckeye Central hung the first loss of the season on the Carey Blue Devils on Saturday night and gave first place in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference standings to Colonel Crawford in the process.

          Grant Loy scored 20 points and Austin Wurm added 19 as the Bucks beat Carey (56-53) to move in a share of second place.  Plus, coach Phil Loy says they were able to win without starting point guard Scott Heydinger.  "I am very proud of our kids, our starters and our bench, getting that victory with the adversity we have going in.  We find out a couple of hours before game time that my starting point guard is not going to play because he rolled his ankle out in the gym shooting around.  He tried to go before and he just couldn't go.  That changes a lot with us being thin at the point guard position.  We quickly tried to adjust our game plan and I really thought the kids stepped up and did a nice job," said Loy.

          With one of their veteran leaders on the bench, Loy says they were able to circle the wagons and come together as a team against Carey.  "These kids believed in each other.  I think our captains did a great job of bringing the group together and feeling comfortable.  When I talked to the kids I said we will be fine.  I didn't want to make a big deal out of it I just wanted the kids to come in and play hard like they always do and things will work out.  I am just proud of everybody," he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday, "I thought defensively we did a really good job.  We got off to a quick start and made shots.  Grant Loy was hitting shots, and everybody was, we got off to a quick lead, I think we were up 12-4 and we ended up scoring 24 points in the first quarter and I think that was huge."

          Buckeye (6-2,4-1) plays at Bucyrus (5-2,3-2), whom lost at Upper Sandusky (81-53) on Saturday.  Loy says the Redmen may be going through a tough stretch, but they have solid, veteran talent.  "I told our kids enjoy that win on Saturday, but come Sunday and especially Monday morning we have to make sure we are focused because Bucyrus is always a tough match-up for everybody.  We are playing over there, it's a tough place to play, and we are definitely not taking them lightly.  They got off to a good start and now they are in a tough part of their schedule.  We expect a tough ball game.  It is a veteran group that has played a lot and is a good athletic bunch," he said.

 

Published 12/29/14

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Buckeye Central Playing Well at Both Ends

 

          When you are considering contenders for the Northern 10 Athletic Conference title don't forget about Buckeye Central. 

          The Bucks have won their last three games after a (61-32) thumping of New Riegel on Monday night.  Coach Phil Loy says things are coming together for them.  "I think we are a team that is getting better playing with each other.  Early in the season we are trying to figure out what works best for us.  Going on the road with a team like Plymouth that is a tough start for us.  I think we are getting some things ironed out," he said.

          Loy says Monday night at New Riegel they did an outstanding job on the defensive end of the floor.  "Monday at New Riegel I was concerned about going over there.  Lots of times going on the road it can be a tough game and New Riegel always gives us tough games.  They have a very dominating big man, a 6'5" left handed player than finishes well around the basket, a strong kid that rebounds well and is very active, and can step out and shoot the 15 to 18 footers.  We held him to seven points and he had 33 points and 15 or so rebounds against Carey.  I was concerned going in there that they were going to try and pound it in the post.  I thought our kids stepped up and executed the game plan," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "We were able to pressure their guards.  I think they had 14 turnovers in the first half and they might have ended up with 22 turnovers.  Defensively we just did a great job and they were never in the game.  We were up 20 at halftime.  Our kids made shots and I think we stretched that lead to 34 in the third quarter.  I was very pleased with the way we played there and I hope we can continue with that."

          Austin Wurm went over 1,000 points for his career earlier this month and Grant Loy scored 37 in a win Saturday over Seneca East.  Loy says a key is getting contributions from other guys too.  "Those two have been playing very well for us on the offensive end.  What I liked about Monday is we need more scoring out of our other players because that is going to make us that much more balanced and hard to guard where teams can't just focus on Austin and Grant.  Scott Heydinger was a lot more aggressive in the last couple of games and stepped up big against New Riegel.  Cole Stacklin had was aggressive and getting good looks and taking and making shots.  We are starting to get more production out of Seth Ollis, our big guy inside.  Even our subs are coming in and giving us good minutes.  It is just making us better overall," said Loy.

          Buckeye Central (3-1,1-0) is at Crestline (0-3,0-1) on Friday night for an N10 game and they host Upper Sandusky (1-2,0-1) on Saturday.

          Crestline lost Thursday night to Mansfield St. Peter's (56-47) and Loy says they have a quality big man in Nate Coffman.  "I don't know a whole lot.  We are going to watch them against St. Peter's.  They play three in row and then turn around and play next Tuesday.  The coach has brought in some energy and the kids are playing hard.  I like what they are doing inside.  They have a nice inside presence with Nate Coffman, who is having a great year averaging around 21 points a game.  They are trying to feed him the ball a lot.  For us this is going to be somewhat similar to New Riegel a good big man inside and decent guard play and want to push the ball a little bit.  We are treating this game similar to New Riegel," he said.

 

Published 12/19/14

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Buckeye Faces New Look St. Peter's

 

          After losing to a very talented Plymouth team in their first game, Buckeye Central plays host to Mansfield St. Peter's in a non-conference game on Tuesday night.

          In a battle between two of the best small school teams in North Central Ohio last Friday Plymouth edged Buckeye (47-44) with a fourth quarter rally.  Bucks coach Phil Loy says Plymouth is tough to score against.  "I though we played okay.  We didn't shoot the ball extremely well, not as well as we have been in the preseason.  Plymouth is a very good team and one of the best in the area and maybe their defense created some of those struggles that we had.  We had the lead the whole time and then just couldn't finish it down the stretch," said Loy.

          Buckeye (0-1) is expected to be very competitive in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference this year and Loy says they just need to refine some things.  "Even though we lost that game there are a lot of positive things that came out of that game and a lot of things that we learned from that game, just little things that we need to get better at," he said.

          Mansfield St. Peter's (1-0) beat South Central (48-43) in its first game.  They have a new coach in Joe Jakubick and Loy says they look different too.  "It is a little bit of a different operation.  They do return three starters and four letterman probably with Ryan Payne, who came off the bench last year.  They have a really good point guard in Blunk, they have another really good guard in Shaw and then their post player Michael Barrick.  When you look at their roster it is a little bit different than it was a year ago with some different kids in there," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "They have a couple of freshmen that are playing a lot that look to be pretty good.  One of them is the coach's son and then their is another freshmen that is there now that looks to be a pretty good player.  They are somewhat young and athletic and like to shoot the three.  They don't have a whole lot of size, so hopefully we can take advantage of that.  Hopefully our experience can win that battle."

          Having played just one game Loy says they think the Spartans will look to be aggressive on offense and defense.  "I think they will push it when they can because they do have some good guard play.  I think they will be basically and man type defensive team.  I think the kids will be working really hard under coach Jakubick and really get after it defensively and try to make things happen and make up for not having great size.  Offensively, we are looking for them to push the ball when they can and run some five out motion and some dribble drive stuff and run some more sets than maybe they have in the past," said Loy.

 

Published 12/09/14

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Buckeye Central Dealing with Little Things

 

          Buckeye Central is going to be a good basketball team this year, it just a matter of how good at this point.

          They play one of the more interesting games in the area on Friday night when they at Plymouth, the Firelands Conference favorite, in non-conference play.

          Buckeye returns some very good talent, but they did graduate three starters, and coach Phil Loy says they are still kind of putting things together heading into that opener.  "We have had a pretty good preseason with good practices and good scrimmages.  Do I have everything locked in yet?  No and I wish I did, but we are pretty close to that.  We return six letterman and those guys are all contributing very well.  I have another several guys that I am trying to fit into the mix and so far it has gone pretty good we just don't have everything settled in yet," said Loy.

          Much of the Buckeye bench will be made up of last year's JV squad and Loy says they attempting to figure out where those pieces fit.  "Just our depth.  We have to make sure we do find that seventh or eighth guy so that we have a good bench and have good depth, so that is probably the biggest thing that concerns me right now," he said.

          Plymouth on the other hand returns its entire starting five along with some of their reserves.  Loy says they are a team that has many talents and they will be a difficult challenge.  "They bring back a lot of experience.  They might have only graduated one guy who contributed a lot to their program last year and they were very, very successful last year winning the Firelands, I think they were 20-2 in the regular season, and got beat in the district tournament," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "They can create some match-up problems.  They are a very good shooting team.  Of their starters they return everybody back and they are kind of comfortable because of that.  They have a very good point guard and probably one of the best big men in the area."

          Buckeye, last year's North Central Conference champion, beat Plymouth (63-49) in their first game last year. 

          A lot of what Plymouth does focuses in on post player Tyrell Edmiston, headed to Urbana to play college basketball.  Loy says he is a great passer and that makes the Big Red harder to defend.  "You have to watch how you defend them because you don't want to put too much on Edmiston because if you do he does see the floor very well and he is an extremely great passer, probably one of the best passers for a big man around.  You really can't double team him unless you want them to shoot layups.  Plymouth does a nice job of moving without the basketball and making basket cuts and stuff and Tyrell does a good job in finding them," said Loy.

 

Published 12/02/14

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Buckeye Has the Tools

 

          Buckeye Central finished the season (23-3) last year and was outright champion of the North Central Conference last year and a division four regional qualifier.

          They lost some kids to graduation, including their point guard, but they still have a chance to be very good this year in the inaugural season of the Northern 10 Athletic Conference.

          Coach Phil Loy says they lost some very good players to graduation, but they also have some very capable kids returning to the team.  "We would like to think going in that we have the making for another good season, but we lost three really good seniors last year in Cade Kaple, Stone Wurm and Sam Robertson, a couple guards and a post player, all three of them were starters, and contributed a lot to our success last year,  Anytime you have to replace your point guard it is difficult, especially as good as Cade was, but we also return six lettermen," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "All six of them played a valuable part in our success last year as well.  We have the making for a good team.  So far early in the season we are trying to find out who we are.  Some things have to be different in replacing that point guard.  There are some things we have to work out.  I just hope as the season goes along we just continue to improve and get better and we are in contention for another league and district title in the end."

          Austin Wurm will be in his fourth year with the varsity and Grant Loy, not a starter last year, but played significant minutes, are both versatile players.  Coach Loy says they an score from anywhere.  "We feel that balance is one of our strengths.  We have some kids that can play multiple positions.  Austin Wurm and Grant Loy are both 6'3" or 6'4", maybe even stretching 6'5" are good inside and outside players, they are good shooters, and they are going to be handling the ball for us from time to time, but also guys we can go down low to if we feel we need to.  That is a good thing to have," said Loy.

          The Bucks definitely have some kids that can put the ball in the hole, but Loy says defense is what they emphasize the most in their program.  "That is something we have stressed very hard here at Buckeye is defense first.  The kids have really been buying into that the last couple of years.  That is something I think has made us really successful is how hard these guys play and buying into our philosophy there.  That will be one of the best things for us this year," he said.

          The North Central Conference is no more and Loy says by joining with Carey, Mohawk, Seneca East, and Ridgedale, there should be some very interesting games this year.  "I think it will be a very good league and have some good balance.  We have played these teams in non-league in the past.  I think it is going to be a very competitive league and I am excited about it.  There are a lot of schools of equal size. yeah we have some bigger schools in there too, but I think it is going to be very competitive," he said.

 

Published 11/21/14

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Buckeye in Must win Situation

 

          Buckeye Central still has a chance to make the post season playoffs in division seven, but they must have a win this week against the Mohawk Warriors in Northern 10 Athletic Conference play.

          Wynford, the "N10" leader, belted the Bucks (35-0) last week and Niedermier says they did everything they could, but it seemed that the Royals had all of the answers.  "I thought our boys played as good a game as they could.  We did have a few execution problems.  In talking to their head coaching staff after the game we threw everything we could at them formation while.  We really kind of kept them on their toes offensively, but they are a very good football team with a bunch of good linemen and athletes," said Nidermier.

          Buckeye (4-5,3-4) began the season as a run first team, but they have been throwing a lot more lately and Niedermier says that is because of the maturity of junior quarterback Grant Loy.  "Grant has learned a hole lot this season.  This is kind of his sophomore season.  Last year he wasn't able to play anything, JV or varsity.  This is really his second year.  We have thrown a lot at him and he has reacted very well and he has come a long way this season," he said.

          Mohawk (4-5,3-4) comes in off a (49-20) win over Crestline and Niedermier says it is obvious they are playing some pretty good football.  "They are a good ball club.  They definitely have a lot of momentum headed into this week.  They are 4-0 in their last four games," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "We told our guys not to take them lightly as they are going to come in with a full head of steam.  They need to win this game as badly as we do to have a potential of getting into the playoffs and just finish the season at .500."

          Mohawk quarterback Gunnar Johnson has run for more than 1,000 yards this season and Niedermier says he is very difficult to contain.  "He absolutely runs the football very well.  He is a guy that we are going to be looking for defensively this week, keeping an eye on, and making sure we do all of the things we can to keep him contained," he said.

 

Published 10/28/14

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Bucks Tangle With Wynford

 

          It has been a tough second half of the season for the Buckeye Central Bucks with Carey and Colonel Crawford and now "N10" leading Wynford over a three week stretch.

          Last week, Buckeye had the early lead and led (22-13) in the third quarter before losing to Colonel Crawford (39-30) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game.

          Buckeye quarterback Grant Loy completed 23 of 34 passes for 322 yards in the game.  Coach Jeff Niedermier thought they really played pretty well in the loss to Crawford.  "Our kids played a heck of a game last week.  We were leading for a long time in that game and it just got away from us at the end.  Our guys fought hard the whole time and executed very well," he said.

          Buckeye Central (4-4,3-3) makes the short trip to Wynford (7-1,6-0) to face the first place Royals on Friday night.  Niedermier says this is always a big game for them.  "This is one of our oldest rivals.  The younger generation forgets that that used to be our home field over there before Buckeye Central built their own facilities in New Washington, so that's where that rivalry started," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "We still get excited about it.  Wynford has been a very talented team for a lot of years, so everybody gets excited to play them and wants to beat them."

          Wynford has won seven straight games, including a (48-0) destruction of very good Tiffin Calvert last Friday.  Niedermier says they do a lot of good things, but in his opinion it really starts with what they do at the line of scrimmage.  "They definitely have their athletes, but year after year I look at them and I am always impressed with their offensive line.  They are not always the biggest guys in the league, but they are very quick and they get off the ball and they get into you.  It starts up front for them," he said.

 

Published 10/23/14

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Buckeye Central Defense Will be Stressed

 

          Buckeye Central needs to stop a two game slide when they host Colonel Crawford in New Washington in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Friday night.

          Last week, Bucyrus quarterback Cole Murtiff lit them up for 231 yards and three scores in a (48-14) victory by the Redmen.  Buckeye Central coach Jeff Niedermier says three Buckeye turnovers didn't help the situation any.  "We didn't help them out on offense at all.  We had three turnovers that resulted in scores for them.  Our defense had been doing really well, and they do the best they can, but when we have those turnovers it doesn't make things look very good," said Niedermier.

          Crawford (5-2,3-2) is coming off a (54-14) destruction of Crestline last week.  Niedermier says the Eagles present another big challenge to that Buckeye defense.  "Colonel Crawford is a really great team again.  They have a lot of kids over there," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "I think they have 70 or so on there roster.  They have a lot of real nice athletes, they have a really nice quarterback again this year, a kid that can run and can throw the ball just like last week against Bucyrus.  They are going to be a challenge for us."

          They are going to face a similar approach on offense this week and Niedermier says they have to make the right decisions if they are going to contain the Eagles.  "It is a tough thing to control for the defensive line.  They have to put pressure on because you can't give them all day to throw, but you also can't give them lanes to run.  They will tuck the ball and take off and make plays on you anyway," he said.

 

Published 10/17/14

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Buckeye Central has to Run the Table

 

          With one loss in the conference, and Wynford and Bucyrus both with none, Buckeye Central probably has two win their final four games if they expect to win the "N10" football title.

        Jonathon Racheter ran for over 100 yards and two touchdowns as Carey beat Buckeye (35-14) last week handing the Bucks (4-2,3-1) their first loss in conference play.  Coach Jeff Niedermier was happy with the effort.  "I thought our boys came in and played very hard.  They played and did what we asked them to do offensively and defensively.  We were in the game into late.  Carey scored one on us late that kind of put it out of reach," he said.

          Bucyrus (5-1,4-0) beat Fremont St. Joe (37-0) in non-conference play last week.  Quarterback Cole Murtiff ran for 127 yards and threw for 117 and was involved their first four scores.  Niedermier says he can do a lot of things.  "He is an extremely talented quarterback.  He is very athletic and can throw the ball.  If you put a little pressure on him and create some seems he is not afraid to tuck it and run it on you," he said.

          Niedermier says they have to get some pressure on Murtiff, but they also can't let him break contain.  "Our defensive line has to, it's a hard ting, but they have to put the pressure they need to on him, but also keep their contain and keep their responsibilities," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "Once defensive linemen get off level with each other it creates creases and areas for those quarterbacks to take off."

          Defensively Bucyrus has started to play better over the last couple of weeks and Niedermier says they are going to continue to get better as they get more healthy.  "I think they have #44 back this week he is a very talented middle linebacker.  He played a on a few downs last week against Fremont St. Joe.  We just have to get on our guys and hold their blocks long enough for our guys to get through,' said Niedermier.

          If they want to win the Northern 10 Athletic Conference title and make the playoffs Niedermier says they know this is a game they must win.  "We have a very important game this week in terms of the conference and if our boys want to make it to the post season in football this year this is a must win for us," he said.

 

Published 10/09/14

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Buckeye Starts Difficult Stretch

 

          Buckeye Central is unbeaten in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference, but it will be the month of October that tells us how good the Bucks are as they play Carey, Bucyrus, Colonel Crawford and Wynford.

          Last week, they went to Ridgedale, got a balanced attack on offense, and buried the Rockets (38-6) in N10 play.  Coach Jeff Niedermier says things didn't start out that well, but they got better as the night went on.  "We went down there and were able to get a win.  I think our boys came out a little bit flat in the first half, but we got that corrected at halftime and they came out and really moved the ball on them," he said.

          Halftime is the time to make some changes in your approach if things aren't working that well and last week Niedermier says he got loud a little bit too.  "Sometimes it is those rah, rah speeches and Friday night actually might have been one those.  Our guys were maybe a little bit flat and not that motivated coming out," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "Halftime adjustments can win or lose you a game.  If you don't make the adjustments then you can definitely lose one and if you make the right ones it can put you back on top."

          Carey (4-1,2-1) comes to New Washington on Friday night for another N10 battle with the Bucks (4-1,3-0).  The Blue Devils put 42 on Crestline in the first quarter last week.  Niedermier says they have some big play guys.  "It is going to take somebody knocking off Wynford to get them back at the top of the league.  They are a very, very talented football team, very athletic.  They have great guys on both sides of the ball.  They are able to stay fresh on both sides of the ball with different players and they present a lot of problems,' said Niedermier.

          With a team like Carey that has great team speed, Niedermier says they can not let them get to the perimeter or it turns into a track meet that they will lose.  "We just have to make sure we stay at home defensively in making the right plays at the right time.  We can't lose contain and let them get outside.  If they do that they are off to the races," he said.

 

Published 10/02/14

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Buckeye Central Ready to Get Back to Winning

 

          Buckeye Central lost its first game of the season to Sandusky St. Mary's in non-conference play on Friday night and they return to play in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference when they travel to Ridgedale on Friday night.

          Last week, the Panthers downed Buckeye (35-14) and coach Jeff Niedermier says St. Mary's has a lot of athletes and they just didn't have the answers.  "St. Mary's has a really good program.  They have tremendous athletes and we didn't match up with them and that's what the score reflected," he said.

          After watching film of the game last week Niedermier says they know they have do a better job of understanding their assignments in trenches.  "We saw some things up front last week that we weren't very good at and we addressed them this week in practice.  They have to keep their eyes up and looking and see what's going on in front of them," he said.

          They had a rough start not scoring the first two weeks of the season, but Ridgedale (2-2,1-1) has turned it around a little bit with wins over Fostoria St. Wendelin (49-18) and Crestline (22-20) last week in conference play.  Niedermier says Ridgedale is not a team they can take lightly.  "They are a pretty sound football team," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "We can't take this game lightly at all.  They are feeling good right now they have two wins in a row.  We told our guys that we really have to focus and buckle down this week and do everything right to beat these guys."

          Niedermier says this is kind of a mental focus game for them with Colonel Crawford, Wynford, Bucyrus and Carey to play in the second half of the season.  "We have to kind of leave that one in the past.  Now it's back into the league play and we have to come back and win.  I think if we refocus and do what we can do we can do very well," he said.

 

Published 9/26/14

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Buckeye Central Has to Play Smart

 

          Buckeye Central shares first place in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference with Wynford and Bucyrus, but they take a break from conference play this week to play host to Sandusky St. Mary's in non-conference play.

        The Bucks (3-0) scored 35 points in the second quarter and went on to throttle Crestline (49-0) last week in N10 play.  Coach Jeff Niedermier says they were able to keep their focus against the winless Bulldogs.  "Last Friday we had to make sure our kids stayed focused on what was going on and we came in an executed very well, especially in the second quarter and we got things done," he said.

          They returned a punt and interception for a score against Crestline and Niedermier says they are starting to find their rhythm as a team.  "I think we have a good mix.  We have a quarterback coming off an injury that didn't play last year really coming into his own and seeing reads he needs to see," said told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "We have a very young offensive line, who has definitely come into their own and really coming together as a group and getting things done for us."

          Quarterback Grant Loy had back issues last year.  He was 7 of 10 for 108 yards against Crestline.

          St. Mary's (1-2) picked up its first win of the year last week against Danbury Lakeside (36-14) after losses to two Firelands Conference teams in Norwalk St. Paul (54-13) and Plymouth (46-39) the first two weeks.

          Niedermier says the Panthers have a lot of speed.  "From what we have seen in film they have some very good athletes and some very good speed.  We are definitely going to have to play some sound football defensively and give up plays against them.  Plus, we have to execute on offense," he said.

          With a team like St. Mary's that has big play potential Niedermier says they must play smart and uses the correct pursuit angles when running down the Panther ball carriers.  "We hope they never break past our linemen and our linebackers, but when they do our db's have to get on the correct angel and get down field quicker than they do if they break away," he said.

 

Published 9/18/14

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Buckeye Central Must Keep Focus

 

          Buckeye Central takes the road for Crestline on Friday night as they attempt to maintain a share of first place in the new Northern 10 Athletic Conference.

          Last week, they had to come back on Saturday, but they were able to get past Seneca East (44-28) in a conference game.  Coach Jeff Niedermier says it was an unique experience, but they were able to keep their heads in the game.  "It was an interesting night.  We got into the fourth quarter, about halfway through it, we just had a big play on defense, we blocked a punt and ran it in for a touchdown to go up by eight.  Then the referee decided to call the game because of lightning," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "I was a little worried heading out that night because I wasn't really sure what to expect from my boys the next morning.  We got them in a little bit earlier and got them ready.  They were pumped up and we were able to come up with a victory."

          After permitting only eight points in their opener against New London, Seneca East was able to find the end zone four times.  Niedermier says the game last week had a different tempo.  "They were two different kinds of offenses we saw.  Seneca East had a very good quarterback back there, he is athletic.  He could make the pass and if we flushed him out he could take off an rip off 20, 25 yards on you," he said.

          Crestline (0-2) lost their conference opener to Bucyrus (35-0) and the Bulldogs have only won one game in the last two plus seasons.  However, Niedermier thinks the Bulldogs are about to turn the corner.  "They have some young athletes, they are definitely better than they were a year ago.  It is not anyone that we can take lightly.  I think Crestline is going to win some games this year.  I hope it is not one against us," he said.

          Niedermier says it will be important for them to keep their focus against Crestline or it could cost them.  "That is something we talk about everyday with our kids.  You can't take any game lightly even though they might not have had success in the past.  If you take them lightly and don't take practice seriously bad things can happen on Friday night," he said.

 

Published 9/10/14

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Buckeye Central off to Good Start

 

          Two years ago Buckeye Central was the division six state runner up, but last year they only won three games.  They appear headed back in the right direction after dismantling New London last week.

          Coach Jeff Niedermier was very pleased with the Bucks effort and execution on both sides last week against New London.  "I felt very well coming out of the game.  I thought we did quite a few things right.  Offensively we were able to put quite few points on the board and defensively we held them to eight points.  We did a lot of positive things, but after game one there a lot things we can improve on," he said.

          They have more experience on the offensive side of the ball than they did last year and Niedermier says that allows them to do more things.  "I feel like we have a lot more threats.  We can throw the ball a little bit.  We have receivers that can catch the ball.  We have a quarterback this year that got a little experience as a junior.  We were just able to do a lot more things offensively.  One of our running backs back from last year was a very good threat for us," said Niedermier.

          Even after the 32-8 win with a running clock in the second half, Niedermier knows there are still things they can do better this week.  "Offensively our line we got a little pressure that we thought was unnecessary and we need to do better on that.  If we give our quarterback a little more time to make the correct reads," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "There were a few times that are quarterback might not have seen a guy that was wide open and not make the correct reads could have been a better play for us."

          Buckeye plays hosts to Seneca East (0-1) in their first ever game in the N10 on Friday night.  The Tigers were outscored by South Central (39-24) in their first game.  Niedermier, who has seen them live and tape, says the Tigers have guys that can make big plays.  "I went and scouted them early in one of their scrimmages.  They have some athletes.  South Central put some points up on them, but, you know, Seneca East was also able to score some points.  I think it is going to be a great match-up this weekend.  It should be a good game," he said.

 

Published 9/02/14

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Some Unknowns For Buckeye

 

          Buckeye Central is a team that is sure it is better, but they are not so sure what they are going to get from their first opponent New London on Friday night.

          Bucks coach Jeff Niedermier says his kids have looked pretty good in their tune ups for Friday night, so he is pretty pleased.  "I think our kids are ready to go.  We had a final scrimmage last Friday night and things went well.  That jamboree game has a nice structure and lets us get the bugs worked out.  I think our kids are ready for this game one," he said.

          With a lot of kids back on that side of the ball, Niedermier knows they are counting on their defense this year and need them to play well on Friday night.  "We definitely can do very well on defense.  We have a lot of returning starters this year coming back.  It is going to be up to them to shut them down.  If we can't stop them it is not going to end up very well at the end," he said.

          New London has a new coach in former Western Reserve star Brad Pickens, who took the reins just this summer.  Niedermier says that means there are going to be a lot of unknowns because their is no history to go from.  "Especially week one it's tough.  They have a new coach coming in so we really can't draw on what they have done in games against us in the past.  What we have seen so far is the basic formations," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "They haven't done a lot offensively during their scrimmages, but we are preparing the best we can for what we see.  Week one it is tough going over there and getting the scrimmage film.  We just do what we can with what we have."

          Not knowing what they are going to get from New London, Niedermier says adjustments are going to be pretty big for them on Friday night if they are to be successful.  "We are stressing that with our kids.  What we have seen on film in these scrimmages is kind of what we are preparing for, but they might come out and we are going to have to adjust to it on the fly and work out those kinks.  That's where having our guys up in the box telling us what they are doing is key on Friday night," he said.

 

Published 8/27/14

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Buckeye Counting on Defense

 

          Buckeye Central is a team that has matured a lot on defense from last year, but the Bucks are still a team that will rely on the play of its defense. 

          Jeff Niedermier, in his second year as head coach, says he likes the way the team is progressing toward its season opener with New London.  "I am extremely happy with what we have seen so far.  Our team has come a long way.  We were very young last season, we only had five seniors on the team.  Our skilled positions have come a long way from last year.  Our line is still a little young, but yeah I am extremely happy were we are right now," he said.

          When Buckeye advanced to the division VI state title game in 2012 they showed some balanced on offense, but were still a run first team.  Niedermier says that is what they would like to be this year.  "We are still very dependant on our run.  We will look to be a little more balanced if we can and try to throw the ball a little bit so teams can't key as much on our run.  I am pleased with both sides of our offense.  I think we are passing the ball well and also running and block well," he said.

          With a lot of guys back on that side of the ball defense is going to be the name of the game in New Washington.  Niedermier thinks that until will be very good.  "I think we are looking very good with a lot of experience.  I think we did very well on defense last year and we are just building on that.  Defensively I think we are going to be fairly solid with a lot of returning starters," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "Jordan Herstein is still back there at safety and we have a couple corners in Scotty Heydinger and linebackers Ross Martin, Cole Stackland, and Brady Bishop.  We have a lot veteran guys that have been playing defense the last two years."

          This being the third full week of preseason practice and there can be some issues regarding focus, but Niedermier says they have done a pretty good job of being ready for practice everyday.  "They have their days and their moments.  I think we came out on Monday and we were fairly flat and they were ready for the season to begin.  They were getting a little antsy and a little sluggish because they want the season to be here, but it is our job as coaches is to get them motivated.  Monday we saw that a little bit, but Tuesday they came right out hustling and getting to the line and we practiced a lot better on Tuesday," said Neidermier.

 

Published 8/22/14

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Buckeye Central Meets New Riegel

 

          Buckeye Central (14-12) was to play at New Riegel in the division four sectional tournament on Wednesday, but then came the thunderstorms and the tornado watch and now the game has been moved to Friday.

          Bucks coach Chad Jensen says they have gotten pretty good at handling delays.  "The kids know that this part of baseball and they have handled it all year.  This is just one of those incontinences that you have to deal with and it's for both teams and we just need to be ready on Friday," he said.

          With the game now set for Friday, Jensen says they will have some options in terms of what they do on the mound.  "When you are in the tournament you have to have your best ready to go.  For us we have our two best ready to go.  Hopefully we don't have to go to our two, but we have them both ready we don't like taking chances," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "With some of our teams in the past when we have had tournament runs it was because of some good starting pitching, so hopefully we can duplicate that.  New Riegel is certainly not an easy task, they are a very talented team, so we are going to have our work cut out for us."

          New Riegel (11-10) has a great athletic tradition and Jensen says the Blue Jackets know how to play the game.  "They are really solid kids.  The one thing about New Riegel kids is there are hard working kids, they are nice kids, they are well coached, they play the game the right way, and they do that in all of their sports.  We are familiar with them we have played them non-league for the last six, seven years.  We played them earlier in the year, game two, and that was a ling time ago.  We have a little bit of familiarity with them, which I think will help us a little bit," he said.

          New Riegel beat Buckeye Central (10-0) back on the first week of the regular season, but Jensen expects that Friday's match-up will be a different game.  "I got to see New Riegel at little recently and they are certainly better than they were and I think we are better than we were.  We played them in game two and we had just been no hit by Mason McWilliams of Seneca East.  We had just started the season and our basketball kids had just came off a regional run and they were quite in baseball mode yet and I would like to think that recently we have really hit our stride.  It's going to be a challenge for us, but our kids are up to it," said Jensen.

 

Published 5/15/14

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It's Been Up and Down For Buckeye Central

 

          Tanner Zaebst had three hits and two RBI and Austin Lutz added two hits and two RBI as Buckeye Central outscored Riverdale (12-6) in a North Central Conference game on Monday.

          Leading (3-1) after four innings the Bucks put up a seven spot in the fifth inning to take command of the game.  Coach Chad Jensen says they had a better approach at the plate.  "We talked after this weekend that we really didn't do a very good job of situational hitting.  We really put our focus on (Monday) of just putting the bat on the ball, having a plan at the plate, understanding what to do when runners are on, and we really did a good job of shortening our swings down and hitting the ball where it was pitched and really did a nice job," he said.

          Buckeye Central split a doubleheader with South Central on Saturday.

          Buckeye drew winless Mansfield St. Peter's in their division four tournament opener when they host the Spartans in New Washington this Saturday.  However, Jensen knows there is a lot of improving to do before then.  "We are hoping we are in a pretty good spot, but you have to play one game at a time.  We open tournament play on Saturday against St. Pete's and if we are fortunate enough to win that then New Riegel sets in front of us and they beat us earlier in the year.  We really have to take one game at a time.  We have a league game with Crestline (Tuesday) and Riverdale again on Wednesday and Bucyrus on Friday and then St. Pete's on Saturday.  We have some opportunities, but we really have to play better and be more consistent," said Jensen.

          The Buckeye Central coach says there isn't a game the Bucks (9-12,4-5) can't win this week or they could lose them too.  He says consistency is the issue as it has been all season.  "If we play like we can play they are winable games and we just have to be more consistent all of the way around.  We have to throw more strikes, we have to play a little bit better defense and we just have to put the bat on the ball a little bit better.  We just have to execute.  We have to get our bunts down consistently.  We just have to do those things.  We are sometimes just a little inconsistent all of the way around," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday night after the win over Riverdale, "We really responded (Monday) from being inconsistent over the weekend.  So, it is just a process for us.  Every one of those games are tough.  I think the "NCC" is as tough as it has been in a long time and anybody can beat anybody.  I really believe that and there are certainly no give mes the rest of the way."

 

Published 5/06/14

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Buckeye Hammers Carey

 

          Buckeye Central broke out the bats on Monday and they beat up on Carey (14-4) in a non-conference baseball game.

          The Bucks climbed over the .500 mark with the win and coach Chad Jensen says they have started to become better hitters because they have a better idea what they are doing when they get in the box.  "We really have had better approaches at the plate starting with last Thursday's game at Crawford.  We have had a plan at the plate.  We challenged our kids last week after losing to Crawford early in the week and they really responded.  We just have been more patient and swinging at better pitches and putting the ball in play and when you do that consistently good things can happen," he said.

          Jensen says they are know understanding what they are supposed to be doing at the plate because they understand the situation a little bit better.  "It is knowing the count.  It is knowing the situation.  If a kid is having trouble throwing strikes then you don't jump at the first pitch you see.  We tell our kids to lay off curve balls early in the count until he proves he can get it over.  Understand the fastball counts 1-0, 2-0, 3-1, 2-1, things like that.  And knowing if I have a runner on second I need to move him over.  If I have a runner on third I have to get a sac fly or hit it to the right side to get him in and our kids have really done a lot better job of that," said Jensen.

          Buckeye has gotten some pretty good pitching this year, especially from Austin Lutz, and now their defense is starting to make some plays too, according to Jensen.  "Our defense has come along.  We had some shaky moments early in the year.  Our focus is making the routine play an we have tried to do that most of the time.  Our kids have really bought into that and we have moments here and there.  The key is for us to be consistent and we have been doing that lately," he said.

          The Bucks (6-5,2-2) return to North Central Conference play on Tuesday at home against first place Galion (10-2,4-0) in New Washington.  Jensen hopes they can continue to play with a little confidence.  "We hope we can continue to play well.  We have a tough, tough schedule coming up here.  We have Galion coming up twice this week.  They are 10-2 and are a very good team.  We have Crestline at the end of the week," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday night, "Then we have Calvert for a doubleheader, so we have five more games this week and then we have seven games next week, including Crestline at the beginning of the week and then Upper twice and Northmor and Seneca East thrown in there and South Central next weekend.  We have a lot of game coming up and we will find out where we are at."

 

Published 4/22/14

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Crawford Tops Buckeye in Pitcher's Duel

 

          Buckeye Central made six errors on Monday and it cost them in a (4-2) loss to Colonel Crawford in North Central Conference.

          The teams had to play in tough conditions, which included some rain, but Buckeye coach Chad Jensen says they decided to play because the Buckeye field was playable and if they didn't play Monday who knows when they would have been able to.  "It definitely wasn't the best conditions, but we got the rain early (Monday) and we went out and checked our field and it was playable.  We knew there was a possibility of snow (Monday) night and it would be cold on (Tuesday) and who knows if the fields would be playable on Wednesday and then you are moving it to Thursday and if you can't play then you are bumping it even more," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday night. "We knew it wasn't the best and we dodged the rain.  The games was supposed to be at Crawford and we moved it to Buckeye.  With our field being all grass a lot of times we can play those kinds of games."

          Austin Lutz struck our 11 Crawford hitters in six innings and frankly Jensen says the pitchers did the job.  "We got six strong innings from Austin Lutz.  All four runs that Crawford scored were unearned.  We had some physical errors and mental errors.  We didn't play real well, but our kids will get better and they understand what we have to do to get better.  I as a coach have to be better.  We all have to be better.  We will have a good practice on (Tuesday) and be ready to go on Wednesday," he said.

          Buckeye (4-5,2-1) scored two runs in the first inning Monday, but only got four hits and didn't score again.  Jensen says they can't seem to get on a roll offensively.  "We struggle to string hits together.  We make a lot of contact.  (Monday) we only struck out five times.  We put the ball in play, but it seems like we hit it right at people.  We can never seem to string two, three, four hits together and that's been our problem.  Hopefully it will come.  We are making good contact and we have had better at bats most of the time.  We just have to ride it out and hopefully we can be better," said Jensen.

          Colonel Crawford (4-6,1-2) will host Buckeye in the rematch in North Robinson on Wednesday, weather permitting.

 

Published 4/15/14

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Buckeye Beats Rival

 

          Starting pitcher Austin Lutz allowed just two hits and struck out 10 as the Buckeye Central Bucks downed rival Wynford (2-1) in a North Central Conference game in New Washington.

          Coach Chad Jensen says Lutz was outstanding and was a real bulldog for them.  "Boy did we get a great pitching performance (Wednesday) night from Austin Lutz.  He really mixed it really well against a very solid Wynford team, a very well coached Wynford team.  It was really great and he threw tons of strikes and really did a great job for us and really kept us is in the game.  We got a couple of runs early and were able to put it away," he said.

          Just like major league pitchers high school hurlers get in trouble when they have trouble with their control.  On Wednesday, Jensen says Lutz was able to stay ahead in the count.  "That was a key (Wednesday) that Austin got ahead.  The first thing I ask after the game when we talked to our kids, I said what did Austin do well tonight?  And all of our pitchers said he got ahead.  That was the bottom line," he told Swankonsports.com after the win on Wednesday, "There were a lot of first pitch strikes.  That is something we have tried to stress all spring with our kids and he did it.  He kept Wynford off balance and that is a team that can hit the ball a little bit and he really did a great job of keeping them off balance."

          Although they only got six hits on against Wynford's Alec Miller, the Bucks were able to score twice in the bottom of the first.  Jensen says their hitting is starting to come around.  "We did better against Plymouth in a doubleheader on Saturday.  We did better (Wednesday).  Their pitcher Alec Miller was fantastic too.  We are hitting the ball much better.  It seems like we are hitting it right at people right now.  We are making better contact and having better at bats.  The first couple of games I didn't feel like we were having good at bats, like we didn't have a plan at the plate, some of us.  Recently I thought we have been a lot better understanding situational hitting and putting the bat on the ball.  It is a work in progress with our kids," said Jensen.

          Buckeye (2-3,1-0) travels to Wynford (1-2,0-1) on Thursday for the re-match in "NCC" play.  Jensen says in this league you are going to have to stay focused.  "In a league as tough as ours when you have Upper and Galion and Crawford and Wynford and Bucyrus.  Coming out with the "W's" is the bottom line in our league.  Doing that against a quality Wynford team was good for us, but it was one game and we have to come back (Thursday) and play at Wynford and the slate is clean.  Our kids know that and their kids know that.  We have to enjoy the win (Wednesday), but we have to come back (Thursday) against a quality opponent,' said Jensen.

 

Published 4/10/14

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Buckeye Central Needs to Relax

 

          Buckeye Central has struggled at the plate in the first week of the high school baseball season, but their coach is convinced they are going to settle in and become a better team.

          On Monday, Seneca East beat the Bucks (1-0) and then Wednesday night New Riegel shutout Buckeye Central (10-0), both in non-conference play.

          Coach Chad Jensen says they know what they have to do to get better.  "We have been able to get outside, so that is one important thing.  We haven't been able to get outside much in the preseason.  We have been able to get our first couple of games in.  We struggled a little bit at the plate, but that is something we will continue to work on.  We faced a couple of really good pitchers, so we really have to get better.  We pitched pretty well, we just need to continue to improve.  Once the weather warms up some we hope we can get outside more and continue to get better," said Jensen.

          In facing some outstanding pitching this week, Jensen says they just could never get into the right kind of rhythm at the plate.  "In the first game we faced one of the better division four pitchers in the state in Mason McWilliams.  He's outstanding and we had trouble against him.  Then (Wednesday) night we faced a lefty that also gave us some problems." he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "He kept it down and changed speeds really well.  We just had trouble getting into a rhythm.  There are just lots of factors involved in what we are doing.  Those things are all correctable and we have hard working kids and we will get all of those things corrected."

          Jensen says maybe his kids have been too aggressive at the plate.  He says some of the kids have just been trying too hard.  "Our kids have been really excited about playing.  They really want to get out and do well.  We have a lot of kids that are just pressing and trying to do too much.  They are trying to hit eight-run home runs with one swing and that's impossible.  We need to take shorter swings and put that bat on the ball. We just have kids that are trying to do too much and we will get that corrected here in the next few days and hopefully get better and improve so we can be better on Saturday and get ready for our first league game against Wynford on Monday," said Jensen.

          Buckeye Central is scheduled to play at Plymouth in a non-conference doubleheader on Saturday.  Jensen hopes that Mother Nature will allow them to get on the field.  "We will practice (Thursday) and we are not scheduled to play on (Friday), so we will practice again on (Friday).  We do want to play against Plymouth, and we talked to their coaches, and we are going to do everything we can to get the field ready and be ready to play on Saturday.  I think that is what it is for us.  We just need to consistently start playing these games and getting consistent at bats and I think that has been a little bit of a problem for us.  That is what those games are for to get us ready for the league.  We'll get better.  We have good kids that will work hard and we will get better," said Jensen.

         Buckeye plays rival Wynford in North Central Conference games on Monday and Wednesday.

 

Published 4/04/14

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Buckeye Central has Some Potential

 

          Buckeye Central has been a consistent baseball power among smaller schools in North Central Ohio, they were down a little bit last year, but this spring looks promising.

          Coach Chad Jensen says they are returning a lot of kids that have played varsity baseball, which is a lot different than it was a last year.  "We have a lot of experience returning.  We have 11 letter winners, we only have three seniors though.  So, we have experience, but it is somewhat young.  We have a lot of sophomores, but a lot kids that played last year.  The difference between last year and this year is last year we were all new and it was a complete rebuild.  This year the kids definitely have a better understanding of varsity baseball it is just a matter of finding the right combination to be successful," said Jensen.

          As far as pitching is concerned, Jensen says they will have some depth with kids that may not be overpowering, but can get hitters out.  "Our pitching we return everybody but one form last year.  We have five pitchers that return with varsity experience, so we fell like we have some arms that we can throw out there and kids that can throw strikes.  We don't have anybody overpowering, but we have kids that can change speeds and throw strikes and I think that is very important to us," he said.

          On the other hand, Jensen says the hitting is a little more concerning and its his job to put the right combination players in the lineup that can put some runs on the board.  "Our biggest concern has to be just consistent hitting.  I think we will be able to throw strikes.  I think we will be able to play solid defense.  I think we need to be able to put some solid lineup combinations on the field that we help us hit the baseball," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "That was one of our problems last year consistently scoring runs.  We definitely want to improve on that.  The up side to that is we have 14 or 15 kids that we feel comfortable with at the varsity level.  We probably aren't going to carry that many, so we have some good competition."

          Buckeye Central begins the season on Saturday by hosting Tiffin Calvert in a doubleheader.  Their final "NCC" schedule begins with a game against Wynford on April 7.

 

Published 3/25/14

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Buckeye Ready for a Physical Battle

 

          Buckeye Central ahs advanced to the regional tournament in division four for the first time since 2007 and will play Wayne Trace in the regional semis on Tuesday night at the Stroh Center on the campus of Bowling Green State University.

          They last time Buckeye was in the regional they lost to Latham Western (53-51) in a tough one at the Columbus Fairgrounds Coliseum.

          They advanced this year when they beat Sandusky St. Mary's (67-60) on Friday night at Willard High School in the district final.  Cade Kaple had 18 points and seven rebounds and Austin Wurm, the Bucks leading scorer, had 13 despite sitting for more than eight minutes in the first half in fourb trouble.

          Coach Phil Loy says their play late in the third quarter was critical in their win over the Panthers.  "The end of the third quarter was critical because at one point there they went up five.  They had outscored us by 10 at one time.  We were up five and the next thing you know they are up five.  We were able to cut it down to two going into the fourth quarter and I thought was huge because it very easily could have gone the other way," he told Swankonsports.com, "  If it did I think they would have spread us out and we would have been in trouble.  To our kid's credit they fought back and got some key stops and made some points in transition.  I really thought that gave us momentum in the fourth quarter and we turned up the pressure.  We got some one and dones, got some steals, and just got some good stuff in transition."

          Coaches in the North Central Conference and around the area have talked about Buckeye's defense all year and Loy thinks that really paid dividends for them in the district final.  "Especially against an opponent like Sandusky St. Mary's you have to have a great defensive team and I think we do.  These kids have bought into what we have wanted from them all year long.  They really just get up and guard.  I give a lot of that credit to Scott Heydinger, the smallest guy on the floor, was guarding probably one of the best players in our district and held him to six points.  He just really harassed him.  I thought our defense switching it up a little bit gave them some problems and I thought in the second half we really rebounded better," said Loy.

          Kaple, a senior point forward, was a second team all district selection, the Bucks second leading scorer, and led the "NCC" in assists this year.  Loy says he is great leader for them and that is just as important.  "Everybody is a leader in a different way.  Cade (Kaple) isn't a really vocal guy, but kids look up to him.  He is probably one of the best leaders i Have had in 10 years of coaching.  everybody just knows when he is on the floor I think we have a good chance at winning the basketball game because of how good he is and how good of a leader he is," he said.

          Wayne Trace beat Defiance Ayersville (53-25) in their district final on Friday night at Van Wert High School.  Loy says they are a physical team.  "They are a physical team with decent size, but they like a physical like game.  They look to be a very good defensive team.  They are a team that is going to switch up zone defenses and try to trap you in the full court, half court and quarter court.  This will be a tough match-up.  I think it is one though that we match up well with them and I think it is one that if we continue to play well and play good defense like we have I think we will be there at the end," said Loy.

          With some bigger teams in their league, Galion and Upper Sandusky most notably, Loy thinks that has prepared them well for what they might see against Wayne Trace.  "Playing those teams and the way those games turned out, two games each, so four games there.  I thought they had some good size inside with athletic kids and teams that like to play physical and I think that prepared us for games like Tuesday night," he said

 

Published 3/10/14

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Bucks Pound St. Paul in Districts

 

          Buckeye Central outscored Norwalk St. Paul 6-0 to open the game and 7-0 in the first three minutes of the second half and went on to pound the Flyers (46-21) in the division four district semi-finals at Willard High School on Tuesday night.

          The Bucks (22-2) will play Sandusky St. Mary's (19-6) in the district final at Willard on Friday night.  The Panthers beat Plymouth (22-3) by the score of (64-52) in Tuesday's nightcap.

          Buckeye coach Phil Loy is a coach that thinks the beginning of the game is critical.  "That's what we talked about we wanted to get off to a quick start and the start of the second half I thought was good.  Sam Robertson did a good job early on of getting us some rebounds and got us off to a quick 6-0 lead, which was nice," he said.

          Leading (24-17) aft halftime, the Bucks scored the first seven points of the second half and led (31-17) before the Flyers called time out with 4:59 to play in the third quarter.

          Norwalk St. Paul shot just 18% from the field (7-38) and had difficulty getting good looks all night.  "That's what we talked about all week.  We can't always control what we do offensively as far as shots going in, but I though defensively we played very solid and I am very happy about that.  I told the kids we didn't shoot it very well from the field or free throw line, but hey when you win by 25 points in a district semi-final game we will be happy with that and move on.  I thought defensively we did a very solid job," said Loy.

          There weren't many second shots for the Flyers either as Buckeye Central won the battle of the boards 44-25 and Loy thought competing on the glass was key.  "With their size I thought that was key that we box out and out rebound them.  They are physical and I told the kids they are going to let you play at this time of year and expect it to be even more physical on Friday night, so we just have to make sure we secure the basketball and do a better job boxing out, but hey we still won the rebounding battle," he said.

          Austin Wurm had 17 points to lead the Bucks in scoring and Sam Roberston had 12 points.  Loy thought that Roberston, one of the Bucks post players, did a good job converting his chances.  "He did early on.  He has some good length.  If people want to key on Austin Wurm or Cade Kaple, that's what most teams do.  I think with our dribble penetration and Sam has good hands and finishes well and I thought he had a good game (Tuesday) night," he said.

          St. Mary's turned a four point (32-28) halftime deficit into an eight point lead heading into the fourth period by outscoring Plymouth (21-9) in the third quarter.

          Denarius Harris had 20 points for the Panthers and Lucas Will added 15.

          Plymouth has counted on its outside shooting this year, but they were as cold as the air outside Willard High School Tuesday night as they made just 30 percent of the field goals (21-71) on the night.

          Tyson Beebe, Plymouth's leading scorer on the year, was held to only eight points and fouled out midway through the fourth quarter.  Tyrell Edmiston led the Big Red with 21 points and 16 rebounds.

 

Published 3/05/14

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Buckeye Preparing for St. Paul

 

          Buckeye Central has advanced to the division four district semi finals at Willard for the third straight year and will play Norwalk St. Paul on Tuesday night.

          Plymouth (22-2) and Sandusky St. Mary's (18-6) compete in the other semi-final.

          Last Friday, Buckeye Central (21-2), #1 in the final Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coach's poll in the small school division, bested a pretty good Mansfield St. Peter's team (70-58) to advance.  They had beaten the Spartans (67-47) in December, but coach Phil Loy says the team they played last week was much better.  "I thought we played pretty solid.  Mansfield St. Pete's was much improved.  When we played them the first time they were just trying to adjust to not having Cole Philips and playing a style that they had played for most of the season.  If you look that game David Hall is much improved and played a very solid game.  I think Richard Shaw improved as the season went on, so did Adam Blunk, actually all of them.  When you look at their scores with some of their wins and even some of their losses they hung tuff with some of the bigger schools," said Loy.

          Grant Loy, the son of the coach, had 16 points and eight rebounds as the Bucks gradually pulled away leading by six at the half and double figures after three.  Coach Loy says they still had too many turnovers.  "We felt going in that we would have to play a solid game and I really felt we did.  We had five guys in double figures.  We out rebounded them.  I felt Grant Loy probably played the best game of her career.  He is starting to get more and more comfortable since his injury.  They only downside of things was we still had too many turnovers.  That is something we talked about before the game.  I still thought those were a little bit high," he said.

          St. Paul (10-13) beat South Central (50-49) and Fremont St. Joe (52-43) in their sectional games last week at Norwalk High School.  Loy says they have some athletic players and calls them dangerous.  "I got a chance to see them on Wednesday and sent somebody up to watch them after our game on Friday.  They are playing pretty good right now.  The thing about a Norwalk St. Paul team is they are going to be organized.  Coach Smith, I have the most respect for him.  He is going to have them ready to play.  They can be a dangerous team.  I think they are an athletic team.  They have two bigs inside and I think they do a very nice job.  It should be a good ball game," said Loy.

          Flyers coach Mike Smith devotes hours to breaking down film and Loy says they will know everything they do on offense and defense.  "He will have a lot of game film on us.  He spends a lot of time getting his team prepared.  They will know everything we do.  They may know more about us than we do.  That's why they have success and I am expecting the same thing Tuesday night," he said.

          Buckeye is the outright North Central Conference champion and they would be considered the favorite to win on Tuesday.  Loy say they need to get the lead early.  "I think it is going to be a great environment.  I think it is going to be a packed house.  I think it is key for us to get a quick start.  We talk about this every game.  We never want the opponent to feel like they are in the game," he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, "This is a game I think we will have to play well, but if we get off to a slow start it could be a long night.  I think a little bit of that was happening on Friday.  I thought we played well and got off to a good start, but St. Pete's came out and shot the ball very well in the first quarter.  That is something we do not want Norwalk St. Paul to do on Tuesday night."

 

Published 3/03/14

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Buckeye Plays Improved St. Peter's

 

          Northern Central Conference champion Buckeye Central takes on Mid-Buckeye Conference runner-up Mansfield St. Peter's in the division four sectional final at Ontario High School on Friday night.

          Buckeye is state ranked in division four and earlier this week was crowned Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coach's poll champion in the small school division.  Swankonsports.com covers more than 90 schools in North Central Ohio.

          Coach Phil Loy says they are at least starting to peak.  "I think we are playing pretty good right now.  We have been consistent throughout the season.  Hopefully that can continue for a while here yet," he said.

          St. Peter's (13-10) have won five of their last seven. including a (71-51) win over Crestline, in Tuesday's semi-finals.  Buckeye beat then (67-47) in early December, buy Loy thinks they are a lot better now.  "I think they are much improved from when we last saw them.  I think we are a better team, but I think they are as well.  I think both teams take good care of the basketball," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "They are a dangerous teams with their size inside and their athleticism, the quickness with the guards.  They have some guys that can shoot it on the perimeter.  It is a game where we are going to have to go in and make sure we are focused and play well."

          The Spartans have been running the floor at lot better looking for scores in recent weeks.  Loy thinks that fits their personnel.  "I think that's the best thing for them.  Early in the year when they were big I think they were going to play a little more in the half court style offense, but once Phillips got hurt they adapted to more of a transition type game.  Now, they are pretty comfortable doing that.  That is their strength and I think they are pretty good at it," said Loy.

          Buckeye Central (20-2) has been able to win this year against teams playing a variety of styles.  Loy says if they are going to make it to the districts for the third straight year they need to limit they turnovers and do a great job on the boards.  "First of all we have to take care of the basketball.  Last time we played them I felt we had too many turnovers, so that is a big focus this time.  We have to do a good job keeping them off the offensive boards.  I think they do a good job attacking the boards.  We have to do a good job of rebounding and win that battle and keep our turnovers down," he said.

 

Published 2/28/14

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Buckeye Central Meets New Riegel in Districts

 

          After a last second win over rival Colonel Crawford on Saturday night, Buckeye Central will play Midland Athletic League runner-up New Riegel in the girls' division four district semi finals on Thursday night at Shelby High School.

          The Buckettes won (39-38) in dramatic fashion.

          The Lady Eagles made a two free throws with little time left to take a 38-36 lead, but Buckeye Central coach Greg Moore says they were able to set up a play to get the ball to Brooke Karl and she bagged a three pointer.  "They let us throw the ball down and I called a time out with what I thought was about 1.8 seconds to play, but they only gave us .9 tenths.  We brought Tyler Kimble out as a sort of a decoy and told her if it is there we will throw it to you and shoot it.  We put Brooke Karl on the backside wing and told her if they aren't face guarding you catch and shoot," he told Swankonsports.com during a live Saturday night broadcast, "If they are face guarding you then we are going to throw a backdoor lob and we will go to overtime.  They didn't face guard her and she catches it and shoots at the buzzer and hits a three, so we come away very, very fortunate.  When we came in for a shoot around (Saturday) afternoon, she hit 14 straight threes."

          Moore is in his first year at Buckeye after a successful stay at Bucyrus.  He says he is just happy to bring some success back to the traditional power.  "You hate to see anybody lose in that kind of game.  It was just a fierce rival game.  It's what high school sports in about.  I am just happy for the community of New Washington and our kids, they have really bought in to what I am selling,"

          Buckeye (11-11) will play New Riegel (20-2), #2 in the final Swankonsports.com girls' basketball coach's poll in the small school division, on Thursday night.  Moore says the Lady Blue Jackets have an outstanding team again this season.  "We are going to face a very, very good New Riegel team that is state ranked.  Steve Lucius, as good a coach he is, he is a better person.  He probably has 600 wins.  He is just phenomenal.  We are going to have our hands full, but I am just happy for the community that we get to go up to Shelby and represent Buckeye Central," he said.

          Lucius is famous, or infamous, depending on your viewpoint for the pressure he brings to the other team.  Moore says they will have to handle that without a bunch of turnovers.  "They are going to diamond press us and drop into a 1-2-2 zone.  we have seen that 1-2-2 all year, but we are going to have to do a great job against their pressure.  Their community is just like ours, they love sports," he said.

 

Published 2/24/14

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Defense the key in "NCC" Title Game

 

          Buckeye Central holds a one game lead on Colonel Crawford in the North Central Conference standings heading into their huge game on Tuesday night in New Washington.

          It will likely determine if there will be an outright title for the Bucks or the two will share the crown in the final year of the conference.

          Buckeye Central (18-2,11-1), #2 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coach's poll in the small school division, put itself in this position with a (79-57) rump over Riverdale on Saturday night.  Coach Phil Loy says it wasn't so easy in the first half.  "We couldn't look ahead we had to take care of a very good Riverdale team first and foremost.  They came out and shot the ball very well.  We had a tough time guarding them in the first half.  I though we were a step behind maybe.  It was tied at 35.  We could never get away from them.  We led by five and they would come back and maybe take a one-point lead.  We talked at halftime about how our defense needed to step up.  I thought we just needed to communicate more on the defensive end and we did that.  We ended up outscoring them and at one point we up by 26 in the second half.  It was a very good second half and I was really happy with how the guys played," said Loy. 

          Colonel Crawford (16-4,10-2), #4 in the poll, is the only team to have beaten Buckeye in a conference game this year.  The downed them (60-48) the Friday before Christmas.  Loy they must play better defense and limit the Eagles to one shot.  "I think we are a better defensive team now.  We were pretty good back then, but that night we didn't defend very well.  I also think we didn't take care of the rebounds as well as we needed too.  I thought they got too many offensive rebounds," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "We got ourselves into foul trouble.  We weren't 100 percent healthy.  I give Colonel Crawford a lot of credit they came out and they executed their offense very well.  They just shot the ball extremely well.  They have five really good players that they put on the floor and they are very capable of scoring.  I believe that (Tuesday) night's game to be very good for both."

          Crawford has a number of guys that can make outside jumpers led by senior guard, and leading scorer, Conner McCreary.  Loy says they can't let them have open shots.  "They have had some nights when they just haven't shot the ball as well as they are capable of and they have nights when they just shoot it extremely well.  Hopefully with the way we have been playing defense all year we can create some problems for them.  Their shots have to be tough shots.  We have to make things tough for them.  We can't give them open looks.  The first time we played them I thought they were allowed to step in and shoot some open jumpers and good shooters are going to make them.  I think with the way we are playing right now hopefully we play that way (Tuesday) night.  We just make executing their offense very tough for them," said Loy.

          A big, if not sell out, crowd is expect at Buckeye Central for what for an intents and purposes is the "NCC" title game and Loy says this is the kind of game you are eager to play in.  "That is what I was telling the kids on (Sunday).  We had them come in and shoot around and go over some stuff.  This is why we play the game.  This is going to be a great atmosphere.  We think this could be the biggest crowd this school has ever seen in this gym.  This gym is about five, six years old.  I would like to think we would sell this out (Tuesday) night.  This is going to be an exciting game and one the kids are going to remember for a long time," he said.

 

Published 2/18/14

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Buckeye Central Needs Wins to Keep Lead

 

          With two weeks left in the season, and four games to play for each, Buckeye Central continues to lead Colonel Crawford by a game in the North Central Conference standings.

          They play each other in New Washington next Tuesday.

          Last Saturday, the Bucks (16-2,9-1), #2 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coach's poll in the small school division, blasted Crestline (69-35) to maintain their lead.  Coach Phil Loy says once again they were able to get off to a good start.  "I thought we played well Saturday.  I thought it was huge for us to go out and play with intensity.  I was hoping that was a game that we could get up early and maybe rest some of our guys and let some of our other guys play some more minutes and get to play together more because I think that is going to be huge down the road in tough games if we got some more experience and it will definitely help us come tournament time as well," said Loy.

          You never know when a role player will need to play some important minutes and Loy feels like he wants to get those kids in the game as much as he can.  "You want them to be comfortable out there and you want them to be part of the mix and really understand what's going on and like I said just get comfortable, so whenever you can get them minutes.  I am not about beating somebody up I'd rather when you know you are going to win to mix guys in and get them some experience," he said.

          Upper Sandusky (10-9,7-4) will be at Buckeye on Friday night.  The Bucks beat them the first time (69-58) at Upper and Loy says they have some kids that know how to score.   "When you watch them on film and even the last time we played them they can do some things.  When we were at Upper earlier this year, we built a good lead, they do play really hard on defense, they have really good athletes, but they just have guys that can step up and score," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "They have Wes Vent, who doesn't play like he is a freshman.  He looks to be very comfortable out there.  They have really good guard play.  They have those 6'2" athletic kids that can rebound the ball and get after it.  I expect this to be a really tough game for us."

          Riverdale (6-9,3-7) will be the guest on Saturday night.  Loy says no mater who they are playing they have to win because he does not expect Colonel Crawford to lose before next Tuesday, they play Wynford and Upper Sandusky this weekend.  Loy says they have to take care of business.  "We have to make sure we focus on every game.  Every night is very important as we head down the stretch here.  We only have four games left and we can't afford to slip up because I don't expect Colonel Crawford to anytime before we play them next Tuesday.  We have to make sure we play with a lot of intensity and be focused and I think we will be okay," he said.

 

Published 2/14/14

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Buckeye Faces Big Week

 

          It was just their second loss of the season and Buckeye Central coach Phil Loy says Carey was just better than his guys on Saturday night. 

          Buckeye lost to Carey, now #4 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coach's poll in the small school division, (79-66) in a non-conference contest.

          Loy says Carey just played some unbelievable basketball when they took (32-12) lead after the first quarter.  He says they just made everything they looked at despite some pretty good defense.   "I don't think I have ever experienced anything like it in the first quarter.  It was like we backed ourselves into a buzz saw.  They were very, very good and we knew they were good going in.  They have three very good players.  One is the second leading scorer in the "MAL," he is averaging 22 points a game, Jared Wentling, and they have two guards in Brian Powers and Zach Boes that are averaging 16.5 and 12 points a game.  They are just so athletic and they rebound so well.  They can soot the ball and they can do about anything.  They have been kind of up and down a little bit this year, but at their place they have been playing very, very well," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "They came out in the first quarter, mainly the Powers kid, and just shot lights out.  It's not like we didn't have a hand in his face, it's not like we left him open.  He would come down in transition and just shoot over the top of us.  He could take us off the dribble.  He kind of exposed us in that first quarter.  He had 16 points in the first quarter.  We got down pretty good in that first quarter, but to our kids credit they kept fighting back and over the last three quarter we outscored them by seven.  The kids never quit even though we knew it would be tough to overcome that.  It was fun for the fans, maybe not our fans, but their fans.  They shot 85 percent in that first quarter.  It was just crazy everything they put up went in."

          Buckeye plays host to Mid-Buckeye Conference champion Mansfield Christian (11-4) in a non-conference game on Thursday night.  Loy says the Flames are tough to score on.  "They have always been just very solid defensively.  They really work hard, they get after it, they take away a lot of things that you do well.  They play so well together.  Coach Kurtz team is always well prepared and just very solid defensively," he said.

          The Bucks (14-2,8-1), #2 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coach's poll in the small school division, and in first place in the "NCC" by a game over Colonel Crawford, travels to Crestline (3-13,1-9) for a conference game on Saturday night.  Buckeye won the first game between the two (81-42) in New Washington, but Loy expects a much better game this time.  "I think they play well at home, so for us to travel over there will be a tough match-up for us.  The first time we played them at home I felt they did a lot of things well.  I expect a much tougher game on Saturday.  I know they are coming off a loss to Galion and Galion is really tough match-up as well.  Anytime we are playing a league game it is very important and we will be sure we are prepared for that one.  These next two games, Mansfield Christian and Crestline, are both teams are in our sectional with the draw on Sunday," said Loy.

 

Published 12/04/14

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Buckeye Needs Ball Handing, Rebounding Against Galion

 

          North Central Conference leader Buckeye Central plays one of the hotter teams in North Central Ohio, the Galion Tigers, on Friday night, but they may have gotten a little break.

          Reports from Galion say that starter, and Wisconsin football recruit Darian Watkins, is out for the remainder of the season with a leg injury suffered in practice this week.

         On Monday night the Bucks throttled the Mohawk Warriors (84-42) in a non-conference game.  Coach Phil Loy says they were happy to get on the floor and take advantage of an opportunity.  "It was our second Monday in a row playing, a little bit out of the norm, but I thought our kids were ready.  We didn't know if we were even going to have that game.  We came in at one o'clock for a shoot around or practice for this weekend's games, but we heard right at one o'clock that the game was on, so we focused for Mohawk, and I thought the kids did a really nice job," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "Mohawk is down this year, they have some really good shooters, but we got out and jumped on them hard.  I think we were up 25-9 in the first quarter and the kids played really well."

          The Bucks have lost only once this year and a real key has been they have been able to get quick starts, although Loy says that didn't happen when they beat the Tigers (65-56) in December.  "That is huge and we want to make sure we are focused and ready to go and we do get off to a quick start, especially games like this weekend when we are on the road we can't afford to be down, so we have to make sure this weekend we get off to a quick start.  The last time we played Galion it was a tight game in the first half.  We were actually down in the first half and down in the first quarter.  That is something we need to focus on for this weekend," he said.

          Buckeye (13-1,7-1), #1 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coach's poll in the small school division, visits Galion (6-7,4-3) on Friday night.  The Tigers beat Colonel Crawford (60-51) in their last league game.  Loy says they are athletic.  "They are playing pretty well right now and playing with a lot of confidence.  I thought they played pretty well against us the first time.  They are just so athletic and they crash the boards really hard.  They have good three point shooters, but they like to push the ball in transition, so this will be a tough match-up for us," said Loy.

          To maintain that first place standing by beating the Tigers, Loy says they can't have a bunch of turnovers and they need to rebound well.  "We need to take care of the basketball for one and we need to keep them off the boards, number two.  If we can do that and we can execute our offense and share the ball I think we will be fine.  We were in foul trouble the last time we played them.  We were down a couple of guys to start with and then as they game went on we got in early foul trouble.  So, we had to really get into our bench early and often and we have to make sure we don't do that," he said.

 

Published 1/30/14

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Buckeye With Big Opportunity

 

          Right now, Buckeye Central holds a one game lead over Colonel Crawford in the North Central Conference standings and they play the Eagles on Saturday night in New Washington.

          The Bucks (12-1,7-1), #1 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coach's poll in the small school division, won two more "NCC" games over the last week to extend their winning steak to seven.

          They got out to a good start on Saturday night and belted rival Wynford (74-49) and coach Phil Loy thinks they did a solid job of adjusting to the Royals.  "Wynford is a team that likes to come out and play different defenses on you and mix things up.  They like to press you.  They will go some triangle and two, some zone defenses, and some man in the half court. They just like to keep you off balance, but I thought our kids did a really nice job attacking it.  We gut up early on them.  I thought it was a very nice win," he said.

          Then on Monday in a game that was rescheduled from last Friday the Bucks handled Bucyrus (55-40) and Loy says the had a nice fourth quarter.  "We had the kids come in on Sunday and practice a little bit.  The nice thing was there was no school on Monday, so we were able to come in get more prepared for Bucyrus.  That was a good solid win too I thought.  Bucyrus has been playing everybody really tough.  they got it down to three in the third quarter, but our kids did a nice job of sticking to the game plan and we came out and made some shots in the fourth quarter and outscored them, I think, by 10 in the fourth quarter," said Loy.

          What about playing on Monday?  Almost no games are originally schedule for that day an Loy says that can make things challenging.  "We are in the second half of the season and we are kind of running short on times when you can reschedule games.  This Saturday's game doesn't look too promising weather wise and we have a make up game again this coming Monday with Mohawk.  So, we are having to adjust and play at different times.  It hasn't been real normal here in the month of January, but our kids have done a good job of staying focused and you never know what is ahead of us here," he said.

          Colonel Crawford (10-3,5-2) is the only team to beat Buckeye Central this year (60-48) in North Robinson.  This time Loy says they have to play better defense.  "The first time we played them they played very well.  That was the one game defensively that I thought we didn't do as good as job as we have all year.  It seemed like we were over thinking things too much on how we wanted to defend certain situations.  I thought we gave up too much dribble penetration.  They shot the ball very well against us.  They are a very well prepared basketball team," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "They have five guys on the floor that can hurt you in different ways and I felt we really didn't defend the way we needed to. We also go into some early foul trouble and we had to sit some kids in the second quarter and they were able to build a lead.  Hopefully we can correct of few of those things."

          A positive for this week is that the Bucks have had most of the week to get ready for Crawford.  Loy says that is a good thing.  "I like that.  We played Monday and when you look back it's not so bad.  I mean it's tough playing in a Monday, but we got a win and you can consider that a very hard practice and now we have four days to prepare for Colonel Crawford.  It's better than having one or two days to prepare for them because there is a lot to prepare for with a team like Colonel Crawford that runs a lot of different things and are very good at coming off screens, so it's nice to have four days to prepare for them," said Loy.

          A win on Saturday night gives Buckeye Central a two game lead and Loy says that would allow them to breath just a little easier.  "This would be huge for us.  We would like to have a two game lead, but there is still a lot of basketball to play yet and a lot can happen.  We have a lot of tough games in front of us to finish out the league.  It would definitely be a nice one to get," he said.

 

Published 1/24/14

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“NCC” Co-Leaders Face Two Games

 

Click here to listen to an interview with coach Phil Loy

 

          Buckeye Central shares the lead in the North Central Conference with Colonel Crawford heading into a big double weekend of conference games Friday and Saturday.

          The Bucks (10-1,5-1), #2 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coach’s poll in the small school division, kept their share of the conference lead with a (71-56) win over Riverdale last Saturday. 

          Coach Phil Loy says a quick start, which has been common for the Bucks this year, was a big key against Riverdale.  “I thought our kids came out and really played well right from the start.  It can be a tough place to play.  It is a long bus ride over to Riverdale and you don’t know sometimes how the kids are going to react.  I thought we did a good job of getting out of the gate early.  In previous games that Riverdale has had this season I know when Colonel Crawford played them they got off to a quick start and Riverdale played even with them and that’s kind of what they did with us.  They are very athletic.  They like to run and they shoot a lot of threes, so we had to make sure we limited them to one shot.  They were off a little in the first quarter and we were able to get a lead on them and hang on,” said Loy.

          Bucyrus (8-4,4-2), a game behind the co-leaders, is at Buckeye this week.  Loy says the Redmen aren’t very big, but they play very good defense.  “They are a very solid team.  They don’t have anybody that stands out as a big scorer for them, but they have a lot of guys that can contribute to their offense and defensively they do a pretty good job.  I would compare them a lot to a Riverdale.  That was just a two point game in overtime the last time they played,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “They don’t have that one guy that is going to score a lot of points, but they have multiple guys that can score.  They don’t have a whole lot of size, but they have good guard play.  The way we prepared for Riverdale is very similar to how we have prepared for Bucyrus.”

          With a size advantage, Loy hopes they can get the ball down on the block, especially if his two top scores face some sort of junk defense.  “That was something that we looked at against Riverdale.  They didn’t have a whole lot of size inside.  Bucyrus doesn’t have a whole lot of size inside, but I do think they have strong kids inside even though they don’t have the size.  Our post players have been playing very well, finishing very well.  We have some decent size there, so that is something we would like to take advantage of if we can, especially if teams are going to try and do anything special with Cade Kaple and Austin Wurm.  We need the other guys to step up and that is one area that we really look at,” said Loy.

          Saturday night, the Bucks host Wynford (4-7,2-4) in another “NCC” game.  The Bucks won the first meeting (65-49) in December.  Loy says the Royals will force them to adapt well.  “They like to get the ball up the floor and on the defensive end they like to switch things up.  They like to do some combination like defenses and zone defenses and really just try to keep you off balance.  That is something we have to be ready for.  They have good athletes.  They have been struggling a little bit lately, but anytime it is a Buckeye Central-Wynford game we expect to get their best and we expect it to be a pretty good game,” he said.

 

Published 1/17/14

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Buckeye Can’t be Lazy

 

          Buckeye Central has worked its way back into a share of the North Central Conference lead after wins Crestline and Upper Sandusky last weekend.

          Now they must keep their collective noses to the grindstone as they travel to Riverdale on Saturday night.

          After belting Crestline (81-42) on Friday night behind 30 from Austin Wurm, the Bucks went to Upper Sandusky and knocked off the Rams (68-59), Upper had the league lead heading into last weekend.

          Coach Phil Loy knows it was a good win against the Rams because he knew they were going to battle them.  “That was a very good win I was a little nervous going over there.  They are so athletic.  They have good size.  They have quick guards.  They have guys that can shoot the three.  They just play so hard.  I thought it was key for us to get off to a good start.  We did have a first quarter lead and ended building a 14-point lead at the half.  I thought at halftime that this is a team that always seems to make big comebacks,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “They play really good in the second half.  We jumped out to a 10-0 lead and starting in the third quarter we are up to a 24-point lead and sure enough they became more aggressive, more physical and they started knocking down shots, they started feeding off their defense, and they started running in transition.  They cut it to nine in the third quarter.  It was one of those games where you never felt comfortable into that final minute and we were still up nine of ten at that point.”

          Buckeye (9-1,4-1), #3 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball poll in the small school division, plays at Riverdale (4-5,1-4) on Saturday and Loy says the Falcons tend to play well at home and they have some shooters.  “They beat Galion at Riverdale.  They have always played very well at Riverdale.  It is a game that we have to make sure we are ready.  They are dangerous because they are very guard oriented and they shoot a lot of threes.  They like to get up and down in transition.  We have to make sure we get out on shooters.  If we close out too hard they are really good at getting back door cuts and beat you that way as well.  The thing about them is they don’t have a whole lot of depth.  They play six guys.  Occasionally they play the seventh guy and they don’t have a whole lot of size inside.  The guys that do start I think are pretty good and pretty athletic,” he said.

          With the longer than normal holiday break, Loy is concerned that his kids will not be sharp come Saturday night.  “We have to make sure we are focused when we go over there.  Believe it or not we are still on break here.  We were supposed to start school Monday and we haven’t back to school yet.  We thought we were going to start back (Thursday) and Seneca County was on a level two, and part our school district covers Seneca County, so we had to close school.  So, we haven’t been to school since December 20.  I worry about that because you are lying around a lot, but so far we have been handling it pretty good.  If we don’t have school (Friday) that is going to be another concern.  I wonder how these kids are going to be.  Are they going to be feeling lazy as we take that long bus ride over to Riverdale?  We have to make sure we are ready to go right form the start,” said Loy.

 

Published 1/10/14

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Buckeye Central Faces Two Big “NCC” Games

 

          Buckeye Central is a game behind Upper Sandusky in the North Central Conference race and they play the Rams on Saturday, but they must play an improved Crestline team on Friday night.

          Last week, the Bucks pulled away in the second half to beat Galion (65-56) as Cade Kaple scored 25 points and Austin Wurm added 20.  Coach Phil Loy says they also got some big play off their bench.  “I was really happy with the way we played, especially in the second half.  The first half was a really tight game, back and forth, and then the second half I really felt we stepped things up defensively, especially my bench.  We didn’t have much of a bench, we were short, we were down two guys that are normally part of our rotation, occasional starters and we didn’t have them,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Or bench was a little thin, but I thought the guys that came in off the bench did a really nice job.  It was just a good all around effort.  Galion is a very athletic team, strong, with good shooters, so I really thought that was a good win for us.”

          Loy says the Bucks have good chemistry and they find ways to win games no matter what the situation.  “That is what I like about this team.  It is a good hard working team and they play well together and it just seems like we stick together when the game is tough and on the line.  We play well defensively and things will work out,” he said.

          Crestline (3-4,1-2) will be in New Washington to face the Bucks (7-1,2-1), #2 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coach’s poll in the small school division, in a conference game.  Crestline is coming off a (79-77) win over Riverdale and Loy says they can do some things.  “I told my kids these guys can not be taken lightly.  I like that team.  I think they play hard.  They are very active.  I think they have three kids that can score for them from the perimeter.  They like to get to the hole.  They are very active rebounders.  They are putting up some numbers.  They are scoring in the upper 70’s.  They like to get up and down and can make threes.  They have played some people tough.  Their record may not be the greatest, but they have lost some really close games to some pretty good competition, so we just have to make sure we go in there with the right mindset,” said Loy.

          It’s a double weekend in the “NCC” and Saturday night Bucks are in Upper Sandusky (6-3,3-0) to play the first place Rams.  Loy says Upper has good guard play.  “I like this team as well, especially going on the road it will make it tougher.  They have had some interesting scorers are well.  They have a good mix.  They have three good guards that can score inside and out.  They are very active defensively, they rebound well, they like to get and down the floor, so that is going to be a tough game for us,” he said.

 

Published 1/03/14

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Buckeye Looking to Bounce Back Against Galion

 

          Buckeye Central lost their first meeting with Colonel Crawford last week, but the Bucks are a solid team that remains a big factor in the North Central Conference race.

          Both teams were unbeaten when they squared off last week in North Robinson.  The Eagles won (60-48) and Buckeye Central coach Phil Loy Crawford got some big efforts from some unexpected sources.  “We knew going in that this was going to be one our toughest games of the year, especially on the road.  Crawford is playing very well.  It was a great atmosphere.  It was a full house.  We didn’t play our best basketball.  I thought we played good defensively.  We struggled to make some shots offensively.  Crawford in the other hand I thought shot the ball very well.  They made seven more threes than we did and those add up pretty quick.  We thought going in there were three people that we wanted to make sure didn’t go off on us,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “McCreary, who is a very good shooter, a very good player, Todd Entenmann, and Nate Klingenberger.  We wanted to make sure we held them in check somewhat.  McCreary still got 20, but Entenmann and Klingenberger got eight and four, so that was good, but they had other guys that stepped up and scored.  Logan Sager scored 17 and shot the ball extremely well and Dylan Gulley, the point guard, who doesn’t normally score a whole lot, ended up having 11, so those 28 points from those two really hurt us.  I guess we have to keep that in mind for the next time we play them.  They are very good team and have a lot of shooters, execute very well, and played very well on Friday night.”

          Buckeye Central (6-1,1-1), #3 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coach’s poll in a small school division, got right back on track with a (75-39) win over Seneca East on Saturday.  Loy says it was good to get back on the floor quickly and play well.  “That is the nice things about basketball you usually don’t have to wait a full week and you can get right back and try to get some things corrected.  It was a good game for us.  It was on the road.  It was our fifth straight road game.  I thought it was important for us to get off to a quick start.  Even though we might not have jumped on them as much as I wanted to in the first half I thought it was a pretty solid game.  I thought we had some good contributions from various people.  Cade Kaple played an outstaying game.  He dished out nine assists and really penetrated their zone. Sam Robertson played a very solid game in the post for us and Austin Wurm shot the ball very well.  It was good to get back on track,” said Loy.

          Galion (2-4,1-1) will visit New Washington for an “NCC” game on Friday night.  Loy says the Tigers have as an athletic line-up as they will face all year.  “They are very athletic.  It’s a team that scares you.  They might not have dominating post play, but they have good guys inside, who are athletic and can rebound.  They have quick guards.  They have guys that can shoot deep threes.  They like to get up and down the floor.  They like to press you a little bit.  They are a very dangerous type team.  That is a team that had Crawford beat and took them right down to the wire and kind of lost it there in the fourth quarter.  It is a team where we have to make sure we control the tempo and not let them beat us in transition and not let them beat us on the boards.  We have to make shots tough for them.  It will be nice that this will be our first home game in a long time.  It could be a good ball game,’ said Loy.

 

Published 12/24/13

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Buckeye Central Facing Big Week

 

          Buckeye Central, #2 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coach’s poll in the small school division, has proven to be one the best small school basketball teams in North Central Ohio and we find out this week if they are the best when they play at Old Fort on Tuesday and at Colonel Crawford on Friday, both teams are unbeaten.

          Old Fort (4-0) is led by guard Hunter Perry, who averages more than 40 points a game, and scored 55 against North Baltimore earlier this month.  Buckeye coach Phil Loy says they must make Perry take tough shots.  “He is going to be a very tough match-up.  He will probably take 80 percent of their shots and we have to guard him as soon as he crosses half court.  He is pretty comfortable if he can step right into a shot.  We have to do a good job of running guys at him and maybe doubling him up a little bit to try and get the ball out of his hands.  We have to make him shoot off balance shots.  If we give him a little space he is going to knock down a three that could be 26 feet,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “It’s pretty crazy to see, but he feels comfortable taking that shot and he makes, I would say, 50 percent of his threes from that deep range, which is pretty good.  If you get up on him I think he is really good at getting to the basket and maybe getting all of the way to hole or maybe shooting a 15 footer.  He is dangerous because he sees the floor real well and if you help too much on him he does a good job of finding open guys for a shot.  We will have our hands full.  We just have to make sure he doesn’t go off for 40 points against us and try to make some of the other guys beat us.”

          Colonel Crawford (5-0), #1 in our small school poll, has a big time score in Conner McCreary, but Loy says they are more than that.  “I think there is going to be a great crowd and a great atmosphere at Colonel Crawford the first time around.  They are very good and I would like to think that we are up there with them, but it should be a fun match-up.  They have a player similar to Hunter Perry in Conner McCreary.  I think Conner does a better job of coming off screens and getting his shots, but both of those guys if they get going can put up some big numbers.  The thing with Colonel Crawford is they have other guys that can score.  They have a good mix of guys that can score inside, guys that can dribble penetrate and get to the hole, they have guys that shoot threes and handle the ball very well.  We have our hands full with them too and it would be a nice one to get, especially over there,” said Loy.

          Loy says it would be great to steal this one on the road.  “You want to get that jump and have that lead in the league.  You don’t want to get behind and force yourself to where you definitely have to win the second one.  There are other teams in our league that can knock people off.  I think Galion is a very good, athletic team and that definitely would be a tough match-up and there are other teams that can knock teams off as well.  It would be a nice one to get early on,” he said.

 

Published 12/17/13

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Buckeye Looking to New Challenges

 

          So far Buckeye Central is three for three and they have looked very good in winning those three games.

          This week they play their most traditional rival in the Wynford Royals in their first North Central Conference game and then Saturday play the high scoring Old Fort Stockaders.

          Last Saturday, Austin Wurm scored 22 points and the Bucks took a (17-8) lead after the first quarter and went on to beat Mansfield St. Peter’s (67-47) in non-conference play. 

          Coach Phil Loy thought that first quarter was crucial.  “I think it was key for us to get off to a quick start because if you let a team like St. Pete’s hang around and it’s still a tight game in the third and fourth quarter, especially playing over there it’s tough to pull out a win.  Our kids did a good job of getting out in transition and making shots early.  I though we had some good stops.  They have some tough players.  They have three players that can be tough match ups.  They are without the (Cole) Phillips kid probably all season or at least most of the season.  They want to get up and down the floor a lot now.  They get our passing lanes and look for steals.  They have some good athletes and they can make some shots.  I was worried going into that game, I thought the key was getting a quick start, and we did,” said Loy.

          Buckeye (3-0) will be at Wynford (2-2) for the conference opener for both on Friday.  Loy says coach Steve Mohr has the Royals playing hard and well.  “I got a chance to see them play last Thursday and they are definitely an athletic team.  They have some good looking athletes there and they do want to get up and down the floor.  They like to run in transition.  Defensively they mix up some man and some zone and some combination type defenses and try to keep you off balance.  They have good guards and they had good inside play the night I saw them play,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “The Glowaski kid had 22 points.  They just work very hard.  Steve has them working hard and running the floor.  It’s another situation where we are going on the road and we need to make sure we get off to a quick start.  Anytime we play Wynford it really doesn’t matter, it’s going to be a good battle.”

          The Bucks are considered one of the favorites for the league title and Loy feels a win Friday would be a big boost.  “You want to get off to a good start if you want to win the league.  You want to get off to a quick start and not have to fight from behind.  This is a game that I think if we play extremely well we should be okay, but we definitely want to make sure we do that,” he said.

          Saturday night shapes up to be a very interesting non-conference game as the Bucks visit Old Fort (3-0) to meet the Stockaders.  Hunter Perry scored 55 points in Old Fort’s (89-76) win over North Baltimore last Friday.  Loy says they can’t let him explode.  “I hope he doesn’t do it on us.  He is a very good player, but to score 55 is just unheard of any more.  They did lose some key players from last year, the post player Dalton Perry, and they had some good perimeter shooters.  They had a nice mix of kids last year.  We hung with them for a while and ended up losing by 14 last year.  We didn’t have one our better players in Cade Kaple when we played them.  This year I think is going to be a tough match-up as well.  We have to make sure we defend Hunter Perry.  He will definitely be a guy we pay a lot of attention to.  I would like to hold him to 20.  I don’t know how good the rest of their personnel is to put up numbers, but we can not let him score 30, 40, 50 points,” said Loy.

 

Published 12/10/13

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Buckeye Central off to fast Start

 

          Buckeye Central put together two of the better efforts of any school in North Central Ohio last week and now they want to build on that Saturday afternoon.

          Last week, Buckeye played an excellent first game of the season in beating Plymouth (63-49) and followed that up with a solid game against Midland Athletic League power New Riegel (57-25) on Saturday night.

          Coach Phil Loy thought they did a lot of good things in both games.  “I just thought we had a really good weekend.  I thought the kids played extremely hard and I thought we played well together.  We got off to quick starts in both games.  I thought defensively we just put a lot of emphasis on pressuring them and it seemed to work out good,” he said.

          A good start yes, but now Loy says it is about maintaining that level of play as the season continues.  “We have to keep pushing.  We got two big wins, but that is over with.  We have to make sure we are playing the same way we have been and getting better and I think we will be okay,” he said.

          Coaches tend to be perfectionist and Loy says he thought in the second half of the New Riegel game they lost their focus a little bit and started turning the ball over too much.  “We are a little young in certain spots.  We are getting some good minutes out of kids that played JV last year for us.  Saturday night I thought we had too many turnovers.  It was a game that was up and down quite a bit.  We were pressuring and trying to get up and down.  We forced New Riegel into 32 turnovers, but I was concerned we had too many ourselves.  As they game went on and we got ourselves a big lead we lost a little bit of focus and got careless with the ball.  We need to cut our turnovers in half.  That’s a big thing we have to make sure we work on,” said Loy.

          Buckeye’s road game this Saturday at Mansfield St. Peter’s has been moved to one in the afternoon as to not conflict with Ohio State’s Big Ten Championship football game against Michigan State in Indianapolis. 

          St. Peter’s (1-1) beat South Central (63-61) in overtime last week, but that win came at a heavy cost as they likely have lost center Cole Phillips for the season.  Loy says without him the Spartans are still a very athletic team.  “I understand that Phillips is hurt and that is really too bad for his senior year and I’m sot sure how long he’s out, but that affects their play inside, but they are very athletic and have some quick guards,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “I really like the Rall kid.  I really like the Blunk kid.  Rall is a good solid all around player.  Some of their other kids are just athletic kids.  David Hall, maybe he might start now, if he does, he is just a very athletic kid with long arms.  They are going to play hard and try and force you into some turnovers.  This will be our first road game of the year and playing at one ‘clock is going to be a little bit different.  They are definitely not a team we are going to overlook.”

 

Published 12/6/13

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Buckeye Central With Challenging Start

 

          Buckeye Central looks like they could be one of the better boys’ basketball teams in the North Central Conference and maybe in the division four district.

          They will find out right away what kind of team they have this season as host both Plymouth and New Riegel in non-conference play in New Washington this weekend.

          Coach Phil Loy says the preseason has drug on long enough and his kids are ready to play a game for real.  “I think the kids are ready to play somebody new rather than beat up on each other here in practice.  We have had five really good scrimmages.  I was really happy with the way we progressed throughout the preseason.  I am really interested in how we do on Friday night.  As of right now I think we are ready,” he said.

          Coach Loy’s son Grant is still experiencing some back problems.  The coach says they hope to have him back soon, but they have done fine without him so far.  “We still have one that is slowly trying to get back into things.  My son Grant has been nursing some back injuries that he got right at the beginning of football season.  He had to sit out the whole football season with some stress fractures in his lower back.  He will be back soon we hope.  He is starting to do more and more each day, so we will see how that goes.  We definitely need him, but we didn’t have him all preseason and the kids did great without him.  I know he is getting anxious to play and hopefully that is soon,” said Loy.

          Plymouth and Buckeye Central have developed quite a good rivalry.  Buckeye won the non-conference game (51-39) last season, but the Big Red won the tournament game (43-37) last March.  Loy says Plymouth has a well balanced team.  “They are pretty balanced.  They have the main part of their team back from last year and they had a really great year.  That was the first team we played last year and the last team we played.  They beat us in the district semi-finals over at Willard,” he told Swankonsports.com, “I know we are looking forward to playing them again.  They will definitely be a tough match-up.  They have one of the best big men in the area.  Very athletic, very skilled and their guard play is really good.  They have good three point shooters, so this will be a good opening test for us.”

          New Riegel has a new coach in former JV coach David Losey.  Loy says they will have a lot of new players too, but that never seems to matter with the Blue Jackets.  “We always play New Riegel early and I always give my AD a hard time about that because they don’t have football and it always seems like they are in mid-season form on week one.  It’s like boy you really put the pressure on us early on.  Every year they are good.  They graduated eight seniors last year and they have a new coach, but I would expect nothing different.  They have great JV teams and they always have guys that can step right in and fill those spots.  They always seem to be a team that works very hard.  We haven’t beaten them in several years.  We’ll see how Saturday night goes,” said Loy.

 

Published 11/29/13

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Buckeye Central Stepping up

 

          Buckeye Central chased Colonel Crawford in the silver division of the North Central Conference last year before finishing in second, a game back, and they look like they have the kind of team that can be successful this year too.

          There have been some depth concerns this year for the Bucks, especially with an injury to the coach’s son Grant Loy, but Phil Loy says his players have done a lot of good things during the preseason.  “I have been pretty happy so far with the preseason.  The kids are working really hard.  We return four lettermen.  We graduated two seniors last year.  We had a couple of kids that deiced not to go out, some role players for us, a couple of letter winners.  Everybody that I have right now has been playing really hard.  They have good attitudes and I like what I see so far,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We are doing some good things.  Defensively I am really happy.  One of my returning lettermen that had been hurt all through football season, I not sure when I going to get him back, it’s my son, who has stress fractures in his lower back.  He is still waiting to get cleared to play.  Hopefully that is soon.  I was little worried about our depth because of that, but I have been really happy with how the other guys have stepped up.”

          Right now, coach Loy’s biggest concern is making sure they are consistent at both ends of the floor.  “We just need to keep getting better at what we are doing.  We do a lot of good things and then there are times when we have lapses.  We need to be more consistent, just with the little things, defensively, and just execution offensively.  We are asking some of the JV kids to step up.  It’s a different level, just getting them used to playing with some of the older guys.  I think if these guys continue to grow I think we will be okay,” he said.

          Although he thinks Colonel Crawford is the favorite in the “NCC” this year, remember no divisions and no Ontario, but Loy thinks the Bucks can challenge too.  “I think right now with the attitude and the work ethic that we have.  The kids are playing hard and I think we can be right there.  Crawford is going to be the favorite in the league right now with what they have back and the success they have had over the last several years.  I like Galion with their athleticism and what they have coming back.  I think there are a lot of other teams that are going to be right there in the mix, Upper Sandusky, Bucyrus, Wynford, traditionally they are going to be good and competing, but I think we can be right there,” said Loy.

 

Published 11/22/13

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Buckeye Starting to Find it

 

          Buckeye Central has won its last three games and four of its last six as the young Bucks are starting to understand what it takes to become a good team.

          Monday night, they downed Lucas (6-1) in a silver division game in the North Central Conference.  Coach Chad Jensen says they are beginning to do the things you need to do to win.  “We are doing the little things much better.  We are playing better defense and have better situational hitting and having better at bats and throwing strikes more consistently.  We played well (Monday) night against Lucas,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday after the win, “We got good pitching and good hitting.  We played well over the weekend against South Central.  Last week we beat Crestline.  We got beat by Galion and Ontario, but those two are outstanding teams.  We are getting better.  The key is we have to continue to do that and that is really, really important because we have a big week coming up.”

          Monday night’s game was played at Buckeye’s old field in downtown New Washington rather than the high school due to poor field conditions at the new field.

          Buckeye Central is not a team that is going to pound an opponent with offensive firepower, so Jensen says they have to be very sound in the fundamentals of the game.  “You have to do the little things well all of the time.  We really stress fundamentals and making the routine play and doing that all of the time.  Our kids get tired of constantly doing tons of reps, but we really believe that.  You get lots of reps in practice and pre game and that will help in the game.  We really have to continue to get better.  We are not where we need to be yet, but we are getting there slowly and surely,” said Jensen.

          The Bucks play Crestline on Tuesday, Lucas again on Wednesday and Upper Sandusky on Friday in conference games, plus talented Seneca East, #2 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coach’s poll in the small school division, in non-conference play on Thursday.

          Temperatures are expected to warm into the 80’s this week and Jensen hopes that helps to warm up the bats a little bit.  “It has been a cold wet spring so far and we have gotten most of our game in, but it hasn’t been real warm.  When it gets warmer kids are looser and move better.  We are hoping that helps us.  We are still learning how to play varsity baseball.  We are still at that point where we are still a little bit inconsistent with the bats.  As long as we have good, smart approaches at the plate I think we will continue to improve,” said Jensen.  

 

 
 

Buckeye Central Making Progress

 

          Buckeye Central seems to be a team that is moving forward as their younger kids gain needed experience.

          The Bucks have two wins in their first eight games, but their coach believes they are making strides in the right direction. 

          Wynford beat the Bucks (5-4) in a non-conference game between “NCC” members on Monday.  Coach Chad Jensen says they just couldn’t hold on.  “We lost to a very good Wynford team on Monday.  They are an outstanding team and have some excellent veteran players.  We were ahead 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh.  We were ahead the whole game and Wynford chipped away and scored a couple on us in the bottom of the seventh to win it.  Our kids stepped up and continue to get better,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “They made plays in the ballgame that kept us in that game.  We got excellent pitching from our senior Bryce Christie.  We had some clutch hits early in the ballgame.  Our kids continue to get better.  It’s unfortunate that we lost.  We can definitely see the positives.”

          Sometimes lessons learned through experience can be tough.  Jensen thinks Monday was a good example.  Wynford just knew what they had to do to win.  “I was talking to my assistant coach after we lost and there have been many times when we had veteran teams and Wynford would be a lot like we are now, young and inexperienced.  They would be ahead of us and we would steal it from them in the seventh being a veteran team.  This time the tables were turned.  John Amicone does a great job over there.  We respect Wynford a lot.  It was a situation where they made plays with some of their veteran guys.  We can learn from it,” said Jensen.

          On Thursday, weather permitting, and it looks like it probably won’t, the Bucks play host to Northmor (4-3) in a non-conference game.  Jensen says he looks forward to game against the Golden Knights.  “We have a lot of respect for Buck Workman and Northmor and that is why we play them.  He has done a great job down there.  They are consistent year after year.  He gets the most out of his kids.  He is one of the best coaches in the area.  I really enjoy coaching against Buck.  We always have really good ballgames.  We love to play unfortunately it doesn’t look very good with the weather, but hopefully if we don’t play we can reschedule them,” he said.

 

 
 

Buckeye Central Focused on Improvement

 

          Buckeye Central is the defending silver division champion in the North Central Conference.  When it comes to the defense of that title don’t count them out just yet.

          Buckeye lost to New Riegel (14-7) in non-conference play on Wednesday.

          The Bucks (1-3) feature a much younger line up than they have over the last several years.  Coach Chad Jensen is confident they will be much better in May than they are right now.  “There is no doubt that we are learning on the fly.  I’ll tell you we got better (Wednesday) night.  The score may not show that.  We got shut out by Seneca East on Monday.  We got a good day of practice on (Tuesday).  We go over to New Riegel and they are a veteran team with 11 letter winners,” he told Swankonsports.com Wednesday night. “You know, we were up for a while and hung with them.  We hit the ball as well as we did all year.  We communicated better on defense. We got bunts down.  We did make some mistakes, no doubt about it.  We are coming along.  We are getting better.  It’s baby steps, but we continue to improve.  That’s all we can ask.”

          Jensen says there are a number of aspects of the game in which they need to show improvement if they are going to start winning games more consistently.  “I know this seems real general, but it’s everything.  How to hold runners in the middle infield.  How to communicate cuts and to protect with two strikes.  How to advance a runner and getting good leads from second base and throwing strikes, swinging at good pitches and understanding fastball counts.  I could go on and on, but there are a lot of things that quite frankly we have taken for granted with the veteran teams we have had the last couple of years and now we are kind of re-teaching that stuff.  That’s okay because they are getting it.  We will take some lumps, but hopefully we will continue to improve,” said Jensen.

          With a young team like this Jensen says they are searching for what would be their best lineup by going with a lot of different combinations.  “We have played four games and we have switched lineups every game and I generally don’t do that.  In the past I have started a lineup and kind of stuck with it for a while.  We have had different kids start in different positions every game.  That will be the same (Thursday).  We are just trying to see.  We have four freshmen on our roster and four sophomores and only five juniors and seniors.  There was one point in the game (Wednesday) when we had a freshman in left, a sophomore in center and a freshman in right.  We are definitely taking some lumps.  We are going to be okay.  Our kids work hard and they always have.  They listen and they are coachable,” said Jensen.

 

 
 

Buckeye Looking Better

 

          Buckeye Central was a very experienced baseball team the last two years and that resulted in a lot of success.  This year they are going to be counting on a lot of younger players in a spring that is going to be a process.

          Coach Chad Jensen has been impressed with the process he has seen in a spring that has been trying due to the cold and wet weather.  “We are really improving a lot.  We have a great group of kids that are really coachable.  They want to get better.  We improve every day.  There is no doubt about it,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “It is really just our lack of field time that is the biggest thing we are going to have.  We are going to have to grow on the fly.  It’s going to be on the job training for us.  We are definitely looking forward to getting the season going.”

          Because the rain and snow it has been almost impossible to get out on the field.  Jensen says there first game situation is likely to be a real game.  “We have been on the field three times and we have tried to get as much as we can.  It’s going to be learning on the fly.  Our pregame infield is going to be a practice for us.  That is how we are going to approach it.  Every game is going to be about getting better and just seeing where we are,” he said.

          The Bucks have a lack of experience in almost every position, but Jensen says that is no more apparent then on the pitcher’s mound.  “We don’t have a lot of experience, but we do have kids that can throw strikes.  We have kids that have worked hard at it and have really gotten better as the spring has progressed.  I think we have some arms that we can throw out there.  I wouldn’t say we have an ace, but I think we have a handful of kids that can come our there and throw well on a given day.  With our lack of experience we are going to see who emerges as the one and the two.  Right now, we don’t really know, we only return 12 innings from last year out of 199,” said Jensen.

          Buckeye is scheduled to play Tiffin Calvert in a doubleheader on Saturday.  Jensen, of course, isn’t sure, but he thinks they have a chance to play.  He thinks the design of their new field helps.  “I’d say it is pretty difficult to tell.  It really depends on whether we get any more precipitation.  I think if it doesn’t snow anymore.  If it doesn’t rain anymore I think our field could be playable.  The biggest thing that concerns me is it’s going to get cold at night.  It freezes and it thralls, which causes that moister.  We are optimistic.  We are planning on playing on Saturday.  I would say we have as good a shot as any with our field being all grass with dirt pits,” said Jensen. 

 

 
 

Buckeye Central Building With Young Kids

 

          Buckeye Central was a baseball team loaded with experience last year, but this year they will be counting on a number of underclassmen, including freshmen.

          Coach Chad Jensen says they are a team that is going to have to learn what varsity baseball is all about and quickly.  “We lost eight seniors from last year’s 23-win “NCC” silver division championship team.  We have a lot of holes to fill.  We have four returning letter winners.  We have three seniors and two juniors, that’s five total.  We have 20 freshmen and sophomores in the program.  We are definitely going to be young.  We think we have some talent, but it’s at a younger level. Hopefully we can mature quickly to complete,” he said.

          In high school sports players are still learning and their improvement is more noticeable than at any other level.  Jensen says a lot of his players are facing a pretty sizeable learning curve.  “We are going to ask our kids to step up and play some roles that maybe they haven’t played before.  We have kids that have to come form JV to varsity and some in cases from junior high to varsity.  We are definitely asking a lot,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “It’s a marathon not a sprint.  We know that we are going to take some lumps, but the kids are working their butts off.  They are coachable and they are listening.  They expect to win and they expect success, so that’s really good.  Our biggest problem now is just getting on the field with the weather.  Hopefully we can get some scrimmages in soon.”

          If the Bucks are to claim another silver division title their main competition will come from Colonel Crawford.  Jensen says Riverdale is going to be pretty good too.  “In our “NCC” silver I don’t think there is any question that Colonel Crawford has a leg up on everybody.  They have some good kids coming back.  They have been competitive and I definitely think they are the one to look for.  Riverdale has a couple of pitchers.  Sometimes they get over looked because they are over in Mt. Blanchard.  They have a couple of pitchers that are pretty good.  They played us very tough last year and we were pretty good.  I think they will definitely be a team to look at.  In the black I just think there is no question it’s Ontario.  I think it is their’s to lose honestly,” said Jensen.

 

 
 

Buckeye Must Handle the Press

 

          Buckeye Central has been one of the more consistent basketball teams in North Central Ohio this year and they hope to be able to continue that as they play in the division four district semis on Tuesday night.

          They meet Plymouth (13-11) in the division four districts at Willard High School.

          Buckeye (15-8) beat Plymouth (51-39) back in the first game of the year on November 30.  Bucks coach Phil Loy doesn’t know how much of a factor that will be, but he does look for a close contest.  “It was the very first game we played at their place.  I think both teams are still pretty similar.  Personnel wise we are pretty much the same.  We were a young team back then and I would like to think that we are better team than we were then.  Plymouth on the other hand is still a young team as well.  They are a team that kind of went through a funk there in the middle of the season and lost some games and now I think they are playing very good basketball.  (Tuesday) night should be a very good game,” said Loy.

          Tyrell Edmiston is a first team all district player for Plymouth.  He is 6’4” and plays everywhere, especially on defense.  Loy says he is an exceptional passer.  “You have to pay so much attention to Tyrell Edmiston.  He is so good.  He is so athletic.  I think he is one of the better big men in the lower divisions in this area because he is so athletic and he finishes so well.  He has great hands and is such a great passer,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “If you look to double down on him to take away anything around the basket he is such a good passer that is how Beebe gets a lot of his scoring by cutting to the basket and Tyrell does a good job finding him.  Beebe is very dangerous.  He is their leading scorer.  He can shoot it from the outside.  They look to post him up some.  Those two guys especially are guys we have to key on.”

          Plymouth generates a lot of their offense from their press defense and Loy says they must handle that press without a lot of turnovers or it’s going to be difficult to beat Plymouth.  “We told the kids this week that you have to be able to handle the press.  You have to be patient.  Tyrell does such a good job on the front of that press because he has such long arms.  He does a very good job of trapping you without fouling.  They get a lot of tips out of that.  A lot of their scoring comes off that press.  The first time we played them we did not handle that press well, especially late in the game.  In the fourth quarter when we were up 10 or 11 and we let that press get to us a little bit and before we knew it it was a three point game and they had the ball.  Once we settled down we kind of opened that up again.  That is something we have to make sure we do a good job of taking care of the basketball and being patient against that press,” said Loy.

          What makes Buckeye tough to guard is they have shown pretty good balance this year on offense, which means Plymouth must guard the whole floor.  “You don’t want teams to be able to key on just a couple of players.  I thought last Friday night was a very good balance scoring out of our team.  We had five guys in double figures anywhere between 10 and 15 points.  That makes us tougher to guard and that much better of a team,” he said.       

 

 
 

Buckeye Central Needs Playmakers

 

          Buckeye has been one of the more consistently performing teams in North Central Ohio this year and it led them to a runner up finish in the silver division of the North Central Conference.

          They did lose their final regular season game to Wynford (55-47) and that loss allowed Colonel Crawford to claim an outright division title.

          The Bucks (14-8) face Mansfield St. Peter’s (16-7) in the division four sectional final on Friday night at Ontario High School.

          One thing that coach Phil Loy wants is a better start to the game than they have had in the last three.  “It was an interesting week of practice.  It’s hard to say.  I think our kids will be ready.  We did not come out in the first quarter and play very well against Wynford and that’s a concern of mine because that has happened three games in a row,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Upper Sandusky they jumped on us early and we go to Lucas and don’t play exceptionally well either and Wynford jumps on us hard to start the game.  That is something we can not afford to do against a team like Mansfield St. Pete’s during a tournament game.  I am a little concerned there.  We have to make sure we are mentally ready to play for Friday night.”

          It’s not like they need to lead by 10 after the first quarter of the game, but Loy says they need to find a rhythm in the first eight minutes of the game.  “We have got to do things to get guys in the flow of the game early.  We have to make sure that defensively we are very solid and offensively we take good shots, high percentage shots.  If we do that I think we will be okay,” he said.

          Buckeye beat St. Peter’s (55-53) with a couple of late free throws on December 8.  Loy says the Spartans have a well balanced team.  “I like their guard play.  I like their inside game.  They like to get up and down the floor.  They have got some guys that can shoot the ball.  A number of kids that can shoot it from the perimeter.  They play well together.  He has got them playing well.  They seem like they are really into it and playing well together.  It’s going to be a tough match-up,” he said.

          Joe Rall is a second team all district performer for St. Peter’s and Loy agrees that he is their best player because he is physical and can do a lot of things.  “He is the biggest concern that we have.  The other ones are good players and they can get hot like Bacon and Howell.  Rall is the engine of that team.  He can do so many things for them.  He runs the point a little bit.  He is a decent outside shooter.  He plays so hard.  He is strong inside.  He reminds me a lot of Cade Kaple on our team.  He is a guy that can do multiple things.  He is a tough match-up,” said Loy.

          Neither team has that much size except for St. Peter’s reserve 6’8” Cole Phillips and Loy thinks rebounding will be a big factor.  “We have to make plays.  We have to be fundamentally sound.  We have to do all of the little things.  We have to make sure that we keep them off of the boards.  I think they are a good offensive rebounding team.  Down the stretch we have to be able to make free throws,” he said.     

 

 
 

Title within Buckeye’s Grasp

 

          IF betting were allowed on high school basketball Colonel Crawford would likely have been established as something like a 9-5 favorite to win the silver division of the North Central Conference.

          They still might, but they also might share it with Buckeye Central or have to settle for second place.

          Right now, the two Crawford County schools share first place with 10-2 conference records.  Crawford plays Upper Sandusky and Buckeye hosts arch rival Wynford.

          Last week, the Bucks (14-7,10-2) beat Upper (45-34) in a game that was not typical of most Upper Sandusky games over the last couple of seasons.  Buckeye coach Phil Loy says they were able to rally and win.  “Over at least the last two and half quarters we played very well.  We got down 20-7 early in the second quarter and we finished out the second quarter outscoring them 8-2 to cut it back to seven points at halftime.  The kids did a great job of coming back in the third quarter.  We went on a 7-0 run and tied the game up,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “The game was kind of back and forth them until early in the fourth quarter and we kind of pulled away a little to where it was six or eight.  Upper Sandusky wants to have that early lead and they want to control the tempo.  With us taking the lead there in fourth quarter it forced them to play a little more hurry up and that worked to our advantage.”

          They kept their share with a win over winless Lucas (68-47) on Saturday night.  Loy says they did a lot of the little things right.  “Cade Kaple did not play.  He had banged his head Friday night diving for a loose ball against Upper Sandusky and it was just a precautionary thing.  It is nothing major, but we thought it wasn’t worth it.  We went down there and Lucas was pretty fired up.  I thought they played very well and played hard.  The thing that kept them in was they were 9-17 from behind the arc.  They shot it extremely well.  We were sill able to come away with a 20-point win.  It was a good win to win on the road.  Now we turn our focus to this last game,” said Loy.

          This has not been one of the better years in the storied history of the Wynford program.  However, Loy knows the Royals will be fired up to play them.  “This is a big rivalry game for us, probably the biggest, Buckeye-Wynford.  We expect to get their best shot on Friday.  They are coming off a tough run here.  They have played some pretty tough teams and maybe not playing their best, but we expect them to be playing their best against us this Friday,” he said.

          Wynford (8-13,5-7) has shown the ability to score this year and Loy is counting on what has been a pretty solid and consistent Buckeye Central defense.  “This is a game that we really have to focus on being sound defensively.  They have two guards in Powers and Fortner that can put up some big numbers.  They have a big kid inside in the Carter kid that is leading the league in rebounding and is in double digits scoring.  They have a couple of other kids that can do some scoring for them as well.  They are capable of putting up big numbers.  They have in the past.  I think our kids will definitely be aware of that.  We have to make sure we do a good job shutting them down, just like we have been for the most part all year.  We have done a really good job defensively on the good teams.  That has allowed us to stay in games and win games,” said Loy.    

 

 
 

Buckeye Central Must Keep Winning

 

          If Buckeye Central wants to claim part of the silver division title in the North Central Conference they need to beat Upper Sandusky and Lucas this weekend and likely Wynford next.

          They share the lead with Colonel Crawford who ends the season with Wynford and Upper Sandusky.  Both of the schools have two losses in conference play.

          Last Saturday, Buckeye beat Bucyrus (38-20) in a low scoring game to keep their share of the lead.  Coach Phil Loy says it was won on the defensive end of the floor.  “It was definitely a low scoring game, but I thought defensively we played very well.  We didn’t necessarily shoot the ball very well ourselves, but I thought we did a very good job at the other end of the floor.  It turned out for us.  It was a nice win.  We had a good crowd.  Now, we know we have to get better this week and I feel we had a good week of practice,” he said.

          Upper Sandusky (11-8,7-3), in second place in the black division, comes to New Washington on Friday night.  Of course, the Rams will make 15 passes in a possession.  Loy says the start of the game will be important for them.  “We have to be very smart (Friday) night with our game.  Every possession is important,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “What we do not want to do is get down and get down early because they are a very patient team, especially when they have the lead.  They really want to control the tempo.  If they have the lead they are really going to slow the game down and they really like that low scoring game.  We have to make sure we value every possession and we are smart and don’t take bad shots and we don’t turn the ball over.”

          The first quarter is so critical against Upper because Loy says that is where it will be determined which team has the tempo and you don’t want that to be Upper.  “We want to make sure we get off to a quick start and then they play our tempo because otherwise it could be long night.  They defend so well because they are a physical type team.  If we are down and struggling to score it is trouble for us,” he said

          The Bucks (12-7,9-2) complete the double weekend at Lucas (0-16,0-10) on Saturday night.  Loy says that is going to be a game that is about them getting better.  “Saturday is another “NCC” game and game that is very important to us, especially if we can get a win on Friday.  We have got to go in there with the right mind set and make sure we become a better basketball team when we leave there and play not to have a sloppy game.  Yeah, we will be confident that we can go in and win that game, but we have to make sure we keep getting better.  I think that is what that game will be all about,” said Loy.

 

 
 

Buckeye Faces Two Important Games

 

          Buckeye Central plays two games this week that will have a bearing on their seed in the division four sectional tournament and one of them they need to maintain their share of the lead in the silver division of the North Central Conference.

          They travel to Mansfield Christian (14-3) on Thursday night, the Flames are in the same sectional.  They host Bucyrus on Saturday night in an “NCC: game.

`        Last week, they downed Riverdale (58-43) in a conference game to maintain a tie with Colonel Crawford for the top spot.  Buckeye coach Phil Loy says they need great focus.  “We have to keep staying focused here and make sure we are doing what we need to do.  We know that Crawford is a very good team and chances are they aren’t going to lose.  They have a couple of tough tests in front of them.  We expect them to find a way to win, at least that is the approach we are taking.  We have to make sure we are taking care of business,” he said.

          Buckeye (10-7,8-2) is a team with a number of first year varsity players and Loy says they have been maturing quickly to the varsity game.  “I like the effort that we are getting, I like the chemistry that we have.  It is kind of a share all attitude here, nobody is in for themselves.  We are playing really together as a team here.  I think that is a big reason why we have been successful here lately.  We are a young team, but we are a team that is growing pretty fast.  The kids are learning just by playing together and I think that is helping us out a lot,” said Loy.

          Late last month, the Flames suffered a knee injury to Ryan Smith and a concussion to Bryce Ernsberger and that has dealt a blow to their season.  Loy says it really affects the rotation of their players.  “It is a typical coach Kurtz type team in that they play extremely hard.  It’s just very unfortunate, he went through the same thing last year in that two of his better players go down with injuries about the same time,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “It really affects them.  Hopefully they will be okay and will have a speedy recovery, but it does hurt their depth when you lose two players of their caliper on a team like that.  They are also a team that just plays extremely hard.”

          However, Loy says Christian still does a number of things well and they will have to ready to play.  “It is always a tough test when you go over to Mansfield Christian.  They still have good athletes.  They still have pretty good basketball players there that we have to be concerned with.  They have a young freshman that is really playing well right now.  I really like their point guard.  He does a nice job of running the show and getting them into their offense.  They have got another kid in Caleb Young that is a very good shooter and a very good athlete.  Even with their injuries they have had a very successful year.  It is definitely not anybody that we can overlook.  It’s a team that we have got to be concerned with.  This is a game that can mean a lot as far as seedings go in our sectional draw,” said Loy.

          Right now, it’s a battle between Buckeye Central, Mansfield Christian as well as Mansfield St. Peter’s for that second through fourth seed. 

          Now, on Saturday Buckeye and Bucyrus are attempting something rather unique.  “I am not sure how this all got started.  I think we are the only ones in the area doing this.  Both JVs, boys and girls, are playing at Bucyrus in the afternoon and then later on in the evening we come back to Buckeye and the varsity girls are playing at six o’clock with the varsity boys following.  We have to make sure our kids stay focused and stay in their same routine.” Said Loy.

          Bucyrus (4-13,2-8) has struggled to get wins this year.  Loy believes they are prepared.  “We have to make sure our kids are ready to play against a dangerous Bucyrus team. I guess the thing to our benefit is we have three games in a row, going back to Riverdale, those teams are very similar.  They don’t have big inside presence, they are very guard oriented, and they like to shoot the three.  It has kind of helped us as far as preparation,” he said.      

 

 
 

Buckeye Understands the Assignment

 

          After losing to Ontario last week, the Buckeye Central Bucks have slipped back into a share of the silver division in the North Central Conference with Colonel Crawford.

          Both are 7-2 in conference games.

          Ontario, the black division leader, beat Buckeye (52-37) last Saturday in conference action.  Bucks coach Phil Loy says the Warriors were just too athletic for them to handle in many cases.  “I thought our kids played extremely hard.  We got off to a decent start then we allowed Ontario to get some buckets in transition and we knew this could happen and we kind of lost focus toward the end of the first quarter and they were able to run off eight points there to finish the quarter.  That lead stayed until the beginning of the fourth quarter and we made a little run and got it back to five, but their length, their size, I think just hurt us,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “They are deep, the play 11 guys, and we were playing only seven.  I think playing on a big floor and both teams wanting to run a little bit it just kind of wore us down.  I was happy overall with the way we played and we knew Ontario is a very good team.  It was a tough loss, but we have to keep going from there.”

          Buckeye (9-7, 7-2) plays at Riverdale (3-10,2-6) in a silver division game on Friday night.  Loy says they need to get right back on the beam.  “Us and Crawford are tied for the lead in the silver division.  We have to get back on track.  We have to get back to winning.  The kids have been playing pretty well and hopefully last week is not a let down.  I also want our kids to know that even though Riverdale is 3-10 they are a very good team.  They are a very dangerous team, especially at Riverdale,” he said.

          The Falcons record may not be very good, but Loy says they have outstanding guard play and that makes them a dangerous team on any night.  “A couple of weeks ago Crawford only beat them by 10.  Galion last week had to have a little bit of luck there down the stretch, some missed free throws by Riverdale, and Galion ends up winning by one in overtime.  The thing with Riverdale is coach Taylor has them playing extremely hard.  They are not a big team.  They are not going to overwhelm you inside, but they have a lot of good guards and they are good shooters.  Because they play so hard, if they get on a little streak and gets some threes we have to make sure we defend very well (Friday) night,” said Loy.

          Riverdale is located in Mt. Blanchard, south of Findlay, and that is fair piece for anyone else in the league, plus Loy says the Falcons always seem to shoot better at home.  “This is an hour drive for us.  It is a long trip, just like going to Lucas.  Riverdale always seems to play very well at home.  Every time through my years if we win at home it is definitely a lot tougher game on the road.  That is a place they play well and shoot the ball well.  We have to make sure we execute and we defend,” he said.

 

 
 

Buckeye Central on Top

 

          I must be honest, I fall into the category of people that are surprised that the Buckeye Central Bucks are first place in the silver division of the North Central Conference.

          Based on returning talent it looked like Colonel Crawford was a big favorite to win, but that is why you play the games.  Last Friday, the Bucks beat Colonel Crawford (49-42) in North Robinson.  Coach Phil Loy says it was a tremendous win for his team.  “Especially going on the road.  Colonel Crawford always has a great atmosphere with a packed house.  Our kids were pretty pumped up.  We went into that game and actually shot it well early on, which allowed us to build a 16-7 lead to start the game and we were able to hang on.  Defensively I thought we played really well in that game.  We rebounded pretty decent, but it was just making shots early.  We shot it really well, especially from two.  I think we were like 80-some percent from two point range in that game,” said Loy.

          When they started to make shots, Loy says that affected the rest of their game in a positive way.  “When you start making shots, we start getting comfortable and feeling good about yourself the energy level picks up at the defensive end and that helped us out a lot.  I think we kind of fed off of even our crowd, especially late.  Down the stretch a concern of mine was we were making free throws early, but down the stretch we were missing front ends of one and ones and keeping them in the game.  There in the last minute we were able to make enough to survive,” he said.

          Buckeye (8-6,6-1) then backed up their win over Crawford by beating Crestline (55-25) on Saturday night.  They play the Bulldogs (3-10,1-5) again this Thursday in Crestline in a game being made up from earlier this season.  Loy says he can’t remember a back to back situation like this in the regular season.  “Our athletic director Jan Bates says he doesn’t think in his time being involved in sports that that has ever happened where we have played them back to back like that home and home.  We won kind of convincingly the first time we played them, but I expect it to be a lot tougher game on Thursday playing at their place,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “It’s a new facility and their kids and fans are going to be pretty pumped up about playing in that gym.  They won their first game in there.  My biggest concern is we won convincingly the first time around.  We didn’t play the greatest and I want to make sure our kids don’t have a let down and overlooking them and to the next game.”

          Buckeye plays black division leader Ontario on Saturday and must play Upper Sandusky down the road too.  Loy says he knows they have to keep winning.  “I think every team that we play we can compete with and it’s going to fun.  We haven’t been in that position in while.  We control our own destiny, but we also know that Colonel Crawford is a very good team and they are going to be breathing down our neck.  I don’t expect them to lose again, so we have to make sure we take care of ourselves.  Anytime you are in the hunt for a league title that last month is very exciting,” said Loy.

 

 
 

Buckeye Getting it Together

 

          Buckeye Central is starting to play some pretty good basketball and they hope they can become a challenge to Colonel Crawford for the silver division title in the “NCC.”

          Last week, they picked up two critical wins at Bucyrus (54-37) last Thursday and (58-48) at Galion on Saturday.  The Bucks have won four of their last five and coach Phil Loy says he is very pleased.  “I am happy with the way we played this past week with a good win over Bucyrus and a very good win at Galion, both of them on the road.  That was a huge win for us.  Our guys are starting to put things together.  It helps when you are healthy.  We get everybody back.  We were battling a little bit of the flu bug there the pervious week,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday night, “Then we got the return Cade Kaple, who was out since game one.  We are starting to jell together and the kids are staring to buy into what we are doing.  We are a young group.  We are kind of learning on the fly here.  I think right now in the middle of the season I couldn’t be any happier in the way we are playing.”

          Loy says they knew defense was going to be a key for them, but they have been able to play some solid offense lately and that has helped even more.  “These guys are really working hard.  It seems like everybody we put on the floor are really just getting after it.  We have stressed since day one that is what is going to keep us in the game.  We didn’t have a whole lot of scoring returning from last year.  We didn’t know how some of these guys were going to step up, so we knew in order for us to be in ball games that we were going to have to limit the scoring of other teams and we doing a pretty good job of that.  On top of that we are staring to get more guys to score for us and that is helping us win,” said Loy.

          Buckeye (6-6,4-1) is at Colonel Crawford (11-2,5-1), #3 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coach’s poll in the small school division, in a big game in the silver division on Friday night.  Loy says it is almost a must win for them.  “We talked after the game Saturday with the kids that they got us the first time around and if we have any hopes of winning the “NCC” silver division we can’t let them get us twice and be down two games to them.  It will be tough to fight back,” he said.

          In their first meeting on December 14 in New Washington the Eagles won (50-43) behind 16 points from their point guard Conner McCreary.  Loy says Crawford has a lot of scorers.  “Crawford just has lots of experience.  They have good shooters and a good inside game.  They have really good balance.  That’s what makes it tough to beat them and plus we go over to their place and there will be a big crowd.  It will be a tough game for us.  I think the way our kids are playing we can stay with them,” said Loy.

 

 
 

Buckeye Needs Wins

 

          Right now Buckeye Central is the closest pursuer to Colonel Crawford in the North Central Conference silver division, but they are already two games back and in need of wins.

          They got one last week when they downed Riverdale (53-41) on Friday night.  Coach Phil Loy says they didn’t handle the ball very well, but they did enough to win.  “I thought our kids played hard.  We were kind of going through the flu bug there over the weekend.  I though Friday night with Riverdale we played pretty well with the exception of we just had too many turnovers.  Our goal is to get the turnovers to 10, 11 and we had 10 turnovers the first quarter.  Fortunately our defense was creating a lot of turnovers with Riverdale to keep it a close game,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We were a little careless and I don’t know if it had anything to do with the holiday break.  We were a little under the weather and the kids didn’t practice much.  We finally got a kid back from knee surgery and that was his first game back and he was a little rusty as well.  Other than that I thought we played well against a pretty good Riverdale team.  They have been playing everybody tough.”

          On Saturday night, the Bucks (4-6,2-1) lost to Seneca East (52-49) in non-conference play.  Loy says this time they reduced their turnovers, but they couldn’t control big Ben Hahler.  “Saturday we went against a much better ball club in Seneca East.  They have a little more balance.  They have one of the better big men in the area in Ben Hahler.  That created some problems for us.  They have some nice guards.  We came out and took care of the basketball.  We only had nine turnovers in that game.  We played pretty well for the most part with the exception that we got out rebounded mainly because of the big kid inside.  On both nights we got to the line a lot, but we were only making about 50 percent of our shots.  In close games against good ball clubs we have to do better than that at the line,” said Loy.

          On Thursday night, the Bucks play at Bucyrus (2-8,1-3) in a conference game.  Loy says despite their record the Redmen are a pretty good team that is improving as is evidenced by their win over Wynford (53-47) last week.  “I think it has given their kids a lot of confidence.  They don’t have the greatest record, but they have been playing a lot of teams tough.  They are streaky.  They are a team similar to Riverdale in that they don’t have a lot of height.  They are very guard oriented.  They are going to shoot a lot of threes.  If they are making them it keeps them in the game.  If they aren’t making them it kind of hurts them.  They seem to attack the boards really hard.  When you shoot a lot of threes you get long rebounds and if you give a team like that second shots and another chance at the basket they can hurt you.  It’s a game where we have to take care of the turnovers.  We have to get to the foul line and make sure we finish and keep them off the boards and I think we will be okay,” says Loy.

          With a game at Galion (2-6,1-3) on Saturday, Loy says these are games they have to win to stay in contention with Colonel Crawford.  “Crawford is finding ways to win the close games.  That is what we have been stressing with our kids.  We are young.  We are trying to learn how to win here.  The kids are working hard, but we have had four games where we have lost by four points or less.  Instead of losing we have to find a way to win those close games.  We have been stressing just how important it is to do all of the little things.  With a possession here and a possession there we win those games.  We have a tough week here with Bucyrus and Galion and if Crawford is winning those games we have to too,” said Loy.  

 

 
 

Buckeye Central Needs to Continue to Improve

 

          Buckeye Central carries a 3-5 record into the new year and their coach has seem improvement from his young squad.

          They play Riverdale at home in a North Central Conference game on Friday night and entertain Seneca East on Saturday. 

          Last week, they beat Lucas (57-31) to earn their second “NCC” win of the year.  Coach Phil Loy feels like they are improving as a team.  “I think we are getting a little better.  The holidays are always kind of tough just keeping yourself on a good schedule.  We are getting more experience being such a young group.  I’m happy with the way we are playing coming off a good win last Friday against Lucas.  We have a tough schedule ahead of us both Riverdale and Seneca East are going to be tough match-ups for us,” he said.

          Riverdale (2-5,1-2) is in New Washington on Friday night and coach Loy says the Falcons are better than that record would indicate.  “They are playing everybody tough.  Against Colonel Crawford, who is one of the better teams in our league, they are tied with them in the middle of the fourth quarter.  Wynford, who is having a good start this season, beats them by seven.  It’s a tight game to the last couple of minutes.  They took an undefeated Carey team down to the wire and lost by three,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “They are very guard oriented.  They have four guards that can drive shoot pretty good and play hard.  Their weakness is they don’t have size inside and they aren’t very deep.  Those four guards, if you lose them and don’t defend on the perimeter they are going to hurt you.”

          Loy says they want to force the Riverdale guards to use their other hand.  “We really have to try and take away their strengths.  They are really good at right hand drives and we really have to force them to their weak side.  We have to keep them in front of us.  If we get beat on penetration and we step in to help that is where they are good at kicking it out to an open shooter.  We have to sit down and make sure we force them to the weak side and I think we will be okay,” said Loy.

          Seneca East (5-3) will come to Buckeye Central (3-5,1-1) on Saturday night.  Loy says they are a much different team than Riverdale.  “Their big man is probably one of the better big men in the area and we have to make sure we keep him our away from the basket.  The thing he is also very good at is he is a really good passer, so ever though he might be 15, 20 feet away he always seems to find the open man cutting to the basket.  We have to do a good job of keeping him off the boards and make sure they don’t get multiple shots.  They have a couple of really good guards that are scoring well for them.  They are not deep either.  We have to force the other kids on the team to beat you,” said Loy.

 

 
 

Buckeye Central Wants Quick Start

 

          Buckeye Central wants to keep in contact with North Central Conference leader Colonel Crawford and they need to keep winning to do it.

          They trail the Eagles by a game in loss column.

          Last Saturday, they responded to the early challenge of unbeaten Carey (7-0) and battled back to make it a game with the Blue Devils before (54-52) losing at the buzzer.  Coach Phil Loy was proud of that never give up attitude.  “I told the kids take away the first quarter and I’m pretty proud of the way we played.  We got down 16-2 and I thought this could be ugly.  Carey is playing very well.  They are averaging more than 70 points a game.  They were well on their way to meet that or exceed that.  We were just struggling at the beginning of the game, but in the second quarter we started to fight back.  I thought if we get this under 10 at halftime we are good.  We did that, we got it down to nine.  In the third we kind of played even with them and we were down 10 going into the fourth,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “In the fourth quarter, I’m really proud of the way we played defensively and offensively.  We fought back and tied the ball game with about 30 second to play.  They ended up calling a time out with about 10, 12 seconds.  They ran a play, we switched defenses on them.  Their guard penetrated and lost the ball, it was rolling out of bounds, and a kid picked it up and put it in.  It was kind of a tough loss for us.  Holding them to 54 points was good for us defensively, but getting off to that slow start really hurt us.”

          They host Lucas (0-6,0-2) in an “NCC” silver division game on Friday night.  Loy says the Cubs have struggled, but that can’t matter to them.  “The last couple of years they have struggled.  They didn’t have a JV team a couple of years ago.  Last year, the JV team was really hurting.  They lost a couple of their key players from last year, the ones that really did the scoring for them, so they are really struggling this year.  Lucas is always a team though ever since I have bee coaching that if they are down they can still give you fits.  It is a game where we really need to worry about ourselves and make sure we come ready to play and really work on executing offensively.  I think we will be okay, but we can’t take them lightly,” said Loy.

          If you are the better team, you have to make your stance early and Loy knows that need to establish control right at the tip.  “Don’t let them feel like they can play with you.  If we come out sluggish and it’s a close game the first half they are going to come and play with a lot of energy.  They seem like they never quit.  They always play for four quarters.  We have to come ready to play right away,” he said.

 

 
 

Execution on Offense the Key For Buckeye

 

          A young Buckeye Central team has played a lot of teams tough this year, but more times than not they haven’t been able to get over the final hurdle and win the game.

          Coach Phil Loy is very pleased with what has been taking place when they are defending the other guys.  He says his guys play hard.  “I am happy with the way we are playing defensively.  We knew we were going to be a very young team going in.  I return two lettermen and one of them goes down after the first game and we become very, very young.  The kids are buying into what we want to do defensively.  They are doing a very good job,” he said.

          Scoring has been the big concern, but playing teams like Wynford, New Riegel, Old Fort and Colonel Crawford, the Bucks have seen a tough schedule this year too and Loy says that has been a factor.  “With a young team execution has been a problem, so we are struggling a little bit to score.  If you look back at the teams we have played, and the records of these teams, it has been a pretty tough schedule for us.  We have been playing a lot of teams that are senior dominated and teams that have winning records, if not undefeated,” said Loy.

          On Friday night, Buckeye Central (2-4,0-1) plays at Crestline (2-4,0-1) on Friday night in a silver division game in the North Central Conference.  Loy says with a new coach in Steve Lyons the Bulldogs are doing things a little different.  “I got a chance to see them play once and got some film on them.  They return a couple of starters from last year.  They are running a few different things from what they have done in the past,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday night, “They are fairly young as well.  We are worried more about ourselves and keep doing what we do defensively and keep getting better with our offensive execution.  Crestline is a pretty solid team.  They have some size and some guys that shoot it.  When I saw them play, they played very hard.”

          Finding out what Crestline might be doing and being prepared for that is important, but Loy says at this point in the season it is more about them.  “We want to make sure the next two games here we finish strong going into the break.  Hopefully during that break we get healthy and that will bring another dimension to our game,” said Loy.    

 

 
 

Buckeye Central is Rebuilding

 

          The last couple of seasons the Buckeye Central basketball team as been loaded with experience, but sometime that has to come to and end and this the year for the Bucks.

          Coach Phil Loy says they only have two players that saw varsity playing time, or very much of it, a year ago.  “We are very young.  The last two years we have had senior dominated teams and this year we have three seniors and none of them are returning lettermen.  I have two returning lettermen, one junior and one sophomore.  We are young, we are inexperienced,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday night, “I like our effort.  I thought we had a pretty good preseason.  We have been working hard.  We go in spurts where we look pretty good and we go in spurts were we look like a young team.  I think this is a team with their work ethic that we are going to continue to grow as the season goes and hopefully be in the hunt for a league title.”

          Loy says the young Bucks have been just what you would think a young team would be like in the preseason.   “They have been enthusiastic.  I think they believe they can be good.  With the right attitude and the right work ethic it has been fun so far coaching them, so we will see how it goes,” he said.

          There is some talent at Buckeye, no question, but these are players that are just finding out what varsity basketball is all about.  “There is a big step.  Some of these guys played freshmen ball last season and some of them played a lot of JV’s last year.  They found out in the preseason that it is another level.  It’s another step up at the varsity level with the speed and the strength and the competition.  It has been a good learning experience so far,” said Loy.

          Here on the opening week of the season, Buckeye plays at Plymouth on Friday night and at Midland Athletic League favorite New Riegel on Saturday night.  Loy says Plymouth has some outstanding players even though they are young.  “Plymouth had a pretty good team last year and they are returning some good guys and some young guys.  They played two freshmen a lot last year that were probably two of their better players.  They are going to be a tough match-up for us, especially Edmiston inside.  He is just so athletic and rebounds well and has a good touch inside.  It will be a good first test and a good first test on the road,” said Loy.

          New Riegel has been one of the better small school teams in the area for a number of years.  Loy says the Blue Jackets know how to play the game.  “They return nine seniors.  They lost some key scorers from last year.  It seems like every year they replace these guys.  They are very strong.  They are always so fundamentally sound.  Going on the road the first two games is going to be a test for us,” he said.

 

 
 

Buckeye Central in Final Four

 

          Buckeye Central is getting used to winning and with two more the Bucketts will be state champions.

          They play Maria Stein Marion Local in the division four state semi-finals on Friday afternoon at the Nutter Center on the campus of Wright State University is Fairborn.

          They beat McComb, the Blanchard Valley Conference champion, in three sets (25-23, 25-18, and 25-20) on Saturday in Elida.  Coach Bill Bonham says winning the regional was a great experience.  “Everyone wants to talk about going to the state.  Everybody has dreams of going to the state.  You have to go through every level first.  Each level is rewarding within itself.  Obviously the higher you go the more prestigious those levels are.  Just making it to regional finals alone was awesome for us,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “That has been the term we have been using the coaches, the players, it’s the way we have been defining the entire season.  We just keep reaching higher and higher and finding out what we can achieve.  What we have done so far has been great.  Regionals were awesome it was a great trophy to have back at Buckeye Central.  The trip down to Dayton is just going to be exciting for everybody.”

          Buckeye Central (26-2) is making its 10th state tournament appearance, but their first since 2008.  They finished sixth in the AP statewide poll and #2 in the Swankonsports.com volleyball coaches poll in the small school division.  Bonham says they remain focused on winning.  “It is exciting to be there.  The nerves are the same for everybody.  The nerves aren’t just there for our girls.  The other teams are going to be just as nervous.  With the season that we have had we are hoping we are putting pressure on the other schools too.  When they stop and look at our schedule and see how tough our schedule was this year and look at the matches we have played.  We would like to think we can some pressure on these other teams as well.  We think we are a good match up for Marion Local.  There is no reason why can’t continue to succeed.  This group loves the challenges.  They like to be challenged.  They are up for every challenge.  They accept every challenged and this is going to be no different,” said Bonham.

          Marion Local (24-3) ranks number one in AP poll.  Bonham says the Lady Flyers are good because they have solid coaching.  “They have great coaching.  They have great coaches renowned state wide and nationally.  Amy Steininger of Marion Local is national coach of the year. So, we know they are a well coached team.  They have a couple of big time hitters in Josie Winter and the Heitcamp girl.  They are going to be tough to stop defensive wise, but hopefully we can attack them and keep them out of their offense,” he said.

          Bonham says Marion Local is really different than any team they have played this year.  “They are mix of teams that we have played not necessarily any one team that we have played.  They are bringing a powerful offense with two very elite hitters.  We know that they can definitely earn their points.  They are well coached and well trained on defense, but we think that is were they are venerable with their serve receive.  With our aggressive serving I think we can neutralize that.  They have a little more offensive firepower than a St. Paul, maybe similar to a Lexington or a Monroeville as far as big hitters.  Obviously they are there for a reason.  They have been there in recent years too.  Overall they are a good balanced team or they wouldn’t be there,” said Bonham.      

 

 
   

Buckeye One Step From the State Tournament

 

          Buckeye Central, the silver division champions of the North Central Conference, is now just one step away from the state final four in division four.

          They meet McComb, the Blanchard Valley Conference champion, in the regional final on Saturday afternoon at the Elida Fieldhouse. 

          The Bucketts (25-2), #2 in the final Swankonsports.com volleyball coach’s poll in the small school division, beat Oregon Cardinal Stritch (25-13, 25-17, 25-16) in Wednesday night’s semi-finals.  Coach Bill Bonham feels they could have played better and with more focus.  “We were pretty confident going in here, in fact, the girls got a little too confident at times.  We played pretty relaxed on Wednesday.  We didn’t play as aggressive as we should have.  We didn’t bring all of our guns a blazing so to speak.  We knew we were under control.  We knew on paper we were better.  Our girls have been playing with that type of confidence.  This time of year it was a little too confident a little too relaxed.  In the tournament anything can happen.  Obviously when you get to this point in the tournament anybody can win on any given day.  One of the goals I set for them was, we like to challenge our team on points, and one our goals was to keep Cardinal Stritch to around 15 points per game and we actually did that, but we could have played better,” said Bonham. 

          With 22 straight match victories, their only losses to defending state champion St. Henry and New Riegel, Bonham says they have played pretty consistently this fall.  “We haven’t had many letdowns at all.  We have had a couple of mild letdowns here and there.  You are going to get that in any sport with any team.  We haven’t had the big letdowns.  We have kept our composure and we have kept our consistency and that has been big for us.  They have carried us through the season quite a bit.  We haven’t had to play a powerhouse game every night on the flipside of that we haven’t letdown either.  Now we have to turn it up a little bit, one more notch,” said Bonham.

          McComb pulled a mild upset with a (14-25, 25-15, 25-22, and 25-21) win over Midland Athletic League champ Mohawk in semi-final play.  Bonham says McComb features a lot of height.  “They are big.  Anybody that has seen them play the first and foremost thing that stands out is their size.  They run 6’4”, 6’3”, 6’2” and 6’0” are their biggest four girls.  They are a big team, but with that big and young doesn’t always add up.  Their quickness isn’t there.  They are not quite as athletic as our girls.  We are going to be outmatched at the net, but hopefully it’s going to be all of the supplemental positions that add up for us.  The big girls can hit, so they don’t necessarily have a strong defense.  They aren’t going to pass the ball as solid as some of the other teams we face like a New Riegel or a Wynford.  We need to stay aggressive with that,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We need to make the big girls play, to make the big girls move and get that them out of their comfort zone.  They do have a couple of seniors that play, but overall they are younger and inexperienced.  Hopefully we get them frustrated a little bit.  Mohawk made them unconformable in the first game, but they didn’t continue to do that.  We are going to have to sustain that pressure and make them outplay us.”

          Buckeye Central has played a tremendous non-league schedule and Bonham feels an advantage for them will be their experience in big matches.  “Practice this week has been focused on our mental aspect and pushing and handling that pressure, but generating the excitement too.  Hopefully we get our crowd into it and they can support us.  We have some kids that have played in some big time games.  You talk a lot about club volleyball these days.  We have those kids that have played on the big stages in the club volleyball world.  This team has never been to the state tournament themselves, but they have seen it.  A lot of them have sisters that have played there.  Along with the club aspect I believe we have the experience and hopefully we can exploit that out of McComb,” said Bonham.     

 

 
   

Buckeye Central Rolling

 

          Buckeye Central’s win streak is now at 22 in a row and the Bucketts play Oregon Cardinal Stritch in the girls’ volleyball division four regional semi-finals on Wednesday night at the Elida Fieldhouse.

          Buckeye beat Firelands Conference champion Norwalk St. Paul, #1 in the final Swankonsports.com volleyball coach’s poll in the small school division, (25-18, 25-22, 25-18) in the district finals last Thursday at Willard High School.  Bucketts coach Bill Bonham says they were able to attack St. Paul from every angle.  “Our girls played well that night.  I thought St. Paul played well also.  Our girls just preformed.  They came out there and they played with confidence and they trusted each other quite a bit.  We executed in every possible way that we needed to.  We served well, our passing played well.  Our defense picked up especially our cover defense.  We continued to put pressure on the St. Paul defense.  We attacked from every angle, front row and back row.  As a team we played as good as we could play,” said Bonham.

          Buckeye started the season with some inexperienced players and with a lot to prove and that is exactly what they have done.  Bonham says they like the role of underdog.  “This group plays with a chip on their shoulder.  Even I have challenged them several times and they don’t like to be challenged.  They don’t like being told they aren’t good or they can’t succeed or anything like that.  It is definitely a group that accepts every challenge that you throw at them.  It doesn’t matter if it’s coming from myself, the parents, the community, from opposing teams, or whatever. Anytime they are up against the wall they like to fight it out,” said Bonham.

          Cardinal Stritch (17-8) has the worst record of the four regional participants, but Bonham says they have some good talent, especially their libero.  “They have won some games.  We do know their libero.  She is originally from Tiffin.  She was a Tiffin Calvert girl, Abby Maas.  Her sister Alley Mass was a great player and Tiffin Calvert a few years back.  So, Abby is familiar with our girls and we are familiar with her.  Some of our girls have played club ball with her,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “They have a couple of club coaches on that coaching staff as well.  We know they can hit the ball.  We know they can play defense.  It is just going to be a matter of execution I think.  Definitely on paper I think we have the advantage this time.  It’s going to come down to discipline on our end and taking care of the ball.”

          The winner of the semi-final will face Mohawk, the Middle Athletic League champion, or McComb, the Blanchard Valley Conference champ, in the regional final on Saturday.  Bonham says they are not looking past Stritch.  “We are not overlooking this match by any means.  We are taking it one day at a time.  We were the underdog with St. Paul.  We were kind of an underdog all season.  Even in our own league people didn’t expect us to have the kind of year that we had.  Everything right now for me is a bonus.  If I an get the girls to believe that too we are just going to continue to ride this wave that we are on.  The good thing for us is we play Wednesday and we have two days to practice and think about it.  We are definitely going to think about (Wednesday) first,” said Bonham.       

 

 
   

Buckeye Central and St. Paul Square Off

 

          The top two teams in the Swankonsports.com volleyball coach’s poll in the small school division meet in the division four district final on Thursday night at Willard High School as Buckeye Central takes on Norwalk St. Paul.

          The Bucketts (23-2), #2 in the poll, beat Monroeville (25-19, 25-19, 27-29, and 25-16) on Tuesday night to advance.  Buckeye coach Bill Bonham says Monroeville was certainly a challenge.  “Monroeville played really well.  We saw them early in the year in our own tournament at Buckeye Central.  We played the best two out of three that day and it went three.  They took us in game two in our first tournament there.  They took us 25-27 was the game they won.  They turned around and did the same thing to us (Tuesday) night.  They took a game from us in a high scoring game.  They played a lot better this time around than they did the last time.  There is no doubt about it.  They played with a little more fire, a little more energy.  That was expected, Kendra Snook does a very good job getting those kids pumped up over there.  We knew they were going to come at us, but basically we stuck to our game plan.  We have been playing ball a certain way all season and we don’t want to change now by any means.  The faith and trust in each other right now is carrying us.  Despite Monroeville coming at us pretty good we were able to keep it together and come out on top,” said Bonham.

          Meanwhile, St. Paul (22-1), #1 our poll, eliminated Colonel Crawford on Tuesday (25-18, 23-25, 25-14, and 25-21) to force a district re-match.  Bonham says St. Paul knows what it is like top play in big matches.  “They have tradition to start with.  Those kids grow up in the St. Paul system and they know what winning is like.  They have had success here recently beyond the district tournament.  They have been able to advance farther than anybody else in our area.  They made it to regionals last year before they saw Mohawk.  They have been to the state in recent years.  Those kids all know what it is like.  They have had a taste of it first hand.  Nancy Miller has done a good job.  She pushes a lot of things.  She pushes a lot of fundamentals.  She pushes limiting the mistakes.  Those kids listen and they play with a lot of heart and a lot of desire.  That is what they have.  They have a very hungry program that knows winning.  Not only do they know winning, they know how to win, and that is what we are facing,” said Bonham.

          Last season, the Lady Fliers beat Buckeye (25-13, 25-17, 25-17) in the district semis.  Bonham says they will have to better at the three critical elements of volleyball to be the one that advances to the regionals this time.  “How about some luck?  We will start with that.  It definitely takes some luck to go your way, some calls, some plays.  Overall you are looking at two teams that can hit the ball and pass the ball.  I would like to think that we are a little stronger in all of those categories.  I think right now we are playing with a lot of confidence, of course so is St. Paul,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “I think every coach is going to tell you it is going to come down to three main things.  It’s going to be serving, serve-receive and defense.  The thing in our sport you don’t have to score the point to win the point, you can score off other team’s mistakes.  If you can get the ball off your own floor and put it back across the net and maybe the other team makes a mistake.  In the end that might be what it comes down to is a couple more mistakes by one team compared to the other.”

 

 
   

Buckeye Needs Patience

 

          Buckeye Central has won 20 straight volleyball games as they take a lot of momentum into the division four district semi-finals on Tuesday night at Willard High School against Firelands Conference runner-up Monroeville.

          The Bucketts, the winner of the silver division of the North Central Conference, dispatched of fellow “NCC” member Crestline (25-3, 25-6 and 25-15) in Saturday’s sectional championship at Ontario.  Coach Bill Bonham says they were able to keep their mental focus.  “One thing we keep pushing with our girls is to minimize our mistakes.  That was one of our big goals going in there knowing that we have already beaten Crestline twice, but you don’t want to overlook them a third time.  Our goal was to just continue to execute and keep those mistakes to a minimum and once again we did that,” he said.

          Buckeye Central (22-2), #2 in the final Swankonsports.com volleyball coach’s poll in the small school division only behind Norwalk St. Paul, beat Monroeville in a Saturday tournament (25-16, 25-27, 25-17) they hosted in New Washington on September 15.  Bonham says Monroeville (17-6) is a team that plays outstanding defense year in and year out.  “You never want to look over a Monroeville team, especially with Kendra Snook up there.  Kendra is a good coach and a good friend of mine.  She pushes defense.  She is a defensive coach.  That is what the Firelands Conference is known for.  St. Paul has always had pretty good defense and they have a good defense again this year.  I think Monroeville’s defense was stronger last year,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “This year they are more of an offensive mined team.  They have some hitters.  If we can’t make their defense struggle a little bit they are going to get the ball to those big hitters and that is what is going to give us some problems.  They are not as strong as they were last year all of the way around.  We need to play them as hard as we can because they are a good young team.”

          The hitters on the Buckeye Central side are used to getting kills and Bonham says if they don’t Tuesday night, they have to keep their focus.  “As a defensive team they are going to frustrate you.  St. Paul has been good at that the last several years.  They had Corynne Smith one of the best liberos in the State of Ohio the last few years and that’s what St. Paul did.  New Riegel is the same way.  They are a very good defensive team and we saw them in the very first match of the season.  That was definitely a defensive battle.  When you have an offensive team that is used to scoring and used to getting kills and a defensive team comes in and takes that away from you that frustrates your hitters.  If they don’t stay focused it can be a long night on the losing end,” said Bonham.

          The Buckeye coach feels that one of differences for them over the last six weeks has been their ability to play defense.  He says that is going to have to continue against Monroeville.  “Right now we like to think that our defense is one the stronger defenses around.  We like to think we can do that to other teams and in turn offensively we want to keep firing back.  Hopefully this year our defense is stronger than Monroeville’s,” he said.  

 

 
   

 

Buckeye Needs to Control Ontario Speed

 

          Buckeye Central has matured as a football team and they are a dangerous one over the final three weeks of the season.

          The Bucks (2-5,1-3) beat Crestline (36-7) to pick up their first North Central Conference win and break a five game losing streak.  Leading 8-0 at halftime, Buckeye coach Jason Ratliff says they put some things together after the break.  “Well, last week in the second half I felt we cut down on the mistakes that we made.  We were able to take advantage of some things as the result and that’s what helped us in the second half,” he said.

          Michael Adkins had almost 200 yards and four touchdowns against Crestline.  Ratliff says he has played very well on defense too.  “He is our workhorse.  When you play us you know he is going to get the football.  He is doing very well this year both offensively and defensively.  He is kind our leader on both sides of the football,” he said.

          Ontario (4-3,3-1) plays outside of New Washington on Friday night.  Ratliff is impressed with the Warriors athleticism.  “I think when you look at Ontario the first thing that comes to mind is their team speed.  They have several kids that can catch the football or they can run with the football and score anytime.  That’s our biggest concern, their team speed,” said Ratliff.  He says they are going to have to be able to get the Ontario runners down when they get their hands on them.  “We have to tackle very well on Friday night.  That is one thing we are going to stress all week in practice,” said Ratliff.

          It’s probably fair to say that the Warriors are the more athletic team.  Ratliff says that means they are going to have to keep their hands on the ball as much as possible.  “Against the bigger school we also try to work the clock a little bit just from the fact that is hard for us to match up.  You know, they are two divisions higher than us, just like it would if they were playing Ashland,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday night, “It would be hard for them to match-up with Ashland.  It is the same thing for us.  The more that we can hold onto the ball and keep the ball the better off we will be.”

 

 
   

Buckeye Central Improving

 

          Buckeye Central is maturing as a football team and hopefully that results in a win on Friday night at Crestline.

          Last week, the Bucks scored twice in the fourth quarter, but lost to Upper Sandusky (32-20) in a North Central Conference game.  Coach Jason Ratliff believes they competed with a good Upper team for the entire game.  “I think we were very pleased about how we played the entire game.  Upper is a good football team.  We were concerned about how physical they were going to be.  Throughout the game I thought we went toe to toe with them.  We hung in there and we played four quarters for the first time I think this year,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday.

          After being hurt a lot by graduation this year, Ratliff says their younger players have been forced to play a lot of minutes.  He says they are becoming better football players.  “We have had some young kids from the start.  Now we are at the point that we have some injuries and we have some younger kids that have to step up.  This is one of those learning things that you have to go through,” he said.

          Buckeye Central (1-5,0-3) is at Crestline (0-6,0-3) for a battle to get out of the basement of the NCC’s silver division.  Ratliff, like every other coach in the league, likes Crestline quarterback Nick Reynolds.  “They have a very nice quarterback that runs the show.  He can scramble out of pressure and gain yardage.  He can also run the football as well when he needs to.  He is a great athlete and he is someone that we have to be concerned with when we play them on Friday,” said Ratliff.

          In order to get a win this week, and break a five game losing skid, Ratliff says they have to control the point of attack and they have to get the Bulldog players to the ground when they get to the ball carrier.  “I think up front our offensive line has to get after it.  We need to tackle well on defense.  We tackled well last week against Upper Sandusky and we hope it carries over to this week as well,” he said.

 

 
   

Buckeye With Growing Pains

 

          Over the last couple of seasons Buckeye Central counted a on a group of kids that graduated this summer to carry them in football, basketball and baseball.  Now they are trying to develop a new group and there are some growing pains.

          After qualifying for the state championship game in division six last year the Bucks (1-4) have struggled this year, losing their last four in a row, including both of the North Central Conference games to Wynford (34-0) and Riverdale (21-20) last week.

          Coach Jason Ratliff says he saw some positive signs last week, but they didn’t play well enough in end of the game situations.  “In some aspects we were better.  It boiled down to not making plays at the end and committing too many penalties.  The penalties caused us to loose field position and blew a couple of chances to score,” he said.

          Buckeye Central travels to Upper Sandusky (3-2,1-1) on Friday night for an inter-divisional game in the “NCC.”  Upper came up with a big win last week as they went to Ontario and stuffed the Warriors running game and won (18-14) a black division game.  Ratliff says they are tough to deal with up front.  “They are very physical.  We watched the Ontario film and they pretty much dominated up front at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football versus Ontario, who is a very good football team.  Their physicality really causes us a concern,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday.

          Upper quarterback Taylor Pritchard scored three times against Ontario and Ratliff says he can hurt you both running and passing the ball.  “He can run and he can throw both.  He has gotten a little bit bigger.  He was a sophomore last year, now he is a junior.  He probably grew two or three inches and probably added about 30 pounds.  He does a nice job for them,” he said.

          Upper Sandusky is a good team and has great potential, however, in this game Ratliff says they have to quit shooting themselves in the foot with mental errors and stupid penalties to give themselves a chance to win.  “We have to get after it and quit making so many mental errors and give ourselves a chance to win the football game,” said Ratliff.   

 

 
   

Buckeye Central Looking For Balance

 

          Buckeye Central’s offense continues to struggle and as a result the Bucks are having trouble winning games.

          Rival Wynford blanked Buckeye (34-0) last week to give the Bucks three losses in a row.  Coach Jason Ratliff says the defense gave them a chance to be successful, at least early in the game against unbeaten Wynford.  “I thought our defense played very well last Friday night.  I know we got beat 34-0, but it was 28-0 going to the fourth quarter.  With about three minutes left they threw a pass to score another touchdown to make it 34, but we had a couple of goal line stands earlier in the game.  We need to tackle better, obviously, but we played a lot better defensively last Friday,” said Ratliff.

          With Tyler Erwin graduated Buckeye Central (1-3,0-1) has had trouble finding its passing game.  Ratliff says they are still looking for that balance that is so crucial for an offense.  “We are trying to get our passing game going.  We lost a quarterback that was there for three years.  We are trying a couple of other guys at quarterback.  We are struggling passing the football right now, but we are working on it every day and we are trying to improve on it and get better at it,” Ratliff told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday.

          On Friday night, Riverdale (2-2,1-0) beat Lucas (28-14) in their first North Central Conference game last week.  Running back Josh Bushong ran for 86 yards and two scores against the Cubs.  Ratliff says they have some kids that can make plays.  “They have some nice skilled kids.  They have three different kids they will use at different times.  All three bring something a little bit different to the table.  They have a little power back and a couple of speed guys.  We have to be very cautious about who is in the backfield and be aware of where they are on the football field,” said Ratliff.

          Unbeaten Colonel Crawford appears to be the clear favorite in the silver division.  Friday night’s game in New Washington is one of those games to determine who will challenge Crawford.  Ratliff says they will be ready for the game.  “We are looking forward to Friday night.  It’s another home game for us, it’s actually homecoming for us.  It’s a chance to play in front of the home crowd.  Our kids are getting better week in and week out and we hope to continue to improve,” he said.

 

 
   

Bucks Face Tough One

 

          Buckeye Central is on a rare two game losing streak and to make matters worse they host Wynford on Friday night, a school that has won 61 straight regular season games and has not lost a North Central Conference games since 2004.

          It’s the “NCC” opener for both.

          After a 13-7 loss to Plymouth last week coach Jason Ratliff says the Bucks are shooting themselves in the foot way too much.  “I think we have to do things the right way.  There have been situations that we have had seven or eight kids doing the right thing and we have a few kids that doing things they aren’t supposed to do and that is one thing that we have to get fixed as quickly has we possibly can,” he told Swankonsports.com.  Ratliff says another thing is they have been making some plays only to have them called back by penalty.  “Another thing we have to fix is stupid penalties.  We have had a lot of penalties that have put us in bad positions field position wise and we have had a lot penalties bring back runs and returns we have had for big yardage,” said Ratliff.

          Wynford (3-0) is coming off a big win over Riverdale (44-0) last week in a game that was played Friday night and was finished on Saturday afternoon.  Ratliff has great respect for the Wynford program.  “They are doing the same things they did when Travis was there.  Travis kind of laid the foundation for the program and what they have done to this point is amazing to run off the win streak that they have.  Their kids just keep plugging along and doing what they are asked,” said Ratliff.

          Wynford has had great success in recent years running the ball out of the quarterback position.  Ratliff says they have not changed their approach much and they still have an outstanding offensive line.  “They are very similar to what they have done in the past.  They have always had good quarterbacks, good running backs, and good receivers, but what makes Wynford one of the better teams around is their offensive line.  Those guys don’t make mistakes.  They get off the football and into the second level.  Like I said, no disrespect to their backs, but what makes them go is their offensive line,” said Ratliff.

          It hasn’t been done since 2006 during the regular season and Ratliff says the script to beat the Royals is hard to execute.  He says you can’t make mistakes.  “When you play them you have to do things the right way.  They don’t make mistakes, they don’t kill themselves.  That is something they have done really well.  They don’t turn the ball over.  They don’t commit very many penalties.  For a lot of teams that is tough when they are disciplined like that,” he said.     

 

 
   

Buckeye Central Ready to Get Back at it

 

          Buckeye Central, last year’s division six state runner-up, suffered an upset loss to the Mapleton last week and now they are just chomping at the bit to get back on the field.

          Mapleton beat Buckeye (36-32) last week in one of the biggest upsets in the area.  Coach Jason Ratliff says the players have responded this week to what they have been telling them.  “Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty good, probably a couple of the best practices we have had in a long time, so that was a good thing to see out of our kids,” he said.

          Buckeye travels to Plymouth (1-1) this week in non-conference play.  Plymouth was 5-5 last year in posting their best record since 1998.  They graduated a lot of talent, but Ratliff says they have replaced those guys.  “I think the first thing that I see is their offensive and defensive lines.  They get off the football, and if they are on offense, they get on you, and if they’re on defense they get on you pretty well,” he told Swankonsports.com, “They have a couple of big kids up front.  They have replaced the kids that they have lost.  They have some good speed in the backfield as well.”

           The last couple of years Plymouth has tried to be a power running team.  Ratliff says they still try and feature that with a few wrinkles.  “They still have that mindset that they want to run it at you.  They are starting to spread it out a little more.  They have a nice quarterback that can throw the ball a little bit and he can also run, so that posses another threat for us,” said Ratliff.

          After the loss to Mapleton last week, Ratliff says he and the players can’t wait to get back on the field this week.  “I have been waiting for this game for a long time it seems like.  We just want to get back on the field and start playing again,” he said.

 

 
   

Buckeye Must Tackle Better

 

          Buckeye Central railed to score two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and beat New London in their first game, but they must be better tacklers if they are going to continue to win.

          Michael Adkins, one of the few returnees from last year’s state runner-up team, scored on touchdowns runs of eight and 12 yards in the fourth quarter, to lift the Bucks to a 28-19 win over visiting New London last week.  “We knew going in that New London was a good team.  They have some skilled kids and some pretty good kids all around.  We were able to in the fourth quarter turn it on a bit.  We scored 16 points in the fourth quarter to wrap the game up,” said Buckeye Central coach Jason Ratliff. 

          Buckeye had two turnovers and five penalties against New London.  Ratliff says he challenged his players to get better and play with intensity in the fourth quarter and they responded.  “We have so many new kids on the field this year.  It was especially important for them to step up and play.  In the third quarter New London kind of took it to us.  At the start of the fourth quarter I kind of challenged our kids to fight back and get back after them.  I think we did and I think we grew up a lot in the fourth quarter as a team,” he said.

          Adkins ended the night with 19 carries for 165 yards and three scores.  Ratliff says you are never sure what you are going to get when you put guys in starting positions for the first time in a varsity game.  “In the scrimmages you get a little bit of a look, but when it’s the real thing and you are doing everything, you are doing special teams.  You are playing a whole game and not just a half.  It’s hard on the kids.  I think the kids kind of found out how hard it is to play both ways and play on special teams on Friday night,” Ratliff told Swankonsports.com on Sunday night.

          Buckeye (1-0) plays at Mapleton (0-1) in non-conference play on Friday night.  The Mounties have only 17 players on the roster and lost to Carrollton (50-23) on week one.  Ratliff says the Mounties have some skilled players with some talent.  “They played a division three school.  A school of their size to play a division three school and do what they did, they played pretty well.  They have a lot of good skilled kids and a lot good speed on the outside.  That was how they were able to score with their speed,” he said.

          Ratliff says they need to contain that Mapleton speed and when they get their hands on the ball carrier, bring them down.  “We have to have people on defense do their jobs by turning the ball back inside and we have to make tackles.  There were times in our first game that we didn’t tackle very well and we have to improve on that in our second game here,” said Ratliff. 

          Travis Pickering picked up 120 yards on 15 carries for the Mounties, including a 62-yeard touchdown run.  

 

 
   

Buckeye Central Returns to the Field

 

          Buckeye Central was one a step away from a state title in division six a year ago, but many of those kids have now graduated and a new group of young men are trying to make their mark.

          Buckeye plays host to New London of the Firelands Conference in a non-conference game in New Washington on Friday night.

           Coach Jason Ratliff says they are going to find out where they really stand.  “We have a lot of new guys on the field this year so it’s going to be exciting for them.  A lot of them are going to have their first varsity experience, so it will be a good time (Friday,)” he said.

          Yes there have been many practices and scrimmages, but Ratliff knows that Friday nights in the fall, or late summer, are very different.  “You get different guys to step up.  It’s going to be interesting to see who steps up for us.  We have a lot of guys that this is their first varsity experience.  It’s going to be interesting to see who steps up and plays well for us,” said Ratliff.

          Last season, the Bucks could do a lot of things on offense and Ratliff thinks they are headed in that direction again.  “I think our offense has evolved to the point where we can run or pass and with our multiple formations we are able to do a number of things.  I think it benefits us with both aspects depending on what we are trying to do with our formations,” he told Swankonsports.com.

          New London was a 2-8 team a year ago, but Ratliff says they have a lot of potential led by an outstanding senior class.  “They have a big senior class.  The senior class has been starting for three years, so this is like their year basically.  There is a new coach, but he has been on the staff before.  They are very athletic with a lot of speed.  They like to run the football and throw about 50, 50.  Defensively they are very aggressive,” said Ratliff.

          Just because this is week one Ratliff says things are going to be difficult to predict.  “The first one is probably the hardest one because you don’t know how your team is going to react to game night situations.  So, (Friday) will be very interesting to see how we take the field now that we have prepared all week for New London,” he said.

 

 
   

Buckeye Hoping to Build

 

          Last season, Buckeye Central had a magical year in football as the Bucks won the silver division of the North Central Conference and advanced all of the way to the state title game in division six before losing to Marion Local.

          The Bucks will be a lot younger and less experienced this season, but head coach Jason Ratliff says they still expect to accomplish a lot.  “We lost 10 seniors from last year, nine of the seniors started on offense and eight of them started on defense, so that leaves us with two returners on offense and three on defense.  We have a lot of work to do.  We have a lot of kids that got some experience last year and we also have some new kids that are trying to step up and fill roles.  Our expectations are still the same.  We are still trying to win our league and make the playoffs,” said Ratliff.

          Winning can bread winning and Ratliff says one thing the success last year has earned them is an increase in numbers at the small school and that gives them many more options.  “Last year was great for our community.  It was great for Buckeye Central High School and it was great for our kids that played football.  What it has done for us this year is last year we had 36 kids out and this year we have 47 kids out nine through 12,” he told Swankonsports.com, “We have a strong freshmen class, we have 16 in the freshmen class, which the most since I have been here.  The 47 is the most since I have been here as well.  We are excited it gives us more kids to look at in practice and it gives us more kids to put on the field on Friday night.”

          With so many positions up for grabs this year, Ratliff says they are still trying to figure out what players fit into what positions.  “I think we are still trying to figure some stuff out.  We are still trying to find a starting quarterback.  We have a race between a junior, a sophomore and a freshman.  We still have to continue to throw the ball and run the ball.  It worked well for us last year.  When you are able to do that you keep people off balance,” he said.  Buckeye will also be featuring a new offensive line.  Ratliff says they have a number of big guys to choose from.  “We lost all five offensive linemen from last year.  They all graduated.  Right now we have about 10 guys that are in the mix.  We are just trying to sort things out and see who fits in where and trying to find five guys to put in that unit.  We have 10 to choose from which is awesome.  We have never been in that situation before.  We have never had numbers, now we do,” he said.

          Last year, Wynford also reached the football playoffs and both Galion and Ontario were 8-2 and didn’t qualify.  Ratliff believes this year’s “NCC” will be pretty strong too.  “In the upper division I think you have Wynford, Galion and Ontario.  They are going to be really good ball clubs.  Upper Sandusky was young last year.  They played a lot of sophomores and they return a lot.  Bucyrus has a new coach.  It’s hard to know what to expect from them yet.  In our smaller division, you have Colonel Crawford, who returns a boatload and has a great quarterback and they have a good coaching staff as well.  Riverdale returns a lot of kids back.  Lucas has two 1,000 yard backs.  Crestline has low numbers, but they have a good quarterback coming back.  I think each division is going to be a real good race,” said Ratliff.   

 

 
   

Buckeye Central Wins in Nine

 

          Justin Hernstein’s RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted Buckeye Central to a 2-1 win over Sandusky St. Mary’s in the division four district semi-finals on Wednesday at Colonel Crawford High School.

          Buckeye, #3 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coach’s poll in the small school division, coach Chad Jensen says both teams played well, but they got the biggest hit of the game.  “It was a game with everything.  It had great pitching by both teams, good execution in some sports, bad execution in some sports by both teams.  Both pitchers went the distance.  We were able to get a big single by Justin Hernstein that scored Bryce Christy in the bottom of the ninth with two outs,” he said.

          Tyler Erwin got the win for the Bucks in going all nine innings and Jensen says they were able to flash a little leather behind him as well.  “We got great defense (Wednesday).  We got a great pitching performance from our senior Tyler Erwin, but we had great defense all day, especially from our shortstop Adam Paynter.  He doesn’t always play shortstop, Tyler Erwin is our shortstop when he doesn’t pitch, Adam is when Tyler pitches.  He made play after play (Wednesday).  I don’t know how many assists he had, but is probably six or seven, he did a great job.  Our whole team played great defense.  St. Mary’s put the bat on the ball.  We knew that going in.  We knew Tyler wasn’t going to strike out 15 or anything.  We knew they were going to put the bat on the ball,” said Jensen.

          With a number of chances to win before the ninth, Jensen was proud they were able to keep their heads together.  “That was the key (Wednesday) there were highs and lows and we had to stay focused.  We had the winning run on second base in the seventh, eighth and ninth inning.  We had a suicide squeeze attempts that didn’t work and that got St. Mary’s out of that inning,” he told Swankonsports.com, “There were a lot of highs and lows, a lot of emotions, and I was really proud of our kids for staying even keel and handling adversity not letting it get to them.  We just went out and battled, Tyler threw strikes and we played get defense.  We definitely could have folded, but we really showed the character of our kids.”

          Buckeye Central (22-6) plays Seneca East (19-8) in district finals at Colonel Crawford on Friday afternoon.  The two teams played twice during the regular season with Buckeye winning the first game (6-5) and the Tigers the second (11-1) in games that where both finished April 26.  Jensen says this game is going to be about execution.  “There are really no secrets with Seneca East.  We do play them twice in non-league games because they are close location to New Washington.  We did spilt with them this year and they are a quality team.  Last year we played them twice and the year before that.  We are familiar with them and they are familiar with us.  Our kids know each other, so it’s going to be one of those games where it will be who can outlast each other.  It’s going to be a challenge for us, but I know our kids are up to it,” said Jensen. 

 

 
   

Buckeye Prepares For Tournament With Win

 

          Buckeye Central is trying to advance to the division four regional tournament for the third consecutive year.

          They play Sandusky St. Mary’s (14-10) the district semi-finals on Wednesday at Colonel Crawford High School. 

          They beat Bucyrus (13-5) in their final North Central Conference game of the season on Monday evening.  They have earned an outright silver division title.  After losing to Wynford (8-3) on Saturday, coach Chad Jensen says the Bucks turned it up a notch on Monday.  “We don’t want to be sitting around.  We are lucky the way the make ups worked out so we could play Saturday and Monday.  We didn’t play real well on Saturday.  We didn’t play really well Saturday against Wynford and made some mistakes, but got them corrected (Monday),” he told Swankonsports.com. “Played much better (Monday) against Bucyrus and played with a tournament type intensity, especially early on, which is something we wanted to do.  It was definitely a nice game in getting ready for the tournament.  We hadn’t hit well in a couple of weeks.  I thought we hit better (Monday).  Hopefully that will propel us into the tournament.”

          The pitching has been there for the Bucks, but lately they have struggled with the sticks.  Jensen says they started to show signs on Saturday and really broke out of the slump on Monday.  “We really haven’t consistently hit it in a couple of weeks.  We have kind of had some bad luck.  We hit the ball hard against Wynford, but right at people.  I thought against Wynford we were starting to get out of our funk a little bit and (Monday) we definitely hit the ball hard, so that’s a good thing we found some gaps.  We are concerned about consistently hitting the baseball, getting base runners, moving runners over and being smart about it,” said Jensen.

          Sandusky St. Mary’s plays in the Sandusky Bay Conference and they are the only division four school in that conference.  Jensen says the Panthers have been tested, but so they have they.  “They do play bigger schools and we certainly respect them.  We saw them play last week in the sectional final against St. Paul at Plymouth.  They are very athletic.  They are young.  They have four sophomores, two freshmen, two seniors and a junior.  They do play tough competition, but we feel we play in a very high quality league as well.  We don’t have a bunch of twos, but we do have threes and the poll champion in division three is in our league.  We respect them and they are very quality team,” he said.

          The Panthers beat Norwalk St. Paul (9-5) last Wednesday in their sectional final at Plymouth High School.  Jensen says they are going to have to hit some breaking stuff if they are going to score many runs.  “I was able to see their one and their two.  Their number one pitcher that they threw against St. Paul is an off speed kind of kid.  He throws four pitches for strikes, fastball, change, curveball, knuckleball.  He keeps teams off balance.  The second one that we saw throws harder and has a really nice curveball.  Both of them bring different things to the table.  We haven’t seen pitchers that throw that much off speed.  They are good.  They are solid pitchers.  They throw strikes and mix it up.  They will be a challenge to our hitters,” said Jensen.

 

 
   

Buckeye Central Gets First Taste of the Tournament

 

          Buckeye Central is the top seed in the division four sectional baseball tournament at Shelby and the Bucks see their first action on Monday against Mansfield St. Peter’s.

          Buckeye (19-5), #4 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coach’s poll in the smaller school division, has already earned a share of the North Central Conference silver division title.

          St. Peter’s (3-15) rallied on Saturday to knock of Lucas (6-4) in their sectional opener at Shelby.

          This will not be the first meeting this year between the two squads.  Buckeye swept a doubleheader on April 14 (18-3 and 20-6) at Spartan Field in Mansfield.  Coach Chad Jensen says St. Peter’s has improved since then.  “We played them in a doubleheader earlier in the year and I had an opportunity to watch them on Saturday.  They are playing with a lot of confidence.  They were up most of the game against Lucas.  They were behind in the seventh and they scored three runs to secure it.  They are playing with a lot of confidence and a lot of enthusiasm.  They are definitely somebody we can’t overlook,” said Jensen.

          They may not have the best record in the world, but Jensen says with the win on Saturday the Spartans are playing with renewed confidence in their ability.  “Having confidence when you are a young team like they are and happy to be were they are at.  There is no questionable about it.  I have been in that situation before.  In 2008, we were young and didn’t have a senior and made the regionals with a team that was well under .500.  I definitely know that momentum can carry you for a while.  We are going to tell our kids to not allow them to get on a roll and gain momentum and confidence.  That’s going to be our theme going into Monday,” he said.

          With a much better record and two convincing wins earlier this year over St. Peter’s, Jensen admits there is a little fear of over confidence.  “As a coach you are always concerned about that kind of stuff.  I am the kind of guy that is always analyzing something like that, so that’s always a concern to make sure we address that with our kids.  Our kids have been there and they understand what it takes to win tournament games,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday, “Will they be confident?  Sure, but I don’t think they will be overconfident.  I think they will know what we have to do to get the job done.  I think they are going to respect St. Pete’s.  I think we will put our best foot forward and see what we can do.”

          Jensen would like to score early in this game, but he says they can’t be too aggressive and jump at the first pitch they see either.  “That is one of the things we are going to try and do.  It is no secret that our top five players are the ones that drive in the runs.  At the same time we are going to be patient at the plate.  In watching St. Pete’s if we are patient they will walk some people.  We are going to tell our kids to be patient and get good pitches to hit.  Sometimes we get a little anxious.  We want to hit the ball hard in every at bat and sometimes we swing at pitches we shouldn’t.  We know if we can get on base we know we can do some things with our speed.  I think once we get base runners early at think that will be huge for us,” said Jensen.

 

 
   

Buckeye Earns Share

 

          Buckeye Central has led the silver division standings all season and they clinched no less than a share of the division title in the North Central Conference with a 3-1 win over Riverdale in New Washington on Monday night.

          Coach Chad Jensen says the Bucks (19-5,8-2), ranked #5 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coach’s poll in the small school division, are not just ready for the tournament now, he says they want to have only their name on the trophy.  “Our seniors have really stepped up.  We lost some really great players from last year, but last year we lost the league basically by one run to Bucyrus and the year before that we lost in the final week.  We have been in the hunt and to win at least a share of it (Monday) really means a lot for our kids, but they are definitely not satisfied.  They want to win it outright.  There was not celebration (Monday) there wasn’t even any discussion of it.  So, we will see what we can do Wednesday against Riverdale,” said Jensen.

          Buckeye has played excellent baseball in recent years, including three trips to the regional tournament in division four, but Jensen says they haven’t won a league baseball league title since the Nixon presidency.  “We don’t want to share.  We do want to be selfish with titles.  This the first title for Buckeye Central since 1973, the second in baseball in league history.  We don’t want to share with anybody,” he told Swankonsports.com after the win on Monday night, “That is definitely our goal.  You could see it (Monday) after the win.  We beat Riverdale and the kids just walked off the field.  There was nothing.  I even said do you guys want to talk about it?  And they said no, not until we win it outright.  I like the fact that we are really staying focused on what we want.”

          Senior Chase Finney toed the rubber for the Bucks against Riverdale and Jensen says he did everything he could to put his team over the top.  “Everybody brings their best against us.  We have seen that all year.  Riverdale didn’t have a good record coming in, but their kids are great.  We only had four hits (Monday), but we did what we could do with those four hits and scored three runs.  We had senior pitcher Chase Finney who struggled a little bit with control.  He was injured earlier in the year.  He was outstanding with 10 strikeouts and no walks and did a great job.  It certainly was a great win (Monday) and we have had to do different things each game because everybody does bring their best against us.  The kids love the challenge and we want to win another one,” Jensen said.

          Buckeye Central, who has scored some runs this season, made the very most out of the opportunities they had against the Falcons with some clutch hitting early and late in the game.  “We had two runners on in the first and two outs and Thomas Kaple, our five hitter, had a big two out single and scored two.  We kept that lead for a while, but like I said their pitcher pitched great and we had some base runners, but couldn’t get a hit.  Then in the bottom of the sixth we got a lead off triple by Tyler Erwin and our four hitter Jacob Zeiter squeezed him home.  That was a big run for us that put us up 3-0 and they scored a meaningless run in the seventh, but it wouldn’t have been meaningless had it been 2-1.  It was a great all around job by our kids,” Jensen said.         

 

 
   

Hernstein Breaks Two Buckeye Central Records

 

          Buckeye Central senior Justin Hernstein crushed three home runs and drove in nine runs, both school records, in a 20-11 destruction of Lucas on Monday evening in a North Central Conference game.

          Lucas has a small field and coach Chad Jensen says Hernstein was able to take advantage of that are create some offense for the Bucks.  “We hit the ball well.  Down at Lucas it’s a short porch, but we were able to hit some gaps.  Justin Hernstein had s school record three home runs and a school record nine RBI and tied a record with five hits.  Tyler Erwin hit a home run and we had a bunch of doubles.  Lucas stayed with it because they also hit a grand slam and you are never out of it down there.  We were able to keep hitting and hit a lot and that helped out our pitching staff quite a bit,” said Jensen.

          Jensen says he doesn’t believe there will any future ill affects from the power outburst on Monday.  He says he was actually more concerned that some his players were out there trying to hit home runs.  “My biggest concern is them swinging different down at Lucas because they try to hit home runs.  When you try to hit them is when you don’t.  We were able to get some good swings.  I really thought that Justin really did a nice job of putting the bat on the ball and not trying to hit homers.  He was able to get it up in the wind a little bit,” he told Swankonsports.com, “When we go back at home Wednesday against Lucas our kids will be back to normal and swinging better.  I just think a lot of our kids (Monday) were swinging too hard and trying to hit homers.  We had 20 hits, but I still think we didn’t play as well as we could have.”

          Buckeye Central (15-4,5-2) leads the sliver division and likely will be a top seed in the division four tournament, but Jensen does not allow his players to become satisfied with how they are playing.  “I tell our kids sometimes we nit pick a lot, but when you have talented players, and we’ve had good players over the years, we are going to nit pick.  Sometimes they get a little upset at us.  We talk about it.  It’s the little things that are going to give us the chance to win championships and win games.  Our kids expect that.  We had a base running error (Monday) and a couple of other things we can be better at.  Our kids expect us to point out the little things and help us improve and we are going to continue to do that,” Jensen said.

          Buckeye may be in first place, but Jensen says he, and the players, understand that there is still a long way to go when it comes to winning a title.  “We keep telling our kids that every league game is important.  We can’t go into cruise control.  Our kids know that playing a team like Lucas that has only won one game, but we go down there and anything is possible.  They hit the ball a little bit (Monday) and the kids know that we have to take one game at a time.  We really have a long way to go.  We have six more league games and they are all important,” said Jensen.    

 

 
   

Buckeye Maintains First Place in Silver Division

 

          A win over Crestline Monday evening kept Buckeye Central in first place in the North Central Conference baseball standings in the silver division.

          Tyler Erwin allowed only two hits and stuck out 12 for the Bucks.  Adam Paytner had three hits in Buckeye Central’s win (9-1) over the Bulldogs.  The win moves the Bucks record to 3-1 in conference play.  They beat Colonel Crawford twice last week and lost an inter-divisional game to Galion last week.  Coach Chad Jensen says it was an important win for the Bucks.  “It was a big win for us.  Crestline is in our division, the “NCC: is divided into two divisions this year, and Crestline is in our silver division.  We want to do well against those teams.  Galion is an excellent team in the black.  We lost to them, but they are a good team.  I was happy how we picked it back up (Monday) and took care of Crestline on a windy day,” he said.

          Crestline is greatly improved this year and Jensen says they knew they had to maintain their focus against the Bulldogs.  “We talk to our kids about every “NCC” game is important.  Our kids know Crestline and they know they aren’t going to look past us and we know we can’t take Crestline lightly.  Our kids were prepared and knew what we had to do.  We definitely preach to our kids not to look past people.  They didn’t (Monday) and we have to make sure they don’t do it on Wednesday either,” he said.

          Erwin is one of the best pitchers in the area and he is expected to toe the rubber again Friday when the Bucks (11-3,3-1) face black division co-leader Ontario (14-0,4-0) in an “NCC” game.  “We try to look at that depending on who is ready to go.  This week we were able to pitch Tyler Erwin (Monday), our number one, and he will be able to throw again on Friday.  It depends on weather and it depends on lots of things.  Three games a week is really difficult and I’m definitely not a fan of that.  We do the best we can and it depends on how it works out,” said Jensen.

          Outside of last Saturday this has been a pretty good spring weather wise so far.  However, it was extremely windy on Monday and Jensen says wind is a bigger factor in baseball than anything.  “I have been a high school coach for 16 years and I have never seen as windy a day as (Monday).  It was unbelievable, luckily it was warm, so we didn’t have to worry about that.  Fortunately for us Tyler Erwin was throwing hard and Crestline didn’t hit one out of the infield.  Our outfielders didn’t have to worry about it too much.  There were a couple of weak pop ups to the infield,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “It is very challenging with wind because of communication factors, kids can’t hear each other.  It does cause havoc in the outfield, so wind a lot of times is a bigger problem than cold quite frankly because it affects the baseball.”

 

 
   

Buckeye Edges Crawford in Bottom of Seventh

 

          Buckeye Central three sport star Adam Paynter ripped an RBI double Wednesday night to give the Buckeye Central Bucks a come from behind 8-7 win over the rival Colonel Crawford Eagles in a North Central Conference game.

          Buckeye (7-2,1-0) is the co-favorite in the silver division with Crawford, so given that, Bucks coach Chris Jensen knows it was a big win for his club.  “We are happy with our effort because definitely Crawford is an outstanding team.  We have them early in the year and we know we want to get off to a good start.  We were down 7-6 in the bottom of the seventh and put together a couple of hits and we were able to pull it out at home,” he said.

          In scoring the two runs in the bottom of the seventh it was the bottom third of the Buckeye Central order that set the table for Paynter’s heroics.  “Our bottom the order really stepped up.  We were down 7-6 and we had our six, seven and eight coming up. We had a walk and a big hit from our eight hitter Justin Miller and we were able to get our nine hitter on with a fielder’s choice.  Adam Paynter hit a walk off double for us.  We are really proud of our effort from the bottom of our order to get the job done for us,” said Jensen.

          Although they share first place in the silver division with Crestline (an 11-5 winner over Lucas Wednesday), Jensen says they are far from comfortable.  “We know we have a lot more to go.  We have Crawford again (Thursday).  It shows the character of our kids.  We talked about it was a great win (Wednesday) enjoy it, but we have to travel to Crawford (Thursday),” he told Swankonsports.com, “They are a quality team with some excellent players.  It’s going to be tough.  We just have to strap it on (Thursday) and see if we can get it done, but it’s not going to be easy.”

          The re-match is Thursday in North Robinson.  Colonel Crawford (1-7,0-1) has lost some frustrating games this season, but Jensen knows the talent the Eagles have and he expects them to come out fighting.  “We have to refocus again (Thursday) and get ready for Crawford because they are going to forget.  They definitely feel they had a chance to win.  Their kids are resilient and have been successful in other sports as well.  It’s going to be tough and I think our kids know that, but we definitely have to come ready to play because I know Crawford will be,” said Jensen.

 

 
   

Buckeye Central Ready to Compete

 

          Buckeye Central lost some talent from a year ago, but they still have a lot back, and they will be heard from in the silver division race of the North Central Conference.

          After downing Carey (13-3) on Thursday night, the Bucks have improved to 6-2 on the season.  Coach Chad Jensen says they have played well in spots, but they still have a lot to prove as a baseball team.  “We lost 3-2 to Northmor, a quality team, and we lost 7-5 to New Riegel, who was able to string together a bunch of hits.  We had a chance to win in the seventh.  We have lost two games by three runs, so we are doing fine,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday night, “We are still getting a feel for our team.  We are replacing some kids that we lost from last year.  We are still young.  We haven’t played a league game yet, but I’m excited about our kids.  They work hard.  They do what is asked of them.  We start league play next week against Colonel Crawford and Galion.”

          Jensen says during non-conference play over the first couple of weeks of the season they have been seeing who is ready to contribute at the varsity level and who might need more seasoning.  “This year maybe a little bit because have two weeks before our league starts.  We start seven seniors, but we have some other kids that we aren’t sure about.  We have changed some lineups here and there and got some kids in and took a look at them.  You can do that in non-league play and we have been able to do that.  We are out to win every game, don’t get me wrong.  But, we can check some things out that maybe we couldn’t do playing league games early.  Some kids have stepped up, which has helped us.  These non league games help us prepare for the league,” said Jensen.

          Much has been made of the new bb-core bats in use in high school baseball this year.  However, Jensen doesn’t believe that it has been all that big of a factor when it comes to pitching techniques.  “I think it definitely helps our pitchers, but I’m not sure that our kids are conscious of that.  Not matter what year it is or what bats they are using we try to get ahead and we try to keep it down and that doesn’t change.  I think the results have changed, but how we attack hitters hasn’t changed.  If you get the ball up they are going to get base hits no matter what bats they are using,” said Jensen.

          There might be a little bit more small ball in baseball, but Jensen doesn’t believe the new bats have made that much of a difference when it comes to the way coaches are managing the game.  “We have played eight games and I really haven’t seen that much of a difference in the way teams have approached the game to be honest.  It does affect the outcome.  The bottom line with these bats is if you hit it on the sweet spot you are going to hit it hard and get base hits,” he said.

          Based on what he has seen from his team this season, Jensen believes they can compete in the “NCC,” but he believes that Colonel Crawford is the favorite to win the silver division.  “I definitely think we can be competitive in the race.  Like I said before I think Crawford is a team to watch in our silver division.  They have a lot of kids back.  I think they have a lot of strong arms and I think they have a top four or five kids that can really hit the baseball.  I think we can be competitive, no question about it.  I really just want us to get better and improve each game.  We start off with Crawford on Tuesday and we will find out where we are at,” said Jensen.      

 

 
   

Buckeye Central Hitting the Ball

 

          Buckeye Central is playing some pretty good baseball and they have been able to score some runs over the first week of the season.

          Coach Chad Jensen says in order to win some games they have to play with the same sort of passion that has been associated with Buckeye Central baseball over the last several seasons.  “We started out the first weekend we played and really hit the ball well and were aggressive and played with enthusiasm and all the things we have done in the past to make ourselves successful,” he told Swankonsports.com, “We just have to make sure that we are always prepared and focused.  We have a lot of seniors and sometimes we think we can just step on the field and win and that is certainly not the case and our kids know that.  We’ve addressed that in practice.”

          Buckeye’s only loss this season came to a talented Northmor team (3-2) last Wednesday.  They downed Plymouth in both ends of a doubleheader on Saturday, winning the first game 17-11 and the second game 9-0.

          The Bucks (4-1) qualified for the regional tournament in two of the last three years and the play traditional rival Wynford (4-1) in a non-conference game between conference rivals on Monday.  They play a couple teams out of the Midland Athletic League in New Riegel on Tuesday and Carey on Thursday.

          Jensen says they have been able to get out on the practice field and make the improvements that they need to in order to become a good team.  “Last year was an unusually wet spring.  Even compared to other years this year has been incredibly great.  There have been lots of days when we have been able to get out and be comfortable.  We have been pretty fortunate.  It all evens out I guess,” he said.

          Jensen is also an assistant varsity football coach at Buckeye Central.  He says he supports the Bucks leaving the North Central Conference to help form the Northern Ten.  “I have been a big supporter of the new league.  You have schools that are all similar in size.  That is a huge factor.  I have been one that has come out and said that I wasn’t an advocate of the ten team “NCC.”  I have told that to anyone who would care to listen.  I was not in favor of it.  I felt like two divisions and playing teams once wasn’t going to work out and ultimately it didn’t.  I think it is going to better for us.  I do feel for some of the schools that were left out, but unfortunately that’s the way things go,” said Jensen.  

 

 

 
   

Buckeye Needs Younger Kids to Play Well

 

          Buckeye Central returns the core a very good baseball team from a year ago, but they have to fill some holes as well is they are going to be competitive in the North Central Conference this season.

          They finished third in the “NCC” and qualified for the division four regional tournament last year.  Coach Chad Jensen says they have a group of players with experience, but they lost some key players to graduation as well.  “We return six letter winners and they all played on our last two teams that made it to the regionals.  So, we have some experience there.  We return Tyler Erwin, who our number two pitcher last year behind Sam Schafer, who went to Ohio State.  We return Chase Finney, who was our number three last year.  We return the top half of our line up,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We have a little bit of inexperience in the bottom half of the lineup.  We are going to have to have some young kids fill some spots.  We have eight seniors overall and I would say a veteran group of kids, even the younger kids that fill in have played a little bit.  Our expectations are high, but we know that we have some spots to fill.  We lost some very good players last year in Sam Schafer and Alex Finney and Neil Fortney.”

          Buckeye Central advanced to the division six state title game in football and won a sectional title in basketball.  Jensen says hey have players that know of to win and expect too.  “Our kids expect to win.  Even if they are not the best team on the field they expect to win everything they take the field in any sport.  That is what is so special with this group of seniors.  Most of this group has played since they were sophomores.  Tyler has played since he was a freshman.  Most of these kids expect to win.  They work hard at it to get those results.  We definitely have that experience factor.  We have some holes to fill, which does concern me a little bit.  I would say last year with the team that we had, all juniors and seniors, we were petty solid.  Some kids have to step up, it will be interesting to see what happens,” said Jensen.

          Right now, Buckeye is a team with a lot of potential, according to Jensen, but he says some younger players are going to need to step up for the potential to be realized.  “We return our top four hitters from last year, so the top of our lineup is going to be solid.  We have a lot of kids with potential and every coach uses that “P” word.  We have kids with potential, but quite honestly can they produce at the varsity level?  I don’t know.  A lot of people are going to pick us to be successful.  It really depends on that and pitching depth.  I mean we lost Sam Schafer and he was the best pitcher in the area last year and we lose him.  Paul Richardson was a kid that threw 35 innings for us last year with an ERA under 2.00, and we lose him.  We definitely have to have some kids step up.  We feel good about the kids we’ve got, however we have to see,” said Jensen.

          It might be the same in baseball as it was in basketball.  Jensen says he believes that Colonel Crawford is the best team in the small school division.  “I think without question in our silver division that Colonel Crawford is the team to beat.  They return Matt Metcalf, who is an outstanding pitcher, as well as Austin Adams and Jordan Shell.  They return some kids that are busy playing basketball right now.  They return a lot of kids in their lineup.  They return some kids that are pretty good.  In our silver division I don’t think there is any question that the team to beat is Crawford,” said Jensen.

 

 
   

Bucks Must Have Patience

 

 

          Buckeye Central has the athletic skill to get down the floor and make some easy baskets, but they also have to have the patience when those transition baskets aren’t there.

          The Bucks (12-9) plays Sandusky St. Mary’s (13-9) in the division four district semi-finals on Tuesday night at Willard High School.

          In sectional final action last Friday night at Ontario, the Bucks held Crestline scoreless in the first quarter and went on to beat the Bulldogs (56-41) to win the sectional title.  Buckeye coach Phil Loy feels they were able to control things early and that was the big key.  “Playing a team like Crestline who had given a lot of teams in our league fits, especially at their place.  Plying them a third time is also a concern.  I was a little concerned going in there and wanted to make sure we did get off to a good start.  If they jump out on you and get the lead they have the tendency to spread the floor and that just makes for a long night for us guarding them on a big floor like they have at Ontario,” he told Swankonsports.com, “I thought our kids did a good job, it was 9-0 after the first quarter.  They are a good enough team they made a run and cut it back to six at halftime.  We were fortunate to stretch it out again in the second half and get it up to as many as 17 or 18.”

          St. Mary’s is the smallest school in the Sandusky Bay Conference and they come into the district tournament well tested.  Loy says they have an athletic team that has a lot of height for the Bucks to contend with.  “Sandusky St. Mary’s is definitely a good team.  Their record is similar to ours and they play in a tough conference also.  They are definitely no slouch.  They can put five guys on the floor that can absolutely score.  They have quickness, they have shooters.  They have some athletic kids.  On the inside they create some problems with 6-5 Joe Youskievicz or 6-6 maybe.  He is a big, strong kid and the guy that backs him up is a 6-5 post player, who also is very strong.  It’s going to create some problems for us a little bit, but we’ll see what happens,” said Loy.

          Loy says that Youskievicz does a nice job of getting up and down the floor for a big man and he can be very difficult to keep off the offensive boards.  “I think he does a real good job of running the floor, getting to the low block, being big and you have to make sure you get into a good position because he does a really good job sealing you.  They do a very good job of looking at him on the reversal to throw it inside.  He is also very good at just going after offensive rebounds.  He is big and strong and if you don’t get down low and get a good box out on him he is just going to go get it.  Their guards seem to attack the board hard too.  If we don’t box out (Tuesday) night it could be a long night,” said Loy.

          Buckeye would like to get some easy transitions hoops in this game, but if they don’t get that chance on a particular possession then they have to be able to get a good shot out of their half court offense.  “I think that if we do not get something in transition, which will obviously be our first look, we want to make sure they have to play defense on us for more than just a couple of passes.  I think we can get some good looks (Tuesday) night either by dribble penetration or coming off screens,” said Loy. 

 

 
   

Buckeye Has Things to Work on

 

          Buckeye Central closes the regular season with a North Central Conference game against rival Wynford on Friday night.

          They played a non-conference game against the Royals (one that doesn’t count in the league standings) on January 26 and Wynford won (65-49) that night.  Bucks coach Phil Loy says they must play better defense this time, especially against the Royals top two scorers.  “Well, the last time we played them Steh Rall and Zach Chatlian just went off on us and scored about 90 percent of their points.  I didn’t think we did a very good job defending, especially those two.  At the offensive end I didn’t think we executed our offense very well. We didn’t set very good screens.  We still got some good looks inside and didn’t finish.  In that game we were down four at halftime and we could never get over that hump.  We have to focus defending, especially those two, do a better job of rebounding, and just executing our offense,” said Loy.

          It isn’t just Buckeye Central that Chatlain and Rall have had big numbers against they both average over 16 points per game and are first tam all-district selections.  Loy says they can not lose those two guys on the floor.  “We will mix things up a little bit.  We will primarily be in a man defense.  I just think the last time we played them we just didn’t put enough attention on them.  We tried to play them straight up.  We will look to double down on them and not help off of them as much,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “They are a team where you are going to have to take some chances.  You really have to keep the Butler kid off the boards.  He is averaging over 10 rebounds a game.  We can’t help off of him because we have to keep him off the boards.  I thought we did a good job with that the first time.  We are just going to have to pay more attention to Chatlian and Rall and make the other kids beat you.”

          Buckeye (10-9,6-6) will play either Mansfield St. Peter’s (6-14) or Crestline (5-14) in the division four sectional finals at Ontario High School March 2.  Loy wants his team to work on making better decisions with the basketball.  “We keep stressing to our kids that we have to be more disciplined at the offensive end.  The kids like to get out and run and that is fine when we have something in transition, but we have to set it up.  We typically have a hard time running an offense and making the other team play defense for any length of time.  After one or two passes we feel like we have to get a shot up and it’s not always a good shot.  If it’s a good look, then that’s great.  I want us to focus more on getting the ball inside.  If we don’t like what we have we can kick it out and we will get a lot better looks that way.  That has sort of been our focus the last couple of games,” said Loy.

 

 
   

Buckeye Facing Tough One

 

          Buckeye Central might have its most difficult game of the season on Friday night as they travel to black division leader Upper Sandusky for a North Central Conference game.

          It has been a season for the Bucks (9-8,5-5) in which they have won the games you thought they would win for sure, but they haven’t gotten those 50-50 games or pulled a big upset.  They get that chance on Friday.

          Coach Phil Loy was pretty positive they were headed in the right direction, but last week a loss (58-51) to Bucyrus was a step back.  “I was thinking so prior to Saturday, but we went over to Bucyrus and I didn’t think we played very well.  We could never get over the hump there.  I thought we didn’t do a very good job executing our offense.  For the most part we got a lot of good looks, but we couldn’t make shots.  Bucyrus was very efficient.  They were very patient offensively and made shots.  To me that was tough loss, so hopefully this is a good week of practice.  Friday is going to be one of our toughest tests of the season with the Upper Sandusky Rams.  They are the leader in the black division.  They are very disciplined, they play you physical.  We are going to have to play our best game on Friday,” said Loy.

          Upper Sandusky (14-3,10-1) is clearly one of the most patient teams in the State of Ohio, having won a number of games this season when they didn’t score 35 points.  Loy says they need patience, but more than that they have to rebound well.  “We like to play an up tempo game.  I think if our kids had their way, I think we would be in transition every possession as we get a little inpatient offensively.  We are trying to teach them if we don’t have anything, we have to make them play defense.  And because Upper plays defense so hard, we can’t relieve the pressure by just taking quick shots.  We have to make every possession count.  They don’t score a whole lot of points, but they are pretty good.  They get good looks.  What we have to concentrate on is keeping them off the boards and not giving them second opportunities,” said Loy.

          Rebounding is going to be a big factor in this game and Loy knows they are going to have to get their share if they expect to stay in the game.  “They are so athletic.  They have some good size and their big guys are so quick with long arms.  We just have to focus and have one of our better rebounding nights against them because if we don’t they are just going to go to the glass, and go to the glass hard.  They are going to get the rebound and put the shot back in and we can’t afford to do that,” he said.

          On Saturday night, the Bucks play host to Lucas (0-16,0-10) in a game within the sliver division.  Loy says they certainly don’t want to be Lucas’ first victim and that could happen if they don’t play well.  “It’s going to be senior night for us, our last home game.  Lucas is playing better.  Last week, they lost a heartbreaker to Riverdale.  I know they were right there and actually had the lead and let it slip away.  They are starting to play with more confidence.  It’s definitely not game where you go in and think you are going to walk all over them,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “They are team that if they get a little bit of confidence and get a lead on you early we could be in for a long night.  We have to make sure we are focused there and not have a let down from Friday night playing the best team in the league to playing one of the teams that has struggled a little bit.”

 

 
   

Buckeye Building For Postseason

 

          Chances of catching Colonel Crawford the for the silver division title in the North Central Conference are slim, so Buckeye Central has turned its attention to being ready for the postseason tournament, which begins in three weeks.

          The Bucks (8-7,5-4) beat Riverdale (57-40) last Saturday.  Coach Phil Loy says went out and got and early lead in the game, which was critical because the Falcons had been slowing the game down if they got any kind of lead in the game.  “I thought our last two games our effort has been a lot better.  Riverdale is a dangerous team, even though their record isn’t real good.  They are a team that gave Crawford all they wanted and ended losing by four at Crawford.  They lost to Galion by 12 at Galion.  This was a team that we could not take lightly.  If they get a little bit of a lead they are going to stretch you out and go four corners.  We were focused early and disciplined early.  We took good shots.  We wanted to take an early lead and we did that,” said Loy.

          Buckeye shot well in the game, making more than 50 percent of their field goals.  They are a pretty athletic for a division four school and when they shoot well they are hard to beat.

          On Thursday night, the Bucks play at home in New Washington against the Mansfield Christian Flames (8-7), who despite some injuries won all three of their game last week.  Loy says they may have some depth concerns, but Christian is still a very dangerous team.  “I got a chance to see them against Marion Catholic and the thing with them is they play hard.  They still have some good athletes there now.  They lost a starter and I think they lost the first guy off the bench.  That really hurts their depth and they had to pull a few JV kids up,” Loy told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “Depth is an issue for them, but they still have three kids that are very solid.  The night that I saw them one those kids had 26 points against Marion Catholic.  They scored a lot form the perimeter and got some stuff inside.  They have some athletic kids.  They have some quickness.  It’s a team like Riverdale that we have to make sure that we are focused early and get the job done.”

          With similar records Buckeye Central and Mansfield Christian are in the same division four sectional at Ontario, so this could be a game that might affect seeding.

          To close the weekend on Saturday night, Buckeye travels to Bucyrus (5-11,2-7) for an intra divisional game in the “NCC” with the Redmen.  Loy says with the teams they have left to play they should be prepared for the tournament.  “As far as winning the silver division for us, that might be out of our control now.  We have to focus on each game and worry about getting better each game.  We have a tough schedule ahead of us and Bucyrus is no exception.  We also have an Upper Sandusky team on the road and a Wynford team on the road.  Those games are really going to prepare us well for the tournament.  Our main focus is keep getting better and preparing ourselves for the tournament,” said Loy.

 

 
   

Buckeye Central Must Keep Focus

 

          If Buckeye Central has any chance of catching Colonel Crawford in the race for the silver division title in the North Central Conference they have to run the table and that starts Friday night at home with Riverdale.

          Right now, Crawford holds a two game lead over Buckeye Central in the standings.

          Last Saturday, Buckeye (8-6,5-4) played well, but lost at home to Ontario (64-54) in an inter-divisional game.  Bucks coach Phil Loy says he was very pleased with the effort his kids gave against Ontario.  “I thought our effort was a lot better against Ontario than it had been the last three or four games.  That is something we have really been talking about.  I think our kids can do a lot more.  Win of lose against Ontario I just wanted to make sure we had a lot better effort and I really did see that Saturday night.  We jumped on Ontario.  We were up 17-8 in the first quarter and playing really hard, but unfortunately we hard a few turnovers and a few missed shots.  They hit some big shots.  I was happy, even though we lost, just because of the effort,” said Loy.

          Riverdale is a basketball team that has tried a number of different things to try and get better this year and Loy thinks it is working.  They haven’t won lately, but they have pushed some good teams pretty hard.  “Even though their record is 3-10 and they are 1-7 in the league.  They have only won one game out of their last ten and that was against a struggling Lucas team.  If you look at their last few games,” Loy told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “They played Colonel Crawford really tough down to the wire.  They lost by four at Colonel Crawford.  They go to Galion last Thursday and they lose by 12 in a game that Galion could never pull away.  That was on the road too.  They are a team that plays hard to the end.  They aren’t big, but they have good guards.  I think it’s a team that we can definitely not over look.”

          On January 21, Riverdale almost upset the division leading Colonel Crawford Eagles.  They became very patient and took the Eagles down to the final minutes of the game.  Loy thinks if they don’t get off to a good start Riverdale could employ the same strategy against them.  He says they have to get off to a good start against the Falcons.  “I think they definitely would if they had the lead.  We have to make sure we jump out and get a lead and be very efficient offensively, get some stops defensively and rebound the basketball.  We need to do everything we can to make sure we get off to a lead.  I think if it is a close game or if we have a two of four point lead they were go four corners and try really to control the tempo and limit our possessions,” said Loy.

 

 
   

Buckeye Central Needs to Improve

 

          Buckeye Central maybe at a crossroads of its season and they need a good performance in a Monday night game against New Riegel to get back on track a little bit.

          On Saturday night, Galion shot 50 percent from field and they beat Buckeye (72-58) in a North Central Conference game.  Bucks (6-3) coach Phil Loy says Galion’s athleticism game them some problems and the Tigers just shot it very well.  “We ran into the good Galion on Saturday night.  Galion has been up and down, but they are very athletic, very quick and have good size.  They are capable of shooting it well and we saw all of that Saturday night.  McCuen inside and out he shot the ball very well.  Their guards are very quick and caused us some problems.  It’s not that we played a bad game.  It definitely wasn’t our best effort, but Galion just shot the ball very well,” said Loy.

          Galion’s record of 4-8 isn’t that impressive, but Loy says they had beaten some very good teams and lost to some good ones too and he knew the Tigers were going to be a challenge.  “Their wins were over quality opponents in Mansfield Madison, Colonel Crawford and Ontario.  You know, some of their losses were against very good opponents as well.  Looking at that with us being a smaller school I knew definitely we couldn’t take them lightly because they have played a strong schedule,” he said.

          New Riegel (8-1) stands in second place in the Midland Athletic League.  The Blue Jackets only loss comes to Carey (58-56) in a league game.  Loy says the Blue Jackets aren’t biggest or fastest team they will face, but they know you to play the game.  “Coach Aichholz does a nice job with his kids.  The JV teams are always strong.  The varsity team is always right there in the hunt.  They are 8-1 right now.  They play nine guys who are just athletic kids,” Loy told Swankonsports.com, “They don’t have the size of like a Galion or the quickness of a Galion, but New Riegel teams are always fundamentally sound.  They do all of the little things correct.  I was telling our kids they rebound well, they box out well, they close out on shooters well, and they execute their offense.  They will try to get up and pressure us and get an up tempo game going.  We have to be very solid in what we do.”

          In their last two games New Riegel has destroyed “MAL” opponents in Mohawk (89-22) and North Baltimore (81-26) last Friday night.  Loy says to compete with the Blue Jackets they have to play a little more like them.  “We have to make sure we keep getting better in those areas.  I think we are a little behind for some reason is those areas.  We don’t box out every possession like we need to.  Defensively we are just not where we need to be.  Hopefully, we just keep getting better and we see some good results Monday night,” said Loy.

 

 
   

Buckeye Central is Finally Home

 

          After a long road trip the Buckeye Central Bucks will host the Plymouth Big Red in a non-conference game on Tuesday night in New Washington. 

          Buckeye put together two wins over weekend.  They downed Riverdale (59-44) on Friday night in a silver division game in the North Central Conference.  They beat Seneca East (58-51) in non-conference play on Saturday night.  Bucks coach Phil Loy was pleased with the effort he got both nights from his players.  “It was a very good weekend for us.  That finishes a stretch of five road games for us.  That was kind of tough with the preseason that we have had.  Going to Riverdale is always a tough place for us to play no matter what their record is.  It seems like they always give us a good battle.  I thought we played pretty solid in that game,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We go to Seneca East and there was a good crowd out there and they are playing a lot better basketball.  Fortunately for us Chase Finney shot the ball form the perimeter very well.  He was five for five from behind the arch in the first half and that gave us a pretty good 10 point lead and we were able to hang on.”

          Buckeye Central (5-2) got a very late start to the season.  They didn’t play their first game until December 20 after they made it to the division six state finals in football.  Loy says they are trying to work themselves into basketball shape, but that has been difficult for a couple of reasons.  “I think that we are pretty good.  I don’t think we are there yet.  I don’t know if everybody completely has their basketball legs.  There are a few guys I would say are in really good basketball shape right now.  We are not really deep so it’s forcing a lot of our guys to play a lot of minutes.  Unfortunately the same guys that are playing a lot of minutes for me in basketball played every down in football.  We have to be careful with our practices.  We can’t beat them too hard and make them run too much in practice.  So, most of their conditioning is coming on game night and I think they have handled it pretty well,” said Loy.

          Plymouth (4-3) has played well too.  They have been very competitive in the Firelands Conference.  Loy says the Big Red has a good balance of players on the perimeter and inside.  “Plymouth is scary.  Seeing them on film they have some good speed and some good height.  They like to pound the ball inside.  They have the experience with Ryan Benfer, who a 6-4 junior, who is doing the majority of their scoring.  They have another senior in Craig Miller, their point guard, who I think is very quick and dangerous.  Tyrell Edmiston, a freshman, has great touch inside.  He is a very good leaper and a strong kid.  He definitely doesn’t look like a freshman when you watch him.  Tyson Beebe is a 5-11 freshmen and gets very good minutes for them.  It just seems like they play with a lot of energy,” said Loy.

          Right now, the Bucks are a half game behind Colonel Crawford in the silver division of the “NCC,” but Loy says this game with Plymouth will make them a better team.  “It’s going to be a good atmosphere I think even though it’s a Tuesday night game.  With the location of the two schools I think it will be a nice crowd like it was with Seneca East.  It will kind of be like a sectional, district type game,” said Loy.   

 

 
   

Buckeye Central Needs to Maintain

 

          Buckeye Central now sits in a three way tie for first place in the silver division of the North Central Conference and they need to stick with the leaders, especially Colonel Crawford, until they get their chance at revenge.

          Crawford rallied in the second half to beat Buckeye Central (69-56) on Tuesday night in a conference game.  Crawford, Buckeye and Crestline are all 2-1 in conference play.  Buckeye beat Crestline (68-47) December 23.  Bucks coach Phil Loy says they kind of ran out of gas against Crawford on Tuesday night.  “I thought our kids played really well.  It just was in the second half Crawford played better.  In first half I thought we executed the game plan very well.  We did have a ten point lead at halftime.  We pounded it inside and got shots and got to the foul line.  I thought key for us in that game was to handle their pressure.  They like to full court pressure you and trap.  We did an excellent job of breaking that.  What we wanted to do is if we couldn’t get anything out of transition was to pull it out and make them have to play half court defense.  I really felt in the first half we did a really good job of that,” Loy told swankonsports.com, “In the second half we still got the same looks.  I think our kids wore down a little bit, we aren’t real deep right now.  We were missing the shots that we were making in the first half, which allowed Crawford to get out in transition and they started making some shots.  They started feeding off of each other when they started making threes.  They made 12 threes for the game and that was hard for us to overcome.”

          Buckeye Central (3-2,2-1) travels to Riverdale on Friday night for a silver division game with the Falcons (3-5,0-3).  Loy says games in Mt. Blanchard never seem easy for them.  “It is always tough to go to Riverdale and play no matter how good they are.  It always seems like it’s a game where we can never separate ourselves from them.  They return five guys from a pretty decent team last year.  They have a real good point guard who is just a sophomore in Steve Holderman.  They return their post player.  They are going to be pretty good.  We got to see them play the first game of the year against a pretty good Carey team.  They had them beat and lost at the buzzer.  Carey is a team that beat us in our first game.  We have to make sure we execute and do the little things so we come out on top,” said Loy.

          Colonel Crawford (7-2,2-1) is a very good team as was proven in the second half Tuesday night.  Loy says they must keep winning because they can’t fall many games behind the Eagles.  “We have to take care and win the games that we think we should win, especially on the road.  We have to hope that some of the schools beat, or upset Colonel Crawford, weather it is the big division or the small division.  We have to make sure we stay in line with them as much as possible and then hopefully get them the next time we play them,” said Loy.

 

 
   

Buckeye Central Wants to Build

 

          Buckeye Central might take a while to get going consistently, but the Bucks have the potential to be one of the better small school teams in the area this season. 

          They play twice on this week between Christmas and New Year’s.  They play at Mansfield St. Peter’s (2-5) on Thursday and at Lucas (0-6) in a North Central Conference game on Friday night.

          Buckeye shares first place in the silver division of the “NCC” with Colonel Crawford after beating Crestline (68-47) last week behind 18 from Tyler Erwin.  “We came out and for three quarters we shot the ball very well.  I think we started each quarter six for six or seven for seven.  Our whole emphasis that night was to push the ball inside and try to take advantage inside and if we don’t like what we have, If we get doubled up, them we pitch it,” Buckeye Central coach Phil Loy told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday. “I felt like in our loss to Carey that we were perimeter happy.  Down the stretch when we could have cut into the lead even more I felt we settled for perimeter shots that weren’t falling.  So, our whole emphasis against Crestline was to push the ball inside and I think that was why we shot a better percentage.”

          It can be a very good season for the Bucks, especially if they are good decision makers with the basketball in their hands.  Loy feels they have to know what a good shot is.  “We just have to make sure we are patient here early on.  We have to understand that we aren’t going to shoot as well as we would like right now, but that’s why we really have to look at going inside and then go out.  If we are hitting, we are hitting.  We can’t settle for that.  I think as the season goes on we will be a pretty good perimeter shooting team,” he said.

          Mansfield St. Peter’s is a much better team that they were a year ago and Loy says the Spartans have a lot of treats on offense and they have the ability to stretch a defense.  “Dangerous is a good word for St. Peter’s.  Their record might not show it.  Just from what we have seen on them they have good guard play, they have some wings that, in my mind, can flat out shoot it, especially if you give them some time and space.  They have the Rall kid inside, who can play outside too, that can be very dangerous.  They are team that seems like they never quit.  If they are down 10, 15, even 20 they are going to keep battling and feel like they are in the game.  You have to keep battling because they are just going to keep creeping back on you and end up making it a ballgame.  We have to make sure we go in there and are focused and take care of business,” said Loy.

          Buckeye Central is 6-2 to 6-4 at the guard position and they are much taller than St. Peter’s.  Loy hopes to be able to take advantage of that.  “Their guards are athletic, but we would like to think that we can take them inside, either off the dribble or post them up or shoot over the top of them.  We are trying to take advantage where we can, but we have to make sure we don’t force the issue,” he said.

          On Friday night, the Bucks will be in Lucas to take on the Cubs.  It’s has been a difficult start to the season for the Cubs, but Loy says they have to go there with a mission in mind.  “It’s on the road at Lucas and we have to make sure we are ready and that is tough for any team that goes there.  Maybe it’s because of the drive, it’s an hour for us and it’s easy to lose focus, especially because they aren’t having that great of a year.  They have gotten beaten up pretty good by some teams.  We have to go down there and take care of Buckeye Central,” said Loy.     

 

 
   

Buckeye Central Begins Season

 

          Buckeye Central hopes to be able to take the success they had on the football field to the basketball floor and that process begins on Tuesday night when they travel to Carey for a non-conference game.

          Buckeye Central finished as the state runner-up in football’s division six.

          Coach Phil Loy says they are ready to get started and he hopes they don’t have too much rust as they are going to have to play well to have a chance to win.  “This will be Carey’s sixth game, so it will be interesting.  The kids are excited.  It’s been a different preseason for us trying to get ready.  Most of the time we have only had seven kids.  I just got the football kids back December 8th, so we have only had them for a week and a half.  We are ready to get going,” said Loy.

          Buckeye put together a 15-7 record a year ago and they return a lot of talent from that team.  Loy says they have a number of different options because they can play players at a number of different spots.  “I have five seniors and four them played football.  We have a good post player in Bryce Collins.  He is powerful and a good wide body.  We have Tyler Erwin and he is going to be a four year player for us,” Loy told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “He can play pretty much any position.  We will run him some at point guard, but when Bryce Collins goes out, he will also play in the post.  We will play him on the wing some.  It will be the same with Chase Finney.  Adam Paynter is just a very good athlete.  He is very quick and plays great defense.  We will get some scoring inside and out from him.  This year with this group we will get a lot of versatility.”  Plus, they have the experience of winning they bring from the football field.

          Defense is going to be key early in the season because other teams might be a little ahead in terms of the depth their offensive attack.  However, Loy says that may not be as much of a factor for them.  “We are not changing a whole lot of stuff this year and the kids seem to be picking up on it pretty well, but we are going to have to be good defensively.  We can’t allow teams to have second chances at the basket.  We are going to have to try and control the game and really not get out and run until we get our legs under us.  Defense is going to have to be good in the early season because who knows how well we will be able to shoot it,” said Loy.

          Carey (4-1) is a co-leader in the Midland Athletic League and Loy says the Blue Devils also have some kids that can do a lot of things with the ball.  “Since we have been off we have gotten a chance to see them three times.  They are smart and they have some athletic kids.  They have some quickness at the guards.  They are athletic inside.  It will be a challenge for us for our first game,” said Loy.

 

 
   

Buckeye Must Deal With Speed

 

          Buckeye Central meets four-time state champion Maria Stein Marion Local for the division six state football championship Saturday morning at 11 at Fawcett Stadium in Canton.

          It is Buckeye’s second appearance in the state finals having advanced to the title game in 1995.  That year they lost to St. Henry 10-7.  Marion Local and St. Henry are both members of the famed Midwest Athletic Conference.  Buckeye hopes history doesn’t repeat itself. 

          Last week, Buckeye Central (12-2) edged unbeaten Berlin Center Western Reserve 22-21 to advance to the state title game.  “”No doubt we had some kids make some big plays for us.  None bigger than Thomas Kaple making that play on fourth down for us,” said Bucks coach Jason Ratliff.  Kaple deflected a Western Reserve fourth down pass with just 26 seconds left after the Blue Devils decided against a game winning field goal try.

          Buckeye had won their previous three playoff games by significant margins.  One thing that was uncharacteristic of the Bucks was the four interceptions thrown by district offensive player of the year Tyler Erwin.  “Yeah we had a few turnovers, but our kids adjusted very well and rebounded very well.  We try to limit out turnovers as much as possible, but sometimes they happen,” said Ratliff.

          Marion Local (12-2) has appeared in the state playoffs in 11 of the last 12 years and they won division six state titles in 2000, 2001, 2006 and 2007.  Last Saturday night they beat Delphos St. John’s 21-14 to advance to the final.  “They are a well coached team.  They have great team speed. Offensively they can either throw or run.  The get on you on the offensive line and they have good, fast running backs,” Ratliff told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Their quarterback is only a sophomore, but he makes good decisions.  On defense, they get after you and blitz from every angle.  It will be a key for our offensive line to pick up the blitzes this week.”

          The unsung aspect of the Buckeye Central team is the play of their offensive line, which has been good all season.  Ratliff has confidence that they will be able to pick up the blitzes they will see on Saturday.  “They do a lot of different things defensively we have to make sure we pick up.  We are fortunate to have five seniors on the offensive line, so they do a pretty good job communication with each other.  They have been playing together for years now and they usually get things picked up,” said Ratliff.

          At this level all teams are outstanding, but some are easier to prepare for than others because of the things they do.  Ratliff says the Marion Local defense does some things that have made them make some tweaks to their game plan.  “Their defense causes some problems both running the football and throwing the football.  We have to be able to adjust to what we see on the field,” he said.

          In order to bring home the state championship to Crawford County Ratliff says they Bucks have to contain that Marion Local speed and get to the ball carrier and bring him down.  “We have to try and control their speed.  Up front they are very quick on both sides of the football offensively and defensively.  We have to try and neutralize that.  We need to be solid on the line of scrimmage.  We have to get off blocks and make plays and tackle well,” said Ratliff.    

 

 
   

Again Buckeye Central Must Compete

 

          We keep saying that Buckeye Central is going to face a tough opponent and it keeps not happening, well again I say the buck stops here.

          Buckeye Central (11-2) meets Berlin Center Western Reserve (13-0) in the division six state semi finals on Saturday night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon on Saturday night with kickoff at 7PM.

          Last week, Buckeye Central walloped their third straight playoff opponent taking out Bealsville 40-0.  “Our defense played great again.  Like I said last week they were quick at all of the positions on the field.  Our defense got after it and shut their running game down,” said Buckeye Central coach Jason Ratliff.  Another thing that had Ratliff concerned going into the game last week was the multiple fronts that Bealsville was going to show them.  “The offensive line did a nice job once again.  They did pick up the blitz several times.  We had a few slip through, but for the most part they took care of the job.  The whole night we were able to run and throw the ball,” he added.

          Berlin Center Western Reserve finished the regular season ranked as the number one team in Ohio in division six by the Associated Press and they have not been beaten and rarely challenged this year.  “They are the AP number one team in the state and there is a reason for that.  They are very big up front.  They average about 280 pounds up front,” Ratliff told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “They have a running back that went over 2,000 yards.  Their quarterback, they will spread you out sometimes and let him run the football.  He is very dangerous as well and he can also throw.  Defensively, they are very aggressive.  They blitz their linebackers.  It’s just going to be a tough challenge for us.”  Running back Donnie Bolton has 65 carries in three playoff games for 492 yards.  Quarterback Jeff Clegg has thrown for more than 1,500 yards on the season.

          Western Reserve’s skilled players are very talented, but Ratliff believes the real battles are going to be in the trenches of the game.  “Our guys up front are going to have to maintain their position even though they are out weighed.  They are going to have to play the game like they are taught to play,” said Ratliff.

          Buckeye Central has won its three playoff games by a combined score of 123-7 and these are against good teams, not the little sisters of the poor.  “Our kids have a lot of confidence now.  They really believe in each other and what they are trying to do on the field.  Nobody is trying to do too much.  They are trying to do their own job.  Our kids don’t care who gets all of the glory.  They just want to win football games and move on.  They are having the time of their lives,” said Ratliff.  Buckeye Central is now one of just four teams remaining in the state in division six, but Ratliff says they are not in aye of their station.  He says they just love playing football.  “I think our kids are just excited to get to continue to play.  Everyday they show up at practice they are excited to be there again.  It’s a close knit group.  They have a lot of fun and they just want to continue to play as long as possible,” he said.

          Berlin Center Western Reserve might be the best team they have played this season but Ratliff says the keys aren’t much different than they have been all season.  “We can’t turn the ball over,” he said, “We have to control the ball if we are running or passing.  Our special teams have to play really well.  They get after it and try to block punts.  Our offensive line has to maintain blocks and pick up blitzes from their defense,” he said.

 

 
   

Buckeye Central Faces Quick Team

 

          Buckeye Central has not been challenged in its two playoff games so far, but that is likely to change when they play Bealsville in the division six regional finals on Saturday night at Westerville Central High School.

          Buckeye (10-2) has blasted South Gallia (46-0) and Zanesville Rosecrans (37-7) in its two playoff contests so far this season.  “We have played very well defensively.  Our kids have prepared themselves well each week and they have done a good job following the game plan,” Buckeye Central coach Jason Ratliff told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Our kids have done a real nice job.  Our defensive coordinator Terry Oswald has done a good job with these kids.  They listen to what he says.  He has those kids prepared and they have been showing up ready to play.”

          Another key is the balance that Buckeye has shown on offense between its run game and its pass game.  Unlike most teams Buckeye Central uses the pass the set up it run.  Tyler Erwin has really opened up the pass game early on and then in the second half, once they have built a lead, they have been able to run the ball and take time off the clock.  “You face teams that have good defenses and they try to take one thing away and you have to be able to go with something else and we are able to do that.  It’s allowed us to be successful the last couple of weeks,” said Ratliff.

          Bealsville (10-2) is located down by the Ohio River in southeastern Ohio and the Blue Devils got to this level with an exciting 35-34 win over Symms Valley last week.  Their only losses this season come to Strasburg-Franklin (27-17) and Shadyside (7-6).  Ratliff says they are a very quick team that can make big plays in an instant.  “They are a very quick team.  They have great team speed as a whole.  They can throw the ball and run the ball.  They are about 50/50 run and pass, kind of like us.  Defensively, they have several different fronts.  They will give you four or five different looks.  That’s a concern for us to make sure we get that blocked and that we are able to move the football consistently,” he said.  One of Buckeye’s losses this season comes to Ontario in North Central Conference action and the Warriors have some speed, but Ratliff believes that Bealsville is quicker.  “As an overall team they are quicker than Ontario.  Ontario has some real fast kids, but some of the kids up front aren’t as fast as these kids we will see on Saturday night,” he said.

          Along with being able to block that Bealsville defensive front, Ratliff says they can’t be giving the ball away if they expect to win.  “We can’t have any turnovers.  We can’t throw pics and we can’t fumble the ball,” he said.

 

 
   

Buckeye Central Must Limit Mistakes

 

          Buckeye Central continues to roll this high school football season and the Bucks have advanced to the second round of the division six playoffs and face Zanesville Rosecrans on Saturday night at Westerville Central High School.

          Last week, Buckeye Central (9-2) blasted South Gallia 46-0 in a game played in New Washington.  “Our Kids played pretty well on both sides of the ball on Saturday.  It was a nice win at home in front of our home fans,” said Buckeye Central coach Jason Ratliff.

          Teams want to be peaking at this time of the year because you have to be at your best to beat teams in the playoffs.  Ratliff says he doesn’t necessarily think they are peaking because they have been so consistent this year.  “Our kids have done a good job all year long of preparing for every team we play.  No matter if we won or lost they came back on Monday ready to go, looking at the scouting report, looking at the film and seeing what we have to do to beat the teams we play.  So, our kids have been focused all year long,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday.

          Zanesville Rosecrans (7-4) downed Danville, of the Mid-Buckeye Conference, 34-7 in a first round game played last Saturday.  Ratliff says Rosecrans doesn’t have great numbers, but what they do have is very good talent.  “They don’t have many players first of all, but the players they do have are quality kids.  They have a big offensive line.  They have three very fast running backs.  They have a big tight end.  He’s 6-6 and 220 pounds.  They have a good quarterback.  He can run and throw and he’s 6-4 and 230,” he said.

          Buckeye Central has been one of the more versatile offensive teams in the Greater Mansfield Area led by outstanding quarterback Tyler Erwin.  Ratliff says the Rosecrans defense will be athletic and offer a tremendous challenge.  “Those same kids go both ways.  They are going to be big up front on the defensive line.  Their quarterback is actually one of their linebackers inside.  Their skilled kids, their quick kids, are in their secondary.  They have a real nice team, not very many weaknesses,” he said.

          Ratliff says the things they have to do to win Saturday night aren’t much different from what they have been every week this fall.  “We have to be able to throw the football and run the football evenly.  Getting off to a good start is a key.  You can’t have stupid penalties that kill our drives,” said Ratliff.

 

 
   

Buckeye Central Needs That Balance

 

          Buckeye Central, the small school division winner in the North Central Conference this fall, plays host to South Gallia in the division six regional quarterfinals on Saturday night in New Washington.

          Buckeye (8-2) beat Colonel Crawford 30-27 in overtime to win the division title last Friday night.  Bucks coach Jason Ratliff told Swankonsports.com it was exactly the kind of game they thought it was going to be.  “It sure was.  We knew all week long that we would be in for a battle with Crawford having everybody back.  They can pass and run affectively.  We knew it was going to be a tough task and it ended up being a good ball game,” he said.  In big games you have to have big plays by your best players and that happened last week for the Bucks.  “Adam Paynter was excellent in the overtime.  He kicked the game winning field goal and made a couple nice stops on their last possession.  Good players have to step up and he did,” said Ratliff.

          South Gallia (7-3) was the runner up this season in the Tri-Valley Hocking Conference in southern Ohio.  They will be making the three hour bus ride to New Washington on Saturday.  “They like to run the football.  They come at you with a lot of different formations.  They like to run sweeps outside.  They have a sophomore running back that runs very hard.  The like to run him up in the middle.  With their different formations they try to get you in different things.  We have to be ready defensively for a lot of different formations,” said Ratliff.  Buckeye has faced some teams this year that look to do a lot of the same things.  “They remind us of Crawford and possibly Ontario a little bit too.  Both of those teams like to run the football,” added Ratliff, “And it was good to play both of those teams latter in the season to help prepare us for the playoffs,” he said.

          Tyler Erwin is one of the better quarterbacks in the area, but the Bucks have been able to run the ball well behind their offensive line and running back Matt Adkins.  Ratliff says they will need that balance again against South Gallia.  “As balanced as we have been all year.  We will try and continue that on Saturday night,” said Ratliff.

         

 

 
   

Buckeye Central Squares off with Crawford for Division Title

 

          Going into the final night of the regular season Buckeye Central and Colonel Crawford are tied for the lead in the small school division of the North Central Conference and they play each other in New Washington.  The winner goes home with the outright title.

          Buckeye Central (7-2) blasted Lucas 46-0 last week to maintain its share of first place.  Lucas has two 1,000 yard rushers and Buckeye coach Jason Ratliff says they did a very good job in containing the Cubs running game.  “Last week we were able to play very well defensively and stop Lucas’s running game.  That was our main concern going in and we were able to do that,” he said.  They held Lucas to only 64 yards rushing on the night.  The Buckeye defense has been getting better and better as time goes along and Ratliff says they have been able to get kids in the right positions.  “Our kids work pretty hard whether it’s offense or defense.  Our defensive coordinator does a good job with that group.  He has them prepared every game we play,” said Ratliff.

          Colonel Crawford buried Riverdale 40-7 last week and Ratliff knows the Eagles will come ready to play on Friday night.  “They are a good football team,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “They are well coached.  You can see that when you watch film and you watch their players.  Offensively, they have a big offensive line.  They have good running backs and a quarterback that can throw it.  They have some good receivers as well.”  Crawford showed good balance against Riverdale with 286 yards rushing and 180 through the air.  The Eagles have been a different team with Nate Klingenberger back at quarterback the second half of the season and Ratliff says they show more confidence.  “He gives them stability.  That’s who their kids thought would be their starter all along.  Now he’s back and everybody has calmed down a little bit and made some plays,” he said.

          The Buckeye Central coach says Colonel Crawford is very aggressive in the way they play defense.  “Defensively they are very active at the linebacker position and they stunt a little bit up front.  That will cause some problems for us,” said Ratliff.

          It was pretty obvious from at least mid-season on that this was the game that was going to be the difference in the small school division.  “Our kids have prepared themselves throughout the whole season for this game.  It should be interesting on Friday night,” said Ratliff.

 

 
   

Buckeye Central Has No Breather

 

          Buckeye Central is in position to win the first ever small school division title in the North Central Conference and make the playoffs for the second straight year, but they are going to have to win their last two games to accomplish those goals.

          The Bucks (6-2) play at Lucas against the Cubs in a divisional game on Friday night.  Buckeye Central is tied with Colonel Crawford for the divisional lead and they play the Eagles next week.

          Buckeye absorbed just its second loss of the season last week when Ontario (7-1) beat them 28-19.  Bucks coach Jason Ratliff believes they actually played very well in the game and had a chance to win until the very end.  “I thought we played very good versus Ontario.  It’s a tough team for us to play due to their size.  I was proud of our kid’s effort.  I thought we gave it all we had.  Now we move on,” he said.

          Lucas (3-5) is in third place in the small school division, just a game behind the co-leaders.  They feature a very good running game led by wingbacks Levi Harris and Nick Swainhart.  “They have double tights and double wings.  It looks like a rugby scrum, but they do a nice job up front blocking guys.  They have two backs over 1,000 yards each and with the weather conditions, with the sloppy field I’m sure it’s going to play right into their hands,” Ratliff told Swankonsports.com.

          Buckeye Central has the one of the top quarterbacks in the area in Tyler Erwin, but a key for the Bucks all season is their offensive line has also blocked the run well and opened some holes for running back Michael Adkins.  “We have relied on that all year long, the give and take.  We take what the defense gives us.  We try to do the best we can with what we have,” said Ratliff.

          With Colonel Crawford looming are the Bucks peaking ahead?  Ratliff says they better not be.  “I won’t let them look past Lucas.  They know how important this game is to set up that game next week, so I don’t think they will be looking past it,” he said.   

 

 
   

Defense Leads to Better Play For Buckeye

 

          Buckeye Central finished the regular season with a 20-1 record and a small school division title in the North Central Conference and now they are poised to begin the postseason volleyball tournament on Tuesday night.

          Last year, they lost in three games to Norwalk St. Paul in the district finals in division four, but coach Bill Bonham believes the Buckettes are an improved team this year because of a couple of reasons.  “We have challenged them this year to start games strong and finish games strong and pick up our defense.  And that is exactly what we have done.  We’ve had some matches this year that last year we would stalled out in the end and not finished off the game.  A good example was last week against Wynford.  Defensively we have come a long way and we haven’t had to rely on one person to play defense,” he said.

          With improved defense Bonham thinks they have a chance to advance farther down the tournament trail.  He told Swankonsports.com that the girls have been committed to defense all year long.  “If you look at a lot of the teams that make it to the regionals or to the state they are going to be backed up by some great defensive players.  Whether it is the use of a good libero or just a couple of people in the back row together and their hitters stepping up and playing defense on top of offense.  That’s what we have right now.  Our defense has gotten better each year I have been here.  This year there is no doubt this is our best defensive year.  As good as our hitters are we don’t do it without the passes first,” said Bonham.

          Buckeye went unbeaten with year in the “NCC,” including a fine 25-23, 25-16 and 25-23 win over large school division champ Wynford last Thursday night.  “When you go to a Colonel Crawford or you go to a Wynford with the rivalry that these schools have with each other you expect to play a hard match.  They rise to the occasion and we rise to the occasion.  The great thing about our kids this year is they aren’t backing down. A great example was Wynford had a 22-20 lead in game three, last year we would have stalled out and let them win that game.  We didn’t do that this time.  We won five of the last six points to prove we can close out a game,” said Bonham.  The Buckettes only loss this season was to number one ranked St. Henry.

          Instead of taking the first round bye with the top seed in the division four sectional at Ontario High School this week, Buckeye Central chose to play a semi final against Plymouth (1-21) on Tuesday night.  “The first reason is we are one match short on the season because Mohawk had double booked.  We were just trying to get our kids a few more numbers.  In the past, the more we sit around it seems like the less energy we have when we come back out.  We’ve had some fairly easy matches here at the end of the season.  Our intensity has not been there, so we didn’t want to wait until we see a Norwalk St. Paul or a Monroeville before we find our timing again,” said Bonham.

 

 
   

Buckeye Central Must Contain Ontario Backs

 

          Buckeye Central, in a share of first place in the North Central Conference small school division, plays one of the better teams on its schedule on Friday night as they travel to Ontario to meet the Warriors.

          The Bucks are tied with Colonel Crawford and they play the Eagles on week ten and lead Lucas by a game and they meet the Cubs next week. 

          Buckeye (6-1) crushed Crestline (3-4) last week 57-7 in an “NCC” game.  Buckeye ran for 223 yards, 212 by running back Michael Adkins, and quarterback Tyler Erwin completed nine of 13 passes for 223 yards and two scores.  Bucks coach Jason Ratliff was pleased with the balance.  “I thought our kids played well in all aspects of the game last week.  Offensively we were able to run the football and throw as well.  Defensively we played better as well,” he said.  Buckeye Central limited Crestline to only 93 total yards.  Erwin is one of the more efficient passers in this area, but Ratliff says to be successful they have to be able to run the football.  “I think in high school football you have to be able to run the football as well as throw it.  We have been fortunate to have a pretty good running game here at Buckeye the last few years.  With Tyler being able to throw the football it just adds another dimension to our offense,” he told Swankonsports.com. on Tuesday.  Plus, Ratliff believes his defense has improved a bunch since the beginning of the season.  “Our defense has gotten better each time out.  They are in for a tough task with the speed of Ontario.  From the start to where we are now they have done a pretty good job,” said Ratliff.

          After losing their first game of the season two weeks ago to unbeaten Wynford, the Ontario Warriors battled back to destroy Lucas 63-20 last week behind a running attack that totaled 252 yards and quarterback Mitchell Phelps completed all five of his passes.  “They are huge up front and they have fast kids in the backfield.  That big quarterback and decent receivers.  They have speed all over the place and that’s a big concern for us,” said Ratliff.  He says they can’t let those speedy Ontario backs get to the perimeter of their defense.  “We have to contain them as much as possible and tackle well.  We can’t give them second chances because of missed tackles,” he said.

 

 
   

Buckeye Central Plays Athletic Upper Sandusky

 

          Buckeye Central and Colonel Crawford appear to be the two best teams in the small school division of the North Central Conference this year and they play the final week of the regular season in New Washington.

          However, for that to matter for the Bucks they have to continue to play good football until that point.  They play Upper Sandusky, Crestline, Ontario and Lucas over the next month. 

          Buckeye quarterback Tyler Erwin threw for 384 yards and five touchdowns in a 41-6 win last week over Riverdale.  “Riverdale loaded the box up on us a little bit, so we just went to our pass game.  We were able to complete some passes to our receivers,” Buckeye Central coach Jason Ratliff told Swankonsports.com on Sunday night.  Wide out Justin Hernstein caught six passes for 218 yards on the night.  “We are fortunate enough to have some receivers that are athletic and we were able to have some time to throw the football,” added Ratliff.  Adam Paynter caught a 98 yard scoring pass from Erwin in the fourth quarter of the game.

          Upper Sandusky is 0-2 in the “NCC” after a 41-14 loss to unbeaten Ontario last week.  Ratliff says the Rams have some playmakers on both offense and defense.  “They are very athletic.  They have a lot of kids that can move around very well.  Defensively they get after you.  They bring a lot of people on the blitz.  Offensively their quarterback in a good runner and a good thrower and they have some good running backs,” he said.  Gyen Musgrave had 17 carries for 86 yards last week for the Rams in their loss to Ontario.

          Upper has run a lot of formations this season.  Ratliff says they have been in a spread a lot lately, put they will be prepared for almost anything on Friday night.  “They are settling into the spread more than the power game.  We will be prepared for both,” he said.

 

 
   

Big Battle on Opening Night of “NCC” Action

 

          Buckeye Central and Wynford are the favorites to win their divisions of the newly designed North Central Conference and they meet on the opening night of “NCC” play on Friday night in suburban Bucyrus.

          Wynford has won 47 straight North Central Conference games dating back to September 24, 2004, when the Lucas Cubs beat them 14-13.  Last year, the Royals handed Buckeye Central their only loss of the regular season, beating the Bucks 28-13 in early October. 

          Last week, Buckeye moved its record to 3-0 on the season by thumping Plymouth 41-12.  “We were able to play pretty well offensively and defensively.  Plymouth is improved.  They stacked the box on us on defense and they forced us to the pass game, which we were fortunate to complete some passes,” Buckeye Central coach Jason Ratliff told Swankonsports.com.  Tyler Erwin is in his second season as the signal caller for the Bucks and he gives them great flexibility because when the running game is bottled up he gets them going with the pass game.  “It’s a good problem to have.  We are fortunate enough to have a good quarterback and receivers to go with our running game.  It’s nice to be balanced on offense,” added Ratliff.

          Ratliff knows the reputation that Wynford carries into any “NCC” game.  They have talent on both sides of the ball, but what impresses the Buckeye Central coach the most is how assignment oriented the Royals are this year.  “They are a very disciplined team.” he said, “You can tell when you watch film that they are well coached.  They do what they are supposed to do.  They don’t make mistakes.  It’s going to be a tough task for us on Friday night.”

          Buckeye knows what they want to do, but doing it against Wynford is another thing.  Ratliff believes the game will be won in the trenches.  “We have to try and establish the line of scrimmage.  Their offensive and defensive lines are very good.  We have to be able to move the ball a little bit,” he said.  

 

 
   

Plymouth Will Challenge Buckeye Defense

 

          Buckeye Central plays host the Plymouth Big Red on Friday in a non-conference high school football game in New Washington.

          The Bucks are 2-0 after wins over New London (28-7) and Mapleton (41-7) last week.  Buckeye is coming off a season when they finished second in the North Central Conference and qualified for the post season.  They were the preseason choice to win their division of the newly designed “NCC” this fall.

          Coach Jason Ratliff believes they survived the heat about was well as he could have hoped and they were able to get solid play out of their offensive line last week against Mapleton.  “We able to control the line of scrimmage as the game wore on,” he told Swankonsports.com, “We wore them down a little bit wit the heat.  We were able to move the ball in the second half with the run and that was good for us.”  Buckeye ran for 260 yards and threw for 149 against the Mounties. 

          The heat was a factor for everyone in the area last Friday with 95 degree heat.  “I know it affected our players,” said Ratliff, “Our players were worn out at halftime.  We had to a good job of hydrating them and cooling them down.  That’s as warm as I can remember it in a long time.”

          Plymouth is 1-1 for the year after beating Lucas (21-18) and losing to Seneca East (34-7) over the first two weeks.  Buckeye hammered Plymouth 42-7 last year, but Ratliff knows the Big Red is a lot better this year.  “Plymouth is a much improved team.  When I walked away from the scrimmage I saw I was very impressed.  They have kids that have been starters for three of four years,” he said.

          Plymouth is a team that runs the ball more than 85% of the time and Buckeye coach Ratliff knows they are going to have to execute well on defense in order to contain them.  “There offense is based on misdirection.  It fits their personnel very well.  They have three good running backs.  Their quarterback is a good runner as well.  When you work on stopping the running backs then the quarterback keeps it and he is around the end.  It’s going to be a tough task for our defense,” he said.

 

 
   

Line of Scrimmage Key For Bucks

 

          Buckeye Central scored three times in the second half last week and beat New London in their first game of the year, but their coach is looking for a lot of improvement this week.

          Buckeye, a playoff team a year ago, downed the Wildcats 28-7.  Coach Jason Ratliff told Swankonsports.com they did have a better effort in the second half.  “We had some guys that had some jitters in the first half and we didn’t play very well.  We picked it up in the second half.  The offensive line got after it a little bit better and we were able to sustain some drives,” he said.

          Buckeye Central hosts a second straight Firelands Conference team in the Mapleton Mounties on Friday night.

          Hillsdale destroyed Mapleton last week 55-0 and Ratliff says it was a little difficult to see how good Mapleton really can be.  “Mapleton lost to what is probably another playoff bound Hillsdale team.  They return everybody from last year’s team except two kids.  They have good size up front and they have a good running back that kind of hides behind that line,” said Ratliff.

          Ratliff believes that defense will be the key for them.  He says they have to make Mapleton throw the ball.  “Our offense line has to play better than it did last week,” he said, “It will be a big task for them with their size.  Defensively, we have to stop their run.  We have to force them to pass.”

 

 
   

Buckeye Central Gearing For More

 

          Buckeye Central finished second in the North Central Conference and qualified for the division six playoffs last season.  This year they are the preseason favorite to win their division in the new “NCC.”

          Their first game of the year will be Friday night at New London, of the Firelands Conference.

          Coach Jason Ratliff believes the playoff appearance, a 37-21 loss to Mogadore, really gave them momentum going into this year.  “It was good for our program to make the playoffs,” he told Swankonsports.com, “We had a really good off season.  A lot of kids in the weight room.  A lot kids trying to focus on what we did last year and improve on that.”

          Buckeye’s offensive will again be explosive with the return of their quarterback and much of his receiving corp.  “We have our quarterback back in Tyler Erwin.  He’s done an outstanding job working with our receivers.  We have two good receivers back in Adam Painter and Justin Hernstein.  Up front on the offensive line we have four out of five starters back from last year,” said Ratliff.

          Defense might be another thing.  The Bucks have to mature a little bit there.  “We have some new kids that are trying to step up and start.  You always have concerns with nerves on whether they are going to be able to handle it.  They have improved in every scrimmage,” he said.

          New London has been a second division team in the Firelands over the last half decade, but Ratliff believes the Wildcats have some weapons at their disposal this year.  “New London has a lot of talented skilled kids,” said Ratliff, “A good quarterback, good running backs, and two good receivers.  They have good speed.  They like to run the jet sweep.”

 

 
   

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