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Bucyrus Hosts Powerful Seneca East

Bucyrus opens competition in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference on Friday night by entertaining the Seneca East Tigers.

After beating Cardington (38-17) on week two, the Redmen (1-2) lost (25-14) to Sandusky St. Mary’s last week.

Coach Aaron Eckert says they gave up a couple of scores early and that hurt them against the Panthers. “We came out and gave a team that had struggled a little bit some confidence and they took it to us and we didn’t recover well. So, when you have those things happen it is hard to come out on top,” he said.

In looking at film, Eckert believes the Seneca East back Blaine Swartzmiller is an animal and he says their defense, which has only allowed 18 points this year, is really good. “I think its starts with number 5, Swartzmiller, the tailback/fill in quarterback right now. He’s a man child, but the thing that probably stands out most about their team is their defense. It’s improved and they are physical and fast,” said Eckert.

With a defense as good as the Tigers have Eckert says it is very difficult to put a long drive together, he says you have to hope to get some big plays. “They don’t give up too many big plays, but with the covers they play that is what you have to try and get in order to score points on them,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “It is hard to consistently drive the football on a team like Seneca East. They are good up front, they are good at backer, they are good in the back end, so there really is not a glaring weak point that they have.”

When it comes to Swartzmiller, Eckert says he have to get to him before he gets a full head of steam and you have to get a lot of guys to the football. “He is a 6’3”, 225 pound back that runs like he is about a 160 pound back. You have to try and hit him before he gets up to full speed and then you have to get a bunch of people there because not only is he a big physical back he is fast and he can run away from you. When you have that combination of size and speed you have to get as many guys to the ball as you can and get him down,” said Eckert.

Published 9/14/18

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Bucyrus Faces Big, Strong St. Mary’s

Bucyrus is looking to build so momentum as they host Sandusky St. Mary’s on Friday night in a non-conference football game.

The Redmen (1-1) beat Cardington (38-17) last week and scored on six of their nine drives.

Coach Aaron Eckert says they did some good things on both sides of the football. “It was probably the first time this year that we have clicked offensively. We were able to get things rolling with an outside run game. That opened things up for us. Defensively, we bent a little bit, but didn’t break. We held a really good back to a respectable number rushing and things worked out for us,” he said.

Eckert says they would like to get on a little run here, but they don’t want to look too far ahead. “For us it is week to week. We are game to game. Our goal at the end of this week is to be 1-0. That is the approach we will take and the kids had a good time on Friday and we watched on Saturday and got better. They knew when they came in on Monday for scouting report and practice that it was a new week and a new game,” said Eckert.

St. Mary’s (0-2) lost to Monroeville last Saturday (28-16) in a non-league game.

Eckert says the Panthers are a big, strong team that wants to run the football. “The first thing is they are just really big. They have really big lineman. They are strong kids. So, they want to try and hold the football and get three, four yards a play and convert third downs,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Kind of hold it and move down the field and capitalize on your turnovers. Defensively they are physical and can run to the football. So, it should be a good match up for us on Friday.”

Against a team like the Panthers, Eckert says first down is very important to sort of take them out of their game plan. “Anytime when you can put them when it is not second and six. It can be second and nine or second and 10 and most teams don’t want to be second and 10. When you are built to kind of get three, four, five yards a pop. Defensively, that is what we want you to do,” he said.

Published 9/06/18

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Bucyrus Trying to Fix Mistakes

Bucyrus kind of looks in the mirror this week as they host Cardington on Friday night in a non-conference football game.

Cardington is now being coached by former Bucyrus assistant Tim Plumley.

Last week, Bucyrus lost (37-13) to Galion.

Coach Aaron Eckert says they kind of shot themselves in the foot. “We knew we were going to play a pretty good opponent in Galion and we needed to get off to a good start. We got a bad squib kick that turned into an on sides kick, so we couldn’t start the game much better, but then we get a couple of penalties in a row and it was first and 25 and that seems like how it was for a while. Within the first three minutes of the game we were down 14-0. There was a three minute stretch in the third quarter where we gave up 17,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “There were some mental mistakes that we made. It is a 20-6 game midway through the third quarter and if we execute a little better maybe the outcome is a little different. You try and learn from it and move on.”

Eckert says the effort was there last week, but there was also a lack of execution. “I thought our kids competed at a high level. The problem is we just competed sometimes and did dumb things. When you have silly penalties that bring touchdowns back it is hard to overcome some of those things when you are playing a good opponent like Galion,” he said.

With Plumley now at Cardington he took a lot of the stuff they are running with him when he went south, according to Eckert. “They are very similar to us. Their head coach was an assistant here at Bucyrus for the last 14 years. He helped put together our new offense and defense and he took the same things down to Cardington. It is two kind of mirrored teams. They have a 1,500 yard back that is back this year in the Gowers kid with some dominate offensive lineman and a pretty physical team overall,” said Eckert.

The Bucyrus coach says that both sides know each other well, but it is going to boil down to execution. “Obviously, each week you add some tweaks in there that you haven’t shown or you do things a little different than you normally do, but with being with coach Plumley for that long and knowing how he thinks and things like that and knowing how we think it’s probably not so much the little tweaks it is coming out and executing your plays a little better than them,” said Eckert.

Published 8/29/18

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Bucyrus Meets Athletic Galion

Week one is more of a rivalry week in local high school football than you would think and another of those has Bucyrus traveling to Galion to meet the Tigers in a non-conference game.

Both schools were part of the former Northern Ohio League for 50 years.

It has been a struggle the last two years for the Redmen as they were (2-8) last year and (1-9) in 2016, but they are more experienced now and they have those upperclassmen that you need on the field.

Coach Aaron Eckert likes what he saw during this month’s camp. “I like where our team is at. I thought the scrimmage season went fairly well for us up until the last scrimmage where we didn’t play as well as I had hoped, but you have those setbacks and you learn from them and hopefully grow. We are looking forward Friday night to playing at Heise Park,” said Eckert.

Bucyrus is a member of the Northern 10 Athletic Conference and Galion the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, but Eckert says there is still a spirit of rivalry between the two. “Being from the same county and with similar districts and we are 10 minutes apart. It is one of those things that you look forward to and you get up for,” he said.

Eckert says Galion has some big kids up front that have experience and they are athletic on the defensive side of the football. “They return some experienced guys, but they lost their quarterback from last year. They are breaking in a new kid, but he is very shifty. They put up 21 points on a Shelby team that is expected to be pretty good in the area,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “When you return all five of your starting offensive linemen you feel pretty good about yourself offensively. Defensively they are fast. They have some fast kids and they look to hit people. They are a good ballclub and we are looking forward to the challenge on Friday night.”

Published 8/23/18

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Bucyrus a More Veteran Unit

Bucyrus has only won three football games in the last two years, but this year they are a much more experienced unit and hopefully that helps out.

Coach Aaron Eckert says it has been a pretty good summer for the Redmen. He says they are going to be able to handle the physicality of the game a little bit better. “I like where we are at as team. We are finally an older group this year. We have been going through some growing pains the last couple of years with a lot of young guys. We are going to play some guys that can drive a little bit and that always helps,” he said.

Eckert says they have kids that have more experience under the lights of Friday night football in Ohio. “Some kids can handle it and some kids need games, they need reps to understand that. Fortunately for us we have a lot of kids that have played under the Friday night lights. We have a lot of kids that know what it is like to be out there and what to expect. I kind of like where we are at in that regard,” said Eckert.

Bucyrus was (2-8) last year and (1-9) in 2016. Eckert says he is not going to put out there a number of wins for a goal this fall. “I think our goal is just to compete everyday and get better. As far as the win loss record that will take care of itself. I think our job at Bucyrus is to get better each day,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “From where we have been at the last couple of years to where we are at now that’s all we can ask for is to get better every day and not rest on what we did the day before.”

Published 8/07/18

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Bucyrus Feeling Better

Bucyrus earned its first win of the season last week and now they feel reenergized as the play Colonel Crawford in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Friday night.

After giving up a score with less than minute to play, the Redmen drove down the field and beat Buckeye Central (36-34) on a Kyle Hamm field goal with :01 second left in the game. “It was reminiscent of last year’s game with Buckeye Central. We were up quite a few points in the first half. Then they kind of chipped away at it. Fortunately for us this year we were kind of able to keep our composure and went down the field and ended the game with a winning field goal,” said Bucyrus coach Aaron Eckert.

Bucyrus went the first three weeks of the season without scoring a point against Galion, Wynford and Marion Pleasant then lost to then unbeaten Carey (48-13) on week four. Eckert says they feel good, but know they have to get better. “Our kids are pretty upbeat about the whole situation. I think they understand too that we didn’t play a perfect football game either. We had opportunities that we squandered. Getting back after (Monday) was a good thing,” he said.

Colonel Crawford (1-4,0-4) has lost its last four, but all to good teams too, and in close games. They have lost conference games to Carey (27-14,) Mohawk (34-20,) Wynford (44-36) and last week to Seneca East (34-28) in overtime.

Eckert says with a few breaks it could be a totally different season for the Eagles. “You can look at their record and say they aren’t a very good football team you would be dead wrong. That record could easily be flipped. They could be 4-1. They have played with everybody they have played,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “There have been points in all of those games when they have been up or had control of the game in some facet or another. To say they are a bad football team is totally wrong. They have some nice offensive weapons, they are a pretty good defense over there, so they are a good football team.”

Not that they can’t throw it, but Eckert thinks that running out of the wing-t the Eagles want to try and play power football. “They have one of the best backs in the league in the Shawber kid, who is a powerful runner. He seems to always fall forward, find a hole and run through it and they have a big offensive line they like to run behind. Haden Bute has improved in the off season. He looks better on film than he did last year. They have a lot of nice pieces over there,” he said.

Published 9/26/17

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Point of Attack Big For Bucyrus

Bucyrus has had trouble running the football this year and it won’t get any easier as they as they travel to Marion Pleasant to face the physical Spartans in a non-conference game on Friday night.

Last week, the Redmen (0-2) lost to rival Wynford (48-0) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game. They haven’t scored this year.

Coach Aaron Eckert says they just couldn’t get anything done on offense and it kind of put them behind the eight ball. “I think one of the first things you look at for us in going back and watching the film is our inability to move the football on Friday night. We had a little over 150 yards of total offense. When you don’t move the ball and go three and out your defense has to stay on the field longer,” he told Swankonsports.com on Labor Day, “It just seemed like we didn’t control any of the clock on Friday night. The first couple of possessions we had to punt and we just couldn’t get any momentum and it just ended up adding up to points for them.”

There have been some holes to run through, but Eckert says they haven’t been finding those creases. He says they must get productivity out of that running game. “I think we have to do a better job of running the football. I don’t think our O-line play was that bad on Friday night. We had some assignment errors, but for most part we did move some people on their defensive line. We just couldn’t establish a running game. That’s what we have to get better at right now,” he said.

Marion Pleasant (1-0) belted Fredericktown (39-14) in their first game of the season last Friday. The Spartans are one of the most consistent teams in North Central Ohio. They pounded Bucyrus (55-6) last year.

Eckert says Pleasant is going to be tough in the trenches on Friday night and it is a must that they compete at the point of attack. “The first thing that jumps out to you with Marion Pleasant is just how physical they are on both the offensive and defensive line. They really get off the ball well. They have five or six skilled backs that they play. They throw the rock a little bit. They are a very good team. They are very well coached. They are there to just kind of run the ball right at you and see if you can stop it,” said Eckert.

Published 9/05/17

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Young Kids Have to Step up for Bucyrus

Bucyrus is dealing with a lot of youth on the football field and many times that leads to crucial mistakes and that is what happened last week.

Galion blanked the Redmen (34-0) last week on the opening Friday.

Coach Aaron Eckert says they did not make plays on the big downs in the game. “We have to better and taking advantage of opportunities. There were a lot opportunities missed both offensively and defensively. Getting off the field on third down or fourth down when you have played some pretty good downs so far. When the opponent bails you out with a penalty to keep you alive on the drive,” he said.

Already young, the Redmen suffered some injuries last week and Eckert says that called on some kids that really weren’t ready to play. “When you have young players and a young team when some of your talent goes down that are older you are asking some kids to step up that haven’t been there before. That is a situation that we got into on Friday night when three of our best players went down and our young guys, although the played hard, didn’t respond in way that enabled us to win,” said Eckert.

Bucyrus (0-1) travels down the short road to Wynford (0-1) on Friday night for a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game. Wynford lost (49-0) to a very good Liberty-Benton team last week.

Eckert says the Royals still have the making of a very good team. “Wynford doesn’t lose in that fashion nor do they lose that often in the regular season, but at the same time you can’t let that score full you. Liberty-Benton is a very talented football team. A team that has probably 80, 90 kids on their roster. Liberty-Benton probably has a little more depth than anybody in our area,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Wynford had 350 yards of offense, but they didn’t capitalize early in the game. It got out of hand a little bit, but at the same time you have to play the game. Wynford is going to be focused and ready to play on Friday night.”

Wyatt Smith is in his first year at the controls of the Wynford offense and Eckert says Wynford might have the tendency to throw the ball a little more. “They have some more will to want to throw the ball a little more this year. They have a really nice quarterback in Wyatt Smith, who spins it pretty well and some decent receivers. I think they do want to throw it a little more than they have in the past. They are going to do whatever they have to do to win the ball game. They are a team that has never been caught up in how much I run it or how much I pass it is more or less what do I have to do to win the game. I have seen them run every play of the game to win the game. It’s a team that isn’t worried about stats it is wins and losses for them,” said Eckert.

Published 8/31/17

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Bucyrus Looking for Success

Last season was a struggle for the Bucyrus Redmen and they are hoping this year will be much better.

They won only game in 2016, but they are going to be a lot more experienced this fall. They host Galion in a non-conference game on Friday night.

Coach Aaron Eckert says they showed improvement in some areas this month, but not so much in others. “In some areas I was really pleased with how we kind of progressed through August. In some areas I thought we did much better earlier and then leveled off. You throw everything out when we get to Friday night and it starts the count for real. Hopefully we can come out and make a statement and get things rolling the right way,” he said.

Eckert believes they were at lot better as a football team at the end of last season, but he understands that teams are measured by wins. He says getting one Friday night would be big. “If you look throughout the year last year if you are a Bucyrus supporter and watched the games there was a tremendous amount of growth that happened from week one to week ten. The problem is we just didn’t win very many games,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “That is what your team’s success untimely lies on is wins and losses, so if we can get a win week one and start off on the right foot I think that is going to be the best thing for our program.”

Galion won this match-up last season (49-7) even though the Tigers went just 2-8 for the year. Eckert believes the Tigers are going to be improved in Matt Dick’s second year. “I expect they are going to know their offense and defense a little bit better. They did switch defenses this year. Anytime you are in the second year of a program you have had a whole year to work with the kids and the culture you want have in that system and get a buy in from the kids that were kind on the fence the year before. I think they are going to be a little bit better than they were last year even though they lost some kids,” said Eckert.

This is a rivalry that goes back as far as football in North Central Ohio and Eckert knows how important a win on Friday night would be for either side. “Anytime you can play a county rival. A school that is a similar in size, they are a little bigger than us. Anytime you play a school like that that you are close with and the kids know each other from growing up in playing different sports against them I think it means something. A little bit of bragging rights kind of just getting it out there and hopefully proving a point and getting a little respect for us,” he said

Published 8/25/17

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Bucyrus has to be Physical


          Bucyrus has shown they have basketball skills, but they have to be more aggressive if they are going to start winning more basketball games.

          On Tuesday night, they lost to Riverdale (53-51) and it was basically because they couldn’t get to the foul line, according to coach Tony Rose.  “They shoot 25 free throws and we shoot six and the reason is we don’t do anything to get fouled and they take the ball to the basket and that was the difference in the game.  They make 13 and we make three and that’s a 10 point difference.  You take that away we win by eight.  We just have to learn to take the ball strong to the basket.  That has been an issue for four years.  Our kids like to avoid contact instead of getting contact.  That is one of the main subjects we will be hitting on in practice,” he said.

          Rose says it seems his players will do all they can to avoid contact and they is the wrong way to go about it.  “They do everything they can to try and get a shot off instead of taking it up and getting fouled.  We have to get to the foul line.  We can’t win games getting to the foul line only six times.  The other thing is we only had 10 turnovers, they had 16.  We shoot 55 shots to their 44, so on paper we should win,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “When you look at the foul shots and why they got the foul shots.  We had some crucial box outs at the end of the game that really hurt us.  They got two offensive rebounds on foul shots that we didn’t rebound and possibly win the game.  To give them credit they busted their butt and got the offensive rebound and we didn’t.”

          Last season, the Redmen won only one game and weren’t close to winning most of the rest of them.  Rose says they are making the right strides.  “The positive is last year we were giving up 65 points a game and this year we are giving up 53 a game, so that is a 12 point improvement.  Last year we might have had one game that had a single digit difference, and that was a game against Carey that we lost by three.  We have now lost four games by seven, three, two, and three.  So, we are there it is just over the hump,” he said.

          Bucyrus (1-6,1-3) has a tremendous challenge on Friday night as they travel to Upper Sandusky (9-0,4-0), #5 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the large school division, the Northern 10 Athletic Conference leader, in a league game.

          Rose says they have to handle it and slow down the pace or it could get ugly on them.  “You have to keep your composure and you have to run clock.  They are a team that is averaging 70 points a game, they are averaging nine made threes a game, they have shot almost 200 threes, where the next closest team in the league is Carey with about 130, and everybody else is around 70.  So, they are going to put the three up, so you have to do all you can to eliminate threes and cut them down to two point baskets.  Then you have to run clock somewhat if you can handle the ball and take care of the ball.  You have to slow them down because they want to get it and go.  They are a high scoring team and quite frankly if we don’t take care of the ball they could score 100 points on us.  If we do take care of the basketball we could possibly be in it.  They are winning by 22 points a game right now and they are a solid club and we are playing on their floor.  We are really going to have to come in with a game plan and stick to it,” said Rose.


Published 12/29/16

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Bucyrus Makes the Plays


          Bucyrus won their first basketball game of the season on Tuesday night and they did it by making plays at the end of the end of the game.

          They beat Mohawk (49-46) and coach Tony Rose says the most important thing is they did they things in the final minutes to win the game.  “In the locker room the kids were very excited.  The thing that made more to me is we had a nice lead and Mohawk got it back and tied up at 46 and my kids did not fold, they didn’t even look nervous, which was a nice chance, and came out and executed what they needed to do, granted Mohawk missed a free throw at the end of the game that could have made things a lot worse for us.  We got the rebound and made two free throws to seal it.  It felt good to finish one time,” he said,

          The concept of finding ways to win can be difficult for certain groups.  Rose says they need to learn from what went right on Tuesday night and move forward.  “We were up three on Seneca East with about 2:30 to go and we weren’t able to finish.  Just the fact that we were able to finish this time gave the kids a lot of confidence.  It was nice to see smiles all over their faces after all of their hard work.  Our post players were able to step up and play well,” he said.

          Friday night, the Redmen (1-4,1-2) plays at Colonel Crawford (4-2,3-1) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game.  The Eagles coming off a big (65-44) win at Seneca East on Friday.

          Rose says the Eagles are a good team and North Robinson is a tough place to play too.  “Crawford is young, but they have three freshmen that play really well and know how to win and had great junior high records, even back to sixth grade, so they are very competitive and very confident in themselves.  Then they have the 6’10” kid Starkey in the post that is very good on the boards.  We are going to have to adjust there with the height a little bit.  Then they have Shaum and Bute that are very solid players.  It is a program that has won year after year since David (Sheldon) has been there.  So, you are going into an environment that is very difficult to play in,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Their student body is great and they are at the end of the court, so you are shooting into their student body for a half of the game, and unfortunately the second half.  That makes it a little difficult for high school kids because they aren’t used to looking into faces shooting free throws that often.  We expect it to be a very good game.  We need to play at one of our best levels.  We need to keep our turnovers down.  We have to give them one shot.  We need to box out.”


Published 12/23/16

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Bucyrus Needs to do it For Four Quarters


          Bucyrus has shown for parts of games they can be very good and challenge good teams, but the have not been able to do it for 32 minutes, at least not so far.

          Their next chance is Saturday night at unbeaten Seneca East in Northern 10 Athletic Conference play.

          Last Saturday, they led in the second half, but ended up losing to rival Wynford (49-34) in an “N10” game.

          Coach Tony Rose says they have to pay with more consistency than they have been so far.  “We need to play four quarters.  We come out of the locker room and we are ahead 12-11 after the first quarter.  We come out of the locker room at halftime down four and score the first six points.  We have the lead 26-24 and it’s a one point game about two minutes to go in the third quarter and Wynford goes on a 17-0 run and we don’t score against until two minutes left in the fourth, so basically a whole quarter.  We just stopped attacking the basket.  There were players open and we did not get them the ball in the post and we stopped doing things that were working for us for whatever reason.  We just have to get past that hump,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We have played some pretty good teams and Northmor is a very good team this year and we played with them for most part early.  Galion, again we had the lead and didn’t hold on to it and had an opportunity to get back in that game and it didn’t happen.  I think we just have to come in and play four total quarters and see what happens.”

          Rose says they have to be in a more attacking mode when they have the ball in their hands.  He says they have to know the situation.  “We have to practice and be in shape and we thought at times we walked the ball up the floor in the fourth quarter and acted like we were ahead when we were down.  I think we are in very good shape and for whatever reason aren’t pushing the envelope at all.  We have to keep attacking the entire game and we have some post kids that have some fairly good speed and we just have to be able to take the ball to the basket and finish.  We missed 23 shots in the paint against Wynford, that is 46 points.  We have to finish and hopefully those points start raking up,” said Rose.

         Bucyrus (0-3,0-1) will be up at Seneca East (3-0,1-0) on Saturday night for a conference game.  The Tigers are coming off a (53-34) win over Ridgedale.  Rose says they have a couple of very good players.  “They have the Forian kid that is really shooting the threes well.  He had five in one game and four in another game.  He is a nice sized kid, he is about 6’4”.  Then they have Johnny Diem who is a returning starter and he is a very nice ball player that shoots the ball well and attacks the basket well.  So, right now those are the two that are scoring for them.  They are both averaging 18 points a game.  We hope we can have a solid game and slow those two down somewhat,” he said.


Published 12/14/16

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Bucyrus Trying to Get Over Hurdle


          Bucyrus is more talented this season and they are trying find ways to win games.

          Their next chance is Saturday night at Wynford in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference opener for both sides.

          Last week, the Redmen lost to Galion (47-38) on Friday night and Northmor (67-50) on Saturday night.

          Bucyrus coach Tony Rose says he wished they had played as well on Friday night as they did on Saturday night because the result might have been different.  “Northmor may be one of the tallest teams ever put together in basketball.  They went down (Tuesday) night and beat Marion Pleasant, which is a very strong team year and year out and they handled them by 13 at Pleasant.  I felt, and a lot people felt, if we had played Friday night the way we played Saturday night then Friday night might have been a different outcome than it was.  I don’t know if it was because the kids were too relaxed or weren’t ready to play mentally.  I thought we were,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We were up 10-9 at the end of the first quarter, but we made some dumb mistakes and got ourselves into trouble and a nice comeback in the end, but it wasn’t enough.  Saturday night they are 6’6”, 6’6” and both can shoot the three and they are a very talented ball club.  I thought we played fairly well, we only had 12 turnovers.  It is hard to shoot over a 6’6” guy and it hard to stop a 6’6” from shooting a three.”

          Bucyrus won only one game last year, but Rose feels they are on their way to a better season this year.  “Overall, not happy with two “L’s”, but at the same time I think we are in a lot better shape than we were last year at this time,” he said.

          Wynford (0-1) had one tune up for league play and that was a (59-36) loss to Shelby last Saturday. 

Rose says “The House of Thrills” is a tough place to win and the Royals have a number of good players they will need to contend with.  “The Wynford gym is one of the most difficult gyms to win in and they have some very talented ball players.  Jack Reed can play about with anybody.  He is a very talented athlete that we are going to have to do our best to control.  The have some young kids, the Crall kid as a freshman, shoots the ball very well.  He is not at the level that his brother was that graduated last year, but he has the same ability, I think, down the road to be as good if not better.  The Crell kid in the post is very good in the post area and he can also step out and shoot it if he needs to and crashes the boards very hard.  We match up with them better than we did Saturday night with Northmor.  If we come in and execute the things we need to execute, keep the turnovers down, and capitalize on their mistakes, then we have the opportunity to possibly be in the game,” said Rose.


Published 12/08/16

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Bucyrus Ready to Go


          Last year was not a good season for the Bucyrus Redmen, but this year’s prospects are much better for the team.

          The Redmen won only one game last year, but this year can be a whole lot better. 

          Coach Tony Rose says they now have a point guard that controls the ball and that frees other kids to do what they do well.  “It has been really positive.  We have Kade Slagle back he missed all of last season due to an “ACL” tear in football.  He is one of the true point guards I have ever coached in my career.  He just has a calming effect on our players.  He just handles the ball very well.  He is just like a quarterback on the basketball court.  He is very confident in himself and the kids love having him back.  That kind of puts us all back in the right positions where last year we were all out of position.  Having all five starters back it is a good feeling,” said Rose.

          Rose has coached varsity basketball, both boys and girls, for a long time and he believes that the point guard is the most important position on any team.  “The old saying is if you don’t have a point guard and have five seven footers it doesn’t matter they might as well be five feet.  If you don’t have someone to give them the ball you can throw their height out the door.  The most important position in basketball as far as I am concerned is point guard.  You have to have somebody that can go get the ball when things are going crazy and set things up and just kind of get everybody calmed down.  That is what Kade brings to the table for us,” he said.

          Bucyrus opens the season with a game against Galion on Friday night and then plays Northmor on Saturday night, both are non-league games.

          Rose admits there are a lot of question marks about the Galion program.  Colby Bright resigned this fall and was replaced by Matt Valentine, who has never coached a high school game.  “I think you expect really good athletes for one.  They have always had great athletes and you expect kids that are going to compete.  They basically graduated everybody.  So, when you have a new team you don’t know what it is about,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We are preparing to play a very athletic team that’s going to be competitive and be ready for whatever they throw at us.  He hasn’t coached at the high school level.  There are no films on any of his previous teams.  You just don’t know.  You hope you are ready to go.”


Published 11/30/16

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Bucyrus Looks For First Win


          Bucyrus has a had a tough time this season with what has been a very strong schedule, especially they last three weeks, when they have lost to Wynford, Marion Pleasant and Seneca East, who have lost only one game combined.

          Last week, the verdict was (54-14) Seneca East and Bucyrus coach Aaron Eckert says they knew going in the Tigers where very good and unfortunately they didn’t disappoint.  “Seneca East is a good ball club and they didn’t do anything we didn’t think they would do.  Athletically they are very good.  They got their quarterback back after an injury.  He was as good as advertised.  He got the ball to the playmakers.  They have a big offensive line that did a nice job protecting him.  They were able to run the ball, they put it in the Martin kid’s hands, and he is special,” said Eckert.

          Friday night, they host the Mohawk Warriors (2-2,1-2) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game.

          In terms of approach to preparation, Eckert says there really isn’t any difference.  “I think you approach it one week at a time.  You can get overwhelmed when you look at your first four games.  You think wow look at the first four games that we have and four those teams are really quality opponents.  For us it is one week at a time and you try not to get too far ahead of yourself and try to be 1-0 each week.  For us this year we haven’t been successful.  We haven’t got the 1-0 and hopefully we can change that (Friday) night against Mohawk,” he said.

          Mohawk lost (33-14) to rival Carey last week, but Eckert says they are a physical team that can do a lot of good things.  “The first thing that stands out to me is they are a very physical ball club.  Like us they lost a lot of kids to graduation and they are replacing a lot of starters.  The kids that they have coming in a lot of them are young, but they will step up and hit you,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “When you boil this game down to its two basic elements blocking and tackling they seem to do those two things pretty well.  They have been in some good ballgames and played some quality opponents and have done some good things.  Mohawk even though their record is 2-2 I think they have done some really good things over there.”


Published 9/23/16

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Bucyrus With Another Tough One


          It seems like the schedule maker really has something against the Bucyrus Redmen doesn’t it.

          After losses to unbeaten Wynford (48-13) and unbeaten Marion Pleasant (55-6) they must travel to Seneca East to face the unbeaten Tigers in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Friday night.

          Coach Aaron Eckert says they knew they would have to play very well to be in the game against a team like Pleasant and that didn’t happen last week.  “We knew going into the game that they were a physical team and got off the ball.  They did some nice things offensively and defensively were really aggressive.  When you go up against a team like that that is well coached and does things the right way if you are not up to the challenge it can be a long night and unfortunately that’s what happened to us,” said Eckert.

          If you are going to compete against a team like Pleasant, Eckert says you must get off to a good start and unfortunately it was just the opposite for them.  “We knew we had to get off to a strong start and get some momentum early in the game and start to add on, but we give up the opening kickoff and they take it back.  Then they kick off to you and we walk out of bounds with the ball at the eight yard line.  It was tough, we couldn’t get anything going.  As the game wore on they wore on us a little bit and it ended up getting a little out of hand for us,” he said.

          Seneca East has not been challenged this season in beating South Central (54-20,) Ridgedale (60-8) and Buckeye Central (46-14) last week.  Seneca East can run it and throw it.  Eckert says they have a lot of skill all over the place and they are big too.  “They have great athleticism with their skilled guys.  It seems like they have seven, eight, nine guys that can run, jump, and catch.  They are physical, good looking kids.  They are not little guys, they all have some size to them,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Their left guard is all of 6’5, 300 pounds and he can move.  You put all of that together and their offense is pretty dynamic.  They do a lot of different things with their guys in space.  They are well coached and do a lot of things the right way.”



Published 9/15/16

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Things Don’t get Easier For Bucyrus


          It’s a tough task for the Bucyrus Redmen, no question.  They play the top two teams in the small school division of our first Swankonsports.com football coaches poll on weeks two and three.

          Last week, they were beaten (48-13) by #1 Wynford and this week they host #2 Marion Pleasant.

          Bucyrus scored first last week and they were in the game in the second quarter, but coach Aaron Eckert says things went downhill from there.  “At the end of the first quarter it is 7-6 and we are feeling pretty decent about ourselves then things unraveled.  It was 14-6 I believe and then we dropped a pass that would have scored a touchdown and probably would have made it 14-13 or 14-12.  Then we proceed to give up a punt return for a touchdown and fumbled the next kickoff.  When things go bad for us right now we can’t get out of our own way,” said Eckert.

          In baseball it is called a stopper and is kind of the same in football.  Eckert says when they start getting negative momentum somebody has to step up.  “That has kind of been a theme for us this year.  We can’t seem to be able to turn that around yet.  If something bad happens to us right now in the last couple of games we haven’t been able to get out of the funk.  It is hard to do that.  Someone has to step up and take charge of that and make it happen out on the field,” said Eckert.

          Pleasant (2-0) has hammered Cincinnati Shoeder Academy and Pandora Gilboa on back to back weeks.  Eckert says they will have to defense something they don’t see a lot of… the option game.  “Marion Pleasant has a lot of tradition over there.  Their balance is there.  They aren’t overly big, but they are aggressive off the ball.  They do some things offensively that we don’t see in the “N10” very often with a little option game and some other things with their formations.  Overall, it’s going to be a good test for us this week,” he said.

          Option football can be big play football and Eckert says to stop it you have to be very disciplined, read your keys and not try to do too much or you get burned.  “If you are not very disciplined defensively the option will kill you because there are so many different ways they can block.  They can take advantage of how you play things if you are not careful and do your job defensively.  We try to simplify things a little bit, but it comes down to executing on Friday night,” he said.


Published 9/09/16

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Bucyrus Must Play Their Game


          Bucyrus was not very good last week against Galion and they have another tough task this week as they host the rival Wynford Royals in the opening Northern 10 Athletic Conference game.

          In their season opener, the Redmen gave up three scores in the first quarter and lost to Galion (42-0) last Friday.

          Coach Aaron Eckert says it was not a good performance and they understand that.  “The good thing about last week is it over.  We just didn’t play very well.  I hope that is not a reflection of the team we have this year.  If it is, we are in for a long year.  We have addressed that with our boys.  So far, we have probably had our best week of practice all year.  It is a tough pill to swallow sometimes when you get your butt kicked,” he said.

          Execution was a concern last week and Eckert believes they were trying to be perfect when they don’t have to be.  “On offense I think we are trying to be too perfect.  When we are throwing the football we are trying to make the perfect pass instead of just a good pass.  Just get the ball to him and let the guys work,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “Early in the game we over threw about three plays that were big plays, either touchdowns or long yardage plays, that could have changed the complexion of the game.  We just need to play our game and go about our job and not try to be too perfect with it.”

          Wynford earned a quality (41-14) win over Liberty-Benton last week.  Eckert says the Royals feature a lot of speed.  “Their offensive line is so fast off the football.  They have two backs in the Miller kid and the Hoffman kid that aren’t big kids, but they run hard and they are quick.  Their rushing game is something that sticks out.  Defensively they have team speed.  They play about two, three linemen and the rest of the guys are built like running backs or linebacker type kids that fly to the football.  They have a nice team over there,” said Eckert.

          Wynford has never lost an “N10” football game and Eckert says they have to stay in the game early if they are going to have a chance to pull the upset.  “You can’t lose they game in the first half and that is something we are aware of as coaches and something we need to do a better job of, how we manage the game.  You have to get to halftime with Wynford, really any team, if you are out of the game at halftime, that second half can be grueling and brutal.  Our goal is to take it one series at a time and see if we can’t put some drives together, put some points up, and get some stops,” he said.


Published 8/31/16

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Bucyrus Faces New Look Galion


          Bucyrus makes the short trip to Galion to face the Tigers and their new coach Matt Dick in non-conference play on Friday night.

          At 2-8 last year, Bucyrus would like to be a lot better this fall.

          Coach Aaron Eckert likes at least some of what he has seen from the players this month.  “Anytime you take a young team and you kind of progress through the preseason and you feel like you get better from the start to the finish, even with the hiccup last week in our third scrimmage, I think we are coming along,” he said.

          They have proven they can be good players and make big plays, but Eckert says they have made some bad ones too and they need to be more consistent on the field.  “The level with which we play with each and every play.  Some plays we look really good and there are some plays that we look really bad.  It’s the consistency thing that we kind of need to figure out.  How to play the game at a high level every single play, not just a play here and a play there,” said Eckert.

          Earlier this week Dick told Swankonsports.com that they wanted to be a power run team.  Eckert knows with a new coach and a new system you could see about anything from the Tigers.  “They have some really talented players with their quarterback in the Cook kid that is 6’5” and can throw it a mile.  They really have nice athletes in the Ivy brothers.  Their defensive line really gets after the quarterback.  They have some really nice pieces to the puzzle over there,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “There is an element of surprise.  Anytime you go against a first time head coach, and first time coach at a new school, that you don’t know much about they could come out in something totally different or maybe save something for us.  That’s always a worry that you didn’t prepare things well enough because you don’t know.”


Published 8/26/16

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Bucyrus Has to Want it


           Last season, Bucyrus was 2-8 on the gridiron, but they are committed to being better football team this year.

          Coach Aaron Eckert things he saw a lot of good signs with his team last week.  “It’s been good to get the kids out here and see the progress we made from the end of last year until now, it’s like night and day and I really like what I see out of our varsity,” he said.

          One thing that is different so far with the Redmen is they have been hungrier in practice and Eckert says that is the way it has to be if they are going to win more games in 2016.  “I would say we have guys that are a little more hungry this year.  That is not taking away from last year’s seniors or anything.  The guys that are going to have the ball in their hands this year want the football in their hands.  I think last year we had some kids that were happy and complacent on the field.  This year we are going to have some kids that are mad when they don’t have the ball,” said Eckert.

          If you are going to be a playmaker on the field and you have to want the ball in your hands.  Eckert says they may not have enough balls for their players and that is a good thing.  “This year we have six, seven, eight guys that want the ball in their hands every play and are going to be disappointed in their touches.  That is another conversation that I will have with those guys.  I would rather have those conversations than, hey, we need guys to stand up,” he said.

          The first steps to getting the program back on track are commitment and ownership and Eckert believes he is seeing those things in the players they have on the practice field this year.  “Not just the coaches, but I think the kids were embarrassed with the way we played last year at times and 2-8 is not acceptable here,” he told Swankonsports.com, “They have to take some ownership over that are we have some kids that have really taken to that and made it their goal in the off season to not be back there and leave their footprint on this program.  With the kids that we have out, I have been really happy with core group of kids we have and what they have been doing.”


Published 8/09/16

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Bucyrus Shuts Out Ridgedale


          Gavin Lewis allowed four hits and struck out 10 and Bucyrus beat Ridgedale (3-0) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference baseball game on Monday evening.

          After a slow start to the season, Bucyrus coach Sean Maudsley says they have started to play a better brand of baseball.  "We knew coming into the season that our first 8-10 games were against some strong non-league opponents and a couple of teams we knew were going to be in the top of our league, in the "N10."  I think we started out 1-7 an then we hit the middle of the road there and we started to get a little hot,  lately we have king of been surviving on pitching and defense," said Maudsley.

          A couple weeks back, Bucyrus beat Upper Sandusky, in third place in the "N10," in back to back games and Maudsley says that kind of got their engine running.  "All these kids needed was a little confidence and beat somebody with a little credibility so to speak and Upper Sandusky is a heck of a team.  Once we got that first win against them I think they got their confidence and were able to put together six out of seven games.  The kids really started rolling offensively.  With the pitching and the defense we were a pretty formidable team and that is what we started doing in the middle of the season there," he said.

          Monday night's win over Ridgedale is a good example.  Maudsley says the Redmen are a team that has relied on its pitching this spring.  "We have our top four pitchers back from last year.  Honestly, over the first eight games it was a lack or run support and a lack of defense.  We started the season with 20 errors over our first four games and that really set us back, but the pitching has really come along.  We have a veteran staff.  We have three seniors in Kegan Simms, Keith Smith, and Zane Richardson.  We have two young studs in Gavin Lewis and Trenton Dunford.  We have a guy that comes in and throws strikes in Ryan Evans.  Those guys have really come on," said Maudsley.

          Bucyrus will host Willard in the first round of the division three tournament on Saturday.  Being the ninth seed, Maudsley thinks they got a pretty good draw.  "I guess we couldn't ask for anything better.  We really didn't have a pick there were only two spots open.  We are the number nine seed and we are playing the number 10 seed.  I know Willard is playing people tough.  I know they are struggling to get some "W's," but I've looked at their scores and I am from there originally and they have played some teams tough in that "NOL," so we are going to have our work cut out for us," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "We also play them on Friday night before we play them on Saturday, so it is kind of a doubleheader.  The winner will go on an play a really tough number two seed in Clear Fork.  I know they can really hit the ball and they have some good pitching and that will be a really tough game for whoever wins that first sectional game."


Published 5/03/16

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Bucyrus takes on Rival Colonel Crawford


          Bucyrus is winless through the first almost quarter of the season, but the Redmen are learning what varsity basketball is about.

          The lost back to back "N10" games to Seneca East (65-50) and Mohawk (70-44) last weekend.  However, coach Tony Rose says he has seen some bright spots.  "We are starting to play and get to know each other a little better.  Friday night we started three sophomores at Seneca East, and a junior, and one senior.  So, when you have that young of a team there are going to be growing pains and we have to get through it.  We are improving and as the season goes along I feel we going to get a lot better.  The one area where we definitely want to improve on is our defensive fundamentals of boxing out and help side defense.  We have some kids that are talented enough that at the lower levels they have just been able to turn around and rebound and they finding out they can't do that at the varsity level.  They actually have to put a body on someone because the talent is that much better," said Rose.

          It is still a matter of consistency for the young Redmen this season.  Rose says they have been able to get off to good starts, but not maintain it.  "Last weekend we started out really well against Seneca East.  Against Mohawk the same thing we had a nice first quarter, but we just kind of get to that point where we just look like sophomores and freshmen instead of looking like real varsity players.  I think we need to put four quarters together and not just one or two.  We are coming out with a lot more intensity.  We now have to come out and continue that throughout the game," he said.

          It is another tough challenge for the Redmen (0-5,0-2) on Thursday night when they host Colonel Crawford (4-0,3-0), #4 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the small school division, the "N10" co-leader, in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game.

          Rose says the Eagles may not be as deep this year, but they are still really good.  "You have three kids that are really play well in the Adams kid, the Burkhart kid and the Martin kid.  They are shooting the ball extremely well.  Owen (Adams) is second in the league is scoring and he has been playing varsity for two or three years and a very solid player.  They are different in their make up," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "They had Todd Etenamann and Gulley that were there last year that were very, very talented.  I think maybe their bench isn't as strong as it has been in the past, but their starting five is pretty solid.  If we are lucky enough to just run our offense and play better defense who knows.  Anytime you have Crawford and Bucyrus going against each other it is going to be a good game because it just two county rivals that are only 10 minutes apart."


Published 12/15/15

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Bucyrus Has to Grow


          Bucyrus has some talented players, but they just don't have the varsity experience yet and that is costing them.

          They had a late second quarter lead in their opener against Northmor, but coach Tony Rose they just took too long without being able to score the ball.  "With two minutes left in the first half we are up 24-23 with a very young, inexperienced team.  Northmor goes on a 12-0 run to end the half, so now we are down 11 and that's within two minutes.  We come out flat to start the second half.  We held them to eight points in the third quarter, but we only got two points, so that didn't help any.  Now we are trying to play from behind and we have young kids that haven't played varsity and been in that position and it is just hard for them to get back into it.  At one point I had three sophomores on the floor," said Rose.

          During practice on Monday, Rose says they talked about, and practiced, a lot of the fundamental elements of the game.  "That is what we talked about (Monday) at practice.  We went over the things that hurt us, which was boxing out, help side defense, taking care of the basketball, forced passes.  Everything is fixable if we would just settle down and play fundamental basketball.  I think they feel better understanding that they were there in the game and they also understand that they are so young and so inexperienced that we are going to have our growing pains, we just have to learn from them," he said.

          Bucyrus (0-1) is at home for Riverdale (1-0) in non conference play on Tuesday night.  The Falcons beat Carey (62-50) last Friday.  Rose says they have a nice team that can balance the floor and that makes them tough to guard.  "They have a nice 6'5" post player in Noah Hough.  He is something we don't have right now, a guy that is 6'5" in the post.  We are going to have to concentrate and keep him off the glass," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "Then they have some nice shooters from the outside and Riverdale has always had some nice guards that can shoot the ball from the outside.  We have to be aware of that and hopefully they don't get on fire from the three point range.  They are very aggressive, they always have been.  They play tough defense, they get up in your face.  They go for steals.  So, we have to take care of the basketball and see if we can control the tempo.  Then I think we've got a shot."


Published 12/01/15

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Bucyrus Facing Challenges


          Bucyrus is a young and inexperienced basketball team that is searching for a point guard and that is not how you want to start a season.

          Coach Tony Rose has brought some success to a program that has been lacking it, but he says this year he has some players that have seen very little varsity action making up his team.  "It is the most inexperienced team I have had in my 18 years of coaching.   We have a total of 10 points returning from last year and the most anybody played on varsity was three minutes and 26 seconds.  So, it is a brand new, young team with injuries already," he said.

          On top of that, Rose says they have suffered an injury this fall that has also set them back as they prepare for the season ahead.  "We went up last weekend and played Saturday at Willard against Ashland and we are no where in the class of Ashland being a division one school.  They completely manhandled us, which I totally expected, but it was good competition for us.  Right, now having lost the young man that projected to be our starting point guard to an "ACL" tear during football season we are trying to find somebody to handle the ball," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "We are trying to put the pieces together right now.  It is going to be interesting to say the least.  We have some great, great kids that have really worked hard.  Three sophomores are going to get a lot of varsity playing time.  They came off a championship freshmen team last year, but from freshman ball to varsity ball is a heck of a leap."

          There is some talent there it just needs to be refined a little bit.  Rose believes this is a team that will get better as the season wears on and they have a specific goal in mind this year.  "I think how fast we can grow up.  It is a brand new bunch of kids that have never played together, so they are trying to figure each other out.  We are trying to go after at least 10 wins.  If we get 10 wins this year it will be the first time in 67 years a Bucyrus basketball team has won at least games three years in a row.  So, there is a little motivation there," he said.

          Bucyrus opens the season with a non-conference game against Northmor on November 28.  They play their first Northern 10 Athletic Conference game at Seneca East on December 11.


Published 11/17/15

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Bucyrus Needs to Stand Up


          Bucyrus really hasn't played good football over the first three weeks of the season, that was the case even in their victory over Crestline, and they just have to get better.

          Last week, they lost to Seneca East (40-0) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game that was the same score at the half,  Coach Aaron Eckert says they tool steps back from the previous week rather than forward and that can't happen.  "We can't keeping shooting ourselves in the foot.  Whenever you play a game and you take a step backwards you just can't have it happen.  In the end it is taking things we do in practice and transferring it to the game.  I think we look pretty decent in practice at times and but it is different in games on Friday night.  We didn't translate very well anything," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "We did play well defensively on early downs, but we couldn't get off the field on third down.  That is something we are trying to improve this week."

          When combining their two losses to Galion and Seneca East the Redmen have been outscored 95-0 and Eckert just believes the players need to take responsibility for what is going on on the field.  "At the point of the season that we are at we need to have some success early to kind of keep that success.  We had a pretty decent start against Seneca East actually.  We came out and got a pick early.  We didn't do much with it.  We had some momentum going and then the snowball effect hit for us and after one bad thing happened we just kind of let it happen.  We need to step up and say enough is enough and keep plugging away when that stuff happens," said Eckert.

          Bucyrus (1-2,0-1) is at Mohawk (2-1,1-1) for a Northern 10 Athletic Conference football game on Friday night.  Mohawk beat rival Carey (22-6) last Friday to keep itself in contention in the "N10."

          Eckert says the Warriors are a power football team that has shown some toughness on the field during the opening three weeks of the season.  "Mohawk has a lot of return guys.  They lost their quarterback, who I felt was the best running back in the league last year, but most of their guys are returning letter winners and returning starters.  When you think of a Mohawk football team you think of toughness and guys that are gritty and kind of hit you and that is what they have at Mohawk right now," he said.


Published 9/15/15

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More Improvement Needed for Bucyrus


          Bucyrus won last week, but they are going to have to show more improvement if they are going to be able to compete with the good teams on their schedule, such as Seneca East this week.

          The Redmen (1-1) did beat Crestline (25-17) on week two after being punished by Galion (55-0) in their first game.  Coach Aaron Eckert says it was a step forward.  "Anytime you get a win it's a good win.  We didn't play our best.  We didn't play up to our ability the whole game, so we are looking at making improvements, especially with ball control going forward," he said.

          It was a positive sign to get a win, but Eckert says their execution on both sides of the ball has to get a lot better if they are going to compete for the rest of the year.  "We are looking to take steps and I think we have taken minor steps and this week we are hoping to take a major step forward against a really good Seneca East ball club and come out and show what we have done and how good we can be," he said.

          They open up Northern 10n Athletic Conference play by hosting Seneca East (2-0,1-0) at home on Friday night.  The Tigers got past Buckeye Central (40-34) in overtime in their conference opener last week.  Eckert says they have as lot of weapons.  "Offensively they have a senior running back that was lost for the season last year with a leg injury that is a really good downhill runner, quick.  They have got some receivers in the outside that do a nice job of catching the ball and moving up field.  Their offensive line is pretty good.  They have a new quarterback this year that's 6'4", 200 pounds, or something close to that," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "They have got the size you need and made some plays against Buckeye Central, especially late.  They play five guys both ways, so they have some other guys on defense that really get after the passer and their secondary does a nice job of keeping everything in front of them."

          Seneca East also beat South Central (55-28) in week one action, so they can score and score quick.  Eckert says they must be able to stop the big play and make the Tigers execute play after play.  "Anytime you play an offense like Seneca East that is explosive and likes to score quick if you can get them out of that mentality and you make them drive the ball, seven, eight, 10, 12 plays chances are some good things are going to happen with your defense because it can be tough for teams like that to maintain drives.  Hopefully we can make that happen on Friday and keep the game manageable in the end," said Eckert.


Published 9/10/15

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It Can Only Get Better for Bucyrus


           Some young players at Bucyrus got a baptism under fire last week when they ran into a pretty good Galion team.  They hope they learned some lessons.

          Galion destroyed the Redmen (55-0) gaining more than 300 yards on the ground in the first half.

          Bucyrus coach Aaron Eckert says they just made too many mistakes to stay in the game with a good team.  "Anytime you play a good team like Galion you can't afford to give them extra opportunities.  We did that on Friday night.  That is something we are looking to take care of this week, taking care of the ball, and not shooting ourselves in the foot," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "We actually had a couple of drives where we had some good plays and we had some momentum and we just killed ourselves.  Those are mistakes they didn't force on us, we just didn't take care of the football and we have to take care of it this week."

          The coach says they started to put the pieces together on Saturday and will be working all week to find some answers.  "Saturday we came in and watched the film and tried to correct things mentally and (Monday) we will work on the physical part of the things we screwed up on or the confusion we had going on last week and work to get better and hopefully.  We are a better team than we were last Friday and we hope to prove that this Friday night," he said.

          There are a lot of younger kids seeing time for Bucyrus.  They graduated double figure players for a year ago.  Eckert says they aren't going to use that as an excuse and they have to be better gamers.  "We do have a rather young group, but we are not going to use that as an excuse or anything.  They have been in the system for at least two years now, a year and a half, and they have done a lot of good things.  In practice we have a team that is fast and enjoys the game, but we didn't show up on Friday.  We just have to be more consistent and take practice out to the game field," said Eckert.

          Bucyrus is at Crestline (0-1) this week to face an old rival in the Bulldogs.  Crestline, who has jumped to the Mid-Buckeye Conference, lost to Mapleton (46-5) in their first game.  Considering last week, Eckert says the Bulldogs are probably thinking in this is a game they can win and break their 18 game losing streak.  "I expect them to be ready for us.  They haven't won in quite a while.  Coach Sipes over there has been doing a great job with those kids.  It is typically a proud tradition at Crestline, I know it hasn't been that way they last couple of years, but they are going to be ready to go with the way we got beat.  They have some good players over there and I'm sure it is going to be a dogfight on Friday night," said Eckert.


Published 9/01/15

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Bucyrus Faces Rival Galion


          Longtime rivals Bucyrus and Galion lock horns in a non-conference game at Bucyrus High School on Friday night.  When these two schools started playing football the main mode of transportation in this area was horse and buggy, not automobiles.

          Galion has had the upper hand in recent meetings, but the Redmen have been improving as a football team under the leadership of coach Aaron Eckert.

          He says his team, very young this year, has shown some good things in practice, but they have sometimes been outmanned when going against opponents.  "I think training camp went fairly well.  I thought our kids practiced well.  We competed well in practice, but it was just different when we went against other kids and that is kind of the point where we are at right now.  We have to figure out how to play against other people right now," said Eckert.

          When you are moving to varsity football from another level it is the speed of the game that kids have to adjust too, according to Eckert.  "Anytime you get experience you are able to adjust quicker.  A half second in football could mean a loss of down, the loss of a play and a touchdown.  We are trying to figure it out the best we can in practice and try to get faster and understand the speed of the game and work to get better at that," he said.

          Galion (6-4) made the playoffs again last year, losing in the first round to Wooster Triway.  They railed to beat Bucyrus (29-22) a year ago.  Eckert says this year's Tigers do a lot of good things.  "They are a good ball club.  They are good upfront on both sides of the ball.  They do a nice job of getting to the ball on defense.  They have good speed and they are just a fundamentally sound ball club.  They do a lot of the things you want to see from a championship type ball club," said Eckert.

          Due to an OHSAA suspension Galion coach Chris Hawkins will not be on the sidelines for this game.  However, Eckert says he believes that will have little affect on how the game in played.  "They are going to be ready to play.  They will know their game plan.  They are going to know what their assignments are.  They will execute.  Our job is to go out and out execute them and play the game the right way and we will see what happens," he said.


Published 8/26/15

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Bucyrus Kids Learning Around Football


         Bucyrus is going to be a young football team this year and that is showing up in the preseason, both good and bad.

          Coach Aaron Eckert says they have come into each practice with some excitement and willingness to improve their technique.  "I have really liked, I guess, our youthfulness, our excitement for the game.  The way we have approached practice has been really good this year.  All of those things that you kind of forget about when you talk about size and speed and strength.  I think we have done a really good job, this year especially, of coming ready reach day to get better at practice," he said.

          However, when the Redmen have been faced with some players with more varsity experience their lack of it in some cases has shown up, according to Eckert.  "On the flip side of that coming to practice with youthfulness and excitement sometimes we miss the fine things and that really showed up in our last scrimmage were we didn't match their enthusiasm," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "They came out and hit us really hard and we kind of forgot about some of those details that make us a good ball club.  You forget the finer details when you are little outmatched and we can't forget those details."

          Bucyrus will play in its final scrimmage on Friday night versus Cardington.

          The OHSAA has instituted some new rules this season limiting hitting in practice to 30 minutes a week.  Eckert says that hasn't forced that much of a change on them.  "It really hasn't affected us too much.  We have kind of went by those guidelines even before they were mandatory as far as the amount of time that we hit.  There are periods where we do hit a little bit, but for the most part we are really technically sound, or we try to be, teaching our kids and getting a lot of reps rather than just beating on everybody each practice," he said.


Published 8/19/15

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Bucyrus Going to Play Some Younger Kids


          Bucyrus put together a pretty good year in 2014 in which the Redmen finished at (7-3) and in a share of second place with Colonel Crawford in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference standings.

          However, a major part of that team has been lost to graduation and that means the Redmen are going to have a new look this fall.

          Coach Aaron Eckert says they are going through a process that will give the Bucyrus football team a whole new look.  "We will be a totally different team.  We were fortunate enough last year to have 16 seniors on our football team and we had a lot of success last year and had a good year.  That was last year and this year we have a lot of new faces that will be out there on Friday nights.  We are looking forward to kind of rebuilding or I guess nor rebuilding, rebranding ourselves a little bit," he said.

          Using scrimmages as a major part, Eckert says they need find out who can play at the varsity level and who needs a little more seasoning before they play on Friday nights.  "In years past we have had a pretty good idea of who was going to play where based on the previous years' performance and what they did in the off season with a couple of all conference guys and we knew we would have some all conference guys back.  With all of those kids gone you are kind of unsure," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "You saw some guys work hard in the off season and we hope that can translate to the football field, but you just don't know.  Without pads so far in training camp you just don't know kind of what you have until you see people in action.  I like our team, I like the direction we are going, but we will find out what we have on Monday when we scrimmage Mt. Gilead down there."

          Bucyrus will have some kids with talent this year, but Eckert says they have to sore of get used to especially the speed of the game at the varsity level.  "I think the speed of the game is probably the biggest jump for everybody.  We have some really talented young kids.  When they see the older kids they just talk about how fast everybody is.  Some kids when they are younger just rely on their natural ability being bigger, stronger and faster.  When you get to high school football the kids work out in the off season and put the time in and typically those kids are bigger stronger and faster.  They are so much faster that you have to be quicker and make quicker decisions.  I see that sometimes with our group of kids that we just react a step slow.  In JV ball they could react a step slower and, in freshman ball, or eight grade ball, they could react a step slower and make the play, but they can't do that right now," said Eckert.

          Bucyrus starts the season August 28 at home against Galion in a non-conference game.  They play at Mohawk in their first N10 game on September 18.


Published 8/07/15

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Girls' Basketball Players to Showcase Talents


          Wednesday night, girls' basketball players of all ages will get an opportunity to show what they can do to fans and college coaches with Shelby Rotary NCO Girls' All-Star Basketball Classic at Shelby High School.

          Kyle Fenner of Colonel Crawford and Eric Mitchell of New London are the coaches in the senior game, which includes two ten player teams.

          Fenner has done this before, so she knows what to expect.  "This will be the second time coaching the all-star game.  I believe in 2000 I coached the all-star game over in Ashland, so this will be my second time," she said.

          She will coach team black, which will include: Anna Hintz of South Central, Deijah Swihart of Clear Fork, Gabby Stephens of Shelby, Shelby Stamm of Bellevue, Ellie Richmond of Wynford, Hannah Adams of Willard, Sydnie Carpenter of Ashland, Mekaila Grose of Mansfield Madison, Ta-Sharra Jeffries of Sandusky and Emily Wagner of Sandusky Perkins.

          A real key to this format is to get everyone into the game with a chance to showcase there skills.  "It's not really hard we will have ten kids and we will probably put them in groups of five and let them play for four or five minutes then we will substitute.  We will approach it that way and let them get up and down the floor and show their skills.  If it's a game at the end we will probably go with the five or six best kids that we feel can win the game for us," said Fenner.

          Some of the players might know where they are going to college, but some may not.  Fenner says this is their chance to impress.  "There are going to be a good portion of college coaches there that night.  They have done a great job of getting college coaches there.  It will a great chance for these kids to show their skills off to not only the area, but also some college coaches that will be there," she said.

          On team white will be Carly Santoro of Bellevue, Valesha Province of Tiffin Columbian, Shelby White of Ashland, Jeryn Reese of Mansfield Senior, Morgan Bailey of Clear Fork, Hunter Feltner of Willard, Alexis Smith of Mansfield Madison, Makayla Cook of Norwalk, Megan Flaherty of Bucyrus and Samantha Reer of Norwalk St. Paul.  The coach of the team will be Eric Mitchell of New London.

          There is also an underclassmen game on Wednesday night, a first due to a change in OHSAA rules and Clear Fork coach Heidi Roush is one the coaches in that game. 

          She was an MVP in an all-star game as a player, but this will be her first as a coach.  "It is my first time coaching anything like this.  There are some stipulations as to who can coach the younger kids.  You couldn't have one of your own players on the team.  I think that is how they kind of stumbled on me.  I'm really looking forward to it.  I think it will be a lot of fun," she told Swankonsports.com.

          Her team members are:  Renee Stimpert of Crestview, Abigail Fogle of Upper Sandusky, Sarah Ogden of Wynford, Gabbi Baldridge of Willard, Ashley Painley of Norwalk St. Paul, Shelby Kin of Carey, Maggie King of Willard, Jisselle Thomas of Norwalk, Paige Leitz of Monroeville and Leah Bouillon of New Riegel.

          She says she will judge playing time by performance during the game.  "With you know you have talented kids, they wouldn't be on the team other wise.  I think for the most part you just go with who is playing well.  Get everyone in there and let them show their skills," said Roush.

          There are only a couple of practices before them game and Roush says the players sort of have to get used to each other.  "There are some larger schools and I know those players and what they are capable of and there are some players that I haven't seen before and I only know their stat lines checking on then throughout the season in the paper.  I think it will be a little bit of a challenge for the kids knowing each other.  Some of them will have played against each other in summer league, some during the season and then there are kids they really don't know each other," said Roush.

          Playing for team black in the underclassmen game are Seina Adachi of Seneca East, Sydney Wentling of Carey, Kamryn Troike of Fostoria St. Wendelin, Payton Shays of New London, Kelci Simms of Bucyrus, Jenna Strayer of Bellevue, Sydney Holderman of Riverdale, Emily Yeager of Mansfield St. Peter's, Jackie Garrett of Shelby and Alexus Burkhart of Colonel Crawford.  They will be coached by Jon Dawson of Willard.

          Roush thinks it is pretty cool that underclassmen get to participate too.  "In this sport most of the time you are going to end with a loss and it can be so disheartening.  Now, these younger kids are going to get a chance to play again this season and pump them up and get them ready for next season," she said.

          There will be a halftime three point shooting contest among girls in district 6.  Some boys will be there for dunk contest as well.

          The underclassmen game starts at 6 PM, with the senior game at about 7:45.  Tickets for the game are $6 for adults, $3 for seniors, and free for 18 and under who donate a gently used or new children's book to the Shelby Rotary's "Big Red Book Shelf."


Published 3/23/15

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Bucyrus Must be Better Decision Makers


          Bucyrus plays Wynford for the second time in four days Tuesday night in the division three sectional semi-finals at Oak Harbor High School.

          The Royals won the regular season meeting (62-50) in Northern 10 Athletic Conference play on Friday night.  Bucyrus (11-11) coach Tony Rose was more than a little concerned with their shot selection.  "When you shoot 25 three point attempts and 25 two points attempts it is not really a good situation and that's what we did.  I thought our shot selection in the fourth quarter wasn't that intelligent.  We are not a three point shooting team.  We have made 102 threes this year, but by the same token we have shot a lot more than we should have.  We did get the one point lead to start the fourth quarter on Cole Murtiff's basket, ironically on a three, and from that point on we just didn't take really solid shots and pretty much handed them the game," said Rose.

          To be able to turn the table on Wynford in the tournament Rose says they must get to the foul line and to do that they have to take the ball to the basket with a little authority.  "We have go to take the ball to the hole and we have to get to the foul line.  If all you are doing is shooting threes you are not going to get to the foul line.  We were 7 of 9 from the foul line and they were 17 of 19 from the foul line and that's 10 points right there.  They get 19 free throws and we get nine.  If we don't take the ball to the basket and do the things we were successful at earlier in the season, and the middle of the season, then we could have another long night," he said.

          Wynford (12-10) is a team that relies on making three pointers and Rose says they have to understand that, something they didn't take to heart last week.  "You definitely have to be aware of their three pointers.  They definitely are a three point shooting team.  They have four or five guys that can shoot it very well with a very high percentage for three pointers.  They have three guys that are 40 percent from the three point line.  Unlike us they are a three point shooting team," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "We gave up seven to them the other night when we had just said that we didn't want to give up any threes to them.  We have to be more aggressive on the outside and make them put it on the floor more and if they beat you from the twos they beat you from the twos, but at least you take a way one of their strengths and that is their outside shooting."


Published 3/02/15

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Bucyrus Wants to Make Press a Factor


          Bucyrus is hoping to be able to make their press and their depth a factor when they meet Ridgedale in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Friday night.

          On Monday, they played pretty well in challenging Carey before falling (65-60) in an N10 game.  Coach Tony Rose says they certainly played a lot better than the first time they met the Blue Devils.  "We are very pleased, granted we were not pleased by the scoreboard, but at the same token they had beaten us by 28 the first time pretty solidly.  This time we only lose by five, and cut it to four.  We had our opportunities.  For the most part we shot foul shots pretty well, but there was a stretch right in the middle of the fourth quarter where we were only one for eight, and that really hurt us because we could have closed the gap a lot sooner," said Rose.

          Defense has been the cornerstone for the Redmen this year and Rose says they continue to execute on that end of the floor.  "Carey came in averaging 75 points a game and we held them to 65, and they scored 84 on us the first time, 65 is a heck of a lot better than 84.  I think we are reading things better.  We are playing better help side defense.  So, I am pretty pleased with where we at defensively," he said.

          Bucyrus (10-8,8-8) plays at Ridgedale (6-13,4-12) in a conference game on Friday night.  Rose knows Ridgedale is a tough place to play.  Ridgedale has played extremely well on their home court.  It is also a new court for almost every school to play on has played a role in that a little bit.  It is a very big gym, it's a very nice gym, it used to be a regional site years and years ago," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "I think the venue is a little bit different for everybody.  Ridgedale, like almost everybody else in this league, plays well on its home court.  With them coming off a loss to Mohawk, they are scary, because I'm sure they have had a few good days of practice."

          Rose believes that his team is deeper than the Rockets and he would like to make that a factor on Friday night by showing some pressure.  "We want to play well and we want to play to our potential.  Hopefully, we can cause them some problems with our press.  Unfortunately they are down on players and only play about six kids.  Ideally we will try to get them tired with the running game.  We want to press them and cause some issues.  Hopefully, we can use our bench a little bit more than their bench.  That should be advantage of us," said Rose.


Published 11/20/15

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Defense the Key For Redmen


          Bucyrus, after two losses last weekend, needs to get back on the winning track as they entertain Carey in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Saturday night.

          They played into two dramatically different games last week when they lost to Upper Sandusky (77-62) in an up down game on Friday and were stuffed (45-31) by Buckeye Central on Saturday.

          Coach Tony Rose says they couldn't find the right combination either night.  "We were very tired, I think both teams on Saturday.  Buckeye had played Carey the night before and we played Upper the night before.  I think it came down to two teams that were just tired and didn't shoot the ball well and they ended up shooting better than we did.  We shot 22 percent on Saturday night, which is the worst of the year," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "On Friday night with Upper at our place we shot extremely well and made nine threes and shot 53 percent from the floor, scored 62 points and had nine turnovers.  If you give me those stats I would have said we won.  Upper shot 60 percent from the floor and made 11 threes and only 11 turnovers, so it was a great up and down game."

          Carey (16-3,12-3) is at Bucyrus (10-7,8-7) on Saturday night for an N10 game.  The Blue Devils are very explosive and Rose says they can do a lot of things with the ball.  "Not having Powers that is one less person off the bench, but they are still pretty solid.  Wentling and Boes are both great players and their whole team is well balanced.  They shoot the ball extremely well, so we are going to have to a little something different than we did the first time around," he said.

          It was (84-56) Carey the first time the teams played and Rose says they need to find some answers on defense this time around.  "We have to take away some of the inside game that hurt us the first time and you definitely have to respect that fact that they can shoot the three, quite a few of them can.  Plus, they can get up and down the floor, so if you don't get back on defense you are going to be in trouble," he said.


Published 2/13/15

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Bucyrus With Critical Weekend


          If Bucyrus is to stay in the race for no less than second place in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference they need to be successful this weekend when they host Upper Sandusky on Friday and travel to Buckeye Central on Saturday.

          Colonel Crawford is unbeaten and leads everybody by at least three games.

          The Redmen lost to N10 leader Colonel Crawford (53-39) last Saturday night.  Coach Tony Rose says they didn't get any breaks in the game it seemed.  "In all honesty except for the second  quarter we played pretty good.  We are the first team to make more threes than they made in a game, we made six, they made five.  They did shoot 21 foul shots and we shot four.  At halftime we had 10 fouls and they had none, but I will never blame a game on officiating or anything else," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "They are not a passive, laid back team, they get after you on defense, so, it was kind of shocking that they had no fouls at halftime.  For the game we had 18 and they had five.  So, that is basketball and that is how it goes sometimes.  Overall, I thought we played pretty well in giving them their third closest game of the season.  We will just build on that and move on to this weekend."

          Bucyrus (10-5,8-5) is at home for Upper Sandusky (11-4,10-3) in a conference game on Friday night.  Rose says the Rams have a lot of guards that can score the ball.  "They have a lot of athleticism and they like to run.  They score 64, 65 a game.  We held Crawford 13 points under their average and hopefully we can do that again, we have to do better on offense we only had 39 points against Crawford.  Upper is a very talented ball club.  All four of us that are right behind Crawford are playing each other.  Carey is playing Buckeye on Friday night and then we turn around and play Buckeye on Saturday night.  The ones that are fighting for second place are pounding each other this weekend, so it is going to be a heck of a weekend," said Rose.

          Bucyrus was able to beat Buckeye Central (11-5,9-3) in overtime (48-46) on December 30.  Rose says they know they can play with the Bucks.  "Buckeye can play very well.  We were fortunate to beat them in overtime here earlier in the season, around Christmas.  Our kids have confidence in the fact that Buckeye beat Upper and they have confidence that they can play with Upper.  A lot of it comes down to the confidence within your own players.  Playing at tome will help on Friday night.  We hope that Carey gets Buckeye fairly tired on Friday night, so they will be a little run down on Saturday because I am sure we are going to have some tired legs from Friday night with Upper.  It is always difficult to play at Buckeye Central," said Rose.


Published 2/05/15

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Bucyrus Ready For Unbeaten Crawford


          Last season, the Bucyrus Redmen beat an undefeated Colonel Crawford at their place, but can they do it two years in a row?  We find out on Saturday night.

          Bucyrus is coming off a weekend in which they won two games in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference in beating Seneca East (62-43) on Friday and Mohawk (63-32) on Saturday night.  Coach Tony Rose says they did what they needed to do.  "We played real well last weekend.  We played at a level we should have played at, I mean no disrespect to the other teams, but our record was much better and we needed to play like it and I thought we did.  Both teams played hard.  We shot the ball well and took care of the ball well.  We only had four turnovers on Friday night and only six turnovers on Saturday," said Rose.

          Earlier in the season the Redmen were having trouble scoring points, but Rose says they have started to really execute a lot better.  "We are running the offense a lot more consistently and well and we are also taking more quality shots and forcing the issue, less turnovers, plus we are getting better shots selections.  When you do not turn the ball over and get higher percentage shots you should do better on offense.  It was nice to get over 60 points both times," he said.

          Colonel Crawford (16-0,12-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the small school division, beat second place Upper Sandusky (58-44) on Wednesday night.  Rose says they have the whole package and they have confidence.  "Todd Entemann is a heck of a ball player.  He might be the best player in the league, if not the top two.  He is very smooth, he doesn't make a lot of mistakes, he has a beautiful shot, he has a quick release.  Then you have the Gulley kid, who is extremely fast, the Adams kid that can also shoot the ball outside, and so can the Gulley kid, the Burkhart kid can shoot it and their kids in the post," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "They are well rounded.  They don't make mistakes, they have played Dave's system for a number of years now.  They have confidence, they have had winning programs over the last few years.  You are talking about a program that has a lot of confidence in themselves and we respect that.  We also know that we were able to beat them last year at our place when they came in undefeated."

          Bucyrus (10-4,8-4) has a lot of guys that played last year and were part of a team that upset Colonel Crawford (48-47) last season.  Rose says they have the pieces and parts to do it again.  "You are dealing with kids that know each other.  They grew up together.  We are only five, ten minutes apart.  The kids played little league baseball together.  It helps when you have a little bit of familiarity with the other kids.  Our kids do feel confident and we play at a different level when we play Crawford and they are a very, very good program.  We had a conversation at practice (Wednesday) that you have to feel confident, not cocky, but confident.  We are 10-4 for a reason and now we have to play our best game and hope that they are off a little bit.  If that can happen, and we can keep it close, we have a chance," he said.


Published 1/29/15

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Bucyrus Getting Better on Offense


          Bucyrus is basketball team that remains a dangerous one as we head into the second half of the boys' basketball season.

          They downed Crestline (51-44) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Saturday night.  Coach Tony Rose says they had to make some adjustments to do it.  "Coffman is very, very nice player.  He really hurt us in the first half and even some in the second half.  We went to zone, and I hate to play zone, but that was the only way we had a chance to slow him down.  He is a very, very nice player.  They had a couple of threes early as well.  Cody Cook hit some threes on us on the outside.  We had to make some adjustments.  We were having a lot of success taking the ball to the basket.  We probably ran our offense, the most patient we have run it in a long time.  Probably the best since I have been here and that was huge to our success," said Rose.

          Defense has been the cornerstone for Bucyrus this year, but Rose says over the last several games they have gotten better on offense too.  "We have been very good defensively.  I have been pretty happy with our defense over all.  Offensively we had struggled and now four games in a row we had scored over 50.  Our offensive average is finally over 50 points a game.  We were in the 40's for quite some time.  It is nice to get the offense working and having better shot selection.  We shot over 48 percent the other night.  When you do that you are going to have a better chance to win," he said.

          Bucyrus (8-4,6-4) plays at home against Seneca East (3-9,1-7) on Friday night.  Bucyrus won the first meeting (53-52) in overtime and Rose says the Tigers are better now.  "It took us overtime to beat them the first time and I think they do have some nice players.  The Daniels kid can shoot the ball really well from the outside, so they are a dangerous team.  They put up 77 points the other night.  They have had some real nice games lately.  They had a bad one the other night against Buckeye Central beat them pretty easily.  You definitely can not take them lightly what so ever," he said.

          They play Mohawk (0-10,0-8) on Saturday night.  Rose says these double league weekends are tough, but they make for an exciting race.  "That makes it a little bit more exciting.  18 league games obviously gives you a little waiver room where you can catch up to somebody if you have had a bad start, but at the same time Crawford is playing really well right now, Upper Sandusky is playing well, and Carey isn't playing that bad either.  A lot of things are going to have to happen for us to get back in it," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "Ridgedale knocking off Wynford the other night, that helps us a little bit.  You never know what is going to happen.  Like I have said anybody can beat anybody on a given night.  One thing I have been impressed about is every team in this league has some shooters.  So, if they happen to be on on a given night and you aren't, you could be in trouble."


Published 1/21/15

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Bucyrus Counting on Defense


          Bucyrus is kind of a team that is teetering on being good or just average and it is a team that has to control the game with its defense and make some clutch shots.

          That is what they are going to need to do when they play Ridgedale Thursday and Crestline Saturday in Northern 10 Athletic Conference games.

          Last Saturday, they lost a tough on to arch rival Wynford (61-58) in conference play.  Coach Tony Rose was pleased that they game themselves every chance to win the game.  "It was a great game.  You are talking about two high schools that are a mile a part and it was a clean. well played game by both teams.  We had 10 turnovers, they had nine turnovers, they made one more three than us, but it was a great game we just came out on the short end.  We were down, we came back, got down again, and were able to climb back and get the lead with 1:08 and it just didn't happen.  It was a great game and was fun to be part of," he said.

          Rose is convinced that his team can beat anyone on their schedule, but he also knows they can lose if they don't play up to their potential.  "After Ridgedale on Thursday night we will have seen everybody once.  We feel we can play with anybody if we play at our caliber that we are capable of playing at and at the same time we can lose to anybody if we don't come out ready to play and we don't think there is anybody in this league that you can overlook.  I think any night anybody can beat anybody.  We were extremely shocked with Seneca East beating Ridgedale so handily at Ridgedale on Saturday night.  Seneca East took us to overtime.  In a way it wasn't a surprise with the way they had been playing and the way Ridgedale had been playing, but that did shock us a little bit," said Rose.

          Ridgedale (4-7,2-6) comes to Bucyrus (6-4,4-4) on Thursday night for a game that was to be played last Friday, but wasn't due to the weather.  Rose says Mo Britton is a tremendous player that can really light it up.  "Britton can flat out play.  We is a great shooter.  We are going to have to slow him down as much as possible.  I think we have the defenders that can do that.  Austin Wurm is a great player at Buckeye Central and we were able to slow him and Loy down with our triangle and two.  I don't think we have to go to a triangle and two this time.  They have two kids on the inside that are nice players in the post.  They can score a lot of points in a hurry if they get hot," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "They have another guard named (Preston) Burton that can shoot the ball.  They have two nice guards and two post players that are pretty balanced.  Britton is a phenomenal guard, so we are going to have to try and take away his shot selections as much as possible and hope we take away their three point shots."


Published 1/13/15

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For Bucyrus Its Nice to be Home


          The first five weeks of the boys' basketball season has probably felt like a long road trip for the Bucyrus Redmen, who have played seven of the first nine games on the road.

          Last week, they beat Buckeye Central (48-46) in overtime at home on last Tuesday and got hammered by Carey (84-56)on the road on Saturday.  Coach Tony Rose says it was definitely the good and the bad.  "We had three rough roads games.  We had Crawford at their place, Upper at their place, then we had Buckeye at home, and then we traveled to Carey.  We were hoping to get two of those, but we got the one, Buckeye at home, in one best defensive performances of any team I have ever coached.  They executed the triangle and two defense to perfection against Wurm and Loy," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "Carey really dominated the offensive boards.  It was only a two point game with us at the foul line with 1:48 to go in the first quarter and all of the sudden we are down by seven at the end of the first quarter.  Then they came out with a nice run in the second quarter and they started the second half with a 13-0 run.  We were just too far down to even recover.  We did have one goal, which was to win the fourth quarter, which we did, to have a little better respect coming out of the game.  They are just a very good team, which a lot of seniors with experience and they played extremely well.  So, hopefully we can play a little better next time when we see them at home."

          Bucyrus (6-3,4-3) plays host to Ridegdale (3-6,1-5) on Friday and Wynford (5-5,4-3) on Saturday in Northern 10 Athletic Conference games this week.  Rose says being home will be nice, but they are going to have to play well.  "We have played seven road games out of our first nine and it is going to be nice to be back home.  Ridgedale has a real nice shooter in the Britton kid and they have some nice post players.  Wynford is always a tough game, a mile away from us, and a great rivalry.  They have some very nice shooters on their team was well and an inside presence in Sheltler.  We are going to have to come play on both nights and if we do that we will be in good shape," he said.

          It seems the Northern 10 has a lot of shooters and that means you have to play solid defense, but Rose says for them they have to be able to be able to score more.  "You have to play good defense and you have to execute your offense and that is one thing we are not doing we are not scoring a lot of points.  Thank goodness we are playing great defesne and keeping our games fairly low scoring games.  What we did against Buckeye was we made seven three at home.  It was nice to shoot at own basket that you shoot at every day in practice.  There is something to be said about playing at home when you get a chance to shoot at a basket that your are used to.  The next four games are all home and if we can play those up to our own ability we should have a nice home stand," said Rose.


Published 1/07/15

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Bucyrus Doing What They have to do


          There has been four basketball games on the Bucyrus schedule so far this season and they have won them all, including their two league games.  They beat Crestline (35-34) last Saturday.

          It was a little closer than maybe it should have been, but Bucyrus coach Tony Rose says they will take it.  "We are happy to be where we are.  We felt we were lucky to get out of Crestline with a victory.  Coffman played extremely well for them, but our press was able to give them some trouble the second half and we were able to survive," he said.

          If the Redmen have had problems this year it has been on offense.  Rose says clearly their defense won the game for them on Saturday.  "We couldn't buy any baskets.  We missed 15 shots in the paint.  We forced 24 turnovers, we just need to find a way to score.  We were very fortunate that our defense was able to hold on for us and that is what won the game," he said.

          If you go by halves Bucyrus (4-0,2-0) is alone in first place in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference as the beat Mohawk (50-31) on the opening weekend. 

          This Friday the play Seneca East (0-2,0-1) in a conference game.  The Tigers lost (85-64) to Buckeye Central last week when Grant Loy scored 37 points for the Bucks.

          Rose says they are going into this game kind of blind in a lot of ways.  "When we beat them last year they let their coach go after we defeated them, so we have not played against this coach, so we really don't have much information.  We have film from our game and we have studied that as far as tendencies of players they have coming back and they have some decent shooters," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "As far as what they are going to run that is still a little bit of a mystery for us.  You should be prepared for any zone and be prepared for any man to man.  If we can go in an execute what we think we should do we should be able to play pretty well."

          Although Seneca East would not be considered one of the contenders in the N10, bur Rose says that can't matter to them.  He says they have to go in and take care of business.  "In this league this year we feel every team has good shooters and decent post players, so you have to be prepared every night regardless of the record.  We hope we can continue to win on the road.  If we would win Friday night that would give us four victories on the road, which is more than we won all last year on the road.  On the road anything can happen," he said.


Published 12/17/14

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Bucyrus Off to a Solid Start


          The high school boys' basketball season is only five days old and already the Bucyrus Redmen have won three basketball games in beating Mohawk, Northmor and Riverdale.

          They played Mohawk in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on the opening night and beat the Warriors (50-31) and now they get ready to play their second league game on Saturday night at Crestline.  Coach Tony Rose says they want to keep things going.  "We are already on top of the N10 at 1-0 and it would be nice to stay there.  Crestline is always a team that has good shooting guards.  We anticipating a team that will shoot the ball well from the outside," he said.

          One of the big plusses for the Rdemen his year is their balance.  Rose says they can turn to a number of different guys.  "It is nice if they can't key on just one guy.  With our team this year you have five or six kids that could be your leading scorer.  You just hope that one or two of them can have a good night at least every night.  (Tuesday) night Dalon King had 19 and D.J. (Dagher) has 12, so every night if we can get two guys to step up and score well we will be happy," he said.

          The Redmen have also beaten Northmor (43-32) last Saturday and Riverdale (63-59) on Tuesday night.  Rose says with a lot of games early in the season their experience has paid off.  "We are lucky in that we have four kids back that had a lot of playing time and we have a total of 10 seniors on the team, so we have a very mature team.  I think that has been to our advantage, especially against Northmor who started two freshmen and a sophomore.  We have kids that have been there before and been on a varsity floor before and I think that has helped us in the first five days in playing three games," said Rose.

          Crestline has yet to play a game yet to play a game yet.  Their first will be against Bucyrus on Saturday night, plus they have a new coach in Colby Bright.  Rose admits there are some unknowns when it comes to the Bulldogs.  "There coach was the assistant coach at Galion and we have seen a little bit of his coaching style, but then again he was working under someone else, so you don't know exactly what his style is.  This is only my second year in the area and last year I was impressed with their guards.  They had the lead on us in the first half at their place.  We came out and had a nice second half and won the game by about 15," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "It is always tough to play on their home floor.  You have to anticipate that they will play well and you have to play well at the same time."


Published 12/11/14

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Bucyrus Pretty Confident


          Bucyrus has a some talented kids back from last year's team and they feel they will be in the race in the conference and we may find out if that is the case this Friday when they open the season against Mohawk in a conference game.

          Coach Tony Rose has been pretty impressed what he has seen so far.  He feels they were challenged during scrimmage play and felt they came out looking pretty good.  "I am pretty pleased with where we are at.  We had some nice scrimmages.  We played Pleasant, who I think is going to be pretty darn good, Coshocton, in a tri we had Lucas and Mt. Gilead.  Mt. Gilead had a lot of height, which is good for us to go against because that is going to be one of our weaknesses going against teams that have nice height.  We will have to use our speed and our press against schools like that.  For us those were great scrimmages," he said.

         Rose says they know who four of their starters will be for sure, now they have to find the fifth.  He says they are team that knows what it is doing out there.  "We had four solid starters back that had a lot of varsity time last year and we have three or four kids that can fill that fifth position and just finding that fifth person to fit in and also who to go to coming off the bench is where we are at right now.  We feel confident in who we have.  We are happy with our experience.  We are a very senior dominated team this year.  It is the second year that I have been here and we have a lot of things already in.  We had a great summer and I am pretty sure we are ready to go or as ready as we are going to be," said Rose.

          It should be a pretty good race this year, the first for the Northern 10 Athletic Conference, and Rose says they should be right there in the thick of it.  "We think our league is really balanced.  There are five or six schools that are pretty good and then there are a couple of other schools that are weaker on paper, but they all have great shooting guards.  I think anybody can beat anybody on a given night in this league.  So, I don't think you can overlook anyone," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "We feel it is a nice league and we are happy with the teams that are in it.  We are fortunate enough to open up with Mohawk in a league game.  We had to reschedule that because they had parent-teacher conferences that night.  So, we will open the initial season of the "N10."  Having played them last year we know a little bit about them and we fell we should be able to compete with them."

          Bucyrus hosts Mohawk on Friday night in conference game.  Playing a league game on the first week is kind of rare, but Rose believes they will be ready.  "Having already played them the previous year, that helps.  It is a new team in the league, but we have played them in past and did see them in the summer, so we are confident that we will be prepared for them.  We think Buckeye Central, Crawford, Carey, Upper Sandusky, Wynford, plus ourselves are probably the strongest teams on paper.  I think the key is we have to win games on the road.  We had a phenomenal home record last year at 9-2, but we only won three games on the road.  If we can win games on the road and continue to win at home I think we will have a good season," said Rose.


Published 12/03/14

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It's a Big One for Bucyrus


          It's been an outstanding season for the Bucyrus Redmen already, but how it will go down in the history of the school will likely be determined on Friday night when they host the rival Wynford Royals.

          A win and the Redmen, and perhaps Carey, who would need to beat Colonel Crawford, would share in the first Northern 10 Athletic Conference football title.  A loss and it is all Wynford's.  Bucyrus coach Aaron Eckert says it's exciting.  "Anytime you put yourself in position to win a league title and still have playoff aspirations out there.  This is always a big game and it just makes it that much more special for us that is those guys across town," he said.

          Bucyrus (7-2,6-1) and Wynford have been squaring off on the gridiron for many years.  Eckert says this is their biggest rival.  "Its was our first game when we were in the "NOL" and they were in the "NCC."  We have played them forever it seems.  They are just across the corn field about a mile away from us.  It is always a big game whenever these two schools play," he said.

          Wynford (8-1,7-0) takes an eight game winning streak into the game and Eckert says they are just very good on both sides of the ball.  "Let's start with their defense when you give us 7.9 points per game you put yourself in position to win a lot of football games.  They are well coached, Gabe Helbert does a great job with those kids over there.  Every year in Crawford County you hear this is Wynford's down year, this is Wynford's down year and it never is," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "Offensively they are first in the league in yards per game.  They do a great job with their scheme offensively.  They have a really good offensive line.  There is nowhere on film where you see a weakness."

          The Royals have pretty much been bludgeoning everyone they have seen over the last month, so they have rarely been behind in a game.  Eckert says boy it would be nice to get off to a good start.  "Anytime you can score first and set the tone or you can get up a couple of scores you make teams maybe do some things that they don't want to do.  I'd love to say we could get in that position, but we won't find that out until Friday night," he said.


Published 10/31/14

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Bucyrus Has to win


          After a tough loss last week to Carey, the Bucyrus Redmen lost their share of first place in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference.  It now belongs solely to the Wynford Royals,

          However, Bucyrus (6-2,5-1) still has a chance to win the title, or share it, if they win their last two games and that begins this week with Ridgedale.

          Last Friday, Bucyrus led Carey (37-28) in the fourth quarter, but the Blue Devils would score three times to win (48-37) and move into a share of second place with Bucyrus.  Coach Aaron Eckert says it was a very disappointing loss for them.  "Last week was a tough loss for us.  Anytime you are winning by nine with 10 minutes to go in the game you expect to win the ball game.  They made some plays when they had to.  We threw a pick six in the last minute as we were driving down the field and that kind of sealed the deal for us," said Eckert.

          Eckert says they can't let the loss to Carey define their season.  He says they still have things to play for.  "It is absolutely not the time to be pouting.  We still have a shot to win the league or tie for the league if we win out.  That is kind of where our attention is this week with the Ridgedale Rockets," he said.

           Ridgedale (2-6,1-5) is coming off a (34-0) loss to Mohawk last week.  Eckert has seen a lot of the Rockets on film and he believes they are improving as a team.  "Ridgedale is getting better each and every week from where I saw them at the beginning of the year.  They have gotten better and they have established an identity of what they are doing offensively and they have some nice athletes up there," he said.

          Bucyrus has been looking forward to their week 10 meeting with Wynford for quite a while, but Eckert says if they don't win this week against Ridgedale then the Wynford game means very little.  "If you don't take acre of this week next week doesn't mean anything.  In our eyes we have to have a good week of practice.  We have to have a solid effort on Friday night and hopefully we come away with a win," he said.


Published 10/22/14

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Bucyrus to Square off Against Carey


          Bucyrus remains in a share of first place in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference with Wynford , but they face a big challenge this week when they take on the once beaten Carey Blue Devils.

          Carey's only loss this year is by one point to Wynford (14-13) on week four of the season.

          Last week, Bucyrus dominated Buckeye Central (48-14) as quarterback Cole Murtiff had another spectacular day completing 21 of 27 passes for 231 yards and three scores.  Coach Aaron Eckert calls it a quality win for the Redmen.  "Anytime you can play an opponent like Buckeye Central, a good quality opponent and execute and do what you want to do offensive and defensively and take the game over a little bit is a good feeling," he said.

          More impressive might be what the Redmen did on defense in slowing down the Buckeye running attack.  "We told our kids last week about just being more physical than them.  They are known for being a good, physical running football team.  I think we kind of stepped up to the challenge and our kids played tough and physical and weren't moved.  I think more often than not we were the most physical team," said Eckert.

          Carey (6-1,4-1) was the preseason choice to win the league and they have played outstanding football.  Eckert says they have a lot of depth for a small school and those guys all can play.  "On film this is probably the best team we have seen so far," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "Athletically they are very gifted.  They are senior dominate.  They have a lot of guys that only go one way.  They have a lot of depth.  They are fundamentally sound and good at what they do."

          Twice in the last three weeks Carey has scored 62 points in a game and could have had more if they wanted them.  Eckert says they are explosive.  "The Powers kid, the Miller kid, they are both averaging well over seven yards a carry.  They have some receivers, maybe they don't have the stats of some other receivers, but just watching them move and run in he game when they catch the ball they can do some things with it in their hands.  Defensively we have to play very well this week to have a chance at winning," said Eckert.

          Tackling is huge factor in any game, but Eckert says against Carey that is particularly they case.  "Anytime you play against teams that have home run hitters, or guys that can take in the distance its is scary because if you do miss a tackle they have a chance to really make you pay for it.  Carey has got five, six, seven of those guys that can take it the distance on one particular play," he said.


Published 10/14/14

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Bucyrus and Buckeye in Big N10 Battle


          Bucyrus has played some pretty good football over the first six weeks of the season, including a nice five game winning streak and that has left them with some things to play for over the final four.

          That stretch begins this week with a game at home against the Buckeye Central Bucks.

          The Redmen took a break from play in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference for a (37-0) win over Fremont St. Joe last week in a non-conference game.  Coach Aaron Eckert says it was not a perfect game by any means, but a good one.  "I thought that we played well.  Obviously there are still things that we can clean up going forward.  We had a couple of turnovers in the first half.  Fortunately they didn't come back to hurt us.  There are always things that you can improve and get better on.  You really never play a flawless game," he said.

          Defense is an area where Bucyrus has gotten better and better as the season has gotten older.  Eckert says that what will ultimately determine how good of a season they have.  "That is something we focused on early in the season," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "We knew offensively we would be able to score the ball a little bit and if we were going to be a championship like team we were gong to have to bring our defense along and that has kind of been our focus this year."

          Buckeye Central (4-2,3-1) lost its first conference game of the season last week to Carey (35-14) and Eckert says they are a team that wants to be physical at the point of attack.  "Buckeye is a good team and they are a physical team.  That is were they get a lot of their points because they out hit you and eventually they pop one.  We are going to try and not let that happen this week." he said.

          It should be a real battle at the line of scrimmage and Eckert says that is a contest they have to win if they are going to win the game.  "We have to match their physicality if not exceed it.  Anytime you get a chance to play a game like this were your team is tested physically I think it is a good thing for us going forward," he said.

          Bucyrus (5-1,4-0) shares first in the "N10" with Wynford, who they play on the last week of the regular season.  But, for that game to matter, or next week at Carey, Eckert says they have to win on Friday night.  "We knew as the year went on we would see some teams that had a chance to be pretty good and that has came to be true.  We play a very good Buckeye Central team that has the same aspirations as we do of competing a league title.  Whoever wins this week puts themselves in a good spot for that," said Eckert.


Published 10/08/14

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Bucyrus Coming Into its Own


          Bucyrus is starting to sail through some uncharted waters.  Right now they share first place in the new Northern 10 Athletic Conference and have put themselves in position to accomplish some special things if they continue to play well.

          Last Friday, senior quarterback Cole Murtiff found Dalton King with 1:35 left in the game to give Redmen a come from behind (29-27) win over rival Colonel Crawford.  Coach Aaron Eckert says they just had a refuse to lose attitude.  "A lot of that game came down to how mature our kids where (Friday) night.  We were winning the whole game and Crawford takes the lead with about four minutes to go in the game.  I think they just looked at each other and said it is time to go, it's time to win a ball game where and they went out and did it," said Eckert.

          16 seniors see playing time for the Redmen and Eckert thinks that experience is a big factor for them.  "Whenever you can put seniors out there that have played for four years and understand how things work on Friday night and they just play within what they can do things like this happen.  We talk all of the time about just doing your job and playing as a team and they did that Friday night and I am proud of them for it," he said.

          Murtiff has thrown for more than 1,000 yards this season, his third as the starting quarterback, and Eckert says he is the engine that make them run.  "I think he is the best quarterback in the area.  I wouldn't trade him for anybody in the state.  Some of the things we ask him to do it just blows my mind that he is able to process the information that we ask him to do as quickly as he does and makes the right decision most of the time.  When you have a kid like that that keeps everybody calm it's a good thing," he said.

          Bucyrus (4-1,4-0) has played a lot of mediocre football and recent years, but Eckert says they aren't going to stand of that anymore.  "We are trying to get over that edge.  We have been hovering around that .500 mark for the last couple of years.  Especially with this group of kids and they understand that isn't good enough," he told Swankonsports.com, "That is not what their expectations are, it's not what our expectation are as coaches.  We have great support at Bucyrus athletically and academically and there is no reason that we shouldn't be successful and I think it starting to turn for us a little bit."

          They take a break from N10 play on Friday night to host Fremont St. Joe (1-4) in a non-conference game.  The Crimson Streaks won their first game last week (34-0) over Hardin-Northern.  Eckert says they are not looking past St. Joe.  "As great as that win was on Friday night and as much as I enjoyed it I am thinking about the next game and Fremont St. Joe.  You have to have a short memory because we been through those times when we have overlooked somebody and taken a loss for it when maybe we shouldn't have.  We are not going to let that happen," he said.


Published 9/29/14

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Bucyrus Knows What's at Stake


          Right now, Bucyrus shares the lead in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference with Wynford and Buckeye Central, but Colonel Crawford looms just one game back as the schools get ready for a meeting in North Robinson on Friday night.

          Last week, the Redmen scored with less than four minutes to play to solidify a win over Mohawk (20-19) in an N10 football game.  Coach Aaron Eckert says they knew what they had to do.  "We knew going into the game that Mohawk is a very well coached team with good athletes.  They are a good football team.  We couldn't let that record kind of deceive us a little bit.  They hung in there and they played tough.  In the end it was our kids that kind of pulled it out and I proud of them for that," said Eckert.

          There seem to be a lot of schools are this year that have young, inexperienced rosters, but Eckert says the has a lot of seniors that he can turn to.  "That is one thing that we do have on this football team.  We carry 16 seniors and for the most part those guys are always ready to go, especially when it is game time.  They come out when the lights are on and do a nice job for us," he said.

          Bucyrus (3-1,3-0) is at Colonel Crawford (3-1,2-1) this week for game with a lot riding on it.  Eckert says the Eagles are a team that is going to want to run the football.  "We are going to see a team that wants to run the football and control the clock.  That hasn't necessarily been their forte the last couple of years.  They have a really nice quarterback that is more of a runner than he is a passer," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, " He can still deliver the ball.  He leads the league in percentage of passes completed.  Defensively the can run.  They are very fast defensively."

          When facing team that likes to run the ball like Crawford does Eckert says the real battle will be who takes control of the point of attack.  "We have to be able to control the line of scrimmage.  That's big every week, but especially this week with a rival game.  You want to hit them early and kind of show that this is your line of scrimmage," he said.

          If the Redmen are to claim the N10 title this year Eckert says this is a game they almost have to win and they understand that.  "Our kids know what's at stake.  They understand that this our fifth step out of 10 to go where we want to go this year.  This is a game we have to compete in and ultimately win if we have aspirations of playing beyond week 10 and winning the N10 title," he said.


Published 9/25/14

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Bucyrus Has to Continue to go Forward


          Three weeks into the high school football season the Bucyrus Redmen share first place in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference with Wynford and Buckeye Central.

          All three are 2-0 in league play, while Carey is 1-0.

          Bucyrus beat Seneca East (29-14) last week as senior quarterback Cole Murtiff was 21 of 32 for 264 yards and a score, plus he ran for three touchdowns.  It was the second straight win for the Redmen and coach Aaron Eckert says they are feeling pretty good about themselves.  "We are kind of in a grove right now.  We are clicking offensively.  Or defense is showing a little bit better.  We have a lot of things to work on, but I like where we are heading going forward," he said.

          Plus, they were able to hold the Tigers only 193 total yards and Eckert says they are beginning to play better on defense.  "We are tackling better and that always helps when the other team is typically running the football.  The guys that are there first half to make a tackle and we are doing a better job of that.  Last week against Seneca East, their quarterback was the league's leading rusher and we held him to 31 yards.  We only gave up 100 for the game and we have been getting good play for our front seven," said Eckert.

          Mohawk (0-3) has gotten better each week.  They were pounded the first two weeks of the season by Marion Pleasant (48-6) and Colonel Crawford (47-14), but they played rival Carey pretty tough last week before losing (21-13) the game in the second half.  Eckert says they are going to have a break out game soon.  "Don't let Mohawk's record deceive you, even though they haven't won yet they are a good football team.  The teams they have played are a combined 8-1 this season.  All three of those teams have aspirations of winning their league title," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "Their quarterback is a stud.  Kevin Johnson ran for 1,700 yards last season and he is really good.  I like their line.  They play physical on defense.  It's going to be a tough match up for us this week."

          If they are going remain unbeaten in the league, Eckert says they have to win in the trenches.  "We have to match their physicality if not beat their physicality.  That is one thing we are getting better at as a program is getting more physical and getting more guys to the ball and making sure the ball carrier doesn't get by the first guy and getting multiple people there.  We are getting better up front each week and I like the direction that we are going, but when you are playing a team like Mohawk that has a reputation where kids are just tough," he said.


Published 9/16/14

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Bucyrus Looking to Stay in League Race


          A win last week in their N10n opener puts Bucyrus in a share of the conference lead, but they are going to need another win to stay there.

          They belted Crestline (35-0) last week in game that was finished on Saturday morning.  Coach Aaron Eckert says they were a little sloppy, especially on Friday night with three turnovers, but they'll take the win anytime.  "Absolutely, you take anything you can get, especially in this profession.  The kids played hard.  They made some fundamental mistakes, so hopefully this week we get some of those corrected and play a little better," he said.

          Eckert says the players need to understand the game and their position better, so they can make the right adjustments.  "I think some of the things we identified on film, especially in our run game Crestline gave us a couple of looks I guess we hadn't anticipated.  We need to know our assignments and know what we are supposed to do when we get different looks.  Plus, our backs need to hit the hole a little harder," he said.

          Bucyrus (1-1,1-0) is at Seneca East (0-2,0-2) on Friday night in N10 action.  The Tigers lost last week to Buckeye Central (44-28) and their defense has been pretty leaky this year.  However, Eckert says when the Tigers have the ball they are dangerous.  "I'll tell you what they have a real nice quarterback.  He's good and everything runs through him.  He is the leading rusher in the league from the quarterback position and he also has a pretty nice arm," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "They are pretty good up front and they have some kids that can catch the football.  Defensively they play a lot of the same guys.  One of their receivers is probably their best defensive guy at middle linebacker.  They do play nine guys both ways with a couple of key subs that in there all of the time."

          Seneca East is a team that gives up more than 40 points a game, but Eckert says this is not a win they can take for granted.  "When you get into league play with hopes and dreams and expectations every game is a must win in our conference.  There are no easy games or give me games.  We have to remain focused and this is the most important game of the year and we need to get the job done," he said.


Published 9/11/14

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Better Play in the Trenches Needed for Bucyrus


          Last week, Bucyrus was in the game until the final moments before falling to Galion on week one and now it is already time for play in the new Northern 10 Conference as they host Crestline.

          Galion got a late touchdown run to beat the Redmen (29-22) and coach Aaron Eckert thought they played pretty well, especially considering the circumstances.  "Anytime you play a team like Galion down to the wire, we had the lead with four minutes left in the game, and a couple of things didn't go our way, that is just way the ball bounces sometimes," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "I like the way we competed.  The heart and soul of our defense and probably our team is out for a while with a broken leg in Justin Campbell and we kind of rallied behind that whole thing and played fairly well."

          Bucyrus was able to throw the ball well against Galion, but Eckert says to get better they have to be a team that runs the ball well too.  "We have to run the ball better.  We ran the ball for less than 50 yards in the game.  Part of that is because how good Galion is up front and how fast they are, but we have to better up front and drive people off the football," he said.

          Crestline (0-1) got thumped on week one by Northmor (53-12), but Eckert says they have some athletic players and they have some size too.  "Crestline if you look at just the guys they start and they play they are very big.  I bet their offensive line averages 6'3", 275.  They also have some really nice athletes.  Their problem is they don't have much depth, so those kids end up playing both ways for four quarters and they eventually wear down," said Eckert.

           The Bucyrus coach wants to see his team get better at the point of attack on both sides of the ball.  "We have to run the ball.  We have a nice set of receivers and quarterback, but we have to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and we have to contain some of their athletes.  They have a lot of nice athletes over there and we can't let them get a lot of momentum," he said.

          This year there will be eight and next year nine conference games in the N10 and Eckert says it will take getting used to in playing a league game this quickly.  "It feels that way a little bit ever since I have been in school the "NCC" had always played three games before you go into league play and here we are week two and we are already in league play.  It should be exciting, but it does feel a little weird," he said.


Published 9/02/14

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Bucyrus and Galion Renew Rivalry


          Bucyrus and Galion have played more than 100 times on the football field over the years and they meet again Friday night as the Redmen make the short trip to Heise Park to face the Tigers.

          The preseason has been both good and bad for the Redmen.  Their execution has been pretty good, but they also have some injuries at key positions, according to coach Aaron Eckert.  "It is kind of a double edged sword.  We have some kids banged up right now and I wish we were more healthy.  At the same time I really like the kids that have been practicing and where we are at as far as our preparation and understanding what the game plan is going into Friday," he said.

          Eckert thinks the Redmen have a chance to be pretty good, but you are never sure until you see the players in live action in a real game.  "You try to simulate the game in practice, but you always fall short.  The intensity is not there, the fans aren't there and the smell of Friday night is not there.  It will be a good experience for our kids to get out there and compete with someone other than ourselves," he said.

          After a year in which they were co-champion of the former North Central Conference Galion is now in the red division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference and Bucyrus moves from the "NCC" to the newly created Northern 10 conference. 

          Eckert says Galion may have lost some kids to graduation, but they are still very good.  "Galion is still very talented.  They probably have another division one athlete in Cario Davidson.  They have a new quarterback this year, but as a sophomore he went to the state track meet," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, " So, they have a lot of speed, a lot of quickness and a lot of good size up front.  They are a good football team, well coached by Chris (Hawkins) and it will be a battle for us on Friday."

          In order for Bucyrus to beat Galion in their opener this week, Eckert says they have to be fundamental in their approach to the game on both sides of the ball.  "We have some athletes of our own.  I don't know if we have any division one athletes on our team, but I think the first and foremost thing is we have to play smart football.  Sometimes when you are matched up against a team that may be more athletic than you, you really have to understand your assignments and what your job is out of 11 to compete in the game.  If our kids can follow that simple rule where and we just do our job I like our chances," said Eckert.


Published 8/28/14

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So Far, So good For Bucyrus


          The Bucyrus football team is heading into the final 10 days of the preseason with some cautious optimism.

          They have gotten through the tough part of camp pretty healthy and coach Aaron Eckert says they have had some solid moments against opponents too.  "It has gone pretty well for us.  We got a lot of guys reps.  We have got some guys in different positions this year and different roles and they have done a good job with those roles.  We have come out of camp relatively healthy, so we are looking forward to this Friday against Cardington," he said.

          They play Cardington in their final scrimmage of Friday.

          Because of the adjustments they have in their starting assignments Eckert says these preseason scrimmages are pretty important to them.  "Anytime you have guys in different roles you want to see how they are going to react even if they have been starter for you the last couple of years.  When you put them in different roles it is different.  They need experience, playing time and to get these reps.  It has been a good preseason for these guys to get the reps they need in order for us to succeed this year," said Eckert.

          With players in new positions and some guys new to varsity football Eckert says his biggest concern going into the season is are those guys going to ready when they turn the lights on.  "Some of our guys that haven't played before and for us that is up front.  We have a lot of guys that have done a good job in the weight room and done a good job in camp, but they haven't been in a Friday night game necessarily," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "If they keep doing what they are supposed to be doing and keep progressing they will be fine.  I just hope the Friday night lights don't affect them too much."

          Bucyrus plays at Galion in the renewal of that long standing rivalry next Friday in the season opener for both.  Eckert likes keeping Galion, now a member of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, on the schedule and knows the Tigers will be a good test.  "From what I understand Galion and Bucyrus have been playing for over 100 years.  It is the fourth longest rivalry in the state of Ohio.  It's a good match up for us.  This year they are very athletic.  They are very well coached.  We use them as a measuring stick of where we are at," said Eckert.


Published 8/20/14

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Defense Has to Improve for Bucyrus


          Last season Bucyrus put up enough points to win games, but it was their defense that sometimes was too porous to allow them to come out on top.

          In 2013, they finished 5-5 and in a tie for fourth in the North Central Conference.  The highlight of the season was their 37-36 overtime win over Upper Sandusky on week seven.

          This year, the Redmen will be part of a new league in the Northern 10, which also includes Wynford, Colonel Crawford, Buckeye Central, and Crestline from the old “NCC,” plus Ridgedale of the “MOAC” and Carey, Mohawk and Seneca East from the former Midland Athletic League.

          Bucyrus coach Aaron Eckert likes the new league and the different challenges.  “I think it is exciting anytime that you get to play somebody that is different during the off season you try to figure what they do on offense and on defense.  Just try to get a grasp of who you are playing in the up coming year.  It was good for us to see some different schemes and different teams.  I’m looking forward to it,” said Eckert.

          Especially with all of the schools being around the same size Eckert looks for some pretty good competition on the gridiron in the conference.  “All of the teams coming into our league from how big the school is fit our conference.  The competition is going to be great for us,” he told Swankonsports.com, “Right now all of the schools in our conference are going to be fairly similar in size.  Some of those teams have had great runs in the past and we are hoping we can start a similar run here at Bucyrus.”

          Five times last year Bucyrus gave up more than 30 points in a game and three times more than 40.  Eckert says that is where the most improvement must come.  “I think first off when you look at our defensive performance last year we were inconsistent at times and that hurt us.  We didn’t really struggle to score we averaged over 30 points a game, but when you give up 20 it’s hard to be consistent and win every week. We had a couple of games that I felt maybe we should have won, but defensively we just didn’t have it those games,” said Eckert.

          He adds if they are going to have a better defense they have to adopt a different attitude on that side of the ball.  “Defense is a mentality and it’s a way of thinking and a way of doing things. We put a lot of emphasis to that in camp in the summer.  Starting two a days that is where out emphasis is this year.  If we want to be a good football team we have to stop people.  To stop people we have to play to the whistle.  We have to gang tackle.  All those things that we talk about we just have to do it and continue to do it,” he said.

          Eckert thinks they have a chance to be near if not at the top of the N-10 standings and he saw a lot of good things, on both sides, from his kids during the summer.  “We have 16 seniors this year, so they kind of grabbed the ropes a little bit and got things going for us.  In the seven on sevens we did fairly well.  We progressed throughout the summer offensively and defensively with what we are trying to accomplish.  I think the kids are understanding a little more with what we asking them to do on both sides of the ball.  Overall I was pleased with how we performed this summer and how things are moving forward,” said Eckert.


Published 8/05/14

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Bucyrus Needs to Play Well


          Bucyrus and New London appear to be two pretty evenly matched teams with similar styles as they meet in the boys' division three sectional semi-finals at Lexington High School on Tuesday night.

          The winner plays Willard (14-8) on Friday night.

          Both have a victory over a real good team the year, Bucyrus beat Colonel Crawford, and New London downed Plymouth.

          Last week, Bucyrus led North Central Conference champion Buckeye Central (28-24) at the half, but the Bucks rallied to win (49-39) as they outscored the Redmen 17-5 in the third quarter.  Coach Tony Rose was overall pretty pleased with the effort.  "I was happy at halftime.  We knew they would come out a little more focused in the third quarter, which they did.  We had eight turnovers in the first quarter and where able to get everything under control and half a nice lead at halftime.  We knew they would come out a little more aggressive in the second half and they did.  Really it was only the third quarter," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "The fourth quarter we lose 8-6.  In the third quarter we just couldn't but a basket and they made theirs.  To stay with a team that is ranked seventh in the state and only lose by 10, that was a good game for us as we get ready for the tournament."

          Bucyrus (12-10) saw New London (10-11) way back in November and Rose knows Wildcats can do some things.  "We think we match-up pretty well with them.  We think it will be a good game.  We were able to scrimmage them early in the season, but that was really before I put anything in.  We know that they go to the boards really well.  They have the ability to shoot the ball really well when they are on, similar to us.  Whoever can score and their defense can maintain what they have been doing all year probably is going to be the one that comes out the winner," said Rose.

          To win, Rose says they have to do the things that have made them successful in games this year.  "As long as we can come play and play fundamental basketball and we can take care of the basketball we think we have a chance.  We have to play a smart basketball game.  If we can do that I think we have a chance to get a victory," he said.


Published 2/25/14

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Bucyrus Faces League Champ


          If Bucyrus wanted a tough tune-up for the sectional tournament next week they certainly got it in North Central Conference champion Buckeye Central.

          They host the Bucks (19-2,12-1), #2 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coach's poll in the small school division, in a conference game on Friday night.

          The Redmen (12-9,6-7) bet Crestline (61-47) last Friday and lost to Galion (62-39) on Saturday.  Coach Tony Rose says they have been playing well at home and hopefully that continues.  "Right now we are focusing on getting ready for next week's sectional play with New London and Willard and Buckeye Central is a phenomenal warm-up game for that.  we have a great record at home this season at 9-1, with our only loss to Galion by four points.  We feel we are going to have to play our best game of the season to have a chance on Friday night, but that's why you show up and hopefully we can play well and give Buckeye Central a game at least," said Rose.

          Bucyrus plays New London (10-10) in the division three sectional semi-finals next Tuesday with the winner facing Willard (13-8), the second seed.

          Buckeye beat Colonel Crawford (52-47) on Tuesday night to claim the outright title in the "NCC" and Rose says they are just team that does not beat itself.  "They make very few mistakes and they are very unselfish with the basketball.  They are very fundamentally sound.  The are just a very, very good basketball team.  Defensively they are number one in the league on defense and we are number two in the league on defense.  Offensively they are a lot better than we are," he told Swankonsportts.com on Wednesday, "To play a team like that you just have to be very selective in your shots, play a very disciplined game, and hope in the end that you have a chance."

          Bucyrus lost to Buckeye Central (55-40) on a Monday night in January and Rose hopes they can just hang around and make the Bucks a little nervous at the end of the game.  "I think our kids are intelligent enough to realize that they are a very, very good team and all we can do is come in and play the best basketball game we can possibly play and hope that at the end of the game you are in range to have a shot.  If we platy a great game and they play a great game on paper they are going to win.  We are going to go in with a positive attitude.  It is our senior night.  Our four seniors.  Hopefully we can give them a better game than we did at their place," said Rose


Published 2/20/14

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Bucyrus Faces Double Weekend


          With the North Central Conference title out of reach the Bucyrus Redmen are trying to build momentum for the post season tournament in division three.

          Bucyrus (11-8,5-6) a pair of "NCC" games this weekend hosting Crestline on Friday and traveling to Galion on Saturday.

          They have been a good defensive team all season, but coach Tony Rose says they have to be able to score on a more consistent basis if they are going to beat good teams.  "We are a very balanced team.  We have five kids that have scored over 100 points and we have another one that is right there.  We have six kids that are very evenly matched.  We need to get more offense from other people.  We need to attack the basket more.  We definitely need to get to the foul line more," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "The one thing that we have not done in games that we have lost is we have not got to the foul line mainly because we have not done anything to get fouled.  In games that we win we do get the line because we do get it to the basket.  That is the one thing the we need to continue to improve on."

          Crestline (3-13,1-9) does have the ability to score the ball, especially if Blake Hunger is in the lineup.  Rose says he make their shooters more dangerous.  "They have some nice shooters.  You have the (Jacob) Trent, (Nate) Coffman, and the Hurst kid all three shoot the ball fairly well and the Hunger kid takes the ball to the basket very, very well and he gets a lot of points taking the ball to the basket.  They are very dangerous and have the ability to shoot the ball well from the outside, so that is one thing we are going to have to guard against," he said.

          Galion (10-9,6-4) has been playing some pretty solid ball lately despite a loss (67-42) to Lexington on Tuesday night.  Rose says the loss of Darian Watkins, a Wisconsin football recruit, makes the Tigers a different team.  "They have lost Watkins now to a broken foot and that changes their make up a little bit.  They have been playing very well.  I think when you take a division one football player out of their lineup that changes their chemistry a little bit.  He is a phenomenal athlete, so without him there I think that gives a little bit better of a match-up.  It was only a four-point game here.  I think if we come to play without him in the lineup we have a shot to come out with a victory," said Rose.


Published 2/12/14

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Bucyrus Trying to Build


          The sectional draw for boys' basketball teams in Ohio will be held on Sunday and the Bucyrus Redmen are hoping to get themselves a good seed.  A win over Wynford Monday night was a good start.

          Bucyrus plays at Upper Sandusky in a North Central Conference game on Saturday night.  They need to win that one too.

          Monday, they made some plays down the stretch and edged rival Wynford (48-44) to avenge a loss earlier in the season.  Coach Tony Rose says it was a quality win for the team.  "It was nice to get that win.  It was our fourth game in six days.  The kids where a little tired.  We didn't shoot free throws well and I think a lot of that had to do with our legs.  They were very sore from playing four games in six days.  It was big to win a game at home against Wynford," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "It was only the seventh time in school history that we beat Wynford.  To win a close game, which I think is huge as you prepare for the tournament to be able to do that, because most of your tournament games are close, so I thought that was very important for us to win a close game."

          Winning a game against Wynford is very important to the Bucyrus program, according to Rose.  "I think you can take the records whenever Wynford and Bucyrus play and throw them out the window because we can see each other's football fields from the other's building.  We are probably the only schools in Ohio that are that close to each other.  It is kind of like a Michigan-Ohio State rivalry.  The kids know each other very well.  They have grown up together playing soccer or baseball together.  Another factor is we had great fan support (Monday) night from both schools.  The student body sections were great for both schools, so it was a great environment.  We were just fortunate to pull off the victory," he said.

          Bucyrus (11-7,5-5) visits Upper Sandusky (9-9,6-4) in an "NCC" game on Saturday night.  The Redmen beat Upper (56-45) in early January.  Rose says they are going to need a similar effort on Saturday.  "They are a very decent ball club.  We were very fortunate to play a very good game the first time here in our gym and basically won by 12 points.  Their gym is a unique set up with just the way it looks with the extra railing on top.  Anytime you play on the road it is very difficult in this league.  All we can hop to do is go in and execute our game plan like we did the first time and if we can do that we have a good shot at winning," said Rose.


Published 2/05/14

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Bucyrus Knows What to do


          Earlier this season the Bucyrus Redmen beat Colonel Crawford at home and they get a chance to complete the clean sweep on Friday night as they travel to North Robinson.

          Like almost everybody else the Redmen have had a lot of time off due to the weather and that's not a good thing.  However, coach Tony Rose says they have had it easier than most due to location.  "Anytime you don't have school you can have practice, but it has to be voluntary.  Our kids, luckily, being really close to the city have an advantage over some teams that are out in the country who have kids that just flat out can't get to the school.  Everybody is on a very weird schedule, so we are all in the same boat when it comes to that.  It will be nice to get back on regular schedule eventually, hopefully soon, but it doesn't look good again for the next few days," said Rose.

          On Wednesday night the Redmen are scheduled to play Lucas (1-14) at home in a non conference game, if the weather allows.  Rose says they have to take the Cubs seriously.  "Their JVs are like 10-3 or 10-4 that means they have got the ability to win.  I think you have to respect everybody.  Just like the Columbus Blue Jackets get their franchise record of nine in a row and then lose to worst team in the league.  You have to take everybody, every single night serious or you will lose one you are not suppose to lose to," he said.

          Coming up on Friday, the Redmen (8-6,4-4) play at Colonel Crawford (11-3,6-2), who is coming off an (87-36) shellacking of Crestline Monday night in "NCC" play, in a conference game on Friday.  Bucyrus upset the Eagles (48-47) on December 27.  Rose says they know what they have to do.  "Our kids feel comfortable.  I think any time you have kids that you play against in the summer time, that you run around with here and there that helps that situation.  There is no doubt in my mind that they will come in more focused," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "It's at there place and I figure they have the advantage.  Our kids know mentally that we have the ability to beat them because we did beat them, but I still think that Crawford will a little more focused this time around than they were last time."

          Offensive rebounding is going to be critical in this game and Rose says they must keep the Eagles off the offensive boards.  "You have to keep their scorers in check and you have to give them only one opportunity, box out, and keep them off the offensive glass and not give them second and third chances.  They are a very good team with all five players that can score on a given night.  You just have to go in and play a fundamentally sound basketball game.  That's what we did here, we played very well against them here.  We had very few turnovers and we gave them one or two shots at the most.  That was the key to victory and that is pretty much going to be the same blueprint when we go play them at their place," said Rose


Published 1/28/14

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Bucyrus Must Find Some Shooters


          With losses in their last three North Central Conference games the Bucyrus Redmen have fallen out of a share of first place and they need to find some scoring again.

          Ten days ago the Redmen shared first place by they have since lost to Galion (43-39), Riverdale (48-44) in overtime and Monday night to conference leader Buckeye Central (55-40) in game that was originally scheduled for last Friday.

          Coach Tony Rose says they just aren't making shots or even having the confidence to take those shots when needed.  "We have to find more people to score.  We have people that are just not taking the shots when they need to, we need to be more aggressive on the offensive boards and we need to establish more points in the paint.  Right now that isn't happening.  On defense I am extremely happy were we are at.  We are second in the league only behind Buckeye Central in defensive average.  (Monday) night we hold then to 55 points and they are averaging 66 points per game," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "You have to happy with that, but at the same time with 30 seconds left in the third quarter we have a three point game at 38-35.  They come down and hit a shot at the buzzer to make it a five point game at the end of three.  We were 0-6 from the three point line in the fourth quarter and we didn't take the ball inside like we should have."

          This a critical juncture for the Redmen (8-6,4-4) and Rose says this will be a big week of practice for them.  "Right now we are just going to try and regroup and try to find some offense somewhere from our other players.  If we have one night when they are all clicking at the same time we will be alright, but that hasn't happened lately," he said.

          Shooting can be about confidence and Rose admits right now they have some players that are lacking in that area.  "We have few kids that just don't believe in themselves as far as being able to score.  If I can get a couple of those kids to take more shot opportunities then I think that will make a difference.  We have been working on that the entire season.  Right now, we have some kids for whatever reason don't have the confidence when it comes to shooting.  For us that is a work in progress and we will work hard everyday and hopefully we will find that in the next week or so," said Rose.

          Bucyrus returns to "NCC" play on Saturday night when they host the Wynford Royals, who beat them (55-42) back on December 20.  Rose says they have to find a better way to defend the streaky Royals.  "They are a very talented team that can shoot the ball very well.  We had a nice eight point lead in the third quarter at their place and we let it get away from us.  They started attacking our zone and swinging the ball to the other side and they made some baskets, so we were hoping to make some adjustments on that by watching films and being ready for Saturday night.  Defensively if we can keep them below 45 points, or that range, and we can score we think we have a good shot to win," he said.


Published 1/22/14

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Bucyrus Needs to Bounce Back


          A loss last Saturday night bounced Bucyrus from a share of the lead in the North Central Conference, but they have a chance to get right back in it with a double weekend ahead.

          On Saturday night, Galion knocked off the Redmen (43-39) and that moved them a game behind Colonel Crawford and Buckeye Central in the conference standings.

          Coach Tony Rose says they did a lot of good things, they just couldn’t make any shots.  “I thought they were very, very athletic and very physical.  We didn’t really play a bad game.  Anytime you hold a team to 43 points and we only had 12 turnovers you would think you would win the game.  We just shot the worst that we have shot all year,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We shot 29 percent from the floor.  You are going have nights when they just aren’t going to fall.  I thought Galion played a very good game.  I said before the game that I thought they were a lot better than their record and I still believe that.”

          He says with the league so competitive they have to get right back on the winning path and the kids know that too.  “We have Buckeye Central and I told the kids after the game that we still control our own destiny.  We are one game out of first place.  Mentally Crawford beat Buckeye Central, we beat Crawford, so mentally you would think we would have the opportunity to go in and give Buckeye Central a good game.  Riverdale took us to overtime earlier in the season.  We believe both games are going to be good games for us to play in.  We just have to focus and do the fundamental things correctly and if we make our baskets we have a shot at both games,” said Rose.

          They play at Bucyrus Central (10-1,5-1), #2 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball poll in the small school division, on Friday, and play at Riverdale (4-6,1-5) on Saturday.  They needed overtime to beat the Falcons (59-55) in their first meeting,

          Bucyrus (8-4,4-2) is a good defensive team and Rose knows they will have play excellent defense to have a chance against Buckeye on Friday, especially in New Washington.  “(Austin) Wurm is leading the league in scoring.  He and (Cade) Kaple are both good players.  They are a very good team and last week they were ranked 10th in the state in division four, so they have a very good team.  We just have to go in and play our game of basketball.  They are first in the league in defense and we are second in the league in defense.  They are giving up 48.5 a game and we are giving up 49 a game.  So, defensively I think it is going to be a good game for both teams.  It’s going to be who makes more baskets than the other team,” said Rose.


Published 1/14/14

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Bucyrus Meets Athletic Galion


          After wins over Upper Sandusky and Crestline this past weekend, Bucyrus has moved into a share of the lead in the North Central Conference.

          The Redmen, Colonel Crawford, and Buckeye Central are all 4-1 in “NCC” games this year.

          After trailing (25-21) Bucyrus outscored Crestline (43-14) in the second half for a (64-39) win over the Bulldogs on Saturday.  Coach Tony Rose says his players responded to halftime adjustments.  “They responded well.  We needed to refocus.  In all honesty it was probably the worst half of basketball that we had played all year.  We were very fortunate to only be down four points.  We came out in the third quarter and held them to two points and we had a nice fourth quarter hitting free throws because Crestline was forced to foul because they were down.  We were fortunate to pull it out and have a nice win,” said Rose.

          Bucyrus has one of the deepest and most balanced teams in the area.  Rose says that makes them harder to guard.  “We are fortunate that we go about eight deep and we even have two kids that swing varsity and JV that I feel confident if I need to use them.  We don’t have a guy that every night is going to give us 20 points.  Logan Plumley came off the bench and probably had the best game of his career hitting four threes against Crestline on Saturday.  He had a career high of 15 points, so it is always nice to have that balance.  You hope that somebody will pick it up every night and lead us offensively,” he said.

          Galion (3-7,2-3) will be at Bucyrus (8-3,4-1) on Friday night for match-up in the “NCC.”  Rose says on certain nights the Tigers can be very good.  “They are very, very athletic.  It is kind of confusing when you set there and watch them beat Wynford pretty easily on Friday night and then turn around and lose to Riverdale, which is very similar to what we have in maintaining focus night in and night out.  In my opinion they are very dangerous teams that could come in and beat us with no problem if we are not ready to play.  Again they have great athletes and hopefully we can play fundamental basketball and give them a game,” said Rose.

          Athletic teams like Galion are usually good on the offensive glass and like any night Rose says they have to compete on the boards.  “We talk about offensive rebounding all of the time because of our height disadvantage.  We really don’t have a tall team.  We have to do a great job of keeping teams to one shot every time they have the ball.  We have to do a great job of rebounding and boxing out and if we do that that gives us and advantage as far as having a chance to beat somebody,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “Then hopefully our transition and our legs and our conditioning will help us offensively.  I am very pleased with how we are playing defensively in holding teams to an average of 49 points a game.  So, if we can keep teams under 50 I think we have a shot.”


Published 1/08/14

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Bucyrus in the Mix


          With their upset of preseason favorite Colonel Crawford on Friday, the Bucyrus Redmen are right back in the North Central Conference race, a game behind Upper Sandusky, and they play the Rams on Friday night.

          Last Friday, the Redmen continued with their balanced scoring as D.J. Dagher and Brian Shafer both scored 13 points as the Redmen outlasted Crawford (48-47) as Dagher knocked away an entry pass intended for Nate Klinenberger in the final seconds. 

          Coach Tony Rose says they played well on defense and then were able to come back strong and beat Crestview (49-46) on Saturday night.  “We have said from the beginning that you have to win as many as you can at home and get lucky to win a few on the road.  We are presently 4-0 at home and we are hoping that will continue.  The kids played really confident on Friday night against Colonel Crawford.  You always worry when they are coming off a high if they will be able to bounce back and play that well on Saturday night,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday, “We started out real strong against Crestview with a 17-4 lead after the first quarter, but then we kind of let them back in the game.  They are very strong and shoot the ball well from the outside and have nice size, so we were fortunate to come away with a win there.”

          At the beginning of the season Rose said he thought a .500 season might be a pretty good accomplishment for them, but he says if they can continue to play solid defense that might be able to be revised up.  “Well, our kids are playing well and whether or not they can keep focused.  I thought our concentration and our focus, our concentration on detail on Friday night against Colonel Crawford was phenomenal.  Our defense is really playing well right now.  We are holding people under 50 and if we can continue to do that we will have a very good season.  Every night in this league everybody is pretty solid, so you have to come with your game every night and be ready to play,” he said.

          Bucyrus (6-3,2-1) will play host to Upper Sandusky (6-3,3-0) on an “NCC” game on Friday night.  Rose says it will be a tough one.  “I think Upper has had great tradition, of course when Diebler was there.  Whenever you have tradition usually those teams are pretty solid.  Things have fallen the right way for them.  Their kids are definitely playing well right now and we are just hoping we can continue the positive move here.  I think you give them the advantage because of their tradition and their history of boys’ basketball.  By the same token our kids are playing really well at home and have a lot of confidence within themselves right now and hopefully we can have a good week of practice and be ready for them on Friday night,” said Rose.


Published 12/30/13

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Bucyrus Feeling Good


          Can Bucyrus be a real contender in the North Central Conference?  Well, early results say maybe yes.

          After losing their opener to a very good Ontario team, the Redmen have strung together wins over Northmor, Mt. Gilead, Riverdale, and Seneca East.

          Coach Tony Rose, in his first year as the Bucyrus head coach, says they have been able to settle some scores.  “All four of our victories are against schools that beat us last year, so it is nice to have turned that around and switch that back in our direction.  We are pretty pleased with how we are playing right now,” he said.

          Rose says after the Ontario game, they played pretty well in some games and seem to be getting better.  “We had some very good scrimmages against some very, very good teams that has prepared us for our schedule.  We opened up with Ontario, who I felt was much bigger, stronger more physical than we were, but for the first quarter of that game we stayed with them then their physicality pretty much took over.  We just kind of regrouped after that game and realized we had a long way to go as a team to get us to where we wanted to be.  We came back against a very good Northmor team that was down a man.  Then we had to play at Mt. Gilead, who was a good test for us,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Riverdale as a very good test in the fact that we were down six at halftime, knowing we had three starters on the bench with foul trouble in the second quarter.  They had a phenomenal shot from 23 feet to send the game to overtime.  We had two kids up in him and he drilled it.  For our kids to keep their composure and come out in overtime and win the game says a lot about what this team is made of.  (Tuesday) night we went in and beat a team in Seneca East that beat us by 17 last year.  They shot the ball very well, but we shot 49 percent from the field (Tuesday) night.  Anytime you can shoot 49, 50 percent from the floor you have a good shot of winning.”

          Bucyrus (4-1,1-0) plays at Wynford (2-3,0-1) on Friday night in a North Central Conference game.  The Redmen have not won at Wynford since before Nixon.  Rose says they know what they are up against.  “Friday we are going against one the best program not just in this area, but the whole state of Ohio.  Rob Sheldon did a great job of building that program up.  The legacy is still there it is kind oh like the Ohio State-Michigan game you can throw the records out the window because it doesn’t matter.  They are young, but they are still Wynford.  Our kids right now feel very confident that they can compete with anybody and they understand they have to be at the top of their game, they have to be focused.  We have to respect Wynford because they are a very good program.  Steve Mohr is a very successful coach.  We know it’s going to be a tough game, they may be young, but they are still Wynford and it is going to be a heck of a game,” said Rose.


Published 12/19/13

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Bucyrus Expects to Compete


          Bucyrus, coming off a 5-18 season a year ago, has brought in a new coach for its boys’ basketball team in Tony Rose. 

          Rose is the former girls’ basketball coach and athletic director at North Union of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.

          He says there is a lot of enthusiasm associated with the program this year.  “Our numbers are very good.  We have 31 kids in the high school nine through 12.  We have 10 kids on the freshman team and 21 kids sophomore on up.  We are very happy with our numbers.  The kids have been playing extremely hard.  They are very coachable.  It’s a learning phase in a new system.  We are not expecting miracles overnight, but we are pleased with where we are at this time,” he said.

          With the personnel he has with the Redmen this year, Rose says they are going to have to get the ball down the floor quickly and work on hard on the defensive end and he thinks they can do it.  “That question is determined every year by your clientele and what you can do and what you can’t do.  We have a lot of speed and we don’t have much height, so we feel we are going to have to get out and go with it to have opportunities to be successful.  Defensively we are just going to have to be solid fundamentally and hopefully have opportunities to press when we can.  If we go against schools that have a lot of height we are going to have to pack it in and do the best we can,” said Rose.

          The coach knows there is going to be a learning curve this year, but he fully expects his team to be competitive in the North Central Conference.  “We have one more scrimmage on Saturday.  I think we will be ready to go.  We are opening up against one of the best teams in the area in Ontario.  So, that is going to be a tough challenge right off the bat.  From my understanding they are very good.  We just hope we can improve every day and by the middle of the season we will be pretty comfortable with my system and how I do things and be competitive in every game we play in.  We would like to win at least 50 percent of our games,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “The sooner we come around as a team and start doing things and have success maybe we can win more than that.  Right now it is just getting everybody on the same page.  Myself understanding what their strengths are, what their weaknesses are, and what needs to improve on everyday.  We feel we can be pretty competitive.  We do shoot the ball fairly well.  I’m pretty happy with were we are right now, but a far cry from where we want to be come January.”


Published 11/22/13

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Bucyrus and Buckeye Battle in Final “NCC” game


          Bucyrus and Buckeye Central play on Friday night in New Washington in North Central Conference action.

          It will be a contrast in styles with Buckeye Central’s three yards and a cloud of dust and the Bucyrus up tempo pass oriented offense.

          Bucyrus last week received a pounding from “NCC” co-leader Galion (42-0) and coach Aaron Eckert says they just gave Galion too many chances to make big plays.  “It seemed like everything went wrong for us in that game.  When you give a good Galion teem opportunities early in the game to capitalize on special teams that’s what they did.  They had a punt block and a big punt return.  You just can’t have that happen against good teams,” said Eckert.

          After the sub par performance last week, Eckert says it’s good they get to play again before season is over.  “It’s going to be good to be able to go out there and prove we are a good team.  Buckeye Central is a good quality opponent.  If we can get up on them early and do what we need to do offensively and defensively to win the game,” he said.

          Eckert says it is not that Buckeye (3-6,2-4) can’t throw the ball, but with the backs they have he expects they will once again emphasize the running game.  “They have two good backs in the Boldozer and Roberts kids.  I would give them the ball too.  They are both averaging 80 to 90 yards.  When you get a tandem like that they are hard to bring down.  They run hard.  They keep the ball from you.  They are tough to beat,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday.

          Bucyrus (4-5,3-3) has shown an explosive offense this season, scoring more than 40 points four times this year, but Eckert says their defense has to get off the field.  “We have to be able to get off the field.  We have to be able to shorten their drives and get their offense off the field and ours on the field.  If we can do that I like our chances, but if we can’t it is going to be a really long game for us,” he said.


Published 10/30/13

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Bucyrus Has a Chance


          At the beginning the season there weren’t a lot of people talking about Bucyrus winning the North Central Conference title, but with two weeks left that is not out of the question.

          They are just a game behind the tri-leaders Galion, Colonel Crawford and Upper Sandusky and they play at home against Galion on Friday night and Upper and Crawford play each other.

          Last week, the Redmen (4-4,3-2) pounded Crestline (58-18) and coach Aaron Eckert says they have given themselves a chance.  “It has been our goal from the get go to compete for an “NCC” title.  It is within our reach now.  We just have to get some help from some other teams and take care of business Friday first and foremost,” he said.

          After suffering some injuries earlier in the year, the Redmen have been able to battle back and Eckert says right now they are playing some pretty good football.  “We are finally getting healthy.  We got a little banged up and that happens in football.  A couple of key guys get hurt can kind of put a damper on things for you.  Our kids did a good job of battling and it got some other players some playing time.  Now we are healthy and looking forward to Friday night,” said Eckert.

          With a win two weeks ago in overtime over Upper Sandusky and the explosion against Crestline, Eckert says right now they are playing with some confidence.  “Our kids have been pretty confident all year long.  We talk to them about staying cocky and confident.  It is important for us to keep working on the details we started working on day one that got us to where we are now.  Our kids are buying in, the practices have been good, so I can’t say anything bad about how our kids have been preparing,” he said.

          Galion (7-1,4-1) has only one loss on its resume and that came two weeks ago in overtime to Wynford.  Eckert says they are loaded, beginning with Northwestern recruit Darian Watkins.  “There are a lot of good things about Galion.  It starts with Darian Watkins.  As good as he is offensively he might be better defensively the way he just closes things and take a lot of what we might want to do away from us with his speed and athleticism.  They are good fundamental team,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “They do a lot of things right.  They have a couple of kids on the defensive line that do a good job of penetrating and making a mess out of the offensive backfield.  Overall, they have a lot of nice skill guys.”

          Stopping Watkins on offense is not very easy.  Eckert says they have to show him a number of different looks.  “Not very many people have figured that out this year.  Wynford did a little bit.  They kept them to seven points in regulation.  You have to stop him to have a chance to win the game.  There isn’t one way to do it.  I think has to come from multiple ways whether you confuse him a little bit, you send more guys at him, you play different coverages.  I don’t think you can stop him.  He is going to get his yards.  The important thing is to keep him out of the end zone,’ said Eckert.

          When they have the ball Eckert says they can’t allow penetration or it will be difficult to move the ball consistently.  “We have to make sure that we are sound up front.  They do some stunting up front.  They have a couple of kids that just get after it.  We have to match their intensity.  If we do that I think we will be fine.  Our quarterback does a nice job getting the ball out of his hand and our backs do a nice job of getting up the field and making cuts, so if we execute like we are suppose to I think we will be alright,” he said.


Published 10/24/13

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Bucyrus Ready to Continue to Move Forward


          After winning their biggest game of the year last week, the Bucyrus Redmen hope they can continue those winnings ways as they finish the season with Crestline, Galion and Buckeye Central.

          The Redmen pulled one the biggest surprises in a week of surprises last week when they held onto to hand Upper Sandusky their first loss of the season (37-36) in overtime.  Coach Aaron Eckert says they felt good, but they have to remain focused.   “Anytime you beat a team like Upper Sandusky, who came into the game 6-0, you feel good about yourself, but we have tried to move on from that and focus on our next task at hand in the Crestline Bulldogs,” he said.

          Bucyrus (3-4,2-2) seems to be playing its best football right now and Eckert says they are healthy too.  “I think we are starting to peak at the right time and get healthy.  There have been a couple of games where we haven’t been at full strength and that has hurt us.  It is always good when you get healthy and are playing your best football at this time,” said Eckert.  He adds staying healthy is huge at schools the size of Bucyrus.  “We have kind of ran into the injury bug a little bit this year.  We have been without a couple of key starters for some games and some guys have played, but have been about 50 percent.  It definitely hurts, especially a school our size where you don’t have a 1,000 kids to pick from you have what you have and you kind of roll with that,” he said.

          The Redmen are at Crestline (1-6,0-4) who is coming off a (54-0) loss to Buckeye Central last week.  Eckert says the Bulldogs show some things on film.  “Crestline has two seniors.  They are just a really young team and they have a lot of good skilled guys.  When you look up and down their roster they have decent size up front,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “They have kids on film that can run and catch the ball.  They have a sophomore quarterback that is pretty darn good.  If they start to figure things out they can be pretty dangerous.”

          Saying they learned their lesson in a loss to Willard earlier this year, Eckert expects his team to get off to a good start against Crestline on Friday night.  “That is what we have kind of preached to our kids all week.  We played a similar team in Willard, not in style of play, but as far as experience and being a young team, and we let Willard hang around and we all know the result of that one.  So, we are not taking Crestline lightly.  We are going in here with the intent of getting off to a good start,” he said.


Published 10/18/13

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Bucyrus to Face “NCC” Co-Leaders


          Bucyrus is clearly a better football team, but against the good teams they play, they have trouble getting over that final hurdle sometimes.

          They lost by one point to Wynford two weeks ago and lost (20-10) to Colonel Crawford last week.  Bucyrus coach Aaron Eckert says the Eagles were the team that made the critical plays.  “It was a defensive battle.  It was a game were two high powered offenses didn’t get a chance to display what they could do.  I think the weather had a hand in that.  Colonel Crawford was good.  They were fundamentally sound.  They made plays when they had to,” he said.

          In more times that not it has been the defense that has let the Redmen down this year, but Eckert says that last Friday was one of their better games and they are showing improvement.  “Anytime you hold Crawford to 20 points.  They are averaging 35 a game and you hold them to two touchdowns that is good for us,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, “There were only a couple of times throughout that game that we broke down defensively.  Unfortunately one of those they scored a touchdown late to put them up two scores instead of one.  We are getting better.  We are moving in the right direction.”

          Bucyrus (2-4,1-2) plays host to North Central Conference co-leader Upper Sandusky (6-0,3-0) in a league game on Friday night.  Eckert knows it will be a tough challenge.  “Coach Moyer has those guys playing exceptionally well.  They throw a lot at you.  Their quarterback is pretty good.  Pritchard is a stud.  If we want a shot at winning this game we have to contain him.  We need to keep him off the field and our offense on the field,” said Eckert.

          Tylor Pritchard is one the top quarterbacks in the area and one of the most physical ones.  Eckert says they would like to get the ball out of his hands and make someone else beat them.  “In most games when he is on the field he is the best kid on the field.  He is a great linebacker and quarterback.  If we can keep him limited and get the ball in somebody else’s hands you chances of winning go up,” he said.


Published 10/7/13

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Bucyrus Has to Contain Klinenberger


          Bucyrus is still going through some growing pains.  They have become good enough to be completive, but they seem to need a little more to get over that last hurdle.

          Last week, they lost a heartbreaker (41-40) to rival Wynford.  They scored with just over a minute to go to get within one and then they went for two and missed.  Coach Aaron Eckert says it was a gamble worth taking.  “It was a good game.  It was a game where two offenses executed better than the defenses did.  It was almost who had the ball last was going to win.  We had our shot we scored with about a minute left go down one.  We took the risk to go for two.  Unfortunately this time we didn’t get it,” said Eckert.

          Bucyrus three times this year has scored more than 30 points in a game, two of them being wins over Marion Elgin (58-29) and Riverdale (34-14) in their conference opener.  Eckert says they have a lot of depth.  “Offensively we are clicking pretty well.  I think part of that is due to the amount of kids we can play.  We have a lot of receivers.  Eight kids caught passes the other night and a couple more ran the ball, so we have a lot of kids involved,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “Getting fresh bodies that are willing and able to carry the ball and athletic enough to make guys miss it helps out with the offense.”

          Defense has been another story, Friday night was the second time they have allowed more than 40 points in a game.  Eckert says they just have some breakdowns at crucial moments in the game.  “We are still lagging behind a little bit.  We are running into some of the same problems we have had all season.  We are not executing because we are not in our gaps.  We are having mental breakdowns in crucial parts of the game.  We don’t have a bad defense it just seems at times we beat ourselves a little bit,” he said.

          Colonel Crawford (4-1,1-1) will be at Bucyrus for a North Central Conference match-up on Friday night.  The Eagles have a talented quarterback in Nate Klingenberger.  Eckert says he is running more this year.  “They are starting to run their quarterback more.  He averages 13,14 carries a game.  It keeps you honest.  You can’t just load up and turn everybody deep because they do like to chuck the ball deep.  He is a pretty exciting player to watch on film.  They do a great job over there keeping things balanced and keep you guessing and take shots when they think they can get it,” said Eckert.

          It might be a high scoring game because Eckert says Crawford has had some trouble stopping opponents too.  “Defensively they are similar to us.  They don’t have a bad defense.  Sometimes they find themselves out of position.  They don’t make a tackle in the hole when they have a guy there.  I think it will be an interesting game on Friday,” he said.


Published 10/1/13

© Swankonsports.com



Bucyrus Faces Biggest Rival


          Have you ever had a big brother that was always kicking sand in your face?  Well, that is how the Bucyrus Redmen have felt over the years when it comes to the Wynford Royals.

          No matter what it seems that Wynford always has the upper hand.

          The Redmen hope that trend changes on Friday night when they travel the short distance to Wynford  to meet the Royals.

          Last week, the Redmen (2-2,1-0) won their conference opener at Riverdale and coach Aaron Eckert feels they played a lot better than they had in loses on week two to Hillsdale (43-19) and week three to Willard (27-20), especially on defense.  “We played a lot better.  Going to Riverdale is a tough place to play, it’s different.  We went up there and took care of business and it was good for our kids,” he said.

          It sounds simple, but it really isn’t.  Eckert says they just plain tackled better.  “Well, we tackled better.  Anytime you tackle better your defense plays better.  They did gas us for two long plays, but we did hold them to just over 250 yards of total offense.  Riverdale does have a couple of skilled kids that are pretty good and would start on a lot of other teams in the league.  We kind of held those guys in check,” said Eckert.

          Wynford (2-2,1-0), who had won seven straight North Central Conference titles before Galion won the black division title last year, started this year’s conference schedule with a (33-0) win over Buckeye Central.  Eckert says they are solid again.  “Coach Helbert has done a great job with those kids over there.  They are just fundamentally very sound.  They make plays when they need too.  The games they haven’t won they have been in, close games.  They put themselves in position to win.  They are a good ball team, they execute well.  They are pretty good,” said Eckert.

          If they are going to beat the Royals, Eckert says they have to do the job in trenches.  “Up front they do a great job of executing.  It seems like they are always in position, their technique is great.  They just do everything right up front,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday, “They don’t always have the biggest kids in the world playing up front for them, but they execute well and that is why they are good traditionally.  They focus on the details.  That is something we have to get good at executing defensively and getting in the gaps.”

          If Bucyrus is to compete for the final “NCC” title a win Friday is almost a requirement.  “This is a big one for us.  It tilts the balance a little bit.  3-2 is a heck of a lot better than going 2-3.  That is where we are at and it’s a game we have got to get,” he said.


Published 9/23/13

© Swankonsports.com    



Bucyrus Looking to Get Back on Track


          After winning their opener the Bucyrus Redmen have lost their last two games and are looking to find their stride again.

          Last week, they held a one point lead on Willard before falling to the Flashes (27-20) in their final non-conference game of the year.

          Coach Aaron Eckert says Willard was able to play keep away from them in the second half.  “It came down to we didn’t execute again and Willard did.  Willard was big up front and wore us out a little bit and did a good job keeping the ball from us in the second half.  They didn’t have to attempt a pass,” said Eckert.

          After scoring 58 points in a win over Marion Elgin on the first week, the offense has not been as productive over the last two weeks.  Eckert says they have been able to move the ball, but have not been executing in the red zone.  “The yards are there.  It is scoring.  We squandered I think five or six opportunities these last two weeks to score from inside the 20.  To win football games you just can’t do that,” he said.  Eckert says it is more difficult to move the ball as you get closer to the end zone.  “That is what we have been working on these last two weeks.  We made strides this week.  We got a little bit better.  We are still not where we need to be and that is an emphasis going forward each and every day in practice,” he said.

          Bucyrus heads for Riverdale (0-3) for their North Central Conference opener on Friday night.  The Falcons have been outscored 167-12 over the first three weeks.  Eckert says those numbers don’t show what Riverdale can be.  “I don’t think you can look at their scores to tell what kind of team they are.  When you watch the film they have two really good kids skill wise.  They have a third kid that hasn’t played much.  He is on the roster.  He played against us last year and I thought he was a really tough kid.  I my mind they have three good backs,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday. “They just play hard.  In some of their games the scores have been real lopsided.  I think part of it they stay close and then they get wore out at the end, but overall they aren’t as bad as the score has indicated.”

          Eckert says this game will be very important to their season.  He says this is game they have to win.  “We need a game where things click for us.  Here is an opportunity, as is every week, for us to get things rolling to get back on track and play the way Bucyrus football should be played,” said Eckert.


Published 9/16/13

© Swankonsports.com    



Bucyrus Defense Has to Get Better


          Bucyrus has an offense that is capable of lighting up the scoreboard, but their defense really hasn’t stopped anyone with any consistency this year.

          They play host to the Willard Flashes (2-0) on Friday night in non-conference action.

          Coach Aaron Eckert says they have to face facts.  “We just have to get better.  We are not as good as we thought we were, so we need to get better and get back at it,” he said.

He says it is not like they aren’t in position they just aren’t getting the ball carrier to the ground.  “The first two weeks we haven’t tackled well.  I know we are going to give up more points because we go fast on offense and the other team is going to get more possessions, but we still have to tackle.  Tackling is something we hammer every day and we are going to get better at it,” said Eckert.

They are not as young as they were over the last couple of years, but Eckert told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday that they are far too inconsistent.  “Execution, some days we do it really good, some days we need to do a better job at it,” he said.

Willard, like Hillsdale, who beat the Redmen (43-19) last week, runs the triple option offense and Eckert says they have to be ready for it. 

“Willard is very similar to Hillsdale in that they run mid line veer and dive option.  It’s assignment football and we need to do a better job reading our keys and getting to where we are supposed to be,” said Eckert.

          The option can be a big play offense and Eckert says they have to make sure they have everyone accounted for or the Flashes have the potential to make big plays.  “The quarterback does a good job of reading multiple guys.  If you have a defensive breakdown they are going to find you.  We are working to make sure that doesn’t happen this week,” he said.

          North Union, #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the small school division, blasted Willard (41-6) last week, but Eckert says the Flashes defense did a decent job.  “Their defense played pretty well.  North Union had some big plays.  I think all of their touchdowns were on big plays.  As far as North Union running inside, which is what North Union wants to do, they had a hard time doing it, so they are pretty good inside,” said Eckert.


Published 9/12/13

© Swankonsports.com




Bucyrus Facing Athletic Elgin


          Bucyrus is trying to build its program back into a contender and they feel they have made great strides toward that goal, but the first test comes Friday night against Marion Elgin.

          Aaron Eckert, in his second year as head coach of the Redmen, says they have some good potential.  “I like where we are at so far.  We still have a long way to go like any other team.  You don’t play your best football week one.  If we can limit our mistakes I think we will be okay,” said Eckert.

          In facing Elgin this week, Eckert says they are going to have to take some good angles to get the ball carrier because the Comets have some speed to burn.  “I think their speed.  They are pretty fast.  They have a lot of good athletes as do we.  They have some guys that can really run.  That is my biggest fear so far,” said Eckert.

          Elgin runs out of a spread look, but Eckert says they aren’t afraid to run the football from that set.  “They go with more of a spread look.  We look very similar on film with what we try to do.  They are about 60-40 run to pass.  They are a balanced team and they are pretty good offensively,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday.

          There are always going to be some jitters on the opening night of the season and this will be no different, but Eckert says this year they have some solid experience.  “The good thing with our team is we do return 18 of our 22 starters from last year, so we do have that experience factor with us this week and I think that helps,” said Eckert.

          Bucyrus has not had a winning season in a while and Eckert believes having a successful Friday night will be important to them as a program.  “It is huge to start out 1-0 rather than 0-1.  It is there in every sport, the better you are the more your kids are involved in it and you always want to start off on the right foot,” he said.


Published 8/28/13

© Swankonsports.com



Improvement Needed in Bucyrus


          Last season, Bucyrus ended up at the bottom of the North Central Conference black division standings and finished with a 4-6 overall record in Aaron Eckert’s first year as their head coach.

          Obviously, they want to be better this year.

          Eckert sees signs in that direction.  “It has definitely been good, but it can always be better.  From the beginning of summer and on through two a days you find things that you are weak on one week and make them a strength and things kind of regress and get better.  It’s a constant battle, but overall it has been good for us,” said Eckert.

          The “NCC” this season will be an eight team league, minus Ontario and Lucas, and Eckert knows that an improvement in their conference record will be a tremendous challenge.  “There are four teams that are still in the league that made the playoffs last year.  A lot of good competition back.  I am talking about Wynford, Crawford, Upper and Galion, they all have a lot of guys back.  We have to take some additional steps to get where they are at,” he said.

          In order to be more competitive the Redmen are going to have to cut down on their missed tackles, according to Eckert.  “The biggest thing is we have to tackle the football.  Last year, we had a lot of young kids, a lot of inexperienced guys playing defense.  We have a majority of those guys back.  We get 10 starters back on defense and we have to make the most of that this year.  We have done a good job with that so far,” said Eckert.

          A key element to an improved defense is stopping the big play.  Eckert told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday that was something they have been working on all month.  “That has kind of been our philosophy.  Our defensive coordinator tells me every day that he is going to make teams do that.  He does that to us in practice.  It is hard for an offense to go ten plays without committing a turnover or screwing up an offense and they get into a bad down and distance,” he said.

          In a meeting of media members in North Central Ohio on Tuesday night Bucyrus was voted to finish fifth in the conference behind the four members that made the playoffs last year.    



Bucyrus Gets a Boost in Momentum


          Bucyrus has been trying this season to become a better team and in many ways they have done that and it was illustrated by a big win over Wynford on Monday night.

          The Redmen (7-11,4-6) downed the Royals (7-2) in a black division game in the North Central Conference.  Coach Jeff Fisher says it started with a pretty good pitching performance.  “Wynford has been on a roll here of late.  They beat Galion last week and beat Crawford handily at their place.  The odds were stacked against us, but we got a fantastic pitching outing from Trent Neidacor, a junior.  It was his second start of the year.  He went six innings, despite not striking out a soul.  He put the ball across the plate.  Our guys played about as clean a ball game defensively as they have all season.  What I mean by that they hit all of the cuts, we had a couple of double plays mixed in there and made the routine plays.  Overall I’m happy with our execution (Monday) night,” said Fisher.

          The defense was pretty good for the Redmen on Monday night, but Fisher says that’s because they did the routine things well.  “It starts on the mound.  If you guy doesn’t consistently get ahead and change speeds and do it in and around the plate, it kind of handcuffs you.  Our guy did that.  With these new bats the ball just doesn’t jump off the bat like it used too, so by golly you better be able to catch the ball and make accurate throws or you are going to lose the games that you expect to win,” he said.

          Consistency in the lineup has been an issue for the Redmen, but Fisher says that seems to be coming around.  “Offensively, despite our abysmal batting average we are not striking out as much.  We are executing our bunts much better.  We are just getting more clutch hitting.  Our three and four hole hitters, Wes Williams and Andy Korner, and actually our five hole hitter (Monday) Cole Holis got a key hit that put us over the hump,” he told Swankonsports.com after the win.  “The middle of our order is starting to drive runs in while the other guys are scratching out ways to get on base.  I am hopeful that we have turned the corner here, but time will tell, especially leading up to our sectional tournament here.”

          Bucyrus plays Saturday at home in a division three tournament game against Carey (4-12) of the Midland Athletic League, the winner plays once beaten Ontario.  Fisher thinks it was good draw for them.  “I felt the sectional here at Bucyrus ended up as I expected.  I was hopeful we would end up with Carey, a team we played early in the season that I feel we match up well with.  Ontario is a team hat is just so tough.  This is a young team that we have here at Bucyrus that needs games, we need the opportunity to get better.  We need to take care of business against Carey and let the chips fall where they may,” he said.      



Bucyrus Earns Tough Win


          The black division of the North Central Conference is very good and if you don’t play your best you are not going to get a win.

          Bucyrus (5-9,2-4) earned its first against a divisional opponent on Monday when they got past Upper Sandusky (3-2) in 10 innings. 

          Coach Jeff Fisher says they got a tremendous performance from their pitching staff in the game.  “We got another quality start out of our ace Eli Tyman.  Despite somewhat of a shaky start command wise and we didn’t manage a bunt play very well.  He worked out of a couple jams early and really went on cruise control through the sixth inning where he got to the 100 pitch plateau. Another senior in Austin Lutz for the second game in a row has come in and gave us some extended innings as far as long relief is concerned,” he told Swankonsports.com after the win on Monday night, “He is throwing strikes and giving us a chance to stay in ball games.  Neither of those two got the win (Monday) it was Justin Campbell with four pitches in the top of the tenth that got the “W.”  Collectively those guys threw strikes and gave us a chance to win.”

          Ten innings games can stress a pitching staff.  Fisher says they use the 100 pitch limit as a guide, but not as am absolute.  “It is not the end all, but is serves as a guide, but after that you are taking into account the conditions weather wise, you take into account how much they have thrown over the long hall, we take into account just their velocity and the quality of their pitches just within the game they are pitching.  (Monday) Eli specifically got behind some hitters and labored a bit where previously he was pretty clean.  As a coach you try to be fair because you need these guys to pitch in four days and hopefully for three or four more starts.  You can’t put all of your eggs in one basket.  It is so inexact as far the kid and their mechanics.  You are trying to win ballgames at the same time as look at team collectively and the individual most especially,” said Fisher.

          With Ontario (14-1,4-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coach’s poll in the small school division, on Tuesday and Upper again on Wednesday, Fisher knows they will need to play at a top level because all of the teams in the division are tough.  “We haven’t seen Wynford, they are on deck here next week, but statistically Galion and Ontario are both swinging it and pitching well.  We faced a freshmen lefthander that has the look of a junior or senior (Monday) night from Upper.  He held us to really one hit and threw eight innings.  The future looks bright there.  There is no off night.  We are in the mist of a compacted schedule do to the weather and there is no overture to gain a rest.  (Tuesday) night we have Ontario.  We are going to have to scratch and claw against a state caliber team,” he said.         



Bucyrus Working to Get Better


          Bucyrus very much wants to return to its place at the top of the North Central Conference baseball standings.  They are showing sings they have that potential, they just have to continue to improve.

          After losing to New London, of the Firelands Conference, (8-4) on Thursday night, the Redmen are now 2-2 on the year.

          Coach Jeff Fisher says they have done some good things, but they definitely have some things to work on too.  “We got off to a good start with our young club.  We had a good ballgame at Carey.  We run ruled them scoring more than 10 runs in five innings.  It helps the pitch count.  Monday, we came back here for our home opener against South Central and won a good ball game there.  On Tuesday night, we had one bad inning with a couple of errors.  We left 13 runners on base.  Our offense sort of froze like the temperatures.  We are looking for consistency.  Using the Crestview game as a measuring stick we might be 2-2, but we have a lot of work to do,” said Fisher.

          Crestview beat Bucyrus (7-3) on Tuesday and Fisher says it was really a big inning that cost them and that can’t continue to happen.  “We had a fantastic start.  Preston Ford comes out and strikes out the side in the first inning.  He had really good command and he is somebody in the past that has not.  We thought the skies had opened up on our behalf.  We led off the inning with a walk and we just didn’t make the plays behind him,” he told Swankonsports.com, “They get a hit and there it is.  There percentages say a team that scores more in one inning than the other team does in the entire game.  It happens more than you think and that is the key to winning baseball games even in the age of these quasi wood bats we are using now.”

          League action in the “NCC” does not start until April 15.  Fisher says that gives them some time find out who should be playing where.  “Ultimately you want to get established not only lineup wise, but most especially pitching rotation wise so when it gets to that league rhythm and you are playing that same school twice and that Friday being against the small school division like we have it here in the “NCC.”  It is important that the guys establish their roles.  These early games give you the opportunity to get reps and develop a resume so to speak.  We need the weather to break so we can get those innings,” said Fisher.      



Bucyrus Looking to Bounce Back


          Bucyrus is one of the traditional North Central Conference baseball powers, but they stumbled a bit last year winning only six games.  This year they expect to be back in the hunt.

          Coach Jeff Fisher says they are still going to be a very young baseball team that is going to have to continue to grow.  “I think it the honeymoon period for the group as we migrate into a new season.  Last year we dealt with some bumps and bruises to six wins, so we are expecting greater output this year from the young pups here.  We are young, we have basically one position player that we expect to be in the lineup everyday and everybody else at the senior level we consider pitchers.  With that experience that we gained last year we hope to grow and benefit from to be much more competitive than a year ago,” said Fisher.

          The Redmen are supposed to open their season this Saturday at Carey in non-conference play, if the weather permits.  Fisher says they need a good start and this weather we have been having won’t help.  “I think it is important to get off to a good start.  Typically by this point in preseason we have had a couple of scrimmages and even an inter-squad game in the fold and kind of know where we stand role wise.  I think we may play game one with a new lineup and not even know what we have as a coaching staff.  There are a lot of questions here in the preseason that have got to be answered before the “NCC” season starts up,” said Fisher.

          The weather has been a torn in almost everybody’s side this spring training.  Fisher says they must be sure their fundamentals are sound.  “This reminds me of my colligate days when we were practicing indoors and then we are on a bus to Florida and it was the first time out when we play our first game.  Those teams down south had basically four weeks in play already.  What I do remember from that experience though is that the fundamentals that we worked on while indoors certainly benefited us more so from an offensive standpoint.  With the sore arms and stuff it took a little bit more time to recuperate between games.  These are high school kids, so we have to be creative in the activities that we do and make certain we are ready when that call comes to play,” he said.

          Ontario is the defending champion in the black division and Buckeye Central in the silver.  Fisher thinks the Warriors are going to be hard to beat again this spring.  “I think in the small school division I think Crawford has some horses there that could lead to consistency on the win side.  I know that Riverdale has an arm that they are confident that they can go out and win games with.  When you are thinking of Buckeye as traditional winners in that division they are going through a similar transformation much like we did a year ago where you have a bunch of young pups, where you kind of have to find yourself,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “They are athletic none the less.  In the big school division I think it is wide open beyond Ontario, who is by far the most dynamic.  I think they have a state ranked type team, much like last year with their two horses coming back in McCrystal and Beal and the shortstop in Holman.  Gorbett will have those kids ready to go.  It is going to be up to rest of us to try and knock them off their pedestals.”



Bucyrus Ready For the Tournament


          For the Bucyrus Lady Redmen it has not been the season it was a year ago when they shared the “NCC” black division title, but they appear headed in the right direction.

          Bucyrus (12-10) beat Riverdale (43-36) in their final regular season game a week ago and coach Greg Moore says a lot of hard working is paying off.  “We lost three starters from last year and early on we lost two young ladies to ACL tears so it’s a killer when you lose two starters.  We have lost a girl to a concussion, she has had two of them.  We are starting to peak.  We are starting to play our best basketball right now,” he said.

          Bucyrus has won four of their last six and one of those losses came to division champion Upper Sandusky (48-42) a couple of weeks ago.

          Moore likes to feature the up tempo approach, but he says they really weren’t able to do that much early in the season.  “Earlier we really had to stress half court man to man and do some different things, but now as the season is progressing we are able to run and jump and we are trying to get better in our transition game.  I think the younger girls are starting to realize what we need to do and how we need to do it,” he said.  Now, he says over the last little bit they have been able to feature more of a fast break kind of game.  “That has been our philosophy since we have been here.  It has been successful for us.  We are right now starting to pick it up where we need to be.  I think the kids are realizing the rewards of it,” Moore said.

          Bucyrus plays Fostoria (1-21) in a division three sectional semi-final game on Wednesday night at Seneca East High School.  Fostoria won their first game beating Genoa (46-43) last Thursday.  Moore says they have some athletes.  “They have an athletic group.  They are very, very strong.  They play very, very physical.  We just have to play Lady Redmen basketball and run our transition and play good man-to-man defense and I just think we will see where the chips fall.  Fostoria has a great group of athletes,” said Moore.

          Tournament games tend to have a slower whistle and Moore says they have to be ready to battle through that.  “That is what we have been doing to practice.  On Saturday, we came in and we really stressed to our JV kids that you have to foul and foul a little harder than normal.  They are going to come up over the backs they are going to play physical.  We have to get used to that play so it is not a surprise to us on Wednesday night,” Moore told Swankonsports.com on Monday. 



Bucyrus Working Hard at Getting Better


          Bucyrus wants to be one of those teams in which there are a few each year that really find themselves after the holiday break and then really turn it on.

          They put together a good performance last Friday in beating rival Wynford (53-47) in a North Central Conference game.  They then lost in non-conference play to Midland Athletic League co-leader New Riegel (50-30) on Saturday.  Coach Nate Hill says they did some things they have been trying to do all season against Wynford.  “We try to keep going.  We have lost a couple of tough games.  I was really happy about how we finished the game out against Wynford,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “The last minute of the game we hit eight free throws, we were eight for eight from the free throw fine, so I’m hoping we are taking a step in the right direction.  We made some shots.  Wynford gave us a really good game.  They do a great job out there.  Some shots they took didn’t fall and breaks fell our way.”

          Bucyrus (2-8,1-3) began the season without much experience, but Hill says he isn’t taking that as an excuse any more.  “I have told them they don’t have that excuse.  I don’t care that we only have “x” amount of points coming back or how many letter winners.  We are starting to play game 12.  It is almost halfway through our season.  They have to know what to expect.  It is about working hard in practice and not wasting time and trying to get better,” said Hill.

          There is chance to make up some ground because outside of Ontario and Colonel Crawford most of the teams are rebuilding.  Hill says this is a transition year.  “The “NCC” is down a little bit this year.  We had a strong senior class.  We graduated a lot all of the way around.  The whole league lost a lot,” he said.

          The Redmen play host to Buckeye Central (4-6,2-1) on Thursday night and travel to Lucas (0-8,0-4) on Saturday in “NCC” play.  Hill says Buckeye is improving too.  “Austin Wurm is playing really well right now.  Cade Kaple came back and scored 21 points and hit some really big shots against Seneca East.  Buckeye Central lost a couple of tough games.  They are in every game.  You can’t overlook them.  They play really, really hard.  They have some talented players.  Kaple came back, Austin Wurm, Stone Wurm, the Snyder kid is playing real well for them.  They are a very dangerous team.  We lost to New Riegel Saturday night and they lost to New Riegel by two at New Riegel and they were ahead for the whole game.  They can play,” said Hill. 



Bucyrus Off to a Good Start


          Bucyrus earned a victory in their opening game of the season and Tuesday night they will play the defending champions from the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.

          On Saturday night, the Redmen downed Crestline (51-29) in a game between two teams in the North Central Conference that does not count as a conference game.  Coach Nate Hill believes they had a good approach in the game.  “I am very happy with our win we executed pretty well.  We had nice production.  We went eight deep and we were pretty happy with that.  We shot pretty well from the three point line and the free throw line, but we really didn’t shoot very well from inside the arc,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We have to try and improve there.  We had too many turnovers we have to try and improve.  We had 17 turnovers, a lot of those were travels.  Crestline plays pretty hard and they have a new coach and they are playing pretty hard for him.”

          Right now, a key for the Redmen is they like each other and seem to like playing together, according to Hill.  “They are playing well together and have nice team chemistry right now and every one has bought into, I don’t know if they like them, but they have bought into their roles, so it’s going pretty well right now,” he said.

          Tuesday night, the Redmen (1-0) host Mt. Gilead (1-0) for a non conference game.  The Indians won the “MOAC” blue division title last season and Hill says they are still very good.  “From last year they lost Kolby Snyder and the 6’8” kid inside, but they are still very big.  They have the Harris brothers, one is 6’5” and one is 6’3”.  Right now the 6’3” kid is playing the point guard and the other kid is up top,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “They have a 6’3” kid down inside.  They have two or three kids that can flat out shoot the ball on the wing.  That’s without Payton Vanderkooi, their point guard from the summer.  He is a really good athlete.  (Tuesday) night he may not play, but he is very, very talented.  They have some weapons and they are very good.”

          One of thing Bucyrus is going to have to be very good at Tuesday night is rebounding because Hill knows Mt. Gilead will hit the boards.  “They like to drive and they like to kick and they like to shoot threes and the crash the glass.  They really like to offensive rebound hard.  They are really strong and they may post a couple of those guys up, but they are more slash and drive and kick guys,” he said.  




Bucyrus Looking For Ways


          Bucyrus is going to be a young basketball team this year and one that is going to have to do a lot of the little things to win games.

          Coach Nate Hill says that they don’t have much experience coming back, but they do have an experienced and talented point guard that will be a four year starter.  “We have had five scrimmages so far.  We have had a full team, knock on wood, we have been fairly healthy, some nicks and turned ankles here and there.  We are returning three letter winners.  I am returning a going to be four year letter winner at the point guard in Michael Purcell, my only senior.  His freshmen year he started the last four or five games and he has been the point guard ever since.  He is really the only guy coming back with a lot of varsity experience,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “Greg Padget is a junior and Austin Williams is a sophomore.  They both played anywhere between five and ten minutes last year.  The rest are JV kids.  I have one senior, four juniors, and looking at four different sophomores to fill out the eight, nine guys we play with.”

          Hill says that Purcell, a first team all district selection in football, is an outstanding athlete with great leadership skills.  “He is a great leader.  He is a great student.  He is a very good athlete.  He is a football player.  He is a wide receiver.  He was a stud athlete in football.  He can high jump 6’2” and he is only 5’9”.  He is a very good athlete.  He is doing a very good job leading us right now.  I have been very happy with that,” he said.

          Bucyrus is not a team that is going to be able to pound the ball inside, but they do have some kids with skills and Hill says they are going to have to be able to take advantage of their skills.  “We don’t have a lot of size, so we are going to have to spread the floor, we are going to have to look for driving lanes, we are going to have knock down shots, and we are going to have to get creative.  We are going to have to execute coming out of time outs when the other team doesn’t know what we are running.  We are going to have to execute in that situation.  We are going to have to try and hide our weaknesses.  We are going to mix it up defensively and play man and zone and press at times.  If it’s an easy opportunity to score we are going to have to try and get out and run and hopefully get to the foul line a little bit.  Those are easy ways to score.  We have to try and maximize all of our scoring opportunities,” said Hill.

          Bucyrus opens the season with a game at Crestline in non-conference play on Saturday night.  Hill says there are a lot of mysteries associated with the Bulldogs.  “I don’t have a really good idea what is going on with Crestline.  Randy Endsley, their old coach, and I are good friends.  He is the athletic director now.  I met their new coach one time at a coach’s meeting, shook hands and spoke with him for a couple of seconds or a minute and that’s about it.  I believe they have only had three scrimmages.  I have a little bit of a read on them, but not as much as I’d like.  It’s going in blind and I don’t like that feeling at all.  I really like to prepare myself and I don’t like this feeling I am having right now,” said Hill.     



Bucyrus is Running


          Last year, the Bucyrus Lady Redmen used a run and gun style to a co-title in the black division of the North Central Conference and a sectional championship.

          They hope to use the same strategy to again be a factor in the conference race.  However, coach Greg Moore says right now they are battling injuries to their best players.  “We are nine days into it.  There is a lot of enthusiasm.  We have good numbers.  A great freshmen class that has come up.  We have to get over the injury bug a little bit.  We lost three seniors last year to graduation off that championship team,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “One of the starters coming back Kylie Thompson tore her ACL in May and she is just now getting back.  The first day of practice we lost probably our best freshmen, a 6’2” guard.  She tore her ACL.  So, right now we have a little bit of inexperience, but the kids are working hard.  I like their attitude and I like their work ethic.”

          Moore says this year’s group is really into running the floor and getting some easy looks at the basket.  “Our trademark is defense and pressing, getting up and down the floor.  I didn’t know at first if we could be, but we are a little quicker than last year’s team.  I think this group is sold out a little bit more on the press.  They are buying more and more into our press and to what we are teaching.  I think that is our strong point,” he said.

          With season beginning the weekend after Thanksgiving there are a couple weeks to get ready Moore says they trying to make sure they are in good condition.  “The good thing is we had all but two girls doing a fall sport.  They kept active in the fall.  Right now we are doing a lot of conditioning and doing a lot of running with the ball and getting a lot of transition drills in.  We had our first scrimmage last Saturday.  We faired pretty well.  It was a typical first scrimmage, but I was happy overall with the conditioning being one week into it,” says Moore.

          Yes, Bucyrus would like to shoot a lot of layups this season, but they are going to have to be able to score in the half court too.  Moore wants his team to become better shooters.  “Last year we had some kids that could flat out stroke the ball.  With us being inexperienced that will come.  We spend 30 minutes every day after practice shooting.  We have to become a better shooting team.  It will come in time,” said Moore.



Bucyrus Gets First Win


          Bucyrus finally put some hits together and they picked up their first win of the season over Mt. Gilead on Tuesday night.

          The Redmen, who have been struggling to get runs, won a slugfest (13-10) over the Indians.  Coach Jeff Fisher feels for the first time this season they were able to consistently hit the ball with the right part of the bat.  “We were swinging and missing a lot over the first week and a half.  All due credit to our opponents they have had good pitchers that have been able to throw strikes with more than one pitch and we had struggled in that department,” he told Swankonsports.com after the win, “Finally (Tuesday) early we started to barrel some balls up and take advantage of the opportunities that were available to us.  I think with our guys being so young and inexperienced form a varsity perspective.  It just takes scoring and getting the base hit early and taking the pressure off.”

          Bucyrus, the defending “NCC” champion has been the kind of team that has sort of waited on the three-run homer.  Fisher says now they need to find other ways to score runs.  “Offense can erase a lot of mistakes in a ball game.  Sometimes pitchers can be inconsistent in their own right.  If you keep in that box and be able to barrel balls up and get bunts down when you are asked to do that it will increase the pressure on the defense.  I thought we scored a lot of different ways (Tuesday) beyond the long ball, which we have been used to in the past.  (Tuesday) was about finding different ways to score and we did that.” Fisher said.

          As we have been talking about all spring there are new and less potent bats this year being used in baseball in Ohio.  Fisher believes they have changed the way you need to approach the game.  “It will continue to change the game all up and down youth baseball.  I have seen it with 12 year old teams and I have seen it especially here with my high school group.  On one hand it has benefited the pitchers as far as their sense of confidence that they can throw the ball in there and not feel like every ball is going to go 300, 400 feet.  By the same token our guys have had to be more disciplined when they do swing it has to be swinging to contact, not swinging so hard,” he said.  Plus, pitchers are doing some different things as well.  Fisher says they can be more aggressive.  “What I see is a lot fewer breaking balls.  I have seen pitchers challenge hitters more readily and using both sides of the plate and getting away with it.  From the standpoint of a high school coach and being able to use multiple guys and get them acclimated to pitching has been a good thing.  By the same token our guys are getting jammed on balls that typically they haven’t in the past or they are hitting the ball out on the end of the bat.  Those used to be little bloopers into right center.  Our guys are used to a 33, 34 and they are considering using a 32-inch bat just to be able to manipulate it and swing for contact,” Fisher said.

          Bucyrus opens a league play next Tuesday against Galion.  Fisher says they are going to have to get a lot better if they are going to be able to compete in the black division.  “Hey, listen, we are day to day here.  To think about the conference next week seems to be a month away.  We have Edison Thursday and a doubleheader on Saturday with a pitching staff that is trying get acclimated.  No we are not ready to compete and we are still trying to figure out who we are and as we develop come up with a couple of victories along the way,” said Fisher.  



Bucyrus With a Young Team


          Bucyrus, the defending North Central Conference champion, will play at Crestview, who won the Firelands Conference title in a non-conference baseball game on Tuesday.

          The Redmen are coming off three pretty good years, but this year coach Jeff Fisher is working with a lot of inexperience.  He says they are going to have to be crafty pitchers and good fielders if they are going to win game against good teams.  “The hay is in the barn as they say and we are hopeful that the kids are ready to go.  Our biggest concern is our pitchers ability to throw strikes and defensively being able to catch it with the whole new revamped pitching staff.  Hopefully, we will be up to the challenge,” he says.

          Fisher says his pitching staff has to learn quickly how to throw strikes and not just down the middle of plate.  He says they have to be pitchers and not throwers.  “Experience and wisdom are the best indicators for success there.  Some kids when they pick up a baseball for the first time when they are eight or nine that can put it across the plate are the most successful long term.  When you get kids at the high school level that are a little bit raw and are just trying to figure it out it’s about strike throwing versus changing speeds.  We are at step one here with a few of our boys,” said Fisher.

          Offensively, the Redmen are going to have to be able to score runs in the different ways too.  Fisher says they don’t have the same kind of line-up that they have had the last couple of years.   “We are not blessed with the legs we have had with Christian Ross and others like him in the past.  So, we are really going to have to find holes and hit balls in gaps to make a difference to score runs.  It’s goes above and beyond manufacturing.  We are going to have to figure out a way to hit them were they ain’t,” Fisher told Swankonsports.com on Monday.

          Bucyrus plays another Firelands Conference team in “FC” favorite New London (1-0) on Thursday and then meets Marion Elgin in a doubleheader on Saturday.  Fisher says they have to come out of this tough non-conference stretch in tack and with some confidence.  “I think in any season you want to get off to a good start.  I think our M.O. with the first two weeks and our schedule that’s pretty compact is making sure our kids come out of there with confidence, healthy, and ready for league play where we are in the right frame of mind.  We are looking to get some reps under our belts first and see where we are at the end of these first couple of weeks,” said Fisher.

          Bucyrus had a game with South Central on Monday in Greenwich suspended in the third inning when home plate umpire Jim Selllers collapsed of an apparent heart attack.  He was revived at the scene and flown to a Columbus hospital by helicopter.   



Bucyrus an Unknown


          Bucyrus won the North Central Conference baseball title last spring, but this a new and different “NCC,” although it won’t be around long, and there will be an impact on baseball as there has been in other sports.

          Coach Jeff Fisher says they are going to be tested early in the season before they get into the league.  “From our standpoint it is going to be a more competitive format.  It brings up a new dynamic in scheduling all together allowing us to play an early doubleheader before that first Monday.  We have a jam packed first two weeks of non-conference games that we hope will prepare us of a rigorous “NCC” schedule with now Galion and Upper in the mix,” he said.

          They host Lexington and Marion Pleasant as part of a doubleheader on Saturday, the first day of the baseball season.

          Fisher says they have the right attitude, but it remains to be seen if they have the kind of players to produce the results that their fans have become used to.  “That is the building block to success of building a winning tradition.  You can’t ignore the fact we lost three All-Ohioans last year and really we have a new revamped lineup this year with a whole new pitching staff.  It’s just trying to find a way right now.  It’s going to be a reality check for most.  It’s not going to be about scoring nine, eight runs any more.  We are going to have to play a little bit more small ball.  We are going to have to catch the ball and throw strikes considering our new lineup,” said Fisher.

          Although they may not be the offensive juggernaut they have been in recent seasons, Fisher believes they will be able to score runs, now they have to work on the other aspects of the game.  “We have had a few inter-squads.  We got a scrimmage against Bellevue rained out here Monday.  We had our first on the field look (Tuesday night) against coach Rickert’s Madison club.  Listen there were a couple of innings there were our pitcher’s struggled to find the strike zone,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “On the other hand though there were other times where I felt like we were competitive and were getting outs consistently.  I think the jury is out defensively.  Offensively I think we are ahead despite the new bats.  We look confident in the batter’s box.  It just remains to be seen whether or not rigorous of a doubleheader Saturday and five games the next week we do us in.  A coach is always concerned about arms and arm care.”

          Fisher thinks the new BB-core bats are going to change the way the game is played at the high school level and not necessarily for the better.  “I think it’s going to shorten the game.  I think you are going to see kids that could typically get inside a baseball with the old bat and get it over the infield are now going to be dribblers to the third baseman or the opposite way.  As far as carry goes, if the kid hits it on the barrel it’s going to fly just like it did a year ago, but a half inch either way that home run is going to turn into a regular fly out.  I think you are going to see a faster paced game that will force the infield to make plays.  It’s going to turn into situational baseball and that’s good for the purist, but I’m worried for high school hitters that are not yet strength wise and swing mechanic wise able to handle that new bat,” said Fisher.

          He says teams that can pick up an extra base or stop the other team from doing it is going to be the one that is winning games on a more consistent basis.  “You have to throw strikes first, but as far as knowing where to go in every situation, I think the teams that will have to upper hand are the ones that continuously put the ball in play and can extend hits into doubles and triples with their legs.  Teams that have relied on the three run homer in the past are going to have to revamp their style a little bit.  It’s just baseball and it starts on the mound and behind that mound with the catcher controlling the tempo of the game and that is going to have increased importance this season,” Fisher said.



Bucyrus Must Control the Pace


          Bucyrus earned the first girls’ basketball title in the school’s history this season and now they have advanced to the division three district tournament where they will play Edison on Thursday night in semi-final play at Norwalk High School.

          The Lady Redmen (16-5) beat fellow “NCC” member Ontario (46-38) in the sectional finals last Saturday night.  Head coach Greg Moore thought that Ontario would give them a stiff challenge in the third meeting between the two and that turned out to be the case.  “We were very happy with that.  We knew going in that it was going to be a tough game.  Sue does a good job.  They have been getting better, they are a young group.  We knew early that is was going to be a struggle and it was that exactly,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “They did a good job defensively against us.  We didn’t shoot the ball very well and I think that was attributed to the fact that they played good defense.  We had that 11 day layoff and that was a little bit too much for us to be setting aside.”

          Bucyrus had not played a game in almost two weeks and Moore thinks that was a factor, especially in their inability to get down the floor and execute in fast break situations.  “I think that the fact that we had that layoff.  I think we got out of a little bit of kilter. The girls worked hard all week.  We had good focus and good attention, but I think it was just not having that game experience.  Eleven days is a long time.  To be honest with you when you get to the female side it’s a little bit even harder to get back into that game routine.  Ontario did a great job of taking us out of what we like to do.  We did our pressing and forced the turnovers, but we didn’t get out and run as much as I would like us too,” said Moore.

          Edison (17-5) got past Margaretta (39-38), both teams are of the tough Sandusky Bay Conference, in their sectional final last week.  Moore says the Lady Chargers are loaded with talent.  He says they have both size and quickness.  “They are a big team and physical.  We were fortunate enough to play them in a shootout over in Willard last July.  I knew they were going to be very good and were an up coming team.  Tracey has done a great job with that group of kids.  They have great athletes.  They went to the regional finals I believe in volleyball.  They have size, they have speed and they want to do some of the same things we do,” said Moore.

          Moore does not think they can afford a slow start against a team like Edison and survive.  He says they have to get that fast break going early.  “You want to get out there and get your feet wet and do what you do best and get the game going to your flow and get some momentum.  That is very, very key on Thursday night.  I know that Edison is going to want to do the same thing,” said Moore.   



Bucyrus Trying to Turn Great Effort into Win


          This season has been one where Bucyrus has played with great effort, but so far that hasn’t translated into that many wins and hopefully that begins to happen for the Redmen in the tournament.

          Bucyrus (6-14) takes on Seneca East (12-8) in division three sectional semi-finals at Lexington High School on Tuesday night.  The winner advances to play top seeded Ontario (13-7) on Friday night.

          Coach Nate Hill, in his fourth year with the Redmen, says this is likely the best team he has had at Bucyrus, but they are battling some injuries and depth concerns.  “We were pretty competitive.  I think this is the most talented group of kids we have had in my four years here.  Unfortunately this has been our most difficult schedule.  We lost in double overtime to Crestline last weekend and they played a great game.  We lost Friday night to Riverdale.  We had the lead in the fourth quarter.  I really like the group of kids that we have, they work hard.  They have really bought into the system.  They play well together,” he told Swankonsports.com, “Right now, we don’t have a lot of depth.  We are trying to scrape by.  About three weeks ago we had an injury to Seth Chandler, one of our top players, and that really hurt our depth and our scoring.  That really hurt our depth, but we played some competitive basketball regardless.”

          Hill thinks his players really want to win and be successful they sometimes are overly aggressive in their play.  “We try to play with composure and try not to do too much.  Sometimes, I think our kids try too hard.  We call a play out and they look at that one option of the play rather than reading the whole picture.  We have made some bad decisions in some tough times.  We missed some crucial four shots.  We had a couple of chances to win basketball games in regulation and in overtime.  Against Crestline that didn’t happen.  Normally we are one of the better foul shooting teams out there.  Right now, the kids are giving their best effort, but we just aren’t getting the results,” said Hill.

          Seneca East with a win last Friday night over Fremont St. Joseph (60-41) finished 6-5 in the Midland Athletic League.  That gave the Tigers seventh place in the league.  Hill says, like them, the Tigers don’t have great depth, but they have three all district players.  “They are a great team.  They beat us in overtime at the buzzer at their place early in the year.  We are definitely familiar with them.  Joe Bettingfield is a great young coach.  He and I are very good friends.  We talk almost daily.  They have a real big kid inside that we don’t match up real well with in Ben Hahler.  He’s about 6-5, 240.  He is excellent in the post.  They have a kid named Billy Diehm that’s a senior and he’s averaging close to 20 a game.  He’s averaging about three, four threes a game.  He hit five threes in a game against Carey last week.  They only have six players who really play.  Jamie Schafer is a great athlete, 6-2 and 200 pounds.  He is an excellent football player and track guy.  Nate Phillips is a senior point guard.  He is a very solid three point shooter.  Jake Michaels, he does the dirty work, offensive rebounds, scores in transition, sets a lot of screens.  They play a lot of 2-3 zone to keep them out of foul trouble,” said Hill.

          Seneca East beat Bucyrus (55-53) in overtime in December.  Hill looks for this game to come down to the wire too.  “We were up 14 at the end of the third quarter, or maybe at the beginning of the four quarter, so we definitely know we can play with them.  Granted that was with Seth Chandler and they were without Jamie Schafer or it was Schafer’s first game back.  He had a bad ankle injury and now Seth has a bad ankle injury.  Jamie’s almost full strength.  So, the tables will be turned, but I think we match up pretty well depth wise.  They have a size advantage with Ben Hahler.  I think it is going to be an evenly contested game.  We are going to watch are film and watch our clips,” said Hill.   



Division Title For Bucyrus?


          If you were running a league this is just what you would want to see happen, a three way tie for first place going into the final night of league action.

          Bucyrus, Wynford and Upper Sandusky all carry 9-3 records in conference play and share the black division lead going into the final night of league action in the North Central Conference on Tuesday night.

          Upper created the log jam with a win over Bucyrus (59-57) last Friday night, meanwhile the Lady Royals took care of business with a win (64-35) over Ontario, a school that had upset them earlier in the season.

          Tuesday night, Bucyrus (15-4,9-3) plays at Riverdale (7-11,7-5), Wynford (13-6,9-3) plays Buckeye Central (9-9,5-7) and Upper Sandusky plays silver division champion Colonel Crawford (15-4,10-2) in league play.

          Bucyrus girls’ coach Greg Moore says if you are competitive and want to play basketball, these are the games you want to play in.  “That’s what we talked to our kids about on Sunday.  There are a lot of teams that are playing meaningless games on Tuesday we are very fortunate playing in a game where we can have a share of first place.  That’s what we are looking forward too and we are looking forward to the trip over to Riverdale,” said Moore. 

          Riverdale started the year 1-6, but since then they have won six of their last 11 and three of their last four.  Moore says the Lady Falcons are starting to play the kind of basketball they have become accustomed too.  “You know (Riverdale coach) Mary Ann (Holderman) just does a fantastic job.  They have tradition behind them.  We are going over there.  It’s senior night.  They are improving.  We are going to have our hands full.  I mean they are very good ball team.  They are going to be a very tough out in the tournament.  It’s going to be a good ball game,” Moore said.

          Riverdale won four straight “NCC” titles in the former make up of the league and they were feared because of their three-quarter court pressure.  Moore says they will be facing that press again on Tuesday night.  “They are doing the same thing.  They are running their diamond press.  She has great athletes over there.  They are young.  They have some younger kids coming.  She has done a great job, she always has and always will,” he said.

          To do no worse than share that black division title, Moore says they need to handle that press, gets some easy points in transition and make sure they get their share of offensive rebounds.  “We have to handle the pressure.  We have to get out and move the ball.  We like to get out in transition.  I don’t think we really got out in transition on Friday night.  We have to do a better job on the offensive glass.  If we do those things we will be fine.  It will come down to the wire and we will see which way its goes,” said Moore.



Bucyrus Likes Its Position


          Bucyrus has won their last nine games and the Lady Redmen stand in first place in the black division of the North Central Conference.

          On Saturday, they held Galion to single figures in each quarter and went on to bury the Lady Tigers (58-31) in an “NCC” game.  Sarah Davis led the way with 23 points.  Tuesday night, Bucyrus (10-1,6-0), #4 in the Swankonsports.com basketball power poll for smaller schools, travels to Ontario for another important game in the black division.

          Coach Greg Moore says they continue to improve after working on some fundamental elements of the game during the Christmas holidays.  “We are doing a very good job.  We only had two games during the holiday break.  We had Wynford right before Christmas and then Tiffin Columbian and then we had 10 days off.  We just decided to take care of the Bucyrus Lady Redmen.  We went back to the basics doing the fundamentals, working on getting better day by day.  It was a good time to do that.  I think it refreshed us.  Then we came out strong,” said Moore.

          Ontario (1-10,1-5) has struggled to get wins this season, but Moore says they Lady Warriors have great potential.  “They are a very good team.  They are very well coached.  Sue (Homan) does a great job.  They have played a very, very tough schedule.  When you look at their non-league schedule, and on top of that our league is so good, their record is deceiving,” he told Swankonsports.com, “They are a team that is made for speed.  They are quick, they are very, very athletic.  They have been state ranked the last couple of years and went to the state final four last year in soccer.  They are very young.  We will have our hands full.”

          Ontario has some problems defending teams in the half court this season, but Moore says they are going to continue to do what has been successful for them and that’s running the floor.  “Our style is to get up and go.  We sort of play Loyola Marimount sort of style for the early 1990’s.  We want to get it and run and full court run and jump you.  It will be two athletic teams going at it,” he said.

          Moore admits that for them to continue to grow as a team they have to do more than just try to score on the fast break.  He says one of the elements of the game that they have shown the most improvement this year is their offensive rebounding.  “We still want to get up and run, but we have to get good looks.  We have to set good screens and go after the second and third shots.  We tell our kids that the first shot you take is not the most important, it’s getting that second and third chance and we have been buying into that.  I think since Christmas we have been averaging close to 20 offensive rebounds a game,” said Moore.  They out rebounded a taller Galion team on Saturday 47-21.



Bucyrus Needs a Better Start


          Bucyrus needs to be sure they know when the game is starting because after the first quarter they have been able to compete with almost everyone on their schedule.

          It was the same thing last week in North Central Conference action when they lost at Upper Sandusky (55-39) to drop to last place in the black division.  “We buried ourselves in a hole early on.  We were down 29-11 at the half.  I challenged our kids in the second half and my kids really came out and responded.  With 1:15 left in the third it was 36-30.  Upper is a very good team and they went on a 10-0 run and we are down 15 with seven minutes left.  They are patient and they shoot free throws well and it’s hard to come back against a team like that.  Getting down so much early really hurt us,” said coach Matt Hill.  Senior Seth Chandler led the comeback with 15 points.

          Hill admits that a poor first quarter has been a problem for the Redmen all season.  “It’s a recurring theme.  Ontario went on a 19-0 run against us and we could never recover from that.  We can play with some teams.  The only team we really didn’t compete with was Colonel Crawford,” Hill told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “Mt. Gilead went on an early run and then we played them even.  We played Ontario even for three quarters.  We won the second half versus Upper Sandusky.  My kids, you can’t fault their effort, you can fault their execution a little bit, but you can’t fault their effort at all.”

          Bucyrus (2-5) will face another stiff challenge on Tuesday night when they host Crestview (6-3), the second place team in the Firelands Conference, in a non-conference game.  Hill says they really don’t match-up very well with Tyler George, the Cougars leading scorer.  “They may have the best player in that league in Tyler George.  I have watched film on them and I have seen them live in person.  He is a 6-4 athlete who can dunk the basketball with ease.  He blocks shots and he is one of the best offensive rebounders.  He made four three pointers last week in their game against Plymouth.  He is a complete player, he does not have a lot of weaknesses.  We do not match up very well against him.  Besides him Jake Hill made five three pointers versus Ontario.  Michael Durbin had 15 points versus Plymouth last Friday.  They have another kid Troy Stimpert, he’s 6-4 and very athletic.  Adkins is a very good floor leader and very vocal.  I think their depth outside their top five is one of their weaknesses,” Hill said.

          Hill thinks if they can compete on the glass with Crestview they have a chance to win the game.  “They are a really good offensive rebounding team so we have to win the battle of the boards.  We have to try and contain Tyler George and Jake Hill.  If we can keep those two guys in check we have a chance,” said Hill   



Bucyrus to Pressure Seneca East


          Bucyrus is still a team looking for more consistency in its play this season heading into a non-conference match-up at Seneca East on Tuesday night.

          Last week, the Redmen (2-2) won an important North Central Conference game with Galion (53-47) before losing a non-conference game to conference opponent Colonel Crawford (69-45) on Saturday night.  Bucyrus coach Nate Hill says it was like night and day for them last weekend.  He says they just don’t have the depth to compete with Colonel Crawford right now.  “We were very happy with our Galion effort.  It was a very tough weekend for us.  We had two quality opponents in Galion and Colonel Crawford.  With Crawford we were only going to play them once and it’s a nice rivalry.  We played really well on Friday night and we really executed our stuff really great, really solid.  We played some solid defense and rebounded the ball very well.  We were able to handle Galion’s pressure better than we handled Colonel Crawford’s pressure.  Colonel Crawford pressed us the entire game and they are very deep.  We are not as deep as Colonel Crawford.  They can play any of the nine players they have.  Their defensive pressure really wore us out.  They shot the lights out.  They made 12 of 25 from three point range.  Austin Adams came back and in his first game back he had six threes,” said Hill.

          Seneca East (1-3) has been kind of like Bucyrus, a team with talent, but searching for an identity early in the season.  Plus, Hill says they have had injury problems.  “Well, they have some things we don’t have.  They have a six five kid in the middle named Ben Kailer.  He is 240 pounds,” Hill told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “They have Jamie Shafer, he’s 6-2, 200 pounds and very athletic.  He turned his ankle against Tiffin Calvert about a week ago, week and half ago.  He had very limited minutes versus Old Fort on Thursday night and I don’t know is he back to 100%, but he is an athlete.  Bill Deim is a senior shooter, 6-1 and a good solid athlete.  They have three kids that can really put the ball in the hole and are pretty good athletes.  They are limited on their depth.  They only play seven kids and they had one their kids go down.  Their sixth man blew out his ALC early in the season.”

          Hill wants to go after Seneca East with some pressure and try and take it to them offensively as well.  He hopes they will be able to get some of the key Tigers players in foul trouble.  “I think we have to rebound with them.  I think we are going to have to try and pressure them and force them into turnovers.  I think we have attack them and get them in foul trouble and get after the bench.  We don’t play a lot of guys, but they don’t play a lot of guys either,” said Hill. 



Bucyrus Doing Good Things


          Bucyrus is going to be a big factor in the black division of the North Central Conference this year and they have already given notice that they are one of the best teams around here.

          The Lady Redmen (3-1) won their opening game in “NCC” play last Friday when they dispatched of Galion 60-41.  Coach Greg Moore knows they haven’t proven anything just yet.  “It’s early in the season yet and we have a tough schedule.  We hosted on own holiday tournament and had some good competition in there with Mansfield Senior, Bellevue and Marion Harding.  We went 1-1 in that and got beat by a very good Bellevue team, who was I think 22-2 last year,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “With Colonel Crawford and Galion, coming from the “NOL,” there are no easy games.  We feel very fortunate to be 3-1.  Our kids have just worked extremely hard, but we know it’s a long road to go yet.”

          Bucyrus is blessed with some pretty good shooters in Allie Hawkins, a first team all-conference and all-district player last season, and Sarah Davis, a second team all-league selection.  Both are seniors who averaged over 12 points a game last season.  “We shoot the ball very well.  We spent a lot of time in the summer doing our shooting drills.  Our kids really buy into that.  We shot almost every day in the summer.  It was volunteer and we are just very happy that they willing to come out there and work,” said Moore.  However, with the likes of Wynford (last year’s NCC champion) and Upper Sandusky (a school coming from the Northern Ohio League with a great tradition) in the black division Moore knows they are going to have to get a lot better on defense.  “Well, we are working on our defense right now.  We think we can get a lot better on the defensive end.  It’s something they are working on.  We are not a real tall team, 5-8 is our posts, 5-9.  We have to really work hard on our rebounding and make sure we do the little things every day,” he added.

          Bucyrus plays host to Ontario (0-4) in an “NCC” game on Tuesday night between division foes.  Moore knows that Ontario hasn’t won yet, but he also knows they have played a very tough schedule in the opening weeks. “They are a very, very athletic team, Sue does a job over there.  They are probably as athletic as anyone in our league.  We can’t overlook them because they have played four quality opponents in Upper Sandusky, Madison, Fredericktown and Lexington.  Their 0-4 record is very deceiving.  We know we are going to have to play a very good game.  We are going to have to play good defense and match their intensity,” said Moore.



Bucyrus Has to Play Bigger


          Bucyrus is a basketball team with a lot of seniors on it and they a chance to have a pretty good season if they find some way to get some rebounds and guard the paint.

          They beat Crestline 66-55 in their opener on Saturday night.  “Crestline is a very good basketball team.  They have six returnees and they have some guys that can put the ball in the hoop.  We shot the ball very well and we executed very well on offense.  We have a ways to go on defense,” said Bucyrus coach Nate Hill.

          Bucyrus was just 8-14 last year and that was a little disappointing considering their skill level, but this year could be a different story for the Redmen.  “We are versatile and we are experienced.  They know our system.  They know what we want to do.  We don’t have a lot of height, so we are going to have to focus on the defensive end.  We have had a pretty good summer and preseason offensively.  We can put the ball in the hole at times,” said Hill.

          The Redmen certainly have the skills to score some points, but they are going to have to work hard to get the ball in their hands and keep opponents off the glass.  “Our biggest kid is 6-1, 6-2, so we really are going to have to work at boxing out on the defensive end trying limit teams offensive rebounds,” Hill told Swankonsports.com, “Anytime we have an offensive opening we are going to have to make sure we capitalize on that.  We have to be real good from the free throw line.”

          Bucyrus will be at Mt. Gilead for a non-conference game on Tuesday night.  The Indians won their opener too, downing Ridgeway Ridgemont 71-52.  Hill says they have some scary height on their roster this season and that is a particular concern of theirs.  “They are pretty good.  They are big.  They are listed at 6-8, 6-6 and 6-5.  The Harris kid is really good.  The Winston kid is 6-8.  Kolby Snyder I believe was an all-state guard for them last year.  Their point guard is coming off a concussion from football season.  I think Tuesday is going to be his first game.  They have some kids that can really shoot the basketball.  Our biggest kid, like I said, is 6-1, 6-2 and they have 6-5 and 6-8, so that’s really going to be a challenge for us,” said Hill.  



Bucyrus Gets Confidence From Win


          It took eight weeks, but the Bucyrus Redmen picked up their first win of the season last week when they downed the Riverdale Falcons in North Central Conference action.

          Bucyrus beat the Falcons 14-12 as Tyler Zehring had five carries for 136 yards.  He had touchdown runs of 75 and 70 yards.  “It was kind like getting over the hump.  We just needed a win,” Bucyrus coach Jake Bruner told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “It was an ugly win.  It was not how we scripted it, but the whole season hasn’t been like we scripted it to be either.  It was just good to ride the bus home and feel good about ourselves on Friday night.”  He says the team has got a little injection of confidence for the final two weeks of the season.  “You have to remember they are kids.  Our seniors obviously are realizing they have two game left and our juniors, sophomores, and freshmen are saying next year I’m going to have to be more mature and get this thing back in place,” said Bruner.

          The Redmen are at home for the Upper Sandusky Rams on Friday night in “NCC” action.  Upper played probably its best game of the season when they downed Lucas 41-8 last week.  Gyen Musgrave had 122 yards rushing and scored two touchdowns for the Rams.  “They are really a young football team when you look at them from the core, but they are young and talented.  They have improved on both sides of the ball.  They have a sophomore quarterback that is also playing middle linebacker.  They have some nice running backs and some nice receivers and they are big.  You know early in the season they were trying to find out who they were, but they have played a lot better the last couple of weeks,” said Bruner. 



Bucyrus Still Looking For Answers


          At this point conference title contention and a playoff birth are long since over for the Bucyrus Redmen, but they would like to have a win before the season ends in a couple of weeks.

          They have been close, but just haven’t been able to get over the hurdle this season.  They were beaten on a field goal at the final horn by Willard and last week fell to Colonel Crawford 41-28.  “You know, our kids played their butts off on Friday night.  We have been through a series of adversity this year that many teams have never been through.  We have a young team on top of that.  We had a chance to win that football game, but at the same time we had two costly turnovers in the first half that we weren’t able to recover from.  It was the first time Colonel Crawford has been at full strength all year.  Our young team is getting better,” said Bucyrus coach Jake Bruner.

          Bucyrus plays at Riverdale (2-5) in an inter-divisional game in the North Central Conference on Friday night.  Riverdale was hammered 61-13 by Galion last week.  “They have a nice running back.  They pound the ball and they have a great play action quarterback and a big time receiver.  They have struggled at times this year too.  They have a lack of depth this year and some injuries,” said Bruner.

          The Bucyrus coach thinks it will boil down to the team that makes the fewest mistakes on Friday night.  “It’s going to be a combination of who make the fewest turnovers and who is going to attack.  I think that team will win on Friday night,” he said.  



Bucyrus Still Working to Find Success


          The high school football regular season is now more than half over and the Bucyrus Redmen are still searching for their first victory of the year.

          They lost 18-10 to Lucas last week to drop to 0-6 on the season.

          Coach Jake Bruner told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday that he believes the kids still have a positive attitude, but admits they really need a win.  “Our kids have really worked hard,” he said, “We’ve had a lot of injuries and adversity this year.  We are young a team.  We are playing 12 kids on Friday nights that are juniors and seniors.  We have a lot of things going for us, we just have to get a win.  We have been there three or four times and had a chance to win,” said Bruner.

          Bucyrus plays host to the Colonel Crawford Eagles (3-3) in an inter-divisional game in the North Central Conference on Friday night.  “I honestly think with those kids that were suspended playing they would probably be in the playoff hunt.  They have a great quarterback that just came back last week from injury.  They are at full strength now.  They are a hot team.  They have a lot of nice receivers and speed and a lot of good running backs,” said Bruner.  Colonel Crawford had won three straight games before losing last week to Galion.

          With Nate Klingenberger back at quarterback for the Eagles, Bruner believes that gives them a lot more balance and makes them harder to stop.  “The issue for us is we have a lot of young guys playing defense.  We have to do a better job in our run defense.  The problem with them is they are really balanced,” he said.



Bucyrus Faces Another Tough One


          Bucyrus begins play in the North Central Conference on Friday night with a visit to Ontario to face the unbeaten Warriors in a match-up between two teams in the same division.

          Bucyrus is a young ball club with a number of underclassmen playing significant roles on the team and they have struggled to put things together so far with losses in all three of their games to date.  They lost to Marion Elgin (34-21) on the opening night of the year, to Hillsdale (22-6) on week two and last week (37-35) to Willard.

          The Flashes beat Bucyrus on a last second field goal, but coach Jake Bruner saw some bright spots in the play of his young team.  “We did a lot of things good in the second half.  It’s a four quarter game and unfortunately we didn’t play as well as we should have in the first two quarters,” he told Swankonsports.com, “We’ve had a quite a juggernaut of a schedule here and it doesn’t get much easier going into Ontario.”

          The Warriors are 3-0 after wins over Loudonville (32-18), Willard (35-21) and last week over Shelby (28-20.)  “Ontario is one of the most talented teams in our league.  They bring back the Boatwright kid and the Bartman kid and a lot of skilled athletes.  They are very athletic, strong and big.  They are a tough opponent,” said Bruner.

          For Bucyrus to pick up its first win they have to at least contain the Ontario running game.  “They have three running backs that they rotate that are really good runners and they have a quarterback that can run the ball.  It’s easier said than done to stop them in the running game.  We have to do a better job tackling with out young football team,” said Bruner.



It’s Simple Bucyrus Needs a Win


          Bucyrus played better on week two than they did on week one, but still they are 0-and-2 on the season heading into a non-conference home game against the Willard Crimson Flashes.

          Hillsdale, the defending Wayne County League Champion, beat Bucyrus 22-6 last week, but coach Jake Bruner thinks they played with better effort and execution than in a week one loss to Marion Elgin.  “I thought we played a lot better.  The effort was better and Hillsdale is a heck of a football team,” Bruner told Swankonsports.com, “They have 19 seniors back from a team that went three deep in the playoffs.  We did a lot of good things, there are also a lot of things we need to improve on.  It was a step in the right direction.”

          Bruner knows that because of their youth, the Redmen are a football squad that needs to mature quickly this fall.  “We start three sophomores and a freshman.  I worry about experience and guys that haven’t had enough varsity time, but we are getting better.  We fumbled at the one-yard line against Hillsdale and we missed some key tackles,” he said.

          Willard has lost games to Margaretta (14-7) and Ontario (35-14) and they haven’t played as consistently as they would have liked.  However, Bruner thinks Willard has talent on both sides of the ball.  “Their quarterback is 6’2” and 200 pounds, and the kid can throw it and run it.  They have a nice big offensive line.  They have active linebackers that run to the football,” said Bruner.

          Bucyrus has been a consistent winner under Bruner and he knows they need a win this week or its time to get concerned about confidence.  “I think it’s real important for both teams.  I know we are talking about it because we felt like we played hard last week, but we have to get a “W,” he said.



Bucyrus is Circling the Wagons


          The Bucyrus offense did not score until the fourth quarter when the game was already decided in a 34-21 loss to Marion Elgin on week one of the regular season and next up for the Redmen are the defending Wayne County League champion Hillsdale Falcons.

          Youth can lead to exuberance, but also mistakes and Bucyrus has more than 50 freshmen and sophomores on its roster this year.  Coach Jake Bruner knows those kids have to grow up fast or things will get ugly against Hillsdale.  “We weren’t happy with our result week one and we obviously want to improve on that.  We know we are playing a team this week that has been to the playoffs the last two years.  They bring back 19 seniors from a third round playoff team.  I can guarantee this, we will be better,” said Bruner.

          Hillsdale destroyed Mapleton 55-0 in their first game.  They rushed for 462 yards on 47 carries and seven different players accounted for eight rushing touchdowns for the Falcons.  Their defense was pretty strong too, holding Mapleton to less than 100 yards of total offense.  “Tom Williams has done a great job there,” Bruner told Swankonsports.com, “It took him some time, they had struggled for many years.  They have good numbers out.  They continue to have positive results.”  Hillsdale does not run a complicated offense, but the Falcons do an excellent job executing what they do.  “They are simple but at the same time they are very efficient.  They have great speed and great size,” added Bruner.

          It going to be another difficult challenge for the Redmen, but Bruner says he isn’t too worried about Hillsdale and it’s not because he thinks the Falcons aren’t that good, quite the opposite in fact.  “We have to get better at our end,” he said, “We have to worry about Bucyrus right now and not so much about Hillsdale.”




Bucyrus Counting on Some Young Kids


          Bucyrus has been a consistent winner since Jake Bruner took over as the head coach of the Redmen.  They finished fourth in the North Central Conference a year ago and finished with a 6-4 record.  This year they have to count on some younger players to get the job done.

          Bruner thinks the Redmen are going to be pretty good at the point of attack this year.  “Well I think we are going to be good up front on the offensive and defensive lines,” he told Swankonsports.com.

          Many of the players suiting up on Friday night when the Redmen travel to Marion Elgin are going to be on the field as a varsity player for the first time, something that has Bruner a little anxious.  “We are playing some inexperienced kids, freshmen and sophomores.  We have 55 kids that are in the bottom two grades right now and some of those kids are playing whether they are ready or just getting their wings right now.  You have to take the good with the bad.  They are going to nervous and we will have to calm them down,” he said.

          It looks like a battle in the trenches on Friday night and Bruner believes Elgin is going to be pretty good on both lines too.  “They are physical and big up front.  They are fundamentally sound.  We are going to have our hands full,” the coach said. 

          Bruner believes that the key to winning is very simple.  “We have to tackle and tackle and take care of the football,” said Bruner.



Bucyrus Not Backing Down


          There will be a big chance schedule wise for just about everyone in the North Central Conference this fall, well expect for Bucyrus.  Galion and Upper Sandusky join the conference, but the Rdemen were already playing them as the result of relationships built in the Northern Ohio League.

          Bucyrus finished fourth in the “NCC” last year behind Wynford, Buckeye Central and Ontario.  This year they have a chance to be a better football team with more experience than last year, especially on defense.

          “We’ve had a great summer,” coach Jake Bruner told Swankonsports.com, “I feel real good about the kids we have.  We’ve had good workouts.  We are still a bit of a young team.  We have 32 freshman and 22 sophomores.  We are kind of a mix of experience and youth.”

          The Rdeman gave up and average of 22 points a game in conference play a year ago, which isn’t that bad.  Still, Bruner believes they have to improve if they are to be in the title hunt in a division that includes Wynford, Galion, Upper Sandusky and Ontario.  “We were pretty young on defense last year.  We are going to have to improve tremendously on defense, tackling and running to the football.  We have been working on all of that stuff,” said Bruner.

          Bruner thinks if they are successful they have improved their chance of making the playoffs because their schedule is going to be a lot better than it has been in previous years.  They have added Willard and Hillsdale, who has been among the best in the Wayne County Athletic League the last couple of years.  “At Bucyrus it probably changes the least for us.  We are still playing Galion and Upper, which we have always done.  We played them non league and now it’s a league game.  We have changed our non-league schedule to Hillsdale and Willard.  We probably have the hardest schedule we have had at Bucyrus since 1997.”

          The Redmen still open the season against Marion Elgin of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.



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