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Crestview Blanks Western

  

          Crestview shut out Western Reserve for the second time in two days beating the Roughriders (10-0) on Wednesday at home in Firelands Conference play.

          Shad Rieck did a marvelous job keeping the Western hitters off balance all day on Wednesday.

          Crestview hurlers have not given up an earned run in about a week.

          Coach Don Keener says their guys on the mound have had good command and they haven’t kicked the ball around much either and that is a good combination.  “They have been lights out as far as pitching goes.  This is our third shutout in a row I think and the previous game before that we didn’t give up any earned runs and unfortunately we lost, but we still got some solid pitching and solid defense, which is obviously very important at this time of year.  Guys are really starting to hit their spots and we are playing pretty good defense too,” said Keener.

          Crestview beat Western (4-0) on Tuesday and Norwayne (1-0) in eight innings on Saturday.  Keener says they haven’t been doing anything special.  They are just doing their jobs.  “I think the guys that we have got throwing for us are getting really comfortable.  We have Gavin Wuthrich, our senior, and Shad Rieck, our sophomore, that are our one and two and then Jay Oswalt has been kind of our middle reliever and filling in as our third starter and he has been throwing really well also,” he told Swankonports.com on Wednesday night, “Those guys have really been letting their defense work and not trying to do too much and I think they are really doing a nice job.”

          The Cougars chances of winning the Firelands Conference aren’t very good, trailing co-leaders New London and Norwalk St. Paul by four games, but Keener says they are starting to put some things together.  “This is the time that you have to be playing well.  The last two weeks of the season I guess you could say has definitely been our best time of the year.  These guys are hopefully peaking at the right time.  We are going to have a really tough sectional that we are going to be in, but we are playing pretty good baseball right now,” he said.

 

Published 4/27/17

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Crestview Hammers Plymouth

  

          Crestview kept itself in the Firelands Conference race Monday with a (13-3) win in six innings over rival Plymouth.

          The win kept the Cougars (5-6,3-2) two games behind conference co-leaders New London and Norwalk St. Paul.  The Wildcats belted South Central (13-2) and St. Paul throttled Monroeville (12-7) on Monday.  Western Reserve, like Crestview, stayed in the race with a (3-2) win over Mapleton in eight innings.

          Crestview coach Don Keener says they understood the importance of the game and it was a huge win for his club.  “That was a great win for us.  I mean they are a really good ball club.  They are solid all of the way through their lineup they have some good hitters.  They have some good experience throughout their lineup as well.  Our guys played well and it was kind of back and forth there.  They had a few mistakes there early on and that kind of helped us out a little bit.  We had a big inning in the sixth that just helped us pull away,” said Keener.

          Plymouth (7-4,2-3) made some uncharacteristic mistakes on Monday and Keener says they were able to take advantage and they hit the ball pretty well too.  “If the opportunity is given to you you have to take advantage of it and they guys were able to do that (Monday) night,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday after the win, “They had a few errors and I don’t think they have had many in some of their earlier games and we took advantage of it and our guys were hitting the ball pretty well.  When you put those two things together it kind of helped us out.”

          They started the season struggling a little at the plate, but Keener says over the last week or so they have settled in a little bit in that batter’s box.  “The guys are starting to adjust at the plate and starting to get used to the varsity level pitching and they are taking some good swings,” he said.

          The two teams play again at Plymouth on Tuesday and Keener says really this is an even more important game for the Cougars.  “Every conference game is huge.  There is a lot of balance in the league this year.  I told the guys, same as always, enjoy today, but tomorrow is going to be more important.  So, hopefully they will be ready to go,” he said.

 

Published 4/18/17

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Crestview Gets Important Win

  

          Crestview got into the win column for the first time in Firelands Conference play on Monday when they beat Mapleton (11-5) to settle things down a little bit.

          They had lost a pair of one run games to defending champion New London (3-2 and 5-4) last week and coach Don Keener says Monday night was a game they really had to have.  “It was very important, it was huge.  Our guys came out and hit probably the best we have hit all year,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday night after the win, “It was good to see them bounce back from those tough losses to New London, both one run games.  We played well we just didn’t have enough to pull one of those out.  It was definitely a big game (Monday) night.”

          The temperature was about 40 degrees warmer on Monday than it was last Friday and Keener says the hitters were more in their zone.  “It was nice to have good baseball weather.  You know how the spring goes.  One day it is three to five inches of snow and two or three days later it is 75 and the kids are enjoying a little comfortable conditions to play in,” he said.

          Crestview (2-5,1-2) plays at Mapleton (0-3,0-3) on Tuesday in the re-match and Keener says they have to sort of forget what happened Monday results wise and go after another win.  “That’s what told the kids (Monday) night.  It was important to get one and it was good to see them play well.  You can enjoy it, but you have to be ready to go (Tuesday) because each night we play every game we play is important.  So, hopefully they will bring that attitude to the field and be ready to go,” said Keener.

 

Published 4/11/17

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Crestview with a Young Baseball Team

  

          Crestview was a challenger in the Firelands Conference last season, finishing second behind New London.  This spring they are going to have a lot more inexperience.

          There might be a little rebuilding to be done, but coach Don Keener believes they will field a pretty good team again here in 2017.  “I think we can have a pretty solid season.  It is going to be a year of transition I guess you could say.  We did lose a really good, core group of guys from last year.  We graduated eight seniors.  I do only have probably two guys coming back with experience starting, but the younger guys did have some really good success at the lower levels the last few years.  So, as long as those guys can transition I think we can have a pretty solid season,” said Keener.

          With youth on the roster you want to get out on the field as much as you can and that has been a concern for the Cougars, but Keener says really everybody is in the same boat.  “It is extremely challenging for everybody.  We are a group that is kind of inexperienced you would like to see them get out on the field a little bit more so you can kind of have a better picture of where guys can plug in.  Unfortunately it is a disadvantage for everybody, but we are all in the same situation.  It would definitely be a little better if we could get out on the field a little bit,” he said.

          Crestview, weather permitting, begins the season Saturday at Black River.  They play Norwalk on Monday.  Their first league games come against defending champion New London on April 3 and 4. 

          Keener says with Ryan Lane back New London is going to be really good again and he says watch out for the Norwalk St. Paul.  “New London obviously has Lane coming back.  He is a special player.  He is going to Kent State on a full ride for baseball, so he is impressive.  They have some other pretty decent kids coming back, so New London is going to be good,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “I think St. Paul is going to be your team that is going to kind of be one of those other teams you have to worry about.  Those are the teams everybody has to gear for.  I think it is going to be a really balanced league this year, but those are the two at the top before we start anything.”

 

Published 3/23/17

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Crestview Plan is Simple

  

          Wednesday night, Crestview is going to attempt to do just what they have done the last three games and hope it leads to the same result.

          They won their last three regular season games against Bucyrus, Buckeye Central and Monroeville.

          Now, they play Seneca East (9-13) in the division three sectional semi finals at Monroeville High School.

          Coach Shawn Spencer likes what the Cougars are doing right now and he likes it a whole lot.  “I like where we are at right now.  We have played three teams similar to what we are going to play Wednesday night against Seneca East.  We have had the same game plan for the last three games that we are going to take in Wednesday,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We were very lucky in the last regular season game to play on the floor that we will play on in our sectional.  I kind of like where we are headed.  We are healthy.  We have a good direction that we are going in mentally and physically, so we couldn’t be any more ready.”

          Seneca East has only won one game in the last month.  Spencer says he wants the Tigers to prove they can keep up with them.  “Our game plan going in is to make it a full court game and see if they have got the manpower to run for 32 minutes.  We are going to press them and trap them and see if they can get up and down.  We have the athletes that can do it.  We have been doing it for the last three games.  We have to got to stop their scorers, but the thing is have they got enough in the fourth quarter to finish up the game?  I am not sure they are used to playing full court all of the time,” he said.

          Crestview (11-11) wants to be Crestview.

          Spencer says they are more concerned about their execution than anything Seneca East might be trying to do.  “That’s what I told the guys on Thursday.  I will give you the scouting report on some things, but we spent the last two weeks playing preparing for exactly how we are going to play in our tournament game.  We have basically been preparing for three weeks, so it is really going to be about what we are doing not necessarily taking away what they do or anything like that.  I feel confident that if we do the things we need to do we are going to be in a good position to win,” said Spencer.

 

Published 3/01/17

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Crestview Wants to Run

  

          Crestview is back healthy for really the first time in months and they want to get back to their style of running up and down the floor.

          They conclude the regular season with a Firelands Conference game at Monroeville on Friday night.

          The Cougars have won their last two, beating Bucyrus (62-57) last Saturday and Buckeye Central (58-56) on Tuesday in non-conference play.

          Coach Shawn Spencer says they have got the ship pointed the right way now.  “We are back headed in the right direction.  (Tuesday) night we played our first game all year healthy, which helped.  We have got everybody back and trying to get that chemistry back going, just trying to make shots,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We have kind of developed what we are offensively and defensively back to where we were at the beginning of the year.  Because of some injuries we had to change things. We have some momentum going into our last regular season game heading into the tournament.”

          Wins do wonders for you, especially mentally and Spencer says they are feeling pretty good right now.  “When you walk out onto the floor and have confidence you can beat a team, or confidence you can stay in it, or keep it within 20.  As we continue to win and build that confidence and build that momentum going into the tournament then you are ready to peak at the right time and I think that is what we are going to end up doing here,” he said.

          Crestview (10-11,5-8) plays up at Monroeville (3-18,1-12) on Friday night in conference play.  The Eagles won their first conference game last week beating Plymouth (53-52) in overtime.  Crestview won the first time they played Monroeville (62-47) on January 19.

          Spencer says this is going to be a battle to see who controls the tempo of the game.  “We have not played on that court yet, that new court.  We played the very last game last year on the old court.  So, that is going to kind of be a new setting for us.  We know what we are going to get out of them, they are going to play zone and try to keep the game low scoring and we are going to try and run up and down and press them and trap them.  Whoever can get the game running at their style maybe shots will go in,” said Spencer.

 

Published 2/23/17

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Crestview Hoping to be Healthy

  

          Crestview has been battling illness and injuries all season, but they hope that is all past them as they host South Central on Friday night in a Firelands Conference game.

          When it comes to availability, coach Shawn Spencer hopes that everybody is going to be available for action this week.  “Friday night will be the first time all year we have actually had everybody healthy.  I’m hoping it is only Tuesday.  My last guy actually got cleared by the doctor (Monday.)  Unfortunately he has a 103 temperature right now.  He had that ankle injury, but he is supposed to be back Thursday.  I don’t know how much he is going to play, but at least I can go out and say we are all healthy now,” he said.

          Crestview plays Seneca East in a first round tournament game in division three and Spencer says there is some opportunity for a good run.  “Mentally right now we are in a very good state.  I have talked to these guys the last couple of days with the adversity we have had to deal with this year with some injuries and stuff a lot of teams might have packed it in by now, but not our guys.  Our guys are ready to go.  They are really excited about these last four games heading into the tournament.  It is kind of open.  We know we have a good chance to possibly make a good run here in the tournament,” said Spencer.

          The Crestview with coach says they are a team that is athletic and they want to take advantage of that fact.  “Schematically as we get into some things we have kind found our identity now.  We don’t have a lot of basketball players.  We have good athletes.  So, we are going to start spreading the floor and using our athletes and take people off the dribble.  That is about the best we can do right now.  I hope that works out for us,” he said.

          Crestview (8-10,5-7) plays at home against South Central (11-8,7-5) on Friday night.  The Trojans won (80-49) in their first meeting and Spencer hopes they can catch South Central on a bad shooting night.  “I think when we went and played them the first time the game before they had one of their worst games.  They couldn’t hit anything and then when we went there and played them they hit absolutely everything.  Their last game against Edison last week they couldn’t hit anything, so I am kind of worried the same thing is going to happen again,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We went there on senior night, they are coming here on senior night.  This would be a good confidence builder for us.  It’s a quality team.  We took them into overtime twice last year and this year they blew us out at their place.  I just keep my fingers crossed and hope they don’t find their shots.”

 

Published 2/15/17

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Getting Healthy the Biggest Thing For Crestview

  

          Crestview isn’t going to win the Firelands Conference title this season, but what they can do is a make a little run in the post season tournament coming up.

          They play at home with rival Plymouth on Friday and at Norwalk St. Paul on Saturday in a pair of Firelands Conference games.

          Coach Shawn Spencer says they hope they can build some momentum, but they just can’t get rid of the injury bug or just get healthy for that matter.  “We thought this week we would get back to being healthy and play the games this week at full strength, but I had another guy go down with an ankle injury that won’t be back for the rest of the year.  We have some kids that are sick.  We were 6-2 at one time and then we started dropping like flies with some injuries.  So, hopefully by tournament time we can get healthy and get rolling here,” said Spencer.

          Crestview (8-7,5-4,) coming off a (70-65) win over Mapleton last Friday, plays host to Plymouth (2-13,1-8) on Friday night.  Spencer says he knows Plymouth has a poor record, but he says they have some guys that can play.  “They have a couple of players.  The Metzger boy hurt us last year and he is playing really well.  We have to make sure we guard him.  The Myers kid underneath is another good player and they have some perimeter shooters.  So, we have to come out and we have to guard and play our game and hopefully come out with a victory,” he said.

          The Cougars beat Plymouth in their first meeting (53-44) and they also beat second place Norwalk St. Paul (47-46) with a shot at the horn.  Spencer says the Flyers are going to fired up to play them this time around.  “We lost one our big guys with an ankle injury and that kind of huts us a little but there on the inside.  We are hoping to get a couple of guys back that have been sick all week.  I am sure they feel they owe us one after losing at the buzzer here.  It is a contrast in styles,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We want to spread them out and go at them and they want to slow it down and use their height and grind games out.  So, it is going to be a tough test.  Traveling to St. Paul is never easy.  They are well prepared.  Coach Smith does a great job of preparing his kids.  They will be ready to go.  I think this is one they want to get back that they thought slipped away from them.”

 

Published 2/02/17

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It is Intensity For Crestview

  

          Crestview has talent, they just have to play harder and believe in what they are doing.

          They play at Mapleton in a Firelands Conference game on Friday night.

         Last Saturday, was the same old story, the same old song and dance my friend.  New London, the conference leader, waxed the Cougars (70-42) in conference play.

          Coach Shawn Spencer says they just have to play harder, especially against the good teams.  “That has been the typical outing since I have been at Crestview against New London.  The four times we have played them since I have been here that has been about the score, the result.  We couldn’t find an answer.  We just have to start competing a little better and that is what we have done in practice just competing.  I can take getting beat sometimes, but I can’t take getting beat like that.  We just have to compete a little harder against some of these teams,” said Spencer.

          In order to become a better basketball program, Spencer says they must stop accepting that losing is okay.  “It is a mentality that you have got to have when you walk out on the floor not only that you are going to be in the game, but you are going to win the game.  I think that is one of the things that we have settled for here and the culture at Crestview.  They really haven’t won in basketball historically,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “So, it is really getting that attitude that we are going to walk out and compete in these games.  We do a good job usually of beating the teams we should beat, but those top three teams in the conference we have a hard time beating.  We have got to compete harder, we have to get healthy, but we have to compete harder.”

          Crestview (7-7,4-4) plays at Mapleton (9-6,3-5) on Friday night in a conference game.  The Cougars won the first meeting 49-42, which was at their pace.  Spencer says they must limit the Mounties easy looks.  “Last time we played them here we held then to 42 points.  That was one of the more decent games that I have coached as far as going out and taking your man and keeping them from scoring.  You have to keep Davis and Berone down as far as and our guys stepped up last time it is just a matter of doing the same thing.  They are going to be in their own gym and they are going to be more comfortable.  They are going to want to get one here from us.  We are going to be a down a starter, so they guys have to step up and do the same thing defensively as we did last time,” said Spencer.

 

Published 1/26/17

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Crestview Needs to Get Back on Track

  

          Crestview has lost its last four heading into Firelands Conference games with Monroeville on Thursday and first place New London on Saturday.

          The Cougars were trounced by South Central (80-49) last Friday in a conference game and then lost to Lucas (73-61) on Tuesday night in non-conference play.

          Coach Shawn Spencer says they have to be more mentally focused than they have been lately.  “We need to get healthy again.  I thought we were healthy and we lost another player against Lucas.  Really what we need to do is be mentally tougher.  These are the games, like South Central, that in order to be contenders in our conference that we have be able to go and win.  We have got the talent to win we just have to be mentally tougher.  Just say this is going to be our game, we are going to win this game. We are working back to some different things,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday “We are going back to some full court defense and full court offense that we did last year and going out and try to score points and have fun.  (Tuesday) night we took a pretty good step against Lucas. We played pretty well, but we lost another starter, but hopefully (Thursday) night against Monroeville we can continue that and then we have New London, which will be another test against the top teams in the conference that we have to be able to beat.”

          Crestview (6-6,3-3) plays at home against Monroeville (1-11,0-6) on Thursday night.  Spencer says the Eagles will not be a push over.  “The new coach is doing a good job and keeping them in games, which is half the battle by the end of the ball game you have a chance to win.  They have packed in that zone against teams and make you have to beat them from 25 feet.  We are going to do something that I don’t know how many people have done and go out and full court press them and trap them and half court press them and trap them and try and turn them over and try and get the score up as high as we can not let that zone affect us,” said Spencer.

          New London (10-2,6-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the small school division, comes calling on Saturday night.  The Wildcats whipped Crestview (68-31) in their first meeting when Ryan Lane had 29 points and had 19 boards.  Spencer says they need to do something about him.  “Ryan has been a thorn in our side for the last few years.  He is probably averaging 22 points and 15, 16 rebounds the last three times we have played them,” he said.

          Spencer says Saturday night is going to be an emotional night at Crestview.  “Saturday night is going to be a special night for us.  That is the night we are honoring a fallen teammate from the past couple of years Walker Ramsey.  He passed away over the summer.  Football did some things and we picked Saturday night for basketball.  We are going to wear socks honoring him against New London.  I am hoping that emotional presence kind of lifts us up to get a win on Saturday,” he said.

 

Published 1/19/17

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Crestview Healthy Again

  

          Crestview has been involved in a couple of close games, very close games, in Firelands Conference play, and there could be another one as they travel to South Central on Friday night.

          The Cougars beat Norwalk St. Paul (47-46) two weeks ago and then lost in overtime (60-56) to Western Reserve last week.

          On Monday night, they were handled easily by Northwestern (87-48) in a non-conference game.

          However, coach Shawn Spencer they are going to be more a healthy team from South Central on Friday.  “The main thing is we got healthy since then.  We had to change the game plan because we had a couple of guys out that were hurt, a couple of starters and then we had another guy that was out.  We changed our game plan there.  We opened up in zone and tried to make somebody other than the big Koch kid beat us and they went off and scored from the outside,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We told them at halftime our chances of winning that game were not good, but we have to try and win the quarter and we went back to playing our style and did some good things with it.  Getting back healthy and getting back together was what we needed.”

          Crestview (6-4,3-2) plays at South Central (6-4,3-2) in a conference game on Friday night.  Spencer says it is going to boil down to three things.  “South Central is a solid club.  They have guys that are coming back from last year that won the conference.  We have told our kids all week that it is going to be defense and rebounding and possession of the basketball is going to win this game and whoever does it best.  We are looking forward to the challenge.  We are very happy that we have everybody back in full force and we are going to go in there and do our best and try and pull the upset,” he said.

          Crestview likes to use defensive pressure to pick up the pace of the game, but Spencer says they might throw some change ups on Friday night against the Trojans.  “We are looking at some different things.  I think we have a good game plan going into Friday and maybe show them some things they haven’t seen.  They have some young players, but we know them.  The young Blair kid we did some open gyms with at Ashland and he was there, so we know them pretty well.  There are no secrets in this conference.  We all know everybody and we all know what they do, so it is whoever comes out and plays the hardest and the best that wins,” said Spencer.

 

Published 1/12/17

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Crestview Has to do Everything Well

  

          Crestview takes a three game winning streak into a Firelands Conference showdown with Western Reserve on Friday night.

          Both trail conference leader New London by a game and need a win.

          The Cougars downed Mansfield Temple Christian (75-55) in a non-conference game on Monday after beating Norwalk St. Paul at the horn (47-46) in a conference game last Friday and beating Wynford (62-42) last Tuesday.

          Coach Shawn Spencer says they starting to put some things together.  “It has been nice we have been able to put a couple of good games together.  We have some guys that are coming out and feeling more comfortable and putting the ball in the hole and doing some things they haven’t done yet.  That has been the thing all year.  We really are a young team and getting better with each game and developing as we go.  It was nice to put those wins together and take a few days off before we have to face Western Reserve and then Monday was have Northwestern,” said Spencer.

          He believes the Cougars have quite a bit of an upside this season.  “I said at the beginning of the year.  You really don’t know what you have until the lights come on and you roll the ball out.  Some guys who did really well over the summer haven’t been able to put that together in games yet. As the year goes on I keep telling our guys that everybody kind of knows what they have where as we are developing, getting more experience, and getting better each week and that is what is going to get us peaking at the right time at the end of the year,” he said.

          Crestview (6-2,3-1) hosts Western Reserve (5-4,3-1) in a Firelands Conference game.  Western stuffed Plymouth (62-35) last Friday and was the preseason favorite for the conference title.

          Spencer says the Roughriders play very physical and make you execute to beat them.  “I coached a year with Chris.  I was at Western Reserve.  He is a good coach.  He knows what he is doing.  Their kids play hard and buy into his system and he has been there a while.  So, he has had those kids coming up through and they really know what his system is,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “They are going to be a team that comes out and plays hard and puts the ball in the hole.  They are going to play physical.  It is one of those games that every time we play Western Reserve I say this is what it is all about.  This is what Friday night is all about.  You have to go out there and play a tough team.  The crowd is going to be into it.  It is going to be physical.  It is going to be rough.  These are the games that you remember when you get older.”

          Jaret Griffith was the league “MVP” last year as a freshmen, but Spencer says Western is far from a one player show.  “When you look down their roster they have guys that have two to three years of varsity experience.  They have always got shooters, guys that can put it in the hole.  You know if you try to stop one.  It is not like you can box and one a guy and nobody else can beat you.  There are only guys out there that can put the ball in the hole too.  You have to have a good defensive game and keep them off the boards to have a chance,” he said.

 

Published 1/04/17

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Crestview Back to What they do

  

          Crestview has returned to its roots and so far it is working for the Cougars.

          They hammered Wynford (62-42) in a non-conference game on Tuesday night.  Now, they prepare to play Norwalk St. Paul in an important Firelands Conference game at home on Friday night.

          Coach Shawn Spencer says they were able to run the floor better and make their pressure defense affective against Wynford on Tuesday night and that is really their game.  “The first five games of the year I coached with a different philosophy than I ever have.  We were slowing the ball down, we weren’t pressing and trapping, and we were struggling to score points.  So, we went back to my style of Crestview basketball.  We got up in their face and ran a lot more, got up and down the floor and put some points on the board.  That was basically the difference getting back to what we do at Crestview,” said Spencer.

          This week, Spencer says they have had some intense practices here during the holidays.  “Basically when you get over the holiday break if you take your foot off the pedal and you really don’t practice hard it can be detrimental.  We do the exact opposite we have kind of put it back in gear and went faster in practice and worked on that.  It has worked in our favor,” he said.

          Crestview (4-2,2-1) plays host to Norwalk St. Paul (4-1,2-1) on Friday night in a battle between Firelands Conference contenders.  St. Paul lost their first game of the season on Wednesday night when Huron beat them (64-43) in non-league play.

          Spencer says both teams are good, but they do it different ways.  He says they have to be able to kick up the pace of this game.  “This is definitely a team that has some height and some weight all of the way across the board.  We went and watched them (Wednesday) night.  I think maybe their smallest guy was 6’2” on the floor when they came out.  They are a good team and a well coached team,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Coach Smith up there really prepares the kids on how they do things.  They are a team that is the exact opposite of us.  They really don’t turn the ball over and they go slow.  We are the exact opposite.  We are going to try and speed them up and play our game.”

 

Published 12/20/16

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Crestview Needs to do What They Do

  

          Crestview kind of got derailed last week at New London and they need to get back on track quickly as they face two Firelands Conference games this weekend with Mapleton on Friday and Plymouth on Saturday.

          New London drilled the Cougars (68-31) last Friday in the conference opener for both teams.  Coach Shawn Spencer says they got off to a bad start and things went downhill from there.  He says New London has always been a tough place for them to play.  “We have yet to get on the bus for New London.  It was one of those games where we just didn’t show up.  I have never really been part of game like that.  Nothing went right.  We just couldn’t get any shots to fall.  Our pressure on defense wasn’t doing what we wanted.  I don’t want to call it a curse playing them, but there has been a little bit of history and our record against New London over the years hasn’t been very good.  It just wasn’t our night I guess,” said Spencer.

          Unbeaten Mapleton (4-0,1-0) comes to Crestview (1-1,0-1) for a conference game on Friday night.  Spencer says the Mounties want to push the pace and they have the athletes to do it.  “I have seen them a couple of times.  They like to do what we have done since I have been here.  They want to push the ball quick and score, they want to shoot some threes, and they want to get out and pressure you and make you do things you don’t normally do,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “They have some players that come off the bench and can put the ball in the hole.  Jake Davis is a pretty tough player.  He is really the glue of that team that holds things together.  He does all of the little things.  It is going to be a tough battle.”

          Mapleton vanquished Plymouth (76-53) last week and Crestview plays at Plymouth in conference action on Saturday night.  The Big Red have played well at times too, including a (48-45) loss to Bellevue on Monday.

          Spencer says they can’t afford to take anyone for granted at this point in the season, especially after last week.  “You can’t go in thinking it is going to be one of their off nights.  In this conference this year you can’t go in anybody’s gym and have them roll over and let you win.  It is a hard fought battle against everybody.  I expect both games this week to be tough.  We have to get back to what we are doing and to beat those teams.  Plymouth is not an easy place to play either,” said Spencer.

 

Published 12/16/16

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Crestview Wants to do What They do

  

          Crestview wants to bring the heat on defense and create some offense and they did a pretty good job of that in their first game.

          They beat Loudonville (68-51) on Tuesday night in non-league action.  They travel to New London to open up Firelands Conference play on Friday night.

         Coach Shawn Spencer says once they got going Tuesday night they started to play pretty well.  “With only four returning players from last year I wasn’t exactly sure what we had going into that game.  We had a really good summer, we ran a summer league at the school, and we played really well, but when the lights come on on Friday night you are not sure what you are going to have.  The first quarter and a half we were trying to figure out who we were out on the court and then we turned it on and did what we needed to do.  We put some pressure on, run the ball up and down, and try and put some points on the board,” said Spencer.

          Coaches are always looking for improvement from their teams and Spencer is no different.  He says they need to just work on executing their stuff better.  “I think the biggest thing for us is we need to improve on what we do.  I don’t think it is any secret what we do.  We like to put pressure on people with all the different defenses that we do.  We like to score between seven and eight seconds if we can.  We are just trying to improve on that.  This the second time in the system, the second year these kids have had me.  They know what I want.  Many people say no one plays harder than you guys and you play great defense, so we just try and build on those things.  These kids go to work everyday, so it is just continuing to do the things we do well,” he said.

          The Cougars visit New London (1-0) in conference play on Friday night.  New London beat Wellington (70-67) in their first game last Saturday.  Spencer says the Wildcats know what they are about and they have Ryan Lane.  “I expect a well coached team.  Tom does a real good job over there.  He has been there a while and the kids know the system coming up through.  It is not really going to be any secret in what he does, although he has talked about maybe wanting to get up and down and push the ball a little harder with some full court stuff,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “I expect a team that is going to come out and play hard and do exactly what coach Howell wants to do.  Ryan Lane is one heck of a player, Carson Howell, Tom’s son, can put the ball in the hole, and they have a couple of other guys that can put the ball up.  That is not an easy place to play.  For some reason they play 10 times better there.  When they put the ball up it goes in over there.  It’s like the hoop is 10 miles wide.  I expect it to be a good, hard fought game, and hopefully we come out with a “W.”

 

Published 12/09/16

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Crestview Wants to End on a Winning Note

  

          Crestview isn’t going to make the postseason or win the Firelands Conference title, but it would be difficult to say this hasn’t been a successful season for the Cougars.

          Their three losses come by a total of 19 points and their two losses in the league have been to unbeaten teams in Norwalk St. Paul (14-13) and Monroeville (18-14) and that’s not too bad.

          After the losses to St. Paul and Monroeville on weeks seven and eight, the Cougars blasted New London (52-7) last week and coach Dan Mager says it was certainly what they needed.  “Those losses didn’t come easy for us when it comes to shaking them off.  I was a little worried about winning at New London, but we refocused during the week and we went up there, and of course they were beat up a little bit from injuries. It was probably perfect timing to get a convincing win and that’s what we did,” he said.

          Crestview (6-2,4-2) plays at Plymouth (2-7,0-6) on Friday night in their final game of year.  Plymouth is coming off a (20-12) loss to Mapleton last week and three of their losses in conference play come by a score or less.

          Mager says he expects about anything from the Big Red in playing at their place on Friday night.  “Coach Genders has been talking about wanting to play his young guys and get some of his young guys experience on Friday nights.  They have nothing to lose right now, so I was telling our team (Monday) night we have to be ready for anything, especially defensively.  It is a good time for them to try things,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “I know their really good running back Bailey hasn’t played for a couple weeks and I really doubt he will play (Friday) night.  They were in a big game with New London a couple of weeks ago scored some points, so we definitely aren’t taking them lightly.  They have a lot of good athletes and we just have to make sure we go up there and play our game.”

          It’s their last game of the season and Mager says this will be a pretty important win for them if they can get it.  “This is a big deal for us because we were 3-7 last year.  I know we are out of the playoffs and the Firelands Conference championship it would be really nice to flip our season from 3-7 to 7-3.  We are going to try and take this game very seriously.  We need to because they are just the type of team if you take them light, and they get up, and our course they are at home, it could spell some bad things for us.  Defensively, we have been tough all year.  Coach Haverdill, coach Keener, and coach Rogers coach those guys up.  We are only giving up nine points a game.  If we can keep Plymouth to nine points I am pretty comfortable that we can score more than nine,” he said.

 

Published 10/27/16

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It’s Refocus for Crestview

  

          Crestview needs to get back headed in the right direction as they play at New London in a Firelands Conference game on Friday night.

          The Cougars (5-3,3-2) lost close games to two unbeaten teams the last two weeks in Norwalk St. Paul (14-13) and Monroeville (18-14) last Friday.

          Coach Dan Mager says the last minute loss to Monroeville was particularly hard to take.  “It was tough.  We played St. Paul the week before and lost 14-13 and went into Monroeville last week and basically were winning the game, the whole game, until the last 1:20 and they beat us 18-14.  It was a great game from a spectator standpoint.  I talked to the Monroeville coach (Scott Stacher) after the game and he is a pretty classy guy.  He came over and wanted to talk to our kids and he had a lot of nice things to say.  He said it was one of the best football games he has ever been involved with in his 20, 30 year coaching career.  It hurt and was tough to get over this week and try and refocus and reset after playing really three tough games we beat Mapleton three weeks ago and of course lost the last two right there toward the end.  It stings a little bit.  We have to regroup a little bit and go play New London on Friday,” said Mager.

          Mager admits he was having a tough time and told his players that.  Now he believes they are back with a better attitude heading into the match-up with New London.  “I tell the kids one play at time, one game at a time.  I had to be honest with them this week I wasn’t quite living up to my expectations to myself because I had a hard time shaking the Monroeville loss off, I really did.  I think we controlled that game for the most part and we gave it up there at the end.  I was pretty upset that our offense didn’t close the deal with as well as our defense played.  I had to sort of reset myself in front of the team the other night and kind of reset everything.  I think (Wednesday) was a really great practice,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “I think Monday and Tuesday there wasn’t a lot of juice. We had to square that away and had a great practice (Wednesday.)  We are pretty healthy and go up to New London and right the ship a little bit.”

          New London (3-5,2-3) outscored Plymouth (45-43) last week in a real barn burner.  Mager says he hopes his defense can control the explosive Wildcats.  “They have the Molnar boy.  He’s been hurt.  We went up to scout them when they played Monroeville a couple weeks and he didn’t play much expect for snapping the ball on punts.  He is an awesome football player.  Watched him last week against Plymouth on film and he played, but he wasn’t quite what he was.  I am sure he will be ready to go this week.  They score 40, 50 some points, but they do give up a lot.  I really don’t want to get into a shootout with them.  I hope our defense, which has played great this year, can hold them down a little bit and our offense can get regrouped a little bit after playing two, three real good defensive teams the last few weeks.  Hopefully we can get on track and score enough points,” said Mager.

 

Published 10/21/16

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Crestview with Another Tough one

  

          Crestview lost by one last week to unbeaten Norwalk St. Paul and now this Friday they must travel to Monroeville to face the unbeaten Eagles in another Firelands Conference game.

          St. Paul edged the Cougars (14-13) last week in what was a very good high school football game.

          Crestview coach Dan Mager says he was pleased, very pleased with what his team did on the road in a hostile environment.  “A lot of people just look at the barometer of wins and losses and that is just the way it is.  Nobody wants to win more than I do, but when I look at the whole program and always try to figure out where we are.  Us going up there and playing an undefeated team in Norwalk St. Paul, and their tradition, and being ranked second in the state, and losing by one, and it wasn’t a fluke.  I wasn’t like they had 10 turnovers.  We played play for play.  If we make a couple of plays we win and we didn’t make a couple of plays and we lost,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “I was really proud of our boys and coaches.  I’m proud of our fans, it almost felt like a home game for us, we travel that well.  That was a big game for me because sometimes you think you might know where your team is at and sometimes you aren’t sure.  That game kind of gave it to me that we are pretty decent.”

          They were right in the game the whole way and Mager says he learned a lot, for one, the Cougars are a pretty good football team too.  “I told them that we almost had to play a perfect game to beat them.  With so much film on them before you know it it is 45-0 and how did we get there?  They do the same thing over and over, they are coached well and they are disciplined.  Prior to that game I said when you get opportunities you have to make good on it.  We made a bunch of great plays, but we left a couple of plays out there that maybe would have changed the game.  My thing is when I talked to the boys during the game it is one play at a time and then I take that to one game at a time.  We have to move on because we have Monroeville this Friday night and they are ranked number four in the state and they are undefeated too.  So, there is not a lot of time to dwell on it we just have to fix some things.  I do think we did play nearly about as perfect ball as you could, protected the football for the most part and executed for the most part, but at the end they made the plays and we didn’t,” said Mager.

          Crestview (5-2,3-1) plays at Monroeville (7-0,4-0) in another big one in the Firelands Conference this week.  The Eagles beat New London (46-13) last week to keep their record unblemished and they did it without leading rusher Blake Anderson for the second week in a row.

          Mager says even without Anderson, Monroeville is going to continue to run the football.  “We went up and watched them Friday night.  I told our coaches when we left there that they are going to do exactly what they did when they had Blake on the team they are going to run the ball.  They have a good line, they have a good scheme and that is exactly what they have done without the Anderson boy.  Number 31 (Colten Millis) and number 35 (Tche Leroux) run the ball really hard.  It is going to be another huge step for us to try and go up to Monroeville and stop that run game,” he said.

 

Published 10/11/16

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Crestview Battles Unbeaten St. Paul

  

          Crestview gets a chance Saturday night to take another step, but it will be a big one, as they play at unbeaten Norwalk St. Paul.

          They share the Firelands Conference lead with the Flyers and Monroeville after three weeks of conference play.

          Crestview (5-1,3-0) held on last Friday to beat Mapleton (14-13) when the Mounties failed on a two point conversion in the final seconds.  Coach Dan Mager says that is a game they wouldn’t have won last year.  “Last year it just seemed we couldn’t find a way to win those games.  It kind of worked out good for us.  Mapleton is a really, really good football team.  I can only imagine if they hadn’t lost their running back game one.  They wouldn’t be 2-4, that’s for sure,” he said.

          St. Paul (6-0,3-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, roughed up Plymouth (42-0) in their conference game last week, it was their second straight shutout.  Mager says they know how to play football.  “They are just coached so well.  They all can do their jobs.  They hustle to the ball.  They hustle to the line.  They take care of the ball.  They do just enough passing to keep you off balance a little bit.  I have only been coaching against St. Paul for a couple of years, but I have known St. Paul for a long time.  As I watch them on film they maybe aren’t as dominate as they were last year.  They lost a lot of seniors, but nevertheless they are 5-0 and they have been dominating every game they have played so far,” said Mager.

          He adds that when you play the Flyers you can’t afford to make the same mistakes that you do against other teams because they take advantage.  “Your margin for error when you play teams like that is thin.  Just like when we played Hillsdale this year getting a punt blocked in our territory and fumbling on a kick return, you can’t do that.  You get away with that sometimes when teams aren’t as good as you.  When you play good teams like Hillsdale, St. Paul and Monroeville you just aren’t going to get away with that.  They make you pay for it and before you know it you are down 14-0 and you are trying to scratch back.  It’s an opportunity for us to go up there and execute and protect the football we can be there in the end,” said Mager.

          Some teams change their entire game plan when they play Norwalk St. Paul.  Mager says they are going to do what they do and see if it is good enough.  “Obviously nobody has had the real key to beating those guys.  My approach is going to be I am not going to play them like a powerhouse, I am going to play them like anybody else.  We are going to go out and do our thing and let the chips fall where they fall.  I have heard some people say you should try and run the clock down before each play and keep them off the field.  You know that’s not a bad strategy, but if that strategy worked so well it hasn’t worked well for a lot of teams because they keep winning every year,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “I think my approach is to try and spread the ball around a little bit and try to hit them on some big plays, try to do some power running, whatever it is going to take, run the option, and hopefully get something working.”

 

Published 10/05/16

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Pass Defense Key for Cougars

 

          Crestview shares first place in the Firelands Conference with Norwalk St. Paul and Monroeville and they play them on weeks seven and eight, but first they host Mapleton in their final home game on Friday night.

          Last week, the Cougars (4-1,2-0) blew out Western Reserve (40-0) in a conference game.  Coach Dan Mager says they have developed some momentum.  “Being young and still having a lot of juniors that was our hope.  Going into the season we felt we had a lot of up side as far as getting better every week and so far that has been true.  We need to make sure we keep that momentum going Friday night against Mapleton.  They are pretty dangerous and have a great passing game, good quarterback and real good skilled kids.  They have put up a lot of points.  They played Monroeville really well last week.  We have got to get better and hopefully Friday night we can do that,” he said.

          Mapleton (2-3,1-1) lost a tough one last week (33-28) to Monroeville in a conference game.  They had outscored New London (56-30) the week before. 

          Mager says they must be able to get pressure on the passer on Friday night.  “They lost their really good running back week one or week two and that has kind of forced them to rely on the pass game a lot more.  I think they still have (Ryan) Krause running the ball, which he has been doing well.  The quarterback, he is not very tall, but he finds lanes to throw in and he is not afraid to throw it up and they have good receivers to get under it.  They made some really good plays last week against Monroeville.  It is a challenge for us,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “I told our guys up front they have to get a pass rush against them and allow us to keep our secondary and linebackers in pass coverage.  If not I think we could be in trouble at times.”

          With teams with the potential to score a lot of points like Mapleton you want to play some keep away.  Mager believes they can do that.  “I think a lot of our offense is built around possession and long drives.  We have had some big plays too.  We think that a really good defense is a good offense.  By sustaining long drives and keeping that offense off the field is going to be pretty important to us,” he said.

          With St. Paul and Monroeville, both unbeaten, pending this could be a trap game for the Cougars.  Mager says there have been discussions to that affect.  “We have talked about that all week.  Mapleton scored 56 points against New London and they scored a good amount of points last week against Monroeville and Monroeville is a 5-0 team.  I think us as coaches have done a good job.  We haven’t even talked about St. Paul and Monroeville or anyone else.  We have really taken the approach of taking one game at a time and one play at a time.  We feel there weren’t a lot of expectations for our team this year and we are 4-1.  We feel we have the opportunity to be in the mix for that championship, but we aren’t going to get there unless we take care of business Friday night against Mapleton,” said Mager.

 

Published 9/30/16

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Crestview Cautious With Western

  

          Crestview continues to impress as we near the halfway point of the high school football season.

          They host Western Reserve (0-4,0-1) in a Firelands Conference game on Friday night.

          They hammered South Central (49-7) last week in their conference opener.  Coach Dan Mager says they did a lot things right.  “When you play well in all phases that’s what happens.  When you execute and have very little penalties and play a very disciplined game on both sides of the ball.  We played physical and had a great scheme defensively.  We were really, really balanced.  I think we had seven different kids that had touchdowns last Friday night.  Overall it was a great way to start the conference,” he said.

          Confidence is growing with the Cougars (3-1,1-0) and Mager says it really started last year with a big win over state ranked Monroeville on week nine.  “Last year we lost all of those close games.  Most of those kids were sophomores that were starting.  I think if this year ends up being successful I think that Monroeville game last year was important.  St. Paul blew us off the field and we came back the next week with the 12th ranked Monroeville Eagles and beat them.  I think that was a turning point for us,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “If we do what we say and how we are coached, if we take care of the football, good things can happen.  Our course, we won our game 10 and now we are 3-1.  Part of it too is those sophomores are now juniors, the four seniors that were juniors last year, have gotten bigger, faster, stronger.  With that combination I think there is a good opportunity for us to have some success.”

          Western is coming off a (56-21) loss to Norwalk St. Paul last Friday.  However, Mager says they are still pretty good.  He says looks ay who they have played.  “I have talked to a lot of people in the last week.  They are 0-4, but look at the teams that have beat them in Edison, Black River, and Norwalk St. Paul, and Margaretta, who is 2-2, and not sure how teams if they have to play those teams would be 3-1 or 4-0, so I am a little nervous about those guys.  They play hard, they are physical, I know they are coached up well, they have some really good athletes on that team.  They did lose some of that beef on the front line, which I am actually happy about because they took care of us up front, even though it was a close game.  They make me nervous to be honest with you,” said Mager.

          Mager says they will have their hands full on defense because the Rough Riders have a lot of kids that can maker plays.  “They have big number 44 (Josh Fries) running the ball, he is a horse, he tore us up last year.  They have 18 (Colton Puder,) which is their receiver, who is really, really athletic.  I was kind of hoping he wasn’t coming back, but unfortunately he is.  They had those two really big kids up front last year and they are gone.  I hope maybe our defensive line and offensive line can control things a little bit.  If offensively we can control the ball and keep it our their hands.  Sustain long drive and really be efficient when we get down to the red zone and make sure we capitalize on scoring.  We need to control their athletes, and I respect that, our defense has played great, but I think we have our work cut out for us this week,” said Mager.

 

Published 9/22/16

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Crestview Hosts South Central

  

          Crestview looks like a contender for the Firelands Conference football title this year and they begin league play at home Friday night against the South Central Trojans.

          The Cougars (2-1) belted Sandusky St. Mary’s (42-0) last week to get back on the winning track after a loss to Hillsdale (20-6) the week before.

          Coach Dan Mager says they showed a lot of improvement on offense which was a big goal last week.  “We talked about trying to take care of all three phases of the game.  Our defense has just been really, really stout.  The biggest thing about last week is our offense came alive.  We worked really hard at fixing some of those things.  We had very few turnovers, we moved the ball through the air a little bit on play action and ran the ball.  So, the guys up front, the linemen, really stood up to the challenge.  We had some concerns the week before on pass protection.  Our quarterback had a really good night,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “He spread the ball around quite a bit.  Seven or eight different kids touched the ball, so that was good.  Special teams recovered an on side kick and kicked a field goal.  A couple of extra points were messed up a little bit, but I think we got that squared away as well.”

          It is homecoming this week for the Cougars, plus Mager says they have some special activities surrounding the 1982 Crestview football team.  “We are honoring the 1982 undefeated Crestview team and specifically Rob Burnhart, the quarterback on that team that just passed away here in the last month and a half.  It’s a special night, the Burnhart family has sponsored a fireworks show for (Friday) night.  We have homecoming, so we are expecting a big crowd.  It’s a big night.  We have (Lee) Owens from Ashland University, who was the coach here for that ’82 team, is coming and spending some time with us.  I am exited to see those guys.  I think we have 15 to 18 of them committed to coming,” he said.

          South Central (1-2) beat Crestview the last two years and won their first game of this year when they beat Crestline (26-21) last week.  Mager says they have some weapons on offense.  “I think offensively they are pretty dangerous.  I love their skilled kids.  They are not afraid to throw the ball.  They are not afraid to run the ball.  They will come at you with a bunch of different formations and different motions.  Our defensive coordinator has worked really hard this week to game plan for them.  On defense, they are what they are I guess.  I don’t worry too much about the defense of a team.  I really concentrate on what we do offensively.  If they are strong inside, we have a pretty good outside game.  If they have good rush defense, I think we can through the ball.  I don’t get caught up too much in game plan.  They do have some players on that side of the ball and we have to take care of them,” said Mager.

 

Published 9/16/16

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Offensive Improvement a Priority at Crestview

  

          Crestview is clearly a team on the rise, but they still have a few hurdles to clear if they are going to beat the really good teams on their schedule.

          Case in point last week against Hillsdale.

          The Cougars were in the game all of the way in losing (20-6) to the Falcons. 

          Coach Dan Mager says it was important for them to be able to compete with a team like Hillsdale.  “I said last week that the game was going to be a good barometer of where we are at as a football team.  I left there feeling pretty good about us with kind of where we are.  Obviously, Hillsdale is a step above us,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “It was 6-6 at the half and I thought we were playing a good ballgame and I thought we had some things that were starting to work for us.  In the second half we blocked a punt.  Some things went their way and they took advantage of some of our weaknesses and they won, so hats off to them.  We went back to work and tried to fix some of our mistakes and got ready for St. Mary’s.”

          Crestview (1-1) didn’t allow any scores from scrimmage in a opening week win over Northmor (27-6) and the defense played well last week against explosive Hillsdale.  Now, Mager says they have to work on their offense a little bit.  “Going into the season it was one of our big goals to beef up our defense and try to sub a lot more on offense.  I think that has put our offense behind a little bit, but we worked on that this week.  We changed a couple of things up.  I think we are going to start clicking on offense a little bit better.  I think we see that here in the next week or so,” he said.

          Crestview hosts Sandusky St. Mary’s (0-2) on Friday night at their place.  The Panthers have already lost to two schools out of the Firelands Conference in Nowalk St. Paul (34-0) and Monroeville (41-7) over the first two weeks.  Mager says despite just one score the Panthers have been able to some good things that they most be read for.  “I think the fact that St. Paul beat them and Monroeville beat them that tells me that Monroeville and St. Paul are pretty good.  It is really hard to gauge how good St. Mary’s is.  We have scouted them, we have seen them on film, they have some nice players, and they have petty good tradition.  I think we are going to have our hands full (Friday) night.  Hopefully we can get a win (Friday) night,” said Mager.

 

Published 9/09/16

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Crestview and Hillsdale a Meeting Between Friends

  

          Crestview and Hillsdale, two teams that played pretty well last week, play each other in a non-conference game at Hillsdale on Friday night.

          Dan Mager, in his second year as the Crestview head coach, spent more than a decade as an assistant at Hillsdale for Tom Williams.

          Last Friday, Crestview beat Northmor (27-6) and Mager says they really played well on defense.  “Our defense was really good.  Our coaching staff had a great game plan.  They have the one back over there that is really explosive and we kept him in check all night long.  He did break a punt return for a touchdown, but our defense was really sharp.  Offensively, we had a touchdown called back and left a few points out there.  We were okay, but our pass blocking, we have to get a little better there,” he said.

          He knows there are some things that need to be better this week if they going to compete with the Falcons.  “You go in there and look at the positives that you did, but you wouldn’t be a responsible coach if you didn’t look at the things that we didn’t do very well.  Over the weekend we identified those things and we will go in (Monday) and start working on some of that stuff and get ready for Hillsdale,” he said.

          Hillsdale scored 45 points in the first half last week in what Williams called the best half of football since he has been there and went on to hammer Mapleton (53-7) and Mager knows what they are up against.  “They scored 50 points. I mean they are a great football team.  They have a great coach and bunch of returning starters that are really good and it will be a big challenge for us,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday, “I’m looking forward to it.  I was there for a long time and built some great relationships over there.  I actually coached some of the kids on that team.  It is a good barometer for us, a younger team, a team that is trying to win some games and make a point.  If we can go in and compete with Hillsdale that would be great.”

          Hillsdale featured a balanced look last week, but they want to run the football a little more than they did a year ago and Mager says they understand that.  “Everybody knows about Trey (Williams) at quarterback and Aaron Wilkes at receiver and Ben Rogers their big tight end, but they had 250 yards rushing last week.  They really didn’t have those kind of rushing numbers last year.  It looks like he is focusing on the run game a little bit.  We have to stop the run, but we also have to stop some of those talented receivers and slots they have.  We know Elliott kid is really good.  They have some speed on that team, so it is going to be a big, big challenge for us Friday night,” said Mager

 

Published 8/29/16

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Crestview Ready for Some Football

  

          Crestview appears poised to make run at at least an upper division finish in the Firelands Conference with a lot of players back from last year and a fresh set of confidence.

          They host Northmor, of the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, in a non-conference game on Friday night to get the season started.

          Second year coach Dan Mager says they have everything in place, now it is just a matter of refining things.  “I think we will be ready to go come Friday.  Not only are players, but the coaches are chomping at the bit too.  After the workouts, seven on sevens and your two a days we are excited as a coaching staff as well.  We have basically all of the offense and defense we want to put in. It is just a matter of fine tuning this week so we are ready to go Friday night,” said Mager.

          With this being the season opener, and it being nine months since they got to play a game for real, there is going to be some emotion on Friday night for both sides.  Mager says that emotion can only carry you so far though.  “Football is an emotional sport.  One thing we try to emphasize, and all coaches do, is execute.  The bottom line is football is not complicated you have to tackle, you have to protect the football, and minimize the mistakes.  If you are the team that does that you are in pretty good shape,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “You know you think you are ready, you hope you are ready.  We had a pretty good preview last week against Buckeye Central, so we are hoping it’s a good night Friday night.”

          Northmor is also a team based on the running game.  Mager says their defense is going to be challenged on Friday night and they are going to have to play well.  “They lost a few guys.  We scouted them a couple of times and they have a really, really fast and dangerous running back that we are obviously going to be keying on and watching.  They have some hard nosed kids and we are expecting a battle.  We have only had them on the schedule for a year, so we don’t know them really well.  Last year was a pretty tight game.  We have to go out and do what we do best and hopefully be okay,” he said.

 

Published 8/24/16

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Crestview Expects to be Better

 

          Crestview has a boatload of experience back on the gridiron this year, many of them juniors, and the Cougars should be on their way back toward the top of the Firelands Conference.

          Second year coach Dan Mager says the interest and excitement is there for Cougar football.  “I like what I see.  We have a lot of players out.  We are close to 70 players, which is really exciting.  We are trying to get that coordinated and have a good, efficient practice with that many players.  That was kind of challenging (Monday,) but it was a lot better (Tuesday,) the second day,” said Mager and he adds that means there is a lot of competition for a spots.  “The players worked hard and the coaches worked hard to make sure we got everybody out that wants to play.  Obviously, that is going to be good for competition in camp,” he said.
          Crestview has had a solid tradition in football dating back to the mid 90’s and Mager believes they can regain some of that success this year.  “Crestview has a great tradition.  I remember growing up in Ashland and playing in Ashland, I always kept my eye and ear and listen to how Crestview did.  So, I am proud to be here and I know these boys are ready.  We have had some down years these last couple of years, but we are going to get it turned around,” he said.

          A lot of the Cougars anticipated success can be traced to their experience.  Mager thinks they are a year older and a year better.  “Last year, the last game, we had 11 sophomores starting and we had a lot of sophomores playing. We had to learn how to win. We won two of the last three games.  We upset Monroeville, who was ranked 12th in the state.  That was a big turning point for us as a football team.  We have all of those sophomores that are juniors now,” he told Swankonsports.com during a break in practice Tuesday, “I have 26 juniors and with all of that varsity experience I am hoping that carries over to this year.  I have seen a big difference already.  There is a big difference between sophomores and juniors and with them having that varsity experience I am hoping that translates to the field on Friday nights.”

          There is nothing like experience and Mager says his junior class already knows what varsity football is all about and that is a big plus going into the season.  “Most sophomores are playing JV football on Saturdays and that is great, but it is not as fast.  When they get on the field on Friday night and they see how fast the game is compared to Saturday mornings that is a big adjustment for them.  I really think a lot of these juniors playing as sophomores pretty much all season long is going to pay off big time for us this year,” he said.

 

Published 8/03/16

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Crestview Edges South Central

 

          Junior Rieck was a difference maker for Crestview on Tuesday as he went the distance on the mound and had the only RBI in the game as the Cougars outlasted South Central (1-0) in a Firelands Conference game.

          The win solidifies Crestview in second place in the Firelands behind New London. 

          Coach Don Keener says the kids haven been doing an excellent job lately.  "I think the guys have been playing real consistent here.  We have been getting some good defense, good pitching and timely hitting.  They have been able to finish games off when they needed too," he said.

          Sometimes it hard to find defensive consistency, but Keener says they have been making in the plays on defense and they were able to do that for the most part Tuesday night.  "We did a nice job of fielding the ball and my pitcher did a nice job of getting some ground balls.  Our shortstop made some really good plays and the other guys fielded the ball when they needed too," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday night, "In the seventh inning we had a couple of errors, but it really didn't cost us anything at least.  The guys fielded it for the most part when they needed too."

          Rieck had an RBI double in the fourth inning and finished the night with eight strikeouts and only one walk. 

          Keener says he was able to keep the Trojans hitters off balance.  "He is our number two.  He is a nice left hander and he kept them off balance.  He got some key strikeouts when we needed them.  He kept the ball down and that is what you want your pitcher to do and he was able to that," he said.

          Crestview (10-7,8-2) will play Western Reserve in the division three tournament on May 12.  They swept the Rough Riders in the regular season, but Keener knows Western can be tough to handle.  "Western is a well coached team.  Coach (Jeff) Todd does a nice job with Western Reserve.  They have a nice program.  We have played them twice already this year.  One of them was a tight game when we beat them 2-1 and the other was 7-3.  They are a formidable team and we have to be ready to play when we play them on that Thursday.  Hopefully, the winning we take care of itself," said Keener.

 

Published 5/04/16

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Crestview Gets Big Win; Ready to Move Forward

 

          After losing two conference games in overtime and another by four points, the Crestview Cougars rose up and knocked off state ranked Monroeville last week.

          They play at home against New London in Firelands Conference play on Friday night.

          Crestview knocked Monroeville from a share of the conference lead with a (21-12) win last week.  Coach Dan Mager calls it a huge win for them and the community.  "It was a great win for the whole program.  The kids, the coaches, the fans, everybody involved, after going six weeks and really taking a beating against St. Paul the week before.  I told our coaches, that this is the time that you really have to coach them up, and some of the toughest coaching is when that is happening.  Playing a 12th ranked Monroeville team and beating them at home was kind of a big deal for us," he said.

          The Cougars have been playing a lot of young players this year, but Mager says that is no longer an excuse.  "Everybody talks about how young we are, and I have too, and it's kind of a big deal, but it is getting kind of tiring too.  I have told our kids for the last three or four weeks that we were so close, when you lose those games in overtime and you lose another game you should have won with stupid penalties and turnovers.  I told the guys the other night, right before the Monroeville game, that we were dangerous and I really meant that," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "We were a dangerous 1-6 team and I believed in them and they had to believe in themselves.  When we get all three phases working together on one night we could be pretty good.  You know what they went out and did it."

          New London (3-5,2-3) was predicted to be an upper division team this year and they drilled Plymouth (48-15) in a Firelands Conference game last week.  Mager says they have some weapons on offense.  "With me being a new coach in the area I am still kind of learning.  They are dangerous too because last week against Plymouth it was a close game then all of the sudden they win big.  They have some explosiveness and I know they have some really good athletes.  When I watched them play Monroeville two weeks ago they looked pretty decent.  Monroeville beat them, but they looked pretty good," he said.

 

Published 10/20/15

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Crestview Has to Clean up it act

 

          Crestview has been able to move the ball with its new option offense, but they keep shooting themselves in the foot.

          They had four turnovers in a (31-30) double overtime loss to South Central last week.  Coach Dan Mager says teams can't do that kind of thing and win and they are working on fixing those problems.  "We have to cut down the turnovers.  If we cut down the turnovers we win that game.  The offense did play well, but we left three touchdowns on the field and we can't do that.  We instructed that Saturday, (Monday,) and (Tuesday) in practice.  You just don't do that," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday. "We are not that great of a team to overcome four turnovers.  In fact, really good teams aren't good enough to do that.  That is something we definitely have to get squared away and we are working on it."

          There are a lot of new things with the Crestview program this year, its head coach, its coaching staff, its offense, its defense, but Mager says it is time for these things to stop happening.  "We have been working on ball security.  There is a little more to when you are running the option.  There is a read with the fullback and the quarterback have to be on the same code that has led to a couple of our missed snaps and fumbles.  We are getting better at it, but obviously we still have to fix it," he said.

          On Friday night, the Cougars (1-3,0-1) travel to Western Reserve (0-4,0-1) to face the Rough Riders, who lost their conference opener (34-0) at defending champion Norwalk St. Paul last Saturday.

          Mager says the Rough Riders have some size.  "They are big up front that is for sure.  I don't have their exact weights and sizes, but a lot like that Loudonville team we saw a couple of weeks ago.  They are kind of the opposite of us because we are not very big, but we are very athletic, so I am hoping that will be an advantage of us.  I am sure they are excited about playing us because we haven't won a lot and we are excited about playing them," said Mager.

 

Published 9/23/15

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Crestview Ready for Conference Play

 

          Crestview (1-2,0-0) kicks off the Firelands Conference portion of their schedule with visit to South Central to tangle with the Trojans on Friday night.

          The are coming off a (21-0) loss to Black River in non-league play last week.  Coach Dan Mager says they did some good things, but they are not as consistent as they should be at this point in the season.  "I think we feel pretty good.  On offense we do some nice things with some long drives and then we end up not executing with a miscue.  I think it a combination of things.  We do have some young players ay real key positions and the fact that we are still in a new phase with a new offense.  I'm hoping that as we continue on and we start executing better and I really feel we will," he told Swankonsports.con on Thursday, "As I said earlier in the year I think this a team that is going to get better every week.  There is a lot of up side to us.  A lot of athletes.  We are still going to go out and practice it every day and get better and faster with it and player faster.  Folks are going to start seeing the future the way it ought to be."

          Long drives that end up in no points can be demoralizing for especially young teams.  However, Mager believes this is a team that is maturing as the season goes on.  "It comes with maturity as a player.  When you get down there in the red zone the stakes are a little higher and the field shrinks a little bit and we have to execute even better.  Quite frankly we did not do that last week.  When we were down 14 and driving we missed an opportunity in the end zone to make it a seven point game.  Black River is a really good football team and we would have been looking really good at that point.  We talked about it all week long.  When we get down there we have to make it pay off," said Mager.

          Like the Cougars, South Central (0-3,0-0) was shut out last week in their final non-conference games.  In their case it was Cardington (36-0) that did the trick.  The Trojans did score more than 20 in losses on week one and week two. 

          Mager says this is a big game for both teams on Friday.  "I know they have a really good running back and athlete in the Conway boy.  I know that from coaching wresting.  He's a tough kid and they have some athletes on the team.  I'm sure they are pretty excited up there as a coaching staff that we are coming up there and playing them at home and we have lost our last two games.  I know our kids are excited to go up there.  I know I am as a coach, our staff is and our players.  We are ready to go," he said.

 

Published 9/18/15

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Crestview Must have Better Start

 

          Crestview is experiencing some growing pains this season, some ups and downs, and they are trying to work through that as will hit week three and they host Black River.

          Last week, they got behind by four scores and ended up losing (35-7) to Loudonville in non-conference play. 

          Coach Dan Majer says they just got too far behind early in the game.  "We kind of new they were going to have some really good players, they have been good, especially the last two years and we did not want to get off to a slow start, however, we did.  We actually stopped them on the first drive.  They converted on fourth down and then scored a couple of more times and all of the sudden we are down 21-0.  What I do like is our kids kept battling.  We have some sophomores starting, some young kids starting and we didn't respond really well initially, but they hug tough.  From that 28-0 halftime lead it was a 7-7 game from about midway through the second quarter to the end of the game.  So, we are kind of building off of that," said Mager.

          Loudonville has a quick strike kind of offense and they did that to Crestview, but Majer says his kids didn't lose their heads.  "I told our coaching staff all week that if they get some quick hitters and we get behind we have to make sure as a coaching staff that we are showing no panic and we didn't.  I thought we did a very good job as a coaching staff.  We need to believe in ourselves more," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "I'm not saying we could have beaten those guys.  The thing with Van Sickle and quarterback is you could stop him 10 times and then he goes 80 yards.  I thought we did a good of slowing down their big fullback in Snyder, but they had a big weapon in Van Sickle. They are going to be a tough opponent, they are big up front, and I am glad we are done with them this year."

          It's another tough game this week as the Cougars host traditional power Black River (1-1) on Friday night in a non-league game.  Majer says they can't afford to get behind this week either.  "They have been under coach Young's tradition over there for the last 25 years and they are good.  It is going to be another one of those cases were we need to coach up our kids this week.  We don't have to tell them how great they are.  We can't get down.  We don't have the kind of offense right now that can come back and score three or four touchdowns in a minute or two.  We are going to have to be one of the teams that executes and sustains drives and the defense does their part.  If we can do that it can be a pretty good game.  When they played Northwestern they had a lot of yards.  I think they will be a pretty good match-up for us," he said.

          This week, Majer says they are going to have to contain the Black River run game.  "I expect exactly what Black River does some buck sweeps, some counters, some toughness, some hard nosed kids running the ball.  They have two 1,000 yard backs coming back this year, they have a young sophomore at fullback and a quarterback that can throw.  I think they threw a little bit more last week than they typically do.  They are a very good football team.  I think we have to brave the storm.  We have had three pretty good non-conference games and hopefully that helps us going into our conference," said Majer.

 

Published 9/09/15

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Crestview Pleased, Not Satisfied

 

          Crestview won its first game last week under new coach Dan Mager, but he thinks their execution has to be much better this week when they meet defending Mid-Buckeye Conference champion Loudonville in non-conference play.

          Last Friday, the Cougars piled up almost 300 yards on in beating Northmor, of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, blue division, (27-19) on the road.

          Mager says there were a lot of good things, but some bad too.  "We were pretty happy.  We did allow them to return the opening kickoff for an 80 yard touchdown.  We got off to a bad start there.  We buckled down and went down and scored.  We had a fairly good night.  We have some mistakes we have to fix.  We left some points on the field, but I think we are going to fix those this week in practice," said Mager.

          He understands that with a new coaching staff and a new system there are still a lot kinks that need to be ironed out.  "We felt good about our win, but when we watch film on Saturday as a coaching staff there are quite a few things to work on.  There again with a new offense and a new defense and new staff it will take a while.  I think we should get noticeably better every week," said Mager.

          Mager was part of the Hillsdale coaching staff and had to prepare for the Redbirds.  He says that they are going to have to pick up their execution.  "Being at Hillsdale I got to see Loudonville a lot.  The team they had last year was one of the better teams to come around.  Highland is a pretty good football team and I've watched some film on Loudonville and they have some athletes.  They have a big fullback and a linebacker in the Snyder boy.  We are going to have to play a lot better than we did last week against Northmor if we have a chance at winning," he said.

          Loudonville also gave up and early score, but when on to beat a team out the same blue division, the Highland Scots, (28-7) on the opening week.  Again this season, Mager says the Redbirds have some athletic kids that can make big plays, including quarterback Austin Van Sickle, who ran for over 200 yards last week.  "He is an awesome athlete, very fast, very quick.  I think he is even a little faster that Kolton Edmiston, Kolton was a little bigger, a little bit more of a power guy.  It kind of reminds me a a couple of years ago when they had Edmiston and Ryan Weber in the backfield.  This time it is Van Sickle and Snyder," he told Swankonsports.com, "We are going to have to be a lot better than we were last week.  Hopefully we will have a decent game with those guys."

 

Published 9/01/15

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Crestview Has New Coach and New Attack

 

          Crestview has always been a run first program dating back to the days of Rick Brindley back in the middle 1990's, but now they might throw even fewer passes.

          Dan Mager is the new coach of the Cougars and he is installing the old triple option offense made famous by the great Oklahoma teams of the 1970's.

          He says he thinks the players have embraced the new offense and are adapting pretty well to the changes.  "With a new coach we installed a new offense and a new defense, so we knew it was gonna be somewhat challenging because some of the kids there were used to other offenses and defenses," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "Actually after reviewing it (Wednesday) night with members of the coaching staff I think we are all pretty happy about where we are at at this time."

          When it comes to approach, Mager says he wants to force the other team to stop them from running it and wants to be very aggressive on defense.  "You are going to see a lot of the triple option, not a lot of the pass, I hope to be a run oriented team.  Defensively we are going to flying around with a lot of guys, a lot of guys going to the ball.  We have a lot of athletes on the field.  We are young.  We have a lot of numbers, but we are young.  I expect to run the ball and play tough defense and fly around and make some plays," said Mager.

          The Cougars open up with new opponent on their schedule in the Northmor Golden Knights on the road on Friday night.  Mager says he thinks the Golden Knights will be a challenge, but really he more concerned with how they execute their stuff.  "From what I understand they are expecting a pretty good team this year. We haven't talked a whole lot about them. We have seen them a little bit in scrimmages.  We are just going to do our thing.  I am more concerned about our guys and how we are running our stuff and hopefully that will all work out for us Friday," said Mager.

 

Published 8/27/15

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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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Crestview Concentrating on Defense

 

          Crestview is one of those teams in the Firelands Conference that could finish almost anywhere in the standings.

          A lot of that might depend on what they do on defense.

          Coach Bryan Hall says they have been concentrating on working hard at stopping the other team and regaining possession of the ball.  "We have put a lot of time in on defense in the fall, jut the skill of communicating.  That is one area were we struggled last year.  I have seen huge improvements on that end.  Offensively we are starting to get rolling here.  We started a little late by focusing on defense.  We are excited to go being about a week away.  I think the guys are anxious to put the real uniforms on and get out there," said Hall.

          Crestview opens the season on December 5 at Mansfield Christian, the defending Mid-Buckeye Conference champ, and then plays talented Ontario the next night.

          Early in the season offense tends to be behind defense a little bit.  Hall says if they can play tough defense they can win some games.  "Lots of times early on your defense is really your offense.  If you can create some havoc on defense and hold teams the 30's or low 40's you are still putting yourself in position to be successful regardless of what you did on offense," he said.

          Hall agrees that Plymouth, the defending champion, is the clear favorite in the Firelands, but after that things are up fro grabs.  "It is going to be wide open for that second spot and if Plymouth would have an off night somebody might sneak in there, kind of like what New London did to them last year, and get a win.  There are just a lot of teams that are even," he told Swankonsports.com, "South Central has a lot coming back, Mapleton has a lot coming back.  Even Monroeville will be the big shocker for a lot of people.  They have a new coach up there in Jeremiah Diebler and I think he is going to bring a lot of that program.  He can get the guys going and excited to play."

 

Published 11/27/14

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Crestview Looking For Upset

 

          Over a two week period Crestview plays the co-leaders in the Firelands Conference.  it didn't go so well last week against Mapleton and the Cougars hope it goes a little better Saturday night at Norwalk St. Paul.

          Crestview tuned it over three times last week in losing (42-12) to Mapleton.  Coach Chad Coffman says they just didn't play consistent enough football to have a chance to win.  "We didn't take good care of the football and we just had too many mistakes early in the football game and they were really able to take advantage of those mistakes.  I thought had times we had some good plays, but not consistent enough to beat them.  Their running back Pickering, he is probably the best player in the league this year and he was really the difference in that ballgame," he said.

          Travis Pickering had 182 yards rushing and four touchdowns against the Cougars.

          St. Paul (6-1,4-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, punished Plymouth (48-19) last week in a Firelands Conference game.  Coffman says St. Paul kids just expect to win.  "I think with St. Paul they had a really good year and a really good team last year and that brought most of them back.  I'm sure their expectations are really high and they have a lot of really good players on that team.  Obviously the are a really good football program,' he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "They have been a little bit banged up here lately and part of the equation will be who is able to play and they had a couple of kids that didn't play last week.  It doesn't really matter I guess because they are going to play extremely hard and play their style of football and we will have to be prepared and ready to go.
          Coffman understands most the football world doesn't expect them to win and he says that allows them to play with less pressure.  "I think anytime you get a chance to play against one of the better teams in the state that is a great opportunity for your kids.  it is a challenging place to play.  The people that go an compete against them and the people that are able to beat them certainly make a memory that you will remember for a long time.  When you look back it is kind of nice to see how you did against teams that were the better teams and in their case a team that I think is going to go pretty deep in the playoffs.  It will great for our kids to see how they stack up against a team of that level and a chance for our older guys to make a memory they can look back on," said Coffman.

 

Published 10/16/14

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Consistency is the Thing For Crestview

 

          There were a lot of big plays last week, but unfortunately for Crestview, New London made more of them in a Firelands Conference win over the Cougars.

          New London outscored the Cougars (46-34) in a game where both teams scored off a blocked punt.  Coach Chad Coffman says the Cougars need to be more consistent in their play in all aspects of the game.  "It was kind of a unique game in a sense that we had some really big plays in special teams, but we gave some up.  We had some really good offensive plays, but we left some out there.  Defensively at times we were really good and at other times we really struggled.  At the end of the night it ended up with us on the short end of it.  As we have gotten back to work this week it is about being consistent and that is what we have been focused on," he said.

          He says last week they showed they could do the job on defense on most of the plays, but Coffman says most of the plays isn't good enough.  "From the defensive perspective what you would never guess is from seeing the box score is that over their first 26 carries they had 37 yards and we really did a great job against the run unfortunately their next four carries went for about 160.  So, that made a little bit different kind of game than what it could have been.  Our big focus is to be more consistent on those other four plays," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "If we could have played those like we did the rest of the night you feel like you would have a real good chance to win the football game. We blocked a punt for a touchdown, but we gave up a blocked punt for a touchdown.  We have a lot of things to work on.  It is true rather if it is cliché or not it is about consistency of effort and execution in football."

          Crestview (1-3,0-1) plays host top South Central (1-3,0-1) in a Firelands Conference game on Friday night.  South Central has a new coach in Wayne Hinkle and Coffman says the Trojans don't have a lot of players, but the ones they have have done a pretty good job.  "I think they are in situation where they have a veteran football coach  who has been successful and has done really good job and you can see that in their play.  They are very sound in what they do and they play really, really hard and you are going to have to match that.  That is what they make you do.  They have been banged up at times and had some guys out last week.  I'm not sure if they will be back for us it seems like guys always are.  From our standpoint it will be a great challenge because I know they will prepare really well and that will force us to go out and prepare well ourselves," said Coffman.

 

Published 9/24/14

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Crestview and New London Get Started in "FC"

 

          Crestview and New London, two teams looking for some success, meet in the Firelands Conference opener for both schools on Friday night at New London.

          Crestview (1-2) lost a tough one at Upper Sandusky (26-24) last week, but coach Chad Coffman says they learned some things from that loss.  "We competed really hard in the game Friday night and that always makes the loss sting a little bit, but there were a lot of positives that we were able to take away from the film.  The mistakes we made we see how we can make those corrections and get better.  Obviously we played a tough non-conference schedule and what we hope is that prepared us for conference play and the opportunity to play for a conference championship and that is always our biggest goal," said Coffman.

          Youth has been the mark of the Cougars this year with only five seniors in the program.  Coffman says they have matured a lot on offense.  "We really came into the year inexperienced.  We had a little bit of experience on defense, but none really on offense, just a couple of guys that were back and really just one guy that was playing the same position.  We knew we were going to have some major adjustments to make on the offensive side of the ball.  We are definitely a work in progress, but I think you can see some of these kids that we are really high on are starting to mature and make better decisions and make better plays," said Coffman.

          New London (0-3) has a new coach this year in Brad Pickens and they have struggled out the gate losing to Buckeye Central (32-8), Oberlin Firelands (35-6) and Tiffin Calvert (49-20) last week.  Coffman says despite that they still have players.  "They have struggled little bit here initially, but the reality is they have a ton of kids back from a team that was really successful the last couple of years.  Personnel wise they have a lot of good football players.  If we want to win the Firelands Conference we are going to have to go there and play well at New London.  They offer a great opportunity, but certainly a big challenge.  We have to work hard this week to make sure we are prepared and stop what they do," he said.

          With Pickens now the head coach there has been a change in approach, but Coffman says that probably was going to happen anyway.  "I think there was going to be a transformation anyway.  The lost a great athlete, probably the best running back if not the best player in the conference last year in Thomas.  They were going to have to modify off that anyway I think.  In a lot of ways they are similar they have running backs that run hard, they have a huge offensive line, they have an experienced quarterback.  They have a couple of receiver that do a real good job catching the ball and are dangerous," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "So, they will make us prepared to defend the whole field.  They certainly seem as the year has gone on they have added more to their playbook.  Just like us they will be geared up to be ready for week one in the Firelands."

 

Published 9/17/14

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Getting Better is Crestview's Focus

 

          Crestview was handed its lunch last week by Loudonville there is just no two ways about it, but now the Cougars have to forget that whipping and concentrate on getting better.

          Loudonville smacked the Cougars around (73-0) last Friday and Crestview coach Chad Coffman says they just need to move forward.  "We knew that they were going to be a very good football team and they definitely are that.  It was certainly one of those nights when anything that could go wrong did go wrong for us.  What we kind of take away from it is you just put it in the past.  Obviously there were things on film that we were able to address and things that need to get better.  I think anytime that your kids are exposed to really good athletes and a lot of speed and strength that does make it better for you as you move on futuristically when you play other people.  As far as we go all of our goals are still out there.  We want to get better everyday and play for a Firelands Conference championship.  We have had a good week of practice and now it is on to Upper Sandusky," said Coffman.

          In practice this week Coffman says they have been concentrating on areas of the game where they have been grading low this year.  "Every week presents its challenges.  There are things that are going on in the school and in the community.  We have had really good weather and (Wednesday) we kind of dodged those storms and we were able to get our work in and get really good work in.  I think the biggest thing is to identify the things you want to work on," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "You are not going to be able to get good at everything in one day, but if identify things you want to be better at and you put things in place that will make improvement in those areas and if you are committed to it it usually ends up showing up on Friday.  That is what we have worked on to make sure when go out there and compete against Upper Sandusky that we see the things we practiced and get better."

          Crestview (0-2) will be at Upper Sandusky (1-1) for a non-conference game on Friday night.  Coffman says again they are going to be facing a team with a lot of athletes.  "Upper Sandusky had a tremendous football team last year.  They are a bigger school and they have a lot of very good athletes and a lot of big kids.  They graduated a lot of people off that great football team that they had last year, but they brought some key guys back.  They have a lot of talent in that junior class and that's a thing you expect with a school that is bigger than you they have a lot of really athletes.  That will be the challenge for us to match up with them.  We will have 11 kids on the field and they will have 11 kids.  We want to line up and be physical.  I think we have had a good week of practice and I think our kids understand what they are trying to do and what we want to do to them and now it's about going out and executing on Friday," said Coffman.

 

Published 9/12/14

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Crestview Hosts Explosive Loudonville

 

          They won last week, but Crestview knows they must upgrade their play in all areas if they are going to remain unbeaten.

          They host highly regarded Loudonville in non-conference play on Friday night.

          Last week, the Cougars took a 22-0 lead and hung on to beat East Knox 22-20 in their opener.  Coach Chad Coffman says early in the game they played very well.  "If you go back to early in the summer for us we kind of had the theme to go 1-0, to win that first football game.  We have the idea that we have to get better every play, win every play and win every rep in practice.  It was a big win for us.  We kind of came out and played incredible for the first quarter and a half, probably about perfect to that point.  Then we had some adversity, we are still a little bit young.  I thought we really battled and then when it was time to do it defensively we made some really big plays," he said.

          East Knox scored twice in the third quarter, but Coffman says his kids got tough when they had too.  "When you break things down even play by play you have to be able to handle whatever is thrown at you.  Being ready to play and getting out on the field was a big deal.  Once the momentum swung late in the third quarter they had all of the momentum.  We were kind of staggering and we got a huge stop when they trying to tie it.  The we kind of carried that momentum the rest of the night.  I think as far as character it was a big deal for us," he said.

          Loudonville quarterback Kolton Edmondson threw for four scores and ran for another in the Redbirds 45-14 win over Highland.  Coffman says Loudonville is a big play team.  "It's not like we would have needed to see the film we are very familiar with them having played them for the last couple of years.  I think they are probably better than they were last year.  They will be a great test," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "One thing that we told our kids is it will be a nice measuring stick because we are going to play against a team that a lot of people say is one of the teams that could win it all in our division.  That is going to give us an opportunity to see where we are right now.  We are going to prepare real hard and see how much better we can get this week."

          Running the ball and eating the clock is what Crestview wants to do every week, but Coffman knows that is going to be difficult to do against the Redbirds.  "They are very good defensively.  They are great up front and they fly to the football.  They have made the running yards very hard for people to get so far.  What we will need to do is take it one play at a time and try to execute the best we can.  They are very explosive offensively.  They have a quarterback that is great runner and a great thrower.  They did throw the ball down field, but some of those long plays were screen passes where great athletes made moves and took them down the field.  We will have our hands full, but that is the great thing about football you get a whole week to prepare," said Coffman.

 

Published 9/01/14

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Crestview About Improving

 

          With a young team this year Crestview is set to open the season on Friday night as they play host to the East Knox Bulldogs in non-conference play.

          This year Crestview has only five seniors and more than half of the roster is made up of freshmen.  When asked about the leadership he has been getting coach Chad Coffman had some good things and not so good things to say.  "I think there are things that we have done well and certainly things we need to improve on.  I thought our first scrimmage was a positive because we really didn't run the ball very well or played up front like we want to.  I think we saw some leadership that next week in practice where we had real good work ethic and we had some guys step up and get better.  We came out in the second scrimmage and we did run the ball better and played quite a bit better initially and then we got to the second two quarters and had some struggles.  Again we have come off that and seen some leadership by example this week.  So, I guess we have seen some positives in regard to that leadership.  We have to continue to get better and keep growing. A lot of times that leadership comes in confidence and that is something we will have to work on probably all year," said Coffman.

          East Knox is new to the Crestview schedule as they had opened the season with West Salem Northwestern for many years.  Coffman says in many ways this is a traditional East Knox team.  "They do have a great football tradition.  They have a new young coach that was a real successful player and a good player in college.  I think that what we have seen from them in the scrimmage in a lot of ways they are the East Knox that you expect them to be.  They are physical and they look to run the ball and they have some real nice athletes," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "Defensively they really look to move around and are hard hitting.  They have a really good nose guard, a couple of really good linebackers, and some athletes with skill in the secondary.  So, they present a lot of challenges.  They are like us maybe their numbers are a little bit low, but they do have a decent core group of seniors, 10 guys that are coming back.  Like always it is week one it's around going out there and putting together four quarters, throw the special teams in the mix and do that stuff live, and it definitely makes for an exciting Friday night."

          With the run game important to both sides the line of scrimmage is going to be important, but Coffman says they have to hang onto the ball and not have too many penalties too.  "I think for Crestview it is always going to be critical with the way we play the line of scrimmage is a big, big deal for us certainly with the way they play it is going to be important for them too.   Probably the biggest thing in the game will be taking care of the football and limiting those turnovers and the penalties that can be so costly, but after that you can definitely say the line of scrimmage.  Whoever is able to control that line of scrimmage and can get that push up front is going to have a big advantage in the football game," he said.

 

Published 8/28/14

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Crestview Responds

 

          Crestview has a young group of players this year with only five seniors, but they have shown the ability to take coaching and make the improvements needed to become a good  football team.

          Coach Chad Coffman says they really taken it to another level this week in practice.  "I think the big thing for us is we got out there and had that first scrimmage and it gave us a chance to see where we were, a kind of measuring post and I guess the bigger thing is how you follow that up.  No matter where you think you are how do you respond to it.  We have had probably are three best practices of the year following that scrimmage.  I think the big thing for us is to be really sharp (Thursday) and then see how we do at that next check point against Hillsdale, a pretty good football team that we scrimmage here on Friday.  I have definitely been happy with the effort we have had this week," said Coffman.

          Now on Friday night against Hillsdale in their preview scrimmage Coffman says they want to come out and not make the same mistakes as last week against Smithville.  "I think the biggest thing we need to see is some consistency.  When we broke the film down we were able to have some examples of kids doing exactly what we want them to do, that they are trained to do, and be really successful.  We were also able to have examples of mistakes, whether it was mental mistakes or physical mistakes or whatever the case may be.  That is the big thing from scrimmage one to scrimmage two to make those adjustments and not repeat those mistakes.  We will look to minimize those mistakes and we don't see the kids making the same ones that they did last week," he said.

          Crestview opens the regular season on august 29 against a new opponent in the East Knox Bulldogs, now of the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.  Coffman says they have to continue to get better and take the right attitude into the game.  "The reality is sometimes you step up and are better than you thought and sometimes guys get nervous.  The bottom line of it is and I have always believed that if you work really hard that you will be prepared and have a chance to go out there and be successful.  We have tried to work hard and have that attitude that has made Crestview a very good football program," he told Swamkonsports.com on Wednesday, "We feel that if we do that it will carry over to Friday nights.  I think at this point the guys are really ready to get out there and play.  The thing is to hold their focus and continue to improve in these practices that we have left until we get a chance to play and be successful and have a good time doing it."

 

Published 8/21/14

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Crestview Ready to be Tested

 

          Crestview is going to have a lot of young kids on the field this year and they are ready to find out what they have and where they need to get better.

          They play Smithville in their first scrimmage on Friday.

          Coach Chad Coffman says they have made some strides this preseason working on the practice field.  “We have certainly learned a lot.  It is one of those deals, especially being young and kind of inexperienced I think everyday we have made some good strides, so that is probably the big thing for us.  We are just trying to get better everyday and try to get more stuff in on offense and defense.  That has probably been the big thing for us trying to gain some experience,” he said.

          Coffman says at this point in camp every year the players are tired of just seeing the same faces and want to see someone else for a change.  “We have Smithville on Friday and it is getting to the point were the kids want to see someone else.  You kind of rep with each other and bang on each other.  It is a good chance to kind of see someone else doing something a little different than what you do and I definitely think the kids will be ready.  It has been nearly a year since we really got to play.  I know that we are excited and it will certainly be a barometer to see where we are at this point,” said Coffman.

          With a lot of kids getting their first taste of varsity football and what it is like Coffman says they are making big jumps in improvement once they understand what they are supposed to do.  “I think there is definitely a big curve to it.  When you are not really experienced, in our situation and our roster is a little more than half freshmen, you can really see jumps from day to day and really see them get concepts that were new a couple of weeks ago,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “It will be the same thing with a scrimmage to get out there and see somebody else and go live and be able to get that stuff on film and take a look at it.  That will give them a chance I think to really progress and get better for the second scrimmage heading into the games.”

          Crestview has the reputation of being a school that wants to run the football and Coffman says to do that this year they are going to have to develop the offensive line.  “It is going to be a big question mark for us only bringing one lineman back.  At Crestview we have been pretty fortunate over the years to have a really good line, which is important to the style of play.  I think to this point there is a lot of potential there.  The key for us will be to take that potential and make it into results on the field.  It will be kind of exciting to see how that goes.  We will probably look at some different people, kind of juggle the lineup a little bit on Friday.  It will be a chance to see if the improvement we have made the first couple of weeks shows up on the field on Friday,” said Coffman.

 

Published 8/13/14

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Crestview a little Green

 

          Crestview is going to be a young football team this year in terms of experience, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be a good one.

          Coach Chad Coffman, entering his fourth year with the program, says that they are going to have some young kids that are going to have to step up and do the job at the varsity level.  “We have a really fun group this year.  We have a huge freshmen class and a lot of young talent that is coming up through.  We are little thin with the senior group with just three seniors that are playing football right now, but I think over the next few years we should play some really good football.  If these young guys are able to come together and step up early we should have a really good year,” he said.

          Will leadership be a concern because of the lack of seniors this year?  Coffman says it doesn’t have to be.  “I think anytime you are dealing with a young team that is always a major issue for the team on how the leadership steps up and what kind of leadership you get at the top.  I have blessed at times to have really good leaders.  I think my two best groups of leaders one time it was five seniors and one time it was 14, so it really just kind of depends.  It certainly does bring to forefront that these three guys really do have to say and do the right things and really lead by example.  It is especially important on game night,” said Coffman.

          Right now, Coffman says it looks like they are going to lean a lot on their defense, at least early in the season.  “On paper we bring back seven guys on defense that started for us last year and 10 guys that started at least one game.  On offense it is kind of the opposite we only bring back two starters and pretty much have to break in the whole thing.  We are Crestview and you would like to think that we would be able to get down there in double tight and be able to run the football.  That is something we need to be able to do if we are going to be good and get back to a point where our defense leads us,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “Hopefully we will have that defense that really jells together and replace those really good players that moved on.  Offense is going to be a little bit of a work in progress.  If we can work hard we can be pretty good on that side of the ball.”

          In order to move the ball and put some points on the board, Coffman says they are going to need to get solid play from their offensive line, something that has been a Crestview tradition.  “We just finished up little kids camp there a week or so ago.  I remember talking to the kids about the great running backs that we have had, we have been really blessed, but we have had more all-state linemen then we have had running backs.  We have been really fortunate that way the kids work hard and they have that certain mentality.  One thing about line play in football in general is it takes a unit to work together, but we are working on that now.  It certainly is a challenge at the high school level.  Crestview over the years has had a lot of success putting together some really good lines,” said Coffman.

 

Published 8/06/14

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Crestview Has Been Good and Bad

 

          After winning four of their first five games, Crestview slumped in loosing eight of their next 10 and the Cougars are struggling to find a little more consistency in their play.

          Longtime JV coach Don Kenner, in his first year as the varsity coach, says they are young this year and that is at least part of the reason for their play as of late.  "It has been very inconsistent.  I don't know if it comes from the youthful inexperience or what it is.  We definitely hit a wall there.   We were getting some games in.  I know we had all of that bad weather.  We actually played eight games in eight days and it was kind of a rough stretch for us," said Keener.

          A real bright spot for the Cougars this year has been the performance of freshman pitcher Tyler Brown, who has a 1.88 ERA and 38 strikeouts already this year.  Keener says he has a lot of tools.  "His name is Tyler Brown and he is very good.  He is a pretty good, solid power pitcher.  He throws fairly hard and has a nice breaking ball and hits his spots pretty well," he said.

          Unlike basketball, there are not a lot of freshmen that play baseball at the varsity level, but Keener says that Brown is a big kid, bigger than most freshmen, and he uses that to his advantage.  "He is not the size of your typical freshman.  He is about 6'2", 220.  I mean he is 15, he is what he is supposed to be as a freshman.  He has just developed a little sooner than other kids his own age," he said.

          Crestview (6-9,3-4) due to the rain isn't scheduled to play again until Monday and Tuesday of next week when they play Western Reserve in back to back games.  Keener says they must find consistency in all areas of the game if they are going to return to success.  "Like in any sports you have three phases, your offense and defense and in baseball you have pitching as well and we haven't been able to put all three of those together.  You can throw base running in there," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "We have had some mistakes on the bases.  It's just a matter of putting it all together.  We have been close in a lot of games, but unfortunately we haven't been able to finish certain situations when they were there."

 

Published 5/01/14

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Crestview Has Things to Work on

 

          Like a lot of baseball teams in North Central Ohio the Crestview Cougars just need to get outside on the real field a little more, but that doesn't look like that is going to happen Friday with more thunderstorms in the forecast.

          Don Keener, the former JV coach for the Cougars is now the head varsity coach, and he says the month of March really was not very kind to them at all.  "It made it a real challenge for us.  We were only able to get outside three times all preseason and all three times were for scrimmages.  We never got much work on a real field other than our scrimmages," he said.

          When you are inside trying to practice or even on the pavement because the field is still too wet Keener says you don't really get a good feel for how the ball is going to bounce on the dirt.  "Those first ground balls, balls that my guys would normally would field pretty easily are a little bit of a challenge for them just because they are used to the gym floor or the parking lot, which is obviously a lot different," he said.

          The Cougars (1-1) have played two wildly different games this week in losing to defending Northern Ohio league champ Norwalk (9-1) on Monday and then outscoring Bucyrus (19-16) on Tuesday.  Keener liked the way the players responded.  "Norwalk I know they lost some kids from last year, but they are always going to have a solid program no matter what.  They have some pretty good pitchers and our kids didn't get real good swings in," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "The next night they came back and took some different approaches to the plate and the kids really put the ball in play well."

          Keener knows what needs to be addressed with his squad, but he says more than anything they just need to be outside playing games and gaining experience.  "The bad thing is we have a lot of inexperience.  The only way they are going to get better at some of these things is through experience, so hopefully we can get a few more games under our belts before we get that conference started.  Work on some of those little things that you would hope they already had under their belts," said Keener.

          Crestview is due to start Firelands Conference play with games against Monroeville next Monday and Tuesday.

 

Published 4/04/14

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Crestview Plays Mohawk in Girls Tournament

 

          Crestview meets Mohawk in the girls' division three sectional tournament on Tuesday night at Shelby High School.

          The winner will play second seeded Bucyrus (16-5) on Saturday night for a sectional title.

          Crestview (8-14) finished sixth in the Firelands Conference and lost their last regular season game to conference champion South Central (75-41) last Thursday, but they did beat Plymouth (50-42) and Western Reserve (59-48) in their previous two games.  Coach Tracy Richards says they do have some momentum.  "We have seen some improvement.  We had won two games heading into that South Central game.  That's the best momentum we have had all year I guess.  Our five kids out on the floor definitely have to come together on both ends," he said.

          Renee Stimpert averages around 20 points a game for the Lady Cougars, but Richards contends they have to get other players more involved, especially on defense.  "We don't want to have to rely on one player.  On the defensive end especially we are really stressing that this week that is going to take all five of them.  We just have been getting beat up inside whether it is not switching defensively or more so getting beat up on the boards," said Richards.

          Mohawk (12-9) comes out of the tough Midland Athletic League, which includes the likes of Carey and New Riegel, and Richards says they have some players.  "The are long and athletic.  They have the Adelsnerger triplets.  They have a nice inside player in Kayce and Julie is a very versatile player along the line of an Anna Hintz (of South Central), long and athletic that can play on the outside and finish on the inside and is a big key to their 1-3-1 trap," he said.

          To have some success on Tuesday night they have to handle the Mohawk pressure without a bunch of turnovers.  "They do a really nice job with it they have a large wingspan.  The are definitely going to taller that us across the board," he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, "Their wingspan just causes problems with pass deflections.  It just forces lob passes that their teammates are able to take advantage of If we don't handle that pressure it is going to be a long night."

 

Published 2/17/14

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Crestview Facing Back to back "WCAL" Teams

 

          After not playing for two weeks in mid-January, and often times not practicing, the Crestview Cougars are going to end a stretch on Tuesday when they will have played eight games in 13 days.

          Hillsdale beat them Monday night (64-60) in a non-league game as Eric Pickering had 24 points for the Falcons.  By getting their big guy Bryan Hissong back, Crestview coach Bryan Hall says they were able to control Hillsdale's Ryan Bee at least a little bit.  "He is 6'7" and is a physical, athletic kid and going to play D-one at Marshall, but the good thing for us is we had Bryan Hissong back and he is 6'7", so we were able to match them in size.  He came back from a concussion where he just cleared," he said. 

          Bee had 19 points against Crestview, but he set a school record with 42 against Mapleton on Saturday.

          Bryce Lutz led Crestview scores with 14 while Chandler Durbin added 12.

          Crestview (5-13) plays at home against Smithville (10-8) in another non-conference game against a Wayne County Athletic league team on Tuesday night.  Hall admits that back to back games during the school week can be tough to prepare for.  "Especially back to back nights like this with school and everything going on.  Typically you play Friday night and Saturday morning you can come in  an watch film, so not having the ability to do that puts you at a disadvantage against the team you are going to play," he told Swankonsports.com, "We have had some games that haven't gone our way here down the stretch.  At this point we are just trying to prepare ourselves for the tournament and what we think we can do come tournament time."

          During this tough stretch the Cougars also lost to Mansfield St. Peter's (82-53) on Saturday night and Hall says the schedule is stating to catch up with them.  "When we play well it is because we start playing well at the defensive end and that turns into offense.  On Saturday night we struggled defensively and I think you could tell for the first time that our schedule has been kind of rough, so our legs were getting tired.  We have had a lot of younger guys stepping in for some playing time just to try and keep us fresh, so like I told them take it for what it is you just have to come out and get better every night," said Hall.

          On Tuesday night, Hall says they better be able to handle the ball because they are going to see a lot of pressure for them Smithies.  "We have back-to-back Wayne County League teams and that is a tough conference to play in.  We will have our hands full with Smithville.  They press a lot.  They try to get turnovers and get up and down the floor.  Hopefully having two challenges like this will help push us into the tournament a little bit," he said.

 

Published 2/11/14

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Crestview Faces Three Game Road Trip

 

          After playing only once in the last three weeks, the Crestview Cougars play three straight games on the road beginning on Thursday night at Kidron Central Christian, followed by Firelands Conference games at Plymouth and Monroeville.

          The weather, and other things like power outages have prevented Crestview from playing games and forced them to literally pack their bags for an extended weekend.  Coach Bryan Hall says that won't be easy.  "It is definitely going to be a challenge, especially starting the road trip having to go to Kidron, that is about an hour and 10 minute drive for us.  The guys are young and we kind of go deep anyway," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "We go nine deep for the most part.  We will try to keep them fresh going into (Thursday) night because we have Plymouth on Friday night and then Monroeville on Saturday night.  Those two conference games are more important on the scale of things then (Thursday) night.  I guess come Sunday we will see where we are at."

          Plymouth (13-2,9-1), #2 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coach's poll in the small school division, is the conference leader.  They feature a frightening full court press, but Hall says they are even better on defense in the half court.  "A lot of times it is not turning the ball over in the full court press, but once you do make it into the half court you have to make good decisions.  Last time we kind of handled the press okay, but in the half court we kind of got lazy with passes.  They are even better on defense in the half court setting.  We have to take care of the ball and limit them to one shot are keys for us," said Hall.

          Tyrell Edmiston is one of the best big people in the league and Hall says he makes Plymouth hard to guard because he is such a good passer.  "I think where they have gotten a lot of teams is some teams want to double down on him and when you double down he is a great passer and he looks to the open man.  It almost takes the option of you being able to double down on him and leave a guy open because they can hit shots from the outside.  You just have to come focused and ready to go,' said Hall.

          Monroeville (3-10,1-7) won their first conference game last week when they beat South Central (87-75) last Friday by making 11 three pointers.  Hall says they are a dangerous team.  "We struggled the first time around against them.  I know we ended up winning by 10.  I think about two minutes left we were only up one of two.  They had a halftime lead.  I mean it's a team that plays with a lot of confidence.  If they are hitting shot like they were the other night against South Central from the outside they are a very dangerous team.  We have not only three games in a row, but three tough games in a row," he said.

 

Published 1/30/14

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Come on Man, Crestview Just wants to Play

 

          The Crestview Cougars have not played a high school boys' basketball game since January 10 and would just like to get back on the floor.

          However, Mother Nature might have other ideas this weekend.

          There is a winter storm watch posted for the greater Mansfield area from Friday evening through mid-day on Saturday due to some light snow and mostly wind and cold temperatures.

          Over the past couple of weeks road conditions have postponed some of the Cougars games and then last Saturday they were in the gym, the junior varsity game was in progress, and the lights go out and don't come back on for more than 90 minutes.  Ohio Edison says it was equipment failure at a sub station. 

          Coach Bryan Hall says it's been frustrating to say the least.  "Especially in our situation we have actually been on a little bit of a roll.  We have won three of our last five.  We were getting to the point in the season where we are really getting to know each other.  We know our strengths.  I think it kinds of hurts us a little bit.  We have been trying to reenact game situations in practice the best we can, but it never adds up to the game situation," he said.

          In that last game two weeks ago the Cougars buried South Central (61-46) in one of their better efforts of the year.

          On Friday night, the Cougars (4-6,3-3) travel to Mapleton (2-11,1-6) to face the Mounties.  Hall says despite their record, Mapleton has some talent.  "They have Brone back too, Wade and Gauge are brothers, and they both can shoot.  Their record doesn't show how good the really are.  They are a very talented team.  They play scrappy," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "They play physical.  If you don't match their scrappiness and physicalness during the game they will out match you.  That's where having this time off is a problem we hope to come out and match their intensity."

          Considering the time it has been since they have played guys wearing other uniforms, Hall thinks it will be important for them to get off to a good start in this game.  "Hopefully we get off to a good start.  I told the guys (Thursday) that there were going to be some cobwebs and hopefully we can get those cobwebs out during warm ups and then come out during the game and really get after it.  We need to see where we are at.  It's kind of like day one," he said.

 

Published 1/24/14

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Crestview Starting to Make Things Happen

 

          With a new coach and some new players it took the Crestview Cougars are little time to put things together, but they have done just that over the last couple of weeks.

          Last Friday, they beat South Central (61-45) in what was likely their best performance of the season.  Coach Bryan Hall says they are showing more balance on offense.  “We focused in a lot on defense and kind of identified them as a shooting team.  For the most part I think we got out on their shooters and forced them to take contested jump shots.  The end worked out in our favor.  Offensively we are starting to get in a little grove here and have knocked down some shots and that has been big for us,” said Hall.

          Offense can be about confidence and Hall says they are starting to feel it a little bit more now.  “We are now able to make shots they have always been there.  Just early on we weren’t knocking them down.  Our shooters are starting to get a little more confident.  We are also working the ball inside more and that is opening up our shooters outside more,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “At the beginning the season it was kind of like one or the other.  We were either shooting the ball outside or getting the ball inside, but now we are doing a little bit of both.  That has worked to our advantage.”

          The Cougars (4-6,3-3) don’t play on Friday night, but they host New London (5-5,4-2) on Saturday night in Firelands Conference action.  New London won the first meeting (42-33) between the teams in December.  Hall says they have to make this a quicker tempo game.  “This will be the second time we will play them.  When we played them up at New London they really shut us down.  It was kind of odd for us to go in and only score 33 points.  That shows a lot of what they do on defense.  Offensively they are starting to come around.  They are starting to knock down some shots.  Against them if they hold you into the 30’s there is a good chance they are going to be there in the end, so for us it is getting the tempo going and really try to knock shots down and try to push the score up,” said Hall.

 

Published 1/17/14

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Crestview Making Some Steps

 

          Crestview beat Norwalk St. Paul and took Western Reserve to overtime in their last two Firelands Conference games and they appear like they are going to be a better team in the second half of the season.

          First year coach Bryan Hall believes they have come through the holiday period a better team.  “I definitely think we are getting better.  We are heading in the right direction.  It has been kind of difficult because of the break and lately we have had some days off of school and practice because of snow, so it has definitely been a little rough on that end.  I would say we are headed in the right direction,” said Hall.

          Like everyone else in North Central Ohio the Cougars have been affected by the weather in recent days and Hall says that has not allowed them to get in as much practice time as he would like.  “(Wednesday) was our first day of practice this week.  Last week we only practiced once with New Year’s Day and everything.  Trying to get back into rhythm and do what we do.  Hopefully we get there,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “This week has been a little bit rough.  After South Central hopefully we get back into our regular practice routine and normal grove.”

          Crestview (3-6,2-3) plays host to South Central (5-4,3-2) in a Firelands Conference game on Friday night.  Hall says the Trojans have been playing a lot of young kids, but that doesn’t matter.  “I told our guys you can throw really young out the door because of the way coach Seidel has them playing together almost like a veteran group.  Although they are young you have to kind of ignore that and look at how they are playing rather than their age,” he said.

          South Central is a strong perimeter team with a number of players that can make outside shots.  Hall says they have to get out and get a hand in their face.  “That is what we have faced a lot in our conference play so far.  There have been guys out there that can knock down shots so we have had to get out on them.  We are becoming better defensively and hopefully we can match-up with their perimeter play and get out on them and force some mistakes,” he said.

 

Published 1/09/14

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Inside is the Answer For Crestview

 

          Crestview is going to be one of the bigger teams in the Firelands Conference this year and they are going to have to use that to their advantage.

          They learned that in a non-conference loss (80-46) to Clear Fork last week.  The Colts took a (53-19) halftime advantage and Crestview coach Bryan Hall says they talked to the kids at halftime about looking more to the post.  “In the first half we came out nervous and we kind of got into that mode where the pressure forced us to take some early shots that we normally wouldn’t take.  In the second half, we ended up going down low an utilizing our size and I think we ended up tying them in the second half 27-27,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “So, we are going to sort of build off of that.  I think the guys started realizing with our size that is something we are going to have to utilize to keep ourselves in ballgames.  We can’t always rely on the three.  I think we have worked on that and we have gotten a lot better with it.”

          With their height Crestview has the ability to score in the post, but they have to be able to get it there too.  Hall says that is going to be their biggest struggle in conference play.  “Unfortunately we are going to be going against a lot of teams in the Firelands Conference that have a lot of athletic guards.  So, we will get pressured a lot.  I think that will be their way of taking our post play out of it.  We are really working with our guards to handle that pressure and be able to get the ball down to our posts and that will get us going in the right direction,” he said.

          Crestview (0-1) plays at home against Monroeville (1-1) in the Firelands Conference opener for both on Friday night.  The Eagles lost their opener to Mansfield Christian (58-39) and then beat Seneca East (67-58) last Saturday.  Hall says Monroeville will play hard and aggressive.  “They are a quick scrappy team.  From what we have seen they play hard on defense and they get after it.  They have a couple shooters and if we don’t get out on them they will shoot the shot.  They will also rip it and take the ball to the basket if we don’t chop down.  They do have a big guy down low.  He is about 6’6”, so he’ll match up with us a little bit in size.  We’ll have our guys ready and it will be a little of a challenge for us,” said Hall.

 

Published 12/6/13

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Crestview Girls Start Conference Play

 

          Crestview has a lot of youth, but experienced youth, and they want to compete for an upper division finish in the Firelands Conference girls’ basketball race this year.

          We start to find out if that can be a reality this year when they play at Monroeville on Thursday night in the conference opener for both schools.

          Crestview blasted Hillsdale (62-27) in their first game on the opening night of the girls’ season on November 22 and then lost to Mansfield Madison (74-44) on November 26.  Coach Tracy Richards says against Madison they did not handle the press very well.  “We got off to a good start.  Hillsdale is a little down.  We played well that game.  Then we went up against a tough Madison opponent,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “They are as athletic as we are and they did a nice job with their pressure defense.  We didn’t handle it real well and got beat up on the boards.  We gave up the lane too early and often and we paid a high price for it.”

          Richards feels the Lady Cougars are at their best when they try to run the floor, but on that night at least Madison was just better.  “We want to play at a quick pace as well, but we found out that we were playing at a faster pace that we could and continue to execute and be successful at.  It was a non-conference game, and a tough opponent, and hopefully it makes us obviously better and helps us grow for the games coming up here later,” he said.

          It will be a contrast in styles on Thursday night as Richards describes Monroeville as a big, physical team.  He says they would like to make this more of a track meet.  “They are a big team and hopefully we can take advantage of some ball handling issues at their end.  We definitely want this to be an up and down game.  We don’t want them to be able to pound it in to their big posts and play the game at a slow pace and in the half court,” he said.

 

Published 12/5/13

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Crestview Needs Big Effort

 

          It is Bryan Hall’s first year at Crestview, but he is well informed about the Cougars first opponent this year on the Clear Fork Colts, who they play on the road on Friday night in a non-conference game.

          Hall was the varsity assistant at Ashland and Clear Fork is in the same league as the Arrows, the Ohio Cardinal Conference, so he has already coached against many of the Colts.

          As far as his own kids are concerned, Hall says they have made some progress over the last part of the preseason.  “We have been practicing for a couple of weeks now, so honestly I don’t think at this point it matters who we play.  I think the guys just want to get out there and see where we are at.  Being the first game of the season Clear Fork will a tough task for us.  We are up for the challenge and will see where we are at,” said Hall.

          Sometimes the preseason can become boring and monotonous and Hall thinks they have reached that point at Crestview.  He says the kids just want to play a game that counts.  “You could see a little bit of it during scrimmages the energy comes alive a little bit more.  So, they are all a little excited with it being game week.  They are ready to go,” he said.

          Clear Fork has the talent to finish in the upper half of the tough “OCC.”  Hall says coach Steven Bechtel has good talent and he knows what to do with it.  “Bechtel has a good group of kids and they always play hard.  They are all physical being at Clear Fork.  They will be ready to go too,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “He has two main shooters in Chrastina and Winand.  We have to make sure we get hand out on them and try to contain them, but with his guys down low we have to be physical and be able to control the boards.”

          How much will his familiarity with Clear Fork’s personnel help Crestview in this game?  Frankly, not much, according to Hall.  “It is a little bit of a bonus, but I would say they are still a really talented group and he will have them ready regardless of who he is playing and we have to see where we are at,” he said.

 

Published 11/27/13

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Crestview With New Coach

 

          The past couple of years Bryan Hall was an assistant basketball coach in the Ashland program under coach Tim Fralich and last summer he was chosen as the new head coach of the Crestview Cougars, taking over for Brant Danals, who resigned to pursue other opportunities.

          Hall had been working with some of the Crestview players in off season programs and with some engorgement he applied for the position with the Cougars.  “The last couple of years I was the JV coach and varsity assistant at Ashland, so with Crestview being up here and close to the Ashland community.  I also run some youth leagues up here in Ashland and I am familiar with a lot of families out at Crestview,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “A lot of the kids were playing for me.  When the job came open a lot them were pulling for me to apply for it.  I threw my name into the hat and things went well in the interviews.  I got the job and I’m very excited.”

          Last season, Crestview was very young and they won seven games and finished in a share of fifth place in the Firelands Conference.  Hall says they are still young, but improving every day.  “We are young.  I have two seniors and the team, four juniors and three sophomores.  We have six returning lettermen and that being said I still feel like we are young.  The guys have been working hard.  We have been scrimmaging and competing well.  We have areas to work on and we continue to work on those every day.   It’s a new system for the guys and there is a learning curve to get all of that in,” said Hall.

          They open the season next Friday with Clear Fork, out of the Ohio Cardinal Conference and then play Ontario, one of the heavyweights in the Northern Ohio League.  Hall believes they are bringing some momentum into this year from last, but he knows they will face a couple of tough games against bigger schools.  “Honestly the first couple games are big challenges for us with Clear Fork, coach Bechtel is returning a lot, they are a very talented program.  Then the next week with Ontario they are a very talented program too.  Our first couple of games will challenge us and hopefully the bumps in the road we had last year will help push us through this year.” He said.

 

Published 11/21/13

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Crestview Counting on Some Young Talent

 

          Crestview was around a .500 girls’ basketball team a year ago, but this year could see them a take a couple of steps forward with a good mix of younger talent on the floor.

          Couch Tracy Richards says his players have the athletic skill to make some plays, now they just have to start running their offenses and defenses a little bit better.  “We have got a good young core.  We have only got three seniors and our core group in made up of sophomores.  They are athletic.  They are making some young mistakes, but it’s an exciting group,” he said.

          Renee Stimpert was an all-district player for the Lady Cougars as a freshman, but Richards says she will be joined by some other capable young players.  “Obviously Renee (Stimpert) was one of the top freshmen in the area.  Then we had three other freshmen Nikki Ristelli, Katlyn Faulk, Lexi Shriver that all came up at the end of the year and played some real meaningful minutes for us in games late in the year and into the tournament,” he said.

          Athleticism is good, but Richards says to be more successful they have to player better together as a team, especially on defense.  “We definitely need to work on some chemistry and rebounding.  We are kind of selfish on defense.  You normally talk about being selfish on offense, but we are king of hugging people and being a little selfish on defense, so we definitely are going to have to sure those things up,’ said Richards.

          Western Reserve has been the dominate force in the Firelands Conference in girls’ basketball over the last several years, but they lost a lot to graduation, plus longtime coach Brenda Friend has retired.  Richards thinks that South Central is likely the preseason favorite to claim the title this winter.  “I think I am pointing toward South Central as the preseason favorites.  They have the Hintz girls.  Becky is doing a nice job there.  They have pretty good talent,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “Western graduated quite a bit.  They are probably going to have to go through some growing pains.  I think Mapleton and coach Hess does a great job, so they could be the sleeper that jumps up there and takes it all as well.”

 

Published 11/12/13

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Responsibly a key for Crestview

 

          The regular season is coming to end for most teams on Friday and Crestview is kind of unhappy with that fact because they have played their best football the last couple of weeks.

          The Cougars shutout Monroeville (44-0) last week.  Coach Chad Coffman says it was likely their most consistent performance of the season.  “Early on we made a few mistakes here and there, but defensively we were able to bend a little bit and not break.  As the game wore on we played better and better defensively.  Offensively we kind of relied on the big play initially, but we kind of moved the ball more consistently as the game wore on.  I think top to bottom considering everything it was probably as complete a game as we played,” he said.

          Defensively the Cougars have really turned it on in the last month.  Coffman says they have found their grove.  “Switching defensive systems was a little bit of an adjustment for our kids at times, but guys really seem to be coming into it now and making adjustments.  I think we have become a group that has struggled in our own system it is a group that seems to be doing pretty well with this one.  Hopefully we can finish it out this week that will be a big deal for us.  We are kind of playing right now like we would like to play a few more weeks,” he said.

          Crestview (4-5,3-3) plays host to rival Plymouth (5-4,2-4) on Friday night.  With a win the Big Red has a chance to make the playoffs.  Coffman says the Big Red is very athletic.  “They are a real good football team.  They have got a lot of athletic ability and speed, that is probably the strength of their team is their skilled kids.  I know they have a lot to play for.  I think if they win I would imagine they would go to the playoffs,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “For us it is huge win trying to be in the upper part of the conference and kind of get back to where we expect to be.  Then you throw the rivalry thing into it.  I think it should be a great high school football game Friday night.  I am sure those guys will come over here and play real hard, so it’s important that we play hard too.”

          In order to slow down Plymouth, Coffman says they just have to be sound fundamentally and just do what they are supposed to do.  “We are just going to have to be sound.  I think that is the biggest thing that we play responsibly football and guys do their job.  When we do that we tend to play really well and a good job.  When we try to do other things and do other people’s responsibilities it kind of gets us in trouble.  The big thing for us is to get lined up and tackle.  When we have lined up this year and did our responsibilities we have been pretty good on defense,” he said

 

Published 10/30/13

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It’s About Running the Ball For Crestview

 

          They almost pulled off the upset last week, but St. Paul exploded in the fourth quarter, and now it is back to the drawing board for the Crestview Cougars.

          They led St. Paul (14-10) early in the fourth quarter and then coach Chad Coffman says things went south in a hurry and they ended up on the wrong end (45-17) of the score.  “St. Paul is a really good football team.  They are ranked in D-7 and it looks like they will probably win the conference again this year. We came out and played pretty well, especially defensively.  We were able to make a few plays offensively and finish a couple of drives.  Unfortunately we kind of let it get away from us.  We had a couple of misalignments on defense that really hurt us.  We had a couple of big turnovers that they were able to convert into points,” said Coffman.

          This week Crestview (3-5,2-3) plays host to the Monroeville Eagles (1-7,1-4) in a Firelands Conference game.  Due mostly to injuries, Coffman says this fall has been a struggle for the Eagles.  “They came into this year with a conference that has a lot of parity and had a lot of really good players.  I’m sure they had a lot higher expectations than where they are right now.  Every year we play them they are always physical.  I know the Farley kid on the d-line has been out most of the year, but he as has been back for a couple of weeks and will be good to go for us,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Heck, the real good defensive player and running back, has been out most of the year, but has been back the last week or two.  I am sure the will present a big challenge.  I know there were some games when they had seven starters out.  I can relate to that a little bit, but we expect to see most of those guys Friday night and it should be an exciting football game.”

          Monroeville runs a multiple offense and Coffman says they might see just about anything from them.  “They run the spread one play, the will be in the “T,” and they still do a little bit of the run and shoot from the past.  They will really show you a lot of different looks,” he said.

          Running the ball is something that the Cougars program has always relied on and Coffman says they need to get back to that more.  “It seemed like we were getting a lot more consistent and better offensively.  The reality of Friday night is St. Paul is a really good defensive team.  We made a few plays, but we really had opportunities to make other plays, whether it was misreads or drops or whatever the case may be.  We just weren’t able to be consistent enough and that is what we will really shoot for this week, kind of be able to establish that ground game a little bit better.  When we do those things we are usually at our best,” Coffman said.

 

Published 10/24/13

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Crestview Looking for Upset of St. Paul

 

          They did it last week and now the Crestview Cougars need to turn it up even another notch as they try to hang the first Firelands Conference loss on Norwalk St. Paul.

          Last week, the Cougars (3-4,2-2) were underdogs when they broke Mapleton’s five game winning streak (30-21) in conference action.  Coach Chad Coffman says it some ways it was their best performance of the season.  “In some ways it was with the adversity of having to go on the road and that kind of things plays in there.  It makes it certainly a challenge.  Defensively other than a couple of plays we were really consistent defensively and did a really good job.  It was big turning point, hopefully, for us as we finish up the rest of the year,” he said.

          The Cougars were able to slow down Travis Pickering, the leading rusher in the conference, and Coffman says they did it by controlling the line of scrimmage.  “Coming into the game that was certainly a concern that we had.  We had watched the yards that he had put up, which were really impressive numbers.  He was over 1,000 yards in six games.  He had really run wild against Plymouth and some other people.  That was a big focal point for us,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “I know we had held him to negative yards going into the fourth quarter.  He did bust a big run on a touchdown drive that kind of got them back in the game, but other than that we were able to do a really good job and contain him.”

          St. Paul (6-1,4-0), #5 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the small school division, hold a one game lead on Mapleton and Western Reserve in the conference standings.  Coffman says they can just come at you in so many ways.  “Most St. Paul teams are really good teams.  I think the thing with this one is they just have a lot of weapons.  They have three, four, five guys that run the ball affectively.  They have a little more depth, which I think has helped them on defense.  They really seem to be clicking on all cylinders right now.  When you watch their games at times they are dominate, but the biggest thing is they just don’t make mistakes.  If you don’t make mistakes and you capitalize on the mistakes of your opponents you end up looking pretty good,” said Coffman.

          Again if they are going to come up with the win, Coffman knows they have to do the same thing they did last week, control the point of attack.  “We will have to control the line of scrimmage.  Mapleton had some great skill and things like that, but we were definitely able to win the battle up front and that is when a lot of these games get settled.  Coach Livengood does a great job with his line.  They are always well prepared and very physical and certainly we are going to have to be ready to do that for 48 minutes.  We will have to be able to match their intensity and consistency if we want to have a chance to beat them,” said Coffman.

 

Published 10/17/13

© Swankonsports.com    

 

 
   

Crestview Trying to Match Mapleton up Front

 

          It has been an up and down season for Crestview so far, but it is going to need to be one of their better weeks this week when they travel to Mapleton to meet the Firelands Conference co-leading Mounties.

          Last week, the Cougars (2-4,1-2) lost at Western Reserve (35-20) in a conference game.  Coach Chad Coffman says they got behind early and could never make it up.  “It was one of those games that was a little different weather wise.  We ended up missing most of the pre game because of lightning.  Our game got delayed a little bit.  Unfortunately we did start out kind of slow.  Western did come out and try to run the ball on us.  We did a decent job at times stopping that.  We did give up some big plays in the passing game against them.  Even though we did end up with a lot of yards we didn’t finish drives.  That first quarter was an up hill battle we were competitive, but we couldn’t turn the corner and get caught up,” said Coffman.

          The Crestview coach says they have to be ready to play right at the kickoff and that has not always been the case this year.  “To me if it happens once it is too often and it has definitely happened more than once.  It does seem to be something that we need to work and improve on.  One some occasions we come out and do seem to be ready to go.  The reality is Friday night you have to be ready to go for the full 48 minutes.  It is something that even this far into the season we are trying to do consistently,” he said.

          Mapleton (5-1,3-0) is enjoying its best season in over 20 years and Coffman thinks one of the big reasons is they are more committed to the running game.  “I think they are a lot better up front on the offensive and defensive side of the ball.  I think that is a big deal.  Pickering is a very good running back.  They seem to be a lot more committed to involving him consistently in the game plan,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “That has really made them tough to defend I think.  They still have the big play receivers and a lot of guys that can make big plays.  That ability to establish him with the running game is big.  He is one of the better backs we will play and it makes them tougher to defend.  They have played really well.”  Pickering set a school single game rushing record with 381 yards three weeks ago again Plymouth.

          Because their line play is better, Coffman says the Mapleton defense is better and tougher to move the ball against.  “They have had a pretty good offense for several years it seems like and really it has been the defense that has hurt them.  Up front on defense they seem to be a lot better.  Because they have pretty good athletes they are naturally already pretty good in the secondary.  They have gotten pretty good play out of their linebackers. Some of it is probably just growing up.  These are kids that played as freshmen and sophomores.  They are little older now and a little stronger and more physical.  When they play well defensively it is going to give them more chances to get the ball in the hands of the guys that make plays.  It is going to be a big challenge to try and move the ball and be successful against their defense,” said Coffman.

 

Published 10/10/13

© Swankonsports.com  

 

 
   

Crestview Tangles With New London

 

          With their first win under their belt, the Crestview Cougars are ready to begin Firelands Conference play and it starts this Friday with a home game against the New London Wildcats.

          Last week, Crestview (1-2) railed to beat traditional power Wynford (26-21) with a fourth quarter TD pass from Nick Wheeler to Aaron King.  Coach Chad Coffman says it was a big win for the program.  “We opened up on the road the fist couple of weeks against a couple of really good teams and they were really able to magnify the mistakes that we made.  We had a great week of practice and we knew we were going to be on our home field.  We had Wynford coming in, a great football program.  We were able to compete and make the plays we had to make and get a huge win for us at home,” he said.

          Wheeler threw three touchdown passes on the night and Coffman likes the balance he is seeing from a Crestview team that has always relied on the run.  “Offensively I always like to be well rounded and be able to do a little bit of everything.  One thing we wanted to do in the game was make sure we could run the ball a little bit better and throughout the game we did that.  We made some strides in the running game,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We were also able to make some plays in the passing game, which is important to us.  I think as this team develops and we are able to stay healthy we will probably end up being the most balanced run-pass team that I have had since I have been here.  That makes you harder to defend and a little bit better team overall.”

          New London (2-1) won their first two against Buckeye Central (20-7) and Oberlin Firelands (35-7) before suffering a loss last week to Colonel Crawford (33-26) in their final non-conference game.  Coffman says they have some weapons.  “They are really good football team.  We went over there last year and it was a really hard fought game and they were able to get us in the end.  It kind of propelled them into having a very good season.  One of the better ones that they have had in years.  They bring a lot of kids back.  They have a lot of speed.  They have a lot of size.  Their only loss is to a really good opponent.  They are going to challenge us in a lot of ways.  They are going to be physical and certainly fast.  It will be a big challenge for us all over the field,” said Coffman.

          Although they can throw the ball, Coffman says New London is going to look to run first.  “It seems like for a long time since I have been here they were pass first.  They ran the ball really well last year and could throw it some.  I think having a veteran quarterback back with some experience I think they throw it a little better thus year, but they are definitely run first.  They have a couple of really good running backs and their quarterback is a run threat.  I think they are a run first team and that is going to be what we have to stop,” he said.

          These are two schools predicted to finish in the middle of the pack in the Firelands and Coffman says the winner might be the one that becomes a contender.  “I guess the way we address it is we talk about we are in a position where we control our own destiny.  Right now everybody is tied and it’s really up to who gets it done.  We know this given week we are going have two good teams play each other on our field and somebody is going to leave there tied for first in the Firelands and the other team is going to have more of an uphill battle. We need to come out and compete those 48 minutes, especially being at home will be big game for us as far as the Firelands goes,” said Coffman.

 

Published 9/17/13

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Crestview Looking at Another Tough Challenge

 

          Crestview has gotten off to a rough start to the season as the Cougars have lost their first two on the road.  They come home this week only to find traditional power Wynford.

          Last week, Loudonville, #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the small school division, belted the Cougars (41-0) on week two.

          Coach Chad Coffman says the Redbirds are just really good.  “They are a very good football team and they play incredibly hard.  They have got a lot of athletes and they are able to play a lot kids.  Right now, they seem to be clicking really well and played really well right now,” he said.

          Crestview is a team that has relied on the run over the years and right now Coffman says they just aren’t executing like they should be.  “I think the biggest thing for us is just the fundamentals.  We have to start blocking better and kind of getting our run game going.  It is something we have struggled with a little bit.  We were able to throw the ball real well against Northwestern, but we went into the game against Loudonville with a quarterback that was kind sick and a little dinged up and he didn’t make it very long,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “Those were things that we kind of had to adjust to.  We were able to get some other kids some reps, which is always a good thing heading into conference.  We just have to get back to the fundamentals and the basics.  We have some guys that have had some success offensively.  We just have to be a little bit more consistent and have younger guys get some more experience.”

          Crestview has given up 91 points in the first two weeks, but Coffman believes they are getting better on that side of the ball.  “I think we are making some progress defensively.  I think some of that will come out futuristically when we get into some of these other games.  We have made a lot more tackles for loss.  Also we have to continue tackle better and a big challenge with the good people we’ve had to play.  Wynford will be the same way.  They have great skilled position players with big, strong, physical, fast kids.  That will be a big challenge for us.  Probably the biggest thing other than the fundamentals is just taking care of the ball.  We are minus nine after two games.  Usually when you are minus nine you are not going to have a chance to compete and win football games,” said Coffman.

          This is the first meeting on the football field between the two longtime football powers.  Coffman says Wynford kids just know how to play football.  “I think the name says it all.  They are a great football program.  They have had a tremendous amount of success over the last several years.  They just play hard and they do a good job.  All of their kids are really fundamentally sound and they are very well coached.  They will be a big challenge whether it is trying to tackle their running back or defend against the pass, which they do pretty well.  Defensively they play a 4-3 and they do a great job with it.  There kids have played deep into the playoffs.  It will be nice to be back home.  We finally get a chance to play on our home field.  Hopefully that is something we can have some enthusiasm about and compete the way we should,” said Coffman.

          With the way the season has started Coffman knows they need to have a good start against Wynford.  “I think it is important in any given game to start out well.  As I think back over my career there have been a couple of times that I have had teams that have started slow and maybe do turn around and come back and win.  If you are going to play a really good football team it’s important to come out and start out well and be ready to go.  I thought against Northwestern we were able to do some things early and were positive.  We weren’t able to do that last week.  We need to make sure momentum doesn’t build the other way.  Another big thing is we need to learn how to respond to adversity,” said Coffman.        

 

 
   

Crestview Defense Must Improve

 

          There have been games when a team gives up 50 points and wins, there have been games when a team gives up 70 and wins, but not very often.

          Crestview’s coaching staff knows they have to get better on defense after absorbing a loss (50-21) to West Salem Northwestern on Friday night in non-league play.

          Coach Chad Coffman says Northwestern has great athletes and they just didn’t make it happen on the defensive side of the ball.  “As far as Northwestern goes they have a lot of talent. Special teams wise we gave up a couple of scores that made the defense look a little worse that they were.  We made some plays, but obviously consistency wise we weren’t able to do it.  It as 14-7 at the half and we came out and stopped them on the first possession of the second half.  That ability to go four quarters is something we need to continue to work on,” said Coffman.

          It is not as simple as it seems, but Coffman says they didn’t get lined up correctly to start the play last week.  “You have to get lined up.  I thought overall as far as tackling and making some plays we were able to do that, but they had some athletes and we missed some tackles.  If you miss that first or second chance to get somebody Northwestern is probably going to make a good football play,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “I think the biggest thing is getting lined up and that is what disappointed me.  All week in practice we have focused on that.  If you don’t line up right you are not going to have a very good opportunity to stop people.”

          Crestview plays at Loudonville (1-0) on Friday night in another non-conference game.  Again Coffman says the Redbirds have playmakers.  “Their kids play incredibly hard and that’s probably where it starts.  They are just blessed with tremendous speed.  Weber is a very physical back and their line is very physical.  The biggest thing is the other kids, Edmiston, really do the job.  They work hard on their passing game.  They really spread you out and make you defend the whole field.  It’s going to be critical that we tackle better and that is what we have worked on this week,” said Coffman.

          In trying to defend a spread offense Coffman says you are often in a position when you need to make an individual tackle.  “That is kind of the trend in football now that it really becomes a game of space.  In that space it is going to come down to one or two guys making a play.  That is stuff you have to work on.  Against Northwestern we had eight tackles for loss, had a couple of sacks, it isn’t like we didn’t make some big plays, it’s just we didn’t make big plays consistently.  Sometimes we missed at the point of attack and didn’t manage to get them down,” he said.

 

Published 9/04/13

© Swankonsports.com   

 

 
   

Crestview Wants to Run it

 

          After a poor season a year ago, the Crestview Cougars want to return to their status as one of the best small school teams in the area and to do that they need to be able to run the ball and tackle the other guys.

          Crestview plays at West Salem Northwestern, a playoff team from last year, on Friday night.

          Cougars head coach Chad Coffman says he has seen a lot of good things this month during preseason work.  “I think we have definitely made progress and that’s a plus.  It’s always a little bit of a race when you head into the season, especially in a year like this that seemed like it was a little bit short starting late and getting in school early.  The question always is have you gotten to the point that you needed too for that first game?  We have battled through some injuries and things.  We are definitely better than we were a few weeks ago.  That is kind of the key through the season to keep improving and hopefully that is something we will do on a day to day basis,” said Coffman.

          He says he wants to return to running the ball efficiently and being able to get stops when they need them, something they were not very good at a year ago.  “It is always hard to say what the best part will be.  I think at least in theory we have always had pretty good running backs and we have run the ball pretty well.  We bring a couple of guys back that had success last year.  We bring most of our line back.  So, hopefully this will be a team that will be like most Crestview teams and be able to do the things that we do traditionally well and that run the football,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “I think the other big key for is our defense has kind of reemerged.  Crestview is really known for hard hitting defense.  That was probably our biggest struggle last year.  Those will probably be the two indicators about how things are going for us.”

          Northwestern is going to be one of the best teams in the Wayne County Athletic League again this year.  Coffman looks for them to do a lot of the same things they did last year.  “If you watched them play last year you will pretty much feel like you are watching them again.  They bring most of their guys back and almost all of their skill back.  They have a lot of speed.  Not that they don’t have a lot of size too.  They have a couple of lineman over 300 pounds. They are a big physical team with just a lot of speed.  They just have a lot of athletic ability on their team right now, so that will be the big challenge for us is to handle the size and strength, but also to be able to address their speed, which their strength,” he said.

          The Huskies walloped Crestview (48-14) last year and Coffman says this time they are going to have to be able to stop the big play.  “Throughout the year they made a lot of big plays and unfortunately we gave up way too many big plays when we played them.  It starts with getting lined up and then the reality of when the snap happens we have to do a good job of taking care of our responsibilities and really getting tackles.  I think that combination of getting lined up and being a little crisp and sharp that way and then tackling are going to be the big things.  A lot of times big plays in high school football happen because of fundamentals,” said Coffman.

 

Published 8/30/13

© Swankonsports.com  

 

 
   

Can Crestview Get Back to the Top?

 

          In 2011, Crestview won the Firelands Conference title and finished the regular season unbeaten.  Last year they only won two games.

          Last week, coach Chad Coffman told Swankonsports.com that their defense had to be better and last week in a scrimmage against Smithville he saw some that come together.  “I think in a lot of areas we have made improvement.  We did have our first scrimmage with Smithville.  Like anything there were a lot of this we saw that we would like to improve.  I think some positive signs were defensively we did a lot better job of eliminating big plays.  We tackled better.  We were a lot more consistent with our responsibilities.  I think that is a big deal for us.  Then on the offensive side, Jay and Aaron, our two running backs were really solid.  Nick Wheeler threw the ball pretty well.  Overall we were able to get some young kids in there and get them some reps and had quite a few yards and played decent defense.  It was a nice step in the right direction, but as we kind of reminded the kids though it is really about how much better we get here in the next week as far as becoming the team that we hope to be,” said Coffman.

          Big plays are really a factor in high school football.  If you can make those you win and if can’t stop them you lose.  Coffman says you also have to take care of the ball.  “High school is really not going to change much.  It is tough to put those long, multi-play drives together.  The other thing is taking care of the ball and trying to get those turnovers the other way.  Those are always big factors that play in there.  We only did one set of first and 10, but we were able to have a good drive.  We went nine plays and 70 yards and got a touchdown.  As a coach you love to be able to drive the ball like that.  It is a big challenge to do it,” said Coffman.

          Crestview plays West Salem Northwestern, a talented team from the Wayne County Athletic League, in their first game next Friday.  Coffman says they have to tackle and run the ball, not just then, but all year.  “We open the season with three football teams, and I have had a chance to see them all play, in Northwestern, Loudonville, and Wynford, that are all very, very good football teams.  They are all blessed with tremendous speed, they are all physical, and they all have big guys,” he told Swankonsports.com, “That has forced us to kind of say hey we are going to have to tackle really well.  We are going to have to line up and play our responsibility and we are really going to have to rally to the football.  Those are things we have focused on knowing we will have to do that against all three.  Offensively at Crestview when we are at our best we run the football.  We are having some of those longer drives.  We are shortening the game a little bit.”

 

 
   

Crestview Looking for a Comeback

 

          Crestview always seemed to be near the top of the Firelands Conference football standings until last year.

          In fact, two seasons ago they had an unbeaten regular season and went two weeks deep in the playoffs.  However, last year they were only 2-8 and finished seventh in the conference standings.

          Coach Chad Coffman says this year they have some more experience and it has been a different August.  “It was kind of different starting a little bit late this year, but things are coming to together.  I guess what I have noticed so far is we have a little bit of a smaller group this year, but they are a close group.  They have worked really hard and we tried to get better every day.  That is the big thing.  Through these two weeks I have really seen some improvement in some things that we weren’t able to make all of last season.  It is nice when you are seeing those things happen even in the preseason.  The biggest thing for us is we need to continue to work and hopefully get better each day,” said Coffman.

          The Crestview coach says they don’t have great numbers this year, but the kids they do have have some talent.  “We had a lot of guys last year, but we just didn’t return a lot of experience and starters and that kind of thing.  A lot of guys just kind of got thrown into the fire.  I think the difference this year is we have some guys with experience.  They realize we didn’t have the year we wanted to and they really went to work.  We definitely got a little bigger and stronger and faster.  Now the key is putting that together and playing good football.  The seniors have been part of some good football teams.  I think they feel that it is really big deal to get back to playing the way we are accustomed,” he said.

          Some things the Cougars have been working on in practice include tackling better and finishing drives by not turning the ball over as much.  “From a coaching standpoint everything needs to be improved.  The biggest thing for us last year is we didn’t play very well defensively.  That has been a big focal point for us is to try and work real hard at tackling better, to line up better and just really work our technique and do a better job on that side of the ball,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Offensively we did have some success at times moving the ball, but we have to get better.  We have to be more consistent driving the football and finishing drives.  We need to take care if the ball because there were some times when turnovers really hurt us.  Those are the big things that we have really focused on.  I think special teams wise we look a lot better this year and that is always a big part of the game as well.  As we move forward it is really about focusing on different things each day.”

          The Firelands Conference has often been split in half with Norwalk St. Paul, Monroeville, Western Reserve and Crestview at the top and then the rest.  Coffman thinks it may be different this year.  “St. Paul is always at the top and they have a great group coming back with a lot of really good kids and good players.  They have to replace a really good tailback, but because of injury they played a lot without him last year.  I think Monroeville has a ton of kids back from a team that was pretty physical and pretty solid.  Obviously Western has been at the top of the conference for a good while.  I know their numbers are down a little bit, but they still have in the upper couple of grades a lot of talent.  Plymouth really had a break out year for them a year ago and they return a lot of skill and talent.  New London had a really good year and they return a lot of skill.  Mapleton to me, when you look at them, one through six they have as good a athletes as anybody in the conference or better.  It is going to be an interesting race.  It’s a wide open kind of race and it should be exciting,” said Coffman.    

 

 
   

Crestview Battles Back

 

          Crestview bounced back on Tuesday to even their record with a win over the Bucyrus Redmen in non-conference play and they got a good effort on the mound.

          After losing (17-9) to Norwalk on Monday, the Cougars (1-1) rallied to beat Bucyrus (7-3) on Tuesday.  Coach Rob Gross says it was a win they needed from a confidence standpoint.  “My assistant coaches and I were just talking (Tuesday) night on the way home is the one thing we can say about them is they are resilient.  We had a big inning to fight back against Norwalk on Monday night.  It was a 12-8 game before they kind of pulled away.  (Tuesday) night Bucyrus had a lead 1-0 going into the fourth inning.  We score five runs in the top of the fourth and we were able to add a few more after that.  It’s certainly nicer to be 1-1 instead of 0-2,” said Gross.

          It has bee a little role reversal for the Cougars in their first two games because Gross felt they would need to rely on their pitching, at least early in the season, but they have come out and hit the ball well.  “I have told everybody that the strength is our pitching and I still believe that.  I was concerned with some of those younger guys adapting to the varsity level.  With some freshmen and even JV guys moving up I didn’t know how we would be hitting the ball.  In the first two games I can’t complain about 16 runs and maybe 16, 17 hits, so far in the first two games.  It would be nice if we could continue that, so all of the pressure is not on our pitchers all of the time,” said Gross.

          Now what about the pitching?  Any concerns there?  Gross says no.  “My number one pitcher Anthony Wolford pitched Monday.  We knew going in that Norwalk was a very solid team.  I start my number one against them every year because to me that is what should happen.  He didn’t throw bad.  You know, three and a third innings.  He had 5 k’s.  It’s a 2-1 game going into the third inning.  Unfortunately there is a rough top of the third inning for him.  My other guys came in and did a decent job,” he told Swankonsports.com Tuesday evening, “(Tuesday) my number two guy Dustin came in and threw five great innings.  He gave up two runs.  Then I had another young lefty that pitched for the first time on the varsity and threw two innings giving up only one run there in the seventh.  Some of it is, and I’m sure every coach would say, that weather is pretty brutal.  I know it’s harder for pitchers to throw in this weather.”

          Crestview plays Loudonville on Thursday, Black River on Friday and a doubleheader with Hillsdale on Saturday.  Gross says they would like to get on a roll.  “When I talked to the guys after the game they were excited to get that first win.  I don’t know as much about Loudonville.  I know they graduated some guys, but we play Thursday, Friday and a double on Saturday.  I have already heard our guys saying we want to be 5-1 at the end of the week.  That’s a great goal.  You hope something like that happens and we can take that into conference play next week.  It would nice to get on a roll going into conference play next week,” said Gross.   

 

 
   

Crestview Counting on Pitching

 

          If Crestview is going to reclaim the Firelands Conference baseball title this spring they are going to do it with their pitching.

          The Cougars won the title in 2011, but it was Plymouth that claimed the outright title last year.

          Crestview coach Rob Gross says he has been pleased with what he has seen in practices that have been held inside the gym this spring, but he wants to see what the players have when they are outside.  “I have been pretty happy.  We did lose a pretty good core of kids, but I really like the group of kids that I do have coming back.  They are very coachable.  It has been difficult though to evaluate everyone, that’s why I am hoping with have the ability to get some scrimmages in just because you can only do so many things in the gym.  They have been very personable and working hard.  That’s what you need in a group especially stuck inside as much as we have been,” he said.

          Almost all of the teams in North Central Ohio have spent most of their time inside and Gross says that has a real affect on both pitching and hitting when it comes to the season.  “I think it affects both a little bit.  You can sit there and do all of the drill work.  You can hit inside the cage.  We have had our pitchers throw live inside the cage.  You are getting a little bit of that competition level.  I think that it affects both because when you are outside you see a ball differently.  A hitter sees the ball differently outside than in the gym lights inside,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday. “A pitcher is going to have wind outside where they don’t have wind inside when they are throwing pitches.  The one thing being inside that is a positive is you can continue to fine tune your pitching mechanics, your hitting mechanics, your fielding mechanics and work on those fundamentals as much as you can.”

          There will be some younger players in the Crestview lineup this spring and Gross says, at least over the first couple of weeks, they will be relying on their pitching.  “This year it is going to be our pitching.  I have my top three starters back.  I believe all but three or four wins.  That is a good place for us to start.  Especially with the way the weather typically is, and has been so far this year, being cold, and with the new bats that we brought out last year.  You could see last year that there was a definite advantage for a pitcher over a hitter, so I think that’s a plus until I get some of my younger guys that have been moved up from JV accustomed to the varsity level.  I talked to our three pitchers, two seniors and one junior, that they are probably going to have to carry us early on,” said Gross.  

 

 
   

Crestview Coach Resigns

 

          Crestview coach Brant Danals has resigned his position as boys’ basketball coach in the district.

          He will remain as a teacher through the remainder of the school year.

          In an e-mail to Swankonsports.com Danals says he will be seeking a new career opportunity.  “I can confirm for you that I have resigned from the position in order to pursue a career in a different field of study.  I will remain at Crestview through the remainder of the school year, at which time I will begin my new career.  I can assure you when you contact our AD he will confirm this,” said Danals.

          Calls to Athletic Director Rob Gross by Swankonsports.com seeking comment have not immediately been returned.

          Crestview finished its season at 7-14 with a loss to Ontario in the sectional tournament last week.  They were 18-24 in two seasons under Danals, including 0-2 in the tournament.

 

 
   

Crestview Girls Need Better Outside Shooting

 

          Last season was not a good one for the Crestview Lady Cougars.  They finished at 1-20 for the season and in tie for seventh place in the Firelands Conference with Monroeville.

          Coach Tracy Richards says they work hard in practice and on the floor, but they need to become better shooters if they are going to win more games this year.  “We have nowhere to go but up after last year.  It’s a great group of kids and I can tell we are a lot more athletic than we were last year.  We just have to do a better job knocking down shots.  From what we are seeing in our scrimmages we are getting some open looks, but we haven’t hit a whole of them.  We also have to continue to work with rebounding and ball handling,” said Richards.

          This season, Richards says he would like to see the Lady Cougars attempt some more three pointers and they are working a lot on that.  “We would like to be able to expend our range and be a little more of a threat from the three point line.  We aren’t a big team to begin with and obviously getting the reward of that extra point you can afford to shoot a little lesser percentage.  At this point we aren’t there, but that’s where we want to get too,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday.

          A real key to improvement for the Lady Cougars will be to the make their press and half court defense more affective.  Richards hopes that will lead to more layups for them.  “We are trying to get back to the old Crestview way.  We want to pressure the ball more for 94 feet and try to create easier opportunities.  Not being a good shooting team, hopefully, that gets us some more open looks and it helps our scoring a little bit too,” Richards said.

          Western Reserve won the conference title and lost to Centerburg in the regional semi finals.  Richards says they Lady Rough Riders will be the conference favorite again.  “Definitely Western is at the top of the list with that starting five and Brenda has always done a great job.  You can’t overlook South Central.  Hintz has another year under her.  She is going to be a dominate player in there.  Obviously with the loss of Tackett, and her big scoring punch, hurts them,” said Richards.  

 

 
   

Crestview and Plymouth Play For Pride

 

          Last year there was a lot riding in the result of the Crestview versus Plymouth football game.  This year not so much.

          The two rivals meet on Friday in Plymouth to see who is better this year.  In most years it has been the Cougars as Plymouth has not won a game in this series since the 90’s.

          Last Saturday, Crestview (2-7,1-5) was thumped by Norwalk St. Paul (56-13) in a Firelands Conference game.  Coach Chad Coffman says they had a lot of trouble stopping the Flyers run game.  “I think the reality of it is we really struggled to stop them.  They are healthy and they always do a good job and play better as the year goes on.  I think Griffin their running back is as good as anybody we saw all year.  Honestly when they had their struggles he wasn’t playing.  I think that has been a big deal for them to get him back.  I guess for us we didn’t compete or play the way that we would have hoped,” he told Swankonsports.com, “I do think offensively, especially early in the game, we showed some sings of life and were able to do some things.  We scored on two of our first four possessions.  I think in those four possessions we had about 230 yards of offense.  Those are some things that we can kind of draw off of, but we are going to have to be a lot better on Friday night and really come to play defensively to be prepared for Plymouth.”

          There have been a number of games this season where the Cougars have gotten off to some good starts ad then faded.  Coffman says it’s still about consistency or the lack there of.  “It has been a little bit of an issue that we haven’t been able to be consistent as we would like to be at times.  It is just one of those things as you go through the learning curve and those growing pains if you will.  That is something we struggled with at times.  I know that for a while we were playing pretty well offensively and we just needed to be a little better defensively and then it seemed like we started to play a little better defensively and struggling on offense.  It is really about putting it together and being more consistent and that is what we continue to work on here at the end of the season,” said Coffman.

          Earlier in the week, Plymouth coach Mark Genders called the teams similar, but Coffman says it his option the Big Red has some more experience in their lineup.  “I think they have a really good football team.  They did lose a bunch of really good leaders last year.  I guess the difference between us and then is they still have 17 or 18 seniors compared to our two.  I don’t know that they have been playing worse necessarily.  I think it was kind of a thing where the schedule caught up with them.  The two best teams in the league are the ones they have struggled with.  I think you will see a lot of teams in the league struggle with them.  I know it will be a huge game for their seniors and it’s a rival game.  We are going to have to go down there and be real sound in everything we do,” he said.

          Until this year Plymouth had relied on a power running game, but Coffman says on Friday night they are going to see some spread out of the Big Red as well.  “They have a pretty good amount of speed.  I think that speed lends itself to trying to do different things.  I do think at times they will try to attack the perimeter against us.  They have a couple of packages that they are able to do that.  I think they still have that element where they want to get in three backs or get in tight and run the ball.  They have some big, strong, physical linemen.  I think you will see a combination with them.  They really do like to run to set up the pass.  They did a good job of that last year,” said Coffman.

 

 
   

Crestview Wants to Compete

 

          It has not been a Crestview like football season.  The Cougars won their first Firelands Conference game of the year last week against Mapleton.

          They can sort of make their season with an upset of conference co-leader Norwalk St. Paul at Whitney Field on Saturday night.

          Last week, the Cougars (2-6,1-4) kicked their offense into high gear when they beat Mapleton (42-28) in conference play.  Coach Chad Coffman says they were able to get their running game going a little bit.  “It wasn’t perfect, but games usually aren’t.  We were able to fairly frequently when we had the ball have some good drives and eat a lot of clock and finish with touchdowns.  Those were critical things in our ability to beat them on Friday night,” he said.

          Crestview won the conference title last year and finished the regular season unbeaten.  This year they have played with a much more inexperienced lineup.  Coffman says it has been a learning experience for those players.  “We really have been able to gain a lot of experience for our younger guys.  It’s one thing to get on the field, it’s another thing to compete, and it’s another thing to find a way to win.  It’s certainly important when you have three sophomores and a freshman on the field a lot of the time.  I think as much as anything as the head into the off season they will have realistic expectations about how they need to get better and what they need to improve too be successful next year,” said Coffman.

          Saturday night, the Cougars travel to St. Paul (5-3,4-1), the Flyers are tied with Western Reserve and New London for first place in the conference.  Coffman says once St. Paul has gotten healthy they have started to play pretty good football.  “St. Paul is always so well coached and they have a great football program, so you know they are going to be very sound in what they do.  They are going to put their kids in positions to make plays.  I think as they have kind of gotten healthy from some injuries early in the year again this year,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “As they have gotten healthy and kind of built their poor of experience it seems like they are peaking and playing their best football right now.  It will make them a really big challenge.  You have to be sound in every aspect of the game when you play them, especially up there.”

          Coffman says they want to compete at the line of scrimmage and if they can do that they can make it a game in the second half.  “It is always critical to be able to make plays and stay in the game and kind of make adjustments and have a chance to win.  Their special teams really come after you.  Defensively they really stack the box and come after you.  It really forces you to compete and just be sound in every aspect.  I think the longer that you are able to stick around certainly the better chance that your kids are able to gain confidence.  Like a lot teams in our league this year they are able to score in a hurry.  That will be something we will really have to pay attention to and try to eliminate,” said Coffman.    

 

 
   

Crestview Wants the Ball

 

          Crestview plays host to Mapleton in a Firelands Conference football game on Friday night.  It has been a struggle for both teams this season.

          Crestview, the defending conference champion, has yet to win a conference game this year and Mapleton is the same way.

          Last week, the Cougars (1-6,0-4) played Western Reserve, the Firelands leader, and the Rough Riders put them away (40-15) to maintain the conference lead.  Coach Chad Coffman says they started well, but just made too many mistakes.  “I really thought at the beginning that we came out and competed really hard.  We took the opening kickoff and were able to drive down and convert and score a touchdown and get the two point conversion.  We really put a little pressure on them.  At that point the defense was able to make a stand and we were able to get the ball back.  It just seemed like we couldn’t maintain it for the whole game,” he told Swnakonsports.com on Wednesday, “It seemed really like they made some mistakes, but they have really good athletes and a lot of depth and they were able to make up for those mistakes and recover from them.  When we made errors it seemed like they were really able to make us pay on the scoreboard.  It was, hey, they are the best team in the conference and I thought we competed hard we just have to continue to get better.”

          Mapleton (2-5,0-4) has been able to score points, averaging around 30 per game.  Coffman says the Mounties have some weapons on offense.  “It’s a little bit the story of our league.  A lot of these teams seem to have the ability to score points and have a lot of really good weapons.  Pickering is a really good running back.  Conner Black is real good receiver.  Their quarterback is maybe the best quarterback in the league.  They have some other young receivers that are good weapons.  They will be a challenge to defend.  We are going to have to be really sound all over the field because they run it pretty well and throw it pretty well both,” said Coffman.

          However, Mapleton has given up even more points, at least 40 in each game.  Coffman says they need to run the ball, keep it away from Mapleton, and score touchdowns.  “They are in kind of the same situation as us in that they don’t have much depth.  For them it has worked out where that shows up on the defensive side of the field a little bit.  They are young like us so they have been hurt by some turnovers and things.  Certainly it is going to be important that we are able to take the football and sustain drives and convert on third down.  If we are able to do that it will certainly help our chances of being successful,” he said.

          It is week eight and the two teams here have combined to win three games.  Coffman says the team that works the hardest during practice and the game will win.  “I think it is always tough when you aren’t getting a chance to see success in the form of a win.  There is that tendency to get a little bit distracted and maybe not play to your potential.  I think everybody really comes out hard and tries to compete and play on Friday night.  It’s just about the preparation.  You really have to do a lot of other things that go into being ready and really playing your best.  I think that maybe that is the bigger challenge when you get into a game like this.  Which ever team does the most work throughout the week and comes up ready to play certainly has the advantage,” said Coffman.

 

 
   

Crestview Must Eliminate Mistakes

 

          Crestview turned the ball over seven times in a loss to South Central last week.  They can ill afford to that as they host Firelands Conference co-leader Western Reserve on Friday night.

          The Cougars (1-5,0-3) put the ball on the ground five times last week and coach Chad Coffman says that eliminated any chance they had of winning the game.  “I think watching the film maybe me made some plays.  Certainly defensively we were pretty solid, but you can’t turn the ball over like that, especially if you aren’t generating anything, and expect to win.  That was really kind of the story.  Something we haven’t done a lot this year,” he said.

          Sometimes it’s like Murphy’s Law when it comes to fumbles in football.  Coffman says that will be something they will be working to eliminate this week.  “We take a lot of pride in taking care of the ball and things like that.  I think we have done a pretty good job of that for the most part during the season.  It was one of those nights and unfortunately it seems like when you do it once or twice it tends to snowball and you end up doing it more times.  That’s what seems to have happened to us.  You try to put it behind you,” he told Swankonsports.com, “Obviously, it’s a focal point for the week just to make sure you correct those things.  You kind of expect that once the ball gets out a little bit that the other team is really looking for it and trying to get it out.  So, that is something that you have to be prepared for.  Certainly we were work on that and try to be better.”

          Western Reserve (5-1,3-0) shares the conference lead with New London.  Coffman says they have a real strong running game behind a very good offensive line.  “They have had a good team the last several years and they have another good team this year.  They are leading the conference and fighting for a playoff spot.  It will be a huge game for them for a lot of reasons.  They are huge up from and really return their entire line from a year ago.  I think some of their young backs are kind of settling back into position.  When they have struggled this year it’s been because of injuries.  It seems most of those guys are back, so right now they seem to be playing pretty well.  They beat St. Paul 32-0 and seemed to be pretty sharp.  They seem to be coming together, which will make them a big challenge,” said Coffman.

          For a chance at the upset Coffman says they must keep the ball in their hands and be able to execute some long drives.  “For us we will have to take care of the football.  It comes down to a lot of times third down conversions.  We need to do a better job of stopping people on third down and we need to do a better job converting.  That’s probably the biggest key for us is to just eliminate mistakes and play sound football,” he said. 

 

 
   

Crestview Learning to Win

 

          The Crestview Cougars are getting better at executing things and now they need figure out what it takes to win games.

          Crestview (1-4,0-2) plays host to South Central (1-4,0-2) in a Firelands Conference game on Friday night.  The Cougars, the defending conference champions, have lost to tight conference games this fall to Monroeville (24-20) and last week to (26-21) New London.  Coach Chad Coffman thinks they are improving.  “Looking back on last week it was a game that at certain times we played well and hopefully we grew up a little bit.  I thought we came out a little bit slow.  They jumped up 14-0 in the first quarter.  At that point our kids really settled into the game and executed pretty well especially on offense,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We end up finding ourselves in the fourth quarter with a lead.  Unfortunately they were able to make some plays and ended up winning a close football game.  There were definitely positives that we can build on and there are certainly things we can build on and be better at.”

          Coffman thinks that South Central is a lot like his ball club this year.  They are young have been getting better as the season has gone on.  “The one thing that stuck our on film to me is defensively they do a really good job.  They line up and their kids fly to the football.  They seem like they are really sound.  I know that offensively they have struggled at times, but they have established a couple of pretty good receivers and their backs run hard.  They are huge, they have a lot of size.  I think they have continued to improve as the year has gone on and it should make for an exciting game Friday night,” said Coffman.

          South Central has been a team that has featured the run, at least at the beginning of the season, but Coffman thinks they have found that they can be more balanced in their offensive approach.  “I think they prefer to run the ball.  A lot of coaches prefer to run the ball if you can do that.  I do think that as their quarterback has gained experience and the reality of having a couple of good athletes out there at receiver.  I think they have found a little bit more of a balance.  They have been able to hit some big plays in the passing game.  I am sure they are primary run first.  I know for us we are going to have to a good job not just against the run, but taking care of those two receivers that I think are pretty good,” Coffman said.

          These are two schools that have struggled to get wins this year and Coffman says the team that makes the plays when they have the opportunity is going to be the one that comes out on top.  “I think that our kids have continued to make strides and get better and that is a good thing for us.  The reality is everybody else is out trying to do the same thing.  I think now what we have talked to our kids about the last couple of weeks is hey it’s great that you are working hard enough and making enough plays to compete.  It does mean something to compete and be in football games, but it’s another step to make the plays that you have to make to win the football game,” said Coffman.

 
   

Crestview Wants to Dominate Possession

 

          Crestview is trying to find things that will make them a more successful football team and mostly it’s about consistency for the Cougars.

          They play at New London in a conference game on Friday night.

          The Cougars (1-3,0-1) are working with a lot of younger and inexperienced players after having a great season last year in which they won a Firelands Conference title.  Coach Chad Coffman says it is that consistency that comes with experience they are looking for the most.  “You just try o get a little more consistent and get better and a little more experience.  It’s all about consistency and I think that is something we have improved on at times.  At the same time it’s about putting it all together,” he told Swankonsports.com, “We really played a lot better defensively two weeks ago and then we kind of struggled a little bit on Friday night.  Offensively, I think we continue to get closer to where we need to be.  It is really about turning the corner and putting those things together a little more consistently.  Obviously, the big issue is everybody else is getting better too.  It’s kind of race to see who can be ready for any given Friday.”

          If the Cougars can put together some solid plays and limit the bad ones, Coffman says the wins will come.  “Winning kind of takes care of itself when you are making plays and you are doing the right things and executing.  You kind of have to look at the smaller steps of taking care of the details and really paying attention and executing.  If you do that you usually end up with the win.  What we continue to work on is getting fundamentally better so we can be a little bit more consistent on the field,” he said.

          New London (2-2,1-0) kicked off their conference schedule with an overtime win over Plymouth (48-42) last week.  Coffman says they have some explosive players on offense.  “Since I have been here they have really been explosive offensively.  They have the potential to score quickly.  It really seems like this year they are getting those playmakers the ball and really ripping off  and consistently making big plays.  I think probably that starts with their line.  It really does seem like their line is really physical and aggressive.  They definitely think they do seem to be coming together.  They have a couple of different packages.  They have a really good receiver, a couple of good receivers.  They have a couple of good running backs.  They show a number of different formations up front,” said Coffman.

          Being a run based offense, Coffman says they want to do a good job of keeping the ball away from New London.  “We certainly understand that against good offensive teams we are going to have to play well offensively ourselves.  A lot of times your best defense is to be able to take the ball and drive it down the field and put it in the end zone.  I thought even if you go back to last week against Monroeville as much as we struggled to stop their power running game the truth is we have chances and opportunities to get the lead and put a lot of pressure on them by playing that way and we weren’t able to execute and do that.  That will be a big thing.  It will be important for us to score because usually the team that scores first has the advantage in dictating tempo and how the game is going to go.  I am sure they are going to try and do that and we are going to try and do that as well,” said Coffman.  

 

 
   

For Crestview it’s About Them

 

          Last season was picture perfect, at least in the regular season, for the Crestview Cougars.  This season has been a struggle to say the least. 

          Last week the Cougars were hammered by Loudonville (55-20) and week one West Salem Northwestern (48-14) drilled them.

          They have given up a lot of points this year, but coach Chad Coffman says it is not just the defense.  “Looking at the whole picture as we have tried to gain experience and get better.  The defense has maybe come along a little slower.  Really we have to be better at all three aspects.  We have had some turnovers that have led to points.  We have given up some big plays in special teams.  It really is sort of a universal thing,” he told Swankonsports.com, “I think it always comes down to the fundamentals.  We need to block better.  We need to hit better.  We need to tackle better.  Really it’s about consistency.  That is what we have worked on in practice.  We have really been challenging our kids and we have played two pretty good offensive teams.  Hopefully we can get better and be able to compete on Friday night.”

          The Cougars have a lot of young players this year and Coffman says they are making sure the kids maintain the right mentality.  “I think it is always a challenge.  I find last year we faced some challenges with success and that brings about challenges and things you have to deal with.  Certainly the adversity of not winning brings challenges.  The biggest thing for our kids is to understand the same way we responded to success is they way we need to respond to this adversity.  They have to show up and work hard every day.  With the technology we can show them the plays that were successful where we were doing what we were supposed to due.  We can watch them, watch them, and watch them.  We can look at the things that we can improve upon and watch them, watch them and watch them,” said Coffman.

          It’s Coffman’s third year with the Cougars and he says if they give good effort they are going to become a good football team.  “At the end of the day it comes down to the old school mentality that you have to get out there and you have to play each play to your capability.  That is the big adjustment to varsity football.  I think our kids still understand that we can make some plays and be a good football team, but they have to continue to work to make that happen on the field,” he said.

          Crestview travels to Fairfield Christian Academy (2-0) on Friday night and that’s about a two how bus ride.  They have wins over Millersport (55-17) and Fisher Catholic (19-14) to their credit.  Coffman says they have a really good running back.  “They lost a really good quarterback.  They were really more of a throw it team last year.  This year they have a new quarterback and he has done a good job and they have a couple of receivers that are the treats, but they are going to run it at you.  Their tailback ran for over 300 yards last week in game they won with 22 seconds to go.  He will be a challenge to defend.  He runs really, really hard.  He is physical.  He ran the ball 40 times.  We are going to have to be physical right back,” said Coffman.   

 

 
   

Cougars Know What They Need to do

 

          Crestview went the whole regular season last year without a loss, but they were hammered by West Salem Northwestern in their opener last week.

          The Huskies scored four touchdowns on plays longer than 50 yards in smacking the Cougars 48-14 last Friday.  Crestview coach Chad Coffman says they have some growing to do.  “As far as the game went they just made an incredible amount of big plays.  Clearly that showed we weren’t ready to tackle as consistent as you would like to be in a varsity game,” he said.

          Despite the lopsided loss to Northwestern, Coffman says they found some good things they can build from in the loss.  “I guess for us what we have to build off of is the good segments we had.  We started the game with a three and out and then we drove 73 yards in about six minutes and take a touchdown lead.  Unfortunately for us we just made too many mistakes after that,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We had a chance to score before halftime and didn’t.  With our young guys we were able to regroup at halftime.  We come out the first drive of the second half and drive 65 yards in about seven minutes and put a touchdown on the board and we are down 20-14.”

          Coffman says they can do some good things they just need to do them more often in order to win games.  “Watching film the guys saw their mistakes and they see that 13 minutes out of 48 is not going to be a very good recipe to be successful, but it shows us what we need to duplicate and it showed us what we need to correct and that’s what we will be working with this week with our you guys,” he said.

          On Friday night, the Cougars host Loudonville (1-0) in their second non-conference game of the season.  Coffman says they need to begin to improve with better practice habits.  “I remind our kid as we watch film how you have to handle and address adversity in these different situations that you face.  I told them I can speak from experience of having played and being around my dad when he coached.  There is no doubt that young men generally make their biggest improvement between their first and second start.  The same as they usually make their biggest improvement in their first year.  We know and understand that we have to go out there and practice and make better practice habits and gain confidence and focus on the things that they do well and correct our mistakes,” said Coffman.

          Loudonville handled Smithville 23-6 in their first game last Friday.  Sophomore Kolton Edmondson rushed for 232 yards and two scores for the Redbirds.  Coffman knows they have to compete up front.  “We are very familiar with Loudonville.  It has been a hard fought series that we have with them.  I think the biggest thing with Loudonville when you watch them is they are really good up front.  They have some older kids, some real veterans in there.  They have a nice blend of some younger, inexperienced guys that are coming in and doing a nice job.  Their tailback in his first varsity start goes over 200 yards.  We will have to prepare for how physical they are and how good they are up front.  We are going to have to be more disciplined.  We are going to have to tackle better and take care of the football,” said Coffman. 

 

 
   

Crestview Must Stop Big Play

 

          After one of the best seasons in school history a year ago, the Crestview Cougars return to the gridiron on Friday night as they host the West Salem Northwestern Huskies in a non-conference game.

          Crestview went 11-1 last year and advanced to the second round of the division five playoffs.

          Coach Chad Coffman says this year’s team is ready to prove they can be pretty good too.  “Even after going those couple of weeks in the playoffs last year it seems like it’s been a long time since we have played a football game.  That means a lot of work for kids in the off season and through the summer and through August.  It’s kind of that reward,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “There is nothing quite like going out there on a Friday night and getting under the lights.  We are lucky to be opening up at home.  It should be pretty exciting and I’m sure both teams will be fired up to get out there and get this thing kicked off.”

          With a number of inexperienced players in the lineup, Coffman says they need to adjust quickly to the speed and length of the varsity game.  “I think the big adjustment is the speed of the game and to understand what you have to do physically throughout that 48 minutes.  I am sure they will be nervous a little bit.  The reality is they have played football and once it gets kicked off and they kind of adjust to that you just kind of go by the fly.  We were fortunate to get a couple of good scrimmages in and that is always going to be helpful,” said Coffman.

          Crestview doubled up Northwestern 28-14 last year and Coffman says the Huskies have some big play makers on their offense.  “They kind like to spread you out.  Their quarterback missed the first part of the year being injured.  He threw the ball really well, very successfully, he is a very good athlete.  He is a big run threat.  They return a 1,000 yard rusher in the Craig kid, who is even bigger and stronger.  They have a lot of depth.  I think they have a lot of big play capability.  They are going to be very disciplined,” Coffman said.

          It’s going to be youth against experience lots of times in the match-ups and Coffman says they are going to be smart players.  “I think on the defensive side of the football they return even more experience.  We are going to be a little bit young.  Obviously it is about execution and taking care of the football.  I think some third down conversions are going to be big for us,” he said.

          Coffman says a big goal for them is to be ball hogs.  “My first couple of years at Crestview we had a really explosive offense at times.  The game plan against explosive offenses is to get the ball and grind it out.  You try to convert third downs and have long drives.  That puts a lot of pressure on them to make big plays.  One thing about being a big play team the last couple of years is I know the harder guys try to make them the less likely they are to happen.  That will be our task to try and drain the clock and make longer drives and hopefully turn it around and put the pressure on them,” said Coffman. 

 

 
   

Crestview Wants to Run

 

          Crestview will be defending its Firelands Conference football title this fall and they going to stay with Cougar tradition of running the football.

          Third year coach Chad Coffman says he has seen improvement in what is going to be a pretty young team this fall for the Cougars.  “I think in any given year you kind of wonder a bit about how you are going to answer the bell.  I guess for us being a little bit inexperienced I can see improvement in practice every day, but it is a little bit of a race to be ready for that first Friday night.  You just go out there and see where you are in comparison to whoever you draw, which is Northwestern in our case,” he said.

          Maybe more this year than some, Coffman says the preseason workouts and scrimmages are important for them.  “We have definitely come along.  I look back to where we were in July when we started our coaching days and getting our first scrimmage out of the way against Smithville.  Our guys have really started to adjust to their new roles,” he told Swankonsports.com, “I guess the question is we had a really good practice (Wednesday) and you put that challenge on them and hope the young guys understand it’s about the work you do in practice.  That’s where we will get our confidence.  So, we have made progress.  How much progress kind of depends on what we do over the next week here.  It’s important that we continue to get better and that is probably going to be a key all year for us.”

          Crestview has established a reputation of running the football and Coffman says they are going to try to do a lot of the same things this season.  “I think any time you’re inexperienced you rely on your tradition.  For us it’s going to be critical that we establish the run game and we do a good job up front and that we are physical.  That is going to be the key for us to adapt that attitude and those are the things we are going to rely on.  Defensively, we are going to need to be sharp and run to the football,” said Coffman.

          Hillsdale will be the opponent in the final scrimmage on Friday night.  Coffman says they just want to go out and be solid.  “It’s going to be that next checkpoint for us to see where we are at.  Hillsdale is a very, very good program and they have a lot of kids out.  They graduated a lot like we did, but they have a lot of kids that were successful at the JV level.  I know they played real well offensively in their first scrimmage.  I want us to go out there and compete every play and really be focused on doing our jobs.  That’s how we will measure it,” said Coffman.     

 

 
   

Crestview Growing up a Little

 

          Crestview was the Firelands Conference champion a year ago and went unbeaten in the regular season.  Only time will tell if they can be that good again this fall.

          Coach Chad Coffman has enjoyed getting back out on the field and watching the Cougars prepare for the 2012 season here in August.  “It’s just been great to get back out there.  We are in a situation where we have a lot of younger guys.  Guys that are not quite as experienced as what we have returned at times.  I think we have made a lot of progress.  It’s probably a sharper curve when your guys are inexperienced.  We just will continue to try and get better every day and really try and grow up on the fly.  That’s something I’m sure is going to happen on Friday nights, but we want to take it has far as we can here in August,” said Coffman.

          With some younger players in the lineup this year, Coffman says the team has been getting better each time they hit the field and that has been exciting to watch.  “The best thing has been to watch them grow and come together a little bit.  I know that is always a little bit of a process.  They really have come together.  You really see them work to get stronger and understand football better,” he told Swankonsports.com, “Even (Monday) night at practice we saw some guys have some little breakthroughs and really start to get better.  It’s a race to better than whoever you are playing against on a given Friday night.  I know we play some really good teams that return a lot of guys.  We definitely feel like we have a long way to go to be prepared and hopefully play well.”

          Even with the good things he has seen Coffman understands that they have to continue to get better if they are going to compete in the tough Firelands Conference that includes Norwalk St. Paul and Western Reserve.  “I think everything.  We are making some strides and doing some things well.  From my prospective it always starts up front.  I know we had kind of a small line last year and people didn’t think we were going to be really good there.  I thought they became a really good line.  I think up front is where we are really going to have to control the game.  That’s always kind of the beginning of it,” he said.

          Crestview has always been a running team that has produced some of the best runners in this area, including Mason Minick, headed to Mount Union this year.  However, Coffman knows they must be able to throw too and he sees some good signs.  “I think there have been some things that indicate that were are going to continue to get better at passing the ball.  It’s always a longer process and you feel the longer you have kids on a team the better they are going to be at it.  That is something we are going to continue to work on.  Hopefully through repetition we will continue to get better.  I don’t think we are where we need to be yet, but I definitely know we are better than we were last week or two weeks ago,” said Coffman. 

 

 
   

 

Cougars Want More Success

 

          Last season was one of the best in Crestview history as the Cougars went unbeaten in the regular season, won the Firelands Conference title, and finished the season at 11-1.

          Coach Chad Coffman says this will be a different year and they kind of have to forget about last year and make sure they focus on this fall.  “We were really fortunate to have a good year last year.  I think in a lot of ways it’s kind of putting that behind you and moving on to the next chapter.  We are going to be a little different kind of team.  We were a very senior dominated team last year,” he told Swankonsports.com, “We will be younger, but I think we have a really good group of kids.  Our numbers are going to be a little bit smaller and we are going to be a little bit younger.  We will be inexperienced, but there will be new challenges, things that we will face, and we are just looking forward to continuing to work with the kids.”

          Crestview has been a team that has really concentrated on running the ball successfully over the last decade and a half beginning with current Ashland Athletic Director Rick Brindley, Mark Solis, and current Madison coach Sean Conway.  Coffman says they hope they keep that going.  “We would really like to continue to run the ball.  It is really something that defines Crestview football.  It has been successful for us.  At the same time you are always striving to be balanced.  I think with the quarterbacks we’ve got coming up futuristically the next few years we will be able to have some balance.  People will expect that we have some other backs emerge and probably wonder who the next really good Crestview running back will be,” he said.

          Defensively, Crestview has some holes to plug, but Coffman says that really isn’t a whole lot different from a year ago.  “Once you have a really good season you need to remember what it ends up as.  We have been talking about where we were at this time last year.  We are probably in a similar boat.  We have several new kids that we are breaking into new spots.  They are kids that have worked hard and we think are really coachable.  That will be the key to moving forward.  Depth is going to be a little bit of an issue.  If we stay healthy and the kids continue to get better I think defensively we can have a really good year,” said Coffman.

          Because of what happened last season some of the Cougars got more playing time than even the coaches expected and Coffman says that will be a benefit to them this fall.  “That is definitely something you hope is true.  That is why you strive to have a really good program.  The reality is we hare going to have some kids that are going to step up into some roles.  Our JV’s went 9-1 last year and they get same coaching as the other guys.  They were there on Friday nights and the playoffs and everything else.  Maybe we don’t return a lot of guys that were starters on that team, but because of injuries and different situations we do return a lot of guys with experience.  They are not just guys that were on the sidelines, but at different times were called upon to be out there and be part of last year’s success,” said Coffman. 

 

 
   

It’s Been a Season of What ifs For Crestview

 

          Crestview won the Firelands Conference baseball title last season, but the Cougars are going to repeat this season after some tough losses, especially to league leader Plymouth. 

          Monday night, the Cougars got out the whipping sticks and blasted Norwalk St. Paul (15-3) in a conference game at their place.  Coach Rob Gross says they have done a lot of good things, like hit the ball, but they have done some bad things too, like commit too many errors.  “It has been a frustrating last couple of weeks.  I like the progress in that we hare hitting to ball much better.  I think when I did the stats (Sunday) we were hitting like .342.  Pitching wise the team ERA is finally under 4.00.  What has really hurt us, and is kind of frustrating, is we have been giving up some big innings, not huge innings, but big innings because we are giving them extra outs with errors,” said Gross.

          Last week, the Cougars lost two conference games to the Big Red (2-1 and 6-5) and Gross feels like they could have won both of them and it would be a whole different ballgame.  “We had a couple of tough losses last week with Plymouth.  They were both one run games.  We had many, many opportunities to beat them in both games and just didn’t get it done,” he said.

          When it comes to not making errors, Gross says you have to play with confidence and hope the hitter hits it to you.  “Like I have been trying to tell the guys you have to believe in yourself.  Sometimes you can let it get to you.  We have doing some other things pretty well.  You just have to go back out there,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “If you get frustrated at the plate you can’t take it with you out into the field and vice versa.  If you make an error in the field you want to have the next ground ball or fly ball hit to you.  You know just have the confidence to make the play.  In some games, and a couple of them crucial games, we just haven’t gotten it done.”

          Crestview (11-9) plays Wynford (10-10) in the division three sectional semi-finals on Saturday at Bucyrus High School.  Gross thinks it is definitely a game they can win.  “I don’t know a whole lot about Wynford.  It sounds like they have kind of like us.  They have been up and down.  They have had a decent winning streak and then they have kind done the thing where you win one and lose one.  I think it’s a good match-up for us.  I am sure they are probably saying the same thing about us.  I think it’s a game that as long as we play our style of ball and don’t give up a lot of those extra outs.  I think it’s a game that we have a chance to win,” said Gross.

          The fact that perhaps the Cougars have not lived up to expectations is not because of a case of senioritus, according to Gross.  “I think the seniors that I have are pretty dedicated kids.  Two of my five seniors only play baseball and one of them just started playing basketball as well this year.  Sometimes it’s better to play with just young guys just because they are hungry.  They not only want to play varsity baseball, but improve.  I have heard kids talk about it, but I don’t think it has affected their play for me.  I think getting out earlier this year on Memorial Day weekend.  They keep mentioning the count down of how many days they have left,” Gross said.    

 

 
   

Crestview Holds Share of the Lead

 

          With a destruction of Monroeville Monday night, the Crestview Cougars are in a four way tie for first place in the Firelands Conference with New London, Plymouth and Mapleton.

          New London beat Plymouth (12-6) and Mapleton blasted Norwalk St. Paul (15-5) in other action on Monday night.

          The Cougars (4-7,2-1) belted Monroeville (1-8,0-3) in five innings (12-0) on Monday night.  Coach Rob Gross says they didn’t take a win over Monroeville for granted.  “I didn’t know a whole lot about Monroeville this year other than they lost both of their conference games to Plymouth last week.  I told the guys you can’t worry about what kind of kids they have or who was pitching.  The bottom line with a conference game you have to come out and take care of business and that’s what we did,” he said. 

          Crestview travels to Monroeville for the rematch on Tuesday night with the Eagles in conference play.

          Gross is excited that his Cougars are starting to hit the ball better as we get into the third full week of high school baseball action.  Gross says last week during spring break they were able to get in a lot of extra hitting.  “I have been real pleased.  I think it was an advantage last week with spring break week.  We were able to get a lot of extra batting practice.  I felt like that first week we just weren’t swinging the bats very well.  I know some of that was getting used to the new bats and that kind of stuff, but I think the extra batting practice did help.  Even in our losses we have seven, eight, nine hits.  I’ll take that as long as we play well defensively and put up that kind of production I think we will be pretty successful,” said Gross.

          Monroeville got only two hits in the game Monday night and Gross says they were able to get a strong pitching performance when they needed it the most.  “We did give up some runs Friday at Clear Fork.  It was a little bit deceiving obviously it doesn’t help with some of the errors we had.  Like you do in non-league games you were throwing your fours and fives.  We had our number one guy going (Monday) and he pitched outstanding.  He only gave up two hits and had nine k’s and only one walk. I think we only had one error as well.  When you put those things together, especially in conference play.  It was nice to get that first one this week,” said Gross.

          Right now, four teams share the lead in the conference and Gross thinks this will be a balanced race this year in the Firelands Conference, which is somewhat unexpected is his opinion.  “I haven’t heard a whole lot about Western Reserve, but I know that St. Paul beat them last week in a close game and now Mapleton beat them 15-5.  I felt like Plymouth is going to be a lot better.  I think that’s what you want.  I think that’s the group of athletes our conference has this year.  I think you saw it in football.  I think you saw it in basketball for the most part.  I guess on paper I didn’t expect it to be that way.  I think as a coach that has been around for a while you like the competition it only make you better in the end,’ said Gross.    

 

 
   

Crestview Stays in the Race

 

          It’s early in the season, but the Crestview Cougars baseball team won a big game on Tuesday night to keep themselves in the Firelands Conference race.

          Right now, Crestview, South Central, New London, and Mapleton are all 1-1 in conference play.  Norwalk St. Paul is the leader at 1-0 after a win (3-2) over Western Reserve on Monday.

          Crestview (2-5,1-1) beat South Central (3-0) on Tuesday.  Coach Rob Gross says it was a win they almost had to have, even though it is early in the season.  “I was not expecting to have the opening week that we had playing some inconsistent baseball.  Then we start league play and we get a 13 strikeout effort from our pitcher on (Monday), but made a couple of mistakes, fought back, and then lost in the bottom of the last inning.  Considering where we want to go and hopefully be in contention for the conference it was a huge win.  You definitely need to be 1-1 rather than 0-2,” said Gross.

          The hitting and pitching have been okay this year for the defending conference champions, but Gross says they Cougar defense has not been very good at times and it has to get more consistent.  “We have been too inconsistent hitting wise, but we haven’t had the key hits.  Last week, a couple of different times, we left quite a few guys on base.  In other innings when guys aren’t on we are hitting the ball.  Some of it is newer kids and getting used to pressure situations.  Probably our biggest inconsistency has been our defense,”” he told Swankonsports.com, “(Tuesday) we come out and make one error and we got a great pitching performance.  When you put those two together usually you get a win.  In a couple of other games we had five errors and another game we had six errors and in another win last week we only had two errors.  Anytime you not letting extra runners on base via the error or walk it minimizes their chances of scoring.”

          This year seamed to be the perfect situation for Cougars who are a little green in spots with the good weather.  Gross believes the errors have been a mental thing for them.  “I thought it would be a great situation for me.  Part of my season preview was we have some young guys, especially on the left side of our infield.  We did get outside and do all kinds of drills.  I think what it comes down to is you’re outside and you are getting extra reps, but just like anything in any sport, especially baseball, I think a lot of it can be mental.  Wanting to field the ball, wanting to be in that clutch situation,” he said.

          New London was the preseason choice to win the league, but they lost to Mapleton (5-3) on Monday.  Gross says the league is perhaps more open then he first thought.  “When you look on paper New London has the most guys back.  I haven’t heard much about Western Reserve this year, but I thought they would be pretty competitive.  I was shocked to find out that New Loudon lost.  It sounds like the same thing in that they have had some inconsistencies in their losses and they have had multiple errors.  I think it is a good thing for the conference.  I told my guys it’s a new season, you’re 1-1 and not really in a hole, but it’s great lesson learned that you can’t take anyone lightly at all,” said Gross.  

 

 
   

Crestview Finding Itself

 

          Crestview is making its way through a tough non-conference schedule as they are preparing to defend their Firelands Conference baseball title they won last spring.

          After a 15-2 loss to defending “NOL” champ Norwalk on Monday, the Cougars came back to beat Bucyrus, who won the “NCC” last year, 7-5 on Tuesday night.  Crestview coach Rob Gross says they were able to improve their defense enormously and that was the big difference in getting the win on Tuesday.  “Obviously you are more pleased with a win.  We had a tough loss to a very strong Norwalk Truckers team on Monday.  I always like to open up against Norwalk.  I think it shows us where we are and where we need to go.  (Tuesday) night it was nice to rebound against Bucyrus.  It is a very strong program.  It was a tight game and most of the time when we play Bucyrus it is,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Probably the biggest glaring thing that we improved from Monday night was wee had six errors Monday night and we turned around and had only two errors (Tuesday) night.  We had strong pitching and good defense and that’s a good combination.  When you aren’t giving teams extra outs that helps you a lot.”

          Crestview plays Loudonville on Thursday, Black River on Friday and then meets Hillsdale for a doubleheader on Saturday before starting conference play next Monday.  Gross says he likes to schedule tough non-conference games because he feels it gets them ready for conference play.  “I tell the guys that.  We do the same thing in scrimmages.  We scrimmaged Ashland and Shelby.  I guess it’s always been my philosophy is good competition is going to not only make you better, but against see where your weaknesses are and your strengths and be able to work on those.  Norwalk is always a good test for us.  Very rarely have we beaten them, but again it gets us ready.  I am just a firm believer in that good non-conference play is going to get you ready for your conference,” said Gross.

          Although there was considerable improvement on defense between games one and two of the season, Gross feels that is an area where they are going to have to continue to get better.  “One of the concerns that I had was we had a good core coming back this year, but we have some guys in some spots that have limited or no varsity experience last year.  The guys need to jell, you hear that all of the time in every sport.  Everything from communication to confidence in fielding the ball.  Defense we need to continue to improve on.  That’s just huge because making more than a couple of errors in a varsity game and they come back to hurt you,” he said.

          Gross feels the pitching will hold up for the Cougars and they also have shown signs that they are going to be able to hit the ball too.  “Pitching wise we are just about where I expected.  My number one and number two guys have thrown the first two nights and have done a pretty good job.  We also got some other kids in relief some varsity experience and that’s what you want.  The hitting was definitely better (Tuesday) night as well.  We had some good timely hits, some key hits for RBIs that won us the game,” said Gross.   

 

 
   

Crestview Looks to be Competitive

 

          Crestview won the Firelands Conference in football and finished near the top in basketball too.  It should be no different come baseball season.

          Veteran coach Rob Gross says it has been a real plus to be able to get his younger players outside this spring and get a chance to evaluate them under game like conditions.  “It’s kind of like Spring Training in Florida the way our weather has been here in Ohio.  Obviously, we have been outside the double the amount of time we were last year at this point.  I think that makes a big difference when you can get kids outside and actually evaluate them on an actual fly ball.  We were able to scrimmage Shelby last week, so it was good to go against someone else.  I was pleasantly surprised with our pitchers.  You just never know you have some new guys that are in different spots.  You just want to get some game action to get the ready to go,” said Gross.

          It will be pitching that likely carries Crestview through the season this year.  Although the lost their “ace” to graduation, Gross believes the Cougars have a number of arms that can get outs for them this spring.  “We lost our number one pitcher, but I think we have a good core of pitchers.  I think pitching depth is going to help, especially with the new bats.  They ball is certainly not jumping off the bat like it did in the past.  I am hoping that having some pitchers back from last year is going to be one of our strengths,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “Probably the other strength is going to be outfield play.  I have all three starters back there and first base and catcher as well.  So, there definitely there is that core that is back that I am going to have to rely on.  Hopefully those other guys that I am still trying to figure out where they go we can do that during the scrimmages.”

          Safety is the number one reason when it comes to regulation of the bats being used at the high school level this year in Ohio.  Gross says the ball just isn’t going to jump off the bat the same way.  “It is now called a BB-core.  It has to have that stamp on the bat.  It has been adopted by the national federation and then by the OHSAA to make it almost leaning toward like a wood bat.  It’s a composite bat, so the sweet spot is smaller like on a wood bat.  You basically have to hit it right there on the sweet spot for it to so anywhere.  You notice some things when you are hitting in the cages, but when we had that scrimmage there were some balls off that bat that you thought we going to jump, and probably would have in the past, and they just died in the outfield.  From a safety reason balls where just flying off those bats in the past.  I think the biggest part is that sweet spot of the bat is smaller than it has been,” Gross said.

          In the Firelands, although be believes his Cougars can be competitive, Gross says the New London Wildcats are the team to beat.  “I think that we will compete with the top group in the conference again this year.  I think right now, at least on paper, the front runner is New London.  They led most of the way last year and they were a very young group.  I think another team to be aware of is Western Reserve.  A lot of the kids that they have started since their sophomore year are seniors this year.  They are going to be very talented.  Some of those kids have played football and went to the playoffs and they have been on good basketball teams.  I would say those two teams are at the top of the conference going into the season,” said Gross.    

 

 
   

Crestview Taking Confidence to the Tournament

 

          For most of the season if Crestview didn’t have bad luck they had no luck at all.

          The Cougars (11-9) have lost six games by two points or less, four of them at the buzzer.  However, they might have played their best game of the season last Friday when they beat Western Reserve (50-40), knocking the Rough Riders out of a share of the Firelands Conference title in the process.  Coach Brant Danals says they were at the top of their game against Western.  “We played one of our better games over there Friday.  We had some great individual performances from Jake Hill and Tyler George.  It was definitely a confidence booster for our kids heading into the tournament,” he said.

          At times this season the Cougars, even though they have seven seniors, might have been questioning themselves because a little bit, but Danals says that win over Western Reserve did wonders for them.  “Mentally I think it’s a big deal for our kids to get back on the right side of things heading into the tournament.  Beating Western Reserve, one of the one seeds in our district, is really good for us.  I am excited for the way we have been practicing as it comes to the end of the season,” Danals said.

          Crestview faces Wynford (12-8) in the division three sectional semi-finals at Lexington High School on Tuesday night.  The Royals finished in third place in the tough black division of the North Central Conference behind Upper Sandusky and Ontario.  Danals knows that Wynford is very good and has two outstanding scorers.  “Wynford is a really talented team with Seth Rall and Chatlain.  They are both really good and are all district players,” he told Swankonsports.com, “Anytime you bring a team with back to back regional appearances they are going to be ready for a tournament game.  We have to be ready to play it’s not going to be an easy game, but I think our kids are ready for the task.”

          Wynford has a number of their football players on their basketball team and they play with a physical nature.  Danals says they have to be ready for that, but ready they want the Royals to have to defend them in the open floor where they can use their quickness.  “They are going to try and bang us around a little bit and use their size.  At the same time we are going to use our speed to our advantage.  I think it’s going to be a battle of two contrasting styles.  It should be an exciting game to watch,” said Danals.

 

 
   

Crestview Needs Big Upset

 

          It’s been a long girls’ basketball season for the Crestview Lady Cougars, but they have a chance to make their season in one game. 

          Crestview (1-19) plays the top seed, the Edison Lady Chargers (15-5), in the division three sectional semi-finals at Willard High School. 

          With a very young team this season wins have been hard to come by for Crestview.  They beat Monroeville January 19 (48-41) in Firelands Conference action.  Coach Tracy Richards has seen improvement in his girls, but they have had problems taking that improvement to the floor for games.  “I think we have improved in areas, but obviously we haven’t seen in for 32 minutes.  We see it more in practices.  We do have a problem emulating our opponents in practice.  I expect to see the improvement there.  In the games we see it in streaks, we are just not consistent enough over 32 minutes,” said Richards.

          Edison finished in third place, behind Clyde and Sandusky Perkins, in the Sandusky Bay Conference.  Richards says Edison will want to make this game and track meet if they can.  “They are long and athletic and fast.  They want to play 94 feet.  They want to make you handle the ball against their pressure defense.  Once you shoot you better be getting back quick because they are going to get it and go,” he said.

          Richards says they will have to play their best game of the year in order to have a chance to pull the upset.  “We have said Edison is the number one seed for a reason.  It’s got be us against the world.  We pretty much have to play a perfect game to get by them and beat them.  If we can limit our turnovers and actually get into our offense and limit them in their transition game it’s going to be the best case scenario for us,” said Richards.

 

 
   

Cougars Have Something to Play For

 

          A loss last Friday night to Plymouth knocked the Crestview Cougars out of the Firelands Conference race this season, but there are still goals the team can accomplish.

          The season didn’t start very well for Cougars when they were beaten at the horn by Clear Fork (48-46) in a non-conference game and that started a trend where Crestview would lose five games by two points or less so far this year.

          First year coach Brant Danals, an assistant coach last year at Ashland, says they have had costly turnovers at the wrong tome of the game.  He says they need to be more focused.  “I think we need to be better at taking care of the ball, especially in big situations at the end the game.  You know, closing out games, finishing games strong has been a struggle for us.  We have lost five games by two points or less and four those at the buzzer.  So, we need to get better finishing and most of that comes from taking care of the ball and making plays down the wire,” said Danals.

          Crestview (10-7,8-4) has lost league games in the final seconds to South Central, New London, and Plymouth and with seven seniors that expect to win Danals admits it has been a stressful season because of the close calls. “It has definitely been tough on our kids.  I think for the most part, to be honest, it has challenged a lot of them really outside of their comfort zone being used to winning a lot of those close games and not doing that this year,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “It’s probably been tough for them, but I think we are still pretty upbeat and positive.  We are just trying to put ourselves in position to play our best basketball come tournament time.”

          Crestview meets Wynford in a division three sectional semi-final game on February 28 at Lexington.  The sectional has six teams and five of them have winning records, so it’s going to be a matter of who is playing well.

          Norwalk St. Paul (6-11,5-6) comes to Crestview for a Firelands Conference game this Friday night.  The Flyers have won their last two games over Edison (53-51) and Monroeville (66-62) and Danals says the Flyers have some guys that can fill it up.  “They really spread you out and they can shoot the ball, so anytime you have a team that has five guys on the floor that can shoot the ball on defense you have to be aware and challenge shooters.  The other challenge with teams spreading you out is if you are going to be mentally tough enough to get back in and get the rebound.  If we want to win Friday night we have to do both of those things,” said Danals.

 

 
   

Crestview Understands What They Must Do

 

          Crestview is in the thick of the Firelands Conference race a game behind co-leaders Western Reserve and New London with three games to play.

          Friday, they play at Plymouth, the following week they host Norwalk St. Paul and they end the regular season at Western Reserve.

          Last week, they defeated eighth place Mapleton (64-55) behind 18 points from Tyler George.  Coach Brant Danals says they were able to go over to Mapleton and take care of business.  “Our kids were able to come in and everybody got into the game and everybody contributed.  We were able to withstand a great game by Colton Hickey and come out on top,” he said.  All eight of the Cougars full time varsity players got into the score book.

          Plymouth (9-5,6-4) has won its last three games and four of its last five and certainly has the talent to become a spoiler for someone in the final three weeks.  Danals says the Big Red has some height and they have guys that some good basketball skills.  “Plymouth is talented and they are big.  Anytime you put those to combinations together you have a dangerous basketball team.  They are a team that is a lot better than their record shows.  You know, Tyrell Edmiston is a force on the inside.  We have to do a good job with him and keeping those guys off the glass.  We have to make sure we contain Ryan Benfer and those guys as well,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “They are capable of being a really good team as they showed this past weekend with a big win over St. Paul.  For our kids with it being a rivalry game and everything I think we will be ready.  It’s going to be a good environment and our kids will be excited to play.  Hopefully, we take care of things on our end.”

          With two losses already to New London this year the Cougars (10-6,8-3) are going to need someone to beat them in order to get a piece of the title.  New London has South Central, Monroeville and Norwalk St. Paul left on their conference schedule.  Danals says his team remains goal oriented.  “I think our kids realize we need to take care of business on our end.  That’s kind of what they are focused on.  They recognize they need some help, but hopefully we can focus in.  If things shake out in our favor that would be great,” said Danals.

 

 
   

Crestview Has to Play With Energy

 

          Crestview is in a share of first place in the Firelands Conference with Western Reserve and they play a rare Monday night conference game at South Central this week.

          It’s a game that was not play last Friday night due to slippery road conditions. 

          Crestview (9-4,7-1), #5 in the Swankonsports.com basketball power rankings in the small school division, did play on Saturday night and they railed to beat Monroeville (54-39) in a conference game.  First year coach Brant Danals says the Eagles out played them early in the game, but they responded in the second half to take the lead and put the game away.  “Monroeville played extremely hard and we were in a battle.  Our kids responded to some adversity pretty well, which was good to see.  It was the first time we have had some here in a little bit.  I think our kids responded and I’m happy with the way we played in the second half,” he said.

          With seven players that played at the varsity level last season the Cougars had the experience to be pretty good at the start of the season, but Danals says they have also shown improvement, especially in their ball handling.  “I think we have definitely gotten better as the year has gone on.  I think at the beginning of year maybe Saturday night’s game is one that we lose.  Our kids have worked hard every single day,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening.  “They have really started to come together as a team.  We are starting to share the ball a lot better.  We are limiting our turnovers and that’s why we are staying in games and that’s probably why we have won some games because we aren’t turning the ball over as much s we were early in the season.”

          South Central took the Cougars to overtime before losing (58-50) in the first meeting at Crestview in December.  Danals knows the Trojans (5-5,3-3) are a very dangerous team that has two outstanding scorers they will have to deal with.  “They are an extremely talented basketball team.  Austin Hintz and Jerrod Hawkins especially.  They are both coming into the game averaging over 19 points a piece.  I think it’s going to be another battle.  They have a great gym and a good environment for a high school basketball game.  Ours kids are excited to play as I’m sure they are as well,” he said.

          Danals says they have to handle the South Central pressure and not get too involved in what is going on around them on Monday night.  “I think we have to control our emotions.  It’s going to be a really good environment on both sides.  We have to take care of the ball.  If we can find a way to match their energy and, of course, do a good job on Hintz and Hawkins, we will be right there in the end,” said Danals.

 

 
   

Crestview Moves into Share of First

 

          Crestview has lost some close games this year, but they won a huge game on Saturday night when they handed Western Reserve their first loss in Firelands Conference play.  The win moved the Cougars into a first place tie with Western.

          Coach Brant Danals says it was a big momentum boost for his kids and his program.  “It was a great win for our program.  It was a big confidence boost for our kids heading into the second half,” he said.

          Western Reserve plays with pretty much five guards on the floor and Danals says they were able to make them take tough outside shot all night long.  “They have five shooters that you have to find and locate.  We did a good job of stopping their penetration and forced them to play out on the floor, fortunately due to that they shot a low percentage,” he said.  Western made just 2-41 three point shots.

          This weekend begins the second round of league play and Crestview (8-4,6-1) plays at South Central (5-5,3-3) on Friday night.  The Cougars survived the first time they played, winning (58-50) in overtime.  Danals knows the Trojans have a couple of very good players.  “When we played them at home early in the year they took us to overtime.  They have two players in Austin Hintz and Jerrod Hawkins both are averaging around 20 points a game,” he told Swankonsports.com, “We have to do a good job on those kids and also limit their other guys who are quality role players.  They are going to play really hard and play mostly man-to-man defense.  They are well coached, so on the road especially we are going to have to play really hard.”

          After the big win over Western Reserve, Danals knows they have to guard against a let down when they play South Central and then host Monroeville (1-9,0-6) on Saturday night.  “We are trying to get our kids to understand and treat every game we play like a championship game.  Not just every game, but every possession, every quarter, every half.  They are starting to do a good job,” said Danals.

          With a double weekend in the league for Crestview, Danals, in his first year as a varsity head coach, says they are going to concentrate mostly on the Friday night game and then refine some things for Monroeville on Saturday morning.  “It’s a little more difficult because you have to do a few things with each team during the week.  With our program we approach it the same way.  We try to get ready for Friday night and worry about Saturday night’s game after we take care of Friday,” he said.

 

 
   

Crestview Can Move Into First Place

 

          Crestview can move into a share of first place in the Firelands Conference with a win on Friday night against the conference leading Western Reserve Rough Riders.

          Last week, the Cougars (7-4,5-1) beat Norwalk St. Paul (60-47) behind 16 points off the bench from Kyle Graven.  Crestview broke open a close game with a 18-9 third quarter.  Coach Brant Danals says they were able to play solid defense and get the rebounds.  “They are a good team and we played a very strong second half.  We were able to locate some shooters and we were able to rebound the first miss.  When you do that you put yourself in position to play well.  That has been our goal the last few games and we were able to execute it against St. Paul,” he said.

          Danals is in his first year as a varsity head coach and he has been pretty happy with what he has seen from the Cougars.  He says they still have a chance to accomplish all of their goals.  “For the most part I think we are pretty happy with how we have played.  We are two possessions away realistically from being 9-2 and having a really good season,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “So, I am happy with the way our kids are playing and the effort they are putting forth.  There is no doubt that we need to continue to improve on both ends and hopefully we can go and make a run here at the end of the year and reach some of the goals we had set for ourselves.”

          It will be a battle of the top two teams in the conference when Western Reserve (7-3,6-0), #1 in the small school division of the Swankonsports.com basketball power poll, comes to Crestview.  Danals says the Rough Riders can put five players on the floor that can make outside shots and that is hard to defend.  “They have a lot of guards and really look to spread you out and create off the bounce and kick it out to shooters.  They have five shooters on the floor, so it’s a lot like St. Paul in the fact that we need our defense to locate shooters and force them to shoot contested shots.  We need to have the mental toughness to get back and contain and make sure we rebound the first miss,” said Danals.

          Western runs a lot of the dribble drive offense and Danals says they have to keep the guards of the lane because that is when all of the trouble starts for you defensively.  “Anytime you can keep the ball from going inside whether it’s off the pass or in the case of Western Reserve off the bounce you are doing yourself a huge favor.  I know that’s what we are working on this week.  Our kids are excited with the opportunity to get their chance to play Western.  They want to prove a point that they belong at the top of conference as well,” he said.

          With first place on the line this is a big game, but Danals says his kids knew that from the start of the season.  “I think for our kids especially it has been marked on the calendar probably since they saw the schedule.  They are excited to play Western.  They consider them one of their rivals.  Anytime you have a program like the one Chris has developed over there they come in with a target on their backs with everyone they play.  I think for our guys that’s no different,” said Danals.    

 

 
   

 

Crestview Needs Not Just a Win

 

          Crestview has had some tough losses this season and they are coming off perhaps their worst performance of the season in a loss to New London in a Firelands Conference game on Saturday night.

          They play host to the Lucas Cubs (0-4) in non-conference play on Tuesday night. 

          New London dominated every aspect of the game on Saturday night.  Crestview coach Brant Danals says they didn’t make enough shots or get enough chances to score.  “I kind of feel the same way as I did at the beginning of the year.  I think the league is more balanced than it has been in the recent past.  New London is a great basketball team and they did a great job of keying in our two top scores in Tyler and Jake.  Unfortunately as a team we didn’t make shots and we didn’t rebound the ball as well as we needed too,” Danals said.

          Lucas has very little varsity experience this season and they having trouble staying competitive in most games.  Danals says they need to take care of business early in this game.  “Lucas is coming in without a win yet, so anytime you are playing a team still searching for their first win you are going to be in for a battle.  If you don’t come ready to play you have that possibility of becoming their first win,” he told Swankonsports.com, “They mix it up.  They run a lot of 2-3 zone.  They have a great player in Zach Moffet.  We need to be able to do a good job on him.  We are excited to get a chance to play them.”

          Crestview returns some talent from last year and they are expected to have a good season, but so far their play has been spotty.  Danals says they not only need a win, but they need to play up to their potential.  “This is definitely an important game for our kids to try and get back on the right track heading into Mapleton on Friday.  We need to come out and not just play well, but we need to get better.  We need to play as hard as we can play so we can make the strides our team needs to make to improve,” said Danals.

 

 
   

Crestview Can Move Forward

 

          Crestview had lost tough ones to Clear Fork and Ontario in non-conference play, but they can breath a little easier after beating South Central in their first conference game last Friday.

          They nipped the Trojans 58-50 in overtime and coach Brant Danials says they were the ones that were able to make the plays when the game was on the line.  “We were fortunate enough to make plays down the wire when we needed to.  We had some guys really step up and make some really big time basketball plays,” he said.  After losing two games that came down to final possessions of the game Danials says the win over South Central was very important not just for their win total, but also because of their mental state. “It was definitely a big confidence boost for our kids.  You know, losing another close one would have been devastating for them.  They didn’t quit.  They all believed in each other that they could win until the final buzzer went off,” said Danials.

          This weekend is going to important in establishing that the Cougars are going to be a factor this winter in the Firelands Conference.  It’s a double weekend and for the Cougars both games are on the road, at Monroeville on Friday and at New London on Saturday.  Danials, in his first year at Crestview, says they are going to focus on Monroeville first.  “Our approach has been one practice and one game at a time, so we are going to get ready for Monroeville on Friday,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday night, “Now, we are going to do some things throughout the week that we think New London will throw at us, but until we get done with Friday our sole focus will be on Monroeville.”

          Monroeville (1-2) lost its conference opener to Plymouth (66-50) last week.  Danials says the Eagles are going to try to create some tempo and they will play with a lot of effort.  “You know, Monroeville plays extremely hard.  They are going to play a lot of man-to-man defense and they are going to push the ball on offense and really try to spread you out and beat you off the bounce.  We have to make sure that we come ready to play.  Something we need to improve on from last week is we got to make sure we put four quarters together,” said Danials.

          New London is in the same class with Crestview in that the Wildcats expect to contend for the conference title this year.  Danials says New London presents to a tremendous defensive challenge for them.  “New London is a great team and Dane Held is a really, really good player.  Anytime you play them they are going to have five shooters on the floor.  They kind of mix up their defense, which is a challenge, especially because we are playing them on Saturday of a double weekend.  They are really well coached and play really hard.  It’s going to be a great match-up for us to see where we are in the conference,” he said.

 

 
   

Crestview has to Limit the Turnovers

 

          Crestview has just been giving it to the other team too much and that has cost them any chance of winning so far this year.

          The Lady Cougars (0-2) have lost to Hillsdale (73-32) and Mansfield Madison (73-34) in games that were very similar in their make up.  Crestview just couldn’t get the ball out of their own end of the floor.  “We need to take care of the ball.  The turnovers we have been having are on the floor turnovers and those are leading to easy points for our opponents.  Obviously, at the other end defensively we have to do a better job of guarding the ball and getting out on shooters and eliminating second chance points,” said Crestview coach Tracy Richards.

          The press is often times a bigger part of the girls’ game because most girls don’t have the strength to throw the ball over the top of the press.  Crestview has not been able to get enough shots up in their first two games.  “We have do a pretty good job when we haven gotten into our offense.  We have gotten some good looks.  Teams have been pressuring us.  Right now, we just haven’t handled the pressure well.  We are turning it over a lot of times on the floor or we are missing opportunities to score,” added Richards.

          Crestview came into the season with not very many girls with varsity experience and that has been a factor when it comes to being able to break the press.  “Some of it is experience and some of it is you get caught in the swell at times, it’s a domino effect.  It’s a young group and a smallish group of guards.  We’ve had some problems with the athletic teams we have gone up against.  Some of the taller guards have given us some vision problems, Richards told Swankonsports.com.

          Crestview travels to Greenwich for their first Firelands Conference game on Thursday night as they meet the South Central (0-2) Lady Trojans, who have losses to West Salem Northwestern 64-49 and Sandusky St. Mary’s 60-57.  “Coach Hintz has done a great job.  They are long and athletic.  Again we have to do a good job, I’m sure they are going to press us a little bit.  I’m sure they have seen us already.  We have to get out on their shooters and not give them and second chance shots and guard the lane a lot better than we have the first two games,” said Richards. 

 

 
   

Crestview Beginning to Jell

 

          Crestview gets its first chance to try out a new system on Friday night as the Cougars travel to Clear Fork for a non-conference boys’ basketball game.

          Brant Danals is now the Crestview coach, taking over for John Kurtz, who left the program to become the coach at Mansfield Christian.

          Of course, Crestview won the Firelands Conference football title this fall and advanced two weeks deep into the football playoffs.  “It’s been a process getting those guys late.  Fortunately we have a solid senior class that for the most part are really good leaders.  We have been working hard and I think we are ready to go.  I know they are excited to play a different opponent in a real game,” said Danals.

          Crestview is going to be one of best teams in the Firelands Conference this year and they return some kids who can play.  Danals says they really only have three players back that logged a lot of minutes at the varsity level last year.  “We are very fortunate to have the talent that we do have.  It’s still a learning process.  We have a lot of seniors, but really there are only three seniors that have much playing experience,” he told Swankonsports.com, “There were other guys who lettered.  We are trying to get everyone on the same page to fit into our team slogan, which is, together as one.”

           New coaches are going to have new systems and there is always a time at the beginning when they are sort of getting used to each other.  “It’s a period of adjustment.  I’ve had to make adjustments on my own in adapting to the players that we have.  I think right now we are in a really good place with what we have in and what we are doing,” said Danals.

          Clear Fork held Crestview to less than 25 points last year, but the Colts graduated the majority of their starting five and will have a line up with less experience than Crestview, which may serve the Cougars well on opening night.  “I have gotten a chance to see Clear Fork play a couple of times this year.  They are, like they normally are, an extremely physical team that just beats you up on the offensive glass.  If you don’t get a body there 99% of the time they are going to get the rebound.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they throw their diamond press at us.  I think they are going to utilize their size and quickness.  I think we have the athleticism to match that.  I think we match-up pretty well with them,” said Danals.

         

 

 
   

Crestview Going to Push the Ball

 

          Crestview has a new coach with a different game plan and he is blessed with some pretty good talent too.

          Brant Danals, a former assistant at Ashland High School, and a player at Loudonville, is the new varsity coach of the Crestview Cougars boys’ basketball team.  He replaces John Kurtz, who left Crestview to take the head job at Mansfield Christian.

          The Cougars went two weeks deep in the football playoffs, but Danals thinks that experience and success they had on the gridiron can only help them on the basketball floor.  “It has an affect with guys coming to practice late, but at the same time, they are bringing in the leadership and a lot of confidence right along with them.  We did get a late start putting in a new system, but I think we have a group of guys that are doing really well with making the transition,” Danals said.

          With some depth and some size, the Cougars are going to be a pretty competitive team this winter.  “We are pretty fortunate with this group with our depth, so we are going to try and play an up tempo game.  And with the depth we also have some size.  You know, we’ve got three kids at 6-4 or better led by Tyler George and Troy Stimpert and we have a kid at 6-6.  We are gong to try and get the ball inside and go inside out.  We think that gives us the best chance to be successful,” said Danals.

          However, the Crestview coach knows they have to get a lot better on defense if they are going to fulfill their goals as a team.  “We know if we are going to be the team we want to be we have to be able to hang our hat on the defensive end,” Danals told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “To be able to do that we have a long way to go.  We are working and making strides in that department.  We are no where near where we need to be on that end of the floor yet.”

          Crestview finished second behind Western Reserve in the Firelands Conference race a year ago and Danals feels like they can be in the thick of it again this season.  “Western Reserve is the favorite.  Talking to some other people around the league probably more this year than any other in recent years, it’s going to be balanced.  I think Plymouth is going to have a really strong team, New London is always competitive, and South Central has a really, really good player,” he said.

 

 
   

Crestview Girls Have to Play Defense

 

          The Crestview girls’ basketball team isn’t going to outscore anyone this season, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have more points than they other team when there are zeros on the scoreboard.

          Lady Cougars basketball coach Tracy Richards says this year’s team is very coachable and willing to work hard. “We have a fairly young group of kids, but they are coming together well.  I really like the chemistry and the way they are taking to the teachings of myself and Coach Swartz and we have gotten a lot of team play out of our kids this year,” said Richards.

          In order to have a chance to win games this season Crestview is going to have to be good at controlling the pace of the game and they are not going to be able to turn the ball over much.  “We have talked about it.  We are not going to win games 55-50.  We need to keep them in the 44-38 range.  So, we need to do a good job of playing defense and taking care of the ball.  We need to get as many shots as possible and not turn over the ball,” Richard told Swankonsports.com.

          Richards thinks the Lady Cougars can develop into a nice team, but he feels that everyone in the Firelands Conference is going to be chasing the Western Reserve Lady Rough Riders.  “Western Reserve is the favorite.  They were young last year and they return everybody.  Brenda Friend always does a nice job.  South Central will be strong with Taylor Tackett.  After that I think it is fairly wide open,” said Richards.

 

 
   

Crestview Remains Confident

 

          Crestview meets its second straight unbeaten team as they take on Lucasville Valley in the division five regional semi-finals on Friday night at Upper Arlington High School.

          Crestview (11-0) is unbeaten itself and the Cougars scored three times in the fourth quarter last week and beat Grandview Heights 45-29 in a first round playoff game.  “Throughout the course of the game we moved the ball pretty well.  We kind of got our running game going.  We made some really big plays and at times they did a good job, which you would expect a 10-0 team to do.  We had some really big plays in the passing game.  Overall, it was a good game offensively for us,” said Crestview coach Chad Coffman.  The Cougars chewed up 301 yards rushing.  Mason Minnich accounted for 198 yards and four scores for the Cougars.

          Legendary Ohio State coach Woody Hayes lived in Upper Arlington and he would be proud of the Cougars run based offense, but Crestview’s pass game has shown some improvement too.  Troy Stimpert completed five of 10 passes against Grandview Heights for 129 yards.  “Troy has done a good job of progressively getting better as the season has gone on, which has been really good for us.  We have thrown the ball a little bit better.  Going into the year Tyler George was probably our top receiver and unfortunately for us he got hurt and missed a few games early in the year.  That probably set our pass game back a little bit.  Now he’s in the flow and our pass game has gotten better as the year as has gone on,” said Coffman.

          Lucasville Valley won the Southern Ohio II Conference by a game over Portsmouth West, a team that plays Wynford on Friday night.  The Indians have put up a lot of points this season including more than 50 once.  Coffman told Swankonsports.com that Valley is a very physical team that will be tough at the point of attack.  “They are a very good team.  They are 11-0 like we are.  Their quarterback is very athletic.  He’s a good runner and a good thrower.  They have a good running back that is very physical.  He weighs 205 pounds.  They have a 6-6 receiver that is really good and dangerous.  They try and spread you out and run the ball.  They can throw it too, so it will be a test for us,” he said.

          Crestview has been forced to rally in the second half six times this year and their kids don’t get nervous when they are behind and Coffman believes that serves them well in the playoffs.  “We have faced adversity.  We’ve had to come back and been in some tight games.  I think last Friday night there were times we were down and they were moving the ball.  It probably helps us that we have experienced that before.  The kids understand that we can adjust and do the things we need to do,” said Coffman.

 

 
   

It’s a Battle of Unbeatens

 

          Crestview, the Firelands Conference champion, meets Grandveiw Heights in the regional quarterfinals of the division five football playoffs as the Cougars visit the Columbus suburbs.

          Crestview won a number of close games this year including Fredericktown (10-6) and Loudonville (28-20) in non-conference play, plus Western Reserve (22-21), Norwalk St. Paul (28-24) and Plymouth (28-24) in conference action.  “The way we finish games was an extraordinary thing.  Normally when you play in that many close games you are not going to be able to win them all.  With some of the adversity we had to come back from is what will stick with me and I will remember.  It’s to the credit of the teams in our conference.  They made us better,” Crestview coach Chad Coffman told Swankonsports.com on Thursday.

          Grandview Heights was the outright winner of the Cardinal Division of the Mid-State League and they are also an excellent team.  “They are a very good football team.  Obviously anytime you get to 10-0.  I think that speaks volumes on what they were able to do.  Like us they have been behind.  They had a game at West Jefferson where they came form 23 down in the second half.  They played disciplined last week and came back and beat a good Liberty Union team.  They have a really good tailback and a really good fullback,” said Coffman.

          Like a lot of the Crestview games this season this is likely going to be a contest determined by who has the best running game.  “They are similar to us in that they run the ball affectively.  They can throw it.  The kid has a strong arm.  They have some speed at the receiver position.  Basically they like to spread you out to run the ball.  The quarterback and the fullback are their best runners.  They have some other threats that are speed type guys,” Coffman said.

          The Crestview coach says they have been looking at Grandview Heights all season as they have been following the numbers in their region.  “Like very Friday night we will go in with a game plan.  We think we know what they might try to do.  Grandview Heights is one of the teams we tracked from early in the year.  We thought they were a possibility of someone we might see.  Like any football game you have to make adjustments on the fly,” Coffman said.

          When you have two teams that are this good they are likely to approach the game the same way they have all year because it’s been successful for them.  “Two teams that are 10-0 they aren’t going to deviate from what they do and we aren’t going to deviate from what we do.  You don’t switch your whole philosophy on football based on the opponent.  You’re always best served to do what you do well,” said Coffman.   

 

 
   

Crestview Tries to Stay Perfect

 

          Crestview has some big goals to accomplish on Friday night as they host the Plymouth Big Red in a Firelands Conference football game.

          They can win an outright conference title and finish the regular season with a perfect 10-0 record, but standing in their way is a much improved Plymouth football team.  The Big Red is 5-4, but are just two snaps away from being tied with Crestview for the conference lead.  They lost overtime games to Norwalk St. Paul and Western Reserve the last two weeks. 

          Crestview’s Mason Minnich scored with less than 30 seconds to go last week to give the Cougars a come from behind 28-24 win over St. Paul.  “It was really a big win for us.  In our conference anytime you are able to beat St. Paul it’s a big win,” Crestview coach Chad Coffman told Swankonsports.com, “I thought they really came in with a lot on the line.  It was their chance to get a share of the conference lead and go to the playoffs.  We were fortunate to get a couple of plays at the end and get the win.”

          The St. Paul win was the second time the Cougars have been able to pull one out in dramatic fashion and Coffman says that gives them more confidence, but he wishes they wouldn’t leave it to the end.  “I think what’s starting to happen a little bit is when you do similar things you believe you are going to be able to do them.  Our kids understood that even if they are behind late in a game they still have a chance.  At the same time you don’t like to find yourself in that position, especially at this time of year it only takes one time for it to bite you.  We’d like to put away a game and win by a lot, but it doesn’t always work that way,” he said.

          Plymouth is having its best season since 1998, if not longer as the Big Red will be at least .500 and they have been competitive in all of their league games.  Coffman believes it starts with the physical nature of the Big Red.  “They are a very good football team.  They are well coached.  They are big and physical.  They are a group that has kind of grown up together and took their lumps.  This year they really are a very good football team obviously they had a couple of real tough losses to the top tear teams in the league.  They have one more chance to come out and show they belong,” Coffman said.

          Plymouth is certainly a run first kind of team and they are able to do that against most teams because they are physical at the point of attack.  “They are so big up front and their backs are so big and physical.  They really do prefer to run the ball.  Their quarterback is always a threat to run and we will have to do a good job containing him,” said Coffman.  The Plymouth defense has shown improvement this year also.  Coffman says they are good for many of the same reasons as they Plymouth offense.  “It’s the same kind of thing defensively.  They are really big.  When you are big and physical I think it helps you defensively.  They have come a long way,” he said. 

 

 
   

Crestview Expecting Big Test

 

          Right now Crestview is in sole possession of first place in the Firelands Conference and leads three teams, Western Reserve, Plymouth and Norwalk St. Paul by a game. 

          After a one point win over Western two weeks ago, they play Norwalk St. Paul on Friday night and Plymouth next week.  The Cougars, #5 in the Swankonsports.com football power in the small school division, are unbeaten on the season and have already beaten some good teams, but St. Paul might be their stiffest test yet.

          St. Paul has been besieged by injuries this season, but they still have put together a pretty good season.  The Flyers (5-3) are still a pretty good football team according to Crestview coach Chad Coffman.  “They have a great football program and a really good football team.  I know they had some adversity with some injuries they had to overcome and maybe some teams they played that are having real good seasons.  They are going to be very sound and very well coached.  You expect that they are going to play well and be very good.  They have been tested and played a lot of close games and they seem to be playing their best football right now,” he said.

          Coffman says the Flyers are balanced on offense, but what they do best is the power running game, which means they have to be sound at the point of attack.  “They do a good job I think with their power running game.  Livengood is a very good running back.  Newcomer is really dangerous when he gets in the open field.  I think it’s been a tough loss for them to lose Hinkley, even though I think he plays against us, but he’s been out.  They have done a really good job at quarterback without him.  They are just sound in their execution.  They are very technical and they are very good up front.  They have been good at controlling the ball and shortening the game,” said Coffman.

          Defensively the Flyers have given up some points this season to teams like Tiffin Calvert (35), Huron (38) and even winless New London (33), but Coffman says they are still a team that forces you to execute on offense.  “I know they haven’t been as dominate as they have been in the past defensively, but to me I can see a very competitive defense and they do a very good job.  At times they have been bending a little more than they wood like.  They do a great job in their red zone and in short yardage situations of getting stops and really making you work to get points.  Now that some of their guys have gotten back and healthy that has helped them on that side of the ball too,” he said.

          Coffman believes if you are going to beat Norwalk St. Paul you can not afford to make many mistakes.  He says if you do the Flyers are going to take advantage of them.  “The biggest key is going to be to be sound.  They force you to be sound.  We are going to have to tackle really well.  We are going to have to make sure we keep everything in front of us and don’t let them have any quick scores.  When we have the ball it’s going to come down to valuing the football, executing on third down and avoiding negative plays,” he said.

 

 
   

Crestview Looking at Land Battle

 

          Crestview had to go to the air to beat Western Reserve last week, but they hope to be able to return to the ground on Friday night as they travel to Mapleton to play the improved Mounties.

          Last week, the Cougars used the pass game to engineer a thrilling come from behind 22-21 win at defending Firelands Conference champion Western Reserve.  “We went over there and knew it was going to be a great football game and a great opportunity for our kids.  We had control early on, but momentum is a funny thing.  We couldn’t distance ourselves from them and we made a couple of mistakes that came back to haunt us.  In the Firelands Conference we haven’t had a bigger win than that,” said Crestview coach Chad Coffman.  Crestview converted a two point conversion to come up with the win.  “What our kids believe is that we can come back from adversity.  We can make big plays to win games.  Our kids are very aware that we have to be ready to go.  You have to be ready to go every Friday night.  We are the kind of team that on the right night we can beat anybody, but on the right night we can get beat by anybody,” Coffman told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday.

          Mapleton stands in fifth place in the Firelands Conference with a 2-2 record in conference games, and that is a dramatic improvement for a team that usually has finished last over the last decade.  They railed to beat Monroeville 28-27 last week.  “To me they are a really good football team.  They are really big and physical up front.  They have a great running back and their quarterback does a really nice job.  They have a nice blend of seniors that have been around and played and some talented young kids.  They are going to supply a really good test for us,” said Coffman.

          Both squads rely on the run to power their offense and Coffman believes the battle in the trenches will determine the outcome on Friday night.  “You would think so.  For the most part at any level it’s about up front and in the high school it’s even bigger.  There are always other story lines to it.  Last week against Western it came down to making some big plays in the passing game.  Both teams are similar in that they will try to establish the run,” said Coffman. 

 

 
   

It’s a Battle of Leaders in the Firelands Conference

 

          Crestview and Western Reserve share the Firelands Conference lead with Plymouth and they play each other at Western Reserve on Friday night.

          The Cougars are unbeaten on the season and they overwhelmed the South Central Trojans 68-0 last week in a conference game.  “It was one of those nights when we talked to the kids about coming out ready to play.  That is always important when you are on the road.  You want to jump on a team quick and maybe get them to quit competing,” Crestview coach Chad Coffman said.  Ranked #5 in the latest Swankonsports.com football power poll the Cougars got some younger players in the game in the second half last week.  “We have a group of younger kids that work really hard in practice.  They get to play JV games, which is nice.  It’s always nice when they go out there on Friday night and get their uniforms dirty.  I think that’s good for everybody in building the moral going into practice this week,” Coffman added.

          Western Reserve (4-2) won the outright conference title last year and put together their best performance of this season when they downed rival Norwalk St. Paul 20-12 last Saturday night.  “They are the defending champions and we are going to their place.  It’s going to be a huge football game.  They went out and got a win at St. Paul, which I know they hadn’t done in a long time.  They are more than just the Buckannon.  They have a good, physical, strong offensive line.  They have a lot of speed and some depth with some younger kids to go with Buckannon.  They are going to be a challenge for us.  They do a lot of things really well,” said Coffman.  Blake Buckannon ran for 336 yards against the St. Paul last week.  Of course, Crestview features the backfield of Mason Minnich and Garrett Montgomery.  Minnich had 142 yards on only six carries against South Central.  Montgomery scored three times on the Trojans.

          Crestview and Western Reserve both feature the run game, obviously, and they are going to go with who brought them to the dance on Friday night.  It might end up being who can execute most efficiently.  “Both teams have a lot of big play potential, but at the same time both teams can put together drives as well.  I think that will be one of the big keys for both teams trying to limit big plays.  What might make the difference is how consistently you can move the ball a little bit at a time,” said Coffman.

          Coffman really believes that the Rough Riders are the best football team they have played all season and that means they are going to need a solid effort to come out on top.  “As far as their skill set, I think it’s the best running back we have seen yet.  They have some nice complements to him and I think they are going to be our biggest test,” said Coffman.

 

 
   

Crestview is Cautious

 

          Crestview is unbeaten on the year halfway through the high school football season, but a lot remains to be accomplished by the Cougars who still must play Firelands Conference powers Norwalk St. Paul and Western Reserve.

          Last week, the Cougars ranked fifth in the small school division of the Swankonsports.com football power poll, defeated New London 27-13 to push their conference record to 2-0.  “It was one of those weeks the fair and being out of school and homecoming it presents a lot of unique challenges for the kids.  I thought New London came out with a really good game plan.  We were able to work hard throughout the game and we were fortunate to get another victory and keep things rolling for us,” said Crestview coach Chad Coffman.

          South Central (0-5) plays host to Crestview on Friday night.  Coffman says despite the Trojans record they have some good players and can not be taken lightly.  “Like a lot teams South Central has a lot of real good football players.  They have a lot of big play capability.  They are pretty big up front.  I know they have had some injuries.  On film they look like a dangerous team.  They do a lot of different things.  We are going to have to go out and play well on Friday night,” Coffman told Swankonsports.com.  South Central has had some difficulty on defense this season, but Coffman says the Trojans have some kids that can make plays on offense.  “I think they have as good a receiver as we have seen all year.  They have a couple of other kids that do a pretty good job.  I know they have a running back that has been out all year and they really just got him back last week.  They should have more balance because they will be able to run more,” he said.

          Coffman says one their goals this week is to come out and play better in the first quarter against South Central than they did last week when they played New London.  “It’s always nice if your kids are able to through their preparation come out and put a team away or jump on them.  Last week, New London comes in and they had struggled at times coming into our game, but they came out and play well early against us.  We end up playing an exciting game that really did go the distance.  I hope looking back that is something that will help us in the long run get better as a team.  Hopefully one of the lessons we learned is we have to get ready for South Central.  There are a lot of things they can do, so we have to ready,” said Coffman.   

 

 
   

Crestview Continues to Improve

 

          Last season they were besieged by injuries, but this year the Crestview Cougars have proven to be one of the best small school football teams in this area and it appears they have a real chanced to win the Firelands Conference title this year.

          Last week they crushed Monroeville 30-7 in their opening game in conference play.  The Eagles, although young this season, are normally one of the very best division six schools in this region.  “It was one of those games when it really seemed we had a business like attitude about it,” Crestview coach Chad Coffman told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “The second quarter we really kind of took off and finished pretty strong through the end of the game.  I thought we made some strides on offense.  Defensively, I think we continue to get better, which is big for us.  We had pretty good special teams.  We still see little things we can correct and that’s what we are working on this week.”  Halfback Mason Minnich was again running all over the field with the football as he gained 230 yards on 32 carries for the Cougars.

          With all that Minnich has been doing this season, the Crestview defense has not gotten the media attention it probably deserves.  They have allowed only two scores over the last two weeks.  “We knew going into the year that we had a chance to have a special kind of defense.  I think early in the year it looked like we really didn’t play that well.  We also had some special teams breakdowns that made it look like we were giving up more points than the defense was responsible for.  They give us a chance in any game when they play like they are right now,” said Coffman.

          After a 20-6 loss to Plymouth last week the New London Wildcats slipped to 0-4 on the year.  However, they have some skilled players that can make some plays.  Coffman says they have made that clear to the players.  “Our kids are aware that they have some talented players and really good athletes.  I think at times they have played very good football.  The trick at this level is being consistent.  It’s nice that we are at home.  We tend to play really well at home,” he said.

          The fact of the matter is Crestview is 4-0 and New London is 0-4 and if the Cougars go out and score a couple times early they might have the Wildcats questioning themselves.  “One thing about football is if you come out really hard and have a fast start it does give you the opportunity to have the other team just feel like they can’t compete with you.  But, we always figure we are in it for the long haul,” Coffman said. 

 

 
   

Crestview Hosting Big Conference Game

 

          Crestview and Monroeville are two of the elite football schools in the Firelands Conference and they play each other on Friday night at Crestview High School in northern Richland County.

          Crestview is 3-0 after wins over West Salem Northwestern (28-14) on week one, Loudonville (28-21) on week two and Fredericktown (10-6) last week.  Monroeville, on the other hands is trying to replace a great senior class for a year ago, is 1-2 for year.  They hammered LaGrange Keystone (35-8) in their opener, but have since lost to Edison (34-28) and Seneca East (33-7) last week.

          Cougars coach Chad Coffman has been impressed with the play of his football team and how much they have improved.  He says the win over Fredericktown, who played in the division five state semi-finals last season, was huge for the program.  “It was really a big win for us.  Anytime it’s your home opener and you’re playing against a really good football program it was a huge win for us and great for the kids.  We played exceptionally well on defense, had good special teams and the offense was solid,” Coffman told Swankonsports.com.  However, he understands they have to continue to improve if they are going to compete for a conference title.  “We have to get continued improvement from our defense.  The kids after seeing film realize that there are things that we need to improve upon.  We need to continue to reduce mistakes on offense, which we have done each week, and if we continue to do that we will become the football team we want to be,” he added.

          At the beginning of the season Coffman expressed concern about the depth on his roster and the importance of staying healthy.  He says the depth has improved and there have not been major injuries so far.  “We have been blessed not just with a great group of kids, but things have kind of gone our way at times.  It’s always critical that if you are going to be successful you have to avoid major injuries.  If you told me we were going to play Fredericktown without our best receiver and cover corner in Tyler George it wouldn’t have been something I looked forward to doing, but we have been able to add a little bit of depth,” said Coffman.

          Monroeville does not have many 30 point losses over the last 20 years, but that’s what happened to the Eagles last week. Still, Coffman knows not to take Monroeville for granted.  “Monroeville is a great football program and they have great tradition.  Their players always play incredibly hard.  They are one of the premier teams in our conference.  This year they have a great running back and he will challenge us and they have some big kids with size and strength,” he said.

 

 
   

Running Game Will be the Difference

 

          Crestview plays host to Fredericktown in one of the bigger high school football games in this area on week two. 

          Both schools have looked good over the first couple weeks of the season.  The Cougars are 2-0 after wins over West Salem Northwestern (28-14) and Loudonville (28-21).  Fredericktown is 1-1 after beating Highland (28-21) on week one and losing to Columbus Bishop Ready (17-14) last week.

          Crestview scored in dramatic fashion last week scoring on a hook and latter play with less then two minutes to play in the game.  “We had under two minutes and with only one time out,” Crestview coach Chad Coffman told Swankonsports.com, “We end up with a third down and 15.  It was a tough situation and we called the hook and latter.  They covered it pretty well, but Garrick made a nice catch and flip and Mason broke a couple of tackles.  It made for an exciting finish.”  A big win like that can give a team a little momentum.  “It was a game we knew was very important for us and playing good teams on the road is always tough.  It seemed like we had to work real hard to get the lead and every time it seemed like they could take it right back,” he said.

          Last season Fredericktown on the way to a state semi-final appearance in division five throttled Crestview 42-14 and Coffman knows that the Freddies are really going to be looking to get back in the winning column.  “Their recent success really speaks for itself.  They’ve done a really good job.  Ready is a very good team and Fredericktown could have easily won that game,” said Coffman.

          Matt Smith was held to 99 yards by Ready last week and Coffman knows if they are to beat the Freddies this year they have to do a better job of containing Smith.  “We are very aware of the kind of runner he is.  He is phenomenal and it helps him that they have a really good offensive line.  I do think they have the ability to throw the ball too,” he said.

          Still both teams rely on the running game with Smith and Crestview’s Mason Minnich and Garrick Montgomery and Coffman thinks the team that does it the best will probably win.  “It’s going to be one of the stories.  I think who is able to run the ball and be successful doing that because both teams are really going to try to establish that and work that running game,” said Coffman. 

 

 
   

Crestview Has Mason

 

          Crestview running back Mason Minnich ran for 350 yards and the Cougars scored two touchdowns in each of the third and fourth quarters to beat West Salem Northwestern last week.

          The Cougars threw only five passes in the game, but they did have three first half fumbles against the Huskies before they got things going in the second half.  “Offensively in the first half there were just too many mistakes, whether they were missed assignments or penalties or the couple of times we put the ball on the ground and lost it,” said Crestview coach Chad Coffman.

          Crestview ran the ball 40 times in the game and Coffman believes the guys up front delivered when they had too.  “I think for the first game we were really pleased with our offensive line,” Coffman told Swankonsports.com, “We had some plays when we blocked really well as a unit and we had some other plays when an individual does something.  I think with Mason running for 350 yards and playing without Garrik is something we have to be pretty happy with.”  Crestview is not going to surprise anyone.  They are going to come out and run the ball until someone stops them.  “I can guarantee you that Northwestern’s goal was to come out and stop Mason, but still he was able to get 350 yards.  We are going to continue to work with our other guys because the more threats you can establish the better you are going to be,” Coffman added.

          Loudonville lost 32-18 at Ontario in non-conference play last week, but they showed they have the potential to put some points on the board.  “They really do have talent.  I think they caught everyone’s attention when their quarterback hits 12 of 14 passes in the first half, obviously they were doing some good things,” said Coffman.  He says anyone that has been watching the Loudonville program develop isn’t surprised by the potential the Redbirds have.  “Their younger programs have been winning consistently over the last several years and those kids are up on the varsity now,” said Coffman,  

 

 
   

Crestview is Going to Run the Ball

 

          Crestview has built its success over the years on the ground game and 2011 it is going to be no different for the Cougars.

          They return two excellent backs in 1,300 yard rusher Mason Minnich and his stable mate Garrick Montgomery.  “We have two really good running backs,” coach Chad Coffman told swankonsports.com, “If we stay healthy we can put a really good team out there that has great potential.  Depth is a little bit of a concern for us.”  It was injuries that hurt the Cougars the most last season when they went 6-4 and finished fourth in the tough Firelands Conference.  Three of the losses came to playoff teams and the other to 2009 state champion Norwalk St. Paul.

          Crestview starts the season on Friday night at West Salem Northwestern of the Wayne County Athletic League.  “There is nothing that really simulates what that first game is going to be about.  Even if you watch other people scrimmage you are never sure what they are going to be about.  There are always players that are going to step up and surprise you or kids that had a good camp that surprise you the other way,” said Coffman.

          Coffman doesn’t expect a whole lot of changes from the Northwestern team they have met over the last couple of years.  “We have seen similar looks from them over the last several years.  They have been in the spread and that’s what we have seen in their scrimmages.  They usually go from the gun.  Every year they throw in a little wrinkle,” he said.

          With Cougars focusing on running the ball they can’t have fumbles if they are to beat the Huskies on Friday night.  “For us we really need to take care of the ball,” said Coffman, “If you are going to be a ground oriented team you can’t have fumbles.  With our running backs we need to take care of the ball.  We have to avoid penalties too, that’s something that has hurt us during the preseason.” 

 

 
 

 

Crestview Counting on the Running Game 

          Crestview has always been about running the football and that is not going to change in Chad Coffman’s second year as the Cougars head coach this fall.

          A record of 6-4 was what the Cougars produced in Coffman’s first year as their head coach.  He took over for Sean Conway, now at Mansfield Madison, before last season.  One thing he hopes for this year is something very hard for a coach, or anyone for that matter, to control, the health of the team.  Crestview got beat up a little last year and that cost them in a couple of games.  Coffman says there are a number of things they have to get better at if they are going to compete in the tough Firelands Conference.  “I think it’s a combination of things.  One thing is I hope we are going to be a little bit more healthy,” Coffman told Swankonsports.com, “That was a trend last year, we just had a lot of injuries.  I think one key thing for us will be to stay healthy and I think the other thing is putting time in the weight room and getting more athletic.”

          Crestview returns its top two running backs to the gridiron this fall and that means the Cougars are going to continue that tradition of being a power running game, which began in the late 90’s with Rick Brindley and continued with Mark Solis and Conway.  “Well I think any year you evaluate your personnel looking to add some things.  Obviously when you bring back two really good running backs, we are going to run.  That will be our identity as you would expect it to be at Crestview,” said Conway.

          Crestview has been a heavy hitter in the Firelands Conference, but when you have to play the likes of Norwalk St. Paul, the 2009 division six state champion, Monroeville and defending champion Western Reserve, things are never going to be easy.  Coffman knows that this season will be no different from that respect.  “Western Reserve had a great year,” he said, “They return a lot of kids and a lot of great athletes, so they are going to be a very competitive team.  St. Paul was a really good football team last year and they are going to be really good again.  Plus, Monroeville is just Monroeville,” said Coffman.  

 

 
   

Daniels Begins Coaching Career at Crestview

           Brent Daniels, a member of two final four teams at Loudonville High School, has been named the new boys’ basketball coach at Crestview.  He replaces John Kurtz, who left Crestview after three years for Mansfield Christian.

          Daniels also played at Ashland University, after trying out for the squad as a non-scholarship player.  Last winter, he was the junior varsity coach at Ashland High School.

          He says he learned a lot from the coaches he has played for and coached under.  “From Marc Schlabach and Brandon Grimes, my two coaches at Loudonville, I learned a lot about how to start a program.  Once I got to Ashland University, coach Lyons taught me a lot about the fast break and how to play on the offensive end,” Daniels told Swankonsports.com.  Schlabach just led Berlin Hiland to a state title this past March.  Last year was his first chance to coach is own team when he was the JV coach at Ashland.  “Coach Fralic, who I can’t say enough about, really gave me an opportunity to dive into coaching head first,” said Daniels.

          Crestview finished second in the Firelands Conference last season and advanced to the division three district semi-finals before losing to Gibsonburg.  Daniels says he always wanted to be the coach at a school like Crestview.  “They have been really successful the last few seasons and that drew my attention.  Plus, I always wanted to be the coach at a smaller high school in Ohio, just like Loudonville.”  He also believes that Crestview returns considerable talent and has a chance to be pretty good.  “I think I’m walking into a program right now that has some talent,” he said, “We have some players in Tyler George, Ryan Adkins, Jake Hill, and Troy Stimpert.  We are going to be a team that’s intense.  If we can make the progressions we need to on the defensive end we will have a good season.”

 

 
   

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