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Freddies Upset Unbeaten East Knox; Ready for Cardington

Fredericktown scored 25 straight points last Friday and handed East Knox their first loss of the season in what was their best effort of the year.

They play at Cardington in a Knox Morrow Athletic Conference game on Friday night.

Fredericktown coach William Hartley says last week was a game they had been pointing to for a year. “That is a game we had marked on our calendars from last year. They beat us at the same time last year and kind of derailed our season. It was something we weren’t ever able to recover from. We suffered a couple of injuries in that game as well. So, the kids were really fired up. It was one of those games where we could think back on in January in the weight room and during two a days that we were going to be ready to play East Knox. It was not a hard game to get up for. It’s a county rival, so it is one of those games when you can throw the records out the window and that was definitely the case on Friday,” said Hartley.

Hartley says it was their defense that put them in position to win the game on Friday night by making some big plays. “We played well enough on offense to stay in the game and the defense had just a great night. They have a really nice sophomore quarterback and they are very balanced on offense. We were able to get pressure on the quarterback and we were really sound in our coverage. We took them out of their rhythm a little bit and then we were able to force a lot turnovers. We had five turnovers on the night. We had two interceptions, one that was returned inside the 10-yard line and then we had a pick six as well. So, the defense really stepped up,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, “At one point in the game we were down 28-7. Then the first interception we had we returned it back to the 10-yard line and punched it in and that really swung the momentum back to us and we were able to maintain the momentum for the rest of the night. Those big plays on defense really kept us in the game and gave us that needed momentum when it looked like we were going to be down.”

Cardington (2-6,1-4) got rocked (62-10) by conference leader Highland last week. They have up more than 500 yards of total offense.

Hartley says the Pirates have had some injury problems, but they expect them to be healthy this week. “They are a team right now that is just struggling with a lot of injuries. When they are healthy they have one of the best running backs in the area and he has been out the last two weeks. We are assuming he is going to play against us and when he is healthy and has the ball in his hands he is very explosive. They have a nice wide receiver. Their quarterback is a tough kid that runs the football and passes it well. They are really big. Their offensive and defensive fronts have big kids. They have just struggled a little bit by injuries. We are just going to assume those key kids that have been hurt the last couple of weeks are going to be ready to play against us,” he said.

Published 10/16/17

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Fredericktown Faces Rival Highland

Fredericktown lost to a very good Danville team last week and things don’t get any easier this week as host arch rival Highland in a Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference game.

Things got away quickly in a (42-7) loss to Danville last week.

Coach William Hartley says many times it seemed like they were only inches from making the play, but it didn’t happen. “Football is such a game of inches. One or two defensive plays in the first half that if we had made, and we were just so close to batting balls down or making an interception on a ball, it would have been such a different half and it would have been so much closer. It would have been a competitive game, but none of those inches fell our way. We had a turnover as well, which compounded problems. A good team like Danville, they are going to capitalize on your mistakes or when you don’t make plays and they were able to do that and they really got rolling early,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “With the first three possessions they scored. We gave them a short field on the turnover and they scored a touchdown. Before you know it you are down and you are in a situation where with the running clock in the second half you aren’t in position to make a game out of it.”

Fredericktown (2-4,1-2) plays at home against Highland (5-1,3-0) on Friday night. The Scots share first place in the league with East Knox. Highland beat Mt. Gilead (42-0) last week.

Traditionally the Scots are a big, physical team and Hartley says that is the case again this year for sure. “They are big, physical kids and they are very disciplined. They have been running the same system both offensively and defensively for many years and they are very disciplined in what they do. Their offensive line has big strong kids and they really get good movement up front. They have a good group of running backs. They distribute the ball pretty evenly, so it is hard to concentrate on just one guy. If we stop this guy there are two or three others are just as important and just as hard to stop as that one guys is. The other thing is they are very methodical in what they do on offense and they go on a lot of long drives. They will hit you with the play action pass and a lot times you fall asleep in the backend of your defense they are going to get a cheap one on you,” said Hartley.

The Fredericktown coach says the Highland defense isn’t too bad either. “They are really playing good defense. They have only given up 14 points in the league schedule so far. So, they are really, really playing good defense and it is very hard and challenging for any team to get anything going against them offensively,” he said.

Published 10/05/17

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Fredericktown Needs to be Physical

Fredericktown put together its best game of the season last week and they will need to play even better this week if they are going to beat Danville in Knox-Morrow County Athletic Conference action.

The Freddies routed Mt. Gilead (57-8) last week.

Coach William Hartley said they played a solid, overall game last week. “We had had a disappointing outing over at Northmor and had a pretty sour taste in our mouth. To go over to Mt. Gilead and preform like we did. We came out fast and ready to play. We were hitting on all cylinders. The offense really played well. I think we had three scores in the first quarter. On defense we played well also and got a turnover early as well. That helped us and built the momentum. Throughout the game it was a really positive game. In all phases we played really good football. We got a lot guys in the game in the second half. If was a positive win coming off a really disappointing loss over at Northmor,” said Hartley.

Danville (4-1,1-1) beat Northmor (41-34) last week in a conference game.

As usual, Danville is athletic and electric in their offense, but Harley says this year the Blue Devils are big too. “They do a really good job of getting their skilled guys the ball in space. They have some nice receivers on the edge. They have a really good screen package that they execute. This year I think the biggest difference for them is they are big. They are always tough, hardnosed kids over at Danville and this year they have pretty good size as well. They are running a little more between the tackles,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “The second half against Northmor they were really doing a lot of downhill running with the football. They are incorporating a lot of wing-T concepts into their shotgun attack and they are getting a lot of hats to the point of attack and really running behind a big, experienced offensive line. They always play tough defense. It is hard to get things going on offense. It is a typical Danville team they are just a little bit bigger and more physical than they normally are so it is going to be a big test for us.”

Hartley says they have to be physical and the point of attack and not let Danville push them around. “That is what we have been preaching all week is we are going to have to have great defensive effort and continue to grow on the offensive side of the ball and take another step forward from last week and build on that success that we had. Defensively, we are going to have to match their physicality. At times defensively we played really good, solid defense and I have been telling the boys all week it is going to take that type of effort all night to compete and get ourselves in position to win the football game,” he said.

Published 9/28/17

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Fredericktown Has to Establish Run

Fredericktown has not been able to do much offensively this year and they trying to make some changes to enable that to happen.

Last week, they were beaten pretty handily by undefeated Northmor (43-8) in Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference game.

Coach William Hartley says they didn’t execute well on offense or defense. “We knew trying to stop Demetrious Johnson was going to be a big challenge and he proved to be everything he was on tape. His speed really hurt us on the edge and then when we tried to commit more guys to the edge he hurt us up the middle as well. He was also able to compete some passes against us, which he had not been consistently able to do in previous games. He was just a handful all night and as I said last week they have enough guys that were able to complement his skills. They have a tough offense to defend. They are playing really outstanding defense right now. I think if you look overall at the game our inability to get anything going offensively really put us in a bind and obviously the results show that,” said Hartley.

Hartley says depth has been a problem on the offensive and defensive lines for the Freddies. He says they are trying to find some solutions. “We are trying different things and different personnel groupings and different sets. One of the biggest things we looked at this weekend is we had such promise on the offensive line and still we are in the first half of the season and time to reach that potential. With our lack of the depth we are asking a lot of those big guys to go both ways and it is just really, really hard for them to do that and preform at the level we need them too,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “So, we are looking to just maximize the amount of kids we have and the reps that we give them and try get some of those bigger guys off of both sides of the ball. Hopefully, that can help us generate some offense. We have to be able to get our running game going. Our offense is based on run and power, so we have to be able to get those things going in order to get the rest of the offense going. We have been really inconsistent and struggle at times and that was very evident during the Northmor game.”

Fredericktown (1-3,0-1) is at Mt. Gilead (0-4,0-1) on Friday night in a league game. East Knox beat the Indians (41-0) last week.

Hartley says the Indians have athletes that will be difficult to contain. They have shown that this year. “They are also searching for an identity themselves. They have some really nice athletes. Mason Mollohan is a big 6’5” tight end. I think he has some colleges looking him for both football and basketball. They have a really nice quarterback. He is very athletic and throws a nice ball and keeps a lot of plays alive with his movement in the pocket. They have been throwing the ball a lot, but you don’t know if that is what they want to do or because they have been trailing in games. We have to be ready to have a strong defensive performance against them. We have to be able to get pressure on the passer and be sound in coverage and hopefully get some turnover as well,” said Hartley.

Published 9/19/17

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Fredericktown Faces Talented Northmor

In the first game in new Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference traditional power Fredericktown travels to vastly improved Northmor on Friday night to take on the unbeaten Golden Knights.

Fredericktown (1-2,0-0) got their first win of the season when they outscored Utica (20-7) in the second half and beat the Redskins (34-21) last Friday night.

Coach William Hartley says that was a win they needed pretty badly. “We definitely got the monkey off our back. When you lose some tough games early you just don’t know if you are going to smell victory again. I think there was quite a bit of doubt with the kids after the first two weeks and definitely during the second half of the game we were able to silence that doubt and get back to what we do well and play with confidence and execute. It all came together in the second half against Utica and we were able to come out of there with a win,” he said.

Northmor (3-0,0-0) beat Lucas (26-8) last week after wins over Crestview (21-14) and Worthington Christian (40-14) the first two weeks.

Hartley says the Golden Knights have playmakers, led by senior quarterback Demetrious Johnson, who has scored at least twice in all three games this year. “Demetrious Johnson is just a tremendous athlete. In every game they have played he has been the fastest kid of the field. They do a good job of getting him the football and giving some different looks and getting him the ball in space. The other thing with them is you just can’t focus on him they have some other guys that really complement him,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “They are playing pretty decent defense. They were able to shut down a pretty potent Lucas offense on Friday. So, they are playing good, all around football and they are buying into the new coach’s message. It seems like they are playing with a great deal of confidence right now.”

Former Colonel Crawford assistant coach Scott Armrose has taken over the Northmor program this year and Hartley says you can see his impact, especially on offense. “On defense they are pretty similar. They are traditionally an even front and that is what we are going to see from them. Offensively it is a different package. Demetrious has been in the system for four years and he has been a running back and this year they switched him to quarterback definitely presents challenges for opposing defenses. They are simple, there is nothing confusing, there are not a lot of tricky formations or anything like that. They are just executing really well. They are playing to their strength and that is getting their shifty backs the ball in space,” said Hartley.

Published 9/12/17

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Fredericktown Trying to Find it

Fredericktown has found the going tough against two pretty good teams out of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference and they need a win pretty badly Friday night at Utica.

It was close for about a half last week, but Marion Pleasant pulled away for (39-14) win over the Freddies.

Coach William Hartley says they need to be more consistent, especially on the offensive side of the ball. “In the first half, we definitely made progress offensively from week one to week two. We had success moving the football and were able to put some drives together. It was a really close game until right at end of the half, it was a six-point game, 13-7. We had a bad snap deep in our end that gave them the ball on the one yard line with 38 seconds left in the half and they were able to punch it in there. From that point forward it just deflated our momentum and they went on to dominate the second half and we weren’t able to get that first win. We showed some signs offensively we just have to get more consistent,” said Hartley.

There are eight games left to be played and Hartley believes they are going to end of being a pretty good football team. He thinks this week will be important. “Our theme this week is we have one mission and that is going down to Utica and getting that first win. I told the boys Friday after the Pleasant game that deep down inside my gut tells me this is a good football team. We had come up against two really experienced and tough hardnosed teams week one and week two and came up short. We have a lot to play for,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “I just really feel that we are getting really close to turning that corner. I think that if we can dig down deep, making sure that we are executing consistently on offense, continuing the play with the energy we have been on defense, we have been pretty physical on defense. We played good on the special teams on Friday, after the problems against Clear Fork, so continue to be sound there, we are going to be okay down the road here.”

Utica (0-2) has lost to Centerburg (19-14) and East Knox (33-19) in their two games this year.

Hartley thinks these are two pretty similar teams at this point in the season. “You have two teams that are kind of searching for an identity. Utica comes in 0-2. They have lost two real tough games that they have been leading late and let it slip away. They didn’t win a game last year. They have a second year coach. It seems like they are really trying to turn that corner. They have a lot of kids back from last year’s group, starting with their quarterback, who has been a four year starter. He is probably one of the better passers of the football that we will see. They have a nice receiver corps. They are big up front on both the offensive and defensive lines. It is their home opener, so we know they are going to be real hungry for a win,” said Hartley.

Published 9/08/17

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Freddies Face Some Unknows

Fredericktown is going kind of blind this week and that was pretty scary considering who they are playing.

They face traditional power Marion Pleasant at home on Friday night. Due to some circumstances Pleasant did not play this week.

Last week, Fredericktown lost (27-6) to Clear Fork in their opener.

Coach William Hartley says they just couldn’t get anything going on offense against the Colts. “We really struggled against their defensive front. They were getting a great deal of penetration from the first quarter on. When you can’t put first downs together you are really going to struggle. When you play a lot of guys both ways eventually it is going to catch up with you in other areas. Our defense really battled, but they started to wear down and then we had a couple of breakdowns on special teams and the Colts were able to get a couple of quick scores in the kicking game, one on a returned kickoff at the beginning of the second half and then again in the fourth quarter on a punt return. If you look at one play that was the turning point it was the kick return because we were still struggling offensively and at that point we are down by two scores and it was an uphill battle from that point forward,” said Hartley.

On defense, Hartley feels they did an outstanding job and hopefully they can build on that, but they have do a lot better when they have the ball. “You always want to take some positives out of games. The defense really played well. We talked at the end of the game if the defense can play with that kind of passion throughout the year we are going to be in good shape and we are going to put ourselves in position to win some games,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “Offensively we really thought that with the experience we have coming back up front and the experience in the backfield, and if you looked at our scrimmages, we moved the ball really well against all teams we had gone against. We felt comfortable going into the game that we would be able to manufacture some kind of offense against Clear Fork and that wasn’t the case. That has left is kind of looking at some different things and trying to get ourselves in a situation this week were we can have a little bit more success on the offensive side of the ball.”

Marion Pleasant’s game with Greenon last week was cancelled due to two student deaths in the Greenon district. Hartley says they know some things about the Spartans, but not as much as they would like. “It is just not a team we are very familiar with, of course we are familiar the tradition and the history of Pleasant, but it just not a team we compete with year in and year out. I believe this might be the first time the two schools have met, definitely in recent history. You don’t have that year to year familiarity with them and also you don’t get a game film on them. It is a little bit of an unknown. We do have some scrimmage film and just asking around and talking to other coaches with what they like to do I think we have a pretty good pulse of what they are going to try and execute against us, but there is a little bit of an unknown facing a team you are not familiar with,” said Hartley.

From what they can see, Hartley says Pleasant is a power team that is just good all over the field. “They are big up front and they are a power football team. They have some big, physical backs. They have a lot of different backs and they have some quicker wingback kind of guys and they have some pounders as well. They are going to have a new quarterback. He is a big kid, he is a junior, he is 6’5”, 190. So, they have good size across the board. They have good speed. They definitely want to run the football first and then suck you up and hit you with their play action pass. If they would remind me of any team it would be Highland, they are real similar offensively to what Highland wants to do. Defensively, they really rock your head back up front. They are very fundamentally sound with really good linebacker play. Just physical tough kids that really cover well in space and good tacklers,” he said.

Published 8/30/17

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Fredericktown Has to Strike Back

Fredericktown plays traditional rival Clear Fork in its first game of the season at home on Friday night.

Last year, things didn’t go so well for the Freddies and they hope this season is going to be better.

They were (4-6) last year and lost four of their last five games.

Coach William Hartley says this year they have steadily improved through the preseason. “If you use the scrimmages as a gauge we definitely made significant progress through the preseason and through our three scrimmages. The first scrimmage was definitely up and down and the second scrimmage was a little bit the same. We clicked a little bit on offense. Then our preview scrimmage against Mapleton last Friday was very positive all around,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We played pretty consistent defense and we really controlled the line of scrimmage on the offensive side of the ball. We didn’t put the ball on the ground. We didn’t shoot ourselves in the football. We were able to execute and have a good attack from our varsity. If you take that as an indicator we are definitely heading in the right direction as a group.”

He says on Friday night they have to settle down and not make a bunch of mistakes and execute the things they can do. “Especially when you are playing an emotional rivalry like the Clear Fork game is. If you look back to last year we were very green and it showed on the field and hopefully this year we can play with more confidence. In those crunch time situations not make mistakes and not turn the ball over and not have constant penalties and not shoot ourselves in the foot and ultimately continue to move the chains, get positive yardage, put some drives together and score points,” he said.

Clear Fork whipped the Freddies (42-7) last season. Hartley says the Colts have a bunch of experience and they have some playmakers. “They are a very experienced group. They look very hungry. I have been over to watch them twice live in their scrimmages. They bring a lot of experience to the field. They have big, physical kids and play really good defense. They stretch you a lot defensively because they are able to get the ball into a lot of guys hands and they have a lot of guys that have pretty decent speed. So, they are really going to stretch us defensively and we are going to have to step up to the challenge and be great tacklers and pursuers to the ball and understand what they are trying to do from certain sets and certain formations,” said Hartley.

Looking back at last year’s film, Hartley says on offense they didn’t do much at all and Friday night they have to be able to make some plays. “If you look back to last year’s game we didn’t answer them. We stuck around for a while, but I believe in the first part of the game we had four three and outs and they were able to capitalize on all of those situations. We were still sticking around into the third quarter, but because we had had such a stagnate offense we were never able to claw our way back into the game. That’s what we have to got to do this year if they have some big plays or if they have some success offensively we have to be able to answer that and just put ourselves in a situation where we are in the game late and hopefully things go our way,” said Hartley.

Published 8/23/17

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Fredericktown A Work in Progress

Fredericktown has the potential to be a pretty good team, but they still must continue to progress through the rest of the preseason.

Coach William Hartley says they have done some good things over the first week of camp and he says they have not suffered too many injuries. “(Thursday) we had two really good sessions. The weather has been really cooperative. The second half of the week it hasn’t been really hot. Here on Friday it is a cool day. (Thursday) was probably our best practice. It was our first one in full pads. We have a couple of kids kind of bruised a little bit. Bangs and bruises, but nothing major. We are staying relatively healthy through this part of the season, so off to a pretty good start,” he said.

With a veteran line in place, Hartley thinks they should be able to run the ball this year with their traditional power game, but he thinks they can throw too. “It is a work in progress. Definitely next week in having two scrimmages and seeing some other teams and other competition we can really start to see what we can hang our hat on. We are returning a lot of experience on the offensive line, so you would hope we would be a strong running team. In this area and at this level we have to be able to run the football to be successful, but we have worked a lot in the off season on our passing game and with Jimmy Neusbaum coming back with six starts under his belt from last year he just seems to be much more comfortable with the offense and what we are asking him to do in the passing game,” said Hartley.

Fredericktown opens the season at home the first two weeks against Clear Fork and Marion Pleasant then they travel to Utica for week three. They open play in the new Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference on week four at Northmor.

On defense, Hartley says they have some pretty good players, but they are a little thin, especially on the front line. “Defensively our first group also has a great deal of experience. We don’t have as much depth as we have had in the past, especially along the defensive line, so we are going to asking a lot of those guys to go both ways this year. The last few years we have had the luxury of being able to rest a lot of linemen on one side of the ball or the other,” he told Swankonsports.com on Friday morning before the Freddies second practice, “So, that is going to be a little new for us having more guys go both ways. I am really comfortable with the progress of the older guys. It seems like they are really building on the experience that they had last year and looking to take it to the next level this year on the defensive side of the ball.”

Published 8/04/17

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Freddies Best Clear Fork

   

          Fredericktown tallied four runs in the sixth inning to beat Clear Fork (6-2) in a non-conference baseball game played Tuesday at American Legion Field between two teams that have qualified for the regional tournament in division three.

          Fredericktown scored two in the first and the Colts answered with one of their own.  The Colts tied it with a run in the fifth, but the Freddies put it away with a four spot in the sixth;

          Clear Fork (15-12) plays Ottawa-Glandorf in a regional semi-final game Thursday at Elida.  Fredericktown (21-8) faces Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy Thursday at Athletes for Action Park in Xenia.

          Freddies coach Ryan Hathaway thinks this was an excellent way to get prepared for the regional.  “It is convenient for us and for Clear Fork being this close, two good baseball teams in the same area.  (Tuesday) night our goal, and talking with coach Staab, was to make sure both teams are ready.  We won’t see them until the state championship.  We wish them the best of luck and we hope we see them there.  Hopefully we can take care of business, so we can set ourselves up for that as well,” said Hathaway.

          Colts coach Rusty Staab was very disappointed in his team’s execution on Tuesday.  “There were some bright spots.  You really have to dig deep, but there were some bright spots.  Gavin (Bailey) pitched well, Jalen Sheriff pitched well, but that is probably about it.  I got my voice back because I was going to be calm, cool, and collected (Tuesday,) but we played so bad.  Not to take anything away from Fredericktown their eyes lit up when we threw strikes and our guys took until we got two strikes,” he told Swankonsports.com on the field after the game, “It was embarrassing, but that is why we play it.  I am glad lost like that than we won where they play terrible, we play terrible, but end up winning so we actually think we were good.  It is what it is.”

Clear Fork tied the game (2-2) on an RBI single by Jared Lind in the bottom of the fifth.

          However, Fredericktown got to reliever Jarrod Smith in the sixth inning scoring four times on five hits.  Trace Hatfield had a two run single and Clem Cunningham had a run scoring single as part of the explosion.

          Hathaway says they have been hitting pretty well as a team over the last little bit.  “We have been swinging it well lately.  I thought our approach was good (Tuesday.)  That was the big thing we were working on just making we got everything cleaned up if there were questions with whatever we had going on.  Just making sure we are playing our best game going into Thursday night,” said Hathaway.

          Maybe the best thing was nobody got seriously hurt in game and Hathaway says that was really good considering what lies ahead the rest of the week.  “In the first inning when (Nick) Cunningham got hit by the foul ball I was cringing a little bit.  It was good we got out of here without any injuries and the same on their side.  It is good to have everybody healthy gearing up for what could be a fun run this weekend,” he said.

 

Published 5/23/17

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Freddies Qualify For Regional

  

          Nick Cunningham threw a one-hitter and Fredericktown downed West Jefferson (3-1) in a division three district final played at Marysville High School on Wednesday.

          They will play either Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy or Anna, who play Friday, in a regional semi-final at Athlete’s in Action Field in Xenia next Thursday.

          In a district final you need pitching and coach Ryan Hathaway says Cunningham gave them a great effort.  “That is huge.  (Wednesday) night we got a great outing out of Nick Cunningham.  He goes out and throws a one-hitter.  We were trying to keep it quite in the dugout throughout.  I don’t know if somebody slipped up or somebody didn’t knock on wood, but they ended up getting that hit.  The good thing was he was able to go out and compete on every single pitch.  So, we were really, really happy for him,” said Hathaway.

          Hathaway feels the fact that Cunningham was able to get his feet wet a little bit in a (13-3) win over Fairbanks on Monday was a plus for him in the district final.  “I think the big key for Nick (Wednesday) night was he got to throw about 13 pitches on Monday.  So, he threw in that district semi.  He was pretty nervous that night when he pitched and (Wednesday) night it seemed like his nerves were gone.  He was comfortable and he was just feeling good and that was great to see out of him,” he said.

          Fredericktown (20-8) has played some outstanding baseball over the last three weeks or so and have really hit the ball.  Hathaway says they didn’t get a lot of clutch hits Wednesday, but they were able to score enough.  “We actually left 11 guys on base.  We had opportunities.  We had bases loaded in the sixth, bases loaded in the firth inning and we didn’t get a run across.  It could have hurt us, but we got out of there with a “W.”  We kept getting guys on base.  We just couldn’t get that timely hit that we needed, but we were fortunate enough to get a few across early in the game.  I just thought our guys just kept competing,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday night after the win, “We were up 3-0 and we just kept clawing away and just keeping getting one out after another.  We just did a great job of focusing on the next pitch.  We did make some errors behind Nick.  We didn’t play clean as far as defense.  Everything just kind of clicked and came together finally.”

 

Published 5/18/17

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Fredericktown Blasts Fairbanks in Semis

  

          Fredericktown hammered Fairbanks (13-3) in six innings in a division three district semi-final played on Monday evening at Ohio Wesleyan University.

          They now play West Jefferson, a (4-1) winner over Centerburg, also of the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference Monday, on Wednesday.

          Freddies coach Ryan Hathaway says it was a pretty compete effort by his team on Monday.  “It was a pretty tight ballgame through the first five innings and we got hot in the sixth inning and were able to get in their bullpen and put some runs up after we got their starter out.  We got a good performance all around.  It was just a good baseball game as far hitting our stride here going into the district finals,” he said.

          Fredericktown (19-8) has played its best baseball over the last three weeks of so.  Hathaway says when the weather warmed up, so have they.  “Looking back at our schedule we played West Jeff twice in what seems like months ago, but that was when we really started hitting our stride.  We went down and played on a chilly Saturday and we got our bats rolling there.  Then got into our league schedule a little bit.  It seemed everything started to click honestly as the weather has gotten better we have started to play better baseball,” said Hathaway.

          When it comes to hitting, Hathaway says it has taken a little time for them to get their timing down, but now they feel pretty good.  “A lot of these guys rolled in off the basketball court and we threw them right out on the baseball field.  It took a little time to get their timing back.  We are seeing some pretty good pitching as far as our conference and non-league schedule.  We have seen some good arms this year and that has helped prepare us for the tournament as well,” he said.

          Fredericktown beat West Jefferson (11-1) and (12-1) in a doubleheader played on April 22, but Hathaway says those results really have little to do with Wednesday.  “The Saturday that we played them we ended up beating them twice, but that was a while ago.  We know they have some good players on their team.  I know they have a couple of decent arms.  I think once you get to this point in the tournament every team is good,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday night, “We are just going to continue to prepare and just keep playing baseball and doing what we do.  I don’t tend to give the guys too much information on the other team.  We just kind of keep that amongst our coaches and just let the players go out there and play and try and put them in the best position that we can.”

 

Published 5/16/17

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Fredericktown Trying to Fix Things

  

          There won’t be playoffs this year for the Fredericktown Freddies, but they still have two games to play and a chance to get better.

          They travel to Northmor Friday night for a blue division game in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.

          They played rival Highland, the division leader, last week at home and things didn’t go very well.  The Scots handled them (42-9) in a game that got off to a bad start for the Freddies.

          Coach William Hartley says they were inconsistent on offense and didn’t do much at all on defense.  “We just didn’t get off to a very good start.  They took the opening kick back for a touchdown.  I think that kind of set the tone for the rest of the night.  We had trouble stopping them and when we did stop the running game they were able to execute their play action pass and get some big passes which extended drives for them.  Offensively we just couldn’t get anything established all night.  We were very inconsistent on the offensive side of the ball.  So, it was a struggle all night,” said Hartley.

          On defense this year, Hartley says they have a lot of trouble forcing teams to punt and allowing them to make big plays on third down.  “It has been up and down depending on week to week and what teams are focusing on and what type of personnel they have.  I think probably the biggest issue that we have had defensively is getting off the field on third down.  We have given up some big plays on third down that have extended drives or have been big scores,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “A couple of them as I look back throughout the year have been big momentum swings as well.  That is something we have two more weeks here and hopefully that is something we can clean up and get better at getting off the field on third down.”

          Fredericktown (3-5,2-3) plays at Northmor (0-8,0-5) in an “MOAC” game on Friday night.  The Golden Knights lost (55-40) to Mt. Gilead in a league game last week.

          Hartley says the Golden Knights have some playmakers and their home field is never an easy place to play.  “Their record is very deceiving.  They have been in pretty much every game they have played, they are really scrappy and they don’t quit.  They just haven’t had some balls bounce their way and they are setting here 0-8.  They have some nice skilled kids.  Going over to Northmor is always a tricky environment and they are a team that is very dangerous.  There is no team in America that wants to finish the season 0-10, so I’m sure they are very hungry for a win.  I believe they will give us a tremendous challenge on Friday,” he said.

 

Published 10/18/16

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Fredericktown Working Hard

  

          Fredericktown plays its biggest rival on Friday night as they host the next door Highland Scots in a blue division game in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.

          Highland leads Centerburg, East Knox and Cardington by a game in the division standings.  Fredericktown is two back.

          The Freddies lost to Centerburg (35-28) in overtime last week.  Coach William Hartley says they made some big plays to get back in the game.  “It was a tale of two halves.  We came out strong and were moving the ball in the first quarter, but we weren’t finishing drives.  We had turnovers deep in Centerburg territory.  In the second quarter they had a big punt return for a touchdown and that seemed to give them momentum and they were able to have success in that second quarter with their in their passing game.  They got some big passes and we went in at half down 28-0 and had to regroup and come out.  We were fortunate enough to start getting some turnovers and that put us in good scoring positions and we were able to battle back and take them into overtime.  Unfortunately we couldn’t get it done in overtime and lost a close one,” said Hartley.

          They have been used to winning titles and making the playoffs at Fredericktown and this year that probably won’t be the case, but Hartley says they are still working hard.  “We have had some injuries that we have had to overcome last week against Centerburg and we have some guys coming back healthy this week and hopefully for the last part of the season they can remain healthy.  We have just talked about regardless of wins and losses you want to make sure you are improving and progressing from the first week of August until week 10,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “For the most part we have still been able to have some positive practices and preparation from week to week.  It has been disappointing, especially these close games, but for the most part the kids are still preparing well and they are taking care of what they can control and get themselves in position to win from week to week.”

          Highland (4-3,4-0) belted Northmor (49-6) last week to remain unbeaten in conference play.

          Hartley says this is a big, physical Highland team, but one that can throw the ball too.  “It is a typical Highland team they seem to get stronger as the year goes on.  They bring a big physical challenge to Fredericktown on Friday night.  They have a really big and physical offensive line.  They are real technicians up front.  They get real good movement.  They work well as a unit.  They have some nice running backs.  They have some relatively good team speed.  They are playing very good defense this year.  They are not one dimensional.  They can hurt you with the pass game too.  If you are fortunate enough to take their running game away from them they do a really good job with their play action pass,” he said.

 

Published 10/14/16

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Fredericktown Needs to Throw it

 
          Fredericktown trails Highland by a game in the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference and they play at rival Centerburg on Friday night.

          The Trojans are in the same position after a (32-24) loss to Highland last week.

          The Freddies had a chance to tie the game or go ahead in the final minute last week, but they fumbled the snap and East Knox returned it for a scored and beat Fredericktown (28-19) in a blue division game.

          Coach William Hartley says they have to be able to execute better in those situations.  “We let it get away in the fourth quarter.  East Knox came in with a really good game plan in taking our running game away from us and force us into passing situations.  Unfortunately we weren’t able to be consistent enough in the passing game to pull away from them.  We had our chances and we just let them stick around.  Give them credit them were able to put themselves in position to win the game in the last minute,” said Hartley.

          It is a must win game for the Freddies in terms of the division title and Hartley reminds that this is also big rivalry.  “This week it’s against one of our county rivals Centerburg, which in recent years has turned into a pretty serious rivalry.  It’s one of those games where you kind of throw the records out the window.  They have been close, competitive games over the last few years.  We faced them in the playoffs there in 2014 and that was a real competitive game as well.  It’s a tough rivalry and hopefully we can put ourselves in position to hopefully compete and win the game,” he said.

          Fredericktown won regular season games by a touchdown the last two years (35-28) in 2015 and (28-21) in 2014, but the Trojans won a playoff game (27-21) in 2014.

          Hartley figures they are going to have to be able to throw the ball in order to have success on offense.  “They are probably one of the most skilled teams we have seen as far as their athleticism.  They have a nice corps of receivers, they have a nice quarterback in Gunnar Gregory, who is a two year starter.  He does a really good job of running the offense.  He is very accurate with the ball and he has some nice targets to throw to.  He can also hurt you with his feet as well,” he told Swankonports.com on Wednesday, “They always play great defense, they are sound, they always get very good leverage and a lot of hats to the football.  They make it hard to run the football against them.  It is the same situation that we were last week.  We have a team that is going to commit to taking the run away from us and put us in passing situations.  Hopefully we can convert in those situations this week.”

 

Published 10/06/16

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Fredericktown Takes Three Game Winning Streak into Friday

  

          Fredericktown was an inexperienced team at the beginning of the season, but they have matured quite a bit over the first half of the high school football season.

          They play host to East Knox in a blue division game in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference on Friday night.

          The Freddies (3-2,2-0) survived an overtime game and beat Mt. Gilead (35-28) last Friday in conference play.  Coach William Hartley says they were resilient.  “It was a great effort on the part of the kids.  We got off to a really good start and we had a 14-0 lead and then we let that get away from us in the second quarter.  Give Mt. Gilead credit they kept battling back.  We went in at halftime 14-14 and then we came out in the third quarter and got up on us 21-14, but we answered them throughout the second half and got ourselves in a situation to take the game into overtime.  Fortunately we were able to take the game over in overtime.  We scored and when they got the ball I think they had three negative plays and they had a throw in the end zone and it was overthrown and incomplete and we were able to hold on and win,” said Hartley.

          After losing their first two games, the Freddies have won their last three.  Hartley says they have gotten good leadership from their junior quarterback Jimmy Nussbaum.  “The first half the season we have progressively been getting better.  The offensive line is really starting to come together, running backs are really starting to see the holes and getting to eh second level, getting a lot of nice, big runs over the last three weeks especially.  We have a good quarterback coming in this year that is just a junior in Jimmy Nussbaum.  He doesn’t have big stats, but he has done a good job managing the game and doesn’t make mistakes.  He is managing the offense really well and putting us in good situations to be successful with the things we are good at,” he said.

          At the beginning of the season Fredericktown didn’t have a lot of players with varsity minutes, but Hartley they are beginning to understand what it takes on Friday nights.  “I don’t know if we were really young, but we were inexperienced.  They had been on the team, but very few had played significant amounts of varsity ball until this year.  We have a pretty good junior class and many of those guys played JV ball last year and it is a big step up from JV to Friday night varsity football.  Our schedule, we jump in and play Clear Fork, who is a bigger school than us and our cross county rival in Danville, which is a real battle.  So, those first two games were relly tough,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, “We had a lot of new faces in there and we weren’t able to get it done those first two weeks.  We have been progressively getting better.  As I look ahead to the second half of the season there are going to be a lot of challenges and it starts this Friday with our homecoming game against East Knox.”

          East Knox (3-2,1-1) beat Northmor (28-6) in blue division game last Friday.  Hartley says the Bulldogs have a number of young skilled players that can do some things.  “They are young.  They have four or five freshmen that play significant amounts for them.  They have a sophomore quarterback and some nice young skilled kids.  They are blessed with some perimeter speed.  I think they are going to challenge us on the edge.  They are a little small on the both offensive and defensive line and we might be able to take advantage of that.  You can tell they are a hungry team.  They only won one game last year and they come into Friday night 3-and-2.  They are doing a really good job with what their coach wants offensively and defensively.  You can just see from last year to this year and also week to week they are just gaining in confidence.  Those kids are starting to play with a lot more confidence and put themselves in situations to be successful where last year they struggled,” said Hartley.

 

Published 9/26/16

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Fredericktown Ready for Some Power Football

  

           In a key early season battle in the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference as Fredericktown hosts Mt. Gilead at their place on Friday night.

          Last week, the Freddies (2-2,1-0) made some key adjustments and went on to take down Marion Elgin (49-20) in the conference opener for both.

          Coach William Hartley says defensively they had to make some adjustments, but they were able to do that.  “Offensively we were hitting on all cylinders really early on.  We did struggle a little bit defensively.  They did some different things.  They did a really good job of presenting us with some different formations that we that we had not seen before and having some success with those in the first half and staying in the game.  We had a reverse that went for a 51-yard touchdown last two minutes the second quarter and that gave us a two score lead going in at halftime.  We were able to adjust to their formations and kind of recharge the batteries and came out the second half and continued to have success offensively and shut down the things that they were having success with their offense,” said Hartley.

          Mt. Gilead (2-2,0-1) lost a tough one to rival Cardington (35-34) last week, but Hartley really feels that this is a team headed in the right direction.  “They bring a downhill running attack to the field.  This is the fourth year that coach (Jason) Ross has been with the program, so this is his first senior group.  They seem to have bought into what his offensive and defensive schemes are.  They are a power running team.  They run out of the “I” formation.  They love to get the ball to their running back Jonah Bennett.  He has put up an amazing amount of yards to this point in the season.  They have some other real nice skilled guys.  They have a nice tight end.  I believe he stands about 6’4”.  Their quarterback that they moved from wide receiver is doing a very good job.  He throws a nice long ball.  They don’t throw very much, but when they do he puts the ball on the mark.  He also hurts you in the option game.  They have a lot of good athletes.  They have pretty good team speed.  They seem pretty physical.  I really like their offensive line.  They really set the tone for their entire offensive unit.”

          Barnett scored nine touchdowns in a (64-49) win over Crooksville on week two.

          Both of these teams want to be physical and Hartley says the play of the offensive and defensive lines is going to be critical.  “Mt. Gilead really prides itself in being a physical team and it something we pride ourselves on as well.  It’s two teams battling it out at the mid point of the season.  I feel they feel they are close to getting up into the upper crust of the “MOAC.”  They have been gradually getting better under coach Ross.  They are probably getting the message that this is their year to prove they have taken that next step.  We have to make sure we go out there and match their intensity on Friday and that we are playing hard, smash mouth football as well,” he said.

 

Published 9/21/16

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Fredericktown Earns Some Confidence

  

          Fredericktown picked up its first win of the season last week against Utica and they hope they can build some momentum as they travel to Marion Elgin to open the season in the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference on Friday.

          They beat the Redskins (29-12) last week and coach William Hartley says they got better, especially on offense.  “We took a lot steps forward both offensively and defensively.  We had a nice night offensively with three backs going over the century mark.  Defensively, we did give up a lot of yards, but we were able to get some key turnovers and until late keep Utica off the board.  So, it was a good productive night and hopefully that will spur us forward against Elgin this week,” said Hartley.

          It was a good step last week, but with a young group this year, Hartley says that has to be the case every week.  “We have to continue to stress about getting better each and every practice and each and every day and each and every week.  It seems like we have a pretty good match up this week and hopefully we can get a win over at Elgin and start off the league campaign right.  As I said continue to get better each week because we have a lot of big challenges the second half of the season,” he said.

          Marion Elgin (0-3) has struggled early in the season, they lost (49-6) to Ben Logan last week.  Hartley says the Comets approach things a little differently than most.  “They do some different things offensively.  They do a lot of wing-T, single wing concepts that you don’t see very much of.  They do a lot of misdirection.  They try to get a lot of pullers and blockers to the point of attack, so we are going to have to be ready for that,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Defensively, we are really going to have to focus on low pad level and winning the battle up front.  Also there is a slight bit of unpredictability about them.  Last year we practiced against one look all week and they came out and did something completely different on game night, so we have to be prepared for that eventuality also.”

          Hartley says the first week of league play is always a reveling one as the story begins to be told.  “You look at the first week in the league and you can start to see the picture developing as far as what teams are up and what teams are down.  You can form an opinion on everybody in the league because everybody is opening up.  It will be interesting to see who will coming up and who will be going down and who comes out winners and losers.  Hopefully, we are the winning side in this first week of competition,” he said.

 

Published 9/16/16

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Fredericktown Needs Better Defense

  

          Fredericktown took a couple of steps last week, but they need to take more if they want to be a good football team.

          Their next challenge is at home against Utica.  It will be the Freddies home opener.

          They lost at Danville (42-21) last week and coach William Hartley says they did some more things on offense, but they must get much better on defense.  “We definitely showed more life and consistency on offense.  Our defense was still struggling giving up big plays and not doing well on the fundamentals, especially open field tackling and also stopping the run.  Teams are having too much success with big plays and also running the football at us.  Those are the things we have to shore going forward,” said Hartley.

          Right now, the young Freddies (0-2) are losing those one on one kind on battles and Hartley says that is why they are giving up those big plays defense and not getting them on offense.  “Going into this week our team has to win those one on one battles.  It doesn’t matter is it is on offense making the block down field, we missed a couple of those type of plays against Danville, or if it is making an open field tackle.  We have got to get better at that and start winning those one on one battles on both sides of the ball,” he said.

          Somebody gets their first win on Friday night as Utica has lost its first two as well.  East Knox beat them (24-12) last week.  Still, Hartley says the Redskins have some good athletes.  “It is a typical Utica team they always have some really nice athletes.  They have a nice running back.  They have a quarterback that has a very live arm,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “On film he seems to be very accurate throwing the football and they have a couple of nice receivers that really complement his ability to get the ball down the field.  On defense they bring a tremendous amount of pressure.  They are bringing blitzers from many different angles, so we really have to prepare for that.”

 

Published 9/07/16

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Fredericktown Must Have a More Consistent Performance

  

          It’s off the stove and into the frying pan for the Fredericktown Freiddes.  After being thumped my Clear Fork last week, the Freddies pay a visit to cross county rival Danville this week.

          Fredericktown allowed three touchdowns in the first quarter on the way to a (42-7) loss to Clear Fork last week.  Coach William Hartley says they gave up way too many big plays.  “We definitely have to more consistent offensively.  Our failure to get anything going offensively all night really hurt us.  Then defensively we continued to give up big plays.  It was a problem throughout the scrimmages and it was a problem Friday night.  We definitely have to get on that as well,” he said.

          Hartley says Clear Fork had a speed advantage on them and they were able to get to the perimeter and that caused a lot of problems for them.  “I don’t think there was a lack of effort on Friday.  I don’t think we matched up with them very well speed wise.  They have a lot of athletic kids on the edge and that really created a challenge for us all night,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “You want to reduce those angles as much as you possibly can and get as many hats to the football and make sure you have your eyes in the right place and are reading your keys so that gives you a jump on a play.  That just comes with experience.  Hopefully we get better at that.”

          Danville, who advanced to the state semi finals a year ago, and won the Mid-Buckeye Conference championship, started this season with a (27-0) win over East Knox last week.

          Hartley says in terms of personnel and experience the teams are a lot a like.  “It’s a typical Danville team.  On paper we look very even and we are in very similar situations in that they lost a lot of very talented kids on their successful team last year and the have a lot new faces in key spots this year, very similar to us.  They are very solid up front defensively.  They have a nice quarterback who is a dual threat running and passing the football.  Offensively they can spread the ball around and get the ball to a lot of kids in space and hurt you with runs after the catch,” said Hartley.

 

Published 8/31/16

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Fredericktown Expects Challenge From Clear Fork

  

          Fredericktown travels to Clear Fork to face the Colts in the Hall of Fame Classic at the Corral on Friday night as the 2016 high school football season gets started.

          The Freddies have beaten the Colts the last two years, two years ago in a blow out, scoring more than 60 points, and last year (17-14) in a close one at their place.

          Fredericktown coach William Hartley says he expects the Colts, with a lot of experience back, to much better than they were a year ago having seen them on film.  “We have a tremendous challenge.  Clear Fork has a lot of people back from last year’s team.  They have pretty much all of their starters back on both sides of the ball,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “Thomas Staab is playing quarterback this year.  He is a dual threat, running and passing the ball.  They look pretty good defensively in the film that we have seen.  They are really getting after the ball defensively.  They are penetrating and getting a lot of pressure on their opponent’s side of the line of scrimmage.”

          It’s week one, so neither side really has anything down on the record yet.  Hartley says they have to beat the weather and they get rid of those butterflies in order to be successful in this game.  “Two things with game one.  One is the weather.  It is usually hot and pretty humid.  That is always going to be a factor on who can handle that the most.  Secondly, just getting the first game jitters out of the way.  For us, we have a lot kids that this will be their first start in a varsity game.  You don’t get a much bigger environment then over at Clear Fork in the valley.  So, we are going to have to work through that.  Put aside those nerves and just focus on the assignment one play at a time,” he said.

          Hartley himself is a Clear Fork graduate, and he knows and understands the football rivalry between the two schools.  “When you talk to some people from both communities and they are part of it, whether it be directly or indirectly, through the years and they all have stories to share of their memories of the Fredericktown-Clear Fork game.  The other thing I would say with open enrollment the two schools kind of bleed into each other.  We have several of our kids that have open enrolled to Clear Fork and vice versa.  We definitely know each other very well,” said Hartley.

 

Published 8/23/16

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Fredericktown Ironing Some Things Out

 

          Fredericktown has grown into a small school football powerhouse that seems to be able to reload each season.

          That will need to be the case this year after some losses to graduation from a team that claimed part of the blue division title in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference and advanced to the third round of the playoffs.

          Coach William Hartley says they have been working hard this month to improve and be ready to go when they play at Clear Fork in a non-conference game next week.  “The kids have been working hard.  We have been able to stay pretty healthy.  We have had two productive scrimmages.  One against a very skilled Ontario team and one against a kind of workman like Rittman squad.  They were both productive days.  We have seen some good things, we have seen some bad things.  At this point in the season it is really good for the kids to see themselves on film and hopefully take those steps to improve themselves heading into our third and final scrimmage, preview against Mapleton,” said Hartley.

          Scrimmages always carry some importance, but Hartley says this year in particular they are using these practice games to make adjustments and identifying possible weaknesses.  “We are in a situation where we have a lot of new faces in a lot of new spots.  The speed of the game just increases significantly from practice to game situations.  So, the more reps these guys can get in the last scrimmage, game environment is going to help them close that gap in becoming a good football player,” he said.

          Hartley says the coaching staff has been juggling some personnel on the offensive line and breaking in a new kid at the quarterback position during workouts this month.  “With our offensive line we have a lot of pieces it is just about putting them in the right spot.  We have been moving some guys around there with guards, tackles and centers, trying to find that right fit.  Scrimmages are going to give us the opportunity to that,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday evening, “We have a new starter at quarterback in junior Jimmy Nussbaum.  He has been very good the last few years on the JV squad.  Like I said it is a different speed and tempo.  I think that is something he needs to grow and progress into and the preseason will hopefully help him do that.”

 

Published 8/16/16

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Fredericktown Has to Work Hard

 

          One reason that Fredericktown has been a consistent winner in high school football is they take nothing for granted.

          The Freddies shared the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference blue division title with Highland and advanced to the division six regional final last season.

          Coach William Hartley says they continue to have high expectations.  “Going all of the way back to summer conditioning and then through the first part of two a days we have had good, productive days.  Our numbers are really good.  We continue to have really high expectations even though we graduated a really talented group last year.  We have a lot of kids battling and competing for spots on Friday night,” he said.

          He says right now the coaching staff is trying to put kids in the right positions to be successful on the field here in a couple of weeks when the season opens against Clear Fork.  “You are working on the fundamentals and putting in your basic scheme offensively, defensively and also special teams.  Then you are just trying to find the right mix of kids, whether it be on the offensive line where we have several kids battling for spots.  Defensively we are just trying to plus those guys into the right spots that feel will make us a better team,” said Hartley.

          Due to the success they have had in recent years, Hartley says the players expect to win, but at the same time they have to continue to work hard to realize that same level of success.  “It is kind of a two edged sword.  There are high expectations and they do expect to win, but they also have to always keep in the back of their mind that nobody owes them anything and each year is a new year,” he told Swankonsports.com between practice sessions on Wednesday, “Each year that you have success that target on your back grows and that is no different this year.  These guys kind of have to work equally as hard if not harder than past years to accomplish the same things.”

          With the conference title and the long playoff run, the Freddies built some momentum at the end of last season.  Hartley says they hope they can bring some of that momentum into this year, but they have to keep their focus.  “You hope you can carry over the momentum that you had coming out of last season into the first part of the upcoming season.  Again you always have to hang your hat on that one game at a time mentality.  We can’t look back, we can only look forward.  Right now, all of our focus is preparing for Clear Fork week one,” said Hartley.

 

Published 8/04/16

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Fredericktown Returns to Form

 

          It has been a distracting last week, but Fredericktown regained its focus Monday night and drilled North Union (9-1) in a first round tournament game in division three.

          The Freddies, one of the better small school baseball teams in North Central Ohio this spring, #3 in our new Twitter fan poll among smaller schools, were forced to forfeit nine wins due to the use of an ineligible player, who had participated in athletics for too many semesters.  Then lost back to back Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference blue division games to Centerburg (11-5) and Northmor (9-5) last week.

          Coach Ryan Hathaway says they just didn't have the energy last week, but that returned Monday against North Union.  "We had two games there were we aren't really sure what happened.  We just didn't play the way we have been playing the last couple of weeks.  It was kind of tough to get motivated for those games," he told Swankonsports.com after the win Monday, "You go from battling for first place week in and week out to suddenly find yourself in last place.  It was kind of hard to get motivated for some of those games, but I thought (Monday) we came out with a lot more energy and just a lot more focus than we had last week."
          Senior Kirk Manns toed the rubber on Monday and Hathaway says he had excellent control and did was asked to do on the mound.  "Kirk Manns did a great job (Monday) night.  He went seven innings and the good thing right now is he had had about a week off.  We have been preparing for this.  He looked strong (Monday) night.  We got exactly what we wanted from him.  We got a lot of strikes.  He let our defense work.  He is a senior and we felt like we were going to go with him and it paid off fro us," he said.

          Offensively, Hathaway says they did some good things as well.  "Latten Cunningham had a great game for us.  He led off the game with a triple and he was kind of our spark.  It seemed like every time he was hitting somebody was on first or second.  He was kind of guy that made us go.  We were getting some guys on and I thought their pitcher tonight, Young, was solid on the mound, but we got some runs and got a few hits and found a way on base a couple of times.  We worked some counts.  I thought overall we were as good as we have been the last few weeks," said Hathaway.

          Fredericktown (8-15) will play Marion Pleasant (15-10,) a (6-4) winner over Columbus Bishop Ready in a second round game on Wednesday.  Hathaway knows it will be a battle with the Spartans.  "I expect to see a good baseball team, fundamentally sound baseball team.  I know coach (Chris) Kubbs has been there a long time.  I know they are going to be a good team and a good test for us.  I think we are excited to have that next challenge," he said.

 

Published 5/10/16

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Fredericktown Facing Power Run Team

 

          Fredericktown has reached the regional finals of the division six playoffs and will play Grandview Heights on Saturday night at Newark High School's White Field.

          Last week, the Freddies (10-2) played in one of the most exciting games in Ohio, scoring with 57 seconds to play and then converting a two point conversion to beat Paint Valley (29-28) in a regional semi-final game.  "We dug ourselves a hole.  We threw two pick sixes in a row, I think in less than a minute, we dug ourselves a 15 points deficit.  The kids, they didn't duck their heads, they kept battling, and we were able to get a few big plays ourselves early in the fourth quarter and battle our way back into the game. We score a touchdown and a two point conversion with less than a minute left and hold on for the win," said Fredericktown coach William Hartley.

          Going for two in that kind of situation is a gamble, no question.  Hartley says there was some hesitation, but they ended up making the right decision.  "It was kind of funny.  We inherited the ball about midfield with about five minutes left and we were down by a score.  Paint Valley fumbled the exchange between their quarterback and their running back and we pounced on it and got the ball back on that turnover.  We were having a great deal of success running our quarterback and it just seemed we were staring to wear on Paint Valley a little bit.  Throughout the entire drive, I think it was a 12 play drive, we might has passed the ball maybe one time.  So, we were really having success running the ball and throughout the drive we were talking as a staff, on the phones, etc., that we should go for two, we have the momentum, we were really pushing them off the ball," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "As soon as we scored there was little bit of hesitation because we couldn't think of a sure bet play to run and it was taking up quite a bit of time.  At that point I said this is just taking us too much time, if we're not sure on this we need to just kick the ball and go into overtime.  Our offensive coordinator suggested we take a time out, so took a time out, and we called the kids over, and consensus among the kids was they wanted to go for two, and at that point that was the thing to do.  We really just hung our hat on the play that had been working for us and that was running Dillon Smith and fortunately it worked for us and we punched it in."

          Grandview Heights (11-1) beat Lucasville Valley (14-6) in their regional semi-final.  Hartley describes them as a power run team.  "Physically they are the biggest team we have seen so far in this playoff run.  They are very big up front both on the offensive and defensive lines.  They have quite a few guys that are going both ways, so that might be something that plays to our advantage.  There are eight guys going both ways.  They have a very talented backfield with a brother duo.  The senior is a big fullback, he is 210, and then his younger freshman brother is their wingback, they get the bulk of the carries.  They have a really nice quarterback, they don't throw the ball very much, they haven't had too because they have had so much success running the football.  He is another dual threat quarterback.  He can hurt you with his arm and his legs.  He has over 1,200 yards rushing.  They are very stout on defense, they don't give up many points at all.  It is going to be a tremendous challenge, but this point in the season we are constantly telling the kids that everybody is good, but we are good as well as there are some things we can do and there are some ways we can put some pressure on them.  It should be another great game," said Hartley.

          In order to reach the state semis Hartley says they are going to have to find a way to slow down that run game.  "They had great success running their fullback and the stats support that fact.  That is the biggest thing we are going to have to try and do is take the fullback away from them.  I think if we are able to do that hopefully we can have some success slowing their offense down," he said.

 

Published 11/18/15

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Fredericktown Meets Paint Valley in Second Round

 

          Fredericktown blanked the top seed in their division six region in the first round of the football playoffs last and now they move on to a regional semi-final match-up with Bainbridge Paint Valley at Hamilton Township High School on Saturday night.

          Coach William Hartley says they needed a big performance from their defense and that is exactly what they got in a (13-0) win over Fort Frey last week.  "We went into the game and we really challenged the boys.  We were starting our second team quarterback.  An incredible athlete, but he hadn't played much quarterback at all this year in senior Kirk Mans.  So, we challenged the boys that we were going to have to step up and play great team defense and also control the line of scrimmage on offense and run the football successfully and take some of the pressure off Kirk and the boys really executed the game plan perfectly," said Hartley.

          They say it is defense that wins in the playoffs and Hartley says they have been rising to the occasion on that side of the ball.  "We have been steadily improving on defense.  After the setback to Highland we talked to the boys about becoming a more physical unit and I think they really bought into that.  We played two really good weeks of team defense and it's not going to get any easier this week as we are up against a tremendous offensive team in Paint Valley," he said.

          Paint Valley (10-1) has only one loss this season and that came to Zane Trace (15-8) about midway through the season.  Hartley says they really have some talent on offense.  "If you look at us on paper we are very evenly matched.  The average points per game we are averaging exactly the same, 32 points a game.  They have a little bit of an edge on us defensively.  They are only giving up 10 or 11 points a game.  We are giving up 16 points a game.  They seem to be riding a very talented senior class.  They have been in the playoffs three straight years.  They were division seven the last two years and they have moved up to division six," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "Their quarterback Anthony McFadden was their league player of the year.  The another McFadden boy, I not sure if he is a twin brother or a cousin, he is their main running back.  He became the career rushing leader at Paint Valley this season.  So, they have a tremendous amount of talent on offense.  I'm really impressed with their quarterback.  He is a treat running the football and he is very much a threat passing the ball and he does a great job of extending plays as well."

          Hartley says the Bearcats want to run the football, but they will do it from a variety of formations.  "When you get in the playoffs the successful offenses are balanced, but they want run the football.  They are more of a spread team, but they will get into the "I" and try and pound it between the tackles.  In the Newark Catholic game, their first round game, they were pretty much exclusively a spread team the whole game, but when they got into crunch time, in overtime, they went into the "I" and they ran from the "I" five straight plays and punched in it in the end zone.  Then went for two to win the game, also from the "I" and gave it to a pretty big, physical fullback that they have," said Hartley.

          Like most playoff games, Hartley it going to come down to if they can take away the things that Paint Valley likes to do.  "They don't do anything fancy on offense.  I don't want to say they are basic, they are pretty fundamental, they are just really good at what they do.  It is going to come down to those one on one match ups.  Are we going to be able to contain the quarterback?  Are we going to be able to continue to get a great team defensive effort to be able to take away their pretty physical running game?  The also have a nice wide receiver that seems to have great speed.  Every film that we have he has gotten behind the defense at some point.  We definitely can't allow any big plays over the top with him," he said.

 

Published 11/11/15

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Intangibles Key to Fredericktown

 

          Fredericktown, the co-champ of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference blue division, is making its second straight appearance in the football playoffs.

          As the eighth and last seed in their division six region they travel to play top seeded Beverly Fort Frye (10-0) in  first round playoff game on Saturday night.

          Essentially, the Freddies (8-2) have been in the playoffs the last two weeks needing wins to get in and that calumniated in a (48-24) win over Cardington last week.  "We went into last Friday against Cardington and we really had one mission and that was to get back into contention and get a piece of the "MOAC" blue division championship and we were able to accomplish that.  We realized that if we accomplished that we had a pretty good chance of getting into week 11 and getting into the tournament and that is exactly how it worked out.  No we have to take advantage of the opportunity," said coach William Hartley.

          Fort Frey won the Pioneer Valley Conference title, really their only close game coming in a (29-28) win over Monroe Central about halfway through the season.  Hartley says this is a team that can do a lot of things on offense.  "It is their first 10-0 season since 1974, so they have a tremendous amount of momentum going into the post season.  They are the number one seed for a reason.  They have been pretty dominate throughout the regular season.  It will be a tremendous challenge for us.  Offensively they do a lot of the things we have seen throughout the year.  They are very balanced between a spread attack and a wing-T attack," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "They have some really nice athletes.  They are pretty balanced between throwing and running the football.  They have a couple of big, physical running backs.  They are pretty big up front.  Defensively they are very sound.  They are good tacklers.  They really hustle to the ball.  Overall, as I said, they are 10-0 for a reason, and it is going to be a really challenge for us."

          The Fort Frey defense has allowed six points or less in six of their ten games this season.

          On Offense, Hartely says they run the ball like Highland and they kind of have personnel like Utica.  "They are kind of combination between a physical team that wants to run the ball at you like a Highland, but also a team that will spread you out and run the ball, but also play action pass, like a Cardington team that we saw last week.  They also remind me a little bit of Utica that faced earlier in the year with their size.  It is kind of hard to pick up speed on film.  Just their size and makeup reminded me a little bit of Utica.  A combination of those three teams they remind me of," he said.

          Fredericktown lost a second round playoff game to Centerburg last year and many of their players played a role in their (11-1) season in 2014.  Hartley hopes that playoff experience can be a plus for them Saturday night.  "One of the things that we talked about they were not in the playoffs last year and we were in the playoffs last year.  We have a lot of kids that contributed last year that are playing this year, so hopefully we can handle all of the distractions that come along with playoff football, the travel time, pep rallies, additional team meals, all of those types of things.  There is a lot of excitement in a community.  There is a difference in routine with it being a Saturday game rather than a Friday.  Hopefully, we are going to be able to handle all of those little distractions and stay focused on the task at hand and hopefully beat a very good Fort Frye team," said Hartley.

 

Published 11/04/15

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Big Week For Fredericktown

 

          What a difference a week can make.

          After a loss to Highland on week eight things looked dim for the Fredericktown Freddies, but after a win over Northmor and a loss by Highland to Cardington everything has changed.

          Fredericktown, Highland and Cardington all share the blue division lead in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference and the Freddies play the Pirates this week.  "We couldn't ask for a better scenario.  We had a big letdown against Highland and we lost the lead in week eight  and here on week 10 we are playing for at least a share of the championship.  If we can win and Mt. Gilead can beat Highland then we have the outright championship.  So, we couldn't ask for anything more going into week 10 then being able to play meaningful games," said Fredericktown coach William Hartley.

          None of this happens if the Freddies don't handle Northmor last week and they did easily (41-3) to keep their title hopes alive.  Hartley says they took care of their business.  "We put it on the boys that we have a two game season. We can't control the other teams all we can do is control our own performance.  We took care of business against Northmor and that sets up a really important game with league implications and playoff implications against Cardington over there on Friday," he said.

          Cardington had kind of flown under the radar screen until their big (31-24) overtime win over Highland last week.  They scored on a halfback pass in overtime and then picked off a Highland pass to preserve the win.

          Hartley says the Pirates are for real.  "Coach Williams has really done a nice job of turning that program around.  The second half of last season they really came on strong and they really gave us fits on week 10 on our way to our 10-0 season.  They picked up right where they left off last year.  They have a good, solid group of seniors, and a very strong junior class and they playing very good football at this point.  It will be a real challenge for us on Friday," he said.

          Hartley says Cardington has one of North Central Ohio's premier players and a lot of guys that can make plays.  "They are spread team.  They do a nice job of isolating their athletes in space.  They have a very, very special receiver slash running back in Trey Williams, who is the coach's son.  Many people say he is a sleeper division one prospect.  They do a nice job of moving him around and getting him the ball in space where he creates mismatches just because of his size and speed.  He has really good hands as well.  They have a nice junior quarterback and a nice junior receiver that have had a lot of success this year," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "I believe the quarterback is leading the area in touchdown passes.  I think he has 23 touchdown passes this year.  Their main receiver is also a junior in Devon Pearl.  I think he has 13 touchdown receptions.  They play really good defense as well.  The defensive line did a great job against Highland in shutting down a very potent running attack."

 

Published 10/27/15

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Fredericktown Still Has Goals

 

          It was a tough one last week for the Fredericktown Freddies as they lost to Highland and as a result dropped out of a share of first place with the Scots.

          They host Northmor in a blue division game in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference on Friday night.

          It was close early, but Highland pulled away and ended up pounding the Freddies (49-14) last week in conference play.  Coach Will Hartley says first down against the Highland power run game just killed them.  "I thought going into the game we had a good week of practice.  I thought the boys were ready to play.  We just got into a situation were we were just having problems stopping them with any type of consistency.  Our first down defense was not very good all night and left them with second and short too often.  Their offense really thrived in that situation and they were able to execute and capitalize on our lack of consistency," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "Offensively, we had some things going early and we weren't able to capitalize.  We had a key turnover and they were able to score off of that turnover.  It really gave them a tremendous amount of momentum and we were never really able to recapture that momentum and claw our way back into the game."

          Hartley says they need to put last week behind them and look ahead.  "It might be the best thing to get back on the field and put last week behind us and push forward.  We have senior night coming up.  It's the last home game for the seniors.  We definitely want to go out there and prove we can play better and hopefully we will play better than we did last week," he said.

          Northmor (2-6,1-4) is at Fredericktown (6-2,4-1) this week in blue division play.  Hartley says they aren't really big, but they have some nice athletes.  "This year they are pretty undersized, but they do have some nice athletes.  Demetrious Johnson had a really good spring in track and won the long jump in division three.  He is a real threat any time he touches the ball and they do a nice job of getting him the ball in space on screens and flair passes and he is also a threat in the kicking game as a returner.  The quarterback is a really gutsy kid.  A lot of times he extends plays with his scrambling ability.  They have some nice rangy receivers that can stretch you down the field as well.  They do have some guys in key spots that can hurt us if we are not prepared," said Hartley.

          Right now they are ninth in their computer region in division six.  The top eight get in.

          With Cardington next week, Hartley says two wins can put them in the post season again.  "We still have a lot to play for.  We are kind of in a two game season right now where if we win out we still have a pretty good shot at getting into the playoffs and that was one of the goals the seniors set at the beginning of the year.  We have to put last week behind us, things didn't go our way, but we can't do anything about that all we can do is take care things the next two weeks and start that out with a good outing against Northmor," he said.

 

Published 10/21/15

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Fredericktown and Highland Play for Blue Division Lead

 

          Fredericktown and Highland share the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference blue division lead and they play each other Friday night at Highland with first place on the line.

          First year Fredericktown head coach William Hartley says this always seems to be a big game.  "Since we got into the new league, the "MOAC" blue division we play Highland later on in the year and if definitely has league implications and for us playoff implications, so it is going to be a big game over there," he said.

          Highland lost all three of their non-conference games, but they are unbeaten in league play.  Hartley says they have made some changes to their approach.  "Their non-league schedule is a pretty challenging schedule for them.  Also they were doing some different things offensively.  Since they have gotten into league play, and gotten on this four game winning streak, they have gone back to their roots, which is running the football," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "They are big wing-T team and they are very big and physical up front both on the offensive and defensive lines.  They have a nice group of running backs that they distribute the ball to well.  They have kind of gone back to what they do best."

          Against the wing-T you have to watch out for fakes and Hartley says the Scots have a number of strong runners too.  "Watching the line of scrimmage is the key to dissecting the wing-T.  You can't focus on just one running back because they have a really nice fullback and two nice wingbacks.  The one thing with them this year is they are not as one dimensional as they have been in the past.  They do have a pretty good, accurate passer.  He is very good with his play action fakes and they have some nice receivers to throw to as well," said Hartley.

          On defense, Hartley says the Scots are just as physical at the point of attack.  "They are big, physical team.  They will be by far the biggest team that we will see.  Their nose and their two tackles are very impressive looking kids.  They have that rare combination, they are big and they move well.  Their running backs are their secondary guys and they are pretty quick.  They are pretty comfortable running a lot of man to man with them and just trying to lock down your skilled perimeter guys," said Hartley.

          With a lot riding on the game Hartley says these are the games that you want to be playing at this time of year, games that mean something.  "Out there (Tuesday) it really felt like football season with the temperature and a clear, crisp day.  You could just sense the atmosphere starting to build with the kids and I am sure that will continue throughout the week and hopefully it will be a good one," he said.

 

Published 10/14/15

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Rivals Fredericktown and Centerburg Meet

 

          Fredericktown and Centerburg met twice last year with the Freddies winning the regular season match-up and the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference blue division title and then the Trojans got their revenge in the second round of the playoffs.

          The regular season meeting is Friday night at Fredericktown.

          Last week, the Freddies cruised past East Knox (41-0) and coach William Hartley was impressed his team's focus and their ability to run the ball.  "It was wet and rainy conditions and we came out early and controlled tempo of the game and controlled the line of scrimmage.  We really rushed the ball well.  We had two guys go over 100 yards, our quarterback Dillon Smith, and our tailback Brendan Reed.  We had a lot of guys touch the ball and contribute to the victory, especially late in the game," he said.

          Fredericktown's only loss this season comes to unbeaten Danville on week two.  Hartley believes they have gotten better in a couple of area especially.  "Our offensive line has really progressed.  We had a lot of new faces on the offensive line going into the season and they have really come together as a unit.  We have been able to play six or seven guys on the offensive line.  We have been able to rotate some guys in and keep some guys fresh," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "Then I think we have been a really balanced offensive team. Dillon Smith really continues to improve and progress as a quarterback.  Being able to be balanced and attack people with both the passing game and the rushing game has really helped us here down the stretch of the season."

          The Freddies (5-1,3-0) play host to Centerburg (3-3,2-1) on Friday night.  The Trojans are coming off a tough loss to Highland last week in a game they led most of the way only to lose (22-18) in the end.  Hartley says they offer a lot of challenges.  "Centerburg always does a good job of giving you different looks.  They do a very good job of isolating their athletes and trying to create mismatches.  They bring a lot of tempo to the game.  They like to get a lot of plays in and put a lot of stress on your defense that way," he said.

          He adds that making pre snap reads is very important when facing Centerburg so you can avoid those mismatches that the Trojans try to create.  "They look for misalignments and try to take advantage of that and as I said before they do a really good job of creating mismatches.  With a quick tempo a lot times you can't adjust and they have that one on one isolation and they win that battle.  You really have to make sure your kids know where they are supposed to be lining up and also the tendency of what they try to do from different formations on the offensive side of the ball," said Hartley.

 

Published 10/09/15

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Fredericktown Faces Trap Game

 

          Fredericktown has put together four wins in five games over the first half of the season and they sit in a three way tie for first place in the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.

          They share the lead with Centerburg and Highland, which remain on their schedule after this week.

          They had a big second half last week and destroyed Mt. Gilead (53-15) in a blue division game.  Coach William Hartley says they were able to take advantage of some things.  "It really turned out well for us last Friday night.  It was a really tough game in the first half and Mt. Gilead threatened to turn it into a six point game at halftime and we turned them back.  We had a 12 point lead at the half and we were getting the ball in the second half.  We were able to score on our first possession of the second half and then they had a turnover and we capitalized on that and we kind of stretched it out.  We really kind of dominated late in the game and got a good win over there against a much improved Mt. Gilead team," said Hartley.

          Fredericktown wants to be a physical team and Hartley says they have shown signs they can do that, but they have a lot to prove.  "The second half of our schedule is really going to test us.  Our offensive line is starting to jell.  Our defense seems to be playing quite consistently.  We did give up did give up some big plays, some big pass plays on Friday, but against the run we are playing quite consistently this year and we are getting a lot of contributions from a lot of guys on the defensive line and then our linebacker corps is really starting to come around.  Those are things that show we have the potential to be a physical team, but like I said we have a lot of tests in front of us." he said.

          Fredericktown (4-1,2-0) plays at East Knox (0-5,0-2) in a "MOAC" blue division game on Friday night.  the Bulldogs lost to Northmor (34-14) last week.  Hartley says this have this has the potential to be a trap game for them if they aren't careful.  "The big challenge for us is to not overlook them.  It is kind of trap game for us with some big games coming up later on this year.  We can't overlook them," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "We also have to kind of refocus defensively because they are a spread team and we have been going against these teams that are pretty much smash mouth come right at you type of teams.  We are going to see a lot more shotgun and sprint out passing and things of that nature.  Not a tight end in the game.  We have to refocus defensively on our assignments because we haven't seen this for a while."

 

Published 9/29/15

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Freddies Looking for More "MOAC" Success

 

          Fredericktown has only lost one game in the "MOAC" blue division since they joined the league two years ago and that was by two points to Centerburg two years ago.

          They travel to Mt. Gilead for the first time since their Mid-Ohio Conference days in the 1980's on Friday night to face the Indians.

          Fredericktown (3-1,1-0) demolished Marion Elgin (57-3) last week as Kirk Manns scored three times, once on a 100 yard interception return for the Freddies.

          Coach William Hartley says they stopped hurting themselves and their offense really got in high gear.  "We preached to the kids all week that offensively the only ones that were stopping us were ourselves.  We kept shooting ourselves in the foot with silly penalties, a couple of turnovers on some bad snaps and things of that nature," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "If we could clean those things up we really felt we could go out and have a productive night.  We talked about being more explosive and having more big plays on offense.  We were able to execute our game plan really well on the offensive side of the ball and we did get those explosive plays.  We had a lot of guys contribute to a really successful night."

          Elgin runs out of the single wing offense, something you don't see much these days, and Hartley says his kids on defense were prepared.  "We talked about how they were a single wing offense, an offense that you really don't see much anymore and it's a tremendous amount of misdirection.  Our entire linebacking core did a really good job of reading their keys and being patient.  Our defensive line really controlled the line of scrimmage all night and really didn't give them much of a push all, so it was really a team effort on the defensive side of the ball.  The guys really performed well," he said.

          Mt. Gilead (1-3,0-1) got hammered by rival Cardington (48-20) in their conference opener and the Indians have struggled on defense, allowing almost five scores a game.  However, Hartley says they can do some things when they have the ball.  "Their offense is definitely the strength of their team.  They are going to hit us with a lot of option plays.  Their quarterback is very athletic and they have a good group of running backs and some nice receivers.  They have a really big offensive tackle that anchors their line.  He is a pretty talented kid.  Offensively they have done some good things.  They are much better than their record indicates.  They should probably be a 2-2 ball club.  They lost a heartbreaker to Northridge in overtime and they could have very easily won that game.  They are a lot better than their record," said Hartley.

 

Published 9/22/15

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Fredericktown Faces Elgin and the Single Wing

 

          Fredericktown begins defense of its blue division title in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference on Friday night when they host the Elgin Comets.

          The Freddies are coming off a (21-12) win at Utica and that comes after a win over Clear Fork (17-14) and a loss to a very good Danville team (37-13) on week two.

         Coach William Hartley things this is just about where they should be at this point in the season.  "When we looked at the schedule in August we realized we had two big games right out of the gate with Clear Fork and Danville.  You always want to go out and have the attitude to win every game.  I think we were in position to do that, but we were also realistic where were kind of like if we can spilt on those two and games and then beat Utica and go into league play with two wins under our belt then we are in pretty good shape moving forward and that is exactly where we are at," he said.

          Elgin (2-1,0-0) was shutout last week by Ben Logan (48-0,) but that comes after wins over Ridgedale and a team from Canada in their first two weeks of the season.  Hartley says they really look to run the ball a lot out of the old single win formation.  "In their first two games they run the ball quite a bit and they averaged over 400 yards rushing and they won big.  They ruin a unique offense that you don't see much anymore in the single wing, which dates back to the 20's.  So, that is going to be an adjustment for us as far as our defense is concerned.  It's really hard for out scout team to simulate that," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "We have told the boys it is really important for to watch more film this week than they normally do because of the uniqueness of the single wing.  Last week, they took it on the chin against Benjamin Logan, but Ben Logan is a division four school, so a much bigger school than what they had played the first two weeks of the season."

          Hartley says they are going to have to be very disciplined on defense against Elgin because you are going to see a lot of fakes in the single wing, so you can't be peaking.  "There is a great deal of misdirection in the backfield, but the line of scrimmage is going to take you to the ball and they have a lot of pulling with their guards and tackles.  It is not that dissimilar to the wing-T, which is much more common in that the guards and in some cases the tackles are going to take you to the ball.  Especially, the linebackers can just not get caught looking in the backfield because there is a tremendous amount of misdirection and bodies flying all over the place.  They have one of three guys they can direct snap the ball to.  There is no true quarterback in the single wing offense," said Hartley.

 

Published 9/17/15

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Stopping the Run a key for Freddies

 

          Fredericktown suffered their first loss of the season last week to talented Danville and now they will host Utica, a former member of the Mid-Buckeye Conference.

          After beating Clear Fork (17-14) on the first week of the season, the Freddies were blitzed (37-13) by Danville in week two action.  Coach William Hartley says they had trouble containing the Blue Devil offense and failed to take advantage of some things on offense.  "We really ran into a buzz saw with Danville.  They came in they really execute their game plan really well, especially in the first half.  We had a lot of opportunities in the second half to claw our way back into the game, unfortunately we just weren't able to do that," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "We were just really inconsistent offensively and we gave up too many big plays defensively and you just can't do that against a talented team like Danville."

          Danville was on a roll early in the game and Hartley says the Blue Devils were able to make some big plays that gave them the momentum in the second half.  "Give Danville some credit we had some momentum in the third quarter and they turned us back a couple of times when we got the ball down inside the 20 once and we could have cut it to a two score game and they forced a big turnover on our part.  That really swung the momentum back in their favor and they were able to get out of town with a victory," he said.

          Fredericktown (1-1) will be at Utica (1-1) on Friday night.  Both used to be members of the Mid-Buckeye Conference and have kept the series going since they both went in different directions.

          The Redskins edged East Knox (32-27) last week to get their first win after a first week set back to Centerburg (35-20) to start the year.  Hartley says Utica is a physical team.  "They are coming off a big win against East Knox.  They have a new coach in Brian Gasten, who for years was associated with the Mt. Vernon program.  They generally like to run the ball.  They really like to run the wing-t offense and kind of grind it out.  Very much on film they are very much a ball control offense.  They have three really nice backs.  They are big, thick kids, who move pretty well.  Defensively they create some challenge.  They have some nice pass rushing ends that can cause teams problems and we are going to have to account for them," said Hartley.

 

Published 9/10/15

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Fredericktown to Face Wide Open Danville

 

          Fredericktown was able to slug it out with Clear Fork and now they must defend Danville's wide open passing attack on week two.

          They Freddies took a (14-0) halftime lead and were able to hang on and beat the Colts (17-14) last week, kicking a field goal in the final 60 seconds for the win.

          Coach William Hartley says they need to play a more complete game starting this week.  "We played really well in the first half.  I think we control the tempo of the game, but in the second half Clear Fork started to wear on us a little bit.  You could see they were starting to have some success with their option attack.  We have really stressed to the kids that "A" usually a team makes it's most improvement form week one to week two, so we definitely want to see that and "B" we have to make sure we finish games and play four quarters of good, hard, physical football," said Hartley.

          The first year coach says his players did a pretty good job of assignment football against Clear Fork, but this week their responsibility will be a lot different.  "They really stepped up to the challenge of Clear Fork's option attack.  It really stretches on your responsibilities and a lot of times young kids will struggle with that.  For the most part we did a pretty good job of being where we were supposed to be throughout most of the game," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "Now we have to shift gears a little bit because Danville brings a completely different attack to Fredericktown on Friday.  They are a wide open spread team.  There are going to be a lot of empty sets and throwing the ball all around the field.  So, it will be another task for an inexperienced group."

          Danville walloped rival East Knox (62-14) in their first game last Friday.

          Against Danville's empty sets Hartley says they must be good one on one tacklers and they are stressing to get more than one defensive player to the ball.  "Danville does a really good job of getting the ball to their athletes in space and those kids are just going to make plays.  There are going to be a lot of one on one situations where we have to be good tacklers and then we always talk about rallying to the ball and pursuing to the ball so there is not just one guy there or two guys, but five or six and getting those guys to the ground and minimizing after the catch.  They do a really good job of yards after the catch and we have to make sure we are good at open field tackling situations," said Hartley

 

Published 9/02/15

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Fredericktown Coach Begins Career Against Alma Matter

 

          William Hartley is preparing for his first game as varsity head football coach at Fredericktown High School.  His opponent?  His alma matter, the Clear Fork Colts on Friday night at Fredericktown.

          Hartley, a member of the Freddies staff for a number of years, says they have some experience back from a team that went (11-1) a year ago.  "We have five starters back on both offense and defense and have a pretty strong senior class with13 of them and many of them were contributors last year with a team that won the "MAC" blue division and advanced to second round of the playoffs," he said.

          There will be some new faces at the some key offensive positions, according to Hartley.  "We went to a camp at Urbana College in the middle of July and that was really where we started the process of building a team, installing the offense and the defense.  We have a new starting quarterback in a junior in Dillon Smith.  He has been showing a tremendous amount of growth from that July camp through two a days and scrimmages.  Brennan Reed, who was the backup running back last year to Tyler Ruhl, has also had a good camp," said Hartley.

          With Smith at quarterback, Hartley says they probably will be a team that has more designed pass plays rather than run-pass option.  "I think with high school football, especially at the lower levels where we are at you always have to cater your offensive or defensive scheme to the kids that you have.  Austin (Hathaway) was just a great athlete when he had the ball in his hands.  He could really beat you with his feet he was very shifty.  Dillon is a bigger individual.  He stands 6'3", a big pocket passer, but he is also a load in the running game as well.  We feel he might be a little better suited to sitting behind the line of scrimmage and passing the ball," said Hartley.

          On defense, the Freddies are going to be pretty young in the defensive backfield.  "We are replacing two or three starters in the defensive secondary and we are looking for some guys to step up there.  We have a transfer from Hillsdale by the name of Tyler Ohl that has really taken ownership of one of the corner spots.  We have shuffled a few guys around throughout the summer at linebacker and heading into week one we are still looking to see what the right mix is there.  We are getting a lot kids getting quality reps going into Clear Fork week," said Hartley.

          As far as Clear Fork is concerned, Hartley says they are working on playing assignment football because they expect the Colts to run a lot of the old fashion triple option.  "We had an opportunity to go over and see them in the Tinora scrimmage.  They were under center for the majority of the night, which was something new because they had been in a spread and empty set with Chrastina at quarterback for the last several years.  It looks like they are focusing more on the triple option.  They have a nice stable of running backs.  Looking at them and their perimeter speed it is definitely going to be a challenge for us," he told Swankonsports.com, "I think if they really are committed to the triple option it will challenge us as far as our kids reading their reads and taking care of their responsibilities.  Being the first game it has given us ample time to practice against the triple option.  Also being the first game just the speed of the game and the hype surrounding this game being a local rivalry, a big crowd there, could also be a factor."

          Hartley is a member of the Clear Fork Valley Athletic Hall of Fame and he admits games against the Colts are a little different for him.  "It's always special.  I have been part of this game as a player and a coach throughout the years.  It was tougher when the staff at Clear Fork when I was a player at Clear Fork was still very much involved in the program.  It was always a bitter sweet kind of thing.  It's a healthy rivalry.  I think the communities really get into it.  These are games the kids are going to remember the rest of their life.  The last two years have been entertaining games to be a part of," he said.

 

Published 8/24/15

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Fredericktown Finding Some New guys

 

          Fredericktown has had a great run of success over the last couple of years, including a "MOAC" blue division title and a playoff appearance in 2014.

          However, the Freddies must replace some big time playmakers and the have a new coach in former assistant William Hartley. 

          He says things have pretty much been normal around the program even with him taking over as coach.  "Through the off season and the summer we tried to keep everything relatively consistent with what we have been able to build here over the last dozen years or so.  A majority of the staff came back this year, so that was a great help in the transition.  Also we have 15 seniors and they have really bought in.  I think their leadership has made it a pretty smooth transition at this point," he said.

          There is a a pretty big senior class at Fredericktown, but Hartley says there are going to have to be some guys that assume new roles with the team this fall.  "Obviously, we lost a great deal of talent off the 2014 squad.  Mainly Tyler Ruhl, a big play running back for us, and slot receiver, and obviously Austin Hathaway, he did great things in the three years that he was the starter, and a really solid group of seniors that supported those two skilled guys.  We have a good group coming back with five starters on offense and five on defense.  They have been able to have success over the last couple of years and I think they expect to be successful, but they have to understand it is going to take a lot of hard work.  Nobody owes you anything.  Also when you have had success you get that target on your back and you are only going to get teams' best shot," said Hartley.

          The first test came on Wednesday when the Freddies played Galion in their first scrimmage of the season.  Hartley says he thought the kids preformed well on both sides of the ball.  "Everything is starting to come together and it was a pretty productive day for us.  We got off to a little bit of a poor start defensively, but we kind of picked it up and got used to the speed of the game.  At first that was a little hard for us to adjust to.  Midway through the first series it seemed we started to pick things up.  We had a big hit from our middle linebacker and that really seemed to give the entire unit some momentum," he told Swankonsports.com after the scrimmage, "Offensively we did some nice things.  We had a really nice red zone score.  It was the 10th play of a ten play series.  We had the ball inside the five yard line and we just punched it in.  That was a good showing by the offensive line and a kick out block by the running back.  We had some nice big plays over the top was well.  The quarterback, he is going to be a first year starter.  I think he had a pretty good day and hopefully that should help his progression and confidence."

          Fredericktown opens the season August 28 against Clear Fork.  Ironically, Hartley played at Clear Fork and is a member of the Clear Fork Valley Athletic Hall of Fame.

 

Published 8/13/15

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Fredericktown Plays in the District

 

          Fredericktown, the blue division champion of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, plays Liberty Union in the division three district semi-finals on Monday afternoon at Columbus DeSales High School.

          The Freddies (24-2), #1 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coaches poll in the small school division, have been as good as advertised and coach Tom Craze says that's because they are hungry to get better.  "At the beginning the season we sat down with them back in early January and kind of talked about some goals and what we wanted to do.  The funny thing about this group is they are hungry everyday.  They want to get better.  When we go to practice this team wants to get better.  They have some high goals and expectations and so far they have been able to realize the challenge," said Craze.

          One the big advantages Fredericktown has over a lot teams is their pitching depth.  They five or six guys that can go to the mound and get the job done.  "That is a plus especially come tournament time.  If your are fortunate to get through district and regional play pitching is critical with back to back days and you never know about weather.  In regional tournament play you go back to back days.  Fortunately for us we have a lot of depth with pitching.  So, we are able to set our rotation up the way we want to do it," said Craze.

          It was been a very good sports season at Fredericktown, they won the blue division if football and finished second in basketball.  Craze says they were able to bring that success to the baseball diamond.  "I am a kind of guy that things it all starts in the fall.  If the football program is successful it is going to carry over.  Sure enough our football program was very successful, our basketball program was very, very successful this year," he told Swankonsports.com, "I think that kind of trickles down.  Athletes are being successful in all three sports.  I think it is very important to start off on the right foot in the fall and kind of let that carry over to the winter and the spring."

          Liberty Union has a solid program too, they lost to Marion Elgin in the district final last year.  Craze says they are a team that will force them to make plays.  "We have gotten a chance to see them twice now.  They are a ball club that is going to put the ball in play.  They are going to be very aggressive on the base paths.  I think the one thing I like about them is they are aggressive and get after it in the field.  We have to do things that we have been doing all year.  Just go out and put the ball in play, get great pitching and good defense in the field.  If we can go those things we like our chances.  Liberty-Union is a good ball club, so we are going to have to come to the ball park ready to go," said Craze.

 

Published 5/18/15

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Jones Throws Perfect Game as Freddies Bury Eastmoor

 

 

          Logan Jones was spectacular as he threw a perfect game in Fredericktown's rout of Columbus Eastmoor (13-0) in five innings in a division three tournament game on Thursday.

          Fredericktown, #1 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coaches poll in small school division, Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference blue division champion, was the top seed in the central district.  Coach Tom Craze says they did not want to let Eastmoor hand around in the game.  "We came out and did very, very well and hit the ball at the plate.  Obviously we were very good on the mound too.  We took a business like approach and went out and did what we had to do to get the win," he said.

          The Freddies (23-2) have a very deep pitching staff this year.  Jones is just one a of a number of players that Craze can put on the mound and he says Jones had great command on Thursday.  "It really doesn't matter if it is a first round game or where it might be that's pretty special no matter who you are playing.  (Thursday) night he was really on and had good command and did an excellent job on the hill," he said.

          Things are going to get a whole lot tougher for Fredericktown from here on out.  They play Liberty Union, a (12-0) winner over Grandview Heights in five innings on Thursday, at Columbus DeSales High School in the district tournament on Monday.

          Craze knows they will have to be at the top of their game.  "I have had a chance to see Liberty Union play a few times and they are solid ball club.  They are going to put the ball in play and they are going to hit.  We are going to have to be ready Monday night and be able to continue to do the things we are doing well," he said.

 

Published 5/15/15

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Fredericktown Wins Blue Division Title

 

          Fredericktown lost to East Knox (10-8) on Thursday, but Highland downed Mt. Gilead (3-1) and that gave the Freddies the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference blue division baseball title.

          Coach Tom Craze says the blue division is very good and this certainly is a title they cherish.  "Anytime you win a championship it is very special.  The blue division this year from top to bottom has been good.  The conference doesn't get the recognition that we believe it deserves.  Baseball wise incredible talent top to bottom in the league.  We are very happy, very fortunate to come out on top this year.  I am very, very proud of the kids.  It is nice to be able to get that conference championship," said Craze.

          On Tuesday, the Freddies (22-2,12-2), #1 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coaches poll in the small school division, beat Mt. Gilead, #3 in our poll, (6-5) on Tuesday.  They had belted the Indians (18-8) last month.  Craze says as good as the Indians are those were huge wins.  "Mt. Gilead is a fantastic ball club. They are a top five team in the State of Ohio, bar none.  Hopefully, they can make a nice run in the tournament.  To be able to beat them over there at Mt. Gilead and the kids fought hard to win the other night at Fredericktown.  To beat Mt. Gilead we were very, very fortunate and they are a fantastic ball club," he said.

          Their performance on the field this year eared Fredericktown the number one seed in division three is the Central District.  Craze says they are in the position to enjoy some success.  "We were voted the number one seed, so we were very humble and appetitive of that," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday night, "We play on the 14th against either Linden McKinley or Eastmoor Academy out of Columbus.  You know, tournament play it is the second season in a sense so we will take it step by step and prepare the best we can and go play.  Overall we are very happy with how things came out in the draw and where we are positioned."

 

Published 5/08/15

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Fredericktown Blasts Northmor; Keeps blue division Lead

 

          Austin Hathaway had four hits and Fredericktown scored 13 times in the fourth inning on the way to a (19-2) destruction of the Northmor Golden Knights in blue division game in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference on Wednesday afternoon.

          The Freddies have totaled more than 50 hits in the last three games, they also beat Mt. Gilead (18-8) and Cardington (13-3) during the stretch.  Coach Tom Craze says they are just seeing the ball well and going to the plate with a good approach.  "The last couple of games we have really been focusing on putting the ball in play.  (Wednesday) night we had 17 hits, the night before we had 17 hits and Friday we had 18 hits.  We are doing the things right at the plate," he told Swankonsports.com after the win over Northmor, "We are seeing the baseball right now.  That is one thing we have preached all year is hitting.  I am the kind of coach where I am never satisfied, but we are seeing it really good right now and hopefully that trend will continue."

          Kirk Manns, Trace Hatfield, Tyler Ruhl, Matt Giffin, and Cole Bebout all had two hits a piece on Wednesday.  Craze says really what they are looking for are quality at bats.  "We just tell our guys to square it up and make solid contact.  After it leaves the bat you don't control anything.  We just try and make sure it is a quality at bat and be able to put the ball in play.  The last couple of games we have seen guys be able to spray the ball all over the field, so that is kind of nice to see," he said.

          Hathaway, a three sport star at Fredericktown, had a double and a triple among is four hits on Wednesday.  Craze says he is a tremendous talent and still wants to get better.  "He is very special.  We have had some outstanding baseball players come through here and Austin is one of those guys as well.  After (Wednesday) night he is hitting just under .600, which is amazing in itself.  He is having an amazing year.  I think it is forgotten a little bit with Austin that he is very humble and he is still hungry.  He is always working on his game, never satisfied.  He wants to go play college baseball.  He is always working on his game everyday," said Craze.

          Fredericktown (17-1,10-1), #1 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coaches poll in the small school division, plays Centerburg in a blue division game on Friday.  They continue to share first place with Mt. Gilead, who beat Cardington (11-1) and (4-3) on Wednesday.  The Freddies play Mansfield Senior, of the Ohio Cardinal Conference, in a doubleheader on Saturday.

 

Published 4/30/15

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Fredericktown Ready For Battle with Mt. Gilead

 

          Fredericktown has an opportunity to move into a share of first place in the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference with a win on Friday at unbeaten Mt. Gilead.

          Thursday night, Fredericktown (14-1,6-1), #1 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coaches poll in the small school division, hammered East Knox (11-1) in blue division game.  Coach Tom Craze says it started with their pitching.  "Our pitching has been really good this week and the weather has been very, very difficult.  (Wednesday) night we played through a little bit of snow flurries and (Thursday) night the temperature was in the low 40's.  Late is game it started to get colder.  Our pitchers in the last 24 hours have done an outstanding job.  It's hard to stay warm.  It's hard to stay out there and focus on the mound when the wind is blowing.  Our pitching has bee really consistent the last few weeks.  I have been very, very pleased with the effort we are getting," said Craze.

          The Freedies hitting was just as good.  Craze says they had good focus.  "We had 13 hits and it is just the same thing offensively to stay focused and to make sure we concentrating at the plate.  We tell our guys that everybody we play has to play in the same elements that you do.  For us we feel like it comes down to focusing on everything we do.  Try to block the weather out a little bit and stay focused on the game.  If we can do that hopefully we will put ourselves in good position," he said.

          Fredericktown avenged their only defeat of the season when they beat Highland (6-3) last Friday.  Craze says they are used to playing in big games like Friday.  "These seniors are the group that went to the final four a few years back and played in the district championship game three straight years.  So, they have played in some real big games.  We were fortunate enough to beat Highland in a really big game.  We have a big test coming up with an undefeated Mt. Gilead team on Friday night.  We will have our hands full and our kids understand the importance.  We want to make sure our kids are focused and they understand that," he said.

          Mt. Gilead (11-0,6-0), #2 in our poll, leads the blue division standings and Craze says they have outstanding players.  "When you look at Mt. Gilead and what they have it starts with coach Gompf.  He does a great job and their coaching staff is outstanding and then it goes down from there.  They have guys in the lineup that are very, very good and are talented baseball players.  We are a game back, so we need to go over with good energy (Friday) and with sense of purpose and a good work ethic and compete," he said.

 

Published 4/24/15

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Fredericktown Smacks Northmor

 

          Austin Hathaway had a home fun, a triple, and six RBI and Fredericktown hammered Northmor (12-1) in action in the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference on Monday.

          The Freddies (8-1,2-1) trail Mt. Gilead by a game in the blue division standings, and coach Tom Craze was proud of their focus on Monday night.  "We came out with good focus and put the ball in play.  We were led by Austin Hathaway, he was 3-for-3.  We came ready to play (Monday) night and our focus was right where it needs to be.  It was a good conference win against a Northmor team that hits the ball extremely hard, so a good win," he said.

          Northmor (3-3,1-2) has had some games where they have scored some runs this year and Craze thought they did a pretty good of keeping the Golden Knights hitters off balance.  "(Monday) night we threw a couple of guys and they were able to keep the ball down and only give up three hits in five innings, so we were pleased with that," he told Swankonsports.com after the win, "They did a really good job of hitting their spots.  We have a lot of games this week, so we will pitch multiple people on multiple nights and (Monday) night they did a great job."

          Fredericktown plays Centerburg on Wednesday and Highland on Friday in division games and plays Loudonville on Tuesday and River Valley on Saturday in non-league games.

          Craze says they are going to have to have a lot of pitching this week and a lot of guys that can just fill in when needed at whatever position.  "Our guys know, and not only the nine guys on the field, but the guys on the bench.  We had three subs that got in (Monday) night and had to play, two of them pinch ran.  They have to ready night in and night out when they are called upon hopefully our guys can stand up and perform," he said.

 

 

Published 4/14/15

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Fredericktown Picks up Must Win

 

          It is probably too early in the season to call it must win, but it almost was for the Fredericktown Freddies and they got it.

        Starter Kirk Manns went six innings and the Freddies knocked off powerful Marion Elgin (7-1) in a blue division game in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference on Monday.

          Coach Tom Craze they knew it was going to be a tough game against the Comets (2-3,1-1), who made it to the division three regional final last year.  He says Manns put them in position to win.  "We put the ball in play and we got outstanding pitching from our junior lefthander Kirk Manns, who was just outstanding on the mound with 10 strikeouts.  Manns went six innings for us.  We knew going into this game it was going be difficult," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday evening, "Anytime you get on the bus and go on the road it is hard.  Coach Kirby and his crew over there do an outstanding job in getting those kids ready to play.  We knew we were going to have our hands full and fortunately we picked up a good win."

          Manns went out to the mound Monday, according to Craze, and pitching his kind of game.  He says he didn't try to do anything out of the normal.  "Kirk did what he had to do (Monday) night.  We don't ask our guys to go out there and try to strike out everybody.  We ask them to get outs.  Kirk was the man (Monday) night.  He kept the ball down and did what he had to do.  He got some strikeouts and also had the guys behind him in the field play extremely well," said Craze.

          Fredericktown (4-1,1-1) lost to Highland, the defending blue division champion, (6-3) at Highland last Wednesday, so Craze says this was a big win for them in the division.  "Getting a win Saturday against Ontario was nice, but getting back into league play we knew we would have to get back to focusing on the league again.  To get a league win is always good, especially in this division, which is extremely difficult from top to bottom," he said.

          Mt Gilead did the Freddies a little favor by beating Highland (3-1) on Monday.

          Fredericktown plays at Mt. Gilead (3-0,2-0), the current blue division leader, on Wednesday, weather permitting and that will be another big game for them.  They play Cardington on Friday in a division game.

 

Published 4/07/15

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Freddies and Trojans Battle Again

 

          The first time Fredericktown and Centerburg played this season it was pretty much a classic with the Freddies scoring three times in fourth quarter to win by a score.

          They play again on Friday night this time in the division six regional semi-finals at Yellow Jacket Stadium at Mt. Vernon High School.

          Last week, Tyler Ruhl scored three times and the Freddies (11-0) hammered Belpre (49-6) in a first round game.  Coach Brian Baum says they were ready from the get go.  "We came out with a different attitude.  We got after them early and were able to carry that through the game.  That fast start was something we were preaching and we were able to do so," he said.

          Centerburg out lasted West Lafayette Ridgewood (21-13) in a four vs. five game in the regional semi-finals.  Baum says the Trojans have a lot of athletes.  "They have some really nice skilled position players and a couple of really nice blockers as well.  Their kids really get after you on defense and offense.  They don't play a lot of kids, but the ones they do have are quality athletes," he said.

          Baum has consistently spoken highly about the Freddies dept this year.

          The two Knox Country schools are separated by only 18 miles and Baum says especially over the last two years the rivalry between them has intensified.  "Being two of the three teams going from the "MBC" to the "MOAC" we had some familiarity and some close games over the last couple of years.  Each of those games over the last two years came down to the "MOAC" championship," he told Swankonsports.com, "They won by two overtime last year and we were able to win by scoring three touchdowns in the fourth quarter this year.  There is a little rivalry built in there when you have two competitive clubs like that."

          This is week 12 of the football season and both teams have established what their identity is and Baum says there aren't going to be many surprises come Friday night.  "You want to prefect things you have been working on all year  to become a great football club.  We know what Centerburg does and they know what we do.  There aren't any secrets.  There might be a surprise or two with a play that each side will try to see if they can get any momentum.  We know each other.  We know the athletes.  It is going to be a fun competitive game on Friday night," said Baum.

          At the same time this game can not be a carbon copy of the early October meeting between the two.  Baum says it will be about capitalizing on opportunities.  "I believe we are a better football club than when we played them the last time.  We want to limit the mistakes that kept it such a close game last time and we want to capitalize earlier.  The same thing can be said about them they want to correct the mistakes they made in the fourth quarter and capitalize on anything we do.  It's going to be an outstanding game and I expect quite a challenge from Centerburg," said Baum.

 

Published 11/14/14

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Fredericktown Must Reduce Mistakes

 

          Fredericktown finished the regular season unbeaten, outright champions of the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference and top seed in their division six region, but they know they have to be a better team in the playoffs.

          The Freddies (10-0), #4 in the final Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, host Belpre (8-2) in a first round game on Friday night.

          Obviously, a lot of things were accomplished this fall at Fredericktown, but coach Brian Baum is a little concerned they didn't face that much adversity this year heading into the playoffs.  "When you are 10-0 it is a great feeling.  Obviously you have defeated everyone on your schedule, but the problem is you haven't tasted that defeat, the sting of it and you fight back from it.  Sometimes high school coaches say you would like to lose one early is see how it felt and rebound and fight after that.  We have to improve each and every week," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "Now we are in the playoffs and if they did feel that sting of defeat it is really bittersweet at this point and time in the season.  They are going to get hurt if their first loss is in the playoffs.  We are coming together.  We are working hard in practice still so I expect us to get out there and play well Friday night."

          When Fredericktown has had problems over the last couple of years, they were 6-4 last season, it was due to turnovers.  They had seven in a (42-36) win over Cardington last Friday.  Baum knows they have to clean that up.  "Seven turnovers should never get a win, but we ere fortunate to create five ourselves, so it sort of balances itself out we only lost by two in that category.  You can not do that, especially in the playoffs, every team is a great team in the playoffs and they capitalize on those mistakes.  We have to do a better job both throwing and hanging onto the ball.  I expect we will do that.  We learn from our mistakes.  We are going to learn for them and be better for it

          Bellpre (8-2) brings a six game winning streak into the game.  They were runners up in the Tri-Valley Conference-Hocking.  Their only league loss coming to champion Gloster Trimble (57-0) on week three.  Baum says their running back Manny Tillus is a heck of a player on both sides of the ball.  "They have a real nice runner in Manny Tillus.  He is a 3,500 yard career rusher.  He is the only senior on the team.  They play nine guys both ways.  He is their heart and soul offensively and defensively.  They have a couple of big kids on the line and they have a couple of speed kids as well that can get out there on the edge.  They have weapons and we have to contain those guys and control the line of scrimmage," he said.

          The only time that Fredericktown was challenged this season was when they scored three times in the fourth quarter to rally and beat Centerburg (28-21) in a "MOAC" game.  Baum says it some ways Belpre reminds him of Centerburg, also a division six playoff team.  "They have the speed of the Centerburg kids, but not necessarily the size that they have up front.  They have pieces of different teams that we have seen all year.  I guess if I had to say one team with the amount of athletes that they have they are similar to a Centerburg," he said.

 

Published 11/04/14

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Fredericktown Wants to Close Out "MOAC" Blue

 

          Unbeaten Fredericktown is one step away from winning an outright title in the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference and they don't want to miss that step.

          They were able to put themselves in this position as quarterback Austin Hathaway completed 14 of 19 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns in a (34-16) win over Northmor and the defense permitted just 188 yards.  Coach Brian Baum says they did a good job bottling up the Golden Knights.  "We were able to stop their option game.  We were able to limit their quarterback, who is a nice little threat.  We limited their pass game and didn't allow them to run anywhere," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "Turnovers haunted us against them.  We have to do a better job with that, they got a couple scores there.  We have to polish that and not give the ball up and give them opportunities.  Playoff teams will make you pay for that."

          They are nine for nine for nine for the season, but Baum says they still haven't played their best game.  "We want to play a perfect game.  That is what we are going to strive for.  That is what we want to do.  We still have a lot of things that we can improve.  We are 9-0, we are in Cardington this week, and hopefully we go 10-0.  In the playoffs, if we can improve week in and week out we have a chance to do something there," he said.

          Fredericktown (9-0,6-0), #4 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, plays at Cardington (4-5,2-4) on Friday night in a conference game.  Baum says they will face some physical players.  "They have a couple of really big skilled athletes.  They will pop you.  They gang tackle and tackle low.  We have to be strong up front again.  Once again it goes down to the battle of the trenches.  We have to reset the line of scrimmage and not let their big backs get any kind of momentum.  On offense we have to get running lanes for Hathaway, Ruhl, Reed.  Last week, we went to the passing game so we could get it going.  We want to be a balanced teem heading into the playoffs,' said Baum.

          The Freddies have a one game lead over Centerburg in the blue division, but Baum says their goal is to win that division title outright.  "We don't want to share this year.  We do want to have that selfish feeling and make sure we take what is ours and finish the job.  After nine weeks we still have everything that we set out to do in front of us, so that is an exciting feeling as a coach.  For the players that keeps them hungry and motivated," he said.

 

Published 10/29/14

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A Piece of the Division Title with a Win for Fredericktown

 

          Fredericktown has a chance to accomplish a goal on week nine of the season as they travel to Northmor for a game in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference blue division on Friday night.

          A win gives the Freddies (8-0,5-0), #5 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, no less than a share of the division title.

          They put themselves in that position with a (48-21) over Highland last week when quarterback Austin Hathaway ran for 257 yards.  Coach Brain Baum says after a slow start they were able to put some things together.  "We had an exciting win on Friday night.  Anytime you beat Highland it is a big win for us.  It was pretty intense there to start the game.  They were up 14-13 after the first quarter and then we were able to take control," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "They run that wing-T attack and you have to understand that is difficult to simulate in practice.  It takes some plays to used to it, but once we were able to settle down we were able to keep them out of the end zone from then on out."

          Fredericktown has been forced to rally in several games this year and Baum would like his team to get off to a better start every week from now on.  "You never want to be behind in a football game,  A quick start, a faster start, you always want that.  Sometimes it takes a quarter or so to wear people down.  The line has the ability to do that and then we can do some things on both sides of the ball.  That is a concern as a football coach to get off to a good start on both sides of the ball," said Baum.

          Northmor (5-3,3-2) shares third place in the blue division and they are coming off a (21-18) win over Mt. Gilead.  Baum says they have an offense that has shown they can put up some points.  "They are kind of an old school attack with a full house backfield.  They run some option out that.  It is a pretty nifty attack, especially the play action that they do.  The boys have to be at home.  They have to watch their keys and they have to be able to adjust on the fly and get to the ball," said Baum.

          Winning a league title is something that the Freddies have established as goal and they can get a piece of it this week, but Baum says they really aren't in the mood to share.  "It is one of our major goals to win the league and we really don't want to share it, we want to win out and do what we have to do to make that happen," he said.

          Fredericktown plays Cardington next week.

 

Published 10/22/14

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Fredericktown Must be Ready for Highland

 

          Fredericktown rallied to score three times in the fourth quarter and take the outright lead in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference blue division with a win over Centerburg.

          Trailing (21-7) after three quarters quarterback Austin Hathaway scored three fourth quarter touchdowns to give the Freddies a (28-21) win over the Trojans.

          Coach Brian Baum says they were able to make some adjustments and come out and just kind of outlast Centerburg.  "We regrouped them at halftime, got everyone under control mentally and stopped giving things away and started taking things away.  Things just worked out our way in the fourth quarter," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "We able to go out there fire off the line and move them off the line.  Three, four yard carries end up being 58, 11, 10 yard carries and we were able to get into the end zone three times in the fourth quarter."

          Hathaway ran for 195 yards in the game.

          Fredericktown (7-0,4-0) has some depth in their interior line and Baum says that has helped them in the fourth quarter of games.  "All year long we have screamed we have to win it in the fourth quarter.  You do that with conditioning one.  Plus, we play a lot of kids on the line.  We play six, seven defensive lineman and they are all solid ball players.  You don't lose anything when the next guy is in there.  If you are able to do that it does wear on teams.  It shows up there in the fourth quarter at the end of the game," said Baum.

          Highland (3-4,3-1), a game behind the Freddies in the standings, will be at Fredericktown on Friday night.  Baum says despite the sub .500 record the Scots are pretty good.  "They played a really loaded non-conference schedule with Mt. Vernon, Loudonville, and River Valley.  They played some tough teams up front.  They may not be as explosive with the backs and their line isn't quite as big, but they are still a solid football team, especially on the offensive side of the ball.  We have to be sound in everything we do," said Baum.

          Fredericktown and Highland are bordering districts and there is a big sense of rivalry between the two and Baum says his guys need to remember that.  "Put the records away anytime it is a rivalry like this.  We used to play them on week one and now it is week eight.  I know they are already excited to play us.  We keep telling our guys to make sure we take them very serious," he said.

 

Published 10/16/14

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Fredericktown and Centerburg to Decide to "MOAC" Blue

 

          Unless there is an upset on week eight, nine or ten, the outcome of Friday night's meeting between Centerburg and Fredericktown is going to determine who wins the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.

          Both schools are 3-0 in the conference, Fredericktown is unbeaten, meanwhile Centerburg's only loss comes to red division leader Marion Pleasant.

          Fredericktown (6-0,3-0), #4 in the Swaankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, has outscored its league foes 118-7, with the only score coming in the first quarter of a (41-7) win over rival East Knox last week.  Coach Brian Baum says they were able to recover quickly and did not have any issues with focus.  "Our boys handled it quite well with a couple of big games on the horizon.  They handled the threat of East Knox well.  East Knox scored on their first drive, but then our defense settled in an held them out of the end zone from there on out," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "After being down 7-0 after the first quarter we improved our play and put 41 points on the board and put the game away in the fourth quarter."

          Quarterback Austin Hathaway ran for 160 yards had two scores against East Knox and running back Tyler Ruhl added 129 yards and two more tds.

          Centerburg (5-1,3-0) shut out Highland (34-0) last week holding the Scots to 165 yards of total offense.  The week before they had almost 600 yards in an (82-7) destruction of Cardington.  Baum says the Trojans have a lot of weapons, especially at the wide receiver position.  "I really like their receivers.  They are really good athletes.  Their quarterback is a fast kid.  He does a good job of getting rid of the ball quickly to those receivers.  Those two receivers really make plays Stewart and Sesma.  I like watching them play ball.  Our skilled kids have to be ready for that challenge," he said.

          Hathaway has 1,080 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns on the year.  He has thrown for another 795 yards and four scores.

          Centerburg is the defending blue division champion and they beat Fredericktown (28-26) last year.  To reverse their fortunes Baum says they have to get top level performances from their best players.  "Big time players have to make big time plays in big time games.  Our big time players need to do that this weekend because that is what this is.  Last year it came down to two points in overtime that we missed.  We have to come in the same place it was decided to play there again.  We have to make sure that we right what we wronged last year," said Baum.

 

Published 10/09/14

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Fredericktown Defense Catching up

 

          Fredericktown's offense has been explosive this year.  They have scored at least four touchdowns in every game they have played this season and now their defense has started to play well.

          They have shutout both of the opponents they have played in the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, Marion Elgin (42-0) on week one and Mt. Gilead (35-0) last week.

          Coach Brian Baum says they have specifically concentrated on a couple of elements of the defense this year.  "We really wanted to put an emphasis on our defense this year.  We wanted to be better tacklers and be more sound at the point of attack and we wanted to cover better.  Each year you have certain things you want to work on on defense and this year we wanted to be better tacklers and cover better," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "The first week they dropped 49 on us, the second week they dropped 21 on us, but those were two very good offensive attacks.  Since then we have kind of settled into a rhythm on defense.  We have good players out there and nice linebackers running around.  We have been very fortunate to get two shutouts in a row.  Hopefully we can do it again."

          Fredericktown (5-0,2-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, plays at home Friday against East Knox (0-5,0-2) in an "MOAC" game.  Baum says the Bulldogs always seem to be up to play them.  "They always play really well against the Freddies.  They have nice athletes and the are hard nosed kids over there.  This year is no different other than they don't have the win yet.  We don't want to be the team that they finally put it together against.  They are playing pretty good ball over there it's just that they have shot themselves in the foot according to their coach.  Turnovers have hurt them in the five games that they have played so far," he said.

          Even with defending blue division champ Centerburg looming next week Baum says they are not looking past East Knox.  "Sometimes they call it a trap game, the game right before a big game.  We haven't been talking about next week at all.   We have been keeping that under wraps.  We have really been pushing focus, focus, focus on the Bulldogs.  The kids know they have some ballplayers over there.  They play a lot of kids both ways and that should play in our favor.  We need to wear them down.  On offense they do run a nice, neat attack out of the gun and power it up in there," said Baum.

 

Published 10/03/14

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Fredericktown Playing Well

 

          So far, it is four up and four down the Fredericktown Freddies after they beat Marion Elgin (42-0) in their Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference blue division opener last week.

          Coach Brain Baum says their goal last week was to improve on the defensive side of the ball and obviously they got that done last Friday against Elgin.  "It was an excellent job by our defense getting the shutout.  That was a challenge for our defense to step up there.  We weren't necessarily expecting a shutout, but we wanted our defense to improve and limit their opportunities in the red zone.  We were getting some turnovers there in the red zone and were able to keep them out of the end zone all night," said Baum.

          Last season, the Freddies lost four games and turnovers were a factor in each one.  Baum says their goal this year is to have less turnovers than the other guys each week.  "Each week we want to win the turnover battle and keep our offense going.  Anytime you can limit the other team's offense you have a pretty good chance of winning.  We want to win that turnover battle, it is our number one goal each week actually," he said.

          Mt. Gilead (2-2,0-1) will be at Fredericktown (4-0,1-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, on Friday night for a blue division game.  Baum says the Indians want to beat you with a physical run game.  "They play a lot of kids.  Anytime you are doing that you have your program on the right track.  On offense they want to run the power game at you.  They want to be smash mouth with kind of a quick attack with that," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "They run a basic defense.  But, like I said they play a lot of kids both sides of the ball trying to keep guys fresh.  They have a lot of young kids over there as well.  They have put up some numbers there and you have to be careful with them."

          With the Indians wanting to run the ball, Baum says they know they have to beat them at the line of scrimmage.  "If we aren't flawless at the point of attack they are going to get three, four, five yards and those three, four yards gainers can turn into breakaways latter in the game.  You have to win the point of attack.  You have to win the battle in the trenches at the line of scrimmage," he said.

 

Published 9/24/14

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Freddies start Conference Play Against Elgin

 

          With the realignment in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference Friday night's match-up between Fredericktown and Marion Elgin becomes a league game within the blue division.

          After the three non-conference games Fredericktown (3-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coach's poll in the small school division,  would be the division favorite along with defending champ Centerburg.

          The Freddies high powered offense led to a (48-32) win over Utica last week.  Coach Brian Baum says they were clicking again.  "We went out there are were able to score on five straight possessions and set the early tone.  The second half we were able to rest our quarterback a little bit and get some other kids out there playing.  Utica is a good team and they had some nice athletes out there and they made it close there at the end our back up quarterback Dillon Smith was able to run in from about 30 yards to give us 48 on the night and put them away, get a 16 point lead and end the night for us," said Baum.

          Fredericktown has given up over 100 points in the first three weeks of the season, but Baum says the offense has been putting them in bad position.  "Our offense has to not turn the ball over.  I think we have given up 63 points on the year off of turnovers, which is an extremely high number.  We have to do a better job after the turnovers and get out there and make the stop.  We have to do a better job of not turning it over deep in our territory.  It's a frustrating thing.  You know as a coach that the defense is out there plugging away and we are giving the other team an advantage to put points on the board," said Baum.

          They make the trip to Elgin (1-2) to kick off "MOAC" play this week.  After blowing out Ridgedale (34-) in their opener the Comets have lost two straight to Upper Sandusky (28-6) and North Union (33-0) last week.  Baum says they have size.  "They have some athletes that can really play ball.  They have some big kids on the line.  In the first quarter and stuff they are going to present quite a problem with their line.  We have to whether that storm and get in there and use our athletes and wear them down over time.  Hopefully as the game goes on we get stronger and are able to take advantage of some things," he said.

          Elgin is new to the blue division and Baum admits the players took a while to warm up to this match-up.  "Our kids didn't forget it was "MOAC" week, but Elgin being a new team to our side it wasn't at the top of their minds, but then they say that's right this is league game this year playing Elgin.  We haven't played them since the late 80's.  I'm looking forward to renewing that competition with them," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "They have some nice athletes over there.  They seem to be competitors.  I know they have had a rough couple of weeks, but their kids are out there fighting and giving it all they've got."    

 

Published 9/19/14

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Fredericktown Shows Balance

 

          Fredericktown has already beaten two good teams this year in Clear Fork and Danville and with another win this week over Utica would set themselves pretty well for postseason playoffs.

          Last week, quarterback Austin Hathaway ran for two scores and threw for two more as the Freddies beat Danville (28-21) in non-conference play.  Coach Brian Baum says a couple of Danville fumbles they recovered might have been the difference in the game.  "It just came down to a couple of turnovers there in the second half.  They did have the ball driving late and we were able to get a stop.  Those turnovers were able to sway it in our direction and we were able to get a couple of scores off that to get the lead and hold on to it.  There are tough hard nosed kids over there at Danville," he said.

          Fredericktown had 486 total yards against Danville and Baum says they have a lot of weapons they can turn to.  "We have some kids that can move around in the skilled positions with Hathaway, Ruhl, Kessler, Reed.  We have had Jackson step up in the wide receiver position and be able to make some plays for us, bit it all comes down to that offensive line," he told Swankonsports.com, "If they can all stay consistent, stay focused, stay motivated and give those skilled guys just a little crack to get through or time to find one of those receivers that is were the battle is won and lost every night."

          Chase Jackson caught two touchdown passes on Fright night and Baum says Hathaway's versatility is a plus for them.  "Friday night we had to throw the ball late.  In the fourth quarter we had to throw the ball because Danville did such a good job against own run.  We had to make plays and Austin was able to do that.  We were able to move the sticks with his arm and his legs.  We were able to run some time off the clock there in the fourth quarter because he was able to make plays," said Baum.

          Utica (1-1) will be at Fredericktown on Friday night for a week three non-conference match-up between former member of the Mid-Buckeye Conference.  Baum says the Redskins have some players.  "They have some athletes we have to contain.  They have played two tough games.  The first they lost to Centerburg.  They actually did a lot of very good things against Centerburg, but unfortunately for them they weren't able to get in the end zone.  They were able to control the ball, but turnovers hurt them.  On week two they beat East Knox and that was a hard fought game as well," he said.

          Fredericktown is no stranger to the postseason they have been there six times.  Baum says a win Friday night will help them make it seven.  "We are playing two bigger division four schools in the non-conference and we play Danville and they are going to win a lot of games even though they are D-7.  That's why we schedule who we schedule we don't shy away from anyone.  We don't just want to make the playoffs, but make some noise once we get there and hopefully we can do that this year," said Baum.

 

Published 9/08/14

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Fredericktown Ready to Keep Moving Forward

 

          Fredericktown exploded in the second half and went on the blast Clear Fork (69-49) last week and they take that momentum into a week two game at Danville this week.

          Coach Brain Baum was impressed by how his players adapted and came out with fire in their bellies in the second half against Clear Fork.  "It showed a lot of heart and character in our boys in regrouping at halftime when we were down two scores.  When they came out firing in the second half they showed that they wanted to get that win and were able to pull it off," he said.

          Trailing by two touchdowns at halftime the Freddies lit up the scoreboard in the second half in scoring six times.  Baum says they were able to find their rhythm a little bit.  "They were able to take advantage of a couple of sets they by running the quarterback and having a little pop pass off of that.  Hathaway made a couple of runs and once they started to key on him Jake Friebee was able to make a couple of big plays.  In the second half we were able to get a couple turnovers," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "In the first half we had given them away.  Once we were able to get some turnovers and get things rolling we were able to settle down with our run game with Kessler and Ruhl and Hathaway and just get rolling from there."

          As far as the passing game goes Baum says they didn't make the quick reads they should have been making early in the game.  "We have to run crisper routes and throw the ball on time.  They have nice athletes there at Clear Fork and they were all over our receivers and they were jumping routes and they were getting good pressure the first half.  We threw a pick six and set up another touchdown and fumbled once and set up another touchdown," he said.

          Danville (1-0) blanked Warsaw River View (26-0) in their first game of the season.  Baum says they are team with some physical athletes on the field. "Danville is always tough.  They have tradition there and have hardnosed kids.  Ed Honabarger will have those boys ready.  They run a four or five wide system and defensively they just play physical football.  We have to be ready at the point of attack.  We have to take advantage of the athletes that we have," he said.

          Just like last week, Baum says the Freddies are going to have to be able to make tackles in space.  "They are going to get some match ups with their boys.  Our db's and outside linebackers have to be solid.  Our inside linebackers have to fly to the ball.  They have to get to the sidelines and help make plays.  That's what we expect out of our defense," he said.

 

Published 9/05/14

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Fredericktown Ready For Colts

 

          Fredericktown would like a little revenge this week.  They lost a  tough one to Clear Fork last year that they felt they kind of let get away and they don't want that to happen this year.

          Clear Fork won the game at Fredericktown last year (47-40).  It was one of three games the Freddies lost last year when they allowed more than 40 points.

          In their last scrimmage on Friday, the Freddies played Mapleton, a division six playoff team from a year ago.  Coach Brain Baum says they did well.  "We got off to decent start there.  Hathaway broke one early, about a 60, 70 yard run.  I think we thought it was going to be easy after that.  Mapleton has a couple of nice backs and a receiver that can really run.  So, we had to go out there.  They drove the ball a couple of times and got one punched in.  We kind of took control of the scrimmage with our depth and conditioning.  We forced a couple of turnovers.  Our tackling was decent as well," said Baum.

          Baum and his staff have been preaching ball security all preseason.  "We lost four games last year because of turnovers.  They directly resulted in the other team scoring points.  We weren't able to overcome that last year.  We don't want to put ourselves in that hole again this year.  That has been an emphasis all preseason tackling and creating turnovers," said Baum.  He says sometimes the players just try too hard.  "You see it at all levels of football.  You are struggling for that last yard and the third or fourth guy on the pile, and you don't see him, you lay that football out there and they already have guys around you.  They just pick it up," he said.

          Clear Fork finished third in the tough Ohio Cardinal Conference last year and had a 7-3 overall record, missing the playoffs by a whisker.  Baum says the Colts have game breakers.  "They are always a tough team with hard nosed kids up there to our north.  They have some good speed.  They have a quarterback that can run the ball real well in Chrastina, the Silas kid and the other receivers out there," he told Swankonsports.com, "They run the offense that allows them to spread the field and utilize those playmakers.  The defense is always going to be hard nosed kids.  We have to force our will upon them, will the turnover battle, and contain their speed."

          Many say Chrastina is the best quarterback in the "OCC" and Baum knows they have to keep him contained.  "He is a guy we have to be aware of at all times.  He is capable of putting the team on his shoulders and carrying them.  We have to make sure we are aware of where he is at and get to him when he is dropping back to throw or something they are running him with.  We have to make sure we get after him," he said.

          Baum says he knows this is a big game for both schools.  "It is a fun rivalry.  It's an older rivalry.  My first few years we didn't play it.  We brought it back last year and I didn't realize how big it was.  I looked around and I said, geez, there is a big attendance here.  There was some excitement and our kids feed off that as well and so do they," he said.

 

Published 8/25/14

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Fredericktown Expecting Big Things

 

          With a large and talented senior class the Fredericktown Freddies believe this can be a special season for them on the gridiron.

          Fredericktown was 6-4 last year and finished a game behind Centerburg in the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference in 2013.

          Coach Brian Baum says they have a lot of players back that were big time contributors last season.  “We have about 15, 16 seniors and 20 letterman back.  Anytime you have that kind of depth and that kind of experience coming back people will have expectations.  The boys have to step up because of those expectations and improve on any mistakes we made last year,” he said.

          Fredericktown had no problems scoring points last year, they scored more than 50 in each of their final three games.  It was the defense that let them down.  Losses to Clear Fork (47-40) and North Union (54-40) are examples.  Baum says they need to a better job of tackling the ball carrier.  “We want tackle better first in foremost on defense, especially at the secondary level,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Open field tacking we have to get better at that.  The second thing on offense, we can not turn the ball over that cost us the first couple of weeks last year.  We had a combined total of seven turnovers.  We have to win the turnover battle each and every week.”

          Austin Hathaway is one of the better quarterbacks in the area and Baum says he can do a lot of things.  “We have a dual threat quarterback.  He can run.  He can throw.  He is experienced, he knows the offense.  He is a lot of fun to be around.  He is great with the kids, great with the coaches.  Austin Hathaway has done a lot of good things the last couple of years and we expect big things out of him this year,” he said.

          Once again this should be a team that can score some points, but Baum says if they are to have the kind of season their talent dictates they can have it’s up to their defense.  “We have some experienced guys up front coming back.  We have Austin in the secondary helping out.  We have McQueen back at safety.  Linebackers like Lybarger and Ruhl.  Those guys have to step up and make plays.  If we can get some turnovers and give the offense a short field.  Those boys want to control the line of scrimmage and cause more turnovers than we create,” said Baum.

 

Published 8/14/14

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Freddies Plays One of State's Best

 

          Fredericktown is in the regional baseball tournament for the second time in three years and Thursday they will be playing a school with a great athletic tradition in the Coldwater Cavaliers in the division three regional semi-finals at Elida High School.

          Huron, who beat Edison last Saturday in a match-up of Sandusky Bay Conference schools, faces Millbury Lake in the other semi final.

          Coldwater shut out St. Henry (4-0) in a district final last Saturday in a battle between the two teams that finished 1-2 in the final statewide coaches poll in division three.

          Freddies coach Tom Craze says they won't be in awe because they expect to play in games like this.  "Our program has two goals, simple to talk about and hard to ping.  One of those is to get to the state championship game.  Yeah, we want to get to the regionals every year and be able to move and advance.  It is something our kids work hard for and look forward to at the beginning of every season," he said.

          Fredericktown (24-5) finished second in the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference behind Highland, a division two school.  Craze says they are playing at their best right now.  "We are playing our best baseball here at the end of the year.  We faced some really good competition in the conference at the end of the year.  We kind of stumbled over our own feet," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "Played two good teams in Northmor and Highland and lost to both of those teams.  After that we jumped into the tournament.  We have played our best baseball really after the Highland game.  We have really come on strong here playing good ball and hopefully that will continue."

          Coldwater (26-3), a winner of five state titles, but the last in 1992, and 18 appearances in the state tournament, the last coming in 2009, is an excellent team.  Craze says especially on defense.  "The thing that really sticks out for me is their play in the field, their defense.  They have three All-Ohio candidates out there in there shortstop, second baseman and centerfielder.  They don't make mistakes.  We had a chance to see them in their district final game against St. Henry and they were solid.  We are going to have to really hit the ball hard and put it in play to have a chance," said Craze.

          Kevin McClain threw a no-hitter for the Freddies in a (3-0) win over Columbus Academy in the district final.  Craze says they are going to have to be able to execute on offense like they did last week if they are going to win this game.  "We found that out last week against Columbus Academy where we really had to work hard to manufacture runs.  We can't make mistakes offensively.  We have to smart of the base paths.  We have to be able to put bunts down in situations.  It is going to be critical that we are focused in all phases of the game," he said.

          The pressure in this game is squarely on Coldwater's shoulders.  Craze says he will remind his kids to have fun.  "I think sometimes we put so much pressure on young people in the fact that we want them to go out and do well and we forget that we want them to enjoy the experience.  These are things that you will remember for the rest of your lives.  When you are in athletics and get a chance to play in the regional tournament it is special.  We want our kids to remember this and soak it all in," he said.

 

Published 5/29/14

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Fredericktown Advances to District Finals

 

          Fredericktown scored four runs in the first and five runs in the fifth and they cruised to (13-3) five inning win over Columbus Bishop Hartley in the division three district semi-finals on Monday at Olentangy High School.

          Next will be the top seed in the Central District in Columbus Academy in the district finals on Wednesday.

        Coach Tom Craze says they were ready to play on Monday.  "We were really good (Monday) offensively we put the ball in play.  We ended up with 11 hits against very, very good pitching from Hartley.  Our kids one through nine were really focused.  They made things happen," he said.

          After a slump offensively in recent games, Craze says Monday was one of their better games with the bats through the lineup.  "One through nine in the lineup it was as good as we played all year.  At this time of year you need to play your best.  We were solid in the field as well and our pitching was really good.  I couldn't be more proud," he said.

          With the loss Hartley drops to (11-14) on the season, but Craze says the Hawks, a (10-2) winner over Northmor last Friday, is a good team and don't be confused by their record.  "Hartley is very, very good.  To be honest their schedule is much tougher than ours due to the fact that they are playing a lot of division one schools.  There are only three teams in their conference, so everybody they play outside of their conference is very, very difficult.  They beef their schedule up for a tournament run," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday night after the tournament win, "We knew that going in that we would have to be focused.  We knew they were going to score and keep fighting all night long.  Our kids really stepped up and did a great job."

          Fredericktown (23-5), #2 in the final Swankonsports.com baseball coaches poll in the small school division, was the runner-up in the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference this year.

          Craze was close to the vest on his comments about Academy, but says they will have to be ready if they are going come out on top.  "Coach (Jim) Collins does an outstanding job with those kids.  They are great baseball players.   We will enjoy this (Monday) and we go right back to work (Tuesday) and great ready for Academy on Wednesday night," he said.

 

Published 5/20/14

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Ruhl's Blast Give Freddies Win

 

          Fredericktown trailed Centerburg going into the seventh inning, but Tyler Ruhl unloaded his second grand slam in a week leading the Freddies to a come from behind (5-2) win over the Trojans.

          The win keeps Fredericktown (21-3,10-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coaches poll in the small school division, a game in front of Highland in the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference heading into a regular season ending showdown with the Scots on Monday at Fredericktown.

          Coach Tom Craze says they were able to battle on Wednesday and come up with the win over Centerburg.  "We kind of started out slow (Wednesday) and then they kind of grinded it out there at the end.  We got to the seventh inning and got a big grand slam there in that inning.  They had to keep their focus a little bit down the stretch and were able to get it done," he said.

          Fredericktown in the third seed in division three in the Central District, behind Columbus Academy and Marion Elgin, and will host Utica, a former league foe in the Mid-Buckeye Conference, next Thursday.  Craze believes his kids are winners.  "To be honest it goes back to the fall in football and it goes back to basketball for this kids that play those sports.  They found a way to compete and they found a way in close games to win and that naturally carries over to baseball.  Nothing rattles them," he told Swankonspots.com on after the win on Wednesday, "They have a poise and a calmness about them and they find a way to make it happen.  They tend to have the mentality of been there and done that, so let's go a get it done."

          Fredericktown's only losses this spring come to River Valley and in a doubleheader to Lexington. 

          They can clinch no less than a share of the blue division title with a win at home against Northmor (9-11,4-6) on Friday.  Craze knows they are in for another battle.  "To Northmor's credit they are a tough ball club that is going to fight you for seven innings, just like Centerburg (Wednesday).  We will have to be prepared.  We will have to go back to work (Thursday) at practice, have a real good day at practice and then get ready for Northmor and finish off the regular season on Monday against Highland,' said Craze.

          Fredericktown beat Northmor (11-2) in their first meeting on April 23.

 

Published 5/08/14

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Fredericktown Beats Highland; Takes First Place

 

          Tyler Ruhl hit a home run as part of a five run first and Kurt Mann made it stand up as the Fredericktown Freddies won the battle of Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference blue division co-leaders on Thursday in downing Highland (5-2) in a huge game.

          Coach Tom Craze says they were able to put all three phases of the game together Thursday against a very good team.  "It was a total team effort and it starts with our pitching with Kurt Manns.  He kept his pitch count down really low (Thursday) and hit his spots.  He kept their hitters off balance and he did an outstanding job.  Fortunately for us we hit their number one and put the ball in play made some things happen and did a nice job in the field as well.  So, all three phases of we did a really good job," said Craze.

          The two teams were rained last week and another game will be scheduled latter in May and Craze knows that beating them again will be tough.  "Highland is outstanding and it starts right up top with coach Church, who does an outstanding job with those boys.  Their pitching is absolutely solid.  I believe they have the best three pitchers in the conference and they are very, very good.  Highland traditionally is a program that has solid pitching and we were just fortunate," he said.

          Fredericktown (15-3,7-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coaches poll in the small school division, is new to the "MOAC" and Craze says that only intensifies the rivalry between the next door neighbors.  "It is a great tradition with our schools.  We are less than 10 miles apart and it is a great tradition not only in baseball, but in football and it's a big rivalry in basketball and in all of the sports.  Recently baseball has been really, really good and now being in the same conference you get them twice in the same year, so you really have to play well against Highland," said Craze.

         The Freddies play at Mt. Gilead, who suffered an upset loss to Cardington (8-7) on Thursday, in a blue division game on Friday.  Craze says they can't afford to take the day off.  "That is exactly the message that was sent to our kids (Thursday) when we got back and enjoy this win, but (Friday) it is going to be back to focus and back to work and they have a clear understanding that (Friday) is another day and it is back at on the baseball field again," he said.

 

Published 5/02/14

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Fredericktown Stays in First

 

          Fredericktown and Highland are still tied for first in the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference after the Freddies bludgeoned Cardington (14-0) in conference play on Monday night.

          Coach Tom Craze says they got good pitching and were equally as good at the plate.  "Our pitchers were really good (Monday) night.  We actually threw two guys in Kevin McClain and Jason Alrey.  Kevin went four innings and Jason went one.  They only gave up two hits.  We didn't have any errors in the field and we had 14 hits, so (Monday) we put it all together as a team and I was very happy with our effort," he said.

          When pitchers are able to keep the opposition hitters at bay the guys with the sticks feel more comfortable at the plate and vise versa, according to Craze.  "Our pitcher feels really good that no matter who is on the mound that night he knows he is going to get run support, he knows they guys are going to battle for him at the plate," he told Swankonsports.com after the win on Monday, "It makes his job easier all he has to do is hit the target, hit the spot and let the defense work behind him.  It makes things easier offensively knowing that he is going to go out and throw a good game for us.  It's a real team effort."

          The Freddies have won 11 of their first 12 games, but Craze says they are really just getting into the meat of their schedule.  "We are heading into a stretch here that starting Wednesday that we pretty much go non stop for two weeks here, so yeah they are feeling pretty good right now.  We have about two days off coming up and then we go.  We are really excited about how things are going right now and hopefully they will continue," he said.

          Fredericktown (11-1,5-0) plays Northmor on Wednesday and Centerburg on Friday in "MOAC" games.

          They share the blue division lead with Highland and Craze says that has developed into even more of a rivalry with their next door neighbors now that they are in the same conference.  "Highland is just outstanding.  They have great coaching and that is where it starts with Travis Church.  They have great players form the top to the bottom in that line-up that put the ball in play and solid pitching.  It is a ball club that is very, very good.  It's going to be very interesting next week.  We play them back to back days with the rainout situation.  The kids are looking forward to it.  It is a good rivalry," said Craze.

 

Published 4/22/14

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Fredericktown Still in First

 

Click here to listen to an interview with coach Tom Craze

 

          Fredericktown remained unbeaten and in a share of first place in the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference after a win over Mt. Gilead on Thursday.

          The Freddies (9-1,3-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coach's poll in the small school division, rallied from a four run deficit to beat Mt. Gilead (9-5) on Thursday.

          Coach Tom Craze says it was a good win for them against a talented Mt. Gilead squad.  "(Thursday) night was a big win for us.  It keeps us still tied for the lead in the league.  Mt. Gilead is a solid ball club they are well coached and we knew it was going to be a good ball game.  They jumped on us early 4-0 and again we had to battle back," he told Swankonsports.com after the win, "We played well in a couple of innings where we put the ball in the play and scored some runs to take the lead and maintain the lead.  It was a good quality win for us and we are exited about how well we are playing right now."

          So far this season, Fredericktown has proven to be a good come from behind team.  Craze says they play with confidence no matter what the score.  "Three of our nine wins we have had to come from behind this year from pretty good deficits.  The kids have a nice business like approach and they feel good about themselves.  They are confident and when they have that we are always going to be in the ballgame," he said.

          They scored 18 runs in a win over Plymouth in non-conference play on Wednesday and Craze says they are really swinging the bats well here early the season.  "I like our approach at the plate.  We are hitting .360 as a team, which is really, really good early the season.  The bats are alive.  The kids have really taken a good approach to hitting.  We are putting the ball in play and making things happen and hopefully that continues," he said.

          The Freddies play Ridgedale on Friday and Cardington on Monday in "MOAC" blue division games.  Right now, they are tied for first with Highland and Craze knows this is going to be a tough race down to the end for the trophy.  "From top to bottom, I said this from the beginning, the "MOAC" is really solid.  Right now, you have a couple of teams that are separating themselves.  With the rainouts that we have had and the shuffling of schedules there is going to be a lot of baseball played here in the next few weeks, so we have a lot of games to determine how the league race is going to finish and it is going to be really exciting," said Craze.

 

Published 4/18/14

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Fredericktown Building on Start

 

          Based on their performance over the first week of the season the Fredericktown Freddies look like they are going to be a real factor in the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.

          On Saturday, the Freddies went to Ontario and knocked off the Warriors (5-4) in eight innings on a cold afternoon.  Coach Tom Craze says it is certainly a win they can build on.  "It was a huge win.  Your have to give Ontario a lot of credit.  They are a bunch of really tough kids and a coach that is really outstanding.  So, to go over to Ontario and with the conditions what they were, very cold, and to pick up a win," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "My kids just kept fighting the whole game.  It was a big win against the two time poll state champions.  Anytime you can play well against Ontario that is a credit to our kids and our program."

          When it is cold it can be hard on the hitters to get going, but Craze says it isn't easy on the pitchers either.  "Not only for the hitters is it hard, but for the pitchers it is hard, especially to stay warm between innings and if you have a good inning where you are hitting a lot and the pitcher is still sitting there.  We work with our guys to keep them active and sometimes that isn't even enough.  It can be very hard on a pitcher with the conditions early on in the spring," he said.

          With some big sticks graduating last summer, Craze says they are going to have to work hard every day on becoming a better offensive team.  "It comes down to hitting.  I'm convinced that I am never going to be satisfied with our hitting, so that is an area that we are continually working on every day.  I think we are playing better in the field.  We are really minimizing our mistakes defensively.  At the plate we just have to get a little better with our two strike approach and being a little more aggressive and looking for that first pitch strike and go after it.  Hitting is going to be the key for us that we are going to be continually working on each and every day," said Craze.

          Craze says Highland is likely the best team in the blue division this year, but he thinks they can be right there.  "We want to be competitive in this division and that is our goal.  We feel Highland is probably the top team in our conference.  If we are competitive night in and night out in our league and hopefully we are right there at the end and have a chance.  I think this group is going to be competitive and is very coachable.  I think we will come out and play hard this week and we are very excited," said Craze.

          Fredericktown is to play East Knox on Tuesday if the weather and field conditions allow and then open conference play against Centerburg on Wednesday.

 

Published 4/8/14

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Freddies Ready to go With New Group

 

          Fredericktown has enjoyed some pretty good success over the last several years and their coach feels they have a chance to win quite a few baseball games again this year.

          Coach Tom Craze says the kids coming through the system have been around winning and they have the right attitude.  "We are fortunate at Fredericktown we have had some really, really good baseball players come through.  We have developed our younger players and they have had a chance to see those guys come through.  Our JVs last year were 19-1.  They had a really, really good year.  We have a couple of travel teams that are right there as well.  It's amazing how winning kind of takes care of things gets these young people ready to compete at a high level.  Here at Fredericktown we have a high expectation and the kids understand that, so we are fortunate to have really, really good baseball players," said Craze.

          Success at the JV level is one thing and success at the varsity level is quite another.  Craze says his kids have to understand that.  "It is critical that those young kids understand that when they make that transition it is a whole different ballgame.  We try to prepare our kids the best we can in practice.  We are fortunate enough to do some live pitching with our varsity guys.  I think putting them in positions where they can see that early on in scrimmages and trying to get these scrimmages in is very, very critical.  When the season starts hopefully they are prepared enough and they are ready to make that transition into varsity baseball," he said.

          Based on preseason scrimmages Craze believes that his players will know what to expect this spring as they move to the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.  "We loaded our scrimmage schedule for that reason alone.  We scrimmaged Marion Pleasant, who I think is going to be one of the top teams in division three in the Central District.  We hung right with them.  (Monday) night we were at Dublin Coffman and hung with one of the better teams in division one," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "I think what I like about this group really more than any group is the fact that these guys are really coachable.  They want to learn every day.  They want to get better.  They come to practice with a great attitude.  I am very excited they have a clear understanding of what we want to get done and more importantly they have bought into our system.  I can't wait for opening day on Saturday."

          Fredericktown plays two against former Mid-Buckeye Conference rival East Knox on Saturday, weather permitting.  They open play in the "MOAC" against River Valley next Wednesday.

 

Published 3/26/14

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Fredericktown Reloading

 

          Fredericktown advanced to the state tournament two years and the district final last year and the Freddies have built a solid tradition of success on the diamond.

          Although the are replacing some talented players, coach Tom Craze believes this year's team can have its measure of success this spring too.  "I am really excited about our ball club this year.  We have five returning starters.  It is a group that really loves the game of baseball and I think what I like most about them is they are coachable.  It's a good start in the right direction.  I feel this group is going to be real competitive.  They know there is a standard at Fredericktown," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "They are going to live up to it I believe.  We are really excited about the upcoming season.  The conference is really, really good this year in he "MOAC" moving from the "MBC."  It's a good fit for us and I'm really excited about this team."

          Pitching is the key at any level of baseball and Craze thinks they have some depth there, but says they are going to have to find some sticks.  "I look at this group and we have a lot of arms, which is really good on the mound.  We have a group of guys and I think we go six maybe even seven deep as far as starters.  So, we're good there.  I worry our biggest thing is going to be at the plate, our approach at the plate and how we are going to be able to handle that losing kids like Matt Smith and Nash Cunningham for the lineup it is going to be crucial that we fill those spots.  Hitting is going to be key for us.  I think if we hit we are going to be real, real competitive," he said.

          This year Fredericktown is a member of the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference along with Highland, Cardington, Mt. Gilead, Northmor, Ridgedale, and Centerburg.  Craze thinks its a good fit for them.  "I think two things stand out for me.  I think for one the travel is cut down quite a bit.  We are not making 30, 40 minute trips.  I think our furthest trip in the conference is only 20 minutes away.  I think it's balanced is the second thing I like about the conference.  I think Highland is going to be really, really good.  My thought is they are going to be the league favorite, but then everybody else is going to be right there.  I think it's going to be very balanced and very competitive and for us it is going to be a good fit," said Craze.

 

Published 3/13/14

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Fredericktown Finishing Season with Flurry of Games

 

          Fredericktown is going to finish the regular season this week with four games in five days starting on Tuesday when they host Loudonville.

          They also host Utica on Thursday, play at Ridgedale in an blue division game in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference on Friday and finish the week with a game at Ohio Cardinal Conference member Clear Fork on Saturday.

          Coach Nathan Bellman says they will not be pushing the players very hard this week in practice in order to keep them fresh.  "We are getting them in the gym just to get them up and down a little bit, get some shooting in and watch film.  We go for about ah hour and 15 minutes here down the stretch.  It has been good for us we picked up a couple of wins last week," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "This week is a big week obviously with four games in five days.  We are going to have to play some different people and hopefully the kids respond and step up and are ready to go right from the get go."

          He says the Freddies (9-9) have to use their depth this week and also concentrate of the game at hand.  "You definitely have to get kids in and out and try to keep them as fresh as possible, but that is easier said than done sometimes.  I think we have a good heady group and they are ready to respond to that challenge.  I think the message (Monday) was take it one day at a time and don't worry about Friday and Saturday's games.  We'll do today as well as we can and go from there," he said.

          Loudonville (4-14) has a youthful team this year, but they have played well at times, including a win over Mansfield St. Peter's (63-60) in Mid-Buckeye Conference play a couple of weeks ago.  Bellman says against Loudonville you need to be able to adapt to changing defenses.  "They do a lot of different things defensively.  They are a scrappy bunch, they get after it.  They battle on the boards.  They will pick you up full court and trap you in the half court.  You are always going to get something different.  They will mix it up.  We have top be ready for anything and that has kind of been our thing you have to be ready fro whatever they throw at you.  We will be ready," Bellman.

 

Published 2/11/14

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Break Comes at Wrong Time For Freddies

 

          After playing perhaps their best game of the season last week, the Fredericktown Freddies are going to have to wait until Saturday to play again after their Tuesday night game against Clear Fork was postponed.

          Last Friday, they handed Centerburg their first loss in the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference by blasting the Trojans (75-59) in game between rival schools.

          Coach Nathan Bellman says they really shot the rock well in that game.  "We played well.  We hit 11 threes.  We really shot the ball well.  We played with a lot of energy, so we are pretty excited about that win against a big rival at our place.   We were looking to take some momentum from that game into (Tuesday) night's game, but the weather really isn't cooperating with us right now we haven't been able to get on the floor since the game on Friday," he said.

          Since then due to snow and especially cold weather, the Freddies have not played nor practiced.  Bellman says he hopes that doesn't throw them off too much.  "This the second time around that we have kind of had a lull for three or four days when we haven't been able to do anything.  Obviously we would like to be able to get into the gym and do some shooting and get into a rhythm and keep some of that conditioning, but you kind of have to go with the hand you are dealt with," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "Hopefully we will be able to get back in the gym on Wednesday and have three days to prepare for Lexington on Saturday."

         On Saturday night, Fredericktown (7-7) host Lexington (8-7) of the Ohio Cardinal Conference.  The Minutemen have a marquee win over Mansfield Senior this year (60-49) three weeks ago.  Bellman says the Minutemen have a good mix of the guards and inside players and they will have to shoot well again to win.  "They are pretty good.  They have some athletic kids.  We are going to have our hands full on Saturday, but hopefully we will be able to get back into a good rhythm offensively like we were last Friday against Centerburg.  We got hot.  If we can get into a good rhythm against Lexington and rebound the basketball consistently on the defensive end I think we can be right there," said Bellman.

 

Published 1/27/14

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Freddies Can't Win Close Ones

 

          It can be an elusive formula sometimes, but the Fredericktown Freddies need to find a way to win.

        They have lost their last three games buy a total of seven points.  Cardington beat them (57-55) last Friday, River Valley edged them at the horn Saturday (72-69) and they lost (57-55) in overtime to Northmor on Tuesday night.

          On Friday night, the Freddies (6-7,3-4) host Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference blue division leader Centerburg (11-3,7-0) in a division game.

          Coach Nathan Bellman says they just have to do the little things just a little bit better.  "We had a tough one Friday and then we got beat on a three at the buzzer on Saturday and then to lose by two in overtime to Northmor.  It was tough, but you go back and look at the things you could have done better, little things here and there.  We have had a good week of prep getting ready for Centerburg, so we should be ready to go," said Bellman.

          Many of the teams in North Central Ohio have had some problems getting in the gym for practice, but Bellman says that really has not bee a problem for them lately.  "Early on it was because we had two games postponed, but here lately we have just had two hour delays, so we have still been able to get in there and do things.  The big thing for us is when school was cancelled a couple of weeks ago we couldn't get in there," he said.

          Centerburg beat the Freddies (45-39) at their place before Christmas.  Bellman says the Trojans execute their stuff very well.  "They are really good.  They run the Princeton offense.  They are very well coached.  They do a great job with their stuff," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "They beat us by six the first time we played them. We will make some adjustments.  I'm sure they will too.  For our kids that's a big rival game.  Both teams will bring a lot of fans and it should be a good atmosphere."

          In order to turn things around this time an get a win, Bellman says they have to be better rebounders and they must defend the three point line at all times.  "We definitely need to defend the three point line in the half court and in transition.  We need to rebound the basketball.  We gout out rebounded the first time we played them and gave them some second chances and too many good looks in transition.  If we can clean up those two areas I think we will be in good shape," he said.

 

Published 1/24/14

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Fredericktown Faces “MOAC” Leader  

          Fredericktown has taken a step up in competition when they joined the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference this year and things really get tough for the Freddies when they faces road games against Marion Pleasant, Cardington and River Valley this week.

          The Freddies (6-3,2-3) have had some ups and downs this year, but coach Nathan Bellman says they are getting healthy at the right time of the year.  “We’ve had an ankle here and there, a couple of dings, with a couple of guys, but I think we are pretty healthy now.  We have them coming back off of those injuries just at the right time because, not that the beginning of our schedule has been easy, but we are definitely hitting a patch here, we have a stretch of five games in 11 days.  It would definitely be better to be healthy going into that stretch,’ said Bellman.

          After building a big lead Fredericktown downed Ridgedale (63-55) in a blue division game in the “MOAC” last Friday.  Bellman was happy with the win, but he knows they have to do a better job of finishing games.  “The biggest thing we need improvement in is learning how to put teams away.  We were beating Ridgedale on Friday by 15 at the end of the third quarter and gave up 26 points in the fourth quarter and won by eight.  We have to learn how to put teams away and finish them off,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We are shooting 57 percent right now as a team and 36 percent from three, so I like our shooting percentages.  We just have to learn how to put people away.”

          On Tuesday night, Fredericktown visits Marion Pleasant (11-1,5-0), #4 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball poll in the small school division, in a “MOAC” contest.  The Spartans lead the red division.  Bellman says they are a team that has great athleticism.  “They are really athletic.  Defensively there really get after you.  They are there on the catch.  Sometimes they will deny you the ball.  They are just really athletic.  They do a very good job offensively of getting to the basket.  They have several guys that can knock down the three.  Several left handed guys.  They don’t have that big, dominate 6’8” post, but the guys that we have seen are all athletic.  They can do it all both sides of the ball,” said Bellman.

          Fredericktown has had a good season, but they really haven’t had a marquee win yet this year.  Bellman says it would be good to get it on Tuesday night.  “It would definitely be a big win heading into this week.  We are on the road all three games this week, so it would be a great way to start beating a team like Pleasant, a ranked team.  Their only loss is to Ready last week.  It would be nice for our group to get over the hump here.  We need to play really well to get that “W” on (Tuesday),” he said.

 

Published 1/14/14

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Fredericktown Just Wants to Play

 

          After a big win in their last game, Fredericktown just wants to get back on the floor, but it looks like it may be Friday before that happens.

          The Freddies were scheduled to play River Valley on Tuesday night, but that game was in jeopardy at the time of publication.

          Coach Nathan Bellmen says they just have to have patience.  “You have to take it one day at a time and what ever kind of hand you are dealt with you kind of roll with.  We weren’t able to practice (Monday) because of the weather.  We have had some other days when it has been tough getting everybody in.  It is kind of one of those things where Mother Nature has a mind of her own.  You get in there when you can get in there and do the best you can and get ready to play,” said Bellman.

          With some question about who you will play and when Bellman says they have been concentrating a lot on themselves.  “We have been preparing for River Valley, but you are kind of getting ready for Friday as well.  A lot of times you are worried about yourself and what you need to do better and what we can improve.  There are some things we can do without preparing for the other team and put ourselves in a better position.  It is a challenge sometimes when you aren’t sure what is going to happen the next day,” he said.

          Last Saturday night, the Freddies (5-3,1-3) got a late free throw to beat Mt. Gilead (37-36) in a Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference blue division game.  Bellman says they had the ability to overcome.  “It was a big win for our program.  Manns hit two free throws with .2 seconds left to give us the victory.  It was definitely a win we needed at this point after losing a tough one to Highland.  We found a way to win it without Chase Jackson.  We will have him back here soon.  It was a good win for us at home,” he said.

          If they have to wait until Friday they will play Ridgedale (4-5,2-2) in a blue division game.

          Bellman says right now they have some guys with experience in big games and some with not.  “We have a team where we have a few guys that have played in pressure situations and have been in big games.  This year their role is different in some situations.  We have some guys that haven’t been in different situations from guys that haven’t played that are now playing to JV guys that haven’t been in that situation on the varsity level.  It’s a learning process,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We are learning how to win as a team.  It’s one day at a time trying to help these guys develop and learn the process of becoming good.”

 

Published 1/07/14

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Fredericktown Defense Must do the Job

 

          Fredericktown and Centerburg appear to be two of the contenders for the blue division title in the newly configured Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.

          They play each other at Centerburg (4-0,1-0) on Thursday night in a conference game.

          Last week, Fredericktown (3-1,0-1) beat East Knox, a team in their old league, the Mid-Buckeye Conference, (49-33) in what is now a non-conference game. 

          Coach Nathan Bellman says they played pretty well, especially on defense.  “We came out and started off the game well.  Really overall we defended pretty well.  We held East Knox to 33 points and they end up scoring 77 over the weekend, so we were pretty pleased holding them to 33.  We had some good efforts from our kids in the game against East Knox, so we were pretty pleased there,” he said.

          The Freddies have some scorers, but Bellman, the former girls’ coach at Fredericktown, believes they can be pretty good on defense too.  “We have moved up some kids from JV.  I think we are a little deeper and we are giving guys some breathers here and there,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “This can be a really good defensive team.  The test will be can we do it consistently game after game and can we do it against some of the better teams we will face, but I think this group is up for it.”

          Fredericktown lost its only conference game to Cardington when the Pirates hit a half court shot.  Bellman says this one will be a challenge too.  “Centerburg is solid.  We have seen them play live.  Fredericktown split with them last year.  They have a good point guard and they have good big kid inside.  They have some good complementary kids around them.  They are well coached.  Coach Marhefka does a great job with them.  It will be a good test coming up Thursday,” said Bellman.

          This might be a game of tempo.  Bellman says they want to pick up the pace.  “We have got to defend.  They run the Princeton offense, so we have to do a good job of defending in the half court.  I think another big key is going to be rebounding.  Their big kid inside is about 6’7”.  We don’t have anybody quite that big.  The rebounding we are going to have to win that battle.  And then controlling the tempo of the game.  If we can get it out and go a little bit and get some easy scores from our defense I think that will help as well,” said Bellman

 

Published 12/17/13

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Fredericktown Ready to go Again

 

          Fredericktown is lost its first game of the season last Saturday night at the horn and they are ready to quickly get that image out of their minds and they get that chance on Wednesday night.

          Playing in their first game within the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference on Saturday, Cardington put in a three pointer, from half court, at the buzzer to win the game.

          Fredericktown coach Nathan Bellman says they had their chances to win the game and did not take advantage.  “We came out of the gate and hit a couple of shots at the start.  It was a battle back and forth.  We struggled to take care of the basketball a little bit, but still made some shots, just wasn’t able to pull away.  We missed seven free throws in the fourth quarter,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We went up one on a free throw with about two seconds left.  Cardington in bounded it, took two dribbles and hit a half court shot to win it.  It was a tough way to go down in the first conference game in the blue division in the “MOAC.”  We have another game Wednesday, so it’s a quick turn around and we have to be ready to play again.”

          Fredericktown (2-1) plays at East Knox on Wednesday night.  They both used to members of the Mid-Buckeye Conference and the Bulldogs will follow the Freddies to the “MOAC” next year.  Bellman says it is good to get back on the court quickly after Saturday night.  “It definitely a good thing.  Hopefully there are some things we can learn form that game Saturday.  We had our opportunities to take control of the game and just didn’t do it.  Just excited to play East Knox on Wednesday,” he said.

          Bellman was the girls’ coach at Fredericktown, so he knows East Knox coach Jeremy Hubbard and his style.  “Jeremy Hubbard is their coach.  He is a very intense coach.  I expect them to be aggressive and probably play some man to man.  We played against them last year when we were on the girls’ side.  He was the girls’ coach at East Knox and his players always seemed to play hard and get after it, so I assume it will be a battle over at their place,’ said Bellman.

          Against a team that is going to be aggressive on defense, Bellman knows they will need to handle the ball well.  “You have got to take care of the basketball.  You have to look to capitalize of their aggressiveness.  That is something we are going to do on Wednesday.  Obviously valuing the ball and taking care of the ball is important,” he said.

 

Published 12/10/13

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Fredericktown Showing Balance

 

          Fredericktown may have a new coach, but they have a lot of the same players that led them to a Mid-Buckeye Conference title last year.

          Nathan Bellman is now the coach and the Freddies are part of the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.

          They are (2-0) on the season after wins over Lucas (62-16) last Friday and Marion Elgin (51-41) on Tuesday in their first conference game. 

          Bellman says they got a good start against Lucas and were able to create some separation early in that game.  “We shot 71 percent from the field so we were excited about that.  We really shot the ball all of the way around from the three point line and the free throw line we were pretty solid, but more importantly we defended really well and held them to four points in the first half.  We were going into halftime up 32-4, so we were pretty happy to hold a team to four points at the half,” he said.

          All-Ohio Forward Ryan Logan has graduated, but the Freddies return a good deal of the supporting cast.  Bellman says they have showed good balance so far.  “Michael Miller is our leading scorer and he has had 14 a game so far.  We also have Austin Hathaway at the point guard spot, who is averaging double figures right now along with Chase Jackson and Curt Manns and bring in a couple of kids that played JV last year that are playing significant minutes,” he told Swankonsports.com, “We also have a sophomore that didn’t play last year that we have out.  We are really playing seven kids and we have been pretty balanced scoring wise this year.”

          Again against Elgin this week Bellman says they were able to get off to a good start in the game and that put them in good position.  “I was pretty pleased (Tuesday) night.  We jumped on the 21-9 after the first quarter.  They went on a little run in the second quarter and we answered and finished off the game with a couple of different runs to close it out.  With my first year here, a new group, and losing (Ryan) Logan, we are starting to come together it has been a daily process to get them to buy into what we want to do,” said Bellman.

          It’s another “MOAC” challenge, this one within the blue division, on Saturday as they host Cardington (1-2,0-0) at their place.  Speaking before Thursday night’s game between River Valley and Cardington, Bellman talked about the need to play their kind of game against the Pirates.  “We are going to scout Cardington on (Thursday), the play River Valley, so we will have a better idea of what they’re about.  Playing Elgin was a physical battle.  I have heard that Cardington has some good guards.  We will find out when we see them what they have got.  More importantly preparing ourselves for whoever we play and getting better at the stuff we need to get better at,” he said.

 

Published 12/6/13

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Freddies Must Win

 

          If things fall right Fredericktown could have a share of the blue division title in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference and a division five playoff spot, if they don’t there could neither.  Most of it depends on what other teams are doing.

          Currently they are tied with Highland for second place in the division a game behind unbeaten Centerburg.  Highland plays Centerburg on Friday.  They also stand ninth in their computer region and they likely need Beverly Fort Frey and Columbus Academy to lose in order to make the post season.

          Last week, the Freddies played one of their better defensive games of the season as they downed Mt. Gilead (56-18) in “MOAC” action.  Coach Brian Baum says their defense was aggressive and played a smart game too.  “They had a nice running attack.  They did a nice job, especially in the first half.  They had a real nice drive on us and got into the end zone, but after that our defense was fine and really stepped up to the challenge, linebackers were flowing to football and we were getting 11 hats to the ball.  All night our offense was clicking and doing some good things for us.  We were able to make a lot of plays,” said Baum.

          Five times this year Fredericktown has scored at least 40 points.  Baum believes they have pretty good balance.  “Hathaway from the quarterback spot is out there getting the ball to our receivers.  We didn’t throw the ball around a lot the last game, but when we did they were big plays.  Then the running with Hathaway and Ruhl and Kessler really helps us out there too,” he said.

          Of course for any of this to happen for the Freddies (5-4,4-1) they must win at home Friday night against Ridgedale (1-8,0-6) in “MOAC” action.  Baum says the Rockets have some athletes.  “Ridgedale brings in an interesting attack with the run and shoot formation and some wing-t principals when they are running the ball.  They have a couple of nice athletes in 23 and 5 in the slots that can get into the open field and do some damage,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We really have to key on those guys and make sure the fullback never gets established.  On the offensive side of the ball we gave to control the line of scrimmage.  It could be a rainy night, so we have to hold on to the football.”

          Baum says they want to take any doubt out of this one early in the contest.  “We want to get a quick attack going.  We want to get out there and set the momentum and quick pace and get our offensive attack going,” he said.

 

Published 10/29/13

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Fredericktown Gets Quality Win; Looks Ahead to Indians

 

          Up until last week Fredericktown had played well against some very tough teams and came up just a little bit short, but last week they outscored Highland to hand the Scots their first blue division loss in Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference play.

          Quarterback Austin Hathaway ran for 202 yards and threw for 182 as the Freddies beat Highland (54-45) to move into a share of second place in the division with the Scots a game behind Centerburg.

          Coach Brian Baum says with some big plays in the fourth quarter they were able to get a big win.  “We were finally able to get over the hurdle against a good team.  The boys played exceptionally well, especially late in the game and they made the plays they had to make,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening.  “They created the turnover we needed there in the fourth quarter that put it away.  I couldn’t be more proud of our guys and the way they performed out there.”

          The Freddies (4-4,3-1) offense has averaged almost 40 points a game this year and Baum says they knew they had the personnel to put some points up on the board.  “We knew we had a talented offense.  We wanted to make sure we had all of the parts and pieces working together and be balanced run and pass and we have been able to do that this year.  We are still working on our defense.  We have some new guys out there and just getting them to step up and take shape for next year,” said Baum.

          The defense on the other hand has it its share of problems as four times in eight games they have allowed more than 40 points.  Baum says it is about getting more one or two guys to the football.  “We have to get to the football.  When you get more hats to the football that’s always a good thing.  A lot of teams this year have thrown on us and last week they ran on us.  We just have to get better overall.  The more hats to the football the better your defense is going to be,” he said.

          Mt. Gilead (3-5,3-2) will be at Fredericktown for blue division game on Friday night.  Baum says he knows that the Indians are going to try and run the ball on his defense.  “Mt. Gilead is a new team, but their new coach is from the Johnstown program, so their run and stuff we have seen before.  Hopefully they don’t have the Johnstown lineman like we have faced before.  It is a new team, but a familiar attack,” he said.

          Baum says they have to be able to compete at the line of scrimmage if they are going to stop Mt. Gilead.  “They load up and are quick the line of scrimmage and don’t give very much time to adapt.  They run a heavy set at you.  Your line has to play low and nasty and be ready at the point of attack,” he said.

 

Published 10/21/13

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It’s Another Big Challenge For Fredericktown

 

          Fredericktown has played a schedule that is as tough for a school its size as any of the 90 schools we come and it is going to continue this week with a meeting with Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference red division co-leader Highland.

          The Freddies (3-4,2-1) have already played the likes of Clear Fork, Danville, Centerburg and North Union this season.

          Last week, North Union beat then (54-40) and coach Brain Baum says it was another game that they could have won, but didn’t.  “It has been a frustrating year for us.  We have played all of these teams really tough.  We knew our schedule was beefed up this year.  We are a much improved team, but our record isn’t showing it right now.  Week in and week out we have great games we just have to win the close ones and that will put us over that edge.  It will get us more confidence and just that wining experience and then it grows from there,” said Baum.

          North Union features a strong running game, but last week Wildcats quarterback Hayden Stofckeck passed for 430 yards and six touchdowns.  Baum says they have tackle better, take better angles and get to some pressure on that passer.  “We have to be able to tackle in space.  We were practicing for it, we knew it was in their arsenal, we kind of took it as a complement that they wanted to throw the ball around, but we didn’t stop it real well,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We need to get better angles from our db’s with the other team’s speed.  Our linebackers have to flow to the football.  Anytime you see a pass lane you have to get a pass rush and get to the quarterback.  He was up there with plenty of time to find open receivers.”

          Highland (5-2,3-0) shares first place in the red division with Centerburg and Baum says they are another team that has a lot of good players.  “They have that big offensive line.  They have a couple of nice backs.  They didn’t need much of a hole, so we have to be sound on defense.  Their defense they fly to the football and do a nice job of crashing in there.  We have to sustain our blocks and hold onto the football,” he said.

          With Fredericktown joining a new league this season there have been a lot of new opponents for them, but not Highland.  For many years the Scots, a neighboring school, were the Freddies opener.  Baum says the two teams know each other well.  “Neither one of us is going to sneak up on the other.  It’s back yard rivalry and both teams will be ready to go.  The boys know each other.  It’s an exciting rivalry for us, an exciting match-up, and year in and year out it’s a great game,” he said.

 

Published 10/17/13

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Fredericktown Faces Talented North Union

 

          Fredericktown fell out of share of first place in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference blue division with a tough overtime loss to Centerburg last week and now they have to play tough North Union, who will likely be in bad mood when the Freddies arrive on Friday.

          North Union (5-1,2-1), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the small school division, was knocked out of a share of the red division lead with a loss to River Valley (7-6) last week.

          Fredericktown (3-3,2-1) lost to blue division co-leader Centerburg (38-36) in overtime last Friday.  Coach Brian Baum says it was a tough loss to take.  “It was a barn burner in overtime.  It should have not been overtime, we had a chance late.  It was just a heck of a battle all of the way around.  I hate to keep saying the same thing over and over after our losses, but it was another heartbreaker for the Freddies,’ he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We just have to find a way to get over that hump in close games and finish the game out.  We have to eliminate turnovers and silly penalties.  We work on those things weekly and we have to eliminate them.”

          It’s not that they don’t have the players to win big games, but Baum says they have been shooting themselves in the foot at the wrong time.  “We have a talented team.  They are a competitive team.  We go out there and battle each and every week and give it our all for four quarters.  We have just fell short on the scoreboard a couple of times.  It is just a play here or a play there, like finishing a block, holding onto the rock, not stopping a drive with silly penalties.  In each game a few plays could have changed the outcome and we are 6-0,” said Baum.

          North Union averages six scores a game and has twice scored 60 in a game this year.  Baum says they are explosive.  “They are big up front up front.  They are athletic up front.  They are athletic in the skilled positions as well.  We have to play well on our line.  We have to read our keys.  They are wing-t type team.  We have to fly to the football and gang tackle,” said Baum.

          North Union has completed some nice play action passes this season, but Baum says they really prefer to run the ball first.  “They have a nice fullback, a big, lanky fullback and they hit you with the wingbacks.  They really carry out the fakes well.  They run good misdirection.  They are solid at the point of attack.  You have got to be sound and solid on defense to hold them back,” he said.

 

Published 10/9/13

© Swankonsports.com    

 

 
   

Co-Leaders Meet in the “MOAC”

 

          It is the first season in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference for both Fredericktown and Centerburg, they were in the Mid-Buckeye Conference, and they share first place in the blue division heading into their game at Centerburg on Friday night.

          Both are two in conference play.  Highland is 1-0.  Games against teams in the red division do not count in the conference standings.

          Tyler Ruhl ran for 347 yards as the Freddies outscored Northmor (56-44) last week in a conference game.  Coach Brian Baum says the offense played well, the defense not so much.  “We played a nice game on the offensive side of the ball, but we were a little sloppy on defense.  We also had silly penalties that extended their drives when we could have had stops.  We also had three turnovers.  Usually when you loose the turnover battle you lose the game,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We were good enough to be able to win the game.  We gave them a short field and we extended a couple of drives for them and we just have to cut out those mistakes, so we can improve week in and week out.”

          Fredericktown has scored at least 30 points in each of their last three games and Baum says the offense is really starting to jell.  “We knew we had some skill back and we had the offensive line back.  We enjoy running the football if it there.  We can throw the ball as well.  We have a dual threat with (Austin) Hathaway and Rule in the backfield,” he said.

          Centerburg (5-0,2-0) has only been challenged once this year and that was a one point overtime win (55-54) over Danville on week two.  Baum says they have a very potent offense.  “Centerburg is an interesting team.  They are very dynamic on offense.  I use that word because they spread you out and then they get in formations and they throw the ball around, but they also have a very solid running game.  Tyler Stoyle, the quarterback, he is a smart kid, the coach’s son, he can beat you with his legs, he can beat you with his arm.  He is not overly fast, but he is a smart player.  They have nice athletes catching the ball.  They do a nice job of bring in those passes,” said Baum.

          The Centerburg defense has at times been outstanding.  They shutout Ridgedale (55-0) last week.  However, Baum says the Freddies offer a different challenge.  “We bring a different style of play.  We are a power team and we push ourselves upon somebody.  It’s going to be a different match-up for them,” he said.

          When asked the key to winning on Friday night it was an easy answer for Baum.  “The turnover battle each and every week.  We have got to hold on to the football and we have got to create turnovers when they are on offense,” he said.

 

Published 10/3/13

© Swankonsports.com

 

  

 

 
   

Fredericktown Making Progress

 

          After losing their first two games, Fredericktown has now put together a two game winning streak after beating Cardington Friday night in their first ever game in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.

          In a game that was called after three quarters due to thunderstorms, The Freddies knocked out the Pirates (33-0) to share first place in the blue division.

          Coach Brian Baum says they were able to do it on both sides of the ball.  “We went out there and were able to score on our first four drives.  We were able to get three and outs on our first four drives with our defense.  We were able to get accomplished what we wanted to get accomplished and we were able to start fast,” he said.

          He says they always want to get off to a good start.  “Anytime you can put the other team behind the eight ball and force them to dig themselves out it is nice for your team to have that advantage.  Early on in the season we put ourselves in that spot and have to fight our way out.  It is nice to be able to do that to other teams,” he said.

          Fredericktown (2-2,1-0) gave up 47 points to Clear Fork and 29 to Danville over the first two weeks, but now they have shut of consecutive opponents in Utica and Cardington.  Baum says they have become a more aggressive defense.  “We knew we had a couple of new starters that were adapting to their roles.  They are improving week in and week out.  The biggest change was the aggressive style they have been going with.  They have been doing a better job of hustling,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “They are understanding what we are asking them to do.  They understand what 11 hats to football mean now.  They go out there week in and week out and they are getting after the football.”

          The Freddies are at Northmor (2-2,0-1) in a “MOAC” game on Friday night.  Baum says the Golden Knights have some pretty good athletes.  “They have a couple of nice athletes there in number seven and running back number 17.  They are playmakers, they can hurt you if they get in open space.  They are attacking and coming right at you.  You have to be solid at that line of scrimmage, especially at the point of attack and not letting those backs get out in the open,” said Baum.

          Maybe the best player on the field for Northmor is quarterback Zach Carroll.  Baum says he can do a lot of things.  “They run a little option with him.  He is an athletic quarterback and he also throws a nice football.  As much as they want to run I surprised with how tight his spiral was and hitting the mark.  He is a nice quarterback,” said Baum.

 

Published 9/24/13

© Swankonsports.com   

 

 
   

Fredericktown to Play First “MOAC” Game

 

          Fredericktown is in a new league and the Freddies play their first conference game as a member of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference when they host Cardington on Friday night.

          After two tough losses to Clear Fork (47-40) and Danville (29-20) the Freddies picked up their first win of the season at Utica (34-0) last Friday.  Coach Brain Baum says they followed the game plan.  “It was one that was needed after the first two games of the year that didn’t fall our way.  We wanted to go out there and set our tone of football and we were able to do that with the offensive line.  We got the running game going and a shutout with the defense.  It was a good performance all of the way around last week,” he said.

          Fredericktown relies a lot on the execution of its offensive line and Baum says it has been improving.  “They have stepped up.  There are three seniors up there and a couple of juniors.  At this time of year you are starting to hit your stride on what you want to run, what you want to focus on,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “The last couple of weeks they have given us the run lanes we have needed to get things going.  For us everything comes off our run game.  It is important to get those lanes.  Every week we have step up to the next caliber.  If we do that it will set the tone for the end of the year for us.”

          Cardington (0-3) is coming off a loss (48-25) to Buckeye Valley last week.  Baum says they can’t look past the Pirates.  “They are a spread team that likes to run the ball if they can.  They have a couple of big kids up front and a couple of skilled athletes.  They have enough to hurt you.  You have to be sure you are sound in everything you do or they will put points on the board.  On the defensive side they have a couple of guys that can get to the football.  We have to maintain our blocks, see the open lanes and hit the hole hard,” said Baum.

          Fredericktown is in the blue division along with Highland, Mt. Gilead, Northmor, Ridgedale, Cardington, and Centerburg.  Baum says they want to make an impact and it begins this week.  “We need to get a fast start in a new conference.  It’s a statement game.  We want to let the “MOAC” know we are here.  We want to make some noise this year. This is the game we have to get started with,” he said.

 

Published 9/19/13

© Swankonsports.com

 

 
   

Fredericktown Must Do What They Do

 

          Last week, Fredericktown did not run the football affectively against Clear Fork, plus they turned it over.  That’s not a good recipe.

          It resulted in a (47-40) loss to the Colts.  Coach Brain Baum liked the effort he saw from his Freddies.  “We went out and we battled.  Clear Fork is a tough match up for us.  They have some nice size and nice speed.  We enjoyed having that challenge up front.  We turned the ball over four times and that was two to many for us to overcome,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We kept battling back and I enjoyed the way our kids fought the entire night.  We made a couple of mistakes on special teams and that will get you beat.  We have to shore that up and get ready.”

          Fredericktown quarterback Austin Hathaway had a big day in the loss to Clear Fork.  He threw for 198 yards and two scores and ran for a couple of short touchdowns.  Baum says he can be a difference maker.  “He can hurt you with his feet and hurt you with his arm.  Clear Fork did a nice job of challenging all his throws.  Sometimes they made him hurry, but he was still able to get some throws off.  While he didn’t have a ton of completions, he had some very big plays and put up a couple of hundred yards passing.  It kept us in the game,” said Baum.

          What needs to be better?  Baum says they have to play 48 minutes of defense if they are going to be successful.  “We have to get four quarters of defensive football.  We played two good quarters and a couple of shaky quarters against Clear Fork.  We have to play four quarters of good defense and be sound against their passing attack.  When run it we have to come up and stop that, but have to the Danville passing game,” he said.

          Danville, a former conference foe, but still a big rival for the Freddies, comes to town on Friday night.  The Blue Devils lost all-district quarterback Bryce Stotts, but they are still an excellent football team, that wants to put the ball in the air, according to Baum.  “They are going to throw the ball around.  They have a nice sophomore quarterback, big kid, strong kid, I like the way he zips the ball in there.  We have to get pressure on him.  We have to mix the coverages up to confuse him and keep him guessing.  For us on offense we have to run that ball, something Clear Fork did a nice job taking away, and then our passing game comes off of that,” said Baum.

          He says they need to get some pressure on Danville, especially up the middle of the field.  “It makes that quarterback choose a direction and then you have him moving one way or another.  It’s tough to do.  They have a big kid there in there at center.  We have to really work our stunts.  We have to be sound in our game and make sure we are hitting our gaps and get an explosion up the middle,” he said.

 

Published 9/5/13

© Swankonsports.com  

 

 
   

Some New Things With the Freddies

 

          Fredericktown joins a new league this season in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.  They will be in the blue division along with next door rival Highland.

          The Freddies will no longer play Highland on week one, so in that spot this week will be the Clear Fork Colts.  They are traditional rivals, but have not met on the gridiron since 2006.

          Fredericktown is coming off a down season for them (5-5), but coach Brian Baum has been impressed by what he has seen from his troops this preseason.  “We were tested a couple of times in scrimmages with Galion and Kenton.  We played some good competition that we won up front as we get ready for the regular season.  We still have some things worked out as far as ball control.  Last week against Kenton we turned the ball over three times in the first half.  Anybody that knows anything about football knows you can’t turn the ball over and win,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, “Ball control is a major priority for us.  Overall we felt we dealt with adversity very well.  We went out there and played some ball with some great athletes.  We stepped our game up and got some positions solidified as we wanted to see in the preseason.”

          Not hat they can’t throw the ball, the Freddies are certainly a team that wants to run it first.  Baum says one of their keys is ball possession.  “We are a run attack.  We try and be balanced.  Everything comes off the power and the play action and the roll outs.  You have to throw the ball to set up a good defense.  We have 15, 16 play drives.  The other night we had a 19 play drive.  If we turn the ball over at any point and time the other team has the ball.  We have to make sure we posses the football and do our job,” said Baum.

          Good quarterback play has been accustomed in Fredericktown and they have a good one this year in junior Austin Hathaway, who has been at least a part time starter since his freshman year.  Baum says he gives them some options.  “We have a nice kid.  He can run or pass.  When he gets outside the pocket he can be a threat to the defense.  We just have to make sure he understands his reads and continue with his progression as a quarterback, he is a junior.  Over the next year, year and half, we are really going to see him develop as a quarterback,” he said.

          The Colts come in out of the area’s best football conference in the Ohio Cardinal Conference.  They are coming off a rare down year too, in which they were 3-7.  Baum knows the Colts will be a tough nut to crack.  “Clear Fork is a talented football team.  I know they had a rough year last year and they play some bigger schools and what not.  They have some very nice athletes over there.  Their defense is very sound.  Their offense they have some playmakers over there, so we have to be sound in everything we do on both sides of the ball.  It will be fun.  Our crowd is excited for it.  Clear Fork is excited for it.  It’s a good back yard rivalry,” said Baum.

          A run based, wing-t team, Clear Fork has always featured the ground attack.  Baum says even though the Colts are running out of a shotgun this year, they will still have to control the point of attack.  “They still have some of their wing-t capabilities out of the shot gun.  They may be spread five wide and have the quarterback in the shotgun, but they still have some of their wing-t principals in place.  We have to be sound and expect that kind of thing.”

 

 

Published 8/26/13

© Swankonsports,com        

 

 
   

Freddies Are Fine Tuning

 

          Fredericktown has a lot of new things this year, most notably a new league as they have moved to the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, but they have some familiar things too, like a number of football players who saw action last year.

          Coach Brian Baum has seen some good things from his team since they put the pads on last week.  “We have made some nice progression.  We have talked about our experience and how we have been able to add things quicker, but the fine tuning, the conditioning and getting used to tackling and hitting again and sustaining your blocks are all things that have been developing over these first two weeks of two a days,” said Baum.

          The coach believes that fine tuning is very important during the preseason, especially being able to do good things play after play.  “For an example the offensive line they get different fronts.  They have to know what the rules are.  The muscle memory, we are going to fire out and who you are going to get.  What am I going to do if they do this.  You just give them rep after rep after rep so they are under the same situations, different situations, they are just learning what they need to do every play,” he said.

          Baum says the players have been able to react to what they see on the field.  When the other side adjusts then have to adjust too.  “Especially when it comes to game time we can’t predict exactly what that other team in going to do.  We can give them what they do in most areas and what they do most often, but on the fly that athlete out there has to decide what they have to do and how they are going to adapt to the situation.  Some of our best adjustments come from the players themselves in explaining a situation and what works for them,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday.

          With the lower than normal temperatures we have had here in early August, Baum is little concern with the level of conditioning of his players, but he says it really boils down to fundamentals.  “It has been a very mild August to say the least.  We haven’t had those hot days.  If it does heat up those first couple of weeks of the season like it typically does and we are not in conditioning for that hot weather.  The last time we saw hot weather was in camp at Urbana University and that was mid-July.  So, we have to get used to that again.  Also we have to make sure we are tackling and blocking to the whistle.  The three most important things are running the football, blocking to the whistle and tackling,” said Baum. 

 

 
   

Fredericktown Lives to Play Another Day

 

          Fredericktown didn’t get out their big sticks like they normally do, but they took advantage of a little luck to edge West Jefferson and advance to the division three district final on Wednesday.

          Freddies coach Tom Craze says everything came down to the seventh inning, just like it did in 2012.  “(Monday) was a mirror image of last year’s district semi-final where we had to pull it out in the end.  It was a very, very tough West Jefferson team.  They came in there with a real good purpose.  We jumped on them early and scored two runs in the first and then we kind of settled in a little bit.  We didn’t hit very well.  We had six hits.  We didn’t put the ball in play much, but we got the timely hits we needed in the seventh to pull it out.  It was a great finish.  I think the experience that we got last year paid off.  The kids kept their composure and kept fighting,” said Craze.

          Fredericktown advanced to the state semi-finals last year before losing to Wheelersburg.

           Monday night, Fredericktown got the benefit of a crazy bunt play and Craze says they were able to capitalize and win the game.  “We get to the seventh and we are going nine, one, two in the inning.  Our number nine hitter walks.  Next was maybe the craziest play I have every seen in a baseball game.  Our number hitter was going to bunt.  I had the bunt on and a steal.  Our number one hitter is freshmen in Austin Hathaway.  He bunts it over the third basemen’s head and it lands in fair territory and scoots foul to the fence,” he told Swankonsports.com after the win, “Our kid on first advances all the way to third and Hathaway got to second.  They intentionally walk our number two hitter to get to Matt Smith, the district player of the year.  Matt hits one to the fence to win the ballgame.  It was an exciting finish.  A great moment for our kids and our program.”

          Craze thinks they have success in these tight games because they have the will to never stop fighting.  “I am sitting there on the bus ride home (Monday) and I am thinking boy we had a little bit of luck, but then I look back at our kids and they are good kids.  They are a bunch of kids that are going to go out and battle and they won’t surrender to anybody and (Monday) they did that.  We made plays in the field that were incredible.  We made some routine plays and then we made some plays I didn’t think we were going to make.  I am so proud of our kids,” said Craze.

          Fredericktown plays the top seed in the central district in division three, Bloom-Carroll, in the district final on Wednesday.  Craze says they won’t back down.  “These kids kind of have the attitude of been there and done that.  We know what it is like to play in big games.  You can’t teach that.  It’s all about experience.  Our kids have been there and hopefully that will pay off for us come Wednesday,” he said.

 

 
   

Fredericktown Earns Piece of Title

 

          Although last season was a very good one Tuesday night the Fredericktown Freddies accomplished something they didn’t during last year’s state tournament run.  They earned a share of the Mid-Buckeye Conference championship.

          They finish standing tied with Johnstown Northridge, both finished league play at 12-2.

          Tuesday night Fredericktown beat Danville (13-1) and coach Tom Craze they played well in a big game.  “That was one of our goals at the beginning of the season to win a conference championship.  (Tuesday) night we came out and really played well from pitching to hitting.  The kids were really focused and had a good mindset and got things done.  Anytime you win a conference championship it is special because it is hard to do.  It was a big moment for our kids and  I’m and really proud of how they played,” he said.

          Tournament play beings on Thursday for the Freddies (21-6), #5 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coach’s poll in the small school division, and Craze understands they must be at the top of their game.  “You have to have all facets of the game.  You have to be able to hit.  You have to be able to play solid defense and you have to have great pitching.  You have to sprinkle in a little bit of luck too.  You have to have all three phases of the game.  We talk about that everyday, getting solid play in the field.  Timely hitting I think is critical in baseball.  It really doesn’t matter if you have 10 hits or eight hits as long as they are timely hits.  Now, to be successful in the postseason you really have to have all three of those going for you,” said Craze.

          Milford Center Fairbanks, who beat Cardington (12-8) on Tuesday, will be the Freddies first opponent in the division three tournament on Thursday, in a game that will be played at Fredericktown.  Craze says this team that is aggressive and will try to play small ball against them.  “They are a solid baseball team.  We know that they are going to come out and put the ball in play.  Once we knew where things were in the tournament draw we immediately started gathering information.  We did get someone to see them play.  It is a baseball team that is going to come here Thursday and play hard.  We are going to have to be ready for small ball,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday night, “They are going to bunt a lot.  They will try to manufacturer runs anyway they can, so we really are going to have to on our toes defensively.  They have some decent pitching and pitching that we are used to seeing in our conference.  I think it is a good, solid baseball team and if we come out and play well and fortunate things happen hopefully we will have a chance to move on.”

          Fredericktown advanced to the division three state semi-finals last year before losing to Wheelersburg.  Many of this year’s key figures had significant roles last year and Craze hopes that experience is a plus.  “I think it is huge and that is not experience that every team gets, getting all of those extra practices in and the extra games carries over into this year.  The players that we have have been there and they know what it takes.  We were thinking about this (Tuesday) the sectional final we played last year winning 3-2 and getting a couple of timely hits, so they know what it is all about.  That experience is going to pay dividends we hope,” he said.

 

 
   

Fredericktown Looking Good

 

          Fredericktown continues to show the way in the race for the baseball title in the Mid-Buckeye Conference and they plan to keep it that way.

          Despite qualifying for the state tournament in division three last season, the Freddies didn’t win the “MBC,” Utica did.

          With rain on Wednesday, the Freddies got a chance to practice and coach Tom Craze says their focus has been good despite the poor weather over the first month of the season.  “We had a good practice (Wednesday) and we tried to keep the kids mentally focused.  They are used to a rhythm.  Baseball in Ohio can be tough sometimes because of the weather.  Keeping that focus and concentration is very important.  The next two weeks is crunch time because we are trying to squeeze games in and get the conference games in and get ready for the second season.  The mental focus out of our players has to be really, really good,” he said.

          Fredericktown (13-3,6-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com baseball poll in the small school division, plays at Johnstown Monroe on Thursday and hosts Utica Friday in conference games.

          They have a number of players back from last year’s state tournament run, but Craze says this is a different year.  “It does have some similarities to last year a little bit, but we are looking at this year and the group of kids that we have.  The things that we did last year were special.  The kids have very high expectations and have been competing hard in the “MBC.”  They just want to continue things that they have been doing from last year and carrying right over to this year.  To be honest they are doing that.  They are working hard and they are wanting to get better and their attitude has been just great,” said Craze.

          Craze says they really only have two goals this year and the one that is at hand is to win the conference title.  It would be their second in three years.  “Last year we fell short to a very, very good Utica ball club.  After the season that was one of the very, very big disappointments from the kids was the fact that we did not win the league title.  Our goals are really simple and one of them is to win a league championship and the other one is to advance to deep into the tournament.  The kid’s minds are set that we still have some unfinished business in the league.  There is still a little over two weeks left in our season, so every league game is critical.  The “MBC” is just tough.  You never know what you are going to get.  It’s a balanced league this year and everybody is scratching and clawing for wins,” said Craze.

          Unlike fall and winter sports, in the spring the postseason tournament really isn’t post season.  That means you have to have pitching depth and Craze believes they have it.  “Our pitching right now is outstanding.  I couldn’t be more happy about the performance we are getting from top to bottom.  Sometimes I scratch my head because I wonder who might be our number one.  We have four or five guys that can pitch on any given night,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “I am very fortunate to have talent on the mound and good kids that go out and compete hard.  It is nice because you don’t have to rely on one guy like we did last year for big games.  We can kind of spread the wealth in a sense and save some arms, so they are fresh when they take the mound.  This year we have given them maybe and extra day of rest in between starts.”

 

 
   

Fredericktown Blitzes Northmor

 

          When Fredericktown is good they can be really, really good and that was the case on Thursday night when they bludgeoned The Northmor Golden Knights in a non-conference game.

          The Freddies (11-3), #2 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coach’s poll in the small school division, scored early and often as they hammered Northmor (13-0) on the road.

          Coach Tom Craze thought it was one of their better performances of the season.  “We really put it all together (Thursday) night against a good Northmor team.  We got incredible pitching (Thursday) from Derek Thompson.  He was fantastic on the mound.  He also hit the ball for us as well.  One through nine in the lineup (Thursday) did an outstanding job.  I really couldn’t be more proud of these kids.  Just a really good non-conference win against a good opponent,” said Craze.

          Matt Smith, headed to Coastal Carolina, is one of the best hitters in this part of the state of Ohio.  However, Craze says this year they have gotten production throughout the lineup.  “He walked three times against Northmor.  He gave guys opportunities in front of him and behind him to put the ball in play.  We did that and that caused some problems for Northmor.  We just did a great job of hitting and protecting Matt.  Matt Smith is a special player when he gets a chance to swing the bat,” he said.

          Fredericktown has played well this year, but in some cases they have not been at their best, such as a loss to Clear Fork (15-5) and a doubleheader sweep by Highland.  Craze says it is perplexing.  “The nucleus is back from last year.  It’s hard to figure out this team in a sense.  Some days they are high and some days they are low.  We are still just trying to get that level of consistency mentally at times.  Sometimes we get a little lackadaisical and sometimes we are razor sharp,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We are still working on that everyday with these young men.  I think this week it has been really good.  The mental part of the game has been really good for the kids.  I hope we are at that point where we are really digging in on baseball and mentally we are right where we need to be.”

          Fredericktown, the Mid-Buckeye Conference leader, meets Danville (7-4,2-2) in a conference game, weather permitting, and Craze says even with win you have to move on.   “Baseball is unique where you really have to forget about what happened and move on.  We talked to our kids (Thursday) afterwards.  We have to pass on the Northmor win, it was a great win, but we have to focus on (Friday) night.  Mentally you have to be able to turn the page and focus on the next game and task.  We try to do that with our kids right away.  It may be a great win and sometimes it may be a loss.  You have to get your kids right back to playing.  Some weeks you may have four or even five games.  You really have to stay consistent,” said Craze.

 

 
   

Fredericktown Starts Well

 

          It was a good start to the Mid-Buckeye Conference season for the Fredericktown Freddies this week.  Two wins have pointed them towards a possible conference title, something they have listed as part of their goals.

          They beat Centerburg (16-6) on Monday and followed that up with a (11-1) win over Utica on Tuesday.  Coach Tom Craze says they played some outstanding baseball.  “We were coming off a rough weekend against Highland.  We started our league play on Monday and were able to jump on Centerburg.  The next day we had to play the defending league champions in Utica and won that game 11-1, so our kids were outstanding.  The kids were outstanding.  We kind of got some focus back after the doubleheader with Highland on Saturday.  Monday and Tuesday they just played outstanding,” said Craze.

          In four of their games this season Fredericktown (5-3,2-0) has scored more than 10 runs.  Craze says senior Matt Smith has led the charge.  “Leading our hitting right now is Matt Smith.  He is almost hitting .700 right now.  He is just having an incredible year so far.  This week we have had one through nine really hit the baseball.  Against Centerburg we had 14 hits and against Utica we had 16 hits.  We are putting the ball in play.  We have gotten timely hitting.  We have gotten outstanding pitching as well.  To start the conference 2-0, I couldn’t be more happy,” said Craze.

          Smith is a three time All-Ohio player and Craze is certain he will be a fine player at the next level.  “Matt is going to Western Carolina to play and the Southern Conference is very, very good.  He is going to be a fine division one baseball player.  I am excited to see him play at the next level,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “He works so hard at baseball and I think the thing that sets Matt apart is this is a kid that truly loves the game and he will do anything to get better everyday.  He is an outstanding young man.  He is gifted and has a lot of talent.”

          Fredericktown in scheduled to play their third “MBC” game of the week on Friday at Loudonville, weather permitting.  Craze says they should be fresh.  “We are fortunate to have a couple of days here when we had some rest.  We had some bumps and bruises that we had to take care of.  Now we have a schedule where we go Friday to Loudonville for an “MBC” game.  It’s going to be to be hard, going to be difficult.  Saturday we have a doubleheader with Cardington.  Then next week we play everyday of the week.  We are going to have a stretch here when there won’t be much time for practice, not much time for rest.  Our focus is going to have to be really, really good here,” he said.

 

 
   

Fredericktown Belts Warriors

 

          In a game between two of the area baseball powers it was all Fredericktown on Thursday afternoon.

          The Freddies (3-1) belted Ontario (11-1) in a non-conference match-up between two schools expected to make a long run come tournament time.  Fredericktown won 23 games and advanced to the state semis last year.  Ontario finished 25-1 was AP division three poll champion. Both return quite a bit of talent from last year.

          Fredericktown coach Tom Craze says it was a great win for them.  “It was a really good, quality win against a very good opponent in Ontario.  Dan does a great job with those kids up there.  Fortunately for us we had great pitching from Nash Cunningham and put the ball in play and executed defensively as well,” he said.

          Craze says Ontario (2-1) is really a very fundamental team and you have to execute all of the plays against them in order to be successful.  “Offensively and defensively (Thursday) we were really solid.  When you are playing Ontario and as well coached as they are, and as hard nosed as those kids are, you have to come out and be ready every inning and (Thursday) was no exception,” he told Swankonsports.com after the win, “We put the ball in play and made the routine plays in the field and got outstanding pitching.  (Thursday) we got all three.”

          Fredericktown was able to reduce their strikeouts on Thursday and Craze believes putting pressure on the other team’s defense is really a big part of high school baseball.  “We talk about putting the pressure back on the defense when we are at the plate.  We want to be aggressive and make solid contact.  With quality at bats sometimes it goes misunderstood a quality at bat could be moving runners up or getting a walk it is not always getting a single or a base hit.  If we are moving runners we are taking advantage of opportunities at the plate puts the pressure back on the defense.  That is a real key for our kids,” said Craze.

          With the players returning, Fredericktown has beefed up its schedule including a game with Ohio Cardinal Conference power Mansfield Madison on Friday.  “Our schedule is not easy.  It’s very difficult.  Friday night we go to Mansfield Madison.  Coach Rickert ahs those guys playing hard.  Saturday we have a doubleheader with Highland.  Then we jump right in to “MBC” play on Monday and Tuesday.  A win could go a long way for our kids psyche.  We have to buckle down and go back to work on Friday,” he said.    

 

 
   

Expectations High For Fredericktown

 

          Last season, Fredericktown’s baseball season wasn’t over until early June when they lost to Wheelersburg in the division three state semi finals.

          The Freddies also won an outright Mid-buckeye Conference title.

          The scary thing is they have almost everybody back this spring.

          Coach Tom Craze says they have most of their pitchers back and basically their entire staring line up from a team that finished 23-5 last year.  “We have the core group of our players back.  We lost just a couple of kids from last year’s team.  Our core starting pitchers are back.  Our entire infield is back and basically our entire outfield is back.  We are really excited about the up coming season.  The kids are working hard and really, really focusing this year.  We are really excited about 2013,” he said.

          Considering the results of last year, Craze knows everyone will be gunning for them this year.  Plus, he says their schedule will be more difficult than it was last year.  “We really beefed up our non-conference schedule with the likes of Lexington, Ontario, and Madison.  When you get into the “MBC” it’s going to be a very, very competitive league this year as it always is.  There is a definite bull’s eye on our back,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We have to make sure each day we go out we are ready to play.  The core fundamentals of what we are doing haven’t changed.  We still have to have great pitching and solid defense and timely hitting.  The expectation is very high.  Hopefully, our kids we rise to the occasion this year.”

          Craze expects that they will be able to hit the ball this year, but right now that isn’t happening.  He says that is the focus of their practice right now.  “I love the way our kids are working defensively right now.  Our pitchers are really, really working hard.  I am concerned about our hitting.  Late in the year last year we struggled at the plate.  Throughout the tournament we struggled a little bit.  Hitting is going to be the key.  That is our focus here in the spring is really working hard on our hitting.  We have really drilled it with the kids.  That is probably my big concern is what we are doing at the plate and our approach,” said Craze.

 

 
   

Fredericktown a Little More Healthy For Ready

 

          Fredericktown, the Mid-Buckeye Conference champion, faces Columbus Bishop Ready in a division three district semi-final at Delaware Hayes High School on Tuesday night.

          In their last district game last week Fredericktown hung on to beat Amanda Clearcreek (40-33) to advance.  Coach Mark Delaney says it was defense and free throws that made the difference.  “We did a nice job of making some free throws at the end and when it comes tournament time you have to be able to play at all different kids of pace.  You have to be able to adjust to the different kinds of calls being made by the officials.  It was a different kind of environment for us.  We held Amanda Clearcreek to just one point in the fourth quarter, so a good defensive effort by our team,” said Delaney.

          The Freddies (21-3) have been hampered by injuries over the last couple of weeks, but Delaney says things are getting a least a little bit better, which will help on Tuesday night.  “We are getting better.  Austin Hathaway the last game did not play all of the fourth quarter.  We still have Chase (Jackson), Nash (Cunningham) and Matt Smith out.  Austin practiced (Sunday) and looked good.  We might be able to get Chase in for a couple of minutes on Tuesday.  We get a little bit deeper, but Nash Cunningham and Matt Smith are still going to out.  I talked to the kids (Sunday) about the scouting report.  I think they feel comfortable about what is ahead of us (Tuesday),” said Delaney.

          Ready (12-10) is the sixth seed in the central district and Delaney says they like to change defenses on a consistent basis and they will have to be able to react to that.  “They do a lot of different things on the defensive end.  Their coach believes in doing a lot of different things.  They might go 1-2-2 three quarter court.  They will do 2-3 and trap as you come across center court.  They will run and jump.  They do 2-3, 1-2-2 in the half court.  It is important for our point guard and our four man that is taking the ball out of bounds to recognize the defense and to make sure we are always getting guys in the middle,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday. “I would not be surprised if they went box and one or triangle in two, but we have seen that before.  I feel that if we can limit our turnovers, keep them off the glass, and make sure we get back on transition I think we have a good shot at winning the ballgame.”

          With Silver Knights being a new opponent for Fredericktown, Delaney says it is going to be a mental challenge as well as a physical one for them.  “You have to make sure that you can be zoned in.  I think it is important for us coaches to test them as far as the scouting report goes so they know what the heck is going on.  It gets loud in there.  Things are going to happen that might rattle you.  They have to be calm in the eye of the storm.  You have to make sure that you know what’s going on and be calm.  The good thing about the “MBC” is with the teams we play we have been in this position before.  We have to do a good job of being calm and relaxed and just go out there and execute,” said Delaney. 

 

 
   

Fredericktown Getting Tournament Ready

 

          Fredericktown finished the regular season as Mid-Buckeye Conference champs and now the Freddies are preparing for their tournament opener on Saturday.

          They host Northmor (7-14) in a division three tournament game in the central district.  The first two rounds of tournament play in the central district the team with the higher seed gets to host the game.

          Coach Mark Delaney says they are trying to work through some adversity right now.  “We are trying to get better.  Right now, we are battling some injuries.  We might be down a couple of kids.  We are trying to change some things a little bit.  We aren’t using that as an excuse or anything.  We are going to go out and use our home court advantage and get ready for a tough ballgame Saturday night,” said Delaney.

          Success in the regular season doesn’t get you a lot when the tournament starts.  Delaney says they have to be ready to execute under pressure.  “We talked yesterday about understanding it’s 0-0 and once you lose you are done.  Everyone knows that, but just being able to think about that.  As good a season as we have had they definitely don’t want those regrets to not be able to get to where we feel we can get,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We want to make sure we respect our opponent and play each possession like it is our last because lots of times in a tournament basketball game it comes down to one or two possessions.  You have to make sure you finish, make free throws, limit your turnovers and rebounding is another big key in the tournament.”

          It was a disappointing regular season for the Golden Knights, but Delaney says they have the offensive firepower to be able to keep themselves in games.  “They play a style and a tempo that is dangerous if you catch them on the wrong night.  They get a lot of possessions and get a lot of shots up.  They are great out in transition.  None of their guys have any fear at all of letting it fly.  That is scary from a defensive transition standpoint.  You have to make sure you talk and get out on shooters.  Just making sure they are playing our pace.  Even though we want to get up and down they are going to sit down in the half court.  We have to grind it out and make sure that we get great shots,” said Delaney.

          Tournament basketball tends to be more possession by possession and Delaney says need to have good shot selection.  “The cliché is hey, coach I an open can I shoot it?  We always say there is a reason why you are open.  There is a lot more game management in tournaments trying to take things away.  I think coaches really hammer away come tournament time and do things a little bit differently.  We just have to make sure we are getting shots we can’t miss, not necessarily that we can make.  I think that it is important that you are affective in the half court offense.  We had a scrimmage (Tuesday) and I told the guys no run outs because we need to work on our half court offense.  Just like (Tuesday) night you watch the IU-Michigan State game and it comes down to execution in the half court.  You don’t get too many run outs or offensive rebounds so you have to make sure you execute in the half court,” said Delaney.       

 

 
   

Freddies Want to Continue Moving Forward

 

          Fredericktown has already claimed an outright Mid-Buckeye Conference title, but the Freddies have bigger plans for this season.

          They blasted Cardington (83-43) in a non-conference game on Tuesday night.  Coach Mark Delaney says they were very efficient at both ends of the floor.  “We played pretty well.  I thought our points per possession was about 1.3, so you can’t be to upset about that.  Defensively, I thought we defended pretty well.  We had a lot of possession scoring 83 points.  I was pretty pleased with it and we are excited to send the seniors off the right way for their last home game (Friday) night with East Knox,” he said.

          With 17 wins already it is obvious that they Freddies are a very good team and one Delaney says is getting better as the season has unfolded.  He says they are finding other scorers to go along with Ryan Logan, who averages 22 PPG.  “Knock on wood I think we are.  Everything just starts with Ryan (Logan).  He has just put some really good games together all around with rebounds and steals and assists and blocks,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We have had Michael Miller, Austin Hathaway, Nash Cunningham just really step up and have some big scoring nights.  That is what we have been looking for all year to find that second and third option, trying to get 10 or more points.  We have had some guys step up and do that and it makes us harder to guard.”

          Fredericktown (17-4,12-1) plays host to East Knox (6-15,3-10) in a “MBC” game on Friday night.  The Freddies won the first meeting in Howard (66-52), but Delaney says they could have played better.  “The two Susi kids and pretty good basketball players and they have  a quick point guards as well.  We didn’t play particularly well at their place the first time that we played them.  The kids realize that and with it being senior night they are definitely ready to go.  Hopefully, we can constantly get better and keep this thing going.  Hopefully we can have a second home game in the tournament,” said Delaney.

          The key on Friday night, according to the Freddies coach, is to continue to get better as the tournament approaches.  “The slippage aspect in any sport is a huge impact on a team.  I feel confident that we haven’t had much slippage.  For the most part we have been pretty healthy.  Just trying avoid that, just trying to get better.  Trying to keep the guys focused and playing unselfish and be humbled and have that drive to continue to succeed and get better is extremely important as you get into the playoffs,” he said.

 

 
   

No Sharing For Fredericktown

 

          It’s time to achieve a goal for the Fredericktown Freddies.  With a win at Danville on Friday night the Freddies lay claim an outright Mid-Buckeye Conference title.

          Coach Mark Delaney says it’s a rare opportunity and one they want to take advantage of.  “We have an opportunity (Friday) night when we go to Danville, which is a tough place to play to get the outright “MBC” championship, which would be the sixth time for the Fredericktown district,” he said.

          Fredericktown (16-4,11-1) earned a share of the title with a win over Johnstown-Monroe (55-32) on Tuesday night. Delaney says they played some pretty defense and then there is Ryan Logan.  “I thought we did a good job of guarding a couple of their guards and Ryan had a terrific game, almost had a triple double again, with five blocks on top of that.  It was a good team effort.  A couple of other guys stepped up and shot the ball well.  I just like the way we are going right now,” he said.

          The Freddies have won four of their last five and Delaney feels they may not be at their best yet, but they are playing pretty well.  “You always want to be playing your best basketball at the end of year.  Everyone tries to prepare and strive for that.  I am just excited for (Friday) night to be able to play and hopefully we can bring that home and cut down the nets next week,” said Delaney.

          Danville (15-3,8-3) is in second place in the “MBC” and they feature their football quarterback Bryce Staats at point guard.  Delaney says he is pretty good basketball player too.  “Bryce Staats is a really good point guard.  He is a strong physical player.  They also have a post player Payne.  He is hard to handle.  He has a wide body, good feet, he finishes well around the rim.  They have another guard with the last name of Hazen.  He defends really well and he has guarded Ryan since he was little, so he knows Ryan really well,” said Delaney.

          The Fredericktown coach says Danville, a neighboring district, is never an easy place to play.  “The atmosphere there, that’s what always gets you.  Hopefully we can come out and be poised and knock down shots early, try to get a good lead and stretch it from there,” he said.   

 

 
   

Fredericktown Must Bounce Back

 

          Turns out Fredericktown will not go unbeaten in the Mid-Buckeye Conference as some people were beginning to believe.

          They lost in overtime last Friday to Centerburg (37-32) for their first conference loss of the campaign.  Coach Mark Delaney says the Trojans kind of took the air out of the ball and they also got into foul trouble.  “Centerburg came out and did a nice of running their offense and taking some time off the clock and really trying to minimize the possessions in the game.  Ryan Logan and Michael Miller picked up two quick fouls, so they had to sit the entire second quarter.  We are already a guy down. Chase Jackson is out for the next couple of weeks with a fracture in his leg,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “That shrunk our bench a little bit so we had some guys that had to play some more minutes than what they are usually asked to do. We tried to battle.  We didn’t shoot very well, but we clawed back and took them to overtime.”

          The Freddies lead over Danville is now down to one game.

          Fredericktown (12-3,7-1) is at home for Utica (6-7.5-3) in a conference game on Tuesday night.  The Freddies won (45-29) at Utica on December 11 with a great defensive effort.  Delaney says this time the Redskins will have a different look with the addition of some players.  “They have been playing some JV kids, two freshman, so they are a lot longer and more athletic this time around.  I know that Brock and Luke Holmes are going to come out and try to redeem themselves from the last time that we played them when we held them under 10 points combined.  It’s going to be a battle, but I know our guys are still upset and want to go out and prove everybody wrong in the “MBC”  and that we still belong on top,” said Delaney.

          Any breathing room for the Freddies has now been lost and Delaney says they have to have their noses to the grindstone again.  “Danville is playing really well right now, so we have to go through everyone again in the “MBC” and we are just taking it one game at a time.  We can’t have any slippage at all.  We lost that cushion.  The guys know that and it makes us focused even more,” he said. 

 

 
   

Fredericktown to Face Challenge

 

          Fredericktown remains unbeaten in the Mid-Buckeye Conference and the Freddies face a tough non-conference game against Marion Pleasant on Tuesday night.

          Last Friday, they beat East Knox (66-52) in a conference game.  Coach Mark Delaney says they were able to put the game away in the fourth quarter.  “East Knox is tough place to play.  They are a lot better than what they were last year.  They have a new coach from the girls’ side and he has done a good job with them.  They definitely have some nice players.  They came out and battled.  Our guys shot well.  East Knox was shooting well at the same time.  We knew we were going to get their best shooting.  They kept it a ball game pretty much.  We kind of pulled it out in the fourth quarter,” said Delaney.

          Right now, Fredericktown holds a two game lead in the conference over Danville and Johnstown-Monroe.  Delaney says their goals are still within reach.  “We have been stressing one game, one day at a time with these guys.  The Danville game was really a big, big win for us last Tuesday to kind of give us that cushion.  They are very adamant about trying to be perfect, just leaving the “MBC” being one of the last teams to win the title there,” he said.

          Fredericktown (11-2) plays host to Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference blue division leader Marion Pleasant (9-2) on Tuesday night.  Delaney says this is an important game for them.  “They are very good.  They are in our central district in our division.  This potentially is a team we could see at tournament time.  Also coach Freshour he is a guy that is going to be voting for our guys.  There are just a lot of things on the line of Tuesday night.  We have comparable records,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday, “They play in that big league, the “MOAC.”  Their schedule is really, really tough playing Bishop Ready, Worthington Christian, Buckeye Valley, and River Valley, the bigger schools.  They are a football school.  They have long athletes and strong athletes.  It will be a test on Tuesday night.  Thankfully we have it at home.  Hopefully, our guys feel a little more comfortable at home.”

          Pleasant is a physical team that crashes the boards and Delaney says they have to be able to compete there and take them out of what they want to do on offense.  “They have a lot of guys that are going to try and score.  We have to make sure we get back in transition.  We have to talk and try to get out on shooters and contest shots.  They come down offensively and run a lot of sets.  We have to make sure we can contain that.  We are going to try and push them out and run their offense a little higher up.  Usually when you play a team that runs a lot of sets if you can deny that next pass and make them do something else.  They are just so well disciplined and so strong.  Definitely rebounding is going to be a big concern.  They have a big 6’6” kids that weighs about 230 pounds and a couple of athletes that can really get near the rim and get rebounds.  We have to make sure we are disciplined with our guards as well and put a body on someone,” said Delaney.   

 

 
   

 

Fredericktown Faces Big League Game

 

          Fredericktown holds a one game lead on Danville in the Mid-Buckeye Conference boys’ basketball standings and they host the Blue Devils in a key first round game on Tuesday night.

          The Freddies (9-2,5-0) were able to rally from a defeat at the hands of Clear Fork last week to beat Johnstown-Monroe (57-37) in a conference game last Friday.  Coach Mark Delaney says his players were ready to make amends.  “Wednesday night was a tough loss against Clear Fork.  They played extremely well and hard here against us.  The kids were upset, but they went right back to work.  They knew a league game was coming up at Johnstown, always a tough place to play.  They responded really well.  The first half was pretty even, but they came out the second half with a lot more energy and created some more turnovers and started to pull away that second half,” said Delaney.

          Ryan Logan is the Freddies leading scorer, he had 33 against Clear Fork, but only 16 against Johnstown, well below his season average.  Delaney says that can be a good thing.  “He also had 18 rebounds and nine assists.  Nash Cunningham had 11 and Austin Hathaway had 13.  We are starting to get more contributions from those other guys.  It’s going to be needed to take the pressure off of Ryan.  We have to make sure that we are going to step up and make those shots,” he said.

          Danville (8-1,4-1) trails Fredericktown by just a game in the conference standings.  Delaney says the Blue Devils won’t be afraid to pound on them, he says they like the contact.  “Danville is a very physically strong team.  They had a football team that really made it far in the tournament.  They are really tough kids.  They have thick bodies.  We might see a little 2-3 or 1-3-1, but I think they are just going to try and get up and man us and press us a little bit,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “They do have a length advantage on us, so we have to make sure we rebound the basketball and try and match their physical play as well.  They are going to come right at us.  This is a really big night and I am just thankful we have it at home the first time around.”

          Delaney knows a win could put some distance between them and the rest of the league.  “There will be a lot of pressure, especially if we lose this game (Tuesday) night.  We are confident in our game plan and what we are trying to do.  A lot of these kids have grown up with them their whole life.  They know their strengths and weaknesses, which can be good and bad.  It’s going to be a great atmosphere,” said Delaney.    

 

 
   

Fredericktown Thinking Defense

 

          Fredericktown has won them all so far and the Freddies are continuing to build as they approach another conference test on Friday.

          The Freddies (5-0,3-0) beat Loudonville (58-31) last Friday to move their Mid-Buckeye Conference record to 3-0 and into sole possession of first place in the conference, a game ahead of Centerburg, Danville, East Knox and Johnstown-Monroe, all 2-1.  Coach Mark Delaney says their defense has been really good.  “No mater what’s happened on the floor they have continued to play hard and try to get stops on the defensive end.  That is one thing that we continue to preach that is one thing that you can continue to control is the effort on the defensive end,” he said.

          On offense, Delaney has seen some improvement too, especially when it comes to decisions with the ball.  “Outside of Ryan (Logan) we just try to give these kids a lot of confidence when they shoot the basketball.  We know that Ryan is going to be able to get to the hole and get in some gaps.  He is going to be able to find shooters because he has such great vision.  It starts on the defensive end and getting out on transition.  Their decision making is getting better, which is nice.  Our rebounding is getting better just from our off guards.  That kind of relieves Ryan a little bit, he doesn’t have to get every rebound every time down,” said Delaney.

          Fredericktown hosts Johnstown Northridge (2-4,0-3) for a “MBC” game on Friday night.  Delaney says the Vikings are more than willing to run with them.  “They are coming in with a new coach, who is bringing a lot of energy.  They are playing about ten guys.  They are going to get up and jam the rebounder and press pretty much the whole game and try and trap.  We are excited for us to see that because we feel we want to get out and run.  Hopefully, we can break the press and get some easy baskets out of it,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We have to make sure we set down and find shooters quick because they will push the ball up extremely fast.  They are not going to take too long to shoot a shot.  Those types of teams are dangerous if you catch them on the wrong night they are going to be able to fill up some points.  We just have to make sure our transition defense is there and we are just one possession and out.”

          An up tempo game means there can be easy opportunities to score, but Delaney says they must make sure that Northridge doesn’t have those same chances.  “We really have emphasized shooting over the top of you.  Just keep them in front and make them shoot over the top of you and make them earn everything.  Don’t bail them out when they drive in there, make them finish.  Make sure we are shooting more free throws than they are.  We are excited it’s going to be a change in pace from what we have had over the last five games,” he said.

          On Saturday, Fredericktown plays Norwayne, out of the Wayne County Athletic League, in the WQKT Steve Smith Classic at the College of Wooster.  Delaney thinks that will be their biggest test of the season.  “They are breeding success over there.  They have won before in different sports.  They just expect to win.  Playing a game against Northridge on Friday night and then getting up early that next morning and playing at 3:30 in the afternoon is really going to challenge our men.  That’s going to be the key on Saturday, that hour and 15 minute drive over to Wooster.  I really want to see what are kids are made of when they are little more fatigued and playing on a big floor.  It will be a great atmosphere and we are going to find out really who we are this weekend,” said Delaney.

 

 
   

Fredericktown Ready for Another Challenge

 

          Fredericktown was expected to be good and so far they have been.

          The Freddies (3-0,1-0), #4 in the just released Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll, are coming off a win over Centerburg (41-31) in their first Mid-Buckeye Conference game on Friday night.  Coach Mark Delaney says it was an emotional night with senior Ryan Logan scoring his 1,000th point for the Freddies.  “It was nice to open up the conference at home.  We had a nice crowd.  Ryan (Logan) was only five points a way from getting his 1,000th point.  That brought a lot of people in.  A lot of the guys were hyped up for that.  Being able to do that was a great accomplishment for him,” he said.

          With that kind of emotion and crowd Delaney says they knew they had to be focused for the entire game and they were.  “That was one thing that we really talked about.  With the Highland game being the tale of two halves.  The first half we really got emotionally high.  We needed to do a better job of keeping an even keel.  We were able to put four pretty solid quarters together defensively.  We were able to hold Scoles to 11 points and he was averaging nearly 25.  We did a nice job with him,” said Delaney.

          Off to a nice start to year, Delaney says there are still things they can improve on.  He says they have to have more of killer instinct and they have to being able to get out and cover shooters.  “I think our help and recover need to get a little better.  Offensively I think we can be a little bit more efficient in the shots that we take in trying to extend that lead larger that what it is instead of thinking we may be up a little and we can just jack up a shot and really just trying to extend that lead,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “Being more patient and disciplined on offense.  Defensively, just that help and recover.  That close out is something I think everybody just struggles with.  The hardest thing to defend in the game is that close out.  We are just trying to hammer that down and make people shoot over the top of you.”

          The Freddies visit Utica (0-2,0-1) for an “MBC” game on Tuesday night.  Delaney’s uncle Mike Delaney was the head coach at Utica just a couple of years ago and Mark says that certainly hasn’t hurt in their preparation.  “They have two guys that can really get it going.  They have two all-league players in Holmes and Stradley.  They can do multiple things.  They can shoot it, they can put the ball on the floor, they can defend.  They are just really well coached.  I think Radabaugh does a nice job.  Fortunately my uncle knows a lot about Utica.  He had all of those kids and their personnel.  It’s really helped in preparing for the game,” said Delaney.  

 

 
   

Fredericktown Off to Good Start

 

          All-Ohioan Ryan Logan scored 27 points as Fredericktown blasted Highland in the first game of the season last Friday.

          With Logan and some other returners the Freddies are billed as one of the contenders for the Mid-Buckeye Conference title this winter.

          Coach Mark Delaney was happy with what he saw on both ends of the court in their victory (65-43) over Highland.  “You just never know what you are going to get with that first game, let alone playing at Highland.  Mike Hoying does such a great job with his kids.  I’m really happy with the effort both defensively and offensively.  We got off to a good start that first half.  Things didn’t go our way a little bit that second half.  We just lost that second half by four points,” he said.

          Fredericktown took a commanding lead early in the game and Delaney says they were able to do many of things they had been working on in the preseason.  “We were able to spread them out a little bit.  Ryan got hot early.  We just feed off him.  I think he had four threes in the first half.  We were able to get some stops and steals in transition.  I think that is really our strength,” he told Swankonsports.com, “When you have somebody like Ryan who 6’7” who is able to handle the point and distribute like he does.  We have some athletic guards that can get out and run.  We are able to play really hard the whole game and it’s hard to sustain that kind of effort.”

          Logan, a senior, is all ready a two time All-Ohio player and Delaney says he is player that has the skills to play anywhere on the floor.  “We are able to put him in some different positions so he can be successful depending on how teams are defending him and who is defending him.  He is comfortable playing that point-center position.  The scary thing about Ryan is he still has a lot of improvement he can make.  I think he understands there are a lot of things he can do to be better.  If continues to improve it make everyone around him better,” said Delaney.

          As good as Logan is Delaney says they can not stand around and watch him do things with the ball.  Instead, they have to get in position to receive a pass.  “We have a tendency to do that.  That has been kind of an emphasis this year let’s just not stand and watch him and make sure we are doing stuff on the backside because when he touches the ball all five defenders look to him, so it’s an opportunity to go back door.  When we can do that we are that much better,” he said.

          Fredericktown meets Marion Elgin in non-conference play on Tuesday night.  Delaney says they have to continue to get better as a team.  “I think we need to stay even keel.  I think our emotions got to us Friday night.  We got that great run in the first half.  I just want to keep my team where they are not getting too high emotionally or getting too low.  I wasn’t too pleased with our rebounding.  I thought we could get a little more rebounding on the offensive end.  Sometimes we didn’t finish that well.  We had second and third shot opportunities that we didn’t put back,” said Delaney.     

 

 
   

Fredericktown Excited For Season

 

 

          Fredericktown has one of the better players in the area this season in Ryan Logan and they are hoping this can be a boys’ basketball season to remember for the Freddies.

          Second year coach Mark Delaney says right now things look pretty good for the Freddies as the season approaches in about two weeks.  “If we can continue to stay healthy.  We had a really good fall.  We had six varsity guys in the fall to be able to do some individual skill work.  We have been able to be healthy, which is something we haven’t had in a while coming off of football.  I am very happy with the effort we have seen so far,” he said.

          Delaney believes that he has the kind of team this year that can score and defend no matter what the tempo of the game.  “You have to be able to play up tempo and at the same time execute in the half court.  You have to be able to pick up in the full court and still play solid half court defense.  That way you are able to adapt no matter what the opponent throws at you.  You can do multiple things and change your offense and you are a little bit harder to guard that way,” said Delaney.

          6’6” Ryan Logan skipped football season to concentrate on basketball.  He has all of the skills that a player needs, and according to Delaney, a good head on his shoulders.  “His basketball I.Q. is far and beyond the average high school basketball player.  He just committed to a premier division two program in Boston, Stonehill.  We are really excited for him with that opportunity,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Ryan is one of those guys that every night I come home and make sure I am ready with practice and games.  Most likely you are never going to have a player like this again.  From a staff standpoint we have to make sure we are doing everything we can to take advantage of his skills.”

          Not only do the Freddies have Logan, but some other talented players and Delaney hopes to contend in the Mid-Buckeye Conference.  “Along with Ryan we have four other seniors.  They know being able to play with a guy like that just makes everyone else better and they want to be a part of that along with a couple of our sophomores and a freshmen.  We have a good mixture of kids and we are just excited to get the season going,” said Delaney.   

 

 
   

Fredericktown Still Trying to Grow

 

          Fredericktown began the season with a very young football team, but they have continued to mature as the season as gone on and their coach believes they are ready to take the next step.

          Last week the Freddies evened their record for the season (4-4,2-3) with a win (37-27) over Utica in Mid-Buckeye Conference play.  Coach Brian Baum says they got enough done on both sides of the ball to get a win.  “We were able to get the win at Utica.  It was a nice battle.  Utica came out prepared to play and score on offense.  We were able to match their scores and get a couple of stops in the first half that got the win for us.  They were able to score in the second half there,” he said.

          They host Centerburg (4-4,2-3), a team with the same overall and conference record, in a “MBC” game on Friday night.  Baum says the Trojans are a team that will try and utilize their speed even with their undersized offensive line.  “Centerburg has some nice athletes.  The quarterback, the coach’s son, does well with the offense.  They have a nice sized running back that runs hard.  They are a little smaller up front.  In their attack they utilize the smaller, quicker lineman.  I look for them to try and run the ball on us and then go to the short passing game if they aren’t successful with that,” said Baum.

          A quick passing game has been successful at times for the Trojans this year.  Baum says they need to be aggressive and get in the face of those receivers.  “Sometimes just get your men up there right on top of them forcing them to get deeper routes.  It’s just like a run.  Their mindset is those are their run plays, their short passing game.  You have to get guys in their zone drop there or just go man and press them on the line of scrimmage,” he said.

          Fredericktown has made some mistakes that a young football team will make this year, but Baum believes they have learned from those and thinks the Freddies are ready to take the next step.  “We have seen a lot of progression out of our young players this year.  Going back to week one we were able to get that win.  We have progressed the last eight weeks to where those young guys are stepping up and making plays continuously for us.  We are cutting out the same mistakes.  We are getting better with penalties.  Those are mistakes that young guys make,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “When you get rid of those that’s when you take the next step and become a championship football team.  Just executing everything every time and cutting out those mistakes.  We have made it up one step now we are ready to become a good football team.”   

 

 
   

Fredericktown Still Working

 

          Fredericktown plays a number of younger kids, but they are not thinking about next year, they, instead, are thinking about finishing the season strong and that begins with a win this week over Utica.

          Last Friday, East Knox scored with no time left to beat the Freddies (28-26) in Mid-Buckeye Conference action.  Coach Brain Baum says it’s kind of a play that is hard to describe.  “That is the hardest loss we have had to deal with here in quite some time.  With one second left on the clock you have the lead, you have your defense set up.  They fumble a snap, a “Hail Mary” later and the next thing you know their best player is in the end zone.  You really can’t explain it.  It happened so fast,” he told Swnakonsports.com on Tuesday, “It was a little disheartening, but our kids, they are understanding.  They understand their role.  We have challenged the seniors to go out winners, finish strong, and challenged the underclassmen to send the seniors out winners these last three weeks.”

          High school players are resilient and Baum says they are already thinking about what this week can bring.  “They understand that they are disappointed, but they understand this Friday they get a chance to go out there and hit somebody new.  They are looking forward to that and competing against somebody else.  Us as coaches have to understand that we are going to get better each week.  We got better last week.  We did better offensively and defensively.  Once again finish off four quarters of football.  If you finish strong you are going to come off on the winning side.  We want to make sure we get that done this week,” said Baum.

          Fredericktown (3-4,1-3) plays at Utica (1-6,0-4) this week against the Redskins.  Baum says despite the record, Utica has some really pretty good athletes.  “They have some nice athletes.  They are a younger team as well, but their quarterback is good, he makes plays.  Their running back/receiver #27 makes a lot of plays.  He was making plays two years ago as a sophomore against us.  We know what they are capable of.  We have to be solid on defense and we will get through week eight,” he said.

          Neither team is having the season they hoped they could have at the beginning of the year.  Baum says this one is going to come down to effort.  “When it gets late in the season like this and you have a couple of teams that are battling. A lot of times it is the team that is dedicated and wants to finish out strong and get after it is the one that comes out on top,” said Baum.       

 

 
   

Fredericktown at a Cross Roads

 

          Fredericktown probably won’t win the Mid-Buckeye Conference this year, trailing conference leaders Johnstown-Monroe and Danville, by two games with four to play, but they can still have nice season with a strong finish.

          Last week, they lost to Johnstown (14-0) in a game where their defense played extremely well, but the offense just couldn’t get anything done.  Coach Brian Baum says certainly the effort was there.  “I was real proud of our boys they battled real hard for four quarters.  The defense stepped up and held them to 14 points.  We had opportunities,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We had the ball inside the red zone, just didn’t punch it in several times and tuned the ball over.  When you get opportunities like that against a good team you have to capitalize.  If we finish those drives, then we have a different ball game on our hands.”

          Fredericktown (3-3,1-2) has a number of underclassmen on it’s roster this year and Baum says that has led to some inconsistency in their play.  “With the bunch of young guys that we have from one game to the next I’m not sure what to expect.  Sometimes we are really good against the run.  Sometimes we have trouble against the run.  Offensively we will miss an assignment here and there.  We just have to become more consistent and that comes with experience,” he said.

          East Knox (4-2,2-1) travels to Fredericktown for an “MBC” game on Friday night.  Baum says the Bulldogs have some players that can make some big plays on offense.  “I really like their skilled athletes.  I mean they have a nice line, but their skilled athletes are really the heart of their team.  They play the Weirs kid, the Lyons kid, the quarterback, they have a couple of nice receivers that can run when they catch it.  They really are a skilled team.  We have to be careful and we have to be sound in everything we do,” said Baum.

          Fredericktown was in a similar position last year and spilt their final four games.  Baum wants to do better than that this time around.  “We are setting at 3-3.  We’ve lost to three good teams.  We have got to step up and get better each week.  You have to improve each week.  We did that last Friday night.  I expect to do it this Friday night and then push toward the end of the season,” he said.    

 

 
   

Fredericktown Working on Defense

 

          Fredericktown allowed more than 50 points last week in a loss to Danville in Mid-Buckeye Conference action and they know they have to improve on that side of the ball if they are going to remain competitive.

          Bryce Statts threw for 299 yards and three scores as the Blue Devils blasted Fredericktown (52-21) last Friday.  Freddies coach Brian Baum says it’s the defense that needs to start doing a better job.  “We have improved our offensive output this year.  We have a sophomore quarterback and a sophomore and freshman running back and a lot of new receivers.  They have really done a nice job of growing and stepping up and making plays.  We have put some points on the board,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We need to improve on the defensive side of the ball.  We are starting a lot of young kids over there, a lot of new kids over there.  We just have to get better with coverage and tackling.  Whatever he can do on defense to improve we must get it done.”

          Baum says there have been a number of problems with the young defense this year, but most of it is poor tackling and poor form.  “It all depends on the week as to what we struggle with it seems.  Even in the wins we have had some problems defensively, stopping the run or stopping the pass.  Getting to the football is important, but you have to be a sound tackler.  These days they see the NFL guys and the college guys with the one hit wonders and they try to emulate that.  You have got to get down and make sure they get to the ground,” said Baum.

          This week they host defending conference champion Johnstown-Monroe on Friday night.  Johnstown lost their first game to Granville (39-20), but they have since reeled off four straight wins, including “MBC” wins over Centerburg (42-21) and Loudonville (23-15) the last two weeks.  Baum says as usual they are good in the trenches.  “They have a really solid offensive and defensive line.  Their threat on defense is really tough.  They have some new skilled guys at the quarterback and running back positions.  They lost one early, but they really stepped it up.  They look like a tough opponent for us this week,” he said.

          Baum believes they need to really step it up on defense and get good offensive line play if they going to beat the Johnnies.  “We have to be sound at the point attack on defense.  We have to be sound tacklers.  On offense we have to control the football and make plays when they need to be made,” said Baum.

 

 
   

Freedies Counting on Young Kids

 

          Fredericktown has won two of its first three games and they have won them both in dramatic fashion, scoring in the final moments to secure the win.

          They beat Lucas 34-30 last week, stopping the Cubs on fourth a goal late in the game after an Austin Hathaway touchdown scamper gave then the lead.  Fredericktown coach Brian Baum says it was a great game.  “It was an exciting atmosphere and an exciting game for us in our homer opener.  We knew Lucas was going to be an interesting challenge with their style of offense.  The two special wingbacks they have in Swainheart and Harris are athletes they played hard, they ran hard.  It was an even match all night long,” said Baum.

          With veterans Matt Smith and Ryan Logan deciding not to play football this year, the Freddies are very young, but Baum says those young players have stepped up into those roles.  “We only have six seniors on the team, so our young guys are stepping up.  They are making plays and that excites us about our future,” he said.

          Fredericktown (2-1) heads to Johnstown Northridge (2-1) in their Mid-Buckeye Conference opener on Friday night.  The Vikings beat Dayton Jefferson (27-0) on week one and Millersport (34-0) on week three while losing to Hebron Lakewood (25-6) on week two.  Baum says Northridge wants to run the ball.  “I know they are much improved from last year.  They were a young team last year and in some aspects they are still a really young team.  They have a new head coach, but I believe he was the defensive coordinator last year,” he told Swankonsports.com, “They have a couple of years under their system.  We have to go out there and stop their running game and force them into the passing game.  They have another nice back.  We have to stop him.”

          Fredericktown beat Northridge 58-7 a year ago.

          When the defense is on the field Baum says they are going to sell out to stop the run and try and make the Vikings have to throw the ball.  “The defensive line better get a rush on there really pin their ears back and get some pressure on the quarterback, which can cause errant. That’s when the defense makes big plays.  We have to be able to stop that run at the start,” said Baum.  

 

 
   

Fredericktown Must Contain Run

 

          Last week, the young Fredericktown Freddies found out a little more about varsity football. 

          Columbus Bishop Ready dominated the last 16 minutes and they went on to belt the Freddies (49-7) in week two action.

          Coach Brain Baum says they need to make sure they play a full 48 minutes.  “We were playing a good, solid football program and we wanted to leave our mark on that game.  In the third we were still in it.  They made some plays in the fourth quarter to pull away from us.  Through three quarters it was a good game, a close game.  We have to respond better and play four quarters of football.  Against good team you have to play four quarters of football,” said Baum.

          Defensively, the Freddies were making some initial contact, but they weren’t taking the ball carrier to the gown and that needs to happen on a more consistent basis.  “Four more linemen really stepped up.  They had some big kids and we were able to move them a little bit.  Defensively we were able to do a nice job on the line.  I don’t care how hot it is we always have to hustle and make sure we are getting to the football,” he said.

          On Friday night, the Freddies (1-1) host the Lucas Cubs (1-1) out of the North Central Conference.  Baum knows the Cubs want to run the football out of a very tight formation.  Baum says it’s like football in a telephone booth.  “It’s an unusual style of football with so many spread offenses out there.  They are a double tight, double wing.  They run a toss series, a toss counter, toss iso, toss power, and toss sweep,” he told Swankonsports.com, “It’s just old style football and you have to be sound at the point of attack.  They have two nice backs #7 and #22, who run hard.  They have a big line up there trying to get some movement.  You have to be solid on the line with the linebackers filling the gap.”

          With that kind of offense at Lucas, Baum knows they have to score when they have the ball in their hands because they might have it that much in the game.  “Anytime you have a run team they are going to eat up a lot of clock.  You have to take every advantage when you have the ball as much as possible and put points on the board.  If they get up a couple of touchdowns they can eat a lot clock on you and put you in a bad situation,” said Baum.     

 

 
   

Young Freddies Doing Well

 

          With two of their top line players deciding not to go out for football this fall, the Fredericktown Freddies rallied to beat Highland on week one and hope to improve more.

          Austin Hathaway scored with less than a minute to play to give the Freddies the 36-32 win.  Hathaway ran for 121 yards and threw for 153 in the win.  Coach Brain Baum says they did a lot of good things.  “We stepped up there with some younger kids.  They made plays when they had to make them.  It was one of those games that was who has it last was going to win that game.  The fourth quarter was just score, score, score.  Fortunately we were able to put it in there in the last few minutes,” he said.

          Baum, in his third year as coach, says Hathaway was not the only young player to step up on the first week of the season.  “We have a nice little quarterback in Austin Hathaway.  A nice running back in Tyler Ruhl.  We had a receiver step up in Chris Hoar and a tight end Chris Carpenter.  They were all able to make plays that night.  We would like to do a little better defensive job.  We were pleased with our offensive output,” said Baum.

          Ryan Logan, the quarterback the last two years has decided to concentrate on basketball, where he is a division one prospect, and Matt Smith, one of the state’s top baseball players, are not on the football team this year.  Smith has ran for over 3,000 yards in his career.  Baum says the younger players believe it is there turn now.  “We have had a lot of success the last few years.  They have been chomping at the bit waiting for their turn.  They have been excited about that.  They answered the bell and stepped up ready to play football,” he said.

          Fredericktown pays a visit to Columbus Bishop Ready on Friday night for a non-conference game.  The Silver Knights (1-0) beat traditional power Newark Catholic (34-20) last Saturday.  Baum says they have some big play makers.  “They are an athletic team with a nice sized line.  In their skilled positions they can all run and catch the ball.  Their quarterback is a big, strong kid that can throw it around.  We have to be at our best and go out there and make things happen for our side of the ball.  We just have to be prepare,” said Baum.

          Fredericktown missed the playoffs for the first time in four years last year and a win over Ready could get them headed in the right direction this fall.  “Especially with the young team that we have that doesn’t know good we can be yet.  We need to go out with confidence on week two and play a solid football game and improving win or loss on our week one performance will go a long way with the development of these kids,” he said.   

 

 
   

Fredericktown Looking to Battle Back

 

          After a string of outstanding seasons the Fredericktown Freddies were a .500 football team a year ago and they are looking to be a better football team this season.

          Coach Brian Baum, in his third year at Fredericktown, believes that his guys have gotten better each week of the regular season.  “Our line and our skilled guys have progressed nicely in camp.  Being young in the skilled positions like we are we expected that.  We expected our line to lead the way and they did and as I said the skilled guys progressed every step along the way in two a days and scrimmages,” he said.

          The Freddies have what shapes up as a pretty good offensive line and Baum thinks that will be the best part of their team this season.  “We are excited about our offensive line.  We think they can open the holes and hopefully we can run and pass.  With the line being such big, strong kids like they are they can open holes for the run game and keep guys off Austin Hathaway, our quarterback,” Baum told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday.

          Also on defense Fredericktown’s most experience is on the defensive line.  Baum says that group has some solid potential.  “We are starting a lot of news guys on defense this year, especially the linebacker position.  The guys we have coming back up front make it easier on them.  We have talented skill position guys in the backfield and that also helps that linebacker corp,” said Baum.

          With some solid coaching Baum also thinks their specialty units can be pretty good too.  “We have a new kicker this year in Logan Smith.  He has progressed nicely.  We are pretty fortunate to have a couple of coaches on our staff that are experts.  Will Hartley in the kicking game and Danny Keywood with the punting game.  We have a long snapper from college,” he said.

          Fredericktown opens the season on Friday at Highland in non-conference play.  Baum knows they will be in for a battle.  “Yeah, coach Carpenter has them ready to play.  They have a nice offensive line like always.  They are going to play low.  They are going to be nasty.  Their backs are going to run hard and they are going to carry out their fakes in the wing-t.  We have to read our keys and keep arriving in the right stop and make the play,” said Baum.

 

 
   

Fredericktown Fans Seeing Familiar Foe

 

          When the Fredericktown faithful gather at Huntington Park Friday morning to watch their Freddies play in the division three state semi-finals on the other side they will see familiar colors.  Orange and Black to be exact. They will be playing the Wheelersburg Pirates.

          Three times since 2007, Fredericktown has beaten Wheelersburg in the state football playoffs.  This is the first time they will meet in the baseball tournament.

          Freddies coach Tom Craze says they have approached this week the same way they have every other since late March.  He says they plan to go to Columbus and be successful.  “It has been business as normal.  The kids are working really hard.  We wanted to come back after the regional and get back to some basics again, some basics that we had to clean up.  The kids have been in a normal practice.  With the tail end the school year upon us they are working on exams as well.  We have had some flexibility where we could have some different practice times.  The focus and concentration has been really, really good and that has not changed.  That is normal with these guys, just like it was day one of the year,” said Craze.

          Fredericktown (23-4) has been successful in the tournament because they have gotten good pitching and timely hitting.  Craze says they will approach the game the same as they have all year.  “We don’t want to change anything that we are doing and we want to keep things simple.  When we get down there we aren’t going to change any of our approaches to the game plan.  We are going to play as hard as we can.  We want to keep things as normal as possible and as routine as possible,” he said.

          Wheelersburg (28-2) is making its third straight state tournament appearance.  They lost to Clear Fork in the state finals in 2010 and to Cincinnati Mederia in the semi-finals a year ago.  Craze is impressed with their tenacity.  “The first thing that comes out for us is how hard their kids play.  They’re going to play hard for seven innings.  There is no secret formula to Wheelersburg.  They are going to put the ball in play.  There is nothing fancy about them.  They play hard defensively.  They have a great number one ace that throws in the mid to high 80’s,” he told Swankonsports.com, “They have an All-Ohio catcher that is going to the University of Dayton on a full ride scholarship.  They have talented players and I just love how they compete and play hard.  We are going to have to play error free and be able to put the pressure back on them when they’re in the field.”

          Fredericktown has been both an offensive juggernaut and a team that can scratch across that one run when they need it.  Craze says they have to be ready whatever opportunity presents itself.  “You have to be creative and do some different things.  When you have the opportunity to run and play small ball you have to take advantage of those.  We are going to have to continue to be aggressive at the plate.  Hopefully our guys one through nine in the lineup can step up and get it done for us,” he said.

          The Freddies pitching, led by Nash Cunningham, has been outstanding this postseason.  Craze says they have played some good defense too.  “Our pitching has been outstanding all year long.  I love how those kids go out on the mound and are very competitive.  They work so hard to get ahead of batters.  Our defense behind them has just been great all year.  They have made plays when we have needed it.  We are making the routine and we are making some plays that are pretty difficult,” he said.

          The game will be played at the home of the Columbus Clippers, Huntington Park.  Using a “Hoosiers” analogy Craze says the field is just the same and the team that gets over the jitters first will win.  “It’s the same for Wheelersburg as it will be for us.  We have talked about that with our kids a little bit.  Our kids understand from home to first and all of the way around, and from the mound to home, its still the same dimensions as it is at Fredericktown and Wheelersburg,” he told Swankonsports.com, “The only difference is, and we have worked on it this week, is the outfield dimensions are a lot bigger then anywhere we have played this year.  I think the team that comes out and gets rid of those nerves early and is relaxed will have a distinct advantage.  Hopefully we will get to the stadium early enough that we can have a little walk through and let the kids soak it in a little bit and get their minds focused on competing.”

 

 

 
   

Fredericktown Happy; Not Satisfied

 

          The last time Fredericktown was in the baseball regional tournament Gerald Ford was the President, gas was less than $2 a gallon and Betty White played a tramp on the Mary Tyler Moore Show.  It was 1975.

          Thursday evening they play Cincinnati Maderia in the division three regional semi-finals at Athlete’s in Action Park in Xenia.  Coach Tom Craze says they are thrilled.  “It’s fantastic.  We haven’t been there since 1975.  The opportunity to play in the regionals is very sweet.  The community is very excited for the kids.  We have had a great week of practice, of preparation.  We are ready to make the trip,” he said.

          The Freddies (20-4), #3 in the final Swankonsports.com baseball coach’s poll, is all focused.  Craze says his kids have lofty goals.  “We have been talking about that since day one.  The kids are happy to have won a district championship, but their mindset is Huntington Park in Columbus.  It’s a business trip for us and we are ready to go.  The kids are looking at it as just another baseball game and our season continues for another week or so.  They are very business like with in their approach.  Hopefully we get it done (Thursday,)” said Craze.

          Junior Matt Smith has been identified as one of the best everyday players in Ohio.  Last year’s Fredericktown coach Rusty Stabb calls Smith the most talented hitter he has ever coached.  “Matt has been very special.  Those are very nice things for Rusty to say and I know some of the kids that coach Stabb has coached at Clear Fork are pronominal athletes.  He is a D-one prospect and is going to play at that level.  He will probably be, after this year, a three time All-Ohioan.  Matt has all of the tools it takes.  Who knows after college he is a young man that could take that next step.  He really wants too.  He is definitely all around a great baseball player,” said Craze.

          With an average over .500 you would think that a lot of teams would pitch around Smith, but Craze says that hasn’t happened as often as you might think.  “We started the year with Matt in the four hole and we wanted to protect him.  We haven’t really had anybody throw around him or work around him.  What we ended up having to do because we couldn’t get to Matt in the first inning we would start the second inning with Matt leading off.  So, we made the transition of bumping Matt up into the third hole and still protected him with Mitch Sellers in front of him and Nash Cunningham.  It has been a big plus for us because we have been able to get runners on in front of him and he has been really productive this year.  With the exception of Northmor in the regional final, they worked around him a little bit one time when there was a free base.  Most teams this year have gone right at Matt, so that has been good for us,” Craze said.

          Fredericktown has given up only eight runs in three tournament games and Craze says they have been carried by the arms they put on the mound really all season.  “One of our strengths this year is our pitching.  We have been very fortunate to have a group of young men and all of them return next year and we are very excited about that.  We believe that we can put any of our guys on the mound and they are going to go out and compete,” he told Swankonsports.com, “Nash (Cunningham) has been doing it all year for us and Terry Thompson, who pitched in the district final versus Northmor was outstanding for us that night.  Any one of the guys could go out on any given night and get it done for us.  They have been doing it all year.”

          Maderia is led by one of the state’s top players as well in outfielder Andrew Benintendi.  Craze says he is also a special player.  “They probably have one of the best centerfielders in the State of Ohio and he is going to Arkansas and is committed.  They are a solid ball club and when you play in Cincinnati, in the metro area like they do.  They are a city school in a very, very good conference.  They are solid defensively and they are going to put the ball in play.  They are going to run the bases.  They are a very aggressive baseball team.  We are going to really have to play well defensively and be ready for us to put the pressure back on them.  If we can make the plays in the field and get the timely hitting and solid pitching we believe we will be right there at the end,” said Craze. 

 

 
   

Fredericktown in the Regionals

 

          Nash Cunningham stroked a two-run double in the sixth inning and the Fredericktown Freddies edged the Northmor Golden Knights 2-0 in the division three district finals on Thursday night at Beaver Stadium in Lancaster.

          Fredericktown (20-4) has won two one-run games and a two-run game in the tournament.  Coach Tom Craze says it was a great night for the baseball program and the Fredericktown community.  “It’s an exciting feeling not only for our ball club, but also for our community.  Our kids they just kept fighting all night long as well as Northmor.  Both teams really going at it, a great pitcher’s duel.  Fortunately for us we came out on top,” he said.

          The game was scoreless through five innings on Thursday night and there were some nervous times for both teams.  Craze says they kept their focus and then got the big hit from Cunningham.  “We had two errors early in the game where Northmor could have taken advantage and we held ground,” he told Swankonsports.com after the victory, “There late in the game we get a walk and a single then the next thing you know Nash Cunningham hits one of the gaps and we score two runs.  It’s the little things.  I think there were five hits total in the game (Thursday) night with four errors.  The little things make a big difference.”

          It’s been a season where Fredericktown has been able to put a lot of runs on the scoreboard, but in the tournament they have faced some outstanding pitching.  Craze says they have done what they have needed to do to advance.  “We have had 11 hits in there games.  They just find a way to get it done.  I couldn’t be more proud of these kids.  For me I get a little nervous about it.  They just keep fighting and hanging in there.  It’s funny they tell me we’ve got it, it’s okay.  They find a way to get it done,” said Craze.

          Over the last several seasons the Freddies have had considerable success in big games, no matter what the sport.  Craze believes they just have the ability to make big plays at critical times.  “Some of the kids on this team that have won a district championship, a state final four football team, and we have also have a couple of these kids that made deep runs in the basketball season as well.  We have had some kids that have played in some big games and had some really good success,” said Craze.

 

 
   

Fredericktown Edges Academy

 

          They had to wait a year, but the Fredericktown baseball team was able to get some revenge Tuesday night.  They beat Columbus Academy, the team that eliminated them last year, in the division three district semi-finals at Delaware Olentangy High School.

          Again it was a one run game as the Freddies rallied in the seventh inning to earn the win (6-5) over Academy.  They did it without getting a hit in the bottom of the seventh.  Coach Tom Craze says things got started with a walk and then things really got interesting.  “Our leadoff hitter in the seventh was Justin Snyder and he was able to draw a walk.  The Academy pitcher balks and we move him to second.  A pinch hitter came up in Dustin Hathaway, a senior on our ball club.  We decided to bunt Justin over to third.  Dusty makes a great bunt.  He gets it down and the pitcher picks it up and throws it over the first basemen’s head and Justin was able to go around and score and end the ball game.  It was a pretty amazing finish to be honest,” said Craze. 

          Fredericktown (19-4), #4 in the Swankonpsorts.com baseball coach’s poll, is creating excitement in the small Knox County town.  Craze says they had a great following on Tuesday night.  “Our fans travel so well in support of these kids, (Tuesday) night was no different.  We had a great number of people from Fredericktown there, a very large crowd.  It was great to see all of our fans afterwards and everybody excited to see what happened,” he said.

          Fredericktown has scored 20 runs in a game a couple of times this year, but they didn’t hit very well in their first tournament game.  Craze says they got the bats going against Academy.  “In our first game in the tournament against Johnstown we struggled and only got four hits.  (Tuesday) we put the ball in play and got nine or 10 hits.  We really wanted to put the pressure back on Academy and to make them field it.  We did that.  We got some timely hitting and fortunately for us we were able to come through in the end,” Craze said.

          Columbus Academy pulled the upset a year ago and Craze, in his first year as the head coach, says this win was very satisfying for the program.  “When we left Olentangy (Tuesday) night the first person I heard from when I got on the bus was a phone call from former coach Rusty Staab congratulating the kids.  That was really nice and it was nice to get a little redemption there.  I’ll be honest we talked about that this week.  You know, we owed them.  It was our turn now to get it done and our kids really did that,” said Craze.

          Thursday night, the Freddies meet Northmor (17-9) in the district final at Beaver Stadium in Lancaster.  Craze says he has great respect for the Northmor program and knows it will be a challenging game.  “We talked to our kids (Tuesday) night when we got back and they aren’t in the district final for nothing.  I think Northmor is really playing extremely well right now.  Those kids over there are just playing outstanding in the field and putting the ball in play,” he told Swankonsports.com after the semi-final win, “Buck Workman does an outstanding job as well.  He’s a great coach and I’ll be honest he gets my vote for the coach of the year in the Central District.  He has really done an outstanding job with those kids this year.  We are really going to have to do to work (Wednesday) and be prepared.”    

 

 
   

Fredericktown Wins in the Seventh

 

          Fredericktown, the Mid-Buckeye Conference runner-up, and the number two seed in the Central District, rallied in the seventh inning to beat Johnstown-Monroe to advance.

          Coach Tom Craze says they didn’t have a lot of offense, but they had enough because they got a super pitching performance from their stopper Nash Cunningham.  “We only had four hits (Thursday) night.  We had two of them in the last of the seventh to fuel the win.  We just battled all night long with a really good “MBC” team in Johnstown.  We got outstanding pitching (Thursday) night from Nash Cunningham, our number one.  We have to continually work on our hitting.  (Thursday) night we were fortunate enough to get a couple of hits late that we needed to win it,” said Craze.

          Cunningham was also involved in the seventh inning rally at the plate as he produced the game winning hit.  “We only had two batters there in the seventh in Matt Smith and Nash Cunningham.  It was a calm feeling amongst the team as they came off the field in the top of the seventh.  We get ready to hit and you could just look at them and you just kind of felt a sense of calmness across the team that we are going to be okay and we are going to win it right there in the seventh,” said Craze.

          Spring sports sometimes suffer from a lack attendance, but that was not the case with the Freddies.  Craze says they were able to feed off that big home crowd.  “It was a really fun atmosphere.  It is probably the most people I have ever seen at a baseball game at Fredericktown.  Our community really came out (Thursday) and our kids fed off that.  They were in to it all night long and fed off each other and everything.  We split with Johnstown this year so our kids were really ready to try and come out and get the win.  To see our kids really bound together (Thursday) night was really special,” he told Swankonsports.com after the win.

          Fredericktown (18-4), #3 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coach’s poll in the small school division, plays Columbus Academy in the district semi-final on Tuesday at Olentangy High School.  It was Columbus Academy that knocked the Freddies out of the tournament a year ago (8-7) when Fredericktown was also the second seed.  Craze says they will be prepared to play.  “They are a traditional power.  For our kids it was the same team that knocked them out of the tournament last year, even at the same site.  Our kids remember that.  We have a scouting report put together on them already.  Hopefully we will ready to go.  It will be another big challenge for us,” he said.     

 

 
   

Fredericktown Bounces Back

 

          Fredericktown got a big win Monday night to remain just game behind Utica in the Mid-Buckeye Conference baseball standings.

          The Freddies (12-3,8-2) downed Loudonville (10-5) in an “MBC” game at Loudonville.  The win keeps Fredericktown a game behind Utica (14-5,9-1), who beat Danville (12-3) on Monday.

          Coach Tom Craze says it was a huge win for his team, especially considering they just lost to Utica (8-6) last Friday to fall a game behind the Redskins.  “Our kids came out (Monday) and responded well from the Utica loss.  We hit the ball well.  Our starting pitcher Derek Thompson went seven complete innings.  It was a real nice team victory for us and got us back on track in the Mid-Buckeye Conference and as we approach the tournament draw.  Hopefully we get in position for a seed in the Central District tournament,” said Craze.

          With just four games remaining in the “MBC” Craze knows that every game is important right now if they want to get a piece of that title.  “To be honest the Mid-Buckeye Conference this year is as good as it has been for years.  To maintain a tight race and to stay close is critical now,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday after the win, “The weather kind of plays into it a little bit.  Over at Loudonville (Monday) night it was extremely windy, but it didn’t hamper us too bad.  We kind of maintained our focus and kept our poise.  It was a good, quality “MBC” win.”

          We have been blessed with a spring that has not included very much rain, accept on Saturdays, but it has been windy.  Craze says that can make defense tricky and you have to have good focus.   “At Loudonville it was very windy, a little chilly, but it was really giving our outfielders some problems (Monday), especially judging the baseball.  It didn’t affect our pitching a whole bunch.  In the field of play that wind can really cause havoc,” he says.

          Fredericktown plays Johnstown Northridge (15-3,8-2) in another big conference game on Tuesday afternoon.  Craze says that means they need pitching depth and he thinks they have it.  “We are very fortunate that we have really good depth this year, young depth that is all back next year.  Our pitchers have been very, very good.  For us to maintain a pace in the “MBC” and hopefully make some noise in the tournament pitching depth is very critical,” said Craze.

 

 
   

Fredericktown Leads “MBC”

 

          Fredericktown is involved in a tough, three team, race for the Mid-Buckeye Conference baseball title. 

          The Freddies (10-2,7-1) share the lead the standings right now with Utica a game better than Johnstown Northridge.  Their only loss in the league came to Utica (13-4) on April 4. 

          Coach Tom Craze, in his first year as the Freddies head coach, says his team has been working hard since the winter to develop a club that could compete in the “MBC” once the season started.  “The kids have really been working hard.  It started really in the off season.  The kids spent a lot of time getting themselves ready for the season.  We have been really focusing on our defense and working hard on offense as well and trying to put pressure on the defense,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Our pitching has been really, really good.  Really all phases of the game we have been working hard.  The kids are getting better each and every day, which is really important for us and what we are striving to get to.”

          Fredericktown is the defending conference champion and carries some experience too.  However, Craze believes his team needs to get more aggressive at the plate and look for their pitch.  “I think offensively we need to get better.  I’ll be honest with you I can’t remember a game where we put a lot of hits together and really clicked as a unit on offense.  Defensively, we are coming around really, really good.  At the plate our approach needs to be a little bit more aggressive.  We want to get up there are be aggressive at the plate,” he said.

          Fredericktown takes on Northmor (11-4) in an important non-conference game on Thursday and faces a re-match with Utica (12-5,7-1) on the road on Friday.  Craze says the winner the “MBC” this spring is going to be a survivor.  “I think the Mid-Buckeye Conference from top to bottom this year is really, really good.  Every time we are in conference play we have to be ready.  Northridge, and Centerburg, along with ourselves, in the central district in D-3 has been really, really balanced and Utica is always very, very good.  From the top to bottom this year the Mid-Buckeye Conference is as strong as it has ever been,” Craze said.

          To repeat as conference champions, Craze says they have to play as a unit and improve that aggressiveness at the plate.  “It’s going to take three things.  It’s going to take us putting pressure on the defense, staying aggressive at the plate and it’s going to take us coming together and continuing to work hard at solid pitching.  If we can do that hopefully we can put ourselves in a position to be there in the end and have a chance to win it,” Craze said.  

 

 
   

Fredericktown a Solid Team

 

          Fredericktown is still fighting to get a piece of the Mid-Buckeye Conference title, but they are going to need some help after a second loss to league leading Loudonville last Friday.

          They trail Loudonville by two games.

          The Redbirds outscored Fredericktown (17-10) in the fourth quarter to win (46-43) in the second well played game between the two.  Loudonville won a similar game (49-47) in the first match-up of the season.  Freddies coach Mark Delaney says they got beat up pretty badly on the boards in the game.  “Coach Seboe did a good job and had a great game plan, you know, taking care of our weaknesses.  We got out rebounded 30-14.  I think Beans himself had 17, so he alone out rebounded our entire team,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “That was a huge part of their win.  I think down to the last couple of seconds we had a shot to win it or to tie at least and we didn’t make it.  Sometimes it goes in and sometimes it doesn’t.  Our kids battled and we were without Nash Cunningham, who was sick, and that really hurt us athletically, he is one our most athletic guards.”

          Fredericktown beat Utica in overtime (74-69) last Tuesday and they have played a number of close games this season.  Delaney believes that will get them ready for the tournament.  “It’s good to be in these close games.  I think the Utica game was two points the first time, Loudonville was two points, and three points this time.  It’s good that our kids have gotten experience in these tight games down to the last couple of minutes getting ready for tournament time,” he said.

          Delaney says rebounding has not been a problem this season for the Freddies, it was just that Loudonville just executed better than they did in the game.  “It really hasn’t been a problem.  I think not having Nash there was a factor.  I think they just did a real good job of getting us out of the lane and using their athleticism.  I think looking back at the majority of our games we have out rebounded the other team,” he said.

          Fredericktown (10-4,6-3) is at home for the Johnstown Northridge Vikings (7-7,4-5) in a conference game.  Delaney says they will have to be able to match what the Vikings bring to the table physically.  “They are playing really well right now.  I think they have won four straight.  With the league this year any night anybody is able to win.  Last week, Centerburg knocked off Loudonville right before we played them, which probably hurt us because it really ticked them off.  They are going to be physical.  We have it at home and that should help us,” said Delaney.

 

 
   

Big Games For Freddies

 

          This is the week we find out if Fredericktown is a contender or pretender in the Mid-Buckeye Conference.  The third place Freddies play second place Utica Tuesday night and conference leader Loudonville on Friday.

          They lost to both in close games the first time they played them.

          Mark Delaney, a first year coach at Fredericktown, says there have been a great number of close games in the conference this year.  Utica edged the Freddies (44-43) back on December 13.  Delaney says he has a little feather in his cap going to Utica.  “The “MBC” has been very competitive this year.  The first time we met they played us at home.  It was a close one.  They got us by one point.  It came right down to the last possession.  We know Utica is a tough place to play.  With my uncle being the head coach over there for a couple of years he knows the area pretty well.  We are going to try and use that as an advantage,” said Delaney.

          Utica (9-3,7-1) has won some close ones this year because they have guards that have been able to make some clutch plays for the Redskins.  “They are guard oriented.  They are pretty athletic.  They will get up and give you some 2-2-1.  Get up and pressure you and run some motion offense.  They are going to try and change things up and probably do some box and one and do some trapping and try to frustrate Ryan Logan a little bit and see if they can get him out of the loop.  They do a really good job of adjusting and changing things up,” said Delaney.

          What Fredericktown (9-3,5-2) has is All-Ohio Candidate Rayn Logan.  He is a 6-6 player that can play away from the basket and Delaney says his skills make him a match-up problem for anybody they play.  “There is no question that Ryan is one of the most versatile kids in the area.  We ask ourselves how teams are going to match up with him.  When we went to Pleasant they have a 6-5 kid and he still had 28 on him.  I think he is going division one or two in football,” Delaney told Swankonsports.com, “If you put a little guard on him he is so good in the post.  If you try to double him like Johnstown we had 11 threes.  As long as our guards can knock down shots I don’t how you really guard Ryan it comes down to Ryan guarding himself.”

          If the Freddies can be successful against Utica then they must also conquer Loudonville (9-2,7-0) on the road on Friday night.  Delaney says they have to play outstanding defense and make some pressure free throws when the game is on the line.  “We are going to have to defend the Mowery kid.  He is playing really well right now.  He gave us trouble the first time.  Loudonville is another tough place to play.  It’s a smaller court.  They are so well coached.  I just think we have to get that lead early.  We need to make some free throws.  It’s going to be a close game,” said Delaney.

 

 
   

Fredericktown Faces Athletic Loudonville

 

          Fredericktown will finish their 2011 high school football season with a visit to Loudonville to face the Redbirds on Friday night.

          The Freddies (5-4) lost a 21-7 decision to Centerburg in Mid-Buckeye Conference action last week.  Coach Brian Baum says it was particularly hard to take because they had a real chance to win the game.  “It was a tough one to lose.  They had to move the game to a neutral site.  It had a playoff feel.  Personally we didn’t get it done.  They made a play late in the game.  They got a pick six.  There have been three times this year we lost a close game when we were driving for the winnings score,” he said.

          Loudonville has a number of close loses too this season.  They lost in the final moments to unbeaten Crestview (28-20) and to Centerburg (49-48) in a league game.  “They are similar to us,” Baum told Swankonsports.com, “They have lost a lot of close games.  They lost three of four closes ones early on in the season.  The have fought back nicely now to get to 4-5.  They are very close to being a 7-3 or 8-2 ball club.  They have a lot talent and a lot of team speed.  I really like what they do on offense with their athletes.  Defensively, they get after it.”

          Baum cuts to the chase when it comes to keys to winning the game at Loudonville.  “We have to control the line of scrimmage and we have to play solid perimeter defense,” he said.  

 

 
   

Fredericktown Must Be Sound

 

          Fredericktown probably needs a miracle to win a piece of the Mid-Buckeye Conference title because it appears Johnstown-Monroe is a lot better than anyone else in the league, but they still want to finish the season strong.

          The Freddies (4-3) edged East Knox 10-8 in a conference game last week.  Coach Brain Baum saw some good things and some bad things.  “They did a nice job offensively against our run game.  We had a couple of drops, we have got to make those plays.  We have to better on special teams, we had a couple of fumbles there.  We did a great job on defense.  I like to see that after last week against Johnstown,” he said.  Johnstown-Monroe beat Fredericktown on week six 41-7.

          On Friday night, Fredericktown visits Utica to take on the Redskins (2-5) in a conference game.  “They are a skilled team.  They have a lot of athletes.  All year they have had kids in and out with injuries.  They have been looking for some consistency.  I don’t want them to find that against us.  They have several kids across the boards.  We will have to be sound on defense.  When we are on offense we have to attack them,” Baum told Swankonsports.com.

          Last season, Fredericktown went 13-1 and didn’t lose until the state semi-finals and they were running the ball down people’s throat.  This year, Baum says they have to more balanced to win.  “We have to be balanced this year with the run and pass.  If we find a match-up we like then we will run.  This year we have to be balanced to be successful,” he said.

 

 
   

Fredericktown Must Dominate Trenches

 

          Last week, Fredericktown got beat up at the point of attack by the Johnstown Johnnies and as a result they lost their first Mid-Buckeye Conference game since 2008.

          Johnstown (6-0) ripped them 41-7 to take first place in themselves in the conference.  Fredericktown coach Brian Baum says they had to sort of circle the wagons the next morning.  “”Johnstown owned both sides of the line of scrimmage.  They are playing excellent ball right now.  They really took it to us.  On Saturday, the coaches and I challenged our guys, we are sort of at a fork in the road.  Are we going to finish the season strong and be a respectful 7-3 at the end or are we going set here and coast and finish 6-4 or 5-5?  Our kids want to work at it.  It will be tough for us to make the playoffs at this point,” he said. 

          Fredericktown (3-3) travels to East Knox (1-5) for a conference game on Friday night.  Baum says despite the record the Bulldogs have some pretty good players on their roster.  “Offensively they have a nice quarterback in the Weirs kid.  He’s quick, he makes moves.  They have a receiver that does a nice job going up after the jump ball.  They’ve had tough luck so far this year, but they are in the games they are playing,” said Baum.

          With Matt Smith, an All-Ohio running back last season, carrying the ball, Fredericktown is going to be in most games.  Friday night, Baum says they have to be the best team in the trenches.  “We have to own the line of scrimmage both offensively and defensively.  If we do that, we’ll be able to play ball.  If not, if their offensive line moves us off the ball, they are good enough to make plays,” he said.

 

 
   

“MAC” Title Likely Decided This Week

 

          Defending Mid-Buckeye Conference champion Fredericktown travels to Johnstown-Monroe to face the Johnnies this week in a game that will likely determine who win the conference title this season.

          Johnstown is 5-0 and appears to be the biggest challenger to the Freddies supremacy in the conference.  Fredericktown has won the last three conference titles. 

          The Freddies outlasted Danville 28-26 last week and coach Brian Baum says it was the play on a two point conversion that proved to be the difference for them.  “We had the early lead, but they battled back and it came down to a two-point conversion at the end of the game.  Our line did a nice job of stuffing the hole.  He’s a tough runner.  We just made sure we got to him and brought him down this time.”

          Baum says Johnstown is a team that is going to run the football and run it almost every time.  “Their line fires out low and fast,” he told Swankonsports.com, “They have good hard running backs.  They carry out the fake with the quarterback every play and sometimes he fakes the hand off takes it around the end himself.  They don’t throw a lot, but being 5-0 they haven’t had too.”

          Baum knows the game is going to be won and lost in the trenches.  “It’s all up front.  The O-line and the D-line being solid and playing low.  We need to play aggressive football up and open our running lanes and close down their run lanes,” he said.

 

 
   

Fredericktown Has to be Disciplined

 

          Defending Mid-Buckeye Conference champion Fredericktown faces a home game against the Danville Blue Devils on Friday night.  It will likely be a battle to see who can control the line of scrimmage.

          The Freddies bounced back from a two game winning streak last week to punish Johnstown Northridge 56-7 in their first league game of the season.  All-Ohio running back Matt Smith, contained by Columbus Bishop Ready and Crestview the last two weeks, ran for 169 yards and three touchdowns last week.  “We did a nice job.  Our young line is coming along,” Fredericktown coach Brain Baum told Swankonsports.com Sunday night, “There are still too many mistakes.  We would expect that with our line being all new like that.  Defensively, we did a nice job of getting after it.  We didn’t let their running back get going.  He is a pretty good kid.  We need to keep doing it every week.”  Fredericktown held Northridge running back Jacob Burke to just 41 yards.

          Danville lost their first game of the year when Loudonville downed them 31-12 last week.  The Blue Devils were held to less than 150 yards rushing by Loudonville, but Baum is still impressed by the Danville run game.  “They have a nice fullback and a nice offensive line.  They run the wing-t.  They do a nice job of carrying out their fakes.  We have to be sound against their misdirection.  It makes you look at their ball carrier,” he said.  Baum says they have to be disciplined on defense or they are going to end up giving up some big plays.  “You have to do your job and not try to do too much.  You need to keep your eyes where they are supposed to be.  If you look around you can get lost, especially your linebackers.  So, it’s important that we read our keys,” he said.

          Fredericktown still threw 15 passes last week against Northridge and Baum knows they are going to need quarterback Ryan Logan to complete some passes against Danville too.  “We have to run the football,” he said, “The problem is Danville is a physical football team.  They are going to try and force us to pass.  They are going to try and take away our running game.  We have to make sure we are balanced and keep them guessing,” said Baum.

 

 
   

Fredericktown Back to Work

 

          Fredericktown had its 23 game regular season win streak snapped last week when Columbus Bishop Ready beat them 17-14 on week two of the regular season.

          The Freddies had their chances, scoring once in the fourth quarter and almost scoring again.  “It’s the kind of game you want to be in,” Fredericktown coach Brain Baum told Swankonsports.com, “The problem is we have to finish that fourth quarter drive and get that win instead of coughing it up there on fourth an inches.”

          The last time Fredericktown lost a regular season game was when Mid-Buckeye Conference rival Utica beat them 27-17 on October 10, 2008.  Baum says his players have learned from the loss and are looking forward.  “I will tell you what our kids responded well.  Even Friday night they started talking and the leadership started stepping up.  We have worked hard in practice with a great attitude.  Tuesday was our best practice of the year,” said Baum.

          Fredericktown travels to Crestview (2-0) for a non-conference game with the Cougars on Friday night.  Crestview has beaten West Salem Northwestern (28-14) and Loudonville (28-21) so far this year.  They are led by running back Mason Minnich, who has rushed for 503 yards in two games.  “They have a very good running back.  Mason Minnich’s stats prove that.  The kid runs the ball hard.  They have a nice fullback that gets some carries and he blocks well.  We have to be aware of screens to Mason and that little passing game of theirs,” Baum said.

          Between two good teams it usually boils down to mistakes and Baum knows they can’t be turning the ball over against Crestview and they need to get off to a better start than they did last week.  “Turnovers are going to be important.  We have to create turnovers on defense and eliminate turnovers on offense.  We have to stop number 43 in the backfield,” he said.

 

 
   

Fredericktown Getting Ready for Next Challenge

 

          Fredericktown rallied in the second half to beat non-conference, and next door, rival Highland on Friday night and next up for them will be one of the most athletic teams on their schedule.

          Quarterback Ryan Logan scored on a one-yard run late in the third quarter to lift Freddies to the 28-21 win over Highland.  All-Ohio running back junior Matt Smith had 137 yards on 23 carries for Fredericktown.  “We saw our young offensive line come together, which helps our running game and gives us more room to pass the ball,” coach Brain Baum told Swankonsports.com on Sunday night.  Logan completed five of 11 passes for 58 yards against Highland.  “They exposed enough things that it gives us something to work on for week two and three.  We will improve after that game,” added Baum.

          Fredericktown hosts Columbus Bishop Ready on Friday night in non-conference play.  The Silver Knights beat up on Franklin Heights, a Columbus City League school, 54-7 in their first game of the season.  “They have a lot of team speed,” said Baum, “They are a spread attack.  They have a very good quarterback and a nice running back.  We went against Mansfield Senior (a 35-14 loss in a scrimmage) a couple of weeks ago, so we have seen good speed.  We have to adapt to it and make sure we wrap up their backs.”

          Smith, who gained more than 1,500 yards for the Freddies last season when they went 13-1, nursed a tender hamstring during the preseason, but Baum says he will ready for Ready.

 

 
   

Fredericktown Meets Highland

 

          Fredericktown has been one of the most success small school football teams in this area in recent years, winning the last two Mid-Buckeye Conference titles and making the playoffs for the last three seasons.

          This year they are again the favorite for the conference title with the return of 1,500 yard rusher Matt Smith.  “With the skilled positions we have back we are experienced and really talented.  Right now, we are rebuilding the offensive line, we have four new starters.  They have the potential to do it.  If they come together we will have another successful football season,” said coach Brain Baum.

          With Smith back the Freddies are going to try and run the ball first, but Baum believes they need to be able to throw the ball too.  “If we are able to run people over and use our running game, we will do that,” Baum told Swankonsports.com, “Last year, we had a nice offensive line, a good running back, a fullback leading the way.  If people are going to key on just Matt Smith we have other athletes out there.  I have a 6’6” quarterback in Ryan Logan, a junior, and three solid receivers.  We have to get the ball in their hands.”

          The defense gave up five scores to Mansfield Senior in a scrimmage last week and they have to get better if the Freddies are going to continue on form.  “We have the potential to be a solid defensive unit.  We have some injuries over there.  Anytime you bring in a couple of new kids here and there, there will be growing pains.  We had four extra weeks of practice last season that helped are younger players,” added Baum.

          Fredericktown is at home for non-conference rival Highland on Friday night.  The Freddies won last year’s game 17-14 and both teams ended up making the postseason.  Baum expects another battle Friday night.  “They always have a solid offensive line.  They are going to drive you off the ball.  I look for them to try and pound the ball,” he said.

 

 
   

Fredericktown Plans to Maintain

 

          Fredericktown is coming off an outstanding season in which the Freddies were just one game away from playing for a state football title in division five and this year they have lofty goals once again.

          Last season, Fredericktown went 10-0 in the regular season and blew through the Mid-Buckeye Conference unchallenged.  After winning three playoff games they lost to 26-6 to Coldwater in the state semi-finals.  They have been able to take that momentum from last season into preseason workouts and scrimmages.  “Expectations are real high. We’ve had good success the last couple of years.  We need to step up to be able to accomplish our goals,” said coach Brian Baum.

          Fredericktown returns one of the best backs in this area in Matt Smith.  He was a 1,500 yard rusher last season as a sophomore and even more is expected of him this year.  However, Baum believes they will be able to throw the football too.  “Matt Smith is back and Cody McQuire is back to lead the way,” Baum told Swankonsports.com, “We also have a 6’5” quarterback that can see the field and look around and he has a strong arm.  We have some really reliable receivers.  We will be more diverse this year.”  After losing some talented offensive lineman from last year’s team that will be the point of concern in 2011 on the offensive side of the ball.  “The offensive line needs to come together and jell as a unit,” added Baum.

          The defense will also have some new faces and they will have to mature for the Freddies to be the kind of team this fall that their fans are hoping.  “With our db’s, there are a couple of young guys there that need to mature, if they are able to do that it will be a strong defensive unit,” said Baum.

          Fredericktown kicks off its regular season August 26 against traditional rival Highland.  In a couple of years the Freddies and Highland will be in the same league when Fredericktown joins the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.  The opener will be followed by games against Columbus Bishop Ready and Crestview.

          Last season, a lot of people were discussing who was a better football team Clear Fork, the Ohio Cardinal Conference champs, or Fredericktown.  Of course, they met for many years on the football field and that tradition will be rekindled as the two teams will play in the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

 

 
   

Fredericktown Has Their Man

           Fredericktown has a new boys’ basketball coach and it’s a man who enjoyed great success as a player at nearby Clear Fork High School.

          Mark Delaney, who last season was the boys’ basketball coach at Marion Local High School in Maria Stein, Ohio, become not only the boys’ hoops coach, but also the Dean of Students and the Director of Activities at Fredericktown.  “It doesn’t get any better than to get back to this area and be close to home.  I am definitely excited to be a Freddie,” Delaney told Swankonsports.com.  Maria Stein is near the Indiana boarder, some three hours away from Delaney’s home in the valley, but he says he always had the idea of relocating closer to home.  “This was a school system that was always in the back of my mind if it opened up because it was so close to my family.  I’m just so familiar with the town.  There are many great people back here.  It’s a place where my wife and I can raise a family and put down some roots,” said Delaney.  His wife is also familiar to the area.  Delaney is married to the former Kim Bowman, also a Clear Fork graduate.

          Delaney was named to the position after a search which started when Kirk Manns left Fredericktown to become athletic director at Mansfield Madison.  The Freddies won the Mid-Buckeye Conference championship last season as they did in football and baseball.  The Freedies topped the MBC standings with a 13-1 and conference record in basketball.  They lost a district semi-final game to Bloom Carroll 46-27.

          June is a crucial month for high school basketball programs even though it is some six months before the beginning of the season because it is a time when the Ohio High School Athletic Association allows coaches contact with their players.  It is a time for team practices and camps.  “I have had a chance to meet the kids and introduce myself,” said Delaney.  He believes the Freddies have a chance to be good again next year because the building blocks are there.  “We’ve got a bunch of young kids.  We’ll be young, but I think we’ll have one of the best players in the area,” Delaney said.  Fredericktown returns 6’6” Ryan Logan, who will be a junior this coming winter.  Logan was first team all MBC and an all-district selection.  Fredericktown under Manns was a very deliberate team, in fact one of the most deliberate in Ohio, often playing games in which neither side scored 30 points.  There will be an abrupt change this season according to Delaney.  “We are going to get up and down the floor.  I want to put points on the board.  We are going to pressure offensively and defensively,” he said.

          One of Delaney’s first jobs will not involve basketball.  He will be forced to find a new baseball coach as Rusty Staab resigned as the Freddies coach after just one season at the helm.  “I just have so many things going on with my kids that I don’t have the time to devote to the program that I feel is needed,” Staab told Swankonsports.com.  Staab led Fredericktown to a league title this spring.  He is also a former coach at Clear Fork, where he still teaches at the middle school.

 

 
   

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