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Fisher’s Walk Off Homer Gives Margaretta Win

   

          Margaretta’s James Fisher hammered a two run walk off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Polar Bears a (7-5) win over Galion in the division three district semi-final at Shelby High School on Thursday.

          Fisher had been called in to pitch in the seventh inning and failed to hold the lead allowing Galion to tie the game (5-5) and force extra innings.

          Polar Bears coach Gregg Hedden says he was especially happy for Fisher.  “I felt good for 17.  He blows the save, balks, loses composure.  He is batting .500, he is a heck of a baseball player.  He puts pressure on himself and he is a 17 year-old kid and then he comes back to do that, so I really felt good for him that he could recover from that,” he said.

          Galion took a (1-0) lead in the first on a sacrifice fly by Will Donahue.  He added an RBI double in the top of the third to make it (3-0), but the Bears came right back to tie in their half on Fisher’s two-run double that kicked up chalk on the leftfield line to trim their deficit to one (3-2) after three.  Margaretta went in front (4-3) in the fifth with two runs keyed by RBI infield single by starting pitcher Jacob Luna.  It was (5-3) in the bottom of the sixth when Noah Esposito singled and scored on wild pitch. 

          Fisher was summoned after Devin Baugh reached on a walk and Chase Castline was hit by pitch.  He got Ryan Taubert to fly out, but then balked in Baugh in and Castline scored the tying run on a wild pitch. 

“Baseball is a funny sport and sometimes it is not your day.  A couple of those hits fall in by inches.  They had a couple of infield hits.  It was their day.  We hit the ball hard I thought.  We left a couple of runs out there that we wished we would have plated, so we didn’t have to go into extras.  If you leave a team in long enough and they find a way to score, especially that home team.  I am proud of our effort all year, you could never question that.  (Thursday) was just Margaretta’s day,” said Galion coach Phil Jackson.

Hedden really feels his team has battled adversity this year, but they have found some confidence.  “You still have to talk about the team.  I have a shortstop that got hurt in the sectional final and he has to come in and play and he is not ready.  We battled, we overcame, we threw somebody out at the plate, they threw somebody out at the plate.  It was a heck of a high school baseball game,” said Hedden.

Last season, Galion beat Maragretta (3-2) in nine innings in the sectional.  “That makes me fell pretty good too.  We only go extra innings.  They do a nice job, their coaching does a nice job and their kids play well.  They don’t make mistakes.  We probably made more mistakes, but maybe at the end we made a couple more plays.  The district level that is what is comes down to,” he said.

Margaretta’s Simon Kromer was thrown out at the play in the fourth inning and Donahue was cut down at home trying to score in the top of the eighth.

Margaretta (10-11) plays Clear Fork (15-11) in the district final on Saturday afternoon at Shelby.  The Colts beat Edison (10-1) in the nightcap.

Hedden says their schedule has been the difference for them in the post season.  “We play a really difficult schedule.  We didn’t get any non-conference games in.  We played no division four teams, we played four division three teams, everybody else is division two.  Clyde, Perkins, Vermilion.  We are losing games 4-3, 5-4.  We took Vermilion to a 2-2 tie in nine innings and we beat Clyde two nights later and then we found ourselves.  They found a rhythm.  They are a little annoying, but as long as they are not talking to the umpires or coaches on the other team they create some energy.  As long as they follow the rules,” said Hedden speaking on the Bears vocal dugout.

 

Published 5/19/17

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Galion Rips Mohawk; Prepares for the Tournament

  

          Galion, having qualified for the division three district tournament, picked up a game Monday with Mohawk, a district semi finalist in division four, and beat the Warriors 9-1 in non conference play.

          Galion scored four times in the bottom of the first inning and never trailed in the game as four Tiger pitchers combined on a four hitter for Galion. 

          Mohawk had a balk, and error and a couple of passed balls in that first inning.  Garrett Kuns also had a two run double in the first.  The Tigers scored three more in fifth added by a couple of walks and a hit batter.

          Coach Phil Jackson says he was pleased to see the Tigers were ready to play in the game.  “I was happy to see us put a good effort in with games being played sporadically mixing tournament with league there towards the end of the year there.  It was an all around good effort with good hitting and good pitching.  I hope we are peaking at the right time and it seems like we are,” he said.

          Galion (15-10) plays Margaretta, who lost in a bay division game to Vermilion (5-2) on Monday, in the division three district semis at Shelby High School on Thursday.

         Coach Phil Jackson believes his team is going to be well prepared for what they see Thursday.  “We have approached the last couple of weeks of the season as if it was a tournament atmosphere.  We have played the likes of Shelby, Madison, and Norwalk as pick up games trying to get ourselves ready for tournament,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday night, “Not trying to pad our schedule, but trying to get ourselves ready.  I think the players have responded and the experience of last season is really going to pay off for us.”

          They lost to Clear Fork in the district final last year.

          Margaretta shutout the top seed in the tournament Seneca East (5-0) last Friday.  Galion beat Margaretta (3-2) in nine innings in the tournament last year and Jackson knows they are going to be in for a tough battle on Thursday.  “We played them last year and they really didn’t lose too many people, so they are all back.  They probably haven’t had the season they have wanted to.  They are a scrappy team.  They never give up until the last out.  We are approaching it as if they are now the number one seed.  If you knock off the top dog now you are the top dog until somebody knocks you off, so we are kind of approaching it that way,” said Jackson.

 

Published 5/16/17

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Galion Rallies to Beat Buckeye Valley

  

          After giving up three in the top of the seventh, Galion rallied to score four in the bottom of the seventh and beat Buckeye Valley (6-5) in a red division game in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference on Wednesday.

          Mac Spears came up with the game winning hit for the Tigers and coach Phil Jackson says they developing the right mental approach to baseball games.  “Everybody believes that it isn’t over until that last out is made.  When you get that mentality it is tough to beat a team that believes that.  You are battling throughout the whole game and every mistake you make they capitalize on.  I am happy to see we are developing that at the right time where we think we are in the game until that last out.  That really showed (Wednesday,)” said Jackson.

          High school sports is a lot about momentum and Jackson says his kids where able to feed off that excitement on Wednesday and come up with the win.  “Everybody wants to make that big hit or make that last out.  The dugout just comes alive with all of the chatter and the crowd comes alive.  It just creates that momentum.  High school baseball is exciting at this time of year.  You are happy for the kids to finally get it done and come through when they are needed most,” he said.

          Galion (14-8,8-4) earned the third seed in the division three tournament next week.  They play Western Reserve of the Firelands Conference on May 12.

          Jackson believes they really are playing their best baseball of the season and that is what you want.  “There are days when maybe we aren’t peaking.  I think we battled a good Shelby team the other day, but we didn’t play our best.  Played a pretty decent Northmor team the other day and came back and played Buckeye Valley.  I don’t know how they have such a losing record they are a talented squad,” he told Swankonsports.com after the win on Wednesday night, “We are not shying away from competition.  We want to play good competition.  Next Monday we have Madison at home.  We are going to try to be peaking at the right time when tournament hits and let’s hope that pays off.”

 

Published 5/04/17

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Galion Beats State’s Top Team

  

          Garrett Kuns went the distance and scattered six hits as Galion handed Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference red division leader Jonathan Alder just its second loss of the season in beating the Pioneers (5-2) in a conference game on Wednesday.

          Tigers coach Phil Jackson knows the significance of the win on Wednesday.  He says the Pioneers are a tremendous team and he is very proud of his kids.  “That was a huge win.  People up here don’t know much about Alder, but they are a perennial power.  They are currently ranked number one in the state.  Our kids came ready to play (Wednesday) like I have not seen in quite some time.  I was pleased with out approach,” he said.

          In order to beat a team like Jonathan Alder you have to be at your very best.  Jackson says his kids were focused on Wednesday.  “You have to have that mentality.  You have to be focused in your pre game activities and have your mind right.  You know, these guys are kids we are working with.  Throughout the day the go through girlfriend-boyfriend problems and school work and things like that.  When they get to the field they have to be able to flip that switch and focus on the game ahead,” he said.

          Kuns did not walk anybody and gave up only one extra base hit against Alder.  Jackson says he has been getting great leadership from his seniors.  “That is something we have worked on for the past couple of years.  I think we have really developed that.  Garrett Kuns pitched a gem (Wednesday) and he was a little behind at the beginning of the season because he went to the state championships in wrestling,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday night after the win over Alder, “So, that really put us behind and we struggled for a couple of weeks.  The other seniors stepped up and now he is starting to do the same.  We are starting to jell as a team.  We are playing good baseball right now.”

 

Published 4/27/17

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Galion Rallies to Belt Marion Harding

  

          Trailing (3-2) going to the fifth inning, the Galion Tigers scored six in the fifth and three more in the sixth to beat Marion Harding (11-3) in a red division game in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference on Wednesday.

          Will Donahue had four RBI and Mac Spears went the distance on the mound and scattering eight hits, walking three and striking out six.

          Coach Phil Jackson says they are limiting their mistakes, they had only one error on Wednesday, and that is allowing them to take advantage of their offense.  “We are eliminating some of the silly mistakes that early in the season were costing us.  Early we were out hitting some of our opponents two to one and still finding ways to lose the game.  It seems like lately we have cut down on a lot of those mistakes and put the ball in play when we needed to.  My seniors have stepped up and we have really got some timely hitting, so the runs are starting to show on the board and some meaningful at bats, so I am very happy,” said Jackson.

          Tiger hitters only struck out four times on Wednesday and Jackson says when you put the ball in play some good things can happen.  “There are a lot of good high school players around, but they will kick the ball and boot the ball around a little bit if you just hit a hard ground ball at them good things will happen.  Balls will squeak through gaps when you try and eliminate that strikeout.  We work on two strike hitting hard to have our kids to be able to take that approach where you are still going to take a swing, but you are going to do something for the team you are going to put that ball in play,” he said.

          Galion (8-5,5-3) has put together a five game winning streak and remains on the edge of the race in the red division, three games behind leader Jonathan Alder.

          Jackson says they have been getting good pitching lately too and that has been a big plus.  “The stats aren’t always the full story.  I have a great couple of pitchers in Mac Spears and Garrett Kuns.  Mac threw all seven innings (Wednesday) night against a really tough Harding team and just battled the whole time.  I was a really tight zone, but he was locating really well.  I am very happy with the way he is devolving,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday night after the game, “Garrett Kuns is 4-1 right now.  We are rolling.  Winning five straight makes everybody feel really good.  We have a couple of young pitchers that are starting to deal a little bit, so I am very happy with that.”

 

Published 4/20/17

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Galion Needs to Relax

  

          Galion is a baseball team that can do a lot of things this season.  What they need more than anything right now is for some of their younger kids to relax a little bit.

          They lost a couple of tight games in the red division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference this week to Marion Harding (7-3) on Monday and Marion Pleasant (2-1) on Wednesday.

          Coach Phil Jackson says some mistakes really hurt them in those games.  “You want to forget about some of the past maybe mental mistakes and get the kids out there and relax and perform and get this season under way and get some kind of rhythm,” he said.

          Galion (3-2,1-2) brings some guys back that advanced to the district tournament a year ago, but Jackson says they also have some kids that are trying to get used to varsity baseball.  “Looking back I like our talent verses the talent we are matching up against.  I think we lost two games this past week that are very winnable for us and I like where we stand with them the next time we play,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “What seems to be happening with us is we have some young kids that are maybe a little nervous at the plate and trying to do a little too much instead of relaxing and putting the ball in play.  We had that discussion (Thursday.)  If they relax I think our seniors and our leaders are performing very well we just need a little more production down near the bottom.”

          Galion is supposed to play Ontario is a doubleheader on Saturday if the weather allows.  They return to play in the red division on Monday at talented Jonathan Alder, the division leader.

          Jackson says they need to take what they have been doing in practice and do the same things in game.  “We have some great talented kids and our non game swings are beautiful so you know it is there.  That transition from the cage to the field is all about confidence and relaxing and just simplifying things.  It is about seeing the ball and hitting the ball,” he said.

 

Published 4/07/17

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Galion Edges Buckeye Valley in 9

  

          Mac Spears two out double in the top of the ninth scored Garrett Kuns from first base and the Galion Tigers made it hold up and beat Buckeye Valley (5-4) in red division game in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference on Wednesday.

          Galion scored three in the first and led (4-1) after four, but the Barons scored once in the fifth and twice in the sixth to tie the score.

          Coach Phil Jackson says his kids showed a lot of perseverance to come up with the win in the opener for both teams in red division play.  “It was a classic game to be a part of.  To come out on top in that not only is great for our confidence, but it was just a great game to be part of.  Our kids just refused to lose.  I couldn’t be anymore proud.  That long bus ride goes a whole lot quicker when you come out on top.  We are very tickled,” he said.

          Spears had three hits on the day for the Tigers.  Ryan Talbott, Mitch Dyer, Kuns, and Will Donahue all had two hits and Galion totaled 13 on the day.

          Spears also got the starting nod and went six innings giving uo four runs on five hits.  Kuns threw the final three to get the win, allowing two hits and striking out two.

          Galion (2-0,1-0) beat Buckeye Central (10-0) on Monday. In a non-conference game.  Jackson says they have done some good things pitching and kin the batter’s box too here on the first week.  “We had some ups and downs in the preseason and to get out and get a couple of big wins here early has given some of our young kids confidence and jell,” he told Swankonsports.com after the win, “I think our pitching is there and the hitting is coming around, so I’m happy where we stand.  We hope to get some games in.  We have a game Friday at River Valley, a tough team over there, and then Saturday go up to Willard and see what we can do.”

          There is a 50/50 chance we will get wet on Thursday and the NWS says 80 percent on Friday.  That means maybe no baseball either day.  Jackson says if you play in Ohio you have to have mental discipline.  “I think the team that handles bouncing back and forth between the gym and outside practice and games.  To handle that it takes good leadership and focus.  If you handle that well you are going to come out on top.  When you play a spring sport in Ohio you better be mentally tough.  Maybe a game is going to happen that you thought was going to be rained out or you are not going to be able to play today so you have to get some work done in the gym,” said Jackson.

 

Published 3/30/17

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Galion to Get Tougher Test

  

          Galion had an easy time with Bucyrus on week one, but their challenge is probably going to tougher when they meet Cardington in non-conference play on Friday night.

          In their first game, the Tigers put up three touchdowns in the first quarter last week and went on to destroy Bucyrus (42-0) last Friday.

          First year coach Matt Dick was pleased that his new offense got some things going.  “It was exciting to see our offense get rolling for the first time.  In the scrimmages we really struggled to move the ball.  I felt our offensive line took a step blocking in the red zone, blocking a little nastier.  We need to get a little lower, so there is still room for improvement.  All of our backs, all of our skilled athletes, that touched the ball had yards per carry, yards per catch that were through the roof.  It was exciting to see them have a great weekend,” said Dick.

          Still this is a football team that has the potential to get better.  Dick says they are still becoming comfortable with their power running game they want to feature.  “We have a lot of room to grow.  We are learning a new system.  We just don’t have the reps that a normal team would.  I would like to see our O-line with their gap doubles do it a thousand times, maybe 2,000 times, and we are still on like 500.  That comfort level isn’t there on our team because it is still new.  We are still trying to prefect all of those little details that make you great,” he said.

          Galion travels to Cardington on Friday night.  The Pirates hammered Worthington Christian (49-13) last week.  Dick says they have a lot of weapons to cover.  “I definitely think it is a tougher challenge this week.  Offensively almost every play fits together.  We have to defend the whole field.  There is some type of option play on every play.  They can go back and throw the ball or they are reading the backside end and pulling it and they are running bubbles.  You really have to defend the whole field.  They also have a great receiver in Devon Pearl, who is going to stretch us deep.  Sometimes I think the quarterback thinks it just time to throw him the ball.  Those two are a nice combination,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “It is going to be a tough challenge for our defense this week, but hopefully we are up to it.  Defensively, they are a 5-2 and they put a lot of guys in the box.  They try and make you throw and spread the field out and it make it hard to run.  So, it is going to be tough with five guys coming every play whether it is run or pass and we are going to have to deal with that up front.”

 

Published 9/02/16

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Galion Wants to be a Power Team

  

          It’s a new era of football for the Galion Tigers with a new head coach in former Fredericktown offensive coordinator Matt Dick.

          They want to feature a power running game to eat some clock and score some points.

          In the preseason Dick has seen some good things, but has been concerned by the lack of consistency he has seen in scrimmages.  He hopes they got that worked out on Monday.  “We have had some highs and some lows.  We have been real inconsistent.  I think some of that starts with practice.  We are really going to try and change culture of how we practice around here,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday night, “Lately we just haven’t got the hustle, the ethic, the focus that we need.  Monday we had a great practice, probably our best practice of the year and (Tuesday) we are going to try and do the same thing.  A high intensity practice is going to take care some of those lows in the scrimmages that we have seen.”

          Dick says they want to pound the gaps with aggressive running backs and keep those sticks moving down the field.  “We are going to hang our hat on the gap double-t and being nasty up front.  We have a lot of new starters up there on the o-line.  There is a new system.  A lot of them are young.  That being said we are not there yet, but we want to hang our hat on the gap double.  We are gap team running power and trey and pulling the guard and tackle, pulling H-back, some type of power option, those types of plays.  Defensively, getting 11 guys that are pursing to the ball with their head on fire,” said Dick.

          Galion plays longtime rival Bucyrus in a non-league game on Friday night.  Dick says Bucyrus puts together a good offensive game plan and they will have to sound on defense to stop it.  “I really like the way their offense fits plays together.  They have a screen going to the left and out, out fade going to the right.  They are pairing stuff together.  The coach does a great job over there fitting the offense all together and making you cover the whole field.  If you are not sound on defense they are going to take advantage of it,” he said.

 

Published 8/23/16

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Galion Downs Edison in District Play

 

          Matt Hardy got the win and added three hits as Galion beat Edison (5-2) Thursday afternoon in a division three district semi-final.

          They play Clear Fork (16-12) for a district title on Saturday at Mansfield Madison High School.

          Coach Phil Jackson says Hardy has been a go to guy for them, especially over the last month.  "The second half of the season he has really stepped up.  He has taken that senior role pretty seriously.  He is always coming through in the times that you need to have somebody come through.  I am very proud of him," he said.

          Edison took the lead, scoring a run in the second, but Galion got a four spot in the fourth to take command.

          Clay Cooper, the outstanding Edison lefthander, struck out seven on the day for the Chargers, but Jackson says they were able reach him enough.  "We typically do pretty well against those hard throwing lefties.  Clay Cooper of Edison is a legit pitcher.  He is a great junior.  One of the better pitchers in our district.  We just battled with him.  He struck seven or eight out, at key times especially.  We were able to him enough.  We put some bunts into play and create some situations that were beneficial to us," Jackson.

          Galion has had to battle in the tough red division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference against the likes of Jonathan Alder and Marion Pleasant.  Jackson believes they have gotten better through the year.  "We have worked hard.  I couldn't be any more proud of the kids.  They are believing in the system.  They are doing the things they need to to be a good team player," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday night, "We had some struggles early and some of it was getting some of our kids eligible to play.  We have a transfer at catcher that we were waiting to be eligible to play.  That made us a stronger team by eliminating passed balls and cutting down on steals.  That has really changed what we do somewhat."

          Galion beat Clear Fork (3-2) last year in a first round tournament game.  Clear Fork won a regular season game (4-0) in March.  Jackson believe they will be able to control the Colts running game a little more.  "Rusty (Staab) always have a great program down there.  I have great respect for them.  We were not happy with the outcome of the first game of our season.  I thought we didn't score when we had the opportunities.  We gave them a lot free passes.  We gave them six stolen bases and three or four passed balls, which created scoring opportunities for them.  We out hit them I think 9-3, but lose the game 4-0.  I think we are a lot better team and they are as well.  We have a full season under our belts against tough competition.  I look forward to a good game that could go either way.  When the bracket came out I thought these would be the two teams that would be here," said Jackson.

 

Published 5/20/16

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Galion Outlasts Margaretta

 

          Galion scored a run in the bottom of the ninth inning and got past Margaretta (3-2) to win a division three sectional championship on Thursday.

          Margaretta scored first in the top half of the second, Galion responded with two in their half of the third, the Polar Bears tied it in the sixth, and that was the way it stayed until the ninth.

          Tigers coach Phil Jackson says it was a tremendous game.  "It is sad that a team had to lose.  It was a hard fought game and both sides were making plays.  We had a lot of opportunities.  We out hit them 10 to three, but we didn't get the timely hit.  They made the plays.  There was one inning when there were three plays when somebody was running up diving and they made all three plays.  If one of those drops in we win the game.  It was really one those great battles that I was glad to be a part of," he said,.

          Tyler Castline had four hits on the day and Garrett Kuns added two more for the Tigers.  Kuns and Matt Hardy combined on a three hitter with Kuns going the first five and third, allowing two hits and Hardy went the final three and two thirds, giving up just one hit.  There were no earned runs.

          You have to have some grit and determination to win games like this and Jackson feels the schedule they play in the red division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference really helps.  "I think some of that comes from that league we play in.  We went through some adversity early in the year where we lost five or six straight," he told Swankonsports.com after the win, "I think we developed some grit.  We went to Shelby and took a pretty good beating down there and we really didn't compete.  From there we were able to build it back up and play with some confidence with that grit."

          Galion (13-9) plays Edison (6-14,) a (6-2) winner over top seeded Seneca East on Thursday, in next week's district semi finals at Madison High School.

          Jackson says he knows the Chargers are playing very well right now and it is going to be a battle.  "It is going to be a tough one.  I played Edison when I was at Ontario.  We seemed to play them a lot.  It's a good program.  Coach Hoover over there does a great job.  It's tournament time and those records don't mean a lot right now.  It is the team that is peaking at the right time and if they are playing with confidence.  It is going to be a tough one for us.  I hope we will be ready for it," said Jackson.

 

Published 5/13/16

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Galion Downs Pleasant

 

          Galion stayed in second place in the red division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference after a (4-2) win over Marion Pleasant on Monday.

          Coach Phil Jackson says his pitchers were able to stay ahead in the count and that was key.  "Like every team with a good pitcher if you stay ahead in the count, get ahead early, and work in your off speed stuff, you are going to be affective.  We have kids that can throw the ball and spot their stuff and they are very happy about that.  These next couple of weeks and getting into the tournament that is going to be important," he said.

          At the plate, Jackson says he would like the kids to be more patient and wait on their pitch rather than reaching for something and that would allow them to be more consistent.  "We have struggled at times against some of the pitchers we are facing in a very tough conference.  At other times we are waiting on our pitch, sitting on our pitch, and driving it.  A good hitter will look for his pitch.  Sometimes we are up in a count and get an inside pitch and are just kind of are blooping it for a foul ball out.  We need to get back to waiting on a pitch and driving it," said Jackson.

          Galion (9-9) plays Margaretta (7-5) in the division three tournament on Saturday.  Jackson says it will nice to be able to play a tournament game on their home field.  "We are excited about it.  It is the first time we have hosted.  We have always had to play away, so it is kind of nice to get a home game," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday night, "It is going to bring a good crowd.  Margaretta had just played Pleasant, who we beat (Monday,) over the weekend, so we got to talk to their coach quite a bit and get a good feel for what we will be facing.  We have to look to play our best baseball come next Thursday."

 

Published 5/03/16

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Galion Gets Monkey of its Back

 

          Tyler Castline had four hits and Matt Hardy pitched a complete game as the Galion Tigers broke a five game losing streak in beating Buckeye Valley (11-5) on Wednesday in a red division game in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.

          Coach Phil Jackson admits the pressure had been building on the team and it felt good to finally get a win.  "It feels amazing.  Last week we got on a bad roll and we lost some games that we shouldn't have lost, a couple of heartbreakers.  It just got us down.  We were pressing and finally (Wednesday) we relaxed and played good Galion baseball and things fell into place for us like they should have," said Jackson.

          The losing streak included an (11-10) loss to North Union, a (4-3) loss to River Valley and a (9-7) loss to Marion Pleasant on Monday.  Jackson says they had some confidence issues.  "It makes you question what you are going up there and how you are coaching the kids and what they are thinking when they are at the plate.  I am glad we had a day off (Tuesday) and got a practice in and could relax," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday night, "In a couple of the losses we had a lead, a big lead, one of them late, and we lose that game.  Everybody was snipping at one another, but winning solves a lot of issues."

          Castline had been batting in the leadoff position for Galion all season, but Jackson put him in the number nine hole against Buckeye Valley and it seemed to work.  "I changed a lot of things.  Not only the batting order, but I changed which side I carried my wallet in.  I tried everything to make things fall in place the way they needed to do.  I changed my leadoff guys.  I moved my leadoff guy, Tyler Castline, from first down to ninth and he got four hits (Wednesday,) which were big.  Every time we had guys in scoring position we knocked them in.  Matt Hardy pitched a gem.  He hadn't been pitching that great as of late.  He pitched a complete game for us, which was great," said Jackson.

          Galion (5-7,4-4) plays Buckeye Valley (4-5,4-3) again on Thursday and Marion Harding (3-11,1-8) on Friday in red division games, weather permitting.

 

Published 4/21/16\

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Galion Stays Unbeaten in Conference

 

          Galion had five players with at least a hit, their pitching staff allowed only seven hits, but maybe the most important thing on Wednesday was they didn't have any errors.

          That led to a (4-3) win over Marion Harding and a share of first place in the red division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.

          Coach Phil Jackson says they didn't play their best baseball against Harding, but they were good enough to win.  "It is tough canceling games and going in the gym and coming back out and maintaining your focus and staying sharp.  I don't mean to make excuses because every team goes through that.  I understand how teams kind of lose there edge when they have to do that," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday night, "(Wednesday) was one of the days when we didn't do all of the little things that we have been doing right, but we came away with a win and that is the most important thing."

          It was Galion's first action since a doubleheader sweep of Willard on Saturday.

          Jackson really feels like their defense was the difference in getting the win on Wednesday.  "Our defense has been rock solid.  Our seniors, our leaders, they step up, when the moment is called for.  That was the difference (Wednesday.)  We had some players step up and make the plays, some routine plays and even some spectacular plays and their team did not and that was really the difference in the game," he said.

          Galion (4-1,2-0) plays Buckeye Valley on Thursday and Fairbanks on Friday in red division games, if the weather permits, and Jackson says he wants to get back on the field and continue to get better as a team.  "I want to keep that momentum going.  You want to keep playing, and even if you are winning ugly, keep that momentum and stuff.  This is a young group and I look for us to still struggle at times and if we can get past that.  When we are on we are really, really good, but we have to get more consistent and that is going to come with experience," he said.

 

Published 4/07/16

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Big Inning Gives Galion League Win

 

          Galion broke open a close game with six runs in the sixth inning and went on to pound River Valley (9-3) in a red division game in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference on Wednesday.

          Leadoff hitter Tyler Castline had two hits, including a homer, and four RBI for the Tigers, who also got three hits a piece from Matt Hardy and Mac Spears.  "We got some production surprisingly form different pats of our lineup.  It wasn't the three, four, and five hitters that were producing (Wednesday) it was the other spots.  We still aren't firing on all cylinders, but when we do I look for good things," said coach Phil Jackson.

          Garrett Kuns went the distance on the mound for the Tigers, allowing only five hits, striking out eight and walking only one over the seven innings.  "Garrett Kuns was lights out, especially for the first five.  I wouldn't say he got into the trouble, but when we got him the lead he wasn't as sharp.  He had a really low pitch count, so we kept him in there.  He did a nice job of keeping them off balance and keeping runners off base," said Jackson.

          If the rain allows, Galion (1-1) hosts Colonel Crawford (2-3) in a non-conference game on Thursday and they plays another important league game against Marion Pleasant on Friday.  Jackson says they want to take the momentum for Wednesday into the rest of the week.  "There is a lot more baseball to be played," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday night, "We are going to ride of momentum of this win (Wednesday) and host Crawford (Thursday,) if the weather cooperates and play our best baseball and take that momentum into another very important league game against Pleasant before our weekend doubleheader.  I like this time of year where games are getting stacked up and you have to have a deep pitching staff to get through it."

          The "MOAC" has proven to be a better baseball league than in some other sports and Jackson says anytime there is game to be played in the red division you better be ready.  "In the red division there are no give me games.  Every time you play somebody you better be throwing your best pitcher and not try to save somebody for another game and you better be playing defense behind them and be focused on that single game and not be looking ahead.  Anybody can beat anybody on a given day," he said.

 

Published 3/31/16

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Clear Fork Freshman Shuts Out Galion

 

          Clear Fork freshmen right hander Mitch Dulin scattered eight hits in a complete game shutout as the Colts blanked Galion (4-0) in a non-conference baseball game on Monday afternoon at Legion Field.

          Dulin was not overpowering for the Colts, but he didn't walk a batter and he was consistently able to get out of trouble.  "He threw strikes.  The biggest thing this year that we tell the pitchers is let's not start innings with walks and he didn't have a walk (Monday.)  He pitched a complete game shutout.  Our defense played phenomenal.  Ricky (Bartrum) had a couple of unassisted double plays.  They had the bases loaded a couple of times and we got out of it with just simple ground balls and we got out of it and that's what we have to do," said coach Rusty Staab.

          His biggest "Houdini" act came in fifth inning when Galion's seventh, eighth, and ninth hitters all got singles in Will Donahue, Micthell Dyer and Josh Eckert, but Dulin would strikeout leadoff hitter Tyler Castline and Clear Fork second baseman Ricky Bartrum recorded the first of is unassisted double plays to end the inning. 

          The Colts took a (1-0) lead in the first when leadoff hitter Caleb Merendino was hit by a pitch, stole second, went to third on a ground ball, and scored on a fly ball by Thomas Staab.

          Staab says they certainly left some runs out there.  "Our offense is kind of sputtering right now.  He scored four and we probably should have had at least another four, but when you have a great catcher and someone tries to take advantage he is going to throw people out and called a great game and did a great job, let's hope he continues it," he said.

          Galion (0-1) grounded into two double plays, left seven on base, and had a man thrown out at the plate trying to score from second on a single.  Coach Phil Jackson says Clear Fork made the big plays.  "When they needed a key hit they got it.  When our infield was pulled in they would bloop it over and we didn't get that.  That's baseball.  I not too disappointed about the way we put the ball in play.  I thought we tagged a few of them and they made the double plays when they need too," he said.

          Clear Fork extended their lead to (3-0) on RBI hits by Luke Clark and Shane Klenk in the third inning.  Staab says they were able to do a lot of the little things. "We thought we could get a good jump on the catcher and we did have a few stolen bases and we had a few nice bunts and that kind of started things.  Thomas (Staab) got us a fly ball to get us our first run and then it just seemed like it was exactly the way we lost to Harding we had so many opportunities and it didn't happen and I thought here we go again, but a little itty bitty hit to left field got us a couple of runs.  We'll take it," he said after the win, "That's my biggest concern right now is our offense.  We have Ashland coming up and hopefully it warms up a little more and the offense can wake up too."

          Clear Fork (2-1,0-0) is at home Tuesday for Ashland (0-0,0-0,) who had a game with Shelby suspended due to darkness Monday with the game tied at 1-1.  Staab says this will be another good Ashland team.  "Ashland lost quite a few players, but they still have (Logan) Brewer and a couple of other good players.  They always have depth and I think they are going to be a huge challenge throughout the year for everybody in the "OCC," he said.

 

Published 3/29/16

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Galion Young, but Building

 

          Galion is going to have some inexperience on the baseball diamond this year, but they are going to be good enough to win some games, maybe a lot of games, it just depends on how they develop.

          They scrimmaged one of area's best programs in Lexington on Tuesday and coach Phil Jackson was pleasantly surprised with what he saw on the field.  "I have been more happy than I thought I would be.  We are still pretty young, but I have seen a lot of good things, especially from our first couple of pitchers.  When we get them in there we seem to be able to throw strikes and keep runners off the bases.  Even (Tuesday) we were going three, four, five against Lex and I thought we battled.  I was proud and thought we battled adversity and battled back and evened the score many times.  I have seen a lot of good things.  There is still a lot we have to work on, but at this point in the season I am pretty happy," said Jackson.

          If you are going to be a good baseball team you have to have depth.  Jackson says all of your guys have to be ready to play.  "Injuries can pop up at anytime and a lot of the teams in the area know that.  You have to have the next guy up mentality and that person has got to be ready and you have to coach them throughout the week and they have to practice like they are going to be the starter.  I am fairly pleased with our overall depth at most positions.  There are a couple were are thin on.  We are working hard to get those things remedied," he said.

          Fundamentals are key for the baseball teams.  There are just so many little things.  Jackson says they work on those a lot before the season begins.  "We do a lot of first and third plays.  You have a some steals and signals and everybody has certain things they like to do.  You really have to work on the fundamentals like hitting the cut off man," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday night, "I don't know how many times (Tuesday) both Galion and Lexington missed their cut off man and allowed another runner to move up into scoring position.  Those are things we nip in the bud in the spring early before the season starts and hope that in the season when you need it that experience will pay off."

          This is the second season for Galion to be in the red division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.  Jackson says they are going to be in competition with a lot of teams that are pretty good.  "It is a really good baseball league.  Jonathan Alder as always is a powerhouse in baseball and they keep that tradition rolling year in and year out.  You have Buckeye Valley and River Valley and there just isn't a week off.  Pleasant has been really good over the past several years.  I think we are going to rise up and surprise some people that don't expect much from us," he said.

 

Published 3/23/16

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Western Belts Galion

 

          Freshman Jaret Griffith scored six of his team high 10 points in first two and half minutes of the game as Western Reserve raced to an (11-0) lead and went on to punish Galion (65-47) in a division three district semi-final on Thursday night at Norwalk High School.

          They play Edison (22-2) for a district title on Saturday night at Norwalk.

          Coach Chris Sheldon says they ran the floor, made shots and contained Galion's leading scorer in Houston Blair.  "We came out and really shot it well to start with.  We got going in transition.  We are pretty good in the open floor and we had the right guys stepping up and making big shots.  I think it rattled them a little bit.  From that point on our defensive game plan worked to a "T" to hold Houston Blair to five points and basically take them out of their all of their offensive flow," he told Swankonsports.com after the win, "I didn't know how we were going to rebound among all of those athletes, but we were gladiators (Thursday) night.  That is a credit to my kids and their belief to want to go in and win a basketball game knowing that that was what it was going to take.  We went out and did that for 32 minutes."

          Galion coach Colby Bright says it hard to beat a team that shot as well as Western did.  "It was more of them hitting shots.  I am good friends with one of their assistant coaches and some of these guys weren't shooting like that all year.  They hit a lot of shots and played really, really well," he said.

          Blair was one the leading scorers in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference this year and Sheldon says they were determined to limit his opportunities.  "We felt he is such the face of their basketball team and they really control so much tempo in what they do and he is that good of a player.  We just said if they are going to beat us he ain't going to be the reason.  Our kids to their credit where just tremendous all night long with it.  We stuck with it, stuck with it, stuck with it.  It happened to be very, very successful for us," he said.

          Colton Moore led Galion (12-12) with 25 points, including all 11 of their first quarter markers.

          Bright says that Western Reserve (16-7) had them well scouted and did a good job of taking them out of what they wanted to do.  "I think they kind of knew the scoop if you get it out of Houston's hands and we struggle.  They didn't let him do anything all night and he is the key to our whole operation and that hurt," he said.

          Western Reserve had 10 three pointers on the night, including three Tyler Bartlett, who finished with 13 points and they got a season high 15 from Aaron Logan, all in the second half.  "Tyler is our second best three point shooter and he shot the ball extremely, extremely well.  When he is shooting it and the contributions we got from Aaron Logan off the bench, his best game of the year.  You always want seniors to play well at tournament time and he did (Thursday) night.  It was just a huge deciding factor for us.  All night long we were just in a rhythm and they couldn't get us out of it," said Sheldon.

 

Published 3/03/16

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Galion Faces Good Defense in Western Reserve

 

          Galion takes on Western Reserve in the division three district semi finals at Norwalk High School on Thursday night.

          The Tigers (12-11) took a big early lead and downed Margaretta (52-35) at Shelby High School last Friday. 

          Coach Colby Bright says the quick start was key and he hopes they can do that again on Thursday night.  "I was really proud of how they got after it.  We wanted to set the tone early against a team that was very young and inexperienced and we were able to get out on them 19-3 at the start.  Maybe we can do something like that to Western Reserve, they are a younger team.  Obviously this will be a bigger challenge," he said.

          Galion likely plays as good a schedule as anyone else in the district and Bright says they believe that is an advantage for them heading into this week.  "We have been telling the kids that all year.  Don't get discouraged by the regular season.  We are playing one of the most difficult schedules that you can play for a division three team," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "We have seen about every style of basketball you could see and about every kind of athlete and that has really go us to prepared.  Western Reserve reminds us of some teams we have seen already in the "MOAC."  It has been a pretty seamless processes getting ready for them."

          Western Reserve (15-7) shared second place in the Firelands Conference.  They had a 16 point third quarter lead and hung on to beat Crestview (70-66) in their sectional final.  Bright says this is a team that plays a lot of tough man to man defense.  "They are primarily a man to man team they really like to get up in you with some pressure.  They have done a great job of that.  We have seem them a couple of times change into a match-up 2-3 zone.  We are expecting to see man to man Thursday night and hopefully we are able to handle their pressure," said Bright.

`        They have seen this kind of defense this year, especially against Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference red division champ Buckeye Valley, which beat them twice, and Shelby, which the Tigers beat during the regular season.  Bright says they know what to do.  "They remind us a lot of Buckeye Valley.  They will get up and pressure you full court.  They don't give you a lot of trapping looks, it's just pressure all night.  We saw that with Shelby as well.  Both times we handled it pretty well, so hopefully we can do the same thing against them," he said

 

Published 3/03/15

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Galion Stands in the Way

 

          The Galion Tigers are the only thing that stands between the Upper Sandusky Rams and an unbeaten regular season.

          Galion (11-10) travels to Upper on Tuesday night for a non-conference game.

          In their last game on Friday night, Galion lost (67-60) to Marion Harding in a red division game in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.  Tigers coach Colby Bright says the Presidents just made too many perimeter shots.  "They just shot the ball really well.  You are going to run into some teams that shoot very well.  They were 12 of 22 from downtown.  Anytime a team shoots 54 percent from the three point line it is going to be tough to win, but I thought our kids played pretty hard for the most part and hung in there," he said.

          Ten days ago, Galion took Northern Ohio League co-leader Ontario to brink before losing (46-44) and Bright thinks Upper looks a lot like the Warriors to him.  "Like I told our kids they are very similar to Ontario.  We told our kids that Ontario likes to push the ball and you have to get back in defensive transition and they did a good job with that," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "So, if we can replicate what we did against Ontario we are going to have a good chance to be right there with them because Ontario has some great athletes and some size and I think Upper is very similar to them."

          A key with Upper Sandusky (21-0), #4 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the large school division, is finding a way to slow them down.  Bright believes if they can do that they will be right in the game.  "That's how we stuck in with Ontario and they weren't able to beat us up in the half court.  We slowed down the game as were able to hold them in the mid 40's.  If we are able to slow the game down and not allow them to speed us up and turn us over we will be in great shape," he said.

          Really Bright says all of the pressure in this game is on the shoulders of Upper Sandusky.  He says he wants his kids to go out and play free and easy.  "We are going in there with nothing to lose.  They have everything to lose.  They have their undefeated season on the line.  They want that and they might be a little more tight when we go in there.  If we can play inspired and play free and we will see what happens I really think we have a good chance if we do those things," said Bright.

 

Published 2/16/15

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Galion Wants to Finish Strong

 

          Having earned the second seed in the division three super sectional tournament, the Galion Tigers would like to take some momentum into the post season.

          They play River Valley on Tuesday and Marion Harding on Friday in games in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference red division and then unbeaten Upper Sandusky next week in a non conference game.

          On Saturday night, the Tigers lost a tough one (46-44) to Northern Ohio League co-leader Ontario.  Coach Colby Bright was pleased with how they defended the Warriors.  "I was happy with how well we played defensively to hold them to 46 points when they are used to scoring in the mid-60's.  I thought that was really great.  It was a matter that we didn't hit some timely shots there at the end.  I was happy with our performance somewhat," he said.

          Bright thinks there is still an upside to what the Tigers can do and he believes the kids do now too.  "We are starting to play some good basketball here.  A couple of weeks ago we were on the brink of packing it in, but we won three in a row there and played Ontario tough.  I told the kids let's keep building this momentum towards the tournament," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "We have three really quality opponents in River Valley, Marion Harding and Upper to close out the regular season.  We just have to keep playing better."

          Galion (11-8,6-6) is at River Valley (11-8,5-7) on Tuesday night for a red division game.  Bright says the goal is to slow down River Valley point guard Danyon Hempy, not an easy task.  "They run everything through their senior point guard Danyon Hempy.  He is the leading scorer in the conference, about 26 points a game.  We held him in check the last time.  We held him to 16 points.  It was their ancillary pieces that stepped up for them.  We are going to try and shut him down again and then not let their role guys beat us and I think we will have a good chance to win that one," said Bright.

          The Vikings beat Galion (50-49) when they played the first time on January 9.  Bright says a little better defense, especially keeping the ball out of Hempy's hands should give them a pretty good chance to get the win.  "That is an adjustment we are going to make.  We are going to attempt to trap him in the back court and get it out of his hands and once it leaves not let him get it back.  Make some of these other guys make shots on us.  If we can do that and execute the game plan I think we will be in good shape (Tuesday) night," he said.

 

Published 2/09/16

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Galion on Way Back up

 

          Galion produced two wins in Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference play last week and they are hoping they can continue to build some momentum for the postseason tournament.

          In action last week, the Tigers downed Fairbanks (51-27) and Marion Pleasant (55-50) and coach Colby Bright says they are starting to play pretty well again.  "We figured out how to play without fouling a little bit.  We saw our point guard Houston Blair step up, he had 35 against Marion Pleasant.  We are starting to look a little better," he said.

          Galion is not going to win the red division of the "MOAC," but Bright says they can do some damage here at the end of the regular season and maybe the postseason too.  "That's what I keep telling them we are still building for the tournament.  I really feel like the character of our team was tested when we lost those couple of games there and they have bounced right back and show a lot of fight.  So, I am excited to see where we finish the season," said Bright.

          Galion (10-7,5-6) plays at North Union (5-11,1-10) in red division action on Friday night.  Bright says despite their poor record the Wildcats are to be respected.  "Record wise they aren't very good, but they have played some improved basketball.  They were up on Buckeye Valley at the end of the third.  This is a team we can't take lightly," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "We have to go down there and play a good defensive basketball game and run some nice offense and get the "W" and then play one of the hottest teams in the area in Ontario on Saturday."

          Ontario (14-3), #2 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the large school division, has won its last seven.  Bright says the Warriors are very good in transition.  "They have a lot of weapons and watching them on film against Shelby.  They are a team that gets out and runs and we have been doing a lot of transition drills this week to hopefully combat that.  Hopefully we can beat their pressure in transition and match up and hang in the ballgame and give them a run," Bright said.

 

Published 2/03/16

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Hawkins New Football Coach at Ontario

 

          Chris Hawkins is the first football coach at Ontario to not be named Scott since the 1990's.

          He is leaving Galion to take over the Warriors football program and try to take them to the top of the Northern Ohio League.

          Hawkins took Galion to four straight playoff appearances, five overall, plus four league titles.   He said he is comfortable with what he accomplished with the Tigers.  "Anytime you move on you kind of look back and see how you did.  If you can look back and say the place that I am leaving is better now than it was when I got there you can hold your head up high and be proud of what you did and feel guilt free to move on.  Looking back at Galion in previous seven years they were 4-66  and had a six or seven year "NOL" losing streak.  They were pretty much the laughing stock of not just North Central Ohio, but pretty much Ohio football.  For the parents to buy into what we were preaching and the players to buy in to what we were preaching, to go 10-0 three years after and four straight playoff berths shows that the parents stuck with it and so did the kids.  We are glad that we brought them some league championships, playoff appearances and we are glad we got that program turned around and headed in the right direction.  Even though I thought this was a great opportunity it was a tough decision.  I feel like a kid out of college again and I am anxious to hit the ground running and I try to get the Ontario program turned around as well," said Hawkins.

          This is Hawkins fourth head football coaching assignment, all in North Central Ohio, at Wynford, Willard, Galion and now Ontario.  He says he is very familiar with the rugged Northern Ohio League.  "I have been in the "NOL."  When I was at Willard we played in the "NOL" and my first year at Galion we were in the "NOL."  I am telling you what there is good football in the "MOAC" though with Jonathan Alder and River Valley and Pleasant, even though they were down this year, but they are a four, five time state champion.  You had to compete.  I am familiar with the "NOL" with the Tiffin Columbians, the Bellevues, Sandusky being added in and now Shelby kind of back on track.  We are going to have our hands full, but at the same time hopefully I have done some of my research," he said.

          Ontario is (13-17) overall since entering the "NOL" and has not competed for a league title as the Warriors have in both basketball and baseball.  Hawkins says he had to encourage more Ontario athletes to play football and he doesn't believe that will hurt other sports.  "They have been mediocre, below average, but there are two many kids not playing football, especially at Ontario.  Even before this all went down I would go watch my nephew play basketball and I am looking out there at the JV team and the varsity team and I am saying does that kid play football?  And the answer is no he doesn't.  There are just way too many kids specializing.  I know coach Balogh and it is a quote, unquote basketball school.  There is no reason that football and basketball can't co exist, it happens all of the time.  One year when I was at Willard I think our basketball team was 19-1 and the following year we went to the playoffs and they went all of the way to the final four.  We were winning league championships in the fall and we were winning league championships in the winter," he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday, "There are the Coldwaters of the world that are dominating in football and good every year in basketball.  When you have someone like Urban Meyer saying these kids shouldn't specialize.  We want the football team to get back to winning "NOL's" and state playoffs.  Maybe we can even help coach Balogh.  He has had amazing success, but I'm sure he would agree we can help take his program up to an even higher level.  I am not just in there for football, but for all Ontario athletics."

          Hawkins we also be teaching at Ontario, which is different than when he was at Galion, and he says that was a factor in taking the Ontario job.  "I wasn't looking to leave, but I am teaching  at Willard.  I really appreciate my principal and superintendent there allowed me to come in early and put my hours in so I could leave as soon as I'm done teaching.  However, it really go hard the last two years when I went to the elementary.  The elementary is on a different schedule, so even with going in early and getting our right after class I was still not getting to Galion until 3:30.  I had a great staff that got it started and it was harder to do in the off season in trying to get there.  It wasn't fair to be always leaving.  I am supposed to stay there until 3:45 and if I do I don't get to Galion until 4:15.  I told the kids it isn't fair when I have these high expectations of you to be at practice on time and I can't be there because of my job.  So, it just got more difficult.  I tried to get into Galion and that just couldn't work.  I am in stage in my life where I can't take pay cuts either with three daughters and whatever.  I had to find a place where if I did make a move I wouldn't have to take a pay cut and that couldn't happen at Galion," said Hawkins.

 

Published 1/31/16

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Galion trying to Pick up the Pieces

 

          Galion is coming off a tough weekend and they are now trying to put some parts back together as they play two Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference red division games this week.

          They host Fairbanks on Tuesday night and travel to Marion Pleasant on Thursday night.

          They lost (65-57) to red division leader Buckeye Valley last Friday night.  Then lost a non-conference game, in which they were ahead for most of the night, to Bellevue (51-45) on Saturday night.

          Bellevue is coached by former Galion coach Ed Rich.  Tigers coach Colby Bright says they Redmen hurt them with some pressure in the second half of that game.  "I told them that, hey, coach Rich knows everything about you guys.  He is going to throw as many things as he can to throw us off.  They played five different defenses in the first half and just couldn't slow us down," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday night, "I told them he is going to pull something else out and he sure did.  They came out in the second half and took our point guard away and we for what ever reason couldn't handle the pressure.  That was a tough one to let get away."

          There is less than a month left in the regular season and Bright says the Tigers have to find some answers.  "We are going to wrong direction.  We lost one of our bigs Friday night to a knee injury.  So, we are trying to right the ship and hopefully (Tuesday) we can get back on track.   We are definitely treading water right now," he said.

          Fairbanks (3-12,1-6) is at Galion (7-7,3-6) on Tuesday night for a game in the red division.  Bright says a key will be slowing Fairbanks down a little bit.  "They play really hard.  They are a team that likes to get out and run.  They are a good transition team.  Even though their record isn't really good they have played some teams really, really tough," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "We only beat them by three down at their place.  They just lost to Alder by only 14.  Their record doesn't indicate how good they really are, so we are going to be in for a battle (Tuesday) night."

 

Published 1/26/16

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Galion Plays Division Leaders

 

          Galion travels to Buckeye Valley on Friday night to play the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference red division leading Barons in a interesting match-up between teams with contrasting styles.

          Monday night was an impressive win for the Tigers against the rival Bucyrus Redmen.

          The Tigers were leading (43-13) at halftime and they overwhelmed the Redmen (87-44) in a non-conference game.  Coach Colby Bright says they got off to a good start and were able to carry it through the game.  "We came out firing on all cylinders and for the first time in a while shot the ball really well, shot 58 percent on the night.  Played well defensively in the first half, gave up 13 points.  It feels good to get back on the winning track after losing two in a row," said Bright.

          Galion (7-5,3-5) lost a league game to Jonathan Alder (62-41) on Friday night in a game where Bright felt they didn't play up their potential and he says it was nice to be able to get back at it on Monday.  "It was nice for them to get back on the floor.  They were excited.  It was nice that we only had to set out for a day and then get back after it," he said.

          Buckeye Valley (9-4,8-0) leads the red division by a game over Jonathan Alder.  Bright says the Barons are a team that plays hard and has been very good at getting to the basket.  "They are a team that is not very big, but they play so hard every night.  They are as scrappy a team as we have played all season.  They get after it.  So, if you are not willing to bring it at the same level they are you are going to have a tough time.  If we are able to do that I think we have some ways we can exploit them with our size and hopefully be able to go down there and get a "W," said Bright.

          The Barons won the first game between the two (55-52) at Galion in early December.  This time Bright says they have to do a better job of keeping the athletic Barons out of the lane.  "They have quite a few guys that are just relentless at getting to the rim.  We are looking to change a couple of things defensively on them to just get them to shoot outside shots instead of getting to the rack all of the time," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "We really struggled to guard them in the third quarter the first time we played them and they just got the rim relentlessly for easy buckets.  If we can keep them out of the paint and force them to shoot outside I think we have a really good shot."

 

Published 1/20/16

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Galion With Focus

 

          Galion is a pretty good team and they are just a few points from being a real good team.

          Case in point was a (50-49) loss to River Valley in the red division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference on Saturday night.

          Coach Colby Bright admits they haven't been making the big play at the right time on most occasions.  "That is the third one we have had on our own court in the "MOAC" where it has come down to the last possession and we just can't figure out a way to pull it out.  I keep telling them to keep your head up it is getting us battle tested for the tournament.  Hopefully we can learn from that and be better off as a result," said Bright.

          There have been some tough losses for the Tigers this season.  Bright says they just have tom learn from them and move on to the next game.  "We are trying to make it into a positive, use it as a learning experience, and hopefully three of those are enough for the season," he said.

          Galion (6-4) plays at home against Bucyrus (0-11) on Tuesday night in non-conference play.  Bright says the Redmen may be struggling when it comes to getting wins, but he says they have some young talent.  "We told our kids just because they are struggling doesn't mean you come in there and take them likely," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "They are a young team, so we would like to come in there and be aggressive from the start and hopefully jump on them and get the win."

          Galion and Bucyrus have been in the same league for 50 years, first the Northern Ohio League and then for a few years in the North Central Conference.  They aren't any more, but Bright says there is still a taste of a rivalry.  "A lot of the kids know each other.  It is probably more of a rivalry for our kids than playing some of these MOAC opponents that they aren't real familiar with.  The kids are looking forward to it," he said.

 

Published 1/12/16

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Defense Leading to Good Offense For Galion

 

          Galion has won its last two games and its is because they are turning good defense into solid scoring opportunities.

          The Tigers (6-3,2-3) beat North Union (52-36) on Tuesday night and that came on the heals of a come from behind win over Shelby (64-61) on December 22.

          Coach Colby Bright says that the Shelby win came over a good opponent and that gave them a boost of confidence.  "That Shelby game was a turning point for us.  That is what got them going.  They played hard the whole night and ever since then we have been practicing well and playing well, so we are just trying to build off of that win," said Bright.

          When you are going good, you want to get back on the floor.  However, the Tigers don't play again for a week.  "I wish we were playing more games.  I hate to take a whole week off, but it is what it is," said Bright.

          It terms of where they are doing on offense and defense and their execution nothing much has changed, according to Bright, but rather the intensity of their play.  "Really x's and o's haven't changed it has just been the effort level.  They playing a lot harder defensively and that has led to a lot of offensive easy points for us.  We have gotten a lot of layups because our defense leads to our offense," he said.

          Galion plays at Marion Harding (5-3,3-2) in a red division game in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference on January 7.  Bright says again it will boil down to defense.  "They have some really good athletes on the team.  The Ellis kid and the Longstreth kid are both really good players.  We are really going to have to set down and defend these guys," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "They can shoot it from almost anywhere on the floor.  If we set down and defend I think we will be right there with them."

 

Published 12/31/15

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Galion Must be More Intense

 

          The Galion Tigers are a team that has been good enough to be competitive in most of their games, but they haven't been winning enough.

          Coach Colby Bright says they were not focused enough in their game against Marion Pleasant on Saturday, a (70-57) loss.  "It is never fun to lose, but when we lost to Pleasant it was a team we thought we should have beaten and it was the first game this year that we gave up one when we thought we were better than that team.  I know it was a wake up call for them.  We had a great practice (Monday) and hope that carries over and we start playing more inspired basketball because we are going to have to do that more against Shelby," said Bright.

          However, on Monday in practice for a game Tuesday against the Shelby Whippets Bright says the Tigers were much improved in their energy and their focus.  "Based on how we practiced (Monday) morning that is the best I have seen them all season and it was the hardest I have seen them practice all season.  I hope that loss to Pleasant was a wake up call and gets us going this season and start winning some games and not just by a little by a lot," he said.

          Shelby (3-3) will be at Galion (3-3) in a battle between former Northern Ohio League rivals.  Bright says he told his kids on Monday that the Whippets are the most athletic team they have faces this year.  "I told our kids that the "NOL" is a little different then the "MOAC."  There is a lot of talent in the "NOL" and Shelby is a very good team.  This will be the most athletic and quick team we have faced up until this point," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "I said we are going to have to match their energy because they bring it every night.  They don't shoot it great, but they always play hard and they run and jump you and cause turnovers and all kinds of chaos.  We have to match their intensity and take care of the basketball."

          Last season, Shelby feasted on the three point shot, but this year they have not made as good a percentage.  However, Bright says you till have to guard the Whippets beyond the arch.  "They don't shoot it great from the three, but if you leave them wide open they are going to hit shots.  We are hoping to make them shoot contested jump shots and keep them out of the paint," he said.

 

Published 12/22/15

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Galion Looking to Build Steam

 

          After losing two tough ones over the weekend, the Galion Tigers battled back to claim a win over Cardington in non-conference plat on Tuesday night.

          The Tigers claimed their first win by hanging on to defeat the Pirates (61-53) and Colby Bright says it was a pretty big win for them early in the season.  "It was important to get back on track.  Losing those two games the way we did kind of had the kids down.  We were excited to get back in there and get into the "W" column," he said.

          The Tigers lost two three point decisions in "MOAC" red division play last week to Jonathan Alder (37-34) and Buckeye Valley (55-52,) both in the final seconds.

          Bright says his kids found a way to win on Tuesday night and that was pretty important.  "We really came together as a unit (Tuesday) night.  We led for most of the night and then it got close there at the end.  We have a large group of seniors and they were just able to figure it out together and pull it out for a win," he said.

          Galion (1-2) plays at Crestline in non-league game on Thursday.  Bright was the Bulldogs coach last year and he knows they will play hard.  "They are going to play hard.  They are a very, very young group.  They brought up a lot of the eighth graders from last year so, they have a lot of freshmen," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "They do have the Gregory boy, who is a sophomore, and Snyder.  So, they do bring a little experience.  They are well coached and I know they will play hard against us."

          There final contest of a three game week for the Tigers will be at Fairbanks (0-3,0-1) in a red division game on Saturday night.  Bright says they have to play with energy and focus.  "They are much improved form last year.  We saw their quarterback in the fall.  He is 6'4", 220, he plays on the team.  They are definitely not a team we can take for granted.  We are going to have to do down there and play hard and take care of business," he said.

 

Published 12/10/15

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Galion Opens "MOAC" With Jonathan Adler

 

          Galion tips off play in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference red division by hosting Jonathan Alder on Thursday night.

          They beat Plymouth (55-38) on Saturday night in non-conference play.  Coach Colby Bright, in his first year with the Tigers, was happy with how they responded in the second half against the Big Red.  "I was happy with how our guys pulled it out in the second half.  I think we kind of had the first game jitters there in the first half.  We really struggled to get things going, but with the eight seniors and the experience that we bring back they just kind of took over in the second half and went from there," he said.

          It was a good win for the Tigers, but Bright says they still have a lot of things to work on, especially on defense.  "Our defensive transition was not great.  We didn't box out really well.  There were a lot of fundamental things we didn't do really well. We left our feet a lot on shot fakes, help side," he told Sankonsports.com on Wednesday, "The big thing all week going into Jonathan Alder is we have to be a better defensive team.  I think we are going to be able to score we just have to stop people."

          Jonathan Alder (1-1,0-0) finished as runners-up in the L-town holiday tournament in London over the weekend beating Granville (69-36) in first round and losing to Columbus Beechcroft (36-30) in the finals.

          Bright says the Pioneers are going to be a team that will be patient and look for a good shot.  "We went down to London, a little southwest of Columbus, and watched them play Granville and they are a well coached, very disciplined team.  Coming from the "N10" they remind me a lot of how Buckeye Central plays," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "Very methodical, they don't hurt themselves.  They have some really good athletes on their team, so they are definitely going to be a challenge for us on (Thursday) night."

 

Published 12/03/15

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Galion Feeling Good

 

          Galion is taking a five game winning streak into the post season and they face Edison, the Sandusky Bay Conference co-champion, in the first round of the division five playoffs on Friday night at Edison.

          Unlike some other years, coach Chris Hawkins really feels like they are playing their best football as they are entering the playoffs.  "We were playing pretty well in 2009, went to Bellevue and had a big win, we were kind bright eyed and bushy tailed and didn't know what to expect from the playoffs.  The last three years we have not been playing our best ball.  A couple of those years we started out with Mansfield Senior.  When you open up your season with Mansfield Senior and you are in the "NCC."  When you are starting your season with the best team on your schedule, it's tough, because you have to try and be at your best right from the get go because of the competition.  I don't care if you are talking college or pros or high school you can't not play at your elite level every game," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "In years past we have not been playing our best football on weeks nine and 10 and we have limped into the playoffs.  I think this year it is quite different.  We started out well and went through a little down period there, and then progressively gotten better and I do think we have been playing our best football the last two or three weeks.  I think that is a big advantage for us, finally, this year."

          Edison has scored a lot of points this season, 357 to be exact, and they feature the wishbone attack.  Hawkins says they have to change of the whole way they have been playing defense.  "Back a couple decades ago everybody and their brother was running that and you probably had four or five teams on your schedule.  We haven't had a team on our schedule running the triple option in the last three years.  The last time we faced it was with coach Chris Solis when he was at Shelby.  You dust off the scouting reports from there and see what worked there.  It is assignment football and self disciplined football.  As coaches you are constantly talking all year long hats to the football, hats to the football.  We talks about 22 G's and 11 helmets to the football, but you can't have that approach against an option team.  As soon as you try to do somebody else's job.  It is going to come down to how well we execute the game plan and how self disciplined we are and how well we play that assignment football," said Hawkins.

          Edison (9-1), #5 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, has allowed some points this season.  An example was their (44-40) win over Port Clinton a couple weeks ago.

          During their streak Galion (8-2) has averaged 47 points a game.  Hawkins thinks they can score on the Chargers.  "Anytime you are playing an option team, like Georgia Tech, they could put four, five, six scores on the board against some of the better competition.  If we do have a hard time with the assignment football at least we have a chance to outscore them.  Hopefully we don't get into a shootout, but if we do that one thing I like is if we are having a hard time stopping them all we need to do is match them and maybe it comes down to who plays best the last couple of possessions of the game." he said.

 

Published 11/06/15

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Galion Playing Its Best

 

           A win on Friday and Galion might be in the playoffs and if they are they are going to playing their best.

          Right now, Galion sets in the eighth, and final, playoff spot in their division five computer region, but they do not control their own density.

          They buried North Union (62-21) in a red division game in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference game last week.  Coach Chris Hawkins thought they were very good on offense.  "I thought offensively it was one of our best performances in the last several years because it was so balanced.  We got the ball to all of our playmakers.  North Union is not bad.  If they beat Buckeye Valley they are in the playoffs.  This was a playoff caliber team and a team with a lot of proud tradition.  I thought we were going to get them, but I never thought it would be by that score.  They came out there and wanted to put seven guys, even eight guys, in the box and just man up our guys.  Instead of trying to beat our heads against a brick wall like we have in the past we started putting the ball up and throwing over the top of their heads and that took the top off the defense," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "We threw two, three touchdowns over the top and the running game opened up and we mixed in with some play action.  We threw for 300 yards, rushed for like 250, we had four or five receivers have multiple catches, Trey got his 180 yards, and three or four different guys got touchdowns.  Offensively, it was just a masterful performance."

          As far as the defense goes, Hawkins says they played well, but still have some improvement to make.  "Defensively, we still have some things to clean up.  They scored a touchdown there in the last minute or two, but for the most part I thought we played pretty well against a team that has been putting up a lot of points," he said.

          Galion (7-2,4-2) plays at Marion Pleasant (3-6,1-5) on Friday night.  Pleasant won its first division game last week (68-31) over Fairbanks.  However, Hawkins reminds us this is one the most traditional powers in this part of Ohio.  "This isn't a typical Pleasant year, but these are typical Pleasant kids and that's what makes them scary.  Last year, they were 10-0, they are a three time state champion, a program with a lot of pride.  It is not that they aren't talented, they are very talented, they are just young.  They aren't 3-6 because they aren't talented they are 3-6 because they are young.  They are five seniors and only three are playing.  I think he told me five freshmen are starting.  So, the talent is there they are just young.  That is why they are scary.  You are talking about their last home game and a school that is rich in tradition.  They are going to come out and give us their best shot and we better be prepared," said Hawkins.

          Galion has made the playoffs consistently under Hawkins, but he says this year they have changed their approach when it comes to conditioning over the second half of the season.  "Myself and the coaching staff kind of reflected on the past years of getting in the playoffs and just not having success.  When I was a younger coach it was like the closer you get to the playoffs the more you push them and the more you condition.  Well, I have learned we were pretty much out of gas the last few years.  Starting a couple of weeks ago we have stared to slack off on conditioning, especially the legs.  We condition just Saturday, Monday, and some Tuesday, not Wednesday.  We have tried to give our skilled guys a break.  Hopefully, that is why we are starting to peak now because we have fresh legs," he said.

 

Published 10/27/15

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Galion Must Play Solid Run Defense

 

          After a sizable win last week, Galion plays at home Friday night against North Union in a red division game in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.

          They belted Fairbanks (70-7) in a red division game last week and coach Chris Hawkins says they Tigers came out and executed pretty well after a slow start.  "I was pleasantly pleased with that performance.  I know they were 0-and-7, but we had an hour and 45 minute bus ride and we tend to overlook people.  I thought we came out very focused and we were very efficient offensively.  What was kind of nice was we actually got a three out to begin with, we stopped them, and then missed a field goal, so it didn't start our perfectly.  We went through some adversity early, but then we got things going." he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "Chase Cook, our quarterback, had five touchdowns and threw for over 300 yards.  Bryson Drake, our workhorse, so to speak, he had 170 some yards on only nine carries and he didn't even play in the second half.  It was nice to come out there and be efficient and at the same time give some of our guys that haven't had much of a break in recent weeks some time off, let their bodies heal and play some younger kids."

          North Union (4-4,2-3) comes to Galion (6-2,3-2) off a (35-14) loss to division leader Jonathan Alder.  Hawkins says the Wildcats have a proud tradition.  "This is a school with a very proud tradition.  They used to be a very average football program, but over the last eight, nine years they have pretty much been a playoff team.  I think last year was the first time they didn't in four, five, six years.  It is a team that expects a lot of success.  Even though they are 4-4 they are playing for some team stuff," he said.

          Hawkins says this is a team that wants to run the ball out of an odd formation.  "It is going to be a challenge because they do some stuff that we haven't seen with the double tight, double wing.  They will get into that wing-T and you just don't see that.  We are definitely going to have to adjust.  They kind of went back to old school.  They were spread last year, but they kind of went back to what they used to do and making all of those runs.  When you go double tight, double win there are a lot of gaps to fill. We need to continue to improve and get better and be ready to play," said Hawkins.

          There is a lot of traffic inside with an offense like that and Hawkins says a real key will be being able to set the edge and not allow the Wildcats to get to the perimeter.  "We have talked about being gap couscous.  Unfortunately when you have that many gaps you have to step guys up to the line of scrimmage that aren't normally used to playing at the line of scrimmage.  We feel we have a pretty good interior with just need to make sure.  They will hit you with a double hand off counter up in the box, but they really want to get to the perimeter.  What we need to do is we really need to set the edge.  If you watched the Ohio State game the guy from Penn State that went off was because they never set the edge.  If we don't set the edge that could be big run plays.  That is definitely and area of concern and something we are working on this week," said Hawkins.

          Galion will be at Marion Pleasant next week and Hawkins says they want to play well in their final home game of the season.  "It is our last home game so we told our kids you remember a lot of games, and one of the games that will always stick out in your mind is the last home game you ever play.  Hopefully, our kids come out focused and ready to play," he said.

 

Published 10/22/15

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Galion Still Hungry

 

          Galion outscored River Valley 24-0 in the second half and kept themselves in playoff contention with three weeks left in the regular season.

          The next task is to win Friday night at Fairbanks.

          Tailing at one time by two scores, Galion would score near the end of the first half and then dominate the final 24 minutes.  Coach Chris Hawkins says it all turned on a big play by the defense.  "That was no question our best game of the season.  We didn't get off to the best start being down 21-7 in the first quarter and them driving.  We had two turnovers back to back.  They got a pick to make it 21-7 and then they got a fumble to get it right back.  They were driving and Brian Taubert made a huge play.  He got a pick and went down.  He didn't score, but he put us inside of the 30-yard-line and we ended up scoring with under a minute to play to make it 21-14 at halftime.  That is my opinion was the game right there.  That's when the tide turned.  We talked about that we took their best shot, but they didn't knock us out and by scoring we got off the canvas and put ourselves in position to win this heavyweight battle.  It was one of the best second halves offensively and defensively that I have been involved with," said Hawkins.

          The Galion coach says his players were ready mentally and they took it upon themselves to make the comeback and get the win.  "I talked at halftime in comparing it to a heavyweight fight.  There were to good football teams that were supposed to be vying for the red division.  They come out throwing punches and some of those connected and we were knocked to the canvas.  I told our kids we have a choice we can throw in the towel and stay down for the 10 count or wipe off your bloody mouth and stand back out there and come out swinging for the rest of the rounds.  They chose the later and I'll tell you what we played very, very well," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "I think the biggest thing is we were prepared mentally.  We were not prepared mentally for the Buckeye Valley game.  We had a great week of practice for Buckeye Valley.  Last week we really focused on getting the mind right.  We did some exercise, but we told our kids that there isn't much that we as coaches can do that is more of you to get motivated and get you mind right.  Our kids were definitely ready to play that game even though we got off to a slow start.  To steal something from coach Meyer that he used last year we played angry and it's for first time all year that we played angry.  That doesn't mean cheap that just means sometimes you have to play with a chip on your shoulder.  We played with than kind of motivation and you could definitely see it was working for us."

          Galion (5-2,2-2) plays at Fairbanks (0-7,0-4) in a red division game in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference on Friday night.  Hawkins says Fairbanks may be winless, but they are not terrible.  "It is a long haul, it's a long road trip, so that is always a concern.  We will probably be on the bus for  an hour and 45 minutes.  I know they are struggling record wise.  When you watch them on film like any 0-7 team they have deficiencies, but I'll tell you what they have strengths also.  Their quarterback and receiver, they were sophomores last year and we were impressed with them and now they are juniors.  It is not like this is a pathetic, piece of garbage, 0-7 football team, that you are going to beat 66-0.  They are not like that at all.  They have been scoring on teams," said Hawkins.

          The chances of winning a division title is slim, trailing Jonathan Alder by two with three to play, but Hawkins says they can still make the post season.  "We have been telling our kids that we are in playoff mode now.  Ever since the Buckeye Valley loss and then we turned around and loss to Jonathan Alder we have been in playoff mode because we knew if we lost another game the chances of us getting in at 7-3 were slim because we are not getting a lot of help from our non-league opponents.  We told our kids that if we take our foot off the gas pedal and go over there and slip up that River Valley game means nothing," he said.

 

Published 10/13/15

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Another Must Win For Galion

 

          After losing their first two league games to Buckeye Valley and Jonathan Alder, the Galion Tigers began to scratch their way back with a win over Marion Harding last week.

          Now, they face another very good team in River Valley.

          Galion downed Marion Harding (24-21) with a late field goal.  Coach Chris Hawkins says they had to have that one and they need to win this week too against talented River Valley.  "Against a division two school and we are coming off a two game slide it was something we needed to do to get back in it.  We are kind of back in it, but we still have our backs against the wall.  We have a good River Valley Viking coming," he said.

          Both Jonathan Alder and River Valley are unbeaten in red division play and Hawkins says that makes their assignment this week a pretty simple one.  "We have kind is of talked about it and you never want to put all of your eggs in one basket because if you lose, you still have three or four games left, but it is a huge game.  If we even want to get back into consideration for a "MOAC" red division title it's a must.  It is also almost a must if we want to continue our streak of getting in the playoffs four years in a row, this is a big one," he said.

          The Vikings (5-1,3-0) have given up only three scores in league play and Hawkins says their defense is very good at all three levels and hard to score on.  "Their defense is probably ahead of their offense," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "They have a very nice offense, but their defense is the stoutest in the league statistically and they look very, very good on film,  They have three very good levels, their front is very good, their linebackers are very good, and they have very good athletes in the secondary.  So, they are very good at all three levels on defense.  They give up less than 195 yards a game.  That is pretty impressive.  That is going to be a challenge for us."

          Hawkins says there offense isn't likely to light up the scoreboard and that puts some pressure on their defense to keep the Vikings in check in order to have a chance two win.  "Our defense is going to have to play well against their offense because we are not going to put up 35 points against them.  Hopefully, we can get a couple of scores and maybe get another score somehow and get 21 points, 24 points on the board and our defense can kind of do the same thing to keep them to two or three touchdowns.  I really think it is going to kind of be a barn burner like the Marion Harding game was," said Hawkins.

 

Published 10/07/15

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Galion Can Win, it's up to Them

 

          Galion has lost its first two games in the red division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference this year, but they were two different kid of losses.

          Last week, Jonathan Alder beat the Tigers (35-13) and coach Chris Hawkins admits if they would have won that game it would have been an upset and that was not the case the week before against Buckeye Valley.  "Even though we had two losses it is a completely different feeling for our kids.  Buckeye Valley is a very good football team, as I mentioned the most improved team in our league, but we are better than them.  If we play them 10 times, we are going to win eight or nine times.  That is why it was Wednesday till I was able to get some sleep after that.  That is a shame.  The Jonathan Alder loss.  I don't care who we are playing, even the Ohio State Buckeyes, I don't want to lose and it is not acceptable.  However, it makes it a little more tolerable when you get beat by a better team," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "Jonathan Alder was better than us across the board.  They were better than us up front, secondary, whatever.  If we play them 10 times we will be lucky to win one or two.  However, that doesn't give us permission to just accept it.  I have been on the sideline as a coach and a player and we haven't been nearly as talented as the other side and we won and vise versa.  It is not always the best team that wins, but when that team on that other sideline is better you can at least live with it a little bit more."

          On the up side, Hawkins says when watching the game on film he knows his team got better despite the loss.  "I saw improvement believe it or not from Buckeye Valley to Jonathan Alder.  Not that we played great against Jonathan Alder, but we played better.  If we would have played against Buckeye Valley like we did against Jonathan Alder we would have won.  We still think that if we take care if business against Marion Harding and River Valley we should be right back in position to be "MOAC" champs and definitely get in the playoffs," he said.

          Galion (3-2,0-2) is at Marion Harding (2-3,2-0) this week in red division play.  The Presidents have won their first two league games (55-13) over Fairbanks and (35-14) over North Union.  Hawkins says they have some players.  "They are always scary because they are a division two team.  They are three, four times as big as us.  To have all of those kids walking the halls all it takes is a few them to be eligible or decide they want to play and they can go from a 0-10 team to 5-5, 6-4, 7-3.  They are not were Tim Hinton had them obviously, but they do have some nice athletes out there.  Looking at film, and we will respect them, but by golly if we play like we are capable of playing then we should take care of business," said Hawkins.

 

Published 10/01/15

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Galion Has to Play with Heart

 

          Galion lost it's first game of the season last week to Buckeye Valley and this week they face a tougher challenge in always good Jonathan Alder in the red division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.

          Buckeye Valley hung on to beat the Tigers (38-32) in the conference opener for both.  Coach Chris Hawkins says he players didn't take the Barons serious enough.  "When for two or three weeks everything is good.  You are so good, you are so talented, you won't be tested.  Even when your coaches says, hey, we have watched film and this is the most improved team in the "MOAC," they should have beaten Delaware Hayes, who beat Marysville.  Even though we did all of that we definitely came out a little flat.  I just think that our kids had a little bit of entitlement and we could just show up and beat that team because we beat them easy last year," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "It wasn't the case.  Offensively, we did okay.  We scored 32 points with over 200 yards rushing.  Even though our defense was struggling we had a chance.  We had the ball three times to go down and score and we turned it over two of the three and just ran out of time.  Defense is where we really struggled giving up 352 yards passing and let their best player beat us.  Our kids didn't play well, but we got out coached on that side of the ball.  It's not just on the field, we all have to do a better job."

          Jonathon Alder (3-1,1-0) beat up Marion Pleasant (48-14) in their first conference game.  They beat Galion last year (41-24) at Galion.  Hawkins says the Pioneers are good, but maybe not as good as last year.  "I thought they were a very good football team last year and they have some big time players.  They have the Pugh kid that has several division one offers already.  So, they have some stud players, but they lost a great senior class also.  They are not as good as they were last year.  They might be as good, but they lost some very, very good players.  The cupboard is not bear they are a very, very good football team.  They have a little bit different type of kid than we are used to seeing.  They are hard nosed, the are Columbus people, so they are exposed to all of the things that Columbus has to offer.  Plus, we have to go there and that is a big, big challenge," he said.

          Yes, they have to be more physical than they were last week, but to win Hawkins says they have to play with more heart.  "I truly believe this.  If we play like we did against Buckeye Valley we don't have a chance, but if we play like we are capable of playing we can win.  We have talented kids also we just didn't play with a lot of heart.  We played hard at times, but I don't think we played with a lot heart at times.  That is one thing that we talked about this week.  We are putting together a good game plan, but I think when we walk onto Jonathan Alder's field it is not going to be about the x's and o's.  It is going to be did we learn from the things that we did not do against Buckeye Valley.  We didn't play with emotion and I don't think we were as physical as we should be and we definitely didn't play with a lot of heart.  So, if we can get those things taken care of I not only think we can, I know we will walk out of Jonathan Alder with a victory," said Hawkins

 

Published 9/24/15

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Real Season Starts this week For Galion

 

          Galion has looked very good during the non-conference portion of their schedule, but that was really just a prelude to what begins this week and that is the pursuit of a red division title in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.

          Last week, the Tigers (3-0,0-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, belted LaGrange Keystone (49-0) to post their third straight shutout.

          Coach Chris Hawkins says he likes the way his kids reacted to things that happened early in the game.  "I wouldn't say we are playing all on all cylinders because we are still too much one dimensional offensively.  I really like what we have started to do.  We kicked off an we went down a stuck the kid and he fumbled the ball, so we had it with 11:54 on the clock in the first quarter and it two plays we are in the end zone.  We held them to 30, 35 yards of total offense and most of that came in that first drive.  They were just running "iso" and going boom, boom, and we are not used to a 235 pound tailback and they kind of took it to us.  They punched us in the mouth and they got three, maybe four first downs in the first drive.  I really liked how we settled down, we held them, and after that we started doing the hammering.  I don't think our kids liked being handled in that first series.  After that we kind of turned it around and started playing defense like we are capable of playing,' said Hawkins.

          Galion is good all over the field on defense, but Hawkins says for them it all starts up front with a talented defensive line.  "All three levels are playing well, so it is not just our linebackers.  It all starts up front.  We have four seniors up front.  One of our defensive ends did not play last year and the other had not played since his freshmen year.  I'll tell you what they bought in and just worked their tails off this off season.  Even though they are seniors they are really first time starters and they are playing like seasoned veterans," he told Swankonsports.com, "Then our guys inside are really talented and do a good job.  It all starts up front.  You can have the best linebacking corps and the best secondary, but it you cant get a pass rush or they are right on you linebackers on runs you are going to struggle.  We are not big at the linebacker spot, but we fly to the football and aggressive.  I think the back end of our defense has been holding up and doing pretty darn well."

          The Tigers open play in the red division by hosting Buckeye Valley (1-2,0-0) at their place on Friday night.  The Barons lost (13-3) to Johnstown Monroe last week.  However, Hawkins says this is a much better team than the one they beat (32-0) last year.  "We can tell by just watching film that these guys have been in the weight room.  They are bigger, they are stronger, they are faster.  I know they are 1-2, but Johnstown is a good football team.  They lost their opener to Delaware Hayes, that they typically get drilled by, and they got beat 10-5.  We know this team is much improved and this is by far the best team we have played this year so far.  We have told our kids that these past couple of weeks is not how our league is going to be.  We are going to have to win some games in the fourth quarter and it could very well be this week.  Our goal is, and always will be a league championship," he said.

 

Published 9/18/15

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Galion Wants to Build

 

          Galion hopes to get its first real test of the high school football season when they host LaGrange Keystone on Friday night in non-conference play.

          There have been wins over Bucyrus (55-0) and the Columbus Crusaders (40-0) over the first two weeks.  Coach Chris Hawkins says they have gotten very good play in the trenches and that is not unexpected.  "We thought we had speed and we had athleticism, but we have had that before.  We felt the biggest difference now is we thought we could be pretty strong, and could even dominate, on the offensive and defensive line.  We have had great offensive linemen in the past don't get me wrong, we have had some very good offensive linemen, but as a group this maybe the best offensive line group I have had, maybe ever," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "They are all five seniors, and when you are starting all five seniors, four of them are returning starters, and the fifth one even though he wasn't a returning starter he was a senior coming back and chomping at the bit to get his time.  Our four defensive linemen are all seniors as well.  When you nine offensive and defensive linemen are pretty talented and also seniors you have to the potential to have a very good group in the trenches and so have we have been pretty good."

          Keystone is (0-2) winless so far this year with losses to Cuyahoga Heights (42-6) and Cloverleaf (9-6) so far.  Hawkins says they are coming off a very good season a year ago and they still have some players.  "We played them last year and they were a very good team.  We played our best game against Keystone.  They lost one late in the year that they never should have to finish 8-2.  They went to Belleuve in the first round of the playoffs and should have beat them, I think it was 45-38, it was high scoring.  We beat them at their place 14-0 and they had a very great football team, a very great senior class.  They had the big Conrad kid, who from what I'm being told, is now starting as a true freshman at the University of Kentucky at tight end.  They just didn't have him, they had good offensive linemen, a good defensive backfield.  They lost them, however, the cupboard is not bare.  They have a couple of defensive linemen back, they have Conrad's younger brother and they moved him to running back.  He is going to "OU" on a full ride.  Even though they lost a great senior class they have enough players to make you not sleep at night.  We have our work cut out for us, however, if we continue to improve, and we take care of the football, we should take care of business, but it is definitely going to be our toughest contest so far," said Hawkins.

          With a tough battle in the red division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference starting next week, Hawkins wants to build a foundation of good play this week.  "It was our goal to be 3-0 and everything like that and that game right before the "MOAC" is very important.  After this week, we go back to back, I mean Buckeye Valley is a very good football team.  I know we won last year there, but they got beat by a very good Delaware Hayes team 10-5, they normally get beat by them by three or four touchdowns.  They had a nice win last week.  Then we have to go to Jonathan Alder.  You can not wait to play your best ball in week eight, nine, or 10, you have to be playing your best ball by week four and that is why week three is so critical," he said.

 

Published 9/11/15

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Galion With a Different Kind of Challenge

 

          Galion played pretty good football last week despite the controversy surrounding the program and some injuries to some of their better players.

          Now, they are going to play a school that many of you probably haven't heard of, the Columbus Crusaders.

          Coach Chris Hawkins, who was suspended last week, thought his team preformed well in his stead.  "I thought we played pretty well.  We talked about that we underestimated, me included, and that's on me, Bucyrus last year, and because of that we had to score with three minutes left to win the game, and I was determined that wasn't going to happen.  We prepared hard for them, not just all summer long, but the week of Bucyrus, and we were very focused, and they came out and played extremely well," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "We played that well and our quarterback, Jacob Fryar, went down with an injury about eight minutes into the first quarter.  Drake Barnett, who did have over 100 yards and three touchdowns, started cramping in the second quarter, so he only played a quarter and a half.  It was great to see that we had a shutout and scored 55 points when two of our biggest guns didn't even play much.  It was nice to see people kind of step up around them."

          When it comes to Fryar, Hawkins says he will likely not see action this week and his future is up in the air.  "We are probably going to keep Jacob out.  We are hoping to hear good news.  He went to the doctor and like anytime you go there it is four or five different things it could be, so they are thinking about getting an "MRI," but luckily four of the five things aren't real, real serious, so he could be back in a week.  We are hoping it isn't one the things that keeps him out four to six weeks.  Luckily we have a couple of good quarterbacks that can replace him.  However, I do want to say not having Jacob Fryar on the field whether it is at quarterback or whether it is at slot or whether it is back at free safety, not having him on the field is going to hurt us.  That being said we do have a couple of quarterbacks that can fill in nicely for him there, however, that is not going to replace him on both sides of the ball," said Hawkins.

          So, why are the Tigers playing a club team?  Hawkins explains the background.  "I have been coaching for a long time and I have never had a situation like this.  I have been looking extremely hard for a week two game for about 18 months.  I did everything and we couldn't find anything.  It seemed like when somebody had an opening and we were interested, they weren't interested in us.  We only got three teams that said they were interested in playing us.  One of them was Clinton-Massie and they are a two time defending state champion, no thanks, and the other was St. Ed's, and the other was some big parochial school.  So, here it was last May and we had no week two and we were four months from the season, so we decided to go with the Columbus Crusaders, who are a club team.  These kids go to school all over Columbus, Worthington, Westerville, Hilliard, and what they do after school is go to their home field and practice.  That in and of itself is a little scary," said Hawkins.

          Galion would be the favorite in this game, but Hawkins says it won't be a walk over.  "They played their home game at Otterbein University, so we watched them on Saturday night.  They have some big time players.  Their inside linebacker is 6'3", 230, and he is as good a linebacker as we are going to see all year long.  They have some very good skilled people.  However, their numbers aren't great, so we think their strength is their skill, but their weakness is their boys up front and we think we have some boys up front that can cause some havoc.  Again, we can't overlook them.  They have been around since 1995 and their is a player from their program playing for the Arizona Cardinals.  They are nothing to sneeze at and we are going to see some very, very good talent," he said.

 

Published 9/03/15

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Galion Goes to Bucyrus Without Hawkins

 

          Galion opens the season down the road at Bucyrus on Friday night, but they are going to be leaving head coach Chris Hawkins behind for this one.

          The OHSAA reduced Hawkins suspension for rules violations to one game and he was considering seeking an injunction that would permit him to be on the sidelines, but decided not to in order to keep his team focused.  He says they will be in good hands.  "It is very disappointing with the way that it all played out.  I think this is the best route because I want to keep our kids focused.  The thing is I have been there every step of the way.  I have not missed a single practice or a single scrimmage, a single meeting.  I am there at every practice, I am doing everything.  I will do everything up until Friday when they get on the bus.  So, it is just going to be that two and half hour period.  The good thing about it is we have coach Dick Predmore, he is going to become co-head coach, and Todd Roston," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday night, "One is the defensive coordinator and the other is on the phone with me.  I have coached with them for a long time.  They are going to know that coach Roston is going to have the same menu that I would be calling plays off of.  Kyle Vaughn, who is our athletic director, and had been coaching with me for the last seven, eight years, is going to step out of his administrative clothes, and kind of also get on the phone.  So, we have a couple of coaches that have been head coaches to kind of help with the game day format.  It is going to be weirder on me than it will be on them.  The kids will be fine.  Me?  That's a different story."

          Galion has been installing a new defense this month and Hawkins says it is still a work in progress.  "It hasn't been perfect.  I keep going back to we are implementing a new defense.  Over the last three years we have been good enough to win some playoffs games, but we just had tough, tough match-ups.  Three years ago we are in a 3-3 stack and we run into a North Union with a double tight, double wing.  We say we will fix that and we go to a 5-2 and we stuffed teams in our league and then in our two playoffs games we play Kenton, who doesn't run the ball, and Wooster Triway, who throws 45 times a game.  So, we said we have to come up with something that can do both against a smash mouth team and a spread, pass happy team.  We think we have done that with our four man front, however, that being said we knew there were going to be some growing pains and there have been, but we are ironing those growing pains out.  I have seen a decent progression," said Hawkins.

          As far as the offense goes, Hawkins says they have the potential to be explosive if they can just quit shooting themselves in the foot.  "Offensively I think we are doing what we need to do, but the thing that concerns me is our mental mistakes.  We have yet to be stopped by a team in a scrimmage, we are stopping ourselves.  We went for it twice on fourth down against Shelby, like fourth and three, fourth and four, and we jump off sides both times and we have to punt it.  That could have been two more touchdowns.  So, we just need to be more mentally focused on offense.  You are not going to be at your best on week one, we are going to be as good as we can, and we hope that is going to be good enough," he said.

          Last season, Galion had to rally to beat Bucyrus (29-22) and Hawkins wants his players to take this game more seriously.  "We are not going to make the same mistake that we did last year and that's on me.  We underestimated them last year.  We watched them on film and they weren't very good and we underestimated them.  They came out and played a good ball game and we have to score in the final to minutes to win.  So, that's not going to happen.  I can't guarantee any result, but we are not going to overlook them.  This is a big rivalry.  To be honest, if I had to make three big, red x's on our schedule, wow, with the schedule we have that would be hard to do.  I know it's a huge rivalry on their behalf and we need to reciprocate that.  If one team sees the game as one of their red x games and other doesn't?  Right there offsets and advantage you have in talent.  We have got to come out and be ready because I know Bucyrus will be," said Hawkins.

 

Published 8/26/15

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Hawkins Fights Suspension

 

          Galion head football coach Chris Hawkins, suspended by the Ohio High School Athletic Association for alleged recruiting violations, has hired an attorney and plans to fight those charges.

          He told Swankonsports.com that he believes he did nothing wrong, but he is willing to face the consequences if it is determined that he did violate rules.  "I'm a big boy and if I did screw up then fine, but I feel for my family.  When you get accused of something you, even if you do get redeemed, that perception is always out there and that is not fair for my family to have to deal with that, not for 12 cents an hour," he said.

          The OHSAA says that Hawkins broke three bylaws in regards to a student athlete that is now enrolled at Galion.  "Would I do some things differently, well of course I would, but I could have known the bylaws like the back of my hand and I would still think, well, that's fine, that's fine, that's fine," he said.

          The OSHAA contends that a bylaw was violated relating to possible gifts that were provided.  Bylaw 494-6, "Providing favors or inducements, such as t-shirts or caps to prospective student athletes or parents."

          Hawkins says the student directly involved in the situation wanted to go to a camp and use a helmet and he gave him one.  "This individual wanted to wear a helmet.  A lot of individuals want to get exposure in these camps all over the state in even down south and I said of course you can use the helmet.  We have shared helmets before.  20 years ago (when he was at Wynford) we had to borrow a Colonel Crawford helmet because we didn't have an extra large.  I had no intention of giving the kid a sweatshirt, I was helping him out and I would do that for anybody," said Hawkins.

          Bylaw 494-1 states, "Using direct mailings or electronic communication to send information to a specific individual by name."

          Hawkins told Swankonsports.com that as the President of the North Central Ohio Football Coaches Association he was asked to pass some information about a clinic to kids.  He gave the student in question the information, but also others.  "I was at the Ohio State clinic and I ran into an individual that runs a scouting service over in Upper Sandusky.  I kind have become friends with him because of a former player.  He said he was having a college exposure camp and said if you know a kid that is interested in playing division one, two or three ball let them know about it.  I sent it to some of our kids, I sent it to the kid in question," said Hawkins.

          The third possible violation involved texting the student in question after he participated in a non-school sponsored weightlifting open gym.  Hawkins says he didn't directly e-mail the student involved.  "I texted our kids about how it went.  If you are a strange kid coming into a new situation I was just trying to make him feel welcome.  I did that with our kids.  They say that is recruiting because I was trying to get the kid to come here.  I didn't text the kid ever, I texted our kids," said Hawkins.

          The bylaw in question states "All questions relating to enrollment, attendance or the athletic program shall be handled through the school administration or admissions office."

 

Published 7/22/15
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Galion Placed on Probation; Hawkins Suspended

 

          Due to alleged violations in the football program, Galion High School has been placed on probation for two years and head football coach Chris Hawkins has been suspended for the first two football games this season by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

          Hawkins says he plans to appeal.

          The OHSAA says Hawkins and the football program violated three by-laws, all of them related to possible recruiting, something Hawkins denies.

          Bylaw 494-1, "Using direct mailings or electronic communication to send information to a specific individual by name."

          Hawkins says he did provide some materials to students not at Galion, but it was through his job as President of the North Central Ohio Football Coaches Association.

          A second by-law the OSHAA that was violated related to possible gifts that were provided.  Bylaw 494-6, "Providing favors or inducements, such as t-shirts or caps to prospective student athletes of parents."

          Hawkins admits that he loaned one of their helmets to a player at another school who did no have one, but it was not induce the student to come to Galion, but instead so the kid could attend an out of state camp.  He says the student's school would not let him have one to use.

          The state also says Galion violated bylaw 496 which states, "All questions relating to enrollment, attendance or the athletic program shall be handled through the school administration or admissions office."  They claim a coach did report initial contact.  The OSHAA says an e-mail was sent by a Galion coach welcoming a player to the district before that individual officially enrolled at Galion.

          Hawkins says he has never e-mailed a student that wasn't enrolled at Galion.

          The school was also fined $750.

 

 
 

Galion Starting to Feel it

 

          Galion won its second straight Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference red division game when they beat Fairbanks (10-6) on Monday afternoon at Heise Park.

          Coach Phil Jackson says his hitters are starting to feel more comfortable at the plate.  "It started Friday with a pretty good offensive output against Marion Harding, who threw a really nice lefty against us.  (Monday) it continued on with us getting hits with runners in scoring position and guys on base and that was the difference in the game," he said.

          Wins often bring confidence with them and Jackson says his young players are starting to figure out what they have to do when they climb in the batter's box.  "I think you gain confidence off wins like this, especially when you are starting as many young kids as I am right now they really need to get at bats.  They need to understand the approach and what they need to be successful.  We are starting to see that and we are starting to see the results of that, but it is slow going," said Jackson.

          Galion (6-9.4-5) plays Marion Harding (6-10,1-7) on Tuesday and also face two games with Jonathan Alder (11-5,6-3) and North Union this week.  Jackson says the "MOAC" red is very good and loaded with great pitching.  "The kids are figuring that out, but I'll tell you what the amount of growth that some of these sophomores have had in the last couple of weeks is just amazing.  We have seen some really good pitching," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday night, "That is one thing that I'll tell you about the "MOAC" is that no matter what team you are facing they have very good pitchers.  It seems in the division their 1, 2, and 3 are all hard throwing lefties.  It is definitely challenging, but we are starting to come around and starting to jell as a team and starting to believe what we are being taught."

          Jackson says there is one thing for sure and that is they have to continue to look forward and approach one game at time if they are going to put a string of wins together this season.  "That is going to be key.  We have to shake looking back and seeing these teams we should have had and gave away and looking forward focusing each day on the team we are playing and doing something better than we did the day before whether it's at bats or defense or pitching of all of it.  Our goal is to bring you best to the park that day.  Good things tend to happen when you have that short term approach," said Jackson.

 

Published 4/28/15

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Galion wants to Build Some Consistency

 

          Galion knows they are a better team than record would indicate and they just want to go out and prove that on the field, if the weather would let them.

          The Tigers are (1-2,0-2) heading into a red division game in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference at Fairbanks on Friday.  They then host Jonathan Alder in a division game on Monday.

          Coach Phil Jackson says the cancellations have hurt them a lot this year.  "Sometimes it is about getting into a rhythm and getting some confidence at the plate and getting the pitchers some innings and those things have failed to fall because we are behind the weather constantly," he said.

          Jackson says it has been difficult to get all his pitchers on the mound and get them in position where they feel comfortable.  "This year my team has quite a bit of the depth and what I am struggling with is if you play once a week you can throw your one every time.  Well that is not what is best for your program and will not lead to success down the road," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "You have got to have that rotation and sometimes you are throwing your twos and threes and you would like to be throwing your one.  You have got to get your guys some innings because it will benefit you down the road."

          He says it is kind of the same thing when it comes to hitters.  He wants his kids to get experience hitting in big situations.  "We have hit the ball, but what we have found is sometimes on approach when we have been in position to plate runs, with people on with no outs.  What we need to do is get out and play some baseball and shake that stuff off and get consistent and we can't do that with the weather," he said.

          Galion, in its first year in the "MOAC," has lost games to River Valley (5-1) and Buckeye Valley (4-1) and Jackson says Friday's game, if they can get it in, is huge for them.  "We are really focused on this game on Friday.  It is probably one of the better weeks we have had in the gym in staying focused.  A couple of days off does that to a team.  We know we are better than our record shows and we are out to prove that come Friday, Saturday and the following Monday.  Those games, if we get them in, we are going to come ready to play," said Jackson.

          Galion plays a doubleheader at Northern Ohio League power Ontario (2-1) on Saturday.  Jackson says it could be a confidence builder for them.  "I really believe we will get Saturday's game with Ontario in.  Neither I or coach Gorbett want to lose those games.  I have a history, I coached over there a number of years and I love and respect their program and obviously it means something to go over there and try and get a couple of wins," he said.

 

Published 4/10/15

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Galion Blanks Plymouth in Baseball Opener

 

          Chad Karnes scattered three hits over five innings and the Galion Tigers topped Plymouth (11-0) in non-conference high school baseball on Monday afternoon.

          Coach Phil Jackson says they got solid pitching and hit the ball well too in what was a pretty good game for the Tigers on Monday.  "It was a great outing.  It was probably one of the best first game performances I have seen in all phases of the game.  The team came out and they were ready to play.  We got ahead in the count," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday evening, "Chad Karnes came in and threw five great innings for us and only threw 83 pitches and only gave up three hits, four walks and four strikeouts.  He was just amazing.  He did not let the weather bother him.  He is a senior and that obviously makes a difference there.  Again, I was really happy with our performance."

          It was just a (1-0) Galion lead after three innings of play and Jackson thought they showed some pretty good patience at the plate until they were able to get things going.  "It was a tight game and was probably one of the better Plymouth teams I have ever seen in my coaching career.  They are really solid in all phases.  We kept pounding the ball, but they got out of a couple of situations with double plays by playing good defense.  We kept at it and were patient.  We hit strikes and took advantage of satiations where we could and I was really happy about that," he said.

         Galion scored seven times in the fourth and three more in the fifth inning to put the game away.

          Bryce Lybarger and Garrett Kuns each had three hits for the Tigers on Monday.  Tyler Castline had two hits and three RBI. 

          It was no higher than the mid 40's Monday with a consistently strong wind out of the southwest.  In other words not great playing conditions.  Jackson says you have to work through those kind of conditions, and worse, if you are going to be a successful baseball team.  "I think every coach that coaches in Ohio, especially Northern Ohio, knows it is difficult with the conditions we put up with.  It is even more difficult when you are outside for a while and then forced to go back in the gym and do some things.  It is hard to keep kids motivated and it is hard to work on all of things you need to work on.  The team that comes out of that the most focused is the one that is going to be successful early on in the season," he said.

          The Tigers play their first two games as a member of the red division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference this week as they host River Valley (0-1) on Wednesday and travel to defending champion Marion Pleasant (0-1) on Friday, of course, weather permitting.

 

Published 3/31/15

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Galion Ready For New League

 

          Galion was an upper division team in the North Central Conference, but it will be a new experience this spring as the baseball team enters play in the red division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.

          Coach Phil Jackson says judging on what he has seen so far even though they will be young they are still going to be a team that has a lot of talent.  "As always I have high expectations and the kids know that coming in.  We are not quite as experienced as we have been in the past, but I think we are equally as talented.  So, it will depend on how we jell coming into the spring, when it comes to determining our success," he said.

          With so many first time varsity players, Jackson says getting in a lot of scrimmage action is going to be important to them this spring.  "The preseason is more important than any other year just because of the youth that we are bringing.  We have got to see some of these younger kids get live at bats against varsity pitching.  We were lucky enough Tuesday to scrimmage Hopewell-Loudon and (Wednesday) get a good one in against South Central.  We got to see a lot of kids.  We still need to see more of them with the youth," said Jackson.

          The "MOAC" has been a pretty good baseball league and Marion Pleasant and Jonathan Alder both made long tournament runs last year.  Jackson says they know what they are up against, but they are ready.  "Well, it is the unknown and you fear the unknown.  It is not that we are scared, we just don't know our opponents very well," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "We are going to prepare as if everyday we are going against Jonathan Alder or somebody of that caliber.  They are in that division with us, along with Marion Pleasant, who won the league last year.  It is going to be tough top to bottom.  We expect that and we are not afraid of that.  We are kind of looking forward to that."

          Galion is slated to open the season with a doubleheader at Plymouth on March 28.  Their first game as a member of the "MOAC" will be April 1 at home against River Valley.

 

Published 3/20/15

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Perimeter Defense Big For Galion

 

          Galion takes on Port Clinton in a division two sectional semi-finals on Tuesday night at Willard High School.

          The Tigers (9-13) have played some up and down basketball this season, but coach Ed Rich likes what he has seen in practice since a (63-36) win over Bucyrus last Monday, one of their better efforts of the season.  "I think we have looked really good in practice, but what I have been telling my guys is we have been practicing like we want to play, which is great.  On defense we have been darn good in practice lately.  I think we are coming in here to our tournament game on Tuesday on a pretty good roll and feeling pretty good about ourselves," he said.

          Port Clinton (8-12) is coming off an overtime win over Oak Harbor (75-71) in Sandusky Bay Conference action last Friday.  Rich says the Redskins can do a lot of things on offense.  "They like the three ball, there is no doubt.  They have a handful of guys that can really shoot it.  They have two guys that we really want to keep an eye on.  They are also pretty big.  They have two guys that are 6'4" and a guard that is 6'2" and another guard that is 6'2"," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "They like to run the high low post with the lob.  If you take away the lob and take away their post players they like to skip it to their three points shooters.  They are pretty tough to defend.  We are going to have our hands full, but I think we have a good game plan.  If we execute our game plan I think we will be in good shape."

          In terms of personnel, Rich says Port Clinton reminds him somewhat of Bucyrus.  "I think they are similar to what Bucyrus wants to do.  Bucyrus isn't as big as Port Clinton, but Bucyrus wants to spread you out and look to their low post and they have some guys that can shoot the three also.  I would say they are similar to Bucyrus... that is the only team I think I could compare them to," he said.

          When it comes to keys, Rich says they must guard the three point line and be aggressive when they have the ball.  "There is no doubt we have to come out and take away their three ball.  They are unconscious, it doesn't matter if they miss four or five in a row they are still going to shoot it because they believe in their shooters.  The percentage shows they can hit shots.  The biggest thing for me is to slow them down on the three point line.  Also, they like to get out an run in transition and we have to make sure we get back.  On Offense, we have to be able to attack them.  They are going to give us more zone looks than man, but I want them to come and guard us because that is our strength," said Rich.

 

Published 3/03/15

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Galion With Very Good Effort

 

          Galion played one its best games of the year in its last regular season game as they belted Bucyrus on Monday night.

          Three players scored 11 points each as the Tigers hammered the Redmen (63-36) in non-conference play.

          Coach Ed Rich says they did some good things and most of all they played really hard.  "I was pretty happy with my guys (Monday) night.  We have had some not so good games here lately.  In the last two I didn't think we played nearly to the level that we are capable of doing.  So, we really emphasized the need to get out with some energy and get after it.  They responded well and played really hard.  We played pretty fundamentally sound for the most part.  It was a good win for us," said Rich.

          With high school kids a big key is getting them to play hard for 32 minutes and Rich says the Tigers did that and more on Monday night.  "It is amazing that kids don't want to get out there and play hard at all times.  It's not easy sometimes I know you are tired, especially late in the season.  I think sometimes people don't realize that it isn't easy to motivate yourself to play.  (Monday) night my guys did a great job with that.  There wasn't one guy that didn't go out there and leave it all on the floor," he said.

          Galion (9-13) plays Port Clinton (7-12) in a first round game in the division two post season tournament next Tuesday at Willard High School.  Rich is hoping to take some momentum into that contest.  "I am hoping that win (Monday) night and a couple of good practices can carry over that tournament game on Tuesday," he said.

          Port Clinton also won on Monday night, beating Tiffin Columbian (52-41) in a non-league game.  Rich says the Redskins have a good combination of perimeter shooting and some height.  "They are sort of similar to what Bucyrus has.  They are very dangerous from the outside and have two guys that can really knock down the threes at a clip of about 30 percent or better.  Obviously we have to get out on them," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "They have some size.  They are about 6'3", 6'4", and they do a nice job in the post.  They really like to get out and run in transition and get some fast break easy points.  I watch them last Saturday and I will seem them again this Saturday, so we ill have a pretty idea what they are going to do.  It will be a battle and if we don't come to play we are going to be in big trouble."

 

Published 2/25/15

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Galion Starting to Make Noise

 

          After a win over Marion Pleasant last Friday, the Galion Tigers are starting to play some better basketball as we get into the final weeks of the season.

          Galion knocked Pleasant from a share of first place in the red division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference with (58-51) win at their place.  Coach Ed Rich says they are starting to believe.  "Our guys were really jacked up for it.  I thought we played pretty well at their place at the beginning of year, it was a tournament like atmosphere.  They have a run and gun style and it would be back and forth.  Again our kids were pretty pumped for it.  I think they are getting to the point in their heads where they are tired of talking about how good they can be and start proving it on the floor.   So, it was a huge win for us," said Rich.

          In their second meeting with Pleasant, Rich says they played a lot better on defense and that was the difference.  "We did a much better job the Manici kid had 32 on us in the first game.  He still had 18.  If there is a possibility of a quiet 18, he got most of his points at the line.  We played a much better defensive game and made some adjustments to our defense.  I think we have played some great "D" here this last month, so hopefully we can keep that up," he said.

          Galion (7-11,5-6) is at home for North Union (9-7,5-5) in a red division game on Friday night.  Rich says the Wildcats are a pretty good team with some height and athleticism.  "I am pretty sure they are going to throw their 2-3 zone at us.  They have some big, thick guys.  They have the Brandon Allen kid that can really light it up from the outside.  He is a pretty good athlete, a pretty good defender.  They will go 2-3 zone and trap a little bit out of it.  The last time we played them we really, really struggled to shoot the ball.  That is what it is going to take this time," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "If we hit shots we are in the game there is no doubt.  If we have a poor shooting night it is going to be a tough one.  Our main focus is on the Allen kid.  He averages close to 20 a game, but they probably have five guys over 6'3", some of them can put it on the floor, so it is a tough match-up for us."

          Rich says they have been a team that has had trouble getting over the hump and winning games this year.  He hopes that changes as they get to the final weeks of the regular season.  "We are playing pretty good, but we do have a lot of work to do over these last couple of weeks before we get to the tournament, but I can't say I'm not pleased.  I would say over our last eight games we have played well enough to win almost all eight of them and we have three wins out of those eight.  We have been in every game.  I think beating Fairbanks in overtime was huge for us and obviously the win over Pleasant," he said.

 

Published 2/11/15

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Galion Has to Finish

 

          Galion has been a team good enough to stay in most games, but they haven't been able to win a lot of those, so in lies the problem.

          However, they were able to pull out a win over Fairbanks (72-68) in overtime on Tuesday night in action in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference red division. 

          Coach Ed Rich says they had to battle to get it and that was good.  "We had a real battle there at the end.  It was great for my team to pull off that victory.  We have lost two in overtime already this year, so it was nice to pull that win out," he said.

          Rich hopes the win on Tuesday night can sort of give his players some confidence, something they have kind of been lacking in this year.  "I think some of our problem this year has been our lack of confidence.  We know we have a good team.  My guys have high expectations, and I do, for some reason we lack the confidence to finish games.  We get down on ourselves quickly and we kind of go down from there.  (Tuesday) night we kind of folded in the second half, but we gutted one out," said Rich.

          Galion (6-11,4-6) hosts Marion Pleasant (12-4,6-3), the red division co-leader along with Buckeye Valley, in a "MOAC" game on Friday night.  Rich says the Spartans like to run with the basketball.  "They got off to a 9-0 start.  We went down there and played them at their place and it was a great game, almost like a tournament atmosphere with a big crowd.  It was up and down the floor with a lot of scoring and we end up losing by five or six.  They, like everyone else in this league, once you get on the road in this league it is pretty brutal," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "This no doubt a gantlet.  The two teams that are tied for first place both have three losses in the league.  It should be an interesting game.  I fully expect us to come out and play with a lot of intensity and a lot of energy and hopefully we can pick up a victory."

          Pleasant beat Galion (71-65) on December 30 as point guard Ray Maniaci got 32 for the Spartans.  Rich says they are going to have to limit him a little more is they are going to win this time.  "They have a really, really nice guard in Maniaci.  I think he scored 32 points against us in the first game.  Thank God we had one of our guys have a 25 point game, so we kind of matched him, but we have to control him," he said.

 

Published 2/05/15

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Luck Not Finding Galion

 

          Galion is a team that is likely better than its record indicates they just can't seem to get over the hump.

          They lost in overtime to Willard on Tuesday (63-58) and have played Ontario and Marion Pleasant, both 11 win teams, to close outcomes, but came up on the short end.

          Coach Ed Rich says despite the bad luck this year they are not about to give up.  "Once again I thought we played well enough to win, but it was the same story different game.  We couldn't put them away when we needed to.  I can't fault the kids for how hard we played I really think we are getting after it.  We just aren't catching the breaks when we need to get them.  We have to keep battling there is no doubt.  This team has a lot of fight in them.  As soon as we win one of these games here it will change are whole season around," said Rich.

          With the kind of season it has been so far it would be easy for the Tigers to start questioning themselves, but Rich says that is not happening with this team.  "I think our kids believe.  They know we're not what our record says we are.  They know we are going to go our and compete and have chance to win every night.  They are not hanging their heads about it, which I think is great because I think early in the year we did hang our heads about some things.  We are battling and we just hope a bounce goes our way and we get that victory," he said.

          Galion (4-9,2-5) hosts Jonathan Alder (6-4,3-4), who just knocked off Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference red division leader Marion Pleasant (55-50) on Saturday night, on Friday night in an "MOAC" contest.  Rich says it is going to be another tough game against a team that can do some things.  "I think they are like every team in the league.  We are finding out what I thought at the beginning was true this league is a straight gauntlet, there is no one team that is going to dominate.   Marion Pleasant I think got off to a 10-0 start and now they have lost their last three and Jonathan Alder beat them at their place," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "Alder is a team like everybody else they have athletes, they are not very big, they are very fundamental.  Being a small team defensively they are pretty darn good.  Offensively they can have a good night or they can struggle.  It's going to be another dogfight there is no doubt."

 

Published 1/23/15

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Galion Rallies to beat Marion Harding; Readies For River Valley

 

          Houston Blair scored 23 of his 30 points in the second half and Galion rallied to beat Marion Harding (56-51) in a game in the red division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference on Thursday night.

          Coach Ed Rich says they got more aggressive in the second half and that was the difference.  "I think we were down seven at halftime.  We really struggled to finish in the first half especially.  Our defense is what kept us in it in that first half.  In the second half we came out and got after it offensively.  Houston Blair really took over," he said.

          Rich says he is normally a guy that uses a lot of set plays in his offense to set up scoring opportunities, but against Harding there was a lot of free lancing going on.  "I am a really controlling set type person.  We have a lot of sets we run, I like to know what my guys are doing, but there were long periods of time when I just let him go.  He would make a move to get to the rack.  I think he finished 13 of 14 from the free throw line.  He was just attacking and if he didn't finish he was getting fouled.  He had a great night (Thursday) night," he said.

          Galion has been improving on defense and Rich says that has been giving them more chances to win games.  "We have been alright defensively.  I think that was our weak point at the beginning of the year, but since then we have been getting better we made some adjustments.  I thought we did a nice job defensively (Thursday) night," he told Swankonsports.com after the game, "They have some nice scorers, some nice long athletes.  We have been struggling to make enough shots, but we made enough (Thursday) night.  My guys really gutted one out and got tough."

          Galion (4-7,2-4) travels to River Valley (9-2,4-2) for another game in the "MOAC-Red" on Saturday night.  Rich says they should be at full speed for that game and they have to a great job on defense against the Vikings.  "What they are probably going to do is give us some nice zone looks, a 3-2 or a 1-3-1.  We have to figure out how to attack a zone, we have been struggling with zones these last two games.   They have some guys that can really score.  Hempy is the league leader in scoring with 23, 24 points a game.  he is a 6'5" guard and we have to find some way to slow him down.  If we come out and play there is no doubt we can compete.  We have been short handed here these last two games.  Three of our top seven kids have been out these last two games.  That makes (Thursday) night's win even bigger because we had some guys step up who weren't used to getting tons of playing time," said Rich.

 

Published 1/16/15

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Galion Must Stop Penetration

 

          Galion has shown some improvement in its play over the Christmas break and they will see how much as they are tested by a very good Ontario team on Tuesday night at their place.

          The Tigers (3-5) have won three of their last four games, their only loss to unbeaten Marion Pleasant, and coach Ed Rich says they have started do some nice things.  "We are playing pretty good, especially on the offensive end.  We are getting a lot of good looks at the basket and hitting our sets really well.  We are still struggling a little bit on the defensive end, but I thought against Bellevue we really picked up our defensive intensity in the second half.  Things are starting to come together a little bit now," he said.

          On defense, Rich says they have started to keep people out of the lane a little better, which has led to forcing tougher shots.  "What has been a killer for us all year really is stopping that initial penetration.  Early in the year the other team was able to just ram it down our throat, then we have to collapse and give them a lot of good looks at the basket.  Lately we have tighten it up a little bit.  We have allowing some penetration, but they have to kick a lot earlier.  We are tightening it up a little bit and experimenting with a couple of different types of man to man defense.  I think we might have found one that is going to suit us the best," said Rich.

          Ontario (8-1), #2 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball poll in the large school division, is one the best teams in the area and Rich says they just have athletes that can make plays.  "They are still Ontario and they are still fundamentally sound.  They are still a lot like last year's team with the penetration.  He has gone away from a lot of his sets.  He expects his kids to make plays.  They are a read and react offense where in the past coach Balogh used to be a set guy.  They push the ball up the floor get out and run in transition," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "They still have their shooters, which they always have and that makes them really difficult to defend.  You try to help on the penetration and they have a kid down in the corner that drills a three on you.  They have a little different make up, they are not as big as normal.  They are very athletic and they are going to push, push, push and try to get baskets in transition."

          Rich adds when you play the Warriors you have to handle their pressure in full and half court situations.  "In the games I have seen them play they have played a 1-2-2 diamond press and try and pressure you into some mistakes. Man to man defense I have seen them do a couple of different things.  Sometimes they pack it on you and other times they extend out and put some pressure on the guards.  It is whatever coach Balogh thinks they can do to the other team.  We will get a couple of different looks and their is no doubt we will get pressed and their is no doubt they are going to straight man to man against us in the half court," said rich.

 

Published 1/06/15

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Galion Readies For Unbeaten Marion Pleasant

 

          Galion faces a Marion Pleasant team on Tuesday night that is athletic and physical and that has Tigers coach Ed Rich a little concerned.

          On Saturday night, the Tigers picked up their second win of the season by downing Nothmor (69-51) in a non-league game.

          Coach Ed Rich says they were able to adapt to the Golden Knights zone as the game went on.  "We did what we were capable of doing.  It took a little bit to figure out their zone.  They gave us a couple of different looks, 1-3-1, 3-2, 2-3 type looks.  Our defense is struggling a little bit at this point.  It is kind of disappointing because we have pretty good athletes and we are just missing our assignments defensively right now," he said.

          Kalvin Rinehart had 14 points and Houston Blair added 12 for the Tigers on Saturday night.

          The Tigers (2-4,1-2) have won their last two, but will face a big challenge when they travel to Pleasant (5-0,3-0) on Tuesday night for a red division game in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.  Rich says Pleasant likes to run the floor.  "They are undefeated.  They can get out and run and they have tough football player athletes.  You can tell that they like to run and they will get out and run, run, run," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "Our transition "D" has to be really, really good for us to stick with them.  In the half court they just play with two guards out and three guys in.  They are basically do a lot of dribble drive stuff and we have to re ready to stop them on penetration."

          Rich says they are not, or at least they haven't been, a very physical team and he says the Spartans are very much a physical team and that is not a good combination for Galion.  "That scares me because we are very fineness in the way we play.  I have guys that are very good basketball minds and very good basketball players, but we are lacking that toughness and that showed against Northmor.  They came out and out toughed us in the first quarter and they beat us up pretty good, but we found a way to win that one.  It is just a little scary when we play against teams that are physical and tough," said Rich

 

Published 12/30/14

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Galion Needs to Work on Some Things

 

          Galion played four games in the first eight days of the season and lost all four of them, Saturday night in overtime to Buckeye Valley.

          They play just one game, against Fairbanks in Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference play this week, and coach Ed Rich says it is really nice to be able to get some practice in.  "It's nice to be able to get in a full week of practice in an prepare for Fairbanks the way we usually prepare instead of one day and play.  I think we are going to work out a lot of our kinks this week.  Give my guys a little break from games and refine some of our skills and get after it on Saturday," he said.

          One thing for sure is the Tigers have to be able to stay on the floor.  Rich says they have been dealing with a lot of foul trouble early in the season.  "I think the main thing is to keep ourselves out of foul trouble.  In the first four games I have had multiple contributors on the bench in the first half with two fouls.  I don't know if it our style of defense or not, but we are getting quite a bit of fouls called on us on the defensive end," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday. "We like to get up into people and pressure them.  We have to learn how to play with these new hand check rules.  It would be nice to be able to keep the major contributors on the floor."

          When it comes to the new hand checking rules, Rich says they have make sure the players know what they can and can not do.  "It is a tough rule after so long being able to get up into people and at least get your hands on them.  We have tried to teach it the right way and try to get our guys to understand what the emphasis is going to be.  I guess we are not teaching it good enough and we are going to have to do a few different things in practice.  We want guys to understand if they put two hands on a guy or one, two pat a guy it is going to be a foul and that has hurt us a lot this year," said Rich.

          Galion (0-4,0-2) is home for Fairbanks (1-3,0-2) on Saturday night in a red division game.  Rich says it is a chance for them to get into the win column, but they are going to have to play well to get it.  "They are gritty team.  They get after it.  They are a small team size wise.  They have a couple of decent sized guys, they have a nice shooting guard.  They run a nice set, they like to get out in transition.  If you give them an inch they going to take that inch.  They are going to make you earn the win or they are going to earn the win.  We are going to have to fundamentally sound.  They have two pretty good players and if we keep them in check we should alright," said Rich.

 

Published 12/18/14

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Galion Must Deal With Madison Athletes

 

          Galion is starting the year with four games in the first eight days of the season, including Tuesday night at Mansfield Madison in non-conference play.

          They lost their opener in a very good Plymouth team (70-44) last Saturday night.  Coach Ed Rich says they played well at times, but kind of ran out of gas and people.  "We knew they were going to have a great team.  As crazy as it might sound I thought there were a lot of times when we played pretty well.  It was tied after the first quarter and then we got two bigs that got into foul trouble in the second quarter, so they sat the second quarter," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "I think we were down 11 at half and went on a little 4-0 run and got it down to seven and then one of our big guys got hurt late in the quarter.  I think it was a little bit closer than the score shows.  But, thst Tyrell Edmiston is almost impossible to stop and I don't think we were aggressive enough on him when he had the ball."

          With some pretty good talent on the squad, Rich is confident they are going to end up being pretty good, but he knows they are going to be in for a big challenge on Tuesday.  "We are going to be alright there is no doubt.  It's going to be brutal here we have Madison and then two more this week.  Madison has some guys back.  They have that Ajian kid back and he is only a sophomore, but he is a really nice player and he has some kids around him with the Buckley kid and a couple of other guys that can really help that team out.  They played two pretty good games this weekend," he said.

          Basketball is a lot different than football, with it's one game a week.  Rich says it can be difficult to get ready for everybody they play.  "I don't like just one day to prepare.  We have (Monday) to prepare for Madison and then we play them Tuesday.  We will have one day to prepare for Jonathan Alder and then we play them on Thursday and then we will have one day to prepare for Buckeye Valley and play them on Saturday.  I don't like that, but that is something we have to deal with four games in seven days.  It's not fun when three of the four teams we have never played before, so you don't know a whole lot about," said Rich.

          Madison (1-1) beat Shelby (58-44) and lost a tough one to Norwalk (44-43) on Saturday.  Rich says they are athletic and have the ability to beat you off the dribble.  "They are athletic.  Their starting lineup is pretty small.  I think their biggest guy is 6'4".  They other guys are really guards.  They can get up in you, they can press.  I saw that on film, no doubt.  They are going to push the ball and get Ajian some open shots.  That is a lot of their offense because they have some guys that can really knock it down.  They are kind of like Plymouth, penetrate and kick.  This should be a good match-up for us," said Rich.

 

Published 12/09/14

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Galion Opens With Plymouth

 

          Galion has a new mix of players this year and their coach is pretty optimistic about their prospects this season.

          They open the campaign on Saturday night at Plymouth, the Firelands Conference favorite.

          Coach Ed Rich says he likes they way his kids have been looking heading into this weekend.  "We are getting there, we are coming together.  The guys are starting to step up and learn their roles.  The guys that I expect to be the team leaders are starting to become those team leaders.  Things are coming together pretty good this year," he said.

          He says he knows they will have to play well to beat Plymouth and his kids that are knew to varsity action are going to have to handle the atmosphere.  "This first week Plymouth has me pretty concerned.  They have a lot of guys back.  They have two 1,000 scorers back, which is tough to defend.  It concerns me how we are going to handle Plymouth's offense.  Plus, how some guys are going to handle their playing time because they don't have a lot of varsity minutes," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "It will be something a little bit different for them to step out on that varsity court.  I assume it will be a pretty decent sized crowd because Plymouth has pretty high expectations this year."

          Because they have a number of players that can score, Rich says it is difficult to concentrate your defense on one player, even Tyrell Edmiston.  "They are a tough guard.  You can double down on Edmiston to hopefully try to slow him down, but if you double down they are going to kick it out to their shooters and those guys seem like they never miss.  They are a tough team to defend and basically you have to pick who you want to slow down and hope the other ones don't go crazy.  The great experience they have is invaluable.  They have played together for so long, at least three years, if not four.  This is supposed to be their year," said Rich.

          With the way they play defense Plymouth can make it difficult to get the ball in the paint.  Rich says they are going to have to be able to hit shots.  "If they have a weakness that would be it.  The do something at the defensive end that not a lot of teams do at the high school level.  They play a lot of man to man, but it is a lot of switching, a lot of Edmiston hanging out in the paint.  If you are not hitting shots it is going to be tough to score on them," he said.

 

Published 12/05/14

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Galion Entering the Unknown

 

          Galion has the chance to be a pretty good team this year, but they are going to be playing pretty much a totally different schedule as they enter the red division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.

          Coach Ed Rich says over the first three weeks of practice and scrimmage action they have looked pretty good for the most part.  "I have liked what I have seen. W e have had a handful of scrimmages here, we have played four and we have one left, a preview.  So far, I am pretty pleased.  We have a lot of work to do just like every other team.  From what I have seen so far is pretty promising for us," he said.

          Yes, the Tigers will have some kids that can score and defend, but more than that Rich thinks he has a very smart team that will be able to react to what they see.  "I think I have a really high I.Q. basketball team.  I think we are going to be able to execute pretty good.  These guys have picked up on our stuff really good, quicker than I have had any team," he told Swankonpsorts.com on Tuesday, "They have picked up on our sets and all of the things we run pretty quickly.  Basketball I.Q. is going to be one of our strengths.  We are going to have to rely on that quite  bit along with our guard play.  We have some nice guards and we have two bigs that are playing really well right now too.  So, I am pretty excited for the season to start."

          There first game this season is at Plymouth, the Firelands Conference champion, in a non-conference game.

          With Marion Pleasant and River Valley and the rest in their league now, Rich admits that there are a lot of questions going into the season just based on who they play.  "For us it is the unknown with this new league going to the "MOAC."  I don't know a whole lot about all of these teams.  It is how are my kids going to react to these bus trips and new gyms and new atmospheres.  That is what scares me the most about this upcoming season," he said.

 

Published 11/26/14

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Galion Wants to Compete

 

          Galion is the underdog when they travel to Wooster Triway for a first round playoff game in division four Friday night, but they believe they have a good chance at winning.

          The Tigers (6-4) are in the postseason for the third straight year.

          They lost to another unbeaten team in their final regular season game last week when Marion Pleasant beat them (41-20) in an "MOAC" red division game.

          Coach Chris Hawkins says they had a chance to be successful last week and didn't play their best.  "We didn't play well against Pleasant, we really didn't, then we watched film and we played even worse execution wise than I even thought.  We knew we turned the ball over, but execution wise we really didn't do a good job of that.  I told our kids that on Saturday and I didn't tell them that to brawl beat them or to be negative.  We tackled horrible, we didn't execute, and we didn't block well, but we were right there with one of the best teams in our area capable of winning the football game.  I told them we can do this, we just can't play that poorly.  We have to protect the football and we have to play well.  If we do, and I don't care what our record is, I like our chances," said Hawkins.

          Triway quarterback Parker Carmichael has accounted for 64 touchdowns this year, 48 through the air.  Hawkins says when he scrambles his intent is to still throw the ball.  "You can't say enough about him he is just an elite quarterback.  People have told me he has thrown for over 11,000 yards in his career.  He is the real deal, he can hurt you with his arm and his legs.  The thing about him is he wants to hurt you with his arm.  That is something different than what we face.  When he gets in trouble his first instinct is not to tuck it and run, his first instinct is to make you miss so he has more time to get the pass off.  That in itself is going to be a huge challenge," said Hawkins.

          Of course, Galion was in a new league this year, the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, and Hawkins hopes some of very good teams in that league have made them better.  "We really hope that this new league has prepared us well.  Nobody wants to lose, but I think there can be lessons learned through losing.  Even the Madison embarrassment as we look back at that game I think we became a better team.  The River Valley heartbreaking loss I think we learned from that and that is one of the reasons we pulled the North Union game out," he said.

          Triway has kind of designed their offense after the Kenton Wildcats, a team that beat Galion last year in the playoffs.   "About 365 days ago we faced a team that was very similar to Triway in Kenton, without one our best players, so we have at least had some experience trying to defend that," he said.

          As far as how Triway and Carmichael execute that offense is somewhat in question.  Hawkins says they are going to try and take Triway from things they like.  "I don't know how long they have been running this offense.  I heard that after they lost to Kenton they kind wanted to run Kenton's offense.  I understand they were a spread offense, but they just went to Kenton offense where they pass 95 percent of the time.  Kenton has so many checks they have an answer to everything and I don't know if Triway is to that level," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "You are not going to stop them.  What we are going to try and do is take things away that they like to do.  They are a big bubble team, a big quick team, they like the jailbreak, but at the same time if you fall asleep they will throw over your head."

          Hawkins says when they have the ball they want to have some explosive plays, but they want to possess the ball too.  "I think that we need to tell our kids is they are going to get some plays and score some points, but we need to do the same thing.  We want to be able to drive it when we have to.  One of your best defenses is your offense controlling the clock and completing 10, 12, 14 play drives.  At the same time we have always been a big play team and we hope to get three or four or five big plays and get touchdowns.  We just want to stay close.  If it is close in the fourth quarter you never know what is going to happen," he said.

 

Published 11/06/14

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Playing with heart The Biggest Thing for Galion

 

          Galion must have a win against unbeaten and outright Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference red division champion Marion Pleasant if they are going to make the division four playoffs and their coach thinks they can do it.

          A big second half last week led to a (50-33) win over a good North Union team.  Coach Chris Hawkins says things didn't start out well, but they got better.  "We played our best half of the season.  In the first half the game I wouldn't say we played poorly, but we didn't tackle well and we had three turnovers.  To be quite honest to be only down 20-7 after three turnovers we were fortunate.  We hadn't had three turnovers in the last two games let alone a half.  I don't think we played poorly we just didn't protect the ball and tackle well.  The second half we kind of shored up both ends and we definitely be far played our best second half.  We played well against Fairbanks and did some very nice things against North Union.  I am hoping, and every coach does, that we are peaking at the right time and thus far that seems to be the case," said Hawkins.

          Pleasant (9-0,6-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, is at Galion (6-3,4-2) on Friday night.  Hawkins says the Spartans defense is very good.  "First of all their defensive coordinator, coach (Mike) Carroll has been there 20, 30 years, so when you are doing something for so long they just know it.  Defensively they are just so sound and so fundamentally correct.  Defense I think that is their forte they are just so sound.  They have athletes that run to the football and they have big beef up front and that is the recipe for a pretty good defense," he said.

          On offense, Hawkins says Pleasant is balanced and they have a lot of game breakers.  "Offensively they have some weapons.  They have one of the fastest kids we will face all year long, a very nice quarterback that can that can both run and throw and nice guys up front.  So, they are very good football team on both sides of the ball," he said.

          Despite saying all of those good things about Pleasant Hawkins adds they don't have to play the best game in school history to come up with the win either.  "I told our kids, and this is not being disrespectful, they are a very, very good team, but if was 0-0 against North Union with three or four minutes to go.  On film they are very good, but I told our kids it is not like we have to go out and play the most error free best football game in the world and they have to play crappy for us to have a chance.  We have to play like we did in the second half against North Union and protect the football and tackle better.  Last week, I think the first time our team played with heart," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "We have played hard before, we have played passionate, but we really played with a lot of heart in that second half.  I think if we do those things we can beat this team.  We don't need a miraculous miracle.  We just need to play good fundamental sound football and play with some heart and I really feel we can win."

 

Published 10/29/14

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Galion Faces Athletic North Union

 

          With two weeks left in the season the Galion Tigers are still clinging to the last playoff sport in their division four region, but getting wins in their last two games won't be easy.  This week it is North Union and next week it is unbeaten Marion Pleasant.

          Last week, they put together one their best wins over the season when they handled Fairbanks (41-0) in a red division game in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.

          Coach Chris Hawkins, who can be hard to please, says this might have been their best overall game of the season.  "I know that Fairbanks is toward the bottom of league, but we saw them on film and they gave some teams some good games.  I know the previous week they got handled, but they didn't have their quarterback or their top receiver and they are both top of the league.  I think they kind of saved then for us.  We kind of used that as motivation," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "I know they are kind of at the lower part of the league.  We played well.  We put some things together and I thought we played well on both sides of the football.  We have had moments of greatness and a lot of duh moments and never really put a great game together on both sides of the ball and I think that was probably our best and now we need to carry that over against a much, much tougher opponent."

          Galion (5-3,3-2) plays at North Union (5-3,3-2) in "MOAC" game on Friday night.  The Wildcats have a first year coach in Nick Hajjar, who is also the school's athletic director.  Hawkins says there have been some changes in what they do.  "The previous coach turned that program around and got them in the playoffs and won their first playoff game.  He and his wife both wanted to have children, but he is still the defensive coordinator.  They have a new head coach who was an assistant at Ohio Northern University.  They used to be a wing-T sort of team, but they have changed offenses because they have brought in a college offense.  They will still run the football, don't get me wrong.  So, offensively they are spread team.  Defensively they haven't changed much," said Hawkins.

          Galion has tossed three shutouts this season against LaGrange Keystone, Buckeye Valley and Fairbanks and Hawkins says it might be up to that defense again this week.  "They have a lot of athletes.  They are not as big as they were a couple of years ago when we played them in the playoffs, but they definitely have some kids that run to the football.  Their offense is good, but I think their defense is the strength of their team.  Our defense is going to have to play very well and limit them because I think scoring opportunities are going to be limited for both teams," he said.

 

Published 10/21/14

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Galion Has to Bounce back

 

          Galion has to lick its wounds and come back and be ready to play this week against Fairbanks at home in play in the red division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.

          In one of the toughest losses in Chris Hawkins coaching career, River Valley scored with less than a second to play to beat the Tigers (21-17) last week.  "I have doing this for 20 some years and there was only one that was comparable to that.  I remember back in 1999 in my first year at Willard and we were playing Tiffin Columbian and we were 7-0 and they were 7-0.  We were down three and had like 12 seconds left.  We decided not to go for a field goal, we had a freshman kicker, so we went for it.  Charlie Frye had an unbelievable pass for a touchdown and we looked around, no flags, and literally 15 to 20 seconds later an official came up and threw a flag down and said he was across the line.  You know, thinking you had it won, well this was right up there with it," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "It felt like we were punched right in the gut.  To be in complete control.  We had a first down and all we had do with 50 seconds left was take a knee, we had a first down, and it was very similar.  We had an official come across the field and throw a flag 10 seconds after the fact, completely away from the play, obviously their coach was in his ear.  We punted and had a bad punt.  We had them on fourth and 23 with 12 seconds left.  They throw up a "Hail Mary" and get 26.  They step out of bounds with six seconds left.  They score a touchdown with four tenths of a second left.  We just looked and said do that just happen?"

          Hawkins adds that he is proud of every kid on his roster for their efforts in the game against River Valley.  "I was so proud of our kids.  We were short handed with a back up quarterback and several lineman out.  We showed a lot of guts and should have won that game and not to is a testament to our kids, but I am concerned about how we are going to bounce back.  That was literally one of the toughest losses I was ever involved in," he said.

          In practice this week, Hawkins says they have really challenged the players and they have responded.  "We tell our kids on Monday that we have to forget what happened on Friday.  Our kids are doing a great job of moving on.  We had a great practice (Tuesday) and we told our kids that we are backs are against the wall.  We have had a couple of activities were we have our kids back against the wall and we put three or four people up there and have them cornered and we tell them you have two choices you are either going to give up and quit or your are going to fight to get out of that corner.  We are trusting that our kids will come out fighting," he said.

          Galion (4-3,2-2) hosts Fairbanks (1-6,1-3) on Friday night.  The Tigers are still eighth in their computer region.  Hawkins says they have a lot to play for.  "A lot of times when you have a tough loss, and you are 4-3, your goals are out the window, and you are just playing for pride.  That is not the case, we could still get a piece of that "MOAC."  We need a little help to get goal number one, but goal number two we don't need any help at all.  If  we wing the next three games not only will we be in, we will be hosting.  So, goal number two is still in out control.  We told our guys it is just a three game season and in order to win three you have to be 1-0.  With Fairbanks coming in we feel if we just play good solid football it is a game we should get. We are going to get some of these guys that were out last week back," said Hawkins.

 

Published 10/15/14

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Galion Squares off with River Valley

 

          Galion trails red division leader Marion Pleasant by a game in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference standings as they travel to River Valley this week to meet the Vikings.

          Last week, they held on to beat longtime rival Upper Sandusky (21-14) in a red division game.  Coach Chris Hawkins says they really didn't play that well, but considering the obstacles they were facing not too bad.  "I don't know if perfection is the word, but sometimes I walk off the field after a win and it doesn't feel like a win because we didn't play well, but then we look back think about all of adversity that we went through last week.  It was our first game without of defensive coordinator, our linebacker goes out in the first quarter, our quarterback goes out on the last play of the first half in a tie game and our sophomore backup has top come in.  We over came that," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "We were three, four touchdowns better than them, but we got a win.  We put some much time in this that we have to step back and enjoy the win.  We never want to be satisfied, but we have to take a step back and says hey we got a win.  We are not like the "NCAA" where you have to be impressive and win by four touchdowns to move up in the polls all we have to do is get a "W" and that's what we did."

          River Valley (3-3,1-2) got its first conference win last week in beating Fairbanks (14-0) on Friday.  Hawkins says the Vikings have a solid program.  "Coach Green took over that program six or seven years, they had had a lull there for eight, ten years, and he came over from Ridgedale and he has done a great job of getting that program turned around.  They are 3-3, but two of the teams they have lost to are 5-1 and the other is 6-0, that is 16-2 and that's pretty impressive," he said.

          Galion (4-2,2-1) has had its moments this year with a pair of shutouts and some good offensive play too, but then there have been some bad moments also.  Hawkins says the Vikings are a lot like them in that regard and he looks for an interesting match-up come Friday.  "They are very similar to us, they run the same kind of offense.  Watching them on film I see people thinking about them like they do us.  We have played some quarters and halves and people think this team is really good and we have played some halves and even games where it looks like this isn't the same team that we watched the week before.  They are the same way.  What we are hoping for is we have more "wow" moments than they do ," said Hawkins.

 

Published 10/10/14

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Galion Looks for Full Game

 

          Galion has played well on one side of the ball or the other, or for parts of games, this week as the host Upper Sandusky in a red division game in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, their goal is to play a complete game.

          They did not get that done last week when they lost (41-24) to Jonathan Alder in the conference game.  Coach Chris Hawkins admits he didn't have his kids prepared for the game.  "I look back and they are a very good football team and if we play ten times they are going to win the majority of them.  They were always one step ahead of us," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "We did shut down what we wanted to shut down in the first half and they started to pass.  So, we went in at halftime and changed our look to go to a nickel package and then they hurt us running the ball.  Then they went to option because we were in cover three.  They went to plan "C" and we were always one step behind them.  We have to give them credit for that, but at the same time I told the kids I will take the blame for that one because.  We kind of got laud into sleep by those two shut outs and we going to stay with the game plan because we were just shutting teams down.  We just had plan "A" and it was working and so we went into that game with plan "A."  Plan "A" shut down what it was supposed to, but when they when to plan "B" we didn't have one ready and I told the kids that will not happen again we will definitely have a plan "B" and a plan "C" ready at all times."

          Galion (3-2,1-1) and Upper Sandusky (2-3,0-2) have been playing each other since the 1940's, but the Rams have a new coach in Chris Rodriguez, and Hawkins says that means more unknowns.  "We have had so many new opponents and not only that but four, and maybe five, have new coaches.  This is one of the opponents that we are actually familiar with, but they have a new coach, so we are only as familiar with the as the last three films we have on them.  It is kind of sad because this is last time we will ever play them barring league changes again, which I am sure will happen.  They are going into that Northern 10 and there is only one non-league game for those Northern 10 schools and we are set with Bucyrus.  It is kind of rivalry because we have played them for so long end, but that was their choice to get in there.  The good thing is we are at least familiar with the personnel, so that has to be a little bit of an advantage for us compared to some of these schools we are playing.  However, the same could be said for them, they are familiar with us.  It is like playing an old time foe," said Hawkins.

          The Galion coach says they have to put their talent to work and play a 48-minute game.  "I think we are the better football team, but I have been in this business long enough to know that the best team doesn't always win.  I have played on teams that aren't as good as the opposite side and won and I have been one teams that have been better and lost and I have coached teams that were better and ended up losing and vise versa.  As far as the talent is concerned we are more talented, but we need to get back in our grove because what we really haven't done this year is put a full game together on both sides of the ball.  We have had some very good offensive performances.  We have had a couple of very good defensive performance, but we have yet to have a game were both sides of the ball played well.  We feel if we can do that we can contend and compete with anyone," said Hawkins

 

Published 10/01/14

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Galion Prepares for Football Power

 

          Being in a new league there will be a lot of new things for the Galion Tigers this year.  They have passed the first test in the red division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, but the second is going to be tougher.

          Last week, Galion (3-1,1-0) demolished Buckeye Valley (32-0) for their second straight shutout win.  Coach Chris Hawkins says their defense was really outstanding.  "Offensively they had less than 30 total yards for the game.  It was just an unbelievable defensive performance.  Even though we shut out Keystone the week before they were able to get the ball inside the 15 a couple of times and on our side of the 50 a few times, we kind of bent, but never broke, and never let them in.  Well, this team never had a chance, our defense was just so dominate.  I still think we haven't even attempted to reach our ceiling on offense.  I think we are getting a lot better, a lot quicker on the defensive side of the ball, which I expected.  We are not playing extremely well the whole game, but we are playing hard the whole game the last two games," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "We are not the same football team we were weeks one and two.  I didn't think we were a very good football team early.  We struggled in a couple of our scrimmages and week one and two.  Our defense started jelling against Keystone and I think our offense is stating to progress.  I don't think we are where we need to be, but we are a lot better off then we were a couple of weeks ago."

          Jonathan Alder (1-3,0-1) will visit Galion for the first time on Friday night.  The Pioneers have made 13 state playoff appearances.  Hawkins says they are what big time football is about.  "I know most people in this area don't know much about Jonathan Alder and they are going to see that they are 1-3, but I am going to tell you they are one of the best football programs.  I think two or three years ago when they missed the playoffs they had made it 12 straight years.  They are only three of four years removed from being a division three final four team.  I remember talking to coaches from Bishop Hartley and Bishop Watterson at a lifting meet a couple of years ago and the Hartley coach said why are you getting in a league with them?  We dropped them and Bishop Hartley was the number one team in the state.  They are a football powerhouse, they have been down for Jonathan Alder, but they are a powerhouse.  And the schedule they play.  They got beat by Clinton Massie, who is a two time defending state champion, and I think they will repeat next year they are that good.  Their other loss is to 4-0 Pleasant.  We know we are going to have our hands full," said Hawkins.

          Last week, Marion Pleasant beat Jonathan Alder (57-50) in a shootout.  Hawkins says they may get in a lot of formations, but they want to run the ball and that's what they have to stop.  "When we first heard they put up 50 on Pleasant we thought how did they do that?  Pleasant's defense is supposed to be really, really good.  Then we watched them on film and back in the day they were a wing-T team and then they went to a spread a little bit, so we were anxious to see.  This is a new coach and they are kind of in a single wing.  The fullback is only like one-yard behind the line of scrimmage between the guard tackle gap and they use him to block and lead up through.  It's a lot of misdirection.  They can pass, they can get into a spread, they just give you so many looks.  All of those looks are fine and dandy, but what they want to do it get in that single wing and they want to ground and pound.  Anytime you want to slow down a good opponent you want to slow down what they want to do first and foremost and what they do best and they run the football.  So, it's their strength is kind of against our strength," said Hawkins.

 

Published 9/23/14

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Galion Needs to Make an Impression

 

          Galion will play its first ever game in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference on Friday night at Buckeye Valley and they have some things to prove.

          Last week, they shutout LaGrange Keystone (14-0) and coach Chris Hawkins says it was a win they had to have.  "We needed it.  You hate to put so much emphasis on a non-league, early season game, but it was a big game for us.  We really feel that they are going to be a 9-1, 8-2 team at the worst, so we know it's big game as far as goal two of playing in week 11.  More than that we thought it was a big game for our psyche of our team.  When you go out there and kind of get spanked around in one of the worst losses since we have been there doubt starts to creep in.  I am not talking about just the community I am talking about players and even coaches.  We really thought it would be a big game.  We didn't play exceptionally well, but we did play hard and we played physical.  That's what I tried to tell our guys that you can overcome mistakes and not executing and not playing well when you play hard and you play physical.  We did those two things and that is what I am most proud of for our kids stepping up and doing," said Hawkins.

          Hawkins has been outspoken about the way he feels Galion was mistreated by some of the other former members of the North Central Conference, but he says is time to move on.  "You can look back in the rearview mirror for a while, but then it is time to move on.  We know what happened and we know what went down and shame on those people for behind our backs kicked us out and did all of that, but that is not an us issue it is a them issue.  We are moving on to bigger and better things.  This a league we are excited about because football wise its is a beast.  This is the toughest schedule we have had since I have been at Galion and that includes the years we were in the "NOL."  Every week there is someone that can knock you off," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "Just look at the tradition of these teams that we are going to be playing on the schedule.  We are excited about it because we want to be one of these elite programs and we aren't there yet, but we at least tried to make a name for ourselves in the Crawford-Richland County area and we have made some strides.  But, if you really want to be an elite program than you have to beat top notch teams.  Some of these teams want to call themselves an elite program they play the biggest cupcakes they can find out there.  We are excited about raising the bar and stepping it up."

          Galion is now a member of the red division of the "MOAC," which includes the likes of Marion Pleasant, Jonathan Alder, River Valley and North Union.  Hawkins says they have to earn respect.  "At the same time we have told out kids that Buckeye Valley doesn't now anything about us.  They don't care what we have done over the last four or five years.  They don't care, nor do they respect us.  Respect is not something that you just get it is something that you earn.  They don't respect us and we have some proving to do, so we better show up there with a chip on our shoulder like we have something to prove.  We have to go out there and hit and be physical and show them what the Galion Tigers are all about," he said.

          Galion (2-1) is at Buckeye Valley (1-2) on Friday night.  Hawkins says the Barons have a high octane passing game.  "They have the league's leading passer.  His is a phenomenal athlete.  He is also their leading rusher.  They want to throw the ball first and run the ball second and when they do run the ball it mostly him.  That is a kid we have to stop.  They also have a receiver that is one of the league's top receivers.  He also returns punts and is a great athlete.  Those are the two kids that we need to slow down.  They don't have a great running game.  Usually you like to stop the run and make them pass.  We are going to try and stop the pass and make them run," said Hawkins.

          Buckeye Valley over the first three games has shown they will do anything at anytime and Hawkins says that makes them hard to prepare for.  "My biggest concern is they get in 14, 15 different formations.  They ran three on sides kicks last week against Bellbrook.  They ran a fake punt.  They do a lot of unorthodox things.  I don't know if that is because their new coaches like that or if they trying to find what to hang their hat on.  We are preparing for everything.  The big thing is this week we don't want to give up a cheep score on some kind of trickery," he said

 

Published 9/19/14

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Galion at Crossroads

 

          After two weeks Galion is a team that could either enjoy a good season or they could slide to mediocrity and their coach thinks Friday night will go a long way in determining which one.

          Madison throttled the Tigers (37-3) last week and Hawkins says they were fighting a lot of outside forces.  "It was tough.  We learned a couple of things.  One, we are not going to open up any more turf fields.  A couple of years ago Mansfield Senior dominated the first almost three quarters and the same things here.  I don't want to say the game wasn't won on the field because it was, but I even said before I didn't like this.  I am a Karma person with tings like this.  The big crowd and the Madison ghosts of the past all of this stuff.  It was just fate going in there and nothing good is going to happen," he said.

          Plus, Hawkins says they were playing a pretty Madison team that kind of beat them physically in the game.  "We also found out that Madison is a darn good football team.  With seven, eight minutes left in the second quarter we are still winning 3-0, so our defense did hang in there.  Even when they did score it took them eight, 10, 11 plays and they have to go over the top and their athlete has to make a play to score.  Where I think the game was lost was the ensuing kickoff.  We are going to get the ball, but there is a pooch kick to the 45 yards line with about seven minutes to go, we don't fair catch it, it gets on the ground, and they get it.  To our defense's credit it took another 10 plays for them to get in the end zone.  I thought our defense played really well the first half," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "When you play a Madison team and it is pound, pound, pound, and we have a lot of kids going both ways this year unfortunately and it was as hot as could be last Friday and eventually they wore us down.  Our offense couldn't move it.  Is Madison the better team?  Absolutely, but are they 37-3 better than us?  I don't believe that, but they were that night."

          This week Galion faces another tough game as they visit LaGrange Keystone (2-0) in a non-league game.  The Wildcats destroyed Monroeville (51-7) in their first game and downed Cloverleaf (25-8) last week.  Hawkins says this a very good team they are playing.  "This is the toughest schedule that we have ever had since I have been at Galion hands down and that includes the ones when were in the NOL.  Last year Keystone was 7-3 and it was 28-12, we had our way with them the first couple of years.  They played 10 or 12 freshmen when we played them three years ago, well those freshmen have stuck with it and are now seniors.  This just isn't a coach trying to brag up a team to get kids motivated, this is a good football team.  Some of the people we know that play them, and some of the people in LaGrange, are saying this is one of the best Keystone teams they have ever had and they had some good teams a decade of so ago.  It is going to be another tough game and we have to make a long drive there," said Hawkins.

          The coach says this is not a must win, but it almost is.  "We had a talk with our kids that this is a pivotal game.  I don't want to say that we are putting all of our eggs in one basket and if we don't win we can throw in the towel, because win or lose we still have seven games left and our number one goal of a league championship is still there.  It is a lot better to go into league play 2-1 than 1-2.  I told the kids this could be a turning point in our season.  I know it is a non-league game, but I really think it's a big game for us this year," said Hawkins.

 

Published 9/11/14

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Improvement and Stopping the Run Key For Galion

 

          Galion is 1-0 for the season after beating Bucyrus last week, but coach Chris Hawkins says they need to play a much better football game if they expect to win again this week.

          The Tigers scored with four minutes to play to beat Bucyrus (29-22), but Hawkins says it really wasn't a very good effort at all.  "I am very hesitant to talk about how we played because sometimes it seems disrespectful to your opponent, so again I want to say that they played well.  We watched them play in three scrimmages and they didn't look very good to be honest with you.  They played extremely hard and played well, so some of our issues were because Bucyrus played extremely well.  However, being the coach in charge of the Galion Tigers we have several issues we need to shore up.  We put the ball on the ground five times totally, totally unacceptable, even though we only lost one.  We got a touchdown called back because of a penalty.  Penalties are drive killers for us and penalties kept four drives alive for them.  So, we need to be smarter on penalties and we need to take care of the football.  Those would be two huge improvements," said Hawkins.

          Hawkins says they need to get a lot better and they need to understand that they must be prepared.  "I walked off that field last Friday night obviously glad we won, but it sure didn't feel like a win.  We made so many mistakes, and no offense, but when you are three touchdowns better than somebody you have to win by three touchdowns.  It is also a rivalry and that is what our kids I don't think understood.  They saw them on film and they didn't look very good, but it's a rivalry.  You can go back to about every Ohio State-Michigan game.  There are 12, 15 point favorites and it comes down to the last second just like it did last year.  They need to understand that they need to be prepared each and every game," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "I am hoping that the lesson was learned and I am really hoping that we make a big jump.  The first two practices this week have been lights out.  They understand that if we play like we did last Friday night we are not going to beat the Madison Rams.  The only way we are going to beat the Madison Rams, or have a chance, is to improve and make a huge stride since last Friday.  I think they understand that and they are buying into that."

          Madison coach Sean Conway has been saying a lot of the same things when it comes how well or not well they played in a (34-0) win at Shelby.  Hawkins says he understands.  "It was kind of nice because we previewed against Shelby the week before.  They scored with seconds left in the third quarter, we only played three quarters, and it was 24-7.  We seem pretty similar.  I watched that game a couple of times and it was only 14-0 at the half and could have been closer.  They had a couple of fumbles.  You knew who the best team was, but at the same time Shelby hung around.  I am sure (coach Conway) is thinking yeah we won 34-0, but we didn't play extremely well.  We need to improve and I know he is saying the same thing," he said.

          Running the ball is what the Rams do well and Hawkins knows they have to contain that run game to have a chance.  "Back in the days of Dana Woodring they were smash mouth, run oriented football team.  When coach Conway was at Crestview it was the same thing.  Now you are taking a coach that loves to play football like that into a program that loves to play football like that.  It's not that they can't pass they have a good quarterback and a couple of very nice receivers.  It is just that is not what they want to do first.  They want to play smash mouth grind it out football.  You are not going to stop a team that wants to run the ball that many times, but you have to get some stops.  We can't let them get big hunks of yardage in big, long 14 play drives that can be demoralizing.  We have to be able to control the run game and not give up the big pass play," said Hawkins

 

Published 9/03/14

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Galion Has to Ready For Bucyrus

 

          Although it didn't get the kind of publicity the Cleveland Browns quarterback competition got the Galion Tigers had one of their own.

          Coach Chris Hawkins says that competition was good for the whole team.  "I like how we came out Friday against Shelby.  We had a three person battle for quarterback and Jacob Pryor has earned that starting position.  It's not that he blew everybody away because numbers two and three had good preseasons as well.  He definitely going to be our man to lead us, but it is also nice to know that we have a very, very capable two and three behind him," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "The number two guy Drake Barnett what is nice about him is now we can play him at a slot position or put him in the backfield.  We are getting him on field because he is a playmaker.  They will be jitters for Jacob even though he has three preseason games under his belt, he is going to have some butterflies and that's okay.  I think he is going he is going to do extremely well and have a great year.  At the same time that is still going to be a question mark in our minds."

          Hawkins thinks the big hogs up from are going to give Pryor good protection too.  "Our offensive line we felt had a lot of potential to be pretty good.  I thought we started out strong and we talked a couple weeks ago about how we didn't think we played that well against Centerburg.  I think we have had a nice week of practice and they are starting to jell a little bit," he said.

          With that being said about the Tigers offense, Hawkins still feels that the defense is going to be the best part of the team.  "We have a great staff.  I am going to put a little pressure on our defensive coordinator.  Our defense was pretty darn good last year, but I really think we can be better on that side of the ball this year," he said.

          On Friday night, Galion hosts long time rival Bucyrus.  Hawkins says the Redmen have an outstanding quarterback in Cole Murtiff.  And he says Bucyrus is a pretty good football team.  "I know they were 5-5 last year, but if you watch them play that is not a 5-5 team.  They could have easily been 7-3 or even 8-2.  We played extremely well against them and had a blocked punt right from the get go and it snowballed.  We kind of shut them down and again it snowballed on them a little bit.  They lost a lot of talent because they had some really go receivers.  What they have back is a quarterback and he is a good one.  He threw for over 2,000 yards and if he didn't rush for 1,000 it was close.  He stared as a sophomore so he has 20 games under his belt.  That is the big difference between us and them at the quarterback position.  I think we have a darn good one, but he has 20 games and ours has three scrimmages,' said Hawkins.

          The schools have been playing for more than 100 years, but Hawkins, who lives in Bucyrus, believes the Redmen feel it is more of a rivalry.  "It's a rivalry.  We see it as a rivalry, but I don't know if our kids see it as much as Bucyrus does.  So, they are going to come over here ready to go.  I guarantee if you look in the Bucyrus coach's office and they are going have red x's on big games and I know one of them is going to be Wynford, another is Crawford and they have one on Galion has well, so they are going to come over ready to go, so we have to have that same passion," he said.

 

Published 8/29/14

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Galion has to Get With it

 

          Galion started strong, but they took a step in the wrong direction last week in their second scrimmage and they have to get headed back in the right direction.

          Coach Chris Hawkins says the Tigers knew what they were supposed to do offense, but they just didn't do it.  "We tell our kids that we want to constantly get better from practice to practice and scrimmage to scrimmage.  We thought we looked pretty good in our first scrimmage against Fredericktown, but we thought we took a step back against Centerburg.  Offensively we just didn't move the ball very well.  We have looked at that film hard and we just saw that I guess the good thing is that most of the issues were not because we didn't know what we were doing because we reped like crazy over two a days, but it was just that we weren't getting it done," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "This week we went back, not at the same length, but to a two day type session.  We are trying to go back to a mentality of working on individual technique.  I think we kind of got laxed on the fundamentals of technique.  We are hoping we make great strides from the Centerburg scrimmage to Shelby this Friday."

          Galion plays Shelby in their final scrimmage on Friday night and Hawkins says it will be important for them to execute the stuff they do better.  "At the same time we tell our kids that we don't prepare for our scrimmages, even Shelby.  We have been working on Bucyrus and Madison the last two weeks.  We are going to work on Bucyrus again (Wednesday).  We will talk a little about Shelby on Thursday.  We are preparing for week one, not the preview.  But, from the standpoint of effort and technique and fundamentals are a big thing and there we want to make sure we are taking a step forward," he said.

          Galion opens at home next week against Bucyrus and Hawkins likes having Bucyrus on the schedule for a couple of reasons.  "It is kind ironic.  All of the stars are aligned to keep this football tradition and rivalry going.  I was told that 1897 was the first time Galion played Bucyrus.  I was told it is the third longest rivalry in the state of Ohio.  When Bucyrus got out of the "NOL" and for the game to still happen on week three and now we are in the "MOAC" all of the stars are still aligned to keep this rivalry going.  What I like about this rivalry is my daughters went to Bucyrus, and one still goes there, and I like this rivalry because it is like rivalry should be.  We don't want to lose to them and they don't want to lose to us, but after the game it is shake hands and eat some hot dogs.  It is a big game for us because it starts our season.  They are going to come out flying.  There have been times when Galion has been 7-1 and Bucyrus 3-5, for example, or vise versa, and that kind of takes a little bit away from a rivalry.  When you have teams coming in 0-0 I think the teams will be jacked and the stands will be packed," said Hawkins.

 

Published 8/21/14

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Galion to be More Balanced

 

          Galion lost lots of speed and athleticism to graduation this past summer, but Tigers coach Chris Hawkins believes they can be as good as they were last year when they earned a co-title in the North Central Conference.

          For the first week of two a days teams aren’t allowed to do any hitting and since that time Hawkins says they have controlled their physical play on purpose.  “The kids by Thursday are just chomping at the bit.  They want to take somebody’s head off because they are tired of going without pads and they just want to get to the physical aspect, so we control that.  On the first day we did no hitting drills.  We did some form tackling drills and we will continue to do that.  We know which dogs bite and which ones don’t.  Those that don’t we do want to test them a little bit more.  Once you show me how tough you are you don’t have to keep doing it, doing it, doing it because eventually you are going to be on the sidelines because you are all banged up and that isn’t going to help us.  We finished (Friday) with what we call the Urban drill that (Ohio State) did in the spring game a couple of years ago.  It’s man versus man with the team cheering.  We want keep our kids hungry, so we have very controlled hitting the first few days,” said Hawkins.

          Big Ten recruit Darian Watkins was a big time talent on both sides of the ball for Galion and Hawkins says they are not going to replace him with just one guy.  “You don’t replace a Darian Watkins, you just don’t.  With schools in our area to get a kid with that kind of athleticism they only come around every so often.  It going to be very difficult to replace him from a pure athletic standpoint,” he told Swankonsports.com, “However, we feel we have some nice kids coming back even though we lost our two best players.  What we are going to do is spread it out a little bit more.  Our best receiver had more than 1,000 yards.  We had one great receiver last year and a couple of decent ones.  I think this year we have four very good receivers, so we can still get those 1,000 yards, but it isn’t going to be one person.  I don’t care how we pass for 1,500 yards.  It doesn’t matter if 1,200 go to one kid and the other 300 to four kids.  Or if every kid gets 250.”

          They haven’t settled on one yet, but Hawkins says they have designed a plan to get a quarterback that can run their kind of offense and it may be a kid that hasn’t played that position.  “Quarterback was a big dilemma the whole off season.  What we did was take three or four of our best athletes and put them back there and a couple of them have never played quarterback their entire careers and here they are juniors, but we need athletes.  The two that are in the forefront right now are doing a really, really good job.  Will we miss Darian Watkins, absolutely, but these other two kids can bring something else to the table.  We feel that if our quarterbacks continue to progress we will be good and our goal, as always, is to win a league championship,” he said.

          With all of this talk about offense Hawkins knows if they are to be a championship factor in their new home, the red division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, it has to start with defense.  “If you are going to win league championships it is truly going to be on defense.  I think we have the potential to be even better on defense.  We lose a lock down corner in Alex Armistead and he could lock down anybody.  He locked down that kid that is going to Kentucky and Ohio State was looking at from Keystone.  We have a lot of athletes back there that can play as well.  I really think if our kids continue to play hard and practice hard we could be as good and maybe a little bit better on that side of the ball this year,” said Hawkins.

 

Published 8/12/14

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Galion Ready for Change

 

          For the second time in four years the Galion Tigers are starting play in a new league, in this case the red division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.

          Coming off a North Central Conference co-title last year the Tigers will have a new look.  Coach Chris Hawkins likes what he has seen in this early part of the two a day period.  “I am very pleased with the progress we are making.  When we make our schedule we make it with two a days in mind, how do we do our camp days.  We spend a lot more time with the pass game during the summer because you can do seven on sevens.  Then our overnight trip and the first week of two a days you can’t do any hitting,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “You have practices there that are like a summer camp day, it is just all skills and drills.  We hit the pass game very hard in our seven on sevens and our camp days and then we kind of change gears and work on the run game and line play.  We have everything in now, that’s what we told our kids, now we just continue to refine and become better.”

          Hawkins says the main thing you are doing during the preseason before week one, which is in a little more than three weeks, is making sure you have kids in the right positions on the field.  “One of the most important things we can do as coaches is put kids in the right positions, it “A” helps the team and “B” uses their strengths.  We spent a lot of time in the summer having personnel meeting.  We try to put them in a spot where they can be successful.  It is hard to tell on certain kids, especially untested kids, or kids that are back out after a one or two year hiatus, where are they going to be?  Are they going to be a Friday night player?  It’s hard to tell that before they start hitting.  After Thursday that is when we take a look at people and watch film.  You say, you know, this kid can play for us, or unfortunately, this kid might be athletic, quick and fast, but he’s not that tough,” said Hawkins

          Thursday is the first day that players are actually allowed to tackle each other, but Hawkins wants to make sure that there isn’t a lot of aggressiveness early in camp.  “It told my staff I don’t want to do your traditional first day hitting, hamburger drill and all of that, I don’t want that.  The kids are going to be hungry to hit so we are going to keep our hitting controlled for the next couple of days.  We want unleash the aggressiveness on our first scrimmage.  We want to set there and hit (Thursday) but at the same time we want to be smart have controlled live play,” he said.

          Galion has new challenges in what will be a tougher football conference in the “MOAC” with the likes of Marion Pleasant, River Valley, North Union, and Jonathan Alder.  Hawkins understands what they are up against.  “I don’t know about other sports, but I know football it is tough.  The question I’m getting asked is compare it to the “NOL.”  The only thing I could say is Tiffin was always on top and couple of other teams were always there.  It took turns on who that was it would be Bellevue, and then it would be Shelby, and then couple of times it was Willard, and a couple of times Galion.  There were always two or three teams that were very good, but there were three of four that were not.  If you have an average team you could get out at 3-4 in the league.  With this league wow!  I know Fairbanks is struggling a little bit, but with the exception of them there is not a weak sister, if you don’t come to play you are going to lose.  I think top to bottom it is even more competitive than the “NOL,” said Hawkins.

 

Published 8/07/14

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Galion has to Refocus

 

          Two tough losses, one by one and the other by two, to Upper Sandusky last Friday and this Monday cost the Galion Tigers a chance to share the North Central Conference title this year, but they have to forget that.

          Thursday, if we don't get too much rain, the Tigers (18-6) play at Lexington (14-10) in the division two sectional final.  Galion coach Phil Jackson says these are two good teams.  "We are teams that had regular season finishes that were similar, records that are similar, a lot of good players, and play some good competition.  We look forward to it," he said.

          Lexington is likely to finish third in the tough Ohio Cardinal Conference and Jackson says they have a lot of good players, especially their pitchers.  "They have a number of very, very talented kids.  They have very good pitching there with the Basilone kid, the Lee kid, and Temple is obviously a good pitcher as well.  We are going to have our hands full, but I am still confident that if we play the type of game that we have played throughout the year that in the end we will have a good chance at being successful," said Jackson.

          Galion has featured some good pitching too and Jackson says he doesn't expect this to be a slugfest by any stretch.  "For some reason I don't foresee it being a really high scoring game, maybe I am wrong on that," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday night, "I think the pitchers are going to do their job and the hitters are going to struggle with some good pitching from both teams, so it is going to come down to defense and some smart base running and taking advantage of the opportunities when they come up."

          Over the last week Galion has not been good at executing those little things and Jackson says that has to change if they expect to be Lexington and advance to the district.  "To be frank we haven't been the best at those over the last week or so.  You take the season as a whole we have done a lot of those things that maybe we haven't done recently throughout the year.  If we can refocus, which I think we have, and put it all together, we know we are going to have a good chance Thursday or Friday," he said.

 

Published 5/15/14

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Galion Back into a Tie

 

          Galion scored twice in the bottom of the first inning and never trailed as they beat Wynford (7-1) on Tuesday to move back into a share of first place in the North Central Conference with the Royals.

          Bucyrus upset the Tigers (5-2) on Monday knocking them from the lead in the process.  Galion coach Phil Jackson says to have any chance of being "NCC" champs they had to win the game Tuesday.  "It was a must win.  We know that every day, every game, for us is basically a must win situation.  It is a one game playoff every game that we play," he said.

          Galion (17-4,9-2) plays Bucyrus again on Wednesday and has "NCC" games against a pretty good Upper Sandusky team on Friday and next Monday.

          Jermaine Burkett permitted only three hits to the Wynford lineup and Jackson says the movement on his ball never really allowed them to dig in at the plate.  "Jermaine Burkett had a good outing.  I think he was effectively wild.  He actually ended up with more walks than strikeouts.  He didn't do great on first pitch strike percentage.  He pitched when we needed him too.  He came through throwing strikes and either striking kids out or getting them to ground out or whatever we needed," said Jackson.

          Galion got 13 hits on Tuesday and Jackson says they finally got some offense going when they needed it the most.  "We did a lot of good things.  We ended up squeezing a runner home when we needed too.  We got some early run support from the middle of our lineup.  We finally started hitting again and that was really important for us," he said.

          The sectional/district tournament draw was Sunday and Galion ended playing at Lexington, the third place team in the tough Ohio Cardinal Conference, in their first game.  Jackson says he had a choice to make and thought he made a good decision.  "The sectional we are in and the whole district we are in is just a buzz saw, there are a lot of tough teams, " he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "I had a choice with the five seed to take a first round game at home or taking a bye and going to Lexington to play for a championship.  I thought that was the better decision for us, but we have to be ready to play when it comes time."

 

Published 5/07/14

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Galion Holds on to First Place

 

          Galion scored in every inning but one and went on to rout the Riverdale Falcons (14-3) in keeping themselves in a share of first place in the North Central Conference.

          Three Tigers had three hits apiece as the they rapped out 18 hits in all in the six inning win over the Falcons.

          A loss (10-3) to Wynford on Tuesday dropped the Tigers into a share of first place with the Royals and coach Phil Jackson says it was nice to get back on track on Thursday.  "Getting back on the winning ways makes everybody feel good about themselves.  We got a lot of kids some innings.  I did put a challenge to our team even after the game because even though we won I didn't think our "A" game was there like I thought it was earlier in the season, so I challenged our seniors to step up and lead and hopefully we will follow," said Jackson.

          On Friday, the Tigers (14-3,7-1) play host to Riverdale and Jackson says they have to be ready to go.  "The leadership has to be genuine and it has be consistent and real.  Kids will follow leaders like that," he told Swankonsports.com after the win on Thursday, "That's what I challenged them with (Thursday) congratulations for the win, but take (Thursday) night and think about the type of leader you are and the type of leader you want to be and come ready to play (Friday) against Riverdale again."

          Wynford (9-6,7-1) beat Colonel Crawford (5-2) on Thursday behind Zach Lear and three hits from Brock Williamson, who is hitting around .500 on the year.

          Galion plays Bucyrus in a league game on Monday, but Jackson admits they are looking forward to their re-match with Wynford come next Tuesday.  "I don't want to look ahead obviously and we want to take one game at a time, but Tuesday is going to be big for the "NCC" and when they come to our place we are going to be ready this time.  Hopefully we are going to win the games up to that point, but we are going to be ready come Tuesday," said Jackson.

          The Galion coach knows they are going to show some pitching depth if they are going to keep pace in the league.  "We played (Thursday), we play Friday, we play Saturday, and we play Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week.  There is not a lot of rest for us, all teams are in that situation, but you have to have some pitching depth and hopefully ours is there," he said.

 

Published 5/02/14

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Wynford Moves into a Tie for First in "NCC"

 

          Wynford scored five times in the second inning and another three in the fourth and went on to pound Galion (10-3) to force a tie for first between the two teams in the North Central Conference.

          Galion coach Phil Jackson says they knew winning at Wynford was not going to be easy and he says Tuesday they were not up to the challenge.  "The race is on and we knew going in that Wynford is a tough place to go in and win and you have to play your best baseball and we didn't quite do that," he said.

          Wynford's Mason Davis had three hits, including a home run for the Royals.  Jackson says Wynford hit the ball well, but they didn't field it well either.  "I can contribute a lot of that to them putting the ball in play and us not doing the simple things we need to do in fielding it.  We had six errors and that is just killer," he said.

          Jackson says in big games like this you can't just kick the ball around like they did on Tuesday and expect to beat good teams like Wynford.  "If we just make the routine plays this game is an all together different animal.  They made the plays (Tuesday) and we did not and your just can't win a tight league game when you have multiple errors." he said.

          More rain was dumped on this area on Tuesday night as heavy thunderstorms ripped through North Central and Northwest Ohio.  If they are able to play Galion (13-3,6-1) will face Riverdale (4-7,2-3) on Wednesday and Jackson says that will be a big game for them.  "That's the beauty of baseball the next day or a couple of days later you are back out there and trying to shake the loss and come our with a victory," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday night, "If the weather holds out we have a busy week ahead of us beginning with (Wednesday) and another one on Friday versus Riverdale, Saturday versus Clear Fork, and league games Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of next week.  We have quite a few to hopefully shake this one."

 

Published 4/30/14

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Durbin Headed to Wittenberg

 

          Galion's best basketball player over the last half decade is going to play division three basketball next winter.

          Ridge Durbin has announced that he will be attending classes and will be in involved in the basketball program at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio.  The Tigers are members of the North Coast Athletic Conference.

          Durbin was a four year varsity player for Galion and was its MVP this past season.  He holds Galion single season (44) and career (174) records for three point field goals made.

          This season he was first team all "NCC" and second team all Northwest District.  He was also selected to the third team on the Swankonsports.com all-star basketball team in the large school division.

          Wittenberg coach Bill Brown is pleased to add Durbin top his program.  "We are very pleased that Ridge has chosen to attend Wittenberg University.  While everyone knows that Ridge can really shoot the basketball, he is very underrated when it comes to positively impacting the game in other ways as well.  Our coaches are looking forward to working with him both on and off the court," he said.

          Wittenberg finished 21-8 last year 13-5 in the "NCAC," losing to the College of Wooster in the tournament championship game and Calvin in the first round the of the NCAA division III tournament.

 

 

Published 4/29/14

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Galion Takes "NCC" Lead

 

          Galion now stands all alone in first place in the North Central Conference baseball standings after their 12 inning win over Buckeye Central coupled with Upper Sandusky's loss to Wynford (8-6) on Tuesday afternoon.

          The game was tied at one through 10 innings of play and both teams tallied a single run in the 11th, but Galion broke it open with a four spot in the top of the 12th.  Buckeye came back to add two in their half of the inning which led to the Tigers (6-4) victory.

          Galion is unbeaten in the league and leads Upper and Wynford by one.

          Coach Phil Jackson says he really can't take too many more games like this.  "Games like that make you old quickly.  I'm setting here thinking about it and this is one of the games that is going to be talked about for years.  It's an instant classic.  I hate to see anyone lose like that, especially the pitchers because they both brought their "A" games (Tuesday) and had good stuff.   It was fun to be part of that game and even more fun to come out on top," he said.

          Not only was their great pitching, but Jackson says there was some pretty special defense too by both teams.  "If you look at the box score we had only one error and Buckeye Central had two and the error we committed wouldn't even be a play I would consider routine for a high school player.  The defense played well on both sides," he told Swankonsports.com after the win, "We had outfielders making diving catches and double plays.  Basically everything you want to look for in a high school game to make it worth your wild to attend.  I am just fortunate that we came out on top in this one."

          Jackson says it was petty impressive for his team to come up with those four runs in the 12th.  He says they were able to remain pretty patient at the plate.  "The one thing I can say is getting that lead runner on and being patient.  When you are behind or in an extra inning game making sure the first pitch is a strike or waiting until you get a strike that's crucial in getting base runners on.  If you get those lead runners on it is a very, very high percentage that they are going to come around and score if you have players behind them that get their job done with sac bunts or just moving the runner along by hitting it to the right side and that's what we were able to do," said Jackson.

          Galion (11-2,5-0) plays host to Buckeye Central (6-6,2-3) on Wednesday and then plays a Wynford team that is playing pretty well in and "NCC" game on Friday.

 

Published 4/23/14

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Galion Keeps First Place

 

          Galion maintained first place in the North Central Conference baseball standings after downing Crestline on Wednesday afternoon.

          The Tigers (8-2,3-0) kept its record in the conference unblemished with (7-3) win at Crestline, scoring four times in the final two innings to put the win away.  Coach Phil Jackson says they are becoming more consistent in their play.  "It seems like we are getting more consistent.  It's nice to be outside.  We now have 10 games in, which is five more than most.  We are starting to develop that consistency, especially on defense where I noticed that we were struggling having not been outside on a consistent basis," said Jackson.

          It has been important for the Tigers to be able to play a lot of baseball early in the season,  Jackson says it has allowed him to make some decisions in terms of personnel.  "Coming in I had so many positions that I had to decide if they were filled with a returning letterman or if somebody was going to push them from the JV ranks and play that spot.  Some of those questions have been answered, so that has helped us be more consistent," he said.

          Hitting wise the Tigers struggled a little but, but Jackson says they were able to come through when they had too.  "I tip my hat to Crestline's pitchers.  They have a couple real nice ones down there.  They got the outs when they need too.  We still left quite a few on base," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday night, "We go 10 hits, but seemed like in this game sometimes when we got two outs and we had some guys on base we weren't getting that timely hit.  Over time we ended up getting it done over time, scoring four runs over the last two innings with some timely hitting at that time."

          Galion plays host to Crestline in the second game of their series on Thursday at Heise Park in Galion.  Jackson says they are pretty happy they will be able to get the game in.  "I wasn't sure that was going to happen, but I'm glad it is.  Again we have been more fortunate than most to be able to play now ten games.  We have only had to push back a few games here and there where as other teams are getting back logged.  So, it's a real plus that (Thursday's) weather is going to hold out and we get to play that game," said Jackson.

 

Published 4/17/14

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Galion Rallies to Beat Crawford

 

          Josh Keller's RBI single in the bottom of the seventh drove in Eric Howell with the winning run as Galion rallied to beat Colonel Crawford (7-6) in the North Central Conference opener for both schools on Tuesday at Heise Park.

          Galion coach Phil Jackson hopes this game will lead to some more consistent play for the team picked by many to win the "NCC" baseball title this year.  "I'm really hoping it does that.  It seems like the last couple of outings and we have talked about it quite a bit we just haven't been clicking on all cylinders.  If our hitting this there, our pitching isn't and when our pitching is there we aren't putting up runs on the offensive side.  I was hoping that we put it all together today and we can build on that momentum that we had at the end of that game," he said.

          Momentum cane be a huge factor in high school sports and Jackson says they felt good coming out of the game and he hopes they can turn that into something.  "I felt great coming out of that game, when you get the win you are going to feel a lot better.  That is a good Colonel Crawford team that we faced and we needed to step up to the competition we were playing and get the ball rolling in all facets of the game," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday after the win, "It seems like sometimes when people look at you as a favorite you come out flat for some odd reason.  I don't know if you expect to win or what.  That pressure we are not dealing with that very well."

          Galion has the talent, there is no question about that, but Jackson says they need to have better mental discipline than they have shown so far this year.  "It is something we talk about often.  I just need my seniors to get it done.  All coaches are going to say the same thing, they need their big players to step up in the big moments and (Tuesday) we had that.  I hope that catapults us onto some sort of roll.  We need to quit spotting other teams so many runs the first few innings and then try to play comeback all of the time," he said.

          Galion (4-1,1-0) plays at Colonel Crawford (1-5,0-1) on Wednesday in the re-match.  Jackson knows that the Eagles are a good team.  "I have nothing but the up most respect for Colonel Crawford.  Coach Swartzmiller over there does such a great job.  He has put a good, quality team together, he competes in every game he is in, and he gets on a good run at the end of the season.  He had a couple of kids that were off suspended and they came back (Tuesday) and I thought they performed well and they are going to be a good team regardless what happens the rest of the season he is going to successful over there," said Jackson.

 

Published 4/9/14

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Galion Comes Out Focused

 

          Galion had to wait a day to get their season started, but once they did they trounced Mansfield St. Peter's in their first game.

          The Tigers scored early and often in beating the Spartans (15-1) on Tuesday.  Coach Phil Jackson says it was a good win for them and it was just good to a game under their belts.  "It was just great to get outside and get a ball game in with all of the weather we have had.  When you get off to a good start and get things rolling good things happen for you.  It was big for us," he said.

          With temperatures around 70 there was a nice crowd at Heise Park to take in the game and that made Jackson feel good too.  "You look out in the stands and see so many people that were there to break the winter and watch some sports.  It was really uplifting and I was appreciative of the crowd we had and St. Pete's as well they brought a pretty decent crowd," he said.

          Especially with Ontario now in the Northern Ohio League, Galion is most people's favorite to win the North Central Conference and Jackson says they have to play like it.  "I have been playing that underdog role up until recently and I had to come clean and tell them that we are probably the favorites in the "NCC" and we have to practice and play like that.  I think the did that (Tuesday).  We haven't been the greatest in practice, but they were really focused (Tuesday).  They took that to heart and came out and played some pretty good baseball," said Jackson.

          Of course, this is the last year of the "NCC" and Jackson says they want to do what the football team did last fall and claim the last title of the longtime league.  "It has been thrown out there a couple of times.  We haven't won a championship since 2004.  We have had some great teams in those years, but we have always come up a game short, just like last year.  We have got to focus on finishing and we have go to capitalize and win that title.  Galion is a baseball town," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "We have 22 championships over the years and Galion is really known as a baseball town and we are really trying to get that back.  We want to win this last "NCC" and finish strong and then go over to the "MOAC" and win one there too."

          If the weather permits, and it looks like it won't, the Tigers have three more on non-conference games this week as they host Northmor on Wednesday, play at Marion Harding on Friday, and play a doubleheader at Shelby on Saturday.

 

Published 4/02/14

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Hitting Key For Galion

 

          Galion will be one of the favorites to win the North Central Conference baseball title this spring.  They were second to Ontario in the black division last year and Ontario has moved on to the Northern Ohio League this spring.

          The Tigers have been able to play a little baseball this spring and coach Phil Jackson says those scrimmages have been key in their development so far.  "I have seen tremendous strides.  We have been able to get outside more than most teams.  Our field really holds water and drains nicely and we have had decent weather.  We have been able to see them against live pitching," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "We had an impromptu scrimmage against Ontario to sow up anything we needed to work on.  We ended up coming back from a scrimmage we had down in southern Ohio where we had some great weather and got to play in a couple of nice scrimmages down there.  The kids are progressing nicely.  I just hope it continues."

          Like other coaches have said this week, Jackson believes that hitting off a pitching machine, or an aging coach, is not the same as hitting off a good high school pitcher.  "It is not the same at all.  I made a joke with the kids (Monday) that we really struggled to hit the ball solid in a couple of the scrimmages that we have had so far this year.  We put the ball in play, but we just hit grounders and things like that and I said you are just hitting off this 40-year-old plus arm or a pitching machine, but by the end of the scrimmages we were starting to drive balls against better pitching, so we are making improvement like we would like to see," said Jackson.

          Galion is expected to have strong pitching this year and Jackson believes it will be their bats that will cause the most concern, at least early in the season.  "It is having your hitters get some good looks.  I am too old to throw like some of these young kids these days. so I don't want my hitters to step in there and not be able to adjust to velocity they are likely to see in the competition that we face," he said.

          River Valley of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference will be at Galion for a doubleheader to start the season on Saturday.  They play Colonel Crawford in their first "NCC" game on April 7.

 

Published 3/25/14

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Spring Training to be Important for Galion Hitters

 

          Galion pushed Ontario pretty hard in their division of the North Central Conference last year, but this year they will not have to contend with the Warriors, who are now part of the Northern Ohio League.

          Also, there are not divisions in this final year of the "NCC."

          What Galion will be contending with this year is some youth in their everyday lineup.  However, coach Phil Jackson thinks 2014 can be another pretty strong year for the Tiger baseball team.  "I think we can be a really good team.  I think we come in with a lot of question marks, however, so far in early work I think we look solid in a lot of areas.  We graduated a pretty good class and have some holes to fill, but we are working hard to do that and I think we will probably be a pretty good team at the end of the season," he said.

          Anytime you have as good a season as Galion did year ago you have to have good pitching, but Jackson thinks this year's staff has a chance to be even better.  "I think our overall starting pitching and our location is going to as good if not better than it was last year.  We did lose some really quality hitters, so I would say we are going to have to get it done in the pitching department like we expect," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "We lost some kids that are college baseball players that were our infielders.  We have some talent that we lost we just hope that these that these young kids can step up and do what we expect of them."

          There as going to be some hitters that are going to be seeing varsity pitching for the first time this spring and Jackson would like to get them out and in front of some live pitching before the season gets started in less than three weeks.  "Hopefully during the scrimmage season we can get some games in.  The weather has not been very cooperative to date.  It is going to be important to get those kids out in front of some quality pitching and see what they can do and see where we need to change our tactics and hopefully we will be successful," he said.

          Galion will throw its first pitch on March 29 versus River Valley of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference in a doubleheader at home.  They begin play in the "NCC" by hosting Colonel Crawford on April 7.

 

Published 3/11/14

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Tigers Must Handle Norwalk Pressure

 

          Galion has played some very good basketball this year, especially in the second half, but they will need to play their best game of the year on Tuesday night as they face the Norwalk Truckers, the area's best team, in the division two sectional semi-finals at Bucyrus High School.

          After 3-7 start the season, the Tigers won nine of their last 12 to finish third in the North Central Conference this year.

          They did lose (63-56) to Upper Sandusky last Friday in their last North Central Conference game.  Coach Ed Rich says Upper came out with a good game plan on defense.  "We thought they had a pretty good game plan.  They came out and face guarded Ridge Durbin.  They just took us out of our offensive flow.  They just murdered us on the glass.  We got out rebounded by 11.  We beat them pretty good at our place and they returned the favor at their place," he said.

          Norwalk (21-1), #1 in the final Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coach's poll in the large school division, does a lot of good things.  Rich says what concerns him the most is the pressure defense that the Tuckers can apply.  "I think the most impressive thing about them is the pressure they put on other teams.  They really rely on that half court, full court pressure tap turn you over and get them out in transition.  It is pretty impressive the way Jeff Thomas can play virtually every position on the floor.  He is just a tough match-up all over the place," he said.

          Jeff Thomas is the leading scorer in the Northern Ohio League this year and headed to division one Georgia Southern next year.  Rich says Thomas is a defensive nightmare.  "There is no doubt.  I have watched quite a bit of film and he has had some really, really good defenders on him and he still gets his.  He can score inside if you put someone on him that is small.  If you go big he can hurt you for the outside.  He has a great jumper.  His mid range game is probably one of the best I have seen in high school basketball in a long time.  He is just a nightmare of a match up," said Rich.

          For Galion to shock the world on Tuesday, Rich believes they have to survive that initial rush and then just sort of hang around.  "That is what I keep telling my guys.  Our goal is to get through that first three, four minutes of the game and handle their pressure.  They give so many different looks defensively with traps, full court and half court.  Our goal is to get through that first four minutes and see what they give us.  We want to hang around as much as we can and get it down to the fourth and hope for something great to happen," he said.

 

Published 2/25/14

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Galion Playing Well at the Right Time

 

          Galion is not going to win the North Central Conference title, that is going to Buckeye Central after they beat Colonel Crawford on Tuesday night, but the Tigers are one of hottest teams in the area with only two losses in the last month.

          With wins over Riverdale (76-68) and Bucyrus (62-39) last weekend the Tigers (12-9,8-4) are going to finish no worse than third place in the league.  After a bad start coach Ed Rich says they are playing some pretty good ball right now.  "We started out the year I think 3-7, obviously that is not the way you want to start, but in our last 11 games we are 9-2.  Right now we are playing much better basketball.  I think right now we are peaking pretty well.  I think at this point in the season we are in a good place," said Rich.

          They say that a senior can feel the end of his career coming and elevates his game to another level and that is the case with guard Ridge Durbin.  Last weekend, he scored a combined 47 points and made 12 of 17 three pointers.  Rich says Durbin is not ready for his career to end.  "He is really shooting the ball well.  He shot the ball really well this past weekend.  He was way over 50 percent on threes.  He is taking better shots are we are finding him more often.  We are going to go as he goes there is no doubt.  It is nice to see him shoot the ball really well," he said.

          However, it is the intensity and execution the Tigers have given on defense that has been the difference for them over the second half of the season.  Rich says they have been putting a lot of pressure on the ball handlers from the other team.  "We have been playing pretty good defense even though we gave up quite few points to Riverdale on Friday night, but I think they only had 43 going into the fourth.  We had a major breakdown on defense in the fourth quarter.  They put 25 on us.  Because we work at it, Bucyrus only scored 39 on us on Saturday night.  We are doing a lot of different things on defense, putting pressure on guards and making them handle the ball,' said Rich.

          On Friday night, the Tigers are at Upper Sandusky (10-11,7-6) for the final "NCC" game for each as the conference disbands and both head to the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, Upper for only a year.  Rich says the Rams have some guys that can make some plays.  "We played pretty good defense against them when they came here earlier in the season.  They only had 11 points at the half.  They made some adjustment at the half and got it into the paint and pounded it down our throats.  I expect to see more of that come Friday.  They have a nice team with the Vent kid, who is only a freshmen, playing pretty well," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "They have a Frye kid that is playing his best basketball of the season.  They are a very dangerous team.  They can kick and shoot and finish inside.  They are also pretty aggressive and physical on defense and we have to try and match that."

 

Published 2/19/14

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A tough Double Weekend Awaits Galion

 

          Despite a loss to Lexington on Tuesday night, the Galion Tigers have still won seven of their last nine games and have a good chance to pick up two more over the weekend as they face pair of North Central Conference games against Riverdale and Bucyrus, both at home.

          Lexington belted the Tigers (67-42) on Tuesday night and Galion coach Ed Rich says they just didn't have an answer for the Lexington size in the middle.  "It was tough, I thought we had been playing some pretty good basketball.  We had won seven of eight.  We kept it close the first half.  We were only down six at halftime.  We got beat up in the paint.  They out rebounded us 38-20 and their big kids took over the game.  We did not play very good and one of the reason is they are a very good team, probably one of the best teams we have played all year," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "I really thought we could hang in with them if we played our normal game.  They just took us out of everything (Tuesday) night.  There are good losses and bad losses and that was obviously a bad loss."

          Darian Watkins, headed to Wisconsin on a division one football scholarship is out with a broken foot.  Rich says that hurts them, especially against a team like Lexington.  "We are a finesse team there is no doubt.  When we match up against someone like Lex that is a power team, they like to get physical and put a body on you it hurts because he is the most physical guy we have.  He likes to mix it up and get in there and bang with big guys.  He is not scared to go up against people and out rebound people.  It huts us no doubt, but I have to give the rest of the guys credit Kalvin Reinhart and Gavin Ratcliff, they have done a pretty good job.  We have a good rotation," said Rich.

          Riverdale (6-9,3-7) will be at Galion (10-9,6-5) for an "NCC" game on Friday night.  The Falcons beat Galion (65-53) back in early January in one the Tigers poorest performances of the year.  Rich says they have to figure how to guard the Riverdale shooters better.  "We found that out first hand when we went to their place this year.  They really took it to us.  They can shoot the lights out.  They can get on fire and its trouble for the other team.  They are scary team.  All of them can shoot.  They can spread you out.  The problem is they don't run a lot of stuff.  They are basically playing to get the shots they get," said Rich.

          In the beginning of the turn around of the Galion season this year they beat Bucyrus (43-39) a week after losing to Riverdale.  Rich expects another grudge match.  "The first game we had to grind it out.  They are a tough match-up for us.  They have those big guards, especially the Patrick kid forces a tough match-up.  Defensively they really get after it and try to lock you down and dictate the tempo.  Hopefully we are fortunate enough to pull one out Saturday night," he said.

 

Published 2/13/14

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Galion Downs Crestline; Readies for Marion Harding

 

          Galion won their second straight North Central Conference game on Monday when they downed Crestline and they travel to Marion Harding on Tuesday for their fourth game in five days.

          On Monday, the Tigers (8-8,6-4) got off to a good start and went on to beat the Bulldogs (62-43) to maintain third place in the "NCC" standings.  Coach Ed Rich says that start was pretty crucial for them.  "The game kind of went like we wanted it too.  It was our third game in four days and we wanted to get out there and get the starters some work in and build up a lead and get those starters some rest and get some reserves in and play in the mid second half.  They didn't have one of their starters, the Hurst kid, and that really hurt them.  We were able to take care of business and it was a good win for us," he said.

          Due to the weather a lot of teams, including Galion, are playing a lot of games here in February.  Rich says that has forced him to alter his substitution pattern a little bit.  "We are going to play our fourth game (Tuesday) in five days.  There is a lot preparation.  I'm like any coach I want to be prepared, get teams scouted, put things together, see a lot of film.  It has been a little tough to get things together and get the kids to understand the differences between each team.  Even Friday night I found myself subbing a lot earlier for my guys," he told Swankonsports.com after the win on Monday night, "We have gotten quite a few guys in and out these last few games.  The big thing is some guys that usually don't get big minutes are showing me some things.  There are goods and bads.  It will be interesting to see how we come out (Tuesday) it is going to be tough no doubt going there.  They are 1-14 and I'm telling you I have watched film on them and they could be the best 1-14 team I have ever seen.  They have been after it and the way they play."

          Marion Harding (1-14) probably has lost more close games than about anybody in this part of the state at least this year.  Rich says they have to come into the game with some focus.  "They have lost so many games by one, two or three points.  You have to feel bad for coach Jury.  He does such a great job.  He is a great motivator.  It's hard to believe that they have only won one game.  It will be no cakewalk by any means for us (Tuesday).  I hope we can out there and get off to a good start and hopefully we can keep our legs," he said.

 

Published 2/04/14

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Galion Wants to Make Things Interesting

 

          Is the North Central Conference a two team race or can Galion make it really interesting?

          We find out Friday when the Tigers, winners of their last two conference games over Bucyrus and Colonel Crawford, host co-leader Buckeye Central at their place.

          Coach Ed Rich says their ability and willingness to play defense has been the difference for them lately.  "We are playing defense like I thought we were capable of playing it from the beginning of the year.  We are really getting after it on the defensive end.  The last three games that we have won we have given up 47 a game.  It was like I thought we could play since the beginning of the year it just took a little bit longer.  Offensively I knew we would struggle to an extent for a while and we are gutting that together right now too.  On both ends we are looking pretty good right now," said Rich.

          Right now, Buckeye Central is 7-1 in the conference, Crawford is 5-2 and Galion and Upper Sandusky are 4-3, the Tigers play Upper on Saturday.  Rich knows they are still right in it.  "I was telling our kids that we can only do what we can do and that's win out.  Obviously we are still going to need a little bit of luck because even if we do win Buckeye has to go down again and Crawford has to stay the same.  If we can take care of Buckeye and take care of our part that's great for us," he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday, "The first game we played them I think we had them down all of the way until the fourth quarter and kind of let in go in the fourth.  We lost by seven or eight, so our guys are pretty confident that we can do it again, but they are a nice team and we are going to have to bring it."

          On Friday night, the Tigers (6-7,4-3) host Buckeye Central (12-1,7-1), #1 in the Swankonpsorts.com boys' basketball coach's poll in the small school division, in a huge "NCC" game for both sides.  Rich says the Bucks are an outstanding team lead by some really good guards.  "That Kaple kid he is pretty unbelievable if you ask me.  He is the best player in the "NCC" hands down in my opinion.  He can score when they need him too.  He dishes it out.  He averages about five assists per game.  He understands the game really well.  Then you have Wurm and he is a great shooter.  He has such a smooth stroke.  He is such a tough match-up for everyone because of his length and his height.  We hope to contain them.  Then they have their bigs playing pretty well too.  The Robertston kid is a great addition.  He is playing really well right now," said Rich.

          Buckeye won the first meeting (65-56) on December 27 when Cade Kaple scored 25 and Austin Wurm added 20.

          He believes if his players play really hard the have a chance to win this game on their home floor.  "It is going to come down to who wants it the worst.  I know we can play with them and obviously they know they can play with us because they beat us at that their place.  It is going to come down to who is most aggressive and who limits the errors.  Hopefully we keep the rebounding battle close and we can pull a victory out at our place," he said.

 

Published 1/27/14

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Galion is a Contender

 

          A win at Colonel Crawford on Saturday night has moved Galion into contention in the North Central Conference race.

          At 4-3 in league games, the Tigers trail Buckeye Central (7-1)and Crawford (5-2) in the conference standings and they host the Bucks in a second round game.

          Darian Watkins scored 19 points and the Tigers stuffed Colonel Crawford (61-50) on Saturday night to earn their biggest win of the season.  Coach Ed Rich calls the win their best overall effort.  "We carried our defensive effort over from the Bucyrus game to the Crawford game.  We really got after it on both ends of the floor and by far it was the best game we have put together all year.  It was nice to be able to put four quarters together and get out of there with a victory," he said.

          Rich says it was the job they did guarding in the half court that gave them the win over the Eagles.  "We got out and pressed them a little bit early and it didn't have much of an affect on them.  In the half court even the shots they hit were challenged shots.  We actually tipped a couple of threes that they knocked in.  We feel we are where we need to be and if we can play defense like that I will be pretty happy," said Rich.

          Galion (5-7) plays at Bellevue (3-8) on Thursday night in a non-conference game.  Rich says they have to stay focused as they play the Redmen.  "We have a couple of common opponents and they play in a little tougher league than we do.  They have some athletes and they have some guys that can put the ball in the hole.  They have a little bit of size.  I have seen them a couple of times this year.  It is by far no cake walk to go down there and play, so we have to bring the same energy we have been bringing," he said.

          If they can keep their noses to the grind stone Rich knows they have a chance to become a factor in the league race.  "We are going to need a little bit of luck.  We let a couple get away from us earlier this year that I thought we could have won.  We have to go down to Crestline," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "We beat them pretty good at our place.  Honestly I am scared to go down to their place they seem to play with a lot more emotion at their place.  Saturday is a huge game for us.  We want to go down there and get a victory."

          Crestline (3-8,1-6) has become more competitive this year and Rich says that is because the Bulldogs can score and that keeps them in most games.  "They can score.  There is no doubt they can score the ball.  The Hunger kid is averaging 18 or 19 a game.  They have the freshman Hurst and Kauffman can score.  Defensively they are athletic.  I hope we can go down there and put together a good game plan and come out of there with a victory," he said

 

Published 1/21/14

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Galion Ready to Compete

 

          Galion is team that nobody wants to play because of their athleticism and their ability to keep themselves in the game with anybody.  It’s their lack of consistency that has been a little frustrating.

          Saturday night, they knocked off then “NCC” co-leader Bucyrus (43-39) as further evidence they are to be reckoned with.  Coach Ed Rich says it was defense that won them the game.  “Watching film on them they really play well together.  They play good team basketball.  I felt we matched up well with them. We went in there and went zone the first half.  We came out in the second half and picked up our pressure a little bit.  We went a little man to man full court pressure with traps and I think it really took them out of their rhythm,” he said.

          Over the first six weeks of the season Galion has shown some inconsistencies and Rich says their personnel is the main reason.  “It’s been an up down season.  We are kind of hard to figure out.  We have had a couple of guys that have been off the team for various reasons.  We had two guys miss about a week and a half.  Darian Watkins was out playing football in an all-star game.  Our development has kind of been delayed because we don’t have everyone there all of the time on the same page.  It’s game 11 now and that really has to pick up, but we have a lot of work to do,” said Rich.

          Galion (4-7,3-3) hosts Upper Sandusky (6-6,3-3) in a North Central Conference game on Friday night.  Rich says the Rams have some firepower and some experience.  “They are a pretty big surprise to me, along with Bucyrus, I really didn’t know what to expect from either of those teams.  Bucyrus has put things together and they have really nice ball club.  Upper Sandusky is the same way.  They have the freshman Wes Vent.  He averages like 18 points and 10 boards a game.  He is a very explosive player and then they have guys that just have been around.  They have been on my scouting reports as long as I have been here, so they have plenty of experience there,” said Rich.

          Then in a double “NCC” weekend the Tigers are at conference co-leader Colonel Crawford (10-2,5-1) on Saturday night.  In their first meeting the Eagles pulled away in the end to win (57-48) in the league opener for both squads.  Rich definitely feels they can win this one.  “We feel like we can compete with anybody.  At times we have showed it and at other times I don’t know what we are doing.  It’s amazing to me sometimes about how we look.  We have played 11 games and in nine out of the 11 we have looked like a pretty good team even though we didn’t come out on the winning end.  There have been two games where it has been a team that I haven’t even seen in practice,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday, “It’s almost like we don’t show up to play.  If we show up against Crawford there is no doubt it will be another barn burner.  If we don’t show up against them and come out with no enthusiasm then they could really put it on us.”

 

Published 1/13/14

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Galion has to bring it on Defense

 

          Galion has played some solid games this year and some not so good ones.  They did that all in a weekend last week.

          On Friday night, Lucas Bohach had 24 points and the Tigers beat Wynford (64-47), but on Saturday Riverdale got their first North Central Conference win by beating Galion (65-53) in league play.

          Coach Ed Rich says they just didn’t play with intensity against Riverdale.  “I really thought on Friday we played some good team basketball.  Our shot selection was pretty good on Friday.  We turned around Saturday at Riverdale and unfortunately in the first minute of the game I knew it was going to be a struggle.  We came with no energy,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We just let them do what they wanted to do.  Unfortunately we just didn’t have enough pride to step up and stop the ball.  We got down 10 pretty early and we just started jacking threes left and right.  That is the second time I have seen that this year and that’s a good formula to lose.”

          Galion (3-7,2-3) visits Bucyrus (8-3,4-1) in North Central Conference action.  Rich knows they will have to play well.  “Bucyrus is a pretty big surprise to most people, I think they are 8-3 right now, and tied for first in the “NCC” and are playing some good basketball.  They have a new coach and coach Rose is doing a great job with them.  We have to go over there and play our best ball to come out of there with a victory.  We have to improve these next couple of days of practice for sure,” he said.

          One of the keys to the success of Bucyrus has been their great balance on offense.  Rich says that means they have to be able to play solid team defense if they are going to win.  “I think the Snouffer kid is their leading scorer and he averages around 11 points a game.  I think their top four scorers average between eight and 11, so it is going to be a team defensive game for us.  Sometimes we are pretty good on defense and sometimes we’re not.  Sometimes we just get lost.  I don’t know if it’s lack of effort or what it is.  The two games this year when we have really taken it on the chin we have decided we didn’t want to play any defense.  We really have to do that Saturday if we want to come out there and have any success,” said Rich.

 

Published 12/07/14

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For Galion it’s About Effort

 

          Galion probably has as much athletic talent as anyone in the North Central Conference, but according to their coach they don’t always play with intensity. 

          The Tigers (2-4,1-1) beat Crestline (79-40) in an “NCC” game last Friday, outscoring the Bulldogs (22-3) in the fourth quarter, but then played likely their worst game of the season in losing (60-40) to Willard in non-conference play last Saturday.

          Coach Ed Rich says it was not a very good weekend overall for the Tigers.  “We played about two good quarters out of eight the entire weekend.  Crestline was pretty close at half and our depth and athleticism took over in the second half and we were able to get a good win there.  We went to Willard on Saturday and we laid an egg.  We had no energy.  I couldn’t make any adjustments that would work against their defense or their offense.  We got out played and out coached and everything else, so it was a tough Saturday,” said Rich.

          Really the Tigers have the personnel, but Rich says they have to play harder all of the time if they are going to have more consistent success on the hardwood.  “We just have to come and bring it to practice.  We had our first one (Monday).  It started off a little shaky and ended up finishing really strong.  It’s just about attitude.  If you have any pride in yourself you are going to come and bring it no matter what,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “Obviously 2-4 is not where we want to be at this point.  I told the guys (Monday) that we have lost a couple of close ones and we have had one really bad game and that was Willard and there is no reason to hang your head.  There is also no reason to think that we are fine and we just have to come bring it and prove ourselves.”

          They play at Buckeye Central (6-1,1-1), #3 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coach’s poll in the small school division, in a league game on Friday night.  Rich says the Bucks just have a bunch of players that can play the game.  “They are a tough team.  They have almost the same team that they had last year and they came to our place and just waxed us last year.  They just outplayed us in every phase and jammed the ball right down our throats.  We know what’s coming, but I’ll tell you their offense is tough because they really don’t have very many calls.  They have guys that just come out there and play hard and know how to play.  They don’t have to make certain calls to get shots.  They are tough team to scout.  They have shooters and they play hard and they play aggressive,” said Rich.

 

Published 12/24/13

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Galion Has to Learn to Finish

 

          Galion has the talent, no question, they just have to learn how to get over the hump.

          They had unbeaten Colonel Crawford down after three quarters last week, only to lose in the end (57-48) to the Eagles.  Coach Ed Rich says the Tigers didn’t play well enough in the fourth quarter.  “We did play pretty well.  We came out with a lot of energy, a lot fire and I we got up 14-5 in the first quarter, but one of our guys got into foul trouble and after that we really struggled to guard Klinenberger,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We did lead through three quarters, but the fourth quarter kind of got away from us unfortunately.  We have played some good teams in our three games.  We have played well, we have led, and we just can’t close a game out.”

          In order to start winning more games, the Tigers (1-3,0-1) understand what they are suppose to be.  Rich says they have been working hard in practice this week to prefect that.  “There is no doubt it is fixable.  We are just struggling to run a lot of stuff.  I am a pretty controlling, set kind of coach, that runs a lot sets.  Right now, when we need a shot, need a basket, we just can’t run a set to get that shot or get that basket.  We have been drilling really hard this week and hopefully it pays off this weekend,” said Rich.

          Crestline (2-2,0-1) will be visiting Galion for an “NCC” game on Friday night.  Rich says the Bulldogs are a much improved team.  “They have a nice squad.  People just look at their last couple of years the have struggled no doubt, but they have a least three really nice players and two of them are new to the squad this year.  Of course, they have the Coffman kid and he just tore us up last year.  It is by no means can we show up and win the game.  It’s going to be a battle, but I think we are prepared for it,” he said.

          Crestline has struggled on the court over the last five years, but Rich says they need understand that Crestline can beat them in they don’t play well.   “We are getting that across to our guys.  I have been telling my guys for the last two days we can’t just show up and expect to win.  Last year, we went to their place and got down 13 in the first quarter.  We were able to get back into it because we had more talent then they did, but this year they have more than one guy.  They have three guys that you have to focus on, so we have to be prepared to play,” said Rich.

 

Published 12/18/12

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Galion Stresses Mental Preparedness

 

          Galion has started the season with two losses, but they are just this close to two wins. 

          They lost their opener to North Union (46-43) last Thursday and dropped an overtime decision to Mansfield Madison (63-61) on Saturday afternoon.

          Coach Ed Rich says they just made too many errors to have a chance to beat a good team like North Union.  “In the game last Thursday against North Union we were behind the whole game.  I think we were up by one point twice in the fourth quarter.  We just made some major mental errors in that game,” he said.

          On the other hand, against Madison, Galion had the first half lead.  However, Rich says they let it get away from them by standing around too much on offense.  “Saturday afternoon against Madison we were up double digits in the first quarter and throughout the rest of the first half.  We just struggled, they picked up their pressure and we got stagnate on offense.  That is something we talked about in the middle part of the game.  We just have to be mentally strong throughout the game,” said Rich.

            Galion has a lot of guys that can score, but Rich says against Madison says they were just not aggressive enough.  “We had a great run at the beginning.  I think Lucas Bohach scored our first 13 points.  At one point he needed a sub.  When we subbed him out that’s when we went on our scoring draught.  No one else was looking to attack.  They were playing kind of timid for some reason and that is something we have got to attack the basket and trust ourselves that we are going to score,” said Rich.

          Tuesday night, the Tigers go for their first win of the season as they visit nearby Northmor (0-3) of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.  Rich hopes his players take this game seriously, especially with what they rest of the week will be like.  “It’s actually a pretty big game.  We both have a Galion address.  It’s a big game, that’s what I tell my kids.  Just because we are the bigger school we just think we can walk in and beat them and it’s just not going to work like that,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, “I wish it was as big a game for us as it is for them.  I think it’s a huge game for them and I believe it’s a huge for us, but I’m not sure our players believe it’s that big of a game.”

          On the weekend, Galion hosts North Central Conference favorite Colonel Crawford (4-0) on Friday and Lexington (1-2) of the Ohio Cardinal Conference on Saturday.  Rich says they have to be ready.  “They are picked to win the league, them and Buckeye Central.  Colonel Crawford is always a great match-up.  We are really looking forward to that then on Saturday we have to get ready for Lex, so we have a really important week as far as how the league could go and for our sectional draw,” he said.

 

Published 12/9/13

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Galion Will be Athletic

 

          Galion opens the boys’ basketball season on Thursday night at North Union of the Mid-Buckeye Conference and then play Ohio Cardinal Conference member Mansfield Madison on Saturday.

          After not playing on the opening weekend, coach Ed Rich says they have become a better defensive team with some players they have added to the roster.  “There is no doubt.  We have a couple of guys that started practicing with us after the football season was over with and with what they have done it has brought a lot of energy to our team.  They just get after it and every one else follows.  Our press has been much more aggressive, much more intense since we got a couple more guys on the team,” said Rich.

          It’s the last year of the North Central Conference and Galion will be part of the “MOAC” next season.  Rich thinks they can compete for the title this winter in the “NCC” if he does his job.  “It’s up to me to get these guys to do what I want them to do.  I think we have plenty of talent, plenty of athletic ability, I have just go to bottle it up and put the best five on the floor and we need to go from there,” he said.

          Rich knows they are going to have to play well to beat North Union.  He says the Wildcats are good and have a number of solid outside shooters.

“They have a really nice team.  I think they went 23-3 last year and made it to the district finals, maybe the regionals.  They lost their best player, the Stratford hid, he was a really nice player, but they have basically everybody back accept for their big 6’4” center,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “They have a 6’6” guy that going to start at center and a couple of guards that are really good.  The coach’s son is one of them.  They are sort of like us they can really shoot the lights out.  It’s going to be tough.  The go inside out and they are dangerous behind the three point line, that’s for sure.”

          It will also be North Union’s opener and Rich says he is working a lot off of what they did last year.  “It’s been hard to scout them, but based on some of the things I saw last year they run almost like a read and react type offense and where the defense goes they don’t.  When you have shooters like that you can do a lot of things with kick and penetration and screen and roll and things like that,” he said.

 

Published 12/3/13

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Galion Can be a Factor

 

          Galion shared the football title in their last year in the North Central Conference, be it a brief three year stay, and the boys’ basketball team would like to do the same and they have that potential at least.

          They returned some experienced players, including one of the best guards in the area in four year starter Ridge Durbin.

          Coach Ed Rich has seen some good and bad things during the preseason part of the schedule here in November.  “We have done some good things.  We have already had three scrimmages and we haven’t looked particularly great in any of them.  At times I have seen things that I like and at other times we have done some things that I don’t think any varsity team should do,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “It is kind of mind boggling sometimes watching the things we do.  I think we are on the right path.  We have some football guys back this week and I think that we well tremendously.  We are going to scrimmage again (Wednesday) and we will see what we look like then.”

          Rich is sometime perplexed by what he sees from his players.  They are capable of doing a lot of good things, but at the same time he says that they make some mistakes trying to execute the simplest of things.  “Our biggest thing is we are going to have to rebound better.  It just blows my mind that we get into position and the ball hits us in the hand and just goes straight out of bounds.  I have seen that in all three of our scrimmages.  At first I thought it was a fluke.  That makes me pretty nervous.  The execution of our offense hasn’t been great.  We don’t have a lot of stuff in right now, but the stuff we have in we ran all summer and all preseason and we just can’t seem to score like I would like to,” said Rich.

          So, what about the “NCC”?  Well, Rich thinks they can be right there in the thick of the race, but there are two other schools that come to mind first.  “I think there is no doubt that Colonel Crawford and Buckeye Central are the top two dogs right now based on last season and based on what they have back.  We have a couple of guys back this year that played when they were younger.  I think they are going to be a tremendous help for us.  We have Ridge Durbin back, a four year starter and a handful of lettermen from last year’s team I think we are going to be able to compete.  I would put us in the top three for sure,” said Rich.

 

Published 11/20/13

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Galion Must Score

 

          Galion faces a tough task on Friday night, but it is not insurmountable.

          They play the unbeaten Kenton Wildcats on the road in a first round playoff game in division four.

          Galion (9-1) finished in a share of first place in the North Central Conference this year and posted two shutout wins over Bucyrus (42-0) and Upper Sandusky (27-0) in their final two games of the regular season. 

          Kenton (10-0) features a wide open passing attack as they are unlikely to run it more than five times in a game.  Galion coach Chris Hawkins says they have had to come up with a way to defend that pass game.  “Anytime you have a defense that can literally shut down people you have a shot against anybody.  If you have this potent offense, but you can’t stop anyone it becomes a crap shoot and a roll of the dice.  We feel we have a good chance because our defense is playing extremely well.  The only ironic thing about it is the last two times we got in we ran into wing-t teams and they were smash mouth power teams and we were in a 3-5 defense and even though we tried to walk some people up, but we had some people walking up that had never played there before and it showed the last two times we got in.  In the off season will looked an thought that Madison would be one of the toughest teams we play on our schedule and if we got in the playoffs again we didn’t want that to happen.  So, of course we go to a 5-2, a five man front and it has worked out extremely well, even against some of the spread that have a back in the backfield, we thought it was very, very successful,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “So, yeah, we are thinking we are pretty smart, and in our first draw look who it is, it’s Kenton, who doesn’t even run the football and is five wide 95 percent of the time.  As good as our defense is playing we can’t put the same defense on the field this Friday as we have in the past because of the offense they run.  They go a no back, five wide, so that has been our dilemma, but I think we put together a pretty good game plan against Kenton because we saw a film if you leave your men man on man with their athletes  they are going to beat you, they are going to hit some big plays.  We have seen teams that have only rushed two or three and dropped eight or nine and they just pick them apart.  So, we have come up with that right amount of pressure and coverage and we think that is going to be the key.”

          Against schools like Kenton, who have scored more than 60 points three times this year, their lowest output is 28, you have to keep their hands off the ball, but Hawkins says you have to score too.  “You defensive coordinator is saying you have to run the ball, you have to run the ball, you have to keep their offense off the field, well, we are going to do that, but at the same time it not just about trying to keep them to 14 points.  I don’t care if we get beat 14-0 or 35-28 or 42-35, a loss is a loss.  One of the best ways is to keep that offense off the field, but at the same time we need to do what we do best and if that means go for then go for it.  We are going to be smart, but we are not going to be conservative,” said Hawkins.

          Galion can run and pass, their stats tell you that, and Hawkins says they have to be able to do both against Kenton.  “I was way too conservative in the Madison and Crawford games.  It worked out, but I tried to learn from that.  The last two weeks we have kind of gotten away from that.  We have tried to be unpredictable.  We will throw the ball on first down.  We will throw the ball on third and three or third and two and that is something we didn’t do at the beginning of the year.  I think that unpredictability will certainly help us,” he said.

          With an offense like Kenton, Hawkins says they feel they have to score at least three touchdowns to have a chance to win the game.  “We really feel that we are going to have to put three scores on the board.  If we can score three times and our defense can slow them down we have got a shot.  We feel that as good as our defense is playing you are not going to hold a Kenton to a couple touchdowns, so what we need to do is try to put three scores on the board and keep them around two, three scores and try to win it in the last couple of minutes,” said Hawkins

 

Published 11/08/13

© Swankonsports.com     

 

 
   

Galion Has a lot on the Line

 

          It is an all or nothing Friday for the Galion Tigers.  A win over Upper Sandusky and they are no less than co-champs of the North Central Conference and a playoff participant.  A loss to the Rams and they are not title winners and sitting out week 11.

          It’s that simple.

          Last week, Galion (8-1,5-1) played their best game in more than a month as they blitzed Bucyrus (42-0) remain in share of first place with Colonel Crawford, who beat Upper (28-27).  The Eagles plays Crestline (1-8,0-6) on Friday night.

          Coach Chris Hawkins was very encouraged by the Tigers effort.  “It was good to see because I thought we were playing pretty good football at the beginning of the year, but I think after the Crawford game we went into a little mini slump, plus we played a couple of bottom tier, no very good football teams, and it’s hard to tell if you are improving because of the talent you are playing against.  Then Wynford was just a horrible experience and the next game against Riverdale, even though we won handily, I didn’t think we played very well,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We played well on both sides of the ball and not just playing well x’s and o’s wise, but played the game the way it is supposed to be played.  We were physical and we played with emotion, we played with passion, we played with enthusiasm, just like we did at the beginning of the year, so hopefully we can continue that this week.”

          Upper Sandusky (7-2,4-2) has two one-point losses on their resume this year, to Bucyrus (37-36) and Colonel Crawford (28-27).  Hawkins this is very good team.  “They are three points away from being 9-0.  Everybody was talking about this being a showdown at the beginning of the year and both sides for the most part have kept up there end of the bargain.  I get more nervous as a coach then I did as a player and throughout of the season you get you are a little nervous, a little nervous, of course I probably will be Friday, but I am actually excited about this one because the time we put in is I think second to none in North Central Ohio.  Our kids deserve a lot of acknowledgement for that.  It’s nice to see that these kids are being rewarded for the time and the effort that they put in in the off season.  So, on week 10 we are playing for a lot.  We win we are league champs, we win we play week 11, if we lose we are probably collecting equipment on Saturday and we are watching the team we beat easily hoist our trophy.  There is a lot riding on Friday night’s game,” said Hawkins.

          Tylor Pritchard is the center of the both the Upper Sandusky offense and defense at quarterback and middle linebacker.  Hawkins says they can’t keep their eyes off him.  “We need to know where number 11 is on both sides of the football.  He is not the Darian (Watkins) type of runner, but does for them what Darian does for us.  He is a 1,000 yard rusher and a 1,300 yard passer.  That is very similar to Darian’s numbers.  Instead of speed, he just likes to run through people.  He is a powerful runner.  He makes up for 80 percent of their offense, if not more.  Defensively he just mans the middle.  They can do certain things on the outside, they can take people out of the box.  You are not going to stop him, especially because he gets so many carries.  If we do happen to be on the wrong side of this we don’t want it to be because their best player beat us,” he said.

 

Published 11/01/13

© Swankonsports.com

 

 
   

Galion Coach Calls Bucyrus Dangerous

 

          Galion is part of a heck of race for the football title in the final year of the North Central Conference.  They share first place with Upper Sandusky and Colonel Crawford with two weeks left.

          This week the play Bucyrus (4-4,3-2), a team that just beat Upper in overtime two weeks ago the same week that Galion lost to Wynford in overtime, in a very important game.

          Last week, Galion (7-1,4-1) railed from that Wynford loss to pound Riverdale (48-12), but coach Chris Hawkins is still questioning the players approach to the game and the balance they need to maintain.  “I have kind mixed emotions to be quite honest.  I thought for a couple o those practices leading up to Riverdale we kind did bounce back and practice with a little more purpose.  The Tuesday practice was probably the best practice we had since the Colonel Crawford week.  We went for a month and we didn’t have poor practices, but it was just not as intense.  I am the type of person that is pretty intense with high expectations and get after it, but at the same time I want to have fun.  If we don’t have fun doing with as much time as we spend in this game on field and in the weight room, etc.  We told our kids that sometimes we were having too much fun and forgot the purpose.  We kind of talked about that again this week.  We still want to have fun.  This is still high school sports and you are not getting paid to do this.  You are putting these numerous hours in for the love of the game, so we are going to make it fun.  However, you also have to understand that there is a purpose to why we are here.  The week before I think we kind of crossed that a couple of times.  We are just stressing that we want you to enjoy the time you have here, but at the same time understand that it is no fun losing.  What we do and what we put into our practices determines if we win or lose,” said Hawkins.

          Bucyrus beat Crestline (58-18) last week and Hawkins knows this is a team that is peaking and starting to play pretty good football.  “It is a dangerous team.  I am not into clichés, but this is a very good 4-4 team.  They got beat by Willard, which I still don’t have any idea how that happened.  That is not being mean to Willard.  Bucyrus was without a couple of key plays and that was huge.  They very well could be 6-2 or even boarder line 7-1.  They lost a heartbreaker to Wynford.  If they score a two-point conversion they win.  Colonel Crawford they lose 20-10, but that was in the slop, and that kind of affects both teams, but I think it affected them more than Crawford.  We have to go their place.  This is one of the longest rivalries in the state of Ohio.  It dates back to like 1897,” said Hawkins.

          He knows that Bucyrus will be fired up in this game and Hawkins says they must be too.  “This is their Super Bowl.  I know they are telling their kids if we happen to knock Galion off and Galion knocks Upper off and Crawford knocks Upper off we could be setting here at the end of the season with a piece of the “NCC” championship.  The last time we faced a team with that kind of effort we didn’t reciprocate that passion,” he said.

          Football, like life, is about responding to lessons and Hawkins hopes the Tigers have learned theirs when it comes to focus.  “We have to learn from that lesson.  We have to put the Wynford loss behind us, but at the same time I don’t want our kids to forget about it because there is a reason we got beat.  Wynford played a very good football game, my congratulations to them, they deserved to win that football game.  However, as the Galion coach we should have never go beat.  We were a better football team than them, but we weren’t prepared, especially mentally.  It was our lead up in practice, it was our approach to the game, it was they’re 3-3 and we are just going through the motions.  I told our guys last week the only way we can get that nasty defeat out of our taste buds is we learn something from it.  If we didn’t learn from it then we are going to lose another one of these two if not both,’ said Hawkins

 

Published 10/23/13

© Swankonsports.com    

 

 
   

Galion Won’t Make the Same Mistake

 

          Galion lost its first game of the season last week in overtime to Wynford and their coach says they were not prepared and it won’t happen again.

          A four way tie was created a top of the North Central Conference when Bucyrus beat Upper Sandusky in overtime and Galion lost to Wynford in overtime.  Right now, Galion, Upper, Wynford and Colonel Crawford are all 3-1 in league action.

          Galion coach Chris Hawkins says he has went over and over things in his head and he just feels like he didn’t have the players in the right mindset for the game last week.  “You do that in every game.  You set back and replay it.  It should have never come down to overtime.  Obviously I didn’t have our kids mentally prepared.  The social media is a great thing until kids start reading about how great they are and it’s not going to be a close game.  These kids still think because of who played who we really don’t need to play, we just need to show up.  That is on me because it is my job to not only get them physically prepared, which I thought we did, but we weren’t mentally prepared,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We have kind of gone back and reevaluated some self discipline and some accountability.  It’s frustrating and no disrespect to Wynford, they had a good game plan and they came out and played hard, but that is probably the worst performance we have had in about three or four years.  I am talking about full approach.  The whole agenda just wasn’t good.  Obviously that falls on me and we are making some adjustments so that doesn’t hurt us next time.”

          This fall Hawkins says they have been kind of laid back in practice situations, but he says that won’t happen any more.  “Every team is different, not just the physical make up, but the social and economic make up, the demographic make up and the mental make up.  With some coaches they coach every kid the same, but you really can’t do that in today’s world.  There are certain kids that respond to certain things.  There are certain kids that can respond to an in your face challenge and other kids that will shut down.  What me and my staff did was instead of trying to make waves and too much drama we kind got a little lax so to speak with some minor things.  So, we are just going back to the strict disciplinary.  Our expectations never changed, the kids know what we expect, but we kind of got lax on accountability to be quite honest, and that lack of accountability and lack of self discipline came back to hurt us.  I promised the kids that that is on me, but I also promised that it is not going to happen again.  This is going to be a very, very intense week of practice,” said Hawkins.

          Galion (6-1,3-1) will be at Riverdale (1-6,1-3) for a conference game this week.  Hawkins says after reviewing film they know that Seth Knoll is a heck of a player.  “They are struggling record wise, but the first four games they were without their best player in the (Seth) Knoll kid.  He stood out last year and he is standing out this year.  I think he had 120, 130 yards against Crawford last week.  He is their go to guy on both sides of the ball actually.  Offensively they will line up in the “I” and he is their tail and they will go double slot and they will jet him across, they will toss sweep it to him.  If they want to get him on the perimeter they will line him up at receiver and throw a screen to him.  He is that good an athlete that you have to be concerned about him.  On defense he plays that inside linebacker spot.  We had to know where he was last year and it is about the same.  I know they are 1-6 and they are struggling a little it, but they do have a couple of very, very nice football players that we have to always know where they are at,” said Hawkins.

 

Published 10/16/13

© Swankonsports.com  

 

 
   

Galion Wants Win Badly

 

          Galion really wants to beat Wynford this week for a number of reasons.  They are in first place in the North Central Conference, but they also feel slighted by the circumstances regarding the breaking of the “NCC,” now in its last year.

          The Tigers (6-0,3-0), #5 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the large school division, hammered Buckeye Central (46-0) last week.  Coach Chris Hawkins thought they played well on both sides of the ball.  “Offensively we were balanced and that is what we are trying to do the last two, three weeks.  If you are so one dimensional good teams are going to take that away, so if you don’t have something else to fall back on you struggle offensively.  We are trying not only to be balanced run-pass we are also trying to spread the wealth and use all of our athletes as well,” he said.

          Is there a rivalry between Galion and Wynford?  You bet there is according to Hawkins.  “It is tough to have a rivalry when you are only playing a team for a third year, but I think it has developed into one.  It is going to be the last time also and that is going to make the rivalry even more intense.  We plan on never playing them again because we were asked to leave the league and not by our choice.  This the last hurrah, so we want to end it on a good note.  I think also it has been good quality football on both sides.  I think when you have good quality football, and you meet up, it’s a rivalry,” he said.

          Wynford (3-3,2-1) lost to Upper Sandusky (26-0) last week and they have struggled to score points at times this year.  However, Hawkins knows that Royals offense is very dangerous.  “I have been in this business long enough and I watch film.  I am taking nothing away from Upper Sandusky because they played a nice football game, but it was really raining and pouring and I think that played into Upper’s hand because they are more of a mudder team.  I know they struggled with 80 yards offense, but we take that all with a grain of salt.  We are telling our kids a couple of things,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday,  “I don’t think they have lost a home regular season home game in almost six years, so obviously that is a tough place to play.  We asked our kids, what are the most dangerous animals?  They kind of looked at me like I was stupid.  The answer is an animal that has been wounded and backed into a corner.  They are going to fight for their life with great vengeance.  We really feel that Wynford is kind of like that.  We know that they are going to come out swinging.”

          Wynford has been known for its consistency almost more than any other school around here, but not this year.  Hawkins thinks that is the reason their record isn’t better.  “They have shown signs of greatness on both sides of the ball.  I think their big thing is consistency.  Offensively they have looked very, very good at times and defensively they have looked very, very good at times.  What they need to do is become consistent.  They try to do so many things, I don’t know if that is by design or not, but they get in a multitude of formations and that sometimes huts them as well,” he said.

          On Friday night, Hawkins says they have to match the intensity that Wynford will bring to the table and hold on to the ball.  “We need to have the same that same intensity and emotion that they are going to take the field with.  We need to come out and play a very good football team and take care of the football because as we have preached when you are playing championship type of football against championship caliber football teams a lot of times it comes down to turnovers,” he said.

 

Published 10/11/13

© Swankonsports.com      

 

 
   

Galion Getting Better

 

          Galion is unbeaten and really hasn’t had a game when they have had to play well in the fourth quarter to win so far this season, but their coach does believes they are getting better.

          Galion is tied with Wynford and Upper Sandusky for first in the North Central Conference.

          Last week, they played Crestline, who is a young team trying to get better, and scored 24 points in the first quarter.  However, coach Chris Hawkins says they did what the wanted in terms of improvement.  “I think we did get better as a team.  This is no disrespect to Crestline, but we knew they were young.  We saw them on film.  We don’t overlook anybody, but at the same time we are realist.  I think we passed the ball the first 10, 12 times.  We knew we could pass the ball, but we really never needed to.  We ran out of bounds a couple of times, so we could work on our field goal unit.  Our field goal unit had to hurry on first down, so we did that,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “It was not to embarrass them, but we wanted to at least keep our kids in the game the first half.  We didn’t want to run up the score.  We thought we worked on our two minute offense.  We did do what we set out to do.  Obviously get the win first and foremost, but at the same time get something out of that game and improve and for the most part we feel we did that.”

          On Friday night, the Tigers (5-0,2-0), #5 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the large school division, plays at Buckeye Central (1-4,0-2) in an “NCC” match-up.  Jeff Neidermeyer is in his first year as the Bucks head coach and Hawkins says not much has changed.  “When it went down to June and July or whenever it occurred you aren’t going to come in there and change a bunch of things because you just don’t have time.  So, it is basically the same look offensively and defensively.  They have the same defensive coordinator and he was on coach Ratliff’s staff, so they are basically doing the same thing.  I think that is very smart on his part,” said Hawkins.

          Galion will be in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference next year and Buckeye Central in the Northern 10 and Hawkins is kind of looking forward to this match-up.  “I think this is the first and the only time Galion will play Buckeye Central since we are going to new leagues.  It is kind of a neat situation,” he said.

          There is no doubt that Buckeye Central wants to run first if they can find way, according to Hawkins.  “I think their first and their second quarterbacks got hurt and some of these stats may be because they were on their third quarterback, but it is almost 81 to 19 percent run to pass.  I heard that he might be back, so we are expecting that even thought they are 81-19 percent that could change if they get that quarterback back,” he said.

          Buckeye has always been known for its line play and Hawkins says this year is no different.  “They are typically physical and big.  When I was at Wynford we took them on and when they made their run to the state final and got beat by St. Henry.  Their line that year was bigger than Cleveland St. Ignatius and I’m not kidding, I am totally serious about that.  They were huge, even last year.  They always have some big boys up front.  I think the strength of their team this year is the boys up front on both sides of the ball,” said Hawkins.    

 

 
   

Galion Working on Self

 

          Galion has improved each week of the football season and they hope to continue to do that this week.

          In the rain and thunder of last Friday, the Tigers, #5 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the large school division, beat previously unbeaten Colonel Crawford (35-14) in the conference opener for both. 

          Coach Chris Hawkins says it was their best performance of the season.  “It was definitely our best game of the year.  When you play the sixth ranked team in division six and handle them you are happy.  It was 35-14, but actually it wasn’t even that close.  If you take away the long bomb right there before half when our best secondary guy just got caught sleeping and the other “hail mary” that went off our shoulder pads.  If you take those to throws away we hold team that was averaging 38 points a game to basically zero.  It was very good effort on both sides of the ball.  I have been saying this all season long we didn’t play very well the first week of the season, we got a little bit better versus Madison, then a little bit better versus Keystone, and we made big strides versus Colonel Crawford, but we still have things we need to work on,” said Hawkins.

          Dareian Watkins had 222 yards and five scores for the Tigers last week, but Hawkins says they can’t continue to rely on him so heavily.  “I take some of the blame for this myself calling the offensive plays, but we need to spread the wealth a little bit.  If you weren’t with the Galion Tigers in the locker room you would think we were a one person show and we are not.  We have all kinds of skill.  The goal was to go in and throw the ball 22 to 25 times against Crawford because we felt they couldn’t stop us.  We get up three scores and it’s raining and pouring and we are just pounding at them and we can get four or five yards every time we run it the Jim Tressel came out in me.  Offensively we need to be more balanced.  We have other weapons and we are going to start using them for the rest of the season,” he said.

          On defense, Hawkins wants to reduce the number of big plays they game up against Colonel Crawford.  “Defensively I think we need to continue to refine.  We were in a 5-2 defense, but went to a four against Crawford and gave up two big plays.  That’s not a concern because that happens.  The best athletes in the world play cornerback in the NFL and get beat quite consistently.  However we feel that we don’t want to give up that big play.  We feel we are a bend, but don’t break defense.  It is really hard to have 10, 12, 14 play drives against any defense, let along our defense.  If they are going to stick it in the end zone we are going make sure they are running nine or ten plays,” he said.

          Galion (4-0,1-0) plays host to Crestline (1-3,0-1) this week in “NCC” play.  Hawkins realizes this shouldn’t be much of a game.  “We are honest, we call a spade a spade, and I am not going to set there and tell the media a bunch of stuff.  I will tell you exactly what I told our kids this is an “NCC” game, so as far as goal number one it is no more or no less important than last week because an “NCC” win is an “NCC” win and if you get a loss in the loss column if doesn’t matter who it comes against.  From that standpoint it is another football game,” said Hawkins.

          This week, Hawkins says Tigers are working on becoming a better football team and doing the things they want to do better.  “They are struggling.  They are young.  I think they only have four or five seniors. What we decided to do was work on the Galion Tigers.  We really concentrate of fundamentals and techniques during two a days, but once the season starts we back off a little bit because you constantly worrying about the opponent’s defense or the opponent’s offense and running their plays.  No disrespect to Crestline, but we just went back this week to refine our technique,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We feel that if we can just set there and do that, that’s our goal.  We obviously want to win the football game that is goal number one, but at the same time we don’t want to look at the film and say hey guys w didn’t get any better.”

 

Published 9/26/13

© Swankonsports.com

 

 
   

Galion Has a Big One Right Off

 

          Two of the contenders in the North Central Conference square off in the conference opener at Heise Park in Galion on Friday night.

          Galion won the black division title last year and Colonel Crawford topped the silver division standings.  There are no divisions in the eight team “NCC” this year.

          Last week, Galion (3-0), #4 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the large school division, got behind early, but rallied to beat LaGrange Keystone (28-13) to remain perfect on the season. 

          Coach Chris Hawkins says they weren’t perfect last week, but they weren’t too bad either.  “They ran the opening kickoff back for 7-0, but we did respond.  Then they took it down and it’s 13-7, but to our credit we did come back and went up 21-13 at halftime and then held them scoreless.  I knew they were getting better because as I said last week they were playing a bunch of freshmen and sophomores two years ago.  They are expected, according to the media, to contend for their league championship.  It wasn’t a perfectly played game by any means.  We didn’t execute well at certain times.  I have been in this business long enough to know even if we don’t play well you have to look back and enjoy the win,” said Hawkins.

          All of the other things aside, Hawkins says this game is huge for one reason.  “They are 3-0 as well and it’s a big game because the non-league games are over and our number one goal is and always will be to be league champion, whatever league we are in we want to be league champion.  That is why this is an important game right there.  They are a good team, rival, 10 minutes away, all of those things are fine and dandy, but to me why it’s a huge game is it’s the “NCC” opener,” he said.

          Crawford signal caller Nate Klingenberger is one of the top quarterbacks in the area and has been a starter for the last three years for the Eagles.  Hawkins knows they have to stop him, but the Eagles have other weapons too.  “Actually they have run the ball more than I expected.  I thought they would come out and throw 25-30 times a game.  I know last week against New London it was almost 65 percent run, which surprised me a little bit.  They do have other weapons, but the main cog in the wheel so to speak is Klinenberger.  Their offense is going to go as Klingenberger goes.  We have to stop the whole clan because they do have other weapons, but they main thing we have to take away is Klingenebrger.  Last year we let him get comfortable in the pocket and sit back there and he threw over the top of our heads and got some big plays and big touchdowns in the first quarter.  We have to keep people in front of us.  If we are going to give up things they are going to be the dink and dunk passes.  We need to make him get out of his comfort zone by pressure,” he told Swankonsports.com, “He can throw on the run, but he is not comfortable.  If you give him the chance to sit back in the pocket and scan the field he will pick you apart.  We have to get him out of the pocket and get him on the move a little bit.”

          Galion also has a number of weapons and they can do a lot of things on offense.  Hawkins says they will have too.  “They are well coached and they are defensively sound, but then again we feel there are a couple of things we can exploit and so that is what we need to do.  We will also take what they give us.  I think I have gotten a little conservative, especially in the Madison game.  Not that I would redo it because when you are playing a team like Madison you just want to get out of there.  I don’t think we can be that conservative against Crawford.  If they want to spread it out and try to cover our skilled people on the perimeter we will have to run the football 40 times and I am fine with that.  However, if they are going to try and put seven people in box and try to read the tight end with an eighth person right there I am perfectly comfortable throwing the ball 30 times,” said Hawkins.

 

Published 9/18/13

© Swankonsports.com  

 

 
   

Galion Keeping Guard up

 

          Galion is expected to have another good season and the first two weeks have sort of confirmed that opinion.

          After rocking Fairbanks (40-12), the Tigers took out a young, but very good Madison team (21-10) last week.

          Coach Chris Hawkins is traditionally a pretty aggressive play caller, but he says he backed off at the end of the Madison game.  “I got a little conservative, but you know what with it being 21-10 and obviously we want to score, but at the same time they just took the ball 75, 80 yards and almost put it in the end zone. So, we are sitting there saying we want to score, but at the same time if we pass the ball and it goes incomplete that is 35, 40 seconds they are going to have when they get the ball back.  I wish we would have stuck it in and sometimes we do have to play smash mouth and put your nose where it doesn’t want to go.  We have to be able to do that, but then again some of that was just me being conservative.  If we don’t get in then so be it.  We are up two scores and they have to drive 95 yards,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We also need to work on open field tackling.  I thought we swarmed to the ball very well.  We had two, three, four hats to the football, but there were half a dozen or so times that we had one of their better players in open space and we missed those one on one tackles.”

          LaGrange Keystone comes to Galion on Friday night.  The Tigers have had their way with Keystone the last couple of years, scoring more than 60 points two years ago winning easily (48-26) last season.  However, Hawkins says Keystone is a lot better.  “As a coach you never feel safe or where we need to be, but we had a good practice Monday and we told them that we need a good week of practice, but coming off a big, huge win, and are opening “NCC” game against Colonel Crawford just a week away, some people would call this a trap game.  So, it’s our job as a coaching staff to say you can’t get too high when you have big wins and you can’t get too low when you are coming off losses.  We celebrated that victory and on Monday Madison is out of the picture and we are settling on Keystone,” he said.

          Hawkins adds that Keystone is a lot more experienced than they have been the last two years.  “When I put them on the schedule two years ago I looked back over the last decade their worst record was 4-6 or 5-5, they had 8-2’s, so that is the type of team we want to play.  Well, the first year they played a bunch of freshmen and sophomores and were 0-10.  Last year, those freshmen and sophomores where a year older and they went 5-5.  Those freshmen and sophomores from two years ago are now juniors and seniors.  So, they are a much improved ball club.  They are by far the best Keystone team we have played in the three years.  They are not like they were two years ago and they are even better than they were last year.  We can’t overlook them.  We just need to continue to play better, continue to improve, and continue to protect the football.  I think if we continue to do that and if we continue to make strides I think we will be okay,” said Hawkins.

          Galion (2-0), #4 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the large school division, is very athletic, but Hawkins says so is Keystone, especially their tight end.  “They are a spread team.  They are very similar to us.  They have some different formations, but they will get in the pistol, they will get in the gun.  They have one of the premier tight ends in the Midwest.  He is about 6’5”, 230.  He went down to the Ohio State “Friday Night Lights” in the summer and kind of stood out.  Ohio State hasn’t offered, but I know they are definitely looking at him.  Their quarterback reminds me a lot of Madison’s.  He is very elusive.  I think he likes to pass a little bit more than Madison’s.  He can pass, but he likes to tuck it and run, so we need to make him stay in the pocket and also kind of shut down their big 6’6” kid.  Defensively they like to come out in a 4-3, 4-4 and send pressure off the edge,’ said Hawkins.    

 

 
   

Running Game key in Galion-Madison Game

 

          Galion, the “NCC: favorite, faces Madison, one of the “OCC” powerhouses at Heise Park in Galion in non-conference high school football on Friday night.

          Galion blasted Milford Center Fairbanks (40-12) last week.  Coach Chris Hawkins thought they played well, except of the second quarter, but they did not have the best practice approach this week.  “It wasn’t as good as we hoped.  I don’t know if you could ever say that it was.  For some unknown reason we kind of started out a little sluggish on Monday and Tuesday, but then again I definitely liked how we picked it up on Wednesday and Thursday.  You are constantly looking for perfection and we didn’t have that, but for the most part I think we finished at a pretty good clip,” said Hawkins.

          Madison ran for over 340 yards in a solid win (54-6) over Shelby last week.  Hawkins knows the Rams want to run.  “It is not that they can’t throw it is they don’t want to unless they have too.  They set up the play action.  They want to play smash mouth football and be very physical,” he said.

          To have success on Friday night, Hawkins believes they must limit their turnovers and stop Madison from running all over them.  “We have some goals here.  We have to take better care of the football.  We have lost to turnover battle the last two games, the preview and game number one.  Just because we were the more talented team we could overcome that.  If we lose the turnover battle against Madison then I don’t like our chances.  We have to protect the football.  The second thing is we have to stop their run.  We can’t have them go hog wild and get 350, 300 yards rushing.  We need to minimize the damage on the ground and force them to what they like to do second best and that’s pass the football,” said Hawkins.

          The Tigers have an explosive offense, but Hawkins says the Madison defense offers a lot of challenges.  “They have a lot of athletes and they love to run to the football.  I’m not so sure I would say this now, but when I saw them in scrimmage one way back in the middle of August against Youngstown East and I definitely thought their defense was better than their offense.  That was in the first scrimmage, would I say that anymore?  I don’t know because their offense is pretty darn good also.  On defense, they have some big boys up front that are very good football players.  They have linebackers that love to run to the football.  Their secondary gives you so many looks.  They are in man, they are in man free, they are in what we call cover two, cover four, read, they will be in some type of man under two deep.  They are doing all of that on the perimeter and then their inside linebackers read extremely well.  If they read run they are flying to the football.  If they read pass they are flying to get out in the flats.  You don’t normally see that,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Normally when you see man on the perimeter you see a linebacker locked onto a back.  They have man on the perimeter and their backers on flying to the hook zone and the deep drag zone.  That is something we tried to work on this week and tried to imitate.  What we need to do is sit there and run the football and then we think play action can hurt them.”

 

Published 9/6/13

© Swankonsports.com

 

 
   

Galion Facing Fairbanks

 

          Galion opens the season on Friday night with a visit to Milford Center to play Fairbanks, a team they have never played, but a school that will be in their own league next season.

          In their final tune up for the football season last week, the Tigers shutout the Shelby Whippets, a former opponent in the old configuration of the Northern Ohio League.  Galion coach Chris Hawkins says they made some mistakes on offense, but they moved the ball well.  “We did some good things.  One thing that we were very, very disappointed in was ball security.  We turned the ball over three times and had another two fumbles that we got back, so that can not happen.  We made that our number one priority this week offensively is to take care of the football.  Other than that to win 20-0 and fumble on the one and in three quarters we didn’t give up a score.  As always you can always get better,” said Hawkins.

          The Galion coach has respect for Fairbanks, but he says they will not be the challenge of Mansfield Senior, a team that has beaten them the last two years.  “One thing this year, and this taking nothing away from Milford Center Fairbanks, they are very good, solid football team, but in the past two years when we were playing Mansfield Senior, that was one of the best opponents on the schedule, so you have to be at your best right from the get go and that is hard.  That is hard to do.  There is a reason why the Ohio State’s of the world play Buffalo week one.  They do have to work the kinks out.  We are going to have to play well and pretty good to go to Fairbanks and be successful, but we don’t have to be at our best,” said Hawkins.

          Galion has scored a lot of points the last couple of years, but they have also featured a strong defense.  That will be the case again this year.  Hawkins says history says they will need it too.  “We see that there are going to be times that nights, even in our 10-0 season of 2009, there games when your offense just clicking and your defense can’t stop anyone and you need your offense to just out score people.  There are other games when you offense is in a funk and just has a hard time moving it and scoring and you need to rely on your defense to shut them down and we have done that the last couple of years,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “There are a few games when both played really well, but there are a couple of others where the offense was struggling and the defense stepped it up and vise versa.  You want to score a lot of points, but when you can’t, or you aren’t playing extremely well, we know we have a defense that can keep us in any game.”

          Fairbanks was a school totally unknown to Hawkins and likely most of Galion until last couple of years.  “I didn’t know anything about Fairbanks two or three years ago, but we were looking into a game one.  I looked eight, nine years and they were always 7-3, 8-2, but the conference they were in wasn’t that strong.  It was supposed to be a two year deal, but it’s a one year deal because they are going to be a league opponent,” he said.

          Fairbanks will set up in many of the same formations as the Tigers, but Hawkins says there are differences in their approach.  “They run a similar offense to us.  They will set there and take the two by two and the three by one.  They will get in the gun and they will get in the pistol.  They will put their back on the side.  They will go to a two back.  It is the same philosophy, but out of a different set.  They do a lot of different things play wise than we do,” he said.

          On defense, Hawkins says Fairbanks has been very aggressive.  “Defensively they are in a 4-4, but they are going to walk those linebackers up and they are almost like a 6-2 or 6-1.  They bring the house.  Not only do they rush their front four, usually about 90 percent of the time they are sending one and about 70 percent of the time they are sending two linebackers.  They are going to send six, seven guys at you all of the time and just try and disrupt you and make plays,” says Hawkins

 

 

Published 8/27/13

© Swankonsports.com  

 

 
   

Galion Easing Back

 

          The Galion Tigers appear to be the favorites to win the North Central Conference in their last year in the league.  They won the black division last year.

          On Friday night, they travel to Shelby for their final scrimmage against the Whippets.

          Galion coach Chris Hawkins, a teacher at Willard, says this has been an interesting week due to some time conflicts.  “We have had kind of a unique situation this week because myself and my defensive coordinator teach at Willard and Galion kids don’t even start school until next Thursday.  Our first day was Monday, so we couldn’t use two a days.  We didn’t get too far behind, but there were some schools still doing two a days.  We brought the kids in at two o’clock and lifted and did special teams hard and then we showed up.  To be honest with you Monday and Tuesday was horrible.  I have been in this business long enough to know when you go in the morning all of the time and get done about 1:30 and all of the sudden you are going to start at 3 and going to 6 the first two are going to be horrible.  It didn’t disappoint it was bad.  By Wednesday and (Thursday) they kind of got used to it.  I think in the long run it is going to be good for us because we know have that afternoon switch syndrome out of the way,” said Hawkins.

          Galion plays Milford Center Fairbanks in their first regular season game in a week.  They will be in the same league and division next year.  Hawkins says he wants to make sure his players are ready.  “Next week we are getting back at it.  The concern with our opener with Fairbanks is our kids first day of school is next Thursday and their second day of school we are playing our first game and going for an hour and 45 minute trip.  We are going to be creative next week and get our kids up and do some things.  As far as on the field, which the exception of those two days, it’s been good.  And we worked through and even got something out of those two days,” he said.

          Hawkins says they want to beat Shelby in the scrimmage, no doubt, but they don’t want to do anything stupid either.  “We didn’t really have any big rivalries in the “NOL.”  I know that Shelby and Willard was a big one.  The closest thing we had as a rival in the “NOL” was Shelby.  I think if you asked Shelby that it wasn’t their number one rivalry, but I always thought it was good one.  I tried to get them on the schedule actually when once we got out of the “NOL” and they kind of drug their feet.  It is nice the at least get back in action.  I am going to have to make sure that I put my competitive juices on hold.  We have a kid that has a hamstring issue and he wants to play in the worst way.  We pulled the plug on him.  It’s a preview and I said I’d rather not have you play there and have you for week’s one and two.  We think we are going to pull the plug quick on Darien.  Even though it is going to be a three quarter game like situation that’s what we are going to do,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “It’s hard because you want to do well, do well, do well.  We know what our “A” kids can do.  We know what our go to kids can do.  They don’t have to prove anything to us.  We want to keep them healthy.  We want to know what our “B’s” can do.  We think we have a lot of depth, but we want to see what they can do under the Friday night lights.  You won’t hear me say this very much as long as we stay healthy and get a lot of kids playing time I am going to be okay on Saturday morning.”

          Like most coaches, Hawkins would like a little more consistent play from his kids, but he thinks it could be a product of two a days too.  “I want to be more consistent.  We tape practice and there will be signs of brilliance and then there will be a couple of plays of what the heck was that?  Did our seventh grade team come down here and put on our uniforms?  I think that is the big thing that we need to become more consistent.  It is hard during two a days.  Sometimes we get them on the field at 7:30, eight o’clock and we don’t get them off until 1:30.  We do that for a reason, not only do we want to tax the body we want to tax the mind.  We want out preseason practices to be so hard that when we step on the field and play a game on Friday night it’s a piece of cake.  I think some that inconsistency is just wear and tear on the body.  We went hard at this week, but next week we are going to start scaling back.  We want to try and do less, but be more efficient and more intense doing it,” said Hawkins.         

 

 
   

Galion Looks Good, Wants to be Better

 

          Galion won a division in the North Central Conference last year and made the playoffs.  This year can be a good year too if they keep striving to get better.

          The Tigers played Fredericktown in a scrimmage on Wednesday and coach Chris Hawkins says they played pretty good, but they can be a lot better.  “We had our first scrimmage this week versus Fredericktown.  From all reports I have heard from the Fredericktown camp and all of the teams that play them they expect a really good year.  They are very, very big.  I was pleasantly pleased.  I told our kids we can be happy with our performance, even proud of the performance, but by no means are we satisfied.  We did a lot of good things, but at the same time we saw a lot of things we need to work on.  That is the good thing about having scrimmage number one.  I told the kids when we watch film on scrimmage number two some these areas and work that we need will become smaller and smaller and smaller as we go from scrimmage one to two to three and on to game one.  I think we are headed in the right direction,” said Hawkins

          Hawkins says they went right to work on Thursday after the scrimmage.  He says they want to continue to try and get better every day.  “You don’t want to hurt your elbow patting yourself on the back.  We always try to be honest with the kids.  They see through things, so what we try to do is if we do play well they deserve a pat on the back, but at the same time we never want to be satisfied.  I think competitors are never satisfied.  I don’t care if you win, lose or draw.  It’s about being the best you can.  There was not a single player in our Fredericktown scrimmage that did everything right, so that means that every single player on our football team has work to do.  We came out Thursday and had a pretty hard practice.  Usually the day after a game is a little slower, but we got after it.  We got in the weight room and we did a full two a day and for the most part I thought our kids responded really, really well.  There were no bumps and bruises, we said we have to get after it and for the most part we got after it,” said Hawkins.

          Football is about blocking and tackling, but Hawkins says they have started two a days with a different philosophy… at least for now.  “That is something we changed a little bit this year.  I know a lot of coaches the first day hitting they have their kids prove their manhood and do these Oklahoma drills, a very intense hitting drill.  We haven’t done that.  We kind of know what dogs will bite and what dogs only bark.  Once you have proven to us that you are a dog that is a biter and not just a barker you don’t need to sit there and prove your toughness every single day in practice.  That gets you banged up and hurt and you lose a little intensity.  What we have done is really focus hard on fundamentals and tackling.  We have done very, very minimal live tackling, but we hit it hard,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We do stations.  We were a little concerned about that going to our first scrimmage because we haven’t done a lot of contact.  If we come out there and we look soft we are going to go back to that plan.  For the must part I think we came out pretty well and played pretty tough and played pretty physical against a big, physical Fredericktown team.  As long as when the opponent shows up we are the most physical team out there we will continue doing that.”    

 

 
   

Galion Beats Ontario

 

          Galion did something Monday night that has not been done in more than two years.  They beat Ontario in a North Central Conference baseball game.

          They topped the Warriors (4-2) to hand them only their second loss this year.  The other came to Fredericktown in non-league play.

          Galion know trails Ontario by one game with two to play.

          Coach Phil Jackson could be more excited.  “I was so proud of my staff and my players.  They came to play and they knew what was on the line.  They new they had to take both from Ontario is we wanted any kind share of the “NCC” championship and they knew they needed to peak at the right time.  All of those things came together,” he said.

          It takes certain kind of confidence to beat a team like Ontario and as the game developed Jackson began to see that in his players.  “Midway through the game I see them really start to believe it.  They were a little skeptical at first.  You really don’t know what to expect.  You could see it in their eyes.  When you see a team like us with a chance you start to develop the confidence that you could do this and you should be going this.  We have enough talent to get this done.  I have been telling them that all year and it finally cam true,” said Jackson.

          Senior Adam Stats turned in an outstanding effort on the mound on Monday night.  Jackson says that has been something he has been waiting for.  “I have been waiting for Adam Stats, a senior, and the one I looked at being my number one at the beginning of the year to really have the kind of outing that he is capable of having where he throws his breaking stuff at any point in the count for a strike to keep the hitters off balance,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday night, “I was so proud of him (Monday).  I think I have been harder on him than any of my other pitchers, but it is with good reason because I know he is capable of doing just what he did (Monday.)”

          The rematch with Ontario is Thursday and the Tigers face Wynford (14-8), a team that beat them a couple of weeks ago in league play in the division three sectional final at Bucyrus on Wednesday.  Jackson says this is a great time of year.  “This is what you do all of the practicing in the winter time in the gyms for.  It makes it interesting when you have so much to play for.  It is all squeezed together.  It could be over this week of we could try to extend this.  I am having great time my first year in Galion.  The players are really buying in enjoying it.  This is what baseball is all about,” he said.

 

 
   

Galion Wins Big One

 

          Galion beat Upper Sandusky on Wednesday night in a game the Tigers just had to have if they are to challenge Ontario for the black division championship of the North Central Conference.

          The Tigers lost a tough game last week to Wynford (3-2) and then dropped the first game of the series with Upper (7-4) to fall two games behind the Warriors in the loss column.  So, a win Wednesday night was critical.

          Coach Phil Jackson they were able to put some good at bats together against a hard throwing Upper pitcher.   “The kids really responded.  I thought we came out flat a little bit the first night.  The pitching wasn’t there from our ace like it has been all year.  We just didn’t respond well to the adversity.  (Wednesday) it was totally different.  We faced a gem of a pitcher in the Upper kid, a freshmen, a hard throwing lefty.  He throws with great velocity.  I was just tickled with the at bats we had.  We did all of the little things you need to do to win a ball game,” said Jackson.

          Upper (12-7,5-5) is a team that has played it best baseball lately and Jackson says they were able to make things tougher on the Rams the farther they got into the game.  “Upper started slow.  They had a tough schedule, but that is not a team that you wand to be facing too many times.  They have a lot of good young pitching.  They put the ball in play.  We struggled to throw strikes against them and once we settled down and really started to get ahead of the hitters things started turning our way,” he said.

          When you are facing a pitcher like Galion was Wednesday night, Jackson says he have to get into the batter’s box with a plan in mind.  “Especially when you have a kid that is going to blow it by you.  You have to be on your game.  He you have to have a good approach at the plate.  You have to put the ball in play and foul some off that maybe you are wanting to see a better pitch,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday night after the win over Upper, “We did that (Wednesday) consistency throughout the lineup.  Some of our kids that collected a couple of hits were down in the middle or the bottom of the lineup.  That was huge for us to get people on base and move runners and score some runs when we needed too.”

          Galion (17-5,8-2), #2 in the Swankonsonsports.com baseball coach’s poll in the small school division, meets Crestview (12-10) in a first round game in the division three tournament on Saturday at Bucyrus.  They play Ontario next Monday and Tuesday.  Jackson says it is exciting play big games.  “It is an exciting part of the season.  It has been a busy last couple of weeks.  I am really actively working to get arms healthy.  We have been playing five of six games a week for the last couple of weeks.  The kids are getting tired and sore and it’s a hard thing to do to keep them healthy and fresh and keep them motivated.  We are looking forward to the Ontario series as well as tournament game on Saturday and the following Wednesday if we win.  If is going to be an exciting next couple of weeks,” said Jackson.      

 

 
   

Galion Responds

 

          Galion lost a tough game to Wynford on Tuesday night, but there was no pouting for the Tigers.  They beat state ranked Bellevue in a non-league game on Wednesday.

          The Tigers edged the Redmen (13-3), #4 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coach’s poll in the large school division, (5-4) on Wednesday.

          They had lost to Wynford (3-2) when the Royals pushed across a run in the bottom of the seventh.  “Winning cures a lot of sorrows.  In 24 hours time we went from very disappointed to a very elated team,” said Galion head coach Phil Jackson.

          To be a good team you must win when the pressure is on and Jackson says they were able to do that on Wednesday night.  “Sometimes you need those to give yourself some confidence that you can win those types of games, but it still makes time stand still when you are on the winning side, or you have the lead, and they start chipping away at he lead.  I tell you it’s nerve racking,” he said.

          Bellevue is two games behind Northern Ohio League leader Norwalk, and they play the Truckers on Thursday.  Jackson says they were out to prove something.  “They are a very good team and we knew that going in.  It is no secret they are ranked in the state and have had success up there for quite a few years.  We had a little motivation going in there.  We wanted to prove ourselves, especially on the heels of what happened at Wynford. We were able to do that and I was very tickled,” said Jackson.

          The Tigers (14-3), #4 in our small school poll, have gotten pretty good pitching and they have hit the ball pretty well too.  Jackson says their defense must improve.  “Maybe this isn’t the model week for us to talk about consistency, but until know we have been a fairly consistent team.  One thing, even in the mix in losing that game to Wynford, I think some of our pitching has really been consistent and really been good,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We are struggling to find a right fielder, an outfielder that can get comfortable in that position we will be more consistent.  Our hitting has been pretty good, our pitching has been pretty good of late.  We are just making some errors in the field we need to clean up.”  

          Galion returns to North Central Conference play when they meet Lucas on Friday.

 

 
   

Galion Enjoying Fine Season

 

          There are two schools in the “NCC” black division that have unbeaten records in league play.  Yes, one of them is defending champion Ontario.  And the other is?  That’s right, the Galion Tigers.

          Galion (10-2,4-0), #5 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coach’s poll in the small school division, has been one of the more consistent teams in the area this spring.

          First year coach Phil Jackson has been very pleased with what he has seen this season so far.  “I am very tickled with the way the kids have come out and performed with a tough spring season and a new system.  I couldn’t ask for any more.  They have given great effort.  We don’t mind having the emphasis be on Ontario and kind of sneak up on people.  That’s not by accident that’s for sure,” he said.

          Galion plays at Wynford (7-7,2-1) on Thursday in a divisional game.  They shut out the Royals (7-0) on Monday.  Jackson says they have to stay in the moment.  “I have been taught by the sporting career that I have had that you just take one game at a time.  I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true.  If you look too far ahead with what next week is happening or what Ontario is doing you may overlook somebody else and they get you.  The black division has those teams that can sneak up and get you at any time.  You really have to be true to one game at a time,” said Jackson.

          With 12 runs on Tuesday in a win over Buckeye Central, the Tigers continue to hit the ball well.  Jackson says that has been something they have done pretty much every game.  “We have been hitting the ball fairly consistently.  If I was going to pick one thing that we have been most consistent with it would be our hitting.  The pitching has been up and down, even though we have had a senior put on a good performance.  We have really been consistent with our hitting and that has led us to our 10-2 record,” said Jackson.

          It’s the second year for the mandated B-B core bats and Jackson thinks most players are now pretty used to how they need to use them to be effective.  “I have seen a little bit more power this year than I did last year.  Last year, there was a big adjustment period with kids not knowing how to swing and what they thought was a great hit before was a routine out.  Now it seems like the focus is more on line drives and hitting balls into the gaps.  I have seen the power numbers climb up a little more,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “I think that is just a natural occurrence.  It changes the game a little and makes you be more well rounded in putting the bunts down when you can.  We are a pretty aggressive on the base paths.” 

 

 
   

Galion Gets Shutout Against Bucyrus

 

          Galion won its North Central Conference opener on Monday by downing Bucyrus to share the lead in the black division.

          Ontario got past Upper Sandusky (8-2) and Wynford beat Riverdale (11-4) on Monday.

          With the win Galion is now (7-2) overall for the year.  First year coach Phil Jackson, no not that Phil Jackson, says he has been pretty pleased with the execution that he has seen so far.  “We still have quite a bit of growing to do as a team, but the way that the season started with the weather, and taking that into consideration, I am happy with the 7-2 start that was have,” he said.

          With a new coach there is always going to be a period of adjustment and Jackson believes that is the reason they are making some of the simple mistakes they have been making.  “We have to be better at trusting one another.  We have to come to the ball field everyday wanting to be there with the motivation that we are going to get better and then win.  We need to work as a group, both coaches and players.  It’s anew system,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We have had a longtime coach here with coach Ruth and then prior to that coach Gorbett.  I am the first real new coach to come into the system in a while.  There is an adjustment period that we are working through.  Once we get that established we will get rid of some of the base running errors and some of the mental lapses that we are having and become a better ball club.”

          Galion stuffed Bucyrus (6-0) behind the efforts of senior Isaac Huffman on Monday.  Jackson says Huffman has come into he one this spring.  “I had a senior Isaac Huffman, who has kind of elevated himself to be our number one.  He had a four hit shutout Monday night against Bucyrus and he also pitched a shutout against a good Northmor team earlier in the season.  He is really coming into his own.  He doesn’t give up free passes.  He makes hitters work their way on base.  He keeps the ball down and works with is off speed stuff.  I am very happy with how he has developed from a pitcher that really wasn’t in the picture of being a number one,” said Jackson.

          There are a lot of solid teams in the “NCC,” especially in the black division, and Jackson understands that winning a division title will take a special effort.  “I came from the Ontario system.  I coached there last year.  I have tried to instill that same sense of confidence and love of the game over here in Galion.  The whole division, top to bottom, they all have talent.  They can all win on any given day.  I know it sounds cliché, but it’s true.  You can not let your guard down at all in any league game no matter your opponent or you are going to be looking up at somebody that hasn’t done that,” he said.

          Galion plays Bucyrus (3-4,0-1) again on Wednesday.  They play Fremont Ross in a non-conference game on Tuesday. 

 

 
   

Defense Still Missing For Galion

 

          Galion has the firepower to beat about anyone they play, but their defense has been holding them back over the last several weeks and that has to change.

          In the division two sectional semi finals at Bucyrus High School on Wednesday night the Tigers (10-11) will take on Willard (16-6), #4 in the final Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coach’s poll in the large school division, for the right to advance to play on Friday.

          Coach Ed Rich says their offense is just fine, it’s their defense that needs to be sharpened quite a bit.  “I think offensively we are playing pretty well, shooting the ball pretty good.  What really makes me nervous is the way we are defending.  I don’t think we defended well against Lucas or Crestline and going back a couple more weeks to Shelby and Ontario.  I don’t think we defended well there.  We gave up 70 to both of them.  It is kind of nerve racking the way we are communicating and defending.  Hopefully something clicks (Wednesday) and we go out there and defend the way we are capable,” said Rich.

          Galion has the physical attributes to play good defense, but Rich says they haven’t been talking too each other at all.  “What hurts us the most is we don’t communicate very well on defense.  We are getting guys screened and ending up and others are cutting and we are not calling out cutters and we not calling our screeners,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “At times we really look lost on defense.  We thought at the beginning of the year it was going to be one our strengths, and I thought we played it well there for a while, but in the last couple of weeks we have seen a major decline.  Hopefully we can toughen up and hopefully we can at least open our mouths and call out some screens and call out some cutters and go from there.”

          Willard finished second in the “NOL” this year and they advanced to the district semi-finals last season.  Rich says the Flashes have the whole package.  “They do a lot of things well.  One thing I like is the way Matt Cok leads the team.  He is a great leader.  A great competitor.  I really think he makes that team go.  They are a really good shooting team.  They have three guards that can really shoot the ball and they have a big complement in Hayden Adams.  He can do a lot with the ball.  If they need him to shoot he can shoot.  He scores in the paint.  They are a well rounded team.  They are a tough out in the tournament, but size wise its out best match-up so we will see what we can do,” said Rich.

          Adams was out for two of the Flashes four losses that where not to Norwalk and Matt Cok was injured when they lost to Lexington by two.  Rich says Adams is important to Willard because he is their only big guy.  “He is their only big.  They have a couple of guys that come off the bench in Jay Cok and the Owens kid, but they are only 6’1”, 6’2”,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “I watched them against Marion Harding with Adams out, and I think Marion Harding is a pretty good team, and Willard took them to overtime.  I think he led the “NOL” in rebounding with about eight a game.  He scores about 12 points a game.  He’s a tough match-up and a good athlete and they really hurt without him.”

          Adams aside, Rich says the real key to Willard is the shooting delivered by their guards.  “They have Matt Cok and he can shoot the ball if he needs too.  He has shot about 80 threes this year.  They have Ebert, who has shot over 100 threes and they have Davidson, who has shot over 150 threes.  They are all about 36 percent or so from three.  Usually we have one shooter in our scouting report that we really have to close out on and help on, but they have three and we are going to have trouble helping off.  They are going to get it around to him and they are going to get off the shot,” said Rich.

 

 
   

Galion Defense Has to be Better

 

          Galion has some athleticism and the ability to score on offense, but they have not been playing good defense and their coach is afraid it is going to cost them.

          That didn’t happen last week as they executed so well on offense they were able to pull away from Lucas (78-49) in a North Central Conference game.  Coach Ed Rich says he was both happy and not happy about the performance.  “We came into the game knowing that they hadn’t had a win all year.  It just made me nervous what our mindset was going to be, but we came out and took care of business pretty early,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We hit shots and ran our stuff pretty well.  The only thing that is concerning for me is how we defended.  We weren’t very good on the defensive end at all.  We were clicking on offense really well.  We turned them over 32 times, but I wasn’t happy with out half court defense.”

          Teams want to be peaking at this time of year, but Rich says that is not the case with the Tigers, especially on defense.  “Unfortunately we are slowing declining on defense.  At the beginning of the year I thought we were pretty good.  We got up in passing lanes.  We were talking and moving.  As the year moved on we kept thinking we are on a decline on defense for some reason.  For the last couple of weeks we have been getting after it in practice and get these guys in the right spots so hopefully we can change things around so we can see how it goes,” said Rich.

          After a North Central Conference game with Crestline on Friday night Galion plays second seeded Willard (15-6) in the division two tournament next Wednesday at Bucyrus.  Rich says they have got to start defending better.  “Willard has multiple guys that can hurt us from multiple areas.  There is no doubt in these next couple of weeks, and even Crestline, I saw them play Saturday, we have got defend and we know where guys are at.  We have to talk or it could be a long two nights for us,” he said.

          Galion (9-11,6-6) travels to Crestline to meet the Bulldogs (3-18,1-11) in a conference game.  A game in which Rich says they must be careful.  “They really scare me, I’ll be honest.  They play extremely hard.  They are a really good rebounding team.  They just play physical and hard at all times.  I watched them against Riverdale.  It was a tough game, a physical game.  It makes me nervous about how we are going to step up and match there physicality and keep them off the glass.  I mean they do some really good things no matter what the score is, I saw them, they play their guts out.  They make me a little nervous.  We have to come ready to play, especially in that new gym,” said Rich.   

 

 
   

Galion to Play Lucas

 

          After winning four games in a row the Galion Tigers ran into a couple of road blocks with losses to Shelby on Tuesday and Ontario on Saturday of last week, now they need to get back on the winning track against Lucas on Friday.

          Galion stayed with the Ontario Warriors, #1 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball poll in the small school division, in the first half last Saturday, but they ran out of gas in the second half and the Warriors beat them (75-41) in North Central Conference play.  Coach Ed Rich says they couldn’t stop Ontario in the second half.  “We played with them pretty well the first half and then.  I think we went in at halftime down five.  The rebounding battle was either tied or really close.  We came out the second half and in the first possession they run a flex set and make about eight or 12 passes and I looked at my assistant coach and said we have nothing left in the tank.  It proved true they ran all up and down us.  I pretty sure they were something like 16 of 18 from the floor in the second half.  They are a tough match up inside and out.  I expected to stay with them a little bit, but they really took it to us in the second half,” said Rich.

          In the division two sectional coming up in a couple of weeks Galion will play second seeded Willard (14-5) in a semi-final game at Bucyrus High School on February 27.  Rich says it’s a balanced sectional and despite having the seventh seed things didn’t work out too bad.  “Unlike years past there is not really a major favorite.  It’s loaded with some good teams.  The one seed could have gone to any of three teams.  It’s a tough sectional.  We got Willard.  They are a really good team.  They beat us by 20 earlier this year and they are playing good basketball, but I like the match-up better than any of the other seeds, other tops seeds, so we will see what we can do,” he said.

          Galion (8-11,5-6) plays a visit to Lucas (0-16,0-10) for an inter-divisional game in North Central Conference on Friday night.  Rich says the game kind of makes him nervous.  “I look at the stats and I haven’t seen them yet on film or live or anything.  They scare me just from the fact any team on any given night can come out and win and it’s at their place.  I get worried about how my guys are going to react.  They know they are 0-16.  We obviously can’t just show up and win because we don’t have a great record ourselves at 8-11, so they make me a little nervous just from the fact that you never know what could happen,” said Rich.

 

 
   

Galion Finding it

 

          Just a couple of weeks ago it looked like the Galion Tigers basketball season was ready for the scrap pile, but that’s what is great about high school athletics, things can seem to turn on a dime or an emotion.

          After four straight win the Tigers seem to be heading up the charts.  Coach Ed Rich says they now believe in themselves a lot more and that is making a big difference.  “We are doing things better.  The main thing is we are playing with a measure of confidence.  We got that overtime win against Riverdale.  That was huge for us.  It was an emotional overtime win.  Since then I have seem a little more confidence, more belief in their eyes that we can do it.  We have been playing better ball, there is no doubt,” he said.

          For a while Galion couldn’t do the easy things, like make a lay up, but Rich says they have turned it all around and they knew the team had some talent.  “Not too long ago we were looking at 3-7.  We were at our low point, the coaching staff and players a like.  We just kept on preaching that you never know.  We have won four straight.  I give credit to these kids.  They could quit easily.  The coaching staff could have quit, but we knew we had talent and we can win some games,” said Rich.

          Galion (8-9) is at Shelby (9-6) in non-league play on Tuesday night.  Rich says the Whippets are skilled and they have some big guys too and that has given them problems.  “They have a couple of guys that can really score in the Rhode kid and Grant Fenner, those are their two top scorers.  They rebound the ball well and they defend.  They are fundamentally sound like all Shelby teams have been in the past,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday. “We are going to struggle with their size.  They have three guys that are pretty big.  Grant Fenner is a 6’4” wing slash forward.  He is a tough match-up.  We are just going to put a good game plan together and hopefully execute it and come up with a win.”

          Galion and Shelby will be among the seven schools that are participating in the division two sectional at Bucyrus High school in three weeks.  The draw is Sunday and Rich says that makes this game pretty big.  “With that tournament draw coming up if we would be lucky enough to get a win it would help our tournament seeding quite a bit,” he said.

          On Saturday night, the Tigers travel to division leader Ontario (14-4,9-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coach’s poll in the small school division.  The Warriors beat Galion (72-53) in their first game this year.  Rich says this week will really test them.  “We played them earlier this year and they took it to us pretty good.  The scary is they didn’t even have Cameron Mack when they played against us the first game.  The more I watch I think the better they get, but it’s the same with us we are getting better and better.  By far they are one of the better teams we have played this year.  There is no doubt that this week is probably the toughest test we have had all year,” said Rich.

 

 
   

Galion Starting to Find it

 

          Galion is a basketball team with some talent that has the potential to be a pretty good team is they can just be more consistent.

          The Tigers produced one of their better wins of the season on Tuesday night in beating River Valley (56-53) of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.  Coach Ed Rich says they played pretty well against the Vikings.  “They were a really nice team.  They are a big team.  They have some athletes.  I watched them on film and they worried me about some of the things they did.  Our guys stepped up and we did what we needed to do to win,” he said.

          The Galion coach has been preaching the need for more consistency all season and he says he saw some of that on Tuesday night.  “I did see a little bit of consistency, not as much as I wanted at least defensively.  What we did is we picked it us when we need to.  I thought we played hard in spurts.  The beginning of the third quarter I think hurt us a lot.  It could have lost us the game, but our guys picked it up.  We were more consistent, but we are still striving to be consistent for all four quarters,” he said.

          Galion (6-9,3-5) hosts Upper Sandusky (8-7,6-2) on Friday night in a black division game in the North Central Conference.  Upper is famous, or notorious, depending on who you talk to, due to their deliberate play.  Rich says they can play up tempo too.  They did it against them.  “People say that the way he plays is just boring, but I have news for you if you are winning I don’t care how you play.  They had a great season last year and they are putting together a pretty good one this year too,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “What we did the first time is sped it up against them and I am thinking this is great we are speeding it up.  I think it was 29-29 at the half.  I thought it was going our way we got off to a 7-0 run in the third.  They can score.  They outscored us and they end up winning 65-52.  If they need to speed up and they can score.”

          Rich says they have identified two players they need to contain in order to be successful against the Rams.  “Two players that you have to key on is the Reillie kid, he can get on fire from the three point line from what I see from the stats and everything.  The first game back for Stuart Young was against us.  He was huge for them for their team last year and he came back against us.  He only scored eight, but it was an emotional lift for those kids.  Those are the two we have to focus on Friday night and go from there,” he said.

          Galion wraps up a three game week with a make up game with Wynford (7-8,4-3) on Saturday night.  The Royals won the first game (67-60) two weeks ago.  Rich says they will need to play four solid quarters to win the game.  “A lot of people are talking about if we play the first half and the second half like you did the second half.  There is no doubt that would be good for us, but once you are up 20 points like Wynford was you kind of lose some enthusiasm in some interest in the game because you think the game is put away.  They are going to come in ready to play.  We have to shut them down on defense and we have to figure out some offensively because all of our offense came on our full court press.  We weren’t running any of our sets against them.  I know it’s going to be a good game regardless.  If we play hard they are going to bring it too,” said Rich.     

 

 
   

Effort a Concern at Galion

 

          Galion just can’t put together to halves of basketball and that is keeping them from winning as many games as maybe their talent dictates.

          Last week, the Tigers hung on to beat Bucyrus (53-51) and then lost on Saturday night (67-60) to Wynford in a pair of North Central Conference games in the black division.

          Coach Ed Rich says they really played inconsistently in both of the games.  “Friday night we played good for a half.  The first half I think we were up by 12, 31-19 at the half, and then we kind of let it slip there in the third and fourth quarter. It is the same thing we have been dealing with all year.  We take things for granted and don’t play very hard once we get a lead.  Bucyrus made a lot of threes, I think they were 11 for 24, they shot the ball really well,” he said.  Rich adds against Wynford they got behind before they started to play up to their potential.  “Wynford we got down by 20 at the half, I think it was 40-20 at the half.  It seemed like my guys weren’t really into the game.  They second half comes around and we outscore them 40-27, and lose 67-60 because we didn’t play at all in the first half,” said Rich.

          It wasn’t just last weekend, inconsistency has plagued the Tigers all season.  Rich blames himself saying he just can’t find the answers.  “I am super frustrated there is no doubt.  I have never been this frustrated almost halfway through a season.  We have some guys that can play.  It’s just if they want to play they play and if they don’t they don’t play.  It usually takes us to get down 10, 15, 20 points before we realize we better start playing.  I’ll take the blame.  I have got to find a way to get these guys to come and play for four quarters every night and halfway through the season I haven’t found that way yet,” said Rich.

          Galion has some players that come off the bench, but Rich says right now they aren’t complete players and that has hurt them too.  “I don’t want to say our bench can’t play.  Obviously, the guys on the bench are there because they are good at a handful of things and then there are other things they need to work on.  With my starters I trust them to be able to do most of the things on the floor, you know, “D” it up, rebound, hit shots.  With guys coming off the bench we have guys that can’t shoot, can’t handle it, can’t “D” it up.  We have some guys that can just play some defense and can’t handle it, can’t shoot.  We are still working and by no means are we giving up, right now it is just a frustrating process,” he said.

          Galion (4-8) plays host to Marion Harding in a non-conference game on Thursday night and Rich says the Presidents are going to put some athletes on the floor.  “There record is not even close to as good as they have looked on film.  I have watched them quite a bit.  They are a super athletic team, a super long team that gets in passing lanes.  They run a lot of sets and when those break down they are at their best when they just play.  They crash the glass extremely hard on the offensive end.  They are really a match-up nightmare for us.  They switch up defenses constantly in the half court.  They have tree of four different kinds of presses,” said Rich.

 

 
   

Galion Not Executing

 

          Right now, Galion isn’t doing the easy things and if you can’t do those it is hard to win consistently.

          Last Thursday, the Tigers made a great comeback to beat Bellevue (45-42) in a non-conference game at home.  Coach Ed Rich says defense was the difference for them.  “It was a great win against Bellevue.  We were down 13 and had to make a comeback.  We held them without a field goal for the last 10 minutes of the game, which was an unbelievable effort on defense on our part,” he said.

          However, on Saturday night they lost in a North Central Conference game to Buckeye Central (58-48), also at home.  Rich says they just got outplayed by the Bucks.  “Buckeye Central, they are a good team.  They have the Kaple kid finally back healthy.  What they do is they come in and play extremely hard.  Some guys on their team hit shots that we didn’t expect to hit shots and that really hurt us.  They outplayed us in every facet of the game, so they deserved that win.  I think we were lucky to stay within 10.  We just have to bounce back and hopefully get this ship righted halfway through the season.  I’m disappointed at our record right now,’ said Rich.

          Rich doesn’t pull any punches.  He says they are hurting themselves by not making layups or free throws.  “I think the biggest thing with us is we are really inconsistent.  Even against Buckeye Central we would make a little run then we would do something that I used to be able to say was uncharacteristic, but it has become characteristic of us.  We are trying to make a great play at all times.  I think we got to within nine and get a steal and tried to make a great play between four guys instead of setting someone else up for scoring.  We rush into something and turn it over,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “That’s the one thing we have to make better decisions.  Our free throw percentage is God awful, 50 percent from the line.  We blow wide open or barely contested layups, consistently we blow them.  Those are little things that as a varsity boys’ coach I expect us to do.  We can’t practice layups constantly in practice.  We work on them.  We work on free throws quite a bit it’s just not showing up in the games.”

          Galion (3-7,1-4) plays Bucyrus (3-9,2-4) for the second time this season on Friday.  Galion won the first time (68-57) at Bucyrus.  Rich expects to see a lot of zone pressure from the Redmen.  “I think they are going to show us what we saw in the second half of the game when we played them earlier this year.  We had them down close to 20 at one point.  They gave us a little 1-2-2 half court trap.  We struggled a little bit against it.  We didn’t really attack it.  We just sort of played catch and didn’t make them move.  We had a decent lead, but it dwindled away when we couldn’t attack it and score.  We know what we are going to see from them and they know what they are going to see from us.  I just get kind of nervous that our kids take it for granted because we beat them once already and all we have to do is show up and win.  I know, and my coaching staff knows, that’s not the truth,” said Rich.

          The Tigers play at Wynford (5-7,2-3) on Saturday night.  This has not been a typical Wynford season so far, but Rich knows the “House of Thrills” is a tough place to play.  “We have to go to Wynford and I don’t care what kind of team they have it is always a tough place to play for some reason.  They scare me in a lot of ways.  They have two bigger guys who rebound the ball pretty well.  If I had to pick our greatest weakness it is rebounding.  We are getting our rebounded by at least five a game.  That doesn’t seem like much, but in all reality five a game is a lot.  Carter started the year on fire, I know he has slowed down a little bit, but he is still a great ball player.  They also have guards.  Powers is a player.  I think he scored 20 some last weekend.  We are going to have our hands full with them.  If we show up and play to our capabilities we should be able to give them a great game,” said Rich.    

 

 
   

Galion Must Think it Can Win

 

          Galion has the talent to be a successful basketball team, but sometimes they don’t believe it.

          Last week, Ontario took a considerable early lead and smoked the Tigers (72-53) in a North Central Conference game.  Galion coach Ed Rich says they were tentative early in the game and it cost them.  “It all comes down to a couple of things, but the major thing was we came out in the first quarter and played like we knew we couldn’t win the game.  To put it simply we played scared the first quarter and a half,” he said.

          Now once they started to believe a little more, Rich says they proved they could stick with Ontario.  “About halfway through that second quarter we started to play with a little confidence realizing they are a good team and no doubt they are better than we are, but we can still play with them and do what we want to do.  It was too late,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We get into the third and fourth quarter and they out score us by two points.  We are down 17 at the half.  We cut it to nine in the second half.  By that time it is too much to come back from against a good team.”

          Galion (2-6,1-3) will try to break a five game losing streak when they host Bellevue (4-4) on Thursday night for a non-conference game.  Rich says after a slow start the Redmen are starting to play well.  “I went and watched them (Monday) night.  They played Port Clinton at Port Clinton.  I thought we were petty athletic.  They are the most athletic team that I have seen.  They are the best team we will face all year athletically.  They get after it.  I know him (Raifsnider) pretty well.  He was my freshman coach at Bellevue.  It will be a fun game for me, but I’m telling you what we really have to strap it on because it could really get ugly if we don’t come to play,” said Rich.

          Of course, anytime you play Bellevue you have to deal with Jalen Santoro, the point guard.  Rich says they best thing to do is to give him a lot of different looks he has to deal with.  “The teams that have beaten them have switched a lot of defenses.  He is such an outstanding athlete.  He is really tough to guard.  You can’t stick one guy on him the whole game and expect to shut him down.  He scored 23 (Monday) night.  It didn’t even look like he was trying to score 23, so yeah he is scary,” said Rich.

 

 
   

Galion Looking to run the Floor

 

          Galion picked up a win in their first game in North Central Conference play and they hope they can compete with Ontario at the top of the black division standings.

          The Tigers beat rival Bucyrus (68-57) last Friday in their first league game.  Coach Ed Rich says they were able to get a lot of baskets in fast break situations to build the lead.  “We got out quick and ran the floor really well.  We scored the majority of our buckets out in transition.  They didn’t zone us quite as much as we thought in the first half and that kind of helped us out a little bit.  The zone kind of hurt us in the second half, but by that time we had built up a big enough lead,” said Rich.

          Defense is something the Tigers have been striving to get better at and Rich says they have … kind of.  “I thought we played some decent defense in the first half.  In the second half we gave up too many easy buckets.  We lost a little bit of our intensity in the second half and stopped getting after it on defense.  That is one thing we need to work on plying defense the way we are capable the entire game,” he said.

          On Saturday night, Galion lost at Lexington (68-53) in non-conference play.  Rich says the Minutemen just had too much depth for them and they kind of ran out of gas.  “What really hurt us against them was their size and their ability to play any five guys.  I mean they go ten guys deep,” he told Swankonsports.com, “They really don’t miss a beat when they sub anybody.  They exposed our defense a little bit with their ball screens.  We had trouble getting through those.  We just need to talk more and communicate so we know who is going to block out the shooter.”

          Galion (2-2,1-0) is at home for Wynford (4-2,1-0) in a black division game on Friday night.  Rich says he looks for the Royals to try and push the ball.  “I have been watching their scores.  They have been putting up some big points in some of their games.  I think they have been in the 80’s twice.  We saw them this summer.  They are going to be a lot like us.  They are going to be quick.  I know they are going to be physical, but they aren’t going to be very big, so it should be a good match-up for us,” said Rich.

          Galion wants an up tempo game too, but Rich says they have to show patience.  “We just have to go out and play our game.  I think if we come out and run the floor like we are capable of.  I’m not sure if they are going to man us or zone us yet.  Regardless of what they do it goes back to that patience thing.  For some reason these guys get pretty impatient when things aren’t going there way.  If we stay patient on offense and look for the best shot instead of just a good shot we will be in good shape,” said Rich.

 

 
   

Patience the Key For Galion

 

          Galion is going through a learning curve here at the beginning of the season and they are striving to become more consistent.

          While some schools have played as many as five games already this year, Galion has played in just two, a win over Northmor (64-54) and a loss (62-44) last Saturday to Mansfield Madison.

          Galion coach Ed Rich says it is a Madison team that has been underestimated by many.  “What people do is they look at Mansfield Madison when they lose to Shelby and they struggle a lot against Mansfield Senior, but Mansfield Madison has a good team, don’t let those first two games full you.  They just took us out our game.  We like to run the floor and we didn’t get into transition very well.  We played with them for about the first four minutes and turnovers killed us and after that we just couldn’t get a shot,” said Rich.

          He says they game the ball away too many times when it looked like they were going to score.  “We only had 14 turnovers, but the thing with that is they came at really bad times.  We would have the press broken and we would be on a 3-2 break and we would turn the ball over.  The untimely turnovers just killed us,” he said.  Rich says they just failed to take advantage of the situation.  “We saw that we had an advantage in numbers and we had three straight possess where we just floated the ball up and it got intercepted and taken the other way and it just took us out of our game,” he said.

          They travel to Bucyrus (1-3,0-0) for a game in the black division of the North Central Conference on Friday night.    Rich says the Redmen can do some things.  “I saw them earlier this year against Mt. Gilead and I’ll tell you what they were impressive.  I was really impressed with a couple of things they do.  They get after it in the zone.  They have some guys that can get to the rack. They have some guys that are going to shoot the ball.  It will be a pretty tough match-up for us,” said Rich.

          He says the Tigers have to work to get good shots.  “The first thing is we have to be patient against that zone.  We know we are going to get a 23 zone look.  The way my guys like to shoot the ball we have to be patient and take good shots, unforced shots, and make them work to get good shots      Another thing we have to do is we have to stop penetration.  They do a lot of different things, but they really are a dribble drive and if they get to the hoop and we can’t stop them it’s going to be a long night,” said Rich.

 

 
   

Galion Still has a lot of Improving to do

 

          Galion has made a lot of improvements this season already, but they have to make more if they are going to start winning games consistently.

          In their opener last Saturday, the Tigers downed Northmor (64-54) to get off to a good start.  Coach Ed Rich says they did some good things, but they need to do more.  “We did what we needed to do to get the win.  We got much better in practice throughout the weeks.  I was pretty pleased with the majority of things we did, but obviously there is still a lot of work to do,” he said.

          Defense and ball handling are a big part of basketball and Rich says they aren’t real good at those things right now.  “We really need to learn how to value the basketball.  We had a least 15 turnovers.  A couple of the starters, the guys I depend on, just kept making dumb mistakes with the ball.  We don’t throw the right pass.  We really have to take care of the ball if we are going to win games,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Also, defensively I thought some of their guys just got to the hoop way too easy.  We basically just let them go.  Stopping dribble penetration and handling the ball are two big things for us.”

          Junior guard Ridge Durbin led the Galion attack on Saturday against Northmor with 29 points.  Rich says he really stepped up under trying circumstances.  “He had mono the whole preseason and before the game I said he was about 80 percent.  Then he goes out there and just shoots the lights out and scored 29 points with six assists and six rebounds.  He is a pretty good player and he has improved his game from last year to this year tremendously,” he said.

          Galion visits Mansfield Madison (0-1) on Saturday night in a non-conference.  The Rams lost their opener (35-34) to Shelby last Friday.  Rich says Madison is a very aggressive team.  “They feature a lot of ball screens on the wing, ball screens in the corner, the dribble drive stuff.  They are an aggressive team.  They crash the glass extremely hard. It’s a new coach, but the same kids.  The same Madison kids, they are just tuff and play hard.  There is no quit in them.  The Shelby game was low scoring, but they have plenty of guys that can score.  We are just going to have to do our best to keep them off the glass and hopefully they have an off shooting night like they did against Shelby,” said Rich.

 

 
   

Galion Looking For Consistency

 

          Last year, the Galion Tigers proved that they could be competitive with any school in the North Central Conference.  They beat Colonel Crawford and Ontario, but they also lost some games they probably shouldn’t have.

          This season they are working with a comparatively inexperienced basketball team and coach Ed Rich says they have a long way to go in many cases.  “We are getting there.  We have a lot of work to do there is no doubt.  Right now we are trying to get all five of our scrimmages in and see what we’ve got after that.  It’s a work in progress right now,” he said.

          He says his biggest concern right now is effort with his basketball team.  He says they have to be able to give 100 percent at all times.  “We need to learn how to bring it every night.  We have only been at it for a week and half or so.  We just got our football guys back the last three days, but I’ve seen already that we don’t want to bring it all of the time.  We need to bring it every night if we are going to be able to compete,” said Rich.

          Of course, the Galion football team won the black division this year and qualified for the playoffs.  Rich believes that kind of success can only help them this winter.  “If a football team or another sports team has some success and those kids get a taste of success they want to keep it going.  It was like that when I played high school.  If we had a good football season we always had a good basketball season.  I think it’s good for the entire school program,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday.

          Last year, it was lack of consistency more than anything that cost the Tigers.  Rich says they can’t let that happen this year.  “We have to get guys that are going to step up consistently every night.  Right now we are searching for those guys.  We only have two returning starters and really three returning with any experience.  So, we need some consistency for sure to get us started off,” said Rich.

          Galion is already behind the eight ball because likely their best players is sitting out with an injury and will miss at least the rest of the preseason.  “There are two we are really going to be relying on and unfortunately Ridge Durbin is out right now and it’s looking like he is going to be out at least our first game, which really hurts us.  He’s a two-year starter.  We are still going to be relying on his leadership the first couple of games,” said Rich.       

 

 
   

Mental Toughness a Key For Galion

 

          There might be a little action after the whistle when Galion plays North Union in the first round of the division four playoffs on Friday night.

          The Tigers (9-1), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the small school division, travels to North Union (10-0), #3 in that poll, for a regional quarterfinal game.

          “Super Storm Sandy” reeked havoc on this area too and it forced the Tigers indoors for practice on Monday and Tuesday.  Coach Chris Hawkins says he was very pleased with the players focus.  “We have been in the gym for the last two days.  We told the kids on Saturday that we were going to have a messy week.  Not only do we have to get physically prepared, but we have to work through those little things.  To our kids credit we have been in the gym on Monday and Tuesday and they have been very focused.  We got a lot done.  We got a lot of teaching done and they were very business like.  We are heading to Ashland University on (Wednesday) because we have to get out on the field.  We are going to get on the field after they are done.  It’s not really the weather, you can practice in rain, but your field is just under water.  We are going to go to a turf field and hopefully get a lot done outside,” said Hawkins.

          Galion won the black division of the North Central Conference and North Union the red division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.  However, in two years this becomes a “MOAC” game with the folding of the “NCC” and Galion moving into the same division as North Union.  Hawkins he likes the look of the North Union defense.  “They will be a league opponent in 2014.  There are probably going to be some battles in the future as well.  People always want to know, who do you compare them to?  Defensively I compare them to ourselves.  They have a little more size.  They have this man mountain, this 6’7”, 240 kid.  With the exception of him, he’s hard to block, but everybody else is a lot like our defense.  They are fast, they are aggressive.  They fly to football.  The defense they remind me the most of is ours.  That’s a pat on the back because I think our team is pretty darn good.  Offensively they are like Wynford.  The run wing-T, but they are not a typical wing-T team that is based all on misdirection and deception,” said Hawkins.

          North Union is certainly a team that likes to run the football, but Hawkins describes them as a non-typical wing-T.  “Through 10 games they threw 63 passes, so that’s not hard to figure out.  That’s six passes a game.  You may say they didn’t have to, but when their quarterback gets on the perimeter he wants to run.  They have four running backs, their two wingbacks, their fullback, and their quarterback.  All of them have 80 to 100 rushes, so they have four people that are going to run the football.  They run it very well.  We have our hands full and no disrespect because they are a very good football team, but we think we are also.  We definitely think this is a winnable game.  One that if we play well, and win the turnover battle, is one we can and should win,” he said.  Hawkins says they are really more of a power team at heart.  “They do have that buck sweep.  They are going to motion, but they are going to do two of three things out of that.  They have that belly up the gut, they like the sweep or the toss to the perimeter and they have the boot coming back away and the double handoff.  They like the power sweep over the buck sweep,” he told Swankonsports.com, “For the most part you are going to know what’s coming.  Based on formation and who they motion and their alignment you are going to know the three or four plays they are going to run.  But, you know, I guarantee the other 10 teams they have played knew that as well, so you still have to stop them.”

          Now as we reported on Monday, Hawkins says there was some nastiness at a seven-on-seven this summer.  Now, he goes a step further.  “I was on vacation that week, but checking in with my coaches and they were saying there was a lot of pushing and shoving and dirty play going on.  Our coach tried to settle it down and their coach didn’t want anything to do with it.  So, we started getting physical and it got pretty ugly.  We have been told by other coaches that you have to be careful because they have a couple of dirty kids.  We have to tell our kids that listen, you know, I don’t care what they do to you, you have to turn and go back to the huddle.  It’s very seldom do they catch the first person, they catch the second person.  The way you get back at people like that, bully like players, is they want you to respond in a negative like way.  The best way to get back at them is to go back to huddle and then take it to them again and at the end of the game shake their hands with a big smile on your face,” said Hawkins.    

 

 
   

Galion Knows North Union

 

           Two schools that went unbeaten in their league and won division titles meet in the first round of the division four playoffs as Galion travels to North Union on Friday night.

          Galion (9-1) beat Wynford (15-7) and Ontario (15-6) the last two weeks to put away a black division title in the North Central Conference.  The Tigers won nine straight games over after a loss to division two playoff team Mansfield Senior (14-7) on the opening week of the season.

          North Union (10-0) was the red division champion this year in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, a league that Galion will join in 2014.  The Wildcats have averaged 48 points a game this season.  Their most serious threat this year came on week two when they beat Marion Pleasant (21-14) by a touchdown.

          Coaches voting in our Swankonsports.com football poll this year have ranked Galion as #2 and North Union as #3 in the small school division.

          The two teams have never played in the regular season, but they have seen each other.  In fact, Galion coach Chris Hawkins says it was this summer.  “It is kind ironic that they will be a league opponent in two years.  Another ironic thing was we went a seven-on-seven on Bucyrus this summer and they happened to be there.  At a seven-on-seven we just kind want to work on things, but it got pretty intense right there.  It was something that happened back in the summer and they were doing certain things to our kids and our kids stood up for themselves,” he told Swankonsports.com, “It was very testy and I am sure some of that attitude that was developed back in July is going to carry over. Since they are going to be a league opponent in two years and I’m sure this is going to be one of the most intense games.  We have never played them before so because of the short, intense history we have with them I think this will be a very intense football game.”

          Hawkins says they are going to approach the game with North Union a little differently than three years ago when they entered the playoffs 10-0 and were beaten by Pemberville Eastwood (35-8) in a first round game.  “In 2009 we are 10-0 and we kind of regret that we said we are here now it’s time to do more, to work harder, it’s time to practice differently, and I think we made it such a big deal that and it was such a big difference that our kids were kind of like deer in headlights,” said Hawkins.

          North Union last year lost a first round game in division four to Columbus Bishop Hartley (42-14) and the year before they lost (23-0) to Hamilton Badin in division five.

          Hawkins reiterates that they are going to try and make this a normal week for the Tigers.  “This year we have been successful.  Indirectly we have been in playoff mode for nine weeks and even closer to playoff mode the last two weeks.  I think our kids have responded fairly well.  We are going to practice this Monday like we have the past nine Mondays,” he said.

 

 
   

Galion Wants it to Themselves

 

          Galion already has a piece of the black division title in the North Central Conference, but they are not in the mood to share anything.  They want that title all to themselves and they will get that if they can win at Ontario on Friday night.

          If the Warriors (6-3,5-1) get the win they will share the title with the Tigers.

          Last week, Galion (8-1,6-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the small school division, avenged a loss last year to Wynford by outlasting the Royals (15-7) to maintain the one game lead.  Coach Chris Hawkins says they were happy because of what the win meant.  “It was a big win because of what happened last year, but in reality it wasn’t any bigger than a win over Bucyrus or Crawford because they are all “NCC” games.  When you are playing a very good football team it is a little more exciting to win.  We were excited because we did attain at least a part of our goal about winning the championship, bit it would have been an exciting night had we played Crestline or Lucas.  Obviously, with a win over Wynford it helps us with goal number two,” he said.

          Hawkins says they want the win on Friday night just as badly as Ontario does.  He says it solidifies the accomplishment of two of their goals, an outright title and a playoff berth.  “I know Ontario is talking about they are playing for a lot and they are.  If they win they are conference champions as well.  They need a win to have a chance to be in the playoffs, but by golly so are we.  When we set out our goals, none of our goals were we want to be co-league champions.  No one does that, so we are playing for a lot.  We want an outright league championship.  If we win we are probably going to host.  There aren’t many things better than going to playoffs in football.  One thing that is better is hosting a playoff game,” said Hawkins.

          After losing three of their first five games, Ontario has reeled off four straight wins.  Hawkins says they have to be able to survive the emotion that Ontario will play with at the beginning of the game.  “There was no one more surprised at their lack of success at the beginning of the year than me.  I knew the type of talent that they had and they are very well coached.  You look at the loss to Shelby, Upper, and Lexington.  You watch them play versus those teams and then you watch them play against Willard and Bucyrus and Wynford and they two completely different teams,” he told Swankonsports.com, “We know they have the talent to play a great football game.  I told our kids that they were going to come out and throw a lot of haymakers.  They are going to come and give us their best shot.  We need to hold our ground during that first few minutes of that first quarter until everybody calms down and just let talent take over.  We can not get off to a start like we did against Crawford.  We have to come out and match their passion and intensity and just try to play toe to toe for the first 12 minutes.”

          Ontario is a running team, but they are far from three yards and a cloud of dust.  They are a big play offense.  Hawkins says they have to take away that big gainer.  “We want to make them drive and put together a 10, 12, 14 play drive.  You want to do that against every team, but especially a big play team.  I don’t know how many 12, 14 play drives they have had.  They are a big play team and that is what is scary about them.  We need to contain Campbell.  He is a very good runner and when he gets an opening he can take it the distance, but you also have the Boatwright kid.  This is not the Jordan Campbell show.  The Boatwright kid is a threat.  They run the option, so he can keep it.  They run the read when he can keep it as well.  When he goes back to pass he can pass, but often times he is looking to tuck it and be like Braxton Miller and try to make something happen with his legs.  They have a very nice offensive line and a very nice fullback that you have to respect up the middle.  It’s not that they can’t pass because the can, but you have to go in and try and take away what they do first and do best,” said Hawkins.     

 

 
   

Galion Wants to do it Right This Time

 

          So far, the Galion football season has been like the movie “Groundhog Day,” everything seems to be the same.  Now, this week they want that similarity to end.

          In the same position as they were a year ago, they want to beat Wynford this time, win the black division, and move on to the playoffs.

          In a match-up between the two of the top three teams in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the small school division, Wynford (7-1,3-1), #3 in the poll, is at Galion (7-1,4-0), #2 in the poll, on Friday night is huge game in the North Central Conference.

          Galion took care of business last week against Crestline (57-7) in keeping their conference record unbeaten.  Coach Chris Hawkins says they did what they had to do.  “We were sluggish at times, but I thought our defense played very well.  Yeah, they scored seven points, but that wasn’t on our defense, that was a pic six.  Our offense did the job at times.  As coaches we want our kids to play a certain way every single game regardless of who is on the other side of the sideline.  Realistically I don’t care what level you are playing at high school, college, pros, you can’t.  You just can’t.  There is going to be highs and lows.  Our kids are smart enough to know that Crestline is a 0-7 team.  Monday through Wednesday we didn’t even go against Crestline’s offense and defense we focused on the Galion Tigers.  Even though we say you can’t overlook, they understand.  I thought we were sluggish at times, but at the same time when we needed to get it cranked up, we did so,” said Hawkins.

          Wynford had their 63 game regular season win streak snapped by Ontario three weeks ago.  Hawkins says as the result, the Wynford coaching staff made some successful changes in their offense.  “They have changed their philosophy.  After their Ontario loss they kind of switched offenses.  They were kind of like a spread team when they had Chatlin and Brause at quarterback and they focused their offense around their quarterback.  The Williamson kid is a good quarterback, don’t get me wrong, but at least not yet he isn’t a Chatlin or Brause.  I think they realized this offense that was working with Chatlin and Brause is not the same.  He is a young kid, I think he was struggling.  After the loss to Ontario, they went back to the wing-t.  This is stuff that when I was at Wynford, I took from Galion and put over there.  They have obviously dusted off the playbook,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “They are getting in the wing and doing the buck sweep, the power sweep, the double handoff counter, the trap, and the boot.  They went back to old school.  We have to plan for both of those.  They pounded on Crawford with the wing-t.  We are going to do what ever we have to do to stop that wing-t game.  If we do stop it, then we they will make adjustments and go to their spread offense.  We have two, three, or four game plans against them because we have to prepare for the wing-t and the spread.”

          Hawkins says they have to be disciplined in order to stop that wing-t offense they expect to see from Wynford.  “It is the same as option football.  You have to do your job, your responsibility because the wing-t is about misdirection.  If you get caught looking in the backfield it’s trouble, so you obviously have to read your keys and you have to do your job.  We have to be disciplined,” he said.

          Both schools have put up a lot of points this season, but Hawkins thinks defense has been the difference for both.  He says they have to be ready to adjust.  “The strength of their team is their defense, the same as ours.  People get into comparing scores and we beat Crawford by so much and they beat by so much and so on.  I have looked at both tapes.  Crawford made plays.  Crawford threw it up against double coverage and either “A” we didn’t make a play or “B” they made a fabulous play.  They did the same stuff against Wynford and it just fell incomplete.  You have to give Wynford credit for some of that, but that is just the way football is.  When you are a passing team and you throw the ball down the field, sometimes you make plays and sometimes you don’t.  Taking nothing away from Crawford, but that was literally the worst quarter we have played all year long,” says Hawkins.

          In 2011, Wynford beat Galion (22-20) and ended the Tigers dreams.  Hawkins says that loss is what motivates his team this week.  “Does this bring on any extra meaning because of last year?  It does, but not for the reason you are thinking.  It’s not because we got beat by Wynford by two points.  No, the reason it brings in more meaning is because we were sitting home.  We didn’t win a league championship and we were sitting home week 11.  The reason why it helps us is not it’s a revenge factor.  Because we happened to lose on week nine, we didn’t not win a league championship and we didn’t play in week 11.  We are in the same place that we were last year.  After a tough loss to Mansfield Senior, we reeled off seven in a row.  Last year, we just didn’t get the job done.  Even though we thought we were one of the best teams in division four we were sitting home, that is the sour taste in our mouths.  I say do you want to go through this again?  Do you want be collecting equipment after the Ontario game?  Remember how that felt?  That’s why this game is important,” said Hawkins.    

 

 
   

Galion Not holding Back

 

          Galion has now won six straight games and they set a top the black division standings in the North Central Conference.  They play winless Crestline this week and Tigers coach Chris Hawkins says they are not going to take easy on them.

          He says they have to get ready for Wynford and Ontario, both trail the Tigers by a game.

          Last week, Galion buried silver division co-leader Riverdale (38-0) in a game that was decided by halftime.  Hawkins says their offense sputtered a little in the elements, but the defense didn’t.  “According to our sources it rained there all day long, we even got some snow-slash-sleet in the second quarter, so it was pretty miserable conditions.  To come out there and start strong and pretty much put the game away in the first half, we were pleased with that,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “ We looked back at film and offensively we didn’t have the greatest game, but again you have to blame some of that on the conditions.  I was really proud of our defense.  I mean giving up 61 total yards throughout the course of the game was obviously quite a feat, so our defense played extremely well.”

          With their offensive firepower that’s what fans think of first with Galion, but Hawkins says the defense have been the difference for them.  However, that until still has room to improve.  “The thing that is kind of, I guess, good from a Galion Tigers standpoint is that we have played some very good football games, but we are looking at we can get better.  I mean we are playing very well, don’t get me wrong.  I am not trying to down play that, but at the same time there are areas that we can improve on.  What we are seeing is we have great performances by four, five, six kids, but we are still looking for that game where we get great performances at every level.  We have had that in a couple of games, but when we play with the type of defense that we are capable of playing up front with our front people and then our linebackers fly to the football with our secondary.  When we get that type of defense when all three of them executed and playing up to their potential I’ll tell you what we can be a darn good defense.  It’s kind of exciting that we can get better,” said Hawkins.

          Galion (6-1,4-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the small school division, plays at Crestline (0-7,0-4) on Friday night.  Hawkins knows the Bulldogs will play hard.  “There is a proud tradition of football there.  They have had there hard times the last few years.  If you look back over the last several decades they have had a lot of tradition there.  A lot of great football teams, a lot of great football players, a lot of great football coaches.  Even in down years when you have schools that have that much tradition a lot of those kids still have pride in what they do.  Even though they might not be the most talented they are still going to play hard,” he said.

          Hawkins expects his kids to end the drama early, but he says they won’t stop playing hard.  “We just want to come out and start strong and end the game early.  When you look at teams like this to be quite honest it’s tough because you know you never want to run up scores, but at the same time our kids have worked extremely hard.  We are trying not only to play for a league championship we are playing for the playoffs.  A varsity game is 48 minutes, so we may change the play calling , but our kids have worked hard in the off season and it’s not fair to give them just a quarter just because we are up.  We are going to going to work on things for at least the first two and half, three quarters.  It’s also about conditioning.  We have a tough stretch on week nine and 10 and if things go right week 11.  So, those kids are not going to get off the field,” said Hawkins.       

 

 
   

Galion Must be Focused

 

          Galion is now all alone on top of the black division of the North Central Conference after a great comeback victory last week over Colonel Crawford.

          Trailing 35-12, the Tigers rallied to beat Crawford 50-35 for their fifth straight win.  Coach Chris Hawkins says when they stopped shooting themselves in the foot, they got things going.  “It was definitely a tail of two games.  I don’t want to take anything away from Colonel Crawford, but literally for 14 minutes we played not only uninspired football, but unfundamentally sound football.  Two of our turnovers gave them 15 points.  We had three penalties,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “On fourth and seven we jump off side.  On fourth and two we don’t have our mouthpiece in and that puts them inside the ten and they score.  They had another third and five inside the red zone and we jump off side. We literally handed them four touchdowns.  At the same time our kids never stopped believing because we knew we were the better football team, we just weren’t playing like it.  We thought if we played like we were capable of playing we could at least get back in it.”

          Riverdale (4-2,3-0) is a surprise to be in first place in the silver division.  Hawkins says that can’t matter to them because they need to win the rest of their games.  “A 4-2 team I don’t care what division you are in you are obviously winning football games.  There are a lot of schools in the State of Ohio that would like that.  They are winning the other division.  It’s a huge for us for our two goals.  Again our first goal is to win the league championship, so this game is no more or no less important than last week’s game because a loss in the “NCC” is a loss in “NCC” and it doesn’t matter who it is too.  As far as goal number two of getting in the playoffs anytime you can beat a team that has four wins that is going to help you for that goal,” said Hawkins.   The Galion coach says he did have to get the attention of his football players on Monday.  “Our kids had a little lackadaisical practice on Monday, so we kind of addressed that.  No one cares what went down on Friday.  We enjoyed that Saturday and Sunday.  It’s not all about Riverdale.  The second part of the practice our kids bought into that.  We are fighting for our lives.  We are fighting for our league lives and our playoff lives each and every game, so we have to come our playing good football,” he said.

          Galion (5-1,3-0), #4 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the small school division, would be considered a big favorite in the game.  However, Hawkins says the Falcons do some things very well.  “They definitely want to run the football.  In the times where everybody is running the spread and all of this fancy stuff and the wildcat, they are just old school football.  They will get in the old pro formation tight end flanked with an x-back under center straight “I.”  They are in that formation 70 to 80 percent of the time.  We are going to have to take that away.  They don’t do a lot, but what they do they do well.  They also like to do the quick screen game.  We have been very susceptible to the screen, especially the middle screen.  They hurt us last year on that because we have such fast defensive linemen that like to get to the quarterback.  Teams can take advantage of that.  We feel if we can stop their off tackle play and take away their screen game we are definitely going to feel that we are pretty confident,” said Hawkins.     

 

 
   

Galion Confident Going to Game With Crawford

 

          Friday night marks a game between two teams ranked in the small school portion of our Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll as Galion plays host to Colonel Crawford in an inter-divisional game in the North Central Conference.

          Galion (4-1,2-0), #4 in the poll, beat Bucyrus (41-14) last week to win their fourth game in a row.  Their only loss has come to Mansfield Senior (14-7) on the first week of the season.  Coach Chris Hawkins feels they played pretty well last week against Bucyrus, especially considering they didn’t Darien Watkins.  “You can always watch film and every coach can critique and you are never satisfied until it’s perfect.  For the most part we played very well.  Our starting quarterback was out and Austin Prosser came in, so any time we can play a rivalry game against a pretty solid football team with you backup quarterback and come away with a pretty easy victory then you have to feel pretty good about yourself.  It was one we were concerned about and we took it to them early and that’s what we talk about starting fast and finishing strong.  We definitely started fast, but I’m not sure we finished strong.”

          Colonel Crawford (5-0,2-0) is ranked third in the Swankonsports.com poll.  Hawkins says it’s no surprise they are good.  “We knew they would be a good football team.  They had a nice year last year and have a lot coming back.  I know Klingenberger is doing a nice job, but they also have a very, very nice senior class.  I respect what they are doing and what they are capable of doing, but the bottom line is we are just taking care of ourselves,” he said.

          Hawkins believes the Tigers are well prepared going into this game because they have seen good competition.  “I was disappointed and wasn’t sure how good our football team was after the Mansfield Senior game, but you take a look at what Mansfield Senior has done since and I think maybe I didn’t give them enough credit and was too hard on ourselves.  We played them, we beat Mansfield Madison in a preview, so we like the competition we have played.  We play that type of competition to get ready for this game.  They are obviously having a great season and we expect that, but at the same time we just feel if we go out and play the type of football we are capable of playing we feel pretty confident that things will go our way,” said Hawkins.

          Colonel Crawford is throwing the ball a lot more behind Nate Klingenberger, one of the most efficient passers in North Central Ohio.  Hawkins says their talent dictated a change in offensive philosophy.  “They had been a wing-t team since he had been there and they ran it very, very well.  When you have some weapons on the outside and you have a quarterback that can throw it all over the place that makes sense.  I’ll tell you what it kind of looks like a mirror image.  I don’t know who’s playbook they were looking at and who’s film they were developing.  I’ll tell you what a lot of the things they are doing we did.  That’s probably the greatest form of flattery is when people try to set there and imitate what you are doing,” Hawkins said.

          The Eagles have lived on the big pass play the last couple of weeks and Hawkins says they have to limit that and make Crawford put together drives to beat them.  “It’s kind of nice because it’s like we are preparing against us.  They are different than us because they will throw the ball all over the place.  We still want to run the ball first and pass the ball second.  They are actually the other way around, they want to pass first and run second.  They are very efficient at running because they use the pass game to set up the run.  They have some nice weapons on the outside.  They like to throw deep, but at the same time they can check down.  We want to make them drive.  We want to keep people in front and make them put together a 10, 12, 14 play drive instead of these one, two, three play drives where they hit big plays.  We feel that if we can make them drive we can contain them,” said Hawkins.

 

 
   

Galion Still Needs to Improve on Offense

 

          Galion has shown flashes of how good of a football team they can be, but they have yet to put it all together.  That should be a little scary for the opponents they have left.

          Last week, the Tigers held the Upper Sandusky Rams to just over 200 yards of offense and no scores in winning (28-0) their North Central Conference opener.  Coach Chris Hawkins believes it was one of the better defensive efforts he has ever seen as a coach.  “It was one of the finest defensive efforts that I have been involved in as a head coach.  It was every level of defense.  The defensive line just played amazing.  Our secondary, which has kind of been our nemesis, played extremely well.  We had ten sacks and five or six of those where because of great individual effort by our defensive line, but half of those were because of great coverage downfield,” he said.

          Galion has a lot of weapons on offense, but Hawkins says they need to be a lot more consistent when they have the ball.  “Offensively, 28 points, not bad, but we had some good moments, but we have too many bad moments.  What we need to do as an offense is start limiting those bad moments.  We make a couple of nice plays, a couple of nice series, we are shooting on all cylinders and then the next play, the next possession it’s just like what are we thinking.  We still have not yet put together a great game on both sides of the football,” said Hawkins.

          The Galion coach still believes his team has to win the rest of their games in order to have a chance to make the playoffs.  He says to get there they have to execute on every play.  “We want to become more consistent.  You want to try and win games when you aren’t at your best.  I think for the most part we have done that.  We didn’t play very well the first week and let one get away, but for the most part I don’t think we have played a great game yet in our first four games.  Hopefully, we will keep getting better.  As well as we play defensively, if we continue to do that and get the offense to play more consistently from series to series that’s when we are going to be tough,” Hawkins said.

          Galion (3-1,1-0), #4 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the small school division, plays host to Bucyrus (2-2,0-1) in a game within the black division of the “NCC.”  Bucyrus lost to Ontario (47-25) in their conference opener, but Hawkins says they have shown a lot of good things.  “Hats off to them because they won one game last year and lost a pretty good senior class.  I am thinking they won one game and lost their best football players.  I thought if they could match that they would be doing a pretty good job.  Obviously they have doubled that with six games to go.  Offensively they have put some points on the board.  Even against Hillsdale and Ontario they gave up a lot points, but they are putting up three, four touchdowns a game.  They are very sound fundamentally and they make a lot of reads,” says Hawkins.

          For a fourth straight Galion win Hawkins says the offense has to continue to improve their execution.  “It’s a little different than what they have done in the past, so we have a game plan for them.  What we need to do is go out there and play like we did on defense against Upper because if we do that we are going to be in every game.  Offensively, we just want to continue improving and over the last four weeks that has been their downfall there defense.  So, we need to exploit their weaknesses on that side of the ball,” said Hawkins.

 

 
   

Galion Going With What’s Given Them

 

          Galion is going after something that eluded them last year.  A North Central Conference black division title and that pursuit begins this week with a visit to Upper Sandusky.

          After a week one loss to Mansfield Senior, coach Chris Hawkins said their assignment was to win nine straight games if they expected to make the playoffs.  He says this week they face a tough match-up in a game with Upper Sandusky.  “It’s a nine rung ladder and we are only two steps off the ground.  We obviously have a lot more to go.  You can’t get number nine until you get the very next one ahead of you.  Upper is a good football team.  I’m not sure what happened on week two,” he told Swankonsports.com, “We watched that film and they kind of fell apart.  They got behind and I think they panicked and started throwing the ball all over the place.  Even though they can throw they are at their best when they mix run and pass.  I think they are better in their week two performance. So I think it just goes to show you.  They beat a solid Mohawk team handily and they beat a 2-1 Carey team.”

          Upper (2-1) beat Mohawk (38-17) last week and Carey (26-12) on week one.  The game the Galion staff had problems figuring out was a week two loss to Colonel Crawford (34-6) on week two.  Hawkins says for him trips to Upper Sandusky have always been tough.  “The toughest thing is we have to go there.  We never, and this goes back to when I was at Willard, have ever played well at Upper Sandusky.  We are definitely going to have our hands full.  This Upper team is better than the last two.  We need to step it up this week,” said Hawkins.

          Upper finished 5-5 last year and they return most of their key players from that unit.  Hawkins says they do not want to get into a smash mouth sort of game with them.  “They have anywhere between 14 and 15 starters back.  They finished, I believe 5-5 last year.  They are not sneaking up on us.  We know they are a good football team.  They are big and physical.  It’s going to be their brute strength against our speed.  We don’t want to set there and get into a power game with them.  We want to be physical, but we don’t want to get into a three yards and a cloud of dust game with them.  That benefits them.  We definitely need to use speed to our advantage,” said Hawkins.

          Opponents have been loading the box this year against Galion in an attempt to stop the run.  Hawkins says if that happens on Friday night they are going to change their approach.  “If we were a pro “I” kind of team going against them I’ll tell you what I wouldn’t like our chances.  What we need to do is get our athletes in space.  We need to spread the field.  If they want to keep people in the box we are not going to set there and beat our heads.  We are going to get David Ney touches.  We are going to do what we do.  At the same time, we feel we have enough weapons.  If they want to keep their people in the box and we need to throw the ball 25 or 30 times, we are going to start doing that.  We kind of got away from that last week against Keystone.  We could have passed on those guys all night long,” said Hawkins. 

 

 
   

Galion Takes a Step

 

          Galion took the first step in a nine step process that they feel will lead them to a berth in the state playoffs in division four this fall.

          After a tough loss to Mansfield Senior (14-7) on week one, the Tigers (1-1) responded with a 62-7 thumping of Doylestown Chippewa of the Wayne County Athletic League last Friday.  Coach Chris Hawkins told his kids they were facing nine straight must win situations and he says not only did they win they executed a lot better.  “It was good.  We did accomplish what we wanted to accomplish, winning being the number one goal.  We went in there saying we had to run the football.  Like I said we didn’t execute very well against Mansfield Senior.  We didn’t think we were very physical.  We wanted to be more physical and run the football and be more focused.  I think we definitely accomplished three of those four goals.  We only had a couple of minor penalties, no off sides, no illegal procedures.  I think we had three penalties for the game.  Several times they were in a third and short, a couple times they were fourth and two and they tried to get us to jump off sides with a hard count and we were very self disciplined,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday night, “I was very proud we made that our goal.  We came out and ran the football.  That was a goal that we needed to establish some things in the trenches.  We felt we got dominated in the trenches against Senior and we just needed to run the football.  David (Ney) ran for almost 200 yards.  We were also worried about it being a long bus ride and a hot day.  Watching film we still have a couple of weaknesses that we need to continue to work on, but I did tell the boys that we made progress from week one to week two.”

          However, expectations are high in Galion, including a possible black division title in the North Central Conference, and Hawkins says there are a lot of things they need to improve on in order to be that kind of team.  “I just think we need to be more consistent offensively.  They scored seven points, but actually the offense fumbled a snap in the end zone and they landed on it for a touchdown.  So, our defense actually pitched a shut out.  Against Mansfield Senior we had a couple of bad snaps, illegal procedures and those are missed opportunities.  Good teams run about 50 plays a game and if 10 of those are wasted on bad snaps or the wrong play or rolling the wrong way.  That is 10 plays that could have been potential scores that we didn’t even get a chance to see what they did,” Hawkins said.

          Dareian Watkins is huge college prospect at quarterback for the Tigers, but Hawkins is looking for more consistency from he young man.  “Our quarterback is still learning and still maturing.  He will make phenomenal plays and a couple of plays later he kind of hurts you.  We just need more consistency from that quarterback position.  I think this being his second year that is something we mentioned to him,” he said.

          LaGrange Keystone (1-1) comes to Galion on Friday night for the final non-conference game on the Tigers schedule.  Keystone beat Monroeville (19-13) on the first week, but they were hammered by (47-13) by Norwalk last week.  Hawkins believes Keystone is much improved.  “Norwalk is pretty good.  Edison is supposed to be pretty good and Norwalk waxed them week one.  From what I understand this is one of Norwalk’s best teams and they were 7-3 last year and had a nice year and I heard this year they will be better yet.  Keystone is much improved because we played them last year and there were four or five freshmen that were starting for them last year and three or four sophomores.  Their defensive ends are very strong and are probably the strength of their team.  Their quarterback is quick and can pass,” Hawkins said.

          However, the Galion coach thinks they are the more talented team and they just need to hit the field and continue to improve.  “This is a team that quite frankly we are more talented than.  We are going to take the same approach that we did last week.  This is no disrespect to Keystone, but we just fell we are have more talent, so we want to focus on making Galion better.  We feel that if we can become better Monday through Thursday that we feel that will lead to success.  We will game plan against them, but offensively we just want to get better.  If we get better each and every week, we feel we can compete with anyone on our schedule,” said Hawkins.       

 

 
   

Galion Must Win Them All

 

          Just like last year the Galion Tigers lost their first game of the season to Mansfield Senior, but they hope the rest of the season is not a rerun.  In 2011, Galion went 8-2, but missed the playoffs.

          After reviewing the tape again and again, Galion coach Chris Hawkins thinks it’s like a horror film he can’t get out of his mind.  “Watching film made you even more sick to your stomach.  Not to blame the officials, but we did tie it up with three minutes to go and we played horrible.  We played well defensively, but offensively that was one of the poorest performances I have ever had as a head coach.  I’m taking nothing away from Mansfield, they are good.  They obviously caused some of those problems.  They didn’t cause us to jump offsides six times, they didn’t cause us to roll out the wrong way, they didn’t cause us to throw to the covered receiver rather than the open ones.  That’s what makes you sick to your stomach because we played absolutely horrible,” said Hawkins.

          In the same exact position a year ago Galion hammered Doylestown Chippewa (51-0) on week two.  Hawkins says this year’s edition of the Chips is much improved and they can’t take anything for granted.  “They are improved.  We actually noticed that when played them in a seven on seven at Capital in the summer.  We beat them, but it was close.  That may not be how it turns out when you actually play them, but they have some nice athletes.  They have a big tight end and that is obviously their favorite target.  They have a very athletic quarterback that likes to put it away and make something happen with his legs.  They definitely have more athletes on the field than they did last year.  In talking to their coach this year he thinks they can get some wins and not just one or two, but maybe six wins.  We just don’t want one of those six to be us,” Hawkins said.

          Hawkins says he is honest, sometimes brutally so, with his players, this time about their chances of making the postseason.  “I am not going to set here and candy coat things.  I am going to tell you the way it is and I am going to tell our kids the way it is.  That’s just how I do business.  There is a sense of urgency.  We are only guaranteed to play on week 11, which is a huge goal of ours, if we roll off nine in a row.  If we do like last year and go 7-1 we might be turning the equipment in after week 10.  I know a lot of coaches won’t do that after one game.  I told these kids that we have to start playing every game like it’s a league championship game,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “As far as the playoffs we can’t afford to lose any more.  When that happens one of two things happen you throw in the towel and you give up and collect the equipment after week 10 or you come out swinging. For the first time in a long time I really liked the way our kids practiced on Monday.  The practiced with purpose.  They practiced with passion.  I like so far how we have reacted to that loss.”    

 

 
   

Galion Must Stop Big Play

 

          They did it for a half last year and now they need to do it for two more quarters.  Galion must stop Mansfield Senior from making the big play if they are going to beat them on Friday night.

          Galion also has tremendous big play potential too, but coach Chris Hawkins says they may to be able to pick up the tough yards too.  “It all starts up front.  We have weapons.  We have a running back and a quarterback and some nice receivers with good speed.  The tail of our season is going to be hedged on our offensive line.  I think our offensive line is going to be improved this year.  We have three returning starters and two new ones,” he told Swankonsports.com, “How those returning starters continue to improve and how our newcomers continue to get better is going to play huge role on how far we go on offense.  Playmakers are great to have, but at times you still have to be able to run the ball between the tackles.  Defensively we have 10 starters back.  With as many weapons as we have on offense I think the strength of our team is going to be our defense.”

          Hawkins says the key to this game, and to most of them, is to be able to control the point of attack.  “We want to control that battle zone when two objects come together there is a moment of freeze and then who is going to win that battle.  On offense are we going to win that battle and push them back?  Or are they going to win the battle and get penetration.  The same can be said for defense.  Whoever wins the trenches often wins the game,” he said.

          Mansfield Senior has as much quick strike ability as any team in North Central Ohio.  Hawkins says they have to make the Tygers score on 10 plays or more rather than just one.  “We have to make Mansfield Senior put together a 10, 12 play drive and I’m not sure they can do it.  It’s not just them, but teams in general.  They are a strike fast kind of team.  They have weapons, they have speed, they have skill.  They look to score fast and throw the deep ball.  What we are trying to do is get into our kid’s heads we are going to have to be a bend, but don’t break kind of defense.  We will give up some first downs, but make them put four, five first downs together and 12, 14 plays to score.  If they do that, then congratulations.  We just can’t give up that 70 yard run or that big pass,” said Hawkins.

          The Galion coach says the way to stop the big play is to get multiple players to the ball and in position to make the tackle.  “We have stressed getting to football all week.  We have a two whistle drill.  Once the ball carrier is stopped or tackled I blow the whistle and then I count to three and they have three seconds to get to the football or be headed to the football or work on their pursuit angles.  You want to have confidence in your teammates, but when you are the second line of defense or the third line of defense you want to assume the first line of defense is going to miss.  If you assume they are going to miss that puts you in position.  If you assume they are going to make the tackle and you aren’t there if they slip out of there instead of a two, three yard gain it’s a touchdown,” said Hawkins.     

 

 
   

Galion Knows What They Have to do

 

          Galion is favored to win the black division of the North Central Conference, but they still need to sharpen their game and prove it on the field.

          Coach Chris Hawkins says his group has worked hard so far and they have stressed the fundamental elements of the game.  “Our kids have worked extremely hard and we have been very pleased with the attendance during the off season and all summer long.  The first week of two a days we went back to fundamentals.  We changed up a little bit.  You can’t start hitting until the sixth day.  Our numbers are up.  We have 49 kids 10 through 12.  We just wanted the opportunity for everybody to get reps and know the offense,” he said.

          Hawkins believes they have tremendous talent, but they can’t live on just that if they are going to be as good as they can be.  “We scrimmaged Fredericktown on Wednesday and I was very pleased with how we performed.  Then we scrimmaged Centerburg on Saturday and didn’t look so well.  I’m glad about that.  I told our kids I knew we were going to have that talk and I was hoping that it was going to be after Fredericktown.  We didn’t lose the scrimmage, but we didn’t play very well against Centerburg.  We just had this talk that they have to stop reading the media and quit believing that you are as good as everybody says you are.  We could be, but we’re not, we aren’t even close,” said Hawkins.

          Monday was a key day for the Tigers.  Hawkins says they were able to review film and have some good discussion about what they need to do as a team.  “We kind of went back to the drawing board (Monday) and I like how we responded.  We talked about if we play like that we are never going to accomplish our goals.  We watched film and the kids were very responsive.  It was one thing when they hear coaches say you didn’t do right and we didn’t play well on either side of the ball and when you stick the film in and it backed what we said, the kids believe it.  They came out (Monday) and had a good practice,” Hawkins said.

          Galion opens the season with Mansfield Senior again this year.  Senior High railed to beat them last year 34-20.  Hawkins believes a win this season is going to be very important to their playoff chances.  “I am not the typical coach that just says the things that are supposed to be said.  I am going to tell you what I think and what I believe.  Game one is huge for us.  With the league that we are in and playing some division five and six schools week one is huge.  Mansfield Senior is a nice team, I have watched them scrimmage, they have a lot of nice skill back.  It’s going to be a battle,” he told Swankonsports.com, “We put them on our schedule for a reason.  I tell our kids that the big time college programs like the Buckeyes put some cupcakes on the schedule because they don’t need to be at their best.  They know they can just show up and play decent and their talent will get them through the first couple of games.  They don’t need to be at their best until week four or five.  We told our kids we don’t have that luxury.”

          Hawkins thinks they have the right attitude to beat the team predicted to finish second in the Ohio Cardinal Conference.  “We are playing one the best teams on our schedule from the get go.  We have to be near our best because that week one is huge.  After last year there is a bad taste in our mouths.  I think there is a big difference between last year and this year.  They are very talented, we are very talented.  Last year we went in there not knowing what to expect and just kind of hoping.  This year we know what to expect and we are expecting to win.  I’m not assuring a victory or anything like that.  I’m just saying there is a different mind set in the locker room with our kids,” said Hawkins. 

 

 
   

Galion Has to Find a Little Something

 

          Galion needs to just find a little bit to get over the top, but that is what everyone says when they play Upper Sandusky and the thing is only three teams have been able to do it.

          The Tigers (9-11) play Upper Sandusky (17-3) for the third time this year.  This time in the division two sectional semi-final Tuesday night at Bucyrus High School.

          In their two meetings in North Central Conference play, Upper won by scores of 30-29 in overtime and 51-35.  Due to the way the Rams play scores might look a little closer than they actually are because it very difficult to score quickly against them.

          Galion ended its regular season on an up note, beating Crestline (62-41) last Friday night in an “NCC” game.  Coach Ed Rich, who was not very pleased about his team’s execution when he spoke with Swankonsports.com last week, saw some improvement.  “We still are not executing the way we were before we had a couple of guys go down injured, but we executed much better on Friday night.  In order to stay in the game with Upper on Tuesday we really need to execute our stuff well,” he said.

          Upper Sandusky might be the best defensive team in the area and Rich says they make it very difficult for you to be successful in running your offense.  “What we need to do first of all is take care of the ball.  They pride themselves on high pressure defense.  They are going to be up in our face and we need to protect the ball.  Another major, major key is to set good hard screens in our offense.  If we don’t set screens and run our stuff hard, we aren’t very good when we don’t do those two things,” Rich said.

          Upper Sandusky is not a team that will hold the ball in an attempt to take time off the clock.  Rich says they just are very good at making accurate passes and they will not settle for bad shots.  “The first time we played we went to overtime and lost 30-29.  I can’t tell you how many times other coaches would question me, what happened, what happened?  And how did you only score that?  Well, some of these coaches figured out why because they played them weeks later and the same thing happened to them.  They play a different style.  They are not as slow as people think.  They don’t stall the ball.  What they do is work for great shots.  Offensively it’s hard to run your stuff against their pressure “D,” said Rich.

          One of the things Galion hopes to do on Tuesday night is execute well early in the game and be able to take the lead and make the Rams play their kind of game.  “I don’t know how many people have gotten out to a lead on them this year, they have only been beaten three times and it’s by Wynford, Willard and Shelby.  Those are three pretty good teams.  I think they would have to speed it up if we got out and got a lead on them,” said Rich.

 

 
   

Galion Not Clicking

 

          Teams want to be peaking for the postseason tournament, which starts next week, but the Galion Tigers are not among those.  They have about nine days to figure some things out.

          Last Friday, they beat Lucas (55-30) in a North Central Conference game, but coach Ed Rich still believes they didn’t play very well against the winless Cubs.  “We didn’t see the things we wanted to against Lucas.  I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I didn’t think we played very well.  I was disappointed in our performance.  People look at the box score and see we one by 25.  They had us within nine or 10 there late in the third quarter.  No, I wasn’t very pleased by Friday night,” said Rich.

          Galion started the season by losing six of its first eight and then won five of seven, and then lost three of their last four.  So, yes it has been a roller coaster to say they least.  To get back in gear, Rich says they have to make better decisions when it comes to shot selection.  “It starts with the way we run our offense.  We take good shots, but we don’t look for the great shot.  We see a good shot a times, but there is always a better shot.  You know, I’ll take the blame for some of that,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, “I like the three ball, but we shoot it sometimes when we shouldn’t when we have a better shot on the inside.  I’ll take the blame for it, I encourage my kids to shoot, but sometimes there is a better look under the basket.”

          Galion (8-11,7-5) will host the Crestline Bulldogs (5-14,3-9) in a inter-divisional game in the “NCC” on Friday night.  Rich says the Bulldogs have some seniors that can put the ball in the basket.  “They have a couple of guys, at least two I know, that have started their entire career there, the Coffman kid and the Hatfield kid.  The Hatfield kid is a guard and the Coffman kid plays inside and out, but he prefers the outside.  They can be scary, I think they are 5-14 or 6-13, but if they get going they can be pretty potent on offense.  We need to bring our “A” game on defense and then hopefully we can execute on offense,’ said Rich.

          Crestline didn’t compete was well in the silver division as they wanted to, but Rich knows this is the time of year that the Bulldogs usually start the play well.  “They have showed a couple of years now when they have gotten to the tournament no one gives them a shot and they will get going, especially the Hatfield kid.  When they get going and they start to look huge when they hit a couple of shots.  We have to get out on them.  The good thing is I have a couple of guards that can really defend, so we should have some good match-ups,” said Rich.  

 

 
   

Galion Has to Circle the Wagons

 

          At the beginning the season the Galion Tigers struggled to win games and then they seemed to turn the corner with wins over the likes of Ontario, Colonel Crawford and Wynford, but lately their play has slid backwards once again.

          Some of it has to do with their health including injuries to talented point guard Ridge Durbin and one of their big guys is Pearson Huggins.  Coach Ed Rich says they will likely be without Huggins when they play Lucas on Friday.  He says their play has been inconsistent lately.  “We aren’t completely healthy.  One of our starters is out for sure.  We finally got our point guard back Ridge Durbin, which helped a lot, but we are still missing one of our big guys in Pearce Huggins, so have kind of been getting beat up in the paint.  The bad thing is the last two games we have played really well for two quarters and then there is two quarters where we have a deer in the headlights look like we have no clue how to play.  It’s pretty frustrating,” said Rich.

          Galion has proven they have talent this year, but Rich says they just haven’t been able to play four quarters consistently very often.  When they do they have been very good, but that’s not as often as he would like.  “We are going to continue to work.  They know I’m not going to give up.  It’s not like the boys are giving up, they just kind of look like they are at a loss sometimes and I don’t understand them.  Against Shelby we put together two good quarters and actually had the lead and came out and it looked like we didn’t have any clue how to play,” he said.

          Galion (7-11,6-5) plays host to the Lucas Cubs (0-16,0-10) in an inter-divisional game in the North Central Conference on Friday night.  Rich says the Cubs may be winless, but they are just the kind of team that can give them trouble.  “They are still scary to me.  I know they have the Moffett kid, who is really good player.  I haven’t seen much on film yet, but by the end of the week I will have plenty on them.  It’s just scary to me because those teams that are 0-16 they have nothing to lose.  I am kind of nervous about how my guys will accept the challenge and come out and play that night,” said Rich.    

 

 
 

Galion Knows What’s at Stake

 

          Galion has a chance to make the race in the black division of the North Central Conference very exciting coming down the stretch.  If they can win at Upper Sandusky on Friday night there could be four teams with a game of each other in the standings.

          The Tigers (7-8,6-3) beat Riverdale (53-41) last Thursday for their fifth win in their last seven games.  Coach Ed Rich was concerned the Falcons were going to hold the ball, they did, but not as much as feared.  “I thought they were going to slow the game down a little more than they did.  They hit some shots early and kept themselves in the game.  I think our depth and our athletic ability allowed us to pull away from them in the end,” said Rich.

          On the negative side, Galion might have to play on Friday night without the services of some of their top players.  “We have developed quite a bit of depth.  You know, the bad thing is we have three guys out coming into Friday.  Two of them are starters and one is the sixth man.  Our depth just got a little bow shallower,” Rich said.

          If Galion thought Riverdale was patient wait until they see Upper Sandusky (11-3,8-1) and their game plan.  The Rams had held their last three opponents under 30 points.  Rich says they did they same thing the first time they played them.  “We watched the film our first game when they beat us 30-29 in overtime.  The amazing stat in that game was in the third, fourth and overtime they only took six shots during those three quarters.  They are very patient and they do the things they need to do to win.  I give them a lot of credit, it’s tough to play like that.  They are very disciplined.  It’s tough on the defense,” said Rich.

          Against Upper Sandusky you have to show some patience too or you play right into their hands.  Rich says that really isn’t easy to do either, especially for them.  “They run their stuff really well.  It’s especially tough on teams like us.  We like to get out and run and get the game a little bit more up tempo.  We have prepared for it all week, we have to be patient and get good shots every time,” he said.

          What about the press?  Can it make Upper play faster?  Maybe, but it can make you tired too and Rich says that’s when the Rams attack.  “You have to show a little bit of pressure and try to speed it up.  Teams have been trying to do that, but what’s happening is teams are doing that and wearing themselves out quicker than Upper gets wore out,” Rich told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Upper subs a lot of guys.  They can be 40 seconds into the game and he’ll be subbing in three other guys.  The pressure helps at times, but if your pressure isn’t turning them over than what you are doing is wearing down your team instead of theirs.”

          The Galion coach says he has been stressing to his kids about the importance of the match-up with Upper Sandusky and what a win could mean for the program.  “It is probably the biggest game any of these seniors have played their entire career.  It’s going to take some things to happen, but all we can do is control our own.  If we win on Friday then we are still right in the race.  We just need a couple more things to fall our way.  I keep telling them it’s been 36 years since we won any league championship,” said Rich.   

 

 
   

Galion Thinking Title

 

          Galion was certainly part of the mix when people were looking at teams that could win the black division title in the North Central Conference, but then they got off to a slow start, but after wins over Colonel Crawford, Ontario and Wynford, the Tigers are right back in the race.

          Upper Sandusky leads the division (6-1), Wynford is a game back (5-2), Ontario is right there (4-2), but so are the Tigers, who are (5-3) after a win over Wynford (67-58) last Saturday night. 

          Galion coach Ed Rich says they were able to get things going right away in the game and that solid start paid off.  “There is no doubt.  We came out and got on them early, got a couple of turnovers and we never looked back from there,” he said.

          Galion was able to make Wynford play their tempo in the game and Rich says they found that getting down the floor and looking for quick opportunities is what they are best at doing.  “Lately our M.O. has been to speed up the game a little bit, get out in transition and get some steals.  We have been giving a little full court pressure.  When we get out like that we are pretty tough to stop in that way,” said Rich.  A real key for them is their big guys get down the floor pretty well and that makes them difficult for a lot of bigs to guard.  “Marc McCuen, he is our big guy.  He is 6-6 and he can really get out and run.  The last four or five games he has been the man.  He has been doing what expected from him all year.  He has finally clicked and hit inside and outside.  And we have guys like Pearson Huggins and Marcus Boyer coming off the bench.  They are big guys, they are 6-4, and can really get up and down.  It’s a nice commodity to have those two,” added Rich.

          He is in his first year as the Galion varsity coach and Rich admits it took a little time to get used to the players and how to call a varsity game.  “We knew we had some talent, obviously we had some good talent.  It was really frustrating that we couldn’t pull out the wins.  They are starting to buy in more to the different things.  The game is starting to slow down for me,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “It doesn’t matter how many years who coach at a lower level.  When you get to the varsity level the game comes a lot faster.  You have to make decisions on the run.  Thank God for us everything is clicking right now for us on both sides, the coaching and the players.”

          Galion plays host the Riverdale Falcons (4-8,1-6) in a inter divisional game on Thursday night.  The Falcons really slowed the tempo in their game against Colonel Crawford on Saturday and despite losing (37-33) they threw a scare in the Eagles.  Rich looks for a similar strategy against them.  “I have watched Riverdale a couple of times this year.  Against Crawford they really did hold the ball.  They mix it up man and zone.  They are team that runs multiple sets.  They run their stuff really well.  I expect to see a similar type of game plan against us.  We are not going to get out like Crawford and get out and pressure you full court.  I expect Riverdale to slow the game down against us for sure,” said Rich.

          It will be tough, but Rich says they have talked to the players about how the division title could be theirs for the taking.  “We have been talking about it at practice.  We were 3-8 two weeks ago and now we are 6-8.  We keep telling them it is a realistic possibility that we could still win the league.  We have to win out and a couple of teams need to lose, but it is a real possibility to finish in first place in our league,” said Rich.

 

 
   

Galion Getting Better

 

          Although their record is under .500, the Galion Tigers own wins over Mansfield Madison, Colonel Crawford, Ontario, and Buckeye Central this year, all good teams.  If they want to be a real factor in the North Central Conference black division the Tigers have to be more consistent.

          On Saturday night, they got 18 points from Marc McCuen and beat Buckeye Central (72-58) in an inter divisional game in the “NCC.”  Coach Ed Rich felt they played well and made Buckeye a little tired.  “There is no doubt.  A big key with them is they are a good team, but if they had a little more depth they could be really good.  We followed our game plan and played well.  We hit some shots and it was a nice game for us,” he said.

          After starting the season 2-6, Rich believes they are playing much better basketball as of late.  “We look at our last four games and we are 2-2, but we lose by one to Upper Sandusky, beat Ontario, lead at Bellevue basically the entire game and couldn’t put it away at the end and Saturday night we played really well, so we are getting more consistent.  I would like to say we are turning the corner,” said Rich.

          Rich still believes the Tigers (4-8,3-3) have some areas they need to improve including playing with more intensity and getting on the glass.  “It’s the stuff we talk about every day.  We need to come with the same type of energy that we did in the games that we won,” he told Swankonsports.com, “You know, when we play well we are really good and play with a lot of energy.  That’s number one.  Number two, we need to use our height to our advantage and get more rebounds than we do.  If we rebound at both ends we are going to be really tough to stop.”

          Galion plays host to the Bucyrus Redmen (4-7,2-3) in a divisional game on Friday night.  Bucyrus beat Galion (53-47) in their first meeting when senior Nate Jackson scored 18 for Bucyrus.  Rich would like to get into the Bucyrus bench, but that didn’t work that well in December.  “When we played them the first time we got their big kid Patrick out and really go to their bench.  For some reason they really have our number.  They play really well against us.  They zone us up and do the dribble drive stuff.  They hit some shots, you know, they are a pretty good team.  They shoot the ball well and historically we have had trouble stopping them,” said Rich.

          Like most coaches are saying Rich believes from a defensive prospective against the dribble drive, you have to keep the ball out of the lane.  “The good and the bad is a lot of teams are going to that, so we have had a lot of looks at it since the Bucyrus game and we just need to come out and stop and initial penetration,” he said.

          On Saturday night, Galion is at home for the Wynford Royals (7-3,5-1) in “NCC” play in the black division.  Rich says they can’t let the Royals beat them up.  “That’s what really hurt us the first game.  We played with them for three quarters and they just blew us out in the fourth quarter.  Their physicality got to us.  It’s one of those things when we just have to step up and be tougher.  It’s like playing a football team on the basketball floor.  They can hit shots.  We just need to match their physicality,” said Rich.  Wynford won the first match-up between the two teams 62-45.

 

 
   

Galion Starting to Jell

 

          It’s almost mid season and the Galion Tigers have become a very dangerous basketball team.  They own wins over both Colonel Crawford and Ontario this season.

          Ed Rich is the new head coach of the Tigers this year, but he has been with the program for a number of years and he understands the players.  Rich thinks his club has improved a whole bunch coming out of the Christmas break.  “There is no doubt.  We had quite a few tough games over the break and then we finally got a full week of practice in last week and that helped a whole lot.  We got to work on the things that we were struggling with the previous week,” he said.  Galion beat Ontario 58-47 on Saturay night.

          Galion (3-7) does return a number of players who saw varsity minutes a year ago.  Rich thought they would be better shooters as a group, but he is very happy with what he has seen on the defensive end of the floor.  “During the preseason I thought our shooting would just be able to keep us close in every game and have us win quite few games on shooting alone, but right now our shooting is not that hot.  What is surprising is our man-to-man defense has just been outstanding the last two games.  It’s really been keeping us is games,” said Rich.

          As far as the shooting is concerned, Rich told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday that he really believes that it is not a talent issue, but rather one of confidence.  “What I have been telling everyone is once we get some confidence.  We lack a lot of confidence for some reason.  We don’t believe in ourselves.  It really hurts us sometimes.  All it takes for us to get going is for someone to make a couple of shots at the beginning the game and we are a totally different team.  The shooting part and the confidence part play a big part in how we are going to finish off the season,” said Rich.

          Galion visits Bellevue (4-6) in one of those games between one of the now former members of the Northern Ohio League and a current member that still dot the schedule.  For Rich this is a game of particular importance.  “It’s a huge game for me.  I graduated form Bellevue and played for Bellevue in the 90’s.  Actually, their head coach was my freshmen boys’ coach, so it’s a fun time to go back and play,” he said.

          As far as personnel goes, Rich, like everyone else that plays Bellevue, knows you have to control Jalen Santoro or it could be a long night.  “They have some players.  Jalen Santoro, their point guard, he is lights out.  The offense runs around him.  We have to be patient.  They are going to play a lot of zone.  We may not see any man-to-man.  They are very, very athletic and scrappy.  We have to handle the ball and be strong with the ball,” said Rich.

          On Saturday night, Galion will be at Buckeye Central (6-2) for an inter-divisional game in the North Central Conference.  Rich admits he has not studied Buckeye a lot yet, but he knows they will be physical.  “I don’t know a ton about Buckeye right now.  I have some film on them, but I have tried to concentrate more on Bellevue because we have them on Thursday.  They have those football players.  That’s a scary thing for us because we aren’t a very physical team.  We know they are going to come out and be physical because that’s what football guys do.  It’s scary from that aspect and we need to toughen up in that aspect and handle the physicality.  Everyone knows the Erwin kid is a very good player, so we need to find a way to contain him,” said Rich.

 

 
   

Leagues Forming Quickly

 

          It seems as if the North Central Conference will soon be no more and that has left some schools scrambling.

          Wynford, Buckeye Central, Colonel Crawford, Crestline and Riverdale from the current “NCC” are almost certain to leave to form another conference, which will include Seneca East, Mohawk and Carey from the Midland Athletic League.  Nothing has been said formally about that configuration, but barring any problems with approval from the local board’s of education it seems to be a foregone conclusion.  That grouping of schools might also include Bucyrus and Ridegdale making it a 10 team league.

          Other “NCC” schools left out of that mix might combine with some schools from the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, which also might be dissolving.  The proposed new league would include Ontario, Upper Sandusky, Galion, River Valley, Elgin, Pleasant and North Union, with the possibility of Clear Fork and or Loudonville.  A meeting was held Thursday which included principals and athletic directors from those schools.

          Galion football coach Chris Hawkins has been outspoken about the folding of the “NCC” and told Swankonsports.com on Thursday that he felt the situation could have been handled better.  “When I initially heard it I was shocked.  The thing that disheartened me the most was not that they wanted to leave and that they had made a mistake.  Those are things you can live with.  We all change our minds and you have to do what’s best for your program and do what’s best for your school.  They should have sat down and said, hey, we made a mistake and we really want to do this.  It’s not that they’re leaving, it’s just kind of how it all went down,” said Hawkins.

          The Galion coach says that he does not wish the schools leaving any ill will.  “Now that I have had some time to reflect on it, so be it.  I wish them the best of luck.  It’s a done deal.  They are having another meeting December 1 at Mohawk.  Basically what they are doing this month is going to their boards to make sure the boards approve it before they make it official.  They will eventually have to answer to why they did it because honestly I don’t know.  Let them answer that because I don’t want to focus on the negativity,” said Hawkins.

          When speaking of the new group of schools, Hawkins says a meeting was held on Thursday, but nothing has been decided.  “These are schools that we are all talking too, but nobody has made any commitment.  The “MOAC” is going to break up, they are unhappy with Jonathan Alder coming in there.  The Morrow and Knox Country schools are looking to form their own league,” stated Hawkins.

          Although nothing has been written in stone, Hawkins believes this would be an outstanding football league.  “River Valley made the playoffs.  Pleasant is a juggernaut, who just won its first playoff game 79-7.  North Union made the playoffs.  You have Elgin that’s an up and coming program.  Upper has 18 starters back, Ontario has their program headed in the right direction and Clear Fork is a great football program,” he said.   

 

 
   

Galion Needs to get Over Loss Because They Need to Win

 

          The Wynford magic is still doing its job as the Royals won for the 53rd straight time in North Central Conference play last week with a win over Galion, but the Tigers sill have a lot to play for.

          They have a chance, with a little help, to qualify for the postseason for the second time in three years with a win at home against the Ontario Warriors on Friday night.

          Galion coach Chris Hawkins acknowledges that the 22-20 setback to Wynford last week left a bad taste in his mouth because he thought they had every chance in the world to win the game.  “Well everybody says it was a great game to watch.  Some fans say the best high school football game they have ever watched.  That’s great for them, but it still wasn’t the best weekend I’ve ever had,” he told Swankonsports.com, “We had more rushing yards and more passing yards.  We held Chatlin to 60 some yards.  We held them to 40 yards of total offense in the second half.  We had eight missed opportunities.  Our two-point conversions.  We worked on those for two weeks just for that game.  We got the wrong play called in the first situation and the third we just under threw the pass, it was wide open.  We didn’t make enough plays.”

          Ontario (8-1) is tied with Galion a game behind Wynford in the big school division standings.  Their only loss came three weeks again to the Royals 33-7.  “They have a very good football team and they have a lot of good football players.  Obviously their keys are their running backs.  Boatwright and Campbell, they are the real deal.  They are a threat to go the distance every time they have the ball.  We held Wynford to less than 200 yards of total offense and I don’t know if anyone has done that in the last five years,” said Hawkins.

          The Warriors running game is very good, but Hawkins believes that the same kids are even more dangerous in punt and kick return situations.  “Their greatest threat I think is in special teams.  They are scary back there.  When you put them back there and kick the ball to them and give them the ball in open space they can make you pay.  A return was their only score against Wynford and they returned a punt against Buckeye,” he said.

          In order for Galion or Ontario to share in the “NCC” large school division title they have to get a huge upset from Bucyrus (1-8) on Friday night.  Hawkins doesn’t think that is going to happen, but he says they still have a chance for the playoffs.  “It’s still a possibility.  We are honest with our kids.  Taking nothing away from Bucyrus, but that isn’t going to happen, so we have probably lost goal number one.  Goal number two is still a possibility.  We have to beat Ontario.  We also need a team to lose.  We need Huron or Wellington to lose,” said Hawkins.    

 

 
   

It’s Going to Come Down to Mistakes

 

          The winner of the Galion at Wynford game on Friday night will claim no less than a share of the North Central Conference large school division title this year, so yes there is a lot on the line.

          Both schools have already put together outstanding seasons.  Wynford, ranked #2 in the Swankonsports.com football power poll in the small school division, is unbeaten on the season.  Galion’s only loss came on the opening week of the season when they lost to Mansfield Senior of the Ohio Cardinal Conference. 

          Galion coach Chris Hawkins is a former player and coach at Wynford and this will be the first time he has coached against his alma matter.  He believes that the Wynford offense runs through quarterback Zach Chatlin, who is a tremendous athlete.  “When I was still there were had a Kalb boy that was an athlete that could run or pass.  Yeah, Brause before him, and a couple before him, so they have had this trend where not only are they good passers, but they are also going to be their leading rushers.  Chatlin is a big kid, he’s 6-3 and 220, so he is not just a shifty kid, he’s a big kid than can run over you.  You are going to have to wrap him up because he is a good sized kid.  He has thrown for over 1,000 yards and rushed for almost 1,000.  He is the straw that stirs the drink,” said Hawkins.  What about using a spy on defense?  Someone that is always covering Chatlin, no matter what he does.  “We have used the spy technique before with like Mika Hyde against Fostoria.  What makes it tough is when they spread you out, you still have to defend their other people.  It’s not like they are getting in a two back set all of time.  They will, but that’s usually when they are trying to feature their other guys.  It’s hard to defend the inside run game and the pass game and still have enough guys to have a spy.  Unless they have changed the rules we can only have 11,” said Hawkins.

          Galion has one of the best running backs in the area in David Ney, the leading rusher in the “NCC,” but they have worked hard over the last month to become more balanced.  Hawkins knows that will be crucial on Friday night because Wynford’s defense is so good.  “We have tried to become more diversified.  We have really worked hard on that.  When we prep defensively against teams if the team only has one or two players, it’s pretty easy to stop them.  When a team has four or five, six, seven, eight players to stop, that’s tough to do.  I think we are both the same kind of team.  If you are going to put a lot of people in the box and try and stop David Ney, we feel we have a quarterback that can pass and run.  We go with a game plan, but we go with plan “B” as well.  If we have to pass the ball 20 or 25 times to have success, we are willing to do that,” he said.

          Like any other game between two very good teams both are going to make big plays and have some success, but Hawkins says it’s going to be the mistakes that determine the winner.  “We always preach turnovers because they are such momentum changers.  If we are playing a team that we are two, three, four touchdowns better than we can probably overcome a couple of turnovers.  But, when there are two pretty good football teams if you lose the turnover battle, you are going to lose the game.  Another thing is they aren’t going to beat themselves, we are going to have to go over there and beat them.  They are a fundamentally sound team that doesn’t beat themselves.  We can’t have a bunch of penalties,” said Hawkins.    

 

 
   

Galion is Good; Needs to be Better

 

          Galion is one of the hottest football teams in this area, but even though it’s week eight, the Tigers haven’t reached the toughest part of their schedule yet.  That will begin next week when they play unbeaten Wynford and conclude with a week ten battle with Ontario.

          Last week, the Tigers had 696 total yards as they destroyed the Riverdale Falcons 61-13.  Running back David Ney had 357 yards on only 16 carries.  He had touchdown runs of 82, 63, and 68 yards on the night.  “Offensively, we thought that was one of our better performances of the year.  Yes, we scored 61, but it goes beyond that,” Galion coach Chris Hawkins told Swankonsports.com, “There are times that we score a lot of points and then we look at the tape and see a lot of mistakes.  This time we were a little more efficient, a little more effective in what we do.  It wasn’t just the David Ney show, although he had 357 yards, it was the holes were there.”  Hawkins also thought that quarterback Dareian Watkins played one of his best games.  “Seven of our first eight plays were passes.  He finished up seven of 11 for 150 some yards.  We thought we did a nice job of being balanced too,” he added.  The Galion defense held Riverdale to 72 rushing yards, but Hawkins thought they gave up some big plays in the passing game.  “Defensively, we thought our run defense played exceptionally well.  However, we thought we had a few weaknesses in the secondary that we are going to continue to work on,” said Hawkins.

          Ney is one of the leading rushers in the area this season.  Hawkins says he worked hard to get to this point and is humble in his accomplishments.  “He is the first to let you know that he is getting yards because of the other 10 guys.  What I like about him is he works very hard.  I remember back on the first week when we played Mansfield Senior and everyone was talking about Dorsey, and rightly so, but I said we have a guy that’s in our backfield that’s pretty good too,” said Hawkins.

          Galion plays host to Crestline (3-4) in “NCC” play on Friday night.  The Bulldogs have struggled in “NCC” games, but Hawkins knows there are some playoff points available too.  “They were 3-0 in non-league play, so we can get some much needed computer points here,” he said.

          Every season Hawkins and his coaching staff select a week to work on more individual things and this is it.  “We usually do this once a year, no matter who we play.  We just take a week and we go back to the basics.  We feel some of our weaknesses on Friday night are not because of a lack of skills, but that we aren’t putting in the time to refine those skills individually.”

          Wynford, who with Galion shares first place in the large school division of the “NCC”, is next on the schedule followed by Ontario, who’s only loss is to Wynford.  Hawkins says he is concerned about focus against Crestline.  “Oh, absolutely, it’s hard not too.  With all of the media out there they know who they have been beaten by and they start comparing notes.  We try to tell our kids every week that this game, as far as an “NCC” championship, is no more important or no less important, than the Wynford game,” he said.

 

 
   

Galion Wants to Take Another Step

 

          Galion is tied with Wynford for the lead in the large school division of the North Central Conference and they play the Royals in two weeks and end the regular season with a game against 5-1 Ontario.

          However, this week they play host to the Riverdale Falcons (2-4) and next week they play Crestline, a team that has lost their last three games.  Those are still games the Tigers have to win if they are to win the division title and make the playoffs.

          Last week, Galion downed a pretty good Colonel Crawford team 36-6 for their fifth straight win.  Coach Chris Hawkins was both pleased and not pleased with what he saw from his team.  “We felt Colonel Crawford would have been 5-0 if some of their kids hadn’t been suspended.  All of the suspended and injured kids were back for our game,” Hawkins told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We still had a couple of kids that didn’t play their best game.  One of the best receivers in the league didn’t even catch a pass.  I think our quarterback was good, but he didn’t live up to his potential.  We had some mediocre performances and we still won 36-6.  We are trying to pat them on the back and at the same time continue to push them.”

          Riverdale thrashed Crestline 40-13 last week and Hawkins says the Falcons are a team that is very good at running the football.  “They have changed their offense philosophy to what they have.  A couple of years ago when they had a very good quarterback they were throwing the ball 45 times a game.  Now they have some nice size lineman and they are getting in that pro “I.”  They run the football 80 percent of the time.  Just like Colonel Crawford we have to stop the run.  We need to put a lot of people in the box and force them to throw the football,” he said.  Hawkins says on defense they want to force Riverdale, or any opponent, to do what they don’t want to do.  “What we try and do is take way what they are good at.  We don’t want their best player to beat us.  You might beat us, but you are going to have to beat us with your second, third and fourth best player,” he said.

          Galion’s first goal on the season is to win the “NCC” division title and in order to do that they have to beat Riverdale this week, it’s that simple.  “We have always used our past to learn from.  Three years ago we were a much better team than Upper Sandusky, but they came to our place for homecoming at beat us, just because we weren’t focused.  Our number one goal right now is to beat Riverdale.  Our main goal is to win the league championship.  When you are trying to win a league championship you have to do it step by step,” said Hawkins. 

 

 
   

It is a Big Game For Galion

 

          Right now, Galion stands in a three way tie for first place in the large school division of the North Central Conference, with Wynford and Ontario, and they play the small school division leader in Colonel Crawford on Friday night in North Robinson.

          A win over Colonel Crawford keeps the Tigers in a share of first with Wynford or Ontario, who play each other, in the “NCC” race and gives them a chance to move up in the playoff standings in division four, region 14.  Right now, despite a 4-1 record Galion is only 13th

          Galion blasted rival Bucyrus last week 37-7 last Friday.  Tigers coach Chris Hawkins told Swankonsports.com Wednesday that he was very pleased that his kids responded to a Bucyrus score.  “The kids came out and played well again.  We knew Bucyrus (0-5) was struggling, but they are a good football team.  It was a quality win to go over there, it’s big rivalry.  They were hungry and desperate.  What I really liked is we got up early, but at the end of the first quarter it was 7-6 and we hadn’t been behind in a while.  It was nice to see our kids respond.  There was no sense of panic.”

          Colonel Crawford enters the game with a three game win streak having beaten New London (28-25), Crestline (56-0) and Lucas (41-14) the last three weeks.  “You probably have to assume if they have all of those kids they are 5-0.  They are getting their quarterback back this week, so the Orewiler kid will go back to receiver and that gives them another weapon.  We have told our kids this is the best opponent we have played since Mansfield Senior,” said Hawkins.  North Robinson isn’t very far from Galion and Hawkins believes that Colonel Crawford sees them as a rival.  “This is their Super Bowl also.  They are the smaller school and we are only 10 minutes apart.  We know they will be pumped up.  We have to reciprocate that emotion and at the same time we have to execute.  We just feel this year we have enough talent to play with anybody,” he said.

          For the second week in a row last week, both Colonel Crawford running backs, Tyler Smith and C.J. Smith, ran for more than 100 yards.  Hawkins knows the Eagles have a strong running game, but he also knows they can pass too.  “Colonel Crawford is kind of like Upper Sandusky.  They always have big old farm kids.  They do have a nice offensive line.  They are a wing-t team and you don’t see them much anymore.  The thing about coach Teglovic is he does a little more that most wing-t teams.  He will get in some other funky type formations.  He’ll get into trips or twins,” Hawkins said.

          Galion wants to win an “NCC” title in their first year in the league, but Hawkins says they also have their eye on the playoffs.  “Goal number one is a league championship, but right behind goal number one is goal number two and we want to make the playoffs.  Friday’s game is important because it’s a league game.  But, for goal number two, Crawford’s a three win team and that’s big for us.  If we want to play week 11 we need to beat these good teams,” he said.

 

 
   

Galion Knows that Bucyrus Can Play

 

          Galion tries to stretch its winning streak to four games when they travel to Bucyrus to meet the winless Redmen in a North Central Conference game on Friday night.

          The Tigers are coming off a 47-14 destruction of Upper Sandusky last week when David Nay ran for 208 yards.  “Every coach’s goal is to get better each week and I think we have gotten better from Chippewa to Keystone and we feel we had another step forward from Keystone to Upper Sandusky.  At the same time we look at the film and we still see lots of execution mistakes,” Galion coach Chris Hawkins told Swankonsports.com, “I don’t think we have played our best football.  We just want to keep working and keep getting better.”

          Bucyrus was crushed last week 56-7 by the unbeaten Ontario Warriors.  Coach Jake Bruner has said all season that the Redmen are a young team trying to get better.  However, Hawkins doesn’t think Bucyrus is really that inexperienced.  “They aren’t that young.  They have some young kids, but every team does,” he said, “They have the Chandler kid back at quarterback.  They have a four year starter who is one of the best offensive lineman in the league in the Alger kid.  The have Howard at running back and Purcell, who is a junior, but a three year starter.  They have a lot of experience back and are a nice solid team.”  Hawkins says there is no way they are taking a win over the Redmen for granted.  “I know they are disappointed to be 0-4, but they should really be 2-2.  We told our kids that animals are the most dangerous when they are wounded and desperate.  We think Bucyrus is wounded and desperate.  We aren’t going to take them lightly.  They think this their Super Bowl, so we have to go out and match their emotion.  We have to match them in the first quarter because when a team is reeling you can’t leave them in the game,” he added.

          Galion and Bucyrus are less than 10 miles from each other and they were both part of the Northern Ohio League for years, Galion up until last season.  Now that they are in the same conference again, Hawkins knows that brings a different focus.  “This has always been kind of a rivalry over the last 10 years, but now it’s different because it’s a league game.  We have to look at it differently.  A”W” is a “W” and a “L” is an “L” no matter who you are playing.  This is the biggest game of the year because it’s the next one,” said Hawkins.  

 

 
   

Galion Plays Upper

 

          Galion has played Upper Sandusky in high school football every year since 1944 as both were members of the Northern Ohio League.  They play again Friday night in Galion, but now it’s a North Central Conference game.

          Both schools moved into the “NCC” this year and their opening conference football games are against each other.

          Galion produced its second straight shutout win this season with a 58-0 crushing of LaGrange Keystone last week.  “We are starting to execute better,” Galion coach Chris Hawkins told Swankonsports.com, “Yes, Keystone is down a little bit to be realistic, but at the same time we are doing some good things.  We even saw a big difference between the Chippewa game and Keystone.  The scores were similar, but after Chippewa we saw a lot of areas we need to work on.  We still have areas, but not as many.”  Galion had beaten Chippewa 51-0 the week before after losing its opener at Mansfield Senior 34-20.  Hawkins says the competition hasn’t been very good, but they have gotten a lot of kids into the lineup.  “We did get to play a lot of people and that keeps everybody excited.  When you are a young kid and you aren’t necessarily a varsity player, but you know you will get a chance to get in there for a handful of plays or a whole series that keeps you excited and it makes them practice ever harder,” said Hawkins.

          Upper Sandusky lost big to Carey (42-13) on the first week of the season, but the Rams have bounced back to beat Colonel Crawford (28-7) and Mohawk (35-21) over the last two.  “I was kind of surprised a little bit because they lost like 19 seniors to graduation.  We thought they would be young and green this year.  We watched film and they looked solid against a good Mohawk team,” said Hawkins.

          Since Hawkins has become the Galion coach he has been involved in some battles with the Rams and he expects Friday night to be no different.  “They always play us tough no matter what,” he said, “They are going to be hard nosed and it’s going to be a battle.  We expect them to come right at us.  They do some things defensively that kind of hurt us.  They will get in a five man front, which we haven’t seen this year.”  Hawkins says they are going to have to be able to adapt to what they see from the Rams this week.  “We aren’t sure what they are going to do because the three films we have on them are all against power teams.  We haven’t seen what they will do against a spread team like us.  The biggest concern I have with Upper Sandusky is just the unknown,” said Hawkins.    

 

 
   

Galion Working on Getting Better

 

          The Galion Tigers are certainly still a work in progress.  They improved last week in getting their first win of the season, but they still have to get a whole lot better.

          The Tigers hammered Doylestown Chippewa 51-0 last week, but the Chips aren’t going to be a very good football team.  However, Galion coach Chris Hawkins thinks they still took a couple of steps forward after their week one loss to Mansfield Senior.  “Being realistic, they were no Mansfield Senior,” Hawkins told Swankonsports.com, “I’m not just basing it on the 51-0 score, but also what we saw on film and what we made our points of emphasis last week and how we improved on that.  We played every kid on our roster and still secured a shutout.”  Hawkins says at the beginning of every week they list a series of goals they need to improve, he believes they did that against Chippewa.  “I really think we did make strides in improving areas of weakness, and trust me we still have a lot of areas of weakness, but a couple of points of emphasis and some stuff we worked on we preformed better,” he said.

          This week Galion travels to LaGrange Keystone, a team that has really struggled like a duck in a desert.  Monroeville hammered them 35-8 this first week of the season and Norwalk whipped them 69-21 last Friday night.  “I know they are struggling a little bit, according to their coach they are very young up front.  They do have some playmakers.  They had a kid run the opening kick back against Norwalk,” said Hawkins. 

          Hawkins believes this week is similar to last in that it will not be so much about the opponent.  “This is another game when we are kind of taking the same approach that we did last week.  Let’s worry about the Galion Tigers.  This week instead of worrying about what they do, let’s worry about getter better,” said Hawkins.  The coach thinks there are a number of elements of the game that they need to improve.  “We still made a lot of mistakes, so we are going to continue to work hard.  We just want to continue to rep, refine, and perfect,” he said.

 

 
   

Galion Must Win

 

          Galion fell apart in the second half of the game and lost last week against Mansfield Senior and that makes a win on Friday night against Doylestown Chippewa very important for the Tigers.

          Terrell Dorsey has more than 250 yards rushing for the Tygers against the Galion defense, but coach Chris Hawkins believes his team was its own worst enemy.  “We lost the turnover battle 3-1.  If we win the turnover battle 1-0, we’ll win the game because they scored two touchdowns off those turnovers.  The other thing is better execution.  We didn’t execute very well at in the second half,” he said.

          Although it’s still only the first week of September, Hawkins is convinced they need to have a win against Chippewa, especially if they expect to make the playoffs in November.  “You will hear coaches say it’s just a game and there are eight games left,” he told Swankonsports.com, “When you get beat that first game it almost makes it a must win on week two.  Plus it’s a game at home and we have to protect our house.  We want to play our best football at home.”

          Doylestown Chippewa was blasted last week, losing 34-0 to Norton.  Hawkins says they are a straight forward team on both offense and defense.  “They are not very fancy, they are old school.  They don’t do a lot of stunting up front on defense, but they do have a very good linebacker.  He likes to come on the blitz and that hurt us against Mansfield Senior when they were coming off the edge, so we have been working on that,” said Hawkins.  On offense, the Chips don’t work with a lot of deception.  “They are a smash mouth football team.  They want to run the ball 85% of the time.  They get in that “I” formation and come at you,” added Hawkins.

          Galion struggled to stop Mansfield Senior’s run game last week and Hawkins thinks that Chippewa must be licking their lips.  “They have to be looking at that game and thinking gosh this is what we like to do.  We are going to see a heavy dose of what we did last week, but we hope to defense it better,” he said.

 

 
   

Galion Looking Forward to Meeting With Mansfield Senior

 

          For the first time in more than 70 years Galion will play Mansfield Senior in a football game and it will played at the newly renovated Arlin Field in Mansfield in front of what is expected to be a big crowd.

          Galion coach Chris Hawkins says both he and his players are excited about the opportunity.  “When we got out of the “NOL” and into the “NCC” it made sense that we needed to bolster our non-conference schedule,” he told Swankonsports.com.

          Galion is one of the favorites for a division title in the North Central Conference, but they are going to play their first game without three key players.  “We’ve had a couple of disciplinary problems, so we are going to be missing a couple of starters.  I just got word today (Tuesday) that one of our offensive lineman might be out because of emergency surgery.  We aren’t going to use that as an excuse,” said Hawkins.  The Galion coach, who has led a resurgence in football in Tiger town, believes they will survive those setbacks because they have more depth now than they used to.  “Losing three kids would usually devastate us, and I won’t lie it will hurt, it will hurt big time, but at least now we have some depth,” he said.

          Mansfield Senior is likely as talented as they have been in a number of years.  Terrell Dorsey is one of the best running backs in this part of the state.  He has both power and speed.  Hawkins knows he will be tough to stop.  “We are going to see a lot of Dorsey.  I mean they are good coaches over there, so they are going to ride the horse.  He is one of the premier players in this area and we feel he is going to get a lot touches.  We want to make them go to someone else,” said Hawkins.  The Tygers have other talented players, but Hawkins does not want Dorsey to take over the game.

          Galion has some offensive fire power, but Hawkins thinks they are going to go as far as their defense takes them this year.  “Even though I think we have a lot of weapons offensively and I think we are quite capable of putting up some points.  I still think the strength of our team will be our defense.  We have nine returning starters and a lot of speed,” concluded Hawkins. 

 

 
   

Galion Ready For New Challenge

 

          For 66 years the Galion Tigers were part of the Northern Ohio League, but now it will a new frontier for the school located in southern Crawford County.  They have joined the North Central Conference and have almost a totally new schedule.

          Galion will be in the division with Upper Sandusky, also formerly in the “NOL,” Wynford, Bucyrus and Ontario.  The other division will be Colonel Crawford, Buckeye Central, Crestline, Riverdale and Lucas.

          The Tigers have seen both the good and bad when it comes to high school football.  The school won a state title in 1985, but for most of this century they were about the worst team in North Central Ohio, at least among the larger schools.  Enter Chris Hawkins.

          Hawkins has been successful in turning the program around.  They were 10-0 in the 2009 regular season and were pretty good last year too at 6-4.  He says he wants this year’s offense to be wide open and balanced.  “We focused more on the pass game in June and July,” he told Swankonsports.com, “We went through several seven on seven passing tournaments.  So far in our two-a-days we have focused on the run game.”  Galion again will feature a spread attack on offense, but Hawkins in not a coach that wants to fill the air with footballs all night lone.  He wants to run the ball more than throw.  “I know a lot of times people think when you are a spread team you want to throw the ball all over the place 90 percent of the time, that’s not us.  We want to spread you out and still run the ball 65-35 or 60-40,” he said. 

          Galion expects to be a factor in the division race in the “NCC” and would be disappointed if they were not.  However, Hawkins knows all that is talk.  “We have the potential to have a nice season, but potential doesn’t win championships. So far, I think we are doing a pretty good job,” he said.

          Monday began two-a-days in Ohio and Hawkins says the Tigers have been using that time to make sure their offensive line is in sequence with what their skilled players have doing in June and July.  “The people up front are working hard, just on their timing.  We want to give our kids all kinds of different looks where maybe you have to check down on some things,” Hawkins said.

          Wynford has won every “NCC” football title since 2004, and they have not lost a conference game since 2005.  Hawkins, a former head coach at Wynford, understands what the Royals have accomplished, but he says they won’t be intimidated.  “They have done a great job and have a great program.  In the “NOL” you had to be able to play every week.  Do we respect them?  Absolutely, because of what they have done.  But, you know what?  We don’t fear them.  We have played the Tiffin Columbian’s, Bellevue’s, and Shelby’s and Wynford is good, but they are no better than those teams.”

 

 
 

 

Birie Steps Down

           Sources from inside the Galion boys’ basketball program say that head coach, Tim Birie, has stepped down after Tuesday night’s loss to Crestview ended their season.

          This was Birie’s third season as the Tigers coach after stops at Mansfield St. Peter’s, Columbus Bishop Hartley, Fredericktown and Crestline.  Galion had been wildly inconsistent this season in winning just seven games, but playing very well at times.  They were one of just two schools to beat Norwalk this season.  The Truckers shared the Northern Ohio League title.

          A source, which did not want to be identified, told Swankonsports.com Wednesday morning that Birie spoke to the players after the 56-to-52 loss to Crestview and explained that he would not be back for another season as their coach.  Birie led the Tigers to a regional tournament appearance two years ago and was division two district coach of the year.  He, like football coach, Chris Hawkins, does not teach in the Galion School District.  Birie teaches in the Fredericktown Schools, while Hawkins, who has also lead Galion’s football program out of the doldrums, teaches in the Willard Schools.

          There has been no official reaction from the Galion School District.  Next  

 

 

 
   

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