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Hillsdale Falcons High School Athletics



New Coach, but a lot the Same at Hillsdale

Trevor Cline takes over as football coach at Hillsdale, but the Falcons approach to the game isn’t going to change much.

Tom Williams has stepped aside to be more hands on in dealing with some family health issues.

Kline says his players have shown a good work ethic so far. “So far, the kids have done a really nice job coming in and working hard and things like that. I know this summer we had many kids coming into the weightlifting and putting in a lot of effort there trying to get bigger and stronger and faster. So far, in our two a days our kids are working hard and listening to coaches and taking in a lot of information and helping our one another,” said Cline.

In terms of offense and defense and the things the Falcons will run, Cline says there isn’t going to be much change, just the tweaks you have every season. “I plan on running a very similar system. I played for coach (Tom) Williams a few years back. Our coaching staff is back from last year,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “The system has worked for the past 15 years, so we plan on keeping all of that intact. Obviously, from year to year you make some adjustments and we will do that again this year, but the basics of the system is going to be the same.”

With Cline being with the program and the assistants staying with him, he says the transition to a new head coach has been pretty smooth. “It is one of those situations where coach Williams is going to be involved as much as possible. All of my assistant coaches have been a lot of help. They have been here for many years. All of them have been here since I have been playing in school. They have been around coach Williams and how he has ran this system. We are going to keep it the same and it has been a pretty sooth transition,” he said.

Published 8/10/18

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Hillsdale Continues Softball Tradition

Hillsdale enjoys as good a softball tradition as any team in North Central Ohio and that continues on Friday when they face Bradford in a division four state semifinal at Firestone Park in Akron.

The Lady Falcons (25-2) are making their 15 th state tournament appearance and they own six state titles, the last coming in 2010.

They beat Mohawk (3-0) on Sunday in a regional final game that had to be moved from Saturday due to the weather. Coach Hanna Fulk says they had great focus. “We talked about it on Saturday that when they found out we weren’t playing, we were practicing that we have no control over the weather, we have no control over who decides if we get to play that day or not all we can control is our attitude and our focus. I thought they did a really good job on Saturday and also on game day,” said Fulk.

That may happen again this week because of rain or wet field conditions, stay tuned.

Hillsdale plays a big time schedule, especially for a small school, and Fulk believes that helps them in games like Friday and beyond. “That was the biggest reason we scheduled some of the teams we did is to prepare for the tournament,” she told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We have actually gotten to play two other final four teams in Cardington in division three and Perry in division one. It is a good experience for us to know that we have already played in this competition and we just have to have the confidence in ourselves that we can do it.”

The Lady Falcons play Bradford (22-3) with other semifinal being Defiance Tinora (17-6) and Strasburg-Franklin (22-5.) The winners would play Saturday if weather doesn’t mess things up.

Fulk says Bradford is not going to give up a lot of runs. “I have heard they have a really good freshmen pitcher. She carries them it sounds like. They have low scoring games. It sounds like a pitcher’s duel. Our goal is to get out there and score first and keep them chasing us,” she said.

Published 5/31/18

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Hillsdale Faces Bristol in Regionals

Hillsdale has made 14 trips to the state final four. They are two steps away from making it 15.

They face Bristol in the division four regional semifinals on Thursday at Firestone Park in Akron.

They finished the regular season as Wayne County Athletic League champions and number one in the statewide coaches poll in the small school division.

Coach Hanna Fulk says they are group that plays as a team and they just like playing softball. “I would say he biggest thing we have some awesome team chemistry with one another. I would say we are one of most peppiest teams I have been around. Just all around 1-9, 10, 11 actually that just come to compete every day. Just want to play softball,” she said.

When it comes to their tradition of winning, Fulk says they just don’t want to lose. “I am an alum too, so it is just one of those things where you grow up playing softball. You play it all of your life. You have to work hard to play on the varsity team. There are a lot of expectations once you get on the varsity team,” she told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday night, “It is not necessarily the history, but just what we want it for ourselves. We want to win the league. It is our goal we want to win the league, we want to go far in the tournament, we take it one day at a time.”

Hillsdale (23-2) plays Bristol (18-4) on Thursday. Fulk says when you get to the regionals everybody is good. She says they know what they have to do to win. “I know their pitcher hits her spots well. They are a solid hitting team. It will be a game where we will have to fight. I mean every team that gets to the regionals has beaten a couple of good teams, so obviously they are pretty good. That is what we are going to focus on. Working on our timing and making sure we have solid defense and pitching to our spots. If we can do those three we will make it game and we should win,” said Fulk.

Published 5/23/18

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Hillsdale Beats Chippewa in Extra Innings

Hillsdale showed its metal on Wednesday.

They battled back twice an upended rival Chippewa (4-3) in 10 innings in a division three district semifinal Wednesday afternoon at Norwayne High School.

They now face Waynedale, a (4-0) winner over Loudonville Wednesday, for the district title at Norwayne on Thursday. The two teams split their games in the Wayne County Athletic League and shared the league title.

“Our kids (Wednesday) battled back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to send the game into extra innings. We won it on a walk off wide pitch. So, it was crazy,” said Hillsdale baseball coach Michael Wolf.

Chippewa built a (2-0) on a botched double played attempt by Hillsdale in the top of the sixth inning. The Falcons (20-4), #3 in the final Swankonsports.com baseball coaches poll in the small school division, scored a run in their half of the sixth on a Chippewa error. Trey Williams doubled in the bottom of the seventh for Hillsdale and scored on an RBI single by Briar Funk to tie it.

Kevin Weaver gave the Chipps a (3-2) lead in the ninth on a RBI single by Kevin Weaver in the ninth, but Hillsdale would respond again when Garrett Goodwin doubled and scored on a single by Jay Luikart.

The deciding run in the bottom of the tenth came home when Alex Becker got to third base and scored on a wild pitch.

Wolf says his team played with heart and determination. “This group of kids it so much more mentally mature then they were last year. Basically, it is the same team that we had last year minus two seniors. Last year we wouldn’t have won this game,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday night, “Our kids just kept battling through so adversity and things that happened over the course of the game. Some of the kids that had some bad things happen to them early came back and were really were a crucial part in getting us back in the game and eventually winning it.”

Wolf says this baseball team believes it will be successful and that belief is going to be challenged on Thursday. “Our kids definitely believe in their ability to take on any opponent and be able to compete with them. Obviously, (Thursday) is going to be another challenge with team that we split with during the regular season and then shared a Wayne County Athletic League title with in Waynedale,” said Wolf.

Hilldale beat Wyanedale (8-5) and lost to the Golden Bears (14-4) on back to back days on April 10 and 11. Wolf says the rubber match is Thursday. “We are looking forward to it. I know coach McDowell and his Golden Bears are looking forward to it. Both teams will go out there and we will find our who is better,” he said.

Published 5/17/18

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Hillsdale Advances in Tournament

Hillsdale destroyed Norwayne (16-1) in five innings to claim a division three sectional title on Thursday evening and Friday they have the chance to earn another title.

The Falcons (19-5,10-3), #4 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coaches poll in the small school division, play at home against Chippewa on Friday and a win will give them a share of the Wayne County Athletic League title with Waynedale.

Coach Michael Wolf they were at the top of their game on Thursday. “Our focus and intensity was at a season high (Thursday) night. Every kid throughout our lineup was just grinding away each at bat. Obviously, Jake Luikart game out and pitched a very strong game for us on the mound,” said Wolf.

Luikart has six strikeouts to get the win.

The offensive onslaught was paced by Briar Funk, who had a homer and two RBI. Garret Goodwin went three for three with two doubles and two runs scored for the Falcons. Goodwin is expected to start the game on Friday against Chippewa.

With two wins this year over Norwayne already having been collected and the game with Chippewa ahead it might have been easy to look to Friday and beyond, but Wolf says their heads were where they were supposed to be. “They were focused on the task at hand and were not looking ahead. Obviously, winning the sectional title on your home field is a thing of pride for them, so my hat is off to my kids and I am really proud of them,” he said.

Hillsdale also plays Chippewa in the district semifinals next Wednesday at Norwayne. The Chips beat Northwestern (5-4) in their sectional final on Thursday.

Wolf says Chippewa has a history of success. “Chippewa is a three time defending league champ. They won’t be defending that league title this year, but they are still a pretty good baseball team,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday night, “They had beaten us at their place earlier in the year 5-3. We know how good they have been and how good they are. We have to come out and play up to our potential.”

Published 5/11/18

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Hillsdale Stays in Share

Hillsdale, Chippewa and Waynedale remain in a share of first place in the Wayne County Athletic League baseball standings.

The Falcons beat Northwestern (6-0) on Monday evening and now face back to back games with Smithville in league play on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Coach Michael Wolf says all of their goals are still in front of them. “We are fortunate enough that we still control our one destiny in the league. That is kind of the approach that we are taking with our kids is as long as you keep winning that everything in the end will work itself out,” said Wolf.

Garrett Goodwin, who had been the Falcons number three pitcher, came up with a tremendous outing against the Huskies on Monday, according to Wolf. “Garrett Goodwin, who had been our closer, got a start (Monday) night since we had had three league games in a row,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday night, “We come back home and away with Smithville on Tuesday and Wednesday. So, Garrett got on the mound (Monday) and he pitched a really good game for us.”

With all of the postponements combined with inning restrictions, Wolf says the league race is going to come down to pitching depth and he likes theirs. “We kind of thought at the beginning of the season one of the strengths of our team was our pitching depth. We thought we had four quality kids that could go out there and start and keep us competitive. We hope down the stretch here that is going to prove to be the case,” he said.

Published 5/01/18

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Luikart Dominates Norwayne

Jay Luikart was at the top of his game again Thursday as he no hit Norwayne and the Hillsdale Falcons beat the Bobcats (3-0) in a Wayne County Athletic League game.

That keeps the Falcons in first place.

Coach Michael Wolf says Luikart was nearly perfect on Thursday. “Our senior lefty Wright State commit pitched a 79 pitch no hitter. He faced one over the minimum. He was pretty strong on the mound for us,” said Wolf.

Wolf was Luikart had command of all of his pitches. “He has a great fastball, but (Thursday) night he has his sinker-curve and mixed in a little bit of a change up. He was felling it,” he said.

It was not that Hillsdale has a great night at the plate, but Wolf says this did enough. “We only had six total hits in the game. May hats off to them, Norwayne played pretty well really,” he told Swankonsports.com after the win, “Their pitcher kept us off balance. We had a couple of opportunities and didn’t capitalize. It is something to work on.”

Hillsdale (5-0,2-0) plays at Norwayne in the rematch on Friday. Wolf says they are going to have to do it all over again. He says like the back to back format. “That is kind of a true test of what kind of a team you have versus maybe one individual. So, we will go back at them with our other big lefty Trey Williams, Ashland University commit and see what happens,” he said.

Published 4/06/18

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Hillsdale Beats Dalton in Big “WACL” Game

Jay Luikart threw five strong innings for Hillsdale in a (2-1) win over Dalton on the opening night of league play in the Wayne County Athletic League on Monday.

Both will be taking a run at three time defending league champion Chippewa this spring.

Hillsdale coach Michael Wolf knows it was a huge win for his team. “You are talking about Dalton, who was a final four team last year with eight starters back. They are a very well coached team. We beat a very good pitcher (Monday) night. We are feeling good,” he told Swankonsports.com after the win on Monday night.

Luikart struck out 10 over five innings and Garrett Goodwin got the win with two innings of relief. Wolf says all of the runs in the game came without a hit. “Jay Luikart, our ace. He pitched five shutout innings. Actually, Dalton got their run on a throwing error. We were fortunate. We scored our two runs on a hit by pitch with the bases loaded a walk with the bases loaded. So, there were two good pitchers out there,” said Wolf.

Hillsdale finished second in the “WCAL” last year and lost to Dalton in the district championship game in division four last spring. Wolf knows his team has great potential. “This group has come so far. We are so much more mature than we were last year. This game kind of showcased that,” he said.

Hillsdale is scheduled to play Dalton again on Tuesday, this time on the road, if the weather permits. However, there is about a 90 percent chance of rain on Tuesday, followed by a chance or rain on both Wednesday and Thursday.

Published 3/27/18

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Hillsdale With Talent Back

Hillsdale is coming off a successful baseball season last year where the advanced to the division four district final and finished near the top of the Wayne County Athletic League standings.

Plus, they have quite a bit back,

Coach Mike Wolf says they have looked pretty good in spring training. “I have been pretty pleased. We have the same problem probably everybody else does here in the fact that the weather hasn’t cooperated. We did get a scrimmage in against Buckeye Central and saw a lot of good things. We have been able to get out on our field five or six times. I am very optimistic about this season,” said Wolf.

Pitching is going to be a strength for the Falcons. Wolf says they have quality and quantity. “I have seven starters back, including our top three pitchers, including Jake Luikart, who is a Wright State commit. Trey Williams, who is an Ashland University signee and a couple young kids that we are pretty opportunistic about. So, we have most of our kids back,” said Wolf.

With a lot of kids back, Wolf says they don’t need to start at the beginning because the players already know what he wants. “Most of our kids are familiar with our system, so we are able to spend a lot more time on some of the other things. Instead of starting at point “A” we can start at point “C,” he said.

Wolf knows that the Wayne County Athletic League is going to be very challenging as it is almost every year. “The Wayne County Athletic League is a very good baseball conference. We have had two teams over the last two years make it to the final four,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Dalton last year in D-4 and the year before Waynedale was state runner up. It is always very competitive. I think Dalton has eight starters back from a final four team. Chippewa is a three time league defending champion. I think Waynedale has seven starters back. So, they league looks to be very, very balanced.”

Published 3/22/18

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Hillsdale Faces Liberty-Benton

Hillsdale has played maybe its two best games of the season in the playoffs and they going to need to step it up again when they play Liberty-Benton on Friday night.

The Falcons and the Eagles lock horns in the division six regional final at Frost-Kalnow Stadium in Tiffin.

Last week, Hillsdale hammered Carey (41-0) in a second round game.

Coach Tom Williams says they played well in all aspects of the game last week. “Our guy played extremely well last week. Offensively, defensively, special teams, everybody did their job. We just kind of came there with an attitude. I really liked that we didn’t wait and kind of feel things out we just went out there and played extremely hard right from the beginning,” said Williams.

In their first playoff game, Hillsdale (9-3) utilized the pass game in beating Seneca East (28-7,) but Williams says against Carey they had to run the ball and they were able to do it. “Against Carey we had to be a little more patient to be honest. They decided they were going to take away some of the big plays we get through the air by putting a lot of extra guys out in coverage, so we just ran the football,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “The nice thing is our offensive line is playing really well right now. Garret Smith is running the ball well, Trey (Williams) ran the ball pretty well and a couple of other guys. We were able to kind of grind it out a little bit.”

Liberty-Benton (11-1) climbed all over Hicksville (60-7) last week. Williams says this is a team you can not afford to make mistakes against or they are going to take advantage. “They are really good. They have a senior laden team. They just do a lot of things well. They just don’t have a lot of weaknesses. It is going to be important for us to play well and to make sure we limit our mistakes because they just seem like as we watch film of them they turn mistakes into big plays for them,” said Williams.

The Eagles have made the playoffs 10 times since 2003 and they have some really good athletes. Williams says they are going to have to be firing on all cylinders. “This is big boy football here. When you get to this level everybody is good. Everybody has things that they do extremely well. You job is to take away some of those things. Hopefully, some of the stuff that you do really well is still able to work at this level,” he said.

This is the first time Hillsdale has played in a regional final and Williams says it is exciting for everybody. “We are talking to a lot of people, so it gets to be a fun time. The kids are excited, the community is excited. That makes for a fun week,” he said.

Published 11/17/17

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Hillsdale Meets Carey in Second Round

It is a second straight Northern 10 Athletic Conference team for the Hillsdale Falcons as they play the Carey Blue Devils in the division six regional semifinals at Highland High School in Morrow County on Friday night.

Both teams carry (8-3) records on the season.

Hillsdale beat Seneca East (28-7) in an opening round game in Attica last week;

The Falcons executed an onside kick on the opening kick and then Trey Williams connected with Trace Stiltner for a touchdown on the very next play.

Coach Tom Williams says they wanted to be aggressive. “It was pretty exciting. We decided to go with the onside kick. I think they were prepared for it, but sometimes the ball just bounced odd ways and we were able to get it recovered and then threw a touchdown pass on our first play from scrimmage. We kind of started the game off with a bang,” he said.

Hillsdale never surrendered the lead and Williams says they were able to eat up some clock in the second half of the game. “They had some opportunities. They kind of got it down into our end a few times, but our defense was able to hold and get some key stops,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “Then we got a key turnover with an interception. We kind of kept them on their heels the whole first half. Defensively and with our run game the whole second half we kind of grinded the game out a little bit.”

Carey upended Wynford (7-2) last week in a regional quarterfinal. Wynford hurt themselves with turnovers and penalties, but Williams says the Blue Devils executed pretty well too. “Their defense played extremely well against Wynford on Friday night. I thought their kids hustled to the ball and were in good position and were pretty disciplined. So, we will have our hands full there. Offensively, they have had some games when they have put points on the board. They kind of have a few explosive players and a good size line. We will definitely have our hands full again,” said Williams.

Carey four times this year has scored 40 points in a game and they have many of those same athletes on the defensive side of the ball. Williams says they have playmakers. “They definitely have some guys. They have some edge rushers that are real good. They have some skilled guys, you know, the big run that they had early in the game against Wynford showed that. They have had a couple of kickoff returns for touchdowns. They get out into open space they can take it to the house,” he said.

Hillsdale has played one of the toughest division six schedules around with losses to unbeaten Dalton and once beat Norwayne this year. Williams says they plan to keep with the game kind of game plan. “We need to just do our thing. We have done a pretty good job of taking care of the football this season and we need to keep that up and just keep playing our game. Make sure we are good at assignment football, tackle well in space, and then just block to the whistle and stay on guys. If we do those things we should be fine,” he said.

Published 11/07/17

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Hillsdale Preparing For Aggressive Seneca East

Hillsdale of the Wayne County Athletic League and Seneca East of the Northern 10 Athletic Conference clash outside of Attica on Friday night in a division six regional quarterfinal.

The Falcons (7-3) got into the playoffs with a big second half last week in beating Smithville (34-20) in their final regular season game. They have losses this year to Dalton (10-0) and Norwayne (9-1,) both playoff participants.

Coach Tom Williams believes their schedule has been a big plus for them this year. “We feel like our schedule has been very good. We played a lot of quality to teams both non-league and in the league. It prepared us for a lot of different defenses and offenses because we faced a lot of different things during course of the year. We feel like we are prepared for just about anything once we get to the playoffs,” said Williams.

Seneca East (8-1) is coming off one of their better performances of the season in a (42-13) win over Carey last week. Williams says they show balance on offense and aggressiveness on defense. “They are very good. They are able to run the ball extremely well and then their quarterback is very accurate through the air. They can make you pay if you cheat too many guys up. Defensively, they are extremely aggressive. They like to blitz and get in the backfield and cause problems,” he said.

The blitz might be a big play in this game. Williams says they have to execute when it comes to their blocking schemes in order to have a chance to make plays on offense. “They have done a good job at least on the film we are seeing at causing some havoc in the backfield,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “They get some big plays with their defense. So, it is important for us to make sure we know our assignments and who we are responsible for in our blocking and things like that so we can get everybody blocked.”

That big play has fueled the Falcons this year and Williams says they have to get some of those on Friday night. “That has kind of been us this year. In the games where we have gotten a few big plays we have done pretty well and the games where the other teams have done a good job of keeping us from getting big plays or the other team has gotten a few big plays we have gotten ourselves into trouble. I think in high school football trying to eliminate the other teams’ big play and getting a few of your own is huge,” said Williams.

Published 11/03/17

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Kids Make Hillsdale Coach Proud

Hillsdale has a chance to make the high school football playoffs this year and if they do that’s great and if they don’t coach Tom Williams is very proud of the effort they have given all season.

The Falcons are tenth in their region in division six. They have to pick up a couple of spots and finish eighth.

They play at home against Smithville in a Wayne County Athletic League game on Friday night.

Last week, they lost to unbeaten Dalton (20-13) in a league game.

Williams says the players did all they asked them to do. “We played extremely well. Maybe about as well as we could play. We gave ourselves and opportunity. We had the ball driving there late in the fourth quarter and they were able to get a stop. I am really proud of how our kids played and really competed for four quarters,” said Williams.

Every week through nine weeks, Williams says the effort has been there for the Falcons. “Our kids have played extremely hard week in and week out and we are very proud of them,” he said.

Smithville (6-3,3-3) is at Hillsdale (6-3,3-3) this week in the league. Williams says the Smithies have speed to burn. “They are a very athletic team. They have some kids that have run track and done really well. I think one was a state champion. So, they have some really good speed at the skilled positions and they have some pretty big guys up front. They don’t have a lot of depth, but the guys that they have are really good,” said Williams.

It could be their last game and it might not be. Either way Williams says the senior class has come a long way since they started playing organized football for Hillsdale. “For our senior class they only won one game in junior high and for us to go into week 10 of their senior year and still have an opportunity to make the playoffs is great,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We are really pleased with how much It they have improved over the course of their time in our program.”

Published 10/24/17

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Hillsdale Challenges Unbeaten Dalton

Hillsdale is at Dalton to face the unbeaten and Wayne County Athletic League leading Bulldogs on Friday night.

They trail Dalton by two games with two to play in the league standings, but this game may be more important when it comes to the playoffs. The Falcons (6-2,3-2) are currently seventh in their division six computer region. They must finish in the top eight. Dalton leads theirs in division seven and a win would mean a boatload of points.

Last week, Hillsdale survived (28-27) in beating Chippewa in a league game.

Coach Tom Williams says the defense saved their bacon. “We definitely hung on for dear life. We didn’t have the ball very much in the second half. It was tied 14-14 at halftime. In the second half we only got one first down. We had a couple of big plays. We threw a touchdown pass and we returned a punt for a touchdown for our two touchdowns. Our defense hung in there,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “They had the ball on the march a little and we had a couple of tackles for loss and a couple of big plays defensively and were able to get an interception and get out of there.”

Williams says Dalton is a very consistent team. He says they just don’t make many mistakes. “That would be a good way to explain what Dalton is. They are very consistent. Week in and week out you know exactly what you are going to get, which is good line play, their backs take care of the ball, they run hard. Defensively, they are very sound. They know their gap assignment. They are not real fancy. They do their jobs very, very well,” he said.

Dalton (8-0,5-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, beat Smithville (33-22) last week. They lead Norwayne by a game in the league standings.

Williams says the Bulldogs want to pound it at you while they are going to need some chunk plays in order to be successful. “Dalton would definitely like this to be an old fashion football game. For us, we are going to need some big plays. That’s just not our style to be able to march it in five yards at a pop down the field. This year our thing has been some bigger plays and we are going to need some of those big plays if we are going to have success against these guys,” said Williams.

In this game Dalton is the favorite and Williams says they kind of like it that way. “For us you look forward to a game like this. It is also fun for us to be the underdog. Normally we are kind of usually even or we are kind of favorite in a lot of games here lately. To have a game where we are expected to be the underdog is kind of a neat thing for our kids and it is something we are kind of excited about,” he said.

Published 10/18/17

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Hillsdale With Must Win Games

Hillsdale, now two games back in the Wayne County Athletic League, with three games to play is going to need some help to win a piece of the league title, but they can help themselves in terms of the playoffs.

They are tenth in their division six region going into this week. They will need to finish in the top eight to qualify for the post season and that will likely require three more wins.

The Falcons (5-2,2-2) lost a tough one (28-21) to Norwayne last week in league play.

It was one of those games where both teams played well and you hate to see somebody have to lose and coach Tom Williams says unfortunately last week it was them. “Our guys played extremely hard in that game. I thought both teams played pretty well. Sometimes you play those close games and one of the teams is going to end up on the wrong end. For us last week that’s what happened,” he said.

They host Chippewa (3-4,2-2) this week in league play. Williams says it is pretty much a must win game for the Falcons. “We need to bounce back this week against Chippewa. They are a solid team. They have some good linemen and backs that run hard and all that kind of good stuff,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We just need to find way to get a “W” this week and it will come down to the last two weeks with Dalton and Smithville, some teams that we have had some battles with over the years. We are hoping that is exciting for us.”

Chippewa beat Smithville (24-21) last week in another good game in the competitive “WCAL” and Williams says they Chips have played really well in parts of their games this year. “I’ll tell you what when you watch them on film they are able to do some things offensively and defensively really well at times. They are probably looking for that consistency that probably most of us coaches are,” he said.

Published 10/10/17

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Hillsdale Must Rise to Physical Challenge

Hillsdale likely faces its most difficult test of the season this Friday as they travel to Norwayne to take on the Bobcats, the defending Wayne County Athletic League champs.

Both teams trail Dalton by a game in the league standings.

The Falcons (5-1,2-1) responded to their only loss of the season on week five to Northwestern (22-20) to hammer Rittman (48-14) last week.

Coach Tom Williams says they executed very well on both sides of the ball last Friday. “We were able to execute offensively really well. We threw the ball around and our receivers made some plays in space, but usually to have that happen the line has to play well and the line did a really good job of protecting Trey last week,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, “Defensively we got a lot of three and outs in that game and that is something we have really been trying stress, you know, getting off the field. We were having a little bit of trouble with that for a few games. It was nice to see us get some three and outs and get the offense back out on the field quickly.”

Quarterback Trey Williams, the son of the coach, accounted for six scores against Rittman. Coach Williams agrees that things are different coaching Trey and his younger son Ty. “It is different because usually if we disagree about something on the field that is something we are going to end up talking about once we get home, where as the other players don’t have to hear about it again and again. He is handling it pretty well and my younger one seems to be handling it okay. I think there is a little added pressure there when your dad is the head coach. Some of the people that get upset at me maybe they are also taking it out on the boys as well a little bit,” said coach Williams.

Norwayne (5-1,2-1) also lost week five to Dalton (27-21,) but came back last week to thrash previously unbeaten Smithville (31-6) in league play.

Williams says the Bobcats are physical and they have kids that make big plays. “They are big and physical. They have a lot of strong kids that play really hard, so they are able to run the football and stop the run. Their quarterback has made some plays running and he has made some really nice passes. They have some receivers that can make some big plays as well. They put a lot of pressure on you. I think they are one of the best lines we have seen to this point,” he said.

In order to have success Friday night, Williams says they have to be physical and not back down from the Bobcats. “Last year, they were a pretty senior laden team, so it was like you didn’t know what to expect. Their guys have worked really hard in the off season, you can tell, and they have gotten prepared and gotten ready to play. They are going to put some pressure on us and we need to make sure we are up to that challenge and that we don’t back down and we show up and get after them just like they are going to get after us,” said Williams.

Published 10/02/17

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Hillsdale Faces Rittman

With a loss last week, the Hillsdale Falcons have fallen a game behind the co-leaders in the tough and balanced Wayne County Athletic League.

They host Rittman this week in a conference game.

Last week, they lost at Northwestern (22-20) in game where coach Tom Williams thinks they just made a few too many mistakes. “I thought Northwestern kids played extremely hard as I knew they would. They played well. Both teams had some mistakes, but it seemed like ours cost us a little bit more maybe than theirs did,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We put the ball on the ground a little bit, which we hadn’t done the first four games and it came back to bite us a little bit. We just didn’t finish off some of our drives as well as we would have liked.”

Turnovers have not really been a problem overall for the Falcons and Williams says they have to get back to where they were before last week against Northwestern. “You have to really limit your turnovers, which we have. We have had only six turnovers on the season at this point. So, if you are only averaging one turnover a game, a little over, that’s pretty good. It just happened a few of them where all in one game and that came back to bite us,” he said.

Hillsdale (4-1,1-1) plays host to Rittman (2-3,0-2) this week. Williams expects the Indians to try and run the ball against them. “They are the same kind of thing they have a lot of tough kids. They are playing a lot of guys both ways, they don’t have a ton of depth. They have been able to run the ball with a little bit of success in the air. Defensively they are just pretty aggressive, so we will have to do a good job staying on blocks,” said Williams.

Published 9/26/17

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Hillsdale Takes on Northwestern

Hillsdale is one of four teams in the Wayne County Athletic League with unbeaten records through four weeks of the season. They play at Northwestern on Friday night in a league game.

Norwayne, Dalton, and Smithville are the other unbeatens.

Hillsdale (4-0,1-0) beat Waynedale (39-16) in the league opener last week.

Coach Tom Williams says they were able to make some big plays at the right times. “We played pretty well, we just had some breakdowns in the first half that just kept the game a little closer than it should have been. We let them convert a couple of fourth downs and a couple of third and longs that got us in a little bit of trouble. We played a little bit better in the second half and we were able to kind of pull away. Trace Stiltner had a big game for us with three touchdowns and he scored in three different ways, which is pretty cool,” he said.

Coaches talk about consistent execution, but many times high school football games are won by the team that can make the big plays. Williams says they have been able to do that. “We had a couple of crazy plays in that game. Trace had an 82-yard punt return. We go out and get a three and out stop at the beginning of the second half and they punt it to us and he runs in back 82 yards. In many ways that ended the game, so it was a big play,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “For him we had a little swing pass, he catches it, their guy has a chance to knock it down and he doesn’t and he is gone, 40 yards for a touchdown. That change of hey you are able to knock a pass down to hey we caught it and it is gone for a touchdown, what a big change in momentum.”

Northwestern (1-3,0-1) lost at Smithville (27-14) last week in their conference opener. They have also lost tough ones to Black River (21-13) and Columbia (26-21) in non-conference play. Their win comes over Loudonville (42-7) in their opener.

Williams says the Huskies are better than that record probably indicates at first glance. “They are a good football team. They have some tough kids and they used to winning games over there, so we will have our hands full. They just have a tough group of kids over there and we will have our hands full. They have one touchdown games against a couple really good football teams,” he said.

Published 9/20/17

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Hillsdale Concerned with Getting Better

Hillsdale has played three pretty good football games this year, but they might not have reached their potential yet.

Last week, they beat Loudonville (27-10) to improve to (3-0) on the season. They play at Waynedale (0-3) in the Wayne County League opener for both schools on Friday night.

Coach Tom Williams is most happy with the effort they have been getting from the players. “I am really happy with our guys. They are playing extremely hard. They are giving us everything they have each and every Friday night. They have been prepared for each game. The kids have shown up focused and ready to go. We are excited that that is what they are giving us. On the same token we have seen a lot of things we can do a little better. If we can find a way to keep getting better week after week we think we have a good opportunity to have a pretty good season,” said Williams.

Yes, unbeaten teams still have to get better. Williams wants better fundamental execution, especially on the offensive side of the ball. “For us we are still stressing the fundamentals. We still have some guys that are still stepping with the right foot or doing their assignment exactly how it’s been taught, so we are still working on some of those things. For us we missed some opportunities last week offensively that could have been some big plays. We are just not clicking perfect there. We are still trying to find some ways to get better on the offensive side of things,” he said.

Waynedale lost (41-14) to Wooster Triway last week. They were (1-9) last year and Williams says they are clearly improved. “Waynedale has more kids out this year and a new head coach. They are trying to build some excitement down there. They have some veteran kids that have played some football, a few on the line, a couple backs that are that are a couple of the better athletes in the league. We will have our hands full against those guys,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “Traditionally we haven’t had a whole lot of success against Waynedale, so this is a game that we are focusing on and trying to make sure that at the end of the week we are still in first place.”

Williams adds the always want to play like they are the underdog in the game, rather if they are or not. “For our kids we just feel like we have the opportunity to be a pretty good football team and they just want to go out and prove that to people each and every week. So, as long as they keep that chip on their shoulder then I think we have a chance to do something pretty cool,” he said.

Published 9/13/17

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Hillsdale With Another Non-Conference Rivalry

Hillsdale meets another non-conference rival this week as they host Loudonville on Friday night.

The Falcons has opened the season playing well the first two weeks with wins over Mapleton (49-21) on week one and Crestview (22-14) last Friday.

Coach Tom Williams thought they put together a pretty good overall effort against the Cougars. “I thought overall we played a really good game. We still had a few breakdowns in all three phases that we still have to get ironed out, but overall saw some good improvement from week one to week two,” said Williams.

Despite two solid efforts, Williams says he told the kids on Monday not to be satisfied and their goal should be to get better every day. “We talked (Monday) about ways to continue to find ways to get better every day. Each player on our team, each coach on our staff gets a little bit better then the whole team gets better,” he said.

Loudonville (0-2) has lost to Northwestern (42-7) in game one and Chippewa (31-28) on game two.

Williams says they have some tough kids that can make some plays on both sides of the ball. He says they will have to be warry of the blitz. “They are just a tough team. Being a rivalry game that always adds some intrigue to it. They have an athletic quarterback that cam make plays both running and passing. They have a couple of receivers that can hurt you in the open space,” he told Swankonsports.com on Labor Day, “Defensively they have a lot of tough kids. They blitz a lot and cause some havoc in the backfield, so we have to make sure we do a good job picking up the blitz.”

When the other team tries to blitz you it is going to be a big play either way. Williams says they want to take advantage of their opportunities to make big gainers. “For us the blitz is an opportunity for a big play for us offensively, but they have to make sure everybody is doing their job and that is what we really have to work on this week,” said Williams

Published 9/05/17

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Hillsdale Faces Physical Opponent

Hillsdale scored four times in the fourth quarter last week to beat Mapleton and now they travel to Crestview to take on the physical Cougars on week two of the season.

Tied going to the fourth quarter, the Falcons exploded to pound Mapleton (49-21) in their first game of the season.

Coach Tom Williams says they were able to take advantage of some things. “It was a great game. We went back and forth for the first three quarters. We were able to get a turnover right before the end of the third quarter and we capitalized on that and we were able to get a few more turnovers in the fourth quarter and kind of pull away,” home said.

It was (21-14) Hillsdale after the first quarter last week and Williams says on defense they must find some ways to be more focused. “The biggest thing for us defensively we didn’t do a very good job reading our keys. So, we have got to a better job getting our eyes in the right place,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “If you get caught looking in the backfield a lot those quarterbacks and running backs are usually pretty good at carrying out their fakes. So, it is important for us to read the guys we are supposed to be reading and getting to the football.”

Crestview lost a tough one on week one when Northmor’s Demetrius Johnson scored all three touchdowns for the Golden Knights and they beat Crestview (21-14) last week.

However, Williams says the Cougars are very good and have a lot of experience in their lineup. “They have a veteran team. They have a lot of guys with varsity experience. A lot of seniors, so it will be a great test for us. They are a pretty physical team with big kids. So, we will find out how physical we can be,” he said.

He says Crestview wants to run it, but they do it in a variety of ways and they are a good play action team. “They run it at you. They run some option. The quarterback does a pretty good job with that. Then they try to lull you to sleep and try and get the big play through the air. So, it is important for us to be disciplined in our assignments,” said Williams.

Published 8/30/17

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Hillsdale Starts With Mapleton

Ashland County rivals Hillsdale and Mapleton meet in non-conference play at Hillsdale on Friday night in the season opener for both schools.

The Falcons have done some good things in the preseason, but coach Tom Williams says you never really have a test until they turn the lights on and somebody wins and somebody loses. “You just never know what your team is going to be yet. You have seen them in practice, you have seen a couple of scrimmages, you feel like you have a pretty good idea, but boy I have had years where ended up having a completely different identity than I thought we would going into the season,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “So, getting out there and playing that first game kind of starts to set that identity and especially after the first couple of weeks you are who you are at least to some degree.”

As much as you may want to Williams says there are never any good gauges for what that first Friday night is going to be like. He says the kids just have to go through it. “It is a learning process and it and he can’t get experience without actually playing the games. So, no matter how much we work on it in practice, no matter how much we work on it in a scrimmage, it is still not game speed, it still not Friday night under the lights with everybody there, so until you have done it on a Friday night and run through a tunnel and band has played the fight song and all of that kind of stuff it is still not the same,” said Williams.

Logan Pharmer is now in his third year as the Mapleton quarterback and Williams says he can put up some big numbers with players he has around him. The Hillsdale coach says it will be a test for their defense. “Their quarterback is fantastic. He is a three year starter and he is only going into to his junior year. They have some guys that can run and catch it and make plays in the open field. They return a lot of their linemen, so they are a good test here early on to kind of find out where we are at. I know our guys are pretty excited about it,” he said.

Published 8/25/17

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