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Lucas on a Roll; Advances to District Final

 

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          Lucas has been playing some outstanding softball and that continued Tuesday when the Lady Cubs drilled Crestline (11-3) in the division four district semi-finals at Shelby High School.

          They face Mohawk, who beat Monroeville (9-2) on Tuesday, on Friday in the district title game.

          Coach Jim Rader says they have been getting a sold play in all aspects of the game and that continued on Tuesday.  “We have been playing pretty well most of the year.  At this point we have an 11 game winning streak.  We are 19-6 and we are hitting the ball very well and getting very good pitching and for the most part we are playing pretty good defense, which is keeping us in games and helping us to win most ball games,” said Rader.

          Sometimes we forget about the importance of defense, but Rader says if you want to be a team that contends for district titles then you better be able to handle the glove.  “I preach the theory that defense wins championships.  People come to see offense, but if you plan on winning close games and coming from behind and keeping a lead you have play good defense and we are doing that,” he said.

          Lucas (19-6), #5 in the final Swankonsports.com coaches poll in the small school division this year, finished second in the Mid-Buckeye Conference this spring.

          Four of Lucas’ six losses have come to unbeaten Danville, who won the “MBC,” and Wayne County Athletic League champ Hillsdale.  Rader says they have consistently been getting better at what they do on the field.  “We have open gyms through the winter and then we start in late February for practice and you work all of the way through March and you start plying ball from late March through April.  You progressively want to get better as time goes on and games go on,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday night after the win over Crestline, “Come late April and early May that is championship month.  That is what it is all about.  We have put a lot of time in and a lot of work in and hopefully come May it pays off for you and you can get some great results individually and as a team.”

 

Published 5/17/17

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Lucas Feels Comfortable

  

          Lucas the chance to win their first sectional title since 2010 as they meet Colonel Crawford in the division four sectional finals at Sandusky High School on Friday night.

          Crawford has won five straight sectional crowns.

          The Cubs (14-9) had to make an amazing comeback on Tuesday night beat Sandusky St. Mary’s (54-50) in their first sectional game.

          Coach Taylor Iceman says there was no yelling at halftime, just some discussion on what they needed to do better.  “I don’t know what the issue was.  I understand jitters and stuff like that.  Both teams took a couple of minutes to get the first bucket.  We missed layup after layup after layup.  I don’t think we hit a jump shot that whole first half and we only had nine points at halftime.  We were down 19-9 and I went in and told them we only scored nine points and we are only down 10, so we are definitely not out of it,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Several people asked me what did you do what did you say?  We didn’t change anything up, I just told them we have to make layups and play a little harder and that I what they came out and did.  We scored nine the first half and 45 the second.  Better effort and better defense led to some offense and kind of got the lid off the bucket for us.”

          Colonel Crawford (16-6), #4 in the final Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the small school division, finished as the runner up in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference.

          Iceman says they have good post players and they have good guards too.  “They are very balanced.  They have the big kid Starkey and Shaum is a very good player as well.  I think he kind gets overshadowed because the Starkey kid is so big.  So, we have to worry about those two inside.  They have good guards as well.  They are young, but they have three or four of them that are capable.  The McCreary kid does a good job handling the ball and he has a good jump shot as well.  They are young at the guard position so we have to try and take advantage of that.  We have some big guys that can handle the ball, so we going to try and pull their big guys away from the basket and attack and just play our game.  If we play defense and make some jump shots we will be fine,” said Iceman.

          Iceman is hoping having already played at the “Big House” is going to be a plus for them.  “We have a lot of common opponents and we have looked at a lot of film.  We are prepared and hopefully we are thinking they will come out and have those jitters that we had first game and we are going to go back somewhere where we just played a couple of nights ago and hopefully not have those jitters as bad as we did.  I know there will be a crowd there.  Crawford has a great student section.  If we play hard we going to have an opportunity to win the game,” he said.

 

Published 3/03/17

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Lucas Looking to Get Back in Form

  

          Lucas had been playing pretty well until back to back losses to Mansfield Christian and Plymouth 10 days ago.  They hope a win Saturday over Chippewa got them back on track.

          They play Sandusky St. Mary’s in a division four first round tournament game on Tuesday night at Sandusky Senior High School.

          Coach Taylor Iceman hopes they have gotten through most of their sickness and have their confidence back going into Tuesday night.  “We had a rough weekend a couple of weekends ago.  We weren’t play like we wanted.  I don’t think I had my starting five together once.  Even Saturday, I find out Saturday, one of my kids was at the doctor Wednesday and they said he had strep throat, so we didn’t have our point guard.  So, we have been battling it.  I think it is kind of a mental thing with us too,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “Kids are out sick and I try to tell them not be bothered by that and just go out and play basketball.  We came out and played pretty well against Chippewa.  Chippewa is a young team.  It was good to get back on the winning side.  We have 11 seniors, so it was a great senior night.  We got everybody in and we had a good night.  I think we righted the ship and started to get a little of our confidence back.  We had a rough weekend with Mansfield Christian and Plymouth.  We had a pretty good week of practice with the bodies I had there.  It is a quick turnaround now.”

          Lucas lost to a St. Mary’s team a year ago that lost in the district final last year.  Iceman says they have got a close look at this year’s Panthers.  “I have several films on St. Mary’s and we were able to go watch them play on Friday night since we played Saturday and it was nice to see them play live,” he said.

          St. Mary’s (12-10) is without likely its best player in 6’7” Luca Mormina, who is out for the season with a knee injury.  They have lost six of their last eight without him.

          Iceman says it is tough to lose a double-double kind of kid, but the Panthers still have some players.  “The Mormina kid is a great basketball player.  We played them last year, so obviously we got a look at him last year.  He is a great player and you hate to see a kid go down with an in injury like that and I wish him nothing but the best and he has a bright future ahead of him.  They are still a good team and they expect to win.  They have a winning culture up there.  They play fast.  They don’t have a ton of size now, so we look to take advantage of that.  I have told my kids all week that they play extremely hard.  Offensively they get it up in a hurry.  They get back and play defense.  The Miller kids are tough.  They are great shooters.  They don’t wait around for that good shot.  They get open they hoist it up there and they shoot it with confidence,” said Iceman.

          Iceman says the Cubs (13-9) want to get the ball in the paint, but they must make good passes and not try to force things like they have been doing a little bit.  “We have got to box out when they do take that shot and limit them to one shot and then get back.  We look to get it inside, but not force it inside.  I think the last couple of weeks we have looked to force it inside too much and not let our guards be the athletes and players that they are. We are confident.  Whoever has a good night we are going to ride that horse.  I think our big guys should do well, but we are not going to force it inside.  We like our chances and I hope we play well,” he said.

 

Published 2/28/17

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Lucas Has New Goals

  

          Lucas has a Mid-Buckeye Conference game at Mansfield Christian on Friday night and plays at Plymouth in a non-conference game on Saturday night.

          After losing two in a row to Mansfield St. Peter’s and Northmor, the Cubs beat Loudonville (69-51) last Friday and coach Taylor Iceman says that kind of got them back on track.  “We had a pretty good game with Loudonville the other night.  We were able to bounce back after a couple of tough ones and play pretty well.  We finished them off and were able to get everybody in the game.  Sunday we found out our tournament fate so we have kind of got some new goals.  We can put some names to our goals.  Mansfield Christian Friday we have to finish out our “MBC” season.  If we win we will be at 9-3 in the league and solidify ourselves as runner-up.  We only won three league games last year and to finish out with only three losses is kind of one of our goals right now,” said Iceman.

          Lucas (12-7,8-3) plays at Mansfield Christian (6-14,2-8) on Friday night.  The Cubs beat the Flames at their place (49-41) back on January 13.

          Iceman says the kids have to understand that they just can’t assume they will win, they have to play well.  “Jared McPeak is a great kid and a great ball player as well.  He gets to that left hand and finishes as well as anybody in the area.  He and the Kurtz boy are good guards.  They are young, but they have some young kids that can hurt you.  It is never easy to play over there.  We think our advantage is inside against them,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Hopefully we can get the ball inside to our big guys and have a good night.  It is not going to be a game where you can go in and say we have this wrapped up because we beat them once and they have only won a few games in the league.  That is not the case at all.  Coach Kurtz always has his kids ready to go.  We will have to go over there and play a good game on Friday night.”

          On Saturday night, the Cubs play at Plymouth (4-15) in a non-league action.  The Big Red has started to turn some things around.  Iceman says they don’t look like a four win team.  “You look at their record and it is a little deceiving.  They have only got four wins, but when you go through their schedule they have played everybody tough.  They have had a few games here and there where they have got beat pretty good.  When you set down and watch film on them you wouldn’t think it was a four win team.  We are definitely not overlooking them.  It is good for us to be able to go over and play a good team, somebody we could run into in the tournament.  We want to finish off the season playing some good competition and feel good about ourselves going into the tournament.  Plymouth is a local team here in the area and we want to let everybody know what Lucas basketball is all about.  We are not coasting here into the finish. We have set a goal of getting to 15 wins and we have three games left.  We can get number 13 on Friday night and if we are fortunate then get number 14 on Saturday night,” said Iceman.

 

Published 2/16/17

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Big Fourth Quarter Gives Northmor Win over Lucas

   

          Down by as many as 12 points in the fourth quarter, Northmor rallied to beat Lucas (41-38) in a non-conference boys’ basketball game on Tuesday night at Northmor.

          The Golden Knights trailed (33-21) with 6:06 to play after Lucas post player Dylan Dennison made two free throws.  Two field goals and two free throws by Alijah Keen over the next 1:25 cut the Lucas advantage to (33-27) with 4:41 to play.

          Northmor got within two (35-33) on Tyler Kegley’s rebound basket with 2:44 left.  After Lucas went up three on Jackson Hauger’s free throw with 2:07 on the clock came the key sequence of the game.  Demetrious Johnson went coast to coast to lay it in, Lane Pletcher scored off a steal, and Johnson scored again after another steal under the basket and Northmor led (39-36) with 1:45 left.

          Northmor coach Zack Ruth says they haven’t pressed a lot this year, but it was key Tuesday night.  “I used to press a lot, but I just thought with our size fatigue would set in.  We have pressed three times now and three times we have come back to win those ball games.  I am thinking I should have been pressing some other times sooner.  I still don’t think we are conditioned enough to press from tip to finish, but we got after it,” he told Swankonsports.com after the game,  “When you put a 6’6” guy on the ball like that and the speedsters up top and a 6’6” guy protecting the basket we rattle some teams.  I keep telling the guys you can’t get comfortable with that.  We only want to use that when we have to.”

          Over the next 37 seconds there was an intentional foul on Lucas and a technical foul called on Northmor, but the teams combined to miss seven straight free throws and it remained (39-36) with 1:08 left in the game.

          Lucas post Josh Murphy scored inside with 26 seconds left to make it (39-38.)  He was fouled, but missed the tying charity toss.  Plechter would cash in on two free throws to make (41-38) 13 seconds left.  The Cubs would miss to three point attempts in the last eight seconds that would have sent the game to overtime.

          Cubs coach Taylor Iceman says this is one they should have won, but they gave it away.  “I told the kids throughout this season that we needed learn how to put games away when we were leading by 10, 15 points.  I told them if we learned how to do that then we would probably take care of this one.  They ran some press.  We knew it was coming and we just didn’t execute.  We missed 11 free throws, with 11 free throws we get in the 40’s and that is a big difference,” Iceman said.

          Down (34-27) with 4:29 left Ruth called time out and he says his message was simple.  “We went to Lucas last year and Lucas has made the football playoffs the last three years and these kids play football and these kids are winners.  We went up there last year they got us in overtime.  We are sitting here (Tuesday) night and we called that timeout and all I talked about was the Super Bowl.  Believe in the system and keep chipping away and you will be there in the end,” said Ruth.

          It looked at first like it would be a hockey score instead of a football one as nobody scored for the first 3:20 of the game and the Cubs led (9-5) after one, (15-10) at the half and (26-19) after three periods.  “Gosh that was ugly we couldn’t hit anything.  Coming off an emotional high last week beating Grandview Heights, taking care of East Knox, taking care of Elgin after they just beat Centerburg,” said Ruth.

          The Northmor coach says the changing Lucas defenses gave them trouble for most of the night.  “We went though that stretch without Kyle Kegley and everybody was zoning us, zoning us, zoning us and we hammered out zone, hammered out zone, hammered out zone and now we are seeing man again.  I have to do a better job of preparation.  Lucas was doing a good job of picking when to go zone and when to go man.  Once Kegley gets aggressive inside there isn’t anyone that can stop him.  If you look at home he doesn’t look strong, but he can put the ball on the floor.  He blocks a lot of shots.  He is 6’6”, but he is 6’11” wing span.  Demetrious nobody can stay with him.  Pletcher is my best foul shooter and he misses four straight,” said Ruth.

          Northmor (14-5,8-3) and in a share of first place in the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference plays host to Fredericktown (6-12,4-7) in the league game on Friday night.  Lucas (11-7,7-3) plays at home against Loudonville (5-12,2-7) in a Mid-Buckeye Conference game on Friday.

          Iceman thinks they have a good shot at tournament success.  “That is the first one we have given away this year.  It sucks, but the season is going to go on, at least this wasn’t the tournament.  We still have a say in that right now, so we can go and work on things and get better and keep going, but that one hurts,” he said.

          Keen and Pletcher both had 11 for Northmor, Johnson had 10.  Murphy led Lucas with 12.

 

Published 2/08/17

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Lucas Gaining Confidence

  

          Lucas picked up some confidence in a loss to state ranked Mansfield St. Peter’s and will be tested again Tuesday night when they travel to play Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference blue division co-leader Northmor.

          The Cubs lost to Mid-Buckeye Conference champion Mansfield St. Peter’s (81-64) on Friday night in a game they had been pointing to for weeks. 

          Coach Taylor Iceman says he thought they competed really well against the Spartans.  “I was pretty happy with our kids.  I talked to them after the game.  We lost by 17 points, but I told our kids after the game I said the scoreboard didn’t necessarily indicate it, but St. Pete’s knew they were in a game (Friday.)  I thought we competed.  We played extremely hard.  I think we won a couple of quarters.  They jumped out on us, we just didn’t play really well, they made some jump shots.  We battled back and it was a competitive game all of the way through.  I think St. Pete’s knows it wasn’t just a walk through game where they were going to blow somebody out.  I was pretty happy with the kids.  That is a very good team.  Coach Jakubick does a great job with them and they are number three in the state for a reason,” said Iceman.

          With confidence gained from Friday night, Iceman says they want to be able to take that momentum through the rest of the season.  “That was my message.  We have kind of struggled all year playing to the level of our competition, good or bad.  I told our kids that if we play this way every night.  We competed and hung with the number three team in the state for the majority of that game.  If we bring that effort and play to our capability on a nightly basis we are a pretty tough team. I think it was great for our kids we gained some confidence,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We play a pretty good team (Tuesday) night in Northmor.  Coach Ruth has done a pretty good job.  It is always a competitive game with those guys.  They are having a nice season and it is going to be a tough one for us.  Coming off a big game with St. Pete’s we get a practice and a half in with a Saturday and a Monday and then travel down to Northmor and play a challenging team.”

          Lucas (11-6) plays at Northmor (13-5) in a non-conference game on Tuesday night.  Iceman knows games like this are going to make them better.  “That was my message (Monday) night.  You can translate things a number of ways.  I am all about playing good teams right now.  It is just going to test us and show us where we are at and maybe what we need to improve upon.  We feel we are good enough to make a tournament run.  After the St. Pete’s game we said we want to go and try get a good team on our resume for our tournament draw in Sunday and hopefully we can run into St. Pete’s in the district finals.  It would have been great to win at home if we had beaten them.  I would have loved to have beaten those guys, but I think we picked up some confidence.  The next time we play them it is going to be for who moves on and who goes home.  To have that is a district final game would be awesome.  I think that was big to not only play against them and gain some confidence that we can play with anyone leading up to them.  We know we have the capability to play with them and knock them off,” said Iceman.

 

Published 2/07/17

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Lucas Looks Forward to Opportunity

  

          Lucas is looking for a signature win and that would come at home on Friday night against state ranked Mansfield St. Peter’s in a Mid-Buckeye Conference game.

          The Cubs are two games behind the Spartans and a St. Peter’s win means they wrap up a share of the conference title.

          It would have been closer, but Lucas lost (53-47) at Danville last Friday.

          Coach Taylor Iceman says they had their chances to win that game.  “It was a tough loss.  We knew it wasn’t going to be easy going down there to Danville.  We didn’t play well consistently.  We played well in spurts.  We gave ourselves a chance in the end and we just didn’t hit the shots down the stretch and they beat us down there.  I told our kids after that game is the good thing about basketball is you don’t have to wait too long,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We turned around and played against Monroeville on Saturday and we came out and played extremely well and put a team away.  It was a good win and we got everybody in, got a lot of kids minutes.  It was a good way to end the weekend.  We have won seven of eight and we are happy about that.  We have the number three team the state coming down to our house for a big game.  So, we are excited in the position we are.”

          Lucas (11-5,7-2) hosts Mansfield St. Peter’s (15-2,8-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the small school division, in a Mid-Buckeye Conference game on Friday.

          In their first meeting, the Spartans won (76-51) in game in which they pulled away in the third quarter.  Iceman says they have to cut back on their turnovers to have a chance to win.  “We did play a pretty good first half.  They came out and jumped on us right from the start, but then we responded.  We kind of settled down.  We turned the ball over early.  They capitalize on turnovers.  That is a big part of their offense, that is why they score so much.  They are really good in the half court, but their transition defense leads to points.  We played a fairly even first half.  We actually watched some of that film (Tuesday) night.  Turnovers killed us.  We just made too many careless passes.  Like I said they turn them into points, so we have to take care of the ball.  Play defense and make them take tough shots.  They beat us pretty good over there and it was the third quarter that did us in.  It was great that our kids saw that we can compete with them and play with them,” said Iceman.

          In order to win a game like this you have to believe first and Iceman says they have that.  “Last year when we had them at our place we were beating them at halftime.  We have played with these guys.  They are number three in the state and they have only lost two games to big schools, but I think our kids they feel they can play with these guys.  They know them away from basketball it is not like they are this mythical team that is unbeatable.  They are buddies and they are high school boys.  I think we are comfortable with them we just have to cut down on the little stupid things.  When you play a team like St. Pete’s you have to make free throws and make layups and do all of the little things that you need to do.  We saw we had those opportunities, so if we just focus and take care of some things we will be alright,” said Iceman.

 

Published 2/01/17

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Lucas Wants to Keep Pace

  

          Lucas has only one loss in Mid-Buckeye Conference play this year and that comes to conference leader Mansfield St. Peter’s, the rematch is next week, but first for the Cubs in visit to Danville on Friday night.

          The Cubs have won six straight overall and they are continuing to play well. 

          Coach Taylor Iceman says they have to keep their eye on the Danville game this week.  “We have put ourselves in position to keep that game alive.  It is an important game against St. Pete’s, but we can’t look past Danville and our boys know that.  We are taking one game at a time here and that is how we have won six in a row.  To make that game against St. Peter’s key we have to beat Danville on Friday night.  We have to go down to their place and it is never an easy place to play.  We are on a little ride here.  We are going to go down and try and beat Danville and then come back home and keep it rolling against Monroeville on Saturday night,” he said.

          Lucas and Danville have become small school rivals, mostly because of football, Iceman, who is also an assistant football coach, says that spirit carries over to basketball.  “It is two small schools so it is a lot of the same kids that are football players and basketball players.  In football the last few years we have struggled with them.  When we played Danville early on it was a big win for us because we wanted to beat Danville and we hadn’t done that in past few years and it was kind of becoming a mental thing for our kids.  To come out and beat them I think that kind of helped us get to where we are right now,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “They can ruin some things for us when we go down there on Friday night, so we have to come out ready to play to show we are continuing to get better and take care of business down there.  It is not going to be easy.  I hate to keep talking about the St. Pete’s game because that looms.  We are definitely not looking past Danville that is not the case at all.”

          Lucas (10-4,7-1) beat Danville () by the score of (51-39) back on December 16.  Iceman says this is one the biggest games they have played in recent years.  “We kind of got into last week because of our kids ability to win games because we have a lot of kids that are from our successful football program.  There is something to say about winning.  Danville is the same way, they are used to winning and they don’t like losing.  It is going to be a good game.  It is always physical.  We have to come out and show we are progressing and getting better.  I am sure it will be a good game, but we are going to try and keep things rolling,” he said.

 

Published 1/26/17

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Lucas Keeps Winning

  

          Lucas has won its last four after beating Crestview on Tuesday and they face two Mid-Buckeye Conference games on the weekend at home against Kidon Central Christian on Friday and at Crestline on Saturday.

          The Cubs found some offense on Tuesday night in beating the Cougars (73-61) and coach Taylor Iceman says they were able to get some things done.  “I was giving the kids a hard time we hadn’t broke 60 yet this year and we took a timeout late in the game and I said we aren’t just go to get 60 we are going to get 70 tonight.  We needed it Crestview has been a good offensive team all year and they got over 60 so we needed it.  It was a nice change to score some points and it was a good game and an exciting game,” he said.

          The game on Friday night will likely be a lot different for the Cubs because Kidron Central Christian is very patient plus they play an affective zone defense. 

          Iceman says they would like to get out and run the floor so they don’t have to face that zone very much on Friday.  “They play zone defense and it is frustrating.  When we played them the last time we have eight points at halftime.  I thought I was losing my mind.  We responded and we’re able to win 37-31.  That is where they want it in the 30’s.  They do such a good job it is hard to score on them.  If we can get the rebound and get out in transition we won’t have to face that zone defense,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “That would help some.  At least we have played them once already and it is the same thing every time we play, so we know.  I certainly hope, but I doubt we are able to score 70 on Friday night, but that is our goal.”

          In a double weekend of conference games, Lucas (8-4,5-1) is at Crestline (3-7,1-4) on Saturday night.  In the first meeting on December 17 the Cubs won (49-47) in overtime.

          Iceman says they tend to have close games against Bulldogs and he expects it to be another one on Saturday.  “They are definitely coming.  They are young.  They match up with us pretty well.  We seem to have good games with them.  It will be our third game of the week and we have to go over to their place.  We have to take them one at a time.  We can’t get ahead of ourselves here.  We have won four straight, but we are preaching one at a time.  We will try to get Central Christian on Friday and go over there and knock Crestline off on Saturday.  It the second time through the league, so everybody knows us.  We have to come out and take them one at a time and win the ones we should,” said Iceman.

 

Published 1/20/17

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Lucas Wants to Get on a Roll

  

          Lucas wants to use some momentum gained from a victory last Saturday and start to make a little bit of noise.

          They host Mansfield Christian in a Mid-Buckeye Conference game on Friday night.

          They beat Clear Fork (55-53) on Saturday night and coach Taylor Iceman says he hopes they can get on a streak here.  “We started out the year and we win one and we lose one and now we won a couple in a row.  That was a big win over there at Clear Fork.  We are excited about that and we have to build on it.  We have kind of a stretch here we play Friday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and they are all very winnable games.  If we come out and play hard and execute I think we can rattle a few walls, but we have to take them one at a time.  It’s a Mid-Buckeye Conference game on Friday night and hopefully we can get things started there,” he said.

          The Cubs have become better offensive team this year and Iceman says one of the reasons in they have more guys that can score the ball.  “We don’t have that one guy that we have to rely on or count on for our offense.  We are ten games in and I think we have had probably had four or five different guys lead us in scoring depending on foul trouble or what have you or who is hitting and who is not it could be anybody.  I thought over there are Clear Fork we had kind of a size advantage and the way the game was being officiated we needed to attack the rim and throw it in to our big guys Dylan Dennison and Josh Murphy proved to be beneficial.  We can get it done a couple of different ways.  If we start making some jump shots it opens everything up.  We have some slashers and we have some size and we have some shooters.  It would be nice to put it all together one night,” said Iceman.

          Lucas (6-4,4-1) hosts Mansfield Christian (3-6,2-3) on Friday night at their place.  Iceman says they want to be able to make the Flames guard them in the paint.  “Coach Kurtz does a great job and regardless of the age of the kids over there they are going to play hard.  They are going to play great defense.  He is playing a lot of the younger guys this year.  His son is a great shooter.  The McPeak kid gets to the rim as well as anybody in the area.  It is going to be a challenge.  They have lost a few here recently and hopefully they come in and don’t play as well as they can.  We will take that certainly.  Again we are going to have a size advantage I believe with them so we have to go inside first and attack and make sure we defend and know where their shooters are at,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “I think we should be able to pick up a victory, but it is an “MBC” game and you never know night to night you have to come out and play.  We won three conference games all last year and we are 4-1 and we are taking each one one day at a time.  We want to leave ourselves in the best shape for tournament seedings, which are right around the corner.  Every game counts.  Mansfield Christian is not only a Mid-Buckeye Conference opponent, but they are within our 13 team sectional.  We need to pick up wins so we can put ourselves in the best shape there so we can make a little bit of a tournament run as well.”

 

Published 1/12/17

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Lucas Rallies Past Colts

  

          Lucas rallied for an 11-point third quarter deficit to beat Clear Fork (55-53) in a non-conference boys’ basketball game on Saturday night at the Les Hauenstein Gym.

          The Colts took a (32-21) lead with 7:50 to play in the third quarter on a back door layup by Jared Schaefer, but the rest of the quarter was dominated by the Cubs, who immediately went on a (15-4) run to tie the game (36-36) on Jacob Miller’s three pointer with 2:32 to play in the quarter.  They would take lead on a lay in by Jackson Hauger (41-39) with 1:15 to play in the stanza.

          Clear Fork scored the final three points of the quarter to lead (42-41) after three periods.

          Lucas would take the lead (43-42) with 6:42 to play on a jumper by Jeb Grover and then (47-46) with 4:04 left on another basket by Grover.  They took their biggest lead at (51-46) on a rebound basket by Dylan Dennison with 1:55 left.  They made enough free throws the secure the win.

          “We handled it well.  We missed some free throws and tried to make it as hard as we could on the coach.  You can’t ask for any more than that.  That is a sign of growth there to be able to win games like that.  That was a great one.  We have a stretch in our schedule now where we think we can win some games, so that was a big one to get us started,” said Lucas coach Taylor Iceman.

          Lucas held Clear Fork’s leading scorer Chance Barnett to only four points on the night.

          Coach Steven Bechtel feels they need to show a little more patience than they did Saturday night.  “I think we did that is the first half too.  We said we want a high percentage shot.  Coming off last night our legs were not going to be there like a normal Friday night.  I told them we have to be a little more shot selective.  Lucas did a great job I credit then a lot.  They made shots when they needed to and they got big stops when they needed to down the stretch,” said Bechtel.

          Dennison led the Cubs with 17 points, Grover added 12 and Josh Murphy had 11.  Iceman says it was nice to finally make some shots in the second half.  “We have struggled to shoot the ball here, so it was nice to see some go through.  If we can just make free throws and layups and jump shots all on the same night we will be pretty tough,” he said.

          Lucas (6-4) plays host to Mansfield Christian in a Mid-Buckeye Conference game this coming Friday and then plays Crestview, Kidron Central Christian, and Crestline the week after that.

Iceman feels they were as physical as Clear Fork, if not more.“Obviously Clear Fork with the league they play in they see that kind of physicality every night.  That is always what I am worried about coming over here.  We didn’t handle to well early.  We were able to fight threw it and get the win,” said Iceman.

          Jay Swinehart led Clear Fork with 13 points, including a three with seven seconds left to cut the Lucas lead to one (54-53) but it was too little too late for the Colts.

          Clear Fork (3-5) returns to Ohio Cardinal Conference play next Friday what they host West Holmes.

 

Published 1/07/17

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Lucas With Big Challenge

  

          Lucas shares first place with Mansfield St. Peter’s in the Mid-Buckeye Conference standings and they face a huge test at St. Peter’s on Thursday night.

          The Cubs won both of their conference games last week beating Danville (51-39) on Friday and Crestline (49-47) in overtime on Saturday.

          Coach Taylor Iceman says they played very well against Danville and not as consistent against Crestline.  “We played pretty well Friday night, that was the one we wanted to get. With Danville there is a little bit of a rivalry there.  I thought we played pretty well against a decent Danville team.  We were happy with that.  Then we turn around with Crestline and I was worried, that was a little bit of a trap game if you ever had one.  It was our third game of the week and Danville had beaten Crestline by 20 and we beat Danville by 12 points.  I was worried we were going by quite ready to play.  We came out and played pretty well against Crestline actually.  We got a 10 point lead right at the end of the half.  In the third quarter we were pretty bad we only scored three points in that quarter.  Crestline got hot and made a little bit of a run.  Again we showed some growth.  We found a way to win when we didn’t necessarily play that great.  Overall I was happy.  We are 3-0 in the league,” said Iceman.

          The Cubs are becoming a team that can win when they aren’t at the top of their game and that has not been the case for several years.  Iceman says it is frustrating and pleasing at the same time.  “Last year we won seven games total and we lost five by five points or less.  They were kind of moral victories but they are still losses.  We told ourselves that we are done with those kind of moral victories.  This year we need to take care of those kinds of games.  Central Christian and Crestline both, games where we didn’t necessarily play that well, but we were able to find a way to win.  That is a sign of team learning how to win and be successful.  It is frustrating because those are games he we should win kind of handily and we didn’t for whatever reason come out and play well, but a win is a win.  You have to take it for what it’s worth, learn from it, and move on,” said Iceman.

          Lucas (4-2,3-0) plays at Mansfield St. Peter’s (5-1,2-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the small school division on Thursday night.  Iceman says they will have to play well, but this is game they can win.  “They are a great team.  They are solid 1-5.  They have a little bit of size with Mason Campbell, Jakubick, Tyson Kent, Elijah Cobb and the Gerski kid they are solid all of the way.  Against Loudonville it was Jakubick and Kent, one had 29, one had 25.  Mason Campbell in the Mansfield Senior game had great second half and led them in scoring.  They play really well together.  They play fast and transition is a huge part of their game.  They have been in the 90’s, they probably average somewhere in the upper 70’s.  So, they want to get out and run and gun.  They play great defense as well and that usually leads to their offense,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “They create turnovers and they get our in transition and finish them.  They are great team and it is going to be a good test for us to see kind of where we are at.  I told our kids we have nothing to lose they are supposed to beat us.  I think we have enough talent to beat them.  I don’t think we have played to our potential yet.  It would nice if we could do that.  We are going to have play well to be in the game.  You never know they have a lot of big schools in their schedule this year and sometimes it is easy to overlook little old Lucas.”

 

Published 12/21/16

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Lucas Looking for that Shooting Eye

  

          Lucas is teetering on the edge of becoming a pretty basketball team.  They just need to shoot a little better.

          After beating Fredericktown (56-51) last Friday they took a solid Hillsdale team to the edge before losing (48-41) on Saturday night.

          Coach Taylor Iceman says he thought they did a lot of good things against Hillsdale, especially on defense, but they just couldn’t make enough shots.   “We came out and played extremely hard and we led for a little over three quarters of that game, but then we just couldn’t hit jump shots.  We have talked about that the last couple of conversations.  I think we went 2-19 from the three point line.  They sat in a 2-3 zone with the big kid Rogers in the back of that zone and it was hard to attack the rim.  We tried to shoot them out of that, but unfortunately the 2-19 didn’t get the job done.  We played really hard and played great defense.  We tried to preach to the kids that when you aren’t scoring you have to find a way to stay in the game.  We did that and we stayed in the game with a very good team.  We lost, but it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.  I was proud of our kids,” said Iceman.

          Lucas won seven last year and has the potential to win more this season.  Iceman says they are clearly headed in the right direction.  “We knew it was going to be a process, but we are light years ahead of where we were a couple of years ago.  We had a good season last year, but we lost several close games.  Hopefully now we can take that next step and so far we have done that.  We came out and beat a pretty good Fredericktown team and then and competed with a very good Hillsdale team all night Saturday night, but we weren’t hitting jump shots.  If we hit some jump shots together with some great defense I think we are going to be just fine.  We are happy with how we have started and where we are headed,” he said.

          Lucas (1-1) opens up play in the Mid-Buckeye Conference on Friday night at Kidron Central Christian.  Iceman anticipates the Comets are going to be patient with the ball.  “I have great respect for coach Martin down there.  His kids always, always seem to play extremely hard.  Last year, one time they beat us 33-32.  I think they knocked off Mansfield Christian last year with a game in the 30’s and one against Loudonville.  They don’t have all of the talent in the world, but man do they play hard,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “For them to win games that is the way it needs to be.  I think we are going to see a lot of the same this year.  They are going to come out and take care of the ball.  They are going to value the ball and they are not going to make mistakes offensively.  They wait for a good shot.”

          Iceman believes the Cubs will have an advantage, but they have to go out and prove it.  “I think we are more talented then them.  I think we should win, but we have to go out and take care of the ball and do all of the little things that you have to do to be successful.  We have to travel to their place, which certainly are not going to help our shooting woes.  We are going to continue to fight and it is an opportunity to get better,” he said.

 

Published 12/07/16

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Lucas Ready to Take Another Step

  

          Lucas won seven games last season, which is more than in any recent season, and now they want to take more steps forward.

          Coach Taylor Iceman says they have done some good things during the preseason, but they haven’t been consistently making shots yet, but he thinks that will come.  “We have a good number of kids out again this year.  We have had four scrimmages here so far against Black River, Clyde, Mapleton and Bucyrus.  We have looked good at times and not as great other times.  The kids are getting back into the swing of things playing hard defense, working hard, getting our legs underneath us and making jump shots.  We have not had our kids hitting yet, but that is kind of what you expect early on.  So far, so good,” he said.

          They almost pulled a tremendous upset last year in the sectional tournament before falling to eventual district runner up Sandusky St. Mary’s.  Iceman hopes they can take that momentum into this season.  “We took great strides last year forward and we have a lot of those kids back, we only graduated two.  For the most part it is the same group that is back again this year.  In the tournament last year we played against a really good Sandusky St. Mary’s team.  We came in and played hard and I think learned a little bit about ourselves and saw that we could compete against anybody.  We need to go out there every night with the same mindset.  We played with them for three and half quarters and ran out of gas.  It is great to have all of those kids back again,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We are senior laden this year.  We have got 11 or 12 seniors out this year and we have three returning underclassmen to add to that.  We are excited we took a big, huge step forward last year.  We played harder.  If we can bring that along and add that to our repute it would be good.  If we get out in transition and make jump shots we are going to be just fine.  When I started back here at Lucas I was the freshman coach and this group of seniors this year is the first group I had.  These kids all know me and what we want to do and we are excited to get the season under way on Friday night.”

          Lucas plays at Fredericktown in a non-conference game on Friday night.  Iceman says they will have to play well.  “Fredericktown lost a very good player in Kirk Mans that they relied heavily on last year, so it is going to be nice not having to deal with him.  They had some nice young players last year.  They have some new coaches and a new program over there.  It is at their place.  We are going to have to go down there and play well.  We were fortunate enough to beat them last year and it is nice to have that in the back of your mind just knowing it is a team we can beat,” he said.

          Saturday night, in their home opener, the Cubs play talented Hillsdale of the Wayne County Athletic League.  Iceman expects athletes that will bring a lot of pressure.  “They are good team again that has been pretty successful the last two seasons.  They have Ben Rogers inside and Andrew Wolf playing guard and have a lot of other kids there that have been there the last few years.  They are a very good team that plays extremely hard with pressure defense.  It is kind of that Wayne County mindset that they play with.  That will be a good challenge for us early.  I told our kids that is a good thing to get them early on before they get in a groove. We’ll try and pick up our first home game victory of the season.  We are talented enough this year that we can beat anybody on our schedule, but if we don’t play hard and do the little things right we could lose to anybody,” said Iceman.

 

Published 11/30/16

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Lucas Faces Multi Dimensional Team

  

          Lucas is making its third straight trip to the division seven playoffs as they travel to Arlington for a first round game against the Red Devils.

          They pretty much had to win last week to get in and that is exactly what they did with a convincing (55-8) win over Kansas Lakota.

          Coach Scott Spitler says their goal was to honor their seniors and let the rest take care of itself.  “We approached the last week with a mindset with what are expectation level is each and every year with our last home game and that is our seniors get a win in their last home game and if that was good enough for us to deserve to make the postseason then we accomplished that and it was.  Losing eight seniors off of last year’s regional runner-up team and coming back with the expectation that our kids have of themselves, that they have always expected of themselves, to go out and get seven wins and a shot in the postseason, I couldn’t be more proud of them,” he said.

          Arlington (7-3) beat good Leipsic team in Blanchard Valley Conference play (28-6) to conclude its regular season.  Spitler says the Red Devils have good tradition and some very good athletes this year.  “They are a very talented team.  This will be their fifth straight year in the playoffs.  They are a senior dominated group.  They have a senior class of 10 guys that contribute on both sides of the ball.  They are led by a dual threat quarterback in Matthew Crawford.  He can stress the defense in so many ways with his athleticism as well with his passing.  Then they have a Miami of Ohio commit at H-back and defensive end that posses a problem in Logan Spyer at 6’4”, 245.  He is a tough match-up when you line him up in the slot. Defensively you have to account for him where he is lined up on the defensive line on every down because he is such a good player there.  You have a team that has a tradition of being in the postseason and senior dominated, so we have our hands full,” said Spitler.

          When it comes to the postseason, Spitler believes his Cubs (7-3) are well prepared for playoff football considering what they have seen this year.  “I like where our kids mindset is and the preparation that we have had this week.  Our experience the last few years in the playoffs will payoff in the fact that this atmosphere is not going to be a shock for us because we have been in it.  Our five game road grind that we had earlier in the season kind of got us battle tested for being on the road.  When you look back at our schedule in playing four playoff teams this year and splitting with them hopefully that pays dividends as well,” he said.

          Spitler says the Red Devils do a lot of different things on offense and force you to be disciplined.  “They are kind of a mix on offense.  One minute they will be a spread gun and the next minute they will want to line-up and run unbalanced wishbone against you.  They try to stay balanced whether they are in the gun or in the wishbone.  That is kind of two different offenses when comes right down to it.  What makes it go is the young man at quarterback,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “The spread game that they run is based like some of things we have seen out of Danville and Centerburg and those types of teams.  Their wishbone attack as far as some of the plays they want to run out of it is very similar to some of the plays that Colonel Crawford wants to run.  Colonel Crawford tends to be a little bit of a different animal so top speak with the type of bodies they have in a year in and year out basis.  This is a very storied program with a lot of playoff experience.  We are going into their house, so it is going to be a nice test for us right out of the gate.”

 

Published 11/04/16

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Lucas Has to Play Better

  

          Lucas did not win the Mid-Buckeye Conference title last week, but they still have plenty top play for this week.

          They still have a chance to earn their third straight visit to the postseason playoffs in division seven.

          They must have a win this Friday night at home against Kansas Lakota of the river division of the Sandusky Bay Conference if they are going to accomplish the goal.

          Last week, Danville stuffed Lucas (14-0) to win the “MBC” title.  Coach Scott Spitler says they didn’t finish things on offense and left their defense on the field too long.  “It was a very good football game between two good football teams and I thought our defense played well.  Well enough to win if we could have mustered up some consistency on offense.  We were not able to finish a couple of drives.  Our defense was on the field too long.  That was last week and we are disappointed obviously, but we’ve got to move on and we have a challenge this week,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We have got a lot to play for here.  It is important in our program that we send our seniors out with a victory in our last home game on senior night this Friday against Lakota.  Then we still have an opportunity for the post season if we can take care of business.”

          The Cubs (6-3) began the season with wins in six of their first seven games, but have lost their last two.  They stand seventh in their division seven region.  The top eight qualify for the first round of the playoffs.

          Lucas has had a lot of big wins over the last couple of years and Spitler says you can not allow the week before to linger in your mind whether it was a win or a loss.  “You have to move on to the next week because there is preparation and work to be done.  You can’t celebrate too long and you can’t dwell on the disappointment on the other side of it.  We watched film on Saturday morning and we kind of flushed it and moved on and are looking to get better this week,” he said,

          Lakota (2-7) lost last week to Fremont St. Joe (29-22) in a river division game.

          Spitler says the Raiders have some big play makers that can change the momentum of a game and they can’t allow that to happen to them on Friday night.  “I think offensively they cause some problems with what they do out of their spread offense.  The have a pretty good wide receiver corps with big play capability and that makes them very dangerous.  That’s a concern because when they can hit that deep pass or that big play can change the momentum in a game.  They have an athletic quarterback that does a nice job when things break down of making a play with his feet.  I think it is going to come down to who can establish the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football.  We have to get back to playing better football on both sides of the ball this week.  Take care of the football and play defense in better situations than we did last week,” said Spitler.

 

Published 10/25/16

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Lucas and Danville Play For First Place

  

          It has come down to these two again.  It will be Lucas or Danville that claims the Mid-Buckeye Conference title in 2016.  It will be the winner of the game Friday night at Wine Field in Lucas.

          Last year, Danville won the showdown (41-0) at their place and Friday night the Cubs want to return the favor on Friday night.

          Lucas (6-2,2-0) is coming off a (47-20) loss to Colonel Crawford last week in non-conference play.

          Coach Scott Spitler says they got beat at the line of scrimmage by the Eagles.  “We knew going into the game it was going to be a battle at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.  Colonel Crawford’s offensive and defensive lines kind of controlled that line of scrimmage for most of the night.  Once we got behind we weren’t able to close the gap.  Early in the fourth quarter we had cut it to 34-20 and forced them to turn it over on downs, but we were unable to do anything offensively.  We come back the very next drive and force them to punt and we get a roughing the punter penalty.  We had a n opportunity there to close it and we didn’t take advantage.  When you don’t do those kinds of things against programs like that you come out on the short end.  We are a good football team and we have to strap it back up and get to work this week,” said Spitler.

          Danville (5-3,2-0) picked up and “MBC” win last week as they blanked Loudonville (31-0) for their third straight win.

          The Blue Devils qualified for the division seven state semi finals last year, but they graduated 19 starters from that team.  Spitler says this year’s team has found its stride.  “A lot like us they graduated a talented senior class, but Ridge Durbin has passed they torch to his younger brother Skyler and offensively they really haven’t missed a beat.  They are operating out of their spread offense and putting quite a few points on the board.  He is the key to what they do,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “They have a really athletic and speedy group of wide receivers that they get the ball to in so many different ways.  They are going to stress you with how they spread the field horizontally and vertically, so you have to have a great night defensively.  Offensively, we have to get back to controlling the line of scrimmage and controlling the pace of the game and force them to play our game rather than reacting and playing their game.”

          This is a game for the Mid-Buckeye Conference title and Spitler says it is about pride too.  “We knew going into the season that the league runs through Danville.  They are the returning champions of the league.  We knew going in that we would have to beat them to have a shot at it and here we are, just like last year, both of us playing the league title here on week nine.  Looking back and talking to some of our alumni it has been a while since Lucas has beaten a Danville team.  I think it is back around 1991.  There is a lot more on the line than just a league championship.  It is about program pride and they are coming into our house.  Our kids want to make the post season and a win Friday will help that.  We are focusing this week in making sure Lucas is getting better everyday and we are going to come out and play hard and see where the cards end up at the end of the night,” said Spitler.

 

Published 10/19/16

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Lucas Tangles With Colonel Crawford

  

          Two teams that like to do a lot of the same things battle on Friday night in non-conference play as the Lucas Cubs host the Colonel Crawford Eagles.

          Both teams feature the running game, but have also shown the ability to complete some key passes this fall.

          Lucas (6-1,2-0) blasted Crestline (63-28) in a Mid-Buckeye Conference game last week, running for more than 400 yards. 

          Coach Scott Spitler was impressed.  “Coach Sipes has those guys playing well and they are very talented in the skilled positions.  It was a good night for us.  We were able to control the line of scrimmage and get the victory.  We have a whole other beast to tackle this week,” he said.

          When it comes to throwing it, the Cubs showed they could do that when they rallied to beat Loudonville (33-27) two weeks ago.  They don’t go to it a lot in games, but Spitler says they work a lot on the passing game.  “I don’t think we as coaches are really ever happy any part of our game.  We are constantly looking to get better.  I think all of us in the coaching profession are projectionist.  We never get totally satisfied or happy.  That is something we work on each and every week to get better at.  That is a part of our game we definitely need to have when we get into games where teams match us well up front and are going to take our bread and butter away and force is into that type of situation.  We spend a lot of time on it actually,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “A lot of people probably don’t believe that when I say that because we run the ball so well.  It is something we do spend a lot of time on continuously.  Hopefully when it comes time that we have to use it we can function at a high level and we were able to do that on that final drive against Loudonville and get the victory that night.”

          Colonel Crawford (5-2) destroyed Ridgedale (61-8) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game last Friday.

          They too like to run the football and Spitler says it is going to be a real battle up front between two pretty good offensive and defensive lines.  “As a coaching staff when we watched film we came away thinking we were looking at ourselves almost in the philosophy that they employ as well and control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.  They want to run the football and control the game that way.  With their quarterback and their talented receiving corps they can go over the top when they need to,” said Spitler.

 

Published 10/14/16

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Lucas Faces Improved Crestline

  

          Lucas plays at home for the first time in more than a month as they host Crestline in a Mid-Buckeye Conference game on Friday night.

          They share the conference lead with Danville after beating Loudonville (33-27) last week in their league opener.

          Lucas scored with less than 30 seconds to play to get the win when Jeb Grover hit Jackson Hauger with a TD pass.  Loudonville had taken their first lead in the game with about three minutes to play and coach Scott Spitler was thrilled with how his team responded.  “I thought both teams played really hard and left it all out on the field.  I didn’t really expect anything less from either team in a rivalry situation.  I thought early we had control of the game.  We had a couple of turnovers there in the second half that let them back in it.  We had to fight hard to get the win there at the end.  I was really pleased with how our kids handled the adversity.  We really stress to our kids and try to prep them to the fact that is not if, but when adversity hits and how do you handle it.  I was really proud of how our kids handled it went out and regrouped and got that victory in the end,” said Spitler.

          Lucas (5-1,1-0) has made the playoffs the last two years and right now stands second in its region in division seven.  Spitler says last week is an example wins that a solid program gets.  “That is what we are trying to do.  We are trying to build that championship quality program not for just one season or two seasons, but on a consistent basis.  I’ve got a great coaching staff and kids that are willing to come in and work hard on a daily basis and that makes things come together, especially with a supportive community that we have as well,” he said.

          Last year Lucas crushed Crestline (61-7,) but this year it will likely be a little closer as the Bulldogs (3-3,0-1) are vastly improved, although they did lose (34-7) to Danville last week.

           Spitler says the Bulldogs have a lot of weapons on offense.  “They are definitely improved and coach (Kevin) Sipes is doing a really good job over there in preparing the kids.  You can tell they are well coached.  I’ll tell you what J.R. Wolfe at quarterback and J.C. Clark at running back are a pretty good tandem and they are making plays.  Then when you toss it out to the outside there to a 6’4” wide receiver that is extremely athletic that can stretch the field it makes things tough.  Then like always it seems like Crestline year in and year out puts extremely huge guys on their offensive line.  This might be height and weight wise the biggest line we have faced all season.  They are big and physical and do a lot of things that really stress you as a defense,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “The quarterback is just an unbelievable athlete.  Some of things he does to extend plays when things break down it just keeps you up at night as a head coach and a defensive guy.  Defensively they get after it.  They are sound defensively.  It is going to take a four quarter effort.  We have to tighten things up here in practice so we can be ready for Friday night.”

 

Published 10/06/16

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Lucas With First League Test

  

          Lucas has won four its first five games heading to their first Mid-Buckeye Conference game on Friday night at Loudonvlle against the Redbirds.

          A (28-14) win over Waterloo last Friday has moved the Cubs (4-1,0-0) into the top spot in their computer region in division seven.  Friday night will be their fifth straight road game and coach Scott Spitler is very proud of what he has seen over the first half of the season.  “We talked to our kids that we are at the midway point of the season here and this will be our fifth straight game on the road.  The last two have been quite a trip being about an hour half, hour and 45 minutes one way to both West Jeff and Waterloo.  So, for our kids to battle the way they have and get the victory last week we are really proud of way we are right now,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “It doesn’t get any easier we have to go over to Loudonville on Friday night against a solid Loudonville team.  I think people are going to look at their record and thinks different things about them.  What I see is a team that is very talented that has played a very bear of a schedule the first half of the season with the like of Mogadore, undefeated Northwestern, and 4-1 Hillsdale and 4-1 Triway just name a few.  They are battle tested.  What I see on film is a team that is pretty talented.”

          With only four teams in the “MBC,” Danville and Crestline are the other two, Spitler thinks you are probably going to have to run the table to win the league.  “You look at the MBC the last two or three years you have to be unbeaten to be conference champs.  I know that is one of our goals with our kids.  Our football team has not won a conference title in any league they have been a part of, so I know that is one of the goals the kids set at the beginning of the season, but this is great rivalry.  You have two communities that are real close together.  A lot of our kids have grown up playing sports with kids from Loudonville in summer leagues and things like that.  So, there is a tremendous amount of respect.  There are a lot of families that have family members in both communities.  It’s going to be a great atmosphere and this is why you play the game of football for nights like Friday night.  Lucas and Loudonville are two football programs that want to win very badly and are going to leave it all out of the field,” said Spitler.

          Loudonville (0-5,0-0) is coming off a (40-14) loss to Mogadore last week.  Spitler the Redbirds have guys that can make big plays.  “They run out of the spread, some gun and some pistol out of the spread.  They have got a very athletic quarterback that can hurt you both running and passing as well as two hard running running backs in the backfield.  They have nice size up front.  They do a nice job of putting stress on the defense with a lot of formation shifts and motions and getting their guys in space against your guys defensively.  I think tackling in space is going to be a key for us on the defensive side of the ball.  On the offensive side of the ball we need to control the line of scrimmage, keep possession of the ball, and keep that talented offense off the field,” said Spitler.

 

Published 9/30/16

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Lucas Has to Get Back to Business

  

          Last week, Lucas had the tables turned on them by West Jefferson and they need to get back headed in the right direction as they travel to Waterloo on Friday night for a non-conference game.

          Most of the time it is Lucas that is running the ball and taking time off the clock, but coach Scott Spitler says last Friday that is exactly what the Rough Riders were doing to them.  “It was a very physical game between two good football teams and they are a very storied program.  They were motivated with us coming into their house.  They did to us what we usually do to teams.  They kind of kept the ball away from us and play a very physical game in the trenches and they came out on top in the end.  Coming away from the game our kids and our program and our team is going to be better playing a team of that caliber,” he said.

          Lucas (3-1) lost only once during the regular season last year, and that was to AP poll champ Danville, so they aren’t used to losing.  However, Spitler chalks it up as a learning experience. “Like I said they pretty much took our blueprint and turned it on us.  We had less than a dozen plays offensively in the second and third quarter because they kept the ball from us.  That doesn’t happen very often to us,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “That was pretty much the turning point in the game.  The kids played hard for four quarters and it was a very good football game.  We just came out on the short end of the sticks, but we are going to learn from it.  There are some things that we didn’t do well.  No one likes to lose, but at the end of the day we are going to be a better team playing that type of competition.”

          Lucas travels to Waterloo (2-2) on Friday night to face the Vikings.  They are coming off two straight wins over Conotton Valley (41-0) and Newbury (47-35) last week.  Spitler says they can produce some fireworks on offense and he says they must keep them off the field the best they can.  “They are a team offensively that kind of keeps you up at night.  They have a returner at quarterback who is a splendid athlete at 6’2” and 210 pounds.  He is a state qualifier in wrestling and is a tough kid.  They run the spread option offense.  You have to be extremely disciplined on defense with your assignments.  I think they hard to simulate in preparation during the week.  So, we have to have a great week of preparation.  We have to play our brand of football where we control it at the line of scrimmage and keep their offense off the field to help our defense out.  We have a lot work to do this week the get ready for their offense,” said Spitler.

 

Published 9/20/16

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Lucas facing Biggest Test

  

          Lucas will likely get its stiffest test of the season on Friday night as they travel to West Jefferson to play the tradition rich Rough Riders.

          On game three last week, they started a little slow, but rebounded to beat Northmor (37-12) to remain unbeaten.

          There were only a couple of scores early for the usually high scoring Cubs, but coach Scott Spitler things they did a good job of getting back on track.  “Last Friday was a little uncharacteristic.  We had a turnover early and we had a big penalty that stalled a drive.  We went right down the field and got in the red zone and got a holding penalty that kind of set us back behind the sticks a little bit.  I wasn’t pleased with the crispness that we came out with last Friday, but our kids really railed and took care of business,” he said.

          When it comes to battling adversity Spitler thinks the Cubs are pretty good and that is because of their training.  “Our kids do a nice job and it is a result of my coaching staff doing a nice job of getting our kids to understand that it is not if adversity is going to happen, but when adversity is going to happen and how we handle it.  It think when our kids faced a little adversity at the beginning of the game last week they kept their composure and got back to doing what we do fundamentally,” said Spitler.

          West Jefferson (1-2) is an every year playoff school, but the Rough Riders have allowed some points this year, including last week’s loss to (49-9) to Jackson. 

          Spitler says his team is facing a big team that used to winning.  “You are talking about a very storied football team.  Their coach has been there 15 seasons now and they have been in the playoffs in 13 of those 15 seasons with a final four finish.  So, they have a proud football tradition and they play really good football.  It is just a great atmosphere there in a rural suburb of Columbus.  When it is Friday night football time they are the only show in town.  It is going to be a great atmosphere between two teams that want to get it done,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Offensively they are very multiple in what they do.  You see a lot of different skilled positions being rotated in.  Their size up front is probably the biggest team that we have seen this season so far.  They average about 6’2”, 250 across their offensive line.  We are going to have to do a good job defensively of controlling the line of scrimmage and preventing big plays.”

          With the double wing, double tight offense, the Cubs have to be good up front and Spitler says that is especially the case this week.  “I think that is important for us each and every week.  That is why in the off season we spend the time in the weight room and the conditioning.  With the brand of football we want to play we want to establish the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football.  We have pretty good experience of there, but they are going to get tested on Friday night.  They have had a really good week of practice and now it is time to go out and get the job done,” said Spitler.

 

Publlished 9/16/16

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Lucas Working on Better Defense

  

          Lucas is two for two so far on this young high school football season, but they are also a team with some potential.

          They play at Northmor (0-2) in a non-conference game on Friday night.

          They are coming off a (42-28) win over Centerburg last week.  Coach Scott Spitler says they made some big plays and executed well, but he wants his team to finish the game better.  “I really appreciate how hard the kids are working.  They execute at a high level offensively.  The big thing I think we need to do a better job at is making sure we keep that foot on the pedal for four quarters.  Last week, we took the foot of the gas a little there late in the game and allowed Centerburg to tighten it up a little bit on us there at the end of the game.  I think we are executing well up front and we probably have two of the best backs in the area.  We are excited about how we are getting better each day,” said Spitler.

          The Cubs (20-0) win on week one was also a high scoring game as they beat East Canton (49-27) to open the season.  Spitler says their defense is young, but getting better.  “I think that side of the ball has had the most losses due to graduation, so we have some inexperience and some youth playing there right now.  That is something where we are getting better each day with every rep we are getting better.  A lot of times it takes those game reps to get that experience and get that game speed,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “It is really hard for the scout teams to simulate the team speed like we faced against Centerburg.  I think defensively they are preparing well and taking to coaching and getting better every day and each game.  When you lose some of the talented players we lost defensively to graduation young kids have to come along quicker than usual.  They have been up to the challenge and working hard to do that.”

          Northmor lost in overtime (24-21) to Worthington Christian last week.  However, Spitler says the Golden Knights really have some game breakers.  “They have went away from their more traditional wing-T offense to more of a spread package offensively led by senior quarterback Jordan Wiseman and Mr. everything slot back Demetrious Johnson.  He is a guy that every time he touches the ball could take it to the house.  It is real important that defensively we understand where he is and their formations and we tackle well in space.  Offensively we have to be who we are and take care of the football and control the line of scrimmage.  I think it is going to be a classic battle.  They always do a nice job of playing us tough.  We are at their place week three on the road.  When we get over there we have to be ready to play football,” he said.

 

Published 9/09/16

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Lucas to Face Athletic Centerburg

  

          Lucas got its season stated on the right foot last week with a win, but the challenge will be tougher when they face Centerburg on the road this week.

          The Cubs scored five times in the first half last week went on to bury East Canton (49-27) in their opener at Bob Wine Field last Friday night.

          Coach Scott Spitler says it was a solid effort by the Cubs.  “It was a good way to open the season.  The kids were well prepared and played well enough to get that victory.  It is always good to start that way.  It was extra motivation and kind of taking a step and preparing for this week.   We have a tough task this week.  The kids started Monday with some good preparation.  We just need to continue to build on that each day this week with a good Centerburg team this Friday,” said Spitler.

          Still improvement can be made for the Cubs.  Spitler says the special teams need to execute better and they need to be able to contain the Trojans form getting to the perimeter.  “I thought there were a couple of areas in special teams.  Our kickoff team and our punt team where we can make some improvements.  I think defensively being able to set the edge a little bit better from the outside linebacker position.  It will be important for us this week against a very speedy Centerburg team,” he said.

          Centerburg beat Utica (31-19) in their first game last week and the Trojans and Lucas have developed a little bit of a non-conference rivalry in recent years.

          Spitler says Centerburg has a lot of athleticism on offense that they will have to contend with.  “They return their starting quarterback from last year in Gunnar Gregory, who is a dual threat guy,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “The have a running back that ran for 247 yards and three touchdowns last week Utica in Jacob Rings.  They are led in their receiving corps by 6’3” 190-210 wide receiver Sterling Armstrong, who was All-Ohio last year at wide out.  He has received a couple of offers from D-one schools.”

 

Published 8/30/16

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Lucas Wants the Line of Scrimmage

  

          The strategy is pretty simple for the Lucas Cubs:  dominate the line of scrimmage and they have been pretty good at it over the last couple of years.

          Their football in a phone booth approach has led to two straight playoffs appearances.

          They open the season on Friday night by hosting East Canton in a non-conference game.

          Coach Scott Spitler says he likes the work they have been putting in and their approach to Friday night.  “I am definitely confident in our players that they are going to be chomping at the bit to get out there and finally kick the 2016 season off.  We still have some work to get done this week in preparation for Friday.  I like where our kid’s minds are at and where their work ethic is at right now,” he said.

          The Cubs were hit kind of hard by graduation and there will be some new guys getting their first varsity starts on Friday.  Spitler thinks those kids will be ready to perform.  “This is going to the first time for a few of them starting under the Friday night lights.  That’s where they have to rely on that preparation and the confidence of being 1/11th of the team out there, the unit out there at a time and understand they don’t have to do it by themselves.  Football is the ultimate team sport,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We have to make sure we rely on each other and pick each other up.  I think our upperclassmen, our experienced players, have done a nice job to this date with practice and preparation of doing that with our inexperienced young guys.  Hopefully, that pays off on Friday night.”

          East Canton is new to the Cubs schedule.  Spitler says they have some beef and they are multiple in the offensive side of the ball.  “They are big up front on the line scrimmage on both sides of the ball.  I think that is going to be a nice battle to be had for both teams.  We feel like we are pretty solid up front.  We have kind of challenged our guys up front to battle what they bring in the trenches.  Offensively they are going to be pretty balanced.  They like to run out of the “I” but they will also do some shotgun spread.  They have a three year starter at quarterback, who is kind of a duel threat.  He really puts pressure on the edges of the defense.  We are going to have to be very disciplined defensively.  We are going to need to have a good game out of our linebackers Friday night.  Offensively we have to we have to be who we are, take care of the football, and establish long drives,” said Spitler.

 

Published 8/24/16

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Lucas Gearing up for the Season

 

          Lucas has been one of the best small school football powers in North Central Ohio over the last couple seasons, making the playoffs two years running and losing only twice last fall, to Danville and in the third round of the division seven playoffs to McComb.

          This month they are trying to put together another strong team.

          Coach Scott Spitler says his kids have worked really hard in preparing for the season, but more work needs to be done.  “I really like our kids work ethic and how they have approached each day and each scrimmage, but I would say, probably like every coach in the state, we are still not were we want to be and we have things that we need to continue to work on and get better before week one gets here.  It’s right around the corner and we are running out of time, so as coaches that is what keeps you up at night.  We are really pushing our players to fine tune things are get ready for week one,” said Spitler.

          Lucas opens the season next Friday against East Canton.

          They play New London this Friday in their final scrimmage and Spitler says that is a good learning tool for the players.  “I really appreciate the scrimmages and they are extremely valuable because other team’s older kids are going to help you find things that you need to work on and get better at more so than your scout team during the week.  So, the scrimmages have been good so far in trying to determine where we need to be better and we have been able to see those areas.  That kind of guides what we need to do each day trying to get ready for week one,” he said.

          Spitler says this scrimmage in particular will be helpful in preparing the football team for next week, “I think the kids are always looking forward to go against somebody other than their own teammates because that is the guy they work against everyday.  It also brings another level of intensity when they get to go against somebody else.  Facing New London this Friday in our final scrimmage is good because some of the things they do offensively and defensively mirror what we are going to see week one against East Canton,” he told Swankonsports.com in a conversation on Monday night, “So, we are looking forward to getting better each day this week and hopefully find some things out against New London, some areas that we need to continue to improve on, so we can get them buttoned up before week one.

 

Published 8/15/16

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Lucas Still Thinking Big

 

          Lucas won two playoff football games last year before losing to McComb in the division seven regional final.

          They are confident this year will bring more success.

          Coach Scott Spitler says the winning they did last season (11-2) has brought a good attitude this year.  “I think the biggest thing it does for our program is the confidence our kids have in each other, but also it creates that expectation level that they have had for themselves.  In setting their goals for the season in what they want to accomplish having that success and building on that has really set the table.  In the four previous years they were hoping to reach those kinds of goals and now we have that expectation level and that is driving our team and how they prepare,” said Spitler.

          There have now been three days of practice this week and Spitler there has been a lot of excitement and hard work.  “I like the worth ethic of our kids.  It seems like each year we are adding three or four new kids.  This is biggest roster size I have had since I have been at Lucas.  It keeps growing each year, that’s a positive thing.  Our middle school program numbers are up.  There is a lot of excitement in the program.  Our kids are working really hard.  There are some spots that have been opened up by a big senior class that did a lot of good things for us the last couple of years.  The kids that are back are working to fill those open spots and keep the ball rolling,” he said.

          Lucas lost a very good season class to graduation that seemed to get better every year.  Spitler says this year’s players learned from them and they are ready to fill those shoes.  “Even though last season we had a tremendous season from our running back Mason Galco we have a stable of running backs that are pretty solid.  We are basically just handing the baton over.  These are players that were a big part of our success last year as freshmen and sophomores.  Now it is there turn and they are chomping at the bit and you can see it in there work ethic that they can take it to another level.  We have good competition to replace Rueben Luna at the quarterback position.  That is going to be one of our key battles this season to see who will step in and do that,” her told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We have some bodies to replace at the linebacker position.  We had a four year starter in Ryan Cook, who had been an all conference player for us the last couple of years.  Our kids have really taken on the challenge and they want to keep things going in the right direction.  The expectations they have set for themselves are probably higher than anyone else has for them.”

 

Published 8/04/16
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Lucas Belts Mohawk in District Semis

 

          Courtney Harris blasted two home runs and Lucas hammered Mohawk (13-6) in a division four district semi final on Tuesday afternoon at Shelby High School.

          They return on Friday night to play Plymouth (19-4) for a chance to play in the regional tournament.

          Coach Jim Rader says they were able to get some early offense.  "We came out in the first inning and put some back to back hits together and scored four runs.  Had some timely hitting and took advantage of some things and really had a good offensive night," he said.

          Lucas (17-5) has shown solid improvement during this season.  Rader says they preach a focus on all of the things that make a good softball team.  "We started out the year buy beating Hillsdale and we have had some very key games in between and have put a lot of good things together.  We have improved," he told Swankonsports.com after the win over Mohawk, "We talked about playing defense and being aggressive at the plate.  We talk about communication and doing the little things that can make a big difference on a daily basis.  They have improved a great deal and have done a great job so far."

          Lucas has played a tough schedule that has included "OCC" champion Clear Fork and state ranked Danville and many others and Rader says that has made them better.  "We have had an opportunity to play Hillsdale, Clear Fork, Danville, Loudonville, Crestview, and Black River.  We have had the opportunity to play some really good teams.  You can't always count on what is in your league, but you want to make your non league as tough as you can and get yourself in position to compete not only during the season, but in the post season also," he said.

          Plymouth beat New London (2-1) on Tuesday and although they did not play the Lady Big Red in the regular season, Rader says they know what they are getting into, including Plymouth pitcher Addy Horne, who features a plus 60 MPH fastball.  "We are going to see a good pitcher.  We had an opportunity, way back in March, to have a scrimmage with them.  Both teams had a very productive scrimmage at that point and time.  We got to see them a little bit (Tuesday) night.  We are going to have to bring our "A" game and continue to do what has got us this far.  If we do that and continue to do that we can have some very positive results," said Rader.

 

Published 5/18/16

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Lucas Confident They can Pull the Upset

 

          Lucas is sort of team ready to make a surprise and they believe they can challenge the number one team in the district.

          The Cubs (7-15) play the Sandusky St. Mary's Panthers (20-3), #2 in the final Swanonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the small school division, in the division four sectional final at Sandusky High School on Friday night.

          St. Mary's pounded Crestline (65-32) in a first round game on Tuesday night.  Lucas coach Taylor Iceman says they looked good, but they see some kinks in the amour too.  "They took care of business.  They beat Crestline pretty handily.  They have some size and some petty good guard play that's what they have won 20 games.  They have done a lot of things right.  At the same time I think we can match up with them.  I think a lot of things we do well can cause them some problems as well.  We are excited about the opportunity.  We are telling our kids we have no pressure.  We are supposed to get beat.  I think we have a pretty good shot at it if we come out and play well.  I was nice to see them live, we have some film, but t was nice to see them live," said Iceman.

          Trenton Zimmerman is a 6'5' post that runs the floor and shoots from the perimeter for St. Mary's.  However, Iceman feels they have a couple guys that can stay with him.  "Fortunately for us our bigs are not true post up guys Ruenen Luna and Sam Davis, our two seniors that have some size, they are both about 6'2".  They have some foot speed, they can move.  I have asked those two to defend all types of players this year.  I told them Zimmerman is usually an nightmare to match up with due to his size and shooting ability and he can handle the ball and shoot from the outside," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "We don't have that big 6'4", 6'5" post up guy.  Our bigs can get outside and move their feet.  I am confident in what we've got.  They are good, you don't win 20 games by being lucky.  We are going to have to play well to have a chance.  After seeing them play, and seeing some film, we are pretty confident."

          Being the top seed there is more pressure on St. Mary's and Iceman says they want to make this a close game in the fourth quarter.  "That is one thing we have talked about.  They haven't had a ton of close games this year.  A lot of the teams they have played are not from around this area, but two teams that we know very well, St. Pete's and South Central, are two of their three losses.  Those are to teams that we have played and know very well.  The pressure is on them.  I don't know if they are going to overlook us, they are the number one see, we are the number 11 seed, we have seven wins, they have 20.  I hope they take us serious because I think they should, but if they aren't going to I am all for it.  It's about getting the kids to believe, because our coaching staff is confident that if we play well we are going to have a chance to win," said Iceman.

 

Published 2/25/16

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Lucas Looking for the Upset

 

          Lucas is a basketball team still trying to get over that final hurdle and they will have a tough one to clear on Tuesday night as they travel to Mansfield St. Peter's to play the Mid-Buckeye Conference leading Spartans.

          A St. Peter's win gives them no less than a share of the conference title.

          The Cubs lost last Friday at Danville (60-51) in a conference game and then at Crestview (46-45) in a non-league game on Saturday.

          Coach Taylor Icemen says the Saturday loss was particularly hard to take.  "We started the weekend off with Danville down at Danville.  We played fairly decent, but we just didn't make shots. but all and all it wasn't too bad," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "Saturday, we went down to Crestview and played a great first half and were ahead by 11 at the half.  The they made a run and we played pretty even the second half.  Down the stretch they got the ball.  They ended up getting three shots in the last 30 seconds or so.  They kept getting offensive rebounds and put it up and we fouled.  They made a free throw to go up one.  We drew up a play and had a couple of good looks at it and we put one in, but it was about a tenth of a second too late.  It was a tough way to lose, but it is  learning process.  That is a tough way to do it, but we have to take as much positive as we can from that."

          Lucas (6-13,3-8) will be at St. Peter's (17-3,9-1), #2 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the small school division, on Tuesday night.

          In the first meeting, the Spartans were (57-40) winners at Lucas, but the Cubs led at halftime.  Iceman says the Spartans show a lot of balance on the floor.  "They move the ball well.  They have three or four guys that can hurt you on any night.  There is no one person that stands out.  They share the ball, they play really hard defensively and offensively.  A lot times their defense leads to their offense.  They can get transition buckets by getting stops on the defensive end and they have some guys that can hit shots.  Together it is the making of a good team.  They are an all around pretty solid team, but we played with them the first time around.  We are playing pretty good right now, so it is an opportunity for us to go out and see where we are at and play a good team at this time of the year," said Iceman.

          The Cubs has shown some flashes of good play in about every game this year, but Iceman says they just have to be more consistent when they play, especially teams like St. Peter's.  "That has been the story of our season we really haven't had a game where we have put it together for four quarters.  We were beating them at halftime the last time we played.  Even well into the third quarter it was a back and forth game we just ran out of gas.  Learning how to play at their pace and at their level for a full game is what we want to do, but getting their is a different story.  It is another opportunity to play a very good team.  It is a great team to be playing at this time of year to find out where you are at and what you have to work on come tournament time," said Iceman.

 

Published 2/16/15

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Lucas Getting Closer

 

          Step by step the Lucas Cubs are becoming a better boys' basketball team as this season unfolds.

          Last weekend, they played two Mid-Buckeye Conference games, losing to Mansfield Christian (57-53) in overtime on Friday and beating Crestline (60-52) on Saturday.

          Coach Taylor Iceman says they almost had the Mansfield Christian game too, but they just couldn't come up with the right play at the right time.  "We played well.  We were in it the entire game with Mansfield Christian, but unfortunately they kind of shot the lights out.  They made nine three pointers.  Last year when a team would make a run like that we would get beat by 25 or 30 and at the beginning of this year we would lose by whatever the run was because we were play even the rest of the game and we couldn't make up any ground," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "The boys fought back and played some defense and scored and were able to tie it back up there and get it to overtime.  We missed some free throws, but like I said we played pretty well.  You hate to lose a game like that being that close, but it all part of the process of learning to become a better team."

          He says confidence is coming and the players are learning that if they keep working hard they can win games.  "A big part to our second half of the season is getting our kids to believe in themselves, play as a team, and realize that we can be pretty decent.  I think that is half of the battle and we are learning that.  We need to keep headed in the right direction and keep having games like we had this past weekend and they will start to buy in and feel a little bit of that confidence and win games," he said.

          Lucas (5-9,2-6) is at Kidron Central Christian (6-6,6-4) for a Mid-Buckeye Conference game on Tuesday night.  The Comets won three weeks ago (33-32) when the Cubs missed a last second shot.  Iceman says the Comets are patient and try to make you do things you don't want to do.  "A lot of their scores are down in the 30's.  Mansfield Christian turned around and played them on Saturday night and Mansfield Christian won 34-31.  That is right were Central Christian wants the score to be.  They like to get in that zone and possess the ball when they have it.  If you speed things up a lot of times you are going to have turnovers and that plays into their game as well.  We have to be patient and look for good shots and not turn the ball over because they do pressure out of that 2-3 zone.  We lost by one to them last time.  That was a frustrating game, but that is what they do.  It will be a tough game because they play well in their gym," said Iceman.

 

Published 2/02/16

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Lucas Can Do it

  

          Lucas is certainly more competitive than they have been in recent years and now they are ready to win more.

          Last weekend, the Cubs led talented Mansfield St. Peter's at halftime before losing (57-40) and then beat Monroeville (54-45) in the first game in Monroeville's new gym on Saturday night.

          Coach Taylor Iceman feels their efforts last weekend were clearly a step in the right direction.  "We are  happy.  We knew it was going to be tough to beat St. Pete's.  We wanted to pay well and feel good about ourselves after that game.  We played really good and at the half had a 23-20 lead.  The they came out and you could tell coach Jakubick got into to those guys a little bit at halftime.  They came out and kind of played at another level making some three point shots.  All and all we played petty well.  We got beat, but overall we took a lot of positives from that game.  Then went over to Monroeville Saturday night in their brand new gym, nice gym and got the first win in that gym.  It was good to win.  Now we will start in with the "MBC" a second time and we are looking forward to that," said Iceman.

          It is two games in the Mid-Buckeye Conference for the Cubs (4-8,1-5) this week at Mansfield Christian (7-6,5-2) on Friday and home for Crestline (1-15,0-10) on Saturday.

          Iceman thinks they are ready to not just be competitive, but win more during the second half of the league schedule starting Friday night.  "The first time around that was a out very first game.  We all know the football story.  We played pretty well, but I feel we are at another level now.  We have some guys back, we are healthy, we have our legs under us, and feel a little bit of confidence coming off last weekend.  After playing the first round of the Mid-Buckeye Conference we got to see everybody.  I don't think there is anybody that was are absolutely scared of and we can't beat those guys," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "We think we can play with pretty much anybody.  Confidence is going to be a big thing for us going forward.  Just believing in ourselves that we can do it and it starts on Friday.  Going over to their place with our sectional tournament draw and all of that stuff coming up here.  It would be a great time to go in there and not only beat a team that is in our league, but our sectional draw."

          When it comes to the Flames, Iceman says they know they are going to have to be solid in their ball handling.  "That is something that we have harped on all year.  We have been better about it lately.  That is a team we would like to model ourselves after.  Coach Kurtz, he is known for that defense.  We need to get after it and pressure and create turnovers.  If we can do that we can create some offense that way.  Playing hard defense is only going to create more offense.  Like I said we have to handle the pressure and take care of the ball.  We have been playing hard and working on a lot of the little things to value the ball, make some free throws and make some shots and we can beat anyone on our schedule the rest of the way out," said Iceman.

 

Published 1/29/16

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Lucas to run With St. Pete's

 

          Lucas lost last week to a co-leader in the Mid-Buckeye Conference and this Friday night will play the other, but they will be different challenges.

          Last Friday, the Cubs missed a last second shot and lost to Kidron Central Christian (33-32) in an "MBC" game.  Coach Taylor Iceman says they certainly had their chances to win that game.  "Kidron plays extremely hard and they are good at what they do.  They also beat Loudonville and Mansfield Christian is the same kind of game.  They like to slow it down.  They play good aggressive defense.  They force you to make bad decisions and we fell into that.  We had 24 turnovers and I watched film the other day and I counted 15 missed layups.  So, definitely a frustrating loss, but once again we are learning how to win games.  We took the lead with under a minute to go and just couldn't finish.  We are a young team and we are learning," said Iceman.

          Iceman says that the Comets are really the kind of team they can be.  "It is a perfect example of what I tell our kids Central Christian is not a very talented team, but they play hard and they do all of this little things right.  I told our kids after the game they are a perfect example if you work hard and value the ball and do things right you are going to win some games that maybe you wouldn't think you would.  It's a frustrating loss, but we will keep going as we head towards another conference game with St. Pete's on Friday," he said.

          Lucas (3-7,0-4) will be at home for Mansfield St. Peter's (11-2,4-1), #3 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the small school division, for a league game.  Iceman says despite the Spartans talent, this might be a better match-up for them.  "I actually watched the St. Pete's-Central Christian film and St Pete's was able to overcome that zone by just getting that ball out and running their transition and shooting layups.  It all starts for them on the defensive end by creating turnovers and getting out in transition.  We are an athletic team, we have a lot of athletes, we don't shoot the ball necessarily well, but teams with high tempo we can match up with.  We don't have any big, true post players, so we match up with them well," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "We have knack of playing to our competition's level, which is good when we talk about playing against St. Pete's.  We also know if we don't come out and play they can run us out of them gym really quick.  It will be a good test.  It is the last conference team, we have played everybody else.  We feel pretty good about ourselves.  We can play with anybody.  St. Pete's is obviously the class of the league, so we will see where we stand.  We are going to come out and play as hard as we can and try to get better.  We are good enough where we can beat anyone on any given night, but also if we don't play well and value the ball and turn it over and miss layups we can get beat."

 

Published 1/19/16

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Lucas With More Depth

 

          Lucas is continuing to get better as this season goes on and the Cubs are developing some more depth.

          They host Kidron Central Christian in a Mid-Buckeye Conference game on Friday night.

          Lucas lost a non-conference game to Hillsdale (62-45) on Saturday night, but coach Taylor Iceman liked the energy they showed in the game.  "We talked about that Saturday night in he locker room after the game when I addressed the kids that we are more competitive.  We knew we were going to have to play well to beat them.  Certainly we could have beaten them if we came out and played hard.  They weren't an unbeatable team, by any means, but we got better Saturday night.  We had a little lapse in the second quarter where they were able to stretch it out to 10 or 12 points and then we were able to play even with them.  I got a lot of complements from people about how well the boys responded and played Saturday night against a pretty good Hillsdale team.  They have a good mix of size, guard speed and shooting.  We weren't able to make up that kind of ground against a good team like Hillsdale," said Iceman.

          Central Christian has played in a lot of games that are in the 40's or lower.  Iceman says they are really patient.  "What I have picked up on in watching some film on them is they are well coached, they don't have a ton of talent this year, but the kids know their roles and they are very disciplined and they play hard.  They play smart and they don't turn the ball over.  They are deliberate.  They take good shots.  They are going to throw some zone at us, which we have seen a little bit this year.  It's another chance for us to work on that.  It's a team where they have lost a couple where you wouldn't think that they would and they have won a couple that you wouldn't think they would either.  It's another opportunity in a conference game for us to go out and get a win," he said.

          Against a team like this, Iceman says you must make sure you show some patience and not try and force things and do things that are out of your skill set.  "Being part of our football coaching staff, so I have been on the other end of that.  It is frustrating when you get behind.  A team like that forces you to do some things that you wouldn't normally do because you aren't going to have as many possessions.  We know how that works.  We have to keep working hard and getting better.  It will be a good game for us and hopefully it will show some of our growth and maturity," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "Our starting point guard, we plan on him playing again, he has been out for a few.  We also have learned some things.  One of our guards, Jeb Grover, a freshman, from the football season, we know is a great athlete, stepped up and played and got some great minutes and that is somebody count on down the road.  Jackson Hauger, another one of our football guys stepped in when Brian Sauder, our starting point guard was out.  I think we have more depth."

 

Published 1/15/16

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Lucas Finding Some Things

 

          Lucas is starting to win games and more over they are competitive in most them and that is a change from they way it has been the last couple of years.

          Last week, they lost one to South Central (62-44) and then turned around the next night and beat Fredericktown (61-51) and coach Taylor Iceman, in his first year, says that win over the Freddies has put some smiles on some faces.  "We played pretty terrible on Tuesday night and South Central beat us by 18 and we came out the next night and looked like we knew what we were doing and played pretty good and beat decent team.  So, it was good to end that way with the break now that we have had.  It was a nice win," he said.

          Lucas (3-3) has wins over Northmor (54-52) and Crestline (62-37) too.  Iceman says they have been aggressive on offense and that have gotten them to the foul line and they have just been better on defense.  "I have been really happy with how we have been attacking on offense.  We have been shooting a lot of free throws.  Now, we are only shooting 58 percent from the line, but we are shooting a lot of free throws.  We are still early on with the football season, so hopefully we can cash in on that a little bit," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "Our defense has been a lot better, there has been a lot of emphasis on that,  It has given us a chance in games.  The last three years we have flat out not been competitive in most games.  The kids have seen the light at the end of the tunnel.  It has been nice to get a few wins.  It keeps them hungry."

          The holidays can be a turning point for a lot of teams and Iceman feels it has been good for them.  "We have gotten a week's worth of practice, which we desperately needed to get guys healthy and get their legs back and get to work on some things.  The kids effort and their hard work in practice has been the major difference," he said.

          Clear Fork (1-5) comes to Lucas for a non-conference game on Saturday night.  The Colts play a number of freshmen and sophomores, but Iceman says those kids have talent.  "They are a young team playing in a difficult league, obviously.  I have gotten to watch the film with the Loudonville game.  They are young and they are going to make mistakes, but at the same time the youngsters that they have are pretty talented for their age.  Sometimes they are going to make mistakes, but they are learning.  They like to shoot the three ball offensively, so we have got to defend the three point shots and box out and rebound and limit them to one shot.  Hopefully, it will be a good game and we can get another "W," said Iceman

 

Published 12/31/15

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Lucas With Two Non-Conference Games

 

          The Lucas Cubs have won two of their first four basketball games this year, which is an improvement when you think of the last couple of years.

          They handled Crestline pretty easily (62-37) in a Mid-Buckeye Conference game on Saturday night.  Coach Taylor Iceman says they played pretty well after sluggish start to the game.  "We played hard.  We were a little sloppy early, but we got things going in the second half.  It was good to pick up a win, the boys have been playing hard and there have been a lot of games and not many days, but we continue to get better," he said.

          Iceman hopes the Cubs can be more competitive in conference games than they have been in recent years.  He says the win Saturday is something they can build on for the rest of the year.  "I have been around the program.  I have been the freshmen coach here the last three years.  Since we have rejoined the "MBC" we have won one conference game.  We beat Danville last year, so that has been a point of emphasis.  With three of our first four game being conference games it was nice to go out there and get that one and we can hopefully build on that," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "The conference is very balanced this year.  I think there are a lot of teams that could contend for the league title.  We played Loudonville on Friday night and we didn't play very well and lost by five.  We told ourselves that we didn't play very well and were still in the game.  It is something to build on there as we get into the rest of our conference schedule."

          South Central (4-2,) the Firelands Conference co-leader, pays a visit to Lucas (2-2) on Tuesday night.  Iceman says the Trojans can score the ball and they will need to play outstanding defense.  "We have prided ourselves this year on trying to build a defensive program and it will be a challenge.  We played them in the regular season last year and actually played them in the tournament.  They have a lot of kids back from last year.  They are very good on the offensive end.  We have to bring our "A" game and continue to play hard on defense.  We look forward to them coming to our place and have a good competitive game on (Tuesday) night," said Iceman.

          It as weekday back to back for the Cubs with Christmas being on Friday this year.  Fredericktown (2-2) will be at Lucas on Wednesday night.  The Freddies, like Lucas had a long football run.  They played Loudonville on Saturday night and lost (70-67) to the Redbirds in non-conference play.  Iceman says they are going to try and control the tempo a little bit.  "There will be two contrasting styles on back to back nights.  It might be nice to slow down the pace on the second night.  We did play Friday-Saturday and we will play Tuesday-Wednesday again.  Setting down and watching some film they did play Loudonville.  They played them Saturday and we played them Friday and they knocked them off by three.  It is a good opportunity to win a couple of games here at home," he said.

 

Published 12/22/15

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Lucas Just has to Get in Shape

 

          Lucas is just getting its basketball season under way and they still aren't in basketball shape quite yet.

          In their opener last Friday, the Cubs lost to Mansfield Christian (60-46) in Mid-Buckeye Conference play.  Coach Taylor Icemen, in his first year at the helm, says they really just ran out of gas.  "I really wanted them to focus and play hard right from the start and we were up 11-5 after the first quarter.  Everything seems to be going well and then one of our seniors got his faced smashed into the floor.  He got five stitches under his chin, two on his nose, and broke his nose.  So, we lost him and also there was a period of about 10 minutes when everything slowed down," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "At then end of the second quarter we got tired.  We are not in the best of shape.  We have had our team together for only two weeks and we didn't have a chance to do any scrimmages.  That was our first game action and I knew we weren't in great shape.  The second quarter killed us.  I think we outscored them the other three quarters combined, but that second quarter we got outscored 21-6, so not good there."

          As far as improving, Iceman thinks they aren't that far away as long as they can get their basketball legs.  He knows they have the athletes.  "I think it can be sooner than later.  When we get ourselves in shape so we can concentrate on all of the little things we are going to be a different ball club.  We have some athletes.  The football team did well and in a small school it is a lot of the same kids.  We do have the same athletes, but there is a difference between football and basketball conditioning.  I think when we get that taken care of we will be headed in the right direction," he said.

          Lucas will host Northmor (1-2,) of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference blue division, for a non-conference game on Tuesday night.  Iceman says they are going to have to be patient in order to score the ball against the Golden Knights.  "They have some size.  I have seen a little bit of film on them.  They like to get up and pressure and they like to attack them rim on offense.  We just have to slow down and be patient with the ball and box out.  If we do that we will definitely have an opportunity.  We practiced a little Saturday, we came in (Monday) and then we are back at it (Tuesday.)  Not is not a lot of practice time.  We place Friday, Saturday and then turn around and play Tuesday, Wednesday.   So, not a lot practice time to improve what we do and conditioning.  We will have to do a lot of that conditioning through the game," said Iceman.

 

Published 12/15/15

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Lucas to Play in first Regional Title Game

 

          Lucas plays McComb in the division seven regional finals of the high school football playoffs on Friday night at Tiffin's Frost-Kalnow Stadium for the right to advance to the state semi finals next week.

          The Cubs (11-1) railed from a second half deficit to beat Tiffin Calvert (44-35) last week in a regional semi-final game.  They trailed twice in the second half, but coach Scott Spittler says they didn't get rattled.  "I think that comes from the leadership of our seniors and the type of family mentality that we have.  It is a real brotherhood among all of the guys.  They respect each other and play for each other.  That is really what we talk about, playing for each other and who is going to step up and make the plays and it was several guys.  It was a team effort.  It just seemed that everybody was doing their part to make a play and go out and get the victory and I am just extremely proud of them," said Spitler.

          This is the first time Lucas has ever played in a regional final and Spitler thinks he kids are just pumped for a chance to go out and prove something.  "I think they are extremely thankful for the way that the community has supported them and they know how special that is.  It is all family.  It has just been a tremendous atmosphere.  What I think it has done is it has made them even more hungrier to go out and get the victory on Friday night because they are just really enjoying the extra time together and they just don't want it to stop," he said.

          This the 19th time the McComb Panthers have made the state playoffs.  it the fifth straight time and the eighth time in the last nine years.  However, Spitler says they aren't playing all of those other teams.  "They have a lot of tradition, but we are not playing that tradition, we are playing this year's team.  I really think our guys and approached this the right way.  We are going to have our hands full.  They are not the number one seed for no reason.  They weren't projected as a state championship competitor in preseason for nothing.  The analyses knew going into the season they were extremely talented and they have shown that week to week," he said.

          McComb made the state semi finals in 2012.

          They downed Leipsic (35-12) last week in their regional final.  Spitler says the Panthers (11-1) are a big team than can run it or pass it.  "They are kind of a different monster than we have seen this season.  They are extremely large up front.  They are the biggest team that we have seen all season and then they are extremely balanced in what they do.  They can line up and pound you running the ball.  If they need to throw the ball the quarterback is extremely athletic and accurate in the passing game and the skilled guys they have around him are really dangerous.  They cause a problem defensively because of their balance," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "Whether it is running or passing they are equally as good and that makes it tough for you defensively.  Then on defense they are big up front on the line of scrimmage and their linebackers and DB's are extremely quick to the ball and are sideline to sideline players.  We will have our hands full and we have to let in all hang out and see where we are at at the end of the night on Friday."

          McComb's only loss this season came on the opening week when defending division seven state champion Marion Local, in division six this year, beat them (24-22) in a non-conference game.  They then went the next eight weeks allowing no more than a score per game.

          If they are to slow down the Panthers and give themselves a chance to win, Spitler says they going to have to play very sound defense.  "In the simplest form the game is about blocking and tackling and we have to do well in both of those areas.  We have to be tough at the line of scrimmage because of their size.  They average 265 across the offensive line.  They have twin tackles in Matt and Mike Cherry are both 6'5", 290.  They have an all-district guard at 265 on the right side that is extremely athletic.  They have a heck of a runner at the tailback in the Krause kid and then Abbot, their quarterback, is a dual threat.  They just stress you in so many ways as a defense, so we have to be sound in our fundamentals and tackle well," said Spitler.

          Lucas got out of their double tight, double wing a little bit last week and Spitler admits they are going to have to throw some on Friday.  "We are going to have to establish the run and we are going to have to mix in the pass and be balanced like we were last week.  When you are in this situation you have to do whatever it takes to win the game and that's our approach in all phases of the game.  We are extremely confident in our quarterback and the guys around him to make our passing game affective.  We want to trust our guys up front so we can establish our run game.  Everyone wants to talk about the fact that we passed last week, but the thing was we were balanced.  We had 250 passing and we had 225 rushing.  So, the rushing was still there, but we were able to keep them off balance because they hadn't seen our passing game.  So, we are going to have to do that against a quality opponent," said Spitler.

          The game is at Tiffin, on turf, and Spitler thinks it is a fair location, and he says they would play anywhere.  "Tiffin Frost-Kalnow Stadium is just a tremendous venue.  I think when you get to this time of year your kids don't care where they are playing.  They would play in a parking lot.  They are ready to play the game.  They are just extremely proud and excited to have this opportunity on Friday to play for a regional championship.  We could probably play at Wal-Mart parking lot and they wouldn't have a problem.  It is a tremendous facility over there.  It is a good halfway point for both teams and I am sure they will be good hosts," said Spitler.

 

Published 11/19/15

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Calvert Peaking

 

          Tiffin Calvert beat Hicksville in double overtime last week and the Senecas are starting to feel pretty good about themselves heading in their regional semi final match up with Lucas on Friday night.

        In one the more exciting games around Ohio on the first weekend of the playoffs, Calvert (6-5) got past Hicksville (42-35) in double overtime.  Coach Todd Fox says it probably gave him a few gray hairs, but the players did what they had to do.  "We would love to not have to go through that to get a victory, bit it makes the fans happy and quite honestly it is good for the guys to go through that kind of battle and be able to respond the right way and come out on top," he said.

          Calvert won four of its last five regular season games just to make the post season.  Fox says they, and especially him, had to find our sort of who they are.  "We finally started toward the end of the season putting some things together.  We had to overcome some adversity with injuries and just some different concepts and issues that we have had.  I think offensively for sure, and I think last week, for the first time since week three against Delta that had our defense at the level we expect them to play," said Fox.

          Drew Ritzler has thrown 29 TD passes for the Senecas this year and with their explosiveness they are never out of a game as Hicksville found out last week. 

          Fox says their personnel forced him to change his approach to football.  "It has changed we a little bit I am a run first coach.  With this crew we have had to change our style a little bit.  Our quarterback has done a great job slinging the ball around.  He has a handful of talented receivers, so I have had to change philosophy a little bit," he said.

          Calvert plays Lucas (10-1) in the division seven regional semi finals on Friday night at Bellevue High School.  Fox says he really is impressed with what he sees with the Cubs.  "Lucas and coach Spitler they have run that offense efficiently.  I love the smash mouth football style and for years I have tried to infiltrate that into my team and my program.  I had to go with a spread look and not let them know it was a smash mouth style," he told Swankonsports.com, "Coach Spitler there at Lucas he is going to stick it in there and he is going at you.  It is going to be a tough challenge to slow that team down."

          With their double wing, double tight offense, Fox says Lucas makes big plays in the run game and they stick with it even when things aren't going that well early.  "They made big plays and they keep going.  They are patient.  They have great athletes and they are all buying into it.  They do a great job," he said.

 

Published 11/13/15

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Lucas Wants to Take Next Step

 

          Friday night Lucas will try to do something that has never been done in school history.  That's win a second playoff game in the same season.

          They face Tiffin Calvert in the division seven regional semi-finals at Bellevue Athletic Field.

          Last week, they drilled West Unity Hilltop (51-6) in their first playoff game.  "I thought our guys really prepared well during the week and were extremely focused and came right out of the gate and played well in every facet of the game," said Lucas coach Scott Spitler.

          Calvert (6-5) downed Hicksville (42-35) in double overtime to advance.  Spitler says don't be fooled by their record.  "I think sometimes when you look at a record it cam be quite deceiving.  They played quite a tough schedule this season and are battle tested and well coached.  Coach (Todd) Fox over there does a tremendous job.  They are extremely talented and led by a very athletic quarterback that can do a lot of things with his feet and his arm," he said.

          Spitler says Calvert quarterback Drew Ritzler in tremendous.  He says he puts a lot of pressure on the defense.  "He does a nice job of extending the pocket and keeping his eyes down field.  They have some really nice wide receivers that are long and lanky and have good height.  With their size up front is definitely going to be a tall task for our defense.  They have been playing really well all season," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "I think the biggest area of improvement for our team during the season has been the job our defensive kids have done and my defensive staff has done in getting that side of the ball to match the intensity and the style of play that we play offense, which makes us a total team.  They are going to have their hands full with a pretty talented offense this Friday."

          Ritzler has thrown 29 TD passes this season and ran for another eight.

          Lucas (10-1) runs the double tight, double wing offense, that likes to run the football on nearly every down.  Spitler says they like to eat some clock and that helps their defense too.  "That plays into our defense's success as well.  If we can control the ball and the line of scrimmage and run the ball that is less time for them on offense.  It also creates a little panic for them because they have to make sure their possession is one of efficiency because they might not get very many.  That goes with our guys up front doing their job and on the other side of the ball the defense doing their job getting the ball back so we can eat that clock.  That is what has allowed us to get this position is the commitment to playing that style of football," said Spitler.

          Calvert has allowed some points this year Swanton (42), Gibsonburg (50), Northwood (47), but Spitler says the Senecas are equally athletic on that side of the ball.  "You see a lot of the same faces on defense.  They are very athletic and quick and have good speed on defense.  I am very impressed by what I have saw so far on film from their defensive line.  They have a nice mix of size and athleticism and they have a group of linebackers that can flat out get to the football," he said.

          This has already been a glorious season for the Cubs, but Spitler says they aren't done yet.  "Last year the guys got a taste of making it to the second round, that hadn't been done in school history.  That taste was left with a little disappointment at the end of the season.  They kind of have the mindset that last season kind of ended with some unfinished business and that has been one of their goals this season since we went to camp this summer is to get farther in the playoffs than we did the year before and that can't happen without a good game Friday night and getting that second victory," said Spitler.

 

Published 11/10/15

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Lucas at Home for the Playoffs

 

          With wins in nine of their 10 games this year, the Lucas Cubs are hosting their first ever playoff game at Bob Wine Field on Friday night in the division seven regional quarterfinals.

          It is the fourth time the Cubs have made the post season and the first time in school history they have done it twice in a row.  "I am really pleased our kids and their focus and using last year as a springboard into this season and to get where we are today," said Lucas coach Scott Spitler.

          Their only loss came on week eight to unbeaten Danville (41-0,) but they were able to rally and beat Grove City Reining Sports Academy, a school not part of the OHSAA, (70-12) last week.  Spitler says they got some good leadership last week.  "It was a tremendous football game between two good teams, we came out on the wrong side of it, and you learn from it and then come back.  Our seniors did a nice job of getting the team refocused and ended the season on senior night with a victory and getting us ready for this week," he said.

          Hilltop (6-4) won their first six games of the season, but they take a four game losing streak into the game on Friday night, including a (48-18) loss to Gibsonburg last week.

          Spitler says the Cadets recent struggles have been related to injuries from which they may be over now.  "Your have a team that plays pretty good football.  They have a really athletic quarterback and they run out of the spread formation.  They lost him for a few games at the end of the season and he got back on the field last Friday against an undefeated Gibsonburg and threw for over 300 yards against a pretty good football team," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "Defensively we have to be able to play in space and keep him in front of us and make them earn every yard they get.  Offensively we have to control the line of scrimmage and do what we do."

          Lucas (9-1), #5 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, run the unconventional double wing, double tight offense.

          Spitler says Hilltop kind of reminds him of Centerburg, of the Blue Division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, a team they handled (30-14) back on week two.  "The schemes that they run are very similar to, the formations they run are very similar to, the multiple offense that Centerburg runs.  Centerburg was a little bit different match-up.  Their quarterback is a very athletic kid and everything they do goes through him.  He is not as big as Durbin from Danville, so that is a plus.  I think we have an advantage up front if our kids come to play the way I know they can," he said.

 

Published 11/03/15

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Lucas Has to Get Focus Back

 

          After eight straight wins to begin the season the Lucas Cubs suffered their first setback of the year to Danville in the Mid-Buckeye Conference championship game.  Now they have to get back on track.

          They host Reining Sports Academy from the Columbus area on friday night.

          Last week, Danville, #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, and number one in Ohio division seven, drilled the Cubs (41-0) in a physical game.  Lucas coach Scott Spitler says Danville's defense just took them out of what they wanted to do.  "I thought it was a situation where defense was playing good football.  It was 0-0 after one and it was still only 14-0 at halftime with a couple of blown coverages, but they didn't get the support from the offense.  Danville was probably the best defensive line that we had seen all season.  They did a nice job of controlling the line of scrimmage and taking away our bread and butter and putting us in down and distance situations where we weren't able to be successful," said Spitler.

          There has been no pouting this week in practice, according to Spitler.  "We have had a great attitude and a great effort this week and focus.  They understand this is senior night (Friday) night and it is our goal each and every year that our seniors get a win on senior night and this week is no different.  I think our seniors have done a nice job of getting us back on track and springboarding us into the post season," he said.

          This not necessarily who Lucas wanted to be playing this week, but Spitler says they really didn't have a choice.  "There was a situation on the last week right before the regular season started where our week 10 opponent Fostoria St. Wendelin cancelled their season leaving us without a week 10 game right as the season started, so we were really scrambling.  Mr. Teague, our athletic director, and myself, just trying to find anybody with the assistance from the state," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "This was our only opportunity to get our week 10 game back and have a senior night.  Unfortunately it is not a game that is going to count toward the OHSAA playoff status.  It is an opportunity for seniors to have a senior night and play a 10 game schedule."

          Spitler says Reining Sports Academy has some guys with a lot of speed and the Cubs are going to have to control that so they don't give up big plays.  "They have some real good athletes and some tremendous speed.  I think we have an advantage up front, so we have to we have to do a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage.  Then making sure we tackle well in space.  They have big play capability in several of their skilled positions with their speed," he said.

 

Published 10/30/15

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Lucas and Danville Match Unbeaten Records in "MBC" Title Game

 

          Lucas plays at Danville on Friday night and what is at stake is the outright Mid-Buckeye Conference title.

          Both are unbeaten with Danville number one in the statewide poll and Lucas number three.  The are also #1 and #3 in our Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in our small school division.

          Lucas (8-0,2-0) is coming off a (48-0) win over Bridgeport last week and they have been challenged only once this season and that was a in a week six win over Loudonville (20-7) in "MBC" play.  "I think our kids have really worked hard to get to where they are.  I think this is a situation that they wanted to be in as far as the goals they have set for themselves this season.  They are where they want to be and they have a great opportunity on Friday night.  We have to make sure we are taking care of our business in practice this week to make sure we are ready for it," said coach Scott Spitler.

          Danville has scored 429 points this year and they are led by 6'3", 245 pound quarterback Ridge Durbin.  Spitler says he is a difference maker for the Blue Devils.  "He is extremely talented and very experienced.  He is pretty much their flag carrier.  Their offense goes as he goes.  He is also the key to their rushing game.  We have definitely got our hands full with what they do and the kind of player he is," he said.

          However, he is not Danville's only playmaker.  Spitler says they can't put a spy on him.  "I think they are just too talented at the other skilled positions to be in that type of scenario.  I think that is what has made it difficult for teams that have faced them up until this point.  They are extremely talented at the wide receiver and running back positions.  You have to be extremely disciplined,  You really have to make them earn every yard that that get." he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "You can't allow them to have the big play.  They do so much with their formation and their motion.  They do such a nice job catching you not aliened properly.  They get a player free in the secondary and turn one play into a touchdown.  We have to make it very difficult for them to drive the length of the field and make them earn every hard that they get.
          Danville's defense is allowed only one score, that coming last week in a (49-6) win over Loudonville, since week two.  Spitler says Danville is really improved on defense since they saw them last year.  "They had a team similar to us that was junior dominated last season and had pretty much everybody coming back.  I can tell by watching film that their biggest area of improvement from their team last year to their team this year is they way their defense is playing.  Their special teams play really well too.  You don't get to 8-0 without playing well in all phases of the game and that's what you have with both teams going in Friday night," said Spitler.

          Too much hype?  Too many distractions?  Spitler says they have to keep their focus on the game.  "You have to make sure you manage this outside noise and all of the hype.  It's going to be how we handle our composure and handle that adversity and stay together as a team will determine the outcome.  It is important that we stay on top of the winner's ratio with big plays, turnovers and penalties.  We have to make sure we win those three areas to be successful Friday night," he said.

 

Published 10/21/15

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Lucas Takes Unbeaten Record of the Road

 

          Lucas has made its share of bus trips this year, but so far they have been happy ones.  The next trip for the Cubs comes Saturday afternoon as the will be at Bridgeport to play the Bulldogs.

          They remained unbeaten on the season last week with a (61-7) romp over Crestline and Mid-Buckeye Conference play. 

          Coach Scott Spitler says they treated it like just another day at the office.  "I am really pleased with how our kids are prepared and staying focused and approaching the season one game at a time and making sure each Friday night is the most important on our schedule," he said.

          Bridgeport High School is most famous for being the alma matter of former Ohio State and Boston Celtics star and basketball hall of famer John Havlieck. 

          The Bulldogs (3-4) are coming off a loss to River (34-160 last week.

          Spitler says they run a multiple offense and they will have to be ready to defend a number of things.  "They have a team with some nice skilled position athleticism at linebacker position and in the backfield on offense.  I think what we have to do is control the line of scrimmage that is where we have an edge.  They do enough offensively with the way they mix it up.  One minute they are going to be in a power football formation, the next minute they are going to be in spread.  They have a pretty good athlete that they like to move around.  Sometimes he will be at quarterback, sometimes he will be at wing or running back," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "So, we have to have good communication as far as knowing where he is at.  It kind of tips their hand about what is coming offensively. So, communication offensively is going to be key and on offense we have to run the football and control the line of scrimmage."

         Now, Lucas plays Danville in an "MBC" game next week and both are unbeaten on the season.  Times for ticket sales for that game have already been announced, but Spitler says they can't be thinking about Danville when they have a game to play this week.  "Our guys have done a good job of staying focused week to week and they know if we don't care of business this week it is not going to matter about next week.  So, we are focused on Bridgeport and making sure we are getting better on a daily basis.  We can't have any excuses.  It's a game on Saturday this week rather than Friday.  It's a daytime start rather than seven o'clock at night and there is a bus drive.  We can't use those as excuses we have to ready to play and play our brand of football and that's what the kids are focused on," said Spitler.

 

Published 10/15/15

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Unbeaten Lucas Faces Winless Crestline

 

          Two teams headed in opposite directions face off on Friday night as the unbeaten Lucas Cubs travel to Crestline to take on the winless Bulldogs in Mid-Buckeye Conference play.

          Lucas (6-0,1-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, rallied to beat Loudonville (20-7) in their first conference, and toughest, game of the season last week.

          Coach Scott Spitler says they did what they had to in order to get the win.  "It was definitely a very good battle between two teams playing hard and our kids were able to make adjustments at halftime and get things done the second half," he said.

          Running back Mason Galco ran for 186 yards and two scores against Loudonville.

          Spitler says they made the right adjustments and started to play Lucas football in the second half of the game.  "The big thing for us is we needed to do a better job of finishing drives.  We had two drives stall in the red zone with a couple of penalties in the first half.  Defensively, we had several missed tackles on their one score in the first half that allowed them to have that 7-6 halftime lead," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "We went in and addressed the things we needed to do to fix those things so we could get back on track and we were able to do that is the second half and drive the ball and control the clock.  Our defense really stood up and had some nice stands in the second half.  Holding a team like Loudonville to seven points is a pretty good undertaking."

          It looks like the Mid-Buckeye will be decided when Lucas plays Danville on week nine of the season.  The Blue Devils destroyed Crestline (64-0) last week.  Still, Spitler says the Bulldogs showed some good things on film.  "The record doesn't show it, but coach Sites over there is really doing some good things and we can see their kids are playing better fundamental than they had in the past.  It's only his second season as their head coach and he is working really hard.  When you watch film you can see that things are improving for them.  If they continue to get more numbers out and stick with him they are going to be headed in the right direction," said Spitler.

          In his opinion, Spitler says there is no question the Cubs have to have their focus on Crestline or they will be surprised and disappointed at the outcome.  "We are working on fixing things that we still aren't happy with and making sure we are stepping forward each week and towards the goals that we have set.  Traditionally we have not gone over and played well at Crestline, at their place, so we have to make sure we have things going at our level of expectation and definitely not take this team lightly because they are talented enough if we don't go over there  and take care of business we are going to be on the short end of the stick," said Spitler.

 

Published 10/07/15

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Lucas Starts League Play

 

          Lucas has looked very impressive over the first half of the season, but now they get into the meat of their schedule as they host defending champion Loudonville in their Mid-Buckeye Conference opener on Friday night.

          Probably the Cubs (5-0,0-0) most high profile win came over Centerburg of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, a (30-14) win on week two of the season.  They are coming off a (44-12) blasting of Waterloo last week.

          "I think our guys are working really hard.  Our coaching staff is working hard.  It is showing on the film on Friday night with execution by the players," said Lucas coach Scott Spitler.

          Lucas qualified for the division seven playoffs last year, beating Plymouth in the first round, before losing the Berlin Center Western Reserve.

          Spitler says they started this season with some lofty goals.  "I think they players on our team have expectations.  Every summer when we start camp our seniors leading the team set the goals for the season.  Our guys have set some high goals and lofty expectations.  We can see every day that is drawing them to work hard to prepare each week and it is no different this week.  They have goals that they have set for themselves as we enter the league part of our schedule that they want to accomplish in the league.  Add to that a quality team like Loudonville," said Spitler.

          Loudonville was one of the very best small school teams in this area last year and they pounded Lucas (49-0) a year ago.  However, this is another season with the Cubs returning a lot talent and Loudonville losing quite bit to graduation.

          The Redbirds (3-2,1-0) are coming off a (42-21) loss to traditional powerhouse Mogadore last week, who also eliminated them form the playoffs last season.

          Spitler says there may be some new faces and kids in different positions, but Loudonville is still very good.  "They are extremely talented.  They graduated some good players, but they just put other guys in slots.  Van Sickle moved from wide out to quarterback.  He is a young man that has tremendous speed.  He can hurt you.  All he needs is a little window and it's going to the house with his kind of athleticism and speed.  Heath Snyder, their running back, is phenomenal.  A very physical, hard runner," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "They are extremely good up front.  They are right around the 6'1", 6'2", 250 pound average.  They have some nice size up front and they move well with their edges and slots they do a lot with their screen game."

          Spitler says their little question that the Redbirds are the best team they have played yet this year.  "They are very similar to what they have done in the past, but you can also see coach Rios influence on the offense.  Defensively, it's trade mark Loudonville football.  They get downhill at the football and get very physical," he said.

 

Published 9/29/15

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Cubs Face team with Size

 

          Unbeaten Lucas really hasn't been challenged this season.  Will it be this week when they play host to Waterloo in another non-conference game?

          Last week, they destroyed Bealsville (66-0) and one of the good things, according to coach Scott Spitler, was they were able to get some quality time for their non starters.  "Our guys came out from the get go and took care of business and we were able to get some young guys some time there and it made for a good night for our entire team," he said.

          They are four for four on the season and Spitler says they are brimming with confidence.  "I think they believe with the amount of work that they do each week.  They are confident in each other and how hard each other is going to work and that builds their confidence and that allows them to play in all phases of the game at a high level," he said.

          Can they get better?  Spitler says they can and he says the kids know that is true too.  "I believe we have a lot of room for improvement and that is something we tackle on a daily basis.  We want to be able to do a lot of things.  We want to be able to, as coaches we are never happy.  The nice thing is as coaches, they have expectations of themselves and they know where they want to be at the end of the season, so they are pushing themselves to get better every day," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "I think my coaching staff does a nice job of making sure our practices are detailed enough that we are looking at our deficiencies in certain areas and making sure we are getting better and taking that step each day.  We can't stay the same or take a step back we have to get better to reach the goals they have set for this season."

          The Waterloo Vikings (2-2,) from the area of Ohio east of Akron, comes calling on Friday night.  They hammered Newbury (56-12) last week.  Spitler says this team has more size than anyone they have played this year and they have big play ability.  "They are a spread option team out of the pistol.  They have a really athletic, nice sized quarterback.  He is about 6'2", 205.  This is probably the biggest team we have faced this season.  Up front in the trenches they can match us size wise.  As a coach you are always extremely worried about a team that runs the option because it forces a team to be extremely assignment oriented and disciplined.  If we don't come ready and be disciplined they have the capability to putting it in the end zone quick with their option game.  Defensively they are almost a carbon copy of us.  it's going to be a good battle for our guys and we have to come ready to play this week," said Spitler.

 

Published 9/24/15

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Lucas Ready for Another Challenge

 

          Lucas is three for three so far and the Cubs continue to play sound football on both sides of the ball.

          They downed Northmor last week (36-6) in the heavy rain that was last Friday.  Coach Scott Spitler says they continue to do what they need to do.  "Our defense really did a nice job controlling the line of scrimmage all night.  Offensively, dealing with a muddy and rainy night we were able to establish our run game, sustain drives and get the victory," he said.

          Lucas (3-0) is a team that doesn't throw much anyway and Spitler says the conditions last week made that even more the case.  "I think when you have a steady rain like you had last Friday it helps to saturate the football and make it very difficult as far as the grip and stuff to be able to really execute the passing game with high efficiency because of how it effects the ability of quarterback to make a good throw," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "Ruben did a nice job for us on a couple of play action passes early in the game and really did a nice job for us creating a three headed monster for us in the run game.  He established himself as a weapon Friday night to show people it is just not all about Mason we have a number of weapons at our disposal to keep teams honest."

          This week Bealsville comes to town for a non-conference game.  Spitler says they were kind of lucky to even get this game on the schedule.  "We don't know a whole lot about them.  It was a situation where Open Door Christian cancelled on us there at the end of June and we were scrambling to find a game with somebody that was open.  The OHSAA sent us a list of people they thought were open and all of them had already filled.    We were really worried about possibly having and open week where we didn't have a game.  We just took a shot in the dark in e-mailing their "AD" and they had an opening on their schedule.  They are a small school over around West Virginia," said Spitler.

          It's the first meeting between the two schools and Spitler says Bealsville is team that can do a lot of things when they have the ball and when the other team does.  "One of my assistant coaches did some research on line and they have made the playoffs a few times over the last 10 years.  They have struggled the last couple of years.  They will come at us with a multiple offense.  They are going to show us a couple of different things on defense, with a 5-2 and a 4-4 look.  They have a nice athletic quarterback.  We are looking to establish who we are and play our brand of football and get the victory on Friday night," said Spitler.

 

Published 9/16/15

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Lucas, Northmor Battle for the Line of Scrimmage

 

          Lucas and Northmor both want to run the football and the team that controls the line of scrimmage probably wins on Friday, actually there is no probably about it.

          The Cubs are off to a (2-0) start to the season after breaking a five game losing streak and beating Centerburg (30-14) last week.  Coach Scott Spitler says they did a tremendous job.  "I am extremely proud of my athletes and my coaching staff on the job they did all week and then the performance they put on the field Friday night," he said.

          Coming off a year in which they advanced to the second round of the division three playoffs, Spitler says the Cubs are playing with a lot of confidence right now.  "The experience that they got last year and the success they had last season has really built their confidence and their belief in themselves.  We have always believed we had the talent and the ability to be successful, but sometimes doubt can creep in there.  The confidence that they are playing with now allows them to go out there and play free and just play good football right now," said Spitler.

          Lucas plays at Northmor Friday night and Spitler knows the winner is going to be determined by who can get that running game going best.  "Another tuff team for coach Trainer.  They always play us tough.  This will be our third season playing them and we have spilt the last two years and it has been a six point game both years.  Make no bones about it both teams want to run the football and establish the line of scrimmage," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "The last two games will be for not if we don't come ready to play this Friday against these guys because they have a good football team."

          First down, and putting Northmor in bad down and distance situations,  is going to be important to both sides, but Spitler says you can not afford to forget about the pass of the Golden Knights (1-1) have the potential to burn you.  "That is what you try to do.  That's what you want to do to any team, but especially a running team.  You want to get them behind the sticks so they have to do something that they are unfamiliar doing.  I'll tell you what the Farley boy at quarterback is a really nice athlete.  He is pretty elusive.  He has been a dual threat for them so far this season and then Johnson, the running back, who was the state champion in the long jump is a tremendous athlete.  He is lightning in a bottle.  He can put it in the end zone from anywhere on the field," said Spitler.

 

Published 9/11/15

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Different Styles For Lucas, Centerburg

 

          Two teams that approach the game very differently will face off on Friday night in non-league play as Lucas plays host to Centerburg.

          Lucas lines up in a double wing, double tight formation and will try to pound the ball at you, meanwhile Centerburg wants to emphasize their speed and athleticism out of the spread.  The Trojans have had much the better of it recent years, winning the last four meetings, the last three by at least three scores.  The Cubs hope to change that on Friday.

          Lucas (1-0) was very good last week when they traveled over to the eastern Ohio and blasted Lowellville (70-0) on the opening night of the season.  Coach Scott Spitler says they got off the bus and did what they wanted to do right away.  "I was really pleased by how our kids responded after a long bus ride and just absolutely from the get go playing the style of football we want to play in every phase of the game.  We are trying to build on that this week.  We are working on things we need to get better at and we have done that this week.  It was really nice to get out of the gate with a victory," he said.

          The lopsided victory gave the Cubs a chance to play some younger kids and Spitler says they are very important to their success.  "We were able to play the entire roster in the game last Friday night.  That's nice because a lot of those young guys are working really hard to learn our system and doing a nice job of providing our scout teams.  Our captains said to them (Thursday) night after practice we can't get better without them running the scout teams and giving us the looks that we need.  I am really pleased by how hard they work and the looks they are giving us on a daily basis," said Spitler.

          Centerburg (1-0) got a win in their first game too, downing Utica (35-20) last Friday.

          Spitler says the Trojans are athletic and they look to hit the big play when then it is made available to them.  "It is a lot of same for Centerburg.  This senior class has been in the playoffs every year since they got in high school as freshmen, so they have an expectation of success.  Like always they have tremendous team speed and they run their spread offense at a tremendous tempo.  That is very difficult to simulate in practice during the week.  They are not the kind of team that is going to drive it 10 or 12 play drives," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "What they do with their tempo and their multiple formations is they wait for you to have a breakdown in your alignment or a breakdown in your communication or your discipline and then they are hitting a home run on you.  They very talented at the wide receiver and skilled positions and they have a real nice quarterback that makes it happen."

 

Published 9/04/15

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Lucas to Throw More?

 

          Lucas coach Scott Spitler once described his double tight, double wing offense, as football in a phone both, but this year the Cubs might just throw it a few times... no kidding.

          Spitler says they are not going to abandon hat has made them successful, including a playoff appearance last year.  He says they are going to still feature the run, but throw in a few more passes.  "I don't we will ever get away from our foundation.  Our kids have really bought in an executed well, but with the guys we have at our skilled positions this year like our quarterback Rueben Luna and our stable of running backs we will do a few different things, a few little wrinkles out of it just to make us a little bit more dangerous.  We are still going to stick to our base of running the football and allow it to open up things for us," he said.

           On defense, Spitler says he thinks the Cubs are becoming more aggressive and really running to the football from the linebacker and defensive back positions.  "I think our defensive staff is doing a really nice job.  The guys have really sold out on playing on the defensive side of the ball the same way we attack the offensive side of the ball and that is being really tough up front in the trenches and really getting to the football from the linebacker and defensive back positions," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "I really like the swagger we are playing with and the intensity and the relentless effort they bring on a daily basis to get the defensive side of the ball to match the offensive side of the ball.  They are finding out if we have that kind of effort and intensity it will be a really fun time."

          Lucas makes the trip to Lowellville on Friday night to open the season.  Spitler says they will be facing a wide open offense that has a lot of weapons they will need to defend.  "They are team that made it to the playoffs in 2013 and they expect success over there in the Youngstown area and they have a very nice football team.  They want to run the ball as well.  They have a very nice 6'1" about 220, very physical kid that likes to run the ball and they come at you with several different types of spread formations," he told Swankonsports.com after practice on Wednesday, "We are going to have a match-up issue with the wide receiver, tight end.  He's about 6'5, 210, and a pretty good athlete.  So, we are going to have to be sound defensively and make sure we ready our keys and tackle well in open space.  We can overcome a lot of things by continuing to get to the ball like we have in our scrimmages."

 

Published 8/27/15

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Lucas Working at Being Solid

 

          Lucas was a football team last season that got better as the season went on.  They made it to the division seven playoffs and beat Plymouth in the first round before losing to a big Berlin Center Western Reserve team in the regional semi finals.

          2015 could be another good season for the Cubs, but only time will tell.

          The first test came on Monday when they played South Central in a scrimmage.  Coach Scott Spitler says he thought things went pretty well for the Cubs.  "I thought the scrimmage went well.  I thought our kids did a lot of good things.  The nice thing about going against someone other than your own teammates mans you get a chance to look at some things that you definitely have to work on and get better at," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday night, "A lot of times it is hard to find out when you are just practicing within your own team.  I thought we did a good job (Monday) in several facets and there are some things that we have to continue to work hard at and get better and work to where we want to be one week one."

          When running plays against Trojans, Spitler saw a lot of things that made him smile.  "I thought our quarterback play (Monday) was well.  In our passing game we made some really good decisions.  From our backfield I thought all of are backs ran the ball really well, picking up from where they left off last year.  I thought at times up front we did some really good things.  Offensively there are some things we have to get better at.  Defensively I was really happy with our tackling and how we got to the football," he said.

          Lucas plays at Newcomerstown in a scrimmage on Friday and then at New London in another on August 21.  They open the 2015 campaign against Lowellville on August 28.

          Spitler says his team has some high expectations and he believes the players have the commitment to reach those goals.  "We are certainly proud of what the team accomplished in the 2014 season.  That was special not just for our team, but our community and our school, but this is a new year and some new faces.  We do have some guys returning.  In 2015 we do have some new faces on our schedule.  This team hasn't earned anything yet.  Their expectations are going to be higher than anybody else can put on them.  They understand the 2015 team hasn't earned anything yet and we have to make sure we keep our nose to the grindstone and work each and every day to get to the expectation level and reach the goals that we have set for this season," said Spitler.

 

Published 8/11/15

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Lucas Knows What it has to do

 

          Lucas has been a basketball team that has been right on the edge of more success this season, but they just can't seem to cash in when they have the chance.

          Wednesday night is their last chance when they play South Central in the division four sectional semi-finals at Norwalk High School.

          Last weekend was kind of a microcosm for them as they lost to East Knox (66-63) in overtime on Friday and to Hillsdale (53-34) on Saturday.  Coach Kyle Pertuset says they had a chance to win both nights.  "We really missed a lot of golden opportunities Friday against East Knox.  Saturday against Hillsdale we knew we were going to have to play well, but at the same time we thought we had a game plan that if we were able to do a few things they would allow us to hang around and have a chance.  We did it for about three and half quarters," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "Unfortunately we had a few missed opportunities at the free throw line.  I think we were down nine with about two and a half minutes to play and we had to come out and try and pressure the ball.  They got a couple of easy baskets and we had to start doing some things out of our character."

          South Central (17-5), #4 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the small school division, is the number three seed in the district.  Pertuset says that is with good reason.  "They are a good basketball team, very well coached, Brett Seidel does a tremendous job.  I know he has Pat Durham over there helping him, so they are second to none as far as in game adjustments.  We are going to have to be ready to play.  We are going to have to be able to rebound the ball like we haven't all year.  I have a locker room full of kids that believe they can get it done and know what we need to do, plus we have a good plan.  We are just going to have to roll the balls out there and see what happens,' said Pertuset.

          Lucas (4-16) needs a good start in this game, according to Pertuset.  "We need to get off to a good start... that's crucial.  We need to come out and make a couple of shots early and hopefully they miss.  We need to limit Yost a little bit, he is their bread and butter, he is a great player.  Hopefully we can be there in the end and have a chance to play for a sectional title," he said.

          Lucas only lost to South Central (55-48) a couple of weeks ago and Pertuset knows they can pull the upset.  "We are trying to sell our kids that now is the time.  It is "March Madness," it is time to put it together and play our best game.  In some capacities we are playing our best basketball and we are lacking in some others.  We are trying to focus on those areas that have been costing us games.  There are a couple of key areas that we just feel like that if we can be average on, and not below average, we will have an opportunity to win the basketball game," he said.

 

Published 3/04/15

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Important Weekend For Lucas

 

          Lucas is a young basketball team still trying to get better and they have two more chances to grow this weekend with games against East Knox on Friday and Hillsdale on Saturday.
          On Tuesday night, the Cubs didn't make very many shots and they lost a non-conference game to Crestview (51-39) at their place.

         Coach Kyle Pertuset says they tried some new things on offense and they didn't work too well, plus they were not up to the challenge defensively in the second half.  "We didn't' do a good enough job of executing offensively and I also though our defense was sorely lacking in the second half.  At halftime it was 17-14, we had the lead and we gave up way too many points in the second half.  Credit Crestview they made some adjustments and we had to get out of what we were doing defensively.  I thought their staff really did a good job.  Offensively we have been trying to put some new things in for the tournament and I don't think the kids are quite ready to execute those new things in game situations yet," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "We have two more games and a couple more practices to get us up to speed as far as offensive execution before the tournament.  We need to get back to the drawing board and simplify a few things, especially since we have a younger team.  We are going through the peaks and valleys that a young team goes through."

          A lot of teams may not want to play a double weekend heading into the tournament, but Pertuset says it is different for them.  "We are really glad that we have our schedule like this and we play two more games.  We wouldn't be feeling very good about ourselves if we had to go straight off of the Crestview game into the tournament.  The fact that we get to lace them up two more times and at least two more practices before we go in and play South Central on Wednesday.  It makes us optimistic that we can make some adjustments and make a long tournament run," he said.

          Lucas (4-14) is at East Knox (2-17) for a non-conference game on Friday night.  Last year, both were part of the Mid-Buckeye Conference and Pertuset says they certainly remember a two-point loss to the Bulldogs.  "Like last year was it looks like a pretty even game on paper.  If we come out and defend and do the little things we should be there are the end.  It is definitely a big game in the eyes of the community and the eyes of the kids and our coaching staff.  We went down to the wire with them last year and almost got our first win.  The kids certainly don't forget how things went over at their place last year.  When that game came out on the schedule the kids were excited to have the opportunity to play East Knox again.  Hopefully we can bring that energy into Friday and hit a couple of shots.  We really need at the worst to spilt this weekend so we can pick up some steam for the tournament," said Pertuset.

 

Published 2/26/15

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Lucas Feeling Some Momentum

 

          Lucas is starting to become more competitive and that is showing in their attitude toward the game.

          After chasing South Central pretty hard 10 days ago, the Cubs won their first Mid-Buckeye Conference game of the year when they beat Danville (53-50) last Friday night.

          Coach Kyle Pertuset says he hopes that win can improve their confidence as they complete the regular season and head into the tournament.  "We were really pleased, the kids were ecstatic.  It was a good experience for them trying to pick up some momentum before tournament.  I kind of thought we reached a turning point after the South Central game after how well we played over there.  That kind of carried over to the week of practice and we had a good solid week of preparation and kind of springboarded into the Danville match-up.  We came out early and executed and scored just enough points to get the win," said Pertuset.

          Lucas has been the victim of a number of close losses this year, but Pertuset says they are starting to understand how to win games.  "We really persevered.  We trailed one time in the third quarter.  We got down by eight and battled back and were down five at the end of three.  We were finally able to get over the hump and close out one of those close games.  We did the same two weeks back against Monroeville.  We had another close one against South Central and then were able to pull one out against Danville.  Hopefully we are hitting our stride.  Now is certainly the time of year when you want to be peaked and playing your best basketball," said Pertuset.

          Lucas (4-13) plays at Mapleton (6-12) of the Firelands Conference in a non-conference game on Saturday night.  Pertuset says the Mounties will come into the game with some confidence.  "They have some kids that can score.  They are kind of up and down.  You never really know what you are going to get, but I expect them to be ready to play us and see us as a game expect to win.  We are going to have to be sharp defensively and rebound and communicate again if we want to continue this momentum towards the tournament," he said.

          Lucas will play #3 seed South Central (16-3) in a first round game in the division four tournament.  Having lost just (55-48) to the Trojans on February 7, Pertuset says they believe they can compete.  "A couple of things happened that kind of caught me off guard.  I think the top six teams chose play in games and I really didn't expect that to happen.  I certainly see why they did that looking at the bracket.  I can't complain too much about our draw.  We probably wouldn't want as difficult a first round draw as we got, but that the same time we know that we play our best basketball this is a game we can come away with," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "Another element to this is we know we are going to have their full attention.  We aren't going to catch them off guard we are going to have their full attention after our first match-up.  There is going to be no sneaking up on them."

 

Published 2/17/15

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It's Just the Little Things At Lucas

 

          It seems to be just a play here and there that is keeping Lucas from winning more ball games and if they can do a few of those things they certainly has a chance Friday night against Danville.

          Lucas put a little scare into highly regarded South Central on Saturday night before bowing the Trojans (55-48) in Greenwich.   Coach Kyle Pertuset says if they could have just executed a little better.  "In that South Central game unfortunately we had a couple of mental errors there late that took away our opportunities to win and spring the upset.  I was extremely proud of the effort and that was one of the main things we talked about on Saturday for whatever reason we were not there on Friday night.  Credit coach Seboe and his kids they played extremely hard.  they beat us, that is about all I can say about Friday.  I was really pleased with our kids resiliency to come out and battle one of the better teams in our area for four quarters," said Pertuset.

          Loudonville hammered the Cubs (66-40) in a conference game last Friday.

          Danville (7-12,1-7) will be at Lucas (3-13,0-7) for a Mid-Buckeye Conference game on Friday night.  The Blue Devils won (66-64) on January 24 at their place.  Pertuset says that one has been on their minds a little bit over the last couple of weeks.  "We are really ready for this one.  We  have had it circled on the calendar.  We were actually down by 23 points early in the third quarter over at their place and ended up coming all of the way back to tie and coming up short.  Hopefully we can put together four quarters against them," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "We were down 21 at the half at their place and we battled all of the way back.  We understand we can't put ourselves in that position.  Hopefully, we learned from our mistakes and what caused us to be down by 21 and have a successful 32 minute game rather than a dramatic comeback."

          Okay, the team that scores the most points wins the game, but Pertuset says there are still a lot of little things that are stopping them from getting a chance to score.   "We need to finish quarters and stay focused, don't take plays off mentally, being strong with the basketball.  It is the little things we talk about everyday in practice.  Our kids probably get tired of hearing it, but our coaching staff is always talking about do the little things guys.  If we do the little things we will win games.  Boxing out, coming to the triple threat position, making a pass fake.  Our margin for error isn't really big right now," he said.

 

Published 2/13/15

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Lucas Feeling Pretty Good

 

          Things are starting to turn around a little bit for the Lucas Cubs.

          They beat Monroeville (68-63) in overtime last Saturday in a non-conference game to pick up their third win of the season.  They play Loudonville in a Mid-Buckeye Conference game on Friday night and then play talented South Central in a non-league game on Saturday.

          Lucas won back to back games against Gilead Christian and Mansfield Temple Christian in January, but coach Kyle Pertuset says the win against Monroeville was the best they have had so far this season.  "I think it is our best win of the year without question.  We were finally able to pull out one of those close wins.  If we could have pulled out every game we were in down to the wire in the fourth we could be looking at a .500 record.  It seems like things just haven't gone our way down the stretch for us for whatever reason.  It almost looked the same way on Saturday.  We were down three with about 45 seconds left in regulation and you think here we go again.  The kids battled and persevered to get it to overtime and pull out the victory," said Pertuset.

          With the win over Monroeville, and how it happened, Pertuset hopes that can bring them some confidence for the rest of the season.  He says he had a number of kids turn in really good efforts.  "We had a couple of kids that really stepped up huge for us.  Jacob Miller had 25 points, Jacob Gerish had the big three in regulation to tie it.  A kid I really want to talk about is Sam Davis, his effort and determination," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "He had so many rebounds in the fourth quarter, offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, steals, hustle players.  He had a critical steal in overtime that pretty much put it away.  He stole the ball at half court and drove it all the way down and scored the bucket and one to stretch the lead to four.  The kid played unbelievable, I couldn't be more proud of him and everybody else."

          Lucas (3-11,0-6) plays at home against Loudonville (5-8,2-3) on Friday night at the "Cub Cave."  Pertuset thinks this should be a pretty good game because the teams match-up well.  "They are much better than their record shows and I feel like we are too.  It's a pretty even match-up.  I think every time we played over the last two years the biggest difference there has been is 13 points and that was last year at our place and that was a game where we fouled at the end to stretch it out.  All of our kids know their kids and vice versa and they are just ready to play," he said.

 

Published 2/04/15

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Lucas with Three Games in Four Days

 

          Lucas will play an NBA like schedule as they play Friday, Saturday and Monday and they are preparing their fitness to make sure they are ready for the test.

          They also played on Tuesday night and lost to Kidron Central Christian (42-37) in non-conference play.  Coach Kyle Pertuset says they played well on defense, but just had too many turnovers.  "I thought we played pretty well. especially defensively.  Offensively we just turned the ball over too many times.  We had 22 turnovers and that is never a good thing, especially when you are playing a team that plays predominantly zone defense, you never want to turn the ball over that many times.  We struggle to score sometimes and we can't give up chances to score the ball," he said.

          Lucas (2-10,0-5) hosts Mansfield Christian (9-4,4-1) on Friday night in a Mid-Buckeye Conference game.  Pertuset says they have to keep the Flames off the boards, which they didn't do the first time they played them in a loss (67-50) and he says they play better at home.  "Over at their place we played okay and we got to foul line 28 times and made 20 of them.  That was a big part of us being able to hang around in that ballgame until they kind of stretched it out at the end.  We had to try and do some things out of our character to get back in the game.  Kendall Cross absolutely destroyed us on the boards when we played them.  He even made a 35 foot buzzer beater and when things like that happen you get the idea it isn't going to be your night," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "We feel like if we can contain Cross and keep him off the glass.  We do seem to play with a lot more energy and play pretty well at home.  We are just hoping to be able to hang around and take their punches and still be standing with the opportunity to pull the upset."

          After the Friday night game, the Cubs play Monroeville (2-9) on Saturday and Plymouth (14-1), #3 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball poll in the small school division, on Monday.  Pertuset says they know fitness is going to be an issue.  "We are still trying to find some things out about Monroeville.  Plymouth I have seen a couple of times and they are good.  We are taking the one day at a time approach.  We conditioned pretty heavy (Wednesday) night because we knew we were going to have to be light (Thursday) because of the game, so we ran the kids pretty hard (Wednesday) and hopefully we will have the legs to handle this three game stretch," he said.

 

Published 1/29.15

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Lucas Has More Confidence

 

          After winning two games, their first two of the season, last weekend, the Lucas Cubs have two chances this weekend to win their first Mid-Buckeye Conference game of the season.

          Lucas blasted Gilead Christian (74-49) last Friday and Mansfield Temple Christian (65-56) on Saturday, both in non-conference action.

          Coach Kyle Pertuset knows things are going to be more difficult this weekend, but he says those two wins make everyone feel better.  "It definitely gets the monkey off our back, but at the same time we understand we are going to take a tremendous jump in competition starting on Friday with St. Pete's and then on road Saturday with Danville.  Anytime you can get a win and get that "0" out of your win column the kids work ethic changes and the mentality.  It is a lot easier to get back to work," said Pertuset.

          One thing that remains a concern for the Cubs is the way they handle the ball, and Pertuset says that has to get better.  "I was pleased.  I thought we did a real good job for the most part on zone offense, but if I could take one thing away from the weekend that I wasn't particularly happy with was how we handled full court pressure.  Other than that I though we took some steps forward and will be ready to go on Friday," he said.

          Lucas (2-7,0-3) plays at Mansfield St. Peter's (7-5,4-0), the "MBC" leader, on Friday and at Danville (4-8,0-3) on Saturday in conference games.

          Pertuset says the Spartans were already pretty good when they beat them (61-46) in early December and know they are better.  "They are on top until somebody does something about it.  We are going to take our best shot at them, our best swing at them this Friday and see how we do.  They have two transfers and they are pretty good role players for them.  They make them deeper than they already were and I felt they were pretty deep to begin with," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "We have to make sure the kids are well conditioned to play 32 minutes of basketball.  It will be interesting to see with we can go out there and execute our game plan.  I believe if we can do that we will give ourselves and opportunity to win."

          Against St. Peter's Pertuset says the tempo is going to be key, but more than that they have to be able to rebound the basketball.  "We like to run too, but tat the same time we understand our opponent and the scouting report and things like that.  I believe that tempo is very important to us on Friday as well as rebounding the basketball.  The first time we played them we gave up 20-plus second chance points.  The point of emphasis all week in practice has been rebounding and also how we want to play offensively," he said.

 

Published 1/22/15

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Lucas Looking For Good Things

 

          Lucas is still looking for its first win of the season and they get two more chances this weekend with a Mid-Buckeye Conference game at Danville on Friday and a visit to Clear Fork of the Ohio Cardinal Conference on Saturday.

          They lost a battle of winless teams to Northmor (57-32) last Saturday and then this week the players have been out of school due to the cold weather and coach Kyle Pertuset says that has been a hardship for the Cubs.  "After our performance against Northmor I was kind of ready for the kids getting back into the routine of getting up early and going to school and things of that nature.  I thought maybe that would change things in the way we played last week," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "Here we are back in school and we have been there two days.  It is one of the things you have to adjust to and communicate with the kids and explain to them how important it is to get rest and not stay up all night playing video games and eating all of the garbage they like to eat."

          Lucas (0-5,0-3) plays at Danville (3-5,0-2) on Friday night in conference play.  Pertuset says they are a lot like them except they have senior Ridge Durbin.  "They definitely have some capable players with the Durbin kid.  He is a very intense physical presence and a good defender.  He can take you off the dribble and shoot it at the same time.  Anytime you play a guy who can get to the rim and shoot it it is going to be a challenge for you as a team defensively.  They have a couple of kids that came up from the JV team last year that can play a little bit too.  They are young a lot like us.  As far as experience it is going to be pretty even out there," he said.

          As far as Clear Fork (2-5) is concerned Pertuset says they always give them a lot of trouble with their athleticism.  "Clear Fork is going to one of those games that is always going to be difficult.  They really get out and pressure the ball.  They present some match-up challenges for us with the way they pressure the basketball.  All I know for sure is it is a very difficult match-up for us in terms of how they pressure the ball and their style of play compared to how we react to certain things.  I feel pretty good about how we will play this weekend," he said.

 

Published 1/09/15

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Lucas Getting Closer

 

          Lucas and Northmor continue to look for their first wins of the season and one of them is going to get it as they play at Northmor in a non-conference game on Saturday night.

          In their last outing on Saturday, the Cubs (0-4,0-3), dropped a (58-52) decision to Loudonville in Mid-Buckeye Conference play.  Coach Kyle Pertuset says that was really a game they could have won.  "We kind of let that one get away from us.  We had one or two too many mental break downs throughout the game that kind of cost us the victory we felt like.  We were able to take away some positives, but at the same time we give the same old moral victory speech to the kids that they get tired of hearing as much as your get tired of saying it," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "We'll go over to Northmor and hopefully have a good effort we feel like we are going to need to put in so we can get the monkey off our back so we can get rolling."

          During the holiday break Pertuset says the extra time gives him and the team some extra minutes to sharpen their play and prepare for the opponent.  "I know I can watch a lot more film, and like the kids, I can get a lot more sleep, so that is good.  Northmor, I know they played Fredericktown pretty close.  They have been competing hard and I am sure they are just as hungry as we are, so we have to come ready to play, do things right, and take care of the little things, and put ourselves in good position," he said.

          Northmor (0-6) lost to Galion (69-51) on Saturday and they are playing a lot of young kids.  Pertuset says they play hard and physical and they have to be ready for that come Saturday.  "They really like to get up after you.  They do a good job in that zone of getting out and pressuring you, pressuring the basketball, and getting their rotations.  The key for us is we have to utilize the ball fake, be patient and attack when the opening are there.  Just not get going too fast and hopefully we can find some openings and knock down some shots.  Keep them off the offensive glass, that is always a key for us, we have done a better job of that, hopefully that can continue trending in the right direction as well," said Pertuset.

 

Published 12/31/14

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Lucas Must Rebound Better

 

          Lucas is becoming a better basketball team, they are going to be more competitive this season that last, they just have to get over a few more hurdles, like rebounding.

          Mansfield St. Peter's beat them (61-46) in their Mid-Buckeye Conference opener last Friday.  Coach Kyle Pertuset just feels they gave St. Peter's too many chances to score because they didn't rebound well enough.  "The biggest thing is we just can't give up that many second chance points.  I thought our kids would have had a really good opportunity had they rebounded the ball better.  We probably gave up 14 second chance points," he told Swankonsports.com, "I know they had at least eight second chance points in the first quarter alone and we ended up being down by nine after the first quarter.  If we just do some of the little things that we talk about everyday in practice.  We told the kids afterward that these are things we could correct.  We try to stay as positive as we possibly can.  It's not a talent issue."

          The Cubs are still working on finding more scoring and Pertuset says they can't afford to get behind like they did to St. Peter's.  "Right now we are having trouble scoring the basketball.  We need to get a stop and it has to one and done.  I think we kind of let one go on Friday night.  I think if we just rebound the basketball the result could have been a  lot different," he said.

          It's not just rebounding, but scoring the ball too.  Pertuset says they have to find more guys that can put points on the board.  "We have to be more patient and we need some help from some other guys sharing the basketball.  Right now we have Jacob Gerich doing a lot of scoring.  He had 22 on Friday night.  We have a lot of young kids out there playing with not a lot of varsity experience.  I think our offense we really come with time.  We added some things last week and I pleased in some areas in what I saw.  We are still working to get the kids to know all of our sets.  Sometimes getting the offense in gets placed on the back burner.  We are focusing on the things that are going to give our kids the best chance to win," said Pertuset.

          Lucas (0-2,0-1) plays at defending Mid-Buckeye Conference champion Mansfield Christian (2-2,1-0) on Friday night.  The Flames beat Danville (60-49) in their conference opener last week.  Pertuset says they are going to have to compete better on the boards to have a chance.  "It just comes down to drilling it, drilling it, and drilling it and it becomes second nature when the shot goes up that we get a body on somebody. Sometimes when we get position we just fail to maintain that position," he said.

 

Published 12/15/14

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Lucas Has to Run Offense Better

 

          Lucas needs to be more fundamentally sound in the way it runs its offense as the Cubs get ready for their Mid-Buckeye Conference opener on Friday night at home against Mansfield St. Peter's.

          In their first game last week, they lost (47-27) to Fredericktown in non-conference play.

          Coach Kyle Pertuset was very happy with what they did in defending the Freddies, but he says they have to be more focused when they have the ball in their hands.  "It definitely didn't go as we visualized offensively, now on the defensive end I was quite pleased with our effort holding a team like Fredericktown to 47 points.  If you would have told me Friday evening I would have said we are going to win the ballgame.  Unfortunately, offensively we aren't where we need to be yet.  We have made a few adjustments to get few more options to put our guys in better position hopefully to be able to score the ball a little bit more on Friday," said Pertuset.

          In order to score more, Pertuset says they have to be more patient and find open guys in order to get better looks at the basket.  "We need to be a little bit more fundamentally sound.  Fredericktown did a pretty good job of defending us and took away our first and second options.  We need to do a better job of having the presence of mind to be fundamentally sound enough to get to our third and fourth options without turning the ball over or allow their pressure to take us out of what we want to be doing," he said.

          The Cubs host Mansfield St. Peter's (1-1), who is having some offensive problems too.  They scored less than 30 points too in a (53-27) loss to Buckeye Central on Tuesday night.

          Pertuset says they have to be able to keep the Spartans out of the lane and off the boards in order to win.  "I expect to see an extremely disciplined team, especially in the course of the half court offense.  I am really impressed with the stuff that coach Jakubick is running over there.  I think he is doing a great job.  He has a couple of freshmen coming off the bench right now that I could see it is just a matter of time until one of them cracks the starting lineup.  They do a real good job coming off the bench and shooting the basketball," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "Hammer does a really good job of penetrating and finding the open guy.  You can't forget about Richard Shaw.  I know he hasn't found his stride yet, but when he does look out.  I just hope it isn't against us.  We have to keep Barrick and the other big off the boards.  If we can keep the guards in front of us and keep them off the glass we have a chance to win."

 

Published 12/11/14

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Lucas Must Handle Pressure

 

          Lucas is trying to almost jump right from football season to basketball season as they play their first game this Saturday at Fredericktown, who is in the same situation.

          Both schools lost on the second week of the football playoffs, jut over two weeks ago.  Cubs coach Kyle Pertuset says they are trying to make sure they have the endurance needed to play basketball.  "With the success of the football team I think we still need to shake some of the cob webs out a little bit.  We got a two week late start and we trying to polish up the fundamentals, get into shape, and turn their football legs into basketball legs and that has been kind of a challenge.  We are hoping also that the success on the gridiron can kind of translate over to the hardwood," said Pertuset.

          Lucas won their first ever playoff game this year in the first round against Plymouth.  Pertuset hopes to be able to take some of the excitement generated by the football team into the winter.  "The community really rallied around the football team.  We can just imagine if we can continue the trend what a great atmosphere we would get to play in.  We have good athletes we just have to polish up our basketball fundamentals and make sure we can use our athleticism affectively and I think we can be alright," he said.

          Fredericktown has a new coach in Randy Endsley Sr. and Pertuset says the Freddies are going to be a big challenge for them.  "Fredericktown I think they are really, really good and we will have to take care of the ball because they like to pressure.  If we can just take care of the ball and not fall into playing their game we might be alright," he said.

          Lucas has a lot of young players on their roster and Pertuset says they are going to have to settle into the game Saturday night pretty quickly and not be in aye.  "We only have one senior this year, so we have some young guys out there playing and they are just going to have to go out here and relax and play the game and not be overwhelmed in the moment.  If we can do that I think we might be alright there," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "We have to slow it down a little bit and handle the pressure that Fredericktown is going to bring.  if we can still hang around and be in it those first couple of quarters and sustain their runs and their first initial pressure I think that will be key."

 

Published 12/02/14

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It's Lucas Against the World

 

          Lucas was a kind of an upset winner in their first playoff game and no one is giving them much of a chance at all in their second... well, expect for the Cubs are their faithful.

          They play Berlin Center Western Reserve (10-1) in the division seven regional semi-finals at Red Rider Stadium at Orrville High School on Saturday night.

          Last Saturday, the Cubs (7-4) forced four fourth quarter turnovers and rallied from three scores down to beat Plymouth (37-34) on Rueben Luna's field goal at the horn.

          Coach Scott Spitler says they simply never gave up.  "I am really proud of our boys and the way the handled themselves in the rollercoaster ride that was last Saturday's game.  It was just their attitude and the way they faced adversity at times during the game and the way they fought back to get the first playoff win in school history.  It was really a special moment for our entire community," he said.

          Luna is the Lucas quarterback, but he also handles all of their kicking and Spitler says it is something he works on all of the time.  "It is not surprising if you know Rueben.  He spends an inordinate amount of time outside of just regular football practice and the time that we spend on our special teams working on his kicking and punting.  This young man has worked a lifetime on his craft and it paid off for us on Saturday night," he said.

          The Western Reserve Blue Devils advanced to the state semi-finals last year and in 2011.  This season they have averaged 40 points a game and beat Toronto (27-17) last week to advance.  Spitler says they have great size.  "They are a well coached team with tremendous size at every position, just not in the trenches and great athleticism.  We are going to have another match-up problem as they have a 6'6", 210 pound wide receiver/tight end that is going to be a match-up issue," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "Our defense is going to have to have a great week of preparation and be sound in our fundamentals on Saturday night.  Offensively we are going to have to do a great job at the point of attack at the line of scrimmage to be able to move the ball against these guys because they are very solid defensively.  They are probably the largest team size wise across the board that we have seen all season.  They are very comparable to a Loudonville."

          Across the state there likely aren't a lot of people that think Lucas has a chance in this game and Spitler says they use that to their advantage.  "I think our kids are enthused with the opportunity that we have this week.  They know they are well supported by our community and our fan base.  We pretty much have to play week in and week out with a chip on our shoulder with the understanding that not a lot of people outside of our community expect a whole lot from us.  Our kids take that personally and that drives them to prove people wrong.  We are going to play that card and get after it Saturday night and see how we come out at the end," said Spitler.

 

Published 11/13/14

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Lucas Faces Plymouth Again

 

          In the first week of the playoffs it's a rematch as the Lucas Cubs travel to Plymouth to face the Big Red in a division seven game on Saturday night.  Plymouth handled Lucas (40-22) on the first week of the regular season.

          Lucas (6-4) also lost to three other playoff teams in Centerburg (28-7), Loudonville (49-0) and Danville (28-14).  Coach Scott Spitler says this is a team that has matured a lot this season.  "We didn't start off the season the first two weeks the way we would have liked, but the kids kept their noses to the grindstone and kept working and believing and we got it turned around and headed in the right direction and finished the season on a successful note and earned the right to represent our school in the playoffs for just the third time in school history," said Spitler.

          Lucas runs a double wing, double tight offense that concentrates on running the ball.  Spitler says the offensive line has done a great job for them this season.  "That group really jelled this season and really hold each other to a high level of expectation in their play and they have just gotten better each and every day," he said.

          Plymouth (7-3) finished in third place in the Firelands Conference this fall.  Spitler says they have a number of weapons on the offensive side of the ball that they will have to contend with.  "They are very talented, especially on the offensive side of the ball.  They have three tremendous athletes with Tyrell Edmidson, Chance Butcher and their quarterback Hunter Bailey," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "They just threaten you in every avenue that they can with formations, personnel, and can move the ball really well.  On week one we made eight turnovers and they recovered six of them giving them six extra possessions and you can't do that with any team let alone a team with the offensive talent that they have."

          The Big Red gets in a number of different formations and Spitler says they must be aliened correctly before the snap.  "We are definitely going to have to take another step this week in our development defensively.  We are going to have to be able to communicate  to make sure we don't give them anything easy because we are misaligned.  They are very multiple in what they do," he said.

          Even if they eliminate all of the turnovers they had in the first game against Plymouth Spitler knows they have to have a different game plan because Plymouth will be different too.  "I think both teams have progressed all season and continue to get better.  There are different dimensions on both sides of the ball for both teams as well as they development and experience of the players.  You can't rely on what was week one.  You have to prepare just like they are the next team on the schedule in the regular season.  You have to be sound in what you do and make sure that you are fundamentally ready for what they bring to the table," said Spitler.

 

Published 11/06/14

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A Lot on the Line For Lucas

 

           A win on Friday night against Allen East will put the Lucas Cubs in the playoffs for just the third time in school history, but right now they are just thinking about paying tribute to their seniors by winning.

          Last week, they fell (28-14) to Mid-Buckeye Conference rival Danville in a game where coach Scott Spitler says they didn't cash in when they had a chance, especially in the first half.  "In the first half we didn't do a very good job offensively.  Three drives we got into the red zone and we shot ourselves in the foot with mistakes and penalties.  You can't do that against any football team, let a lone a good Danville team.  So, we went into halftime down 14 when we could have easily been up in that situation.  When you try to play catch up against a good football team we just came up short there at the end of the game," said Spitler.

          With a lot hanging in the balance this week Spitler says they have been moving forward, not looking back, and concentrating on what they need to do to win on Friday.  "There is nobody more frustrated in the way that we played than our kids because they have great expectations of themselves and the pride that they have in being a Lucas Cub.  We went back to work on Saturday morning evaluating film and moved on to Allen East," he said.

          Allen East (3-7) has lost its last two to Ada (28-22) and Lima Central Catholic (55-21) last Friday.  Spitler says this is certainly a team that can compete with them in the trenches.  "It ought to be a quick game Friday night when you have two teams that want to run the ball as much as we do.  They are extremely large up front.  They might be the biggest team will have faced this season in the trenches.  They run a hybrid wing-T offense.  They have some really nice skilled kids.  Their fullback is pretty close to 1,000 yards rushing already this season.  We are going to have our hands full defensively this week trying to defend a big, physical run game that they bring to town.  Then offensively we are going to have to control the line of scrimmage and run the ball to keep pace with their offense," said Spitler.

          Even with playoffs a possibility for the program, Spitler didn't want to hear anything about that on Monday.  "The most important thing to our kids right now is they want to get this win and finish with a winning season and send our senior out right in their last season as a Cub at Lucas Stadium.  It has been our tradition the last two years to make important for our underclassmen to send our seniors out right," he told Swankonsports.com, "Our focus right now is to make sure we are getting better each day so we can send our seniors our right Friday night with a victory in their last home game and if that is good enough to earn a post season berth then we will play week 11. Our biggest goal is to get that sixth win and send our season out right in their last home game."

 

Published 10/28/14

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The Cubs Playoffs Hopes Riding on This Week

 

          Lucas stands sixth in its computer region in division seven and their possible qualification for the postseason might be determined by the outcome of their Mid-Buckeye Conference game this week with Danville.

          Last week, Lucas overwhelmed Toledo Horizon Science (61-0), leading (41-0) after the first quarter.  Coach Scott Spitler says they were able to get some young kids into the game.  "We were able to come out and play a really good first quarter and pretty much after that it was a lot of time for our young kids, which was a good pick me up for them.  It was an opportunity for them to showcase the good work they do each week," he said.

          Additionally last week, Lucas celebrated the history of their program by inviting some former players to come back home.  "We honored the 50th year of Lucas football.  We had members from every decade present since the 1960's, so it was a very good night for our entire program and community," he sent.

          Although they only threw two passes last week, Lucas has thrown more this year due to the maturing of quarterback Rueben Luna.  Spitler says he works very hard to get better.  "He spent a lot of time this off season fine tuning his craft.  The comical thing about coaching Rueben is he is his own toughest critic," he told Swankonsports.com, "So, we spend a lot of time trying to build his confidence and help him see that the mistakes that he makes are fixable and not to dwell on them because he expects perfection from himself.  That is a good trait because it drives him to be successful."

          Lucas (5-3,0-1), of course, concentrates on running the ball.  They ran it 33 times for 440 yards against Horizon Science.  Spitler says they have a talented backfield.  "I think we have a really nice group of running backs, not just our starting two that run with some physicality, but also have some quickness that they need to break away lead by our senior Logan Spohn and our junior Mason Galco.  We have been fortunate to have two quality backs and their backs ups are pretty talented too," he said.

          Danville is coming off a (67-7) loss to unbeaten Loudonville last week, but still ninth in their computer region.  Spitler says Danville (4-4,0-1) is a pretty good team.  "Make no bones about it, Danville is a solid football team with a great tradition of playing blue collar football.  We are going to have our hands full and our kids know they are going to have to have a great week of preparation and play well if we are going to reach the goals we have set for ourselves," he said.

          Danville beat Lucas (41-0) last year and Spitler says they have to be able to score when they get into position.  "They have a very talented quarterback.  He is a big kid that can run the ball from the spread formation and they have nice kids that can do a lot of good things in space.  We are definitely going to have to keep taking steps forward on defense this week.  Last year, against them we were able to move the ball between the 20s, but we couldn't punch it in.  We have to get better up front this week," said Spitler.

 

Published 10/20/14

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Lucas Becoming Good on Both Sides

 

          Lucas is now over the .500 mark and the Cubs are striving to make their first playoff berth in since 2006 and only the third in school history.

          Right now, the Cubs stand sixth in their computer region.  The top eight qualify for the postseason.

          Coach Scott Spitler says they are enjoying what they are doing and the players are giving it everything they have got.  "The kids are working very hard and they seem to be putting some things together and getting things headed in the right direction for several weeks now.  I am excited about our potential as long as we keep working as hard as we have been," he said.

          Lucas has been racking up some impressive offensive numbers, mostly rushing yards, they had 330 last week in a (45-8) over Upper Scioto Valley.  However, Spitler says the defense have been getting a lot better too.  "We have begun to jell defensively here the last few weeks.  That is a tribute to our defensive coordinator and our staff working the kids really hard and the kids holding themselves accountable to a high level each day.  They have an expectation to meet their goal and reach their goals this season and you can see that in the way they practice," said Spitler.

          They allowed only 146 yards of total offense last week.

          This week, the Cubs (4-3) host Toledo Horizon Science in a non-conference game.  Spitler says they might have difficulty matching up with the Lucas double wing, double tight offense.  "They have really decent skill speed, which kind of concerns me.  They kind of want to spread you out and play on the edges with their spread gun offense.  Defensively they are based out of a 50 front.  I think watching them on film I like the match-up up front, our guys in the trenches versus their guys in the trenches.  We are going to try to do what we do best and play some physical Lucas football," said Spitler.

          Perhaps, Horizon Science would be a school you would be surprised to find on the Lucas schedule, but Spitler says when you are in a league of three you can't be choosey.  "We are in a league where there are only two other football playing schools so we might as well be an independent with all of the games that we have to try and find.  After week three most schools are in their league season, so there is not a lot of variety out there to choose from.  Sometimes you just can't be picky," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "Rather than not having a game you have to go out there and schedule somebody that lots of times you might not think of matching up with.  Beggars can't be choosers so to speak with the difficulty at this time of year of finding people to play."

 

Published 10/15/14

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Lucas With Big Assignment

 

          Lucas takes a three game winning streak into Loudonville to play one of the better division six teams in the state on Friday night in the Mid-Buckeye Conference opener for both schools.

          Mason Galco ran for 289 yards and five touchdowns last week in a (65-41) romp over Vienna Mathews in non-conference play.  Coach Scott Spitler is encouraged by the improvement he has seen from his players.  "We knew we had a pretty good football team.  Against two good football teams at the start of the season we just made too many mistakes and some self inflicted wounds early in the season.  We have gotten those things tightened up.  Offensively and defensively the last three weeks we have been able to put some things together and get three straight victories and build some momentum and hope that springboards us into a good performance Friday night at Loudonville," said Spitler.

          The Cubs beat Northmor (33-27) on week three and Elyria Open Door Christian (41-6) on week four.

          Spitler says they have been gaining more and more confidence with each win.  "Football is not easy or everybody would be playing it.  The kids go through a lot of work and a lot hot days.  When you have some success and put some wins together it makes that grind of the season go a lot easier.  It puts more pep in your step and helps you focus each week on getting better," he said.

          Loudonville (5-0,0-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, has outscored its five opponents 240-27 this season.  Spitler says they have unbelievable players everywhere.  "They are a very talented team in every phase of the game and they make you prepare for every phase of their game equally.  They put a lot of pressure on you in the special teams area.  They have a very fast and physical defense.  Then on offense they really stretch you vertically and horizontally," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "The tremendous athlete they have at quarterback.  He can run the ball just like a veteran tailback and he can also hurt you passing.  They have some nice skilled kids around him and a big offensive line.  They have had some success the last couple of years with some playoff appearances, so the kids have high expectations."

          Spitler says they have to go to Loudonville and play their game, football in a phone booth, and just execute very well.  "We are going over to their place, their stomping grounds, their turf.  We are going into a hostile environment.  Most important for us we have to get better each day and put our best foot forward on Friday night and be ready to go," he said.

 

Published 9/30/14

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Line of Scrimmage Big in Lucas Game

 

          Lucas entertains Vienna Mathews on Friday night in non-conference play with a two game winning streak in hand.

          They took a four touchdown lead into halftime and went on to bury Elyria Open Door Christian (41-6) last week.  Coach Scott Spitler says they did what they had too do.  "It was a good night for the entire team.  We played really well and were able to get the victory.  Now we are able to get back to work on this week's opponent Matthews," he said.

          Lucas runs a double tight, double wing formation and has always concentrated on running the ball, but Spitler admits they are passing the ball a little more this season.  "We have put it up a little bit more this year.  Our quarterback Reuben Luna has done a real nice job of developing from last year to this year,"" he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "We have a few more wrinkles in the play book and doing a few more things formation wise to keep people honest.  We are still focusing on the line of scrimmage and being a physical run team."

          Vienna Mathews (2-2) comes to Lucas (2-2) on Friday night for a non-league game.  Spitler says Matthews makes no bones about it they want to run the ball on you.  "It has been very similar  to when we were preparing for Northmor.  They are primarily based out of an unbalanced wishbone offensive set.  They want to establish the line of scrimmage and run the football 75, 80 percent of the time.  We have to do a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage ourselves.  It is going to be a battle in trenches Friday night for sure between teams that want to establish a solid run game," said Spitler.

          Anytime you are playing a teams that run the option you have to be secure in you assignments and Spitler says they can't allow Mathews to control the point of attack.  "They are going to run some option, so we have to be disciplined with our assignments in the option game.  The have an athletic quarterback that does a good job running the ball out of the option attack.  We are going to have to be disciplined and control the line of scrimmage," he said.

 

Published 9/23/14

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Lucas Looks For Two Straight

 

          After earning their first win of the season last week against Northmor, the Lucas Cubs are looking to make it two in a row as they host the Patriots of Elyria Open Door Christian.

          Quarterback Ruehen Luna scored on a 2-yard touchdown run with 57 seconds left in the game last week to push the Cubs past Northmor (33-27) in non-conference play.  Coach Scott Spitler says the win has given them some confidence.  "It was a nice win in a very close battle with Northmor.  Our kids just stayed the course and were able to get the victory there at the end.  It put the pep in our step in our preparation for this week," he said.

          Luna also completed 11 of 19 passes for 185 yards.  Meanwhile, Mason Galco ran it 17 times for 90 yards.  Spitler says it was a much needed win for the Cubs.  "We believe in our kids and we know we have a good football team.  The first two weeks we played two pretty good football games against two pretty good football teams in Centerburg and Plymouth and came out on the short end," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "You start to doubt yourself a little bit as a teenager.  Coming out last week against Northmor and being able to come back and get that victory at the end really builds that confidence."

          Open Door (0-3) has lost games to Danbury Lakeside (47-18), Lorain Clearview (48-0) and Collinwood (56-12) last week.  Still Spitler says the Patriots have some game breakers.  "They are a senior laden team led by their six-foot-three, 185 pound quarterback, who's last name is Simpson.  He is a very athletic young man with a nice arm.  They are going to try and test us vertically and on the edges with the run game.  They like to run the jet series.  They put pressure on your kids defensively by putting them out in space.  We are going to have to be very disciplined in the secondary and we are going to have to tackle well," said Spitler.

 

Published 9/16/15

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Lucas Can't Fumble

 

          Lucas runs an offense that almost nobody else does and they only throw the ball when they absolutely have to and that isn't very often.  If you going to do that you can't fumble much.

          Last week, the Cubs had as many lost fumbles as they did pass attempts, four in each case, in a (40-22) loss to Plymouth.  Coach Scott Spitler says they just can't allow another team to have that many extra chances to score.  "You can't do that against any team, but especially against a team with the offensive skill that they have.  You can't give them six extra possessions in the game because of your lack of ball security.  I think that was the big factor in the outcome of the game," he said.

          Lucas ran for 315 yards on 60 carries in the game, but Spitler says they kept putting their defense in bad positions.  "I thought we moved the ball well and the offensive line did a nice job, but you have to protect that football when your teams relies so heavily on the run game," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "We kept putting our defense in harms way with short fields and stuff for Plymouth with turnovers and you can't do that against good football teams like Plymouth.  They ended up getting 26 points off those turnovers and it was an 18 point ballgame."

          Lucas travels to Centerburg this week, the defending champion of the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.  Spitler says the Trojans have a lot athletes with very good speed.  "They have tremendous team speed on both sides of the ball, which is difficult to simulate in practice with your scout team.  We will have to do well at playing in space.  They do a nice job offensively and defensively putting you in positions to play against their speed in space.  We are going to have to force them to play our type of football and slow them down a little bit, keep things in front of us and prevent the big play," said Spitler.

          Centerburg blanked Utica (32-0) in their opener last week and they appear to be pretty strong again.

          Spitler says they must better open field tacklers.  "That is something that we didn't feel we did a very good job with last week.  We have spent a lot of time this week focusing on those fundamentals and spending some extra time ironing those things out.  Hopefully the kids have had a good week of practice here and that will pay off on Friday night improving those things that we saw the week before," said Spitler.

Published 9/04/14

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Lucas Can't Turn the Ball Over

 

          Lucas normally isn't that flashy but they can be pretty good and they will need to be when they play host to the Plymouth Big Red on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.

          Cubs coach Scott Spitler feels his team is heading in the right direction as week one arrives.  "I think we have made improvement over the summer since the preseason two a day stuff has gone on.  Last Friday we had our last scrimmage versus New London and I thought we were a little sloppy, so hopefully we get those things buttoned up this week because we are going ton have our hands full Friday night with a pretty skilled Plymouth team," he said.

          Lucas is a team that has some experience on the roster, but Spitler says it is still young experience.  "We bring back a good nucleus of experience, but the funny thing is because most of them have played since they were freshmen and sophomores we only have five seniors on our roster this year.  It boas well for future years not just this season.  We like the experience we have coming back and we have some exciting younger kids to add to that group.  I think we have a good group of kids we just have to make sure we don't shoot ourselves in the foot and work to get better each day," said Spitler.

          Plymouth is expected to be a top tier team in the Firelands Conference this fall and Spitler says the Big Red has a lot of guys that can make big plays.  "They return quite a bit of experience at their skilled positions.  They have a very quality quarterback and a nice receiver corps and a couple of nice running backs.  It seems that every year we play Plymouth it is a knock down, drag our physical football game and I don't expect anything less this Friday," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "I know coach Genders will have his group ready.  The atmosphere is almost like a rivalry type atmosphere.  We are similar type schools from small communities.  Their fans are going to be coming into Lucas supporting their guys and our fans will be out.  I think it should be a good football game."

          Lucas is a team that relies on running the football and Spitler says they can not afford to put the ball on the ground while they are doing it.  "I would think that the team that doesn't turn the ball over and stays away from the penalties and doesn't give up big plays.  Their skilled position experience and quality lends itself to the big play and you really have to be disciplined so you don't give up the big play.  Offensively we have to take care of the football.  We didn't do a very good job of that last year and it cost us in a tight ballgame," said Spitler.

 

Published 8/26/14

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Lucas Working on Getting Better

 

          It’s the second year of the reconfigured Mid-Buckeye Conference and there are only three teams left playing football in Loudonville, Danville and Lucas.

          The Cubs were 4-6 a year ago, but winless in the conference.  Two of the teams, Loudonville and Danville, were playoff teams in 2013.

          Coach Scott Spitler says he has seen some good things out of the Cubs in the preseason, but some things that need to be better.  “As a coach none of us are really happy right now.  We are looking for our kids to improve and get better each day.  In our scrimmages they will expose things that we need to get better and continue to work on.  I don’t think any coach in the state of Ohio is extremely happy right now because we are all striving for that protection and trying to be the best that we can be,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We look at the positives that we have each day in practice and find areas that we need to continue to get better at.  We talk about continuing to take a step forward each day, not stay the same or take a step back.”

          Lucas scrimmaged South Central of the Firelands Conference on Tuesday and Spitler thought they did a lot of good things in their running game.  “I thought our kids did a nice job (Tuesday).  We went out and did the things we wanted to do in our base packages and stuff and get some things on film so we can use that as a teaching tool and get better.  I thought we did a nice job up front on the offensive line.  Our depth at running back really showed the athletes that we have and feature there in our run game.  We have quite a battle going on in our quarterback position with our two juniors that shared time there last year in Rueben Luna and Alex Switzer and the one that doesn’t win it will help us out at another position.  They are just that talented and important to our team,” said Spitler.

          It is on the defensive side of the ball where the Cubs need the most improvement from last year and Spitler says there have been some bright spots.  “Defensively when looking back at last season that is definitely an area where we need to step forward.  Our defensive coordinator has done a really nice job of pushing us through camp here.  We saw a lot of good things (Tuesday) defensively.  We are excited to have that teaching moment (Wednesday) in film and get back after it and improve before our scrimmage on Saturday,” he said.

          The crucial play for Lucas seems to be third down, Spitler says they gave up a lot of big plays on third down last season and that can’t happen this year.  “I think we need to do a better job of getting off the field on third down.  I think we left a lot of teams off the hook in third down and long or short situations.  I think being disciplined and knowing the down and distance will help us.  I think we have a great group in the secondary that we are working with that will help us in that way that will help prevent some of the big plays that we gave up that let teams off the hook,” he said.

 

Published 8/13/14

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Lucas Looking For Upset

 

          When they played on the first weekend of the season, Plymouth beat Lucas by nearly 50 points.  Tuesday night the Cubs will be looking to pull one of the biggest upsets in all of Ohio.

          The Cubs (2-20) face Plymouth (20-2) in the first round of the division four sectional tournament at Ontario High School.

          Both of the Cubs wins come in the second half of the season and coach Kyle Pertuset says they have done some good things this year and now they have to put all of those things together.  "I think we are playing our best in certain areas and kind of lacking in others.  I told the kids (Monday) night at practice all of things we need to do to give ourselves an opportunity to be in the game and have a chance to win we have done at some point in the year we just haven't necessarily done them at the same time and that's what we need to focus on doing.  Since the tournament draw we have had two weeks of intense practice to try and get better and give ourselves the best opportunity.  The kids are excited and we are ready to go out and see what happens," said Pertuset.

          Plymouth, #2 in the final Swankonsports.com boys' basketball poll in the small school division, and outright Firelands Conference champions, have put together and outstanding season.  Pertuset says they have the whole package.  "They come at you with so many different elements.  They have Tyrell Edmiston he averages like 12.3 rebounds a game and over five assists.  They have him on the inside.  They have two 1,000 point scorers on the outside.  A couple of other guys that come off the bench and know how to play their roles.  They play really good team basketball," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "It is really hard watching film to find a weakness.  You really have to focus on not committing errors yourself if you want give yourself the opportunity to win and at the same time hope that they kind of play out of character.  Maybe you can hang around long enough to make them press."

          To have a chance at the upset, Pertuset says they have to get great perimeter shooting and they must keep the Big Red off the glass.  "We have told our kids that if we go out and execute and try to hang around.  we just have to take really good care of the basketball, execute how we want to execute defensively, keep them off the glass, there is a whole laundry list of things we need to do.  Again we are capable of doing them.  We need to make a substantial amount of three pointers and at last keep it even in the rebounding column," he said.

 

Published 2/25/14

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Rebounding Still a Big Key For Lucas

 

          Lucas has certainly made some strides this year, but they would like to get a league win this year and Friday night is their last chance as they travel to East Knox for a Mid-Buckeye Conference game.

          In their first meeting at Lucas, the Bulldogs came away with a (67-65) win in overtime.  Cubs coach Kyle Pertuset hopes this time they can make enough little plays to get a win.  "We have really been telling the kids this week that the last time we played them we missed a box out at the end of the second quarter and they got some points at the buzzer and we did the same exact thing at the end of the third quarter, that gives them four points, we lost by two, we had a couple of late breakdowns in the fourth quarter," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "It was just a variety, a combination of little things that denied us the opportunity to get that win.  We have been trying to get the kids to pay attention to detail so if we are fortunate to be in position to win again it isn't stole away from us by us not doing a few little things."

          Solid rebounding seems to be a good barometer for the Cubs, Pertuset says when they do that they have a much better chance to win.  "Every game we have been in, or won, or had an opportunity to win is because we have been almost even on the rebounding or anytime we are getting blown our or are not playing well or having a bad half or a bad quarter, we are just getting extremely out rebounded," he said.

          Lucas (2-17,0-9) takes the trip to East Knox (6-13,5-4) on Friday night.  The Bulldogs seem to play a lot better at home.  Pertuset says they most play good perimeter defense.  "They can shoot it.  We played a lot of man against them last time.  We thought we did a decent job of getting a hand up on their shooters.  We started out zone.  They got hot a little bit.  We switched up to man and we were able to stay in front of them and get some hands up we are hoping to do the same.  They have some athleticism and we hope to keep them off the glass and take care the basketball at our end and hopefully go over they and have a good ball game and have an opportunity to win," said Pertuset.

 

Published 2/14/14

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Lucas Now More Confident

 

          After earning their most impressive win in a number of seasons on Saturday night against South Central, the Lucas Cubs are feeling more confident as a basketball team. 

          They smacked the Trojans (63-45) in a non-conference game and coach Kyle Pertuset says they were able to get some things going on offense and a good first quarter led to a solid win.  "We are really happy about that win.  We came out in the first quarter and made seven three pointers and were leading by 15 after one.  Our hot shooting allowed us to maintain that lead throughout the game and we ended up winning by 18," he said.

          Early in the season the Cubs were having trouble scoring 30 points in a game, but Pertuset says they being more patient now and looking to get a better shot.  "The difference we see is on the defensive end.  We are bringing more energy and that makes us play more aggressive on offense.  We are being more patient and grinding it out for good looks and running our continuity stuff better and learning how to play.  When you play defense and stay in games longer and get more confidence you are more affective on offense.  I think a difference is you don't go in the locker room at halftime thinking we're done.  That's a big difference when you are in games," said Pertuset.

          On the other end of the floor, Pertuset says they are getting more rebounds, which is allowing them to close out defensive possessions better.  "These last couple of game Friday night against Loudonville and Saturday against South Central were the first two games all year that we were not out rebounded by double digits.  Now that we have turned the corner rebounding and we are not absolutely terrible on defense we are going to have a shot," he said.

          Lucas (2-16,0-7) plays host to Danville (7-9,2-6) in Mid-Buckeye Conference action on Friday night.  Pertuset says they need to prove they are better than the first time they played the Blue Devils, which was a (63-38) loss.  He believes they have a chance to make it two in a row.  "Well Durbin is out for the season. The Prank kid, a guard that can shoot it, there is something going on there, and I don't know if he is going to be back or not.  We are going to approach the game like he is going to be back," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "We feel like we didn't play real well over at their place the first time that we faced them.  We lost by 25 over there.  It was a 12 point game late in the third quarter before they went on a final run.  The kids are really confident.  We have had two really great days of practice, probably the best we have had all year and we are ready for that first conference win."

 

Published 2/05/14

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Lucas Looking for Success

 

          Lucas is a basketball team that is learning a lot and they are improving although wins are still tough to come by for the Cubs.

          After a loss to Mid-Buckeye Conference rival Mansfield Christian last week (77-30) the Cubs play at Bucyrus (8-6) in a non-conference game on Wednesday night.

          Coach Kyle Pertuset says he thinks they have been getting better in the games they have played over the last couple of weeks, they just have been competing against some pretty good teams.  "Our schedule obviously picked up after we got that win.  We played really well against East Knox and then right after that we had St. Peter's, Christian, and now Bucyrus.  I knew after getting some wins it was going to be right back to some big boy basketball.  It's been a challenge," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "We have had some issues with eligibility and things like that and we have had to ask some younger players to step in maybe before they were anticipating to be called upon.  I told them (Tuesday) that we were headed in the right direction.  I know it doesn't always show on the scoreboard.  We are still not where we need to be on the defensive end and rebounding.  We got out rebounded by 13 by Christian and that's just not going to get it done."

          Bucyrus is one of the leaders in the North Central Conference in defensive scoring average and Pertuset knows they are going to have to be patient in order to score.  "They do play pretty good, disciplined defense.  They don't get out and pressure as much as Mansfield Christian did, but they might want to do that against us.  We have been working on having good possessions, being patient and waiting for the good shot.  We don't want to push the issue or rush our offense against Bucyrus, we want all of our possessions to mean something," he said.

          In conference play, the Cubs (1-14,0-6) play at Loudonville (4-10,3-3) on Friday night.  The Redbirds won the first time they played (59-47) and Purtuset believes a good effort will give them a chance to win this one.  "Kelly (Seboe) is a great basketball coach.  I have had the pleasure of talking to him on several occasions and what you need to do to get better.  I know his kids are playing a lot better they just beat St. Peter's.  I think they played decent against Mansfield Christian, they are playing really well right now.  The last time we played them we played pretty well.  We ran a 1-3-1 against them the last game and I know he will have his kids ready for the 1-3-1 this time because we have been running it, so we don't know if we will be able to turn to that or not.  We just have to be ready to play.  I think the kids will have a little bit more confidence going into that game believing they can win," said Purtuset.

 

Published 1/29/14

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Lucas Must Hit for the Outside

 

          After a setback in league play last Friday, the Lucas Cubs are looking to put things back together Tuesday night as they visit Kidron Central Christian for a non conference game.

          Last Friday, things got away from the Cubs in the second quarter and they were blasted by Mansfield St. Peter's (87-38) in a Mid-Buckeye Conference game.  Coach Kyle Pertuset takes a lot of the blame for the loss.  "When we came out he kids were definitely ready to play we just didn't shoot the ball very well.  We were down by 10 or 11 in the second quarter and there was a call that didn't go our way and I ended up getting a technical foul.  St. Peter's went on a huge run after that and I take that kind hard on myself.  I don't know if our kids got discouraged after that, but none the less I can't get that technical foul and I told the kids at halftime that was on me," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday. "As far the preparation for the game I take it as a positive thing, but the result of the game was not quite what we wanted it to be.  As far as mental focus our kids watched more film than they have all year and paid more attention to be what they had to do than they have all season.  (Tuesday) night we really need to play well, win or loss, to be able to continue to take steps forward."

          Lucas had won its first game of the season the previous Saturday against Gilead Christian and played well in an overtime loss to East Knox the night before.

          Pertuset says St. Peter's is a good team and hopefully they can learn from the loss.  "We understand that we shot 4 for 25 from the three point line.  We shot 28 percent from the field.  We were out rebounded by a quite a bit.  There were so many elements that contributed to us losing that game.  Coach Durham had his kids attention and did not let them take us lightly.  He had them ready to play .  They lost to Mansfield Christian by one point.  I mean the top four seeds in our sectional at Ontario are just going to be very good.  It's going to flip a coin with Buckeye Central, Plymouth, Mansfield Christian and St. Pete's then you have us and Crestline.  It's just a really talented sectional," said Pertuset. 

          Tuesday night, the Cubs (1-12) will travel to Kidron Central Christian and Pertuset says it will be important for them to make outside shots because they are going to get a chance to shoot them.  "They tend to play a lot of 2-3 zone, which I kind of like.  At the same time I have my concerns one of the strengths of our team, although at times it's inconsistent, is our perimeter shooting.  I am hoping we can come out and hit some perimeter jump shots on (Tuesday) and that will allow us to hang around and have a chance," he said.

 

Published 1/21/14

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Lucas Gets Win!

 

          Lucas broke a 58 game losing streak when they beat Gilead Christian in a non-conference game on Saturday night.

          It was their first win since February 19, 2011 against Crestline.

          First year coach Kyle Pertuset says it feels really good and he is very proud of his kids for keeping their noses to the grind stone.  “There is nothing better than winning.  The kids have been hungry for it.  I have been losing sleep without it and I’m sure they have too.  We have been preaching and trying to tell them to stay with us all year and they have and I can’t thank them enough,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “They have listened to this young guy for the Ohio River and listened to what he says.  I give it all to the kids.”

          It has been struggle of the past several years with kids quitting or not going out for the team, but Pertuset says it has been a different story this year.  “We really tried to explain to the kids that we would be better off if we picked up our defensive intensity.  We have been putting a lot of extra time on defense in practice.  We have just been trying to sell them the idea that we needed to the little things and they have bought into that.  The proof is in the pudding,” said Pertuset.

          Lucas almost beat East Knox, losing (69-67) in overtime last Friday, and Pertuset says they already looking forward to their next chance to win in the Mid-Buckeye Conference against Mansfield St. Peter’s on Friday.  “We are greedy.  We had a kid, one of our seniors, right after the Gilead Christian game, said okay let’s go get a conference win.  He was already thinking ahead,” he said.

 

Published 1/14/14

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Lucas Needs Defense and Rebounding

 

          Lucas needs to play better defense if they are going to give themselves chance to win.

          The Cubs dropped two games this past weekend to Danville (63-38) in Mid-Buckeye Conference play and Clear Fork (69-23) in a non-conference game on Saturday.

          This Friday, the Cubs (0-10,0-3) host East Knox (3-5,2-1) in an “MBC” game.  Coach Kyle Pertuset says they have some guys that can make perimeter shots.  “They have been up down all year, but they seem to get hot.  They have won a couple here.  Their kids are playing pretty hard and making shots.  I’m sure they are gaining more confidence.  During practice we have explained we need to get those 50/50 balls,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but we have to play better defense.  It’s mainly about what we have to do and not about whoever we are playing.”

          Scoring has come a little easier for the Cubs, but for them to win Pertuset says they must defend and hit the boards much better.  “Right now we are having a very difficult time stopping people defensively.  Then we do get a stop we are getting out rebounded maybe by double digits.  When we do work real hard and get a stop then we allow second chance opportunities and just make it hard on ourselves,” he said.

          One the Cubs big chances to get win this year comes when they visit Gilead Christian on Saturday night.

 

Published 1/10/14

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Lucas Getting Better

 

          They knew at the beginning the season that wins were probably going to be few and far between for the Lucas Cubs, but they are a boys’ basketball team that has gotten better, especially on offense.

          In game one this season the Cubs scored 16 points in a loss to Fredericktown, but last Saturday night they scored nearly four times that many in a loss (73-60) to Northmor.

          Coach Kyle Pertuset, in his first year as a head coach, has seen some improvement and as the kids begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel intensity in practice has picked up.  “We started out not quite where we needed to be and we found that out rather quickly.  Once the kids started understanding what was going to work and grinding it out everyday we saw some improvement,” he told Swankonsports.com, “Once we started to compete I have seen more energy at practice and the kids are starting to have more confidence in their abilities.  It was been pretty enjoyable lately.”

          With the offense improved, Pertuset says they need to make that kind of leap on defense if they are going to start winning some games.  “The main thing we have been discussing in practice this week is we have to get better defensively.  We have started to figure out offense, but right now we can’t give up 70 or 80.  We just need to get up and guard people a little better,” he said.

          On Friday night Lucas (0-8,0-3) plays at Danville (2-5,0-3) in a Mi-Buckeye Conference game.  Pertuset says they will stretch them defensively, especially from the perimeter.  “They are up and down it seems like.  When they are playing they can be a good basketball team.  They have a big kid that can play inside and out.  They have a couple of kids that can get to the rim off the dribble.  They will hit open threes and that is one of the things we have been talking about we have to get a hand up.  That is one the things we are struggling with is three point defense and that has been a point of emphasis all week,” said Pertuset.

          Then on Saturday night the Cubs take a step up in competition as they host the Clear Fork Colts (2-4) in non-conference play.  Pertuset admits Clear Fork is likely the most athletic team they are going to face this year.  “We are going to have to hit the breaks a little bit.  I know we kind of like to run too, but I don’t know if we want to get in that kind of game with them.  I am looking forward to how we will respond to the pressure that Clear Fork brings.  It will be a good measuring stick to see how much better we have gotten in handing ball pressure in full court situations,” he said.

 

Published 1/03/14

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Fundamentals the Key at Lucas

 

          Wins have been few and far between for the Lucas boys’ basketball program in recent years, but there is a new voice in town that has accepted the challenge of growing the program.

          Kyle Pertuset was named the head coach last summer.  He comes to Richland County from the Piketon area of southern Ohio.

          He thinks they have made some pretty good progress to that end this month.  “We have made some good progress.  You never get in all you want to get in as far offense and defense.  The main thing we have tried to focus on is fundamentals and teaching kids to play the right way and learning as much about our opponent as we possibly can as we get ready to play,” said Pertuset.

          At Lucas they are building from the ground floor up and Pertuset says consistent effort is the key for them.  “Things aren’t always going to go the way we want them to go.  We always tell our guys you don’t drowned by falling in the water, you drowned by not trying to swim.  We try to tell them to keep playing and if you turn it over keep saying next play, next play,” he said.

          With a shorter preseason than normal there hasn’t been as much time to prepare and Pertuset also says they want to run the floor, but they are faced with depth issues.  “Of course, you probably aren’t going to practice on Thanksgiving.  We are going to have the kids come in Friday morning for a walk through and to review the scouting report one last time.  Another thing we are concerned about is our depth,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We are not real deep.  We are a smaller team that likes to get it down the floor and pressure, but at the same time if you get into foul trouble or you have to save your legs especially in the Mid-Buckeye Conference where you play a lot of Friday and Saturday nights back to back you have to try and walk the line and try and save your legs, but at the same time play to your strengths.  It’s been a challenge, but our kids are pretty well conditioned and we fell we will be up to the challenge.”

          Fredericktown on Friday and Plymouth on Saturday come to Lucas to open the season.  However, Pertuset says this weekend is more about how they are playing.  “It is very important to take care of your business.  You can scout all you want, but when kids don’t show up on defense or we don’t get back in defensive transition we can have all of the scouting reports in the world and it isn’t going to matter if we don’t handle our business.  We have been stressing the fundamentals and really taking care of us.  You have to do that before you can really game plan.  We have had a pretty good week of practice considering the circumstances.  We have had a couple of kids out of town.  You never have enough time, but I hope we will be just as ready as they are,” said Pertuset.

 

Published 11/28/13

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Lucas Wants Gift For Seniors

 

          It’s going to be the last football game of the season Friday night for the Lucas Cubs as they host to the Vermilion Sailors in non-conference play and they want to go out on a good note mostly for their seniors.

          Last week, they lost (41-0) to a very good Danville team to finish the Mid-Buckeye Conference at 0-3.  This is their first year in the league after the dismantling of the North Central Conference.

          Coach Scott Spitler says the Blue Devils were a tough nut to crack.  “They are a very good football team and playoff tested from last year and haven’t missed a beat by reloading this year.  I thought our kids played well we just weren’t able to finish drives offensively.  Defensively we found ourselves in positions to make plays several times and came out on the short end there,” he said.

          With only four schools playing football in the “MBC” Lucas (3-6), and the other league schools, have had to work hard to find non-league games.  Spitler says the Sailors are built as a power team.  “They have a very talented tailback and great size up front in the trenches, so that is going to be a challenge for us.  They are about the size of Ontario and they actually played Ontario this season, played them very tough.  So, we know we have a very good football team coming into our house for the last game of the season.  We will have to play well to have a chance to get a victory,” he said.

          Like most games involving Lucas and their double wing, double tight offense, Spitler believes this game will be decided at the point of attack.  “In the trenches on both sides of the ball we have to be able to control the line of scrimmage.  We have to establish our run game and then defensively we have to try and take away their run game and make them do something they don’t want to do,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We are very similar in that both teams want to establish the run game.  I guess it is going to come down to who can impose their will on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.”

          Spitler has seen these seniors though their high school careers and he says they rest of the team owes them something.  “The big thing for us is we owe it to our seniors to make sure that we send them out right.  This will be their last home game and the last time playing for the Lucas Cubs.  We’ve talked to our younger players, juniors, sophomores, freshmen about paying it forward and playing with the focus and the effort that they want future underclassmen to do when they become seniors.  Our focus is we want to go out and get that victory and send our seniors out the right way,” he said.

 

Published 10/29/13

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Lucas Wants the Ball

 

          Lucas wraps up play in the Mid-Buckeye Conference with a game at Danville against the Blue Devils on Friday night.

          Last week, no one scored in the second half when East Knox downed Lucas (20-13) in an “MBC” game.  Coach Scott Spitler says they just couldn’t get that running game going in the second half.  “We got in a little back and forth battle there in the first half.  We came out in the second half and defensively shut them down and did not give up any points in the second half, but we just couldn’t get our offense clicking enough on a consistent manner to get back in the game and possibly get the victory and came up short there at the end,” he said.

          This is Lucas first year in the “MBC,” which has only four schools playing football.  Spitler says he likes where they are, but hopes the league can attract more football playing members.  “I like the conference.  I always thought over the years being around the area and knowing the type of football that has been played in the “MBC.”  They have always played really good football and have had playoff teams come from it,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “It is kind of sad to see the Licking County teams and a couple of the Knox County teams leaving for other leagues because it has always been a solid small school conference with the likes of Loudonville and Danville.  At Lucas we want to continue to build the “MBC” and look forward to adding some more teams that play football.”

          Form an Offensive standpoint Spitler says the Blue Devils (6-2,0-1) are a lot like they were last season when they advanced to the regional regional final before losing to Newark Catholic.  “They are a program that is extremely established and have had a lot of success in the past and the expectation is there.  This year’s team is no different.  They are very solid defensively and offensively they put a lot of pressure on you with their spread attack,” he said.

          A goal of the Cubs every week is to possess the ball and Spitler says that is definitely the case this week.  “What they try to do is spread you horizontally as well as vertically. When that is the case your kids have to do a good job of recognizing what they are doing and be able to tackle well in the open field.  We have to do a good job with those things in our preparation this week and hopefully take care of business on the field.  When we get the ball we have to put drives together than end up in the end zone because they have shown during the course of the season that they can put up points,” he said.

 

Published 10/22/13

© Swankonsports.com    

 

 
   

Recognition big For Lucas

 

          Defense is something that has been getting better for the Lucas Cubs and they will get a big test this week as the travel to East Knox to face the potentially explosive Bulldogs.

          With only four schools playing football in the Mid-Buckeye Conference this year the Lucas road show continued last week with a trip to McGuffey to face Upper Scioto Valley

          After a slow start the Cubs came away with a (26-8) win as Mason Galco ran for 181 yards and a score.  Coach Scott Spitler praises their patience and second half execution.  “I was really pleased with our kids and how they battled for the entire game.  After the long bus trip I didn’t think we came out early and played like we wanted to, but we cleared our heads and played a real good second half and was able to get the victory and that’s attributed to the quality of kids that we have,” he said.

          There have been some times that the Cubs have given up some points this year, 50 to Loudonville two weeks ago is an example, but Spitler thinks his young defense is getting better.  “Starting the season with as many sophomores and juniors that we had playing on Friday nights we were really trying to find the pieces to fit together with a young defense and we have started to find where those pieces go and they have started to jell and perform better on Friday night and offensively we have been doing a better job of taking care of the football,” said Spitler.

          This week it is back to “MBC” play for Cubs (3-4,0-1) as they travel to Howard to face the East Knox Bulldogs (3-4,0-1) on Friday night.  Spitler says the Bulldogs can make big plays.  “They are very talented offensively behind their quarterback Cody Howard and the running of their running back Dylan Wears they are nice little one-two punch.  They like to run out of the spread formation with multiple looks with multiple wide receivers.  We are going to have to be disciplined.  They like to run some option game out of the spread formation, so it requires you to be very sound defensively and tackle well in space,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We are going to have to make them work very hard to get every inch they get.  Offensively to help our “d” we are going to have to control the time of possession and make sure we finish drives in the end zone.”

          With the ability of East Knox to do a lot of things Spitler says they must keep their eyes open on defense.  “They try to give you several looks formation wise.  They do a couple of different things with motion, but ultimately their flag bearers are their quarterback ands their running back and we have to be extremely knowledgeable about where they are at and what their tendencies are in certain formations,” he said.

 

Published 10/17/13

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Lucas Faces Unbeaten Loudonville

 

          After beating Vienna Mathews last week the Lucas Cubs have won two straight, but they face their toughest match-up of the season as they host undefeated Loudonville in a Mid-Buckeye Conference game this week.

          Lucas moved to the “MBC” after the breakup of the North Central Conference.

          Last Friday, the Cubs traveled all of the way to Trumbull County and beat Mathews, who had won three of their first four, (35-14), running for 465 yards in the process.  Coach Scott Spitler says they came ready to play.  “I was real pleased with how our kids handled the trip and came out ready to play.  We really controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball for most of the night,” he said.

          After allowing some points on week’s two and three to Centerburg (30-7) and Northmor (33-38), the Cubs defense has permitted just two scores each in their last two games.  Spitler says his younger players are starting to get it.  “We are starting to pick things up and play better as a unit and also fundamentally in our tackling we are getting better,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday, “We are making teams earn the yardage that they get.  We are not giving up as many big plays as we were earlier in the season.  I think that has a lot to do with our players maturing and getting better each day.”

          Loudonville (5-0,0-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the small school division, rallied to beat Willard (28-14) last week.  Spitler says they have a lot of weapons.  “They work out of a multiple spread offense.  What impresses me is how physical they are running the ball out the formation with their main running back Ryan Weber and their quarterback.  They are two of the area’s leading rushers.  They are going be physical too with a two headed monster like that.  Defensively they do a nice job getting to the football.  We are going to have our hands full this week,” he said.  Spitler says they can allow the long gainers the Redbirds have been getting.  “I think you have to prevent the big play and I think you have to be disciplined and make sure they have to work really hard to get all of the yards that they get,” he said.

          Defensively, Spitler says the Redbirds have good size and pursue the ball well.  “I am really impressed by their size and speed.  We are going to have to do a good job and be sound in our blocking scheme and blocking to the whistle and establishing the line of scrimmage,” he said.

 

Published 9/30/13

© Swankonsports.com  

 

 
   

Lucas Looking For Momentum

 

          After winning their first game last week now the Lucas Cubs are looking for some momentum as they travel to Trumbull County, north of Youngstown, on Friday night to face Vienna Mathews.

          Last week the Cubs pilled up nearly 600 yards rushing in beating Millersport (59-14) in their first win of the season.  Coach Scott Spitler says a lot of things went right.  “It was really nice for our kids to get that first victory under their belt.  We have really good kids that work hard and have really been striving to get better each week.  It was nice to see things come together for us Friday night and they get that first victory,” he said.

          Mathews (3-1) beat Warren Reserve Academy last week (26-14) and Spitler says, like them, the Mustangs like to run the football.  “After viewing film on them and getting a good look at them this weekend and getting our game plan set I really think it will be similar to the kind of contest we had against Northmor earlier in the season.  They are very similar to us in that they run the ball,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “They do it out of unbalanced wishbone attack versus our double wing attack.  I think it has the potential to be a very quick game when you have two teams that want to run the ball quite a bit,  It is going to be won and lost from the trenches on both sides of the ball.”

          With the wishbone offense, the defense has to play assignment football or teams like Mathews can make big plays.  “You are going to have to be very disciplined.  They do some things out of it that requires your linebackers to read their keys and you have to be disciplined on your defensive line and control their gaps and be gap sound,” said Spitler.

          Sports are often about momentum and Spitler says if they can get another win on Friday they could be on their way to a pretty good season this fall.  “We talked to the kids about getting that first one under their belt and learn how to win and enjoying that feeling and wanting to feel that way again.  We started the week pretty well practice wise and we’ll try to finish strong here and get on the bus and head over there and hopefully get number two.  We don’t want to travel all of that way and not get that victory,” said Spitler.

 

Published 9/25/13

© Swankonsports.com

 

 

 

 
   

Lucas Looking or First Win

 

          They are getting closer to a win and now all the Lucas Cubs need to do is get over that final hurdle.

          They host Millerport (0-3) in a non-conference game on Friday night.

          Last week, they lost a shootout to Northmor (33-28) and coach Scott Spitler says it just boiled down to one mistake they made.  “Northmor and us are probably evenly matched.  We have very similar styles as far as what we want to do offensively and it was just back and forth.  Neither defense seemed to stop the other team’s offense.  What stopped us is we had a turnover and that was the difference in a five point ball game,” he said.

          Defensively, Spitler believes they are making progress, but they still have to become better tacklers.  “Last Friday we had breakdowns in our fundamentals in tackling, that was a big part of it and some communication issues on a couple of plays.  I think we are getting better on a daily basis.  We have to put things together and get over that hump and get that first victory,” said Spitler.

          When you go through the non-conference portion of your schedule without a win you start to wonder sometimes about attitude, but Spitler says that is not an issue with the Cubs.  “Our kids are really working hard.  They have a great attitude and are pushing each other to get better each day and we are excited to get another opportunity this week against Millersport,” he said.

          Millersport is new to the Lucas schedule.  The Cubs have only three  conference games in the redesigned Mid-Buckeye Conference.  Spitler says they have some athleticism.  “They come in to our house this week searching for their first win of the season as well.  We are very similar in that aspect,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “They have some nice team speed in the skilled positions.  They are definitely going to put pressure on us out of their multiple pistol offense.  Defensively they base out of the 5-2.”

          Like most of their games, Spitler says they need to control the point of attack if they are going to win.  “I think the big thing for us this week is to control the line of scrimmage and cut down on our mistakes,” he said.

 

Published 9/20/13

© Swankopnsports.com

 

 

 

 
   

Lucas Working Own Game

 

          Lucas needs to get its own house in order if they are going to start winning football games.

          That is assessment of coach Scott Spitler after a 21-7 loss to the Plymouth Big Red last week.  “We did a pretty good job of shooting ourselves in the foot with our own mistakes and turnovers.  You can’t do that against a good football team.  Take nothing away from Plymouth because they were ready to play, but we didn’t help ourselves out with our own mistakes,” said Spitler.

          Mason Galco ran for 116 yards a touchdown last week against Plymouth.  Spitler says they need more focus this week.  “We have went back to work this week and really worked on taking care of our business and getting our things squared away, so we are not repeating those mistakes this Friday.  We are going to need to be 100 percent focused because we have a pretty good Centerburg team coming in here,” said Spitler.

          On Friday night Lucas will play host to the Centerburg Trojans (1-0) in non-conference play.  Spitler says the Trojans are very good on defense and they are very aggressive too.  “Defensively they are going to be highly aggressive and they do a nice job of getting to the football.  Last week they held Utica to 25 yards total offense, so obviously if you are doing that you are doing good things on defense,” he said.

          Centerburg handled Utica (28-0) in their first game on the season.  Spitler says they have some balance on offense.  “Offensively they are led by their senior quarterback, who is a three year starter and the coach’s son, so not only is he a pretty good athlete, but it’s like have a coach on the field,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “They like to throw it around the field quite a bit.  They keep pretty good balance because they have a stable of running backs that they rotate in the backfield to keep you honest in the run game.”

          Lucas only threw six passes last week.  They ram it 51 times.  Spitler says they expect Centerburg to stack the box against them, but that’s alright.  “We are used to people staking the box.  We have to continue to be who we are and play our game, be disciplined and do what we do,” he said.

 

Published 9/5/13

© Swankonsports.com    

 

 
   

Lucas Looking to Run it

 

          The names may chance, but the philosophy stays the same with the Lucas football program.  They want to be tough at the line of scrimmage and run the football.

          With some new players in the offensive backfield the Cubs have been working hard to get things together for this season.  Coach Scott Spitler hopes they have been successful.  “We sure hope we are come Friday night because it is going to come whether we are or not.  The kids are working hard and preparing and we will have a good contest with a pretty good Plymouth team,” he said.

          Plymouth has the kind of talent that will make them a factor in the Firelands Conference this year.  Spitler says they will be tough to defend.  “They return some experienced skilled kids from last year.  They have a really nice quarterback.  He is kind of a dual threat with his arm and his legs.  The guys around him have got some experience and are pretty good athletes as well,” said Spitler.

          This game is not much different from any on the Lucas schedule in that they are going to have to control the line of scrimmage in order to have a chance to win, according to Spitler.  “I really believe that we are going to have to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.  And then prevent them from having big plays.  I think if we can keep their big plays at a very minimum then we will be right there in the football game,” he said.

          Plymouth has some playmakers and Spitler says to stop them is going to be a tough assignment, no question.  “It is going to be a tall task.  Like I said they have great skill.  They have a tremendous match-up advantage at wide receiver with Tyrell Edminson.  He is a pretty good athlete.  I know he also plays basketball for them,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “He is definitely going to cause a match-up problem for us.  We are going to have to be very disciplined in what we do and we are going to have to tackle well in space.”

          Lucas is going to want to play keep away from the Big Red.  Spitler says they want to eat some clock.  “We are going to rely on our lineman.  That is where we return a bulk of our experience.  We also have a nice set of backs, although they are young.  They are pretty good backs that are now getting their chance in Logan Sphon, Mason Galco and Colton Bernhart.  We look for big things from those three in our backfield this year,” said Spitler.     

 

 
   

Lucas Wants a Test

 

          Lucas is in a new league which includes schools more their size and that should give them a chance to be more competitive.

          We start to find out with the fall sports and the Cubs have a football scrimmage this Saturday against Newcomerstown.

          Coach Scott Spitler says during two a day workouts he has liked the effort the players are showing.  “I like our effort and our focus at practice and how hard we are working.  You can just tell in the atmosphere that they are ready to hit somebody else instead of their own teammates,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We are looking forward to this Saturday’s scrimmage to kind of find out where we are at and what we need to get better at and see where we need to improve.”

          They are counting on a veteran offensive line this season and Spitler says those kids are going top have to open some holes for some new running backs.  “We are going to lean on them to pave the way for some new guys in the backfield.  We lost two pretty good running backs to graduation and now some younger guys are going to step up.  It is always nice when you an experienced offensive line in front of some young guys,” he said.

          As for the less experienced backs the Cubs have this year Spitler says they will provide some versatility running the football.  “They show a lot of promise and we are excited to see how we measure up this Saturday against another team.  We are rotating probably three or four guys at the running back position.  They all have something different they can bring to the table.  We are excited to see it all together against somebody else on Saturday,” he said.

          It has been pretty cool here in August for the two a day practices and Spitler says he hopes that doesn’t bite them in butt once the regular season begins in two weeks.  “When you have cool temperatures like this you can pretty much guarantee that those first couple weeks are going to be unbearable.  It’s seems to always workout that way.  When the kids get used to a little coolness during two a days you can pretty much bet those first couple of Friday nights are going to be hot and humid and will test your conditioning level and your hydration and your conditioning for sure,” said Spitler.

          Lucas opens the season against Plymouth in a non-conference game on August 30. 

 

 
   

Lucas Playing Well

 

          The young players that the Lucas Cubs have in the trenches this fall are starting to figure things out and it is sort of too bad that the season is ending for the Cubs.

          A week ago, Lucas (2-7,1-5) beat Buckeye Central (32-16) in likely their best performance of the 2012 season.  Coach Scott Spitler agrees.  “It seemed that all phases of our football team came together there last Friday night and I hope that continues to be the case this Friday night,” he said.

          Lucas has played well in parts of games this season, against Colonel Crawford and Ontario are examples, but Spitler says they put a complete game together against Buckeye.  “I think a lot of our kids have really started to mature.  Things are really starting to click for them.  The game has slowed down a little bit for them.  They are making plays that we knew they were capable of and it’s starting to show.  It looks set on offense, defense and special teams,” said Spitler.

          On Friday night, Lucas plays host to the Crestline Bulldogs (0-9,0-6) in a silver division game in the North Central Conference.  Spitler says the Bulldogs are much better than they were a year ago.  “One thing you can’t focus on and take them lightly is their record.  I see a team that is a lot more disciplined than they were last year,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “They have some nice skill led by their senior quarterback Nick Reynolds, who does a really nice job.  He is one of those guys that’s a duel threat.  He can hurt you by running the ball too.  I believe he is a state qualifier in the 400 meter dash, so he is quite the athlete.  He does about everything for them.  He plays free safety and is also their punter.  We have to do a good job defensively of keeping things in front of us.”

          Crestline has given up more than 100 points the last two weeks combined against Galion (57-7) and Ontario (54-0), but Spitler says the Bulldogs aren’t too bad there either.  “When we were breaking down film this week and working with our kids you can see defensively that they believe in what they are doing.  They are more disciplined in what they are doing compared to last year’s team.  That makes them more competitive.  They have nice size on both their offensive and defensive lines.  They are a little young, but they are big kids.  I can’t believe how big they grow them over there,” said Spitler.

 

 
   

Lucas Meets Buckeye Central

 

          Lucas and Buckeye Central are both trying to finish the high school football season on an up note.

          Lucas (1-7,0-5) plays in New Washington against the Bucks (2-6,1-4) in game between two members of the North Central Conference silver division.

          Last week, the Cubs were handled by Upper Sandusky (54-24) of the black division.  Lucas coach Scott Spitler says not only do the Rams have a fine quarterback in Taylor Prichard, but they are a very physical team.  “I’ll tell you what playing Ontario and them back to back really takes a toll on a small school like us.  I really thought the difference was not just their talent in the skilled positions.  They really controlled the game in big parts, big chucks, up front in the trenches.  They are probably one of the most physical team we have faced to date,” said Spitler.

          Buckeye Central advanced all of the way to the division six state title game last year, but many of those kids have graduated.  Still, Spitler says the players that are still around got a lot of extra practice time.  “They are well coached, coach Ratliff does a nice job.  When they played as deep as they did last year those young kids all of that extra practice time definitely pays off,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “I know another benefit of making the post season is your depth gets a lot more reps.  It’s almost like having spring football almost.”

          Michael Adkins was a key part of last year’s Buckeye Central team and he is its leading rusher and tackler this year.  Spitler knows they will have to control him.  “They still have some really nice players.  They are led by Michael Adkins in the backfield.  He is a bull of a ball carrier.  We are definitely going to have to know where he is and make sure we gang tackle him,” he said.

          Both teams like to feature the run.  Lucas could go a whole game without throwing it.  Spitler thinks this game will come down to turnovers and which team can make a big play in the kicking game.  “The team they had last year was so talented in every aspect.  They make no bones about it.  They are very similar.  I think we are similar teams.  We have some youthfulness.  We both want to establish the run game.  I really see this game coming down to big plays in the special teams and taking care of the ball,” said Spitler.  

 

 
   

Lucas Knows the Assignment

 

          Lucas has the talent to win football games, but they have a small window in that they must do certain things in order to win games.

          They have to be successful running the ball, take time off the clock and be able to keep opponents in front of them on defense.  They did a pretty good for about 40 minutes last week against Ontario, but they fell just short.  The Warriors beat them (41-20) in a North Central Conference game.  Coach Scott Spitler says they really competed well.  “We played a pretty good game until about six minutes to go in the game.  With about 6:15 to go in the game it was still 27-20.  We were within a score.  Ontario was able to stop us on a fourth down conversion.  Then we kind of let it get away from us there in the last six minutes.  I am proud of the kids and their effort.  I don’t think anybody outside of our locker room really gave us an opportunity to be able to play with a team like Ontario, but that just goes to the type of kids I have.  They work hard every week and they come ready to play,” said Spitler.

          Lucas (1-6,0-4) will be at home Friday night for the Upper Sandusky Rams (4-3,2-2) in another “NCC” game.  Spitler says the Rams have a lot of solid players, especially their quarterback/middle linebacker Taylor Pritchard.  “When you are evaluating them you try to look at common people you’ve played.  They went into Ontario and beat Ontario earlier in the season.  We know we have our hands full with a really good football team.  They have nice size in the trenches.  They have an extremely athletic quarterback with the Prichard boy.  They like to spread it all over the place, so we are going to have to tackle well in space.  Offensively we are going to have to control the clock and put points on the board when we get the opportunity,” said Spitler.

          Sometimes at the pro or college level a defense will spy on a player or have someone assigned to that player at all times.  Spitler says that is not something that happens at the high school level a lot, even when facing a player like Pritchard.  “I don’t know at our level if you go as much as spying him at the quarterback position, but you definitely have to be aware of their tendencies.  Your kids have to be aware when he has the ball in his hands he’s a full threat,” he told Swankonsports.com, “Not only can he get the ball down the field to one of their skilled kids, but he is a danger running the football.  We have to be able to break down and wrap up.  He is not a small kid either.  He is a good sized kid that runs very hard.  He plays middle linebacker for them, so that tells you what kind of player he is.  He is going to be a handful.”   

 

 
   

It’s Keep Away for Lucas

 

          Lucas is improving, but they are still having trouble clearing the final hurdle and coming up with wins.

          Last Friday, they took Bucyrus to the wire before losing (31-30) a North Central Conference game, the difference being a missed two-point conversion on the Cubs final touchdown in the fourth quarter.  Coach Scott Spitler thinks they need to take better advantage of their opportunities.  “With a young team we have progressively each week gotten better.  There are still some things that we need to continue to improve on each and every day, but I think a lot of it is when we get in games like this is learning to finish the deal.  Eventually we have to take the opportunity to make those things happen for us as a team,” he said.

          Lucas (1-5,0-3) also almost beat Colonel Crawford (48-34) two weeks ago.  Spitler thinks it is a lot more than just the defense giving up a lot of points.  “I think there are a lot of things that go into it.  At times we have put our defense in some tough situations with our special teams play, especially our punt coverage.  I also think we have to cut down on the big plays we are giving up.  I think we have done a better job the last couple of weeks of putting the opposing offense in long yardage situations and we haven’t been able to get off the field.  We have to do a better job of preventing that big play on third down and long,” said Spitler.

          Ontario (3-3,2-1), fresh off their huge win over Wynford last week, plays at Lucas on Friday night.  There are a lot of good things about Ontario, but Spitler says that Warrior run game is hard to stop.  “They are extremely talented with their personnel.  Campbell is a special player.  They try to get him the ball any way they can and they have other players around him that complement that,” he told Swankonsports.com, “I think the big thing that they do with their spread offense is they spread you horizontally giving him some great lanes naturally before they even block just because of their formations and stuff.  We you have an athlete like that and you are giving him those kinds of lanes he is going to do something with it.  So, we need to do a good job of being disciplined in our gap responsibilities and tackle well.”  Spitler says there is a lot of deception in the Ontario running attack.  “I think with Boatwright at quarterback and Campbell at the running back position in their offense.  That is a two headed monster.  You have to be disciplined.  They run their counter scheme out of the gun.  One minute he has it an then Boatwright is pulling it out of his stomach and he is heading the other way.  You have to make them earn every yard they get,” said Spitler.

          Again this week, Spitler says it’s going to be important for them to keep the ball out of the hands of the explosive Warriors.  “That is the way we approach every game with our offense.  One of the reasons we do what we do on offensively is we felt if we could possess the ball and keep other team’s offense off the field we aren’t going to put our young defense in a bad situation.  We are going to continue to do what we do.  We aren’t going to be fancy.  We feel we are in a system that complements our kid’s strengths.  Hopefully we can get into the fourth quarter and see what happens,” said Spitler.   

 

 
   

Lucas Getting Better

 

          The Lucas Cubs almost pulled one of the biggest upsets of the season so far last week, but they just could close the deal.

          Their coach says they had Colonel Crawford on the ropes before losing last week (48-34) to the unbeaten Eagles.  Coach Scott Spitler says he was very proud of what he saw from his team.  “I thought my team played well.  I was really proud of the effort we had.  We kind of grew up a little bit in some areas with our young kids.  We had one penalty, a little off sides on an extra point.  Compared to past weeks I thought our discipline and maturity took a step in the right direction.  We knew going in that our defensive backs would have match-up problems with the athleticism that Colonel Crawford would take the field with at the receiver position,” he told Swankonsports.com, “So, that wasn’t surprising.  We were just trying to get in a  situation that we could keep it close and wear them down with our run game,  We ended up have that opportunity in the second half.  We got it within one score and then mother nature kind of zapped out momentum.  It was a little different story the next day.”

          Lucas (1-4,0-2) has a number of young kids on its defense and on the offensive line.  Spitler, a former offensive line coach, like the progression he has seen from the players.  “I just think that every play we get on Friday nights our younger kids are getting better.  We looked out there Friday night and we had two freshman linebackers and a freshman nose tackle.  As a coaching staff we are excited because they are such good kids.  They are coachable.  They work their tails off each week.  We see the improvement each week of how they are growing up and maturing as football players.  We are going to return eight of 11 defensively next year because of having so many young kids.  We will return everybody except one on our offensive line.  We will lose a senior backfield.  We are excited about what the future holds,” said Spitler.

          This week the Cubs visit Bucyrus (2-3,0-2) for an inter-divisional game in the “NCC.”  Spiter says new coach Aaron Eckert has the Redmen playing well.  “They are a typical Bucyrus team.  They are very athletic in the skilled positions.  They have great size up front.  Even though coach Brunner has moved on in his life to different things this coaching staff has these kids playing typical Bucyrus football.  They want to accentuate their speed and athleticism.  They do that out of the spread attack.  They still do some of the things in their jet series that they have done in the past.  Defensively they play downhill and attack and are aggressive.  They really take advantage of your mistakes,” said Spitler.  The Redmen have lost to two pretty good teams in the “NCC” in Ontario (47-25) and Galion (41-14) last week.

          Spitler says they have to be good open field tacklers.  “I think everything runs their quarterback offensively.  He is such a dual threat throwing the ball as well as running.  When you look at tape that we have on him the way they spread the field formation wise he just needs a crease.  Then all of the guys they have around him at the skilled positions.  We are going to have to break down, keep things in front of us and tackle well on Friday,” said Spitler.       

 

 
   

Lucas Wants to Keep the Ball

 

          The Lucas Cubs young offensive line has to do an outstanding job if they are going to have a chance to upset unbeaten Colonel Crawford in North Central Conference play on Friday night in North Robinson.

          Last week that didn’t happen as Riverdale contained the Lucas running game and beat (28-14) the Cubs (1-3,0-1) in the conference opener for both schools.  Lucas coach Scott Spitler says they made too many mistakes.  “We had some situations where a couple key holding penalties on a couple drives forced us into bad situations.  We had a couple of turnovers late in the game as well that put the kibosh on drives.  Those are things you can’t do against football teams and it caused us to come out on the wrong end on the evening,” he said.

          Colonel Crawford (4-0,2-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the small school division, has shown the ability to run and pass.  Spitler says they are tough on a defense.  “When you look at their offense you just don’t see any cracks in the amour.  They are very big and athletic up front on the offensive line.  They have a really nice running back that does a nice job in their running game.  They have a quarterback that is a trigger man throwing to quite a few athletes in their spread offense,” said Spitler.

          Crawford has also done a fine job on defense this season, especially in the first half.  Spitler says they do the right things.  “In my time in the “NCC” nothing has changed.  They have always been a team that has played good team defense.  They are very disciplined, they get to the football and they tackle well.  When you do those things you are going to have success defensively,” he said.

          If an upset is to happen in this game Spitler knows they have to play keep away from the Eagles.  “I think that is one of the reasons that we are in the offense we are in, besides having our two senior running backs, it gives us the opportunity a lot of times to control the tempo of the game and limit others teams offensive possessions.  We are going to have to do that on Friday night,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We need to control the time possession as well as when we get our chance on offense.  We have to take care of ball security.  You can’t give an offense as good as Colonel Crawford’s extra possessions because you turn the ball over.  That is going to be key as well.”  

 

 
   

Lucas Maturing

 

          Lucas has some young players in key positions, especially in the trenches.

          They have already been forced to execute in the final moments hanging on to beat Plymouth (48-42) on week one and being stopped inside the five and losing last week to Fredericktown (34-30) both in non-conference play.  Coach Scott Spitler says they almost had that one last week.  “We knew going in that is was going to be a good football game.  They are very good football program with a lot of tradition.  We knew we were going to have our hands full.  Offensively the entire game we were able to control the line of scrimmage.  Neither team’s defense was able to get a hold of the other team’s offense,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We actually went in at halftime with a two score lead.  They were receiving the ball the second half.  In the space of seven minutes we give up a scoring drive and got hit with an on side kick and the next thing you know it’s a one point lead.  It was a battle all of the way to the end and we got stopped on fourth and goal from the three and they killed the clock.”

          Despite the loss to Fredericktown, Spitler says they played a lot better than they had on week two when Centerburg stuffed them (38-7) pretty handily.  “I was really proud of how the kids flipped it around from the week before and improving their effort.  I thought we took a step forward even through we didn’t get the “W.”  I think with the number of young kids that we have on our team this year it was just another learning experience,” he said.

          On Friday night, Lucas will play host to Riverdale (1-2), who has a win over Upper Scioto Valley (49-8) on week two sandwiched between losses to Arlington (43-14) and Wynford (44-0) this year.  Lucas won last year’s game (24-22) and Spitler says the Falcons on better this year.  “I’ll tell you what they pretty much return the team they had last year.  It went down to the wire and we were able to get out of Mt. Blanchard with a two-point win last year.  It’s going to be a good battle for us on Friday night.  They return their backfield from last year.  They have been doing a real nice job of establishing the run.  They are extremely quick and aggressive on defense.  It’s the first league game for both of us and it shapes up as a pretty good battle,” said Spitler.

          Lucas has given up an average of 38 points a game this year and Spitler says they are just going to have to keep learning what they need to do on that side of the ball.  “We looked out their last Friday night against Fredericktown and we were starting three freshmen and several sophomores.  We have to keep getting better each day and take that step forward and grow up a little bit, so when we get in those positions like we did Friday night we can come out on the positive side,” he said.   

 

 
   

Lucas Needs to Find Running Game Again

 

          After rushing for more than 400 yards in an opening week victory over Plymouth, Centerburg held Lucas to less than 120 last Friday.

          The Cubs (1-1) will try to get that running game back in gear as they travel to Fredericktown (1-1) on Friday night.  Coach Scott Spitler says they new the Centerburg defense, which has allowed only 10 points this season, would be tough to score on or even move the ball.  “We knew going in that their defense was pretty stout.  It was no different there Friday night.”  Luca accounted for only 155 yards on the night.

          Lucas has an experienced backfield, but they are young in the trenches.  Spitler says those guys saw some different things and didn’t react very well to them.  “I just think when you look at it, it just wasn’t our best effort up front and really as a team.  This week we have to get back to doing what we do and giving a better effort communicating up front,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “They were doing some things and we weren’t doing a very good job of communicating up front in our blocking scheme and making sure everybody is on the same page.  So, we have to get back to work.  The challenge doesn’t get any easier with a pretty good Fredericktown team.”

          After a thrilling win over Highland (36-32) in their opener, Fredericktown was thrashed by Columbus Bishop Ready (49-7) last week.  Spitler says even without Ryan Logan and Matt Smith the Freddies have some pretty good talent, especially at quarterback.  “I’ll tell you what seeing them in their scrimmage and seeing their first two games on film I don’t think they are missing a beat with those two guys focusing on other sports.  The Hathaway boy at quarterback he is carrying on his family name.  He is quite the athlete.  He just poses so much of a problem because he is such a duel threat.  They like to move him around.  He puts you in such a position that he has the opportunity to pass or take off and run.  We have to do a good job of keeping him corralled,” said Spitler.

          Austin Hathaway ran and passed for more than 200 yards and scored the game winner against Highland.  Spitler says he forces the defense to make quick decisions.  “Week one he was their leading rusher from the quarterback position and also had a fine game passing against Highland High School.  That is going to be no easy task.  It is going to be difficult for us to simulate him in practice.  We have to have a good week of preparation and we have to be disciplined in our technique,” he said.

 

 
   

Lucas to Face Better Defense

 

          Lucas outscored Plymouth in their first game of the season last week, but the Cubs will face a better defense when they challenge Centerburg on the road this week.

          401 yards rushing for the Cubs on 61 carries led them to 48-42 win over the Plymouth Big Red last week.  Coach Scott Spitler was happy with the run game, but not everything they did.  “I think offensively we were able to do what we wanted to do with our run game.  We ended up with more than 400 yards rushing led by senior Nick Swainheart with 272 on 32 carries,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We were able to kind of control the clock.  I wasn’t real happy with the penalties that we had or our special teams giving them to good of field position.  It was what we expected.  We expected a close battle and that’s what we got.”

          Spitler is a former offensive line coach and he thinks his big guys up front, many of them starting for the first time last week, can still get better.  “I think we need to continue to get better up front and continue to take a step forward there with our offensive line and our fullback position with their blocking.  Defensively, I think we just need to be more consistent from drive to drive.  I thought we started off the game really well shutting them down on their first few drives and getting off to a 13-0 lead.  Then I think we relaxed too much and didn’t keep that edge to us,” said Spitler.  Plymouth had 289 yards of their own, with 196 coming on the ground.

          Centerburg (1-0) beat Cardington 28-3 last week, holding the Pirates to 87 total yards and a first quarter field goal.  Spitler says the Centerburg offense is pretty good too.  “They are a spread, shotgun offensive team.  They want to give you all kinds of formations and motions to try and get you out of position on defense.  We have to really be disciplined there and prevent the big play and take care of the ball,” he said.

          Spitler is very impressed with that Centerburg defense.  He says it is very quick and aggressive and obviously hard to score on.  “I had a chance to see them scrimmage early in the preseason live.  I really think the defense is the heart and soul of their team.  They are very fast, they are good tacklers, they are disciplined, and they are very rarely out of position.  The rest of the team kind of feeds off that enthusiasm and that aggressiveness.  I think it’s going to be a battle between the strengths of both teams, our offense versus their defense.  It’s going to come down to our winner’s ratio penalties, big plays and turnovers,” said Spitler.    

 

 
   

Looking For Another Close Game

 

          It seems when Plymouth and Lucas meet on the football field the games are usually close and end of being decided in the fourth quarter.

          The teams look pretty balanced again as they face off Friday night in Lucas.

          Anytime you have a short roster injuries are a bigger concern, but Lucas coach Scott Spittler says they have pretty lucky so far.  “We are no different then any other team we have your typical bumps and broses.  I like where we are at health wise going into week one,” he said.

          Lucas returns two 1,000 yard backs for a year ago in Nick Swainheart and Levi Harris.  However, they will have some inexperienced filling some roles on the team, especially in the trenches.  “I think we have made progress.  We have taken another step each day with each scrimmage and each practice.  We just have to continue each day to get better and take a step forward.  When you have a young team like we are up front, especially, there are going to be bumps in the road.  You just have to keep that work ethic up and keep pushing to take that step forward,” said Spitler.  Even with two dynamic backs it is hard to run the ball successfully without a pretty good offensive line.  Spitler says that unit, a young one, is going to be key in their success.  “Their development is definitely going to be a factor in determining our success.  We are very team oriented.  Everybody has to take care of their job.  I can tell you this they are working very hard and pushing themselves to get better.  They have a lot of support from their teammates in that area.  When you have a senior backfield like we do that’s good too and that helps overcome some of those bumps in the road a little bit,” he told Swankonsports.com.

          Last season, Plymouth beat Lucas 21-18 on their way to their first .500 season since 1998.  Spitler thinks Plymouth has turned the corner with their football program.  “I really think they are springboarding off the success they had last year.  Coach Genders has them heading in the right direction.  He has his kids believing and you see that on film.  Every time we get to together it is a close game.  Last year, it was no different.  We have come ready to play on Friday night,” said Spitler.

          Anytime you have a close game turnovers are going to be a big key and Spitler thinks that will be the case in this game.  “I think we have to be sound in our special teams and we have to take care of the football.  I think we have to win that turnover margin,” he said.   

 

 
   

Lucas Will Run the Ball Again

 

          Lucas was a team that ran the ball more than 90 percent of the time last year and little will change this season with the Cubs.

          Coach Scott Spitler says they will return most of their offensive firepower from a year ago.  “We are fortunate to be returning our backfield.  Our school single season rushing leader in Nick Swainheart and his mate on the opposite wing Levi Harris also had 1,200 yards last year.  Between the two of them we return about 2,600 yards rushing from last year.  We also return our quarterback from last year Cole Barrett.  Both Cole and Levi return defensively along with Dominick Strusel, between the three of them will have also 300 tackles back.  We have some leadership back in those guys.  We also have some youth and inexperience,” said Spitler.

          Lucas will continue to run the kind of offense that would make Woody Hayes proud.  “We run out of the double wing set.  We are running it at our pee wee and our middle school level, so our kids are familiar with the system.  With experience we have back in backfield we are just going to try improve our execution to get better at we do,” said Spitler.  He says he is surrounded with what he thinks is a pretty good staff at Lucas.  “I came into a good situation when I came to Lucas four seasons ago.  We have a great group of young men that lead our pee wee program.  They were eager to make sure we were doing the same thing from top to bottom.  We have a great middle school staff.  We have been able to work together supporting each other and improving Lucas football,” said Spitler.

          Despite those very good rushing numbers, the Cubs ended last season with a record of 4-6.  Spitler says there are things they have to get better at if they are going to be more competitive.  “I think offensively we don’t throw the ball a lot, but when we do we need to complete a higher percentage.  We are going to have to come along up front.  We graduated several seniors off our offensive line and we going to have mature there.  Defensively, I think there are areas that we need to improve our pursuit and our play in the secondary,” he told Swankonsports.com.  Spitler says the young offensive line must improve if they are going to run the football like they did a year ago.  “We try to make sure we put those guys together as much as possible in almost everything we do such as lifting and spending time together outside of football.  They have to be cohesive and almost to the point where they know what each other is thinking without anybody saying anything.  You try to put them in those situations to get as many reps as they can to try and get those guys ready for Friday nights,” said Spitler.

          Lucas finished third in the silver division of the North Central Conference and Spitler know moving up is going to be a challenge.  “I know that they had quite a few seniors last year at Buckeye Central, but coach Ratliff does a nice job and they are just going to reload.  You always have Wynford, Ontario it seems just has athlete after athlete and Galion returns an excellent nucleus.  I think from top to bottom it’s going to be an extremely strong conference,” he said.

          Starting in 2013, Lucas will be part of the Mid-Buckeye Conference along with Loudonville, Danville, East Knox, Mansfield St. Peter’s and Mansfield Christian.  Spitler expects Lucas will fit in pretty well.  “It’s definitely going to be interesting as it will change our schedule dramatically.  A lot of teams that we will be playing in that new configuration of the “MBC” are teams we have scrimmaged or we have had some sort of non-league contest with, so we are somewhat familiar with that.  Years ago with the original “MBC” Lucas was part of it, so it’s like we are returning home a little bit.  We will have to be creative in our non-league schedule because the league won’t be as big,” said Spitler.    

 

 
   

Lucas Has to Limit Turnovers

 

          This week may be a turning point for the Lucas Cubs basketball team.  They just have to start doing things better.

          The Cubs (0-5) lost Tuesday night to Crestview (63-30) and suffered a loss in their first North Central Conference game last week (76-42) when Crestline beat them.

          First year coach Bobby Gossum says it is really the same issue as it has been all season.  They can’t handle the ball without turning it over all of the time.  “We just have to take better care of the basketball.  We have been turning it over way too much.  That is something we have been focusing on this week.  We have been focusing on what we need to do and not worrying so much on Upper and what they are trying to do,” he said.

          When things are going badly some kids bail on the situation and unfortunately that is what has happened at Lucas.  Gossum says now they have an even more limited roster.  “Unfortunately we have lost some guys due to injury and a couple people have quit the team.  We are kind of short handed too and we weren’t very deep to begin with and now it’s even worse,” he told Swankonsports.com.  He says they have been forced to move some players to the varsity level that were not penciled in there at the beginning of the season.  “We have plugged some younger kids in here.  We are starting two sophomores now.  I think they have done a good job of stepping up.  You know, it’s going to give them some experience and get them ready for the future.  It will definitely help us out now.  I think the biggest thing for them is just the pace of the game.  They really didn’t play a lot of JV last year and now they are stepping in a varsity role, a starting spot.  It’s a little transition for them and it’s a transition for everyone else playing with these younger guys they haven’t played with before,” said Gossom.

          Friday night, the Cubs play host to the Upper Sandusky Rams (3-1) in an “NCC” game at “The Cave.”  Gossom believes again they are going to face a lot of pressure defense.  “Well, they are going to be big and physical and they get after it.  Like I have said all along we don’t take very good care of the basketball.  I’m sure they are going to come out and press us and pressure the basketball, which is pretty much what everybody has done to us all year.  We have to take better care of the ball and keep our composure,” said Gossom. 

 

 
   

 

Lucas is About Learning

 

          Lucas may not win many basketball games this year, but the Cubs are going to continue to work on getting better at the game and by the end of the season they may surprise some people.

          They absorbed a pounding from Clear Fork, of the Ohio Cardinal Conference, last Saturday, when the Colts beat them 70-27.  First year coach Bobby Gossom says the game is coming pretty fast for some of his young players.  “We are still pretty young.  We have a lot of younger kids who make a lot of inexperienced mistakes.  We are just trying to work on playing a little better and taking care of the ball a little better and playin’ in a faster pace.  They play in a little bigger conference than us and they are used to playing a little more physical and a lot faster than we are,” he said.

          Lucas (0-3) plays at Crestline (0-4) in a North Central Conference game in the silver division on Friday night.  Gossom says Crestline has two pretty good scorers who have played quite a few varsity basketball games.  “Well, coach Endlsey is a friend of mine, so we talk quiet a bit.  You know, he has a core group of a couple of veterans there in Coffman and Hatfield. That’s kind of what we are going to focus on is trying to stop them.  We just don’t want to get either of them on a roll.  If they both get going at the same time we might be in trouble.  We need to do a better job running our offense,” said Gossom.

          With both teams struggling to get wins this season, the team that plays the best early in the contest is going to have the best opportunity at winning their first game of the season.  “It’s going to be crucial for both of us to get off to a good start and stay in the game.  You know, we have a problem with kind of burying ourselves right there in the first quarter,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “That is something that I have talked to the kids about coming out and getting a fast start and continuing that on for four quarters.  I know Crestline hasn’t had the start they wanted and we haven’t had start wanted either.  Both of us are hungry for a win.  Like I said coach Endsley is a friend of mine, but I hope we come out on top.”

 

 
   

Lucas Trying to Get Experience

 

          Inexperience is all around the Lucas basketball program this year.  The players don’t have much and neither does the coach. 

          Bobby Gossom, a 1994 Lucas graduate, takes the reins of the Cubs boys’ basketball program.  He was the junior varsity coach last year.

          Lucas (0-2) lost to Mapleton (49-43) and Plymouth (78-52) on the opening weekend of the season.

          Gossom says he knew when he took the job with Lucas that this year was going to be a struggle, at least at the beginning of the season.  “I knew coming into this that we lost a lot from last year.  I knew that we would be pretty young and inexperienced this year and it was just about making progress,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We were hoping to get off to a good start, but it didn’t happen that way for us.  You know, as we make progress and go along here and give our young kids some experience we will make some improvement here as the weeks go on.”

          With a number of kids getting their first varsity minutes, the Cubs are having some growing pains adapting to basketball at this level.  “It’s a lot faster paced game and I don’t think the kids understand that.  They think they are ready for it until they actually experience that.  I don’t think they are at all ready for it.  Our kids work hard in practice.  We are pretty young and they didn’t get a lot of experience last year.  We even have some kids that haven’t played in a couple years, so we have been working with them to get them up to speed on the fundamentals,” said Gossom.

          Lucas plays host to Clear Fork in a non-conference game on Saturday night at the “Cubs Cave.”  Clear Fork (1-0) beat Crestview in their first game.  “It’s going to be another tough game.  I mean they are real good,” said Gossom, “From my understanding they lost a lot of kids from last year and they are mixing some kids in along with some veterans.  They play in a tough conference.  They are very physical and they play at a lot faster pace than we are used too.”  To have a chance against Clear Fork Grissom knows they have to execute a lot better than they did last week.  “We expect them to pressure us a lot and just get after it.  We have to do a better job this week with our help side defense and just boxing out.  That’s what killed us the last two games and got us buried in a hole,” said Gossom.

 

 
   

Lucas Has to Get Back to Running the Ball

 

          Lucas has built its team this season on their ability to run the football and early on they were doing it pretty consistently, but lately that run game has been bottled up.

          Last week, Lucas (3-6) has handled by Buckeye Central 46-0 and that Lucas running game was held to only 64 yards by the Bucks.  Meanwhile, Buckeye Central was able to pass and run the football.  They totaled 370 total yards in the game.  “They just came at you with so many different weapons.  They are led by their quarterback Erwin and Hernstein at wide receiver and the Adkins kid in the backfield.  Like I said they just came at you in so many different ways with their big play ability.  The game Friday night was won up in the trenches.  Their offensive and defensive lines did an outstanding job of controlling the game on both sides of the ball.  We just have to get back to controlling the line of scrimmage and try to get back on track offensively,” said Lucas coach Scott Spitler.

          Lucas completes its regular season on Friday night at Crestline (3-6) against the Bulldogs, who have lost all of their conference games so far amid numerous off the field problems involving coaches and the school board.  “The thing that you look at is with all of the adversity and distraction they have dealt with the season you have to give it to their kids.  They just play so hard,” Spitler told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “When you break down film on them, they spread you out with so many different formations.  They have been able to move the ball and throw the ball pretty well on most everybody they have played.  We think their passing game will give us troubles.  We are going to have to be very disciplined on what we do and adjust to their formations.”

          Crestline does have the potential to make big plays in the passing game with quarterback Nick Reynolds and Spitler knows they have to be able to contain that, but mostly they have to get their own running game going.  “I think field position and special teams are going to be key.  We are going to have to prevent the big play and make them earn every yard they get.  When we are on offense we have to control the clock and get back to what we do,” he said.

 

 
   

Lucas in a Must Win Situation

 

          Lucas still has a chance to win the small school division championship in the North Central Conference, but they must have a win this week when they host Buckeye Central in a conference game on Friday night.

          Right now, Buckeye and Colonel Crawford share the division lead with 3-2 conference records.  Lucas is a game back at 2-3 in the league after a 41-8 loss at Upper Sandusky last week. 

          Lucas coach Scott Spitler was less than happy with the play of his offensive line against Upper and that has been the unit that had performed most consistently for the Cubs.  “Taking nothing away from them because they played a very good football game, I was a little disappointed in how we played up front in the trenches offensively and defensively,” he told Swankonsports.com, “We gave up the big play quite a bit on defense.  We have to get back to work this week trying to improve what we do as well as preparing for a pretty good football team in Buckeye Central.”

          The Bucks (6-2) have one of the better quarterbacks in the area in Tyler Erwin, but they have also shown the ability to run the football and have a balanced attack.  “I think they are very balanced.  A lot of it has to due with the guys they have up front.  They have a pretty good offensive line and several of those guys play on their defensive line.  I really think it’s going to come down Friday night to who can establish the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball to give the playmakers the opportunity to make those plays,” said Spitler.

          An old offensive line coach Spitler realizes the importance of the trenches and he believes the team that has control there is going to be the one that wins this game.  “Make no bones about it Erwin is a tremendous athlete and he has playmakers around him.  With the guys we have in the backfield offensively I think it’s going to come down to who can establish the line of scrimmage,” he said.

 

 
   

Lucas Has to Win in the Trenches

 

          With three weeks to play the Lucas Cubs are in position to do something they haven’t done in, well, a long time, win a conference football championship.

          Right now, Lucas (3-4) trails to Buckeye Central and Colonel Crawford by a game in the small school division of the North Central Conference.  They have lost to Crawford, but they play Buckeye Central next week.

          To make any of that happen they have to win this week at Upper Sandusky (2-5) in an inter-divisional game.  And this comes on the heels of the Cubs worst loss of the season when they were destroyed 63-20 by Ontario last week.  Lucas coach Scott Spitler says they simply got beat at the point of attack.  “We knew we had a tremendous challenge on our hands with the athletes they can put on the field and the quality of team they have.  We didn’t come out of the gate like I wanted too,” he told Swankonsports.com, “They were able to control the line of scrimmage and that was not something that we were used to.  We had been able to hold our own on the line of scrimmage.  This was the first team that really gave us trouble up front and they got their athletes in space and we struggled on defense.”  Ontario had 432 yards of offense compared to 182 for Lucas.

          With a 2-2 conference record the Cubs are still alive in the conference and Spitler says Monday they discussed that with the team.  “We talked about that on Monday that we need to practice hard this week and get our game plan installed.  It’s not going to be a cake walk with Upper Sandusky and what they do offensively.  They put a lot of speed and athletes on the field and we are going to have to have to have a sound week of preparation.  We discussed that we have an opportunity with three weeks remaining.  We can have a winning season for the first time since 2006 as well as still be in a fight for our division of the “NCC,” said Spitler.

          Upper Sandusky has some kids that can make plays, especially running back Gyen Musgrave.  Upper tends to feature a lot of different formations, but Spitler says they can’t get caught up in that.  “I think you have to look beyond the numerous formations they run and really get to the heart of what they really want to do out of each of them.  I think we have a good grasp on that.  We also want to force them to put the ball in someone else’s hands other than Musgrave at tailback.  We think he does about everything except drive the bus for them.  We are going to have to know where he is at.  We have to dominate the time of possession,” said Spitler.

 

 
   

Run Game a Key In Lucas-Ontario Game

 

          Lucas, now in a share of first place in the small school division of the North Central Conference, plays at Ontario against a Warriors team that lost their first game of the season last week.

          The Cubs beat Bucyrus 18-10 in a conference game last week.  They ran for 259 yards with both of their wingbacks in Nick Swainhart and Levi Harris running for more than 120 yards on the night.  Coach Scott Spitler has adopted the old Woody Hayes philosophy about bad things happening during the pass game.  “We got a little crazy Friday night, we threw two passes.  We want to establish the line of scrimmage and run the football with what we feel are two pretty good wingbacks in Levi Harris and Nick Swainhart.  Spitler told Swankonsports.com that both kids are good running backs and better teammates.  “The best thing is they are such unselfish players and good character kids.  It’s kind of funny when you get in the huddle during a time out and they are saying give the other guy the ball,” he said.

          Lucas was able to hold Bucyrus (0-6) to just one touchdown last week and Spliter believes they are getting better on defense too.  “We are kind of young on that side of the ball.  Our kids have been focused during practice.  We spend a lot of time in preparation focusing on the plays that the opponent really runs well,” he said.

          Ontario has won its first five games of the year, but they were flattened by the Wynford Royals 33-7 last week and fell and game behind the Royals and Galion in the large school division standings.  Wynford was able to hold the Ontario running game, which had averaged more than 200 yards a game, to just 65 yards last week.  Spitler knows that doing something like that won’t be easy.  “Absolutely, they are just so talented.  They do it with more than one guy.  Plus, they are pretty good up front.  We are going to have our hands full.  Coach Kreger really has his kids hungry.  They got a taste of the playoffs last year and they want to get back,” he said.  Spitler says you have to stop the Warriors from making a big play in the run game.  He says they have to make them drive the ball.  “No matter who you are playing, but especially against a team like Ontario you have to prevent the big play.  You have to make them have 12 to 15 play drives.  You are giving yourself a chance to make a play or maybe they make a mistake,” said Spitler. 

          Lucas is tied for first place in the small school division with Buckeye Central and Colonel Crawford.  They lost 41-14 to Crawford last week and play Buckeye Central on week nine of the season.   

 

 
   

Lucas Must be Disciplined

 

          Lucas plays at home against the Bucyrus Redmen in an inter-divisional game in the North Central Conference on Friday night. The Cubs need a win to stay in the hunt in the small school division as they trail the Colonel Crawford Eagles by a game.

          Last week, they stayed in the game for the first half against Crawford, but ended losing the game 41-14 when the Eagles outscored them 21-0 in the second half of the game.  “Really for the whole first half it was back and forth and it looked like one of those games where it was going to be who had the ball last.  They were up 20-14 at the halftime.  We take the second half kickoff and go on a 16 play drive and come up short on a fourth and short situation.  That took the wind out of our sails and it snowballed a little bit.  When you play good football teams you can’t turn the ball over,” said Lucas coach Scott Spitler.  Lucas had three turnovers in the loss to the Eagles.

          Bucyrus comes into the game with a 0-5 record for the season after a 37-7 loss to the Galion Tigers last week.  The Redmen led early in the game, but allowed Galion to score 24 points in the second quarter.  “You can’t look at that record and make a judgment,” Spitler told Swankonsports.com, “They have played a very good schedule.  They have played five games against real good football teams and lost some heartbreakers in the last couple of minutes of the football game.  This week we have to take care of what we do.  They are going to try and get their athletes in space.”

          Spitler believes a real key for them will be the ability to make one-on-one tackles against the Bucyrus skilled players.  “What they do with their spread, wing-t, jet sweep kind of offense is they really want to get to the perimeter.  Your kids have to be able to come up and keep their feet under them and make plays in the open field.  That’s something we have stressed this week in practice,” he said.

 

 
   

Lucas Facing Biggest Test of the Season

 

          Lucas has run for nearly 1,000 yards over the last two weeks to even their record (2-2) on the season, but they face their stiffest test of the season on Friday night when they host Colonel Crawford in a North Central Conference game.

          The Cubs took an 18-0 lead last Friday night at Riverdale and they hung on to win 24-22 in their “NCC” opener for their second straight win of the season.  “I thought we played a good half to start the game Friday night against Riverdale,” Lucas coach Scott Spitler told Swankonsports.com, “I thought we kind of relaxed in the second half and got a little sloppy as a whole team, coaches and players.” 

          Spitler believes the key to their success this season lies in that they do up from and what they have done has been pretty good over the last two weeks.  However, he still sees room for improvement.  “I always think we can do things better up front.  I mean we aren’t perfect by any means.  We just have to continue to get better.  This week against Colonel Crawford we are going to see more size and athleticism then we have seen the first four weeks.  We need to tighten things up front so we can continue to run the ball,” he said.

          Colonel Crawford (2-2) destroyed Crestline 56-0 last week totaling 456 yards rushing.  It was the Eagles second straight win.  They beat New London 28-25 on week three.  “To the average person they see two-and-two and think, oh Colonel Crawford.  They don’t understand with injuries and suspensions they weren’t at full strength.  They are getting there now and they are starting to pick up some momentum.  They are coming into our place with a lot of momentum.  We are going to have our hands full they have tremendous speed and athleticism in their skilled positions.  They are the biggest team up front in the trenches we had to deal with,” said Spitler.

          Colonel Crawford beat Lucas 42-21 last fall.  Last week Tyler Smith ran for 266 yards on only 12 carries against Crestline.  The Eagles are still without quarterback Nate Kingenberger, who has an injured hand, but they still have shown some balance.  “They haven’t gone away from coach Teglovic’s base offense.  What they have done is become more multiple in their formations.  They really try and spread you out horizontally as well as vertically.  I tell you what I know they are without their intended starter for the season, but the Orweiler kid that moved from receiver that’s playing quarterback for them right now is a dual threat back there,” said Spitler.   

 

 
   

Lucas Looking to Continue Momentum

 

          Lucas got into the win column last week in no uncertain terms as they hammered Ridgeway Ridgemont 57-13 rolling up more than 550 yards of rushing offense in the process.

          “Really I think the picture last week was the fact that on both sides of the ball in the trenches on the offensive and defensive lines we really had a good performance, especially offensively opening up some nice holes,” Lucas coach Scott Spitler told Swankonsports.com.  Lucas had four touchdown runs of over 50 yards against the Golden Gofers.  “Our wingbacks really had a good night.  We had 11 carries for 318 yards and five touchdowns out of Levi Harris.  He set a new single game record for rushing yards at Lucas.  His partner in crime on the other side Nick Swainheart had a quiet 177 yards on 13 carries,” said Spitler.  The Lucas coach, who began his coaching career as an offensive line coach, thinks they will go as far as their big guys up front can take them this year.  “I think our seniors returning this year up front have really taken that leadership role on both sides of the ball.  We are just getting better each week.  We look for more big things from those guys all season,” he said.

          Lucas begins its North Central Conference schedule with a trip to Mt. Blanchard to face the Riverdale Falcons on Friday night.  Riverdale (1-2) was stuffed last week 40-0 by the Wynford Royals, they trailed 34-0 at halftime.  “I think the Wynford game is not indicative of the team they have.  They are moving more form their traditional spread package to more of a pro-con “I” running dominated package this year.  They have went to more of a linebacker dominated package with a 3-4 look.  I don’t think you can get an honest reading on a team when they play likes of Wynford,” said Spitler.

          Lucas is not going to change what they do a bit.  Spitler says they are committed to running the football this year.  “Like I told you at the beginning of the season we are a run first team.  We want to establish the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.”  

 

 
   

Lucas Must Reduce Mistakes

 

          Lucas and Centerburg were just about the same in total yards, but the Trojans won the game last week 32-12 because the Cubs just made too many mistakes.

          Lucas had six fumbles and three interceptions in the loss.

          There were some good things though.  Running back Nick Swainheart had 42 carries for 213 yards for the Cubs.  However, coach Scott Spitler says they just kept shooting themselves in the foot.  “We had a good performance out of our junior running back Nick Swainheart,” he told Swankonsports.com, “Our defense improved from week one to week two.  However, the negative is we didn’t take care of the football.  We had some exchange problems between our quarterback and center.”

          This Friday night they host Ridgeway Ridgemont in non-conference play.  The Golden Gofers are also winless (0-2) on the season after a 30-12 loss to Crestline, also of the North Central Conference last week.  “They are going to operate out of a spread double wing.  On defense, they have shown a couple of different fronts.  We have to be ready for multiple looks,” said Spitler.

          Lucas has to quit putting the football on the ground and Spitler thinks they have to own the trenches.  “For us to be successful we have to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball,” he said.

 

 
   

Lucas Needs to Get its Own House in Order

 

          Lucas has more talent, or at least better refined talent, than it did last year, but they have to quit hurting themselves if they are going to have a better season in terms of wins and losses.

          They lost 21-18 at Plymouth in their first game of the season last week.

          Lucas coach Scott Spitler told Swankonsports.com that it was their own mistakes that really cost them the win against Plymouth.  “Really what it boils down to for us in the game was we lost the turnover battle and we lost the penalty ratio.  We gave up too many big runs to Tyler Hicks.  At the end of the night it was those three things that were the difference,” he said.

          Spitler believes they have some things they can work on and build toward more success.  “Offensively we did some really nice things.  Both of our wingbacks were over 100 yards.  We were averaging as on offense over six yards a carry.  We had a couple of drives end in turnovers and you can’t do that in close games,” said Spitler.

          Lucas plays its first home game of the season on Friday night when they entertain the Centerburg Trojans of Mid-Buckeye Conference.  “They are very up tempo, speed based team.  They try to make some big plays vertically.  Defensively they are in a 4-4, their strength is their team speed, they really get after the football,” Spitler said.  Centerburg downed Cardington 22-8 in their first contest of the season.

          Lucas is a team based on their running game and Spitler says they have to be the best team at the point of attack and be able to eat up some clock.  “We have to have a good job out of our offensive line in sustaining blocks and our skilled kids need to make good decisions in controlling and holding on to the ball,” he said. 

         

 

 
 

 

Lucas Hoping to Get a Boost

 

          Two teams that have struggled quite a bit on the gridiron over the last half decade meet in the season opener on Friday night as Lucas travels to Plymouth to take on the Big Red.

          Both teams were 2-8 last year and one of the Cubs wins was in their first game when they beat Plymouth 28-6.  Both teams are counting on being better this fall and Lucas coach Scott Spitler thinks a win Friday night would be huge for both sides.  “I think both teams are shooting to get that win under their belt and build on the confidence that first victory would bring.  We are in a situation where we are not going to take anything lightly.  Plymouth is a very improved team,” he said.

          Spitler told Swankonsports.com that he has been very impressed by what he has seen at the point of attack from the Cubs this month.  “I think our experience and our size up front in the offensive and defensive lines.  That’s been a pleasant surprise for us this year.  I really like that being a former offensive lineman and a trenches type coach,” said Spitler.

          Plymouth features the triple option offense and Spitler says they have to know their assignments on defense or they are going to give up some big plays to the Big Red.  “They force you to play very disciplined on defense with their option attack.  They have a nice set of skilled kids.  They really put pressure on your flanks.  We have to do a good job of tackling in the open field,” said Spitler.

 

 

 
   

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