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Mapleton Wants to Finish Strong

With a win Mapleton finishes the season with a .500 record and in the upper half of the Firelands Conference.

The Mounties (4-5,2-4) plays at Western Reserve (4-5,3-3) on Friday night.

Last week, they blasted New London (56-0) in a conference game.

Coach Robert Mahaney says they played well on both sides and he was really encouraged by what he saw from the defense. “It is a rivalry game and our kids came out and had some fire. We played well on offense, obviously, scoring 56 points. We have played really well on offense all year. It was really encouraging to see our defense step up and get our first shutout since 2014. As we get ready for a good Western team hopefully we can continue to build on that,” he said.

Western Reserve beat Monroeville (44-21) two weeks ago and trailed unbeaten Norwalk St. Paul (17-6) at the half last week before losing (44-12) to the Flyers.

Mahaney says the Roughriders power game can be tough to stop. “They have had some games where they have played really well. Beating Monroeville was one of them. They played St. Paul tough for a half and they are a really good football team, so that speaks to them. Their quarterback is pretty decent. Their running backs are really good. They have a really fast one. They have one that is a big back that is going to come at you. They do a good job of spreading the ball out to both of those guys. The quarterback can make the throws to beat you,” said Mahaney.

Western runs a lot of unbalanced wing-T, but they throw some different stuff at you too. Mahaney says this is a big game for them in a couple of ways. “They still do that, that is their base offense, the unbalanced wing-T kind of look. They will pound their backs at you. They will try and fake the dive and the sweep around is the home run play that they try and hit you with. They will do a little bit of spread, but mostly they are going to try and run it right at you. Coach Stoll has been there a while and he does a really good job, so we have to make sure are kids are ready and prepared,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “It is a big game for us to finish 5-5, .500, would be a great way for the seniors to go out and finish fourth in the conference, so we have a lot to play for this week.”

Published 10/24/17

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Mapleton Has to Finish

Mapleton has been in position to win the last two weeks and has not been able to put it away. They hope to stop that trend this week.

They host New London in a Firelands Conference game on Friday night.

The Mounties led unbeaten Norwalk St. Paul in the second half two weeks ago before losing (31-20) and Plymouth scored in the final minute to beat them (35-28) last week.

Coach Robert Mahaney says that is a tough way to lose. “It is a tough pill to swallow. You put yourself in positions to win, but you don’t execute down the stretch to win the games. It is tough for me as a coach to watch the kids be so close and not be able to pull it out. It is tough on the kids too. You put in all of the hard work and not be able to execute down the stretch it is definitely a tough pill to swallow,” he said.

Offense has been sometimes spectacular this year, but the defense has been less effective. Mahaney says they are still working on it. “On defense we have been trying to get better each week. Our offense has kept us in games and has won us some games. Last week, obviously, we had an idea what Plymouth was going to do, but the offense they run is really hard to simulate in practice, especially with your “JV” guys and it took us a while to get used to it. They kind of pounded us and wore us down,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We had some opportunities and didn’t execute. We drove the ball down the field and got it to the 10 and we just couldn’t punch it in and send it to overtime. Our kids fought hard, but we just have to keep getting better. Hopefully, this week against New London we can play a good defensive game.”

Mapleton (3-5,1-4) plays at home against New London (1-7,0-5) on Friday night in what is a rivalry game for the bordering districts. The Wildcats were blanked (54-0) by Crestview last week.

Mahaney knows they have to be ready. “It is a rivalry game. Their kids talk about it, our kids talk about it and it is something that can change the whole season for one team or the other. We have to expect we are going to get their best shot. There are only two games left and I am sure they want to win a conference game. We are definitely a game they circle every year. We have to show up and play. It is senior night for us, so I am hoping we are going to play for our seniors and hopefully it will be a good game for the Mounties,” said Mahaney.

Published 10/18/17

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Mapleton Has to be Efficient

Mapleton is at Plymouth for a Firelands Conference action on Friday night in game featuring teams that have vastly different offensive styles.

Mapleton can score quickly with an offense featuring quarterback Logan Pharmer. Plymouth with their double tight, double wing offense would mind taking eight, ten minutes to score.

Last week, Mapleton (3-4,1-3) led conference leader and unbeaten Norwalk St. Paul in third quarter before losing (31-20) to the Flyers.

Coach Robert Mahaney says they are can take a lot of positives from the loss to the Flyers. “There are not real moral victories, but sometimes there are. It is a funny thing. It is something we can look at as a team and a coaching staff can point to. When we are playing to our best we are playing with the top teams in the state. St. Paul is ranked third in the state for a reason. John (Livengood) does a really good job. When we played our absolute best and everyone was doing their job, everybody was doing their assignment, we were playing with them,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We had a chance to go up 10 and it would have been a huge momentum swing, but we didn’t convert on fourth down and then they got the ball back and scored. They are able to go to the fourth quarter and just pound it at us. I think there are a lot of really good takeaways.”

Plymouth (3-4,2-2) blasted New London (55-0) last week with their running style offense. When they are able to control the line of scrimmage they are tough to stop.

Mahaney says you have to be physical on defense, but you have to be disciplined too. “They are going to try and run the ball. They have big backs, they have big linemen, big tight ends. They are going to try and pound right it at you. They kind of create that rugby scrum and try and move the pile forward. They do a lot of double handoffs and it is going to take some discipline as well. If we can play with some energy and desire to defeat blocks and play low I like our chances, but we have to be able to do that first,” said Mahaney.

A lot of times against Plymouth you don’t get much time of possession, so Mahaney says you have to take advantage when you do have the ball. “The other thing is they like to eat up clock, so we have to make sure when we have the ball that we are very efficient. We can’t afford any mistakes on offense,” he said.

Published 10/13/17

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Mapleton Has to be Really Good

Mapleton played its best game of the season last week and they are going to have to be better than that when they host unbeaten Norwalk St. Paul in Firelands Conference play on Friday night.

The Mounties (3-3,1-2) handled South Central last week (40-14) in a conference game and coach Robert Mahaney says it was their best performance of the season overall. “We probably played our most complete game of the season. Offensively we played really well. We were able to move the ball and score 40 points and kind of eat a lot of clock in the second half. Defensively, we let them have two big plays. You take away those two big plays and we play really, really well and limited them offensively. We were able to take advantage of some turnovers. I think overall it was our best game of the year,” said Mahaney.

When that comes in the middle of the season like this, Mahaney says that is really gratifying. “All of the little things we have been talking about, all of the details, on week six it kind of clicked and you hope that can really help you finish off the season strong,” he said.

Norwalk St. Paul (6-0,3-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, played its best game of the season last week too in beating Crestview (38-7) in a conference game.

Mahaney says the Flyers do a lot of things well. “John (Livengood) historically, traditionally, has done a really good job over there and this might be one the best teams he has had. They only allowed seven points in a game all year, no one has scored more than that. Offensively, they really do a good job. They do a good job of throwing the ball this year along with the traditional running game that they have,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “Last week, they played really well against a tough Crestview team, which kind of really cemented where they are at in the conference. I am hoping our kids will come out and compete this Friday with them because we are going to need 100 percent from all of our kids.”

It is one the things you hope to do, but almost nobody does. Mahaney says they want to make it a contest in the second half. “That is what you hope. You have to make them compete and get them uncomfortable and make it a ballgame late. We have been in some tighter games maybe than they have and maybe that can be an advantage for us. It is going to be a lot of work to get to where we need to be. Playing a solid first half and make it ballgame in the second half is the first step,” he said.

Published 10/03/17

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Mapleton Still Working on Defense

Mapleton is at home for South Central in a Firelands Conference football game on Friday night.

Both teams are (2-3) on the season, winning on weeks two and three, and then losing both of their conference games so far.

Mapleton lost last week to Crestview (41-16) and they have now allowed more than 40 points in both of their conference games.

Coach Robert Mahaney says they have to have better focus. “I thought we did some good things here and there, but honestly we have to get more stops on defense. Our offense was moving the ball, but it stalled out a couple of times. We had a lot of missed plays, we didn’t execute very well. We had Ashland County Fair and we had a lot of kids out of practice and stuff and maybe our focus wasn’t where it needed to be, especially when we are playing a team as good as Crestview. I think we can use that as a learning experience and help us to get ready for South Central this week,” said Mahaney.

A big key in this game on Friday night might be who gets off to a better start and gains some confidence. “We are coming off two tough losses and so are they. I think whoever comes out and gets the ball rolling their way and gets up early will help their kids out. But, football is a game of momentum, so you have to play all of the way until the end. Hopefully, we can come out and do that and take the punches and roll with them and play four quarters, 48 minutes, and every play,” he said.

South Central lost to Monroeville (45-7) in their conference game last week.

Mahaney says he thinks the Trojans have a pretty good lineup and knows they are going to have to play well to win. “Corey (Fickiesen) is doing a very good job. He was there as offensive coordinator for a few years. He puts the kids in a good position. I think he will have some success over there for sure. They are a good team. They have had some injury problems recently. They lost their running back and had some kids back last week. Overall, they are a really good team. They are tough kids over there,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “They are going to come to play hard and they are going to be tough. We have to really do a good job, especially on defense this week. Just defeating blocks and tackling the ball carrier. We have to get a lot better at that this week.”

Published 9/28/17

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Defense Has to be Better for Mapleton

Usually when you score more than 40 points you are going to win the football game, but that was not the case for the Mapleton Mounties last Friday.

They lost their Firelands Conference opener (66-41) to Monroeville, allowing more than 500 yards rushing and the Eagles broke their school record of points in a game,

Coach Robert Mahaney says they must get off blocks better, something they didn’t do very well last week. “Our biggest struggle was defeating blocks. They were really good up front and they kind of controlled the line of scrimmage and we really struggled to get off blocks and get to the football and then when we had opportunities we didn’t tackle well enough,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, “Definitely defense is going to be a big focus for us going into this week and in general for the rest of the season. I think when it comes down to it we have to play with a little more heart and decide I am not going to let myself get blocked and I am going to go make a play.”

Offense has not been a problem for the Mounties this season. They have scored at least 40 in their last two games, the previous two being wins over Wellington (49-19) and Rittman (47-21) in non conference play.

Mahaney says turnovers have hurt them, including last Friday. “We have a pretty explosive offense. Like we have talked about in the past we have been able to run and throw the ball this year. We have had some issues with turnovers and that is something we have to sure up. We did a better job of getting to the end zone last week. If we score 41 points we should be in place to win a ball game. We had some turnovers that hurt of defense and we have to do a better job protecting our defense,” he said.

Mapleton (2-2,0-1) is at home for Crestview (2-2,1-0,) a (41-3) winner last Friday against Western Reserve in their conference opener.

Crestview has more than 80 players on its team and Mahaney says they do a good job of both sides of the ball. “Crestview is a really good football team. They have a ton of kids on the team. They have big senior class that has a lot of experience that has played for coach Mager now for three years in a row, so he has them going on offense running their stuff and Jay Oswalt is a really good runner, their quarterback. Defensively they do a really good job of defeating blocks and getting to the football,” said Mahaney.

Focus is going to a huge goal this week because Mahaney says there is going to be a big opportunity not to be. “It is also fair week for both of us with Ashland County Fair. So, a lot of kids are going to be in and out of practice and showing their animal. It is going to be a lot mentally to be able to stay focused and get things done this week,” he said.

Published 9/18/17

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Mapleton Featuring Balanced on Offense

Mapleton is a team that has become more balanced this season and that is making them a lot tougher to stop.

They open Firelands Conference action this week with a trip to Monroeville.

They beat Rittman (47-21) last week for their second straight win. Running back Garrett Hartley pounded Rittman for more than 275 yards and five scores in the game.

Coach Robert Mahaney says they have been able to put together some good momentum. “We have put in a lot of hard work and it has paid off these last two weeks. I feel pretty good where we are at as a team right now. Being able to throw the ball affectively. Our running back had a big game last week running for 282 yards and five touchdowns. That momentum you build with your back, you build with your offensive line. You feel pretty confident going into league play. We know Monroeville is going to be a tough test for us this week,” said Mahaney.

Mapleton also has an excellent quarterback in Logan Pharmer, who was an All-Ohio performer last year. Mahaney says that gives them a lot of options. “A lot of teams know we return a second team All-Ohio quarterback and a lot of teams are thinking we are going to pass and that leaves a lot of running lanes for us. Our running back has done a real good job finding the seams and our offensive line has done a real good protecting. When teams all of the sudden try and bring it in we are going to try and pass on them,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We don’t have the same playmakers we had out there last year, but definitely good kids. When they have the ball in their hands they are going to make some plays. Being able to do both things is really helping us now on offense.”

Monroeville (2-1) lost its first game of the season last week to Margaretta (35-12) on week three. They have been conference runners up the last two years and Mahaney says they are still a good team. “They are a really good football team. Their coach over there has done a really good job. The program was down for a little bit and he has done a really good job rebuilding it to the tradition that they have there. They are tough physical kids and some really big kids up front. A really good, shifty back and another physical back. They like to run the football, which is traditionally what Monroeville has done. They stick to that and they do a really nice job running it. Defensively they fly around to the football. Last year they were 10-2 only losing twice to St. Paul. They did slip up last week, but they are a good team with experience and know how to compete. So, I think it is going to be a really good test for us this week,” said Mahaney.

Published 9/13/17

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Mapleton Facing Rittman and Triple Option

Mapleton got a lot better and picked up its first win of the season last week and they are going to have to get better still as they host Rittman in non-conference play on Friday night.

After losing to Hillsdale (49-21) in their opener, the Mounties rallied to hammer Wellington (49-19) last Friday.

Coach Robert Mahaney says they showed a lot of improvement on the field on both sides of the ball. “We played a pretty good game offensively. We put up 40 points in the first half. We executed really well and it was good to see the growth from week one to week two, which is what you like to see as a coach. Normally that is when you see your best growth and it was good to see us do that. Defensively we played well, just a couple of breakdowns,” he told Swankonsports.com on Labor Day, “We held them for very little yardage and it was good to see that, kids flying around. Kids having fun, we want to make sure they are having fun always. When you go out and execute and do the little things right that tends to happen.”

Football is about working hard and battling adversity, but Mahaney says it sure is a lot more fun when you are winning games. “The kids buy in to practice more because they see all of their hard work, buying into the game plan and they see it all paying off for them on Friday nights. So, when you go out and have success the kids are more excited in just makes everything more enjoyable,” he said.

Rittman (2-0) comes in after a (34-0) destruction of Warren Champion on week two of the season. They had beaten Richmond Heights (29-12) in their first game.

Mahaney says they Indians runs the triple option, which means they have to be disciplined, and Rittman is aggressive on defense. “They run the triple option and are pretty good at it, so you have to be really sound and play all your responsibilities. It just takes one mistake for a big play, so we have to make sure that we stick to our reads and keys and play fundamental on defense. Defensively, they get after it too. They play the 3-3 stack and they like to bring a lot of pressure, so our offensive line is going to have to communicate. We are going to have to know our job and play our responsibilities. When we get a chance we are going to have to make big plays. They are good football team that’s why they are 2-0. It’s our home opener so our kids have to play with some excitement and get after it,” said Mahaney.

Published 9/05/17

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Mapleton Has to be More Complete

Mapleton played well for three quarter last week, but in most games you have to play four, especially against good teams, so they have to fix that this week.

They lost to Hillsdale (49-21) last week after the score was tied after three quarters. This week they play at Wellington against the Dukes.

Last week, coach Robert Mahaney says things just got out hand in the fourth quarter of the game against Hillsdale. “We played really well for three quarters for sure and the beginning of the fourth quarter. We just had some mistakes that kind of compounded all of the sudden in the fourth quarter,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “Then we got behind and we really tried to force things at the end of the game and it resulted in three interceptions in the fourth quarter and the score kind of got away from us, but our kids competed really hard against Hillsdale, a program that is always really good. I was proud to see where we were at.”

The Mounties were able to pile up the yards last week. This time Mahaney says they have to do a better job of getting the ball into the end zone more often. “I think our goal this week is to obviously build on what we did last week, but eliminate the mistakes. If we can build on the good things and eliminate the bad things I think we are going to be right were we need to be. We still had like 450 yards of offense we just have to do a better job of putting it in the end zone and I think if we do that and keep up our effort and intensity the defense will be just fine,” he said.

Mapleton is on the road to Wellington on Friday night. The Dukes lost to Parma Normandy (42-21) in their first game of the season. They were a .500 team last year.

The Mounties likes to throw the ball and Mahaney says they expect that Wellington is going to blitz them quite a bit and they are going to have to pick those up. “They are a good football team. They have a quarterback that can scramble around. They can bring pressure when they are on defense, so I think we have to do a good job with our pass protection and make sure we have our eyes on the linebackers. I think if we do what we need to we should be alright Friday night. It should be a ball game and hopefully we learn from last week and we make plays down the stretch to get our first win,” said Mahaney.

Published 8/30/17

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Mapleton Has to Keep Focus

Mapleton takes to the road to face the Hillsdale Falcons in a non-conference football game on Friday night in the opener for both squads.

Coach Robert Mahaney was not particularly pleased with their performance last week in a scrimmage against Fredericktown, but he was pleased with what he saw this week in practice. “They reacted the way I wanted them to. We asked them to commit this week to our game plan to trust in it, to believe in it, to trust and believe in their teammates and I think they have done that. I think they have worked really hard this week. I think they are excited for the opportunity to play Hillsdale. It is a local school right next to ours and I think it is a great opportunity to bring the communities together on a Friday night. The stadium will be packed I’m sure and it will be a fun night for everybody,” said Mahaney.

Last season, Hillsdale thumped the Mounties (53-7) and Mahaney says this year they have to be able to move onto the next play and not let things linger so much. “We definitely have to sure up our execution from last year. We just had one thing go bad and it kind of snowballed for us. We have been talking a lot about our response and what the outcome is going to be. When something bad happens not everything has to go bad. Our response has to be okay let’s get the next one, the next play is the most important. That is something we have been trying to preach to them this whole off season and into this preseason,” he said.

When it comes to this year’s Falcons, Mahaney says they have solid players on both sides of the football. He adds that on offense everything revolves around Falcons quarterback Trey Williams. “They have a lot of big linemen. They always have big kids over there. They have a big running back that is really good. Trey Williams, Tommy’s son, is their quarterback. He is the all-time leading passer over there I believe. He does a good job running the offense exactly how Tommy wants him to do,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Defensively they get after it. They are really good against the run and they are really good in pass coverage too. They have always been a really good defensive team and I think this year is going to be the same for them. It is going to be a challenge for us, but I think our kids are excited for the opportunity.”

Published 8/25/17

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Mapleton Knows Where to Go

Mapleton has some protentional this season to be a pretty good football team and things seem to be coming together.

Coach Robert Mahaney says they have been coming around pretty well here in August as they get ready for the season. “We have been doing really well at practice. It all starts for us at the quarterback position. We are returning a kid that was second team All-Ohio last year. We kind of have everything built around him on offense. We had to replace some receivers, but our guys that are in there now are doing really well. The timing, execution, everything is really clicking,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday night, “We will find out a lot more when we scrimmage Fredericktown this Friday. They are a good football team and it will be a good test to see where we are at. Defensively we are getting a lot of guys to the football and I like that, so I’m excited with where we are at right now.”

Logan Pharmer is the Mapleton quarterback and he has already done some really good things for the Mounties over his first two years and Mahaney says he is pretty good kid to build around. “You are talking about a kid that is still only a junior. He has started 20 games. He has all of our career passing records pretty much. We will take that guy any day of the week,” he said.

Mapleton opens the season at Hillsdale on August 25, followed by non-conference games at Wellington and home against Rittman. Their first Firelands Conference game is at Monroeville on September 15.

Mahaney says his kids are ready to get after it for real and kind of show what they can do on the field of play when things count in the win-loss column. “I think that is a good thing. That last time you scrimmage it is kind of like a real game. It wets the appetite a little bit and gets them ready for week one. Everything we do, at least at Mapleton, is to prepare us to get ready for week one. We have a big test in Hillsdale, so everything is building to that moment on that Friday night. This scrimmage kind of gets us as close to ready as we can without playing a game. At the end of the day these are high school kids they play football to play under the lights and play games not to be grinding in the hot weather of August,” said Mahaney.

Published 8/16/17

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Mapleton Wants to Taker Energy Forward


          Mapleton handed Crestview their second overtime loss in three weeks and now they want to take that momentum into their Firelands Conference game against South Central on Friday night.

          Last week, the Mounties were able to tie the game up late then score in first in overtime.  Coach Robert Mahaney says they made the plays when they had too.  "When they scored to go up eight, we battled back and scored with a couple of minutes left, then they got the ball back after that and went three and out, the defense made a couple of big plays.  In overtime, our quarterback had a sprint out left and went back to the right and made a play and scored," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "Then our defense stopped them from scoring by making two great plays at the five-yard-line.  It was a great game.  My kids fought for 48 minutes and then fought in overtime.  It was a great game to be a part of.  It was great for the seniors to be able to play that game and have those memories and to see them get excited like they were after the game."

          With some ups and downs and growing pains this season, Mahaney says they hope to take that momentum gained from the win last week through the rest of the season.  "When you fight that hard and our rewarded you have some energy.  You have a little more pep in your step and practice is a little more enjoyable, so you get more things done.  Hopefully, that is what happens to us this week and hopefully we can carry it into the game this Friday against South Central.  It can give you some momentum and get you pumped up, so I think it is good for our kids," he said.

          Mapleton (3-3,2-1) plays host to South Central (2-4,2-1) on Friday night in a Firelands Conference game.  Mahaney describes the Trojans as a team that wants to get physical.  "Coach Hinkle does a really good job.  They have some tough physical kids.  They are big up front and they are physical.  They have a big back on Cameron Conway, who is a three sport athlete.  He is one of the better athletes in our area.  He always falls forward.  They give him the ball and he runs downhill.  They play a physical brand of football," said Mahnaey.


Published 10/08/15

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Mounties Still Maturing


          Mapleton has shown some good things this season and at other times they have shown they are still a very young team that is maturing.

          Last week, was a down cycle as the Monroeville Eagles hammered them (40-14) in a Firelands Conference game.  Coach Robert Mahaney says the Eagles are really good, but they didn't give themselves much of a chance.  "Monroeville is a very good football team and they did a lot of things to us and took advantage of our kids, but we weren't where we needed to be mental focus wise.  With young kids they are really inconsistent and they don't have it quite figured out.  When you start six freshmen and sophomores together you are going to be inconsistent.  At times it is frustrating because you see the potential in your kids.  You just have to ride it out.  There are good weeks and there are bad weeks and last week we didn't play to our best.  Like I said Monroeville is a really good football team and I give them a lot of credit," said Mahaney.

          Mapleton graduated eight starters on both sides of the ball and Mahaney says that experience has been replaced with a lot of youth and that is what they are going through right now.  "You can try to prepare kids and talk to them and show them things on film, but until they get out there and experience it under the lights it's just different.  The kids that are normally successful are the older kids, especially at smaller schools," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "You have a couple of years with younger kids and then you get to the top and I think that is where Monroeville is right now.  That was the big difference in the game, their experience compared to our experience.  Our kids are growing and we are doing a lot of things well we just have to learn to focus mentally and I think that is our biggest challenge."

          This Friday, Mapleton (2-3,1-1) is at home for Crestview (1-4,0-2) in conference play.  The Cougars have taken a couple of tough conference losses to South Central (32-31) in double overtime and last week (27-23) to Western Reserve.  Mahaney says despite their record the Cougars are pretty good.  "Coach Mager is a great coach.  He was at Hillsdale for a while and did a great job as offensive coordinator.  He is doing the same things at Crestview.  They have had some really bad breaks and that is why their record is what it is my opinion.  If the ball had bounced a different way they would be above .500 for sure.  They use that flex bone, or whatever you want to call it.  They run the jet sweeps and dives and they are really good at it.  Defensively, they are a Crestview team, they have tough kids, and they have tradition, so they are going to get after it," said Mahaney.


Published 9/30/15

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Mapleton Trying to Get Some Momentum


          After stumbling on weeks two and three, the Mapleton Mounties came out and opened up Firelands Conference play last week with what was likely their best performance of the season.

          They hammered rival New London (27-6) and coach Robert Hahaney says they played well on both sides of the football for the first time all year long.  "We played really well.  We kind of jelled.  We played really well defensively, played good team defense.  Our offense finally clicked.  We clicked week one on offense, but this was a hard fought game and we had to have sustained drives," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "Our freshman quarterback kind of stepped up.  He was 18 of 23 for three touchdowns.  He played really well and made some good runs for us when we need him too.  It was probably our best performance of the year."

          Mapleton (2-2,1-0) finished second in the Firelands Conference last year behind division seven state runner-up Norwalk St. Paul.  Mahaney says they need to take the momentum gained from the win over New London and take it forward.  "It was a good sign, especially after we took the two lumps that we did weeks two and three.  So, to be able to come back and come together as a team and play like we did on Friday now we have to take that into the rest of conference play, especially this week.  We have Monroeville and they are a good football team.  They have won three out of four and we know they are a real good team in our conference," he said.

          Mapleton hits the road for Monroeville (3-1,1-0) in a Firelands Conference game on Friday night.  The Eagles used to be a small school power and they are back this year with three wins in four games, including a (28-20) win over Plymouth last week.

          Mahaney says the Eagles are hard nosed and they want to feature the run when they have the ball.  "They are pretty tough.  They are really good defensively.  They have a very impressive defensive line.  They get off the ball, come up field and penetrate.  Their linebackers do a lot of good things.  Offensively they are going to try and run the ball, that's what they do.  Their offensive line is good and they have multiple backs for different situations.  They come out in multiple formations to try and get you uncomfortable, but they want to run the ball.  That is kind of what we have done so far as well.  It should be a good battle on Friday night," said Mahaney,


Published 9/23/15

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Mapleton Killing Themselves


          Mapleton is just making too many mistakes to give themselves a chance to win games.

          Last week, they scored first and then allowed Rittman to score the next five in a (30-6) rout of the Mounties.

          Coach Robert Mahaney says they just had way too many turnovers to give themselves a chance to win the game.  "When you lose the turnover the battle 8-0 you really are not going to be able to win very many ball games.  Our kids are young and they are taking their lumps right now.  Hopefully that will give us some experience and we can keep moving forward.  They weather played a part in it, but we play in the State of Ohio so we have to be ready for rain or snow or sunshine and then rain or sunshine or whatever it is going to be," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "We have to be able to adjust and handle adversity.  We just didn't handle it very well and had too many turnovers.  Our defense had their backs against the wall and we were able to keep it close for a while, but they were able to break it open because of the turnovers."

          More times than not if lose the turnover battle you are going to lose the game and Mahnaey says those mistakes just killed any momentum they could build last week.  "I felt like every time we got some momentum and got the ball moving we would fumble, we threw a couple of picks, with our backs against the goal line, so they got really good field position.  Turnovers are game changers.  You want to limit yourself to one or zero turnovers a game and when you have eight it really puts you in a tough bind and that was kind of difference in the ball game," he said.

          On Friday night, Mapleton (1-2,0-0) plays host to New London (1-2,0-0,) their neighborhood rival, in the Firelands Conference opener for both teams.

          New London lost in the final seconds (17-14) to Wellington last week.

          The Mounties beat New London (42-6) last year, but Mahaney says the Wildcats are a lot better.  "Coach Pickens does a really good job with his team.  They are a tough physical team and they like to line up and run the football.  They liked to do that last year and they like to that this year.  They have a really good running back in the Thomas kid and some big linemen.  They are going to line up and pound it.  Their defensive line is pretty good and creates some havoc in the backfield.  So, it is going to take a really good game from us.  It's a rivalry game, so hopefully our kids will step up," said Mahaney.


Published 9/15/15

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Mapleton Working on Their Execution


          Mapleton is a young football team and they learned last week that when you make mistakes good teams are going to make you pay for it.

          Sandy Valley hammered the Mounties last week (41-7) in non conference play.  Mapleton coach Robert Mahaney says they made a lot of mistakes last week, especially on offense, and you can't do that and beat good teams.  "Offensively it wasn't really a great game for us.  They had a great defensive line and they were able to do a lot of things to limit us running the ball and then they have a good pass rush.  Defensively it wasn't a terrible outing.  The score looked worse than it was.  We had two big break downs on defense when plays went longer than they should have and we threw two interceptions for touchdowns," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "So, defensively it wasn't as bad as we thought, we battled.  On offense we have to take care of the ball and make sure we don't give the other team points when we have the ball.  Those are things we are going to sure up in practice and hopefully be ready to go this Friday."

          Frankly, every team is likely to make a mistake in a game, but Mahaney says there are degrees of mistakes and those ones that cost you immediate points are killers.  "Giving up points on offense really hurts you.  Things are going to happen.  We try to limit them as much as possible.  Penalties and turnovers that's part of the game.  You just hate to see turnovers that cost you immediate points.  At least if you get a stop on an interception there is a chance you can make a goal line stand or have the defense make a stop, but when they score right away it is tough to rebound from," he said.

          Mapleton has beaten Rittman, one of the second division teams in the Wayne County Athletic League, four straight years.  However, the Indians (2-0) are off to a very good start, including a (34-20) win over Firelands Conference member South Central last week on week two.  Mahaney says the Indians are a pretty good power running team.  "They are tough team.  Their running backs run hard.  There were some plays against South Central where it looked like South Central made the play, but they kept moving their feet and broke the tackle.  Defensively they run to the ball, they are aggressive.  They kind of pin their ears back and they go.  I think one important thing with the week we had last week it really comes down to taking care of ourselves and doing the things that we need to do and execute to give ourselves a chance to win.  This week that is really what we are stressing with the kids if we do our job and do our responsibility we should be alright on Friday night."


Published 9/08/15

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Mapleton to Face Pass Happy Sandy Valley


          Mapleton might have to defend more than 40 pass attempts when they travel to Sandy Valley on Friday night for a non-conference game.

          Last week, the Mounties (1-0) pounded Crestline (46-5) in their first game of the season.

          There were a lot of good things in that game, but coach Robert Mahaney says there are some things they have to fix too.  "We had too many penalties and we need to sure that up this week in practice.  Overall I was pleased with how our offensive and defensive lines played.  I thought they controlled the game in the trenches and it allowed our skill to get out and make some plays.  Overall, I was pleased we just have to sure up our execution of our plays, our execution of lining up right, but I think we have sured that up this week.  I am excited to move forward, especially after the way we played last week," he said.

          This week, the Mounties travel to Sandy Valley (1-0,) a winner (26-13) last week over Indian Valley. 

          Mahaney says there is no question that Sandy Valley wants to throw the ball and almost all of the time.  "They are a really good football team.  They return eight starters on both sides of the football.  They have a quarterback that started the last two games for them.  In week one he threw for 320 yards and three touchdowns.  They really like to throw the football and they have a guy back there that can do it.  He car drop back and run around and get the ball out quick.  He makes his reads very well.  He is a very dangerous quarterback.  They like to throw it, I mean they threw it 70 percent of the time throughout both scrimmages and so far going into week one, so they like to pass," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "Their line is good.  They have some good kids up front that help.  Their running back is a tough kid when they give him the ball he runs hard.  They are a good football team and we really have to be prepared well.  I think we are, I think they are really buying in to what we are doing this week.  We have to come out Friday night with some energy and step up to the challenge."

          When to comes to containing the opponent, Mahaney says he wants to force Sandy Valley to throw a lot of short passes and not give up the big play.  "Teams that throw it like that you want to make them snap the ball as many times as possible.  You can't let them get the big plays over top because those are the easiest when people are running behind you.  Plus, it increases the number of chances you have to make a play, to have a big play, or a big impact on defense.  We want to get pressure on him so he feels uncomfortable back there.  We have got to be sound in our coverage and we have to make the first tackle when we get to the ball carrier," he said.


Published 9/03/15

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Mapleton Kicks off Season at Crestline


          Mapleton has enjoyed back to back outstanding football seasons which have ended in the postseason, but this year they have as many as eight new starters on both sides of the ball.

          Despite that youth, coach Robert Mahaney thought they did a lot of good things in preseason camp and he says they really pumped up to get the season started at Crestline on Friday night.  "I thought it was a good month.  We had a lot younger kids that need to do some growing.  I am excited to see us get into this week, I know they are excited to get out there.  For a lot of them it is going to be there first Friday night under the lights to get a chance to start and I am excited to see what they are going to do," said Mahaney.

          However, Mahaney knows that games, especially when a lot of people are there, are much different than scrimmages, so their is some mystery associated with that opener.  "You can practice, and practice, and practice, but until the lights are on and everybody is there at the stadium and until that whistle blows to start the game it is all going to be up in the air.  How we play (Friday) in week one and how we play on week 10 at the end of the season is going to be really different as this team grows throughout the season," he said.

          The Bulldogs have won only one game in the last three seasons.  However, they are now part of the Mid-Buckeye Conference, which might give them more chance ton win.  Plus, Mahaney says in scouting them they look like a better team.  "Crestline has some very big offensive and defensive linemen.  They have some size up there and some decent skill to go along with them," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "They are a team that is going to be better this year than they have been in the past and we have to be ready to play.  If we are not ready to handle their offensive and defensive line it could be a problem for us all night."


Published 8/27/15

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Mapleton Has to be Better at Fundamentals


          Mapleton has been very good on the gridiron the last two years with state playoff appearances are upper division finishes in the Firelands Conference.

          This year they are going to be a lot younger at a number of positions.

          Coach Robert Mahaney says the Mounties have shown the needed improvement from scrimmage one to scrimmage two.  "We scrimmaged last Tuesday against Loudonville and this past Saturday against Strasburg.  The growth from Tuesday to Saturday is what we needed to see.  Our young kids are growing up fast and getting some experience against varsity opponents.  We are starting to come together as a team," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "We are flying around and we have some good energy and positive enthusiasm, which is good to see out of our kids.  We are excited as we head into this last scrimmage and then the regular season."

          Mapleton plays Fredericktown in their final scrimmage on Friday night.

          When it comes to what they need to do better as team as they prepare for the season, Mahaney wants to focus on the fundamental elements of the game.  "We have to be better at doing the little things, reading our keys, doing our responsibilities, trusting the guy next to us, and doing the simple things.  You have to block, you have to tackle best, and wrap up throughout the game.  Those are three things we have to get better.  Hopefully we can sure up the little things and hopefully that will propel us into having a good season," he said.

          Crestline, now of the Mid-Buckeye Conference, is the opening night opponent for Mapleton and Mahaney says his kids are eager to get going in the games that count.  "We talked after practice (Monday) that they are ready for the regular season they are ready for their first game.  Playing Friday night under the lights at high school stadium, it's just the atmosphere.  All of the hard work pays off on those nights.  It's the payday for sacrificing so much time in the off season  and once two a days start.  At this point and time all they want to do is get to that first game and get under the lights and play for our community," said Mahaney.


Published 8/18/15

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Mapleton Has to Grow up Fast


          Mapleton had experienced 20 seasons of losing football before the last two years.  The Mounties made the playoffs in both 2013 and 2014 and won a post season game last year.

          However, gone are 10 seniors and eight kids that played both ways for the Mounties, including Travis Pickering, one the best small school running backs in North Central Ohio.

          Coach Robert Mahaney, who has been at the helm during this resurgence, says he hopes his current players are good learners.  "We lose a lot of players from last year from graduation.  Some really good football players, but we have some kids that were around with them to experience the playoffs the last two years and hopefully that speaks to how our kids expect to play and how they expect to win and prepare each week and hopefully continue to build and be a special program," he said.

          There is a theory of winning breeds winning and Mahaney says these kids certainly know what it takes because they have witnessed it first hand in many cases.  "We graduated 10 seniors and eight of them were two way starters.  They know that those guys busted their butt to get where they where at.  They saw how much work it took to get to the playoffs two years in a row and they have seen how much it takes to win a playoff game and compete for a conference championship and fall just short against St. Paul last year.  Our kids understand what they have to now it is just getting them to do it out on the field," said Mahaney.

          It is that lack of experience that concerns Mahaney the most heading into the 2015 season.  He says those kids have to get a grasp of what varsity football is about in a hurry.  "I think it would be our youth.  We are expecting some big things out of some sophomores and a couple of freshmen," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "We have to get them some experience right away.  It will be a baptism under fire.  We have to get them ready quickly.  The kids that are sophomores need to be juniors by the first game and the kids that are freshmen need to be sophomores.  We need everybody to understand their responsibility and hopefully that is something we can grow on."

          Mapleton has a new opponent on week one in the Crestline Bulldogs, now of the Mid-Buckeye Conference.  They face rival New London to open the Firelands Conference schedule on week four.


Published 8/06/15

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Mapleton Looking Forward to Rematch With St. Paul


          Mapleton won its first playoff game ever last week and now they get a chance at some revenge as they meet Norwalk St. Paul in the division seven regional semi-finals at the Bellevue Athletic Field on Saturday night.

          St. Paul beat Mapleton (34-28) in what amounted to the Firelands Conference championship game three weeks ago.

          Last week, the Mounties (8-3) already got some revenge as they beat Wellsville (39-7), the team that beat them last year in the playoffs.  Coach Robert Mahaney says they played aggressively and with skill.  "Our kids came out and they really played their butts off and they did everything we asked them to do.  They executed, they tackled well, they blocked well.  There was the excitement of a playoff game at home for the first time.  We made history being the first team to ever win a playoff game.  If we can play with as much excitement and enthusiasm I think we can give St. Paul a run for their money," he said.

          Travis Pickering is one of the best players in small school football in this part of the state, but Mahaney says they have a lot of other guys that can make plays too.  "Travis does a lot for us, but quarterback Wade Barone is playing really well right now.  We have two receivers that are really good in Conner Black and Corey Kovatch.  We predicate ourselves on offense with taking what the defense gives us.  If they are keeping seven guys in the box we are going to try and run it.  If they are putting eight in there that means we are getting our match-ups on the outside and we are going to take advantage of the one on ones," he told Swankonsports.com, "Luckily we have playmakers in two receivers to take advantage of that.  If we are clicking on offense and Wade is making the right decisions we can be pretty good at times."

          Mapleton led (21-7) after the first quarter three weeks ago, but came up a little bit short.  The Flyers scored four touchdowns in a row.  Mahnaey says they must tackle better.  "I think the most important thing is we have got to tackle better.  There are multiple times that we had them in the backfield and we couldn't get their backs down.  Brad and Devon Smith are probably the best two back duo I have seen in a long time.  The most dangerous thing about them in they are always moving forward they never go backwards.  On offense we just have to execute a little better, make sure we know what we are doing on our double teams.  Just make sure we are doing our job and not trying to do too much," Mahaney.

          Even though they scored four times themselves, Mahaney says the Flyers defense is really good too.  "They get as many hats to the football as possible.  They have defensive lineman that fire out fast and low and try to reestablish the line of scrimmage.  Nickoli who has played the last couple of weeks now is very good linebacker, probably the best linebacker in the Firelands Conference.  You throw in their DBs and they just play man to man across the board.  They will take those match-ups because they feel that confident in their kids because they are good football players," he said.


Published 11/14/14

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Mapleton Likes to be Home


          For the Mapleton Mounties it is a first round playoff game against the same opponent as last year in Wellsville, but this time they will be at home rather than on the road.

          They hope that helps them turn things around as last year Tigers won (39-21) at their place.

          This year's Mapleton (7-3) team is the first to make the playoffs in consecutive years, but coach Robert Mahaney says they are not satisfied and have other things still on their list of goals.  "Our first goal was to make it and be the first team to do it in back to back seasons,  Now our goal is to win the first playoff game in school history.  We have never won a playoff game at Mapleton.  We have a great opportunity on Saturday at home in front of our home crowd to see if we can get over the hump and win a playoff game and see where we can go from there," he said.

          With the experience they have developed as a team Mahaney says that gives them a better chance to win this year.  "Last year we drove all of the way down to Wellsville.  Our kids were a little like a dear in the headlights with it being our first playoff game in 23 years.  The kids had never been in one and never experienced one.  I think they learned from that," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "Two weeks ago we played at St. Paul in a conference championship game.  It didn't go our way, but I think it prepared us for the physicality that we are going to need.  Hopefully we learned from those two games and will be ready to go on Saturday."

          With this being the first playoff game ever at Mapleton there are a lot of distractions this week, but Mahaney says his players have handled it well.  "The community is very excited it is the first game we have ever hosted.  The people are excited and they are getting everything ready.  Our kids I am proud top say are treating it like business.  They want to be the team that gets that first playoff win.  Really the only problem we are having right now in practice is the weather," he said.

          Wellsville (7-3) lost (25-7) to McDonald last week and that broke a five game winning streak for the Tigers.  Mahaney says they are a physical football team with a back that can make tacklers miss.  "They are a tough physical team.  They play right on the river and they have that rough mentality.  They have a really good running back who is shifty.  He is probably the shiftiest runner we have seen all year and then they have physical linemen up front.  We are going to have to be ready to play and make sure we can tackle.  I thought we struggled with that at times, so we are going to have to sure that up," said Mahaney.

          The Mapleton coach really believes that being at home can be a big difference for them.  "Just to play in front of our fans no matter who it is against to have that opportunity will be awesome.  The fact that it is Wellsville and we don't have to drive the two and half hours like last year will make things a lot easier on us and a lot easier on our preparation," he said.


Published 11/07/14

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Mapleton Wants Some Home Cooking


          Mapleton has assured itself of a second straight playoff berth for the first time in school history, but they would like to be at home for the first round this year.

          They lost for the first time since week two last Saturday when Norwalk St. Paul beat them (34-28) in what amounted to the Firelands Conference championship game.  Coach Robert Mahaney was impressed they could play with the small school powerhouse.  "I think it was a great high school football game.  In talking to coach Livengood afterwards that is what a league championship game should look like.  I think for us going forward we played with Norwalk St. Paul of the way down to the wire.  We had the ball at the end of the game and had a chance to win it and we just didn't capitalize," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "We had a lot of other opportunities.  If we can play with them, a perennial team that is always competing, if we can play with them we can play with other teams in the region and hopefully keep our season going as long as we can."

          You always want to win, not lose, but Mahaney says he believes they can gain confidence from their effort against St. Paul.  "Our kids fought as hard as they did and competed with St. Paul.  It is tough to get mentally over it, but I think we are doing that.  We are looking at the other side of it, if we can play with them we can play with anybody.  Hopefully, we can take away the positives and just learn from it," he said.

          Mapleton (6-3,5-1) plays host to Western Reserve (2-7,2-4) on Friday night in conference play.  It was not been a typical year for the Rough Riders, but Mahaney says they can still score points.  "They have scored 50 points a couple of different times this season.  They have a favorite playmaker in the Stump kid.  Their offensive line and defensive line are big like always.  Offensively they do a lot of different things.  You have to prepare for this and that and that makes it difficult on you.  The defensively they do the same thing.  They have a lot of different fronts that you have to prepare for.  You are never sure what you are going to get until Friday," he said.

          Last year, Wellsville beat Mapleton in a first round playoff game.  This year, Mahaney says they would rather be at home than on the road.  "Looking at where we are at we are fifth in the region and there is till a chance we could host the first every playoff game at Mapleton.  If it goes the other way we are traveling.  Last year, we had to travel two and half hours and our kids don't want to do that again.  We are going to try and treat this as the first week of the playoffs.  We want to play at home and hopefully we can win and get better each week and see how far we can go," he said.


Published 10/30/14

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Mapleton Meets St. Paul For Firelands Conference Title


          Mapleton has not won a Firelands Conference title since 1992, but they can get a piece of one if their can beat Norwalk St. Paul on Saturday night at Whitney Field.  Right now, the teams share first place.

          They know that is going to be a huge task.

          Last week, their buried South Central (38-15) for their sixth win in a row.  Coach Robert Mahaney says they are learning how to deal with success and they went to Greenwich and took care of business.  "Our kids really prepared well in practice and stayed focused all the way up to the game.  We knew we had to go into their field and they are a tough football team and a very physical football team.  We had to be able to match their physicality especially in the trenches.  Hopefully we have been getting better these last few weeks and will be ready to go this Saturday," said Mahaney.

          Mapleton (6-2,5-0) lost to their first two games to Doylestown Chippewa (39-0) and Sandy Valley (20-0) as they were breaking in some new lineman, but Mahaney says as the season has progressed they have gotten much better.  "We have played some young kids and we have grown.  (Friday) night we had an injury and we had to play two freshmen in the starting five, but they were able to step right in because they work hard and understand what they need to do.  Hopefully they continue to grow as we continue to play," he said.

          St. Paul (7-1,5-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the league school division, played very well again last week as they hammered Crestview (49-0), leading by the same margin at halftime.  Mahaney says against the Flyers you have to elevate your game to their standards.  "A lot of teams do the no huddle tempo, it's a big thing in college football and it has spread down to high school.  St. Paul huddles, but when they break the huddle they are going to get the ball snapped within a matter of a couple of seconds," he told Swankonsports.com, "They have a lot of kids that can carry the football.  Coach Livengood just does a very good job with their football team.  They are prepared and they know how to run their stuff and they are going to run it well.  We have to be able to match their game plan and the physicality of their kids."

          St. Paul is the two time defending champion and the Flyers have won 14 football titles since Mapleton won their last.  Mahaney says if you are going to beat them you must first think you can.  "They have so much tradition and you just know it is going to be a tough football game.  Our kids are in a unique situation that they have never been in and school hasn't been in in a long time if we can walk away with a tough "W"  we can walk away with a conference championship.  It's a chance for them to play in a big atmosphere.  It's an opportunity to make something special happen and I'm excited to see how we play on Saturday," said Mahaney.


Published 10/20/14

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Mapleton Plays Improved South Central


          The showdown with Norwalk St. Paul is next week, but this week the Mapleton Mounties play a South Central football team that can not be overlooked or next week will not be as important.

          Mapleton scored on a return and a short touchdown run by Travis Pickering in the first quarter last week and went on to beat Crestview (42-12) in a Firelands Conference game.  Coach Robert Maheney says they were able to cash in when the situation presented itself.  "We got a big break.  We got a defensive touchdown early, got a stop, and then scored right after that.  We were able to play from ahead.  Our kids did a good job.  It was by far not our prettiest win of the year.  We kind of had to grind.  We were able to play good defense and hold a pretty good team to low scoring and we were able to kind of grind out a win," said Mahaney.

          Pickering finished with 189 yards and four scores.

          Mapleton (5-2,4-0) has won five straight games and when you have that kind of streak you aren't always going to be making big plays.  Mahaney says last week was kind of like that for them.  "Sometimes you have to grind and work.  When you walk off the field after that kind of game you a little better feeling too rather than just getting easy scores and lighting people up.  It's better sometimes to grind out those "W's," he said.

          The Mounties visit South Central (3-4,2-2) for a conference game on Friday night.  The Trojans are coming off a (34-31) win over Monroeville last week.  Mahaney says this is a pretty good team.  "They are a good 3-4 football team.  They have a quarterback that is experienced and healthy this year and a good receiver.  The scary thing is if the Conway kid was still healthy they would be even better," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "Their new coach has done a heck of a job.  He has made them into a tough, physical football team.  They play tough defense and they try to pound the ball on offense.  We have to be able to go into their place and match their physicality."

          With St. Paul looming next week there is a chance that Mapleton could overlook this game with South Central.  Mahaney says that would be a mistake they can't afford to make.  "They are too good of a football team to look past.  They have some pretty good playmakers and they are an overall tough football team.  We just have to take care of business week by week and this week it is South Central," he said.


Published 10/17/14

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Mapleton Has to be Ready For Battle With Crestview


          Mapleton shares first place with Norwalk St. Paul in the Firelands Conference and they play the Flyers in two weeks, but they have to take care of their business and that begins this week against Crestview.

          The Mounties (4-2,3-0) scored the first three times they had the ball last week and went on to punish Monroeville (41-6) in a conference game.  Coach Robert Mahaney says they came out like they were ready to play.  "We came out fired up and were clicking on offense and defense and scored on our first three possessions and jumped out to a 21-0 lead, then right before half made it 28-0.  Our defense played really well.  They only allowed 91 yards of offense," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "We allowed one big play at the beginning of the second half a 39-yard touchdown run.  We will try to get better and eliminate the mental mistakes that allowed that one big play.  I think our defense is getting there and offensively as long as we protect the football and not turn it over we are doing good things."

          Travis Pickering has 189 yards rushing and two touchdowns last week against Monroeville.

          Pickering has had another outstanding season and one of the reasons why has been the maturing of a young offensive line.  Mahaney says those guys have gotten better every week.  "Our offensive line the growth that we have had is really awesome to see as a coach.  The kids we have had to move around because of injuries have kind of made us better.  We weren't sure what to expect, but they have gotten better and they have grown and turned into a pretty good unit and I am excited to see them grow as the season continues," he said.

          Mapleton was in a similar situation a year ago and Crestview beat them (30-21), which led to three losses in their last four games.

          Crestview (2-4,1-2) beat Western Reserve (28-0) last week and Mahaney says the Cougars are a dangerous team.  "Crestview is a tough physical football team.  They are a good football team and they play like that sometimes.  We just have to be ready to go because Crestview will be tough and physical.  Mapleton hasn't beaten Crestview in over 20 years.  Crestview kids are going to expect to beat our kids and we have to ready to take on the challenge.  Coach Coffman has been in the playoffs with that team before and he knows how to win games late in the season.  We will be focused and locked in and hopefully we can play well (Friday) night," he said.


Published 10/10/14

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Mapleton Learning to be Winners


          Mapleton is now being forced to deal with something they haven't in a long time... winning.

          Last year, was the first winning season at Mapleton since 1991 when the Mounties finished (6-5) and made the division VII playoffs.  This year they have put together a three game winning streak after a (42-6) destruction of the rival New London Wildcats last week.

          Coach Robert Mahaney was very pleased with the effort he saw against an experienced New London team.  "Other than Nick Thomas, who is a great football player, one of the best ones I have been around watching the Firelands Conference, but other than him they did have everybody back.  They are a well coached team and I think coach Pickens is doing a really good job with those kids.  I think our kids were just ready to play," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "It's a rivalry game for us.  Our kids on offense did a heck of a job creating big plays and defensively bottling them up except for two plays before halftime.  We let them have six points and I am pretty excited by how well our defense is playing right now.  Our offensive and defensive lines have taken huge strides forward from weeks one and two."

          Mahaney hopes this year they are a little better equipped to handle the success than they were a year ago.  "We struggled with it last year when we were sitting at 6-2 with what to do when you are having success.  I hope we are getting better at handling success.  Last year, we lost our last three games of the season.  This year, I think our seniors are going a good job of not slipping up.  The success has been really good for the program, the numbers are up, the junior high numbers are up.  It's just good for everything going on now in the program," he said.

          Mapleton (3-2,2-0) plays host to Monroeville (0-5,0-2) in a Firelands Conference game on Friday night.  The Eagles are a traditional small school football power going back 40 years.  Mahaney says he understands what football means to Monroeville kids.  "They have a lot of tradition and football means a lot to that school.  It is crazy with how when you look at the number of kids in the building and how many kids are on the team, they get a very high percentage of the kids over there.  Honestly I don't know the last time that Mapleton has won back to back years over Monroeville.  I am sure it has 30 if not 40 years," said Mahaney.

          He says despite the Eagles record they are a pretty good team that must be respected.  "They are a very good football team.  The more I watch film this week they are a dangerous team.  They are sound.  They don't have a lot of big plays offensively, but they can pound and put a lot of drives together.  When you let a team like that with that much tradition stick around it is going to be a dogfight to the end, so we have to do our best to come out and execute from the get go," he said.


Published 10/02/14

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Mapleton Gets Momentum From Win


          Mapleton must have Plymouth's number and after a big win over the Big Red for the second straight year the Mounties hope to be able to take that momentum through the rest of the year.

          They belted Plymouth (41-28) in a game that really wasn't as close as that score may indicate as senior running back Travis Pickering accounted for more than 300 yards.  Coach Robert Mahaney says they had some things to prove on the field last week.  "Our kids were excited for the opportunity.  Our kids were really dialed in and focused.  We knew we would have chances to make plays coming in and our kids took those opportunities and executed them.  Travis Pickering, our go to running back, had right around 300 yards of total offense.  We knew he would have a chance for a big day and he was able to do that for us," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "The fact that is was Plymouth, and our first conference game.  They were ranked seventh in the AP poll and our kids relished the opportunity to play them.  I think all of those kinds of things led to a perfect storm and we were able to play a really good football game."

          Plymouth players, coaches and fans alike must have nightmares staring Pickering because he did a similar thing to them last year.

          Mahaney says it just seems that they play well against Plymouth.  He says he could see it his players eyes.  "Our kids were pretty dialed in.  Plymouth is a team that for some odd reason our kids play well against.  It is something that are senior class has always wanted.  Two years in a row now they have had the opportunity to beat Plymouth when they were state ranked and both years we have been able to do it.  I think our kids like the challenge of playing Plymouth.  It wasn't just Friday before the game I could see it all week during practice.  The exciting thing was to see that and then get the payoff on Friday night," he said.

          Again referencing last season, Mapleton converted a two point conversion at the end of the game to beat New London.  They play the Wildcats (1-3,1-0) on the road on Friday night.  New London beat Crestview (46-34) in their conference opener.  Mahaney anticipates it will be a battle again this time.  "New London is a good football team.  They have a lot kids back from last season.  They have some dangerous playmakers and an experienced quarterback, he's a third year starter.  They played some really tough non-conference teams.  To take it to a Crestview program like that that has a lot of history and tradition.  It was a good win for them and I am sure they will be ready to play us this Friday," he said.


Published 9/26/14

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Firelands Conference Opens With Big Match-up


          Norwalk St. Paul is the clear favorite in the Firelands Conference this year, but one of the key games to determine who will be their biggest challenger this fall will be played this week as Mapleton hosts Plymouth.

          After being shutout the first two weeks by Chippewa (39-0) and Sandy Valley (20-0) Mapleton did the shutting out last week as they blanked Rittman (34-0) in their last non-conference game.  Coach Robert Mahaney says the first two games made them better.  "Our defense played a complete game and shut them out and held them to 125 yards of offense.  Our kids have really grown on that side of the ball.  If our line can continue to grow and develop we can have a chance with the playmakers we have behind them," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "Our line three weeks into the season is starting to figure things out.  We didn't know what to expect and I think playing tough teams week one and week two prepared us for week three.  We know our kids right now are really clicking on all cylinders."

          The offensive line is getting better because the guys up front are communicating better as a unit, according to Mahaney.  "There is a lot of communication that has to happen between the offensive line.  If the defense moves and they see something they need to talk, they have to understand calls, they have to understand where each one of them is going to be that way they can work as a unit together and make things happen," he said.

          Plymouth (3-0) comes in after a thrilling win (35-34) on a last second field goal by Gabriel Suarez to beat Harrison Central last Saturday.  Mahaney knows they have a lot of big play makers on the team and they have experience too.  "The Big Red is a very dangerous football team.  They have a lot of their skilled kids back from last year, even the year before that, because a lot of these kids were playing when they were sophomores.  Hunter Bailey is a good quarterback, Chance Butcher is a good linebacker and running back, and really Tyrell Edmiston is one of the best players we are going to play all year, he is a great play making wide receiver.  He has already had a lot of touchdowns this year.  He is very dangerous on offense.  You have to know where he is at.  You have to account for him at all times," said Mahaney.

          This was a turning point in the season last year for the Mounties as they popped Plymouth (47-19) on their way to their first playoff berth since 1991.  To do it again Mahaney says they have to play containment on defense.  "Some way we have to find a way to contain Hunter Bailey and make sure he stays in the pocket.  We have to make sure we know where Tyrell is and try to stay on him.  You probably have to put more than one guy on him to make sure he doesn't get open because he really is a good player.  Their running game is pretty good too.  You have to make sure your guys up front, in the box, are ready to handle the run and contain Hunter because when he scrambles and makes more plays it buys more time for Tyrell to get open and they can be really dangerous," said Mahaney.


Published 9/16/14

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Mapleton Must Respond


          Mapleton got a wake up call from Chippewa last week and they have to be a better football team if they are going to reach the goal they have established.

          The Mounties (0-1) made the playoffs last year for the first time since 1991 and they want to be the first Mapleton team to ever make the post season in back to back years. 

          Coach Robert Mahaney says they did some good things on offense last week, but there defense was pretty much helpless against the Chips.  "Offensively we moved the ball pretty well, but every time we got into the red zone we couldn't take advantage of the opportunity.  Their defense buckled down and kept us out.  Their offense is really good and our defense struggled.  There is no other way to put it other than we struggled on defense, so we definitely have to get better," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "Offensively I think they were little mistakes.  We have some guys playing up front for the first time and they didn't know what it was going to be like playing on Friday night.  So, hopefully we can take the learning experience from week one and get ready for week two."

          Chippewa ran for 234 yards in the win (39-0) last week and Mahaney says they have to tackle better.  "I think one thing that is going to help is Chippewa has one of the best offensive lines we are going to play, but ultimately our defensive line has to get better and be able to hold their ground and not allow so much movement that it takes our linebackers out of the play.  Really we have to get better at open field tackling.  There were a lot of one on one situations that always seemed to go Chippewa's way and when that is happening you aren't going to be a very good defense," he said.

          Sandy Valley (0-1) lost to Indian Valley (41-16) in their first game.  Mahaney says the Cardinals have some athletes they can put on the field on both sides.  "They are in a spread offense and their quarterback is an athlete that likes to run it and throw it at the same time.  They play a 3-3 stack on defense with some pretty good linebackers in there that like to fly around.  It will be a good game.  Last year was a good game for us 14-7, we hung on to win at the end.  This year I would be surprised if it were a little bit more high scoring.  Hopefully our kids can rally because we are at the same point we were last year a big loss on week one, so hopefully we can come together and move forward as a team," said Mahaney.

          Mapleton has some guys that can play and Mahaney says it is just a matter of putting it all together.  "For us being as small as we are we tell our freshmen that are playing for us, three or four guys, you have had one game as a freshmen and now you are sophomores, sophomores and now juniors and juniors are seniors.  It is just getting those guys more experience and getting them on the field.  Hopefully we can make that jump and be ready to go this week," he said.


Published 9/02/14

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Mapleton Needs to Keep the Ball


          Mapleton wants to continue to step forward as a football program after a break through season a year ago when they made the playoffs for the first time since 1991 and their opening week game is going to quite a challenge.

          They play Doylestown Chippewa of the Wayne County Athletic League, a playoff qualifier, like Mapleton, last season.

          Last week in their last scrimmage of year Mapleton lost to Fredericktown, but coach Robert Mahaney says they learned from that loss.  "I thought our kids played hard. It wasn't the result that we wanted, but we knew Fredericktown was a good team and that is why we wanted to scrimmage them.  For us to do what want to do this year we have to play with teams like Fredericktown.  I am glad we got that experience in a scrimmage and move forward from that.  We got some good things out of it and hopefully that prepared us for Friday night," he said.

          At its root the game of football is about blocking and tackling and Mahaney says they weren't very good at that last week in the scrimmage.  "We have some new kids playing and they have to get used to pressure of playing under the lights it is just going to come with more experience on the field.  Our offensive line needs to continue to grow.  Some of the basics we have to get better at like tackling and blocking.  When Fredericktown pushed the tempo it kind of hurt us a little bit.  On defense we have some low numbers when you are a division seven school those are hard to get.  We need to be in better shape and tackle better and block better,' said Mahaney.

          The Chips have the ability to score points and Mahaney says Friday night going to be a big challenge for them.  "This Friday is going to be one of the toughest games we play all year.  They have a big lineman, he is really good, he is being looked at by a lot of division two schools.  They have a quarterback that will probably be the best player we play all year.  He is a really good player and makes a lot of plays with his feet and he has a really good arm.  They have a lot kids back from that team last year that went 9-3 and scored 60 points in a first round playoff game," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "Their defense is tough.  They have a lot of seniors on the defense.  Mike Bohley does a really good job over there.  They are going be one of the toughest teams we play.  Hopefully our kids can step up to the challenge."

          Mapleton has a very good running game and Mahaney says they would like to keep the ball away from Chippewa.  "If we can control the ball and keep their offense off the field.  The less opportunity their quarterback has to make plays the better we are going to be.  So, definitely controlling the clock and keeping our offense gaining yards and having more time of possession would be better for us," he said.


Published 8/26/14

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Mapleton Hopes to Contend


          Last year was a landmark season for the Mapleton Mounties as they won more than half of their games and made the playoffs for the first time since 1991.

          Now the challenge is to maintain that level of excellence and maybe turn it up a notch.

          Coach Robert Mahaney since the success of last season the kids have been very enthusiastic about football.  “It was the best off season that I have been around.  We had the most numbers we have had since I have been at Mapleton as an assistant and a head coach.  We have a strong group of seniors that led us through the conditioning and the weight room and then the seven on sevens.  They put themselves in a good position to have a good season this year,” said Mahaney.

          That off season has rolled over into the first week of two and day practices and Mahaney says they want to take some steps forward again this fall.  “Our kids are working really hard.  They want to continue with the success that we had last year, build off of it, and try to have another good year this year.  Our kids are doing a great job stepping up to the challenge and I am looking forward to seeing how the season will go for them,” he said.

          Mapleton was able to run the ball very effectively last year behind a strong offensive line and the running of Travis Pickering.  Mahaney says they will have a great number of their skilled players back this year.  “We return almost all of our skill from last year, so we are going to be good out there.  We have a lot of good players back, our quarterback is back, our running back, and most of our receivers, so we are going to be able to spread the ball out to a lot of people and hurt teams in different ways,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Our back seven in our defense is also going to be really good, so hopefully people will have to nickel and dime us instead of beating us over the top.  Overall I think our team speed is better than it has been in the past, so I’m excited to see how that is going to pan out for us.”

          Where most of the work is needed this month is up front.  Mahaney says they will need some players to step into roles on the offensive line.  “We graduated four of our five offensive lineman and all three of our defensive lineman, so we really need to get some guys to step up to the challenge and become starters for us on the line, both ways, so I’m excited to see the growth that they are going to have and see where we can get better up front for this up coming season,” he said.


Published 8/08/14

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Mapleton Not Just happy to be in Playoffs


          Mapleton is making its first playoff appearance since 1991 and will be seeking their first playoff win in school history as they travel to Wellsville for a regional quarterfinal game in division seven on Saturday night.

          Coach Robert Mahaney is very happy for especially his seniors who have worked so hard over their four years in high school and are finally seeing the benefits of those efforts.  “We are excited.  This is a big payday for these seniors.  There has been a lot of hard work since they were freshmen and sophomores and their junior year and now they finally seeing some rewards from it.  The young kids are seeing how hard they work.  I just think it has been great for everybody and everybody is really excited,” said Mahaney.

          It has been 22 years since the Mounties played postseason football and Mahaney says they are focused on becoming the first team in school history to advance to the second round.  “1991 was the last time.  A lot of people are excited.  If you make the playoffs, let’s make a run at things.  If we win this Saturday we will be the first team in Mapleton history to win a playoff game.  That would definitely cement this team in the history of Mapleton.  I think our kids are excited for that to be the first team to do something like that,” he said.

          Anytime you make the playoffs there is excitement, but the kids that are on Mapleton’s roster were not even born the last time the Mounties were in the postseason.  There has been a lot of hoopla, pep rallies and the like, and Mahaney says they need focus for the game on Saturday night.  “The community has been really supportive.  There have been a lot of interviews and stories about the team and that has been good for the kids.  I tell the kids you have to have tunnel vision and blinders on the side,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “The goal of our football team is to travel to Wellsville and get that first “W” in the playoffs.  We need to play well on offense and defense and special teams and try to walk out of Wellsville with a “W.”

          Mapelton (6-4) makes a more than two hour bus ride to the Wellsville (8-2), which is on the Ohio River in eastern Ohio.  Mahaney says they are big and physical and they like to run the ball.  “They are tough.  They are big up front.  They have two defensive tackles that are also their guards that are 6’3” and right around 300 pounds.  They have some size and some big kids.  Offensively they run a wing-t offense out of a gun and they have got three or four ball carriers that are very dangerous.  Defensively they are a 4-4 and they get after it.  They have those two big guys in the middle and that frees their linebackers up to run all over the field,” he said.


Published 11/08/13

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Mapleton in the Playoffs


          It continues to be the fell good story of the football season as the Mapleton Mounties, despite a loss to Norwalk St. Paul last week, have qualified for the playoffs for the first time since the Presidency of George Bush I.

          Last week, Mapleton took an early lead and kept the pressure on St. Paul into second half before losing (42-13) to the Flyers.  Mapleton coach Robert Mahaney says he was proud of the effort of his kids.  “Our kids played hard and they fought with them all of the way through the first half and into the middle of the third quarter.  They just have more depth and more experience and they were just able to wear us down and win the game in the third and fourth quarter.  I was really proud of our kids and how we fought.  If we can play like we played in that first half against St. Paul we could make some noise here at the end of the season,” said Mahaney.

          No one wants to lose the game, but if you do you want to learn something from it.  Mahaney believes they did.  “We learned a little bit about toughness.  St. Paul is the type of team we are going to see as we move forward.  Our kids learned that they can hang with them in spurts.  We got really banged up at the end of that game, but we are getting healthy again.  We have been able to move forward.  We changed some personnel on the offensive line, which I think will help us move forward as well.  I am just excited to see what we do this Friday,” he said.

          Mapleton (6-3,4-2) plays at Western Reserve (6-3,5-1) on Friday night in their final Firelands Conference game of the season.  Mahaney says the Rough Riders are still big up front, but they are throwing the ball a lot more.  “Their quarterback is one heck of a quarterback.  He can make almost all of the throws on the field.  He has a lot of good receivers too.  Nate Good, 22, is the one that first pops into my mind,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “I know he has a lot of stats and he is very good football player.  They spread it out and the quarterback can run it too.  He is a very multi-dimensional quarterback and he will be tough for us.  They still have those big guys up front like they always have and on the defensive line.  They spread it out and they are good, they have a lot of athletes.”

          Mahaney believes that offensive and defensive line play is going to be crucial.  “To win football games in November you have to play well up front.  We have to be able to challenge them up front and play with their size.  If we can win the game in the trenches on both sides of the football, get pressure on defense, and be able to run the ball on offense, I think we will have a successful night,” he said.


Published 11/01/13

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Mapleton Ready for Biggest Game in more than 20 years


          On Friday night, Mapleton will host the biggest game in their part of Ashland County since the Berlin Wall came down…. Uh not that was in Ashland County, but you know what I mean.

          The Mounties (6-2,4-1) play host to Norwalk St. Paul, the Firelands Conference leader, the 2009 division six state champion and on and on.  This game will be a certain sell out, so get your tickets early.  Can you sell out a football game?  If you can this one will be.

          After losing to Crestview (30-21) two weeks ago, the Mounties responded to blast South Central (52-20) last Friday.  Coach Robert Mahaney says it was a big win for them mentally.  “We executed pretty well when we needed to.  South Central made us fight for some stuff.  The kids had to execute.  We bounced back after our second loss of the season to Crestview.  I think our head is back into a good place.  We are pretty focused for this game Friday night,” he said.

          What’s good about St. Paul?  The easy answer is everything, but Mahaney points out some things.  “They run the ball as good as any team we have faced all year.  They have two really good backs.  Devin Smith and Jessie Gross are both really good.  Their quarterback is a good player too.  There tight end makes a lot of good plays for them.  Offensively they are scary.  They have been averaging a lot of points,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “They huddle up and they break the huddle so fast it’s almost like you are playing a no huddle team that is going to throw a lot of curve balls at us.  On top of that their defense is tough.  They get a lot of people to the football.  Coach Livengood does one heck of a job with his kids.  They are the best team we have played all year and it is going to be a tough game for us.”

          St. Paul is a team that sprints to the line of scrimmage and Mahaney says it forces the defense to make quick decisions.  “We have to get our play call in fast.  Our kids need to get set.  Luckily we don’t change sides on defense.  A lot of teams that change sides get caught still moving.  We are going to have our d-lineman already ready in their stance.  The way they break the huddle is so fast and quick it will make it tough on us defensively.  You can’t make a lot of adjustments on the line of scrimmage because if you are trying to do that they are going to catch you moving as the ball is snapped,” he said.

          St. Paul (7-1,5-0), #4 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the small school division, has the ability to score points in bunches.  Mahaney says that is difficult to stop from happening.  “Even the Crestview game last week.  Crestview is up 14-10 in the fourth quarter and all of the sudden it is 45-14.  They did the same thing to Plymouth.  You know, Plymouth scored their first possession and St. Paul got a turnover.  Because of the way the way they execute on offense if you get down it is hard to come back.  Also their quick tempo can put you in a hole real fast.  Defensively with the way they swarm to the football the create turnovers and it makes it tough.  When they get a turnover they get to the line so fast you just have to weather the storm.  Our plan is to fight it out as much as you can,” said Mahaney.


Published 10/22/13

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Mapleton Continues to Roll


          It seems every week Mapleton does something they haven’t done in a long time.  This week if they can beat Crestview it will be the first time they have done it in 22 years.

          The Mounties (5-1,3-0) won their fifth straight game last week when they downed Monroeville (42-14) at Marsh Field.  Running back Travis Pickering ran for 245 yards against Monroeville, but coach Robert Mahaney says it was the defense that made the difference.  “I thought we were a little sloppy on offense.  We had five turnovers, five fumbles that they recovered.  Our defense really helped our offense out.  Travis Pickering was able to make some big plays in the running game.  He is keeping us going on offense.  Our defense is playing really well right now,” he said.

          Earlier this season Pickering broke the single game rushing record for Mapleton and Mahaney says that run game has been consistent for them.  “Our run game keeps us in ball games.  We are eating up more clock and then Travis all of the sudden will find a seem and make a big play.  He is running really well and we are blocking up front the best we have all year.  It is starting to pay off for us,” he said.

          Crestview (2-4,1-2) will be at Mapleton on Friday to battle the Mounties.  It has been an up and down year for Cougars.  Mahaney says they are going to try to run the ball at them like they always have.  “Their kids are tough and strong.  They have some big backs.  They will line up in two tight ends and just run the football.  Jay Hill and Aaron King are both good backs.  We have to really step up defensively and stop a really, tough, physical running game.  They won’t pass the ball unless they have too,” he said.

          At times the Cougars have allowed some points this year, but Mahaney says they are also physical on that side of the ball.  “Their defense, it’s the same kids, we are both small school districts, with the same kids playing on both sides of the football.  And again they are tough, physical kids.  Their d-line is pretty good,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “They are playing a freshman at inside linebacker and he is right on the top in the area in tackles.  They have some good kids playing on defense and they are getting better.  We are going to really have to step up and bring our “A” game if we are going to walk away with a “W” this week.”

          Mapleton is tied with Norwalk St. Paul for first place in the Firelands Conference and they host the Flyers are week nine.  However, with their history Mahaney says there is no way they are going to look past the Cougars.  “My understanding is the last time Mapleton beat Crestview was 1991.  We can’t take anything for granted this week or next week.  Crestview kids are going to expect to beat Mapleton.  It is just something they have grown up with.  Our kids have to be ready for their best shot.  We can’t look past anybody,” said Mahaney.


Published 10/11/13

© Swankonsports.com   



Mapleton Continues to Impress


          Their confidence is growing as the Mapleton Mounties just continue to do things on the football field that haven’t been done in a very long time, mainly win games.

          They have now won four straight and share the Firelands Conference lead with Norwalk St. Paul.

          Last Friday the win came in dramatic fashion as Travis Pickering scored with 1:24 left and then Wade Barone hooked up with Conner Black for a two point conversion and a (28-27) win over New London.  Coach Robert Mahaney says his kids made the plays when they had too.  “It was a tough game.  It was a battle and we were able to fight to very end.  Our kids never quit.  We locked it in and were able to put that last possession in the end zone and covert the two-point conversion for the win.  It was an exciting game for both teams.  Both teams played really well,” he said.

          Mahaney says he didn’t hesitate to go for two knowing full well if they didn’t get it they would likely loose the game.  “We were kind of talking about it as we were making that last drive if we put it in the end zone what were we going to do.  I just decided we were going for two.  I thought our kids were riding the momentum and I thought their kids were a little down after the touchdown, so we decided to go for it right then and there and our kids made a play,” said Mahaney.

          This Friday night it’s a trip to Monroeville (0-5,0-2) for a Firelands Conference game.  Even though they haven’t won this year, Mahaney knows the Eagles will expect to be successful against them because they always have been.  “They are a good team and Rick Heck is a really good running back and Levi Anderson is a good football player,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “They have a lot of talent.  They are a tough team with tradition.  Their kids will expect to beat our kids.  They will show up and play with confidence against Mapleton, so I know our kids will have to answer their toughness and their intensity, especially since we have to travel to Monroeville.  It is always a tough place to play.’

          Monroeville won (49-34) last year and Mahaney says they had trouble stopping the run.  He says that will be something they need to do on Friday.  “Last year I think (Heck) ran for 250 yards against us.  I think the whole team ran for like 500.  I know they were a tough team and they have a lot of those same kids back.  They have battled through some tough games.  They played Plymouth tight last week.  Rick Heck is one the best backs in the conference.  On of the best athletes in the conference,” he said.

          Confidence is one of the biggest things when it comes to anything in life and Mahaney says they just believe they can win.  “Our kids are buying in.  They believe in one another and they trust one another.  We struggled the first week against Chippewa.  We didn’t trust the guy next to us everybody was trying to do it on their own.  We refocused them and made some adjustments after Chippewa and we have been able to trust each other and play as a team for the last four weeks.  Our kids have seen the success in that and hopefully we can keep things going forward,” said Mahaney.


Published 10/1/13

© Swankonsports.com  



Mapleton is a Player


          For the last 20 plus seasons the Mapleton Mounties have found it difficult to have much success on the football field, but that has changed very quickly this year.

          They have won three in a row for the first time in forever and coach Robert Mahaney believes the players understand what it takes to be winners.  “I think there has been a change of attitude.  Our kids have really bought in.  I think they are playing really well right now,” he said.

          Mapleton (3-1,1-0) beat Tusky Valley (14-7) and Rittman (41-6), but they really opened some eyes with a (47-19) win over Plymouth in their conference opener.  Mahaney believes they have some playmakers on offense.  “We have two good games offensively in a row.  Travis Pickering broke our school rushing record last week.  He ran for 382 yards against Plymouth.  Conner Black at receiver is a big, explosive guy that can make anything happen anytime he touches the ball,” said Mahaney.

          You don’t run for the yardage the Mounties did last week without some movement and the point of attack.  Mahaney credits his offensive line for improved play.  “We have some new guys up there this year.  In the first game against Chippewa we took our lumps, but they have kind of grown as a line and they are starting to understand what they are doing, so I think it is really helping us out,” he said.

          Mapleton has not enjoyed this kind of success since before cell phones.  Mahaney says it great to see.  “We are right in the middle of some momentum.  Confidence is a big thing, especially with a school like us when we get some confidence we start playing a little bit better,” he said.

          However the coach still knows they have to get a lot better and Mahaney identifies a couple of areas.  “I think we can still get a lot better up front.  On defense, I think our tackling can still get a lot better.  As we get later into the season we haven’t been in a lot of big ball games,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “This week is big for us against 3-1 New London.  We are going to have to step up and be mentally ready to play each week.”

          Mapleton will host rival New London (3-1,1-0) on Friday night in a Firelands Conference game.  The Wildcats busted Crestview (42-20) in their first game in conference play.  Mahaney says like them, New London has some athletic kids.  “New London is a really good football team.  Nick Thomas at running back is really good.  Josh Hamilton is playing quarterback really well for them.  Defensively they are playing well.  They are just a very good, dangerous football team.  They are our rivals and they are really going to be ready to play.  It is going to be a very good football game,” said Mahaney.

          He says it will be the fundamental elements of the game that will tell the story.  “I think we need to tackle and I think we need to block.  That’s the biggest key because if we can’t tackle their running backs like Nick Thomas it is going to be a long game for us defensively.  If we execute on offense we will be alright,” he said.


Published 9/26/13

© Swankonsports.com




Mapleton Sees Light at the End of the Tunnel


          Mapleton has been at the bottom the food chain in the Firelands Conference, but that might be about to change because to Mounties are starting to believe in themselves.

          They lost to Firelands Conference power and 2009 state champion Norwalk St. Paul last week 29-23 and had a real chance to win the game in the fourth quarter.  The week before they had whipped Rittman 41-0.  The Mounties are just 1-3, but they are starting to play some pretty good football.  “We played really tough.  We had a chance there at the end to take the ball down and score the winning touchdown,” Mapleton coach Ray Frisbee told Swankonsports.com, “A couple of things didn’t go our way, but for the most part our kids fought hard.  That’s the toughest Mapleton team that has gone against St. Paul in the last decade according to coach Livengood after the game.”

          Frisbee believes they have worked hard at changing attitudes at Mapleton and the kids are starting to believe.  “We have done a good job the past couple of years emphasizing the importance of the weight room and getting bigger and stronger.  Just having a belief in the system, believing that you are going to get better every day and the kids are finally starting to realize that.  We still need to get faster, but the strength training has really shown.  We have a new attitude this year that we just aren’t going to let people walk all over us like they have in past years,” he said.

          Mapleton has been able to run the ball successfully this season and Frisbee says that’s because they have been able to compete with other teams at the point of attack.  “Right now we are playing very physical up front.  Our offensive line is playing well.  They are creating holes for our running backs and giving our quarterback time,” he said.  And on defense the Mounties have given up some points at times, but they have for the most part made the other teams drive the ball to score.  “Defensively we are a completely different team than teams in the past.  We are starting to play good defense.  Last year, we struggled just letting teams run down the field in four or five plays and score a touchdown, now we are making them earn it,” said Frisbee.

          Mapleton plays at Plymouth on Friday night in a Firelands Conference game.  The Big Red has also shown they have the potential to climb in the standings, so this is a huge game for both squads.  “This game this week is very big and crucial to our teams transformation.  I think this year the conference as a whole is more balanced.  I still think Crestview is the favorite.  I think physically we can match-up with every team.  We need to take it one play at a time and not worry when adversity hits, but push through it,” said Frisbee.  



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