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Orrville Red Rider / Ohio Cardinal Conference News
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Orrville Plays Garaway
Orrville plays Sugarcreek Garway as part of the “MCS Holiday Shootout” at Mansfield Christian High School on Tuesday afternoon.
It is scheduled to start at 3 PM and will be one of the better match ups of the day.
Orrville coach, hall of famer Mark Alberts Sr., says he likes the way his team has been improving. “We replaced five starters from last season. We started out with a victory and then we dropped three in a row. We had a few injuries and lost a few girls for one of those games and some tough opponents. The teams that beat us aren’t bad teams. We have started to rebound a little bit and we have started to improve and get a little bit better. At this point I would say at 4-3, we have won three in a row, I would have to say we did not think we would be undefeated, to say we thought we would have lost three I am not sure. I think looking at where we are at we are not maybe satisfied, but we are content to be here and are trying to get better,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “That is the one thing that we have stressed with our girls and we have been able to do with our practices and in our last several games we have improved. I think that is the watch word for our team to get a little bit better each time we go out there. We are playing a lot of young kids and hopefully by mid season we will be pretty good and at tournament time we will be at our best. As long as we continue on an upswing I think we have to be satisfied.”
Garaway is a very good team too. Alberts says they play very solid defense. “They are on line of West Holmes, who defeated us down at their place. I told our girls here in practice, I preparation, that they reminded me a lot of Tusky Valley. They move the ball very well on offense. They are very unselfish. They have some very good shooters. The one thing that stands out after watching them and scouting them is they play excellent, excellent defense and that is going to be a test for us because they play good man to man and our man to man offense has struggled at times this year. We have really worked on it here the last couple of weeks to try and get our execution down a little bit better,” he said.
In order to win the game, or even be competitive, Alberts says they have to handle the ball and take advantage of their height. “We have struggled at different times because we have had too many turnovers, especially the unforced variety and I think that is something that Garaway tries to do and it really imperative for us to stay in the game against them that we have to take care of the basketball and value each possession and make sure we get a good shot each time down. If we can do that we have a size advantage against them. They are not that big, but they play a lot bigger. I think if we can take advantage of our size and take care of the basketball then I think we will have a chance against them. If they turn us over and we aren’t able to execute in the half court we are going to be in for a long afternoon,” said Alberts.
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Orrville Girls to be Tested by West Holmes
Two of the traditional girls’ basketball powers in this region meet on Thursday night as Orrville clashes with West Holmes in non-league play.
Of course, for almost 15 years this was a league game and the schools played twice. This will be the only meeting this year.
Orrville opened the season on Tuesday night with a (69-50) win over Waynedale. Coach Mark Alberts Sr. was pleased the effort and execution. “We were pretty happy with getting a victory. We lost five starters from last year, most of our scoring, rebounding and assists. I think we returned three lettermen, maybe four lettermen, that played last year quite a bit. One of those girls led us in scoring against Waynedale and the other ones all contributed. It was a good way to start. We are awfully young and inexperienced, but we like to say tradition never graduates at Orrville. We think we have the makings of a pretty decent team, but only time is going to tell. Hopefully, we can keep getting better each time we go out on the floor,” said Alberts.
There was good offensive output against Waynedale, but Alberts says it could have been better and will need to be against West Holmes on Thursday. “We missed probably five point blank layups and I think we were 14-25 from the free throw line. With a little better percentage from the line and if make those layups, and we talked after the game, we are looking at 80. We were really pleased with the offensive effort. We played Massillon in a foundation game last week and beat them 64-57, so we put together two pretty good games out of the shoot. Now, the Massillon game doesn’t count on your schedule, but it was still against a good team in a regulation game, so we are pleased offensively I guess where we are at,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We are a little further ahead than we thought, but we are going to get tested (Thursday) at West Holmes. They are very good and they are very good defensively. It will be tough for us to score that many, but we are going to give it a try. We are going to try and run it up and down the floor like we have been and see what happens.”
West Holmes (1-1) rebounded after a (73-29) loss to a very good North Canton Hoover team in their opener to beat Wooster Triway (53-28) on Tuesday night. Alberts says don’t be fooled by the Hoover score, West Holmes is going to be very good again. “West Holmes lost a lot from last year. They are young and inexperienced, much the same as we are. They are like us they have a lot of tradition there. These girls have all played and been part of their program. They are not as bad as that Hoover game showed in that first one. Hoover has an excellent, excellent team. We are talking about a team that can get to Columbus and have a shot at winning it. West Holmes went over to their place and ran into a buzz saw, but with Triway it is back to realization that West Holmes is going to be good again. They are going to be tough again, especially in their league,” said Alberts.
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Orrville and Chippewa for District Title
For the second year in a row it is Orrville and Chippewa for the division three district title.
Chippewa won by two last year and the Lady Red Riders want to play them back.
They meet Saturday afternoon at Wooster High School for a ticket to the regional tournament.
Orrville (22-2) beat Navarre Fairless (43-26) on Wednesday night. Coach Mark Alberts Sr. says they weren't as good as they normally are on offense, but they played very good defense and rebounded the ball. "It was a defensive struggle. We were ahead 17-11 at the half. We hit a jump shot to go up six. Both teams had problems scoring. Fortunately they had a few more problems than we did. I thought our girls really played well defensively. We had some struggles, but finally got it going a little bit in the second half and continued to play good defense and had enough offense to get us the victory. We did a really, really good job of rebounding the basketball. We took care of it pretty good and guarded well. We are going to have to play a little better on offense along with the same defense Saturday if we are going to get the victory," said Alberts.
Chippewa (20-3), the Wayne County Athletic League champion, beat Orrville (48-46) last year in the district final. Alberts says they are very good again this year. "We have five starters back from that championship game. They have three starters back. The difference is of their three starters back one is 6'0" and one is 6'2". We just don't have the size that they do across the board. We have good size off the bench. I think we have more quickness than they do and we are going to have to exploit that. This a very, very good basketball team that we are playing that won its league. The last three or four years the winner of our district has gone to Columbus," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "We have lost the last two district championship games by two points. Both teams that beat us, Smithville two years ago and Chippewa last year, made the trip down south. We are thinking if we can get this one Saturday it is going to be our turn to go. That's what we are hoping, but we know it is going to be real tough."
Orrville has been able to force a lot of turnovers with their pressure this year and Alberts says they are going to press Saturday, but they must find the Chippewa shooters in transition. "The thing about them that is so difficult is they are so long and they can throw it over the top. I think they shoot the three really well. We are going to press like we have all season long, but we have to find their shooters when they beat the press and get down the floor. They have a couple girls that look to spot up and they can fire them up form distance and they have got range. We have to get close enough the their shooters to bother then and hopefully we can do that. I think we can rebound with them. We have the best rebounder in the area in Trinnity Hall. She had 20 points and 19 rebounds the other night against Fairless. We think as long as she is in the game we are going to do okay on the glass. We have to make sure we can find their shooters," said Alberts.
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Powerful Orrville Beats Clear Fork
Trinniti Hall scored 21 points and gobbled up 15 rebounds to lead Orrville past Clear Fork (58-28) in an Ohio Cardinal Conference girls' basketball game at Les Hauenstein Gym on Thursday night.
Hall is a tremendous player with a lot of athleticism and quickness who plays her best close to the basket. Thursday night Orrville was able to make two threes in the first minute of the game and three in the first quarter. Coach Mark Alberts Sr. says that opens things up for Hall. "I said on the bench when we hit those threes, when we hit shots like that it opens up the floor for Trinity and there is no question if we are going to be successful against the better teams on our schedule we have to do that. I'll tell you this Heidi (Roush) has done a tremendous job, they have improved so much since we played them on December 22. They are much better. It's a tribute to her and her girls. When our girls shoot like that we are hard to guard. We have the inside game and if we can make as few threes out there we can hold them off a little bit and (Thursday) night we did that," said Alberts.
Orrville beat Clear Fork (63-19) at their place.
Macy Wade led Clear Fork with 13 points Thursday night. Trailing (31-11) at the half, Lady Colts coach Heidi Roush feels her team competed better in the second half. "I told them the first half they looked real scared. They were running their offense from far, far away and nobody really wanted the ball. The second half we just challenged them to play harder. It doesn't matter your outcome, if you lose by 10 or you lose by 40 it is still a loss. You need to give it all you've got and I felt like the kids did that," she said.
Orrville forced 18 turnovers and Alberts says to be successful they have to get some offense from their defense. "We shoot it okay and at times we shoot it better than others, but we feel we have to get some easy baskets and one of the ways we try to do that is through the press. Even if we don't steel it what we do is try to create some problems for the other team and make them speed up and be a little faster than they want to play. Now it gets up and down the floor and that suits us a lot better than that grind it our slowdown style that some teams play. I think if you are playing us that is the way you want to play. If we can run, get out and go, get enough possessions, I think we are going to score some points," he said.
Orrville (16-2,10-2), #1 in the Swankonsports.com girls' basketball coaches poll in the small school division, is second in the "OCC" and their only losses are to conference leader West Holmes. Alberts pronounces them ready for the tournament, which begins in three weeks. "We had the bump in the road down at West Holmes, but we played pretty good and West Holmes is good and I thought we got the low end of the officiating down there. If you are going to beat West Holmes, especially on their floor, you have to get it called closely and they let them do some things to us that some refs wouldn't. Yes, that is an excuse. We had one girl that didn't play against West Holmes, Celesta Walters, she had been our sixth girl off the bench. So, we are used to playing without her, she still hasn't come back yet. So, we are ready to go, we are ready for the tournament to start and we are looking forward to it," said Alberts.
Alberts goes for his 600th win as a varsity coach, boys' at Fredericktown, Danville, and Wooster, and girls' at Orrville, when the Lady Red Riders play Smithville on Saturday.
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Orrville in Regionals Again
Orrville is making its second straight appearance in the girls' volleyball division three regional tournament. They play Burton Berkshire in the regional semi-finals on Wednesday evening at Barberton High School.
The Lady Red Riders (25-1), #1 in the final Swankonsports.com volleyball coaches poll in the small school division, won the tough Ohio Cardinal Conference. Coach Whitney Delassandro says this is a team that gets along and will do what it has to do to win. "This team has played together for three years. The chemistry is there. They are a great group of girls. We have a lot of talent in the front row and in the back row. Wherever we need to put them they get the job done. That is very important for us," she said.
Lexington and West Holmes, the second and third place teams in the "OCC," are also still alive as they have punched tickets for the division two regionals. Delassandro says they have been tested this year. "That is why I love being in the "OCC." We are playing division one and division two schools all year long. We actually learn a lot from each of those teams. We have some teams that aren't very good caliber, but we still learn from them. Then we have teams that have one solid hitter and we learn from the them. It lets us see all different kinds of play and be able to adjust because that is something that you have to do if you want to get where our main goal is," said Delassandro.
Orrville is not new to top level tournament competition and neither are the current members of the squad. The Lady Red Riders lost to Gilmour Academy in the regional finals last year. Delassandro feels that experience may help them this week. "Last year we got to the semis and then we lost in the finals. Hopefully, we can get that far this year and even further. I think it will be a little bit easier this year because we have kind of seen it. When teams get to where they have never been before there is a little more pressure, it is just the unknown," she told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "It is just going to be a little easier because we know what we are doing and where we are playing at even though it is not the same team we are ready to play whatever team comes our way."
Orrville won the state title back in 2003.
Delassandro has scouted Berkshire (20-5) has she knows they will be in for a battle come Wednesday. "They played on different nights in the districts and we were able to go and look at them. They are a pretty solid team. They are a lot like teams that we have seen before. Hopefully, we can just keep our composure and be able to do what we need to do on our side of the court and execute," she said.
The winner meets either South Range (19-6) or Gilmour Academy (22-3) for the regional title at Barberton on Saturday afternoon.
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Orrville Wants the Ball
If Orrville is going to pull the upset when they travel to Madison on Friday night for an Ohio Cardinal Conference game they are going to have to eat some clock.
The Red Riders (2-5,1-3) are clearly getting better as they offered up a challenge when the played Ashland last week. The Arrows eventually won (54-25,) but Orrville coach Doug Davault says it was a game that was closer than that for most of the way. "We got in a hole early. We got down 21-0, but from that point, the next 18 or 20 minutes of game time it was us 25-7, so we got it back to 28-25 in the third quarter and just ran out of gas, ran out of guys, got two guys banged up and we ran out of bodies. I was pleased with the comeback, I was pleased with the effort against a really, really good Ashland team," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "They have a lot of pieces and parts. They don't have any superstars, but they have a lot of guys that are really, really good. I was pleased with our effort and it was a close game until about mid-fourth quarter and then we were pulling any guys off the sideline that could help."
Their roster is thin this year, but Davault says they are working to get better and that pleases him a bunch. "We have got a lot of young guys. The young guys are learning a lot about football. Everything from being sore after a game and not really being injured to learning how to play the game, understanding the nuances and having a little bit of savvy about them. There are certain things we can't fix, the things we can fix I think we are working on," he said.
Madison (4-3,3-1) has been most impressive the last two weeks in blow out wins over Lexington (59-10) and Clear Fork (33-13) and Davault says they are explosive. "They are impressive. They have three guys that we don't have an answer for, hopefully we can get them contained. They can score in just about any way possible to throwing it, to running it, to catching it. Defensively they are resistant, they get after you. We are going to have our hands full again Friday night, but that is the nature of the league we are in," he said.
Tyrell Aijan scored four times last week against Clear Fork and he is a high school football All-American. Devault says they have to keep the ball out his, and the other Rams, hands to have a chance at pulling the upset on Friday night. "They have a bunch of home run hitters. Watching them on tape it nothing for them to run five plays and have three 60 yard scores. Our game plan is we want to possess the ball. If we can keep it out of their hands that is going to be our best defense and see if we can't use up a lot of the clock," he said.
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Orrville Needs to Contain Run
Orrville will be at West Holmes on Friday night as both teams are looking for their first Ohio Cardinal Conference victories of the season.
The Red Riders (1-4,0-2) lost to Mansfield Senior (49-14) last week in a game where they sort of hung around early and then let it get away from them, according to coach Doug Davault. "We actually had the thing 14-7 and they scored right away on a kickoff. Then we took a kickoff to the 5 and then had a penalty that took it back to the other five, so it was a tough way to go. They got rolling and we got in trouble. Their athletes gave our kids trouble. When it started rolling for them it started rolling for us in the wrong way. We have to strap ourselves up and see if we can't come back this week," he said.
West Holmes (1-4,0-2) had a similar result in losing (42-12) to Ashland last week. With the wing-T offense, Davault says the Knights first goal is to run the ball. "Kevin does a great job done there. He has been doing the same thing. They are running their version of a wing-T like offense with the trap, the buck sweep, and some power and they will boot you off of it. They do what they do extremely well. They have big, strong kids and tough kids," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "We will have our hands full, but it will be a completely different kind of team than we just faced. We are hoping we match-up just a little bit better with these guys. We have to fight through the bunch of injuries that we have and see if we can't regroup and come together a little bit this week."
It's not that West Holmes can't throw it, but they have a difficult time in long yardage situations. Davault says down and distance is going to be key in this game. "We talk all of the time about making sure we have manageable third downs and manageable second downs. When you have second and 14 or third and 12 you don't have play calls for that. I'm watching the Browns (Sunday) and it's the same thing. Sometimes you make those and sometimes you don't. The key with West Holmes is defeating the run game. They are successful with the pass because of how they run it. If we can get them to the point where they have to throw, not want to throw then we are going to be in business," said Davault.
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Orrville Needs Quick Start
Orrville rallied and almost beat undefeated Lexington last week and if the Riders can find a way to play better early in the game they might have a chance to scare Mansfield Senior a little bit.
They fell behind 21-0 after the first quarter last week, but Orrville got the game tied in the fourth quarter only to lose to Lexington (35-28) in the Ohio Cardinal Conference opener for both last week.
Coach Doug Davault says they made a whale of a comeback in the game and came up just short. "We got it tied in the fourth quarter. We were down 21-zip after one and the kids really played well after that and couldn't quite finish it out. I was proud of the way they came back. We fought throughout the game even though we got down early," he said.
Davault says the best thing to come out of the Lexington game was they never gave up and they fought to the very end. "That is one of the things that we hung onto at the end of the game was the fact that we continued to play throughout and finally gave ourselves a chance to win. We have done that twice now. We did that against Triway as well and didn't quite finish it out. We have to get these young kids and get them over the hump and how to win a game at the end," said Davault.
Now, what the Red Riders must do is find a way to get off to a better start and Davault says they have to do a better job as coaches in getting the players ready for the game. "We have talked about that as a staff. We have to get them out of the locker room and get them going early. When you don't play with a lot of confidence you kind of feel your way around early and try to get yourself into a rhythm early and that is kind of what we have been doing," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "Hopefully, we can come out of the shoot a little bit better this week. We have practiced with that in mind and geared our game plan with that in mind."
Orrville (1-3,0-1) plays over at Mansfield Senior (3-1,1-0,) who is coming off a (30-0) spanking of Clear Fork last week in game where they kind of manhandled the Colts physically.
Davault says the Tygers double barrel running game will be tough to handle and they are going to have to play a very good game to have a chance at the upset. "They are extremely athletic. They have two backs that are the real deal. Both Benson and Vickers can go yard every time they touch it. They are a good football team. We will have to play extremely well and eliminate the mistakes. We have got to come out and make some good things happen early," he said.
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Orrville Must Improve on Defense
Similar to last year the Orrville Red Riders are just giving up too many points on defense to have a chance to win and that was certainly the case last week against Wooster Triway.
The Red Riders got to within a point after three quarters, but Triway went on to beat them (49-27) in non-conference play. Orrville coach Doug Davault says that is just too many to have a real chance to win. "One of the things that has to happen for us is we have to get better and we have to get better on defense. They did a good job. You have to give them credit. They made plays when maybe there weren't some plays there. The bottom line is when you give up 49 points you aren't going to win many football games," he said.
Right now, according to Davault, it is a confidence issue for the Red Riders on defense. Something they have to get over. "Part of if is we just have to do better at doing our jobs. We weren't as focused as we needed to be. There were times when they just made plays over us. You just have to improve your technique because they have good athletes and your technique better be pretty good," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "A little bit of it was that. Right now we aren't playing with a lot of confidence on that side of the football and that is probably the most important thing because confidence breads more confidence, which breads speed. We are playing a step slow instead of a step fast and we are working on that part of it."
Orrville (1-1) hosts Canal Fulton Northwest in a non-conference game on Friday night at home. Again Devault says they are going to be facing a team with a lot of offensive firepower. "They are a good football team they have a lot of good players with good skill. They are pretty strong up front, so we are going to have our hands full. They just run a ton of formations. We stopped count at 22 different formations that they are going to run out of on Friday night, which is a ridiculous amount. Then defensively, they are going to line up and pack the box in and challenge you. So, we will have our hands full on Friday night," he said.
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Orrville Has to Stay Home
Orrville plays at Wooster Triway on Friday night in a non-league game, but figuratively they have to stay home at least on defense.
In their opener, Orrville blasted Columbus Linden McKinley (47-13) in a non-conference game.
Veteran coach Doug Davault says they were pretty explosive on offense and for the most part did what they were supposed to do on defense, but he thinks the best part of the night was the improvement they showed. "We got a little bit better from where we were in the scrimmages. We had 450 yards of offense and seven scores, so felt pretty good about that. We got a lot of guys touching the ball," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "Defensively, we had a little spot there in the middle, but other than that I thought we played pretty well. The big thing was I thought we had a lot of energy and enthusiasm. I thought we got a little better than we were in the scrimmages, so that's a good thing."
Triway (0-1) lost a shootout to West Holmes (46-40) last week and even with heavy losses to graduation, Davault says the Titans are doing a lot of the same things. "Watching them against West Holmes they put up 21 points in the fourth quarter, so that was very impressive. From our standpoint they are the same team they have been just watching them on offense. Defensively, they are doing a lot of the same things they did last year. They got a lot of good looking kids. There are a lot of new faces, but they still have some very good athletes,' said Davault.
When trying to defend a spread, almost a west coast offense, Davault says you can't fall for the fakes and you have to be good tacklers to reduce the yards after the catch. "You have to be real disciplined. They do a lot of crossing routes and a lot of screens. They like to throw and catch and run with it with short throws. So, you have to stay home and do what your assignment is. You can't be chasing things that aren't there. We call our kids the phantoms often times in that kind of offense. You have to be very disciplined and stay home and you have to make tackles in the open field. All of those things are going to be key for us." he said.
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Orrville Needs More Scorers
Orrville has played well in some games and sometimes for whole games, but they haven't been consistent enough this year to be a real good team yet.
In their last game last Tuesday they scored only 11 points in the first half and lost to talented Ashland (68-31) in an Ohio Cardinal Conference game.
Coach Sly Slaughter says they just got too far behind too early to be competitive. "I think Ashland came into our gym and definitely proved to us they are the best team in the league. They jumped out early and we struggled early on. In the second half I thought we played a little bit better, but we have a lot of things we have to work on," he said.
To get better Slaughter says they have to start getting more stops. "I think it all starts at the defensive end. I was not very happy with our defensive effort. I thought there were a lot of things we could do to get better defensively. We will try to work those kinks out and be ready to go on Friday, but I definitely think that's where it starts," he said.
The Red Riders (2-4,1-2) plays host to Clear Fork (2-5,1-3) in an "OCC" game on Friday night. Slaughter says the Colts are a team that relies on two kids to score, kind of like them. "It is two similar teams that are playing. They have a couple of guys that can score in Chrastina and Robinette and we have a couple of guys that can score in Smith and Conway. So, it is going to be a good battle going back and forth there. They have kind of been up and down and we have been up down," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "It will be a good, hard, physical game from both teams. Coach Bechtel does a great job in making sure they are in tune defensively and run their offensive stuff, so we have to be able to match that."
One of the keys to the game on Friday night is which team can find a third and fourth scorer. Slaughter says that is something that has been eluding them all year. "That is kind of what we have been looking at all season. In the games we have won we have had that third guy that has kind of stepped up and scored for us. Such as was the case with Barberton when Trey Allen had 22, but we have to get some more consistency our of him and some other guys like Amir Simpson and Nathan Holik have to get themselves going a little bit too,' said Slaughter.
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Lady Colts Drill Talented Orrville
Clear Fork used an (18-6) second quarter surge to take a (23-10) halftime lead and went on to pound Orrville (55-39) in an Ohio Cardinal Conference girls' basketball game Saturday afternoon at Les Hauenstein Gymnasium.
Clear Fork (5-3,2-2) made 47 percent of their field goals (18-38) and 65 percent of their free throws (15-23) and they had 14 assists on their 18 field goals. Coach Heidi Roush thought they executed very well. "I was very pleased with the way the girls played. I thought they came out and they really executed our game plan well. Just overall some kids stepped up and scored some points that we aren't used to and it was a good win," she said.
Deijah Swihart had 16 points to go along with 10 rebounds and five assists and Morgan Bailey had 14 points, with 12 coming in the first half when Orrville tried to go box and one on Swihart. "Morgan played great and when she gets going early I really think it motivates everyone else. She really got everybody else going, so that was great to see," said Roush.
Orrville's Hall of Fame coach Mark Alberts Sr. says they didn't have any focus in the game. "When you get 10 points in a half you are not going to beat a lot of teams. Our girls looked like they never played the game before. I don't want to take anything away from Clear Fork they played very well," said Alberts.
After taking a (5-4) lead on a Swihart lay up with 1:36 left in the in the first quarter Clear Fork would never trail again. Orrville did cut the lead to (25-19) with a field goal and free throw by Trinity Hall with 4:10 left in the third quarter, but Bailey added her own three point play and Audra Delaney buried two three pointers to put the Lady Colts up (33-21) with 2:14 left in the quarter.
Roush thought Delaney played an excellent game in some extended minutes. "Audra Delaney probably knows the game better than anyone else on the team. (Saturday) she got the opportunity to step in and she did a great job with her time. She hit both of her free throws, hit two big threes when we were kind of struggling offensively. I thought that was a big part of the game there," she added.
Clear Fork held Hall, Orrville's leading scorer, to nine points and Roush believes they did a solid job of making it difficult for Hall and the other inside players for Orrville to get their hands on the ball. "I thought we contained them pretty well. We still allowed way too many offensive rebounds and that is what Hall and McDuffey like to do. They rebound harder than any kids in the league. So, we are definitely going to have to improve on that. I do think we were able to frustrate them early. They came out in third quarter and really started to play better than the first half. I thought we did a nice job in weathering that storm and getting back on top," said Roush.
Orrville tried to press Clear Fork for the majority of the game in the full, three-quarter and half court in an attempt to keep the ball out of Swihart's hands. Roush thought they handled that pressure pretty well. "For us 14 turnovers in a game is really not horrible. I thought we did a good job of taking care of the ball when it mattered. We are not overly deep, so I can see why teams would want to press us and try to tire us out and we did a nice job of finding the open people and trusting each other," said Roush.
Orrville (4-3,1-3) was coming off a very good win over Ashland (52-39) last week, but Alberts says they really didn't do anything well. "We couldn't press Clear Fork, we couldn't defend them in the half court. We just did a very poor job in every aspect. We did not shoot good, we did not execute very well defensively and we did not guard them very well. They handed our lunch to us," he said.
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Orrville Plays Biggest Rival
Orrville held on to win its conference opener and they play their biggest rival in order to continue to share the lead in the Ohio Cardinal Conference.
Last week, the Red Riders, were able to get off to a good start, which was in contrast to the first week, and held on to beat West Holmes (53-50) in "OCC" play. Coach Sly Slaughter says they have to be better at putting games away. "We have some things that we have to improve on. We are up by 12 points with a little over three minutes to go and we only win the game by three. I was a little disappointed that we didn't execute a little better down the stretch and missed some free throws. But, we did get the win and that is kind of the most important part," said Slaughter.
In some ways free throw shooting is a lost art, but Slaughter says they need to make a better percentage if they are going to beat the good teams on their schedule. "I think the hardest things in boys basketball is getting kids to understand how important free throws are. Everybody wants to go out and work on their three point shot or work on their hops and try and dunk the basketball, but not very many people are dedicated to work on their free throws. We really need to focus on those this week," he said.
Orrville (1-2,1-0) plays at Wooster (1-1,1-0) on Friday night. The Generals blew out a solid Lexington team last week (49-32) in their conference opener. Slaughter says the Generals are not only experienced, they are very talented. "They have some guys that are two, three years starters, Cam Daugherty being a four years starter, they are definitely experienced," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "They are if not the most talented team in the conference, one of the top. It is going to be a difficult match-up for us."
Orrville always plays hard under Slaughter, but he admits there is some extra intensity when they play Wooster. "The rivalry moves from the football field onto the basketball court. Both student sections do a great job of being involved in the game. It is a lot of fun to coach in and play in. Our kids relish the opportunity," he said.
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Orrville Has to Play Four Quarters
Orrville has proven they can be a pretty good basketball team. They just can't wait until the second half to start playing their game.
The Red Riders (0-2) have suffered losses at the hands of Akron Coventrey (59-52) and Smithville (56-54) in their first two games and they host to West Holmes in an Ohio Cardinal Conference game on Friday night.
Coach Sly Slaughter says they haven't been able to get the engine stated until the second half and that has cost them. "We've had a couple of setbacks and they were eerily similar. In the first game we got down 16 points in the first half, had a couple of chances to get it to two with about three minutes left and just weren't able to hit a couple of shots. We worked our butts off to get back in the game and kind of ran out of gas and had to foul towards the end and they kind of pulled away a little bit there. (Tuesday) night against Smithville kind of the same thing. We were down 18 heading into the fourth quarter. We finally started playing again and we scored 27 in the fourth and cut the lead to two with about five seconds left. Again we had opportunities we just have to find a way to come out and play well at the beginning," said Slaughter.
When it comes to the slow start to games, Slaughter says they have to make some adjustments to the time allowed and just be more focused mentally. "That is something our kids have to get adjusted to. In both of those games I am not sure if it is the new warm up policy. We played at Coventry and their league they plays with a 15 minute warm up and in the Wayne County League they play with a 15 minute warm up. Our kids are used to that extra five minutes. Sometimes you don't think that five minutes is a lot, but that is a lot of extra shooting and a lot of extra ball handling. It is an opportunity for the guys to get up a good sweat. Just mentally our guys have to do a better job of getting themselves prepared an ready to go and not waiting until they get down 10 or 15," he said.
West Holmes (2-0) no longer has the graduated Brady Arnold, but Slaughter says they have some better balance and a lot of guys that get things done on the floor. "It is a different kind of team. We actually participated in a summer league with those guys. Even thought Brady (Arnold) is gone they still have a good cast of characters over there. Ryan Neer stepped up last year for them and he is kind of going to be their go to guy this year. He is a difficult player to handle. He is strong physical kid, but he can also step out and hit the three," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "They have a couple of other good guards that can shoot the ball in Hall and Troyer. They have a youngster in Wells and then Ogi and Gowdy are two physical presences inside. Coach Troyer goes a great job with those guys and they play hard and play the game the right way, so it will be a tough one for us."
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Orrville Looking For more Depth
Orrville has some players in their starting lineup that are pretty good, but they have to find some more guys so their starters are get a break if they are going to turn out to be a very good team.
Coach Sly Slaughter says he likes the chemistry he sees in the team this year going back to June. "Our kids have done a good job and it kind of started this summer with our group coming together. We are going to have more of a basketball team this year as far as guys choosing basketball as being their number one sport, so we sort of saw that comradely come along in the summer. They have done a pretty good job of bringing that into this winter so far as well," he said.
Orrville has traditionally been a team that has relied on its defense and Slaughter says he thinks they can be pretty good defending the other guys this year. "One of things that we want to do as a program is hang our hat on the defensive end of the floor. We are kind of a longer team this year. We are not tall. We have a lot of guys that are between the six foot and six foot three range, so that will allow us to have different guys play different positions defensively and offensively. So, first and foremost we want to be able to limit teams the best we can from shooting the ball well against us. Offensively, I think we need to push the ball a little bit and get some easy baskets in transition," said Slaughter.
Orrville opens the season against Akron Coventry on their home floor on Friday night.
Going into the first game, Slaughter says his biggest concern is depth because during the preseason his players have tired late is scrimmages. "My biggest worry is by far our depth. As we have gone through the preseason so far either through injury of just the lack of depth we have been playing with just six or seven guys at the varsity level," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday. "In some ways it is nice because you don't have to worry about subbing so many guys into the lineup, but in other ways towards the end of a scrimmage, we had a foundation game with Massillon, and about midway through the fourth quarter we looked a little tired. In our other scrimmages after two of three quarters we kind of looked a little tired and short on shots. We have to develop some depth somehow from our JV team."
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Orrville Counting on a Pretty Good Year
Orrville has about as good a girls basketball tradition as anyone we cover and they are going to field a strong team again this season.
Coach Mark Alberts Sr. is a hall of famer with more than 600 wins to his credit in both boys and girls basketball.
Alberts says they have one outstanding player. "We have a saying over here that tradition never graduates. We lost some good girls from last year, but we are fortunate that we have some good returners. We have our leading scorer back in Trinity Hall. She is a junior about 5'9", 5'10". She had lettered since her freshman year and she will be one of the better players in the area and she has to be one of the best athletes in the state. She just made division three All-Ohio in volleyball. Plus, we have several other girls that lettered," said Alberts.
The Lady Red Riders season may hinge on the health of their very good junior point guard Molly Dennis. Alberts says if she can keep herself on the floor they will be much better. "We have our point guard Molly Dennis, she is about 5'4", she has had two knee injuries, one her freshman year, one her sophomore year, so she is yet to play a varsity basketball game. She is as good a point guard as there is around. If she is healthy, and right now she is, and she is able to play that gives us a pretty good one-two punch. We have several other girls that are filling in that are pretty good too. We don't have any seniors on the team and we think we can be pretty decent this year and next year we should be even better," said Alberts.
Orrville will be athletic and they can defend pretty well, but it does concern Alberts if they can score consistently enough in the half court to be a really good team. "We don't have great size. We have good quickness and we are pretty athletic and we do have a couple of sophomores that are 5'11", 6' and for girls that is pretty good and they are going to help with the rebounding. The other thing is Molly Dennis, our point guard, is a great shooter, and Trinity is a pretty decent shooter, but after that we don't shoot it real well. We are going to have to make sure we get our share of layups," he told SwankonSports.com on Tuesday, "We are going to be a pressing team and a running team and we are going to have to try and create turnovers and force the action and try and get some easy baskets off of our press. If we are able to do that that is going to help, but your good teams are going to handle that. We are going to have to find a way to run our half court offense and make baskets against those good teams and we are a little bit concerned about that."
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It's Orrville and Wooster
Wooster needs a win this Saturday to claim at least a share of the Ohio Cardinal Conference title and the only team that stands in their way is arch rival Orrville... that only seems right.
The Red Riders (2-7,1-5) lost their fifth in a row last week when Clear fork outscored them (56-48) in a game that Orrville had 647 total yards. Coach Doug Davault says they were finally able to compete drives. "We have been close all year we have been telling the kids we were a couple of plays away from going big and Friday night we did. Luke Smith just had a phenomenal night," he said. Smith was 27 of 48 for 425 yards passing.
On defense it was like a broken record for the Red Riders and Davault says they just aren't playing with any confidence on that side of the football. "We are getting beat in every phase of defense. We are getting beat up front, we are getting beat in the secondary, we are getting beat inside and outside. A big part of playing athletics is confidence and we are not playing with much confidence right now," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "If you hesitate on defense you are going to get beat and that is kind of where we are at. Instead of attacking and getting after folks we are sitting back and hoping we don't miss and you just can't play that way and as a result we are not very good right now."
Wooster on the other hand has won its last five, including a come from behind win over West Holmes (35-28) to moved into a share of the "OCC" lead with Holmes. Davault says the Generals have talent all over the field. "They are good everywhere. I thought for the last two years they have been the best team in the league and they are proving it this year. They have the running game, they have a big, strong quarterback that can run it or throw it, they are big up front, and then they have some skilled folks that most teams in the league, and outside the league for that matter, can't handle," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "They are the complete package. On defense they just get after you. They get off the ball extremely well and their kids run to the ball like nobody's business. They are very, very talented in every aspect."
There is no question that Orrville will be fired up for this game. Davault says this is a longtime rivalry. "We have met over 100 times and celebrated our 100th meeting I believe in 2010, so this has been going on a long, long time. I went to Orrville and played here and grew up looking forward to this and kids from both sides in this have looked forward to this game since they were in grade school. It is one of the longest standing rivalries in the state," he said.
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Better Defense a Must for Red Riders
Orrville has been caught up in a numbers issue all season long and it has led to some other issues that are preventing the Red Riders from winning football games.
Mansfield Madison pasted them last week (50-16) as the Rams generated nearly 500 yards in total offense. Coach Doug Davault says they just are not able to stop anyone from moving the ball on them. "Defensively we are really struggling right now and is affecting everything else with kids playing both ways we have a hard time shaking off what just happened. Right now we are not stopping anybody and not stopping them in any way. We have to continue to try and find the right pieces and parts and schemes that allow us to have some success," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "Madison is a great football team. They did a great job of mixing up things that they did and they are great up front. They have three really good skilled people. That is team that is trying to make a push to the playoffs."
Clear Fork (3-5,1-4) is at Orrville (2-6,1-4) for an Ohio Cardinal Conference game on Friday night. They have the same conference record and Davault says the Colts are a lot like his team. "They are very similar to where we are at. Their numbers are down and they have a bunch of guys that go both ways. They have some pretty good skill. Their quarterback is dynamic. He makes a lot of plays with his legs alone and then they have a good skilled edge guy. The rest of the kids are pretty tough. They play hard, but they are in the same boat we are. They are getting outmanned at some points. They are just trying to survive in our league the best they can. It should be a decent match-up this week," said Davault.
The Orrville coach says they have to ability to do some things on offense, but if they are going to win they have to be a lot better on defense than they have been this year. "Offensively we are leaving a lot of plays on the field. We dropped five balls on Friday night and had three huge penalties that could have negated three more scores. We have kind of been doing that all year. What we have to do is eliminate the negatives on offense and we have to fund a way to close them down on defense. It is going to be about execution and not making mistakes," he said.
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Confidence the Issue With the Red Riders
Orrville has lost its last three games, and five of its last six, and right now they are dealing with some issues of confidence along with the depth problems they have been experiencing all year.
Ashland pounded them (49-6) last week in a game that the Red Riders gained only 120 yards of total offense, 78 coming on one play.
Coach Doug Davault says they have to start believing in themselves if they are going to start winning again. "We are not playing very well right and we are not playing with very much confidence. Hopefully that is something that we can get back. There is a lot of things you can make up for, but the ability to get these kids believing they can make plays and making plays are two of the toughest things we ask them to do," he said.
Orrville (2-5,1-3) plays host to the Mansfield Madison Rams (4-3,2-2) on Friday night. Madison blitzed Clear Fork (49-27) last week in league action. Davault says Madison is very good both in trenches and in the skilled areas. "I think they are very good. I think they have a good front line and they have three very gifted skilled players on offense and defensively they get after you. Their linebackers and their front seven are really good," he told Swankonspoprts.com on Wednesday, "Within our league every week you better come ready to play because the teams you are playing are pretty stinkin' good and Madison is no different they have a lot on the table. They have been streaky and you hope you get the one that hasn't been playing very well, but they are very good."
Madison has been throwing the ball more this year than they have in a long time, they threw for almost 300 yards last week against Clear Fork. Davault says they have a lot of options on offense. "It depends on what game you watch. Ultimately they want to run the football, but they will throw it because they have two gifted receivers and they have a gifted running back. So, they have three guys that they want to get the ball in their hands and then they have two receivers. They like to send them long and then chuck it up and they go get it and they are very, very good at it," said Davault.
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Orrville Needs to Finish
Orrville seems like they are right on the edge of being a petty good football team, but they just can't get over the top.
Mansfield Senior had too much athleticism for them last week and they and handled the Red Riders (33-14) in Ohio Cardinal Conference play. Orrville coach Doug Davault says the Tygers are tough to contain. "They have athletes like they always do and the Benson kid that replaced Vickers, they certainly don't lose anything when he is the game, he is strong, he is fast, and he posed all kinds of problems for us. Where they really got better I thought we their quarterback play. He played very, very well last week. We had some opportunities against them on offense, but defensively they were a handful for us. It was a real challenge to try and contain all of their athletes," he said.
Mansfield Senior had more than 500 yards total offense and more than 300 yards running the ball against Orrville.
Orrville (2-3,1-1) has played some tough competition already, including unbeaten Wooster Triway. Davault says they are making progress, but they have to be able to finish drives better. "We are headed in the right direction I think. We have gotten a little bit better each week. We need to get a lot better and that is part of it. Defensively we have got to be able to come up with some stops and that has been difficult for us. Offensively we have go to take advantage of the opportunities we have. We ran pretty good offense on Friday night, but we didn't get into the end zone as much as I would like, or we should have, but we are close," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "We are going to have one of those games where I think things land for us and we do the things we want to do on both offense and defense and it results in some more positive results for us. Right now we are just trying to continue to get better at the things we do."
Numbers have been a concern at Orrville they last couple of years and Davault says they are trying to work around that. "The depth thing is always going to be an issue. We used two outs on Friday night just because of personnel issues. It wasn't because we didn't know what we wanted to do, we had too many guys out at the same time and it didn't allow us to field a team at that point. We are continuing to work in all of those areas," he said.
They host "OCC" co-leader West Holmes (2-3,2-0) on Friday night. The Knights are flying high after wins over Mansfield Madison (34-21) and Ashland (34-28) in league. Davault says the Knights are no a mystery. "What they do they do extremely well. There are no surprises, there are no gimmicks, there are no, well I didn't see that coming. You know exactly what they are going to do and they challenge you to stop it. They are a lot better than they were week one against Triway. It isn't just Ogi it is all of these guys. Their fullback is a good player and their quarterback has played really well. They are impressive. They are getting right back to where they were last year in terms of their physicality and their ability to run that offense and do the things they want to do offensively,' said Davault.
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Orrville Getting Better
It may be baby steps, but little by little the Orrville Red Riders are finding ways to get better as a football team and that resulted a win last week against Lexington.
Orrville (2-2,1-0) downed the Minutemen (30-14) in their Ohio Cardinal Conference opener. Coach Doug Davault says it wasn't the greatest performance, but they did the job. "We needed a win. We had some opportunities that we didn't capitalize on again, that has kind of been the story of our offensive season up to this point. We are getting ready to be pretty good, but we just aren't making the plays we need to make. We left close to 200 yards on field on Friday night with plays that were there to be made for one reason or another. It was a little bit of everybody. The thing I liked is when they knocked on the door and started stepping through our kids stood up and we didn't let that happen. We finished the game out, which we hadn't done this year, even against Toledo Rogers in game one we were hanging on at the end and this one we finished," said Davault.
In making a big goal line stand, Davault says the Riders proved they were ready to win a football game and put it away. "They had returned a kickoff down to the five and punched it in. One the very next offensive play we through a pick and they take it down to the seven and we kept them out and that was huge," he told Swankonsports.com, "We were able to get out of the shadow of the end zone. Actually we had the opportunity to make a really big play, but again we just didn't connect on it. That was a huge defensive stop that at that point would have tied the game and at that point I think we would have started doubting again, but we stopped them there and got it back and got up a couple of scores. When we got up two that was it. We did what we had to do on both sides of the ball to get the win."
Orrville entertains Mansfield Senior (2-2,1-0) in league play on Friday night. The Tygers blitzed Clear Fork (61-42) last week. Davault says against this year they are loaded with game breakers that can take it the distance from anywhere on the field. "They have weapons everywhere. They don't have the quarterback, who was a stud, but they have weapons. They have clone running backs, Vickers goes out and Benson comes in and he is just as good, if not better. They have wide outs on both sides that you just have to pay attention to. Defensively they are just so quick. You have make sure you are playing disciplined and taking care of the little details when you play these guys. I am just hoping we can find a way to slow them down," said Davault.
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It looks like the Orrville Red Riders are going to have to be creative this year if they are going to win many games because again there is a numbers issues for the Riders.
They led for most of the game last week against Canal Fulton Northwest until they just ran out of gas in the second half and fell (42-27) to Northwest.
Coach Doug Davault says they don't have the firepower to makeup for the mistakes they have been making. "The first half we played pretty good football on both sides of the ball. We did a nice job of containing them, they moved it a little bit, but we contained them. Offensively we probably had as efficient a half as we have had. We came out in the second half and had three significant drives all stalled by us between dropped passes and penalties we couldn't get the ball in the end zone the way we wanted to. We had opportunities at the end of the game to get things tied up an also didn't get that done. Ultimately they came right at us and wore us out. They got in the power "I" and pounded us in the last quarter and a half," said Davault.
Defense is the big concern for the Red Riders this year as they have allowed at least five touchdowns in every game. Davault says they can't do that and win. "From the get go it has been depth. We had two guys go down on Friday and we just don't have replacements. So, depth is always going to be a concern and I don't have fix for that you have as many bodies as you have. The other players we have got to get to a point where we are stopping folks on defense. Up to this point we have given up way, way too many points," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "We have got to find a way to let our kids compete defensively. Offensively I think we are going to be a work in progress throughout the year because of some of the new things we are doing. Defensively we need to amp up and see if we can't get some stops."
Orrville (1-2) plays at Lexington (1-2) in the Ohio Cardinal Conference opener for both on Friday night. Davault says the teams are a lot a like. "They are very, very similar to us. I think they ultimately want to ball control you a little bit. They are in the same situation they don't have much depth. They don't have very many seniors or upperclassmen, so they are playing some young guys as well. It really should be a good match-up and hopefully we can find a way to make some plays on Friday night and get a win," he said.
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Orrville Looses and Looks Bad Doing it
Orrville got taken apart by a good football team last week, but what disappoints their coach more is their lack of effort and execution.
Wooster Triway destroyed Orrville (47-0) and coach Doug Davault says they just didn't show up for the game and that's what bothers him the most about last week. "First of all I want to give them credit because they are a very good football team and they are very good at what they do. If you aren't disciplined in what you do they are going to make you pay for it and that's exactly what happened," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "We got steamrolled by a pretty good football team. I was disappointed in the effort. It is one thing to get beat and another to not compete and we didn't compete very hard. Hopefully this week we can get back on track and get our heads where they are supposed to be. That was a very good football team and they maybe should have beat us, but they didn't need to beat us that bad."
Triway quarterback Parker Carmichael passed for more than 400 yards and five scores and Davault says there were a lot of open receivers. "The effort lead to poor execution. We had coverages where we had nobody going to where they were supposed to be. We worked on it all week long, so the coverage part was probably more disappointing than anything. Physically they just kicked our butts up front on both sides of the ball. We didn't get any pressure and we weren't able to run any offense based on them being in our backfield a good chunk of the night. It was disappointing in a lot of aspects and we as a coaching staff have to do a better job of getting our kids ready," said Davault.
On Friday night, Orrville is at Canal Fulton Northwest (0-2) for a non-conference game. Davault says the if they don't play well they will lose against this week. "They are pretty young, but I watched them play Poland Seminary and for the first half it was a 14-0 game and Poland is good. They have a dynamite quarterback and some good looking kids. They play an extremely tough schedule, it is a meat grinder. We talk about how tough our schedule is well theirs is every bit as good. It hasn't shown on the scoreboard yet, but that is a very good football team. I am hoping we can go out and compete harder this week. They are 50-50 run-pass. They will come out and probably give you 10 different formations you have to prepare for, so its always a tough match-up with them," said Davault.
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Orrville Has to be Better Against Triway
Orrville won their opener in dramatic fashion, but they are going to have to pick up their game quite a bit if they want to be 2-0 after Friday.
They rallied to beat Toledo Rogers (42-36) last week. This Friday they play a much better team in Wooster Triway. A team that hammered Wet Holmes (65-27), another team from the Ohio Cardinal Conference.
There were a lot of mistakes, according to coach Doug Davault, but he says they stuck it out to get the win. "It was a win and that was about the length of it. It was easily the longest game that I have ever participated in. It lasted three and half hours. There were numerous bad plays and their were good plays," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "They were a very athletic team and I give them a lot of credit for coming down. They got down and they had to come back and then we got down and we had to come back, so it was kind of back and forth and it was very sloppy. We did get a win and I give our kids credit for hanging in there."
Last week, Davault says there were too many penalties and mistakes and they have to clean that up. "We have to be more disciplined and execute better on offense especially. Defensively we got tired toward the end of the game. It is hard to simulate a three and half hour game. I thought we lost our energy. We have been working on simple execution and doing things right," he said.
Triway quarterback Parker Carmichael threw for 487 yards and seven touchdowns against West Holmes. Davault says the Titans offense is very efficient. "They are impressive. They have everybody back from last year. These kids know this offense and how to run it and they do a very good job of it. Their passing attack is probably one the top in the area of not the state," he said.
The Titans made the playoffs last season and have big goals for this fall on the football field.
Orrville beat Triway (22-17) last year and Davault says to pull the trick again they have to get that offense out rhythm some way. "With any good quarterback, any good passing game, you want to make them uncomfortable whether it be by coverage changes or pressure. Hopefully we can do some things where we make him uncomfortable and take them out of rhythm," he said.
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Orrville Needs Game Experience
Orrville is struggling a little bit with low numbers this year, but the Red Riders are ready to return to their winning ways.
They won their first four games last year before losing their last six.
They open this season at home Friday night against Toledo Rogers.
Coach Doug Davault says they have tried to get as much as they could out of the preseason, but they are really ready to play a game for real. "We don't have very good numbers this year, our numbers are low. With the few guys we have we are doing the best we can everyday in practice. It has made it difficult just because of those low numbers we don't even fill every spot when we go in our scrimmage sets in our team sets. That being said the kids are doing everything they need to do. Hopefully we just continue to progress and get a little better each week," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "With the young guys it is trial by fire you have to get in and play games. You can practice all you want to, but you have to get out on the field and go through the Friday night before the really get comfortable with it. We are hoping the guys that haven't played before, the first timers, will get out there and the lights won't be too big for them."
Davault says with low numbers it has made it difficult for them to do a lot of things in practice. "The two things that a lot of good teams have is depth and experience and the best part is when you lose a guy you don't miss a beat because you have another one stepping in. We are in a place where now if we lose a guy we get weak in two areas because we are going to move somebody to somewhere else and that makes it very, very difficult. You can't practice playing on a Friday night, so they need to get some game time under their belts," he said.
Toledo Rogers is in kind of a bad spot. They have had a head coaching change in the last couple of weeks. Davault says that has left them scratching their heads a little bit when it comes to preparing for what they might see on Friday night. "They have been under a coaching change. They have had a scrimmage, but in the time since they have had their last scrimmage they have changed coaches, so we really don't have any idea what we are going to see this Friday. We are going to come in and do what we do and hopefully we will be able to make adjustments on the fly. They look athletic, but like I said I have no idea what kind of schemes we are going to see," said Davault.
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Orrville Looking For the Right Things
Orrville has been working hard this preseason, but there are still some unanswered questions as the head into the stretch run of the high school football preseason.
They open the season on August 29 by hosting Toledo Rogers.
Coach Doug Davault says his kids have put in the effort, but there are lot of things they really aren't sure about yet. "We are like a lot of other schools right now we are struggling with numbers, but the kids we have have worked hard. It is kind of odd going into school and not having a game that counts. We have our last scrimmage this Friday and then we open up for real next week. It is always a process during two a days where you are beating them down and then building them back up and you don't exactly where you are at this time, but you are hoping that good things are in the future," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "You try as hard as you can to make sure you are progressing in the right direction each and every day and I think we have done that. I am looking forward to the season starting and finding out where are kids really are."
They play at Louisville in their final scrimmage on Friday and Davault says that will be important for them. "When you are dealing with numbers issues you need to go against somebody else, so the two scrimmages that we have are excellent for our kids and at least give us an idea what it is going to look like on Friday night when you are going against other folks. We hope to utilize these all we can an hopefully benefit from it," he said.
Orrville was one of the first schools in this area to introduce the spread offense and Davault says they will run some of that this year. "I think it always evolves throughout the year. We are starting out the year in five wide and we will look to throw the ball a little bit, but we will still run the ball. We are still an Orrville team and we like to be physical to make sure we are holding are own if not controlling the line of scrimmage. We are a little bit different than we have been in the past. Every year I have done this, even when I was coordinating, you kind of evolve as you go through the season," he said.
With not real high numbers Davault says they can't have a lot of injuries if they are going to be successful and they have to continue to try and develop some depth. "First and foremost we have to stay healthy and that is just something that has got to happen. We have to find some depth. We have to find some kids that can play on Friday night that we weren't sure could. We have to get all of the nuances of what we do down. We have done a nice job of knowing what to do and now we are still in the process of learning how to do it. That is a work in progress and it comes as you play the game and get game experience. We have a lot of young guys that haven't played on Friday nights before. It will be interesting to watch us evolve and get a little bit better each week and learn how to do the little things that allow you to compete hopefully at a very high level," said Davault.
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Red Riders Not in Awe
The last time Orrville was in the state baseball tournament the disco era was just starting, everybody wanted to be the "Fonz", the cost of a gallon of regular gas was 59 cents, and America was celebrating her bicentennial, it was 1976.
Thursday, the Red Riders (18-11) play Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (28-2) in the division three state semi-finals at Huntington Park in Columbus.
It has already been a great tournament run for Orrville, but coach Scott Marshall says his team is not satisfied and is going to Columbus with a goal in mind. "We are trying to keep everything as normal as possible, as much as you can, obviously this isn't routine. The plan is to go down and be focused. We are planning to win not just soak it in and say we were there,' said Marshall.
This season marked the third straight year that the Orrville senior class has reached the regional tournament. They lost two years ago to Grand Valley in the semis and last year to Youngstown Ursuline in the finals before beating Ursuline (8-7) last Friday in the regional final. Marshall says they are used to big game pressure. "These guys have all been battle tested quite honestly. I am impressed with how calm and cool they are right now and how they are focused," he said.
Wes Stauffer started the regional semi-final for the Riders and T.J. Perez the regional final and Stu Schely got the win in relief in both games. Marshall says they are team built on its pitching. "The strength of our team is our pitching. I anticipate that (Thursday) is going to be a hard fought game and a close game. I think our pitching is more than able to keep us in the game," he said.
Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy finished third in the statewide coaches poll in division three and Marshall says there is no question they have tremendous talent. "They are going to be just like the teams that we play in the Ohio Cardinal Conference," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "They are going to be full of talent. I know they have five or six division one kids, so they are not lacking there. At this point you know everybody is going to be good. Quite honestly our season prepares us."
Cameron Varga is considered one of the best pitchers in the state regardless of division. According Max Preps Varga has a 0.00 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 44 innings pitched.
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Orrville Outlasts Independence in 12 innings
Orrville scored the go ahead run on a balk in the top half of the 12th inning and made it stand up in (1-0) win over Independence in the division three regional semi-finals on Thursday at Massillon Washington High School.
Now they need to beat Youngstown Ursuline, the same team that beat them in the regional finals last spring, to reach the state tournament to be held at Huntington Park in Columbus next week.
On Thursday, in the 12th, Lane Scheufler reached on a single, was moved to second on a sacrifice, then to third on a single by Chad Harrison. He would then score the deciding run on a balk by Independence pitcher Darren Krowlinkowski.
The real stars were the Orrville pitchers. Starter Wes Stauffer went eight shutout innings, striking out eight, and Stu Schley went the final four, also not allowing a run, to get the win.
Coach Scott Marshall says they count on their pitchers and they came through for them again. "It was extremely exciting. We entered the season and pitching was our team strength and obviously that was the case (Thursday). To shut a team out for 12 innings and not only that, but to allow only two hits, is unbelievable," said Marshall.
It wasn't like Independence didn't have strong hitters, but Marshall says they were able to keep them off balance all day. "Independence entering the game was 25-3, state ranked, and they have hit the ball extremely well. They have multiple guys that are hitting well over .400. To play the way we did I am extremely proud of our kids," he said.
With chances to score on not taking advantage, including leaving the bases loaded, Orrville just kept grinding. Marshall says that is what these kids are about. "It is a special group of kids. This is our third year in the regionals. We lost to Ursuline last year in the regional championship. They have been extremely focused throughout the tournament and hopefully we will continue to be so," said Marshall.
Ursuline beat Gates Mills Gilmour Academy on Thursday and they also beat Orrville last year. Marshall says they remember that game. "I think that helps. Losing last year 3-1 to these guys is motivation. A lot of our tournament run this year has been due to experience. We have been there before and besides that we play a demanding schedule in the Ohio Cardinal Conference and our non-conference schedule is very demanding," he said.
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Orrville Worried About Self
Orrville is making its third straight appearance in the regional baseball tournament as they face Independence in the division three semi finals on Thursday in Massillon.
They beat Wickliffe and lost to Youngstown Ursuline last year and two years ago lost to Orwell Grand Valley.
Last week, they beat Canton Central Catholic (4-2), the top seed in district, to advance to the regionals.
With pitchers like Stu Schley, T.J. Perez, and Chandler Smith, Orrville coach Scott Marshall says they had some success in the tournament controlling the other team's offense. "We have been fortunate enough that we have three very good pitchers, we have a fourth guy, he is younger, but he is soon going to be at that level too," he said.
Marshall thinks the experience they have gained over the last couple of years is in the regional is going to help them against Independence. "I can remember a couple of years ago when it was our first time in the regionals everybody was nervous and we were just happy to be there. Now we seem to be more at ease. Our experience helps us in terms of being there," he said.
In terms of preparation for Thursday's game Marshall says they have gotten into a pretty good grove and they are going to continue to do the same things that they have been. "As a coach you try to control what you can control. I think the big thing is we try to stay consistent with our schedule. The last couple of weeks since we have been in the tournament we pretty much take batting practice the same there is just not a lot of change. This late in the season I don't think there is any need for change," said Marshall.
Orrville has scored a total of eight runs in their last two tournament games, but Marshall says they have been scoring enough and that is all that really matters. "Early on we had a lot of guys returning and anticipated swinging the bats a lot better this year than maybe than we have and I think maybe that can be attributed to the weather it can be attributed to teams pitching us closer because we do have a lot of returning players or just high school kids pressing in general with the expectations," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "The reality is it doesn't matter, we are still playing, and the bats have heated up a little bit, more importantly we have good pitching and we play very good defense. You don't have to score a ton of runs as long as you score one more run than the other team."
As far as Independence goes, Marshall admits he doesn't know much about their personnel and he isn't going to worry about it. "To be honest I have not had a chance to see them. I don't know a ton about them. Just from the little bit that I hear. The bits and pieces. They remind me a lot of Wickliffe, the team that we played last year at this time of year. I think in baseball you can put too much into scouting because one day a guy could be really good and the next day not so much. I think it makes you over think things sometimes. That is what we have done the last several years and we will continue to do it that way," said Marshall.
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Orrville Meets "WCAL" Champ in District Final
One of the reasons that the Wayne County Athletic League doesn't want Orrville in its league is they always seem to beat the current members in the postseason.
The Red Riders (14-10) get another chance of Friday night when they play Norwayne (23-2) in the division three district final at Wooster High School.
The Red Riders have won three of the last four district titles, twice with a losing record.
They outlasted West Salem Northwestern, of "WCAL," (59-56) in overtime on Tuesday night and Orrville coach Sly Slaughter thought they got some big plays from some different sources in the win. "I thought (Tuesday) night our kids did a very nice job of just competing and when we needed someone to step up at different times we had different guys step up. It was nice to see other guys get really involved in things that we were doing and contribute to our win other than just Trevor Summers," and he adds a team has to really be a team in the tournament, "You have to have that in the tournament and especially for us. (Tuesday) night they ran a box and one on Trevor about 90 percent of the game and other guys had a n opportunity to step up and make some shots. I thought we did a nice job of doing that. Kyle Ritchie had a very nice game shooting the basketball. Luke Smith hit some shots later on in the game and Blake Dennis kind sowed things up with his free throws. It was nice to see everybody get involved."
Norwayne beat league rival Dalton (44-36) on Monday night in a district semi-final match-up. Slaughter says the Bobcats are a physical team with pretty solid individual players. "They are a big, athletic team. They were 20-2 to finish out the regular season. They are a very good basketball team. They play a physical brand of basketball. They have some really good players in Tyson Stoudmire and Justin Prentiss as well," Slaughter told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday.
Slaughter says points could be at a premium on Friday night it might just come down to a big play at the end again and they have excelled at that kind of game this winter. "They are very good defensive team and, of course, we pride ourselves on our defense, so it could be a very low scoring, grind it out kind of basketball game. It is not like we haven't had those before. We would also like to have a good win, so we can finish out with some ease as well," he said.
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Orrville and Clear Fork Might Run a lot
Orrville plays host to Clear Fork in Ohio Cardinal Conference action on Friday night and both teams have found success in running with the ball this year.
Last week, Orrville (8-6,5-4) blasted arch rival Wooster (67-50) and coach Sly Slaughter says the kids wanted to get after it. "I think our kids came out ready to play. The weekend before we had lost two tough ones to Lexington and West Holmes. More than anything else we just wanted to get on the floor and play and our kids came out with great intensity. We kind of picked up the pace of the game a little bit and it worked out well for us," said Slaughter.
Like everyone else Orrville kids have been out of school a lot this month and coach Slaughter hopes it doesn't affect their play this weekend as they also play talented Wooster Triway on Saturday. "Well, we hope not. I am a guy that likes routine. I feel like when we don't have school it kind of takes our guys out of routine. Of course, the kids like not having school. We just try to keep things as normal as possible, but it does make things a lot tougher when we are not going to school," he said.
Orrville downed Clear Fork (4-7,2-5) in December (61-50), but the Colts didn't have their second leading scorer Kadin Chrastina, who scored 25 last week against Madison, in that game. Slaughter expects a different Clear Fork this time. "I think they are a good basketball team. They present a tough problem for us. Ridge Winand and Kadin Chrastina and also Griffen Robinette are tough match-ups for us," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "Ridge had 20 on us the first game, Griffen had 15 and Kadin didn't get a chance to play, so it may be a different look for us this time around. They are always a good, fundamentally sound defensive team and play really hard, so we are going to have to bring our "A" game."
Clear Fork beat Madison (74-53) last week and they have been at their best when they have been running floor. Slaughter thinks they are the same way. "We want to make sure we have great transition defense, but we also want to push the ball in transition ourselves and get after them and speed the game up that worked well for us against Wooster. We are eight, nine guys deep now, so that is something we have kind of instituted in our game as well," said Slaughter.
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Third Quarter Killing Orrville
After the first half last weekend the Orrville Red Riders were in good position to win both of their Ohio Cardinal Conference games and they let both get away.
They lost Friday night to Lexington (68-65) in double overtime and then lost to West Holmes (62-51) on Saturday night. Coach Sly Slaughter says both games kind of unfolded the same way. "It was kind of a continuation of some of the issues that we have had all year long. We go in at halftime in both games with leads, I think Friday night we are up by seven and Saturday night we are up by six and come out and have not such a great third quarter and then have to fight like crazy to get back in the fourth quarter. Against Lexington it kind of paid off and we got the game back into overtime. It was a heartbreaker as they had some guys step up and hit some shots," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "That makes it tough on you as you wake up Saturday morning and get ready for West Holmes. We kind of had the same things happen to us against West Holmes with the exception of overtime."
Slaughter says it has been a variety of things that has let them down in the third quarter and they have to get that fixed. "It kind of fluctuates we turn the basketball over and we can't get any opportunities to shoot and at other times our defense wasn't as intense as it was in the first half. So, we are going to try some different things this weekend and hopefully we can come out better in the third quarter, but we have to start out playing well in the first quarter first," he said.
This Friday night, the Red Riders (7-6,4-4) travels to meet arch rival Wooster (6-8,5-4) in an "OCC" game. They beat them by a point (49-48) in their first meeting. Slaughter says the Generals have played some pretty good basketball lately. "They have been playing really well the last week. They got two wins last weekend. I got a chance to see them play last Tuesday against Massillon and even though they didn't win they had some really bright spots. Cam Daughtery is playing really well right now. They have some other guys contributing in Blair and Whorton and Bricker were all scoring last weekend so that makes them a little tougher," said Slaughter.
The same thing can be said for Ashland, who comes to Orrville on Saturday night. The Arrows (4-7,2-4), who beat Loudonville (71-45) on Wednesday night, have won their last two. Slaughter says he knew Ashland would get it turned around. "That is kind of how we were earlier on once you get one or two victories you start feeling pretty good about yourself everything feels a little better and the basket seems a little bit bigger. It picks up your defensive intensity as well. We knew they were a good team. Everybody in the league knew they were a good team and it was just going to take them one or two games to get going. Unfortunately for us it is when they are playing us," he said.
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Orrville Defense Will be Tested
Orrville has gotten nothing but better as this high school boys’ basketball season has played out and as a result they stand in third place in the tough Ohio Cardinal Conference.
Last week was typical of the Red Riders as they took care of business against the Madison Rams winning 62-49 last Friday. Coach Slay Slaughter liked how hard they played against Madison. “I thought we played pretty well against Madison. They are scrappy bunch. They played hard and our guys were able to match their intensity an I thought we did a good job with that,” he said.
The Red Riders (7-4,4-2) play host to Lexington (7-5,3-3) in an “OCC” game on Friday night. It’s the first meeting of the season between the two teams. Slaughter is concerned with the Lexington size. “They have good size with Temple and Yaussy and Truex and they can also bring in 6’8” Monro. Their size is really difficult to deal with,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Along with that size they have some good shooters in Barkett and Zahn, so they can create a lot of problems for you.”
Even with the big guys Lexington has Slaughter knows they also have to keep pressure on the Lexington guards too. “Even though they do have some size Joey Zahn handles the ball pretty well and Barkett handles the ball pretty well, but if we can wear them down a little bit and stop some of their long range jumpers from falling in we have to make sure we do a good job screening out,” he said.
In the beginning of the second round on Saturday night Orrville hosts co-leader West Holmes (9-2,5-1), #5 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coach’s poll in the large school division, at their place. In their first meeting Holmes won (60-56) and Slaughter says they will be a defensive challenge, especially Brady Arnold. “Like I said after our first game you are really never going to stop him. You just have to try and contain him a little bit the best you can. I think the big thing with West Holmes is to make sure their other guys don’t get going. In the first game Ryan Neer got lose on us and got about 20. So, we have to make sure we hold those other guys down and just try the bets we can to contain Brady,” said Slaughter.
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Defense the Deal For Orrville
Orrville has some guys that can score, particularly Trevor Summers, but this is going to be a team that lives and dies on its defense.
Last week, they took a six game winning streak into a game with Mansfield Senior and trailed by only six at the half. However, coach Sly Slaughter says the Tygers pressure got to them in the second half. “I thought when we came into the game we were playing pretty well and feeling really confident. Early on, I thought we did a pretty good job of handling their pressure and hit some shots, but as a lot of teams do as the game went on we started to ware down. We only play about seven guys deep with them bringing nine, ten guys that puts a lot of pressure on us in the fourth quarter,” said Slaughter.
Mansfield Senior won the game (68-39) and then Orrville lost a tough one to Massillon Tuslaw (45-44) in non-conference play on Saturday.
This Friday night, Orrville (6-4,3-2) plays host to Mansfield Madison (3-6,0-4) in an “OCC” game. Slaughter says again defense will be a key for them because the Rams have some scorers. “We have had the opportunity to see them a couple of times on film. They are a young team, but they are continually getting better. Coach Mergel does a great job of getting his kids to play very, very hard,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “They definitely have some guys that make you worry a little bit. Corey Vantilberg and Billy Buckley and Ajian and those guys are off to pretty good starts. They are all averaging double figures a game. We are going to have to be on our toes to play with those guys. They can shoot the three and they can take it to the basket.”
Madison has some players that can make outside shots, but Slaughter says it begins with them playing solid defense and not allowing dribble penetration. “One of our defensive philosophies every game is to try and keep people out of the paint as much as possible. We work really hard on that in practice as far as trying to stop penetration, but we also know you have to get out and get a hand up on three point shots because they are such a big momentum shot,” he said.
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Tough Defense Making Orrville Competitive
Orrville is one of those teams that has a chance to be right behind Mansfield Senior in the Ohio Cardinal Conference race and it’s their defense that is leading the way.
Last week, they beat arch rival Wooster (49-48) at their place. Coach Sly Slaughter, also an assistant football coach and graduate of Orrville, says anytime they beat Wooster it has been a pretty good year. “It has been rivalry that has gone on long before either team joined the “OCC.” Ever since I was a little boy growing up in Orrville it has been our chief rivalry whether it is football or basketball or really any sport it’s a big rivalry and for us to come out on top last Friday was huge for us just doing some of the things we talked about in protecting our home court,” says Slaughter.
Orrville has allowed only one team to score 60 points on them this season and Slaughter the willingness to play defense is going to be a key for them all season. “That is one of things that we stress a lot in practice and try to stress every year as coaches. When you play really good defense you always have shot to win. Shots aren’t always going to fall, so you have to be able to play on the defensive end. I think our kids have always accepted that and this year is no different,” he said.
Orrville (2-2,1-1) travels to Ashland (1-3,0-2) for a position game in the “OCC” on Friday night. Ashland has lost both of its conference games so far, to West Holmes (58-55) and Mansfield Senior (56-41), but Slaughter knows they have a lot of shooters. “They have a number of different guys that can score the basketball, especially from the three point line. This a little different animal than what Wooster had with big guys inside to defend, so now we are going to challenge our perimeter defenders a little bit and see if we can slow them down a little bit,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “I don’t think you can ever slow down a good shooting team like Ashland, but we are going to try our best.”
The Arrows have a lot of guys with three point potential, but Slaughter says they can also take the ball to the hole, which means you have to be good individual defenders. “You do have to get in them, but Ashland does a really, really good job of driving to the basket as well, so you have to kind of play the game where you are us close enough to defend them on the jump shot, but also have to make sure they don’t drive it to the basket and you pick up silly fouls,’ said Slaughter.
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Orrville Faces Biggest Rival
Orrville continues to make strides towards becoming a pretty good basketball team and they face their biggest test of the season on Friday night against their biggest rival.
Last Friday in their conference opener they played well, but not well enough in a loss at West Holmes (60-56) in Ohio Cardinal Conference play. Coach Sly Slaughter continues to see some good things. “I thought we played better against West Holmes than we did against Coventry. Against Coventry we played a little tight and against West Holmes we kind of loosened up a little bit. Really other than the first quarter I thought we played pretty good basketball. Brady Arnold did a great job of leading them and then Ryan Neer chipped in and kind of held us at bay a little bit until the end of the game. Then Saturday night we were able to come back and get a big win over Northwest, so we are definitely improving,” said Slaughter.
Orrville (1-2,0-1) has enjoyed quite a bit of postseason success under Slaughter. He says right now it’s about getting better. “Improvement is the biggest thing right now. We are kind of getting guys back a little by little bit. As we get more guys it gives us a chance to pressure the basketball a little bit more,” he said.
They are at home for the rival Wooster Generals (2-2,1-0) in an “OCC” game on Friday night. Slaughter says they are big and athletic too. “They are definitely big. Adam O’ Brien and Cam Daugherty are both big kids at 6’6” and 6’7”,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Not only are they big, but they are very athletic. Cam played quarterback on the football team this year, so we will have a difficult time defending them, but they also have some very good guards in Corey Becket and Keith Blair and Nolan Bricker, all three of those guys played varsity basketball last year, so they are big, experienced and athletic, so they will be a tough challenge for us.”
Especially with Wooster’s size, Slaughter knows that rebounding is going to be very important to them on Friday night and it is something they have been pretty good at this year. “I think our kids understand the importance of rebounding. We really haven’t faced any of this height yet this year although we did have a scrimmage against Marlington this year where they had a young man that was 6’11”, so we have seen that height in a scrimmage before, but a game is a different situation. We have out rebounded everyone this year, so hopefully we can continue that,” he said.
Orrville Working on Shooting Woes
Orrville has shown they have the capability to play the kind of defense it takes to win in the Ohio Cardinal Conference, now it they can just put the ball in the basket with more consistency.
Last Saturday night, they dedicated their new gym to legendary coach Bob Knight, and Orrville graduate, but they lost the game (41-40) to Akron Coventry. Coach Sly Slaughter thought they were a little nervous, especially after missing some shots early. “I think it was a tough loss for us. I thought defensively we played very well. They only had 41 points. We just struggled shooting the basketball a little bit. I thought we had some good looks, but we just weren’t able to knock those down. Overall I can’t get too upset on the defensive end, we just have to work at knocking down some shots,” said Slaughter.
He says it was just a matter of trying to play too hard and they have to relax a little more. “I thought we were a little tight on our shots. We had a lot going on with the opening of our new gym, coach Knight coming home and dedicating the gym to him, so I think our guys were really pressing and trying to make every single shot and when things didn’t start out so well it carried over to the second, third and fourth quarters,” he said.
Orrville (0-1,0-0) travels to West Holmes (2-0,0-0) for their “OCC” opener on Friday night. Slaughter says the Knights are more than just Brady Arnold. “I got a chance to see them play against Triway the other night. Brady is Brady, he is going to get his points. He is a very good basketball player. They are pretty balanced as well,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “They have some other players. Scotty Troyer is starting to hit a lot of shots. James Cline is making some shots as well. They are playing very confident right now and it will be a tough game for us.”
To take home a win on Friday night, Slaughter says they must play good perimeter defense and they have to pound the ball inside a little more, so they can get a higher percentage shot. “We have to make sure we don’t turn the basketball over. We have to make sure we find out where Cline and Troyer are. We know that Arnold is going to get some points, we just have to shut him down a little bit. On the offensive end I think we have to get the ball inside. On Tuesday night when we saw them play they didn’t start a guy over 6’1”, so I think we need to get it inside and try to get our confidence going,” said Slaughter.
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Orrville Will be a Different Team
Orrville is going to have to go through things in a different way, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be a solid team again.
They are (2-0) this year after wins over Danville (50-43) and Akron Coventry (70-31) last Saturday.
It begins with leadership of their coach Mark Alberts Sr., a hall of famer, that posted his 600th career win as a high school coach against Danville.
He says they
have a lot to replace from a team that went to the division three sate semi
finals a year ago, but they still have kids that can play. “We lost a lot
from last season. We have to find different ways to play at both ends of
the court, especially at the offensive end. We lost one girl that had 2,000
points for her career, another 1,000, and our other two seniors last year
had over 500 each,” he told Swankonsports.com, “With all of the points lost
we have to have different girls step up and see if they can fill the void
left by the four departing seniors. It’s going to be a challenge,
especially early on. We don’t shoot it nearly as well as we did last year,
but I think we rebound it better and maybe we defend a little better and I
think those things are going to have to carry us till we figure out how we
are going to score and who is going to do the shooting for us.”
As far as tempo goes, Alberts says they still want to play fast and get the ball down the floor easier looks, but when they are in the half court they have to show a lot of patience. “We still want to try and push the ball. The reason being we feel we have some depth. We have good size and we want to run the floor and try to get some early offense when we can get the ball to our post girls at the basket. If we don’t have that then we are willing to get into our half court offense and work the basketball and try to be patient. We want to try and have a little bit of both worlds. We want to be able to play at different tempos. We need to run when the opportunity is there and we are going to try and do that. In our half court off we have to be patient and work the ball to get it to point where we can be comfortable shooting the ball mainly close to the basket,” said Alberts.
Orrville opens the Ohio Cardinal Conference portion of their schedule on Thursday at defending champion West Holmes. Alberts says the Lady Knights are the big favorite to repeat. “West Holmes is the team there is no two ways about it. The rest of us are going to be chasing for second place and hopefully somebody can knock them off somewhere along the line. There isn’t one of us that wouldn’t want to see that, but they are pretty good. Their five starters that they are going to put on the floor they could play for anybody around, not just in our league, but anywhere,” he said.
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Orrville Has to Get Offense Going
Orrville has played solid defense all season long, but they just can’t score enough points and that has resulted in a four game losing streak.
Last week is a go example as they turned it over six times in losing to Mansfield Madison (20-10) in an Ohio Cardinal Conference game.
Coach Doug Davault says they just couldn’t execute when they had to the ball. “We just turned it over too much. You can’t turn the ball over six times and expect to win a football game. What we have to do is clean that part up. Our defense for the last two, three weeks we have been very, very good and offensively we have not. Last week, we didn’t get anything going. We didn’t have a run game. We didn’t throw it the way we wanted to. We had opportunities and just didn’t make plays. If we are going to win anymore football games this year we are going to have to generate some offense,” said Davault.
The Red Riders had run the ball effectively over the first half of the season, but lately teams have been stuffing the run and Davault says they have been unable to pass. “Early in the year we were running the ball extremely well. We have struggled the last couple of weeks trying to run the ball. That is something we continue to work on. We know with our size we have to be able to throw it some. Last Friday night we just struggled the whole way through. Sometimes we had guys open and couldn’t find them. Sometimes we had the ball right there and couldn’t catch it. It was just a variety of things. Like I said we have two games left and we have to find a way to generate offense if we expect to win,” he said.
This week, the Red Riders (4-4,1-4) are at Clear Fork (5-3,3-2) to face the Colts in an “OCC” game. Davault says the Colts will present some problems for his defense. “They had doubled them up in the first half then Ashland found their rhythm and they are hard to deal with when they get their offense going. Clear Fork is extremely dynamic and they have a quarterback that is dynamite. He can run like nobody’s business. He is hard to deal with in the open field,” he told swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “If you don’t pay attention to what is going he will throw it on you. Then they have a couple of backs that are good in the open field. These guys have been in every game and last week they probably should have won. They are a very, very good football team.”
Clear Fork quarterback Kadin Chrastina has accounted for more than 300 yards in each of the Colts last four games. Davault says they must always have their eyes on him. “We are going to make sure we account for him on every play. They have a couple of kids that we need to know what they are doing on every play. It ends and starts with him. He reminds me of when we had Kyle Simmons in terms of a guy that everything generates through him. Just when you think you have made a play on him he makes a play on you. He is extremely dangerous. We will have focus assigned to him,” he said.
Run Game Key For Riders
Orrville must run the ball and control the time of possession to have a chance this week when they host the Ashland Arrows in Ohio Cardinal Conference play.
Last week, Orrville almost beat once beaten West Holmes when their final drive died inside the 20 as time expired and the Knights hung on and won (28-22) in league action.
Orrville (4-2,1-2) coach Doug Davault was hoping for just one more play. “We scuffled to get things going at a couple of different spots and I thought, well, this isn’t going to be one for us, but then we started battling back and I was really proud of how the kids played. Over a handful of plays I would like to have one of them and that would have put us right where we wanted to be. Hopefully we can build off that and take it in to this week,” he said.
With that big fourth quarter last week, Davault hopes they can just build on that momentum for their game with Ashland. “You always want to build on what you did before. Our goal is to get better every week and if we do that I think we have a chance to reach the goals we want to reach. We got better during that game. There were times when we weren’t very good, but we got better as the game wore on and I was pleased with that. We have a completely different animal this week, but it is still one where I hope we can build off of what we just did,” said Davault.
Ashland (3-3,2-1) lost last week to unbeaten Mansfield Senior (30-14) for their first loss in the league. Quarterback Nick Zurcher has thrown for over 1,400 yards and nine touchdowns. Davault says Ashland is doing what they always do. “They are a typical Ashland team. Scott Valentine does a great job of getting those kids prepared and running what they do. They are like West Holmes, you know exactly what they are going to do it is just a matter of can you stop it,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “They are going to come out in their five wide and the quarterback is going to run the ball more than anyone else and they will throw the ball all over the yard. They have a good bevy of receivers to throw to and they are really strong up front. This obviously is going to be a great challenge for us.”
Davault says the way Ashland lines up they force you to be solid man to man defenders. “When they have five wides you don’t have a choice. Unless you don’t put anything in the box and when you don’t do that you are going to create a running advantage, which they will take advantage of,” he said.
With the explosiveness of the Arrows, Davault says they want to run it and keep the ball away from them. “It has kind of been our hope all year long that we can do that. The less possessions they have the less they can score. We hope to occupy the ball and control it. If we can do it that it will go a long way in us having success against these guys. They are good on both sides of the ball and we are really going to have to play well and mistake free,” said Davault.
It’s Get Back on Track For Orrville
Orrville lost its first football game of the season last week to a very good Mansfield Senior team, they are not likely to see a team that good the rest of the season, but West Holmes, their opponent this week, is pretty good too.
Last week, the Red Riders were blitzed by Mansfield Senior (45-0) and Orrville coach Doug Davault says they Tygers can just do some things that other teams can’t. “They are the real deal. They have great team speed. They have great athletes. They are organized and they are well coached. They did a lot of real, real good things against us. They came into the game throwing about 70 percent of the time and proceeded to run for 300 some yards against us. I was very impressed by their athletes, their skill set, and their speed and quickness up front. They were very, very difficult for us to deal with,” he said.
Orrville (4-1,1-1) has done some good things this year running the ball and playing defense and Davault says they have to get back to what they do. “We just need to put that one behind us and get back on track. We played a really, really good football team and as long as they continue to play like they are they will make some noise in the playoffs. We have to realize that we played a very good division two football team and we need to try and get back on track this weekend against West Holmes. The emphasis has just been getting back to what we do and trying to make sure we don’t let that define us and determine how we are going to play the rest of the season,” said Davault.
The Red Riders are at West Holmes (4-1,1-1) on Friday and the Knights their first game of the season too last week (48-21) when Ashland beat them. Davault says the Knights run the ball very well. “They haven’t missed the beat from last season. They have three extremely good running backs. All of them together are probably averaging eight, nine yards a carry. They do a nice job up front of getting you moved. They simply got outscored last week. They still had 360, 370 yards rushing on Ashland. We have our hands full again thus this week. It’s a different kind of football team,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We aren’t going to see the speed we saw last week, but we aren’t going to see that the rest of the year, but what we will see is a team that knows how to run the football. You know what they are going to do, they know what they are going to do and it’s just a matter if you can stop them,”
Davault says they have to bottle the Knights up before they get started. “Our goal is to eliminate the big play. We are going to do the best we can up front to maintain our gap integrity and see if we can’t get to them before they get started. All three of those guys can score from anywhere on the field. You have to keep it contained the best you can and play downhill on them and they make that very difficult on you,” he said.
Orrville Must Hang onto the Ball
Orrville has been successful by not being flashy, but doing things they do very well and that has led to four wins in four games this year.
However, the task gets tougher on Friday night as they head for Mansfield Senior to face the likewise unbeaten Tygers.
Last week, Orrville scored a critical touchdown in the fourth quarter and they held on to beat Lexington (16-9) with a great near goal line stand. Coach Doug Davault says they continue to do what’s needed to win. “Our first four games it has been this way. We have done things that we have needed to do and made plays when we have needed to make plays. We have not turned the ball over. We have capitalized when the other team has and that’s exactly what happened. Offensively we never did get into a good rhythm, but you have to give them a little bit of credit for that,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “Defensively I thought we were stellar. Their score came on a short field. At the end of the game there they were on about the seven yard line for four downs and we kept them out. I am extremely pleased with where we are at right now, but we still have a long way to go.”
This season, Orrville has permitted more than 20 points only once. Davault says they are very disciplined on that side of the football. “I think they are doing things right. We are not the most athletic team, but the kids are doing what their job is, if they are supposed to contain, if they are supposed to hit a gap, if they are supposed to be on coverage at the hash. The other part is they play very well together. They communicate in the secondary, Kyle Ritchie at safety is our quarterback back there and Trevor Summers at linebacker is running the interior part,” he said.
It will be a prolific offense in Mansfield Senior (4-0,1-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the large school division, that the Red Riders need to stop this week. The Tygers are averaging more than 40 points per contest. Davault says they are very athletic on offense and defense. “They have athletes everywhere. You can’t single out anyone of their receivers and then their quarterback is a top player. He is as good as we are going to see all year. Then you turn it around on the defensive side and every one of their down lineman has a skill number and that’s always a concern. They run hard to the football. They are playing extremely efficiently right now. They aren’t turning it over and they are capitalizing on the turnovers they get. It might be the best team we face all year. They are very good football team,” said Davault.
If Mansfield Senior has the ball very much they are going to score. Davault says they want to limit the Tygers touches. “We need to control the clock. Our motto all year has been if they don’t have it they can’t score. If we can occupy the time and occupy the clock and run the football a little bit, that is exactly what we are going to do. We need to be clean and crisp and sharp and have no mistakes on our part. We are going to do what we need to do on offense to move it and hopefully we will be able to run it like we have been the first four games,” he said.
Orrville Counting on the Run
Running the ball has been the big key to the Orrville offense this season and that will have to continue to carry them as they enter Ohio Cardinal Conference play at home this week against Lexington.
Last week, the Red Riders (3-0), downed Canal Fulton Northwest (28-22) to complete their non-league games unbeaten.
Coach Doug Davault says they are getting better and getting more contributions from different kids. “I like where we are heading. We aren’t where we want to be yet, but we are on the way there. We have definitely gotten better and the teams we have played have gotten better each week,” he told Swankonsports.com, “What we have been able to do is control the clock and we have run the football extremely well and we have been playing pretty stingy defense. The biggest thing last Friday night was we had six different kids step up and make significant plays and that was good to see. We have a lot of kids that can make some plays and we had that on Friday night.
Davault says their success running the ball comes from the fact that they have been getting solid play from their offensive line. “It starts up front and you have to give a lot of credit to our linemen Harrison Brown, Amir Simpson, Korbon Sprowls, Jake Hochstetler, and Dustin Pumpley along with tight end Trevor Summers and H-back Colton Shrader have opened the holes for Keontae Owens and Austin Domer. It starts there if they aren’t doing the job then our guys aren’t running all over the field. We are really pleased where the run game is right now,” he said.
Lexington (1-2) comes in off a loss at the hands of Delaware Olentangy (48-21) last week. They have given up some points this year, but Davault says they are a good unit. “They are a good football team. Two of the teams they played, Olentangy and Ontario are two really good football teams, so their record is a little deceiving. We feel like they are a pretty good football team and it’s going to be a challenge for us. They have a good quarterback and they have a bevy of wide receivers that we are going to have to contain. Defensively, they play hard, so we are going to have our hands full this week,” said Davault.
Lexington is paced by quarterback Trent Richwine and Davault says everything Lexington does goes through him. “He is going to run the ball some and he is going to throw it. They are in spread, sometimes they will have a tight end, but they will be in single back. They like to throw it, but they also like to run it. He is the trigger, so if we can contain him that will be one step in doing what we need to do defensively,” he said. And, according to Davault, they will have to know where Richwine is one every play. “You have to account for him on every play. If they are going to do the zone read with him you have to make sure your backside is paying attention. When he wants to get on the corner we have to make sure we contain him and make him feel uncomfortable. If we can do that we are going to be in pretty good shape,” he said.
Orrville to be Tested
Orrville has won their first two games of the season, doubling their season total for a year ago, but their face their stiffest test of the year this week.
Last Friday, the Red Riders got past Wooster Triway (22-17) to earn the win. Coach Doug Davault says they were able to run the ball and that’s what they had to do. “I feel pretty good about the fact that we are 2-0. It was a bit of a nail biter, a bit of a barn burner, at the end of the game. We had opportunities to get a few more points on the board, but we just didn’t capitalize. We did a very good job of doing what we wanted to do and that was occupy the clock and run the football,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday. “We ran the ball 57 out of 65 plays and time of possession was 35-13. Those two things led to the win. We still have a lot of things that we need to clean up, but the kids responded well to what we asked them to do.”
Despite the good effort overall, Davault says they must still get better, especially when it comes to pass blocking and fourth down defense. “We scuffled in our pass protection and that was part of the reason we didn’t throw it a little bit more. Plus, they converted five of five fourth downs. Had we kept them out of there I don’t know if they score for sure because they were all crucial to all of the points they did get. Those are two areas where we really have to get going. We have to be able to protect the quarterback when we want to throw it and we have to be able to get off the field when we have to opportunity. The fourth down things they were five for five and four of them where for over ten yards and that shouldn’t happen,” said Davault.
On Friday night, Canal Fulton Northwest (1-1) is the opponent for the Red Riders. Davault says they are a solid football team. “They have a good quarterback, a real good tight end and linebacker and a good receiver. They seem to be strong and physical up front. I think we are facing a pretty good football team. They won their first game against Cloverleaf handily and last week they played Poland Seminary, who has a great tradition. They were up 21-7 at the half and eventually lost 28-21. I think it is a very, very good Canal Fulton Northwest team,” he said.
Davault knows they will have to step it up because this the best team they have played yet this year. “It is easily the best team we have played so far. They are good. They have a lot of things going on and it’s going to be a challenge,” he said.
He outlines the things they are going to have to do to win, including containing some pretty potent offensive weapons. “The first thing we have to do is contain their quarterback. He is 50-50 run pass and he is at the center of everything. They want him to run the ball and of course he is going to throw the ball. We have to account for him and make sure we get him contained. We have to account for the tight end and we have to make sure we are covering up number four on the outside. He is the guy they want to throw the deep ball to. From an offensive standpoint we still have to run the football. We have to capitalize when we get inside the red zone. We have to make sure we are making plays,” said Davault.
Orrville off to Good Start
Orrville had a rare down season last year, but they came up with an impressive win last week against John Marshall.
They scored four times in the first half and went on to smack John Marshall (42-6) last week at home.
Coach Doug Davault says they got some good play from a lot of kids that were seeing significant varsity action for the first time. “Our execution was okay. We had some typical first game stuff. We did alright. We had a lot of young guys. We have nine new starters on offense and eight new starters on defense. That being said we had a lot of young guys and a lot of new guys that didn’t play last year. It was a good win in the first week. We did a lot of things right, but we have a lot things still to work on too,” said Davault.
Nothing against John Marshall, but they will not be the best team the Red Riders play this year. Davault says it was a good way for those younger kids to get their feet wet. “We were hoping we could come out and so some things. We wanted to establish the run and we were able to do that. We didn’t have put much pressure on our young quarterback. We felt good about that and then defensively we were able to contain their quarterback, which was our number task, and we did a good job with him,” he said.
Orrville hits the road this week to face the Wooster Triway Titans, who lost last week to West Holmes (54-35) in their first game of year. Davault says there is no question they have an offense that can light up the scoreboard. “I’ll tell you what they can throw the ball with anybody. They have a nice pass offense. The Carmichael kid is following in his brother’s footsteps,” he told Swankonsports.com, “He is going to end up shattering all of the records. He is the real deal. They can throw it. They have a good looking group of receivers. Defensively they ran into a buzz saw with West Holmes. West Holmes ran the ball on them some.”
Orrville Hoping For Better Season
Orrville was one of the most consistent football teams in this area until they went just 1-9 last season. They hope they can return to their usual level of performance this fall.
They need to do it with a relatively inexperienced team.
Coach Doug Davault says he likes the progression he is seeing, but he knows they have to get a lot better. “I think the kids are probably a little more thankful for it than the coaches although we get a little worn out as well from two a days. We are ready to get started and get going here. Thankfully we have been pretty much injury free and the kids have worked extremely hard. Now we want to find out the fruits of our labors. Hopefully we will get on track this week and get things going,” he said.
This is a different kind of Orrville team with the youth. However, so far Davault says they have done everything they have asked them to do during their preseason stuff. “We have a lot of young guys and we lost a lot on both sides of the ball. We are going to have a freshmen starting for us this year. We have three sophomores stating for us, maybe four. Even the guys that are seniors, we have two or three of them that are first year players. We are putting seven new guys on both sides of the ball. Just the general improvement of those guys since the first scrimmage to the last. I feel pretty good about how we have come, but we really do have a long way to go yet,” said Davault.
Orrville has been a year after year qualifier for the state playoffs and they have sent a tremendous amount of talent to the next level. Davault says they don’t like to throw freshmen to the wolves, but they don’t have any other choice. “It is very, very difficult in our league. I hate to do that. As good as our players have been, I mean guys like Mason Manheim, and Chase Hoovler, and Sam Miller and some of these other guys we really hesitated to play them as freshmen just because of the competition level,” he told Swankponsports.com on Tuesday, “This year we just don’t have a choice. Our numbers are low. Our one freshman that is stating is Austin Dolmer. He is going to start at one of our safeties on defense. He is good. He is a good player, but he is not real big, so we are really going to have to watch and make sure we are putting him in good spots.”
Cleveland John Marshall visits for the season opener on Friday night and Devault says they will have some athletic kids that can make big plays from anywhere on the field. “Watching them on tape they have a little bit of everything. They run the spread offense. They have a quarterback that can run. They don’t throw it much. The have a tailback that is runs pretty good. Defensively they just swam you. They put more in the box than you can block and they dare you to throw it. We’ll see what they do with us there. They have been up and down the last few years. They played Mansfield Senior maybe three years ago to a three point game and they played Port Clinton a couple of years ago to three or four points. They have athletes. It’s going to be a matter of us going out and making sure we are executing,” said Davault.
Considering the season they had last year Devault knows that wining Friday night is of particular importance. “We have told the kids that is important for us to get a good start. We won the first one last year and then didn’t win again. That is unusual for our kids and we didn’t handle it very well and I’m okay with that. I don’t want them to handle that part well. So, hopefully they have a resolve and a little chip on their shoulder and they come out and get after it. I think it is extremely important how we start the whole season,” said Davault.
Published with 8/28/13
Orrville Trying to Rebound
Orrville has not had many 1-9 seasons in their illustrious football history, but that is what happened last year. They expect this year will be better.
Coach Doug Davault says he has seen a solid work ethic from his players. The numbers are down, but that may not matter to the Red Riders. “The kids we have are working their tails off. They are working as hard as any group I have ever had. There just aren’t many of us. We have 33 upper classmen and we have 11 freshmen. We have 44 total kids to chose from as we are not going to be very deep, but the guys that we have that we think can play on Friday night if we stay injury free I think we will compete and we ought to be in games,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We have got some guys that can make some plays, but a little bit of a departure from were we have been. It’s a bunch of guys that are going to have to play good solid, clean games each week in order to compete at the level that we want too.”
What about the attitude of the Red Riders? Davault says it has been pretty good so far. “I would be lying to you if I said that is never a concern because when it started going bad last year it was kind of a Murphy’s Law and these kids were all part of that. That being said we only have three starters back on offense and four on defense, so we are mostly brand new. Most of them were not iatrical parts of what we did, but they did get some field time. We have to make sure the attitudes stay good and we stay positive,” he said.
Davault says like any other year it is going to be about making plays and have the confidence to do it. “Last year we went through about a three game stretch where we just couldn’t make a play. I just don’t have an answer for it and then it snowballed on us and the kids didn’t expect to make plays and if you don’t expect to make one, you won’t. They expected to get in a tight game and not find a way to win and we have always been the other way. Games would get down close and somebody would make a play and found a way to get a “W” and last year we were kind of the opposite. I have been in it long enough to see both sides of it,” said Davault.
Orrville hosts Louisville in a scrimmage of Friday night and Davault says they have some positions up for grabs. “We still have a couple of positions we need to find out about and we have probably four kids that we need to find out about. We can’t afford to get anybody hurt. At the same token we have some kids we need to find out about. We try to go about two quarters with our ones and see if we can’t polish some things up and find out about a few kids. We use this last one as our final evaluation tool. From that point football is a game of adjustments, so we will continue to adjust throughout the year, but we will settle in on how we are going to start and who we are going to use,” said Davault.
Orrville Must Continue Hot Streak
Every once in a while you find team that has had a mediocre season and gets hot at the right time. This spring that is the Orrville Red Riders baseball team.
They are 15-13 heading into a division three regional semi-final game against Wickliffe on Thursday at Massillon Washington High School. The Blue Devils have had a similar season. They are 13-12.
It is the second straight regional appearance for the Red Riders. Last year they lost in the semi-finals to Grand Valley.
Coach Scott Marshall says there are only good teams in the regionals and they know what they have to do. “It’s always a special feeling when you are still playing and a lot of the teams aren’t playing. When you go out it’s win or go home and you are playing against the best teams,” he said.
Orrville has definitely played its best baseball in May, and that includes wins over Ohio Cardinal Conference powers Lexington and Wooster. Marshall says he has been happy with their execution. “We have played fairly decent. I mean sometimes that is hard to see because wins and losses are hard to come by. We always play up and play a tough schedule. I am happy with the way we are playing,” he said.
Speaking of the “OCC”, Marshall thinks they have been tested by very good teams and that has made them ready for the postseason. “When you look around in the OHSAA bracket you are not going to find a team with a record similar to ours. Most of the teams have amazing records with a couple of losses and lot of wins. We are just over .500, but that’s a tribute to who we play,” said Marshall.
Orrville is just over and Wickliffe is just under .500. Marshall says the Blue Devils have a very nice pitcher that they will likely see on Thursday. “From what I gather more than likely we will see a senior pitcher that is a lefthander. He is 9-4 on the mound. He has a 1.56 ERA. His name is Anthony Jenowski. That is about all I know. He locates the ball well. I don’t think he throws extremely hard. He keeps everybody off balance,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “They are a team that only has 13 wins and he has nine of their 13, so he must be pretty good. Offensively they are pretty even. Their top pitcher is also their top batter. He is batting .358. Most of the guys in their lineup are consistently around the .500 mark.”
Defense and base running are keys in games like this. Marshall says they can’t afford mistakes. “We talk about the team that makes the fewest mistakes wins. We were in the regionals last year. There is a little bit of a calming effect going into it this year. Our kids aren’t as wide eyed. It’s that simple. You can’t make mistakes,” he said.
Orrville in Regional Again
Orrville continues to benefit from the strong competition that they receive in the Ohio Cardinal Conference and they, for the second straight year, have advanced to the division three regional baseball tournament.
They play Wickliffe in the regional semi-finals next Thursday at Massillon Washington High School.
Orrville (15-13) rallied to beat Doylestown Chippewa (6-5) of the Wayne County Athletic League on Wednesday night in district final action.
Coach School Marshall is only a little surprised by the Red Riders efforts in the tournament. “In a way it isn’t because we have been playing better. I have been real happy the last couple of weeks. At the same token we are 15-13, so we haven’t necessarily shown a lot of consistency. I think that is a reflection of how good the league is,” said Marshall.
With Lexington and Mansfield Madison in the district tournament and West Holmes already in the reagional, plus very good Wooster and Clear Fork teams, Marshall knows they have seen good completion. “One thing is for sure every year the Ohio Cardinal Conference, in my opinion, is as good a league as any league that is out there,” he said.
Orrville has some quality arms that have done the job and Marshall believes they have started to hit the ball better and that has been the difference for them over the last three weeks. “The pitching has been consistent. I think the key difference has been hitting wise. We have been more efficient at the plate. We are seeing the ball better. I knew that we would it was just a matter of time,” he said.
With the way they have been playing lately, wins over Lexington and Wooster are examples, Marshall has seen the confidence in his kids grow. “Our confidence is going pretty well. When you get this far in the tournament guys are feeling pretty good about themselves. The last couple of weeks we have been playing against some really, really good teams and we are competitive with those teams. They are bigger schools and that is who we play and it helps,” said Marshall.
Orrville advanced to the regionals last year too and Marshall believes that tournament experience has helped them this year. “Tournament baseball and regular baseball are totally different. I credit last year’s success with helping us. (Wednesday) night there was a questionable call that came with two outs that ultimately they scored four runs and did well and did their job and got the runs. We were trailing 5-1 at one point and my kids never quit,” he told Swankonsports.com, “They never hung their heads and figured it was over. They knew they could make a comeback. We had a similar comeback a few weeks ago against Wooster, so they knew they could do it.”
Orrville Has Quiet Confidence
With West Holmes, Lexington, Ashland, and Madison in the conference Orrville can kind of slip by unnoticed. That would be a mistake for the rest of the Ohio Cardinal Conference.
Orrville is going to be a very good baseball team. They proved that with a win (6-0) over Dalton, of the Wayne County Athletic League, on Saturday afternoon. Coach Scott Marshall says it was a good start for the Red Riders. “It always feels good to get out that first day and win, better off to get a shut out. Overall I thought we did well seeing that was the first time we were outside on the field,” he said.
Pitching is going to keep the Riders in most games. They have their top two pitchers back and Marshall says they were able to add some guys to their staff too. “We return our top two guys. Both were extremely successful. We do have about three or four more guys that we feel pretty good about. Our pitching depth is looking pretty strong,” said Marshall.
You have to have some offense too and Marshall believes that they are going to be able to score some runs. “It is early yet, but I’m confident that we will swing the bats extremely well. I do feel our strength is pitching and defense. It is niece to have 10 letter winners back. We have lots of varsity experience,” he said.
Orrville will get an early test in the “OCC” this week with a two game series against defending conference champion Ashland. They are on the road on Tuesday and at home on Wednesday. Ashland, a division one regional finalist last spring, beat Cleveland St. Ignatius (6-5) in their opener on Monday. Marshall says the Arrows are going to be strong against this season. “I know they graduated a lot of guys from that exceptional team last year. They are a much bigger school. They are going to have guys that are going to be talented this year. They are the champs until somebody knocks them off. We can’t take anybody lightly. We have to be ready every night,” Marshall told Swankonsports.com on Monday.
Orrville on a Roll
Orrville is playing solid basketball and the Lady Red Riders continue to ride a wave of momentum as they play in the state semi finals on Thursday afternoon.
Orrville (26-2), #3 in the final Swankonsports.com girls’ basketball coach’s poll in the small school division, plays Anna (24-4) in the division three state semi-finals at Value City Arena on the campus of the Ohio State University.
The Lady Red Riders blew out Beachwood (75-48) in the regional final behind a school record 42 points from division three tri-player of the year Hannah Plybon. Coach Mark Alberts Sr. says they new what they had in terms of talent and they had a good chance to make it to Columbus. “We really felt early in the season hat we had a good chance to make it down here. Our district was loaded with good teams and we were fortunate that we did not have to play them all. We played only one real good one in the district final in Canton Central Catholic. When you get to the regional you know you are playing the best from that area. We had two good games there. We knew we had a chance. We showed the girls when the tournament began a state championship ring that we have from our athletic director. They took that to heart and ever since we have been playing some pretty good basketball. It was a goal and we achieved that and now the next step is to win that first one and get to that championship game,” said Alberts.
It has been the philosophy of the Orrville program to not back down from the best teams. Alberts feels that schedule has helped them in the tournament. “I don’t think there is any question that our schedule has played a big, big part in our success. We played West Holmes down at their place in front of 1,000 people. They are the favorite I think to win the state championship in division two. Reedsville Eastern is there. We play in a summer league that is probably the best in the state. There are five teams out of our summer league that are playing down in Columbus this week. West Holmes, us, Berlin Hiland, Hathaway Brown, and Twinsburg,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We play a tough schedule both in the summer and during the season. When you do that your kids become hardened to whatever situation might arise. We have seen a lot different situations in the six game stretch on the tournament trail and we have been ready for every one of them and a lot of it has to due with the schedule that we play.”
Anna has been on of the state’s best teams. They won a state title in 2011 and lost in overtime to Columbus Afrecentric in last season’s division three state title game. Alberts says they have girls that really know how to play the game. “They are as good as advertised. They will have two girls that started on their sate championship team. The coach’s daughter, Natalie Billing, she is about 5’11” and a 1,600 point scorer though her career. They have another girl Erica Huber, their point guard, and she is the engine for her team. She runs the show. Those two girls are good. They are like our girls they are hardened to this type of atmosphere. They have another girl Cayla Bensman, a sophomore, she’s about 5’9” and she may be their best all around player. They have three really quality kids,” he said.
Alberts says that both teams like to push the pace and it is going to come down to who is able to execute their game plan the best. “They like to press. They like to play up tempo. I was kidding somebody that lot’s of times you go to the state tournament and you watch teams that slow it down and it’s like watching paint dry, well this won’t be like watching paint dry. This is going to be an exciting game for the players and it’s going to be exciting for the fans because both of us like to play up tempo, we both like to pressure, and it’s going to be a matter of which team can do it the best,” said Alberts.
Orrville Seeking to Move On
Last year, Orrville was stopped in its goal to reach the regional tournament. This year they have gotten there, but they still haven’t gotten to the promise land.
They need two more wins to get there.
The Lady Red Riders (24-2), #3 in the final Swankonsports.com girls’ basketball coach’s poll in the small school division, play Hanoverton United (23-1) in the division three regional semi-finals on Wednesday night at Cuyahoga Falls High School.
Last Saturday, Orrville defeated Canton Central Catholic (58-51), who had beaten previously unbeaten Smithville in semi-final play. Orrville led most of the way and coach Mark Alberts Sr. says they made some big plays in the fourth quarter to secure the win. “It was a tough game. We played tough and they played us tough. It came down to a few plays in the fourth quarter that tuned the tide. I think the one I think of was when Hanna Plybon, for us, hit a three pointer, about a 25-footer. I think we were up two at the time. That put us up five and we were able to get a stop at the defensive end. From then on we just kind of milked the clock a little bit, made some free throws down the stretch, and were able to win going away,” said Alberts.
Plybon, headed to the University of Akron, scored 28 points in the contest.
Alberts has seen United either live or on tape five times this season and he is impressed. He says they like to force the tempo of the game. “They are a lot like two different teams that we played. We played Norton, a division two team, back in December, and Reedsville Eastern, a division four team, in the Classic in the Country. They remind me some of them. They like to play up tempo. They like to pressure full court. They have good overall size. They don’t have a real big girl. They have several girls between 5’9” and 5’10”. They rebound it well. They shoot it pretty good,” said Alberts.
Orrville reached the district final last year and the regionals the year before. Hanoverton United lost to Smithville last year in the regionals, the same school that had beaten Orrville in the districts last season. Alberts says they have bid game experience too. “They have some quality girls. This team has four senior starters. All four of them started in the regional semi-final last year against Smithville, which they lost. So, this is their second year to the regional. They have a veteran group. They are a lot like us,” he said.
There aren’t going to be a whole lot of surprises in this game. Alberts at this level its going to be about execution. “It’s gong to be a tough test. I think it’s going to be a matter of us trying to execute trying to do what we like to do and them trying to do what they like to do. We both like to run, so I guess we find out who can do it the best. We are going to try and pressure them full court. That’s what we have been trying to do, especially during the tournament,” he said.
The three keys from an Orrville win are ball handling, defense and rebounding, according to Alberts. “We need to take care of the basketball and execute at the offensive end and make sure we get a good shot each time down the floor. I tell the girls all of the time that even a bad shot is better than a turnover. I think that has been crucial for us. We have been pretty successful in the tournament as far as doing that,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “At the other end we have to make sure that we execute defensively. We are going to try and be there when they are trying to do the things that like to do. I think it crucial that we need to block out and rebound. We don’t have good overall size. We have some good athletes. We have been pretty successful in the tournament at rebounding and out rebounding our opponents. If we can do those things I like our chances.”
Orrville Beginning its Drive
Orrville expects success in girls’ basketball. Trips to the district tournament are part of the plan every year. This year they have accomplished that goal, but they have many more ahead.
The Lady Red Riders (22-2), #3 in the final Swankonsports.com girls’ basketball coach’s poll in the small school division, faces West Salem Northwestern (17-7) in the division three district semi-finals on Thursday night at Wooster Triway High School.
Runners-up in the Ohio Cardinal Conference this year to West Holmes, Orrville has already won two tournament games beating Rittman (72-19) and Loudonville (75-46) to advance to the third round. This is a team that has the potential to add district and regional titles. They lost in the district finals to Smithville last season.
Coach Mark Alberts Sr. believes his team has shown very good focus so far in the tournament. “I don’t care who you are playing, but when you step out on the floor during the tournament you have got to ready to play and you have to go out with the idea that you have to take care of business. In our first two games that is exactly what we did. We made sure we got after them early, put them away early, and didn’t give ether Rittman or Loudonville, much of a chance to think they were in the game. I think when you are a better team, I think Rittman was the 11th seed and Loudonville was the 12th, but still they played tough games during the season, it’s our job to go out and do exactly what we did. The girls did take care of business and now it’s on to the next one. That’s kind of how you approach it one game at a time, take care of business, survive and advance,” said Alberts.
Northwestern has enjoyed a fine campaign too this season finishing second to unbeaten Smithville in the Wayne County Athletic League. Alberts says they can’t take a win for granted against the Lady Huskies. “They have won two tournament games to this point one in a close game with Dalton and the other over Waynedale by 12 or so. We are familiar with them. My granddaughter plays on their JV team, so I have had a chance to watch them a lot of times this year. We played them also. It’s a team we know and we know them very well,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “Hopefully we can got out and play the way we are capable of playing. When we played them at our place the first quarter it was close, but after that we just king of exploded. They are a lot better I believe than when they played against us the first time. I think this game Thursday will be a lot better game than the first one. So, we need to go out and take care of business again.”
Alberts says the Lady Huskies have good talent, especially at the guard position. “They have a great player in Meghan McKeen. She is averaging around 18 points a game. A lot of division three colleges are hot after her. She is a hot commodity because of her ability to handle the ball and shoot. She does both very, very well and she is also a good passer. If she goes well then they seem to go well. They have another little guard by the name of Meghan Markley that is also a good shooter, a good offensive player. I think she is right around 13 points a game. Their guards are good and then they have size inside. I think they will start three girls that are 5’10”. That is going to pose some problems for us defending inside and rebounding,” said Alberts.
Even though Northwestern will have a height advantage, Alberts says the key is containing their guards. “The key is to stop their guards and contain them. We are going to try and attack them out on the perimeter and make sure we are guarding them closely and try to limit the shot attempts that the two guards get,” he said.
Orrville Playing Better
It seems every year the Orrville Red Riders find a way to peak for the postseason tournament and this year is no exception.
The Red Riders had won only two games through January, but look out they have won three straight, including an “OCC” win last week over Mansfield Madison. Coach Sly Slaughter says they are starting to make shots that they haven’t been making all season. “I think the fact that we are now starting to make our shots. Earlier in the season we were only averaging about 40 points a game and over the last four or five games we have been scoring in the 60’s and 70’s. Last Saturday, we were able to put up 82 points. I think that is a combination of us shooting the ball better in practice and transferring that to the game. Being at home helps out as well,” said Slaughter.
We are talking about teenage kids and Slaughter says the success or lack there of often relates to confidence. “That is why early on in the season we thought our kids were playing hard. We knew they were playing hard and giving us everything they had. Defensively we kept saying we aren’t too bad and we had to finally start making some shots. Once the kids start making a few shots they start feeling confident among themselves. More guys are stating to contribute more. It has been nice to really see our guys come around a little more in the last couple of weeks,” said Slaughter.
On Friday night, the Red Riders (5-14,2-10) are going to get the toughest exam they have had in a while when they travel to Mansfield Senior to face the “OCC” champion Tygers, #2 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coach’s poll in the large school division. Slaughter Says the Tygers not only have Keon Johnson, but more. “When you talk Mansfield Senior you have to begin with Keon Johnson. He is a dynamic player and definitely the best player in our league. We have to focus a lot of attention to him. When you start to focus on him then you have Robert Jones and Donavan Benson down inside, who create large match-up problems for us being our tallest guy is only 6’4”. We have to make sure we do a good job on them, but then they have other players as well. They are so versatile in the things that they can do,” said Salughter.
Mansfield has lived on its aggressive man to man defense, not just this year, but for a number of years. Slaughter says it’s am attitude and one they would like their kids to have. “I think it’s just their defensive attitude. They play that man-to-man defense. I think every guy kind of takes it personal. You are not going to score on me and they work as hard as they can possibly work to make sure they don’t let there teammates down,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Those are the things we try to talk to our guys about when we are working on our defensive things we are trying to emulate the things that they do. They have done it ever since I have been around for the last 10 years. They continue to do that under coach Reece.”
Orrville Girls Point Toward Tournament
After a loss to West Holmes last week, the Orrville Lady Red Riders are now focused on the post season tournament and they have enjoyed some great success there in recent years.
They advanced to the district final last year before losing to Smithville and reached the regional semi-final the year before.
Coach Mark Alberts Sr. says they have played consistently well this season, they just have not been able to beat West Holmes, who leads the Ohio Cardinal Conference and is unbeaten on the season. “So far, so good, we are 12-2, two losses to West Holmes, and we have beaten everybody else. If it weren’t for them I think it would be a great season. We are still doing well and obviously we are still pleased with our other wins. We played them last week and we just didn’t shoot the ball as well as we are capable of, a lot had to do with the fact that they play pretty good defense, but we had some wide open looks that we just didn’t knock down,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, ”When you are going to upset a team like West Holmes you have to take advantage of those open looks. We are up 15-9 on them at the half. It was really a low scoring grind it out game in the first half and they scored a little bit more than we did in the second half. Other than that we are doing well and hopefully we can continue that the rest of the way. We don’t have to play them anymore.”
Last season, the Lady Red Riders had a similar record, but Alberts, a winner of more than 500 games as a boys’ and girls’ coach, believes clearly this year’s team is better. “There is no question about it. We had one senior on the team lest year that wasn’t very good. She was a starter for us and couldn’t shoot real well, just not a very good player. She was a decent defender and rebounder. This year’s team all five girls that start can shoot. They can all handle the ball. We have some good rebounding. The five that start this year ended last year as starters. We have a lot of experience. Three of our girls have been starting for three years. We are definitely much, much better than we were last year,” he said.
However, with the tournament beginning in about a month, Alberts knows they will be judged by what happens in late February and March. “Whether or not we are going to be able to improve on our performance level from last year remains to be seen. We got beat in the district final. We can’t win the league right now anymore so the goal is to try and win that district championship and get to the regional and then final a way to win that and get to Columbus. That’s our goal and hopefully we will be able to achieve that. I think this year’s team has a much better opportunity than last year’s team to do it,” he said.
Orrville (12-2,7-2), #3 in the Swankonsports.com girls’ basketball poll in the small school division, plays host to Mansfield Senior (8-7,5-5) in and “OCC” game on Thursday night. Alberts says Mansfield Senior is very dangerous due to their athleticism. “Vickers is an excellent basketball player and a really good point guard. She can shoot the ball. She can drive to the basket and she finds the open girl. They have some other decent players as well. I really like the Bluester girl. She has hurt us in the past and we don’t match up with her real well. She is an excellent jumper and can score in and round the basket. Then the Reece girl is pretty good as well. They have three girls they can go to to score and Vickers is that engine that drives them. We are going to put our best defender on her and try to contain her. We did a pretty good job of doing that the last time. She got a lot of her points in the fourth quarter after the game was decided. Hopefully we will be able to contain her some, but you are never going to stop her. She is too good of a player. Todd does a great job. They are very competitive. They have a lot of upside to their team and we are looking for a really tough game (Thursday) night,” said Alberts.
Consistency the Key For Red Riders
It just seems to be a lack of consistency that is costing the Orrville Red Riders a chance to win games.
Coach Sly Slaughter says they have shown in stretches they can do some really good things, but that has not been for long enough periods of time. “It doesn’t seem to be that way with our record being 2-11. It doesn’t sound like we are doing very well. We see the kids progressing each and every game. Over the last few games we have been in every single game,” he told Swankonspots.com, “We have just had a four, five minute stretch where we just didn’t play very well. If we were in the lead it allowed the other team to cut into our lead or take the lead or if we were behind it allowed them to expand on their lead. If we can get those things out of our game we will be a lot better.”
In Orrville’s case they have played well in every game this season. They just have failed to o carry that through for 32 minutes. “For us it isn’t even consistency from game to game it is more quarter to quarter. Each game the kids come out and play really, really hard. They do the things they need to do it’s just that four, five minute stretch that keeps killing us,” he said.
Orrville (2-11,1-7) plays at Ashland (9-5,5-4), who just upset West Holmes (54-49) on Tuesday night, in an Ohio Cardinal Conference game on Friday night. Slaughter says the Arrows will really attempt to push he tempo of the game. “They are going to push the basketball and really make you run the floor. By the end of the game they hope that you are kind of tired and defensively they can do some things. They shoot a lot of three, especially in transition. They have a lot of good shooters. It makes it tough for you to locate those shooters in transition,” said Slaughter.
With the number of three point shots the Arrows will take Slaughter says they need their guards to be good rebounders. “That is one of the things we always stress to our guards when we play them. They are not used to having to screen out as much, but because of the long shot usually caused a long rebound. If their not there to gobble up those long rebounds and giving those guys second and third shots it usually comes back to haunt you,” he said.
On Saturday night, Orrville travels to rival Wooster to play the Generals (8-6,4-4). Wooster won the first meeting (49-34) between the two. Slaughter says the Generals can balance the floor. “They were playing really, really well and then they suffered a couple of sets backs last week. They got beat by Mansfield Senior and then they went into Ashland in a game we got to watch Saturday night and Ashland was able to defeat them. They are a good basketball team they are big, which is going to create some problems for us. They are very athletic as well on the perimeter. I think they have won seven of their last 10 or something like that, so they are playing really well,” said Slaughter.
Orrville Starting to Find Things
Orrville got off to a rough start to their season in losing their first seven games, but the Red Riders have railed to win two of their last three.
Coach Sly Slaughter says they have started to put some things together that have allowed them to be more competitive. “We have been playing better over what we believe is the last four or five games. We have been progressively been getting better and better, We won two in a row and then I thought we played pretty well against a Mansfield team that came out hot from three point range. After that I thought we did what we needed to do and stay within the game,” said Slaughter.
The Red Riders (2-8,1-5) beat Mansfield Madison (40-28) and Norwayne (46-42) before losing to Mansfield Senior (75-61) in their last game. Slaughter sights three reasons for their improved play. “I think we are not turning the ball over as much and we are finally starting to hit some shots and we are playing stronger around the basket,” he said.
Orrville is home for West Holmes (9-3,5-1), #4 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coach’s poll in the large school division, in Ohio Cardinal Conference play on Tuesday night. The Knights best player Brady Arnold is expected to be back from an ankle injury and Slaughter says they have been preparing for that. “As we have been preparing for West Holmes we definitely expect Brady to play (Tuesday) night. They are a good team without him. They have won games without him and they played Mansfield Senior very tough without him. It’s a good basketball team that becomes very, very good when Brady is playing and it will be a tough challenge for us,” said Slaughter.
West Holmes is 2-1 without Arnold in then lineup and Slaughter says they have other players that can hurt you. “They have some other guys that are contributing as well. Michael DeWitt is averaging nine a game and Ryan Near is averaging nine. Gabe Snyder has got 11, so they are becoming a more balanced team as the year goes on,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday.
It would be an upset if Orrville would win and Slaughter says to have a chance they must be able to limit what Arnold does and be able to compete on the boards with the bigger Knights. “As always things start with trying to limit Brady a little bit. He is a great player and you are not going to keep him scoreless, but you have to limit the points he gets and then we have to do a good job of controlling the backboards and playing good defense,” said Salughter.
Orrville Still Looking For Offense
It seems just like football season, the Orrville Red Riders can’t find any offense.
They scored only 27 points in a loss to Ashland last week and they haven’t scored more than 60 in a game this year. Coach Sly Slaughter says they aren’t running their offense that well and they aren’t making any shots. “We have to do a better job of executing our offense and keeping the floor spread and give ourselves a few opportunities and then when those opportunities open up we have to start making some shots,” he said.
On the other hand, Slaughter says their defensive execution has been pretty sound this year. He says that is not the problem area. “I think defensive we have been pretty good. Other than West Holmes we have done a pretty good job, even West Holmes, we gave up 64 points there, and I think eight to 10 of those were at the end of the game with them shooting some foul shots.,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Then last week against Smithville they got a lot of shots from the free throw line. I think defensively we are playing well. On Friday, we only gave up 43 points to Ashland, usually when you do that you have an opportunity to win.”
Orrville (0-4,0-2) travels to arch rival Wooster (1-3,0-2) for an Ohio Cardinal Conference game on Friday night. Slaughter says that defense will be called on again. “I think we have to do a good job in trying to control James Preston the best we can. He can do a lot of things. He can shoot the three. He can get to the basket, so we are going to have to do a good job containing him and then. On the inside Cameron Daugherty and Grant Stokes are both very, very good players. With our lack of size we are really going to have to try to keep them from getting the ball in there and when shots go up try to keep them off the boards,” said Slaughter.
It may be more prominent in football, but Slaughter says the Red Riders and the Generals, at least the fans, don’t like each other much when they meet on the hardwood either. “I don’t think it matters what sport it is anytime it is Orrville-Wooster guys tend to get a little more fired up. The fans start to get a little bit more rowdy and the intensity and the atmosphere of the whole game definitely changes from regular games,” he said.
Orrville Doing it with a Smaller Lineup
Orrville has been blessed with some height over the years, but now the Red Riders are a team that needs to rely a lot more heavily on their guards to win games.
They also don’t have much experience back on their roster this season and coach Sly Slaughter says that means they are going to be some inconsistencies here in December. “We are definitely a little more inexperienced than we have been with just three returning letter winners coming back from last year with Jonathan Landis, Alexander Smith, and Trevor Summers, but we have some guys that we think can step up and be pretty good players for us out of our junior and sophomore classes,” he told Swankonsports.com, “We also have one freshmen that is going to play for us quite a bit as well in Luke Smith. Early on that inexperience probably showed a little bit when we went down to West Holmes and had a tough loss there and we lost a close one against Shelby as well.”
Every high school coach has to tweak what they are going to do every year, but Slaughter says they are working with a different approach because of the personnel they have on the floor. “We lose Devon Winters, who is 6’10” and Drew Brenner, who is 6’4” last year and previous to that Zach Wasson and Max Periman and Chase Hoovler and some of those guys. Our days of having good size are over for the next few years, so we are definitely going to have to rely on our perimeter game,” he said.
Orrville (0-2,0-1) plays host to Ashland (3-1,1-0), #5 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coach’s poll in the large school division, on Friday night. Ashland has done some good things this year, including a win in their conference opener last week at Wooster in beating the Generals (53-46) in their building. Slaughter says they have some really good shooters. “Isaac White is a tremendous basketball player. He can do it a little bit off the dribble, but he really shoots the basketball well as does Delaney. Both of those guys are back from last year. They were pivotal players for them from last year and they are doing a great job for them this year. They had a great win last week going into Wooster and getting a win. It is going to be a tough game for us,” said Slaughter.
Last season, Ashland ran at a break neck pace playing basketball like hockey. Slaughter says they have toned it down a little bit this year. “I thought last year they really tried to get the game going in an upbeat manner. They had 10 guys that they would rotate in, five at a time, where as this year they are playing eight guys and kind of slow it down a little bit more. They still look to run at every opportunity, but just not as much as last year,” he said.
Orrville Wants to Feel Good
There haven’t been a lot of smiles around the Orrville football camp this season the Rid Riders have not had the kind of season that their fans and supporters have become accustomed too.
They beat Canal Fulton Northwest on the first week of the season and they have followed that with eight straight losses. This for a program that has more than 20 postseason appearances.
Orrville lost last week to Clear Fork (21-14) when the Colts rallied to score twice in the fourth quarter. Coach Doug Davault says it was like a broken record. “It was kind of the story of the season, not much change. We continue to struggle with the offense and on defense we just kind of wore out a little bit. The kids are still plugging away and till trying hard. It’s just the inability to make plays and having some bad things happen to you in the middle of plays. Right now, it’s just too much for us to overcome. We have one more shot to have some positive things happen for us. No better time because this weekend is Wooster,” he said.
With all of the disappointment this season has brought, Devault says they still have a chance to end the season on an up note with a win against their biggest rival. “We set three goals every year and we are not going to attain the first two, but we can still attain the third goal, which is to beat Wooster. They are a very good football team. It would be a nice win for us. They have athletes. They are kind snake bit the same way we are. They put a few more points on the board than we do, but it is the same kind of things as they have a hard time making plays when they need too. You want to leave something from this season, so next year you can come in and say okay we can get back to where we belong and that is what we are hoping to do,” said Davault.
Although Orrville has been down record wise because they don’t have the same level of player, Davault also believes that the overall strength of the “OCC” has been a factor. “The league is as good as it has ever been. I have said that for the last couple of years that it was getting better. This year Madison, Senior, West Holmes, Lexington and Ashland are all on the verge of making the playoffs. You have to make sure that week in and week out you are giving your team a chance to win. There have been a couple of times this year when we have gotten outmanned. There have been a couple of times this year when we could have played better and secured a victory and we didn’t,” he said.
This week it’s a Saturday night game as Orrville (1-8,0-6) is at Wooster (2-7,1-5) in “OCC” play. Davault thinks that the Generals have a lot of stallions on offense. “They have athletes everywhere. Preston and Owens are two dynamic receivers that are averaging about 20 yards a catch a piece. Their quarterback is 6’5”, Cam Daugherty and he just has a cannon for an arm. They have a good running back in Tomlin. Their line is good up front. They are big and athletic,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Their ability to put numbers up on the board offensively has been impressive all season. Defensively, they have struggled at times, but you watch them and they are athletic there too. It’s going to be a tough match-up for us, but I hope our kids come out and find another gear and another level to play at.”
Orrville has turned to the run game more this year, but Davault says they will have to be a threat to throw too or the Generals are going to make it hard to run. “We are running the ball more than we are throwing it right now just because that is what we are better at. We have got to occupy the football. We have go run offense. That means you have to be able to snap it ten times without making a mistake without having a penalty or a dropped ball or a fumble. That has been our problem all year long. We have put ourselves in second and 15 or third and 12 and those are tough to overcome. We are going to look to run on offense. They are going to put seven or eight in the box and we are going to have to throw it. We probably will slow the tempo down a little bit and not be flying around the field like you have seen in the past,” said Davault.
Defense Gives Orrville a Chance
Orrville scared the daylights out of Mansfield Madison last week and they seem to be getting at least a little bit better as football team.
The Red Riders (1-7,0-5) almost knocked Madison out of the Ohio Cardinal Conference title hunt, but Madison prevailed (14-12) last Friday in “OCC” play. Coach Doug Davault says they were in top form on defense and they found a little something on offense late in the game. “We are obviously not satisfied, but we did do some things well defensively we were fairly stellar take away two big plays I thought we played extremely well all night long. In the fourth quarter we found a little bit of offense, which was encouraging. We took steps in the right direction, but obviously not the result we wanted and have to continue to work and search and see if we can find it,” he said.
Other than big plays Davault says they have done a pretty decent job on defense all year long. “We have been a victim of the big plays all year. The third in 13, the third and 20, the fourth and 10. For what ever reason, the big play right before half. Those are the things that have been our weakness on defense. Other than that we play really, really well in spurts,” he told Swankonsports.com, “We had two games in a row in the middle of the year against two very good teams, Senior and West Holmes, where they got the better of us. I thought other than that you take away some big plays where we just either lose focus or take ourselves out of the play I thought we have played well defensively all year long.”
The offense has been a different story for the Red Riders. Usually a wide open, high scoring offense, Orrville has had some major problems this year. They just have not found a rhythm. Devault says they have changed some things from their traditional look. “Throwing the ball is still a struggle for us. We ran the ball pretty well, pretty affectively, on Friday night. We will continue to work along that framework see if we can’t run the ball. We threw a tight end in there the two weeks ago and that seems to have helped some. We are so used to traditionally spreading them out and throwing it around the yard this one that has created quite a bit of adjustments for the coaches too. I hope we can continue to build on what we did last week and still find a way to improve the passing game and continue to improve the run game,” said Davault.
Clear Fork (2-6,0-5) comes to Orrville on Friday night in a game between two schools that are normally near the top of the conference standings. Davault says the winner gets some needed momentum. “They are a lot like us in where they are right now feeling like they should be in a better spot and not getting the results they would like. In what you try to do is say, hey, we have two games left, that’s your season. You want to try and win out if you can. With both of us that is going to be our mentality to see if we can’t finish on a positive note and win your last two. For the younger guys you build towards something and for the older guys at least you finish strong,” said Davault.
Clear Fork also has changed its traditional look. They are normally a run team and Devault feels they still want to be. “Part of it is they have been down in games and that has probably affected that number a little bit. We have them about 60-40 with the pass, but that is affected by the score of their games. They have kind of been forced into that. I think they would like to run the football out of a variety of formations and come right at you if they can. If they think they can run it right at you that is exactly what they will do,” said Davault.
Orrville Needs Rhythm
Orrville just can’t seem to be able to put things together on offense this season and they are going to need to be able to do that when they host Mansfield Madison in “OCC” play this week.
Last Friday, the Red Riders played a little better, especially in the first half, but ended up losing to Ashland (21-6) in Ohio Cardinal Conference action. Coach Doug Davault says they played a pretty good game on defense, but they just couldn’t move the ball consistently. “We did some things that we can certainly build on. We still aren’t where we want to be. We did a lot of good things, especially defensively in the first half. We had a lot of chances to roll over,” he told Swankonsports.com, “They probably had the ball inside the 10 yard line four times and only scored once. I was very pleased with the effort. We are still scuffling to make plays on offense. I’ll tell you what with where we are at they are hanging in their very well. We have to find a way to turn the corner.”
Orrville has made the playoffs 22 times, more than any school in the conference. This might not end up being one of their better teams, but Davault says that is not due to a lake of effort. “I have maintained from the beginning of the year that this is the hardest working group I have ever been around and that hasn’t changed. What they haven’t been able to do is translate what they do in practice to the field on Friday night. Maybe it is a little bit of performance anxiety I don’t know. They continue to work hard, they have great attitudes. We hope something good happens for us in the next couple of weeks,” he said.
Mansfield Madison (6-1,3-1), #4 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the large school division, plays at Orrville (1-6,0-4) on Friday. Davault says with a great offensive line and a back like Kyle Huss, the Rams are going to run and then run some more. “They get in the full house or some variation of that or a bone type situation. They are running very basic plays. They are run some off tackle, they run some dive up the middle or dive option. The fullback has been incredible. You’ll see them get all scrummed up and then all of the sudden he is going 60. He has done that consistently in every tape we have watched, so we have got our hands full. Against Wooster I think they ran 58 straight running plays with no passes. They also ran it for about 560 yards. This is a lot like a West Holmes team that we played a couple of weeks ago. They are big and strong and they do what they do extremely well. We are going to have to go in and play at a very high level,” said Davault.
Madison’s offensive line is one of the area’s best. Davault says it’s because they will never quit. “Probably their effort as much as anything else. They are big, strong kids, but they get off the ball very well and they continue to move their feet. They will block and they know that dude will take off and go if he gets an option. They continue to block until the whistle blows, so like I said this is going to be one that is going to be very, very challenging,” he said.
You are probably going to have to score points if you want to beat Madison. Davault says to do that they have to get their act together. “We have been so inefficient in what we are trying to do that that has been our full focus. Again they are big and strong up front they often times will have seven in the box. You have to mix up what you do. You have to throw it some and you have to run it some. What we have to do is we have to be more efficient and more consistent in what we do. There are spurts when you say, okay, here we are and then you turn around and you have lost that. We have to find some consistency and some rhythm,” said Davault.
It has been a long time since Orrville was shut out in a football game, but it happened last week. They are still trying to find what they are good at doing.
Last week, Ohio Cardinal Conference co-leader West Holmes buried (41-0) the Red Riders. Orrville coach Doug Davault says they pretty much got their heads handed to them. “They do what they do and they do it extremely well. There is not a lot of fluff, there is not a lot of deception. They are going to come right at you. They are going to trap you, they are going to buck sweep you and throw the occasional boot to a back out of the backfield. Their execution and their line play was very, very impressive. Well done on their part,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We did not play particularly well, but I’m certain they had something to do with it. Defensively, I thought they were maybe better than advertised. They handed it to us. That is one of those that we have to look back at, okay, we are done with that one, let’s move on. They got us pretty good.”
West Holmes is an outstanding team, they wouldn’t be unbeaten if they weren’t. However, Davault says they never really forced West Holmes to do much. “We didn’t allow ourselves to run much offense and again they had something to do with it. Between penalties and turnovers and lack of execution and making plays we just didn’t give ourselves a whole lot of chances. When we did get a chance it seemed there was something that we did that shot ourselves in the foot. What we have to find is we have to find a way to start making some plays so good things happen for us. Right now, we are in that funk where everything that happens for us is bad,” said Davault.
Orrville travels to Ashland (3-3,1-2), #5 in our Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the large school division, to meet the Arrows in a conference game Friday night. Davault says Ashland is as consistent as any team they play. “Well, Scott Valentine does great job with those kids. He has his system in and that system has been plentiful the last few years and they are doing the same stuff. They are very good. They got beat by two very good football teams and they were right there in both games. This is a very good football team. We knew coming in that they were the favorites in the league until somebody knocked them off. What they ran into was two buzz saws in both Mansfield Senior and West Holmes,” said Davault.
Ashland plays out of a base spread offense and Davault says they are just very tough to stop because they have great versatility. “They are in their five wide and they throw the ball. They will run it occasionally. They have their system down pat. The quarterback has a strong arm, two good receivers he throws to and the other three aren’t slouches, you can’t stay off them. Then you watch them on defense. They play very well on defense. They ran into two teams that just get after you on offense and they are hard to stop. Just like last week, we have our hands full again,” Davault said.
One of the keys to stopping or at least containing the Arrows, according to Davault, is to show them a number of different looks on defense. “Their underneath game, their quick release game is really tough to deal with so you have to change things up on them. You can’t do the same thing over and over again or they are going to get you. Sometimes you are bringing the heat and sometimes you are dropping as many as you can. You just have to make sure disguise it and change it up and give them different looks at that’s what we hope to do on Friday night,” said Davault.
Orrville Can’t Stray
There are times when even the best struggles a little bit.
Wade Boggs went 0-4 a couple of times, Larry Bird missed a few free throws and Jack Nicklaus did miss a few pressure puts. So, this season has not been what we are used to seeing from Orrville.
The Red Riders (1-4,0-2) have lost four straight games. That almost never happens. Last week, they were beaten by Mansfield Senior (35-12) and coach Doug Davault has seen some improvement, but not nearly enough. “Some of the same problems we have had before. We did a decent job in some areas. We got a little bit better on defense. They were very, very good. That was the best Senior team that we have seen in while. They have athletes everywhere. As the score indicated we were right in the thing in the first half. Offensively, still some inconsistency there on execution. We need to continue to work on that and continue to try and get better each week,” said Davault.
Orrville is winless in the league, but Davault says the Ohio Cardinal Conference is very good overall and if you don’t play well, you are going to lose. “The league itself is such a meat grinder. It’s as good as it’s ever been and there are no breaks. You are not going to have anywhere where you can set there and say we are going to have a reprieve this week. That’s just not happening. So, hopefully we can right the ship this week. The kid’s effort was fine last week. We just have to do a better job executing. We have to do a better job coaching them up and getting them in the right spot,” he said.
Orrville over the years has featured an electrifying pass game, but Davault says this year it has been terribly inconsistent. “That is probably were the bulk of our inconsistency has come. In one of our touchdown drives the past week we didn’t throw it one time out of our spread. We got a really nice surge by the line and a nice job of a sophomore tailback and a junior tailback taking turns running the ball,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “The run game I haven’t been totally displeased with. The pass game we are just missing. A couple of times we had guys open and dropped the ball and we had a couple times when we didn’t run the right route. We have to clean that up.”
It certainly doesn’t get any easier as the Red Riders play host to West Holmes (5-0,2-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the large school division, in an “OCC” game this week. Davault says the Knights aren’t flashy, they are just good. “They just come right at you. It’s an old fashioned wing-t. It’s in your face. They are going to run trap, they are going to run some of their off tackle power stuff, they are going to boot you and they are going to buck sweep you. You better be ready. They are not going to show you anything fancy. They are just going to do what they do and they are going to do it very, very well. They have a stable of running backs. They have three, four, five guys that can really go. Up front they are really good. The quarterback is a really good athlete. They have a tight end that is going to Kent State on a full ride. The quarterback is going to Wright State as a pitcher. They are loaded with athletes,” said Davault.
How do you stop that wing-t? Well, Davault says you have to be disciplined and how need to get some penetration. “You better read your keys. If you get caught up in what they are doing in the backfield you are going to struggle, so you have to read your keys. You have to control the line of scrimmage. You have to try and get a little bit of penetration. You have to try and get back in the backfield and screw up what you want to do. The key is to just be sound in what you do and make sure your gaps and responsibilities are covered. That will be the biggest test for us because it is just time after time,” said Davault.
Orrville Has to be in Position
Orrville has to find its grove because they haven’t done it so far.
They were blown out last week when Lexington was the team that made the big plays in beating the Red Riders (30-8) in the Ohio Cardinal Conference opener for both schools. Coach Doug Davault says they allowed Lexington to many big plays and played too inconsistently when they had the ball. “It was kind of a repeat of what we were doing each week. We gave up too many big plays on defense and didn’t have the consistency we wanted on offense. The kids are playing hard, that part is not the issue. It’s just making plays. We had a third in 28, third and 20 and third and 13 all converted for touchdowns. The first play of the second had we gave up a 65-yard run,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Other than that we played well. Offensively we drive it to the five on the first set and can’t get it in. From that point on we struggled. Then we got it on towards the end and had a couple of turnovers late that kept us from getting it in. We have got to find a way of making plays and find a way of being more consistent in everything we do.”
Over the years Orrville (1-3,0-1) has been the team making the big plays and Davault says this year they have been too tentative. “There is a mentality to that and we will continue to work on that with our kids believing and playing aggressively rather than playing to not make mistakes. That’s what happens to you when you get to where you are right now. You start playing tentatively and worry about getting beat or making mistakes. It just compounds itself. It’s very important that they come out and make big plays when they have the opportunities,” he said.
This Friday night Orrville hosts Mansfield Senior (3-1,1-0) in “OCC” play. The Tygers are coming off a win (35-15) over Clear Fork last week. Davault believes the Tygers are very good and underrated as a football team. “I would put this team up with any team they have had over the last 10 to 15 years. They are very, very impressive. They have a lot of their basketball kids out. The little point guard Johnson, who is going to Winthrop on a basketball scholarship, at 5’4” and 150 pounds is playing a slot for them. He is about as dynamic as you get. They have three other good wide outs. Their quarterback is great. Their line is good. I really think they are one of the favorites in the league. I don’t know if people know that, but they are as good as anyone we’ll play athletically,” said Davault.
Mansfield Senior features great speed and Davault says that makes your defense be very disciplined and gang tackle the ball carrier. “You have to make sure you are doing your job and not try to do somebody else’s job. You have to be disciplined and then you have to rally to ball, get 11 black hats to the ball to make the tackle because if you only get one guy there they will make you miss some and at that point it is over. It’s going to be running to the ball and putting ourselves in position. We have to change up what we do. We can’t do the same thing over and over again and try to make the uncomfortable in their schemes,” said Davault.
Orrville Needs Win
Orrville suffered an upset last week and they need to get back on track right way.
Wooster Triway took a big first half lead and they hung on to beat the Red Riders (29-20) last week. Coach Doug Davault says they allowed too many big plays and they still can’t get that traditional passing game going. “They had two significant running plays in the first half that either led to a touchdown or was a touchdown. We had four big breakdowns on four plays in the first half defensively that allowed them to score. You can’t do that. They are a better football team than people think,” he told Swankonsports.com, “We were about as inefficient on offense as we could be. We ran very well, I have been very pleased with our running game the first two games, but still working on that pass game. Give Triway all of the credit. Their kids came out and played very well and maybe they had something to do with us not being able to pass it.”
Why can’t the Red Riders move it through the air? Davault says there have been several reasons. “Friday night we dropped something like between 10 and 12 balls and that obviously can’t happen. Most of them happened in the first half and it kind of took the wind out of our sails. I thought after that we sort of waited to see who was going to make a play rather than creating plays. I think will need to get more aggressive, very simply. The receivers have to run more aggressive routes, the quarterback has to be more aggressive with his throws, and just be more assertive about everything we are doing in the pass game. Rather than hoping something good will happen we have to make something happen. Right now I think as much as anything else it’s a mind fix,” said Davault.
Copley (2-0) plays host to Orrville on Friday night in a non-conference game. Davault says Copley has some home run hitters in their line-up. “They are outstanding. They have a division one running back that is the real deal. You give him any kind of space or a crease and you better get ready for the kick return because he can take it to the house anytime he gets it. They have a good quarterback. They have two good receivers. They are good up front. It’s a very, very good Copley team, we are going to have to play extremely well,” Davault said.
Playoffs are always in the back of the Red Riders minds, no matter what the week. Davault says they could earn a big bonus this week if they can beat Copley. “Especially when you didn’t perform the way you wanted to on week two. I think it’s important that we come out this week and play the way we want too and see if we can get on the board against these guys. If we win one here that should be a lot of points. They are going to win football games. This is a good Copley team that is going to win a lot of football games. We are always looking to see where we are standing in the playoff picture. That is something that our kids have become accustom too. They look at that more than they do the conference or anything else,” said Davault.
Orrville Working on Passing Game
Orrville ran the ball very well in their first game, but they need to be more efficient in the passing game to become the kind of Orrville team we are used to seeing.
The Red Riders beat Canal Fulton Northwest 24-20 in their first game last week. They face Wooster Triway on Friday night in their week two game.
Coach Doug Davault says they ran the ball very well when they had it and they were able to stop the Northwest run game pretty well too. “Anytime you win you have to feel decent about it. I was really pleased with our run game. That was an area of concern and they were much bigger than us up front. I was a little worried about our line of scrimmage on both sides. Throughout the course of the game we had one glitch on a defense a drive where we gave up a big play, other than that I thought we played very well,” he told Swankonsports.com, “We ran the ball, especially after Joel Zook got hurt on the first running play of the game for us, and we brought in two sophomores that did a great job getting in there. The concern for us was our passing game. We are better than what we showed on Friday so hopefully we have corrected a lot of those mistakes this week.”
On the other hand he says their passing game was not very good last week and that has to get better if they are going to continue to win games, especially in the tough Ohio Cardinal Conference. “We didn’t do very well with our execution. We didn’t line up very well, we didn’t keep our spacing, and we didn’t run our routes very well. Those are things that are all correctable. That is something we have to do better. It was a combination of both quarterback and receiver. That is something I think we will get better and better at. We really only have (quarterback) Kyle (Lichti) back on the offensive side in the passing game on Friday nights. The other guys are all brand new to us. We will get better as it goes,” said Davault.
Wooster Triway (0-1) lost to another “OCC” in West Holmes (41-22) last week. Davault says the Titans have an excellent passing game with a deep crop of receivers. “They are very impressive throwing the ball. The Carmichael kid can really get it off quickly and get it to where he wants to. They threw for 360 yards and they had four or five kids catch the ball. It was very impressive the way they distributed the ball and threw it down the field. They played West Holmes, who is very, very good. They are leading 15-13 going into the fourth, so that tells you where they were at. A couple of big plays in the second half got them,” he said.
Orrville would be rated as a considerable favorite in the game, but Davault says they have to continue to show up and play the game. “The Keaneny kid at wide out is a good player. They have three or four other players, so you can’t say you are going to take that kid away. They have a bunch of guys that they can throw it to and he gets it off so quick that you have a hard time getting pressure on him. We are going to have to mix some things up and get after them a little bit. We got down inside the red zone three times and didn’t get any points out of it the other night and that’s unacceptable and that’s something we have got to fix,” he said.
Orrville Trying to Mature Quickly
Orrville has qualified for the playoffs 22 times, including last year when they lost to eventual state champion Norwayne. This year they are starting out as a pretty inexperienced team.
Coach Doug Davault says they don’t have a lot of kids, but the ones they have looked pretty good. “We are here and we better be ready. Our kids have worked extremely hard and we have had a great summer in the weight room. The two a days went good. That’s a long stretch for kids and they battled through it. There aren’t many of us. We still don’t have a lot of depth. We have 38 kids on the team. That part is what it is. You play with what you’ve got. Our kids I think will compete every week,” he told Swankonsports.com, “It remains to be seen where we will be when all of the dust settles, but I like our guys. I like our skill. We don’t have much size up front, but our kids are feisty and they will get after you. We will be physical. It’s just going to be a matter of week in and week out eliminate mistakes. When you have a lot of young guys, or inexperienced guys playing mistakes are inevitable you just have to make sure they don’t keep you from winning ballgames.”
Davault has been pretty happy with what he has seen, but he knows that the first test will be Friday night when they travel to Canal Fulton Northwest. “You can scrimmage all you want and practice all you want, but when you turn the lights on and it really counts everything changes. We have some guys that we are going to find out how they handle that. They will get more comfortable in those roles and the things that they are doing as the year goes on, but in that first game with all the jitters that go with that first experience of being a number one is going to affect some kids. Hopefully we can calm their nerves and after they get their first licks in everything slows down and they have the ability to go out and make some plays,” said Davault.
Northwest is going to have some young players too and Davault believes they are going to try and do what they are good at. “I think that Vic will do the things that he has been doing with spreading it out and throwing it and lining up in a two back and running it at you. I think ultimately what he wants to do is run right at you. He is big and has some strong kids. He lost most of his skilled guys and what he has coming in looks pretty good. He is going to be like us in that regard. I think what he is going to do is take his big kids and run right at us. And see how we are going to handle that,” he said.
Davault says they have to make Northwest throw the ball and do some things they don’t plan to do going in. “We have to show them that they can’t run right at us and maybe force them to do some things they don’t want to do. That is nature of any defense. You want to take the offense out of you comfort zone and make them uncomfortable. We have to make sure they know that running on us is going to be a chore. You have to make sure you win your one on one battles where you have to,” said Davault.
Orrville Finding Out What Young Players Are Made of
Orrville is going to be counting on a lot of young players this year and they are spending the preseason trying to get those kids rounded into shape.
Coach Doug DeVault says he has seen a lot good things, but there are still a lot of elements of the game that they need to be better at by the time the opener against Canal Fulton Northwest gets here. “We have a lot of work to do yet, but we are getting better. We had a chance to see a lot of our younger guys on Saturday. We got some guys nicked up, so we got them a little extended time. Physically I think we are doing okay,” he told Swankonsports.com, “We are in pretty good shape. We have a lot of learning still to do and just getting comfortable with what we are doing. When you are replacing as many guys as we are you are going to have some growing pains and hopefully we can get through those growing pains a little faster then we thought we would be able to.”
DeVault says the biggest thing for an inexperienced player to learn is the speed of the game and how fast he must react. “At the high school level it’s a little different then say college. At the high school level there is some size and strength differences too. The speed of the game and the ability to process information in a rapid form so you know what you need to do so you can get there and do it in a hurry and do that as we say with a bad attitude. That is part of it that they are still getting through. When we are talking about learning and growing that is exactly what we are talking about,” said DeVault.
Last season, Orrville had one of the best defenses in the area. DeVault says to have a great defense you just have to have players that like to hit. “You have to have that factor in kids. We have been blessed with having a handful of those kids every year. Kids that are looking to make a statement every time they go to make a tackle or have to run through a block. I think we have some of those kids again this year. Defensively it starts with being physical and it ends with just out hustling folks,” he said.
With under two weeks until the opener DeVault says his biggest concern is the younger players they have that are going to be playing major roles for them. “We have our young guys and our first year guys that are playing varsity and they just have to get acclimated and comfortable playing at this level. Your goal for everybody is to get better each week and you hope that your kids are good enough early on that they can compete real well right off the bat. My concern as much as anything else is our youth,” said DeVault.
With their youth DeVault says the scrimmage action they have already had and will have on Friday against Louisville is very important to them. “Scrimmages are really important to us from an evaluation tool and for the kids self evaluation so they can find out where they are and what they need to get better at and things they aren’t very good at right now. It’s vital, especially at this part of the two a days that you have somebody else to go against. You get tired of going against your own guys especially when you are team like us that doesn’t have a lot folks on the team anyway. Your ability to get the kids to compete at high level each and every practice is a little diminished because of the number of bodies you have. We are looking forward to seeing how our kids will look against Louisville on Friday night and seeing what kid of progress we have made,” said DeVault.
Orrville No Surprise to be in the Regionals
Orrville is one of three Ohio Cardinal Conference schools to advance to the regional baseball tournament, Ashland and West Holmes on the others, and the Red Riders play Grand Valley in the division three regional semi-finals on Thursday at Massillon Washington High School.
Orrville finished fourth in the “OCC,” behind Ashland, West Holmes and Wooster. Coach Scott Marshall says it has been a turn around year for the baseball program at Orrville. “It’s been an exceptionally good year. We are pleased. We made a lot of improvement from a year ago. Last year we were 9-18 and this year we are 18-9, so I’m pleased about that. To have three teams from the Ohio Cardinal Conference in the regionals is unbelievable,’ said Marshall.
You would be hard pressed to find a better baseball conference in this part of the state than the Ohio Cardinal Conference. Marshall believes they have been tested going into regional play. “You try not to look ahead at this point in the tournament. Our record is not as good as Grand Valley’s. We feel we played at extremely competitive schedule not only in conference, but out of conference, so it makes a big difference,” he said.
Orrville (18-9), #5 in the final Swankonsports.com baseball coach’s poll in the small school division, beat Ashland 10-6 in their final “OCC” game on May 11, handing the Arrows their only home loss of the season. Marshall says that win gave them a lot of confidence. “We had been playing well a few weeks ago. We ran into a busy week and we were kind of feeling sorry for ourselves a little bit. That win over Ashland was a big boost. Not only that, but to beat them fairly handily throwing guys that hadn’t pitched all season,” he said.
Orrville has been a balanced team this season, able to win high scoring and low scoring games. Marshall says they have been able to produce pretty much throughout their lineup for most of the season. “We have hit the ball extremely well. The bats cooled off here as of late. We have just started to pick it back up. Our first seven, eight batters are all hitting over .300, so we are pleased with that. Equally impressive is I think we play well when we have to play small ball. At the end of day our hitting has been good, but we feel really good about our pitching,” said Marshall.
With district wins over Norwayne (2-0) and Massillon Tuslaw (4-1), Orrville got two seven inning complete games. Marshall says he has a lot of confidence in the arms he is putting on the mound. “We have several guys that pitch really well. In the district semi-final and the district championship both our number one and number two pitchers tossed complete games and gave up only one hit. I feel good about those two guys as well. We have several other guys that can be called upon to get the job done,’ said Marshall.
Grand Valley (27-1) finished number two in the statewide coach’s poll this season in division and they are very good. However, Marshall says they can win Thursday. “I feel good about our odds. When you get to this point in the season everybody is good. Again that is were it boils down to the schedule that we play. I think that we are prepared. I expect us to be ready. It should be a lot of fun,” he said.
Orrville Knocking in the Door
Orrville has come out of the gate swinging the bats well and has gotten good pitching efforts and that has led to a 7-2 record and a second place standing in the tough Ohio Cardinal Conference.
Their loss Wednesday night to West Holmes (7-1) was their first loss in the “OCC” this year and they share second with the Knights, a game behind unbeaten Ashland. Coach Scott Marshall says they have more experience on the roster this spring and that has led to better results. “We have played extremely well lately because we are getting production from everybody. Quite honestly the last couple of years we have played a lot of younger kids. When you look at the guys that play or the guys that are on the varsity contributing everybody has been on the varsity for at least a year and some guys are in their fourth year at the varsity level,” said Marshall.
Marshall believes the Red Riders (7-2,5-1), #4 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coach’s poll in the smaller school division, drew a lot of confidence from their wins over Mansfield Madison on week two of the conference schedule and they have been able to build on that. “We swept Mansfield Madison and we know that their program is legendary and that pumped up our kids quite a bit. We have been on a roll until (Wednesday) night when we played a very good West Holmes team and played well the first night and the second night we kind of made some young mistakes. Of the 12 kids on our varsity, eight of them are only sophomores,” he said.
Obviously Orrville isn’t doing everything perfect either. Marshall says they need to get more consistent hitting through the lineup and they have to field the ball better. “Like many high school teams I would like to get more production out of the bottom of our order. You know, (Wednesday) night we faced a good pitcher and we struggled a little bit. We cooled off. We had been swinging the bats really well. We made some vital mistakes in the field that we traditionally don’t make. I have to believe we will correct those in practice and be ready to go Tuesday against Clear Fork,” Marshall said.
Like most coaches, Marshall thinks that the new BB-core bats have made a significant impact on the high school game and what kinds of things you have to do in order to be successful. “The bats have changed both the hitting and the strategy dramatically. From a strategy standpoint you are going to bunt more than you have in the past. You are going to try and move runners and be more aggressive on the base paths. You know that it isn’t going to be a high scoring affair so pitching and defense are at a premium,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Those are really the two strong areas that we have. We have some guys that hit the ball. A.J. Perez and J.T. Perez, who are brothers, have belted their fair share of homer runs early on. There is a little drop off, but it makes the game more fun and it also speeds the game up.”
Certainly winning a conference title is in the cards for the Orrville, but Marshall emphasizes that you have to be ready to play well each and every time out in this league. “The Ohio Cardinal Conference is a very strong athletic conference. I have always said from a baseball standpoint it’s as good a baseball conference as there is. Ashland has a real good team and so does West Holmes, but no one should overlook anyone else. You know each night that you have to bring your “A” game. Lexington is always dangerous, so is Clear Fork, and Wooster and Senior has improved dramatically. I don’t think there is any team in our conference that can just show up and expect to win,” said Marshall.
Orrville in Regionals… Again
At one time Orrville was in last place in the tough Ohio Cardinal Conference, but as is normally the case the Red Riders have played their best basketball during the tournament.
They meet Burton Berkshire (18-6) in the division three regional semi-finals on Wednesday night at the Canton Civic Center.
At one time they were 1-7 on the season and even coach Sly Slaughter has to admit he is a little surprised they have reached the sweet 16 in division three. “Yeah, a little bit. One thing that we know that is always going to happen is our kids are going to play hard. We knew that during the season we had chances to win a lot more games than just seven and we just told our guys to work hard and eventually hard work will pay off. One of the goals of our team to begin the year was to win the district. We went out and were able to achieve that,” said Slaughter.
One thing that is a benefit to the Riders (11-13) is they are a member of the tough Ohio Cardinal Conference. Being one of the smallest schools in the league they normally see as good a team in their league as they do in their district. Plus, Slaughter says they see a wide variety of styles. “When you are playing Mansfield Senior twice a year, you are playing Lexington twice a year, Wooster and West Holmes, you are going to get a little bit of everything. If you are playing Ashland you are going to get a little taste of full court press, up tempo basketball and a team that shoots a lot of threes,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “If you are playing Mansfield Senior, you are going to get about as athletic as you are possibly going to face all year. When you are playing teams like Lexington and West Holmes, you are going to get physical, tough games that make you have to grind things out. Definitely our league prepares us for the tournament.”
Berkshire finished second in the Chagrin Valley Conference and they really started to play some pretty good basketball over the second half of the season. Slaughter says they have a big kid who is a pretty good scorer. “They are a very good basketball team. They have won 13 in a row. They have a very nice player. A 6-7 post player by the name of Tim Goff. He is averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds a game. He leads them in scoring. And they have a couple nice athletes. They have a 6-0 senior by the name of Smetana and Ludlow, a 6-5 junior. Those two guys average double figures for them as well. Defensively they are a straight man to man team as most teams are at this time of year,” said Slaughter.
When asked by Swankonsports.com, Slaughter said Badgers kind of remind of a Wooster Triway team they beat in overtime this season. “We played Triway earlier this year in a game that went into overtime and we were fortunate to win by four points. They are similar to Triway in they run a four out, one in kind of offense. They have one really good scorer inside, like Triway. Goff can also step out and shoot the three. They have another 6-5 kid that can shoot the three and then they have a bunch of little guards,” he said.
The goals aren’t much different than other games, just the quality of the opponent is better and the difficulty of the challenge is increased. Slaughter says the keys are defense, rebounding and limiting turnovers. “I think the most important is we have to try and slow down Tim Goff. He averages 19 a game and they score 60 a game as a team, so if we can slow him down I think that will help us out. We have to rebound the basketball and I thought during the district championship game we did a better job of that in the last three quarters. Then limit the turnovers. Every time we don’t get a chance to shoot the basketball, we have one less chance of scoring,” said Slaughter.
Orrville Playing Well at Tournament Time Again
Can Orrville make the regional tournament with a losing record? Don’t bet against them.
Orrville (10-13) has turned a down season around with three wins in the district tournament at Wooster High School. Playing a tough schedule against bigger schools in the Ohio Cardinal Conference has prepared the Red Riders well for the post season. They have beaten Doylestown Chippewa (71-51), Mid-Buckeye Conference champion Loudonville (58-42), and Wayne County Athletic League runner-up Hillsdale (38-35) on Tuesday. Coach Sly Slaughter says his kids have confidence playing at Wooster. “We have had some success over there the last couple of years. We have been able to play a lot of basketball games on that floor as well as play there in the regular season. It gives our guys a little bit of confidence. We are playing pretty well right now as well,” said Slaughter.
There are a couple of reasons that Slaughter believes his team has started to click during the postseason. “I think it’s a couple of things. Number one, we are doing a better job of getting the ball inside to Devon Winters and Drew Brenner. Once it goes inside they are doing a good job of kicking it back out and we are getting some guys hitting some shots. Then in addition to that some of our guys who were injured earlier in the year are starting to come back,” he said.
Orrville meets Wellington (19-3) in the division three district finals on Friday night at Wooster. Slaughter says Wellington isn’t real big, but they know how to play the game. “They are a veteran basketball team. Last year, they made it to the district semi-finals where they were beaten by Triway. This year they came into the districts with a 17-3 record. They have beaten Norwayne, who was ranked in the top ten in the state. They have beaten them twice, most recently on Monday in the district semi-finals. They are a very experienced basketball club. They are not very big, but they play offense very well with their dribble drive motion offense. Defensively, they are a good man-to-man defensive team,” said Slaughter.
With a significant size advantage over Wellington, Slaughter says they want to get the ball in the post to Winters (6-10) and Brenner (6-5) and force the Dukes to guard them there. “As I said Drew Brenner has been playing very well throughout the tournament. He has upped his scoring average to 17 a game during the tournament. Devon Winters has just continued to get better and better. The more we can feed both of those guys the better off we will be,” he said.
Defensively, Slaughter knows they have to keep the ball from getting into the paint because that is when Wellington will be able to break them down. “That is the main thing that we are going to focus on is to shut down their penetration. They have a couple of guys that can hit the threes. It all starts with keeping people out of the lane,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Nathan Starkey, who is their point guard, does a great job of getting into the lane and creating shots for people and also drawing fouls. They also have another player by the name of Jason Perry, who is about 6-2, and can play the guard or the forward. He is kind of a tough match-up too in getting to the basket.”
Orrville Must Be Better For the Tournament
Orrville finished the season with a 15-5 record, but they did not play well in their last regular season game and their coach says the Lady Red Riders need to pick up their game heading into the tournament.
Wooster beat Orrville (72-56) last Thursday in an Ohio Cardinal Conference game. Coach Mark Alberts Sr. says his players did not execute very well when it came to handling the basketball and especially when it came to rebounding. “We did not play as well as we are capable. Wooster had a lot to do with that. They are a pretty good basketball team. We weren’t real good. I would sure hope we play a lot better on Wednesday against Tuslaw. I think if we learned anything from that game we have to do a better job of being efficient on offense and taking care of the basketball, especially rebounding it when it’s up for grabs. Wooster out rebounded us, I think in the first half it was two to one. As it ended up they out rebounded us by about 15 for the game. That is something we have to do better against Tuslaw or we will be in trouble in that one as well,” said Alberts.
Wednesday night at Wooster Triway High School Orrville faces Massillon Tuslaw (5-15) in a first round game in the division three tournament. Alberts says Tuslaw has players that give great effort from start to finish in games. “They don’t have a great record. We are the number two seed and when you are seeded as high as we were usually you are going to draw somebody that doesn’t have a great record. They have won two out of there last three. They played Smithville really good. One of the things that impresses me is their coach has them playing at this point in the season, they have only won five, they are still playing hard,” he said.
Although Tuslaw has not show the ability to make a very good percentage of their shots, Alberts says they hustle on defense and they will go to the boards hard in games. “I told our girls that they are not great offensively, but what keeps them in games is they play hard and they play good defense and they do a good job rebounding. They struggle shooting the ball,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “I think they are about a 33 percent shooting team for the year at best. They are a little worse from the three point line, but they make up for it with good aggressive defense and good rebounding. When you do that usually for the most part that will keep you in games. They found that formula the last couple. We are going to have our hands full as far as making sure we play as hard as they do.”
Upsets happen all of the time in tournament games and Alberts would like to start the game well and build a significant lead early because when you leave teams like Tuslaw in the game in the second half anything can happen. “It’s the second season and everybody is 0-and-0. We have all seen lower seeded teams spring upsets early in the tournament. Obviously that is something we don’t want to have happen. We have been fortunate the last several years when we have been one of the tops seeds that we have been able to erase doubt early. With Tuslaw it has been tough for teams to do that to them,” he said, “That is something we are going to try and do. They have been able to hold themselves in games. A few times this year they have been blown out, but the point differential is usually under 15. That is a tribute to their coach and players. They do a real good job of executing game plans. If we shoot the ball well I’m hoping we can erase doubt.”
Orrville Driving For Second Place
Orrville continues to prove they are one of the best girls’ basketball teams in this part of the state and with a win over arch rival Wooster on Thursday night they will share second place in the Ohio Cardinal Conference with the Lady Generals.
In their last conference game last Thursday they defeated an improving Clear Fork team (64-46) on the road. Veteran coach Mark Alberts Sr. believes his team is playing pretty well and they have the ability to score points in a hurry. “We have some pretty good offensive players. When we are shooting the ball decently, fairly decently, you know, we have that ability to score. We have a good mix of scoring inside and scoring outside. We don’t have great post play. We have one girl that is pretty decent in the post is Shamia Sims and then after that we are relatively small. We do a good job of driving it to the basket,” Alberts told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “The other night against Clear Fork I thought we shared the basketball as well as we have all season long. We really looked for the open girl. We try and get out in transition and run and we do have that ability to spurt at different times and we can score in bunches. We did that against Clear Fork, it was a good game for us, and I just hope we can keep it up.”
Hanna Plybon, a junior, has been all-state her first two years and likely will be again this season with a 19 point scoring average. However, Alberts says they have other players that can score too. “You need to have more than one girl that is able to score and we do. Hanna is our leading scorer. She is getting about 19 a game. Maggie DeVault is right around 12, 13 a game. We have another girl that just stepped into the starting lineup. We had one our starters go down a couple of weeks ago with a concussion at the Lexington game and it doesn’t look like she is going to be back the rest of the season. Our sixth girl Bri Hancock has stepped in and she is averaging about 10 points a game herself. As a starter she played very well against Clear Fork too. We just don’t have one kid that can carry the load for us, we have several. I think in order to be good, especially as we get into the tournament, you need to have a variety of kids that can score for you,” said Alberts.
Wooster beat Orrville in their first meeting this season (50-46) in what was a very good game. Alberts says Thursday night they have to be able to play physical against Wooster to have a chance to win the game. “They are as good as any team that we play. I would have to say that West Holmes is the best team that we have played so far this season and Wooster is probably next. They beat us by four at their place and it was a hotly contested game. They are very physical. They will bang, they will push they will shove. They foul quite a bit because of that. The other night they got whistled for 34 fouls over at Massillon Perry. That’s the kind of game we need. We don’t have great overall size. We have to have the game officiated closely. We are going to bang with you, but Wooster is really going to take us to task on that. That is something that we really have to work hard on. We have to box out because they go to the glass really hard. We have to be physical with them defensive because they try to pound it inside. There are certain things we need to do if we are going to be successful against them,” said Alberts.
Orrville Putting Things Together
Orrville is a school that has a rich history of tournament history and this year’s Red Riders are building toward the postseason with two wins last weekend.
They beat Clear Fork (68-64) in an Ohio Cardinal Conference game last Friday and Wooster Triway (64-60) in overtime last Saturday. Coach Sly Slaughter says the attitude of the basketball team is getting better and better as the regular season comes to a close. “Anytime we win it definitely makes things better next week going into practice. As always there are a few things we need to get better at and play a little more consistently,” he said.
Earlier in the season, the Red Riders were losing the same close games they are winning now. They beat conference co-leader Lexington (41-40) 10 days ago. Slaughter says they are learning to win. “We had some close games and we just weren’t able to close the games after we got the lead. I think we have definitely learned from those close games. When we do get in them our kids are able to respond and never panic,” said Slaughter.
Orrville has a team made up of some football players that enjoyed a fine season, finishing second to Ashland in the conference standings and making a two week run in the playoffs. Slaughter, also an assistant football coach, says the players are finding their basketball endurance. “I think we are trying to get our basketball legs under us with Drew Brenner, Joel Zook, and Trevor Summers. Those guys are starting to get their basketball treads a little bit. We are definitely getting the ball more inside to Devon Winters. He has become much more of a presence and that has opened things up for Drew Brenner as well,” said Slaughter.
On Friday night, Orrville (6-9,5-6) travels to Mansfield Madison (7-8, 5-6) for a conference game. Slaughter says Madison has not had the season they expected, but at anytime they can play very well. “They have kind of been up and down. They have a lot of guys returning from a regional team last year, so definitely some high expectations. They struggled early on and then they kind of got on a roll and now they have struggled a little bit here as of late. They are a very experienced basketball team, a very explosive basketball team. If you don’t come ready to play they can beat you,” Slaughter told Swankonsports.com.
Back in early January, Madison downed Orrville (49-46) and Slaughter felt they had a good game plan. He doesn’t expect Madison to press that much, but they always do something on defense to make things difficult. “I don’t think they have been pressing as much. They didn’t press us as much, at least not full court trapping. They did some things to try and slow down the tempo a little bit. I think a little bit of that is they aren’t as deep as they have been in some previous years. They have to make sure they keep guys out of foul trouble and keep guys fresh,” said Slaughter.
Orrville Finding Some Momentum
Orrville has won three of its last four games and Red Riders have shown they are capable of not only being competitive, but beating even the good teams on their schedule.
Last week, the upset Lexington (41-40) on Tuesday, destroyed Ashland (69-41) on Friday, but lost to Wooster (68-56) on Saturday. They had beaten the Generals earlier in the season.
Red Riders coach Sly Slaughter is kind of pleased with what is happening, but he knows if they are to have success in the tournament, they have to continue in that direction. “I think we continue to get better. I’m not sure if we totally turned the corner of not. We had a little bit of a set back Saturday night versus Wooster. We are definitely playing better. The West Holmes win gave us a little confidence. We won a close game and then will got another close one versus Lexington and then played real well versus Ashland, but we still have a long way to go,” said Slaughter.
When it comes to that needed improvement, Slaughter says there are a couple of things that come right to mind. He says their press needs to be more affective and they must run their half court offense more efficiently. “Defensively we can still get a little bit better. We have been pretty good in half court man-to-man defense, but we need to do some things with our full court press to try to get a few more easy baskets,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “On the offensive end we have to continue doing a better job of getting the ball inside and executing in the half court. We know when tournament time comes around that people aren’t going to let you get up and down you are going to have to play in the half court. We just want to continue to refine that and get better at it.”
Orrville (4-9,4-6) plays host to the Clear Fork Colts (5-7,2-7) on Friday night in conference play. Slaughter says the Colts are doing an excellent job of running their fast break and getting some good looks. “In the first game against us they did a nice job of getting out and causing a few turnovers. Ridge Winand got going a little bit on the offensive end along with Keith Corbin. They did a good job of pushing the ball in transition. They are a very athletic team, much more athletic than they have been in the past,” he said.
Orrville kind of let the first game (65-57) get away from them and Slaughter says if the they get in that position again they need to be able to slam the door. “We have to execute down the stretch. That was a game where we were up nine points with about five minutes left in the game. We didn’t do a good job of executing down the stretch. Whether it was executing on the offensive end or it was getting screen outs on the defensive end. We are really focusing on doing the little things correctly,” said Slaughter.
Orrville Wants to Speed Lex up
Orrville is the next Ohio Cardinal Conference team with the chance to beat first place Lexington. It’s only been done once this season, by Ashland, two weeks ago.
The Red Riders (2-8,2-5) won their last conference game in beating West Holmes (66-64) last Tuesday. They host Lexington this Tuesday in a game that was supposed to be played last Friday, but was postponed.
Orrville has competed in every game they have played this year with the exception of two. However, coach Sly Slaughter admits they still need to get better in a lot areas. “I think we still have to continue to work on our rebounding. Even though we won against West Holmes, we got out rebounded,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We have to do a better job of staying out of foul trouble. Devon Winters the last three games has been in some foul trouble and that kind of hurt us a little bit. We need to get better on the offensive end. We are scoring a little bit more now, but we still aren’t shooting the ball as well as we’d like.”
One benefit to not playing last Friday was the Orrville coaching staff got another chance to scout Lexington before they play them. Slaughter says they were impressed. “Luckily we got to go see them on Saturday night against Clear Fork. They are very balanced basketball team. They are big and very athletic as well. Rasheed Brooks is a very good basketball player. We will have to try and slow him down. Inside they have Colin Michael. He had 20 against Clear Fork on Saturday night. They have a couple different guys that can put up 20 points a night. I would say the biggest thing we have to with them is make sure we try and limit them to one shot and try and push the ball in transition,” said Slaughter.
He knows it is not going to be easy, but Slaughter says they are going to have to keep Lexington off the offensive boards. He says it will have to be a team effort. “Colin Michael, Rasheed Brooks, Tanner Kearns, Alex Schuett, Zach Temple, all of those guys really crash the offensive glass. We can’t just depend on Devon Winters and Drew Brenner to rebound the basketball. Everyone has to get in there and help out and get a rebound,” he said.
And the pace of play is going to be a factor in the game as well. Slaughter says they don’t want to slug it out with Lexington, but rather beat them down the floor. “Like I said they are big, so they like to keep things in the half court. They are averaging quite a few points a game, but they still like to keep things in the half court. For us to get some easy shots, they play a two-three zone that is very difficult to score against, we have to get the ball out in transition and score some easy baskets,” said Slaughter.
Orrville Just Needs a Little Bit
Orrville finally got over the hurdle on Tuesday night and now they hope they can get going this season.
After a series of close losses, some in overtime, the Red Riders (2-8,2-5) beat West Holmes (66-64) on Tuesday night in an Ohio Cardinal Conference game. Coach Sly Slaughter says they got good performances from a number of kids. “I thought out kids played really hard like they have done all year. Drew Brenner played very, very well for us. He had 19 points and eight rebounds. We also had a couple of other guys step up. Jonathan Landis had double digit points. Joel Zook that we brought up from our JV team. He gave us great minutes and played three quarters for us. He ended up with 11 points and had a great steal at the end of the game. We had a total team effort,” said Slaughter.
Orrville teams aren’t used to loosing, in close games or not, but Slaughter says they have been able to keep their focus and know if they keep executing well that things are going to come around for them. “We haven’t adjusted a whole lot. We have made some changes to adjust from game to game. Our main focus has been trying to get Devon Winters the basketball and get Jonathan Landis and Drew Brenner some shots,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We were able to do that a little bit better on Tuesday night. Our kids have been playing hard all year and we have had the opportunity to win every game with the exception of two. So, we haven’t had to change a whole lot. Tuesday night we changed our fortune that’s all.”
It will be a tough assignment for the Red Riders on Friday night as they play the “OCC” leading Lexington Minutemen on the road. The Minutemen did show a little chink in their amour in their last conference game when they lost to Ashland (76-45) on January 6. However, Slaughter knows Lexington (9-1,4-1) is an outstanding team that plays very physical. “They are a good basketball team. Very well coached, well disciplined and physical. On the defensive end they do a nice job of being physical. They are really big in that 2-3 zone so they really extend out. Rasheed Brooks is one of the top players, if not the top player, in the league. We will have to try and contain him. They are big, they are physical. It’s kind of funny with Jamie Fieck being recruited by Michigan State. They remind you a lot of Michigan State with big physical players,” said Slaughter.
Rebounding seems to be a key in every game involving Lexington and Slaughter knows they are going to have to keep the Minutemen off the offensive glass, somehow. “When we think about our defensive game plan right there at the top is boxing out and rebounding and trying to keep them off the boards. They do a great job of going to the offensive boards. It’s going to be a battle on whether we can keep them off the glass or not,” said Slaughter.
Orrville Ready For the Task at Hand
The race for the title in the Ohio Cardinal Conference should be exciting down the stretch with Wooster, West Holmes and Orrville all with outstanding teams.
Orrville (10-2,6-2) trails unbeaten Wooster by two games and West Holmes by one and they need to beat both of those schools in the second round of the round robin to make the title theirs.
On Monday, they beat Austintown Fitch (55-29) in the “Classic in the Country” at Berlin Hiland High School. Coach Mark Alberts Sr. was very impressed with what he saw from his players on Monday. “Austintown Fitch has a great player in Megan Setchick. She is a sophomore, about 5-9, a guard. We were able to contain her for most of the game. She ended up with 20 against us. They are a big school in the Youngstown area and they play in a tough league. I think maybe they were 5-4 coming into the game. It was a quality win for us. Anytime Orrville, a school like us, can beat a division one team, we have to be very pleased with that,” he said.
Alberts believes that his team is one that has gotten better as they have entered the second half of season because they continue to work hard in practice. “Teams get better or they get worse, they rarely stay the same. We are continually telling our girls about working hard in practice and continuing to work on the little things, so we can make sure we do get better. I think it is imperative for teams at this point in the season to remember that. They need to continue to work in practice and carry it over to the game. They last two games we have been victorious. We had a tough game against Wooster when we lost in our first game back after the new year. We are pleased with were we are right now,” said Alberts.
The top three teams in the “OCC” are all ranked in the Swankonsports.com basketball power poll. Wooster is #2 and West Holmes #3 in the large school division, while Orrville is #3 in the small school division. Alberts says those three and Lexington are very good teams. “Wooster right now has the upper hand. They have defeated both West Holmes and us. We lost to West Holmes by a point in our first game. I think those three teams are as good as any around. Anytime you have three teams like that at the top it makes for tough nights whenever you are playing them,” he told Swankonsports.com, “I have to give credit to the other teams in our league as well. Lexington is a good team as well. I have had the opportunity to see them play several times here in the last couple of weeks. They have a good team. They are senior dominated. They are as scary a team that we have left on our schedule. I think they are capable of beating any of the top three teams.”
In their first meeting West Holmes downed Orrville (41-40) in a game where Orrville had a real chance to win. Alberts hopes they can play that well again when they host the Lady Knights (10-3,7-1) on Saturday afternoon. “We hope we can duplicate our performance down at West Holmes about a month ago. We just want the outcome to be a little different. Hopefully if it comes down to the end again we will be able to get a shot to win it. The last time, we got a three pointer to cut it from four to one and then got a steal with about 15seconds left. We just couldn’t get off a good shot. You have to credit West Holmes they played pretty good defense against us. We are going to have to play as well as we are capable of playing to have a chance to be them,” said Alberts.
West Holmes has great depth this season and they have a number of players that complement sophomore post player Laina Snyder. Alberts says Snyder is an outstanding low post option for Holmes. “They are probably the deepest team in the league. Snyder is a great player. She is a threat to get a double-double every time she steps out on the floor. She is a great rebounder and a great scorer and a very good defender as well. They probably have eight or nine other girls that can go in and they really don’t lose a whole lot. Now, Snyder is the focal point and when she is on the floor no matter who else they have out there, they are hard to beat. They have girls that shoot the three, take it to the basket, and handle the basketball,” said Alberts.
According to Alberts part of the formula to beating West Holmes is containing Snyder and getting a hand in the face of their outside shooters. “For us to beat them we are going to have to find a way to negate Snyder’s presence on the boards and the inside. We have to stop her from scoring on the inside. We also have to get out and guard their three point shooters. It looks like they are starting to play their best basketball of the season too,” said Alberts.
Orrville Needs Offense
Orrville has played well enough on defense to win games, but their offense has not produced very much and that has cost them in many games this year.
Another example was last Friday when they lost 49-46 to Mansfield Madison. Coach Sly Slaughter says they made a play right at the end, but then they allowed Madison to make one too. “It’s kind of how our season has gone, a three point loss. With about 12 seconds left we are up by one after a great steal and dunk by Drew Brenner. The guys were kind celebrating a little bit and forgot to get back on defense and they turned that into a lay up, so that’s kind of how our season has gone. We are looking to get back on track,” said Salughter.
Right now, Slaughter says there is no flow to what they are doing on the offensive end of the floor. He says they are not creating shots and they are not making the open jump shots when they are there. “I personally think it’s from the offensive end. We are a little inconsistent offensively. We are struggling putting the basketball in the hole. We are only giving up around 53, 54 points a game. Defensively I think we have been fine right there in every game, with the exception of the Berlin Hiland game. Offensively we have to do a better job of trying to create some easy baskets and knocking down some shots,” he said.
On Tuesday night, the Red Riders (1-6) travel to Norwayne, the leader of the Wayne County Athletic League, #3 in the Swankonsports.com basketball power poll for smaller schools. Slaughter says the Bobcats are just like they were in football, very athletic. “They are very athletic. They are long, they are athletic, they have four guys in their starting lineup that are 6-2 or taller. They have a bunch of football guys playing basketball for them so they brought that winning edge with them. They are very confident in what they are doing right now and they are experiencing a lot of success because of it,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday.
It will likely be a big crowd at Norwayne (9-0) and Slaughter says they are likely to remind them that they beat the Red Riders in a playoff football game this fall. “I’m sure, you know, it was a long time since a Wayne County League team had beaten Orrville in a football game. Their kids played a great football game and they were very excited and it’s carried over into basketball. I’m sure when we go over there on Tuesday, they will remind us what was the outcome of that football game. We have to block those things out. It’s basketball season now and we need to get back to what we do and that’s win basketball games,” said Slaughter.
On Friday night, the Red Riders return to Ohio Cardinal Conference play as they meet the Mansfield Senior High Tygers. Slaughter says this is another good Mansfield Senior team with good athletes and good shooters. “I haven’t got a chance to look a whole lot at the Mansfield stuff right now. Obviously we know that Keon Johnson is the guy that makes them go. He is their point guard and he is just an incredible basketball player. He might be the best player in out league. We are definitely going to have to slow him down a little bit. Jamire Lindsey and Jalen Jones are playing very well for them. They are not a very big team, but they get after it as always like a Mansfield Senior team does. They will pressure you and try to get the tempo going. It’s going to be a battle of wills, can we slow them down or can they speed us up,” said Slaughter.
Orrville Needs to Find Success
Orrville is just two seasons removed form an appearance in the state finals in division three, but this year has been a struggle for the Red Riders as they just have not been able to finish games.
With losses last weekend to Ashland (62-56) in an Ohio Cardinal Conference game and defending division four state champion Berlin Hiland (67-39) in the WQKT Steve Smith Classic on Saturday, the Riders have dropped to 0-5 on the year.
Coach Sly Slaughter feels they didn’t take advantage of some opportunities, especially against Ashland. “I think first of all we played two very good basketball teams. Ashland came out and knocked down some three points shots and put us in a hole early. I thought our kids did a good job fighting back. We had a couple chances near the end to tie the basketball game up and didn’t convert and they came down am made some big shots. On Saturday night I was a little disappointed because I didn’t think we competed as well as we could. Hiland is a very good basketball team. They have guards that are six-five and six-seven and go out and shoot the ball on the perimeter. They run the dribble drive a little bit and they were a tough match-up for us,” said Slaughter.
Things don’t get easier for the Red Riders as they host conference co-leader Wooster (3-2) in an “OCC” game on Friday night. Slaughter knows the Generals have already proven what kind of team they are they will have to turn it up a notch. “Wooster is a good basketball team just like most of the teams in our conference. They lost a tough one on Saturday night to a very good North Canton Hoover team. Other than that they have been playing very well,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “They have already beaten Ashland in the conference, which of course, beat us. They beat West Holmes in the conference, which also beat us. It’s going to be a tough game for us they have good guard play. James Preston is playing well for them. They have some young kids in Cameron Daugherty stepped up from the JV level after the first game. They are a tough basketball team and they play hard. Coach Martin always does a nice job and has those guys ready to go.”
Wooster wants to get out and run if they can and Slaughter says his team needs to put their athletes to better use and run the floor a little more themselves. “They want to push the basketball. When they played Ashland it went double overtime and it was 85-83. Looking at their scores from their other games they are primarily down in the 50s and 40s. They do want to push the basketball. We are averaging about 51 points a game. We might want to push the tempo a little bit as well and try to get our athletes out on the break. I think we might up tempo the game a little more,” he said.
Slaughter knows that this game against arch rival Wooster is huge for them and really is a game they must win. “For a number of different reasons. I think first of all it’s important for our kids because they have been working so hard and it would be nice to see them get a victory. They have played hard in all of the games and they deserve a victory. It’s important for us to get back in the conference race. We are down two games already to Wooster and Lexington. For us to get a win in the conference would be great. It would be nice to get a couple of wins before the new year because we have some tough games in January,” said Slaughter.
Orrville Facing Biggest Challenge So Far
Orrville has beaten some good teams so far, but they face their biggest test of the season on Tuesday night when they travel to Millersburg to meet defending Ohio Cardinal Conference girls’ basketball champ West Holmes.
The Lady Red Riders beat Lexington 48-45 in a game played at Orrville last Thursday night. Coach Mark Alberts Sr. says his team has played well this season, but not as well as they can. “We don’t really believe that we played as good as we are capable of and that is probably understandable at this time of year. We have some new faces in certain positions. It’s going to be a while before we really get to where we are satisfied with the way we are playing. Maybe you are never satisfied as you go through the whole year. We have shown some improvement. We beat a really good Lexington team last week in a real tough ballgame over at our place. So, we are pleased to be where we are at. We know we are in that big room, the room for improvement and hopefully we are going to keep getting better,” said Alberts.
West Holmes won the “OCC” last year, but Orrville won it the year before and they know how to win big games. They reached the division three regional semi-finals last year. Alberts says if you are going to win the “OCC’ you have to beat West Holmes. “We were the best team the year before. We won the league that year with a 13-1 “OCC” record, the only team that beat us two years ago was Mansfield Senior. We beat Holmes twice. They are the team obviously to beat,” Alberts told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “I have said ever since I started helping Marcie at Orrville then took over as the head coach, that if you want to win the “OCC” you have to beat West Holmes. The league championship goes through them. I feel the same way now. We know if we are going to have a shot at winning this thing we have to get them at least once and hopefully twice. When we won the league two years ago we beat them down there at the buzzer and we’d like nothing more than to be able to do that Tuesday night.”
West Holmes has been winning some low scoring games this year. However, Alberts says they are not necessarily a methodical team. “They are the kind of team like all very good teams they can play at different speeds and different tempos. I think they would rather play a little quicker than they have played. I think a lot of it has to do with how teams defend them. They have a great post player in Lena Snyder, who is also a great perimeter player. She can play all over the floor. I think what you want to try and do to them is try to keep her from getting the ball in a position where she can score and she is more affective closer to the basket. I think a lot of teams are probably zoning and when teams do that I think West Holmes is very, very patient. They have good shooters, but they are very, very well disciplined. They don’t take a lot of bad shots,” said Alberts.
What is more likely the reason that some of the scores have been in the 30’s is that West Holmes plays such good defense. Alberts says they have to find a way to crack that code. “At the other end they play very good defense. I think a lot times when teams do that you force the opponent to hold onto the basketball a little longer than they want to. I think that then makes for some closer games. If we are going to have a chance to win it’s going to be a low scoring affair. If they get a bunch of points we are going to have trouble beating them,” he said.
Two keys for Orrville on Tuesday night will be rebounding and making sure they limit their turnovers not allowing West Holmes easy chances to score. “Even when we have beaten them it’s a low scoring game. It’s a close game and you are not going to get a whole lot of points. The turnovers are going to be crucial in the game Tuesday night for us. We have got to take care of the basketball. We have to make sure we value each possession and get a decent shot each time down the floor. The other thing is in girls’ basketball if you are shooting 40 percent, you are probably doing pretty good and that means you are going to miss it six out of every ten times. You have to make sure against West Holmes that you rebound the basketball. You can’t give them second opportunities. If you do they are going to make you pay for it,” said Alberts.
Orrville Needs a Win
Orrville certainly has the talent to a factor in the Ohio Cardinal Conference race this year, but to do that a win is almost a must when they visits Ashland on Friday night for a conference game.
Orrville lost their first game in conference play when West Holmes beat them 61-53 in overtime last Friday. They lost a six point decision to Shelby of the Northern Ohio League in their opener. Coach Sly Slaughter says they just haven’t made the big plays. “I think the main thing is we have to do a better job executing down the stretch. I thought in both games we had a great opportunity to pull games out. We missed a shot here and there and the other teams comes down and makes a big shot. I think we have to do a better job of executing on the offensive end so we can get some better shots, maybe some closer shots,” he said.
Orrville has some height this season in 6-10 Devon Winters and 6-4 Drew Brenner, so they should be able to score around the basket. Slaughter also believes they have the personnel that can knock down some outside shots. “I think the potential is there. We have a young guy in Trevor Summers, who is just a sophomore who has played his first two varsity games of his career. His dad was a great player here at Orrville. He is much along the same lines, he can shoot the basketball and get to the basket a little bit,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Alexander Smith is just coming back from injury and saw his first action of the year last week in just a couple minute spurts. A.J. Perez is another very good outside shooter. You throw that in with Jonathan Landers, who has been doing a pretty good job shooting the ball. He is shooting about 50 percent from the field right now. I think our potential for some perimeter shooting is pretty good.”
Ashland like Orrville lost in double overtime last week. Wooster beat the Arrows 85-83. Slaughter says the Arrows, also like them, have the potential to be a pretty good team this year. “They are definitely a good basketball team. They have Marquis Jones back and Zach Bernhard and some of those guys. Greg Galloway has been out with mono and I’m not sure when he is going to be back. We are going to prepare like he is going to be back this week. They do a great job of shooting the ball from the perimeter Cooper Morris is doing a great job of shooting the basketball for them. They have a young guy by the name of Issac White who is doing a great job. It’s going to be another tough challenge for us, they always play well over there,” said Slaughter.
This is going to be a key game for both Orrville and Ashland because the loser is going to be two games back right at the start of the season. Slaughter says it would be especially big for them because they are on the road for this game. “The league is going to be very balanced. We saw that last week. I think everybody except for one game went into OT last week. Everybody was battling each other, so it’s going to be a battle every night. Anytime you can get a win you are going to take it, especially if you can win on the road. It will do a lot for us with a win on Friday for our confidence heading into Saturday night against Berlin Hiland, it would be nice to go in with a win,” said Slaughter.
Orrville plays defending division four state champion Berlin Hiland in a non-conference clash on Saturday night.
Orrville Needs Better Execution
Orrville begins plays in the Ohio Cardinal Conference on Friday night against West Holmes.
The Red Riders lost in their first game last Saturday night when Shelby beat them 63-56 at their place. “We didn’t finish it out during the game. As we watched the game on tape I thought our basketball team played with great effort. Down the stretch they hit some big shots that allowed them to expand the lead a little bit,” Orrville coach Sly Slaughter told Swankonsports.com, “Shelby is a great basketball team. They are going to win a lot of basketball games. Friday night they defeated Madison in overtime. Madison has everyone back and is going to be a good team in our league. I thought we competed very well. There are some things we need to work on. Our half court set ups and get better at rebounding the basketball.”
West Holmes (1-1) beat Wooster Triway 74-55 on Tuesday night and they are likely the most improved team in the “OCC” this season. “West Holmes is defiantly improved. Over the last two years coach Lindeman has done a great job with those young guys. Their junior class is really strong. You throw in Brady Arnold, who is one of the top players in our league, it makes them a very tough team. They have size, they have outside shooters and they have guys that can get to the basket. They play very good defense. On offense, we just have to do a better job of executing our half court offense,” said Slaughter.
Both Orrville and West Holmes are in a group of three or four teams that seem to be in the middle of the pack in the “OCC” and Slaughter knows a win on Friday night will be very important to them. “You always want to get off to a great start in the conference. If you can get a leg up by starting 1-0 it improves your chances of winning the league. We have a big test on Friday night and hopefully we can get it,” he said.
Orrville to Feature Inside Game
There are not a lot of 6-9 guys that are good players at the high school level, but Orrville might have one this season and that will make the Red Riders pretty good.
They begin their boys’ basketball season with a home game against Shelby of the Northern Ohio League on Saturday night.
Coach Sly Slaughter says they have been integrating their football kids into the mix, but many of them are still nursing injuries from another long season on the gridiron, which ended with a loss to Norwayne in the regional semi-finals. “Again we got a late start with guys going into football. We have about eight or nine football players in our varsity and JV squads that we had to wait on a bit to get back. During the preseason we had five varsity players, so we got to go through our scrimmages. I thought we did a good job in the scrimmages with the guys that we had in Devon Winters, Jordan Ray, Antwain Sims, and A.J. Perez all did a great job. Now over the last 10 days we have gotten our football players back and they are starting to find their legs,” said Slaughter.
Orrville is team that going to try and pound the ball down on the block this season then maybe kick the ball out for some open jump shots. “I think we have to get the basketball inside to Devon Winters, he is about 6-9 and half now. He’s improved tremendously. He understands it’s important for him to step up,” Slaughter told Swankonsports.com, “That will be our main focus offensively to get the ball inside, but we also have some outside shooters this year with Alexander Smith, A.J. Perez and Trevor Summers. Offensively we should be able to go a little inside-outside action. On defense, we are going to be in our man-to-man defense as we always are.”
The biggest concern that Slaughter has is with injuries are they going to be able to play at their top level on Saturday night against Shelby? “I think just our depth and our football guys getting themselves in shape. We have a number of guys that are still a little dinged up from football. Drew Brenner sustained an ankle injury during football season and he is still dealing with that and the same thing with Stuart Turner. Once we get those guys back I think we will be a little bit better. Alexander Smith has had a little groin issue and he probably won’t play at all on Saturday. Eric Gepheart has a stress fracture in his foot and he won’t play at all,” said Slaughter.
Shelby figures to be a tough test for the Red Riders, especially if Conner Nelson can make the call for the Whippets. The senior injured his ankle last week and is questionable for this weekend. “They have a couple of guys back form last year in Garrett Arnold, their point guard and a three year letterman. He is a very good point guard offensively and defensively. He likes to get the ball to the basket. Conner Nelson is a guy that started for them last year. He can go inside and outside. He’s 6-3, 6-4 and very versatile. We know they like to get up and down the floor,” said Slaughter.
Orrville More Guard Oriented
Orrville has been one of the best girls’ basketball teams in this area over the last several years and this year should be no different. The Lady Red Riders may go at it in a different way, but they can be just as successful.
First of all they have one the best girls’ basketball coaches around in Mark Alberts Sr., and he knows how to put a team together. Plus, he has one of best guards in the state in division three in junior Hanna Plybon. “It looks like we are going to have another good team. We have three starters back from last season. Those three girls are very good players. One is our leading scorer in Hanna Plybon. She averaged a little over 20 points a game last year. She was a first team All-Ohio player as a sophomore. Our three starters that are back are all juniors. We are going to be good on the perimeter. Our guards are good,” said Alberts.
It will be a little bit of a different story in the post, where the Lady Riders are going to be counting on some young players to fill roles of graduated seniors. “We lost two post players from last season. One is about 6-2 is Sarah Alt and the other is Hillary Plybon, who is about 5-11. They were our leading rebounders and our second and third leading scorers respectively,” Alberts told Swankonsports.com, “If we have noticed anything in the preseason it’s we are going to have to rebound a little differently, some of our guards are going to have to rebound better. Trying to replace those inside girls is going to be a huge task. I think our tallest player this season is going to be about 5-10.”
Orrville finished second behind West Holmes in the Ohio Cardinal Conference last year and they advanced to the regional semi-finals in division three before losing.
Alberts says they are going to try and get Hanna Plybon the ball closer to the basket and have her be more of an inside presence for them. “We are going to try and utilize Hanna closer to the basket on different occasions. Since we have others that can handle the ball on the perimeter and score out there, we are going to try and get Hanna closer to the basket. She is a little bigger and stronger. She has a played in over 40 games as a freshman and sophomore and has never been under double figures,” he said. Plus with the emergence of Hanna’s teammate Maggie Devault as a scorer that gives Orrville more options. “Maggie Devault is one that has really, really improved as a player. She is really scoring well for us in our preseason games, so we’ve got some players we can count on,” he added.
Orrville certainly has the capability to producing an “OCC” title, but Alberts believes the championship will still go through West Holmes. “From top to bottom, every night out, you have to bring you “A” game no matter who you are playing. Mansfield Madison is going to be much improved. I got to see a couple of their players in a fall league in Wooster. Until somebody beats them West Holmes has to be the favorite. I got a chance to see Wooster last week and they are very, very good,” he said.
Orrville Defense Faces Different Challenge
All season long it has been the defense that has led Orrville to wins on the football field and the Red Rider faithful will be counting on that unit again on Saturday night.
Orrville meets Norwayne, one of the tri-champions of the Wayne County Athletic League, in a regional semi-final game at Ken Dukes Stadium in Medina.
The Red Riders (8-3) rode a big second half to a 53-14 win over Leavitsburg Labrae in a first round game last Saturday. They scored more than 40 points in the second half against Labrae. “Once we got going in the second half it did kind of snowball on Labrae and we ended up with a real lopsided score. It was 10-7 at halftime and we had squandered a couple of opportunities. We put up 21 in the third quarter and that kind of ended things. We wanted to make sure we got in the playoffs and got our feet set firmly in playoff mode. I was proud of the way the kids played,” said Orrville coach Doug Devault.
Orrville’s defense has not allowed more than three scores in any game since the opening week of the season. That has given them a chance to win every week. “It has been that way all year, but it is really a blessing to have a group of kids that you know are really going to go out and make it difficult on the other team’s offense,” Devault told Swankonports.com, “It’s kind of what got us into the state semis last year. We played great defense. The offense did enough to win the game, but the defense carried us.”
The defense will get a big challenge this week from Norwayne (10-1), who flattened Brookfield 42-7 in their opening playoff game. The Bobcats have averaged around 50 points a game and Devault relates they have a great quarterback. “It starts and ends with their quarterback. Adam Wallace is a stud, he throws it and he runs it. He plays middle linebacker on defense and he punts. You know, he does it all. He probably brings the water out and tapes kids up before the game. He gets back in there in the pocket and if you flush him he’s even more dangerous because he creates stuff. They have good receivers and good hard running backs. Their skilled kids are going to be as good as any skill we have faced this year.” Said Devault.
Wallace is an outstanding talent, but he is not the only Bobcat that can hurt you and Devault knows that. He says they will not being running a spy or any kind of junk defense against Norwayne. “They have enough other weapons where you can’t just set there and say all right Wallace isn’t going to get his. Their running backs and receivers are good enough where they can beat you. We will make sure we account for Wallace on every play, but we won’t assign a player to Adam. They aren’t a one guy team. They have a bunch of guys who can play,” said Devault.
Quarterback Change at Orrville
Due to injury the Orrville Red Riders will have a new quarterback in their playoff opener in division four on Saturday night against Leavittsburg Labrae, but playoff success is not new to this bunch of Red Riders.
Orrville coach Doug Devault says his program and its players expect to make the postseason and when they get there make some damage. “We have three goals each year to beat Wooster, win the “OCC” and not just make the playoffs, but win that first round game. To be truthful our kids biggest goal each year is the playoffs. That’s kind of what we gauge our season by. Hopefully, we can be fortunate enough to play well when we get in. Last year and the year before we got on two decent little runs and we would like to expand on that this year,” he said. Orrville has a number of kids on its roster that have a tremendous amount of playoff experience. “This senior group right now has played 37 football games in three years and we hope to get them in the 40’s. There is no replacement for the experience they get from being there. Everything from the hype, to playing on Saturday, to playing teams you have never met before,” said Devault.
Labrae (6-4) plays at Orrville in a first round game. “They look like a bunch of tough kids. I would compare them to Lexington. They have a big quarterback that throws the ball pretty well and they have a nice tailback. And a couple of good wide outs they throw the ball to. It looks like they want to run first. They will throw it too. They will go five wide,” Devault said.
The Labrae defense has been multiple this season showing a number of different looks. Devault says they try to limit the big plays, something that the Orrville offense counts on. “On the defensive side they have shown everything form a five man front to a four man front with three linebackers, two linebackers or one linebacker. Essentially they will stay in a cover three to a cover one. They set back and make you take snaps. Their front five is very aggressive,” he said.
Orrville has counted on a defense that went through a seven game “OCC” schedule without allowing more than three scores in any game. “Defensively we have been tickled all year. Typically when we get scored on it’s because we have been blown a coverage. Defensively we have done a great job. Our coaches do a great job each week of preparing a game plan. We have been able each week to negate some of things these guys want to do,” said Devault.
On offense, the Red Riders have had the ability to move the ball this year, but they have had as may as five turnovers in games and double figure penalties. “You can’t just say we’ll get better at it, we have to eliminate it. If we don’t turn the ball over and we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot with negative plays we will be fine on offense. We are going to have to do it with another quarterback this week. Kyle Lichti is out with a concussion. Drew Brenner stepped in on the third play last week,” said Devault.
Orrville Defense Will be Tested Again
Orrville is in position to make the playoffs again and get a piece of the Ohio Cardinal Conference title if they can beat arch rival Wooster at home on Saturday night in conference action.
Last week, Orrville (6-3) downed Clear Fork 20-13 in an “OCC” game and did it with five turnovers and more than ten penalties. Red Riders coach Doug Devault says it was their defense that won the game for them. “It’s pretty incredible when you have five turnovers and 13 penalties and you find a way to win. We were stellar on defense. Stu Tuner picked them off in third quarter and gave us a score and that pretty much was all we needed. Then at that point we did a pretty good job running the ball. We found a way, but it certainly wasn’t pretty,” he said. Orrville has done the job defensively pretty much all season. They have not allowed a conference opponent to score more than 21 points this year. Devault says they have talented players who are committed to excellence. “Our coaches do a great job of schemeing it up. We have a pretty good nucleolus there. All of our guys on defense have had real good years. It’s one of those things that they kind of feed off each other. Their expectations are what they expect to happen. They expect to shut people down,” said Devault.
The Red Rider defense might get their biggest challenge of the year from the rival Wooster Generals, who put a lot of athletes on the field on offense. “They are probably as athletic as anyone we have seen all year from side to side and in the backfield. We will have our hands full. Their quarterback can run and he can throw. Their tailback is a stud. They have nice wide outs. They have a really good tight end and they are big up front,” said Devault. He says they must stop Wooster from making the big play. Devault says they have to force the Generals to drive the ball to score. “Make them snap the ball numerous times in order to get into the end zone. Hopefully, they will make a couple of mistakes along the way that you can capitalize on. We have to take away the quarterback’s big runs, their receivers, and Anderson in the backfield.
Wooster (4-5) has not had the season they envisioned, but Devault fully understands they can make their season by beating his team on Saturday night. “I have had the opportunity to play in four of these and I’ve coached in them from both sides of the ball. I have been in Wooster and Orrville are you can throw the records out. When this game lights up on Saturday night for us you better come out playing. Our goal this week is to be a little bit better than last week and if we do that we should be okay,” said Devault.
Orrville Still in Position
Orrville has been dealing with injuries and turnovers and off the field concerns yet they are still only a game behind front running Ashland in the Ohio Cardinal Conference and stand third in their playoff region.
They railed to beat a good Mansfield Madison team last week 20-17 to keep themselves in contention for a conference title. Mason Monheim scored midway through the fourth quarter to put the Red Riders in front for good. “As usual we were pretty good on defense. Offensively after some early struggles we got on track a little bit and beat a pretty good team. We came from behind twice. We were down 10-0 and took the lead at the half 14-10. We got down 17-14 and scored with six minutes left in the game. We didn’t turn it over or have the big penalties. We still had too many negative plays. As banged up as we were, we got even more banged up, and had some kids step up and do some things they haven’t done before,” said Orrville coach Doug Devault. During the Madison game the Orrville coaching staff had to move some players around to unfamiliar positions and Devault says those guys did and excellent job. “Kyle Lichti went down with an injury in the fourth quarter and Drew Brenner stepped in with his own injury and was able to play some quarterback for us and sparked a nice drive that got down to the six. He went down again, but we were able to punch it in from there. We had a defensive tackle go down and it required some adjustments there,” he added.
Orrville is at Clear Fork to play the Colts, who have lost their last three “OCC” games to Wooster (28-7), Madison (21-14) and Ashland (49-14) last week. Devault still believes the Colts have some players. “Clear Fork is a good football team and is well coached. They do what they do and do it well. They are still physical. Some of the records in our league are misleading simply because that’s how our league is. It’s because of the depth of our league. We need to come out and play well and take care of the football. Or it will be another long night for us,” he said.
Devault, who was defensive coordinator under longtime coach Bill McMillan before taking over several years ago, says Clear Fork is harder to diagnose this year than in the past. “We have seen three tapes and they have been in three different offenses. Everything from no back to the wing-t. It gives you more things to prepare for. They are notorious from bringing in a formation or set or series of plays to you that you haven’t seen all year,” he said.
Tied with West Holmes and Madison a game behind Ashland, Devault knows they have to come through against Clear Fork to have a chance at the “OCC” crown. “If we have any shot at all we have to win out. That’s the way we look at it. We are going to take it one game at a time. As important, if not more important, is where we are in the playoffs. We are sitting number three right now with a chance to move up,” said Devault.
Orrville Must Stop Turnovers
Orrville might be the must talented football team in the Ohio Cardinal Conference, but they keep hurting themselves with turnovers and penalties and that has to stop of they are going to meet expectations this fall.
Last week, Ashland shutout the explosive Red Riders 14-0 to knock them a game behind the tri-leaders in the “OCC” heading into play this Friday night. Also, the Red Riders were dealing with an off the field tragedy last week.
On Friday night, Orrville (4-3) travels to Mansfield Madison to take on the Rams (6-1), who share first place with Ashland and West Holmes. With three weeks left in the regular season the “OCC” title is really up for grabs. That doesn’t surprise Orrville coach Doug Devault one bit. “It’s what I really thought would happen. I really thought it would be anybody’s league this year and it’s proven to be that way. Is Madison a surprise? Is West Holmes a surprise? To a certain degree yes, but everybody knew they were going to better this year. You are coming down to your last three weeks of the season and luckily for us even with the way we have played, we still have our goals in tack.”
Madison is a team that likes to run the football with there various backs, including quarterback Alek Lampert, but last week they were able to throw it successfully in a 21-14 come from behind win over Clear Fork. However, Devault says running is the Rams bread and butter. “They do what they do very well. They are a little like West Holmes in that regard. They come out and run the football right at you. They like to run option. They like to run power. They are old school. You will see them in a full house and a wishbone. You just don’t see that much anymore,” he told Swankonsports.com, “They do what they do very, very well. They occupy the clock and they put numbers up on folks. The have a little hop in their step. You can tell they are starting to believe in what’s going on.”
Madison has owned the time of possession in most of their games. Devault says they have to get that offense off the field and when they are on the gridiron, be productive. “They want to chuck you for four here, five there and three over here and just take that 16, 17 play drive and eat up about six minutes of clock. If they are going to limit your possessions you better be productive when you have it,” he said.
Yes, Madison is playing outstanding football, but Devault believes they can win the game if they quit hurting themselves so much. “It’s been the same story in all three of our losses. We have 14 turnovers and 30 penalties in those three losses combined. That’s just ridiculous. Part of it is focus and part of it is just mental discipline. It’s something we address everyday. It gets to the point where maybe you think about it too much. It probably hurts you from an aggressiveness stand point because you are afraid you are going to make a mistake,” said Devault.
Orrville to Play Wide Open Ashland
Two of the five leaders in the Ohio Cardinal Conference face each other on Friday night as the Orrville Red Riders play host to the Ashland Arrows in an “OCC” game.
Both squads are coming off wins last week in conference action. Ashland blasted Mansfield Senior 38-6 for their most convincing win of the season, meanwhile Orrville got past the West Holmes Knights 28-21. “Our kids played well under real tough conditions. The field was just a mess. With field conditions like that you would think that it would be a defensive struggle, but both teams came out and put up 21 points in the first half. They ran their wing-t offense to perfection. We made a minor adjustment in alignment at halftime and were able to shut that thing down. We came out and did enough to win,” said Orrville coach Doug Devault.
Orrville was the preseason choice to win the “OCC” and Devault thought they improved their play when compared to their loss to Mansfield Senior the week before, but he knows they can’t keep turning the ball over. “We still have a lot to do, but it was better. We still have to eliminate some of the turnovers, we had three more against West Holmes. Our kids played with a little bit more resolve on defense in the second half. We came out and said you know that’s enough, let’s get going here,” Devault told Swankonsports.com on Monday.
Ashland lost four of their first five games until their impressive performance against Mansfield Senior last week. Devault knows the Arrows have a lot of tools especially on the offensive side of the ball. “They are the polar opposite of what we just saw. We saw a grind it out, run it out, now we are going to see a wide open spread attack. They go five wide all of the time. They give you a whole other level of things to look at. They are a very, very good football team. I would challenge any other 2-4 team in the state to play them and get the best of them. So, yes we have our hands full. They have a couple of real nice wide receivers. They have a big offensive line and they run it as well as they pass it when they want to,” he said.
The Ashland defense has allowed at least 26 points in every game they played over the first half of the season and then last week the only Tyger score came on a fumble return. Devault says they were more opportunistic for one thing. “What they did was create turnovers and Senior High had a lot of trouble getting untracked against them. I don’t know if there were any big adjustments other than they were ball hawking a little more,” he said.
Orrville Must Stop Mistakes
Last week, Orrville was its own worst enemy when they turned the ball over five times and lost to Mansfield Senior in an Ohio Cardinal Conference game. They hope to shore that part of their game up when they visit West Holmes this week.
Orrville’s outstanding running back/linebacker Mason Monheim broke his hand last week, but is expected to play against the Knights on Friday night.
The Red Riders were chosen as the favorite to win the “OCC” this year, but they made their task a lot harder when they lost 21-14 to the Tygers last Friday. Mansfield Senior played its first full game without star running back Terrell Doresey, who is out with a broken ankle. “Offensively it made them more diverse. They did a variety of things. They ran a reverse on us for a touchdown where we weren’t very disciplined and didn’t stay home. They spread the ball around. They ran a little bit and threw a little bit. I will tell you what coach Bradley and his staff did a great job preparing their kids,” Orrville coach Doug Devault told Swankonsports.com, “They were disciplined. I think they had only two penalties on the night. They did a lot of things defensively against us. They took away the sweep we had been running the week before and forced us into the some other things. They helped create five turnovers on our part and we also committed eight penalties on offense. All of that led to them beating us on a night we just didn’t play very well.”
Orrville was handed the favorites tag this year, but Devault says he and the rest of the coaches in the league knew this was going to be a very good and balanced conference. “The coaches knew, now the fans aren’t believing us when we said hey this league is going to be as balanced as it’s ever been. I don’t know that everybody was buying it, but we knew because we knew what they had coming back,” he said.
West Holmes (4-1) is a perfect example. Last year, the Knight were 1-9 and finished in a last place. This year they have won four of their first five and are ranked as the #3 team in the big school division of the Swankonsports.com football power poll. “West Holmes has a group of juniors that are just good football players. They go out and run their wing-t offense about was well and as efficiently as you can run it. They are perfectly happy with their three and half yards per down. They would love to have an 18 play, seven minute drive three or four times a game and end it that way. We will have our hands full stopping what they want to do. We need to stop making mistakes on offense, turning it over and making penalties,” said Devault.
The Orrville coach says against West Holmes you have to stay very disciplined or they will get a big play. “They pound it, pound it, and pound it and when they start seeing those db’s sniff they run the boot and they get a 20 to 30 yarder on you. Kevin Maltarich’s dad is his offensive coordinator this year and he is running the same stuff he did back in the day,” added Devault.
Orrville Respects Mansfield Senior
Orrville, the Ohio Cardinal Conference favorite, travels to Mansfield Senior to face the Tygers, who have lost their last four games in a row, in a conference game on Friday night.
A good start to the game led Orrville to a 35-12 win over visiting Lexington in an “OCC” match-up last week. The Red Riders scored 21 points in the second quarter and led 28-6 at the half. “I thought offensively we played that first half probably as well as we have played all year,” Orrville coach Doug Devault told Swankonsports.com, “We were very efficient. We put a couple of drives together and made a couple of big plays. It was fun to see our kids going out and executing and not turning it over. We didn’t commit penalties. Defensively we continue to play very, very good football.” Orrville running back Mason Monheim scored three touchdowns in the first half and finished with 173 yards rushing. He is also a big key to the Orrville defense from his linebacker position. Devault believes they are playing as well on that side of the ball as they have in a long time. “We have been fortunate we have had some pretty good linebackers coming through and that has made us pretty good on defense. Right now, this is the first time since ’95 that we have held three straight opponents to 13 points or under. We have played very, very well on all facets on that side of the ball and we are hoping that continues,” added Devault.
Mansfield Senior will play the rest of the season without the services of the running back Terrell Dorsey, who broke his ankle last week against Clear Fork. As good as Dorsey is, Devault says the Tygers still have a lot of explosiveness. “He was a horse and a heck of a player so they are going to miss him. I will tell you this last week against Clear Fork he breaks his ankle in the second quarter. They get down 35-6 and in the fourth quarter they scored 22 straight unanswered points and really had a chance to win the game. They are explosive. They brought in a sophomore quarterback that did a great job. He is going to create some issues. He can throw it and run it. They moved some people around and they aren’t lacking skill. We need to put some pressure on the quarterback,” he said.
Orrville hurts a lot of teams in the “OCC” because of their speed, but that likely affects Mansfield Senior less than most. On defense the Tygers have been blitzing a lot and Devault expects to see that on Friday night at Arlin Field. “You can count on them being fast and athletic. They are going to try and put some heat on us. It’s something we have been working on all week. When you get Mansfield Senior you know what you are getting. These guys play hard and come after you,” said Devault.
Orrville Expects a Different Lexington
Orrville plays host to the Lexington Minutemen in a key early season battle in the Ohio Cardinal Conference among teams that have designs on the conference football championship.
The Red Riders won their first two games with ease beating Canal Fulton Northwest (41-27) and Wooster Triway (52-7) before losing in overtime last week (13-7) to Copley. Orrville coach Doug Devault knows their defense gave them every chance to win the game. “Defensively we were as good as we have been since I’ve been here,” he told Swankonsports.com, “We took an outstanding running back and offense and completely shut it down. We easily played well enough to win on defense.” On the other hand the explosive Orrville offense, averaging 45 points a game going in, could never get anything going. “Offensively we just never got any rhythm going or got it going in any way,” he said. With the tempo and the speed that Orrville plays rhythm is very important to their offensive philosophy. “Especially in our spread offense we have the ability to do a variety of things out of multiple formations. There is a certain rhythm to that where you get to the point where we are running this route well and that route well and running the ball,” said Devault.
Lexington comes in at 2-1 as well with wins over Mt. Vernon (35-28) and Shelby (44-6) followed by a loss last week (32-0) to North Canton Hoover. They have shown a lot of things on offense, some not characteristic of the Minutemen. Devault believes they will see a whole different approach on Friday night. “They are in a lot of quarterback under and mostly one back and they run a lot of inside and outside zone and a little bit of trap and counter. They do throw the ball in play action. To be honest with you this week I think we are going to see a little bit of a different offense. I don’t think we will see what we saw on tape. I expect them to come out and spread it and put the ball in Michael’s hands and let him throw it all over the year,” he said.
Orrville is strong on defense and Devault thinks Lexington has that capability too despite giving up some big plays this season. “They are always physical. They have given up some big plays. Some of them were cutbacks where they were over pursuing. I think they are pretty good on defense. They are in a little bit of a different configuration than they have been over the last three or four years. They were running the stack, but this year they are in more of a 4-2-5 look,” he said.
Orrville is the preseason choice to win the “OCC,” but Devault knows its going to be a battle each week. “I think there are a lot teams in contention and you are going to have to play well each week,” he said, “There aren’t any weak sisters where we are going to be able to cruse and win this one. I will be surprised if any one team goes unbeaten.”
This is a Big Game for Orrville
Orrville is a football team that expects success and they have gotten it so far with wins over Canal Fulton Northwest and Wooster Triway, but they want more, much more.
They demolished Wooster Triway 52-7 last week and so far their offense is living up to expectations, but still coach Doug Devault says there are things they can do better. “Yeah, we got better in some areas. We still have a lot of work to do,” Devault told Swankonsports.com, “We did some things very well obviously, you don’t win like we did and not have that happen. We need to get a lot more efficient offensively. We are still making too many mistakes with the ball or without the ball, we have to get that cleaned up.”
One the keys to the Orrville offensive is its versatility. They run a spread attack, but they run too. “We feel like there is a bunch of different ways we can attack you offensively with the pass or the run. There is a variety of guys we can give it to or throw it to. Defensively here is a lot of different ways we can go about it. As long as we continue to improve up front each week, and it’s going to sound like a broken record, we are going to compete,” Devault said.
Because they run a different style offense than most high school teams, Orrville forces changes from the opponents defense many times and that forces them to adapt too. “That’s the fun part for me. Because of the offense we run we don’t see the same things we saw on tape on Friday nights. It’s a constant chess match on what we are going to see and how we are going attack it. Same thing on offense, everybody puts in a new wrinkle each week. Their base is the same stuff, but they are putting something new in, just a little different, to make sure you are adjusting to them,” said Devault.
Orrville entertains Copley (1-1) this week. The Indians have lost Massillon Jackson (38-28) and defeated Akron Firestone (24-14) in first two weeks. They are lead by talented running back Argaros Turner. “We will see a whole lot of Turner, number two, their tailback. He is really dynamic. He probably has over 400 yards in the first two games. He is quick as lightning, runs hard and has good vision. We have to bottle him up. Their skill is similar to ours,” said Devault.
With two wins already a win over Copley would put Orrville in position to make the playoffs again. Devault says the playoffs are the top priority for the Red Riders. “The “OCC” for us is a goal, but it’s not our main goal. These kids want to get in the playoffs and they want to win in the playoffs. They just don’t want to arrive. I’d be lying to you if I said the first goal was to win the “OCC,” said Devault.
Orrville Still Can Be Better
Orrville was an offensive juggernaut on week one when they dismantled Canal Fulton Northwest 41-27 in an opening night victory, but coach Doug Devault knows his Red Riders can still get better.
They travel to Wooster Triway for a non-conference match up with the Titans on Friday night.
“We found some things out about our offensive and defensive lines and that was good,” Devault told Swankonsports.com, “We had the guys we expected to make some plays, make some plays. Then we had a defense that scored. When you put up 40 points on a night you feel like you have a pretty good chance of winning.” Mason Monheim rushed 132 yards on 22 carries out of the Red Riders one back spread offense. “The way we do things the run is always going to be an important part of what we do,” said Devault, “We have been blessed with kids that can throw it and kids that can catch it and in the last several years we have been blessed with kids that can run it.” Kyle Lichti was 14 of 29 for 254 yards for the Riders and receivers Stewart Turner (seven catches, 159 yards) and Drew Brenner (four catches, 80 yards) were both big factors in the game.
Despite the win, Devault knows there are some aspects of the game where they can improve. “We were sloppy in a lot of areas. We came out of the locker room and gave up 14 right off the bat on a returned kick and then we got intercepted and they went down and scored. We have to do a better job getting out of the locker room. We have to clean up our special teams, we had some bad snaps and some missed kicks,” he said.
Triway lost 20-7 to West Holmes, also of the Ohio Cardinal Conference, last week and the Titans don’t appear to be the offensive powerhouse they have been in recent seasons. However, Devault knows better than to take a win for granted. “They lost some key kids from last year, but they still have a good group of athletes. They ran into a team in West Holmes that is a clock hog. I don’t think they threw one time on Friday night. All we can do is approach the season one game at a time,” said Devault.
Orrville Ready For Big Year
After making it to the state semi-finals last year in division four, the Orrville Red Riders are the choice of many to win the Ohio Cardinal Conference football title this year.
The Riders appear to be loaded in the skilled positions and if they can get their offensive and defensive lines to mature, they are going to be hard to beat. “We have a lot games and a lot practices to go and we need to get better each week,” said Orrville coach Doug Devault, “We are still developing our offensive and defensive fronts. If those guys can come through we certainly have the skilled people. I’ll tell you what, our league will probably be the strongest it’s been since I have been here.” With the high expectations in Orrville, the preseason wasn’t that smooth for the Red Riders. “In our first scrimmage we didn’t fair that well against Minerva. On the third offensive play of the day Matt Davis tore his ACL and will be out for the season. It was a huge blow for us and we didn’t react very well. In the second scrimmage against Louisville I thought we looked better,” Devault told Swankonsports.com on Thursday.
The Red Riders have the ability to light up the scoreboard this year if everything goes right. “Our skilled position guys have proven they can do what they do. You know, between Stuart Turner and Drew Brenner they can catch the ball and Kyle Lichti, our quarterback, last year he had a nice year by throwing for 2,000 yards. We feel real good about our skill sets, but we will kind of have to wait for our lines to jell,” he said. With some inexperience up front Orrville is going to have to get good quick if they are to meet expectations. “Our unknown is our two fronts, those are the things we are unsure of. If there is something that is going to hold us back that will be it,” said Devault.
Canal Fulton Northwest visits Orrville for the season opener on Friday night, Devault knows Northwest will be a good opening night test for them. “They a good football team,” he said, “They have good skill. Beirs is as good as any offensive football player we are going to see this year. On defense, they have switched to a 3-3 and are bringing all kinds of people.”
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