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Wooster Plays for Part of “OCC” Title

Wooster travels to Ashland on Friday night and they hope they return from Community Stadium with a piece of the Ohio Cardinal Conference title.

Right now, the Generals and Mansfield Senior trail Ashland by a game in the “OCC” standings.

Wooster played a non-conference game and lost (31-27) to Canton Central Catholic last week.

It was a game that Wooster led for most of the way, but got beat in the end. Coach Doug Haas says they got a couple of bad breaks. “It was one of those things where we were in control for a large portion of the game. I don’t want to call them fluke plays or anything like that, but we gave up a big play essentially on a halfback pass and then on the ensuing kickoff it hit our upback and kind bounced in a goofy way and we weren’t able to recover it. They got two quick scores that kind of forded any momentum that we had whatsoever,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “That was a disappointing piece from that end of it, but all in all we knew what we had to do in regards to coming back this week and making sure we have a great week of preparation so we can go out and secure a piece of the “OCC” championship.”

Wooster (4-5,4-1) plays at Ashland (8-1,5-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division. They held on to beat West Holmes (49-48) in an “OCC” game last Friday. The Knights scored a touchdown late and went for two and didn’t get it.

Haas says the Arrows offense is explosive and they have a lot options. He says the Ashland quarterback is a very good orchestrator. “They are so formattable offensively. Coach Valentine does such a good job there. Keagan Armitrage has really settled in and taken such great command of that offense. The two tall drinks of water that he can throw it to make it pretty nice too. So, we are going to have our hands full, but we are not just going to roll over from that standpoint. We are going to give them everything we’ve got. I know our kids are excited about that opportunity. Hopefully, we do the things that you need to do to win big championship like games and come out on top,” said Haas.

Defensively, the Arrows have allowed some points at times, but Haas says Ashland has solid personnel on that side of the ball. “Coach Tabler, who runs the defense, really does a good job and I have always been impressed with that. They are just so fundamentally sound. They use their hands well, they tackle well in space. So, it is going to be a tremendous challenge, but we have a few playmakers of our own. If we can start clicking on some cylinders I feel good we can challenge them in that aspect,” he said.

Haas says as football players you always look forward to games like the one that is going to be played Friday. “This is kind of one of those game where this is what you do in the backyard as a kid. It’s a championship game and we are going to get ready for it in that way and try and make plays and at the end of the night the hope is that when our kids take off their helmets they are “OCC” champs,” he said.

Published 10/24/17

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Wooster Still in it

A loss last week to Mansfield Senior dropped the Wooster Generals from a share of the Ohio Cardinal Conference lead, but they can still win at least a piece of that title with a win against Ashland on week 10.

This week they play at Canton Central Catholic in a non-conference game.

Mansfield Senior scored 22 consecutive points last week and beat Wooster (28-21) breaking the Generals four game winning streak.

Coach Doug Haas says they Tygers did a great job of converting and they made too many mistakes. “It is one of those things when you look at the stats they are relatively equal and some of the aspects of it. They were able to convert big third down plays that kept drives going. We had two turnovers that were in the red zone when we were probably going into score realistically. I know in one them towards the end of the first half we would have gone up 21-6 and received the ball in the third. That one hurt. What we had in momentum going in at halftime we kind of lost and we were never able to recapture any type of that energy or momentum and that is so, so important in high school football,” said Haas.

Wooster (4-4.4-1) trails Ashland by a game and will play the Arrows next week. Haas says they still have a lot in front of them. “That is what I told the kids post game. We obviously want to get this against a really good Canton Central Catholic team, but for us the opportunity to go win and still lay claim to an “OCC” championship is readily available for us. We need to use this week to sort of springboard into Ashland prep. We want to take care of business this week. We need to rid that loss, but really stay focused and not lose any type of hope in regards to an “OCC” crown,” he said.

Wooster travels to Canton Central Catholic (2-6) on Friday night. Their wins are over St. Thomas Aquinas and Akron Ellet, but Haas reminds that the defending state champs in division five play a big time schedule. “They are struggling a little bit. They lost their quarterback in a preseason scrimmage. If you are a high school football you have heard of them just from the standpoint that they have played in Columbus the last three years in week 15 for the state championship game and they are the current reining division five state champions. It is going to be a tall task. They have played a juggernaut of a schedule,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, “They had Massillon Jackson last week. They had Cincinnati Winton Woods the week before. They have played Massillon Perry. They play up, so they are battle tested, that’s for sure. Stark County football is prideful. They are going to bring their “A” game playing at home. It is going to be a tremendous challenge. We will be excited to go there and try and make some hay, bit it is going to be a stiff test and one we will be prepared for as will they.”

Published 10/16/17

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Wooster Must Limit Mistakes

Wooster hosts Mansfield Senior in a battle between two of the heavyweights in the Ohio Cardinal Conference on Friday night.

The Generals share the lead in the “OCC” with Ashland, Mansfield Senior trails by a game after losing (46-20) to Ashland last week,

Wooster (4-3,4-0) won its fourth straight game (45-21) over Mt. Vernon in league play.

Coach Doug Haas says they are becoming a more experienced team every week and it is showing. “The game experience that we have gained over the first half of a season is starting to come to fruition a little bit. We have always felt like we were talented, but we lacked a little bit of that experience. You can’t practice that you have to go play games. The kids are just kind starting to slow down so to speak and playing very, very well,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “They are certainly a lot of things we can clean up and need to clean up in order to be successful against Senior. We are certainly playing with some good confidence, but we also know we have some good confidence, that’s for sure.”

Haas says his players have had to learn on the go in some cases, but they have done a good job. “Those are the growing pains that actually come with playing the game and to understand the pace of the game, the speed of the game and all of those types of things are certainly critical just in regards to figuring it all out. For those first three games it was a little bit of a rough patch from that aspect, but certainly proud of our kids as they have continued to prepare and get better as the weeks have gone along,” he said.

Mansfield Senior (5-2,2-1) was within five points of Ashland in third quarter last week, but then has some turnover problems. Jornell Manns is a Minnesota recruit and has been electric this year. Haas says he is outstanding, but he is not the only guy they have to be concerned with. “They have a tremendous group of skilled players and Jornell Manns is certainly one of them and someone we will have to be cognizant of where he is at. I think what you see is guys getting better on their team as well. It is not just a one man show, but he is a pretty special player. We need to have an understanding of where he is at. It is one of those things where if you sell out for him there are other guys that can hurt you,” said Haas.

The Wooster coach says they have to avoid turnovers. “You stick to that old cliché that we certainly can’t turn the ball over and we have improved on that the last few weeks. If we turn the ball over it is going to be a long night. I really truly think the special teams phase is going to be a huge difference in this in regards to field position and making sure we win that field position battle and make them drive the length of the field and create some big plays on our end of it. Turnovers and special teams are always the things that seem to come back in big games. I think that going to ring true against Senior,” he said.

Published 10/11/17

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Wooster Knows What it Has to Do

Wooster finds itself in a three way tie for the lead in the Ohio Cardinal Conference with a month to play in the regular season.

They along with Mansfield Senior and Ashland, who play each other Friday, are unbeaten in league games.

They host the Mt. Vernon Yellow Jackets on Friday night at Folis Field.

Last week, the Generals (3-3,3-0) hammered West Holmes (55-20) in an “OCC” game. Coach Doug Haas says they have continued to get better. “We have done some good things to put ourselves in position to win three in a row after a tough non-conference slate. Number one, it made us battle tested in that regard and number two our inexperience now is less and less. We have a little bit more experience, a little bit more confidence, and we are doing the things you need to do in order to win football games,” said Haas.

Trey Mathis, who has been one of the better running backs in the area over the last couple of seasons, is out for the season with a broken foot. Haas says they have been getting the football into the hands of a lot of kids. “I think you can say there is probably a little bit more or a lot more depending on how you look at it. We have just distributed it a lot more other guys. I think we had six or seven guys touch the football on Friday night against West Holmes. So, we try and spread it around a little bit more to pick up the slack from a running back that was a staple for the past few years,” he said.

Mt. Vernon (2-4,1-2) lost last week (31-0) to Hilliard Darby in a non-conference game. Up until that time, they have been playing well on defense. Haas says they present some challenges. “They have given up 18 points a game, which makes it a challenge. They are an aggressive defense in the sense that that defensive line is always moving. They are typically brining a linebacker from some place. They kind of create some pressure from that aspect of it,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “It is not a high risk pressure group, but somebody’s coming, so it is a four man rush, you just don’t know where they are coming from. We have to be aware and make sure we are gap sound in that aspect of it. Getting hats on hats and when there is a chance to make an explosive play we have to make it.”

When you are in the conference race, Haas says you know what you have to do. “I have heard NFL coaches say you have to play well in the month of December. You hear all of college coaches say you have to play well in the month of November. From a high school standpoint October is a critical month in terms of wanting to play some of your best football and never has that rung more true than this week versus Mt. Vernon,” he said.

Published 10/06/17

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Wooster Holds Part of “OCC” Lead

Wooster shares the Ohio Cardinal Conference lead with Mansfield Senior and Ashland and that at least a little bit of a surprise after they lost all three of their non-conference games.

The Generals (2-3,2-0) play at West Holmes this week.

They stuffed Lexington (21-7) last week.

Coach Doug Haas says he liked how physical they were last week against the Minutemen. “We were certainly pleased with the win. It was a physical, physical game I thought. We were certainly sore getting up Saturday morning, but that is the kind of sore you are willing to deal with from that standpoint. No rest for the weary from that aspect of it we had to turn around and start preparations for an underrated West Holmes team. They have improved every week and we are certainly going to have our hands full. It was a good day one in regards to practice in getting things introduced and what not and continue to progress as the week goes on,” said Haas.

Wooster lost to Orrville, Wadsworth and Dover in non-conference games, but Haas says that really prepared them for play in the conference. “It is one of those things where we felt like we were battle tested. Came up short, obviously, a few times in the non-conference portion of the schedule. We knew it was going to be a challenge and the teams we were going to be playing were going to be good, but at the same time we felt prepared to go into “OCC” play. We are excited about where we are, but we can’t really rest or look back in that aspect of it,” he said.

West Holmes (1-4,1-1) beat Madison (56-20) last week in winning their first game of the season.

Haas says the Knights are a lot different than they have traditionally been, but he thinks they are going to be well prepared for what they will see. “They are lining up in the shotgun and really doing a very good job. Coach Gardner has done a good job and you can tell that they are really well coached on both sides of the ball, really in all three phases. I am impressed from that aspect of it. Certainly, it is a stark contrast to what we are used to with them,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “It is nothing we haven’t seen. It is a version of us with the shotgun spread. So, we practiced against it all preseason and throughout the summer time and seen quite a bit of it in the regular season as well. They have some very capable playmakers both from a running back standpoint as well as a wide receiver standpoint. We have to make sure we play some of our best football on the defensive side.”

Published 9/26/17

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Wooster Needs Improvement in Execution

Wooster won their first game of the season last week, but they still need to get a lot better in their execution.

They play host to Lexington on Friday night in a league game.

Wooster (1-3,1-0) beat Madison (45-26) last week in Ohio Cardinal Conference action.

Coach Doug Haas says there were still a lot of mistakes, but they were able to make some big plays really for the first time this year. “It was some sloppy play probably really by both sides. There were 23 penalties between the two teams. It took a whole lot of time that’s for sure. We were still minus two in the turnover category, but we were able to manage to make enough big plays and kind of hang on so to speak for the win. I am certainly proud of the kids for the effort they displayed,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We continue to get beat up a little bit and that aspect of it. There was a challenge and the kids really responded to that adversity of being able to make plays when need be at put themselves in a position to be successful.”

There are still a lot of things to clean up for the Generals, but Haas says it is nice to be able to do it after getting a win. “The nice part is to get up on Saturday morning and watch a win and learn from a win. You would much rather try and do that. We have had a good week in and are really proud of how they have come out. It certainly has been a hot week and that has been a challenge as well. We have put our best foot forward it terms of trying to prepare as well as we can for a really quality Lexington team,” he said.

Lexington (1-3,0-1) lost in its first “OCC” game last week (15-13) to Mt. Vernon. They were stopped on a two point conversion with less than two minutes to play.

Cade Stover is one of the best defensive players in the area and now is the Lexington quarterback. Haas says he is the centerpiece. “I don’t think it is a shock to anybody it starts and ends with Cade Stover in regards to what they do both of the offensive side and the defensive side of the ball. They are starting to really develop some other players around him. Moore is an exceptional player on both sides of the ball as well. They are continuing to grow and evolve and get better and what not. We need to continue to do the same. Do the little things that you are supposed to do to win games to win football games. Take care of the football, don’t miss tackles, execute schematically, those types of things are what we need to do better in order to be successful,” said Haas.

On defense, Haas says you have to watch where Stover is at all times and the Minutemen know how to use him. “He plays hard all of the time. He is a very sure tackler. He runs very well. His stats in terms of height and weight bod well with what he can do. There is a reason people are very, very high on him in the recruiting professions. You have to account for him. At the same time, they do such a good job, how do you account for him? We have to make sure we know where his is at. He is kind of that floater and he roams and his just so instinctive in terms of where the ball is going. We get a chance to put a hat on him we have to put a hat on him,” said Haas.

Published 9/22/17

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Wooster Trying to Find it

Wooster hosts Madison on Friday night in an Ohio Cardinal Conference football game between two teams searching for their first wins of the season.

After losing (47-0) to Wadsworth on week two, the Generals took a third quarter lead before losing (28-23) to Dover last Friday.

Coach Doug Haas thought it was a step in the right direction. “Without a doubt, I thought we took steps in the right direction in regards to just execution on both sides of the ball. There were a couple of lapses here and there from a turnover standpoint giving up a couple of big plays. Our kids competed for the full 48 minutes and played extremely hard, so I’m very proud of them from that standpoint. Certainly, nobody wants to create moral victories what so ever, but with a young football team that we have it was good for us to see some progress and some improvement,” said Haas.

Trey Mathis was one of the better running backs in the area last year, but has played little this season. Haas says unfortunately Mathis will not play against Madison or the rest of the season. “He has been injured. He had an “MCL” injury during on scrimmage so he did not play in week one. He was not 100 percent going into week two and then really showed some signs of improvement last Friday against Dover, but unfortunately broke his foot. So, it is one of those things where we have kind of been dealing with the injury bug and hopefully it is over with by now. It was unfortunate for Trey with career that he had to end it kind of on a damper with injuries is very disappointing for him,” he said.

Madison lost (52-0) to Toledo St. Francis last week and have been outscored 153-17 this season.

Still, Haas says the Rams are not void of talent. He says the have talent and present some match-up problems for them. “Knowing coach Masi number one those kids are going to be very well coached. They are going to be fundamental, they are going to be sound, they are going to be aggressive when they need to be aggressive. Those kids are going to play hard and do the right things. It is going to come down to who can execute the best, who can protect the football, the whole blocking and tackling piece, it is going to boil down to who can do that better for the 48 minute span,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Watching those kids they are long at the wide receiver position that presents some challenges for us. There are not a lot drills than can coach our 5’10” db’s to grow up and be 6’5” in a week. There are going to be some challenges from that standpoint. I know our kids are excited to be at home. Our kids are excited to start conference play. So, I know our kids are going to play really, really hard.”

Published 9/15/17

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It’s on Wooster to Get Better

It is a fact that the Wooster Generals have not played well this season over the first two weeks and if they expect to win they are going need to do that and right now.

They were blanked by Wadsworth (47-0) on week two after a loss to rival Orrville (20-16) in their first game of the season.

Coach Doug Haas says they did not improve last week and that is something that must happen this week. “We will move the cliché from hopefully you make your most improvements from week two to week three. We faced a little bit of a momentum piece that we could never recapture. We had a blocked punt on the first drive. That first half we never had any kind of field position what so ever and that was on our shoulders. We didn’t punt the ball well. So, we were never able to get any type of consistency and playing from behind on the scoreboard and the down and distance standpoint. Those are the things we have to get better at and rectified. It is some of that inexperience coming through in that aspect of it,” said Haas.

Winning this week against Dover (2-0) is the goal, but Haas says in order to do it they must execute better. “We need to play well. We haven’t executed cleanly I don’t think certainly from the offensive perspective. There has been a breakdown by one guy or more each and every snap. We need to play a little bit more clean certainly on that side of the ball before we can even start thinking about winning ballgames,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, “On the defensive side of the ball we haven’t tackled very well at all for the past two weeks and that has been huge just in regards to yards after contact and extending drives and things like that. There is the fundamental piece of just being a better blocking team, a better tackling team, being a better pass catching team and ball security. All of the things you preach to your kids. The foundation things in order to win games we have to do better.”

Dover has wins over Cleveland JFK (45-0) and Uniontown Lake (30-28) on week two.

Haas says the Tornadoes have explosive players. “They are your typical Dover team since coach (Dan) Ifft has been there. They are running the five wide empty formation. They have a tremendous, experienced quarterback back in the (Alec) Sayre kid. They have some really good skilled kids. Dre Hess is electric when he touches the football. The word is he may be injured. I am not so sure. I will believe it when I see it from that aspect of it. Coach Iftt does such a good job with that program that those kids are so well coached on both sides of the ball, really in all three phases. This is why we have to get better. We have to get better at the fundamental things or we are not going to put ourselves in the position to be successful again,” said Haas.

Published 9/04/17

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Maturity to Key for Wooster

Wooster lost to its biggest rival last week and now their young kids have to learn from that and move forward as they play Wadsworth this week.

Orrville and Wooster played for the 107th time last Friday and the Red Riders won for the first time since 2011 in downing the Generals (20-16) in the opener for both teams.

Coach Doug Haas says some of their youth was exposed by Orrville. “I think what really surfaced for us is just how green we are. Not only is it your opener it happens to be your 107th meeting with your rival. I think that kind of coupled a lot of things. Then you take that with how much inexperience we have making opening night starts and I think that showed a little bit. Let’s make no bones about it Orrville is vastly improved and what not. So, little bit of that perfect storm piece, but I am really proud of our kids in terms of the effort they put forth this week. They came back ready to work on Monday and are willing to let go of that last one and get back to work and get prepared for a good Wadsworth team,” said Haas.

Haas says they went through a lot of things last week and he says now they understand what it is all about and will try and get better this week. “I certainly hope we live up to old cliché that you make your most improvements between week one and week two and we certainly need to do that. Now our kids have game experience. There were opportunities there to make plays and we got in a lot of different situations. We got in two minute offense, we were in some back up situations, and had a great opening drive. We went through a lot of that game sequence stuff you try to simulate in practice and don’t get to and now we did. So, now a lot of that is under our belts and now it is making sure that we take advantage of those opportunities and get better,” he said.

Wadsworth (1-0) beat up Akron Firestone (55-14) in week one. Haas says the Grizzlies have an excellent quarterback and they are going to feature him in a lot of things they do. “They are really kind of quarterback driven on the offensive side of the ball. Joey Baughman is a returning starter. (Coach) Justin Todd does an excellent job of really finding ways to showcase his players and put them in a position to be successful and that is certainly the case with Joey Baughman both as a runner and a thrower,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Defensively they are not big, but they are very quick and very aggressive. They present a tremendous challenge with their aggression on the defensive side of the ball. We have to make sure we slow them down when we have the chance to find a crease, we have to take advantage of it. When there are opportunities to catch passes and make big plays we need to take advantage of those, which are things we did not do last week.”

Published 8/31/17

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Fundamentals Key for Wooster

Wooster plays at Orrville to open the high school football season on Friday night in the renewal of one of the longest standing rivalries in the State of Ohio.

Generals coach Doug Haas says they have been working on a lot of stuff they plan to feature on both sides of the ball. “Obviously you never kind of know. The scrimmages are such a controlled situation. You have banged on one another for so long that there is still a little bit of nerves on everybody’s end. The sample of information on what we expect Orrville to do is small, so you are basing things on such a small data sample so it makes it a little bit never racking. Ultimately it allows you to just focus on the fundamentals. As I have been telling to kids it comes down to who blocks the best and who tackles the best and who can protect the football. We have to make sure we can control those types of facets of the game regardless of what schemes that our opponent throws at us,” said Haas.

The game of football is about fundamentals. It’s about blocking and tackling and Haas says that is what they have been telling the players. “We really talk about it starting up front on both sides of the ball offensively and defensively. Fortunately for us we have a pretty experienced group back on both sides of the ball. If those guys can kind of keep their level of play where it left off last year it is going to allow some of our green kids in the skilled positions and the secondary positions to mature a little bit over the course of time I think we will feel pretty good about ourselves,” he said.

When it comes to Orrville, Haas says there have been a lot of changes with the Red Riders and they hope they are prepared for what they see on the field. “They have evolved a little bit offensively. They have adopted the spread offense now. They have brought a guy who a coach at Triway for years and he is now running the offense. Triway had tremendous success when he was there. So, they have opened it up a little bit, which has put a premium on open field tackling,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “So, that is the part where we have to make sure we are making hay in that aspect of it. Defensively they are still really, really sound and have some new blood on that side of the ball in a former head coach in the Wayne County League. It is one of those things where they are going to be fundamentally sound in all three phases of the game. You haven’t had a chance to see a whole lot of the kicking game pieces.”

They will be prepared for Orrville and what they do, but Haas says the focus has to be on their execution. “Again it is about some effort, some execution and do the fundamental things to the best of your ability. They are going to give us everything we can handle. I know our kids are excited and ready for that opportunity. We just have to make sure we can kind of control that emotional piece so that doesn’t become anything but blocking and tackling,” he said.

Published 8/24/17

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Wooster Wants Program Stability

Wooster doesn’t want to be occasionally good they want to be consistently good and they are building towards that end.

They scrimmaged Akron Copley on Tuesday and will face Cleveland Villa Angela St. Joseph on Friday in scrimmage play. They take on traditional rival Orrville in their opener on August 25.

Coach Doug Haas says he thinks they are getting a little better each time out and that is what he wants to see. “We are in one of those stages where we had a scrimmage on Tuesday and we have a scrimmage on Friday, so we have to recover and prepare. There is a little bit of that fine line. At times it probably hard to see that progression. Certainly when we went against another team in Copley on Tuesday we saw some gains that we had not seen in our inter squad scrimmage on Saturday. So, now we want to see even a little bit more going forward in regards to a better understanding with kids playing a little bit faster. We need better tacklers and better blockers and stuff like that. A lot of that will pan out after we do a little bit of film study. I was pleased with the steps that we took after Tuesday we just have to make sure we continue to make more and more steps,” said Hass.

Scrimmages are not games, but Haas says they are important tools for the team in terms of who needs to be on the field for the Generals. “It allows for a little bit of chemistry. We kind of split the team down in half and we kind of made some moves to have ones and twos and there are always the ones and one-A’s, so this will really allow us to see what our full 11 different units would look like and make an evaluation based on that and is that where we need to be? It will also allow us to tinker a little bit, can we slide a kid over here or slide someone here. That is the beauty of the scrimmages and we are not banging on each other. Our kids are excited to go against a different colored helmet that is for sure,” he said.

Haas says they want to become consistent winners where they are not forced to rebuild. He says they are starting to reach that level. “We are getting there. An eight win season was a disappointing season for us, so I think that speaks to the level of expectation around here. We want that, we welcome that challenge and that pressure. From our standpoint we certainly want that where we just win when we have great talent we have a great team we want to as (Superintendent) Dr. (Michael) Tefs just mentioned put together seasons. We put together three eight wins seasons. It where we don’t rebuild, we reload as the old cliché is. So, we are getting there,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday after practice, “There are some pieces and parts that we need to fine tune or hold a plug here and there. I am really, really pleased with how our kids work. I am really pleased with the facilities that we have and I am excited with how the season is progressing and looking forward to the opening night on the 25th versus Orrville.”

Published 8/11/17

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Wooster Drills Clear Fork

  

          Wooster scored five runs over the first two innings and broke it open with four in the fourth and went on to hammer Clear Fork (16-3) in an Ohio Cardinal Conference baseball game on Tuesday.

          Leadoff hitter John Nebesky had four hits, three runs scored and three RBI and second place hitter Calvin Blair added four hits and a run scored for the Generals.

          They totaled 15 hits on the day and first year Wooster coach Scott Young says they have been talking a lot about approach at the plate and the Generals has a good one on Tuesday.  “We have been emphasizing approach at the plate.  I think we are kind of learning as we go with a pretty inexperienced team.  We talk about that after and before every game and (Tuesday) night I think we got ourselves in good hitter’s counts and when we got our pitch to hot we didn’t miss it.  We were still aggressive on the bases, but we were smart,” he told Swankonsports.com after the win, “I think again that is growing pains.  (Tuesday) night it kind of all got put together.  It all starts with a good approach at the plate and knowing what we are looking for is certain counts.”

          Designated hitter Michael Cicolani had the biggest hit of the day for the Generals.  He unloaded a three run homer onto the softball field in the first inning and the Generals never looked back.

          Clear Fork (3-3,2-1) couldn’t get many clutch hits and their pitchers issued 14 free passes to the Generals.  Colts coach Rusty Staab says it was a game he would like to forget.  “It was every aspect of the game.  We couldn’t throw strikes, we couldn’t hit the ball, but we made up for it by not fielding.  It was one of those days,” he said.

          Luke Clark had two hits for the Colts.  The highlight of the day for Clear Fork was Gavin Bailey’s solo homer in the sixth.’

          Drew Friedoff made his first varsity start and went six strong innings allowing seven hits, walking four and striking out five.  “That was his first varsity start.  It was his first varsity innings.  He knew we needed a good outing from him (Tuesday) night and he came out from the very first pitch and was pounding strikes.  I will be interested to see his percentage of strikes.  When I checked in the fifth inning he was about 80 percent strikes.  If we can do that we are going to have a lot of success.  We tell our guys we have to be 65 percent strikes and first pitch strikes we want to be around 90 percent.  All in all it was a good first outing for him.  Now the challenge is to try and come back (Wednesday) and try and do the same thing.  Against good teams you have to do it two days in a row, not one,” said Young.

          Wooster (3-2,2-1) is the defending “OCC” champion, but they are much younger this year.  Young is confident his team is going to get better as the season goes on.  “That is what we have been telling these guys since we started in February,  We are not going to be the same team in March and early April as we are in mid-May.  I think was we get more experience and we grow together as a team and we get live looks against other good ball clubs I think we are only going to get better.  We have to play to get better.  We are doing a good job right now of taking an approach and applying it to the game and hopefully we are starting to see some results,” he said.

          The two teams meet again Wednesday this time at Wooster.

 

Published 4/05/17

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“OCC” Champ Opens Tournament Play

  

          Wooster won its first 19 games this season and finished as the undisputed champion of the Ohio Cardinal Conference and they start tournament play on Saturday night.

          They are part of one of the toughest division one districts in state and getting out of it is going to be really tough.

          The Generals (20-2), #1 in the final Swankonsports.com basketball coaches poll in the large school division, plays host to Massillon in the opening round of the tournament on Saturday night.

          They have not played since an (86-53) loss to Copley on February 21.  Coach Michael Snowbarger says they have used the time to work on some fundamentals, but they are really ready to get back on the court.  “We have had a nice little bit of a rest.  It has been a week and half now,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “It was good for us though because the kids got back into it and we got back into some of the basics, you know, closing out with the hand up, moving without the ball.  Just doing those little things that I think we got stagnate with towards the end of the season.  So far in practice it looks good, but going out and doing it in a game, sometimes that is different, but we will see.”

          Tournament games tend to be more half court, not always, but usually, and in those cases you need some perimeter shooting.  The Generals have that is Trevor Smith.  Snowbarger says they are going to need him on Saturday night.  “Having Trevor Smith does help us when we get into the half court.  Massillon is probably a team where we will have to get into a half court kind of game.  They are extremely quick and they have some great athletes.  I am not sure how much we want to get up and pressure them and give them wide open layups.  We need to make them work in the half court for everything,” he said.

          Wooster beat Massillon (73-66) in the opening game of the season, so the teams are familiar with each other.  Snowbarger says they need to play outstanding defense.  “We got to go over and watch them (Wednesday) night.  We are a little bit familiar.  We saw them last year and they have a couple of the same kids.  Massillon has some great athletes.  They have a great point guard and we have to make sure we stop his dribble penetration and keep him out of the paint,” said Snowbarger.

 

Published 3/03/17

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Wooster Finishes Regular Season With Unbeaten Copley

  

          Wooster, the outright champion of the Ohio Cardinal Conference, plays at unbeaten Copley in a non-conference game on Tuesday night.

          The Generals (20-1) rallied in the fourth quarter erase an eight point deficit and beat Ashland (69-60) in an “OCC” game last Friday.

          Coach Michael Snowbarger hopes that can take some momentum from that fourth quarter into Tuesday night.  “I hope so.  I thought our kids played extremely well in that fourth quarter and played extremely hard.  For a little bit there in the first quarter we just didn’t have that same intensity and our kids picked it up in the fourth.  That’s why I hope we can take that to (Tuesday) night,” said Snowbarger.

          Wooster has to play with intensity because creating chaos is their game.  Snowbarger says that is what makes them good.  “That energy generates a lot of our offense.  When we have that kind of energy that is when we are at our best,” he said.

          Copley (20-0) has not won by the same margins as Wooster throughout the season, but they certainly have done that in their last games with wins over Aurora (102-57) and Kent Roosevelt (89-38) last Friday.

          Snowbarger says they play the same way that the Generals do.  “I watched Copley on tape and they are very similar to us they pressure all over the court and they have that same energy and when they get runs it is off their defense and their pressure.  We have to be able to handle the ball and contest shots because Copley scores in bunches very similar to us,” he said.

        Of course, Wooster’s only loss of the season came last Tuesday to Massillon Jackson (82-50) in a game they didn’t play very well.  Snowbarger says they want to go into the postseason feeling good about themselves.  “We want to go into the tournament, and we get about a week and a half off.  We don’t play until March 4,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We want to go in off a win or at least a good performance.  Hopefully win or lose we can go out there and play 32 minutes of hard basketball and go into the tournament feeling good about who we are.”

 

Published 2/21/17

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Heavyweights Wooster and Jackson Meet

  

          Two of the state’s top three schools in division one in the statewide media poll play on Tuesday night as Wooster visits Massillon Jackson is what should be an excellent game.

          The two teams combined to score 195 points last year.

          Wooster (19-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the large school division, a poll that covers only schools covered by this website, has enjoyed a very good season.  Jackson (17-1) has been dominating too.  Their only loss comes to North Canton Hoover (65-54) about a month ago.

          Wooster coach Michael Snowbarger says Jackson is big and they are athletic too.  “They have great bigs, they have great shooters, they have a good point guard and they have a good complement 6’5” kid that works extremely hard.  Jackson has the make up of a great team.  They have the 6’7” kid going to Butler, the 6’7” kid going to Toledo and all of those great athletes.  Then they have (Jaret) Pollotta that is about 6’5” and he can be a D-one football recruit at the “MAC” level, he is only a junior.  Then they have two great guards in Kyle Nicolas and (Ethan) Stanislawski.  Then they have what a lot of teams wish they had in Michael Zitney that is about 6’9” coming off the bench that has just signed to platy basketball at Indiana Wesleyan.  They have great depth as well,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “It is going to be a tall task for us.  It is great to roll into tournament like this.  You don’t want days off to develop bad habits.  This is going to be a tournament atmosphere before the tournament starts and as coach I am excited for it.”

          This is the biggest team Wooster has played all year.  Snowbarger says they just have to keep coming after them.  “Their height is definitely a concern.  They don’t only have the height, but those kids are good athletes too.  Their shooting is a concern.  We have to make sure we limit our unforced errors and continue to attack the basket like I talked to the kids (Monday) at practice.  You might get a shot blocked, you might get two shots blocked.  We just have to keep going at it though and keep testing them,” he said.

          There is no question that Wooster wants to make this a track meet.  Snowbarger says they don’t want to have to score against that height that Jackson has.  “That is exactly what we did last year.  We did lose 103-92 last year in regulation.  We want it fast, we want it up and down.  I knew if we get into a half court set when then other team was 6’7”, 6’7”, 6’5” and a 6’9” coming off the bench that was not appetite for success for us.  We want to get up and down the court.  We don’t want a half court game where they pass it around and throw it into the bigs,” he said.

 

Published 2/14/17

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“OCC” Champion Wooster Ready to Keep Working

  

          With a win on Tuesday night, the Wooster Generals are outright Ohio Cardinal Conference champions, but they have not taken the foot off the accelerator.

          The Generals (18-0,12-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the large school division, beat Mt. Vernon (66-44) to claim the undisputed title.

          Coach Michael Snowbarger says it makes them feel pretty good.  “The kids worked really hard and at the beginning of the year that is one of the things they talked about that we wanted to win the “OCC” championship outright this year.  We got close last year and Lexington got us there down at their place, so we got second.  This year that was one of the kid’s goals and they worked extremely hard all through the off season and they have done great so far this season,” said Snowbarger.

          Wooster has won all their conference games by at least 10 points and Snowbarger says they have been very consistent all year.  “I have talked to people throughout the last week or so and that is the toughest thing when you are coaching at the high school level you just have different situations whether it be sickness, girlfriend breaks up with you, injuries, different things like that, the effort isn’t always there,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “You have to tip your hat to our kids this year because every single game thus far, 18 games in, the effort has been there.  The shots haven’t always fallen, but for the most part our effort has been there.  You have to tip your hat the great senior leadership we have.  We have three captains that have kind of spearheaded the charge.”

          Clear Fork (5-12,2-9) visits Wooster for an “OCC” game on Friday night.  The Generals won at Clear Fork (71-50) on January 6.

          Snowbarger says the Colts have some very good shooters.  “When we went down there earlier this year they played us really well.  Clear Fork is one of those teams where you really can’t go for many steals because they will make you pay.  They are a great shooting team.  Last year, when we went down there they shot about 60 percent in the first half and this year when we went down there it seemed like every open look they got they knocked down.  They are a team that you have to be very fundamentally sound defensively.  You can’t go for crazy steals and leave open shots or they are going to make you pay for it,” said Snowbarger.

          Wooster faces a huge non conference game with Massillon Jackson on Tuesday night, also state ranked in division one.  However, Snowbarger says they are not looking past Friday.  “With our leadership and our senior kids we are pretty hungry.  They have their minds set.  So far, they have had 18 great outings with effort.  (Friday) night is a senior night for us and it is going to be a little special for those seniors and hopefully we will be able to bring it,” he said.

 

Published 2/10/17

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Wooster with Chance to Clinch Share of “OCC”

  

          Unbeaten Wooster can clinch no less than a share of the Ohio Cardinal Conference title with a win at home Friday night against second place Lexington.

          The Generals have won all of their league games by at least 10 points this year.

          They trashed Mansfield Senior (80-49) at Pete Henry Gym on Friday night.

          Coach Michael Snowbarger says defense was the difference against the Tygers.  “It was a good game for us overall offensively we kind of stood around, but the defense was the difference maker there.  Our help side defense our ball pressure was very good after watching that tape.  Overall a great team effort for us last Friday against a very good and athletic Mansfield Senior team,” he said.

          Wooster (15-0,10-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the large school division, beat Lexington (63-41) in their first meeting on December 30 in game that was marred by a fight in the stands after the game, which will bring eight people to court later this month,

          Since that time Lexington (14-3,8-2), #4 in our poll, has changed the way it plays and is pushing the pace of the game a lot more.  Snowbarger says they have got to control Lexington point guard Traevin Harrison.  “With a point guard like Harrison he just comes down the court very well.  We have to stop his dribble penetration.  I didn’t think we did a great job of that the first time around,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We let him get to the basket too much.  We have to limit his dribble drives.  Then as always over the last couple of years we have to know where Cade Stover is and limit his touches.  We did a pretty good job of that in the first game, but we have to do that on Friday night as well.”

          Stover is Lexington’s leading scorer and rebounder and Snowbarger says he is very active on the floor.  “That was one of the keys the first time around.  Last time Calvin Blair did a great job defending him.  We always wanted to make sure we had a body on him when a shot went up.  We are going to have to do that again.  He is tough on the offensive boards, so active, if he doesn’t get it he will tip it just to keep it alive,” he said.

          Snowbarger says they realize the league implications of the game, but their goal is to just keep getting better as a team.  “It is a chance to put a lot of room between first and second place in the league, but what I have been telling the kids all along the league is something we definitely want to get, but we have to keep getting better.  I think our challenge is to keep getting better,” he said.

 

Published 2/01/17

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Wooster Needs to Keep Foot Down

  

          Wooster, the Ohio Cardinal Conference leader, and unbeaten on the season, downed Madison on Tuesday night, and will travel to Mansfield Senior on Friday night for a league game.

          Peyton Bennington scored 25 points and Devin Haid added 18 as the Generals beat Madison (65-55) on Tuesday night at Wooster. 

          Tyrell Ajian had a game high 26 for Madison and Wooster coach Michael Snowbarger says they had trouble stopping him, but they were able to get enough done to win the game.  “The game was kind of that eight to 12 point game throughout the entire game.  You are not always going to win every game by 20.  You are not always going to bring your best effort every single night.  There is a piece of that we need to control, but (Tuesday) night there is a piece of that that you have to tip your hat to Madison.  They came into our place (Tuesday) night and played a pretty good ballgame,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Tyrell Ajian controlled the game and when you have a great point guard like Tyrell Ajian, he had 27, 28 points, and he controlled the tempo a little bit and kept things under control you are always going to be staying in the game when you have that kind of comfort zone.  He is a great athlete, going to Kentucky to play D-one football.  He played extremely well and kept them in the game and you just tip your hat to people like that.”

          Wooster was 24-36 from the free throw line Tuesday night, making more free tosses than field goals.  Snowbarger says both teams were aggressive and they were able to make enough the charity tosses to win the game.  “We have been shooting the free throws pretty well for the most part this year.  As a team we are at about the 70 percent level.  For an overall team that is not a bad percentage.  Last night Devin Haid was 10-12 and Peyton Bennington was 14-20 and we did spend a lot of time at the foul line.  I think at one point in the second half the fouls were 7-0, Madison committed seven and we committed zero.  It was a physical game, they didn’t give us any open looks and we had to get our points at the free throw line.  Our kids answered it, there were a couple of spells when we went dry from the line, it seemed like we missed 30 in a row, but it was only a couple here and there and overall our kids answered,” said Snowbarger.

          Wooster (14-0,9-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the large school division, travels Friday night to meet Mansfield Senior (3-11,2-7) in an “OCC” game.  The Generals won the first time they played (68-46.)  Mansfield Senior beat Clear Fork (51-41) on Tuesday night.

          Snowbarger says they expect a test.  “Mansfield Senior is still very athletic.  They have some great guard play.  We have to make sure we contain their guards and not give them any open looks.  Mansfield Senior, no matter what their record is, they are always a scary team, especially when you go over there to play them.  We have to be ready to play.  Just because they have three wins on the year we can’t expect to just show up and win.  That is not going to be the case.  Mansfield Senior will give us all they have, coach Reece will have them ready,” he said.

 

Published 1/26/17

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Wooster Wants to Pick it up

  

          Wooster’s lead has now grown to two games in Ohio Cardinal Conference, but Generals want to make sure they keep the foot on the gas pedal.

          They play at home against a dangerous Mt. Vernon team on Friday night in conference play.

          Tuesday night, they hammered West Holmes (85-64) in an “OCC” game.  However, coach Michael Snowbarger says it really wasn’t a complete game by the Generals.  “Overall I thought we played pretty well.  We were up 25 at half and we got up 32 going into the fourth quarter.  We went a little deep on the bench and we lost a little bit of intensity.  As a coach you don’t like to see that because you like to go to the bench and keep that same intensity,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We didn’t have that and we addressed that (Wednesday) in practice.  We talked about that. We have to keep playing and every possession matters.  We talked to the kids about that and they responded very well (Wednesday) in practice.  I am excited where we are right now.”

          Pressure defense and fast break offense are big keys for the Generals and Snowbarger says the remained the players this week about the importance of intensity.  “That is what we kind of stressed to the kids (Wednesday) in practice.  We have to keep that intensity for every possession no matter what the score is.  It doesn’t matter if you are up 32 or it is a tie game you need to keep that intensity and if you don’t you develop some bad habits.  As a coach I don’t like to try and break those bad habits.  If kids learn bad habits it is a tough thing to break,” said Snowbarger.

          Wooster (12-0,7-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the large school division, hosts Mt. Vernon (6-7,4-3) on Friday night.  The Yellow Jackets beat Mansfield Senior (57-43) on Tuesday and beat Mansfield Madison (60-53) last Friday.

          Snowbarger says they can shoot it.  “They have some great perimeter shooters.  I was watching the tape a little bit more (Thursday) from one of their games and they have great shooters.  We have to make sure we keep a hand up everywhere on the court and make sure we contest all shots because.  If there is a shot left open on the perimeter they are going to knock it down.  We have to kind of speed them up and get them into a little more of a track meet,” he said.

          Mt. Vernon has had some games where they have put together some runs of points.  Snowbarger says they want to take them out of what they do.  “That is something we stressed quite a bit (Wednesday) in practice and (Thursday) in practice that we have to bring that intensity right from the get go.  If you let a team like Mt. Vernon hang around you are going to give them confidence and the basket is going to start looking big and those shots are going to begin to fall,” he said.

 

Published 1/20/17

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Wooster Faces Versatile Ashland

  

          Wooster leads the pack in the Ohio Cardinal Conference standings by a game over both Lexington and Ashland and they play at Ashland on Friday night.

          After an altercation after their win over Lexington two weeks ago involving fans and some players, Wooster was able to circle the wagons and remain unbeaten on the season.  They beat Clear Fork (71-50) in a league game on the road last Friday and they edged Elida (69-67) on Saturday in a game played at the College Wooster.

          Coach Michael Snowbarger says overall he thought things went pretty well.  “Getting out of last week 2-0 was definitely a plus for us.  We had a lot of extra circulars, a lot of disruptions, but I thought for the most part the team kept things in perspective and kept moving forward.  Overall it was a good week.  Clear Fork, we went down there, it is a tough place to go, it is a long trip for us.   Elida did a lot of things in the half court they make you guard them.  They make you guard a lot of different screens, a lot of different looks.  If you mess up and relax for a second they are going to knock down an open shot.  They had 14 threes.  Saturday was a great win for us,” said Snowbarger.

          Wooster (10-0,5-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the large school division, plays at Ashland (8-2,4-1), #4 in our poll, in a huge game on Friday night.  Ashland beat West Holmes (66-54) in their last conference game last Friday and then beat Canton Central Catholic (71-54) on Tuesday in a non-league game.

          Snowbarger says the Arrows have some length and some skill and they are a very good team.  “Ashland is extremely long.  They start 6’4”, 6’4”, 6’4” across the board and then you have 6’5” and long.  Not only are they long, but they are great athletes.  Everybody on that team is a great athlete.  They are good basketball players and they are great athletes.  They pose a different kind of problem for us.  We have to be very sharp in the half court and we have to move in the half court to get open shots.  If we do a lot of standing their length is going to alter a lot of shots,” he said.

          Ashland has wanted to get down the floor this year because their big guys can run.  Snowbarger says they respect that, but also know the Arrows can do some things in the half court.  “Ashland has gotten up and guarded a lot of people in the full court and they have done a lot of things in transition, but also I have watched Ashland four or five times and they have also been a team that can slow it down and do a lot of things in the half court too.  So, it is a team that posses a different kind of situation where they have sown they can get out in transition, but they have shown they can be very affective in the half court with great shooters like Garrett Denbow.  It is definitely a team that posses a couple of different threats,” said Snowbarger.

 

Published 1/12/17

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Unbeaten Wooster Hosts Clear Fork

 

          Wooster, the Ohio Cardinal Conference leader, is at home for the Clear Fork Colts in a conference game on Friday night.

          In the mist of controversy Wooster maintains an unbeaten record after downing Lexington (63-41) last Friday in “OCC” action.

          Coach Michael Snowbarger, speaking last Saturday on our “Sports Saturday” program, said he liked the way his team earned the momentum in the second quarter of the game last week at Lexington.  “It always starts defensively for us, but at the same time Trevor Smith came up big.  He hit a couple of shots to try and get us a little bit loose and then Colt Morgan played extremely well from the post and the Calvin Blair defensively on Cade Stover really limited his touches by fronting him and getting around him.  Our ball pressure was one of the keys to the game making it hard to make those post entries to Cade Stover.  The more pressure you have on the perimeter the more difficult it is to make those post entries,” said Snowbarger.

          The controversy stems from what happened after the game, which was fight involving adults and perhaps players.  Authorities have seen a video of the incident and reports from officers providing security at the game.  According to media sources, at last report there have been no arrests and no suspensions of players.

          Swankonsports.com has spoken to no one from Wooster High School or its basketball program since we spoke to coach Snowbarger on Saturday morning.  At that time he told us he was unsure of what happened.

          Trevor Smith, a transfer from Northwestern, led Wooster in the game with 20 points and Snowbarger says his addition has been a big plus to the team.  “Trevor has definitely helped us out.  He has the ability to extend the defense out to 23, 24 feet and that helps a ton at the high school level.  You have to guard that and that opens up a lot of driving lanes for other kids.  We are shooting 41 percent from the three on the year, which is very good. As Trevor gets more comfortable he is just going to open up a lot more things for everybody else,” he said.

          The Wooster (8-0,4-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the large school division, has been outstanding on the floor all season.  Snowbarger thinks it is because of their commitment to defense.  “When I started getting into high school coaching with Keith Dambrot, who is the head coach at Akron.  Our practice was basically defense, defense, defense and that has kind of continued throughout my coaching career.  The first probably 40 to 50 minutes of our practice is defense and the kids have kind of bought into it.  At the beginning defense might not have been the biggest glamour thing, but now I think they are starting to get a little bit of pride about it.  That is great at the high school level when you can get kids to sell out on the defensive side,” said Snowbarger.

          Swankonsports.com will have an depth conversation on violence at high school games, not only last week’s incident at Lexington, but a broad prospective, during “Out of Bounds” on Friday night.

 

Published 1/06/17

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Unbeaten Teams Battle for “OCC” Lead

  

          Wooster and Lexington have both won all of their games so far this season and they play at Lexington on Friday night to see who takes sole possession of the Ohio Cardinal Conference lead.

          Last Friday, Wooster (7-0,3-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the large school division, blasted a pretty good Madison team (87-49) in “OCC” play.

          Coach Michael Snowbarger says they were hitting on all cylinders.

“We traveled on the road and played a good Madison team.  They have two great athletes in Kyle Jackson and Tyrell Ajian.  We just came out early and made a few shots perimeter and blew some things up and we forced a couple of turnovers.  Our kids were excited to play Madison in our first big game on the road.  They showed up, and complements to our kids, the answered the call.  We played very well against Madison,” he said.

          Lexington (8-0,3-0), #2 in our poll, beat Norwalk (48-39) on Wednesday night and downed West Holmes (57-47) in their last “OCC” game last Friday.

          Snowbarger says Lexington may be missing three starters from last year’s “OCC” champs, but they know how to win.  “It is their winning mentality.  A lot of those kids maybe didn’t play a ton of minutes in Harrison and Dana Shoulders last year, but they were around that and they did get in a little bit.  Then they have their leaders in Cade Stover and A.J. Nickoli that were starters last year.  Anytime you have that winning mentality and once you teach kids how to win they are very competitive.  Cade Stover is a great athlete inside and we have to find a way to limit his touches and keep him off the boards for second chance baskets,” said Snowbarger.

          Cade Stover is Lexington’s first option on offense in the post, but Snowbarger says they have shooters that can spread for floor too, especially A.J. Nicholi.  “We have to close out with a hand up and don’t give them open set shots.  We have to make them shoot them off a move or shoot them contested.  If we let those guys catch and shoot with nobody in their face they are going to knock them down,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We have to make sure we limit A.J. Nickoli’s open looks.  He hit some big threes against Madison.  After Madison hit a three Nickoli would come down and answer the call.  We definitely have to limit their open looks.”

          Lexington is very good on defense, especially in the half court.  Snowbarger says they need to show a little patience in the half court.  “Coach Hamilton does a great job with their defense.  They always have someone there on help side.  They have good ball pressure.  They do the little things when you watch them on tape.  They are closing out with a hand up.  All little things that well coached teams do.  We are going to have to go over there Friday and make the extra pass and move without the ball to combat their good defense,” said Snowbarger.

          Really Snowbarger says they don’t want to face Lexington very much at all in the half court.  “That is kind of the blueprint of what we have done so far. We want to force turnovers and let our turnovers create the offense.  That is kind of how we want to score.  The less we face them in the half court probably the better,” he said.

 

Published 12/29/16

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Unbeaten Wooster Travels to Madison

  

          Wooster has been the best team we cover over the first three weeks of the boys’ basketball season, but likely their toughest test, at least in the league, comes Friday night when they visit the Madison Rams, who have won their last three games.

          The Generals belted Canton Central Catholic (81-39) on Tuesday night in non-conference and they have beaten both of their “OCC” opponents easily in West Holmes (87-50) and Mansfield Senior (68-46) last week.

          Coach Michael Snowbarger certainly likes what he sees.  “We are getting better, but I like I have said in the past we still aren’t as consistent as I would like us to be, but it is coming more and more.  We still need to get better in the half court and creating offense in the half court, but we are putting a lot of pressure on the other team and starting to handle the basketball better, which is definitely a good sign,” he said.

          Wooster is known for its pressure defense in the full court, but Snowbarger says they have played pretty well in half court situations on defense too.  “Overall on defense we are really good right now on that side of the ball.  We are putting good pressure on the ball, we are getting the help side, we are getting good rotations.  I am very happy with where we are at there.  It is just when we have the ball, the ball movement, sometimes we look good, but then there are times that we lapse back,” he said.

          Wooster (6-0,2-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the large school division, travels to Mansfield Madison (5-2,1-1) for an Ohio Cardinal Conference game on Friday night.

          Snowbarger says the Rams always play hard on both ends and they have two really talented players.  “Madison is playing some very good basketball and they have two very good players in Ajian and Kyle Jackson.  Coach Mergel always gets them to compete,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “When you go over to Madison you always have to be ready for their best.  We are expecting their best and it is definitely going to be a tough match up for us.”

          A key for Madison this year is they have been able to provide a third scoring option in many cases.  Snowbarger says they are aware of those guys too.   “With Jacob Stone making seven of nine threes we are going to have to find him (Friday) night and also Koehler, the great athlete for them as well, we have to keep him off the boards and control his second chance buckets,” he said.

 

Published 12/23/16

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Wooster Locks Horns With Mansfield Senior

 

          Both schools like to do a lot of the same things and it is likely going to boil down to who does them the best as Wooster hosts Mansfield Senior in a game in the Ohio Cardinal Conference on Friday night.

          The Generals also play Elida as part of the WQKT Steve Smith Basketball Classic at the Collage of Wooster on Saturday.

          Wooster (4-0,1-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the large school division, blasted West Holmes (87-50) last Friday in their first “OCC” game and then belted Ontario (64-43) in a non-league game on Saturday.

          Coach Michael Snowbarger, in his second year with the Generals, is excited with how well they played last week.  “We got up and guarded and forced some turnovers.  It is always good to get that first conference win at West Holmes, especially on the road.  So, that was good,” he told Swankonsports.com, “Then we backed that up with a good win against a very good team on Saturday in Ontario.  They have great guard play in Tre Jordan, Quan Jackson, and Jackson Todd.  We are going to see another group of very good guards this week, so we have to kind of build on what we were able to accomplish last week.”

          Snowbarger says he knows they are playing well and have gained a lot of confidence by doing do, but he keeps trying to keep his kids grounded as well.  “When you are a confident kid you are always dangerous.  Like I tell the kids everyday in practice the season is a long season… it’s a marathon.  In the future we are going to have valleys throughout the whole year.  We just hope our valleys aren’t as deep as our peaks. We have to keep working.  I would like to be more consistent overall.  Sometimes we do have those spells for about a minute, two minutes at a time when you look up as a coach and say what is going on?  So, we still have those times and we need to become more consistent for 32 minutes,” said Snowbarger.

          Mansfield Senior (1-2,1-0) won their “OCC” game last weekend in triple overtime over Mt. Vernon (62-60,) their second triple “OT” game this season.  Then they lost to Mansfield St. Peter’s (54-48) in a Saturday night non-conference game.

          Snowbarger says this is another team they are playing that is loaded with very good guard play.  “Mansfield Senior has some great guard play with B.J. Patrick and Jornel Manns.  Overall we have to be able to handle their pressure.  If we don’t handle their pressure and their defense starts leading to their offense and easy points it could be a long night for us so we need have to make sure we handle that pressure and make the extra pass and make them play defense more than one or two passes per possession,” he said.

 

Published 12/16/16

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Wooster Wins First Two, Plays West Holmes

  

          Wooster picked up two non-conference wins on the opening week of the season and they open the Ohio Cardinal Conference portion of their schedule on Friday night at West Holmes.

          The Generals beat Massillon (73-66) on Friday and then demolished Massillon Perry (96-53) on Saturday.

          Coach Michael Snowbarger says he is happy to be (2-0) so far.  “Overall it wasn’t bad.  Friday we made some first game mistakes we really didn’t close it out very well.  Massillon has some great athletes.  We got up 11 in the third quarter and we kind of let them in to it with some stupid plays some bad turnovers and missed assignments on defense, but we were able to do enough to hold on to win.  When you are able to win and have learning experience that is always better than losing experience.  Overall I can’t complain about Friday,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Saturday was our first home game against Perry.  We were up 10 at half and a little bit sloppy, but we came out in the second half and shot it well.  I think we made 16 threes Saturday, so a great win for us on Saturday.”

          Wooster is athletic and can run the floor and score.  Snowbarger says it would be great if they could shoot like this all season.  “Unfortunately we can’t depend on that or expect that every night.  In the two games we are shooting 47 percent form the three.  As a coach you would love to do that for the year.  We can’t continue at that rate or at least we can’t expect it,” he said.

          West Holmes (0-2) has lost close games to Orrville (61-57) last Friday and (51-50) to Wooster Triway on Tuesday night.  Snowbarger says the Knights have some firepower.  “We got a chance to watch them (Tuesday) night and they have about everybody returning from last year, so they have some good experience.  They have the two Wells kids that are great scorers.  The younger one can make shots.  He made three or four threes (Tuesday) night against Triway.  It is just a chase of you have to know where he is at and make sure you tag him throughout the whole game or he will get you.  Those are the two we have to keep under control on Friday night,” said Snowbarger.

          Wooster hosts the talented Ontario Warriors (2-0) in a non-conference game on Saturday night.  Snowbarger is impressed with Ontario’s personnel.  “I think it is going to be a great match-up.  Ontario got us last year over there.  We kind of ran into a buzz saw in the second game last year.  They beat us up pretty good.  Ontario has great guard play in Trey Jordan and Quan Jackson and Jackson Todd.  Those guys are great players.  Logan Jones, the big guy, is a great player as well.  Saturday is going to be tough for us, but we have to get through Friday first,” he said.

 

Published 12/08/16

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Wooster Looking for Consistency

  

          Wooster, one of the favorites for the Ohio Cardinal Conference boys’ basketball title this season, starts the year with a double weekend of non-conference play against Massillon and Massillon Perry.

          Coach Michael Snowbarger says they looked really good times this year during stretches on scrimmage play.  “There is a glimmer of hope in these past scrimmages this week that we have had.  There were a couple quarters when we looked really good and then we might take a step back a quarter.  The good is kind of out weighing the bad right now.  We just need to get there a little more consistently on the good side.  We are getting better, we are improving.  This week is going to be a very tough test for us against two very good schools.  Massillon Perry in the state finals in football and Massillon Washington always has great athletes,” he said.

          Consistency, that is the catch word for all coaches.  Snowbarger says he has been having some dreams about that no that would be nightmares wouldn’t it.  “It is developing into a lot of sleepless nights for me.  As a coach you are hoping that everybody is pushing at the same time on Friday or Saturday night or Tuesday night. You want to hope and hope and hope, especially right now with the expectation of coming into the season.  We just need to play another team rather than banging against each other.  We are extremely excited this weekend to get things started,”

          On Friday night, the Generals head for Massillon to play the Tigers.  Snowbarger says they will see some athletes, that for sure.  “Massillon has some great athletes.  They have two guys that played big minutes last year, a point guard and a wing.  I believe their big transfer from Cincinnati LaSalle is going to play and when you mix in a 6’6”, 315 pound kid he is going to cause some issues inside,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “Massillon has always had great talent and they have a new coach too, which adds another level of complexity.  I watched last year’s tape and tried to get some personnel.  We did play them last year, but they have a new coach, so they are doing different things.”

          Perry comes calling on Saturday night and Snowbarger says it will be a lot of the same.  “Perry is another team early in the year that has a new coach this year.  You can watch last year’s tape and try and get some personnel, and some little things like that, but you almost have to go back to where the coach came from to get an idea of what they want to do.  They might change up or continue to bring their program with them from where they came from,” he said.

 

Published 11/30/16

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Wooster Expanding its Offense

  

          Wooster was the runner-up in Ohio Cardinal Conference last season and they clearly have the talent to be in the thick of the race again this season.

          Last year, Wooster created a lot of their offense from their defense.  Coach Michael Snowbarger says it is going to be same this year, but they also have to be better in generating offense in the half court.  “We have a lot of the kids back from last year and we and continue to run our defense to generate some offense and at the same time make that next step and be the basketball team we want to be we also have to be able to generate our offense in the half court and be a better half court team,” he told Swankonsports.com, “A lot of what we have been working on so far this year is moving without the ball in the half court and not letting our defense be the so generator of our offense.”

          Snowbarger, now in his second year as the Generals head coach, says defense will always be a top priority for the team.  “Our defense is probably a little ahead of our offense right now.  We have worked a little more on our defense and we are still working on our offense.  Our defense we are just using a lot of what we did last year and expanding on our offense.  Defense is a concentration and will always be a concentration as long as I am at Wooster,” said Snowbarger,

          In addition to having most of their team back from last year, Snowbarger says they have added point guard Trevor Smith, who transferred from Northwestern of the Wayne County Athletic League.  Snowbarger says it has been good to have some extra time this preseason with the season starting later.  “We do have Trevor Smith coming in playing a key role.  The rest of the kids have to get up to speed with him.  It has been great to have that extra week of basketball practice.  Last year we were just getting started at this point.  It is nice to have that little bit of extra time,” he said.

          Snowbarger believes Smith will really help them when it comes to their half court offense.  "Trevor has been great so far this year for us.  He has really kind of bought into the system.  Trevor is a phenomenal shooter and you have to know where he is at all times if you are the opposing team.  Last year he shot 47 percent from the three and he shot 96 percent from the free throw line.  To have a shooter like that helps to spread the defense is great for our team,” says Snowbarger. 

 

Published 11/22/16

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Wooster Focus is on Winning

  

          Wooster needs to get a win Friday night at Thomas Worthington and probably get some help to make the division two playoffs.

          They stand ninth in their region and they top eight get the postseason invitation.

          The Generals beat West Holmes (38-0) in their final Ohio Cardinal Conference last Friday.

          Coach Doug Haas was proud of how they handled the adversity they faced last week.  “We are proud of our kids.  It was a nasty night from that standpoint.  We got to stand out in the wet and cold for three hours.  I am proud of our kids from that standpoint for handling the conditions and the weather well.  Couple that with I know we are spoiled these days, but we had to play on natural grass and that led to a wet track and it was hard to complete passes and things like that. We managed to complete enough and make enough plays here and there to put together a pretty good first half and then continue that into the second half.  What impressed me the most was out ability to hang onto the football in such adverse conditions.  I think we came away with a plus four turnover ratio.  Anytime you can do that you feel like you are accomplishing something pretty good,” said Haas.

          Thomas Worthington (0-9) has struggled to get wins this season, but Haas says they have been competing against a big time schedule.  “They are a division one school that plays in the Ohio Capital Conference, the other “OCC” if you will.  They have really played a very, very demanding schedule so.  It is one of those things were I think their record is a little misleading.  They are squaring off with the likes of all the Hilliard schools, Worthington Kilbourne, Dublin Scioto, they have played a bunch of playoff schools,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “It is good competition and one that we are going to have to be ready to play in all three phases.  They do a nice job in all areas of the game.  There is a little bit of that lack of familiarity so we will have to overcome that aspect of it. We will have to get on the bus and travel a hour and 45 minutes or so and there is a 7:30 start.  There are all sorts of unusual things that we will have to deal with, but I am confident that our kids and coaching staff will try to close the season out with a bang.”

          As far as the playoffs are concerned, Haas says they only thing they have control over is winning and that is what they are prepared to do come Friday.  “The only thing that we know that we can control is how we prepare throughout the week and go out and put our best foot forward on Friday night and try to beat a competitive Thomas Worthington team.  If that is the case that is what we need to do.  That would put us over the last three years with 24 wins and that is something I think our seniors can be very, very proud of and kind of hang their hat on.  We are looking forward to the challenge.  We kind of treating it like a playoff game from the standpoint of a long drive and a 7:30 start and all of those things that happen on a Friday night playoff game.  We will take advantage of the extra week of preparation and hope we can go out and perform well,” said Haas.

 

Published 10/25/16

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Wooster Knows What They have to do

  

          Wooster is going to need a lot of things to happen to get a piece of the Ohio Cardinal Conference title, it would seem their chances of making the playoffs would be stronger.

          They are in a tie for eighth in their division two region, but they are likely going to need to some teams ahead of them to lose too.

          They picked up a big win last week by downing Mansfield Senior (35-21) in an “OCC” game.

          Coach Doug Haas says they got an interception return, a kickoff return and sound play from their defense.  “I was really, really pleased with how our defense preformed.  To hold, and I use that word with air quotes, Brian Benson to 140 yards, you feel pretty good about that believe it or not.  The defense really played well and stepped up for us and got the momentum rolling for us.  We were fortunate that anytime Senior was able to get some momentum going we were able to seize it right back.  It is such a momentum game for us at the high school level and that was such a huge goal for us.  Anytime you can score defensively and anytime you can score on the special teams and we were fortunate enough the score on the offensive side of the ball your chances of success grow exponentially,” said Haas.

          Wooster (6-2,3-2) plays at West Holmes (1-7,1-3) in an “OCC” game on Friday night.  The Knights are coming off a (48-13) setback to conference leader Lexington last week.

          Haas says the Knights have been through a lot this season on and off the field, but they still play as hard as anybody.  “Just watching them on film they engrained into the wing-T concept that coach Maltrich brought and you can just see them comfort level with that.  They are willing and able to branch out a little bit and get in the shotgun and three wide receiver type stuff.  That really puts a challenge on you from the defensive standpoint,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “Defensively when we watch their defense they are just so sound and have been really good tacklers.  I have been impressed with their defensive line play just from the standpoint that the kids are quick and use their hands well and they get off blocks.  I know their record is not going to indicate that, but this is a team that is playing really hard and playing with a tremendous amount of passion.  You might think that those kids would bag it and what not and I just have not seen that from that group.  It is going to be one that they are going to be pumped up to end the season at home at their place with a win, and so it is going to be a big challenge for us.”

          In terms the playoffs, Haas says he doesn’t know exactly what has to happen except they have to win.  “I don’t know what the percentages are, but I can tell you the sure way not to make the playoffs is not play well and get ourselves in the “L” column the last two weeks.  That is the tricky part we can’t focus on the wins and the losses, we have to focus on improving from the performance we had last week.  We have to let that one go, look at the mistakes, correct those, and move forward and do things that are going to put us in position to be successful, but that can’t be the focus, the focus has to be on improvement,” he said.

 

Published 10/18/16

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Wooster Defense Charged With Containing Benson

 
 

          Wooster trails Mansfield Senior by two games in the Ohio Cardinal Conference and they play at Arlin Field against the Tygers in a must win situation for the Generals.

          Last week, Wooster (5-2,2-2) lost their second “OCC” game in its last three when Lexington stuffed them (14-3) at Follis Field. 

          Coach Doug Haas says they just couldn’t get anything going on offense.  “We had the early pick 6.  Went back and reviewed the film and whatnot and it was just an exchanging of punts for the first few series.  Then that pick 6 sort ended any type of momentum we were able to generate.  In reflection I think both of us would have been willing to trade punches back and forth and body blows and then ultimately somebody breaks a big one and you capitalize on some momentum and maybe win the football game.  It was disappointing from that aspect of it.  In reflection I don’t think our defense played that poorly,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “When you give up seven I would say most coaches would say, yeah, we should win.  It was just a matter of our missed execution on the offensive side and that is something that we have to address and correct and work on improving this week.”

          Haas says this week’s practice has started pretty well and he is sure they will be ready to battle Mansfield Senior.  “Mondays are always a little bit slow because there is teaching and introduction and things like that.  Our kids are tough and they are resilient.  The challenge is I told them is we can wallow in self pity or roll our sleeves up and get back to work.  I would say they were ready to come back to work on Monday,” he said.

          Mansfield Senior (5-2,3-0) has scored a lot of points again this season, including last week when they beat West Holmes (63-28) in an “OCC” game.

          Haas says the Tygers are electric on offense, especially running back Brian Benson, the school’s all-time leading rusher.  “The first guy that stands out to you is number nine.  Brian Benson, I feel like he has been around forever.  I asked him last year the game are you a senior?  He said, no I’m a junior.  I said, darn it.  He is a tremendous player and someone you have to keep your eye on obviously.  Manns at the wide receiver position is also a playmaker and whatnot.  They are doing what you would expect.  They are a young team, starting some freshmen in some spots, but they continue to improve.  Their quarterback play as improved as the season has gone on.  They are an improving football team and that is where you want to be at.  You want to constantly show improvement and they have done that.  They have gotten is a shootout with Clear Fork and a shootout with Ashland.  We are going to have to answer scores with scores.  We are excited about our challenge and look forward to taking that head on,” said Haas.

          As far as stopping Benson?  Haas says they will do all they can, including using 12 or 13 players.  “You have to close the gaps and not let him get a running start.  If we can make him stop and make a cut one way or the other.  Then is a matter of playing great team defense and pursuing towards the ball.  Try to corral him and us that sideline as your 12th man.  If that doesn’t work we will play with 12 or 13 and see if we can finagle something that way.  He is a tremendous player and he is going to get his.  It is a matter of how many carries it takes for him to get those.  I think our defense looks at it as a challenge this week in playing one of the best players in the conference.  I have the confidence in our defensive staff and our defensive personnel to rise to the occasion,” he said.

 

Published 10/12/16

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Big one in the “OCC”; Wooster and Lexington

  

          It’s a must win for Wooster on Friday night as they host Lexington in a big game in the Ohio Cardinal Conference.

          Currently, Wooster trails the Minutemen and Mansfield Senior by a game in the “OCC” standings.  They need a win to avoid falling two behind with three to play.

          Last week, they found themselves down (14-0) to Clear Fork, but coach Doug Haas says they were able to put some things together late in the first half after a difficult start.  “We were kind of in slow motion early on and started out really slow.  We were kind of able to weather our own storm so to speak and put together a couple of good drives and get some scores to tie it up at halftime and we were getting the ball coming out in the third.  Offensively we did a great job of executing and getting down the field putting a score in and getting up right away.  That was a critical momentum swing for us.  It was a little uncharacteristic in that we put the ball on the ground three times and gave up a couple of big plays.  We didn’t play particularly well in the kicking game.  It was just an all around kind of bla performance.  In the second half we were able to come out and do the things we needed to do in order to win and whatnot,” said Haas.

          The big second half last week was something the Generals needed to get some confidence back.  “We needed that from a confidence standpoint and keeping a little of control in terms of our destiny to compete for another “OCC” championship with Mansfield Senior helping us out by beating Ashland.  It allowed us to get back in the mix and be right back in the hunt against a Lexington team that is playing very, very well right now.  We are excited about that challenge, but we know it is going to be a stiff one as well,” he said.

          Lexinton (4-2,2-0) comes to Wooster (5-1,2-1), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, for a huge game on Friday night.

          Haas says that Lexington defense is very, very good.  “They are just very sound.  When you look at them it is not like it is an extravagant scheme or anything like that.  They just have just have a bunch of kids that play extremely hard that you can tell are very well coached and are very good tacklers.  Kudos to coach Gerhardt and his staff those kids are playing very well.  So, it is going to be a great challenge for us, but one that we are excited about.  It will be clash of the titans so to speak because we are averaging 41 points a game and they are giving up nine.  Something has to be give and I hope it is them and not us,” he said.

          The Lexington offense has started to play better too.  They led the way in a (49-6) thumping of Madison last week.  Haas says quarterback Logan Pfizehmayer is coming into his own.  “I think that is a normal progression, especially when you have to replace a guy like Joey Vore.  Looking back he was a special, special player.  The young man that is doing it now is really starting to figure it out.  Halfway through season things start to slow down for you and whatnot.  They are starting to improve and progress and that make it a challenge on us from a defensive standpoint.  Again it is one that our guys are hungry for to try and stop a potent offense like that,” he said.

 

Published 10/07/16

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Generals Forced to Regroup

  

          After a looking dominate over the first four weeks of the season, the Wooster Generals lost a tough triple overtime game to Ashland last week.

          They now trail Ashland, Mansfield Senior and Lexington by a game in the Ohio Cardinal Conference standings.

          Keagan Armitage scored a touchdown run and then the Arrows stopped Wooster running back Trey Mathis on a fourth and one to preserve a (43-36) win. 

          Wooster coach Doug Haas says they have to get back to work.  “For the fan is was extremely entertaining.  We were very disappointed how it ended.  We had opportunities and we let some get away in terms of a big play and a defensive score and things like that proved to be the difference.  I have to give some credit to Ashland, obviously, they played very, very well and have a very good football team.  They are improving after what they would say was a slow start for sure.  We are disappointed, but we have no other choice other than to regroup, roll our sleeves up, and get back to work and get ourselves prepared for a really high quality Clear Fork team,” said Haas.

          Teams are often measured on how they respond at adversity.  Haas says this will tell you what kind of team they have.  “It is kind of one the things I told the kids after the game if we are not going to let four wins define us then we are not going to let one loss define us as well.  It is all about the process and embracing the process a little bit and using this as an opportunity to improve gain and learn from it in hopes of finishing out what can still be a memorable season,” he said.

         Wooster (4-1,1-1) hosts Clear Fork (2-3,0-2) in an Ohio Cardinal Conference game on Friday.  Haas, in his fifth year as the Wooster coach, says Clear Fork is pretty tough on defense.  “Defensively I am just impressed with their toughness and physicality.  I think they are really aggressive.  I think they are excellent tacklers from that aspect of it.  They are very, very sound and disciplined in what they do.  We have to make sure we can handle the line of scrimmage.  If we get a chance to get the ball to our skilled players then we have to take advantage of that,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “I think they did a nice job of containing Brian Benson, he is a special player.  He had to earn each and every one his yards from what I saw on film.  Offensively, they are multiple from a formation standpoint and use a lot of motion.  We will be forced to defend the width and the depth of the field.  They have several kids that can carry the ball.  They play a little bit of a single wing concept with as much quarterback run as they are doing.  That is a challenge because you just don’t see it.”

          Clear Fork lost its quarterback Thomas Staab to an injury last week in a (42-39) loss to Mansfield Senior.  However, Haas says the Colts always do a great job of adapting.  “Coach Carroll does a great job of adapting to his personnel on a weekly basis.  It is going to be one of those things where fundamental football defensively us going to be critical.  We have to make sure we get lined up properly, read our keys, and then execute the fundamentals that go along with that getting off blocks and making tackles and being disciplined in our coverage.  It is going to be a real test for us.  An advantage I hope we can gain is we have been playing very well from a special teams standpoint with the exception of a punt return last Friday against Ashland we have played really, really well in that phase of the game.  That could be a difference maker in that regard,” said Haas.

 

Published 9/27/16

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Wooster Expects Best From Ashland

  

          Wooster has been one of the very best football teams in North Central Ohio on both sides of the ball so far this year, but they are likely to get their biggest challenge of the year from the Ashland Arrows on Friday night at Folis Field in Wooster in Ohio Cardinal Conference play.

          The Generals beat Ashland (21-7) last year, but the Arrows had won the previous nine meetings between the schools.

          This season Wooster (4-0,1-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, has been tremendous.  They are coming off a (38-0) win over Mansfield Madison.

          Coach Doug Haas again reiterates they are pleased, but not satisfied.  “We are really pleased obviously with where we are at and the results that we have been able to produce on Friday nights.  I really think all three phases of our team have been playing very well offensively, defensively and in the kick game and that is what it takes to be successful is to have all three clicking at the same time.  We need to continue that against an Ashland team that in my mind is still the cream of the crop in regards to the league.  We need to prepare with that in mind.  They are a little bit beat up.  Coach Valentine does such a great job with those kids that he will have them ready for sure,” said Haas.

          On defense, the Generals really have only given up one score with their first team defense.  Haas says they have been good at executing the game plan.  “We are very, very thrilled with where we are at defensively.  The defensive staff does a great job in terms of preparing the game plan and presenting that game plan to the kids in a manner that they can understand it and allow them to execute it.  There are some things out there that we can improve in all phases of the game.  When you have given up 29 points on the season you have to feel pretty good about yourself.  We are certainly going to have to play very good defense Friday night against Ashland,” he said.

          With Grant Denbow injured, the Arrows have used backup Keagan Armitage the last couple of weeks.  Haas says they have ran the ball a little more, but Friday they could get just about anything from the Arrows.  “They are probably running it a little bit more to kind of break him in a little bit.  He is a very, very capable passer.  As you would expect they took a little bit of the pressure off him the last two games with the run game, but as you move forward I think you can expect the kitchen sink in what we are going to see from them form an offensive standpoint,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “After playing two games he isn’t a young kid anymore, not an experienced kid anymore.  We have to make sure we are doing the fundamental things that we have been instructed to do in order to be successful.”

         Ashland (2-2,1-0) was young on defense to begin the season, but they have been getting better.  The Arrows beat West Holmes (35-7) last week.  Haas says that unit has been doing the job.  “They have always played good defense I thought.  Looking at their roster and breaking down film there are a lot of those kids.  Half way through the season they aren’t young anymore.  They have played is some really close and competitive ballgames and have come out on either side a couple of times.  Ashland is always going to be there and be very successful and are always going to play very, very hard.  That defensive unit is getting better and has been doing a great job and it is going to be a challenge for us,” said Haas.

 

Published 9/22/16

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Talented Wooster to Begin “OCC” Play

  

          The Wooster football team has been as good as anybody in North Central Ohio over the first three weeks and now they are getting ready for play in the Ohio Cardinal Conference.

          They shared the last two “OCC” titles.  They travel to Mansfield Madison (2-1) on Friday night for their first league game.  Wooster beat Madison (20-7) last year.

          After a (44-8) win over Mt. Vernon on Friday night, the Generals (3-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, look like they are hitting on all cylinders.  Coach Doug Haas says they came out in the second half and played a lot better.  “Obviously anytime you can come away with a 44-8 win you are excited about that.  We started show on the offensive side of the ball,” he told Swankonsports.com, “It was 14-0 at halftime and that was only because we got an 80 yard punt return and we were fortunate to be able to sack the quarterback and that kind of catapulted us into some momentum.  The neat part was all three units scored in this game in the second half.  We blocked a punt for a touchdown, the defense got a safety, and we put together some scores offensively.  There are still a lot of things to improve from a penalty standpoint and taking care of the football.  We didn’t do a good enough job of that.”

          Wooster’s offense has done a lot of good things, but their defense has really been even more impressive.  Haas says they have been very stingy.  “Last week was actually the first score they have given up in about six quarters of football.  Week one, we played the second half with our JV squad.  We still have to get better and make some improvements.  We will have a Madison team with a little chip on their shoulder,” he said.

          As good his team has been, Haas knows that they can still get better and that will be the goal this week.  “We kind of preach process it terms of making sure we improve each and every week.  That was a big week for us.  We had not won a week three game in my tenure here.  This was the first time in five years we won a game on week three.  We were certainly excited to close out the non-conference portion of our schedule undefeated.  Now we face that second season so to speak.  There are lots of things that we did well.  At the same time we need to be our own worst critic and make sure that we improve as the week goes on,” said Haas.

          By the way, Mt. Vernon is in the “OCC” in all sports exect for football.

          After losing (49-7) to a very good Shelby team on week one, Madison has beaten River Valley (49-21) and last week edged Toledo St. Francis (46-41) when Kentucky recruit Tyrell Ajian scored late in the game.  Haas says the Rams have a lot to contain and not just Ajian.  “They have quite a few weapons and not just in Tyrell Ajian.  They have some other guys that can do it with the ball and that has been their strength the last two weeks.  It’s going to be a test and a tremendous challenge, but one I know our kids will be excited about.  We will do are very best to prepare this week and make sure we put our best foot forward,” he said.

 

Published 9/12/16

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Wooster Must Focus on Improvement

  

          Through the first two weeks of the season the Wooster Generals have been one of the best football teams in North Central Ohio, but they can’t be satisfied.

          They hammered Wadsworth (35-0) on week two and coach Doug Haas says it was because they were well prepared for the game.  “I was very, very pleased.  The kids came out and practiced hard all week.  We had great preparation in some inclement weather here are there.  We had a great week of preparation and were able to put it all together on Friday night in all three phases of the game.  I’m certainly very, very pleased with that, but as we look back at the film we need to make improvements across the board to get to where we need to,” he said.

          Defense has been outstanding for the Generals so far.  Their first team hasn’t been scored on.  Haas says the players understand the importance of defense.  “It really kind of dates back to last year our kids have really bought into the culture, the mindset, whatever you want to call it, that you have to play championship style defense, great defense to be a champion.  Our defensive unit, our defensive players, take a tremendous amount of pride in that.  Our defensive coaching staff does a great job in terms of prepping our kids and making sure they are in the right spots and the schemes are sound.  We are pleased with where we are at, but again it is a marathon not a sprint.  We are only two games in so and we need to continue to get better on that side of the ball,” said Haas.

          Wooster (2-0) plays at Mt. Vernon (1-1) on Friday night.  The Yellow Jackets are in the “OCC” in every sport other than football due to some contractual relationships with member schools in the Ohio Capital Conference and some threatened legal action.

          Haas says they are a team that has been better every week.  “I have really been impressed just in the small amount I have seen of them just the progression of improvement you see from them.  They have been in some closely fought games 22-20 with Marion Harding and 21-20 against Newark, came out on the wrong end of that one.  There is a tremendous amount of fight in that group.  They are getting better weekly,” he told Swankonsports.com on Labor Day, “That causes you to pause in the sense that we have to bring our “A” game.  We have to travel down there.  It is a bit of a haul for us.  It’s a new environment, first game on the road this season.  There are some things that we have to take under consideration.  I am confident in the mature group that we have that we will do that.”

          With the newness of the match-up, Haas says there are going to be some questions about what the Yellow Jackets are going to do.  “That is maybe the trepidation that you see or feel when you face an unfamiliar team.  Since I have been at Wooster we have played a lot of these teams five years in a row, so we kind of have an understanding in what we are going to get.  The type of players that they have.  They have a new staff this year, but we understand the character of their players that they are going to be tough.  It would appear that they have some tough and physical kids.  You just don’t know because you haven’t played them.  It is going to ultimately force you to play good, sound, fundamental football, be a great blocking team, be a great tackling team, take advantage of special teams, don’t turn the ball over and don’t commit silly penalties.  That is what we are going to need to do to be successful on Friday night,” said Haas

 

Published 9/06/16

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Tackling Really Important for Wooster

  

          Wooster throttled long time rival Orrville last Thursday, but they are likely going to have to be better when they play Wadsworth in game two on Friday night.

          Last week, they destroyed Orrville (53-21) in a game that was (47-0) at the half.  Coach Doug Haas says outside of a couple of lose ends it was a real good performance.  “We were really pleased with how we preformed.  A couple of young guys turned the ball over late, so that kind of sours it a little bit.  It was a good opportunity to get them some experience, get them some work.  We really played well in the special teams game in the sense that we kept them backed up almost all night and capitalized on any short kicks that they had.  So, overall collectively it was a good performance for us.  There are certainly a lot of things that we have to clean up and improve on and that has to be the focus this week,” said Haas.

          It was a game where the Generals had some big gainers.  Trey Mathias scored on three plays longer than 35 yards.  However, Haas says they were able to drive the ball too.  “We were able to make some big plays, but at the same time we were able to sustain some drives.  We had a running back rip off a big run and then caught a pass.  We were able to kind reverse the field with him.  We had some receivers go up and get the ball on some deep balls when the opportunity presented itself.  At the same time we left some plays out there and gave up some big plays.  Those are the types of things that we have to continue to work on and clean up,” he said.

          Wadsworth won a thriller beating Ashland (27-24) on a long pass on the last play of the game.  They have a new coach in Justin Todd, formerly at Loudonville and Mt. Vernon, and coach Haas says they are featuring the spread look.  “Justin Todd has really done a great job wherever he has been.  They are a different dynamic that what people are used to seeing Wadsworth be over the last 20 some years.  It will be an exciting change for us.  It’s part of the learning process of playing different offenses and what not,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “For the past four years we have been kind of used to what they do.  That presents a challenge in itself.  They have a very talented quarterback that we have to be aware of and a good group of wide receivers as well surrounding him.”

          The Grizzlies are going to try and get Wooster in one on one situations and Haas says they have to be good tacklers.  “They spread the field horizontally, so it is going to put a premium on match-ups.  The quarterback is a very slippery type runner and understands leverage and what not.  We are going to have to be much, much better tacklers than we were last week,” he said.

 

Published 8/31/16

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Wooster and Orrville Open Instead of Close

 

          Wooster and Orrville have been playing football since Teddy Roosevelt and they are not about to stop because they aren’t in the same league.

          Orrville has moved to the Principal’s Athletic Conference.

          Wooster coach Doug Haas says they moved it to week one and the game will be played Thursday night at Folis Field in Wooster.  “Myself and our kids have such great respect for the Orrville-Wooster rivalry.  Coach Davault and I kind of spoke about how can we make this special.  Moving up to a Thursday night, so we are the only show in town, was kind a natural thing for both of us to think about.  That is where that specialness comes in.  I know there are some traditionalist that still want it to be week 10, and I understand that,” he told Swankonsports.com, “With the way schools grow and shrink it just worked out for Orrville to make the move to the PAC and we are happy for them.  There is such great history and tradition behind this game that we didn’t want to get rid of it by any stretch of the imagination.”

          Wooster won a share of the Ohio Cardinal Conference last year and made the playoffs.  Haas believes they have the right tools back on offense.  “We have a ton of experience back, so that is really, really exciting.  When you look at us we have 16, 17 starters back on both sides of the ball.  That is off a playoff team and a conference championship team.  We have a veteran signal caller back, a good group of veteran receivers around him, and then have a very skilled running back as well, that was a workhorse for us,” he said.

          As good as their offense can be, Haas believes the defense will be better.  “Defensively our front seven is back and then 50 percent of our backend is back.  Defense is going to be a strong suit for us.  We started to establish that tradition of playing great defense around here and our kids really believe that.  I think we can kind of go as our defense goes and then hopefully the offense can pick up and kind ride their coattails a little bit,” he said.

          Orrville has struggled on the football field the last couple of years, especially with numbers.  However, Haas knows they will be excited to play his Generals.  “We are going to get their best there is no doubt about it.  The nice part of week one is this is probably the healthiest you are going to be.  We are going to get their best and they are going to get our best.  Everybody is going to be excited about it.  We are both pioneering something that has never been done in the 100 plus years of the Wooster-Orrville game.  Who can handle those emotions, who can handle they hype surrounding it is going to play a little bit into that as well,” he said.

 

Published 8/22/16

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Wooster Wants to Stay Hungry

 

          Wooster has enjoyed quite a bit of success over the last couple of years in football.  They have shared in the Ohio Cardinal Conference title the last two years and made the playoffs.

          Now, they want to keep getting better.

          Coach Doug Haas says they have been able to battle the heat early in camp and limited the injuries.  "It's been good.  We have embraced the heat.  It has been a hot one, it has been a dry one, that's for darn sure.  I think the kids have responded very, very well.  I'm proud of them from that standpoint.  We had a good, quality workout (Tuesday) against a good Copley football team kind of in an organized practice kind of way.  I am really excited about where we stand right now.  We are staying healthy, knock on wood.  So, we just have to continue to progress and get better each day and stay healthy and let the chips fall where they may," said Haas.

          Wooster went up against Copley in a scrimmage on Tuesday and Haas says they did some good things, but found some things to work on too.  "We were physical.  I thought we ran the ball fairly well.  We are catching the ball.  We were going against a pretty good defense and they were able to challenge us from a protection standpoint.  We able to hold up, up front and protect the quarterback better than we have the last few days.  From an offensive standpoint I was really pleased wit that," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "Defensively we played well against a team that really wants to run the ball and is big up front.  We played well enough against the run and were able to tackle in space.  We have some things that we have to sure up from a coverage, communication standpoint.  We had a couple of breakdowns, but those are things that are correctable and it is just a matter of getting more experience from those guys.  We will continue to get better on that end."

          With the success they have had the Generals have been able to build some momentum, but Haas says they have to be really careful too.  "I think we can take some momentum in the sense that our roster has grown from that aspect of it, so  I am excited by that.  From an approach standpoint the beauty of high school football is that you graduate a group every year and have a new group coming in, so you will have a different chemistry and you have to work through that stuff.  There is some momentum to gain, but you also have to guard against complacency.  We will be sure to guard against that.  Our kids have worked hard to guard against that.  It can always sneak up on you, so you always have to approach and kind of press on the pedal.  Kind of be all gas, no breaks kind of.  Our kids are kind of buying into that concept.  Once you get through a week and half of camp it kind of gets boring and we want to make sure we keep it fresh and work to improve on a day in, day our basis," said Haas.

 

Published 8/10/16

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Wooster Wins "OCC" Outright

 

          Wooster drilled Clear Fork (10-0) in five innings on Tuesday to claim the outright Ohio Cardinal Conference baseball title in 2016.

          A loss would have meant the Generals would share the title with Madison

          Coach Derek Boyd says they didn't want any part of that.  They wanted it all to themselves.  "That was kind of our plan.  I think all along the goal was to have a chance to be in this position.  After last year, I know we have talked about it all ready a little bit earlier this year, that the kids coming back kind of had a bad taste in their mouth from last year and committed themselves to having a better season.  We had an opportunity and they were just not interested in sharing it with anybody.  I am real proud of their effort," said Boyd.

          Wooster has had great pitching this year in league games from both Curtis Williamson and Devin Johnson.  They both got to pitch against Clear Fork on Tuesday and Boyd was they were ready to go.  "I can't say enough about those guys.  Unfortunately it was the last game of the year for us and we had a little bit of time off.  Had the opportunity to bring Devin (Johnson) and Curtis (Williamson) back," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday night, "Obviously, Clear Fork has a lot to play for on Thursday.  They are in a little bit different situation then we are.  For our guys it was a chance to give them one more opportunity to go out and pitch and they did a great job."

          Clear Fork is still alive and will play Pemberville Eastwood in the division three regional tournament on Thursday.  Wooster lost to unbeaten Massillon Jackson in the division one district finals last week.

          Ryan Boyd hit a three run home run in the first inning on Tuesday and coach Boyd says they were focused to play.  "Sometimes it is nice to have some time off.  The reason we had some time off is we came up a little short in our other goals.  It did give them a little time to refocus a little bit.  Coming back for practice is not always the most fun thing.  I think we still had one more goal to achieve.  They did a nice job," he said.

 

Published 5/25/16

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Wooster Trims Lake in Districts

 

          Curtis Williamson fired a shutout and Wooster scored the only run of the game on an error and beat Uniontown Lake (1-0) in a division one district semi final played Wednesday at Thurman Munson Stadium in Canton.

          They return Thursday to play unbeaten Massillon Jackson for a berth in the regional tournament.

          Coach Derek Boyd says Williamson and their defense gave them a chance to win.  "The outing Curtis gave us (Wednesday) night, another complete game for him, it was  just an outstanding start.  He kept us in the ballgame, obviously.  We did a nice job behind him.  We were pretty clean overall.  That was a big difference in the game especially this time of year," he said.

          Rightfielder Johnny Nebesky scored the only one of the game on an error in the Wooster half of the third inning.

          Boyd says in games at this level you have to make the fundamental plays if you are going to win games.  "That's what we keep talking about.  You have to execute the little things to win games at this point because everybody is good.  That is one of the situations at this point you better be ready to get after it because there is going to be good pitching and usually you just hope for an opportunity where you can put something together and come up with some timely hits and get a couple of runs and win a ballgame," he told Swankonsports.com after the win over Lake, "That is why we spend all of the time in the winter working on all of those drills inside when it is snowing and cold to get yourself in position to be successful now."

          Devin Johnson is expected to take the hill for the Generals, the Ohio Cardinal Conference leaders, against Jackson on Thursday.

          There probably aren't a lot of people outside of Wooster that are giving the Generals much of a chance, but Boyd says they have to go out and play their game and not be tense.  "They are going to be quite the test for us.  They are undefeated this year and are quite the program.  The have very good hitting, very good pitchers.  We are going to have to make plays.  It is not a situation where we are just happy to be here.  It is one of those situations where we know they are good and we are going to have to play well, but by the same token we have to relax and just play baseball.  That is where we are at this particular point and that is what I tried to remind our guys after (Wednesday's) game," said Boyd.

 

Published 5/19/16

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Wooster Earns Share of "OCC"

 

          Mason McGee's three run double highlighted a four run first inning and Wooster blasted Clear Fork (11-1) Monday to get no less than a share of the Ohio Cardinal Conference baseball title.

          Coach Derek Boyd had a smile on his face after the win.  "I am really happy for our kids, especially those seniors.  There was a lot of disappointment in the way we played last year, especially in the conference.  The season didn't finish very well.  I think those 12 guys huddled together and really set the tone following that season and that really carried over to the winter, workouts start in November.  So, so happy and proud of those guys," said Boyd.

          Corey Musselman allowed no runs and three hits over six innings for the win.  He got out of a bases loaded jam in the fifth inning.  Boyd says his work on the mound has been a big boost for them.  "Corey has been a great, pleasant surprise for us.  That moves him to (5-0) for us this year.  He has pitched some big games.  He beat Massillon, he beat Hilliard Bradley.  I think be beat Ashland too when we had three league games in a week.  He has been out there a lot and really has been a big key for our season.  Can't tell you how proud I am of him too," he said.

          Wooster tallied one run in each of the fifth and sixth innings and put up five in the seventh.  Boyd feels McGee's double really set the tone after Clear Fork starter Chris Spencer walked the first four guys and was replaced by Jarod Smith.  "You never know what you are going to see.  We had never seen that pitcher before.  That is one the things we talk about, not giving away at bats.  Going up there with a purpose.  When you go to the plate you want to be aggressive.  That has kind of been our mantle all year, but at the same time we need base runners.  Mason (McGee) got us a big swing there.  That really got us started," said Boyd.

          The Colts (15-12,6-7) didn't get a runner past first base until the fifth and coach Rusty Staab says they really could never get anything started.  "I don't know if it was because it was the seniors last game together or the fact they didn't have school (Monday,) so they probable woke up about two o'clock or what, but they didn't seem to have that energy like we had Friday.  I told the kids this league game is over now and we can focus on Crestview.  It was great that we got those kids got some work," he told Swankonsports.com after the game, "Jalen Sheriff looked good.  That is a good team and for us to make some plays.  The bottom line is when Thomas (Staab) doesn't hit and Luke (Clark) doesn't hit our offense goes nowhere and hopefully that changes Thursday or we are going to be working on our banquet next."

          The Colts scored their lone run in the seventh and RBI single by Caleb Merendino.

          Clear Fork plays Crestview in the division three district semis at Madison High School on Thursday.

          Wooster (17-7,12-1), #5 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coaches poll in the large school division, #2 in our new Twitter fan poll, meets Uniontown Lake in a division one district semi-final on Wednesday at Thurman Munson in Canton.  Lake beat them (9-5) on the second day of the season and Boyd knows they are in for a challenge.  "They are good.  They have had a great season.  They have been to this level the last couple of years.  They have been very good the last two years.  We did get chance to see them early in the year.  That first Monday of the year when it was about 35 and raining.  We have a huge test ahead of us.  They have our full attention because they have been Federal League contenders and district runners-up.  Those guys are good players and I think if we can continue to do what we do we can be right in that ballgame," said Boyd.

 

Published 5/17/16

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Wooster Alone in First

 

          Wooster rallied to beat West Holmes (12-3) on Tuesday and got some help from Lexington, who beat Madison, to take sold possession of the lead in the Ohio Cardinal Conference.

          Lexington beat Madison (2-0) also on Tuesday.

          Wooster coach Derek Boyd says they knew going in the task was not going to be easy.  "That is one of things that we talked about with our kids we are at a point where were are fortunate to play well through April to put ourselves in a good position, but we have four huge game left and we have to take them one at time.  It was one of those situations that going down to West Holmes is no easy feat.  They play well down there.  They are well supported.  We knew it was a big, so I was glad our kids responded well," he said.

          The game was tied at (3-3) entering of the top of the fifth when Wooster (13-7,10-1) scored three times to take the lead and the put it away with six more in the sixth.

          Boyd says they were able to get some guys on base and then make some plays in clutch situations.  "I think we had a really good inning the fifth inning.  We started out well.  We got a couple of runs in the first inning, but we kicked it around in the bottom of the inning and that didn't help.  Give them credit, they played us tough.  That fifth inning we had some really good at bats," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday night after the win, "What started it, the first two guys got on, we were bunting the runners over and we able to get them a little out of position and load up the bases.  The we finally got the hit that broke it open a little bit and executed a nice squeeze bunt.  We put some runs on the board and that really changed the complexion of the game.  That was a big part of that fifth inning.  Our at bats got better as the game went on, drawing some walks, and using the whole field.  We were fortunate to turn it around in the late innings."

          There are been several games this season when the Generals have been able to score some runs in the late innings to win games.  Boyd says they don't get nervous.  "We have had some games that we have done well in the late innings.  Maybe it is the fact that we are a little older and our guys aren't panicking.  You have to hope that with a team that is senior laden that they will do that.  They will rely on each other, trust each other and keep fighting and I think that has been the thing for us.  Our guys are competing throughout the game.  You have to give credit to some of the teams that we have played because they have taken their shot at us for sure.  We are in a position where we can't afford to just kind of show up and not be ready to play baseball.  I will give credit to our seniors (Tuesday) night for not panicking," said Boyd.

 

Published 5/04/16

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Wooster Beats Orrville; Stays on Top

 

          Curtis Williamson went the distance on the mound and Ryan Boyd had three hits as Wooster blasted Orrville (13-1) in six innings in Ohio Cardinal Conference action on Wednesday.

          The win keeps the Generals in a share of the "OCC" lead with the Madison Rams, who beat Mansfield Senior (13-0) on Wednesday.

          It was the last ever "OCC" game between Wooster and Orrville, with Red Riders leaving the conference in a couple months, and Generals coach Derek Boyd knew Orrville would come to play.  "We were really fortunate to come out and get two wins.  Orrville was extremely competitive.  They are a very scrappy bunch.  We came out and got two victories this week, but they certainly didn't lie down for us, we had to earn them," he said.

          Wooster won (13-3) on Tuesday.

          Nick Koontz added two hit for the Generals and Boyd says were able to get things going in the middle innings.  "Early on they were able to keep us off balance at the plate, but as we were able to turn the order around a couple of times we did a better job of having a better approach at the plate.  I am a big believer that hitting can be contagious.  When a couple of guys swing the bat well.  Maybe someone executes a bunt or a hit and run it gets things rolling.  We were able to capitalize on that a little bit this week," said Boyd.

          Wooster beat North Canton Hoover (9-5) on Monday and will play Akron St. Vincent/St. Mary on Friday.  Boyd says they have tried to beef up their schedule, especially in their district.  "One of the things we tried to do when we came in was to take a look at what has been done here in the past and what do we want to do?  What team do we want to be?  We knew we had to get out and play some major schools.  To be honest we needed to do a better job within our district," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "We felt like we had something to prove early on, so that is why we decided to go out and do that.  I think we have started to, hopefully, earn a little bit of respect with some other teams in our district.  We do that to get better."

          Wooster (12-6,9-1) plays West Holmes (7-9,6-3) in their conference series next week and then Clear Fork the week after.  Boyd knows they are going to have to be ready.  "All we have done so far is put ourselves in position to have a chance.  We have an opportunity.  What we do with it will determine things.  These are two teams that are well coached.  There are a lot seniors that are good players on these teams.  Our guys know that they have to show up.  As we have talked about all year it is a great league.  In baseball anything can happen, but I can guarantee you we won't be looking past West Holmes on Tuesday," said Boyd.

 

Published 4/28/16

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Wooster Does What it has to

 

          Wooster remains tied with Mansfield Madison for first place in the Ohio Cardinal Conference baseball standings.

          They beat Mansfield Senior (16-2) in six innings on Wednesday night.

          They Tygers have only won one game and Wooster coach Derek Boyd says they had to show some focus this week.  "At the end of the day we were very happy to get two wins in the conference.  It was a really big week of trying to focus in and try to do the little things.  I really tip my cap to Senior High (Wednesday) night coming back after last night's ball game.  They played tremendously, and with poise, for the first few innings of the game.  In talking to a couple of their kids after the game I really admired their effort.  We were finally able to get some things going later on in the game and kind of break it lose a little bit.  There are still some things that we need to work on to get better," said Boyd.

          Wooster had beaten Mansfield Senior (10-0) on Tuesday night, but the Tygers held an early (2-0) lead in Wednesday night's game.  Boyd says the Tygers made them play well to win.  "John (Beasley) has done a great job this year trying to get a hold of that program and really get the kids focused in on what they need to do.  I give him a ton of credit.  Maybe in years past after a big win on one night they may not be as apt to come back the second night, but I give their kids credit that is about as excited a team as I have seen over there," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday night, "They made our guys have to refocus and come back hard.  We were just fortunate enough to later on get some things going.  This league is so good you can't you can't take breaks.  If you try to take breaks, of you don't come focused, you are going to lose."

          Wooster (9-6,7-1), #5 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coaches poll in the large school division, plays rival Orrville (3-9,2-6) in their "OCC" series next week.  They still have Clear Fork and West Holmes to play too.  Boyd says they have to get better at the fundamental things.  "Like (Wednesday) one of the things we talked about was, yeah, we scored 16, but we didn't steal one base and we had two opportunities to bunt and didn't execute either one and that really drives me crazy.  We have got to be better at executing those little things.  Maybe not the stolen base part, but definitely the bunting situation.  I am not really happy about that.  We had a blown bunt coverage.  We didn't have a second basemen covering the base on time, the ball is getting there and he is late.  Those are things we have to better at. We have an opportunity to practice (Thursday) and that is what we are going to work on, we are going to work on the fundamental things," said Boyd.

 

Published 4/21/16

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Generals Earn Split With Madison

 

          Wooster responded from a tough loss to Madison on Wednesday and beat the Rams (5-1) in the rematch on Thursday at their place to force a three way tie for first place.

          The Generals, Madison, and West Holmes, who plays Madison on Friday, all have one loss in Ohio Cardinal Conference action.

          After losing (2-0) on Wednesday to Madison, Wooster coach Derek Boyd says his kids were focused on Thursday.  "It was a tough loss (Wednesday) night over at Madison 2-0 in a game that really could have gone either way coming off a long layoff.  I was proud of the kids coming back (Thursday) after that ball game," he said.

          Devin Johnson took the ball in what was the biggest game for Wooster so far this spring and Boyd says he did a tremendous job for the Generals.  "Devin was really good (Thursday.)  It was a complete game and I really felt like in the later innings he still had good command of his pitches," he told Swankonsports.com after the win, "If we could have made a couple more plays it would have made it easier for him, but he did an outstanding job for us."

          Curtis Williamson threw very well in the first game against Madison and Boyd says he and Johnson have been giving them a chance to win in "OCC" games.  "If you have some guys that you can trot out there that can pitch the baseball and go deep into games that helps us immensely, especially when you are playing lost of games throughout the week. We have been very pleased with our top guys that we have been throwing in the conference," said Boyd.

          Wooster (6-4,3-1), #4 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coaches poll in the large school division, plays host to Ashland (2-3,2-3,) coming off a (13-3) win over Mansfield Senior on Thursday, in another "OCC" game on Friday. 

          Boyd says they have to keep working hard.  "Everybody is kind of doing that.  Madison and West Holmes are playing (Friday) as well.  It is one of those situations when it is what it is.  We are excited about the opportunity to play at home (Friday)and hopefully continuing to do what we are doing," he said.

 

Published 4/15/16

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Co-Leaders Meet in the "OCC"

 

          Wooster and Mansfield Madison, both unbeaten in the Ohio Cardinal Conference, are slated to play twice this week in key league games.

          Rain and wet fields have forced the game scheduled for Wooster to be moved from Tuesday to Thursday.  The two schools are still on for Madison on Wednesday.

          Wooster (5-3,3-0), #4 in the first Swankonsports.com baseball coaches poll in the large school division, has not played since last Tuesday when they beat Ashland (7-3) and Madison last saw the field when they downed Clear Fork (3-2) in nine innings on Wednesday.

          Regarding the weather, Wooster coach Derek Boyd says everybody is in the same position.  "I don't think anybody enjoys being inside.  It is one of those things where I think baseball players would prefer to be outside and obviously playing games rather than coming back in.  I think that can have a huge affect on players.  The good news is I think everybody is in the same boat considering the way the weather has been the last week or so.  I don't know that anybody has an advantage over anybody else," he said.

          Madison (3-3,2-0), #5 in our poll, spent the first week of the season playing in Tennessee against real good competition and then swept their series with Clear Fork last week. 

          Boyd is not surprised that the Rams are good again this season.  "That is just kind of what they do.  They are really good at reloading every year.  We have talked to our guys about that fact that we need to be ready to go whenever we play whether it is Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, whenever it is.  We know we are going to play a good team that is going to be ready to play us.  It is definitely going to be a challenge I think for both sides after such a layoff and then we will see what happens when we get on the field," said Boyd.

          Wooster and Madison have a rivalry in baseball, but Boyd says this week is not different from any week in the "OCC" for the Generals.  "I think that is the way you need to go into it every time whether it is Ashland, Madison, Lexington.  This league, and we have talked about it before, is really good," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday night, "Those were two very good ball games they played last week with Clear Fork.  Rusty (Staab) is a great coach and does a great job down there and we have to be ready every night.  It is not necessarily, oh we are playing Madison, it is who is the next one because everybody is good and we respect how everybody goes about their business."

 

Published 4/12/16

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Wooster Maintains First Place

 

          Wooster maintained the lead in the Ohio Cardinal Conference baseball standings with a (7-3) win at Ashland in an "OCC" game on Tuesday afternoon.

          It was (1-1) after five innings, but Wooster scored one in the sixth and put up five more in the seventh.  Coach Derek Boyd says they were able to get some big hits.  "We were fortunate to get some base runners on early in the inning and got into the meat of our lineup and got a couple of real big hits and scored some runs to give us a little breathing room there at the end," he said.

          After beating Lexington last week on the road, the Generals got another good start from Curtis Williamson.  Boyd says things were a little rocky for Williamson early, but he was able to settle down and get some big outs.  "We were fortune that Curtis (Williamson) gave us another good start (Tuesday) night.  He was up in the zone and got hurt a little bit early because he couldn't keep the ball down.  He was really able to work out of a couple of jams.  At the end it would have been a little cleaner if we could have made a couple of plays in the field.  He did a nice job and it was good for us to go over to Ashland and pick that up," said Boyd.

          Wooster (5-3,3-0) shares the lead in the "OCC" with Mansfield Madison, who won its conference opener over Clear Fork (5-1) on Tuesday.  Boyd says it has been a good start, but there is still a long way to go.  "I can feel good about it for a couple more hours and then (Wednesday) is a new day.  Like I told our guys let's enjoy (Tuesday) night, but anything can happen.  We had some issues last year where we weren't able to close out some series and that ended up costing us," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday night, "We need to be stronger on the second half of the league series and hopefully we will have a chance.  You can't take any night off in this league.  There are too many good teams, too many good players and coaches.  Like I said we will enjoy it, but get back to work (Wednesday.)

         The Generals host Ashland (0-3,0-3) in the back half of their "OCC" this week on Wednesday, weather permitting.

 

Published 4/06/16

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Wooster Wins at Lexington

 

          Wooster threw to first punch among contenders in the Ohio Cardinal Conference on Tuesday and it was a shot herd around the league as the Generals downed defending league co-champion Lexington (6-3) in the first "OCC" games for both sides.

          Generals coach Derek Boyd knew it was a going to be tough to go to Lexington and get a win and was very proud of his players.  "I was very happy with how the ballgame went (Tuesday) night.  Lexington is a great team coming off of a championship season.  To go down there the first night to play them on the road we knew it was going to be a tall task and we are really happy with the way we played," he said.

          Wooster (2-1,1-0) scored three times in the first and two more in the second off of Lexington starter Austin Eifrid.  Boyd thinks that early explosion put his team at easy.  "That was definitely something that worked out pretty well for us (Tuesday) night, especially in conference play.  Getting a couple of runs early on helped to build our confidence a little bit," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday night, "The guys were a little bit more loose I guess you could say and not pressing.  Again we knew we were playing a pretty good team again (Tuesday.)  It was definitely good to get off to a good start."

          Curtis Williamson went the distance on Tuesday for the Generals allowing only two earned runs.  Lexington (2-1,0-1) would cut the lead to 5-3, but Boyd says pleased with how his team responded in the game.  "This is a great baseball league and we have found out many times that you have to play the whole ballgame.  It sounds kind of cliché, but it is one of those situations that we really focused on weathering the storm we knew was coming and try to comeback and win the next inning.  A great team like that is not going to lay down and let you do what you want.  We knew they were going to make a run at us and you have to come back and make something happen after," said Boyd.

          With the way the "OCC" schedule is set up, the two teams are slatted to meet again Wednesday afternoon, this time at Wooster.  The Generals are expected to send Devin Johnson to the mound, while the Minutemen will counter with Hunter Biddle.

          Clear Fork beat Ashland (1-0) and Orrville throttled Mansfield Senior (14-1) on Tuesday.  Mansfield Madison and West Holmes aren't playing this week due to the Rams trip to Tennessee.

 

Published 3/30/16

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Wooster Wants Good Start

 

          Wooster is almost always in the mix in the Ohio Cardinal Conference when it comes to the baseball title and this spring should be no different for the Generals.

          Coach Derek Boyd says they are still working on putting things together, but there have been a lot of good signs so far for the Generals.  "Well it is still early.  We are still trying to figure things out with a lot of kids in the mix.  Some of these early scrimmages have been a chance to get out on the field and the weather has cooperated a little bit.  We are trying to evaluate certain positions we have some battles going on.  I have been really happy with opportunity to get out an play.  Hopefully, that will help us, especially the first week," he said.

          Probably the most important thing for the Generals, at least early in the season, will be establishing a rotation on the mound and trying to find you to give the ball to in big games.  "We have some big shoes to fill.  Anytime you lose a guy like Ryan Lally that led us last year that is big shoes to fill.  We have quite a few older guys that have been with us that are kind of battling it out.  I think we are getting a better idea of who we want to trot out there first," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "We starting to feel better about those guys with the more innings they get under their belts.  That is where it is going to start for us especially.  I am looking forward to watching these guys battle it out a little more and see who takes charge and who takes the mound for us opening day in the league on Tuesday."

          Wooster starts the season with a doubleheader Saturday against Massillon Washington in non conference play.  They play defending league co-champion Lexington in their first two "OCC" games next Tuesday and Wednesday.

          Boyd says they hope the good weather that has prevailed during spring training makes them more ready to start the season.  "The old adage is that pitching is always ahead of hitting.  We are hoping with better weather that everything will be better and we won't get off to a bad start.  Sometimes that is a fear that you have not being outside, but the weather is definitely cooperating with us.  That's been great.  It has definitely been the best since I have been here at Wooster," he said.

 

Published 3/24/16

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Wooster Must Get to the Basket

 

          Wooster has a chance to share in the Ohio Cardinal Conference title this year and if that is going to happen they have to beat Ashland on Friday night.

          They also need Mansfield Senior to beat Lexington.

          Tuesday night, the Generals rallied big and knocked off Massillon (89-85) in a non-conference game.  Coach Michael Snowbarger says they got off to a slow start, but once they got going they got on a roll.  "I thought the kids answered the call at the end of the game really well.  It was the tail of two halves.  In the first half we came out a little bit flat.  We weren't moving without the ball we didn't have any ball movement.  Massillon took it to us and we went in at halftime down 20.  We were down 20 with four minutes to go in the third quarter.  A testament to our kids they continued to battle and fight through it.  We had a rally late in the third and early in the fourth and were able to sneak out a win against a very good and athletic Massillon team," said Snowbarger.

          Ashland (11-10,7-5) is at Wooster (14-6,10-3), #5 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the large school division, for a league game on Friday night.  Ashland is just one game over .500, but Snowbarger thinks they are very good.  "I think Ashland is really good.  They had a little bit of the injury bug and the sick bug at the beginning of the year with Denbow.  We went over and watched them Saturday and Denbow didn't play the second half.  They have had some things like that, but they are one of the better .500 teams around there is no doubt about that," he told Swankonsoports.com on Thursday, "They won the conference last year and a lot of these kids were around that, so they have had that winning attitude and atmosphere over there in Ashland.  I was very impressed with them the first time around."

           In one their better efforts of the season Ashland beat Wooster (68-50) in their first meeting a month ago.  Snowbarger says they aren't that good of a perimeter team and they have to get to the basket.  "We can't settle for the jump shots.  I think the first time around I think we ended up the game three for 25 from three.  I think we just kind of settled for the shot.  We went into halftime tied and they came out in the second half and I think they missed five shots all together in the second half and combined that with the three for 25 from the three for us that is not going to be good.  We just can't settle for the jump shot, we have to get the ball to the basket in the context of our offense.  Like all year we have to turn them over.  We have to turn them over and get easy baskets.  In order for us to succeed right now we have got to do that kind of stuff," said Snowbarger.

 

Published 2/18/16

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Can Wooster Beat Lex Again?

 

          Wooster collides with Lexington on Friday night in a battle of co-leaders in the Ohio Cardinal Conference.

          The winner will be in the driver's seat in the league with only two "OCC" games left for both after Friday night.

          The Generals (12-4,9-2), #5 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the large school division, stayed in the top spot after wins over Mansfield Senior (78-76) and Mansfield Madison (68-54) on Saturday.  Coach Michael Snowbarger was pleased with the effort and execution.  "We had a great weekend last weekend, first against Senior High and then backing it up wit Madison.  We had struggled on back to back nights with that second game this year, but I think the kids rebounded extremely well in going over to Madison.  They did try to slow it down.  They made it close there late in the third quarter and early in the fourth quarter, but we answered them.  Overall a great effort by the kids," said Snowbarger.

          Lexington (17-2,9-2), #1 in our poll, fell back into a tie with Wooster when they lost at home to Ashland (61-51) last Friday.  However, they responded with a (69-19) pounding of West Holmes on Tuesday.

          Snowbarger says when you have players like Joey Zahn and Jonah Yaussy you are going to be very tough to beat.  "They are senior based.  They have four seniors that have been around there program for a long time.  Anytime you give Joey Zahn an open look he is going to knock it down.  The first time we were able to limit his looks, but when we did let him get open looks he knocked it down," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "He is a great player and when you combined that with a post player like Jonah Yaussy in the post.  Not a lot of high school post players can go over their left and right shoulder, but he is a kid that can.  We have to limit his touches in the post.  When you combined those two you and going to be a great high school team and they are."

          The Generals won the first meeting (69-66) and being able to force the opponent into turnovers is a big key to Wooster's game.  Snowbarger says they are going to have to do that again on Friday.  "A lot of our offense has been created off of our defense this year and we are going to continue to do that.  In the first game I think we forced 22 turnovers and we only committed six turnovers.  When you win the turnover battle by that margin good things are going to happen and we need to do that again," he said.

          With Clear Fork and Ashland left on their "OCC" schedule, a win over Lexington would give Wooster a one game lead and Snowbarger says they will take it.  "This is definitely a fun game and that is what we have been telling the kids all week, you have put yourself in great position, now don't let one slip away let's go over there Friday night and compete.  This is definitely a big game for us.  Going into the season if you would have said you have Lexington in the third to the last game of the year in the conference for a title I think we would have taken it, both of us," said Snowbarger.

 

Published 2/05/16

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Wooster Plays Two Contenders

 

          Currently Wooster stands in a share of second place with Mansfield Senior, a game behind Lexington, in the Ohio Cardinal Conference boys' basketball standings.

          They play at home against Mansfield Senior on Friday night and at Mansfield Madison, two games back, on Saturday night.

          The Generals (10-4,7-2) belted rival Orrville (76-42) last Friday in what was the last "OCC" match-up between the two.  Coach Michael Snowbarger says they were really just happy to get out of there with a win.  "I was very happy with how our kids reacted and played overall.  Going into the game I was talking to my assistant coach and hopefully we get out of here with a win.  Its a tough place to play and it's a big rivalry.  Our kids came in and got up early and took care of business and were up 20 at the half.  It was great to see how our kids responded in that game," said Snowbarger.

          In the first meeting between the Generals and the Tygers, Mansfield Senior won (88-78) and Snowbarger feels it is going to be same type of tempo this time.  "It is probably going to be the same way.  It is gong to be quite the track meet.  It is not necessarily how I like to play.  I don't want to give up 88 points ever and that is what we did that first game.  We have got to limit their looks inside.  We just let them get to the basket way too much.  We can't let that happen this time in order to be successful," he said.

          Rebounding is always a key when playing Mansfield Senior (8-5,7-2) and Snowbarger says they must do a better job of keeping them off the glass on Friday night.  "They get those shots up and they get you our of position defensively and they killed us the first time around, so we have to limit that.  We have to take care the ball when they are pressing us.  Contrary we have to force turnovers and get up and pressure them," he said.

          It's a trip to Madison (9-7,6-3) on Saturday night.  Wooster hammered the Rams (79-60) the first time they played in December.  However, Snowbarger believes the Rams have gotten better since then and a big key is to limit their open shots.  "Madison has gotten a lot better.  The Kolher kid is really coming on.  He is a pretty good athlete.  With Buckley and Ajian you have got to limit their touches.  When you give them open looks they are going to knock down their shots, especially Buckley, he is a great shooter.  He shoots from 23 feet.  He shoots from all over the court," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "Saturday night Madison is definitely going to be a tough one.  We have to limit their looks and don't let them get any easy ones early and hopefully continue that."

 

Published 1/29/16

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Getting Offense from their Defense a Key for Wooster

 

          Wooster trails Lexington by just a game in the Ohio Cardinal Conference race and they are the only team have beaten the Minutemen this year.

          They host West Holmes in a league game Tuesday night and then travel to rival Orrville on Friday night.

          Wooster (8-4,5-2) has been a very competitive team for first year coach Michael Snowbarger and he says it has been due to chemistry and effort.  "Overall we have great senior leadership and the kids have sort of bought into what we have been doing.  We are getting up and pressing people full court and forcing a lot of turnovers. We are forcing 27 to 28 turnovers a game.  The kids overall are just playing extremely hard.  In a lot of the games we have been the first to get on the floor and get the lose balls.  We have done a lot of the individual goals that we measure throughout the game.  Overall, it has been just great senior leadership and the kids buying into the program and the kids playing extremely hard has really helped us," said Snowbarger.

          The Generals have gotten a lot of offense this year off of their press.  Snowbarger says they have the personnel to do that and it has been a little out of necessity.  "Part of the reason we are pressing in the full court because right now, as most coaches have seen, we are not the greatest half court team.  We are getting better, but it has been a slow process to get the kids in the half court to move without the ball and do those little things.  So, the easiest way for us to generate offense right now is off of our defense and that is kind of what we are depending on.  As we get farther into the season, and into the tournament, we have to get better in the half court," he said.

          West Holmes (1-11,0-6) has not been as competitive as they have wanted to be in the "OCC" this year, but Snowbarger says this is not a game they can look past.  "When we went down there we got up early on them and then they came back in the second quarter on them.  What we struggled with down there is they lived at the foul line.  They shot 35, 40 free throws the first time against us and Tuesday night we can not let them just live at the free throw line.  We have to pressure without fouling,  Then when you have a great player like Chase Wells you are never out of a game because he can score in bunches and he can score quickly," he said.

          Wooster beat West Holmes (71-51) on December 11 and Orrville (81-43) on December 4.

          They play at Orrville (2-9,1-6) on Friday night in the final Ohio Cardinal Conference game between the two.  Snowbarger says he expects a better game Friday night.  "Wooster and Orrville is a huge rivalry, so Orrville is going to bring their best.  We got them early in the year, but we will be playing a different Orrville team than we played the first game of the year, so we have to be ready for that challenge.  They have Conway and Luke Smith, two great players and we have to control them also," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday.

 

Published 1/19/16

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Wooster Faces Licking Heights

 

          Wooster was one of three schools to share in the Ohio Cardinal Conference title this season, along with Ashland and Mansfield Senior, and they have made the playoffs for the second straight year.

          They will play Friday night at Licking Heights (9-1,) the winner of a division of the Licking Valley League this season, and the second seed, the in the first round of the division two playoffs.

          With two outstanding seasons in a row, coach Doug Haas says they are starting to put some things together in Wooster.  "We hope we are turning into that culture of expectation and that is what Wooster football is all about, championships, getting in the post season and hoping to make a run at the state championship.  I think a lot of teams espier to that, it's just are you able to bring that to fusion over a period of time.  I hope this is the beginning of what becomes tradition for us," he said.

          Licking Heights is a solid team.  Their only loss coming to Hamilton Township (30-13) in non-conference play.  Their only close game in league plays was a (21-13) win over Newark Catholic.

          Haas they have a lot players they must be concerned about on offense and a defense that is sound in its fundamentals.  "They won their portion of the Licking Valley League.  I believe it is one of those mega conferences with 10 teams, kind of split into big school, small school.  They are a really talented group they are very big on both the offensive and defensive lines and then have a good group of skilled players to complement those guys," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "They run a hybrid version of the wing-T from the shotgun with a lot of different motions and whatnot.  Being fundamentally sound and reading your keys defensively is going to be critical for that.  On the flip side their defense is just really sound and solid.  They don't take a whole lot of chances.  They are going to make you earn every yard that you get and make you make a mistake."

          On paper it looks like a good match-up between good big school teams and Haas thinks it going to come down to turnovers and field position.  "We have certainly got our hands full.  I think it is going to come down to turnovers and special teams.  I think if you look at us statistically we are a mirror image from the standpoint of points and points scored against.  They might have us in a points scored standpoint where we might have them a little bit from a points against.  When you look at that just on paper.  Being able to win the field position battle and the turnover battle are going to be critical," he said.

          Coaches are always searching for something they can fall back on.  Haas admits it is hard to compare the Hornets to anyone they have played because of their personnel groupings.  "Schematically they remind us a little bit of what Clear Fork ended up doing against us with their offense and from a defensive prospective they are very similar to a West Holmes in terms of speed and whatnot.  The personnel just becomes different.  They have some really big kids.  They have a tackle that is a behemoth and then they have the skilled players that run the jet sweeps and lineup in the defensive backfield are really, really talented players.  So, there are not a whole lot of similarities in terms of anybody we have played, but when you draw some comparisons from a preparation standpoint of how did we defend this or how did we game plan against this team.  We will try to draw on those past experiences, but it is hard to match that personnel that that have," said Haas.

 

Published 11/04/15

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Wooster Needs Win Against Rival

 

          Wooster is just one step away from earning no less than a share of a second straight Ohio Cardinal Conference football title.

          They shared it last year with West Holmes.  They beat Holmes (49-14) last week to set up this week's opportunity.  They travel to Red Rider Stadium to play arch rival Orrville on Friday night.

          Mansfield Senior and Ashland also set in first.

          Wooster coach Doug Haas believes they have gotten better each week this season because they have been able to approach the game with the right focus.  "Our focus this week has been working to get better.  Working on at least the process of getting better and the kids have really responded to that and I am pleased and proud of their efforts.  The focus has to be doing the right things, doing the fundamental things that will put you in position to win a football game.  We have focused on that and made some strides in that case.  Hopefully, our preparation has put us in position to be successful on Friday night," he said.

          This will be the last meeting between Wooster (7-2,5-1), #5 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, and Orrville in "OCC" play with the Red Riders leaving the conference after this season.  The game will move to week one next year.  Haas says they hope to be able to build on the emotion this game creates.  "It has been really spirited this week in practice.  We have capitalized on the emotion that surrounds the Wooster-Orrville rivalry and maybe some of the pomp and circumstance that goes with it.  We have used that to our advantage to have energetic and enthusiastic practices," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "From that standpoint it has been really, really beneficial.  Our kids can use that energy on Friday night and be excited about it, but at the same time don't let it dictate how they are going to play.  The key is to play within yourself and do your job to very best of your ability."

          Orrville leads the series 35-34 and their have been eight ties.

          The Red Riders (3-6,2-4) are coming off a (33-27) win over Clear Fork last week and Haas says this is a team that can do some things.  "When you watch film on them they really do a great job offensively moving the ball and getting it to their athletes and their playmakers in space.  They have a very, very nice system.  Defensively, they may be a little young, but they are very sound.  They don't make a whole lot of mistakes.  They don't gamble they are going to make you earn every yard that you can possibly get.  We are going to have to make sure we can capitalize in the special teams game.  That has been our advantage throughout the year.  We have been able to flip the field on teams and make them go the distance or take advantage of short fields," said Haas.

 

Published 10/30/15

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Wooster Must get Back at it

 

          Wooster suffered its first "OCC" loss last week to Mansfield Senior and they must get back on the winning track if they expect to defend their conference title.

          They play host to West Holmes this week in conference play on Friday night.  They share first place with the Tygers, Madison, and Ashland entering play on week nine.  Madison plays at Ashland and Mansfield Senior hosts Lexington in other key games in the league.

          Mansfield Senior ran for 268 yards and held Wooster to only 186 total yards in the (32-6) victory over the Generals.  Wooster coach Doug Haas says they just got beat in about every way possible.  "We ran into a really good football team that played motivated and played very well, did the things that you are supposed to do to win games.  Unfortunately I can't say the same about us.  We never had a chance to be comfortable from a field position standpoint.  You compound that with four turnovers on our end and you get yourself and old fashion butt whooping and that's what we got," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "Credit to coach Bradley and his staff and his players, they played very, very well and deserved to win.  We have got to regroup and move forward and make sure we get better against a West Holmes football team that will come into our place motivated as well."

          Wooster (6-2,4-1), #5 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, fumbled the ball four times, losing all of them, and Haas says when you do that you give yourself very little chance to win.  "With the skilled players that they have to give them extra possessions, extra touches you are just asking for disaster and setting yourself up for failure and that certainly proved to be true," he said.

          Ironically it was West Holmes that Wooster shared the title with last year, but the Knights (1-7,0-5) have struggled this year losing last week to Lexington (42-0) and carrying a seven game losing streak into the game.

          Haas says the Knights are a very fundamentally sound football team.  "Coach Maltarich does a good job and watching them on film their players are so fundamentally sound.  They know what they are supposed to do, they know their assignments, they do their assignments.  There is probably a little bit of youth that they are playing through right now.  The good news is when you play young kids the second half the season they aren't young anymore.  The bad news for us on that aspect of it, they aren't young anymore.  Those kids are going to come ready to play.  We know they are a physical bunch, so we have to make sure we can kind of lick our wounds a little bit and have a great week of practice and move forward and match that physicality and that intensity that they are going to bring." said Haas.

          With arch rival Orrville next week, the Generals can earn no less than a co-title with wins this week and next and Haas says it is all up to them.  "All of our goals and still readily available for us in terms of winning the "OCC" championship, or having a share of the "OCC" championship, and hopefully moving forward from a playoff standpoint.  First and foremost is getting back on the winning track this week and defending Follis Field the way we know we can," he said.

 

Published 10/20/15

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Wooster Battles Mansfield Senior

 

          Wooster is the Ohio Cardinal Conference leader and they hold one game advantage on Ashland and Mansfield Madison, who they have already beaten, and Mansfield Senior, who they host this week at Follis Field in Wooster.

          The Generals (6-1,4-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, beat Lexington (25-8) last week when they scored on a couple of big plays in the second half.  Coach Doug Haas says they did what they needed to do.  "Coach Gerhardt is doing a great job of getting those kids prepared and what not.  We knew they would come to play, it was their homecoming.  They were going to give us a formidable challenge and we were fortunate enough to make some plays and maybe recover a little bit from some of the big plays that they made and get some stops when we need to get stops.  from that standpoint we were fortunate enough to get the win," he said.

          Haas thinks his team is improving,  On offense, he says they are finding ways to make big plays and even though the defense didn't play all that well last week, they are taking steps too.  "I think we are kind of able to chip away.  Offensively, we don't have the big play ability, but we have been able to chip away at some runs, a three yard run, a four yard run, and then all of the sudden we rip off a 40 yard run.  Those are some of the things we are going to need to do going against Mansfield Senior.  Defensively, against Lexington we probably didn't play as well," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "In the first half, we didn't tackle very well, just kind of playing slow and timid.  That is attributed to a good Lexington team.  But, we were able to settle down and right the ship, especially in the second half and be in control and that is something we are going to need to continue to do."

          Mansfield Senior (5-2,3-1), #5 in our poll, blitzed West Holmes (34-0) last week to respond to their only "OCC" loss the week before to Ashland (25-21) to keep their title hopes alive.

          Haas says not only do they have great skilled athletes, the Tygers have some top notch interior linemen.  "They have a tremendous amount of skill, but at the same time their lines are really good, the interior line on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball are very good.  Offensively they are huge.  I noticed a couple of kids 290 pound kids on that offensive line, so we are going to have to make sure we use great fundamentals and great leverage, the low man is going to win in that aspect of it on both sides of the ball.  They are a two headed monster at the running back position in Benson and Vickers and we are going to have to know where those guys are.  They are pretty easy to see, they are back there and they don't take plays off.  So, we are going to have to make sure we can tackle those two," said Haas.

          As is the case in a game between good teams, Haas says it is going to boil down to who makes the fewer mistakes.  "It is one of those games who is going to make the least mistakes?  Can we hang onto the football?  Can we win the big plays?  If we can do that I like our chances of success.  They are probably saying the same thing.  Can we limit the big plays, make sure we an hang onto the football.  Do those things that you need to do in order to win the tight games that we expect this to be," he said.

 

Published 10/14/15

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Wooster Wants to Play With a Controlled Fire

 

          Wooster has played some excellent football and three straight "OCC" wins has led the Generals to the undisputed lead in the Ohio Cardinal Conference standings.

          They beat Clear Fork (41-7) last week and coach Doug Haas says they got off to a really good start and were able to maintain.  "We got off to a fast start by scoring on the first play from scrimmage and a couple of plays that resulted in defensive scores for us.  We were able to get off to a fast start and not have to play catch up or any of that type of stuff.  We built up enough of a cushion that when a couple of mistakes turned into a touchdown for them we were able to recover.  We did some good things that was the positive we took from that, but certainly we think we can do better and clean some things up going into a game against a really quality Lexington team," he said.

          Wooster (5-1,3-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, travels to Lexington (5-1,2-1), #5 in the poll, in an "OCC" game on Friday night.

          Big Lex suffered its first loss of the season when Madison took them apart (59-10) in a game where the Rams scored four touchdowns in the second quarter alone.  Haas says that game does not represent who Lexington really is.  "Having seen three tapes of them now and seeing the Madison game that was really uncharacteristic of them.  They are a team that typically doesn't make mistakes.  It was just one of those games where noting was working for them.  They were just never able to seize the momentum.  When you look at what they did offensively and defensively and departmentalize the game a little bit it didn't look like a 59-10 beating," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "So, we know against us they are going to come out firing on all cylinders and be hungry to get that win.  It's their homecoming and their are a lot of advantages for them.  We have to go on the road.  We are going to have to play a really good brand of Wooster football on Friday to be successful."

          Lexington quarterback Joey Vore is their orchestrater and Haas says they are going to try real hard to contain him.  "He is the straw that stirs the drink and we need to be cognizant of him and be able to tackle him and that is easier said than done.  He is a very good thrower and doesn't make mistakes with the ball.  The challenge is there for all of us defensively to make sure we can keep him in check.  I don't know we will be able to completely shut him down.  If we can keep him in check that will be a win in that respect," he said.

          Haas knows after the result of the Madison game Lexington is going to come out with fire in their eyes and they need to match that without going overboard.  "There is a fine line do you match that intensity and are you over intense so to speak and maybe that results in some dumb penalties.  We have to make sure that the intensity that we bring is controlled and filled with poise.  Playing with that fire and that desire that you need to win.  I am very confident that our kids will do that.  They will play very hard and very clean and play physical.  Those are the things we are going to need to do to beat Lexington," said Haas.

 

Published 10/09/15

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Wooster is Rolling

 

          Wooster looks like a team that would like to repeat as Ohio Cardinal Conference football champions and do it with a lot of new guys to the varsity line up.

          They stuffed Madison (20-7) last week and have only given up two scores in two conference games so far.  Coach Doug Haas says they are growing in confidence, but they have to be wary of over confidence.  "We have executed very well the game plan we have put out for our players offensively, defensively and special teams.  We are still maintaining the improvement we are looking for.  It is a little bit easier to go to practice and work hard because you have seen the fruits of your labor.  On the flip side of that we have to caution ourselves of getting too confident and making sure we aren't complacent and what not.  Still kind of finding that hunger inside to get better.  That is the battle that we are kind of facing ourselves right now.  Our kids have responded very, very well to the success we have had throughout the season," he said.

          Perhaps the biggest surprise with the Generals this year, according to Haas, is the play of what is a very young defensive line.  "Our defensive line has certainly played very well for as young as we are.  At one point and time we had three sophomores out there mixed with a senior.  They are a youthful group for the most part and I am very pleased with that.  We have had some seniors elevate their level of play as well within that group.  We are finding a rotation to maintain some fresh legs.  That has probably been from a group standpoint one of the most pleasant surprises because we graduated a good group of kids from there last year," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "We had a young man that started the majority of the season there last year have an "ACL" injury in our first scrimmage and lost for the year.  There has been a little bit of adversity and those kids have preformed very, very well, so I am pleased with that."

          Wooster (4-1,2-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, plays at Clear Fork (2-4,0-2) in "OCC" play on Friday.  The Colts have lost back to back conference games to Mansfield Senior (30-0) and Lexington (27-7) last week.  However, Haas stresses they can be dangerous with what they do.  "They are a unique system in terms of running the option, I guess it is not necessarily unique when you talk about the game of football, but it is something unique to the point that we haven't seen it all year, it is not something that you see often.  Trying to replicate it in practice is a challenge to itself.  They are dangerous when they touch the ball.  They can go the distance from anywhere on the field and as a coach that is kind of what scares you.  On a night like that against a system you are not used to.  You couple that with going on the road down there.  The "Colt Corral" is a tough place to play, the fans are passionate and do a great job.  It could be a trap game and we have to make sure we control the intangible pieces that we have in our effort, our execution and the attitude we take in our preparation this week and moving forward in terms of putting ourselves in position to be successful down there on Friday night," said Haas.

 

Published 9/30/15

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After Big Win Wooster Must Keep Pressing

 

           In a game many thought might be very key in determining the outcome of the Ohio Cardinal Conference this season was won last week by Wooster as they beat Ashland.

          The Generals quarterback Peyton Bennington ran for a score and passed for another in leading the Generals to a (21-7) win over Ashland.

          Wooster coach Doug Haas says they were able to stand toe to toe with Ashland come out on top.  "I was really pleased with the effort they came out with.  We were able to execute defensively in terms of disguising our coverage and being able to tackle in space when they were able top get the ball out.  I was pleased from that aspect of it.  If you are going to be successful against Ashland you have to make sure you can do that kind of stuff.  We knew going in that their defense was really, really good and it was going to be difficult and a stiff test," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "I think we were to use a boxing analogy we were able to trade body blows back and forth and maybe were able to land not a haymaker, but a pretty good punch to get some scores and capitalize on that from a special teams standpoint and execution wise.  We were really good in that we allowed ourselves to play on short fields for most of the night and that is going to help you our when it comes to putting points on the board."

          Wooster was able to hold the high octane Ashland offense to only 163 yards.

          This week, Wooster (3-1,1-0), #3 in this week's Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, plays at home against Mansfield Madison (2-2,1-0,) the Rams coming off a (42-21) over West Holmes last Friday. 

          Tyrell Ajian ran for three scores and 119 yards against West Holmes and the division one college recruit can score in multiple ways.  However, Haas cautions you can't focus just on him.  "He is lightning in a bottle man.  He can take it from anywhere on the field.  We need to know where he is at at all times.  Have an understanding of where he is at and what he wants to do.  If you do too much to isolate him and focus on him and then be neglectful in some other areas.  They have enough athletes all over the field that they can make plays anywhere, so that is the catch 22 form a defensive perspective," said Haas.

          What has impressed Haas over the years is the way Madison plays defense and he expects that will be the case against on Friday night.  "Their defense against our offense they have always been very sound.  They have been well coached and sound and very tough and physical and what not.  Coach Masi having been the defensive coordinator for many years now as the head coach is going to take pride in that group and make sure that group is up to his standard of excellence.  It's going to be going from the frying pan into the fire so to speak, so we are going to have to make sure we are playing well again," he said.

          Yes, the win over Ashland was key, but Haas knows there is still a lot of football to be played in the conference.  "I said that four years ago when I got in the league for the first time and that has not disappointed ever since.  It is not one of those things when there are haves and have nots.  We have to have great weeks of practice week in and week out.  As a coach you better have an understanding of the chess match that is involved with all of that.  These guys are all great coaches and they prepare their teams so well.  That's what's great that's the challenging part about it.  You go out and prove your metal week in and week out and that is the fun part," said Haas.

 

Published 9/22/15

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Wooster Has to be Physical Too

 

          It's a key early season battle between contenders in the Ohio Cardinal Conference as Wooster takes its act to Community Stadium to face the Ashland Arrows on Friday night.

          Wooster, last week, lost its first game of the season (21-7) to Green in non-conference action.

          Coach Doug Haas says they put themselves in bad position with some mistakes and they weren't really as physical as they have been in recent games and recent years and that hurt them.  "We had a lot of pre snap penalties and that was the part that probably hurt the most in terms of getting us off schedule.  That forced us to just play a little differently in terms of the play call," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "First and 15 instead of first and 10 makes it a little bit challenging.  Those types of self inflicted wounds coupled with some of turnovers that we had is going to make for a long night for us, so that was the real challenge.  Secondly, we did some things that were kind of uncharacteristic in not being really physical and playing downhill and what not.  So, we need to make sure we do that as play this week."

          Ashland beat Wooster (21-14) last year, handing the Generals their only league loss in 2014 and costing them an outright "OCC" title.  Friday night's game might be as important.

          The Arrows (3-0,0-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, are unbeaten through non-conference play for the first time since 2006.

          Haas says they are doing some different things on offense then they have over the last decade.  "In the games that I have watched them they have been a little uncharacteristic when you think of an Ashland.  They are still a lot of five wides and empty set, but at the same time they are putting a running back back there and they are showing a lot more balance from a run-pass ratio.  That makes it a lot more difficult in that you won't necessarily know when they are going to run and when they are going to pass because they have put that back in the backfield and he has done very, very well," said Haas.

          On defense, Haas says he believes the Arrows are a pretty physical football team, so they have to be too.  "They are very sound, they are very physical, they are very stout.  It one of those things, and I don't want to say traditionally, a team that has to play defense against a five wide receiver set consistently they play a pretty physical defense.  So, from that standpoint it is going to be pretty important for us to control the line of scrimmage and take care of the football," he said.

 

Published 9/16/15

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Wooster Making Strides

 

          Wooster posted a second win to start the season and now they are preparing to face Green at home in a non-conference game on Friday night.

          Last week, Wooster (2-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, beat Wadsworth (35-14) and coach Doug Haas says they did a lot of good things, but he knows the Generals can be so much better.  "We are very pleased to be sitting in the position that we are at and we did get better.  We were able to run the ball a little more consistently and be a little more efficient from a passing standpoint and we were pleased with that," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "I guess the thing that really concerned me the most was we started out kind of slow and that is something that we really need to address and make sure that we play four quarters of football because we are going to need to be able to do so as we progress throughout the season.  The good thing is our kids still feel hungry and feel like they can play better.  From that standpoint that is good as a coach because we need to continue to improve."

          One thing that really pleases Haas is that his players realize they need to get better and working toward that end.  "That is the thing that we preach all of the time that when we go out to practice that we utilize that the time out there and it is not all going to be fun.  It's a conscious decision, a conscious choice to make sure we get out there and practice hard and use that time wisely and focus.  Do all of the things we need to do to be successful on Friday night," he said.

          Green (1-1) comes to town on Friday night to play the Generals.  They lost to Stow-Monroe Falls (49-21) on week one, but rebounded to beat Warren Howland (30-22) last week.

          Haas says Green reminds him somewhat of themselves and he knows they have to play well.  "They are very similar to Wadsworth from a scheme standpoint.  They will line up in two back, they will lineup in shotgun with one back.  They have some really good athletes.  They have a big, tall wide receiver on the outside.  Up front they look to be good sized kids and come off the ball.  On the defensive side of the ball they are very similar to us in that they are a 4-3 defense.  They have some good skill in the secondary.  They are well coached.  They are going to be tough and fundamentally sound.  It is a little bit like facing ourselves.  It is going to be a good test and we are going to need a good solid week of practice," said Haas.

 

Published 9/08/15

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Wooster Has to Own the Point of Attack

 

          Wooster won their opener despite not playing very well at the line of scrimmage, but that can't happen this week.

          They beat Akron Firestone (27-7) last week in their first game, but coach Doug Haas says they really did not do a very good job up front and that needs to improve.  "We didn't do a very good job of controlling the line of scrimmage on the offensive side of the ball, so that is something we have really tried to sure up to make sure we can establish that running game a little more consistently.  Just be able to clean that kind of stuff up.  The kids, the coaches, have worked really, really hard to try and sure that type of stuff up,'" he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "That is an area where we thought we were a little deficient.  We always need to work on tacking because playing team last week like Firestone that spread the ball all around the field tackling was a premium and certainly that is going to be another issue this week against Wadsworth and a very, very good tailback."

          Wooster (1-0) plays at Wadsworth (0-1) on Friday night in non-conference play.  The Grizzlies lost to Ashland, also of the Ohio Cardinal Conference, (28-20) last week.

          Haas says with Wadsworth you know what to expect.  "Coach Dennison has been there for a long time and runs that system very, very well.  He knows weaknesses and knows how to attack different defenses.  The guys that dots the "I" back there is going to get the bulk of the carries.  He typically is going to be a very good player if not their best player.  So, we have to make sure we get off blocks and run to the ball and get lots of hats on him," he said.

          Against teams like Wadsworth that want to run it, Haas says first down is very crucial.  "That is one of the first things we talked about let's make sure we win first down.  If you put them in a second and seven or longer situation that's not where they want to be.  Without a doubt winning on first down and putting them in a second and long type situation can really help you out from a  defensive standpoint.  It makes them try to beat you left handed.  That is something that has definitely been a focus for us," he said.

 

Published 9/04/15

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Wooster Has to Play Good Football

 

          With their size and athletes the Wooster Generals want to become a more solid and consistent football power and last year was certainly a step in the right direction with a co-title in the Ohio Cardinal Conference and a playoff win.

          Coach Doug Haas says they want make sure they keep expectations high and come out and have another good year.  "I think it has become more of an expectation I hope, a culture shift, whatever kind of adjective you want to use.  I thought coach Gerhardt at Lexington said it well the other day, you don't want to line up to go 5-5.  You play to win championships and that is what our goal is going forward.  Our kids have practiced hard and done a good job with that and now we need to continue to sustain that momentum that we kind of generated a little bit last year.  The fact remains we lost our last game and we still have a little bit of that bitter taste in our mouth and we need to go out an wipe that clean moving forward," he said.

          During the preseason, Haas believes the Generals showed improvement and that has to continue to happen for them.  "I think we are getting there.  Obviously we are still a work in progress.  Firestone is going to be a great test and from that standpoint we are going to have to go out and play sound because they have tremendous skilled players.  Defensively I think we are getting better and better and after stubbing our toe against Copley is our first scrimmage, but rectified that and improved against Dover and got better against Cuyahoga Falls and defensively we were able to find a little bit of rhythm and move the ball and change field position and what not.  There are things I can see that are noticeably getting better on both the offensive and defensive side and in the special teams phase.  We will take the next two days and get better and see what we can do on Friday night," said Haas.

          Wooster is at home Friday night for their opener against Akron Firestone.  Haas says that Firestone definitely has some home run hitters.  "They play very similar to us in that they are going to run a lot of four wide receiver sets.  They are a really versatile personnel group.  They can line up in a lot of three wide receiver sets with a tight end and they can get into some two back stuff.  Their guys are really athletic and possess a tremendous amount of speed.  We have to make sure we contain them and eliminate any kind of big play and really force them to drive the ball," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "On the flip side defensively they play a really high pressure defense and allow those athletes to play man.  They blitz quite a bit so we have to be able to handle that pressure.  They just try and make the game fast.  We need to be able to slow the game done a little bit for some of our less experienced players and do it with some ball control, taking care of the football."

 

Published 8/26/15

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Wooster Working on Fundamentals

 

          Wooster is the defending Ohio Cardinal Conference co-champ, but this year they are going to be a little younger and less experienced.

          Generals coach Doug Hass is a little concerned about the lack of contact they are allowed in practice situations.

          He says at times this month they have lost a little bit of their focus.  "With our kids I never question their effort.  Sometimes we let competing get the best of us and we lose a little focus and have some misexecution and things like that.  We have gotten steadily better.  We have had two scrimmages against Copley and Dover.  We were better coming out of that Dover scrimmage than we were the Copley scrimmage.  That is the kind of progress that you like to see.  If we can continue to do that and stay healthy and put ourselves in position and get ready for that pivotal, crucial game one then I like where we are at obviously," he said.

          During practice it can be a fine line to walk regarding contact and not getting people hurt.  Haas says they have suffered an injury, but it was during their first scrimmage.  "Certainly you don't want to get anyone hurt in a scrimmage situation.  Unfortunately we lost a young man, a junior, to an injury in our very first scrimmage on just kind of a fluke play.  Not that it is any easier pill to swallow, but at least it happened in a scrimmage against an opponent and that type of aspect of it.  We are trying to make sure that we stay healthy going against one another.  Unfortunately injuries are part of the game, so we are trying to adopt that next man up philosophy.  Then it is a matter of getting them healthy for the years to come," he said.

          Wooster opens the season against Akron Firestone on August 28.  Before then Haas they have to make sure their young guys are ready to hit somebody else.  "From a defensive standpoint I want to make sure we can tackle.  From the new regulations from a full contact standpoint we want to make sure we are all cognizant of that.  it is taking away some of the physicality from a full two a day and what not.  There are some days that we have to block shields based on the full contact rules," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "I hope we are physical from an offensive linemen standpoint.  We have some players that are juniors, but are green when it comes to playing on Friday nights.  There is going to be a little bit of an adjustment from that standpoint.  If we can accelerate that learning curve a little bit we will be head of the game."

 

Published 8/20/15

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With New Guys Wooster Trying to Find Itself

 

          Wooster shared the Ohio Cardinal Conference football title last year with West Holmes and went two weeks deep in the playoffs.  But that was last year.

          Generals coach Doug Haas says they have to turn the page and he feels they have done a pretty good job of doing that.  "I told the kids (Monday) before practice that we are no longer Ohio Cardinal Conference co-champs, but now the defending champs.  What we did last year nobody even cares about.  Now it's a matter of shaping our own identity and trying to make ourselves repeat champs.  I really like our kids.  I like where we are at.  Obviously we lost some very special players in Cam Daugherty, Marquis Blair, and Tyson Jackson to just name a few.  I feel good about the depth we have in the skilled positions.  We return four of the five on the offensive line.  So, there are some positives that was can build upon.  We had a good off season and a good 10 days of summer preparation and what not.  Now we are moving forward mastering the schemes that we have, mastering the techniques and the fundamentals.  Come out and play hard and put ourselves in the position to win football games," said Haas.

          Wooster must replace a three year starter at quarterback in Cam Daugherty.  Haas admits that won't be an easy process, but he feels they have the right guy.  "I think that you would have to be concerned just from the standpoint of where that person is going to be.  Peyton Barrington right now has separated himself as the starter.  He is just a junior.  Played as the sixth man on the basketball team and was the JV quarterback last year.  The blessing of having a three year starter at quarterback is you had a three year starter at quarterback.  One of the curses is other guys didn't necessarily get the work that maybe you would have hoped throughout the course of their careers," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "I'll take Cam's career any day.  Peyton is such a savvy kid, he is a great competitor.  He worked his tail off in the summer time to get better.  Now that we are in it consistent day in and day out I expect to see consistent improvement and growth out of him.  Now that we are at this stage of the game he is able to get a tremendous amount of continuity."

          With preseason camp starting on Saturday, Haas says it's all about repetition and finding a way to get in the grove on both sides of the ball.   "It's a three phase type of thing.  In those 10 days that we utilize over the summer we just used them in July and we installed what we thought was our base offense and our base defense.  At the start of our training camp now it is the same model.  We are going to install our base offense and our base defense again.  It's an opportunity to work on it twice.  It will be a little bit different once we get the pads on and then we will do the same thing again.  They just did it in helmets twice and now they get to do it in pads.  There will be some differences once we put shoulder pads on with full contact and stuff like that.  It's a situation where we will separate some of those kids where we feel we have a tremendous amount of depth.  There are some areas where we feel we might be thin, but we could be proven wrong based on contact," said Haas.

 

Published 8/04/15

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Wooster Blasts Mansfield

 

          Wooster got started early and went on to take down Mansfield Senior (13-0) Tuesday in an Ohio Cardinal Conference baseball game.

          The Tygers are winless in "OCC" games this year, but Wooster coach Derek Boyd says his players took a business like approach to the game and that's what they have to do.  "It was one of those games where we talked to our guys before and after the game that we have to be concerned about what we can control in our dugout and when we are in the field and things like that.  I really liked the approach that our guys took at the plate (Tuesday) night.  They were still being aggressive and I felt really good about the way we played," said Boyd.

          Against teams that may be struggling on the season, Boyd says they have to jump on them early and that's what they were able to do.  "I think our leadoff guy Drew Wharton with the way he has been swinging the bat and he got us started kind of like he has got us started recently.  He got us started with a solid hit and we got the next guy on and scored two runs and a home run after that.  We get hopping and we scored runs before even getting an out.  That is kind of how things got started (Tuesday) night.  I think the sooner you get started the better and that's a good recipe for success there." he said.

          Wooster is in the Northeast District and they are bunched with a lot of teams from the Canton area in the division one district.  They play at Canton Glenoak in their first game on May 12 and if they win they will play the Quakers at New Philadelphia the next day.  Boyd says he thinks if they play well they can have some success.  "Seed wise it is exactly where I felt we would be considering our record.  We are in a very difficult sectional over there in Canton with some very good teams, especially out of the Federal League," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday night, "We are still trying to put this thing together.  We are kind of lumped in the middle with everybody else.  Despite the fact that we were seeded eighth I really liked the way we ended up in the draw.  I think it gives us a pretty good chance to hopefully advance into the district level at Thurman Munson."

          The Generals (11-8,7-4) play Mansfield Senior (1-15,0-9) in another "OCC" game on Wednesday.

 

Published 5/06/15

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Wooster Fights Back

 

          Wooster broke a two game "OCC" losing streak by belting Ashland (11-0) in conference play on Tuesday afternoon.

          With the win the Generals (6-4,5-2) remain a game behind Mansfield Madison and Lexington in the Ohio Cardinal Conference race.

          Coach Derek Boyd said this was a win they had to have and his kids responded.  "Last week was a tough week for us.  We lost two tough games against good teams and it was one of those situations where you have to go back to work and try to focus in on what you need to do a little bit better and the kids really did a nice job responding," he said.

          Ryan Lally, who threw a no-hitter at Clear Fork last week, got the win against Ashland on Tuesday and Boyd says he was the man for the job.  "It doesn't hurt when you send out you number one.  We needed him to be number one (Tuesday) night and he did a great job for us.  He did a good job of working ahead in the count and getting a win for us," he said.

          This has been a year for weather to say the least.  We have had cold weather and rain and this week high winds.  Boyd says they did a good job on defense and made the plays the had to.  "We talked about that before the game that we were going to have to be aware and know the situation.  I think are kids did a great job as far as playing defense behind Ryan (Tuesday) night.  I think one of the things that helps him is he feels pretty comfortable with those eight guys behind him that they will do the job for him.  They kind of feed off each other.  We are hoping that is a recipe for success down the road," said Boyd.

          Wooster hosts Ashland (8-5,4-2), #4 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coaches poll in the large school division, in the rematch in "OCC" play.  Next week they play West Holmes in league play.  "We have a lot of great teams in this league and you have to show up every night and hopefully have your "A" game and even if you don't you have to fight through some things.  That was kind of what last week was about.  We were starting off pretty good the first two weeks," he told Swankonsports.com after the win on Tuesday, "I don't know that we got lackadaisical we just had a couple of tough losses and that's baseball.  Good teams have to respond when there is adversity.  I'm hoping that (Tuesday) night was a start to that."

 

Published 4/22/15

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Lally Throws No-Hitter for Wooster

 

          Ryan Lally was dominate on Tuesday.  He threw a no-hitter for the Wooster Generals against Clear Fork on Tuesday night in Ohio Cardinal Conference play.

          The win keeps Wooster in a share of the conference lead with Lexington.

          Wooster coach Derek Boyd says it was just a tremendous effort for Lally, who stuck out 10 Colts on the day.  "I can't even think the last time there was one in Wooster.  Obviously it was a huge accomplishment for him and we are proud of him," he said.

          Boyd says that Lally got stronger as the game went along and was really at the top of his game over the last couple of innings.  "To go along with the no hitter he had 10 K's (Tuesday) night, so that helped out.  I think early on if you were to ask him he probably would have been a little disappointed with some of his location.  He did have some walks early on.  It was one of those things where he got stronger as the day went on and really started to take command of the ball game from the mound," said Boyd.

          Outfielder Drew Wharton had a two fine defensive plays to preserve the no-hitter and he had a couple of hits himself.

          Wooster (5-0,4-0) will be at Clear Fork (5-1,3-1) for the rematch on Wednesday.  They play at defending "OCC" champion Madison on Friday.  They beat the Rams (8-3) last week.

          Boyd says this may not be the most talented team in the league, but his Generals believe in each other and they are playing with some confidence and that is big for them.  "I think we are pretty confident.  This is a good group of kids and they enjoy being around each other.  They have had an opportunity to play a lot of baseball with each other growing up.  I think that breeds a lot of familiarity with each other and confidence that somebody is going to step up for us at some point," he told Swankonsports.com after the win over Clear Fork, "I doesn't always have to be the same guy and I kind of like that about this team.  With the exception of maybe Cam (Daugherty) and Ryan I wouldn't say this is a team loaded with elite talent, but I think there are a lot of good baseball players that have some confidence in each other."

 

Published 4/15/15

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Wooster Wins Big One

 

          In their first conference game of the year, the Wooster Generals knocked off defending Ohio Cardinal Conference champion Mansfield Madison (8-3) in a game played at their place on Monday.

          The re-match is April 17 at Madison.

          There are number of good teams in the "OCC" this year and Wooster is one them.  Coach Derek Boyd knows how important Monday night was to his team.  "We are really happy to get out and play a little bit (Monday) night and it is a quality win anytime you beat Madison," he said.

          Eight runs against one of the best pitching staffs in the area says a lot.  Boyd says he thought their kids really went to batter's box with a plan in mind and they made it work.  "I would take eight runs every night if we could plan it that way.  The one thing I was really happy about was I thought our kids did a nice job of really having great at bats (Monday) night.  We were really working counts and doing a nice job and I thought that was really one of the differences in the ball game," said Boyd.

          Wooster (2-0,1-0) beat one of the top pitcher's in the area in Madison's Michael Penny.  Boyd thought that Penny threw the ball well, but they were able to take what was given to them.  "There is no tougher pitcher than reining "OCC" pitcher of year in Michael Penny.  He did a good job and was right around plate with an excellent breaking ball and mixed in his fast ball really well.  He made kids work," Boyd told Swankonsports.com after the win, "I think our approach was a big difference in the ball game.  Our approach over the course of the game really helped us to score some runs and come out on the plus side."

          There is about a 70 percent chance of rain in the forecast for Tuesday, with a chance of thunderstorms.  If all of that can be avoided Wooster is scheduled to play arch rival Orrville and then plays the Red Riders again on Wednesday. 

          Boyd feels they are a team that can compete for the title this year in the Ohio Cardinal Conference.  "We always hope to be in the middle of things.  That is certainly what we have been working hard for the off season, but this is just step one.  We have a long way to go before this is over with.  This a great league to be a part of ," he said.

          Madison plays Wooster Triway in a non-conference game on Friday afternoon.

 

Published 4/07/15

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Wooster Must Win up Front

 

          Wooster has gotten better this year as a football team because they have gotten better play up front and they are a more physical football team.  An examination on how much they have improved is Friday night in the division two regional semi-finals at Arlin Field in Mansfield.

          They play the top seed in the region in Lewis Center Olentangy (11-0), who beat Ashland (35-6) last week.

          The Generals (8-3), #4 in the final Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, won their first playoff game since 1986 when they downed Hamilton Township (35-21) in the quarterfinals last week at Folis Field, forcing six turnovers in the process.

          Coach Doug Haas says they were able to take advantage of opportunities.  "It was kind of back and forth early, but by the end of the first quarter we were able to seize some momentum and not let it up.  A couple of things came in from a mistake standpoint that not necessarily let them back in the game, but game them the opportunity.  We were very, very fortunate that we were able to shut that down and put the momentum back in our favor.  We are really, really proud of the kids for the first time for really any of them to come in and perform at that type of level and those type of situations.  I was pleased with that and moving forward we need to maintain that type of momentum," said Haas.

          Olentangy is coached by former Crestview coach Mark Solis, who played for Haas at the College of Wooster

          Haas says Olentangy is a run first team.  "The numbers point to the fact that coach Solis wants to run the ball, he's that kind of guy, but they do in such a variety of different ways.  They present a challenge to you with formation and motion.  It's going to be a huge test just from how many points they put up through the year.  It is going to be a big test to stop that offense, but it one I think our defense takes great pride in going up against good offenses.  We will put fourth our best effort," he said.

          Olentany wants to run the ball, but they do it from a number of different formations and with a lot of motion in the backfield, so Haas says they can't get fooled.  "You have an idea from a tendency standpoint of maybe what they want to do from formation "X", but coach Solis has the adjustments off of that.  You have to rely on your fundamentals and playing with great leverage and coming off blocks and making tackles.  That is the part that defensive football really boils down to.  We have to make sure we drill out fundamentals again this week and recognize formations that don't necessarily mean when they are in this they do that," he said.

          Six times Olentangy has allowed a touchdown of less in a game.  Haas says they must outlast the Braves.  "They are good on defense.  They are big up front on the defensive line.  They run really, really well.  It is going to be a good test for us offensively to control the line of scrimmage.  It is going to be one of those things where a football game doesn't necessarily show itself in the first quarter," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "It is going to be one of those things were it's a battle of attrition in the second half, fourth quarter something like that.  That is were you will see which team has been more physical in terms of maybe wearing down a little bit.  I like where we are at from a condition standpoint.  I like where we are at from being a physical team up front."

 

Published 11/11/14

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Wooster Excited About Being in the Playoffs

 

          Wooster is making its first playoff appearance in a decade when they host Hamilton Township in a first round game in division two on Friday night at Folis Field.

          The Generals (7-3), #4 in the final Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, secured a co-title in the Ohio Cardinal Conference on Saturday with a (61-14) win over rival Orrville, their sixth straight win.  Coach Doug Haas says they are really playing pretty well right now.  "We were able to capture some momentum maybe halfway through the season and have been able to sustain it ever since.  I think we are playing at relatively high level right now.  Obviously going into the playoffs you need to be able to continue to do so.  We are excited about it, but we don't have a whole lot of time to relish the win over Orrville, but that is okay.  We went right back to work on Sunday as a coaching staff and then met with the kids briefly.  Now we will get back to work on the practice field.  The playoffs are an exciting time and I know the school is excited about, our kids are excited about it and in the community as well.  We are looking forward to the opportunity," said Haas.

          In the playoffs you have to have balance on offense and Haas says they have that.  "I am really pleased were we have come offensively as an offensive line and not only what they do as run blockers, but as pass protectors as well.  They really have done an admirable job.  It is good and that group has gotten better.  People have talked about our skilled players throughout the year and those guys didn't disappoint and I am happy with that, but the neat thing about it is we have had guys step up and have really have become contributors as well," he told Swankonspprts.com on Monday, "So it is not just a Cameron Daughtery, Martavious Dyson, Marquise Blair type of show.  We have had several other underclassmen Cody Russell, Termaine Wilson, Colt Morgan, those are guys have been able to step up and make plays.  We had a junior Saturday night catch two passes for over 100 yards and two touchdowns.  It is a good problem to have, I wish we had more footballs to go around for these guys."

          Hamilton Township (7-3) has won its last three to play itself into the postseason.  Haas says they have similar personnel to the Generals.  "Offensively when I look at them they kind of remind me of ourselves a little bit with the skill that they have.  They have a savvy little quarterback that is a sophomore, and then on the perimeter they have two really dynamic players.  They have a 6'3", 6'4", 190 pound kid, who has several division one offers, and then they have a 5'5", 150 pound scat back kind of receiver, who really is a tough looking kind of kid.  Those two guys are guys they certainly want to get the ball to.  They have two running backs there, one I think suffered an injury in the early part of the season, but came back to play on week 10.  There is a formidable skill that they have.  They look to be big up front," said Haas.

          The Wooster coach says they are going to be pretty much seeing the same players when the Rangers are on defense and he predicts a competitive contest.  "The majority of those players play both ways, so you are talking about the same kind kids.  The linebacker group is a good group, tough, hard nosed group of kids.  So, it is going to be a great contest.  It is going to be exciting for the fans and I know our kids are excited about it.  I am just glad we don't have to get on a bus and drive two hours down to Hamilton Township that is for darn sure," he said.

 

Published 11/04/14

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Wooster Can Smell "OCC" Title

 

          Wooster is just a win away from being no less than a co-champ in the Ohio Cardinal Conference this year.

          All they need is a win over arch rival Orrville on Saturday night at Follis Field.

          Last week, Wooster (6-3,5-1), #4 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, rallied in the fourth quarter to hand West Holmes their first conference loss (35-28) and move into a share of the "OCC" lead with the Knights.  Coach Doug Haas says they kind of outlasted them.  "I was really pleased with the resiliency of our kids.  We didn't start out the way we needed to in terms of starting the game out being down 14-0 made it was a challenge.  We had to battle for a little bit to just keep it a one score game for a half.  We got the ball coming out in the third and the kids just turned it up and we did a good job.  If they took this away we did just the opposite, so credit to the coaches and credit to the kids from an execution standpoint.  It is very flattering when an opposing coach says you were more physical than them.  Now we have to continue this week against Orrville," said Haas.

          Against Holmes Martavious Dyson scored the winning touchdown with less than four minutes to play.  He had 175 yards rushing and three scores on the night.  Haas says they have a lot of kids that have big play potential.  "You can define balance as two different things.  Is it a run-pass snap ratio or is it a yardage aspect.  We are able to with the weapons that we have we are able to pound it out a little bit with Martavious Dyson and now Tremaine Wilson emerging as a very good running back, with the one-two punch with those two guys," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "The guys on the perimeter with Marquise Blair, he is certainly a high profile kind of guy and at the same time we have a young receiver in Colt Morgan and a junior in Cody Russell.  We have a lot of guys that can make plays when called upon.  We are able to create big plays off of our play action off of our running game.  From that standpoint we can create two types of balance from a run-pass snap standpoint and a yardage standpoint."

          Orrville (2-7,1-5) has lost its last five, including (56-48) to Clear Fork last week.  Luke Smith threw for 425 yards in the game and ran for 180.  He is game breaker too, but Haas is pretty proud of his defense.  "When you watch what Luke Smith did as a quarterback.  He put together about 500 yards total offense himself.  That makes you a little nervous, a little scared, but I am very confident in us as well form a defensive standpointt.  We have been playing at a fairly high level defensively for the past few weeks.  We need to continue to do that against an Orrville offense that is going to spread us out and create one on one match ups.  Defensively they are very sound.  They are really quick and run to the ball very well and play hard all of the time," said Haas.

          This will be the 104 meeting between Wooster and Orrville and Haas says there is a lot of history here.  "You can throw all of the records out this is a rivalry game.  We have to make sure we are taking care of ourselves and taking care of things we need to do in order to be successful," he said.

 

Published 10/30/14

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First Place on the Line For Wooster

 

          Wooster has been battling up stream this entire "OCC" season after loosing their first conference game to Ashland.  They have a chance to get into a share of first place with a win at conference leader West Holmes on Friday night.

          Wooster (5-3,4-1), #5 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, beat Mansfield Senior (31-7) last week for their fourth straight win.  Coach Doug Haas says they played a solid football game.  "I am really, really proud of the kids and how they played.  We played a relatively complete game.  We had a little let down on our special teams phase and what not, but we were able to overcome some of that stuff with our ball control offense and being able to limit their offense from a defensive standpoint.  The kids were excited and played really well and it makes for a big week this week," he said.

          West Holmes (5-3,5-0), #3 in our poll, has won their last five games, including (49-8) over Lexington last week, when Luke Ogi set a school record for rushing yards in a game with 332.  Haas says they know West Holmes is good, but so are they.  "They are really good.  Coach Maltrich does such an excellent job of coaching that group.  They do what they do very well.  They can run the ball and run it in a variety of different ways.  Coach Maltrich knows the adjustments that need to be made in that offense against various defenses," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "It is going to be a stiff test for our kids from a defensive standpoint, but they are excited about that challenge.  Our offense is excited because everybody kind of boasts about West Holmes' run game and I certainly think our offense is up for that challenge as well.  I don't want to say we were slighted or anything like that, but it's a chance to prove we are a high caliber offense too."

          Both team have good offensive lines and Haas believes the team that controls the line of scrimmage will win the game.  "When you talk about a game being a line of scrimmage game this is one of those games.  This is going to be a game that is won or lost at the line of scrimmage.  They have very good offensive personnel up front.  They block very well and have backs that are physical tough kids, but they also have some wiggle and some speed and that's what makes them a complete package.  I like our kids and I am confident with our kids and I am excited for them to go out and show what they can do.  If people are out there looking to pick a high school game to go to this would be a great one," said Haas.

          West Holmes has been playing from in front during this five game winning streak.  Haas says it would be nice if they could get a couple of scores early in the game.  "I think momentum is huge.  We guarded against that when we opened up our new stadium on week two and really I think that was a disadvantage to us.  We have told our kids to enjoy this, enjoy the week, enjoy the atmosphere, soak that all up and let that energy fuel you.  Hopefully we can start fast and finish strong.  It is going to be necessary to do so throughout this entire game," he said.

 

Published 10/24/14

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Wooster Continues to Build

 

          Wooster has put together a three game winning streak and the Generals on still knocking on the door when it comes to the Ohio Cardinal Conference lead, they trail West Holmes by a game, and they play the Knights next week.

          Last week, they blasted Lexington (48-8) in an "OCC" game.  Tremaine Wilson and Marquise Blair scored in the first quarter and coach Doug Haas says they have been able to build some momentum in games.  "The last couple of weeks we have just been able to seizes the momentum in the game.  Be the first team to score and maybe create some momentum for us, whether it be a defensive turnover or just going down the field and scoring.  It has been critical to our success these last three weeks.  That just fuels us from a momentum standpoint for the rest of the game," said Haas.

          Wooster had 427 total yards in the game, 252 on the ground in 37 attempts plus they completed 10 of 11 passes 178.  Haas says they have some versatility.  "With the guys up front doing a great job blocking that allows to do some things in our running game and our quick passing game, we have some really nice skilled players.  If we can get them in space with the ball quickly we can do some damage.  It was a good balance from a yardage standpoint and a play selection standpoint," he said.

          Wooster quarterback Cam Daughtery is having an excellent senior season for the Generals.  Haas says he has developed into a very good playmaker for them.  "He is three years in the system now.  His has matured from the standpoint of understanding the big picture.  Maybe it is not getting us into the right play, but he certainly gets us out of a bad play.  He knows how to distribute the ball," he told Swankonsports.com, "He is a patient quarterback from the sense that he will take what the defense gives you.  At the same time he is not just a pure drop back guy.  He has a tremendous amount of athleticism and speed for a guy that is 6'5".  He can hurt you in a lot of different ways."

          Wooster (4-3,3-1), #5 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, is at Mansfield Senior (3-4,2-2) in conference play this week.  The Tygers have lost their last two games to Ashland (30-25) and West Holmes (45-14), but Haas says they still have athletes all over the field.  "That is the kind of stress that their athletes put on you.  You can't have any type of letdown on any capacity on any snap.  If you do they could have a guy take it 99 yards for a touchdown.  That lapse could be the difference in the game.  It is critical that we are focused on what we have to do each and every snap," he said.

 

Published 10/13/14

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Wooster Knows They can do it

 

          At the beginning of the season Wooster looked liked a team with great potential and for a while it looked like just that potential.  However, over the last two weeks they have looked very good.

          The Generals (3-3,2-1), #5 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, pounded Clear Fork (42-7) in Ohio Cardinal Conference action.  They ran for 275 yards and allowed a Clear Fork team that three times had scored more than 40 points to 89 total yards and one score.

          Coach Doug Haas says they played very well in all areas.  "I was really pleased with how the kids played, really in all three phases.  From a special teams standpoint we were able to make them drive the length of the field.  We didn't give up and cheep long runs or anything like that.  We forced them to go the distance.  When you can control and keep a team with Kadin Chrastina in check you have to feel that you played  pretty well on that side of the ball.  Conversely we were able to control the line of scrimmage, establish a run game, and keep him off the field because he is a threat with the ball in his hands.  Really all three phases took care of one another and that is the type of football we are going to have to play going forward," said Haas.

          Wooster hosts Lexington (0-6,0-3) in an "OCC" game on Friday night.  The Minutemen have lost all three of their conference games, but they have been a factor in the second half, even the fourth quarter of all three.  Haas says this is a team that has shown some improvement.  "They have been opportunistic in terms of capitalizing on turnovers and things like that.  They have been able ton create some turnovers, so they have some kids that can make some plays.  The scary part is there are a bunch of sophomores on that team, so they are only going to get better.  Those kids now have six games under their belt and they are probably just coming into their own in terms of growing and maturing as football players.  We certainly know it is not going to be an easy contest for us under any stretch of the imagination.  We are going to have to have a great week of practice and then put a great product out there on Friday night," said Haas.

          Wooster trails West Holmes by a game in the "OCC" standings and they still have the Knights to play on week nine.  Haas says this is no time for an upset loss.  "The thing we have to remind our kids is we need to take care of business this week in order to maintain the path that we want to go on and that is put ourselves in contention to compete for an "OCC" championship and that is where we are at right now," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "So far, I think the kids focus has been very, very good in that area, so we need to continue with that.  We need to prepare, and I have said it all along, that practice is who were are, so the competition becomes about us and how ell can we compete against ourselves to go out and perform, not only on Friday night, but Monday through Thursday in a practice setting."

 

Published 10/08/14

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Wooster Looking Forward to Second Half of Season

 

          After a win over Mansfield Madison last week, the Wooster Generals are energized and believe they have a chance to get at least a piece of the Ohio Cardinal Conference title this year.

          The Generals (2-3,1-1) built a three touchdown lead before surrendering two late scores in a (21-14) win over Madison last week.  Coach Doug Haas says they really played well in all phases of the game and it was kind of his fault that they let Madison back into the game.  "I was pleased with the kids and their effort in all three phases.  For about three and a half quarters we played very, very well.  I'll take the heat for the last six minutes.  I don't know if we were as aggressive defensively maybe as we had been all game.  We tried to make them drive the length of the field and not give up a cheap of easy score.  It was a me from the last six minutes of it, but the kids did a nice job of playing aggressively when called upon and making some plays offensively and performing well in the special teams phase.  We were certainly really pleased and it was nice to get back on the winning ways," said Haas.

          Wooster lost to Ashland (21-14) on week one, but Haas believes with the way the league is shaping up they still have a chance, especially with co-leaders Mansfield Senior and West Holmes still left on their schedule.  "That is our hope and based upon what happened in the league our goal of going out and winning a championship is still very much available to us, so we kind of control our own destiny from that aspect of it.  We need to go out and continue to prepare from that mindset and that thought process in mind, but we are also aware that you have to take things one game at a time and certainly Clear Fork presents a very, very stiff challenge for us," he said.

          Clear Fork (3-2,1-1) visits on Friday night.  The Colts beat Wooster (29-26) last year and Haas knows they have some explosiveness.  "They are averaging close to 38 points a game and certainly from our defensive standpoint they present a stiff challenge.  It is one that are kids are excited about.  I still remember last year.  It's hard to tell if there have been breakdowns from them defensively or what not, but they have played some pretty good opponents in Mansfield Senior and Fredericktown, team like that, are all really good teams," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "It is one of those things were they are going to be battle tested as well.  It will be an exciting contest and it's the team that is going to hang on to the football and make the fewest mistakes and be able to tackle athletes in space is probably the team that is going to come out and be successful."

 

Published 10/01/14

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Wooster Faces Madison

 

          Wooster has a lot of talent on the field, so much so that despite only one win this season, they received votes in our coaches poll.  Still they have not won the number of games that thetalent would dictate.

          Last week, the dropped a game to Ashland (21-14) in Ohio Cardinal Conference play.  Coach Doug Haas says they just weren't able to do very much in the second half against the Arrows.  "It was really kind of back and forth that first half.  We were fortunate enough to convert a third down and get a touchdown out of it with a long touchdown pass.  We were really kind of able to control it the first half.  We had a turnover midway through the second quarter and they were able to return it for a touchdown.  We lost any sort of momentum right there.  It was just one of those situations and it has happened time and time again with Ashland since I have been here.  We are never able to regain the momentum that we have established whether that is early or toward the end of the half.  We have had a hard time maintaining that kind of momentum," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "Coach Valentine does a great job and kudos to them for making the adjustments at halftime.  It was one of those things for us where you have to make your own breaks.  You have to have a work ethic Monday through Thursday and playing hard and playing smart on Friday nights."

          On Friday night, they travel to Mansfield Madison (2-2,0-1) to meet the Rams in an "OCC" game.  Madison won its first two games beating Shelby (34-0) and Galion (37-3), but they have now lost two straight to Mt. Vernon (27-21) and West Holmes (34-21) in their "OCC" opener last week.

          Haas says the Rams are throwing the ball more, but you still better be able to stop the run to beat them.  "We certainly have to be gap sound.  They are probably throwing the ball more in coach Conway's tenure than they ever have.  They are really working to have some balance.  They have some tremendous athletes and they do a good job as far as getting them the ball in space.  Those guys can score for anywhere on the field.  For us we have to be sound in our fundamentals in reading our keys and not just being sure tacklers, but have the other 10 guys running to the ball and being gang tacklers is going to be critical to our success.  It is one of those things were we know what they are going to try and do, but it is a matter if we can play better fundamental football against them in order to be successful," said Haas.

          Madison's defense had played well up until last week when they allowed West Holmes to score four second half touchdowns.  Haas says a key for them is to drive the ball and key it away from the Rams.  "They didn't give up a touchdown until week three I think.  From that standpoint it is going to be a stiff test for our offense and they need to view that as a challenge.  When we have it we have to consistent and be able to sting together 10, 12, 13 play drives that end in scores.  We need to take the air out of the ball a little bit and not give their playmakers a chance to put their hands on the ball and do dangerous things with it," he said.

 

Published 9/24/14

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Mistakes Killing Wooster

 

          Wooster totaled almost 400 yards of offense, but they still lost last week to Akron Green by a point.

          The Generals made five turnovers in the loss (21-20) and coach Doug Haas says good teams don't do that.  "It was a challenging one.  There were a lot of self inflicted wounds with turnovers and penalties and field position and what not.  We make the bed that we sleep in.  We have to rectify that situation now and move forward against a quality Ashland team," he said.

          Wooster (1-2) plays host to Ashland (1-2) in the Ohio Cardinal Conference opener for both teams on Friday night at Follis Field in Wooster.  Haas says he thinks that the "OCC" football title is one about anyone can win.  "I think it really is wide open and that comes as no shock to me because there is such a great amount of parity within the league.  There are great coaches and great players, so you have to bring your "A" game every night," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "Every group is a different challenge and that's what makes it a demanding league.  You have to be able to respond to different offenses and defenses each week and we have to be able to perform at a high level on those Friday nights."

          There may be some new guys at some key positions, but Haas says it seems like the same old Ashland to him.  "They stress offensively in what they do in terms with a five wide attack.  Their guys can score for anywhere on the field.  Sometimes people associate a spread team with a non-physical team and that is certainly not the case with Ashland those guys are tough on the defensive side of the ball.  We have to control the line of scrimmage to give ourselves a chance at victory," he said.

          Ashland lost last week to Tiffin Columbian (23-20) when the Tornadoes scored with less than a minute to play secure the win in non-conference play.

          Haas says if you are going to be successful defending the wide open Ashland offense you have bee good one on one tacklers in the open field.  "That's what we talked about (Monday) in our early meeting is that you need to get the guy down on the ground in the open field.  They do a really good job of spreading you out and forcing those one on one match ups.  If we can wrap-up and have the other 10 guys run to the football we are going to feel pretty good about ourselves if we miss tackles and what not we could be in for a long night," said Haas.

 

Published 9/16/14

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Wooster Needs to be Ready

 

          Wooster clearly has the talent to be a very good football team, but they were not ready to play last week an that can't happen again if the Generals are going to be as good as their talent dictates.

          Wadswoth beat them (33-17) last week and coach Doug Haas says they weren't ready to play fundamental football and it showed on the field of play last week.  "It started Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday of our practice week.  We had some guys nicked up so we had some inconsistency in terms of being able to prepare properly.  The focus and intensity was not there and that falls on my shoulders as the head coach.  I need to recognize that and get them off that mindset and say we are going to prepare for a very tough Wadsworth team," he said.

          They weren't up to snuff on offense or defense, but Haas says they weren't very good at all on special teams and that helped to set the table in the game.  "We have not done a very good job the last few weeks of winning the field position battle.  We have to work on our special teams figure out how we are going to force the other team to drive the length of the field.  We didn't make Wadsworth uncomfortable enough in a second and long situation.  When you do that you just have a better chance to be successful defensively.  We have to make sure we are evaluating what we did right and what we did wrong and make plans to get better this week," said Haas.

          Wooster (1-1) plays at Green on Friday night in non-league action and Haas says this week they have to go out and work hard and get in the right mood to play football.  "From a work ethic standpoint we take tremendous pride in that.  We try to embrace that blue collar mentality.  I don't know if we necessarily did that last week," he told Swankonsports.com, "Another thing we talked about as en entire athletic program is a blue collar effort with gold medal results.  We need to get back into that and it all starts from our practice energy and enthusiasm."

          Green beat Uniontown Lake (40-29) in their opener and then fell to Massillon Jackson (33-14) on week two.  Haas says the Bulldogs will be prepared and he is anxious to prove that last week's effort was the exception not the rule.  "This Green game will be a good one.  They beat a good Lake team on week one and lost to Jackson last week.  They have a new coach that was on the staff at Mount Union and has been around the game for a long time.  He knows what he is doing.  We are excited about going over there and getting this thing straightened out," he said.

 

Published 9/10/14

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Wooster Must Contain Run

 

          Wooster played as well as anyone in the Ohio Cardinal Conference on week one of the season, but they face another strong opponent on week two as they host Wadsworth.

          Last Friday, the Generals downed Medina Highland (21-20) in their first game of the season.  Coach Doug Haas was really happy with how his team competed and handled adversity.  "We competed for 48 minutes and I was really, really proud of our kids from that aspect of it.  They came back and scored two unanswered and we didn't implode or anything like that we sort of stood the course and continued to work the process," he said.

          And according to Haas it was a complete game for the Generals as they played well in all aspects of the game.  "From a specific standpoint I really thought all three phases did a good job when we needed to in terms of getting positive gains.  Highland is a good defense, so they were going to take some things away from us and we were able to answer offensively to some of those things they took away.  Defensively I came away pleased that we were plus three in the turnover category.  To force three turnovers and turn one into a defensive score those are things we can look back and be excited about.  Special teams wise nobody made any All-American plays against us," said Haas.

          Wadsworth beat Ashland of the "OCC" last week (25-16) to open the season with a win.  Haas says there won't be surprises from the Grizzlies.  "They are no different than the Wadsworth teams of the past.  They are very sound up front and play with great leverage and don't miss a whole lot of assignments.  They have been tailback oriented for years.  I don't know if they have what they would consider that prototypical tailback, but the kid they have did a real nice job in his first start against a traditional rich Ashland program," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "We are certainly going to have to play some of our best football and I certainly hope we make those necessary improvements that you need to make form week one to week two in order to do so."

          To beat Wadsworth you have to control that running game and Haas says that means they have to be fundamental at the point of attack.  "We have to be gap sound and know where to force the ball back to and know where your help is.  That has been an emphasis all week from a practice standpoint.  They are a physical group and they are going to try and get some extra help at the point of attack.  We need to make sure we are in position to play with great fundamental leverage in order to slow down that running attack," said Haas.

 

Published 9/05/14

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Wooster Anticipates Good Season

 

          Wooster always seems to have the talent, but they just can't put it all together on the football field, well this season might be the year for the Generals.

          Coach Doug Haas has been pretty pleased in what hw has seen from his players this month in preparation for the season.  "Certainly from an expectation level it is.   We have great skill and great leadership from our senior class.  The leadership aspect has been coming forthright through in terms of their work ethic and preparation level so far.  So, I have been very, very pleased with that.  Guys that are key factors in the ball game when they are touching the ball can really do things with it when they touch the ball.  I am excited about that aspect of it.  The guys that are playing defense are good players as well.  Now, it is a matter of making sure we do the little things in staying healthy and being disciplined, reading our assignments and playing fundamental football.  It should be a great season for us," said Haas.

          Last year, it was the defense that seemed to hold them back, but Haas has seen some bright spots in that area.  "We have taken great strides in that area.  I think our kids are starting to understand and taking pride in defense.  For us that is exciting because that has to be one of the areas that carries us.  In this day and age of spread offenses and people being able to score from anywhere on the field that is going to be critical to our success and I feel like we have gotten better and better at that each and every day we have gone out and practiced," he said.

          The Generals travel to Medina Highland for their opener on Friday night.  Highland had a great team last year and Haas thinks they will a tough test on Friday too.   "I had a chance to watch them a lot last year because they were 13-1 and went to the state semis.  Coach Lombardo does a great job in terms of coaching that program.  They are very fundamentally sound.  Their defense is very sound in terms of running to the ball.  Offensively they are fairly multiple and have a good amount of speed at the skilled positions," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday. "They lost some core players in a running back, wide receiver and quarterback.  Those guys are being replaced by some guys that are experienced from a football standpoint.  The quarterback is a senior this year, so he may not have game experience per say, but he has been around the program long enough to know what is necessary and what is expected of him and his teammates.  They are going to be a formable opponent and we are going to have to play well and play with great discipline and take advantage of field position, avoid turnovers and all of the clichés you want to have, but never have they been more true that this week one game."

 

Published 8/28/14

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Developing Depth a Big Focus For Wooster

 

          Being one of the bigger schools in the Ohio Cardinal Conference the Wooster Generals are always going to have a pretty good level of talent and athleticism, but what they are working to develop more depth.

          Doug Haas, in his third year with the Generals, says he feels the players have done a lot of good things so far getting ready for the season, which starts a week from Friday.  “It has been good the kids have worked tremendously hard.  Fortunately or unfortunately the weather has cooperated very well if terms of being really cool for the kids.  We got kicked off a couple of days early because of thunder and what not.  So far we have had a really good camp.  There is a lot more comfort level with the coaches and the players to terms of schemes and personalities and what not, so that has been a really smooth transition.  We have stayed healthy and that is always a major concern from a training camp standpoint,” said Haas.

          School seems like its starts earlier all of the time and Haas says with kids in class now this will be a different week.  “We started school (Monday) with the kids, so we get a chance to practice with what a real game week would be like with our preview scrimmage on Friday against Cuyahoga Falls,” he said.

          Haas says he thought they were a little thin in the trenches going into preseason camp, but he thinks that has come along nicely so far this month.  “I was concerned with the depth at our line positions offensively and defensively and we have progressed and that is what we had to see.  Kids got better on offensive and defensive lines and that was something that was critical because we need kids to step up and create depth for us.  I don’t necessarily end the day saying we are great at it now, but we are a lot better and are a lot further along in terms of our execution with our line play,” said Haas.

          The 2014 season kicks off for Wooster on August 29 with a visit to Medina Highland. 

          Haas says this week they are still in the process of finding out how many kids can play at the varsity level.  “On the line we are deeper, but probably still not deep enough.  Every high school program in Ohio is probably saying the same thing, so it is a matter of developing those kids that can come in.  The less that drop off can be in the level of play if the backup would have to come in.  It puts the pressure on us as coaches to develop those kids,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “After this you are really involved in game plans.  You don’t go away from the fundamentals, but x’s and o’s become more prevalent, so hopefully we have trained our kids over the last three weeks to really be great fundamental players and that is going to be the key to our success.”

 

Published 8/18/14

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Wooster Has to be Four Quarter Team

 

          Wooster had the talent last year to stay with anyone on their schedule, but they finished a disappointing 4-6 record and that was with wins in their last two games.

          Coach Doug Haas says they have to be more consistent for four quarters if they expect to compete in the very tough Ohio Cardinal Conference.

          With the lighter workouts that have begun the preseason schedule the Generals have looked pretty good, according to Haas.  “We have had a good start and I have been pleased with that.  We were able to shoulder pads on (Tuesday) for the second day.  That makes it a little bit more realistic from a football standpoint.  The kids have been really working hard.  They have done a nice job of picking up what we have installed schematically.  We are going on the third year and have been consistent from the offensive and defensive standpoint.  Where we finished last year is where we are trying to pickup and the kids have done a nice job with that.  Two days from now will be a big jump in terms of how physical we are going to be and where are in terms of being a physical team,” said Haas.

          Thursday begins a full practice with hitting and Haas says that will tell him more about what he’s got this year.  “The game is ultimately going to come down to who blocks the best and tackles the best.  From an emphasis standpoint for us that is never going to change.  Seven on sevens have value in terms of spacing and concepts in what not, but when push comes to shove you have to be able to block and you have to be able to tackle. So, we are looking forward to Thursday where we can have no restrictions and can tackle and take people to the ground,” he said.

          The “OCC” is one of the better football conferences around and Haas knows if you are going to compete in this league you have to do things right.  “You have to be fundamentally sound.  There is such a vast array of what you see from a five wide receiver, no huddle that Ashland runs to a three back, double tight set that coach Conway runs at Mansfield Madison and you get everything else in between.  Schematically you have to be able to line up and play base defense and that means you have to play great fundamental football.  Those are the things we really try to focus on at this time in camp,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “You know getting the right spots offensively and taking the right steps, playing with great leverage as on offensive lineman.  Those are the things that are going to win you football games in the Ohio Cardinal Conference.”

          Wooster was in a lot their games last year in the first half and even after that, but Haas says they have to be better finishers.  “That was kind of our Achilles’ heel, we managed to somehow defeat ourselves.  We were 7-7 with a 13-1 Medina Highland team week one, we were leading a Wadsworth team at halftime week two, down by three to a Chagrin Falls team that qualified for the playoffs week three, leading Ashland at halftime in a two-day game.  That is a mental hump for us that we need to get over and that certainly has been an emphasis for us when we go out on the practice field.  We try to constantly remind our kids about starting fast and finishing equally as fast and maybe even stronger,” said Haas.

 

Published 8/06/14

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Wooster Wins Big One

 

          Wooster still has a chance to win the Ohio Cardinal Conference baseball title after they beat Lexington (9-5) on Tuesday night and they remain a game behind front running Madison in the conference standings.

          Madison (15-5,10-1) beat Ashland (4-1) on Tuesday to keep sole possession of first place in the conference.

          Generals coach Derek Boyd knew this was a game they had to have to keep themselves in position to keep the pressure on Madison, who they play twice next week.  "Madison has been having an outstanding season, so it is one of those situations were we have to do our best to stay with them and keep pace with them and this was a big win (Tuesday)," he said.

          Lexington has featured one of the best pitching staffs in North Central Ohio this year and Boyd was surprised they were able to put nine runs on the board.  "We were definitely not expecting this kind of offense.  When we talked (Monday) with the kids we pretty much figured it was going to be a tight ballgame and whoever was going to be able to execute those little things was going to win the game," he said.

          With three game left in the "OCC" against good teams this spring, Boyd says they are going to have to execute if they expect to win those games.  "When you get to this point in the season and you still have a shot to play for a conference title and you getting ready to play in the tournament the good teams are going to be the ones that are able to move runners, they are going to be able to get runners home in key situations, they are going to be able to throw strikes and play defense," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday night, "We were fortunate to maybe be just a little bit better at that (Tuesday) than Lexington because they are obviously a very talented team as well."

          Wooster (14-4,9-2) plays host to Lexington (12-7,7-4), #5 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coaches poll in the large school division, on Wednesday afternoon if we can avoid the thunderstorms.  Boyd says they have to win that one too.  "This is what you sign up to play for.  When we talked to the kids we said enjoy this one (Tuesday) night and (Wednesday) it doesn't get any easier," he said.

 

Published 5/07/14

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Wooster Eager to Play

 

          Wooster shares second place in the Ohio Cardinal Conference with Lexington two games behind Mansfield Madison with six games to play this spring. 

          The Generals (10-4,6-2) have won their last four games, scoring more than 10 runs in three of them.  Their "OCC" game on Tuesday at home against Mansfield Senior (2-11,0-8) was called off due to wet grounds and coach Derek Boyd says they really want to get back on the field as soon as they can.  "We have had a pretty good week the last week and we are getting the point where we would like to be able to play just about every day.  You don't want it to end, especially if things are going well.  Unfortunately the weather has had different ideas for us the last couple of days," he said.

          Wooster scored 16 runs in a win over West Holmes in league play last week and Boyd says after making some changes to their lineup they are putting together some good innings.  "I think the first couple of weeks we were pretty cold, probably as low as we have been since I have been here.  We tried to make a few adjustments and shuffled the lineup around a little bit and brought some new guys in and it seems to have made the difference.  Some guys are seeing the ball really well and have picked it up in the last week for sure," he said.

          If the weather cooperates and it may not Wooster is scheduled to play Mansfield Senior now on Wednesday and Thursday and Boyd knows even though the Tygers are in last place wins over them can not be taken for granted.  "That is something I learned a long time ago.  This game is so hard to begin with and once you take somebody lightly that's when you are snake bitten.  A couple of years ago they got us and I think they got Madison once.  It just goes to show that you have to show up every day," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "We really haven't changed our prospective we have to show up every day because we are in a situation where we have to keep pace with the top teams in the league."

 

Published 4/30/14

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Wooster Keeps Pace with Win

 

          Right now, Madison is threatening to run away and hide in the Ohio Cardinal Conference race, but Wooster kept themselves in it with a big win on Thursday.

          The Generals (5-3,4-2) downed Ashland (10-0) at their place to stay two games behind Madison, who beat Clear Fork (12-4) on Thursday.  After loosing their last two conference games to Clear Fork (3-1) last week and Ashland (9-6) on Wednesday coach Derek Boyd says the win feels pretty good.  "We are obviously very pleased to get back on the other side.  We have been stuck a little bit lately.  We are still trying to figure this out and hopefully get better every time we go out," he said.

          Ben Murphy turned in a solid effort on the mound for the Generals.  Boyd says he responded well to an injury he suffered last week.  "Ben is a tough kid.  He took a pretty good shot last week down at Clear Fork.  He had to bounce back from that and have some time to heal.  He did an outstanding job and that is kind of what you hope for out of your senior.  If things aren't going well hopefully those guys can pick up their level and help get the team on the right track," said Boyd.

          Wooster was able to get its offense going a little bit too.  Boyd says they took a more aggressive plan to the plate and it worked for them as they were able to take an early lead.  "We had without a doubt our best offensive production of the season (Thursday.)  We finished with 13 hits.  I think it was one of those situations where our kids felt good," he told Swankonsports.com after the win on Thursday, "I think the biggest part was our approach was a lot better.  We were a lot more aggressive.  It worked out.  We got a couple of runs early and Ben was settling real nice for us.  Things probably couldn't have gone too much better for us."

          Wooster is scheduled to play Wadsworth in non-conference play on Saturday.  Their "OCC" series next week with be against the improving West Holmes Knights, who beat Lexington (5-2) on Thursday.

 

 

Published 4/18/14

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Wooster Stays in Front

 

          A win over Clear Fork on Wednesday kept the Wooster Generals in a share of first place in the Ohio Cardinal Conference baseball standings midway through the second week of a seven week regular season.

          The Generals downed the Colts (6-2) on Wednesday and they are tied with Mansfield Madison for top stop in the "OCC" with 3-0 league records.  The Rams won at West Holmes (9-8) in eight innings on Wednesday night.

          Coach Derek Boyd says their goal is too keep getting better as a team.  "At this point in the season we are looking for our kids to keep getting better as we go along.  We faced a pretty tough pitcher (Wednesday) and we are happy to come out with a win," he said.

          Clear Fork sports a very potent offense and Boyd says they got a terrific performance from young pitcher Aaron Saal against the Colts.  "Aaron Saal was much better," he told Swankonsports.com after the win on Wednesday, "It was kind of like we figured in his first time out last week against Orrville he was I'm sure a little bit nervous and his second time out I think he felt a little bit better and settled in as the game went along.  He kind of got stronger as the game went along and did a nice job for us."

          With a balanced league this year Boyd understands you have to win on your home diamond and try to steal a few on the road in order to come away with the trophy in the end.  "We want to make sure that we win at home and hold serve at home for sure.  Like I have said the past anybody can be beaten on any night.  We have to put this one behind us and focus on (Thursday)," he said.

          Wooster finished second behind Lexington last year, taking the race down to the final week.

          A game against Clear Fork postponed on Tuesday due to rain and wet grounds will be made up on Thursday in the valley.  Boyd says he, and the rest of the coaches in the league, like the way the schedule is set up with back to back games.  "A lot of leagues around the state have different rules about when they want to play.  I think the coaches in our league are pretty smart guys and the like it too because it puts an emphasis on having more than one arm.  You really have to develop some kids that can step in there and throw strikes and hopefully help you win ballgames,' said Boyd.

 

Published 4/10/14

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Wooster Does it Again

 

          After going extra innings on Tuesday night, the Wooster Generals came back with a one run win on Wednesday to sweep the first week Ohio Cardinal Conference series from the arch rival Orrville Red Riders.

          Wooster finished second in the conference last year behind Lexington and they share the lead with Mansfield Madison after two games, both are 2-0 in league play so far.

          The Generals railed to win (5-3) in 10 innings at home on Tuesday night and then went to Orrville on Wednesday and won (7-6) to remain unbeaten in the league.  Coach Derek Boyd says it has been a great start for them.  "We're thrilled we have two wins to start the year.  Early on as you try to feel your way out and get outside and play a little bit.  It is always nice to win and hopefully build a little confidence early on," he said.

          Boyd says his players have some confidence now and it helps to have some experience at key positions too.  "Especially on the baseball field there are so many bad things that can happen.  We like to talk about keep grinding.  You just have to keep your head up and keep moving forward.  I think having some seniors back helps out in keeping us focused.  I think that has been pretty beneficial the last two nights for us," he said.

          With defending champion Lexington losing to Ashland (4-3) on Wednesday and Clear Fork and West Holmes splitting their series, each won at home, it is going to be an interesting race in the "OCC" this year.  Boyd says they are going to have to be ready to play each night because anyone can beat you.  "We knew starting out the year you have a regional team that has two division one pitchers that are top notch guys and good hitters and Scotty (Marshall) runs a good program.  We knew what we were up against (Wednesday).  They are the arch rival, but there is a lot of respect," he told Swankonsports.com after the win, "This league is too good top to bottom to take anybody lightly.  You can not take a night off at anytime in this league."

          If the rains go away Wooster plays Gahanna Lincoln on Friday and faces both Mason and Grove City on Saturday in a mini tournament.  They play Clear Fork (1-1) in their "OCC" series next week and the Colts will likely be without the services of number two starter Austin Baker, who is injured and can bat, but not throw.

 

Published 4/03/14

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Wooster Working on Things

 

          Wooster made a run at Lexington for the Ohio Cardinal Conference baseball title last year, coming up a little bit short.  However, the Generals return some talent and expect to make enough run.

          Coach Derek Boyd says that experience of being on the diamond is something they will be counting on this season.  "We are hoping we can kind of build on what happened last year.  We had a pretty good regular season.  Not as good in the post season as we would have liked.  The good thing is we have a lot of guys coming back.  We are hoping that experience will help carry over and hopefully repeat the performance we had and maybe good a little bit deeper in the post season," said Boyd.

          The Generals will have pitching and they have guys that can swing the bats, but Boyd says more than that they have kids that believe in each other.  "I think we have really good team chemistry.  We have several guys back that competed for us last year.  A lot of these kids have been playing together for several years and I think that helps as far as team chemistry and pulling for each other and helping each other get through the tough times as well as the good times.  I really like our team chemistry at this point," he said.

          With the weather not cooperating, Boyd says they really have some things to iron out over the next week.  "It is one of those things where you are inside, you are outside.  You are always worried about getting enough swings, cover enough defensive drills, and all of that kind of stuff," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "I think right now the biggest thing for us is to make sure we have the position battles all taken care of, keeping guys healthy, not doing too much too soon, and all of that other stuff.  I think most coaches are worried about everything until you get out and play on a regular basis and figure some things out you are going to have a lot of questions."

          The Generals open the season at home on Saturday against Twinsburg and play arch rival Wooster in their first "OCC" series next week.

 

Published 3/25/14

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Wooster Getting Ready For Biggest Rival

 

          Wooster is coming off likely its best performance of the season and it couldn’t come at a better time as they face the biggest rival on their schedule on Saturday night as they meet the Orrville Red Riders.

          Martavious Dyson ran for 247 yards and five touchdowns as Wooster railed from 14 points down in the third quarter to beat West Holmes (41-34) last week.  Coach Doug Haas says his kids never gave up.  “I am really proud of the kids for the resolve they showed throughout the entire night.  We were down a couple of scores and were just able to chip back, plug away and come back and eventually win the game.  It was huge momentum for us as we go into our Orrville week preparation.  We are doubly excited considering the win we were coming off of and who are opponent is this week,” said Haas.

          It seemed all season that Wooster (3-6,3-3) was on the edge of such a performance.  Haas says it was one of their most consistent efforts of the fall.  “It was just a matter of being able to put it together for a full four quarters.  I am really proud of the kids that they were able to do so.  They really did it in all three phases.  We made plays in all three phases of the game and that is what you have to be able to do against Kevin Maltrich and the West Holmes Knights,” he said.

          Orrville (4-5,1-5) won their its four games, but the Riders have lost their last five, including (35-7) to Clear Fork last week.  Haas says each and ever year this is a real battle.  “They are a talented football team and the same could be said for them in that they are playing some of their toughest football in the meat of their “OCC” schedule.  It is one of those things were it is going to be a dogfight,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “Both teams are going to be hungry for this win.  It would be huge for the off season and that would be very beneficial for us.  Orrville they are fighting for their playoff lives.  Our kids are going to have to be prepared to play four quarters in all three phases of the game.”

          It has been their defense that has been able to make Orrville competitive this year and Haas they are going to have to be able to put together the same kind of effort they did last week.  “I have been really impressed with the film we have watched of their defense.  They are a tough, physical unit.  They will make you earn every yard that you get.  Up front on the offensive side of the ball our guys are going to have to come ready to play and come with a chip on our shoulder,” said Haas.

 

Published 10/30/13

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Wooster Faces Another Tough Task

 

          It’s a war every week in the Ohio Cardinal Conference.  Last week Wooster lost to unbeaten Mansfield Senior and this week they host a very good West Holmes team.

          Mansfield Senior pulled away in the second half last week to beat the Generals (45-21) in an “OCC” game.  Wooster coach Doug Haas says they played well, but not a full game.  “I don’t want to say we gave them all they could handle, but we really gave them a great tussle for 30 minutes, but unfortunately it is a 48 minute football game.  You have to be willing and prepared to play those 48 minutes.  We came up short from that aspect of it.  Credit them they are a very, very good football team,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “They make you very uncomfortable on both sides of the ball.  There are some things that we can learn and grow from it that we did good and did well.  Now we can move forward and tussle with a very, very good West Holmes team.”

          Wooster (2-6,2-4) has talent, no question, and Haas says they proved that against Mansfield Senior, but he says they must make it a four quarter game.  “They are averaging 40-plus a game and we were able to play toe to toe with them.  It was 14-7 at half and we were able to tie it up 14-14 in the third quarter.  We are able to get stops when we have to get stops and make plays when we need to make plays.  It is a matter of being able to do that consistently throughout the entire football game.  We need to build our confidence and our skill set to the point where we can play with really good football teams for the entire duration,” said Haas.

          Last week, West Holmes beat Lexington (55-33) and they threw only three passes the entire game.  Haas says everybody knows the Knights are a run team.  “They have a philosophy and they stick with that philosophy.  I know Kevin well and he believes in that philosophy and it has served them well the last couple of years.  We know what they are going to do, but they are good enough from the passing standpoint where they can exploit you with one big play and get a touchdown on you.  It forces you to really play disciplined football and read you keys,” he said.

          Against teams like West Holmes first down is the crucial down.  Haas says you have to make them do things they don’t want to do.  “You have to try and get them off schedule.  If they get it to a second and medium and a third in short that is exactly where they want to be.  Winning first down is critical and putting them in a second and long situation and make them make a decision on third and medium as to what they want to do and give yourself a chance to get to fourth down.  Statistically they don’t a lot of the second and long situations nor do they have a lot of third and long situations.  Everything they do comes from wining first down,” said Haas.

 

Published 10/23/13

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Wooster Hopes to Take Momentum into game with Tygers

 

          With wins in two of their last three games, the Wooster Generals hope to take some momentum into their Ohio Cardinal Conference game this week against unbeaten Mansfield Senior.

Last week, the Generals (2-5,2-2) railed to pound Lexington (40-20) in “OCC” action.  Coach Doug Haas says his kids did a nice job of responding to an early challenge from Lexington.  “I was really proud of our kids from a resiliency standpoint.  Lexington really came out and had their way with us the in all three phases of the game the first couple of series.  I am proud of our kids with resiliency that we showed coming back to get a score and making it 14-7 and then we are back to it being a zero point ballgame,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We really capitalized on that momentum and really never let them create any momentum on their end.  From that standpoint I was very, very pleased.  We had 33 unanswered in the first half and turned out to be 40 unanswered is a good stepping stone for us in preparing and getting ready for a very, very good Mansfield Senior team.”

          Early in the season the Generals struggled a little bit on defense, but Haas says they have been getting better and will have to be much improved this week.  “The Defense has improved really every week and that is something we have strived to do.  We are kind of coming into our own offensively.  We have been able to run the ball with a lot more consistency the last three weeks.  I suppose that helps defensively because we don’t have to play as much.  We are starting to get there, we are starting to come around.  From that standpoint we are going to have the be on our game for sure against Senior both form the offensive side and the defensive side come Friday night,” he said.

          Wooster plays host to Mansfield Senior (7-0,4-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the large school division, this week at Folis Field.  Haas says the Tygers are the complete package.  “Their team speed collectively is outstanding.  I think everybody recognizes that.  They tackle well, they tackle in space and create such havoc with their pressure, they are so aggressive.  They have the athleticism to make mistakes and still recover.  On the offensive side of the ball they just do a great job isolating you and making you play one on one.  Their coaches are doing an outstanding job relating to the kids and they do a great job executing it.  They are really clicking on all cylinders and it’s going to take a great effort by us, but we are really excited about it and looking forward to that opportunity.  Hopefully we can build on the momentum we generated last week against Lexington,” he said.

          West Holmes played Mansfield Senior as tough as anyone has this year when they fell (23-17) last week.  Haas says they need to run the ball affectively like Knights did last Friday.  “You almost have to play perfect.  You certainly can’t give them any extra possessions, so you have to hang on to the football.  You can’t have silly penalties like jumping offsides.  If we can keep ourselves on schedule and win first down 70 percent of the time and then get ourselves in a second and manageable down.  You know, get ourselves in third and medium or third and short.  We are going to feel good about our opportunities to do so.  Holmes did a good job of that and that is certainly their identity is to take three downs and run it.  West Holmes counts on getting 10 yards in three downs.  We are going to have to aspire to do that.  We will sprinkle in the pass as well too and try and take advantage of some of that aggressive play,” said Haas.

 

Published 10/15/13

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Wooster Travels to Lexington

 

          Wooster has been too inconsistent this season to figure in the Ohio Cardinal Conference football race, but on any night they can be very good.  The same can be said for their opponent this week in Lexington.

          Both teams are potentially explosive, but they have not shown enough over 48 minutes.

          Last week, the Generals (1-5,1-2) lost to Clear Fork (29-26) in a league game.  Wooster held leads twice in the second half, but coach Doug Haas says there were just too many mistakes.  “You can’t ever point to one play or anything like that.  There were several plays here and there where we just didn’t do a good enough job.  Turnovers and penalties and things like that were able to give them some momentum and we were never really able to seek that back.  Give them credit for making the plays when they had to.  Now we have to be able to rally and bounce back and go on and take on a very good, solid Lexington team.  Their record is something that doesn’t reflect the caliber that they have played as well,” said Haas.

          Wooster has given up at least 24 points in each of their three “OCC” games.  A loss to Ashland (38-17), a win over Madison (48-24) and then last week against Clear Fork.  Haas sees improvement, but not enough.  “The bottom line is it’s about points and we are giving up way too many points, but from a progress standpoint I want to say we held Clear Fork to 1 of  9 on third down and those are the kind of stops that you have to have.  They got their first downs on first and second down, so we will have to go back and work on that,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “I think we are progressing from a defensive standpoint.  We are giving them a couple of short fields here and there and that didn’t help us.  There is improvement there, but there is still a ways to go in terms of where I want to see us.”

          Wooster is at Lexington (1-5,0-3) on Friday night.  The Minutemen has been in much the same position.  Haas says they will pay special attention to quarterback Trent Richwine.  “The young man at the quarterback position is one that I really feel like is the straw that stirs the drink so we have to know where he is at and have eyes on him.  They have a talented group of young kids that go out and play.  We saw first hand last year their ability to make plays both in terms of driving the length of the field and big play ability,” said Haas.

          Inconsistency has been a problem for the Generals and Haas knows that can not be the case this week.  “For us we have to put together a great three phase game in order to be successful against Lexington on Friday night,” he said.

 

Published 10/11/13

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Wooster Needs to Get Off Blocks

 

          Wooster earned its first win of the season last week against Mansfield Madison, but their defense is still a concern going to their game this week at Clear Fork.

          With a number of athletic kids on offense last week against Madison was their most consistent effort of the season in the (48-24) win over the Rams.  Coach Doug Haas says they got some balance.  “We were able to put some points up on the board.  Anytime you can score 48 you have to feel good about it.  We were certainly pleased with that.  We got good quarterback play, good wide receiver play.  We were efficient in that accept of it going 13-19 in the passing game and then we were able to run the ball for 200 plus yards.  As an offensive staff we are looking for that kind of balance in terms of 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing,” said Haas.

          However, even in the win, Haas saw some things that need to be a lot better.  “There are certainly some things we can improve on.  The defense probably gave up too many big runs.  The special teams game is nothing we need to be too excited about.  We gave them too short of fields for most of the night.  There are always areas for improvement and we need to improve on them for sure against a good Clear Fork football team,” he said.

          Wooster (1-4,1-1) has given up a lot of yards this season.  Haas says it is not like they aren’t good tacklers they just aren’t getting to the ball.  “We have to get off blocks.  We got some key stops when they matted against Madison, but there were a couple of times when we were misaligned or fundamentally we didn’t read our keys, but really just getting off blocks so we can go make a tackle. Every play is drawn up to score a touchdown and every defense is drawn up to stop it.  It’s a matter of kids going out there and being able to get off blocks and make a tackle and we need to be able to do that better,” he added.

          Friday night, the Generals travel to Clear Fork to face the Colts (3-2,1-1) in Ohio Cardinal Conference action.  Haas says the Colts have some kids that can make big plays.  “They stress you both horizontally and vertically from a playing field standpoint.  They have some skilled kids that can run the ball.  The quarterback is an excellent runner.  He’s a tough kid based on the film I have seen,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “It’s going to be a challenge and we are going to have to play a complete defensive effort from all 11 positions because all 11 positions are going to integral in us having success on Friday night.  We have to go out and be disciplined and read our keys and get off blocks and make tackles in space.”

          Just like most teams, Haas says Clear Fork is going to try and spread you out and make some plays.  “I think that is what football has become is to create one on one match-ups.  They are still applying some of those wing-t principles with the jet sweep replacing the buck sweep.  They will run some trap from the gun and some counter and things like that.  There are a lot of wing-t principals behind it in terms of using angles to their advantage, so that is were the discipline and the fundamentals are going to come into play defensively for us on Friday night,” said Haas.

 

Published 10/1/13

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Wooster Still Looking

 

          Wooster just can’t seem to find the right combination that is going to lead them to a victory.

          Last week, they were tied with Ashland (14-14) with about 10 minutes left in the second quarter when the thunderstorms came and forced the game to be finished on Saturday night.  The Arrows pulled away and won (38-17) to claim a share of first place in the conference.

          Wooster coach Doug Haas says they didn’t play well on Saturday.  “It was a challenging 48 hours from the standpoint of having to go back on a Saturday and finish everything up.  It makes for a little bit of a short week from a coaching standpoint, even from the kid’s standpoint of not coming in to watch film and making corrections and things like that.  It was a challenge all around and a very disappointing finish for us and one that was not up to our level of expectation.  Hopefully we can rebound against a quality Madison team, the defending “OCC” champs, and it will be a good test for us,” said Haas.

          This Friday the Generals (0-4,0-1) play host to Mansfield Madison Rams (1-3,0-1) in Ohio Cardinal Conference action.  Haas thinks they are going to see a lot of the run game from coach Sean Conway and the Rams.  “We expect nothing but them running the football.  They have a tremendous ground game.  They know what their bread and butter is and they know it works.  The challenge is go ahead and stop it,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “Our defense is going to be tested from a physical standpoint and from an assignment standpoint with the option that they do.  We are going to have to be on our toes and read our keys and play good fundamental football and get off blocks and whatnot.”

          Madison has allowed some points, including 42 last week to unbeaten West Holmes, but Haas is convinced they still play pretty good defense.  “On the other side of the ball the play pretty stout defense.  Jami Masi does an outstanding job running that defense.  They are always well coached and fundamentally sound and good tacklers.  The great thing about the “OCC” is there is such tremendous parity and great coaching and you have to have your kids prepared night in and night out,” he said.

          With one league loss already, Haas knows they can’t afford another one.  “You certainly don’t want to drop another one.  Right now, we are still in contention.  We need some help from somebody else to do us a favor down the road if we are fortunate to win out in the “OCC” we will need someone to get Ashland for us.  We can control what we can control and that is going out and playing hard and playing with great effort and great discipline against Madison on Friday night,” said Haas.

 

Published 9/24/13

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Wooster Has to be Better

 

          Wooster has played a tough schedule this year, but their coach is making no excuses about heading into Ohio Cardinal Conference play with no wins.

          Last week, they were beaten by state ranked Chagrin Falls (28-15) and coach Doug Haas says their performance was similar to what it had been in losses to Medina Highland (45-17) and Wadsworth (14-13) in the first two weeks.  “It was really disappointing.  It has been a lot of the same week in and week out.  It has been a broken record with too many miscues on our end of it, not getting scores in the red zone.  We had opportunities to go down and score on our first two drives and came away with zero points and we are still managing to stay in the game and go in 7-7 at halftime.  There are things we need to clean up, we have to clean up,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We are going in against a very good Ashland team.  Scott (Valentine) has done a great job in terms of coaching their kids, they are always well coached.  We have to shore those things up in order to put ourselves in position to be successful.”

          Haas says they have to improve in both sides of the ball and that improvement must come now as they visit Ashland (1-2) for the “OCC” opener on Friday night.  “I have talked to our kids about it being conference play.  You are going through your warm-up games in terms of the non-conference schedule.  If you are able to say they really count now, they really count now.  We need to clean up our level of play from an execution standpoint, from a penalty standpoint.  We can’t make the mental mistakes, the miscues and the misalignments and go out and play great, quality football in all three phases of the game,” he said.

          Ashland picked up its first win of the season last week against Sandusky (41-13) in their best effort of the year.  Haas says the Arrows give you a lot to defend.  “They stress you from a defensive standpoint with that five wide attack.  I mean they force you to cover the width of field and they have the ability to stretch it down the field.  They are going to find that one on one match-up and make you tackle in open space,” he said.

          He says it is a lot of the same in trying to move the ball against the Arrows.  “From a defensive standpoint they are very sound and very fundamental.  They will line up and just try and smack you a little bit.  They stress you on both sides of the ball.  They are going to make you play quality ball snap in and snap out,” he said.

          The Wooster coach says Ashland is improving on defense.  That is what he has seen in tape.  He says they must be better in all areas.  “Marquis Sessions is a pretty good running back for Wadsworth.  I thought they did a pretty good job in containing him, but he was able to break off some big runs.  Dover creates such a different dynamic when you go from and “I” team that wants to run the ball at you to a five wide team that wants to throw the ball at you and they were plagued by turnovers in that game.  And then Sandusky they were kind of able to get into their grove from a defensive standpoint.  We have our work cut out for us on the defensive side of the ball.  Our kids are very capable of creating plays at any time,” said Haas.

 

Published 9/19/13

© Swankonsports.com    

 

 
   

Wooster Has to Get it Together Offensively

 

          Wooster picked it up defensively last week against Wadsworth and now they need their offense to follow suit.

          After a (45-17) smacking from Medina Highland on week one they lost a tough one (14-13) to the Grizzlies last week. 

          Coach Dou Haas says they just aren’t playing well as a unit on offense and as a result they aren’t scoring the kind of points they need to be successful.  “We played a quality Wadsworth team and took some steps forward from a defensive standpoint in holding them to 14 points.  Offensively we could just never find any consistency what so ever.  Really it was just a lack of execution on our behalf.  It is our hope and our focus this week to kind of clean things up and get into a position where all 11 guys on the offensive side of the ball are jelling and executing at the same time.  We are going to have to play even better from a defensive perspective and make sure we are better tacklers.  We also need to capitalize on special teams in making them make long drives,” said Haas.

          It has been different players on each play that have failed to get the job done.  Haas says in football everybody must be clicking.  “I firmly believe it is the ultimate team game.  Everybody has a role and everybody’s role is important for every snap.  If a guy misses a block on the offensive side ball it could cost you a touchdown,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “There were certainly some plays that we had like that last week against Wadsworth, a missed tackle here or getting two guys in a gap.  Those are all things that add up with the caliber of schedule that we are playing the margin for error is very, very small.  Those are the things we have to clean up and get better at come game day against Chagrin.”

          Chagrin Falls (1-1) comes to Wooster on Friday night.  Haas says the Tigers are going to tough to deal with.  He says they again have some athletes.  “They opened up against Madison and they had a very solid performance, I wouldn’t call it dominating, but it was a very solid performance.  I think they won by two of more touchdowns.  Then came back and hosted Notre Dame Cathedral Latin, who is very good, and they ended up dropping that game.  They are going to come in hungry.  They are a multiple spread offense.  They have really great team speed.  They are kind of a two headed monster at the quarterback right now.  One young man being the thrower and one young man being the runner,” said Haas.

          With the Generals offense struggling, Haas says they are going to face a solid defense with Chagrin Falls.  “Defensively, comparing the two, I think their defense is a little ahead of their offense and that is because of the amount of experience that returns.  We are going to have our hands full.  They are very athletic.  They are strong.  They are good tacklers in the open field.  We are going to have to play some pretty darn good football to put ourselves in position to be successful,” he said.

 

Published 9/12/13

© Swankonsports.com    

 

 
   

Wooster Must Find a Way on Defense

 

          One thing Wooster knew for sure based on last year’s results were they had to get better on defense and that did not happen for the Generals last week.

          Medina Highland beat them (35-17) by hanging up five scores on offense.

          Coach Doug Haas says they made too many mistakes and they must correct those as they get ready for Wadsworth this week.  “Certainly not better, that’s for darn sure.  Our inexperience came to fruition on Friday night.  We were able to battle back and fourth for about two and half quarters and then some things got away from us.  We had a miscommunication and they ended scoring on a long screen play with a number of missed tackles. We fumbled a punt return and that set up a short field for them and that going to make it hard to play defense,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We all have to scratch each other’s back and take care of each until and whatnot.  We did not score very well from a defensive prospective when we graded the film Saturday morning, it was just a poor performance by everybody.”

          Wooster played one its better games last year in beating Wadsworth (20-14) and they need that kind of improvement this year too.  Haas says they are very capable of doing it.  “That was one of things we discussed with our leadership group (Monday) was now we understand what it takes to play a full game and what the pressure is with the lights on Friday night.  We are going to take full advantage of that cliché of getting better from week one to week two.  The other side of that coin is other team is going to get better as well.  We are going to have to step up our level of play on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball and we have to clean things up in the special team phase.  It was a poor performance in all three phases of the game for us,” said Haas.

          Wadsworth scored 29 points in the second half in beat Ashland (35-7) last week.  Haas knows the Grizzlies will be a load, especially when it comes to running the football.  “It was a 7-6 game for them going in at halftime against Ashland.  The flood gates came open for them.  They are really talented.  Marquis Jackson is their running back.  He really is a tremendous player.  I joked with some people around here that it seems like he has been in school for about 10 years.  He has been starter since he was freshman and has developed into a fine football player.  We have to be cognizant of where he is going to be.  We have to make them beat us left handed and that is without Marquis Jackson,” he said.

 Published 9/3/13

 

 
   

Wooster Counting on Athletes

 

          Wooster is attempting to make the jump to the upper division of the Ohio Cardinal Conference football standings this year.  They certainly have the athletes to do it.

          Coach Doug Haas, in his second year at Wooster after a stay at Cloverleaf, says he is glad they are going to start playing games for real.  “Yes it is.  It is a good time to finally be here.  Those three weeks are always a long time and it will be good to get into that regular season retinue,” he said.

          And it is good to get into a practice schedule that is more consistent and gets the players in the mind to focus on Friday night and getting ready for the game.  “As a player I was always such a creature of habit.  I have taken that thought process with me into coaching.  To create those positive habits that was have on the practice field hopefully translate to the game field on Friday night.  What makes it hard is there are so many different situations you can see it football so, you know, while we are creatures of habit we need to be able to adjust and throw in some different scenarios and that is all part of the process of working through not only two a days, but week one of the regular season,” said Haas.

          Wooster brings back a lot of their talent in the skilled positions, including starting quarterback Cam Daugherty and a bevy of wide receivers.  Haas says they have a lot of potential playmakers.  “We really feel good about our skilled positions.  In our scrimmage against Cuyahoga Falls I think everybody managed to get a touch and that was something we really wanted to do.  Six kids touched the ball and got themselves into the stat book.  That distribution was really great.  Hopefully that will not allow teams to bracket a certain player and make them play honest, which is going to be better for us,” said Haas.

          Wooster has some gifted players, but they don’t have a lot of them.  Haas is a little concerned about their condition for Friday night against Medina Highland.  “We are really thin.  Our roster number is down this year.  We have a small sophomore class, so that has really made it a challenge from a roster standpoint.  I think everybody is facing that.  We have to make sure that we are going to stay healthy.  Another aspect is we were blessed during two a days with that nice cool weather and as I told the kids going into school you can count on it’s going to be 85 degrees and low and behold that is holding up true.  It will be different practicing this week in 85 plus degree weather.  I think Friday it is suppose to be a high of 84.  That will be a little bit different for us.  We have to make sure we are hydrated and we have make sure we have our legs.  Those are the things I am concerned about for Friday night because those are things I can have some control over,” he said.

          Medina Highland is new to the Wooster schedule.  Haas says they have a number of skilled athletes, just like the Generals do.  “They are really talented.  They have a majority of their offense back.  They were 7-3 last and 5-2 in the Suburban League.  The quarterback is back.  He is a tremendous player.  He is both a runner and a thrower.  They have a cast of wide outs that would compare to ours.  That skill makes me a little apprehensive.  We can’t worry too much about them,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We have to prepare for what they are going to do and what they are going to do against us.  After that it’s matter of taking care of what we have to during the week and recognizing what our strengths are and building upon those and then and evaluating what are weaknesses are based on last week’s scrimmage and try to turn those into strengths.  That is going to be our approach this week and then we are going to hope like heck that we will be at our peak on Friday night.”

 

 

Published 8/27/13

© Swankonsports.com           

 

 
   

Wooster Getting Ready For Next Week

 

          Wooster would like to bridge that gap and turn their athletic nature into a top tier football team in the Ohio Cardinal Conference and that process begins next week with their non-conference game against Medina Highland.

          They host Cuyahoga Falls in a scrimmage on Friday night and coach Doug Haas they just want to get players used to what they will be seeing on a normal Friday night.  “The schedule right now is to play a half of football and then simulate an overtime.  Just to get some of those unusual circumstances out of the way and put kids in game like situations.  We have an inexperienced group even through we have a 19 member senior class, a lot of those guys are a little inexperienced.  We are trying to get some game like situations and maybe unique situations under our belt just so it is not completely foreign to us when face it in a game,” said Haas.

          This has kind of been a different year with the season starting a week later than it has been.  Haas says his kids are ready for some football.  “For the last 10 years or so that I have been doing this as a high school head coach the first week of school we had a game, so this is unique from the standpoint that we have just had practices and scrimmage situations.  That makes it different and that has maybe taken some of the staleness away.  They are ready to bump heads with someone else that much I know.  It gets kind of old facing the same blue helmet day in and day out,” said Haas.

          The x’s and o’s aside, Haas believes that his team is about being successful together and that is a plus.  “We have really got great chemistry.  The kids are fun to be around.  They certainly work very hard and those times can be demanding.  Not every practice is a great practice, but we seem to be able to rebound.  They are resilient, they are fun.  They have great attitudes.  They have great work ethics and that type of stuff.  That is the part that is exciting about being a coach each and every day,” he said.

          In their scrimmage against Cuyahoga Falls Hass wants to see a step in execution to show the Generals are ready for the regular season.  “It was shocking to the team (Tuesday) when I told the team we were inside single digits before our first real game.  That was kind of an eye opener for them from that standpoint.  It is just a matter of polish I guess,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We are going to game plan for Highland, our first opponent.  We are going to do what we do until we figure out what works and doesn’t work on that Friday night.  We need to continue to polish that up and make things cleaner by running better routes and taking better first steps on the offensive line and using our hands on defense and getting off blocks.”    

 

 
   

For Wooster Defense is the Key

 

          The Wooster Generals are going to have some quality skilled athletes this year and if their defense can stop the other team more consistently than last year they have a chance to be pretty good.

          The Generals were tested for the first time on Tuesday and coach Doug Haas says they did some good things and some things that need to be improved upon before the season starts in a couple of weeks.  “Overall I have been pleased.  It has been unseasonably cool, which has probably been nice for the players.  I don’t know as coaches if we don’t want that heat to make them a little more uncomfortable to make sure we get prepared for which is probably going to be from a mother nature, Murphy’s Law, kind of thing, a hot night in August on August 30,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Our kids have really responded.  We took a different approach this year.  We decided to do an evening two-day to trying to simulate a game time kick off and that kind of thing and it has worked out well for us.  We just came off a controlled practice (Tuesday) with a team from Columbus.  We felt good about that.  It wasn’t great on our end of it from my expectation level.  The kids did a good job and worked hard and nobody got hurt.  It was an opportunity to go hit another player other than ourselves.”

          Improved defense is the key for Generals.  Last season, they could score on about anyone, but they had problems on defense.  Haas says he has seen some good things.  “I think fundamentally we are better.  It is hard to tell after going through a controlled scrimmage with a quick whistle.  We didn’t want to give up any big plays.  We weren’t necessarily 100 percent with that (Tuesday.)  We did rise to some challenges when we put ourselves in situational football from a third down type of situation.  We were able to get some stops there in a couple of instances.  I think there is improvement.  Time is going to tell in terms of how much we have improved.  Fundamentally, and that is the part that we can control right now, that is the part that we have improved upon.  We need to continue to improve even more so when it becomes game time those mechanics are mistake proof,” said Haas.

          With the kids in pads for more than a week Haas says they want there to be competition for spots on both sides of the ball.  “I hope you can always breed competition because I think that always helps with your development.  We challenge young players, we offer the opportunity for young players, if you are one of the best 11 we are going to put you on the field.  We need some more of those players to set up and rise to that level of competition challenge.  We may have to shake some things up or cross train guys to maybe get more speed on the field in a certain situation or bigger bodies on the field against a certain team.  We are a little dinged up on the offensive and defensive line right now so we maybe lacking a little competition there, but once those guys get back healthy I think we will see and elevated level of play from those groups,” he said.

          As far as the Ohio Cardinal Conference goes Haas understands it will be tough to win because every team in the conference in going to be pretty good.  “You have to pay favors to the returning champions in Mansfield Senior, West Holmes, and Mansfield Madison.  Until somebody dethrones them they are our conference champs.  Those are three teams that you have to be gunning for.  Ashland in the success that they have had and the tradition that they are having.  I think our rival Orrville.  I think last year for them was just a blip on the radar.  I expect nothing but their best and for them to rebound.  So, right there there are five teams that I think could be very, very good.  You know, Lexington bested us last year.  Against Clear Fork we were fortunate enough to get a little momentum and capitalize on some things.  That is the part I like about coaching in this league is there is such tremendous parity and you have to be ready to battle week in and week out and come with your “A” game every Friday night,” said Haas.   

 

 
   

Wooster Still Has a Chance

 

          They need some help, but the Wooster Generals can still win part of the Ohio Cardinal Conference baseball title.

          They started the week with the requirement of wining two games over arch rival Orrville and Monday night they accomplished step one in that process with a win (9-2) over the Red Riders and Tuesday they play at Orrville where they will need another win.

          Last week, the Generals (17-5,10-3), #4 in the Swankonspots.com baseball coach’s poll in he large school division, lost to Mansfield Madison (7-2), dropping from a share of first place with Lexington, and coach Derek Boyd says that left them with only one thing to do… win.  “Unfortunately we stubbed our toe last week playing a good Madison team at their place who played very well, but we kind of put ourselves in a situation that we have to win out if we are going to have a chance at this.  We are playing an Orrville team that is coming off the regionals last year.  They are a good club and we really had our work cut out for us, but fortunately we came out on the right side (Monday),” said Boyd.

          Nick Buckingham went the distance for the Generals Monday night to get the win.  Boyd says they also played great defense.  “We sent Nick Buckingham, back to the mound (Monday) and Nick was able to go the distance.  He threw 75 pitches.  We was the beneficiary of three double plays and that really helps out.  We are trying to get him some work before we go into the tournament.  We had a little bit of a rough start.  We gave up both runs in the first inning.  From there we got better defensively and really helped Nick out and kind of shortened some of their innings down a little bit,” he said.

          On Tuesday, Boyd is going to give the ball to Ben Murphy to pitch likely the biggest game of the year for the Generals.  Boyd says he has confidence in Murphy.  “We are feeling really good about some of our guys that are our starters.  We will send Ben Murphy to the mound (Tuesday).  He beat a very good Lexington team a couple of weeks ago that kind of got us back into the race.  Ben has been solid for us all year.  We feel really comfortable giving him the baseball.  He is excited about his opportunity (Tuesday) to go to the mound,” he said.

          Wooster and Orrville have a long time rivalry in all sports and Boyd says they really don’t need extra incentive to beat the Riders.  “That is one the things that the kids talk about.  They are always well aware of when we are going to play them.  I think they both like to keep an eye on each other and track their progress.  It has been a long time rivalry for longer than I can remember.  It was a great way to get it started (Monday),” he said.    

 

 
   

 

Wooster Tightens “OCC” Race

 

          Well, the race is on with two weeks left in the Ohio Cardinal Conference baseball season.

          Wooster (14-3,7-2), #5 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coach’s poll in the large school division, beat Lexington (5-2) on Wednesday and moved to with a game of the Minutemen a top the conference standings.

          Generals coach Derek Boyd says considering the circumstances and who they were playing it was a huge win for them.  “Anytime you beat a team that is ranked fourth in the state, has one loss, especially in the conference, which is so good like we have talked about all year.  It’s a huge win, but also to come back after a tough loss at home (Tuesday) night,” said Boyd.

          Lexington (16-2,9-1), #1 in our poll, beat Wooster (7-3) on Tuesday night in the first game of the two game series.  Boyd says his players played inspired baseball on Wednesday.  “We talked after the game (Tuesday) night there are one of two things you can do, you can feel sorry for yourselves or get ready to go back the next day because nobody is going to feel sorry for us,” he said.

          With around a .400 team average, the Minuteman have been pounding the baseball.  Boyd says his starter Ben Murphy did a tremendous job in limiting the Minutemen.  “I can’t say enough about Ben Murphy (Wednesday) he was fantastic for us.  He really did a great job of getting ahead in the counts and kind of setting the tone.  He scattered a couple of hits and really bearded down at the end of the game and gave us a fantastic outing,” he said.

          With lineup that features the likes of Wilkeke, Sterry, Basilone and Bastin, Lexington can produce some big innings.  Boyd says Murphy was able to minimize the damage on Wednesday.  “That is what happened (Tuesday) night in the seventh inning.  You have two teams that are really good that were going toe to toe (Tuesday) night.  Unfortunately we got behind in the count against a couple of hitters and they turned their lineup over and you have their two best hitters up at the top,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Those guys had been making us pay and they made us pay again.  We talked about avoiding the big inning.  We were able to do that (Wednesday).  Ben gave up one in the second and one in the fifth and I think that was huge,” he said.

          Wooster has series remaining with Mansfield Madison and Orrville as well as a make-up game with Ashland on Saturday.  Boyd says it should be a lot of fun these last two weeks.  “You have Madison that just beat Ashland twice and we get them next week.  I told our guys that well you got yourselves back into it.  You were in a tough situation with your backs against the wall on the road against a great team with a pitcher that is having a fantastic year.  We had all of things working against us.  I am really proud of the way we responded to a tough outing (Tuesday) night,” said Boyd.  

 

 
   

Wooster Playing Good Ball

 

          Wooster remains in the chase in the Ohio Cardinal Conference after a convincing win over Mansfield Senior at Arlin Field on Tuesday evening.

          They beat the Tygers (8-1) to remain a game behind Lexington in the “OCC” standings.  Coach Derek Boyd says he was certainly satisfied with the effort.  “We are happy to get any win we can get.  It’s a situation that we try to take them one at a time.  This is such a great league like we have been talking about all year.  We can’t afford to take anybody lightly,” he said.

          Lexington beat Mansfield Madison (9-3) to remain unbeaten in the “OCC” this year.  Wooster is tied with defending champion Ashland for second place a game behind the Minutemen.

          Boyd says it started with pitching for them.  He says they didn’t give the Tygers any chance to get anything going on Tuesday.  “Tommy Huettner was on the hill (Tuesday) night for us.  Tommy pitched last year for us and did a nice job out of the bullpen for us.  He has had a chance to go out in some conference games and pitch some big games for us,” he told Swankonsports.com after the win, “Tommy was really good (Tuesday).  He ended up with eight strikeouts and only one walk.  He really kind of dominated on the mound (Tuesday).  That was absolutely something we needed to have.”

          Weather permitting, Wooster (9-2,5-1), #5 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coach’s poll in the large school division, plays Mansfield Senior (3-8,1-6) on Wednesday at home.  Boyd says they have to keep things rolling.  “You are going to have to have two guys that can go out there and maybe three if you get into a little bit of trouble.  It is one of those things that we try to preach good pitching and defense.  I think that has been a good recipe for us so far,” he said.

          The Generals were able to start the week with an outstanding win as they beat previously unbeaten North Canton Hoover (10-6) in non-conference play.  Boyd says that really put a smile on their face.  “(Monday) night was a nice non-conference win.  We had a team come to our place that was 12-0 and ranked 17th in the state.  They had a really solid lineup.  Our kids were really excited to play them.  It has been a little while since we played them.  It was a big school and a big opportunity for us.  That is kind of why you schedule games like that to kind of see where you are.  It was definitely a good win for us to start the week,” said Boyd.

 

 
   

Wooster and West Holmes in Big Series

 

           Two of the expected contenders in the Ohio Cardinal Conference baseball race square off on Tuesday as West Holmes comes to Wooster.

          Wooster has won five of its first seven games, including two wins in three “OCC” games so far.  Coach Derek Boyd has been excited by the start by the Generals.  “They have a lot of experienced players back from a very deep and talented team that went a long way in the tournament last year, so it’s another opportunity for our kids to have a great challenge.  We are excited to bring them in on (Tuesday),” he said.

          One of the best players in the league this season is Wooster’s Nick Buckingham.  He is expected to get the start on Tuesday and Boyd says he has really done the job with the bat in his hands.  “Nick has done a lot of good things for us over the last couple of years.  He has really had a great start to the season.  He is swinging the bat really well and he has a lot of confidence at the plate right now,” he told Swankonsporys.com on Monday, “I think the thong that has impressed me the most not only has he got a lot of hits, but he has gotten a lot of hits when he has been behind in the count.  We are not talking about a hit that are just fighting off tough pitches.  I mean he is putting the bat on the ball really well.  We kind of expected that he was one of our top hitters from a year ago.  He is off to a great start at the plate.”

          There have been some close games already in the “OCC,” which includes likely seven pretty good teams.  Boyd says he have to do the little things right.  “That is one of things that you continue to focus on even if you get forced back inside.  One thing could cost you a ballgame.  We try to stress that to our kids that mentally you have to be thinking from pitch to pitch and out to out about how things need to be done.  Those things can cost you, especially against good teams,” he said.

          With another game against West Holmes (7-2,1-2) set for Millersburg on Wednesday, Boyd knows they have to get at least one these to stay in the race.  “It’s a strong league.  This year might work out that whoever wins this thing might have a couple of losses.  You are going to have to do everything you can to win.  If you are in a situation where you are not winning you are going to be out real quick against these teams,” he says.

          Right now, Ashland and Lexington share the conference lead at 3-0 with Wooster, Mansfield Madison and Orrville a game back heading into play on Tuesday.   

 

 
   

Wooster in the Mix

 

          Wooster won their first game of the spring and the Generals appear to be one of a number teams that are going to be fighting for the baseball title in the Ohio Cardinal Conference. 

          Wooster beat Galion (11-0) in non-conference action on Monday.  They play Clear Fork in “OCC” games in Tuesday at home and Wednesday on the road. 

          Coach Derek Boyd says the warmer weather this past weekend certainly helped get them ready for the opening week of the season.  “It’s been rough with the weather and things like that, but it’s picked up a little bit with the weekend temperatures getting a little warmer the past weekend and that really helped us out.  We were able to scrimmage Thursday and Friday and get a nice workout in on Saturday,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “I don’t want to say I feel a lot better, but I feel better than I did last week.  I mean just getting the opportunity to get out on the field instead of being in the gym.”

          It was a great start on Monday, but Boyd says they still have a lot of work to do before they reach their potential.  “I don’t know that I would ever really feel totally confident, but I feel better.  I think we are still going to be sorting some things out.  That is kind of the interesting thing about the first couple weeks of the season.  We feel good about the number of arms right now that we have.  We will have to see how the quality works out over the next week or two,” he said.

          Right now, you could pick any of up to seven teams to win the “OCC.”  Boyd says they have to be ready for this opening series against Clear Fork.  “We have told our guys that we try to spend our time focusing on what we need to do to get better because this is pretty rugged league.  I don’t feel as though you go into any series thinking that this something that we should win.  Week in and week out we know we have to be ready to play.  There are lots of good teams in this league,” said Boyd.  

 

 
   

Finding Pitching the Goal For Wooster

 

          Again the Ohio Cardinal Conference appears to have some pretty good baseball teams and if the Wooster Generals are to be among them they need to have pitching.

          Last Friday and Saturday the Generals were able to get outside and coach Derek Boyd says they found where their weaknesses where and now they are addressing them.  “We had a chance to get out Friday and Saturday and play a little bit, so we were excited about that.  We thought we got a chance to see some things both good and bad, particularly Saturday.  We are just hoping for a break in the weather this week so we can hopefully keep moving forward before Monday,” he said.

          Boyd says they have a lot of guys that has some pitching experience, but not in big games.  He says at the high school level you have to throw strikes.  “I definitely think going back to Saturday we need to be a little bit better on the mound to start with.  We really emphasize pitching.  In the league we compete in and the schedule we are trying to play if we don’t throw enough strikes and we don’t throw ahead in the count we are going to struggle a little bit,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “I think there are a lot of good teams out there.  Scoring runs is always going to be a premium.  We try to put a lot of emphasis on throwing strikes and playing good defense.  We saw some good things Saturday from some guys and we saw some things that we need to get better at too.”

          Baseball is a game of consistency.  You might play six games in a week.  Boyd says a schedule like that has it’s advantages.  “That is one of the great things about baseball is you get a lot of opportunities to play.  We try to schedule a lot of games early just in case we have some bad weather we can make them up later.  The one thing that we always talk about is tomorrow is a new day and you don’t have to set around a week.  If you are playing a football game and you have a bad night on Friday you have to wait a week and stew about that.  We try to use that as a positive.  Let’s learn from it and put it behind us.  The sun will come out tomorrow and let’s get after it tomorrow.  That’s what is great about baseball,” said Boyd.

          Wooster is set to open its season in non-conference play at Galion on Monday.  That will be followed by two Ohio Cardinal Conference games with Clear Fork on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Boyd Knows they will need to be ready for those “OCC” games.  “It’s great to have Rusty (Staab) back.  He obviously was a fantastic coach before.  He is going to make them a lot better.  Jeremy (Riddle) was very successful in his time leading Clear Fork, but I remember Rusty from my days over at Madison.  He’s a great coach and we expect to have a great challenge from them next week,” he said.   

 

 
   

Pitching Depth a Plus For Wooster

 

          Wooster has been one of the better baseball teams in the Ohio Cardinal Conference in recent years, winning the conference title in 2011 and finishing in the top half in the league last year.

          Like the rest of the baseball teams, at least in the northern part of the state, it has been difficult for the Generals to get outside and practice.  Coach Derek Boyd says the scrimmages they have planned are going to be very important to them.  “We are entering week number four and we have only had the opportunity to be out a handful of times.  We know we have a lot of holes to fill.  I have been pretty pleased so far about what we have been able to get done inside.  It is real tough with the weather conditions.  I think we still have a lot of questions that need to be answered,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “These preseason scrimmages that we have coming up are going to be extremely important to put guys in game type situations.  We are cautiously optimistic at this point, but we really need to see some game action.  We are hoping the weather comes around for us in the next couple of weeks.”

          What have they been working on the most?  Boyd says its starts with pitching for them and they have some work to do.  “I think it starts with pitching.  We always put the most emphasis on pitching as many people do.  We were real fortunate to have two kids last year that are top flight guys that went on to the division one level and pitch, so we have some holes to fill.  We feel really good about one guy in particular, who has pitched for us the last couple of years in Nick Buckingham, but we are really trying to fill the gaps in behind him and see where we are going to be there.  That is where we always start.  It is hard to beat the experience that we did have.  We really leaned on those guys that were going out on those conference days and their leadership and their success,” said Boyd.

          There may not be the quality at the top of the rotation for Wooster, but Boyd believes they will have more guys that he feels comfortable putting out on the mound.  “We put a tremendous amount of time and effort into building as many arms as we can have.  I don’t think you can ever have enough arms.  We may not be as talented at the top end of our rotation, but I think we are going to be deeper than we have been the last two years.  We are going to get a little younger on the mound.  We need to get some experience and grow up quickly, but I think we are going to be deeper, which will be a benefit in the long run,” said Boyd.

          As far as the Generals everyday lineup is concerned, Boyd says they need to find some guys there too, especially in the outfield.  “We have battles going on.  I have to replace the entire outfield.  We have a pretty good idea of what we think we are going to do, but we still have some guys that are unproven in the outfield especially.  I feel good about the guys that we are going to take a look at, but we still have to get some questions answered,” he said. 

 

 
   

Haas Gets First Taste of Rivalry

 

          One of the more intense rivalries in North Central Ohio renews on Saturday night as Wooster hosts Orrville in Ohio Cardinal Conference action.

          With just three wins between them it has not been a typical year for either squad this year, but that is not going to take anything away from the importance of the game.  It’s the first chance for Wooster coach Doug Haas to be involved in the game.  “There is so much pageantry that surrounds it throughout the week.  We have a captain’s luncheon on Tuesday.  We have an Exchange Cub luncheon where every senior on each team ends up going and meeting and breaking bread with each other.  There are rallies and everything like that around town.  It’s an exciting week and I told the kids to soak that atmosphere up,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “In speaking with former coaches and those that have played in the game the exciting part of it is going to be that game on Saturday.  It is going to be one of hardest hitting games of the year and one of the cleanest and most competitive.  We are really excited about that opportunity and the atmosphere it is going to provide for us as a week 10 game and the last game for our seniors.”

          Wooster (2-7,1-5) has been competitive in most of its games this year with the exception of last week when they were buried by West Holmes (43-0) in “OCC” play.  Haas says they were not up to the challenge and they just have to file it and forget it.  “Without a doubt last week was very disappointing.  It was probably our worst outing of the year.  What a bad time to do it against a very good West Holmes team.  We evaluate it and look at the film and learn from the mistakes that we made and really put that to bed rather quickly and go on to an extremely important week ten game and that rival game against Orrville,” he said.

          Orrville, who has qualified for the playoffs more than 20 times, has had a uncharacteristically down year, but Haas believes the Red Riders (1-8,0-6) have shown improvement.  “They have really improved week to week.  I don’t think some of their scores are indicative of their caliber of play.  You look at how they played against Mansfield Madison that is right in the hunt for an “OCC” championship this week.  They are getting healthier in terms of getting some kids back.  They are going to present a tremendous challenge for us.  It is one that we are going to have to play extremely well and I know it is one that our kids are excited about.  I am confident that we will play well on Saturday,” said Haas

          Orrville’s wide open passing game has not worked that well for them this year, so Haas aggress that they have turned more to the run game in recent weeks.  “The past couple of games they have probably gotten a little bit more maybe not a conventional two back set from the offensive side, but they have lined up in a one back and motioned into a two back.  I think they are getting better play from the running back position.  Their offensive line is starting to really jell and is starting to get really physical.  It is going to be a test for our front seven for sure,” said Haas.

 

 
   

Wooster Wants to Play Spoiler

 

          Wooster is not going to win the Ohio Cardinal Conference this season, but they can help determine who does.

          They play at West Holmes, who shares second place with Mansfield Madison in the “OCC” standings this week.  They lost a tough one to conference leader Mansfield Senior last week.

          The Generals got behind by three scores in the first half last week and they were never able to get back in the game in the second two quarters against the Tygers.  Coach Doug Haas says Mansfield was able to take away some things they like to do on offense.  “It was really kind of the tail of two halves.  We didn’t play particularly well in the first half.  I don’t want to say we spotted them 21 points, but we didn’t answer.  We came out with a little more vigor in the second half and unfortunately that was a little bit too little, too late,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We certainly did some good things on the defensive side of the ball in the second half.  There was a lot of poor tackling there in the first half.  Credit to Mansfield Senior from the standpoint that they took away our big play capability and that has sort of been our calling card.  We will have to rectify that situation this week.”

          West Holmes (7-1,4-1), #4 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the large school division, responded to their only loss to Mansfield Senior to beat Lexington (21-7) last week.  Haas says they play excellent football, led by a strong running game.  “They are pretty solid all of the way around.  They are big and physical up front on both sides of the line.  Those three backs could go off at any time.  We are certainly going to be tested. We are excited about that opportunity and excited about that test.  We need to build momentum going into this game off that second half we had against Mansfield Senior,” said Haas.

          West Holmes is old school football out of the wing-T formation and Haas says they will beat you with the big pass too.  “You have to be disciplined with your keys from the fundamental aspect of it.  You have to be disciplined in the secondary and not get lulled into giving up that big play action pass.  It comes down to who can block and who can tackle the best.  That is something we work tirelessly at each and every day.  Hopefully that will come to fruition on Friday night,” he said.

          The Knights have played ahead for most of the time this season and Haas would like for them to have to come form behind and prove they can do it against his team.  “If we can get off to a fast start.  If we can create some plays, some momentum, that can certainly swing to our advantage.  If we could stiffen up a little bit on defense and go from there.  We are going to have to do those types of things and be ready to play 48 minutes of hard fought football.  I know our kids are up for that.  They are sick and tired of losing and learning the tough lessons from losses.  I am excited about the opportunity that we have to clean the slate and get back on the winning side of the ledger,” said Haas.     

 

 
   

Stopping the Big Play the Key for Wooster

 

          Wooster has the potential to play with anyone in the Ohio Cardinal Conference this season, but they only have one win because they keep shooting themselves in the foot.

          Last week, they gave Lexington too many opportunities and they lost to the Minutemen (44-28) in a league game.  Coach Doug Haas says it was kind of the same old story for them.  “It has been kind of a broken record from that standpoint of turnovers have been our nemesis as well as some poor tackling and what not.  The kids play with good effort.  When you turn the ball over fives times like we did to a good Lexington team that is going to capitalize you are going to put yourself in too big of a hole.  From the first half standpoint I thought we preformed well, but in the second half they got things rolling and hats off to them in terms of getting it going and we didn’t do a good job of stopping them,” said Haas.

          It certainly is not going to get any easier this week as they travel to Mansfield Senior (6-1,4-0), #5 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the large school division.  Haas says they are excited about getting to play the Tygers.  “We have to rebound against another great, quality opponent in Mansfield Senior.  We are looking forward to that challenge.  Playing at Arlin Field is a neat place,” he said.

          In order to compete this week, Haas says they are going to have to limit the number of times they turn the ball over because that has been killing their momentum and hurting them on the scoreboard.  “When you give the ball up, whether it is a momentum thing or playing on a short field, that kind of stuff.  It puts a defense in a place where they can be challenged.  We have certainly been scoring, but we have been out possessed by about 20 minutes over the course of the season.  Those are things that can kind of catch up to you,” he told Swankonsports.com, “I’m okay with a one play scoring drive, it’s those one play drives where you don’t score that kind of puts the defense on its heels.  It’s not an excuse, everybody has got to play in all three phases of it.  We need to have our kids relish the feeling of being out on the field and wanting to get that stop.  We took some steps in the right direction, but not enough.”

          Haas says Mansfield Senior has very talented athletes on both sides of the ball. On offense, he says, the Tygers have the potential to pull the big one at any time.  “They are really skilled.  The quarterback is playing well.  You know, he has got some tremendous targets to throw to.  There are too many to list.  Their running game is very impressive.  When they had to go to the four minute offense and really take some time off the clock, they were able to do so.  We are going to have out hands full on the defensive side of the ball, but we are excited by that challenge,” said Haas.

          A real difference maker for them Tygers this season has been its defense.  Haas says they have some guys there too that can make plays.  He hopes they can throw it a little on the Tygers.  “They have some skill on defense as well.  With the big kids up front they are playing an aggressive four man front with the linebackers really committing to the run and trying to stop that running game.  We are going to have to win that battle up front, be able to create some running lanes, and maybe take advantage of some one on one match-ups when we throw the ball,” he said.

          The thing that has killed opponents this year is the Tygers can make a lot of big plays on offense and the special teams.  “That is something that we have focused on this week is not giving up the big play and keeping things in front of you.  Allowing yourselves the opportunity to snap it again.  Our kids are aware of that shortcoming I guess in terms of understanding they have some big play ability.  We have to keep all of those guys in front of us and make sure we tackle and live to snap again,” said Haas.   

 

 
   

Wooster Must Run it

 

          Wooster got a shot in the arm with a good performance against Clear Fork last week and the now the Generals are energized for the rest of the season.

          Wooster (2-4,1-2) outscored Clear Fork (54-24) last week and coach Doug Haas feels it was really their most complete game of the season so far.  “We were pleased with our performance from the standpoint that we were able to put all three phases of the game together.  We scored on a kickoff return play, forced them into three turnovers on the defensive side and obviously had a tremendous amount of success on the offensive side.  We are pleased with our performance from that standpoint, but there were certainly some things that we need to remedy as we approach the Lexington game and taking care of the football is the highest priority,” said Haas.

          Trailing West Holmes and Mansfield Senior by two games in the Ohio Cardinal Conference standings, Haas knows they have to run the table.  “We certainly need a little help and don’t necessarily control our own destiny to the truest extent.  We have to win out if we want to put ourselves in that hunt in the league race, which we do, we have to take care of business against Lexington and that is going to be a tall challenge,” he said.

          Lexington (4-2,2-1) will be at Wooster on Friday night for a league game.  Haas says the Minutemen are potentially explosive either running or throwing the ball.  “They are dangerous in all facets.  The quarterback is an outstanding player.  I think he manages the game very well, both from a throwing and running standpoint.  He gets them into good plays and doesn’t make bad decisions and certainly they have a very potent running game with both kids that touch the ball back there that are two very different types of guys,” he told Swankonsports.com, “They kind of have that slash guy and that smash guy.  So, that is going to be a true test for us.  Their passing game is certainly something that is going to challenge our secondary as well.  We are going to have to play well, all eleven on the defensive side of the ball in order to have the success that we hope for.”

          Wooster has scored 96 points in their last two games and they have been very sound on offense.  Haas says they need to be ready to take advantage of what the defense is giving them.  “I think their front six, their inside six, in terms of what we are going to face versus our spread could arguably be among the best that we are going see all year.  They are big and they are physical.  They play downhill.  We are going to have to create a line of scrimmage and establish a little bit of a running game and take what their defense gives us from a passing game standpoint.  Hopefully with the skill that we have and the way we have ran the ball recently we will do well,” said Haas.   

 

 
   

Wooster Just a Step Away

 

          Wooster is really just a few plays away from being a 4-1 football team, yet they are 1-4 and in need of a win this week at home against Clear Fork in Ohio Cardinal Conference action.

          Last week, Wooster lost a shootout to Mansfield Madison (49-42) that ended on Saturday due to a weather delay.  Coach Doug Haas says they have moved on from the loss.  “It was an extremely disappointing loss and to have to come back and have really two defensive plays and that made for a short night, that’s for sure, but the kids rebounded (Monday) really got together for the first time and putting some closure to that and prepare for Clear Fork.  We were able to put that to bed and get ready for a very, very good Clear Fork team,” said Haas.

          Wooster has lost here games this season by a touchdown or less.  Haas says they just have to find out how to get over that hurdle.  “In my opinion there are really three phrases to building a program.  The first is learning how to compete, the second is learning how not to loose and the third is learning to win.  Right now, we are in that phase of learning not to lose.  It’s a matter of being able to put together four quarters of football in all three phases of the game,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We have had one of those three phases not perform up to par in the three losses that we have had recently.  We have to be able to do that and not take plays off and that kind of stuff.  We will get there and I am confident we’ll get there.  The kids are really working at it and that type of stuff.  There is not much else we can ask form them.”

          Clear Fork (2-3,0-2) will be at Folis Field on Friday night for an “OCC” game.  Haas says again they will have to stop the run.  “They have that run first mentality.  They really have a good play action pass game as well though.  So, we are going to have to be sound.  We had some gap integrity issues against Mansfield Madison Friday and Saturday. We are going to have to shore those things up and then be disciplined in the secondary and not be exploited from a big play standpoint,” he said.

          Haas believes the Colts play pretty solid defense and he hopes they can make some big plays in the special teams.  “They play really solid defense.  They have 11 hats running to the ball.  We are going to have to be what we call six second football players.  Each and every time the ball is snapped.  With the special teams phases we have to be opportunistic.  Take advantage of changing field position when we are kicking the ball and being able to change field position from a return game standpoint getting 10 yards so we have to get one less first down.  It’s going to be a dogfight and one we are looking forward too,” said Haas.

          Clear Fork has been hurt by injuries in the defensive backfield and Haas hopes they can take advantage and make some big plays in the pass game.  “I really like to kids that we have at the wide receiver position.  Darrien Owens, James Preston, Charles Cairnie, Ethan Keck are all double digit receivers right now.  Cam Daughtery our young quarterback is developing week in and week out and it is nice to have a little bit of a run game, although we need to have a little bit more of a run game.  We really struck a nice balance last week against Madison,” said Haas.

 

 
   

Wooster Must Clean Things Up

 

          Wooster has the athletes to field a successful football team and they have made a lot of big plays this year, but they have made some big mistakes too and that has cost them games.

          Last week, the Generals (1-3,0-1) lost 26-17 to a very good Ashland football team.  Coach Doug Haas says again they were their own worst enemy at times.  “There were certainly a lot of things we can point to that were good and then we can point to six turnovers and about 14 missed tackles that were bad.  Those were things that added up to a 26-17 ballgame.  Those are things that we have to work on throughout the course of the year and rectify going to a game against a very good Mansfield Madison team,” he said.

          With losing three games that they could have won this year one wonders about that attitude sometimes.  Haas says that is not a concern at Wooster.  “We have tremendous senior leadership with our kids.  Our kids are excited to get out and work toward each and every game,” he told Swankonsports.com, “They know part of the issue has been us and not taking care of the things that you have to do to be successful in a football game like hanging on to a football and not making bad decisions from the quarterback spot and not missing tackles and just doing those fundamental things.  Our kids are aware of those shortcomings and we have been working tirelessly on those things so we can be successful on Friday nights.”

          This week, it’s a visit to Mansfield Madison (3-1,0-1), #4 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the large school division, for the Generals. In Ohio Cardinal Conference play.  Haas and Madison coach Sean Conway are good friends and Haas says he knows they are going to see a lot of run plays from the Rams.  “I joke with coach Conway all of the time that there is a thing called the forward pass.  They are going to run the ball.  They are going to do it out of a variety of formations and make you defend a lot of different things.  We have to be ready to go up front with our front seven and be able to handle that running game that is very, very formidable.  Their kids are coached well up front.  They come off the ball and they play well with their running backs and quarterbacks.  Anybody that touches the ball runs hard.  Without a doubt we are going to have to play well on the defensive side of the ball.  Offensively we have to be efficient with our possessions in everything that we do,” said Haas.

          Madison also returned two kicks for scores in a double overtime loss to West Holmes (31-28) last week.  Haas says they must be good on special teams.  “That proved to be a big momentum swing for them from that standpoint.  Our kick coverage is going to have to be outstanding.  We are going to have to bottle those guys up and make sure that we get them to the ground, especially in the open field.  The same thing is true for our punt team.  Those are exchanges of huge chucks of yardage.  Forty plus yards of field position can get swung either way.  Those are going to be critical for us.  We take a great deal of pride in our coverage units,” Haas said.       

 

 
   

Wooster Doing Some Good Things

 

          At times Wooster has scored some points this season and at times they have shown some pretty good defense, but they haven’t been able to do both for an extended period of time or back to back weeks.

          Last week, they held an early lead against talented Chagrin Falls and were up 42-28 in the third quarter before falling 56-42.  Coach Doug Haas says there were some things to build on and they really had a chance to pull the upset.  “It was disappointing for sure.  I am not a moral victory guy, but from our standpoint going against one of the premier teams in Northeast Ohio I thought our kids responded well to having to go on the road for the first time and a long bus ride up to Chagrin Falls,” he told Swankonsports.com, “We came out playing hard and playing well and were able to match their scores for a while.  A couple of key mistakes on our part turned into 21 points for them and that proved to be the difference in the ballgame.  It was disappointing from that standpoint.  We did play well at times and that does give us confidence going into “OCC” play against Ashland.”

          Wooster (1-2) plays host to defending “OCC” champ Ashland (2-1) on Friday night at Folis Field.  Haas believes the Arrows are a fundamental team.  “You can just tell they are comfortable from an offensive standpoint in their system.  The kids know where to go and how to execute.  I have been impressed from a fundamental aspect of blocking and tackling.  On both sides of the ball they play very well and understand their scheme and where they need to be.  We need to be playing well in order to be successful on Friday night,” he said.

          Ashland hammered Sandusky (58-7) last week and put some points in a win over Dover (31-14) and a loss to Wadsworth (35-28) on week one.  Haas says they have solid players in the trenches.  “They are pretty big up front and do a good job of protecting Tyler Vogel there.  He is a pretty multi faceted player from a runner and a thrower.  It is certainly going to be a line of scrimmage kind of game even though teams are going to be spread out.  If we can apply pressure from our defensive front and be able to cover in the backend I feel good about that.  If there are going to be some breakdowns where we have to create some pressure that is going to expose some kids in a one on one situations.  We have to make sure our fundamentals and our technique are sound,” said Haas.

          With the conference being so talented and balanced this season, Haas says this would be a nice one to get, especially at home.  “Everybody wants to be 1-0 coming out of week one of league play.  To put yourself in position to right from the get go to be in contention for that “OCC” championship is going to be huge, but at the same time I don’t think week one is going to define who the “OCC” champ is.  There is such great parity in the league everybody has to be prepared to play each and every week and that’s what makes the game exciting,” said Haas.    

 

 
   

Wooster Looks Forward to Big Game

 

          Last week, they won in dramatic fashion and this week they take a step up in competition.

          Wooster got two late touchdown passes to rally and beat Wadsworth (20-14) last week.  Coach Doug Haas, in his first year with the Generals, says he was proud of how the players played hard right to the final horn.  “I’m really proud of our kids in terms of the effort they game for four quarters of football.  That really proved to be the difference in the sense that no kid ever gave up.  When called on to make a play we had several kids step up and do that.  I was really pleased with the kids from an offensive and defensive standpoint.  From a special teams standpoint we need to get a little bit better at that in order to put ourselves in position to be successful against Chagrin,” said Haas

          With a new program this year at Wooster, Haas says they have tried to install a work effort in the kids and it seems to be working.  “That’s one of things that we have kind of preached all along about how you have to play a full four quarters of football to give yourself a chance to be successful.  We really didn’t do that on week one and learned a tough lesson.  We came back and responded and that was the challenge last week.  The kids really put a good game together and I’m really proud of them,” Haas said.

          It is Chagrin Falls for the Generals this week on the road.  Haas says this is a school that has enjoyed tremendous success over the last three years.  He says they will have to play their best game.  “It’s a great challenge for us and one that we are really excited about.  The past three years Chagrin has been 40-4 during that three year time they were state runners-up and lost in the regional finals last year.  They have a great program going and one that is one the premier programs in Northeast Ohio,” he told Swankonsports.com, “They are a spread offense led by Tommy Iammarino who is actually the head coach’s son, so he is really a heady type player.  They have a young man by the name of Brad Monday, who is really an all purpose back.  He lines up at wide receiver and running back and really does a lot of great things, he has great speed.”

          Haas says Chagrin Falls will be aggressive on defense and will likely bring a lot of blitzes.  “Defensively they are really stout from a 4-3 kind of look.  They are really aggressive and are going to force us to play sound, fundamental kind of football.  Again we are going to have to play a full four quarters of football if we want to have some success.  We are looking forward to the challenge.  We are going to empty the gun come Friday night,” he said.

          Haas says this will be an important measuring stick for them.  “We as a program aspire to be where Chagrin Falls is at.  We want get to that level where we can get the opportunity to play in the state championship game and be a conference champ.  This a great barometer to see how far we have come as we prepare to get into what is going to be a rigorous “OCC” schedule.  Then hopefully onto a week 11 kind of atmosphere,” said Haas.      

 

 
   

Wooster Needs to Finish Plays

 

          The Wooster Generals feels like they are just a few plays away from being a good football team and they are working to make that become a reality.

          Last week, they lost their opener to Akron Garfield (14-12) and coach Doug Haas says they certainly left some points on the field.  “We certainly did enough week one mistakes.  Unfortunately it ended up costing us a game.  We won the turnover battle with a plus one ratio.  Unfortunately we didn’t convert in the red zone one time and got a field goal blocked,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We were able to come back a little bit and score a couple of touchdowns and had one of those extra points blocked and ended up losing by two.  They are tough lessons to learn, but lessons learned by our coaching staff and our kids.  Now it’s a matter of coming back this week and responding to that adversity and the kids have done a good job so far.”

          Haas says they just need to finish plays and get ball carriers on the ground or open holes with solid blocks.  “We are going to the right spots and that type of stuff.  We just have to continue to finish plays and finish blocks and finish tackles and what not.  We are getting there, we just need to finish that aspect of the play.  Those are positives that we can take away from it,” he said.

          Wooster plays host to Wadsworth (1-0) on week two on Friday night.  The Grizzles beat Ashland, also a member of the Ohio Cardinal Conference, (35-28) last week.  Haas says this looks a lot like Wadsworth teams of the recent past.  “It’s a pretty traditional Wadsworth team from the standpoint that they run the football.  They have a power running game.  Jackson is a tough running back to handle.  He has been around for quite some time.  He started some games as a freshman and he is a junior now and more mature and bigger and stronger.  Up front they have a big line that is really anchored by a tight end that is an all around outstanding player in Nick Seme.  We have our work cut out for us for a defensive standpoint we are going to have to be able to stop the run and force them to throw the ball,” said Haas.

          On defense, Wadsworth is not a team that gambles a lot, but they are just very good at standing their ground.  “On the defensive side of the ball they are very solid.  They make very few mistakes and don’t take a lot of risks.  They just play good, fundamental football.  That is something that we have really focused on this week getting back to our fundamentals and really try to rely on those to put us in an advantage on Friday night,” he said.

          Haas knows when you play Wadsworth you have to be good at the line of scrimmage of they are going to give you a lot of trouble.  “It’s a line of scrimmage game and we need to be able to establish a new line of scrimmage on the offensive side of the ball as well as the defensive side of the ball.  We need to force running backs when we are playing the run to go east and west and be able to give our running back a clean hole to go through.  Then there are times when the running back has to be his own blocker and lower his shoulder and take on a defender and be able to make him miss,” said Haas.

 

 
   

Wooster With a New Coach

 

          Former Cloverleaf coach Doug Haas is new the coach at Wooster High School and he feels he has the Generals prepared for their opener on Friday night at home against Akron Garfield.

          Haas has been impressed with how the players have taken to a new system.  “The kids have worked tremendously hard both from a mental toughness and conditioning standpoint and a physical toughness and conditioning standpoint as well as picking up new schemes offensively, defensively and special teams.  From standpoint I have been very pleased with our kids effort, their attitude, and their energy.  That’s all we can ask of them and hopefully the product on Friday night comes to fruition,” said Haas.

          Haas has introduced some new things with the Generals this year designed to take advantage of their skill.  “We will be a spread no huddle.  We want to be up tempo and try to get in as many offensive plays as we can.  We have a great group of skilled kids.  We have to be able to distribute the ball around to all of our athletes and let them operate out in space or between the tackles,” said Haas.

          With some high octane offenses in the league, Haas says they have to be able to cover the teams in space.  “On the defensive side of the ball we are going to play a 4-3.  I feel good with that.  With schools like Ashland and Orrville dominating the league the last few years.  We feel like we have to gear things to stop them.  We feel the 4-3 gives us the best opportunity to do that.  We want to put pressure on the offense, but we also want to be sound,” he said.

          As always Garfield has some talented kids with some speed, but Haas they have changed their schemes on offense.  “Their numbers were down I guess from years past.  I have really been impressed with their skill.  They are a very disciplined and sound.  They have converted from an “I” back formation to more of a spread,” he told Swankonsports.com, “We feel we can match-up with that and then put some pressure on the quarterback.  The premium is going to be on open field tackling.  We have to make sure we can get kids down on the ground and live to snap the ball on other downs.   The play a 4-3 defense as well.  They don’t give up a lot of big plays and make you go the distance.”

          Haas says they have to show some balance and be able to throw the ball too.  “We want to make sure we are physical up front and are able to run the ball and when called upon throw it.  We have to be able to complete those passes and take advantage of those one on one match-ups.  They are certainly a challenge, but it’s one we are confident going into,” said Haas.    

 

 
   

Wooster Wants Orrville

 

          Wooster and Orrville is a rivalry that goes back about as long as there has been high school football and they square off on Saturday night at Orrville in the final regular season game for both teams.

          The Generals (4-5) have been disappointing this season, especially on defense, in a year in which they expected to compete for the Ohio Cardinal Conference title.  However, they played pretty well last week in downing West Holmes 35-14 in “OCC” play.  “They played well as a unit.  The kids came right out from the get go.  It was a mud bowl game, but it was smash mouth football.  West Holmes runs the football hard.  I said all last week that we were going to have to stop their run.  They had run it against everybody.  The defense stepped up and did a great job of shutting them down.  The offense made some big plays and we got out on them and they couldn’t catch up,” Wooster coach Mike McCreary told Swankonsports.com.

          It has been the defense that has struggled the most this year for the Generals giving up 56 points to Ashland, 42 to Lexington and 38 to Mansfield Senior.  Last week, McCreary says they played their best game of the season.  “They did a great job of holding them and forcing them to punt.  They had a couple of big play offensively.  A couple of nice passes.  We really stayed focused and played strong for four quarters.  We tackled well and were in position to make plays.  It was a very good win for us,” he said.

          Orrville is in second place in the “OCC,” a game behind Ashland.  The Red Riders can share the league title if they beat Wooster and Ashland looses at Lexington.  “They are pretty solid on defense.  Mason Monhiem is just a really good football player.  He is a good leader and they really rally around him.  They keep scores low and they have been finding ways to win those close games.  They have been in some really close games,” said McCreary.

          Like many week 10 battles in high school football this is a long standing rivalry between the Generals and the Red Riders.  Emotion is always going to be part of those kinds of games, but McCreary says they have to settle down quickly.  “At times they can get too emotional to where that’s affecting them.  They are going to be pretty excited right from the get go.  It’s a big game for both teams really.  Once they get going in the game we have to do a good job of settling down and playing a football game.  They can’t let their emotions run away from them.  If that happens you would be in a world of hurt,” he said.  

 

 
   

Wooster Must Stop Run Game

 

          Most of Wooster’s problems this season have been on defense and that unit needs to step up when the Generals host the West Holmes Knights in Ohio Cardinal Conference football on Friday night.

          Wooster (3-5) has allowed at least 27 points in their “OCC” losses.  The only decent outing by the defense was in a 28-7 win over Clear Fork and the Colts had a TD called back on a holding penalty and dropped another in the end zone.  Last week, Mansfield Senior beat the Generals 38-35, but coach Mike McCreary says the offense made a lot of mistakes too.  “Actually we played better defense,” McCreary told Swankonssports.com on Wednesday, “Offensively we weren’t on track until late in the game.  We put our defense in poor positions, but the kids did play hard for four quarters.  With about five minutes left we were down 17.  We got back to three, we just kind of ran out of time.  We just haven’t played a whole game yet.”

          West Holmes (5-3) has one of the better running games in the area that features a three pronged attack out of the wing-t formation.  “Yes, they run the football well.  There is no one in the league that has stopped them.  It will be a good challenge for our defense.  They have really good running backs that run hard and their offensive line is really coming off the ball.  They also play action pass with their quarterback.  He’s able to make those throws,” said McCreary.  In a 20-19 loss to Lexington last week West Holmes still ran for 183 yards.  They are in second place in the “OCC,” just a game behind Ashland.

          Against very good running teams like West Holmes the key down often times is first down because you have to put them in down and distance situations where they need to put the ball in the air.  “We are going to have to put them in positions that they don’t want to be.  Third down and longs.  I’m not sure what the weather is going to be.  If it keeps raining our field is just going to be a mud bath.  Turnovers are going to be a key.  Against Mansfield Senior we had three turnovers and a punt that just came off Devon’s foot wrong and that ended up being a big play for them.  Field position will be a key, turnovers will be a key,” he said.  

 

 
   

Wooster Worried Abut Self

 

          With all kinds of athletic skill one wonders how Wooster could be 3-4 on the season and pretty much out of the Oho Cardinal Conference race with three games left to play.  It’s been one thing all season, a lack of consistency.

          Last week, they were involved in another high scoring game, losing to Lexington 42-37 in an “OCC” game.  Wooster coach Mike McCreary told Swnakonsports.com on Monday that is was a game they could have won.  “Absolutely, there is no doubt about it.  We just can’t seem to put a whole game together as far as offense and defense and special teams.  We are just giving up too many points.  We were scoring enough, but we just couldn’t get ahead of them.” 

          Wooster plays host to Mansfield Senior (3-4) in an “OCC” game his week.  The Tygers are in a similar position, they have been able to score, but many times they have been able to stop.  “They are just like any other Ohio Cardinal Conference team.  Number one if you don’t come ready to play they will beat us too.  They have explosive athletes.  They have scored on anybody when they play well.  They play a lot of man to man defense.  They try and put pressure on their quarterback with their athletes they can do that.  They have struggled too with their consistency,” McCreary told Swankonsports.com.

          With all the blitzes Mansfield Senior has been featuring there can be some chances to make big plays and McCreary says they have to ready for that opportunity.  “You can take advantage of that if you get the time.  Ashland was able to do that.  At the same time you can struggle a little bit because of the pressure.  Hopefully, with our running game we will be able to slow them down.  They will have to pay attention to Anderson because we keep giving him the ball.  For that matter Daugherty too because we run the ball so much.  Hopefully that will give us time to throw,” he said.

          McCreary believes Mansfield Senior has a lot of talent and it will be difficult for them to slow them down, but really it is up to the Generals to perform.  “We have to be consistent and get lined up right on defense.  We have to trust each other and trust that they are going to do their job.  We have got to the point where some people are thinking they have to do too much.  Then we get out of position and big plays happen against us.  I think it falls back on Wooster and not worrying that much about what Senior does,” he said.     

 

 
   

Wooster Wants Another Road Win

 

          After handing Clear Fork it’s first Ohio Cardinal Conference loss in almost two years, the Wooster Generals head for Lexington to meet the Minutemen in a conference game on Friday night.

          Wooster belted Clear Fork last week 28-7 as quarterback Devin Daugherty threw three touchdown passes to three different receivers in the first half of the game.  “It was a big win after losing to Ashland and losing to Madison.  We were on the road at Clear Fork against a good football team.  We played well offensively and defensively.  We moved the football.  We had not beaten them for a while, so it was a really good win, a really good confidence builder,” Wooster coach Mike McCreary told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday.

          Wooster had had a lot of trouble giving up points going into the game, averaging around six scores per game on defense.  McCreary thinks last week was clearly their best defensive effort of the season.  “Here again we are on the road.  Clear Fork was scoring points and had been able to move the ball.  We did a pretty good job of keeping them in check.  They weren’t pushing us all over the place.  We just played very well.  If we give our offense a chance to score we will do it,” said McCreary.

          Lexington (2-4) is winless in the league play this year, but they have been very competitive losing to Clear Fork (17-15) and Mansfield Madison (15-8) over the last two weeks.  McCreary knows that the Minutemen are loaded with talent.  “They are a tough football team.  They are hard nosed.  They’ve had some tough losses.  The last two weeks they have played good football.  Their quarterback has a tremendous arm.  They are trying to run a little more,” he said.

          McCreary says Lexington always plays well on defense and he expects knowing different on Friday night.  “B.J. has always done a great job with their defense.  They have hard nosed kids.  Again we are on the road.  We have to put points on the board,” he said.

          Wooster would like to get off to another good start in the first quarter, but McCreary says it will be more important for them play well in the second half.  “We have done a pretty good job of coming out of the gate in most games.  We have to make sure we finish off games and play the whole four quarters.  We’d like to get on top and put some doubt back in their minds,” said McCreary.

 

 
   

Wooster Can Move the Ball

 

          If Wooster wants to earn a piece of the Ohio Cardinal Conference title this season they have to win their remaining conference games and that begins on Friday night with a visit to defending league champion Clear Fork.

          Wooster (2-3) lost a tough one last week when Mansfield Madison scored in the late going and edged them 27-26 in a conference game.  Frankly, Wooster coach Mike McCreary thought that was a game they should have won.  “Absolutely, and I don’t want to take anything from Madison’s win,” he told Swankonsports.com, “They did what they had to do to be successful.  We gave up too many opportunities to make them play a different game.  We allowed then to stay in the game.”

          Like the rest of the coaches in the league McCreary believes the “OCC” is very balanced this season and on any night anyone in the league can win, including Clear Fork.  “They are playing well.  They are well coached.  At the beginning of the year the coaches were all saying that there was more parity.  Last week proved that you better come ready to play no matter who you are playing.  Clear Fork is a tough place to play.  They are a good football team and we are still a good football team.  You have to play four quarters and you have to make plays when you need to make them,” he said.

          Clear Fork year in and year out used to be a wing-t run first kind of offense, but not anymore.  McCreary says they have shown a lot of things when they have the ball in their hands this year.  “It’s hard to say what they will do.  I think sometimes he comes up with a plan and that’s what they go with.  I was very surprised when I saw the first couple of tapes and everything was spread and I said, really?  Clear Fork?  Then last week they got into their wing-t that they always have and did that the whole game.  You have to prepare for both,” he said.

          Wooster has a very explosive offense and McCreary thinks they have moved the ball well on everyone they have played this year and he thinks they will be able to do that against Clear Fork as well.  “They are a sound defense.  They try to keep everything in front of them.  They played Senior High and they have talented athletes and they play Lex, a physical football team.  You can score points on them, but they are going to make you move down the field.  I believe we can move it on them, but it will be another great test for our offense.  Our key players are going to have to make big plays,” said McCreary.

 

 
   

Wooster In Must Win Situation

 

          Wooster entered this season with a goal of winning the Ohio Cardinal Conference title and if they are to do that they might have to run the table after a loss to Ashland in their conference opener last week.

          Wooster plays host to the Mansfield Madison Rams (3-1) on Friday night in “OCC” play.

          Ashland rolled up 56 points and 514 total yards in the win (56-28) over the Generals.  “They got up on us early.  We couldn’t move the ball on the first drive.  They scored, then we had to punt again and they made it 14-0.  From there it was played pretty equal until the middle of the fourth quarter,” said Wooster coach Mike McCreary.  The Generals coach says Ashland just made the right plays at the right time.  “Looking back at film and stuff,” McCreary told Swankonsports.com on Sunday night, “Ashland passes the ball really well and they seemed to find the right guy.  We seemed to have one guy break down and they seemed to find the play.  You know, that’s a good job on their part and a poor job on our part.”  Ashland quarterback Zach Bernhard completed 18 of 25 passes for 297 yards.  He also ran for 111 yards on 24 carries.

          Madison lost their first game of the season last Friday night when they were crushed by the West Holmes Knights 48-21, giving up three scores in the first quarter and two more in the second.  “He is getting in more of his offense.  They are mixing it up with a little bit of spread, some wing-t stuff, and a little bit of full house.  On defense they are staying in a 50 front.  They are going to come in here fired up.  We got after them last year.  We have to do the things we do and get back to fundamentals on defense,” said McCreary.  Wooster won last year’s meeting 42-24 over the Rams.

          West Holmes had 424 yards rushing last week against Madison, running mostly between the tackles.  McCreary says they are going to get what they can on the ground, but they aren’t going to forget about the pass.  “We run the ball a lot with Devo (DeVonta Anderson) and he is going to get his carries.  We can get into that power set.  DeVonta is an outstanding running back and in our spread Devon (quarterback Daugherty) is just as lethal.  We try to be balanced, but we will try and take advantage when we can,” he said.

          The Ohio Cardinal Conference looks like it could be pretty balanced this season, but McCreary understands they can’t have another loss this early in the season.  “A win is going to be huge for us, you know, we have to get back on the winning track.  Somebody is going to have to beat Ashland, they’re a good football team.  We have to stay on pace with them.  We can’t drop two, especially this early,” said McCreary.

 

 
   

Wooster Plays Ashland in Key Early Season “OCC” Battle

 

          Two of the players in the Ohio Cardinal Conference football race play each other at Community Stadium in Ashland when the Arrows host the Wooster Generals on Friday night.

          Wooster carries a 2-1 record after a 39-14 win over Akron Ellet last week.  The Generals have one of the most explosive offensive teams in the entire area this fall as they have the ability to break the big one on the ground or through the air.  Generals coach Mike McCreary says they were able to put some things together after halftime.  “We came out a little bit flat in the first half.  Defensively they got 14 on us in two big plays.  We kept telling our kids they have some good personnel,” he told Swankonsports.com, “We picked it up a notch in the second half and just kind of took over the game.  We just have to do that for four quarters.”

          Wooster won back to back “OCC” titles in 2003 and 2004, but they have not been as competitive as they would like over the last several seasons.  McCreary believes this is the best football team they have had in a while.  “I’m excited about how they worked in the off season to get themselves in position to where they can compete for a championship.  We have the talent and we have the experience in the right spots.  Now you just have to go out and play the games.  Nobody is going to give up a championship, you have to earn it,” he said.

          Ashland is 0-3 on the season, which is the first time that has happened since Scott Valentine became their coach, but they are still a team with a lot of potential.  “They are always well coached.  They have played three playoff caliber teams.  They have had good competition and just came up a little bit short.  They are very explosive.  They have scored on anybody and they have moved the ball on anybody.  They keep throwing the football and big plays are a possibility when you play Ashland.  They are a very good 0-3 football team,” said McCreary.  Ashland has lost to Wadsworth (45-16), Dover (27-26) and Sandusky (49-35) over the first three weeks of the season.

          The key to the game may again be turnovers because both teams have stopped themselves more than the other guys, especially Ashland.  “They have turned the ball over and hopefully we get some turnovers.  We have to maintain what we have done on the offensive end.  We have been explosive too.  We have to control them, we can not give up the big play.  We have to make them earn it all the way down the field,” said McCreary.

          This is a game between two of the teams that figure to finish in the top half of the league this season, so the winner gets a leg up.  “It would be a big win for us,” said McCreary, “We haven’t beaten them in a couple of years.  It’s a great rivalry, it really is.  Ashland has been in contention for the championship the last three or four years.  I think we will be excited to go over there and play on the turf.”

 

 
   

Wooster Needs to Stop the Run

 

          Wooster is going to be able to score points with anyone in the area this year, but can they slow down the other team enough to have a chance to win is the question.

          They buried Akron Garfield in their first game (47-20), but they were outscored by Wadsworth (42-35) last week.  It was one of those who has the ball last kind of games last week against Wadsworth.  Wooster coach Mike McCreary says they just ran out of time.  “You had two really good football teams out there.  It went back and forth the whole game.  It was very hot and both teams were tired.  They scored in the last couple of minutes of the game and we didn’t quite have the time to get another opportunity to score.  It’s a shame somebody had to lose, but we played hard, we just have to learn from that and get better,” he said.

          One thing that the Generals need to improve on is they have to get the ball carrier down when they get to him.  “We have to tackle better,” said McCreary, “We had Snowball, their running back, in check for the first half and then he kind of exploded on us in the second half.  We have to get off the field in third down situations.  We just have to tighten some things up on defense and keep trying to get better there so we are a complete team.”

          Wooster plays host to Akron Ellet on Friday night in non-conference play.  They are undefeated through two weeks as the beat Akron Springfield (34-21) and then down Tallmadge (23-20) in an exciting game last week.  “They just had a great game against Tallmadge winning at the end of the game.  Tallmadge was number one in our region last year.  They are flying pretty high right now,” said McCreary.

          It’s no secret that Ellet is going to try and run the ball at Wooster every time they get the chance on Friday night.  “They have three really good running backs.  They really don’t have a true quarterback.  They just get in a lot of different formations trying to put those guys in formations to run the ball,” McCreary said.  So, the Generals are going to be facing the same kind of running game they did last week.  “Ellet’s going to take a good look at the Wadsworth tape and how they ran the ball.  They only throw the ball three or four times too, so obviously we are going to have to score points, but we will have to shut down their run,” McCreary said.

 

 
   

Generals Need to Step Up

 

          Wooster played excellent football, especially on offense, in blasting Akron Garfield last Friday night, but now the bar is raised quite a bit as the Generals travel to powerful Wadsworth this Friday.

          They lit up the scoreboard in hammering Garfield 47-20 last week, but at the same time Wadsworth was taking apart traditional Ohio Cardinal Conference power Ashland 45-16.

          Coach Mike McCreary was impressed with what he saw in the Generals in their first game.  “The kids played well, they came out firing on all cylinders right away,” McCreary told Swankonsports.com, “We are pretty explosive.  We threw a couple of long touchdown passes and had a couple of long touchdown runs.  Defensively we played pretty well for the most part, they did run a little bit on us.”

          Wooster is going to score points on just about everyone they play, but it’s really going to be their defense that decides how many wins they can earn this fall.  “We had some kids playing in different positions, it was better for the team.  There has been some learning going on.  We have seven kids that are new on the defense,” said McCreary.

          Wadsworth ran for nearly 300 yards against Ashland led by tailback Jack Snowball, who ran for 115 yards and two scores.  “They really ran the football a lot against Ashland.  I think even as big a key that Snowball is, they have a quarterback that can scramble and get some yards.  He really helps out because he can make big plays,” said McCreary.

          It is no secret that if you are going to beat Wadsworth you have to at least slow down that high octane running game.  “We have to shutdown their run,” said McCreary, “We have to force them to throw the football, even though their quarterback has a strong arm.  The offense has to keep getting better to the pressure on Wadsworth to stop us.”

 

 
 

 

Wooster Explosive on Offense

 

          Wooster finished fifth in a very good Ohio Cardinal Conference last year and the Generals have the athleticism on offense to make some noise this year.

          Veteran coach Mike McCreary is pleased with the work ethic he has seen in the preseason and believes his team is ready to challenge for the conference title this fall.  “The kids have been working very hard and we’ve had a great camp,” McCreary told Swankonsports.com, “We have some key returnees.  Devon Daugherty, our quarterback, is in his second year.  Devonte Anderson, our running back, it will be his third year with the varsity.  They are big play players and leaders.  We have most of our offensive line back.  We have super explosive skilled guys and if things go right we can be pretty aggressive.”

          Defense is where the Generals are going to have to improve as this season goes on.  They have some players stepping into new roles.  “Defensively we don’t have a lot of experience, but we have a lot kids that have worked really hard,” said McCreary.  The Wooster coach understands that the maturing of that defense is going to tell the story for them this season.  “We have really been pushing the kids that you can score points, but somewhere down the road you could have an off game or someone could really defend and match-up with you really well.  Great defenses are going to produce the championship quality teams that you want,” he said.

          Wooster is at home for Akron Garfield on Friday night in their first game of the season.  McCreary describes them as one that will run the football and is very capable breaking the long one.  “They are very athletic.  Their backs aren’t really big, but that are fast and explosive.  Their receivers have good speed.  They have a left handed quarterback that throws a good ball, but they are more run oriented.  The impressive thing I think is their defense.  They fly to the ball.  They play a pretty basic 5-2 front.  We have to do a good job staying on our blocks,” said McCreary.

 

 

 
   

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