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New London Gets Past Wynford

 

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          Ryan Lane allowed four hits and stuck out 14 and New London beat Wynford (3-1) at Heise Park in Galion on Wednesday in the division four district semi finals.

          They play Firelands Conference rival Norwalk St. Paul, a (5-4) winner over Plymouth in Wednesday’s second game, in the district final Friday in Galion.

          Lane didn’t allow an earned run on Wednesday. 

          Coach Tony Hamilton says he picked his team up quite a few times.  “We didn’t particularly help him much.  There were a lot of errors, a lot of mistakes, which is something I am going to address.  We could have hit the ball a little better, but with Ryan Lane on the mound and a few good defensive plays, especially the one Joe Christopf made at third, that was a really nice play, we were able to pull it off,” said Hamilton.

          Lane struck three guys out with runners in scoring position.  Hamilton says he was able to make some big pitches.  “He has his slider or his curve, whatever you want to call it, and that was throwing them off.  Then for the most part he was hitting them on the inside part of the plate or he was coming up at the letters where it is hard to hit,” he told Swankonsports.com after the game, “He threw one or two where he got down around the belt and they squared up a little bit.  Wynford is a good hitting team.  They are a good team.  Their record doesn’t show how good they are and I knew that that is why I pitched Ryan because I knew they would be good competition for us.”

          Due to restrictions in the number of pitches a kid can throw Lane will not pitch Friday against St. Paul.

          New London scored twice in the bottom of the first when Jake Gerlak walked to open the inning, was sacrificed to second by Derek Smith and scored on a wild pitch.  Lane also walked and scored on a ground ball by Keaton Houghtlen.  “In the first inning that is typical of how we score.  We get a couple of walks, somebody steals, somebody hits a ground ball or we get a passed ball.  We will score without hitting the ball.  We have got to do that to win because we don’t have really great hitters one through nine,” said Hamilton.

          Wynford got their only run in the fourth when Wyatt Smith doubled and eventually scored on a wild pitch, but Lane then struck out the side.

          The Royals wasted a good opportunity in the fifth when Jalen Brown tagged a one out double to left center and Bryden Oberlander dropped a bloop double behind third base, putting runners at second and third with one out.  However, Joe Christopf made a good stop of a Caleb Stone grounder at third and threw Brown out trying to score.  Brown was kicked out of the game by umpires for a high hit on New London catcher Peyton Wilson.  “I don’t want to be too negative, but base running has been out Achilles Heel all year long and you saw that right there.  Against a kid like Lane and a team like New London you are going to have to be darn near perfect and we definitely missed an opportunity there,” said Wynford coach Jordan Oliver.

          The Wildcats scored an insurance run in the fifth when after back to back walks to Lane and Wilson, Keaton Howlin singled to right.  “That gave us some breathing room.  I think that took a little air out of the sail.  Keaton Howlin has been hitting all season long.  He missed the last two games due to an ankle injury.  That is typical of him,” said Hamilton.

          Wynford had won the Northern 10 Athletic Conference title last year and lost to New London (6-1) in the district final, but did not get off to a good start.  However, Oliver says they never quit fighting.  “We were 6-11 about two weeks ago.  We brought back all of these great players and we weren’t playing well.  It was led by our seniors they continued to play hard and we got hot at the right time.  We went toe to toe with the team we wanted to play in the district tournament and hats off to them,” he said.

 

Published 5/18/17

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Wynford Looking to Repeat Last Year

  

          Wynford made a Cinderella run to the district tournament last year and they are looking to do the same thing this year.

          They face South Central in Friday night’s division four sectional final at Lexington High School.

          On Tuesday night they downed Mansfield Christian (47-33) in semi-final action.

          Coach Jason Engel says the Flames took them out of the some of the things they wanted to do, but they found a way to get it done.  “That is what we said that we found a way to win and we survived and advanced.  Your first tournament game is always your hardest.  The kids finding a way to win and defending the way they defended was pretty special for us.  They really sat down and guarded McPeak and helped out with him.  On the flip side Mansfield Christian missed some shots and we were able to get to the basket.  They really covered us up from the perimeter and were trying to defend us from shooting the three pointer,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “They did a good job of that, but we did a good job of making adjustments and getting to the basket.  We shot 33 free throws.  Jack Reed I think was 14 of 19 from the line.  Finding a way to win is a sign of a senior led team and an experienced team.”

          South Central (14-9) beat Crestline (71-51) on Wednesday night.  They finished fourth in what was a very balanced Firelands Conference this year.

          Engel says they want to get the ball moving and they have a lot of players that can score.  “They have scorers at all positions.  They really shoot the three ball.  I think they have taken almost 80 threes the last three games.  They are a good team.  They bring guys off the bench that will shoot it.  They present match-up problems and they are very well coached.  We are going to have to cut down our turnovers.  We had quite a few turnovers (Wednesday) night.  We have to take care of the ball.  We have to play better that we did (Wednesday) night or we will not beat South Central.  They are a good team,” said Engel.

          Wynford (13-10) has gotten better step by step this year and Engel says they have to do that again on Friday night.  “That is how it was last year for us.  That is in the past.  The good thing is these kids put themselves in position to get back to where they want to be and to repeat something that we did last year.  It is what Wynford basketball is about.  We have to play better (Friday) and we have to start better.  We have to be ready to play with a little more focus for the game and come out and play four quarters,” he said.

 

Published 3/03/17

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Wynford Feeling Pretty Good

  

          Wynford takes on Mansfield Christian in a first round game in the division four district tournament at Lexington High School on Wednesday night.

          They Royals (12-10) are coming off a (37-34) win over rival Buckeye Central to secure fourth place in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference. 

          Coach Jason Engel says last Friday was a great example of his kids doing whatever it takes to win the game.  “We went over to Buckeye in that environment and that gym against a very fundamentally sound and good basketball team and get a win by anyway possible is a good thing heading into the tournament.  It was a tournament atmosphere and they do things the right way over there.  Phil does a great job with those kids.  For us to rebound from a game where we scored 80 points, but lost, and then we score 37 points and win, says a lot about our kids that they are willing to defend and do things to win by any means possible or necessary,” he said.

          Mansfield Christian (8-14) did not play at all last week, but the week before produced a couple of good wins over Lucas (47-43) and Crestline (63-48) to close the regular season.

          Engel says they have some good players, especially at the guard position.  “They are very, very good.  They are scary.  They have the McPeak kid, who is probably the best point guard we have seen all year.  He is a very quick and he reminds me a little bit of Luzader from Carey, only he goes left a lot, uses his left hand.  He doesn’t take outside shots like Luzader, but he can really finish and he is a willing passer and he makes their team go.  He is just a spectacular guard.  Coach Kurtz’s son Kyle is a very good shooter as well, set shooter from deep.  They are young, but they have a lot of experience,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “They have been playing all year with six or seven guys that they rotate.  They are capable of beating anybody.  They are coming off two big wins at the end of the season where they beat Lucas and they were up at one time 28 points on Crestline.  Coming into the tournament they are playing probably their best basketball of the year.  We are going to have to take care of the ball and score early to not allow them to make a statement with their offense.”

          This could be a tempo game and Engel says they want to get out and run the floor early to be able to get things going.  “Not that they are not capable of scoring in transition, but they like to be very patient and slow you down a little bit and do those kinds of things.  For us, we would like to speed up our tempo and play how we have been playing and try and get some transition points and shoot with confidence.  We have had some good practices this week and the kids are ready to go in the tournament.  You want to be peaking and you want to play basketball at this time of year it is a fun atmosphere.  I would be lying if I said it was any different going into a game like (Wednesday.)  It is pretty special for the kids, especially after what some of these guys were able to do last year.  For us to get to play at Lexington again and get to play Mansfield Christian again, who is a very good program, very well coached.  For us to put ourselves in a spot to maybe get a chance to get back to the districts is pretty cool for our program and the kids are working hard and are mentally focused.  Hopefully we shoot well,” said Engel.

 

Published 3/01/17

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Positive Focus Big For Wynford

  

          Over the last three games it has been the best of times and the worst of times for the Wynford Royals.

          They need to have focus and intensity when they travel to play rival Buckeye Central in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Friday night.

          They played three games in five days, losing two to unbeaten Upper Sandusky (96-56) last Friday and four win River Valley (89-80) on Tuesday, and beat Firelands Conference leader New London (67-61) on Saturday.

          Coach Jason Engel says their performance was uneven but, it was kind of a different kind of game each night.  “It has been a rollercoaster.  We played Upper and Upper is really good and they couldn’t miss.  They hit some tough shots, but they also hit some open shots and we didn’t communicate very well against Upper and they are really good.  That was kind of a recipe for disaster that game.  They got it in transition and we didn’t communicate.  We turned around on senior night and I couldn’t have been more proud of our kids they played really, really well.  Pat Henzel was huge, he had 22 points.  It was the most important game of the year for us on senior night to send our seniors out with a win.  We made a run at them, we played well, we made a run at them at the end of the game.  We were down seven with 4:30 left, and came back and beat them.  We had a quick turnaround (Tuesday) night and played River Valley and it was their senior night,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “They came out and were more aggressive.  They trapped us, they turned us over.  We haven’t been turning the ball over like that, even against Upper we didn’t have that many turnovers.  The last couple of weeks we have been handling the ball pretty well.  Tuesday night they were more aggressive.  Our kids we didn’t move to help out when we were getting trapped, we didn’t rescue the ball very well.  River Valley is not a bad team and they deserved to win they outplayed us, they out hustled us and they attacked us.  We kind of set back on our heels even when we were trying to press them they were quicker and they got layups.”

          From a mental standpoint, Engel says they can not get down on themselves and they have to be ready to do on Friday.  “You just have to stay positive.  Right now we have Buckeye on Friday.  We played on a Tuesday night where the kids weren’t in school on Friday and we had Monday off, so it was a long day for them, no excuses.  It is a long season and we just have to stay positive.  Buckeye Central is a team that is a rival for us and they are very well coached and they are getting better too,” he said.

          Wynford (11-10,9-6) plays at Buckeye Central (9-12,7-8) on Friday night.  The Bucks are also coming off a tough loss to Crestview (58-56) on Tuesday night.  Wynford won the first game between the two longtime rivals (51-50) in overtime.

          Engel these are two evenly matched teams and it going to come down to who wants it more.  “If we don’t match their intensity and we get out to another slow start.  In practice that has to be our mentality.  We have to start practice well and we have to finish practice well.  A lot of their points Tuesday night came off of our press.  With coach Loy those guys will be ready to play.  We stole one from them the last time we played them.  It was a very close game and went to overtime.  We are very evenly matched with Buckeye.  Both teams want to get a win before they go into the tournament.  For us that is our next goal.  As good as we felt we played Saturday night the kids were disappointed and quite frankly so was I (Tuesday) night because we are better than that.  We just have to stick together.  We have to move forward,” said Engel.

 

Published 2/23/17

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Wynford Wants to Better Against Upper Sandusky

  

          Wynford has won five of its last seven games, including their last three, heading into a second match-up against unbeaten Upper Sandusky on Friday night.

          They also host Firelands Conference co-leader New London on Saturday night.

          They beat Seneca East (74-44) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Saturday night and coach Jason Engel says they are starting to shoot the ball better than they were early in the season.  “We are shooting the ball well right now.  We are having some balance in the scoring department and we are not turning it over, at least we haven’t the last few games.  We are moving in the right direction for the tournament hopefully,” he said.

          Eliminating turnovers is a key in high school basketball and Engel says that is going to be really big for them this weekend.  “Especially with some of the teams we are playing in our league.  Upper is really going to pressure us this weekend.  The last time we played them we had over 30 turnovers I believe,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “When you turn it over to them in the backcourt they are going to get layups.  We have to take care of the ball this weekend.  We only have two home games left.  The seniors have to be ready to go and lead the underclassmen as we get another shot at Upper and then New London on senior night.”

          Wynford (10-8,9-5) plays at home against Upper Sandusky (20-0,14-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll, on Friday night.  It will be a chance for the Rams to clinch an outright “N10” title for the second year in a row.

          Upper won (81-35) the first time the teams played and Engel says they must avoid turnovers and play tremendous defense.  “Everybody on their team can shoot it.  Their lineup is scary because there isn’t one player that can’t make a three.  They shoot them a lot.  They are really, really good in transition.  It is good to play good games at the end of the season as we get ready for tournament play.  They are not going to do anything but make you better.  We have to be ready to go and buy into every possession matters,” he said.

          New London (15-4) is pretty good too, but Engel says they aren’t worried about the Wildcats yet.  “We really haven’t gotten in to breaking New London down yet with Upper coming up.  I have talked to some different coaches.  I have had some people scout New London for me, but we are really right now with our league game with Upper.  They beat us by 46 points the first time we played them we are focusing on them this week.  We will come in Saturday and get ready for New London,” said Engel.

 

Published 2/14/17

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Wynford Expanding its Game

  

          Wynford, one of those teams at a crossroads with three weekends left in the regular season, plays at home against Seneca East in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Saturday night.

          They are in the top half of the standings in the conference, in fourth behind Upper Sandusky, Colonel Crawford, and Carey, and hope to continue to build so momentum after winning their first non-league game of the year on Tuesday night.

          They rallied to beat Crestline (62-49) on Tuesday and coach Jason Engel says they had to dig deep to find a way to win.  “Crestline came out and out played us in the first quarter.  They played harder than we did.  We had to battle back.  They were an athletic team.  It was tied at half and I think we were down one in the fourth quarter.  In the fourth quarter we had some guys step up.  Zach Hoffman really kind of took over in that quarter and Crell hit some big shots and we were able to pull away from them there in the fourth quarter,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “It wasn’t pretty, but in a 22 game basketball season you are going to win ugly games and you are going to lose some games that you normally wouldn’t lose.  It was a win in a non-league game on Tuesday night, so we will take it, and we have to get ready for Seneca East.”

          There were some things they didn’t do very well on Tuesday, but Engel says there were some things they did and played pretty smart.  “(Tuesday) night we had like 30 rebounds.  We shot free throws well, which was encouraging.  We had some dumb mistakes and dumb turnovers, but we also shot it well.  They ran a 2-3 zone the whole game, which is going to prepare us for a couple of teams we re going to see here in the next few weeks, so that was good.  We hit 13 threes.  I think we had 18 made field goals and 13 of them were threes.  There were contributions is ways because we could get the ball inside because they packed us in.  We couldn’t get the ball inside to Caleb Roush and Crell inside, but we were able to shoot from the outside and we made some big shots,” said Engel.

          Wynford (9-8,8-5) play host to Seneca East (8-10,4-10) on Saturday night.  The Tigers lost in overtime to Mohawk (59-53) on Tuesday in a conference game and chased unbeaten Upper Sandusky before losing (59-51) last Saturday.

          Engel says the Tigers do some good things.  “They are very well coached.  These last two games have played some tough teams.  They played Upper Sandusky really well, I watched that film, and they were tough.  They were winning at the end of the first quarter.  They were right there against Mohawk, they battled back, and went to overtime.  They have some players that are match-up problems and do some good things and we are going to have to play well on Saturday,” he said.

 

Published 2/09/17

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Wynford Has to Play Perimeter Defense

  

          It’s a double weekend in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference for Wynford as they play at home against Carey on Friday and at Mohawk on Saturday.

          Coach Jason Engel says double weekends are hard to prepare for, but they are used to it.  “The only good thing is that we have seen these teams once before.  The first time around it is more difficult.  The second time around we still have that one game approach just taking one game at a time.  We have focused primarily on Carey and then Saturday we will shift our focus to Mohawk.  It does make it hard having a double weekend, but like I said you play everybody twice and you get more comfortable and you just watch lineups and watch what teams have been doing lately to prepare for them,” he said.

          Carey (8-7,8-3) plays at Wynford (7-7,7-4) on Friday night.  It was Carey that won the first game (64-52) in late December.  Engel says the Blue Devils are outstanding three point shooters as a team.  “They can put up points in a hurry.  They put over 100 on Bucyrus and against other teams they have scored a lot of points.  That doesn’t just happen they have good athletes, some really good shooters, they are shooting 36 percent from three,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “Last year, when we played them at our place they made 10, 11 threes on us in only 15 attempts.  They just really shot well against us last year here.  They are a team that you have to communicate on defense.  They move very well off the ball.  They are very athletic, but we have to do a very good job getting stops.”

          Although their record is just about .500, like theirs, Engel says the Blue Devils are a very good team that can do a lot of things.  “Carey has so many shooters and they will keep shooting it if they get hot.  They beat Crawford early on in the year.  They have played some really tough teams.  They lost their last game to Liberty-Benton and in watching that game and they were right there in the first half and Liberty-Benton is a really good team too.  Carey is going to present a challenge to anybody in our league and we have to go in there and try and get stops,” he said.

          Mohawk (3-12,2-9) is a team on the rise.  Engel, a Mohawk grad, says he respects what is happening with the Warriors.  “I played ball with Paul Dunn.  I graduated from Mohawk and I know what kind of kids they have.  He played college football so he knows the work ethic that is needed and he has the kids playing really hard.  I talk to Paul quite a bit and I know he is doing the best he can.  I know their wins haven’t been where they wanted to be.  They have been right there in games.  They played us hard the first time we played them and almost beat us.  It was tied with four, five minutes left in the game.  In our league you can’t take a night off, so we will have to be ready to play both Friday and Saturday,” said Engel.

 

Published 2/02/17

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Crawford Holds off Wynford

   

          A (15-3) run to close the second quarter game Colonel Crawford a 12 point halftime lead (28-16) and they went on to beat Wynford (62-58) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Saturday night.

          With the game tied 13 Harley Shaum hit a three and followed that with a layup and the Eagles pulled away in last couple of minutes of that second quarter.  Coach David Sheldon says they handled it better.  “The first quarter we turn it over seven times and the second quarter one.  When we get shots we have a lot of weapons had four guys in double figures again (Saturday) night.  In the fourth quarter we got sloppy and turned it over.  They throw eight threes in, four of them banks.  “The House of Thrills” wasn’t good to Sheldon coming back late.  When they bank four threes in the fourth quarter you know you are in trouble,” said Sheldon.

          Sheldon played for his father Rob at Wynford.

          Wynford cut it to seven (31-24) with 4:20 left in the third on a Jordan Creel basket, but again the Eagles would go on a (7-2) run to end the quarter and lead (38-26) after three periods.

          The Royals turned up the pressure in the fourth and they were able to get with 10 twice and then made three three pointers in the final minute of the game and eight in all in the final quarter.  Wynford scored more points in the fourth quarter (32) than in the first three quarters (26) of the game.

          Royals coach Jason Engel says it was tough to get anything going on offense early in the game and they struggled at the free throw line.  “They guard very well.  We shot 61 times.  We missed some shots we normally make, missed some layups, missed some threes.  We did a decent job rebounding according to our stats.  We were 5-16 from the free throw line and they were 25-32, so it was tough we had to foul late to put ourselves back in the game.  We didn’t start making shots until the fourth quarter,” he told Swankonsports.com after the game, “They are very good defensively they take away everything you have.  We only had eight turnovers.  I didn’t think offensively we were terrible.  We probably didn’t get it inside enough for post touches here and there.  They have 6’10” in there too, so it is tough to score at the basket.  We are trying to drive and attack and he alters a lot of shots and so does Harley.”

          Brody Martin had 15 for Colonel Crawford and Shaum added 14 for the Eagles.  Jack Reed led Wynford with 15, but nine of those came in the fourth quarter, six in the final minute.

          Sheldon felt they did an outstanding job guarding the Royals leading scorer.  “I thought we did an exceptional job.  Credit Hayden Bute and Cam McCreary and our other guys on the help.  He scores late when the game was out of line a little bit.  He had 22 the first time and most of his came in the fourth quarter (Saturday) night.  Hayden Bute and Cam did a great job guarding Jack all night because he is a very good player,” said Sheldon.

          The Eagles were able to get a number of baskets in transition and Sheldon says when they can do that they are a pretty good.  “We want to get out in transition.  When we get out in transition we are a good basketball team.  Our posts run the floor and our guards are spotting up.  That is one thing we definitely do well.  We got some easy baskets in transition,” he said.

 

Published 1/28/17

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Wynford Getting it Going

  

          Nobody is talking about them, but the Wynford Royals are starting to play better basketball and it seems a lot like last year when they advanced to the district tournament.

          They beat Bucyrus (73-60) and Ridgedale (62-53) in Northern 10 Athletic Conference games last weekend.

          Coach Jason Engel says they are headed in the right direction.  “We are playing much better.  We are taking care of the ball and we are passing the ball well.  We had a lot of assists this past weekend and we had a balanced scoring attack.  Defensively it was what we wanted to do in getting some turnovers and get out in transition.  We are playing much better,” he said.

          The Royals have won four of their last five, their only loss to unbeaten Upper Sandusky, and Engel says they have started to score more points.  “It is nice when we are making shots.  Zach Hoffman has been shooting the ball well.  Jack (Reed) is going to be our leading scorer and he is still shooting the ball well at times and Josh Crall has really come along.  Along with them Jordan Creel had a nice weekend in making shots and rebounding well.  We are finding some good groups to put out there.  Even when we are in foul trouble we are getting kids in that are contributing.  Our lineup right now can go one of two ways, we can play big, we can play small and we can play fast.  Our kids are buying in and we are focusing in and taking one game at a time,” said Engel.

          Colonel Crawford (10-4,8-2), #5 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the small school division, plays at Wynford (7-6,7-3) on Saturday night.  The Eagles only league loss in the last seven weeks is to Upper.  Engel says they are an all around good team.  “They are really good.  Starkey has 140 rebounds already through 14 games and (Harley) Shaum is having a heck of a second half of the year here.  He put 34 on Carey I believe the other night.  They are big inside and they can hurt you in transition because they have really athletic guards.  They shot it well against us the first time.  We have to limit them to one shot and defend them,” he said.

          Engel says they are having a lot of fun as a team this year and that is part of it too.  “Our kids are excited about the opportunity to play Crawford, a big rival, a team that we have a lot of respect for.  For us to put ourselves in position to be second in the league of we do get a win and put ourselves in position to continue to play good basketball in the second half of the year.  That is all we really asked of our kids,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “I really like the way they are hanging out outside of basketball.  They are spending time with each other.  We preach a lot about family and taking care of each other and being there for each other.  The kids have done that.  Monday we usually just watch film and our kids like to go out and do stuff with each other afterwards.  They go out and eat sometimes and they go out to each other’s houses.  That is part of building relationships.  It starts with the seniors and they have bought in and that makes it really fun to coach too.”

 

Published 1/27/17

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Wynford Coming Around

  

          Wynford was one of the better small school teams in North Central Ohio in the second half of last season.  They hope to do the same thing this year and they are off to a good start.

          The Royals beat rival Buckeye Central (51-50) in overtime last Saturday.  Coach Jason Engel says they were able to dig deep and find something or order to get the win.  “It was a huge win.  We were down six with a minute left and our kids just battled back and showed their character.  They won’t quit.  We wanted to respond a loss the week before to Upper.  They drilled us and we wanted to respond to that.  We came out against Buckeye and it was a defensive battle and both teams played extremely hard.  It was a tough game for Buckeye to lose, but a great win for us,” said Engel on Monday.

          They stand in the upper half of the “N10” at this point in the season, in forth place, and Engel says they want to make consistent progress as the post season approaches.  “That is what we are trying to do.  You want to peak at the right time.  We have a tough schedule.  I tell the kids it is going to make you that much better when tournament time comes around. We have a tough non-league schedule.  The kids keep practicing hard and focus in on what we need to do and keep buying into every possession matters and we can put ourselves in a good position the second half of year,” said Engel.

          Wynford (5-6,5-3) plays at Bucyrus (2-9,2-6) in a Northern 10 game on Friday night.  They play at Ridgedale (2-9,0-8) on Saturday night.  These are games against teams in the bottom half of the league.

          Wynford beat Bucyrus (49-34) the first time they played this season.  It was a game in which they have a big run in the third quarter to win.  Engel says the Redmen will be fired up to play them and they need to get off to a better start.  “The first time around when we played them they played extremely hard.  Those kids have been there for a while now and have played for a while.  They have been very young the last two years.  They have a couple of nice classes there together that are playing well,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “They got a huge win this past Saturday.  We have to come ready to play and we have to start out better than we did the last time against them and it is at their place.  It is never easy playing there.  That is our challenge right now playing one game at a time and keep focused on Bucyrus, who wants to play well and beat us.  It’s a big rivalry, so the kids have to respond to that.”

 

Published 1/17/17
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More Focus for Wynford

  

          Wynford has talent, but they are a team that has to play up to their potential to beat a lot of the teams on their schedule and they haven’t been doing that all of the time.

          They host Buckeye Central in a big Crawford County rivalry game on Saturday night.

          Last week, they rallied to beat Seneca East (66-63) behind a career high 31 from Jack Reed on Friday night, but they were blitzed by (81-35) by unbeaten Upper Sandusky on Saturday night.

          Coach Jason Engel says it really was a tale of two nights and two different kinds of performances.  “Friday night our intensity level was there.  We played together as one unit.  We passed the ball well and we rebounded really well offensively and that is why we won.  We took care of ball.  We only had eight turnovers.  It was a huge win for us and then we came back the next night and had to go play Upper, who is the best team in our area, not just our league, and we were there with them for a quarter and then we started turning the ball over, our intensity level dropped, and we weren’t very competitive with them.  I think we kind of accepted that a little bit when I went back and watched the film,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “It’s like hey guys somebody is coming to trap you and you are leaving your teammates out there against two or three guys and not giving them passing angles and we hadn’t done that all year.  After a big win we were really disappointed on Saturday.  I mean Upper is really good, but we have to move on because Buckeye Central has had our game circled forever and they are a really good team, well coached.  You have to have a short term memory in our league.”

          Buckeye Central on the other hand challenged second place Colonel Crawford Saturday night before falling (55-44) to the Eagles. 

          Engle says the Bucks are well coached and well disciplined.  “They will slow it down.  If they have chances to run in transition they will run a little bit.  I know that is not their number one goal.  They are so fundamentally sound, they just are.  Their kids are focused.  They listen to what Phil (Loy) does over there and they buy in.  It seems like every year, you know, Buckeye is down they lost Grant (Loy) or they lost this guy or that guy and they just rebuild over there.  He puts a lot of time in with their younger programs too.  His kids know what it takes.  They are very good team and I have a lot of respect for them.  They have played some tough teams early on too.  We are both setting in the same spot, we are 4-6.  They have lost to some tough teams just like we have and it will be a good game,” said Engel.

          Wynford (4-6,4-3) and Buckeye Central (4-6,3-4) is a long time rivalry dating back to the early days of the North Central Conference.  Engel says he knows the Bucks will be ready for them.  “We lost to them pretty bad twice last year.  They lined up across from us and said you are not going to score.  That was their mentality and they took it to us twice.  Then in the tournament, we had been playing well in the second half of the year.  Going into the sectional final this was a team that beat us twice and how do we respond?  We were able to make enough plays to win that game.  It is a rivalry.  There are a lot of people going to be at the game Saturday.  We have to get back to playing Wynford basketball and it needs to start the week in practice.  We have to play with that mentality of staying focused.  We have to have a mentality that every possession matters.  We have been telling the kids that and they just have to stick with it,” said Engel.

 

Published 1/10/17

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Wynford Needs Better Starts

  

          Wynford has been plagued by poor starts this season and they can’t afford that this weekend as they play “N10” games against Seneca East and unbeaten Upper Sandusky.

          Last Friday, they lost (71-49) to Marion Pleasant in a non-conference game.  Coach Jason Engel says it was another bad start for the Royals.  “We lost to a couple of games there where I didn’t think we played very well against Crestview and Pleasant.  Pleasant is a very good ball team.  We just haven’t been able to put four quarters together.  We just can’t keep starting out bad.  Heck, I think we were down 20 points in the first quarter against Pleasant.  We are back to school and getting in the routine.  We have two big games this weekend,” he said.

          Engel says have done some different things this week in practice in order to get off to a good start.  He says the kids are working hard.  “We just lose focus.  We have tried to change up practices with more team drills and five on five stuff at the beginning of practice so we have that focus right off the bat.  We did that and we have had some good practices this week.  We are working hard and we are just trying to stay positive and that is all we can ask.  We have to remember we have played in some tough places against some good teams.  We were not competitive in some of those games.  We have played some really good teams and it is a long season,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “I keep telling them that last year we started out and we were below .500 and in the second half of the year we took off.  So, once we get going I think we will be okay.  I really like the kid’s attitude they are positive and they are coming ready to work.  As coaches we are breaking things down for them and trying to put us in the best situation to win.  We are still in the upper part of the league at 3-2.  Taking care of Seneca East Friday that is our next game and that is our mentality.  Hopefully we can get a win to get everybody back on track.”

          Wynford (3-5,3-2) plays at Seneca East (6-3,3-3) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Friday night.  Engel says the Tigers have some good scorers.  “The Diem kid is very good and they have another kid the Forehan kid that is a good shooter for them.  I think he has shot almost 50 threes already in nine games.  They also have some really good post players.  They are definitely improved from last year.  They have had some very good games, some good wins.  They do some things good and they are very well coached.  We have to go over there Friday night and play with them and play four quarters.  That first quarter, that’s our biggest thing, getting off to a better start,” he said.

          Saturday night, it is a trip to conference leading Upper Sandusky (10-0,5-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the large school division.  Engel says it will be a big challenge.  “Those guys are really playing well.  Wes Vent is back and he is playing well, they have Adams, they have the Dible kid, they have some scorers.  They are a match-up nightmare for anybody.  It is good to play teams like this.  It is better playing those teams than the teams that are really bad or really, really young.  I love what Upper is doing over there and they have a great group of kids that have put in a lot of time.  It doesn’t just happen.  It is not just because they are athletic.  They put a lot of time in the off season and they play a lot of basketball,” he said.

 

Published 1/05/16

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Wynford Has to be a lot Better

  

          Wynford turned around about this time a year ago and finished the season strong.  They need to do that against this season.

          They fell to (3-4) on the season after a (62-42) loss to Crestview in non-conference play on Tuesday.  They face Marion Pleasant (3-3) in a non-conference game on Friday night.

          Coach Jason Engel says they got off to a bad start against Crestview and just ended up digging too big of a hole.  “It was a tough game for us.  We didn’t play very well in the first half.  I thought they beat us pretty much in every aspect of the game.  They is a lot of responsibly on my shoulders and I am not pointing fingers at anybody.  I realize that I have to get the kids a little more focused.  We got behind again really early.  We haven’t started games our real well and that hurts us.  At halftime we were down 15.  A credit to the kids because they came out and played a lot harder, but we need that same intensity level for four quarters because Marion Pleasant is really good Friday,” said Engel.

          Wynford has not scored much in most of their games this season.  Engel says there are a number of things they have to get better at doing starting with running the fast break.  “We haven’t ran very well in transition and we haven’t passed the ball up the floor very well.  Even in the half court we are not passing the ball very well.  We are not moving very well off the ball.  There are some things we are doing where we are not getting post touches.  Just some fundamental stuff that we have to be better at. We have to score a little more in transition.  Last year in the second half of the season we pushed the ball a lot better, and we made shots too, I thought we ran the floor a lot better, and that is what we have to get back too,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We have to dictate tempo and play aggressively and play to win.  I feel like a of that is on my shoulders for putting us in those situations.  We are standing around too much on offense.  We have to cut hard, just fundamental stuff, ball fakes, and making our layups.  We have missed a lot of free throws.  They are correctable mistakes.”

          Pleasant is coming off a (59-43) win over previously unbeaten North Union last week.  They advanced to the regional final division three a year ago. 

          Engel says they are athletic and do a lot of things that make them hard to guard.  “They are very athletic.  They shoot a lot of threes and they have really good size.  They have 6’0”, 6’1”, 6’3”. 6’4” and 6’5”, those are there starting five.  The Craycraft boys are really good.  The taller one, Joe, he is really strong and really quick and he can shoot it.  They have some guys that will drive it the basket hard and finish and also shoot it from the outside.  If you are on them, but don’t have a hand up, they are going to make those shots,” he said.

 

Published 12/30/16

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Wynford Building on Both Ends

  

          Wynford lost its first “N10” game Saturday night to Colonel Crawford, but the Royals also beat Ridgedale on Friday night.  They trail conference leader Upper Sandusky by a game in the loss column heading into a match-up Tuesday night at Carey.

          Coach Jason Engel says a lot of the success that they have had this season prior to Saturday night was based on what they have done on defense.

“We knew this year we would have to play defense better than we did last year.  A huge emphasis has been on our defense.  Coach Willeke, my varsity assistant, has done a tremendous job with our defense.  Putting guys in the right spots, repetition, and getting guys ready for games.  For the must part we are limiting teams to one shot too and rebounding well,” he said.

          Of course, Wynford had a very good year in football and a number of those guys are with the basketball team too.  Engel says he likes their tough on the ball defense.  “We have some really physical kids.  I am biased but I’ll take Zach Hoffman and Cole Heinman and Jack Reed defending on the ball,” he told Swankonsports.com, “Those guys are, as far as I’m concerned, have to be the top guys in the league even, defending on the ball.  They are really quick side to side.  They are physical and they are competitive.  Every possession matters and that is what it takes in a basketball game.”

          Carey (2-3,2-1) is a team that can score points in bunches, so defense is going to be a key on Tuesday for the Royals.  The Blue Devils drilled Mohawk (73-44) on Saturday night. Wynford also has score more.  Engel says they have to share the ball like they did in a win Friday against Ridgedale.  “We want to run in transition still.  We still want to push tempo.  Friday night, for example, we did a pretty good job of reading and reacting to the defense.  We do run some sets.  We also run our one in, four out offense with some ball screens.  We are putting guys in spots where they can ready and react and use their quickness to attack the basket.  Also Friday we got the posts quite a few touches and we hits some threes and we spread it around,” said Engel.

          Upper, who plays Buckeye Central on Tuesday, probably isn’t going to lose many games, so to stay in the race teams will need to keep pace.  Engel says winning, and doing it in whatever way you can, is what they have to keep doing.  “Our mentality to is to do whatever we have to do to win.  The guys are very unselfish.  We were really, really balanced Friday and that is the way we have to be on offense,” he said.

 

Published 12/20/16

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Wynford Takes on Ridgedale, Colonel Crawford

  

          Wynford he heads into Northern 10 Athletic Conference play full throttle this weekend with games against Ridgedale and Colonel Crawford on Friday and Saturday.

          They went on a (17-0) run in the second half and beat Bucyrus (49-34) last Saturday in their first conference game.  Coach Jason Engel says they made some big shots and played some pretty good defense.  “Anytime you can get a win it is important.  It wasn’t pretty at times, but we defended well.  We were able to push a little bit of a lead into the third and Josh Crall hit a big three in the fourth to give us a little separation.  The guys played hard,” he said.

          It is a small sample size, but Engel says the Royals have played some pretty good defense so far and that was really the difference against Bucyrus last week.  “We have guarded well in the half court.  Our first game we turned it over and gave them a bunch of layups against Shelby, but last week we guard well.  We had some mistakes on offense, but our turnovers were aggressive mistakes and they didn’t lead to run out layups.  Defensively we have guarded pretty well the first games,” said Engel.

          Ridgedale (2-1,0-1) comes off a (59-34) loss to Seneca East in their first “N10” game last Saturday.  Engle says the Rockets have some talent in their starting lineup.  “They have a lot guys back and they are very well coached.  They don’t have a ton of depth, but I guess neither do we.  They are a tough team.  We have two games back to back. It’s our first double weekend and we have to be ready to play Friday first,” he said.

          Wynford (1-1,1-0) and Colonel Crawford (1-2,0-1) has been one of the defining rivalries in North Central Ohio over the last quarter of a century. 

          Engel believes the two squads have a lot of similarities going into their match-up in North Robinson on Saturday night.  “They have a lot of size and they are very, very athletic.  They are a team that is just going to continually get better, kind of like us,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We have some younger guys playing and we are mixing in and trying different lineups and playing different guys in different spots.  If we keep improving and keep working we are going to be okay.  Crawford is kind of in a similar situation I feel.”

 

Published 12/15/16

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Wynford Takes on Rival Colonel Crawford

  

          Wynford, the co-leader in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference, makes the short trip southeast to meet longtime rival Colonel Crawford in a key early season match-up on Tuesday night.

          After losing non-conference games to River Valley, Lexington and Riverdale, the Lady Royals rallied last week to win both of their conference games over Bucyrus (48-26) and Ridgedale (61-60) to share first place in the “N10” with Upper Sandusky and Buckeye Central.

          Coach Amy Taylor-Sheldon says she likes the improvement she has seen from her players.  “I think we have done the things we need to do in order to improve.  We have a tough non-league schedule to begin and we tried to focus in on a couple of things that we would have control over and we have made some progress for sure,” she said.

          Ball handling comes right to mind as a key to the Lady Royals (2-3,0-2) improvement, but Taylor-Sheldon says there have been other things too.  “Taking care of the ball is probably the biggest thing.  Certainly can’t score if you don’t have possession, so we have done a better job taking care of the ball.  We have also done a better job of making free throws, those little things that sometimes we take for granted,” she told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “I feel like to be 2-0 in the league, just like Upper Sandusky, we have essentially gone from worst to first.  So, I think that should be a good momentum builder for us and create some enthusiasm to continue winning.”

          Colonel Crawford (3-2,1-1) has lost to defending “N10” champion Carey (45-38) and beat Mohawk (42-34) in their two conference games so far.

          Taylor-Sheldon says there are two Lady Eagles they really need to control in order to have some success.  “You have to make sure you do what you can to limit Gwirtz and Burkhart.  Burkhart obviously has had a great career at Colonel Crawford.  She is an outstanding shooter and ball handler and has done a great job improving her skills.  Gwitz, who was injured a lot last year and has really come on a lot last year.  I know her family and I, of course, have close ties to Colonel Crawford and I have been pleasantly surprised how she has done.  They average 31 of the 43 points they average, so if you don’t do a good job limiting them you are going to have a hard time.  Their rebounders are very physical.  I expect it to be a typical rival game,” said Taylor-Sheldon.

 

Published 12/13/16

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Wynford a Work in Progress

  

          Wynford is a team that is likely to show a lot of improvement in their play here in the early part of the boys’ basketball season.

          They lost their first game to Shelby (59-36) last Saturday night.  They host Bucyrus in their first Northern 10 Athletic Conference game this Saturday night.

          Coach Jason Engel says the Whippets clearly identified some areas of the game in which they have to get better and one of them is ball handling.  “There is no question we have to take care of the ball better, we have to move better off the ball, we had too many guards standing around and we have to make shots too.  We missed 14 shots in the paint, we missed open jumpers, and ultimately you have to score more points than the other team.  Turnovers killed us, so like I said, we have to take better care of the ball and move on offense,” he said.

          Wynford (0-1) is always one of those schools that deals with a late start to basketball practice because of their football success.  Engel says they will be putting in some more of their offense and defense this week during practice.  “There are a lot of strides, especially between the first and second game and early in the season there are always things you can work on to get better at.  We kind of got a late start here and not to make excuses because Shelby got a late start too, so we are still working on some things.  We didn’t have as much in as maybe we would like to have.  This week we will be concentrating on getting more things in and focusing on Bucyrus, a good team in our league that is much improved.  They have a nice junior class,” said Engel.

          Bucyrus (0-2) is off to a slow start record wise with losses to Galion (47-38) and Northmor (67-50) on the opening weekend of the season.  However, Engel says in his opinion the Redmen are much better team than they were last year when they won only once.  “They are scrappy.  They are definitely a much improved team that has some guys that can shoot it.  Their point guard had a nice weekend shooting the ball, he handles the ball, he is a lefty,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “They have a nice post guy in Gavin Lewis, who does some good things inside and Harley Robinson.  Those guys are definitely good basketball players.  They have put some time in the off season, I know that, I talked to coach Rose when we go to together with each other and had an open gym at our place.  They have worked hard I think and they definitely have a good group of kids that we have to prepare for and get after it this week.  They are very much improved.  They are tough.”

 

Published 12/07/16

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Wynford Catching Up

  

          Wynford and Shelby, two schools coming off successful football seasons, play in a boys’ basketball game at Shelby on Saturday night.

          The Royals went two weeks deep in the football playoffs and as a result got a late start, at least with all of their kids, with basketball practice.

          However, coach Jason Engel believes they have made some really progress over the last couple of weeks.  “We made some definite strides from where we were at the start of the season.  We made some strides and simplified things and found out a little bit about what we are good at and what we need to work on and improve and try to put together a good game plan for Saturday,” he said.

There are some things that concern Engle, in his second year at Wynford, but he thinks they have worked their way through a lot of those issues.  “I was concerned about us turning the ball over early on and our rebounding.  We lost two big kids last year, big post players, that rebounded well and Alex Crall rebounded well for us last year as a guard.  Some fundamental stuff, you know, ball fakes, catching the ball at the triple threat, be strong with the ball, rebounding, little things like that were concerning to me,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We have worked on a lot more drill stuff in practice, defensive drills, and fundamental drills that we want to make sure we are good at and kind of simplify things on offense and defense.”

Shelby went three weeks into the playoffs, the regional finals two weeks ago.  Engel says the Whippets have a lot talent and will be tough to defend.  He adds that both sides wanted to play this game.  “They are extremely good, they are extremely talented, very, very athletic.  Our football teams were really good, both programs.  Ours has been great for the last 10 or 15 years or more.  We are in the same situation we have no excuses, they have no excuses.  In a 22 game season there is not a lot of places to put games and moving games is the last things that either team wants to do in that situation.  We have had a few weeks, both teams, and going into the game, from our point a view, it is going to be who makes the less mistakes and do the little things we can do to win a game,” said Engel.

 

Published 12/02/16

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Wynford Girls Ready to Have Good Season

  

          Wynford has had one of the top girls’ basketball programs in North Central Ohio over the last two decades and they are poised to have a good year this season.

          They open the season with games this weekend against River Valley and Lexington.

          Veteran coach Amy Taylor Sheldon says she believes they have done a lot of good things over the last 10 days and she is interested to see what they do against other teams.  “I think they are buying into what we have set out for our goals.  We wanted to be a little more aggressive on offense and play with rhythm.  We wanted to work to our strengths we have on defense.  We want to get good shots.   We kind of did an eastern Ohio schedule with four scrimmages in the last 10 days with the intent to do in the best shape we have probably been in in three years and I feel like we are.  So, I am really happy about that instead of beating on each other here at the end of the year.  So, I have been really happy about our last 10 days.  We have certainly seen what are weaknesses are, but I can tell that we are really working on what we set out to do in the preseason,” said Taylor-Sheldon.

          The Wynford coach says they have sets goals that they believe are attainable for the team.  She says they know who there are and what they are about.  “I think we will be ready.  We have five seniors, three of them are going play four years for us.  So, I think they are excited.  There is always anticipation about your senior year.  I think are kids will definitely be ready.  We tried to set ambiguous, but attainable goals based on what our strengths were.  So, I feel like they understand,” she told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We aren’t the type of program where we are cookie cutter where we have the athletes to do the same things year in and year out despite who shows up in the gym.  I give them all the credit in the world, but we are not to the point, even after 20 years at a small school that we can work for that.  My assistant and I work long and hard thinking about our strengths and weaknesses and what we can do to put ourselves in a position to win.”

          When it comes to this season, Taylor-Sheldon says she thinks they will be competitive, but she knows there are limits too.  “I feel like we want to be in the top half of the league.  We want to be able to win close games when we are in close games.  I am not a person who sugarcoats things.  I don’t use the word amazing ever.  So, I feel like when I say something there is some value in that.  I am not really a Rob or Dave Sheldon I guess you could say that would say we suck when we don’t.  I want to realistically assess our strengths and weaknesses,” she said.

 

Published 11/23/16

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Wynford Working Hard to Catch Up

  

          Football season just ended last week for the Wynford Royals with a loss in the regional semi finals, but basketball season starts now in two weeks and the Royals are getting ready on the hardwood.

          Coach Jason Engel, in his second year at Wynford, says they are a little behind in terms of basketball preparation, but he really likes the fact that the football kids were playing in big games.  “It puts us a little behind, but the guys have put a lot of time in in the off season and they are competing, the guys that played football, were competing week in and week out, which we really like too,” he told Swankonsports.com during practice at Wynford on Thursday, “They had a heck of a football season, which we are happy about for the football program.  Small schools have got to share athletes.  It’s better to have some guys that are competing week in and week out.  We also have a mix of guys that were done with their fall sport.”

          Only halfway through the preseason schedule, Engel understands that they still have to do a lot work and refine a lot of things before they are ready to open the season on December 3 at Shelby.  “We are still not at full speed yet.  We have got a lot of work to do.  I am pleased, but there are always things you can work on.  As a head coach you try to strive for perfection with your kids.  After our first scrimmage we know there are a lot things we have to work on.  Usually you make tremendous strides between your first scrimmage and your second.  There is a lot we can work on still,” said Engel.

          Last season, Wynford probably showed as much improvement during the regular season as any team in North Central Ohio.  Engel hopes they can do the same kind of thing this year.  “Once we found out what we wanted to do (last year) offensively and the kids were working together.  We got some different line ups in that worked that really helped with our chemistry.  We are a long way from where we want to be right now.  We just have to continue to get better every single day,” he said.

 

Published 11/18/16

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Wynford has to be at Their very Best

  

          For the second time this season Wynford is going to be involved in a match-up of unbeaten teams as they face the Ayersville Pilots in the division six regional semi-finals Friday night at Findlay High School.

          Wynford beat Gibsonburg (22-6) last week by running and throwing for nearly the same amount of yards and not allowing a score until the final quarter.

          Coach Gabe Helbert says they were a very good football team last week, but they still have to get better.  “We felt we were going to have to be more balanced from the run-pass standpoint and we were able to do that.  I think one thing you could say is we need to be more efficient in the red zone.  We had some opportunities to score and didn’t.  It is something we need to continue to clean up and work on.  Overall I thought we played very good.  I though we played physical and tried to match their intensity because they came out and wanted to hit us and we definitely responded,” said Helbert.

          Ayersville is the champion of the Green Meadows Conference and Helbert says they are well coached they just have great athletes that can make plays all over the field.  “One thing about Ayersville is they are very well coached.  They utilize their athletes just so affectively.  The coach’s son, the quarterback, the mic linebacker, is as good a football player as we have seen all year without a doubt, but they have so many kids around him.  Number 20, a receiver they have, has a unique ability to go up and catch the ball.  It doesn’t matter, single coverage, double coverage, Seneca East threw three guys at him and he went up and made a play.  We are going to have to limit him as much as we can,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “They are going to make some plays because they are a talented football team.  They do a lot of things well.  They are very good in the special teams and put pressure on you there.  Defensively they are very aggressive and play a 4-3, 5-2 defense and come out and play straight man coverage.  We are going to have to be affective in our route running and the timing of our pass plays.”

          Wynford has played a lot of good teams this year, but Helbert says there is no question this is the best team they have played all year.  “Without question they are they are the most complete team that we have seen.  They have a quarterback that can throw and run.  They have receivers that can make plays.  They have another running back that is very affective.  All of those things are what you want.  You expect that round two.  We are excited for that challenge and the opportunity that our kids have to play against a very good football team.  There is a reason they are 11-0.  The Green Meadows Conference is very competitive football and they have done some great things.  We think the competition we have played is good.  Our kids will be up for the challenge,” said Helbert,

          Wynford has been up to the challenge every time this year, but Helbert says this has to their best effort of the season or it will be their last.  “This has to be our best effort of the season.  We are going to have to have a great effort in all three phases of the game.  We are going to have to play a very clean game.  We are going to have to be mistake free.  We are going to have to limit turnovers and find a way to get the ball back for our offense,” he said.

 

Published 11/09/16

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Wynford at Home for their Playoff Opener

  

          Undefeated Wynford, the Northern 10 Athletic Conference champion, plays host to Gibsonburg in the first round of the division six football playoffs on Friday night.

          For the Royals (10-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, it is the 15th time they have reached the postseason, so they know a little bit about getting ready for big games like this.

          Coach Gabe Helbert says you have to expect there is going to be some added excitement to what is going on during the week.  “At this point in the game it is win or go home.  You could say we are all on barrowed time right now.  We can control our destiny if we play well and compete at a high level and we hope the players can do that.  I guess the idea that if you don’t win the season is over definitely heightens things,” he said.

          When it comes to preparation Helbert says you have to do the things you have done all year in film study and practice and the such.  “You have to understand the pace of the game and what Friday is, but at the same point and time there have to be a procedure and some normalcy.  It has to be those weekly things that you do to try and get your kids prepared.  We are definitely trying to do that right now and our kids are trying to do a good job with that as well,” he said.

          Gibsonburg is (8-2) on the year.  One of their losses comes to “SBC” River Division champion Tiffin Calvert (38-6) back earlier in the season.

          Helbert says Gibsonburg is experienced and they have a lot of talent in their skilled positions.  “One thing is they were in the playoffs last year, so they are a team that has some experience from that regard playing on week 11.  They are a very well coached football team.  What they have done over the last two years they have been very successful in winning their league and things like that.  Watching the film they are a playoff football team,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “They have a nice running back, they have a nice quarterback, in fact, two nice running backs.  They have some nice skilled kids.  From an offensive standpoint they are very balanced.  That will make it a big challenge for our defense.  On the flip side of that defensively they do a lot of different stuff from a front standpoint.  Those kids that play running back for them are very athletic linebackers.  Once again they are going to be a challenge for our kids and we are going to have to give our best effort.”

          We talked a lot about the match-up between Wynford and Seneca East on week eight when they were both unbeaten.  The Royals won that one (35-12) and Helbert says Gibsonburg reminds him of the Seneca East personnel.  “They do have some similarities to some of the teams we have played.  Seneca East comes to mind when it comes to some of their offensive sets.  I would go back to Lima Central Catholic from an arm standpoint with their quarterback.  Maybe a little bit of Liberty Benton in there too with some of the athleticism of their skilled kids.  I think maybe a blend of some.  I don’t think just any one.  I guess the closest would be Seneca East with their offensive balance.  They do some things differently than Seneca East on defense, offensively they would be the closest,” he said.

 

Published 11/03/16

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Wynford Wants to Finish

  

          With a win on Friday night at home against rival Buckeye Central, Wynford clinches an outright Northern 10 Athletic Conference title and will finish the regular season unbeaten.

          But, it won’t be easy as it may seem.  Never forget the rivalry factor.

          The Royals (9-0,7-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, punished Upper Sandusky (53-0) in “N10” play last week.

          Coach Gabe Helbert says they played with great effort and did some good things on both sides of the ball.  “I thought we played very well in all three phases of the game.  There is stuff that we definitely need to improve upon.  For an effort standpoint I thought our kids played pretty hard.  We took advantage of turnovers.  They turned the ball over four times and we were able to take advantage of that, especially in the first half.  I am definitely happy about that.  Once again, there are things that we need to get better at,” he said.

          Buckeye Central (2-7,2-5) lost (34-6) to Colonel Crawford last week.  However, Helbert says he thought the Bucks showed a lot of good things.  “You watch the Crawford film they are a team that is steadily improving week to week in the films we have.  I think that is a sign of a good coaching staff and kids that believe it what they are being taught.  Buckeye Central has great kids and a great community, very similar to us in that regard.  They have kids that have a lot of pride is their football program and their athletics.  They played very well last week against Colonel Crawford.  It was a back and forth game early on.  Watching the film they made mistakes they probably wished they had back.  They played tough, they played physical.  You can definitely tell there is an improvement going on.  It’s my opinion for whatever it’s worth, that is usually the sign of a good coaching staff,” said Helbert.

          Helbert says they have to expect the best from the Bucks and they have to go out and play like a championship team.  “We are going to have to be ready to play.  It is a championship game for our kids.  It’s an opportunity to win our league outright.  We do a lot of things in the off season to put ourselves in position to win an outright league championship and when you have that opportunity you want to take advantage of it,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “That being said, Buckeye Central is going to play us very tough.  Their kids are going to compete at a high level and we are going to have to be ready for that.  Once again we are going to have to have a great week of preparation and execute the game plan on Friday night.  I think we realize we are going to get teams’ best effort.  We are going to get Buckeye Central’s best effort.  It is their seniors final game and stuff like that, so we have to be prepared.”

 

Published 10/26/16

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Wynford Goes for Another “N10” Title

  

          No one other than Wynford has ever won a Northern 10 Athletic Conference title and the Royals get a chance to secure at least a share of another one with a win Friday night at Upper Sandusky.

          Zach Hoffman had 241 yards rushing and four TD’s last week as the Royals won the battle of the unbeatens over Seneca East (35-12) to take first place to themselves.

          Coach Gabe Helbert was happy with both the effort and execution against Seneca East.  “It was a big win for us in terms of the league in trying to win a league championship and also the opportunity to beat a very quality team in Seneca East.  Once again I thought our kids played with great effort.  I thought they really did a nice job of executing the game plan to be able to limit their offense.  It was a huge win for us and a huge game for our defensive kids as well,” said Helbert.

          Not having lost all season it can be difficult to determine if a team is getting better or not just due to their results.  Helbert believes they are making that progression.  “That is our goal and we need to get better every single day and that is no different this week against Upper Sandusky.  We thought since the beginning of the year that this league was going to be very challenging because there were a lot of good individual football players that were still in the league,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “It has definitely proven to be that.  Every week you see big, physical kids on the other side of the ball.  We need to be prepared for that and hopefully we are getting better.  I think that is what good teams strive to do.”

          Wynford (8-0,6-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, plays at Upper Sandusky (4-4,3-3) in an “N10” game on Friday.  The Rams missed a late field goal and lost to Mohawk (28-26) last week.

          Helbert says Upper Sandusky does some good things and has some good players, especially running back/linebacker Shane Pack.  “First of all is their tailback, the Pack kid, number 2, is a very good football player.  He is a very physical runner and he is very physical on defense.  He was an excellent player for them last year as a junior and he is back this year as a senior and is playing very good football.  Overall they play with very good effort.  Their kids really fly to the football well.  Offensively they are balanced and have the ability to throw it and run it.  Once again it another week where we better have our stuff together and we better have a good week of preparation or we are going to be disappointed Friday night.  We have to continue with the mindset that every single day is important and go out there and execute on Friday night,” said Helbert.

          In order the have success Helbert says their focus has to be on this week, not last week or what is in the future.  “Obviously we are very happy about the results of Friday night, but we can’t be so happy to set there and dwell on them this entire week because then we are not doing our job to prepare moving forward.  For us this week it is an opportunity to secure our lead if we are fortunate enough to beat Upper.  Our goal is to win our league and Friday we can at least win a share of it,” he said.

 

Published 10/20/16

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Battle of Unbeatens in the “N10”

  

          You get a lot of games between unbeaten teams in weeks two, three and four and even some in five, six, and seven, but you don’t get many in week eight, but that is what is going to happen Friday at Seneca East as the Tigers host Wynford in a battle for first place in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference.

          Wynford coach Gabe Helbert says they are excited for the opportunity.  “There is no doubt about it when you have good teams that are competing for league championships at this point in the season.  That makes for a big game on both sides.  We are certainly excited for the opportunity and the challenge that Seneca East represents,” he said.

          Seneca East (7-0,6-0) scored twice in the second half last week to down Mohawk (18-6) in a conference game.

         Helbert says the Tigers are loaded with playmakers.  “It starts up front with their offensive line.  They do a very nice job run blocking and pass protecting and then they have very good skill behind.  The quarterback is a good player.  He has played a lot of football over his career at Seneca East.  He is a senior now and has seen a lot of stuff.  He makes good decisions and he runs the ball very well,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “The other Martin kid that plays in the backfield is very dangerous and not to just single him out because there are others.  They have a very nice set of skilled athletes behind their offensive line and that is why they are 7-0.  They are very dangerous offensively.”

          Seneca East runs a spread offense and Helbert says they are very affective at getting the ball to their skilled players in space.  “They have an offensive scheme that is going to get the ball to their athletes and force you to make those one on one tackles.  Our kids once again have to be very sound  in their approach to their techniques this week in practice.  They have to be fundamental on Friday night and do their job and do their assignments,” said Helbert.

          They haven’t given up a lot of points either and Helbert says they show athleticism on that side of the ball too.  “Once again they have many skilled athletes.  Their linebackers are fast, they have a big defensive line that does some nice things.  Their secondary is athletic with many of the same skilled kids that are playing on offense.  They also rotate a nice number of kids.  They are going to throw a definite challenge to us on both offense and defense and we better have a good game plan and be ready to meet that challenge,” said Helbert.

          Wynford (7-0,5-0) has dominated the short series between the schools winning (55-6) last year and (60-7) the year before, but you can bet it will be closer this time.

          Helbert says it is going to boil down to turnovers and stopping the big play.  “In big games like this it is going to come down to turnovers.  We have to protect the football and it would be nice if we could create some turnovers.  The line of scrimmage is going to be key, tackling in space, corralling their skilled kids in space is going to be big for us as well,” he said.

 

Published 10/11/16

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Wynford Plays Athletic LCC

  

          Wynford, the Northern 10 co-leader, plays a non-conference game Friday night at home as they host athletic Lima Central Catholic.

          Last week, the Royals (6-0,3-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, stuffed Mohawk (24-6) in an “N10” game.

          Coach Gabe Helbert applauds the defense, but says they have to get better across the board.  “I thought our kids played very well form a defensive standpoint on Friday night.  There are some things that we need to continue to improve on.  Overall the effort was pretty good.  We need to continue to work on our execution from an offensive standpoint.  I thought we had some breakdowns that cost us in the red zone a couple of times.  We were able to overcome those things and beat a good Mohawk team,” said Helbert.

          Despite six wins in as many games this season, Helbert says there are still a number of things they can improve as they move forward.  “All phases of the game are things we need to improve upon and things we will continue to look at.  We will continue to hammer into our kids that it is every area and every aspect of our game needs to get better that if we are going to accomplish the goals that we have set out.  Every single day in practice we are trying to accomplish those things and get better, but certainly a work in progress,” he said.

          Lima Central Catholic (1-5) plays a very tough schedule.  They lost (36-20) to Woodlan, Indiana last week.

          Helbert knows “LCC” is very good, better than their record.  He says this is likely the most athletic team they have faced this year.  “What Lima Central Catholic brings are tremendous athletes.  They are very skilled.  I would say they are probably the best skilled team we have played this year.  They are bit deceiving with a 1-5 record.  Last week I think they played the number one team in the State of Indiana in their division.  They have played Delphos St. John’s.   Their schedule versus our schedule as this point is not very comparable,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “They play tough teams every single week.  We haven’t, not to discount our schedule, but it certainly hasn’t matched up to LCC.  Our kids better be prepared and ready Friday night.  They are talented.  They have a 6’4” receiver they can get the ball to.  If they run out of the wildcat their quarterback is physical.”

          Wynford got off to a good start their season with a (41-14) whipping of Liberty-Benton, another traditional power.  “I would compare them to Liberty Benton.  They run a similar defense, they have athletic kids, and they have they have a program year in and year out that is pretty successful,” he said.

 

Published 10/05/16

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Wynford With Test Versus Mohawk

  

          Wynford and Seneca East share first place in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference with Upper Sandusky just a game back. 

          The Royals still have to play both of those teams, but they host a pretty good Mohawk team this week.

          After some problems with the lights last week at Carey, Wynford put together a drive and scored right before the half to gain a (7-0) lead and went on to win (28-0) to remain unbeaten. Coach Gabe Helbert thinks that drive was crucial.  “It was huge, it was the turning point in the game.  It definitely swung the momentum in our favor.  Maybe if the lights didn’t go out we would go on a drive right before the half.  Whatever the case, we scored right before the half and we were able to get the momentum and finish the game pretty strong,” he said.

          Wynford has been busy executing well on offense and defense this year and Helbert says they have been pretty good on special teams too.  “We have been pretty consistent.  Jalon Brown does a nice job on our extra points.  We haven’t had to attempt a field goal this year, but we are comfortable if Jalon is called on he will be okay.  He is our punter as well as he has done a pretty good job with that.  We try not to punt very often, like most teams would.  We have had a few opportunities this year,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “For the most part in our return game we have returned one punt for a touchdown.  The guys back there catching the ball have done a good job of catching it and not letting the ball hit the ground and roll all over the place.  We can probably get better in that phase of the game as well.  We can certainly get better in our kickoff returns.  We will continue to work at that.”

          Wynford (5-0,4-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, hosts Mohawk (3-2,2-2,) who beat Bucyrus (33-14) last week.

          Helbert says the Warriors have a good, young team.  “They certainly pose a lot of dangers and threats.  They do a very nice job coaching their kids up.  I am very impressed with how well they play with the number of young kids that they have.  That is a testament to their program and their coaching staff and the effort and the buy in that the kids are showing.  They have a lot of nice athletes it just happens they are in younger grades right now.  It is very good for the future of Mohawk and they are doing a really good job this season.  Our kids are going to have to play well again.  It is a challenge in our league every single week.  We are going to have to step up to meet that challenge,” said Helbert.

          With what lies ahead in would be easy to take your eyes off the target this week.  Helbert says they can’t afford to that.  “Every single day is an opportunity to get better.  We are focused on our opponent this week and if we aren’t focused on our opponent this week we are going to be pretty disappointed on Friday night.  We try not to get caught up in that type of stuff and hopefully aren’t kids aren’t either and try to preach to every day the importance of preparation.  Preparing for Mohawk is going to be key because they certainly have a lot capabilities to do a lot of good things,” he said.

 

Published 9/29/16

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Wynford Ready for Another Tough One

  

          Wynford held off rival Colonel Crawford last week to remain unbeaten on the season and Friday night they travel to Carey to try and maintain their share of first place in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference.

          They share first with Seneca East.

          After taking a (21-0) lead the Royals hung on to beat Crawford (28-21) last week.  Jordan Imbody intercepted a pass in the final minute to preserve the win.  “We thought it was going to be a hard fought game against Crawford and it turned out to be that.  On Friday night, we were fortunate that the kids made the plays late when they had to.  We were really fortunate to come out of there with a win,” said Wynford coach Gabe Helbert.

          Wynford (4-0,3-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, has been a program that has won a lot of close games with good teams over the years.  Helbert says they work hard and play well, but it is probably a little luck too.  “I don’t know if it is experience or confidence in our abilities or maybe just a little bit of luck.  Maybe you create some of the luck through your work ethic in the off season or whatever it is.  At the end I guess you find a way to win.  Hopefully things go in your favor.  Lots of times with programs that have had success those kinds of things have happened.  I will say it again we are fortunate to leave there with a win and we know we have a challenge in front of us this week,” said Helbert.

          Carey (2-2,2-1) comes off a (33-14) belting of Mohawk last week and a (20-19) win over Upper Sandusky the week before.  Their only loss in the league came by one to Colonel Crawford (27-26) on week two.

          Helbert says Carey has a lot of good athletes.  “Carey is a very good football team.  We felt coming into this season that they would be a team that would compete for a league championship and when you watch them on film they are a team that does a lot of things really well.  First of all their athleticism jumps out.  They have kids that have played a lot of football for them,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Their fullback and their tailback are both three year starters.  Their quarterback is a really good athlete that started to play for them later in the year at the quarterback position.  They are very explosive and dynamic.  They return five or six starters on the defensive side of the ball.  Our kids are really going to have to come in and play well at their place, which is a tough place, the last time we were up there it was a very hard fought 14-13 win.  We are going to have to have a great game on Friday night and execute at a high level.”

          Coming off the high of the win over Colonel Crawford, Helbert says his kids need to be focused.  “It is certainly something you have to be concerned with.  I think our kids are trying to prepare ourselves every single day to play at a high level.  I think our kids are still excited about the opportunities that are in front of them.  The goal is to win the league and Carey is another team that is in the way of that.  We can’t go over there and have a let down or it is going to be a long day for us,” he said.

 

Published 9/23/16

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Wynford and Colonel Crawford in Key “N10” Battle

  

          Wynford and Colonel Crawford, in a share of first place in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference, lock horns in North Robinson on Friday night.

          Last week, Wynford (3-0,2-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, belted Ridgedale (68-22) in game that was a (68-6) at halftime.

          Coach Gabe Helbert says sometimes it is difficult to get a handle on how well you played against a school struggling like Ridgedale.  “It is hard to get a gauge on things just because the way the game went.  I was happy with the way our kids came out and executed.  Sometimes in those situations you feel you might come out flat because you are not overly excited because you realize the opponent and what they have done from a record standpoint,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “I thought our kids did come out and play with good energy and executed well from the get go, which was good.  I was happy to see that.  You never really totally know.  That is the hard thing with our schedule at this point in time.  We will certainly find out a lot more this Friday.”

          Crawford (3-0,2-0) has had at least one running back go over 100 yards in each its first three games and Helbert says they certainly want to get the ball and run it.  “They have two really nice running backs.  Those kids run very hard.  Both are good sized kids.  Not only are they powerful, but they have good speed.  They really get in between the tackles.  They want to run the football.  They run a nice system to affectively run the football,” said Helbert.

          The Eagles beat a pretty good Mohawk team (24-8) last week and Helbert says they have some athletic players on the defensive side of the ball too.  “They have really good size on their front four.  Their front four is active and they have nice defensive ends.  Their three linebackers are athletic, two of them are their running backs.  They are obviously good football players.  They have a very nice front seven.  We have a major challenge in front of us,”

          In similar situations over the last couple of years, Wynford has beaten Crawford (41-14) last year and (41-10) two years ago to take command of the conference early.  Helbert says this is a great rivalry.  “From a league standpoint, from a rivalry standpoint, it is a big game for both of us.  They are a familiar opponent due to the proximity of the two schools.  There is an excitement of the fan base to play each other.  All of those things lead to a great atmosphere on Friday night and something our guys are definitely looking forward to,” said Teglovic.

 

Published 9/13/16

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Wynford about Getting Better

  

          Wynford began its defense of the Northern 10 Athletic Conference football title with a win last week against rival Bucyrus and this week they host the Ridgedale Rockets.

          Last week, Bucyrus scored the first time they had it and took an early lead, but Wynford bounced back to score four times in the first half and win (48-13) in the conference opener.

          Coach Gabe Helbert says they didn’t lose their focus.  “It is one of those things where they hit on a nice play design and we got down 6-0 quick and our kids had to respond.  I thought we were pretty calm and cool from a kids standpoint.  I thought they responded and did pretty nice job from that point on.  I thought our defense really settled down and made plays,” he said.

          Wynford (2-0,1-o0, #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, has looked strong in both of their games, they beat Liberty-Benton (41-14) on week one, and Helbert says they come to practice with an attitude of getting better.  “So far I think I am happy with our consistent effort.  I think our kids every single day in practice have a desire to get better.  That is really important, especially early on in the year.  They are really trying to make those jumps and improve on those mistakes they have made early.  So far I do feel our effort has been pretty consistent.  That is something that is going to have to continue if we are going to be the team we want to ultimately like to be,” said Helbert.

          It is that constant drive to improve, according to Helbert, that helps to separate them from some other schools.  “Consistency for teams that finish the year with a good record or so on and so forth that is extremely important.  Our goal is to get better every single day.  We have to have that.  We are trying to push to be a talented team.  We try to have a good consistent effort and achieve the goals we have set for ourselves,” he said.

          Ridgedale (0-2) lost last week to Seneca East (60-8) in an “N10” game.  They have only scored once this year, but Helbert says they play with good effort.  He says the Royals have to go out and take care of business.  “If we feel this is a week where we aren’t going to get better based on who are opponent is, their record, or what they have done in their previous games than we are not the team that we hoped to be.  Ridgedale presents another challenge, yeah, they have struggled, but what is our mental focus going to be?  What is our focus going to be when it comes to getting better every single day,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “I will say one thing that has impressed me about Ridgedale is the effort that their kids play with.  They are at a low point with the numbers on their roster, but their kids are out there busting their butts.  I just think that is very impressive to say the least.  I think that is an awesome thing and I think their coaching staff is doing an awesome job.”

 

Published 9/07/16

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Wynford Ready for Rivalry Game With Bucyrus

  

          Wynford tangles with Bucyrus in the opening game of Northern 10 Athletic Conference play on Friday night in Bucyrus.

          The Royals belted Liberty-Benton (41-14) in an outstanding performance on last week.

          Coach Gabe Helbert says they were ready to play.  “I thought our kids played with a tremendous amount of energy.  To come out that first week and play a quality opponent like Liberty-Benton and get a win was very big for our program,” he said.

          Like Wynford, Liberty-Benton is a very solid program, and after losing their last three regular season openers to the Eagles, Helbert says it really felt good to come out on top.  “Last year we had a good opportunity to win.  We took the lead late in the game and were not able to hold onto that.  I think they scored with something like 50 seconds left and we were not able to go down and score.  This year is it was a very hard fought game.  It was a 21-14 game with about two minutes to go in third quarter.  I thought our kids really finished well in the last 24 minutes of the game.  I thought they did a great job of limiting their offense in the second half of the game and to keep them to 14 points.  To make it comfortable in the end it was a very good win for our football program and our kids,” said Helbert.

          Bucyrus struggled on the opening week in a (42-0) loss to the Galion Tigers.  Helbert says that doesn’t mean they don’t have some very good players.  “First of all they have a quarterback that has a very live arm.  He is a big kid that moves pretty well for his size.  He seems to be very mobile and able to run the ball when it need be,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “They have nice skilled kids around him.  They are quick from a skilled standpoint and experienced.  They have kids in a variety of places at the wide receiver position.  That is certainly something that we have to take into account.  It is a rivalry game and we know we are going to get Bucyrus’ best effort on Friday night.”

          You can see the football lights at the other school’s stadium from the 50 yard line of each and Wynford has had the upper hand in this series.  Bucyrus players know that and Helbert says they will come out with fire in their eyes.  “We have to come out with energy and effort once again.  In a rivalry game it going to be two teams that really want to perform at a high level.  Not only is it a rivalry game, but it is also the first league game for both.  You want to get off on the right foot in the league.  Going over to Bucyrus will be a challenge for our kids,” he said.

 

Published 9/01/16

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Wynford With Tough Opener

  

          When it is all said and done Wynford will likely be one of the better small school football programs in North Central Ohio, but they have a tremendous challenge this week.

          They host Liberty-Benton in a non-conference opener.  The Eagles have beaten them the last three years running.

          Wynford coach Gebe Helbert says they have been working hard and he hopes they are ready.  “I don’t know if I am positive about it, but I certainly hope that we are.  I guess we better be.  We play an opponent in Liberty-Benton that in three tries to open up the year we haven’t been able to beat them.  They are going to present a major challenge to us again.  We hope that our guys are ready.  Our coaches have done a great job trying to get guys ready and our kids are doing their best to get prepared,” said Helbert.

          For the first game, Helbert says there are always going to be some butterflies just because of the unknown.  “It is fun, but sometimes I question the fun because there are plenty of nerves involved.  Just trying to answer those questions about what we lost last year from a senior standpoint and a leadership standpoint.  All of those questions will be answered Friday night on our home field,” he said.

          Liberty-Benton has a solid program and they are going to be very good again.  Helbert says it begins with their quarterback.  “The thing that jumps off the film about them is their quarterback.  He’s a great athlete.  They lost a quarterback last year that was a four year letterman and a three year starter at the quarterback position.  They have a junior in that spot now that in the film we saw was very impressive.  A very good athlete, a great looking kid,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “He is certainly going to be a handful for our defense.  The biggest thing about them, outside of their quarterback, is their coaching staff and their program in general.  Every single time that we have played them they have been coached extremely well and we know they will be again.  I guess another thing with Liberty-Benton is just the effort.  They have kids that are really flying around and trying to do the right thing.”

          You can’t control the quality of your conference schedule, but Wynford always schedules tough non-league opponents like Liberty-Benton.  Helbert on why.  “You get some questions answered really quick.  How do they respond to adversity when they are challenged with their backs against the wall on a play or something to that effect.  We know from years past that Liberty-Benton certainly will give us some major challenges,” he said.

 

Published 8/23/16

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Wynford Using Time Wisely

 

          Wynford has been a consistent winner on the football field over the last couple of decades and they hope they can win more than a few games this fall as well.

          Coach Gabe Helbert says they have certainly put in the effort here in August to put themselves in good position as they prepare for the season opener on August 26 against Liberty-Benton.  “I think one thing is we have gotten a consistent effort in practice and that is very important at this time of year.  The time is running out and that time crunch is starting to be felt.  We do have one more tune up on Friday against Arcadia, which is someone we have not scrimmaged before,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday evening, “It will be something where I think our kids will be excited and looking to continue to improve since last week against Pleasant as we lead up to next week against Liberty-Benton.”

          Liberty-Benton was the only team to beat Wynford in a regular season game last year and they have had the Royals number.  Helbert knows they are going to have to be at the top of their game to have a chance to win.  “The next 10 days are extremely important.  We have to try and play our best week one.  It is not like maybe you can open up with someone that is a little weaker on your schedule.  It’s a Liberty-Benton team that has beaten us the last three years now.  We have not had a chance to have any success against them in the regular season.  We will have to be at a very high level and hopefully we have the right pieces in place for week one through the evaluation process.  That is what we try to do during these camp days,” said Helbert.

          Players are ready for the opener to be here, but Helbert and his staff know there is still work to do and they want to be able to take advantage of the days they have to prepare.  “Our kids are hungry and they are ready to try and go out at a high level on try to do good things that the classes before them have done.  However, I know and our coaches believe that any extra time we have to get prepare us better would be great.  We are down to I think seven practices before that week one opener, so it is going to be here really quick,” he said.

 

Published 8/16/16

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Wynford Ready to Defend

 

          Wynford is the two time defending Northern 10 Athletic Conference football champion and they are ready to do it again this year.

          Gabe Helbert says they understand that they are considered the favorite by most people, but they know nothing is going to be easy.  “We like to feel we are always on the hunt and not going to be the hunted, but definitely until we get knocked off or whatever I suppose we are the team to beat in the league from that standpoint.  I don’t know that we are from an overall skill or and overall talent standpoint.  We are going to continue to work hard to win championships and I think our kids are doing that.  Target on our back?  Maybe to a degree, but there are a lot of good teams in our league that are certainly capable of winning championships,” he said.

          Quarterback Zach Hoffman returns to the lineup for the Royals, along with some other skilled position players, but Helbert says they are going to have to replace much of their offensive line, just like last year.  “First of all Zach Hoffman is back, our quarterback.  He was just a junior last year, so he will be a senior.  It is nice to return your quarterback, any time you get a chance to bring him back with the experience that he has, played in 11 football games last year and had a lot of success both running and throwing the football,” he told Swankonsports.com “We return our center, our only returning offensive lineman, but there are some kids there that played a decent amount of football for us.  From a skill standpoint, Robby Miller is back that played a decent amount.  Across the board there will be some guys that whether it is their senior year or junior year are going to have to step up and play some good football for us.”

          At Wynford winning is something the fans kind of expect the Royals to do and Helbert says the kids expect it too.  “I think they expect to win, they expect to play at a high level, just like having high expectations in the weight room.  The kids are trying to step up into a role and be the next guy and try and push for a championship or something successful.  We really try to preach that to our kids a lot.  We have been very fortunate that our kids try and step up and meet that challenge,” he said.

          When it comes to goals for the season, Helbert says they really don’t change very much at Wynford and the kids know that too and they embrace it.  “I think overall as a program our goals have been pretty clearly defined.  We want to compete for league championships, we want to make the playoffs, and make a playoff run.  It has been that way for a long time here.  I think the kids kind of understand those goals from a team standpoint and they work hard in the off season to try and make those goals happen.  It is what it is.  We like those high expectations.  I think the kids are excited to try and live up to them,” said Helbert.

 

Published 8/09/16

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Wynford Scores Three in the Seventh to Down St. Paul

 

          Caleb Stone had a two-out RBI single and Wyatt Smith followed with a two-run double and Wynford scored three times in the seventh inning to beat Norwalk St. Paul (4-1) in a division four district semi-final on Wednesday at Shelby High School.

          They play New London (21-3), #1 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coaches poll in the small school division, for the district title on Saturday afternoon.

          Coach Joe Staab says his kids approached that seventh inning with some confidence.  "They have been pretty excited the entire season.  (Wednesday) they showed like there was a lot of pressure on them.  For them to be able to score a crooked number in the seventh inning to take the lead and kind of relive some of the pressure was a very mature moment for the team," he said.

          Kyle DeJean went all seven innings for the Royals on Wednesday, striking out 11 and only giving up four hits to the Flyers.  Staab says he made a lot of pressure pitches in key moments in the game.  "Our pitcher had a lot of pressure throughout the game with it being such a close game he wasn't able to make many mistakes and he did great and ended up having 10 or 11 strikeouts and only walking three.  He had an incredible performance for us, but I would definitely like to see the offense give a little more run support when your pitcher is pitching that well and keep the pressure off him.  He pitched well and we were able to be successful," said Staab.

          Wynford (19-5), #2 in our poll, and outright Northern 10 Athletic Conference champions, plays likey the most aggressive non conference schedule for any small school in the area.  Staab believes that helps them in games like Wednesday.  "Playing that tougher competition and pressure situations.  Playing against teams where you are not going to win the game by four or five runs.  It's going to be a close game and forces you to play all seven innings throughout the year to prepare you for this.  We were in that situation scoring our runs in the seventh inning,  Without those games and being in that situation you see a lot of teams that can't handle that pressure.  For us to be able to play the full seven innings of the baseball game was awesome," said Staab.

          New London beat Lucas (11-1) in six innings on Wednesday.  They will likely throw Ryan Lane on Saturday.  He has a no hitter this season and several one and two hitters.  Staab says they have to be fundamentally sound and bring the right approach to the game.  "We are going to see their best,  You don't make it the district finals if you are not playing your best baseball.  We are going to see the best form New London.  They have a great pitcher, who is an all around great baseball player.  We are really going to have to bring it," he told Swankonsports.com after the win over St. Paul, "It is going to be the team that makes the fewest mistakes that is going to be the team that is going to come away on top.  I hope to prepare our kids and keep them grounded and not put too much pressure on them and blow the game out of proportion so they can just take it as another game and have that mentality and play loose and have fun.  Hopefully it can swing in our favor."

 

Published 5/19/16
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Wynford is Outright "N10" Champ

 

          Qyenton Stone twirled a two-hit shutout as the Wynford Royals beat the Bucyrus Redmen (6-0) to claim an undisputed Northern 10 Athletic Conference title.

          It is their second baseball title in the last three years.  Having claimed a title in the old North Central Conference in 2014.

          Joe Staab wasn't there for the last one, but the coach knows this one feels pretty good.  "That was one of our first goals at the beginning of the season when our group came together.  The first thing first was to win the conference outright.  We started out on a little bit of slow start and then turned it around and have been playing pretty well since then.  Now, we have been able to knock out our first goal of the season and with that out of the way we can now focus on the tournament and hopefully have a long post season run," said Staab.

          Alex Crall and Wyatt Smith both had two hits and an RBI for the Royals (17-5,13-3), #2 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coaches poll in the small school division, and #1 in our new Twitter poll.

          Staab says this team has great chemistry and they are all enjoying this together.  "This team has really been meshing together like a band of brothers.  It is really awesome to see it come into play.  The band of brothers and the chemistry all stems from success.  We are seeing success from what is going on with the kind of the role players we have in the lineup that we have put together.  Kids are starting to see that success and with us winning they are just having a great time really coming together.  Right now, they are just having a lot of fun," he said.

          Wynford plays host to Plymouth in a sectional title game in division four on Thursday.  Staab believes this seven game win streak they are on has prepared them well for the post season.  "When it comes tournament time it becomes a whole lot of fun and more pressure situations.  It is win and advance or lose and go home.  We have been preparing these kids for the last two weeks to take very game like it is a championship game and have that mindset, that urgency and that mentality and have been very successful," he told Swankonsports.com after the win over Bucyrus, "We need to continue to roll with that mentality because now that championship game is here and that is the way that have to be playing and luckily we have had that mindset for a while and now we can just continue with that."

          Wynford beat Plymouth (9-4) way back on March 29, but Staab says this will be a different game on Thursday.  "Come tournament time it is a different game.  With baseball it is a game of momentum and you can't just set back on your heels and expect to win because you have a better record, you have a higher seed.  You have to go out and take command of the game early and often.  If you do that you can be successful, but sitting back and waiting for the game to kind of unfold and land in your favor probably isn't going to happen and before you know it you have dug too deep of a hole," he said.

 

Published 5/10/16

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Wynford Earns Share of "N10" Crown

 

          Wynford is half way there.

          They beat Bucyrus (15-8) on Wednesday to get no less than a share of the Northern 10 Athletic Conference baseball title.

          Second year coach Joe Staab says they aren't satisfied.  He says they want the title to themselves.  "The first and foremost accomplishment that we wanted to have this year was to win the conference.  We have a share in it, so we have a shot at that title.  We have to take care of business and finish it on Monday.  The players, they don't want to share, they want to have the whole thing," he said.

          The Royals scored five times in the first inning and five more in the third on Wednesday.  Alex Crall had two hits and two RBI and Blake Williamson had two hits and three RBI on the day.

          Wynford (15-5,12-3), #4 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coaches poll in the small school division, #1 in our new Twitter poll, plays at Bucyrus (9-12,6-9) on Monday.  A win gives them the title to themselves.

          Defending champion Seneca East kept the pressure on with a (8-1) win over Ridgedale on Wednesday.

          Staab calls Monday a great opportunity for his team.  "What is great about it is it also puts us in a pressure situation on Monday.  It's a game that we play right before our sectional final and it is a championship game.  It's a championship setting, so we won't be able to set guys and take days off.  You are still competing and challenging yourself and the team.  It will be a great opportunity for us leading into the tournament," said Staab.

          On Friday, the Royals play Northern Ohio League leader Bellevue (16-3), #2 in the big school coaches poll, in non conference play.  Staab says they are looking forward to the challenge.  "The kids love that, the kids love the challenge.  I know last year going into the tournament we played Adam Wolf from Edison and he threw gas and went to Louisville and we didn't face anybody like that the entire year to get our kids adjusted," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday night, "This year we want to play a little tougher competition in our non league games to just get an idea what they are going to gave to face if they want to make a tournament run and be successful they are going to have to play some of the top kids.  It is going to be fun, it is going to be a great challenge.  It is where we have to get to to be successful."

          Staab says even a loss to the Redmen would be a good experience for his team.  "Either way it is going to be a great game.  We are going to learn a lot from Bellevue.  To be able to see their urgency, the way they play the game because they are a great program, a great ball club.  It will be a great experience for our players on the field and also learning how to play the game.  If we lose it will be a great humbling experience and hopefully something to knock them down to reality," he said.

 

Published 5/05/16

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Royals Hold on to First Place

  

          Wynford won its fourth straight "N10" game on Monday in downing next door rival Buckeye Central (8-0) in an Northern 10 Athletic Conference game in New Washington on Tuesday.

          Second place Seneca East also won Tuesday, blanking Carey (3-0) in league action.

          The Royals (14-5,11-3), #4 in the Swankonsports.com baseball coaches poll in the small school division, and #1 in our new Twitter fan poll, have allowed only six runs in their last four league games.

          Coach Joe Staab says they are playing them game the right way.  "Right now we are playing pretty good baseball.  We are pitching it well, fielding it and finding some ways to put runs on the board to get things going.  (Tuesday) we had a pretty good offensive breakout we have been waiting for for awhile.  It was a good thing to see a lot of guys on the base paths," said Staab.

          The Wynford bats also got in gear on Tuesday as they scored three times in the third and then got five more in the fifth.  Bryden Oberlander and Trey Stone had RBI hits in that fifth inning and Alex Crall capped things with a two-run double.

          Staab says the kids fed off each other.  "If you have an opportunity to put up a crooked number it is great.  It is contagious, once you get a couple of guys on and get that momentum swinging things start going in your direction," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday night, "The kids get more excited, they know what is going on and then you can kind of get on a little bit of a roll, get the upper hands in the game and hopefully just keep it."

          Trey Stone, one of three Stone brothers that play for Wynford, was affective on the mound again, pitching five innings and allowing only three hits.  Staab says the pitching has been the difference for the Royals this spring.  "It has been the biggest asset.  The biggest change from last year to this year is the pitching and the defense that the team is bringing to the table.  Last year we hit the ball well and actually had kids with higher averages, but this year the pitching and the defense that we are putting out there is really the reason we have been so good this season," said Staab.

          The second year Wynford baseball coach says they have been preaching to the kids to make the other team beat them and not beat themselves.  "As long as you can not put people on for free or give them free bases and give them more than three outs in an inning it is going to be a good game and probably will be decided in your favor.  We tell the kids make the other team beat you, don't lose by giving up free bases, extra bases, extra outs.  Play the game hard, play for seven innings, and see what happens at the end of the game," said Staab.

 

Published 5/04/16

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Wynford Grabs "N10" Lead

 

          Wynford edged Upper Sandusky (4-3) in a battle between co-leaders in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference on Wednesday.  The win gives the Royals first place to themselves.

          The rematch is Friday when Wynford travels to Upper.

          Qyenton Stone struck out eight Rams in getting the win on Wednesday.  Coach Joe Staab says they have found a good rhythm as a team.  "The way we are playing right now our pitchers are doing well and our defense is playing great.  The team is going to be able to put runs on the board and as long as we can pitch and play good defense the success should continue," he said.

          Wynford (11-5,6-3) was able to take advantage of some situations on Wednesday and Staab says that is what good teams do.  "The team that plays better baseball is going to be the team that wins the game.  The team that makes the fewest mistakes.  These games are just so much fun with pressure situations and one, two run games.  Kids dealing with adversity and having to battle through and entire game.  It sets the scene for what is to come in a tournament game," said Staab.

          Wynford beat defending champion Seneca East (3-1) on Monday.

          Upper Sandusky (13-7,8-4) is going to be ready for the Royals on Friday.  Staab says when you are in first place you have to keep your nose to the grindstone.  "From here on out I told the kids every game is a championship game no matter if we are playing a non-conference team or a conference team.  We have to make sure we show up like it is a championship game and play every game like it is your last.  Leave no doubt on the field and play seven strong innings of baseball," he said.

          Wynford plays "NOL" power Ontario (8-4) on Thursday, weather permitting, and Staab says they want to play good competition.  It helps refine their skills and their mental approach.  "It's setting the stage and keeping the kids humble.  Once they get on a two game win streak they start to get big heads and they start to think they are becoming invincible.  Playing teams like that really knocks them back down and really keeps them humble, keeps them grounded," he told Swankonsports.com after the win over Upper on Wednesday, "We play Ontario on (Thursday,) we have Bellevue (the Northern Ohio League leader) next week.  It's games like that let's the kids know what's out there and hopefully keeping them playing with that energy and intensity"

 

Published 4/28/16

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Wynford Keeps Share of "N10" Lead

 

          Wynford continues to share first place in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference after a huge (3-1) win over Seneca East on the road on Monday evening.

          That avenges a (4-2) loss to the Tigers last Friday and drops Seneca East a game behind Wynford and Upper Sandusky in the conference standings.  Upper scored four times in the seventh inning to beat Mohawk (4-3) on Monday.

          Second year coach Joe Staab says it was a battle and they were fortunate enough to come out on top.  "We were very excited to go out there and get the win (Monday) night.  Seneca East has such a great program.  It was a battle all game.  It stayed 3-1 right after the third inning.  It was just a battle back and fourth and both teams did a great job," said Staab.

          Both teams scored single tallies in the second inning.  Wynford got RBI hits from Caleb Stone and Quenton Stone in third to give them a lead they would never surrender.

          Trey Stone, with his fourth win and a 1.52 ERA going into the game, was again a stopper for the Royals (10-5,5-3) as he threw a complete game walking three and striking out three.  Staab says after a rough start he was a able to settle down.  "We had Trey Stone on the mound and he has done well for us all year.  He threw all seven innings and he only had three walks and that came on the first three batters of the game.  We kind of wondered what the heck was going on, but he settled in and was dealing and did a great job for us," said Staab.

          Staab says the good thing about Trey is he doesn't try to be somebody he is not.  "What is great about Trey is he can throw his fastball for a strike, his off speed for a strike.  He locates very well.  He has a good side step and not a lot of teams are stealing that much.  He pitches to contact, he doesn't to do too much," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday night, "He is not an overpowering, strikeout pitcher.  He just pitches to contact and keeps the defense on their toes and lets them play."

          Wynford plays Upper Sandusky (13-6,8-3) on Wednesday and Friday in "N10" games.  Staab knows those are big games, but they must remain focused and not get too high or two low depending on what happens against the Rams.  "It is going to be very exciting with some nitty gritty games coming down to the wire.  It is time to let the kids know it is one game at a time.  You can't overlook anybody, you can't look past to other games.  You can only control and how you play and what you do that day.  You can't control anything else," he said.

 

Published 4/26/16

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Wynford Wins Another "N10" Game

 

          Wynford kept itself in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference baseball race with a (7-3) win over Colonel Crawford at their place in conference action on Tuesday.

          A lot of schools were forced to cancel their game on Tuesday due to wet conditions, but Royals coach Joe Staab says as luck would have it they were able to get back on the field.  "It was very nice to get back on the field in sunny weather.  We didn't even know if we were going to play because our field was still under water a little bit.  But, the sun came out and dried things up and we were able to get a game in," he said.

          Wynford (5-2,3-2) has started to play some pretty good baseball and Staab says that has led to some confidence for them.  "The kids are excited, once they have gotten some success they want to keep up with it.  Right now we are getting ready to get into a lot of conference play.  With everybody playing each other it is going to open things up.  Things will be swinging different ways.  There is going to be a lot of excitement with the weather starting to break.  With people playing everyday it is going to be a lot of fun," said Staab.

          Wynford plays Carey in back to back "N10" games on Wednesday and Thursday.

          Staab says with games starting to pile up they are going to have to show some pitching depth in order to keep winning.  "We are going to have to have people that are able to pitch on a couple days rest.  You are going to have to watch their pitch count and their confidence in how they are doing.  Fortunately we have been able to have out pitchers go deep into games and we have been able to save arms," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "Right now things have been going pretty smooth, knock on wood with our pitching staff.  We have some guys that haven't been able to get as many reps in as I would like them to get in, but once we get on a roll they are going to have to be ready to go."

 

Published 4/13/16

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Wynford Shuts Out Mohawk

 

          Wynford only got one hit on Tuesday, but they found a way to win.

          The Royals downed Mohawk (2-0) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game.

          Trey Stone went all seven innings for the Royals, allowing only two hits, striking out nine, and walking three in earning the win for Wynford.  Coach Joe Staab says there was a lot of good pitching on Tuesday.  "There was good pitching by both teams.  Their pitcher only allowed one hit and our pitcher only allowed two hits.  It was a fast game, the game was actually over in a hour and 25 minutes," he said.

          Staab says they were able to score two runs in the fifth inning on sacrifice flies and that was the difference in the game.  "Our two runs were scored off of two sacrifice flies.  We were fortunate enough to have runners in scoring position and have the middle of the lineup up to bat and we were able to drive the ball to the outfield and drive those runs home.  You have to play situational baseball in order to get the job done," he said.

          In baseball, especially in this era of high school baseball, even good teams don't score a lot of runs, and Staab says you have to do the little things right if you are going to win games.  "You have to do the little things.  You have to have pitchers that don't walk, you have to have a defense that makes plays, and a lineup that can put the ball in play," he told Swankonsports.com after the win, "At the end of the day the team that makes the fewest mistakes is going to walk away with the win.  That was the thing we were able to do (Tuesday.)   Both teams competed extremely well and it was just a situation where we had guys in scoring position and the right guys at the plate."

 

Published 4/06/16

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Wynford Scores Early; Beats Plymouth

 

          Wynford earned its first victory of the young season on Tuesday, by downing Plymouth (9-4) in a non-conference game.

         They return to Northern 10 Athletic Conference play with a game at Ridgedale on Wednesday.

          Coach Joe Staab says getting that first win always feels good.  "We came out (Tuesday) with better energy than we did (Monday's) game and came out ready to play and fortunately were able to put a win together," he said.

          Trey Stone earned the win on the mound for the Royals.  Staab says he kept things simple.  "Trey Stone is a great pitcher for us.  He puts the ball across the plate and makes hitters hit it.  We only had two walks in the seven innings.  It keeps the defense on their toes and we were able to do well offensively as well," he said.

          Wynford put it away be scoring five times in the fifth inning on only one hit, an RBI triple by Alex Crall.  Staab says offensively they wanted to take an aggressive attitude to the plate.  "That was one thing that I emphasized in (Tuesday's) game was win every inning.  If we score two and they score one, we don't want to give up runs every inning, but as long as we win every inning we are fine," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday night, "That's the biggest thing is to keep your foot on the gas for a total of seven innings and you should walk away being successful."

          Wynford (1-1,0-1) takes on the Ridgedale Rockets on Wednesday in an "N10" game.  Staab says it is important they get a win and they need to have good focus.  "In the conference you can't overlook any team no matter what their records have shown in the past or what they have done recently.  The conference is very competitive.  Teams bring a new energy to conference games, so you just have to come out like you are playing the best team every single day and do what you can do to win," said Staab.

 

Published 3/30/16

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Wynford Has good Pitching, Plays Good Defense

 

          Wynford has put together good seasons in football and basketball and now they Royals are looking to carry that on to the baseball diamond this spring.

          Joe Staab, in his second year as the head coach, says they hope to take some enthusiasm into the regular season that starts next week.  "I have seen a lot of good things.  We had some kids that didn't play basketball that were able to join us in the winter time.  Then some kids that finished off a great basketball season rolled in.  We are hoping to keep that energy, that winning, and that success rolling into the spring," said Staab.

          One thing that will a real plus for the Royals this year is they will have a lot more veteran experience than they had in 2015.  "We have a lot of experience back and baseball you can't have enough.  We graduated two kids last year.  Last year we had a lot of new faces at positions and this year they are coming back," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "So, hopefully the first year varsity jitters are out of they way and we are ready to play the game a lot better."

          With more veterans this year, Staab says coaches don't have to spend as much time teaching the fundamentals.  "It happens in all sports where sometimes you an turn the older guys lose and teach the young the guys.  You have some more teachers out there when you get ready for the season to roll," he said.

          The backbone to any baseball team is its pitching and its defense and Staab says they will be pretty good in both areas this season.  "We have a lot pitching back and that is one thing I am really, really happy about, pitching and defense.  They saying goes offense wins games and defense wins championships.  The biggest thing is fielding the ball and throwing the ball.  The team that makes the fewest mistakes is going to be the team that wins at the end of the day," said Staab.

 

Published 3/16/16

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Spartans Run Past Wynford

 

          Mason Campbell's 22 points led four St. Peter's players in double figures and the Spartans dumped Wynford (72-59) in a division four district semi-final at Willard High School on Tuesday night.

          Trailing by two (11-9) after Wynford's Braxton Tea scored with 4:11 to play in the first quarter, the Spartans went on a (10-0) run culminating with a Tyson Kent floater with 1:17 left.  Coach Joe Jakubick says their defense got them going.  "That is a lot of our 'DNA' I think all starts with being able to get defensive stops though.  If you don't get defensive stops you are not getting the ball out.  I really felt that fist half we did a nice job defensively.  In the second half we came out and I thought we picked it up.  I think we got up 19 and a credit to them they are never going to stopped battling.  I think we lost some of our focus.  They are going to make shots.  They are a dangerous team.  We weathered it and we move on," said Jakubick.

          That pressure continued in the second quarter as St. Peter's out scored Wynford (14-2) over the final 3:33 of the quarter.  Jakubick says they tried to make it difficult for the Royals to get in any kind of rhythm.  "We tried to make it difficult for them.  You are going to face quality teams and they are going to be able to make shots and you have to make it challenging and difficult for them.  I thought we did a good job hustling.  They have some perimeter players.  They have some good size underneath.  I thought Ryan Payne just did a tremendous job," he said.

          Wynford coach Jason Engel says the pressure got them discombobulated and they made some bad decisions with the ball.  "Their one the ball pressure killed us.  They didn't necessarily steal the ball on us, but it was enough pressure to force us to make bad passes and bad decisions.  The second quarter just killed us.  At one time it was 27-23 and at halftime we were down 16 in no time.   We definitely turned the ball over a little too much in the first half," he said.

          Kent added 16, Kyle Osgar 14, and Ryan Payne 13 for the Spartans.

         Jakubick says they were able to figure out some ways to score more affectively in the first half.  "They came out in that inverted triangle defense and it took us a while.  That is something I haven't really seen.  In the second quarter I saw some different things I thought we could do to attack.  Just have Jared (Jakubick) handle the ball and create some mismatches and they double teamed and it led to some easy looks," he told Swankonsports.com after the game, "After that Mason Campbell was tremendous.  He hit some big shots for us.  They went into that 1-3-1.  Jared did a good job of attacking the gaps and kicking it to Mason.  I'll tell you right now when Mason hits a three it is sort of like playing with dynamite.  He just explodes.  I thought he did a nice job for us offensively."

          Jack Reed scored 23 of his game high 28 points in the second half and Royals were able to cut the St. Peter's lead to nine (58-49) after a Reed three with 5:17 left, but could get no closer.  "In the second half they had like six turnovers in eight possessions and I thought we were going to get back in it.  So, that was encouraging.  They never quit and I am very proud of the seniors," he said.

          St. Peter's (22-3) plays Sandusky St. Mary's (22-3) for a district title on Friday night at Willard.  Jakubick says the Panthers are a combination of height and perimeter shooting.  "They are a beast.  It starts with (Trenton) Zimmerman.  They have athletes around him.  (David) Miller, I'll be honest I think he is one of the best catch and shoot shooters I have seen this year.  I know this I don't care what happened the first time we played them.  I mean that's out the window.  We are going to have to be at our best.  We are going to have to be ready to play on Friday.  Our kids have really come and battled every game this year.  Hopefully, we can be ready to play and make them work hard," he said.

          St. Peter's beat St. Mary's (71-64) on December 28 at the Franciscan Activity and Events Center.

 

Published 3/01/16

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Wynford Has to have Defensive Balance

 

          Wynford is the lowest seed to make the division four district tournament, but they are playing as well as anybody right now.

          They play Mid-Buckeye Conference champion Mansfield St. Peter's in the district semis Tuesday night at Willard High School.

          After losing to the twice during the regular season, the Royals beat rival Buckeye Central (67-58) in the sectional final last Friday.  Coach Jason Engel says they got great defense and great effort.  "Defensively we emphasized trying to shut down Grant (Loy) and doing all we could to make somebody else beat us.  We were able to rebound.  Our kids played every possession, left it all on the floor and that's all you can asked for," he said.

          Alex Crall scored 16 points and Braxton Tea added 14 against Buckeye and Engel says they have solid perimeter players.  "We are playing smaller lineups and taking advantage of different mismatches.  It is hard for other teams I feel like to match-up with out guys.  We are emphasizing getting to the basket and making plays.  The kids are playing really unselfish right now," he said.

          Mansfield St. Peter's (21-3), #3 in the final Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the small school division, had a easy time with Monroeville (82-48) and Danbury Lakeside (85-34) in the sectional.  Engel says the Spartans get out on the fast break well and they get up in to you on defense.  "They really run the floor well.  They are very unselfish as well.  The coach's son (Jared) Jakubick, he's just a sophomore.  One of the things he put when he was talking about his kid is he is only averaging nine shots a game and he is scoring 14 points a game.  They are a team that will run on you and play that tempo.  Defensively, they are really, really good on the ball, especially Tyson Kent, their junior, he is really good on the ball defensively," said Engle.

          The Wynford coach says they don't mind the tempo, but the must get back on defense and make it difficult for the Spartans to score.  "I don't know that necessarily we want to slow ourselves down because we are doing some good things when we have numbers.  We have been scoring lately, the last few games," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "Transition defense is simply communicating.  If you send three to the rim to rebound you have to make sure the guys that are back are yelling 'I got back.'  We have to communicate on defense to limit their run out opportunities.  You have to sprint to the rim and get your eyes around and match up from there.  Sometimes you might guard one kid and the next time you guard somebody else.  With their tempo we have to limit turnovers."

          Wynford (15-9) also has some big guys in James Ort, Nate Sparks, and Jordan Creel.  Engel says he thinks they can use that to their advantage at times.  Plus, they have to get something off their bench.  "I think there are some times when we could run some different sets to get guys some different looks inside.  They aren't as tall as we are, but that doesn't mean they aren't as good defensively.  There should be some opportunities for some post touches.  Our guys have to put together a consistent four quarters, even off the bench.  Wednesday night when we won we had 30 some points off the bench.  Friday when we won we had some other guys step up.  Sparks played really well.  Creel had some big rebounds, I know he fouled out.  Zach Hoffman had some really big plays, I know he fouled out.  Obviously, Jack Reed defended like no other.  He really defended Grant.  We have had a lot of guys step up and that's what is important during tournaments.  You need guys that you can count on like that when somebody isn't playing well, somebody else has to step up," said Engel.

 

Published 3/01/16

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Wynford Has to Keep Buckeye Out of the Middle

 

          Wynford played an excellent game Wednesday night and they will have to do the same Friday when they play rival Buckeye Central in the division four sectional final at Lexington High School.

          The Royals (14-9) broke open a game that was tied at halftime with a big third quarter and went on to beat Mansfield Christian (66-52) on Wednesday night in first round play.

          Coach Jason Engel says they were able to get some open shots and they got on the glass.  "We moved well off the ball and we rebounded well.  Those were the biggest things that we wanted.  We outrebounded them I think 44-27," he said.

          They also got a big performance in the post from James Ort.  Engel says they were able to dominate inside in the second half of the game.  "We scored 32 points off the bench.  James Ort had 18 points.  A lot of those points came on second chance points.  We did feed the post well.  They went to a smaller lineup late in the third quarter," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "They played all guards.  We made a couple of substitutions and put James Ort, a big guy, out there knowing they weren't going to be able to guard him because they didn't have a post in.  It created mis-matches.  Our guys played really well as a team and recognized those adjustments."

          Buckeye Central (17-6), #4 in the final Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the small school division, beat Norwalk St. Paul (52-48) in the other game Wednesday.  Engel says the Bucks are very good on defense and they have one of the best players in the area.  "We are going to have to play real well.  They are very good defensively.  They beat us by 20 the last time we played.  They have the division four, district six player of the year.  Grant (Loy) is a very good player and the Shade kid is also first team in our league," said Engel.

          Buckeye won both of the regular season meetings (52-38) January 8 and (69-49) on February 13.  To come out in top this time, Engel says they have to keep the Bucks out of the lane.  "We are going to have our hands full, but we look forward to the opportunity.  We have to keep them out of the paint.  I think they made 20 baskets on us from the point the last time we played them.  We have to make them shoot outside shots," he said.

 

Published 2/26/16

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Wynford Has to Work Hard to Get Open Shots

 

          Wynford challenges Mansfield Christian in a first round tournament game in division four on Wednesday night at Lexington High School.

          The Royals (13-9) closed the regular season with a (74-51) win over Bucyrus in "N10" play last Friday night.  Alex Crall had 18 points, but coach Jason Engel says everyone contributed.  "We got a big win on Friday.  A lot of guys hit a lot of shots.  It was pretty balanced scoring.  It was a nice win going into the tournament," he said.

          It has been a good second half of the season for Wynford and Engel believes they are carrying some good momentum going into the post season.  "The guys are ready to go.  They are chomping at the bit.  We are definitely playing with some confidence.  We played three tough games there towards the end of the year that definitely help us prepare for the tournament.  We got a win against Bucyrus after a tough loss to River Valley," he said.

          Mansfield Christian (14-8) has also been much better since the new year.  Engel says the Flames play tough man to man defense and they have some shooters.  "They are a fundamentally sound team.  They are going to run exclusively man.  They will deny the wings.  They will pressure the ball.  They are very good defensively and they limit your possessions.  On offense they are similar to us with four out and one in," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "They have two guys they rotate in the post that are pretty physical and they have some really good shooters.  I think Lexington is in for a pretty good showing with Buckeye Central and St. Paul and us and Mansfield Christian in the second game."

          In order to get some good looks against Mansfield Christian, Engel says the must get good ball movement.  "We have to move the ball and not hold it too long.  We have to do a better job of passing the ball and making the defense rotate and taking our chances going to the basket and jump stopping.  Just playing basketball," he said.

 

Published 2/24/16

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Wynford Needs Win

 

          Over the last three games the Wynford Royals have played some of the toughest teams on their schedule and they just haven't been good enough to win.

          They lost to unbeaten Upper Sandusky (83-68) last Friday, to rival Buckeye Central (69-49) on Saturday and in heartbreaking fashion to River Valley (80-78) on Tuesday night.

          Coach Jason Engel says they played hard in two of those three games, but they just couldn't get over the hurdle.  "Our kids played extremely hard against Upper Sandusky.  Upper is a team with so many weapons.  Vent hit a lot of shots on us.  We felt they were contested shots and what not.  Saturday we didn't defend very well at all and Buckeye kind of put it to us.  It was backs against the wall with (Tuesday) night being senior night.  We just challenged kids with playing hard, everybody play together, we have to win it for these seniors.  I was so proud of them (Tuesday) night they just played with such intensity and effort and competitiveness and that is all you can ask for," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "We came up short, it was a tough loss.  We were up nine with two minutes left and they scored the last 11 points to beat us after the Hempy kid fouled out.  If we play like we are capable of and we continue to compete at that level against a team like River Valley, a bigger school, good players as well, we are going to do good things, we can make a tournament run.  That's what we told the kids."

          The Royals play Mansfield Christian (13-7) in a first round tournament game in division four next Wednesday.

          Wynford (12-9,9-6) plays Bucyrus (1-20,1-14) on Friday night in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game and Engel says they need a win.  "We have to bounce back.  We have played three games here in the last five days, so we are going to have to watch some film (Wednesday.)  We are not going to be able to do anything on the floor so they can get their legs back.  They are mentally drained too.  We have to watch the film and prepare for Bucyrus.  They are playing better.  They have been running the floor and doing some 2-3 zone stuff.  It's a big rivalry," he said.

          The coach adds that his players have to be able to get past the emotional losses and move forward.  "Our kids have to forget about the last three games, but remember how we played last night and take that energy.  Every game you have to have that same energy and it is hard.  It's a long season and you try to get the kids to understand the importance of every game.  They are 16, 17 year old kids.  On paper, yeah, we should beat teams like that.  You just have to come ready to prepare and start in the first quarter.  You have to play four quarters," said Engel.

 

Published 2/18/16

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Red Hot Wynford Facing Tough Challenge This Weekend

 

          Wynford has won its last seven games, but this weekend they must travel to "N10" champion, and unbeaten Upper Sandusky on Friday, and are at home for rival Buckeye Central on Saturday, in conference games.

          Last Saturday, the Royals (12-6,9-4) continued their good play with a (58-53) win over Seneca East in conference action.  Coach Jason Engel says they didn't play that well early, but they put some things together in the second half.  "We didn't shoot it well in the first half.  We weren't getting to the basket enough or getting post touches.  In the second half we attacked them a little more and got some huge stops and just pulled away late.  I feel like Seneca East has some really good players, so that was a good win for us," he said.

          Engel says one the keys for them has been their attention to detail and not looking ahead to the next game.  "We are definitely going in the right direction.  We have been focusing on one game at a time here.  Every game our goal has been to win, obviously, and get better every day at practice.  So, that is what we are going to try and do this weekend," he said.

          Upper Sandusky (19-0,14-0), #4 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the large school division, hosts the Royals on Friday.  Upper won the first meeting (86-63) in late December.  Engel says they have to find a way to control Wes Vent, which is very hard to do.  "You are not going to outscore them.  They just have too many scorers.  If we could find a way to slow down (Wes) Vent and nobody has been able to do that.  Any suggestions would be great on that.  He is tearing up the league.  The Adams kid shoots it tremendously well.  We will have to guard them the best we can," said Engel.

          Buckeye Central (12-6,9-4,) tied with Wynford for third place in the "N10", will come to the "House of Thrills" on Saturday night.  Like Friday night on Saturday Engel says they have to slow down a very good player, this time it is Buckeye's Grant Loy.  "Grant torched us when we played them early on in the year.  He shots lights out, and is similar to Vent.  I can't tell you how similar those two guys are really, their stature, their demeanor, they are just two good, good kids.  They are very coachable," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "They are tough match ups for anybody.  We lost to both teams early on in the year.  We have won seven straight. We are trying to get better and take it one game at a time."

 

Published 2/09/16

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Wynford Continuing to Improve

 

          Wynford has played some pretty good basketball as of late.  The Royals won five of their last six games heading into the weekend.

          Last Saturday, they blew out Mohawk (76-54) to move into a share of the third place in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference standings.  Coach Jason Engel says they were pretty efficient in all areas of the game.  "We definitely shot well in the second half.  I though we defended well there early.  We really got after them on the rebounding edge and we were able to get second chance points," he said.

          Friday night, the Royals travel to Crestline (1-16) to face the Bulldogs in a non-conference game.  Engel says it has not been a good season for the Bulldogs, but they can do some things.  "They will do a little 2-2-1 and 2-3 zone.  They are well coached.  They are struggling.  It's a team that is the past has played Wynford pretty tough and we have to be ready to play," he said.

          It's fair to say that the Royals are the favorite against Crestline, but Engel says they still have the prove that on the floor.  He says basketball is that kind of sport.  "Basketball is a tough sport because if your not making shots and your turning the ball over anything can really happen.  It is a lot different, than say football, where if you are that much better than the other team you win easily.  Basketball is a lot different," he said.

          Wynford (10-6,8-4) is at Seneca East (4-13,1-11) in Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Saturday.  The Royals won the first meeting (64-63) in December.  Engel expects another battle.  "They really played us hard before Christmas," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "We were up maybe 15 going into the fourth and they scored maybe 26 points on us in the fourth quarter.  The Deem kid got going and their big guy, he is a tough match too.  They are definitely capable of winning some games."

 

Published 2/03/16

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Wynford Feeling Good; Ready to Play

 

          Wynford appears to be at the top of their game as we head into the last week of January, the 10th week of the high school basketball season, and they are ready to play some more hoops.

          Their next chance is when they host Mohawk in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Saturday night.

          They are coming off their first win over rival Colonel Crawford in a while in convincing style (71-50) on Friday night and then made some plays at the end to beat Carey (54-52) on Saturday and move into fourth place in the "N10."  Coach Jason Engel says they really played well.  "It was an excellent weekend for our program.  We definitely did some really good things.  The guys are going in the right direction.  They're believing in themselves now and that is half of it.  The guys are believing and we have to keep rolling," said Engel.

          Feeling good about themselves like this, Engel admits that it would be better if they could get back on the court a little sooner than seven days.  "(Monday) night the guys will get their legs back and we will watch film and that kind of thing.  We don't play until Saturday, so it will give us a little time off, but we are playing really well.  It wouldn't be a bad thing if we played early on in the week too," he said.

          Mohawk (3-10,2-9) pays a visit to the "House of Thrills" on Saturday night to play the Royals (9-6,6-4) for a conference game.  Engel knows that the Warriors will be a challenge for them.  "They got Morter back.  He is playing a little bit.  He is their best athlete in their school.  He is an excellent football player.  Like coach (Michael) Mathey said he is still getting his legs back.  Mohawk played us very well the first time we played them and they defend well," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "They will slow it down and be very patient and they defend.  They can be a match-up problem for you with how well they play defensively.  Our guys have to dictate tempo and we have done some good things in transition the last two games.  That is now we have won really, we have got some good shots in transition."

          Wynford won the first match-up (50-42) in Decemeber.

          Engel, in his first year at Wynford, and his first year as a varsity coach, is a graduate of Mohawk, and he says that makes this game a little different for him.  "It is a little different.  The first time we played at Mohawk and with me graduating from there gives a little extra meaning to it for sure.  I know some of those kids over there.  They are very good kids and they work extremely hard.  They are coming off a tough loss to Bucyrus, but Mohawk, I'm telling my guys, they will come ready to play.  The lost to Bucyrus and they will have a little chip on their shoulder.  We better be ready to go against them because the first time we played them it was a close game," said Engel.

 

Published 1/26/16

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Wynford a Better Team

 

          Wynford is an improved basketball team and they hope they can be more of a challenge to rival Colonel Crawford when they meet for the second time in Northern 10 Athletic Conference action on Friday night in North Robinson.

          The Royals rallied in the late going Saturday night to down Ridgedale (51-47) in an "N10" game.  Coach Jason Engel says it was a game of tremendous momentum swings.  "It was a good win for us.  There was a lot of momentum in that game, it was crazy.  We executed the game plan early and were up 10 points at the half.  We shut down (Mo) Britton like we wanted to and in the third quarter we just couldn't make any shots.  They were on a 20-0 run until we went on a little run to end the game.  We forced some turnovers and our guys played hard and stuck it out," said Engel.

          Wynford (7-6,5-4) shares fourth place in the conference standings entering play this weekend.  They play at Carey on Saturday night.  Engel feels like they are a lot better in a number of areas than they were in December.  "There is no doubt about it we are definitely doing things a lot better.  We are taking care of the ball much better.  We are passing better.  We are making the extra pass I think.  Defensively we are tremendously better.  We are talking more.  We are trying to make different people beat us.  Not letting teams best players do what they want against us.  I think our kids are buying in that every possession matters," he said.

          Colonel Crawford (10-4,7-2) after starting the season by winning nine of its first 10 they have lost three of their last four.  However, Engel still feels they are an outstanding team.  "They are a very excellent team.  They played some really good teams lately.  They have went through a rough stretch of their schedule.  Kind of like when we played Upper and New London.  It is a long season.  They are definitely the real deal.  They beat us by 30 points plus the last time we played them," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "They really played well the last time we played them.  They have run into some tough teams.  New Riegel and Upper are so good.  I know Carey beat them.  Carey hit shots on them like they did us.  You just never know it our league."

          Crawford won that first game (72-36) on December 11 when Brody Martin had 19 markers for the Eagles.  Engel feels Crawford has excellent perimeter shooting, but says you can't forget about the inside guys.  "They hit a lot of shots, a lot of threes, when we played them early in the year.  They are definitely a match up problem.  You have to respect the Shaum kid, who really played well inside for them.  He was the go to guy in the second half against New Riegel.  They really wanted to get it to him.  You have to respect the three point line, you have to close out, but at the same time the Adams kid is really good to the basket, he attacks well, it's tough," he said.

 

Published 1/21/16

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Wynford Plays Two Rivals

 

          Wynford plays two Northern 10 Athletic Conference games this weekend and both against rival teams out of Crawford County in Buckeye Central on Friday and Bucyrus on Saturday.

          Last week, on New Year's week, they lost two games to good teams in unbeaten Upper Sandusky (86-68) and Firelands Conference power New London (60-39) on Saturday.

          Coach Jason Engel says his kids are working hard and he likes the progress they made during the holidays.  "We did some good things.  We didn't play as well as we wanted to our last game, but I thought overall the kids were very positive.  We played Upper extremely hard.  We had a lot of games and it is mentally exhausting for everybody.  We started out really well and I thought we played Upper really hard," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "We wanted to make shots and beat New London, who is also a good team, but we didn't hit shots and it was a long week.  It is has been nice to have a couple of days where we could prepare for Buckeye and Bucyrus coming up.  The kids have been working hard so, we will see what we can do."

          Wynford (5-5,3-3) is at Buckeye Central (6-4,4-2) on Friday night.  Engle says they have to know where Bucks senior Grant Loy is at all times.  "Grant Loy is a tremendous athlete.  He will shoot it outside.  He has taken almost 50 threes I think and he is shooting and 50 or 60 percent from the two point range.  He is a match-up problem.  He is tough.  We are going to have to do a good job of staying with him and boxing him out.  He is leading the league in rebounds.  Him and Shade both.  We are going to have to box those guys out.  It should be a really good game," said Engel."

          They host the Bucyrus Redmen (0-9,0-6) at the "House of Thrills" on Saturday night.  Engel says it has been a tough year for the Redmen and this a game they need to have, but he knows that the Redmen feel the same way.  "It is definitely a rivalry.  Bucyrus beat us last year in the tournament and I haven't let our guys forget that either.  We have two, tough rivalry games this weekend.  I have been telling people everyday you have to be ready to play.  Carey came to our place and beat us and they haven't won a ton of games.  Our league is tough and we have to be ready to play Friday and Saturday.  Their record might not be very good at all, but they have been playing some teams pretty tough and they will definitely be ready to play us," he said.

 

Published 1/08/15

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Wynford Must Handle Pressure

 

          Before New Year's the Wynford Royals are going to play two teams with a similar approach to the game, press you all over the floor.

          They host Crestview of the Firelands Conference in a non-conference game on Monday and then are at home for unbeaten Upper Sandusky in an "N10" game on Wednesday.

          Last week, the Royals (4-3,3-2) edged Seneca East (64-63) in a league game.  Coach Jason Engel says they were able to just hold on in the game final moments.  "We were in control the whole game.  It was right around 10 points pretty much the entire game, but late they hit a couple of shots on us.  A kid came in that was playing JV, that was hitting them in the JV game, he got open and hit a couple of threes, and they drove to the basket and made some lay ups, and we were lucky to make a couple of free throws down the stretch," he said.

          Wins are wins and they will take them, but coach Engel says he hopes they learned something from the way they almost blew it against Seneca East.  "We will take a win anyway we can get it, especially before Christmas with a lot of the distractions that we had going on.  It is a sign of good things when you are winning close.  The last couple of games for us have been close and we have been able to win that shows how our seniors are with their experience.  It shows if the game is close we can hang on.  Hopefully, if we have more games like that we can be better and close out teams," he said.

          Monday night, the Royals are at home for the Crestview Cougars (5-2) in a non-league game.  Engel says Crestview isn't big, but they are quick and they are going to press you all over the floor.  "They are going to be extremely quick.  The push the ball similar to Upper Sandusky, they have a couple of shooters, Upper, obviously, is really deep.  They are similar teams, they want the tempo to be fast, they are going to press you, they are going to run and jump you, half court and full court, and they are going to look to speed you up," he told Swankonsport.com on Sunday, "The last two times teams really pressed us hard like that, Shelby and Crawford,  we didn't take care of the ball.  That has been the focal point of practice since Seneca East was over.  Limit the turnovers and play at our own pace.  This is a really good game to play before Upper Sandusky because they are very similar teams."

          Then on Wednesday, the unbeaten Upper Sandusky Rams (8-0,6-0), #4 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the large school division, come to town.  Engel says they can't allow the Rams to control the tempo.  "They don't let you get much of an offense.  They speed you up.  You just have to take care of the ball.  I know I say that a hundred times, but when they play Seneca East, we watched that game and Seneca East had 30 some turnovers.  When they weren't turning it over they were scoring.  We just have to play at our pace.  We can't let their run and jump and their press dictate our tempo.  We just have to be smart with every possession because to beat a team like Upper you have to play the perfect game.  Like I said I think this will be a good test playing Crestview because they are a very similar team to Upper.  By no means are we looking past Crestview, but Upper Sandusky is a league game," said Engel.

 

Published 12/28/15

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Wynford Must Defend the Post

 

          Coming off a win last week, Wynford wants to continue to build on things as they host the Seneca East Tigers in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game at the "House of Thrills" on Wednesday night.

          Last week, they downed Mohawk (50-42) in an "N10" game and coach Jason Engel says they played better defense and that game and that gave them a chance to win.  "We did some good things against Mohawk.  We defended a lot better.  We sat down in our man defense and defended them.  We really took away Dunlap for about three quarters, their best player.  He got a couple of shots in the fourth when they made a little run.  We kind of settled down and made our free throws at the end to pull it out," said Engel.

          The holidays can be a mystery to some teams with players being on Christmas break, but Engel says it also gives them the chance to be kind of catch their breath a little bit.  "Over the holiday season without having school it kind of messes up our routine, but we have been able to regroup and keep our guys healthy.  Our alumni guys came and have been practicing with us and that is really making us a lot better too," he said.

          Seneca East (2-5,1-4) will be at Wynford (3-3,2-2) on Wednesday night for a conference game.  Seneca East started the season pretty well, but they struggled last week in losing to Upper Sandusky (108-48) and Mohawk (54-42) in conference games.

          Engel says they have to respect the Tigers inside game and continue to handle the ball when they have it.  "They have played some teams really good.  The Upper Sandusky game, they are just a really good team, Upper is.  You can't take a whole lot away from that score.  I know they had a lot of turnovers.  Really similar to what we did when we played Crawford and Shelby," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "Seneca East is going to run some four out and one in and they are going to try and get the ball to their big guy, Ferris.  Johnny Dean is playing really well fro Seneca East too.  We have got to take away those guys and help out on those guys.  That will be the key to if we win or lose and take care of the ball ourselves."

 

Published 12/23/15

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Wynford Must Play Better Defense

 

          Wynford gave up more than 70 points in both of their games last weekend, both losses in Northern 10 Athletic Conference play, and they must defend better if they are to start winning consistently.

          After getting hammered by rival Colonel Crawford (72-26) on Friday night, they lost a close one to Carey (74-70) on Saturday night. 

          First year coach Jason Engel thought his kids responded well to the big loss on Friday night and they did a lot of good things.  "I thought the kids responded and the played hard.  It was one that was tough to swallow because of how we played on Friday night.  We got beat pretty bad by our rivals and then it could have went one or two ways.  You could lay down in the sand and cry about it or you could out and get to work and play your butts off the next night and that's what our kids did.  They played really hard.  They hit a lot of threes, made some big plays, and made more plays than we did down the stretch," said Engel.

          Thursday night, the Royals (2-3,1-2) are at Mohawk (1-3,1-2) in a conference game.  Engel says this is a pretty important game for them as it relates to the entire season.  "It is one that we need.  We need a win right now.  It would really help our team and our spirit right now.  We lost a couple of games last weekend and I will be the first to admit I don't like losing.  I am not a very good loser.  I am hoping we can play hard and play well and take away some of those things they do well and beat them," he said.

          The Warriors won their first game on Saturday when they destroyed Bucyrus (70-44) in an "N10" game.  Engel says Mohawk is an excellent perimeter shooting team that played hard on defense.  "They have really put and emphasis on defense this year.  They have defended well.  They played Colonel Crawford tough, they were down six or eight in the fourth quarter.  The Dunlap boy is one of the best players in our league.  He can shoot it.  He had seven threes verses Bucyrus," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "They have another kid, the Wilhelm kid, that had four or five threes against Bucyrus.  They shoot the ball fairly well and they play hard on defense.  We can't turn the ball over and play smart.  Obviously we have to defend better.  We haven't defended that well and that's because of a little bit of everything.  Communication, putting different defenses out there.  We have to communicate everyday in practice and that every possession maters."

 

Published 12/17/15

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Wynford Takes on Rival Colonel Crawford

 

          Wynford faces a double weekend in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference this weekend as they host Colonel Crawford on Friday and Carey on Saturday.

          They got league play started on the right foot last week with a (64-55) win over Ridgedale.  First year coach Jason Engel says knew they would need a solid performance and they got it.  "Ridgedale, they are solid.  Their five are solid and I thought we played very well against them.  We were happy with how we played and happy to get a win in the league opener," he said.

          He thought they played very good defense and stuck to the things they talked about on their scouting report.  "I thought we executed our game plan.  I thought defensively we bought in that every possession matters.  We really prided ourselves on the defensive end and rebounded well.  We tried not to make too many mistakes.  I thought overall we executed our game plan," he said.

          Colonel Crawford (2-0,1-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the small school division, beat Mohawk (45-31) in their first "N10" and Engel says the Eagles, the defending league champion, is very good again.  "Their guards are really good.  (Owen) Adams and (Derek) Burkhart are their leaders.  Burkhart can shoot it.  Adams can attack the basket well, he is quick.  They all know their roles and they all play extremely hard.  (Will) Kirkpatrick is not a scorer.  He rebounds well, he defends," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "The thing with the guys they bring off the bench with (Jake) Lohr, (Harley) Shaum, they are all just physical, they are well coached, they are fundamentally sound.  They had some turnovers against Mohawk, but it is early in the year.  They are definitely the team to beat.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for (Colonel Crawford coach) David (Sheldon).  He has done such great things over there.  We are at home and we are hoping we are ready to play and it should be a great game."

 

Published 12/09/15

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Wynford Trying to Learn Another New System

 

          Wynford basketball players are playing for their fourth head coach in four years.

          The program only had three coaches from 1965 through 2013, but over the last four seasons they have had Tim Ehresman, Steve Mohr, Mark Delaney and now Jason Engel at the head of the program.

          They opened the season last weekend with a come from behind win over Mansfield Temple Christian (69-68) on Friday night and then lost (78-53) to Shelby on Saturday night.  Coach Engle says they have to make a lot of improvement.  "We looked a little rough I guess.  We are still getting our legs back.  Saturday we turned the ball over a lot and we didn't rebound at all.  On the bright side Friday night we found a way to win.  We made more plays than they did," he said.

          With him new to the program, Engel says he is just learning the kids and their strengths and weaknesses.  "It is definitely going to be a learning process.  I am learning from them everyday.  We are trying to put our stuff in still and the guys are adapting.  These seniors have had four different coaches in four years.  They are learning and we are trying to simplify things and at the same time put our own stuff in too," said Engel.

          Wynford (1-1,0-0) is at Ridgedale (1-0,0-0) in an Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Saturday night.  Engel says he expects a stiff challenge from the Rockets.  He says the five they can put on the floor are really good players.  "It is always a tough game.  Ridgedale always pays hard against us.  I think last year they won on a half court shot and they year before we went double overtime with them one time.  I expect them to be ready to play.  They have two really good seniors," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "Mo Britton is a really, really good player for them.  Preston Burton handles the ball well.  The Eldridge kid, the post player they have, on film he rebounds well and is physical and he brings emotion.  They may not play a ton of guys, but the guys they have on the floor are really, really good players for them, they are solid."

 

Published 12/04/15

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Wynford Ready to Start Season

 

          Wynford has been one of the more consistently successful girls' basketball programs in North Central Ohio and they look like they are ready to be competitive again.

          Coach Amy Taylor-Sheldon says they have been able use the preseason to figure out what concepts are going to work best with the kind of personnel they have this year.  "We have a lot of experience coming back.  I think we definitely know what are strengths are.  I think our biggest challenge will be to overcome some of our glaring weaknesses in order to be a balanced team going into the season," she said.

          This month the Lady Royals have been seeing more action against other teams than they have in many other years.  Taylor-Sheldon thinks that was important for the program.  "We have had some injuries and some kids that have had to sit our here in the preseason and some kids that sat out in the summer.  This week and last week are really the first time we have had the whole team together.  I scheduled five scrimmages this year in order for us to have the most opportunities to gain some experience.  Typically I would only schedule three or four, but with our JV team being pretty inexperienced I tried to beef up that scrimmage schedule as much as I could," said Taylor-Sheldon.

          Wynford opens the season on Friday night at River Valley of the red division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference in non-conference play.  Their first game in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference is at Ridgedale on December 1.

          Taylor-Sheldon says she is pretty sure what each player has to do for them to win games and she is going to implement that strategy starting on Friday.  "We have a pretty good gauge of what that is going to look like in the summer time with some of the pretty intense things that we do.  You have a general idea of who you think will be on your roster.  Now it's defining what their roles and a lot of times that depends on how much they have shot over the summer, how much have their ball handling skills improved, how much have their perimeter shooting skills improved.  I am pretty stingy with roles, but the kids understand that and they know exactly what they can and can not do," she told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "It's not a democracy on our team.  We are pretty specific on what we can do at the beginning of the season and then by Christmas break I typically loosen the reins depending on how those first nine or 10 games went."

 

Published 11/17/15

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Wynford Faces Physical Delta in Playoffs

 

          A nine game winning has given the Wynford Royals the top seed in their division six region and they will host the Delta Panthers in a first round playoff game on Saturday night.

          Wynford coach Gabe Helbert thinks they are playing some pretty good football.  "We sure hope that we are peaking.  Our kids have worked hard to get better.  I think we are pretty healthy right now.  We were able to save on our legs last Friday.  Fortunately we were able to get off to a good start, as we did the week before.  We hope we are getting better because it is going to be a major challenge for us Saturday night," he said.

          They pretty much dominated the Northern 10 Athletic Conference this year and Helbert says that has allowed them to get some younger kids into the lineup and some rest for their starters.  "We have had an opportunity to get young kids some playing time on Friday night.  Saving on the beating our kids get is always a benefit.  We better be prepared to play a 48 minutes game this Saturday though because we haven't had to do that in a little while.  It will be a challenge for us kids to try and I guess amp up that energy, but they will be ready.  It's a huge game at our place," he said.

          Delta (6-4) is a very physical team and Helbert says they like to run the football.  "First of all they play in a tremendous football league, the Northwest Ohio Athletic League.  I think it is the oldest league in the state or one of the oldest leagues.  They have excellent football.  A number of teams in that league have won state championships.  We are familiar with Patrick Henry having seen them in the playoffs from time to time.  They are a excellent football team," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "The brand of football in that league is to come out and hit and run the football.  It is a very physical league and Delta is a very physical team, so our kids are going to have a huge challenge in front of them.  We are definitely going to have to step up and match their level of physicality."

          They might like to run the football, but Helbert says that doesn't mean the Panthers can't pass and they have to be ready for both.  "Anytime you can get a team that is somewhat one dimensional and wants to run that ball, very similar to us, you want to get them behind the sticks.  That will be a challenge for our defense.  They do want to run the football first and foremost, but they do have the ability to hit some play action passes.  They do have a back that is really good in the pass game and some very athletic kids.  They want to run it, but when called on to pass we have to be ready to defend, so we better be ready to make plays there," he said.

          When it comes to comparing Delta to anyone they have played this year, Helbert says a little bit of Columbus Bishop Ready.  "It is hard to place them in one category.  In a way they remind me of Bishop Ready because Bishop Ready was a lot of double tights and wanted to run the football a lot.  They are a little more senior dominated that Ready was and have a back to complement  back, so they have two where Ready only had one.  That is the closest comparison I could say.  They are the best team we will have played this year, I will say that.  They have a lot of guys that show up in key positions on film and that is always a dangerous thing," he said.

          Wynford (9-1), #4 in the Final Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, has qualified for the playoffs 14 times an reached the regional finals last year.  Helbert says they have the right approach to the playoffs.  "I think our kids have an expectation going into Saturday and understand the process it takes to prepare for it.  They understand the quality of opponent they are going to face.  They believe that every singe game they have an opportunity to compete at a high level and this is no different.  We are certainly happy that we have earned the right to be here, but there are still things we would like to accomplish this season.  I think early on when we first started making the playoffs in the mid 2000's it was like we got back in and it was a shy of relief.  Now the kids have a mindset that they want to continue on," said Helbert.

 

Published 11/03/15

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Wynford Wants it All

 

          Wynford is looking to extend its Northern 10 Athletic Conference winning streak to 17 games and in the process claim a second straight outright league title.

          All they need is a win at home over rival Bucyrus (2-7,1-6) on Friday night. 

          They put themselves in this position by crushing Buckeye Central (46-7) last week when quarterback Zach Hoffman rushed for 212 yards and four touchdowns.  Coach Gabe Helbert says theirs is a goal oriented program and one sets in front of them.  "Are number one goal is to win this league outright and we have an opportunity to do that on Friday night, especially a chance to do that against our rival and that is special for our kids and exciting for our community as well," he said.

          Wynford (8-1,7-0), #4 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, owns an eight game winning streak and Helbert says that is because they are always trying to get better.  "Our kids have really bought into the process of getting better and I thought we have seen that throughout the season to this point.  I think they enjoy being around each other.  I don't think any of them dread going out to practice everyday and putting in the work it takes, the time in the film room and the weight room and stuff.  They have always tried to do their part to get better and we certainly appreciate their effort for that," said Helbert.

          Bucyrus won its first conference game last week (32-27) over Ridgedale and Helbert says their young kids are gaining experience.  "Everybody has some varsity experience and have gotten acclimated to the game, how the varsity game goes, and how it is different than a JV game.  By week 10 their sophomores have had a whole season under their belts.  They have played better and they certainly play us tough.  They played us extremely tough the last time we played at home.  We are definitely going to have a challenge in front of us," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "It's a typical rivalry game, it's an opportunity for both of us to prove ourselves and get the bragging rights and things like that.  Our kids, once again, are going to have to put in a great week of preparation mentally and physically and be ready to go on Friday night."

          He knows Bucyrus can make their season with an upset on Friday night and Helbert says the Royals have to give great effort and have focus.  "It's their one week season.  After week 10 it is over for them.  They have a lot riding from that standpoint, they can be a spoiler, and cost us an outright league championship, come to our place and get an upset.  At the same time there is a lot for our kids to play for as well, the outright league and continue to build momentum as we go into the post season," he said.

 

Published 10/28/15

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A Possible "N10" Title for Wynford

 

          This is the second year for the Northern 10 Athletic Conference and it could be the second straight football title for the Wynford Royals.

          They have yet to lose a conference game.

          The Royals play rival Buckeye Central on the road on Friday night and a win means no less than a share of the "N10" title.

          They found themselves behind for one of the few times this season last week, but went on to beat Upper Sandusky (34-7) in "N10" play.  Coach Gabe Helbert says they had to make some adjustments on offense.  "It was a very tough football game for us.  Upper Sandusky played extremely well and I thought our kids played well for the most part.  Going into the Upper game we were very, very concerned that they were a dangerous team.  We felt their front seven was as good as we have seen all year.  They proved it and played an exceptional game against us and really shut down our run.  We were fortunate that our quarterback and receivers made some plays in the pass game to give us some life offensively.  Once again our defense played a great game," said Helbert.

          Wynford's run game has been so strong this year they haven't had to pass much.  Helbert says when they turned to it last week they were able to execute.  "We are always going to try and be a balanced offense to the best of our ability, but with that being said we are a run first team.  We do strive for balance and we believe that Zach (Hoffman) has the ability to throw the football.  We have a receiving corps that we fell confident in.  As in Friday night with Upper if they are able to stop the run game we had to throw it a little bit more.  Zach made plays and Tony Watson had a nice game for us and the rest of our receivers to did a good job as well," he said.

          Wynford (7-1,4-0), #4 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, plays down the road at Buckeye Central (5-3,3-3) this week.  Buckeye lost (48-26) to second place Colonel Crawford last week.  Helbert says they are a very good team.  "They are very dangerous offensively starting with Grant Loy, an exceptional quarterback.  His throwing motion, his natural mechanics really jump off the film when you watch him.  He has a strong arm, but at the same point and time he has good actuary and can utilize touch when it is necessary.  It starts with him, but they have a nice receiving corps.  He is running the ball more now with their fullback being down.  They are very dangerous offensively and they have a tremendous football program," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "Year in and year out they are extremely completive and challenge for the league and the post season and it is no different this year.  We have a great deal of respect for coach Niedermier and the Buckeye Central football program as a whole."

          Buckeye is 8th in their computer region and they could get a big push with an upset win.  Helbert says both teams have a lot riding in the game.  "Our first goal is to win the Northern 10 and we have a chance Friday night to at least win a share of that if we can take care of business against Buckeye Central.  We have a lot to play for from that standpoint.  At the same time Buckeye Central does to because they want to continue their season into week 11.  It will be two teams giving their best effort to try and win that game Friday night," he said.

 

Published 10/23/15

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Wynford Facing Upper's Tough Defense

 

          Wynford has been up to every challenge in the Northern 10 so far this season and this week it is Upper Sandusky and their outstanding defense.

          Last week, they buried a very good Seneca East team (55-6) to remain unbeaten in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference this year.  The Tigers had been averaging about 40 points a game and the Royals held them to just one score.  Coach Gabe Helbert says they played with excellent effort.  "I thought our kids played really well.  I thought they executed they game plan to a high level.  I was really happy with our energy level and just the passion that our kids played with on Friday night," he said.

          They have put together a six game winning streak and Helbert believes they have shown consistent improvement on both sides of the ball.  "Every week is a challenge, Upper Sandusky will be a challenge.  We have to have that mind set that we want to get better everyday.  We are kind of getting into the grind part of the season with week eight and our kids are nicked up and bruised and you have to be mentally strong to power through some of those things and that's what we are trying to do right now," said Helbert.

          Wynford (6-1,5-0), #4 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, plays at home against Upper Sandusky (3-4,3-3) in a conference game this week.

          Upper has allowed about two scores per game this year in conference play and Helbert says they are very good on defense.  "They are very good team on defense, their front seven is very athletic.  Their defensive line is not huge from a size standpoint, but very athletic.  The linebackers are great looking kids, I think 6'4", 210, 6'3", 215, and I think another 215 pound kid stands in there," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "They are very good at stopping the run, which is something we want to do, so that will be a challenge for our offensive line and our running backs.  They are number two in the league or something to that effect in run defense.  So, certainly a challenge for our kids and we know we are going to get Upper's best shot."

          It has been scoring points that has been the concern for the Rams.  However, Helbert says their quarterback is a scary player that can make big plays.  "The quarterback is a dynamic player.  Last week, he had two ruins that he probably could have broken for touchdowns if not for some ankle tackles.  He is an explosive runner.  He runs very hard.  He is the kid that carries the ball most for them, but they have two other kids that are capable.  Our defense is going to have to be able to stop their run game and try to contain their quarterback because he could pop a big run at any time if we don't play assignment football," said Helbert.

 

Published 10/14/15

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Wynford Faces Exciting Seneca East

 

          Wynford continues to stand alone a top the Northern 10 Athletic Conference football standings as host one of their closest pursuers in Seneca East on Friday night.

          Last week, in non-conference play they blew out Columbus Bishop Ready (36-13) for their fifth straight win on season.  Coach Gabe Helbert says they had to play well to win and they did that.  "It was a very good win.  There are a very well coached football team.  They had a very dynamic player.  Probably one of the best players we will see all season in just a sophomore running back.  For us to go out there and get the job done and win was very big for our program and our team at this point in the year," he said.

          It is kind of early to be talking about playoffs quite yet, but Wynford moved into first place in their division six region as the result of their win last week.  "It was a big game because we didn't take care of business in our first non-league game against Liberty-Benton.  We had an opportunity in our other non-league game and to come out on the right side of the scoreboard was big for us to allow to continue to try and accomplish a goal, which is try to win our way into the playoffs," said Helbert.

          Wynford (5-1,4-0), #4 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, hosts Seneca East (5-1,4-1) coming off a dramatic win over Mohawk (26-20) last week, in which they scored on a hook and ladder play in the final minutes.

          Helbert says this is a very dynamic team on offense.  "One thing about Seneca East is they are probably the most talented offensive team that we have played to date this year.  Their quarterback is a very good thrower and at the same time their running back is in the top three from a yards rushing standpoint in our league and I think he is leading scorer in our league.  I think he has 11 or 12 touchdowns already," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "So, they are very dangerous team offensively.  They have players at a multitude of positions.  Our defense has their work cut out for them.  They are certainly going to have to play assignment football, really read their keys, and do their best to do their job."

          Not just last week, but all season Seneca East has been a fourth quarter team.  Helbert says they are going to have to play four quarters of football to win.  "We are going to have to play a great 48 minutes.  When you look at their schedule and what they have done.  They beat Mohawk late, they came back and beat Upper Sandusky late, and they beat Buckeye Central in overtime.  One thing that they have done as a football program that is very impressive this year is after not having tons of success last year is their kids have learned how to win.  They taught their kids in the off season how to get the job done.  That is very difficult thing to do and a lot of credit to their coaching staff for having the ability to do that,' said Helbert.

 

Published 10/08/15

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Wynford Hosts Ready

 

          Wynford takes a four game winning streak into a home game against Columbus Bishop Ready in non-conference play on Friday night.

          The Royals (4-1,4-0), #4 in Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, just seems to continue to get better.  They shut out a pretty good Mohawk team (34-0) in Northern 10 Athletic Conference action last week.  They stand alone in first place in the league.

          Coach Gabe Helbert says they work hard in practice and that pays off.  "You certainly can get momentum during the season.  The idea of trying to get better every day helps build that.  Right now we are trying to do that.  I think it is conscious effort by our kids every day in practice.  I think we have built some positive momentum, but we have a huge test this Friday against a really good Columbus Bishop Ready team," said Helbert.

          However, Helbert knows his team can still get better, especially in the trenches.  "I think we need to continue to get better on the offensive and defensive lines.  It's a constant process for those kids.  We can get better pad level and I think that's a big thing for us from an offensive line standpoint," he said.

          It's still called the Northern 10, but with Crestline leaving for the Mid-Buckeye Conference there are only nine teams in the league and the way the schedule is set up there in a non-league game for almost everyone after league play begins.  For Wynford it's this week against the Columbus Bishop Ready Silver Knights.

          Ready (3-2) is coming off a win over Minford (12-0) last week.  Helbert says this is a solid team.  "They run the ball very well.  They have a real nice tailback.  He's a big, strong kid, runs real hard, and he is only a sophomore.  So, that will be a challenge for our defense.  One thing that really jumps out on film is they are really sound.  They are playing a lot of young kids, but they are coached very well," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "They have a ton of coaching experience.  Coach (Brian) Cross has been a successful coach at a number of major high schools across the State of Ohio.  They have a veteran staff.  I think you see on film that they are coached very well.  They are not going to do things to hurt themselves."

          The first goal of the Wynford program is to win their league, but second is to grab a playoff spot.  Helbert says this is big game for them from that respect.  "It certainly is a big game for us in terms of the playoffs because it is a non-league game and we did lose our first non-league game against Liberty-Benton.  Form that standpoint it certainly is because you have to win to get in.  We know we have our work cut out for us on Friday," he said.

 

Published 9/29/15

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Wynford Plays Improved Mohawk

 

          Last year, Wynford beat Mohawk by seven touchdowns and the Royals are very good again this year, but they are going to have to play well to do that again because the Warriors are better.

          Wynford (3-1,3-0) is all alone in first place in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference and they lead Colonel Crawford, who they have already beaten, Mohawk, and Upper Sandusky, by one game in the conference standings.

          They beat Carey (41-12) last week and coach Gabe Helbert believes they have shown consistent improvement this year.  "We certainly hope that is the case that we are getting better each week.  Every single week is a challenge to us and a challenge to our kids.  Certainly our goal is to get better and as coaches we are doing our part to make sure that is the case," he said.

          Defense has been the name of the game in recent seasons at Wynford and again this year they have allowed no more than two touchdowns in any game.  Helbert says those guys are well coached and perform at a high level.  "I think our defense has gotten better, which once again is what we want to do.  They are a very well coached group.  We are fortunate to have a lot of veteran coaches on that side of the ball.  They do an excellent job and in turn our kids do a great job in executing the game plan and doing their best to do their assignments.  We are certainly happy about that, but we know we have a lot of improving to do on that side that ball.  To this point in the season it has been a foundation that we have tried to stand on and hopefully we can continue with that," said Helbert.

          Wynford (3-1,3-0), #5 in this week's Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, plays at Mohawk (3-1,2-1) on Friday night.  The Warriors are coming off a (44-7) walloping of Bucyrus a week ago.  Helbert says they will be facing a traditional Mohawk football team.  "Being physical is kind of what Mohawk football has been known for for a very long time.  They have kids that have the ability to be very physical and play very physical.  They have a very nice offensive and defensive line.  They also have a quarterback that runs very hard and a 225 pound fullback that runs very hard," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "They like to compete and you can see that on film.  They have a lot kids returning from last year's group.  That group has been pretty successful in their football career so far in junior high and JV football and stuff like that.  Our kids are going to have to play well there is no doubt about that."

          Helbert believes this is going to be a real battle at the point of attack.  "They have the number two defense in our league and it shows on film as to why they do.  Our offensive and defensive line is going to have their work cut out for them.  For us and I think a lot of schools and football in general the game is won up front, so hopefully we can do our part to control the line of scrimmage," he said.

 

Published 9/25/15

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Wynford Must Continue Momentum

 

          Wynford, the defending "N10" football champion is not going to give up that crown without a fight.  That was proven last week.

          The Royals turned a (14-7) deficit into a (26-14) halftime lead and went on to bury Colonel Crawford (41-14) a game between conference contenders.

          Coach Gabe Helbert thought they played very well on both sides of the ball.  "I thought we did a great job.  I really thought our kids went out an preformed at a high level and came away with a nice victory.  Now, certainly our attention is focused on Carey.  They are a very good football team and a very well coached football team with some pretty dangerous athletes," he said.

          They host Carey (1-2,0-2) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Friday night.  The Blue Devils have lost both of their league games to Upper Sandusky (20-6) and Mohawk (22-6) over the last two weeks.  Helbert says they have some guys with offensive talent.  "Their quarterback is very good.  He is very elusive.  He is an excellent runner in the open field.  He does a nice job throwing the football when they ask him too.  They are probably trying to throw the ball more with him than the kid last year.  He started for them as a sophomore on the defensive side of the ball.  He is certainly a talented player," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "The fullback is back and is a very good kid.  As soon as he gets a head of steam going forward he is tough to bring down.  Those two kids certainly stood out on firm, but there are other good kids.  Their skilled athletes are very good."

          Carey has given up some yards on defense, but here again Helbert says they has some players that have to be accounted for.  "They have played some pretty good teams tough.  Mohawk they held to 20 points and Upper Sandusky, who looks pretty good on film, they held to 20 some points.  Once again you see those kids show up on film.  The fullback plays defensive end and does a really nice job.  The quarterback is an outside backer for them and he is a really good defensive player.  He started last year as a sophomore with all of those seniors.  He certainly can play and they have a nice athlete in the back end.  They have kids that really show up on film.  We are going to have to play at a high level and hopefully our kids are up to that challenge," said Helbert.

          Coming off a big win over a rival like Crawford last week, Helbert says they can't afford a let down.  "When you are trying to accomplish your goals and things like that is huge step toward accomplishing our goals.  We can't take days off at practice and we can't take Fridays off for sure, especially against a traditional football power like Carey.  So, our kids are going to have to be ready to play.  They are going to have to be mentally and physically tough because Carey is going to come out and play us extremely tough.  Hopefully, we are up to that challenge and we are continuing to get better in practice so we can execute on Friday night," said Helbert.

 

Published 9/17/15

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Wynford and Crawford in Key "N10" Battle

 

          Wynford and Colonel Crawford are going to be two of the best teams in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference this year and the winner of their game Friday night at Wynford may be in the driver's seat for the conference championship.

          Wynford used a (41-10) win over the Eagles last year to pave their way to the title.

          They led (50-0) at halftime last week and the Royals went on to beat the Ridgedale Rockets by the same score in the conference opener.  Coach Gabe Helbert says after a loss (17-14) to Liberty-Benton the week before it was nice to get a win.  "We did execute better Friday night and Ridgedale is a team that is struggling a little bit right now, but watching film I thought we did some good things and there are still some things that we have to clean up and get better at.  We have tried to continue to do that this week in practice knowing that we have a very good opponent coming to our place Friday night," he said.

          Colonel Crawford (2-0,1-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, beat Mohawk (27-6) in their "N10" opener.  They have run the ball very well this year, but Helbert says that isn't all they can do.  "I think they want to try and run the ball first, but they are dangerous passing the football as well.  They can be very explosive and make big plays on you, it doesn't take a lot of passes.  They have the Adams kid, who is a very explosive athlete, playing wide receiver for them and another kid that is a very nice wide receiver.  Their quarterback Will Kirkpatrick can throw the ball.  They may want to run it first, there are a lot teams that want to do that, but they are also affective when they throw the ball," said Helbert.

          Another thing, the Eagles are very good on defense.  Helbert says they have a nice blend of talent and experience.  "Their defense is very good.  They have kids that jump out at you on film.  They have a defensive end that is a big physical kid that played for them last year and some interior guys that played for them last year," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "They are very good along the defensive front, they have some linebackers that look very good on film, and they may have a young secondary, but when you put two kids back at safety that they have it is certainly a challenge on defense.  Our work will be cut out for us from a defensive standpoint."

          For Helbert this game, like most others, will come down to fundamentals.  "First and foremost we have to protect the football.  Against a defense like Colonel Crawford's we have to protect the ball.  Number two, execution, lots of times if you can protect the football its is going to boil down to execution.  Every guy doing their job to the best of their ability.  That is really it.  If you can do those things, hopefully the chips fall in our favor," he said.

 

Published 9/11/15

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Wynford Needs to Establish Some Things

 

          Wynford did a lot of good things last week, just not enough to beat a very good team.

          Liberty-Benton scored in the final moments of the game to give the Eagles a come from behind (17-14) win on their home field.

          Wynford coach Gabe Halbert says they gave themselves every chance in the world to win, but they just couldn't get it done.  "First of all I thought out kids did a great job competing.  They really went out and played tough against Liberty-Benton and gave ourselves a chance to win.  At the end of the day unfortunately we didn't get it done.  It's a credit to their football program.  They are extremely tough to beat at home, especially in the opener.  It didn't end the way we wanted it to, but there are things we can build off from that.  Our kids understand it's a situation if we want to accomplish our goals week to week we have to get better every single day.  We have a huge game this week with Ridgedale.  We have to go down to Ridgedale, which we are unfamiliar with, and try to take care of business," said Helbert.

          One thing that Helbert liked very much was their ability to establish the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.  He thought they were physical.  "I certainly felt we controlled the line of scrimmage.  We haven't done that against them in the times we have played them.  I thought went up there and controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and we got great pressure on their quarterback.  I think they rushed the ball 20 some times for 60 yards, which is pretty darn good.  I thought we did a very nice job of controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.  We want to be a physical football team and I thought our kids did that on Friday night," said Hlebert.

          Wynford (0-1) starts play in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference, they are the defending champions, on Friday night at Ridgedale (0-1) against the Rockets.

          Helbert says they have to hit the ground running.  "When you play a team like Liberty-Benton in your opener you are going to find a lot out about your football team.  It's an opportunity to see growth from week one to week two and transition that throughout the season.  We have to really take care of ourselves.  This is a big week for us as a football program to accomplish our goals.  It's league play.  We better be ready there is no time to waste.  I hope our kids are up that challenge and I hope the coaches are up to that challenge," he said.

          The Royals beat Riverdale (61-0) last season and the Rockets lost their opener this year last Thursday to Marion Elgin (49-13) in game that was over early.

          Still, Helbert says they have some talent and the Royals have to be ready.  "They have a couple of decent looking athletes from a skilled position standpoint.  Some kids that return and have some experience from last year.  I know they graduated some good football players are well.  Their top tackler graduated and was a real nice player for them.  We are going to have to execute as far as details are concerned," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "When they are on defense we are going to have to take care of our responsibilities from a blocking standpoint.  We have to establish the line of scrimmage again.  Ridgedale is a team that is young.  They are still playing a lot of juniors, a lot of sophomores, and even some freshmen.  I'm sure they are going through some growing pains, just like a lot of us are with new guys and new faces in certain positions.  I'm sure they are excited to start league play as well, so we are going to have to give them our best effort."

 

Published 9/02/15

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Wynford Tangles with Liberty-Benton

 

          Wynford plays at Liberty-Benton, the only team to beat them during the regular season last year, in their season opener on Friday night.

          Royals coach Gabe Helbert says they have spent this week fine tuning things on both sides of the ball.  "It's just that final preparation in trying to square everything up and make sure we are going to be able to execute to the best of our ability on Friday.  Just daily working on our execution, offense and defense," he said.

          They hope to throw the ball a little more this year, but Helbert says they always live off their defense and this year will be no different.  "Last year, every week I thought our identity was to run the football.  This year we look to be a little more balanced, we have the ability throw the football and run it.  We are always go to try and hang our hat on our defense here at Wynford.  It has really been kid of our solid rock in the time that I have been at Wynford.  We continue to hope we make strides on that side of the ball," said Helbert.

          Liberty-Benton is just outside of Findlay and Helbert acknowledges that they are a tremendous program, on the best in this part of the state.  "They are a traditional small school football power.  We just have a huge amount of respect for coach Nichols and his football program and what they do year in and year out.  We would love to be in the category that Liberty-Benton is in every year and we work hard to get there," he said.

          They have some less experienced players in the trenches this year, but Helbert says Liberty-Benton has very talented skilled athletes that they must contain.   "They have very good talented kids back.  Their quarterback is back, Nathan Craft.  He is going to be a four year letter winner for them, three as the starter at the quarterback position.  He is a very good athlete at 6'5" and 230 pounds.  He certainly presents a problem and a challenge for our defense.  Alex Rhodes is back for them.  He would be a three year starter.  He was the "BVC" defensive player of the year last year, a 220, 2230 pound kid.  He is very athletic and very physical," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "Number one, I think Nathan Rose is his name, is a very good athlete.  So, they have some talented kids back.  Like us they lost some talented kids along their offensive and defensive fronts.  At a program like Liberty-Benton it is never rebuild time, it's always reload time and they are going to find people to emerge.  We know we are going to get their best effort and hopefully we can give them our best effort."

 

Published 8/27/15

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Wynford Wants to be Tested

 

          Wynford plays Marion Pleasant in the first scrimmage for both teams on Wednesday.

          Royals coach Gable Helbert says they have done some good things at the beginning of camp, but it can be difficult to tell sometimes and that is what Wednesday is for.  "I think being a little bit more than a week in we have done some positive things and we are trying to get better every day.  Trying to answer some of those questions about who is going to play for us where.  I think we are going to find a lot more answers (Wednesday) when we go to Marion Pleasant and scrimmage them," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "This is time of year when you continue to evaluate players.  We try to film as much as we can, so we can see them on film and have a better idea of what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong."

          If you check your schedule, that scrimmage was originally set for Saturday, but it has been changed to Wednesday.

          Pleasant has an outstanding football tradition, which includes only one losing season in the last quarter of a century.  Helbert knows they will be challenged and that's what they need.  "Pleasant is a tradition rich program.  They have won state titles.  They were a regional semi-finalist team last year.  They went undefeated in the regular season and won their league.  It will certainly be a challenge for our guys.  Aaron (Cook) does a great job with his guys.  We will have our mistakes exposed (Wednesday) if we are making them," said Helbert.

          Wynford won the Northern 10 Athletic Conference last season, going unbeaten in league play.  However, Helbert says they have some questions they need answered in the trenches.  "We lost four of our five offensive lineman.  We lost all four of our guys on the defensive front.  I think first and foremost are we going to block and tackle?  We are facing a team with a different jersey in Marion Pleasant and not just going against your guys.  We want to see if our guys can block and tackle and be physical," he said.

          They open the season August 28 against Liberty-Benton, the only team to beat them in the regular season a year ago.

 

Published 8/12/15

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Wynford Shuts Out Biggest Rival

 

          Kyle DeJean went the distance striking out 13 as the Wynford Royals shut out Buckeye Central (6-0) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Monday.

          First year coach Joe Staab says Dejean had good movement on his ball, he walked a few, nine in fact, but he got the job done.  "Our pitcher went seven innings and only gave up one hit and no runs.  He was really dialed in.  He walked a few batters, but they were situations where they were two out walks and it was something where they weren't giving the game away.  We left him in there to try and finish it and he got the job done," said Staab.

          Wynford (10-11,7-8) has featured pretty good pitching and defense this year, they made only one error on Monday, and Staab says that is what they have to do to be successful.  "That is one thing we have been pressing on all year is pitching and defense is what makes championship teams.  These past few games we have pitched it pretty well and the defense has played even better so," he said.

          Alex Crall had two hits and three RBI for the Royals.

          Wynford also beat Firelands Conference champion New London (6-3) on Saturday.  Staab says they are starting to round into shape as a team.  "You have to take one day at a time and learn from those games and that is the stuff we have been stressing all year and it's got to click at some point," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday night, "There is no better time for it to click than now with us going into the tournament.  We have been shaping things up.  Now we hope we can put something together."

          The Royals travel to New Washington to play the Bucks (9-13,7-8) in an another N10 game on Tuesday.  They play Bucyrus on Friday and Monday.

          They will play Willard in their division three tournament opener on Saturday.

 

Published 5/05/15

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Stone Shuts Down Crawford

 

          Qyenton Stone threw a complete game four hitter as the Wynford Royals beat the rival Colonel Crawford Eagles (6-1) in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference baseball game on Tuesday.

          Stone struck out nine Eagles and coach Joe Staab says he did a great job getting his pitches across and the defense was sound behind him.  "We had our junior pitcher Qyenton Stone.  He went all seven for us.  He challenged the hitters and pounded the zone and threw a lot of strikes and our defense played great defense behind him," Staab told Swankonsports.com after the game.

          Stone retired 14 of the last 15 hitters he faced.

          You thought the wind was strong on Monday, it was probably stronger on Tuesday.  Staab says you have to have mental discipline and talk to each other when you are battling those kids on wind gusts.  "You have to have mental toughness as well as communication on the field.  You have those pop flies that start in left field and end up at the second baseman.  The defense has to be on their toes.  They have to stay in the game and be alert and aware," he said.

          Wynford (5-6,4-3) plays three straight N10 road games this week.  They play at Crestline (5-8,3-5) on Wednesday, at Seneca East (9-3,7-2) on Thursday and at Carey (5-6,3-5) on Friday.

          Wynford has played some decent baseball lately, but Staab says they can't keep shooting themselves in the foot.  "We have been playing pretty well.  The only thing is we have been making a lot of errors, putting people on for free and giving them extra bases.  When you do that and make more mistakes you are going to be the team that loses at the end of the day," he said.

 

Published 4/22/15

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Wynford Rallies to Beat Mohawk

 

          Wynford lead by two runs after four innings, had a chance to win it in the seventh, but rallied in the eighth to beat Mohawk (4-3) in Northern 10 Athletic Conference play on Wednesday.

          Caleb Stone got the big hit for the Royals with the game winning single in the eighth.  Coach Joe Staab says they took advantage of the situation.  "We had runners on second and third with nobody out in the eighth inning and were able to get the job done.  The only problem is we had the same situation in the seventh inning and could have had the game won there, but weren't able to execute," said Staab.

          The Royals (4-3,3-2) lost a tough one to Colonel Crawford (2-1) on Tuesday night in N10 action.  With Mohawk again on Friday and non-conference games against River Valley on Thursday and state ranked Tiffin Calvert on Saturday, Staab says Wednesday night was a big win for them.  "Especially with a week like this where we are going to have a stretch of games every single day.  You start to loose a couple of games and you get into a funk that is hard to get out of.  (Wednesday) was really a momentum builder and hopefully it gives us a little bit of confidence," he said.

          Staab, in his first year as the Wynford head coach, says their pitching has been pretty solid so far this season and he says they need to become improved hitters in order to have a better chance to win.  "I am very happy with our pitching staff and the way it sits right now.  I am upset with the walks and we have to challenge the batters a little bit more, but the pitching has done a great job and the defense has stepped up.  The biggest thing is we have to get more hits and put more runs on the board, but sometimes we have trouble executing," he said.

 

Published 4/16/15

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Wynford Downs Ridgedale in N10 Opener

 

          Wynford got the N10 portion of their schedule started on the right foot with (13-1) destruction of Ridgedale on Wednesday afternoon.

          Joe Staab, in his first year as the Royals coach, says there were able to put some runs on the board because they were hitting fastballs early in the count and not trying to hit the pitcher's pitch.  "The boys are coming out and learning to be aggressive at the plate and not let the pitcher get his count where he cane throw off speed and things like that.  Take advantage of the fastball early in the count and be aggressive and get your pitch to hit," he said.

          They were able to keep the Rockets offense under control too.  Staab says that was because the pitchers didn't try to strike everybody out.  "The biggest thing is pitching to contact and letting the other team hit the baseball.  You have a defense behind you.  The less pitches you can throw in an inning, the longer I can let my starters go.  If they are getting the job done I'm just going to leave them in there," he said.

          Staab, an infielder for a state championship team at Clear Fork, knows about the importance of defense.  He says if you are going to be a solid team you have to make the plays in the field.  "The biggest thing is knocking down the errors.  Teams that make the fewer errors and the fewer mistakes is the team that is going to win the baseball game.  We saw that the other day when we played Plymouth," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "We lost 5-2 and gave up five unearned runs.  If we play better defense that is a game we possibly win.  You have to hang your hat on your defense at the end of the day.  That is the most important job on the field."

          Wynford (2-1,1-0) plays at Ridgedale (0-2,0-1) in the re-match on Thursday afternoon.  Staab says they have to go into the game on Thursday with the same attitude they did on Wednesday.  "Baseball is a funny game.  You can come out and beat a team 13-1 and then loose to the very same team the next day.  In baseball especially you have to show up with the same attitude every single day to the ball park.  If you don't you could get beat on any day by any team," said Staab.

 

Published 4/02/15

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Girls' Basketball Players to Showcase Talents

 

          Wednesday night, girls' basketball players of all ages will get an opportunity to show what they can do to fans and college coaches with Shelby Rotary NCO Girls' All-Star Basketball Classic at Shelby High School.

          Kyle Fenner of Colonel Crawford and Eric Mitchell of New London are the coaches in the senior game, which includes two ten player teams.

          Fenner has done this before, so she knows what to expect.  "This will be the second time coaching the all-star game.  I believe in 2000 I coached the all-star game over in Ashland, so this will be my second time," she said.

          She will coach team black, which will include: Anna Hintz of South Central, Deijah Swihart of Clear Fork, Gabby Stephens of Shelby, Shelby Stamm of Bellevue, Ellie Richmond of Wynford, Hannah Adams of Willard, Sydnie Carpenter of Ashland, Mekaila Grose of Mansfield Madison, Ta-Sharra Jeffries of Sandusky and Emily Wagner of Sandusky Perkins.

          A real key to this format is to get everyone into the game with a chance to showcase there skills.  "It's not really hard we will have ten kids and we will probably put them in groups of five and let them play for four or five minutes then we will substitute.  We will approach it that way and let them get up and down the floor and show their skills.  If it's a game at the end we will probably go with the five or six best kids that we feel can win the game for us," said Fenner.

          Some of the players might know where they are going to college, but some may not.  Fenner says this is their chance to impress.  "There are going to be a good portion of college coaches there that night.  They have done a great job of getting college coaches there.  It will a great chance for these kids to show their skills off to not only the area, but also some college coaches that will be there," she said.

          On team white will be Carly Santoro of Bellevue, Valesha Province of Tiffin Columbian, Shelby White of Ashland, Jeryn Reese of Mansfield Senior, Morgan Bailey of Clear Fork, Hunter Feltner of Willard, Alexis Smith of Mansfield Madison, Makayla Cook of Norwalk, Megan Flaherty of Bucyrus and Samantha Reer of Norwalk St. Paul.  The coach of the team will be Eric Mitchell of New London.

          There is also an underclassmen game on Wednesday night, a first due to a change in OHSAA rules and Clear Fork coach Heidi Roush is one the coaches in that game. 

          She was an MVP in an all-star game as a player, but this will be her first as a coach.  "It is my first time coaching anything like this.  There are some stipulations as to who can coach the younger kids.  You couldn't have one of your own players on the team.  I think that is how they kind of stumbled on me.  I'm really looking forward to it.  I think it will be a lot of fun," she told Swankonsports.com.

          Her team members are:  Renee Stimpert of Crestview, Abigail Fogle of Upper Sandusky, Sarah Ogden of Wynford, Gabbi Baldridge of Willard, Ashley Painley of Norwalk St. Paul, Shelby Kin of Carey, Maggie King of Willard, Jisselle Thomas of Norwalk, Paige Leitz of Monroeville and Leah Bouillon of New Riegel.

          She says she will judge playing time by performance during the game.  "With you know you have talented kids, they wouldn't be on the team other wise.  I think for the most part you just go with who is playing well.  Get everyone in there and let them show their skills," said Roush.

          There are only a couple of practices before them game and Roush says the players sort of have to get used to each other.  "There are some larger schools and I know those players and what they are capable of and there are some players that I haven't seen before and I only know their stat lines checking on then throughout the season in the paper.  I think it will be a little bit of a challenge for the kids knowing each other.  Some of them will have played against each other in summer league, some during the season and then there are kids they really don't know each other," said Roush.

          Playing for team black in the underclassmen game are Seina Adachi of Seneca East, Sydney Wentling of Carey, Kamryn Troike of Fostoria St. Wendelin, Payton Shays of New London, Kelci Simms of Bucyrus, Jenna Strayer of Bellevue, Sydney Holderman of Riverdale, Emily Yeager of Mansfield St. Peter's, Jackie Garrett of Shelby and Alexus Burkhart of Colonel Crawford.  They will be coached by Jon Dawson of Willard.

          Roush thinks it is pretty cool that underclassmen get to participate too.  "In this sport most of the time you are going to end with a loss and it can be so disheartening.  Now, these younger kids are going to get a chance to play again this season and pump them up and get them ready for next season," she said.

          There will be a halftime three point shooting contest among girls in district 6.  Some boys will be there for dunk contest as well.

          The underclassmen game starts at 6 PM, with the senior game at about 7:45.  Tickets for the game are $6 for adults, $3 for seniors, and free for 18 and under who donate a gently used or new children's book to the Shelby Rotary's "Big Red Book Shelf."

 

Published 3/23/15

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Wynford Playing Excellent Defense

 

          Wynford knocked off state ranked Crestview in the sectional final and now will play New London, a team from the same conference, in the division three district semi-finals on Wednesday night at Seneca East High School.

          Wynford outlasted Crestview (55-51) in double overtime last Saturday.  Coach Amy Taylor-Sheldon says they did a tremendous job in frustrating Crestview's all-Ohio player Renee Stimpert, limiting her to just 13 points and reducing the number of times she touched the ball.  "We were very, very proud of our kids defensive effort, especially proud of the kids that matched up on Stimpert.  We tried to wear her down and tire her out and limit her opportunities.  We just felt if we could get the rest of the team to shoot more shots than she did, which is usually about even with what she shoots compared to the rest of the team.  So, if we could raise the number of shots they took and lower the number of shots she took," she told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "Sydney Alspach guarded Stimpert for most of the game and was her chaser and did everything she could to keep the ball out of her hands.  She did a great job and our kids rebounded well and we were able to take three charges.  We did out best to clog up the lane and take away some of her favorite spots to shoot.  I was really proud of what our kids did defensively."

          It has been a little bit of a bumpy ride for the Lady Royals (14-8) this season, but they have certainly picked up their play as of late.  Taylor-Sheldon hopes the win over Crestview gives them some more confidence in their play.  "The only other time we were able to create a scenario like that was in 2001 when Amber Rahl was a sophomore.  It was in the district and we were up against Lakota and Margaretta and that was something where that fueled some momentum for us.  I am hoping we can carry over that enthusiasm and play just as well on defense and improve our offense," she said.

          New London (15-9) rallied to beat Huron (47-37) in their sectional final on Saturday.  Taylor-Sheldon says there are a lot of similarities between the two teams.  "They have some size inside, we have some size inside, not as much as they do.  Peyton Shays and Alyssa Harris are the same frame, close to the same weight, same height, they both can go inside, they both can go outside, both are good shot blockers.  They have a left handed point guard, we have a left handed point guard, with Chaffins and Richmond we have a couple of kids that can step out and shoot the three consistently.  They run a lot of sets like we do.  They are definitely a lot of similarities in personnel," said Taylor-Sheldon.

 

Published 3/05/15

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Wynford and Bucyrus... and then Again

 

          Wynford hosts Bucyrus on Friday night in Northern 10 Athletic Conference action and then the teams play each other again next Tuesday in the first round of the division three tournament.

          The Royals were handled on Tuesday night by the River Valley Vikings (86-60) in a non-conference game.  Wynford coach mark Delaney says they had problems executing on offense and they just let Danyon Hempy go wild.  "We have a bad taste in our mouths for sure.  River Valley did a nice job in their 1-3-1 in trapping and with their length taking away our reversal passes.  We only had 18 turnovers, but it felt like more.  They forced us into a lot of quick shots.  We were very impatient.  As bad as we played with some bad decision making we were only down nine at the start of the fourth quarter, but we could never really close that gap to take the lead.  It is hard to win a game when you give up 37 points to one person," her said.

          Bucyrus (11-10,9-8) is also coming off a loss this week, in fact two in their case, losing to Galion (63-36) on Monday and New Riegel (60-45) on Tuesday.  Delaney calls the Redmen a big rival.  "They have been playing a lot more zone lately.  They went through a stretch of playing some really, really good teams in the last eight games.  This is truly our rivalry, just being here for a year, where the kids really get jacked up.  I think they do as well, so it will be a really good atmosphere and it will interesting to see what happens.  Not just game one, but the start of game two with the adjustments.  Very rarely does this happen to play the last game and then come out in the tournament and play the same team," he said.

          When it comes to playing a team twice in such a short period of time, Delaney says you just have to do your best to win both games and not hold anything back on Friday.  "As far as our program we haven't had a winning season the last two years.  Friday night is important to get to that 12-10 mark and guarantee us a winning season and sending the seniors out the right way and being part of starting a new tradition," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "Friday is definitely important.  I have talked to a lot of coaches on how to handle that situation of knowing you are going to play that third game.  It has been pretty unanimous, you just do the best you can and throw everything at them and make adjustments and figure out what worked."

 

Published 2/26/15

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Wynford is Rolling

 

          Wynford has put together back to back really good efforts in beating Buckeye Central last Thursday and Upper Sandusky on Monday.

          They battled back from a double digit deficit to beat the Rams (67-59) on Monday behind 19 points from Keaton Teynor.  Coach Mark Delaney says it was good to put together back to back big time wins.  "It was a quality win, especially coming off a win over Buckeye Central last Thursday.  It just gave our kids even more confidence.  It wasn't like it was that one game were we shot very, very well and beat that one team.  Being able to come back and beat another quality team it shows the consistency that our kids are developing right now," he said.

          Wynford has won five straight games and Delaney says they are understanding what they need to do as a team to win games.  "Honestly I think a lot of it has to do with, and I hate to talk about it, the late start, the new coach, and just trying to figure out who we are and who works well together.  It is really hard I think for kids to really buy into being unselfish.  I think each kid has their own motive.  I don't think they are trying to be selfish, but our nature is to be selfish and these kids have really bought into being unselfish," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "The only way this team is going to continue to be successful is to be unselfish.  I'm talking about worrying about all five guys and sacrificing their bodies.  (Monday) night we had our 6'7", 250 pound kid, take a charge.  A guy that big to be able to take a charge is a great thing to see from a high school basketball standpoint."

          One thing that is much better about the Royals since the beginning of the season is the way they play defense.  Delaney says they are making things difficult on the other guys.  "It is an attitude.  They are starting to understand that if it is one shot and out we can get out in transition and that is what we like to do.  They other side of that is we are not giving up easy baskets in transition.  I think it is easy to motivate kids, if you want to get out and shoot threes and layups, you have to make it one shot and out.  We want contested twos and threes, we don't want layups, we don't want free throws.  We are just trying to pack it in and get great help side and great team defense.  Make them shoot over the top of us and if they make it, they make it, but we made them earn it," said Delaney.

          Wynford (11-8,10-6) beat Buckeye Central (73-67) last Thursday.  The Bucks lost another tough won to N10 champion Colonel Crawford (44-42) on Monday.  Delaney knows the Bucks will be ready for his team.  "It is going to be a dogfight.  They are going to be so angry.  They lost to a great team by two (Monday) night.  They are really going to try and come out and get us.  We have to really be ready for that.  They are going to be all jacked up.  It is going to be a tournament like atmosphere.  It is going to be really good for our kids to see how we respond.  They are going to go on a run.  (Monday) night Upper came out with a 14-1 lead and it really didn't phase us.  We stayed calm in the eye of the storm and we just started chopping away believing good things were going to happen and we have to have that mentality on Friday," said Delaney.

 

Published 2/18/15

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Wynford Learning How to Play

 

          After two wins this past weekend, the Wynford Royals are now over .500 and are starting peak at the right time of the season.

          They beat Crestline (62-44) and Seneca East (81-46) in Northern 10 Athletic Conference games last Friday and Saturday.  Coach Mark Delaney says holding two teams under 50 points indicates that they are really starting to defend a lot better.  "That is your hope at the beginning of the season that kids will start playing with some confidence with each other as a team.  Defensively we have talked all year and if you look at how we have played defensively at the beginning of the year until now we are really starting to play really good team defense and our rotations are getting better.  When you add shooting the basketball as well as we have been it is encouraging. We are excited to finally play Buckeye Central it has been a month, a month and half it feels like.  This is the second time we have had to reschedule them, so we are going to have to play them twice in eight days," said Delaney.

          Wynford (9-8,8-6) plays host to Buckeye Central (12-6,10-4) on Thursday night in a make up game and then is at home for Upper Sandusky (14-4,12-3) on Saturday night in another N10 game.

          Delaney says they are starting to become more versatile on offense.  "When you can get it from transition and into your sets you can score in multiple ways.  Instead of just being a team that can score just off of your sets or rely so much on transition, like we were earlier in the year.  We are being able to score in different ways an in different aspects of the game.  Against Crestline with 32 free throws we have just been able to score multiple ways and it has worked out for us," he said.

          Grant Loy has been sidelined with a back injury, but Delaney says the Bucks are still pretty good without him.  "They miss him because he is such a good player, but the Heydinger kid is so quick.  They have another post player that is good on the block and you can't discount Wurm.  We have been preparing all week for Loy and Wurm.  That is how you want it, you want to play them with their full boat to see how good we are.  We are just trying to get better and move our way up through the league," said Delaney.

          Buckeye was able to control the pace in a win over Bucyrus (45-31) last Saturday and Delaney says they are going to have to be ready for a lot of things on Thursday.  "They are very particular of where they score the basketball as far as possession.  Even against Crawford it was a 48-38 loss.  When it comes tournament time and you play different people you have to be able to score and defend different paces and different styles.  This league has been really good for us from that standpoint.  We come back Saturday and play a team that really wants to get down an score a lot.  It has been a great, great year to be able to prepare us to play against different styles.  Once you start working on that I think it makes your team better," said Delaney.

 

Published 2/12/15

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Wynford Faces Crestline

 

          After going through a stretch when they were playing some pretty good teams, Wynford got a pretty important win last Saturday, and now they hope they can get two more this weekend.

          They play at Crestline on Friday and home against Seneca East (3-13,1-11) on Saturday night in Northern 10 Athletic Conference games.

          They upended Mohawk (60-45) with a second half rally on Saturday night and coach Mark Delaney says that was a pretty important win for his team.  "We had four straight losses, let one get away with Ridgedale, then we saw the three best teams we will see all year in Crawford, Carey and Mt. Gilead, so we were in dire need of a win.  Then sure enough we are at Mohawk and they come out and just shoot really, really well, almost 60 percent for the half.  I just felt like we needed a break and finally we tighten up our defense in the second half and things started going our way and we took control in that second half and came out with a win," said Delaney.

          The one thing that Delaney has never questioned this year about his team is their desire to play hard and compete no matter who they were playing,  "So many times throughout the year.  When we played Crawford, and Carey, and Mt. Gilead, I was pleased about how our kids competed in those games.  The one thing you can't control is the ball going through the net, but you can control your attitude and your effort.  We have just been really resilient and really good at focusing on those two things," he said.

          Wynford (7-8,5-7) plays at Crestline (1-14,1-11) on Friday night in a league game.  Delaney says they will once again be at a size disadvantage in this game and they have to be able to find a way around that.  "Especially when you are going to somebody's home court.  You expect that they are going to shoot a little bit better.  They have a little bit more of a student section and the whole community is behind them than they do when they travel.  Nate Coffman is one of the better players in our league.  He is a handful, and he does shoot the three, and he is savvy moving to the basket and is so strong.  He is going to be a hard match-up for us," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "Jacob French shoots the ball very well and is at the top of our league in three point shooting.  They have a couple of other wings that are just so much longer than us.  I have said all year we have to constantly overcome passing around over taller guys and be able to box out and play a little more tough as far as rebounding.  They have been winning the rebounding war, so that is going to definitely be a key."

 

Published 2/04/15

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Wynford Faces Another Big Test

 

          Wynford plays its third excellent team in a row when they face Mt. Gilead, the leader of the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, in a non-conference game on Tuesday night.

          Last weekend, they lost to N10 leader Colonel Crawford (70-39) on Friday and a very good Carey team (83-65) in a conference game on Saturday. 

          Coach Mark Delaney says they just did some thinks you can't afford to do against really good teams.  "We were thankful to have them at home to relieve a little of the kids reveres.  I thought we came out well in the first quarter on both nights, but hats off to both of those teams they just have so much firepower.  The second quarter hurt us in both games with some turnovers.  I am not much of a zone guy, but we zoned both of them at the beginning of the game and I thought it hurt them," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "Friday night we gave up a couple of key offensive rebounds and when you do that and you are trying to force them to shoot jump shots the whole time and you don't take away the paint it is tough to battle back against a really good team."

          Despite the loss to Carey on Saturday, Delaney thought they did some very good things that they can take into Tuesday night.  "We are transitioning from one of the better fourth quarters we have had all season against Carey on Saturday night.  At one point and time in the third quarter we were down 28 and we ended up closing that gap and won the second half by one point.  I was just really proud of the guys and how they ended the game and they didn't give up.  Tuesday night was are going to feed off of that, if we can just continue that, we have another home game, which nice," he said.

          Wynford (6-7) is at home for Mt. Gilead (10-1) on Tuesday night.  Delaney says the Indians are big and they are skilled too.  "They play a solid 1-3-1 with a 6'8" kid up top and they have two 6'5" kids.  With the 6'5" kids one can play the point and one is a great shooter, he is a lefty, which is always more difficult to guard and they have another guard that can handle the basketball and shoot it.  Being in the "MOAC" with Fredericktown and Centerburg, it's a really solid conference.  We have our hands full, so we have to make sure we box out and try to make use of our speed over their height,' said Delaney.

 

Published 1/26/15

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Wynford Has to Stay Cool

 

          Wynford and Colonel Crawford are longtime rivals and there is nothing more the Royals want to do than hand Crawford their first loss of the season.

          The Royals (6-5,5-4) are a team that has been good, but often not over the span of four quarters and coach Mark Delaney says that is what they are working towards.  "Consistency is going to be number one.  We have shown great at times where we are moving the ball and making good decisions offensively.  Defensively we have been able to get in our gaps and talk and great pressure and rebound one shot and out.  It is just that consistency we need to be able to do that for 32 minutes.  We are a team that can't relax for a second or we'll get beat.  That consistency and intensity is going to be the key to the second half," said Delaney.

          In order to beat, especially the good teams on their schedule, Delaney says they have to bring their "A" game because the "B" game isn't going to be good enough.  "We have no room for error at all.  With our lack of length and experience together still with that new system.  It takes a full year for kids to start to do exactly what you are asking them to do from a coaching standpoint, eliminating those bad habits they have had in the past.  We have to be able to put 32 minutes together.  Friday night is going to be a huge test for us and we are going to have to try and play perfect," he said.

          Colonel Crawford (13-0,9-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches poll in the small school division, plays at Wynford on Friday night in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game.  Delaney says the Eagles handle pressure well.  "They don't get rattled at all.  When you have a point guard like Gulley he doesn't get too high, he doesn't get too low.  His emotions are just even keel all of the time.  They have been somewhat close to some teams that are in the bottom of the league and they just keep playing, they just keep chopping that tree, they don't try to hit a home run, they just keep coming at you.  Other teams might get excited when the other team is on a run, but they just say we got 'em.  It is just so hard to beat a team like that with that focus and that mindset," said Delaney.

          When the two teams met for the first time in North Robinson in December the Eagles won easily (73-44) and this time Delaney says they must be more focused on what they need to do.  "I think we got over excited last time, so we have just been trying to stay focused and just focus on the task at hand and not get too high.  This is just a game and they are coming to our home court and not get all jacked up," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "It is going to be an emotional game.  They are going to bring a great crowd and a great student section and I know our community to going to be there.  It should close to a sell out.  It is going to be a great environment, but we just have to be able to focus on us and be calm in the eye of the storm."

 

Published 1/23/15

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Wynford Girls Face Crawford

 

          After a win in the first game of the second round of play in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference last Friday night perhaps the second half of the season can more consistent for the Wynford Lady Royals.

          They beat Ridgedale (52-22), a team that had beaten them by one in their first meeting.  Coach Amy Taylor-Sheldon says they played better than they first time, but Ridgedale was at a short handed.  "Ridgedale was at a disadvantage because their best player was hurt and they have had a lot of concussions and ankle sprains and all kinds of injuries, so it wasn't the same team that we were playing the first time.  To be 1-0 in the second round of N10 play I am pretty happy and looking forward to some other opportunities in order to remove some of our first round losses," she said.

          The key to the second half of the season for the Lady Royals is their consistency.  Taylor-Sheldon says if they can play like they did earlier this month against Upper Sandusky, a (47-39) win, they can win a lot of games.  "Our inconsistency has really hurt us on a couple of levels.  We have a lot of enthusiasm and if we play together we play well.  Last week, we played, in my opinion, a very good Upper Sandusky team, they are second in the league at this time, and played very well against them at Upper Sandusky, so I was very pleased about that," she told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "It is one of those things that I hope over the last nine, 10 games of the season that we can be a little more consistent in terms of offense.  I think our defense is pretty consistent and is what we are trying to do and trying to accomplish, but our scoring is not as good as I think it could be, so hopefully we will be able to level that out."

          Wynford (7-6,6-4) hosts rivals Colonel Crawford (8-5,6-4) in N10 game on Tuesday night.  The Lady Royals won by one (48-47) in the first meeting and Taylor-Sheldon looks for another good game this time.  "This is pretty much the biggest game for us every year whether we are good or they are good.  In my last 19 years I started out against Kyle (Fenner) and now we back against Kyle's teams again.  Her teams always play incredibly hard regardless.  We beat them the first time and maybe took some things away that maybe they were counting on.  The first time around I thought we played very hard together.  I think it is going to be an issue again can we be consistent.  Can we be 2-0 in the league and kind of regroup and refocus every game and b ready regardless of the opponent," said Taylor-Sheldon.

 

Published 1/20/15

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Wynford Ready For Second Half

 

          Wynford has become a better team and the Royals are ready to attack the second half of the league season, which begins for them at Ridgedale on Saturday night in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game.

          Last Saturday, they edged the Bucyrus Redmen (61-58) in an N10 game.  Coach Mark Delaney says they were just able to make some plays in the end to seal the win.  "It was really nice as a staff to see our kids make plays, to be honest it could have went either way, but that is what you hope for, that is what you practice for and encourage your kids.  Somebody has got to make a play at the end of the game.  Hunter Miller came down and made a fantastic steal off of a turnover too," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "We had a turnover previous to that and he came right down on that possession and that took some resiliency.  As a coach you never want your kids to pout or anything like that or hang your head and he just made a great play.  As a coach I don't care of you make a mistake, but try to get it back and do something else.  Braxton Tea made some clutch free throws.  It was just a great, great win for our guys."

          Delaney, in his first year at Wynford, wants to encourage his kids to try and make plays and to not be afraid of failure.  "You have to encourage that in practice.  There are mistakes that we are okay with.  Of course, there are mistakes where they are doing the same thing two, three, four, five times in a row and that's when you are irritated.  Mistakes are really, really good and I think when you develop that mindset it encourages them to be playmakers," he said.

          It was double overtime last time Wynford (6-4,5-3) played Ridgedale (4-8,2-7) with the Royals winning (94-90) in just their second game of the season.  Delaney believes his kids are playing better defense now than they were then and he hopes they prove that on Saturday night.  "We gave up 90 points to them and there is no question defensively we are a lot better.  From that standpoint that is encouraging.  They are playing well right now.  (Bo) Britton had 37 on us and I still feel its a hard match-up.  We have to go to their place and it's a great gym and a pretty good atmosphere.  We are excited to be able to have a week of practice and refine some things," he said.

 

Published 1/16/15

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Defense and Ball Handling Keys For Wynford

 

          Wynford can score, but they have to be able to do the other things if they can going to consistently be able to win basketball games.

          Shelby outscored them (80-63) in a non-conference game on Monday.  Coach Mark Delaney says Shelby forced them into a lot turnovers and were able to convert those into easy scores.  "A lot of it was we had 38 turnovers.  A lot of their points came off our turnovers.  They wore us down, we got fatigued.  They did a real nice job with their press.  When we matched up in the half court with them, when they weren't in their transition offense, we did a pretty good job.  When you turn the ball over that many times the other team is just going to score at will," Delaney said.

          When facing teams like Shelby that trap a lot, Delaney says they have to talk more and make better decisions.  "Anytime you can trap and your vision is taken away it is such an important aspect for everybody else on the team to move to the basketball ball and talk.  What made them so tough too is they didn't try to get the steal on the basketball.  They didn't try to pressure too much on the ball," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "They wouldn't let us get around them and get any penetration.  It was a very disciplined pressing team.  They have been getting everybody, they have been getting everybody to turn the ball over, it is a credit to his team."

          It is a double weekend of games in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference for the Royals (5-5,4-3) they host Buckeye Central (6-4,4-3) on Friday and play at Bucyrus (6-3,4-3) on Saturday. 

          Delaney says with Buckeye they have to know where Austin Wurm and Grant Loy are at all times.  "They are two tremendous players.  We definitely going to have our hands full.  It's going to be ultimate team basketball with all five guys recognizing where these two guys are at.  They both come off a lot of screens, they are both very aggressive when they catch the basketball.  We are going to try and do the best we can and contain them and just try to limit them to one shot now.  I think that is vital.  They are going to get their shots up, but if we can just win the rebounding war I think that will be very important,' said Delaney.

          It is an 18 game regular season schedule in the league and Delaney thinks it is going to continue to be competitive this year.  "We are just focused on trying to get over that hump.  Really just trying to compete with the elite teams.  I think there are going to be more shake ups to come.  Crawford has done very good right now, but the league is just so competitive.  We have a long way to go and so does everybody else as far as the league.  I said at the beginning of the year the team that wins the league could have two losses," he said.

 

Published 1/08/15

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Wynford Plays Seneca East

 

          Wynford is a basketball team that has still been a little spotty in its play so far this season and they need to be more consistent as the season goes on.

          The talent is there and that was evident in a big second half run last week against Crestline.

          Hunter Miller scored 16 points and Braxton Tea and Austin Shulter had 14 a piece in the Royals (64-54) win at Crestline on Saturday night in Northern 10 Athletic Conference play on Saturday night.  Coach Mark Delaney says they didn't get a great start against the Bulldogs, but they were able to turn it around after halftime.  "I think we started out pretty slow and our energy was lacking.  We were fortunate to up about eight at halftime.  We came out really hard in the third quarter with a great defensive effort.  I think we actually went on an 18-0 run and really just got after them defensively and got some easy baskets.  Basketball is a game of runs and hopefully you are just on that end that is positive for you," said Delaney.

          It can be difficult to find some rhythm during the holidays.  Delaney says they are going to try and practice a little later this week and see if that affects their performance early in games.  "You are just trying to find that routine.  So often you are in a routine at school.  You are right after school or a little bit later, but you are in that routine of going to class.  It's just trying to find that routine during break.  Last week, we were at eight o'clock in the morning and I though we were sluggish both games," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "This week we are going to go about 10 o'clock, so they can sleep in a little bit more.  I don't know, we are just trying to find that routine and keep it consistent for the week and try and figure out how your kids respond.  How much shooting do you do and how much breakdown do you do and how do the kids feed off of that."

          Wynford (4-2,3-2) is at Seneca East (1-6,0-4) for an N10 game on Tuesday night.  The Tigers got their first win in downing Fremont St. Joe (58-52) on Saturday.  Delaney says they can score.  "They are very good at the dribble drive and handoffs.  This Taylor kid is going to be a tough kid to defend and they have two other kids that score in double figures as well.  We have to be conscious of the hand off and they also keep them and that is sometimes tough to guard.  They bring a nice post player off the bench as well.  They are going to be in a 3-2 or 1-2-2 and some match ups so we have to be ready to identify their defense and how we are going to attack that," he said.

 

Published 12/30/14

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Time for Lady Royals to get Better

 

          Wynford reached the .500 mark with a resounding win over Crestline (79-9) in Northern 10 Athletic Conference play Saturday afternoon and they want to use this week to continue to get better.

          Coach Amy Taylor-Sheldon says they have suffered some tough losses early in the season.  "The teams we have lost to, two good teams in Riverdale and New Riegel, and really good team in Carey, who is leading the N10 right now, and we lost to Ridgedale.  All of those game were 10 point or less.  It is something where we need to be a better at free throws," says Taylor-Sheldon.

          She adds they have not always been at full strength over the first month of the season.  "We lost our leading scorer and rebounder and shot blocker was out for two of those games, 15 points, 13 rebounds and 4.5 blocks a game, so that was a pretty big loss, but our kids still played well even with injury.  I think that is something that were we need to use that experience of the first part of the season and kind of push through and improve," said Taylor-Sheldon.

          Wynford gave N10 leader Carey their toughest league test before losing (53-47) a couple of weeks ago.  Taylor-Sheldon says that was a game they could have won.  "We were up nine with four minutes to go and lost.  I think we did our best to take some of their weapons away and we did with one of their two 20 point scorers, but we didn't follow through at the foul line and taking care of the ball late.  So, that was a big disappointment , but there s a lot to learn from," she said.

          During the holidays, the veteran coach says this is a team that has to work hard on the fundamental elements of the game.  "It is going to be time for us to sort of hone some of our fundamentals and put in some new stuff that we want to put in.  This is a team that has two starters back  and everybody else played on the JV team last year.  I am not using that as an excuse, but hopefully we can improve some things.  It is also a time to rest and regroup," said Taylor-Sheldon.

          Wynford (4-4,3-2) plays at Seneca East (3-2,3-2) on Saturday and Taylor-Sheldon says they need to spend a lot of time working on their free throw shooting.  "There are two things that make a good free throw shooter, number one repetition and number two the confidence that comes from that repetition.  If you haven't shot your 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 free throws in the summer time you are probably never going to become a good free throw shooter.  I think for us right now that is a hard lesson for some of our kids that didn't shoot their several 1,000 free throws in the summer.  We are paying for it now," she told Swankonsports.com, "With all we have to do we are not going to spend two hours on free throw shooting.  Loosing three of our four games due to horrible free throw shooting, so now it is time for them to come early and come late to get 1,000 in over Christmas break."

 

Published 12/29/14

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Wynford Has to Play Better Defense

 

          Wynford gave up more than 70 points in both games last week in losing a pair of Northern 10 Athletic Conference games to Colonel Crawford and Carey.

          The Royals (2-2,1-2) lost to rival Colonel Crawford (73-44) last Friday and to Carey (85-56) on Saturday.  Both of the opponents remain unbeaten on the season.

          First year coach Mark Delaney says against good teams they are going to have to play a lot better defense if they are going to win.  "We definitely want to win as everyone does.  We just have to focus on defending and getting better fundamentally from a defensive side.  Offensively we had way too many turnovers this past weekend.  We had a really nice practice (Monday.)  The kids just have to learn to trust this process.  There is going to be a lot of teaching.  For us to move forward we all have to kind of be on the same page," he said.

          Delaney says there are a lot of fundamental elements of defense that must be improved if they are going to get better.  "When we played Riverdale and Ridgedale we were able to pressure a little bit more.  You are not going to be able to pressure a Gully or Powers type of kid as much.  You still want to stay in front of them.  You have to have an understanding of how much pressure you can give.  While still giving pressure one, but ultimately two your gaps and giving help side, being able to stunt and recover , being there before they catch the ball and try to eliminate a close out situation, rotations, and be able to finish it out with a box out and eliminate those offensive rebounds," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday. "It's just what we call the circle of defense.  Just trying to focus on being able to defend.  If we can get stops I think we are pretty good in transition, but if we don't get stops that eliminates that transition offense."

          Wynford hosts Mohawk (0-4,0-2) in another N10 game on Tuesday night at the "House of Thrills."  Delaney says the Warriors can do some things, but really it is more about them.   "They have a nice big guy inside that is about 6'5", 260, 270, so he is going to be a load.  I am assuming they are going to come out in a 2-3 zone  or a 1-3-1, so we need to be prepared to knock down some shots, but also affect that interior of that zone.  I haven't told the guys anything at all about Mohawk and we are really just focusing on us right now.  For us to be successful we have to be able to do the things we talked about defensively," said Delaney.

 

Published 12/23/14

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Wynford faces Tough Double Weekend

 

          After their first two games it looks liken the Wynford Royals have the kind of talent to compete in the new Northern 10 Athletic Conference, but we should know more after this weekend.

          Wynford downed Riverdale (73-67) and Ridgedale (94-87) in double overtime last week.  This week they play Colonel Crawford, #1 in the Swankonsports.com boys' basketball coaches in the small school division and preseason N10 favorite Carey.

          They got a late start to the season because of football and coach Mark Delaney says it was good to get out on the floor.  "It has been good to be able to start playing games and get out on a good start with this group.  This weekend is going to be a huge test to see where we were at from an execution standpoint," he said.

          The Royals have been able to put up the points and run the floor, but Delaney knows they are going to have to play better defense if they expect to win this weekend.  "We have some really nice shooters.  We have some good post play.  Our transition is pretty good, but we really need to start focusing on our defense and being able to get in our gaps and defend a lot better because there is going to be a time where we aren't going to shoot very well and our defense still needs to be there," he said.

          Colonel Crawford (4-0,1-0) beat Mohawk (66-26) in their N10 opener last Saturday and they also have a win over highly touted Plymouth this year.  Delaney says they can control the pace of the game.  "They are very good.  They are very well coached and we all know that.  The one thing I think that is different with them and other teams is they have a dynamic point guard and the fact that he controls the tempo so much," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "He doesn't force the drive when you try to speed him up.  If you back off him he shoots it really well too.  He is just very good at setting up their sets and controlling the tempo.  When you have a point guard like that it just changes the entire dynamic of the game."

          Carey (4-0,1-0) downed Upper Sandusky (67-59) in their league opener last week.  Delaney describes the Blue Devils as explosive.  "They can score very quickly.  They have long, athletic guards and that gives people trouble.  They have three guys that can get 20 plus every night or even all three of them can get 20 in one night.  It is going to be a tough weekend for us.  The one thing I can say about these kids is they accept this challenge," he said.

 

Published 12/17/14

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Wynford Starts With Riverdale

 

          Wynford has gotten off to a little bit of a late start to the boys' basketball season and their first game with be Thursday night as they host Riverdale in a non-conference game.

          Mark Delaney is in his first year as the Royals bench boss and he says they have been working hard in practice.  He admits they have been in kind of a rush to get ready for the season.  "We have had those five seniors that have come out of the football program that have brought some nice leadership to our program.  We have just been trying to get that rust off and find those skills and just have them learn my new system.  We didn't have a whole lot of time this summer with kids being unavailable.  This has been the first time I have been with everybody.  So, it has been a learning process for everybody," said Delaney.

          It can be hard to tell at this point in the season what a team's identity might be, but Delaney says this is a team that is going to have to work hard to win games.  "Right now our focus is we just want to try and outwork people and use our strength and athleticism.  Just make sure we get every 50/50 ball and every rebound, every loose ball, taking charges, and winning those games.  Just always put ourselves in a situation to have an opportunity at the end of the game to come out on top," he said.

          Riverdale, was once going to be a member of the N10, but has settled in with the expanded Blanchard Valley Conference.  Delaney says the Falcons have some guys that can play.  "The positive about starting a little bit late is we have had a chance to go out and see kids live.  I always think it is important to see people live just to see size and speed.  You really can't see that on "Huddle" or when you do film exchange.  So, it has been nice to be able to get out and see these opponents live.  Riverdale is a very good team," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "I think they beat us last year.  They like to shoot the three.  They have a real nice guard that is going to be tough to contain.  They have a real nice post player that can go inside, outside.  We definitely have our work cut out for us.  If we can limit them to just one shot and out and just try to control their shooters hopefully we can be in a good position at the end of the game."

 

Published 12/11/14

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Wynford Opens with Double Weekend

 

          Wynford is always one of the best small school girls' basketball teams in North Central Ohio and even though they are a little inexperienced that will be the case again this year.

          They open the season with New Riegel, also always good too, on Friday, and River Valley, a bigger school out of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, on Saturday, both at home.

          Coach Amy Taylor-Sheldon says they have come together slowly, but consistently this month and she thinks they are ready to go for this weekend.  "I think the best week was the last week we have had to tell you the truth.  I think it takes some time to figure out where your scoring is going to come from.  We lost almost 50 points a game.  I think it makes a big difference that we are trying to find our roles and see where things are going to come from and where are strengths and weaknesses are," she told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "You get a picture of that in the summer, but when you are practicing day in and day out and you start to scrimmage against other people in actual game situations you get a better picture of that.  I think especially this last week I have been real happy and I think we are ready to start the season."

          No one can argue with the success of the Wynford program and Taylor-Sheldon says they are very clear in what they want from their players before the season even starts.  "We take that very seriously and take pride in that.  Our kids know very specifically what there roles are.  Unfortunately for them maybe in our program they either except their role or they don't play.  I think they completely understand that.  We put it out on the table for everybody so there is no confusion on what everybody's role is.  Everything from who is the best defender to who is going to shoot the game winner and who we are running this set for.  We make it petty clear," she said.

          New Riegel qualified for the regionals in division four last year and River Valley has started to settle in and improved as a team.  Taylor-Sheldon knows they will be tested.  "We put New Riegel on our schedule two years ago in order to make our overall schedule better.  We won the first year, but we lost last year.  We know when we play them, win or lose, we are going to be a better team.  River Valley we have played every year since I started at Wynford 19 years ago.  We have played them the first weekend every year.  They have had some consistency in their coaching the last couple of years and have some nice athletes.  Unfortunately you don't get a chance to scout someone like River Valley before you play them.  You just have to play your "A" game and be ready to compete," said Taylor-Sheldon.

 

Published 11/27/14

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Wynford faces Unbeaten Tinora

 

          Both are very good teams as it is once beaten Wynford and undefeated Defiance Tinora on Friday night in the division six regional final at Ohio Northern University and that's the way it should be.

          Wynford advanced last week with a (25-15) win over Van Buren.  Coach Gabe Helbert says they were able to control some very athletic players with their defense.  "Going into that game we were very nervous about the skill level that they possessed at the skilled positions.  Their quarterback was a very affective player and they had some receivers on the outside that we were really concerned with.  Our defensive line, our front seven, really did a nice job trying to control the line of scrimmage.  Overall I though we just played a very solid defensive game," said Helbert.

          Wynford has not lost since the opening week of the regular season to still unbeaten Liberty-Benton (28-6) and Helbert says this has been just like another week at the office.  "It has been pretty much a regular week except for the weather.  We have told our kids really since week one that we want to kind of pat ourselves on the back when the season is over.  We don't want to get caught up in hearing the praise and this and that during the season.  We can do all of that later on after the season.  We try to keep it the same and as similar as possible the only thing is just reducing the amount of time we are on the practice field due to the time of year it is," he said.

          Tinora wiped out Spencerville (37-0) last week in semi-final play and the Rams have allowed double figures only twice this season.  On offense, they scored at last 37 points in their first nine games of the years.  Helbert says the Rams are what you would expect they would be.  "First and foremost they want to run the football.  They run it out of the wing-T.  That doesn't mean they are a one dimensional team because they have a quarterback with a very strong arm.  I believe they won the state in baseball last year and a lot of their kids look like baseball players, they are all pretty tall and lean," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "They do a lot of nice things offensively.  From a defensive standpoint they run a "50" defense, which we haven't seen in a number of weeks, so it will be a little different from a blocking standpoint for our offensive line.  Their front three kids are very good, they are big and physical.  They are what you expect in a team competing for a regional championship."

          Helbert says they have seem some wing-T this year, but Tinora runs it very well.  "This really the third team we have seen this year that is a wing-T based offense.  It is the second we have seen in the playoffs.  The are very similar to Delphos Jefferson from a blocking scheme standpoint as far as what they want to do.  I think it such an affective offense because it gives you a system.  Teams today so much want to chase what is vogue and popular out there in the college and pro game that they get away from it.  I know I am comfortable with us being able to run the wing-T and I am sure Defiance Tinora is very comfortable running the wing-T." he said.

          When it comes down to winning Helbert says they just have be the team that executes better on Friday night and if they can do that they will be right in it.  "It has been a grind throughout the season and how much energy do we have left in the tank?  I think our kids are still hungry and I don't think they are satisfied with where we are at.  We have said all along that we want to win our league and make the playoffs and we want to win a regional championship.  I think we thought going into the year that the region went through Tinora just based on what they have done in the past and who they had returning.  It is going to come down to who wants to play the best and execute their offense the best and who can minimize their mistakes." said Helbert.

 

Published 11/19/14

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Wynford Defense facing Big Test

 

          Wynford has relied on a very good defense this year, but it will be facing a tremendous challenge when they play Van Buren in the division six regional semi-finals at National Field in Tiffin on Friday night.

          The Black Knights have five times scored more than 40 points in a game, including in their playoff opener last week.

          The Royals (10-1) won their 10th straight game in beating Delphos Jefferson (29-12) in the quarterfinals last week.  Coach Gabe Helbert says they played well on both sides off the ball.  "I thought our kids played very hard.  We did the job offensively and defensively and we made enough plays to win," he said.

          Van Buren (9-2) outscored Lima Central Catholic (49-39) in a quarterfinal game last week.  Helbert says they are very balanced and have a lot of weapons.  "They are a tremendous football team.  I don't know if we have seen a more balanced team, a more physical team, since Liberty-Benton week one, which is our common opponent.  A great team out of the "BVC."  They play excellent football in the "BVC" they have had five teams in the playoffs this year," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "They are a very big challenge for us.  They are very balanced offensively.  They have five skilled kids that are as good as we have seen.  They are comparable to some of the best we have seen this year for sure."

          Van Buren is not a team that you can concentrate on either the run or pass, so Helbert says they have to be ready to react to everything.  "We have to be very fundamentally sound and certainly play our best game that we have played defensively all year.  We are certainly excited about the challenge.  Van Buren presents many of them," he said.

          Wynford has posted three shutouts this year and they came in their last four regular season games.

          Especially that is true of the defensive backs.  Helbert says they can't bite on the play action pass, but they have to be good tacklers too.  "You have to be fundamentally sound.  You have to do your job.  Our kids when they do throw it or they do run it have to come up and make the tackle," he said.

          The Royals have to do a good job of shutting down the Black Knights attack, but Helbert agrees they are going to score some points too if they want to win.  "We have done a nice job offensively all year kind of led by our quarterback Keaton Teynor.  We have done a nice job trying to get other kids involved from a run game standpoint.  We haven't always thrown it as much as maybe we could have, but when you run the ball as successfully as we have we are fortunate to get three or four kids involved from that standpoint," said Helbert.

 

Published 11/12/14

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Wynford Hosts Delphos Jefferson in Playoff Game

 

          The Northern 10 Athletic Conference champion Wynford Royals, on a nine game winning streak, will play host to Delphos Jefferson in regional quarterfinal game in division six on Friday night.

          It is the 13th time Wynford has been in the playoffs and the ninth time in the last 10 years.  They are 9-12 all-time in the post season and advanced to the state semis back in 2011.  So, they are kind of used to playing on week 11 and coach Gabe Helbert says things have been pretty normal around the program this week.  "I would say it was a normal week for the most part.  I guess the only difference is how dark it gets so early.  It seems like you are kind of fighting the clock from a daylight standpoint.  The kids have been pretty focused and I think we have had a pretty good week of practice as far as taking care of business and getting the game plan put in and things like that," said Helbert.

          Wynford has not lost since the opening week against Liberty-Benton and they have shut out their last three opponents in Tiffin Calvert, Buckeye Central and Bucyrus.  Helbert says they are prepared for Jefferson.  "We seem to be pretty healthy going into week 11, which is something that we are thankful for this late in the season.  I think kids have really bought into getting better week in and week out.  I think for the most part the coaches have done a really nice job of not really running them into the ground on the practice field and stuff like that, so that always helps as you progress through the season," he said.

          The Jefferson Wildcats (8-2) also have three shutouts in their last four games.  Helbert says like the Royals they are very good on defense.  "Obviously they are very good.  They are a playoff team.  They play a ton of kids and I think maybe that is the most impressive thing for a school their size.  They really only play two, three kids both ways which is very impressive to me.  From a defensive standpoint I think they run to ball as well as anyone we have seen," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "They just really, really get to the football and get to the ball carrier, so we are going to have to sustain blocks and things like that.  They are a very talented football team all of the way around.  They run the wing-T very well and that is a tough offense to stop.  We are definitely going to have top play assignment football on both sides of the ball."

          Jefferson's only losses come back to back to two playoff teams in Lima Central Catholic (37-20) and Convoy Crestview (27-14) in weeks five and six.  Helbert says they will have to be disciplined against the Jefferson wing-T.  "You have to be sound and you just have to do your job and know you have a job to do on every snap.  If they do their job we feel we are pretty strong as a team.  The way they run it and how fast they get to the line and get plays off is certainly a concern because they are very good at that," he said.

 

Published 11/07/14

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Wynford wants Title Outright

 

          Wynford has a share of the Northern 10 Athletic Conference football title, but they want it all to themselves and they will earn that with a victory on Friday night at Bucyrus.

          The Redmen and Carey trail Wynford by a game.

          They put together their second straight shutout last week when they blanked Buckeye Central (35-0) in an "N10" game.  Coach Gabe Helbert says they have been able to execute what they practice.  "Our kids did a nice job.  They played really hard and executed the game plan.  That is what we are looking for, a consistent effort.  We take care of the preparation during the week and then we just come out on Friday night and try to put the game plan together," said Helbert.

          The Royals (8-1,7-0) have an outstanding defensive line and Helbert says they have been able to occupy blockers and allow the defense to bottle teams up.  "Our defense has been very consistent and I think it starts with our defensive line.  We play four seniors and a junior across the defensive line.  They are very passionate about getting better. They work hard in practice everyday," he said.

          Plus, Wynford has been able to adjust on defense based on what they might see on a particular Friday night.  "We have the ability to try and adjust to what they are giving you if they are doing something different than what you prepared for, what you saw on film.  Fortunately we have a very veteran staff on the defensive side of the ball that helps with that," said Helbert.

          Against Buckeye quarterback Keaton Teynor had another big game with 131 yards rushing and 153 yards passing.  Helbert says the offense has really matured.  "We try to be as balanced as we possibly can.  I think our offense has done a good job with that.  We have been balanced with who carries it when we run the ball.  We have continued to develop that aspect of the game," he told Swankonsports.com, " Keaton has done a good job all year in his first year as a full time starter at the quarterback position.  I think he has gotten better every week.  He had a very good game Friday as threw for over 100 and rushed for over 100.  When we get that effort out of him we feel good about what we can do offensively."

         Bucyrus (6-2,6-1) is led by quarterback Cole Murtiff, in his third year as a starting quarterback, and a double threat at the position.  Helbert says Murtiff is the total package.  "He is very good.  When you complete 75 percent of your passes at the high school level that is very impressive.  They run a very nice offensive system that allows him to get the ball to receivers quickly and he runs the ball very affectively.  They have good skilled players returning from last year, they are dangerous, it is not surprising that they have had so much success offensively.  They lost a lot of people from last year on their offensive and defensive line, but the kids they brought back have really stepped up and then the younger guys have really done a nice job," said Helbert.

          The Wynford coach says they are not interested in sharing the title with Bucyrus.  "We have a chance to win an outright Northern 10 championship.  It is something we definitely want to do.  Our goal has never been to share the conference title.  We have chance to do that on the field on Friday night.  We told our kids we control our own destiny," he said.

 

Published 10/28/14

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Wynford Can Accomplish a Goal

 

          Wynford is one step away from goal number one as they host Buckeye Central on Friday night with a chance to earn no less than a share of the Northern 10 Athletic Conference title.

          The Royals blew out a very good Tiffin Calvert team that leads its computer region (48-0) last week in non conference play.  Gabe Helbert says again they were very good an executing their game plan.  "I thought we played very well against Tiffin Calvert.  I thought our kids did a great job executing the game.  I thought we played very fast and very physical.  I don't know if we thought the score would be like that.  I though we really executed the game plan offensively and defensively and it definitely led us to having a big win," he said.

          Buckeye Central (4-4,3-3) is at Wynford (7-1,6-0) on Friday night for a contest in the "N10."  The Bucks lost to Colonel Crawford (39-30), but Helbert says the Bucks quarterback Grant Loy, who threw for over 300 yards in the loss, is outstanding.  "They are throwing the ball well.  They had run the ball a lot, but the last two weeks they have really thrown the ball well.  Grant Loy is a kid on film that I have been as impressed as anybody I have seen and maybe anyone I have seen in a while.  He has a very live arm.  He has a powerful arm, he has huge hands," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "You can see in the way he fakes and handles the football that he is a very talented football player.  He is a guy without a lot of football experience because he lost all of last year.  He is dangerous, last week he threw the ball 30 some times very affectively so we will have to take him into account."

          Where Buckeye has had it problems a little bit lately has been on defense where they have allowed 39 to Crawford, 48 to Bucyrus and 35 to Carey.  Helbert says those are pretty good teams.  "They have two nice inside linebackers that run really well.  They are relatively inexperienced on the defensive line and that can always cause you issues I suppose.  I wouldn't say they are struggling overall they have played some pretty good teams the last couple of weeks.  Defensively they definitely have kids that can run.  They are inexperienced along the defensive line, but they are big body kids and that always helps," he said.

          It will be the final home game of the regular season for the Royals and Helbert says there is a lot at stake.  "It is certainly a rivalry game being a county and league opponent, but more so for our kids it is our seniors last home game, which is a very special thing for them.  This is a championship game for us if we win we share part of the league and that is our ultimate goal to win our league.  That is a big thing for our kids and our kids are focused on that," he said.

 

Published 10/24/14

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Win over Calvert Would be Big For Wynford

 

          As good as Wynford has been this season, with six wins in a row, and first place in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference, they are still just eighth, or right on the edge, in their playoff region.

          A win this week at Tiffin Calvert (6-1), first in their region, would be a big boost toward the post season.

          Wynford pounded Seneca East (60-7) in an "N10" game last week and coach Gabe Helbert says they have been playing consistently, something that can be elusive even for good teams.  "The last few weeks we have played very consistent and I thought our effort was really good.  I think the kids are doing their best to get better every day in practice.  I think it shows in our games on Friday, but we definitely have a challenge in front of us this week," he said.

          Calvert is led by the play of senior quarterback Taylor Long and Helbet says they will put him anywhere on the field.  "They have an excellent quarterback and they play him all over the place, so it makes it a little more difficult to pin him down.  They play him as a tailback in the backfield, they play him in the slot as a receiver and then he lines up at quarterback.  He is all over the place.  As good of quarterback and offensive player that he is he is probably even a better defensive player," said Helbert.

          Long is the kind of player that you have to be aware of where he is at all times.  Helbert says where he is many times dictates what Calvert is going to try and do on offense.  "I think you have to identify where he is at because he is such a talented player and has the ability to take it the distance at and given time.  I think our defense has top be aware of where he is at on the field," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "Anytime you move a kid around you create tendencies off of that.  Hopefully we have some idea of what they like to do depending on where he lines up.  They have some other weapons offensively that we will have to be aware of."

          Wynford (6-1) has been pilling up the points on offense as of late and Helbert says they hopes they can score against Calvert and at the same time keep the ball away from the Senecas offense.  "Our number one goal is to try and maintain the line of scrimmage and we will certainly have to do that against them to be successful offensively, but also to keep the ball out of their offenses hands because they are dangerous," he said.

          Last year, Wynford missed the playoffs for the first time in nine years and Helbert says they understand the importance of Friday night's game at Calvert.  "It is huge for us from that standpoint.  Our second goal is to make the playoffs and to play a team with only one loss is a big thing for us, especially from a computer points standpoint.  That definitely adds to the importance of the game.  I think our kids understand that and we will have to go out and try to play our best," said Helbert.

 

Published 10/16/14

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"N10" Leaders Head to Seneca East

 

          Wynford leads the pack in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference as they take their act to Seneca East to play the Tigers on Friday night.

          Keaton Teynor threw for 274 yards and six touchdowns in a (62-6) romp over winless Crestline last week.  Coach Gabe Helbert says they made themselves prepared for the game last week in practice.  "Our kids did a real nice job and I thought our kids did stay focused during the entire week of practice.  I thought we handled business like we needed to Friday night against Crestline.  Hopefully we can do the same thing this week," he said.

          Helbert believes they have consistently been working hard at getting better this season and he says he can see that when they hit the practice field.  "Good teams, and teams that want to great, have to work every week to get better.  That focus has to be there.  We always try to explain to our seniors how fast the season goes and how fast their senior year goes.  It's hard to believe it is week seven.  For the most part I think our kids have been focused and hopefully they are working hard every day to get better and have that goal in mind," said Helbert.

          Wynford (5-1,5-0) takes a five game winning streak to Attica this week and Helbert says even though they haven't won a game yet, the Tigers have some kids that can do some things on offense.  "They have been very good on offense.  I know they haven't won a game yet and that is kind of weird to say.  The quarterback is dangerous.  They have some receivers that are dangerous.  From a scheme standpoint they give you a lot of different formations," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "Our defense has to make sure they lineup and communicate, if we don't we could definitely have some breakdowns.  I think because of the formations they give you and they athlete they have at quarterback they have been successful at putting up numbers offensively.  Our defense has to ready to go and definitely communicate."

          Wynford beat two of the better teams in the "N10" in Colonel Crawford and Carey early in the season and still have Buckeye Central and Bucyrus to play.  Helbert says there focus has to be there no matter who they are playing.  "I think every week is a focus game whether you are playing an 0-6 team or a 6-0 team whatever the case may be our kids have to focus on the task at hand.  We would love for them to play every single game like it is their best regardless of who they are playing.  We want our kids to focus on the little things everyday in practice and certainly Friday on game day," he said.

 

Published 10/10/14

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Wynford Must Get Better

 

          Wynford is in first place in the N10 football standings and they are not about to give it up easily.

          They do have rivals Bucyrus and Buckeye Central left on their schedule and they are also unbeaten in the N10, but this week the Royals host winless Crestline.

          They hammered Mohawk (49-7) last week when quarterback Keaton Teynor ran for 159 yards and threw for 114, scoring three times.  Coach Gabe Helbert says the kids went out and did what they were coached to do.  "I thought our kids played very hard.  They played very hard on both sides of the ball.  They executed the plan that we thought would give us the best opportunity.  I am definitely proud of our kids for that," he said.

          The Royals (4-1,4-0) have won four straight games and Helbert believes they are getting better every week.  "I think we have gotten better from a balance standpoint offensively.  We threw the ball more affectively on Friday night.  I thought we did a better job of getting kids involved.  You can only hope that you are getting better," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "Ultimately when you get tested throughout the year you get those questions answered.  I thought we answered some questions on Friday night and played a solid football game against I know it's a winless Mohawk team, but they were a quality opponent."

          The defense has been consistent all season, but Helbert says the offense has improved a lot because they are now able to run and pass.  "We started the year with a senior at quarterback that had started some at quarterback and had some experience.  Keaton has done a great job of getting better," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "As he has gotten better I think our offense as a whole has gotten better.  We have done a pretty good job week to week of getting more kids involved and getting more balance and that something we are going to continue to strive to do."

          Crestline (0-5,0-3) has struggled this year.  They gave up 42 points in the first quarter last week to Carey in (62-0) loss in the conference play.  Helbert says they have some good players, just not enough of them at this point.  "The one thing they do have is a nice athlete at the quarterback position in the Cook kid, just a sophomore.  He is a good built kid probably 6'3" 180, 185 pounds.  He does stand out.  Right know they don't have tons around him to help.  They do have some other kids that are athletic.  They have also struggled for a just staying healthy standpoint.  We you are working with a limited roster to begin with that is a challenge.  They are doing some very nice things on film.  From our standpoint we have to work hard on us this week and get better and keep that as our main focus," said Helbert.

 

Published 9/30/14

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Wynford Not Expecting Letdown Against Mohawk

 

          Wynford put themselves in the catbird seat in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference after big win over Carey last week.

          The Royals (4-0,3-0) edged Carey (14-13) in a game between two of the contenders in the league last Friday.  Coach Gabe Helbert says despite some mistakes they were able to hold off the Blue Devils.  "It was a very good win for us.  It was just another step in the process as far as us winning the league.  I thought our kids were very resilient in overcoming five turnovers.  We found a way to win or found a way not to lose, I'm not sure which.  I don't know what it was, but we got out of there with a "W," said Helbert.

          They also beat Colonel Crawford (41-10) on week three of the season and that put them in a share of the conference lead with Bucyrus, but Helbert says it is a long season.  "We play a very good Mohawk team this week, their record is very deceiving.  They are as talented team as we have played in the league.  Their running back/quarterback is an exceptional talent and we are going to have our hands full with them," he said.

          Mohawk (0-4,0-3) has lost to some good team like Marion Pleasant (48-6), Colonel Crawford (47-14), Carey (21-13) and Bucyrus (20-19) this year.  Helbert says quarterback Gunnar Johnson very difficult to contain.  "Teams have had a difficult time containing him this year.  We know we are going to have to try and do out best with him.  He is very good.  I think he rushed for close to 1,800 yards last year and he is doing the same thing this year.  He is as good a player as we have seen on film," said Helbert.

          The Warriors have given up some points this year, but Helbert says when you look at who they have played their defense has preformed pretty well.  "When you look at the teams they have played.  They have done a very nice job against all of the teams they have played.  Marion Pleasant is an excellent team and Mohawk really did a nice job containing their run game," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, "Pleasant made some plays in the pass game.  They have played a very tough schedule to this point.  They have been very competitive against some very good teams."

          Wynford and Mohawk are in the same league for the first time in nearly 30 years, but they have kept the relationship together by playing a non conference game.  Helbert thinks it is good that the Warriors come up in this position on their schedule.  "It is nice to come off that Carey game and have Mohawk because that is a team we are familiar with.  The kids are excited to play Mohawk because it's a natural rival.  You have teams form adjoining school districts.  Our kids will be excited to play them and I'm sure their kids will be too," he said.

 

Published 9/23/14

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Wynford and Carey in Key Early Season N10 Match-up

 

          Early in the season Wynford and Carey have played as well as anyone in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference and they play each other in a key game on Friday night at Carey.

          Wynford (2-1) held Colonel Crawford, one of the other contenders, to just 167 yards of total offense last week and waxed the Eagles (41-10) in an outstanding performance.  Coach Gabe Helbert says his players were very focused.  "I thought our kids played really well.  I thought they executed the game plan we had put in place and did really nice job of that.  We have a huge task in front of this Friday for sure," he said.

          They have been playing some pretty good defense all season and Helbert says that's because they have good talent.  "We feel that our interior two kids are really good.  Both are returning players, so we are fortunate to have both of those kids back.  I think our front seven for most part runs to the ball well.  Our kids did a nice job on Friday of staying in their coverage lanes and when the ball was in the air attack the football and we were fortunate to have two interceptions, which is huge in a big game, so I thought our defense played very well," said Helbert.

          Carey (3-0) comes in off a (21-13) win over rival Mohawk last week and they have also beaten Upper Sandusky (35-14) and Riverdale (61-0) on week two.  Helbert says they have some big play guys.  "Carey has beaten three pretty quality teams.  Mohawk and Upper Sandusky being quality teams year in and year out.  They have experience, they have very athletic kids, they have good offensive and defensive linemen, but what jumps out on film is they are athletes and they have very good athletes at key positions," he said.

          Tackling, of course, is one of the key elements in football and Helbert says they must tackle well against the Blue Devils.  "We can't allow big plays, we are going to do are best to avoid them.  On film we have seen where the defense does a nice job and one of their kids makes a big play, that's their athleticism.  We have to eliminate that as much as possible.  They have very nice kids and a scheme that they run that you don't see everyday, so that is going to be a challenge as well," he said.

          It is only week four, week three in the league, but Helbert says a win Friday night would be huge for them.  "I know the media picked Carey to win the league and I know they had us and Crawford up there and the fact that we play those schools early has a lot of people talking.  It is our next step in the process.  If we want to win the league we know we have to play very well on Friday night to beat an excellent Carey team," he said.

 

Published 9/17/14

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Wynford has to Limit Mistakes

 

          One of the games that will end up determining the winner of the new Northern 10 Athletic Conference this year will be played on Friday night in North Robinson as Wynford is at Colonel Crawford.

          Both won their conference openers last week as Crawford beat Mohawk (47-14) and Wynford belted Ridgedale (61-0) last Friday.

          Wynford amassed more than 400 yards of offense and scored all 61 of its points in the first half last week versus Ridgedale.  Coach Gabe Helbert says did what they had too, but they really weren't pushed.  "We were definitely pleased with the execution.  From a learning standpoint we hope we did correct some mistakes from week one, but obviously the opponent wasn't the week one opponent either.  We are going to get a better test from a very good Colonel Crawford team this Friday night for sure," he said.

          Colonel Crawford was co-champion of the former North Central Conference last year and won a division title in the "NCC" two years ago.  Helbert says the Eagles have built quite a tradition.  "Coach Teglovic has done a great job and they are very well coached.  They do nice things offensively and defensively.  They have nice kids too and nice talent all the way around the football field defensively and offensively.  They are very fast and their skilled positions probably jump out more than anything, but their offensive and defensive lines are pretty good as well," said Helbert.

          Will Kirkpatrick has taken over as the quarterback at Colonel Crawford and Helbert says the junior has done a pretty solid job.  "He does a really nice job.  He is athletic and can run the football and well as throw it.  They have done a really nice job of building a system there.  He has been part of that system, he has ran it, and certainly had a lot of practice last year doing it.  He has stepped right in an has done an excellent job to this point.  he is dangerous because he can run or pass," he said.

          To win this early season match-up Helbert says they can't make a lot of mistakes and they have to be the more physical team at the point of attack.  "I think it boils down to what most football games do.  We have to do what we need to do to control the line of scrimmage.  We have to win the turnover battle, we always want to do that.  We have to play smart football, we have to execute better and we have to be more disciplined from a standpoint of penalties and things like that.  I think last year when we played them we had too many penalties and we can't have that against a good team like Colonel Crawford.  We have to play a very good football game," he said.

 

Published 9/12/14

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Wynford Wants to Get Offense Going

 

          Wynford did some good things, especially on defense, but their offense wasn't very good in their opener against Liberty-Benton.  They must be more productive going forward.

          They host Ridgedale in a Northern 10 game on Friday night.

          Coach Gabe Helbert says Liberty-Benton was a tough nut to crack.  "We definitely knew it was going to be a tough one.  Liberty-Benton is a very good football team and they have a lot of good players.  We knew the Combs kid was going to be a load and he definitely was.  Their quarterback Craft was very effective as well.  I don't know that we felt they were 28-6 better than us, but they definitely played that way that night and that is a credit to them and a credit to their coaches.  Coach Nichols does a great job and they are good at what they do.  Their defensive staff is impressive too.  I thought they had a tremendous game plan from a defensive standpoint," said Helbert.

          After watching the tape of the game Helbert says their kids never gave up and that bodes well for the future.  "We learned that our kids will play with tremendous effort.  They clawed the entire game.  I know it sounds funny to hear that with a 28-to-6 loss.  Our defense didn't give up a score after midway through the second quarter," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "We have to be more disciplined.  We had five penalties before the ball was snapped, which is something you can never do especially against a team that is as good as Liberty-Benton.  We also have to work hard to execute from an offensive standpoint.  To put up six points isn't acceptable for what we want to do and what our goals are."

          Ridgedale (0-1) was blown out by Marion Elgin (34-0) last Thursday.  However, Helbert says the Rockets have some size and athleticism.  "It kind of jumps out to you that they have some decent size.  Their line is pretty good size.  Both of their backs are pretty good size.  They are a team that is struggling from a numbers standpoint,  Anytime you get more numbers it is probably going to benefit you more.  In the scrimmage we have and the Elgin game I thought they played hard.  They had two fourth down stops to try and get some momentum going their way.  They are just having problems generating any offense.  It was very similar to what we did against Liberty-Benton," said Helbert.

          Most conferences start league play on the fourth week, but with the N10 it is this week.  Helbert says they have to be ready.  "The fact that it is the start of the Northern 10 is exciting and our kids are excited about it.  It is our number one goal to win the league and the fact that it is week two you better be ready.  The old adage is, coach's speak, that you get your biggest jump between weeks one and two.  We hope we are growing in the right direction," he said.

 

Published 9/03/14

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Royals Open with Always Good Liberty-Benton

 

          After Friday, Wynford will certainly know what they need to do to become a better football team.  They play at home against state small school power Liberty-Benton in a non-conference game.

          Coach Gebe Helbert says with that first game there are always surprises.  "From a coaching standpoint it is just the great unknown.  You think you know who your kids are an you try and prepare them and all of those things, but you don't really know until that whistle blows on Friday night and you see how those kids respond when the lights are on.  We are excited to have a home opener," he said.

          In football you want to be excited to play, but Helbert says you can't be too pumped up.  "If you are just seeing red and you are blind to what your job is you are too pumped up.  I think we just try to get our kids to as mentally and physically prepared as we can.  I don't know if we are a big rah! rah! team.  I guess football has the reputation of being pumped up with the big fiery pregame speech.  We try to keep everything as standard week to week as we can so there is some familiarity and the kids can just go out an execute," said Helbert.

          They want to be able to throw the ball too, but Helbert says to be successful the Royals have to be able to run the ball.  "You look at our state champions every single year with a very, very small exceptions, the Kentons and Mentors are very few and far between.  You are going to have to run the football in Ohio to win consistently," he told Swankonsports.com, "Teams today are trying to spread you out, but they still trying to run the football by trying to reduce the numbers in the box.  You look at successful college coaches and even Chip Kelly in the NFL they are trying to spread you out to run the ball.  We are no different, we try to do things that are successful."

          Helbert says he believes this is a team that can be pretty good on defense.  He says they have a lot of good players on that side of the ball.  "I really like our interior two players, they are both returning starters.  One is going to be a three year starter for us on both sides of the ball.  I have been pleasantly surprised by the kids at the defensive end positions  We are a little young at the linebacker spots, but two of the three are returning starters, one started as a sophomore.  Unfortunately our mic linebacker, who would have been a two-year starter was injured for the season on a play in our scrimmage versus Marion Pleasant and that was a major blow to our football team.  We will get that figured out.  I really like our secondary I think the kids back there can run.  Overall this is pretty good athletic bunch," said Helbert.

          It seems Liberty-Benton is in the playoffs every year.  It's actually eight times, all since 2003.  Helbert says they will tough to beat.  "Liberty-Benton when you look at small school football in the state of Ohio that is certainly one of the teams that sticks out.  They have been so consistent, a playoff team year in and year out.  They were a playoff team last year.  They return an excellent running back in the Combs kid.  They have a Kraft at quarterback that is a 6'5", 6'6" kid, who can run the football as well as throw it.  They are very good defensively, they return three linebackers and to interior guys that are good.  We enjoy playing to notch programs like Liberty-Benton," said Helbert.

 

Published 8/25/14

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Wynford Moving Along Nicely

 

          Wynford expects to contend for the first ever football title in the Northern 10 Conference this year and so far thing are looking pretty good during preseason camp for the Royals.

          Coach Gabe Helbert, in his third year as the Royals head coach, says they have worked hard and continued to get better.  “I thought so far we have practiced with great effort.  I think the kids have really worked hard to get better.  We scrimmaged Marion Pleasant on Saturday and I thought we scrimmaged hard.  I thought the kids played physical and that’s what we asked them to do,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “Marion Pleasant in a real good team and I thought did a decent job holding our own.  So far we have done a decent job, but we still have room for improvement and we have to take advantage of the time we have left before we open the season.”

          The final tune up for the regular season for the Royals will be on Friday when they take on River Valley, a playoff team a year ago, and Helbert says after the preseason they certainly are going to know if they are ready.  “I think when you look at our two scrimmages we certainly set ourselves up to be tested with Marion Pleasant and then we turn around on Friday and we go to River Valley.  So, two teams that have pretty good football traditions.  River Valley was an 11-1 football team last year and I know they have had some good young kids.  We just want to get through the preseason healthy,” he said.

          There were some concerns on the defensive line to begin the season, but Helbert has been pleasantly surprised with the kind of play they have seen there so far.  “I think to this point we have been happy with how our defensive ends have played.  We lost two because we moved one kid inside.  We are kind of happy where they are at.  We have done a nice job from the backfield standpoint.  Both backs have stepped up to take on a greater role and we have been happy with that.  I would say those two things stand out to me more so than anything else,” said Helbert.

          Wynford opens the season against always good Liberty-Benton on August 29 and Helbert says to be ready they have to continue to be more consistent in their play.  “I would say consistency.  I think every single day we are trying to get more and more consistent, consistent in our rules of blocking from an offensive line standpoint, consistent from a defensive standpoint that we are doing our job.  How physical are we going to play when the time comes Friday against Liberty-Benton.  Those things stand out kind of like they do every year,” he said.

 

Published 8/19/14

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Wynford Expecting Good Things

 

          Last fall, Wynford did not make the postseason playoffs for first time since 2004, but this year the Royals are part of a new league and they have the kind of personnel to compete for the trophy.

          Preseason practice began last Friday and coach Gabe Helbert likes what he sees from his players, especially their work ethic.  “We are really excited for the season to get started.  The kids have worked really hard.  The kids have brought energy every day to practice and at this point in the game that is really what we are looking for that energy and that desire to be willing to learn and the kids have done that,” he said.

          In the first days of practice Helbert says they have been working on reviewing the basics of their offense and defense.  “We are just kind of reinstalling what we installed in our 10 days in July.  Defensively the scheme that we are running is very similar to the scheme we have been running for a long time.  We are trying to reinforce the rules of the offense and the rules of the defense,” he added.

          Wynford has been a winning program and you don’t fix something that isn’t broken.  Helbert says what fans have seen in the past is what they are going to see this year in most cases.  “We haven’t changed a lot since about 1994 when Chris Hawkins came to Wynford.  We are very similar from a scheme standpoint we may do a few things different in alignment and formations, but ultimately it is the same blocking schemes and the same blocking rules.  So, we just try to get better at those every day with their assignments and what they have to do,” he said.

          There are some kids back who have played a lot of football for Wynford over the last couple of seasons and that has Helbert pretty excited about the upcoming season.  “We bring back a lot of experience.  We bring back three of our five offensive linemen back.  We have the center and both guards back and you want to be strong in the middle of your offense.  We have a kid that played a fair amount for us at quarterback in Keaton Teynor.  He finished a playoff game as a sophomore.  He started two games last year and beat an undefeated Galion team as our quarterback,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We return some of our backs that carried the ball.  We return one of our receivers.  Defensively we feel pretty good about who we return.  We have to find some depth in the defensive end position.  Ultimately we have seven starters back on defense.”

          Wynford, along with Colonel Crawford, Buckeye Central, Bucyrus, and Crestline from the former North Central Conference, Carey, Mohawk and Seneca East from the former Midland Athletic League, and Ridgedale, who left the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, have formed the Northern 10.  Helbert says they have some good background on most of the league.  “A lot of the same that we are very familiar with.  Fortunately for us with the new we have played Mohawk every year since I have been at Wynford.  We have scrimmaged Seneca East every year since I have been at Wynford, so those are two programs that we are very familiar with.  We have never had to game plan for Seneca East, but at least we kind of understand what they do and a little bit about who they are.  I would say the biggest teams out there that we know nothing about would be Carey and Ridgedale.  I know Carey has a real good senior group coming back.  I look for the league to be very competitive with nice athletes all over the place.  Bucyrus has a very explosive and dynamic quarterback that really can change the game by himself.  Crawford has a lot of good athletes returning. So it will definitely be a challenge for us,” said Helbert.

 

Published 8/06/14

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Delaney New Basketball Coach at Wynford

 

          Former Clear Fork basketball star and Fredericktown coach Mark Delaney has been named the new boys' basketball coach at Wynford High School.

          He replaces veteran coach Steve Mohr, who resigned due to health concerns.

          Delaney says the Wynford job was really one that would be on the top of the list of jobs he dreamed about.  "To be honest the Wynford job has always been the job if it ever came open and I had the opportunity that I would apply for it.  It is such a great basketball town, and has such great tradition, that someone that is a basketball junkie like myself would just be honored and humbled to be part of that," said Delaney.

          Wynford has a storied tradition that includes two state tournament appearances under hall of fame coach Rob Sheldon, and numerous district and regional appearances.  Delaney knows there will be pressure to win.  "There should be.  They take a lot of pride in their basketball program.  I love that challenge.  I am a competitor myself and put a lot of pressure on myself.  I thirst for that, and want that, those expectations for myself and for the coaching staff, for the players and the community," he said.

          Wynford has had losing seasons in the last two after 22 straight winning seasons.  They were (7-15) last season, but Delaney says he doesn't really care what the players have done before.  "The big thing in the two other jobs I took, I don't like to talk to former coaches, or community members, about the players.  I think it's a great opportunity for them to start over.  So, I have met them, but I have not seen them play.  So, I have a lot of time to evaluate them, and get to know them personally as well," said Delaney.

          Mark was a member of a state title team himself as player at Clear Fork in 2002 and is a member of the Clear Fork Valley Athletic Hall of Fame.

          June is right around the corner and Delaney, who led Fredericktown to a Mid-Buckeye Conference title in 2012-2013 before taking the athletic director's job at Heath, understands that is an important time for basketball teams.  "High school sports has gone to a 10 month activity.  We have those 28 days right after the last game of our season and the dead period in the fall, right at the beginning of school," he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "So, getting into the weight room and refining our fundamentals is a big part of June and July.  The big thing will be just trying to build the relationships with the kids and get to know them personally and what do they like to do and kind of go from there."

 

Published 5/21/14

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Wynford Ready For the Tournament

 

          With the North Central Conference baseball title already in hand the Wynford Royals are set to take on Kansas Lakota in the division three sectional finals Thursday at Wynford, or maybe Friday or Saturday depending on what Mother Nature decides.

          With players ready to go and play some tournament baseball, Wynford coach Jon Amicone says they have to show some mental toughness.  "I think this spring has really tested the kids in talking to coaches around the area it has really been a trying spring.  It's hard to get rotations set and get kids in groves.  I think all of the players around the area have really had trouble with the weather.  It is something you have to deal with.  It is all about mental preparation.  At this time of the year you know you can't have any set backs to dieter you from your ultimate goal.  (Wednesday) we were able to get outside a little bit and throw the baseball, get into our cage, but unfortunately we couldn't get on our field.  You can do what you can do, but I think all teams struggle with it.  That's baseball in Ohio," said Amicone.

          Not having played since Monday, Amicone says they can set their pitching rotation up for the tournament the way they want to.  "We were fortunate to get games in on Friday and Monday and get the first goal out of the way, which was obviously the league.  Now we can focus on the tournament.  Our last game was Monday, so it's all hands on deck for the tournament and we think we have our rotation in place.  We are going to start with our senior Alec Miller," he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "He has been a good player for us.  He has pitched a lot of good games for us, quality innings, his whole career, so we feel really confident about him.  Then we have a couple of kids to go behind him.  We feel really confident with the kind of competitors we have on the mound.  They are well rested and mentally into it right now."

          Kansas Lakota has been a very competitive team in the Midland Athletic League losing a tough (2-1) to league champion Seneca East.  Amicone says they have great respect for their number one starter Nick Watts.  "We got a chance to go scout them and I'm telling you they have a nice number one pitcher, a kid by the name of Nick Watts.  His ERA is just a little over 1.00 at 1.05.  I'm impressed with his ability to pitch.  He's a pitcher, he's just not a thrower, he throws hard, he locates.  Not only does he have a nice fastball with good velocity he can locate it in, out, down, up and compliments it with a real nice curveball to keep kids off balance.  It is going to be a nice challenge for our hitters against him because he is one of the best I have seen this year," said Amicone.

 

Published 5/15/14

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Wynford Claims "NCC" Title

 

          This season Wynford won the games they were supposed to win and some that people thought they might not and that earned them a North Central Conference baseball title.

          They put it away with an (11-6) win at Riverdale on Monday.

          Coach Jon Amicone says at the beginning of the season they set a goal of winning the conference and the kids went out and did just that.  "It has been seven years since Wynford has been able to win an "NCC" championship.  We sat down at the beginning of the year in our first meeting with coaches and players and laid out our goals and expectations and at the top, number one, was to win the "NCC."  We brought back eight seniors from last year team and we thought if we played the game the right way and played hard and played together we would give ourselves an opportunity to win," he said.

          The Royals (14-7,12-2) where not a team putting up a lot of crooked numbers on the scoreboard or throwing shutouts, but Amicone says they did all the little things and they did them every day and they beat the preseason favorites.  "Galion and Upper have earned that with many years of playing good baseball, but I knew going into this year that "NCC" was extremely tight.  I think there is more parity in "NCC" baseball than any other male sport.  I truly believe that.  We thought we would have a good chance to win it if we played consistent baseball.  I told the kids that I thought the most consistent team would give themselves a chance to win.  I think we have played pretty consistently," he told Swankonsports.com on Monday after the win, "We aren't a team that is going to hit the ball really well.  I know we are at the bottom of the league in hitting with a middle of the league ERA, but we have been able to hang our hat on throwing strikes and playing good defense.  That is the way we are going to play and we were very fortunate and I was extremely proud that we were able to win a championship doing it our way."

          Like many good teams the Royals pitchers have not put a lot of extra guys on the bases with walks.  Amicone says they stress to their guys the importance of throwing strikes.  "That is what we stress to our pitchers that we want to pound the strike zone.  It is no secret and other teams know that about us.  Out number one rule with our pitchers is we want to get the count to 0-1.  That is something we want to hold onto.  Our second rule is to get two strikes in the first three pitches.  Once you are ahead in the count you can do so many more things.  When you are behind in the count you have to show them the fastball or walk people, but when you are ahead in the count it is such an advantage for pitchers.  We continue to stress to our pitchers to pound the strike zone," said Amicone.

          Wynford is now ready for tournament play as they will play host to Kansas Lakota of the Midland Athletic League in a division three sectional final on Thursday.

 

Published 5/13/14

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Wynford Relishes the Underdog Role

 

          For the second straight year the Wynford Lady Royals will play Columbus Africentric in the girls' division three regional semi-finals.  They almost pulled off the seemingly impossible last year, this time they just need a few more breaks to go there way.

          Wynford (18-6) plays Africentric in the division three regional semi-finals at Lexington High School on Wednesday night.

          The Lady Royals beat Oak Harbor (40-37) on a three pointer from near half court at the horn by Mehgan Harrer.  Coach Amy Taylor-Sheldon, in her 18th  year at Wynford, winning more girls games than any coach in North Central Conference history, says wins like that never get old.  "The kids really enjoy it.  I know they have watched that buzzer beater about 50 times a piece and that never gets old," he said.

          Last year, Wynford controlled the pace, holding the ball for six minutes in the third quarter, before losing (34-27) in the end.  Taylor-Sheldon says they will be facing basically the same players.  "They are same team we played last year accept they replaced their 6'1", division three player of the year, that went to Cincinnati, with a 6'3" center from Lake Ridge Academy, who is going to Ohio State, so I would say that is a pretty good replacement," she told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, "All of the guards are the same, the same type of tempo, the same excellent defense.  There are a lot of things that we can expect, but they are a different team too and that is something we need to prepare for."

          If they are going to be able to control the tempo again on Wednesday, Taylor-Sheldon says her team will have to handle the ball without a lot of turnovers.  "They are fast, athletic and really good with the ball, especially attacking the basket and on the ball defense.  They can smother your without even putting a hand on you.  I think that will be our biggest challenge is to run an offense.  I think we will do our best to contain them on defense, but for us to try and execute what we want and not be frustrated or intimidated by on the ball pressure will be the difference maker for us," says Taylor-Sheldon.

          Defense is going to be critical too.  Taylor-Sheldon says they can't allow the Lady Nubians to do whatever they want with the ball.  "That's what we try to do defensively too.  We don't want them to be able to run what they want.  They want to run a lot of transition and they run most of their stuff through their 6'3" center, so we are going to try and do our best to keep the ball out of her hands and see how that works out," she said.

          There probably aren't very many people outside of Crawford County that are giving Wynford much of a chance to win, most of the Africentric players couldn't find Wynford on a map.  Taylor-Sheldon says they just want to hang around and hopefully the Lady Nubians get a little tight.  "They said in the first article in the "Columbus Dispatch" that they wanted to go to the state championship.  They have been there in seven of maybe the last nine years, something like that.  They have been in the last two state championship games against Anna, won one and lost one.  Their final goal is to win the state championship.  Most schools in division three aren't  looking for something like that.  Most of us don't have the athletes that are similar to "AAU" teams to compete with.  We just do the best we can with what we have and prepare as well as we can," said Taylor-Sheldon.

 

Published 3/05/14

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Wynford Tips Off tournament Against New London

 

          North Central Conference co-champion Wynford starts tournament play on Saturday night as they face New London in the division three sectional finals at Shelby High School.

          The Lady Royals (16-6) started the season by winning 15 of their first 18 games, but they lost to Mansfield Madison (53-45), Riverdale (42-29) and Willard (53-48) down the stretch.  That has coach Amy Taylor-Sheldon a little concerned, but she says she believes they will be ready to play on Saturday night.  "We have lost our last three out of four, which certainly isn't encouraging, but those were against teams that should help us improve.  We have had a couple of injuries, not that that is an excuse, but our bench has been thin.  We played an 18-3 Willard to five.  It is one of those things where I think we will be ready.  I hope we take these two days to get healthy and be ready to play New London," she said.

          New London (12-9) beat fellow Firelands Conference foe Western Reserve (33-27) in semi-final play on Tuesday.  Taylor-Sheldon says they really have some talented players.  "I think it is one those things where they certainly have some skilled and talented players.  Kelly Norrod is probably and under estimated player.  As a tall athlete she can play inside and outside.  The point guard is probably one of the quickest, if not the quickest point guard that I have seen all year.  They have some good outside set shooters and a shot blocker," she told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, "So, they definitely have a multi dimensional team.  It will be something that we look forward to for the first game of the tournament to get us to get us going."

          New London gets a lot of their points in transition and Taylor-Sheldon says they are going to have to spring back on defense in order to prevent the Lady Wildcats from shooting a lot of layups.  "I have pretty good confidence in Becka Long, who is out best defender.  I am hoping she can keep her pretty well contained.  I think one of her biggest strengths is getting out in transition.  She gets the ball and all of the sudden she is by you if you don't have somebody back.  She can go with both hands.  I was really impressed with what she was able to do the first couple of times I saw her.  I think that is definitely something we are going to have to key on," said Taylor-Sheldon.

 

Published 2/20/14

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Wynford Ready to Play

 

          With a 22-game regular season schedule it seems like teams are playing every other day, but not this year.  Old Man Winter has made sure of that and in the case of the Wynford Royals it has been two weeks since they have played against teams in other uniforms.

          Not having school and not having practice has been what Wynford and they rest of this area has been dealing with in January.

          Steve Mohr has been a basketball coach for nearly 30 seasons and he is interested on how his team reacts when they play Upper Sandusky at home in a North Central Conference game on Friday night.  "Well, I would think it does have an affect.  I would think we would see how much of an affect it has come this Friday night.  We haven't played in two weeks.  We had a stretch there where we didn't practice for three days.  We have been out of rhythm in terms of not being in school.  Time will tell, but I think we will have a pretty good indicator based on (Friday) night," he said.

          Upper Sandusky (7-8,4-3) beat Wynford (4-8,2-5) in overtime (55-53) the first time they played.  Mohr says this game will give them an idea of how much they have improved over the last month.  "I think this is going to be a good game to gauge on how far we have come since the first half of the season.  When we played them over at their place it was a game that we led by as much as 17 points in the first half and it's game we lost in overtime.  We know its a team that we are capable of being very competitive with," he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, "I guess the big question is are we a team right now that is going to be a team that is going to play well enough to win a basketball game.   They have some very talented players.  The Vent kid is very talented.  The Collins kid can be a very explosive scorer with his three point shooting and the Frey kid is a very solid point guard.  We are going to have to play well to be successful."

          With a rather young team, Mohr says it has been inconsistency that has been their biggest obstacle.  He says once they get over that this can be a pretty good team.  "Consistency is one thing we have worked on over the last two weeks.  Against some of the better teams we have played we have had some very, very good quarters and very good stretches of basketball and we have totally out played people, but they we get stretches where we go five, six, seven possessions without scoring ourselves and giving easy scores at the defensive end.  I think once we become a consistent basketball team we will become a very good basketball team," said Mohr.

 

Published 1/31/14

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Wynford Has to Turn it Around 

          Wynford let a win slip away on Friday night and then got blasted on Saturday night and this week they face one of their toughest weekends of the season.

          Last Friday, the Royals (3-5,1-2) traveled to Upper Sandusky, the current “NCC” leader and lost a tough one in overtime (55-53) and coach Steve Mohr says for intents and purposes they should have won.  “The game on Friday night we went on the road to the conference leader and in my mind it was a game we should have won.  It was a game that we had a significant lead at halftime.  They obviously battled back being the good team that they are and challenged us, but we still had the opportunity to win the ballgame.  We had the ball with a tie game with a minute to go and we didn’t execute,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We just missed too many easy scoring opportunities in the second half.  Either easy scores from two or three feet or missed free throws.  If you are going to go on the road and play the league leader at their place you have to take care of those situations.  I think anyone that knows me knows I don’t believe in moral victories, but it was a positive performance from us in the sense that played with the best in the league in a game that was could have and should have won.”

          On Saturday night, they scored less than 20 points in the first half and Carey hammered the Royals (80-41) in a non-conference game.  Mohr says it was not a good effort.  “Saturday night was a completely different story.  It was the most disappointing performance this basketball team has had.  No excuses we just got handled on Saturday night.  It was one we have to learn from and grow from and address in practice this week.  As I have said all along if we learn from situations as the season goes on we will be a better team because of it,” he said.

          Galion (2-6,1-2) is at Wynford for a conference game on Friday night.  Galion’s athletes leads you to believe they should have a better record and Mohr says they present them with a lot of problems.  “The conventional wisdom would say that, but the game of basketball is not always about athleticism, it is about taking care lf the basketball, it’s about executing at the offensive and defensive end.  I have an opportunity to see them and they have played some of the better teams in the league very, very tough.  We are not in a situation where we are every going to look at anyone’s record and say this a game we should win.  There is a saying fear none, but respect all and that applies to us.  They are very athletic with their quickness and speed and that is a battle we are up against every night.  We are going to have to play well.  It’s a tough stretch of the schedule for us now with last weekend with Carey and Upper Sandusky and then the two games this week and we follow that up with Ontario.  We have to be very, very good to just be competitive in these games,” said Mohr.

          Colonel Crawford (7-2,3-1), the preseason choice to win the conference, lost to Bucyrus (48-47) last week, but Mohr says they are still really good.  “They legitimately should have been the preseason pick to win the league with the best player in the league coming back and a number of players back from that team that was very good last year.  We have talked about parity, and maybe that is a term that is over used in the sports world, but when you look at the “NCC,” we go to Upper and very easily could have won that game, Bucyrus beats Colonel Crawford, Riverdale, who knocks off Carey, who handled us, losses to Crestline.  I think there is a lot of parity in the league, which is good for basketball.  You have to be ready to play every night.  This is going to be a very difficult weekend for us with a tough game Friday night and a very tough game Saturday night.  As a coach I’m excited about it because if you want to get back on track you want to do it against good teams,” said Mohr.

 

Published 12/31/13

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Wynford Defense Doing Good Things

 

          Wynford is maturing as a basketball team, but how much remains to be seen.

          They railed from a first half deficit to beat Bucyrus (55-42) last week in North Central Conference action. 

          Veteran coach Steve Mohr says they were able to play good team defense against a very balanced Bucyrus offense.  “Well, it was a good win for us because we beat a team that was 4-1, a team that was playing with a great deal of confidence, and a team that I really believe was playing with a sense of purpose and energy that I haven’t seen from Bucyrus teams.  We really thought that we would have to play well.  They are a difficult team to defend because they don’t have an outstanding scorer, by that I mean someone who is averaging 17,18, 20 points a game, but they had about seven or eight guys that were scoring between six points and 11 points a game so we knew we had to be solid defensively at all five positions.  I really felt for most of the game our defensive effort was really solid at all five positions.  It was a good win for us to beat a rival, to maintain the tradition that we have with Bucyrus.  It was a good win to go into the Christmas holidays with,” said Mohr.

          The Royals (3-3,1-1) outscored Bucyrus (36-19) in the second half and Mohr says they did a much better job of attacking the Bucyrus defense than they had in first two quarters.  “We got off to a great start.  We jumped out to a 9-2 start for the second straight game, against Buckeye Central we did the same thing, but then we just didn’t make good decisions against their trapping defense.  We relied far too heavily on the skip pass, became very predictable, didn’t attack the zone with back cuts from the back side or with dribble penetration.  We just became very predicable and very lackadaisical.  I emphasized that point at halftime to step in from the back side of the zone and step into that back cut we were far more effective.  I the first half we were our own worst enemy.  It was the Bucyrus defense, but it was our lack of execution I think rather than their defensive execution that caused us to dig a little hole,” said Mohr.

          Wynford is at Upper Sandusky (4-2,2-0) in conference play on Friday night.  Upper has wins over Crestline (53-49) and Riverdale (81-69) in league games.  Mohr says they are also very balanced and will test their defense.  “They have a different style of basketball than they have had over the last several years when they were very much a half court team and ground things out with a half court defense and patience at the offensive end.  They have changed considerably since then.  Like Bucyrus I think we are going to have to be solid in all defensive positions,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “They have the top scorer in Vent, that sure doesn’t play like a freshman.  They have got multiple scorers like Collins on the wing and Gifford at the point and the Meyer kid inside and the Frey kid.  So, they have they have potential scorers at all five positions.  They are strong.  They are athletic.  They are aggressive in their mindset towards attacking the basket.  I think this is really going to be a good judge of whether our effort against Bucyrus was a one time thing or something where we have established ourselves as a good defensive team or working towards becoming a good defensive team.”

 

Published 12/27/13

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Wynford Needs More Consistency

 

          Wynford’s young kids are still learning about what it takes to be winners at the varsity level and one big thing is consistency.

          In their last game, last Friday, they took a (9-2) first quarter lead over Buckeye Central, but the Bucks rallied quickly and beat the Royals (65-49) in the North Central Conference opener for both.  Wynford coach Steve Mohr says Buckeye is just really good and they just pulled away from them.  “They are very good basketball team and we knew we were going to have to be at our absolute best to compete with them.  We got off to a great start and unfortunately were not able to maintain it.  They are very talented.  They are very well coached, they have a lot of depth, they are athletic, and we just didn’t have enough at this stage of the season.  We are just not ready to compete with a team of that caliber.  My hope is as the season goes on that we become more familiar with what we are trying to accomplish and we will be able to do that.  We need to move on and focus on the things we do positively and try to improve upon the things we need to improve upon,” said Mohr.

          The Royals (2-3,0-1) have the talent to play well, they have shown that.  Mohr says right now it’s about a lack of consistency.  “It’s about consistency of effort.  We jumped out to a 9-2 start and if we were consistent in our effort we would have been able to weather the storm that came from them, but unfortunately we weren’t able to do so and had a poor second quarter.  We talk about playing in three possession spurts,” he told Swamkonsports.com on Wednesday, “We can’t have those three, four, five, six possessions where we don’t score or the three, four, five six possession straight were the opponent does score.  We have to win those three possession battles.  I think if we can do that then we will be more successful in terms of wins and losses.”

          Bucyrus (4-1,1-0) has not won at Wynford since before Yoko Ono broke up the Beatles.  However, Mohr says this year’s Redmen and very good.  “They have only one loss on the year.  We have one common opponent and we have both beaten Mt. Gilead.  It is a big rivalry game and I am sure they are going to come into Wynford very confident.  They are talented.  They have a lot of kids back from last year.  A number of their kids have been playing varsity basketball for several years now, so I expect them to play very well.  They are shooting the ball very well, so our perimeter defense is going to have to be very strong in order for us to have a chance to be successful.  I am very impressed with how they are playing.  They are playing with a lot of confidence.  They are giving a number of different defensive looks, which is not typical of Bucyrus, a lot of traps and presses.  They are playing very confident basketball right now,’ said Mohr.

 

Published 12/19/13

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Wynford has to Put it in a Different Gear

 

          Wynford has played well in some games this year, but last Saturday night against Shelby was not one of them and their coach says they have to learn from it.

          Shelby shot 57% from the field in blasting the Royals (72-46) in a non-conference game at Wynford.  Royals coach Steve Mohr says his team did not play well in any way.  “To say we had a poor performance is an understatement.  We didn’t play very well at all.  To be very honest I was very disappointed in how we played on both ends of the floor.  When you couple that with the fact that Shelby played very, very well and shot the ball extremely well it made for a long night for the Royals.  We are a work in progress.  We are a young team and we have to learn when a team is playing very well at the offensive end you have to find a way to weather the storm,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “You have to fight through that rough time and keep yourself competitive and we just didn’t do that very well.  It’s back to the drawing board in terms of some of the things we have to work on defensively as we get ready to play I think one of the most talented teams we will play in the league this year in Buckeye Central.”

          Mohr says Shelby made a lot deep shots, 12 three pointers, but they did not do a very good job of getting a hand in their face either.  “They were making them and a lot of them were very deep shots.  They shot the ball extremely well, but we compounded that by the fact that I didn’t think we had a enough pressure on the shooters.  We just didn’t go out and pressure the shooters.   We talked about doing it, but with the short turnaround time, we obviously didn’t prepare our kids well enough to go out and do that.  We have a lot to learn and I told our kids one game does not a season make as long as we learn from those mistakes and get better as a result of them there will be something positive to be gained from it,” said Mohr.

          The Royals (2-2,0-0) play host to Buckeye Central (3-0,0-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coach’s poll in the small school division, on Friday night in North Central Conference play.  Mohr believes the Bucks are really good, especially Austin Wurm and Cade Kaple.  “In Wurm and Kaple I think they have one of the best tandems in the league.  They are best pair of basketball players we will see in league competition.  But, I think the thing that really stands out to me is there defensive pressure and that’s not so much full court pressure, but they get out and pressure the basketball.  They make it difficult to enter the basketball and they also make it very difficult to reverse the basketball.  Those are the type of things that concern me,” said Morh.

          The Royals have to play with great intensity to have a chance, according to Mohr.  “I certainly hope so.  I would like to think we are going to go out and compete in the first league game because everybody is still alive in terms of the league championship and it’s a county rival, so we want to make sure we are at our best because we certainly we not at our best the last time we stepped on the floor,” he said.

 

Published 12/13/13

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Mohr Impressed by his Kids

 

          Wynford put together two wins on the opening weekend of the boys’ basketball season and their coach says it was because of the effort they put out on the floor.

          The Royals beat Mt. Gilead (55-44) last Friday and downed Mohawk (67-57) on Saturday.  Coach Steve Mohr was particularly impressed with the win over Mt. Gilead.  “I think we played well enough to win the game, but I am not going to be so excited about our wins to say we played well, but we played well enough to win the games.  I thought on Friday night we played with a great deal of energy, effort and enthusiasm and passion.  I just thought we played really hard.  In order to be successful we have to play harder than our opponent does,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We have to increase our intensity level in each game that we play because against every opponent we see this year we are going to be mismatched physically and athletically.  We are going to give up experience, so we just have to make up for that with effort.  I can’t remember a time, it’s been a long time since I have coached, bit even when I was coaching that I was prouder of a group of kid’s effort because we beat a good team despite the fact that they have lost a couple of games since then.  We beat a very talented basketball team with some division two, division one level athletes on it.”

          Mohr thinks this is a team that can get a lot better in its execution, but because of their effort they are being more successful than a lot people thought they might be.  “I told our kids we are about 50 percent of where I think we can be in terms of our execution.  We are happy with the wins, but we have a lot of improvement to go.  I don’t think there are too many people that thought we would be 2-0 at this stage, so I am really happy for our kids,” he said.

          Wynford will be at Ridgedale (1-1) for a non-conference game on Thursday night.  Mohr believes this will be their biggest test so far on the season.  “I think they are the best team that we have played so far.  They have three kids on the perimeter that are really good and the Britton kid, he is a sophomore, might be one of the better guards we will see this year.  I think anytime a team has three perimeter players that can score they can potentially be very good.  We are going to go on the road for the third straight game and like I said before we are just going to have to play at a very high level of intensity and passion in order to be competitive.  They have all of their kids back from last year.  They were down a little bit last year, but those kids all have a year of experience.  They have good size and good skills,” said Mohr.

          Wynford will not be home until they play Shelby on Saturday night.  Mohr says winning on the road is difficult for many reasons.  “I think a lot of it has to do with you are practicing on the floor that you are playing.  In football you practice on a practice field and play on a game field.  I think it is the fact that you are used to it and spend two hours a day in there.  Your shooting is a fine motor skill.  That skill is honed in that gymnasium and when you get in there with the crowd you are more comfortable.  The crowd is very close and in football it is back a ways.  The fact is it is hard to go on the road and win.  We are tickled to death that we have been able to do so twice in the early part of the season.  We hope we can do it again and come into our home celebration with a 3-0 record,” said Mohr.

 

Published 12/5/13

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Wynford Concerned With Self

 

          Wynford opens the boys’ basketball season with a doubleheader this weekend against Mt. Gilead and Mohawk, but veteran coach Steve Mohr, who returns to the bench after seven years off, has been through the wars enough to understand that especially early in the season it is more about how your team is executing.

          Mohr, a proponent of the quick down style of basketball, is installing what he says is a totally new system at Wynford, and he likes to the learning curve he is seeing from his players.  “I think with each scrimmage our kids are becoming more familiar with what we are trying to do.  I see progress in really every practice that we have had and definitely in each scrimmage as we move forward,” he said.

          There will be some new guys wearing the Royals uniforms this season and Mohr says playing in a real game as opposed to a scrimmage is a whole different world.  “It is one thing to scrimmage and play in a very controlled environment like a scrimmage and like a practice and once you turn the lights on and turn the scoreboard on and put fans in the stands you find out what your kids are made of and find out what your team is made of and you find out if you have prepared them adequately for that first game.  The first game is obviously the one you worry about the most.  You hope you have done enough to prepare them to give them an opportunity to be competitive in that first game,” said Mohr.

          Mt. Gilead is one of the favorites in the blue division of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference and Mohr says the Indians have two outstanding players.  Still, he wants to concentrate more fully on what his players are doing and how they are executing.  “We are facing two of the most talented players that we may go against this year in the (Xavier) Harris kid and the (Chris) Godfrey kid.  They are big kids, 6’5”, 6’6” and very talented.  So, we have a real challenge the first night going down to Mt. Gilead, but really it is all about us,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “I guess if there is one thing when I look back at my previous 24 years you need to spend more time worrying about what you are doing than what the opponent is doing.  That is more of the approach I am taking with our kids this week.  Let’s do what we do well and let the chips fall where they may because at this point in the season we can’t be concerned with what that opponent is doing.  There is not the preparation time to put a very sophisticated game plan in.”

 

Published 11/26/13

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Things Will be Different at Wynford

 

          Things they are a changin’ with the Wynford Royals.  There is a new coach and a new system.

          Veteran coach Steve Mohr, also the district superintendent, returns to the bench after a seven year absence.  Mohr has now been the coach at three Crawford County schools in Wynford, Buckeye Central and most recently Colonel Crawford, plus stays at Shelby, Elyria West and Marion Harding.

          Mohr says he likes a lot of what he has seen in the preseason portion of the schedule.  He says the players are excited about the changes he is making.  “I really like the makeup of our team.  Our kids play hard.  Our kids are passionate about playing basketball for Wynford.  They are just a lot of fun to be around.  I have been through this experience before of putting in a new system with kids and it is quite an adjustment.  It is a complete 180 in terms of style of play and terms of offensive and defensive concepts.  I am pleased with our kid’s effort physically, mentally and emotionally and it’s a lot of fun,” he said.

          Mohr says he has missed having the day to contact with the students and just wanted to return to coaching.

          Mohr is a proponent of the quick down style of offense and he says they players like it too, but now they have to become good at its execution.

“Everything is different, the terminology is different, our practice uniforms are different, and the way we practice is different.  It is a complete 180 in terms of just about everything we do.  Our kids have embraced the change that we are trying to do.  Now it is incumbent for us to go from the emotion and excitement of the change to be an affective and productive basketball team with those changes, so that is what our task is going to be for the next couple of weeks as we get ready for our season opener,” said Mohr,

          Wynford has scrimmages set with Hopewell-Loudon and New Riegel over the next 10 days and Mohr says while those are important the must important things to be ready to execute the new system when it comes time to play their first real game on November 29 at Mt. Gilead.  “Also when you are putting in a new system I have to find out who can play.  We had our first scrimmage (Tuesday) night and I played 13 kids.  I have to find out which one of those 13 are varsity players and JV players where the other team has their six or seven players established and know who their starters are.  We are still evaluating personnel.  We tried to space them out more than I have done in the past so we have some instruction time,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “It has kind of been tough to get scrimmages and not interfere with instruction time because when you are putting in a new system you need instruction time.  That is really the battle that we are fighting right now.”

 

Published 11/14/13

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Wynford Wants to End the Season on an Up Note

 

          Wynford is going to miss the post season playoffs for the first time in eight seasons and they aren’t going to win the North Central Conference title either, but they want to end the season playing well.

          After a tough loss to Colonel Crawford (20-14) two weeks ago, the Royals (5-4,4-2) scored 42 points in the first quarter and went on to beat Crestline (84-8) last week.  Coach Gabe Helbert says his players came out focused on playing good football.  “I thought we came out with almost a renewed energy.  I thought there was an excitement and enthusiasm in our kids that I hadn’t seen in a while.  We had a really tough loss the week before to Colonel Crawford that kind of eliminated some of our major goals on the season.  The kids could have hung their heads, but we came out and played with great energy.  It is just a credit to our kids and the seniors that are on our football team.  We had a chance to play a lot of young kids early.  I think we had eight different guys score.  If was a situation where we were doing everything we could as far as getting kids playing time and getting them an opportunity to get on the field under the Friday night lights and it was a great thing for our football program,” said Helbert.

          However, he admits coaching in such a lopsided a game is very difficult and forces you to make decisions you really don’t want to make.  “It really wasn’t an enjoyable thing from that standpoint.  I was happy that our kids played with a lot of energy, but from our standpoint I felt it was very difficult as coaches as to what to do.  I wasn’t going to expect our kids to run out of bounds.  I didn’t think that was the right thing.  I think that would be even more disrespectful.  Our kids were going to go out and play hard.  We played an entire freshmen line from the mid third quarter on with a nine minute running clock,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday, “The majority of our starters were out mid way through the second quarter.  It was a tough situation for our kids, but I guess our kids deserved to play in a way.  There wasn’t going to be a week 11 for us this year, so I wanted to get our older guys some playing time.  We had to get as many young kids in, but at some point in time we ran out of kids too.  We were just playing the kids we had available.  It is not something I can say I enjoyed.”

          Wynford wraps up its season with a home game on Friday night versus Riverdale (1-8,1-5), it will be the last meeting, at least for a while, between the two schools as next year they will land in different conferences, Wynford in the Northern 10 and Riverdale in the Blanchard Valley Conference.  Helbert says the Falcons are better than their record would indicate.  “Riverdale is a team that has won only one football game, but they play with a great amount of energy and enthusiasm.  I look at them as a very dangerous team on film.  They have young kids that play really hard and they have some really nice seniors.  Number 44 is an exceptional football player.  Pound for pound he might be the best football player we have seen on film all year.  No disrespect to the other kids we have seen, but this kid is the definition of what a football player is.  He does everything for them offensively and defensively.  He definitely has to be accounted for,” he said.

 

Published 10/28/13

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Wynford Coach Says Loss Was His Fault

 

          Wynford probably won’t win the North Central Conference title and they aren’t going to make the playoffs and their coach is taking the responsibility.

          Colonel Crawford beat Wynford for the first time in 17 years last Friday (20-14) to knock the Royals from a share of the “NCC” lead.  Coach Gabe Helbert says it was certainly a bitter pill to swallow for them.  “We knew it was going to be a very competitive game.  Crawford is a very good football team.  The credit goes to them.  For our standpoint we didn’t take of the business that we needed to take care of in what we considered a championship game.  It was a very tough loss for our kids and our football program.  We had an opportunity to put ourselves in a great situation to win our league and make the playoffs.  We have been there eight times in a row and the reality that you aren’t going to go this year, our opportunity to go is slim to none, has been very difficult for our kids, but that’s what happens.  We have to sleep in the bed we made and that is where we are at,” said Helbert.

          Wynford (4-4,3-2) has suffered through some injuries this year, but Helbet says that is not the reason they don’t have a better record.  He says the responsibility lies with him.  “It has been a factor, I don’t think it has been a huge factor.  We played a kid at quarterback on Friday night that we thought would give us the best opportunity to win.  Keaton did and excellent job.  We have to in the off season prepare our bodies to not have injuries.  With all of that being said we have had great opportunities to win.  It’s on the coaches.  It’s on myself,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “I don’t know that I coached the game to win.  I think I coached the game almost in a panic of fear not to lose.  That is not to take anything away from Colonel Crawford o coach Teglovic and their staff and what they did.  I guess to look back on it I don’t know if the injuries have a lot to do with it, it was more so I didn’t have our kids prepared to play a football game.”

          Wynford will be favored when they travel to Crestline (1-7,0-5) on Friday night to take on the Bulldogs in a conference game.  Helbert says they must go in and play their best and that will be their goal.  “They do have some young players that are getting a lot of quality time.  They have 14 freshmen I believe, so there are some kids there that they will have back next year.  There are some kids that look very good on film, but they are struggling.  We certainly don’t want to go and play to the level of our competition.  We haven’t played great at times throughout the year, so we are going to go over there from our standpoint and do the best to try and take care of ourselves,” he said.

 

Published 10/24/13

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Battle for First Place in the “NCC”

 

          After an exciting overtime win over Galion last week the Wynford Royals find themselves in a four way tie for first place in the North Central Conference with three weeks to play.

          They handed Galion their first loss of the season (14-13) in overtime holding the Tigers to only 163 total yards in the process.  Coach Gabe Helbert says the players believed in what they were doing and that that was going to be successful.  “We had every opportunity to feel sorry for ourselves and hang our head.  We got the crap beat out of us the week before by Upper Sandusky.  We were playing an excellent Galion team.  I think our kids really believed in our game plan and believed in themselves and each other.  I am just so proud of their effort and their execution and just finding a way to win in the end,” he said.

          Wynford has won eight straight “NCC” titles until Galion claimed the black division last season.  Helbert says his kids just know how to win those close games.  “I think our kids do have a will to win.  I know we haven’t been great throughout the season we do have three losses.  Friday night, I really believe they thought we could win against a good Galion team,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, “Fortunately for us we did.  In the overtime I thought we faced adversity and our kids responded.  We had a drive we had to put together and score a touchdown and they responded and T.J. Moore did a great job kicking the extra point through.”

          The Royals (4-3,3-1) are at Colonel Crawford (6-1,3-1) in a battle between two of the four leaders on Friday night.  Helbert says the Eagles have an outstanding quarterback in Nate Klingenberger.  “In the “NCC” there are four teams tied for first because it’s a balanced league.  Klingenebeger is another in a long list of very good quarterbacks in our league and he might be the best out of all of them.  He’s got an excellent arm.  He is very accurate too it is not just a down the field thing he can throw the ball all over the field.  They have really rice people around him too the Reffey kid is very good, the Adams kid is very athletic.  They have a lot of good athletes that they surround Klingenberger with,” said Helbert.

          Last year when Crawford made the playoffs for the first time ever they threw the ball all over the field.  Helbert says they can still do that, but they are running a lot more, especially Klingenberger.  “He is running the ball very well this year.  I know he ran it last year some, but his has run it more this year.  They rotate a few guys in at back, but the one back that they have, number 34, is a very nice runner.  They are dangerous offensively.  They are very skilled,” he said.

 

Published 10/14/13

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Wynford Faces Another Big Challenge

 

          Wynford faces its second straight unbeaten team when they host the Galion Tigers this week in a game that they likely have to win if they are going to have a chance at the North Central Conference title.

          Last week, Upper Sandusky (6-0,3-0) held the Royals to only 88 total yards in a (26-0) win over Wynford.  Coach Gabe Helbert says Upper was as good as advertised.  “They were very physical.  What was on film was definitely true on Friday night.  They beat us up there is no other way to put it.  When you get beat 26-0.  You are shutout offensively.  Upper Sandusky had a good game plan defensively.  They did a very good job executing it.  They are very talented.  They were physical up front, but at the same time they have nice skilled kids to go along with that physicality.  The quarterback-linebacker is just a good player.  He really did a lot from the defensive standpoint to hurt us.  He probably had 20 tackles.  He is just a good player and made a lot of plays against us,” said Helbert.

          He says they just had trouble moving it against a tuff Upper Sandusky defense and when they did they turned it over.  “We really didn’t move the ball much at all.  We had one drive, I think we were down 16-0 at the time, we were probably inside the 20 yard line going in and actually had a nice run on the play, but we fumbled,  It so happened that a defender reached out and knocked the ball out of our running backs hands and we turned it over.  That was kind of the scoring opportunity that we had there and we didn’t take advantage of it.  At the end of the day offensively, as an offense coach, I could have really helped our team get the job done and I hold myself accountable on that end,” said Helbert.

          Now, this week here comes Galion (6-0,3-0), #5 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the large school division, and Helbert says the Tigers, like Upper, have a lot of talented players.  “I don’t know if they have the same physical size as Upper, but they have kids up front that are very good.  They are very powerful up field rushers.  The Watkins kid really jumps out on film, but there are other kids there that they have that can make plays offensively and defensively.  They are just very skilled.  They have a lot of nice skilled players and they have speed in key areas,” he said.

          Galion is led by Darian Watkins is headed to Northwestern on a football scholarship and Helbert says he is an outstanding player and he is not the only one.  “You have to try and keep them in front of you, but that is definitely easier said than done.  They are game breakers.  They have the opportunity anytime they catch the ball to take it the entire length of the field.  They are very fast and it is not just Watkins they have other kids that can hit home runs for them,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “They are extremely dangerous offensively and at the same point in time that speed shows up defensively.  They are not going to give you a whole lot, so you better be able to drive the football.”

          Helbert says they have to be able to keep the ball out of Galion’s hands, but they have to score when they have it or does them no good.  “Time of possession is something that is talked about, but in my opinion it is a highly overrated statistic.  We have to be successful and efficient offensively.  If we can churn out long drives and score we will be happy with that, but just to hold the ball for long time and not get anything out of it won’t do us a whole lot of good.  We know our defense has a major challenge.  The longer our offense stays on the field the better our opportunities are to win,” said Helbert.

 

Published 10/8/13

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It’s a Big Game in the “NCC”

 

          Two of the three leaders in the North Central Conference meet on Friday night as Wynford travels to Upper Sandusky to play the Rams.

          Both teams are 2-0 in the conference and share first with Galion and Upper is unbeaten overall.

          Last week, Wynford (3-2,2-0) survived a last minute surge by Bucyrus to hold on and win (41-40) when the Redmen missed a two point conversion.  Coach Gabe Helbert says they have to forget the excitement of that win.  “You have to have a short term memory.  You are in the season now.  You can pat yourself on the back and all of that kind of stuff when the season is over.  Hopefully we are able to that this week.  We have a major challenge in front of us in Upper Sandusky.  The high of Friday is long gone.  We need to put in a good solid week of work and prepare ourselves for Upper,” he said.

          Upper has blasted both of its conference opponents so far beating Crestline (53-6) and Riverdale (54-7), but the Royals are much better than either of those.  Helbert says the Rams have a number of athletes led by senior quarterback-middle linebacker Tylor Pritchard.  “Both offensively and defensively they are very skilled players that stick out.  A lot of kids are back from last year and really have played since their sophomore year.  The Pritchard kid even played as a freshman,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “So, they have kids that are very skilled.  Their quarterback-linebacker, the Pritchard kid, is really good.  They have a lot of other good skilled players in there too.  They are very big up front, both defensive ends are very good size and their interior guys are big.”

          Pritchard is a four year starter for Upper and Helbert says everything, really on both sides, runs through him.  “They do have other kids, but he is kind of the catalysts of their offense and it makes sense he is very talented and has played a lot of varsity football and he has had success doing it.  Our defense will definitely be challenged.  At the same time when you flip it over on defense our offense will be challenged because he is as good a linebacker as he is a quarterback,” said Helbert.  Pritchard rushed for 111 yards and threw for 189 in the win over Riverdale last week.

          Upper Sandusky is team that has a physical nature and Helbert says you can see that when you watch them play.  “Their physicality comes out on film and once again it starts with (Pritchard).  There are a lot of other physical kids on the film as well, but he stands out.  They are definitely a physical football team.  They were last year and I’m sure they will be again this year,” he said.

          Helbert believes the point of attack and turnover will be key in this game.  “We have to do what ever we can to control the line of scrimmage offensively and defensively.  We have to be able to win up front.  When you play a team that is 5-0 you better be able to protect the football.  You can’t give their offense any extra opportunities.  We just have to work to be consistent, we have gotten better in that department, but we need to continue to do that,” he said.

 

Published 10/2/13

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Wynford Must be Solid

 

          Is Wynford a contender for the North Central Conference title?  Well, that depends on which Wynford shows up.

          If it s the one that crushed Buckeye Central (33-0) last week then they answer is likely yes.  Coach Gabe Helbert was particularly impressed with his players mental approach to the game that was marred by thunder and lightning.  “I thought we did a real good job of dealing with the weather and the delays.  We had a 48 minute weather delay.  When we got the word to play I thought our kids were really motivated and excited.  I thought they created a nice atmosphere among themselves.  When that happens a lot of the crowd is not there initially, but our crows came back.  I thought it was a good effort from our kids, but we have a lot of getting better to do,” said Helbert.

          Corey Brown ran for 118 yards and a touchdown in the win over Buckeye and Helbert says the offensive line did a solid job too.  “I thought Corey Brown really ran the ball hard.  Our offensive line really did a nice job again last week.  We are blocking the right people and blocking our rules.  Corey ran hard, Brock Williamson ran hard, and our two sophomore backs came in ran hard.  With the weather conditions the way they were I think they took upon themselves to carry the offense,” said Helbert.

          Bucyrus (2-2,1-0) will be at Wynford on Friday night.  They pounded Riverdale (34-14) in their first conference game.  Helbert says they have the kind of kids that can light up the scoreboard.  “Bucyrus is very talented offensively and defensively.  Their quarterback is just a junior.  He is very good.  He is very elusive as a runner.  He has a nice arm.  He is very decisive in where he wants to throw the football.  The challenge is definitely there for our defense as well as our offense,” said Helbert.

          Bucyrus runs a quick tempo offense and Helbert says they will get to the ball and snap it quickly.  “They run a lot plays.  They get on the ball and they get a lot of plays off throughout the course of a game.  It always helps your offensive numbers.  We have experienced that is the past against them and other teams that we have played.  You definitely have to be prepared for it,” he said.

          On defense, Bucyrus has twice given up more than 35 points in a game, but Helbert says they have clearly gotten better.  “They have given up some points.  From watching the film they have gotten hit by a long play here and there.  They have played pretty solid defense and then it’s breakdown or the offense hits a good play, but other than that their defense has been very sound,” Helbert told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “On film against Riverdale they were very good.  Our offense is going to have its work cut out.  We are going to have to block our rules and try to stop gap penetration because they do a real nice job with that.”

 

Published 9/24/13

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Wynford Trying to Battle Back

 

          Right now, Wynford has lost more games than they have won and that happens about as often as a snowstorm in September.

          The Royals (1-2) dropped a (26-21) decision to Crestview last week.  Coach Gabe Helbert says they are in some unfamiliar territory.  “It was a tough week.  A tough loss for our kids, our coaches and our program.  We are in a position we haven’t been in for a long time.  I guess we can look at that we are 0-0 in the conference.  Our number one goal is to win our league.  We did not take care of business on Friday and credit the Crestview players and coaches they came out and got some momentum and took advantage of some opportunities and at the end of the day they beat us, which was a very tough pill to swallow for all of us,” said Helbert.

          A fourth quarter touchdown pass from Nick Wheeler to Aaron King was the difference in the game.  Helbert credits the Cougars execution.  “Their quarterback made big plays in the pass game.  They had a nice run on a screen pass down the sideline.  The quarterback made throws when he had too.  They didn’t throw it a lot, but they were affective when they did.  I don’t know if we gave up three touchdown passes all of last year.  There were times when we were out of position and their kid made a great throw.  The touchdown that put them up their kid made a great throw.  They had a nice route concept and they hit the open area.  It was just a thing where it was perfect execution by them and we were just a little out of position,” said Helbert.

          They host rival Buckeye Central (1-2) in the North Central Conference opener for both on Friday night.  With former assistant Jeff Niedermier now the head coach, Helbert says little has changed at Buckeye Central.  “Buckeye Central is very similar to what they have been with Coach Ratliff.  I know coach Neidemeyer and a lot of their coaches are still there.  They look very similar to the Buckeye Central that we saw last year and the year before.  The one thing about Buckeye Central is they are always going to play hard and play Wynford even harder because it is a rivalry game,” he told Swankonsports.com, “Right now, we have eight teams competing to win the league.  After this week somebody is going to have one loss and somebody is going to have one win.  It’s a huge week for us and it’s a big week for them.”

          Helbert says he has great respect for Buckeye Central program and they have to be ready to play.  “I think it’s just the style of football that they play.  They have always tried to be a run first and stop the run type of team.  Buckeye Central year in and year out puts great teams on the field.  They are the only team in our area to make it to a state championship game twice.  They have done a lot of great things there in athletics in that school for a long time,” he said.

 

Published 9/19/13

© Swankonsports.com

 

 
   

Wynford Needs to Stop the Run

 

          Wynford got back on the winning track by belting Mohawk last week and now they takes their act to Crestview this week to meet the Cougars.

          The Royals got busy early in scoring 19 points in the first quarter of their (34-7) win over Mohawk.  Coach Gabe Helbert says looking at some film they had some fire in their eyes early.  “I thought our kids came out with a sense of urgency and we needed that.  It was a big non-conference win for us in playing Mohawk in our home opener.  It is a rivalry game for us.  I thought we did some nice things on film, but there some things we need to improve on.  I was definitely happy and I thought the kids played with great effort,” said Helbert.

          Consistency had been an issue in their (17-3) loss to Liberty-Benton on week one and Helbert thought they were better in executing play after play.  “I thought we did a better job for an entire game standpoint as far as being consistent.  We were very happy with some of red zone mistakes.  We had multiple penalties and a couple of dropped passes.  I thought we did a great job of protecting the quarterback and we ran the ball effectively,” he said.

          Crestview has struggled a little out of the gate with losses to West Salem Northwestern (50-20) and Loudonville, ranked #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the small school division, (41-0) last week.  Helbert says they Cougars have some talent, it just hasn’t shown through yet.  “Crestview had two nice backs.  They have some good size up front.  They are 0-2, but at the same time they have played some very good football teams.  Northwestern is a very good team.  I think they are looked at as one of the top contenders in the Wayne County League with Norwaye.  They played Loudonville and we know Loudonville last year in the playoffs when they were a very young team that is going to be really good this year.  Unfortunately Crestview had to open with those two teams,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “They do have some talent they have some nice backs returning.  They have a kid that runs really hard at the fullback position.  Up front they do pose a problem because they arte pretty big.  They have a real nice middle linebacker that plays pretty physical.  Our work is going to be cut out for us because we need to be ready to be able to continue to play consistent and keep trying to practice at high level to get better.”

          Traditionally Crestview has been a running team and Helbert says they may throw a change up, but he expects them to stick with what has made them successful over the years.  “They went through their entire camp and they have kind of done what they have done for a number of years with running the football.  We expect them to come out and try and run the ball and that will be their strength.  We anticipate them running the ball,” he said.

 

Published 9/10/13

© Swankonsports.com         

 

 
   

Wynford Not Clicking on Offense

 

          Wynford’s defense did everything it could to set up their offense, but the Royals just couldn’t cross the goal line and when you can’t do that it is tough to win.

          Liberty-Benton downed the Royals (17-3) in their opener on the road last week. 

          Coach Gabe Helbert says they just couldn’t find any rhythm to their offense on Friday night.  “I think the word that comes to min with our coaching staff, even our kids now, is just consistency.  We just need to be more consistent in all phases offensively.  Just going back to what we had done from a preseason standpoint to opening up with Liberty-Benton we have faced some very good defensive teams.  You are not going to beat good teams by being inconsistent, not blocking, carrying out your fake, whatever the case may be.  We just need to improve our consistency.  We just need to get on track offensively,” said Helbert.

          It is not like all of the players on offense aren’t doing their job.  Helbert says it is usually just one or two.  “It could absolutely be anything and that is why football is the ultimate team sport.  I can think of just so many plays that we had a breakdown here and there.  We as coaches just need to work hard to eliminate those breakdowns.  If we can do that we have the potential and the ability to be a good football team.  Before that happens we are going to continue to struggle offensively.  We are going to work really hard to get that fixed,” he said.

          The Wynford coach is certain their defense is good enough to give them a chance to win.  They just need to take advantage.  “Our defense gave us every opportunity to win Friday night.  Our defense created turnovers and took advantage of some of the mistakes that Liberty-Benton made.  Our defense has kind of kept us hanging around in scrimmages, I know they are scrimmages, but at the same point and time we want to win those,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “Again on Friday night, they gave us every opportunity to win.  It was up to us and an offense to seize the opportunity and we didn’t,  Defensively I think we are improving.  We are not there yet, but we are a defense that is getting better.”

          It’s the home opener Friday night for the Royals as they host Mohawk.  The Warriors found themselves behind 51-0 at the halftime last week and ended up losing to Marion Pleasant (58-12) in the end.  After viewing the film Halbert says Pleasant is just a better team right now.  “I wasn’t expecting that high of a score, but I knew Marion Pleasant was such a physical team.  I truly believe it is the best Marion Pleasant team I have seen since we have been doing the scrimmage with them.  Mohawk is a team that is young at some positions and they played a very good Marion Pleasant team.  They played a team that is physically better than them and it showed up on film.  When we play them it’s going to be a big rivalry game.  It’s a team that is going to be in our league.  We are familiar with them and they are familiar with us.  It is going to be a major challenge for our football team,” said Helbert.

          Mohawk used to be known as a power run team that didn’t like to pass.  Helbert says that isn’t true anymore.  “They still try to run the football.  The elements of the spread you see on TV kind of has trickled into football all over the area.  They are trying to throw it a little bit and do some things with wildcat with the best athlete back there at quarterback.  They are doing some things different than the Mohawk teams of the mid 2000’s when I first started coaching at Wynford that could just grind you out.  They still have that aspect to their offense, but they are trying to do a few more things from a spread set,” said Helbert,     

 

 
   

Wynford Facing Big Challenge

 

          Wynford is one of the traditional football powers in North Central Ohio and they have beefed up their schedule this year with the addition of Crestview on week three and longtime power Liberty-Benton on Friday night.

          Yes, that is the very same Liberty-Benton where Ohio State basketball star Aaron Craft.  He was a pretty good quarterback for the Eagles too. 

          You want to come out of the preseason with the kind of execution that proves you are ready to play, but also healthy.  Wynford coach Gabe Helbert says they are free of major injury.  “We are very fortunate to come out of it healthy.  We sustained some injuries with some freshmen, but they were they were on our freshmen team.  From a varsity standpoint we are healthy and it looks like everybody made it through okay.  As a coach you are always concerned about those preseason scrimmages.  You want to get through healthy and we were fortunate that we did,” said Helbert.

          Plus, the second year head coach thinks the Royals have done a pretty good job of executing and getting better during the preseason.  “Our execution has improved.  I don’t know that you are ever happy, I guess satisfied is a better word.  We are steadily getting better.  It is just a process everyday.  Hopefully we will be able to execute Friday night like we are going to have to be able to do.  We got better as the preseason wore on,” he said.

          Wynford beat Liberty-Benton (27-16) in a regional playoff football game in 2005.  This will be the first regular season meeting between the two.  Helbert says they are looking forward to the game.  “Liberty-Benton is an excellent football program with great tradition.  We are very fortunate to be playing them.  We feel it is a testament to our program that will are willing to go out and play teams like Liberty-Benton,” he said.

          Liberty-Benton made it the state semi-finals last year and Helbert says they might be better this year.  “They are very good.  They were a final four team last year and they were a very young team last year.  Our work is cut out for us.  They have six of their front seven back defensively.  They return two of the four kids in their secondary,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “From a graduation standpoint their biggest hit was probably their quarterback, who was a very good two way player for them that.  They have a 6’5” kid, who’s last name is Craft, so he probably has some athleticism to him or at least some athletic genes.”

          Helbert says the Eagles certainly have the ability to put points on the board.  He says they are explosive.  “They are spread offense, and to be honest, they look a lot like they did in 2005.  I have seen more of a run and shoot formation under center with the two wings and the two split ends.  They do a lot of nice things throwing the ball.  The quarterback is tall and quick.  They have a tailback that is a 220 pound downhill runner.  They do some very nice things offensively that will be a challenge to our defense,” he said.

 

Published 8/30/13

© Swankonsports.com  

 

 
   

Wynford Being Tested

 

          Wynford will have played two of the better small school football programs in northern Ohio in Marion Pleasant and Patrick Henry when the preseason ends this weekend and that trend will continue with their week one contest with Liberty-Benton.

          Last Saturday, Wynford traveled to Pleasant and coach Gabe Helbert says they have some things to work on, especially on defense.  “I think the first thing that we learned is we have to get better.  That is one thing that the film showed.  Pleasant was a very physical team.  They were very affective against us running the football.  Hopefully it was an eye opening experience for our kids,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “I thought we competed, but there were areas where we could get better.  It was one of those deals that you watch the film and try to improve on some of the execution.  It was a very good scrimmage for us.  Marion Pleasant definitely did a lot of good things.”

          One thing that the Royals will be working on this week in practice will be tackling, according to Helbert.  “You want to be able to tackle and we missed some tackles.  They did some misdirection things.  When you go in you really never have scouted the opponent and you have to read keys and we have to get better at that.  The film showed that we didn’t read keys like we were taught in practice.  I think some new kids kind of got their eyes opened,” he said.

          Helbert, in his second year as the head coach, after eight years as an assistant at Wynford, says they have to work together as team if they are going to win games.  “I think you have to trust in the scheme and trust in what you are expected to do and try your best to do your job.  It is said over and over again that football is probably the best team sport in the world.  You have 11 guys that need to work together.  That one guy breakdown or two guy breakdown really affect the other nine or 10,” said Helbert.

          On offense, Helbert says they have run it pretty well, but they need to be able to complete some passes.  “I feel good with what we have done offensively, but once again it is an improvement process.  There is definite room for improvement.  We have done some nice things.  I think we have run the ball well.  We have thrown it affectively.  I would have liked to see us complete a few more passes on Saturday.  All in all I thought we did some good things there are just a few things we have to clean up,” said Helbert.

          Helbert says with the schedule they play they will be a well tested team once the North Central Conference season begins on week four.  “I think we have always tried to challenge ourselves and play the best competition we can find.  Marion Pleasant is a pretty known football program.  Patrick Henry has been a playoff team for so many years.  They are team we have seen in the playoffs before twice.  Getting a chance to go to their place this year is special to our kids and our community.  It just kind of prepares us for week one against Liberty-Benton,” said Helbert.

 

 
   

Wynford Faces Defending State Champs

 

          Wynford has advanced to the regional tournament for the second time in three years and Wednesday night they face the defending state champions.

          The Lady Royals (19-6) take on Columbus Afrecentric (20-5) in the division three regional semi-finals at Lexington High School.

          Wynford, runner-up in the black division of the North Central Conference, downed Ontario (53-36) in a district final Saturday night at Buckeye Central.  Wynford coach Amy Taylor-Sheldon says they were successful in turning Ontario into jump shooters.  “As much as Ontario is fast and athletic, although they are good on the perimeter, we could guard them better on the perimeter than off the drive.  We played mostly zone and forced them to take contested outside shots.  We really did a great job rebounding those shots.  I was pretty happy about the way we executed what we wanted to do to them,” said Taylor-Sheldon.

          Afrecentric is a team that features extensive full court pressure.  Taylor-Sheldon says they are just very athletic.  “They are the best full court pressing team that I have seen in long time in terms of their speed and overall quickness, their athleticism to the ball.  They just sprint out in passing lanes.  They really get out without touching you, it’s not hand checking, it’s just fast and aggressive.  Any mistake you make passing they are going to capitalize on.  We really have to do a good job taking care of the ball and go from there,” said Taylor-Sheldon.

          With proper execution Taylor-Sheldon believes the Afrecentic press can be broken.  She says they just have to be solid.  “If we can be patient and have court reversal and be strong with the ball and come to the pass.  Just take our time getting across court instead of playing at their pace and try to alter the pace a little bit.  I think we will have a chance,” he said.

          When you are facing a team that is athletic as Afrecentric there are going to be turnovers.  However, Taylor-Sheldon says you can’t let them cluster and you have to keep your head.  “I think it has to be one of those things where things can’t snowball and get out of control.  We need to understand that I’ll call some timeouts to regroup.  I have five time outs so we have to be able to maintain our composer the best that we can and understand what we need to do to give ourselves a chance to have some opportunities to make it close.  We want to hang around until the end and make some good plays at the end,” said Taylor-Sheldon.

          Most people would probably rate Afrecentric as the favorite.  Taylor-Sheldon says they have to get stops and keep themselves in he game in the second half and then who knows.   “It’s March Madness.  You just do the best you can.  You do everything you can to put yourself in position to win.  We know that overall they are a better team than we are.  They average 85 points a game, so it is not those types of things.  It is taking advantage of opportunities, maintaining our composer, and being able to string stops together on defense and try to work to their weaknesses,” said Taylor-Sheldon.

 

 
   

Keys to an Upset

 

          Wynford knows how to win tournament basketball and that makes them a scary basketball team.

          They meet New London (18-3) in the division three sectional final at Lexington High School on Friday night.

          They advanced to the game with a thrilling (67-60) overtime win against Seneca East in semi-final play on Tuesday night.  Coach Tim Ehresman says their offensive execution was pretty sound.  “They did a lot of good things defensively to try and change up things that we do.  We had to work pretty hard offensively to get open shots, but once our kids got into the flow, especially in the second half, we scored pretty consistently,” he said.

          At times the Royals (10-13) have struggled to score this year, but Tuesday night, and the regular season finale against Buckeye Central, Ehresman says they have executed pretty well.  “The importance we put on our kids about taking care of the basketball has been pretty evident the last two games.  I think we have taken care of the basketball fairly well.  Just making sure the shots we are taking offensively are good shots, are good possessions, I think that is important too.  Not that we haven’t worked on that all year it has finally paid off for a couple of games in a row now,” said Ehresman.

          New London finished as runners-up in the Firelands Conference and they are defending district champions.  Ehresman says they have no weaknesses and they have great floor balance.  “It is hard to say what is good about them because everything they do is very good.  They are very aggressive offensively and defensively.  They have great shooters in virtually all spots on the floor.  They have some athletic forwards and post kids that get after it.  Dane Held, obviously, is their number of threat, but we really like the Shays kid and everybody,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Trying to game plan for them on both ends of the floor is very difficult.  Playing against Seneca East we knew we needed to get to Caudill and to the point guard and try to slow Haler down, but they have so many weapons, they score consistently, they shoot the ball so well.”

          New London has scored a lot of points off their press this year and Ehresman says they are going to have to work hard to make sure that doesn’t happen on Friday night.  “It’s going to be a group effort again taking care of the basketball.  Everybody, as we have talked continuously all year, needs to make good decisions with the basketball.  A turnover where we can set our defense is a turnover that is more acceptable than turning if over in the middle of the court where they can get a layoff out of it.  At the same time this is the sectional championship you don’t want to leave any bullets in the gun.  I think it is a good idea to put your kids in a position to play a little bit outside of the comfort area, but at this time year everybody is kind of outside of their comfort area.  We not only have to take care of the basketball, we have to score it to,” said Ehresman.

 

 
   

Wynford Remembers

 

          It is going to take a year, but Wynford has a score to settle.  They would like to beat Western Reserve, but that is a task that won’t be easy.

          Last season, Western outlasted Wynford (49-47) in overtime in the district tournament and now they meet again.  The two teams will square off in the district semi-finals on Thursday night at Buckeye Central High School in New Washington.

          Wynford (16-6), the runner up in the black division of the North Central Conference this year beat Bucyrus (52-46) in a sectional final last Saturday.  Coach Amy Taylor-Sheldon says they did some good things on both ends of the floor when they had too.  “I thought we did a really good job of holding down their best scorer in Macey Scheer.  We made some free throws down the stretch.  Bucyrus played really hard.  They did some things that kind of got us discombobulated.  We expected that it was going to be a hard fought game.  We had some kids hitting some big threes.  We were able to defend late, so we were pretty happy with the win,” said Taylor-Sheldon.

          With the tournament success they have had in Taylor-Sheldon’s nearly 20 years at the helm, they have reached at least the district final in nine of the last 10 years, they always seem to have tournament experience and she says that is the case again this year.  “This is a pretty experienced team most of the juniors played as sophomores and played in the tournament games for us.  This is a rematch for us in the district semi-finals against Western, so we are pretty excited,” she said.

          Western Reserve (21-2), #4 in the final Swankonsports.com girls’ basketball coach’s poll in the small school division, downed Margaretta (55-32) in their sectional final last week at Willard.  Taylor-Sheldon says they have players that can play and a lot of them.  “They are just really deep.  They are the exact same team as last year.  Their point guard was player of the year in Theresa Jackson.  They have really great athletes in the two and three spots, good shooters and good penetraters and big post players that can score one on one and offensive rebound.  They are a really big team in terms of size,” said Taylor-Sheldon.

          It isn’t often that Wynford has an underdog’s role, but this might be one of them.  Taylor-Sheldon thinks they will have to play very well to have a chance.  “Overall it’s going to be a big challenge.  We are going to have to do several things right and they are going to have to do a couple of things wrong in order for us to pull out a win in the rematch,” she told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday.  However, by no means is she counting her players out.  She knows they can win.  “I think the biggest thing is we have to take care of the ball.  We have to limit their offense and their second chances.  If we can do that I think we should have a pretty good chance to win,” said Taylor-Sheldon.    

 

 
   

Defense Still the Key For Wynford

 

          Wynford is coming off a big win to end the season, but they still need to play better defense if they are to win any more.

          The Royals (9-13) took out Buckeye Central (55-47) last Friday and knocked the Bucks out of a share of the silver division title in the North Central Conference.  Coach Tim Ehresman says it was one of their better defensive efforts of the year.  “Playing a team the caliper of Buckeye Central and holding them under 50 points, I think that critical.  If we can defend at a significant level on Tuesday it gives us an opportunity to win,” he said.

          Problems on defense have led to one of the few sub .500 records at Wynford in the last 30 years.  Ehresman says there isn’t much time to get better, but they need too.  “We are not a good defensive team.  We have talked about rotations.  We work on it everyday in practice.  I think we are getting better.  I think we are always going to be in progress at both ends of the floor.  I think offensively and defensively we have gotten better at times and then we have taken a few steps back.  We have got to be able to hold our own I think defensively, and still be able to score consistently for us to have that chance to win,” said Ehresman.

          Wynford faces Seneca East (13-9) in the division three sectional semi-finals on Tuesday night at Lexington High School.  The Tigers are led by all-district first team selection Ben Hahler in the post.  Ehresman says he is going to be difficult for to guard.  “I think Ben Hahler is a tough assignment.  I mean the kid can flat out play.  Not only does he score, but he blocks shots, he rebounds the basketball, he’s a great passer from the high or low post.  He is the total package,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We did a decent job on him the first game and everybody else went nuts on us.  If we can contain him or something similar to what we did and still be able to take away some of the opportunities of Phillips and some of these other guys I think we will be better off.”

          A basketball theorem is that if you have a guy that can score like Hahler make him work hard on defense.  However, Ehresman says Seneca East tries to protect their post.  “It is a difficult assignment because of the defenses that they play.  When they play man-to-man he doesn’t leave the lane very often.  They do a lot of switching and things like that.  In their 1-3-1 or their blitz package or their 2-3 match-up zone he just sits on the front of the rim.  If you have enough defensive capabilities to have your big post guy on the front of the rim so he doesn’t have to do things besides rebound and block shots that is a huge plus.  What we have got to be able to do is attack the lane and cause problems for him and make him work and maybe even get them out of that zone so we can pull him out of the lane a little bit and make him play the whole floor,” said Ehresman.

 

 
   

Wynford Needs Easy Baskets

 

          With just one game left in the regular season the Wynford Royals are still looking to find a way to put more points in the scoreboard.

          They have a chance to be a spoiler when they travel to meet North Central Conference silver division co-leader Buckeye Central on Friday night.

          Wynford (8-13,5-7) has had trouble scoring with much consistency and that has led to trouble winning games.  Coach Tim Ehresman says they need better shot selection and they have to create some offense with their defense.  “For us the last few weeks scoring has been at a premium.  We don’t have a lot of firepower.  It has been negated significantly in the last several games.  That is going to be a critical thing.  We still have to consider the types of shots we are going to take and situations that we are in.  I think we have to do a better job of finishing shots in the lane.  We have to do a better job of maybe manufacturing some shots with defensive plays so we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot when it comes to having the opportunity to win a game,” said Ehresman.

          Turnovers have been a real issue for the Royals this year and Ehresman says they are still searching for ways to limit them.  “We haven’t turned it over in the bunches that we have in the past, still every turnover is an empty possession.  When you struggle to score and you have empty possessions on top of that then you really put yourself behind the eight ball.  We still talk about taking care of the basketball.  We still run drills where there are certain penalties for turning the ball over.  Those are the things that every team struggles with at certain times of the year, but it seems like we have struggled with it this year more than in any time in my tenure,” Ehresman said.

          Buckeye Central (14-7,10-2) has proven a lot of people wrong with the season they have had.  With a lot of inexperience at the beginning of the season there seemed to be a lot of question marks.  Ehresman says the Bucks have a lot of good ingredients.  “I think there are a couple of reasons why they are good.  First of all they have a lot of young kids that are hungry to play.  Their team is very much multi dimensional.  They score from behind the arc.  They score in the lane.  They score from defensive pressure.  They score in a half court set.  That is very critical I think for a team to be successful and make long runs in the tournament you have to be able to score from many different facets.  Then I think defensively because of their athleticism and little bit because of their length on the perimeter in spots they’re just very good.  They communicate very well.  They share the ball very well.  I think when we played them earlier in the year we felt very fortunate to come away with a “W” at our place because of their athleticism.  We had just a little bit more maturity to our guys than they did at that time, but we can’t count on that this time because this is the 22nd game of the year,” said Ehresman.

          This is the final year of the North Central Conference with its core forming what will be known as the Northern 10 Conference.  Both Wynford and Buckeye Central will be part of the new mix.  Ehresman who played at Buckeye and coaches are Wynford talks about the rivalry.  “I think we are schools that are similar in size, we are in the same county.  A lot of the county schools that were put together to form Buckeye Central and Wynford were very competitive and it’s the same with Colonel Crawford.  A lot of those small schools if you consider Sulfur Springs and New Washington High School and Lykens and Holmes-Liberty and all of those schools that were put together to create the larger schools that exist today,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Those are the same competitive people.  The families remain the same in many of those districts.  I don’t think in any way it’s a dislike from the older people you have a respect and you want to win those games because you want the bragging rights when you go to work the next week.”    

 

 
   

Wynford Faces Tough Task

 

          Wynford is trying to work some kids into the speed and complexity of varsity basketball and they are going to face two very tough tests this weekend as they face the leaders in both divisions of the “NCC.”

          Upper Sandusky beat them last Saturday (55-47) in a black division game.  Royals coach Tim Ehresman feels they just couldn’t put a full 32 minutes together against the Rams defense.  “I think Upper Sandusky has some good things going right now.  They are good defensively and they scored consistently against our press.  At the same token we struggled a little bit.  We didn’t find our stride offensively until midway through the fourth quarter and once we got our stride we were pretty good in the fourth quarter, but when you give somebody a 19-20 point lead you are going to struggle to come back,” said Ehresman.

          The tournament draw was held Sunday and Wynford will meet Seneca East (10-9) in a semi-final game in division three at Lexington.  Ehresman feels they got a decent draw, but he knows they must play well.  “We played Seneca East earlier in the season.  I think that is a team we can get possibly.  They will be a very competitive team for us.  Rather than try to play Ontario for a third time we put ourselves in New London’s bracket and see what we can do against New London.  I think we match up better against them,” he said.

          On Friday night, Wynford (8-11,5-5) is in North Robinson to face Colonel Crawford (15-4,9-2) in an inter-divisional game.  Ehresman says the Eagles just have so many weapons.  “Colonel Crawford is a very good offensive team.  They run a lot of good offensive looks against you.  They can score in many ways.  They have shooters on the perimeter.  They can put the ball in the lane off the bounce or they can throw into their post guys.  It is going to be a real challenge for us.  I thought we played well against them the first time for about two and half quarters then the wheels kind of fell off late in the third early in the fourth,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “Again it was our systematic turnovers at mid court that really caused our problems there.  It was very similar to Ontario the first time.  Ontario has the length and athleticism to really cause problems in the full court.  That is one our nemesis this year.”

          Conner McCreary and the Crawford guards have been doing most of the scoring, but Ehresman says their posts are hard to guard too.  “I think their post players are tough.  It’s pretty good one-two punch there.  They bring guys off the bench that do a nice job.  They run some stuff for their post guys and both the Jury kid and the Klingenberger kid are pretty good athletes.  We don’t necessarily match-up with them very well not only are they athletic, but they are solid post players.  Klinenberger can shoot the jumper while Jury probably has the size and the strength to play that low post position.  It is really tough for us to slow those guys down,” said Ehresman. 

          That game is followed by a trip to Ontario (15-4,10-0),#1 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball coaches poll in the large school division.  Ehresman says you can try and run with the Warriors, but that would be a mistake.  “I think if you are going to play at Ontario’s pace for a lot teams, and especially our team, you are going to be in a little bit of trouble.  Ontario can score consistently at their pace not only in the lane, but they can knock down the three point shot whereas we struggle from the perimeter a little bit, so we have to work pretty hard to get the ball in the lane where we can get a good shot.  If we could consistently break down their press and attack them rim, and score in the lane and cause some foul trouble for them and then that would be good for us,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday,”  At the same token we don’t want to break the press and jack up a three point shot.  That is not different than a turnover that they are going to grab on a rebound and get out on transition.  There are two different ways to look at it.  Can we play at that speed or can we play at that level?  We can certainly play at that speed, virtually every team can, but it’s whether or not you can play at that level and I’m not sure we are ready for that.”       

 

 
   

Patience Big Key For Wynford

 

          Wynford is a team that is still looking for some things with three weeks to go until the postseason tournament begins.

          On Tuesday night, Mt. Gilead beat them (76-52) in a non-conference game.  Wynford coach Tim Ehresman says they were just better than them in this game.  “I don’t think you are going to beat too many teams that make 13 three pointers against you.  They were firing on all cylinders (Tuesday) night.  We stayed with them for a half.  We had our typical handful of turnovers in a row and the game got away from us a little bit in the third quarter,” he said.

          Ehresman says they need to understand the difference between a good turnover and a bad turnover and how it affects the flow of the game.  “Turnovers are always going to be a problem.  You try to keep those to a minimum.  We just seem to have them in bunches.  We are not a team that is going to stop people in transition defense.  As we talk about things with our kids.  If there is such a thing as a good turnover we talk about in terms of being able to set our defense, which means we trying to make a pass and it goes out of bounds and we can set our defense,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “I try to make a move in the post and they call me for traveling.  Those are aggressive turnovers.  Turnovers that we are allowing to happen because we don’t come to the ball or turnovers that happen because we get a rebound, but we don’t secure the rebound those are turnovers that hurt us because they lead to transition points for other teams.”

          Wynford (8-10,5-4) is at Upper Sandusky (9-8,6-3) in a black division game in the North Central Conference on Saturday night.  Upper, of course, plays a very patient style.  Ehresman says if you are patient too you can find some things.  “If you are a team that can be patient at both ends of the floor offensively and defensively you can make good things happen.  Even though Upper is probably one of the most stingy defenses in our league if you can reverse the floor enough times you can find and open look or you can find somebody that missed a screen or missed a set up defensively that you can take advantage of,” said Ehresman.

          Equally you can’t get too aggressive when you are defending them either.  Ehresman says that what they want you to do.  “On the same token on defense you have to be patient too because they like to do the same thing.  They like to reverse the floor.  They want what every team wants they want a wide open lay up or they want a wide open three for their shooters.  The difference is they are very particular about where their shots come from and who their shots come from.  Other teams just aren’t.  We try to let our kids play a little bit more and allow them to have some freedom because there are other options like offensive rebounds that can help your team too,” he said.

          Wynford has a very difficult schedule down the stretch, but Ehresman says that will prepare them for the post season.  “I think any of the teams that we have coming up because of the potential that all of these teams have, Upper this weekend, next weekend is a double weekend with Crawford and Ontario and then we finish with Buckeye Central, who is one of the hottest teams in the league.  Those four games right there, regardless if we win any of them, will help us be prepared for any tournament foe that we see.  I think that is the mindset that we have to take.  We have to be good at certain things against different teams.  Of course with Upper this weekend we have to be patient and we have to be able to take care of the basketball,” said Ehresman.

 

 
   

Wynford Working on Defense

 

          Wynford has shown the ability to score this season and if they can play a little more consistent on defense they could become a dangerous basketball team.

          They have a double weekend in the North Central Conference this weekend hosting Bucyrus on Friday and traveling to Galion on Saturday night.

          Last week, the Royals got off to a solid start and put away the winless Lucas Cubs (67-33) in an “NCC” game.  Coach Tim Ehresman says the start was probably the key.  “I thought we came out and jumped on them early and did some good things early.  We had a lot of guys in the game.  I think Lucas has some young talent.  I think they will be okay.  I think coach Gossum does a decent job of developing those kids.  They play hard and they do the things that he asks them to do.  From that respect I think it was a good game,” he said.

          In order to improve as a team Ehresman says they need to get more stops so they can have more chances to score.  “I think all year we have been kind of harping defensively.  Offensively we have shown we can score.  I think defensively we have to consistently put stops together where you can give yourself a little more opportunity offensively.  We don’t score great, but at times we score well.  We have to be able to put some runs together and beat some teams that have already beaten us and that would start on Friday night with Bucyrus,” said Ehresman.

          Bucyrus (3-12,2-7) edged Wynford (53-47) in early January.  Ehresman says it’s going to come down to execution because there aren’t going to be many secrets.  “Our league is at a point now where things have shaken out and certain teams have risen to the top, your Colonel Crawford’s and your Ontario’s, in their respective divisions, but the rest of us sort of in the middle there, especially on the black side, I think on any given night one can beat the other.  It is always a tough time when you play Bucyrus.  Coach Hill is going to know everything that we do well and we are going to know everything that he does well.  It is just a matter of who can take care of the ball a little bit better and rebound the ball a little bit better,” said Ehresman.

          Wynford (7-8,4-3) just played Galion (5-9,3-5) a couple of weeks ago at home winning (67-60) after a good start.  Ehresman says the Tigers are one of the more athletic teams they will play.  “Galion is one those teams that is really scary because of their quickness and their athleticism.  They can get to the rim off the dribble anytime they want to it seems like and if they start doing that well and you start playing off shooters they are going to knock down shots.  Even if they aren’t knocking down shots they can get to the glass,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We were very fortunate over here we jumped on them early and kind of held onto the lead in the second half.  They stepped up their game.  I’m sure coach Rich will remind them that on Saturday.  They have a tough one with Upper on Friday night.  I’m sure on Saturday morning he will remind them that we were bale to jump on them early.  Of course our kids have to understand that it probably not going to be that easy.”

 

 
   

Wynford Trying to Find Defense

 

          Wynford is starting to find its offense and now they need defense in order to become a complete team.

          Last Saturday night they downed Galion (67-60) in a game in the black division of the North Central Conference.  Coach Tim Ehresman says they are getting better because they have had more time to work on things.  “I think it is important to see how far our kids have progressed.  We have had some time to work on our game a little bit.  There hasn’t been nearly as many games in January as there was in December.  In December we played 11 games and January we are only playing seven games for 16.  I think we have had some more time to practice.  That has shown in the last couple of games,” said Ehresman.

          What still needs to be better is what the Royals need to become a better defensive team.  Ehresman says they are working on those things.  “I think we are still trying to search out a defensive posture.  Whether or not we are a good defensive team depends on how we do on straight line drives, which we have struggled with this year.  I think we have rebounded the ball well and we have done a decent job there, but there are times we have given up some offensive rebounds in critical situations.  Those are things you need to finish those defensive possessions.  I think offensively we have made some strides, but defensively we are still searching for those opportunities to make stops in transition to make runs to the offensive end,” said Ehresman.

          Wynford (6-7) plays at River Valley (8-4) in non-conference action on Tuesday night.  Ehresman says the Vikings are athletic and will be a tough challenge on the road.  “River Valley is a very talented team.  They are very good at both ends of the floor.  They are very long.  They are very athletic.  They have some young guys mixed in with some veteran players that are pretty tough.  They have a nice 1-3-1 half court trap.  They have a nice 1-2-2 half court zone.  Their man-to-man is pretty tough because of their size.  Offensively they don’t give you much time to react.  They pound it inside and when you collapse on the inside then they kick it out for jump shots.  It is going to be quite a test for us down there,” he said.

          There really isn’t a lot of time to prepare for a Tuesday night game and Ehresman says that can force you to change your approach a little bit.  “You try not to bring the kids in on Sunday.  You bring them in on Monday and you practice and you go over scouting reports and you basically try to prepare for a team in one day with your players.  It’s the same for them.   I am not sure if they played Saturday night, but they played Friday and they are turning around and are preparing for us.  Those are nights that you make tweaks, but you mostly rely on the things you do well and try and make sure you have an opportunity to use those things,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “I think that is an advantage that a team like River Valley has because of their size and length and their style.  Coach Comstock does a nice job of mixing up his defenses and he does a nice job of working his offense and we will have to adjust.”

 

 
   

Wynford Has to Control Game

 

          Wynford is starting to find out what it needs to do to be a successful basketball team and that could be bad news for the rest of their opponents.

          Last Saturday, the Royals (5-7,2-3) buried Crestline (76-40) in a North Central Conference game.  Royals coach Tim Ehresman says they were able to stem the tide by playing some pretty good defense against the Bulldogs.  “We got some touches where we needed to get them.  We scored in the lane consistently.  We didn’t have to rely on a jump shot.  We were pretty good in transition.  I think I was more pleased defensively.  We were pretty solid defensively in the third quarter and that’s what helped us to build the lead,” he said.

          Not that they don’t have scorers, but Ehresman believes to be successful they need to be able to do some things on defense to control the game.  “I think our kids are trying to buy into that concept of being able to defend for a certain amount of time in the half court and try and make it tougher for teams to score on us.  We are not a great scoring team.  We have had games when we have gone out and scored a little bit only because we have been able to defend well.  When we are not defending well it is hard for us to come back,” he said.

          This is a different kind of Wynford team than teams they have had in the past, at least the recent past.  Ehresman says they have to understand who they are and what they need to do to win.  He says they have to know their strengths on offense.  “In some ways we are very limited in terms of how we can score.  We don’t have the 6’6” post guy that can catch and finish.  We don’t have those knock down shooters.  We are kind of by committee,” he told on Swnakonsports.com on Tuesday, “We have guys that can put the ball in the lane by the dribble.  We can make some post feeds.  Our post guys just have be very efficient when they do catch.  The longer the season goes, and they more we have worked on it, the better we have been able to get.”

          Galion (3-7,1-4) is at Wynford on Saturday night.  Ehresman says they have to handle the ball and attempt to slow down the Tigers.  “In terms of just pure athleticism, their team is maybe not where Ontario is, but it’s close.  Buckeye, Crawford, there are a lot teams in our league that are very athletic.  With Galion they really like to get out in transition. One of the ways that teams have been successful against them is to not turn the ball over.  If you can keep from turning the ball over and giving them those easy baskets because they are difficult to stop in transition, then you’ve got a chance,” said Ehresman.

          Ridge Durbin is Galion’s leading scorer and Ehresman says he is really an igniter for them.  “He is a point guard and he is a scoring point guard, so it is pretty critical for them I think, not that they can’t score in multiple ways.  He is also a big catalysis for them defensively.  He puts a lot of pressure on the ball.  He makes a lot of tips and steals and things like that.  It seems they way he goes is the way the team goes,” he said.       

 

 
   

Wynford Needs Wins

 

          After a loss last week to Ontario the Wynford Royals need to keep pace as they play Bucyrus and Upper Sandusky in a double weekend of games in the North Central Conference black division.

          Ontario walloped the Royals (81-55) on Friday night.  Wynford coach Tim Ehresman says Ontario forced them to do some things they really didn’t want to do.  “Friday night with Ontario they got us out of what we wanted to do offensively and turned us over and they are pretty good when they are making shots.  They hit 10 threes on us and lot of them came on second chance opportunities or steals.  That makes it difficult for a team to come back,” said Ehresman.

          Then on Saturday night unbeaten Carey, the co-leader of the Midland Athletic League, downed the Royals (73-63) in a non-conference game.  Ehresman says again it was kind of a momentum game.  “Against Carey we had the game where we needed it to be in the third quarter and they got a couple of steals and opened up a lead and it was tough for us to come back,” he said.

          This weekend Wynford (4-5,1-1) plays at Bucyrus (1-7,0-3) on Friday night and hosts Upper Sandusky (3-4,2-1) on Saturday.  Ehresman says anytime you play two league games on a weekend it is tough.  “Anytime you have a double league weekend it is kind of a meat grinder.  You have two teams that handle the ball well in Bucyrus and Upper Sandusky.  There are things that we have to work on in practice this week to get better,” said Ehresman.

          Bucyrus and coach Nate Hill is a team that runs the dribble drive offense.  Ehresman says the Redmen make you execute.  “Bucyrus is going to be one of those teams that runs its dribble drive offense and their general offense real well.  They change defenses to keep you off balance.  We just have to be pretty smart with the basketball,” he said.  Ehresman says they must be able to keep Bucyrus out of the lane.  “In any defense that you want to run you have to communicate.  One of things that everyone talks about is you have to talk.  You work on that in practice.  The dribble drive especially because it’s an aggressive offense that causes a lot of fouls and breaks your defense down.  Anytime you can put the ball in the lane consistently it breaks a defense down,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “What we have to do is keep their dribble out of the lane and make sure we are talking on the switches we need to make.  At the same time making sure our back side defenders are not falling asleep on a back side flash or getting the check outs that we need too.  A lot of coaches like it because it teaches your kids to be more aggressive with the ball in their hands and let’s them use their skills a little bit.”

          Upper is a very patient team on offense and one that plays pretty good defense.  Ehresman says you must take advantage of things that are given to you.  “Upper Sandusky on Saturday is a team that plays a very, very tight man-to-man defense.  They don’t give you a lot of possessions because they move the ball a lot and they don’t turn it over.  It is going to have to be a game where we value the basketball and come away with some positive looks at the offensive end,” said Ehresman.

          With the way that the Rams play you aren’t going to get a lot of chances to score and Ehresman says you have to take advantage.  “I think the key with Upper is you want to be patient at both ends.  You have to take what the defense gives you, which isn’t a lot.  They are a very nice team defensively.  At the offensive end you can not afford to give away looks that you need.  You need to get the ball in the paint a little bit.  We need to make sure we take advantage of our opportunities,” he said.

 

 
   

Wynford Facing Big Challenge

 

          Wynford will be playing to other the better basketball teams in North Central Ohio when they face Ontario and Carey in games on Friday and Saturday.

          They played a pretty good team last week too in the Colonel Crawford Eagles.  Crawford won it (58-49) and Wynford coach Tim Ehresman says they played very well for most of the game.  “I thought we came out and played really hard.  I thought we did some things that we haven’t done all year for about three quarters of the game and then they make a couple of shots and they take the lead and we had to try and catch up and it was tough going.  I was happy with the development of our kids in a big game like that.  You know, I think we are getting better,” said Ehresman.

          Wynford (4-3,1-0) plays host to Ontario (6-2,2-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com boys’ basketball poll in the small school division, for likely the last time at the “House of the Thrills” on Friday night in a game in the black division of the North Central Conference.  Ehresman says Ontario is just very good.  “They have the whole package.  They shoot the ball very well.  They defend very well.  They rebound the basketball very well.  If you do those three things you are going to be very affective as a basketball team.  Joe has a lot of talent there.  He has a lot of talent back from the last couple of years.  They are just a very well rounded, affective team,” he said.

          Ontario is a well rounded team, but Ehresman says he would rather try and beat them in the half court if he had his choice.  “I think slowing them down is a key.  I don’t think they are necessarily as good a team in the half court as they are in the full court.  I think they are very good team in the open court.  One of the reasons is they press so well and their defense spurs a lot of that in the open court.  If you have to consistently put pressure on them to score in the half court.  To do that you have to be able to score at your own end and do it consistently, so at the defensively end you can put some pressure on them to make shots and now I think you have a chance,” said Ehresman.

          Ontario is the favorite in the black division and Ehresman knows if they are to win it this is a game they must have.  “It is a home game for us.  We want to hold serve.  We want to be able to win this game and make sure we win on the road to have an opportunity to win a championship.  We have got to be prepared and we have to be able to do things very well, better than we have all year just to be in the game with Ontario,” he said.

          Wynford plays another team that is very good, in fact, unbeaten, as they travel to Carey (7-0), to face the Blue Devils on Saturday night.  Ehresman says this is another team that is very athletic.  “Carey is an interesting team because they have won a lot of close games and they have won games when they have blown people out too.  That says a lot about their team.  They have a lot kids back,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “They can be very explosive.  It’s another team that presses and uses their athleticism to score quick baskets.  If you are not prepared for what they do and you get in a hole it’s going to be very difficult because not only are they a good pressing team, they are a very good half court defensive team.  They are another team that probably has the whole package in our area.”      

 

 
   

Wynford Looking for Identity

 

          It’s really been a decent start to the season for the Wynford Royals.  With little experience returning they have won four of their first six games on the season.

          Last week, they downed Riverdale (47-40) in a conference game, but lost to Seneca East (56-44) in non-league play on Saturday.  Coach Tim Ehresman says they have tried some different approaches and they have to settle on something they are good at doing.  “We are sort of team that is in search of an identity.  We are not a great offensive team and we are not a great defensive team.  I guess we need to be adequate in at least one sense and a lot better in the other.  Friday night, against Riverdale I thought we made the stops that were necessary and we made the free throws that were necessary to win on the road and Riverdale is a tough to place to play,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Then Saturday we didn’t do that.  Saturday it seemed like our errors compounded other mistakes.  Turnovers that were untimely or giving up three point plays.  I credit a lot to Seneca East because they made the plays down the stretch.  We held a really good post player in our area to eight points, but then we give up 18 to other kids that aren’t double digits scorers, so there needs to be some commonality in what we do.”

          Youth sometimes leads to inconsistency on floor, but Ehresman says with all of the games they have been playing pretty soon that is not going to be an excuse any more.  “It is definitely true of a team that has a lot of young kids that don’t have varsity experience.  The one thing I can’t fault my kids is great determination and hustle.  They work their tails off.  Now, sometimes they wok so hard that it works to our disadvantage.  They try to make the play that they really shouldn’t be trying to make at the time and that comes with a little bit of seasoning.  Fortunately we will have that seasoning in two weeks when we have 12 games under our belt.  No longer can these kids call themselves rookies.  Those are the things that we like to work on in practice, that we like to break down when we watch film,” said Ehresman.

          It’s a game in the black division of the North Central Conference on Friday as Wynford (4-2,1-0) is at Galion (2-2,1-0) to battle the Tigers.  Ehresman says they are going to have to do something about Galion guard Ridge Durbin.  “Durbin is a huge factor.  The kid can handle the basketball and put the ball in the hoop too and he has been doing it for few years now.  Not only that, but he plays pretty good defense.  They are just one athletic, fast team.  I have seen them on film and they are very impressive.  We have to be able to limit those turnovers that cause transition baskets.  We have talked about this for years now with Galion.  We did it once last year and then we didn’t do it the second time.  I think going over to their place we have to make them work for their points and not allow them to just get run ups on us,” said Ehresman.

          The philosophy going in is to try and limit possessions and slow Galion down a little.  Ehresman says that will give them a chance to win in the end.  “This is a game that we have to look at and say that this is a game that we want to go in there and play our best and keep it tight, so at the end of the game that possibly we can make those plays down the stretch that win it.  You can go into a place like Galion and get blown out too with their athleticism and their scoring.  We are just going to try and be there at the end and give ourselves a chance to win that game,” said Ehresman.

          On Saturday night, Wynford is at home for rival Colonel Crawford in a game that does not county in the “NCC” standings.  Ehresman says they are the underdog.  “All of the kids know each other.  The families know each other.  They may have cousins on each team.  It’s very similar to the other county schools that we have around here.  There always seems like there is something under the table.  Coach Sheldon does a nice job of preparing his kids and having them ready to play.  It is an interesting match-up because it is non-league.  We get to play it at home this year.  Right now, they are a better team than we are.  They have a lot more talent and they also have a lot more experience than we do.  That is another game were we have to come out hitting on all cylinders at both ends of the floor with the critical one being defensively where we have to make them work for scores and not give them easy looks because they are going to do that to us,” said Ehresman.       

 

 
   

Defense Still the Key to Wynford’s Success

 

          Wynford has already played four basketball games in this young season and they have won three of them, with their only loss coming to Shelby last Saturday night.

          They secured a win over Buckeye Central in a non-conference game last Thursday (48-44) before losing to the Whippets (63-27) on the road.  After averaging almost 80 points in wins of Ridgedale and Mohawk, coach Tim Ehresman says they kind of came back to earth.  “We didn’t score as much this past weekend and I think that is due to the fact that teams are getting better.  Maybe our scoring had a little bit more to due to some of the teams we were playing.  I think as this team matures we have got to continue to be a better defensive team,” he said.

          Plus, Ehersman knows they need to get better on defense if they are going to end up being a successful team.  “Scoring is something you might have depending on the night.  You can always play defense.  I think every kid that gets on the floor can communicate and can talk and can do the things that you are asking them to do.  I think that is one of the things that we are looking to do.  One of the things we want to get better is our transition defense,” said Ehresman.  And he says defense is something they work on everyday in practice.  “We have a lot of players that haven’t played varsity basketball before.  They are figuring out that the speed of the game is quite a bit different.  The competitiveness of the game and the intricacies of another team’s offense are somewhat more significant.  I think there are things that you can work on in practice and we do work on in practice,” Ehresman told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “For instance communication making sure that we are in a good defensive position.  Making sure that as I guard my player that I put as much pressure on as possible without allowing them to go by.  There are a lot of different things we can work on and you have to be able to put it all together to be a good defensive unit.”

          Wynford (3-1,0-0) opens North Central Conference play with an inter divisional game at Riverdale (1-2,0-0) on Friday night.  Ehresman says the Falcons always seem to play well at their place.  “The Falcons are similar to us.  They are a young team.  They probably have a few more lettermen than we do, but they still have some young kids playing in spots.  They like to get up and down when they can, but they are pretty good in their half court offense too.  I think the Holderman boy is one the more solid young guards in our league.  He shoots it really well and he handles it well and he passes it pretty well.  They have a host of other kids that are just affective kids.  They play pretty hard and they do a pretty good job at both ends of the floor,” said Ehresman.

          If Wynford is going to challenge in the black division this year this is a game they have to have.  “It’s on the road and Riverdale is always a tough place to play.  They always seem to shoot it lights out at their place.  This will be their third game and it will be our fifth game.  That gives us a little bit of an advantage that our kids have a little more time under their belt.  There is nothing you can take for granted in a basketball game.  We can’t show up and expect them to do everything they have done on film.  They are going to make some changes, they are going to make some additions and they are going to play hard.  We have just got to show up and be prepared,” said Ehresman.

 

 
   

Wynford Having Fun

 

          Wynford is off to a 2-0 start to the high school boys’ basketball season.  They are scoring some points and having some fun doing it.

          The Royals opened the season with back to back wins over Ridgedale (81-68) and Mohawk (75-57) last weekend.  Those will be two schools that will join Wynford in helping to form the new Northern 10, which debuts next year.

          Coach Tim Ehresman says they looked pretty good on offense, but not so much on defense.  “I think we were hitting on cylinders that we hadn’t hit in a while there.  I think we put some points up in spurts.  We had some trouble defensively though too.  I kind of goes hand in hand there.  I think we are trying to make sure that the “Running Royals” are still alive and well,” he said.

          The defensive concerns that the Royals have shown so far are things that can be ironed out in practice.  Ehresman is very pleased with the progress they have seen on the offensive side of things.  “It’s just a lack of communication and experience that is on the floor.  We give up some dribble penetration and miss some rotations here and there and things like that.  Those are things we can work on,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “I think it’s nice to have offense.  We usually don’t have offense at this time of year.  It’s nice to have that at this time of the year.  Defense is something we can work on and get better at.  Offensive is something that takes a little longer normally.  I’m pretty happy with where we are right now.”

          Pushing the ball on offense and looking for every opportunity to score the Royals have a pretty good stable of guards.  Ehresman says that is where most of their limited experience lies.  “We rely on our guard play.  The experience that we do have our guard play is a big part of that, so yeah we do rely a little bit more on guard play right now,” he said.

          Wynford plays at home on Thursday night against Buckeye Central (1-1) in a non-conference game between two members of the “NCC.”  Buckeye has been a little surprising with a win over Plymouth (51-39) and a near upset of Midland Athletic League favorite New Riegel (53-49) last Saturday night.  Ehresman says he likes the way the Bucks play.  “They are very similar to us in terms of experience.  They don’t have a lot.  Their kids come in and they play hard.  It’s kind of fun to watch kids on a learning curve that aren’t necessarily concerned about ego or anything like that or points they are putting up.  They just want to win and I think Buckeye’s kids are a lot like that, very similar to us this year,” he said.

          Ehresman says Buckeye has a lot of guys who have a variety of skills, mostly their leading scorer Austin Wurmm.  “They have Austin Wurmm, who is a sophomore, who probably has their must experience.  He is a scorer.  He is a bigger wing type player, but he is quick and athletic.  He can score in the lane.  He is a good shooter.  The other Wurmm boy, Stone Wurmm, the Christie boy, they are pretty quick.  Pretty good defenders.  Their forwards are nice size and they are athletic.  I think it’s going to be a good match-up,” said Ehresman.

 

 
   

Wynford Off to Good Start

 

          Wynford, again one of the favorites in the black division of the North Central Conference this year, is off to a 2-0 start after wins over Colonel Crawford and River Valley in non-conference play this past weekend.

          Yes, Colonel Crawford is a fellow member of the “NCC,” but from the other division and this game does not count in the conference standings.

          However, it was an important win over Crawford (58-50) in their first game.  Meghan Harrer drained six three pointers on the night and coach Amy Taylor-Sheldon was happy with the execution she saw from the team.  “They were the only team on our schedule that beat us twice last year.  I think the girls were ready to play and I think they understood what we were trying to do.  For the first game of the year to have one of the biggest games on a Friday night of a double weekend is a tall order.  I think our kids stepped up for that,” she said.

          The Lady Royals added another win on Saturday night when they bounced River Valley (67-55) of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.  They are off until Saturday when they meet New Riegel (1-0), the preseason favorite in the Midland Athletic League.

          Wynford lost a key player from their conference co-champions form last year, but Taylor-Sheldon is confident that the Lady Royals have a good nucleus this winter.  “We lost our All-Ohioan Ceria Brady at the point guard that averaged almost 20 a game, but we brought back a lot of experience.  Paige Brady averaged a double double and led the Mansfield area in rebounding last year.  Meghan Harrer and Karlee Schiefer were both sophomores that played significant minutes for us on varsity,” she told Swankonsports.com, “Shannon Miller and Mandy Lilly both are seniors that started for us last year at one time of another.  Brenna Quinn, who is a six foot post player, and Beth Delong, who is a scrappy little guard, both played on a 20-0 JV team.  I would site experience as one of our biggest strengths.”

          A good start yes, but Taylor-Sheldon, in her 17th year as the Wynford coach, knows there are still a number of ways for the team to get better this year.  “There were points that we were far too aggressive and kept having dump fouls and there were points in the press when we weren’t aggressive enough and they took advantage of us.  Ellie Richmond is our point guard this year.  She got several minutes of varsity time last year in big games.  This is really her first varsity season.  She has big shoes to fill and the pressure of being the point guard I think you are going to see a kid that is significantly better at game 20 then she was (Friday) night.  Even with that she got to the front of the rim and did some things pretty well.  We need to do a better job of working inside-outside and getting more post feeds,” said Taylor-Sheldon.    

 

 
   

Defense, Offensive Balance Keys For Wynford

 

          Wynford has been one of the more consistently strong boys’ basketball teams in the area for years and although they don’t have those standout players you can bet they are going to be there in the end.

          Coach Tim Ehresman knows that his kids always play hard and this year is no different.  “I tell you I very excited.  This is a nice group.  A nice mix of juniors and seniors and maybe a couple of sophomores that might mix in there that just practice and play very hard.  For these kids most of them coming out of football just a week ago that’s a big positive right now,” he said.

          On offense, Ehresman says they have to be able to be a team that is efficient in both the half court and the full court as they have different kinds of kids.  “I think we can be a team that has to be smart with the basketball.  We can’t take quick shots.  I think we have to be a team that is diligent in the half court, but at the same time when we get opportunities to get out in transition we have to let our guard play take those opportunities and put the ball in the lane and make something happen.  For a few our guards the open court is going to be very important,” he told Swankonsports.com, “ We don’t have those big kids we’ve had in the past where we can just set down and throw it to a post guy and let those guys play a little bit.  We have to put them in good positions to score.  We are just going to have to be very patient on offense.”

          However, like always the Royals want to hang their hat on defense.  Ehresman says they are working toward that end.  “Defensively we just have to get better.  We have to become that team that really causes people problems in scoring.  I don’t know if we are going to get a lot of steals in the half court, but we want to cause a team to really have to work hard to score and I think it will be to our advantage,” he said.

          Last season, there was outstanding balance in the North Central Conference, especially in the black division.  “I think our league is going to be very tough.  Last year it was very balanced.  Nobody went undefeated.  I think were the only team to beat Upper Sandusky, the team that wins our side of the league.  Crawford was very solid in the smaller division.  I think that is going to be the same this year.  Upper is going to be that team to beat, but at the same time I really, really like Ontario.  I think they are going to be very solid and there are just a lot of good coaches and solid play in this league you just can’t take anything for granted,” said Ehresman.   

 

 
   

Wynford Plays Familiar Playoff Foe

 

          It was about a year ago that Wynford was preparing to play Lucasville Valley in the football playoffs and now they get to do it again. 

          The two schools met last year in the regional final and Wynford rallied to win in overtime (54-48) in one the most exciting games of the season.  This year there are different names, but the teams are similar.

          Last week, Wynford (9-2), #4 in the final Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the small school division, shutout Loudonville (24-0) in the first round of the division five playoffs.  The Royals held Loudonville to only 144 yards, all on the ground.  Coach Gable Helbert says their defense did everything they were asked.  “Our defense did an awesome job, really did.  They came out an executed the game plan really at a high level.  I thought our coaches did a great job implementing the game plan all week in practice to kind of go with a different philosophy like we have done so many times in the past.  The way the kids were able to pick up on it was really impressive.  It was definitely a key to the game,” he said.  Helbert says they played more players on the front with the intent of shutting down the Redbirds running game.  “We played a lot more of a five man front than we have in the past.  I think it was to help to neutralize the line of scrimmage and stop their run game, which we definitely wanted to do.  I don’t think they completed a pass in the game.  Obviously they were geared towards running the ball.  I thought our kids did an excellent job of stopping the run game,’ said Helbert.

          Wynford completed three passes of more than 27 yards for touchdowns last week and Helbert says they found ways to get behind the Loudonville defense.  “We got back to being a little more balanced than we have in the last few weeks.  We hit on some big plays.  They had a few coverage breakdowns and we were able to find some openings and make big plays behind their coverage.  We didn’t run the ball as good as we would have liked, but we did make big plays in the pass game,” said Helbert.

          Wynford and Lucasville Valley play Saturday night at Reynoldsburg High School in the division five regional semi-finals.  Helbert says looking at the Indians they are different, yet the same.  “Obviously they are a very talented team to be 11-0 right now and in the second round of the playoffs.  It is very impressive with what they have been able to do when you look at their roster and the kids that they had that were impact players those kids are gone, the running back, the fullback, the receiver, the quarterback, their best offensive linemen.  All of those guys have graduated.  Then you throw on the film from this year and holy smokes that JV team must have awesome because there are a lot of good players on that field this year,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “They have a real nice quarterback, a real nice running back who doubles as a linebacker.  He is as good a middle linebacker as I have seen on film this year.  They have a nice interior front, both on offense and defense.  They have a real nice mix of size and speed.  We are definitely going to have to play at high level.”

          Form a strategic standpoint, Helbert believes they are going to see a lot of the same things form Lucasville Valley.  “They do a lot of the same things.  I think they are running their quarterback a little bit more.  This kid seems to be more of a runner first.  Overall they are running the ball a little bit more than they did last year.  They are running it very successfully.  There is a lot of misdirection.  The quarterback runs really hard.  He is elusive.  Scheme wise some of the same things.  Defensively they are very similar to what we saw last year on film,” said Helbert.

          Most times in the playoffs you play teams that you are unfamiliar with, but both sides have the luxury of having played just last year.  “I know that they graduated a lot, but the kids look very similar to what they had last year.  They have a lot of good looking athletes and some stout looking offensive and defensive linemen.  There is definitely a lot of familiarity because we did play them last year,” said Helbert.         

 

 
   

Wynford Faces Tough Running Game

 

          Two Mansfield area teams square off in the division five playoffs on Saturday night as Loudonville is at Wynford to battle Royals.

          Wynford expects to make the postseason playoffs.  This is the 12th time the Royals have qualified to play on week 11 of the season.  It is the first time they have not won the North Central Conference title since 2004, as they finished in a tie for second in the black division, two games behind the Galion Tigers.  Coach Gabe Helbert says making the playoffs never gets old.  “In a way it is business as usual, but we are definitely excited about being here.  We are never going to take for granted making it to the postseason,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “It’s not something you are not guaranteed and our kids are aware of that.  They have put in the time an effort in the off season to try and accomplish that goal of making the playoffs.  We are happy, but when we put our goals out there we expect to meet all of our goals and we were fortunate to meet this one.”

          Two losses in a season is a lot of Wynford.  They had a 63 game regular season winning streak broken on September 28 by Ontario.  They also lost on week nine to Galion.  Helbert says they have had to battle through some adversity.  “We have had some adverse situations from losing a streak that was important to a lot of fans and a lot of people in the area.  We lost some very good players along the way form Cory Brown, who went down with the ACL tear.  We have had to deal with some other injuries, but kids are getting healthy and guys that were put in place at that time did a nice job of stepping up.  We have to continue to get better every week.  When we are faced with adversity we have to handle it to the best our ability,” said Helbert.

          Wynford lost starting running back Cory Brown to a knee injury this season, but Helbert says he is proud of how his team has persevered this fall.  “Cory is just a very good athlete.  He is very diverse and we can do a lot of different things with him.  We can line him up at fullback, line him up at quarterback, line him up at halfback, he make us very versatile from that regard.  Since he went down we have tried to rely on some guys that haven’t had a lot of carries, but they have done a nice job stepping up.  Adam Hartz is playing a lot more quarterback in our wildcat and did some nice things as well,” said Helbert.

          What impresses Helbert the most about the Redbirds (8-2) is their play in the trenches.  “First of all they are very good up front.  They have a lot of good kids playing on both the offensive and defensive lines.  Number 50 certainly stands out to us.  He is a returning all-league player.  They are very young at the skilled positions, but boy they play extremely hard.  They play very disciplined.  They are a playoff caliber team.  You are going to get quality teams on week 11 on through.  Loudonville definitely has some talented kids, but I guess the thing that sticks out most is their offensive and defensive lines.  Number 44 is a very good player for them too, linebacker-fullback.  We will definitely have our hands full for sure,” said Helbet.

          Loudonville finished in third place in the Mid-Buckeye Conference behind Danville and Johnstown-Monroe, who also made the playoffs.  Helbert likes the Loudonville fullback.  “They do remind me a little up front of River Valley.  They are big and strong like River Valley was.  I don’t know that we have seen a dynamic runner from the fullback position, but we have seen Ney and Campbell, but no one from that fullback spot.  They are kind of blend of a few teams we have played this year.  They definitely have the ability to block well,” he said.

          Wynford is also banking on its playoff experience.  Helbert says they have been able to maintain their focus.  “We hope our kids are able to build on the success we had in the playoffs last year and they were able to learn some stuff from that.  I think our kids expect to be here so it wasn’t a shock.  We don’t pat ourselves on the back too much just because we made it in.  Just to rely on that experience and rely on the 15 seniors that we have in our locker room.  Hopefully they maintain our focus so we can go out and put on our best performance on Saturday,” said Helbert.

 

 
   

Wynford back in the districts

 

          Wynford is back in the girls’ volleyball division three district tournament this week at Buckeye Central High School in New Washington.

          The Royals (19-4), who shared the North Central Conference black division title with Upper Sandusky, plays Margaretta (15-9) in one of the semi-finals on Wednesday night.  Upper plays Sandusky Bay Conference champion Huron in the other.

          On Saturday night, Wynford, #5 in the final Swankonsports.com volleyball coach’s poll in the small school division, beat “NCC” rival Ontario (25-9, 25-14, 25-15) in the sectional final last Saturday at Mansfield Senior High School.  Coach Tim Baumberger feels that his girls were focused against a team they had already beaten twice.  “I thought we played pretty well in the first game.  We went right after them early, but Ontario did battle back and play much better in games two and three.  They kind of challenged us in a couple of places, but I thought my kids stayed focused.  They were very businesses like and took care of things one at a time and were able to wrap that game up fairly quickly,” he said.

          Margaretta downed Edison (25-18, 25-18, 21-25, 25-8) in their sectional final at Norwalk.  Baumberger describes the Lady Polar Bears as an athletic team that has some pretty good balance on the floor.  “We have seen Margaretta play two…two and half times now.  We saw then at Buckeye Central a couple of times.  We know they are very athletic.  They have balance on the front row, obviously the Window girl is their go to.  She is a very strong left side hitter, but they can balance it out pretty well.  They tend to run different stuff,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday night, “They have definitely seen some top quality opponents, so they are not going to be shocked by anything they see.  When you play the likes of Huron and Clyde and Edison and those teams day and day out they prepare you for a lot.  I do think they are very athletic and they will present some challenges in that way.”

          Wynford has played a tough schedule including Upper, Buckeye Central, Galion and Colonel Crawford in the “NCC” as well as conference champions Mohawk and Marion Elgin, plus New Riegel.  Baumberger believes they need to aggressively attack Margaretta on Wednesday night.  “We are a little concerned about their ability to balance the floor.  We are going to have to keep pressure on their defense by being offensive all of the time.  We can’t waste a free ball.  We can’t struggle on serve-receive.  Those things are really going to allow their offense to get started,” said Baumberger. 

          Semi-final winners advance to the district final on Saturday.

 

 
   

Wynford Building For Playoffs

 

          Wynford will not win the North Central Conference football title for the first time since 2004, but they will make another visit to the division five football playoffs.

          Last week, Galion scored in the fourth quarter to beat the Royals (15-7) and maintain the lead in the black division standings.  Wynford coach Gabe Helbert feels they played very well, just not well enough.  “I thought both teams played extremely hard.  I thought our kids gave great effort, but unfortunately came up on the short end of it.  It was a  championship type game for us to put us in position to at least tie for the “NCC” championship.  We just didn’t get it done.  It was a very good game between teams battling for a championship,” he said.

          Wynford is a program that is built on goals and Helbert is unhappy they didn’t get their number one goal accomplished, but he is pleased they will be playing on week 11 again this fall.  “Our number one goal is to win our league.  We love to put ourselves in position to do that.  In two league games this year we didn’t take care of business and we have a league game left,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “The bright spot to that is we have clinched a playoff spot.  There will be a week 11 for us, which is big for us.  We are tied for the most playoff appearances for any team in North Central Ohio.  That means a lot to us.  It means a lot to our football program.”

          Wynford (7-2,4-2), #3 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the small school division, is down the street a little bit at Bucyrus against the Redmen (4-5,2-4), who like Wynford has a first year head coach in Aaron Eckert.  Helbert says he has done a good job with the program.  “Aaron has done a great job and their coaching staff has done a great job with a lot of young kids. They have really played hard and that shows up on film.  I am proud of Aaron being a Crestline Bulldog with the work and job he has done there.  Our work will be cut out for us on Friday for sure.  They definitely spread the field and try to get a lot of plays run.  They run a ton of plays throughout the course of the football game.  They are trying to get their athletes the ball in space, much the same way that Crawford did using the screen and stuff like that.  They do a lot with that.  They get the Purcell kid the ball in a lot of ways and he has done a good job of making plays within their offense,” said Helbert.

          Wynford would like to get a home playoff game and Helbert says they want to be playing well when they make the postseason next week.  “It is a big week fro us from a momentum standpoint to try to build upon what we have done.  At Galion we didn’t come out on the right side of the scoreboard, but I thought our kids came out with a lot of energy and a lot of effort, so that is something we can build on there.  We want to go into the postseason with good momentum.  We feel that our region is very balanced.  We have as good a shot as any to win that region.  We are just going to have to get better this week and continue to buy into the fact of getting better,” said Helter.   

 

 
   

Wynford Tries to Regain First Place

 

          Can Wynford bring Galion back to the rest of the field?  We find out on Friday night when the Royals visit Galion to take on the Tigers.

          Right now, Galion leads Wynford and Ontario by one game in the black division standings in the North Central Conference.

          Wynford (7-1,4-1), #3 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the small school division, blasted a good Colonel Crawford team (48-7) last week in likely their best performance of the season.  Coach Gabe Helbert says they played with a lot of determination.  “Our kids did a real nice job against Colonel Crawford.  I thought they did a great job executing the game plan.  They really went out and played with a lot of determination.  They played with a desire.  I thought it definitely showed on the field with how they performed,” he said.

          The big guys up front did a very good job as the Royals out gained Crawford 489 to 148 yards.  Helbert says those guys were solid in their technique.  “High school football, any football, you want to win the battle in the trenches.  The kids did a nice job with that, they really did.  We got good pressure with our front four against their pass attack.  I thought our kids did an excellent job of getting movement up front.  I thought we were solid in our technique and fundamentals with what we were trying to do from an up front standpoint,” says Helbert.

          Earlier this week Galion coach Chris Hawkins said that Wynford had changed its offense, however, Helbert says they always been a wing-T based team.  “That is nothing new.  We have run the wing-T since I have been at Wynford in 2004.  It was in well before me as well.  We ran it probably a little bit more than we have done in the past.  Even with Tyler Brause and Zach Chatlin we were still a heavy wing-T principal team, we were just doing it out of some more spread formations,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We had really planned on getting into it more at the beginning of the year and gotten away from it a little bit, but we utilized more of a two back set.  It was kind of more our standard stuff out of a two back set instead of a one back, quarterback, driven offense.”

          Galion (7-1,5-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the small school division,  has put a lot of points on the board this season as they have averaged more than 40 in conference games.  Helbert says the Tigers have a lot of weapons.  “They definitely have a lot of fire power.  They have a lot of very good athletes.  Watkins and Ney get a lot of headlines, but Prosser is a very good athlete and they have guys around them that are good.  It is definitely going to be a challenge for defense again this week.  We have to be very disciplined.  We have to be able to get to the ball in groups and make sure we tackle because those guys are more than capable of making one guy miss and a lot times, two of three guys miss,” said Helbert.  An old axiom in football is to get penetration in the backfield to make it difficult for the offense to get started.  Helbert says they must not lose containment.  “It’s good to get to them before they get started, but it kind of depends on your philosophy as a defense.  We don’t want to get a ton of up field penetration and now we have penetration and he is by us either.  So, we are just going to continue to read our keys defensively.  Our defensive coaching staff will hopefully have a game plan in line where our kids are capable of executing it,” he said.

          Galion’s defense has been good too.  They shutout Upper Sandusky (28-0) on the first week of the conference season.  Helbert says they are quick and get to the ball.  “The first thing you see from Galion defensively is just how athletic they are.  They are very quick and they fly around the ball.  They are quick and athletic and aggressive and that creates a pretty good defense.  They are very good.  They have good personnel at key positions.  Their nose guard is extremely disruptive and very explosive himself.  They have good linebackers.  The kid in the middle is very good at working from tight end to tight end making many plays off tackle.  They are very good defensively and our kids are going to have to be on their game to make sure we can do some things,” said Helbert.

          There is a lot to play for in this game with conference titles and playoff berths hanging in the balance.  Those are the kind of games that Wynford has excelled in the past.  Helbert says they don’t want to be fancy in this game.  They just want to go out and do their job like they have always done.  “Hopefully experience year in and year out gives us some confidence going in.  Once the whistle sounds the clock starts and the game is under way I don’t that we think about that a whole lot.  I think our kids take a lot of pride in the jersey they wear and they go out there and try and represent their school and their community and our football program to the best of their ability.  I guess what it boils down to from my prospective is it’s not a rah-rah thing.  It’s doing a job for your teammate and our kids have done a good job of that throughout the years,” said Helbert.   

 

 
   

Wynford Faces a Big Challenge

 

          Wynford is in a battle for the top spot in the black division of the North Central Conference as they share second place with Ontario, a game behind Galion with three weeks to play.

          After having their long winning streak snapped by Ontario two weeks ago, Wynford (6-1,3-1), #3 in our Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the small school division, responded last week to beat Upper Sandusky (21-12) in “NCC” action.  Coach Gabe Helbert liked the intensity and the execution the Royals showed.  “I thought we really bounced back well.  I thought our kids came out and played at a really high level with a good level of intensity.  They did a real nice of job of executing the game plan, so hopefully we can continue to build on that this Friday,” said Helbert.

          Wynford plays at home against Colonel Crawford (6-1,3-1) in a inter-divisional game in the “NCC” this week.  Crawford quarterback Nate Klingenberger is one of the area’s leaders in passing yards and touchdowns this year.  The Eagles have changed their offense to include more passing and Helbert says they knew what they were doing.  “That is a credit to coach Teglovic and his staff there that they were able to identify what they were really good at.  They have a quarterback with a lot of good athletes around him that he can get the ball too.  He does an excellent job of that.  You can definitely see that on film and in the stats that he is very good at what he does and they have some guys that are really good at catching the ball.  At the same point and time they have a real nice back in the Tacket kid.  They are very good offensively,” said Helbert.

          As far as containing the Eagles attack, Helbert says they are going to have to be able to do all of the things that good defenses do.  “I don’t know if getting pressure on them is going to be easy because the quick passing game is definitely going to be an issue because he gets the ball out of his hand quick and he has got a strong arm to get it to the guys in their hands so they can make plays after the catch,” he told Swankonsports.com, “To stop it we just have to try and stay in the pass lanes as we rush and we have to play good coverage and communicate well on the back end and get our linebackers in coverage for us as well.  I think we have to run to the football and wrap up and tackle because they have guys that can definitely hurt you after the catch.”

          One way, of course, to keep Colonel Crawford from scoring a lot of points is to have their offense holding their helmets and not having the chin strap buckled.  Helbert says that’s what they plan to do.  “If you watched the Monday night game John Gruden said he never saw a defense give up a yard when they are on the sidelines.  That is a pretty telling quote right there.  The Colonel Crawford Eagles offense won’t be as affective if they are on the sidelines.  That’s really true, if we can keep our offense on the field and their offense off the field, but that is easier said than done.  We have to do a good job of moving the chains and getting first downs and executing our offense,” said Helbert.

          With both teams fighting for their division lead, Crawford shares first with Riverdale in silver division, Helbert thinks it will be an outstanding game.  “You have a really talented Colonel Crawford team.  I hope we are a team that is getting better.  It’s a rivalry game as far as proximity and two teams with 6-1 records that still have an awful lot to play for.  We know we are going to get a great effort from Crawford and hopefully we give them a great effort in return,” he said.     

 

 
   

Wynford Needs to Move on

 

          A lot has been written and a lot said about the end of the Wynford 63 game regular season win streak, but the bottom line is there are still at least four more games for the Royals to play and if they win them all they will be conference champs.

          Ontario beat Wynford last week (26-7) to end the streak that began on the third week of the 2006 season and coach Gabe Helbert says they didn’t do enough good things on offense to give themselves a chance to win.  “We didn’t do enough offensively to play a complete game.  I thought our defense did a real nice job.  We didn’t capitalize on some opportunities we had and the credit goes to Ontario for not allowing us to do that.  Looking back on that Ontario game we need to execute better against good teams and hopefully we do that moving forward because we have a lot of good teams to play,” said Helbert.

          The Royals can still win the “NCC” black division, they trail Galion by a game, and make the playoffs.  Helbert says winning them all has never been a goal of the program, it just kind of fell in place.  “The kids are obviously down and hurting, but they realize our goals are still there.  Every season we go in with the goal to win our league, to make the playoffs, and make a run in the playoffs.  It has never been to win every game.  We want to be as prepared as we can and execute to the best of our ability each Friday.  The result of that has been a lot of success and the opportunity to win a lot of games in a row, but our goals are still very attainable.  At this point we don’t have to rely on anyone else.  We still control our own destiny,” said Helbert.

          Wynford (6-1,2-1), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the small school division, is at home for Upper Sandusky (4-2,2-1) in another big black division game on Friday night.  Helbert says the Rams are a tough physical team that has an excellent quarterback in Taylor Pritchard.  “Upper Sandusky is an excellent team.  They have a lot of weapons offensively.  The first thing that jumps out to me in number 11, their quarterback, a guy that returned for them from last year when he was a sophomore and was an impact player.  Excellent football player, both offensively and defensively.  He reminds me in some ways of our quarterback from last year in Zach Chatlin,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “The second thing that really stands out is their front.  They are very good on the defensive front and they are good on the offensive front.  They play very physical.  You can definitely see on film that they are very well coached.  It will be a huge challenge for us on Friday night.”

          Helbert says Pritchard is outstanding on defense too.  “You would almost call him a triple threat because he is an excellent defensive player.  He is one of the better linebackers we have seen on film this year.  He is good as a runner, he is good as a thrower and he is really good as a MIC linebacker,” he said.

          Helbert sys he has been emphasizing to the players that everything they want this year is still in their hands if they win this week against the Rams.  “This goes back to controlling our own destiny.  If you lose two you are relying, counting on some other teams to do some stuff.  If you have one there still that chance you can win with what is shaking out in the league so far.  At this point and time we control our own destiny.  Friday is a huge football game for us.  It’s a big game for Upper Sandusky, so we know we will get their best effort and hopefully they get ours,” said Helbert.  

 

 
   

Wynford Meets Ontario

 

          There is big game in the North Central Conference this week as Wynford is at Ontario.  These were two of teams predicted to compete for the black division title.

          Wynford (5-0,2-0), #2 in the Swakonsports.com football coach’s poll in the small school division,  has now won 63 straight regular season games after hammering (60-0) Crestline in “NCC” play last week.  Coach Gabe Helbert was impressed with how well they kept their heads in the game against the winless Bulldogs.  “I was happy with our kid’s execution.  I thought that we maintained our focus. We went out and played a pretty good 48 minutes.  I thought overall from an offensive and defensive standpoint we executed.  There are some things that we need to get better at.  I was definitely happy with our kid’s effort,” he said.

          For the Warriors (2-3,1-1) it has been a disappointing start to the season, including a loss to Upper Sandusky (18-14) in a black division game last week.  However, Helbert emphasizes that they have great athletes all over the field.  “Ontario is a team that is loaded with talent and loaded with skill.  They pose a great challenge for our team, a great challenge for our defense, and a great challenge for our offense.  Their special teams are really good.  They have the ability to score from anywhere on the field at anytime, so it will definitely be a game where we have to play assignment football and be ready to go,” said Helbert.

          Last week, Upper was able to contain the Ontario running game holding Jordan Campbell to less than 60 yards.  Helbert says that won’t be easy for them to do, especially on a dry field.  “They can definitely take it to the house from anywhere on the field at anytime.  You have to stay in your rush lanes and not let the cut back happen.  Campbell is really good at the cut back.  The Boatwright kid that they have reping in a quarterback is a very dynamic athlete.  They have kids that can be really explosive,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “You have to be disciplined defensively.  Upper Sandusky was able to be very disciplined.  Field conditions helped in that.  Jordan is such a good cut back runner and it was really difficult for him to do that on Friday night.”

          On defense, Ontario has been inconsistent this year, but again Helbert says they have speed and can pursue the football.  “They have kids that can run all over the place.  The Mack kid from the defensive end standpoint is very athletic.  They have some pretty athletic linebackers.  On the backend, once again Boatwright is a very good athlete, and they have a couple of nice corners.  They definitely pose a problem for us offensively.  We will just have to try and maintain the line of scrimmage and just do what we can to try and move the football,” said Helbert.

          Last season, Wynford punished Ontario (33-7) and Helbert says this year, like any other week and any other season, it’s going to come down to who controls the trenches.  “It always comes down to protecting the football and controlling the line of scrimmage.  We will have to do a great job of protecting the ball.  If we are fortunate enough to create some turnovers on our end from a defensive standpoint that is obviously going to help.  Ultimately, it’s going to come down to the line of scrimmage, what are we going to do both offensively and defensively.  If we can control the line of scrimmage we feel good in any game that we play, but that is often times easier said than done,” said Helbert.    

 

 
   

Wynford Concentrating on Getting Better

 

          The beat goes on at Wynford high school.  The Royals has won 62 straight regular season games heading into a match-up with winless Crestline in a North Central Conference game on Friday night.

          Last week, Wynford (4-0,1-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the small school division, blanked Buckeye Central (34-0) in their “NCC” opener.  Coach Gabe Helbert says their defense put them in position to win.  “I thought our kids did an excellent job all week in preparing for Buckeye Central.  I was really happy with the way our defense preformed.  I thought our defense did an outstanding job for really the fourth week in a row.  They have been consistent and they were really good Friday night against Buckeye,” says Helbert.

          Friday night, the Royals host Crestline (0-4,0-1) in an “NCC” game.  The Bulldogs have struggled quite a bit over the last several years and lost (54-20) to Colonel Crawford last week.  Helbert says he believes Crestline will play hard against his team.  “Hopefully coach Stout brings some stability and I think he does.  He is a guy that is young and enthusiastic.  A lot of things that I have heard he is doing positive stuff with the kids over there.  The one thing that I see on film is they play hard.  They play hard the entire game.  They are fighting throughout the entire 48 minutes.  It’s good to see that on film being a Crestline Bulldog gradate,” said Helbert.

          Nick Reynolds, the Crestline quarterback, is the key player for them.  Helbert says he is asked to do a lot in the Bulldogs game plan.  “Reynolds is a great kid.  Nick has played a lot of football for them throughout his four year career.  Unfortunately he has taken a lot of physical abuse.  They have asked a lot out of him over the four years.  He has answered a lot of those questions.  He is a tough kid.  He is a competitor.  Having a chance to talk to him after our games over the last several years he is a really good kid.  He is a kid you could definitely pull for and he does a great job for them,” Helbert said.

          Wynford is the clear favorite in the game and Helbert says they have to come out with a business like attitude.  “We have to go in and take care of our responsibilities.  I think our kids are hungry to get better each week.  That has been the plan at Wynford in the years since I have been here.  The kids continue to buy in from a day to day basis that you have to get better because as we move on and continue to go on into our season it is going to get tougher every single week,” he said.   

 

 
   

Wynford Ready for Challenge

 

          61 regular season wins in a row speaks to the consistency of the Wynford football program.  When you win like that you are going to have a target painted on your back and develop some rivalries with foes.

          Last week, the Royals (3-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the small school division, beat Riverdale (44-0) in a game that was played over two days due to weather conditions.  Coach Gabe Helbert was impressed with the team’s focus last weekend.  “I thought they did a real nice job when we came back on Saturday.  I felt we wanted come back and prove we still had energy and our kids were still excited to play and they did an excellent job of doing that,” he said.

          Wynford has given up only four scores and three games this year.  With some new guys in key spots on offense, Helbert feels it’s that defense that has led the way.  “I think we have a lot of getting better to do.  We are a team that is still trying to establish ourselves offensively.  If I were to say the thing that we hang our hat on right now is our defense.  Our defense has been extremely consistent with what they have done so far in our three non-conference games.  We know with Buckeye Central, and the league coming up, that we are just going to have to continue to work hard and get better on both offense and defense,” said Helbert.

          Friday night marks the beginning league play in the North Central Conference and the Royals travel to New Washington to face the Buckeye Central Bucks (1-2) in the lidlifter.  Graduation hit the Bucks pretty hard, taking a lot of their best players from a squad that qualified for the division six state finals a year ago.  However, Helbert cautions the Bucks still have some good talent.  “Coach Ratliff does a great job at Buckeye Central.  We know we are going to get their best effort.  It’s always a big game between us and Buckeye.  It’s the league opener, so it’s the first step of our goal to win the “NCC.”  Buckeye still has the Adkins kid.  He’s back for them.  He can run the ball and he has rushed for a ton of yards in his career.  They have guys up front that are still there.  They have some guys that were there when they played on week 15.  Their two linebackers are back.  They have some guys that can play, it’s just we have to go out and be prepared and take care of ourselves,” Helbert said.

          No matter what kind of season it has been for the other school, Helbert and the Royals know they are going to get the best effort come Friday night, it’s just a fact of life.  “That is the reality of being successful the last how many years.  We understand that and hopefully our kids understand that.  We can’t take any Friday night off.  It is exciting to know that you and going to get a team’s best effort,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “You are team’s rivalry game.  We just had that discussion the other day it seems like we do have a lot of rivals.  I think it is a big game for a lot of teams because of the success we have had.  It is just something that comes with the territory.  We just have to be ready every Friday night and execute the game plan to the best of our ability.”   

 

 
   

Another Day at the Office For the Royals

 

          Wynford kept its record clean with a win last week as they continue to break some new guys into the lineup.

          The Royals (2-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coach’s poll in the smaller school division, amassed over 430 yards of total offense in dismantling Mohawk (1-1) 34-13 in a non-conference game.  First year coach Gabe Helbert says they did a lot of good things.  “I thought we played pretty well.  I thought we grew up a little bit from week one.  We didn’t make as many mistakes as we had as far as penalties and things like that.  We still need to keep the ball off the ground.  We fumbled twice.  I thought overall we played pretty well,” he said.

          Mohawk was the last team to beat Wynford in regular season game in 2006 and Helbet knows a win over Mohawk, no matter the year, is always a good one.  “Mohawk had a real nice quarterback.  They do play some young guys up front.  I think we were able to take advantage of that a little bit.  Mohawk is always going to play us tough.  They are a very tradition rich football program,” he added.

          Wynford has the longest current regular season wining streak in Ohio at 60 straight games.  Helbert has been an assistant since 2004 and he understands fully that they have to remain focused.  “You can’t be satisfied.  When we start patting ourselves on the back is when we are going to be feeling bad after a Friday night.  We just have to take care of ourselves every week by working hard in practice and taking care of the mistakes we are making,” said Helbert.

          Riverdale (1-1), a team in the North Central Conference, plays host to the Royals for a non-conference game on Friday night.  The Falcons demolished Upper Scioto Valley (49-8) in their last game.  Helbert says Riverdale is a team that relies on the run game.  “Riverdale is a team that returns its quarterback.  They had a big win last week against Upper Scioto Valley.  They are a team that can be dangerous.  They love to run the football.  They are pretty good at as it showed last week by scoring 49 points.  We definitely have to be prepared to stop the run.  Hopefully we are up to the task,” said Helbert.

          Against team like this Helbert says the point of attack is crucial and they have to be the team that controls it.  “Every game we want to control the line of scrimmage.  We definitely want to do that this week against a team that is going to run the ball and run it affectively.  If we can get our guys to play low and get good leverage I think we will be okay,” he said.    

 

 
   

Wynford Meets Rival Mohawk

 

          Wynford has won its last 59 regular season high school football games.  The last team to beat them is their opponent this week as they travel to Mohawk to face the Warriors.

          It was the second week if the 2007 season that Mohawk beat the Royals 28-7.  Last week, Wynford scored on the last play of the game to beat River Valley 20-14.  Quarterback Brock Williamson, in his first start, found wide out Adam Hartz on a pass play for the winning score.  Coach Gabe Helbert says Wynford kids just have that certain something.  “It’s a testament to our kids and our coaching staff that prepare the kids, so I really believe in the hard off season work and stuff like that.  When the moment is there I guess they are not surprised by it.  They are calm and collected and ready to make a play,” he said.

          Wynford would not be the team they are if they didn’t have quality athletes.  However, Helbert says they have great mental focus too and that carries them through these tough games.  “Mental focus is certainly the key.  To go out there and play out of your mind is something we definitely wouldn’t want our kids to do and they have done a great job of not doing that.  You don’t want to get to over hyped and you don’t want to be too relaxed.  You kind of want to be even keel, believe in how you have been coached, and execute it,” Helbert told Swankonsports.com on Thursday.

          Mohawk (1-0) also won their opening game with a score with less than 60 seconds to play.  Grant Price scored on a short touchdown run.  Helbert says this is a typical Mohawk team.  “Mohawk has a very good quarterback.  He is a playmaker, I guess is what I’d call him.  They also have some very nice skill.  Mohawk, as we know, is going to give us their best effort.  We look at it as big rivalry game and I’m sure they do too.  Mohawk is extremely well coached.  The always have a very good coached team, both offensively and defensively,” said Helbert.

          Helbert says to beat Mohawk this time they have to reduce the penalties they made against River Valley, eliminate negative plays and control the point of attack.  “We want to cut down our mistakes.  We had way too many mistakes on Friday.  Too many penalties and too many negative yardage plays.  We want to win the turnover battle.  That’s something we want to do every single time we go out there.  We want to control the line of scrimmage, which is easier said than done.  If our kids can go out and control the line of scrimmage we feel pretty good bout our chances,” said Helbert.   

 

 
   

Wynford Puts Win Streak on Line

 

          Wynford has won 58 straight regular season football games as they have been the most consistently strong smaller school football program in North Central Ohio.

          They host River Valley, a playoff team last year, in their opener at home on Friday night.

          The Royals have a new head coach in longtime assistant Gabe Helbert.  He says the kids have shown that they are prepared through the grueling weeks of early August.  “We hope that we have had a good camp and are ready to play.  I think that’s one thing that makes week one that much more special and nerve racking is that you are never really sure.  You hope that you have done things right and you hope your kids are ready to go.  You know we had a good camp and we progressively got better in each one of our scrimmages,” he said.

          Fans of the Royals have come to expect good things from their football team.  They advanced to the state semi final last year.  Helbert says you have to have your emotions in check on week one.  “We expect a huge crowd and we are excited to be playing at home.  The nine months without football and you are waiting, waiting, waiting with anticipation and it’s finally here.  You kind of get to that bubbling over at that point and time.  Once the clock starts and the whistle blows it kind of boils down to execution and football and hopefully we have our kids prepared,” said Helbert.

          Wynford outlasted River Valley 25-13 last year.  Helbert says the Vikings return a lot of players who are talented on both sides of the ball.  “They return their quarterback who is a good player.  He was only a sophomore last year.  He is good with his feet and has a real nice handle on their offense.  They are very big up front and return a lot of guys on their defensive line.  I think they have eight starters back defensively and they had a strong defense last year,” he told Swankonsports.com, “They are going to be a big challenge for us.  They have a good nose guard returning.  They have a defensive end-outside linebacker that was tough against us last year.  I think physically from a size standpoint they are really impressive.  That is something that stands out right away.”

          Along with the fundamental elements of the game Helbert wants the Royals to get off to really good start this Friday night, so they can gain some confidence.  “First and foremost you have to block and tackle well.  They have some guys that are difficult to tackle and they have some guys that are difficult to block.  We always want to win the turnover battle.  I think you always have to protect the football.  I think it’s going to be a key to go out there are get off to a good start and kind of give our younger kids, ones that don’t have a lot of varsity experience, some confidence early on,” said Helbert.

 

 
   

Wynford to Get Final Test

 

          It’s kind of new era at Wynford and kind of not.  Gabe Helbert takes over as the head coach, but he has been an assistant over the last eight years when the Royals have dominated the North Central Conference.

          Helbert says the first three weeks of the preseason have went pretty well for the Royals.  “We are obviously not satisfied we have a lot of getting better to do and not a lot of time to do it.  We have a lot of guys that need to grow up fast.  The scrimmage we have (Friday) night will hopefully answer some more questions.  We feel we are getting better on a daily basis and we need to continue to do that.  River Valley on week one is going to be a very, very tough test and hopefully we will be up to the challenge,” said Helbert.

          Wynford plays perennial powerhouse Patrick Henry in its final scrimmage of the season on Friday night.  “To start with Seneca East and go on to Marion Pleasant, who is a statewide power at the small school level, and to have Patrick Henry.  Those are programs we try emulate.  Those are programs we like to me mentioned in the same breath with,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We have playoff familiarity with Patrick Henry the last few years in region 18 of division five.  They have a lot of people back.  They will be technically sound and well coached.  It will be a great test fro our kids.  It will be a real nice way to kick off the season and let us know where we are at from a physical and mental standpoint.”

          Yes they want to give it all they have in the scrimmage, but Helbert says they want to come out with a clean bill of health too.  “We hope to come out of all three scrimmages with very mild injuries.  We have been fortunate through the first two.  We have just been nicked up a little bit.  We want to get through that third scrimmage injury free and hopefully that will happen.  We have to go out and play the game.  You can get injured at any time,” he said.

          Wynford has enjoyed some very good quarterback play over the last seven or eight years with first Tyler Brause and then Zack Chatlin.  Helbert feel they have settled on a pretty good leader for then in junior Brock Williamson.  “We think that Brock Williamson, a junior, will be our guy.  He has steadily gotten better in our 10 days in July and our camp days here in August.  He preformed really well for us in the scrimmage on Saturday.  He did a nice job protecting the football.  He has some experience as far as playing quarterback in our system.  I believe Brock is the guy.  We feel he can manage the game and hopefully allow us to be successful,” he said.

          Wynford’s 58 game regular season winning streak is on the line against River Valley the opener next week.  Helbert says the Vikings are going to be a very good team.  “River Valley has a lot of great kids back.  They are very big up front and they are physical.  They have a nice quarterback back that runs their offense.  Our kids need to be up that challenge.  We are excited to have a chance to play a very meaningful week one, not that every week one isn’t meaningful, but we are playing a division three playoff team that has good players back and a senior group that has been very successful throughout their football careers.  Hopefully we understand the importance of the game,” said Helbert.

 

 
   

Wynford With a New Coach; Same Tradition

 

          Wynford has not lost a North Central Conference football game since 2004 and they are coming off another great season in which they went 13-1 and lost in the state semi-finals in division five.

          Coach Travis Moyer resigned last December and eight-year assistant coach Gabe Helbert took over as head coach.  Because he has been with the program Helbert says it has been business as usual at Wynford.  “Anytime I suppose when there is new person in that head coaching position there is a little transition, but I think we were very similar to what we have done as far as our off season strength and conditioning programming and all of those things.  We are fortunate to have most of our coaching staff back, so not a whole lot of change for our kids.  The faces are still familiar, so hopefully we are doing a lot of the same things,” said Helbert.

          Gabe’s father Steve is the team’s defensive coordinator and the head coach says there will only be few tweaks in what they do when the Royals have the ball in their hands.  “We are still going to be a 4-3 defensive team.  Our defensive coordinator, my dad, is still running the show defensively, so that will be very similar.  Offensively, we are going to do some of things we have done in the past.  I think we will be a little less quarterback run oriented because we just don’t have that guy with the big 6-4 body that can really run it up in there.  We will probably be a more of a run team from a two back standpoint,” said Helbert.  With different personnel this year Helbert like very year they have to change a little to make things fit.  “I think one thing when you look back at what we have done over the past eight years that I have been here I think we have always tried to do what our talent dictates.  When we have had good fullbacks we have run the ball with the fullback.  When we have had good quarterbacks we have made them the focal point of our offense.  I think we have done a nice job adjusting to the talent that we have,” he said.

          Helbert says Wynford has been so go over the last decade because they have been both consistent in their philosophy and willing to adapt in what they do.  “People have bought into that tradition and bought into the program, so it has been a smooth transition for the most part with people understanding their role and the expectations of the team.  Obviously we lost a lot of great talent with our quarterback, our tight end, our fullback and receivers.  It’s going to be tough to replace kids like that, but we have a lot kids that have put in the time and effort in the off season,” he told Swankonsports.com, “We have guys we think can step up and be playmakers.  The likes of Adam Hartz, who will be a wide receiver-defensive back for us and Garrett Shetler, who is our leading tackler returning.  He will be a three year starter.  There are names there will hope can uphold the tradition.”

          This season the Royals will have some talent coming to the varsity from the other levels.  He says those players understand what it takes to win games.  “I think the winning mentality has been there.  I think it is just something that has been bread into our kids.  The saw what teams did when they were a fifth grader or sixth grader or seventh grader.  We are fortunate that we won our league the freshmen level and the JV level.  If we can put people in the right place we hope to continue the tradition,” he said.

          Helbert knows it won’t be easy for the Royals to win a ninth straight “NCC” title because the rest of their black division is loaded.  “I think our league is extremely balanced.  I think our division is very competitive.  You have teams that return a lot of excellent players with excellent skill.  Galion is obviously the team everybody is talking about.  They have a lot kids back.  They had an excellent year last year.  Ontario is in the same boat, they have had a lot of success recently.  They have good kids back.  Upper Sandusky is team that was very young last year and played a lot of young kids.  I think those three teams in our division are considered very competitive.  Bucyrus is another school that played a lot of young kids.  They are always going to be competitive and give us there best effort,” said Helbert.

 

 
   

Rebounding a Key for Wynford

 

          Wynford has advanced to the division four regional tournament the last two seasons, but this year they are in division three and the trip is going to be a little bit tougher

          The Royals (12-8) face Crestview (11-9) in the division three sectional semi-finals at Lexington High School on Tuesday night. 

          It’s been a tough schedule for Wynford this season and they finished third in the black division of the North Central Conference behind Upper Sandusky and Ontario. 

          In a mild upset they lost their final regular season game to rival Buckeye Central (56-43) last Friday.  Royals coach Tim Ehresman says they didn’t have much in the tank.  “We put ourselves out there for three games in a row and only won one of them and we were a little flat coming in Friday.  Buckeye was kind of in that same vane.  They put themselves out there and played tough.  They wanted a signature win and they just outplayed us a little bit,” he said.

          Crestview is a team with a lot of senior leadership and they advanced to the district semi-finals last season in division three.  This year they have beaten some good teams, including Western Reserve twice, but have somewhat under achieved overall.  Ehresman says they play good teams tough.  “They start five seniors in the Hill kid, and George, and Adkins, and Durbin, and Stimpert.  Those kids can flat out play.  They have played well together sometimes.  I think they are very much a team that really rises to the occasion and they play good teams well.  Then at times they have a let down against teams that maybe aren’t as good as they are.  In terms of match ups they match up to us very well size wise.  They are quick and athletic and they are very physical too,” said Ehresman.

          Tyler George is a first team all-district selection for the Cougars.  He becomes a match-up problem for most teams.  Ehresman says it is because he is so versatile with the ball in his hands.  “He is a match-up problem because he is very good in the post and yet if you play him with a kid that is strictly a post player he can take you out to the perimeter and take you off of the dribble.  He can shoot the jump shot pretty consistently.  He gets to the rim, he is quick,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “I think that is the biggest problem match-up wise people have with him.  It’s not going to be easy for us.  We are going to switch guys on and off of him depending on who’s in for them.  We are going to try and use our size a little bit against him to keep him away from the rim and make him shoot perimeter jump shots.  That has been a tough way to do things for a lot of teams this year.”

          Like in a lot of tournament games defense and rebounding are going to be the keys in this game according to Ehresman.  “We have to limit the touches of George and the Hill boy, I think he had five threes this weekend against Western Reserve.  We have to force their other three kids to take tough shots.  We have to keep them off the offensive glass.  They are a very good offensive rebounding team.  In the same instance we have to be able to execute offense against a team that plays a very stingy man to man defense.  I would liken them to an Upper Sandusky or somebody like that in our league, somebody that is a very good man to man defensive team,” said Ehresman.   

 

 
   

Wynford Putting Things Together

 

          Wynford has enjoyed enormous success in the postseason tournament in recent years and they might be building toward that again this year based on their play over the last month. 

          The Royals have qualified for the division four regional tournament the last two years and lost rival Colonel Crawford in the division three district finals in March of 2009.  Wynford is in division three this season and will play Crestview in a sectional semi-final next week.

          Last Saturday, Wynford beat arch rival Ontario (67-55) in a North Central Conference game.  Coach Tim Ehresman feels they got a good team effort in the win over the Warriors.  “Everybody played well, but Seth and Zach were pretty good offensively.  We had to make some changes on defense because of foul trouble and play some guys out of position a little bit.  I was really happy with the way everybody played Saturday night,” he said.

          Ehresman thinks his team is starting to peak for the tournament, as they almost always seem to do at Wynford.  “We are playing pretty well. Offensively we have been playing pretty consistently.  There are a few things to clean up obviously.  We lose two close games back to back with Upper and Crawford before we play Ontario,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Those were games that were winnable.  We had opportunities to win those games.  I think as long as we continue to work on those small things, those little things, that we need to clean up we will be okay.”  He thinks the schedule they play both in the league and outside of it prepares them well for the postseason.  “When you talk about the teams that we have played in the last few weeks here, starting with Carey or before, we have been really pushed and there isn’t going to be any difference come Friday night with Buckeye Central,” said Ehresman.

          Friday night, Wynford (12-7,8-4) will be at home for another of their rivals in next door neighbor Buckeye Central (10-9,6-6) in an “NCC” game.  Ehresman says the Bucks have some talented players with a variety of skills that will present them with a real challenge.  “When you talk about a four year starter in the Erwin boy, and you have some nice mixes with the Finney kid who is a good shooter and is left handed, and Collins in the lane, and they bring a couple of kids off the bench, and some shooters here and there.  They are a nice match.  They are a tough match-up because of the speed and quickness of some of the kids.  It’s good for us again going into the tournament to have a game like this,” said Ehresman.

          It’s the second meeting of the season between Wynford and Buckeye.  The Royals won (65-49) on January 26.

          After a later start to the season and a compressed schedule, the Royals have really been at their best over the last three weeks.  Ehresman believes they have a team that is much more than just Zach Chatlian and Seth Rall.  “I think we have some guys whose shooting touch is coming back a little bit.  We have had some injuries.  Michael Powers has made a few shots here lately.  He has only played, maybe, maybe, half of a season.  I would say he has played less than half a season with the problems he has had with his legs.  Ryan Fortney coming off the bench.  Nate Brown has been pretty consistent for us.  Jerad Butler and Devin Lutz in the post.  We have been very fortunate that way in that there are not a lot of egos on this team that get in the way of people scoring.  Everybody just wants to win and that has been pretty good for us,” said Ehresman.

 

 
   

Wynford Facing Tough, but Good Weekend

 

          After a tough, one-point loss, to Upper Sandusky on Saturday night, the Wynford Royals are looking ahead at the postseason tournament and they will be tested this weekend with home games against Colonel Crawford and Ontario.

          Wynford coach Tim Ehresman knows that these games, and next week against Buckeye Central, are going to prepare them going into the tournament.  “There is no question over the last few weeks, our last five or six games are brutal.  We have got tournament ready teams and it’s going to be a real test for us, but it’s going to be really good for us going into the tournament as well,” he said.

          For the most part the Royals (11-6,7-3) have played pretty good basketball this season.  However, Ehresman thinks a little fine tuning is in order for them over these next couple of weeks.  “I think just situational things, out of bounds plays, handling the basketball at the end of quarters.  What some teams call special teams, those kinds of things and free throws.  We are trying to be better at that.  We are getting better at that.  The more we practice that, the tougher the competition we have, the more opportunity to get better.  I think that is a positive for us that we can take out of these last few games,” said Ehresman.

          Colonel Crawford (15-3,9-2), the silver division champion of the North Central Conference, #2 in the Swankonsports.com basketball power poll in the small school division, will be at Wynford on Friday night for a conference game.  Crawford hammered (72-45) Wynford on December 27 and Ehresman knows what he is up against.  “Colonel Crawford is really one of those teams that has really grown an identity this year.  They have taken care of the things they have to do defensively.  They are a very balanced offensive team.  They score very well.  With Shell, McCreary and Adams and even Metcalf on the perimeter.  You have real solid post players in Jury and Klingenberger.  They have some guys that are just causing damage in Tackett.  They can all play, they can all shoot and handle the ball pretty well.  They are the full package,” he said.

          Colonel Crawford likes to play fast and Ehresman says against them you can’t afford turnovers, especially in the backcourt because that leads to quick baskets and sometimes threes.  “I don’t think it’s a matter of slowing them down as much as it is we have to take advantage of our opportunities.  Obviously, we don’t want them getting out in transition with us taking quick shots and them rebounding it and pushing the ball in transition.  That is part of their forte,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “I think even more than quick shots is turning the ball over in the full court and the half court.  They kind of feed off that, they score.  They score points in bunches and they aren’t shy about hitting the three off a turnover either.  That really doubles up the damage if they are scoring and get a turnover and a quick three, that’s a five point play and you barely had the ball.”

          To complete the weekend, Wynford hosts Ontario (11-6,7-3) in a black division game on Saturday night.  The Warriors won the first game (64-56) and Ehresman says they are very tough to handle inside.  “They do a nice job of throwing it to post players.  They do a nice job of putting the ball in lane off the dribble or off the pass.  That is something you have to be able to take away from them or at least limit those opportunities for them.  You know, we have to concentrate on Colonel Crawford. At the same time some of the things Ontario does are similar to what Crawford does.  They like to press a little bit.  They like to get up and down the floor,” he said.

 

 
   

Carey Will Test Wynford

 

          Wynford continues to prepare itself for the approaching postseason tournament with quality non-conference games like Tuesday night’s home game with the Carey Blue Devils of the Midland Athletic League.

          Last Friday night, the Royals (10-5) kept themselves in the race in the black division of the North Central Conference with a win over Bucyrus (58-34) in a divisional game.  “We were very aggressive last week both offensively and defensively.  We didn’t cause a lot of turnovers defensively, but forced some tough shots.  I thought we rebounded the ball well and got our on transition and that was really helpful against Bucyrus,” said Wynford coach Tim Ehresman.

          Carey (10-5) is the only team to beat Tiffin Calvert in an “MAL” game this year and they remain in the league race, a game behind Calvert and New Riegel.  Ehresman says the Blue Devils have some depth and some quality athletes.  “They have a lot of players.  They play about seven or eight kids and they can all play a little bit.  They starting five is big, you know, 6-4, 6-5, 6-4, and 6-1.  They have some nice size.  They shoot the ball well, especially the freshman that comes off the bench,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “They have a lot kids that have been playing for a lot of years.  The Meak kid is just a junior, but he is a letterman already, is probably their all around best player.  Cole is a 6-2 senior that is kind of a wing or a forward.  He can post you up and can shoot it a little bit.  Defensively they just get after you.  They cause turnovers and really like to run on their transition.  This is going to be a real challenge for us.”

          Both teams had solid football teams this year and they play with a workman like attitude on the basketball court too.  Ehresman says they have to understand how to use that physical nature on the floor.  “We talk about being physical, but being physical without fouling.  You know, being physical and knocking down cutters and making aggressive screen outs and doing things like that, but not putting teams at the free throw line and putting ourselves in foul trouble.  I think they do the same thing.  They do a very good job of that.  They do challenge shots quite often.  They are aggressive in passing lanes and they are not afraid to bump cutters either.  It is going to be a good game,” said Ehresman.

          Wynford has enjoyed quite a bit of tournament success in recent seasons, they went to the regionals last year, and Ehresman believes these kinds of games get them ready for the postseason.  “Win or lose this is a sectional championship tournament type game.  They are very good.  They are very disciplined at times and they can be very up tempo when they want to be.  They can move the ball very quickly.  They run motion, but they also run sets.  They play a lot of zone defense, but they also get after you man to man.  Those are the types of things see in championship games.  That is going to be the same thing for us the rest of the way out.  We play Upper on Saturday, then we play Crawford, Ontario and Buckeye Central.  That finishes up our year, so I think that is going to help us going into the tournament,” said Ehresman.

 

 
   

Wynford Not Looking Past Bucyrus

 

          Wynford trails Upper Sandusky by a game in the black division of the North Central Conference heading into a Friday night trip a few blocks to play the Bucyrus Redmen.

          Last week, Wynford (-5,7-2) took care of business against a winless Lucas team winning 61-24.  Coach Tim Ehresman says they went to Lucas with the right attitude and they were able to do the job they went there to do.  “Lucas is always a very tough place to play.  They have a pretty good tradition of knocking off teams in a league race in that gym.  We tried to go in there with the attitude that some of the things that we have to get done are pretty much us against us.  We need to make shots and take care of business without turning the ball over and I thought we did that,” said Ehresman.

          Over the last couple weeks the Royals offense has come around and they are starting to get contributions from more players.  Ehresman says the team members have done a good job of recognizing what they have to do on the floor.  “It has gotten better.  It never seems to be where you think it ought to be.  I mean I look at our personnel and our kids and think about things we could do better.  It’s one of those things this team has done well over the last couple of weeks is look at themselves.  We have been watching our films and doing a decent job of that,” he said.  Plus, Ehresman says that improvement has to continue if they want they want to compete for this division title.  “It’s just like your shooting form or your ball handling or anything like that you always want it to be a little bit better.  I don’t think there is a coach in the state or in the country that would say they do things right every time or they do it well every time.  You try to get the kids to understand how much better they can be at both ends of the floor,” he said.

          Wynford beat Bucyrus (46-42) the first time they played about a month ago and they had to outscore them in the fourth quarter (18-8) to do it.  Ehresman says Bucyrus has some skill.  “Bucyrus is one those teams that is very scary.  If they are shooting it well, and they do a pretty good job of that typically, they can really cause you problems.  Jackson is pretty quick.  Patrick does a nice job in the post for them,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “Purcell and Chandler and Davidson run their dribble drive motion and really put a lot of pressure on your guards and make your post guys move and that kind of opens everything up fro them.  We were very fortunate over here we didn’t play very well.  They had us down going into the fourth quarter.  We came back and tied it up and got a little lead on them and eventually were able to finish the game.”

          With a second match-up with Upper Sandusky looming next week, Ehresman says they can not afford to look past Bucyrus or they will regret it.  “You basically have to take care of business every week.  This is going to be tough because we go to Bucyrus and it’s a tough place to play.  They play well there.  They hit shots there.  We have to make sure that when we step on that floor it’s nothing but business and it’s only about Bucyrus,” said Ehresman.

 

 
   

Wynford Needs to Slow Down Galion

 

          Wynford shares the lead in the black division of the North Central Conference with Upper Sandusky heading into action this weekend.

          The Royals (7-3,5-1) beat Crestline (61-35) last Saturday in an “NCC” game.  They had gotten a late start to the basketball season because of an appearance in the state semi-finals in football, but coach Tim Ehresman says they are starting to put things together.  “It takes a little time.  This is a pretty resilient group.  We are still working on things and watching film of ourselves.  These are opportunities for us to get better that we have to take.  We played five games in a week.  We were very fortunate to go 4-1 in those games.  Of the five, two of them were very tight, and three of them weren’t so tight.  That is just a testament to how these kids prepare,” he said.

          During their recent streak the Royals have beaten Upper Sandusky (38-36) and Bucyrus (46-42) and Ehresman says they just seem to know what to do when the game is on the line.  He says their players understand what they need to do.  “Once you build that opportunity to take that lead, then you have to be able to protect that lead by making free throws and taking care of the basketball.  At the defensive end you have to be able to get the stops that you can get.  In other words any switch outs that you make or any defensive rotations that you normally should be able to make, you have to make those.  You have to basically make the other team offensively make a play that they aren’t ready to make.  If that team can do that then you put yourself in a world of hurt,” he told Swankonsports.com, “That’s why a team like a Galion or an Ontario or a Crawford, or some of these really good teams in our league this year, Upper Sandusky, are really hard to beat.  They have enough skill and presence of mind in their personnel that they can force you to do things defensively that you aren’t ready to do.  They can put you in a sport where you could lose a game.”

          Wynford travels to Galion (4-8,3-3) in an “NCC” game on Saturday night.  The Tigers are coming off a win over Buckeye Central (72-58) last Saturday and they seem to be playing their best basketball of the season.  “They are a very good team.  You know, we lost to both Colonel Crawford and Ontario and they beat them by double figures.  Going into their gym is very difficult.  They are executing much better.  Their schedule is just brutal.  I mean when you play the schedule they play.  They play a lot of division two teams, a lot of bigger schools outside of our league.  It’s going to get them ready to play in our league,” said Ehresman.

          It’s the second meeting between the teams and Wynford beat Galion (62-45) in their first game of the season on December 16.  Ehresman says defending the Tigers is very difficult.  “They are very diverse.  They have three post players that can flat out play.  Not only can they play inside they can play outside.  They get up and down the floor.  They can handle the ball.  And then they have some kids that can knock down shots.  Watching them on film, watching them against us, they are the most dangerous in a transition game.  If you get them in a game where you are going up and down they are going to be very, very comfortable catching and shooting quick threes.  If they aren’t making them they are very comfortable getting to the rim.  We have to be able to score consistently to slow down their transition game,” said Ehresman.

 

 
   

Wynford Finding Some Things

 

          Wynford may not be as good as they can be, but they are getting there and they are going to make a run at the black division title in the North Central Conference.

          The Lady Royals (8-5,4-2) play at Galion in divisional game in the “NCC” on Tuesday night.  They trail Bucyrus by two games in the black division standings and they can afford no more losses in the league if they are going to earn that title.

          In a non-conference game between conference foes Wynford railed to beat rival Riverdale 45-44 in overtime on Saturday afternoon in Mt. Blanchard.  Wynford coach Amy Taylor-Sheldon says they like to mix it up with the Lady Falcons.  “Riverdale has become a real rivalry for us, so we put them as a non-league game on our schedule just to maintain our rivalry.  They are really hungry for a win.  They aren’t having the season that they really expected.  We are trying to maintain kind of winning streak here,” said Taylor-Sheldon.  It was not a good start to the game for Wynford, but Taylor-Sheldon says they made the plays they had to in the fourth quarter and overtime to come up with the win.  “We didn’t play very well through three quarters.  We got a big three from Sierra Brady at the end of the third and then we went on an 8-0 run.  They missed a couple of free throws at the end of regulation.  We were able to have a chance to win and then played very well in overtime.  It seemed closer because they chucked in a 30-footer at the buzzer.  We were happy with the win at Riverdale if it was league or non-league.  We are pretty excited about getting on a winning streak here,” she said.  The Lady Royals have on their last three games.

          Wynford has been one of the more consistent girls’ programs in this part of the state over the last 10 to 15 years.  Taylor-Sheldon believes her inexperienced team is making a lot of strides in the right direction.  “I don’t think we are playing our best basketball, but I’m happy we have improved from game two or three to now.  Even through we have been in a lot of close games and lost a couple of them,” she told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We have shown significant improvement.  We have lowered our turnovers and our defensive rebounding has greatly improved.  Our shooting has improved the last couple of games.  I still don’t think we are at our best.  We are still working out some kinks in terms of experience, but I’m definitely happy with our progress.”

Galion (5-7,2-5) has made a lot of improvement this season.  The program has not had a winning year in 20 years, but they have proven to be more competitive this year than in quite a while.  Wynford railed to beat them (68-54) in their first meeting in December.  Taylor-Sheldon says they were forced to make some adjustments in that first game.  “I think it was interesting when we played them the first time around.  We didn’t know exactly what to expect in terms of with the two sort of lopsided games to scout.  They had a really great first half against us.  We were not doing a very good job taking away their strengths.  Coming out in the second half we were able to gain the momentum,” she said.

          One of the keys to Wynford’s improved play this year has been their ability to play an affective zone defense.  “We have kind of worked some new defenses this year that we have never had before because we are probably the smallest team in the league.  We have done some things with some zones to try and give ourselves an advantage.  It’s really worked.  Upper, Galion, Colonel Crawford, Carey, Mohawk, all have kids that are six-foot or taller.  We have competed in every single game.  We have lost a couple of those,” said Taylor-Sheldon.  

 

 
   

Moyer to Step Down

 

          One of the more successful football coaches in the North Central Ohio area has resigned his position.

          Travis Moyer has stepped down as the football coach at Wynford High School.  He has been in charge of the Royals since 1999.

          Wynford has won seven straight titles in the North Central Conference, including this year when the Royals advanced to the division five state semi finals.

          Moyer, a 1994 graduate of Crestline High School, has compiled a record of 118-28 at Wynford. 

          The school has the longest current regular season win streak at 58 games.

          A source that did not want to be identified told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday morning that Moyer was resigning in order to spend more time with his family.  He and his wife have three young children.

 

 
   

Wynford Playing Again

 

          It’s an NBA like schedule for the Wynford Royals as they are in the middle of a stretch that will see them play five games in eight days as they play at Ridgedale in a non-conference game on Monday night.

          The Royals then host Shelby in a non-conference game on Thursday and travel to Crestline for an inter-divisional match-up in the North Central Conference on Saturday night. 

          Last weekend, the Royals (5-2) moved into a share of first place in the black division of the “NCC” with wins over Bucyrus (46-42) on Friday and Upper Sandusky (38-36) on Saturday night.  The Royals and Upper Sandusky are both 4-1 in conference games.  Wynford coach Tim Ehresman likes the way his team is progressing.  “Yeah I’m happy we are coming along, coming along nicely.  Our defense was better Saturday than it was Friday, but we were still able to take care of business on Friday and get the win,” he said.

          With five seniors on the roster and some juniors that have gotten some minutes, the Royals plays pretty well in end of the game situations.  “That is the advantage that we do have this year is we have a veteran group.  We have five real solid seniors and some new juniors that are really contributing.  It’s coming along slowly and surly, but it’s coming along, “ he said.

          With the late start to the season due to the football playoffs, where the Royals advanced to the state semi-finals, they have counted on defense and controlling the tempo of the game.  “I think out shooting is coming.  I think we shot a little better on Saturday night than we did Friday night.  I’m really happy with our defense and how we have been rebounding the ball for the most part, but our offensive flow just doesn’t seem to be there yet.  Our offensive flow needs to get better.  It really does have to start at the defensive end of the floor we have to be a little more aggressive and try and get some easy buckets on steals and stuff like that,” said Ehresman.

          Wynford visits Ridgedale (1-7) on Monday night for a non-conference game that will be a conference game down the road when both schools help to form the Northern 10.  Ehresman says the Rockets will try and force turnovers.  “Ridgedale has a pretty veteran team.  They have three starters back from last year.  They are pretty athletic.  They aren’t quite as big as we are,” he told Swankonsports.com, “They play about eight kids.  They like to be aggressive defensively and pressure the ball.  They only have a couple wins.  I think they are just trying to get over the hump.”

          When it comes to the compressed schedule Ehresmans says it can be difficult to decide what to do in practice sessions.  “It creates a difficult dilemma.  There are things you want to work on in practice.  You want to stop and do some situational things.  At the same time we are kind of behind the eight ball.  I think we have seven games in now and most teams have in half of their season.  We are going to catch up a lot this week.  We not only play Monday, but we play Thursday and Saturday.  In eight days we are getting a quarter of our season in.  The concern I have is legs at same time we need game conditioning,” said Ehresman.

 

 
   

Wynford Needs Defense

 

          Wynford plays a tough double weekend in the North Central Conference with both games in the black division.  The Royals host Bucyrus on Friday night and travel to Upper Sandusky on Saturday.

          Last week, they lost a game to arch rival Ontario (64-56), but they were in the game the whole way and had a chance to beat the Warriors on their home floor.  “I think Ontario is a very good team.  They are a young team, they were excited.  They did some good things.  They shot it well against us.  The Balogh boy hit quite a few threes against us.  Our defense wasn’t as good as we hoped, but by the same token had a chance to win.  If we continue to get better and put ourselves in good positions or at least situations were we have an opportunity to win that’s all we can ask right now,” said Wynford coach Tim Ehresman.

          Bucyrus (3-5,1-2) is coming off a solid win over a good Crestview Team (40-39) in non-conference action on Tuesday night.  Ehresman says the Redmen have quality talent and they have to make their size advantage a factor in the game.  “Bucyrus is a very quick team.  They are not a deep team, they very similar to us in that way.  Purcell and Chandler, the two guards, are very athletic and very quick.  They can run the dribble drive motion, they can shoot the three, and they can put a lot of pressure on you that way.  They put a lot of pressure on your defense, but they don’t hurry.  Their ball handlers are very difficult to defend, but at the same time we have to put pressure on their defense.  We have to play the game inside out, attack the rim and use our size,” said Ehresman.

          Rebounding is something the Royals are very good at with their size and athleticism.  Ehresman says they have to take advantage of that and gets some second shots against Bucyrus.  “I think we have to.  I think anytime there is a shot that goes up out post player has to look at that say that’s a pass to me basically and run to the glass and try to get another opportunity.  At the same time it starts at the defensive end we have got to put multiple stops together and try and build a lead and try to hurry them up a little bit,” he said.

          Upper Sandusky (5-2,3-0) is the leader in the black division and is coming off a 55-39 win over Bucyrus last week.  Ehresman says the Rams are a physical team that plays smart when they have the ball in their hands.  “They are physical and strong.  They are big kids.  They are long they are athletic and they are very committed to the defensive end of the floor.  To win in this league I think the teams that play defense the best are going to have the best opportunities to win games.  I think they have proven they are one the best defensive teams in our league so far this year,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “I think it’s going to be a real challenge for us.  We need to play to our strengths and put the ball into the lane and do some things.  Their offense is a good defense too because they aren’t going to take a bad shot.  Their kids know what good shots are.  We are going to have to guard for a length of time against them that we won’t have to guard against anybody else, maybe a minute, minute and half and that will put pressure on our defense not to have any breakdowns.”

 

 
   

Wynford Needs the Tempo

 

          It’s a match-up between division leaders in the North Central Conference in a non-conference match-up on Tuesday night as Wynford travels to Colonel Crawford.

          The Royals (3-0) are coming off 62-45 win over Galion in an “NCC” game last Friday night as Jeard Butler scored 16 points.  That was on the heels of wins over Riverdale (57-38) and Mohawk (65-36) the previous week.  Coach Tim Ehresman has been pretty impressed with what he has seen from his players, especially when it comes to rebounding the ball.  “I’m very happy with the way things are going.  I think we have a long way to go.  Offensively things are coming a little bit easier.  Defensively we are starting to communicate a little better.  I think one of the things we are doing better right now is rebounding the ball.  That’s been a big key for us,” he said. 

          Colonel Crawford (5-1) also won in their last outing as Conner McCreary led three Eagles in double figures with 16 points as Crawford beat Riverdale 71-46 last Friday.  They had nine players in the scoring column and cashed in on nine of 23 three pointers, McCreary, a sophomore, had four.  “Colonel Crawford is one of those teams that you can tell they are matured over last year.  They are very good offensively, they are a very solid defensive team.  They are shooting the ball from the three point line above 40 percent,” Ehresman told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “I mean they are just doing a lot of things right and it’s going to be a real challenge for us just to try and slow them down offensively.  We also have to score against them.  They are very athletic and very quick and he plays about eight or nine kids.”

          Wynford has played very good defense this season, not allowing any team to score more than 45 points this year.  However, Ehresman contends that Colonel Crawford will be a difficult challenge because of what they bring to the table on offense.  “Three point shooting does cause long rebounds, so if you aren’t guarding the shooter, you still have to go out and check your guy out.  Those long rebounds are sometimes difficult to corral for good defensive teams.  You know, we want to just put ourselves in an opportunity to win the game in the end will be important,” he said.

          The tempo of the game may be important on Tuesday night as well.  Colonel Crawford is team that really wants to push the pace of the game and use their depth as an advantage.  Ehresman says they can’t allow that to happen on Tuesday night in North Robinson.  “I think it will be important for us to have the tempo where we need it to be.  We want to run when we can, but we don’t want to get into a track meet with a team that is nine players deep.  They want to run and jump in their press.  They want to cause havoc and shoot the ball quickly and get themselves into the lane and do some things there.  We have been pretty fortunate the first three games anyway to keep the tempo at a pace that was good for us.  I am hoping we can do that again on Tuesday,” said Ehresman.     

 

 
   

Wynford off to Solid Start

 

          Wynford is going to be a factor in the black division of the North Central Conference this year, but pretty much everybody knew that going in.  The Royals confirmed that last weekend.

          After getting a late start to the basketball season due to the success of their football team, Wynford won both of the games they played last week.  They beat Riverdale (57-38) in an “NCC” game and downed Mohawk (65-36) in a non-conference game.  “These kids like I said are gamers.  They want to be out there and they want to compete and that was a big part of it.  We started out a little slow against Riverdale.  We got down 11-2 and they were a little quicker, they had been playing for a while.  It really didn’t take us long to kick it up a notch.  We kind of followed through on Friday.  We saw man-to-man on Friday night and then saw zone on Saturday night and we were affective against the zone too.  I was really happy,” said Wynford coach Tim Ehresman.

          Wynford has the kind of personnel where they can really cause some problems for their opponents on defense.  They have long arms and some quickness too.  “We caused quite a few turnovers.  I think that has quite a bit due with our length and our athleticism.  We were very fortunate on Friday and Saturday to cause quite a few turnovers.  There is still quite a bit of room for improvement.  We gave up some offensive rebounds that we shouldn’t have and things like that, but these kids are settling in rather well,” said Ehresman.

          Friday night, they host Galion in a inter-divisional game in the “NCC.”  Galion, of course, is a new member of the conference and Ehresman says they have the skill to be a real factor in the conference this winter.  “Galion is one of those teams that is very athletic.  They are very long.  They can hurt you in a number of different ways.  Durbin and Quaintance on the perimeter and McCuen and McCray in the post.  I mean they just have a lot of tools and a lot of weapons,” he told Swankonsports.com, “Defensively they get their hands on a lot of stuff.  They block a lot of shots.  They just have a good package.  They have had some tough games the last few weeks.  We looked Galion as one of the best teams in the league and I still think they are,” he said.

          With this being a conference game and it being within the black division, Ehresman says it will be important for them to come out and take care of business.  “I think so, I mean it’s a home game and we want to be able to finish things off at home.  It’s in our division and it’s just as important as any other league game.  We just need to go out and take care of business so we have a chance in the end,” said Ehresman.  

 

 
   

Wynford Counting on Defense

 

          Most of the rest of the North Central Conference has a two week head start on the Wynford Royals.  Only rival Buckeye Central is still in the starting blocks. 

          The Royals play their first game on Friday when they host Riverdale in a conference game.  Buckeye Central plays Carey in a non-conference contest next Tuesday.  Wynford coach Tim Ehresman says they can’t wait too long to start playing games.  “I was talking to the kids about this even today when I saw a couple of them in the hallway about we would be pretty good in about four more weeks, but unfortunately we play at the end of this week,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “It’s kind of a do or die situation.  You can’t push things back so far that you can’t possibly make a run anytime during the year. I think we have a stretch in January when we play something like nine games in 22 days, so it’s going to be ridiculous.”

          At least early in the season the Royals are going to have to win games by getting a lot of defensive stops and clearing the boards.  Ehresman thinks they must be good at controlling the tempo of the game too.  “I am hoping we will be a decent defensive team.  We have got to be a good defensive team early because we are a few weeks behind everybody else.  I am hoping that rebounding will take care of itself.  We have some size and its one of the things that we do very well.  I think one thing that we really have to concentrate on is taking care of the basketball.  The other teams are going to be quicker than us.  I think we have to be little bit more deliberate when we do set up in the half court,” said Ehresman.

          It can be tough opening the season with a conference game, but that’s just what the Royals are faced with as the Riverdale Falcons (2-1) will be at the “House of Thrills” on Friday night.  Ehresman says the Falcons have some tools this year.  “I like the Riverdale team they have a lot of their starters back from last year.  Their top five are all letterman.  Haldeman is probably their best threat.  He’s a sophomore and played last year as a freshman at point guard.  He is looking to score a little more.  He looks very comfortable with the ball in his hands.  Their post guys are pretty solid, Wells on the inside and Hankins on the outside.  They do the things that are necessary.  They get to the glass well.  Of course they have a couple of shooters in Hill and Hankins.  The things they are going to cause problems with are their quickness and their athleticism.  They are pretty decent in that respect,” said Ehresman.

          If a black division title in the “NCC’ is going to be a reality for the Royals they have to protect that home floor.  “This is a home game and you have to take care of things at home and that’s for certain.  Being at home is a big positive.  Our crowd is very good.  I think our kids will be ready to play,” said Ehresman.

 

 
   

Wynford Has the Right Attitude

 

          For the Wynford Royals it’s another late start to the boys’ basketball season, but once they get going they are going to be pretty good again this winter.

          The Royals advanced to the state semi-finals in football and played their last game the day after Thanksgiving.  They will not play their first basketball game until December 16 against Riverdale in North Central Conference action.

          This is not new as the Royals have made the football playoffs every year since 2005.  Two years ago they advanced to the regional finals.  So, basketball coach Tim Ehresman is well aware of how to handle the situation that he is now presented with.  “We’ve had to adapt to that.  I try to give the kids as much time off as I possibly can after the playoffs.  We gave them virtually a whole week this year,” he told Swankonsports.com, “We’ve only had the football kids for a couple of practices.  I think the kids are mentally and physically pretty tough, still it’s a drain on you.  It’s a long football season,” he said.

          A couple of things that are really positives for the Royals are the winning attitude they bring to basketball floor from the gridiron and the mental toughness they have learned there.  “When you have that type of confidence it always seems to transfer for us very well.  Our kids have that mental toughness that a long football season produces.  It helps us in the mid to late season when some other teams are having struggles and we seem to be a little bit better.  We hope that that translates.  Our football and basketball programs have a lot of the same goals,” said Ehresman.

          Wynford has enjoyed tremendous success in basketball too, especially in the tournament where they advanced to the division four regional semi finals last March before losing to Harvest Prep.  “Even though we have the football playoffs go long, going deeper and deeper every year.  We always seem to have those kids back, these veteran kids, that have played for a couple of years that have made the transition from football to basketball a lot smoother,” said Ehresman.

          In order to win games, especially in December, Ehresman knows they are going to have to be able to play outstanding defense.  “We don’t have much choice.  We have to be good defensively early because everybody has a step on us offensively.  It’s kind of like pitchers in the spring.  They always seem to have a step on the hitters, but the hitters catch up pretty quick.  Well, we aren’t going to hit anything out of the park right away, so we better be good on defense.  I think that’s going to be a key for us.  We have to defend and rebound really well, just to make sure we give ourselves a chance early,” said Ehresman.   

         

 

 
   

Wynford Must Contain the Run

 

          Wynford has been up to all of the challenges so far this season.  They have outscored teams, stuffed teams defensively, they have beat teams with the run and the pass, that’s why they are 13-0.  The key this week may be how well they can stop the run.

          The Royals lock horns with Kirtland Hornets (13-0) in the division five state semi finals on Friday night at Canton Central Catholic High School in Stark County.

          It was an almost unbelievable comeback that led the Royals to this level of the playoffs.  They trailed Lucasville Valley 27-0 in the first quarter before rallying to win 54-48 in overtime.  “We had to fight our way back.  I thought the key was the touchdown right before the half, which made it 35-32.  I think that gave our kids confidence,” said Wynford coach Travis Moyer.  Some key turnovers by Wynford in that first quarter allowed Valley to build the lead.  Moyer says they can’t afford that this week.  “We just need to do a better job of executing.  We didn’t do a good job of taking care of the football early on in that game and we need to make better decisions and take care of the football,” he said.

          Kirtland is not a fancy team.  They aren’t going to try and trick you.  They are just going to try and run the football at you because they don’t think anyone can stop them.  So, far that has pretty much been the case.  They have outscored their three playoff opponents by a combined score of 136-22.  “What makes them unique from an offensive standpoint is they want to run the football,” Moyer told Swankonsports.com, “They have an inside running fullback who is going to the Air Force Academy on a football scholarship.  He is a big, strong, athletic kid.  They have a tailback that can score from anywhere on the field.  It’s going to be a big challenge for our defense.  We have to tackle well and we have to pursue to the ball.”

          Wynford’s defense has been outstanding all season.  They had not allowed more than 20 points in any game until last week.  Moyer says they will have to play assignment football.  “Their running game is as good as advertised.  They are going to put a lot of pressure on us.  The thing we have got to remember is the guys responsible for taking care of the run, need to take care of the run.  The guys responsible for taking care of the pass, need to take care of the pass,” said Moyer.

          Kirtland has permitted more than two scores in a game only once this season and Moyer says they are just as tough on that side of the ball.  “From a defensive standpoint their coach has called it the best defense he has ever coached.  Their fullback is also their middle linebacker.  He was the division five player of the year on defense last year.  Their front guys are big, strong and athletic.  Their secondary has great speed,” he said.

          In games like this it’s going to be the team that plays the best on that night because both sides are very good.  “We just have to continue to get better this week and make the preparations necessary.  A big thing is just getting ourselves physically and mentally ready to play.  The thing I like is two weeks ago we played a defensive battle and last week we got in a shootout.  We have been able to win with two contrasting styles of play,” said Moyer.  

 

 
   

Wynford Will be Smaller and Quicker

 

          Wynford won a share of the North Central Conference girls’ basketball title last year and advanced to the regional tournament in division four and they expect to be competitive in the new divisional set up in the “NCC” this year.

          The Lady Royals have only three varsity players back, but they will be promoting a number of players from a junior varsity team that won 19 games a year ago.  Coach Amy Taylor-Sheldon says they will have different style this season, but she expects they will be successful again.  “I hope will we be able to maintain that tradition that we have been able to maintain over the last decade.  We have our returning point guard Cierra Brady.  She broke her collar bone in the regional final last year.  She is an outstanding point guard and an outstanding defensive player.  She is probably one of the best point guards in the Mansfield area.  Her sister Paige Brady is a returner.  She is 5-9 forward.  She was out last year at Christmas with a rotator cuff tare.  She’s back at full strength, so we are excited to have her back.  The other returning letter winner is Jen Schwemley, who came off the bench to play in the post for us last year.  She has a nice 15-foot jumper and is a long and lean player.  We have some kids coming off a JV team that went 19-1.  We are excited about this year,” said Taylor-Sheldon.

          Paige Brady was one of the best volleyball players in the area this year and helped to lead the Lady Royals to a black division title in the “NCC” in volleyball this fall.

          Taylor-Sheldon thinks they will have to change their approach, but they are capable of doing it too.  “I think we will be a little faster than we were last year.  We will be able to switch defenses and make teams off balance.  I think this is probably the best outside shooting team we’ve ever had as a whole,” she told Swankonsports.com, “It’s going to take some experience in some games early.  I think we have done a pretty good job of getting players to play to their strengths.  This is a different team, but they have just as much intensity and desire.”

          Getting down the floor is going to be something the Lady Royals are good at, but Taylor-Sheldon says they are going to have to be able to run a half court offense too.  “We must have good offensive execution in the half court.  We are a very good transition team, but we just need to be strong with the ball.  We need to be able to execute screens and just run our offense and get the ball to particular kids.  When we run motion to be seamless.  We are a little smaller than we have been in the past and we will be looking to improve our zone defense this year.  We haven’t played much zone in the recent past,” she said.

          Over the last several years Wynford has battled Riverdale and Colonel Crawford in the “NCC” girls’ basketball race, but those teams are in the silver division this year.  Taylor-Sheldon says they have scheduled another game with each school.  “Crawford and Riverdale, those are the teams we have battled with the last couple of years, so that’s going to be a totally different scenario.  We put Crawford and Riverdale on our schedule twice.  Bucyrus is going to very competitive this year along with Upper Sandusky.  We have our work cut out for us,” she said.

 

 
   

Wynford Faces Another Tough Challenge

 

          It’s a battle between undefeated teams on Friday night as Wynford takes on Lucasville Valley in the division five regional finals at Westerville Central High School near Columbus.

          Valley beat up outright Firelands Conference champion Crestview last week 41-12 to gain its regional final berth and their offense has not been contained this season, averaging around 40 points a game.  However, it’s not likely they have faced a defense like Wynford’s either.

          The Royals stopped Portsmouth West, in the same league as Lucasville Valley, at the goal line last week to win 14-9.  “Our backs were against the wall there at the end and I thought it was one of the gutsiest performances that I have ever seen as a coach.  We had great leadership at the end of the game and were fortunate to make the plays,” said Wynford coach Travis Moyer.  The Royals have played a lot of big games in recent years and having that confidence to make a play was a big difference.  “It’s a situation where kids take what they learned on the practice field onto the game field.  We just had some guys step up for us at the end of the game,” Moyer told Swankonsports.com, “The kids that were making plays have played in a lot of big games, which definitely helped us.”

          Valley has a lot of talented kids who make big plays.  They had 398 total yards against Crestview, led by running back Luke Keller’s 182 yards on the ground.  They threw only eight passes, but Moyer says they have the ability to complete more if they have too.  “When you look at Valley we are at the point when we are going to see great football teams.  They are extremely well coached and athletic from an offensive standpoint.  You have a duel threat quarterback that has the ability to hurt you not only with his arm, but his legs.  They ha a 6-6 wide receiver and a running back that is as good as advertised.  They are athletic, big and strong, and have the ability to score from anywhere on the field,” said Moyer.

          Wynford’s defense has not allowed more than 20 points in any single game this season.  They have permitted only one touchdown in each of their playoff games.  Wynford has seen players with the same offensive skill as they will see Friday night.  “When you think of a duel threat quarterback you have to think of Galion and Watkins.  When you think of passing, you think of Erwin over at Buckeye Central.  These guys put you in tough positions because you have to tackle well in space.  You just have to make plays,” Moyer said.

          One of the keys is going to be able to take the emotion of a regional final and make it an advantage.  “We have been in this position before and all we can focus on is what we control and that’s how we go out and play.  The excitement is great, but we need to be focused on the task at hand,” Moyer said.  Even though it’s a game between unbeaten teams with talented playmakers, according to Moyer it is still a game that will boil down to fundamentals.  “We have to take care of the ball.  We didn’t do a very good job of that last week and we were fortunate to win.  On the flipside, create some turnovers and give us some short fields,” he added.

 

 
   

Wynford Facing Another Tough Running Team

 

          Undefeated Wynford takes on Portsmouth West in a division five regional semi-final game on Friday night at Reynoldsburg High School on the east side of Columbus.

          The Royals (11-0) used a familiar formula to beat Smithville (8-3) in a first round game last week.  The Royals bottled up a tough Smithville running game and beat the Smithies 33-7.  “We were really fortunate that we played well.  Our guys up front did the job of stopping their run and the guys that needed to stop the pass, stopped the pass.  It was a huge win for us last Friday,” said Wynford coach Travis Moyer.

          Portsmouth West (10-1) is also an outstanding football team and they pulled a mild upset by beating Nelsonville York (9-2) 18-12 in the regional quarterfinals.  “Obviously, Portsmouth West is a very quality football team.  Their only loss was in their league to Lucasville Valley (28-20), who is playing Crestview this week.  They beat Nelsonville York, who some called the favorite in our region.  We know we have a great challenge in front of us this Friday and we will have to play well in all three phases of the game,” Moyer told Swankonsports.com.

          West is a team that relies on running for football and the Royals are going to see many of the same formations that they faced last week against Smithville.  “From an offensive standpoint we are going to see a lot of the things we saw from Smithville.  A lot of double tight, some full house.  You know our guys up front are going to have to do a good job stopping the run.  They have a duel threat quarterback.  He is a very good athlete that not only can hurt you with his legs but also his arm,” said Moyer.  Six times this season Portsmouth West has scored more than 40 points and they put 70 on the board against Rock Hill.

          However, Wynford has probably the most consistently strong defense in this area this year and they will need to be up for the challenge.  “There is no doubt about it and those guys have done a good job up front.  We really stress a team concept on the defensive side of the ball.  We need all 11 guys doing their responsibility to make it work.  We have guys that have bought into that concept,” said Moyer.

          Their offense has been standout this season, but the Portsmouth West defense has been pretty good too, allowing just one touchdown four times and pitching a shutout against Minford.  “From a defensive standpoint we are going to see a 5-2 front with a two deep safety look.  They are an attacking style of defense with some real good players,” said Moyer.

          Wynford expects to attack that defense with the kind of balance that they have featured all season.  Last week they had 203 yards passing and another 138 on the ground.  “We like to get as many guys involved in our offensive concept as we can.  We really feel the more guys we can get involved the tougher we are to defend,” said Moyer.

 

 
   

Wynford Knows it Will be Tough

 

          Wynford finished another regular season unbeaten and earned the top seed in their region of the division five playoffs.  They face a meeting with the Smithville Smithies on Friday night in a first round game.

          The Royals, number #2 in the Swankonsports.com football power poll among smaller schools, have already beaten two teams that made the playoffs in River Valley and Buckeye Central as well as Ontario (9-1) and Galion (8-2) during the regular season.

          Smithville (8-2) shared the Wayne County Athletic League title with Hillsdale and Norwayne, handing Norwayne its only loss of the season two weeks ago.  “”I think from an offensive standpoint first and foremost is their offensive line.  They are big and physical.  They are strong.  They have two backs that have rushed for over 1,000 yards.  They run extremely hard.  They have a quarterback that’s a duel threat kid.  He can hurt you with his feet as well as his arm,” said Wynford coach Travis Moyer.

          Smithville is certainly a run first team and Moyer knows they have to control first down in order to be able to slow down the Smithies.  “I think that is really key.  Obviously we need to put them in second and long and third and long situations.  We have to do a good job on first and second down and not put them in positions where they are in second and third and short.  That’s going to be a big challenge for our defense,” he said.

          Two years also Wynford enjoyed great success in the playoffs advancing to the regional final before losing a good game to eventual state champion Norwalk St. Paul, but last year they were beaten in the first round by Dalton, out of the same league as Smithville.  “We have to look at this an extension of our season.  Everyone wants to get caught up when you are a one seed and are playing an eight seed.  All that guaranteed us was a chance to play at home.  An eight seed in our region as deep as it is, as tough as it is, is a league champion.  We know we are going to get a great, quality football team,” said Moyer.

          This game is not going to be different from the ten previous to it.  Moyer believes they have to be the team that controls the line of scrimmage.  “We have to play exceptionally well,” he told Swankonsports.com, “Hopefully we will be able to create some turnovers on the defensive side of the ball.  The line of scrimmage is going to be very important on both sides of the ball.  They feel very strong about their offensive and defensive lines as do we.  It’s really going to be a great match-up on Friday night,” said Moyer.

 

 
   

Wynford Trying to Remain Perfect

 

          Being perfect in football at Wynford is nothing new, but it will be a special significance for this year’s senior class as they remember a former teammate.

          If the Royals beat Bucyrus at home on Friday night it will make the 58th straight regular season win for the program dating back to the third week of the 2006 season.  Chris Issacs, who would have been a senior this year, was killed in an auto accident his freshman year.  Ironically his number was 58.  The streak has been a driving force for the team this year in order to pay tribute to Chris.  “We lost a member of our family in Chris Issacs when he was a freshman.  He would have been a senior this year.  I think our kids have really done a good job remembering Chris,” said coach Travis Moyer.

          Last week, the Royals, #2 in the Swankonsports.com football power poll among smaller schools, clinched no less than a share of the big school division title with a 22-20 win over the Galion Tigers.  “I think both teams fought extremely hard for 48 minutes.  It was just a great high school football game,” said Moyer.  He thinks the fact that the Royals have played so many big games like that over the years sometimes gives them an advantage.  “We have been fortunate that we have played in a number of big games over the years.  Our kids understand what it takes to be successful.  Our kids understand the whole key is preparation Monday through Thursday,” he added.

          Bucyrus (1-8) has had a difficult season.  Their only win coming over Riverdale (14-12) two weeks ago.  “When you look at their win-loss record I’m sure that it’s not what they expected it to be, but they have played teams extremely tough.  We understand this is a backyard rivalry for us. We know we are going to get their best effort,” said Moyer.

          Bucyrus has had a run of successful seasons up until this year and coach Moyer thinks they still have some dangerous players.  “From an offensive stand point they are just so multiple in their formations and spreading you out.  Tackling is going to be very critical this week because a lot of times players are going to be one on one,” he said.  The Wynford coach expects Bucyrus to bring some blitzes in an attempt to get into their backfield.  “Defensively they are a multiple front defense and they are going to bring pressure.  They are going to get after you,” he said.  

 

 
   

Wynford Has to Contain Galion Speed

 

          It’s the game everybody has been waiting on in the North Central Conference as unbeaten Wynford plays host to once-beaten Galion in a battle for first place in the large school division on Friday night.

          Wynford (8-0), ranked #2 in Swankonsports.com football power poll in the small school division, held up its side of the bargain last week when they throttled the Colonel Crawford Eagles 32-14.  “We were fortunate to get off to a good start.  Our kids played hard, as did their kids.  Anytime you have a backyard rivalry, especially Colonel Crawford and Wynford, you know it’s going to be a hard hitting, 48 minute battle,” said Wynford coach Travis Moyer.

          Galion has won seven straight games since losing its opener to Mansfield Senior.  They are led by the “NCC’s” leading rusher in David Nay.  “From an offensive standpoint they are as skilled as any team we have seen all year.  It all starts with their quarterback.  He’s a duel threat kid.  He can hurt you not just with his legs, but his arm.  They have a running back that is not only one of the top players in our area, but the entire state.  It centers around those two, but the rest of their skilled positions are extremely explosive and fast, so we will have our hands full from a defensive standpoint this Friday,” said Moyer.

          The Wynford defense has been one of the strongest in the entire area this season, never allowing more than two scores in a game.  Moyer knows they will be tested by the Galion spread offense because the Tigers can do so many things from the line of scrimmage.  “They are reading a lot of different things.  We are going to have to create some indecisiveness on their part in terms of different looks and things like that.  They are as good as advertised,” said Mover.  Galion has a lot of speed in their skilled positions and that gives them the ability to break big plays.  Moyer says against Nay and the rest of the Galion offense they have to be gap sound and make sure they get a lot of people to the ball carrier.  “We are in a situation where we have to be sound fundamentally in terms of being responsible for our gaps.  We are going to have to tackle extremely well and get 11 hats to the ball.  Nay gets a ton of yards after contact.  If we get that first guy there, we have to get a number of other guys there to help tackle him,” added Moyer.

          When you score the amount of points Galion has this season, sometimes the defense is overshadowed.  However, Moyer knows the Tigers have a lot of talent on that side of the ball too.  “Their defense is a fast and aggressive style of defense.  They are going to attack you.  They are going to create some problems for us.  We are going to have to do a good job of staying in front in terms of sustaining blocks.  When we get an opportunity to make a play we are going to need to make that play,” he said.

          Moyer, an All-Ohio player at Crestline, and the coach of a Wynford squad that has won 52 straight “NCC” games, says these are the kind of games you want to be involved in.  “I know both teams are going to come out and give great effort.  This is all you can ask for at this time of year is to give yourself the opportunity to compete for a conference championship,” said Moyer.   

 

 
   

Wynford Ready For Another Test

 

          Wynford has been ready to play its best each and every week and it has resulted in a 7-0 record and a share of first place in the large school division of the North Central Conference with Galion.

          They play the Tigers next week.

          Last week, they blasted Upper Sandusky 40-8 for their 51st “NCC” football victory in a row.  “They are a young team when you look at their roster.  There are a lot of sophomores playing for them.  They feel their future is bright, but fortunately for us we were able to make some big time plays,” Wynford coach Travis Moyer told Swankonsports.com.  The Royals allowed 237 yards of total offense to the Rams, but they only permitted one score in the second quarter.  Zach Chatlain ran for 54 yards and a touchdown and threw for 157 yards and three scores for Wynford.

          With the way the Wynford schedule has been set up this season there were a number of games when focus might have been an issue.  However, Moyer says not with this bunch.  “With our schedule it’s been difficult, but our kids have truly taken games one game at a time with the understanding that we have to get better Monday through Thursday.  We just have to continue to do that for the rest of the year,” he said.  Moyer likes the way the divisional set up is going in the first year of the expanded “NCC.”  “We knew when we put this league together that there would be a lot of backyard rival games.  We knew coming in that we would have very good talent in terms of our league this year.  Each and every week there are marquee match-ups,” he said.

          This week Wynford, ranked #2 in the Swankonsports.com football power poll in the small school division, travels to the other side of Bucyrus to face Colonel Crawford (4-3) in an inter-divisional game in the “NCC.”  Right, now Colonel Crawford is tied with Buckeye Central for first place in the small school division of the conference.  The Eagles outscored Bucyrus (0-7) by the score of 41-28 last week.  “I really think last week was the first week they had everybody back.  So, they have a week of playing together.  We know we have them at full strength,” said Moyer.

          For the third time this season the Smith’s both ran for more than 100 yards for the Eagles in their win over Bucyrus.  Tyler Smith had 117 yards and two touchdowns and C.J. Smith added 144 yards and two scores.  Crawford’s base offense is the run heavy wing-t, but Moyer knows they have the ability to throw too.  “Nate Klingenberger is a very good quarterback and has the ability to throw the football.  They will get into some spread formations and allow him to throw the ball.  We will have to defend not only the run, but the pass this week,” said Moyer.  Klingenberger completed eight of 16 tosses for 132 yards and a touchdown last week.    

 

 
   

Just Another Week For Wynford

 

          Wynford blasted previously unbeaten Ontario 33-7 last week, but for the Royals it was just another week at the office.  They have now won 50 straight North Central Conference games dating back to September of 2004.

          They are tied with Galion for first place in the “NCC” large school division standings.  They play the Tigers in two weeks.

          It’s that even keel and taking everything in stride that has been one of the keys to the Wynford success over the years.  “It was another step towards goal number one and a “NCC” championship,” Wynford coach Travis Moyer told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We have the up most respect for them.  They are a good football team and it was a quality win for us.”  The Royals dominated the line of scrimmage as they gained 292 total yards as compared to just 104 for Ontario.  They held the Warriors to less than 70 yards rushing in the game.

          This week Wynford, #2 in the Swankonsports.com football power poll in the small school division, is at Upper Sandusky (2-4) for a battle with the Rams.  Again the Royals are approaching this week like they do any other, being more worried about their execution.  “This is step number four toward goal number one, an “NCC” championship.  We know we have another backyard rivalry this week and we need to play exceptionally well,” said Moyer.

          Upper Sandusky has played well at times this year, but they were beaten pretty handily (27-7) by Buckeye Central last week, as the Bucks did pretty much anything they wanted with football.  The Bucks held Upper to just 29 yards rushing, but Moyer says that doesn’t mean the Rams don’t have some weapons.  “Our kids understand this is another step.  We know this is a big one for us.  This game means as much to us as any that’s on our schedule in terms of a league championship.  Upper Sandusky presents us with a number of challenges.  We have to be ready for them and play well,” he said.

          On the chalkboard in the Wynford locker room are the same elements of the game that are always emphasized.  “We have to take care of the football and that’s the first and foremost thing we need to do.  On the flip side of that we need to create some turnovers.  The line of scrimmage is going to be very crucial.  They are an aggressive, attacking style of defense.  Our up front guys are going to have to play well.  From a special teams standpoint we have to make sure we are consistent and play well,” Moyer said.   

 

 
   

Wynford and Ontario Match Unbeaten Records

 

          Two unbeaten teams clash this Friday night in what shapes up as a huge match-up in the big school division of the North Central Conference as the Wynford Royals host the Ontario Warriors.

          Wynford has been the dominate team in “NCC” as they have not lost an “NCC” game since 2004.  Ontario, on the other hand, rebounded last year to claim their first playoff berth since 2002.   This season, however, both teams have looked very strong.  Ontario has out scored its opponents 192-73 and Wynford has scored 184 points and allowed only 26.

          Last week, Wynford beat Crestline 48-7, leading 42-7 at halftime.  Wynford coach Travis Moyer, a Crestline graduate, allowed many of his younger players to see action in the second two quarters.  “Our defense just continues to get better and that makes me very pleased as a coach.  On offense we are showing more balance, which makes us harder to stop,” Moyer told Swankonsports.com.  Against Crestline quarterback Zack Chatlain completed 18 of 22 passes for 270 yards.

          Ontario brings back a lot of their skilled players from last year and they have been able to move the ball on anyone they have played this year.  “Obviously they are as good as advertised.  They are probably the most athletic team in our league.  They have great speed and great athletes and they are big up front,” said Moyer. 

          Running backs Drew Boatwright, Zach Bartman and Jordan Campbell has broken a lot of long gainers this season for Ontario and Moyer says they can pretty much score from anywhere on the field.  “They put so much pressure on you because they have such great athletes in the backfield.  Any of their backs can go the distance on any given snap.  They can score from 20 yards out or 80 yards out,” said Moyer, “We are going to have to do a great job of pursuing the ball and staying in our lanes, and not over pursuing.  Tackling is going to be extremely important to us this week.”  In modern day high school football players are counted on to make one-on-one tackles.  “With offenses today trying to spread you out and put you on an island it is even more critical.  Kids today are left alone to make that one-on-one tackle.  That’s why teams spend a lot of time practicing tackling,” added Moyer.

          Moyer knows that they are going to have to show Ontario a number of different looks when they have the ball because the Warriors have that same speed on defense.  “They are well coached and they will be a major challenge for us this week.  Their defense presents us with a lot of problems and we will have to be on our “A” game so to speak.  We have to be balanced in terms of runs and pass.  We have to take advantage of the opportunities that we have because they don’t give up many,” said Moyer.

 

 
   

Wynford Focused on Crestline

 

          Wynford took its North Central Conference win streak to 48 games last week with a 38-6 thumping of previously unbeaten Buckeye Central in the North Central Conference opener for both schools.

          They meet Crestline in a conference game on Friday night.

          The Royals forced six Buckeye turnovers and took advantage of them to establish a 32-0 halftime lead.  “Buckeye Central is a very quality football team.  They were state ranked.  They were picked to win our league championship in the small school division.  I thought our defense played exceptionally well.  Our special teams were able to create some turnovers and the offense took advantage of the opportunities given it,” said Wynford coach Travis Moyer. 

          Wynford’s defense continues to play outstanding football and its offense is getting better week by week.  “We continue to be a work in progress to try and create as much balance as we can between our pass game and our run game.  Our kids have worked extremely hard to get to the point where we need to be,” Moyer told Swankonsports.com on Thursday.

          Crestline won all of their non-conference games, but they were buried (56-0) by Colonel Crawford in their “NCC” opener last week.  “From an offensive standpoint they are going to try and spread us out and create some running lanes.  The Reynolds kid has a very good arm and is one of the top passers in our league.  They are going to try hard to put their skilled position guys on an island.  Our defense is going to have to tackle well this week and pursue and get to the ball,” said Moyer.  After leading the “NCC” in passing the first three weeks, Reynolds completed only four of 14 passes against Colonel Crawford and was held to 43 rushing yards.

          Wynford is the big favorite in this game, no question about that.  Moyer would like to get a couple of early scores, but he knows they have to play four quarters of football.  “I think that’s always important in any game.  We always stress to our kids about getting off to a good start.  I think that helps you, but our kids understand it’s a 48-minute game.  I’m sure Crestline isn’t happy with the way they played last week and we know we are going to get their best shot,” said Moyer.

 

 
   

Wynford Showing Improvement

 

          Wynford is getting better and that should scare the daylights out of the rest of the North Central Conference.

          The Royals have not lost a regular season football game since 2006 and they haven’t lost in the league since 2005.

          Last week, they buried a pretty good Mohawk football team 33-0 in non-conference play.  Coach Travis Moyer believes they played outstanding defense against a physical Mohawk team.  “We had everyone step up on the defensive side of the ball.  We had great effort.  We ran to the ball well and we tackled well,” Moyer told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “Our front four played exceptionally well.  That game is so much dictated on the line of scrimmage.  That was the battle we won.”  The Royals held Mohawk to only 88 total yards for the night.  The Warriors had 34 rushing yards on 28 carries.

          Moyer was also impressed with how well the team played on offense.  They totaled 428 total yards.  Most of it, 316 yards, came on the ground, but they were also able to compete seven of 12 passes.  “We started to have some balance.  We had some other guys step up for us and make some plays.  The more we can spread it around the tougher we will be to defend,” said Moyer.  Corey Brown ran for 111 yards and two touchdowns for the Royals.

          Wynford is at home for Riverdale on Friday night in what is a non-conference game played between conference opponents.  Riverdale is coming off a 40-33 win over Upper Scioto Valley last week.  “Our defense has a major challenge this week again.  Riverdale has the ability to spread you out, and also line up in an “I” formation and run right at you.”  With a variety of looks for the Falcons on offense, Moyer knows they are going to have to be able to adapt to what they see on game night.  “We hope through our preparation we have seen just about everything.  Hopefully, our kids respond.  From week one to week two we really had some kids settle down under the Friday night lights,” he said.  

 

 
   

Wynford Wants to Improve

 

          Wynford hasn’t lost a regular season game since September 1, 2006 when the Mohawk Warriors beat them 28-7.  Since then they have won 48 straight regular season games, including s 25-13 win over River Valley last week.

          Zach Chatlain threw for 184 yards and ran for 159 for the Royals, who also got a 105 yard interception return from Seth Rall.  Wynford was able to get some quality performances from players getting their first taste of varsity football.  “You know, that first game is always that game of uncertainty.  You have some kids making their first appearance under the Friday night lights.  You never know how your kids are going to respond.  I thought our kids stepped up.  We made some mistakes.  Our goal is to leave there with a victory and we were fortunate to do that,” said Wynford coach Travis Moyer.

          Despite the win, Moyer has identified a number of elements of the game that have to improve if the Royals are going to reach their goals as a football team.  “We just have to get better as a football team,” Moyer told Swankonsports.com, “We have to get better in all facets.  Our kids need to take that to heart if we want to get where we want to be as a football team.”  Wynford players have always believed in continued improvement and that is likely why they have won every North Central Conference title since 2004, but Moyer knows this a different group of kids.  “It’s a new season and a new group and they have to buy into it just like those previous teams.  Our kids are working hard.  You have to prove it everyday on the practice field.  I think you make a great improvement from game one to game two,” said Moyer.

          Wynford has had very good offensive teams in the past, but Moyer believes this is a unit that is going to go as far as its defense will take it.  “The strength of our team needs to be on the defensive side of the ball.  We return eight starters on that side.  We just have to continue to understand that,” he said.

          Of course, Mohawk was the last team to beat Wynford during a regular season game and the Warriors beat Upper Scioto Valley 21-7 on week one.  Moyer expects a big challenge from the Warriors.  “Mohawk is Mohawk,” he said, “They do what they do very well.  When you think of Mohawk football, you think of a physical football team and that’s what we expect Friday night.”

 

 
   

Wynford Kids Know What’s Expected

 

          Wynford has been one of the winningest football programs in this part of Ohio and this year should be no different with eight starters returning on defense and most of the skilled players back on the offensive side of the ball.

          Royals coach Travis Moyer says their program is built on the willingness of the players to strive to get better in practice and never being satisfied with where they are as a team.  “We challenge our kids to get better each and every day and I do think we have gotten better every day,” Moyer told SwankonSports.com, “We’ve got a thing around here when you get better then we get better.”

          Wynford will have some wholes to patch on the offensive line this fall, but they have a lot of their playmakers back in the skilled positions from last year’s North Central Conference champions.  “Up front on the offensive line we lost some good seniors.  We’ve got some work to do there.  We return our quarterback Zach Chatman, wide receiver Seth Roll, and our fullback Nick Miller, so we have quite a bit back in our skilled positions,” said Moyer.

          It’s been the defense that has keyed the Wynford success the last couple of years and this year that could be the case yet again.  The Royals return most of their talent on that side of the football.  “We return eight starters on defense and we need that to be a strong suit for us in terms of a strength.  We return all three linebackers in Roll, Miller and Garret Shetler,” Moyer said. 

          Wynford has not lost a conference game since 2006 and the have claimed every “NCC” football title since 2004.  Moyer believes one of the reasons is they never think they will win just because they did last season.  “We’ve got to understand this is a new year and we’ve got to put in as much preparation and effort as we have in the previous years,” he said, “Our expectations are the same as any other year and that’s to win the “NCC” championship, make the state playoffs and win a state championship.”

          Galion and Upper Sandusky are added to the “NCC” this season and the conference splits into divisions.  Wynford is in a division with both of the new schools, plus Bucyrus and Ontario.  Moyer knows winning another title will not come easy.  “Before you even mention Galion and Upper our league was going to be very good his year,” said Moyer.

 

 
 

Wynford Expecting Another Strong Year

           Wynford has been the dominate football team in the North Central Conference over the last six years and they are working hard to make sure that doesn’t change even with the introduction of Upper Sandusky and Galion as conference members this fall.

          “We really stress to our kids when you get better, we get better,” said coach Travis Moyer, “That’s the one thing that we concentrate on.”  When Wynford players hit the gridiron they expect to be successful and that self confidence has helped lead them to streak of regular season wins that has now reached 37.  “We have high expectations here and our kids have high expectations of themselves and the program,” Moyer told Swankonsports.com, “Every year after we finish the season our seniors pass down the tradition to the juniors and say it’s your team.”

          During the off season Moyer and his staff take a look at the players that will be making up their team and make decisions about who will be in the starting line-up and what tweaks will be made to their offense and defense.  “We look at our scheme and what we are going to try and do.  We really try and base it off personnel.  Every class that comes through is different and we have to adapt what we are going to do,” said Moyer.  He says the June and July workouts are very important in finding out what players can fill what positions on the team.  “Realistically we might have only 15-20 kids that can play for us on a Friday night.  It’s very important that we put that personnel in the right spots,” he said.

          This will be a year of transition in the “NCC” with the addition of Galion and Upper Sandusky and the splitting into a divisional set up.  Each school will play the other four schools in their division on a yearly basis and three schools in the other division will rotate every two years for a total of seven conference and three non-conference football games each fall.  The larger school division will include Galion, Upper Sandusky, Bucyrus, Ontario and Wynford, while the smaller school division will have Crestline, Buckeye Central, Colonel Crawford, Riverdale and Lucas.  “With the addition of Upper Sandusky and Galion this year I really feel like this will be the deepest and toughest schedule we have faced.  I think each week there will be exciting match-ups in the “NCC.”    

 

 
   

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