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OFFICIAL football Playoff Matchups

 

Division II

Marion Harding @ Uniontown Green

Wooster @ Olentangy Berlin

 

Division III

Sylvania Southview @ West Holmes

Lexington @ Mansfield Senior

River Valley @ Medina Buckeye

Cloverleaf @ Tiffin Columbian

 

Division IV

Poland Seminary @ Fairless

Edison @ Bellevue

Galion @ Clyde

Toledo Scott @ Port Clinton

Wauseon @ Triway

Huron @ LaGrange Keystone

Clear Fork @ Shelby

Perkins @ Lutheran West

Linden McKinley @ Highland

 

Division V

Richmond Edison @ Akron Manchester

Kansas Lakota @ Eastwood

Chippewa @ Ottawa-Glandorf

Waynedale @ Indian Lake

Marion Pleasant @ Elyria Catholic

Wynford @ Otsego

 

Division VI

Pymatuning Valley @ Norwayne

Hillsdale @ Middlefield Cardinal

Northwood @ Crestview

Van Buren @ Carey

Cardinal Stritch @ Colonel Crawford

Western Reserve @ Gibsonburg

Seneca East @ Defiance Tinora

Fredericktown @ Northmor

Centerburg @ Nelsonville York

 

Division VII

Mapleton @ Lucas

South Central @ Norwalk St. Paul

Monroeville @ Warren JFK

Vienna Matthews @ Dalton

Plymouth @ Salineville Southern

Hardin-Northern @ Hopewell-Loudon

Mohawk @ Waynesfield-Goshen

Reedsville Eastern @ East Knox

Danville @ Newark Catholic

 
     
 

Lexington Gets Another Chance Against Mansfield Senior

Click here to listen to an interview with coach Taylor Gerhardt

 

          After eight weeks of the season nobody was thinking much about Lexington and the division III playoffs as they had only one win in their last seven games, but two wins to close they regular season gets the Minutemen a ticket to the postseason.

          They will play rival Mansfield Senior for a second time, this time in a first round playoff game at Arlin Field on Friday night.

          In what was likely their best performance of the season, the Minutemen drilled River Valley (51-12) in a non-conference game last Friday.

          Coach Taylor Gerhardt says they put together a very solid overall performance.  “We really put together a complete game in all three phases.  Our offense was really humming, on defense they were flying around and really executed their assignments and jobs excellently, and special teams, other than the missed field goal, blocked a punt and a PAT, recovery on a kickoff, as well making sure we are securing the ball when they are onsiding or pooching.  Really the kids put together a complete game and that is kind of football we are capable of playing,” said Gerhardt.

          Karson Berry ran for 198 yards and two TD’s against River Valley.

          Lexington (4-6) faces Mansfield Senior (8-2), who finished as the runners up in the Ohio Cardinal Conference this season.  The Tygers blasted Madison (49-7) last Friday and won their last five games.

          Gerhardt says the Tygers are a very dangerous team on both sides of the football.  “Number one, they are well coached and they are a disciplined football team and showed when we played them.  We were not as disciplined as I would like us to be.  They can throw the ball.  Their quarterback is very dangerous when he tucks it and runs.  He is quick, he is shifty, but boy he runs hard.  Their defense is extremely opportunistic.  I don’t know if we have seen a more opportunistic defense this season,” he said.

          Back on September 24, Mansfield Senior beat the Minutemen (23-14) at Lexington and Senior quarterback Brock Hill ran for 78 yards and two scores.  Both Lexington scores came in the fourth quarter.

          Gerhardt says they have to finish drives like they have the last two weeks and they must respond to big plays made by the Tygers.  “We just have to be confident in what we do.  One on the things is mentally and as a team being able to play four quarters and finishing phases of the game.  We were not as mature as we are now, so we have to make sure we are as mature as we have been the last two weeks,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, “We have to make sure we can bounce back from the big plays that Mansfield is going to get.  They are going to get a big play or two on offense and they are going to make big plays on defense.  So, we have to be able to settle in and respond to those.”

 

Published 10/25/21

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Fredericktown Make Playoffs; Has Rematch with Northmor

Click here to listen to an interview with coach William Hartley

 

          On the strength of two straight wins to end the regular season, the Fredericktown Freddies have vaulted into the division VI postseason playoffs and will play at Northmor, a fellow member of the Knox Morrow Athletic Conference, in a first round game on Saturday night.

          They rallied to beat Centerburg (28-25) last week.

          Coach William Hartley says more than anything they are just getting healthy.  “Our kids have been playing really well.  As I have mentioned before we are really just getting to the point where we are 100 percent healthy.  We did get our quarterback back, Ben Mast, who had been out for the majority of the season, and that has allowed us to move our big, athletic wide receiver Kaid Carpenter back to wide receiver from quarterback,” he told Swankonsports.com Sunday afternoon, “I think it has just opened up the offense for us.  I tell you the offensive line too the second half of Friday’s game that is the best they have played as a unit and we really started to have success running the ball off tackle and that just made the entire offense flow much better throughout the second part of the game.”

          The Freddies finished 11th in the final standings in region 23 and would have been left out of the playoffs without the recent expansion by the OHSAA.

          Hartley says the hope to take advantage of the opportunity.  “Wherever the state sets as the parameters for getting into the playoffs you have to embrace it and here we are having an opportunity to compete in week 11 and it is going to be a great atmosphere going back over there to Northmor.  We have another opportunity to play against a team that maybe we thought we could do a little better the first time we played them,” he said.

          Northmor (8-2) won its first eight games of the season, but has since lost two in a row, including (38-7) to Highland in a “KMAC” game last Friday.

          Hartley is not sure what affect the two losses will have on this game, but he expects that Northmor will play with even more intensity.  “You never know.  I am sure they are going to be highly motivated to get back on track in the first round of the playoffs.  Hosting a game is always special for a school, so I’m sure they are going to be ready to go.  They have played two really tough teams, especially Highland, a big physical team that really matched up with them physically and came out on top.  So, I don’t think that is indictive of where they are trending.  You look at them on film and they are still pretty solid.  They are really good at what they do,” said Hartley.

          Fredericktown (5-5) lost to Northmor (40-20) on September 24.  Golden Knights quarterback Marcus Cortez ran for two scores and threw for two more in the game.

          Hartley says they have to convert their offensive chances and they need to be ready for the play action pass.  “We have to finish drives.  In the first game, we actually only had one punt.  We did go for it a couple times on fourth down, but we had problems finishing drives.  We had good offensive production at times, but we weren’t able to get it in the end zone.  We are going to have to have more success and we are going to have to score the football.  Defensively, it is the challenge of taking away their tough, physical running attack.  That is the first thing that you have to do and then their play action pass off of that.  They hurst us quite a bit with that play action pass where we had some kids fall asleep in the back end and we are going to have to do a better job with that as well,” said Hartley.

 

Published 10/25/21

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Rivals St. Paul and Monroeville Meet

Click here to listen to an interview with coach John Livengood

 

          I always call it the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry of North Central Ohio and it renews this week as Norwalk St. Paul hosts Monroeville on Saturday night at Contractor’s Stadium inside Whitney Field.

          St, Paul must win to have any chance to get a share of the Firelands Conference title.  They also need Crestview to lose to Mapleton.

          Last week, the Flyers lost for the first time this year, losing (28-7) to Crestview and falling out of a share of the conference lead.

          Coach John Livengood feels they have learned from that.  “It has gone as well as it can go this week.  Obviously, it is one of those situations where you are not happy with the result the previous week, but there are lots of things to learn when you get beat and you play a really good team like Crestview you see areas that you need to continue to work on.  Some things that maybe you get away with against other teams against other opponents you can’t get away with against a good team like Crestview.  We are using it as a learning opportunity, an opportunity to get better and continue to improve as a football team, continue to play better as we prepare for Monroeville and the postseason,” said Livengood.

          St. Paul (7-1,4-1), #3 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, hosts Monroeville (3-6,2-3) on Saturday night.  The Eagles have lost their last three, including a (34-20) setback to Mapleton last Friday.

          Livengood says the Eagles have an outstanding quarterback and some other weapons on offense.  “They are a very senior oriented team defensively.  They have some really good seniors on their offense as well. Isaac Roeder, their quarterback, is one of best athletes in conference.  He does a nice job running the ball, also throwing the ball, especially to the flats.  We saw him live last week against Mapleton and he looked really sharp throwing the ball in nasty weather.  He did a nice job throwing to the flats.  He is a tough, hard runner.  He has good speed, he has good size, and he is not the type of kid that is going to go down with the first defensive player there.  We know we are going to have to really rally to the ball and try and keep him in check,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We also know they have a good running back in Brayden Schuller.  Actually, they have a number of good running backs.  Landen Roeder is only a freshman, but he has really good speed.  They are a really good football team and coach (Tylor) Nester is doing a really good job.”

          Livengood has coached against Monroeville more than 30 times and he understands you can’t take anything for granted.  “I think anytime you play in a rivalry game, you throw the records out.  You don’t have to think back too far you think about two years ago when we had a nice season going and Monroeville was struggling a little bit and they came over here to Whitney Field and knocked us off 14-0.  That is still for us very fresh in our minds.  We are well aware that anything can happen anytime you step on the field.  So, you always have to be playing your best,” he said.

 

Published 10/22/21

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Norwalk Plays Talented Tiffin

Click here to listen to an interview with coach Todd Fox

 

          Norwalk plays host to Tiffin Columbian in a game in the Lake Division of the Sandusky Bay Conference on Friday and there is a spirt of uncertainly about this game.

          But, first last week, Norwalk lost (41-14) to Clyde in a division game.

          Coach Todd Fox says the Fliers were just better than them in every way and it showed on the scoreboard.  “Clyde is a very good football team.  There was only one other game this year against Bishop Hartley that I felt like we were outmatched,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday night, “Clyde was just playing at a different level and we did not match that level last week.  We are looking at rebounding from that and move on to the next game in the Lake.”

          Earlier this week members of the Columbian football team were involved in the act of vandalism involving three homes in Tiffin.  A report stated that those involved would be suspended this week and any future playoffs games.  However, there have been some questions raised regarding the number of those suspended and the length of those suspensions.

          Fox says they are preparing for the possibility that everyone on the Columbian roster is available on Friday night.  “Our approach is this is a very good football team, a very good football program, a team coming off a state semifinal run last year.  So, they have next man up.  So, we just prepare to battle them and whoever plays Friday night we will be ready,” he said.

          A source not wanting to be identified told Swankonsports.com that seven players will be suspended Friday and not available to play against the Truckers.  It is the policy of this company not to release the names of the players involved.

          Based on what he has seen on film, Fox says Columbian has a lot of very good players and it is difficult to match the athleticism that Tiffin can put on the field.  “They have two phenomenal quarterbacks, Beaston and Roggow.  They just do a nice job dispersing the football.  Their skilled guys are pretty hard to match.  They are tough to matchup with all around.  They are fundamentally sound and Brody Conley is just a leader on both sides of the ball,” said Fox.

 

Published 10/22/21

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Lexington Coming into Its Own

Click here to listen to an interview with coach Taylor Gerhardt

 

          Lexington concludes its regular season on Friday night with a non-conference game as they host River Valley of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.

          There is a chance the Minutemen can make the division III playoffs with a win, but they will need some help.

          They played perhaps their best game of the season last week in thumping Madison (43-0) in “OCC” play.

          Coach Taylor Gerhardt says they did a really good job of finishing.  “The kids really put it together.  I challenge them to give more into getting prepared, give more into finishing what we started and they really grabbed hold of that and played a really nice, clean football game and put things together and we got cooking for a while,” he said.

          Gerhardt says as the season has gone on his kids have learned what they need to do to be successful.  “We have been bit by the injury bug throughout the season.  I think it has hit us in very single position at one point in time, but it hits everybody else too.  The kids have been working really hard about next man up.  Missing certain people hurt us a little bit with some consistency.  We are taking care of that.  The group is learning a lot about how unforgiving this game is and how focused you have to be,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday afternoon, “It is an overused term you have to play four quarters of football, but there is a reason it is an overused term.  So, we are learning to do that and the kids put it together last week.  We are working on putting together another one this week.”

          Lexington (3-6) hosts River Valley (5-4) on Friday.  The Vikings lost (47-20) to “MOAC” leader Shelby last week.

          Gerhardt says the Vikings quarterback Cayden Shidone is a playmaker and they have to limit him.  “They throw it around quite a bit.  The quarterback is a really good talented runner, tough kid, throws the ball very accurately on the run as well.  It is very, very different from what we saw last week.  So, we are going to have to spread it out and make sure we can contain that quarterback and limit his big scramble plays to be successful,” he said.

 

Published 10/22/21

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Highland Expects Physical Battle with Northmor

Click here to listen to an interview with coach Ty Stover

 

          Highland wins no less than a share of the Knox Morrow Athletic Conference title with a win at Northmor on Friday night.

          They currently are tied for first with Northmor and East Knox.  The Bulldogs play at Danville Friday night.

          This will be the last ever “KMAC” game for Highland.  The football program moves to the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference next year.  All the other sports already compete there.

          East Knox scored with 14 seconds remaining last Friday to beat Highland (27-20) and hand the Scots their first conference loss.

          Coach Ty Stover says they have to quit hurting themselves.  “We just have to start playing cleaner.  Last week, was probably our second consecutive game when I thought we didn’t play very clean.  So, we worked on that this week.  Of course, we have to shore up turnovers,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We turned the ball over three, four times, especially in the second half.  That is our own fault.  Those are things that we are all dedicated to cleaning up this week and hopefully we do.”

          Highland (6-2,5-1) is at Northmor (8-1,5-1) on Friday night.  The Golden Knights lost for the first time all year last week when Centerburg beat them (14-12), which helped create this logjam at the top of the conference standings.

          Stover says Northmor is very physical and they won’t be in a very good mood.  “They are 8-1 right now and they lost to Centerburg and I’m sure they are not happy about that situation.  Their size and physicality and all of that stuff is a concern for us.  We are just going to go up there and try and clean up some things and let the chips fall where they may.  Hopefully, our kids will play hard and get after it (Friday) night,” said Stover.

          Both teams want to be physical run first kinds of teams.  Stover believes this game is going to be won and lost up front.  “There is no doubt it is going to won right they in the box Friday night again.  We have done a great job tis year of just getting better and putting in a lot of effort.  We have got backs that are running hard.  We will see (Friday) night because like I said they are petty physical on both sides of the football.  Our defense really has a challenge ahead of it.  Our kids know that.  We will see who can gain those six inches at a time and see what happens,” he said.

 

Published 10/22/21

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Wooster Plays Athletic Ashland

Click here to listen to an interview with coach Austin Holter

 

          Wooster concludes the Ohio Cardinal Conference portion of their schedule at Ashland against the Arrows on Friday night.

          A win by the Generals could get them a division II playoff berth.

          They were throttled last week by Massillon (31-0) in a non-conference game.

          Coach Austin Holter says they played hard, but didn’t execute well enough.  “We started that game about a bad as you could start a football game.  You pile that on top of the fact that was were playing a very talented Massillon team and that happens.  They got out to an early lead.  We had a punt return for a touchdown on our first series there.  We had a kid actually make a heck of a play tracking it down.  He actually popped the ball out into the end zone.  It should have been a touchback, but none the less they executed very well on special teams.  Early, we had a couple of red zone turnovers.  I was really proud of our effort.  I thought our kids fought hard for four quarters.  Looking at the yardage, our defense played very well when they got us opportunities on the field.  Offensively, we just didn’t capitalize when we were in the red zone.  Obviously, you have to be very sound on special teams when you play a talented roster like Massillon,” said Holter.

          Wooster (4-5,2-2) visits Ashland (3-6,3-2) on Friday night.  Ashland fell to “OCC” leader West Holmes (28-7) last week.

          Holter says the Ashland offense and quarterback Landon McFrederick are very hard to contain.  “I thought Ashland took in a very challenging early schedule, which led them to lose a few games early, but they have been playing some really good football as of late.  This is a very athletic football team.  Their quarterback is a tremendous athlete.  He played some wide receiver for them a year ago.  Also played some quarterback as well.  Against us specifically he had about 80 yards receiving a year ago.  He has transitioned into a quarterback role for them last year as well and ended going 11 of 12 for 130 yards on us,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday morning, “This kid is a very special athlete.  He is someone we have to focus on defensively and try and contain in the pocket, contain the use of his legs and making plays with legs as well as his arm.  They have some explosive wide receivers that have great numbers this year.  They have done a great job of getting them the ball in space and they are a very fast team.  So, we have to do a great job defensively of being sound and rallying to the quarterback and tackling the ball carriers.”

          Holter says the Ashland’s defense is very good at taking away things that you want to do.  “For us offensively we have to be sound in our pass protection.  We have to try and develop the run game early.  They run a three man front and use a variety of different coverages to try and take away some of your best playmakers.  Their coaches do a terrific job in putting their players in a position to takeaway the team they are playing’s best schematics.  So, offensively we have to identify and adjust to that early.  Establish the run early to help us develop some of that downfield pass game as we get going into this contest,” said Holter.

          The Wooster coach says they definitely have something to play for.  “Obviously, this is a rivalry game.  We are going over to Ashland and last year we thought we let one slip by.  Our kids are very motivated by the fact that they get to play Ashland, a rival, on week 10.  It is our last regular season game for our seniors.  There is a lot of motivation there and pile on top of that the potential to make the playoffs.  Our kids are hungry, they love to play football.  They are continuing to get better every week and they want to continue to play.  It is a very motivated group right now.  They have been practicing their tails off,” he said.

 

Published 10/22/21

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Buckeye Faces “N10” Leader Carey

Click here to listen to an interview with coach Chad Jensen

 

          Buckeye Central wraps up play in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference by hosting “N10” leader Carey on Friday night.

          They are not eliminated from the playoffs due to the enormous number of points that would be awarded for an upset of the Blue Devils.

          They were competitive last week through the early part of the fourth quarter before falling to Mohawk (27-6) last Friday.

          Coach Chad Jensen says they gave themselves a chance.  “It was 13-6 in the fourth quarter and we were in the ballgame.  We just talked to our kids play better and we will be in it in the fourth quarter with a chance to win and we were.  It helped that we were playing a D-7 school.  That was the third time all year that we were playing a school our size.  Obviously, when we play D-7’s we are competitive at 2-1 on the year,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday night, “That was a big factor, but we did play better and the kids gave everything they had.  Mohawk plays is the same league we do and the same tough competition and they were able to get some stops on us late in the game.”

          Buckeye Central (2-7,0-6) entertains Carey (8-1,6-0) on Friday night.  The Blue Devils have won eight straight games, including a (37-14) win over Wynford last week.

          Jensen says they are physical and want to run the ball.  “They are really physical.  They are big, but they are also very athletic.  They do what they do very well.  On offense, they run the ball.  They line up in that stacked eye and run the football.  Then they will spread you out and throw a little bit.  Then they will get right back at it and run at you.  It doesn’t matter what down it is.  It could be third and 11 and they will line up in that stacked “I” and run it right at you.  Defensively, what shows up on film is they are really quick, really fast, really athletic.  They don’t play a ton of guys both ways, so they are fresh and you can see that throughout the game.  They really are just an outstanding team,” said Jensen.

          Jensen say nobody expects them to win.  He says the pressure on Carey, who wins an outright title with a win.  “We have told our kids we have nothing to lose.  We will say that again Friday pregame.  The pressure is on Carey because they are expected to win.  Our kids have practiced well all week and our kids are going to play hard.  They are going to give their best effort and we will see what happens.  Our kids are going to give everything they have got.  I expect a great effort from our kids,” he said.

 

Published 10/22/21

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Ground and Pound for Galion-Pleasant

Click here to listen to an interview with coach Matt Dick

 

          Galion is in position to claim a playoff spot in division IV.  Their biggest problem is they are playing a one win team in Marion Pleasant in Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference action and there are not many second level points available.

          They could be passed by schools like Huron, Edison, Oberlin Firelands or Bryan.

          They lost to one of the better small school teams in the state in Lima Central Catholic (35-7) last week.

          Coach Matt Dick says it was more of the same for them.  Solid defense, not enough offense.  “I love how our defense played.  We had a couple of special teams touchdowns that put them in bad spots, but our defense played pretty solid all night,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Offense, we still had some bright spots, but still trying to get it to click and get our of our own way.  It has still been a struggle.  Excited to see Pleasant this week.  Another week and a chance to grow.”

          Dick says his kids are ready to play and get their second straight conference win.  They had beaten Ontario (7-6) two weeks ago.  “1-8 verses a 4-5.  This is going to be a great matchup.  This is going to be a great game.  It is at their place.  It is hard to win up there.  They have a big senior class, so it’s going to be a great game on Friday night and our kids are excited for it,” said Dick.

          Although, Galion has had success throwing the football at times this year, Dick predicts a game with a lot of running plays called by both sides.  “It is going to be smash mouth.  It is going to be one of those good old slugfests,” he said.

 

Published 10/22/21

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Clear Fork Trying to Solve Shelby’s Puzzle

Click here to listen to an interview with coach Dave Carroll

 

          Clear Fork has the chance to share the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference title this year, but they have to win at Shelby on Friday night against a Whippet team that is just very explosive.

          After a loss to Marion Harding last week (23-21), the Colts fell a game behind Shelby in the standings.

          Coach Dave Carroll says they just didn’t do much of anything well last week.  “We made a lot of mistakes and we know that.  It is what it is and it is over an now it is Shelby.  That is just the way we have to look at it and that’s they way we are.  We tried to learn.  Some of the stuff that happened I’m not so sure there are lessons to be learned.  We didn’t play good and we should have scored a lot more points and we kind of let it get away from us at the end.  Hey, we have the “MOAC” championship game Friday night at Skiles Field,” he said.

          Clear Fork (6-3,4-1) is at Shelby (7-2,5-0) on Friday night.  The Whippets drilled River Valley (47-20) last week to take first place to themselves and clinch a share of the title.

          Carroll says the Whippet offense is amazing.  “Their offense is fantastic.  The coaches went out and did a great job of coming up with this system because it is definitely different from when they had Owen Fisher and Armstrong and those guys.  They know they have a really, really good quarterback and good receivers.  They have fit this thing to the kids that they have and they have some really special athletes.  It is fun to watch if you are a fan, but as a coach it is kind of nightmare because if you do this, they will do that, if you give them that, they will give you this.  It seems that they have an answer for everything.  If you want to cover this guy, they are going to go here.  If you go this zone, they will find the opening in it.  If you go man, they will pick it.  There are just all kinds of things that they do, it’s brilliant and they execute it really well,” said Carroll.

          Carroll says they have spent the week banging their heads together trying to find a way to defend the Whippets.  He says you can not stay in your base defense, that’s a death sentence.  “The good news for us is it is week 10.  So, we have all of these films of what people have tried to do.  You have the greatest hits of what has worked and what hasn’t worked.  We have tried to tweak that to fit what we do to get the best scenario that we can come up with to defend this,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday evening, “It is like Lucas in the opposite.  Lucas is going to jam it in and pound it and if you stay in your regular defense you are going to find yourself in trouble with Lucas.  If you stay in your regular defense with these guys you are going to find yourself in trouble.  I think that is why these guys are doing this stuff.  It makes you do something different that what you normally do.  It is like a chess match.  You are trying to figure out what you can do and can’t do and whatnot.  It also creates some nightmares because they are so good at what they do.  We feel that we have a good plan.  We just have to go out and execute it and do they best you can.  It is definitely unique.”

          Shelby has the reputation you could say of not being able to run the ball.  Carroll says that is not true.  “People says they don’t run the ball, but yeah they do.  If you give them a weak box.  You give them three, four guys in the box, they are going to run it.  They will get their five, 10 yards.  They are not looking to get 200 yards rushing in a game.  They are looking to move the sticks and then they will hit you big with a pass play when you start loading the box.  Their coaches are doing a tremendous job and their athletes are great.  We have our work cut out for us, but we are up to the challenge,” he said.

          Offenses have evolved a lot over the last decade.  Carroll says the Shelby offense is an outstanding example of a modern day offense.  “The brilliance of this whole scheme is it can be catch the snap and throw it or it can be catch the snap and I have the option to hand it off to this running back or the quarterback to run the ball or throw it.  The R.P.O., or run pass option.  The whole offense is based upon the look that is given to them by the defense.  It is not just the look pre-snap, but the look as the ball is snapped then they have options.  That is what is incredible about today’s world of football,” he told Swankonsports.com, “Back when I played, you have 22 guys in a box banging heads against each other and the tougher teams lots of times won.  You threw a couple of passes here and there and hope to God somebody caught it.  The evolution of high school football is why the scores are 50 to 30, it’s incredible.  There is just some innovation in the game.  It used to be that the defensive innovation made it harder on the offense, now the offensive innovation is making it hard on the defense.  To be a defensive coordinator in today’s of high school football you have to have nerves of steel.  It used to be your goal was to have a shutout.  Now it is a successful night if you can hold a team under 28 points.”

          Again, Carroll says they have drawn up a game plan to defend Shelby, but really they isn’t a lot of answers.  “It is cool to see what they are doing and it is fun the match up and try and negate it.  They have that option of run pass constantly.  It is a combination of the same exact play.  So, you have to be sharp.  The stuff we are planning for this week is I think coming together as the week goes on.  We are trying to give them a combination.  You can’t reinvent the wheel over and over again.  We are still trying to come up with something that perhaps they haven’t seen.  Give them a little different look.  There is only so much out there defensively left you can do against this stuff,” said Carroll.

 

Published 10/21/21

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Bellevue Plays Clyde for Outright Title

Click here to listen to an interview with coach Ed Nasonti

 

          Bellevue wraps up a second straight undisputed title in the Lake Division of the Sandusky Bay Conference with a win on Friday night, but it won’t be easy as they travel to Clyde to face the second place Fliers.

          A Clyde win produces a shared title.

          Coach Ed Nasonti says there is a lot of hard nosed football in this rivalry, but there isn’t any cheap stuff.  “We are playing an outstanding program that really hasn’t been far removed from winning the state championship a couple of years ago.  Coach (Ryan) Carter has done a great job over there.  They have a rich tradition like we think we do.  It has been a fun rivalry since we started it back up in 1994.  The fact that the game has gotten moved to week 10 has added to it.  I think the fans enjoy it, the coaches enjoy it, the players enjoy it.  It is a respectful rivalry,” said Nasonti.

          Bellevue (8-1,4-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, took Sandusky to the woodshed last week (52-7) and Clyde, #3 in our poll, thrashed Norwalk (41-14) in division games.  Clyde’s only loss in the division was a month ago when Perkins beat them (21-20) with the Fliers failing on a two-point attempt with 11 seconds left.

          Nasonti describes Clyde and solid and physical on both sides of the ball.  “When I watch them on tape, they are a typical Clyde football team.  They are physical on both sides of the ball.  They have good size up front.  Their offensive and defensive lines get off the football.  They are just blue collar, hard nosed, football players,” he said.

          Last week, Bellevue quarterback Deegan Horn was hobbled with an injury and replaced by Jax LaPata, who rushed for 184 yards and four scores.  Clyde’s leading rusher Michael Daniels didn’t play at all last week, but Clark Norman and Dillon Overmeyer both scored twice.

          Nasonti says to have a championship season you have to have kids like that step up.  “I think when you try and run a good program you have everybody involved.  The kids understand their roles.  A lot of times you have those guys in backup spots and they are just waiting for an opportunity and they have to ready when the opportunity comes.  Those are kids that were in the wings waiting for their chance and to step up and help their team.  We talk to our kids all of the time about being a great teammate.  Sometimes that means maybe you are doing a great job on a special team or maybe you are doing a great job on a scout team or maybe you are that backup and you have to come in and preform,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday night, “It might be in the middle of a drive.  So, those are the kinds of things that make the difference and can help you throughout the season.  The riggers of being in the Lake Division and playing a tough schedule.  I mean you go through the gauntlet.  So, you are going to need guys to step up at some point and time.”

 

Published 10/21/21

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Norwayne and Dalton in “WCAL” Title Game

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          Norwayne and Dalton clash on Friday night at Norwayne in the Wayne County Athletic League championship game.

          Both teams are unbeaten in league play.

          Norwayne (7-2,6-0) blew out Chippewa (47-10) last week and Dalton blasted (47-14) in league games.

          Norwayne coach Adam Indorf says these are the kinds of games you want to play in.  “When you start the season and you sit down and try and figure out some goals.  Obviously, you want to win at home, that’s always a goal of ours, but you always want to win the league has well.  This is just another step in doing so.  This happens to be taking place week 10.  It’s two undefeated teams battling it out in Creston.  You try and sit back and tell the kids to take it in, but also not to let everything overwhelm them.  Just do their thing and make sure they are taking care of business on Friday,” said Indorf.

          Norwayne won the battle (21-7) last year.  Dalton won (29-14) in 2019.  Both resulting in undisputed league titles.

          Dalton (7-2,5-0), they had a league game against Chippewa cancelled this year due to COVID.  Their only losses come to a pair of unbeaten teams in Garaway and Ridgewood.

          Indorf says they are blessed with a lot of weapons.  “They are solid all over.  Athletes on the perimeter, athletes in the backfield and a solid offensive line.  Just a plethora of weapons at their disposal.  Defensively, very similar, athletes in the secondary and solid guys up front.  Definitely a bevy of tools for them to utilize on both sides of the ball.  It’s a challenge for us,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday evening, “You would have to be under a rock to really not understand that this is looming ahead.  We are working through this week making sure we are making ourselves better.  Trying to be as fundamental as we can in our pursuit of the championship on Friday.”

          Indorf says they have keep Dalton from building offensive momentum and not be overcome by the moment.  “I think that is any team.  You have to come out and play fast and physical.  We always preach to our guys it is one play at a time and do your very best that play.  They for sure are going to make some plays.  We just have to make sure we are weathering storms and we are continuing to battle and eliminating mistakes and playing fundamental football for a duration of four quarters on Friday,” he said.

 

Published 10/21/21

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Conference Title Awaits Crestview

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          Crestview is in position to claim its first outright Firelands Conference football title since 2011.  Thy need a win at Mapleton on Friday night.

          They put themselves in position to claim that title by beating Norwalk St. Paul (28-7) in a battle of unbeatens last Saturday night.

          Coach Steve Haverdill says they know their job isn’t done.  “We told our kids that as soon as we got done Saturday night playing St. Paul.  We told them they have tonight to enjoy it and then our focus was on Mapleton and rightfully so.  They are getting better every week and they have got a lot of weapons.  So, we have to make sure we are still playing and getting better every week like we preached at the beginning of the year,” he said.

          Crestview (9-0,6-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, plays at Mapleton (3-5,2-3) on Friday night.  The Mounties have won their last two conference games, including a (34-20) at Monroeville last week.

          Haverdill says Mapleton does an excellent job running the football and they do it with multiple backs.  “They have guys that can run it.  They have the (Hunter) Sanders, they have (Jake) Lesco, (Kollin) Cline, (Beau) Galbraith, anyone of those guys can take it to the house.  So, we have to be very disciplined,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday afternoon, “They do a lot of things with misdirection to try and get your eyes to full you a little bit.  So, we have to concentrate on that.  Offensively, we just have to continue to do what we do and try and control the clock and keep their offense off the field.”

          Doing what they do is handing the ball off a lot to Conner Morse, the leading rusher in the Firelands Conference.

          There are a lot of wing-T principles in what Mapleton does in their run game and Haverdill says they have to be solid on their keys.  “If we take off with what we see as the flow and our defense goes that way and the guy is running back the other way, we have nobody over there.  So, we have to trust our teammates.  We have played together as a team all year and I don’t see any reason why we won’t Friday, but again we have to be disciplined, play together, trust your teammates to do their job and we have to go out and play four quarters,” said Haverdill.

 

Published 10/21/21

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Mansfield Senior Ready for Arch Rival Madison

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          Mansfield Senior is going to need a near miracle to share the Ohio Cardinal Conference title with West Holmes this year, but it all starts with them beating longtime rival Madison on Friday night.

          They trail West Holmes by a game and would need Mt. Vernon to upset the Knights, which is not likely.

          In fact, the Tygers took out Mt. Vernon (26-6) last week.

          They only allowed 35 total yards and assistant coach Sean Adams says they did a very good job on that side of the ball.  “We have great kids at Senior High.  They do everything we ask them to do.  It has just been fun year.  We are going to miss probably three seniors.  Myles (Bradley) graduates, Aveon (Grose) and Malachi Mays.  As we move on toward the postseason, we have a lot of guys coming back next year.  So, we are really proud of the defensive effort.  The offense continued to score some points,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday evening, “We didn’t capitalize on some plays that we should have and left some plays on the field.  That is really not a good sign for the fourth ranked team in division three, region 10 of the playoffs.  So, we have to shore up a few things this week against our crosstown rival Madison.”

          Quarterback Brock Hill and running back Ricky Mills both rushed for over 100 yards last week.

          Mansfield Senior (7-2,4-1) hosts Madison (0-7,0-4) on Friday night at Arlin Field.  The Rams were punished (43-0) by Lexington last Friday.

          Adams says with Madison everything starts with Isaac Brooks.  “Well, I think it all starts with Isaac (Brooks).  He is a great kid, he is a great running back, great receiver, great defender.  He is their guy.  They want to try and get him the ball as many ways as possible.  So, we have to keep an eye on where he is at.  I am sure they are going to want to slow the game down and just run the ball and keep the possession out of our hands.  We have to win first down defensively to try and force them into some situations they don’t want to be in,” said Adams.

          It was Brooks that produced a fourth quarter touchdown run last year in a (13-7) Madison upset win.

          Adams says they remember that loss.  “Anytime you get kids together things can happen.  We have had a really solid week of practice.  Let’s not be fooled, we are not going to fool ourselves or try to fool you or the people in our community.  Madison beat us last year.  If you don’t think that has been brought up this week, then you are sadly mistaken.  So, that is in the back of our heads.  Getting better this week as a team is something that we tried to do.  We are really, really looking forward to playing Madison here at Arlin Field on Friday night,” he said.

 

Published 10/21/21

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Win Means Title For East Knox

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          East Knox is a win away from earning a share of the Knox Morrow Athletic Conference football title.  They need a win on Friday at Danville, their arch rivals.

          They put themselves in that position with a come from behind (27-20) win over Highland last week.  They now share first place with Highland and Northmor, who play each other on Friday night.

          The Bulldogs scored with less than 20 seconds in the game to win last week.

          Coach Cody Reese says they made some big plays to get that win.  “We were able to get a couple turnovers there in thy second half and we were able to turn those into touchdowns.  After we scored to tie it up, they blocked our extra point to keep the game tied at 20 a piece.  Our defense did a great job and forced a punt with about 1:30 left in the game.  We were able to complete a pass and a deep pass down to about the five.  We were able to score with about 14 seconds left in the game.  It was definitely an exciting end to the game, especially being able to come out victorious, which we were fortunate to be able to do so,” said Reese.

          East Knox (7-2,4-1), they had a conference game cancelled with Cardington last moth due to a combination of illness and injury with the Pirates, plays at rival Danville (4-5,3-3), they beat Mt. Gilead (35-21) last week in a conference game.

          Reese says the Blue Devils have the personnel to challenge them, no question.  “They are definitely a hard nosed football team.  They play extremely hard.  Every year, year in and year out, this is a big game, throw the records out, it’s a backyard brawl.  It is going to be four quarters of smash mouth football.  We certainly expect nothing less than that.  They have a quarterback that is a good runner and good passer.  So, we have to make sure we slow him down and do what we can there.  Their offense they have a good running back and good receivers.  They definitely have multiple aspects that they can hit you on.  We have to make sure we are in position to make plays,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday night, “Defensively, they like to blitz from everywhere.  On play in one area and then they will shoot a guy they next play from somewhere else.  They like to do that to keep you off balance and they do a good job of that.  We just have to make sure we are executing like we need to.”

          It’s win and be rewarded for the Bulldogs and Reese says they look forward to these kinds of situations.  “We tell our players that situations like these are what we work to play for.  When you put yourselves in these positions you have to be excited about it.  Focus on what you did to get there and to execute.  If we make plays and play hard and play together at the end of the night, we will see what happens,” he said.

 

Published 10/21/21

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Wynford Plays Aggressive Mohawk

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          Wynford needs a win Friday night at Mohawk in Northern 10 Athletic Conference action to solidify a berth in the division V playoffs this season.

          Right now, they stand 14th in region 18.  The top 16 schools make it to the first round.

          Thy lost last week to “N10” leader Carey (37-14) in a conference game.

          Coach Gabe Helbert says they played some good football, but they also made some crucial mistakes.  “I thought we played hard.  I thought our kids came out and tried to execute.  We turned the ball over twice early, which doesn’t help.  They were the cause of that.  They hit our quarterback hard once and popped the ball out and another time we had a bad snap.  Those two early turnovers hurt, but again Carey is an excellent football team and we knew we would have to play perfect to have an opportunity for a win and we weren’t able to do that.  Credit goes to them they have a share of our league by beating us and that is certainly a big thing.  They are a good football team,” said Helbert.

          Wynford (4-5,3-3) plays at Mohawk (4-5,3-3) on Friday night.  The Warriors beat Buckeye Central (27-6) last week.

          Helbert says there are more things that are similar about the teams than just their record.  He adds Mohawk has an excellent player in Zaiden Fry, who leads the conference in receiving yards and is in the top 10 in rushing yards.  “I look at four teams in our league that are very similar with us, Mohawk, Seneca East and Upper Sandusky.  Those four teams have battled back and forth between who has beat who and stuff like that.  They are very similar to us in that regard,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday afternoon, “They have an excellent football player that does a great job in the pass game and a great job running the football as well.  They are very quick and aggressive defensively.  They get to the ball.  They are not overly big, which really means nothing because they are aggressive and attack the football.  So, our work will be cut out for us.  Our kids are going to have to execute at a high level and you have to every week in the “N10”.  For the most part you have to play your best football and that will be the same this week.”

          With Mohawk’s aggression, Helbert says there will be opportunities for big plays, but they must execute.  “There are some opportunities for us to execute and hit some explosive plays, but at the same point and time if we don’t they have the ability to get to the ball carrier or to the passer.  Those are drive killers when stuff like that happens.  So, our offensive line will have to play with their eyes up, their head up, and maintain contact because they do a nice job defeating blocks and stuff like that.  Again, our work will be cut out for us from an offensive standpoint and then defensively we have to do our best to contain #24 because he is such a huge part of their offensive game plan,” said Helbert.

 

Published 10/21/21

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Seneca East Travels to Colonel Crawford

Click here to listen to an interview with coach Ed Phillips

 

          Seneca East hits the road for Colonel Crawford and a game against the Eagles on Friday night in Northern 10 Athletic Conference action.

          This is a game that will have a significant affect on the final standings in division VI, region 22.  Right now, both are the edge of a home playoff game and a win would push them toward that result.

          Seneca East (6-3,4-2) hammered Upper Sandusky (40-7) in a conference game last week.  Quarterback Gavin Hargis ran for 222 yards and four TD’s.

          Coach Ed Phillips says they were sound in the running game.  “We ran it really well and did it in some different ways.  We changed things up and that went well.  When you run the football and you run it affectively it always gets back to your offensive line.  Those guys did a great job,” he said.

          Colonel Crawford (8-1,5-1), #5 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, also a game behind Carey in the “N10” standings, blanked Bucyrus (42-0) last week.

          Phillips says they want to run it too.  “You talk about running the ball, they certainly like to do that.  I think if they have a preference, they like to get in two tight ends and two backs.  They are good at running “iso” inside and the sweep and outside zone type play.  They don’t have a ton of plays, but what they do they do really well.  They have several guys that they get the ball to and all very effective running the football,” said Phillips.

          Lincoln Mollenkopf leads the “N10” with 1,916 yards and 29 touchdowns this year.

          Phillips says he is a heck of a back.  “He is really explosive.  He is a big play guy.  In saying that, he is also good the short yardage plays and gets the tough yards for them.  He certainly is a really good running back for them,” he said.

          Right now, Colonel Crawford is 9th and Seneca East 11th in the regional rankings.  The top eight play a first round home game.

          Phillips says this game is huge from that respect.  “We like to be home.  Our home fans and our home stadium and the atmosphere it does spoil us.  If we win this one, I think we do have a shot to be at home in the playoffs.  Regardless it is going to improve our seeding, which is important at this time year,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “So, a lot at stake for both teams and you wouldn’t want it any other way.  I think it is exciting for them and us.  It’s great for the league to have a game like this for week 10.”

 

Published 10/21/21

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Shelby Wants to Keep that Trophy

Click here to listen to an interview with coach Robert Mahaney

 

          Shelby with a win at home against Clear Fork on Friday night wins an outright Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference football title for the third year in a row.

          They set up that chance with a (47-20) whipping of River Valley last Friday as Marshall Shepherd threw seven touchdown passes.  He has 47 for the season.

          Coach Robert Mahaney says they did a very good job of responding to the loss to West Holmes and came ready to play and got a good start.  “We wanted to come back after what happened against West Holmes.  An opportunity to play another game and get that taste out of our mouths.  I thought the kids did a good job of going over there and starting fast.  We knew there was some weather coming in and we wanted to get a lead then be able to handle that adversity.  We did a good job of that.  We executed and came out 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.  Then the weather came and honestly, I thought we did a good job handling that.  Our kids came out in the second half and put the game away.  Against our JV defense they put up a late score, but I thought even when those guys came in, they played really hard and did what they needed to.  I think it was definitely a great night for the kids.  It was a good bounce back win that we needed.  We were able to get a share of the league title and now we go out and try and win it outright this week,” said Mahaney.

          Shelby (7-2,5-0) host Clear Fork (6-3,4-1) on Friday night.  The Colts had am 11 point lead with 4:00 to play last week, but lost to Marion Harding (23-21) and fall out of a share of first place.

          Mahaney is impressed with their play on both sides of the ball.  “I think Clear Fork is a really good football team.  I think Dave Carroll is a great football coach and you can see that.  They are always tough.  They are always physical.  They also execute very well.  They are extremely well disciplined.  Their defense is one of the best ones we have seen.  They like to keep everything in front.  They are really sure tacklers.  Their defensive line is really good.  They have a couple of defensive linemen that are really, really good.  They switch up some things and they do a good job of game planning and taking away what you like to do.  So, it’s going to be a big challenge for us offensively,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday night, “For us defensively, they always find new formations and new ways to attack the defense that they are playing, so we have to be ready for that.  They have really good football players.  Their offensive line is really solid.  Their quarterback does a great job he is really efficient.  He does a great job running their offense.  They have a lot of different guys they can get the ball to.  All five of their skilled players are all pretty good.  So, they do a good job of spreading it around.  So, we have to make sure we are covering all of those guys and covering the whole field on Friday night.”

          Clear Fork likely has one of the best defensive lines in the area and have been sound in stopping the run.  They have given up some pass yards, but Mahaney says do a very good job finding ways to limit the pass too.  “I think they do a really good job of adjusting.  They played River Valley and they kind of changed up their defense.  They played a lot of cover 2 man and against Harding last week they played a lot of cover 2 man.  It is hard to defend against those teams that pass.  I think they do a great job defensively of adjusting, so we have to be ready for those adjustments.  Again, I think they are well coached and they are sound.  They are not going to make a lot of mistakes.  We are going to have to earn it.  We have to protect the football, limit turnovers and try and make big plays when we can,” said Mahaney.

          The Shelby coach says having part of the title is nice, but they want it to themselves.  “We told our kids on Monday that we want to be greedy.  We want win the conference outright.  We won the last two outright.  We would love to make a third one outright.  I think our kids are preparing to do that.  We are excited to play at Skiles in the last regular season game week 10.  We feel that if we are able to get a win then we will host a playoff game in the first round, but we have to take care of business.  There is a lot to play for on Friday and I think our kids are excited for that opportunity,” he said.

 

Published 10/20/21

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Lucas Challenges Traditional Power Mogadore

Click here to listen to an interview with coach Scott Spitler

 

          Lucas plays at Mogadore on Friday night against the Wildcats, one of the most tradition small school powers in Ohio.

          They stand number two in division VII, region 25 and a win could boost them into the top spot.

          They blasted Fort Loramie (31-8) last week.

          Coach Scott Spitler says they did a fantastic job swallowing up the Redskins offense and when they had the ball they played with more confidence.  “I thought the defensive coaching staff had a great game plan versus a high powered offense and our kids went out and did a whale a job executing it.  I thought we played really good football on the offensive side.  I think getting Andrew Fanello back, although he is not 100 percent, he is pretty dangerous when he is on the field and he went out and had a whale of game and I thought that gave a little juice to our offense.  It got the confidence going with some other players and really opened things up for us where they couldn’t concentrate on senior Grant Barrett or our wide receiver Corbin Toms.  It just made us more deadly offensively and the kids went out and executed well,” he said.

          Lucas (7-1), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, is at Mogadore (7-2), a (29-12) winner over Rootstown last week.

          It has been 15 years since the schools have played, but Spitler says they still owe Wildcats something.  “I know our kids have the mindset they want to go out there and represent the Cubs from the past because Mogadore the last two times we have played them put us out of the playoffs in 2000 and 2006.  In the first round they got the Lucas Cubs an eliminated us from the playoffs.  So, our kids want a little historical revenge so to speak for the Cubs that come before them.  It’s a great challenge, but I think our kids are up to it,” he said.

          Spitler says Mogadore likes to be physical and come right at you running the ball and they have the personnel to do it.  “They are the type of program that you stive to be like.  They have had a tremendous amount of success and they are very well coached.  I’ll tell you what, they do what they do very well.  They are going to hit you will all kinds of formations offensively, but they make no bones about it.  They want to line up and test your medal at the line of scrimmage and run the football,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday evening, “They have a whale of a running back in Tyler Knight, he was also a state qualifier in wrestling, he is big and physical.  They have been doing a two quarterback system.  One is more of a passer and the other is more of a duel threat, a big physical kid as well at 6’0”, pounds, so they stress you there.  They have a 6’3” wide receiver that can take the top off the defense.  They can stretch you in every facet offensively.  Then defensively, they really get after the ball carrier and create a lot of chaos.  They are a very disciplined football team.  It’s a good challenge for our kids.  Win or lose it is going to make our program better.  At the end of the game Friday night, we are going to be a better program because of playing a team of this quality.”

          Spitler says both teams want to do the same thing and it is going to boil down to who does it better.  “It might be one of the fastest high school games around.  Because we want to run the football, we want to establish the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and they want to do the same.  They have got great size.  What they do offensively really stresses you with their multiple looks in their two tight end sets and the skilled kids that they have.  It is going to be a whale of a challenge.  These are the types of teams that we are trying to build our team to be and how we want to grow as a program.  You have to play these types of teams to get better.  Win or lose it is a growth mindset.  It is going to help us get better, especially heading into the postseason,” said Spitler.

 

Published 10/20/21

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Ashland and Wooster For Playoff Berth

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          Ashland entertains Wooster in Ohio Cardinal Conference action on Friday night and to the winner goes a place in the postseason playoffs, Ashland in division III or Wooster in division II.

          So, there is a lot of the line for these longtime rivals.

          Ashland lost (28-7) to “OCC” leader West Holmes last week.

          Coach Sean Seder says they made it a game.  “It was 7-7 in the third and 14-7 in the fourth quarter.  I thought we actually played a pretty good game.  What it came down to for us was turnovers.  Ironically, we out gained them, had more first downs, and better third down conversion, all of the metrics you look at, time of possession, you name it, but we had five turnovers,” he told Swankpnsports.com on Tuesday, “So, anytime you turn the ball over and give them a short field a good team like West Holmes is going to put points on the board and they eventually did there in the fourth quarter with two big scores.  There were a lot of good things to take away from it.  They are number two in our region and undefeated and a really good football team.”

          Ashland (3-6,3-2) is at home for Wooster (4-5,2-2) on Friday night.  The Generals allowed to punt returns for scores and lost (31-0) to Massillon in non-conference action last Friday.

          Seder says they are pretty good on both sides of the ball this year.  “I think they are a good football team as well.  They played West Holmes in a really tight game.  They have had two tough weeks with Mansfield Senior and then Massillon.  They are going to come ready to play Friday.  #2 McKee is a really good receiver.  I think their defense is pretty stout.  They have some big boys up front and their quarterback can sling it.  I think it would be a really good football game Friday.  Both teams, it’s win and their in the playoffs.  There is a lot of play for, so it should be a good football game,” said Seder.

          It is win or go home for both teams and Seder says that is a pretty good incentive to come out and play well.  “It is a nice carrot for us to be able to dangle as coaches.  We joked if this was one of those weeks when you have no chance to make the playoffs and no chance of a conference championship it is tough to get the moral up and your guys ready to go, but where we sit on our region and where they sit whichever team wins is going to be in the playoffs and whichever team doesn’t is going to be staying home, so if that is not an incentive to get out there and get after it I don’t know will be,” he said.

 

Published 10/20/21

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Outright Title Hangs in Balance For Carey

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          Carey already has a share of the Northern 10 Athletic Conference title this fall and they will win it outright with a win at Buckeye Central on Friday night.

          They would be considerable favorites to do so considering Buckeye has not won a conference game this season.

          Last week, the Blue Devils (8-1,6-0) beat Wynford (37-14) in a conference game.

          Coach Jonathan Mershman says it was a good performance by them.  “We played pretty solid.  We had some hiccups in the second quarter, but I thought overall we played pretty solid for the entire game,” he said.

          Mershman says they have done a good job this year of improving from week to week.  “There was a pretty good stretch in there where I thought we grew big time,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “Like I said, second quarter last week we had some hiccups and hopefully we will learn from those mistakes that we made and we can show that growth going into the playoffs this last week.”

          Buckeye Central (2-7,0-6) played well into the fourth quarter last week before losing (27-6) to Mohawk in an “N10” game.

          Mershman says anytime you play Buckeye the Bucks are going to play hard no matter what the situation.  “They are going to play hard.  They always do.  At times we are probably going to outmatch them in size, but overall they are going to be very, very competitive.  If we are not ready to play, we could be in for a long night,” said Mershman.

          The Carey coach says they are not in a sharing mood right now.  He says they want the title outright.  “I don’t like sharing this one.  We are all about helping other people and doing stuff as a program, but we are going to be selfish on this one.  We are going to try and get this one outright for ourselves,” he said.

 

Published 10/20/21

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Perkins Playing for Home Playoff Game

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          Sandusky Perkins is now locked out of a share of the Lake Division title in the Sandusky Bay Conference, but they do have a chance to secure a home date in the first round of the division IV playoffs and they can do that with a win at Sandusky on Friday night.

          Last week, they lost to Tiffin Columbian (52-24) to fall two games behind division leading Bellevue.

          Coach Jalen Santoro says made some mistakes that led to big plays for the Tornadoes.  “It is one of those games that kind of got away from you.  Tiffin has some very good athletes.  They are very explosive, especially on the offensive side of the ball. We were down a couple of guys in the secondary.  We knew going in that it was going to be a tough week being down a couple of guys.  I am not making excuses for it.  It is next man up,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday evening, “We did a good job with the guys we had in there.  We had some communication mistakes on the back half that resulted in some scores.  Offensively, we got clicking but it was a little too late.  Tough one and we have to rebound from that.”

          Perkins (6-3,2-2) visits Sandusky (3-6,1-3) on Friday night.  The Blue Streaks are coming off a (52-7) destruction at the hands of Bellevue last Friday.

          Santoro says this is a typical Sandusky team from the standpoint that they have athletes that populate the team.  “They have athletes all over the field.  They do a good job of getting the ball in space and you have to contain them.  They have guys that can take it deep, so we have to keep the ball between the tackles and do a good job tackling in space,” he said.

          Right now, Perkins is in the final spot that would allow them to a host a playoffs game and Santoro says to earn that they have to beat Sandusky.  “That is something to play for and obviously it is the crosstown rivalry with Sandusky, so there is plenty to play for this week.  Our kids are staying hungry and that is something we have to keep preaching to them.  You are playing for a home playoff game and that’s huge.  There is no guarantee if you win or you lose that you get one.  The best chance to be home for the playoffs is go out and win this one,” said Santoro.

 

Published 10/20/21

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Playoff Berth Possible for Fredericktown

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          After a win last week, the Fredericktown Freddies are in position to make the postseason playoffs in division VI.  They most likely need a win, but they could qualify with a loss.

          They host Centerburg in a Knox Morrow Athletic Conference game on Friday night.

          They scored with less than two minutes left and beat Cardington (20-14) in a conference game last Friday.

          Coach William Hartley says they found a way.  “We played good enough to win the ballgame.  It wasn’t a pretty game.  We had weather issues and the ball was real slick in the second half.  There were a lot of miscues and balls on the ground by both teams.  We were able to put a really nice drive together throughout the second part of the fourth quarter.  We scored the go ahead with a 1:30 left and we just hung on.  They advanced the ball inside our 15 and then our defense stiffened up and were able to make a couple of plays late and preserve the victory and come out of there with a win,” said Hartley.

          Hartley says it is great to have something to play for on week 10.  “We are taking it any way we can get it.  If we win, we are definitely in and if we don’t get a win with a little bit of help we can still be in the hunt for a playoff spot.  So, we are in pretty good shape as far as staying in the top 16 through the weekend,” he said.

          Fredericktown (4-5,2-4) entertains Centerburg (6-2,4-2) on Friday night.  Last week, the Trojans handed Northmor their first loss of the season (14-12) in a “KMAC” game.

          Hartley says they have speed on defense and on offense they do a lot of audibles at the line of scrimmage.  “The biggest thing that jumps off when you watch them on film is their team speed.  They have tremendous team speed.  Defensively, they are a really, really solid unit and they just fly to the ball and have some really nice inside linebackers.  They have some big space eaters up front, which allow them to play their linebackers off the ball, a little deeper than most teams we see do.  They are really quick kids, they really dissect plays and move to the football,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday afternoon, “Offensively, they present you with a lot of different formations and a lot of different motions.  They do do some check with me offense where the quarterback is going to check with the sideline and then make certain adjustments depending on what the defense is giving him.  They do a lot of the same stuff out of many different looks, so we have to focus on their fundamentals that they are doing in the passing and running game.  Also, we are going to have to try and disguise our defense, move around, and not just be stationary, so they can’t get a good read on us and advantage from those check plays that they have.”

 

Published 10/20/21

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Hillsdale Plays Biggest Rival

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          Hillsdale hopes to solidify its playoff position on Friday night as they visit Northwestern to face the Huskies in a Wayne County Athletic League.

          A (31-20) win at Waynedale put the Falcons in position to secure a place in the top 16 of division VI, region 21.

          Coach Trevor Cline says it was a huge win for them, maybe their best performance of the season.  “Last week was a big win for us.  It was out first true, quality win against a team that had multiple good wins.  So, it was a big night for us, especially to be able to go there and they had been playing well.  Just our history of success at Waynedale has not been very good.  So, it was great for our guys to go there and get a quality road win,” he said.

          Hillsdale (5-4,4-2) is at Northwestern (3-6,2-3) on Friday night.  The Huskies beat Smithville (13-7) last week and have won two of their last three games.

          Cline says this is always a big rivalry game.  “It is a rivalry game.  I would say it is our biggest rivalry game in our league.  So, anytime we play them it is always a really good game.  The majority of those games come right down to the very end.  I know two years ago in 2019 we ended up winning on a game winning drive against them at their place.  Then last year at their place it came down to our last drive and they stopped us.  Year in and year out it is always a battle no matter what both team’s records are,” he said.

          In a quirk in the schedule this is the third year in a row that Hillsdale is at Northwestern.

          Cline adds the key this week is really the same as it was last week and that is to make the quarterback feel uncomfortable.  “They return a lot of guys from last year.  I know their quarterback had a really good year last year as a sophomore.  He’s back, he’s a threat running and passing.  They return a lot of skilled position players too.  They do a nice job of getting those guys out in space.  Whenever they get their athletes out in space they can put a lot of teams in a bind,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday night, “We just have to make sure we are doing what we did last week against Peyton Lemon from Waynedale.  Don’t give him time to sit back there and pick apart our defense. We have to put pressure on him and force him into some throws he doesn’t want to make.”

 

Published 10/20/21

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Clyde Plays Bellevue for a Share

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          In one of the premier football games in North Central Ohio Friday night the Clyde Fliers host Bellevue in the Lake Division of the Sandusky Bay Conference with the division title on the line.

          Bellevue already has a share and Clyde gets a piece if they win Friday.

          Clyde put themselves in position by beating Norwalk (41-14) last week.

          Coach Ryan Carter says they got off to a good start and had good focus.  “I was pleased with how we came out and really had focus against Norwalk and established what we wanted to do early.  Defense got us off the field early and then we were able to get up 7-0.  I think that is key against a team that I think had played pretty well all year they just hadn’t had some breaks go there way.  So, you didn’t want them to have confidence and getting off to a good start was important the other night,” he said.

          Clyde (7-2,3-1), #3 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, hosts Bellevue (8-1,4-), #2 in our poll, on Friday night.  Bellevue pounded Sandusky (52-7) last week.  Jax Lapata replaced Deegan Horn at quarterback after Horn was hobbled with an injury and he ran for 184 yards and four scores.

          Carter says Bellevue is just good all over.  “They are a very, very good football team.  They are very well coached.  Coach (Ed) Nasonti does a great job with his program.  Their kids play the game the right way.  They are extremely disciplined and they play hard.  They have a ton of senior talent this year.  Their offensive and defensive line really make them go.  They are a run first offense as coach Nasonti has traditionally been over there.  They get pressure with their down four and drop everybody else in coverage,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday afternoon, “So, they make it very difficult on both sides of the ball.  We have our work cut out for us we know that.  They haven’t played a real close game since week one.  I know they played Shelby in a close game, but that was more of a shootout.  Since then, they have just been steamrolling teams.  We are playing meaningful football games late in the season and our kids are excited about that.”

          Bellevue has great skilled players, but to have success against them, Carter says you have to sort of get a deadlock up front.  “It is difficult to create a stalemate up front they are that good.  It doesn’t matter which one of their quarterbacks plays, they both run it, they both throw it, they have capable wide receivers, kids that go out and get it.  A bunch of kids at the defensive back position that are skilled athletic.  But, they really get it done up front.  Their running backs do a great job of blocking, their tight ends do a great job of blocking and their front five.  We have our work cut out for us getting stops, but our kids are looking forward to the challenge,” said Carter.

          Bellevue has won three of the last four meetings, Clyde winning in 2019 when they went on to win the division IV state title.

          Carter says this is an intense, but clean rivalry.  “It is a great rivalry and they play football the right way at Bellevue.  They do things soundly and their kids are hard nosed tough kids and we feel like we have some of those kids as well.  It will be a fun atmosphere on Friday night and we are going to put in a good week of work and try and get ourselves ready to go,” he said.

 

Published 10/19/21

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It’s All on the Line For Northmor

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          It might be the biggest football game at Northmor since the cold war or at least the last time the Browns were relevant as the Golden Knights host rival Highland Friday night in a game where the winner will do not less than share the conference title in the Knox Morrow Athletic Conference.

          After winning their first eight games, Northmor (8-1,5-1) lost (14-12) to Centerburg last week, but Highland lost (27-20) to East Knox, and now the Golden Knights, Scots and Bulldogs share the lead.

          Coach Scott Armrose says they felt pretty down after the loss, but they have turned the page.  “It hurt and I could see the pain in our kid’s eyes.  We knew it was a painful loss.  We talked Friday night and again Saturday morning about how much we have left to play for.  (Monday) I just saw how eager they were and how excited we are to have an opportunity to come back to play in a big game this week,” he said.

          Armrose says they know what’s on the table on Friday night.  “We still have a lot to play for.  We have an opportunity to win our first league title in over 30 years, almost 40 years at our school,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday evening, “We have a chance to set ourselves up for a good spot in week 11, so there is still a lot left to play for.  Of course, we are playing our rivals in the Highland Scots for the last time.”

          Northmor stands fourth in division VI, region 23.  Highland is already in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference is the rest of the sports.  Football will follow next year.

          Dane Nauman leads the “KMAC” in rushing yards this season and Armrose says they hope they can contain him.  “Their running back, the Nauman kid, is the best we have seen all season.  He is a phenomenal athlete.  He is a great runner.  He is one those kids where you can only hope to contain him.  Most of the time he is going to get his yards.  He is going to make his plays and we are going to have to make ours too,” said Armrose.

          Northmor’s defense has been their corner stone this season and Armrose says they have to get a lot of tacklers to the football.  “You have to get a lot of guys to the football and you have to get him wrapped up early because once he gets going he is gone.  That is something we have done really well this season is getting to the football and getting a lot of guys to the ball and tackling well and gang tackling and that is something you certainly have to do against Highland,” he said.

 

Published 10/19/21

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Physicality the Key for Crawford

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          Colonel Crawford plays host to Seneca East on Friday night in their final Northern 10 Athletic Conference game of the season.

          There is a lot at stake for the Eagles as they must have a win for a chance to share the “N10” title with Carey, they trail of the Blue Devils by a game, and perhaps host a first round playoff game in division VI.  Right now, they stand ninth and the top eight are home week one.

          Last week, they buried Bucyrus (42-0) in a conference game, but coach Ryan Teglovic says they certainly have some things to clean up.  “I feel like our kids have been pretty business like in the way they have handled things.  It was nice to get the win.  I said Friday night that there were some things that we just did not do well.  We have work on those things this week.  We will start here (Monday) getting guys in here and have an offensive practice.  Obviously, the pre-snap penalties and those kinds of things will be high on the list.  Fumbled snaps and that kind of thing.  It was one of those things where we continue to play good football and have a huge one coming up this Friday night,” said Teglovic.

          Colonel Crawford (8-1,5-1), #5 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, entertains Seneca East (6-3,4-2) on Friday night in North Robinson.  The Tigers are coming off a (40-7) win over Upper Sandusky last week.

          Teglovic says they have two very explosive backs in the backfield.  “At first glance probably the thing that stands out to me the most is they have two thousand yard backs right now.  We are not even through the regular season.  Their quarterback Gavin Hargis and their running back Jessie Beckman have over a thousand yards.  They are both high yards per carry, around eight yards per carry kind of guys.  So, they are two explosive athletes in the backfield at the same time and that puts a lot of stress on our defense.  We have to make sure we take away the big play,” he said.

          Hargis ran for 222 yards and four touchdowns last week against Upper.

          Of course, the Eagles have the top rusher in the conference in Lincoln Mollenkopf, who had 360 yards and three scores last week against Bucyrus.  He has over 1,900 yards and 29 TD’s on the year.

          Teglovic says they have to win the battle up front.  “We have to continue to play well up front.  Offensive and defensive lines are going to be critical.  We have to execute well on the offensive line.  We have to stand up to the physicality on our defensive line.  They are big,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday afternoon, “They are one of the bigger teams that we play, especially their center and their guards are particularly big at 250, 260, so good sized dudes.  We are going to have to make sure we can establish ourselves along the line of scrimmage to have an opportunity to win.”

 

Published 10/19/21

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Plymouth Must Control South Central Skill

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          Plymouth, after a bye week, returns to Firelands Conference action on Friday night as they host South Central.

          This game was moved to week 10 to be part of rivalry week for the conference.

          Plymouth would have played New London last week, but the Wildcats downgraded to eight man football.

          Coach Mark Genders says they tried like crazy to find someone to play.  “We tried to get a game all of the way up until the last minute and kind of made a decision by 9 AM Thursday we would make a choice.  We thought we had a team in Cincinnati ready to play.  We were going to play at Wapakoneta.  They set it up for us, Travis (Moyer) did, and he was nothing, but gracious.  Then the Cincinnati team called back and said there is another Cincinnati team that is really close that was willing to come to their place for senior night.  We went ahead and said, that is probably best for the kids,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday evening, “We practiced all week in preparation for South Central.  I’ll tell you want in all my years, in 30 years, I have never had a bye.  I’ll tell you as a head coach, I wanted the kids to have the experience.  He did all we could, but when we got to the weekend, we were nicked up a little bit.  Even for me and my staff we have never experienced such a grind.  So, being able to relax over the weekend was really rejuvenating and they kids felt the same way.  Just coming back (Monday) and going over scouting reports and things like that there is a fresh energy and we had a great practice.”

          Plymouth (4-4,1-4) hosts South Central (3-5,1-4) on Friday night.  The Trojans beat Western Reserve (15-14) last week to give themselves a chance to make the playoffs in division VII.  Plymouth might also need a win to secure a berth.

          Genders says South Central has played a lot of good football.  “In our conference, now that New London went to eight man, anybody can beat anybody, and you are seeing it. I said at the beginning this is as strong as the conference has been since I have been year, I think ’11 was about as close as it got, with the talent and the coaches and the whole nine yards.  South Central is no different.  They played a tough non-conference schedule with Cardinal Stritch, who has lost two games, and Northmor, who has lost one.  If they had played some softer teams they could be sitting at five or six wins.  They have been in every single game in the Firelands Conference.  We have all struggled a little bit with Crestview, they have really set themselves apart.  Other than that, they lost by a point to Monroeville, they just knocked off Western Reserve, they were right there with Mapleton tied up at halftime,” said Genders.

          Genders says South Central runs the R.P.O. offense, something they have not seen, and they run it very well.  “They have an experienced quarterback.  The Mitchell kid has been doing this for a bit and you can see it.  He is really matured as a quarterback.  I am really impressed with him.  Then you have a weapon like Music that does it all in three phases of the game.  An incredible punter, defense, offense, the whole nine yards.  So, they have a lot of skilled players over there.  They just create a whole different look then you are used to seeing.  We have seen the ground and pound, some spread stuff, but nothing like the R.P.O., that is the offense they run over there and they run it well,” he said.

 

Published 10/19/21

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Ontario Wants to Run it

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          Ontario finishes up play in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference with a visit to Marion Harding on Friday night.

          They earned their first win in the “MOAC” last week in beating Marion Pleasant (24-21) on Friday.

          Coach Chris Miller says the start of the game was key from them.  “We had a great start.  We jumped up 17-0 in the first quarter.  We had the ball on their side of the 50 for majority of the quarter.  It seemed like that quarter took forever just with a couple of turnovers and changes of possession.  The second quarter flew by and they punched one in.  They had a nice drive about midway through the quarter.  Went into halftime 17-7.  Chase Studer, a sophomore, got a pick six in the second half.  Pleasant just kind continued to scratch and claw,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “They had kind of a breakaway big play for a score and then they had a pick six.  It made it really interesting.  We punted the ball down inside the five with seconds left in the game.  They tried the throw it and pitch it around to try and get down the field and it made for a really exciting and nerve racking ending to that football game.  It was really good and I was happy for our kids and our coaches and everybody that put so much time in to get a pay off on Friday.”

          Miller says it would be great way to end the season with another win and carry some momentum, but Harding will be a different challenge.  “I hope that that is rewarding and encouraging for our program and our kids and we can kind of take that into this week.  Football is so much about matchups and there is a different matchup for us this week.  They do different things on offense and defense.  The last two weeks we have faced predominantly run teams.  They are going to be a very 50/50 and we have to a good job of defending the ball when it is in the air.  They are really athletic.  You have to be a good tackling team and hopefully take advantage of some things and continue to kind of punch it in the end zone,” he said.

          Ontario (3-6,1-4) visits Marion Harding (6-3,3-2) on Friday night.  The Presidents scored twice in the final four minutes to beat Clear Fork (23-21) last week.

          Miller says Harding is very athletic and they must do a solid job running the ball.  “They are athletic.  So, if they get the corner on you, it is scary.  They can pop one inside and they have some nice receivers, some tall receivers, that they can throw the ball up to.  We have to be sound in what we do and disciplined and make sure we are in our spots and make sure we tackle in the open field or at least hold guys up so the pursuit get there and finish the play.  Then offensively, continue to grind out on the ground and hopefully create some angles for some guys by doing some different things up front.  Chase Studer is maybe 70, 80 yards away from 1,000.  We haven’t had one of those since 2012 at Ontario.  We would really like not only for him, but for that offensive line to get a guy over that mark and hopefully it is on a winning fashion,” said Miller.

 

Published 10/19/21

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Madison Faces Rival Mansfield Senior

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          Madison tries to salvage its season by beating arch rival Mansfield Senior at Arlin Field in an Ohio Cardinal Conference game on Friday night.

          It has been a disappointing season for the Rams as they have failed to put up a win and had two weeks in the middle of the season canceled due to health concerns.

          They were hammered (43-0) by Lexington in an “OCC” game last week.

          Coach Dave Stupka says they just didn’t play well at all against the Minutemen.  “We did not play well really in any phases of the game and Lexington really did.  It was one of those games where we just did not get off to a good start.  We had an opportunity to change a little bit of the momentum of the game because we stopped Lexington and had a nice defensive stand, but then we had a couple of penalties that helped convert a fourth down for them.  It just kind of went south from there for us.  It’s a new week.  A city championship week.  Obviously, playing our big rival is a big game for both teams,” said Stupka.

          Madison did beat Mansfield Senior (13-7) last year for their only win of the season.  However, Stupka says that has little relevancy to Friday night and they are playing an outstanding team.  “We have proven we can do it that we can beat these guys, but it’s a different year. We look at in terms that we have to get ourselves prepared.  What happened last year is nice for the memory books for everybody, but we have to focus in on playing this squad, this year in 2021,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday afternoon, “They are a really good team.  I am especially impressed with them defensively where they are a very, very good team.  Really well coached from a defensive standpoint.  Their offense has really come around the last three, four weeks.  They have some young players that have gotten better throughout the year and they are formidable on offense as well.”

          Madison (0-7,0-4) plays at Mansfield Senior (7-2,4-1) on Friday night.  The Tygers downed Mt. Vernon (26-6) last week in game where they had two 100 yards rushers and allowed only 35 yards of total offense.

          Stupka says the Tyger defensive backs get a great jump on the ball.  “One of the things that stuck out to me in terms of preparing for them is I can’t remember a team that breaks on the ball as well as they do.  I talk all of the time about West Holmes and their pursuit to the ball, they are really good at that.  What really stuck out to me is teams that have tried to throw the ball on Mansfield Senior, because they are really stout against the run.  Fundamentally they are sound is terms of planting and getting to the ball.  They do just a great job with that.  The ball is in the air and they get breaks on the ball and get these interceptions and they turn it into offense,” said Stupka.

 

Published 10/19/21

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Columbian Plays Underrated Norwalk

 

          Tiffin Columbian, right now in possession of a home game in the first round of the division III playoffs, plays at Norwalk on Friday night in a Lake Division game in the Sandusky Bay Conference.

          They helped their cause last week when they smoked Sandusky Perkins (52-24) in a Lake Division game.

          Coach Judd Lutz says their executed well on both sides of the ball.  “We did a lot of things really well.  It was a tight game throughout.  We were lucky to get some short fields and some scores at the end as we kind of tried to kill the clock and punch some in and they were taking some risks.  We executed a high level in a lot of ways.  I thought we neutralized a really good running back, played some good defense, were pretty explosive on offense at times and found ways to get in the end zone.  So, we played some good football against a good team, which is what you want to do late in the year,” said Lutz.

          Quarterback Brayden Roggow threw six TD passes in the win last week.  He has 21 for the season.

          Lutz says they did some things on defense that they don’t normally do in order to contain Perkins running back Collin Nemitz, the leading rusher in the division.  “We threw a couple of different things at him.  Didn’t blitz a whole lot but had a lot of eyes on him and were really focused on our perimeter run fits and gaps.  I thought our guys did a great job all week of preparing for it and then executed at a really high level and had some good results,” he said.

          Columbian (5-4,2-2) plays at Norwalk (1-8,0-4) in the Lake Division on Friday night.  The Truckers gave up 34 points in the first half and lost (41-14) to Clyde last week.

          Lutz says they are not looking at Norwalk’s record, but rather the level of play they see on film.  “They are a good team.  The record doesn’t always speak to the talent a team has, the grit they may have.  That is definitely true with these guys.  Throw the record out the door because they are playing competitive football against every team they have played.  They can’t execute a couple of things down the stretch.  They had some really untimely turnovers, which are costly against good teams.  They have done some really good things against good teams,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, “Obviously, we hope they don’t find their stride too much and do something crazy against us, but we can’t bet on it.  We have to make sure we come ready to play with an edge and a great attitude and execute at a really high level because they are capable of being a very good football team.  We expect that with it being an “SBC” Lake game.  So, it’s going to take our best to get the job done.”

          Plus, Lutz says they need to build on what they did last week as they get ready for the playoffs.  “You want to trend in the right direction in what looks to a playoff berth for us and feeling good about things, but also continuing to sharpen things and get a little bit better and feel confident about some things you are doing heading into hopefully what will be a great stretch.  After this it is one game at a time, but we have a lot of work to do this week to prepare for Norwalk first,” he said.

 

Published 10/18/21

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South Central Needs Win Over Plymouth

 

          South Central, after an upset win over Western Reserve last week, with another win this week at Plymouth has a chance to make the division VII playoffs this fall.

          Carson Music returned an interception 105 yards on the last play of the first half and Brandon Mitchell hooked up with Kayden Hauler for a scoring pass with 6:25 to play to provide the winning points in the (15-14) win over Western last Friday in Firelands Conference action.

          It was their best overall performance of the season, according to head coach Corey Fickiesen.  “Stat wise you look at the numbers and offensively we didn’t put up great numbers, but when you talk about a total team performance and grit and some of those different things you associate with the sport of football it by far was our best performance.  The kids just continued the battle and continued to fight and we made a couple a plays when we needed to.  That is a great football team and it is a really well coached football team that we were able to beat.  We were really happy with our kid’s performance,” said Fickiesen.

          Fickiesen says it is great to have a reward if they are able to beat Plymouth on Friday.  “It is what everyone wants you are ending the season here on week 10.  You have a chance, you win and you are in.  The crazy part of it is it is possible for every team in the Firelands Conference this year to get into the playoffs, which tells you about our conference.  We understand it is a big week for that, but it is also a rivalry game for us against Plymouth.  They are a really good football team, so we are going to have to get ready this week because we have to go beat another really good football team,” he said.

          South Central (3-5,1-4) makes the short trek to Plymouth (4-4,1-4) on Friday night.  Plymouth didn’t play last week, it would have been their New London week.  Their last game was (43-8) loss to Firelands Conference leader Crestview.

          Fickiesen says the Big Red has an excellent running back in Shae Sparks, he has 1,038 yards, second in the conference.  He says to beat Plymouth you have to compete in the trenches.  “Well, anyone in the area knows the name Shae Sparks and it’s for a very good reason because the kid is a great player.  I know him really well.  He is a former South Central kid.  He is a phenomenal player, athletic and fast and does a lot of things.  A lot of the other guys they have go unnoticed that are also really good players.  They play really well up front.  They have a lot more misdirection this year than they had in the past.  A little more shotgun this year and let their quarterback runs around a little bit.  If you focus a little too much in on Shae as some people have started to do for the right reasons they can beat you with some other guys,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, “So, we are just going to need to be really disciplined.  We are going to have to play really physical and usually that is what is comes down to against Plymouth.  Can you win in the trenches?  Can you play physical?  Can you stop the run game?  So, those are all things that we are going to have to go through this week.  We have already kind of regrouped and we are focused because it is a big one for us.”

 

Published 10/18/21

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Crestview Stuffs St. Paul; Claims Share

 

          Crestview grabbed no less than a share of the title in the Firelands Conference by beating Norwalk St. Paul (28-7) in a battle of unbeatens on Saturday night at Scott Bailey Memorial Field.

          Conner Morse rushed for 195 yards on 36 carries for the Cougars, who beat St. Paul, who has won 21 conference titles in the last 30 years, for the first time since 2011.

          The Cougars (9-0,5-0) win an outright conference title with a win at Mapleton (3-5,2-3) next Friday.  It would be their first outright title in 10 years.  They shared it last year with St. Paul and Monroeville.

Crestview coach Steve Haverdill says they finally got that monkey off their backs.  “We have had that so called monkey since 2011 and even past that.  Now, with this new turf we proved a point.  We respect them very much, but we are not going to fear them anymore,” he told Swankpnsports.com after the game, “These kids keep putting the work in and the coaching staff keeps doing what they are doing.  We are going to put the game plans together.  We are going to have a dogfight with these guys.”

          After stuffing St. Paul on a fourth and one at the Flyer 37 with 10:08 to go in the first quarter, Crestview marched down the field and scored on a Morse one-yard run with 6:01 remaining in the opening quarter.  They added a second score when Morse plunged over from the one on the first play of the second quarter and they led (14-0) on a crisp night in northern Richland County.

          St. Paul drove inside the Crestview 10 the next time they had, but were turned away on fourth down on an interception by Cougar linebacker Brier Godsey.

          Getting the ball near midfield with less than a minute to play until halftime Crestview added another tally when junior quarterback Hayden Kuhn connected with Adison Reymer for a score with 16 seconds left in the half.  After a Cougar penalty on the extra point, the second try was missed, and it was (20-0) at the halftime break.

          St. Paul coach John Livengood says Crestview was the better team Saturday night, but he was very proud of the effort and intensity his kids played with all night.  “They are a good football team, but the thing I want to point out is I am proud of my kids.  They played their butts off, they didn’t quit, they didn’t give up.  They could have hung their head, but they didn’t do any of that.  We came out on the short end (Saturday) night, but it wasn’t because the kids didn’t play hard,” said Livengood.

          Going into the game it figured to be at battle at the point of attack and Haverdill says they won up front on both sides of the ball.  “That was huge.  That was the difference in the game.  Up front on offense, up front on defense, that is where they have owned us in the past.  We made a huge effort, not only in the off season, but throughout the year, to establish a dominate front.  That’s reason we are 9-0,” said Haverdill.

          Livengood says Crestview’s advantage in the trenches was the difference in the game.  “They controlled the line of scrimmage.  That’s the bottom line.  I said whoever controlled the line of scrimmage was going to win the game and they did that.  They are a great football team.  They are solid in every position, offensive line, defensive line, the running back, their quarterback does a nice job.  They are solid everywhere, they are a good football team,” he said.

          Morse had only one long gainer, a 51-yard sprint in the second quarter, but he a lot of the five to eight to 10 or 12-yard variety.

          Haverdill says he did what he always does.  “He is a champion all of the way.  The line stood up there from him and made those holes and he found them.  He was very good running the football (Saturday) night,” he said.

          Unable to move the ball early the third, St. Paul was forced to punt, but the ball was snapped over Tyler Perkins head and resulted in a safety.  After the Flyers kick, Crestview pounded it in again on a Morse 3-yard-run and lead became (28-0) Cougars with 6:11 to play in the third quarter.

          St. Paul (7-1,4-1) scored the only TD of the final quarter when Quincey Crabbs broke at least five tackles and carried a Crestview defender into the end zone on what was the most impressive individual play of the night in scoring on a 32-yard run.  St. Paul would get the ball back and drive again to Crestview one, but was turned away on fourth down with 5:50 to play as the Cougars made the play that pretty much put it away.

          Livengood says they made a lot of good plays, they just couldn’t string another together.  “That was kind of the story of the night offensively.  We did some good things in different areas, but we had break downs here and break downs there.  Give Crestview the credit.  Coach Haverdill is doing a great job over there and they have really good talent.  Their kids played hard and they deserved to win,” said Livengood.

          Crestview ran for more than 230 yards on the night as a team, but Kuhn also completed six of seven pass attempts for 77 yards and a score.

          Haverdill says he does a great job of doing what they ask him to do.  “That is what he does.  He leads this team.  He manages it very well.  Our receivers block very well in the run game and they can get open in the pass game,” he said

          Will Stieber had 106 yards on the ground and Crabbs added 67, but the Flyers were not able to consistently pick up first downs.

          Haverdill credits his defensive coordinator and the new defense he has installed this year.  “When Lexington let Tim (Scheid) go, I was on the phone with him immediately because I know what he can do.  I coached with him at Lex.  A lot of people want to say that 3-3 stack can’t stop the run.  Well, I beg to differ.  I knew what it could do and he has done a heck of a job with our defense.  These kids bought in and you can see what it has been doing for us,” said Haverdill.

 

Published 10/16/21

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Shelby Must Contain River Valley Quarterback

 

          Shelby, the co-leader in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, travels to River Valley for a conference game on Friday night.

          They share first with Clear Fork and will host the Colts next week.  Clear Fork plays at home against Marion Harding on Friday night.

          Last week, in non-conference play, Shelby turned it over five times and lost (51-14) to unbeaten West Holmes.

          Coach Robert Mahaney says they made a lot of mistakes last week, but they have learned from them.  “We turned the ball over a lot.  We made a lot of mistakes offensively.  Had some bad breaks defensively.  With that you are not going to be successful.  I thought our kids did a great job of using that film and trying to be better.  We are going to use that as fuel.  We are not going to look back anymore.  We are just going to keep moving forward from this point.  I thought our kids did that.  I think it helps that we are playing a really good River Valley team with a lot on the line as far as the “MOAC” and conference championship hopes and all over that kind of stuff.  I think we did a great job learning from last week.  I also thing we have done a great job putting it behind us and getting ready for this week,” he said.

          Shelby (6-2,4-0) is at River Valley (5-3,2-3) on Friday night.  The Vikings lost (56-40) to Marion Harding last week.

          Mahaney says River Valley can hang some points on the board and have an excellent quarterback.  “They are very talented.  I think Caydin Shidone is one of the best quarterbacks in our conference.  I think he is very good.  He can make all of the throws on the field.  He is good with the screen.  They have kind of built their offense around him and you can see why.  He is a tremendous football player.  I think Karson Lang at receiver is their all-time leading receiver and he is a really good football player.  They try and get him the ball in different ways and he makes you pay.  They also have a lot of other receivers that are doing a good job,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Like I said, Caydin is a special quarterback.  He does good things with his feet and he is able to keep his eyes downfield and make a lot of plays.  They are going to put us in some tough spots and it is going to be a challenge for us.  We like to throw the ball a lot, but we really haven’t played another team that throws the ball like them, so I think it will be a really good challenge for us.”

          Shelby’s Marshall Shepherd has thrown for 2,912 yards and 34 TD’s, both league bests.  Shidone is second in both categories with 2,431 yards and 20 scores.

          Shidone is also third in the conference in rushing yards with 554 yards and 11 TD’s.

          Mahaney says he gets those yards in a number of ways.  “They do a really good job of defining some different formations with some quarterback counters.  Then going in empty and letting him run.  Like I said, he has really good pocket presence, moves around on his feet and extends plays.  He will take off when he needs to and he also extends plays and makes throws.  They are going to try and scheme our defense and find ways to run the football with him and also when plays break down we have to make sure we can get to him and also stay in coverage.  He is a really good football player, so defensively we have to make sure we do our assignments to the best of our ability,” said Mahaney.

 

Published 10/15/21

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Northmor Plays Talented Centerburg

 

          Northmor, the co-leader in the Knox Morrow Athletic Conference, hosts Centerburg on Friday night in a conference game.

          They share the lead with Highland and play the Scots next week.  Highland plays East Knox Friday night.

          The Golden Knights (8-0,5-0) belted Mt. Gilead (49-16) last Friday.

          Coach Scott Armrose says they were able to get the upper hand early.  “It was a fast start again offensively and defensively.  We were able to get up early and keep momentum in our favor all night long,” he said.

          Northmor scored three touchdowns in the first quarter.  Quarterback Marcus Cortez accounted six scores on the night for the Golden Knights.

          Armrose says momentum really jumped on their back in the game.  “When you get yards in big chunks early on that helps tremendously.  They decided to take the ball and we forced a three and out and then we got yards in big chunks and we just kept that momentum going,” he said.

          Northmor had 419 total yards.  Mt. Gilead has 212 on the night.

          Centerburg (5-2,3-2) is the defending conference champion and they are on a three game winning streak after a (26-19) win over Danville last week.

          Armrose says the Trojans can do a lot of things.  “They are a solid football team on both sides of the ball.  They play sound defense.  They have a good mix of big, physical guys up front and good, athletic seed guys that play behind them.  Offensively, they have a big, strong offensive line.  They are very balanced.  They can run the ball and the can throw the ball,” said Armrose.

          A team, like Centerburg, that is so well balanced forces the defense to make choices, according to Armrose.  “There in a fine line with trying to get after the quarterback and be able to get some pass rush, but at the same time trying to control the line of scrimmage and stop the run,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “A team that is balanced like Centerburg and can do both very well puts you in a bind defensively.  You just have to play fundamental football and hopefully you can put them in definite passing situations and we can get after them.”

 

Published 10/15/21

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Colonel Crawford Needs Focus

 

          Colonel Crawford, a game back in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference race, plays host to the Bucyrus Redmen in a conference game on Friday night.

          They trail Carey by a game will need the Blue Devils to lose to either Wynford or Buckeye Central to have a chance at sharing the conference title.

          They smoked Buckeye (76-0) last week.

          Coach Ryan Teglovic says they were able to keep their focus despite the lopsided score.  “I told our kids afterwards I thought they were really business like in what they did.  Sometimes you will go out there and you will score a bunch of points and you will have a lopsided game and that kind of thing, but you come away feeling like you didn’t do things very well and we weren’t very focused and that kind of a thing.  We came out of that game feeling like we played well and continued to get better offensively and defensively,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday afternoon, “We didn’t turn the ball over.  Offensively, we had very few penalties.  Defensively, we only gave up eight yards rushing.  Our special teams were locked in.  We were ten for ten in extra points, just a variety of different things that pointed to the fact that we have a lot of points on the scoreboard here, but are we playing pretty solid football?  I thought our guys just did a good job staying business like.”

          Colonel Crawford (7-1,4-1), #5 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, is at home for Bucyrus (2-6,1-4) on Friday night.  The Redmen lost (27-0) to Mohawk last week.

          Teglovic says it has kind of been the best of times and the worst of times for the Redmen this year.  “They have been kind of different team at different times.  I think the Seneca East game is one that scares me the most.  That game is like 13-13 with three minutes left in the first half.  Seneca East puts one on late in the second quarter there right before halftime to go up by a touchdown and they go onto roll and win.  That shows the kind of things they can do when they put things together.  Against Wynford they played very well, hard, very tough, and Wynford scored about four or five touchdowns in a five minute stretch and just put the thing away and quickly.  Their quarterback is a nice player, especially for a young kid,” said Teglovic.

          On defense in specific, again, Bucyrus has shown flashes of what they can do.  “If you look at the Northmor game if you go back to non-league stuff.  They played very well defensively against Northmor.  The (Bryant) Phiefer kid is a good linebacker doing a very nice job there.  They have one of their guys in the back end that has 75 tackles and they are playing pretty well.  There is a guy up front that is in the league numbers as far as sacks and tackles for loss.  So, they have got some guys over there on defense that can cause you some problems.  It’s a game where we have to come out and execute well, especially in the first quarter.  It seems like our guys are locked in this week and hopefully they will do that,” he said.

 

Published 10/15/21

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Perkins Must Win to Have a Chance

 

          Sandusky Perkins, a game back in the Lake Division of the Sandusky Bay Conference, plays at Tiffin Columbian in a division game on Friday night.

          They trail Bellevue by a game in the standings and they must win to have a chance at earning a piece of the division title.

          Last week, tied 7-7 when lighting struck early in the third quarter, the Pirates exploded and beat Norwalk (35-7) in a division game.

          Coach Jalen Santoro says they were able to make some adjustments.  “The lightning delay, that was the first we have that this year.  We have been fortunate to have pretty good weather throughout the year this year.  We came out there and we started to move the ball there.  We traded possessions there.  We punted after three and outs.  The second time we got the ball we got to the 35 and that’s when the lightning struck,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday evening, “We went in the locker room.  We had to set there and wait a little bit.  We got back out there and made some slight adjustments and we went out and executed and we were able to do what we wanted running the football there in the second half.  We took control there and got Collin Nemitz going a little bit and we never looked back from that point.”

          Nemitz ran for 301 yards and four scores.  He leads the Lake Division with 1,530 yards rushing and 17 scores.

          Perkins (6-2,2-1) plays at Tiffin Columbian (4-4,1-2) on Friday night.  The Tornadoes lost (41-12) to division leading Bellevue last week.

          Santoro says they are athletic and they are good.  “They have athletes all over the field.  You name the position and they have athletes out there.  They are well coached.  They are fast.  They sling the ball around.  They present numerous amounts of challenges to prepare for.  4-4 doesn’t jump out at you, but they are a very good football team,” he said.

          Columbian leads the division total offense and passing offense and they feature two quarterbacks that play equally in Brayden Roggowand Logan Beaston.

          Santoro says they both are excellent signal callers.  “The thing with those two is it’s not like one is a heavy runner.  They are both very good at what they do.  They are both taller kids.  It presents a different challenge because they do some minuet things differently, but all and all they are somewhat similar players and they both do what they do very well.  They both throw the ball.  They both see the field really well.  They are very good with their timing.  They are both good quarterbacks.  There is not much difference that we have to prepare for.  They both present problems that your secondary has to be ready for,” said Santoro.

 

Published 10/15/21

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Western Reserve Faces Athletic South Central

 

          Western Reserve heads for Greenwich to play the South Central Trojans in a Firelands Conference game on Friday night.

          Right now, the Roughriders (6-2,3-2) stand eighth in division VI, region 22.  The top eight teams get a home playoff game and the result of this game could impact the seeding.

          They made some big plays late to edge Monroeville (21-20) last week in a conference game.

          Coach Ty Stevenson says they made some big plays when they had to in order to get the win.  “I have been really proud of them with the way they have battled and continued to play all year long.  We score to get to 19 and then we had to go for two and we got that two point conversion, which gave us 21 that forced their hand a little bit,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday morning, “They were able to score and they went for two for the win, which I thought was the absolute right call.  We were fortunate to get a hand on the pass and happy to come away with a “W” Friday night.”

          South Central (2-5,0-4) lost last week to Mapleton (34-20) in a conference game.

          They are one of the conference leaders in total offense this season and Stevenson says they are explosive.  “Well, I think their record is deceiving.  I think they have a lot of athletes.  Their quarterback has thrown for about a million yards this year.  All five of their skilled guys can break it anytime, a couple of guys that don’t even start for them.  They are very athletic on the edge and they have some big kids up front, so it will be a great challenge for us,” he said.

          It is a contrast in styles with Western a physical running team and South Central a wide open passing team.

          Stevenson says they have to control the big plays.  “There is no secret that we want to run the football and no secret that they want to throw it around.  We have to make sure that we can take care of some of those big plays that they are really good at getting it the Music kid and Adams and Hollar and Beverly and Blair and Grace, they have a bunch of athletes.  The quarterback will run the quarterback draw too.  So, they have a bunch of athletes over there that we have to keep in check and hope for the best,” said Stevenson.

 

Published 10/15/21

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Lexington Ready for Some Football

 

          Lexington plays its final Ohio Cardinal Conference game of the season Friday night as they travel to Madison to meet the rival Rams.

          They are coming off a heartbreaking loss (36-34) to Ashland in “OCC” action last week.  Ashland scored twice in the last two minutes recovering an onside kick that led to the winning score, which came on fourth down.

          Coach Taylor Gerhardt says it’s a game that causes you to go over and over things in your mind.  “When you come out and play and fight that hard and things collapse as quickly as they did it one of those things that you are always going to look back on and wonder what we could have done differently, what could have happened differently, but it just ended up to be a perfect storm for Ashland to recover and unfortunately it lost us the game,” he said.

          Gerhardt says the kids have been focused this week in practice.  He says there has been no feeling sorry for themselves.  “I really, really am so proud of our kid’s resiliency.  Saturday was a tough day.  You have a bunch of kids that giving everything they have and they didn’t come out with what I thought they deserved, but what I told them was the game of football and the game of life is never fair and you have to be able to get yourself up off the ground and dust your knees off and you just have to go back to work sometimes,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “That’s what we have done this week and these kids have responded.  They have great spirit.  They have great drive and character and I am proud to be their coach.  In short, we have had a good week of practice.”

          Lexington (2-6,1-4) plats at Madison (0-6,0-4) on Friday night.  The Rams lost (21-13) to Mt. Vernon in a conference game last week.

          Gerhardt says Madison has not given up on its season.  “When we exchange film with teams tapes come back of the season and they have certainly improved.  They are running a new scheme over there this year as well and that is a tough thing to do.  They have some good coaches over there.  They have kids that are fighting every single week.  You see that on film.  They are looking at this as their game and we are looking at this as our game.  I believe we are going to go into this contest and it is going to be a donnybrook,” said Gerhardt.

 

Published 10/15/21

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Norwalk Plays Balanced Clyde

 

          Norwalk looks to play spoiler as they as they travel to Clyde to face the Fliers in a Lake Division game in the Sandusky Bay Conference on Friday night.

          The Truckers lost (35-7) to Perkins in a division game last week.

          Coach Todd Fox says they competed, but they game got away from them late.  “We had a lightning delay there midway through the third quarter and it was tied up 7-7.  We made adjustments, they made adjustments.  Their back a couple plays in scored a big one on us and they stopped us and then they scored on another big one.  The score ended up being 35-7.  It was one those things where we had to try and make some quick scores up.  That’s what happens in good football games,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday night, “We were in a good football game late in the third quarter.  Not happy that we didn’t finish it.  A testimony to our guys with what has happened through the year to us it was not like they packed it up.  It was a good football game and they tacked on a late touchdown to make it a little worse.  Our guys have been fighting and that’s all we can ask.”

          Norwalk (1-7,0-3) plays at Clyde (6-2,2-1) on Friday night.  The Fliers beat Sandusky (33-14) last week.  They trail Bellevue by a game in the standings and play the Redmen next week.

          Fox says Clyde is balanced with a solid defense and offense and they spread the ball around a lot on offense.  “Each week we get to wake up on Saturday and let’s turn the next page.  We get to turn the page to Clyde and they are a very good football team.  Coach (Ryan) Carter always does a great job getting his team around.  We have had some great wars over there between us over the last three years and we except no different.  Offensively, they are very balanced and talented on both ends.  They lead the league in total defense.  We have our work cut out for us, but we are ready to go to war,” said Fox.

          It is not easy to identity what to try to concentrate on containing when facing Clyde, Fox says they just have to play fundamental defense.  “You go into games usually defensively and pick your poison, let’s stop this and make them beat us with this.  Here is a team that can legitimately beat you both ways.  So, we have to be ready to go and play sound, fundamental defensive football,” he said.

 

Published 10/15/21

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Buckeye With Manageable Opponent

 

          Buckeye Central plays at Mohawk on Friday night in a contest in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference.

          Last week, the Bucks lost (76-0) to Colonel Crawford, but unlike the week before, coach Chad Jensen says the effort was there.  “Crawford is a very good team.  We didn’t play very well the week before and we just challenged our kids to just do the best they could.  Don’t quit, do the best they can and they did.  At halftime we are getting beat 62-0 and I told them that I was proud of them because I was.  They gave everything they had.  We were under maned at every position, but we were in position to make plays.  They just have really good players.  They can rest kids and most of our kids are playing both ways.  They were fresh and it’s tough situation to be under manded like that, but I was proud of them.  The kids did the best they could,” said Jensen.

          The football field is a classroom too and Jensen says the players are learning things this fall.  “We talk about life lessons all of the time that football parallels life in a lot of ways.  We talked about when things get tough what are you going to do?  Are you just going to give up or our you going to keep fighting and keep battling.  The kids did that.  They kept battling and they kept fighting and they never gave up, they did the best that they could.  That’s all we can ask.  Our kids last week had a great week of practice and the best they could do in the game and that’s all we could ask from them,” he said.

          Buckeye Central (2-6,0-5) is a Mohawk (3-5,2-3) on Friday night.  The Warriors blanked Bucyrus (27-0) last week.

          Jensen believes this is a team they can compete with on the field.  “Everything on their offensive side runs through Zaiden Fry.  He is heck of a football player.  He is one of the better players in our league.  They are really quick on both sides of the ball.  They are athletic.  They are well coached.  They are not real big, but they are quick and they play really hard the whole game,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday evening, “What’s good about it is we don’t have these 280 pound kids to deal with like we have the last few weeks.  So, we have kids that are our size.  We will see what happens.  They are a good football team, but we told our kids that we are finally playing another division VII team, which we haven’t done for a while.  We will give our best effort and see what happens.”

 

Published 10/15/21

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Clear Fork has Red Hot Marion Harding

 

          Clear Fork shares the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference title with Shelby and they play the Whippets next week, but they must first take care of improving Marion Harding on Friday night.

          They were able to build a three score lead last week at Marion Pleasant, but they had to hang on and win (28-19) over the Spartans.

          Coach Dave Carroll says he was concerned going in due to the Spartans power run game.  “I was a little concerned going into that game.  I even put it on our scouting report on Monday.  Told our kids do not take these guys lightly that they are much better than what their record shows.  They have played a lot of good football teams.  They hadn’t played any teams that had won only one or two games on their schedule.  The team that had the least amount of wins on their schedule was Wynford and Wynford has some losses but it has been pretty good schools, Colonel Crawford and those guys.  So, these guys have some big backs that can pound it and we hadn’t seen that, not since the Tinora scrimmage, and we didn’t do a really good job against that at that point in time,” he said.

          Carroll says they lost their focus in the second half and they allowed Pleasant to get back in the game.  “We came out and the second play of the game we score and then we score a couple more.  It was one of those deals when it was almost too easy.  So, it is 21-0 and we had some other opportunities that was didn’t do a good job on in the first half that we could have scored on.  Some guys that were wide open that we didn’t connect with.  I think if we had a couple more of those the ballgame is over, but we didn’t.  We gave them a little life, they got excited, and them we had the lightning delay at halftime.  We tried to tell them the last time this happened to us last year we didn’t come out in the second half and play very well, so let’s try and keep our focus and intensity and we tried, but we came out in the second half and Pleasant was fired up and we were a little flat,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday evening, “We threw a pick six, let them return a kickoff almost for a touchdown that put them in scoring range.  We didn’t do a good job of maintaining that focus and the high level of play.  I told the kids we are finding ways to win and we are still undefeated in the “MOAC”, but let’s not let that happen again.  The problem is we don’t have any more 1-6 teams on our schedule, so we have to play ball now.”

          Clear Fork (6-2,4-0) plays host to Marion Harding (5-3,2-2) on Friday night.

          Harding scored five second half touchdowns in beating River Valley (56-40) last week.

          Carroll says the Presidents have experience and a lot of athleticism.  “I figured going into this season they would be one of the top teams in the “MOAC”.  The kids they have on the team have been starting the last two or three years.  You throw up the scouting report from last year and compare it to this year it is almost identical.  You have a bunch of offensive linemen back, quarterback back, well the tailback I think is a different kid, a bunch of the receivers are the same and the same thing on the defensive side of the ball.  So, you have got kids that have been through the battles and are now seniors for the most part.  Now, they have experienced success in the second part of the season.  They are a good football team.  They are very fast.  The quarterback has a cannon, plus he can run it.  He is very quick.  He has thrown for a ton of yards, I think he has 1,800 yards on the season.  They are a very good football team.  They have some size to go along with their speed,” said Carroll.

          On defense, Carroll says Harding will show them a lot of looks and has the athleticism to make plays on defense.  “They have a lot of the same kids in the secondary that are the athletes on offense that are running the football or catching the football.  They have good speed back there, so you are not going to just line up and toast these guys like we have some teams that we have played.  They are just too good of athletes.  They have some nice size up front.  Their linebackers are 190, 200 pounds and they are pretty physical guys.  They have a variety of kids that they play.  If you look at the whole season, they have played different linemen.  Some of them are quick and athletic, some are big, stronger types, it just depends on what you give them formation wise what they are going to throw in there at you.  They will give you different fronts.  They will be in a 4-4 type look if you give them a heavy set.  They will be in a 3-3, a 3-4, and get more secondary people to work against the pass.  They adapt to what they have face and they do a good job,” said Carroll.

 

Published 10/14/21

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Bellevue Plays For Share

 

          A win over Sandusky at home Friday night gives the Bellevue Redmen no less than a share of the title in the Lake Division of the Sandusky Bay Conference, the toughest football league in North Central Ohio.

          They put themselves in that position with a convincing (42-12) win over a good Tiffin Columbian squad last week.

          Coach Ed Nasonti says they were fundamental and they tackled very well against the athletic Tornadoes.  “We knew going into the game that Tiffin had some weapons.  They play the two quarterback system.  They have some outstanding guys on the perimeter.  Kids they had coming back from a final four team.  So, we knew going in that they had the potential to be a very dangerous team.  I am really proud of our kids.  I thought we were really solid on both sides of the ball.  We didn’t turn the ball over.  We contained their big play capability.  We tackled in space and we did all of the things that us are supposed to do against a good football team and we came out with a nice win.  When you look back on it, it was a really nice win and a gratifying win on the road,” he said.

          Bellevue has gotten off to some good starts this season, but Nasonti says they focus more on consistent play for four quarters.  “I know last week we started the game off with a nice kickoff return, we got it up to the 50 and the first play will popped 50 yards for a touchdown.  Now, we got called back, but we ended up scoring on the drive.  I think our kids are ready to go mentally and physically.  I think we as coaches work really hard to put together a good game plan.  I think our kids practice well during the week.  When you put all of those things together it adds up to a pretty good performance.  We don’t really think about what we have done in the first quarter.  We just take it one play at a time and one series at a time until we get to 48 minutes.  If you take care of all of the business at the end of the game, we are all going to be happy about it,” said Nasonti.

          Bellevue (7-1,3-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, plays host to Sandusky (3-5,1-2), who lost (33-14) to Clyde last week.

          Nasonti says they must contain the Blue Streaks big play capability.  “When you look at Sandusky, coach (Mike) Franklin has been there a number of years.  His son has been the starting quarterback for three years.  He is a very dangerous guy.  He throws a good ball.  He is dangerous when he gets outside of the pocket.  They have some nice running backs with good speed.  They have some big linemen on both sides of the ball.  They have the potential to be a scary team if you allow them.  When we are preparing for them and in our scouting report.  When we talk to the kids during practice.  We are talking about, let’s do a good job on defense, let’s tackle in space, let’s take good pursuit angles, let’s make them execute the going down the field,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday evening, “I think this may be like the third team in a row that we have played that have been big play teams.  When you play big play teams you have to make them play lefthanded.  You have to make them earn their way down the field.  In my experience in the 31 years being a head football coach it takes a good high school football team to execute down the field with nine, 10, 11 play drives, those kinds of things.  What happens a lot of times is they shoot themselves in the foot with an offsides, you might be able to get a sack on them, they might have another penalty, they might throw a pick, they might put the ball on the ground.  So, all of those kinds of things weight into that.”

 

Published 10/14/21

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Conference Lead at Stake for Ashland

 

          Ashland has a big opportunity this week as they host West Holmes in an Ohio Cardinal Conference game on Friday night.

          They trail the Knights by a game in the conference standings and a win puts them in a share of first.

          The Arrows (3-5,3-1) scored twice in the final two minutes last week to rally and beat Lexington (36-34) in an “OCC” game.

          Coach Sean Seder says their kids never gave up and made big plays in the end.  “For all intents and purposes, we probably shouldn’t have come back and won that game, two and half minutes down two scores.  Credit to our kids for not quitting and fighting.  That is something we talked about pregame was to give us everything they had for 48 minutes and they did.  We had some great plays offensively and then on special teams getting the on side, which is always tough to do and scoring with 20 seconds left to put the game away,” he said.

          West Holmes (8-0,4-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, demolished Shelby (51-14) in a non-conference game last week, forcing five turnovers in the process.

          Seder says they are just tremendously talented.  “They are a really solid football team this year.  Of course, with the addition of their running back Sam Williams-Dixon, the kid can play.  It is crazy to thing he is only a sophomore because he is going to be a special player for them.  He is back there at running back and they have him at corner and safety.  He is just a really good football player.  Their quarterback (Noah Clark) can sling it.  They have got a number of receivers that can make big plays on you,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Their secondary is really good.  They are able to get pressure with their front three.  Last week, they beat a really good Shelby team that only had one loss at that point.  They really took it to Shelby.  They are really good on defense and really good on offense.”

          West Holmes can strike quickly and Seder says they can’t allow that if they are going to win the game.  “They definitely have the big play ability.  That is a metric that we always focus on, the explosives.  We have to limit the explosives and make them drive the field for us to have a chance at an upset against them because of how good they are on both sides.  We need to limit their points and make it a low scoring affair.  They have the ability to make a big play on any given play.  That is kind of a challenge for our defense this week to really make them earn it and drive the field,” said Seder.

 

Published 10/14/21

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Carey Want to Create Chaos

 

          Carey clinches a share of the Northern 10 Athletic Conference title with a win at home against Wynford on Friday night.

          They lead Colonel Crawford by a game.

          Ironically, Wynford has won more “N10” football titles than any other school.

          Carey hammered a pretty good Seneca East team last week (49-0) in conference play, holding the Tigers to only 100 yards rushing.

          Coach Jonathan Mershman says they were outstanding on defense.  “I thought we played really well on the defensive end to hold them to zero points.  The gave us kind of scare in the third quarter, they drove down, but we had a nice goal line stand and then we drove it out of there.  I thought for the most part defensively we played really well,” said Mershman.

          Carey (7-1,5-0) hosts Wynford (4-4,3-2) on Friday night.  The Royals are coming off a (47-20) win at home over Upper Sandusky.

          Mershman says this is a team that is improving and cannot be taken lightly.  “They have a nice quarterback who is getting better and better every week.  We looked a little bit at their first film and saw his growth.  Last week, he had four throwing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown.  So, I think they are getting better and better.  So, I wouldn’t sleep on the Wynford Royals, that’s for sure,” he said.

          Wynford quarterback Cobey Allen is second in the conference in passing yards (1,455) and first Td’s (18) this year.

          Mershman says they have to make him feel uncomfortable in the pocket on Friday night.  “One of our mottos is let’s make feeling uncomfortable as comfortable as possible.  So, if that is what we try to do for ourselves,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Basically, we do the opposite for him.  Don’t make him feel comfortable being uncomfortable.  We are going to probably mix things up on him a little bit and try and make him feel uncomfortable.”

 

Published 10/14/21

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East Knox in a Must Win

 

          East Knox must beat Highland at their place to have any chance to share in the title of the Knox Morrow Athletic Conference this fall.

          They trail Highland and Northmor by a game with two conference games to play.

          They beat Fredericktown (49-8) last week to maintain their position.

          Coach Cody Reese says they got off to a good start and were able to build some momentum.  “We had a really good week of practice.  We knew Fredericktown was a good football team, well coached.  We wanted to jump on them early and get ahead from there.  We were able to do that.  We preformed at high level, executed, had a lot of fun, did a lot of things right.  We are just trying to build off that momentum going into this week with Highland,” he said.

          East Knox (6-2,3-1) hosts Highland (6-2,5-0) on Friday night.  The Scots beat Cardington (45-26) last week to maintain their share of first place in the conference.

          Reese says Highland is an outstanding running team.  “Obviously, they have a good back in Nauman, but that starts up front for them too.  Their offensive line gets after it.  They fire off the ball.  They are really tough up front.  They have a good backfield with (Dane) Nauman and another running back back there with him that is really good at carrying the ball,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday night, “The quarterback does a really nice job of carrying out fakes and throwing the ball down field.  Offensively, they are solid across the board.  Defensively, they just get after it.  They are pretty disciplined in the defensive backfield.  Their defensive line loves to cause disruption.  Overall, they are good team and there is a reason they have won five in a row.”

          Nauman has rushed for 1,707 yards and 18 touchdowns.

          Reese says against a run team you have to do control first down in order to put them behind the chains and force them to throw it.  “As an offensive play caller it definitely influences what you do on second and third down based on the limited success you have on first down.  If you can win those early downs and put the opposing team behind the chains that what you want to do.  You want to force running teams to pass.  If you can win the early downs, you set yourself up for success,” he said.

 

Published 10/14/21

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Hillsdale Must Get Pressure

 

          Hillsdale makes the trip to Apple Creek to play the Waynedale Golden Bears in a Wayne County Athletic League game on Friday night.

          The Falcons (4-4,3-2) pitched a shutout in beating Smithville (30-0) last week in league action.

          Coach Trevor Cline says the defense was outstanding.  “Our defense played especially well last week against Smithville.  We were able to get a shutout.  Whenever you can do that in football obviously that is a huge night and that’s what it was for us last Friday.  Offensively, we moved the ball well and did what we needed to do to get us a win.  I was extremely proud of our players last week,” he said.

          Waynedale (4-4,3-2) lost to league co-leader Norwayne (56-24) last week.

          Cline says the Bears have vast experience.  “Waynedale is a really good football team.  They have a lot of experience on their team.  They have guys that have multiple years of varsity experience.  So, we know that this game is going to be a really good game.  It is a big game for both teams.  Waynedale has a chance to get over .500 and the same thing for us.  This is basically the battle for third place in the league.  It’s a big weekend for both of us.  There are big playoff points too,” said Cline.

          Waynedale also has quarterback Peyton Lemon.  Cline says he is a duel threat kind of guy that makes big plays.  He says they have to get some pressure on him.  “He is phenomenal.  We have gone up against him the last few years.  He does a really nice job of running their offense.  It’s the same thing again this year.  It appears they run a lot of R.P.O.’s, at least from film it looks like they do that and he does a nice job of reading that,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday night, “He usually makes the correct reads and that puts your defense in a bind.  So, we have to make sure we do a nice job putting pressure on them, so he can’t just set back there and pick our defense apart.  If he has time, he throws a really nice football.  It will put our defense in trouble if let him have that time.”

 

Published 10/14/21

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South Central Has to Compete up Front

 

          South Central is at home for Western Reserve in a Firelands Conference game on Friday in a game very important to their fleeting postseason hopes.

          They have to win to have a chance to make the playoffs.

          Last week, they fell (34-20) to Mapleton in a conference game.

          Coach Corey Fickiesen says they were not up to the challenge on either side of the ball.  “It was 14-14 at the half and we felt we missed a couple of opportunities there in the first half offensively.  In the second half offensively, we just couldn’t put together drives like we should have.  We gave up a lot of 15, 12 play drives where they are running the ball.  We have them on fourth and eight and we jump offside, it’s fourth and three and we jump offside again.  It was a lot of the little things and that has been the story in a couple of our losses.  In four out of our five losses we felt like four or five little things here of there could completely change the outcome of the game,” he told Swankponsports.com on Wednesday afternoon, “But, you have to give some credit to Mapleton.  They have some good athletes.  Their offense is hard to defend.  They kept running the ball right at us and we just weren’t able to stop it enough in the second half where we really needed to to get the ball back and try to put together some drives.  We have to get some things cleaned up, especially with another team that likes to run the football.”

          South Central (2-5,0-4) hosts Western Reserve (6-2,3-2) on Friday night.  The Roughriders stopped a two point conversion late and beat Monroeville (21-20) in a conference game last week.

          Fickiesen says Western has a lot of talented skilled players and they are very good up front.  “Ty (Stevenson) has done a great job there.  They have been in contention for the conference championship the last couple of years.  A lot of that is because of their guys up front on both sides.  They are really good in the trenches and in order to win conference games, that’s what you have to be.  They do have a backup quarterback, but he is playing really well.  He throws the ball pretty well to keep you honest, but he also is big and powerful and runs the ball pretty well.  The (Logan) Wiegel kid is really shifty and fast.  (Jacob) Jerrett we think in one of the best receivers in the area.  He kind of gets unnoticed at times, but very athletic and makes difficult catches all of the time,” said Stevenson.

          Jude Muenz stared the season as the Roughriders quarterback, but got hurt in a week four loss to Crestview.  He has played the last two weeks in a limited role at receiver.  Fickiesen says he will impact the game.  “We expect (Jude) Muenz to be on the field.  The kid is a competitor.  We think one of the top players in the area just overall no matter where you put him.  He will obviously be a factor somewhere it doesn’t really matter.  They are as good as advertised.  So, we are going to have to play really well in all three phases of the game,” he said.

 

Published 10/14/21

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Fredericktown Needs to Get Healthy

 

          Fredericktown visits Cardington for a Knox Morrow Athletic Conference game on Friday night.

          It’s a chance for the Freddies (3-5,1-4) to improve their playoff position.  Right now, they rank 17th in division VI, region 23.  The top 16 make the postseason.

          They were blasted last week by East Knox (49-8) in a “KMAC” game.

          Coach William Hartley says they are going through some injury issues and last week their intensity wasn’t there.  “We have found ourselves the last couple of weeks in a bad injury situation.  We had a couple of kids that were home sick and then we had a couple of kids that were injured.  So, we were really short handed, which is very frustrating.  You go in those types of games and you feel like you have one shoe on.  You coach up the kids throughout the week and you hope those kids that are replacing your starters are able to step up.  We were just really deficient last week and it showed on the field.  We came out and were flat and the effort wasn’t there either and that was disappointing.  Overall, just not a very good outing for us,” said Hartley.

          Cardington (1-6,0-4) comes in after a (45-26) loss to conference co-leader Highland last week.

          Hartley says this is a team that believes in analytics of modern day football and will be very aggressive in their play calling.  “You have two teams that are kind of searching.  They have struggled a little bit here in the league.  They have been in a lot of close games and things just haven’t fallen their way.  I feel they have this game circled as one they feel they can compete and win.  Going over there it is always a hostile environment and I don’t think that will be any different on Friday.  They have a really nice quarterback.  He is a big strong kid that can hurt you in the running game and the passing game,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday afternoon, “They have played really solid defense pretty consistently throughout the year and they do some very unorthodox things on special teams.  They will go for it deep in their own side of the field.  They will go for it in punting situations.  They never kick the ball for a PAT, they always go for two.  About three out of four times they will onside kick the ball as well.  So, we really have to be heads up and we can’t allow them to use that as an advantage and hopefully we will be able to gain something in special teams in the area of the kicking game and be prepared for all of the things that they do that are unorthodox and unpredictable.”

          Fredericktown is getting a little healthier and Hartley hopes that helps in all aspects of the team.  “Like I said, the last couple of weeks we have had a lot of injuries and I don’t think it lands itself to consistency.  We are starting to get kids back and healthy and hopefully that will transition to a more consistent team on the field, both offensively and defensively and special teams as well.  We have had some breakdowns in special teams.  When you get kids hurt and you are moving kids around to fill positions on offense and defense and then you are shuffling kids around on special teams as well to fill on your special teams.  That is not a really good recipe to be successful.  Hopefully, getting some kids back and being healthy will bring more ability to all three units,” said Hartley.

 

Published 10/14/21

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St. Paul plays Crestview in Title Game

 

          Norwalk St. Paul travels to Crestview on Saturday night to meet the Cougars in the unofficial Firelands Conference title game.

          The two teams are unbeaten in the league and share first place coming into the game.

          St. Paul would have played New London last week, but the Wildcats aren’t playing 11-man football and the Flyers took the week off.

          Coach John Livengood says it was certainly different to have an off week.  “It definitely felt different.  As it turned out it ended up being alright.  We practiced last week throughout the week through Thursday.  We gave the kids Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off.  Friday night we were going out scouting, but it was weird to leave school and not be heading to football practice.  So, it was a little bit different, but we adjusted and it was good for our kids to get off their feet a little bit.  We have a few bumps and bruises that we are trying to heal up.  All and all we used it to our benefit,” he said.

          Norwalk St. Paul (7-0,4-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, plays at Crestview (8-0,4-0), #2 in our poll, on Saturday night.  The Cougars roughed up Plymouth (43-8) last Friday in their first game on their new turf field.

          Livengood says the Cougars are well disciplined and have a tremendous running back.  “Conner Morse, he is the best back in the Firelands Conference by far.  He has extremely quick feet, accelerates in the hole, great vision.  He is just as good as a defensive player.  He is playing behind that MIC linebacker on defense and he makes a lot of tackles for them.  He does a great job running to the football,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday afternoon, “Overall, what you look at it is a team with great discipline.  They do things very, very well and they play hard every down no matter who they are playing or when they are playing during the game.  They play hard every down and they play with discipline and they run a good system.  A really good football team top to bottom.”

          Livengood says they need to put Crestview in down and distance situations when they have to pass.  “When you are on offense, you always want to pass on your terms.  That’s our philosophy and I think they share that same type of philosophy.  We want to win on first down and even second down to put them in a position where they have to throw and that can work in our advantage.  Containing their run is going to be a big part of the game plan.  It is also very important to us to play great special teams and controlling that line of scrimmage is going to be very important this week,” said Livengood.

          St. Paul has won 21 Firelands Conference titles in Livengood’s 31 years at the school and he says they look forward to games like Saturday.  “That is what we tell the kids.  Every team in Ohio starts out the first day of practice talking a conference championship and that type of thing.  Fortunately, here we are week nine and we are playing a meaningful game like this for a conference championship.  That’s what you work for to put yourselves in good position and hopefully you come out successful,” he said.

 

Published 10/13/21

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Clyde Takes on Dangerous Norwalk

 

          Clyde, in second place a game behind Bellevue in the Lake Division of the Sandusky Bay Conference, plays host to the Norwalk Truckers in a division game on Friday night.

          They were one of the schools last week that had to come back Saturday afternoon and finish their game, which had been delayed the night before by lightning.

          They beat Sandusky (33-14) in a division game.

          Coach Ryan Carter feels they handled the situation very well.  “Honestly, that is my first experience with that.  I played a lot on Saturday when I was in college, but that was the first high school game that I have had to come back and play.  We have done that before at Clyde High School, but not when I was coaching.  It was really a different experience for us.  We tried to take as much information form Friday night as we possibly could as a staff.  Piece it together,” he told Swakonsports.com on Tuesday night, “We had our kids in early the next morning to really try and make as many adjustments as we could.  I really felt we went back and played well on Saturday.  We got off to a good start our first drive that we had the ball coming out after half.  We drove down and scored a touchdown.  It was just something that was different for our kids to play in the afternoon, but I thought they responded really well.”

          Clyde (6-2,2-1), #3 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, is at home for Norwalk (1-7,0-3) who was beaten by Perkins (35-7) last week.

          Carter says they expect a tough game against the Truckers.  “Their record is not indictive of how they have played.  They have played a very tough schedule.  They have played a lot of very good football teams very close.  So, we are not looking at it like it is a week where we can get healthy or anything like that.  We are looking at it like we are going to have to scratch and claw to get a win because coach Fox’s teams traditionally get better as the season goes.  You can tell from watching their kids play they have not quit playing.  Their coaching staff does a great job of keeping their kids motivated.  So, we have to play well and we know that going in,” said Carter.

          Norwalk’s offense has been hampered by turnovers and the like this season.  Carter says their defense has played a lot of very good offenses very well this year.  “We think that their defense is the highlight of their team.  They do a great job defensively.  Their kids really come off the ball.  They are always in the right spot.  They make you earn everything.  They have some capability offensively, but their defense really gets after you.  We have our hands full on both sides of the ball,” he said.

 

Published 10/13/21

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Wooster Plays Tradition Rich Massillon

 

          Wooster plays at Massillon against one of the most historic high school football programs in the state on Friday night in non-conference play.

          It was not a good second half of the Generals last week.  Trailing by only four at the break they were shutout in the second half and lost (44-16) to Mansfield Senior in Ohio Cardinal Conference action.

          Coach Austin Holter says they didn’t execute the way you need to do to beat good teams.  “Last week, I was really proud of our guy’s effort.  Late in the first quarter and into the second quarter we fought back and played so well.  We came out flat in the second half.  At the end of the day, we had some turnovers offensively, couldn’t convert on a big fourth down, and defensively gave up some big plays.  Playing a physical, fast team like Mansfield, you have to come out and play your best football and we didn’t do so and it resulted in us taking the loss here at home on senior day.  So, certainly a disappointing day for our seniors, for our program, and definitely didn’t play our best football.  We are back to work this week trying to continue to get better and trying to make sure we put a better product out there this Friday,” said Holter.

          Wooster (4-4) at Massillon (6-2) on Friday night.  The Tigers traveled to the Buffalo are to beat Canisius (23-13) last Friday. 

          Holter says they know what they are up against in playing a school like Massillon.  “This is one of the top teams in our region.  I believe they have won four consecutive regional championships.  This is a very good, very competitive, division II, football program.  So, a great opportunity for our football program to kind of bench mark where we are at and where we inspire to go.  We are playing against a very physical and tuff football team.  They run the ball extremely successfully,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “Defensively, I think their defensive line is very talented.  They get off the football, they use their hands well.  They have great athletes in space that can cover one on one.  They are going to be a tough task for us.  For us it is going to be a matter of focusing on ourselves and getting better and putting together our best brand of football.”

          Holter says one of the keys for them is mental.  He says they have to treat this like it is any other game.  “You watch the film sometimes and you just notice teams make unwarranted mistakes whether that is a botched snap, you watch one of the games we had on film and they snapped the ball through the end zone for a safety.  Odd things like that happen.  I think some of that comes from the Massillon name.  We keep talking to our kids, listen their players are the same age that we are and they do the exact same stuff during the day that we do.  We have to come out and play football.  We have to execute our game plan that our coaches are putting together and they are doing a great job of doing so.  It is another game that we have to come out and inspire to play and focus on playing our best football,” said Holter.

 

Published 10/13/21

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Ontario Must be Physical

 

          Ontario takes on Marion Pleasant at home at Copeland Field on Friday night in a Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference game.

          The Warriors (2-6,0-4) lost (7-6) to Galion in a conference game last week.

          Coach Chris Miller says it was frustrating because they were so close to being successful.  “It was heartbreaking.  I mean we had opportunities to win the football game.  I thought offensively we had a nice game on the ground.  We just couldn’t punch it in when it mattered in the first half.  We had the ball inside the five a couple of times.  An errant field goal attempt and we didn’t kick it the second time because we were a little nervous about the miss or the exchange on the first one.  Then it came back and got us on the extra point.  That was not the reason we lost the football game.  We had opportunities to score the ball in the end zone and couldn’t,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday night, “I thought defensively we played pretty well.  We gave up a couple of big plays in the second half.  One of those was a big run for a touchdown, but outside of that defensively we played pretty physical football.  It was just a tale of two cities.  Some weeks we play really well on that side of the ball, other weeks don’t.  Hopefully, we can put two weeks together defensively.  If we had the same kind of output offensively as we did last week, we would be happy with that.  It’s just punching the ball in the end zone when we get those opportunities.  It was a close football game.  We asked to be in the game in the fourth quarter and we were.  We just couldn’t come out on top.  Hopefully, we can change our luck this week.”

          Ontario hosts Pleasant (1-7,1-3) in a “MOAC” game on Friday night.  The Spartans lost (28-19) to Clear Fork, the conference co-leader, last week.

          Miller says this a team that is big and physical and like to run the football.  “I think they are a good football team.  They are big and physical.  They move the ball on the ground really well.  They have 1,500 yards on the ground for the year.  One of the better rushing teams in the league.  They don’t throw the ball a ton.  When they do, they have some efficiencies.  They set that up nicely.  If you look at their losses.  They non-league schedule was extremely tough with Wynford, North Union, Whitehall and Canfield, that’s a tough go.  They have played some of the better teams in the league so far.  They are a really good 1-7 football team,” said Miller.

          To have success on Friday night, Miller says they have to be just as physical as Pleasant.  “We have to match that physicality this week in the box because they have a nice, big tailback and they are just going to run it at us.  Defensively, they just kind of do what they do.  They line up in that odd front and take that same physical approach to the box and say we are here, try and move us and they do a pretty nice job of that is the box,” he said.

 

Published 10/13/21

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Seneca East Wants to get Back to Running it

 

          Seneca East heads for Upper Sandusky for a game against the Rams in Northern 10 Athletic Conference action.

          They need a win to have any chance to share the “N10” title and also secure a home game in the first round of the division VI playoffs.  Right now, the Tigers stand 11th in region 22.  The top eight get a first round home game.

          Last week, they were buried (49-0) by “N10” leader Carey who leads Colonel Crawford by one and Seneca East and Wynford by two games.

          Coach Ed Phillips says the Blue Devils are outstanding and they also didn’t help themselves.  “They are really good.  They are very experienced, very big and physical.  We played really well for the first quarter and a half and it was 7-0.  Then we turned the ball over a couple of times and it just kind of snowballed in the wrong direction there for us,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We did some good things against them, like I said, especially at the beginning.  They have some big backs.  We tackled really well to start off.  When we turned the ball over it really went south for us.  Onward and upward.”

          Seneca East (5-3,3-2) plays at Upper Sandusky (3-5,2-3) on Friday night.  Wynford beat the Rams (47-20) last week.

          Upper leads the “N10” in passing yards.  Phillips says they have a lot of options.  “They sling it around and they throw it down field a lot.  They have some good guys catching the ball.  They have some smaller, quicker guys, who are really good in the slot.  They have some size out at the split.  You have to put some pressure on the quarterback and be really good in your coverage because they are going to attack you,” said Phillips.

          Last week, the Tigers, a run first team, only rushed for 100 yards against Carey.  Phillips says they have to get back to what they are good at doing.  “We want to run the football and that is kind of our M.O. this year.  We run the ball pretty well and we have a variety of guys that can do it in different ways.  So, that is no secret that we want to come out and do that to control the line of scrimmage and keep their guys off the field,” he said.

 

Published 10/13/21

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First Down Crucial for Madison

 

          Madison entertains longtime rival Lexington in an Ohio Cardinal Conference game on Friday night.

          The Rams (0-6,0-3) improved their play last week, but still lost (21-13) to Mt. Vernon in an “OCC” game.

          Coach Dave Stupka says they made a comeback, but ran out of time.  “It was still a loss, but a much better performance.  We really had a period of time in the third quarter where we let Mt. Vernon take control of the game.  We gave them some opportunities and to their credit they took charge.  We played a nice fourth quarter, but we ran out of time. We got their lead to one score and just couldn’t get it done there in the end.  It was encouraging that we played better, everything was better, but still disappointing that we didn’t come away with a “W”,” he said.

          Lexington (2-6,1-4) lost a heartbreaker last week when Ashland scored twice on last two minutes to beat them (36-34) in “OCC” action.

          Stupka says the Minutemen have an outstanding running game.  “I’m not exactly sure what their record is, but they are a very good football team.  They have had some tough breaks.  They are really affective in terms of running the ball.  I’m impressed with their offensive line.  They have three running back that are pretty good.  The quarterback does a nice job in the play action pass game.  He throws the ball well and can move,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday afternoon, “That is definitely a concern of ours is their offense.  Defensively, they are always very sound and run to the ball and all of that kind of stuff.  So, it’s a rivalry game, both teams will be ready to play and we are looking forward to it.”

          Stupka says both Lexington and the Rams are run based teams and a key for their defense is to put the Minutemen in long down and distance situations.  “The two teams that will be paying here on Friday night, both of us use the tight end quite a bit, which is unusual in today’s football.  It is the first team that we have seen all year that uses a tight end considerably more than 50 percent of the time.  Most teams don’t even use a tight end anymore.  When we get into trouble is when we get in second and 12, second and 14.  That is what we have to try and do to them is get them into those long yardage situations to take them out of what they do best, which is running the ball,” said Stupka.

 

Published 10/13/21

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Fairless Can Win it

 

          Fairless can earn no less than a share of the title in the Principal’s Athletic Conference with a win at Wooster Triway on Friday night.

          They lead Triway and Akron Manchester by game going into this week.  They beat Manchester (41-40) in a shootout last week.

          They are unbeaten on the season (8-0,5-0) and coach A.J. Sarbaugh says they have had great leadership and the kids are comfortable in the system they are in.  “I think we have had really good senior leadership and we have a lot of experience back.  Last year, we had a winning record, which was only the third time since 2000 and a lot of those kids are back.  They have worked really hard this off season,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday afternoon, “It’s my fourth year, so we really haven’t changed a whole lot offensively or defensively, so I think our kids are comfortable and they play really fast in what they do and their really enjoy just playing together.  I think those things right there have been a huge part of our success this year.”

          Triway (5-1,4-1) beat Northwest (42-26) last week to remain a game back.

          Sarbaugh says they must contain Titans quarterback Zach Miller.  “They have a very good quarterback.  He is a three year starter, three sport athlete, definitely a leader of their team.  He can run or throw.  I think their kids really rally behind him and they go as he goes,” he said.

          Sarbaugh adds they must make Miller uncomfortable in the pocket.  “We want to pressure him, we want to drop a lot of people, we want to give him different looks, so he is uncomfortable in the pocket and he doesn’t know what coverage we are in.  So, there are a lot of different ways that you can do that, but we don’t want him to be comfortable where he knows where he wants to throw the ball,” he said.

          It is huge game for both teams, but Sarbaugh says they can’t approach this game any differently than they have all year.  “We have preached with our kids that we just want to get better every day.  We want our focus to remain on Fairless because regardless of who we play it is about us and our preparation, how hard we play, and the discipline that we play with.  If we take care of Fairless and play well on offense, defense and special teams, not a lot of penalties and don’t turn the ball over then we think we will put ourselves in a position to be successful,” said Sarbaugh.

 

Published 10/13/21

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Lucas Returns Against Fort Loramie

 

          Lucas gets back on the field this week after not playing on week eight of the season as they host Fort Loramie on Friday night at Bob Wine Field.

          Hilltop, a winless team, canceled their game with Lucas last week and the Cubs were unable to find a suitable opponent.

          Coach Scott Spitler says they could not find an opponent of their liking and felt considering the circumstances that it would be best to take the week off.  “It is not ideal.  I think that maybe there are some benefits that if you are banged up that maybe you can get some health back and get some legs back under you.  Getting out of the routine is not always a good thing.  We got to Wednesday evening and didn’t have any luck in finding anybody or being in a suitable situation.  We just felt with the late week and everything it just kind of forced our hand to make the decision to go ahead and take the bye rather than put our kids in a short prep at the end of the week if you could even find somebody.  There were several places that we contacted that weren’t interested in getting together, so it kind of forced our hand.  We just felt at the end of the time there on Wednesday that for the health and safety of our team that is what we had to do.  So, we started preparing for Fort Loramie and try and get our guys ready,” said Spitler.

          Fort Loramie, making the trip from Shelby County in southwest Ohio, is a school, according to Spitler, that faces many of the same scheduling challenges as do the Cubs.  “They are a quality program that is independent, so they are in a lot of the same situations that we are.  When you have success, it is not always easy to find games.  After week three most of schools are in their league schedule, so that makes it tougher.  They have been in a situation like us that they travel all over the state to get games and they are generally playing up and playing great competition.  So, it is kind of a victim of your own success type situation.  They have a very good football team, very good football program and they play a tough schedule just like we do,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday evening, “They have lost three games by a total of four points this season because of that type of schedule.  One week because of a cancelation they end up playing a D-2 school out of Indiana.  Last week, they played up and played division II Sidney in a late schedule because of a cancelation.  So, they have experienced a lot of the same things that we have experienced.  They have a great football team and they going to be a handful this week.”

          Lucas (6-1), #3 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, faces Fort Loramie (3-5), coming off a (24-14) over Sidney last week, on Friday night.

          Spitler says the Redskins have a very potent passing attack.  “Their size and athleticism.  They have a wide receiver that is about 6’4”.  I believe he broke all of their single season receiving record just last week, as far as single game, season, yards, catches.  They have a duel threat quarterback that just stresses you in the run game as well as throwing.  They have a big tight end.  This is probably the most dangerous passing attack that we have seen this season.  It is a matchup problem because of how tall and the length that they have at the wide receiver and tight end position.  They do a nice job of establishing the run game and not allowing you to just focus on their pass game.  They have size up front and they get after you defensively too,” he said.

 

Published 10/12/21

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Tygers Try to Keep Momentum

 

          Mansfield Senior, fresh off a big win over Wooster last week, plays at Mt. Vernon in an Ohio Cardinal Conference game on Friday night.

          Last week, the Tygers (6-2,3-1), #4 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, hammered Wooster (44-16), outscoring the Generals (24-0) in the second half.

          They need Ashland to beat West Holmes this week to move into a share of the conference lead.

          Assistant coach Sean Adams says they were outstanding in every way.  “It was a great effort by all of the coaches, the offensive guys, the defensive guys, and the kids executed the game plan flawlessly.  We went over there to take care of business and that is exactly what we did.  It was a hard hitting affair on both sides.  Their guys never quit.  I really like that #14, he is tough than nails that Wooster has.  It was a fun night, but we are looking forward to a chance to play Mt. Vernon,” he said.

          Mt. Vernon (2-6,1-3) edged Madison (21-13) last Friday in an “OCC” game.

          Adams says this is an old fashion kind of football team.  “It is always fun playing Mt. Vernon.  It reminds me of the old days.  They get in that wing-T and they pull both guards and they block down, block down, kick out, wrap around and it just kind of fun to watch them play football.  I really like #44 Jonny Askew.  He is a very talented young man.  The quarterback I think can throw well and he is able to run.  Defensively, they always put pressure on you with that front four and make you do things that you don’t want to do.  So, I don’t think their record is not really indictive of how good they are and they are always well coached and they are always very physical,” said Adams.

          Adams says they are going to have to know where Askew is at all times because he is a gamebreaker.  “Last week against Wooster they did a nice job of putting #2 in the backfield.  It is not necessarily to get him the ball every single time.  It just makes you think about something you are not supposed to think about and they use that little, I call it, eye candy to try and get you off your keys.  Mt. Vernon does the same thing,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday night, “They motion him, they put him in different positions, they send him deep, they put him at running back.  I really like him as a defensive player.  He comes right up there and he just knocks you silly.  He tackles good.  He is physical.  I just think he is a great kid.  He is going to have our attention there is no doubt.  We are going to have to play tough, disciplined football against a very tough, physical Mt. Vernon team.”

 

Published 10/12/21

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Columbian Meets Talented Perkins

 

          Tiffin Columbian, though not mathematically eliminated from the Lake Division race, is likely looking toward the division III playoffs, as they host Perkins in a Sandusky Bay Conference Lake Division game on Friday night.

          Right now, they are seventh in division III, region 10 and would host a playoff game if they can maintain or improve that spot.

          Last week, the Tornadoes (4-4,1-2) were blown out by division leading Bellevue (42-12) on Friday night.

          Coach Judd Lutz says they got handled in trenches.  “Loved the effort of our kids for the most part.  Just didn’t execute really well.  We were the nail, sadly, many times when we needed to be the hammer.  They were big and physical up front and imposed their will in a lot of ways.  We did not handle that well and need to moving forward.  The score got out of hand a little bit because we were trying to win the game,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday afternoon, “When we kick onside kicks or go for it on fourth down when you are backed up to give yourself a chance to maybe to cut the deficit and get into the game a little bit and it can get away from you really quick by giving them a short field and some easy touchdowns late.  They are a great team, taking nothing away from them whatsoever.  I did tell our kids put the score on me but take to heart the loss and we need to respond a little better going forward.”

          Lutz says they have to refocus and be ready to play a very good Perkins team.  “We have no time to wipe our tears and blow our noses because a really good Perkins team is coming to town with a tremendous running back and good offense and defense.  Coach (Jalen) Santoro is doing a good job in his short time there, so they ae going to be hungry.  They are 6-2 for a reason and really good.  So, we have to have a great week of preparation to get ready for them,” said Lutz.

          Perkins (6-2,2-1) belted Norwalk (35-7) last week.

          Collin Nemitz is the leading rusher in the Lake Division.  He ran for 301 yards and four TD’s last week against Norwalk and has 1,530 yards and 17 scores for the season.

          Lutz says he has sprinter’s speed.  “He can really move and really run.  He has shown the ability to break some tackles and make some moves on the second level to get free and obviously, not a lot of people are catching him from behind.  We have to contain him for sure in order to have success on defense.  We have to play really good,” he said.

 

Published 10/12/21

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Galion Still Fixing Itself

 

          The Galion Tigers host one of the best small school teams in the state this week as they play the Lima Central Catholic Thunderbirds in non-conference action.

          They broke a three game losing streak last week by beating Ontario (7-6) in a Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference game.  Gabe Ivy’s TD run was the Tigers only score.

          Coach Matt Dick says they are still shooting themselves in the foot on offense.  “We struggled a little bit offensively.  The defense battled.  Sometimes they let them drive a little bit. But we hung tough when it got close down at the goal line, which is kind of what our defense has done all year long.  We just couldn’t get it clicking on offense.  Bad snaps, holding penalties, missed assignments, just need to work on grading that side of the ball up.  There have been some bright spots, but it just hasn’t clicked quite yet,” he said.

          Dick says this season has been a process for the Tigers.  They keep showing glimpses of how good they can be, but they aren’t consistent.  “It seems like for some reason, we fix one thing and something else breaks.  It is frustrating as a coach and frustrating as a team and even the fans, I think, are frustrated, hopefully sooner of later they are going to see what it is like when it all works.  I think we can be something special on that side of the ball and it will really change the whole momentum of the game, but I need all five linemen to play well on the same night, I need the center-QB exchange to be good, and we need make sure we don’t have holding penalties that put us in second and 25.  If we can do that it would really be fun to see a defense stop us because it really hasn’t happened all year.  I think we have enough talent.  It is just execution and we are going to keep working on it, but Lima Central Catholic, they are a different animal,” said Dick.

          LCC (7-1) is coming off a (37-20) win over Licking Valley.

          Dick says they will spread the field with the very good athletes on offense and get a lot people in the box on defense.  “They are good on offense and defense.  They just have a lot of talent.  They are well coached.  Some of the stuff they do when they stretch you is a little like Clear Fork, but on the same note they have some athletes like Shelby.  It is a tall task for our defense this week for sure.  Defensively, I really like how they put a lot of pressure on the offense.  It feels like it is suffocating.  You see some big plays, but it kind of reminds me of the old 5-2 defenses Clear Fork used to play, where it is just all up in your grill.  If you can’t penetrate and get through that initial front wall it makes for a hard night.  Our kids are going to have to play well,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “At the same note, when you play a good team, you get to prove how good you are.  I think our team has been dying to prove how good we are.  For some reason we always seem to play at the level of the team we are playing.  So, hopefully, this week we are going to play at Lima Central Catholic’s level and we are going to have our best game of the year and find a way to win it in the fourth.”

 

Published 10/12/21

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Wynford Meets “N10” Leading Carey

 

          Wynford will be on the road on Friday night to tangle with the Carey Blue Devils, the leaders in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference.

          A win would give a tremendous boost to their playoff hopes in division V.  They currently stand 13th, the top 16 make it this year.

          The Royals (4-4,3-2) broke a two game losing streak with a (47-20) win over Upper Sandusky in conference action last week.

          Coach Gabe Helbert says they showed some resiliency.  “It was an important game in our season last week.  Their offense posed a lot of problems because they are dangerous and have good talent on that side of the ball.  I thought we played a relatively complete game.  I think our film showed that are kids executed pretty decent for the most part.  I was very proud of the resiliency to bounce back.  The week before we had a tough loss and maybe didn’t play our best football in that loss.  It was good to see the kids come out on their last home game and play with that enthusiasm, energy and effort,” said Helbert.

          Quarterback Cobey Allen has four TD passes against Upper.

          Carey (7-1,5-0) destroyed a pretty good Seneca East team (49-0) last week.

          Helbert says they are deep in the trenches and very athletic in the skilled positions.  “They are good in all phases of the game.  Every sing phase they are extremely impressive down to the kicker who can put it in the end zone on almost every kickoff.  That kind of tells you how deep and talented they are.  Their offensive line is extremely impressive, they are very physical.  They take a lot of pride in playing very physical.  Their defensive line, which is an entirely different group of kids, is also very physical.  They are able to platoon both sides of their front, which posses a problem in small school high school football,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday afternoon, “Their skill is very talented.  Their quarterback is a very impressive kid.  He was very good last year and again this year.  Skill wise, their backs are really good, they run hard.  They do a lot of good things, they gave a lot of good football players and they are well coached.  So, put those things together and it creates a tremendous challenge for of football program.”

          Carey ran for 400 yards last week against Seneca East.  Helbert says they have to slow down the Carey momentum by stuffing that run game.  “Especially with the style of football that they play.  They want to run the ball first and foremost.  They have a heavy tendency to run the ball, not that they can’t throw it, but they want to run and they have the people to do it.  So, you want to try and take them out of their rhythm a little bit in regard to that.  They do such a good job in controlling the line of scrimmage and being physical up front it is hard to control that run.  They come downhill on you with so much violence,” he said.

 

Published 10/12/21

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Norwayne with a Different Challenge Against Chippewa

 

          Norwayne, the co-leader in the Wayne County Athletic League, plays on the road at Chippewa on in a league game on Friday night.

          They outscored Waynedale (56-24) last week to maintain their share of first with Dalton, who they play next week.

          Coach Adam Indorf says they won up front.  “I thought we played really well offensively and controlled the line of scrimmage.  We racked up some yards and had two 150-yard rushers.  That’s a good night,” he said.

          Indorf says the Bobcat line takes it personal and they want to pave the way for their backs.  “Controlling the line of scrimmage they take pride in that.  They really want to do that.  It was a good night for our offensive line.  Defensive line much of the same.  They were getting pressure sometimes, but Waynedale has a solid quarterback and solid receiver and they were able to pass a little bit on us and rack up 24 points,” said Indorf.

          Norwayne (6-2,5-0) plays over at Chippewa (4-3,2-2) on Friday night.  The Chips beat Rittman (34-0) in league play last week.  Quarterback Christian Moyer had 230 yards rushing and two TD’s.

          Indorf says Chippewa has some good athletes and they go about things a little differently than a lot of teams.  “They are an athletic team.  They have a solid quarterback in Christian Moyer.  They do some things schematically that are a little abnormal.  They overload one side, they put two receivers on the ball out wide.  They will get in an unbalanced formation and things like that.  Those are things we just have to be aware of and picking that up and addressing that with everybody defensively,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday evening, “They have a 3-4 kind of look and that changes our blocking schematically a little bit.  We have to be solid all week in understanding where we need to be and how we are blocking those things.  Just communication this week and working on improving ourselves again.”

 

Published 10/12/21

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Highland Controlling Line of Scrimmage

 

          Highland, the co-leader in the Knox Morrow Athletic Conference, plays at East Knox in an important game for both on Friday night.

          The Bulldogs trail Highland and Northmor by a game in the conference standings and must have a win to have any chance at sharing the conference title.

          The Fighting Scots have put together a five game winning streak since entering conference play and coach Ty Stover says they have been focused and working hard during practice and games.  “The first reason is we have great kids.  The kids work hard every day.  It always helps when you can run the football and play defense and that seems to be what we are doing best right now,” he said.

          Sophomore running back Dane Nauman has 1,797 and 18 TD’s this season and they have been punishing defenses with the run game.

          Stover says sometimes they have actually scored too quickly.  “We have been lucky to have a wonderful sophomore back.  He has 1,800 yards right now.  It does help us take some time off the clock, but if you talk to our defensive coordinator, he is saying we are scoring too fast.  It is kind of a double edged sword when our offensive line is handling business in the box and we get one for 50 and then the defense has to come right back on the field.  So, things are good when those are our issues,” said Stover.

          Highland (6-2,5-0) beat Cardington (45-26) last week in a conference game.  East Knox (6-2,3-1) responded to a loss to Northmor (24-7) to hammer Fredericktown (49-8) on week eight.

          Stover says the Bulldog’s spread offense is difficult to stop and they have an outstanding defensive lineman too.  “They are senior heavy.  They have a wonderful quarterback in the (Peyton) Lester kid.  They have two receivers that really push you on the edge and then a back that is just strong.  So, their spread offense is going to be a challenge.  Then up front defensively, #72 for them really gets after it,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “So, our kids have a big challenge.  East Knox has had a wonderful program there the last several years under coach (Cody) Reese.  We are going to go up to Howard there and Friday night and see what we can do.”

 

Published 10/12/21

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Crestview Has to Sustain Blocks

 

          Crestview hosts Norwalk St. Paul in what amounts to the Firelands Conference championship game on Saturday night at Scott Bailey Memorial Field.

          Both are unbeaten on the season and these are the kind of games that football teams and football fans look forward to with eager anticipation.

          The Cougars and the Flyers are both high in their computer region as well.  Crestview is second in division VI, region 22 and St. Paul is first in division VII, region 25.  The winner Saturday night will in all likelihood stand first in their region.  Although, Crestview’s path to number one is less certain as first place Archbold plays Wauseon (6-2), who is division IV.

          In the first game on turf on their field last Friday, the Cougars dispatched of Plymouth (43-8) in a conference game.

          Coach Steve Haverdill says they played well.  “It was great to open that up and get a win against one of our rivals.  The kids played well in all three phases of the game.  It was nice to get a running clock for that first game on turf as well,” he said.

          Crestview (8-0,4-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, is at home for Norwalk St. Paul (7-0,4-0), #1 in our poll.  Crestview has not beaten St. Paul since 2011.

          Haverdill says the Flyers are consistent in what they do and they have been doing it for a longtime.  “They do what they do.  They are very good up front on both sides of the ball.  They are very physical, they tackle well, they are very disciplined, very well coached, and they have been that way for 30 some years.  That is why they have kind of dominated our conference.  We have our hands full.  We have to play an A-plus game to beat these guys,” said Haverdill.

          The Flyers have won 21 Firelands Conference titles in coach John Livengood’s 31 years on the job.

          St. Paul sprints to the line of scrimmage and they don’t waste any time calling the play.  Haverdill says communication on defense is key.  “They get out of that huddle and get right up to that line of scrimmage.  So, you have to be quick knowing what you are seeing in front of you.  It is very important that we are communicating on the defensive side because they do come up so quickly.  We have to make sure we are seeing is what we are seeing and then be able to react to that,” he said.

          Crestview has been very successful running the ball this fall led by Conner Morse, a 1,000-yard back.  Haverdill says they have to sustain blocks in order to get Morse some room to run.  “We have to make sure know what we are doing up front, staying on our blocks, sustaining those blocks.  They do a very good job of two gapping and getting off blocks,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, “We know that, but we have make sure we stay on those a create those holes for Conner (Morse) so he can get through those holes.  We know those big plays are not going to be there as much as they are maybe in other games.  We have to be patient and not turn the ball over and not have penalties to put us behind the chains.”

          St. Paul also has an outstanding kicker/punter in Tyler Perkins, who averages almost 45 yards per punt.  Haverdill says Perkins can put them in the hole.  “It’s that third phase of the game where you can put yourself in the lead or help you in a game situation.  They have a great punter that is going to Iowa State.  We have to be able to move the ball because field position is going to be pretty tough with the way that kid punts.  If we are able to force those guys to punt.  He has a good leg so can kick deep field goals if need be.  We have to be able to match them on the special teams end as well,” said Haverdill.

 

Published 10/11/21

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Ontario Wants to be Competitive

 

          Ontario has not been competitive in their three “MOAC” losses this year and they hope to change that trend when they host the Galion Tigers in a Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference game on Friday night at Copeland Field at Ontario High School.

          They were pounded (45-7) by Clear Fork in a conference game last week.

          Coach Chris Miller says they have trouble moving it and trouble stopping the Colts from moving it, not a good combination.  “We lost big.  Struggled moving the football a little bit.  Their defensive line is one of more solid lines that is just playing there and doing their job and hitting and squeezing.  They have guys flying to the football and that makes it difficult for us to move it.  Defensively, we just had no answer.  We couldn’t slow that ground game down.  I think it was maybe (28-0) at halftime, maybe it was worse than that.  We couldn’t recover.  Gave the opening kickoff for a touchdown and then the flood gates opened from there.  Just trying to get better,” he said.

          Ontario (2-5,0-3) is at home for Galion (3-4,1-3) on Friday night.  Shelby, who shares the conference lead with Clear Fork, beat the Tigers (37-7) last week.

          Miller says they have to their best to contain Hanif Donaldson, the “MOAC’s” leading rusher (955 yards) on Friday night.  “I think they are a good football team.  Up front they are huge.  Their two guards are just enormous human beings.  They do a nice job utilizing those guys in their zone schemes and so forth.  Hanif when he gets going, if he has a day, they are going to put up yardage, hey are going to score points.  He is a very dynamic player.  He is one of the best athletes in this area right now.  They just create different ways to get him the football,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday evening, “They have other guys that can contribute.  It’s not like it is just a one man show.  We definitely have to be aware of where he is on the field and locate him as an individual and make them beat us with their left hand.”

          Miller says they want the game to be in question until the end of it.  “At this point we are after a competitive football game.  Let’s be in a competitive football game, let’s fight for four quarters, let’s believe in ourselves, let’s believe we can do this and go out there and do our job.  Unfortunately, what happens when you get hit with adversities, when things are tough, it is easy to kind of do your own thing.  If we can just do our job for four quarters, do what we are coached to do and play hard, let’s be in a football game Friday night at home,” he said.

 

Published 10/08/21

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Perkins Can’t Have Turnovers

 

          Sandusky Perkins, a game back in the tough Lake Division of the Sandusky Bay Conference, plays host to Norwalk in a division game on Friday night.

          They lost to first place Bellevue (26-0) last week.

          Coach Jalen Santoro says they have too many turnovers to compete with a good team.  “Anytime you turn the ball over five times in a game it is tough to win.  Their defense did a good job tackling last week, they tackled well in space.  We just made a lot of mental mistakes that are pretty hard to overcome in a game like that when you are playing a good team.  It was a situation when a lot of guys were playing in a big game, playing in a big moment, for the first time.  I just think it was something new for them.  Like I said, they did a good job tackling in space.  The did a good job running the ball.  It comes down to it in a big game like that you can’t afford to have turnovers, let alone five,” said Santoro.

          Santoro feels they did a good job this week in refocusing and getting ready to play.  “I think the Monday practice that we had was one of the better Mondays that we have had.  We just got done with our Thursday practice and that was a very good one as well.  Guys just getting back in the groove of things and getting back to what you do well.  Getting the guys mentally prepared to go out and forget about last week, that is over and done with, there is nothing we can do about it, all we can do is take care of business and move forward,” he said.

          Perkins (5-2,1-1) plays at home against Norwalk (1-6,0-2) on Friday night.  The Truckers fell (26-13) last week.

          Santoro says the Pirates have they have to contain Norwalk quarterback Plane Flores and reiterates they can’t have turnovers.  “They are a really good team.  Their record does not speak for how well they have played and how well they are coached.  They do a lot of really good things.  They have an athlete at quarterback.  He gets out of the pocket and moves around a little bit, so it forces you stay home and be responsible for the quarterback.  They tackle well in space too.  It is not going to be a situation where you allow home run plays left and right have to make sure they earn it down the field,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday. “When the defense executes you can force a turnover.  For us, that is one thing we can’t do no matter who we play it is going to be lose the turnover battle.  We have been fortunate to win some games when we have turned it over.  Moving forward with the rest of the Lake schedule and in the playoffs, we have to make sure we are limiting those turnovers.”

 

Published 10/08/21

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Trenches are Key in Carey vs. Seneca East Game

 

          Carey, the outright leader in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference, plays a big game Friday night on the road at Seneca East.

          The Tigers (5-2,3-1) share second place with Colonel Crawford, a game behind the Blue Devils.

          Over the last three weeks the Blue Devils have outscored their opponents (170-14), including a (56-0) win over Upper Sandusky last week.

          Coach Jonathan Mershman says they continue to do good things.  “Yeah, we are playing pretty good right now in all three phases Friday night I thought we played pretty well.  We were able to score in all three phases, which was a great night for us,” he said.

          Mershman knows Seneca East will be fired up to play and he says they have to match that intensity.  “We are going to get their best effort because if they can put us down a loss, they are tied with us for the lead and they are back with a chance to win a league championship.  They are going to want to do that, so they are going to be highly motivated going into this game,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We are highly motivated to stay up at the top by ourselves.  It should be a really good game.  Every time we go to Seneca East it seems like it is going to rain and I think there is a chance for rain this week as well.”

          Seneca East and Carey both have very good run games and Mershman says this game will be won and lost in the trenches.  “They have two of the leading rushers in the league, number two and number three, so, yeah, we are going to have to play solid up front in our front seven on offense and defense.  They have some big boys and we are going to have to try and move those guys around and do what we want to do.  It is going to be won up front week in and week out like we always try and do,” said Mershman.

 

Published 10/08/21

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Madison Has to be More Consistent

 

          Madison, still in search of its first win of the season, plays at Mt. Vernon in an Ohio Cardinal Conference game on Friday night.

          After a couple of pretty good performances, the Rams (0-5,0-3) didn’t play very well in a (57-21) loss to Marin Harding in non-conference play last week.

          Coach Dave Stupka says they started well again, but things went quickly downhill.  “We started off really well.  We played a really nice first quarter and then we had a couple of bad things happen and we didn’t respond to it very well and Marion took advantage of it.  It was disappointing for the team and we knew that after the game, so it’s on to the next one against Mt. Vernon,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday afternoon, “As we look forward to playing Mt. Vernon in a lot of aspects we are kind of like mirror images of each other how the season has gone.  At times Mt. Vernon looks really good and at times we look really good, but a series of plays will happen that kind of swing the difference in games.  I think both of our clubs have struggled in being consistent in all three levels of the game.”

          Mt. Vernon (1-6,0-3) was blasted by Wooster (39-7) last week in an “OCC” game.

          They have an outstanding player in Jonny Askew and Stupka says they are going to have to know where he is at all times.  “They place him everywhere and he kind of reminds me a little bit of the player at West Holmes (Sam Williams-Dixon).  They do some similar things like coach Gardner does with his player.  They line him up in a slot, as a wide receiver, as a tailback, and they want to get him the ball, which is a good idea because he has that game breaking speed and he has made a lot of nice plays for them this season,” he said.

          Stupka says for them that have to get ahead in the game and keeping answering, something they have not been doing.  “Really what we need to do is continue to get off to a good start, but we have to get two scores ahead of a team.  A very simple goal, but nor easy to do, but can we get two scores ahead of a team.  Be the team that scores next when a team counters our good start.  That’s where I think we have been lacking.  We haven’t been able to answer the other team when they fought back against us, so that’s what we have to do this week against Mt. Vernon,” said Stupka.

 

Published 10/08/21

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South Central Keeps Fighting

 

          South Central is at Mapleton in Firelands Conference play on Friday night.

          Both schools are hoping to generate a late season run that could land them in the expanded postseason playoffs.

          Last week, South Central roughed up by Crestview (56-13) in a conference game.

          Coach Corey Fickiesen says Crestview got the momentum and it turned into a lopsided contest.  “We knew they were pretty good in a lot of different parts of the game.  Offensively, we felt like we were able to move the ball.  We got a couple of early touchdowns on the board.  I think our second and third or second and fourth drives.  You get down a score or two and it just feels like you have to make up all of those points in one or two plays instead of just continuing to take what they give us.  When you do that, you turn the ball back over to them and they are a really tough team to stop because their run game is affective.  It was a learning experience for our guys.  We are just hoping we can learn from some of those things and get better and be able to get back after this week,” he said.

          South Central (2-4,0-3) is at Mapleton (1-5,0-3) on Friday night.  Mapleton lost (60-38) to Plymouth last week after leading (30-12) during the first half.

          Fickiesen says the Mounties do some very nice things in their running game and they have to be disciplined.  “We are watching the film and they are three touchdowns up on Plymouth and we are thinking how in the world did they lose this one?  There we just some unfortunate turnovers and various things that led to that, but they are a good football team.  They have got athletes all over the place.  That wing-T gives you problems because it looks like guys are running all over the place.  So, if you’re not disciplined and you don’t read the keys that we have been working on for our guys to read, like last year, they put up a lot of points on us because we stopped reading those keys and guys got free,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday afternoon, “It has been the same thing since week two when we saw Northmor, we have to be able to stop the run a little bit better than what we have done, so we have been working really hard on that offensively taking what the just taking what the defense gives us, moving the ball down the field, and scoring when we get into position.  So, our guys have had good focus this week.  It has been a rough month for them, but their focus is good and we are looking forward to getting to go play football.”

          Fickiesen says up front they have to win the one on one battles that they have not been winning so far this year.  “We have been talking about that quite a bit the last couple of weeks.  Those one on one matchups we are not winning.  Is that moving people around?  Is that changing a little bit of scheme?  We have looked at a little bit of both of those.  Putting some guys in some different spots to hopefully give them a better opportunity.  But it comes down to when you are on the field it is time to be ready to go make a play.  So, the guys we are going to put on the field hopefully are going to be ready to do that whether that is offense, defense or special teams.  We are going to keep fighting.  It’s one week at a time.  When you get to the end of the season there are a bunch of teams that get into the playoffs and you never know where you will end up.  We are just going to keep fighting and go out Friday night and give our best effort and we will see what the results are,” said Fickiesen.

 

Published 10/08/21

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Buckeye Central More Prepared This Week

 

          Buckeye Central plays longtime rival Colonel Crawford in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Friday night.

          They did not play very well last week at all in a (35-0) loss to Bucyrus in an “N10” game.

          Coach Chad Jensen says it started with a poor practice week.  “It was not a very good effort.  Last week it started on Monday.  We didn’t have a good Monday, we had an even worse Tuesday, little bit better Wednesday, and an average Thursday.  It was our practice habits that were poor last week.  We talked about when you practice poorly, you are not going to play well.  This week has been the exact opposite.  We have had our best week of practice this week, so we will see what happens,” he said.

          The Bucks season has been hampered by injuries, which hit small schools particularly hard.  However, Jensen says they are not about to use that as an excuse.  “We have had some injuries, but we are not going to make any excuses we are going to get the most out of our kids.  We have had some kids that would have been contributors that haven’t been able to play as much as we would have liked.  What we try to do is put the best 11 we have on field and get the most out of them.  Last week, we didn’t play well, but this week in practice we have really had a good week.  We know we have a heck of an opponent coming to town, but our kids had a great week and we will see what happens,” said Jensen.

          Buckeye Central (2-5,0-4) hosts Colonel Crawford (6-1,3-1), #5 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, on Friday night.  The Eagles beat Mohawk (42-14) in a conference game last week.

          Jensen says Crawford is an outstanding team with athletic kids all over the place.  “Lincoln Mollenkopf is the best running back, maybe the best player, in the “N10”.  There are a lot of good players in the league, but he is certainly one of them.  He is a heck of the football player.  So, they feed him the ball and that’s what they want to do,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday night, “They can run a little boot and pass it as well because the quarterback is very accurate.  They can throw it up to Carter Valentine, who’s one of the best athletes in the league.  Offensively, they are a load.  Defensively, they are just really solid.  They are really well coached.  Their linebackers are good.  They are just really a good football team all of the way around.”

 

Published 10/08/21

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Columbian in Must Win Situation

 

          Tiffin Columbian, a game back in the “SBC” Lake, faces division leader Bellevue in a home game on Friday night.

          With only five games in the division this is a must win for the Tornadoes.

          They lost a heartbreaker (42-39) to Clyde in division play last week.

          Coach Judd Lutz says they played well, but not well enough.  “We obviously did some good things, but did enough bad things to find ourselves in the loss column and have got to improve.  It wasn’t terribly executed game, but we lost to a pretty good team, who made more plays that we did.  Kudos to Clyde.  We have to turn the page quickly because we have a great team from across town coming at us to give us their best, so we will be hungry and ready to go,” he said.

          Columbian (4-3,1-1) hosts Bellevue (6-1,2-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, on Friday night.  Bellevue blanked Sandusky Perkins (26-0) last week.

          Lutz says Bellevue has playmakers and they are really good in the trenches.  “They are extremely physical up front. I think their offensive and defensive line in the heartbeat of their team.  They have a lot of talent up there.  They can get after the passer and stuff the run really well defensively.  Offensively, they don’t miss many assignments and drive you off the ball.  It’s hard to create negative plays and it is hard to stop them at the line of scrimmage,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday afternoon, “They are going to run it and create an advantage with their quarterback, but they also have a couple of running backs to give it to with different skills with a little more speed or a little more physicality.  So, it is going to be a tough out for sure.”

          Lutz says they want to force some one on one matchup if they can, but that’s not easy against Bellevue.  “They don’t play a lot of man to man defense, they play a lot of zone and don’t want to give up the big play, keep the ball in front of them.  Make you throw into tight windows and drop guys under routes a lot of times.  They are really physical up front with their defensive line and create a lot of pressure just rushing those four guys, which creates an advantage because you don’t have to use guys in coverage.  You try and create matchups with alignment, assignments or wrinkles, but at the same point you are going to have to win a lot of one on one matchups at some point to be successful,” said Lutz.

          Lutz says there is no beating around the bush, this is a game they have to win to get a piece of that Lake Division title.  “To have a chance to have a division title and win the conference we have to win this game.  We can’t lose it and probably have a chance.  That importance is there and also playoff seeding and getting into the playoffs, a lot of points on the line to put ourselves in a good situation with a win as well.  There is a lot on the line for sure,” he said.

 

Published 10/07/21

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Wooster Plays Big Play Mansfield Senior

 

          Wooster, the defending Ohio Cardinal Conference champion, plays host to Mansfield Senior in big game in the “OCC” on Friday night.

          They both trail West Holmes by a game in the conference standings and the loser is pretty much eliminated from the conference race.

          Wooster whipped Mt. Vernon (39-7) in a conference game last week.

          Coach Austin Holter says it was their best performance of the season.  “I thought it was our most complete game to date.  It certainly showed up in all three phases.  I am really proud of our staff and our team in all three of those phases.  In specifically trying to take away one of their big playmakers.  Jonny Askew is a dynamic athlete from Mt. Vernon.  I thought our defense did a phenomenal job of limiting his touches as did our special teams unit and really eliminating touches for that individual on special teams.  So, they did some great stuff there.  Offensively, I thought we really got it going.  We are continuing to develop our run game, which is huge here as we get into the stretch of the season.  Just proud of all three phases and the direction that we are headed,” said Holter.

          Wooster (4-2,2-1) is at home for Mansfield Senior (5-2,2-1), #5 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, on Friday night.  Senior High rallied with a late touchdown to beat Ashland (28-24) last week.

          Brock Hill threw the game winning pass to Elias Owens.  Holter says Hill is a difference maker.  “This is a physical football team.  They have some terrific athletes.  I think their quarterback is playing really good football right now.  He is a duel threat player.  He can make plays with his legs as well as his arm.  On defense this week, they do some things formationally that we have to be sound in our alinement.  We have to contain their quarterback,” he told Swankonports.com on Wednesday, “We have to show him a variety of looks and keep him off balance.  He is a veteran football player with some experience and he is playing some pretty good football right now.  As a defensive unit, we are going to have to fly to the football, we are going to have to tackle well and we are going to have to be disciplined in our assignments.”

          Holter says Mansfield Senior will bring some pressure and force them to make good decisions.  “Defensively, this is a fast and physical unit.  They are going to show you a variety of looks and pressures.  They play with confidence.  As an offensive unit, we have to continue to grow, continue to develop in being sound up front in our pass protection, being sound in our schemes run game wise and at the quarterback position we have to execute and eliminate turnovers.  If we do that, we will put ourselves in a good situation to compete,” he said.

          Mansfield Senior’s defense has put the ball in the end zone a number of times this season and Holter says that they must eliminate turnovers.  “You watch them on film and they have quite a few plays where they are turning these plays into points immediately with their defense.  A credit to their players and their staff and what they are doing schematically.  On top of that they just have some explosive players and playmakers over there.  It has been a point of emphasis for our offense this week we have to continue to eliminate the turnovers.  I thought we have continued to grow in that area the last couple of weeks.  So, have been very proud of our quarterback play there,” said Holter.

 

Published 10/07/21

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Galion Wants Fast Start

 

          Galion, after three straight losses, travels to Ontario to meet the Warriors in a Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference game on Friday night.

          They were only down (22-7) after three quarters but lost (37-7) to conference co-leader Shelby last week.

          Coach Matt Dick says they continue to play well at times in games.  “I thought our kids played with a tremendous amount of heart and effort.  We were in the game the whole way.  I think if we finish two drives, one at the end of the first half and one, I think, it was the second drive of the second half, if we finish both of those, we are up going into the fourth, but we didn’t.  I think that has been a problem of ours all season.  We have struggled to finish stuff and get this offense to click.  I do think we saw a flicker of hope.  We have worked really, really hard to bring that out this week.  We have three more weeks to grow as a team.  I am really excited about where we can get to by the end of the year,” said Dick.

          Dick says Friday night they have to come out and execute right from the opening kick.  “This week we are really stressing a fast start.  Anytime you have an opponent that you think maybe you can jump on, I think that is really important that you jump out and score points early.  It really helps momentum and how you call the game.  So, a really fast start is important.  We have to be ready to play in the fourth quarter.  We have struggled all year,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “If it is a game in the fourth quarter, we have got to be ready to finish that game.  All year long, we have gotten into the fourth quarter against some really good teams and just couldn’t quite find a way to win it.  So, this week hopefully we will have a fast start, but we have to expect to play four quarters and find a way to win.”

          Galion (3-4,1-3) plays at Ontario (2-5,0-3) on Friday night.  Ontario was pounded (45-7) by co-leader Clear Fork last week.

          Dick says they must control the Warriors running game.  “They have a nice sophomore running back.  Their offensive line does a nice job.  They are going to pound the ball and shorten the game.  Give your offense less chances to score.  All that stuff they do a nice job of.  They play solid defense.  We just have to make sure we take that running back away.  We have done a good job on defense all year long of taking away what other teams want to do and hopefully we will continue to,” he said.

 

Published 10/07/21

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Wynford has to Turn Things Around

 

          Wynford needs to find some success if they expect to make the playoffs, something that has been common place for one of the most successful programs in North Central Ohio.

          They lost (27-18) to Seneca East in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game last week.  They stand 15th in their computer region, the top 16 make the post season this year.  They play at home against Upper Sandusky on Friday night in a league game.

          Coach Gabe Helbert says they got beat at the point of attack last week and could not execute in the red zone.  “They dominated us up front.  You take that domination up front, some of the red zone issues we had turning the ball over on downs, it is going to lead to a loss and that’s what it did.  Seneca East came out and had a game plan.  They were very physical up front and it showed.  They controlled the line, they controlled the game from that point,” said Helbert.

          Seneca East ran for 331 yards last week against the Royals, a lot of that in the second half.

          Wynford (3-4,2-2) is at Upper Sandusky (3-4,2-2) on Friday night.  The Rams were roughed up by first place Carey (56-0) last week.

          Helbert is impressed by Upper’s sophomore quarterback Kaden Holmam, who leads the conference in passing yards with 1,715 this year.   “The quarterback jumps off the tape.  He is very good and he is only a sophomore.  He does an excellent job of distributing the football.  They have good receivers to throw to.  They have a lot of talent that returns from their team last year.  They are better, they are an improved football team,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We are going to have to play much better this week to give ourselves a chance to win.  There are some teams that are very similar in this league.  It is going to come down to who can make plays.  Who can prevent big plays from happening.  Who can protect the football and stuff like that.  We have put ourselves in a position where we are behind the eight ball a little bit.  We expect our kids to still fight and battle and claw and we want to see that Friday against a good Upper Sandusky team.”

          Wynford has lost two straight, which hasn’t happened very much over the years.  Helbert says they have to find ways to win.  “We can’t be, it’s woe is me and feel bad for ourselves, Upper Sandusky doesn’t care about that one bit.  We don’t have time to worry about that.  We have to work to continue to get better every single day and try to do that throughout our days of practice and preparation.  It’s a position we haven’t been in a lot lately.  We are who we are and that is who we have been.  So, we have to find a way to change that and that is going to come throughout day to day preparation,” said Helbert.

 

Published 10/07/21

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Plymouth Can’t Make Mistakes

 

          Plymouth makes the short trip to unbeaten Crestview to face the Cougars in a Firelands Conference game on Friday night.

          Crestview shares the lead in the Firelands conference with Norwalk St. Paul.

          Last week, the Big Red (4-3,1-3) had a big second half and broke a three game losing streak in beating Mapleton (60-38) in conference play.

          Coach Mark Genders says they found that needed intensity in the second half.  “It was a tale of two halves.  I credit Mapleton they came out ready to play some good football and we really didn’t and it showed.  They took it to us for sure.  We had a good halftime.  We came back out and got back to doing what we do and played much, much better.  I’m proud of my team for bouncing back down a couple of points at halftime.  We were down 30-12 and the last couple of drives in the first half we got some stops and turned them into points and we took care business in the second half,” said Genders.

          Crestview (7-0,3-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, thumped South Central (56-13) on Friday night.

          Genders says they don’t have any weaknesses.  “They are a complete team.  What stands out to me is the discipline that their kids play with and their responsibilities.  You always know Crestview teams are going to play extremely hard.  A coach (Steve) Haverdill coached team is going to play extremely hard and there is nothing new there.  They are very athletic, they are fast.  They are just a very good, solid, complete football team,” he said.

          Crestview running back Conner Morse scored five times last week against South Central.

          Genders says you have to force Crestview to throw the ball on your terms and nobody has been able to do that this year.  “Like many of us, they feature the running game.  Like us and other teams, we are going to keep you honest, but you also have to make me throw.  It seems like when they play, they do that.  They do a great job of being balanced as far as mixing in the play action and things like that.  Nobody has stopped them yet and that’s the biggest thing,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday evening, “They have been running on all cylinders.  When you have a 1,000 yard back it says a lot about your up front guys.  They come off extremely hard.  They are just complete.  There are challenges everywhere when you look at their team.  We are going to have to play flawless football just to compete with them.  That is going to be a challenge in itself.”

 

Published 10/07/21

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Fredericktown Plays Balanced East Knox

 

          Fredericktown takes its act to East Knox to challenge the Bulldogs in a Knox Morrow Athletic Conference game coming up on Friday night.

          They lost (41-20) to Highland in a conference game last week.

          Coach William Hartley says their defense could not contain the Scots running game.  “We simply could not handle their running attack.  We hung around for a little bit.  With 6:30 left in the second quarter it was a one score game 13-6 and then it just seemed like the damn broke and they just had big play after big play.  I think they had three drives where it was a one play drive.  They just handed off to their big running back and he hit the edge and we didn’t have any answer for that.  That really made it a one sided affair.  We had a lot of injuries to key guys.  In the second half we were in survival mode, moving some kids around and just trying to get through the night,” said Hartley.

          Injuries have been an issue for the Freddies all year long.

          Fredericktown (3-4,1-3) is at East Knox (5-2,2-1) this week.  The Bulldogs feel from a share of the conference lead after a (24-7) loss to Northmor on Friday.

          Hartley says they have a dangerous pass game and their defense is tough at the point of attack.  “They are a really balanced team offensively.  They have a really nice quarterback that moves around in the pocket well.  They don’t use him much in the running game, but he is very mobile.  He keeps plays alive.  He really keeps his head down field.  They have a nice group of receivers that are able to find space, so they really test you in the back end,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday afternoon, “Their defensive line is really active.  They really rock kid’s heads back.  They really establish control of the line of scrimmage.  They have some nice guys playing behind that unit.  So, a really well balanced, disciplined team.  It is going to be another test for us.”

          This is Fredericktown’s third straight game against a conference contender, but Hartley say really every week they are playing a team that is pretty good.  “Week in and week out it is just a battle in this league.  The league takes a lot of pride in its football.  All of the programs from top to bottom there are a lot of good teams, a lot of talent in this league this year.  From week to week, it is very tough and you have to be on your “A” game just to compete,” he said.

 

Published 10/07/21

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Point of Attack is Key for Sandusky

 

          Sandusky entertains Clyde in a game in the Lake Division of the Sandusky Bay Conference on Friday night.

          The Blue Streaks (3-4,1-1) stopped a four game losing streak with a (26-13) win over Norwalk in division play last week.

          Coach Mike Franklin says it was a good performance by his kids.  “We played really well,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We got a little soft there at the end, there is no doubt about that.  We talk about those things and we try and shore those things up after the game.  Coming off our losing streak, we can’t complain about how we played.”

          Clyde (5-2,1-1), #4 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, held off Tiffin Columbian (42-39) in a Lake Division game last Friday.  Running back Michael Daniels had 207 yards and three TD’s for the Fliers.

          Franklin says Clyde makes you defend a lot of things.  “They are very balanced on offense.  They are going to keep you off balance as far as running and throwing the football.  We have to be prepared for that.  Their defensive line is very impressive.  We have to be able to move the football and keep the clock on our time,” said Franklin.

          Clyde quarterback Jaden Cook is second in the division in touchdown passes this season.

          Franklin says the game will be won and lost up front.  “You have to be disciplined and you have to be consistent.  So, that is what we have been working on all week going through all of the sets that they do.  It is really going to come down to the offensive and defensive line and big plays,” he said.

 

Published 10/07/21

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Mansfield Senior Plays Wooster in Crucial “OCC” Game

 

          Mansfield Senior and Wooster, both a game behind West Holmes in the Ohio Cardinal Conference, meet on Friday night at Folis Field in Wooster.

          The Tygers kept themselves in the conference race with a come from behind (28-24) win over Ashland last week.  Brock Hill connected Elias Owens for a TD pass with 1:09 left giving Mansfield Senior its only lead of the game.

          Assistant coach Sean Adams says they showed great intestinal fortitude to get the win. “It was good for our kids to be able to battle back and fight through a boatload of adversity and conquer adversity and come out with the win.  We had a couple of young guys really grow up on Friday night, which is good for the future.  Our seniors stayed the course too.  Aveon (Grose) played well, Myles (Bradley) played well and Brock Hill had a heck of a game.  In big games like that, big time players need to make big time plays and our guys did,” he said.

          Mansfield Senior (5-2,2-1), #5 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, plays at Wooster (4-3,2-1) on Friday night.  The Generals beat up on Mt. Vernon (39-7) last week.  Drew Becker threw for 304 yards and three TD’s.

          Adams says they have a wide variety of weapons.  “From a defensive perspective they have got a lot of weapons.  It seems like Wooster has 15-20 seniors every year and that’s the same this year.  I thought they graduated a lot of seniors, but here they are again with these guys.  #2 in a great receiver, the quarterback is very accurate with a strong arm, and then I like #14 and #10 too as wideouts.  They do run the ball and they try and keep you off balance.  It is going to be a formattable task, but we are looking forward to going over to Wooster and playing another football game,” said Adams.

          Adams says Micak McKee at wide receiver is a tremendous player, but he is not all they have.  “He is one of those players, he is tall, he is rangy, he’s got good speed.  They want to try and get him the ball this year more so than year’s past.  They like to throw the ball a little more than they run it.  He fits in perfectly with their scheme.  He is going to have our attention no doubt,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday night, “They have other weapons too.  Their offensive line is coming along and their defense is playing well.  It is going to be a real test for us going over to Wooster this week, but we are up for it and we look forward to another chance to play a football game.”

          Mansfield Senior has not beaten Wooster since 2017.  Adams says this always a hotly contested game.  “That is just the way the “OCC” is.  Everybody is wanting to take a shot at everybody.  I don’t think (former Wooster coach) Doug Haas got enough credit for what he did.  If I remember correctly there were at least three seasons or four seasons he didn’t lose an “OCC” game and that is rather impressive.  I know the new coach is trying to do the same things and they have got things going over there.  We are going to have to go over there and play disciplined Tyger football,” said Adams.

 

 

Published 10/06/21

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Crestview Charged With Containing Plymouth

 

          Crestview, the co-leader in the Firelands Conference, will be at home finally, hopefully, to play the Plymouth Big Red in a conference game on Friday night.

          They share the conference lead with Norwalk St. Paul.

          The Cougars (7-0,3-0) drilled South Central (56-13) last week in a conference game.  Running back Conner Morse scored five times.

          Coach Steve Haverdill says they put together a good performance last week.  “The kids played well right from the start.  We had some a couple of communication errors early on and we corrected that and they played solid the rest of the way in all three phases offense, defense and special teams, played fast.  It was a good win on the road against a very dangerous team,” he said.

          Plymouth (3-4,1-3) had a big second half in downing Mapleton (60-38) last Friday.

          Haverdill says they can be explosive.  “They are dangerous as well, just in a different style than South Central.  They can put up a lot of points quickly, but more with the run game.  When you fall asleep with that run game they do have #31 that can hurt you deep in the pass game.  So, they can hit you from both angles and their offense is very potent three is no doubt about that,’ said Haverdill.

          Plymouth runs a combination of a double tight, double wing and a single wing offense.  Haverdill says their defense has to be solid on their keys.  “It is something you don’t see all of the time.  They still have a little of what they have done the last couple of years, similar to Lucas.  We did see a little of that with Ottawa Hills earlier this year, but they have their own wrinkles off of that, such as little spinner stuff,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday afternoon, “Things to get your eyes not focused.  They do a nice job getting to the outside and making big plays.  You start worrying about that they will hit you right up the gut.  If you are trying to load the box for that run, they will hit you with the deep ball.  So, we have to be very disciplined this week.

          Haverdill says it is exciting to get a chance to play at Scott Bailey Field with its new turf installed.  “As of (Tuesday) we are still on there, hopefully there are no setbacks and we will be able to open that up Friday night, which will be a great thing for our community.  It’s a beautiful field, just about done, it will be nice to play there instead of traveling for home games,” he said.

 

 

Published 10/06/21

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Clyde Takes on Athletic Sandusky

 

          Clyde, a game behind Bellevue in the Lake Division of the Sandusky Bay Conference, plays at Sandusky in a conference game on Friday night.

          Last week, they outscored Tiffin Columbian (42-39) in a division game to keep themselves in the race.

          Coach Ryan Carter says it came down to one play.  “I was extremely proud of our kids for bouncing back and the week we had after that Perkins game.  Our kids really responded and had a great week of practice. We knew it was going to be a battle every time you play in our league, in our division.  We came out and we really battled, Tiffin is a great team, and I thought our kids battled the entire night.  It came down to we just made one more defensive play than they did with a pick six there in the fourth quarter,” he said.

          Abe Morrison made hat interception return in the fourth quarter.

          Running back Michael Daniels ran for 207 yards and three TD’s.

          Clyde (5-2,1-1), #4 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, plays at Sandusky (3-4,1-1) a (26-13) winner over Norwalk last week.

          Carter says they are a football team capable of big plays at any time.  “They are a very dangerous football team.  They have athletes and they have kids all over the field that can score at any point and time, so we are going to have to run to the football and definitely be assignment sound.  The Franklin kid is an experienced quarterback.  They have athletes around him,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday afternoon, “They do a multitude of things offensively and same thing defensively they put athletes out there and they really run to the football and do a nice job up front.  We have our work cut out for us.  It is a road game for us.  We don’t traditionally play well in Sandusky.  We are going to have to go there ready to play.”

          The Blue Steaks haven’t been as consistent as they would liked to have been this year.  They are last in the division in total offense.

          Still, Carter says the potential is there with the kind of athletes that they have on their roster and they are going to have to win the one on one plays.  “There are times when we have to make one on one tackles and there are times when we have to make one on one plays it just the nature of the game anymore where they can isolate you we are going to have to go up and be good players on the ball and try to make one on one plays.  We are going to have to do that, it is going to come down to that and some points and time.  We are fully aware that we have to look at those things this week and hopefully we can put in a good week of work and get ourselves ready,” said Carter.

 

 

Published 10/06/21

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Norwalk Looks for First Division Win Versus Perkins

 

          Norwalk travels to Sandusky Perkins for a game in the Lake Division of the Sandusky Bay Conference on Friday night.

          They are coming off another tough loss to Sandusky last week.  The Blue Streaks beat them (26-13) last Friday.

          Coach Todd Fox says unfortunately their season has been like a broken record and it’s like broken disco record.  “It really is the same song, just a different week.  We just get ourselves in a hole.  Make mistakes at the least opportune time an then you fall short of a comeback.  I just keep preaching to our kids that we have to keep our focus.  Focus on the little things and find ways to win,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday night, “Right now, I feel we are finding a lot of ways to lose a game and we just have to find ways to win.  I am proud of our guys they work hard.  Each week we have been in every game and with a tough schedule.  We try to do things the right way.  If you do things the right way eventually things will work out for you.”

          Norwalk (1-6,0-2) is at Perkins (5-2,1-1) on Friday.  Perkins was blanked by Bellevue (26-0) last week.

          Fox says they an improving team with a lot of athletes.  “They are having a great season.  They started on fire.  I expect that they are going to continue that way.  I think that shows what our league is like.  They beat Clyde, Clyde beat Columbian, and Bellevue turns around and thumps on Perkins last week.  Our league is tough.  They are a much improved football team.  Offensive they are huge threat and defensively they are young.  There are some kids that are going to around for a couple of years.  We just have to play football and do things the right way,” said Fox.

          Perkins running back Collin Nemitz leads the division in rushing this season with 1,227 yards.  He also have 13 touchdown runs this season.

          Fox say he is real breakaway threat.  “One of our coaches said (Tuesday) he is a track superstar on the football field.  Once he hits the lane, he is tough to stop.  We are focused on that this week trying to slow that down,” he said.

 

 

Published 10/06/21

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Northmor Faces a Different Challenge from Mt. Gilead

 

          Northmor, the co-leader in the Knox Morrow Athletic Conference, plays on the road at Mt. Gilead in a conference game on Friday night.

          Tied 7-7 at the half last week, they owned the second half in beating East Knox (24-7) to knock the Bulldogs from a share of the conference lead.

          Coach Scott Armrose says they came out with extra fire.  “It didn’t have anything to do with adjustments or anything like that.   We decided we were going to go out in the second half and play a physical football game and go out and hit.  We decided if we did that the score would take care of itself and that’s what happened,” he said.

          Armrose says they didn’t change a thing in their game plan.  “They did exactly what we thought that they were going to do.  We only do a few things, so we decided we were going to continue to do what we were doing in the first half and we are going to do it a little better.  We played a good physical half of football.  We took care of the ball and played some darn good defense,” said Armrose.

          Northmor has never give up more than three scores in a game, and three times it has been one or less.  Armrose says the defense has been outstanding.  “It starts with pressure up front and the secondary has done a great job too.  We took an explosive East Knox offense and basically held them to one big play and that’s quite an accomplishment,” he said.

          Northmor (7-0,4-0) is at Mt. Gilead (2-5,0-4) on Friday night.  The Indians lost (49-14) to Centerburg last week.

          However, Armrose says they have of big play makers.  “They are every bit as athletic as any team we have played this season.  They have speed all over, a quarterback that can scramble and make plays,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday evening, “Their defense makes you think a little bit.  They do a lot of things on defense that are a little different.  It is a little bit unconventional what they do and where they bring their pressure from, so we have our work cut out for us.”

 

 

Published 10/06/21

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Colonel Crawford Has to be Better

 

          Colonel Crawford, a game back in the race in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference, plays up State Route 602 against longtime rival Buckeye Central on Friday night in a conference game.

          They beat Mohawk (42-14) last week, but coach Ryan Teglovic says, frankly, they didn’t play very well.  “We did enough good things to win the game and we are grateful for that.  Our guys know we didn’t play our best football.  I didn’t think we were that focused all last week in general.  We have addressed that, talked about that and hopefully things get a little better this week.  I told our kids on Saturday morning, there is one NFL football team all-time that went undefeated and played a pretty good game every time they went out on Sunday afternoon, so you are going to have those on occasion, but you can’t string too many of them together.  We have to bounce back here and have a good, focused week,” said Teglovic.

          Lincoln Mollenkopf had three TD runs last week.  He has 1,375 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns this season, both conference highs.

          Teglovic says the goal this week in practice is to get better as a football team.  “If you can focus on the fact that is not even who you play on Friday night.  It’s about yourself.  It’s about you continuing to make the improvement you need to make on Friday night.  That is what we have always tried to focus in on.  We want to be better and now it is week eight and we want to better than we were week one, week two, etc.  That’s the focus and hopefully we will get back to that this week,” he said.

          Colonel Crawford (6-1,3-1), #5 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, is at Buckeye Central (2-5,0-4) on Friday night.  The Bucks lost (35-0) to Bucyrus last week.

          Teglovic says they must be aware of the Bucks passing game and do their best to control it.  “I like their quarterback the (Derex) Dean kid.  He is a nice player.  He has given them the ability to throw the football a lot better than they have had in years.  He is playing pretty good football, especially for a sophomore.  He has some guys on the outside that he can throw the football to as well,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “They have a little bit of size up front.  They played Upper Sandusky I thought pretty well.  They have had some spots where they have played well.  They have had some injuries and other things too that have hurt them.  We are going to have to slow down their passing game.  We have to play a lot better fundamentally sound football ourselves this week.”

 

 

Published 10/06/21

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Lexington Still Engaged

 

          Lexington welcomes Ashland to their place for an Ohio Cardinal Conference game on Friday night.

          The Minutemen (2-5,1-3) lost (27-10) to unbeaten West Holmes, the “OCC” leader on Friday night.

          Coach Taylor Gerhardt was proud of their effort, but they came up a few plays short.  “What I ended up telling the kids was at the and of the day West Holmes made the big plays ad we just couldn’t.  They played hard and they played nose to nose with those kids and a play here or a play there things could have been a lot different.  The kids played hard.  We played a much more clean football game.  We are ready to continue to turn that corner,” he said.

          Gerhardt returned to the sideline this year and he had a big goal in mind.  “When I came back the most important part was the to start establishing the culture that I wanted for this program.  I have been very, very lucky with the coaching staff that has been in lock step with me with delivering that culture and up holding and modeling that culture and the kids have bought in,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “It is even more impressive because we feel like we could have had some wins here and there, but we didn’t.  The kids are still on board, they are still showing up, they are still playing for their brothers and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

          Ashland (2-5,2-1) lost a heartbreaker last week when Mansfield Senior score with a minute to play to beat them (28-24) in “OCC” action.

          Landon McFredrick threw three TD passes in a losing cause and Gerhardt says he is hard to contain.  “Ashland is a good football team, they are always a good football team.  Their quarterback can do a lot.  He can hurt you with his arm, he can hurt you with is legs.  That’s a good football team, their record reflects them as it does us, does not reflect the kind of quality football team that Ashland has.  So, they are going to bringing it and we have to be on top of our game,’s aid Gerhardt.

 

 

Published 10/06/21

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Norwayne Must Control Waynedale QB

 

          Norwayne, the co-leader of the Wayne County Athletic League, plays host to Waynedale, a game back in the standings, on Friday night in a league game.

          The Bobcats (5-2,4-0) share first place with Dalton.

          They hammered Rittman (56-7) last week.

          Coach Adam Indorf says they went out and executed the way they needed to.  “The varsity came in and did their job and performed as we expected.  A couple little blunders here and there, but not anything earth shattering, so definitely performed well.  We got some experience for young guys last week.  Now, it’s time to move forward and see how we can improve our potential this week,” he said.

          Waynedale (4-3,3-1) dominated Smithville to the tune of (48-8) in a league game last Friday.

          Indorf says they have impact players.  “They definitely have a solid quarterback and solid receivers and athletes.  If you are not playing fundamental defense, they can move the ball on you and score.  Defensively, those guys swarm to the ball and defensive linemen are getting off of the ball,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We have been challenging our young men to get better and to make sure that every rep that they take in practice every day they are improving themselves and making sure they are better at the end of every day than they were at the beginning.”

          Waynedale quarterback Peyton Lemon accounted for five scores last week against Smithville.

          Indorf says they are going to have to know where he is at all times.  “He is their guy.  He is their catalysis and their impetus all in one and is really a great athlete.  He definitely has our eye and our attention,” he said.

 

 

Published 10/06/21

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Colts Must Defend Power Run Game

 

          Clear Fork, the co-leader in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, is at Marion Pleasant against the Spartans on Friday night.

          The Colts (5-2,3-0) led (31-0) at halftime and went on to crush Ontario (45-7) last week in conference play.

          Coach Dave Carroll was very happy with his players mental approach last week.  “Sometimes when you are playing a team that is less experienced than you the kids kind of get a little giddy or whatever it may be and don’t play well, but our kids came out and played like they were supposed to.  I told our kids (Monday) night that that was the best game we have played this year.  It doesn’t have anything to do with who we are playing.  We were doing things correctly, we were hustling, we were doing things the way you are supposed to,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “Two really ugly picks, interceptions, by our quarterback, I know you can’t take them out, but if you take them out, the rest of it is really, really good from the offensive line, defensive line, the secondary played better.  You can just go on and on and on techniques and doing things they way they are supposed to be done were improved.  That is what we are looking at as coaches.  It is not always about the opponent and how good they are or not, it is what are we doing.  I was proud of our kids, we had some really good performances by a lot of kids.”

          Pleasant (1-6,0-3) dropped a (49-14) decision to rival River Valley last week in conference play.

          Pleasant has a great football tradition and Carroll says they are better than their record indicates.  “I told our kids (Monday) night in our scouting report meeting don’t be fooled by their record because they have played three teams that are 6-1, a team that is 5-2, the only team that they have played that has a losing record is 3-4 Wynford and they have been beaten by a couple of really good teams in Colonel Crawford and Carey, who are having fantastic years.  So, I think they are much better than their record is,” he said.

          Pleasant focuses on running the ball and Carroll says they are going to be hard to stop.  He says the fullback is a very physical runner.  “What concerns me is they have a couple of running backs that are big and they run incredibly hard.  We have faced some fast kids and we have faced some good passing kids, but we haven’t faces since our first scrimmage, and it didn’t turn our real well against Tinora, where they had a big ole fullback, about 225 pounds, and he ran us over.  This #27 from Pleasant plays nose guard on defense and lines up at fullback and a variety of positions offensively, and he runs people over,” he told Swankonsports.com, “We have been pretty good against the run for the most part other than the Bellevue game and we have a pretty good front, so I feel pretty good about that.  We haven’t played against a 210 pound back that lowers his shoulders and runs hard.  So, we are going to be tested with that.  You have to hit this kid low or he will run over you.  You better attack and get downhill.”

          Carroll adds that Pleasant will come at you with a lot of different formations, so pre snap reads are going to be important.  “Their coach does a great job.  He has all kinds of formations, shifts and motions to try and out number you at the point of attack, like a lot of us try to do.  There are some new things that I haven’t seen in all of my years that this guy is doing that are our kids have to be in tune with and be able to adapt and adjust on the run.  We have our work cut out for us with this offense that they run.  I guess the good news is they definitely want to run the ball way more than they want to throw it.  I think our dbs always breath a sigh of relief when you have that kind of a team, but that’s what we thought against Galion two weeks ago and here they come out and throw for 300 yards on us.  So, we have to be prepared for everything and anything, but number one we have to be able to stop that power running game that they have,” said Carroll.

 

Published 10/05/21

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Lake Division Leader Bellevue at Explosive Tiffin

 

          Bellevue, now all alone in first place in the Lake Division of the Sandusky Bay Conference, plays at Tiffin Columbian, a game back, in a big one in the division on Friday night.

          Last week, the Redmen (6-1,2-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, blanked Sandusky Perkins (26-0) in a division game.

          Coach Ed Nasonti says they did a very good job on both sides of the ball and won the point of attack.  “I was real happy with our kids.  They came focused, they came ready to play.  We had to go up against one of the better backs in northwest Ohio.  He has run all over the place.  We did a good job talking in space that we were concerned about, as we are every Friday night.  I thought our kids did a nice job playing defense.  We won the battle in the trenches on both sides of the ball.  We were able to move the ball and put 26 points on the board and keep them scoreless.  It was a nice win in the Lake Division.  We know that every Friday night is going to be a battle, so we have to be ready to go this week,” said Nasonti.

          Bellevue is also in first place in its division IV computer region, but Nasonti says they can still improve.  “We have to continue to get better. We have stressed that each week with our kids in the way we practice.  I think our kids have had a good, solid attitude towards working and understanding the value of coming to practice ready to go every day and focusing on the process of being a good football team.  We are sitting in a pretty good spot right now with three games to go, but we feel that we can still get better as a team and those are the kinds of things we are preaching to our kids,” said Nasonti.

          Tiffin Columbian (4-3,1-1) lost (42-39) to Clyde in a Lake Division game last week.

          Nasonti says the Tornadoes are a very good team and they respect them in their ability to play football.  “That was a shootout last week.  They scored 39 points, Clyde scored 42 and it was back and forth.  The game could have went either way as a lot of the games in our conference can.  When you look at Tiffin Columbian in the preseason, they were a team that went to the final four last year and they have a significant amount of players back form the squad a year ago.  So, they are definitely a worthy opponent,” he said.

          Brayden Roggow (14) and Logan Beaston (11) have combined to throw 25 touchdown passes this year.  They share the quarterback position for Columbian.

          Nasonti says they have to be solid in their defensive schemes.  “We are focusing on the basics and the fundamentals of playing defense.  They each bring a different quality to the game.  They do some things differently.  We talk to our kids about that, but we have some basic fundamental rules that we have to follow in our defensive schemes.  We don’t want our kids to over think it.  We know one guy is more of a runner than the other and so on, but they are both very valuable to their team,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday evening, “They are both outstanding athletes and they both can burn you of you let them.  So, we have to do a good job on the perimeter.  We have to tackle in space.  They have some really nice skilled guys that if you don’t do a good job they are going to take it to the house.  They are big play team and they have exploited a few teams this year and we don’t want to be one of them.”

 

Published 10/05/21

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Seneca East Meets “N10” Leading Carey

 

          Seneca East has a great opportunity this week as they host Northern 10 Athletic Conference leader Carey with the chance to move into a share of first place with the Blue Devils.

          The Tigers, along with Colonel Crawford, trail by a game.

          Seneca East rallied to beat Wynford (27-18) last week.

          Coach Ed Phillips calls it their best performance of the season.  “It was maybe our best game of the year, which is good because this is the time of the year that you want to play your best football and we put a lot of things together and beat a good Wynford team at their place and that makes it even more gratifying,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday evening, “I think we have actually won two in a row at their place, which is something we are petty proud of as a program.  A good thing to springboard us into this week against Carey.”

          They ran for 331 yards last week against Wynford.

          Seneca East (5-2,3-1) entertains Carey (6-1,4-0) on Friday night.  The Blue Devils blew out Upper Sandusky (56-0) last week.

          Phillips says they are just good all over.  “They are a well rounded team.  They have good linemen and good backs, thy have some big ones and some fast ones, their quarterback throws the ball well and is really explosive running the ball.  Defensively, they are sound because for a lot of the same reasons.  They have some size up front and they have speed at the linebacker and the secondary spots.  They are a pretty well rounded football team,” said Phillips.

          He adds they have a lot of experience too.  “This is a good senior class for them and a lot of them played two years ago.  They are battle tested.  That is true,” he said.

          Phillips says a great opportunity is in front of them this week.  “There is a lot of stuff out there.  You win and you put yourself in a tie for first place in the league.  There is no doubt there are a bunch of computer points on the table there that would do a lot of for you.  So, there is a lot to gain from this one.  A lot to be excited about,” said Phillips.

 

Published 10/05/21

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Western Preparing for Monroeville

 

          Western Reserve needs to bounce back as they play at home against the Monroeville Eagles in a Firelands Conference game on Friday night.

          They lost (10-0) to conference co-leader Norwalk St. Paul on Saturday night, falling two games behind the leaders.

          Coach Ty Stevenson says they gave it all they had.  “That rain showed up pretty hard in the first quarter and probably changed the game a little bit for both teams, but I thought our kids played extremely hard.  We missed some assignments and had some turnovers here or there, but I thought as far as effort and the things we did, I was very pleased front that standpoint,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday afternoon, “Obviously, we wanted to get a win, but sometimes the cookie doesn’t fall the way you want it to, such as things in life as well, so we have to try and come back (Monday) and play a good Monroeville Eagle football team this Friday night.”

          Stevenson says they must look ahead and prepare for Monroeville.  “We talked about being a Saturday night game it is one day short in rest and recovery.  I told the guys we need to sulk and think about this thing Saturday night and Sunday but come Monday morning we have to get right back up and be ready to go because Monroeville is really talented.  The Roeder kid is a three, four year starter and they have some good kids up front and their other skilled guys are very good as well.  It will be a big challenge and we can’t wait until Wednesday or Thursday to get back on the beam and ready to go,” said Stevenson.

          Western Reserve (5-2,2-2) is at home for Monroeville (3-4,2-1) on Friday night.  The Eagles were beaten (42-7) by Gibsonburg in a conference game last week.

          Stevenson says the key is to not let Monroeville quarterback Isaac Roeder get big plays.  “If you let Roeder loose, he is going to explode for some really big plays.  Some teams have had a little better success stopping that I guess than probably the others have.  If you are too much coming up on him and he has some good receivers that he can throw it to out on the edge.  You have to make sure you tackle #7 and play responsibilities and not let their counter game hit you too hard,” he said.

          Jude Munez was able to play a little at wide receiver against St. Paul last week.  Stevenson says they will continue to work at getting more healthy here this next couple of weeks.  “We will just take a week at a time, a day at a time, and the guys that are there and healthy and ready to play we will put them out there and put them in the best possible position to win and if they are not ready, then they are not ready and we will continue to rehab.  We have an excellent athletic trainer here in Madison Myers that does a great job for us.  She is continuing to try and get these guys back in playing shape,” said Stevenson.

 

Published 10/05/21

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Ashland Might Have to Slug it Out Against Lexington

 

          Ashland, coming off its first “OCC” loss of the season last week, travels to Lexington for an Ohio Cardinal Conference game on Friday night.

          It was a tough loss for the Arrows last week as they were beaten in the final minute by Mansfield Senior (28-24) in an “OCC” contest.  Tyger quarterback Brock Hill found Elias Owens for a scoring pass with 1:09 left in the game.

          Coach Sean Seder says it was a tough loss to take.  “It was a heartbreaker for us.  It was something we felt really good about.  We were playing tough.  Had the lead for 47 minutes and let it slip away in the that last minute against a really good Mansfield Senior team.  It would have been a very good win for us and our program and would have been still tied for first.  We have to kind of lick our wounds and regroup going into Lex,” he said.

          Seder says their goals are still in front of them.  “Senior High played tight with West Holmes, who is still ahead of us, and pretty tight with Lexington.  We told the kids we lost to a quality opponent.  We should have won the game.  We tip our hat to them, they made some plays.  They are well coached.  We kind of knew what we were getting into there.  After feeling like you should have won that game, we just can’t have a letdown going into this week.  We really need to rally because if we take care of our last three games, we will at least have a tie for the “OCC” and I think the postseason is locked up too with the points out there with West Holmes and Wooster.  We just have to buckle down and kind of rally the troops and go out and tack care of business,” said Seder.

          Ashland (2-5,2-1) is at Lexington (2-5,1-3) in conference play on Friday night.  The Minutemen are coming off a (27-10) loss to unbeaten and first place West Holmes.

          Seder describes Lexington as a physical team that is very good at running the football.   “I think they are a really good team, they are well coached.  A tough, physical team, run heavy.  It was 17-10 against West Holmes at the half and they have been scoring points like crazy, so their defense did a pretty good job.  They have a really good run game and do a good job with their play action,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “One thing I think will be an “X” factor for Friday’s game is it is at Lexington and we are playing on grass, it is supposed to rain all week and it is supposed to rain Friday.  I know they always have always have a nice field that is well taken care of, but it could be that old school, smash mouth, kind of a muddy game where it is run oriented, which plays in their favor, so we have to make sure our defense is ready to step up and the offense can put some points on the board.”

 

Published 10/05/21

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East Knox has to Bounce Back

 

          East Knox, coming off a loss to Northmor last week, will be at home from Fredericktown in Knox Morrow Athletic Conference action on Friday night.

          The Bulldogs (5-2,2-1) lost (24-7) to Northmor and fell a game behind both the Golden Knights and Highland in the conference standings.

          Coach Cody Reese says they couldn’t get any momentum in the second half of the game.  “It was 7-7 at halftime.  We ended up scoring on a 41-yard touchdown pass on a fourth down to close out the end of the first half.  It seemed like after the second half kickoff from that point forward we didn’t do things to help ourselves out.  Things went against us, but you have to give credit to Northmor as well.  They are a really good football team, well coached,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday night, “The kickoff we end up tripping and giving them the ball on the five and from there it seemed like it just snowballed.  Like I said Northmor did a great job defensively and offensively, especially the second half.  They were running the football on us.  We just couldn’t get a stop.  So, you have to give them credit for doing a great job.”

          Northmor totaled 250 yards on the ground.

          East Knox still has a lot in front of it to accomplish and Reese says they have to be focused.  “It is what do we need to do to improve?  What can we overcome that we did not overcome last week going into this week?  We have to get back on track.  We still have a lot to play for.  We no longer control our own destiny in the conference.  We didn’t take care of business, but we still have a lot to play for.  We certainly have a goal of a playoff spot and spot we want to be in.  We aren’t out of the league hunt either.  Like I said, we don’t control own destiny.  All we can do is focus on what we can control and that’s one week at a time.  We have to get our mentality back right going into this week against a good Fredericktown football team,” said Reese.

          Fredericktown (3-4,1-3) lost (41-20) to Highland last week.

          Reese says they must play physical football.  “You can tell on film that they have improved every week.  They are getting better at what they do on both sides of the ball.  They are a very physical team.  They are big up front.  We have to make sure we are prepared on both the mental and physical piece,” he said.

 

Published 10/05/21

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Hillsdale Knows What it Has to do

 

          Hillsdale has a focus on the making the division VI football playoffs this year.  It would be their sixth straight appearance in the postseason.

          They host Smithville in a “WCAL” game on Friday night.

          Their chances of a piece of the Wayne County Athletic League title took a hit that week when they lost (41-20) to Dalton, the league co-leader.

          The game was tied (14-14) at the half, but coach Trevor Cline says they didn’t execute as well in the second half.  “Our players played well throughout the game.  We were right with them an tied at halftime and in the second half our offense stalled a couple of drives.  Anytime you are going up against a good offensive team like Dalton.  When you get a couple of quick three and outs and give the ball back to them, they are going to make you pay for that and that’s what they did last week.  They are a phenomenal team.  I expect them to make a run at a “WCAL” title here.  I think they play Norwayne week 10 and I am sure the “WCAL” title is going to be on the line at that point.  It is going to go to one of those two teams.  I expect Dalton to make a run in the playoffs.  We played well in the first half.  In the second half we just gave their offense too many opportunities and they capitalized on it,” said Cline.

          Hillsdale (3-4,2-2) is at home with Smithville (1-6,0-4) on Friday night.  The Smithies were hammered by Waynedale (48-8) in a league game last Friday.

          Cline says with their wing-T offense it is going to be important to read their keys on defense.  “They have a new coach there and they are implementing a new offense.  What we have seen on film it looks like they have a physical line up front and they have multiple athletes who can make plays.  We are going to have to be disciplined against them because they like to run traps.  They run like a wing-T type of the offense.  So, if we are not disciplined in reading our keys.  Their linemen are going to take us to the football.  We have to make sure we are reading them or we are going to be in for a long night on defense against them because they do have size.  On the offensive and defensive side of the ball they do have good sized kids,” he said.

          Hillsdale finishes the season with Waynedale and Northwestern and Cline says three wins to close the regular season will mean a playoff berth for the Falcons.  “We have talked to our players this week that all three of these next games are important if we want to get back in the playoffs for the sixed year in a row.  If we win all three of the games we are going to be back in the playoffs.  All three games are winnable, but all three games are games we could lose if we don’t take care of business,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday night, “Even though Smithville is 1-6 I feel they are a better team than that.  Waynedale and Northwestern are also good.  If we take care of business the next three weeks will be back in the playoffs.  We are sitting 14th this week in our region.  Our main focus this week is just playing to our potential and take care of business against Smithville and then we will worry about the next two games.”

 

Published 10/05/21

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Shelby With Marquee Matchup with West Holmes

 

          Shelby, the co-leader in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, hosts West Holmes, the leader of the Ohio Cardinal Conference on Friday night in a much anticipated contest.

          Shelby (6-1), #3 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, beat Galion (37-7) in a “MOAC” game on Friday night.

          Coach Robert Mahaney felt they were solid on defense and improved in the running game.  “I thought we did a great job defensively to hold them to seven points.  I thought offensively we did a good job of establishing the run game throughout the middle of the game and through the end of the game we were able to run the ball.  We had 179 yards rushing, which is definitely the must we have had all year.  So, that was good to see.  We still made plays through the air like we have all year,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, “We had kind of a slow start.  We are still turning the ball over in the red zone, which is something obviously we have to get better at still.  We did a good job defensively responding, playing 11 guys as a team, and were able to get a 30 point win over as team as good as Galion and a player as good as Hanif, I thought we did a good job.”

          West Holmes (7-0), #1 in our poll, beat Lexington (27-10) on Friday night in an “OCC” game.

          Mahaney says they are unbeaten for a reason.  “They are just extremely well coached.  They are physical.  On defense, all 11 guys fly around and get to the football and make tackles.  They are just really sound in coverage.  Offensively, They have a lot of different playmakers.  Sam Williams-Dixon, their tailback, is a really good football player, he is special.  They quarterback is really good, really efficient.  Their fullback-tailback, the other guy that they use, #5, does a good job.  They have receivers that go up and make plays.  All of the way around the board they are well coached.  They have a guy at every position.  There is a reason they are 7-0 and it sticks out in film that they are pretty darn good,” said Mahaney.

          West Holmes quarterback Noah Clark leads the “OCC” in passing yards and touchdowns and they average 38 points a game, however, Mahaney says they are excellent on defense too.  “I think their defense is really good.  They have 11 guys that understand the scheme and where they are supposed to be.  They do a good job of playing team defense.  They do a good job of running to the football and tackle.  You don’t see a lot of yards after the catch against them because they do a good job in coverage and running to the ball.  They are pretty sure tacklers.  Their defensive line, linebackers and dbs are all good tacklers.  For us offensively, as a team that likes to get yards after the catch it is going to be a big challenge for us against dbs that are good tacklers, sure tacklers,” he said.

          It is week eight of the season and Mahaney says they need a game like this right now.  “There is a reason they are 7-0, they are a really good football team.  We have got two big games after this in the “MOAC” with River Valley and Clear Fork.  So, it is going to be a good test for us.  Let us know where we are and what we need to get better on before those games.  Hopefully, things go the right way with playoffs after that.  It will let us know where we are at and what we need to work on.  In general, when you are playing a 7-0 team, or 6-1, there is going to be a good atmosphere.  I think Skiles Field will be ready.  I know our kids are going to be excited to play in a game with a lot of eyes on it,” said Mahaney.

 

Published 10/04/21

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Mansfield Senior Must Contain Ashland Offense

 

          It’s a crucial game for both sides as Mansfield Senior hosts Ashland in an Ohio Cardinal Conference game on Friday night.

          Ashland shares first place in the conference with West Holmes.  The Tygers trail by a game.

          Mansfield Senior (4-2,1-1), #4 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, kept themselves in the race with a (23-14) win over Lexington in “OCC” play last week.

          Assistant coach Sean Adams they need to play more consistently for four quarters.  “It was a good game.  I thought for the most part we controlled the game from start to finish.  Give Lexington credit, they came back late in the fourth quarter and got a couple of touchdowns.  We all wish we would have not given up those touchdowns, but we did.  I think it has kind of made us realize that we need to be focused for 48 minutes instead of 24,” he said.

          Ashland (2-4,2-0) got past Madison (20-7) last Friday.

          Adams, as usual, Ashland is difficult to contain when they have the ball.  “It is always a tough matchup with their offense.  They do so many things and they do so many things well.  It seems like they just keep reloading with these big running backs and these quarterbacks.  I really like this quarterback that they have now.  I don’t think we played a kid quite like him yet this year that can extend the play.  As somebody that does the defense that is a nightmare,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “I just don’t like kids that can extend the play and then the ball is in the air and anything can happen.  I just think they are so well versed in their offensive scheme and it just puts a lot of pressure on the defense.”

          Adams says Arrows quarterback Landon McFrederick, who threw three TD passes against Madison, forces you to make smart, quick decisions on defense.  “He can think on his feet.  I watched the Madison game again the other night.  I looked at the sticks and it might have been fourth and 16 on the Ashland 25, 30 yard line and Madison brings pressure, he escapes it, is rolling to his left, throws across his body to a kid sprinting across the field for a touchdown.  The name of the game is blocking and tackling and when you don’t tackle and you let him escape bad things happen.  So, we have to contain him.  He is going to get his throws.  #21 is a good receiver and the sophomore running back is good.  We have to play good, sound Tyger football,’ said Adams.

 

Published 10/01/21

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Big One Between Bellevue and Perkins

 

          It seems like every game is this way in the Lake Division of the Sandusky Bay Conference, but it’s a big one Friday night when Bellevue travels north to face Perkins.

          Both teams won their division openers last week.  Bellevue blanked Norwalk (14-0) and Perkins hung on to beak Clyde (21-20) last Friday.

           A big factor in the Bellevue win was turnovers.  Norwalk had five.

          Bellevue coach Ed Nasonti feels that was a big factor in their win last week.  “Our defense came up big last week.  We had three interceptions and two fumble recoverees.  I thought our kids ran to the ball well,” he told Swankonsports.com, “A couple of times we had our backs against the wall and made some big plays.  I was really happy with our tackling.  It was a nice effort on the defensive side of the ball.”

          The Redmen are second in the division in turnover ratio at plus 12.  Nasonti says they take time during practice to work on forcing turnovers.  “We work hard on ball disruption to try and create turnovers.  I think you see that more than you ever did.  One guy comes in and secure the tackle and the other guy is trying to strip the ball.  All of those things that we work on with our kids and it makes you feel good as a coach when you see that stuff getting done,” said Nasonti.

          Of course, you have to hang onto the football as well because the other team is going to try and take it away.  Nasonti says avoiding those turnovers is a key to winning.  “The times that we have struggled over the years is when we have turned the ball over.  We stress that all of the time with our kids.  Hold on to the ball, that is one way you can get beat, turning it over,” he said.

          Perkins comes into Friday night a minus three in that turnover ratio.

          Bellevue (5-1,1-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, is at Perkins (5-1,1-0), #5 in our poll, on Friday night.

          Nasonti knows it will be a battle.  “They are playing good football.  They have some good athletes and they utilize them.  They have played solid football since the beginning of the year.  It will be a typical Lake Division battle, I’m sure of that,” he said.

 

Published 10/01/21

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Shelby Plays Dangerous Galion

 

          Shelby, who shares first place in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference with Clear Fork, is at home for the Galion Tigers in a conference game on Friday night.

          Last week, they beat Marion Harding (38-12) despite committing four turnovers in the game.

          Coach Robert Mahaney says they must do a better job of ball security. “Obviously, that was a big emphasis for us in practice this week to make sure we are protecting the football and doing a lot of little things right.  When you are driving the ball into the red zone you have make sure you can finish it.  When you get inside the five yard line we have to find ways to put the ball in the end zone not turn the ball over and give the other team extra chances.  I thought we did a good job defensively rallying to the sudden change and making plays to get off the field.  For us this week taking care of the football and protecting it.  You can’t do anything in football, you can’t score without the ball.  We have to protect it, so that was a big emphasis this week in practice,” said Mahaney.

          Shelby (5-1,3-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, averages more than 40 points a game.  Marshall Shepherd has thrown for almost 2,500 yards and 30 touchdowns.  Andre Hill and Blaine Bowman are the two leading receivers in the league.

          Hanif Donaldson of Galion (3-3,1-2) leads the conference in rushing with 841 yards and nine scores.

          Mahaney says they have to know where Donaldson is at all times.  “I think Galion is a really good football team.  I think they do a lot of things right.  They want to run the football and they do a good job of that.  Hanif Donaldson is one the elite athletes in this area.  Definitely one of the best athletes in the conference.  So, we have to make sure we can find ways to stop him.  They do a good job of lining him up in different positions,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday night, “On top of that, I think their offensive line is really good.  The quarterback is developing into a really good football player and the other guys around him are developing too.  They have done a good job defensively of growing every week.”

          Galion lost to Clear Fork (36-21) last week, but they threw for more than 300 yards.

          Mahaney says they must defend both the run and pass.  “Coach (Matt) Dick has always had a pretty balanced offense.  They like to run the ball, but they also have the ability to throw it.  I think defensively we have to be able to defend both.  For us it is going to be find where Hanif is at and how we are going to adjust and do different things.  At the same time, we have to make sure we are defending the whole field.  Like I said, their offensive line is really good.  It’s up to defensive line and linebackers to get their run stopped and also our dbs have to be able to cover because they are not afraid to throw the ball and take some shots.” Said Mahaney.

          On defense, Mahaney says Galion will blitz a lot and they have to be ready to pick that up.  “I think defensively they fly around and get to the football.  They like to bring a lot of pressure, so we have to make sure up front we are talking and communicating and finding where that pressure is coming and designing our protection and make sure we can pick it up,” he said.

 

Published 10/01/21

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Crestview Plays Potentially Explosive South Central

 

          Crestview, the Firelands Conference co-leader, is at South Central to meet the Trojans in a conference game on Friday night.

          They share the lead with Norwalk St. Paul, who hosts Western Reserve on Saturday.

          Last week, the Cougars beat Ottawa Hills (35-10) in a non-conference game.  They would have played New London last week.

          Coach Steve Haverdill says they gutted it out for the win.  “It was a little unusual playing a non-conference game in the middle of your conference season.  Ottawa Hills made the two hour trip and were a very good football team at 4-1 and I thought our kids played well.  We made some mistakes early on.  I don’t know if it was that midseason hump or whatnot.  We corrected some things there throughout the game and ended up getting the win, which was a good win against a good program,” said Haverdill.

          Crestview (6-0,3-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, plays at South Central (2-3,0-3) on Friday night.  The Trojans lost (47-46) to Monroeville last week in conference play.

          Haverdill says South Central has the ability to score points.  “Their offense is explosive.  They can score points at will, very athletic on the outside and if you sleep on the run the Beverly kid can hurt you too with the run game.  We have our work cut out for us defensively this week, there no doubt about it,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “They are getting better every week defensively you can see them getting their athletes moving in space a little bit more.  We expect them to try and stop our run game like most teams do.  Hopefully, we can get that going and set up our pass attack as well.”

          Sometimes the best way to slow down a high scoring offense is to keep them off the field and Haverdill says that is their goal.  “We want to make sure we keep the time of possession in our favor.  That was an advantage we had in playing Western earlier in the year.  We do a pretty good job of that by keeping our offense on the field, which is another extension of our defense so to say.  We definitely want to keep their offense off the field.  The more times we are out there offensively the better off we are,” said Haverdill.

          Crestview has longtime rival Plymouth next and then St. Paul.  Haverdill says focus this week has not been an issue.  “Our kids have done a great job doing that all year.  They understand how dangerous South Central is and they are better than what their record states.  I don’t have to worry about those guys this week, their focus has been really good.  We just need to go out there and do what we’ve done all year and just play Crestview football,” he said.

 

Published 10/01/21

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Wynford Must Contain Seneca East Run Game

 

          Wynford plays at home against Seneca East in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Friday night.

          They share second place with Colonel Crawford in the conference standings a game behind Carey.

          It wasn’t so good last week for the Royals (3-3,2-1) as the were beaten (48-21) by Crawford.

          Coach Gabe Helbert says they made too many mistakes against a very good team.  “We were playing a very good football team in Colonel Crawford that has explosive athletes all over the field and have the ability to score very quickly.  We had to try and match that and we weren’t able to do that.  They did a nice job of creating the turnover after the onside kick.  We had a great opportunity to cut it to seven before halftime and we had a touchdown called back on a holding penalty.  We continue to break the rules of the game and get caught doing it and that’s on us.  We need to clean that up.  We had 10 penalties in that game.  A lot of pre snap penalties with lack of focus and discipline.  I have to do a better job from a coaching standpoint.  When you commit 10 penalties and have a touchdown called back, have two turnovers, it is going to be tough against any team, and it is gong to be really tough against a really good team like Colonel Crawford,” said Helbert.

          Seneca East (4-2,2-1) lost (20-14) to Mohawk last week when the Warriors scored with less than a minute to play.

          Helbert says these are similar teams and when the Tigers play well they are very good.  “When I look at them, I see a team that is very similar to us.  They have some very good football players.  They have the ability to score quickly.  They have some talented kids.  At the same point and time, they have had some struggles.  They obviously have a very good record, but they have had some struggles like we have had.  They have had some things not go their way at times, like the Mohawk game, a tough way to finish that game,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday afternoon, “They have done a great job there for a longtime.  Coach (Ed) Phillips does an excellent job and has built a winning tradition.  Their back is good.  He can hit home runs all over the field.  The quarterback is a very hard runner, a versatile athlete, and a duel threat kid.  The work is going to be cut out for our defense.  We have to try and limit mistakes offensively.”

          Jessie Beckman is second in the conference in rushing yards (802) and quarterback Gavin Hargis (646) is third.

          Helbert says they have to put the Tigers behind the chains.  “We want to be good on first and second down.  That is easier said than done.  Their offense year in and year out is one of the best in our league and that’s the case this year.  They have one of the best rushing offenses in the league statistically.  Overall, on offense they are always very sound.  They do an excellent job of doing what they do.  So, we are going to have to be very good on first and second down.  If not, it is going to be a tough night for us,” he said.

 

Published 10/01/21

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Norwayne Focuses on Improvement

 

          Norwayne, who shares first place in the Wayne County Athletic League, entertains the Rittman Indians in a league game on Friday night.

          Both the Bobcats and Dalton are unbeaten in league games.

          Despite a slow start, Norwayne beat Northwestern (34-19) in “WCAL” action last week.

          Coach Adam Indorf says they adjusted as they got deeper into the game.  “I thought we came out flat and didn’t play really well right out of the gate the first half.  Kudos to Northwestern for keeping us off balance a little bit with the defensive adjustments they made,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “The kids responded and calmed down and came out after half and took it a play at a time and understood they needed to give their very best and 100 percent every play and it’s one play at a time.  We started grinding on them and were successful in the end.”

          Norwayne (4-2,3-0) is at home for Rittman (2-3,0-2) on Friday night.  The Indians lost (40-7) to Waynedale last week.

          Indorf says they have make sure they get better.  “Rittman is a hard nosed team.  They are going to come out and hit you.  Really this week what we did was really try and refocus on ourselves.  Focus on making sure we are doing our very best.  Each individual is doing their best each and every play to take advantage and make themselves better and increase their potential and as a whole increase the potential of the team,” he said.

          Indorf adds their goal every week is to improve as individuals and as a team and this week is on different.  “As we continue to work and strive to really make sure we are hitting our stride and increasing our potential each and every week.  It takes each individual eliminating perfunctory performances through the week is key an really making sure that matriculation towards that potential is steady and increasing day to day, rep to rep and week to week,” said Indorf.

 

Published 10/01/21

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Ontario With Big Challenge in Clear Fork

 

          Ontario heads to Clear Fork to play the Colts in a game in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference on Friday night.

          The Warriors beat Clear Fork twice in regular season games last year.

          This season, the Colts share first place in the conference with Shelby.

          It was not a good performance last week for the Warriors as they were routed by River Valley (49-14) in a “MOAC” game.

          Coach Chris Miller says from a matchup sense he likes this week better.  “When it was 49-14, not what you set out to do.  Matchup wise this week I feel a little better.  Clear Fork is a really good football team.  They are just so well coached.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for coach (Dave) Carroll and what they do, they set things up really well.  They line up in a different dang formation every week.  They always keep you guessing,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “They really make you prepare for everything.  Put the stress on you during the week, kind of stretches your time.  You have to work on a lot of stuff.  You don’t get as much tie to work on every little detail because you just have to make sure you are lined up right.  It should be fun game.  I enjoy bouncing around and solving puzzles.  Every time you play Clear Fork you have to solve that puzzle.  So, looking forward to it.”

          Ontario (2-4,0-2) plays in the valley against Clear Fork (4-2,2-0) on Friday night.  The Colts beat Galion (36-21) last week and opened play in the conference with a (41-19) win over River Valley.

          Victor Skoog, the Clear Fork quarterback, accounted for four touchdowns last week.  Miller says he stretches a defense.  “He is a nasty little player.  He likes being physical.  He gets out of the pocket and he turns into a running back.  He is a football player.  Then on the outside, they have a bunch of athletes that they spread the ball out to.  That became evident when they lined up against River Valley and played man coverage underneath and just got physical.  So, they are a physical football team.  They are good in the box they are disciplined defensively.  They do their job.  They put their bricks in the wall where they are supposed to.  They are just very well coached,” he said.

          The Colts defensive front has been solid all year and Miller says it can be difficult to get any movement up front.  “They get hands on and they do a nice job of squeezing and really play sound defense. You know what they are doing, now you have to get them off a spot.  They have always been that way.  I know they are running a different scheme this year, but their guys have always done a good job of squeezing the play and taking in somewhere different.  Where you are trying to get the ball, they are trying to take that away and they play good at the line of scrimmage, linebackers flow well, and the dbs have show the ability to cover guys down the field.  They are good over there.  We are going to have our hands full on both sides of the ball,” said Miller.

 

Published 9/30/21

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St. Paul Meets Balanced, Tough Western Reserve

 

          Norwalk St Paul, the co-leader in the Firelands Conference, will be at home Saturday night for the rival Western Reserve Roughriders.

          Western has beaten St. Paul the last two years.

          The Flyers (6-0,3-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, rallied in the late going to beat Plymouth (24-21) last Friday.

          Coach John Livengood says they made big plays and key times.  “I am real proud of the kids effort.  The kids did a great job fighting back.  We were moving the ball pretty well and playing pretty decent defense, but we weren’t able to finish some drives.  We had one come up short right before halftime.  Kind of ran out of time and went for it on fourth down instead of kicking a field goal when we were down 14-12,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday afternoon, “Gave up a touchdown early in the third quarter, but our kids kept fighting back and we were able to punch one in and cut it to 21-18.  The next series our we were able to force a fumble in our half of the field and we were able to drive that down and take it in for a score with about a minute and half, two minutes left.”

          Western Reserve (5-1,2-1) beat Mapleton (21-14) last week.  They have been playing the last two weeks without their best player in Jude Munez, who was injured in their loss to Crestview three weeks ago. 

          Livengood says they have adjusted well.  “They are a very good football team, very well coached, very well balanced, they have a nice run game, nice pass game.  Jude Munez is their quarterback and their offense is centered around him and they have had to make some adjustments.  Rhett Grose has stepped in for them and done a nice job.  They have a nice football team. Muck Grandy is a nice running back for them and they are big up front, they some big offensive and defensive linemen and are aggressive.  Ty (Stevenson) does a great job over there getting the team prepared.  We kind of expect that Jude Munez will be out on the field and playing against us this weekend,” said Livengood.

          Munez is still their rushing leader with 427 yards for the season. 

          The Western defense has been solid all season and Livengood says they have talented players in on both sides of the ball.  “Nobody is really putting up points on them.  They are doing a nice job, especially in the red zone, they really tighten down.  Again, they are big up front, they have good linebacker play, their secondary is tough, their kids fill from the safety position and they are able to lock onto with some kids, with some good skilled athletes at corner and defend the pass really well.  They are a very good football team, very balanced all of the way around at the line positions and at the skilled positions,” he said.

 

Published 9/30/21

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East Knox Has to Execute Against Northmor

 

          East Knox and Northmor, who share the Knox Morrow Athletic Conference lead with Highland, play each other on Friday night at Northmor.

          The Bulldogs (5-1,2-0) have won their last three, including a (49-10) shellacking of Mt. Gilead in conference play last week.

          Coach Cody Reese says they got off to a fast start and were able to defend the Indians pass game.  “We were really pleased with how our boys played.  We came out from the first snap.  In week’s past it seemed like we came out kind of slow.  We were firing on all cylinders coming out last week and that was a good feeling to have.  We held them on the first series and I think the second or third play from scrimmage got a fumble and the next play we end up scoring running one in from about 30 yards out.  We were just able to have intensity from the word go and physicality and that was the big difference,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday night, “They had had a lot of success throwing the ball and that was a focus of ours last week to get our defense amped up to stop the pass and for the most part they did a pretty good job.  They busted some long runs on us and there are things we need to fix there.  Overall, pleased with our execution on both sides of the ball.  We were able to run and throw the ball successfully.  Just trying to play at a high level for four quarters of football and keeping high school kids in that mindset.  We had a lot of fun last week and certainly hoping to build off that momentum with the opportunity we have with Northmor.”

          Northmor (6-0,3-0) outscored Fredericktown (40-20) last week to remain unbeaten on the season.

          Reese says they have an outstanding running game and a defense that just very fundamental.  “They have a really good run game.  Max Lower is a fantastic running back and the quarterback is a great runner and he is pretty accurate throwing the ball when he is rolling out.  They have some skilled guys on the edge that are good receivers.  They put you in some positions that are going to give us fits going into Friday night.  Defense they play in their base defense and they are solid and like to keep things in front of them.  They are just a physical team, so we have to make sure we are matching that physicality and bringing it on Friday night if we want to put ourselves in position to be successful,” said Reese.

          With Northmor’s defensive philosophy, Reese says they have to be patient and execute when they have the ball.  “It definitely shortens the field for you on offense.  Defenses do that because they want you to have more plays and make you execute and hope you are going to make a mistake at some point.  They have good athletes, so their guys are going to make plays as well.  We just have to make sure we are executing at a high level.  We have to make sure we are taking care of the football.  We can’t be turning the ball over either,” he said.

 

Published 9/30/21

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Columbian Has to be Patient

 

          In a key matchup in the Lake Division of the Sandusky Bay Conference, Tiffin Columbian plays host to the Clyde Flyers on Friday night.

          Columbian (4-2,1-0) belted Sandusky (40-13) in their first division game last week, their third straight win.

          Coach Judd Lutz says it was a tougher game than the score indicates.  “Every game within conference play is a tough game with familiar foes and atmospheres.  So, it was a tough game, we expected it.  We were able to pull away a little bit and get away with a win.  They are not easy, so we enjoyed it for a little bit and then turned the page relatively quickly and get ready for the next challenge,” he said.

          Clyde (4-2,0-1) lost a heartbreaker to Perkins (21-20) last Friday.  After scoring with :11 left, the Fliers went for two and didn’t make it.

          Lutz says Clyde has playmakers on both sides of the ball.  “It’s another really, really good Clyde team, they are tough kids notoriously.  They have a great mix of size and speed and athleticism and that is what you see on tape. A really stout defense with playmakers at different levels.  They have guys up front you have to account for, in the linebacker corps, and on the back end.  They have a couple of key playmakers at all of those levels on defense that we have to account for and make sure we get hats on and block,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Offensively, they are very multiple.  They can spread you out with their speed, athleticism and their quarterback has a great arm and is really good with his feet, but they can also go big on you and bring an extra lineman or two and try and pound it down your throat a little bit.  It’s tough preparation of both ends to get ready for a really good game.”

          The Tornadoes lead the division in passing and total offense this season, but Clyde is second in total defense, just behind Columbian.

          Lutz says they have to be patient to move the ball against a very good Clyde defense.  “You have to be able to be patient and take what there is when they give it to you, which isn’t a whole lot.  Sometimes there are things and you have to take it and it may not be in big chunks, but you have to be patient.  There will be times when maybe they will be a little more aggressive and you can get the ball down the field or have some angles maybe to get an explosive play and you have to take advantage of it because it isn’t going to be too often.  They run at the ball really, really well and they don’t stay blocked and that’s the sign of a good defense.  That is why they are tough to score against every year and this year is no different,” said Lutz.

 

Published 9/30/21

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Madison Just Needs a Little Bit

 

          Madison is becoming a better football team and now they need to take it to the next level and get in the win column.

          Their next chance comes at home Friday night against Marion Harding in non-conference play.

          They lost (20-7) to Ohio Cardinal Conference co-leader Ashland last week.

          Coach Dave Stupka says they put together a pretty solid four quarters.  “It was really the best game we have played all season.  It is no solace for not being able to win the game.  We really competed against a quality opponent.  We came up short in the fourth quarter.  Extremely proud of the way we played and it was really the best game that we played,” he said.

          Stupka says playing well is good, but the goal is to win.  “We are hard at work this week trying to fix those things that we need to fix and terms of being able to come through and get ourselves over the hump and get that “W” because we have really played good football the last two weeks, the best football since I have been here where we have been competitive against two really good teams.  We have to take it over the hump.  We have proven we can play and be competitive, we have to get it over the hump and that’s our challenge this week.  That is really what it is all about,” said Stupka.

          Madison (0-4) hosts Marion Harding (3-3) on Friday.  The Presidents lost to Shelby (38-12) in a Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference game on Friday night.

          Stupka says they do a lot of things well.  “We are really impressed with Marion.  One of the things that sticks out to me is they are a very veteran team.  I think they have 23 seniors on their team, so they have a lot of experience.  They are good size, athletic.  I’m impressed with their quarterback.  He is a pretty savvy player, pretty athletic.  Good running back and good receivers,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday afternoon, “The big thing, their receivers all catch the ball very well, they run great routes, but what has really shined out to me watching the film is their downfield blocking.  It is something that a coach notices.  They give really, really great effort blocking down field and it has led to some very big plays for them in games.  In what might be a 12 yard run turns into a 60 yard touchdown just because of the great effort and execution that they have.  Defensively, they have been very stout.  Just really impressed with them, so they are a good football team.”

 

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Wooster Needs to Continue to Grow

 

          Wooster is now in a must win situation after losing last week to West Holmes and Friday night they host Mt. Vernon in an Ohio Cardinal Conference game.

          They lost (41-37) to West Holmes last week when the Knights scored with less than :30 on the clock.  The loss dropped the Generals a game behind West Holmes and Ashland.

          Coach Austin Holter says West Holmes made the plays when it counted the most.  “It was a highly contested football game for four quarters and there at the end they were able to make a few more plays than we did.  Certainly, a tough loss for us and our program, but it gives the opportunity to kind of rally our troops and see what we are made of here and respond to a very emotional and tough loss for us.  Now, coming back home this week and playing Mt. Vernon for our homecoming, so we have a lot to play for and a lot of energy and the kids have been preparing well,” said Holter.

          Wooster (3-3,1-1) is at home for Mt. Vernon (1-5,0-2) on Friday night.  The Yellow Jackets lost last week (53-21) to Watkins Memorial in a non-conference game.

          Holter says they can’t look behind, they must look ahead.  “We have talked to our guys about that.  There were some things on Friday that I thought we did really well.  It may not show up on the scoreboard and it certainly didn’t show up in the win column, but we are a program that is continuing to get better.  So, we are going to continue to build on that.  We have to mentally put hat game behind us and focus on the task at hand and that’s the Yellow Jackets.  They are going to present a challenge to us on Friday night and we are going to be ready,” he said.

          Holter says Mt. Vernon has a tremendous player in Jonny Askew that they must contain.  “They have an extremely dynamic young man that plays just about everywhere for them.  He plays at wide receiver, he plays at running back, he is their kick returner, punt returner.  I have seen him take it to the house a couple of times on kick returns for them.  He is a young man we have to keep our eye on.  We have to rally to him from a defensive perspective and tackle him,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “From an offensive perspective we have to find ways to grow and build our run game.  We showed some really nice signs last week of that.  Our staff is working extremely hard at it.”

 

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Plymouth Tries to Rebound Against Mapleton

 

          After a heartbreaking loss to Norwalk St. Paul last week, Plymouth will try and get back to winning as they entertain Mapleton in a Firelands Conference game on Friday night.

          Last week, Plymouth led unbeaten Norwalk St. Paul (21-12) with just over six minutes to play, but gave up two scores and lost (24-21) to the Flyers.

          A fumble led to the deciding touchdown and Genders says you can’t do things like that with the game on the line.  “The kids played their hearts out.  You have a nine point lead with six and half minutes left you have to take care of the football and do those little things.  It was two good football teams getting after it.  I couldn’t be prouder of my guys.  They just made one more play they we did and that was the game,” he said.

          Plymouth (3-3,0-3) hosts Mapleton (1-4,0-2) on Friday night.  The Mounties also played well last week before losing (21-14) to Western Reserve.

          Genders says Mapleton is better than their record.  “Mapleton is a solid football team.  Like I said at the beginning of the year this conference in stacked up.  Week in and week out you could lose to anybody.  They have a nice tough non-conference schedule.  We are not staring at their record by no means.  Conference wise we have played what they have played.  They are a really well coached, good football club.  You are to be extremely disciplined.  So, it is going to be a big challenge for us,” said Genders.

          Genders says Mapleton will spread the field with a well designed run game.  “The mix it up pretty good.  The run it inside to the middle range to the sweep.  You have to be extremely disciplined with these guys because they will hit you in all levels of the field and the timing of the play action passes if you cheat one way.  It’s a solid, solid set up,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “They had it going pretty fast last year with the way they finished off the year.  I see nothing but solid play offensively, especially with the seniors in the skilled spots with (Jake) Lesco and (Beau) Galbraith and (Collin) Grundy and (Hunter) Sanders now, he is the home run hitter on their counter stuff and their linemen led by (Joe) Shoup, he is a monster.  They are a good football club.”

 

Published 9/30/21

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Seneca East Plays Wynford

 

          A couple of the second place teams in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference meet on Friday night as Seneca East is at Wynford to play the Royals.

          Both trail first place Carey by a game after losses last week.

          Mohawk scored with a less than a minute to play to beat Seneca East (20-14) last Friday.

          Coach Ed Phillips says they have to put that loss behind them.  “You can’t keep looking back or you are not going to see what’s in front of you.  We have a good game in Wynford and I think that is good for us.  It’s two programs that have had a ton of success in recent years.  It’s always been a battle here.  It is something we are really excited about and a good opportunity for us to come back and hopefully come out and play well and kind of right that wrong that we had last week,” he said.

          Seneca East (4-2,2-1) is at Wynford (3-3,2-1) on Friday night.  The Royals lost (48-21) to Colonel Crawford last week.

          Phillips looks for a competitive game.  “I think you have a lot of teams in the “N10” that are pretty similar that have different strengths and weaknesses and it comes down to matchups and playing well on that Friday night.  I think their team and our team that are a lot alike this year.  It comes down to which one comes out Friday night and plays well up front, takes care of the football.  When we have been successful this year we have played well up front and taken care of the football and when we haven’t that has been our two losses,” he told Swankopnsports.com on Wednesday evening, “It probably goes for most teams on Friday nights.  It’s a big rivalry for us and something we are excited about.  Like I said, in the “N10” you have a lot of really competitive teams and it is kind like the old “Royal Rumble” in the WWF, you have a lot of guys in the there that can throw punches and you have to see who comes out surviving.”

          Seneca East had two turnovers in the loss last week to Mohawk.

          Wynford is second in the “N10” in passing yards and Phillips says they run a very good passing game.  “They will sling it down field and they will sling it downfield a lot.  They have some guys that catch the ball really well.  It is something to see them line up and throw it as well as they do,” he said.

 

Published 9/30/21

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Clear Fork Hosts Improving Ontario

 

          Clear Fork in a share of first place with Shelby in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference plays longtime rival Ontario in a conference game at home on Friday night.

          The Colts (4-2,2-0) beat Galion (36-21) in a “MOAC” game last Friday.

          Their game plan began speculating that the Tigers were going to try and run the ball, something they have been successful doing, according to coach Dave Carroll.  “You look at their films and all of their statistics and they were 85-15 run to pass, especially in the last two games.  You rely upon more of what they do recently.  You go back to game one, game two, you look at all of that stuff, but a team as they go through a season evolves.  They evolved into a heavy running team and they were having a lot of success.  We pretty much figured that has to be our number one priority to stop the run,” he told Swankonsports.com, “You have to stop Donaldson from running the ball all over the place and #16 as well.  We knew they had thrown the ball around a little bit.  We always like to have plan A, B, and C and sometimes a D just in case.  I didn’t think with their offensive line.  Three kids that weigh 295 plus.  It is the Mayflower Moving Company up there.  I thought if our defensive line has success like we think they can going into the game, they might throw a little more.”

          Galion took the lead 14-0 and Carroll says they had to adjust and play more pass defense.  “They did try and run in the beginning, but our defensive line stemmed them and our linebackers, they did a really good job.  So, they went to the pass and had success early.  They had two touchdown passes, so it’s lets do that.  We were able to run the football and move the football.  We had some penalties that hurt us early on and we have done that throughout the season, which we really need to stop doing at some point in time.  Quit playing this catchup ball,” he said.

          Clear Fork took the lead with a touchdown early in the third quarter and Carroll says as the half went on they were able to possess the ball and force Galion into a passing mode.  “Thank goodness our kids were resilient and came back form a 14 point deficit.  It was 21-20 at halftime, but the good thing was we came out and scored.  We had a nice long drive that opening drive and we ate a lot of clock and we held them.  It kind of got into a situation where they are behind now, we’re moving the ball, I don’t want to read coach Dick’s mind, but it was like they felt pressure and needed to throw the ball a lot.  So, we were able to go into a pass mode defensively.  In the first half it was like are they going to throw it?  Are they going to run it?  Once they started throwing it we had to back off our man to man coverage a little bit and get those safeties back there and play more zone,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday evening, “We couldn’t go to an all out pass defense at that time because they could run it down your throat.  As the second half transpired.  We didn’t score a bunch.  We scored the touchdown and got ahead, but them we held the ball.  The one time we punted them down inside the five, so it kind of put them in a pressure situation where they had to throw the ball.  So, now we could play pass defense.  We could go with a three man line package and put an extra defensive back in and do some different things there and that really saved our hind ends in my opinion that are offense sustained those drives and ate clock up even though we didn’t score as much as we would have liked there.  It put them in a hurry up sense.”

          Ontario (2-4,0-2) lost to River Valley (49-14) last week.

          Carroll says they are improving, especially with quarterback Peyton Dzugan back in the lineup.  He says Dzugan is a tough player.  “They have their quarterback back.  That is devastating when right off the bat he breaks his thumb and they have to put a backup in.  It is just not the same.  It wouldn’t be the same for all of us.  Now, they have got him back and their offense looks much smoother.  They can throw the ball more and he is a good runner.  He is just a tough kid.  I remember watching him in junior high and he was a thin kid, he has put on some weight since then, but I was this kid is little, but he is tough.  He has been stating on defense and this kid comes up and hits people, he can defend the pass.  He is just a really, really good athlete.  They have him back and things are clicking much better for them.  The (Chase) Studer kid at running back runs really, really hard.  Colton Ramion in a heck of a football player.  He started for them last year,” said Carroll.

          The Clear Fork coach says Ontario is clearly improving a lot.  “They are definitely on the upswing of things in my mind just watching them.  Most of us saw them playing Lexington week one on TV.  They are a much better football team than what they were that week.  They have a lot of young kids playing.  They are kind of in a transitional year, or whatever you want to call it, but they are definitely getting better.  You can tell they are very well coached.  Coach (Chris) Miller, coach (Aaron) Eckert, those guys do a really good job,” he said.

 

Published 9/29/21

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Perkins With Big One with Bellevue

 

          Sandusky Perkins plays host to Bellevue in a huge game in the Lake Division of the Sandusky Bay Conference on Friday night.

          Both are 1-0 in the division after wins last week in their division openers.

          Perkins rallied to nip Clyde (21-20) in thriller at Clyde.  Perkins got a TD run from Collin Nemitz with 1:20 to go to take the lead and then survived as Clyde scored with :11 left, but missed a two-point conversion.

          Coach Jalen Santoro says they were able to find some rhythm late in the game.  “It was a big win and it was against a very good team.  We were down 14-0 there, but all game I felt like we were putting some drives together and moved the ball.  We had one called back early on.  That was promising for us going into the half that at least we could move the ball,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We had to wait for our moment and finally we took off there and we stared figuring out what we needed to do and got it done there and made some big plays in the fourth quarter.  It was good for our kids to be able to battle against a good team like that and battle back and come out on top.”

          Santoro was an All-Ohio quarterback at Bellevue for coach Ed Nasonti.  The Pirates lost to the Redmen (28-14) last season in Santoro’s first game against his alma mater.

          On Friday night, the Pirates (5-1,1-0), #5 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division get Bellevue (5-1,1-0), #2 in our poll, at their place.

          Santoro says Bellevue wants to run the ball.  “Bellevue is obviously a very good team.  Deegan Horn, a kid I know really well, he runs the ball really well, he is very explosive, and runs hard.  Their offensive line is a physical line.  A lot of those kids I have coached before.  They are well coached.  They are going to be tough in the trenches.  Obviously, you have to stop the quarterback from running the ball.  Everybody knows that about Bellevue, but it is easier said than done,” said Santoro.

          Nemitz (1,115) and Horn (746) are the top two rushers in the division.  Bellevue has the top rushing offense in the division.

          Santoro says they need to put the Redmen behind the chains.  “I think everybody has the same idea when they play Bellevue, but you still have to do it.  Obviously, it is a similar system from when I played to now, but again that’s easier said that done.  They have good athletes they are coached well up front and they are physical up front.  If you can get some stops on first and second down that would be huge,” he said.

 

Published 9/29/21

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Western Reserve Plays Rival St. Paul

 

          Western Reserve plays at Norwalk St. Paul on Saturday night in a crucial game in the Firelands Conference.

          Right now, the Roughriders (5-1,2-1) trail St. Paul and Crestview by a game in the standings.  They have already lost to Crestview.

          They beat Mapleton (21-14) last week to remain in contention.

          Coach Ty Stevenson says they had to grind it out.  “Mapleton, I think their record is very deceiving.  They are good up front and they have some really good skilled guys on the edge.  I thought it was a good game both ways.  I thought our kids played well, I thought their kids played well.  Luckily, we were able to get a fourth quarter score that put us up seven and our defense did a great job of holding on to get us the win,” said Stevenson.

          St. Paul (6-0,3-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, scored twice in the final six minutes to beat Plymouth (24-21) last Friday.

          Stevenson says the Flyers are going to take it right at you and be physical at the point of attack.  “They are physical like always.  They are going to come out with their straight-T or their two back with a wing and they are going to pound the football at you.  You have to be willing to stand in and absorb that and take some of those and make sure you are lined up where you need to be and you are physical and ready to play,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday afternoon, “So, that is the main thing that you do.  Coach (John) Livengood has done a great job for a long time and it going to take our best effort and hopefully we are able to put that out there and see how it goes.”

          St. Paul fullback Will Stieber has 771 yards and 11 scores this season.  Quincey Crabbs has 483 yards rushing and seven TD’s.

          Stevenson says really it is more of the same on defense.  St. Paul is going to be well disciplined and physical.  “They have run a lot of three front defense this year, typically they are more of a four front.  It is kind of the same thing on the other side of the ball.  You are not going to get them out of position.  They are going to be well schooled in where they need to be.  They are coached to make sure their kids understand what it is going to come at them on the other side of the ball.  So, they are fundamentally sound defensively and physical on that side of the ball as well,” said Stevenson.

          Western Reserve has beaten St. Paul the last two years.  Stevenson says the keys are really same as any other week.  “I don’t know if we have the secret.  It has been two great football games the last two years and we have been fortunate enough to come out on top.  This year it is the same about every week.  You can’t turn the ball over.  You have to be physical.  You have to win the line of scrimmage, take care of the ball and win on special teams.  If you are able to do those things most weeks you are able to get a victory,” he said.

 

Published 9/29/21

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Lexington Plays Unbeaten West Holmes

 

          Lexington has another tough assignment on Friday night as they play at West Holmes against the unbeaten Knights, the co-leaders in the Ohio Cardinal Conference.

          Last week, the Minutemen (2-4,1-2) lost to rival Mansfield Senior (23-14) in an “OCC” game.

          Coach Taylor Gerhardt says the hurt themselves with mistakes and you can’t do that against good football teams.  “We shot ourselves in the foot.  We made too many mistakes for a good football team like Mansfield.  They were disciplined and took advantage of our mistakes.  I thought our kids played hard.  It is hard to come out with a “W” when you are playing the team across the field as well as yourself.  It’s tough to win when you are playing two teams,” said Gerhardt.

          West Holmes (6-0,3-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, scored on a Sam Williams-Dixon TD run with :29 seconds left to beat Wooster (41-37) last Friday.

          Gerhardt says Knights record is well earned.  “What jumps off the page is they are extremely well coached and disciplined football team.  The second thing is they have the athletes to execute what they are trying to do.  They are undefeated for a reason and that’s a good football team over there,” he said.

          West Holmes also has an excellent quarterback in Noah Clark, who leads the conference in scoring passes.

          Gerhardt says their balance makes them tough to defend.  “They can do both, they can throw the ball and they can run the ball.  When you are as balanced as West Holmes is it makes it very difficult for a defense because they don’t change formations.  They don’t give you tells.  They are going to run the ball and they are going to throw the ball,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday evening, “They execute extremely well.  So, we have to be disciplined.  We have to know what our assignments are.  We have to stick to our assignments and we have to play hard.  If we play hard and we play our football we can compete, so that’s the goal.”

 

Published 9/29/21

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Turnovers Still a Problem for Norwalk

 

          Norwalk entertains Sandusky in a game in the Lake Division of the Sandusky Bay Conference on Friday night at Contactor’s Stadium inside the Whitney Athletic Complex.

          Both need a win after a slow start the season.

          Norwalk fell (14-0) to rival Bellevue in division play last week.

          Once again, coach Todd Fox says they had too many turnovers.  “We played a great football team and when you play great football teams, it seems like I have said several times this year, you can’t turn the ball over.  We had five turnovers plus the safety where we basically recovered our own fumble there.  You just can’t do it,” he told Swankpnsports.com on Tuesday night, “We didn’t punt last week.  Now, having said that a good potion of that was because Bellevue’s defense was playing well, but then again so was ours.  We held a team that was averaging 41 points a game to 14 and we gave them two of those points.”

          Norwalk (1-5,0-1) hosts Sandusky (2-4,0-1) on Friday night.  Sandusky lost (40-13) to Tiffin Columbian last week.

          Fox says this year is no different than most.  He says the Blue Streaks have athletic players capable of big plays.  “They are athletic all over the field.  I have said this before, anybody in our league can win on any night.  They have had some tough games with St. Vincent/St. Mary and Padua.  Coach (Mike) Franklin has done a nice job.  His son is the quarterback, who is a great field manager and is a duel threat that we just have to be aware of.  It is going to be another battle, just like every night for us.  We have to be mistake free,” said Fox.

          Sandusky has played some good defense at times this year and Fox says they are going to have to execute to score on them and they have to quit shooting themselves in the foot.  “The good news is we have been playing against good defenses.  They are not different than any of the ones we have played.  It is just a matter that we can’t afford to turn the ball over.  We need to take advantage of opportunities in the red zone.  From there we will see what the triple zeros are.  I still think we have a good football team here that is capable of turning things around and still contend for the “SBC” title,” he said.

 

Published 9/29/21

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Fredericktown Has to be Physical

 

          Fredericktown plays rival Highland in a Knox Morrow Athletic Conference game on Friday night.

          Highland shares the lead in the conference with Northmor and East Knox.

          Northmor beat the Freddies (40-20) last week.

          Coach William Hartley says a bad start to the game did them in.  “We had a slow start, which has been an issue for us in a couple of games this year.  That was unfortunate.  They took the opening kick back for a touchdown and two possessions later it was 13-0.  We took the kickoff back to the 19 yard-line and then we stalled out on a drive and that was a really big shift in the first half.  If we would have been able to get some points there, maybe we would have been able to hang on and close the gap a little bit more there in the first half,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday afternoon, “The second half we took the kick back for a touchdown and then we kind of settled in.  It was tough for us all night they are a very physical team and they have a really physical running attack and they were just able to hold on to the ball and go on some really long drives that just killed clock throughout the fourth quarter.”

          Fredericktown (3-3,1-2) entertains Highland (4-2,3-0) on Friday night.  The Scots beat Danville (35-13) in a “KMAC” game last week.

          Hartley says this is another physical run team they will be facing.  “Two weeks in a row we are going to be going up against a really physical running attack.  They have an outstanding sophomore running back.  He is putting up really strong numbers throughout the year.  Defensively, since they started league play they have only given up 20 points.  So, it is going to be a real challenge for us.  Hopefully, the kids are ready to do.  It is our homecoming, so that’s always special and you always want to put your best foot forward on that occasion,” he said.

          Hartley says they have shown they can be physical at times, but they have to be more consistent.  “That is definitely something we challenged the kids with after the game last week because the physical part of the game, Northmor won that.  I’m not sure that is something you can remedy in one week.  That is more of a culture thing and building the program over the years.  The kids know that is a deficit and they have to step up and just become a more physical football team, more consistently.  Sometimes we do play really well and we do step up physically and at other times not, so really it’s just building that consistency,” said Hartley.

 

Published 9/29/21

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Carey Meets Blitzing Upper Sandusky

 

          Carey, the Northern 10 Athletic Conference leader, is at Upper Sandusky to face the Rams in a conference game on Friday night.

          They took sole position of the lead last week when they walloped Bucyrus (65-0) while Wynford and Seneca East both lost.

          Coach Jonathan Mershman says they were able to get on a roll last Friday.  “Last week, I thought we came out with great intensity and we played well, especially in the first half.  I thought when our younger guys got a chance to come in and play, they played really well as well.  Bucyrus is an improving team and you can see them improvement from last year.  We were just able to take control of the game from the get go and they just weren’t able to stop that snowball effect,” said Mershman.

          Carey (5-1,3-0) visits Upper Sandusky (3-3,2-1) on Friday night.  The Rams are part of a logjam in second place a game back after rallying to beat Buckeye Central (27-16) last week.

          Mershman says Upper is a lot better than they were last year when they beat them by more than 60 points.  “Upper is a much improved team as well.  Last year, I think they had some younger guys playing and you can see now that those guys have some varsity experience.  They are going give us everything we can handle this week,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “I know on their defensive side they are going to blitz us and bring the house.  Can we handle all of their stunting and all of their stuff up front?  It’s going to be a challenge for us and we are going to have to take care of the trenches.”

          Upper leads the conference in passing yards this season.

          Blitzing creates a big play for someone and Mershman says they need to execute to ensure it is them.  “It is who executes their play.  It is going to be feast or famine.  It is one of those types of deals.  If we can’t handle then it is going to be a long night and we will be on the losing end of that snowball effect, but I’d like to be on the winning end of that,” he said.

 

Published 9/29/21

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Ashland Faces Aggressive Mansfield Senior

 

          Ashland, a co-leader in the Ohio Cardinal Conference, plays at Mansfield Senior in an “OCC” game on Friday night.

          Senior High trails Ashland and West Holmes by a game.

          The Arrows (2-4,2-0) beat Madison (20-7) last week in a conference game.

          Coach Sean Seder says it was kind of ugly, but they did enough to win.  “It wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but we joked with our kids afterward, we said if we had to win a game 2-0 we would take that.  The defense did a pretty good job.  Tip your hat to Madison, they were much improved and a pretty physical team.  They did a really good job of time of possession.  I don’t think we even had a possession in the fourth quarter.  They had the ball a good bit.  Our defense was a bend, but don’t break defense and kept them out of the end zone.  We got enough points to put away a victory.  Now, we are moving on to Mansfield Senior,” said Seder.

          Mansfield Senior (4-2,1-1), #4 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, beat Lexington (23-14) in an “OCC” game last week.

          Seder says they hang their hat of their defense.  “I think they are a really good team, they are well coached.  They are going to probably be the most aggressive, most physical team that we have seen this year. We told our kids they are like most Mansfield teams, they really hang their hat on their defense.  They are going to show us on all kinds of pressures, man coverage, quarters, two, they disguise it pretty well at times,” he said.

          Seder sys the Tygers also have some explosiveness on offense.  He says they have avoid giving the ball away.  “On offense, they have a lot of the same athletes.  The Bradley boys are all really good.  They have Aveon Grose and Brock Hill, who is a pretty good quarterback. I think he is a pretty good run threat.  So, they have some pretty good athletes.  It is just one of those teams where we told our kids we can’t give them extra chances.  This year they are averaging almost two turnovers a game on defense and they are converting a lot of those to points with pick sixes and stuff.  So, we have to play a really clean game on our side,” said Seder.

          The key for Ashland when they have the ball is to make good, quick decisions because Seder says Mansfield Senior will pressure them.  “We told our kids they are going to get some plays.  They are a good defense and they have a lot of really good skilled players out there.  Some of their guys they are going to bring on blitzes and they may just be faster than the guy we have assigned to block them.  So, we have to get the ball out quick and recognize those blitzes and identify hot routes and stuff like that,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday evening, “The other thing a defense like that does, they try and make your quarterback make bad decisions because he is under direst.  We are really focusing on making good decisions and protecting the football.  If it’s a blown up play, survive the play and have another down.  Don’t just chuck it out there and hope for the best.  When the ball is in the air, they have the guys that can take it.”

 

Published 9/28/21

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Galion Needs Consistency Against Shelby

 

          Galion plays longtime rival Shelby in a game in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference on Friday night.

          The Tigers (3-3,1-2) will be looking to play spoiler being two games behind both Shelby and Clear Fork.

          They lost (36-21) to Clear Fork last week and coach Matt Dick says they couldn’t run the ball at all and that cost them.  “It was just how the ball bounced.  We got out to a fast start.  Cooper Kent played well all night, but when you can’t do a base run play or get any type of ground game going it makes for a long night.  We got different play action passes, pop passes, like I said, I thought Cooper threw the ball well.  That base run play their stout defensive line gave us problems all night.  I think over the course of all four quarters that became a really big thing.  Hats off to Clear Fork, they played all four quarters and found a way to win,” he said.

          Shelby (5-1,3-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, dispatched of Marion Harding (38-12) despite four turnovers in the game.

          Dick says Shelby has a high octane offense and they come out and force you to stop what they do.  “They can really throw it.  They have a quarterback, two or three receivers that are just exceptional.  Defensively they play a stout 4-3 defense and it looks like they are adjusting a little more to what you are running.  So, it’s a tough task.  For us, offensively we have taken some steps each week.  Hopefully, this week we can stablish some repeatable plays.  That’s what we really talked about in (Monday’s) scouting report.  Defensively, I thought we played great at times against Clear Fork, especially late.  We gave our offense a chance to win in the fourth quarter.  I think that is all you can ask.  Hopefully, our defense can play a little better early on.  We made some adjustments at halftime that really helped us out.  Some of that is hats off to Clear Fork coming in with the good game plan,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “I’m not sure Shelby is that way.  They just kind of line up with their athletes and they do what they do and they force you to play their guys one on one in space.  I’m excited to see what our defensive coordinator and our defensive players come up with this Friday and hopefully we can take away some of that passing game.”

          Dick says they have to keep Shelby’s offense out of rhythm.  “If you mix up what you are doing on defense, I think that’s important.  Sometimes you will give them this throw and other times you with give them that throw and you make it so the offensive coordinator and the quarterback have to work for it.  If you do that, sooner or later they are going to score some points they are way to explosive to hold them that long, but on the same note if you can make them work and get a few picks and get some momentum, that’s how you beat a team like Shelby.  They are a really, really good football team.  If you want to be a good football team, you have to beat a good football team.  We have played with some good football teams, but to beat one, we haven’t quite pulled that off in the fourth quarter just yet.  This week or the next four or five weeks we have a shot to do that and that is really what we are trying to do,” said Dick.

 

Published 9/28/21

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Clyde Focused on Tiffin

 

          It is battle two in the war that is the Lake Division of the Sandusky Bay Conference as the Clyde Fliers travel to Tiffin to meet the Columbian Tornadoes on Friday night.

          Clyde lost (21-20) last week to Perkins in their opener in division play.  Perkins running Collin Nemitz, who had 194 yards on the night, scored on a TD run with 1:20 left to give the Pirates the lead (21-14), but Clyde would get a score on a pass from Jaden Cook to Andrew Kauble with 11 seconds left.  They went for two and didn’t get it.

          Coach Ryan Carter says they battled all night, but just came up short.  “Those games are great, but when you come out on the short end it is not quite as fun.  I thought we played very hard.  I thought our kids executed well.  They came in with a little different game plan and it took us a couple of quarters to figure it out, but I thought our kids battled.  We had a couple of kids that were down and I thought our backup kids came in and really battled.  They just made more plays than we did.  They are a good football team,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday afternoon, “You have to give them a ton of credit.  They have a great running back and they did a nice job of coming back.  We got up 14-0 going into the fourth quarter and they made some plays.  We scored late and went for two and it just didn’t work out for us.”

          Carter says they have to focus mentally.  “That’s tough coming off a loss like that and to boot you have to go back and play a very good team like Tiffin.  We have to put that out of our head.  We have to have a good week of practice and get ourselves ready for Friday night,” he said.

          Clyde (4-2,0-1) is at Columbian (4-2,1-0) on Friday night.  The Tornadoes blitzed Sandusky (40-13) in their division opener.  The schools share the #5 spot in the latest Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division.

          Carter says Tiffin has a number of weapons.  “They are very, very good offensively.  Two outstanding quarterbacks, a great running back and good kids up front.  They have one of the better linebackers and runners in the league in the (Brody) Conley kid.  They have athletes all over the field.  They stretch you a bunch of different ways.  We have our work cut out for us, we know that.  Like I said, we are trying to bounce back and get some of our guys healthy and try and hit this home stretch playing the best football that we can play,” said Carter.

          Columbian plays two quarterbacks a lot in Brayden Roggow (1,159 yards, 13 TD) and Logan Beaston (654 yards, 6 TD) and the Tornadoes have the most politic passing attack in the division at 302 yards per game.

          Carter says they have to prepare for and difficult to defense.  “Well, it becomes tough, you have to prep in a couple of different ways.  They are both really good and they both do some unique things.  It’s not easy and you can’t just focus on their quarterbacks because they have a great running back and some skilled receivers.  We are putting in a good week of work and try and get ourselves ready for Friday,” he said.

 

Published 9/28/21

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Lucas Focused on Getting Back on Track

 

          Lucas lost for the first time this year last week and they need to get back on the beam as they host Tiffin Calvert at Bob Wine Field on Friday night.

          They lost last week (15-0) to Canton Central Catholic and coach Scott Spitler says the Crusaders were good, but they were their own worst enemy.  “Taking nothing away from them they were a good football team like we believed they were, but we had a 0-0 halftime game.  In the first quarter we had a touchdown pass called back because of a penalty.  Then we failed to score on a fourth and goal at the two in the third quarter.  Just too many inconsistencies offensively that killed drives and had some turnovers,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday night, “You can’t do that against good football teams.  Our defense played well enough to win.  The nice thing is when you play this type of competition you are finding out now during the regular season what you need to be better at and improve on and I would rather find our now than in the post season.”

          Lucas (5-1), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, plays at home against Tiffin Calvert (3-3) of the River Division of the Sandusky Bay Conference.

          Calvert blanked Margaretta (31-0) in a division game last week.

          Spitler says the Senecas will spread you with athletes.  “They stress you in their spread offense.  I know they are leading their conference in passing offense.  They have two of the top three receivers in their conference.  Their quarterback really stresses you through the air as a thrower.  If you’re not disciplined he is going to hurt you with his legs.  They have nice size and athleticism up front.  Defensively they are very multiple, so being able to figure our what you are seeing defensively will be key,” said Spitler.

          Spitler says their goal this week is to get better as a team.  “I think the approach after last Friday night is we have to get back to playing better football and being more consistent on both sides of the football.  So, while we will prepare for them it is really about Lucas getting back on track and improving this week,” he said.

          Spitler added nobody wants to get better more than the Cubs do.  “I say it all of time there are no higher expectations of our team than what our kids have of themselves.  They were disappointed in their performance.  They took Saturday morning film very seriously with the focus of improving.  Coming right out of the gate (Monday) at practice you could tell their mind is set on getting better and making sure that Lucas is better football team this Friday,” said Spitler.

 

Published 9/28/21

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Co-Leaders Northmor and East Knox Meet

 

          Northmor and East Knox are two the leaders in the Knox Morrow Athletic Conference, Highland is the other, and the Golden Knights and Bulldogs meet on Friday night at Northmor.

          Highland plays at Fredericktown.

          Last week, Northmor exploded past the Freddies (40-20) in a conference game, scoring 20 points in the first quarter of the game.

          Coach Scott Armrose says that start was key for them.  “We were able to connect on some big plays early on, including a special teams plays, which helps.  We set the tone early.  We came out with a fast start.  We had probably our most balanced offensive game of the season,” he said.

          Running back Max Lower has 785 yards and 11 TD’s for the Golden Knights this year.

          Northmor returned the opening kick for a score last week and gave up a return for a score.  Armrose says they have hot and cold in that area all year. “It has been up and down.  We made a big play in special teams and returned the opening kick for a touchdown and then came back and gave up a big kick return.  Then gave up a kick return or a touchdown in the second half,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We do some really good things and then we have some breakdowns, so we have to continue to improve there.”

          Northmor (6-0,3-0) hosts East Knox (5-1,2-0) in “KMAC” action on Friday night.  The Bulldogs throttled Mt. Gilead (49-10) last Friday in a conference game.

          Armrose says the Bulldogs have a tremendous team.  “They are a very athletic football team.  They have a lot of team speed and they match that with some big physical kids as well.  So, it is going to be a good, physical football game,” said Armrose.

          Armrose is a former offensive line coach and he knows where games are won and lost.  “It is every week.  I know it sounds cliché, but every football game is won and lost at the point of attack,” he said.

 

Published 9/28/21

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Crawford Keeps Position

 

          Colonel Crawford remains a game behind Carey in the race in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference.

          They hammered rival Wynford (48-21) last week in conference action.

          Coach Ryan Teglovic says they were very good on both sides of the ball.  “Offensively we never punted the football, so every time we had the ball we scored.  That is a tremendous feat for a team when you play a program like Wynford.  Offensively, we were very efficient.  We rushed for about 400 yards or just shy of it.  Just felt like we were clicking pretty well there.  Defensively, we did what we needed to do.  They have some big weapons on that offensive side of the football.  We were able to at least slow them up and I felt like do some good things there.  Maybe slow down the running game and force them into throwing the football,” said Teglovic.

          Lincoln Mollenkopf ran for 253 yards last week against Wynford and he has 1,122 yards for the season.

          Teglovic says that run game has been working well all season.  “We have been able to run the ball efficiently.  We have the leading back in the league right now in Lincoln Mollenkopf.  He is averaging right around 10 yards a carry.  The offensive line has been extremely efficient in making good calls on their rules to do what we need to do there.  We have been able to pass the football as well,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday afternoon, “Kam Lohr has been very good in the pass game with over 600 yards in six games.  He has made throws when we have needed to make throws.  We will get tested this week.  Mohawk is always a good rush defense.  They play a great 3-4 scheme.  Their kids play it all of the way through and they know it and they do it very well.”

          Colonel Crawford (5-1,2-1), #4 in the Swnakonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, is at Mohawk (2-4,1-2) on Friday night.  The Warriors scored on a Garvin Barth TD run with less than a minute to play to beat Seneca East (20-14) last week.

          Teglovic says they are improving.  “That was a hug win for them against Seneca East last week.  They are starting to get healthy with the (Gavin) Barth kid back and linebacker and he is a three year starter at linebacker and he is very good there.  He is also one of their better running backs.  He has missed a couple of games here as of late and it has really hurt them when he is out.  He was back against Seneca East and I thought he had a heck of a game.  They are getting healthier overall.  Getting those young kids that they have been playing some experience.  I think they are playing their best football right now,” said Teglovic.

          A game behind Carey, having already lost to the Blue Devils, Teglovic says they have to keep winning.  “We have to take care of business every week.  There is nothing we can control with what happens with Carey, but we can control what we can control.  What we have to do is continue to go out there every week and play our best football because we want to make sure we take care of our opportunities on our end.  This is a big week for us,” he said.

 

Published 9/28/21

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Trojans Must Contain Crestview Run Game

 

          South Central hosts Firelands Conference co-leader Crestview in a conference game on Friday night.

          The Trojans (2-3,0-2) lost a heartbreaker (47-46) to Monroeville in “FC” play last Friday.  After scoring late they went for two and were stopped.

          Coach Corey Fickiesen says it was a tough loss.  “I am sure it was an exciting game for a lot people that were there, but as a coach you are just on pins and needles the whole time trying to make sure you score so you can keep up and try figure out how we can get a stop on defense.  It comes down to the end and we just didn’t get it done.  There are multiple plays here and there that you just look back and question all weekend long and I probably will for a long time.  Someone had to win and unfortunately it wasn’t us.  So, we have to get some things corrected and get ready because we play a pretty good team this week,” said Fickiesen.

          Crestview (6-0,3-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, beat Ottawa Hills (35-10) in a non-conference game on Saturday at Community Stadium in Ashland.

          Fickiesen says the Cougars have balance on offense.  “I think it would better to say what’s not good, the list would be shorter there.  They do everything well.  They run the football really well.  They like that double tight “I” and try to just get a 10 to 15 play drive and hang on to the ball and then score it at the end.  Conner Morse is unbelievable at running back.  Their guys up front do a really good job of executing the game plan.  They have some really athletic kids on the outside and when they choose to throw, they go to them and they can make a play at anytime,” he said.

          Fickiesen says Crestview plays a unique defense.  “On defense, they play that new 3-3 stack.  It is pretty difficult to make sure you get all of those guys blocked.  They will play cover zero behind it and force you to win one on one match ups.  So, there are a lot of different things we are going to have to do well.  It has to start at the beginning of the week.  We have to get some things corrected from last week.  Hopefully, be able to get better every single day and Friday night we are ready to go and we can put up a good fight,” said Fickiesen.

          Crestview has made some big pass plays, but Fickiesen says they come from play action off of their run game.  “Their pass game feeds off of their run game.  That is how any good running team is.  They will run the ball at you and then run some play action off of that,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday afternoon, “That is the thing with their play action, usually it is a big play because they run the ball so much and more affectively that you dbs feel the need to get up there and get involved in the run game and they get caught looking in the backfield.  They are not in the zone that they need to be and they hit one over the top.  They live and die though but the run game.  So, that is what you have top hone in on.  Last week, we weren’t able to stop the run very well, so we have to get that fixed.”

 

Published 9/28/21

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Hillsdale’s Job is to Eliminate the Big Play

 

          Hillsdale faces a tough challenge this week as they travel to Dalton to play the Bulldogs, who share first place with Norwayne, in a Wayne County Athletic League game on Friday night.

          The Falcons are a game behind the leaders.

          They smoked Chippewa (30-7) on Friday night in league action.

          Coach Trevor Cline says they played better on defense last week than they have all season.  “We played extremely well last week, especially our defense.  Our defense was able to stop their quarterback, who coming into the week had four straight games of 200 yards or more rushing and we were able to limit him.  That was huge for us because that was our best game of tackling this year so far this year.  When you tackle well you will be able to stop the offense most nights,” he said.

          Hillsdale (3-3,2-1) plays at Dalton (4-2,2-0) on Friday night.

          The Bulldogs blasted Smithville (40-7) in their “WCAL” game last week.

          Cline says they are blessed to have a lot of playmakers on their roster and they have experience too.  “They are one of the most talented teams in the area.  They have really good skilled position players.  Anyone of their skilled position players can turn a small play into a big play.  A lot of those guys have been playing since their sophomore year.  They had a lot of sophomores playing when they won the league championship two years ago.  Their line is physical up front on offense and defense.  They just have multiple guys that can make plays.  They are a very disciplined team.  Year in and year out that is how Dalton is,” said Cline.

          Stopping the big play is something the Falcons failed to do in a (42-7) loss to Norwayne two weeks ago.  Cline says that is a must this week.  “If we want to put ourselves in a position to be able to compete with Dalton and beat them, we are going to have to limit those big plays and make them earn every score that they get.  They toss it out to their receiver, they have an All-Ohio receiver, he was All-Ohio as a sophomore.  He is a three year starter for them,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, “They also can get the job done on the ground.  Their quarterback does a very good job running the offense.  They have multiple athletes that can make plays.  So, it’s not one guy we can key on, there are multiple guys that we will have to slow down for us to be able to slow down their offense.”

 

Published 9/27/21

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Buckeye Central Must Execute Against Bucyrus Pressure

 

          Buckeye Central needs to continue to improve this week as they play at Bucyrus in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game on Friday night.

          Last week, they clearly got better, and were ahead in the fourth quarter (16-14), but lost to Upper Sandusky (27-16) in a conference game.

          Coach Chad Jensen says that was a tough loss to take.  “That was a tough loss for us.  We had the lead in the fourth quarter.  Definitely as a coach there are some decisions that I made that I would have liked to change, taken back, done things differently, but as I told our kids in life sometimes you make a decision and go with it and you live with it and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  In this case Upper got a couple of stops and scored there in the fourth.  We will grow from it, improve, and we need to get ready for Bucyrus this week,” he said.

          Buckeye Central (2-4,0-3) is at Bucyrus (1-5,0-3) on Friday night.  The Redmen are coming off a (65-0) destruction at the hands of conference leader Carey on Friday night.

          Jensen says they have some athletes that can make some plays and on defense they are going to be aggressive.  “On offense they are going to sling it.  They have a young quarterback Malachi Bayless who can throw it and they have some guys that can catch it.  They want to throw it 30 times, but they will run it too with their running back Eddie Dagher, so they are pretty explosive on offense.  Defensively, they are really aggressive.  Their line gets off the ball and their linebackers flow pretty well,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, “They are going to be excited to play us.  We were able to beat them last year and end our losing streak.  So, they are definitely going to remember that.  It’s their homecoming, so we are definitely going to have to bring our best effort again this week.”

          Execution is going to be the key for the Bucks.  Jensen says Bucyrus is going to come at them and they are going to have to handle that.  “We really improved from when we played Wynford two weeks ago, that was a disaster.  This past week against Upper we improved so much.  We challenged our kids to execute better.  That is really what we worked on last week and they did.  They accepted the challenge and played well enough to win and unfortunately we didn’t, but this week is the same thing.  We have to execute, we have to continue that improvement because that is going to be the key.  Bucyrus is a big play offense and a big play defense.  For us to succeed against them we will have to execute consistently,” said Jensen.

 

Published 9/27/21

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Lexington Plays Explosive Mansfield Senior

 

          Lexington and Mansfield Senior, both a game back in the “OCC” race, face off at Lexington in an Ohio Cardinal Conference game on Friday night.

          The loser of the game falls out of the conference race.

          It was a bad second quarter last week that cost the Minutemen as they gave up 24 points in the second quarter and lost (38-14) at Wooster in a conference game.

          Coach Taylor Gerhardt says he did not have the team prepared, but as team, they need to learn from that experience going forward.  “Take away 24 points in five minutes in the second quarter it’s a different football game.  That’s on me as a coach,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday afternoon, “If we have that kind of breakdown in is just not an individual force to look at, you have to look at everything because we are certainly a better football team than that.  But, it happened, we have to learn from it and move forward.”

          Lexington (2-3,1-1) hosts rival Mansfield Senior (3-2,0-1) on Friday night in a game that dates back to the late 1980’s with the formation of the then Ohio Heartland Conference.  The Tygers have dominated the recent match ups in winning seven of the last 10 games.  The Minutemen won in 2011, 2016 and 2018.

          The Tygers have lost their last two games.  Last week, Tiffin Columbian downed them (40-27) in a non-conference game and in their opening “OCC” contest two weeks ago they lost (20-17) to unbeaten West Holmes.

          Gerhardt says Senior High makes big plays.  “They are explosive.  They certainly have the capacity for the big play on both sides of the ball.  Their defense is certainly the strong part of that team.  They come up with big plays, they will score, they will get big takeaways, and give their offense the opportunity to score on a short field,” he said.

          Two of Mansfield Senior’s scores last week came on interception returns.

          Gerhardt says to be successful and have a chance to win Friday night, they must play more consistent football.  “I think consistency is the key.  We have to be consistent in what we do.  That is the things that has really plagued through the first half of this season is game consistency.  So, we have got to focus on doing what we do and doing it consistently even when there is a big play or we make a mistake.  We have to get back and get focused and play the play in front of us,” said Gerhardt.

 

Published 9/24/21

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