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  Joining us this morning on “Sports Saturday” are HS Football coaches Todd Fox of Norwalk, Scott Spitler of Lucas, Doug Haas of Wooster, Robert Mahaney of Mapleton and Judd Lutz of Tiffin Columbian. Pieces from Friday night with Brent Konkle of Mohawk, Gabe Helbert of Wynford and Scott Valentine of Ashland. Crestview volleyball coach Jody Ritchey. Plus, our regular guests Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports on the Browns and Indians and Kevin Noon, publisher of buckeyegrove.com, on Ohio State and Tulane. The show runs from 10 AM to 1 PM on www.swankonsports.com  
   

Point of Attack Big in Wynford vs. Colonel Crawford Game

Click here to listen to an interview with coach Gabe Helbert

Wynford hosts longtime rival Colonel Crawford in a key Northern 10 Athletic Conference matchup on Friday night.

These are the two most consistent programs in the years of the “N10” and have had some great games going back to the final years of the old North Central Conference.

Wynford has never lost an “N10” football game.

Last week, the Royals beat Buckeye Central (34-0) and coach Gabe Helbert says they put some things together on offense. “I thought we did some positive things from an offensive standpoint. We overcame some adversity. We had a lot of tough situations on first down where we kind of got off schedule with some penalties and mistakes we had made. I guess it allowed our kids to be challenged from a standpoint of overcoming a little of that adversity. At the same point and time there are still a lot of areas for improvement on offense and all phases of the game,” he said.

Games like this one are the ones you want to be involved in, according to Helbert. “They are the games that certainly the fans love and the excitement and tension is a little bit higher and what is at stake is a little bit higher, but the competitive nature of if makes it fun and makes it exciting. We know each other’s kids because of the proximity to Colonel Crawford and the familiarity and the rivalry between the two schools. It is certainly a fun game, but it is going to be a challenge for us,” he added.

Wynford (3-1,1-0) matches records with Colonel Crawford (3-1,1-0) on Friday night. The Eagles smashed Upper Sandusky (49-6) last week, so they are coming in with some momentum too.

Helbert says they are experienced and talented. “Well, there is a lot of good about them. Number one, they have a veteran group a really nice set of offensive and defensive linemen. Their defense returns a lot of starters from last year’s team. I think 10 of 11 starters are seniors, which is always nice to have. They are skilled too, they are big and skilled and when you have that combination it makes you a very dangerous team,” said Helbert.

Colonel Crawford’s Dylan Kinsely is the second leading rusher in the league with 456 yards and five TD’s, but Helbert says the Eagles are balanced on offense. “From an offensive standpoint they are balanced. They run the ball very hard. I think the Kinsely kid does a really nice job running the football. The quarterback distributes the ball. The receivers on the outside do a good job as well as their tight end. They are dangerous and they will be a heck of a challenge for our team,” he said.

When it comes to keys, Helbert says the biggest is controlling the line of scrimmage. “When you play big games and you play teams that first of all want to run the football we have to try and establish the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. That will kind of be the struggle all night who is going to be able to establish and control the line of scrimmage, so that is the biggest key,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “In our style of football and their style of football that is going to determine a lot. Number two, is just protecting the ball. We have to protect it and not give their offense second opportunities. For us overall at the end of it, it is going to be execution. How well do we execute the game plan? How well do our kids execute their individual battles on every play?”

Published 9/21/18

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Norwalk and Shelby Meet for the Last Time?

Click here to listen to an interview with coach Todd Fox

When Norwalk and Shelby played for the first time on football field in was the time of the “Great Gatsby” and “Silent Cal” Coolidge was the President, it was the roaring 20’s and football was just beginning.

It’s a much different game now as the Truckers and Whippets meet for perhaps the final time at Whitney Field in Norwalk on Friday night in what shapes up as a pretty good game.

Last week, Norwalk hammered previously unbeaten Edison (35-0) in a crossover game in the Sandusky Bay Conference.

Norwalk coach Todd Fox says they played really well last week, but he knows they can be better. “We felt good, but we reviewed film we saw a lot of places we could get better. We did feel good about the way we played. We need to continue to build off that. We have to look beyond it because it doesn’t get any easier, especially with the Whippets coming to town,” he said.

Meanwhile, Shelby (3-1), #5 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, had their 18 game regular season win streak snapped by Bellevue (45-28) at BAF.

Fox says football fans, the good ones, knew last week was going to be a battle and so did the Whippets. “It was a great matchup for them last week too. The Bellevue Redmen may have had three losses, but coach Nasonti had them playing the best of the best the first three games, so I know coach Will probably knew going in it was going to be a dogfight and they came up on the short end of the stick, but what we saw in the Whippets is they just kept fighting. That is what we preached to our kids all week is we have to be ready to go the fight and keep fighting,” said Fox.

Bellevue was able to stuff the Shelby running game last week, but Fox knows the Whippets are loaded with athletes. “They have a great quarterback. Albert is a great quarterback. The Fisher boy is a great running back. There is no doubt in my mind in their repartee they have a running game. Bellevue did shut that down, but in other games they did run the ball pretty well,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “I know they are not going to abandon the pass. We prepare on the things we can control. We work on our run defense and work on our pass defense weekly and hopefully that is good enough for this Friday night.”

Fox says they look forward, thunderstorms permitting, to that match with the Whippets. “Shelby and Norwalk have played 92 years in a row. This is the last time if the foreseeable future. Hopefully we are climbing up that latter and they have been on top. We had a great atmosphere last week and we are excited by this week,” he said.

Published 9/21/18

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Wooster in for a Battle with Lexington

Click here to listen to an interview with coach Doug Haas

Wooster won its opening game in the Ohio Cardinal Conference at Madison and now they hit the road for Lexington Friday night in week two of the conference schedule.

The win last week was due to some improved play says Wooster coach Doug Haas, but he says they still have to get better if they expect to win this week. “We were able to play better defense, which was something I guess we had struggled with the previous two weeks. We were able to get better and clamp down a little bit more from a defensive perspective. We did some good things on the offensive side of the ball, although we still had a turnover and whatnot. Those are things we have to shore up going into the Lexington game. That is always a focus for us, ball security. So, there were some good things there from a special teams standpoint we were able to do what we wanted to do and maybe a learn a few things about us. We will continue to grow and get better. The kids have had a good week and looking forward to going on Friday night against Lex,” said Haas.

Offensively, the Generals have some playmakers and they were able to get things going a little bit last week and Haas hopes that continues. “The Dover game we could just never get any kind of rhythm and that really kind of affected us. We were able to get into a pretty good rhythm against Madison and certainly is always helpful. We will need to do more of the same against a pretty stout Lexington defense. It is going to be a tremendous challenge, but one I know are kids are really excited for from the standpoint of just seeing what they can do against that healthy competition,” he said.

Wooster (2-2,1-0) plays at Lexington (1-3,1-0) in an “OCC” game on Friday night. The Minutemen stomped on Mt. Vernon (38-0) last week for their first win.

Haas says that win shouldn’t surprise anyone who watched the Minutemen play the first three weeks on the season. “You watch the film of the games prior and they came out on the wrong end of the stick, but they were going toe to toe with Shelby. You look at their scores and they have been in the games it is just a matter of getting over the hump in those close games. None of us from a team standpoint have been tested one way or the other come out on top. Lex has been down to the wire several times and just hasn’t managed to get over the hump whereas we have kind of have been in that same boat where we have been in close games and just haven’t gotten over the humps,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “So, it is going to be a real battle of wills and if it gets down to that close game it’s going to be who is going to make the least mistakes and capitalize on the opportunities and take advantage of them and we hope that it is us.”

Defensively, Lexington was very good last week and Haas says without question they have to know where Ohio State recruit Cade Stover is at all times. “Certainly, Cade Stover is a difference maker. He is a guy that they are doing a really good job in terms of moving around and putting in different spots. He is a tremendous tackler. So, you have got to know where he is at and make sure you try and control him a little bit. That is easier said than done, that is for sure,” he said.

Published 9/21/18

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St. Paul Must Match Plymouth’s Physical Play

Click here to listen to an interview with coach John Livengood

Norwalk St. Paul takes a 40 game Firelands Conference win streak to Plymouth on Friday night to take on the Big Red in a Firelands Conference game.

After losing to Tiffin Calvert (33-14) on week two, snapping a 29 game regular season win streak, the Flyers responded by crushing New London (61-0) in their conference opener at Whiney Field on Saturday night.

Coach John Livengood says they had the right mental frame of mind for the game against the Wildcats. “The kids responded well. There were a lot of things watching the Calvert tape that we had to get better at. When you play a great football team like that with a lot of speed and well coached a lot of those things show up on film. So, we worked really hard on that last week. We did a lot better with some things fundamentally, but also our mental approach to bouncing back was really good. The kids came back with the right attitude. They wanted to work hard and get better and came out and did a nice job against New London,” said Livengood.

St. Paul (3-1,1-0) has balance on offense. They have the second leading rusher in the conference in Cam Caizzo with 540 yards and nine scores and the third leading passer in the Firelands in Jake Griffin with 637 yards and seven TD’s and only one interception. A lot of their passing comes off play action when teams are committed to try to stop their run game.

Livengood says a key to their success over the years is they never stop striving to get better no matter what happens the week before. “That is something that we live by here and that is getting better every week and every time you step on the field. We stress that a lot of our kids and hopefully that trend continues this week,” he said.

Plymouth (2-2,0-1) lost to South Central (22-7) last week in their first conference game.

Livengood says there is no question that Plymouth wants to be physical and run the football. “They are huge, the number one thing is they are huge. They have a big offensive line. The go foot to foot splits and they pound the football,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “That double tight, double wing and they pound the football and they have big backs led by Kade Collins and Lucas Montgomery and they love to pound the football. They are the type of team that is content getting three or four yards a crack and moving the chains and moving right down the field. It is going to be really important for us to get some stops early on.”

With the rugby style football that Plymouth runs it is different than most. Livengood says it can be difficult to prepare for, but he thinks they won’t be surprised by the physical play. “It is from the standpoint now that most teams that we see are spread. Our defense gets to go against our offense once in a while, so they are used to the physical side of things and playing the physical type of football. A lot of teams we prepare for spread you out and run the spread offense. Going to Plymouth and seeing that double tight, double wing is a little bit different and it takes a little extra time in preparation,” he said.

Published 9/21/18

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Lucas Facing Tremendous Speed

Click here to listen to an interview with coach Scott Spitler

Lucas, a division seven school, hosts division three Columbus Centennial out of the Columbus City League, in a non-conference football game at Bob Wine Field on Friday night in the beginning of a five game home stand for the Cubs.

Last week, Lucas took the two hour plus bus ride to Troy, north of Dayton, and came home with a (34-28) win over Troy Christian.

Coach Scott Spitler says that made the bus ride home seem a little shorter. “Anytime you can go on the road against an undefeated team in their house and get a victory you will take it,” he said.

Lucas had suffered its first loss of the season (36-16) to Northmor the week before and Spitler says they were committed to playing better football last week. “You just have to approach it week to week and fix and learn from the week before and hope that you are playing better ball this week,” he said.

The Centennial Stars (2-2) have been shutout twice, including last week by Columbus Northland (35-0,) but they also have two wins in which they scored more than 45 points in each game in beating Columbus West (53-6) on week two and Columbus Africentric (47-16) on week three, both of those schools are winless on the season.

Spitler says the Stars have some sprinters on their team capable of big plays. “We are going to have our hands full. They are a bigger school being D-3. Their athletes show it with a lot of speed and a lot of size. We are definitely going to have to be disciplined and play well in the open field against these guys,” he said.

Lucas beat Centennial (51-28) when they played them in C-Bus last season.

Spitler says they have to be sure tacklers because if they don’t Centennial is going to take it to the house. “As soon as I put the first film on that we got in our exchange they take the opening kickoff in the game film to the house for a touchdown and that is ability that these kids have from Centennial,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “They are just so athletic and so fast that any little crack in your defense, any misalignment, any missed tackle in the open field and it is not a big gain it’s a touchdown.”

Published 9/21/18

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Ontario on the Doorstep

Click here to listen to an interview with coach Chris Miller

Ontario is knocking on the door to be included among the elite football teams in North Central Ohio.

We will see what happens over the final six weeks of the regular season.

The Warriors beat Marion Harding (28-7) in their Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference last Friday.

Coach Chris Miller says it was a good performance on both sides of the ball and it was especially good to see the offense to get going a little bit. “We were a little more pleased last week with our offensive production. We were able to put 21 points up on the board offensively and seven defensively. I think it was a good team win. From a yardage standpoint it did look a bit lopsided. Had you judged that game just based on the stat sheet you would have thought we lost the football game. That is a testament to the defense giving us the ball on a short field and the then the offense being able to go in and punch the ball in the end zone when given those opportunities. I think we got the ball on the 35 yard line once and on the 50 another time and just kind of taking advantage those short field opportunities and scoring. That is something we haven’t been able to do in the previous weeks. So, that was a good team win,” said Miller.

In winning three of their first four people are starting to take notice of Warriors and Miller says they kids bought in right away to what they have been trying to establish. “I think they have believed since the beginning. We had a great off season. We started our mental preparation for the season way back in February. We just talked about the experience we want the kids to have and developed and spent hours on the characteristics of a good football program. What we want to be remember by and what we want to represent. We started talking about those things a long time ago. So, the buy in has been there and the season is just go out and prove that we are better than we have been. But, listen we don’t want to end the season 3-7 and in this league at any point in time anybody can beat anybody. Obviously, you have a couple of teams there that are, rightfully so based on history, up top, but we like to think we are getting better every week and we stand poised to compete each and every week we take the field. Our kids know that and hopefully this week is a step in another direction,” added Miller.

Ontario (3-1,1-0) travels to North Union (3-1,0-1) for a “MOAC” game this Friday. The Wildcats suffered their first lost when Clear Fork buried them in the fourth quarter to get a (42-14) win.

Miller knows this is an outstanding football team they will be playing on Friday. “They are good football team. They have one of the better defensive lines we have seen on film all year. The Clark kid is probably going to be a division II scholarship kid. They have a safety that moves all over the football field. Defensively they are very good. They had Clear Fork to 14 points into the fourth quarter and Clear Fork with all of that perimeter speed and skill just kind of blew it open late. I think the game got out of control and that happens with high school kids. I don’t think that score was any indication of how close that game was up until the last moments of the football game. We are going to have our hands for they are a great football team,” he said.

A win Friday would be their biggest of the season, but Miller says they have been stressing with the kids not to concentrate too much on one game and be able to see the whole picture. “We are still trying to get to that front page and I think that if we won this week that would at least put us in a conversation, but if we don’t there are going to be opportunities this year to put us back on that page. In high school sports we don’t try to emphasize too much the importance of any one win over another game. They are all extremely important to win the games that you are supposed to win and good football teams win a game or two that they are not supposed to win,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “When your program has been where we have been you are not sure which games we should win and which games we shouldn’t win. When you are the team at the beginning of the year that people circle as wins on their schedule every week is a week. We have to show up every day and get better and our kids have responded and done that and this week is an opportunity to put us in that conversation, but if it doesn’t happen we are going to have six more opportunities after that.”

Published 9/20/19

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Lexington Must Look Forward

Click here to listen to an interview with coach Taylor Gerhardt

Lexington demolished Mt. Vernon last week for their first win and this week they entertain the Wooster Generals in Ohio Cardinal Conference play.

After three straight losses to begin the season, the Minutemen hammered Mt. Vernon (38-0) in their conference opener last Friday.

Coach Taylor Gerhardt says he was not surprised by the outcome. “We finally discovered who we are. That is the kind of football I knew we could always play. It took us a while to get there. Really the impressive thing to me wasn’t the performance because I knew we had it in us,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “The most impressive thing was the perseverance that the kids showed through the 0-3 start to keep fighting and being rewarded by playing the way I knew they could.”

However, despite the satisfaction of that first win, Gerhardt says they have to look forward and know they always must improve. “I am a man of the 80’s and I always asked the kids if they know who Janet Jackson was? Half of them don’t know. I always tell them to look up a song “What Have You Done for Me Lately” and that is the kind of attitude that we have to have. It was great that we won, but we have another conference opponent coming into town and they want take away what we want to have and that’s another win,” said Gerhardt.

Lexington (1-3,1-0) is at home for Wooster (2-2,1-0) in conference play this week. The Generals broke their own two game losing streak with a (35-3) thumping of the Madison Rams last week.

Gerhardt says the Generals are loaded with playmakers again. “Their quarterback is a playmaker. They have got a big receiver. A big middle linebacker that runs the ball for them. Wooster always has players like that that can change a game. So, we have to be a disciplined football team and play inspired football to challenge them,” he said.

Wooster always has the ability to get back in a game and Gerhardt says they have to play a full 48 minutes if they expect to win on Friday. “Last time I checked it takes four quarters to finish a game and anything can happen inside those four quarters. We talk all of the time about finishing and that is certainly something you have to do against Wooster,” he said.

Published 9/20/19

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Seneca East Battles Mohawk

Click here to listen to an interview with coach Ed Phillips

Two teams with their eyes on a Northern 10 Athletic Conference lock horns on Friday night as Seneca East is at Mohawk.

Seneca East probably throws the ball a little more and Mohawk might be a little deeper at running back, but both are very good on defense, so it should be an outstanding matchup.

Last week, Seneca East struggled a little in the first half, but they went on to belt Bucyrus (47-13) in their conference opener last week.

Coach Ed Phillips says they hurt themselves a little bit early in the game. “Give them credit they kind of came out and played well and did some nice things in the first half. We had a turnover in the first quarter and had some penalties. We only ran three plays in the first quarter. The second quarter we kind of got on track and we really took off in the third quarter and played very well,” he said.

Trailing and facing some adversity last week and the responding to it was a good thing for the Tigers, according to Phillips. “If you go through something like that is good, it is not a bad thing. It was a weird day too on top of that we had the day off because of fog. You always worry about stuff like that, but the good thing is we went into the locker room and we made a couple of adjustments and did a couple things different in the second half,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “In the first half with a couple of things we were doing we were kind of messing with. We didn’t like them, so we switched around in the second half. It helped a lot and we kind of turned our kids loose and had some fun in the second half.”

Seneca East (4-0,1-0), #1 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, is at Mohawk (4-0,1-0), #4 in the poll, on Friday night. The Warriors beat Carey (35-14) in their first conference game.

Phillips says Mohawk is just good all over. “They are a lot like us they are balanced, they run the ball really well, they are good up front, they have a good quarterback and some good backs and receivers. They spread you out offensively just like us. They are very sound defensively they have good guys up front and a good secondary. They are a really balanced, good football team in all areas,” said Phillips.

Both schools have really gotten better over the last few years and Phillips says this has developed into a little rivalry. “It’s a great rivalry right now. I think they look forward to it and we look forward to it. It is a neat thing because our programs have kind of grown and improved together and are both very well respected. We are proud of it on our end and they should proud of it on their end too,” he said.

Published 9/20/19

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Ashland Must Contend with Mt. Vernon Speed

Click here to listen to an interview with coach Scott Valentine

Ashland, the defending co-champion of the Ohio Cardinal Conference, begins defense of that title on Friday night as they host Mt. Vernon at Community Stadium.

After losing on week three to Tiffin Columbian (31-28) the Arrows blasted Oberlin Firelands (48-6) last Friday.

Coach Scott Valentine says they played well in all phases of the game. “I was excited about our kid’s effort and how they came out and were ready to play and bouncing back after the week before. In all three phases of the game I thought we did a good job,” he said.

When you lose a game, Valentine says the most important thing is to handle that mentally and he feels his kids did that last week. “It’s the mental part more than anything. It’s how they are feeling. The confidence is shaken a little bit because they got beat. You have to make sure you do the little things right and that was our focus. I thought our kids did a good job with that,” said Valentine.

Ashland (3-1,0-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, is at home for Mt. Vernon (2-2,0-1) on Friday night. The Yellow Jackets were waxed (38-0) by Lexington in their conference opener last week.

Valentine says a little surprised by that score and he knows Mt. Vernon will bounce back just like their kids did last week. “They are definitely a good football team. I was shocked when I heard the score, not shocked just kind of surprised because I thought it would be a closer game,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “I think Lexington got some big plays on them and things kind of snowballed. There is no doubt that we have to be ready to go and play four quarters of football this week.”

When he looks at Mt. Vernon on tape, Valentine says the Yellow Jackets show a lot of speed on both sides of the ball. “I think they have good overall team speed. I think defensively they run to the football. Offensively they make some big plays with the speed they have. That is something we are going to have to contend with,” he said.

Published 9/20/19

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Run Defense Important for Highland

Click here to listen to an interview with coach Chad Carpenter

Highland tries to stretch its winning streak to four as the Scots are at home for Centerburg in a Knox Morrow Athletic Conference game on Friday night.

They won at a place where it isn’t easy to win last week, Danville, beating the Blue Devils (50-27) in their conference opener.

Coach Chad Carpenter says they were able to take advantage of some opportunities. “We were able to get some good field positions and it seemed like we were able to capitalize. To be honest the game was a lot closer than the final score. It is great when you can come out of Danville with a win and we were able to do that,” he said.

The Scots have an outstanding runner attack and Carpenter says that includes a number of different backs. “We can give them rest and we can move them around to different positions as well. They are all interchangeable. We try to move them around so we are not predictable.” He told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “It is a great thing that we have. They are able to stay fresh throughout the game and get breaks when they need it. We try to wear people down.”

Highland (3-1,1-0) hosts Centerburg (3-1,1-0) in a key early season matchup in the “KMAC” this week. The Trojans beat Cardington (35-7) last week. They have only allowed one score in their last eight quarters.

Carpenter says on offense they like to spread the field so they can create some lanes for their running game. “They are a very good football team. They are a younger team that plays really hard. They do a great job of spreading you out so they can try and run against you. That is going to be a challenge for us this week. Defensively, they line up and get after it and really run to the ball well. We are going to have our hands full again,” said Carpenter.

Against teams like this Carpenter says you have to stay home and that is what they have been telling their kids. “Everybody has a job out there and you can’t have any breakdowns. A lot of times you are sort of counting on one guy to make a play. We have to be sound tacklers and do our job, our 1/11 th,” said Carpenter.

Published 9/20/19

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Columbian Continues to Get Better

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Tiffin Columbian continues to look like they have turned it around this season as they have now won three of their first four.

Last week, the Tornadoes beat Toledo Start (28-14) in a non-conference game.

Coach Judd Lutz says their defense was really outstanding. “I felt like we dominated defensively. We created a bunch of turnovers and tackles for loss. Their two scores came, one of a big play where we were right there for a tackle and missed it and he got lose and another one where we actually created a turnover on a fourth down, but they stripped us of the interception and created a short field for them and they scored. The score doesn’t depict how we played, but overall we will take the win and move on. We have to turn the page and move on to Vermilion,” he said.

When it comes to improvement, Lutz says it has happened in all aspects of the game. “We have made a tremendous amount of growth in most areas. I think we are playing really well defensively, tackling well in space, getting off blocks, our defensive line is creating some havoc for offensive lines, the linebacker corps and secondary are playing really well,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Then offensively it is no different every game different guys have stepped up, quarterback play has been really well, Chase Frankhouser has done a great job of making plays with his feet and his arm, the running game and passing game are really complementing each other. It is a lot of small things that has stacked up some far.”

Tiffin Columbian (3-1) hosts Vermilion (2-2) on Friday night. It has been a tough last two weeks for the Sailors with injuries and they lost (38-7) to Perkins last Friday.

Lutz says hey are trying to find themselves again. “They are coming into this game off kind of tough game last week against Sandusky Perkins. They did some things that didn’t give themselves a chance to do real well. They turned the ball over and did some things they haven’t done the first three weeks. They lost a really good quarterback that was a great player for them, which you hate to see, so they are kind of finding themselves offensively. They have some tremendously good players, who are very capable of making some big plays. We are prepared offensively, defensively for a really good team and hope for a win,” he said.

With the injuries there is some mystery to what Vermilion might be like on offense. Lutz says they have to be ready for a lot of things. “They have an athletic kid out at wide receiver that they want to get the ball to for sure and when you put him at quarterback it tough to maybe throw the ball, so last week they featured a different kid at quarterback and didn’t get much of a chance with some of the stuff that happened to him. We are expecting a little bit maybe of both, but we will see. We expect a different team than we saw last week form them offensively. Defensively, they have some good players on that side of the ball. They do some different things with their defensive line changing from a three man front to a four man front and their blitzes and coverages behind it. We have to prepare for that. Overall, we are ready to go. We have had a good week of practice and we are anxious to go on Friday,” said Lutz.

Published 9/20/19

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Better Execution for Monroeville

Click here to listen to an interview with coach Scott Stacher

Monroeville has to keep from hurting itself, if they can they can be a pretty good football team.

They host the South Central Trojans in a Firelands Conference game at Marsh Field on Friday night.

Last week, they gave up four scores in the first quarter and lost to Mapleton (44-22) in a conference game.

Coach Scott Stacher says they just made too many mistakes. “They scored first, but we answered right back on a kickoff return. We made some mistakes, we had three fumbles and a pick and got two touchdowns called back, so you make that many mistakes and open that door that wide it is just tough to win football games,” said Stacher.

He added they just have work in practice to clean things up. He says they have to be sharper. “It is an execution thing. In a lot of cases hats off to Mapleton. I mean they executed better than we did,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Pharmer is one of the best, if not the best, we have seen in the five years I have been here. We have a big game coming up with South Central on Friday night.”

Monroeville (2-2,0-1) hosts South Central (4-0,1-0) on Friday night. The Trojans stuffed Plymouth (22-7) in their conference opener and are off to their best start since 1982.

Stacher says the Trojans are going to come into Marsh Field pumped up. “Again, we are going to have to take care of business. We are going to have to execute better than they are. They have learned how to win, they are 4-0. They are coming in riding pretty high and ranked pretty high in the regional and I think 12 th in the state,” said Stacher.

The Eagles have been inconsistent this year. Stacher believes if they play the way they can they have a good chance to win. “It depends on what Monroeville team shows up. If we show up like we did against Margaretta and Calvert we will be okay. If we let things get to us and we don’t execute well we will find ourselves again on the losing end. We will have to bring it Friday night in order to come up with a conference win,” he said.

Published 9/20/19

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Clear Fork Doing a lot of Good Things

Clear Fork has won its last 14 regular season games, that is the second longest streak in our coverage area, only Sandusky has won more.

They play at Buckeye Valley in a Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference game on Friday night.

Last Friday, they turned a 14-14 third quarter tie into a 42-14 rout of previously unbeaten North Union.

Coach Dave Carroll says his kids responded well to the challenge. “They were definitely a tough group of kids down there at North Union and very well coached. We kind of suspected what we got. That it was going to be a dogfight. Our kids, I think they expected that. When you don’t expect it is when you get in trouble when it actually happens. Our kids knew they were a good football team and they are going to play hard. Our kids responded just like you want them to,” he said.

When you are having as good a season as the Colts are there are many things they are doing well, but there are a couple areas that has gotten the coach’s attention due to their somewhat pleasantly surprising play.

Carroll says one is the defensive backfield. “I would probably say our secondary because we thought maybe one sophomore would get some playing time there, but we actually have two sophomores that are starting full time. I believe playing in the secondary in today’s world of football, now back when I played no, those guys were back there taking pictures and once in a while they would have to defend a pass and help tackle, but today’s world of spread and pass, pass, pass, and different coverages and so forth, it is one the hardest jobs that there is in football. I’m surprised that those guys are hanging in there and doing a good job. We have given up a few yards, but part of that is the way we play our defense. We play a lot of man to man and put those guys on an island,” said Carroll.

The coach also pointed to the play of one his middle linebackers on a defense that has only given up nine points a game. “The other one is, especially last week, our inside linebacker play. Losing a first team All-Ohio kid in Jacob Bailey, was tough to replace. Tacoma Moore has been filing in there. He is a junior, that was actually an outside linebacker the last two years and we were thinking that was were he was going to end up playing. We had another kid that was going to be an inside linebacker that wasn’t able to play this year, so he got stuck in there. He is kind of a thin kid, but man he is playing really well and against a team like North Union who is wing-T and running the trap and running off tackle he had a really, really nice game against them. So, pleasantly surprised there as well,” said Carroll.

Clear Fork (4-0,1-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, plays at Buckeye Valley (1-3,1-0) in an “MOAC” game this week. The Barons won their first game of the season last week in beating River Valley (8-6) on Friday.

Buckeye Valley’s defense has been very good this year only once giving up more than three scores in a game and that came in a week two loss to (42-28) to Big Walnut. Carroll says the Barons will throw a lot at them. “They are huge. I don’t know what they have in the water down there, North Union the same way. Buckeye Valley not only do they get nice size, body weight kids, but they are 6’2”, 6’3”, 6’6”. I wish they would send some of those genes up this way, so we could get a few more of those 6’5” type kids. I am very concerned defensively because they are doing a lot more than they did last year. They were very good last and we had trouble, I just got done watching last year’s film, and we really struggled at the beginning of that football game,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “They kind of shut us down it was punt, punt, punt. This year they have added to it they will go from a four man line to a five man line to a three man line with different coverages they will go man to man, cover 3, cover 4. They are blitzing a lot, which is always tough for high school kids up front to pick up. So, we have our work cut out for us offensively.”

Trent Davies, the leading rusher in the conference in 2017, does not return for the Barons, but quarterback Grant Owens does and Carroll calls him a threat. “Offensively that back, last year going into our game he had 750 yards. Obviously, he is not there, he was a senior. Their quarterback is back and he is very good. He as one of the leading passers last year in the league. They definitely lost some pretty good players from last year’s bunch on their offense,” he said.

Published 9/19/18

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Big Plays Expected from Mansfield Senior and Maple Heights

Mansfield Senior takes a break from Ohio Cardinal Conference play to entertain Maple Heights for a non-conference game on Friday night at Arlin Field.

Last week, West Holmes downed the Tygers (35-20) on the opening week of play in the “OCC.”

Assistant coach Sean Adams says they battled, but they had too many negative plays. “We got off the bus and spotted them 14 points. It was 7-0 and we had a nice 80 yard drive we get down to the one-yard-line and get a false start and made it fourth and six instead of fourth and one. So, we try a field goal and the field goal get blocked. That was a 14 point swing because they get the ball back and score another touchdown. Right off the bat it is 14-0, but we battled. We got a nice drive coming out of the second half that made it 22-20 and we go for two and mess the snap up. It was just one of those nights when we needed to be fully disciplined and we just didn’t execute in all three phases at the same time,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We gave up a boatload of yards, but I was proud of them. Tyler Gross, they running screens on us all night, peeled back an intercepted one, one of our defensive linemen. We got another interception from Angelo Gross. We gave ourselves opportunities to score and score big in this game and just our lack of discipline really, really hurt us.”

Mansfield Senior (2-2) plays host to Maple Heights (4-0) in a non-league matchup on Friday. The Mustangs overwhelmed University School (70-11) last week.

Adams says there is no doubt they have playmakers. “They are very, very athletic. We had a fun game with them last year up there at Maple Heights. They have a great school and a great stadium. They have a new coach in Shaq Washington. He was their quarterback when I believe they won the state championship (in 2010.) He is now the head coach. Watching them offensively it is like who has the pen in their hand last. He does a great job of putting his kids into position to do on the field what the defense is giving them and then the kids go out and execute. They have great playmakers, number 8 is their big stud, he has already committed to Kent State, 13, number 4 is a little guy, but he is quick as can be. The quarterback is also another little guy, but he is feisty and he hangs tough. He just gets the balls out to those receivers and lets them make plays,” said Adams.

This game has all of the makings of a shootout. Adams both sides kind of want to do the same thing. “I think it is going to 48 minutes of big plays. They can strike several different ways. I didn’t even mention the running back. He is a big, strong kid. They run a nice zone. Basically, we are going to get the ball out in space and let our guys do their thing. Last year, University School pretty much manhandled Maple Heights and this year the tables are turned and they score 70 on them. It looks like a totally different team. Usually it is the Tygers with this big play capability. We are getting a little taste of our own medicine. We still have some guys that are explosive on our side. So, it is going to be a fun game,” he said.

Published 9/19/18

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Powers Mohawk and Seneca East Meet in the “N10”

Two of best teams in North Central Ohio face off in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference game Friday night as Mohawk is at home for Seneca East.

Both are unbeaten on the season through four games.

The Warriors (4-0,1-0), #4 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, beat rival Carey last week (35-14,) scoring three times after the Blue Devils tied it in the third quarter.

Coach Brent Konkle says it was a well played second half by his kids. “I think we played well the entire game and I think we stepped it up starting the second half. They scored on us early in the second half. We clamped down defensively and we righted the ship and got things moving in the direction we wanted,” he said.

Seneca East (4-0,1-0), #1 in our poll’s small school division, led by just one at the half, but they blasted Bucyrus (47-13) in their conference opener.

Konkle says they balanced on offense and aggressive on defense. “They are good. I think they are probably the most athletic team in our league. They were one of the top notch team teams at the beginning of the season. It’s on the calendar. They are strong offensively. They show you a lot of passing, they show you a lot of running, they put their athletes in space. Defensively, they are very aggressive, they like to bring pressure. All around they are just very, very athletic,” said Konkle.

Blane Swartzmiller leads the “N10” in rushing yards this season with 623 and he has nine TD’s. Konkle says they have to contain the running game. “We have to control the running game. I think the running game is the secret to every football game in high school. If you can control somebody’s running game. Some team’s like to pass more. We want to put them in the direction that they have to throw the ball,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “You know Seneca East is going to throw. (Chase) Foos is supposed to be back, he is their quarterback, he has been out since week two, but I know he is going to be back. They are going to be ready to be aggressive.”

Konkle expects Seneca East to blitz a lot and he believes they will be able to pick it up. “We have seen some pressure this year. Carey is very aggressive, Gibsonburg was aggressive. I think at this point we are little more experienced. We have some really good things on film as far as making corrections and stuff. They are very aggressive and that is their strength on defense. When you are aggressive you live by it and you die by it. Hopefully we win some of those battles,” he said.

Published 9/19/18

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Northmor Has to Stop Run Again

Northmor travels to Danville to face the tradition rich Blue Devils in a Knox Morrow Athletic Conference game on Friday night.

The Golden Knights continue to play outstanding football. They shutout Fredericktown (32-0) in their “KMAC” opener last week.

Coach Scott Armrose says they got started with a gang and played well all night against the Freddies. “We started off with a big special teams play again. We opened the game with a kick return for a touchdown. Offensively, we weren’t sharp early, so our defense picked us up,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We had a strip sack and return for a touchdown, so we were up 14-0 before we got our offense going. I am very pleased with all phases of our game right now. Special teams continue to make big plays and our defense has gotten better every week.”

Northmor has turned its fortunes around the last two years under Armrose, a Northmor grad and former assistant coach at Colonel Crawford. He says they know people are circling them on their schedule. “We are going to get everyone’s best effort, we know that, and that’s the way we want it. We are excited to be a team that people are looking out for now. That is why we have to continue to try and get better every week,” he said.

Northmor (4-0,1-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, takes off for Danville (0-4,0-1) for a “KMAC” game on Friday night. The Blue Devils lost to Highland (50-27) in their opener in the conference last week.

Armrose says the Blue Devils are much better than 0-4. “They sure don’t look like an 0-4 team on film. You see them play and they have athletes everywhere. They have good team speed. We have to play a very good football game to beat them, we know that,” said Armrose.

Traditionally over the last decade, Danville has featured a lot of the five wide spread offense, but Armrose says this year they are different. “We were surprised on film, I mean they will still go to five wide stuff, but they are under center with the wing-T and they are running the ball quite a bit,” he said.

The point of attack is going to be critical in this game. Armrose says they just have to keep doing what they have been doing. “Our defensive line has to continue to do the things they have been doing the last couple of weeks. We have done a good job against running teams, we have done a good job against passing teams too rushing the passer. Our defensive line and linebackers have their work cut out for them this week to stop a good running team,” said Armrose.

Published 9/19/18

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Bellevue Staying on Course

Bellevue got its first win of the season last week and now their goal is to march forward and make this another solid season for their football program.

Their next chance will be Friday night at Toledo Start in a non-conference game.

In earning their first win of the season last week, the Redmen punished longtime rival Shelby (45-28) in a game the Redmen led (33-7) in the third quarter, ending Shelby’s 18 game regular season win streak.

Coach Ed Nasonti says he never doubted his kids would have success. “I was happy to see our kids get the results. I think we have put the work in and the kids have gotten better every week. I thought we played some pretty good football we just hadn’t got the results we wanted. Our focus with the kids the whole time was just stay the course, get your blinders on, and focus on what you job is and good things will happen and we did it. Against a solid football team, I thought our kids played well to get that first win. It was nice to get the first win against Shelby and it was nice to get it at home in front of our home crowd,” said Nasonti.

Bellevue was able to limit the Shelby ground game last week and Nasonti says that was a big factor in the win. “I think when you are dealing with high school teams if you can make them throw the ball then you are going to be in good shape. They got it up in the air a few times and we had, I think, three interceptions. Our kids did a nice job running to the ball,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “They have some big play players with the Albert kid and Schwemley. They have some guys that can make some big plays. To their credit they came out swigging in the middle of the third quarter and made some plays, but our kids stayed the course and finished the game off and now we are on to week five already against an athletic Toledo Start team.”

Toledo Start (1-3) has played two schools from the “SBC” already in losing to Clyde (27-24) on week one and Tiffin Columbian (28-14) last week.

Nasonti says they have to limit those big plays the Spartans make in order to win the game. “They are kind of team here if you are going to let them make big plays on you, you are going to be in for a long night. We talked to our kids about that. We need to be disciplined. We need to do a good job of tackling in space. We need to win the line of scrimmage. If we can do those things we have a chance to be successful. If we are not going to do those things they are going to snap off big runs and get some big plays over the top in the air then we are going to be in trouble,” said Nasonti.

When it comes to Friday night, Nasonti says they are going to go with their usual plan of attack. “Our focus is as always take care of the ball and get better every day in practice. We have got a young team. Coming into week five our kids are starting to get experience. In the four games that we have played I really haven’t been displeased in the effort of our kids. I think they are trying hard, they are working well as a team, they pick each other up. They are doing all of the qualities you want out of a ballclub. As a coaching staff we are staying positive with them. Everybody is pulling together and doing their job,” he said.

Published 9/19/18

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South Central Keeping its Head on Straight

South Central has won all its games so far this season, but they understand there are six more to be played.

They stuffed Plymouth (22-7) last Friday in a Firelands Conference game.

Coach Corey Fickiesen says the defense executed its game plan very well, the offense not so much. “Our defense was very good last week. We had talked all week about being the more physical team and having more energy than them and being the first ones to attack. We knew that is what we needed to do with the offense that they run and we were able to do that. Obviously, our offense didn’t play the way we wanted to,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “Our defense pretty much scored twice. We had an interception for a touchdown and another interception that we took down to the five. Our offense had way too many penalties and kind of held us back in putting the ball in the end zone a little but more when we had opportunities. I thought overall our effort, especially on defense was pretty good.”

Fickiesen says there is starting to be some chatter about things and the success they are having, but he cautions the players about looking ahead. “Anytime you get off to a start like this people get a little bit more excited and you her a little more talk and chatter, which is good for our kids. That 4-0 start does not give us anymore points against Monroeville or it doesn’t guarantee us anything. We are glad we are in this position, but we are not okay with it, we are not satisfied or any of those terms. We are going to continue to go give our best effort every week and it has to start this week in practice because we have a tough task on Friday night,” he said.

South Central (4-0,1-0) is at Monroeville (2-2,0-1) in Firelands Conference action on Friday night at Marsh Field. The Eagles lost their conference opener to Mapleton (42-22) last week.

Fickiesen says the Eagles are going to try to run the ball on them. “They run the football a lot and they run it very well. They have some kids back there that run the football really hard. The Rogers kid is going to come at you are he is going to lower his pads. He is able to be a little bit shifty when he needs to. Their quarterback when he gets out in the open he is very difficult to slow down. They have a couple of other running backs that are very fast and shifty, but also not afraid to lower their shoulder when they need to. It is a tough task, we have to defensively be sound an be ready to stop the run,” said Fickiesen.

The South Central coach says they need to have a similar approach this week that they did last week against Plymouth. “It is very similar to what we talked about last week we have to be physical. We have to come at them and not set back and wait or they are going to run it all over us. They have shown that these last couple of weeks that they can run the football and you let them get going it can be scary,” he said.

Published 9/19/18

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Crestview has to be More Efficient

Crestview won last week in the Firelands Conference action, but they were far from happy with their execution.

They rallied to beat Western Reserve (26-19) last Friday.

Coach Dan Mager says there were a lot things they could have done better, especially on offense. “We are pretty disappointed in how we played. We had 500 yards of offense and 24 first downs and only scored 26 points and that is not acceptable. We had three turnovers, some key, crucial penalties that put us behind the chains,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “Hats off to Western Reserve, they went ahead with five minutes left and we had to so down and score. So, I told our boys after the game that I was really frustrated and upset with them because I know what they are capable of doing and we have to get better and clean things up.”

Mager says they will be concentrating this week on fixing the errors they have been making. “That is on me the coach and we are going to fix it. I’m on my way to practice. We met as a staff over the weekend and we have to get some of this stuff squared away. I know we keep saying that these guys haven’t played football on Friday nights, but we are going into game five now and if we think we are going to make any noise for a conference championship or anything like that we have to fix those things, especially going up against an opponent like Mapleton this week,” said Mager.

Crestview (2-2,1-0) will be home for the third straight week on Friday night entertaining the Mapleton Mounties (3-1,1-0,) who beat Monroeville (44-22) last week.

Mapleton quarterback Logan Pharmer throw for 302 yards and five TD’s last week and ran for over 100 yards and a score.

Mager says he is really good. “Pharmer is just awesome. He has set all of the area records for passing. He is a great quarterback and they have some weapons. Coach Mahaney has a really good scheme offensively, so we will be working on how to slow them down, not necessarily stop them, but slow them down. Hopefully, our offense can get things squared away and it will be a good game Friday night,” said Mager.

The Crestview coach says Pharmer can run if you flush him out of the pocket. “The tough thing about him is if you take the passing game away when they get in their empty sets and he takes the ball and runs he is dangerous with he legs and his arm. That is why he is an All-Ohio type kid. Anybody playing them has got their hands full no doubt about it,” he said.

Published 9/19/18

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Hillsdale Wants to Limit Big Plays

Hillsdale travels to Rittman for week two action in the Wayne County Athletic League on Friday night.

They opened the league schedule with a (42-28) win at home against Northwestern on Friday night.

First year coach Trevor Cline says they did a good job of responding to their loss to Loudonville. “Our kids did a nice job of bouncing back after a tough loss at Loudonville. A big thing with that was we controlled the of scrimmage and we were able to start moving the ball again and having consistent drives,” he said.

Hillsdale concentrates on running the football and to do that Cline says they have to get some movement up front. “We always talk to our line about basically we are going go how our line goes. So far this year when our line has played well we have played well as a team,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “The game we struggled at the line of scrimmage, and it wasn’t just our line, as a whole we struggled, but basically we go as they go. The games that we have done well in they have played really well, so we need them to continue to do that.”

Hillsdale (3-1,1-0) is at Rittman (2-2,0-1) on Friday night. The Indians suffered a (10-6) setback to Smithville in their first league game last week.

Cline feels a key for them to limit the big plays the Indians get. “I feel Rittman is a good team. They have some good athletes that can make big plays. So, we just have to make sure that our kids are doing their jobs each play so that we are able to not give up a big play against them. They are able to create those if we end up not being disciplined,” said Cline

Published 9/19/18

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Shelby Must Run it; Stop Big Play

Shelby’s 18 game regular season win streak was snapped last week by longtime rival Bellevue and they have another tough assignment this week as they play Norwalk.

Shelby had not lost since Sandusky beat them on September 23, 2016, so almost two calendar years until Bellevue beat them (45-28) last Friday in a game the Redmen led (33-7) at one time.

Despite it being Bellevue’s first win of the season, Shelby coach Erik Will says they knew Bellevue would be a tough challenge. “We played a really good football team. A really well coached football team. I know I said last week about the fact that record was deceiving and I think that that played out. From our end we are sorry to say that, but as a coaching staff we knew that Bellevue was a really, really good football team. For them to kind of get us behind the eight ball and for us specifically to not be able to run the football that hurts any high school team,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “Even in the NFL, I don’t care what level it is, everybody wants to run the football and if your can’t do that and become one dimensional it is really tough. Bellevue did a really good job of that. I was really proud of the resiliency of our kids. I can objectively look at this game and realize that Bellevue played a better football game. They won it in the trenches.”

Will says to get back on the winning track they have to run the ball and that starts up front. “Some of that might be a schematic thing, but most of it is just execution. We have guys that have been playing for two and three years. We just have to get better play, more consistent play. When you look at it it is not all five. It is normally one or two. That has kind of been a common theme all year. The difference is teams like Bellevue that are really aggressive and really well coached they find your deficiencies. So, we have to get back in practice this week and continue to work on it whether it is a personnel thing or a little tweak from our end. There is nothing that is off the table. There is no doubt that if we don’t run the ball against Norwalk we will have the same outcome,” said Will.

Shelby (3-1), #5 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, is at Norwalk (3-1) in a non-conference game on Friday night. Like Bellevue, Shelby has been playing the Truckers for a lot of years.

Norwalk blanked a good Edison team last week (35-0) and Will says they Truckers are an athletic, big play, kind of team. “They are big and they are athletic. They have some youth. Their running back is special. The Haraway kid is really good. Their quarterback does a nice job. Their offensive line is big. They are just very, very well coached. They get to the football well from a defensive standpoint. They are a big play offense. You don’t see a lot of matriculation down the field. You see more of a big play. They have two or three kids that are big play type kids. If we give up the big play we will lose,” said Will.

On defense, Will says Norwalk likes to blitz and they will have to be ready for that. “They are just very sound. They play quarters and thirds behind it, but they are very schematically sound in the way they do it. They will move guys around pre snap. They put in just enough of those blitzes and stuff like that to keep you honest as well because you don’t know where they are coming from. Norwalk has always had good athletes, that is the thing about it. Norwalk is always one of those schools that has been a sleeping giant. Their personnel is really good as well and they are utilizing that,” said Will.

Published 9/18/18

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Line of Scrimmage Key in Colonel Crawford vs. Wynford Battle

Colonel Crawford and Wynford are both contenders in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference and they meet Friday night at Wynford.

The Eagles (3-1,1-0) turned in their best performance of the season last week in hammering Upper Sandusky (49-6) in their conference opener.

Coach Ryan Teglovic says they were solid on both sides of the ball. “It was nice to see our kids to go out and execute some of the things we thought they could do. A huge thing was we finally won a turnover battle. We made some big plays offensively and I thought we played pretty physically defensively. So, all of the way around I thought it was a good game on both sides of the football for us and hopefully will give us a little momentum heading into this week,” he said.

Wynford (3-1,1-0) comes in after a (34-0) thrashing of Buckeye Central on week four.

Teglovic says is another very good Wynford team they will be playing. “Well, they are good as always, good as advertised. They still haven’t lost a game in the Northern 10. They are 3-1 and their only loss is to a very good Edison team, who is 3-1 with their only loss to Norwalk. They have three returning offensive linemen up front, who are very physical. They do a nice job there. They run several guys out of the backfield right now. They have four or five guys that are very capable back there,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “A lot of those guys that are on the offensive line are also on the defensive line. I think that is their strength overall their offensive and defensive line. Their defense is playing very well. I think they are giving up about 14 and half points a game. It is one of the best division six programs in the area and has been for quite some time now. Anytime you are going over there you better be ready to play.”

Wynford has not scored the number of points they have in some other years. However, Teglovic says they still are a team that can do some things with the ball in their hands. “They have moved the football affectively. They have moved it on the ground and they have moved it in their air as well. They have a first year starter at quarterback in the sophomore Brady, but he continues to get better. He definitely has the physical tools. He is tall kid with decent speed and very good arm. So, I see him getting better week by week. It is still a potent offense,” he said.

Now, to score against a very good Wynford defense, Teglovic says first they have to have the ball and second they have to execute when they have it. “We have to get off the football field for one. If we allow them to establish the line of scrimmage we are going to be in trouble. The Roush kid is one of the better players I think on both sides of the ball in our league. He plays strong tackle for them offensively and plays tackle for them defensively. He is just a big kid and he moved pretty good and he plays hard. We have to know where he is. We have to continue to be balanced like we have been. Thankfully we have been able to throw the ball a little bit and hopefully that will open up some seams in the running game. We have to execute whether we are running the ball or passing the ball and we have to play hard,” said Teglovic.

Published 9/18/18

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Plymouth Must be More Consistent

Plymouth did not come to play last week and if that happens again on Friday night they are going to get blown off the field.

They were handled by an inspired South Central football team (22-7) last Friday night.

Coach Mark Genders says they did not match South Central’s emotion last week, plain and simple. “Tip your hat to South Central. They played a highly emotional, focused football game and we didn’t,” he said.

Genders says his team was flat last week and it cost them. “We had a great week of practice and for some reason we were flat and there is no way around it. When you play flat against a team that is charged up and as good as South Central you are going to lose and that is exactly what happened. We did not match them emotionally or physically, it all tied together, and we got handled,” said Genders.

The Big Red (2-2,0-1) plays host to six time defending conference champion Norwalk St. Paul (3-1,1-0) on Friday night. The Flyers responded from their only loss of the season to Tiffin Calvert (33-14) by destroying New London (61-0) last Saturday.

Genders says this is another in a long line of great St. Paul teams. “I hate to use the word typical, but when you talk about St. Paul you talk about effort, physicality and toughness. Those are the three things we are trying to get to consistently and with St. Paul that is the thing that drives that program. Those kids believe in what they are doing. There is never a question on each and every play they are going to do those three things,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “If you do not match that they will run you off the field. In order to compete with a team and a program like theirs you have to do that. There is no difference year in and year out. They reload they don’t rebuild. They come off the ball low, they come off the ball hard. Their running backs run until they can’t run anymore. It is the same intangibles every year. It is what everybody is striving to get to and this year is no different.”

St. Paul is known for a quick start in games and you can’t get buried early. Genders says he have to be at the top of your game and hope it is good enough. “You have to play your game. They are just a football team. All you can do is play at your top level that your football team can do and it lays where it lays whether it is a win or a loss. You have to have those intangibles or it is going to be a long night” he said.

Published 9/18/18

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Madison Starting to do Some Things

Madison may be taking baby steps, but they are steps forward as a football team.

They will be tested again this week as they travel to play unbeaten West Holmes in an Ohio Cardinal Conference game on Friday night.

Last week, they lost (35-3) to Wooster in an “OCC” contest.

Coach Dave Stupka says they did some good things on both sides of the ball against the Generals. “We put together a really nice drive in the second quarter. It was about six and half minutes. It was really our best drive of the year against a very quality opponent, so we were really pleased with that. Wooster was, as I said last week, just so explosive on offense that we had a really hard time slowing them down. I was very, very proud of our guys it was really the best football we have played all season. We did do a nice job at the very end of the half because Wooster had an opportunity to put another one on before halftime and we were able to come up with a stop. There was plenty to work on after the game, but there were plenty of positives. We walked away from that game knowing we were competitive despite the score and really were able to move the ball on them. We had over 200 yards rushing and that is really what we want to do. So, a lot of positives and a lot to build on as we look forward to this game against West Holmes,” said Stupka.

Madison (1-3,0-1) wants to be a physical running team and Stupka says they have been doing a better job every week up front in games. “We have consistency improved over the last month since the season started. We have a couple of seniors in Jon Maxey and Hunter Bordon, who are first year players for us as seniors. At the beginning of the year they were very inexperienced, but as seniors they have taken to coaching quite well and they really have progressed. We have some young kids, a couple of sophomores, that are doing a nice job for us. Our tight end, Nate Barrett, is a sophomore. He has one a very nice job for us,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We have a couple of seniors that also play tight end for us in Michael Thomas and Don Dickerson that have fit in quite well. I think Friday night went a long way for our offensive lineman understanding how important they are to the scheme of the game. We have struggled a little bit defensively against these powerful teams. Our offense has to help us with that in terms of controlling the ball. I think the offensive line really saw their impact on Friday night in the couple of drives that we were able to have to keep the ball away from Wooster because it is very difficult for them to score if they don’t have the ball. I think our guys truly saw that in action Friday night.”

West Holmes (4-0,1-0), #4 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, beat Mansfield Senior (35-20) in a conference game last week. They also have wins over Wooster Triway, Massillon Tuslaw and Bellevue.

Stupka says the Knights quarterback Bridger Cline is very good, but really they are strong all over the place. “Well, just about everything is good. They are a very experienced team. They are mostly senior starters, so they have been in the program for quite a while. They are a really athletic team. They have the ability offensively to strike you with the big play, but they also have the discipline and the coaching to take the ball and put a 12 play drive together mixing run and pass. They are another team that is very, very explosive. Their quarterback is a tremendous thrower. He will run when he has to, but he is athletic and really does a nice job putting the ball in spots where his receivers can make plays. They have a couple of dynamic receivers,” said Stupka.

He adds the Knights defense is very solid as well. “Defensively, they are solid, very fundamentally sound and they just play their positions and run to the ball extremely well. They don’t do anything really fancy, but they are really good at what they do defensively and they are rarely out of position. They are extremely well coached and their 4-0 record shows that,” said Stupka.

Published 9/18/18

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Danville Plays Another Excellent Team

Danville is still winless on the season, but don’t be confused by the end of the season they are going to be a pretty good team.

They have played a very tough schedule losing games to Lucas, Tiffin Calvert, Sugarcreek Garaway and Highland. Those teams have combined to lose just three games.

Highland beat them (50-27) in a Knox Morrow Athletic Conference game last week.

Coach Ed Honabarger says they are coming along, they just have to clean a few more things up. “We have improved a lot from out two scrimmages and week one. I have said a million times so far we just have to do the little things right. We are just failing to do the little the little things, once that happens things will come a lot easier to us,” said Honabarger.

Experience coming through learning and Honabarger says there is a lot of that going on this fall at Danville. “Our senior class has nine kids last year and seven of those guys played both ways. We were able to rotate some kids in, but it is a whole different ball of wax when you are starting and playing the whole game,” he said.

Things do not get any easier schedule wise for the Blue Devils this week as they travel to unbeaten Northmor (4-0,1-0), #3 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division. Northmor shutout Fredericktown (32-0) last week.

Honabarger says the Golden Knights are showing more balance on offense this year. “They are little more balanced, they like to move the ball around. They have nice athletes and they try and get it to everybody,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “Last year, “Meechie” (Johnson) would work his magic and rightfully so. I wouldn’t take the ball out of his hands either. They spread the ball out really nice.”

Danville has gotten itself behind early in games this season and that can’t happen this week. Honabarger says they are approaching this game as another chance to get better overall. “We keep emphasizing to our kids to keep working, keep plugging away and things are going to happen for us sooner or later. Every week we go in hoping we see some strides every week, but we also see some stuff that we need to work on and be better at,” said Honabarger.

Published 9/18/18

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Mapleton Playing Some Good Football

Mapleton has put together a three game winning streak heading into week five of the high school football season.

They play at Crestview on Friday night in a Firelands Conference game.

Last week, they buried Monroeville (42-22) in their conference opener.

Coach Robert Mahaney says did a lot of good things on both sides of the football. “That was our game plan going in defensively was to try and slow down their run. They have two really good backs. I thought we did a good job containing them, keeping their gains minimal and making them snap the ball a lot. When you can do that it puts a lot of pressure on them to execute every play,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We got them behind the sticks a couple of times with penalties and some turnovers too. I thought we executed very well defensively. Offensively we talked on Friday our quarterback has been in a lot of games for us and been very good, but he had a total of six touchdowns, ran for over 100, threw for over 300. He just played a very good game for us to get that win.”

Logan Pharmer is a senior and an All-Ohio quarterback for the Mounties.

Crestview (2-2,1-0) scored in the final minutes of the game last week to beat Western Reserve (26-19) in Firelands Conference action.

Mahaney says the Cougars have athletes and have the ability to make plays. “Dan (Mager) does a really good job over there. They do a lot of different formations. They try and attack you defensively. They put the athletes that they have in position to make plays. They have some big kids up front defensively and offensively and they do a good job with that. They have always been a program in our conference that has been towards the top, so they are always going to come out and compete,” said Mahaney.

Crestview has completed some big passes this year, but they like to focus on running the ball. Mahaney says they have to contain the Cougars run game on Friday night. “I think their offense is designed to run more than it is to pass. If you watch the film you will see that. So, I think we need to do what we can to stop the run and put them in passing situation that they feel a little uncomfortable with. I think if we can do that we will have a pretty good game defensively,” he said.

Published 9/18/18

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Western Wants that First One

Western Reserve is a football team that seems on the verge and they are going to get another chance when they travel to New London to meet the Wildcats, also winless on the season on Friday night.

Last week, Crestview beat the Roughriders (26-19) with a late score in the Firelands Conference opener.

Coach Ty Stevenson says they certainly had their chances. “Yeah, we are getting better. The score is 6-0 until the last play of the first half. We give up a touchdown on the last play. It ends up being 18-6 and we come all of the way back and take the lead with about five minutes to go to make it 19-18 and then they end up scoring with a couple of minutes to go. It was by far the best effort we have put out there,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, “We saw a lot of improvement in a lot of different places. The truth is we missed a lot of opportunities in the first half that were there. When you are facing a good team like Crestview you can’t miss some of those opportunities like we did. It’s a little bit of a lesson there and hopefully we will just keep getting better.”

When a team doesn’t a win at near the halfway point, you may start to worry about their attitude. Stevenson believes the Roughriders are still focused and they keep reminding them how they are improving. “That is what we show them on film every Saturday morning. We say guys look, a month ago when we were showing you this we were just trying to get aligned right. Now, we are aligning right for the most part it is just the little details that we are trying to get better at. We are trying to make sure we have our head in the correct gap on defense and blocking the correct guy on offense. So, we are getting there,” he said.

New London (0-4,0-1) was manhandled by Norwalk St. Paul (61-0) on the Saturday night.

Stevenson says first of all you need to remember that was St. Paul and the Wildcats do have some athletes. “St. Paul is one the best teams around, so sometimes you take some of those things as just what they are, maybe a team that is a little bit better than you. Coach Livengood got beat the week before, so they had to rebound. They did put it on New London a little bit early. New London has some really nice athletes. Number 12, the Hess kid, he has some really nice speed. The number 45 is pretty quick too. They have a couple good lineman up front. So, it will definitely be a test for us on Friday night,” said Stevenson.

It is nice to show improvement, but Stevenson says they need get win on Friday and that is the focus. “It would feel great to get a win right now. We talked Saturday that we have to make sure we are all at practice all week, we are all healthy, we are working hard and focused on one goal of beating New London on Friday night,” he said.

Published 9/17/18

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Perkins Has to Control Alexander

Perkins won its first football game last week and they travel to Oak Harbor to battle the Rockets in another cross over game in the Sandusky Bay Conference on Friday night.

After losing their first three, the Pirates scored four times in the first half on their way to a (38-7) win over Vermilion last week.

Coach Jason Ziegler says they finally got some momentum last Friday. “Things kind of went our way last week and it was positive for us. We took advantage of it. I was really proud of the way our team handled themselves. They have been fighting and I told them as long as they as they trusted their coach and their teammates and they trust the system they are going to get a win, they are going to be successful. Fortunately, that happened the other night,” said Ziegler.

The solid play was on both sides of the field and on special teams, according to Ziegler. “Our defense and offense and our special teams played really well the other night. We have to take that momentum going into this week and hopefully that continues. I am really happy and really proud of the way our young men played,” he said.

Oak Harbor (3-1) beat Toledo Woodward (27-0) last Friday. The Rockets three wins come against teams that have combined to win only one game this year.

Ziegler says the Rockets are solid up front and they have an outstanding quarterback in Jac Alexander that ran for 149 yards and a score last week against Woodward. “Their defensive and offensive lines are fantastic. They are tough, hard nosed kids, they are big and strong. Their quarterback is very much an athlete and does a lot with the football, he can run and pass. They have a couple of nice, really good, running backs. They run the jet sweep and they are well coached. This is going to be a difficult game,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, “This a very good football team. Their only loss is to a very, very good Genoa team that we saw earlier. They were able to do some things against Genoa. This is going to be a game where we are going to have to physical up front. We are going to have to stay on our keys and we are going to have to stop the quarterback because he is definitely a weapon.”

When defending Alexander, Ziegler says the defense can not be overly aggressive or they will pay for it. “He can run, he can throw, he has great vision. It is one of those things where do you put somebody on him, do you spy him? If you do that you are leaving other things open. We are going to have to do some different things. Our kids are going to have to know they are going to have to maintain their keys and do their job. We he is good is when guys are trying to more than they are supposed to do. Our defense is relied on do your 1/11 th and you know the guy next to you is going to do his and you are going to have some success,” said Ziegler.

Published 9/17/18

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Mansfield Senior Travels to West Holmes

Mansfield Senior begins defense of its Ohio Cardinal Conference title on the road at talented West Holmes on Friday night.

The Knights (3-0) are unbeaten on the season after pulling one out of the fire last week against Bellevue.

Mansfield Senior (2-1,) meanwhile, beat Westerville North (31-21) in non-conference play.

Assistant coach Sean Adams says the staff was pleased with the effort and execution last week. “We were really excited by the way our kids came out and executed both offensively and defensively. Westerville North was a great football team. Coming in they were 2-0 and we were proud of the way we just were in attack mode from the get go and I think that is what we need to be both offensively and defensively this week as we go to a very talented and experienced group there at West Holmes,” he said.

Experience is all over the place at West Holmes, but Adams says their focus this week has been about what the Tygers are doing. “I am looking at my office here and I have nine back on defense and 10 back on offense and that’s good for them. We have kind of taken the approach that we are not going to concern ourselves so much with anybody but ourselves. Offensively and defensively we need to take care of ourselves,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We need to get better at our own positions. We need to get better at executing our own game plan and we are not going to worry so much about what everybody else is doing. I think if we take care of business everything is going to be fine.”

When looking at West Holmes, Adams says they are athletic and they are bigger and stronger than they were last year. “They have a wealth of experience. The quarterback is a big tough kid that stays in the pocket. They do roll him out a little bit. I like their running back. I think it is the last Ogi, it seems like they keep coming and coming. 45 is a great player and 24. So, they have some great skill at the wideouts and they some good running backs and I like their quarterback. Most of their line is back. Couple that with experience and athleticism and they are a tough team to beat. You can also tell that coach (Zach) Gardner has done a great job of them being in the weight room. I looked at last year’s game and this year’s games and you can so a huge difference in their kids,” said Adams.

Published 9/14/18

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Ontario Counting on its Defense

Ontario’s defense needs to be up to the challenge this week as the Warriors are at home for Marion Harding in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference opener for both schools.

The defense was tremendous last week in their (14-6) win over Black River in non-conference play.

Coach Chris Miller says defense was very good and they were able to do just enough on offense. “We did some things well. I definitely think we left some things out there on the field again this week. We are still kind of waiting on that breakout game for us offensively. Our defense for the second time this year played really well for four quarters and allowed us to win a football game. Owen Hatfield had a pick 6 and they did a really nice job of shutting them down and giving us good field position on offense. We were at least able to move he chains and play “Tressel Ball” there. Got a couple of first downs and flipped the field and punt it back and let the defense win the game for us,” said Miller.

On the other hand the offense has been hurting itself and Miller says they have do a better job of executing and not committing penalties. “We have moved the ball at times. We have gone through spurts when we have had good drives. We had 10 penalties last week and the Friday before we had 10 penalties. So, it is just not the penalty yardage that is getting us it is the yards negated by the penalties in addition to the penalty yardage that is really stacking up and making it difficult to kind of complete drives. We have talked now for a couple of weeks if we just stop shooting ourselves in the foot we are going to get a shot of adenium from an offensive production standpoint,” he said.

Marion Harding (1-2) is on a two game losing streak after a (21-0) loss to Newark last week.

However, believes the Presidents are a better football team than a year ago. He says they must limit big plays. “I think Harding is an improved football team and a program. I think coach (Jerrod) Slater is going to do a great job over there, I have a lot of respect for him and the direction he is going to take that football program. They are playing disciplined football and they are very talented and skilled on the perimeter and big inside. Once again, we will be the smaller and probably slower team on the field, which really isn’t new for us this year. They have the (Kwauve) Booker kid at tailback and linebacker that is a pretty special athlete,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We just have to play hard like we have been playing and like I tell the kids we are in pretty good shape. We have kids that play with a lot of heart and just be around at the end of the game and give us a chance to win. Play good, responsible football, no busts, no big plays and make them earn everything they get. I feel good any week if we are in striking range in the fourth quarter.”

When it comes to Booker, Miller says they have to find a way to get him blocked when he is on defense and keep him contained on offense. “Physically he is just a demanding presence on the football field. He is all over the field defensively. He flows to the football really well, moves really well, he is a big kid. If you run right at him he has that size and he plays really heavy inside. To move him is probably not an option. Offensively, if he gets out in the open field we are in trouble. I like our defenses. Our box has been really good this year. They have been working hard all week to kind of contain them offensively. We are going to need another week of our defense stepping up and having a great performance in order to be in this football game,” said Miller.

Published 9/14/18

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Clyde Improving

Clyde is getting better, but there is still more to do, as they Fliers host Toledo Bowsher in a non-conference game on Friday night.

Last week, the Fliers lost (34-21) to unbeaten Anthony Wayne.

Coach Ryan Carter says despite the loss it was a step in the right direction. “We played really well last week to be honest. We were down six with about four and half minutes to play and couldn’t get a stop. They kind of ground out some first downs on us and it got to fourth and a couple late, we had to sell out, and they popped one through for a late touchdown with a minute to play. I was proud of our kid’s effort we battled all of the way to the end against a very good football team and I did see signs of improvement,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We are still a couple of plays short here and there in all three of our games and that win-loss record could be flipped the other way, but it is what it is and we are going to have to battle. We are going to have to get through it we are in a tough part of our schedule. Our kids are coming to work every day and hopefully that pays off for us down the road.”

Clyde has a young football team this year and Carter likes the way they have improved as a unit and that was evident last week. “We played very well. We have steadily improved. It is one of those things when you play quality opponents. When you have a young team you learn and you grow on the fly and part of the that is learning how to get after it every single play and that every play matters and when you don’t have successful plays a few will cost you. When you play the schedule we do, especially early on in the season, there is no time to take plays off. We need to continue to get better and it has to start this week,” said Carter.

Toledo Bowsher (1-2) comes in off a (24-6) loss to Sylvania Nothview last week.

Carter says the Rebels have some athletes that can stretch the field against them. “They are a very athletic group and very typical of a Bowsher team. They have very good speed, very good athleticism. They can cause you problems with their length and athleticism. We need to control both lines of scrimmage, that will be very key for us this week against them. We have to prevent the big plays, that is what has hurt us the first three games and they definitely have big play capability,” he said.

Published 9/14/18

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Mapleton Has to Stop the Run

Mapleton hosts Monroeville in a key early season in the Firelands Conference on Friday night.

It will feature a match up between Mapleton’s pass game, led by All-Ohio quarterback Logan Pharmer, and Monroeville’s powerful run game.

Last week, it was the Mapleton (2-1) defense that rose to occasion as the Mounties downed Rittman (21-11) in a non-conference game.

Coach Robert Mahaney says it was kind of nice to have to win the game with defense in the fourth quarter. “It has obviously been our emphasis these last two weeks getting a better defensively. Just flying around and getting to the football. It was really good last week. We left a lot of points out there on the field offensively,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “I think it was a great confidence building for us defensively to be able to grind out a win like that and make defensive plays at the end of the game to win a game. I think that just has to help us as we get ready for conference play.”

Mapleton has put up a lot of points over the last couple of seasons. Mahaney says they always have that potential. “We still had like 450 yards of offense and only scored 21 points. We left some points out on the field. We have to do a better job in the red zone. We had a couple of turnovers on downs, an interception that we threw just trying to force something. We should have scored a lot more points, but we have the potential and as long as we execute and don’t hurt ourselves we are going to be pretty good there,” he said.

Monroeville (2-1) lost to talented Tiffin Calvert (59-27) in their opener, but like the Mounties have won two straight, beating Sandusky St. Mary’s (28-16) and Margaretta (46-16) in weeks two and three.

Mahaney says they have an outstanding running game. “You look at the week one Calvert game when they beat Monroeville, hen they beat Danville week two and they beat St. Paul. Obviously, Calvert is a really good football team. Monroeville moved the ball on them. They were able to run for a lot of yards. They have two really good backs that have played well through the first three games. The Ruffing kid is a really fast kid and then the Rogers kid is more just a bigger back. They do a great job of lightning and thunder, a real fast kid and a big kid. They are a good football team. We have to be ready up front. We have to be ready to match their physicality and be ready to stop the run,” said Mahaney.

Published 9/14/18

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It’s Step by Step for Western Reserve

Western Reserve doesn’t have much experience this year and they are trying to just get better each week and that seems to be happening.

They kick off Firelands Conference play on Friday night at Crestview against the Cougars.

It was a (48-13) loss to unbeaten Edison last week for the Roughriders.

Coach Ty Stevenson says they showed some things against an outstanding football team. “They are a really good football team and they have had it going on up there for a long time. It was 28-13 at the half. We really played pretty good in the first half and we had some really nice things happen for us,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We got the ball coming out in the second half and drove down, it has kind of been a tale of what we have done this year to start the second half. We drive down inside the 30 and we turn it over on downs. It got away from us a little bit again late. There were some points where I thought we got a lot better. We are just going to try to keep improving on that as we go.”

Stevenson says they don’t have much experience at the varsity level and they are sort of learning on the fly. “We have 10 seniors on our team this year, but in all honesty only two of them have played all four years, so several of those guys are playing varsity football for the first time in their life. We start three sophomores on the defense, two on the offense, and a lot of juniors. We are just going to try and get better each week and see how we do,” he said.

Crestview (1-2) lost last week to Carey (24-7) in non-league play. They also lost to Hillsdale (33-13) on week two.

Stevenson says they have a lot positives at Crestview this year. “They are very well coached by coach Mager, we have known each other for a long time. They do a lot of things the right way down there. They are a tough matchup. They have a lot of good size, a lot of good talent, some speed over there. We are just going to make sure we take care of ourselves and get better,” said Stevenson.

The Cougars scored on a trick play to open the game against Carey last week and Stevenson says against them you have to be ready for about anything. “Coach Mager does a great job of finding some weaknesses and running a few razzle dazzle plays here and there and that can kind of catch people off guard. We have talked a lot about that this week and we going to try and make sure we take care of that,” he said.

Published 9/14/18

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Bucyrus Hosts Powerful Seneca East

Bucyrus opens competition in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference on Friday night by entertaining the Seneca East Tigers.

After beating Cardington (38-17) on week two, the Redmen (1-2) lost (25-14) to Sandusky St. Mary’s last week.

Coach Aaron Eckert says they gave up a couple of scores early and that hurt them against the Panthers. “We came out and gave a team that had struggled a little bit some confidence and they took it to us and we didn’t recover well. So, when you have those things happen it is hard to come out on top,” he said.

In looking at film, Eckert believes the Seneca East back Blaine Swartzmiller is an animal and he says their defense, which has only allowed 18 points this year, is really good. “I think its starts with number 5, Swartzmiller, the tailback/fill in quarterback right now. He’s a man child, but the thing that probably stands out most about their team is their defense. It’s improved and they are physical and fast,” said Eckert.

With a defense as good as the Tigers have Eckert says it is very difficult to put a long drive together, he says you have to hope to get some big plays. “They don’t give up too many big plays, but with the covers they play that is what you have to try and get in order to score points on them,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “It is hard to consistently drive the football on a team like Seneca East. They are good up front, they are good at backer, they are good in the back end, so there really is not a glaring weak point that they have.”

When it comes to Swartzmiller, Eckert says he have to get to him before he gets a full head of steam and you have to get a lot of guys to the football. “He is a 6’3”, 225 pound back that runs like he is about a 160 pound back. You have to try and hit him before he gets up to full speed and then you have to get a bunch of people there because not only is he a big physical back he is fast and he can run away from you. When you have that combination of size and speed you have to get as many guys to the ball as you can and get him down,” said Eckert.

Published 9/14/18

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Shelby Clashes With Bellevue

Shelby travels to Bellevue to face the Redmen in a football game between two storied programs on Friday night.

The Whippets have won 18 straight regular season games dating back to the 2016 season.

They drummed Willard (63-0) last week.

Coach Erik Will says they have executed pretty well on offense, but they still need more consistency from their offensive line. “Even at Lexington I felt we did a pretty good job. We scored 27 points. As a coach you never satisfied, right? I feel the young guys have done a nice job. On our offensive line we are getting four or five guys to consistently execute at a high level. It is almost one of those things were there is a missed assignment almost every play out of one of the five. Any coach will tell you that is one of the hardest things to get those five guys all synchronized. To be able to put the points up that we have it is pretty good and we are happy with those numbers. We also know as we move forward the competition is going to continue to get tougher and tougher, so we are going to have to earn every one of those points,” said Will.

Bellevue is off to a slow (0-3) start to the season, but they are still a good team. They have losses to state power Canton Central Catholic (14-13) and unbeaten Clear Fork (40-12) and then last week lost in the final moments (31-27) to West Holmes.

Will feels this game will be a big challenge for them. “Bellevue is not playing possum with us. We are not falling for the 0-3 thing at all. When you look at the combined record teams they have played I think there is one loss. They played Clear Fork week two, Clear Fork might be the best team in Richland County right now. We know Bellevue really, really good and they are really young. We told our kids that we feel that if Bellevue would have played our schedule they would have been 3-0 as well,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We have to keep things in perspective this is still a really good Bellevue football team. So, as long as Ed Nasonti is coaching at Bellevue we understand the physicality and the type of team we are going to be playing against.”

Bellevue has played the fourth toughest schedule for a division four team in the state and Will expects nothing but a dogfight from them. “They do things very well. A matter of fact when you look at their film I think they should be 2-1 right now. I will say that as a coach that is scouting against them. They were right there in that Canton Central Catholic game. That is a possession either way. Clear Fork did a really nice job against them, but as I said Clear Fork is really, really good. Then last week they just didn’t make the plays in the fourth quarter to win that game. They were going into the fourth quarter with the lead. This is like our 76 th meeting with them. We are a rival to them just as much as they are to us. We understand that we are going to get their best shot. I really believe this is a 50/50 game, this is one of those toss ups, this is where the records truly do not matter,” said Will.

Published 9/13/18

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Northmor Prepares for Fredericktown

Northmor continues to play outstanding football as the Golden Knights have now won 12 of their last 14 regular season games.

They play at Fredericktown in a Knox Morrow Athletic Conference game on Friday night.

Last week, they thrashed Lucas (36-16) to stay unbeaten on the season.

Coach Scott Armrose is proud what they accomplished last week. “Anytime you get a win against Lucas it is a quality win without a doubt. We will take it for sure. It took a good week of preparation. To be fair we had a lot of good preparation for Lucas in a scrimmage and game one against Elgin. So, we worked hard and anytime you beat Lucas it is a good win,” he said.

Northmor averages more than 40 points a game, but Armrose believes their defense has gotten consistently better. “From week one to where we are at now on week four defensively we have made huge improvements. Our defensive line has some young guys on it, some first year starters. They had a lot of work to do to get there. We had some new kids at linebacker. We have a senior linebacker that got hurt. We have a sophomore in there playing for him right now,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “They have made huge improvements from week one to where we rev at right now. We are very, very pleased with the improvements they have made. We just want to continue to get better every week right now.”

Fredericktown (0-3) is at home for the Golden Knights (3-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the small school division, in a “KMAC” game on Friday night.

The Freddies have had their problems under first year coach Beau Wolford as they have been outscored 144-29 so far, including a (38-22) setback to Utica last week.

Still, Armrose says the Freddies are not void of players. “They are 0-3, but if you look at the competition they have played, they have losses to Clear Fork and Pleasant. They have played some tough football teams, they have played some athletic football teams. Even though the scoreboard didn’t turn out the way they wanted it to they were able to move the ball and score touchdowns against those teams. So, without a doubt they are going to be a quality opponent,” he said.

Armrose says they are familiar with what Fredericktown is running because they saw it last year at Cardington. “They are different than Fredericktown was, but their coach is from Cardington actually, so they look a lot like Cardington did last year both offensively and defensively. They do a lot of the same things Cardington did last year. So, we had to kind of go back to that film a little bit and look for their plan for us and use that. They are different than Fredericktown, without a doubt. They are a 5-2, cover zero defensively. They have a two back spread attack with a really mobile quarterback, a kid that runs the ball really hard. They are going to put up and fight. It is going to be a challenge,” said Armrose.

Published 9/13/18

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Madison Feeling Better

Madison won for the first time in two seasons last week and now they open Ohio Cardinal Conference play by hosting the Wooster Generals at Ram Field at Startek Stadium.

The Rams broke an 18 game losing streak by beating Akron North (40-0) last Friday.

Coach Dave Stupka says it made everyone feel good. “It was just a great night for Madison football, for all of the students, teachers, administrators, and, of course, the community, it was really a great night. A night of happiness. It gives us a little confidence and it let’s our young men know they can do it. It was very, very significant and a great moment for everyone involved,” said Stupka.

Wooster (1-2) lost last week (49-21) to the Dover Tornadoes in a non-conference game.

Yes, the Generals have a two game losing streak, but Stupka knows they are a solid football team. “They are a very, very good football team. I thought they really outplayed Wadsworth everywhere except on the scoreboard. Wadsworth, we know their history. A very well coached team by Doug Haas, who just runs a class program at Wooster. They are solid in all three phases of the game,” he said.

Wooster has given up some big plays, especially in the run game, but they have also made some long gainers and that is what concerns Stupka. “That will be our philosophy this week. They have really hit some big plays in all of their games. It is one of the things we try and do every week, but especially this week. They have a great quick strike ability and some really good receivers. The quarterback is an outstanding athlete. One of the greatest attributes that he has is a play can breakdown and he has the ability to scramble, and not just to run, which he is exceptional at, but he can also run to throw, so he can get out of trouble and make throws down the field that are quite spectacular,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “So, we are very impressed with him. Their kicking game is phenomenal. They have a tremendous kickoff guy and field goal kicker. Their punting game is solid. Defensively they are just always in the right spot. So, their 1-2 record is very, very deceiving and they are an excellent football team that is going to be an incredible challenge for the Madison Rams, but we look forward to it.”

Published 9/13/18

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Colonel Crawford With a Challenge

Colonel Crawford entertains the Upper Sandusky Rams in the opening game of the Northern 10 Athletic Conference schedule on Friday night in North Robinson.

After a (55-20) loss to North Union on week two, the Eagles responded with a (28-12) win at Cardington last week.

Coach Ryan Teglovic says it was good to get that win and now it is time to continue to get better. “It wasn’t a masterpiece by an stretch of the imagination, but we can take some good things out of it and some things we need to work on. The fact remains we are setting at 2-1 and we are starting league play this week against a good Upper Sandusky team. It is time to focus in on what lies ahead of us and I think our kids have done a good job of that. We had a good practice (Tuesday) night. We are excited to get out there for Northern 10 play on Friday,” he said.

After the non-conference portion of their schedule, Teglovic says they have done a lot of good things, but they have things to work on too. “I think a couple of things have put a smile on my face. I would say we have some guys that have filled in and have preformed at a level we need them to perform at for the guys we have lost from last year. We have shown the ability to have some other guys come in and play pretty good football and that has shown I think. Being able to be balanced on the offensive side of the ball,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “There are weapons in the running game and the passing game. So, that certainly has put a smile on my face. Defensively, we have done some things at times that haven’t been great, but I think it is a good group out there. I think they communicate well. I think they play hard and the understand the scheme. Really on both sides of the ball there have been some good things just we have to continue to get better.”

Upper Sandusky (2-1) lost to Galion (34-0) last week in a game that they turned the ball over way too much.

However, Teglovic says they have shown some things this year. “They are 2-1 just like us. Last week, they had a tough one against Galion. I think it was 34-0, but if you look back at that game and watch the film you see they moved the football, they just turned it over too many times. I think that number was six or seven. When you are down five in the turnover ratio you are not going to have too many opportunities to win, especially when you are playing a team like Galion, who is 3-0 now. They won a very close game against River Valley, which was a hard fought win for them. River Valley has had some football success lately. They are coming in like us, they are 2-1, headed into league play. They have good players on both sides of the football, so it will be an interesting test,” said Teglovic.

Teglovic says the Rams definitely have impact players on both sides of the ball. “I think they have one of the best linebackers in the league in Peyton Hawk. I think he is extremely physical. He is a couple year starter now. I thought he was really good last year as a starter and he is better this year. The McMillian kid in the backfield, offensively and defensively both, has been starting in some capacity since he was a freshman, and he is obviously a very good athlete. So, they have kids with varsity game experience that are good and athletic and we are going to have to play well,” said Teglovic.

Published 9/13/18

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Crestview Ready to Get Started with Conference Play

Crestview hosts Western Reserve in game one of Firelands Conference play on Friday night.

They lost last week to Carey (24-7) in a non-conference game.

Coach Dan Mager says they made a big play to start the game, but they could not handle Carey’s physicality for most of the game. “We did a trick play right off the bat. We felt we had to be really aggressive with those guys as good as they were on both sides of the ball. We tried to catch them early and grab some momentum and we did, but over the course of time they out physicaled us and we ended up on the losing end of that deal,” he said.

They also lost (33-13) to Hillsdale on week two, but Mager says he believes they are prepared the conference schedule. “We chose when I came here to coach to build our non-conference schedule as tough as we could and we did that. Loudonville just beat Hillsdale last week and we beat Loudonville game one. Really, I could make an argument where those three teams may have the possibility of making the playoffs,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “I told our boys we could have gone out and gotten some really weak competition and go into the Firelands 3-0 and feel good about ourselves making the mistakes we are making, but I would rather be exposed by good teams and hopefully that is going to pay off for us in our next seven games in conference.”

Western Reserve (0-3) has a new coach in Ty Stevenson and they are coming off a (48-13) loss to talented Edison last week.

Mager says the Roughriders are not a team they can take lightly in any respect. “I know coach (Ty) Stevenson real well and he is a good guy and he is going to turn things around up there. They have had some growing pains. I watched them on film. They do things well and some not so well. We are going to have to go in there ready to play. We are definitely not overlooking anybody. We have no right to do that at 1-2 right now,” he said.

Nobody has beaten Norwalk St. Paul in a conference game since 2012, but Mager says this is as balanced as he has seen the conference. “You set the tone this week and then we Mapleton next Friday and then we go to St. Paul. St. Paul was upset, I don’t know if it was an upset really Calvert is a good team. We feel it could be wide open Monroeville is winning some games, South Central is 3-0, Western Reserve has a couple of players no doubt about it, Mapleton still scores a lot of points. I think since I have been here at Crestview this is as wide open as it has been. Obviously, you have to give the lead to Norwalk St. Paul because they have dominated so much. It is going to be interesting to see. I think it is going to be a little different than is has been in the past,” said Mager.

Published 9/13/18

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Norwalk Defense Needs to Get off the Field

The Norwalk Truckers played outstanding defense last week against Port Clinton and they are going to have to do it again this week when they host the Edson Chargers in a cross over game in the Sandusky Bay Conference.

They lost (32-6) to Norwaye on week two and coach Todd Fox says they got better last week in a (24-7) win over Port Clinton. “We feel that at least defensively we improved and some areas on the offense. We still had some miscues and some turnovers that we have to continue to get better at,” he said.

Norwalk has looked good in two of their three games so far, including a (42-21) win over Mansfield Senior on week one. Fox says they have done that with a young and inexperienced team, especially on offense. “I think when we sat back after the first three and tried to evaluate where we are at. Sometimes it is hard for us to remember on the offensive side of the ball a running back, one receiver and one lineman are the only returning varsity football players,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “At this point we have a sophomore quarterback that has thrown for over 500 yards and 61 percent passing percentage. We have over 1,000 yards in total offense in three games against three playoff teams. We are happy, we are happy where we are at we just have to keep getting better.”

Edison (3-0), #4 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, comes to Norwalk on Friday night. They beat Western Reserve (48-13) last week.

The Chargers were a state semifinalist in 2015 and 2016 and a playoff team last year and Fox says that is a big deal. “These seniors on the Edison Chargers team they have nine extra football games under their belt compared to any other seniors that you have. You put that on top of the fact that our seniors have limited time on the varsity football field and that is a lot of experience. I think a winning program, a winning tradition, develops a winning mentality and that is what we see. We see guys on film that know how to win. Obviously, they are 3-0 and they just know how to win. They keep going after it and they expect to win. Really that is every team’s goal to have that kind of mentality and that kind of swagger about yourself and the Edison Chargers have it,” said Fox.

Of course, Edison runs the midline veer and Fox says to defend that well you have to be disciplined. “We have focused a little extra time on defense this week. First, to even simulate that is hard enough. Disciplined assignment football is something you have to do on defense side of the ball or they will chew you up and they will maintain the ball. To score points we need to be on the field and if we can’t stop them we are going to be in some trouble,” he said.

Published 9/13/18

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Clear Fork’s Effort Must be Better Against Big, Strong North Union

Clear Fork likely faces its toughest test of the season so far as they host the North Union Wildcats in a Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference game at “The Corral” on Friday night.

They remained unbeaten with a (49-10) destruction of Jonathan Alder last Friday.

Coach Dave Carroll says this is a team that has enormous potential. “We have some talented kids. Our biggest strength probably is our speed that people have trouble dealing with, especially offensively. Defensively, we have some really good linemen up front that make it really difficult for people to run the football,” he said.

The Colts also have win of (63-0) over Fredericktown and (40-12) victory over Bellevue, but Carroll is far from satisfied. He says the players have to give a more consistent effort. “We have won pretty handily in all three of our ballgames, but if you would have been in our film session on Saturday morning, you might be shocked because as a coaching staff we are not happy. That is the second time in three weeks that our film sessions weren’t butterflies and rainbows as Rocky once said. Because to me we are still trying to get though to our kids the most important thing is effort. There is always somebody that is going to have more talent than you, better looking than you, can sing better than you, whatever it may be, but you can beat people on effort. We are also trying to teach these guys that you can win some games right now just because you are faster than people and you have some big boys up front. If we would be fortunate enough to win enough games to get into the playoffs that isn’t going to cut it anymore because they are going have speed and they are going to have big boys up front and then it is going to come down to effort and who does things right,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “It is a unique battle that we have with this group because we are kind of battling ourselves right now more so than the opponent. Until we understand that giving everything that you have got each and every second of every play that is what is going to take us far then we have got problems. We are a pretty stubborn group, especially my brother and I, we are old school guys and we are not going to allow poor effort to go unnoticed. I know there are a lot of coaches that, hey, we won 49-10, that’s great, let’s have a cook out and we are not doing that because we know that that talent will be matched at some point and time and maybe it is this Friday with North Union, I don’t know they are pretty good. I know they are really big up front. I think they are going to be able to block our big boys and then we will see what we can do from there. That is probably shocking news for people to hear we are 3-0 and averaging 50 points a game and not giving up any points, but we are not even close to being satisfied as a coaching staff with our effort and paying attention to detail and doing things right because that wins big along with talent.”

Clear Fork (3-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, plays at home against North Union (3-0) and winners over Fairfield Christian (72-7) last week.

Carroll says the Wildcats are really good up front, one kid in particular. “It starts with Colton Clark, number 54, offensive right tackle. I am going to go out on a limb and say it will be his third year in a row for being an All-Ohio football player. We have showed our kids this how you play football. This kid is huge and he has a motor. He doesn’t come off the field. He plays offense and defense and he goes hard all of the time. You don’t see him taking breaks and not playing hard if the ball goes to the other side. He makes play all over the place on defense. A lot of times on offense he will block two guys, sometimes three, a lot times he blocks two different guys because he flattens one and then goes and gets another. They rest of their boys and tall, 6’3”, 240, 250, type kids. Both of their guards I really like they can move and they can pull. The tight end is 6’6”,” said Carroll.

This will be North Union’s last year as part of the “MOAC” and Carroll says this a team that know how to play football. “They are a rural community that believes in toughness and that is the way they have played football through the years. Our kids aren’t really familiar with them other than playing them last year, but I am because I used to coach at Marion Pleasant and my brother is because he coached against them for years and they are tough, hard nosed kids like Clear Fork kids. So, not only are they big and strong, but they are going to battle and they are going to play football in a physical manner,” Carroll said.

Plus, the Wildcats are faster and more athletic than they were a year ago. “They have added some speed. Last year, they weren’t the fastest in the world, but they have this sophomore fullback that can get after it. Their tailback is back, his faster than he was last year. Their quarterback is back. They have the Harrah kid that is back, he is a wingback. He hurt his knee last year and wasn’t able to play. We have our work cut out for us. We are going to meet a team here that their biggest strength matches our biggest strength and that is up front,” he said.

Published 9/12/18

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Ashland Has to Win One on One

Ashland hosts Oberlin Firelands in their final non-conference game of the season on Friday night before beginning defense of their Ohio Cardinal Conference title next week.

The Arrows (2-1), #5 in the first Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, lost for the first time last Friday to Tiffin Columbian (31-28) on the road.

Coach Scott Valentine says they made some mistakes that ended up costing them. “It was just one of those things. I give Tiffin a lot of credit. Their kids came out and played hard. A lot of things we hadn’t done over the past few weeks we ended up doing. Those are things that will cost you. I think that is something our kids learn from and hopefully we are ready to move on,” said Valentine.

Tackling is something the Arrows have been working pretty hard on this year and Valentine says they did alright with that, but they did allow some big plays. “Our tackling wasn’t too bad. A couple times we gave up leverage and gave up a play,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “Again, their quarterback did nice job. He pulled the ball down and a made a few tough throws and got them in. Again, I give them a lot of credit. We have to get better.”

Firelands (2-1) beat Vermilion, of the Bay Division of the Sandusky Bay Conference, (21-19) last week.

Valentine says the Falcons are an aggressive team that will try and come after them with their defense. “Defensively, they play a lot of man coverage and try and come at you with some blitzes and things like that. Those are things we haven’t seem a lot this year. Offensively, they are similar to what we have seen the last couple of weeks. Again, we have to get better at some of the things we are doing. Special teams also, we have to get better at special teams,” said Valentine.

It will be a matchup between Ashland’s five wide offense and Firelands’ man-to-man coverage. Valentine says they have to win the majority of those contests. “We told our kids just the other day that we are going to win or lose the game by how we handle the one on one matchups that they give us. For us it is going to be making sure we make sharp cuts and get open for our quarterback and give him time to throw it,” he said.

Published 9/12/18

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Wooster Needs to Get Back to Basics

After two straight losses, the Wooster Generals need to get back to executing the fundamental elements of the game better.

They play at Madison (1-2) in the Ohio Cardinal Conference game on Friday night.

Last week, the Dover beat Wooster (49-21) and coach Doug Haas says they just could not stop the Tornadoes from running the ball. “As any football coach will tell you you have to be able to stop the run and we haven’t done a very good job of that as of late. We just have to get back to the fundamental basis of getting off blocks, trying to control the line of scrimmage a little bit and then making tackles in space. We are going to work tirelessly to clean that up. Kudos to our kids because they have responded very, very well in regards to being coached and wanting to get better,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We are excited about getting back to work and moving forward and getting better. We will take the necessary steps that we need to do in order to get better and make sure that we then put our kids in a position to be successful to stop the run and that type of stuff.”

Offensively, Haas says they will have a bad mistake that takes them out of a drive or scoring position. “We have done okay. Last week, against Dover was certainly a setback for us in terms of what we wanted to do. We could just never establish any kind of rhythm whatsoever. We would get a bad snap or something like that and that would put us in a third and 13 or something. We were in a position to be in a manageable down and distance and that just didn’t happen. Those kind of execution mistakes we have to make sure we get cleaned up if we are going to move forward and accomplish the goals we set out to accomplish,” he said.

Madison (1-2) broke an 18 game losing streak by beating Akron North (40-0) last Friday.

Haas says he is impressed with what the Rams do up front. “As I have seen in years past since I have been in this league they still are a good team up front, really fundamentally sound. Really try to change and create havoc on the line of scrimmage. The multiplicity that they present to our defense from their offense becomes a challenge. It may force you to be real basic and sometimes that is scary. From our standpoint we have to make sure our focus is on us in terms of the improvements we need to make based on the last two weeks of our performance. Make no bones about it we are certainly going to prepare, but we have to balance that with getting better at playing fundamental football,” said Haas.

Published 9/12/18

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Bellevue, Growing and Getting Better

Bellevue plays host to a traditional rival in the Shelby Whippets on Friday night in what is now a non-conference game.

The Redmen will be looking for their first win.

They lost in aggravating fashion to the West Holmes Knights (31-27) last week when West Holmes scored with about 30 seconds to play.

Coach Ed Nasonti says they have to rally from a loss like that. He says they was a tough one. “Without a doubt. Losing tough anytime, but when you seemingly have it sowed up and all you need to do is get a first down and lock game up and you don’t get it and the team drives 85 yards with no time outs it is tough to take. It was tough for our kids, it was tough for our coaches, it was tough for our fans, but what are going to do? We have won games like that. You just have to learn from it. There were a lot of positives in that game for us. I talked to our kids about it at length. You have West Holmes comes in with 22 seniors starting and we have five sophomores in our starting lineups. Our kids played hard and we are proud of them,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We grew as a team and we even grew as a coaching staff. A lot of times during the season you aren’t sure what your guys have, you are not sure what you do well, you are sure what you are good at. I think our team is growing and as a coaching staff we are figuring things out. We talked to our kids just about sticking together. I think a lot of times with a high school football team you get some adversity and you find out where your character guys are and you pull together and you grow.”

Bellevue (0-3) plays at home against Shelby (3-0), #2 in the Swankonsports.com football coaches poll in the large school division, on Friday night.

Shelby beat Willard (63-0) last Friday.

Nasonti says they look forward to the matchup. “They are a good football team. Over the last couple of seasons I think they have won 18 straight regular season games. This is the first time they have been in our stadium since 2015. We had to make two trips down there. Our kids are excited. We look at it as a great opportunity to play a quality team and another chance for us in front of our home crowd to play a good football team,” he said.

Bellevue and Shelby have played every year since the Allies were kicking the Nazis out of the France.

Shelby lost a lot of players to graduation last season from their final four team that beat Bellevue in the regional final. However, Nasonti says their offensive attack is similar. “They are doing to same things that they have done in the past with Armstrong, but I don’t think they are as quarterback oriented with the runs as they have been. They will run the Albert kid. They are trying to get the ball to the Schwemley kid and they have another spilt end by the name of Tanner Stevens that they try and get the ball. They have a nice running back, the kid (Owen Fisher) is a scatback they replaced Shorty Brooks that does a pretty solid job. They have big linemen up front on offense and defense. They are a nice ballclub,” said Nasonti.’’

Published 9/12/18

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St. Paul Begins Defense of Firelands Conference Title

Tiffin Calvert broke Norwalk St. Paul’s 29 game regular season winning streak last week and now the Flyers want to start another one as they host New London in their Firelands Conference opener on Saturday night.

Calvert beat the Flyers (33-14) last Friday marking their first regular season loss since September 11, 2015 when they lost a non-conference game to Huron. They have not lost a Firelands Conference game since September 28, 2012 to Western Reserve, that’s 39 in a row.

Coach John Livengood says the credit goes to Calvert. They were just better than them. “First of all, you have to give all of the credit to Calvert. They outplayed us and they made the plays when they needed to. In crunch time we had some opportunities where we had some good offensive drives and came away empty. We had three drives inside the 10-yard-line and had a missed field goal. We had plenty of opportunities where we dropped passes and did things like that could have kept drives alive or scored, that sort of thing. We had a number of things we didn’t execute very well and they did and so you have to give a lot of credit to Tiffin Calvert and how they executed. Offensively, we really had a tough time stopping them all night,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “It wasn’t just their running back, but their quarterback. Their quarterback had some explosive plays on us running the ball. That was something we knew we had to contain coming into the game we just didn’t do a great job of it. We made a lot of mistakes. We had some opportunities to keep that thing close and finish some drives offensively, but we didn’t do that and Calvert did, so all of the credit goes to them. Hopefully, we continue to get better and maybe get the opportunity to play them again in the postseason.”

St. Paul had only allowed one score over the first two weeks, but Livengood says the Senecas revealed some things. “The number one thing was their speed and our lack of speed. When you have a team that is faster than you you have to be able to contain things and play good fundamental football. We had breakdowns in a number of different areas, it wasn’t one particular kid. It was a number of areas, maybe it was a defensive lineman one play and a linebacker the next play, a misalignment in one of our defenses, secondary wise we didn’t take a good angle or defend properly with the proper leverage. There were different areas on different scenarios and different plays. There are a lot of coachable things that we can correct and that is what we plan on doing,” said Livengood.

New London (0-3) comes calling on Saturday night. They lost (34-22) to Wellington last week, but Livengood says they have some players. “I think their record is probably a little bit deceiving as far as how hey have improved from the last few years. The one thing I have noticed is they have become a lot more aggressive on both sides of the ball. Thy have some good speed as well. Josh Hess has a good speed at quarterback. Norbert Sword is one of the top sprinters in the conference, they play him all over the place on defense. He has played defensive end, linebacker, he has played in the secondary. So, they utilize him in a lot of different ways. He has great speed and a heck of a football player. I think they have one of the best offensive and defensive linemen in the conference in Kevin Fridenstine. He is a big kid, 6’1”, 220. He moves really well for a big kid and does a great job dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball,” said Livengood.

Published 9/12/18

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Monroeville Wants to Play Keep Away

Monroeville and Mapleton are two teams that are hoping to compete with Norwalk St. Paul for the Firelands Conference title and they meet Friday night at Mapleton in the conference opener for both squads.

It was a tremendous performance on both sides of the football for the Eagles last week in (46-16) win over Margaretta.

Coach Scott Stacher says everything went pretty well against the Polar Bears. “It was a great win and it was a quality win as well. They are a good football team. They made some mistakes an we capitalized on them. We played probably the most complete game we have played in a long, long time. We played really good defensively and ran the ball well against them. They are going to win a lot of games this year,” he said.

Monroeville (2-1) has gotten progressively better on offense.

Stacher says they want to run the football. “We have done some good things we just have to minimize some mistakes. We have passed the ball a little bit and we have also ran the ball very well and played better defense this year,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “It is going to a clash between different entities when we play Mapleton because they have got the (Logan) Pharmer kid, who is an excellent quarterback. Probably the best quarterback we have seen for the last four years. It seems like he has been there for the last eight or 10. The kid is really good an they have some good receivers. We are probably going to see a classic run versus pass type game. It should be exciting for the fans.”

Mapleton (2-1) is coming off a (21-11) win over Rittman in non-conference play last week.

Pharmer is an All-Ohio quarterback and Stacher says they want to keep the ball away from him. “He gets the ball out quick. In two, two and half seconds the ball is out of his hands. Like an old coach once told me sometimes the best defense is two first downs. So, we want to keep the ball and keep it away from him,” he said.

Published 9/12/18

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Highland Wants to Run it

Highland might have one of the better football teams in its history and they begin Knox Morrow Athletic Conference play on the road Friday night against the Danville Blue Devils.

Last week, they hammered River Valley (41-8) in a non-conference game.

Coach Chad Carpenter says he saw what he wanted to on both sides of the ball against the Vikings. “It was a very good effort. Both sides of the ball really did a nice job of coming out and being physical and kind of controlling he whole tempo of the game. So, it was a great effort really on both sides of the ball,” said Carpenter.

They also beat Ontario (47-16) on week two of the season and Carpenter believes they are really getting better as a team. “It is like early in the season you are trying to find your knitch and ours is starting to come out a little bit after three games. So, hopefully we can continue to do what we are doing well and keep improving and getting better as we play,” he said.

Highland (2-1) is at Danville (0-3) to start the “KMAC” portion of their schedule. The Blue Devils lost (29-28) in overtime to Sugarcreek Garaway last week.

Danville has not been 0-3 to start the season in more than a decade, but Carpenter says they are still pretty good. “The competition they have played has been really good. They are extremely aggressive and their kids play really hard. It is unfortunate that they haven’t capitalized at the end of the game on the scoreboard,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “It is one those things where we can’t have any letdowns. We are going to have to play well to beat them. We are expecting four quarters of very physical football.”

Carpenter says they have to go to Danville Friday night and play their kind of football. “We have to be physical and we have to be able to establish our running offense and we have to slow them down on offense. Those are the main keys for the week. Of course, it is easier said than done on both sides of that. It is one of those things that we have to control the things that we can control. Our kids just have to play hard and fight through adversity,” said Carpenter.

Published 9/12/18

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Rivals Mohawk and Carey Lock Horns

Mohawk and Carey might be two of the contenders for the Northern 10 Athletic Conference title this season and they clash on Friday night in Sycamore in Wyandot County.

For the Warriors it was a dominating fourth quarter last week and they beat Gibsonburg (16-0) in a non-conference game.

Coach Brent Konkle says they just kept doing what they do and they were able to win that fourth quarter. “I think our senior leadership really hung in there. I think we kind of dominated the game between the 20 yard lines. We did a really good job moving the football. I thought we played great defense. Going into the fourth quarter it was just one of those things where we didn’t get anything punched in. The defense caused a turnover and we get the ball inside the five and we settle for a field goal, but it really got us moving. I think the senior leadership was the key there,” said Konkle.

When you have a lot of seniors on your team it seems they respond well to pressure, according to Konkle. “I was just talking to our principal about this and he said you had to be worried a little bit, but the kids never go rattled. It is just like we have to get this done late,” he said.

Mohawk (3-0) hosts Carey (2-1) on Friday night in the “N10.” The Blue Devils are coming off a (24-7) win over Crestview. The Cougars scored first, but the Blue Devils kind of owned the game.

Konkle says this is going to be a big challenge for them. “I know Carey is 2-1, but they had a lot of mistakes in the Galion game. I think they are a 3-0 team. I said they are going to surprise people all year long. They are big, they are physical,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “They are well balanced on offense and defense. They have a new defensive look that looks a little bit like ours. I really think they are going to be a tough opponent.”

This is a rivalry that goes back a ways and Konkle says both sides get up to play in this one. “No matter if we were in the “NCC” it was Mohawk and Carey, it was the “MAL” it was Mohawk and Carey an we are back in the “N10” it is Mohawk and Carey. It is our biggest rival. They go to the fair together, the fair happens to be this week. It is just one of those things it is a rivalry in every sport. Basketball we have great games, football we always have. It is just a tradition that is going to carry on forever,” said Konkle.

Published 9/12/18

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Lexington Has to Get off the Canvas

Lexington got knocked out last week by Orrville and now they have to get back up and fight.

They open Ohio Cardinal Conference play by hosting Mt. Vernon on Friday night.

Orrville’s Marquel Parks had 338 total yards last week and the Red Riders pounded Lexington (57-21) in a non-conference game.

Coach Taylor Gerhardt says nothing much went right for them. “I was absolutely a step backwards. We really didn’t do a whole lot of things right. It has really made us go back home after that kind of showing and really look at ourselves. This week is a week to find our what we are made of,” he said.

There are seven more games to play and Gerhardt says they have to have the right frame of mind. “The way we look at it there is one of two ways, you can roll over or get up and fight. I have always been a kind of get up and fight kind of guy and that is always the kinds of teams that I have had. Sometimes it is a little harder to get up and fight and this is one of those times. The kids had a good practice (Monday) and that is our goal get up and fight again,” said Gerhardt.

Mt. Vernon (2-1) beat Buckeye Valley (20-10) last week. They had beaten Newark (41-27) on week two.

Gerhardt says they know what they have to do to win. “What impresses me is their grind. They don’t go away from anything. They have a single minded purpose and they just keep at you,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “If you are not on your toes and you are not focused as a team that single mindedness and that grind they have if you start making mistakes they are going to capitalize on it. We have to be ready for a team that simply will keep the pressure on you.”

The Yellow Jackets are a run first team and Gerhardt says they won’t stop trying to get that done and make you stop them. “They are a patient football team and that is saying a lot. Everybody wants the big play, the big splash and to score quick, but it takes real discipline to play within the scheme and play within the system that you have. That is what they do, they are a well coached group of kids,” he said.

Published 9/11/18

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Lucas Has to Get Back to Consistency

Lucas has built its reputation in part by being a consistent football team and they were not that last week and it cost them. They have to return to that mode.

They play at Troy Christian (3-0) down in Miami County, in southwest Ohio on Friday night.

Northmor beat them (36-16) last week and coach Scott Spitler says they just made too many mistakes, especially in the red zone. “Like I said earlier last week that Northmor was a little more dangerous than they were the year before because of how diverse they were offensively. They have more weapons. Their quarterback does a nice job. They have a tremendous running back and they are really solid up front and defensively they play solid football. Against good football teams like Northmor, teams with experience, you can’t be as inconsistent as we were last Friday,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We would follow up a good play with a mistake or a misalignment. Those types of things will come back and bite you in the butt, so to speak, at the wrong times in the game. We got inside the 10 three times and come away with no points and we are in the red zone a couple of more times with no points. You can’t do that against good football teams. Not taking anything away from them because they are a good football team. You can’t have that rollercoaster of inconsistency. You have got to be on point on every down.”

Lucas plays a tough schedule for a division seven school and Spitler says they have to be on the top of their game every week. “Our schedule is not one where you can have that type of inconsistency or have those mistakes. We are playing a pretty darn good schedule and Northmor is a quality team and we just made too many mistakes against a quality opponent,” he said.

Troy Christian has scored more than 40 points twice this season. The Eagles beat Dayton Northridge (28-14) last Friday. Now, Lucas beat them (50-12) last season at Lucas.

Spitler says they have a lot of weapons. “They return several starters on both sides of the ball from last year’s team. They are very skilled on offense. They attack you in so many different ways. They have a nice big offensive line. They want to establish their fullback and their run game. Then they stretch you on the edges with their wingbacks and their wideouts. They have a senior starting quarterback that runs the show. They do it with a no huddle tempo that also adds another piece to it. Defensively, they come at you aggressive and we have to got to match that. We have a trip over there to play in their house against a good football team that started the season 3-0. We have to be on point and we can’t make any excuses. Week in and week out if you are looking for excuses you will find one, so we just have to take care of Lucas and make sure Lucas is playing better football than we played last week,” said Spitler.

Published 9/11/18

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Plymouth and South Central in Important “FC” Opener

Plymouth and South Central both want to compete for a Firelands Conference title and a playoff berth this year and the winner of Friday night’s game between the two in Greenwich is going to be in better position.

Plymouth (2-1) comes into the matchup off a (47-7) route of Buckeye Central last week.

They did what they needed to, according to coach Mark Genders. “We executed pretty well. We were able to do some of things that we prepped for. The kids played with a lot of emotion and intensity and we took care of what we needed to,” he said.

Last week, was one of the better defensive performances by the Big Red in a while. Genders says they are maturing on that side of the ball. “We are just now getting a couple of kids back for this week. You can’t ask for much more than last week. I think we gave up eight yards in the first half and 82 total. That is the maturation of this team. Last year, we were pretty young everywhere and we are a little older this year and things seem to be progressing pretty well. Anytime you can put some older kids out there you can give yourself a better chance to win. On defense, offenses can find young kids. Fortunately, we are playing a lot of upperclassmen and I think that has a lot to do with it,” said Genders.

South Central (3-0) was unbeaten in non-conference play for the first time since for the first time in many years and they have some momentum coming into the game off a (38-13) win over Crestline.

Genders says they have athletes all over the field. “They are highly athletic. The Murphy kid is the fastest kid in the conference. Lamoreaux is a big, tall, possession like receiver with great hands. They have athletes absolutely everywhere at all of their skilled spots. So, they can hurt you is so many ways. Their quarterback is solid. He runs well. He throws well. Their backs are solid, they use a couple of them,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “Coach Fickiesen has done a great job of establishing the culture that he wants to there already. They have a lot to be proud of. They look good on film. Like our week two (Willard) it is two completely different styles. Whoever executes their game plan and does the things they do is going to win this football game.

This game likely will be decided in the trenches. Genders says the two teams have different kinds of personnel. “It is a little bit unique as far as what they do. Their kids do a nice job of staying on blocks and that is something we need to do a better job of in getting off of blocks. That is a matchup right away that is going to affect this football game. They play fast on defense. He want to a fast defense. He has kids that are linebacker type size that can move. That creates another unique matchup for us because we are big and stout. Most of our guys are 230, 240 plus. We are going to have to be quick off the ball and really disciplined to our lanes. Those are definitely the matchups to watch, the offensive and defensive lines on both teams,” said Genders.

Published 9/11/18

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South Central Needs to Punch First

South Central hosts Plymouth in a battle of rivals on the opening night of Firelands Conference play on Friday night in Greenwich.

The Trojans are off to a (3-0) start for the first time since 2006.

They beat Crestline (38-13) last week and coach Corey Fickiesen says they have played three pretty good games so far. “We have played pretty well all three weeks against pretty good teams except for Willard in that second half we should have cleaned some stuff up. We got out 3-0 and that was the goal and now we are refocused and ready for Firelands Conference play. It’s a big one Friday night against Plymouth,” he said.

Consistency is the goal of every football team and Fickiesen says they need to continue to improve in that aspect of the game. “There are multiple things that we have picked out that we have go to be better at. Just being more consistent is the biggest thing up front, defensively, offensively. Consistency is what makes you a good football team or any other sport. It comes down to being consistent and being good at everything all of the time. So, we are just going to continue to work and prefect our craft,” said Fickiesen.

Plymouth won the matchup last year (56-29) in Plymouth.

Fickiesen says on Friday night they have to be the more aggressive team that attacks. “We saw that last year. It is time to kind of button that chin strap up a little tighter and get ready to get after it because they are going to come at you with all 11 guys right downhill. They know where they are going. You know where you are going. Can you stop it? That is what it comes down to,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “That is going to be our focus this week in practice, just shoring that up and kind of being ready to take everything on. Being in attack mode is what we are going to be preaching. We can’t set back and wait we have to be the ones to attack.”

Plymouth runs the double wing, double tight offense. Fickiesen says against that offense that ends up being a rugby scrum they have to be disciplined. “The last couple of weeks they have had two touchdowns on quarterback sneaks where he just gets lost in there and pops out the other side and ends up scoring on a 20 or 30 yard touchdown run. It is important that we are disciplined and we are the ones attacking and not letting them bring it to us. It is not going to work. Coach Genders has done a great job over there whether you like it or not, it is working for them. It is going to be a tough matchup for us. We are going to put in a lot of work this week and we will see what ends up on Friday night,” said Fickiesen.

Published 9/11/18

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Seneca East Faces Different Bucyrus

Seneca East opens Northern 10 Athletic Conference action on Friday night at Bucyrus against the Redmen.

They dominated Elmwood to the tune of (30-6) last week and coach Ed Phillips says their defense was just outstanding. “We came out and played a really physical game. To Elmwood’s credit they played pretty well and hung with us for a while. Defensively, our kids were just playing so well Friday night. They allowed 17 total yards and that pretty much says it all when you go out and put together a performance like that on defense. That is pretty exciting,” said Phillips.

He adds they have been doing a great job of bottling up the other team’s run game. “What we have done a good job of early on is shutting down team’s running games and kind of make them one dimensional. When you can get a little lead with that to that helps out because you have a one dimensional team that needs to move the ball and score points quickly. Then you can kind of tee off on them a little bit and get after the quarterback. Our defensive coordinator Justin Ruffing loves to do that and they have done an excellent job in first part of the season,” said Phillips.

Seneca East (3-0) is at Bucyrus (1-2) on Friday night in an “N10” game. Bucyrus lost to Sandusky St. Mary’s (25-14) last week.

Phillips says there have been a lot of changes at Bucyrus in terms of their approach on offense and defense. “They have improved. They have changed a lot offensively and defensively. They have been in all of their games and done some really good things. When you turn on the film they are a completely different offense and a completely different defense. I think it has suited them petty well,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “They are very aggressive in what they do. So, it presents a big challenge for you when you play a team that attacks like they do. In a lot of ways, they use some of the things we do. They bring pressure from a lot of different places. They have some playmakers offensively that we need to take care of.”

Bucyrus is more run oriented than they have been and they are doing a lot of stuff out of their new offense, according to Phillips. “They are running a lot of one back stuff. They do a lot of jet motion. They trap you some. They run some sweeps off of it. They still like to throw the ball around a little bit because they have Harley Robinson out wide. A lot more under center for them this year,” he said.

Published 9/11/18

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Physicality the Key for Hillsdale

Hillsdale suffered its first lost of the season last week and they need to be a more physical football team if they are going to get back on the winning track this week as they open Wayne County Athletic League plat at home against the Northwestern Huskies.

Loudonville beat the Falcons (21-11) last week and coach Trevor Cline says they were just more physical than them. “Obviously, you hate to lose any game. Last week, Loudonville just came out and was more physical than us,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We have talked to our kids since then and we know we have to come out and make sure we are setting the tone early because last week we didn’t do that. Loudonville was the one that set that tone. It led Loudonville to victory once they did that.”

Yes, football is a team game, but you have to win the individual battles and Cline says they didn’t do that last week. “We always talk to the kids about winning your individual battle. It is a team sport. Each kid has to make sure he is winning his individual battle because if you are not, you not going to usually win those games. Last week there were a lot of individual battles we didn’t win. Our kids, they will bounce back from last week and it will be a learning experience for them,” he said.

Hillsdale (2-1) is at home for Northwestern (1-2) in the “WCAL” opener for both on Friday night. The Huskies are coming off a loss too. Columbia beat them (41-7) in non-conference play.

Cline says pass defense is going to be important to them this week against Northwestern. “Northwestern, they are a good ball team. Watching firm, they are really good at passing the ball. They can run the ball too. They have played some tough opponents so far this year. So, I don’t think their record truly shows what type of team they are. We are going to have to stop their passing game if we want to slow them down offensively,” said Cline.

Published 9/11/18

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Perkins Must be Ready

Sandusky Perkins was not ready to play last week and coach Jason Ziegler says that will not happen again.

The Pirates (0-3) lost to Genoa (34-12) after trailing (27-0) at the half.
Ziegler says they were undisciplined. “It was tough with penalties and just some uncharacteristic things. It didn’t start off well. The second half we played a lot better and made some adjustments. We fixed some things at halftime and the kids responded. I felt like if we would have came out the way we did in the second half in the first half it would have been at least a respectable game,” he said.

Ziegler adds that the coaching staff, led by him, did not do the job last week in preparing the players for Genoa. He says they didn’t take what they were doing in practice to game night. “That is a little bit of it and that is on me. Practice was a little difficult last week. We had to adjust our practice because of the weather and didn’t do as much hitting as we usually do. With that begin said it comes down to me as a head coach that we aren’t jumping off and lining up in wrong formations. That was something that was unfortunate, but we are definitely going to fix that this week,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We have had a grind. It has been a buzz saw the last three weeks. We have played three very good teams. Vermilion is a very good team, 2-1, so it doesn’t get easier and our kids have to realize that. We have to be on the top of our game with the schedule we have because if you make mistakes against great teams like we play they are going to make you pay.”

Perkins travels to Vermilion this week for a cross over game in the Sandusky Bay Conference. The Sailors (2-1) lost for the first time last week to Oberlin Firelands (21-19) in non-conference play.

Ziegler says there are going to be some unknowns about the Sailors due an injury to their starting quarterback. “They are spread team. They did lose their quarterback last week, so that is something we are going to have to adjust to. To me he was their best football player and he is injured and it looks like it was a season ending injury, which is unfortunate for them. They are a scrappy team. They run to the football defensively. Offensively, they have some big threats. They have two 6’5” receivers. They have another one that is pretty darn fast. The quarterback that they moved was their top receiver, a kid that is very good with the football in his hands. So, we are really going to have to contain him. I am not sure how well he is going to throw. He will probably throw it all over on us now. We only had a little sample of him throwing the football, so we will have to get a little bit more. I know the kid can run though and that is one of things we have to watch for,” said Ziegler.

Published 9/11/18

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Wynford Will be Ready For Buckeye Central

Wynford begins defense of it’s Northern 10 Athletic Conference football title on Friday night at Buckeye Central, one of its longest standing rivals.

After losing to Edison (27-13) on week two, the Royals responded with a (31-13) win over Allen East last week.

Coach Gabe Helbert says it was a win they kind of had to have. “It was a huge win for us to bounce back from the Edison loss and close out our non-league competition with a win was big. Now, we understand that goal number one is here with the first league game. So, it was good to get that win and get some positive momentum going into the league,” he said.

Holding a slim (12-7) third quarter lead, Helbert says their offense got a boost and they were able to put some things together. “We got a spark in the second half from Cody Taylor, a sophomore fullback that came in and gave us something. A spark was what we needed at the time. We were able to get a little more balance there because he was running affectively and made some plays in the fourth quarter. Our defense, when we lost a little momentum they made plays, and got a three and out, when we needed it and our offense was able to capitalize on it,” said Helbert.

Wynford (2-1) plays at Buckeye Central (0-3) on Friday night. The Bucks have been beaten by the same score, (47-7,) last two weeks by Dalton and Plymouth in non-conference games. They only have 20 players on their roster.

Helbert says the Bucks have been forced to play some kids that probably aren’t ready for varsity level competition. “Well, one thing about Buckeye Central it is just a numbers issue for them right now. They are fighting those small numbers. I don’t know if it is football has become villainized in the media. Their numbers are low. With that being said they are very big up front. I remember going to an (0-9) Buckeye Central team last year, and everybody saying Wynford will do this and that to Buckeye and they did nothing but come out and didn’t worry about what their record was or what our record was and they played us extremely tough.” He told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, “They played hard and their kids fought and we were in a dogfight at their place. Coach Detterman is doing a great job with those guys and continuing to work with what he has. Their kids play hard on film. I think their defensive line gets off the ball well. It’s just a numbers thing when you are playing a bunch of freshmen and sophomores it makes it tough at the varsity level.”

Wynford and Buckeye Central have played a lot of very good games over the years and Helbert knows what to expect from the Bucks. “It’s a league rival, it’s a backyard rival, it’s a county school. Buckeye Central has always had a lot of passion to play against Wynford, so they will come out and play hard. That program is as successful as any program in out area. They have been to two state finals. They will play hard. They have a lot of pride in their community and a lot of pride in their athletics,” he said.

Published 9/10/18

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Tiffin Columbian Making it Back

Tiffin Columbian picked up the biggest win for the program in quite a while last week against Ashland and now they head for Toledo on Friday night to play the Start Spartans.

They beat Ashland (31-28) last Friday and coach Judd Lutz says they made big plays at the right time. “We knew we had a good team. We knew Ashland had a good team. They were battle tested and had some success the last couple of weeks. We knew it would be a great test to see where we measured up exactly. We didn’t play great, but we made some great plays at key moments and did enough to win the game. So, against a good team you have to find a way to win and we did, so we are proud of that. We have a tremendous amount to work on going forward,” he said.

Lutz played at Columbian and is well aware of heir proud football tradition. He says the players and staff have worked hard to bring that back. “The tradition is here. I got to witness part of that tradition. I grew up around here and had a brother and a cousin play on some really successful teams and I grew up going to games. Obviously, I played myself here. Even when I was away for several years in college and coaching elsewhere I kept a close eye on it. There is absolutely a rich tradition. When I returned there were some things that deteriorated a little bit, and talent was one of those things, but the hard work and the work ethic was definitely still there. We had to instill a couple of things and a whole new coaching staff and sometimes that takes time,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, “We have been building this thing the right way. That started two years ago and didn’t reap the benefits right away. In year two we thought we would reap some of the hard work that we had sowed, but just ran into the injury bug at some key spots and had a tremendously tough schedule at the same time. It was just a perfect storm for things not to work out for us in the win-loss column, but we endured and had another great off season and still tried to improve some things. I think it was our best off season as a coaching staff and also in the weight room and speed development. Hopefully, we are reaping those benefits for this year. It is not really one thing you can point to as we try and improve in every facet. Great players from great families definitely helps. Having a coaching staff that works really hard at what they do also is really important. I definitely think we have that rolling, we just have to keep it rolling.”

Columbian visits Toledo Start (1-2) on Friday night. They got beat at the horn by Clyde (27-24) on week one, beat Swanton (23-7) on week two, and then got waxed by Findlay (30-0) last week.

Lutz says Start has some athleticism in the skilled positions. “They are coming a successful year last year. They were the Toledo City League champs and had some key players coming back, but lost some. They play some common opponents. They opened up with Clyde at Clyde and played them really tough. They beat a Swanton team in week two and played Findlay last week and kind of go beat up a little bit. They played Clyde, which was a wing-T pound it team, same thing kind of out of Swanton, and then Findlay is a little more of a spread style. Toledo Start they have some great players. They run to the ball really well on defense. They have a tremendous amount of speed as a defensive unit. Offensively, they have really good tailback. They have a quarterback that is very capable of running it and some wide receivers that are athletic as well. They have some big guys up front. In my opinion, they kind of struggle to block a little bit, but definitely if they get on you they stay on you a little bit. We expect to have our hands full, especially going to their place. We know they will be exciting trying to defend their own turf. We are going to have to play well,” said Lutz.

Published 9/10/18

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Madison Continuing to Work

Madison is trying its best take its game form the practice field to the game field and sometimes that is not an easy process sometimes.

They lost to River Valley (42-7) last week. They have now lost 18 games in a row. Madison hosts Akron North on Friday night.

Coach Dave Stupka says they really played a lot better in the second half of games last week. “I think we did in certain aspects. We were very, very disappointed in how we played in the first half. At halftime, we made some adjustments, mostly saying let’s just focus on the fundamentals and I thought we played the way we are capable of in the second half in a lot of areas defensively. We walked away from that upset with the result of the game, but excited about what lies ahead because we really did, I thought, compete in the second half. The disappointing thing for us is we really strung together a couple of really nice practices at the end of last week. We told the players this week that we just haven’t born the fruit of the practices yet, just not yet, we will. We will just keep plugging away and we are excited to compete this week versus Akron North,” said Stupka.

Tackling is a big fundamental and Stupka says right now they just aren’t very good tacklers, but they are working on it. “It is something we work on every day in practice. Tackling to me, just like other skills, like hitting a baseball, players have to have confidence in their ability to do that and it is our job as coaches to foster that and we are making progress. We are not a good tackling team as of yet. We are making progress, but we are not there yet. So, we are going to keep plugging away at it. We said our goal is to get a little bit better each day,” he told Swankonsports.com Thursday, “We are looking forward to this Friday’s game to get back out on the field and compete. Hopefully, these better practices that we have had and areas of improvement that we seem to have we have to put them in application on Friday night. Our club needs to experience victory to get some confidence and to show them that the hard work they have put in is worth wild and there is some benefit and there is a prize at the end of all of this and that is winning some ballgames.”

Akron North (0-2) lost to Orrville (74-7) last week. They have lost their last 33 games on the gridiron.

Stupka says the Rangers are a lot like them. “I will tell you this, there is no quit in Akron North. They play the full game at full speed. They are young and inexperienced, a lot like us. They are looking at this Friday as an opportunity as well. An opportunity to win, they have struggled, and they are looking at it exactly the way we are. It is a chance for them to compete, it’s a chance for them to win a ballgame and we expect their best effort and we think it is going to be a heck of a ballgame,” he said.

Published 9/07/18

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Crestview Just Needs to Mature

Crestview is a younger football team than they were a year ago, but they still have some pretty good talent it is just unrefined.

The Cougars (1-1) lost to Hillsdale (33-13) on week two. They have not beaten Hillsdale in three tries under former Hillsdale OC Dan Mager.

Mager says they knew it was going to be a big challenge last week. “We weren’t surprised by what we saw. They have three really, really good weapons on offense and of course they are loaded on defense too. They are a great football team and we are not right now. We are young and we have to get better every week,” said Mager.

Crestview lost a lot to graduation a year ago and Mager says they are trying to get some younger guys introduced to the Friday night lights. “The biggest thing is just getting these guys Friday night experience. Most of our guys have not played Friday night much. I think they got a little dose of that last week,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Kind of the bright lights and the game is a little faster. It is one of those deals where I hope week to week that we just show continuous improvement and be there at the end with a good record at the end of the season.”

It is a new opponent for the Cougars on Friday night in the Carey Blue Devils of the Northern 10 Athletic Conference.

Crestview missed the playoffs by a whisker last year and Mager says they wanted to improve the non-conference portion of their schedule. “We decided to go with a game three opponent to toughen our schedule a little bit and we definitely got that. Carey has a great program, they went to the playoffs last year. I think they have a lot of good football players now so we definitely have our work cut out for us against Carey Friday,” he said.

Crestview played Sandusky St. Mary’s on week three last year.

Carey (1-1) has a win over Van Buren (35-16) and a loss last week to the Galion Tigers (35-26) in non-conference action.

Mager says the Blue Devils have some playmakers. “I think offensively they have some weapons. Actually, both sides of the ball. They put up a lot of points against Van Buren week one. Last week, they moved the ball, but they did hurt themselves a few times with turnovers and gave Galion a short field. Anytime you do that and Galion is pretty good and when give a team a short field it is tough. I think that was their biggest issue last week against Galion,” said Mager.

Published 9/07/18

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Seneca East Riding the Wave

Seneca East is playing three new non conference opponents this season and the final one of those is Friday night at home against Elmwood.

So far, they have wins over Margaretta (41-12) and Newark Catholic (20-2) over the first two weeks.

Coach Ed Phillips believes his kids have played very well over the opening two games and that has done nothing but improve their confidence as a football team. “High school football is a game of momentum in every game you play and it is also a game of momentum in the season. To start 2-0 gets the ball rolling and 2-0 against what I think are two really good football teams and Margaretta and Newark Catholic, so it is a quality 2-0. We are excited to go and try and keep that momentum going against Elmwood (Friday) night,” said Phillips.

Newark Catholic has won eight state titles and is one of the state’s historic programs. Plus, Phillips says last week they had some injuries they had to overcome. “When you play a team like Newark Catholic last week that has the kind of history that they have and have them come into your field and play well like we did against a fair amount of adversity as the game went on,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We had a couple of guys go down and we just had guys step up and at times you know as a team they just came together and elevated themselves individually and then the team as a whole there is nothing that makes you prouder as a coach than when the guys come together and step it up because one of their buddies went down.”

Elmwood (0-2) has two losses by a score each this season, falling to Gibsonburg (20-14) and Kansas Lakota (26-19) over the first two weeks.

Phillips says they are going to try and pound it at them. “They are a very physical football team. They are probably about two plays from being 2-0. They run the ball really well and have a good running back and offensive line. They are physical on defense. So, they are a formidable opponent,” he said.

Published 9/07/18

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Highland Expects Battle From River Valley

They used to be in the same league for many years and now it’s a non-conference game, but it still is a quality matchup as Highland is at home from River Valley on Friday night.

The Scots are coming off a convincing (47-16) win at Ontario last week.

Coach Chad Carpenter was very pleased how they responded when Ontario made it a two-point game (18-16) in the third quarter. “I was really impressed by how we came out that second half. We kind of faltered a little bit and then bounced back from that adversity. You don’t know how your team is going to react and ours reacted really well to it. Early in the game I felt we were in control. We were up a couple of scores then right before half they came back and made it interesting and stared getting the momentum,” he told Swankonsports.com, “When we came back after the half there it seemed like oh my gosh here we go. Our kids responded really well and settled down and started playing and we were able to get up on them and stay up.”

Highland had 369 yards rushing against the Warriors last week and Carpenter says that is what they want to do first, run the football. “That is what we try to establish first. We have a lot of great running backs right now that are running the ball really well for us. The guys up front are doing a great job creating holes. That is definitely one our main goals going into a game is trying to establish the run and we were able to do that last Friday,” he said.

River Valley (1-1) beat Madison (42-7) last week to even its record after a (17-16) loss to Upper Sandusky on week one of the season.

Carpenter says the Vikings some big kids in the trenches and they are strong at the linebacker position too. “Madison is a bigger school obviously and River Valley pretty much handled them. I’m impressed they have a really nice quarterback and they have some big guys up front that move some guys around. Defense they have super aggressive linebackers and they get after it. It is one of those games that it seems like every year our scores are really close. I think the game will be won or lost in the trenches this week. We are expecting another very physical football game,” said Carpenter.

Published 9/07/18

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Pleasant Hosting Worthington Christian

Marion Pleasant completes a three game homestand in non-conference play by entertaining the Worthington Christian Warriors on Friday night.

They beat Fredericktown (43-7) last week.

Coach Aaron Cook says they saw growth with the football team. “I think our kids made some strides. It was the first kind of hot game. Game one was kind of cool and it was a little bit easier from that standpoint. Last week was kind of hotter, so you have to battle that. I thought our kids did a good job with that. It kind of sputtered us out a little bit here and there. Overall, we played a cleaner game and a sharper game,” said Cook.

Pleasant has a long tradition of winning and Cook says his players know what it takes to become winners. “Our kids they want to get better. They want to work hard and that is something they take pride in. Like I have said a ton of times, and I say it to a lot of people, we just attack each day and try and get better. That is what our program has,” he said.

Worthington Christian (1-1) comes to Pleasant on Friday night. They have a win over Springfield Northeastern (20-13) and a loss to the Northmor Golden Knights (48-26) last week.

Cook says they are going to have to play well to win. “Worthington Christian is kind of a different team than what we have faced. They do some different stuff. They have some really nice athletes. Their numbers are around 35 kids,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “They are not a huge team as far as numbers, but the quality is there and they play hard. It is one those games where you have to come out and be on your “A” game. They do some nice stuff, obviously, they won week one. We just have to go out and play hard.”

The Warriors are a spread team and that is a little different than what they have seen so far, according to Cook. “Every week is a new challenge when it comes to the scout team. Everybody has some new wrinkles. The first two opponents were kind of similar, so that made it a little bit easier. Just some of the things Worthington Christian throws at us is a little different than those first two opponents. There is more teaching involved. The scout team there are things they have to do different each week, which presents a challenge. We have a pretty good system of teaching them how to do it and they do a good job with it,” said Cook.

Published 9/07/18

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Hillsdale Not Satisfied

Hillsdale heads down State Route 60 to Loudonville to take on the Redbirds in a non-conference game on Friday night.

Over their first two games, Hillsdale has been very good in crushing two Firelands Conference opponents in Mapleton (61-27) on week one and Crestview (33-13) on week two.

First year coach Trevor Cline says they have done a very good job on both sides of the ball. “So far, we have been really happy with how the offense and defense has played. They have done a nice job executing on almost every play,” he said.

Yes, they have been good, but Cline says they are certainly not satisfied. “Our big thing that we tell the kids every day is we have to make sure that we are getting better everyday we go out for practice. Every week we need to be better than the previous week,” he told Swankonsports.com, “That is something we preach to the kids. I know the kids have bought into that so far and I expect them to the same all season.”

Loudonville (0-2) has lost to Crestview (29-26) and Chippewa (28-7) over the first two weeks. Former West Holmes, Madison and Norwayne coach Kevin Maltrich is now the coach at Loudonville.

Cline says the Redbirds will be pumped up to play them. “I think coach Maltrich is doing a great job down there at Loudonville. You can tell he definitely has the kids excited to play for him. The two games we have seen the kids play hard. They are physical. It is definitely going to be a great game this Friday,” said Cline.

The faking and trickery of the run based wing-T offense has been the staple of Maltrich’s offense over the years. Cline says that is no different at Loudonville and they will have to be ready for it. “We are seeing a lot of wing-t on film. We are seeing a lot of full house stuff. It is basically a lot of the offense he has run in years prior,” he said.

Published 9/07/18

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Perkins Knows they Can do it

Perkins has lost both of its games so far, but the Pirates know the potential is there first a good season.

They lost a heartbreaker to Mansfield Senior (35-34) in triple overtime last Friday.

Coach Jason Ziegler says the loss was a bitter pill to swallow, but they have to learn from it. “It is tough. We had our opportunities. Mansfield is a very good football team, but we had missed two field goals and we failed to score two times inside the 10. I felt like we left a lot of points out there, but that is part of the game. The kids battled though, and I did see big improvement from week one to week two and that is kind of what you are looking for, but we have to finish,” said Ziegler.

Perkins lost (31-7) to Huron on week one, but Ziegler says the performance against a very good Mansfield Senior team is more indicative of what the Pirates are about. “I have been saying this all along. You take week one out of the equation. W did some things that were uncharacteristic and things we haven’t seen all summer or in two a days, but our kids learned from that. They came in and they played aggressive and they battled for three overtimes. Having the opportunity there a couple of times with fourth and long in overtime and having our chances,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “They came up with some big plays. I give Mansfield a lot of credit. They made the plays when they needed to. I saw the improvement and this is a very good football team. Our non-conference schedule is tough with week one with Huron, week two with Mansfield and Genoa is very good. They are (2-0) and probably one of the better teams in division five.”

Perkins (0-2) plays at Genoa on Friday night against Comets, who have wins over Columbus Bishop Ready (28-0) and Oak Harbor (34-14) over the first two weeks.

Ziegler is impressed with the Comets play in the trenches. “They are physical. Their running back is a sophomore. He is just a big bruiser. Kind of an old school type fullback that runs downhill. Their quarterback is very athletic and looks to run a lot more than throw. They have a division one tight end that is 6’5” and way over 200 pounds. What impresses me the most I think is their line, both on offense and defense. They are not very big, but they come off the ball and they get in your ankles. I kind of used the example that they are kind of like little chiwawas that just keep biting on you. They are just tough and nasty. We are going to have our hands full up front. We have to do a better job than we did last year and we have to improve from what we did last week,” said Ziegler.

Published 9/07/18

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Clear Fork has Explosive Players

It is another traditional football power for Clear Fork this week as they travel to Jonathan Alder to take on the Pioneers in non-conference action on week three of the season.

Last Friday, they beat Bellevue (40-12) on the road.

Coach Dave Carroll says they executed pretty well at a place where it isn’t easy to do. “I was really proud of our kids. We all know, and our kids know, that Bellevue year in and year out has a winning football team and they play hard nosed, tough football and they very disciplined. We knew we would have to go up there and work really hard a preform well. Our kids did that other than a couple of plays. We had a messed up punt snap and reaction to that punt snap. Other than that the game was played pretty well by our kids. We were happy with the improvement they made from week one to week two,” he said.

Clear Fork plays two quarterbacks in Jared Schaefer and Brennan South and Carroll says they can put a lot of kids on the field that can make big plays. “We had a decent amount of kids that were involved in it last year, but I think it is even more so this year. I think we are really solid at our spilt end positions, which we haven’t been for a while. A.J. Blubaugh that is tall and has the long arms and can catch about anything you can throw at him. Then you have Caden Flynn, who has just gotten faster and faster every year, he is a burner,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Of course, Travon (Trammell) has been solid for us, but we are using him more up the gut. He can go inside or outside. The we have Zach Homerick that runs the ball as well. All of those guys can catch the ball when we throw it. Both quarterbacks can run it. South had a nice sweep run for a touchdown and another pretty decent run. He is considered the passer of the two. On Friday night, Schaefer threw, overall they were 10 for 11 for 203 yards, but Schaefer threw for 154 yards. They can all do a lot of things. We are trying to get that offensive line better, they are big and they are doing a lot of good things, but we feel like we can get more from those guys.”

Jonathan Alder (1-1) has lost to Marysville (35-0) and beat Marion Harding (28-14) in its first two games.

Carroll says this is another traditional power they are playing. “They are well coached. Their coach has been there for a while. They have a great tradition. You probably remember the name Donnie Nickey, who played for the Buckeyes and played in the NFL is from Jonathan Alder. They were in the playoffs last year, they are just a solid program year in and year out. They do things right. You can just look at their kids on film and you know that they have been in the weight room. They hustle and they play the game the way you should. We have to go down there and play really good football and limit our mistakes, execute on offense and be very physical on defense. They like to throw the ball and throw it deep. They got some big plays, several big plays, against Marion Harding last week. Our db’s have go to be ready to go,” said Carroll.

The Clear Fork coach says they want to make the Pioneers a one dimensional football team if they can. “My brother (Mike) is our d-coordinator, his number one theory is we are going to stop your run, do the best just we can to stop your run, try and make you one dimensional. Then that helps those db’s out. We can predict what they are going to do a little easier and get heat on the quarterback to help those guys out and do some different things in the coverages when we know they are going to throw because they are unable to run. We are hoping we can continue with that,” he said.

Published 9/06/18

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Shelby has to Take Advantage of Opportunities

Shelby hosts longtime rival Willard for the last time on the football field, at least for a while, on Friday night in a non-conference game.

Last week, the Whippets (2-0) beat Lexington (27-24) at Lex. Coach Erik Will says they needed to do a better job of taking advantage of opportunities. “Just managing the game a little bit better from the standpoint that we had a double digit lead. Taking advantage of opportunities. You hear that a lot about baseball, you miss a pitch and the next one they hit out of the yard, maybe you drop a foul ball and the very next play the guy hits a home run. That happened to us a couple of times. We had an interception opportunity and dropped it and they score the next play. We are not running out the clock appropriately. We run out of bounds and then we have kind of a fumbled snap or the exchange with the running back and the running back doesn’t fall on it, he tries to pick it up and Lexington falls on it and scores two plays later. Those are things that are all within our control. The message coming out of that game is guys we made this a lot closer than it should have been and it is because of our own undoing. Having said that Lexington deserves credit because they are taking advantage of the opportunities they have, which is what every coach wants,” said Will.

Shelby has not lost a regular season game in almost two full seasons. However, Will says they understand this team has a lot of improving to do. “Each and every week we have an opportunity against a new opponent with new looks. I think our kids are excited to get back on the field. A win is a win. We are 2-0 with a chance to go 3-0. We also understand that the game of football only happens once a week. I think our kids just want to go out there and run around the field and get that taste out of their mouth not finishing that game the way we wanted to. The season is a year long learning process,” he said.

Shelby has had its way with Willard over the last few seasons, but Will says the Flashes (1-1,) coming off a (38-35) win over Plymouth last week, are clearly a better football team. “They are much improved and I know every year people say that. The Parrott kid is a solid football player and they have a couple of nice little athletes around him. They are well coached, you can actually see that, I know that sounds like coach talk, but it’s not. They are like anybody else they have their strengths and they have their deficiencies and we are focusing on that. Right now, we are not good enough to look by anybody. If we look by somebody we can get beat,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “There is no reason if you are Willard that you wouldn’t come over here motivated and understanding that if you played a really good game against a young Whippet team that you couldn’t walk out of the here with a “W.” We are doing everything we can to respect our opponent and make sure we are ready to go Friday.”

Will says Willard quarterback Cooper Parrott is a big playmaker. “He jumps right off the screen. He throws a nice ball. He is very elusive and you have to account for him. He is one of those guys that you have to game plan for from a spy standpoint. It is not what he does often times with the design of the play it is kind the what he does off of that where he kind of moves around. I look back to when we were first starting this program here and we had a young quarterback that was pretty elusive back there and wouldn’t go through his progression maybe the way we wanted him too, but when he would scramble around and makes plays and makes everyone around him better that is the sign of a true leader and the Parrott kid fits that,” said Will.

Published 9/06/18

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Lexington Kids Asked to Their Job and no More

Lexington made the right steps as a football team last week even though they lost to Shelby and now they need to make more steps as they travel to Orrville to meet the Red Riders in non-conference action on Friday night.

The Minutemen (0-2) took Shelby to the end before losing (27-24) to the Whippets.

Coach Taylor Gerhardt says they made a good effort against a very good team. “Shelby is a good dog gone football team. They are going to have an excellent season this year. The kids fought. We took it down to the wire it just wasn’t in the chips for us this time,” said Gerhardt.

It wasn’t a win, but Gerhardt says it was a better performance than in a week one loss to Ontario (14-7) and that is a plus. “We certainly had improvement. Like I told the kids, I said, I don’t believe in moral victories, I said, however, I believe in making sure that you recognize when there is growth and we certainly had growth this past weekend,” he said.

Lexington is at Orrville (1-1,) who is coming off a (74-7) destruction over an out manned Akron North squad last week.

Gerhardt says Orrville is almost always a good football team and this year is no exception. “They are athletic and they are always very well coached, well disciplined team. There is a long history of tradition over there of very good high school football,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We have to make sure that we are defensively doing our job as well call it. Not trying over reach, not trying to over step and making sure we are being responsible for our job.”

Gerhardt says their goals are really the same on offense too. “Offensively, it always comes back down to execution and making sure we stay on our blocks. It is the same message doing your job on offense. You can’t execute unless you do your job,” he said.

Published 9/06/18

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St. Paul Doing What They Do

One of the cornerstones of the Norwalk St. Paul football program is the willingness of the players to strive to continue to get better and that is evident again this season.

After beating Sandusky St. Mary’s (37-6) in week one, they beat Fremont St. Joe (42-0) last Saturday.

Coach John Livengood says they played very well in all aspects of the game last week, although the offense did get off to a slow start. “Our kids came out and played really, really well defensively and kind of set the tone from the start and put us in good field position throughout. I thought our special teams units played pretty well. Offensively once we got things going I thought we played pretty well on that side of the ball too. We struggled a little bit early and were a little bit erratic in the first half, but we made some adjustments with things at halftime and came out in the third quarter and were able to pull away and get the game in hand,” said Livengood.

Only giving up one score through two games says a lot about the Flyers defense and Livengood says their strength lies in their linebacker play. “I think one of the big things is our defensive staff and our defensive coordinator Larry Fisher does a great job putting our kids in position to be successful. Our assistants do a great job teaching the kids fundamentals and teaching our schemes. A big thing that is helping us out too is we return a lot of experience in our linebacker corps. We don’t have any experience back in our secondary and we have one guy back up front, but our linebacking corps came back in tract. I think most of those guys are two and three year starters and that experience helps us out quite a bit,” he said.

Tiffin Calvert (2-0) comes to Whitney Field on Friday night to play the Fliers. The Senecas have wins over Monroeville (59-27) on week one and over Danville (39-21) on week two.

Livengood says they are really good on offense, especially running back Austin Jones. “If you didn’t know coach Fox went to Norwalk you would think he was still there. They run pretty much the same offense and the same defensive schemes and the kids play hard just like they did for coach Fox. Within their first two games they have scored close to 100 points total. Defensively, they are playing well. They have great skilled kids that play well all over the field. Their running back Austin Jones is probably the best running back we will see all year. Their quarterback does a great job,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “He is as dangerous running the ball as he is throwing the ball and they have got some great receivers that make big plays for them. We know they pose a big threat for our defense and a big challenge for our defense this week.”

Published 9/06/18

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Wooster Needs to Keep Growing

Wooster tries to bounce back this week as they visit Dover for a non-conference high school football game.

The Generals (1-1) surrounded a 10 point fourth quarter lead and lost (37-31) to Wadsworth last week.

Coach Doug Haas says they played with great effort and hopefully they can move forward. “It was one of those games when you talk about field position and what not and that is kind of what it came down to. We were backed up and gave up a safety and that kind of forded any kind of momentum that we had. It was a very poor decision from my standpoint from a play calling standpoint. I am super, super proud of our kids with the fight that they continued to have. Believe it or not we completed a fourth and 14 on our own 35 to keep the drive alive. We had first and goal at the four before a couple of errant snaps cost us some yardage. I couldn’t be more proud of our kids for the fight they displayed against a very good Wadsworth team,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “There is a lot to gleam from it with our young, inexperienced kids. It is just the second time they have been put in a situation like that and for them to respond like that I was really pleased. Hopefully, we need to see that growth this week as we prepare for Dover.”

Wooster has some young kids playing on Friday nights for the first time. Haas says he thinks they have learned from what happened last week. “There is no drill for experience and so to put kids and those types of situations you hope down the road eventually it pays off for you. I joke a little bit that one of my mentors used to say learn from your mistakes just don’t get you entire education from them. So, that is the part where we have to grow and make sure we are learning from those mistakes and not committing them again. So far, so good, really we have had a very good week despite the heat and whatnot, everybody is practicing in the heat and our kids have responded very well,” he said.

Dover (1-1) lost to Uniontown Lake (41-21) last week.

Haas says the Tornadoes are going to try and beat you in one on one situations in space. “Coach Ifft does such a good job with that group. He has such an experienced staff. They quarterback I think this is his third year starting. It seems like he has been there forever. They are very fundamental on the defensive side of the ball. They really stress you offensively just from the multiplicity that they have. The get in a lot of five wide, they will be in some one back, they will be in some two back. So, it really stresses you. They make you be sound in your fundamentals. It is going to be a great contest. Crater Stadium is a beautiful place to go and play. It should be a really exciting game and one we are looking forward to,” said Haas.

Published 9/06/18

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Plymouth and Buckeye Central in Physical Game

It’s next door neighbors Plymouth and Buckeye Central in what should be a physical football game on Friday night in Plymouth on week three of the high school football season.

Last week, Plymouth (1-1) gave up a score very late in the game and lost to Willard (38-35) in non-conference play.

Coach Mark Genders says they made too many mistakes and in the end it cost them. “We have to continue to play hard and be a little bit more mentally focused. Friday night, we just made too many mistakes. We turned the ball over a couple of times and had a penalty here and a penalty there. More importantly we had quite a few missed assignments and you just can’t do that if you are going to have success,” said Genders.

With the double wing, double tight offense Genders says everything is compressed and mistakes, especially in blocking, are costly. “Especially with what we do. We are so compact and assignment responsible. Our schemes are extremely easy yet, if the wrong guy here and the wrong guy there it can really cost us. It is so important,” he said.

Buckeye Central (0-2) lost to Dalton (47-7) last Friday.

Genders says the players the Bucks do have are experienced and good football players. “Dalton is a very good football team after watching them on film. Buckeye Central, they are a physical team and they have a couple of match-ups that suit their strengths, kind of like us versus Willard. I know they have to like their matchup with us because it is physical versus physical. He has an experienced football team,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Even though they have only 20 guys, he has an experienced football team. We aren’t taking anybody lightly be any means it is week three. They have a lot of kids back and they are led by (Averey) Baldosser and that kid is a very fast and talented runner.”

Genders says when these two teams play there is some emotion involved between rivals. “It is a backyard rivalry. We lost that rivalry for a couple of years. We just sparked it back up a couple of years ago. It is there, the kids know each other, the communities are similar. To say it’s a rivalry is an understatement. Our kids are pretty jacked up and I’m sure their kids are too,” he said.

Published 9/06/18

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Tiffin Columbian has to Learn Something

Tiffin Columbian lost last week, but they must learn something from that loss as they continue on this season.

They host the Ashland Arrows out of the Ohio Cardinal Conference on Friday night.

Last week, they lost to talented Anthony Wayne (31-14) on week two.

Coach Judd Lutz says the third quarter killed them. “The energy and the effort was definitely there last Friday, but we just lacked some playmaking ability. They were really tough in the third quarter. We played tough in the first half and it was a 10-7 ballgame there. They came out and scored on their first possession, held us on our first possession, and scored on their second in the third quarter. We really had a hard time gaining momentum,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “I was a little discouraged we got beat up up front by their offensive and defensive line in my opinion. We have been tweaking some things and making some improvements there and moving forward that hopefully will make a big difference the rest of the season starting this weekend.”

This is an important week for the Tornadoes, who went (0-10) last season, but won their first game this (35-3) over Elida. Lutz says they have to keep their heads up and move forward. “We have a mindset that there are no tests just opportunities to learn. Some people view every game as a test, but we also want to learn from them win or lose. It feels a whole lot better to win and learn from those than have to lose to endure that. The message this week coming out of week two it can help propel us and be a wakeup or it can stymie us a little bit and linger its ugly head here for a while. We are hoping we respond they right way and come out with great energy and great attitudes this Friday against Ashland,” said Lutz.

Ashland (2-0) has won two games right the end with defensive stops in beating Green (28-26) and Clyde (28-21) over the first two weeks.

Lutz says they do a lot of things on both sides of the ball. “They do some unique things defensively and offensively. On offense they are in a spread with five wide, but they do a really good job running the ball. Their quarterback is a really good athlete. They have a couple of slot guys that they will motion in and hand the ball off to run inside and out both. They are not one dimensional. They do keep you on your toes. They have some playmakers on the outside. Defensively, they have a group of athletic linebackers and even their d-line is tough and athletic for some big guys. They present a very unique challenge and both ends. This week preparation was really big to get a good look,” said Lutz.

Published 9/06/18

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Bucyrus Faces Big, Strong St. Mary’s

Bucyrus is looking to build so momentum as they host Sandusky St. Mary’s on Friday night in a non-conference football game.

The Redmen (1-1) beat Cardington (38-17) last week and scored on six of their nine drives.

Coach Aaron Eckert says they did some good things on both sides of the football. “It was probably the first time this year that we have clicked offensively. We were able to get things rolling with an outside run game. That opened things up for us. Defensively, we bent a little bit, but didn’t break. We held a really good back to a respectable number rushing and things worked out for us,” he said.

Eckert says they would like to get on a little run here, but they don’t want to look too far ahead. “For us it is week to week. We are game to game. Our goal at the end of this week is to be 1-0. That is the approach we will take and the kids had a good time on Friday and we watched on Saturday and got better. They knew when they came in on Monday for scouting report and practice that it was a new week and a new game,” said Eckert.

St. Mary’s (0-2) lost to Monroeville last Saturday (28-16) in a non-league game.

Eckert says the Panthers are a big, strong team that wants to run the football. “The first thing is they are just really big. They have really big lineman. They are strong kids. So, they want to try and hold the football and get three, four yards a play and convert third downs,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “Kind of hold it and move down the field and capitalize on your turnovers. Defensively they are physical and can run to the football. So, it should be a good match up for us on Friday.”

Against a team like the Panthers, Eckert says first down is very important to sort of take them out of their game plan. “Anytime when you can put them when it is not second and six. It can be second and nine or second and 10 and most teams don’t want to be second and 10. When you are built to kind of get three, four, five yards a pop. Defensively, that is what we want you to do,” he said.

Published 9/06/18

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Mansfield Senior Working as a Unit

Mansfield Senior has a lot of improving to do, but they have the right attitude to get that goal accomplished.

Last week, they outlasted Sandusky Perkins (35-34) in triple overtime.

Defensive Coordinator Sean Adams says there have been a lot of smiles around the team this week. “We have had a lot better week of preparation starting with Saturday morning. Somebody donated six dozen doughnuts and we had that while we watched film. Of course, (Monday) morning we got in early and got to work. (Tuesday) after school we had a great practice. It has been a good few days at Arlin Field,” he said.

The x’s and o’s are important, but is more about the Jimmy’s and the Joe’s and Adams says they found a way to win last week and that is going to benefit the team. “Obviously, the first week we got outcoached and outplayed and Norwalk did a great job against us. We have to come out better prepared and I thought we did that against Perkins. Perkins lost to a pretty good Huron team and gave up 17 or 21 points in silly special teams plays. Looking at my board in my office, Perkins had eight or nine guys back on offense and eight or nine guys back on defense. They are a solid football team and they are going to win some games. We just need to continue to take care of ourselves,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “Late in the game it is 14-7 with two minutes to go and we aren’t going to worry about that. We are proud of our kids from that fact that we found a way to win that game with numerous obstacles and a whole bunch of adversity and to me that’s what matters that we found a way to win. Do we have some things to work on? Absolutely. Do we have some things to correct? Absolutely. We found a way to win and we worked together as a team to get that “W.”

Westerville North (2-0) comes to Mansfield on Friday night. The Warhawks have wins over Groveport Madison (10-7) and Thomas Worthington (35-30) to their credit.

Adams says this is a bunch that will play hard. “They have a new coach in this year that came from Fairfield Union down there by Columbus and I knew he took the job late and he had done a great those kids. They have some nice wideouts, they have a nice quarterback, the running backs run hard. Defensively, they are just a scrappy bunch. They aren’t the biggest bunch, they aren’t the fastest bunch, but they are scrappy on both sides of the ball. We are happy to be home at Arlin Field Friday night, but this is a pretty good football team that we are playing and we have to hang on to the football. We are going to have to run the football and we are going to have to stop the run to be successful,” said Adams.

Published 9/05/18

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Lucas Faces Balanced, Talented Northmor

Lucas plays at Northmor in battle between two small schools with playoffs aspirations on Friday night in non-conference action.

The Cubs added to their week one win over Danville (22-0) by beating Centerburg (42-14) at Bob Wine Field last Friday.

That is a lot of good football, but coach Scott Spitler says they haven’t played a perfect game yet. “For the most part I think we are making progress from preseason to week one and week one to week two. We still have a lot of things we can continue to get better at. I guess I would be a little bit more concerned if we were perfect to begin with at this juncture of the season. We want to continue to get better each week and be playing your best ball at the end of the season because that means you are progressing and the kids are getting better on a daily basis,” he said.

Consistency is a big part of football and high school sports and Spitler says they can still improve when it comes to that aspect of the game. “I think there are times this last couple of games where I thought we stalled ourselves on some drives with some silly penalties. Sometimes when you are playing hard you are going to get some aggressive penalties, but the silly penalties that stop drives we have to clean that up. Then we have had a few missed assignments and stuff on the defensive side of the ball that you can’t have when you play the types of teams we play on our schedule,” he said.

Northmor (2-0) has pilled up the points in the first two weeks of the season. They have wins over Marion Elgin (47-36) and Worthington Christian (48-26) so far. Northmor was one of two teams to beat the Cubs (26-7) during last year’s regular season.

Spitler thinks the Golden Knights might be tougher to defend this year. “We have had a chance to see them in one of their scrimmages. We have seen film of them now in our film exchange with them. Coach Armrose really has that program headed in the right direction. Their numbers are up, they are big and physical. I actually think they are more dangerous this year because they have so many more individuals involved on offense,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “Last year, they had a tremendous athlete at quarterback in Johnson. In being forced to replace him they are forced to use a group of people. I think they have great skill at the wideout position, they have a big physical tight end. They have a real slasher at running back. I think he had over 200 yards and six touchdowns in their first game of the season. I really like the athlete they have a quarterback this year. He has a nice arm and he does a nice job in their passing game. Up front they are just big and athletic. Defensively, they are really impressive in the way they get after the ball.”

Published 9/05/18

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Wynford Needs to Create Explosive Plays

Wynford’s offense is running out of gas in the red zone and they need to create some big plays as they host Allen East in a non-conference game on Friday night.

Last week, the Royals (1-1) lost to Edison (27-13) and coach Gab Helbert says they have not been able to finish drives when they have the ball. “It is just a combination of things as far as execution when we get down in the red zone. We are having some negative plays whether it be penalties or taking losses in the run game or the pass game. It is just a thing where we have to finish drives. It is one of those things where it is a continued work in progress of us getting better offensively, especially in the red zone. You only have so many of those chances throughout the course of the game, especially against a good team like Edison you have to try and cash in and when you don’t the results its is definitely not what you hoped for,” said Helbert.

Wynford has not been a good red zone team this season on offense. That was the case in a (19-18) win over Liberty-Benton too. Helbert says you have to execute better when you are down close. “Things get amplified and magnified when you are down there. Passing lanes and windows get smaller and more compressed. You get more man coverage and defenses are more geared to stop the run, which is what we want to do. All of those things have led to us no finishing drives in our first two games and it something we really have to correct or we are going to have a lot of disappointments,” he said.

On the defensive side it has been a different story. Helbert believes they gave the team a chance to win last week against Edison and they didn’t take advantage. “Our defense gave us an opportunity to win the game. We fumbled the ball on our own three yard line, which led to a three yard scoring drive for them. They hit a long run, probably a 50-yard run other than that I felt we really kept them contained for the most part,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “We have to do a better job offensively to help our defense. We never really forced them to get out of their comfort zone and try to throw the ball. Again, I put that on the offense. I think the defense have done a great job so far in our first two games.”

Allen East (1-1) comes in after a win over Lima Bath (21-14) and a loss to Lima Perry (40-28) over its first two games.

Helbert says this is a game with playoff implications. “Well, Allen East is in the same position we are in right now. They are 1-1 and they understand the importance of this non-league game. These no league games can make or break one of your goals of making the playoffs. We understand the importance of this game in week three,” he said.

Allen East is a team with the potential to be an explosive team. Helbert says they have to be that kind of team too. “Allen East does a lot of nice things. They have a different coach this year where they are more in the spread, no huddle, a lot of open sets, two by two, and three by one. The quarterback is a very elusive kid. He is only a sophomore, but when you watch him he plays a lot older than that. We had a chance to see them live against Liberty-Benton in one of their scrimmages and the kid made a lot of plays then. We are going to have to contain him first and foremost for a defensive standpoint. Offensively, it is just that same thing we can not have negative plays, we have to stay on schedule as an offense. We have to continue to try and find ways to try and create explosive plays to help our offense get those quick scores,” said Helbert.

Published 9/05/18

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Bellevue Keeping Nose to the Grindstone

There may have been a little bump in the road last week, but the Bellevue Redmen still believe they can have an outstanding season and are working towards that end.

Last week, they lost their home opener to Clear Fork (40-12) on Friday.

Coach Ed Nasonti says they had a TD negated in the third quarter and that helped to derail them. “It was closer than the score indicated. Without a doubt they are an outstanding football team and run a good program. At one point in the third quarter we hit a pass play and scored a touchdown and during the play a kid that scored the touchdown had his helmet ripped off about the 25-yard-line going in. The rules are they stop the ball right there,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “So, instead of getting a touchdown we get the ball on the 25. At that point it would have been a seven point game. That was a big momentum swing for us, we didn’t get in, and it was a 14 point swing.”

One of the reasons Bellevue has a good football program is they never stop working and Nasonti says that is what is going to happen this week. “We have a young football team. We started four sophomores on the offensive side of the ball. Clear Fork is a veteran team. We give them credit where credit is due. As for our end of it we have to stay the course and get our young kids experience, keep coaching hard, keep playing hard, and I think good things will happen for us. We are going to stay the course here at Bellevue,” he said.

Bellevue has (2-0) West Holmes this week followed by Shelby and division one Toledo Start and then it is on to the Lake Division of the Sandusky Bay Conference. “The kids understand that you have to work hard. You have to come to practice every day. The thing with us we play a very tough schedule. There is no way you can look at our schedule and say that is going to be in a win, a lot teams have that. In our case we really don’t get a chance to catch our breath. It is just going to be full steam ahead all of the time. We have got to let it all hang out every week and let the chips fall where they may,” said Nasonti.

West Holmes (2-0) has wins over Wooster Triway (48-14) and Massillon Tuslaw (35-7) in their two games.’

Nasonti says the Knights are a veteran team. “It doesn’t take you long to figure it out when you are looking at the starting lineups and they got 11 seniors on offense and 11 seniors on defense that they are a veteran squad. They are playing good ball. They have an outstanding middle linebacker, their quarterback is an outstanding quarterback that can run and throw. They are another outstanding team that is on our schedule this year. We are going to have to be ready to bring our “A” game,” said Nasonti.

Published 9/05/18

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Clyde Has to Show Improvement

Clyde faces its third very good opponent of the season as they host Anthony Wayne on Friday night in a non conference game.

The Fliers (1-1) lost a close game (28-21) at Ashland last week. The Arrows got a defensive stop late in the game to preserve the win.

Coach Ryan Carter says they just couldn’t make up from some of their negative plays. “We came up on the short end. We made a few of the same errors that we did week one as far as turning the ball over and committing penalties. We were able to dig ourselves out of that week one, but we weren’t able to do that week two. You have to give a lot of credit to Ashland, they played very well. They made a play down the stretch to get in the lead and we just couldn’t fight back from that. We have to sure some of our deficient areas and our kids are working extremely hard,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “Like I said after the first scrimmage our schedule does us no favors, so we don’t have any time to sulk about last week’s loss or worry about it. We have to get over it in a hurry because we have a very good Anthony Wayne team coming in.”

Carter says things like untimely penalties and turnovers are killing them and they have to clean that up. He says it’s all about improvement. “That us all we can do. We are battling through a few injuries just like everybody else. We have to continue to put people in the best situations we feel possible to win football games. We are moving some people around, but our kids have to understand that we have to sure up our deficient areas or we are going to find ourselves in close ballgames. When you turn the ball over and have penalties at the rate we have you are going find yourself on the short end,” he said.

Anthony Wayne (2-0) beat Tiffin Columbian (31-14) last week.

Carter says the Generals run a unique offense for high school football. “They are very talented. They run a very unique offense in the fact that everything is predicated off run-pass option, so they give themselves outs all over the field. They have very good athletes. Very good kids up front. Two very tall wide receivers. A quarterback that has run the offense now for two years. Looking at it they are solid from top to bottom and they do everything the right way and they do everything extremely hard, so we are going to play our best football to date to give ourselves a chance to win,” said Carter.

With that kind of offense, Carter says you have to make the quarterback make a quick, and hopefully, poor decision. “You have to make him make a decision. You can’t let him make the decision. You have to force his hand a little bit. So, we are going to try and do some things to speed that up a little bit. Like I said, they do a very good job of finding those cracks and finding those seems. I think turnovers and us keeping the ball away from them a little bit will all play factors,” he said.

Published 9/05/18

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Danville Faces a Spread Based Garaway

Danville has not lost its first three games of the football season since 2009, but they have beat a very good Garaway team on Friday night to avoid that this year.

They host the Pirates on Friday night in a non-conference game.

Last week, they lost (39-21) at Tiffin Calvert. That was after a (22-0) loss to Lucas on week one.

Coach Ed Honabarger says they got a little better. “We improved on several things. Mainly we were able to get on the scoreboard. We showed improvement, but still making too many mistakes in order to beat good football teams,” said Honabarger.

This is a program that is very used to winning and for the confidence of the team they need to get a win on Friday night. “We need a victory here. Garaway is very good. They have just about everybody back from last year’s team. They are expecting great things from their season, so we have our work cut out for us,” he said.

Garaway (2-0) beat Warsaw River View (42-3) last week.

Honabarger says they are going to be in their traditional five wide set. “They will run five wide receivers, similar to what we have done in the past. They have been doing it for probably 10, 15 years now and they are very good at it and they are very athletic,” he told Swankonsports.com on Tuesday, “They just try and get the ball to their athletes in space. Defensively, they are aggressive and they get people to the ball.”

With all of the heat and humidity this week, Honabarger says conditioning is going to be a big factor for the Blue Devils. “They platoon everybody. We probably have seven kids going both ways. Obviously, heat and conditioning can play a factor when you are well rested and the other team has a lot of kids going both ways,” he said.

Published 9/05/18

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Ontario Can’t Shoot Itself in the Foot

Last week was about too many penalties and too many missed assignments for the Ontario Warriors and they have to clean that up if they are going to be a better football team.

The Warriors (1-1) lost (47-16) to Highland on week two. The Scots ran for more than 350 yards.

Coach Chris Miller says they put two and half good quarters in and then things fell apart on both sides of the ball. “We have to be more efficient on both sides of the ball. Part of that is because we had so many three and outs and gave them so many opportunities. I think we only had 17 minutes of time of possession. The offense needs to do their part to get the defense off the field a little bit and we weren’t able to do that last Friday. Obviously, the yardage looks bad, but that is a team thing not just a defensive thing,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We were in that game for two and half quarters, it was 18-16 into the third quarter. A couple of big plays and some adversity and we didn’t respond appropriately and the game kind of got out of hand there in the last quarter and a half.”

On offense, Miller says they couldn’t move the ball consistently because they were always hurting themselves and they have to eliminate that kind of stuff. “If you break it down simple we have to get first downs and move the chains. Our biggest problem in doing that right now is we are hurting ourselves. We had 10 penalties for 95 yards, which negated 180 yards of total offense. We had a 90 yard kickoff return called back, three personal fouls, we have got to clean ourselves up. That was our focus (Monday) in practice. It almost doesn’t matter at this point what anybody else is doing. If we can’t come through a football game and not turn the ball over and not have 10 penalties it doesn’t matter who we are playing we are not going to win the football game. So, our focus is on us this week,” said Miller.

Black River (1-1) lost a tough one last week (28-24) to West Salem Northwestern, when they had a three touchdown lead.

Miller says this is a good team and a good program. “Black River as long as I can remember, back in the 90’s when I played at Ontario we played Black River, I think we traded off for Wooster Triway a couple of years and played Black River and they were good then. That whole league is a good football league. It is a good small school football league. I told the guys (Monday) they are coming in expecting to win every football game they play. We have got to be ready. They are farm kids out there and they work hard and that shows on film. They play to the whistle and they play football the right way, so we have to be ready to roll,” he said.

Published 9/04/18

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Ashland Takes on a Better Tiffin Columbian

Ashland, a winner of its first two games, heads for Tiffin to play the Columbian Tornadoes in a non-conference game on Friday night.

The Arrows own wins on week one over Green (28-26) and week two over Clyde (28-21,) making big defensive plays in the final minutes to secure the victories.

Coach Scott Valentine says they are excited by their play, but not satisfied. “There is no doubt getting two wins in the first two football games and playing the people we did we are excited about where we are at, but again you still have a lot of football left to play and you can see a lot of things you still have to get better at, so we just have to keep getting better at things,” said Valentine.

One thing in particular has pleased Valentine this year about his Arrows and that is the way they have tackled the ball carrier. “I think defensively I have really been excited about the way I think we are doing a lot better job this year with the way we are tackling,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “That has been something we have tried to emphasize this year being better tacklers and I think and that is something we have done a nice job with.”

Tiffin Columbian (1-1) endured an (0-10) season last year, but the Tornadoes dominated Elida (35-3) on week before losing to powerful Anthony Wayne (31-14) last week.

Ashland beat them (42-24) a year ago and Valentine says the Tornadoes are vastly improved. “There is no doubt. We got to see them scrimmage and you can tell can tell coach (Judd) Lutz has done a good job up there with their guys and they are definitely a better football team,” he said.

With the players Tiffin Columbian has an edges, Valentine says they have to be able to contain those guys. “Anytime guys are making plays their quarterback does a nice job and they have guys that can catch the ball and run with it. Those are things going into this week that we are concerned about on defense,” he said.

Published 9/04/18

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Colonel Crawford Has to Clean up Execution

Colonel Crawford made too many mistakes against a good football team last week and they need to do a better job of execution.

North Union, of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, outscored them (55-20) in a non-conference game in North Robinson.

Crawford coach Ryan Teglovic says North Union is a very good football team. “Well, first of all North Union is, and I think you are going to see as the year goes on, North Union is an awful good football team. I think they are one of the better teams we are going to play and I think they are going to make some noise in their league. Hats off to them, they did a great job. They have a phenomenal offensive line. They have four or five guys back and their running back has a lot of experience and a quarterback with a lot of experience and not just experience they are good players. They are a good football team,” said Teglovic.

He says the Eagles were able to move the football, they just need to execute more consistently. “We did some things that we need to do better. We had way too many penalties, so we have to sure that up. We lost the turnover battle. Those couple of things right there, I think if we take care of those, it is certainly a closer game, I’m not saying we win that game, but it is definitely a closer game against a good team. If you look statistically they only outgained us by 50 yards. So, we moved the football and I thought we did a pretty decent job of that. There were times when our defense looked pretty good too. Sometimes it is about who you are playing against and when you are playing against some pretty good people you have to execute and sometimes we didn’t execute really well,” said Teglovic.

The score last week didn’t look too good, but Teglovic says he certainly does not question their effort. “Number one we put up about 450 yards of total offense against what I consider to be a playoff caliper team in division five. When you can do that against a unit like that there are some bright spots and some things that you can do. We weren’t playing against there twos, I mean the score ended up a little lopsided, but it was much more a dogfight than that,” he told Swankonsports.com on Labor Day, “Their guys were playing the whole game, our guys were playing the whole game. So, we put up some offense and that was a huge thing. I thought overall our effort was really good. I felt like every time they punched us we stayed in there and took the punch and kept rolling. We were extremely pleased with the effort we had, but the execution wasn’t good and our kids know that. We have to make sure we improve on that this week.”

On Friday night, Colonel Crawford (1-1) will travel to Cardington (0-2) to meet the Pirates, who have losses to Plymouth (35-20) and Bucyrus (38-17) the first two weeks.

Teglovic says they have an outstanding running back in Mason Gowers. “They have played two games against two decent teams and they have been right in there. They have been in there with a chance to win. They have moved the football extremely well. They have a running back in number five, who is one of the best in the area. As a sophomore last year he had just shy of 1,500 yards and that was in seven games. He has picked up right where he left off in the first two game this year. He is a handful for any defense. He has done a great job and we will have to focus on him. He is one of the better backs we are going to see this year. We will have our hands full containing him,” he said.

Published 9/04/18

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Key Small School Battle With Northmor and Lucas

Two teams that have looked pretty good so far in this young high school football season square off on Friday night as Northmor hosts the Lucas Cubs.

Both have won their two games so far and both have featured a power run game.

Nothmor is averaging nearly 50 points a game after wins over Marion Elgin (47-36) and Worthington Christian (48-26) on week two.

Coach Scott Armrose says they have been pleased with what they have gotten out of their offense so far. “We are pleased with our offensive production. Our offensive line has done a nice job opening things up. We have Conor Becker running the ball hard. Hunter Mariotti completing some big passes when we need to. So, we have been very happy with our offensive production,” he said.

After a couple of games, the Golden Knights are starting to get banged up a little bit. Armrose says they are going to need some younger guys to play well on Friday night. “Depth is a concern. We have a couple of injuries here or there and we are asking some younger kids to fill in. We are excited with the possibility of those guys playing. I think a lot of division six, division seven schools that is always a concern, how much depth you have got,” said Armrose.

Lucas (2-0) owns wins over Danville (22-0) and last week they beat Centerburg (42-14) on week two. Those are two schools in the Knox Morrow Athletic Conference, like Northmor.

Lucas is famous for the double wing, double tight offense. They are throwing a little more, but Armrose says really only when you force them too. “They will spread the field out more than they have in the past. They have their little RPO (run, pass option) packages like everybody does now and they can throw the ball,” he told Swankonsports.com on Labor Day, “They are not going to do it unless you put them in a situation where they have to do it. They are still going to run the ball every opportunity they get. They will throw given the opportunity.”

Lucas and their run game ends up looking like a rugby scrum and often times the back will just bounce out of there for a big gain. Armrose says you must be solid with your keys. “It is a giant pile, but you have to trust your keys. They pull offensive line and they lead with their fullback. You just have to trust your reads if you are a linebacker or you are a defensive lineman. We tell our linebackers and our secondary guys to get your eyes out of the backfield and trust your read,” he said.

Published 9/04/18

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Norwalk Has to Continue to Mature

Norwalk looked outstanding on week one and then not so good on week two and that is part of the maturing process for the Truckers, who are inexperienced at some spots.

After beating Mansfield Senior (42-21) on opening night, they were beaten (32-6) by Norwayne last week.

Coach Todd Fox says they just made too many mistakes at the wrong time. “We knew going in that they were a very coached football program and it was going to be a good football game. We had at least four turnovers and two of them were for scores and one of them was inside our own five we gave them the ball. So, that led to 21 points,” he told Swankonsports.com on Labor Day, “We just didn’t get into the flow of things. They did a great job of stopping us and a great job of moving the ball on us all around. We just have to get better.”

Fox says how they react to their first loss of season is going to be pretty important. “You look back and reflect we had a great week of practice and the kids worked hard. We thought we were ready. Things didn’t go our way. I told them that game will not define us, how we respond to it will define us. So, we will take it day by day and keep getting better,” he said.

Norwalk is at Port Clinton (1-1) on Friday night for a non-conference game. The Redskins lost Sandusky (48-21) and then bounced back on week two to beat Rossford (47-33) to even its record.

Fox says they have some weapons. “They have had two great games of putting points on the board. They have a nice running attack. The quarterback can make the big throw here and there. We have our work cut out for us in our cross over league game. Even though it is non conference it is still the “SBC” and we want to start with a strong showing,” he said.

When it comes to the scouting report, Fox says they have to continue to grow in their understanding of the game and they want to own the point of attack. “For us we have to keep maturing. Our quarterback game one played nothing like a sophomore, game two you could tell he was a sophomore. So, we are going to keep maturing there. Defensively, we need to swarm to the ball a little bit better. I think we took for granted that guys were going to make the tackle last week. Of course, we have to control the line of scrimmage and we have to control the football. If we can do that we feel good,” said Fox.

Published 9/04/18

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Mohawk Faces Another Challenge

It’s the home opener for the Mohawk Warriors on Friday night as they entertain the Gibsonburg Golden Bears in a non-conference high school football game.

Last week, the Warriors (2-0) went to Bascom at beat Hopewell-Loudon (34-14) on week two.

Mohawk scored twice early and coach Brent Konkle says they are becoming a more confident football team. “I was pleased by how we played on Friday night. I think Hopewell is going to win their share of games. They are a pretty solid football team. I think we got it on track early,” he told Swankonsports.com on Monday, “We ran the ball with success most of the game. I think that got us off to a good start. It got us some confidence that we need going into this week.”

Not that they won’t throw it when the situation calls for it, but Konkle says they are a team that wants to force you to stop them from running it. “That is Mohawk football. We have gambled and thrown the football the last couple of years. When it comes down to crunch time I think we are going to be running the football. Early in the game we had a 98 yard touchdown reception out of deep trouble, but other than that we are going to pound the football mostly,” said Konkle.

Gibsonburg is a new member of the River Division of the Sandusky Bay Conference. They have beaten Elmwood (20-14) and Woodmore (38-12) in their two games.

Konkle says they are finding what they are good at. “Gibsonburg is traditionally 8-2, 9-1. They have a new coach and he is full tilt into the wing-T, that is a little bit of our resume. A lot of teams in this area are going back to it. You can tell from week one to week two they made big strides in their offense. I think he has them going in the right direction,” he said.

Published 9/04/18

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Western Reserve Plays Edison and the Triple Option

Western Reserve hits the road for Milan to play the Edison Chargers in non-conference play on Friday night.

The Roughriders are looking for their first win on the season.

Trailing at one point (18-0) they ended up with a (37-18) loss to Margaretta last week.

Coach Ty Stevenson says they did a lot of good things last week against the Polar Bears and hopefully they can build on those. “There were sometimes when we played pretty well. It was 24-13 at the half. We got the ball coming out and we drive the ball right down the field on them. We get right down inside the red zone and we end up throwing a pick at about the four or five yard line. If we score there the game is probably a little different,” he told Swankonsports.com on Labor Day, “We saw some really bright spots and sometimes when we were looking pretty good. Ultimately, we turned it over four times and had a punt blocked for a touchdown. So, you are not going to beat a good team when that happens.”

They had lost (51-6) to Black River in their first game and Stevenson says they clearly made some positive strides last week. “I think we did get better. I think there were some spots where we improved and if we can just have another good week of practice and we can improve again this week,” he said.

Edison (2-0) beat Wynford (27-14) last Friday and the Chargers are a really solid football program with final four appearances in 2015 and 2016 and another playoff appearance last year.

Stevenson says the Chargers play well on both sides of the football. “It doesn’t get any easier for us this week. They run that veer really well up there. Coach Hall does a great job with those guys. They run that 3-4 defense to a “T.” We are really going to have to strap it up. We told our guys all we can do is get better every day and see where we land on Friday night,” said Stevenson.

Edison is one of the few teams that continue to run the midline option. Stevenson says that make it hard to prepare for the week you play them. “It is really tough to get it down in a week. You have 16, 17-year-old kids that you are trying to prepare to play a different scheme than you typically see. That I think plays into their advantage and helps them out as they go along,” he said.

Published 9/04/18

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South Central Meets Improving Crestline

South Central has a chance to close out the non-conference portion of its schedule unbeaten. They need a win Friday night in their home opener with the Crestline Bulldogs.

The Trojans (2-0) hammered Danbury Lakeside (54-14) last week after an overtime victory over Willard (32-26) on the first week.

Coach Corey Fickiesen says they have been able to do a lot of things when they have the ball. “I just think that we are understanding what we need to do. It all starts with the guys up front. They worked pretty hard this summer and in the camp. They have a pretty good grasp on our run game and our pass game and protecting Even (Legg,) who also has a had a really good first two games,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday evening, “He has some guys kind of take some pressure off of him with David Lamoreaux and Cristiano Murphy catching the ball and making some plays. We have been able to run the ball affectively too. So, when you mix all of that together you are going to move the ball and you are going to score points. We have done it both games, so it has went well.”

On defense, Fickiesen says they have played pretty overall, except for some break downs that have led to scores. “We have played pretty well. We have had a couple of break downs here and there. Consistency wise, other than those break downs, we have been pretty good. We just have to clean that up a little bit and eliminate some of those break downs, but it is early in the year and we have some young guys out there and they are learning a lot early, so that is a good thing,” he said.

Crestline (1-1) beat Buckeye Central (26-6) in its first game. The Bulldogs lost last Friday to Fisher Catholic (35-7) in non-conference play.

Fickiesen says they are going to try and show his team a lot of different things, so they are going to have to be disciplined. “They have some athletes. The (Kaden) Ronk kid at receiver is very athletic, he is returning kicks and punts. The quarterback Ty Clark is back after a really good year. They have some really good athletes that they try and get out in space and do some different things with. Defensively, they will switch from a three to a four man front to try and confuse you. They will blitz different guys and change some different coverages just to change things up, so you are not sure where they are and what they are doing. So, we are going to have to be pretty disciplined this week and knowing where they are at and what they are doing and try and take advantage of some of those things,” said Fickiesen.

Published 9/03/18

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Mapleton Has to Continue to get Better

Mapleton did a lot of things better on week two than they did in their opener and they are going to have to continue to do that week to week.

They belted Wellington (56-21) last Friday, which was pretty much a 180 degree turn from their (61-27) loss to Hillsdale in their first game.

Coach Robert Mahaney says they put in a lot of work during practice last week and they were a lot better on the game field. “We talked to our team, and it is old coaching verbiage, where you want to get better from week one to week two. That is were you going to see the most growth in your football team. We talked to the kids about that and there were a lot of things we needed to get better at,” he told Swankonsports.com on Sunday, “We had not played very assignment sound defensively week one. Hillsdale really exposed us with that. We really went back and harped and we grew a lot defensively. Offensively, we took care of the ball a little bit better and executed and we were able to put some points on the board.”

With quarterback Logan Pharmer the Mounties are going to be able to score if they don’t turn the ball over.

Most teams improve between week one and two, but Mahaney says you most adopt that attitude during the entire season or you are going to end up not being very good. “There is a lot of emphasis between week one and two because it is the first time you get out there, but if you are a team that is just staggering and not getting better you are going to struggle as the season goes. We have to get better every week, every day, from practice to practice and game to game,” he said.

Rittman (2-0) out of the Wayne County Athletic League entertains the Mounties on Friday night in a non-conference game. They are coming off a (35-0) shutout of Warren Champion last week.

Mahaney says they are going to try and run the ball out of a spread formation and he say they are going to have to be solid on their keys or they are going to give up some points. “They have a new coach and they have been doing a really good job out this spread running game. They are playing pretty good, so we have to make sure we are assignment sound again, because they are going to try and expose that and if we are like we were on week one, we are going to struggle defensively. Offensively, we just have to execute. Every year it comes down to us against ourselves offensively. If we execute, if we do our assignments, we are going to be alright as long as we don’t turn it over, then we should be okay,” said Mahaney.

Published 9/03/18

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Shelby not Underestimating Lexington

Shelby has won its last 17 regular season games in a row and they will try an extend that streak when they play at Lexington on Friday night in a non conference game.

The Whippets destroyed Madison (48-8) in their first game last Thursday at home.

Coach Erik Will says they were able to get off to a good start with 21 points in the first quarter. “I was really happy with our kids we got off to a fast start. That was something we hadn’t seen in the three scrimmages. So, we were really happy about that. I thought our line as a collective group played pretty well, so I was happy about that. The ability is there, but we do have some youth, and because of that I was a little worried about how they would handle some different situational things and I thought they did well there. There are plenty of things to coach up from a technique standpoint there. Coming out of the half I want to be a little bit more crisp. All in all, I was very pleased with how our kids played. We understand that the competition is only going to get tougher from here, so we have to grow from week to week,” said Will.

The Shelby coach says they made enough mistakes that there have been some teaching points to address this week. “That is the best way to coach. After a win it is easier to coach hard that it is to coach hard after a loss. What I mean by that is kids are a little more emotionally and mentally vulnerable after a loss. You almost have to be careful what you say, be honest with them, but you have to be careful,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “When they come in after a pretty dominate win, at least on the scoreboard, you can kind of give them a little bit more of a reality of where they are at. It was a great opportunity for us to coach them and I thought they have responded well and we are having a very good week of practice.”

Lexington (0-1) lost in its first game when Ontario scored twice in the last five minutes to win (14-7) last Friday. Shelby beat the Minutemen (41-7) a year ago.

Will says the Minutemen has some playmakers, especially Ohio State recruit Cade Stover. “The skill is definitely there. I know they weren’t happy with the results of the game on Friday, but that is a rivalry game. We knew going into that game that Lexington has athletes and we came away knowing they have athletes know. You know, 11 is tough, five is tough, 18 is tough. The quarterback is not bad when he gets time to through the ball. Obviously, Cade Stover speaks for himself. He is one of the best players in the state and he has to be accounted for on every play,” he said.

When it comes to Stover, Will says you have to try and disguise things so he doesn’t make the play in the backfield. “He is definitely a very important part of our scouting report with the kids this week. His affect on defense is almost like nothing I have ever seen in 18 years of coaching because the way they line him up it is hard to account for him in your blocking. So, you have to find ways to chip him, get is way, try to get him to see something and go the other way, mis direction things are big. Cade Stover is probably going to have 25 tackles, but we just want those tackles to be down the field six, seven, eight, nine yards. If we can do that we will be fine,” said Will.

Published 8/31/18

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Time to Refocus For Tygers

There is no way to candy coat it Mansfield Senior did not play very well in a loss last week to Norwalk, but they need to look ahead as they travel to Sandusky Perkins for a non-conference high school football game on Friday night.

Defensive Coordinator Sean Adams says they weren’t ready to play last week in a (42-21) loss to Norwalk. “It wasn’t a very good game for us. Defensively, I take full responsibility for the way we played. We weren’t prepared and that rests on me. It is time to turn the page. We turned the page on Saturday evening after watching Perkins. They are a big, physical team. They have a nice running back, the quarterback is quick, and they have some athletes on the outside. A great thing about football you can learn some life lessons. You certainly don’t learn perseverance, resiliency, toughness and sacrifice in a text book. We learned a tough lesson last week, but we are ready to bounce back and we are ready to play (Friday) night,” said Adams.

You sort of have to have a short memory in sports and Adams says they learned some things and he believes they are better prepared for Sandusky Perkins. “We aren’t going to dwell on anything, we know what we did. We weren’t ready and I have to give Norwalk credit too. Norwalk was well prepared, and their kids came out and executed a great game plan. So, it is not just all about us. Norwalk did a great job,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We went in Saturday morning and learned from our mistakes and we moved on Saturday evening, so yeah it is a short memory. We have had a great week of practice. School has kind of gotten in full swing. We are just looking forward to going up to Sandusky Perkins. It’s a great place to play a football game.”

Perkins lost on week one too and in similar fashion. They were shutout in the first half, like the Tygers, and lost (31-7) to Huron.

Adams says the Pirates are not as bad as that score might indicate. “We watched Huron put kind of whippin’ on Norwalk in the scrimmage that they had the jamboree night. Huron is a very good football team, very fast, very physical. I think in some respects so is Sandusky Perkins. It is just not a bad game by Perkins because Huron did some nice things. Perkins is going to come ready to go. I used to coach at Maragretta and I know a lot of the guys on that staff. They want to beat the Mansfield Tygers. They want to come and get us. This is the last year of our two year agreement,” he said.

Published 8/31/18

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Small School Powers Wynford and Edison Square off

Wynford visits Edison Friday night in a non-conference game against the Chargers, two schools used to winning on the gridiron.

The Royals beat Liberty-Benton (19-18) last week in a game in which their defense was just tremendous.

Coach Gabe Helbert says they are proud of the win, but they have to move on. “We are excited by what happened last Friday, but that smile was pretty much gone on Saturday after we watched the film and tried to evaluate some things. We have a long way to go to getting better and being considered a good team. The work doesn’t end and hopefully our season isn’t defined by one game. You have to make the most growth between week one and week two. I think in the past there was a hunger because we had lost week one. I hope that hunger is still there with our kids this week with the desire to play our best against a really, really good Edison team,” said Helbert.

When it comes to offensive execution the Royals have to get a lot better, according to Helbert. “We were very average to below average. I thought we did some things that were decent at times, but then we stalled out on a fourth and one, we stalled out on a fourth and five trying to score from the five yard line, we missed the pass to score. There were just things there that we need to get better. I would say we are a work in progress. Thank God our defense was as good as they were Friday to allow us from an offensive standpoint to lean on them. We have to get better in all three phases of the game,” he said.

Edison, an option football team, beat Oberlin Firelands (41-23) last week on the opening Friday.

Helbert says they have great tradition and they force you to be very focused on defense. “When you watch the film they are very well coached. They do a lot of things very, very good. They are very aggressive, they are physical. Offensively, they are kind of unique because you don’t see the veer and the midline double wing option stuff and much as you probably did 30, 40 years ago,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “It is an excellent offense, it is an offense that forces you to play disciplined, assignment football. There is a reason they have been to two final fours and a playoff appearance just over the last three years, not to mention beyond that. They are a football program that year in and year out is competing for conference championships and playoff appearances.”

In order to hope to control the option, Helbert says you have to be very disciplined. “They are trying to expose your assignment football. If you have a guy trying to do some else’s job they are going to find it an exploit it and they are going to make you pay. That is the beauty of that offense. They do it really well. Their fullback is excellent. Their quarterback does a nice job in the run game. He has the ability to throw. He has a very nice receiver to throw to and both of their wingbacks are good. I look at Edison that if they are in our league they are certainly competing for championships,” said Helbert.

Published 8/31/18

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Athletic Centerburg Next for Lucas

After beating Danville for the first time ins 25 years it is on to the next challenge for the Lucas Cubs.

They host Centerburg (1-0) at Bob Wine Field on Friday night.

The Cubs handled their arch nemesis in Danville (22-0) last week, but coach Scott Spitler says they were far from perfect in the game. “We are definitely excited to start the season 1-0, but after watching the film we were far from perfect. We had a lot of things that we had to clean up this week and hopefully we have done a good job of that. We can’t have the penalties and the missed assignments that we had Friday night on week two against a good Centerburg team,” he said.

There was a lot be excited about last week, but Spitler says they had a full agenda when it comes to things they needed to work on in practice this week too. “It is definitely a lot better week coming off a win a fixing those things than the other side of that coin. Our kids are very cognoscente of what they expect of themselves. We just had a couple of lost yardage plays late that stopped a drive that was in the red zone that should have been a score. We had back to back touchdown passes called back in the third quarter that should have been scores. I just thought things got a little sloppy at times for us. They were self inflicted things with some penalties and missed assignment type things that you have to clean up with the type of schedule we play.”

Centerburg beat Utica (28-14) in a non-conference game on week one of the season and they appear to be back on track after a down season a year ago.

Spitler says they are blessed with a lot of athletes the Cubs will have to contain in order to win this time out. “They are a very talented team. As usual they play tremendous defense. They are fast and get several bodies to the ball every down. They created and covered four turnovers to lead them that 28-14 victory. We are going to have our hands full with a very athletic and aggressive defense. Then offensively their skill at the quarterback, running back, and wide out positions jump off the film at you. They do a nice job in their spread offense putting you in space and force you to play good, sound football in that space,” said Spitler.

Published 8/31/18

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Norwalk Getting Ready for Talented Norwayne

Norwalk produced a somewhat surprising and pretty dominating win on week one, but they have to continue to get better as they travel to small school power Norwayne on Friday night.

Coach Todd Fox was pleased with their performance in a (42-21) win over Mansfield Senior last week and the Truckers approach in practice this week. “Yeah, we are happy with the performance, but we have found a lot of areas that we have to get better at and we have had a great week of practice trying to get there,” he said.

This is his first year at Norwalk and Fox says he was a little concerned about Monday, but as it turns out there was no reason for concern. “To be quite honest, I didn’t know what we would see when the gentlemen came in Monday for practice. My fear was, okay, they just had a great victory and they are going to come back and bask in that,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “Honestly, we saw the opposite, we saw them hungrier to get better. A little bit more of a hop in their step this week. It has actually worked great for us. Hopefully, we can continue to get better and play better Friday night.”

Norwayne lost (35-34) to Mogadore in their opener. They finished second behind Dalton in the Wayne County Athletic League standings last season.

Fox says this is a great program they are playing. “I think their record the last three years is 30-6. They are a great football program. 2011 I think is when they won the state championship. Over the last 10 years it has been a great football school. When you watch them on film they are fundamentally sound, very well coached. For us, we have to play a great football game,” he said.

He adds that the Bobcats approach to the game is very similar to their game plan. “We are very similar. Our offenses are very similar, our defenses are very similar. Their quarterback is a little bit more veteran than ours. He is more of a runner than what we have seen. They are pretty big, they are bigger than us up front. We have the one guy that makes us bigger on the average, but they are pretty big across the board. We just have to be ready to play,” said Fox.

Published 8/31/18

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Northmor Has to Get Ready for Spread

Northmor has a much different challenge on week two as they are at home for the wide open offense of Worthington Christian in non-conference play.

They were able to outscore the double tight, double win offense of Marion Elgin (47-36) last week.

Coach Scott Armrose says they knew Elgin would be a challenge and they were very pleased with the victory. “We are happy to get out of Marion with a win. We knew it was going to be a tough game. They have a lot of athletes. The things they do, they do really well. We think we beat a really good football team,” he said.

It’s about getting better every week and Armrose says that is their goal as a football team. “We feel like we have and we continue to improve. They say you make your biggest improvement is between week one and week two, but we had to make a huge improvement between our last scrimmage and week one and one of the good things about preparing for a team like Elgin is they make you be very disciplined. To be ready for week one we had to do a lot of things right and that carries over, so that has helped us a lot too,” said Armrose.

It is a big change for the Golden Knights this week as they face a much different offense from Worthington Christian, who beat Springfield Northeastern (20-13) last week.

Armrose says you can pretty much call the Warriors the Hartings show and it is a good show and one that is hard to defend. “We go from the double wing of Elgin to the spread attack of Worthington Christian. They have got a lot of athletes. Jeff Hartings, who played in the Super Bowl, is their coach. He played for the Pittsburgh Steelers,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “He has three boys on the team and one his boys is a senior running back, who is just an athlete, a big, strong kid. One of his other sons is the quarterback, he is athletic and can throw the ball well.”

Published 8/31/18

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Crestview and Hillsdale Match Run Games

Crestview is at Hillsdale on Friday night for a high school football game between teams that do a lot of the same things, mainly run the football.

The Cougars did a lot of that successfully last week in a come from behind (29-26) win over Loudonville.

Coach Dan Mager says that is a solid win for them. “It was a good win. I like Loudonville, they are good. They are going to win some games this year. They have a new coach down there in Kevin Maltrich and he will do a good job. They have some really good weapons there with the running back and the quarterback,” he said.

Hillsdale, on the other hand, outscored Mapleton (61-27) on week one.

Mager says the Falcons have an electric offense. “They’ve got a great program over there. They have another great team. They put up 61 points last week against Mapleton. They are very diverse on offense from the standpoint of getting the balls to many different people. They have three really, really good guys that can run the ball,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “They lost Trey Williams from last year in the passing game. I’m sure the kid at quarterback if he needs to pass he can. We have to stop the run obviously. They did a good job last week against Mapleton. We are going to have our work cut out for us there is no doubt about it.”

Both teams feature the option offense. Mager was the offensive coordinator at Hillsdale before taking the Crestview job. He says you can’t get greedy on defense or Hillsdale will make you pay. “It is assignment football. It’s kind of like we are playing ourselves. They run the same offense now that we run. A lot of similarities so it is just going to be who does a better job of reading their keys and reading their assignments and making tackles. That is the thing with the Hillsdale guys, the three boys they have running the ball, especially the Smith boy, he will make you miss. You have Becker, who had a great game last week, you have Goodwin running the ball now. So, they are definitely a triple threat when it comes to running the ball,” said Mager.

Published 8/31/18

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Pleasant Respects Fredericktown

Pleasant entertains Fredericktown on Friday night in week two high school football action.

In their opener, Pleasant took apart Indian Lake (40-7) last Friday.

Coach Aaron Cook says they did some good things. “It was a good game for our kids. Obviously winning week one, winning a non league game, that is always a step in the right direction. Our kids were ready to go and the played pretty well,” he said.

One thing they did do was commit too many penalties and Cook says that is something they must address going forward. “Penalties jumped out at me. We committed some really stupid penalties early on. Some real uncharacteristic things for us and that was a big point of emphasis this week. That is something we need to correct. We needed to be more disciplined and our kids worked hard at this this week,” said Cook.

Pleasant beat Fredericktown (39-14) last season.

The Freddies were smacked around by Clear Fork (63-0) last week.

However, Cook cautions that the matchups this week are going to be different. “I’ll say this, Fredericktown, with a lot of the same kids, with us it was a 13-7 ballgame there right before the half. I see a lot of fight in those kids, those kids play hard. It really is a bout matchups. That is the thing I try to tell our kids and our people. We are distinctly different than a Clear Fork type team in the way we go about running our offense. The things they were able to do is something that we don’t even try to do,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “I think it is just a different match-up for both teams. Our kids know how well coached Fredericktown is from watching them on film. How hard their kids play. We played them a year ago and it was one heck of a game. Obviously, you have the be on your “A” game and come out and execute the game plan and play hard.”

Published 8/31/18

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Clear Fork Faces Big Challenge at Bellevue

Clear Fork is at Bellevue in what should be one of the better games in North Central Ohio on Friday night.

Bellevue beat the Colts last year in a regional semifinal game.

Clear Fork opened the campaign with a (63-0) shellacking of Fredericktown on Hall of Fame weekend.

Coach Dave Carroll was most impressed with their approach to the game. “I was proud of kids from the standpoint that they saw the film of Fredericktown going in and they knew they were struggling, that they were young and inexperienced. That sometimes with high school kids can be a problem because they think we will just show up and play half speed and win the game and all of that. We always tell the kids that is not who we are playing it is about how you play. It’s about playing Clear Fork football, about playing at our level no matter who it is. I was really proud of them I thought they did that. They came out and took care of business. I thought we were sharp in all phases offense, defense, special teams all did a nice job and our young kids went in there and did a nice job. Most of our young kids got to play other than our freshmen,” said Carroll.

Bellevue (0-1) lost to Canton Central Catholic (14-13) last week. They lost 75 percent of their starters from last year, but Carroll is not surprised they are good again. He says that is the course of action at Bellevue. “I would have said last January that Bellevue is going to be good again. I knew they graduated 16, 17 out of 22 starters, bit I also know Ed Nasonti and their coaching staff and the tradition and the way they love football up there. We talked about them before we played them last year, we played them ’09 through ’12, and it is the same thing. Those kids are in the weight room, they work hard in the off season, and then when they are juniors and seniors they are ready to play football. They are just always good. I don’t know when was the last time they have had a losing season, but you will have to look pretty far back. They just keep reloading every year. Even when they graduate a ton of kids like last year. They are a very good team again. Defensively, they are quick and get to the ball, they are physical. They just hustle in all areas of the game. They definitely lost some serious talent from last year in McPeak and Bryce Ray, both quarterbacks, the entire offensive line. Thy had some dandy players, but they have some nice kids playing well for them again this year,” said Carroll.

In terms of the way they run their offense, Carroll says there are some tweaks, but not a lot. “It is pretty much what they do. They seem to rely on the run a little bit more. Last year, they had two quarterbacks, two senior quarterbacks, that were really good. The one kid was a great runner and the other kid was a great passer, but they both could do both. They had Bryce Ray at running back, a 220 pound kid, that could fly. They had the McPeak kid at split end that was two time first team All-Ohio that is at Ashland University. So, they could do a lot of things really well last year,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “I would say they are running the football more, probably running the football more inside, the quarterback doesn’t run quite as much, but he will run the football with draws and quarterback sweeps. The passing game maybe a little bit more possession type passing stuff with outs and hitches and curls and comebacks and things like that. Their go to receiver is 6’5”. He is not as fast as McPeak, but he is 6’5”, which poses a problem for high school corners. It is very similar to what they have been doing formation wise. Ed always has a million different formations trying to get you in a bad position, get you lost, and then he tries to out number you, and run it or throw it where he has a numbers advantage. It’s a lot of the same stuff.”

Published 8/30/18

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Ashland Faces Physical Clyde

Ashland and Clyde are two of the dynastic football programs in North Central Ohio and they meet for a non-conference game on Friday night at Community Stadium in Ashland.

It came down to a late score last year when Clyde won (22-19) at their place and it would seem to be the same kind of game this time around.

The Arrows hung on to beat Green (28-26) in a first week game, defending a two point play with less than a minute to play.

Coach Scott Valentine says they made some plays, but they also have some things to work on. “As we went back through the video we saw a lot of good things, so that is a positive, but there are still a lot of those little things you have to get better at. That is what we have been working on this week,” said Valentine.

It can be a trap for teams that win on week one, Valentine says they have to understand that they still have to improve. “I told our kids on Monday that half of teams in the state lost that first week, but it is not what you did the first week it is where you end up at the end of the season. So, there are a lot of things you try and get better at. I think our kids understand that,” he said.

Clyde (1-0) got a field goal at the horn to beat Toledo Start (27-24) last Friday.

Valentine describes them as a physical team who has left the spread for a little more of the wing-T offense. “They are a normal Clyde team. They are big and they are physical,” he told Swankonsports.com Wednesday, “This year they have kind of changed offensively into more of a wing-T style offense to use some of that size and strength. Defensively, they are doing a lot of the same stuff up front. They are well coached, so it will be one of those games where we are going to have to go out and earn everything we get.”

When facing the wing-T you have to watch out for fakes and Valentine says they need to be true to their keys when facing the Fliers. “That is the thing we have emphasized this week. You have to trust your reads and get your eyes in the right place. Hopefully, we can do that on Friday night,” he said.

Published 8/30/18

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South Central Must Continue to Work Hard

South Central knocked off Willard in overtime last week and now they face a trip north to meet the Danbury Lakeside Lakers in their second straight non-conference game against a team from the River Division of the Sandusky Bay Conference.

Coach Corey Fickiesen says there were some ebbs and flows to their (32-26) win over Willard, but he was proud they were able to rally. “You get up 20-0 and you feel pretty decent about what you are doing and where you are at. We go into have time and we were talking about you can’t be complacent because they are a very good football team and they have a quarterback that can bring them back if we let them and that’s what happened,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We let them come back, but fortunately we were able to pick ourselves back up and do some of the stuff we did early on we did late there in the fourth quarter and in overtime. So, it is great to get a win on week one, but to have some lessons learned early in the season is a nice thing as well.”

Lakeside (1-0) won at Vanlue (28-14) in their first game and Fickiesen says they are a physical team and their program understands winning. “We have now been watching film quite a bit. They lost a couple of their pretty good kids from last year, but they also have a couple of their pretty good kids back. They have a couple of big running backs that are big physical kids. On the offensive line they have four or five big, strong kids. It is going to be a test. You have to go all of the way up along the lake. It is a team that is two years removed from a playoff run and still has that taste in their mouths and you can see that they want to get back there. So, it is going to be a test for us going all of the way up there and we will see how we face it,” said Fickiesen.

South Central’s best record over the last 30 seasons is (6-4) and if they can win Friday night they hopefully can build some momentum toward a good season. However, Fickiesen says they will have to earn it. “Obviously, they have been hearing about, you won the first one, now you should just win the second one, and this, this and this, but none of the rest of that stuff matters if we don’t focus on this week. If we are fortunate enough to go up there and play really well we can pull one out we are going to set ourselves up in a good spot. That is what we expected coming into the year, but you have to go do it. You can’t just expect it, you have to get the job done. That is what we are looking forward to doing this week,” he said.

Published 8/30/18

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More Intensity Needed For Mohawk

Mohawk plays at Hopewell-Loudon on Friday night in a non-conference game and the Warriors are looking for more intensity on defense.

They beat Kansas Lakota (34-8) in their opening night game.

Coach Brent Konkle liked what he saw execution wise on the offensive side of the football. “Offensively, I thought we were very solid. We mixed it up pass and run. We scored on five out of the seven possessions. I thought we were very, very efficient. So, I am very pleased with our offense,” he said.

On the other hand, on defense, Konkle is looking for a little more intensity this week against Hopewell. “Defensively, you don’t want to criticize too much when you only give up eight points, but intensity wise I was a little disappointed. I think this week we have raised the bar in practices and I think we have had some quality practices. Defensively, we were solid Friday night I just want to play with more excitement,” said Konkle.

Hopewell-Loudon (1-0) beat up Ravenna Southeast (34-13) in their first game of the season.

Konkle says they have a solid running game they will have to contend with on Friday night. “They have a very solid running game. They have a young quarterback that does a very good job of hitting his timing routes and mix in a second quarterback as well,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “So, they have a three headed attack from that aspect. The running back is very talented. The (Sam) Stickley kid, he is very athletic, very strong and he has some speed to him. So, there is a little concern there.”

Mohawk made the playoffs last season and you often build that base by what you do in these non-conference games, but Konkle says they are not worried about that yet. “We are worried about week two right now, but I definitely like our non conference schedule. I like having week one, two and three again instead of jumping around in the non league like we did the last couple of years. Hopewell is an old “MAL” rival, so I am very excited getting back into that. The opportunity is in front of us to play a very solid game this week,” said Konkle.

Published 8/30/18

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Yellow Jackets Headed in Right Direction

Mt. Vernon feels like they are right on the edge of being a good team.

The Yellow Jackets are at home for Newark (0-1) on Friday night in a non-conference game.

They lost their opener last week to Marion Harding (21-12) in a game in which they had four turnovers.

Coach Mike Kerr says they played well enough to win, especially on defense. “We thought going into the fourth quarter we were driving and we felt we had some momentum. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for us. There were a lot of good positives things that came away from the game. Our defense played outstanding. The offense had some moments we just have to clean some things up. There is a lot to build on and the kids have really responded this week. So, I think that loss is behind us and we are ready for Newark,” said Kerr.

Newark also lost last week to Zanesville (32-27) in non-conference play. The Wildcats were (1-9) last year, but Kerr says they are much improved this season. “I think they are improved from last year. They kind of have a new offense. They are doing a lot of jet sweep stuff. They have some good athletes out there. They have some athletes on defense,” he told Swankosports.com on Wednesday, “They have a real strong defensive line. I know they gave Zanesville quite a game. We expect them to come in and be ready for us. I know it sort of a rivalry game, so I think it is a big, big night for both of us.”

Kerr believes they have the talent for a good season, but he says they have to prove it on the field starting this week. “That has been our focus. Playing well is nice, but we are ready to win and these kids I think are ready to win. We just have to clean some stuff up. We have focused on a lot of those small details this week and really tried to hammer those home and how important those are to kids. I think we have the potential to win. We have the potential to be a good football team, but we have to clean up a lot of those little things,” he said.

Published 8/30/18

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Danville Needs to Get Better All Over

Danville doesn’t lose much and they aren’t shutout hardly ever, but both happened last week.

Lucas beat the Blue Devils (22-0) on the opening night. This Friday Danville travels to Tiffin Calvert to meet the Senecas.

In reference to last week, coach Ed Honabarger says it just was not a very good night for them. “We didn’t do very much right. We have to continue to try and get better and find our way. We are young in some key positions. It really showed against a good, experienced Lucas team,” he said.

When it comes to improvement, Honabarger says everything has to be better if they are going to win, especially their consistency. “A little bit of everything. Just consistency and we have lacked that though our scrimmages and week one. We just can’t put together strings of consistency,” he told Swankonsports.com on Thursday, “We will have a good play here or there. We need seven or eight good plays consecutive back to back. That is what we are striving for, trying to correct the little things.”

Calvert (1-0) had a big second half in belting Monroeville (59-27) last Saturday.

Honabarger says they have a lot of athletes that are going to hard to contain in space. “They have some real nice athletes that can run. They like to hit the perimeter. We have our work cut out for us. Our first four weeks are just a bear. It doesn’t get any easier going to a perennial playoff team like Calvert,” said Honabarger.

Published 8/30/18

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Line of Scrimmage Going to be Key For Western

Western Reserve will be at home for Margaretta in a non-conference football game on Friday night.

The Roughriders were throttled (51-6) by an excellent Black River team in last week’s opener.

Coach Ty Stevenson says they had a rough start to the game, but they showed some good things too. “They put 22 on us in the first quarter and got on us pretty quick. I thought once that initial shock wore off I though we competed pretty well and held our own there the middle quarters a little bit,” he told Swankonsports.com on Wednesday, “We played a little bit better than we did early on. We put a couple of drives together. We got points on one of them and we didn’t on the other. So, there are definitely some positives that we can bring away from it.”

This week is about getting better for Western and Stevenson says that process is well underway. “Our kids came in Saturday morning and were really focused watching film. I thought we got better Saturday morning by the way we approached the film session. So, that was good and now we just have to take every day this week and try to get a little better,” he said.

Margaretta (0-1) lost their opener to Seneca East (41-12) last Thursday.

Stevenson says the Polar Bears have some guys that cause problems for their defense. “That game was Thursday night due to there bleacher situation, so we got to go watch that. They have a lot of tools. They are big up front. They have a really big running back (Bryceten) Hedden, number five, and they have a 6’5” receiver, number 11. So, they have a lot of tools. Seneca East is pretty good football program that they ran into week one, so we know we are going to have our hands full Friday night,” said Stevenson.

Western Reserve wants to run the ball and Stevenson says to do that they are going to have to get something done up front. “We are going to have to control the line of scrimmage. A lot of it will come down to who can block and tackle up front a little bit better. We are going to try and make sure we control the line of scrimmage and stop their big plays. We gave up too many big plays Friday night against Black River, so we are going to try and take care of that,” he said.

Published 8/30/18

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