Prep football, Week 6: Dancing in September
Records: Ontario 2-3; Carey 2-3
2015: Didn’t play
Outlook: Carey steps out of the Northern 10 Athletic Conference Friday to take on Ontario, which is a new opponent for the Blue Devils.
Even though Ontario is be two divisions up on Carey, the Blue Devils already have been through the gauntlet so far this season, playing the likes of McComb, Colonel Crawford and Wynford.
Coach Todd Worst said he is happy with the improvement he’s seen in his team.
“We have a pretty good group of kids that are willing to work hard and the O-line is coming together,” he said. “We put together three pretty good quarters last week (a 28-0 loss to Wynford) and had some opportunities, but just weren’t up that level yet. I guess.
“Overall, we are pretty pleased with the improvement and how hard they’ve worked,” Worst said. “We have low numbers, but I think we have 30 guys that want to play and hopefully they keep playing well the rest of the year.”
With Ontario being a new and unfamiliar team for the Blue Devils, Worst said it’s kind of tough to know exactly what they are going to face Friday.
“It’s tough to know what they will throw at us, because they’ve played three spread teams, so I’m interested in seeing how they line up against our offense,” Worst said. “It’s hard to judge teams you haven’t played or know what they are going to do. We will prepare for this team and see what they have to offer up close Friday night.
“We are going in cold, but it makes for an interesting week strategically for a coach. But it really comes down to guys making plays and making good decisions.”
Records: Bellevue 4-1, 1-0 NOL; Sandusky 5-0, 2-0 NOL
2015: Bellevue, 12-7
Outlook: After a Week 2 loss to Perkins at home, Bellevue has turned it on with three consecutive wins, all by double digits, including the 66-22 drubbing of Clyde. The Redmen will have to carry over their play this week as they face Sandusky, which is 5-0 and is rolling after a 42-21 whipping of Shelby last week.
“When you face Sandusky, the first thing you face is a quality quarterback, who makes the offense go,” coach Ed Nasonti said. “They also have a couple wide receivers who are outstanding and they put you in a position if you don’t make a play, they can take it to the house on any given play.
“No one has done a decent job yet of trying to contain them and their skill guys. Their quarterback is the real deal. If you miss in the open field, he’s gone.”
Through the halfway point in the season, Bellevue comes in with just the one loss to Perkins, but coach Nasonti said he and his staff are always trying to evaluate his team.
“You are constantly learning and evaluating throughout a season,” he said. “Every team or group is different and has their own identity. We have some kids that are resilient though, and that put the work in because things haven’t been easy for us this season.
“I have a group that practices well and always has good attitudes, which as a coach you have to be excited about. But with anything, you can have all of the talent in the world and still come up short if you don’t have character. That will get you in the end.”
Without a doubt, Bellevue’s character will be tested Friday with some adversity, but the Redmen have been here before especially with a trip to the Division IV regional finals last season.
“There is no doubt we’ll compete with Sandusky, but we must control their speed on the perimeter,” Nasonti said. “If we let their QB get to the edge and if we don’t tackle well we won’t have a shot.”
Records: Oak Harbor 2-3, 0-2 SBC; Clyde 4-1, 1-0 SBC
2015: Clyde, 54-20
Outlook: Clyde is coming off one of its biggest wins in recent seasons with a 23-0 win at Perkins, a place where the Pirates haven’t lost in years.
“It was a big win for us and I thought we played extremely well,” Clyde coach Ryan Carter said. “We took advantage of some things we saw on film during the week and our defense just played astronomically well.”
For the first half of the season, the Fliers have been fairly consistent, with one loss to Bellevue.
“We’ve had our ups and downs like any other team so far, with a couple games where we didn’t play that well,” Carter said. “We have good leadership and will continue to fight. We bounced back from the Bellevue game to get the last two wins. We have difficult games left and we always have to play our best football to give ourselves a chance to win.”
For a chance to win, the Fliers will have to channel their stellar defense again this week against Oak Harbor, who runs a wing-T like Perkins.
“They’ve been up and down this season, but they beat a good Eastwood team,” Carter said. “In this conference anybody can beat anybody. We just need to focus on ourselves and play the best we’ve played to give ourselves a chance to win.
“They run a lot of misdirection stuff, so we have to read our keys and like last week, play sound defensively. On offense, we need to move the ball and make sure we try to have good field position.”
Records: Buckeye Central 0-5, 0-3 N10; Ridgedale 0-5, 0-3 N10
2015: Buckeye Central, 55-0
Outlook: A team will get its first win Friday. Which one will it be?
For Buckeye Central, the season so far hasn’t went how it wanted, with injuries. But coach Rob Detterman said his team still fights every week and will be getting some health back with a couple players returning to the lineup.
“We’ve learned a lot we know they will play hard no matter what,” Detterman said. “We continue to juggle pieces, but we are getting a couple pieces back, which will really help. We will even get some more kids back next week, so we are excited about that.
“We are really just concentrated on ourselves this week. We haven’t been good offensively, so hopefully we can turn that around this week. I think we should be able to throw the ball this week, but we always want to establish the run.”
Defensively, the Bucks will have to keep Ridgedale’s athletes contained on the edge.
“Offensively, they like to attack their edges,” Detterman said. “They are undersized up front and will try to get the ball outside. “We need to come to play. We’ve had a good week of practice and I’m proud of the work they’ve put in this week and hopefully it translates to the field.”
Records: Elmwood 1-4, 0-2 NBC; Fostoria 2-3, 1-2 NBC.
Last year: Fostoria, 46-21.
Outlook: There’s work to be done, but progress was made.
Fostoria shook off a shutout loss to Eastwood by upsetting Lake 34-21 on the road last week, and enter Week 6 with a chance to even its conference mark in a homecoming game against Elmwood.
“Our varsity had a players only meeting after Eastwood and I think they got some things accomplished,” FHS coach Derek Kidwell said.
“Good win for us on Friday. The kids are excited,” he said. “A win cures lot of things, but we still have a lot of things to work on.”
And things to adapt.
Quarterback Skylar Garcia is out after suffering a knee injury last week and will probably miss next week’s game as well. However, the Redmen have an experienced replacement in Jayden Stanton.
“Fortunately enough for us, we have a two-year starter we can plug back in there. We’ll miss some stuff in the passing game, but we’ll gain some stuff in the running game,” Kidwell said.
Talent and game schemes will combine for that.
Kidwell said Elmwood has struggled this year with stopping the perimeter ground game, and he thinks Stanton and running back Jace Boff can take advantage of that with a little help.
“They’ve struggled on the edges. We need to get outside of them and exploit that,” he said.
“We’re switching some things up on offense, but it will be a heavy dose of running,” he said. “Hopefully our offensive line comes ready to play.”
If so, Fostoria’s offense could continue the success other teams have had against Elmwood. Three of Elmwood’s foes have scored more than 50 points, with just one of the other two teams held to two touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the defense will face a familiar challenge in stopping the Wing-T, an offense favored by several opponents already this year, not to mention the Royals.
“We’ve seen it a couple times and we’ll see it a couple more,” he said. “We’ll have to play well and read our keys.”
at St. Wendelin
Records: Stryker 2-3; St. Wendelin 2-3.
Last year: Did not play.
Outlook: St. Wendelin hosts a developing program Saturday when the Panthers come to town. Stryker has restarted is football team after an 85-year hiatus.
Despite playing mostly small varsity teams, such as St. Wendelin, and junior varsity teams, St. Wendelin coach Jim Bodart said he doesn’t expect Stryker to be a pushover.
“They don’t look like a bad football team, they look like a young football team,” he said. “They do some basic stuff, nothing overly complicated, which is what you’d expect from a team in their situation. Week to week, they make huge gains.
“A lot of sweep, a lot of edge play. They’re trying to get to the edge. We’ve been working hard on edge pursuit, containing the sweep,” he said. “Defensively, they’re going to give us an even front. I like running against an even front. It gives us a good look for running our Iso and blocks.”
The Panthers have 20 on the roster, with half of them being upperclassmen – six seniors and four juniors.
The Mohawks bring more overall experience, and enter relatively healthy after cruising past Toledo Horizon Science Academy 81-0 in an eight-man game. They received special permission from the OHSAA to play as an eight-man squad last week at the request of the Horizon Science Academy.
Bodart said the Mohawks hope to build off last week’s success against Stryker.
“Got a lot of momentum, a lot of experience for younger kids, which helps with the numbers we have. We’re cautiously optimistic coming into a game,” Bodart said. “It looks like a good opportunity for us. It should be an interesting opportunity.
“I think we’re in good position to take advantage of any opportunities that come our way,” he said.
at Upper Sandusky
Records: Seneca East 5-0, 4-0 N10; Upper Sandusky 3-2, 2-1 N10
2015: Seneca East, 15-13.
Outlook: Seneca East comes into this game on a roll, and off one of its biggest wins in years.
The undefeated Tigers knocked off Northern 10 Athletic Conference power Colonel Crawford last week, and now travels to Upper Sandusky, which comes in at 3-2.
“They’re pretty balanced,” Seneca East coach Ed Phillips said. “They have a good pass game and run it well. Got a good crew of running backs, spread ball out a little like we do.”
Of course, the Tigers’ top back is Shane Pack, a dynamic player who has 657 yards on the ground this season.
“He’s a big physical back, a load,” Phillips said. “He’s their centerpiece. We’ve gotta get a lot of helmets to the ball, attack the ball carrier.”
On offense, Phillips said he’s looking to continue what’s been working.
“Spread ball around, continue to play well up front,” Phillips said. “Our O-and-D lines need to play physical, if we can do that, that will help us have success on the field.
After a big win over Colonel Crawford last week, Phillips was asked if he’s concerned about a letdown.
He said no.
“We’re just trying to make the snowball bigger,” he said. “It’s rolling downhill and we want to keep it rolling.”
Records: Arlington 3-2, 2-1 N10; Hopewell-Loudon 1-4, 0-3 N10
Last season: Arlington, 7-6
Outlook: Hopewell-Loudon coach Brian Colatruglio was pleased with his offense’s performance last week in a 42-40 loss to Van Buren.
“Offensively, took a big step forward last week, now we have to build off of that,” Colatruglio said.
The Chieftains will look to do that Friday against Arlington.
“They’re more of a run-first team,” Colatruglio said.
The Red Devils are paced in the running game by Devin Plunkett, who has 260 rushing yards.
He’s being countered by H-L’s Sam Stickley, who returned from injury last week.
“We played at high level last week offensively,” Colatruglio said. “Having Sam back helps, it gives us balance we’ve been lacking.”
Colatruglio said the team’s attitude has been good as it attempts to turn things around in the second half of the season.
“The first five didn’t go way we wanted to,” Colatruglio said. “But we still have five left. We’ll try to get second half of the season off to a good start.”
Records: Wynford 5-0, 4-0; Mohawk 3-2, 2-2
2015: Wynford, 34-0.
Outlook: The Warriors found their groove last week aganst Bucyrus, thanks in large part to two performances in the running game.
Bryce Kirian and Parker Brown each ran for more than 100 yards in a thumping of Bucyrus, as the Warriors moved back over .500.
Things figure to get a little harder Friday, when Mohawk travels to Wynford to take on the unbeaten Royals.
Wynford has played five games this year, and four of them haven’t been close. It has a top passer and rusher in Zach Hoffman, who’s run for 875 yards while throwing nine TD?passes. It also has a top linebacker in Cole Heinlen. Heinlen is the N10’s leading tackler, and has nine for a loss.