Prep football, Week 2: On the road again
Records: Mohawk 1-0; H-L 1-0.
Last year: Didn’t play.
Outlook: One of the most intriguing matchups of Week 2 is in Bascom, as old Midland Athletic League rivals Hopewell-Loudon and Mohawk play Friday.
Both coaches recognize the MAL feel to the matchup, but Chieftains’ coach Brian Colatruglio wants his team to rise up to the challenge and try to get to that next level, where Mohawk is.
“They are an awfully good football team. They are a playoff-caliber team and this will be a measuring stick game for us,” he said. “We want that chance to go out and see what we can do against a great team like this. We want to get to that level.
“Most of the players won’t feel it, but most of the coaching staffs on both sides remember the old MAL feel to this game and with the big crowd and the communities knowing each other, I want to see how our team reacts.”
Mohawk coach Brent Konkle liked how his team played in Week 1 against Lakota, but wants to see improvement. He also wants his team to always know where Sam Stickley is this week.
“Sam is a great player with home run potential every time he touches the ball,” Konkle said. “They mix in a few quarterbacks, who both do good things and I’m sure we’ll see a wildcat formation sometime. It looks like they are starting to jell already and knowing coach Codge, they will be ready to play and in their correct spots.”
On the flipside, Mohawk is a balanced offense, which can take advantage of any defense being thrown at it, Colatruglio said. The key will be blocking up front against on the better lines the Chieftains will see all season. If they block and give Stickley and other runners some daylight, the Chieftains could be in business.
“My biggest memory of playing Hopewell-Loudon is that it always rains when we play them, like all week for some reason,” Konkle said. “But it is such a good rivalry. the crowds know each other, we know the field, we love the setting and it reminds me of the old MAL. Us playing the Chieftains … is the way it should be.”
Records: Galion 1-0; Carey 1-0.
Last year: Didn’t play.
Outlook: It will be a different type of opponent this week for Carey as Van Buren was big up front and provided some challenges with its size in Week 1. Galion isn’t quite as big as the Black Knights, but it is a lot quicker, Carey coach Jonathon Mershman said.
“One of the biggest questions I had going into last week was what would happen if we hit some adversity and not everything went according to plan. We responded and had a really strong second half,” Mershman said. “I think in the first half we were just trying too hard and we were over-playing, sort of. We came out relaxed and played our game in the second half and we got some results.”
Mershman said his team responded to being out-sized on the line and up front, but is wondering if they can step up this week to the quick Tigers.
“They have really good team speed and will try to get their athletes out in space,” he said. “They run a lot of the spread, trips and double twins on offense. They zone block and we will try to slow them down a bit.
“Offensively, we have to be quick off the ball on our first and second steps up front to combat their quickness.” Mershman said. “We don’t want to get beat off the ball. I just want to see fewer mental errors this week. It cost us a few times last week with mental errors, so I’m looking for improvement from that aspect.”
Records: Clyde 1-0; Ashland 1-0.
Last year: Clyde, 22-19.
Outlook: Going into Week 1, Clyde coach Ryan Carter admitted he really wasn’t sure what his team was going to be like with a lot of inexperience.
Last Friday against Toledo Start, the Fliers showed off a wing-T offense and ran it pretty well for never running it before under Carter.
“We didn’t have our second scrimmage this year, so that game Friday night was our second time hitting someone else during live action. We won and I’ll always take a win over the alternative, but we made a lot of mistakes,” he said. “We are focused on growing and becoming a better football team for us. We are focusing on the errors we made in Week 1 and trying to fix those because we face a really talented Ashland team.”
Ashland, even though it graduated a really good quarterback, still has an electric offense with the spread.
“They’ve produced another big, strong quarterback this year that can run a little and has a good arm,” Carter said. “They still run their five-wide spread with athletes all over the field. They are very good up front as well, so they present a lot of problems for us.
“On defense, they have one of the best players in our area. He is their defensive end and he’s just an animal on the field. We will have to make sure we know where he is lined up at all times. They are just a typical Ashland team. They are fast all over the field and play aggressive.”
at Buckeye Central
Record: Dalton 0-1; Buckeye Central 0-1.
Last season: Did not play.
Outlook: Dalton is coming off a brilliant season. The Bulldogs were undefeated in 2017, then reached the regional final.
But Dalton lost to Tuslaw last week. It will look to get righted Friday when it travels to New Washington to take on the Bucks.
“They are very good,” BC coach Rob Detterman said of the Bulldogs. “They did lose, but it was a tough game. They don’t have a lot of size, but they play fast. They play very aggressively, and it’s that old-school type of football, something you might have seen 20 years ago.”
Detterman said the “old school” philosophy is apparent on both sides of the ball.
“They play a lot of I formation, downhill run attack, and they’re a 5-2 defense that plays all man coverage, and they really come after you, a lot of blitz pressure,” he said. “They’re a very well-coached football team that really brings the pressure and they get after the ball.”
Like Dalton, Buckeye Central is coming off a loss, a 26-6 defeat at Crestline.
“One thing we’re gonna have to do is match (Dalton’s) speed,” Detterman said. “The score of our game last week was really kind of deceptive to how we played. We were really happy with our effort, but we need to play a little faster, especially on the line of scrimmage. So that’s what we’re gonna have to do: Match them there.”
For all of Dalton’s talent, Detterman said Buckeye Central may be bigger.
“We’re gonna have to remain physical, and hopefully our size can wear on them a little bit,” he said. “We did see, with the way they played so aggressively, there are some weaknesses in their schemes, and if we can take advantage of those, and get to their second level, there are opportunities to make big plays on them. But we definitely have to play really well to take advantage of those weaknesses.”
Someone who could give the Bucks an advantage is Avery Baldosser. He had Buckeye Central’s biggest highlight in Week 1: An 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
“Avery does that all over the field, whether that’s special teams, defense and offense. He gives us a guy that can make a big play. He’s a guy who’s capable of making an interception from the linebacker spot. He’s also capable of making a big run or catch offensively from his running back spot. But you know he’s a guy who can make a play and turn the game around in a hurry.”
at Seneca East
Records: Newark Catholic 1-0; Seneca East 1-0.
Last year: Did not play.
Outlook: Each team is coming off a satisfying win in Week 1. For Newark Catholic, it was a last-minute touchdown pass by quarterback Matt Carlisle that keyed a 17-13 win over Maysville.
For Seneca East, it was a 41-12 win over Margaretta.
Friday night’s game will present another new challenge for Seneca East.
“Our non-league games this year are all new opponents, so it’s kind of exciting,” SE coach Ed Phillips said. “We don’t know (Newark Catholic), we don’t know much about them at all.”
Phillips said the Tigers have only one game of film to look at, because an earlier Green Wave scrimmage was canceled.
“It looks like they’re a team that’s very fundamental, and a zone team running the ball, and they like to run the football,” he said.
Still, Carlisle impressed Phillips, particularly on the game-winning drive.
“In their drive to win the game, he made some plays with his feet and with his arm that were … they were clutch,” Phillips said. “It was quite a debut for him.”
Defensively, figuring Newark Catholic out is tougher.
“They play a 4-2-5, but it’s a multiple look 4-2-5,” Phillips said. “So they do a lot of things that look a little different on film.”
Phillips said part of the issue is Maysville — the team the Green Wave beat last week — ran a two tight end, bunched up offense.
“The didn’t throw the ball,” Phillips said. “So, for us, that’s not a whole lot of good looks for us on film … but we got enough that we think we have a pretty good idea of how they’re going to line up.”
Even though Seneca East won in a romp in Week 1, Phillips said there was plenty to clean up.
“The first quarter (last week) especially, we made some mistakes,” Phillips said. “We were sloppy and we had a couple of turnovers. But what was really exciting is when we turned the ball over, our defense went out and got stops. Our offense really did the same thing once we got rolling.”
at Upper Sandusky
Record: Mount Gilead 0-1; Upper Sandusky 1-0.
Last season: Did not play.
Outlook: Upper Sandusky’s Russell Hall recorded his first win as a head coach last week, when the Rams beat River Valley 17-16.
“It was a lot of fun, that’s for sure,” Hall said. “Very exciting.”
If records and recent history are any indication, the Rams have a good chance to go 2-0.
The Indians lost 49-0 to Colonel Crawford in Week 1. It was the 13th consecutive loss for a program that hasn’t won a game since the 2016 season, and hasn’t had a winning season since 2004.
Hall said the Indians do have things to watch out for. They have an all-Ohio tight end in Mason Mollohan, and Hall said quarterback Nathan Rogers can “throw the ball really, really well. And accurate.”
Hall added that the Indians also have some good lineman.
To combat this and to win, Hall said the Rams need to improve their execution.
“Just trying to make sure we’re a better team in Week 2 than in Week 1,” he said. “That trend will just continue all season.”
Hall said he was pleased with Levi Malone’s debut as USHS quarterback; he threw for 111 yards and a touchdown against River Valley.
“He did fine, and Levi’s a great kid, and he’s fun to watch,” Hall said. “He’s a heck of a basketball player and tennis player. He’s a competitor. He loves to compete, and has got that toughness and tenacity … no matter what sport it is, even if it’s rock-paper-scissors.”
Records: Toledo Scott 1-0; Fostoria 0-1.
Last year: Fostoria, 49-48 OT.
Outlook: Fostoria continues to tweak its offense after an 18-0 loss last week to Oak Harbor, moving people around and looking for progress as it transitions from the spread to a pro set.
“We got manhandled on Friday. Our offensive line got manhandled last week,” coach Derek Kidwell said.
But he said the defense, which held Oak Harbor scoreless in the second half, will be challenged this week against Toledo Scott and tailback Perrion Jones.
“They’re extremely fast, extremely athletic and a little more balanced,” Kidwell said.
“We can’t let (Jones) get outside of us. He’s definitely faster than anyone on our team,” he said. “They’ve got some good wide receivers too.”
Jones ran for 284 yards and two touchdowns in a 50-35 win last week against Gabriel Richard out of Ann Arbor, Mich., giving the Bulldogs their first 1-0 start since 2014.
Other Bulldogs also helped. Dezo Thomas threw for 141 yards and three scores, Brycen White returned a fumble 63 yards for a TD, and caught a 6-yard scoring strike and Jamie Johnson caught two TD passes and returned a kickoff 64 yards for another score.
However, Kidwell said the Bulldogs aren’t invincible.
“They’re big, but they don’t seem to get off blocks well,” he said.
“Defensively, I think we have to use our technique,” Kidwell said. “We definitely need to tackle well this week.”
Records: Lakota 0-1; Elmwood 0-1.
Last year: Did not play.
Outlook: Both teams enter after falling in Week 1 — Elmwood lost 20-14 to Gibsonburg and Lakota lost 34-8 to Mohawk — and Lakota coach Mike Lento said Elmwood will present challenges for his still-learning group of Raiders.
“They have a running back that runs really hard, they’re big up front,” he said of the Royals.
“You can see the kids are playing to (the coaching) and doing well,” Lento said. “The things they do, they’re doing very well and we’ll have to match them.”
He said the Raiders will do that by sticking to what they know and building on what they learn. That includes continuing to run the ball with veteran Trevor Franks, expanding freshman quarterback Josh Matz’s role and improving the defense.
“As he starts getting more experience and comfortable back there, we’ll start spreading it out,” he said of Matz.
“We’ve just got to continue to get better (defensively),” Lento said. “A lot of our guys are green as far as playing time. We’ve just got to continue to stay disciplined.”
In time, Lento said the inexperienced Raiders will improve.
“We’re coaching real hard on the guys and they’re responding. We’ve just got to do a better job of executing,” he said. “We’re going to continue to coach up the guys, we’re going to continue to get guys experience and stay the course of what we do.”
Records: Clear Fork 1-0; Bellevue 0-1.
Last year: Clear Fork, 20-14 OT.
Outlook: Bellevue lost 14-13 to Canton Central Catholic last week, its first season-opening loss since a 42-16 setback to Perkins in 2015.
Such season-opening setbacks aren’t rare, with eight such losses since 2000. However, history is on the Redmen’s side after those games — they’ve only started 0-2 twice during that stretch, and both of those defeats came on the road. Bellevue hosts Clear Fork this week, but that doesn’t mean things get easy for the Redmen.
The Colts come in after steamrolling Fredericktown 63-0 and could enter with a bit of revenge on their mind after Bellevue halted their unbeaten season last year in the second round of the playoffs.
But, like the Redmen did last week, Clear Fork must travel more than two hours for kickoff, which Bellevue coach Ed Nasonti said might be one of the few advantages his Redmen have over a team with more experience, plenty of skills players and a talented defensive line.
“It’s a two-hour trip for them to make, just like we had to make down there last year. It’s tough to play on the road. That’s an advantage,” he said. “Other than that, I don’t know. We only have four returning players that started – three on one side, one on the other – so we’re very young, compared to the experience they have.”
But the game will come down to play on the field and the preparation leading up to it, he said, not past history or years of varsity experience.
“We don’t try to make a big deal out of it. Our focus is on practicing well. We’re focusing on the process to help make us a good football team. If we stay focused, the good results will come,” Nasonti said. “Our focus is with our young football team, to try to get them up to snuff.”
Last week, the Redmen nearly got the result they wanted against a team with 19 returning starters, a game Nasonti said he felt his Redmen came up only about a half yard short on a two-point conversion.
“There were a lot of positives to draw from that. For us to be successful, we’ve got to continue to improve, our young kids got to take steps every week, and it’s our job as a coaching staff to get them there,” he said. “Sometimes it isn’t always pretty to get that job done. We’ve got some growing pains and we’ll always practice well.”
— By The Advertiser-Tribune sports staff.