Prep Football, Week 3: Shake up
Records: Fostoria 1-1; Hopewell-Loudon 0-2.
Last season: Did not play.
Outlook: A mere 10 miles separate Hopewell-Loudon and Fostoria High Schools, but the programs have never met in football.
That changes Friday, when Redmen coach Derek Kidwell takes his team to Bascom to take on a program he once coached.
For Fostoria, the game is about building on a solid Week 2 performance. The Redmen crushed Toledo Scott last week, 43-6.
For Kidwell, he said he’s looking for the basics.
“Just consistency and improvement,” he said. “I don’t want to see us regress after a victory. I’d like to see us get better.”
Hopewell-Loudon coach Brian Colatruglio saw some improvement from his team last week at Mohawk. The Chieftains lost, 26-7, but the H-L mentor said he saw some good signs.
“Our physical and mental toughness was much better last week than Week 1,” he said. “We really fought, and gave ourselves a chance in the fourth quarter to be in the game. It was a step in the right direction. But we have to continue to take those steps.”
That could be difficult against the Redmen, who are led by solid quarterback Dom Settles and receivers like senior Devin Mauricio.
“They have big, fast athletic receivers, and several running backs, and it’s sort of by committee, they’re all really skilled, and they’re veterans, they’re seniors,” Colatruglio said. “This is the year they’ve been building towards. They’re a solid football team.
“Their speed and athleticism jumps off (the page),” Colatruglio said.
Kidwell said he’s hoping to get the ground game working Friday.
“I’d like to get a consistent running game going, protect Dom Settles,” he said. “I think our athletes on the perimeter can get vertical and cause some problems.”
But the coach also sees talent in the Chieftains receiving corps.
“They have a nice sized line, good sized receivers to throw fades, jump balls to,” he said.
Records: Seneca East 2-0, Willard 0-2
Last season: Did not play.
Outlook: It’s the battle for State Route 224.
And there are some in Attica that thought it would never happen, especially when Willard was in the big-school Northern Ohio League.
But times have changed.
“One of the teachers came up to me today and said, ‘Can you imagine this happening 10, 20 years ago?'” Seneca East coach Ed Phillips said. ” And, you know, back then, you would have said no. It’s happening and it’s really exciting.”
It may not be that exciting for Willard, which has been outscored in its first two games, 92-26, and now faces the 2-0 Tigers.
But Phillips said the Flashes can cause problems for Seneca East.
“They’ve got good players at all of the skill spots, and they’ve got good size up front,” he said. “Watching their scrimmages, and then Week 1, Week 2, they’ve gotten better every week. You know that over there, they’ve got players, they’ve got athletes. And so, we’ve got to do our best to keep things going for us and keep them bottled up and make plays like we have been.”
Seneca East’s offense is rolling, with a number of players stepping up. Chase Foos threw for 335 yards last week, and also tossed three TDs. Nine players caught passes.
“A lot of it is just cohesion, or the fact that our kids work really well together, they like each other, they bring a lot of energy all the time, and they just have that little knack and love of the game and energy for the game, and it shows,” Phillips said.
Records: Upper Sandusky 1-1, Galion 2-0.
Last season: Galion 34-0
Outlook: Upper Sandusky got its first win last week, trouncing Mount Gilead.
A week after a win always feels a little better, and Rams’ coach Russell Hall said it should.
“Football’s different than basketball and baseball, where you have multiple games and matches per week, and that’s something I told them after the game,” Hall said. “Really enjoy it, because to get a win in high school football, there’s no guarantees. It’s such a great thing, because it’s so many people working together for the duration of the game to get the win.”
The good news is the Rams are coming off a victory.
The bad news is they are set to face one of their season’s biggest challenges, traveling to take on 2-0 Galion.
The Tigers are 2-0, having outscored their opponents 77-13.
“They’re really good, and we made sure to let the kids know that,” Hall said. “(The Tigers) have the top three receivers right now in the MOAC, which is a heck of a league by itself. They also have the top quarterback in throwing and yards. So it’s gonna be quite a challenge, and that’s kind of where we’re at in our approach.”
The key to this week’s preparation, according to Hall, is everyone simply doing their jobs.
“You’re not gonna get a first down or touchdown all by yourself. It takes 10 other guys to be counting on you just to be doing what you’re doing,” Hall said. “The same thing on defense. You’re not gonna make every tackle. We ask you to do your read and do your portion to make our defense successful.”
Records: Woodmore 0-2; Lakota 0-2.
Last year: Did not play.
Outlook: It’s been 11 years since they’ve played, with Lakota taking that 2008 Week 9 contest 40-12 when both teams were in the now-defunct Suburban Lakes League.
Each enters Friday’s game looking to break an 0-2 start to the season and get a jump on turning things around.
Both have just three winning seasons in the last 20 years, with Lakota’s being the most recent — a 6-4 campaign in 2017 to go with back-to-back winning seasons in 2006 (7-3) and 2007 (6-4).
It’s been a longer haul for the Wildcats, who are looking to snap a 12-game losing streak. Their last winning season came in 2013 (6-4), with two more coming in 2001 (8-3) and 2003 (6-4).
But Lakota coach Mike Lento said that doesn’t mean Woodmore won’t pose challenges.
He said they run and throw well out of the wing-T, with both losses coming to 2-0 teams (Northwood and Gibsonburg).
Then there are Lakota’s own challenges. A handful of the Raiders are injured and the team has lots of underclassmen on the field.
“It’s the youth, it’s getting guys acclimated to the Friday night atmosphere. The speed of the game is completely different than Saturday morning. That’s really the challenge that it poses for us,” Lento said.
“You’re playing a team where you have to read the keys,” he said. “They’re packing the box but they also can throw the ball very well, they run the boot very well, so our guys have to go in there and read the keys, do what we’ve been coaching them to do and things will take care of themselves.”
The injuries meant the Raiders had to change up their offense last week, moving senior running back Trevor Franks to quarterback.
Lento said they now have six days and a game’s worth of experience of the new look to build upon, but the challenges brought by the injuries remain.
“Not something we wanted to see. The tough thing for us is not having a big junior or senior class,” he said. “We’re replacing sophomores with sophomores, so we’re replacing guys who were just starting to get it and really just starting to get a feel for the game and now you’re replacing them with guys you’ve got to get acclimated and ready to go.
“Our kids are learning and our kids are just hungry to continue to give us effort,” Lento said. “Our effort has been fantastic.”
Ashland Crestview at Carey
Records; Carey 0-2; Crestview 1-1.
Last year: Carey, 24-7.
Outlook: It’s been a rough start for Carey, with road losses of 28-20 to Leipsic and 35-6 Galion, two teams which are both 2-0.
Carey coach Jonathon Mershman said the Blue Devils, who finally get a home game, did things well in both games, but just didn’t find a way to capitalize enough when reaching the red zone in either contest.
“We probably played two of the better teams in this area. It’s not like we were playing teams that weren’t good, they’re really high-quality teams that we played,” Mershman said.
“So really, for us, it’s about finishing — doing our job and finishing,” he said. “That’s what we’ve been focusing on this week, and getting better.
“I really believe that we’ve gotten better in the (first) two weeks,” Mershman said. “We’ve learned a lot about our team. Even though we’ve lost two games, from out of those two losses have come a lot of learning and a lot of growing and I think we’re going to surprise some people yet.”
Crestview enters after losing 33-14 last week to Hillsdale.
Mershman said the Cougars bring a combination of size, a tall quarterback who can throw well and a stout defense, which started last week’s loss with a pick 6.
And while the Blue Devils are younger overall than Crestview, Mershman said they hope to use their depth and Friday’s forecasted weather to wear down the Cougars.
“We have, I believe, a lot of depth at certain areas, and it’s supposed to be hot on Friday,” he said. “Right now on film, I see them having a lot of guys go both ways and I think one of our advantages is we can rotate some people in and not have much of a drop off (in talent).”
Bellevue at Madison
Records: Bellevue 2-0; Madison 0-2
Last year: Didn’t play
Outlook: Bellevue has been ready to play the first two weeks, jumping all over Port Clinton in Week 1 and University School last Friday.
With the hot starts, the defense has played stellar giving up just 14 points. Quarterback Keegan Ray had six total touchdowns against the Preppers and first-year receiver Caleb Marshall is coming along in the offense. He hauled in three TDs.
“It’s something that every coach would want,” Bellevue coach Ed Nasonti said about the fast starts. “Our kids have been hungry and that’s a good thing to see. We’ve been physical on both sides of the ball and when you come out ready to play, good things happen.”
Madison Comprehensive is 0-2, but Nasonti said that is a little misleading as the Rams led Shelby 14-0 in the first quarter in Week 1 before the game got out of hand with a Whippet victory.
“They do a lot of different things offensively. They like to run the ball at you from the I-formation,” Nasonti said. “They have a good running back and they like to be smashmouth. But they also have gambled a lot that we’ve seen whether it’s been onside kicks or gadget plays. They kind of just throw everything at you to try to get a win.
He said they do like to blitz a lot from the linebackers on defense. They have some good size up front and good athletes on the outside, so the Redmen will have to show up ready to play once again Friday.
“We aren’t good enough to just show up and beat anyone, so we have to come ready to play again and execute well,” he said.
Clyde at Toledo Start
Records: Clyde 1-1; Toledo Start 0-2
Last year: Clyde, 27-24
Outlook: Clyde got back to its winning ways last Friday with a good win at home against Ashland. The Fliers didn’t turn the ball over and played good defense, which was the recipe for the Fliers last season, which ended in the playoffs.
“We know we can’t turn the ball over and we can’t give the other team points like we did in Week 1,” Clyde coach Ryan Carter said. “We really shored that up against Ashland and played really well to get that win.”
The Fliers will have to play well and execute again this week as it jumps up three divisions to play Start on the road.
“Both games we’ve played them it’s came down to a field goal, so we always have good games with them,” Carter said. “This will be our first road test, so for some of the younger guys they’ll have to adjust to that and make sure to execute regardless of where we are playing.
“I think our defense has played really well and we will have our work cut out for us Friday. They have some nice receivers on the outside, a scrambling QB and a good running back that jams it up the middle. We’ll have to play well again to give ourselves a chance.”
Carter said Start’s defense really brings a lot of pressure, so the Flier offensive line will have to be sound on protection this week.
Plymouth at Buckeye Central
Records: Plymouth 2-0; Buckeye Central 0-2
Last year: Plymouth, 47-7
Outlook: Buckeye Central coach Chad Jensen knows exactly what Plymouth is going to do Friday.
Can the Bucks stop the Big Red?
That’s the biggest question this week because the Big Red are 2-0 and have some really good running backs in their double tight offense.
“We have really improved from Week 1, but we just couldn’t punch the ball into the end zone last week,” Jensen said. “It was just a one score game in the second quarter, but we had a turnover at the end of the half, which kind of started the scoring for Dalton.
“Plymouth has really good backs and their offensive line really drives you off the ball. We know what they are going to do, but we have to do our best to try and stop it.”
The Bucks kept the ball pretty well from Dalton last week, including a 16-play drive in the first quarter, but couldn’t score. That is the issue that needs fixed for the Bucks to be successful.
“We definitely need to finish drives. Plymouth had nice linebackers and are really athletic in the secondary and they fly to the ball,” Jensen said. “We have to do our best to get better this week and finish drives. That’s what the focus has been this week.”
Mohawk at Gibsonburg
Records: Mohawk 2-0; Gibsonburg 2-0
Last year: Mohawk, 16-0
Outlook: In a battle of 2-0 teams, Mohawk will get its first road test Friday.
Through the first two weeks, the Warriors have won, but have gotten off to slow starts.
“We’ve learned that our guys are very coachable and are learning on the fly a lot of the time,” Warriors coach Eric Daniel said. “We are 2-0, but I know we haven’t been close to our best football yet, but we only make mistakes once and they learn from them. We get better as the game goes on, but we just need to start better and be physical right out of the gate.
“(Gibsonburg) is definitely the most talented team we’ve faced, not taking anything away from our first two opponents. They run the wing-T, which is an offense you don’t see too much these days. They have a great running back that is dangerous every time he touches the ball and a big offensive line. It’s going to be an extremely tough challenge, but our guys are ready for that challenge.”
On defense, Daniel said the Golden Bears are big up front and really tackle well, so the Warriors will need to sustain drives this week.
“We need to get after it from the start because we know it’s going to be a four-quarter war,” Daniel said. “We need to go toe-to-toe with them and slug it out. The more physical and more disciplined team will win.”