Sunday, November 22, 2015

South Ends Weekend With a Win

South got their first win of the season under new head coach Jeff Case on Saturday night against Northridge. The team made it closer than it should have been by relaxing in the 4th quarter and allowing Northridge to make a run and close to within 2 scores, but South held off the Polar Bears late charge and left with a 45-37 win to even up their record at 1-1.

The previous night South opened their season against the Carlisle Indians. And after playing with Carlisle for the first half, Carlisle took control of the game in the second half and ran away with the game 56-26. It was a disappointing way for South to start their season, and so they came into Saturdays game hungry for a win.

The first quarter was all South as they created points from turnovers on the defensive end of the court. South trapped a little in the half court and also used a zone defense. South pushed the ball hard on steals, but they were able to score in their half court offense as well. Northridge used a variety of defenses on the night – using man to man and several zone defenses to try and slow down South scoring. But none of them were effective in the first half as South had a 15-1 lead in the first quarter and a respectable 28-10 lead at the half.

Northridge did adjust and swapped out point guards. And they began to take care of the ball better, so South got fewer points from turnovers in the second half, slowing their pace of scoring. The two teams played evenly in the 3rd quarter. Still South had a commanding 37-16 lead entering the last quarter.

South seemed to relax at this point, thinking the game was in hand. Sloppy ball handling and lax defense on the perimeter allowed Northridge to get turnovers on defense and connect on 3 pointers on offense. Suddenly it was a 43-37 game and Northridge was 2 shots away from tying the ball game. As the clock was winding down, Northridge began to foul – but South was missing the front end of 1 and 1's. Finally Abby Creech hit critical 2 foul shots to put the game out of reach and South held off Northridge's final charge for the win.

Coach Case had this to say after the game, “We had a lot of energy yesterday and we competed with Carlisle for about a half. We got out of our game plan and tried to comeback, but fell short. Tonight we got that same energy for all 4 quarters. They followed the game plan well – attacked the basket and were offensive minded. I thought in the 4th quarter we played not to lose instead of playing to win – but we will work on that. But this is all a process; it was good for the girls to get the win.”

Next he was asked about changing the program, “This is all a learning process. Teaching them how to lose and bounce back. How to go for a win. How to watch film, turn that into drills and improve for the next game. It isn't going to happen overnight. But they are buying into the system and I am proud of their effort tonight.”

Coach Case comes to South with about 20 years of coaching experience locally. He took a year off last year for family reasons and is back as a head coach. He is now refreshed and rejuvenated. He mentioned Rick Hickman and Steve Fisher as coaching mentors for him professionally.

South plays at Miami East on the 24th for their 1st conference game. Then they play at Dixie on the 30th.

North Wins Opener; Loses to Carlisle

Tri-County North hosted a CCC vs. SWBL weekend to kick off the girls basketball season. Northridge and Carlisle were the SWBL schools, while TVS and TCN represented the CCC. North and South split games while Carlisle won both of theirs and Northridge ended the weekend winless. North drew Northridge on Friday night and quickly took the lead and established control of the game to start their season with a decisive win. North's Cassi Stinson lead all scorers with 20 points in the 52-40 victory.

The following night North played against Carlisle. North stumbled out of the gate in this game, but after coach Cherry adjusted at halftime the team acquitted themselves somewhat by playing even with the Indians. But they had spotted the team too big of lead to make up much ground and finally fell 46-16.

Both teams opened with man to man defenses, but Carlisle was able to knife through the Panther defense and score. North changed to a zone defense, but Carlisle shot well from the outside and their scoring continued unabated. Meanwhile the Indians were hitting the boards hard and pulling in defensive rebounds – limiting North to just one shot on most possessions in the first half. And Carlisle had scouted well on opening night. Stinson, who had put up 20 on opening night, was held in check by the swarming Indian defense and would not score a single point. The Panthers were staring up at a 16-2 deficit after just one quarter.

North did try to trap a little in the 2nd quarter, but the Indians handled the pressure well and so North settled back into their zone. At halftime, a shell shocked North team was down 29-6. But coach Cherry made some adjustments at half time and got the team back on track. In the second half the team rebounded better and more importantly got their defense working – holding Carlisle to just 3 points in the 3rd quarter and a total of 15 second half points.

Still the Panthers couldn't work out the kinks in their offense and scored just 10 in the last half. So that is something the team will need to figure out going forward. Still the team finished their opening weekend at .500.

Coach Cherry commented after the Carlisle game, “We didn't come out with our shooting game. Yesterday we shot the ball well, passed the ball well, and handled the ball well. We definitely did not do that today. We might have been a little tired from yesterday, we don't have a deep bench and our starters may have been a little tired.”

She continued, “We did shoot free throws well, and that carried over from Friday night, so that is a bright spot. Another thing we didn't do well from the previous night was assists. We had 14 against Northridge, but only 4 tonight.”

Next she was asked about the teams improved performance in the second half. “We talked to our wings about their backside defense coverage. Once we got them rotating right, they took away their short corner shots. We were not getting good positioning on rebounding and again we got the players to cover their spots, we picked up our rebounding as a team.”

Tiarra Alford scored 7, Sara Harris 5, Preston Lipinski 2, Riley Cruse 2. Next up for the Panthers are Milton Union on the 24th and Northeastern on the 30th.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

TVS Prepares for Season

This years South basketball team will be less experienced than last years, but Coach Augspurger is happy with the way the team played together in summer league and so he is looking forward to this winter's campaign. The team graduated 5 seniors off of last years team – which barely lost to the eventual state champs, Tri-Village. And that was only by a single basket scored in the last seconds of the game. So that is a lot of experience and talent to replace.

The team does return 2 year starters JJ Utz at point guard and Jacob Bassler at wing. Winston Crozier also had significant playing time last year as a 6th man. The remainder of the team will be playing on the varsity squad for the first time. Mike Meyers, Jared Cottingim, Andrew Augspurger, Chad Ehler, Ryan Bassler, and Travis Lovely round out the rest of the roster. South will not have much height and so they will need to work hard on defense again this season.

“It is a less experienced team than last season's,” admitted coach Augspurger, “We had a good summer and the guys played well together. I am hoping to get a good start against the conference and get some early momentum going.”

Next he was asked for about competition in the league, “Tri-Village does have some new transfers and they become eligible in game 12 – the game that we play them. They are defending league and state champs, so they have to be favored again this year. They are definitely the team to beat in our league. Miami East will also be strong – as they have been for several years now. They have a lot of size. Bethel and Covington should also be improved from last season.”

An interesting wrinkle to this season – former TVS player, Dale Spitler Jr., will be coaching at North this year. It will be the second time in his career that coach Augspurger will coach against a former player of his. So the North – South game will be a bit more intense this year.

South will be hosting a tip off tournament again this season. This will be the weekend after Thanksgiving. So it will be a good opportunity for visiting alumni in town for the holiday to come back to the school and see this years edition of the team. The other schools will be Stivers, Eaton, and Dixie. The opening round will be Friday the 27th with Eaton and Stivers playing at 6pm, followed by South and Dixie at 7:30. The consolation and championship games will be played Saturday night with the consolation at 6pm and the championship at 7:30pm.

The South girls team will be kicking off their season under new head coach, Jeff Case, at North the weekend before Thanksgiving. It will be a SWBL vs. CCC matchup. They will play Carlisle at 6pm. Then North will play Northridge at 7:30 that Friday (Nov. 20). Then Saturday it will South's turn to play Northridge at 6pm, while North plays Carlisle at 7:30pm.   

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Vikings Axe Panthers

Twin Valley South could find no answer for the running game of the Vikings.  Still at halftime they were only down 14-0.  But South was trying to pass the ball and several of their possessions lasted less than a minute before they punted.  Giving the defense very little time to rest.  This caught up to South in the second half as the defense ran out of gas.  Miami East took advantage and rang up another 27 points.  South was able to score early in the 4th quarter when senior Jordan Peterson caught a Jacob Bassler pass for the lone TVS score for the night.  Final was 41-6 Vikings.

It is an old adage that the team that gets the most turnovers is the team that will win a game. South was the winner in the turnover department as Wyatt Burke and Beau Ashley both recovered Viking fumbles. And Burke's fumble was at the 26 yard line of Miami East. But the Viking defense held firm and actually pushed South backward. Also the Vikings did short pooch kicks on their kickoffs which South was able to cover. But despite the favorable field position from these short kicks, South had difficulty moving the ball.

In a repeat of the North game, South had problems establishing a rushing game. And this was made worse in the second half as two of South's starting linemen were sidelined with injuries. The Vikings kept JJ Utz well covered the entire night but the rest of South's receivers had problems hanging on to the ball. There were several dropped passes. But South did catch a break when Sammy Shockey caught a nice pass from Jacob Bassler to put the ball on the Miami East 18 early in the 4th quarter. Then Peterson made his grab for the score.

South did open up their playbook in a effort to score. Bassler was able to run for a first down on a fake punt on one possession and South tried to execute a double pass in the second half, but the second pass was over thrown to an open receiver downfield.

Still South end's the season with a 6-4 record. There were prognosticators at the beginning of the season who looked at the 15 seniors that graduated from South last year and predicted a 1-9 season for this years edition of the Panthers. And the team had a respectable season and although they took a thrashing from league co-champ Miami East, they were able to upset the other co-champ, Covington.

Coach Cates commented after the game, “We came out flat – which surprised me. But at the half we were only down 14 – nothing, so we were still right there. But we dropped so many opportunities. We were unable to capitalize when we had our chances.”

He continued talking about the seniors, “I hated to lose because of our seniors. It is the best group as far as leadership that I have had. Last years seniors were such a talented group and performed well, it was a good season. This years group looked at what was said at the beginning of the year about South dropping off and said that we are not going to be 1-9. And by force of will, they lead us to a good season.”

So it was a good season for the Panthers who end the season 6-4, but were a play away from being 7-3. Both Covington and Miami East will be representing the CCC in the state playoffs.   

Sunday, October 25, 2015

North Rumbles Over South in Second Half

The North - South game was close at halftime with North holding a marginal 14-9 lead.  But North's running attack was able to grind down South's defense in the second half.  Logan Elmore and Garrett Woodard provided the Thunder and Lightening while Lane Gunder threw the occasional pass or run to keep South honest.  South was able to pass sporadically on offense, but North all but eliminated their running game. North put together some nice drives after halftime and shut down South as they went on to win easily 31-9.

 Although North was still fighting injuries – there were 11 players sidelined for this game, they had a complete backfield after being short handed last week. Garret Woodyard returned to the field after being sidelined with a leg injury. The rest must have rejuvenated him as he had a fantastic night, scoring 3 touchdowns and then on defense he shone as well as he got an interception.

South tried to repeat their performance by using what worked well against Covington – utilizing their passing game to move the ball. But North's defense was up to the task. They gave up some yardage in the air, but after South's initial scoring drive the defense would not allow South any sustained drives. Execution was a problem for South. There were several poor exchanges between the center and quarterback. The ball was intercepted twice – once by Woodyard and once by Elmore. Add in some ill timed penalties, dropped passes, and it made for a frustrating night for the home town team.

South scored on the first drive of the night – going the length of the field where Sammy Shockey caught a 16 yard touchdown catch. North scored next on a Woodyard run. Then North misfired when a snap sailed over the punters head and went through the endzone for a safety which gave South 2 more points. Elmore caught a 10 yard touchdown pass from Lane Gunder to give North a halftime lead.

But North would dominate the second half. After halftime, South tried an onsides kick and North was able to cover it. However, North did not move the ball well despite the short field and finally decided on a field goal attempt on 4th and 11. Zack Edgin kicked about a 27 yard field goal to pad North's lead. At the end of the 3rd quarter it was still a close game with North up 17-9.

But the South defense was giving up big chunks of yardage as North's line established control of the line of scrimmage. North punched the ball in again to extend their lead. Then late in the game, South found themselves in a 4th down situation deep in their own territory at the 15 yard line. Down by two scores they had no choice but to go for it, but they fell short. North took advantage of the gift and a couple of plays later Woodyard scored.

We saw what they did against Covington with their short routes and went to press coverage,” stated coach Derringer after the game, “We knew that we would give up a pass or two and the occasional big play. And despite giving up the one passing touchdown, I thought our coverage was great tonight. We had an extra guy helping to cover JJ Utz deep, we weren't going to let him beat us.”

He went on, “We had to do a lot of rework this week to get guys into their positions. But the guys really stepped up. The North – South game is always a really big game. It's a great bounce back victory after last weeks loss. Having Woodyard back is a difference maker for us. He can run it inside and with Logan Elmore running outside, then you throw in Lane Gunder''s passing ability – it makes a triple threat for anyone to defend against.”

We felt pretty good after scoring on the first drive. But not being able to score a second time and having North score to go ahead at halftime seemed to deflate us,” stated South's coach Cates after the game, “We had some missed catches and penalties so we didn't help ourselves. North played some tough man to man defense – they are a good football team. We made plays at times but our offense sputtered. We didn't get in gear like we did at Covington – North got us out of our rhythm.”

North hosts National Trail next week while South journeys to Miami East. South has the chance to play spoilers next Friday. A win puts Miami East out of contention for the league championship and would most likely drop the Vikings from consideration for the state playoffs.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Vikings Defeat North

Friday night North battled injuries and turnovers as well as the Miami East Vikings.  They went into the game with a sideline that resembles a MASH unit the with all the bandages and slings.  Coach Derringer would later relate that in the course of the season that he has had 6 different players at fullback for instance. And during the course of the game, even more players became sidelined.  Still North proved to be gamers to the end.  But their defense was no match for the Vikings who hardly punted the entire night.  North lost 56-27 which now makes their chances at state playoffs or conference championship extremely slim.

Although they did move the ball through the air at times, East used their running game which North simply could not stop all night long. Also East coughed up the ball themselves, but North uncharacteristically turned the ball over 4 times. Several of these turnovers would lead to scores. After the first quarter the team had to play catch up, and it makes it hard to battle back when you give up the ball to the other team so many times.

The two teams played evenly in the early going. North struck first – using just two passes, the second one to Trey Kehr who put up the first points of the night. In an omen of things to come, North gave up a big play on their first defensive set of the night. It was a 77 yard TD run by Miami East. This was the second week in a row that the defense gave up a big play in this manner. North's next score was set up by a Chandler Sproles interception. Zack Edgin caught a Lane Gunder pass and advanced to the 1 where Jordan Overcash punched it in. Gavin Overholtz recovered a fumble for North, but a few plays later North gave the ball back to the Vikings who scored a few plays later to tie the game at 14 all.

In the second quarter, the Vikings exploded for 4 touchdowns and broke the game open. North tried to respond and mount a passing attack, but Miami East was able to get through the North line and sack the quarterback several times. So it was 42-14 at halftime.

A lot of teams would have mailed it in the second half of a lopsided game, but North came out on fire. They regrouped at halftime and scored the first 2 touchdowns of the half. Miami East got the ball first but fumbled the ball at the Panther 12. Logan Elmore scooped up the loose ball and raced 88 yards for the score. An inspired North defense held the Vikings on their next possession to force a punt. Elmore had a nice run to the Vikings 11, and a few plays later Gunder scored from 5 yards out. Suddenly North was back in the game 42-27.

But that was the high water mark for North. East's offense could not be contained the rest of the game and they denied North any taste of the endzone. Miami East sacks and North fumbles frustrated any attempts of scoring again.

The turnovers hurt us and right now we are just trying to get healthy,” remarked coach Derringer after the game, “We have to evaluate who is healthy is each week and put together the best lineup. We got even more guys injured tonight. This has been a year where is has been hard to keep every healthy.”

But despite the injuries we have to work on being better. “ he stated, “After the game I told the players that we going to watch the film, build on what went well, fix what went wrong and get ready for next weeks game against South – a big rivalry.”

This sets up an impact game at South who is still in the hunt for both league and playoffs.  And if you have a chance to play the role of spoiler against your biggest rival then that makes the game all the more bigger.  Look for a major battle between the two Panther teams next week.

Upset! South Defeats Covington

In a battle which came down to the ball control ground attack of Covington and the passing attack of South. It was South which managed to put together a late drive that scored the winning touchdown with seconds left for a 34-30 win. This game upsets the both the conference and the state playoff possibilities for several teams. Where it appeared that Covington was in the drivers seat for the conference title, now it is a 3 way tie between Covington, Miami East, and South. And for the first time this season, South has a sniff of play off hopes – the dividend of computer points pops them into the top 12 of the district for the first time this season.

South came into the game licking their wounds from an upset loss themselves the week before where Bethel narrowly beat them in the last minutes of that game. Host Covington on the other hand came into the game with momentum having narrowly beat both North and Miami East in back to back victories. So a lot of league observers did not expect South to have much of a chance. But for the second year in a row, South rang up a victory over the Buccaneers. An achievement in itself as Covington has been the standard by which other CCC teams judge themselves.

Quarterback Jacob Bassler put up over 300 yards on the night. Receiver JJ Utz got the most of the yardage (about 150) – scoring a total of 4 touchdowns. Although South has shown that they can pass the ball this season, they have relied on the run for their previous games. But coach Cates acknowledged after the game that he knew that Covington can run against anyone, that they would have a rough time shutting down the run. But he thought that the Covington secondary could be exposed and so he would call more passing plays than in any other game that he has play called. And the results of this change in strategy speak for themselves.

It was a back and forth game. After stopping South on 4th down, Covington scored first. But South answered right back with a scoring drive after the kickoff. At the half it was a 15-14 in favor of Covington. Both offenses continued to move the ball well in the second half. South did have a big defensive stand on a 4th and 2 situation. Covington has done well converting on 4th down this season, but South defense made the stop at midfield. The short field would set up a South score on their series.

With 3 minutes left in the game, Covington ended an 8 minute drive with a go ahead score. This set up the final drive for South. South executed well and converted 2 4th downs en route to the end zone. With 8 seconds left JJ Utz caught a Jacob Bassler pass for the go ahead score. South opted for a squib kick on the kickoff and special teams responded with a big play, recovering the ball to end any thoughts of a Covington comeback.

Defensively for South both Aaron Deaton and Chad Ehler were leading tacklers for the team. The two accounted for around 30 tackles between them.

“They are a hard, well disciplined football team,” said coach Cates afterwards, “We thought that we could throw on them. So we took advantage of that and our kids really executed. It was the most pass plays that I had ever called. But we wanted to take advantage at what they gave us. “

On the ability to bounce back, “I am proud of way they responded to the loss to Bethel. After that loss, the team could have just gone into the tank. But they responded well. On that last drive they were fired up and the team responded instead of just giving up. We remembered what it was like to lose a close game, and they were determined that it wasn't going to happen again.”

Next he was asked about Jacob Bassler, “As a senior quarterback he had an amazing game. He had pressure in his face, but made some incredible throws. He made excellent decisions. JJ Utz had a phenomenal night too. On a lot of the catches he made people miss to get yards after catch. Sammy Shockey and Mike Myers had good nights receiving as well. With 3 good receivers, it makes it hard for the defense to keep them all covered.”

Next weeks game, “North has had our number the last few years. They are a well coached football team. They have a lot of great players on their team. They are a huge threat, they are our rivals. They have some strong, big kids up front. They have running backs that can go the distance, and their defense is usually stout. Our kids are aware of what happened last year – the kids remember that. It is also our senior night so it is going to be emotional that way too. They are a good team, we have to remember how we executed tonight. Very few penalties and very few mistakes like turnovers. That is what you need to do to win big games.”

South (6-2) hosts North (5-3) next Friday night.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

South Stung by Bees

Host Twin Valley South was upset by the Bethel Bees with a late field goal. South seemed to have the upper hand in the first half with a 14-0 lead. But the Bees climbed back into the game and won the game 22-21 in the last few minutes of the game. It was a disappointing loss for a team that had won a close game themselves against Arcanum just two weeks ago.

What was more upsetting was that the team helped Bethel several times during the night with untimely penalties and mental mistakes. Coach Cates late related that he felt the Panthers could have scored at least two more times but missed blocks or penalties put the team into long down situations several times during the night.

And the last score was set up by Panther mistakes. Bethel had missed an extra point on their second score and so after their last score, they went for 2 but the Panther defense held them. It was a 21-19 game late in the 4th quarter. So Bethel went for an onsides kick which South failed to cover. With a short field the Bees drove down to about the 14 line yard where they set up for a field goal. South was flagged for an offsides penalty. Now the kick was from the 9 yard line. So many time football is a game of inches. The field goal barely cleared the upright – if the kick had been from the original 14 yard line, it would have been a miss.

South did win the battle for turnovers. They accounted for a total of 3 over the Bees. But they were unable to capitalize on their opportunities. Defensively Chad Ehler had a monster night for the Panthers. He accounted for a school record 26 tackles.

Scoring for South – Jacob Bassler completed a 42 yard pass to JJ Utz for the first score. Then Bassler scored on a keeper from about 4 yards out. The last touchdown was another Bassler to Utz pass from about 21 yards out. Sammy Shockey was the leading rusher for South with just under 100 yards on the night.

“Bethel is a good team, but our mental mistakes just killed us,” lamented coach Cates after the game,”It was a heart breaking loss for us. But we have to regroup this weekend, get our confidence back and get set for next weeks game at Covington – they are going to be ready for us. Offensively we were able to move the ball well, we only had to punt a couple of times.”

Next up for South is a visit to league leading Covington, “They are a really tough team and well coached. We watched them on film beat both North and Miami East. On film it looked like both North and Miami East had bigger and better athletes. But they just willed themselves to victory – they played harder than anyone. Their entire defense flies to the ball every play. They have a great program up there – the players have bought in and the community have bought in, it is where we need to be as a program. It is going to be a tall task to play them. We beat them last year and so they are going to want revenge. We definitely need to bring our A game.”

Saturday, October 10, 2015

North Homecoming a Barn Burner

If you were wanting to write a story about high school football in Ohio, then Friday nights game in Lewisburg between North and Troy Christian was the place to be.  A player is crowned the homecoming king then goes on to score the first two touchdowns of the game for the home team,  Next he goes on to intercept not 1 but 2 passes - the last interception ending any hopes of a comeback by the visiting team.  North's Logan Elmore was the epitome of a home town hero as he did all of the above in just one nights work.  Lane Gunder took over the scoring for North in the second half as he scored 3 times to cement the North victory 41-28.  But we are not finished - it was a noteworthy night for coach Derringer as well - he recorded his 100th win and was honored by the school with a plaque at the end of the game.  High school football does not get much better than this.

Unlike last week's dismal conditions, it was a crisp, clear fall night. Both offenses were mirror images of one another – good running backs that can break out for large chunks of yardage and quarterbacks that could air it out and chuck the ball downfield. And at first it looked like the game would be a track meet between the two teams with offenses barreling up and down the field with ease in the first quarter.

A total of 5 touchdowns were scored in the first 12 minutes by the two teams. The Eagles only needed 3 plays to get their 2 touchdowns while North had to work only slightly harder. Late in the 1st quarter, North adjusted their defense and finally held the Eagles and forced them to punt.

And that set the tone for the 2nd quarter where surprisingly neither team scored. Both teams moved the ball, but turnovers affected both teams. North held on a critical 4th down play late in the 1st half with the Eagles at about the 6 yard line. When the Eagles attempted to pass the ball was deflected by the North secondary and thus ended their attempt to tie the game.

Both offenses adjusted after halftime. The Eagles utilized their air attack since North was doing a good job of stopping the run. And a beat up North squad relied on their quarterback, Lane Gunder, to help provide offense. He moved the ball with his arm and also tucked and ran the ball several times to keep drives alive. And in the last quarter a noticeably limping Garrett Woodyard returned to the field and pounded the ball in between the tackles to eat up clock and provide yardage for North's last 2 scores.

The Eagles scored quickly in the third quarter to tie the game. And after each of their second half scores, they did an onsides kick which North's special teams covered. So this gave North a short field to work with. Their offense methodically moved the ball down the field and scored. Troy Christian had one last gasp late the game with about 2 minutes left. They had advanced the ball into North territory and were hoping for a quick score and then to roll the dice with another onsides kick in hopes of getting the ball back for a hail Mary pass. But Elmore rose to the occasion once again and intercepted an Eagles pass to seal the win for the Panthers.

Scoring Summary for North - Logan Elmore had a tremendous first quarter scoring 2 rushing touchdowns – both of which were set up by him. One on a 46 yard catch that put north in scoring positon and the other on a kick off return to the 22 yard line of Troy Christian. Garrett Woodyard caught a pass for the 3rd Panther score and Colton Overholtz caught a 2 point conversion attempt to make up for a missed PAT earlier. Gunder scored on quarterback keepers for all 3 2nd half scores.

An ecstatic coach Derringer spoke after the game, “There wasn't much defense out there tonight, both offenses just had their way. We just couldn't stop them. We had to fight for everything we got. It shows that we have to shore up our pass protection. As the game went on we got a little better but that something we have to work on for next week. ”

He commented on the offense and defense, “On the other hand, we moved the ball well on them. They couldn't stop us – we did not punt once. We had some turnovers and that stopped some of our drives. But if you like a lot of offense, well tonight was a good game to watch. On defense, our linebackers were able to disrupt their offense somewhat, but their plan in the second half to pass more worked well for them. They blocked our line well and that gave them time to find open receivers.

He continued, “We have to get healthy. We had some of our starting guys have to come out. It really alters what we are trying to do when we have to go to our bench. We knew that this was a big game coming in here. Not only because of homecoming, but we needed to bounce back after last weeks devastating loss. We have to keep this momentum going for the next 3 weeks and then see what happens. ”

The 100th win - “I had one man come up to me and say that he was here for my 1st win and for my 100th – that meant a lot to me. I have been blessed to be able to coach a lot of really good young men over the years. But its more than football it's about trying to make them into good young men. “ 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Count Down to Kick Off in the CCC

Well the season is nigh.  A lot of changes coaching wise in the CCC this season.  National Trail has ridden a wave over the last few seasons and with their spread offense they surprised a lot of people.  This season Randy Kerns is returning to his school to coach.  But he will have his work cut out for him with only one senior.  Word is that the team is going back to a more run oriented offense.

Bradford is going to have football this season.  After scrapping their program last year due to a lack of interest, they will resume playing a varsity schedule this season under their new coach Hyatt.  However, several CCC schools dropped them already, so they will not be playing a CCC schedule this year.  Many CCC schools went ahead and scheduled Troy Christian or another school in place of Bradford.  Next year Bradford will be fully back into the CCC in football, but this season will be spent just getting back up to speed as a varsity program.

Mississenewa Valley is also going a new direction.  Coach Graher, who got the Black Hawks to the play offs their only time, is stepping down.    So likewise they will be under new leadership - coach Baker. So there seems to be a movement to younger coaches this season.

Look for Covington to be back in the mix this go around. Last year they had just a few seniors but managed to barely make their way to the playoffs.  Word is that they have a good bunch of seniors and to look for the Bucc's to be back in the mix for the CCC title.  They do not have the depth that they have had in earlier years so that could be factor if very many key players are injured.

Miami East and North have shown that they can reload.  North ran the table in the CCC last year and although they have a good crop of seniors, it will be tough to repeat last years performance. Miami East returns starters on both sides of the ball - 4 of which were all-conference.  A team to watch out for is Arcanum.  After several so-so seasons they have a decent sized group of seniors and a lot of their line returning.  So they might shoulder their way into the running too.

Ansonia returns some starters, but they have a thin roster.  So there is not much depth.  And Bethel likewise has a light roster and not many starters back.  So the Bee's could have a long season.  South graduated a good class of kids this past year.  They have a new starting quarterback and running back.  And injuries have plagued the team in the early going.  How successful they are may depend up on keeping players on the field and out of the training room. They have the talent to have a decent campaign, but like any of the small schools in the CCC injuries can quickly decimate a team as these schools just don't have the depth of a larger school.

There is a new team coming to the CCC.  Tri-Village announced in the off season that they are  playing a JV football schedule this year. With the intention of joining the CCC in football by 2018.  Coach Schondelmyer is no stranger to the CCC, he coached at both Arcanum and TVS.  If the past is any indication, look for a team that emphasizes the run. This year they will begin playing many of the CCC schools at the JV and junior high level.

A big thing for the CCC will be having a strong showing with their out of conference schedule. Getting the extra computer points from those games will help teams muscle their way into the playoffs.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

North Dixie Scrimmage

After a successful and record setting season last year North football is preparing for another campaign. Although the team graduated a talented class last year, the team returns 11 seniors - including two who sat out the year.

North has had two scrimmages so far, against Dixie and Anna.  They have fared well, but if you ask any coach at this time of year, there is always room for improvement.  

This week’s scrimmage was against Dixie. The team was slow to get it’s motor running.....

Read More  at: Twin Valley Publishing

 North had 4 scores while Dixie had 2.  The North JV scored a TD and held Dixie JV scoreless.

Pics from the scrimmage:

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Miami Valley Sports May 30

Versailles girls advance to state in 6 events

Lady Wave lose in regional final

Darke County athletes earn spots at state

Sports enthusiast McDermott is gone

Wave ride early lead for big win

6 county softball players named 1st team all CCC

Mason Beats LaSalle

West and Moeller

Coach Boating with Daughter Drowns

Mason Track Dominates

Lady Bolts fall in regional

Track teams shine at district

Bolts fall in district final

Lady Bolts win district

Lima Senior boys finish with share of regional crown

Grove boys win track regional

Minster girls boys win track regionals

Lima area high school results

Miller City reaches regional final

Lebanon Punches Ticket to State

River Rats win first game of Season

Indians fall in final

Lady Tigers find comfort zone

Miller has heart of champion

Francis doesnt feel pressure

One bad inning

Timing off for Lehman baseball

Newton wins in D IV thriller

Shores gets past Echo

Buccs win nail biter

Lady Raiders Tigers win district

NT relay team falls short

North qualifies five events for regionals

Walker district champion again

South girls take first place in CCC

TVS wins CCC

Minster edges Anna for district title

Annas season ends in 4 2 loss

Konst first in regional pole vault

Indians fall in final

Huffman can sleep tight after qualifying for state

Troys Gigandet earns trip to state

Muy bien

Worth waiting

This is it

Bulldogs Bobbitt qualifies for state track meet

Missed opportunities

Aviators qualify for Regional

Northmont stuns Butler in extra innings

Red Devils fall in district final

Bulldogs fall at district

Devils stunned in final

CM girls fall short of state meet

Anna falls to WHS

Will Power wins pole sets track record at Belle Isle

Bellbrook gets bounced by Watterson

Good day for the Beavercreek boys at regionals

Monday, May 25, 2015

South Wins Sectional

Twin Valley South struck early with a big 2nd inning where they scored 7 runs. Dayton Christian switched pitchers and brought in Sam Worley midway through the inning, but Wes Cole hit a monster triple off of him and cleared the bases.  However, Worley stopped TVS from scoring from the next inning on. But pitcher Jacob Bassler held Dayton Christian to three runs for South's first sectional win in years.

Dayton Christian actually scored first in the game, getting 2 runs in the home half of the first inning.  While South had left 2 runners stranded in their first at bat.  But South took advantage in the second inning and batted around. The Dayton Christian pitcher got a shaky start – hitting the first batter, then walking the next. Now South hitters had him figured out and the runs began to pile up.  The Dayton Christian coach had to go to Worley to stop the bleeding.

But after the second inning Worley got into a groove and held South scoreless.  Cody Roell got a hit off of him in the 6th inning, but the other innings were all 3 up and 3 down for South.  So South’s defense needed to step up and keep the Warriors from scoring.  South’s defense was of the bend but do not break variety.  The Warriors were able to get on base, but for the most part South kept them off  the plate.

There were several great defensive plays during this stretch, but Wes Cole at shortstop had a notable play climbing a ladder to snag a screaming line drive that would have dropped for a base hit.  Jacob Bassler defended his position on another double play.  Catching a short hit in the air back to the mound and whipping the ball to first to catch the base runner off the base to complete the double play.  Great plays like this limited Dayton Christian to just 1 additional run in the 5th as TVS would win 7-3 and get the sectional title.

“Getting that big lead early worked for us,” remarked Coach Bassler, “in the 1st inning we could see that they were starting to figure our pitcher out.  But after they got behind and starting pressing to get a hit, then it worked better for us.  They got very aggressive at the plate and then his pitches started to work again.  Scoring those runs changed their outlook and what they had to do.“

“Our defense was great today,” he continued, “the way he pitches, they don’t always make solid contact. So that gives us a greater chance of making a play, and we can play defensively well enough.  Wes Cole made a great play when they roped a line drive right over him.  Offensively we did well in that big inning and when they brought Worley in both Cole and Gunther Lautensleger got RBI hits off of him.”

South next played for the district title against Cinncinati Summit Country Day.  South could not keep their momentum and fell 12-2.  Still it was a successful season for South and although they lose a deep senior class, they have a number of starters returning for next season.

Tri-County North’s baseball team lost their bid for a sectional title of their own losing to Versailles 3-0.  They had defeated the Tigers earlier this spring in a regular season game, but the Tigers turned the tables on them in the tournament. 

Spring time has been a successful time for South - switching to track, the South boys and girls teams both won district championships at Welcome Stadium this past Saturday.  The boys won by a whisker – beating second place Dixie by one point.  Good luck to the local athletes that will be competing at Troy in the South West Regionals!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

May 16th Miami Valley Sports Update

Celinas Luebke Lonsway 1 hit Shawnee

Coldwater eliminates LCC in sectional final

Wapak tops Celina for softball district berth

Fruitful birding adventures in Ohio

Lady Bolts homers topple Troy

Versailles softball loses to Triad

Arcanum baseball defeats Russia

MV softball wins tournament game

Railroaders win 1st playoff game

Ansonia softball wins tournament opener

Versailles shuts out Miami East in playoffs

Tri Village beats Bethel in playoffs

Comets 2d to Aviators

Comets Perfect in GMC

Tree on Baseball Field

Blind Pole Vaulter

Bolts beat Fairborn in tournament

Devil No Hitter

Newton Bradford get tourney wins

Lady Buccs get some Justice

Lehman rolls to win

Piqua loses wild one

Making it worth trip

Lady Eagles lose four

TVS boys take 2nd at Frank Chew Invite

South girls win Frank Chew

Rockets wrap up County baseball championship

Loramie downs Russia in sectional

Viking girls Bucc boys 2nd in CCC

Family thing

Anger management

Postseason action heats up

In grand fashion

A berry good tournament

Shepherds walkoff hit helps Devils top Urbana

District bound Bulldogs

Worth waiting

Morton Lady Aviators win GWOC Silver crown

Hal McCoy to visit local libraries

Tipps Peura opens with win at state

Tipp falls to top ranked Alter

Northwest knocks off Wilmington 8 2

Panthers hold off Hurricane for SCOL title

WHS season ends at Elder 3 0

Brady appeals suspension in Deflategate

Tedder mows down Vikings

Golden Eagles shut down rival

Lakota West ends season for Beavercreek

Newton pounces on Bulldog miscues

Local Sports Briefs XENIA

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

North's Big Inning Puts Them Over South

Local baseball and softball teams wrapped up their regular seasons this past week.  It was also rivals week for North and South as these two teams squared off on the diamond.  Both baseball teams have had successful seasons and entered the game with winning records.  Although South scored first in this close game, North had a big inning that put the game away.

Both teams were scoreless through the first 3 innings.  Jacob Bassler pitched for South, while Austin Elmore took the mound for the hosts.  South scored their 2 runs in the 4th inning.  Wes Cole reached on a walk and scored on a double by Brandon Simpson.  Simpson advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch where he scored off of a hit by Gunter Lautensleger.   This put South up 2-0 and in their half of the 4th, North was 3 and out.

South seemed poised to score again in the 5th when they loaded up the bases with one out. But Elmore struck out the next batter and the next popped out to leave 3 stranded.  North also loaded the bases in their at bat in the 5th, but were able to drive the runners home. Logan Elmore, Steve Miller, Austin Elmore, and Nick Gray all got hits in the inning.  South finally had to switch pitchers and went with Austin Roell.  He ended the inning by fielding a hit ball and completing a double play which sent North back to the dugout.  But South was down 4-2 with 2 innings left.

North made a pitching change the next inning with Zach Edgin taking the mound after Elmore walked 2 batters.  He did his job, closing out the side and South left the 2 runners stranded.  Neither team would score the rest of the way and so North would earn the 4-2 win.  North also had a comeback win earlier in the week against Milton Union 11-8. Bo Hendrickson was the pitcher of record.

 Finally, North played spoiler to Arcanum later in the week – beating them 3-1 behind the pitching of Nick Gray.  Arcanum had locked up the conference crown but was trying to end their season undefeated in the CCC,  but North took that away with the victory and will be carrying momentum into the post season.

 “We just had one bad inning,” stated South’s coach Bassler after the game.”we got that early lead and in the 5th inning they got on Jacob Bassler, they had him figured out.  I might have been 1 or 2 batters late getting him out of there.  We hit decently today, they had a nice pitcher, but we also left a lot of runners on base.

The tournament, “We play Preble Shawnee and someone has to come ready to play.  We played each other in the regular season and we know each other.”

South did have two wins earlier in the week.  They beat Bradford 7-5 behind winning pitcher Code Roell.  The team celebrated Senior night at McBride stadium (where the Richmond Roosters played) in Richmond.  Their opponent was Seton Catholic which they beat 7-5. Winning pitcher was Gunter Lautensleger – who was selected as a starter by the South Seniors who got to select the opening lineup on Senior night. The night was highlighted by a Wes Cole home run that was hit out of the stadium.

North’s coach Tucker commented after the game, “I think we battled really well.  We saw Jacob Bassler – the same pitcher we saw last year. He has some off speed stuff and he really made us work until we figured it out.  It took a couple of times through the lineup, but as a good hitting team we should be able to figure out a pitcher on the 3rd time through.  Elmore had a good game pitching, I think he is going to be a big factor in the tournament for us.

Coach Tucker was asked about the tournament, “We face Northridge and they have played some good teams this year.  They have a couple of good pitchers – they have played close with some good teams and beat some teams that you would have thought they wouldn’t. We have to be ready for whoever they put on the mound and we have to battle with them.”