Grove outlasts Ada in “Battle of Bulldogs”

ADA, OHIO – Another Friday night another win for the Columbus Grove Bulldogs.

Following the storms that rolled through last weekend, the Columbus Grove Bulldogs traveled to Ada War Memorial this weekend expecting a fight from their conference nemesis in Ada who had beaten Grove 7 of the past 10 meetings, and a fight is exactly what they got.

Columbus Grove won the toss and deferred to the second half, so it would be the Ada Bulldogs who would get the football to open the game looking to get on the scoreboard early following a 42-0 loss to Spencerville last weekend. Making just his 3rd start at Quarterback, 5’11 Freshman Seth Conley lead a Bulldogs drive that began at their own 27 yard line and went 8 plays but stalled at the Columbus Grove 27 when his 4th down pass fell incomplete.

Joey Warnecke wasted no time getting his Bulldogs onto the scoreboard as he capped off a 7 play 66 yard drive over that spanned 2:49 by bursting in from 36 yards out for his first of two touchdown runs on the day to put Grove in the drivers seat 7-0 early following a successful PAT by Warnecke himself.

Ada picked up where they left off on their previous drive as Conley tossed his 5th touchdown pass of the season, a 15 yarder to 6’3 Sophomore wideout Owen Conley to tie things up at 7 with 2:09 left in the first stanza.

On their next possession, Columbus Grove utilized a 9 play drive to get their offense from their own 25 out to midfield before they were forced to punt for the first time in the contest. Joey Warnecke’s punt was muffed by the Ada return man however and Columbus Grove pounced on the football at the Ada 13 before being forced to settle for a 28 yard field goal by Warnecke to put the score at 10-7 Grove.

Following a punt by Ada, Grove got the ball at their opponents 49 yard line but an errant throw by Sophomore QB Reid Stechschulte was returned 57 yards for a touchdown by Luke Long-Green of Ada and gave the home crowd a 14-10 advantage to cheer for with 6:34 left in the 1st half.

Both teams traded field position and punts for the rest of the first half, and the Ada Bulldogs had themselves a 14-10 lead at the break.

At the beginning of the penultimate quarter, Columbus Grove got two big passes from Stechschulte to Aiden Fortman (35 and 28 yards) and regained the lead 17-14 following another made extra point by Warnecke after their first possession of the second half.

On the evening, Reid Stechschulte who came into the game as the top yardage grossing passer in the NWC tossed a trio of interceptions including one on the next Grove possession, this time to Grant McBride.

Fumbles and bad punts punctuated the rest of the 3rd quarter as again the two squads swapped field position until Ada tied the score up at 17 with a 23 yard field goal by Aaron Everhart with 5:18 left in the game.

Before anyone inside the Stadium could even tweet the score the Bulldogs of Columbus Grove scored on an 87 yard kickoff return for touchdown by Baily Clement that saw just :13 come off the stadium scoreboard and would prove to be enough points for the win.

Warnecke struck again as he darted through the Ada defense for a 54 yard touchdown scamper to make the final score 31-17 Columbus Grove. A week after being named Homecoming King in a ceremony inside Clymer Stadium, Warnecke amassed 115 yards and 2 touchdowns to go along with his kicking and stellar defensive effort.

Logan Diller’s interception of a Conley pass in the endzone that let Columbus Grove just kneel down to run the time out was the first time this season that the Bulldog signalcaller has been picked off this season, he finished 24/39 for 219 yards to go along with his lone interception and touchdown pass.

Reid Stechschulte finished 8/21 for 99 yards and 3 interceptions in addition to his lone touchdown pass, and carried the ball 9 times for 20 yards.

With the win Columbus Grove improves to 3-0 on the season (2-0 in NWC) and will play host to the 2-1 Lima Central Catholic Thunderbirds at 7pm next Friday night (Sept 19th) at home in Clymer Stadium. LCC has won the last 7 matchups between the two schools including a 49-6 win in Lima last season.

Ada will attempt to regroup and even their record at 2-2 as the Fort Loramie Redskins will bring their 2-1 record to town for a Friday evening showdown in the 3rd all-time meeting between the two programs. Ada holds a 2-1 series advantage, but the Redskins downed the Bulldogs last season by a 14-8 margin.

Live broadcast of the game as it happened with Michael Hirn and Steve Wiener courtesy of


NEO Girls Basketball Combine Showcase

The first ever Northeast Ohio Combine & Showcase took place this past Sunday, September 7th at Tuslaw High School in Massillon, Ohio and was a rousing success according to Rich Harland who operates Hall of Fame Huddle, one of the two organizers of the event:

Jim Dabbelt of the Dabbelt Report, the Dayton girls basketball guru who is hosting his own event in Tipp City on September 21st for young ladies looking to get college exposure also stated he too was more than happy with how well the event went, “I think it went very well and is a great starting point for future events here in Northeast Ohio.”

With many college scouts in attendance, the event got started at 9am with a multitude of skills challenges such as a standing vertical measurement and a lane agility test for all of the 80 young ladies in attendance.

One of the most impressive measurements of the day that I caught a glimpse of was the 74 inch wingspan displayed by Triniti Lee, a Freshman from nearby Massillon Jackson. IMG_0465

Following completion of the measurements and a few drills, the girls were split up into teams to each play a pair of games inside the Tuslaw High School and Middle School gyms.

The first game of the day in the HS gym featured the Purple and Pink teams matching up. Coming into the combine I had heard a lot about a young lady who is the reigning NBC player of the year in Ali Poole, and the Junior from Carrollton lived up to her billing. One of the things I was most impressed with during the course of the two games were the quick hands that Ali showed off as she pilfered a couple of balls and led her team on easy drives to the basket on the opposite end, as she is fantastic with the ball in the open court and as a finisher.

Junior Caitlin Tytler really impressed me underneath the basket in the two games I saw of her as she has a tough personality on the court and is a terrific rebounder with a real nose for the basketball. On one possession in the first game I watched her in awe as she used her body to position herself for three straight offensive boards before being fouled while trying to score one herself.

On the other side of the ball, the pink team had two players jump out at me right away in Karlee Pireu (Junior, Perry) for her high basketball IQ and her quick jumpshot from the perimeter. I’ve got a feeling that Perry is going to be quite good this season between Karlee and teammate Kimmie Borck who is one of the toughest finishers at the rim I saw all day. Gabby Mitchell, a much heralded Freshman who will be plying her trade for the Solon Comets this season also impressed the heck out of me with her great range and ability to hit from deep as she drilled a pair of three pointers with a hand in her face from the wing in the first contest.

#54 Karlee Pireu – SO, Perry
#54 Karlee Pireu – SO, Perry

With each team playing 25 minute halves, it gave the spectators a chance to rotate gyms and check out a couple of games at a time, something I took full advantage of at halftime to catch a half of the Green vs Orange matchup in the much warmer Tuslaw Middle School gym.

Each team featured a handful of players I was looking forward to seeing, but none moreso than Orange’s Taylor Mikesell (Freshman from Jackson) who is already receiving interest from every major college program (Notre Dame, Florida State, Indiana, Iowa) before she even laces up her Nikes for the first time in a high school game, and the Green squad’s Brandie Snow (Junior, Lake) who had impressed me earlier in the morning during the skills portion of the day.

Both players were true warriors for their respective squads and got a real challenge for being the best player on the court from their teammates in the Green team’s aforementioned Gabby Mitchell (Fr, Solon) who is beyond lightning quick in transition, and the Orange’s Bethany Koons (Jr, Tuslaw) who impressed me with her ability to create her own shots and turn those opportunities into chances at the free throw line. I only got to witness the second half of this one, but it held up the rest of the day as one of the best games of the day. A funny moment from it came however when the Orange team hit a 3 point basket to break a 27-27 tie but was then realized by the referee that both teams were going the wrong way to open the second half before the score was changed to reflect the mistake.


Back in the HS gym it was time for the Red squad to take on the Light Blue squad in what turned out to be quite a physical battle later in the game. Light Blue jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first 3 minutes of the game and kept the Red team scoreless until the 16:06 mark when they dented the scoring column with a 13 foot jumper.

With the whole team full of players who impressed me throughout the day it was hard to pick just a couple of players who stood out, especially for the Light Blue squad. Two of the young ladies that stuck out in the first half of this one were Caitlyn Kroll (JR, Bridgeport) for her ability to read the passing lane on defense and use of her size and Lindsey Baker (JR, Wheeling Central (WV) ) who was one of the days best shooters.

While those two young ladies as well as teammate Cortney Huffman (SR, Sandy Valley) were all impressive to me, it was Hoover Junior Lexi Manos that stole the show. With her astonishing court vision and dribbling skills that the Globetrotters would be envious of, Lexi put her team in a prime position to be up on the scoreboard at all times. It is easy to see that being a part of a Hoover team who made it to the State Championship game has given this young lady worlds of confidence as the leads her team this season.

Team Red has some very nice young scorers on their team that were on display as Camille Adelman (SR, Field) showed off her ballhandling skills with both hands and quick scoring ability on multiple trips down the floor. Camille was joined in throwing in a big performance by Izzy Meese (JR, Garaway) who showed she is a beast to deal with near the rim and will work hard to finish a play at all times.

Caitlyn Kroll (Blue) works against Olivia Belknap (Red)
Caitlyn Kroll (Blue) works against Olivia Belknap (Red)

Destinee Lee (Soph, Jackson) really stood out to me for the Maroon team in the final game of the day in a high scoring contest against the aforementioned Light Blue squad. Her ability to defend and rebound really stood out and helped her team while she was in. Unfortunately for her however, her teammates could not keep up with the frantic and pinpoint rhythm set by Manos and Baker. Jackson is going to have a VERY nice team this year I think because of Destinee and Caitlyn Tytler who both put on solid displays for the scouts in attendance.

Dani Norquest (Blue) working hard under the bucket
Dani Norquest (Blue) working hard under the bucket

If I had to wittle down all of the players I was most impressed with to an “All Combine Team” so to speak it would be these 5:

Lindsey Baker – The Junior from Wheeling Central West Virginia is a nice shooter and all around selfless player.

Taylor Mikesell – I mean come on, there’s a reason BIG schools are after her before her FIRST HIGH SCHOOL GAME.

Ali Poole – I thought she got off to a slow start in the morning but really picked it up and is a fantastic leader/scorer.

Brandie Snow – Lake’s Junior really jumped off the charts at me early in the morning as one of the best all-around players and did nothing to hurt that.

Lexi Manos – There aren’t enough superlatives to describe this young lady. A Magic Johnson-esque touch with the basketball jumps her to the head of the class, schools have to be drooling to get her onto their campus.

A big thank you to all of you for reading this and for Jim and Rich for bringing me in to cover this. If you’d like to send me your thoughts just hit me up on twitter @michaelhirnpbp. Be sure to check out the photo gallery from the event by liking my facebook page at



Celtics put out the Fire

PERRY, OHIO – The South Buffalo Celtics left Perry, Ohio the exact same way they came into their game on Saturday night, undefeated.

In the first ever PAFL Championship Game between the South Buffalo Celtics and Columbus Fire, it was a bit of Celtic Pride that was on display from the get-go.

On the games opening drive, South Buffalo QB Kevin Mason showed that age is just a number. The 43 year old former Syracuse Orange college qb showed off his young legs by scampering in from 32 yards out to cap off an 11 yard 77 yard drive to put his team into a lead that they would never relinquish.

After the Fire had their first shot with the football that ended in an interception by QB Antwan Gibbs, the aforementioned Mason once again led his team on a long drive that resulted in his second scamper into the endzone from 16 yards out to push his teams lead to 14-0 with 4:08 left in the first stanza.

The only miscue from the Celtics in the first half came on a muffed punt in the endzone that resulted in a safety to close the lead to 14-2 at the time.

Columbus’ offense was ineffective in the first half as they accounted for 3 interceptions, a fumble and a turnover on downs. Conversely, the Celtics offense was a well oiled machine as they added two more touchdowns and a field goal before the halftime break. Kevin Mason showed off his arm late in the second quarter as he threw a 25 yard touchdown pass to Brandon Rendford, and a 46 yard strike down the sideline to former Buffalo Bulls collegiate standout Marcus Rivers that put South Buffalo up 27-2 before a 22 yard field goal by Nick Debbins.

Trailing 30-2 to start the 3rd quarter, the Fire held the ball for approximately 1:13 before Gibbs tossed his 4th interception of the game to Fran Marinaro. Randy Seay cashed in on a 1 yard touchdown run to put the Celtics on top 37-2 to cap off a 7 play drive that was aided heavily by a 34 yard pass interference penalty.

With the game well in hand at the start of the 4th and final quarter, South Buffalo coach Ron Anderson made a decision to pull his starting defense and let the backups get some game action. Columbus would take advantage of the backups for 3 touchdowns, a 1 yard td run by Gary Russell, the former Pittsburgh Steeler and Oakland Raider that cut the deficit to 37-8.

Antwan Gibbs used just 3 plays on the next Fire drive following a successful onsides kick to connect with Mike Tatum for a 63 yard score to cut the gap to 37-14 following a missed 2 point conversion. Gibbs finished off the scoring in the game with a bullet pass to John Jackson III that was good for 50 yards and 6 points that closed the final margin to 37-21 with the made extra point.


With the win the South Buffalo Celtics captured the first PAFL Championship and upped their overall record to 11-0 on the year, and 5-0 in the state of Ohio. Following their second straight League Championship Game loss, the Fire finish their season at 10-3.

Link to download the game as it aired:


Midwest Bowl Series Championship Broadcast

The 2014 Midwest Bowl series Championship Game will be held on September 13th at Woodward HS (7005 Reading Rd) Kickoff is set for 7pm.

The RC Bulldogs will play host to the West Virginia Lighting for the championship. Price of admission is $7 for adults, kids free ages 1-12 years old. Gates open up 6pm for all guests.

Listen live at the link below with pregame beginning at 6:50pm or on your smartphone by downloading the Tunein radio ap and searching for Zsportslive

Live streaming video by Ustream


Bulldogs lead Mustangs but not Mother Nature

Columbus Grove was in a celebrating mode Friday night with it being Homecoming, but Mother Nature was not as she got the contest between the Bulldogs and Allen East Mustangs to come to a screeching halt with 4:03 remaining in the 3rd quarter and Grove on top 19-0.

Before the game itself got started the Bulldogs crowned their 2014 Homecoming King and Queen in Joey Warnecke and Rachel Kohls respectively.


Once the game started, the Bulldogs were all business as they wasted no time off the opening kickoff driving 80 yards in just over four minutes behind 4 first downs before the offense turned it over on downs with a pair of incomplete passes from Sophomore QB Reid Stechschulte.

Punts from both sides on the next three possessions of the game gave the ball back to the Bulldogs and this time they were able to finish off a scoring drive that saw Stechschulte slide in from 3 yards out to give his team a 6-0 lead with 7:54 to go in the 1st quarter.

Following another big performance on defense by the Bulldogs and a handful of tackles from both Enoch Jones and Andrew Nichols, Columbus Grove added a 2nd score to the board as this time Stechschulte utilized his arm to connect with Aidan Fortman on a 49 yard touchdown pass to make it 12-0 Grove with 4:05 to go in the first half.

Grove’s final possession of the 1st half saw Allen East defensive back Caleb Smelcer intercept a pass and set his team up at midfield, but his Mustangs were unable to cash in before the halftime break and went into the lockerroom down 12-0.

Lightning threatened to delay the start of the second half but failed as the referees decided to give both teams a shot to get the ballgame in. Fortunately for Columbus Grove they were able to stave off an 11 play drive that saw Allen East drive from their own 23 yardline inside their own 20 yard line before forcing another turnover on downs in a display of bend but don’t break for Coach Andy Schaefer’s defensive mentality.

Columbus Grove’s next drive started on their own 23 yardline, and saw the Bulldogs use 8 plays to go 77 yards in 3:03 to run the score to 19-0 when Reid Stechschulte ran one in from 5 yards out this time for his second score of the day to give Columbus Grove a 19-0 lead following the made extra point by Warnecke.

Play was stopped just moments later as lightning was spotted in the area that became just too close to ignore. The contest was stopped with 4:03 to go in the 3rd quarter with Grove on top 19-0. Play is scheduled to resume on Saturday, September 6th at 3pm at Clymer Stadium in Columbus Grove.


PAFL Championship Game Broadcast

At 7pm on Saturday it’s the 1st PAFL Championship game between two teams who have long had a pedigree of playing for titles in the South Buffalo Celtics and the Columbus Fire.

Both teams have won National Championships in the past, but this is their chance to be immortalized as the FIRST ever PAFL Champion. Who will walk out of Perry High School with the title? Tune in to find out either via the link below or on your smartphone via the TuneIn ap by searching for Zsportslive if you’re at the game:

Live streaming video by Ustream


Bulldogs nip Rockets

The second annual Bowl took place Friday night in Columbus Grove between the Bulldogs and Route 12 rival Pandora Gilboa and was even better than advertised.

A full house at Clymer Stadium witnessed a battle between the Rockets and Bulldogs that wasn’t decided until the games final moments when the Rockets were assessed a penalty in their own endzone that resulted in a safety with 1:09 left on the clock which provided the final margin in their 30-28 loss.

Columbus Grove entered this season for the 3rd straight year with a new starting quarterback, this time in 5’11 Sophomore Reid Stechschulte. Stechschulte took the game over at times and delivered a fantastic first start for his team as he finished 11/24 for 216 yards and 3 touchdowns with just 1 interception.

Tanner From, playing in his first high school football game tonight as a Senior showed he has picked up the Bulldogs scheme as he accounted for two of the Bulldogs seven takeaways on the night.

Joey Warnecke who suffered a concussion in Week 8 last season had a big night for the second year in a row against his rivals, as he accounted for 86 yards on 16 carries and scored the games first touchdown, an 11 yard jaunt early in the second quarter to put Grove on top 6-0 following a missed extra point from his own right foot.

Jacob Basinger would answer on the next Pandora Gilboa possession in short time as he capped off an 84 yard drive by knifing up the home sideline 71 yards just two minutes later to give his team their first lead 7-6 following a made extra point of his own with 9:27 left in the first half.

David Bogart put Columbus Grove back in the lead on their next possession with an 11 yard touchdown catch from a corner endzone pass by Stechschulte as his Bulldogs drove 51 yards in 2:08 to go up 12-7. Columbus Grove failed on their two point conversion and held a 5 point lead with 7:16 left in the second stanza.

Following the second Tanner From interception of the half the Rockets got a safety from defensive end Brandon Walther to close the gap to 12-9 with just 3:03 before the break.

The final score of the half came on a 50 yard pass play down the sideline to Senior wideout/backup qb Jacob Miller from the hand of Basinger to put the Rockets up for the second time at 15-12 with just :51 seconds left before the half. A Miller interception on the next possession gave Pandora Gilboa a chance to up their lead, but a fumble seconds before the half quickly put an end to that opportunity.

Other than a Joey Warnecke interception on the first possession of the second half by the Rockets, turnover on downs and punts were the story of the 3rd quarter until David Bogart got behind a Pandora Gilboa defensive back and took off on a bullet from Stechschulte that netted the Bulldogs a 33 yard touchdown. With the touchdown the Bulldogs got the lead back at 19-15.

Pandora Gilboa trailed for just :13 seconds of time in the 3rd as Jacob Basinger again continued his huge night (finished with 391 all-purpose yards) by sprinting past the Grove special teamers and scampering in on an 80 yard kickoff return for a touchdown to put PG up 22-19 with 1:52 left in the penultimate stanza.

Rarely seen by a Division 7 school is a made field goal, however for Joey Warnecke it was as simple as line up and nail it. Warnecke connected on a 34 yard try to tie the game at 22 with :12 left in the 3rd.

3:06 is all it took the Rockets on their next possession to go 54 yards and run the score to 28-22 following another touchdown by Basinger, this time from 10 yards out on a rush through the middle.

Not to be outdone again, Reid Stechschulte led the Bulldogs down the field with a :67 second drive that was aided by a PG personal foul penalty to give Columbus Grove new life. Reid connected with Aidan Fortman on a 39 yard throw to the 2 yardline that Aidan dove into the left endzone and tied the game at 28. Warnecke missed the ensuing extra point wide right and we remained tied at 28 with just 2:30 left in the contest before the aforementioned safety gave Columbus Grove a 30-28 advantage that they were able to close out the win with after a Bogart interception sealed the deal as PG was unable to stop the clock with no timeouts left.

With the win the Bulldogs even the Bowl Series at 1-1 and avenge their 26-12 loss last season.

Columbus Grove improves to 1-0 on the season and will be home next Friday night against 1-0 Allen East in NWC play. Grove vs Allen East can be heard with myself and Steve Wiener on with coverage beginning at 7pm.

Pandora Gilboa drops to 0-1 on the season and will head home to take on the 1-0 McComb Panthers squad that has beaten them 8 out of their last 10 meetings. You can hear PG vs McComb live as it happens with Dave Boninsegna on WZOQ Radio.


OFL Championship Game Broadcast

Live from Cincinnati, Ohio it’s the 2nd Ohio Football League Championship will take place as the Zanesville Jets, winners of the OFL North Conference will take on the Southern Ohio Buckeyes, winners of the OFL South Conference. Live coverage from Woodward High School begins at 7:15pm with Michael Hirn and Steve Wiener on the call.

If you’re at the game and would like to listen in, just download the tunein application on your smartphone and search for Zsportslive.

Live streaming video by Ustream


PAFL Stars Conference Championship Game

The 1st ever PAFL Stars Conference Championship will take place Saturday night at 6pm in Medina, Ohio as the top seeded Ohio Golden Knights do battle with the South Buffalo Celtics. Hear and see the game right here on beginning with the pregame at 5:50pm.If you’re at the game and want to listen, download the TuneIn application and listen by searching for Zsportslive.

Live streaming video by Ustream


Cleveland Patriots @ Zanesville Jets OFL North Championship Broadcast

Saturday at 6pm live from Zanesville, Ohio the Ohio Football League playoffs begin to wind down when the North Conference Championship game kicks off between the Zanesville Jets who defeated the Mahoning Valley Vipers 9-6 with a late field goal last weekend, and the Cleveland Patriots who look to continue their miraculous run after taking down the top seeded Western Reserve Scourge 23-16 in Poland on Saturday afternoon.

Hear all of the action from Zanesville live with Michael Hirn beginning at 5:45pm with the pregame show right here:

Live streaming video by Ustream

If you are at the game and would like to listen be sure to download the TuneIn radio app and search for Zsportslive.


Official Website of NW Ohio Broadcaster Michael Hirn

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