Tag Archives: OHSAA Football

Whippets end Riders run

MARION, OH – Minnesota bound Shelby QB Brennan Armstrong’s strong second half led his Whippets not only to 12-0 for the first time in school history, but also into the Regional Finals next weekend as they defeated St. Marys 47-7.

Shelby possessed the football five times in the second half and saw four of those drives end the exact same way, with Armstrong in the endzone for a score. Touchdown runs of 32, 2, 3, and finally 36 yards put the finishing touches on a final two quarters in which the Whippets also forced a trio of Roughrider turnovers in accomplishing their twelfth running clock in as many games played.

Armstrong and tailback Devon “Shorty” Brooks led an offense that rolled up 404 yards on the ground while holding the Western Buckeye League Champions and leading ground gainers on the season to just 160 yards on 48 rushes of the football.

In the first half of the contest the visiting Roughriders were forced to punt away the football on four occasions and saw another end in a missed field goal attempt.

One positive for St. Marys came with 4:50 remaining in the second quarter but down 20-0 when Bo Kuenning picked off an Armstrong toss at the Shelby 38 yard line and returned it to his opponents 11. Following a trio of rushes from Ty Schlosser that resulted in ten yards and a first down the Roughriders turned to their own QB Colin Clements who rushed in from a yard out to cut the Shelby lead to 20-7 with 3:27 remaining in the half.

After a pair of first down pick ups from the Whippets offense, the Roughriders picked off another errant Armstrong pass as this time around Braeden Dunlap nabbed the football at his teams 10. Unfortunately for St. Marys fans however the Roughriders were unable to move the football past the midfield stripe and saw the half come to an end with no further scoring on their teams part.

Despite being the first team to hold the Whippets from beginning the second half with a running clock this season, the Roughriders finish their season with a loss and at 10-2 overall.

Offensively the St. Marys offense was led by junior and 1st team WBL pick Sean Perry who carried 16 times for 80 yards, but was relatively held in check outside of a 21 yard scamper for a first down against a strong Whippets defense.

For Shelby it was Devon Brooks who led the rushing attack with 210 yards on 15 carries and a score while Armstrong who was held to just 46 yards passing and a score on 3/11 rushed for 4 touchdowns and 173 yards on 21 rushes, mostly out of the shotgun on zone read option plays.

With the win the Whippets will move on to the Regional Finals to take on a Bellevue squad they defeated 46-0 earlier this season next weekend at a site to be determined.

Though their season might have come to an end on Friday night the Roughriders finished the season with 430 points scored which is good for 5th best in school history in a single season and with a second straight Western Buckeye League Championship in their possession which includes their first unbeaten league mark since 1993.


Riders football runs to record year

ST. MARYS, OH – Despite their season coming to an end last weekend in the Regional Finals, the 2016 version of St. Marys football rushed themselves into the schools record books in a multitude of ways.

Before this season it had been eight full years since the Roughriders found themselves with a share of the Western Buckeye League as they did this season with an 8-1 record. In the 2008 season St. Marys finished with a 7-2 result of their conference slate and shared the championship four ways with Shawnee, Kenton, and Defiance. Overall the Roughriders were able to pick up their WBL leading 23rd conference championship, no other team outside of Van Wert (18) has reached double digits in that category.

By ending their regular season at 9-1 the Riders also found themselves back in the playoffs and with the opportunity to host a first round playoff game for just the third time in school history, and for the first time since 2003 when they fell to Cincinnati Wyoming 18-16. This years Riders found their opponents to be the Dayton Belmont Bison when the seedings were finalized and had little issue with their opponents as they defeated the Bison 42-8 for the first home playoff win in program history.

Offensively St. Marys finished as the second highest scoring unit in a single season as they racked up 474 points for an average of 36.5 points per game that also ranks in the top 10 for a single season at 6th.

Against Sidney in the 2016 season opener the Riders survived a strong Jackets attack for a 43-39 win and also set a pair of records in the process as they rushed 77 times (previous record was 75 times in a game vs Sidney in 2000), and totaled 84 total offensive plays to break the previous mark of 81 vs Sidney in the same 2000 contest mentioned above.

Individually the Riders saw a handful of individual records fall or would see players rise quickly up the ranks. Quarterback Dustin Howell leaves his football eligibility behind as the schools all-time leading yardage passer as the first QB in school history to throw for over 2,000 yards as he finished with 2,052. Howell also leaves as the leader in passing touchdowns with 20 scoring tosses. On the ground Howell also finished with 25 rushing scores in his time under center. There have been eight instances of a QB throwing for three touchdowns in a single game, three times that feat has been accomplished by Howell, including most recently this season as he tossed a trio of scores at Shawnee.

Rushing the football St. Marys accounted for 4500 plus yards behind the Senior dominated lineup of 1st Team WBL Offensive Tackle Garrett Lauth, 1st Team WBL Center Jonathan Peterson, 2nd Team WBL Guard Aaron McGraw, Tyler Miller, and the conference Lineman of the Year Joey Morlino.

With many holes to run through Eric Spicer finished his career as the Riders 3rd all-time leading rusher by running for 1,620 yards during his Senior year (4th best single season mark), and 3,647 yards on the ground in his career. Spicer, who finished as the WBL Back of the Year and was a 1st Team All-NW District selection reached the endzone 31 times via rush and 38 times overall (6 receiving/1 kick return).

Alongside the damage Spicer did on the ground this season he was joined by Julius Fisher who opened the season with six straight 100+ yard games and finished with 1,220 yards rushing. With their combined total of 2,840 yards the Riders Senior duo finished just 6 yards from being the highest gaining twosome in a single season in school history (Shawn Lamb/Adam Kerns & Bo Frye/Justin Nagel each finished with a 2,845 combined total).

Defensively the Riders not only found themselves giving up just 11.0 ppg, St. Marys surrendered 166 points in 13 games and also posted their first shutout almost a decade to the date of their last shutout with both coming against Bath. In all the Riders would finish the season by blanking three straight opponents (Bath/Celina/Defiance) and accomplishing that streak for the first time since 1982 when they opened the season by shutting out their first four opponents of the year.

Five Roughrider defenders finished the season with over 100 tackles, led by Junior and 1st Team WBL LB Austin Giesige who tallied 136 tackles. Grant Keith’s 133 stops put him as the second highest tackler for St. Marys while first year starting linebacker Jackson Harris nabbed the bronze with 120 tackles. Rounding out the 100+ stops club for the #1 ranked defensive unit in the WBL were 1st Team DB Dustin Howell with 111 stops, and the conference’s Defensive Lineman of the Year Matt Patten with 100 tackles.

During their last WBL Championship season in 2008 the Roughrider offense picked up 242 first downs. This seasons Riders finished with 22 first downs in the Regional Finals against Trotwood-Madison and eclipsed the 2008 team in that statistic as they finished by earning 257 first downs on the year.

Sophomore kicker Gabe Vandever not only broke the school single season record for Field Goals made by finishing with 9, he also broke the career record previously held by Tom Walter during the 82 and 83 seasons in which he made 4 and 6 respectively.

Perhaps the biggest number of all to fall for St. Marys came this season for their long time head coach Doug Frye. With the Riders 43-7 victory at Shawnee in Week 3 of the season the Roughriders mentor collected his 200th career win and became just the second coach in school history to do so following in the footsteps of the legendary Skip Baughman who racked up 272 victories in his storied career.

Though the 2016 season might have come to an end, this years crop of players will live long into what is a vast and storied history of St. Marys football as they had a record year that saw the team finish with more then 10 wins for the 12th time in school history.

*Records compiled with the help of Paul Sadler, Rider Football Stats crew, St. Marys HS and their fantastic record keeping located here: Rider Football History


Riders roll to 5-0

ELIDA, OH – For the second straight season the St. Marys Roughriders will find themselves at 5-0 when Week 6 of the regular season kicks off as they traveled to and defeated Elida 35-7 Friday night in a WBL tilt.

St. Marys wasted no time getting on the scoreboard on their opening drive as they traveled 70 yards on eight plays and found themselves on top 7-0 when Julius Fished rumbled past Bulldog defenders and into the endzone for a six yard score with just 2:45 coming off the first quarter clock.

Seth Warniment’s interception of a redirected pass from Elida QB Isaac McAdams would set the Roughriders up at their opponents 46, and again the visitors would waste little time as the Western Buckeye League’s leading rusher and scorer Eric Spicer burst in from 17 yards out to give his squad a 14-0 advantage with 4:53 to go in the opening stanza.

Three punts and a turnover on downs by the two teams slowed the scoring down in for a while in the game but McAdams draws on fourth down and moments later on a 23 yard touchdown run untouched up the middle cut the home team deficit to just 14-7 with 3:55 before the halftime break.

With all three timeouts and 65 yards to go before the half the Roughriders quick strike offense used :26 before upping their advantage to 21-7 at the break when Dustin Howell connected with Spicer on a screen pass that was turned into a 51 yard marker for St. Marys.

Just as it had happened on three straight possessions in the first half, three straight punts came and went before the Riders were able to add another score on the board.

Starting at their own 43 with 6:03 to go in the games penultimate stanza, St. Marys totaled 11 plays and finished with a Dustin Howell one yard touchdown run coupled with the ensuing extra point by Gabe Vandever to make it 28-7.

One of the longest drives of the season happened near the end of the game as the Roughriders began with 9:48 left in the fourth quarter at their own five. Utilizing five different ball carriers the Riders marched 95 yards and connected on a fourth down attempt on an 18 yard touchdown run by Eric Spicer who blazed past the orange and black defenders for the games final score to push the advantage to 35-7.

On the evening the Roughriders totaled 458 yards on 72 plays from scrimmage to 41 plays and 177 yards for Elida.

Rushing the football the visitors carried 68 times for 384 yards led by Spicer (16/162/2 td), and Julius Fisher who capped off his fifth game of the season of over 100+ yards with a 120 yard effort on 20 totes to go with his touchdown jaunt.

Dustin Howell completed 4/6 of his passes on the evening for 66 yards and a touchdown, the 51 yard connection with Eric Spicer in the second quarter to run his school record total to 18 for his career.

Elida sees their record drop to 2-3 overall and 1-3 in Western Buckeye League play and will travel to Van Wert to take on the 0-5 Cougars next Friday night.

St. Marys is now 5-0 on the season and sits tied with Ottawa Glandorf and Wapak at the top of the WBL standings at 4-0 in league contests. The Roughriders will look to avenge their first loss of last season next Friday night as they travel to take on the Bath Wildcats (1-4, 0-4).

Listen live to St. Marys vs Bath with myself and Phil Schumann on the call with the pregame beginning at 6:30pm here:K94.3 FM Celina


Flyers soar to finals

LIMA, OHIO – Marion Local turned in another dominating performance on their way to a 4th straight state title game at Spartan Stadium Saturday night as they downed Columbus Grove 55-7 in the Division 7 State Semifinals.

Hunter Wilker of Marion Local got the scoring started in the first for the Flyers as he threw his first pass of the season, a halfback toss to a wide open Kyle Homan to put his team on top 7-0.

Following a Wilker interception of Bulldogs Sophomore signalcaller Reid Stechschulte, the MAC Offensive Player of the Year Jacy Goettemoeller scored the first of his three touchdowns on the night from 44 yards out to put the defending champs ahead 14-0 just 1:08 after their first score.

Columbus Grove cut the Flyer lead to 14-7 with 3:16 to go in the first stanza as Stechschulte tossed his 15th touchdown pass of the season to Senior wideout David Bogart who outran the Marion Local defensive backs for a 66 yard score.

Goettemoeller would see his number called again on the ensuing drive for Marion Local as he capped off a 9 play 80 yard drive that used 4:39 with an 18 yard touchdown run, his 29th on the ground this season that pushed the margin to 21-7 Flyers with 10:37 to go in the first half.

After their 3rd three and out of the first half Grove was forced to punt the back to Marion Local who took over at their own 47 yard line. Touchdown number three on the night for Goettemoeller would follow for Marion Local as on the 5th play of the drive Jacy would add an 8 yard touchdown run to his impressive first half that saw him pick up 177 yards and 3 scores.

Both teams traded turnovers for the rest of the half as Flyer safety Dustin Rethman picked off a Stechschulte offering but saw his teams following drive stall on the 6th play as Enoch Jones and Andrew Nichols converged and recovered a fumble for the Bulldogs.

Grove was forced to punt after their 4th 3 and out of the half and saw Marin Local get a 35 yard touchdown pass from Rethman (his 25th of the season) to Wilder (2nd of the game, 10th of the season) and head to the break leading 35-7.

A gamble not to take the football after winning the toss and giving Marion Local the football to open the contest had paid off as the Flyers used just three plays before punting on their opening drive, this would give Columbus Grove the ball to start the 3rd quarter but unfortunately for the Bulldogs offense that came in averaging 24.5 points per game they were quickly forced to punt it away after securing just 1 first down. Joey Warnecke who was held to just 11 yards in the first half matched that total on the drive as he scampered for an 11 yard gain and the aforementioned first down.

Hunter Wilker picked up his 4th rushing touchdown of the game on the first play of the next drive for Marion Local as he scampered 69 yards to give his team a 42-7 advantage and cue the running clock with 9:54 to go in the 3rd quarter.

From their own 29 yardline, Columbus Grove elected to go for it on 4th and short but were unable to pick up the yard needed and turned the ball back over on downs to the Flyers. With some of the Flyer starters resting with a 35 point advantage, the backups began to get work with what was left of the first team offensive line. Using just under 3:30 the Flyers upped their lead to 49-7 on a 4 yard Jack Homan touchdown run with 3:25 left in the penultimate stanza.

The Bulldogs could only muster 4 yards of offense on their following drive with the football before Warnecke was forced to punt for the 5th time in the game. With the ball at their own 48 and :31 left in the 3rd, the Flyers offense would march 52 yards over 4:59 and put their final marker on the scoreboard as Nate Moeller finished off a 10 carry 60 yard half with a 6 yard plunge.

Marion Local with the 55-7 win improves to 14-0, sees their win streak reach 36 games and will play next Saturday at 10am for a chance at their 4th consecutive championship trophy inside the Horseshoe in Columbus against Norwalk St. Paul, 41-13 winners over Glouster Trimble.

Columbus Grove sees their season and 6 game winning streak come to an end as they finish the followup to a 2-8 campaign last season at 9-5 and as the schools 4th state seminifinalist in program history.


Grove onto Final 4

Findlay, Ohio – For the first time since they won the Division 6 State Championship 11 years ago 28-26 vs Marion Local, Columbus Grove Bulldogs are heading back to the state semifinals.

Domination was the word of the night as the Bulldogs utilized a balanced offensive attack led by Reid Stechschulte and Joey Warnecke alongside a fantastic defensive game to down Arlington 19-7 at Donnell Stadium Saturday night in the Division 7 Region 24 Championship.

Arlington won the toss and chose to take the football to begin the game, that decision would prove unsuccessful for the Red Devils however as they were forced to punt after picking up only eight yards. On the ensuing punt, the Bulldogs David Bogart utilized a 50 yard punt return to set up his teams offensive attack at the Arlington 30 yard line.

Five running plays and one passing play were all the Bulldogs would need before Sophomore QB Reid Stechschulte sprinted out of the shotgun and into the endzone from 1 yard out to cap off a 7 play 30 yard drive over the course of 2:52 and give Grove a 7-0 lead with 7:05 remaining in the opening stanza.

After a pair of punts from each team, Rece Roney gave Columbus Grove a 9-0 lead with his safety of Arlington signal caller Dominique Fuller at the 2:57 mark of the first quarter that would hold up into the halftime break.

With their band in Florida it would be up to the Bulldogs to provide a show for their fans, and they wasted no time as Roney again proved to be a thorn in the Arlington side with his fumble recovery of an Austin Rettig miscue that landed on the Findlay turf before the Sophomore got a hold of it.

Eli Schroeder would put an end to the next Arlington possession with his 4th interception of the season at the Red Devils 36 yard line. 1st Team NWC Kicker Joey Warnecke finished off a 12 play drive on the ensuing offensive possession for Grove as he booted a 37 yard field goal right down the middle to put the Bulldogs on top 12-0 with 2:46 left in the 3rd stanza.

Logan Diller would add an interception for the Bulldogs and Andrew Nichols picked up a second Rettig fumble in the second half before Grove would see their opportunity to make it 15-0 come to a halt when Warnecke’s attempt for three points was blocked.

Tanner From’s pilfer of a Ridge Babb pass would lead to Grove’s last score of the game as the Bulldogs utilized just 4 plays and 33 yards when Warnecke rushed for his 18th touchdown of the season from 8 yards out to make it 19-0 Bulldogs with 2:52 remaining in the contest.

The only miscue on the night for the Bulldogs defense would come with 1:05 remaining in the fourth quarter as Austin Rettig who rushed for 121 yards on the night and went over the 2,000 yard barrier for the season rumbled in from 7 yards out to provide the games final margin of 19-7. Grove would get the football back following two unsuccessful Arlington onsides kick attempts and see Stechschulte take a knee to secure Grove’s date in the State Semis.

Arlington finishes the season at 11-2 while Grove improves to 9-4 and a date next Saturday night with the 3 time defending State Champion and winners of 36 consecutive games in the Marion Local Flyers who defeated Sidney Lehman Catholic 49-7 tonight. Grove vs Marion Local can be heard live on www.zsportslive.com with myself and Steve Wiener and will take place at a location to be disclosed on Sunday afternoon by the OHSAA.

Individual Box Score:

Rushing: Grove – Warnecke 28/101, Stechschulte 17/54
Arlington – Rettig 24/121, Babb 5/15, Fuller 3/-7

Passing: Grove – Stechschulte 4/13 for 30 yards
Arlington – Babb 2/7 for 50 yards and 2 interceptions, Fuller 3/5 for 12 yards and 1 interception

Receiving: Grove – Fortman 3/37, Bogart 1/3
Arlington – John Solt 2/44, Aaron Starr 2/19, Logan Speyer 1/-1

Interceptions: Grove – From 1/22, Diller 1/20, Eli Schroeder 1/8
Arlington – N/A

Fumbles: Grove – N/A
Arlington – Babb 2, Rettig 1, Glick 1

Time of Game: 2 hours 16 minutes


Regional Finals Preview: Grove vs Arlington

The last time Columbus Grove (8-4) made the playoffs before this season the year was 2009. The last time the Bulldogs were in a position to even get to a Regional Finals the year was 2006 when they fell 42-20 to Hopewell Loudon. All of that previous negative history went out the window last Saturday afternoon at the Bulldogs downed Tiffin Calvert 17-7 in Findlay.

For the first time since 2003 when they won the programs only State Championship, the Dogs will see a Week 13 as they travel back to Donnell Stadium for a 7pm kickoff against 11-1 Arlington, victorious 34-14 over McComb in the nightcap of the Findlay doubleheader this past weekend.

Columbus Grove is led offensively on the ground by Joey Warnecke who has carried 199 times for 1532 and 17 touchdowns. Through the air the Bulldogs are led by Sophomore Reid Stechschulte, a dual threat who has passed for 1443 yards and 14 touchdowns while running for 629 yards and 6 touchdowns. In the receiving aspect of the stat sheet Grove has a 4 headed monster with David Bogart leading the way in catches (27 for 330 yards and 5 touchdowns), Aidan Fortman leading the way in yards (414 on 14 catches) alongside Baily Clement (16/346) and Tanner From (13/196) providing balance amongst the Grove offense that is outscoring their opponents 127-32 in their last 5 games (all wins).

Defensively the Bulldogs are led by 7 All-NWC performers and are led in tackles by Andrew Nichols with 144 tackles (15 tackles for loss) and 2 sacks. Seniors Joey Warnecke (129 tackles, 21 tfl, 4 sacks) and Christian Stechschulte (101 tackles, 16 tfl, 1 sack) lead an impressive unit that gives up just 19.8 points per contest. Tanner From’s 7 interceptions this not only led his team, but also tied for the NWC lead on the season.

Arlington comes into the Regional Finals at 11-1 this season and fresh off of a 34-14 win over McComb in the Regional Semifinals, the second time they have beaten the Panthers this season. Junior QB Ridge Babb who came into the game for the injured starting quarterback Dominique Fuller had a fine night as he completed 8/13 passes for 162 yards and ran for 64 yards in leading his team to a quartet of scores in the win.

Dick Leonard leads a high scoring Red Devils offensive unit scoring 37 points per game into this first ever matchup with Grove. Last season the Red Devils made it to the same Division 7 Regional Finals before they saw their season come to and end 33-0 at the hands of the Delphos St. Johns Bluejays who themselves lost in the next round to eventual champion Marion Local.

Austin Rettig, the Blanchard Valley Conference’s leading rusher the past two seasons will line up in the backfield behind either Babb or Fuller and will be a player Grove will need to keep an eye on throughout the game as his running ability has given teams fits throughout the course of the season. Rettig will no doubt be looking to establish himself early as he was held to 11 yards on his 7 first half carries against McComb before bursting out for 89 on his 9 second half carries.

Aaron Starr’s 5 catches for 110 yards and a 34 touchdown reception alongside 4 catches, 77 yards and 2 td’s for Matt Glick helped the Red Devils put points on the board when their running game struggled to get going early, something they will look to utilize against the Bulldogs secondary that has been stingy through the air the past month of the season and that has accumulated 20 interceptions in 12 games.

Defensively the Red Devils are giving up just 8 points per game, the second week in a row the Bulldogs offense which is averaging 25 points per game will see a unit giving up just single digit points per contest.

With the rebracketing the OHSAA uses for the State Semifinals, the Region 24 winner in Grove or Arlington will take on Region 26’s winner in either 12-0 and 3 time defending State Champion and top seeded Marion Local or 10-2 second seeded Sidney Lehman Catholic next Saturday night at a site to be determined Sunday afternoon.

Steve Wiener (@wienerman46) and myself (@michaelhirnpbp) will be live on the home of the Bulldogs in Putnam County with the pregame show on www.zsportslive.com at 6:45pm from Donnell Stadium Saturday night with kickoff to follow at 7pm.


Bulldogs trounce Panthers

COLUMBUS GROVE, OHIO – Columbus Grove took advantage of an undermanned Paulding Panthers squad on Friday night in their annual NWC matchup for the 11th straight season.

Paulding won the opening coin toss and decided to take the football first. That decision would not equal any points for the Panthers however, as they would have just three plays before being forced to punt by a Bulldogs defense that has been roughed up for 30 points a game this season.

A shanked punt gave Columbus Grove fantastic field position inside the Panthers 20 yard line, and it would take them just 4 plays to go 15 yards when Reid Stechschulte connected with David Bogart for his 10th touchdown pass of the season. One touchdown was all Columbus Grove would need on the night, however it would not be all they would score as on their second possession they once again utilized the passing game for a quick trip into the endzone. Stechschulte connected with Senior wideout Tanner From on a quick pass out of the pistol formation, and From waltzed into the endzone from 11 yards out to put Grove up 14-0 with 6:47 to go in the opening stanza.

Following two offensive scores, the special teams got into the act when Andrew Nichols not only blocked a Paulding punt, but recovered the football and fought his way into the endzone from 10 yards out to put the home squad on top 21-0 at the 5:03 mark of the opening quarter.

On the third play of the ensuing drive Paulding again gave Grove the ball with great field position with a Logan Diller interception. The Bulldogs drive however would be short lived as on the next drive they would give it right back when Nathan Gee picked off Stechschulte’s pass in the endzone to preserve another touchdown pass for Grove.

The last score of the first half would come with 10:32 left in the 2nd quarter when Joey Warnecke took a handoff and sprinted up the right sideline in front of the home fans 56 yards to make it Grove 28, Paulding 0.

Columbus Grove began the 3rd quarter with great field position, inside the Paulding 50 for the third time in the game but turned the football over on the third play of their first drive of the second half when Branson Minck pilfered a tipped pass from Stechschulte and returned it 10 yards to set his squad up at their own 16. In a reversal of the first half when Grove followed a Paulding interception with one of their own, this time it was Paulding who followed Grove as Logan Diller picked off his second pass of the night from the Panthers replacement QB Corbin Edwards.

Joey Warnecke rushed for his 12th touchdown of the season from 5 yards out with 8:19 left in the 3rd. Warnecke’s 2nd score of the night would trigger the new 30+ point running clock rule as Grove went ahead 35-0.

Punts and turnover on downs were the norm of most of the rest of the game until reserve runningback Lachlan Clymer found his way to paydirt from 15 yards out to provide the games final score and run Grove’s lead to 42-0 with 4:32 remaining.

With the win the Bulldogs up their record to 4-4 on the season and are 3-2 in NWC play. Paulding drops to 1-7 overall and 0-5 in NWC contests.

Next week both the Bulldogs (against Crestview) and Paulding (at Bluffton) will be broadcast by Zsportslive.com as the Pirates/Panthers will air on www.zsportslive.com and the Bulldogs/Knights will be taped to air on Fairpoint Communications as well as Glandorf Cable in Putnam County.


OHSAA Playoffs Round 3

Friday and Saturday night the elite eight teams in each division will get one last chance at being a part of their divisions final four teams in the OHSAA playoffs. For the other half of the teams it will be a weekend of bitter disappointment as their seasons will come to and end just one game short of competing for a State Semi-Finals berth next weekend.


One of the teams you can count on to be still playing this time of year is the Coldwater Cavaliers. 5th seeded Coldwater enters their Division 5 contest against 7th seeded Huron at 10-2 while the 9-3 Tigers. The contest will take place at Findlay’s Donnell Stadium Saturday night at 7pm.

For Coldwater it will be a chance to improve upon their 4th all-time standing for most playoff wins and come one step closer to Youngstown Cardinal Mooney who sit in 3rd with 6 more wins than the Cavs at 58. Following their 49-21 win over Chippewa, the Chip Otten led Cavs have the 7th best record in OHSAA history at 52-15 (77.6%). Last season Coldwater finished at 15-0 en route to a 10-9 win over Kirtland in claiming the Division 5 championship and putting an end to a streak of 3 straight runner ups.

Huron is coming off of a hard fought 17-13 win over Loudonville. The Tigers finished 3rd in the Sandusky Bay Conference behind Clyde and Perkins. Huron will be looking to keep their season going and become the 3rd SBC team to win a State Championship, joining the aforementioned Perkins and Clyde who have each accomplished the feat once each.


Donnell Stadium will be rocking all weekend as Friday night will see the Western Buckeye League champion and 12-0 Kenton Wildcats bring their high powered offensive attack into the Flag City to do battle with the 12-0 NWOAL Champion Bryan Golden Bears.

Coach Mike Mauk’s Wildcats feature not only the offensive explosiveness of Senior Quarterback Grant Sherman who led the OHSAA in passing yards with 4,062 yards and 45 touchdowns through the air but also his #1 target in Senior WR Justin Sawmiller who broke the national high school record for receiving yardage this season by virtue of his 105 catch, 1,648 yard, 17 touchdown season as well as Kollin Stollar who has 15 touchdown catches.

Last weekend the Wildcats got off to a slow start as they were tied with Triway in the first quarter 6-6 with a trio of picks by Sherman, but found their stride in the second quarter and reeled off 40 straight points to win 46-6 and advance to the Regional Finals yet again. The Wildcats are making their 10th playoff appearance and sport a record of 24-7 all-time, a record they’d like to improve on with a win against the Golden Bears on Friday night and get one step closer to a 3rd state title in school history.

For Bryan it is nothing new to be overshadowed by Kenton, having finished behind the Wildcats in the last D4 poll of the season. Coach Kevin Kline and his Golden Bears are coming off of a 49-19 thrashing of Caledonia River Valley and have no problems putting points up themselves as they lead 42-6 at the half. If the Golden Bears are successful in their first Regional Finals trip they will need QB Austin Schimmoeller to have a repeat performance of last weekend against the Vikings who had only given up 14 points twice this season as he was fantastic in throwing four touchdown passes on his way to completing 14 of 19 passes for 194 yards in addition to rushing 11 times for 155 yards.


Historically the Delphos St. Johns Bluejays are the OHSAA Playoffs best team, but none of that matters this Saturday night as the Jays head to Lima Stadium Saturday night at 7pm to take on the Arlington Red Devils.

Delphos enters the Regional Finals with a 51-9 record in the playoffs, the highest all-time winning percentage in the playoffs amongst any team with 50 games played and just one better than fellow MAC mate Marion Local (50-9) who themselves will have a chance to add to their total this weekend.

Coach Todd Schulte and his troops will walk on to the Lima Stadium turf with an 8-4 record that is deceiving if you don’t take in to account that two of the teams they lost to (Coldwater and Marion Local) are each 2 of 8 teams left in their division. In their last outing against Tiffin Calvert, the Jays romped to a 42-10 win over the overmatched Senecas who could not stop the St. Johns rushing attack that saw Senior Runningback Tyler Jettinghoff account for 6 of the 7 Jays touchdowns. If the Red Devils can figure out a way to stop Jettinghoff they will still need to figure out how to stop the rest of the rushing attack in QB Nick Martz who himself had a 60 yard touchdown run in the opening round against Leipsic, or bruising fullback Luke MacLennan who himself has multiple runs over 50 yards this season.

Keeping the ball away from the Bluejays rushing attack will be key for Arlington and coach Dick Leonard who sport a 9-3 record and finished tied for 2nd in the Blanchard Valley Conference behind Liberty Benton. The Red Devils are coming off of an impressive 54-14 win over Hicksville in which they racked up 454 total yards and 8 touchdowns on the ground. In the win the Red Devils only threw one pass, but they really were never in need of throwing the ball as tailback Austin Rettig rushed 32 times for 290 yards and scored the Red Devils’ first seven touchdowns. Fullback Josh Elledge added another 100 yards on six carries for Arlington in the win.

The winner of this game will take on likely the winner of Triad and Marion Local next weekend in a HUGE matchup.


Marion Local currently finds themselves tied with fellow Midwest Athletic Conference schools Versailles, Delphos St. Johns and St. Henry in 5th place all-time with 6 State Championships and would love to move into 3rd place all-time by themselves with the schools 7th title. Before Marion can do that, they must first take on Coach Payton Printz and his 12-0 Triad Cardinals in Piqua at Purk Field Saturday at 7pm. The Flyers are currently 12-0 under long time coach Tim Goodwin and are the lower seed (3rd) in their bracket.

Last weekend the Flyers were on the wrong end of the scoreboard in Piqua for most of the game, but found a way late to come away with a 35-28 win against Covington. With just 2:34 on the Purk Field clock, the Flyers drove down the field and put the game in the hands of their University of Pittsburgh bound Senior QB Adam Bertke to win the game for them, and that is just what he did as he hit Troy Homan for a second time in the game to put his team into another Regional Finals. Marion will look to utilize their dual threat QB and let his decision making give them another night to play as he has done all season against a stingy Cardinals defense that is giving up just 14.0 this season.

The 12-0 Ohio Heritage Conference Champion Triad Cardinals are making just their 4th playoff appearance as compared to the 16 that Marion Local has made, but the pedigree of their opponent doesn’t seem to matter to the Cardinals who dispatched Sidney Lehman Catholic last week by a 14-7 score in a game that was 0-0 at the half on Wapak’s Harmon Field turf. Despite losing their defensive leader Tre McIntyre earlier this season to injury, Triad rebounded by forcing turnovers and turning them into points when it mattered to advance past Lehman Catholic.


Before the season I was told “the NWC is Ada’s to win”, and it stuck with me all season long as I had the opportunity to see the Bulldogs on a couple of opportunities. Both times I saw Ada play I got a different team, it was like night and day. There’s an old saying that “when we’re good we’re really good, and when we’re bad we’re BAD”, and it held true at times this season for the Bulldogs perhaps a little too well.

Struggling at times on defense to get stops, the Bulldogs and coach Bob Olwin sit at 9-3 after a dominating 35-0 payback win over the Crestview Knights Friday night in Wapak. In avenging an earlier season 63-12 loss to the Knights, the Bulldogs pummeled Crestview from every angle defensively in earning a Week 13 matchup against the 11-1 Green Meadows Conference runner up Wayne Trace Raiders Friday night at Lima Stadium at 7:30pm.

Ada will utilize their QB Matt Wilcox not only throwing the ball to Austin Dumbaugh, Hunter Waller, and Blake Ansley, but also running the ball to keep the defense honest. In the win over Crestview, Wilcox was impressive with his ability to read what the Knight defense was giving him as he hit his checkdowns all night for big gains. Wilcox twice found Hunter Waller for touchdowns as the rout began. Credit the Ada defense on their improvement since the first meeting with Crestview as they had a huge night in only allowing 151 total yards while creating four takeaways, a pattern they hope repeats itself Friday night against the Raiders.

Wayne Trace and coach Bill Speller will be making their first Regional Finals appearance in only the schools 2nd all-time playoff berth. 11-1 on the season, the Raiders have relied heavily on the arm of Senior quarterback Colby Speice who has thrown for 3,132 yards and 40 touchdowns.

In their last outing the Raiders snapped Tinora’s 10 game winning streak by scoring 32 1st half points and rolling to a 40-7 victory. In the win, Speice accounted for 4 touchdown passes including a 1st quarter strike to Korbin Showalter. In the two meetings with Tinora this season, Wayne Trace outscored the Rams 88-42.

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend look no further than one of those great matchups. Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @michaelhirnpbp as I will be tweeting scores and live thoughts from Lima Stadium during the Delphos St. Johns/Arlington matchup.