Tuesday, November 18, 2014

North Falls to West Liberty

In a game that was not decided until the last minute North fell to the West Liberty Salem Tigers 21-14. When two closely matched teams play many times it is the team that makes the fewest mistakes that gets the victory.  And for the second time in the playoffs North’s first play from scrimmage resulted in a fumble.  And that seemed to set the tone for the night as North squandered several opportunities due to penalties and turnovers.

The Tigers defense did play North tough and they bent several times – allowing North inside their 30 7 times, but stopping the drive each time.  North would only punt 1 time on the night, but failed to convert on 4th down 4 times and gave up 3 turnovers.  A ball control team can’t afford to be in long yardage situations and several times penalties moved the ball backwards.  Still North battled back against adversity and made some good defensive stands themselves. Defensively they did a fair job against the run, and although North seemed to adjust to the pass in the second half, the Tigers did the most damage in the air.

The Tigers made some big plays on offense.  After recovering the opening fumble from North they ran a draw play on third and long and scored first on a 37 yard run.  North was able to respond when Colton Booth threw a 16 yard strike to Blake Lawson.  The Tigers would close out the first quarter with a long touchdown pass – again on a third and long play that would go 74 yards. 
In the second quarter, both teams had several drives end deep in enemy territory.  Trey Summers stopped one Tiger drive with a fumble recovery.  And the Tigers stopped two drives where North failed to convert on 4th down.  North held firm right before the end of half when the Tigers went for it on 4th down at the 19 yard line.  So both defenses made big plays to keep the second quarter scoreless.

The Tigers got their last score of the night midway in the 3rd quarter, a 16 yard pass that made it a 2 touchdown lead.   This following sequence points out one of many squandered opportunities for North. Austin Elmore had several good kick returns on the night.  But his best was a punt return to the Tiger 26 yard line in the 3rd quarter. But from there North went backwards.  They gave up a sack and then on third and long a holding penalty turned a completed pass into a loss.   Then on 4th and forever the snap was mishandled and the Tigers recovered the ball.  It was almost a complete disaster, but North kept the Tigers from scoring again.

North would score with 5 minutes left in the game.  A poor punt combined with a good return by Colton Overholtz gave North the ball at the 18 yard line. The next play Colton Booth connected with Garrett Woodyard to make it a one touchdown game 21-14.  The onsides kick failed, but North held the Tigers to 3 plays and a punt.  With just under 2 minutes left in the game, North began a drive on their own 10 with no time outs left.  But after getting a couple of first downs the Tigers crushed North’s hope for a last minute comeback when they picked off a pass and ended North’s season.

It has been a record setting year for North.  10-1 on the season, league champs, first playoff victory ever.  The seniors are the first class ever to go to the play offs all 4 years. So the North has a lot to be proud of this season.  And the playoff loss – a lot of coulda, shoulda’s.  With all the mistakes and turnovers, they still were in the game all the way to the end.  Coach Derringer and the coaching staff are also to be commended – high school football takes a lot of time and dedication to the program. In recent years North has reloaded each fall, so there a system in place that creates winners.

“Mistakes killed us,” lamented coach Derringer after the game, “We came out and made mistakes in the first half.  Then we gave up some big plays to them.  We adjusted our pass coverage and that seemed to have that fixed.  We just didn’t play well tonight. But every kid gave it their all.”

He continued, “We have had a great season and a fantastic run. I am proud of each and every one of the kids – we fought and fought and fought.  It was 21-14 and we got the ball and were driving at the end.   I have to give credit to West Liberty they deserve the win – they held us on every 4th down we had deep in their territory.  If we make any one of those and punch it in, then it’s a different ball game. Their linebackers did a good job of blowing up our isolation plays.  They are big up front and have good skill players.”

Finally, “They have been a great group of seniors.  They have been good leaders all year.  The first group in Preble County to go to the playoffs all four years.  And there are the unsung heroes  - several seniors did not get that much playing time.  But they came to practice every day, they worked hard, they tried to make us better.  It was a group effort out of this senior class. I told them they did something that no one else at North has ever done. This year was a special year - it was a great run.”

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tri-County North Wins First Ever Playoff Game

This year’s record setting team once again took care of business the same way that have all season and recorded North’s first ever play off win.  Over the years North has qualified for the playoffs many times, but they were always one and done.  And the victory was all the sweeter as it took place in Lewisburg in front of a vocal TCN crowd.  For the senior class – they can also be proud that they made the playoffs all 4 years that they played.

Summit Country Day spread out the field and mixed the run and the pass.  But for the most part North’s defense kept them contained.  And North’s special teams once again shone and set up some big plays – including a punt return for a touchdown by Austin Elmore.  And Country Day had to deal with a long field most of night. They are a young team and do not have as deep a bench as North.  So in the second half North’s senior laden offense kept chugging out the yardage and kept Country Day’s offense on the bench.  And after their first possession of the second half – North pretty much limited them to 3 and out’s the rest of the night.

You had to be worried when the first play from scrimmage by North was a fumble – but the ball bounced into a diving Colton Booth’s hands.  And North did have to punt on their first series.  But the remainder of the first quarter was all North.  Linebacker Tanner Booth set up the first score by batting a Country Day pass into the air, then catching the ball and carrying to the 8 yard line before being dragged down.  Kody Cordes took over from there as he carried the ball into the endzone to spot North an early lead. 

And things went downhill fast for the Silver Knights.  A mishandled kick put the ball on the 5 yard line where Colton Booth tackled the quarterback in the endzone for a safety.   So Country Day now had to kick to North and the team responded by driving the ball 70 yards for another scoring drive – capped by a 21 yard carry by Kody Cordes.  So in the space of a few minutes, Country Day was down 16-0.

County Day was able to respond in the second quarter – they reached into their bag of tricks and were able to pull off a fake punt that kept the drive alive.  But North’s defense held them to a 28 yard field goal.  As time ran down before the half, Colton Booth connected with Garret Woodyard for a 38 yard catch to put North up 24-3.

Country Day came out of the locker room and put together another scoring drive.  And this made it a two score game with North up 24-10.  Country Day did try an onsides kick – but an offsides penalty called it back and the second time they kicked away.   The teams exchanged possessions and it was Austin Elmore who put the game out of reach when he took a punt at midfield and weaved through Country Day to make it a 3 score game once again.

North played ball possession the remainder of the game and Austin Green put the final points on the board with an 11 yard carry.  Not a perfect game – North mishandled the ball several times and this, along with some untimely penalties put them into long yardage situations.  A ball possession team needs to chug out the yardage consistently and not have to deal with 3rd and longs.  Still it was enough to win 38-10 and earn a ticket to the next round of the playoffs.   Not that North needed any extra motivation, but a few of the Country Day players trash talked North players during warmups. Coach Derringer remarked later that he did not need to motivate the players before the game– they were already fired up.

Like climbing a ladder - each round of the playoffs will be tougher and tougher for the team as they take each rung.  So they will need to watch those afore mentioned mistakes.  Next week they play against West Liberty Salem - a more seasoned team that can pass the ball well.

Coach Derringer on the win, “It’s been a long time coming – it took 7 times to get the win.  It’s a special group of guys, they worked so hard.  I can’t say enough for the senior leadership.  I know that at halftime, no one was satisfied with the performance of the first half.  They got on each other at halftime and in the second half I thought we did a pretty nice job. “

He continued, “I am almost at a loss for words right now, it’s really exciting.  I am happy for the kids – we are at 10-0 now.  It’s been a special year.”

On Country Day’s touchdown, “We really need to work on our deep pass coverage.  They have some really good skill players.  Our coverage was there we just have to do a better job of playing the football instead of playing the man. But we will work hard on that this week.  A lot of the teams coming up are shot gun, spread teams that can throw the ball.  So we are going to see this again.”

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

TCN Wins CCC Title - How Sweet It Is!

Any thoughts that North might take a night off against Trail were quickly dispelled as they went to business in workmanlike fashion to score early and often.  Trail runs a spread offense and has been known to score some points. But while the offense was busy racking almost 300 yards rushing on the night, the defense pitched a shutout – and Austin Elmore picked off a pass and took it to the house to score a defensive touchdown to put the icing on the cake for an outstanding defense performance.   
By night’s end North had made a statement that they owned undisputed sole possession of the CCC championship.  And they also avenged last year’s upset victory by Trail that had ended their regular season.  So with this final regular season win they have exorcised all the ghosts of last year’s losses. 

Others who scored for North were Dustin Green who scored twice with carries of 3 and 1 yard.  Colton Booth also crossed the goal line twice with short yardage carries. And Lane Gunder ended scoring for the night with a 10 yard run in the last quarter.  The Panthers totaled 292 yards on the ground and this was distributed amazingly amongst 8 different running backs. 

With the win, North is the top team in the district and so they will host Cinncinati Summit Country Day next week. The rest of the CCC playoff picture is as follows:   Miami East finished in second place in the CCC and they likewise are second in the district.  Covington is the 7th ranked team in region 26 (divison 7) and so they will be travelling to play Lehman Catholic.  This is the first undefeated team in Tri-County North history.  There was an undefeated team in the 77-78 school year football season for Twin Valley North – but the school was renamed since that time.

Summit Country Day has a sophomore quarterback who likes to pass the ball.  The CCC is run oriented with the exception of Trail who uses a spread offense and likes to pass.  So North’s secondary will be busy as the receiving is distributed amongst 6-7 players.  Like all good teams Country Days specialty teams are no slouches as they have deep returners that can take it to the house.  In contrast to the Panthers – who are packed with seniors, the Silver Knights are a young, but talented team. And the offenses contrast as well: a passing offense versus a running - ball control offense. So it should be an interesting matchup.  The game will be played at North on Friday night.

Stats for TCN:  Passing – Colton Booth 4 att/1 com 8yds; Receiving – Kody Cordes 1-8; Rushing – Colton Booth 11-30, Austin Elmore 1-24; Alex Kerby 2-6; Garret Woodyard 6-37; Lane Gunder 5/26; Wesley Morrow 3-6; Dustin Green 20-83; Kody Cordes 14-80. Tackles – Tanner Booth 6; Colton Booth 5; Blake Lawson 4.  Sacks Trey Summers 2.

South Loses to Miami East - Just Misses Playoffs

Friday night was a dismal night for South – the weather was cold and wet, they lost the game by one touchdown, and they just missed getting into the playoffs.  So the game was disappointing on many levels.  Not what this team wanted on senior night, the last home game for the players. 
Both teams feature a strong running game, so playing in the rain did not change any strategies.  But a team playing from behind that needed to pass would have a tough time handling the ball. And weather did play a factor on South’s first quarter drive where on 4th and short at the goal line, they coughed up the ball and Miami East recovered.

Miami East promptly turned around and drove the length of the field and scored – but missed the extra point, potentially leaving the door open for TVS.  South, to their credit was able to respond with another drive of their own and this time Wes Cole punched the ball in for a touchdown and more importantly the team scored the PAT.  So at the end of the first quarter, TVS held the lead.
East was able to generate a scoring drive right before the end of the half. On 4th and 2 on the 4 yard line, they were able to cross the goal line and more importantly they went for 2 on the PAT and made it, making it 14-7 at the half.

But that would be the extent of scoring for the game.  On a soggy field, both teams found yardage hard to come by.  Miami East seemed to move the ball better than South,  and that kept South at their end of the field for the most part.  Miami East did appear to have a third score when Colton Mckinney bolted thru the South defense for about 40 yards to the goal line.  But a holding call brought the ball back.  And South had a glimmer of home themselves when Aaron Deaton fell on a fumble in the 4th quarter at midfield.  But a tough Viking defense put South into a 4th and 14 situation and South had to punt the ball away. 

South used all their timeouts and shot all their bullets, but the door closed on the 2014 season with a 14-7 loss to East.  The win puts East in 2nd place in the district and they will host Versailles.  The loss puts South at 9th place – just missing the playoffs.

Head Coach Cates: “Our defense did well in the second half after we made some adjustments, but our offense couldn’t get it going.   Miami East is a good team, but losing to them was a tough pill to swallow – particularly with the playoff implications.  7-2 is a definite improvement from what it has been in the past here at Twin Valley South.  I am proud of our kids effort, but it hurts - we are heartbroken for the kids and the staff and the community.  We look at all the time they all put into it and we are sitting here at 7-2 and are not going to get into the playoffs. “

The seniors: “I think that you are only as strong as your senior class. And that was never more evident than this year.  Wes Cole, Todd French, and Jared Rivers were all 4 year lettermen.  It’s hard for a team to come in and beat a team with this much experience.  They have been through almost every scenario and have been on the wrong side of it a lot.  So I am really proud of the seniors for sticking it out and buying into our program.  They worked hard in the off season and said hey we are going to be a different senior class. “

He continued, “ I am proud of their leadership.  They never backed down – at Trail they lead us to a come from behind victory.  And they responded well after North – we were able to come back and beat Covington.  And we played well against Miami East, it was a dog fight.  We were glad to get Anthony Augspurger back after tearing his acl, and our senior linemen dominated the line of scrimmage in most of our games.  I feel that team is good enough and strong enough to be in the playoffs, but that is how the points system works – if you don’t win, you can’t guarantee yourself anything. But the seniors can be proud that they changed this program and have it going in the right direction.“

Ohio State Stadium - nice place to watch a game.

I was fortunate to get some tickets this past week to watch Ohio State play an 8 o'clock game.  The seats were Bob Ueker tickets - almost at the top level of the stadium.  But I learned to appreciate them as it got colder and the winds whipped up.  The flags were snapping at the other end of the stadium, but it was calm where we were - under the press box protected from the elements.

It has been decades since I have been to Ohio State to see a game.  The open end of the horse shoe was not closed in yet and they did not have the big screen TV's that they do now.  And no, they did not play in leather helmets.  But they did have the same bench style seating as they do now.  So you get cozy with your neighbor, particularly on a cold fall night when every one is bundled up.

The band has modernized too. They did a space theme at halftime and a memorable part of the show was an apollo rocket launching complete with smoke and fireworks.  And oh yeah, there was a game too.  But Illinois was completely outclassed.  Ohio State racked up the points on them.  One highlight of the game was when it appeared that JT Barrett had fumbled.  The Illinois player grabbed the ball and began to run it back.  But Barrett wrapped his arm around his neck and shoulder and slammed him to ground.  An impressive tackle that would have made a linebacker proud.  But it was all for naught as the ball was ruled an incomplete pass. But Barrett did a great job of threading the ball to his receivers otherwise.

When we left it was like 41 - 7.  So yeah it was lopsided and with the cold setting in, it was time to go. Ohio State does a decent job with parking.  They have outlying lots and then shuttle fans in buses to and from the lots.  And the buses run constantly on game day. So not much of a wait at all to get back to the lot  Oh and the ushers were great - we had that dazed and confused look to us as we searched for where to go, but they did a great job of guiding us.  So overall a great experience that I would recommend to any Buckeye fan.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

North Defense Stands Tall

The adage is that defense wins championships. And if you follow sports for very long you see that this is true. In a second battle of unbeatens, the North defense stood tall in a CCC showdown against South. South threw everything they had at North but had problems even getting a first down in the early going.  And on the other side of the ball, the North backfield is loaded with good running backs - any one of which could be feature back on another CCC team.  But senior night was Austin Green’s night to shine as he scored 4 times for North. South just couldn’t stop the North offensive juggernaut and in another spotlighted game, North rose to the occasion with a resounding 42-15 win.

It was a playoff atmosphere for this critical game – both the upper and lower parking lots were filled so late arrivals had to scramble for parking spots.  If not the biggest crowd ever, it had to be in the top 5. And again there were TV cameras on the sidelines. South wanted get the ball early, establish the run, and get a first score to take the crowd out of the game.  So they won the toss and went into a wishbone formation, but North held them to 3 and outs on their first few possessions.  South went to their play book and spread out their offense, but yardage was hard to earn.

North on the other hand sliced thru the South defense.  The line push got North running backs into the secondary of South’s defense and it generally takes more than one tackler to bring down a North running back.  By that time, they had already gained 7-8 yards.  So North was able to go out to a 28-0 lead in the 2nd quarter.  To their credit, South put together a scoring drive late in the first half.  After a Jordan Overcash sack put South into long yardage, on 4th and 14 Wes Cole scrambled then connected with Jared Rivers for a 30 yard touchdown pass.

North received the ball in the second half and there was a flicker of hope when JJ Utz intercepted a Colton Booth pass on that first drive.  But the stalwart North defense forced a punt and North did what North does best – drive the ball to the goal line.  South pulled out all of the stops – faked a punt on 4th and 7 and kept that drive alive when Josh Cottingim caught a Jacob Bassler for a first down.  But they would not cross the goal line again until late in the game when Wes Cole scored and in a final act of defiance, South went for 2 on the PAT and made it.

With the win, North guarantee’s at least a share of the CCC title and are assured of a playoff slot. Will they take a night off next Friday against Trail? Not a chance - this year’s seniors remembered how last season spiraled out of control and towards the end Trail upset North 15-13. They have exorcised all of the ghosts of last year’s losses this season with the exception of Trail.  Finally,  North has only had one other undefeated team – the 77-78 school year. So that is another goal that the team now has in its sights.  So the team will be hungry going into the game.

On the other hand, South will play at Miami East next Friday. Both teams need to win to get into the playoffs and have a possible shot at sharing the league title.  It is hard to get up emotionally two weeks in a row, but South will have to steel themselves to play away against another tough league opponent. 

Coach Derringer on the game, “The team worked very hard this year, and they had a vision of where they wanted to be – and they have just done an outstanding job.  Our defense has played well all year and we stepped up to take away their power game.  We set the tempo on that first drive, Colton Booth made a big 3rd down play and we did that all night.  We bent a little bit – they were able to bounce outside and get some yardage, but overall I was very pleased. Offensively, I don’t think we punted at all.  Sometimes the best defense is keeping the ball in our hands and keeping it out of theirs.”
On Austin Green, “He is very big on the inside.  We have others that are good on the outside.  We do whatever we have to do – we have had 5 different backs score this season.  But it is wonderful that Austin had a good night tonight. “

On the Conference, “It has been since 1994 that we have won a conference title.  And that is our goal – it has been our goal since the beginning of the year.” On the chance for being undefeated, “That is a goal for every team that we have. It is hard to do – injuries can be a factor.  You have to play well against schools our size. Now we have had some injuries, but we had some kids step up and contribute.” Trail: “We have thought about that game since last year. We are going to work very hard this week and be prepared.  We still have a lot to work for and we want to win the championship outright.” 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

North Crushes Miami East

At the start of Friday night there were 3 unbeaten teams in the CCC, but by nights end that number was whittled down to 2.  Most followers of the CCC were expecting a slim margin of victory when undefeated Miami East met undefeated Tri-County North.  And how would a bye week affect Tri-County North?  Last season Miami East beat North twice, how would North respond this season? This years game was at Miami East – how would North respond to a big game away from home. Those were a few of the questions going into Friday nights game, but North answered them with a resounding roar as they blasted past the Vikings 42-14.

Field position, turnovers, and distributed scoring were all factors in North’s success.  5 different players crossed the goal line for North – you can stop one player, but it is hard to stop a team.  It took a few series for North to get their motor in gear.  They were 3 and out on offense their first two series and although the defense kept East scoreless in the first half, they gave up some yardage. So the bye week seemed to have an effect, at least in the early going.  But as the game progressed, North got their mojo back and gained the early momentum.

Despite the windy conditions, North was getting good coverage and a good roll on their punts – putting East deep into their own territory to start drives.  On the other hand, North was getting good field position and their first score was from a drive that started at midfield.  Colton Booth connected with Kody Cordes for a touchdown pass. And Miami East did not help their cause during the night as they coughed up the ball 4 times.  And this season North has been able to capitalize on gifts from the other team.  So after scoring North kicked off and East promptly fumbled on the return.  It was not easy, but North answered with a touchdown by Booth and now East was down by 2 scores.

So a lethargic North team had come alive.  But they were not done yet.  Their next scoring drive was a 95 yard drive capped with a Garret Woodyard run for a touchdown.  East tried to put some points on the board right before halftime, but after driving to the North 15, Trey Summers sacked the East quarterback to put them in long yardage.  They could not convert on 4th down and South entered the locker room with a 21-0 lead and equally as important - the momentum.

North continued where they left off in the 3rd quarter. Blake Lawson caught a touchdown pass and Dustin Green scored on 14 yard run.  East made a last gasp effort in the 4th quarter where they had some success running in between the tackles and were able to score a couple of touchdowns. But it was too little, too late as North coasted to an anti-climactic 42-14 win. Setting up a huge rivalry game with South next week as the last two unbeaten teams in the CCC clash.

“The effort from our kids was just outstanding”, stated Coach Derringer after the game, “but we have a big game ahead of us next week in Twin Valley South.  It’s going to be a big game for us. Colton Booth had another good game and he made some good decisions at the quarterback position. We worked on his passing game this week  and I think it showed tonight in the first half. But I give East a lot of credit, we had a running clock on them – but they responded.   They went down the field and stuck it in. Then got an onsides kick and scored again.  And it showed us that we still have things we need to work on.  South has a good running game and our defense has to show up.”

Is this the best team coach you coached?  “I don’t like to compare one team against the other, we have had some great athletes here the last 3-4 years and we have a great group this year too.”

At the end of the interview coach Derringer flatly stated that, “I want to be other there with my guys” – referring to the team. You could tell that he would rather be celebrating with his players than speaking with a cluster of sports reporters. And I couldn’t blame him -  last years losses against Miami East(one regular season and one playoff loss) have been avenged and it was time for North to bask in the afterglow of a job well done.

Will this be the last time that East and North play this season?  Maybe not as both teams are in the same playoff district.  So there is a chance that the two foes will meet again. But North has to prepare for another big game against unbeaten South next Friday. The CCC title and the playoff’s are factors dependent on the outcome of this game.

South Dominates Covington

1999 was the last time that South beat Covington.  And although it has been a down year by Covington standards, they are still well coached and play hard.  But South’s size and athleticism allowed them to dominate Covington.  They scored first and took advantage when Covington turned over the ball.  Covington was able to score in the third quarter and make things a little interesting, but South would not let them get a whiff of a comeback by scoring 3 second half touchdowns themselves for a 41-14 victory.

Anthony Augspurger scored all 3 of South’s first half touchdowns. In the second half the scoring was more distributed with Joe Webb, Sammy Shockey, and Wes Cole all making touchdowns.  Worrisome for South was that they did not get any PAT’s in the first half.  In a close game, those PAT’s can be the difference.  South turned over the ball themselves, also something that is uncharacteristic for them.

“We came out hard right from the get-go”, stated Coach Cates, “we scored fast and that is huge against an option/ball control team like Covington.   We were up 14-0 right out of the gate.  Our defense was aggressive and played soundly the whole night. Offensively we just dominated the line of scrimmage – our line just did a great job.  We ran right at them and used our size advantage. Defensively they read the option and defended it well.”

He continued, “I have a tremendous amount of respect for their coach, Dave Miller.  They play  extremely hard.  But I was disappointed that we had more turnovers in this game than we had all year. “

Next week’s showdown with North, “It’s awesome that both teams are undefeated.  We focus on one game at time, but we have been watching what they have done. But now it’s here – how can this game get any bigger in Preble County.  Both teams undefeated this late in the season with the CCC championship and the playoffs on the line. “

“We are really excited about it and it is going to be a huge test.  They have a huge senior class, we have a big senior class.  Which made both teams successful – all of that game experience.  It’s going to be a dog fight, their backs are pretty big and hard to bring down.  Their defense has been lights out all year and every week our defense has been getting better. This game could really come down to who makes the less mistakes – who is going to protect the ball better.  I think it is going to be a close game and won’t be decided until the 4th quarter.”

This year’s North – South game will be in Lewisburg so North will have the home field advantage. North has dominated the matchup in recent history. But for the first time in a long time, this game has significance.  The winner will control their destiny in the playoff positioning, the loser will have to wait and watch how the numbers play out after that last game of the season. The winning team will also have at least a share of the league title.  Not mention it is a rivalry and you play hard in every game – but in a rivalry you reach a little deeper to give a little more during the game.  There have been several epic battles over years, this game should not disappoint, so get there early to get a good seat.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Shawnee Drops Dixie

Dixie hung tough with the Shawnee Arrows for about 2 and half quarters on Friday night.  Both teams run a spread offense and the slick conditions in the drizzling rain made it tough for either team to get their offenses in gear during the early going.  And at half time it was almost a stalemate with Shawnee holding a narrow 6-0 lead.  But a young Dixie team with a lot of players going both ways on offense and defense gradually wore down, allowing Shawnee to overwhelm the Greyhounds in the second half.

Dixie actually had good field position in the first half. Their defense was stingy and their special teams were more effective on punts – as both teams had many 3 and outs in the early going.  Shawnee started most of their first half drives in their own territory, while Dixie had a short field.  Dixie gained the Shawnee 30 yard line twice in the first half and thanks to a Devin Worley to Justin Leonard pass – they were in scoring position at the 8 yard line of Shawnee.  But in all three cases, Shawnee’s defense held firm and denied Dixie the end zone.

Shawnee finally made the decision to keep things simple in the poor conditions.  They began running the ball in between the tackles. Mixing in an occasional pass to keep the Dixie defense honest. And their offense is a no huddle offense, meaning that Dixie’s defense was not getting much of a breather in between plays.  Dixie’s offense was not moving the ball well, so the defensive players didn’t have much recovery time on the sidelines before they were back to the grind.  This paid dividends when at the 7:26 mark of the second quarter they scored to capture the lead.  And this would continue to be their strategy in the second half.

Surprisingly there were no turnovers in the first half. Sometimes weather can be an equalizer – the underdog team gets a fumble or mishandled pass and momentum can change.  But fate was not kind to the Greyhounds.  After holding Shawnee and forcing a punt – it was muffed deep in Dixie territory.  A few plays later, Shawnee scored and the air seemed to go out of Dixie’s sails.  Two scores down and under dismal conditions.  When it rains, it pours – with the running game almost non-existent, Dixie was forced to take to the air.  Luke Lovely had two interceptions including a pick six.  The turnovers gave Shawnee great field advantage. What had been a close game turned into a rout as Shawnee rolled in the second half for a 38-0 victory. 

Coach Watson commented after the game, “We played well with them in the first half.  And I told them at halftime that in a close game like this that the team that makes a mistake can lose this game. Unfortunately we were the ones that made a mistake and Shawnee took advantage.  We are a young team – starting a lot of freshmen and sophomores.  So when we got down, the wheels seemed to fall off and we couldn’t get our momentum back. Their hurry up offense was a factor to a degree. We wore down in the second half.”

Justin Leonard:  “He had some good catches tonight that gave our offense a little spark. He is generally a possession type receiver, so he gets short yardage passes.  But tonight he gave us some yardage that helped move the ball. “

South Keeps Rolling

The South season keeps rolling along in winning fashion.  This week the opponent was the Bethel Bee’s who feature an option offense.  But the Panther defense pounced on the Bee’s and held them scoreless.  The offense was slow to get going in the wet weather but by games end the score was 31 -0 in favor of the Panthers.  This makes South 6-0 on the year.

Sammy Shockey got the first score of the night when he ripped loose a 20 yard run in the first quarter. Then Jacob Bassler ran in a blocked punt for a second score.  JJ Utz pulled in a 40 yard TD pass from Wes Cole to end the first half scoring.  Cole would be 5 for 6 passing on the night.  Wes Cole ran for a 4 yard touchdown and JJ Utz put the last points on the board for the Panthers with a respectable 28 yard field goal – keeping his perfect record on field goals intact.

Coach Cates on the game, “We came out playing our brand of defense and they played lights out.  Everyone is flying to the football and that is important on an option team. We got good field postion on special teams.   Our kicker, JJ Utz, helped give us that good field postion and he has also done well on extra points and field goals this season.  The offense moved the ball well on the ground and were very efficient when we passed.  But Bethel played pretty hard, they fought all the way – I am glad to be able to come out on top.”

Covington:  “I am glad we played two option teams going in to play Covington because they run the option very well.  They also run it out of some different formations, so we have to prepare for that as well.  Those kids play very hard, and they go into every game believing that they are going to win.  They are a younger team this year, but they are still very sound and play extremely hard.  We have not beat them since 1999, so that gives us some motivation. “

Three teams undefeated in the CCC:  “It is great for the conference that we did so well in our out of conference games – it makes our conference look that much better.  We are aware of what the other teams are doing, but we haven’t focused on them as we keep our focus on next week’s game.  But we have seen them on film and have seen the scores and are aware that they are really good teams.  We know that North has a strong senior class like we do and both North and Miami East have winning traditions.  They have had more success lately and South just doesn’t have that winning tradition like they do.

“We have to keep our kids believing, they have to be hungry and want to win.  I want to see these last 3 games across the conference – the league title and playoff hopes are on the line.  But we have to take games one game at a time – South can’t even begin to look at a conference championship or playoff’s without beating Covington.”

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sunsite RC racing video

Here is a change of pace from the norm.  They had the last race of the season for rc boats last weekend, watch this video of one of the races: sunsite racing

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Big Game in a Small Town

For one Friday night the football spotlight of the Miami Valley was on Lewisburg.  The Covington – North game was chosen as game of the week by Channel 2.  A win would give the winning team a step up in the conference title race and a boatload of computer points for the playoffs.  There was not one, not two, but three camera’s shooting film clips for their respective TV stations. Being featured as game of the week meant that Channel 2 and some of their sponsors were set up in the parking lot during the pre-game. With the spotlight on, the North Panthers did not disappoint as for the first time in 15 years, they beat the Covington Buccaneer’s.  Additionally, this was the first regular season conference loss by Covington since 2009.

The North defense was very domineering early on.  Covington must have felt like the field was only 50 yards long, as most of the first half was played in the Covington half of the field.  Covington did mount a drive late in the second quarter after an interception. But opted to go for a field goal on 4th down with seconds left and the kick went wide.  But otherwise the team was held to 3 and outs on many of their possessions.

The North offense was on a mission during their first drive.  They sliced through the Bucc defense and Garrett Woodyard scored from 4 yards out to put North on the board.  North drew paydirt again the second quarter thanks to an improbable pass on 4th and 13 to Kody Cordes that kept a drive alive.  Again it was Garrett that lugged the ball across the goal from a yard out for the score.  So at the half the score was 14-0.

Late in the third quarter North put together another nice drive that began at their own 21 and ended with Blake Lawson catching a 27 yard TD pass.  On Covingtons next drive they switched from their triple option - using  misdirection and the speed option to get decent yardage.  They were able to score, but didn’t convert the point after.

But this was as close as Covington would get as North’s Garrett Woodyard scored on a 10 yard run and then Trey Summers made the last score of the night as he gathered in a Covington fumble and sprinted about 35 yards for the touchdown.  North had responded to a big game in a big way, with a 36-6 win.

An understandably elated coach Derringer commented after the game, “We spread the ball around quite a bit, we are an unselfish team.  We have great senior leadership and they don’t care who gets credit. Defensively we played very, very well tonight.  To Covington’s credit they made some adjustments when we pulled our secondary back to not give up the big play.  They began to run the speed option and that is how they got their touchdown.  But it’s a great feeling to get this win.“

Colton Booth: “We knew that he would be more of a running quarterback.  He’s made some good decisions when he has had to.   He is a threat on the edge and really anywhere on the field.  If we are passing, he can tuck the ball and take off.  He has worked really hard to get where he is at. “

Next week’s bye: “I have mixed feelings, we would like to keep the momentum going. We didn’t want to take the bye week, we wanted to play all 10 games.  But in two weeks we play Miami East and that will be the next big game of year.  We have two weeks to prepare for them. There is still a lot of good football to be played.  South is having a great year – I said at the beginning of the season that they could be an underdog team that will surprise a lot of people.  And National Trail – they beat us last year.  So we have 3 big ball games that we will take one game at time, and hope to make the playoffs. North still does not have a playoff win – it’s been a long time coming.”

Stats:  Rushing – Booth 8/48; Woodyard 11/43; Dustin Green 12/91; Kody Cordes 6/7; Passing – Booth 4/13 82 yds; Receiving – Woodyard 1/8, Lawson 1/28, Cordes 2/46; Tackles – Jordan Overcash 14, Josh Mcintosh 15, Trey Summers 11, Booth 10, Lawson 11. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

South Overwhelms Arcanum

South used a gritty defense and a grind it out offense to overwhelm Arcanum in week 5 CCC action.  Arcanum desperately tried to convert 4th down’s several times during the game to keep drives alive, but South denied Arcanum the conversion each time and took over on downs.  Their grind it out offense got stronger as the game went on.  And those carries that went for 3-4 yards a pop in the first quarter lengthened to 7-8 yards per carry in the second half.

Arcanum also uses a ball possession offense, and to keep their drives alive they tried to convert 4th and short yardage several times during the game.  When the run got stuffed by the hungry South defense on their first attempt, they next tried to use a fake punt at midfield.  But Aaron Deaton made a big play and hit the ball carrier behind the line of scrimmage to give the Panthers the ball at midfield.  Later in the game Arcanum tried to dump a short pass on 4th and 3, but again the South defense held firm and stopped yet another Arcanum drive.

Both JJ Utz and Anthony Augspurger had interceptions.  Utz’s helped set up South’s first score of the night and Augspurger stopped a second drive where Arcanum was moving the ball into scoring range with the short pass.  He snagged a pass in the middle of the field and ended the Trojans hopes of scoring a second touchdown.

Offensively South did pass the ball, but their running game kept Arcanum’s offense on the sidelines most of the game.  After Utz’s interception, Augspurger capped the ensuing South drive with a 1 yard touchdown plunge.  After having a touchdown called back by a hold, South scored again in their next drive when Joe Webb had a nice carry to the Arcanum 2, then scored on the next play.  South’s last score of the first half was set up by a Sammy Shockey catch, then Wes Cole ran straight up the middle to score and put South up 21-0.

After stopping Arcanum on a 4th and 1 play on their opening drive of the second half, South marched downfield and Shockey scored on a 6 yard run.   At this point, Arcanum changed up tactics and went to the short pass - running mainly short out patterns that are hard to defend.  They scored and then did a onsides kick that worked.  The Trojan stands came alive as the momentum seemed to be all Trojans.  Arcanum threatened to make it a 2 touchdown game.  But on a 4th and 3 play in South territory, Arcanum’s pass fell incomplete and South took over on downs.

South went back to work, they moved the ball to midfield and South’s Wes Cole broke loose for 46 yards and a touchdown.  On South’s next series there was a rare play where Cole was back to pass and the ball bounced off of a defender – the ball came right back to quarterback Cole who pulled it in and even got a few yards out of the deal. Shockey would score again in the final stanza and  Jared Cottingim ended South’s scoring with a Jacob Bassler touchdown pass where he had to fight thru a defender to catch a pass in the endzone.  It was a 49-7 South victory.

“That’s the best that we’ve played all year,”  stated Coach Cates, “our earlier games we played 2 good quarters or 3 quarters.  But this game we played well all 4 quarters – particularly defensively.  We held them on 4th and short on several different occasions.  Our defensive line and in particular Aaron Deaton and Tristen Sizemore had an awesome game. "
Offense: “Our offensive line had a good night too – one of our starters went down and his back up came in and did a great job.  Wes  Cole made a lot of good decisions for us at quarterback.  Anthony Augspurger had a great game.  Sammy Shockey used his speed to spark our offense. “
Strong second half’s this season: “A lot of that is our conditioning.  We condition every day – but they hate Mondays.  That is the day that we work we hardest, but it pays off on Friday nights.  We push that in a close game, the team that is in better shape is going to win.  We also have some big physical kids, and when you keep bringing it and bringing it every down – it wears the other team down and they start to wilt.”

Mississinewa Valley:  “Coach Graher has been there for a long time.  They have an offense similar to Ansonia.  He coaches them up very well, the team will be disciplined.  We need to keep from biting on their misdirection and be disciplined as well on defense.  On offense we need to spread them out do to them like we did to Ansonia on offense.  We need to get off to a fast start and not let them hang around, or they can be dangerous and we will find ourselves in a dog fight. “

North Victorious, Dixie Falls

North again made short work of a CCC opponent, knocking off the Bethel Bee’s by a score of 48-7. Once again North used a dominating run game and a choking defense to beat down their opponent and cruise to victory.  They held a 28-0 halftime lead and scored thrice more in the second half while allowing just the one touchdown by Bethel.

Senior Trey Summers resumed his kicking duties after a week off – he was injured in practice over a week ago and was rushed to the emergency room, but fortunately his injuries were not serious and he was able to resume play after a week off to recuperate.  He had a good night overall, delivering deep kickoff’s and making all but his last PAT. 

Next week North plays against Covington.  Last year, North was having a good year, but after playing Covington better than any other team in the conference, they lost that game.  Then their season seemed to go off kilter and didn’t seem like the same team after that. So this season the Covington game will be an even bigger as North fights to establish themselves at the top of the league.

Stats for North: Rushing – Booth 5/132;Overholtz 2/-2;Kerby 2/17; Woodyard 5/23; Gunder 1/10;Morrow 6/36; Green 8/48; Cordes 4/135. Passing – Booth 4/9 74yds.  Receiving – Cordes 4/74.
Tackles – Booth 10; Overcash 11;McIntosh 8; Woodyard 9; Miller 7.

No doubt about it Dixie has had a tough first half of the season.  They opened league play against perennial league favorite Waynesville.  Dixie hung tough with them for a quarter or so – it was 7-6 at the end of the first quarter, but Waynesville was able to wear down Dixie and gradually grow a lead that would expand to a 51-13 win.

Coach Watson was asked for comment after the game, “Our kids played hard every single down all the way to the end.   We did jump out to an early 6-0 lead, but we did miss some opportunities during the game.  But it was tough on us with 30 something kids to go against a team with 60-70 kids.  They were 2 platooning, and we pretty much played the same kids.  The numbers got the better of us, we were worn out.”

Northridge: “Our first half season games have been a buzz saw. All but one of those teams has a winning record right now. But now we are playing teams that are more our size.  I feel really good about our chances with Northridge, Milton Union, Madison, Shawee, and Carlisle.  I told our kids after the end of the game on Friday that now starts a brand new season – we can get back to 5-5.  We will have to work for it and go after it.  Northridge has got a lot of good athletes and coach Smith has been there for awhile, so they know his system. “

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

South off to 3-0 Start with win over Ansonia

South got off to a fast start against Ansonia, striking for two touchdowns early in the first quarter which forced the Tigers to play catch up all night long.  With a grind it out type of offense, it makes it tough for a team like Ansonia to overcome a deficit.  Last week against Trail, South got out of gate slowly and had to rely on a second half rally to come from behind for the win. But Coach Cates has made it clear that the team needed to focus on getting that early lead and then sit on the ball by running their own brand of grind it out offense.

But South’s first scores came via the air. Wes Cole aired it out on a roll out pass and found Jared Rivers for the Panthers first score  - a 31 yard touchdown catch. And then after Ansonia fumbled on their next possession, South again went for a quick strike and Cole connected with Josh Cottingim for a 40 yard touchdown catch.  South had barely broken a sweat and 3 minutes into the game they had a 14 point lead.

In the second quarter, both teams settled down and Ansonia was able to close the gap by capping a drive with a 2 yard touchdown pass to bring the game back into reach – it was now a one score difference.  But Wes Cole responded with a 60 yard touchdown run and again gave South a comfortable lead going into half time.  

South had a critical moment in the 3rd quarter where Ansonia had ground out the yardage and pushed  to the South 23 yard line.  A score here would have put the Tigers to within a touchdown and could have changed the momentum of the ball game.  But the tenacious South defense held firm and forced Ansonia to give up the ball on downs when they failed to complete a 4th and 9 pass.

Now South needed to put Ansonia away. And in the 4th quarter, Ansonia muffed a punt and Anthony Augspurger fell on the loose ball to give the Panthers great field position on the Ansonia 43 yard line.   Joe Webb and Cole had a couple of nice carries on this drive.  Augspurger was able to finish with a 2 yard plunge and extend the Panther lead.

Ansonia was able to come back somewhat with a touchdown, but it was scored with a little over 2 minutes on the clock.  An onsides kick failed, and now South needed to run out the clock.  Sammy Shockey got a much needed first down and Ansonia started to use their time outs.  Jacob Bassler put an exclamation mark on the Panther victory by passing to Cottingim for the last score of the night. South was off to a fast start for the season with their third win in a row by a score of 35-15.

Coach Cates, “We made some big plays right away and got a 2 touchdown lead.  We did miss some more opportunities in the first half to make some plays.  But Ansonia was getting their grind it out offense in gear.  So we made some half time adjustments with the defense and make it tough on them in the second half.   They had a good game plan and they executed it fairly well, but we were able to make some more big plays in the second half and come out with the victory.”

The Third Quarter Defensive Stand, “This year’s defense has been of the bend but do not break variety.  We have had teams drive to the red zone, but then our kids step it with their backs against the wall and make some plays.  We got Ansonia into a long situation and with their grind it out offense, it’s hard to make a first down.  They can convert a 3rd and 3 into a first down every time.  But when they have long yardage – it’s hard for them to make it. “

Arcanum, “They are similar to Ansonia in that they want to do ball control. Last year we lost a heart breaker to them – I think it was 18 to 16.  Our kids are pretty excited about getting a chance to redeem themselves against them.  They run the option and we have to have discipline on our assignments.  Our players need to focus on their job and not worry about someone else’s job – when that happens they miss their assignment and now someone is left wide open. They are pretty big up front and we have to get a big surge out of our offensive line.”

Defensive Stats -  Tackles: Augspurger 14; Bassler & Aaron Deaton 9; Tristen Sizemore 11; Shockey & Gunter Lautensleger 8.  Int: Augspurger 1

Offensive Stats - Rushing: Cole 8-111; 14-96; Shockey 2-10; Webb 5-13. Passing: Cole 3-8 76yds 2 TD’s; Bassler 1-1 29yds 1 TD.  Receiving: Shockey 1-4; Cottingim 2-69 2TD’s; Rivers 1-32 1 TD.

Tri-County North Blanks Black Hawks

Tri-County North extended their winning streak with a decisive victory over the Mississinawa Valley BlackHawks on Friday. Making Homecoming weekend all the better.  But the BlackHawks did not help their cause as mistakes were converted into points by North.   Two fumbles were converted into touchdowns by the opportunistic Panthers. Their stubborn defense recorded their second shutout of the season.

After fullback Dustin Green scored on North’s open drive, the BlackHawks fumbled on their first play from scrimmage.  Garret Woodyard took care of business from there, exploding 32 yards to put North up by two scores at the 7 minute mark.  Later in the second quarter a bad snap on a punt lead to a poor kick and North got the ball on the BlackHawk 19 and Colton Booth connected with Woodyard for a touchdown pass.  Then just before halftime, Austin Johnson had a Black Hawk fumble roll into his hands and he ran it in for a touchdown  from about 25 yards out. 

North had a 34-0 halftime lead and cruised through the second half for a 41-0 win. Next week North journeys to Bethel.

Passing: Colton Booth 4-8 88yds.  Austin Elmore 1-1 5yds.  Rushing: 

Colton Booth (Sr)3258.319
2Austin Elmore (Sr)2178.513
21Gavin Overholtz (So)100.00
32G. Woodyard (Jr)35919.7312
38Drake Coleman (So)231.54
42Wesley Morrow (Sr)4-1-0.32
5Dustin Green (Sr)12978.1251
7Kody Cordes (Sr)45814.5501


20C. Overholtz (Sr)14646.046
32G. Woodyard (Jr)12525.0251
38Drake Coleman (So)155.05
44Austin Johnson (Sr)133.03
7Kody Cordes (Sr)11414.014

Tackles: Colton Booth 9; Tanner Booth 8; Logan Elmore 5; Josh McIntosh 5.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

North Win/Dixie Loss

Tri-County North proved that they could be road warriors, easily defeating the Arcanum Trojans, 40-13. It was a matchup that was expected to be closer, but the North Panthers exploded for 22 points in the second quarter and the game was not close after that.  Most of the damage was done by the running game as North would pound out 294 yards on the ground.  And in typical fashion, North’s defense swarmed to the ball and Arcanum had a tough time being consistent on offense. Next week North will be playing Mississinewa Valley in Lewisburg.

Stat’s for North: Rushing – Colton Booth 81; Garrison Woodyard 59; Wesley Morrow 12; Dustin Green 58; Kody Cordes 84. Passing - Colton Booth 2/9. Leading the team in tackles were Jordan Overcash, Blake Lawson, Austin Elmore who all had 7.  Austin Johnson and Colton Booth had 6.

Dixie on the other hand played against Brookville a team from SWBL’s big school division.  Brookville dominated the game while amassing 49 points.   Held scoreless at halftime,  Dixie did score in the third quarter to evade the shutout.  Clayton Washington broke loose and ran for over 60 yards on the score. 

Second Half is South's Half

National Trail matched up with TVS in a critical game where both teams had questions to answer.  South had an extra week off due to Bradford cancelling their varsity schedule.  So would this be like another week one game or would they be able to keep their momentum from their opening win.  Trail is coming off of an 0-2 start and needed to get a win to have any kind of shot at a league title. They also needed to prove that last season’s 8-2 record and playoff appearance was not an aberration.
But this game would turn out to be a tale of two halves as Trail seemed to do no wrong in the first half and South would have to battle their way back from a two touchdown deficit.  And in a way South would have to battle themselves as costly penalties cost them a touchdown – Brandon Simpson took a kickoff to the house, only to have it called back; and defensive penalties kept National Trail drives alive. 

Trail scored on their 3 first half possessions.  Their punter did not see the field in the first half. They used their spread offense and  dinked and dunked short passes, mixed with the occasional run to keep the ball moving.   South’s game plan involved keeping the ball on the ground and grinding out yardage. The clock eating drives were designed to keep Trail’s quarterback, Garret Griffen, on the sidelines.  South maybe threw the ball a handful of times the entire night.

Trail’s first half scores were from a quarterback keeper at the one yard line and two long pass plays. South’s Anthony Augspurger responded with a 2 yard touchdown carry.  South squandered another opportunity right before the half.  They had driven down to the Trail 23 and from there they threw two passes on 3rd and 4th down, but didn’t complete either of them.  So at halftime Trail had a comfortable 21-7 lead.

Woody Hayes would have been proud of the Panthers in the second half. The offensive line surged back the Trail defenders and the backs ran downhill – hitting their holes hard.  They received the ball to start the second half and even though they had to convert several 4th downs,  Joe Webb was able to complete the 60 yard drive with a 7 yard TD run to pull South to within a touchdown.   When Trail got the ball back, it looked like they would march the ball right back down the field and make it a two touchdown lead once again. But on 4th and 2 in the redzone, Augspurger drove Griffen out of bounds and ended that drive.

So South got the ball on their own 5 yard line. And again it was another grind it out drive where they drove the length of the field.  Augspurger would tie the ball game with a 9 yard carry. On Trail’s next possession there was a controversial play where Trail threw a long pass on 4th down. There was contact between the receiver and the defender – but no flag was thrown. The Trail coach was livid and stormed out onto the field. Not sure what was said – but it was enough for the referee to throw a flag. So the Panthers were gifted an extra 15 yards.

The ensuing South drive went about 50 yards, starting at the 5 minute mark of the 4th quarter. And both Wes Cole and Webb had some good carries to move the ball close to the redzone, but it was Augspurger who finished with a carry of about 20 hard earned yards to given the Panthers the lead at about the 2 minute mark.

Trail went to work and moved the ball to midfield, thanks in part to a roughing the passer call. But Trails hopes of a comeback ended on the next snap.  The ball went high and to the side, so Griffen mishandled it and then got control of the ball and tried to make a play.  He threw to the middle where who else but Augspurger was waiting.  He intercepted the ball and that put an end to Trails chances. With a little over a minute left South was able to run out the clock for a 28-21 come from behind win.

Coach Cates commented after the game, “It was part of our strategy to use our offense to run 16 to 18 play drives wear them down, and keep their offense off the field.  The first half everything went their way and they took advantage of that.   We really didn’t make that many half time adjustments.  We got more pressure on their quarterback and made adjustments to coverage. But I was really proud of our senior class they went into halftime saying come on guys, we can win this game – and they showed how resilient that they can be. And I thought that our conditioning really showed in the 4th quarter. We really wore them down.  When you win the line of scrimmage you typically win games. “
The week off, “It is hard to say if it was a factor or not. We did get to a slow start, it was not a fast start like we did against Dixie. But we do have to get out early, that is something that we are trying to change from last year.  But as far as handling adversity – that is the best that I have seen kids handle adversity since I have been here.  We don’t have a tradition of playing winning football and it was great to see these kids bounce back after halftime.

Next week South hosts Ansonia, “I have tremendous respect for coach Hoening.  They hide the ball well and use misdirection. They will run the ball and lull your defensive backs to sleep, then slip in the play action pass.  They are disciplined on defense.   We have to remember our keys on defense and win the line of scrimmage on offense to be successful.   Coach Hoening does extremely well with the kids he has, and he will get the most of them. “