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. “

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

North Routs Ansonia

Tri-County North scored 38 first half points and that was all that they would need as they put on the cruise control in the second half and coasted to a 38-0 victory.  North used their running game  effectively racking up huge gains both on the edge and in the middle.   The defense swarmed to the ball and generated turnovers.  North dominated all facets of the game as their special teams likewise performed exceptionally well.

The defense gang tackled Ansonia and kept the Ansonia ball carriers from generating very much yardage.  When Ansonia tried to create some offense with the pass they did hit their receivers a few times for yardage.  But just when they started to move the ball, turnovers stopped their drives.  On a pass play the ball was thrown backwards and went to the ground.  Austin Elmore alertly scooped up the ball and ran about 40 yards for a touchdown.  Next series an Ansonia fumble was pounced on by North and that too became a touchdown a few plays later.  So North made the most of Ansonia mistakes.  North’s Blake Lawson and Kyle Miller both got a quarterback sack.

Special teams also shone in this game – Ansonia started most of their drives in the vicinity of the 20 yard line.  Deep kick’s and good coverage kept Ansonia from getting decent returns.  Although North did not punt much, the times they punted were deep into Ansonia territory.  And North’s Trey Summers easily made a 32 yard field goal , so that is another weapon that the North team can utilize down the road.
Offensive scoring for TCN: Dustin Green 2 TD’s (10 and 55 yard runs), Cody Cordez 11 yard run, Austin Johnson 19 yard pass.

Next week North plays at Arcanum a team that is 1-1.  Their win was against the SWBL’s Northridge and their loss was against Covington.  But that loss was a closely contested game where the Bucc’s escaped with a 14-7 victory.  So this should be a close game for the Panthers.  The other Panther team resumes varsity play after a week off.  They will likewise be road warriors, South will be making a trip to play a 0-2 National Trail squad that is coming off of a 48-32 loss to Miami East.  Trail also scored a lot of points in their first week loss to Shawnee, but their defense is pourous.  So look for a lot of points to be scored at Trail on Friday night. 

Hounds Upended by Ross

An overmatched Dixie team fell to Hamilton Ross 57-13.  Division 6 Dixie simply gave up to much size to Division 3 Ross.  The Ross line was much larger and more physical so it was a simple matter to run the ball almost at will against a smaller Dixie squad.  Still Dixie acquitted themselves somewhat in the second half by airing out the ball and scoring 3 touchdowns after being shutout in the first half. But Dixie has a tough schedule.  9 out their 10 games are against schools that are at least one division larger.  So almost every Friday night they are going against teams that are bigger and deeper.

Dixie’s running game was pretty much non-existent.  They would end up with negative yardage for the night.  And so with quarterback Cody Grubb out with injury, it fell upon the arm of Ethan Arnett to generate some offense.    He responded well in the second half with two touchdowns, Arnett threw for 176 yards and for the night, Dixie would have a respectable 227 yards in the air. One of those touchdowns was a 72 yard strike. Clayton Washington would throw the third Dixie touchdown – a 10 yarder to cap a drive. Shane Hale, Justin Funkhouser,and Nick Adams all scored as receivers for Dixie.  Zach Rader lead the defense in tackles.

Coach Watson, “We were shutout at halftime by a bigger Ross team.  But I challenged the kids at half time to play hard and to play with pride.  To win at the one one game at your position. They responded, we did a better job on defense and our varsity scored two touchdowns – one was a 72 yard pass play.  Grubb was out with a concussion and Arnett stepped up and did well for us.  Although we lost, the yards that we got passing is the most that we have had since I have been here. “

Brookville, “Coach Hetrich has done a great job with their program.  We know that they are going to run the ball and that we are going to have to stop that. They run a disciplined offense and we will have our hands full. We will have Grub back for the Brookville game and we will move him around in our offense.  He is a good athlete and can play running back or receiver.  We have 5 good receivers so we will have plenty of options.“

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Big Plays Put North on Top

Tri-County North earned a hard fought victory over Brookville.  There were a few miscues on the way and Brookville had an early lead over North thanks to a muffed punt.  But North was able to get on track and fight their way back on top for a win.  One big question was who would handle the quarterback duties.  The previous 4 years Austin Hutchins had the helm.  Quarterbacking for the Panthers for the first time was Colton Booth who took the reins and calmly took the team to victory.

After giving up the early touchdown to Brookville on a 33 yard pass, North needed to answer.  And when they got the ball in their hands for the second time North would score – it was set up in part by a carry by fullback Dustin Green, where he burst through the middle, found some open space and ran for 47 yards.  Booth would then score on a 10 yard run and a Trey Summers kick tied the game at 7 all.

 In the second quarter another big play set up a score for North.  Reciever Kody Cordes caught a Booth pass on a screen play and scampered 45 yards before being pushed out of bounds to put the ball on the Blue Devil 2 yard line.  Booth called his own number and a quarterback sneak put North on top 14-7 after a Summers kick.

The third quarter was pretty much a dog fight with neither team seeming to gain an advantage.  North was able to get some insurance in the 4th quarter.  Austin Johnson caught a screen pass on a critical 3rd and 10 play  and got the first down and then some, gaining 37 yards and giving the North sidelines a boost.  The crowd came alive as once again a big play by North put them into a position to score.  Kody Cordes took a toss 36 yards and this gave North their final margin of victory.  Brookville went into a passing mode on their last few possessions, but although North gave away yardage underneath, they did not get beat deep and more importantly kept Brookville out of the endzone.  When the clock wound down, North had a 21-7 win.

Coach Derringer, “I thought our defense did a really nice job of knocking the ball down in the fourth quarter and didn’t give up anything deep.  It was a nice victory for the Panthers, but we did make an awful lot of mistakes.  We had two costly fumbles.  There were a couple of breakdowns on defense but they played very, very well.  Brookville was held to 79 yards rushing and threw for 109 yards – but a lot of that was from their short passing game in the 4th quarter.”

Reilly Libinski: “Our happiness with the victory is tempered by our sadness at losing Reilly Linbinski.  He was a senior offensive and defensive lineman and on the first play from scrimmage he broke his leg.  Last year he had over 20 tackles for negative yardage.  He is going to miss most of the rest of the season, we may get him back towards the end.”

Colton Booth: “I know that folks were worried how we would do with Hutchins graduating and a new player at quarterback. He was 6 for 10 passing for 114 yards.  He didn’t throw any interceptions, he made some good decisions.  It was a big question mark for people looking at North this year, but his receiver selection and progressions were great for his first varsity game at quarterback. And our offensive line did a great job against Brookville – that certainly helped.”

This was the first time in school history that North had back to back wins against Brookville.  Overall the teams are 4-3 against each other with Brookville having the edge.

Next week North plays at home against Ansonia, “They were beat last week at Welcome Stadium by Belmont.  They will try to play a power football game where they control the ball.   They will try to control the clock and are happy to grind out 3-4 yards a carry. Their defense - we expect them to load up the box and take away the run.”

Stats for North:  Rushing - Booth 11 carries 30 yds; Garrett Woodyard 6 carries 18 yds; Dustin Green 11 carries 74 yds; Kody Cordes 9 carries 54 yds. Receiving – Logan Elmore 1/7; Austin Johnson 4/56; Kody Cordy 2/59. Top Tacklers – Booth 9;Colton Overholtz 7; Logan Elmore 7; Woodyard 7; Johnson 6; Summers 6.

TVS Over Dixie

South used a solid running game, a stingy defense, and field position to build on a 14-0 halftime lead and defeat the Dixie Greyhounds to start the 2014 season.  South would lead the game the entire way and although Dixie put together some decent drives, the Greyhounds would not find paydirt until the end of the 4th quarter.

South’s offense got most of their yardage in-between the tackles.  They opened in a wishbone offense and shifted to a spread offense when needed to keep Dixie off-balance.  South did pass when needed and although there were a few dropped balls, Wes Cole was able to hit his mark when called upon to do so.   The defense bent, but did not break – making several key plays.  There were a couple of critical 4th down plays in Panther territory where the defense stood their ground and made Dixie give up the ball on downs.  Another drive was ended with South’s Jordan Peterson intercepting the ball on the 1 yard line, he would snag another interception in the second half.

Dixie stayed in their spread offense and mixed the run and pass.  Quarterback Cody Grubb both ran and passed well – accounting for several Dixie first downs.  Clayton Washington was able to peel off some good runs against a hard hitting South defense.   Nick Adams was able to pick off a Cole pass in Dixie territory to end a South drive.  But the defense had a tough time thwarting the South ground game.

South took their opening drive into the endzone.  Anthony Augspurger, who was a workhorse in the backfield all night, got several first down carries and took it to the house about midway through the first quarter.  Wes Cole connected with Josh Cottingim on a critical 4th and 5 play to keep the opening drive alive.  Dixie tried to answer and despite converting several 4th downs they finally fell short at the South 11.   South’s Sammy Shockey had a potential score called back due to an illegal block, he ran again and got the ball to the Dixie 9.  And a few plays later Joe Webb  finished the deal and scored.

South had a most curious drive late in the second quarter.  Already up by 2 scores, they seemed poised to make it a 3 score ball game when Shockey returned a Dixie punt back to the 25 yard line. But the Panthers proceeded to take off their spikes and begin shooting off their toes.  They proceeded to march backward as they got not one, not two, but three penalties on successive plays.  They were backed up to midfield.  I seem to recall at one point that it was 3rd and 43.  Coach Cates took a time out to get the team refocused.  Amazingly, the team fell just short of a first down and gave up the ball on downs at the Dixie 9.

Field position helped to give South a short field to work with in the second half.  Place kicker JJ Utz and good coverage by special teams made Dixie start their drives deep in their own territory, their own 20, 25, and 32.  And South’s defense must have adjusted at halftime as Dixie was held to several 3 and out’s on offense.  South was starting their second half drives at midfield and drove the ball home.  Wes Cole started scoring in the second half with a 25 yard carry. Sammy Shockey finished another drive with a 1 yard TD run.   Anthony Augspurger, who began South’s scoring, finished it with the last South TD – a 5 yard run.  Dixie’s Clayton Washington put Dixie on the scoreboard in the 4th quarter with a 4 yard run.  South won the field with a 35-6 victory.

Dixie’s coach Watson commented after the game, “We knew going in that we would be outsized and not as deep as South. They did a good job of running the ball – we had a tough time stopping them.  On top of that we had some key injuries and that exposed our lack of depth. But South did execute their game plan well.   Clayton Washington carried for about 75 yards and Cody Grubb passed for about 80 yards and carried for over 30 yards.   We had to gang tackle a lot on defense, but Isiah Pritchard and Zach Rader led the defense in tackles.” Next week Dixie faces Hamilton Ross, “They are a big team with an all senior line – one of them has committed to Indiana.  So I am sure they saw what South did and are going to try and pound the ball right at us – we have to prepare our team to stop them.”

South’s coach Cate was pleased with the team’s performance, “I thought we came out ready to go from the first play.  That is a huge improvement from last year – we seemed to be slow starters.  We came out playing hard and fast and smart.  That is the best that our offensive line has looked.  I was really proud of our effort we had a lot of guys flying around on defense and on offense we were pretty sound on executing our plays.  We had a lot of penalties and in a close game that can be the difference – so that is something that we have to fix.”

He continued, “We spent a lot of time in the offseason working on special teams.  JJ Utz came out for the team this season, and he does a really nice job of kicking the ball.  He can kick it high and put it where we want it.  We have some key players that we can trust on special teams and it is making a difference.    I was really happy with our field position for this game.”

Finally, “But overall I was really impressed with the way that we played on Friday night.  But it’s just one game, we have to focus on one game at a time.   It is too bad that Bradford is not playing us this year, we really would like to keep our momentum going.” National Trail in two weeks, “The kids are really excited about playing them.  Last year we just didn’t get it done.  They did a nice job and had a nice team.  The seniors are really wanting to have another shot at them.  We have two weeks to prepare against their spread offense that has proven to be tough to defend. “

Stats for TVS: Anthony Augspurger 18 carries 164 yards;  Sammy Shocky 6 carries for 72 yards; Wes Cole 6 carries 66 yards;  Joe Webb 9 carries 31 yards;  Leading Tacklers: Jacob Bassler 10;Gunter Lautensleger 7; Anthony Augspurger 7; Todd French 6.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Twin Valley South ended their preseason by scoring 5 TD's to Preble Shawnee's 1 in the first 3 quarters of their scrimmage.  They scored both on the ground and in the air.  Their offense was flexible.  When the Shawnee adjusted and began to stop the run, South was able to take to the air and still move the ball.  Most notable was a 70 yard TD pass and they ran a two minute minute drill at the end of the half and scored with 14 seconds left on the clock.

The defense was of a bend but don't break variety. They had some good stops - a sack or two, and two interceptions.  Seems like they pulled in at least a fumble, maybe two. So they are capable of making a big play on the defensive side of the ball. The team was hitting hard, there were several stoppages of play for downed Arrow players. The defense did give up some yardage, but although Shawnee made it inside the 20 two other times,  South denied them another score.   Their last stand was their toughest when they held on 4th and 4 at the goal.

Sure there were some miscues but overall the team looked solid over the course of the scrimmage. Both TVS and Shawnee centers had some bad snaps with the damp conditions.  And even when they began subbing in the 3rd quarter, the team did not seem to lose a beat on either offense or defense.  So there is some depth to the team as well.

I think that most everyone that follows the CCC knows by now that Bradford will not have a varsity schedule.  South will open away against Dixie next Friday, but the following weeks game would have been against Bradford.  I don't see how with the short notice that South can find a opponent for week two.  So there very could be a hole in schedule.  Too bad that the new bye week would not have occurred in midseason to better give the team a breather and a chance to heal up those little knicks and bruises that players accumulate over the course of a season.

Who will win the CCC this year? Covington will be young team this season with but 4 seniors.  But they are Covington and have been dominating the league. So until someone can knock them off, they have to favored at the top of the CCC. Likewise Miami East has been a top tier team as well, so look for them to be in contention.  North had a strong season until they were beat by Covington in a hard fought game.  Then they seemed to fade at the tail end of the season.  Despite losing a 4 year starter at quarterback, North will shake that off, they has been consistently in the mix as well.  They are reloading with a lot of talent coming back. Trail is a Johnny come lately - but acquitted themselves well with some victories that makes them worthy of mention as a contender.  

Could South be in the mix?  They are not a machine - not yet, once they are consistent on both of the ball then they can start to look at being in the top half of the league.  But the enthusiasm and talent are there to do better than last years .500 record.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

South three way scrimmage

Twin Valley South hosted a three way scrimmage on Saturday.  The other teams in this scrimmage were Blanchester and Middletown Madison. Hard to say if any team was more dominating than the rest.  If I had to pick a winner it might have been Blanchester, but not by much.  They did well in the early going, but seemed to fade - either the other two teams adjusted, or they ran out of gas. But they seemed to have the best balance offensively and defensively.

Blanchester did well with the triple option and later in the scrimmage when they aired it out a little they had some success although South had a pick against them. Madison's offense had some decent gains at times, but were inconsistent. I like their tailback, he has some quickness and can find a gap and explode thru it.  I also like their defense versus the run - they really seemed to swarm to the ball.  At the end of any given play there was a host of Mohawks around the ball carrier.

South used their familiar spread offense and Cole did a good job of getting the ball to the receivers. They had some miscues on offense which stalled some drives.  Have to get the ball to the quarterback properly every time.  However, I was impressed with the wishbone that they used in one series.  I thought that Blanchester had a decent defense, but South just jammed it down their throats when they ran the wishbone during a set of 10 plays and ran into the endzone.  Augspurger had several decent runs during this drive including one where it seemed like half the Blanchester team hit, but bounced off him during an 8 yard run for a hard earned first down.

The South pass defense wasn't bad - 2 interceptions while I was there and I don't recall a blown coverage.  The run defense was spotty.  They would make some decent plays - even tackles for loss, but give up a big yardage running play and then be back on their heels.  If they can nail their open field tackles that will go along way to solidifying their defense.  Saw several players make initial contact, but allow the ball carrier to slip away.

Nice to see South with some depth again this season.  They rotated a lot of players in and out, particularly the linemen. In small school football being able to give players a breather helps give a team an edge versus teams that have to play iron man football where players have to go both ways and never leave the field.

I was not there for the entire scrimmage, so I might have missed a little - but this is the flavor that I got from the three teams.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Around the track - Regional Meets

Athletes from surrounding schools participated in the regional track meets held in Troy and Dayton’s Welcome stadium this week.  The top 4 finishers in their respective events qualified for the state meet and some athletes even qualified in 2 events.  Kate Deaton from National Trail makes another trip to state qualifying in both the shot and discus – winning the discus with a throw of 132’3”.  Michelle McKinney of Eaton qualified in the 800m run and the 3200m run.  Aaron Deaton of TVS qualified in the shotput and scored in the discus.  Preble Shawnee’s Elise Walker and Josh Willoughby both qualified in the high jump.  Seth Reynolds of Eaton qualified in the pole vault.

Although he did not make it to state this year, Isiah Pritchard scored in 3 regional events – 100m dash, 4X100m relay, and the long jump.  Something tells me the disappointed sophomore will crack the top 4 in next years regionals.  Other athletes that scored in the regionals were Tristen Sizemore TVS – shot; Megan McClain TCN - high jump;  Andrea Hunt Trail -Long Jump;  Nick Adams Dixie - Pole Vault; Seth Wright Eaton – Pole Vault;  Dixie 4X100m relay Brandon Parker, Seth Benner, Clayton Washington,  Isaiah Pritchard; TVS 4X800 relay featuring 2 sets of sisters - Madison Wright, Megan Wright, Lindsey Creech, Abbey Creech.

“It’s been a good meet for us, we ran some good times and have one state qualifier in Aaron Deaton,” stated TVS coach Faber after the meet. “There have been no disappointments – they all performed up to expectations.  Looking back on the season, I am happy with how we did at the Durkle meet and being runners up at district and league meets – those were highlights for us. We are a young group and most everyone is coming back next year.  We had a nice group of seniors this year that helped fill some gaps for us during the season.  We will miss them,but being a young team we will come back even stronger next year.” 

“The regional meet went alright for us.” Stated TVS girls coach Mabry, “Our 4X800m team did fantastic; they ran a personal best time.  Their previous best time was like a 10:19 and they shattered that - running a 9:54.  Six was the word in this track meet. The 4X800m team placed 6th and Madison Wright placed 6th in the 800m and Megan Wright placed 6th in the mile.   The distance runners did well, even Abbey Creech had a personal best in the 800m run.  We are talking a lot of young runners – even the relay team has 3 freshman.  It has been a great experience for them, I think we can only get better from here.”

On the season, “Of course the highpoint was winning the district title for the first time since 2005. That and being league runners up.  But I think almost every meet with a couple of exceptions we were competitive in.  We started with a young team and they learned what it took to compete at the high school level and got better as the season went on.  We had just a few seniors, out of 23 girls - 12 of them got their first year varsity letters at the awards banquet.  Helen Holman has been a leader for us she had a decent meet at the districts. Alyssa Wysong is a sprinter and she has been valuable for us. It helps to have something there who is competent and can show the young runners the ropes.”

It is worth noting that also at the meet was a ‘blade runner’.  A young female athlete had one leg amputated just below the knee and had a prosthesis fashioned after the ones that famous (infamous?) Oscar Pistorius used in the olympics.  That is her leg had a single thin steel blade attached.  So I am glad that technology has changed from years ago where the only option was to have a clunky leg attached that was difficult to drag around.  It is amazing to me that that an athlete can compete at the regional level having lost a portion of their leg. Being able to run competitively with an artificial leg shows how science and technology is being used to help people have better lives.  And it takes courage to be different, particularly when you are a teenager – she got her share of stares.  So a salute to the strong young lady who runs through adversity.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Tri-County North - League Champs

Tri County North wrapped up their regular season as CCC league champs this week.  Add to that the fact that they were undefeated in league play. But it was not an easy road as North had 4 one run wins in their last 5 games.  Their last game of the season, they did win by a large margin, but it wasn’t until the last inning that they piled on the runs.  They were supposed to play Madison (non-league) on Saturday, but that game was rained out and with the state tournament starting on Monday, it is unlikely that the game will be played.

The last two league foes this week were Arcanum and Bradford.  Arcanum fought hard before going down 2-1.  Austin Hutchins was the winning pitching in this outing with 7 strike outs.  At the plate Justin Elmore was 2-2 with a RBI, Kyle Edgin was 1-2 with a double and RBI, Kodey Hawthorne was 2-3
Coach Gray commented on the game, “They came out and played us very well. Both teams played hard offensively and defensively.  The pitchers came out and threw good games.  We just ended up on top – the kids stepped up when they needed to and we got some timely hits.  Arcanum always plays us good and right now we have a big X on our backs because we are undefeated and everyone wants to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

In their league finale, North faced Bradford who features Brandon Wysong a strong senior pitcher who has been looked at by a few colleges.  However North was able to get on the fast ball thrower early and score 3 runs in the first inning.  When Bradford answered back with 3 runs of their own the third, North switched pitchers to Nick Gray who finished out the game.  Hunter Gleadell was the starting pitcher – coming off an injury, but Coach Gray did not want to give Bradford any breathing room in this game. North was up 8-3 in the late in the game, but caught fire and had a 10 run 7th inning to put an exclamation mark on a championship season.   

Stats for the game:Grey had 5 strikeouts,  Gleadell had 2 strikeouts,  Edgin 2-3 with a double,  Elmore 4-5 with a double and home run – 5 RBI’s ,  Hutchins 2-3 with a double and a home run and 4 RBI’s.  Stephan Miller had a home run and 2 RBI’s.

After the game coach Gray remarked on Gleadell, “It was a close game, and he was a little rocky and little nervous – he just came back 2 weeks ago from an injury and so I put Nick Gray in and he pitched 4 good innings for us.  Bradford’s Wysong pitched well, we were just able to get on him early.  His other 3 years in the league, we had never faced him – and I was impressed.   He had problems getting his breaking pitch over and we were able to capitalize on that by jumping on his fast ball.”

Next I asked coach Grey about the season – the 4 one run ball games down the stretch, “Pitching is what wins those one run ball games.  We have had solid pitching this entire year.  Hitting wise we have done well, we have had some problems with certain pitchers and we try to work on our weakness as we can.  We went to extra innings against South, it took 9 innings to get that win.  And against Covington we had 9 errors – I don’t know how we won that game – that was not a good game for them.  We had to reset their focus after that game.”

The season, “Overall it’s been a good season, thanks to a great group of kids.  They have been resilient and they have set goals, and remained focused on those goals.  One of those goals was to win the league and they have done that.  The next goal is make regional , but we need to focus on each game in the tournament to accomplish that.”

So congrats to TCN for a championship season.  They will host the winner of Brookville vs. Northridge on Wednesday at Lewisburg.  So be sure and turn out to support the Panthers as they go for their next goal.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Touching Base April 27th

Tri-County North scored a big win this week by defeating last year’s league champs – Miami East.  The Panthers started their week with a decisive 8-1 win over the Bethel Bee’s.  Then they ended their week on Friday with a back and forth game against the Vikings.  North had a big 5th inning to get a lead in the game. But in the top half of the last inning, the Vikings had a big inning of their own, scoring 4 runs to tie the game.  But North scored a single run in the last half of the inning to cement the victory and solidify their claim to first place in the CCC.   Logan Elmore chalked up the win; Austin Hutchins was 2 for 4 at the plate as was Kodey Hawthorne.  North continues league play with games against Covington, Trail, and rival Twin Valley South.  Then they cap off the week hosting the Cody Holp Classic on Saturday, May 3rd. Brookville, Anna, and Arcanum will be the other teams at this game.

The Tri-County North girls did not fare as well with a 5-6 loss against Tri-Village.  The Preble Shawnee girls had a .500 week.  So after a strong start, they have slipped a bit.  They lost to 2nd place Milton Union 13-2 and in extra winnings they lost a close game to Edgewood 9-8.  They had a shut out win against Middletown Madison 3-0 and edged West Carrollton 3-2.  This puts the team in 3rd place in their division. There is still plenty of time  left in the season to make a run for first place. The Preble Shawnee boys had a frustrating week, getting run ruled in their two losses to Middletown Madison and Carlisle.

The Dixie girls built some momentum this week.  They got off to a slow start this season, but this was an impressive week for the team.  They blanked Eaton 9-0 (winning pitcher Tori Bargo; Jordan Buxton 4-4 from the plate), and defeated Milton Union 10-7, and West Carrollton 7-4.  Their lone loss was to Madison (5-2).  Their record stands at 6-8, but if the team continues to improve look for them to move up in the buckeye division standings.  The Dixie boys captured a single win this week against Botkins 12-5, but lost their other 3 games to Milton Union, Madison, and Carlisle.

The Twin Valley South boys had a nice 14-3 win against Ansonia, but just lost to Mississinewa Valley 8-7.  It was a tough week for the South girls starting with their Monday game against Mississinewa Valley, “We did only have 4 errors this game, which would normally be a lot, but dropping down from 12 errors in our last game is good.  The thing is, Mississinewa Valley took advantage of every error we had.  Plus, since our skill level isn't anywhere close to being where it's been over the past decade, a lot of opponent's hits are being recorded as hits, because we're just not able to get to the ball to make a play.  In other years, a lot of those hits would be putouts,” Stated coach Robinson afterwards.

South also played against state ranked Covington, “Covington is one of the best teams that we'll face, and they proved themselves worthy of their state ranking (3rd).  We had an extreme amount of errors tonight, but Covington is good at forcing you into making mistakes by their aggressive baserunning.  As bad as it looked, we had a few players that had really good games, defensively.  Sophie Cottingim and Jerica Taylor both had nice games on the right side of the infield, and Ali Robertson did an outstanding job at 3rd.  For two games in a row now, we've seen tremendous improvement in Lacey Emrick, behind the plate.  We got a chance to practice yesterday, and we worked really hard with her to help her gain some confidence in making throws to each of the bases.  It seems to have paid off.  At the plate, we didn't have a lot of hits, but I thought our team went to the plate with confidence against a really good pitcher.  I don't think Covington is used to someone starting the game off with a hit, and we did so, in Ashley Robertson.  Several of the players put the ball in play, but with Covington's solid defense, it was tough trying to find the holes.” 

The South girls team ended their week by sweeping a double header against New Miami - run ruling the Vikings in both games. Coach Robinson was elated with the victories, "Delaney Adams pitched a complete game in the first game of the day.  We had a dropped thrown ball in the first inning which extended the inning, making it look like it was going to be more of the same (of what we've been seeing all season).  But we came back out on defense in the second inning, after scoring 4 runs and taking the lead, to sit them down in order.  A fielding error in the third inning allowed another unearned run, but then with bases loaded, Delaney struck out a batter, and got the final batter of the inning to ground out to the pitcher.  I thought that was a big turning point in the game, because we retired the last 6 batters in order.  Sophie Cottingim had a huge game at the plate, going 3 for 3, with a walk added in there, and having 4 RBI's.  Her game-ending triple drove in the final 3 runs that pushed us to the 10 run limit after 5 innings."

She continued commentary on the second game, "Ali Robertson went the distance on the mound, allowing 6 hits, but NO walks.  I think that was really big, because it seems that every time our pitchers walk someone or we commit an error, those batters always find a way to score.  So not putting runner on, helped our defense settle down and allowed them just to concentrate on getting the batters out.  To think that we went 7 straight innings without an error, was quite an improvement over the past 8 games where we often had more errors than hits.  Ashley Robertson had a solid performance in center field, turning a double play, and recording 2 assists.  Jerica Taylor had a big day at first base too, see much improvement.  Really, all of our defensive players did a nice job today, including Lacey Emrick who caught both games.  Offensively, in the second game, our first three batters, Ashley Robertson, Lacey Emrick and Ali Robertson, accounted for 11 runs scored and 10 runs batted in, in just 4 innings.  In the second inning, all 9 players scored at least one run.  So it was great to see the girls relax and just hit the ball.  We've talked all season how hitting is contagious; not hitting is contagious too.  So yes, once we got going and really started hitting and driving in runs, it became really fun.  Some of our young players who have never played the game of softball before, finally got a taste of how great this game is.  Hopefully, we can use this to kick-start this next week of games."

Finally the South girls Wounded Warrior Project Game is postponed until May 7th.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Baseball/Softball in Full Swing

Fastpitch and baseball are going full bore now that April is here.   Teams are starting to separate and find their level as the spring progresses.  So far this spring, no real surprises. The local teams that have been strong perennially are performing as expected.   There is still a lot of baseball to be played, but already teams are jockeying for position in the standings.

North baseball has been strong and this season is no different.  They posted decisive wins this week – scoring a whopping 47 runs and allowing just  2 as they posted a perfect 3-0 week over Newton, Franklin Monroe and Mississinewa Valley.   The game against Newton was a 11-0 shutout.  Look for them to be  competing for the league title again this year.  The TCN Fastpitch team was .500 for the week splitting games against Newton and Mississinewa Valley.

Preble Shawnee Fastpitch is another local team that has fared well on the diamond and again they are off to a strong start.  They have one loss on the season - a one run loss to Middletown Madison (final score 4-3).  They gave Northridge a 25-1 shellacking.  At this point in the season, they stand at a respectable 5-1 and look poised for another competitive season.   The Shawnee baseball team on the other hand, struggled this week – dropping all three games.   They came closest to Northridge 6-3 and lost to Madison 4-0 and Carlisle 11-3.

South baseball had a win and a loss this week.  They garnered a 5-3 win over Franklin Monroe, but against Bradford they ran into a buzz saw in Branden Wysong.  He recorded 14 strikeouts against the Panthers as the Railroaders shutout the Panthers 4-0.  Jordan Burns took the loss. The team is hovering around .500 on the young season right now. The South girls struggled in their two games this week.  Bradford trounced on the Panthers 18-3.  Jerica Taylor, Ali Robertson, and Sarah Bingham recorded hits in the loss.  Delaney Adams was the pitcher of record.

Next up for the Panthers was Franklin Monroe.  Although the team connected more at the plate, they couldn’t get many runs across the plate for their efforts.  The Panthers took a 14-4 loss.  And fielding for the young team was a problem as they chronicled 12 errors for the game.  At the plate, Lacey Emrick and Ashley Robertson both had 2 hits; Alyssa Kube had a single and a double,  Raven Cline and Sophie Cottingim both had singles. Ali Robertson took the loss and Delaney Adams had a relief appearance.

South’s Fastpitch Coach Robinson had some remarks on the week, “Last night against Bradford, we just didn't hit the ball well at all.  Their senior pitcher was able to hit her spots extremely well, and just kept our hitters off balanced all night.  On the other hand, Bradford had a strong line-up from top to bottom at the plate.”

Franklin Monroe, “Against Franklin Monroe tonight, we just kept shooting ourselves in the foot all night long on defense.  We hit the ball much better, but when you have 12 errors, I don't care who you're playing, you're not going to win.  The frustrating thing about those errors was that in most cases, they were on the most routine of plays.  I have to think we just keep losing focus and it goes back to a lack of experience on a lot of our player's parts; it's certainly not for a lack of preparation and practice!  We have worked on situations so much in practice, it baffles me as to why we can't carry those things over into games.  Hopefully as the season progresses, we'll find ourselves getting better.”

Next week look for pictures and highlights from the TVS Fred Durkle Invitational.