Wednesday, December 25, 2013

South Trounces Tigers, Crushed by Patriots

This past week was another week where South split games.  Their first opponent was the Ansonia Tigers which the Panthers disposed 69-42.  The two teams played even in the first quarter with the Panthers holding just a 2 point lead.  But in the second quarter the team bettered the margin by 12 points, they built on that lead in the second half and cruised to an easy victory.  But it was a different story against the Tri-Village Patriots.

In this game, the Panthers never really did seem to get in sync.  They began in their familiar zone, while Tri-Village played a man to man defense that they stayed in the entire night. It was quickly apparent that South was having problems finding the basket, while Tri-Village was nailing their shots on their home court.  And although South did a fair job of rebounding in the first half, Tri-Village did not miss much and so their opportunities were limited.

In the second quarter, coach Augspurger took two time outs to try and stop the bleeding.  But things got worse when post player Jake Osborn was taken out of the game with an injured ankle.  In a game against a tall and physical Patriot team that was scoring in the paint at will, this really put South at a disadvantage.  South tried several defensive schemes to stop the Patriots.  They used a trapping defense, then man to man, but nothing seemed to stop the pace of scoring by the home town team.

38-16 was the score at the break.  South would not score in double figures in any quarter except the 4th quarter. Patriot post player 6’5” Tyler Cook was a dynamo under the basket.  I am not sure that he missed a shot in the first half, he was Mr. Automatic and would score a game high 30 points on the night.  And when the defense focused on him, the Patriots would strike from 3 point land. South would fall 70-41 to a smoking hot Patriot team.

“It was a very good basketball team that beat a still emerging basketball team,” stated coach Augspurger afterwards.  “Tri-Village is in a very good place right now.  Josh Sagester just does an outstanding job.  They’ve been on a roll for years and they just keep getting better.  Tyler Cook is an absolute beast in the blocks.  Their other kids do things well – they defend well.  For the first quarter and a half, we got a lot of good shots – but didn’t make any.  But they executed and got shots and made them.  We struggled to get anything going offensively.  It’s been tough with starters out for the first 4 games, we are just now getting everyone into our practices. And it’s going to take a lot of work to get where we need to be.”

Next Friday South will be playing North in the opening round of the Preble Shawnee Holiday Tournament at 6pm on Friday. “They [North] are playing better, they are getting some confidence,  we’ve won the tournament the last couple of years, but to make it 3 in a row we have to come out ready to play against them. We have to learn something from tonight, but have a short memory.”

Scoring for TVS:  Wes Cole 14, Mike Green 10,  Jordan Burns 3,  Jacob Bassler 6, Seth Baker 8.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

South Wins at Covington, Loses at Bethel

This week South played 2 games that were the inverse of one another.  Both were away games, but when you look at the scores by quarters, the games were opposites.  The Covington game was rescheduled for Tuesday.  And in that that game a smoking hot South squad exploded for 19 first quarter points while only giving up 4.  Although Covington challenged in the second half, South was able to hold them off for the victory.  Seth Baker had another stellar game with 35 points to lead all scorers. 

But against Bethel the story was different.  The scoring was slow by both squads in the first quarter but Bethel held an advantage – up 10-5.  The Bee’s used a variety of defenses during the night and opened in a man to man, and full court pressure. But by the end of the night they used a 1-2-2 zone to pressure South’s outside shooting.  South closed the distance a bit at the end of the half, and were down by a bucket 21-19.

Bethel’s Patrick Bain would lead all scorers with 26 points.  And so in the third quarter South paid some extra attention to him, putting JJ Utz on him as a chaser and playing a box and one on defense.  But the remainder of the Bethel offense kept pace and didn’t really allow South to make a run.  Jordan Burns got 2 fouls back to back early in the quarter and Seth Baker would get his 4th foul early in the 4th quarter and so 2 of South’s starters were benched.

And in the last quarter, the Bee’s took advantage scoring baskets in transition and slicing to the basket in half court to get easy points.  At the other end of the court, South’s shooting was cold – and Bethel was not giving them many uncontested looks.  It was a frustrating 4th quarter and that was evident when they were called for an intentional foul late in the game.  And in a game that was the antithesis of the game earlier in the week, South gave up 23 4th quarter points and scored only 3.  Bethel would win 59-37.  And Seth Baker, who had been the leading scorer for South, was held to just 7 points.

“They thoroughly outplayed us in the 4th quarter,” stated coach Augspurger after the game, “We put ourselves into position to have a chance to win.  We stayed close in the 1st quarter, we have some of our guys back and we put them in the 2nd quarter and they made up 3 points and actually tied the game at one point.  And in the 4th quarter Bethel just took us out, they played much, much better than what we did.”

On Bethel: “They were quick and athletic when they went into their 1-2-2 zone. Patrick Bain is one of the better players to play in this league.  He is a legitimate recruitable player – he should not have to pay a dime to go to college.  He kept them in it and ahead of us in the first half.  And in the second half we went to a defense that we had not practiced and although we did a good job of chasing Bain, their other guys attacked us.  They used their quickness and spread out our defense to get good looks at the basket.”

Scoring for TVS: Cole 11,Green 9, Osborn 6, Utz 4, Baker 7.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

TVS Searching for a Win

The young Twin Valley South Lady Panthers are still searching for their first win of the season.  The team played their best game this week against Milton Union.  But against league rival Tri-County North, the squad was flat and just were not able to generate very much offense.  Meanwhile North’s offense was in high gear and won pulling away.

Against West Milton the team had a bad first quarter.  But recovered somewhat in the second half and played even with the Bulldogs.  But the damage had been done and South wasn’t able to make any sort of a run finally going down 55-40.  Senior Kacy Bolton lead Panther scoring with 13 points and Hailey Keener was also in double figures with 11.  Others scoring for the team:  Megan Wright 2, Madison Wright 6, Emily Hutchings 3, Sydney Vorhis 5.  Against North the team did not score in double figures in any quarter – falling 61-24.  Hailey Keener lead South with 10 points, continuing her streak of games where she has scored at least 10 or more.

“Against West Milton we just turned the ball over too much in the first quarter.” Stated coach Mabry after the game, “The rest of the game we kind of came alive a little bit and fought back. We cut down their momentum but just never could get back to a reasonable point where we had a real shot at mounting a comeback.  It’s a young team and they threw some stuff at the girls that they were not expecting and when you’re young and inexperienced it takes a while for them to adjust – they are still learning.  And Bolton had a good game points wise, it was one of her better shooting games.”

The North game, “I don’t think we were ready to play.  We came out with no energy, we fell behind and couldn’t get anything flowing at all. They pressed us, but we seemed to handle that.  But we really didn’t execute anything at the half court offensively.  And on defense we seemed to be a step slow.”

Looking forward, “Sarah Bingham is back – at least part time from her injury. So that is going to help with numbers,  the girls basically have to play two games in one night [Junior Varsity and Varsity].  The bench is being squeezed, there are some quarters where I do not have a sub because the girls on the bench have no more quarters to give.  But this coming week we have Preble Shawnee and then Jefferson on Saturday and both of them have Varsity only.  That will help me with rotations and keeping girls fresh.”

Sunday, December 08, 2013

South Falls Short Against Valley View

Twin Valley South again is playing shorthanded this week. But they gave a good accounting of themselves against a bigger and deeper Valley View team.  Seth Baker played a whale of a game, scoring 26 points for South a personal career high.   South kept the game close for most of the night and in the last minute made the game exciting as they battled intensely to tie the ball game and force an overtime.  But they were unable to connect and fell just short – 50 to 47.

Valley View was able to play around with their lineups and opened the game with a small, quick lineup. Although the Spartans tried to beat TVS down the court in transition, the scoring was slow in the early going.  So Valley View went to a taller lineup midway thru the quarter. This change made a difference as South was not shooting well from outside and the extra height made a difference on the boards as Valley View got second chance shots.  This gave Valley View a 17 – 10 lead as the first quarter ended with Spartan trey at the buzzer.

When Valley View lengthened their lead to 11 points, Coach Augspurger took a timeout at the two minute mark and the team responded with nice run.  At the break the Spartan lead had been trimmed to 5 points.  The team opened with some sloppy play in the 3rd quarter, giving up some easy turnovers.  And things began to look dicey when Seth Baker, who had been playing well, got his third foul midway through the quarter.  But South was able to stay on the heels of Valley View into the 4th quarter.

In the 4th quarter South made a determined charge at the Spartans.  They closed the gap to a single point about midway through the quarter.  Valley View extended their lead back out and so South who had been in a zone – changed over to full court man to man with 2 minutes left and resorted to fouling.  And Valley View couldn’t find the rim, but South was unable to convert those rebounds into points at the other end of the court.  South had several chances to tie, and although they hit iron – their shots just wouldn’t drop.  

“We were shorthanded and missing several key components,” stated coach Augspurger after the game.  “We’re making changes and making adjustments.  Our players that played did an excellent job. We competed, but we just didn’t rebound well enough. They made some shots and they shot a little better than I expected.  But the biggest thing is that we let them have too many second chances. If we had rebounded better, I think we would have walked out of here with a W. We put ourselves into a position to win it, but we just couldn’t do it there in the last minute. But I am pleased with our effort and I am pleased with our intensity.”

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

TVS Runners Up in Tip Off

Twin Valley South won their season opener against Dixie on Friday night 42-37.  South had two players score in double figures – Seth Baker with 17 and JJ Utz with 12.  For Dixie, Griffen Moore lead the way with 17.  Dixie stayed on the heels of TVS all night but just couldn’t muster a big enough run to surpass TVS.  Head coach Tony Augspurger of South would later remark that the team did a great job of executing their game plan as well as any other team that he had coached.  Dixie would win the consolation the next night against Eaton handily 64-48, a game where their up tempo game and pressing defense smothered the Eagles.

This set up the championship game between Stivers and South.  Stivers crushed Eaton the night before 80-33 using a full court press and fast paced offense.   South entered the game with a short bench – only 2 players.  While Stivers had 7 players that they could swap in and out of the game.  And in the opening moments it looked rough for the home town team.  Their first 4 possessions ended in turnovers, but fortunately for South, Stivers was bricking their shots.  Meanwhile South settled in and began to make a few shots.  And so ended up with the lead at the end of the first quarter 13-9.

Stivers threw a variety of defenses at South – they opened the second quarter with a 1-3-1 half court trap.  But South seemed to handle this fairly well.  But Stivers height began to take its toll as they began to hit the boards for second chance shots.  Meanwhile South’s hot shooting from the first quarter cooled off.   Stivers went on a 20-2 run to close out the half with a commanding 35-17 lead.

South played with Stivers in the  3rd quarter, but didn’t make up much ground.  In the last quarter the team just seemed to run to out of gas and Stivers pulled away for an easy victory 68-46. “I was very proud of the way our kids played with them,” remarked Coach Augspurger after the game. “We made our goal for the week which was to get at least one win with a short handed team.  Tonight we knew we were going to be overmatched.  Stivers is one of the highest rated D3 teams in Southwest Ohio. We wanted to try and win the first quarter and see what happens – and we did that.”

He continued, “We didn’t have enough gas and they jumped us in the second quarter.   And coming out of the locker room we wanted to win the third quarter – and we did by one point.  This is a modified lineup that is small and with very little varsity experience but the kids battled and scrapped.  I am very proud of the effort that they gave. “

“We had success this tournament with our 2-3 zone.  My Dad was eye-balling some college zone defenses last year and taped a lot of them.  We sat down in the off season and looked them over and took notes.  We saw some stuff that we liked, and worked on them with the team.  And the kids are starting to get it.  Every team that we have played they have not overly enjoyed it.  And even Stivers, they weren’t getting great looks in the zone either.  But we have to rebound better than we did tonight. Against Dixie we limited them to one shot, tonight we didn’t do that.”

On JJ Utz and Seth Baker making the all tournament team – “JJ Utz has a chance to be very special, he is learning on the job this year – he is quick, he is hardnosed.  He is an athlete that competes, he has a chance to be a very good high school point guard.  Seth might have pressured himself too much – he knows he has to score for us.  He didn’t shoot as well tonight as we know he can shoot.  But he played really, really well. “

Scoring: Burns 7, Bassler 7, McGuire 2, Osbourne 5, Utz 10, Baker 13.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Dixie 1-1 to Start Season

Dixie played in the TVS Tip Off Tournament this past weekend.  In the opening round they drew host Twin Valley South.  Although they stayed on the heels of South the entire night they were unable to make a strong run to surpass the hosts and lost a close game 42-37.  South rebounded well and their stingy half court defense did not give up many uncontested shots.  Griffin Moore was high points for Dixie with 17.

This set up the consolation game the next night against Eaton, who lost to eventual tournament champs - Stivers.  Dixie plays this season under Isiah Williams, a very vocal, demanding coach who has the team playing at an uptempo pace on offense and a smothering pressing defense.  Eaton definitely could not handle the pressure as they coughed up the ball repeatedly and Dixie converted those turnovers into points.  

Eaton opened with a zone defense, but Dixie was not phased as they connected from the outside.  When Eaton countered with a man to man defense, Dixie was able to cut thru the defense and get shots close to the basket.  And Dixie rebounded well, limiting Eaton to one shot per possession. Dixie ended the first quarter with a 14-4 run.  Eaton got some traction just before halftime with their half court game, but still were down 40-19 at the midpoint of the contest.

In the second half Eaton tried to use the press to catch Dixie off balance.  But the team handled the pressure fairly well.  They gave up some early turnovers, but settled down and went to work.  The team eventually coasted to a 64-48 win.  Dixie distributed their scoring and had 4 double digit scorers - Fisher, Moore, Miller, and Watts.   Senior Griffin Moore was named to the All-Tournament team.  

Coach Williams was asked for comment after the game, "We played a whole lot better today than we did yesterday. We pressured the ball really well. We took them out of the game really early - and that is what we told them to do. The guys ran the floor really well, that is the brand of basketball we want to play.  In the end it got a little chippy, but overall we did a good job.   Our seniors did well tonight - we are going to be a senior lead team. They have to lead on the court, as well as off the court.  We share the ball to a fault sometimes and today we we finished around the rim very well.  We rebounded better tonight and once our injured sophomore, Cody Grubb, gets back we should do even better."

Against South, "We didn't execute well the whole game. They handled our pressure - hats off to Twin Valley South, they did exactly what they needed to do. They kept good pressure on us, and we never came out and attacked them. We were less of an aggressor that game."

Scoring: Fisher 13, Moore 18, Benner 6, Miller 12, Watts 12, Mintz 1, Leonard 1
Rebounding: Benner 7, Watts 5; Steals: Benner 3; Assists: Fisher 5, Moore 5

Stivers won the TVS Tip Off Tournament 68-46 against host Twin Valley South.  Stivers Robert Caldwell was tournament MVP.  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

TVS tip off - CCC vs SWBL

It was ladies first as South hosted their CCC/SWBL tip off this past weekend.  The format was for the two CCC teams to play against both of the SWBL teams.   Night one saw South play Northridge and North play Carlisle.   And opening night was all SWBL as both CCC teams had good first halves in their games only to falter in the second half.  North got some redemption as they beat Northridge on day two, while a young South team struggled to score in the second half of both of their games.

North was up at halftime in their first game against Carlisle 19-14. Senior Jackie Marshal would pace scoring for North with a game high 17 points. But Carlisle’s defense was too high a mountain to climb in the second half as Carlisle slowed down North’s scoring pace and gradually pulled ahead for a 38-32 victory.

On Saturday night, it was clear that Northridge defense was focused on Marshal.  She scored, but not as much as the first night.  Fellow senior point guard, Carly Whitaker, helped make up the difference with a 18 point scoring night. Northridge did hang tough with the Panthers for 3 quarters.  They played mainly zone in the first half and North did try to press the Polar Bears.  This was semi-effective as they did snag some turnovers, but they also gave up a few easy baskets and finally gave up the press and settled into a man to man defense.  

North changed their strategy in the second half.  Their defense was switched to man to man. They began to hit midrange and perimeter shots.  This pulled Northridge out of their zone and into man to man.  Now North was able to cut and open up their offense.   They had a slim three point lead entering the last quarter, but hit the gas pedal down the stretch and won easily 50-38.

This year North is coached by Todd Hutchinson.  He had some comments after the game, “I thought we played really hard, we regrouped from last night.  Tonight we came out fired up, the girls did a good job on defense and rebounding the ball.  In the last quarter, I told the girls how to handle their quicker girls so that they couldn’t drive to the basket.  That made them throw up some outside shots and we out rebounded them.”  On Carly Whitaker, “She did a good job of controlling the game, controlling the tempo.  Getting the girls in the game and in the right spots.  Last night she didn’t score much, but tonight she made some key baskets.”

South is in a rebuilding mode this year with single senior  - Kacy Bolton, and just two juniors  - Abby Horton and Raven Cline.  The balance of the roster is sophomores and freshman, so this year’s campaign will be lead mainly by underclassmen.  And an already thin lineup may be just that much leaner with an injury to sophomore Sarah Bingham on opening night.  The team will be waiting for a medical update this next week.
South stayed within striking distance up to half time in their game against Northridge – down by 7 points at the break.  But a tough 3rd quarter where the team only netted one bucket while Northridge scored 15 made the difference.   South did outscore the Polar Bears in the last quarter, but it was not enough as they fell 45-28.

The game against Carlisle had a similar pattern.  The two teams played cautiously in the first quarter with Carlisle finally going on a 6-0 run to get the scoring started.  But South answered back and finally lead 12-11 in the second quarter.   Carlisle took a time out and went to work.  Using their height and quickness they battled back to close out the half with a 19-13 advantage.  The Indians were able to get a lot of second chance shots with their height advantage.

Carlisle played a more vigorous defense in the second half and got turnovers which they quickly converted into points.  They held South to just 10 second half points and won 47-23.  Coach Mabry had this to say after the game, “We got down early and I took a timeout to settle them down.  And they responded by making a run of their own.  We got back in the game and hung with them.  They made a run at the end of the second quarter and I told the girls at halftime that this is a game of runs and we have to make a run now.”  
He continued, “Two things happened in the second half, we got some open shots, but we couldn’t knock those shots down.  They also got more physical.  This team is young and inexperienced, plus we give up a lot of size and we just got knocked around a little.” He was asked about Hailey Keener, top scorer in both of South’s games, “She works hard, she may not be blessed with height or the best ball handling skills – but she will give you all that she has and will push to get better. “

Next week it is the boy’s turn.  TVS will again be hosting a tournament.  The boys games will feature Stivers, Dixie, Eaton, and of course TVS.  Preliminaries will be in the evening on Friday at 6pm and 7:30.  The consolation game and the championship will be Saturday at 6pm and 7:30pm.  

Thursday, November 21, 2013

South Looking to Improve

The Twin South Boys basketball program will try to improve on last season’s  record.  This year the team is almost all seniors and juniors.  And almost all have varsity experience.  Many players have 2 or more years of varsity basketball under their belts. Last year the team had some success, but faded towards the end of the season due to injury.   The team will have good depth at most positions with the exception of post. 
When asked about this season, Coach Augspurger noted that South has had several years of moderate to lackluster success.  “We are in a 5 year drought where we have been right around .500. We’ve had some obstacles, but we have not been able to put together the types of years that we are capable of doing.  With the experience we have coming back, we are hopeful that this will be the type of team that can compete for a conference championship, a sectional or even a district title.  Our goals and expectations are high. “

South basketball is returning a lot of players with varsity experience this season.  They return 4 starters from last year’s team. Notably center Mike Green who is a senior this season.  As well as fellow senior forward Seth Baker .  Anthony Augspurger and Wes Cole – juniors, and both have seen varsity time since their freshman years.  Troy Innis is back as well. But he had an injury plagued season last year.  And the injury bug has bitten again in the preseason and at this time, his return to the team is doubtful.   Augspurger had been injured during summer basketball,  but reports are that he will be good to go for the winter campaign.
Players who saw significant varsity playing time last season and are expected to contribute again this season are JJ Utz and Jordan Burns.   Zane Cottingim, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, will help round out the varsity roster as well as Jacob Bassler – who was the top scorer on the JV team last year.   So South will have a variety of offensive weapons.  Coach Augspurger noted that Jake Osbourne will see some varsity time this season as well. 

South will be hampered at the start of the season as several student athletes violated the schools code of conduct and so will be suspended from the team in the early portion of the season.   They will miss the first 5 games of the season. So it will be tough to get early momentum since they will be playing with a handicap.  With Innis questionable and several other starters out, South will be shorthanded.  The team will start their season Thanksgiving weekend with a Tip Off Tournament at South.  The games will start Friday, November 29th.  The South girls will start by hosting their own Tipp Off tournament the week before on Friday, November 22nd.  So the next few weekends will be all the basketball you can eat at the TVS gymnasium. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

North Season Ends

Tri-County North's season did not end the way that they had hoped.  Their first round playoff game was against Miami East - a CCC league team that had battled North to overtime in the regular season and won by 3 points.  So the the rematch was expected to be another battle. But instead Miami East dominated North.  In the first half they scored on almost every possession while holding North to a series of three and outs.  North had a good drive at the end of the half to score. Then the inspired defense held East and North got the ball back again with a little over a minute left.  But that drive ended at about the 25 of  Miami East with about 10 seconds left when a defender picked off a pass in the endzone.  That was as close as North came to mounting a comeback as Miami East kept using both the pass and run to keep North's defense off balance in the second half and only allowed a second TD in the waning minutes of the game.  Miami East wins their first playoff game 38-14 and advances to the second round.

North didn't seem like the team that went toe to toe with undefeated Covington and gave them the best game that they had all season.  After that game the team seemed to realize that they were vincible. North was 1 for 3 in their last three regular season games and had a tough outing against Miami East in this playoff game.  Still they had a winning season and were playing in week 11 when a lot of teams were sitting home.  Looking forward they only graduate a handful of seniors, and return a boatload of starters.  4 year starting quarterback Austin Hutchins will be hard to replace, but North under Derringer seems to be in a reload, not rebuild status.  So expect the team to continue to do well next season.

Miami East seems to have caught a rhythm and are peaking at the right time - in the post season.  They are playing tough defense, and the offense has multiple weapons that they can use. Miami East and Covington will carry the CCC banner in week 12.  The Covington/Marion Local game will be a battle royale.  Will this be the season that Covington advances in the playoffs past a MAC team? If they do, it won't be easy. Marion had some injuries towards the end of the season, but word is that those injured players will be back for the Covington game.  But this will be the game to watch come Friday.

Trail lost their opening round game to a tough Mechanicsburg team. But it has been a record setting season for Trail, the seniors can look back with pride on a successful season. And the the underclassmen have this winter to work on where they need to be next year.  South has shown signs of life.  And with a few breaks, they could have been a playoff team.  They had some winnable games in the loss column.  So congrats for coach Tyler Cates for putting South back on the map.  Mississinewa is showing signs of life.  The patient is still on the gurney, but they stopped their losing streak.  The team still needs numbers, but Graher has had success in the past with the BlackHawks.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Trail Makes a Statement

National Trail made a statement Friday night against North. Coming into the game as a playoff bubble team, they needed a win to ensure that they would make the playoffs. And all this season the talk has been about the top three teams in the Cross County Conference for the past few years: Covington, Miami East, and North.  Trail has been on the outside looking in - despite their record, they have not been getting the respect that those teams command.  Like a gunslinger they used all their bullets against North: fake punt, passing on 1st down from their own 12, then going for and making a critical 2 point conversion.  A scrappy team and gutsy play calling combined to give Trail an upset win against North 15-12.

In the first quarter it was a flag festival as it seemed that both teams accumulated more yardage in penalties than in yardage.  Either the players or the referee's adjusted as the flags didn't seem to fly as much after the first quarter. Trail had a great runback by Devin Mize to midfield and they visited the redzone and actually scored twice - but penalties nullied the TD's. Finally they turned over the ball on downs with nothing to show for their efforts.  North meanwhile went to work and scored on a 2 yard run by Garret Woodgeard.  The score was set up by a Austin Johnson catch on the 19 yard line.  But on the extra point, there was a flag that moved the ball back to the 8. Then a messed up kick attempt made North try to run the ball in and that failed. 

North's lead was shortlived as Trail scored quickly on their possession with a 65 yard touchdown pass. They made their extra point and Trail led 7-8 as the teams entered the second quarter. Trail seemed to move the ball with short passes to the flats, mixing in an occassional run. They were able to get the ball inside the red zone but a penalty left them in long yardage. They tried a field goal, the ball had the distance but hit the goal post.  That was the only scoring opportunity by either team in the second quarter. North was blitzing more often and were pressuring the quarterback.

The second half was where I was impressed with Trail.  When I compared sidelines - North had a lot more depth.  So Trail was playing iron man football with a lot of players going both ways. So conventional wisdom was that Trail would wear down in the second half, but they were scrappy throughout. And in their opening drive, it seemed that indeed North was going to grind them down.  Using almost exclusively the run they had a clock chewing drive to the 32 yard line where Garrett Woodyard caught an Austin Hutchins pass for North's second score, but the 2 point conversion failed.  Still North lead 12-7.  North's strategy seemed to be to utilize the run to keep Trails potent offense off the field.

Neither team did much in the remainder of the 3rd quarter, Trail had a good defensive stand and made North turn over the ball on downs at the Trail 28.  They moved the ball to midfield and early in the 4th quarter they did a fake punt and got the first down. When you are trying to get into the playoffs, you do what it takes.  They moved the ball to the redzone and a North sack seemed to knock them back - but a roughing call on the same play advanced the ball.  And on that same drive with a 4th and a long one at the goal line, Trail scored a touchdown pass.  They went for two and made it that gave them a 15-12 lead.  

North got the ball with about 4 minutes left on the scoreboard.  Then used a clock eating drive to advance the ball deep into Trail territory. Austin Johnson made a nice catch to put the ball on the 12. But here the drive stalled.  And with 23 seconds left, 4th and 2, North elected to go for the tie with field goal. It was not a good night for kickers as the ball sailed wide left. Trail took the victory formation and celebrated their best season ever.  

Trails spread offense was effective.  They did run the ball somewhat, but I would imagine that the bulk of their plays are passes.  Their quarterback, Garrett Griffen, took a pounding.  North really started to bring the heat. But he picked himself up and got himself ready for the next play. Trail's program has been constantly at the bottom of whatever league it has been in for decades.  It is tough when you can count the number of winning seasons for your school with one hand, and still have fingers left over. Well that has changed, no matter what happens in the playoffs the coach and the team can be proud of earning everyones respect this season. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

North Prevails Against South

Twin Valley South Played with North for 3 quarters.  Both teams have playoff aspirations, South desperately needed the win to keep their slim playoff hopes alive and North needed to cement their place in the top 8 of the district. The halftime score was 14-7 in favor of North. And entering the 4th quarter it was a two score game, 20-7. Then the wheels fell off as North's stalwart defense held South to that touchdown on the night and scored on a Colton Boothe interception. The offense went to work and that resulted in a 35-7 victory for North.  South was able to move the ball, but just when they sniffed the red-zone, North put up a defensive stand and made them turn over the ball on downs.  South had several good drives that died inside the 30 yard line of North.

It was senior night for TVS since it was their last home game. And they honored their seniors by entering the field from the East end of the stadium as the teams used to do years ago.  The senior players entered the field as a unit and the underclass players lined up with the band to form an entrance for them.

North found the endzone first on a 31 yard touchdown pass from Hutchins to Austin Johnson.  But South answered right back. Jordan Burns returned the North kick off to about the North 35.  And 2 plays later Joe Webb scored on a 33 yard touchdown run.  It was game on.  The teams battled back and forth for the remainder of the first half. Late in the second quarter Wes Cole was able to pick off an Austin Hutchins pass, but a North sack on third down forced South to punt.  North began their last drive of the half at the TVS 43 yard line and after advancing the ball, Hutchins threw a 25 yard strike to Austin Elmore.  This gave North their 14-7 halftime lead.

In the second half, it looked like South might be able to strike early.  Darren Brown intercepted a North pass and gave South the ball at the North 37.  But North forced South to give up the ball on downs at the 25. North must have made some halftime adjustments, because their running game improved in the second half and Colton Booth was able to run 40 yards for a North score.  Late in the 3rd quarter South again threatened, but North stopped this drive at the 26.

So as the teams entered the last quarter it was still a close game 20-7 in favor of North.  But the game went into a downward spiral in a hurry for South. North had been forced to punt and South had the ball in good field position at the 47 yard line. But a South pass was picked off by Colton Booth and ran back 85 yards for a touchdown. So that play was a 14 point swing - instead of South getting the ball at about the 15 in the redzone and a chance of making it a one score game, North got the score and made it a 3 touchdown lead.

This seemed to take the wind out of South's sails.  Austin Hutchins padded the score with a punt return to the 11 yard line where it seemed like every South Panther got a hand on him, but couldn't bring him down. Then he passed for a 10 yard TD reception to Austin Johnson.  So North makes their playoff hopes more definite and have pretty much dashed South's chances. But North battles another team next week with playoff ambitions in National Trail, while South travels to play the beast in the East as in Miami East.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Vikings Defeat Panthers in Overtime

In the early going North seemed to dominate. They used two clock eating drives to go up 14-0 early in the 2nd quarter.  But any thoughts that Miami East would just tuck tail and fade away were quickly dashed as they bounced back to tie the score.  And North had to go to the air as Miami East began to smother the running game.  Meanwhile Miami East was able to get chunks of yardage through the pass themselves. And although North lead at halftime 21-14, the East defense closed them out in the second half.  Finally tying the game in the 4th quarter.  The game went to overtime and East won the toss and elected let North go first. North was unable to score and East kicked about a 20 yard field goal to seal the win 24-21.

North really dominated the first quarter. They used the run almost exclusively to grind out yardage against East.  The first two scores were by quarterback Austin Hutchins.  Then East bounced back - they returned a kickoff to the North 34 and worked the short field for a score.  Later a Miami East punt was muffed by North and again they worked the short field for a touchdown.  The 14 all tie was broken by Garrett Woodyard who carried the ball in from 8 yards to put North up 21-14.

The Miami East defense pretty much took away the run in the second half, and North's offense sputtered. And when two closely matched teams are playing, a lot of times the team that makes the fewest mistakes will win.  North had a break down on special teams to set up the first East score, the second score was by a muffed punt reception, and the tying touchdown likewise was set up by a fluke play by North. Set up to punt the ball was snapped over the punters head.  The punter ran back to the endzone and got the ball and then was actually able to get the punt off.  But with all the scrambling, the coverage again broke down and East returned the ball all the way to the 8 yard line where they scored a few plays later to tie the game at 21 all.

The North defense put some heat on the Miami East offense and were able to rush the quarterback effectively and sacked him several times. And that seemed to slow down the success that East had with the pass. So neither team was moving the ball well the rest of the 4th quarter. And the game went to overtime where the Miami East defense pretty much held North in place for 4 plays.  And when it was their turn they moved the ball to about the 10 where they put the game in hands of their place kicker who cooly iced a 20 yard field goal for the hard earned victory.

This game was fight for second place in the CCC and more importantly for homefield advantage in the playoffs.  Miami East controls their destiny with 2 games left in the season.  North has to make sure they win out to make the playoffs.  North plays at South next week, while East travels to Bradford.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

TVS Hangs on for Win

It was not the prettiest game played this season.  But win's do not come with style points.  South hung on in the last seconds of the game to hold off Bethel for a 15-7 win.  At times South seemed determined to hand over the game to the Bee's with mistimed penalties - one that negated a hook and ladder play to the 2 yard line and several that took away field position when South got a hand on a punt and got the ball at the Bethel 35.  That series actually took the Panthers backward with 2 penalties.  But South was able to find the endzone twice and the defense fell on a Bethel fumble in the last minute to end Bethels efforts at a tie and overtime.

There was plenty of pink on the field as South hosted a cancer awareness night.  The cheerleaders released balloons and gave flowers to breast cancer survivors in a pregame ceremony.  The pass was not kind to TVS against Bethel. At one point in the first half South had dropped back to pass 6 times. The result was 4 scrambles as the quarterback was chased out of the pocket, one incomplete pass, and one interception.  There were 3 interceptions thrown in the first half by my count.  But the running game got traction, particularly in the second half when they seemed to grind down the Bethel defense. Joe Webb was churning out chunks of yardage in between the tackles. But when you give up offensive penalties it puts you in long yardage situations where you have to chuck the ball up in the air.

South's first score was set up by a Bethel offsides on 4th down. South was in a punt formation and an over eager Bethel defender jumped to give South a fresh set of downs and they continued their drive to the 2 yard line where Wes Cole drove it in for the lead.  The extra point snap was muffed and South did not get their extra point.

South had a frustrating drive that began when Jordan Burns recovered a Bethel fumble at the Bethel 38. Then Cole was sacked and a penalty put the Panthers into long yardage.  South successfully ran the hook and ladder play with Burns getting all the way to the 2 yard before being drug down.  But another hold penalty took away all the yardage.  South was then intercepted when they took to the air again and Bethel promptly drove the ball into the endzone for their touchdown. So a drive that South should have scored on, instead handed the ball to Bethel where they drove instead for the lead. Bethel made their extra point and had a 7-6 lead that they took into the locker room at half time.

Darren Brown gave South a shot at another score when he got a hand on a punt and South got the ball at the Bethel 35.  But Bethels defense make a vigorous stand and South had to turn over the ball on downs after 4 plays.  This time of year with the warm days and cool nights, dew will form on the grass in the evening.  So although there was no rain the conditions were slick on the field as the teams entered the last quarter.  A bad Bethel snap put the ball into the endzone where the ball was booted out of the endzone to give South a safety.  Then a few series later a bad snap on a punt gave South the ball in good field position. Cole scored on a 6 yard run to give South a 15-7 lead.

Bethel had one of their best drives of the night with about 4 minutes left in the game.  They combined the pass and run to keep South off balance and moved the ball down to about the 4 yard line. There was a little over a minute left in the game.  They ran an option and the pitch to the halfback fell to the ground.  And a Panther defender was able to fall on the ball and end the Bethel attempt at a tie and over time.  Although there was some confusion towards the end and it seemed that South's offense would never run out the clock for the win.

South improves to 5 and 2 on the season.  Bethel is 2 and 5.  South goes thru the 3 heavy weights of the CCC to end their season - Covington, Miami East, and TCN.  All three teams have been dynamos this year. They need to be able to knock off at least one of these teams to have any kind of shot at the playoffs and a winning season.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

The Axe Falls at Miami

The axe is falling already and we are not quite up to the half way point of the season. When I was growing up Miami University had a knack for getting good coaches, they would move on to bigger things after success at Miami. Miami has that reputation as the 'cradle of coaches'.  Hey Woody Hayes cut his teeth there. But they were always able to find and attract someone else just as talented and keep the program at a high level.  But Coach Treadwell who won like 4 games his first 2 seasons, and is 0'fer this season was released by the AD.  Things must really be bad if they pull the plug on you while the season is in progress.   Read the below exert from the Middletown Journal.  If your offensive coordinator (John Klacik) is so bad that a school considered dropping football after he coached there, maybe you should not have hired him in the first place...

here is an excert from the Middletown Journal:
Klacik is most known for his stint as head coach of D-II Lock Haven, his alma matter. Klacik coached the Eagles for six season prior to leaving for Miami in 2011, and in his tenure he won just 5 games, while overseeing a losing streak that had reached 32 games by the time he resigned.When he left things were so bad at Lock Haven that the school considered actually shutting down the football program. The program lived on, but the streak lasted another 20 games before it was snapped in November of last season.
During his time at Miami the RedHawks offense finished ninth in the MAC in total offense in both 2011 and 2012.

Ohio State Defense Shows Holes vs Northwestern

Wisconsin showed some kinks in the Ohio State armor, but Northwestern really exposed them.  The Buckeyes defense has some new faces this season after graduating a good group last year.  And that inexperience is showing in the pass defense. I recall the announcers talking up Roby,Ohio States premier cornerback, early in the game against Wisconsin.  And there is no question that he a good athlete, and does some good things on the field.  But he was burnt repeatedly in single coverage. Even with him grabbing and tugging at the receiver every play, they finally brought in a safety to help cover deep. And the Northwestern quarterbacks were able to pick apart the remainder of their pass defense. With a porous defense, the Buckeyes offense has to be a powerhouse and be able to score a bucketload of points in a horse race against the other team.

And the Buckeye's have the offense this season.  When your backup quarterback can set a school record for TD's, you know you have depth.  Backup Guiton throws a good ball, the only difference between him and Braxton Miller is running ability.  Miller is multi-dimensional and that ability to run for big gains, or scramble for positive yards gives him an edge.  Guiton is more of an NFL type passer, even though he is a backup, I would not be surprised if he gets an invite to a training camp next year.

Hyde is emerging as a weapon. Did OK running the ball against Wisconsin, great against Northwestern.  Seemed to be really fatigued at the end of the game. Maybe missing the beginning of the season due to suspension was a factor.  He is putting distance between himself and the other Buckeye ball carriers.  And I like his personality, at the end of the game they interviewed him what made the difference in this game? He responded that the offensive line was the difference in the running game. Gotta like that - it's not about me and giving props to the guys in the trenches.

The team showed some character.  First time this season that they had to play from behind.  They could have panic'ed and crumpled up. But they were able to make some plays and come with a win. Meyer might have been a little panicky when he did the fake punt in his own territory and failed.  But you could see his intensity when he was arguing with an official about getting his timeout back when they were reviewing the Hyde TD call.  When Guiton started to warm up, I think it put some additional pressure on Miller to make plays.   Even though Miller put up good numbers, he coughed up 2 fumbles and an interception.  If the Buckeyes want to win a championship, they will need to get that defense shored up. For sure they will be in a bowl game, and maybe even the Championship game.  But we all know the adage that defense wins championships and I don't think the Buckeye defense is there yet.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

South Dispatches Newton

Twin Valley South volleyball took care of Newton in 3 sets on Thursday.  South is midway thru a busy week where they played Arcanum (win) and Tri-Village (loss).  But wait there's more - South winds up the week with a 3 way match at Dixie with Stivers this Saturday.  The team won 25-22; 25-12; 25-16.  So as the season winds down the team is staying busy.  They have an overall record of 11-7 as of tonight.

The first set had this pattern - a coach would take a time out and rally their players.  Then that team would go on a run until the other coach took a timeout, then the teams would switch roles.  South had a lead for pretty much the entire match, and at one time lead by 6 points before Newton took a time out and pulled to within one - 19-18.  Coach Roberts took her second time out at this point.  And whatever was said made the difference in this set and for that matter the rest of the night.  TVS pulled ahead with good serves and sizzling spikes to beat Newton by 3.

After that first set, Newton seemed rattled for the remaining two.  They played even again South in the early going, but kept letting the ball hit floor and gave South some easy points.  And when a team starts making mistakes, sometimes they lose their composure.  South won that match handily.  Then in the last set, South sent some smoking spikes across the net and that aggressive play allowed them to build an early lead. They relaxed a bit and Coach Roberts took one more time out to focus the team and they finished strong for the win. So all in all it was a good night for the team.

Taylor Kirkpatrick – 8 digs, 17 assists and 4 kills
Skyler Lain – an ace, 17 digs and 7 kills
Emma Fergus – a dig and a kill
Caitlyn Meyers – 11kills and 3 solo blocks
Gentry Gates – 2 aces, 9 digs, 18 assists and 4 kills
Abby Beneke – 16 digs and 9 kills
Paris Gruber – 5 kills
Kaylee Johnson – 15 of 16 on serve receive with 20 digs
Madison Wright – 2 digs

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Arcanum Edges South

Arcanum Edged out South in a hard fought contest on Friday night. South had their chances, but just couldn't get the deal done and a tenacious Arcanum defense made big plays in the red zone to thwart South's efforts at a homecoming win. Twice Arcanum made goal line stands with time running out and one yard to go and twice Arcanum kept South out of the endzone. This made the difference in the game as Arcanum edged out South for a 18-16 victory and spoiled South's homecoming.

You had to figure that South was in for a long evening when an offensive lineman jumped offsides in the first play from scrimmage in the game.  They were 3 and out and the punt put the ball at midfield for Arcanum.  They used the short field to advance the ball to the 4 where on 4th down they threw a rare pass for a touchdown for the first score of the night.

The next score was set up by an interception.  South's Wes Cole threw an interception, but on the Arcanum series they tried to sneak in another pass and Cole, who plays safety on defense, returned the favor and picked off this pass. Zane Cottingim finished the subsequent drive with a 20 yard carry for the score.  South made their extra point and briefly held the lead 7-6.

After some three and outs by both teams, it was South's turn to receive a punt again. This time the punt was muffed and Arcanum recovered. They wasted no time taking advantage of this opportunity.  The Arcanum quarterback, O'Donnell, ran a keeper and scooted 40 yards to put Arcanum back on top 12-7.  South threatened right before halftime, they ran out of time outs, but had the ball on the Arcanum 1 yard line and just could not punch it in before time expired. The Trojan defense had held when it counted.

Arcanum had deferred in the first half and so received the ball to start the second half. They moved the ball well and ended their first drive of the half with a 32 yard touchdown carry by Byers. This put South behind by 2 scores.  South tried to answer before the quarter ran out, but an illegal block set South back and ended their drive with a 4th and forever. Early in the 4th quarter, South got the ball back in good field position - starting at the 38 yard line of Arcanum.  Zane Cottingim was able to catch a screen pass and make a broken field run for what appeared to be a touchdown.  But a flag was thrown towards the end of the play, a rare flag for a face mask by the ball carrier nullifying the touchdown.  Wes Cole took care of business on the next play, running a keeper 16 yards for the score, making it 18-14.

Although Arcanum did not score on their next series, they ate up a lot of valuable clock.  Finally they punted and gave South back the ball with 5:05 left on scoreboard.  South moved the ball well - mixing the run and pass.  It was probably their best series of the night until they hit the redzone.  They got the ball to the one yard line where the snap was mishandled on 3rd down.

Then it was the play of the night, 4th and 1 with less than 2 minutes on the clock.  South tried to run a sweep but Arcanum contained it and kept South out of the endzone. Arcanum ran some quarterback sneaks,while South had to use up time outs to keep the clock from running, and then on 4th down Arcanum had the ball carrier run around the endzone and finally run out of bounds to deliberately take a safety.  The idea was to run down the clock and not leave South any time. With seconds left on the clock South caught the kick off after the safety at midfield and took a knee to stop the clock.  With 2 seconds on the the scoreboard there was time for one more hail mary pass.  But once again the Trojan defense stepped up when it mattered. As Cole was beginning to rip the pass loose, a Trojan defender got his hand on the ball and the pass was driven into the ground.  The final score was 18-16 Arcanum.

After their first game (a win over Preble Shawnee), Arcanum has had to play the three best teams in the CCC in succession.  Their next three games were losses against Covington, Miami East, and TCN.  So although they came into the game with a losing record, the losses were against quality teams.  And South's schedule has them pitted against those same 3 teams for the last 3 games of the season.  South's strength this season has been their offensive line.  They have to be disappointed at the two defensive stands that Arcanum was able to make against them. I think every team works on goal line in practice - it's gut check time. But Arcanum made the play and South didn't. Something tells me that there is going to be a lot of reps spent this next week on making sure that the team gets it done on 4th and one.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

South Back in Win column

After staying on South's heels all night Ansonia couldn't keep pace in the second half and in particular the 4th quarter as TVS got back into the win column with a 41-14 victory over the Tigers. There was a steady drizzle all night which meant that both teams would run a lot and use the pass sparingly.  Going into the 4th quarter South was up by two scores 28 to 14 and with the slick conditions - a timely fumble could have changed the game around and given Ansonia new life. But South kept the pressure on Ansonia and scored twice more in the final frame to put the game well out of reach.

South has a deeper bench and with the ability to rotate players, it helped keep their legs fresh.  Ansonia has to play iron man football with a good many players going both ways and South seemed to grind them down in the second half.  But Ansonia teams are always gamers and they made the most of their opportunities, keeping it a close game for 3 quarters.  The South defense stopped Ansonia's first two drives of the second half and that seemed to break the back of the Tigers.  The first drive was stopped by a TVS sack that made it 4th and forever.  The second drive was later in the 3rd quarter and they drove down to deep into TVS territory but a fumble ended that drive after they had gotten all the way to the TVS 7 where it was 1st and goal.  And South actually intercepted a half back option pass during that drive - but a roughing the passer penalty gave Ansonia the ball back for another chance at the end zone.  In any event, it was a real momentum changer as South would go the distance in their ensuing possession and score.

Ansonia opened the game with a squib kick, which South mishandled.  Ansonia played Tiger ball on offense a good bit of the night - full house backfield and two tight ends. They went for it on 4th down two times in their first possession and got the first down.  But the feisty South defense stopped them on their third try at a 4th down conversion and took over on downs at their own 7 yard line.  They drove the distance and scored on a 2 yard carry by Zane Cottingin, who had set up the score with a 28 yard carry the play before.  Ansonia tried to do a fake punt when their next drive failed, but South sniffed it out and then South promptly scored when Wes Cole called his own number and went about 50 yards to put South up 14-0.

Ansonia scored just before time let out in the half. South had a touchdown called back by a hold and couldn't convert a 4th down at Ansonia's 40.  Ansonia used the short field and put together a nice drive, scoring thru the air with a pass with about 4 seconds left.  Making it a 14-8 game at the half.  South scored twice in the third quarter and made two good defensive stands. Jordan Burns made a 28 yard TD catch. Wes Cole made a 16 yard TD run - after having a previous TD run called back by a penalty. So twice in this game Cole had TD's called back because of penalty. Jordan Newman ran back the South kickoff right before the end of the third quarter for a score to show that Ansonia still had some fight left in them.  This made the score 28-14 as the teams entered the last quarter.

South scored two more times - Joe Webb made a spectacular run where he broke multiple tackles on a 35 yard TD run.  Shockey made the last score of the night.  Ansonia couldn't muster much offense at all by this point. The momentum needle had swung completely over to South's side and their hungry defense was feasting on the Tiger running backs. It was a treat for the hardy South fans that travelled to Ansonia on a rainy Friday night.  I think that South at least equalled if not bettered the fan count of the Tigers. The win puts South at 3 and 1 for the season and next week they host a homecoming game against Arcanum. While Ansonia is 1-3 and travels to National Trail.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Trail Offense Too Much for TVS

Trail Offense Too Much for TVS

National Trail's spread offense made several big plays on Friday night against TVS.  South would seem to have Trail pinned back and then Trail would make a big play and put South on their heels.  And the Trail play calling was good - work the edges, then do a middle screen.  Work the short pass, then go deep.  But South showed their resiliency and fought back. The game was hard hitting, there were several stoppages for players who were shook up.  South kept the game close all night and had their chance at a comeback until late in the 4th quarter when South failed to convert on a 4th down and gave the ball up with about 3 minutes left.

South's game plan seemed to be to use their experienced line to churn out yardage on the ground, use the clock, and keep the ball away from the Trail offense.  And they were able to move the ball, but penalties stalled some drives and Trail made some good plays on defense to stop others.  Trail used every page in their playbook - half back option pass, onsides kicks (worked once, failed the second time), and several other inventive plays to keep South guessing.  South's defense, which had not allowed a score in 6 quarters, gave up 35 points to the Blazers.

It was South who scored first. After stopping Trail on 4th down, they marched the ball down the field and Wes Cole ran it in from about 35 yards out late in the first quarter.  But any momentum from the defensive stand and offensive success was shortlived as Trail took the ensuing kickoff 70 yards to the house to even up the score.  Then holding South to a 3 and out, they quickly positioned themselves for a second touchdown.  In the space of about 3 minutes, Trail had scored twice and created a lead that they would not give up.

And luck was with the Trail ball club as well.  Trails next TD before the half was set up by a tipped ball. Receivers ran deep and a South defender got a hand on the pass, deflecting it into the air.  An alert Trail receiver, Josh Lee, snagged the ball and ran it to the one yard line where Wes Cole tackled him.  But one quarterback carry later and Trail scored anyway.  South threatened just before the half and were on the Trail 26 with 12 seconds left but a Trail sack ended South's scoring chances.

After Trails second onsides kick failed, South took advantage of the short field and scored on a Joe Webb 9 yard run to make it a one score game 21 - 14.  But Trail scored again after using the half back option pass and a gutsy 4th down play to reach the endzone.   After exchanging the ball a few times.  South got the ball back at midfield due to a shanked punt. Josh Cottingim caught a Wes Cole pass to again make it a one score game 28-21.  Josh Lee caught a Garret Griffen pass for Trails last score of the night around the 4 minute mark.  And that was a critical touchdown as it now made it a 2 score game for South to pull even. South ran the two minute drill since they needed 2 scores. But Trails defense stepped it up and a quarterback sack put South into a 3rd and forever and that put the first down out of reach and South gave the ball up on downs.  Trail was the victor 35-21.

All in all it was a hard fought game - and an exciting game from a fans perspective. Lots of offense, a lot of big plays from both teams. Next week South travels to Ansonia and Trail travels to Bradford.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

TVS off to 3-0 start

The Twin Valley South volleyball team continued their winning ways.  With decisive wins over Stivers and league opponent - Bradford.  Stivers went down  25-11, 25-15, 25-22 and Bradford was  25-17, 25-16, 25-23. In the Stivers win, Paris Gruber lead the Lady Panthers with ten kills. Stats for the Bradford game: Taylor Kirkpatrick (17 assists), Paris Gruber (9 kills) and Caitlyn Meyers (7 kills),Gentry Gates 9 assists, Skyler Lain chipped in with two aces, ten digs and four kills, Abby Beneke stepped up with an ace, 11 digs and 6 kills, and finally Kaylee Johnson charted three aces and defensively turned in her strongest performance of the season thus far with 19 of 24 in serve reception and 16 digs.

Coach Roberts commented after the Bradford game,  "...that Taylor Kirkpatrick did a nice job tonight of spreading the wealth, giving everyone an opportunity to put the ball down.  And Paris Gruber and Caitlyn Meyers  then went on a "Pay it Forward" campaign of their own by taking those sets [from Kirkpatrick] and putting them away in the scoring column." She went on,  "Bradford did a nice job of attacking the ball all night. They have a very athletic young group that is finding it's volleyball prowess."

South heads into a more difficult part of their schedule playing Arcanum at home (ccc),Brookville(swbl),TCN(ccc), and National Trail at home(ccc).  All of these matches should be closely contested.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

South Surges Past Dixie

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South Surges Past Dixie

In the first half, the ball bounced Dixie's way as they took advantage of opportunities and gained an early lead.  But South was resilient and fought their way back to tie the ball game by the half.  In the second quarter they were down by two scores and could have folded up. But the team maintained their energy level, did not get down, and held Dixie scoreless for the rest of the game while scoring 31 unanswered points.

Dixie scored early in their first series on a 70 yard pass play.  Dixie has a new quarterback this year, southpaw Ethan Arnett; he connected with Logan Watts for the score.  South answered with a touchdown drive of their own, capped by a Zane Cottingim dive from about the one yard line. So we were back even again.

Then South gave Dixie two gifts - which to Dixie's credit they capitalized on.  Dixie punted to South and the ball hit the ground in front of the South return man.  He wheeled to get out of the way, but apparently not fast enough.  The ball touched the returner according to the referee and an alert Dixie player - Isaiah Prichard scooped up the live ball and ran it in for the score.  There was a Dixie offsides on the ensuing kickoff and South opted to redo the kick.  This time the ball squirted loose and Dixie recovered.  A few plays later and Arnett connected with Watts again to put Dixie up by two touchdowns 21-7.

First year coach Tyler Cates did a good job of keeping the team focussed.  After giving up two touchdowns in two minutes it would have been easy for the team to get down and fold up the rest of night.  But the team rallied at this point and the game was all South the remaining 2 and half quarters. A resolved South scored two more times in the second quarter - a quarterback keeper by Wes Cole (set up in part by a nice run by Zane Cottingim) and a 30 yard pass to Darren Brown.  This tied the game at 21 all at the half.

With a good sized roster, South has some latitude in the schemes they can put together for different situations.  They have a jumbo package for short yardage on offense, where they bring in some beefy boys on the line and put 3 backs in the back field.  They they can put in coverage defensive players for passing situations and so forth.  With the players going in and out, they are also getting rest on the sidelines.  And so I thought South had more gas in the tank in the second half. They seemed to grind down Dixie in the steamy heat of late August.

The defense bent some in the second half, but they mostly held Dixie to 3 plays and punt. The offense went to a clock chewing ground game.  Cole capped off two more drives with quarterback sneaks for scores and Zane Cottingim peeled off a 20 yard touchdown run. Cottingim also set up the first score of the half with a 40 yard run + a face mask. Jordan Burns deserves mention, he made a critical 4th down catch to set up South's second touchdown of the second half - which put them up by 2 scores. Cody Meyer who had missed a field goal earlier, redeemed himself and hit a 22 yarder to finish the scoring for South. All in all a good victory for South and a first win for coach Cates who got the water cooler treatment at the end of the game.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

TVS Posts First Win Out of the Gate

TVS Posts First Win Out of the Gate

After a lackluster season last year, South's volleyball squad wanted to return to form this year.  Used to a winning tradition coach Roberts wanted to put last year behind and set the team on path.  And the team made a statement that they indeed were on their way back in their opener against Carlisle, dominating the match and winning in straight sets 25-6, 25-11, 25-6. The team maintained control throughout the match and never let the Indians have a sniff at a comeback.

Taylor Kirkpatrick lead the way for the Lady Panthers serving up ten aces, five digs and dishing out eleven assists. Paris Gruber knocked down eight kills and had a block assist with teammate Taylor Kirkpatrick. Skyler Lain stepped up with five aces and eight digs. Caitlyn Meyers chipped in with three digs, five kills and a block assist with teammate Gentry Gates, while Gentry posted eight assists and four kills. Kaylee Johnson turned in a solid performance of her own scoring ten service points,three aces and seven digs. And In her varsity debut Abby Beneke garnered four aces and three kills.

Coach Roberts commented after the match, “Even though it was a non-league contest it's a good first win. It was a nice way to ease into the season before things get challenging and chaotic in league play come the first two weeks of September.” 

This puts South at 1-0 for the week.  Their next matches are as follows8/26 Stivers (home)8/29 at Bradford 9/3 Arcanum (home)

Friday, August 23, 2013

South vs Preble Shawnee Scrimmage

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By my count South's varsity was on top 34 to 13 at tonights scrimmage when I left - and it looked like both squads had JV's on the field at that time. South was not domineering, but they were persistent. When I came home I told my wife that they weren't great, but they played good enough to win. And that sums things up, they are improved, but need to get better. Positives are that they kept coming back, taking advantage of opportunities, and stayed in the face of Shawnee.  I liked the enthusiasm on the sideline, the team had a good attitude.

Both teams were 3 and out on their first possessions.  And it made you wonder if this was going to be a long night with both teams struggling to get a first down.  But on their second possession Shawnee hit their stride. They used both the pass and run to go to about the 30 yard line where they tossed one into the end zone to go up by a score.  South was plagued with penalties and an inconsistent running game. They finally put together a drive where they scored from 26 yards out to even up the scoring. 

Then South intercepted a pass and Wes Cole fired up a hail mary pass that was tipped and caught in the endzone to put South up by a score.  Later he would find the endzone again - this time carrying in the ball from 16 yards out to put South up by two scores.  South's defense really stepped up at this point in the scrimmage.  They stuffed Shawnee and kept their varsity offense contained.  They would not score again until late in the scrimmage. South would score again from 41 yards out and 20 yards out. 

 Cole did a good job at quarterback, he is elusive and if you get by the line he is hard to sack.  And when he has the time, he can throw a decent ball.  And he used several different receivers, not focussing on one target. Running game was sporadic. There were times when the backs were running downhill and raced for decent gains.  Other times they were tentative.  The blocking was decent but not great.  The defense did a fair job.  They bent several times but rallied back to get a stop. Tackling was better, and the pass defense did an OK job, and the line did get in on some sacks.  Penalties were a problem, Shawnee had their fair share, but South gave away the most yardage in penalties. 

South had good numbers on the sidelines, and when their JV's were in the game, they played well.  I saw several good pops by the JV defense and the offense moved the ball and scored.  On the other hand, Shawnee's numbers looked to be down this season.  They are playing against some bigger schools and that lack of depth is going to catch up to them. Their spread offense was able to move the ball, just not consistently.  Their defense was good against the run, but South was able to complete some long passes for big gains.  South should be able to improve on their 3 wins of last season.