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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Dixie Loses Player for Season in Loss.

Dixie lost the game and a valuable player this past week in a pitched battle against league leading Waynesville. The Hounds spotted the home town team a generous first half lead and then had to fight in the second half to claw their way back into the game. The Hounds were thrown off by the Spartan half court zone defense and after adjusting to it, they mounted a challenge that fell short in the last half of the game.

The Hounds were able to slow down Luke Creditt, who had been scoring over 20 points per game. That was one of the keys to the game that coach Creamer was focused on. Matt Isaacs drew this assignment and held Creditt to just 10 points on the night. But Waynesville had other players who picked up the slack – Ty Black (13 points) and Steven Jeffries(18 points). Isaacs had a good night offensively as well, scoring 16 points himself.

The team had to play catch up all night. They were down 8 in the first quarter and were down 31-19 at the break. But the team made some adjustments at half time and mounted a furious comeback closing to within 2 points. During the intense play in the second half Ryan Gabbard went down and had to leave the game. It was later discovered that a bone in his leg was fractured and so the seniors season will end on the operating table as a pin will need to be inserted for the leg to set and heal properly. Ryan had been leading the team in scoring and so he will be missed.

Dixie earnestly tried to regain their momentum, but Waynesville was able to pull ahead. And the Hounds had to resort to fouling, but Waynesville calmly sunk their shots to extend their lead. When the game ended, Waynesville won 59-48.

Coach Creamer commented after the game, “We did a good job against Luke Credit - we executed our game plan against him, but they have a lot of offensive firepower and a couple of other kids stepped it up. We struggled offensively to put the ball in the hole the first half. We got looks we wanted, but just weren’t hitting our shots. They did go into a 2-3 zone - that was unexpected from them and that crossed us up a little bit. “

He continued, “After halftime we adjusted and did a phenomenal job to open the second half. We had a couple of possessions where we could have tied or maybe even taken the lead, but we just couldn’t get over the hump. To their credit they made free throws down the stretch to extend the lead back out to double figures. Matt Isaacs had a phenomenal effort for us against Creditt, he drew the man to man match up. And he turned around scored 16 points at the other end.”

What to expect from Eaton, “They are starting to get all their personnel back, they didn’t have everyone at the start of the year. They have an excellent athlete in Cole French. They have as much size as anyone that we have played against. It is a challenge for us – any time you have to go on the road in a SWBL cross over game it’s going to be tough. We look forward to playing against them. “ Dixie plays at Eaton on December 30th.

Scoring for Dixie: Barnett 3, Gabbard 12, J. Isaacs 4, M Isaacs 16, Moore 9, Smiley 4
South Eeks Out Win

Twin Valley South had a defensive battle against the Newton Indians in the final game before Christmas break for both schools. Coming off of a hard fought loss against Tri-Village - it was the closest that any team had come to Tri-Village, coach Augspurger had to wonder how the team would react after an emotional game. Would they have any gas left in the tank for the second test in a week? Newton came into the game 3-4 but would prove to be a worthy adversary.

In the first quarter, both teams sparred warily. Each side used a zone defense. Newton got some traction feeding the ball into the post and back out to the guards for outside shots. At the other end of the court, South was trying to utilize their height advantage, but Newton double teamed any player in the post with the ball. South wasn’t connecting on their outside shots. So scoring was light by both teams.

Despite their height advantage, South did not seem to be rebounding well. But their defense was on track – not giving Newton many looks at the basket. The second quarter was shaping up to be a stalemate, but Cole Cottingim hit back to back three’s right before the half to give South an 18-11 lead at halftime.

But South did not build on this momentum in the third quarter. The team actually seemed a little sloppy after the break and Newton took advantage, gradually catching up to and passing South. They were now kicking the ball inside and getting open shots at the basket. South called a time out, but to no avail. Newton had a 5 point lead in the third quarter and had actually grown the lead to 7 at one point in the fourth quarter.

Newton was running a shell offense to run some time off the clock with about 5 minutes left in the game. Coach Augspurger needed to do something to shake up the team and get them out of their doldrums. A defensive change was made and the team went to man to man defense. But the momentum change happened at the other end of the court with Cole Cottingim who provided an offensive spark when the Panthers needed it by nailing a 3 point shot. Then Matt Green scored 3 the old fashioned way - with a made shot from the floor and hitting his foul shot. Suddenly the Panther team had come to life.

Troy Innis made a trey then dropped back and made a steal at the other end of the court. So the defensive change was creating turnovers, plus the team seemed to rebounding better. Time was starting to run out now. Johnny Meyers swatted the ball away for a Panther turnover on the next Newton possession and now Newton was forced to start fouling to get the ball back. South connected from the foul line and put the game away. Narrowly escaping with a 39-36 win.

Coach Augsperger was glad to garner the win, “We played two games this week and I thought we played very well, very tough with a lot of poise and a lot of composure in the one we lost. In this game, I thought we played about as poorly as we could play – especially at the offensive end. In the third quarter their kids were moving and making shots, we weren’t talking on defense or making plays.”

He continued, “But I thought we played uptight the entire game. It seemed to me like we got off to a bad start, we got down on ourselves thinking we were going to lose. We had to play man to man there at the end and I thought we did a pretty good job. We had not played man to man hardly at all this year. We had several guys with active hands that pretty much shut them out down the stretch. “

...on Tri-Village – ‘It was a well played high school basketball game by two good teams. We turned the ball over too much, as we have had problems with at times this year. And we didn’t finish out the game, we were right there - just didn’t get it done. But I was really pleased with the mentality that we had. Tonight we were uptight, but against Tri-Village we were ready to play, but loose.”

Twin Valley South will play National Trail in the Preble Shawnee Holiday tournament on Thursday night (12/29).

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The D in Dixie must stand for Defense. Last Saturday night Dixie throttled the North Panthers holding them to just 6 points in the first half. And like a pit bull latching onto its adversary, Dixie kept the defensive pressure up throughout the game. It was a pressure cooker that North could not escape from. Dixie was able to rack up an astounding 62-20 victory by the nights end. Holding a varsity team to 20 points is an impressive defensive performance in this age of the three point shot.

Dixie utilized vigorous full court pressure in the first quarter. North used one, then two timeouts to try to work out a way around the Dixie defense. Then Dixie fell back into an effective trapping defense and were still creating turnovers and making crisp passes on the offensive side to get easy points. In the second quarter, Dixie called off the full court attack and settled into a man to man half court defense that North would spend the whole night trying to figure out.
For their part North played a zone defense in the first half and played man to man in the second half. This seemed to be more effective for the second half. Although Dixie played a lot of bench players in then and slowed down the pace of the game. North generally played a single post offense and tried to cut players through the Dixie defense but just didn’t get many open looks at the basket.

Dixie definitely owned the boards for most of the night. And Dixie didn’t miss a beat with their stingy defense when they emptied their bench in the second half. Even with the starters resting and subs on the floor, Dixie was able to hold North to a scrooge-like 14 second half points. At the end of the third quarter, Dixie had a lopsided 50-11 lead. North was able to score some in the last quarter, almost doubling their total and were able to almost keep pace with Dixie who scored 12 in the last stanza.

Coach Creamer was asked for comment after the victory, “The one thing we talked about is that good basketball teams put away teams early that they are supposed to put away early. We came out focused, got the early momentum, and kept it.” …on the defense, “We told our kids early that we can be pretty successful basketball team over the long haul if we commit ourselves to playing hard on the defensive end. We are making good strides on defense, but it is not a finished product. “

…On the strong showing by the bench players in the second half, ” We have done a great job in practice of putting our best against our best – that’s players 1 through 10. Now you can only start 5 but we have 5 others guys who are ready, willing and capable. Tonight we showed that they are ready, and they need to be ready because you are always one play away from losing a starter.” …Next up – Waynesville, “They are the top team in our league and return as many players as we do. They probably have the best player in the league in Luke Credit. We have to go on the road, we will be decisive underdogs, and we are looking forward for this opportunity.”

Coach Jackson was asked about the game, “Dixie was unbelievable, that was some of the best defensive play I have seen this season. Coach Creamer is doing a great job and he has some good athletes. Our guys, we didn’t knock down shots, but we did not quit – which I was happy about. We need to get back quicker in transition. Hats off to Dixie they were a better team than us. Next week we play against Ansonia, they will play a lot of man to man against us, but I think we match up real well. It should be a real good game. “

Scoring for Dixie: Barnett 6, Gabbard 12, Grubb 11, J. Isaacs 6, M. Isaacs 10, Moore 4, Smiley 6, Watts 7. Scoring for North: Derringer 2, Diehl 4, Heltsley 3, Hutchins 4, Louthan 3, McAdams 2, Rees 1, Williams 1.
Panthers put away Ansonia
The Twin Valley South Panthers put on an impressive performance this last weekend with a decisive win over Ansonia. The home team seemed to have everything in sync while the visiting Tigers never really got on track. The Tigers did get a little traction in the second half and closed the gap a little, but South redoubled their efforts and were able to pull away with a 56-38 win.

Ansonia started off the night in a press, hoping to rattle the young South guards. But South brushed off the pressure and after half a quarter of pressure, Ansonia settled into zone. Later they would try a little man to man when the zone wasn’t effective, but they ended up playing zone most of the night. Immediately South shot out to a lead, they were attacking the Ansonia defense and making their baskets. At the end of the first quarter, South had a double digit lead 15-4.

The South defense was also on track in the first half. They played in a zone for the entire night. Ansonia didn’t get very many open looks at the basket and so when they shot, they were missing. And the South team did have a height advantage and were sweeping the ball off of boards, holding the Tigers to one attempt per possession. The zone defense was aggressive, generating turnovers and South was getting points off of transition. This allowed them to build the lead to 29-11 at the half.

South at one point had a 26 point lead. They went on a run to start the third quarter and were up 37-11, so it was beginning to look like a blow out. But South relaxed at this point and the Ansonia offense began to slowly climb back into the game. They tried a few different looks and got some advantage with a shell offense that opened up the outside shot. In the fourth quarter, they got a little run going and took a time out to set up their press once again to try one last attempt to close with the Panthers. But South was able to handle the pressure and ride out the last quarter for the victory.

Coach Tony Augsperger was asked for comment after the game, “We played really, really good basketball for about 2 and half quarters. Then I felt like we relaxed and we didn’t put them away like we should have. A good team would keep the pressure on them when we had them thirty something to eleven and extend that lead. But we let them creep back into the game, we are not good enough yet to allow teams to do that to us. “

South has a big game next Tuesday at Tri-Village(5-0), “They are the tallest team in the league and we will not have a height advantage against them. We are playing on their court; it is going to be a huge game for both teams. “ Tri-village is undefeated at this point and those are decisive wins - their closest margin of victory is 19 points. So South will have their hands full against them. South will then end the week at home on Friday against Newton(1-4).

The JV team won their game 44-33. Scoring for South: Augsperger 2, Boggs 8, Cole 4, Cottingim 7, Green 10, Innis 4, Meyers 21. Watch for upcoming coverage of the Holiday tournament.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Young South Team 1-1 in First Weekend

With only 3 South players with varsity experience from last season, everyone had to be wondering how the young team would fare in their first weekend of action. South opened the season with a win on the road against Bethel, a quality opponent that has owned South the last few years. But turned around the next night and lost to Valley View. Interestingly the games were a contrast where the Bethel game was a defensive slugfest, while in the Valley View game was a high scoring affair.
The Bee’s were 2-0 coming into the game with wins over Arcanum and Indian Lake. After eking out a two point lead at half time, South shutdown the Bee’s in the third quarter and held off a fourth quarter surge to win this game 31-28. Johnny Meyers did the bulk of the scoring for the Panthers with 21 points.

Head coach Tony Augspurger was impressed with the win, “We have lost to Bethel the last three years, and they got back almost their whole team from last season. I thought we were very well prepared for them and we had a good understanding of what they were probably going to do. So we executed our game plan very well. It was low scoring because both teams have well schooled defenses. We were able to play 9 kids in that varsity game and for 6 of them it was their very first visit ever onto a varsity basketball court. We did not do that well offensively because I thought we were a little uptight on offense - it being our first night. They were quick and moved well, but we used our big guys and took advantage of our size. We rebounded really well and communicated on defense. It was a good emotional win for our kids.”

…on Johnny Meyers, “He has the ability to the best in our league and maybe in the area. And tonight he played like that. And we need him to perform, he is a two year starter and is a proven scorer – I thought he played like a senior. He made big plays for us, big shots for us all throughout the game. He also grabbed 11 rebounds. And Matt Green did well for us, he had 8 boards. If we are going to compete for a league championship, we had to win – in our league you need to win out or maybe have one loss to have a chance.”

On Saturday night, South would face the full court pressure of Valley View on defense and a talented Zack Denny on offense. This time the game was faster paced and the scoring was unchecked. At times the young South guards had problems against the pressure, causing South to fall behind early. But South mounted a second half comeback that excited the home town crowd as they tied the ball game at the end of the third quarter at 48 all.

And to start the fourth quarter South hit a three to go ahead. But just as it got interesting things became undone for South as Johnny Meyers got his 4th foul early in the quarter and had to watch from the bench as Valley View regained and then extended their lead. When he reentered the game around the 4 minute mark, he quickly got his fifth foul and was done for the night. Valley View went on to win 71-63.

Coach Augspurger on the loss, “The Valley View was frustrating in that we were prepared, but didn’t do what we needed to do defensively. The Bethel game we looked like we knew what we doing, we weren’t like that in the Valley View game. We didn’t do what we needed to do to slow down Denny. And we dug ourselves into a hole. Later in the game we put Anthony Augspurger and also Nick Guhering on Denny and they slowed him down in the second half. On offense, Valley View pressed us and we executed our press break OK at times but other times we gave the ball away.”

“When Johnny fouled out in the fourth quarter it kind of took our breath away. At this point in the season, we are not ready for that. But as the game went on we handled their pressure better and scored better. But I thought our new starting point guard Troy Innis did a great job with his first two starts. Ending this first week I am happy with my kids, in terms of individuals they did a lot of good things. We are going to have inexperience errors, but I thought we played hard both nights.”

Hounds pull ahead in stretch

Friday’s game between Preble Shawnee and Dixie was a hard fought matchup as the two league rivals battled back and forth for 4 quarters. Both teams played hard nosed, intense defense and at times bodies flew on the court. Twice Dixie players ended up in the stands – one skidding on his belly for a loose ball before crashing into the bleachers, later in the second half another player crashed into the scorer’s table. And midway through the fourth quarter a double technical was called as two players engaged in a little post whistle activity as the contest was drawing to a close. It was an impressive effort by both teams.

Shawnee opened with a trapping zone defense. Early on this was effective as Dixie was coughing up the ball and leading to Arrow baskets. And at the other end of the court Dixie was getting into foul trouble – accumulating 6 fouls by the end of the first quarter. Coach Creamer took a timeout at the two minute mark to settle the team defensively and get them focused on taking care of the ball on offense. Coming out of that break Dixie did a little trapping of their own and got a couple of turnovers. Still at the end of the first quarter Shawnee lead, 13-11.

Dixie spread out their offense in the second quarter. But Shawnee was still able to extend their lead. Dixie needed someone to step up and get the Hounds going again. So Ryan Gabbard sparked a late rally by scoring on 3 possessions in a row. Dixie went to a quick lineup and Andrew Barnett hit a layup to give Dixie their first lead of the second quarter. Gabbard ended Dixie scoring with a buzzer beater to send the Hounds to the locker room with the lead.

The third quarter was a defensive showdown as Dixie had adjusted to the trapping defense of Shawnee and that ended Shawnee’s ability of getting points from turnovers. Plus Dixie had put Barnett on Jakes Adams, the Shawnee scoring threat which slowed down his scoring. But now it was Shawnee that was accumulating fouls at a fast pace and had 7 early in the 4th quarter. By games end, Dixie had toed the foul line 22 times.

With the game on the line, Dixie did a slow burn to pull away with the lead. On succeeding possessions Gabbard fed the ball to John Issaacs for a score, Andrew Barnett knifed to the basket for a layup, and then Gabbard hit a layup to put Dixie up by 10 with about 4 minutes remaining. And as what happened last week, the visiting team focused on shooting treys to try and get back in the game. With Dixie’s height, they can be glass cleaners and the team controlled defensive rebounds limiting Shawnee’s opportunity at a comeback. Dixie held off the Shawnee challenge to win 55-49.

Coach Creamer agreed that it was a battle, “We are very thankful that we were able to pull out a win in a hard fought basketball game. We are not pleased with all of our execution, but there is a lot of basketball in front of us and we are going to make improvements.” …on the effectiveness of the Shawnee trap in the first half, “We have some young players and that was their first opportunity to play against that kind of pressure. It rattled us early, but I thought we regained our composure and started to execute our offense. When you can make mistakes, learn from them, and still come out with a win that says something about a team.”

First year head coach Andrew Gerken had this to say about the game, “First we didn’t play real well. Second Ryan Gabbard is a real good player. He was too quick and too strong for our kids to handle. I thought Dixie handled our pressure very well, they passed the ball and found the open man. They adjusted well to the changes we made at halftime. Overall I thought our kids played hard, but I thought that they might have played a little bit harder than us. They hit the boards a lot harder and out rebounded us.” …about Jake Adams, “Jake struggled, I thought that Dixie did a real nice job of bellying up on him and forcing him out of his comfort zone. But at the same time, I thought that Jake did a good job of finding the open man. He is going to have some nights like this and we need someone else to be able to step up and score some points.”

Dixie Scoring: Griffin Moore 2, Andrew Barnett 6, John Isaacs 11, Luke Bowling 2, Matt Isaacs 14, Ryan Gabbard 20. Shawnee Scoring: Jake Adams 17, Matt Buell 8, Josh Hocker 5, Brian Kettring 3, Jake Elam 5, David Willoughby 2, Christian Letner 9.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Dixie Rebounds against Franklin Monroe

Dixie rebounded in their home opener against Franklin Monroe. After dropping their first game on the road against Carlisle, Dixie faced off at home Saturday night against a team that made a deep playoff run last season and is generally in the top half of the Cross County Conference. The game featured both team teams playing tough half court defense that kept the score low – it was 14 to 8 in favor of Dixie at half. More of a football score than a basketball score.

Franklin Monroe played a 2-3 zone the entire night, while Dixie stayed in man to man. Occasionally Dixie would go into full court pressure and that worked a few times where they surprised the Jets and got a quick basket from a turnover. Most of Dixie’s points in the first half came in the paint, either from working the ball inside to the post or from a layup or pull up jump shot from a steal. The Jets were trying to score from the dribble drive but had a rough time getting second shots as any misses were being rebounded by the Greyhound post players who did a good job most of the night controlling the boards.

As the game progressed, Dixie kept the lead from the first quarter on but could not get any breathing space between themselves and the Jets. They stayed on their heels until late in the 3rd quarter when Mike Smiley struck from behind the arc just before the buzzer to give Dixie a 26-18 lead. When action resumed, Andrew Barnett put another dagger into the Jets when he popped another three and extended the lead even more. Ryan Gabbard next hit a 12 footer and then the route was on. Franklin Monroe tried their share of 3 point shots in the stretch, but couldn’t connect. While the Jets flailed, the Greyhounds raced ahead – at one point leading 41-22. As the game wound down, Dixie put in a guard heavy lineup and worked the clock to get their first victory of the season 41-28.

Coach Creamer was happy with the win, “We didn’t exactly have an inspired effort against Carlisle last night. But for our first opportunity of playing back to back games, I was pretty impressed with our effort and focus tonight. I really think that we and Franklin Monroe are very similar basketball teams in that there are going to be nights were we struggle offensively to put points on the board. We were very deliberate on the offensive end and we didn’t get impatient. We stayed the course and put the basketball in the right spot. We struggled at times tonight, but when we needed points, we had some players step and score for us. We established our presence in the paint and when we started to get double teams they were able to kick the ball back out to our perimeter and they stepped up knocked some shots down.”

The Carlisle game, “Carlisle did a great job of getting on us defensively in the half court and we did not handle that pressure very well. Opening nights tend to be a little sloppy on both sides. We turned the ball over early, we missed shots we shouldn’t have missed, and so in the second half we took chances on defense and missed. Carlisle took advantage of those opportunities and scored. All the credit goes to them last night. We look forward to the opportunity to play them again.”

Scoring for Dixie against Franklin Monroe: Smiley 3, Moore 5, Barnett 3, J. Isaacs 8, Sauer 6, M. Isaacs 6, Gabbard 10.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Injury Bug Bites South Early.

The injury bug hit Twin Valley South’s Lady Panthers early and hard. It’s not unusual for injuries to take a toll on a team as a season grinds on. Injuries and illness are part of sports and that is where depth can help a team. A team loaded with players can find a fill in for a missing player and move on without missing a beat. But this year South has a young team with only one senior – Angela Newsome and little depth. According to coach Mabry the team dressed 15 players between varsity and JV a week ago but this week could only muster 9 total players. Meaning that the Reserve game had to be cancelled and the varsity team played but it consisted of 5 varsity players and 4 from the reserve team. On the other hand, Carlisle is loaded with seniors and a deep bench. South gave all they could – but there was only so much gas in the tank.

Carlisle played a stingy man to man defense that the Panthers had to work hard against. South played zone defense – mixing in a little trapping at times to try and generate turnovers. But Carlisle moved the ball well in the half court and the trapping had little effect. On the other hand, turnovers would an Achilles heel for South. In the second half alone there had to have been at least a dozen turnovers – due in part to fatigue and also to inexperience – forcing passes where they would be picked off.

Carlisle built a substantial lead at halftime – leading 30-10. There was a brief moment in the 4th quarter where it looked like South might make a run when Kara Mackie scored on 3 successive possessions. But a smothering Indian defense stepped it up and forced some South turnovers into baskets and put an end to that threat. Still South had a bit more respectable second half before finally falling 29-50 in the season opener. Another ray of hope for the Panthers, they were able to get two players scoring in double figures – Katie Strazheim and Kara Mackie.

After the game coach Mabry commented on the turn of bad luck for the players, “Within the last week we had a multitude of things. We basically dressed all the healthy players we had tonight. About a week and half ago we had 15. Over the last week we have had all types of injuries. One kid had a concussion in school, another kid was in a car wreck. It’s one of those things, we came with what we had. I know we really got tired, and even though we had subs it was hard to use them. We didn’t have any varsity subs and the reserve team doesn’t know the varsity plays – we run a different type of offense. We had a lot of turnovers, but a lot of that was from being tired. We forced some bad passes. Angela Newsome is the only girl we have with varsity experience from last year. Katie Strazheim was varsity too, but was hurt and missed last season.”

Scoring for Twin Valley South: Gentry Gates 2; Kara Mackie 12; Angela Nushawg 5; Katie Strazheim 10. South will play Stivers at home on Tuesday and opens league play Thursday with their rival Tri-County North also at home. North also lost their season opener against Northridge 32-43.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

South Young and Eager for Season Opener

Coach Augsperger is hoping that fresh faces will bring a change of fortune for the Panthers. “We are coming off the worst three year stretch in almost thirty years of TVS basketball and I believe we have the opportunity to come roaring back from that. The biggest question mark that we have is can we become the tough, hard nosed defending and rebounding team that we need to be.” His team returns 3 players with varsity experience from last season. Johnny Meyers and Michael Green, both post players are back, as well as Cole Cottigim – who was a 6th man off the bench last season.

Coach Augsperger expects Meyers to contend for player of the league honors – he had 15 points and over 8 rebounds a game last season. “But he is an outstanding driver who can score from inside and out. And Michael Greene did well for us as a freshman last year, He had 8 points a game and 7 rebounds. Michael is important for us because he provides us with a talented offensive inside presence. He has an outstanding touch from 17-18' feet and in. Rounding out our returners is Cole Cottingim. He was our sixth man last year and is easily the best outside shooter we have in the program. He was bothered by returning from a knee injury last year but is healthy and we have high hopes he can fill it up.”

Now he was asked aboutthe new faces, as the varsity squad will be dressing 10 players - “Troy Innis, 5'9" sophomore point guard. He had a good summer and pre-season, he is working on becoming ready to run the show on the varsity level. Also moving up from the JV team will be 5'10" senior hustler Nick Guehring. Nick will bring intensity for us off the bench. “ Coach Augsperger will be looking for Michael Boggs to help with the post. “He has good basketball smarts and is a great all around athlete.”

A pair of freshmen guards will see varsity playing time this year - Anthony Augsperger and Wes Cole. “They led their 8th grade team to the CCC championship and are skilled young players who have the toughness necessary to play on the varsity team young.” Finally Jesse Wysong and Seth Baker will split time between JV and Varsity.

When asked about the team overall, coach Augsperger responded, “We have a lot of question marks because we are so young and so inexperienced. Myers and Green could be an outstanding combination of bigs on our level. Certainly, if they continue to improve and jell a little better together, they could be the best, most athletic inside tandem we've had in a long, long time. We need Cole Cottingim to shoot like he can and thus far in pre-season practices and scrimmages he's off to a good start. The X factor will be how well all of the young guys and the inexperienced varsity guys do when the lights are on.”

So guard play will be instrumental to the Panthers success this season. Having a double figure scorer in the post is a good thing, but the team will need to have someone that can get the ball down the court and get the ball to him. And as we have learned from the Bengals early success this season – don’t discount a young team. If the Panther s can figure out the perimeter game, they will have success this season.

The team will open against Bethel Friday, Dec. 9th a team that Coach Augsperger expects to one of the top teams in the league. Then they come back against a tough Valley View team that features Zack Denny on Saturday. So this will be a rough opening weekend for the Panthers – the young players will be forged in fire early.
Dixie Experienced and Ready

Coach Creamer is enthused about his team’s chances in the SWBL this season. “Waynesville was league runner up and return all 5 starters, they look to be the favored team to win the SWBL Buckeye division this season. But we also return 5 starters and feel that we will be right there with them. Waynesville will have Luke Credit, the quarterback on their league winning football back as their leading scorer. He is a presence that we will have to deal with. They don’t have the height that we have, but they are athletic and quick.”

But Dixie has good depth this season as well as 5 solid starters back from last year’s team. The Hounds will start Andrew Barnett at point guard, Luke Bowling and Mike Smiley at forward, and John Isaacs and Matt Isaacs playing post. Bowling and Matt Isaacs are juniors, the rest are seniors. And they will have size and experience coming off the bench – Ryan Gabbard moved back into the district and Zack Grubb are both 6’ 4” seniors that will see plenty of floor time. Both are new comers to the varsity squad. Grubb was injured last season, but is healthy for this year.

Coach Creamer was asked what he liked about this year’s team, “Well we have good length, meaning we don’t have anyone with dominating height. There are no giants on this team. But as a team we have good height overall. And these kids are athletic, they make good plays. I like our play inside, but our perimeter play needs to be more consistent. They can shoot well, but not great. Now there are times where we do well on the perimeter but we need to able to do it every night. ” Otherwise the team will see a lot of zone defenses.

Dixie was .500 in the regular season last year and dropped their first two games. So any chance at a league title will depend upon a strong start this season. Dixie will start their season on December 2nd against Carlisle at Carlisle and then open at home the next night against Franklin Monroe on the 3rd. Both teams should be good opponents. Carlisle fields a strong team this year and Franklin Monroe had a good playoff run last year. The way that the league is scheduled Dixie will play each division opponent twice, so they will have to deal with the Waynesville Spartans two times – each game should be a battle.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Ada Overwhelms North

The Ada Bulldogs came to Lewisburg ranked as the third ranked Division 6 team in the state by the AP. By games end it was clear why. Ada was able to dominate on both sides of the line of scrimmage and their spread offense was ran efficiently. Many times during the night the Panthers would have the Bulldogs in third and long situations, but they would toss the ball to an open receiver and keep the drive alive. And although North was able to make some plays on offense, they had a rough time putting together a scoring drive – every yard was hard earned from North’s perspective.

This was the first playoff game where North was able to host the game and a generous crowd was on hand. When Ada scored on their first drive - using just a minute and half of the clock, it looked like North might answer. JJ MacPherson helped put the ball into Ada territory with a 30 yard carry. But after driving to about the 36 a quarterback sack pushed the line of scrimmage back and North had to punt. Ada immediately went back to work and scored again. That would become the theme for the night, North would do a 3 and out series, maybe getting a first down or two but in the end being forced to punt the ball away. And Ada would methodically move the ball down the field

North did try to adjust on defense, but when they blitzed Ada would dial in a bubble screen. Stop the pass, then Ada would run for yardage. And when you are playing a better team, you hope for turnovers to give your team more possessions. But the football gods smiled on Ada all the way, while North was shown no love. Ada put the ball on the turf 3 times and recovered all 3 times – the last one was on the 5 yard line and was ran in for a score. North gave away the ball twice, once on a fumble and the other an interception in the end zone. Ada did not punt at all – they faced 4th down several times and went for it each time.

North was finally able to find the end zone in the second half. In the first half, sophomore Austin Hutchins had hurt his left wrist, left the game for a few plays – but the gritty quarterback returned to the field. He lead the TCN scoring drive in the second half, starting from their own 26 yard line. JJ MacPherson capped the drive with a touchdown run from about 17 yards out. Then just before time ran out, the TCN reserve quarterback ran a keeper around the right end for North’s second score. At night’s end it was 49-12 Ada.

This is a first draft - come back for the coach's comments.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bradford Surpasses TVS

The first half was great for Twin Valley South but Bradford made a strong comeback in the second half to come away with the win. For the first 2 quarters South could almost do no wrong. They found the endzone twice and kicked a field goal for a 15-0 lead. But then Bradford scored just before halftime and from that point on, it was Bradford’s game. South never could recover their mojo. That score was set up by a kickoff that went to the thirty yard line and with less than a minute left in the half the Railroaders punched the ball in the endzone.

In the second half, Bradford changed their defensive strategy and started to blitz their linebackers more. This disrupted the South offense and by games end, Bradford would have 8 sacks. And South’s receiver’s seemed to have problems finding the handle, there were a lot of dropped passes. South did better than what they had done in the past with turnovers – only allowing a single fumble. But that fumble was costly as it happened on the South 15 yard line and Bradford was able to score. Bradford began to move the ball on offense and at games end they would garner the win 29-15.

Statistical highlights for South: Cole Cottingim was 15 of 31 passing for 203 yards and a TD. Freshman Wes Cole had 3 receptions for 54 yards; Zane Cottingim had 4 receptions for 46 yards; and Darin Brown had 4 receptions for 60 yards and a TD. On Defense Bobby Green lead the way with 10 tackles, Zane Cottingim had 8 tackles and Cody Clayton had 5 tackles with 4 of them for a loss.

On the game, coach Engleka was disappointed with the outcome – particularly since the team did so well against Miami East. “ In the first half we shut them down. They have 3 good backs and we told the team that we need to gang tackle and go to the ball. We got away from that. And on offense we had problems with their blitzing in the second half. Although we only had the one turnover – it came at a bad time and lead to a score.”

The Senior Class, “It was a difficult spot for them to be in with a new coach and a new program. They could have fought the changes and just gone through the motions. But these seniors bought into the program and provided good leadership for the rest of the team to follow. With them it was team first, always. In particular, I thought that Dylan Steffey, Bobby Green, and Ashley Dillon showed the younger kids how to go hard. I think that attitude showed itself against Miami East, that was a big step in showing everyone what this program can be. And Cole Cottingim hadn’t played since 8th grade and he did a good job for us as quarterback. Cole Maggard has been a solid performer as has Matt Johnson. We will miss them.

On the CCC, “ I have had experience with Centerville and Middletown among other places. And I was impressed with how many good programs there are – Covington is outstanding, Ansonia and North have good programs in place too. These schools are not just throwing athletes on the field, they are building and developing their players. There were times this season where it was not X’s and O’s, we were physically and mentally beaten by some of these teams. It is a toughness we need to develop and that is going to be stressed over and over this off season. “

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Dixie prevailed over Middletown Madison in a hard fought game with plenty of hitting. Neither team has a shot at a league title or playoffs – rather they were playing for pride. And both teams did not back down from the challenge, you would have thought that they were playing for the championship from the intensity on the field. However, this game also featured plenty of penalties and at times there was more yellow on the field than a dandelion patch. Watched a lot of football and this has got to be one of the top games as far as flag tosses go. I don’t think that either team had an advantage as far as the amount of penalty yardage either for or against, but the yardage in total penalties may have surpassed the team offense for either team.

In what would be a harbinger of things to come, a penalty flag flew even before the game opening kickoff! A rule that most folks are not aware of – including yours truly, that when it is game time at least one player from your team must be on the field. If all your players are on the sidelines or in the locker room then it is a penalty. The Greyhounds benefitted from this as Madison had to kick off from deep inside their own territory. And they went to work, quickly scoring on their first drive as Ryan Jordan plunged in from 2 yards out to put Dixie on the board first.
In the first quarter neither team seemed to pass particularly well, maybe from the cold air causing the receivers to drop balls. But Madison was able to put together a nice drive where they kept the ball in between the tackles and scored a field goal. That would end the first quarter in favor of Dixie 7-3.

Dixie stopped another Madison drive when Luke Bowling intercepted the ball at the Dixie 19 yard line. Later in the quarter Ryan Jordan would find the endzone again for another TD. This time the touchdown was set up by a hook and go pass from Bowling to Isaacs that put the ball on the Madison 5 yard line. Madison answered with a TD of their own – their passing game had caught on and they mixed the pass and run well on this drive. But Dixie wasted no time in answering – Ryan Jordan ran a deep post route and caught the defense by surprise, he scored on a 65 yard td pass on their first play from scrimmage. Madison had an extra point blocked and Dixie bobbled the ball on the extra point and so the halftime score stood 19-9 in favor of Dixie.

Madison scored in the third quarter and now Dixie’s lead was getting thin. So to start the 4th quarter, Bowling connected with Smiley on a screen pass that took the ball to the Madison 23 yard line. From there who else but Ryan Jordan scored on a 23 yard TD run to put Dixie ahead by 2 scores. Things then got uglier in the 4th quarter, I unofficially counted at least 8 penalties between the two teams. It had already been a penalty filled night, but with Madison trying desperately to score and Dixie’s hard hitting defense driving them back – emotions were charged as the clock ticked down. The Madison sideline had 2 unsportsmanlikes and both teams had late hits. Madison finally turned over the ball on downs with a minute left and Dixie took the victory formation to ride out the rest of the clock for a 26-16 victory.

Coach Tarpley agreed that there were a lot of yellow handkerchiefs on the field, “Yes we thought that they were a bit excessive. A part of that is we have two hearing impaired players. And we tell the [referee] crews that at the beginning of each game – they also need visual and touch ques. They are great kids and play hard; most crews can work this out, but it seemed to be a problem this week.”
“But our defense played well for us this week,” added Coach Tarpley, “We did really well on third down, preventing the other team from getting a first down and having to punt. Matt Isaacs had at least 12 tackles on the night. And Ryan Jordan had 2 big sacks in the fourth quarter, he had a big impact on the game for us – and he is only a junior. Matt Isaacs and Smiley both had a sack. And Bowling had a big interception for us. Offensively, it was a good passing night for the team. Luke Bowling really came around for us on Friday, we felt we had our passing game where it should have been for us all year. And Smiley had a good night personally – he had 2 big catches for yardage.”

On Carlisle, “This senior class has never had a losing season the 4 years that they have been here. Now they have been 5-5, but never have they been worse than that – so they have some incentive to get out there and keep that intact. Now Carlisle is a good team and are going to be tough to beat. We are going all out and giving it everything we have got. So expect some fireworks from the offense on Friday night, we plan to light it up.”

This will be the last interview with coach Tarpley this season and so we discussed the future, “We have a lot of good juniors that are contributors on offense and defense. A lot of how we do depends upon what they do in the off season. This season we checked it out and we had the 5th toughest D5 schedule in the state. They will need to be prepared for us to have success.”

Saturday, October 15, 2011

North Drives Over South.

Would Tri-County North have emotion enough left in their gas tank after their big win over Miami East for this week’s game against rival Twin Valley South? It can be tough to keep a team focused and driven over the course of a two and half month long season. And even though the two teams records were opposite of each other, North at 5-2 and South at 2-5 there have been times over the years where the underdog has upset the favored team. So it had the potential of being a trap game for North if they overlooked South. With a wet field and sporadic rain, you had to wonder if turnovers would a factor and that would be a way for South to hang with North – if they could force some fumbles and get good field position.

North put the game into the hands of fullback Michael Olinger and his raging bull running style. They ran in between the tackles into the teeth of the South defense. And South could not find an answer. At least not in the first quarter as Olinger rampaged thru the South defense for 3 touchdowns in the first quarter. In the game he had 2 more touchdowns called back for penalties or he would have done even more damage. As it was he had 198 yards for the night.

There were plenty of turnovers – but it was the North defense causing South to cough up the ball. Unofficially I had South tossing up 5 interceptions and giving up two fumbles. And the first fumble was a heart breaker in two different ways. South did a fake punt and Dillon Ashley carried the ball for a first down. But as he went for extra yardage, he took a hard shot to the helmet and crumpled in a heap as the ball squirted away and was fallen upon by a North player. So that stopped the drive and senior Ashley – who missed the first few games of the season due to injury, continued his hard luck season having to watch the remainder of the game from the bench.

Rounding out the scoring for North was JJ MacPherson -14 yard run, Austin Hutchins – interception returned for a TD, and Caleb Lawson – 90 yard TD. South got on the board as a gritty Zane Cottingim caught a pass for a nice 25 yard gain to put South in the redzone. Then he finished the job a few plays later when he scampered into the endzone from 5 yards out. South came close to scoring a second time but a fumble on the North three yard line ended that threat. That was the theme all night for the South offense – when it looked like they would put together a drive, a turnover or penalty would kill it. At the last whistle the score was 41-6 in favor of North.

“When you have 7 turnovers in a game you are not going to win that game,” stated South Coach Engleka after the game. “North’s Olinger scored pretty easily on their opening drive, and we wanted to answer. We put together a nice 17 play drive but then threw an interception in the endzone. Then when we did the fake punt we gained 16 yards on that play and fumbled. Turnovers hit us at the worst possible times.”

Zane Cottingim had a good night for South though – “On defense he has a nose for the ball and is in on every tackle. He has good instincts but knows his defensive keys, he is a real leader us on defense. And when Ashley was hurt we had to use him on offense – he played running back and slot receiver. Also Darin Brown had a good night with 8 tackles at cornerback and 3 receptions for 38 yards at receiver. Dylan Steffey, on offensive line performed well for us. We talk to kids about going from whistle to whistle – well he went from whistle to the echo of the whistle in my opinion it was his best night of the year. “

On South’s game against Miami East, “Miami East and North have similar offense’s and defense’s so we are going to see the same schemes as we did against North. I think they are the biggest team physically in the league and we are going to have to prepare to be ready for that. Last I looked they were number 9 in the playoffs –a bubble team and we want to take that from them.”

I asked Coach Derringer if North had any concerns going into the game, “We were more worried about the spread offense – we just don’t see that in this league. And we were worried about getting our linebackers set up correctly. We ran them a little wider and then came up with blitz packages against different formations. And we were worried about their running game, Cole Cottingim can be dangerous.”

On the game, “We wanted to establish the running game as we had seen how they had problems with Ansonia and a few other teams. Michael Olinger had a great game for us. But the penalties really hurt, he should have had two more scores. We will work on eliminating penalties this week. And the defense was just exceptional. Billy Derringer had 2 interceptions, Austin Hutchins had one interception for a TD, and Sam Judd had a big interception to stop a TVS drive in the endzone. Josh Daughtery and JJ MacPherson had 14 tackles and Jake Schlater had 2 sacks. On the offensive side of the ball Caleb Lawson had 7 carries for 134 yards and Austin Hutchins was 4-13 with just 49 yards. So our passing was not successful as it has been in the past. But we counted 6 dropped balls – if we could have caught those we would have had over 100 yards passing. Right now Austin stands at about 850 yards, with two games left in the season – we are thinking that he will break 1000 yards passing.“

Next week North goes against Trail - another school using the spread offense. Coach Derringer plans to switch up his defenses and give them a different look in the secondary. Offensively things shouldn’t change much – maybe a few less penalties...

The picture - North's Sam Judd gets cartwheeled by South's Zane Cottingim.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Dixie Defeats Northridge.

In the words of Coach Tarpley, Dixie has a brutal schedule this season. And they have played several teams in the SWBL that look to be play off bound with maybe 1 or two more ahead. It makes it doubly tough to make it back to .500 when you are the smallest team in the league. So when winless Northridge came up next on schedule, Dixie wanted to take another step in the right direction with a victory. Coming into the game, Dixie had 2 wins and needed this win plus 2 more to get to .500.

But things didn’t start off well for the Greyhounds when a Luke Bowling pass was intercepted and after a good return, Northridge passed the ball from the 12 yard line and were up on the scoreboard 7-0. Dixie next went to ground game and Ryan Jordan scored to draw the score even at 7-7 to close out the first quarter. Any thoughts that Northridge had of getting their first win of the season were put to the rest in the second quarter when Dixie erupted for 27 points. Northridge never really got regrouped in the second half although they did score again in the fourth quarter. When all was done Dixie had a decisive 53-13 victory.

On way to the victory, Ryan Jordan had the best night of his high school career. Not only did he score a touchdown in every quarter, he also set a new Dixie single game rushing record with an astonishing 294 yards. But wait there’s more - to paraphrase the late night pitchmen – Jordan had a great night on the defensive side of the ball too. Matt Isaacs was out with a concussion and so middle linebacker duties fell on Jordan’s shoulders. He responded by leading the team with 11 tackles. Quite a night’s work for the young athlete. Also scoring for Dixie were Mike Smiley, Doogie Houser, and Luke Bowling (1 run and 2 TD passes).

Coach Tarpley had plenty of praise to go around, “Ryan Jordan had a great night for us, but we had a good night as a team. Our defense played well holding Northridge to under 200 yards of offense. Matt Smiley, John Isaacs and Luke Bowling did really well. Our PAT kicker, Ryan Scott, had 5 PAT’s and we have been focusing on special teams this week and it showed in the game – we wanted to stop giving team’s good field position.”

Next week Dixie plays a tough West Milton team, “We just have a brutal schedule this year. We played another team that is strong up front like West Milton – Brookville. We played with them for a half and then the game got away from us. But we have to get our heads up. I told the players that of the 7 games we played, in 5 we have been close to even. West Milton is looking at Division 4 playoffs and maybe a chance at the league. We need to focus on what we can do and try to spoil their party.”

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Football Texas Style

Everyone knows that things are bigger in Texas. And the high school football game I attended last night lived up to expectations. Coppell High school at Dallas is one of the largest high schools in Texas and regularly vies for the state championship. When you pull up, you are struck by the size of the complex. A huge scoreboard with graphics and video replay, a stadium with field turf that most colleges would be envious of and a practice facility with an indoor football field. The indoor field was actually used by the Dallas Cowboys when there was a dome collapse at their facility a few years ago. So the sports complex is impressive. I have been to playoff's in Southwest Ohio and the Troy and Mason facilities are some of the best in the area and they pale in comparison to this.

And the whole experience was an event. Both teams took the field running thru inflatable helmets and smoke in the endzones. The home team Coppell Cowboys ran thru a huge banner that looked to be about 25 feet tall. The cheerleaders had to use poles and ropes to hold it up. The halftime show was impressive. The Coppell band had to be at least 200 members strong and generated a wall of sound. Not one, not two, but 4 conductors lead the band. The Lariat drill team in short skirts and dainty cowboy hats did a well choreographed high kicking routine.

Oh yeah there was a football game there too. Fossil Valley Panthers were the visitors. Coppell was starting a sophomore quarterback due to their starting quarterback going down with a knee injury two weeks ago. Both teams ran variations of the spread offense. Coppell used a 3-5 defense and Fossil Valley used a 4-3 defense. As one might expect, Coppell tried to run the ball more with the young quarterback while Fossil Valley was more creative with their offense - even using a halfback pass at one point. They did not utilize a punt team, as the quarterback could also punt. So they just got into a regular spread formation, he took a couple of steps back and quick kicked the ball.

Fossil Valley scored twice to get the early lead. But Coppell was able to make adjustments and after two possessions where they did 3 plays and punted, they finally scored on their third possession when they ran a quarterback keeper and he found a seam for a long run and was finally dragged down at about the 5 yard line. Later they punched the ball in for a score and it was game on from that point. With a bigger line, they were able to get most of the yardage in between the tackles. Mixing in a pass every so often to keep the offense honest.

Coppell gave up a field goal and even a safety. The quarterback had problems with the snap from center several times and that was a thorn in their side as the ball was bobbled and had to hit the ball at least a half dozen times during the night. But they got their third touchdown and the lead in the third quarter. And the score was from a broken play where they drove inside the 10, the snap was bobbled and the quarter scooped it up and drove forward thru a crease in the line and somehow rolled out of a tackle to cross the goal line.

The Coppell defense made a good stand in the fourth quarter – Fossil Valley was in the redzone and they kept them from a touchdown for three plays and failed on a field goal attempt. This allowed Coppell to run out the clock for the remainder of the quarter winning 22-19. All in all I found the quality of play exceptional and it was definitely an event worth watching.

Coppell Cowboy Stadium

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Tri County North took out their frustrations on the Bradford Railroaders on Friday night. The team was still smarting from a disappointing 35-7 loss against Covington last week. The coaching staff would have to be wondering how the team would react on their first game back from an emotional loss. And being homecoming weekend, the Panther fans were even more clamoring for a win. This team still has a lot on the line for themselves, a future Covington loss would mean a chance for a least a tie for the league championship and at last check they were unofficially in 8th place for their district – meaning that they are in the hunt for a state playoff berth. So the Panthers needed to rebound with a win for all these reasons.

On their side of the ledger Bradford already had a thin roster decimated by injury – but had some players suspended from the game. So the North sideline was overflowing with red jerseys, while the Bradford sideline was thin – I don’t think there were even 10 substitutes on the Bradford sideline. Bradford was certainly playing iron man football – no rest for the starters. And with new faces on the field there was a greater chance for mistakes.

Any doubts on the North sideline were quickly erased in the first quarter. North struck first with a 80 yard touchdown pass from Austin Hutchins to Bill Derringer. A stout North defense kept Bradford out of the endzone for most of the game, preventing them from getting any traction. But Bradford had several mistakes at key times that prevented them from taking advantage of opportunities. Early in the second quarter they recovered a fumble at the North 35 yard line. But a critical hold on 4th and 1 put Bradford into long yardage and they had to give up the ball. North took advantage and regained their momentum scoring on a Sam Judd pass reception from Caleb Lawson.

The next Bradford drive was again stopped by penalties – a hold, then an unsportsmanlike as a flustered Bradford offense could not get on track. After a Bradford fumble North scored again on a JJ McPherson run and now things were getting lopsided with North up by 3 scores. Bradford tried a little subterfuge right before the half ended with a fake punt in their own territory. This failed and gave North a short field with about 1:22 left in the half. This was all the time needed for North to find paydirt again as Caleb Lawson caught a 35 yard pass from Austin Hutchins to put North into a commanding lead 28-0.

The second half showed even more that it was not Bradfords night –another fumble and a penalty, and then a snap on a punt went over the punters head who then correctly reacted by kicking the ball out of endzone – denying North the chance of a TD, but gifting them with a safety. About midway thru the 3rd quarter things got a little ugly when a pushing and shoving match drew unsportsmanlikes for both teams and a talking to from the referee’s and coaches to settle both teams down.

North found the endzone 3 times in the second half. JJ McPherson and Michael Olinger (who bull rushed thru several tackles on his 24 yard TD run) both ran the ball in and a Colton Booth to Mark VanBrederode touchdown pass rounded out the scoring for the Panthers. The Bradford offense was able to find the endzone in the 4th quarter as the North first string defense rested on the sidelines and let the reserves finish out the game. Giving an otherwise frustrated Bradford offense some measure of success.

Coach Derringer was asked if the staff was worried about how the team would react after the Covington loss, “Well we were all disappointed about how we got down early and were dominated up front. So we got the whole team and worked on firing off the ball and drive blocking and I think you can see the results of that on Friday night. Austin Hutchins had over 200 yards passing and you can’t do that unless you have an offensive line to protect him. This is the first time in a long time that North has had over 200 yards passing in a game. “

JJ McPherson had 95 yards rushing and a TD. Austin Hutchins threw for 201 yards, 2 TD’s, and was 8 of 13 passing. Billy Derringer had 105 yard receiving and a TD; Caleb Lawson had a TD and 25 yards; Sam Judd also had a TD.

“Now we did get to a slow start against Bradford even though we scored on the second play of the game. But our defense really dominates at home and we held Bradford for three quarters. One of their rushers had over 2000 yards last year and we held him to just 35 yards over 3 quarters. Josh Daughtery our middle linebacker had one of his best games of the year, he had a tremendous night and covered the side to side defense well. JJ McPherson had three tackles for loss at outside linebacker. And the entire defensive line played great – we rotated 6-7 players in there and kept fresh all night.”

Next up is Miami East, who is also coming off of a loss to Covington. “We upset them last year and I know they remember that. But we are playing here at home this year, and this season we are playing good at home. It should be a great ball game.”

Sunday, September 18, 2011

“Our defense is what makes this team”, stated coach Derringer after his squad defeated Bethel on Friday night, “we don’t have much size but overall quickness is what makes our defense so effective.” Bethel was able to march their opening drive down the field and plant the ball in the endzone. It looked like game on for two teams that are battling for the top half of the league. But that would be the only score of the night for the Bee’s as the stifling North defense shut out Bethel for the remainder of the game. Meanwhile the North offense was able to put up 34 points in all against Bethel.

Coach Derringer explained after the game that he was disappointed with the first half rushing game. “We had scouted them, and attacked their defense where we felt they were weakest against the run. But we were not able to run, we might have had 8 yards in the first quarter and not much more than that for the half. “ Fortunately for the Panthers their passing game is effective – and Austin Hutchins connected with Billy Derringer for the first score for the Panthers. This tied the game and the Panthers were able to score again before the half ended. They split Austin Hutchins out as a receiver and placed Caleb Lawson at quarterback. Billy Derringer was again the recipient of a touchdown pass - this time from Lawson, and the Panthers had a 14 – 7 lead.

As good teams do, North made some half time adjustments to their running game and then exploded for 163 yards rushing in the 3rd quarter. Caleb Lawson scored a rushing td in the third and North opened the game up in the fourth quarter with both JJ McPherson and Cameron Gayheart scoring rushing TD’s. So the two halves were opposites for the team with the passing game carrying the load in the first half, and the rushing game making the difference in the second half. The game was won 34-7 by the Panthers. Coming into the game Bethel had a single league loss against Covington and in that loss they played tough against perennial powerhouse Covington losing by just 3 points 17-14. So on paper this should have been a much closer battle.

“Our defense stepped it up after the opening drive,” said coach Derringer, “We gave up 52 yards in the first quarter, but in the second quarter they had -22 rushing. And when we beat Arcanum they had 7 yards rushing in the first 3 quarters, and it was the same against Mississennewa Valley. For the game Bethel had less than 100 yards rushing and maybe 25 yards passing. It was a good game for us, we had great intensity and the team was emotional going into the game.”

Defensively for the Panthers Josh Daughter lead the way with 12 tackles and 2 for loss; Jacob Schlater, who had just returned from injury after missing two games had 6 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and caused a fumble. Sam Judd and JJ McPherson had 6 tackles apiece with McPherson also intercepting a pass.

Coach Derringer on next week, “Covington will run every type of option at us – they have a complicated offense and our defense will have our hands full trying to sort it out. It has been 12 years since a North team has beat Covington. We will have to play an excellent game to leave their field with a victory.”

As we approach midseason, the league is starting to sort itself out from top to bottom. This coming Friday North takes on Covington for a game with both league and playoff implications for both teams. Both teams are undefeated in league play – tied for first, and a win makes the route the league championship that much easier. North is D6 this year and beating D5 Covington would give them first level points to get into the playoffs, and Covington would like to have the second level points from North wins. This will be an away game for North in the always tough Covington home field.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ansonia Outlasts South in Shootout

Ansonia outlasted South in a contest where offense was king. Neither teams defense could stop the others and it came down to which team would make the final score before time ran out. Ansonia under coach Hoying has been known for years for a ball control/run first offense. This year South’s offense features a spread attack and they would air it out – scoring 5 of their TD’s with the pass. So it was a game that would contrast two different styles of offense, plenty of lead changes, and where the punters pretty much had a night off.

South fell behind early as Ansonia got the ball and marched it down the field, taking 6 minutes of clock to score. South moved the ball on their first possession getting two first downs, but a penalty stopped their first drive and caused them to punt. And for the game South would punt twice, once in the first half and once in the second half. Ansonia then did another machinelike clock eating drive and ended it with another touchdown in the second quarter. Ansonia went for 2 points on their PAT’s and were successful twice. So the scoreboard was 16-0, it was not looking promising for the Panthers.

But although time of possession in the first half would favor Ansonia, South showed that they didn’t need much time to score. They scored not 1, not 2, but 3 unanswered touchdowns in quick succession. Suddenly it was TVS in the lead with a 21-16 lead. But South just would not be able to stop Ansonia on Friday night and they scored just before the half ended to regain the lead 24-21.

Now the game became a seesaw with Ansonia and South exchanging leads several times. But Ansonia was able to extend their lead. And late in the game South was facing a 40-28 deficit. But with 5:11 left, they scored to make it 40-34 and then did a squib kick which South recovered. It was a big momentum shift. And South made use of that momentum to drive the ball in and score. But
Ansonia was not out for the count – they made a big special teams play and blocked the TVS kick for the point after and now the score was knotted 40 all. But Ansonia had one more drive left in them and scored with 11 seconds to go for the win 48-40. And every fan in that stadium got their money’s worth that night.

“I was proud of the team, twice we were down by 2 touchdowns and twice they responded and came back, said Lance Engleka after the game. I was most pleased that we didn’t get down and kept coming at them. But ball control was a problem, we gave up 474 of rushing offense – and you can’t win games giving up that kind of yardage. Also Ansonia converted on 3rd and 4th downs 12 of 17 times. We can’t allow teams to have that kind of success again us.”

He went on to point that that Cole Cottingim had a great game rushing 24 times for 149 yards and a touchdown and his passing was 12/19 for 210 yards and 5 td’s. Scoring 5 passing touchdowns is something that South has not done for quite some time. He also pointed out that Michael Burke had a good night at receiver 7 receptions for 131 yards and 2 TD’s. Finally safety Zane Cottingim had 8 tackles with 4 assists and defensive back Wes Cole had 2 solo tackles and 8 assists. But when asked about this he admitted, “Our leading tacklers should not be in the defensively secondary, we need more from the rest of the defense. “

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Dixie Falls to Valley View

Although the final score was lopsided, the Greyhounds hung with the Spartans for 3 quarters. And Dixie had their chances against Valley View. There were two times in the game where 14 point swings made a big difference. Although the outcome would probably have been the same, the score would have been closer had Dixie not had mistakes in the red zone. Twice they failed to score points in side the twenty and both times Valley View capitalized on Dixe mistakes in the red zone to score themselves. So add 14 to the Dixie side and subtract 14 from the Valley View side and suddenly you have a game. Dixie showed that they could move the ball but putting it in the endzone was a problem on Friday.

Dixie’s first drive was their best of the night. Combining the pass and run they capped the drive with a Bowling to Ryan Jordan 32 yard touchdown pass. Later in the Valley View offensive series Dixie’s Nick Parker sacked the Valley View quarterback as did Wade Floyd a few plays later and Dixie would hold a 7-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. So far Dixie was looking good on both offense and defense.

But to beat a bigger opponent, a team can’t afford to make mistakes. And turnovers kept Dixie from getting momentum, this started in the second quarter and didn’t stop. Early in the second quarter a bad snap lead to a bad handoff which lead to a Valley View Spartan pouncing on the dropped ball. A few plays later and the game was even at 7-7. Then a bad punt gave Valley View the ball on the 41 yard line where they drove it in to go ahead. A fumble recovery by John Isaacs gave Dixie new life but on that series, Dixie coughed up the ball on an interception at the Valley View 14. Dixie did stop them and got new life when a bad snap went over the punters head, he attempted a kick which was partially blocked and who else but Isaacs covered the ball at the Valley View 17. It looked like a momentum change, but Dixie threw an interception on 4th and 11, it was returned by Chris Lykins over 90 yards for a TD. So instead of tying the game 14 all, Dixie was down 21-7 at the half – not the momentum shift that Dixie needed.

In the third quarter, Dixie’s Wade Floyd had a tackle for loss and ended Valley View’s first drive. Dixie’s last gasp was on their next possession. John Isaacs caught a pass and went 80 yards for the touchdown. They did not make the extra point and it was 21-13. And from there on out it was all Valley View. Dixie was able to drive again to the Valley View 25, but a bad snap on 4th down killed that drive and lead to another Valley View touchdown. With Valley View able to platoon, they wore down Dixie. Many Dixie players had to go both ways in the heat – plus two starters were just coming back from the flu. So they just ran out of gas in the second half. The Spartans would win 49-13.

“Well you can’t win any ball game with 7 turnovers,” stated Coach Tarpley after the game,”and Valley View capitalized on 4 of those for touchdowns, including all three Valley View TD’s in the second quarter. Bad plays and bad snaps were a problem. And our defense could not find an answer for Schenck their running back. Valley View rose to the occasion and played really well.”

He did go to say that Ryan Jordan had a really good game on defense. “He was our leading rusher last week, but we couldn’t get our running game on track this week. He plays both ways and lead the team in tackles at linebacker. Next week we play against Division 2 Franklin, the mistakes we made this week we can correct.”

Congrats to both TVS and TCN on their first victories of the season. And Eaton is hitting on all 8 cylinders. They look tough to beat at this point in the season.

Finally on OSU - watching the game against Akron over my shoulder as I update. Glad that OSU gets the win. They looked good - but you have to consider the opponent, the Zips have been in the bottom half of the MAC. Still I liked what I saw, an Ohio State team that controlled the line of scrimmage, ran well, passed well. Freshman Miller got playing time at qb in a non threatening situation. So a good start to the Finkell era.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

This Friday I will be covering the Dixie - Valley View game.

If you can't make the game, I will be posting quarterly scores from the sidelines.

Watch for the story to be posted here next weekend.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Greyhounds Race Past Panthers

With Dixie graduating a good crop of seniors last season there was some question if they could reload or would they need to rebuild? They have Junior quarterback Luke Bowling back at the helm but they lost two of his favorite receivers and on the defensive side of the ball they lost a premier linebacker, finally they lost linemen on both sides of the ball. Well the answer this last Friday night was that Dixie is in reload mode. They scored first and allowed South to tie it 7 -7. But that was the high water mark for the South offense as they were smothered from that point on by a stout Dixie defense. On the other side of the ball, the spread offense of Dixie was keeping South off balance with both the run and pass.

Bowling showed that he had some wheels as well as an arm as he carried the ball in twice for scores. He also connected with Doogie Hauser for a 30 yard TD pass, this play was set by a Jordan screen pass a play prior. And Jordan scored himself on runs of 43 and 80 yards. The 43 yard run was set up a Zack Grubb kick off return to the TVS 46 yard line. Trent Cummings scored on a one yard carry. But this score was set up by a Panther miscue – a bad snap on a punt resulted in the ball going to Dixie on the one yard line.

The lone Panther score was set up by freshman Anthony Augspurger’s interception. He was playing outside linebacker and jumped a route for the pickoff. Then he ran about 36 yards until he was tackled at the 23 yard line of Dixie. Three plays later the ball was given to Augspurger from 6 yards out where he finished the deal by running in for the score.

Both teams had their of share penalties – even for a first game. In a close game this can come back to bite these two teams. So I am sure both teams will be working on minimizing the illegal procedures and holding calls for next week. Although there was a good night for football, the turnout in West Alexandria seemed a little light as compared to years past. Hopefully this will improve too as the season goes on.

But Coach Tarpley from Dixie was more than pleased with his defense, “They are doing really well, this is the fastest defense that we have had and it showed on the field. It was lead by linebacker Matt Isaacs, who had 13 tackles and a fumble recovery. We played well in all aspects of the game, the defense, the offense, special teams – our kicking game was outstanding. Ryan Jordan had 165 yards rushing in the first half alone. “

He was gracious to the host team, “They are a well coached team, I see them getting much better once they learn the spread offense. It is a hard offense to pick up the first year. Also I appreciate the good sportsmanship that I saw on the field. Lance [Engleka] will do well at South, I see him doing good things in the CCC. ”

On next weeks game, “Well they are Valley View for one – they dropped us from the schedule years ago because they didn’t think we offered the completion, but I want to see the rivalry we once had come back. They have a good running back that their offense is centered around and they run a 5-2 defense. It will be a tough game, but I hope to surprise them. We had a good fan turnout Friday against South, but I really want to see the Dixie fans come out in full force and support us at Valley View.”

Coach Engleka acknowledged that Dixie was potent after the game, “We knew their offense was explosive, they put 35 points against Division 2 Greenville and scored 49 points in 3 quarters against Tri-County North. So we knew that they could put points on the board in a hurry. So we told the players before the game that we could not allow any big plays. We did that in the first quarter – although they scored, they had to drive the ball down the field. And we stopped them a few possessions. Then we had the break down on special teams early in the second quarter and turned the ball over to Dixie on the one yard line. Then we gave up another big play and so that 14 point swing at the start of the 2nd quarter really broke our backs.”

I asked him about the South score, “We had told our outside line backers where the Dixie receivers hit their marks, and Anthony hit the mark at right time and was able to make the play. We’ve been teaching the kids to listen and get to where they need to be on each play. He then had a nice return to the redzone and we were able to score three plays later.”

Finally, what positives they could find from the game? “We watched the game film and found that defensive linemen Cody Clayton and Kole Maggard did a great job clogging up the ‘A’ (inside) gaps. Kole was generally double teamed and still had 7 tackles including 2 for loss. They were both in their backfield more often than not. We also liked what we saw in Brad Wagers at Defensive End. He is a bit undersized, but compensates with quickness. And that quickness caused problems for the Dixie offense.

Next week South will play National Trail at home – both teams run the same offense and the same defense – according to coach Engleka this game will come down to which team executes the spread offense and 4-4 defense the best, and Dixie stays on the road and will travel to always tough Valley View.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Eaton is ready for Talawanda. After their 3rd and final scrimmage, Eaton is ready to begin the regular season next Friday against Talawanda. Expectations are high after last seasons playoff run. Returning quarterback Cole French did not disappoint as he looked steady at the helm. I don't know what his completion rate was, but it had to have been high. Very few dropped balls and most of his passes were on the money. He and the spread offense work well together. When the scrimmage was over, Eaton had scored 4 TD's to Tipp City's one.

On the other side of the ball the defense had a good night overall. Lots of pressure on the Tipp quarterback. He had little time to throw. The running game was all they had. It was the big play that was the Achilles heel of the Eaton defense. They held Tipp to just a few yards a carry then all of sudden Tipp ripped a big carry for 50-60 yards. This happened at least twice and lead to their one score. Then the second time the defense held on a 4th and short causing Tipp to give up the ball on downs at about the 10 yard line. But overall the defense gave a good accounting of themselves.

The one thing I would like to see improved is the running game. Sure with the spread, you think pass first. And with a seasoned quarterback that is your strong hand. But you need to be able to run from time to time to keep the defense honest. Plus on those cold and windy Fridays, you need to be able to run when the pass isn't working for you. There was one decent gain for 15 yards, but overall they didn't do so well on the ground.

Coach Neanon had this to say after the scrimmage: "It was a good place to start, I really liked our defensive intensity - we got some nice pressure on their quarterback. That is something that we have been working on, so it was pleasing for us. Overall intensity wise I thought we played well. I thought our passing game looked good tonight. Our receivers caught the ball and Cole ready the defense well and picked out the guys who would be open. The offensive line gave him plenty of time, and if Cole has the time he can pick a defense apart."

Neanon expects Talawanda to use a ground attack. "They have big line splits and they will try to spread you out and they have a big quarterback who makes good reads on the option. They are not a huge team, but they have good quickness. On defense they use that speed to close on the ball."

On OSHAA allowing teams to have three scrimmages this year. "Overall I think it was a positive. We got to look at a lot of kids early on and fill out the depth chart. A lot of our young guys got playing time in game situations. On the negative side, there is always the chance for injury and so you just want to get out healthy."

Also I am doing some audio clips. So check it out on my Sports webpage, there is a link to right. The TVS audio is there now and Eaton's will be there shortly. Oh and if there are any young aspiring broadcasters out there - contact me. My voice is a monotone.

Eaton 28 tipp 7 With jv teams now playing in 43h
Eaton 21 tipp 7 at half of scimmage

Saturday, August 13, 2011


A new look at TVS. By my count TVS won the scrimmage 4-2 over New Miami. South scored both on the ground and in the air. The offense has an entirely new look under first year head coach Lance Engleka. He is the former offensive coordinator at Middletown where they ran the spread offense. That was the South offense of choice for the entire scrimmage. Many times spread teams will go to a different formation when it is short yardage - but South stayed with the spread thru out. Although South did use the pass effectively, they were able to keep New Miami of balance by running for yardage as well.

The South quarterbacks had a good eye for the most part - I think there was just the one interception, and the South receivers had good hands - very few dropped balls. They had a few holds on the line, and a few miscues, but for a first scrimmage they did well. And New Miami did have a couple of horses at tackle. Two big kids that looked to be over 6 foot and over 250 pounds. Defensively they had some let downs, but in the last part of the scrimmage, when it was down and distance, they did a good job against New Miami. South was up 4-1 and they had some subs in the game late when a New Miami quarterback ran a keeper for about 50 yards just before the scrimmage was over. Lots of red jerseys around the ball which you like to see on defense, plus they had a few sacks and tackles for loss.

New Miami has a new head coach as well - Coach Jewitt - if my memory is right he coached at Carlisle for awhile. One thing he did that was actually beneficial for the TVS defense was the variety of formations he used. The old T formation, Double wing, and the spread offenses. So the team had to adjust to a variety of looks. New Miami does not have much depth with about 22 - 24 players in all. On the other hand, South had 41 dressed for the scrimmage. Towards the end that difference in depth meant that they stayed stronger, longer.

Coach Engleka stated the entire experience was positive. "From an offensive standpoint we want to be uptempo in everything we do. Right from the get go we did what we needed to do, we were able to run the ball and we were able to throw the ball. We want to do what we want to do - when we want to do it. We both ran and threw the ball well when we wanted to.

Dylan Ashley and Cole Cottingim did really well at quarterback today. Our offensive line did a good job of getting into guys and moving them off the ball. We want our line to move the line of scrimmage back three yards and they did a great job of doing that. Our recievers made some real athletic plays. On the defensive side we told the guys to line up right, play fast and physical. Those are the three things we want to do, and today we did those three things. The type of offense they were running we had not seen before. And they did a good job against them; and if we can do those three things all year - line up right, play fast and physical we will be successful this year.

The defensive line did a good job of putting pressure on the quarterback. Our linebackers were coming up strong. Our free safety Zane Cottingim did an outstanding job today did an outstanding job of filling in the alley. Overall we were pleased with everything."

Posted by Picasa
Football Scrimmage: TVS 4 New Miami 2 Final

Well looks like the mobile posting from the field is working well. South was up 4-1, but Miami East got a score at the end of the scrimmage. Will post a full update and a pic or later. Have to run to a birthday party now.
Tvs 2 new miami 1 almost done with scrimmage
Tvs 1 new miami 1 midway thruscrimmage

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ready for Fall? If you are like me you are ready for fall sports to kick off. The Reds just don't have the chemistry that they had last year. They have shown signs of what they can be - like when they beat up the Giants. Then they fell on their face at Houston. Playing to the level of their competition. Although they are not mathematically eliminated, it is safe to say that they will spend the playoffs like the rest of us - on their couches with the remote control.

The Browns could be a team that sneaks up on folks. I can see them upsetting some teams this season. But the Bengals, oh the Bengals, ran by Mike Brown who was shocked and amazed that his franchise was voted amongst the worst in sports. New offense, new receivers, new quarterback, shutdown corner Joseph gone - for them 3 or 4 wins will be an accomplishment. This season the Bengals gear stays in mothballs.

Which brings us to the other professional team in Ohio - the Ohio State Buckeyes. Lots of turmoil. Anyone who hasn't graduated is suspended for the first 5 games. We have gotten spoiled in the Tressel era. It was taken for granted that we would win the big 10, beat up on Michigan, and play in a major bowl. Although the interim head coach, Finckel is intense, I don't know if he can overcome all the off field churn to get the team focused. It will be interesting to see if Braxton Miller can work his way into a starting QB spot - he seems more like the real deal than Pryor.

So what's left - my favorite sport, High School football. Looking forward to seeing some great players this fall. Cole French was phenomenal at Eaton. But his favorite receiver graduated, along with some very good linemen. Still I think that Eaton is in reload mode and should do well this season. A bit further down 35, Bowling is back as a Junior QB for Dixie. And he faces similar challenges - two very good receivers graduated along with some key linemen. Dixie had a great season last year, but being the smallest school in the SWBL, they have little margin for error.

In the CCC, look for Covington and Miami East to be at the top. But I think Bradford could be ready to make a challenge. They return a lot and Enis seems to have made a difference as head coach. Likewise Bethel returns some good players, I can see them in the top half of the league. Derringer seems to get the best out of TCN, they had a good young quarterback last season. It will be interesting to see if he continues to improve. South has a new coach, numbers are up, so maybe South will rise again. Ansonia graduated a lot and I am not sure they will get much help from the underclassmen. National Trail has a new coach, I heard they held up OK against Centerville in 7 on 7's, so maybe they are onto something.

Finally, I have the capability of updating the blog from my phone. So I will be posting quarterly updates on the games that I am attending. I know from the stats that a fair number of folks follow the blog from out of state and overseas. So this will be a way to get results closer to real time. First game will be TVS vs. Dixie.
Test post from phone

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Local Athletes State Bound

Two local athletes will be going on to state – regional Champion Myranda Schoen from TCN threw the discus 114’6” to win her event. South’s George Holman was a 4th place finisher in the 1600m run and so he will be running at state. The always tough Southwest Regional track meet was a heartbreaker for a number of athletes who had aspirations of going on to the next level. Many athletes would have their best performances of the season at the meet but it wouldn’t be enough to be a top 4 finisher and go on to state. But as I found out, several athletes will have opportunities after their high school careers have finished.

Dixie had two near misses with John Isaacs finishing 5th and William Stapleton finishing 6th in their events – high jump and 3200m run. Stapleton took an astounding 30 seconds off of his best time but still just missed going to state. De’Aaron Isaacs finally got a medal in the 300m hurdles. Last season he tumbled over the last hurdle while in first place and was disqualified. This season he did finish, but ended up in 8th place. South’s Steve Balthis and Ryan Burns also came close to qualifying for state, but their performances were just shy. South girls relay teams finished outside the medal range even though the 4X400m relay team won their heat.

And looking to the future, De’Aaron will be going on to Miami University on an Academic Scholarship; he will be studying music and drama . Megan Uzzel didn’t do as well as she would have liked in the pole vault, finishing out of a medal. But she will be going on to Ashland where she plans to continue her track career. Tony Prater, also from Dixie, will be attending Kentucky Christian and playing football there. Finally South’s George Holman will attending the University of Detroit Mercy where he will continue his running career with a scholarship.

Coach Fahrenholtz from South had hoped that Steve Balthis would have made it to state,” but still he had a great season, and great career here – he just didn’t have a great day. In any other year his long jump would have gotten him to state, but it didn’t this year. In the 2 mile run 6th place was under 10 minutes – so the competition was great in all the events.” On George Holman, “His time of 4:30.11 is a personal record for him. I am happy for him, he ran well. He is our one and only going to state – it was a tough year here at regionals.”

George Holman was asked about going out for the early lead in his race, “Part of my stragedy was to get out there early and stay with the leaders and stay with them as long as I can.” George held the lead for most of the race and was overtaken late but finished a solid 4th. This will be his second 1600m run at the state meet.

Dixie’s Coach Hughes also agreed that this was a tough meet. “I was happy with the numbers of the guys that made it to the meet. They worked hard all season, it didn’t go quite as well as we wanted it to. John Isaacs just missed in the high jump, and our 2 miler, Stapleton had the best performance for us of the day and still didn’t make it – it was his best run ever. Sophomore John Nguyen didn’t make it in hurdles, but he got some good experience. De’Aaron Isaacs didn’t make it, it wasn’t quite his year. He got his first medal for 300m hurdles, but it really wasn’t the medal he was really hoping for. The 4X200m team scored points for us and had a personal best. the 4X100m team just missed scoring points, finishing 9th. Kenny Beard, the head track official, remarked that the first and second finishers here will finish really well in state too.”

Regional results: 110m hurdles TVS Steve Balthis 7th; 4X200m relay Dix John Isaacs, Doogie Hauser, Ryan Jordan, Tony Prater 7th;1600m TVS George Holman 4th;300m hurdles Dix De’Aaron Isaacs 8th; 3200m Dix William Stapleton 6th; Discus Myranda Schoen TCN 1st; high jump Kate Yeazel NT 6th; High Jump Dix John Isaacs 5th; Long Jump TVS Steve Balthis 6th; Pole Vault TVS Ryan Burns 6th, Jordan Krickenbarger 8th.