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Thursday, December 31, 2015

South Runners Up in Shawnee Tournament

South entered the Shawnee Holiday tournament with some momentum -having defeated Bethel (only 1 loss at the time) the week before. After fending off rival Tri-County North in the first round, South encountered Talawanda in the finals. The Braves had defeated host Shawnee the night before 58-39. And they were able to go through South like a buzzsaw. An unrelenting man to man defense and an offense that could sink the 3 pointer as well as drive the ball in to paint made short work of the Panthers who would fall 46-32.

In the North game, South had to have someone else step up when their leading scorer, Jacob Bassler, was saddled with a North defender close by for a good bit of the game. Both JJ Utz (13 points) and Winston Crossier(15) points stepped up their games to help make up the difference. Bassler would still score 18 points on the night despite the extra attention.

South allowed North to creep back into the game in the last 3 minutes. And suddenly it was a 2 point game and the momentum was all North. But with about 18 seconds left and South with the ball, North had to foul. JJ Utz was sent to the line and he calmly sunk 2 free throws to pull South 2 scores in front. North turned over the ball on their next possession and South was able to run out the clock and preserve the win.

The story was different in the Championship game. South has been able to get points off of turnovers against other teams, but they found both turnovers and points hard to come by against the Braves. It was 19-6 at the end of the 1st quarter and 32-14 at halftime. Late in the 2nd half they did resort to a trapping half court defense and did generate some turnovers. South closed the gap somewhat but the Braves had plenty of cushion in their lead and were able to end the night with a comfortable victory. It was a disappointing end to the tournament for South.

South did put 2 players on the all tournament team – JJ Utz and Jacob Bassler. They lead scoring for South against Talawanda with 8 and 20 points respectively.

“Any game this year where we are not the hardest working team on the floor we are going to lose,” stated coach Augspurger, “I told that to the team tonight. We are not big, we are somewhat athletetic – but not physically gifted enough to get by on talent alone. We win by defense and effort. Talawanda came out and they were aggressive and physical. We did not meet their challenge. They took it to us and they were the more aggressive team. They were hungry tonight and it showed.”

He continued, “We got shell shocked early, and I took some timeouts to get settled down – but I could not find the right buttons to push. The only positive that I can come away with is our 4th quarter defense. We only worked on that trap a couple of times in practice, but we came out and did it with intensity. So that kept us from getting totally embarrassed.”

North Loses Two Exciting Games

Tri-County North lost both games at the Shawnee Holiday Tournament, but both losses were in exciting fashion. North has had 6 losses this season by 5 points or less. So they have been in many of their games, they just need to figure out how to win. They played their first round game against South and the game was close at the last minute with North charging hard. But South made some critical free throws to preserve a 56-52 win. In the consolation game against Shawnee the next night, again North made a strong bid to come from behind in the last seconds, only to miss the tying shot at the buzzer and fall 50-52. So North is showing that they can play with some strong teams, they just need to finish games.

The North – South was a rivalry game, but it was also the first match up between North's coach Spitler, (a former player South player for Augspurger) and South's coach Augspurger. And for a week night game starting at 6pm the game was well attended by fans from both teams. They got their money's worth. South did escape with a win, but it was not easy.

North had scouted South well and for a good portion of the game they played a zone with a player assigned to spy on South's Jacob Bassler, who has been the leading scorer for South this season. This was particularly effective in the first half with North getting a 1st quarter lead 14-11. South played man to man defense and did try to press North a little, North got some baskets off of it so thereafter South pressed sporadically to try and get a quick turnover.

South got into a better rhythm in the 2nd quarter, and got a 24-21 halftime lead. They did this mainly with their outside shooting. But when South came out of the locker room to start the 2nd half, they had a hot hand and quickly grew their lead. And at the end of the 3rd quarter, it looked like they were going to run away with the game leading 41-33.

But North battled back and made a nice run – it was a 3 point game with 2:56 left on the clock. And Zack Edgin nailed a shot to make it a 2 point game with 18 seconds left. But North was forced to foul and South's JJ Utz hit 2 free throws to make it a 2 possession game. North turned over the ball when they got the ball back and South was able to run out the clock and escape with a win.

So North played against Shawnee in the consolation game the next night. And the game followed the same recipe. The teams played within the same range for the first half. The score was 30 all at halftime. Shawnee utilized the press a good bit of the night. They did get a few turnovers but it was used more to get North in a hurry up mode than to snag any turnovers. The Arrows used man to man defense in the half court in the first half.

But in the second half, Shawnee switched to a zone. Both North and Shawnee have dominate post players – North's Kurt Brinson, and Shawnee's Thomas Buell. Brinson was scoring well in the first half, so Shawnee used the zone to hem him in. Brinson would finish with 20 points, but only 6 of those points in the 2nd half. He would win the battle of the big men, as Buell would finish with 12 points – he got into foul trouble in the second half and spent a good deal of time on the bench.

In a repeat of the previous night, North had to fight back from a 4th quarter deficit. They were down 52-45 with about 3 and half minutes left in the game. But they closed the gap and with 22 seconds left it was a 2 point game. They fouled to put Buell on the foul line and he missed his foul shot. North had to inbound the ball with 1.8 seconds left in the game – and no time outs. Still they got a shot off – but it hit the rim and bounced away. Again North came close, but had to settle for 2nd best again.

Was coach Spitler frustrated with the loss? “Well yes, frustrated with the loss, but proud of the way they played in both games. Tonight against Shawnee, this was probably the best effort we got out of our guys. I don't feel bad at all, I think that Zach Edgin had a good tournament. Brian Stinson had his first varsity start as a freshman, he played well. Our defense was outstanding for the most part. We rebounded well – Shawnee is a good team, sure it hurts to lose by 2, but we were able to play with them. We have different people playing well on different nights – if we can get everyone clicking on the same night, we can turn this around. We have been playing some tough teams, and it doesn't get any easier next week.”

On Kurt Brinson, “Kurt Brinson was our work horse this tournament. He put up 25 the other night and 20 tonight. He did a great job from the free throw line. They tried to keep him from scoring, but he found a way each night.”

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Dixie Drops Two

It was not a good week for the Hounds as they dropped 2 winnable games.  They first played undefeated Northridge who has been playing quality basketball as of late. Dixie actually lead at halftime but Northridge's 2nd half press wore them down.  Northridge gradually grew a lead and went on to win 66-58.  Preble Shawnee entered the week undefeated, but like Dixie they had lost on Tuesday.  So both teams came into Fridays game hoping to regain momentum.  The contest was an even matchup.  At one point in the 4th quarter, the game was knotted up 42-all and both teams had 7 fouls.  And when two equal teams meet, often times it is the team that makes the fewest mistakes that wins.  Dixie committed critical turnovers about midway through the last quarter that Shawnee turned into points.  With the lead, the Arrows went into slowdown mode and solidified a 57-48 victory.  Cody Grubbs lead all scorers with 28 points.

Northridge features Drew Ogletree – a dominating post player who helped Northridge go undefeated in the SWBL and make a playoff run to the sweet 16 last season. He did not disappoint as he put up 26 points on the Hounds. Dixie lead 32-26 at the half, but the withering press of Northridge seemed to take a toll on the team and frustrated Dixie. Blake Miller lead scoring for Dixie with 23 and Cody Gubb had 12 points.

Shawnee also has a strong post player in Thomas Buell - who almost didn't play in the game. He rolled an ankle in the Carlisle game earlier in the week and was on crutches afterwards. He was given clearance to play just that day and lead Shawnee in scoring with 16 points. So it was the second game in a row where Dixie had to figure out a way to defend dominating post player.

The Shawnee – Dixie game was a dog fight most of the way. The teams were evenly matched and there were several ties and lead changed through most of the game. It was 10-10 at the end of the first quarter. Shawnee was able to get a slight edge at halftime time – 21-18. But in a precursor of things to come, Shawnee's lead came at the end of the half when Dixie got sloppy with their ball handling and gave Shawnee a couple of turnovers. Shawnee converted these early Christmas gifts into points.

The 3rd quarter ended in a 42 – all tie and it remained knotted for the first 3 minutes of the 4th quarter. Shawnee did a little half court trap and netted a turnover. Then they got another turnover and were up by 2 scores. Dixie countered with a press to get some turnovers of their own, but it backfired when Shawnee broke the press to perfection and scored an easy basket. It was downhill from there as Dixie tried to rally, but Shawnee held them off and expanded their lead for the victory.

“Defensively we were able to get back into it. But I thought we didn't have the zeal and energy that we needed,” stated Coach Williams after the Shawnee game, “It didn't seem like the same team that we have had the last couple of games. We were kind of flat. Shawnee did make some timely shots when they needed to. Cody Grubb played well, I would have liked for him to attack a little more against Buell. Defensively we need more out of him.”

“Against Northridge we played with more energy,” he continued, “but we don't have much of a bench and seemed to get tired in the last quarter. I like the way we played against Northridge, but we just didn't play to our potential tonight.”

Dixie played two teams that are at the top of the SWBL Buckeye division. Both times Dixie played with their opponent for most of the game, only to lose towards the end. The season is still young, so Dixie can make up ground and make a move up in the division, but the league losses do drop Dixie into the bottom half of the division. Dixie won't play any division opponents until after the start of the new year. Then they resume league play and will have a chance for redemption. Dixie next plays at Oakwood – always a tough venue for visiting teams.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

North Wins Buzzer Beater

“It feels better than I thought it would,” coolly remarked coach Spitler after logging his first win as varsity coach. North had to win in come from behind fashion on the road and then hit the game winning shot with about 1.2 seconds left in the game. North let Trail garner a 10 point lead in the 1st quarter, then had to play catchup the remainder of the game. After staying on the heels of Trail for most of the game. North's Zach Edgin threw an improbable inbound pass ¾ the length of the court to a waiting Gabe Brinson who caught the ball close to the basket and tossed it in for the victory 64-62 as time expired.

But first up this week for North was a game with Franklin a D2 school in the SWBL's big school division. North was able to play with the Wildcats for about a half. The score was tied at the end of the 1st quarter and with about a minute left, Franklin went on a run to capture the lead 36-28 at half time. But Franklin carried their momentum forward into the second half and had a 54-40 lead at the end of 3 quarters. North had a tough time against Franklin's ¾ court press. And Franklin would win 60-44.

“You can't win turning the ball over 30 times,” remarked coach Spitler after this game, “Turning the ball over was the difference in this game. There were a lot of careless passes. We kept it close a good bit of the game, and otherwise gave good effort – take away the turnovers and we were in that game.”

To say that North got to a slow start against Trail is an understatement. At one point the score was 18-3 before the team seemed to wake up and go a on little run to close out the 1st quarter. But coach Spitler adjusted the defense to a man to man and from there North began to slowly dig themselves out of the hole.

It was 31-26 at halftime. And the game became a rubber band game where North would make a run and draw close, but Trail would feel the heat and go on a run of their own to stretch their lead back out. But North kept the heat up and finally tied the score late in the 4th quarter. Then North hit the aforementioned shot to win the game at the buzzer while the gym erupted in pandemonium.

“It feels really good; it feels better than I thought it would,” stated coach Spitler after the victory, “We have 2 tough games coming up next week against Miami East and Brookville, so we needed this win now. I saw that East beat South 57-30, and South is a good team.”

He was asked about having 3 scorers in double figures, “Garret Woodyard -He had a good week this week. He scored well against Franklin and put up 15 against Trail. Gabe Brinson had 15 points too, and Kurt Brinson put up 23. They all played well tonight.”

North plays 2 tough teams back to back. Travelling to Miami East on the 18th and then hosting neighboring Brookville on the 19th. Then they will participate in the Shawnee Holiday tournament over Christmas break.  

Vikings Overwhelm Panthers

Entering the week, South knew that they had to be giant slayers. They played back to back games against teams that had a lot more size than the Panthers – who don't have any size themselves in the first place. They were able to handle the SWBL's Valley View team, that had two players 6'4” or better. But against their fellow CCC team, Miami East, South struggled to find a way to overcome the Vikings combination of height and shooting. South won against Valley View 48-39, but fell to the Vikings 57-30.

Against Valley View, South allowed the Spartans an early lead. Then the team seemed to gather itself and went on an impressive run that gave the Panthers the lead for the remainder of the game. Defense was key for the Panthers – they held the Spartans to 2 points for about a 13 minute stretch that ended the first half and began the second half.

“Our instensity was great,” remarked coach Augspurger, “They were a big team, but not as wide – we contained their post better, and didn't give them many open shots.”

Miami East was a team that lived up it's billing. The opening lineup was much taller position by positon than South. And another big difference was shooting. A neutral observer coming in off the street would have thought that Miami East was the home team and South was the visitor. The Vikings sank shots with ease, but South had problems finding the rim all night. Usually the home team has the higher shooting percentage while the visitors, who are on an unfamiliar court, are the ones whose shooting suffers.

The Vikings did play good defense, but South missed a lot of open shots. The Vikings pressed in the first quarter and played zone defense in the half court. South was down 13-5 at the end of the 1st quarter and they made a little run at the end of the 1st half, but were down 22-14 as the teams entered the 2nd half. Jacob Bassler kept South in the game in the 1st half - scoring 10 of his 12 points during this span. But the Vikings shut him almost completely down in the second half.

But South was cold shooting and with their height, the Vikings limited South to one shot on almost every possession. So the lead gradually lengthened. Then South when on a scoring drought to start the last quarter. Ryan Bassler finally scored for the Panthers but East ended any attempts at a rally despite South pressing to try and get some turnovers.

“That was the worst matchup in our league for us.” stated coach Augspurger afterwards, “We are team of 5' 11” kids and they are playing kids 6' 3” and taller. So it's a bad matchup for us. They are an experienced team and know how to play that zone – and know how to stretch it. But we had shots, but we were not making them. We didn't turn the ball over much; we didn't rebound so much. But in the end we were not making our 3 point shots.”

“The better team won tonight,” he continued, “I have coached against Miami East teams since about 2000 and this one of the best teams that I have seen from them. Barring injury, I would not be surprised to see them win 20 games.”

Next up for South are two critical away games against league opponets. Next Friday they play at Covington, then on Tuesday the 22nd they play at Bethel. Then during Christmas break they will play in Preble Shawnee's holiday tournament.   

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Hounds Overcome North

The Dixie Greyhounds won their first home game of the season, notching a victory over the Tri-County North Panthers. It was a fiercely contested battle between the two teams. Dixie had to over come a deficit that ran for the most of the first half and then fend off of a late comeback attempt by North for a 59-54 victory.

North had the early momentum. They shot well from the field against Dixie's opening man to man defense and rebounded well on the defensive side of the court, limiting Dixie to one shot per possession. But Dixie began adjusting their defense and shifted over to a zone defense. This seemed to slow the pace of North's scoring and Dixie began to chip away at North's lead.

North lead at the end of the first quarter 14-9, but Dixie made a nice run to close out the half. Dixie had been driving to the basket to score, so North shifted into a 2-3 zone to pack in players close to the basket. The Hounds made North pay, by connecting on their outside shots. North was finally forced to change to a man to man defense to pressure the guards. But Dixie, thanks in part to Joey Gengler's 3 - 3 point shots, tied the score at 23-all towards the end of the quarter and then marched into the locker room with a 30-28 lead.

In the second half, Dixie was able to extend their lead. Dixie shot well, while North seemed to have cooled off – particularly in the 4th quarter. At one point, Dixie held a double digit lead. North made a good run at the Hounds at the end of the game. But they missed some critical shots inside. Meanwhile, Devon Worley, who would score 20 points for Dixie, nailed 5 of 6 free throws to protect the lead.

Still North's new head coach, Dale Spitler, was pleased with the effort, “We played well in the first and second quarters. We rebounded well. Kurt Brinson gave us 25 points. We competed – but we missed a lot of close and easy shots at the end. We were pulling down offensive rebounds, but couldn't capitalize on them. But overall I has happy with their effort.

Coach Spitler has gotten the team playing good basketball in a short period of time. This is his first varsity head coach position and to make things even tougher – he was unable to do anything with the team this summer when teams are doing summer leagues. So he has had a short period of time to make his mark on this team. But the team does have good ball movement on offense and he has them playing hard nosed defense. Plus the Panthers did not fold when they faced an 11 point deficit, they battled back and had their chances at the end. So the team is heading in the right direction.

Dixie's coach Williams commented after the game, “I have to give credit to the kids for this win. We have 2 guys out with injury and we had 2 guys get into foul trouble tonight. The bench played well for us. Joey Gengler gave us a spark off the bench tonight – he hit some big 3 points shots in the second quarter. And Devon Worley gave us a good game, his best game for Dixie to date, and he is only a sophomore. His free throws were critical in closing the game out. But as a team we need to learn how to close games out – the competition only gets harder from here.”

Next week Dixie returns to the road playing at Waynesville on Friday night and at rival Brookville on Saturday night. North has a huge mountain to climb as they host Franklin on the 8th – even without Luke Kennard (now playing at Duke), they are a tough division 2 team. Then the Panthers open league play at neighboring National Trail high school on the 11th.

South Hits High Gear in Second Half

Twin Valley South sparred with National Trail for about 2 and half quarters. Neither team able to gain much of an edge, but after a time out – and good talking too by coach Augspurger, the team found high gear in the 3rd quarter and raced ahead for a decisive win. Senior Jacob Bassler sparked the rally with back to back 3's and South never looked back as they outscored Trail 32-6 the rest of the way for a 53-27 victory.

The teams played evenly in the first half and South had a slim 1 point lead at the break – 17-16. South was getting shots, but they just were not dropping. The score was tied at 21-all midway through the 3rd quarter when South made their move. South scored 3 - 3 point shots in a row to break the game open. That seemed to spark the team defensively as well as offensively. They smothered any attempt at a comeback by Trail.

Coach Augpurger later stated that the teams defensive intensity was sparked at that time too. That fed into a rally as South's defense got turnovers and translated those into points on the offensive end of the court. Trail could not figure out South and were frustrated offensively.

Coach Augspurger was asked about Jacob Bassler, “He has gotten off to a good start this season. He has been the scorer that we thought that he would be, his 3 point shots in the 3rd quarter are what really sparked the rally. We just took off from there.”

This next week South will have to be giant slayers. Both of the teams that they play will have height. While South doesn't have much height at all. But coach Augspurger stated that the team prepared for the season by scrimmaging tall teams in preparation for weeks like this where they play teams with size.

“Valley View has 2 kids who are around 6' 4” or so and they are good. One plays mainly in the post, while the other can shoot from outside,” stated coach Augspurger, “and Miami East, well they are the tallest team in the league. They are always tall, but this year they even more size and experience. Both they and Tri-Village are preseason favorites to be at the top of the conference. So if we want to have a shot at a league championship, that game is going to be a must win for us.”

South will host Valley View on Tuesday and then Miami East on Friday.

Scoring for South: Ryan Bassler 3, Cottingim 9, Myers 4, Jacob Bassler 15, Crosier 6, Ehler 4, Utz 3, Lovely 9.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

South Runner Up in Tip Off Tournament

South won their opening round game but ran into a tough Stivers Tiger basketball team and although South briefly lead, Stivers would fend off South to be tournament champs. South's defense was stalwart against Dixie in the first round, but they had a rough time figuring out the Tiger offense that could score both outside and inside. Plus the Tigers had 6'7” Akron University signee, Isiah Williams, who is athletic enough to defend a point guard on the perimeter and then turn around and slam dunk the ball in the paint.

Against Dixie, South sparred with the Hounds for about a quarter and half and were actually behind in the 2nd quarter. Coach Augspurger took a time out and level set the team. They ground out a half time lead and then went into high gear in the second half. Outscoring the Hounds by 19 points in the half en route to a convincing 52-30 win to kick off their winter campaign.

But Stivers was a tougher nut to crack. South opened with a zone like defense, but Stivers was able to hit shots from the perimeter. Forcing coach Augspurger to switch to a man to man defense to put pressure on the wings. Stivers would stay in a man to man defense the entire game, occasionally pressing and doing some trapping in the half court.

Stivers looked to be running away with the game in the 1st quarter. They had a decent 19-9 lead due to hot shooting and a quick defense. But South showed that they came to play. Ryan Bassler opened the 2nd quarter with a pair of treys to put South right back in the game. That sparked an 11-0 run by the Panthers. And about midway through the quarter South briefly held the lead 20-19. But Stivers had a run of their own to close out the half with a 27-22 lead.

After halftime South again tried their zone defense, but Stivers made them pay for it by striking from the perimeter. This forced South back to a man to man defense. Stivers grew their lead to 10 points by the end of the quarter.

Stivers went into a slowdown to start the 4th quarter. South was trying hard on defense and this resulted in fouls. South quickly gave up bonus and then double bonus. But Stivers hit their free shots from the stripe. South made a late charge and a Jacob Bassler 3 put South within 7 points of Stivers, but that was as close as South would come as Stivers would eventually win 55-43.

“I had zero fault with their effort, they tried to do what we talked about on defense, but to win a game when you are an underdog, you have to hit shots,” stated coach Augspurger afterwards, “We made a couple of good runs, Ryan Bassler gave us some spark off the bench, we were right there but we just didn't shoot well.”

He went on, “I thought we defended Isiah Williams pretty well for the most part. We did not panic against their pressure – but we also did not make them pay. Pressure can effect the momentum and rhythm of the game. We allowed it to distort our offense. Ideally, you break their pressure and get easy layups and that did not happen.”

Finally, “JJ Utz and Jacob Bassler provided good leadership for us this weekend. We had 6 guys on the floor that this was their first varsity basketball game. So when you consider that we did pretty well. We are going to have growing pains still, but we will learn from this game.”

Scoring for South: Ryan Bassler 6, Jared Cottingim 2, Mike Meyer 6, Jacob Bassler 15, Winston Crossier 3, JJ Utz 10, Travis Lovely 1.

Next Friday South will host league foe, National Trail.

Dixie 1-1 Opening weekend

Dixie opened their weekend at the Twin Valley South Tip Off tournament. Their first round game was against host Twin Valley South. After gaining a lead in the 2nd quarter, Dixie turned the ball over and seemed to be unable to find an answer for South's offense the remainder of the game. South zoomed away after halftime and defeated Dixie 52-30. But in the consolation game the next night, Dixie leveled themselves against Eaton 65-52 to balance their record at 1 win and 1 loss.

Coach Williams would later state that you can't win a game with 26 turnovers and that was the difference maker in the two games. Dixie took care of the ball against Eaton, but allowed South to capitalize on Dixie turnovers and get too many easy scores. Dixie seemed to wilt in the second half of this game – getting outscored 33-14. The team played more consistently against Eaton. But still had a lapse that almost allowed Eaton to make a late run.

Eaton played in a man to man defense that they stayed in the entire night. Mixing in some full court pressing and a little half court trapping. Dixie countered with a 1-4 offense set and also a motion offense. Dixie stayed in a zone defense all evening. Dixie defensive rebounding was decent and didn't allow many 2nd chance opportunities for Eaton.

Dixie pushed the ball hard on turnovers off of Eaton's offense. But particularly in the 1st half, Dixie was slow to get back on defense and allowed Eaton some easy layups. Coach Williams took a time out in the first half and loudly lambasted the team to stop jogging back on defense but rather to sprint back. This took away easy baskets from Eaton and their half court offense had a rough time scoring on Dixie – not really being able to connect on outside shots.

Dixie got an early lead, but some late 1st quarter turnovers allowed Eaton to close to within a point. The second quarter was a duel with Eaton briefly leading, but just before halftime with the score knotted 27 all, Devon Worley hit a couple of shots to give Dixie a 32-28 lead.

Dixie came out on fire after halftime. They shot well from the floor and in no time they had a 10 point lead. Eaton took a time out to adjust but Dixie extended their lead to 49-35 at quarters end. Eaton pressed hard in the last quarter in a bid to make up ground. But Dixie was able to get some easy baskets and grew their lead to 22 points. Dixie allowed Eaton to creep back into the game in the last half of the quarter. Dixie had a scoring drought where they did not score for almost 4 minutes. But Eaton had to resort to fouling late in the game and Dixie was able to pad their lead by hitting their foul shots.

Dixie would win 65-52 and would score 3 players in double figures. Cody Grubb(19), Devon Worley(15), and Blake Miller(13). Also scoring for Dixie were Austin Simpson 1, Joey Gengler 8, Dakota Grise 6, Seth Grubb 2. Devon Worley also made the all tournament team.

“We executed well on offense, we defended, there is room to get better – but it's only the second game of the season,” said coach Williams after the game, “We need to limit our turnovers and we can really be good if we can defend and rebound. Those will our points of emphasis this week. If we can limit our turnovers we will be in every basketball game.”

He continued, “I talked to them about sprinting back to help. They were beating us down the court and getting easy baskets. That was one key adjustment. We need Grubb, Worley, and Miller to score in double figures every night for us to be successful. But we had role players that came in and made us successful too, Dakota Grise rebounded well for us for instance.”

Next Friday, Dixie plays host to TCN.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

South Ends Weekend With a Win

South got their first win of the season under new head coach Jeff Case on Saturday night against Northridge. The team made it closer than it should have been by relaxing in the 4th quarter and allowing Northridge to make a run and close to within 2 scores, but South held off the Polar Bears late charge and left with a 45-37 win to even up their record at 1-1.

The previous night South opened their season against the Carlisle Indians. And after playing with Carlisle for the first half, Carlisle took control of the game in the second half and ran away with the game 56-26. It was a disappointing way for South to start their season, and so they came into Saturdays game hungry for a win.

The first quarter was all South as they created points from turnovers on the defensive end of the court. South trapped a little in the half court and also used a zone defense. South pushed the ball hard on steals, but they were able to score in their half court offense as well. Northridge used a variety of defenses on the night – using man to man and several zone defenses to try and slow down South scoring. But none of them were effective in the first half as South had a 15-1 lead in the first quarter and a respectable 28-10 lead at the half.

Northridge did adjust and swapped out point guards. And they began to take care of the ball better, so South got fewer points from turnovers in the second half, slowing their pace of scoring. The two teams played evenly in the 3rd quarter. Still South had a commanding 37-16 lead entering the last quarter.

South seemed to relax at this point, thinking the game was in hand. Sloppy ball handling and lax defense on the perimeter allowed Northridge to get turnovers on defense and connect on 3 pointers on offense. Suddenly it was a 43-37 game and Northridge was 2 shots away from tying the ball game. As the clock was winding down, Northridge began to foul – but South was missing the front end of 1 and 1's. Finally Abby Creech hit critical 2 foul shots to put the game out of reach and South held off Northridge's final charge for the win.

Coach Case had this to say after the game, “We had a lot of energy yesterday and we competed with Carlisle for about a half. We got out of our game plan and tried to comeback, but fell short. Tonight we got that same energy for all 4 quarters. They followed the game plan well – attacked the basket and were offensive minded. I thought in the 4th quarter we played not to lose instead of playing to win – but we will work on that. But this is all a process; it was good for the girls to get the win.”

Next he was asked about changing the program, “This is all a learning process. Teaching them how to lose and bounce back. How to go for a win. How to watch film, turn that into drills and improve for the next game. It isn't going to happen overnight. But they are buying into the system and I am proud of their effort tonight.”

Coach Case comes to South with about 20 years of coaching experience locally. He took a year off last year for family reasons and is back as a head coach. He is now refreshed and rejuvenated. He mentioned Rick Hickman and Steve Fisher as coaching mentors for him professionally.

South plays at Miami East on the 24th for their 1st conference game. Then they play at Dixie on the 30th.

North Wins Opener; Loses to Carlisle

Tri-County North hosted a CCC vs. SWBL weekend to kick off the girls basketball season. Northridge and Carlisle were the SWBL schools, while TVS and TCN represented the CCC. North and South split games while Carlisle won both of theirs and Northridge ended the weekend winless. North drew Northridge on Friday night and quickly took the lead and established control of the game to start their season with a decisive win. North's Cassi Stinson lead all scorers with 20 points in the 52-40 victory.

The following night North played against Carlisle. North stumbled out of the gate in this game, but after coach Cherry adjusted at halftime the team acquitted themselves somewhat by playing even with the Indians. But they had spotted the team too big of lead to make up much ground and finally fell 46-16.

Both teams opened with man to man defenses, but Carlisle was able to knife through the Panther defense and score. North changed to a zone defense, but Carlisle shot well from the outside and their scoring continued unabated. Meanwhile the Indians were hitting the boards hard and pulling in defensive rebounds – limiting North to just one shot on most possessions in the first half. And Carlisle had scouted well on opening night. Stinson, who had put up 20 on opening night, was held in check by the swarming Indian defense and would not score a single point. The Panthers were staring up at a 16-2 deficit after just one quarter.

North did try to trap a little in the 2nd quarter, but the Indians handled the pressure well and so North settled back into their zone. At halftime, a shell shocked North team was down 29-6. But coach Cherry made some adjustments at half time and got the team back on track. In the second half the team rebounded better and more importantly got their defense working – holding Carlisle to just 3 points in the 3rd quarter and a total of 15 second half points.

Still the Panthers couldn't work out the kinks in their offense and scored just 10 in the last half. So that is something the team will need to figure out going forward. Still the team finished their opening weekend at .500.

Coach Cherry commented after the Carlisle game, “We didn't come out with our shooting game. Yesterday we shot the ball well, passed the ball well, and handled the ball well. We definitely did not do that today. We might have been a little tired from yesterday, we don't have a deep bench and our starters may have been a little tired.”

She continued, “We did shoot free throws well, and that carried over from Friday night, so that is a bright spot. Another thing we didn't do well from the previous night was assists. We had 14 against Northridge, but only 4 tonight.”

Next she was asked about the teams improved performance in the second half. “We talked to our wings about their backside defense coverage. Once we got them rotating right, they took away their short corner shots. We were not getting good positioning on rebounding and again we got the players to cover their spots, we picked up our rebounding as a team.”

Tiarra Alford scored 7, Sara Harris 5, Preston Lipinski 2, Riley Cruse 2. Next up for the Panthers are Milton Union on the 24th and Northeastern on the 30th.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

TVS Prepares for Season

This years South basketball team will be less experienced than last years, but Coach Augspurger is happy with the way the team played together in summer league and so he is looking forward to this winter's campaign. The team graduated 5 seniors off of last years team – which barely lost to the eventual state champs, Tri-Village. And that was only by a single basket scored in the last seconds of the game. So that is a lot of experience and talent to replace.

The team does return 2 year starters JJ Utz at point guard and Jacob Bassler at wing. Winston Crozier also had significant playing time last year as a 6th man. The remainder of the team will be playing on the varsity squad for the first time. Mike Meyers, Jared Cottingim, Andrew Augspurger, Chad Ehler, Ryan Bassler, and Travis Lovely round out the rest of the roster. South will not have much height and so they will need to work hard on defense again this season.

“It is a less experienced team than last season's,” admitted coach Augspurger, “We had a good summer and the guys played well together. I am hoping to get a good start against the conference and get some early momentum going.”

Next he was asked for about competition in the league, “Tri-Village does have some new transfers and they become eligible in game 12 – the game that we play them. They are defending league and state champs, so they have to be favored again this year. They are definitely the team to beat in our league. Miami East will also be strong – as they have been for several years now. They have a lot of size. Bethel and Covington should also be improved from last season.”

An interesting wrinkle to this season – former TVS player, Dale Spitler Jr., will be coaching at North this year. It will be the second time in his career that coach Augspurger will coach against a former player of his. So the North – South game will be a bit more intense this year.

South will be hosting a tip off tournament again this season. This will be the weekend after Thanksgiving. So it will be a good opportunity for visiting alumni in town for the holiday to come back to the school and see this years edition of the team. The other schools will be Stivers, Eaton, and Dixie. The opening round will be Friday the 27th with Eaton and Stivers playing at 6pm, followed by South and Dixie at 7:30. The consolation and championship games will be played Saturday night with the consolation at 6pm and the championship at 7:30pm.

The South girls team will be kicking off their season under new head coach, Jeff Case, at North the weekend before Thanksgiving. It will be a SWBL vs. CCC matchup. They will play Carlisle at 6pm. Then North will play Northridge at 7:30 that Friday (Nov. 20). Then Saturday it will South's turn to play Northridge at 6pm, while North plays Carlisle at 7:30pm.   

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Vikings Axe Panthers

Twin Valley South could find no answer for the running game of the Vikings.  Still at halftime they were only down 14-0.  But South was trying to pass the ball and several of their possessions lasted less than a minute before they punted.  Giving the defense very little time to rest.  This caught up to South in the second half as the defense ran out of gas.  Miami East took advantage and rang up another 27 points.  South was able to score early in the 4th quarter when senior Jordan Peterson caught a Jacob Bassler pass for the lone TVS score for the night.  Final was 41-6 Vikings.

It is an old adage that the team that gets the most turnovers is the team that will win a game. South was the winner in the turnover department as Wyatt Burke and Beau Ashley both recovered Viking fumbles. And Burke's fumble was at the 26 yard line of Miami East. But the Viking defense held firm and actually pushed South backward. Also the Vikings did short pooch kicks on their kickoffs which South was able to cover. But despite the favorable field position from these short kicks, South had difficulty moving the ball.

In a repeat of the North game, South had problems establishing a rushing game. And this was made worse in the second half as two of South's starting linemen were sidelined with injuries. The Vikings kept JJ Utz well covered the entire night but the rest of South's receivers had problems hanging on to the ball. There were several dropped passes. But South did catch a break when Sammy Shockey caught a nice pass from Jacob Bassler to put the ball on the Miami East 18 early in the 4th quarter. Then Peterson made his grab for the score.

South did open up their playbook in a effort to score. Bassler was able to run for a first down on a fake punt on one possession and South tried to execute a double pass in the second half, but the second pass was over thrown to an open receiver downfield.

Still South end's the season with a 6-4 record. There were prognosticators at the beginning of the season who looked at the 15 seniors that graduated from South last year and predicted a 1-9 season for this years edition of the Panthers. And the team had a respectable season and although they took a thrashing from league co-champ Miami East, they were able to upset the other co-champ, Covington.

Coach Cates commented after the game, “We came out flat – which surprised me. But at the half we were only down 14 – nothing, so we were still right there. But we dropped so many opportunities. We were unable to capitalize when we had our chances.”

He continued talking about the seniors, “I hated to lose because of our seniors. It is the best group as far as leadership that I have had. Last years seniors were such a talented group and performed well, it was a good season. This years group looked at what was said at the beginning of the year about South dropping off and said that we are not going to be 1-9. And by force of will, they lead us to a good season.”

So it was a good season for the Panthers who end the season 6-4, but were a play away from being 7-3. Both Covington and Miami East will be representing the CCC in the state playoffs.   

Sunday, October 25, 2015

North Rumbles Over South in Second Half

The North - South game was close at halftime with North holding a marginal 14-9 lead.  But North's running attack was able to grind down South's defense in the second half.  Logan Elmore and Garrett Woodard provided the Thunder and Lightening while Lane Gunder threw the occasional pass or run to keep South honest.  South was able to pass sporadically on offense, but North all but eliminated their running game. North put together some nice drives after halftime and shut down South as they went on to win easily 31-9.

 Although North was still fighting injuries – there were 11 players sidelined for this game, they had a complete backfield after being short handed last week. Garret Woodyard returned to the field after being sidelined with a leg injury. The rest must have rejuvenated him as he had a fantastic night, scoring 3 touchdowns and then on defense he shone as well as he got an interception.

South tried to repeat their performance by using what worked well against Covington – utilizing their passing game to move the ball. But North's defense was up to the task. They gave up some yardage in the air, but after South's initial scoring drive the defense would not allow South any sustained drives. Execution was a problem for South. There were several poor exchanges between the center and quarterback. The ball was intercepted twice – once by Woodyard and once by Elmore. Add in some ill timed penalties, dropped passes, and it made for a frustrating night for the home town team.

South scored on the first drive of the night – going the length of the field where Sammy Shockey caught a 16 yard touchdown catch. North scored next on a Woodyard run. Then North misfired when a snap sailed over the punters head and went through the endzone for a safety which gave South 2 more points. Elmore caught a 10 yard touchdown pass from Lane Gunder to give North a halftime lead.

But North would dominate the second half. After halftime, South tried an onsides kick and North was able to cover it. However, North did not move the ball well despite the short field and finally decided on a field goal attempt on 4th and 11. Zack Edgin kicked about a 27 yard field goal to pad North's lead. At the end of the 3rd quarter it was still a close game with North up 17-9.

But the South defense was giving up big chunks of yardage as North's line established control of the line of scrimmage. North punched the ball in again to extend their lead. Then late in the game, South found themselves in a 4th down situation deep in their own territory at the 15 yard line. Down by two scores they had no choice but to go for it, but they fell short. North took advantage of the gift and a couple of plays later Woodyard scored.

We saw what they did against Covington with their short routes and went to press coverage,” stated coach Derringer after the game, “We knew that we would give up a pass or two and the occasional big play. And despite giving up the one passing touchdown, I thought our coverage was great tonight. We had an extra guy helping to cover JJ Utz deep, we weren't going to let him beat us.”

He went on, “We had to do a lot of rework this week to get guys into their positions. But the guys really stepped up. The North – South game is always a really big game. It's a great bounce back victory after last weeks loss. Having Woodyard back is a difference maker for us. He can run it inside and with Logan Elmore running outside, then you throw in Lane Gunder''s passing ability – it makes a triple threat for anyone to defend against.”

We felt pretty good after scoring on the first drive. But not being able to score a second time and having North score to go ahead at halftime seemed to deflate us,” stated South's coach Cates after the game, “We had some missed catches and penalties so we didn't help ourselves. North played some tough man to man defense – they are a good football team. We made plays at times but our offense sputtered. We didn't get in gear like we did at Covington – North got us out of our rhythm.”

North hosts National Trail next week while South journeys to Miami East. South has the chance to play spoilers next Friday. A win puts Miami East out of contention for the league championship and would most likely drop the Vikings from consideration for the state playoffs.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Vikings Defeat North

Friday night North battled injuries and turnovers as well as the Miami East Vikings.  They went into the game with a sideline that resembles a MASH unit the with all the bandages and slings.  Coach Derringer would later relate that in the course of the season that he has had 6 different players at fullback for instance. And during the course of the game, even more players became sidelined.  Still North proved to be gamers to the end.  But their defense was no match for the Vikings who hardly punted the entire night.  North lost 56-27 which now makes their chances at state playoffs or conference championship extremely slim.

Although they did move the ball through the air at times, East used their running game which North simply could not stop all night long. Also East coughed up the ball themselves, but North uncharacteristically turned the ball over 4 times. Several of these turnovers would lead to scores. After the first quarter the team had to play catch up, and it makes it hard to battle back when you give up the ball to the other team so many times.

The two teams played evenly in the early going. North struck first – using just two passes, the second one to Trey Kehr who put up the first points of the night. In an omen of things to come, North gave up a big play on their first defensive set of the night. It was a 77 yard TD run by Miami East. This was the second week in a row that the defense gave up a big play in this manner. North's next score was set up by a Chandler Sproles interception. Zack Edgin caught a Lane Gunder pass and advanced to the 1 where Jordan Overcash punched it in. Gavin Overholtz recovered a fumble for North, but a few plays later North gave the ball back to the Vikings who scored a few plays later to tie the game at 14 all.

In the second quarter, the Vikings exploded for 4 touchdowns and broke the game open. North tried to respond and mount a passing attack, but Miami East was able to get through the North line and sack the quarterback several times. So it was 42-14 at halftime.

A lot of teams would have mailed it in the second half of a lopsided game, but North came out on fire. They regrouped at halftime and scored the first 2 touchdowns of the half. Miami East got the ball first but fumbled the ball at the Panther 12. Logan Elmore scooped up the loose ball and raced 88 yards for the score. An inspired North defense held the Vikings on their next possession to force a punt. Elmore had a nice run to the Vikings 11, and a few plays later Gunder scored from 5 yards out. Suddenly North was back in the game 42-27.

But that was the high water mark for North. East's offense could not be contained the rest of the game and they denied North any taste of the endzone. Miami East sacks and North fumbles frustrated any attempts of scoring again.

The turnovers hurt us and right now we are just trying to get healthy,” remarked coach Derringer after the game, “We have to evaluate who is healthy is each week and put together the best lineup. We got even more guys injured tonight. This has been a year where is has been hard to keep every healthy.”

But despite the injuries we have to work on being better. “ he stated, “After the game I told the players that we going to watch the film, build on what went well, fix what went wrong and get ready for next weeks game against South – a big rivalry.”

This sets up an impact game at South who is still in the hunt for both league and playoffs.  And if you have a chance to play the role of spoiler against your biggest rival then that makes the game all the more bigger.  Look for a major battle between the two Panther teams next week.

Upset! South Defeats Covington

In a battle which came down to the ball control ground attack of Covington and the passing attack of South. It was South which managed to put together a late drive that scored the winning touchdown with seconds left for a 34-30 win. This game upsets the both the conference and the state playoff possibilities for several teams. Where it appeared that Covington was in the drivers seat for the conference title, now it is a 3 way tie between Covington, Miami East, and South. And for the first time this season, South has a sniff of play off hopes – the dividend of computer points pops them into the top 12 of the district for the first time this season.

South came into the game licking their wounds from an upset loss themselves the week before where Bethel narrowly beat them in the last minutes of that game. Host Covington on the other hand came into the game with momentum having narrowly beat both North and Miami East in back to back victories. So a lot of league observers did not expect South to have much of a chance. But for the second year in a row, South rang up a victory over the Buccaneers. An achievement in itself as Covington has been the standard by which other CCC teams judge themselves.

Quarterback Jacob Bassler put up over 300 yards on the night. Receiver JJ Utz got the most of the yardage (about 150) – scoring a total of 4 touchdowns. Although South has shown that they can pass the ball this season, they have relied on the run for their previous games. But coach Cates acknowledged after the game that he knew that Covington can run against anyone, that they would have a rough time shutting down the run. But he thought that the Covington secondary could be exposed and so he would call more passing plays than in any other game that he has play called. And the results of this change in strategy speak for themselves.

It was a back and forth game. After stopping South on 4th down, Covington scored first. But South answered right back with a scoring drive after the kickoff. At the half it was a 15-14 in favor of Covington. Both offenses continued to move the ball well in the second half. South did have a big defensive stand on a 4th and 2 situation. Covington has done well converting on 4th down this season, but South defense made the stop at midfield. The short field would set up a South score on their series.

With 3 minutes left in the game, Covington ended an 8 minute drive with a go ahead score. This set up the final drive for South. South executed well and converted 2 4th downs en route to the end zone. With 8 seconds left JJ Utz caught a Jacob Bassler pass for the go ahead score. South opted for a squib kick on the kickoff and special teams responded with a big play, recovering the ball to end any thoughts of a Covington comeback.

Defensively for South both Aaron Deaton and Chad Ehler were leading tacklers for the team. The two accounted for around 30 tackles between them.

“They are a hard, well disciplined football team,” said coach Cates afterwards, “We thought that we could throw on them. So we took advantage of that and our kids really executed. It was the most pass plays that I had ever called. But we wanted to take advantage at what they gave us. “

On the ability to bounce back, “I am proud of way they responded to the loss to Bethel. After that loss, the team could have just gone into the tank. But they responded well. On that last drive they were fired up and the team responded instead of just giving up. We remembered what it was like to lose a close game, and they were determined that it wasn't going to happen again.”

Next he was asked about Jacob Bassler, “As a senior quarterback he had an amazing game. He had pressure in his face, but made some incredible throws. He made excellent decisions. JJ Utz had a phenomenal night too. On a lot of the catches he made people miss to get yards after catch. Sammy Shockey and Mike Myers had good nights receiving as well. With 3 good receivers, it makes it hard for the defense to keep them all covered.”

Next weeks game, “North has had our number the last few years. They are a well coached football team. They have a lot of great players on their team. They are a huge threat, they are our rivals. They have some strong, big kids up front. They have running backs that can go the distance, and their defense is usually stout. Our kids are aware of what happened last year – the kids remember that. It is also our senior night so it is going to be emotional that way too. They are a good team, we have to remember how we executed tonight. Very few penalties and very few mistakes like turnovers. That is what you need to do to win big games.”

South (6-2) hosts North (5-3) next Friday night.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

South Stung by Bees

Host Twin Valley South was upset by the Bethel Bees with a late field goal. South seemed to have the upper hand in the first half with a 14-0 lead. But the Bees climbed back into the game and won the game 22-21 in the last few minutes of the game. It was a disappointing loss for a team that had won a close game themselves against Arcanum just two weeks ago.

What was more upsetting was that the team helped Bethel several times during the night with untimely penalties and mental mistakes. Coach Cates late related that he felt the Panthers could have scored at least two more times but missed blocks or penalties put the team into long down situations several times during the night.

And the last score was set up by Panther mistakes. Bethel had missed an extra point on their second score and so after their last score, they went for 2 but the Panther defense held them. It was a 21-19 game late in the 4th quarter. So Bethel went for an onsides kick which South failed to cover. With a short field the Bees drove down to about the 14 line yard where they set up for a field goal. South was flagged for an offsides penalty. Now the kick was from the 9 yard line. So many time football is a game of inches. The field goal barely cleared the upright – if the kick had been from the original 14 yard line, it would have been a miss.

South did win the battle for turnovers. They accounted for a total of 3 over the Bees. But they were unable to capitalize on their opportunities. Defensively Chad Ehler had a monster night for the Panthers. He accounted for a school record 26 tackles.

Scoring for South – Jacob Bassler completed a 42 yard pass to JJ Utz for the first score. Then Bassler scored on a keeper from about 4 yards out. The last touchdown was another Bassler to Utz pass from about 21 yards out. Sammy Shockey was the leading rusher for South with just under 100 yards on the night.

“Bethel is a good team, but our mental mistakes just killed us,” lamented coach Cates after the game,”It was a heart breaking loss for us. But we have to regroup this weekend, get our confidence back and get set for next weeks game at Covington – they are going to be ready for us. Offensively we were able to move the ball well, we only had to punt a couple of times.”

Next up for South is a visit to league leading Covington, “They are a really tough team and well coached. We watched them on film beat both North and Miami East. On film it looked like both North and Miami East had bigger and better athletes. But they just willed themselves to victory – they played harder than anyone. Their entire defense flies to the ball every play. They have a great program up there – the players have bought in and the community have bought in, it is where we need to be as a program. It is going to be a tall task to play them. We beat them last year and so they are going to want revenge. We definitely need to bring our A game.”

Saturday, October 10, 2015

North Homecoming a Barn Burner

If you were wanting to write a story about high school football in Ohio, then Friday nights game in Lewisburg between North and Troy Christian was the place to be.  A player is crowned the homecoming king then goes on to score the first two touchdowns of the game for the home team,  Next he goes on to intercept not 1 but 2 passes - the last interception ending any hopes of a comeback by the visiting team.  North's Logan Elmore was the epitome of a home town hero as he did all of the above in just one nights work.  Lane Gunder took over the scoring for North in the second half as he scored 3 times to cement the North victory 41-28.  But we are not finished - it was a noteworthy night for coach Derringer as well - he recorded his 100th win and was honored by the school with a plaque at the end of the game.  High school football does not get much better than this.

Unlike last week's dismal conditions, it was a crisp, clear fall night. Both offenses were mirror images of one another – good running backs that can break out for large chunks of yardage and quarterbacks that could air it out and chuck the ball downfield. And at first it looked like the game would be a track meet between the two teams with offenses barreling up and down the field with ease in the first quarter.

A total of 5 touchdowns were scored in the first 12 minutes by the two teams. The Eagles only needed 3 plays to get their 2 touchdowns while North had to work only slightly harder. Late in the 1st quarter, North adjusted their defense and finally held the Eagles and forced them to punt.

And that set the tone for the 2nd quarter where surprisingly neither team scored. Both teams moved the ball, but turnovers affected both teams. North held on a critical 4th down play late in the 1st half with the Eagles at about the 6 yard line. When the Eagles attempted to pass the ball was deflected by the North secondary and thus ended their attempt to tie the game.

Both offenses adjusted after halftime. The Eagles utilized their air attack since North was doing a good job of stopping the run. And a beat up North squad relied on their quarterback, Lane Gunder, to help provide offense. He moved the ball with his arm and also tucked and ran the ball several times to keep drives alive. And in the last quarter a noticeably limping Garrett Woodyard returned to the field and pounded the ball in between the tackles to eat up clock and provide yardage for North's last 2 scores.

The Eagles scored quickly in the third quarter to tie the game. And after each of their second half scores, they did an onsides kick which North's special teams covered. So this gave North a short field to work with. Their offense methodically moved the ball down the field and scored. Troy Christian had one last gasp late the game with about 2 minutes left. They had advanced the ball into North territory and were hoping for a quick score and then to roll the dice with another onsides kick in hopes of getting the ball back for a hail Mary pass. But Elmore rose to the occasion once again and intercepted an Eagles pass to seal the win for the Panthers.

Scoring Summary for North - Logan Elmore had a tremendous first quarter scoring 2 rushing touchdowns – both of which were set up by him. One on a 46 yard catch that put north in scoring positon and the other on a kick off return to the 22 yard line of Troy Christian. Garrett Woodyard caught a pass for the 3rd Panther score and Colton Overholtz caught a 2 point conversion attempt to make up for a missed PAT earlier. Gunder scored on quarterback keepers for all 3 2nd half scores.

An ecstatic coach Derringer spoke after the game, “There wasn't much defense out there tonight, both offenses just had their way. We just couldn't stop them. We had to fight for everything we got. It shows that we have to shore up our pass protection. As the game went on we got a little better but that something we have to work on for next week. ”

He commented on the offense and defense, “On the other hand, we moved the ball well on them. They couldn't stop us – we did not punt once. We had some turnovers and that stopped some of our drives. But if you like a lot of offense, well tonight was a good game to watch. On defense, our linebackers were able to disrupt their offense somewhat, but their plan in the second half to pass more worked well for them. They blocked our line well and that gave them time to find open receivers.

He continued, “We have to get healthy. We had some of our starting guys have to come out. It really alters what we are trying to do when we have to go to our bench. We knew that this was a big game coming in here. Not only because of homecoming, but we needed to bounce back after last weeks devastating loss. We have to keep this momentum going for the next 3 weeks and then see what happens. ”

The 100th win - “I had one man come up to me and say that he was here for my 1st win and for my 100th – that meant a lot to me. I have been blessed to be able to coach a lot of really good young men over the years. But its more than football it's about trying to make them into good young men. “