Blanchard River Buzz

A blog for rabid sports fans in the Findlay Area. Maintained by Findlay Courier sports writer Jamie Baker. The opinions expressed are my own crazed ramblings and not those of my employer the Findlay Publishing Company and its subsidiaries.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Buzz is back

It feels good to get back to blogging on the buzz.

All of my tab stories are in the can. Previews on Van Buren, Liberty-Benton, Elmwood, North Baltimore, Carey and Upper Sandusky are all taken care of. There is even a story on whether or not Ohio needs a mercy rule in football.

I have you tell you this was one of my most pleasant tab experiences ever. The coaches were nothing but gentlemen and if I had a boy I’d be happy to have any six of those coaches as his head coach.

Here’s my quick impression of each school and coach I visited over the past five days…

Van Buren -- Great quarterback in junior Adam Greer and he might just be the best passer in the BVC this season. They are enthusiastic but one question remains for the Black Knights heading into the season, can they stop people on defense? If they improve their defense I could see a .500 or better season out of the Knights this year. But with 34 kids on the roster they can’t afford any injuries to key personnel.

Liberty-Benton -- In terms of manpower no BVC team can stack up to the Eagles. They have 50-some kids on the roster, have some size and feature some very talented athletes. When I visited Van Buren and then went to L-B’s practice it was a start contrast. Nothing against the Knights but in terms of numbers and size of kids there wasn’t much of a comparison. But looks don’t always indicate performance on the field. The key for the Eagles will be how much they can get out of Michael Busch who is hobbled by his broken foot yet again. Talent wise I think Hardin Northern is probably the only team that will match up with the Eagles. I expect a two-team race.

Elmwood -- Watch out for the Royals. They have 10 returning players on offense from a team that took Division V state champion Patrick Henry to the limit in the first round of the playoffs last year. But the one player who isn’t returning is a biggie -- all-state quarterback Al Tyson. I hear Tyson has been impressive in the University of Findlay’s preseason drills as a receiver. The match up between the Royals and Hopewell-Loudon Chieftains will be a war. They should be right there battling with Eastwood for the Suburban Lakes League title.

North Baltimore -- It may be a tough first year for new coach Ryan Hite. But I think they picked the right man for the job. He’s young, positive and enthusiastic. If he can get a few more kids at school to buy into his attitude he could do well in Tiger Town. There are just 24 on the roster and 22 in uniform when I was there. They also have just four returning letterwinners. The one experienced senior they had, Nick Benedict, opted to play golf fulltime while junior Wade Ishmael has taken his football, wrestling and baseball talents to Oak Harbor. But the future looks bright with 30 junior high and 45 midget players in the program.

Carey -- OK I’ll admit it. Carey is my favorite place to visit. I know a lot of people there and they are always very, very nice. But new coach Todd Worst is hoping the Blue Devils won’t be as nice on the gridiron this fall. He’s looking for a return to that hard-hitting, never-quit attitude the Blue Devils have displayed on the gridiron in the past. There was a perception, right or wrong, that the Blue Devils quit in some games last year. I don’t think that will happen this year. Also there was A LOT of confusion on offense last year because players just didn’t know what they were doing. Worst also told me that the average attendance in offseason workouts was about 50 players per session which is phenomenal.

Upper Sandusky -- A walked into the offense and Scott Will and I looked at each other with a strange look and a giggle. I knew about all the offseason turmoil surrounding his job and I think he maybe expected me to ask about it. Hey, he’s the coach and I wanted to focus on what the Rams are doing to prepare for the upcoming season. They definitely need to get off to a good start and need a few wins before heading into a rugged slate of games in the NOL. He really likes his quarterback Alex Falk and thinks he has a plethora of skill players. If the line can provide some protection the Rams can be competitive this fall.

Other things I picked up throughout the week…

UPGRADE -- Arlington has a new volleyball coach. The Red Devils have had a solid program the past few seasons but haven’t ever been able to get over the hump in the tournament. They’ve hired the successful coach from their main non-conference rival Riverdale in Jon Price. The Devils won’t miss a beat and will likely upgrade the schedule with Price in charge.

OUCH -- McComb football coach was a little banged up in practice last week when serving as the quarterback of the scout team offense. Alge told Courier sports writer Mark Heiman that throughout his career at Arlington and then at the University of Findlay he never had to use crutches. He was hurting and Heiman gave Alge a ride back home after practice.

SMALL, SMALLER, SMALLEST -- Arlington better be relying on quickness this season because size won’t be one of their strengths on the gridiron. The Red Devils’ roster doesn’t have a single player 200 pounds or larger.

WITH A CAPITAL H -- Hopewell-Loudon and Hardin Northern’s scrimmage was entertaining. The Chieftains Shawn Brickner scored the only touchdown in the battle between the two teams’ first units on a 40-yard run. He broke a couple of tackles, got spun around but kept his balance on the way to the endzone. Hardin Northern showed its speed and shut down the Hopewell-Loudon running game but had some trouble with the pass defense.

FEEDBACK -- If you are reading this let me know. Leave feedback here or enmail me at Anyone with story ideas feel free to submit them.


  • At 8:53 AM, Anonymous Blue Devil 2 said…

    Hey Coach..enjoyed reading your comments on area teams. Feels like I just got a sneak peek of the football tab. Too bad Van Buren's QB Adam Greer isn't playing for his Dad's hometown team..then again, he'd have to RUN the ball :)
    Looking forward to another season of high school football here in NW Ohio. Good Luck to all area teams!

  • At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That was a long couple of days with nothing to read from you about area sports, it's nice to have something like this to read. As an old HS newspaper guy (lol), if I think of any story ideas throughout the year I'll send them your way.


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