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.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Boys Basketball Capsules

More extra stuff I did that we never used for the basketball tab. This one's for all you hoops junkies out there...ENJOY!

Northwest Ohio Athletic League
HEAD COACH: Doug Krauss (23rd year, 341-152).
2005-06 RECORD: 21-5 overall, 6-2 NWOAL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Andy Brink, 6-4, sr., post; Tyson Fruth, 6-2, sr., forward; John Wyse, 6-0, sr., guard; Gene Goering, 6-2, jr., forward; Jusin Rupp, 6-0, jr., forward.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Dusty King, 5-11, sr., forward; Colton Martinez, 5-10, jr., guard; Trey Smith, 6-0, jr., guard.
NOTABLE: Goering led the Blue Streaks to the Division III state tournament last season after averaging a team-high 18.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.

HEAD COACH: T.J. Hammer (2nd year, 6-17)
2005-06 RECORD: 6-17 overall, 0-8 NWOAL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Britt Barry, 6-3, sr., forward; Josh Daft, 5-11, sr., point guard; Jeremy Hartman, 6-1, sr., guard; Bill Hill, 5-11, sr., guard; Caleb Lloyd, 6-1, sr., forward; Britt Moore, 5-10, soph., guard/ OTHER PROSPECTS: Lane Reese, 6-3, soph., guard.
NOTABLE: Barry was a second team all-NWOAL selection for the Locomotives last season while Daft made the all-league honorable mention list.

HEAD COACH: Cory Sprow 5th year, 40-48)
2005-06 RECORD: 13-9 overall, 5-3 NWOAL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Tyson Andrews, 6-1, sr., point guard; Dustin Chase, 6-3, sr., forward; Dustin Cass, 6-1, sr., guard; Jeff Weis, 5-9, sr., point guard.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Eric Vaughan, 6-3, jr., forward/guard; Aaron Betz, 5-11, jr., guard; Marcus Vicars, 6-2, soph., forward.
NOTABLE: The Panthers lost three solid starters that earned either all-conference or all-district honors last season.

HEAD COACH: Tim Zieroff (3rd year, 8-35).
2005-06 RECORD: 4-18 overall, 1-7 NWOAL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Brad Betz, 5-9, jr., guard; Josh Rhodes, 5-11, sr., guard; Mike Montion, 6-2, jr., post; Eric Camo, 602, sr., post; Mike Timke, 5-9, sr., guard.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Chad Lewis, 6-2, soph., post; Vince Wielinski, 5-8, soph., guard.
NOTABLE: Betz was a second team all-league selection after popping in 13.0 points and dishing out 5.0 assists per game.

HEAD COACH: Ken Burgei (24th year, 298-229).
2005-06 RECORD: 17-7 overall, 6-2 NWOAL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Chris Villalovos, 6-2, jr.; Elliott Mealer, 6-6, jr.; Casey Elson, 6-1, sr.; Kevin Elson, 6-0, jr.; Tyler Uphaus, 5-9, jr.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Matt Bost, 6-0, jr.; Storm Humbert, 6-2, jr.; Derek Schrock, 6-1, jr.; Scott Burgard, 6-3, jr.; Brad Gibson, 6-4, sr.; Richard Russell, 6-6, jr.
NOTABLE: Burgei expects his team and Evergreen, Archbold and Patrick Henry to all be in the hunt for the NWOAL title this season.

Suburban Lakes League
HEAD COACH: Jim Bostdorff (2nd year, 11-12).
2005-06 RECORD: 11-12 overall, 7-7 SLL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Cody Donald, sr., 5-9, point guard; Seth Childers, 6-3, jr., post; Chris Falls, 5-10, sr., guard; Caleb Clark, 6-2, sr., post; Justin Henck, 5-11, sr., forward.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Steve Weisenborn, 6-0, sr., guard; Tyler Nye, 5-9, sr., guard; Ben Forshey, 6-2, jr., post.
NOTABLE: The Knights are looking to climb the SLL ladder this season and were picked to finish third in the conference by the league’s coaches.

HEAD COACH: Jeff Overmyer (7th year, 55-73).
2005-06 RECORD: 15-6 overall, 10-4 SLL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Chris Bassitt, sr., 6-3, forward; Adam Schumacher, sr., 6-0, guard; Ryan Gargas, sr., 6-4, post; Alex Wolff, sr., 6-2, forward.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Justin Lau, 5-9, jr., guard; Toby Clark, 5-9, sr., guard; Austin Dickinson, 6-1, sr., post.
NOTABLE: Comets have put together back-to-back successful seasons as the school is looking for its first SLL basketball championship since 1996.

HEAD COACH: Ty Ray (1st year).
2005-06 RECORD: 8-14 overall, 5-9 SLL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Austin Dean, 6-1, sr., point guard; Charles Wooten, 6-2, sr., post; Chris Noe, 6-3, jr., post; Corey Witker, 5-11, jr., wing; Drew Renken, 5-11, sr., post.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Robert Schumacher, 6-1, soph., wing; Murphy Eaglowski, 6-1, sr., wing; Aaron Haar, 6-3, jr., wing.
NOTABLE: Dean is the top returnee for the Wildcats this season after averaging 7.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.

HEAD COACH: Brent Liskai (4th year, 43-45).
2005-06 RECORD: 19-5 overall, 12-2 SLL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Jordan Kirwen, 6-0, jr., wing; Matt Kraglow, 6-0, jr., point guard.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Cody Fisher, 5-10, jr., wing; Blake O’Neil, 6-3, sr., post; Tony Egbert, 6-4, soph., post.
NOTABLE: The Golden Bears may be in a bit of a rebuilding mode this season after sharing the SLL crown with Elmwood last season.

HEAD COACH: Jim Robinson Jr. (1st year)
2005-06 RECORD: 6-15 overall, 5-9 SLL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Trey Hunter, 6-0, sr., forward; Josh Fairbanks, 6-0, sr., forward; Chad Fairbanks, 6-2, jr., forward/center; Nick Schling, 5-11, jr., guard.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Eric Rutherford, 5-9, jr., guard; Jason Faykosh, 5-11, jr., guard; Mark Schult, 6-1, soph., forward; Mike Oberdick, 6-1, sr., guard; Nick Speck, 6-2, jr., forward; Nick Eckel, 6-3, jr., forward/center.
NOTABLE: Nick Schling will be the man running the show for the Eagles from his spot at point guard.

HEAD COACH: Joe Pennington (2nd year, 1-20).
2005-06 RECORD: 1-20 overall, 0-14 SLL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Jordan Allison, 5-9, sr., wing; Nathan Hoffman, 6-1, jr., post; Nick Wasserman, 6-1, sr., wing.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Justin Apple, 6-0, jr., wing/post; Kyle Gosche, 6-4, jr., post; Victor Magallanes, 5-7, jr., point guard; Ryan Babcock, 6-1, jr., wing; Jacob Smith, 5-11, soph., wing.
NOTABLE: Allison and Wasserman are the lone seniors on Lakota’s varsity roster this season.

Northern Ohio League
HEAD COACH: Lyle Falknor (19th year, 350-203)
2005-06 RECORD: 9-13 overall, 6-8 NOL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Brad Joseph, 5-11, sr., point guard; Dusty Lepley, 6-5, sr., forward; Jeff Deblase, 6-2, sr., cemter; Cory Austin, 6-3, sr., forward; Jordan Manlet, 6-3, sr., forward; D.J. Whinnery, 6-3, jr., guard.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Brad Watson, 6-4, sr., center; Jordan Yingling, 5-10, sr., guard.
NOTABLE: The Redmen will look to challenge NOL powers Upper Sandusky and Willard this season thanks to a solid returning lineup that features Whinnery, a second team all-league selection.

HEAD COACH: Steve Gray (6th year).
2005-06 RECORD: 10-13 overall, 5-9 NOL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Clay Duncan, 6-2, sr., forward; Jacob Willis, 6-2, sr., wing; Kyle Kurtz, 6-2, jr., point guard; Kyle Smith, 6-11, jr., post; Marcus Clark, 5-9, jr., guard; Spencer Krebs, 6-0, jr., guard; Luke Freriks, 6-4, jr., wing; Tyler Smith, 5-10, jr., wing.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Kyle Lodermeier, 5-11, soph., point guard; Jacob Mckenzie, 6-1, soph., wing.
NOTABLE: Duncan and Kurtz are Norwalk’s top returning players as both averaged more than 8.0 points per game last season for the Truckers.

HEAD COACH: Troy Schwemley (1st year).
2005-06 RECORD: 15-6 overall, 9-5 NOL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Chris Dudics, 5-11, sr., point guard; Parker Grove, 6-4, sr., forward/center; Matt Sommer, 6-4, jr., forward/center; Ryan Athy, 6-3, sr., forward/center.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Scott Baird, 5-10, jr., guard; Brennan Osborne, 6-1, jr., guard; Andy Knapp, 5-11, jr., guard; Brett Thompson, 5-10, jr., guard; Chad Coward, 5-10, jr., guard; Drew Luster, 6-3, sr., forward/center; John Shuty, 6-4, jr., forward/center.
NOTABLE: Schwemly comes to Shelby after coaching Columbus Grove to a spot in the Division IV state tournament last season.

Western Buckeye League
St. Marys Memorial
HEAD COACH: Paul Sadler (1st year)
2005-06 RECORD: 10-12 overall, 5-4 WBL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Adam Johns, 6-5, sr., forward/center; Aaron Pfeffenberger, 5-11, sr., guard; Doug Burke, 5-9, sr., guard; Danny Carroll, 6-4, sr., forward/center; Scott Laman, 5-9, sr., guard; Jon Groff, 6-3, sr., forward/center.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Cory Menker, 6-1, jr., forward; Derek Dunlap, 6-1, jr., forward; Jon Brenneman, 6-1, sr., forward; Jameel Brenneman, 5-10, sr., guard.
NOTABLE: Johns, a two-time first team all-WBL selection, is back after averaging 16.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game for the Roughriders.

HEAD COACH: Denny Thompson (1st year).
2005-06 RECORD: 16-6 overall, 9-0 Western Buckeye League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Bo Mathias, 5-11, soph., guard; Stephan Shurelds, 6-5, soph., center; Chris Duval, 6-1, sr., forward; Josh Thompson, 5-9, sr., guard; Jeremy Hardy, 5-10, jr., guard.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Scott Jordan, 5-10, sr., guard; Chris Kahle, 6-0, sr., guard; Steve Swick, 6-0, jr., guard/forward; Dominique Simpson, 6-2, jr., forward; Johnnie Brown, 6-1, soph., center.
NOTABLE: The Bulldogs are the defending WBL champions and their top returnee is Bo Mathias, who earned honorable mention all-WBL honors as a freshman.

Lima Shawnee
HEAD COACH: Nick Bertke (3rd year, 20-24).
2005-06 RECORD: 13-9 overall, 5-4 WBL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Jerin Butler, 6-3, jr., forward; Jake Pobjala, 6-4, sr., forward; Derek Lingenfelter, 6-3, sr., forward; Brent Farley, 6-5, jr., forward; LeRoy Wiliams, 5-9, jr., guard.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Jesse Norris, 6-4, sr., forward; DeWayne Brown, 6-3, sr., guard; Greg Andres, 6-0, sr., guard; Kyle Strawn, 6-0, sr., guard; Marcus Lowe, 6-5, soph., forward; Cody Smith, 5-0, fr., forward.
NOTABLE: Jerin Butler is the Indians’ top returning offensive player after netting 15.7 points and 4.2 rebounds per game as a sophomore.

Midland Athletic League
Tiffin Calvert
HEAD COACH: Ted Willman (2nd year, 10-12).
2005-06 RECORD: 10-12 overall, 4-6 MAL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Jacob Lucius, sr., post; Troy Keller, sr., wing.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Not available.
NOTABLE: The Senecas lost eight seniors from last year’s club.

Old Fort
HEAD COACH: Steve Adelsperger (2nd year, 8-14).
2005-06 RECORD: 8-14 overall, 4-6 MAL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Cody Perry, 6-0, sr., guard; Jake Molyet, 5-10, jr., guard.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Kent Kohlenberg, sr.; Greg Joseph, sr.; Keith Priddy, sr.; Josh Ortiz, sr.; Jackson Stults, sr.; Tony Miller, sr.; Kyle Garn, sr.; Marc Leady, jr.; Zach Kramer, soph.; Joey Silcox, soph., Ethan Barker, soph.
NOTABLE: Cody Perry is a returning first team all-MAL selection for the Stockaders after popping in 16.0 points with 5.5 rebounds per game.

Northwest Conference
Delphos Jefferson
HEAD COACH: Marc Smith (2nd year).
2005-06 RECORD: 4-17 overall, 2-7 NWC.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Aaron Klausing, 6-1, sr., guard; Michael Wiltsie, 6-0, jr., guard; Mike Rahrig, 6-1, soph., guard/post; Bubba Shively, 6-1, soph., post; Austin Bonifas, 6-0, soph. guard; Josh Miller, 6-3, soph., guard/post; Chris Wilkin, 6-2, jr., post.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Matt Gerdeman, 6-3, soph., post; Matthew Antalis, 6-3, soph., post; Jordan Jettinghoff, 5-10, fr., guard.
NOTABLE: Look for the Wildcats to be much improved this season with four returning starters back in the lineup.

Allen East
HEAD COACH: Chris Cockerell (1st year).
2005-06 RECORD: 9-12 overall, 4-5 NWC.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Ethan Jenkins, 6-2, sr., guard; Nic Thomas, 5-9, sr., guard.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Nate Swaney, 5-7, jr. point guard; Dan Neeley, 5-11, sr., wing; Nate Holbrook, 5-11, sr., guard; Brant Engle, 6-3, sr., forward; Ryan Black, 6-2, sr., center; Cody Mullholland, 6-4, jr., forward.
NOTABLE: Cockerell takes over the season and he has a lineup with little experience but above average size.

HEAD COACH: Mark Thompson (2nd year, 3-18).
2005-06 RECORD: 3-18 overall, 1-8 NWC.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Alex Phlipot, 6-2, jr., forward; Jarod Riley, 5-8, jr., guard; Jacob Perl, 6-3, jr., forward; Bryant Troyer, 6-0, soph., guard; Jeremy Johnson, 6-1, sr., guard.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Troy Vance, 6-2, jr., forward; Jordan Phlipot, 6-3, jr., post; Zach Stallkamp, 6-0, jr., guard.
NOTABLE: Jarod Riley was an honorable mention all-NWC selection last season for the Panthers last season.

HEAD COACH: Mike Bute (2nd year, 5-16).
2005-06 RECORD: 5-16 overall, 1-8 NWC.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Kory Thatcher, 5-11, sr., guard; Mitch Ringwald, 5-11, sr., wing; Zach Profit, 6-0, sr., post; Danny Brincefield, 6-0, sr., wing/post; Kaleb Baucom, 6-2, jr., wing/post; Kade Pollock, 5-11, sr., guard.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Corey Wolters, 6-2, jr., wing.
NOTABLE: The Lancers have plenty of experience returning but they will be undersized with the tallest player on the roster at 6-2.

North Central Conference
Colonel Crawford
HEAD COACH: David Sheldon (1st year).
2005-06 RECORD: 3-18 overall, 1-13 NCC.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Adam Koons, 6-4, sr., center; Dan Rachel, 6-1, sr., guard; Brandon Tackett, 5-10, jr., guard; Dan Sherer, 5-10, jr., guard; Austin Smith, 6-3, soph., guard.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Derek Sherman, 5-11, jr.; Cole Long, 6-0, soph.; Michael Metcalf, 6-0, soph.; Tyler Halderman, 6-3, soph.; Andrew Godby, 5-10, soph.; Jake Welsh, 5-10, soph.; Mitch Alt, 6-1, soph.
NOTABLE: The Eagles will be young again this season with just two seniors on the roster. Smith is the top returning player after averaging 10.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game to earn honorable mention all-NCC honors.

HEAD COACH: Tim Ehresman (4th year, 54-17).
2005-06 RECORD: 20-6 overall, 12-2 NCC.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Chad Snyder, 6-0, sr., forward; Kyle Smith, 6-1, sr., post; John Shifley, 6-3, jr., forward; Kyle Shroll, 6-1, jr., guard; Brett Bauer, 6-0, jr., guard; Nathan Etler, 6-1, jr., wing.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Eli Snode, 5-11, jr., guard; Preston Eibling, 6-5, jr., post.
NOTABLE: The Royals lost a very good player to graduation in Joe Kalb. He was a second team all-Ohio pick that scored 1,232 career points.

HEAD COACH: Tim Birie (4th year).
2005-06 RECORD: 10-12 overall, 5-9 NCC.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Nick Heiby, 5-6, sr., point guard; Andy Sieving, 6-2, sr., post; John White, 6-1, sr., post; Quentin Reeves, 6-0, jr., wing; Jack Harley, 5-10, sr., wing.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Kevin Kelso, 5-7, sr., wing; Zach Carroll, 6-2, jr., wing/post; Kyle Strauch, 6-0, jr., wing/post.
NOTABLE: The Bulldogs aren’t big but do have experience as Nick Heiby is back to run the point after tossing in 6.0 points and dishing out 4.0 assist per game last season.

Midwest Athletic Conference
Delphos St. John’s
HEAD COACH: Doug Etgen (1st year).
2005-06 RECORD: 13-11 overall, 4-5 MAC.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Kazz Bryan, 6-6, sr., forward.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Jeff Ostendorf, 6-3, sr., post; Ryan Reynolds, 6-3, sr., wing; Josh Klaus, 5-11, sr., point guard; Adam Recker, 6-0, sr., wing; Tony Reindel, 6-2, jr., wing; Tyler Williams, 5-10, soph., wing.
NOTABLE: Etgen has just one returning letterwinner back but he is a very good one as Kazz Bryan netted 14.6 points with 7.6 rebounds per game.

Greater Buckeye Conference
Marion Harding
HEAD COACH: Roger Jury (1st year).
2005-06 RECORD: 1-20 overall, 0-10 GBC.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Phillip Haddad 6-3, sr., post; Cody Hecker, 5-10, sr., point/wing; Kory Kirkpatrick, 6-0, jr., wing; Isaiah Twine, 6-0, soph., point/wing.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Bryson Faggs, 5-10, sr., wing; Patrick Jones, 6-1, sr., post; Kyle Oney, 6-5, jr., post; Tyler Winger, 6-3, jr., wing; Kieran Elliott, 6-0, jr., wing; Nacara Robinson, 6-4, jr., post; Skip Davis, 6-1, sr., post; Kurtis Betker, 6-1, jr., wing/post; Billy Bostelman, 6-0, jr., wing; Austin Tanner, 6-1, jr., wing.
NOTABLE: Jury has a solid player to build his team around as Kirkpatrick is a returning second team all-GBC selection.

Tab is out

So the Courier Basketball Tab is out.

The focus? Carlee Roethlisberger. She’s one hell of a basketball player. It will be interesting to see how the Trojans fare in volleyball and basketball next season without Carlee in the middle of the action. She has been such a big part of each program and their success that I wonder how each program will do without her in the lineup next season. She is a one-girl show.

The Greater Buckeye Conference is so bad in many sports that I think the Trojans will probably do just fine without her next year and in the future. And she should do well as a member of the women’s basketball team at Oklahoma University.

OK back to the basketball tab. Did you read it? Did you like it? What did you like? What do we need to improve on? Any ideas, I’m looking for feedback here.

I enjoy working on the football tab much more the basketball tab is a chore because we have a limited window in which to get it done and we still have a lot of fall sports going on. All I can say is that it’s done and now we can move on to covering basketball, wrestling and other winter sports on a day-to-day basis.

BLOG THIS: Sometime tonight I will post about 25 or 30 boys basketball capsules from throughout Northwest Ohio that we didn’t have room for in the basketball tab. Just a little bonus coverage. Also for all of my buddies that like to hang around a mat I will post a link to all of the Northwest Ohio wrestling schedules I have typed up in preparation for the season beginning Monday.
For that person asking if I was going to blog on my alma mater, St. Wendelin’s, quest for mediocrity. I’m working on it and I will blog on the topic sometime soon.

We were talking about this the other day. As a reader and sports fan which would you rather read, a Findlay High School preview of their upcoming boys basketball games for the weekend or a feature about some interesting sports story at the school. For me, I’d rather read a feature as long know who the Trojans will be playing for the weekend. I mean previews are 14 weeks of the same quotes from the coach every week with some stats from opposing players thrown in. What do you think?

WHAT ARE WE MISSING?: Are we missing any big stories out there? What should we cover more of, less of as members of the media? More college basketball, NBA, Hockey? Let me know.

Napoleon girls beat Bryan
Browns turmoil continues
Tar Heels outgun Buckeyes
Defiance girls stop Patrick Henry
Defiance area girls basketball round up
Thunderbirds edge Fort Jennings
Findlay Courier local sports for Thursday
Lexington opens season with public wrestleoffs

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

And another thing

Just to keep things on track with yesterday’s blog post about the all-Ohio selections here’s something else to think about.

OK Divisions I-II come out on Monday, Divisions III-IV come out Tuesday and Divisions V-VI are released Wednesday PLUS Mr. Football is released today too.

Why overshadow the Division V-VI all-Ohio selections by releasing the Mr. Football award the SAME day? I mean no small school player ever gets the award. Just another backhanded slap to the small football playing schools in the state by the AP much like what the OHSAA is trying to do with realigning the Divisions and giving Division I schools a huge advantage as far as making the playoffs go.

There’s no reason the AP can’t let the small schools have their day in the sun and then release the Mr. Football award on Thursday.

OK on to other things. Trolling the newspaper websites this morning has me in a bit of a tizzy and it isn‘t even sports-related.

It seems like during the past week parents around the state have gone absolutely bonkers.

Here are three stories I read online this morning that were very disturbing to me:

Lorain woman charged with allegedly discarding baby
Man hid marijuana in 1-year old’s pants
Mom killed daughter in microwave
Luckily the little baby the woman stashed in the garage for three days in Lorain is in fair condition and will probably make it and the 1-year old whose father stashed the baggie of mary jane down her pants after kicking and biting his girlfriend is OK too.

But what the hell? Who are these people and what planet do they come from that make them think that this is appropriate behavior in a civilized society. They are some depraved sons-a-bitches. We bitch about parents who go overboard at little junior’s basketball games, well at least they go watch junior play. These people need to be locked up for a very long time and we need to bring their ability to bring more children into their sick and twisted world to an end.

There’s nothing that makes me madder than someone who mistreats a defenseless child.

BROWNS TICKETS: My column about trying to trade my Browns tickets for Dec. 24 for something of value has brought several offers. The first serious offer was by the Courier’s own Dave Hanneman who offered me an old softball and a hockey puck used in an FHS district final game some years back. I’ve also been offered a Super Nintendo, cash, a Budweiser golf bag, 15 pounds of aluminum cans and 30 items from a guy’s sports memoriabilia collection. It was interesting to see what people would offer for them…so they still have some kind of value I guess…just not to me.

ISHMAEL FIRST TEAM ALL-OHIO: Leaving North Baltimore has its advantages…just ask junior Wade Ishmael. He was a first team Division IV all-Ohio selection at Oak Harbor this season. He spent his previous two seasons playing foorball and baseball and wrestling at NB. I doubt if he would have gotten such high honors at NB with the struggles they had this season. He more than likely would have been singled out by opposing coaches in the MAL. At Oak Harbor, as a part of an outstanding team, schools couldn’t afford to focus on him alone. It will be interesting to see how the wrestling and baseball seasons playout.

Findlay Courier Local Sports
My Browns column this week
Review Times Local Sports
Ashland area basketball previews
Bucyrus crushes Galion 87-16
A look at the NCC basketball season
Success at state almost expected from MAC
Reffner gets 3 days in sex sting
Browns Tucker is finished for the year, maybe career
14 Deer run wild through Delphos
St. Joe grounds Clyde
Ross can’t overcome slow start
Crestline girls can’t get it going
Continental boys counting on experience
Lima area preps round up
PCL boys basketball capsules
Marion Harding opens with a victory
Genoa girls pass early test
2 Shelby Wrestlers picked for all-star meet

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

All Ohio = Joke

Ah Tuesday.
The perfect time for a rant.
The Associated Press All-Ohio lists are out for Divisions I and II and honestly when we were getting them ready for the newspaper last night it really got me fired up.
If you or your favorite player didn’t get the honors you think they deserved don’t sweat it. Because I for one don’t put much stock in the selections anymore. They’ve lost all manner of credibility in my eyes.
I look at the first team selections in Divisions I and II and I just have to shake my head. It’s a joke, a farce.

Here is the Division I first team offense…mind you there are just 11 players out on the field at one time.
3 Ends
6 Linemen
4 Quarterbacks
4 Backs
2 Kickers
First Team Defense
4 Linemen
7 Linebackers
7 Defensive Backs
1 Punter

Division II breakdown
First Team Offense
6 Ends
6 Linemen
5 Quarterbacks
3 Backs
2 Kickers
First Team Defense
7 Linemen
7 Linebackers
4 Defensive backs
1 Punter

I counted them up there are 8 first or second team quarterbacks in Division II and 7 in Division I.

Can someone make a decision already? I guess the biggest bitch I have is that there is only one quarterback on the field at any time yet the AP gives puts 15 of them on the Division I or II first and second teams. But there are 5 offensive line spots and six make the first team. Something is a little out of whack. If it’s the All-Ohio team, shouldn’t you make things equivalent to what a real football team would look like. I’d like to see most quarterbacks lineup and knock an opposing linebacker off the line of scrimmage.

And yes when I was in school I was a lineman.

But having 22 players on the first team is a little ridiculous. Especially when the writers and broadcasters making the all-district selections have been told to pare the number of first teamers down in the past.

One person, AP sports editor Rusty Miller makes the picks based on recommendations from the district representatives. I can never hold Rusty’s proverbial sports writing jockstrap. Hell, he’s been doing the job for 30 years at newspapers and at the AP Bureau in Columbus. As Dennis Hopper told Martin Sheen in Apocalpyse Now “I'm a little man, I'm a little man, he's... he's a great man. I should have been a pair of ragged claws scuttling across floors of silent seas.”

But and this is my opinion only, Rusty probably doesn’t get to take in too many high school games between covering Ohio State, the Blue Jackets and most recently Mo Clarett. Plus the selections come right after Ohio State-Michigan week so he has a lot on his plate.

But damn it, 22 players on a first team all-Ohio list is a little excessive. And 5 first team quarterbacks in Division II is overkill. That said, every player on the list is deserving of some honors because they are outstanding football players in an outstanding state for high school football.

Hells bells why not pare it down and add a third team, maybe 14 kids on the first team, 14 on the second team, 14 on the third team and then have your special mention selections.

One other thing to think about. The conference call to select the AP Mr. Football Award Winner took place this morning at 10 a.m. Two of the eight players nominated for the honor were tri-players of the year in the Division II all-Ohio selections.

OK If they were tri-players of the year, that means they were equal in the eyes of those picking the all-Ohio teams. If they are equal in the all-Ohio voting how can they be possibly selected as Mr. Football. In my eyes if one of them wins the Mr. Football award the player they were co-Division II player of the year with must have been just as deserving and there should be a co-Mr. Football too.

Oh, not one of the eight nominees were linemen. I guess they are just biased against those big uglies in the trenches.

I’d like to know what you think.

Tuesday’s Local Sports from The Courier
Tuesday’s Local Sports from the Review Times
Browns coverage from the Plain Dealer
OSU is ranked No.1 in football, basketball polls
Doe with antlers shot in Minnesota
Ottoville whips Van Wert

Monday, November 27, 2006

Nice ride L-B

Seriously, I didn’t think Liberty-Benton would give St. Henry a game Saturday.
I thought maybe the Eagles’ went as far as they could go after whipping Ayersville in the regional finals. I was wrong and I must offer my sincere apologies because they played a whale of a game against St. Henry.
It’s been an amazing turnaround at L-B. While they weren’t the doormat of the Blanchard Valley Conference in the 1980s and 1990s they sure weren’t very good for the most part.
One person has helped turn it around, coach Scott Garlock. But even he would admit it’s been a total effort from his assistants, parents and of course hard work by the kids themselves that have turned Liberty-Benton from a football afterthought to a state playoff caliber program.
Oh, of course, you can’t win without talent and right now Liberty-Benton has talent walking the halls.
I know some of you out there just loved to see Liberty-Benton lose in the state semifinals. Why? They worked hard to get there and you can’t complain anymore that they were beating smaller schools because their playoff run was in Division V.
Why can’t everyone in the BVC just get along and support one another. Now it’s L-B from what I understand when Van Buren was winning in a lot of sports in the 1980s everyone hated them.
When it comes to the postseason it’s time to put all those petty differences aside and get behind the teams from you conference. Like it or not, just like your crazy Uncle Mike, that’s always there at Thanksgiving, they are still a part of your conference family.

The only thing I’d like to see is some of those athletes on a wrestling mat. Not just at L-B but at schools like Arlington and Leipsic too. Hell, Arcadia is going to have a couple of state placers and McComb could have a couple too. Not everyone is cut out for basketball some of those big guys in the trenches could use something to do in the winter.
Any coach, kid or parent out there interested in getting something going at your school wrestling wise can email me. We’ll see what we can do.

GIRLS ARE HOOPING IT: Well the girls basketball season is now underway with the opening weekend under their belts. Bluffton won their own holiday tournament and Arlington will start the season without 6-foot-3 post player Morgan Rogers who will likely miss a couple of games.
I’m not sure how good area teams will be. Usual powers New Riegel and Upper Sandusky started the season with losses so it kind of throws my thinking out of whack. We’ll know more how things should be shaping up around Christmas time.

BLANKETY-BLANK: Was it an impressive display of defense, or just one good team opening up a can of whup-ass on a couple of bad teams? Ottawa-Glandorf blanked Toledo Libbey in the second and third quarters Friday night in a 75-7 win over the Cowgirls. The Titans followed that up by beating Miller City the following night 67-11 as they kept the Wildcats off the scoreboard in the entire second half. Is it me or is the gap between the best and the worst teams in girls basketball widening by the year. The gulf between the haves and the have nots seem to be getting bigger and bigger.

BASKETBALL TAB: The Courier Basketball Tab comes out Wednesday. Make sure and get your copy if you are a high school hoops fanatic.

Courier Local Sports (Includes area girls roundup, L-B’s football game and UF men’s basketball)
Fostoria Review Times Sports
Little Giants fall to St. Ursula
Chieftains control Lakota in opener

Shelby stops Ashland
Blue Jays open with rout of Kalida

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Girls basketball capsules

Yep roundball is officially underway. And keeping with the longstanding tradition of opening up a lane of information here are some girls basketball capsules for NW Ohio teams. I typed them up in my free time but we just didn't have room for them in The Courier basketball tab which comes out Wednesday...For all you girls hoop fanatics out there enjoy!

North Central Conference
HEAD COACH: Steve Hoffbauer (1st year).
2005-06 RECORD: 4-17 overall, 2-12 NCC.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Ashley Santmyer, sr., post; Tasha Cooper, sr., post; Anna Dye, sr., post; Cassie Boyce, jr., forward; Katie Burwell, jr., point guard; Jessica Ralph, jr., point guard; Leslie Wiest, jr., forward.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Amy Neutzling, jr., forward; Penni Mitman, jr., point guard; Ashtan Hibar, soph., forward.
NOTABLE: The Warriors return plenty of experience and the goal is to finish in the top half of the tough NCC in Hoffbauer’s first season in charge.

Colonel Crawford
HEAD COACH: Chuck Huggins (1st year).
2005-06 RECORD: 15-7 overall, 10-4 NCC.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Bobbi Cundiff, 6-0, sr., wing/post; Callie Long, 5-8, sr., guard/wing; Katie Streeter, 5-6, jr., guard/wing; Kourtney Volkmer, 6-0, jr., wing/post; Steph Garger, 5-7, jr., guard/wing.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Shanna Sutter, 5-11, jr., post/wing; Ashley Finney, 5-5, jr., guard/wing; Jenny Wittibslager, 5-10, soph., post/wing; Sam Gilliland, 5-7, soph., guard/wing; Natalie Huggins, fr., guard/wing; Katie Redmon, 5-8, fr., guard/wing; Alexa Crase, 5-9, fr., post/wing.
NOTABLE: Volkmer is the top returnee for the Eagles as she averaged nearly 15.0 points per game last season.

HEAD COACH: Erskine Braggs (1st year).
2005-06 RECORD: 7-14 overall, 5-9 NCC.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Elizabeth Weithman, 5-6, sr., forward; Emily Hatfield, 5-5, sr., guard; Jackie Earl, 5-7, sr., forward; Terra Stewart, 5-4, jr., guard; Stacy Shumate, 5-6, soph., guard.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Katie Cauder, 5-5, soph., guard; Caitlyn Music, 6-2, soph., center; Brittannie Hauck, 5-7, soph., guard.
NOTABLE: Weithman earned honorable mention all-NCC honors last season after popping in 5.8 points and grabbing 5.0 rebounds per contest.

HEAD COACH: Heath Sager (3rd year).
2005-06 RECORD: 10-11 overall, 6-8 NCC.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Kyle Dennison, 5-9, jr., forward; Brittany Gregg, 5-6, soph., guard; Nicole Spears, 5-8, soph., forward; Kayla Ramsey, 5-3, sr., guard.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Ashley Matheny, 5-9, sr., center; Hannah Davis, 5-10, soph., center; Haley Gavin, 5-10, soph., forward; Kayla Tubbs, 5-5, soph., guard; Emily Reser, 5-6, soph., forward.
NOTABLE: Look for a lot of improvement for the Redmen this season and in the future as three players earned all-conference honors as freshman last season.

Greater Buckeye Conference
Marion Harding
HEAD COACH: Bill Sycks (9th year).
2005-06 RECORD: 17-7 overall, 7-3 GBC.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Jessica Jenkins, 5-4, sr., guard; Kaylee Kepfaro, 6-0, jr., post; Cyncere White, 5-10, jr., guard; Jessica Mount, 5-10, sr., post; LaShe Jackson, 5-5, sr., guard; Kayla Troiano, 5-6, sr., guard.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Shawnta’ Dyer, 6-1, fr., post.
NOTABLE: Jessica Jenkins was a first team all-GBC and all-district player for the Presidents last season after popping in 12.5 points and dishing out 4.9 assists per game.

HEAD COACH: Rod Hersha (3rd year).
2005-06 RECORD: 11-11 overall, 5-5 GBC.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Chelsea Gerken, 5-10, sr., wing/forward; Kristen Gilgenbach, 5-8, sr., forward; Hannah Heaston, 5-7, sr., wing; Jenna Lauf, 5-5, sr., guard; Sara Wesche, 5-5, jr., guard; Brooke Zachrich, 5-7, jr., guard; Meredith Small, 5-5, soph., guard.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Amelia Hinkleman, 5-5, jr., guard; Amanda Lankenau, 5-8, jr., guard/forward; Chelsea Smith, 6-0, jr., center; Beth Behnfeldt, 5-11, fr., center.
NOTABLE: Gerken and Gilgenbach combined for 20 points and 13 rebounds per game last season.

Lima Senior
HEAD COACH: Phil Sensabaugh (4th year, 7-56).
2005-06 RECORD: 4-17 overall, 4-10 GBC.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Ladaija Upshaw, 5-9, sr., wing; Jasmine Bean, 5-9, jr., post; Tierra Washington, 5-3, soph., guard; Angel Thomas, 5-7, soph., wing.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Katie Crockett, 5-0, fr., point guard; Keslala Johnson, 5-7, soph., post; Brandy Hutchins, 5-7, jr., wing.
NOTABLE: Upshaw is the team’s top returnee after popping in 10.0 points with 4.0 rebounds per game.

Suburban Lakes League
HEAD COACH: Dave Worstein (2nd year, 7-14).
2005-06 RECORD: 7-14 overall, 6-8 SLL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Sarah Lawrence, 5-3, sr., guard; Blake Cheatham, 5-9, sr., forward; Katie Denis, 5-9, sr., forward; Morgan Podach, 5-9, sr., forward; Ali Park, 5-10, sr., center; Cara Lentz, 5-6, junior, forward.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Cami Wasserman, 5-7, jr., forward; Katie Gosche, 5-6, jr., guard.
NOTABLE: Dennis was an honorable mention all-SLL and all-district pick last season after averaging 8.2 points per game for the Raiders.

HEAD COACH: Tom Kontak (3rd year, 19-24).
2005-06 RECORD: 13-9 overall, 10-4 SLL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Brittany Darling, 6-3, jr., post; Abbey Kontak, 5-5, sr., guard; Simone Eli, 5-7, soph., guard; Mallory Imbery, 5-10, sr., post; Ashley Robertson, 5-10, jr., post; Jeanna McWalters, 5-5, sr., guard.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Not available.
NOTABLE: Big, bigger and biggest. The Comets will have excellent size with 6-3 post player Darling in the middle. She averaged 15.5 points and 11.9 rebounds per game as a sophomore.

HEAD COACH: Mark Sworden (1st year).
2005-06 RECORD: 9-13 overall, 5-9 SLL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Zoe Huff, 5-3, sr., forward; Ann Clark, 6-0, sr., forward; Sarah Gruner, 5-8, sr., forward; Amber Marsh, 5-5, sr., guard; Lindsay Hill, 5-6, jr., guard; Katie Jones, 6-0, soph., forward; Meghan Widmer, 5-3, jr., guard.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Amber Diekman, 5-6, junior, guard; Amber Wilburn, 5-7, jr., guard/forward; Emily Clark, 5-11, soph., forward; Alissa Hinkle, 5-7, jr., guard.
NOTABLE: Huff and Clark were honorable mention all-SLL and all-District 7 selections last season for the Golden Bears.

Northwest Conference
Convoy Crestview
HEAD COACH: Greg Rickard (19th year, 238-115).
2005-06 RECORD: 15-7 overall, 6-3 NWC.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Caitlin Bollenbacher, 5-6, sr., guard; AnnaKay Myers, 5-8, sr., forward/center; Heather Simindinger, 5-5, sr., guard; Sammi Smith, 5-7, sr., forward; Melissa Eickholt, 5-5, soph., guard; Carly Lichtensteiger, 5-8, soph., forward/center; Kelsey Nedderman, 5-9, soph., guard/forward.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Sami Hartman, 5-5, jr., guard; Meghan Henry, 5-6, jr., guard; Brooke Myers, 5-5, jr., guard.
NOTABLE: The Knights appear to be locked and loaded for another successful season. AnnaKay Myers and Lichtensteiger both earned spots on the honorable mention all-NWC list.

HEAD COACH: Dave Evans (1st year).
2005-06 RECORD: 6-16 overall, 3-6 NWC.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Megan Looser, 5-8, sr., wing; Julia Morris, 5-0, sr., guard; Lauren Evans, 5-7, jr., guard; Kylie Honigford, 5-6, jr., guard; Katie Honigford, 5-6, jr., point guard; Laura Longstreth, 5-11, jr., post; Taylor Fries, 5-5, soph., guard.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Kendra Bilimek, 5-4, sr., wing.
NOTABLE: The Lancers don’t have much size but they have a lot of returning experience as the seven lettermen combined to score 36.4 points per game last season.

Lima Central Catholic
HEAD COACH: Bill Taflinger (19th year, 232-164).
2005-06 RECORD: 10-11 overall, first year in NWC.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Jenny Lamoreau, 5-6, jr., point guard; Kristen Gasperetti, 5-9, sr., center; Meagan Graham, 5-9, sr., wing.
OTHER PROSPECTS: JoJo King, 5-7, soph., wing; Katie Baker, 5-7, jr., guard; Mary Fisher, 5-3, soph., guard; Lauren Thomas, 5-10, jr., post; Kelly Mulcahy, 6-0, fr., post; Danielle Tafflinger, 5-9, fr., wing.
NOTABLE: Taflinger hopes to have two returning starters, sophomore Liz DePalma and junior Emily Huffman, back in January after they recover from injuries.
HEAD COACH: Shawn Brewer (8th year, 69-80).
2005-06 RECORD: 8-14 overall, 2-8 NWC.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Ashley Clark, 5-11, sr., post; Niki Hornish, 5-4, sr., guard; Abby Gross, 5-11, jr., forward; Julie Koenn, 5-8, jr., forward; Tiffany Razo, 5-5, jr., guard; Kara Suffel, 5-3, jr., guard; Cassie Kauser, 5-11, soph., post.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Jessica Carnahan, 5-4, jr., guard; Sina Derichsweller, 5-4, sr., guard; Kelsie Carnahan, 5-8, soph., forward.
NOTABLE: Ashley Clark earned all-NWC honors for the Panthers after knocking down 13.3 points with 7.5 rebounds per game.

Midland Athletic League
Old Fort
HEAD COACH: Rick DeMoss (1st year).
2005-06 RECORD: 4-17 overall, 4-6 MAL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Emily Cleveland, sr., guard; Melissa Goodman, 6-2, sr., post; Shannon Nye, 5-9, sr., wing; Lindsey Hoffert, 5-9, jr., post/wing; Amy Cuff, jr., wing; Mandi Leemaster, jr., guard; Jackie Miller, jr. wing; Alyssa Lucius, 5-9, jr., post.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Kathy Karle, jr, wing; Bracy McCool, jr., wing; Stacey Stallard, jr., guard; Rachel Simon, jr., wing.
NOTABLE: DeMoss takes over the Old Fort girls basketball program after serving as the New Riegel boys coach for 26 seasons.

Tiffin Calvert
HEAD COACH: Jeremy Bliss (1st year).
2005-06 RECORD: 7-15 overall, 5-5 MAL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Anna Hays, 5-7, sr., guard; Meghan Dodson, 5-6, jr., guard; Michelle Sikora, 5-10, jr., post.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Ali Mass, 5-7, fr., post; Amber Smith, 5-7, soph., wing.
NOTABLE: Bliss takes over a program that struggled to a 2-10 record outside of the MAL last season.

Northwest Ohio Athletic League
HEAD COACH: Brad Smith (2nd year).
2005-06 RECORD: 2-19 overall, 0-8 NWOAL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Karli Thomas, 5-4, sr., guard; Khrysta Long, 5-8, sr., forward; Brooke Gearig, 5-6, jr., guard; Brooke Willibey, 5-5, soph., guard.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Tabby Davis, 5-7, soph., guard; Brooke Walts, jr.; Brittany Thorp, jr.; Heather DeLong, soph.; Christine Fry, sopg.; Kim Clark, soph.; April Beattie, soph.
NOTABLE: The young Locomotives will have seven sophomores on the varsity roster this season.

HEAD COACH: Todd Grosjean (7th year, 168-93).
2005-06 RECORD: 12-9 overall, 5-3 NWOAL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Briana Garver, 5-5, sr., guard; Brittany Shirkey, 5-6, sr., guard; Megan Dendi, 5-6, jr., guard; Jessie Fee, 5-11, sr., forward; Brooke Haines, 6-0, jr., center; Andrea Wehman, 5-7, sr., forward; Brigitte Kuszmaul, 5-7, soph., guard.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Sammy Brubaker, 6-0, sr., center.
NOTABLE: Fee is the Golden Bears’ top returning player after knocking down 10.1 points and grabbing 6.3 rebounds per game.

Liberty Center
HEAD COACH: Todd Burdue (2nd year, 8-13).
2005-06 RECORD: 8-13 overall, 2-6 NWOAL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Kristen McEwen, 5-3, sr., guard; Cassi Elling, 5-5, sr., guard; Brooke Miller, 5-4, sr., guard; Katie Lillevik, 5-7, sr. forward; Kaitlain Rohrs, 5-10, soph., forward.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Emily Bodenbender, 5-3, soph., guard; Chelsea Meister, 5-6, soph., guard/forward; Kelsey Bare, 5-6, jr., guard/forward.
NOTABLE: Look for the Tigers to be improved in the NWOAL this season with the return of Rohrs and McEwen as each averaged nearly 10 points per game last year.

HEAD COACH: Brad Myers (18th year, 260-108).
2005-06 RECORD: 11-10 overall, 4-4 NWOAL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Shelly Cain, 5-10, sr., wing/post; Addie Tuckerman, 5-8, sr., wing; Kelci Wunderlich, 5-5, sr., wing; Krista Roe, 5-9, jr., post; Taylor Creager, 5-4, soph., point guard/wing.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Chloe Stiriz, 5-5, fr., point guard/wing; Sabrina Kessler, 5-8, soph., post; Hollis Richter, 5-2, jr., wing; Andrea Wagner, 5-4, jr., wing.
NOTABLE: Cain will be the go-to player for the Indians. She is a 3-year letterwinner that averaged 15.2 points and 8.4 rebounds per game last season.

HEAD COACH: Frank Onweller (5th year, 62-32).
2005-06 RECORD: 17-6 overall, 7-1 NWOAL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Abby LaVigne, 5-11, sr., forward; Tiffany Willson, 5-5, sr., guard; Heidi Hilton, 5-4, sr., guard/forward; Amber Castillo, 5-7, sr., center; Mariah Dominique, 5-3, sr., guard.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Paige Onweller, 5-5, soph., guard; Ashlee Polkinghorn, 5-6, soph., forward; Heather Hilton, 5-5, soph., guard; Kirsten Smith, 5-6, jr., guard.
NOTABLE: LaVigne, a third team all-Ohio selection last season, needs just 19 points to reach 1,000 for her career.

HEAD COACH: Kevin Miller (8th season, 149-45).
2005-06 RECORD: 17-6 overall, 6-2 NWOAL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Leah Lehman, 5-7, sr., center; Tara Gustwiller, 5-7, jr., forward; Alexa Kennedy, 5-7, sr., guard; DanI Newman, 5-9, jr., forward; Adrianne Lange, 5-7, jr., forward; Laura Wyse, 5-6, jr., guard.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Bri Wyse, 5-5, jr., guard; Katrinna Grobogge, 5-8, jr., forward; Kenzie Frank, 5-6, jr., guard; Rebecca Ruffer, 5-6, jr., forward; Lauren Kern, 5-7, soph., guard; Abby Graber, 5-7, fr., guard.
NOTABLE: Lehman and Kennedy were both all-conference picks last season for the Blue Streaks.

Northern Ohio League
HEAD COACH: Gary Burdine (1st year).
2005-06 RECORD: 0-21 overall, 0-14 NOL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Lynn Campbell, sr., guard; Kendra Ensman, sr., guard; Natalie Stough, sr., post; Brittney Thomas jr., wing.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Missy Long, sr., wing; Shelby Pierce, jr., post; Jordyn Reed, jr., guard; Aubrey Shirley, jr., wing; Christa Gase, soph., guard; Meredith Shifley, soph., wing; Ashley Hough, sr., post.
NOTABLE: No where to go but up for the Tigers who have a new head coach and are coming off a winless season.

HEAD COACH: Barry Pfahl (16th year, 240-109).
2005-06 RECORD: 11-12 overall, 8-6 NOL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Stephanie Beverly, 5-7, sr., guard; Ally Dalton, 5-7, sr., guard; Kara Danhoff, 6-0, sr., forward; Rachel Fitzwater, 6-0, sr., forward; Maddie Luna, 5-11, sr., forward; Kelsey Perry, 5-8, jr., guard.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Anna Stephens, 5-10, soph., wing/forward.
NOTABLE: Luna is a returning honorable mention all-district selection but will miss the early part of the season while rehabbing a torn ACL.

Western Buckeye League
HEAD COACH: Brian Stetler (3rd year).
2005-06 RECORD: 10-12 overall, 5-4 WBL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Betsy Hone, 5-11, sr., guard; Amy Harner, 5-2, sr., guard; Liz Homan, 6-0, junior, forward; Cayla Hellwarth, 5-4, soph., guard; Kelsey Waterman, 5-7, soph., guard.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Jenna Imwalle, 5-8, jr., forward; Shelbi Nation, 5-9, soph., forward; Cenzie Yoder, 5-11, fr., forward; Abbey Welker, 5-9, fr., forward; Lindsey Frysinger, 5-9, jr., forward; Audry Herner, 5-6, soph., guard.
NOTABLE: Hone will be the go-to player for the Bulldogs this season as she averaged 14.0 points with 5 rebounds and 4 assists per contest as a junior.

HEAD COACH: Brad Rex (3rd year, 20-21).
2005-06 RECORD: 10-11 overall, 3-6 WBL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Brittany Duff, 5-5, sr., guard; Lindsey Kentner, 5-8, sr., guard; Abby Snider, 5-3, sr., guard; Abby Harrod, 5-9, jr., forward; Jenna Steveley, 5-8, jr., guard; Devon Golden, 5-9, soph., guard; Christy Steinke, 5-6, soph., guard; Emily Steveley, 5-10, soph., guard.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Katie Grieve, 5-5, jr., guard; Linsey Knoch, 5-7, sr., forward; Julie Wintzer, 5-9, sr., forward.
NOTABLE: Kentner, a returning first team all-WBL pick, needs just 132 points to break the school record for points in a career held by Krissy Koester (1,001 points).

HEAD COACH: Nancy Baum (4th year, 16-46)
2005-06 RECORD: 5-16 overall, 1-8 WBL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Kaylee Smith, 5-8, soph., guard; Chelsea Scott, 5-8, sr., forward; Emily Marsico, 5-10, jr., guard/forward; Brittany Sheets, 5-10, sr., post; Angela Fackler, 6-0, sr., post.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Abby Heilman, 5-9, soph., post; Katie Conkle, 5-4, soph., guard; Anne Derr, 5-8, jr., guard/forward.
NOTABLE: Marsico was an honorable mention all-league pick for the Wildcats last season after averaging 8.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.

St. Marys Memorial
HEAD COACH: Tim Niekamp (1st year).
2005-06 RECORD: 14-8 overall, 8-1 WBL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Lea Mackenbush, 5-7, jr., guard; Kori Howell, 5-5, soph., guard; Steph Platt, 5-8, sr., forward; Emily Steva, 5-7, jr., forward; Kayla Thornsberry, 5-11, soph., center; Emily Shellabarger, 5-11, jr., forward.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Megan Schlater, 5-5, soph., guard; Katie Burke, 5-5, fr., guard; Megan Bruggeman, 5-4, soph., guard.
NOTABLE: St. Marys has a lot of returning experience but the Roughriders did lose all-WBL point guard Toya Anderson and post player Kerri Imwalle to graduation.

HEAD COACH: Amy Unverferth (2nd year, 14-9).
2005-06 RECORD: 14-9 overall, 2-7 WBL.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Dee Hillman, 5-2, sr., guard; Ashley Jackson, 5-6, sr., guard; Katie Gallagher, 5-9, sr., guard/post; Marissa McDonald, 5-8, jr., post; Breanna Schrag, 5-9, sr., post.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Lauren Fett, 5-5, jr., guard; Kiersten Leman, 5-5, soph., guard; Mikaela Tolbert, 5-5, soph., guard.
NOTABLE: Hillman is quite a talent. She averaged 13.4 points and 2.5 assists per game last season for the Bulldogs.

HEAD COACH: Steve Fersch (1st year).
2005-06 RECORD: Not available.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Kelly Warris, 5-6, sr., guard; Kylie Prince, 5-6, soph., guard; Chelsea Mathias, 5-8, soph., guard; Rosie Paris, 5-6, sr., guard; Quinesha Dinkins, 5-8, sr., guard/forward; Marianne Conrad, 5-9, jr., forward/post.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Jamie Hollar, 5-6, jr., guard; Shalamar Howell, 5-6, jr., guard/forward; Sierra Lohr, 5-10, jr., forward/post; Heather Jacobs, 5-10, jr., post.
NOTABLE: Fersch takes over as the head coach at Elida after several seasons as the head coach at Kalida.

Midwest Athletic Conference
Delphos St. John's
HEAD COACH: Dan J. Grothouse (18th year, 230-156).
2005-06 RECORD: 16-6 overall, 6-3 Midwest Athletic Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Laura German, 5-7, sr., guard; Brittany Pohlman, 5-7, jr., guard; Jeanne Bockey, 5-10, sr., forward; Sarah Clark, 5-9, jr., forward; Kim Miller, 5-9, sr., forward/guard; Alisha Byrne, 5-10, sr., forward.
OTHER PROSPECTS: Victoria Recker, 5-6, soph., guard; Zefiryn Bryan, 5-11, fr., forward; Steph Knippen, 5-11, jr., forward.
NOTABLE: Bockey picked up first team all-MAC honors last season after tossing in 11.5 points with 3.2 rebounds per game.

Friday, November 24, 2006

A column on Black Friday

I spent the morning fighting the crowds doing my Christmas shopping. Here's my column that will be running in tomorrow's Courier...

Tomorrow I'll post some girls basketball capsules from NW Ohio I put together...

Black Friday is all about having a plan and then sticking to it.
Shoppers just don’t wake up from their Thanksgiving turkey-induced stupor Friday morning and decide to go shopping on Black Friday.
There‘s planning and preparation involved. For the unprepared and uninitiated, if they are not fully awake and have every single one of their wits about them at 5 a.m., they might as well stay home because they will become the equivalent of shopping roadkill.
Getting those Black Friday deals is serious business to most shoppers, myself included.
But I have to tell you, because I am a man, I have that genetic disposition to hate shopping.
Yes, I’ve stood there in the corner of Bath and Body Works my fair share of times on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon wishing I was at home watching football. As men, being led into stores where we don’t belong or would otherwise avoid, is the price we pay for love.
How many men out there enjoy shopping? Let’s see a show of hands. If you are a man and raised your hand, your wife or girlfriend is probably reading The Courier over your shoulder right now. Or it could be that you’re like me and try and pinch six pennies out of each and every nickel. If you truly do enjoy shopping, and not just on Black Friday, it’s time to turn in your Man Card immediately at the receptionist‘s desk.
But back to preparation.
It all started on Thanksgiving. The first thing a shopper has to do is load up on carbs much like a marathon runner. I didn’t feel one bit guilty about those two heapin’ helpings of dressing I had Thursday because I knew those carbs would help me get though the Black Friday experience.
Then it’s time to check those Christmas lists and pour over all of those inserts that were in Wednesday’s Courier. I made my list for each store I planned to visit. And luckily, the stores I hit Friday morning staggered their openings at 5, 6 and 7 a.m.
I was in bed at 9 p.m. but couldn’t sleep with the challenge and excitement that awaited me. The alarm clock stunned me awake at 2 a.m. and I shook out the cobwebs. After a quick shower, I gulped four cups of coffee knowing I would need every caffeine-induced advantage I could get over the crazed hordes.
A thin glaze of ice on my windshield greeted me as I climbed in my truck at 3:15 a.m. I let the defroster thaw the windshield to save all of my energy.
Then I’m off. I’m shocked at how light traffic is on Findlay’s streets as I head across town in a dense Friday morning fog that seems as thick as my mom’s turkey gravy.
I turn onto Tiffin Avenue not knowing what awaits me. There it is the Tiffin Avenue shopping district — Black Friday’s ground zero. I knew I was there because there were the bright neon signs for Golden Corral, Elder Beerman and Beneficial shined brightly though the fog.
First stop was the Tiffin Avenue Wal-Mart. I head into the store, do a few laps to see where the key merchandise is located and patiently wait with the throng. I didn’t even know what an I-Dog was until my sister-in-law told me Thursday my niece really wanted one. I found the guy guarding a cart full of them wrapped in plastic and I set up my position near the coveted I-Dogs well in advance of the start of the sale at 5 a.m.
As the mayhem got underway, a Wal-Mart employee with a boxcutter cut away the plastic wrap hiding the I-Dogs. One person made a move and sneaks up toward the cart of I-Dogs from the rear I used the tried and true cart maneuver to cut him off, putting my shopping cart between him and the merchandise until I had picked two out of the cart.
I carefully worked my way through a gridlock of carts and a sea of shoppers going every which way. I grabbed some DVDs, a bike for my other niece and a few assorted odds and ends and was out of the store in a record time of 23 minutes.
Then, it’s next door to Menard’s.
By the time I got there the line of humanity waiting to get in at 6 a.m. stretched from the “In” doors all the way across the front of the building to the Garden Center.
Trying to perfect my line-cutting technique I waited until a few minutes before the doors opened and walked right up to the front. It was a risky maneuver and I half expected to get a beat down by some of the ladies near the front of the line that had been waiting there for hours. But they were focused on their own shopping lists and I slipped right in to the store with them.
I’m out the door with more bargains in hand in just 36 minutes.
A quick stop at Walgreens was next. I was amazed at the lightning speed that the gentleman at the front counter was checking out the customers. He told me, he and his co-worker previously worked at Foodtown and had been in the retail business for 40 years.
No Black Friday experience would be complete without a trip to the mall. I dashed into Elder Beerman for one of their Doorbuster Items.
I got in line, just behind, Courier reporter extraordinaire Steve Dillon, paid for the merchanidse and was home by around 8:30 a.m.
I was ready for a nap and content to leave the rest of the bargains behind to the serious shoppers and not a one-day shopping wonder like myself.
Now I have a full 364 days to rest up for next year’s Black Friday Blitzkrieg.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A time to be thankful

Thanksgiving one of my favorite holidays of the year because it gives us all time to pause and reflect on some of the things we take for granted in our daily lives.

But I have to admit, sometimes I even forget myself to think about all of those things that I am thankful for in between a second helping of turkey, mashed potatos and making my world famous pecan pie.

Here is a good website chronicling the history of our Thanksgiving celebration here in America.

Anyway here are a few things I am personally thankful for this Thanksgiving.

1, My family. It hasn’t been a great year so far. I know I can always count on the support of my my mom and step dad whenever I may need them. Plus I have two younger brothers a sister in law and three beautiful nieces and nephews, who I simply adore. I’m thankful too that at least one of my grandparents is still alive my Grandma Elchert is a feisty old broad (and I say that with love) that loves football maybe more than I do.

2. This may sound stupid but I am also thankful that I moved out of Fostoria. I was born and raised there pretty much except for short stints in Bettsville, Tiffin and Dayton when I went to college. I probably wasted a full year of my life waiting on trains at crossings over the span on my life.

3. I’m thankful, I have a roof over my head, a job that I enjoy, with terrific co-workers. Even if they do know which buttons to push just to get me a little riled up like they did last night. I’m never going to get rich but I love what I do and with few exceptions I enjoy going to work every day. A lot of people in the world have no home, no job, no family. I feel blessed each and every day because when I start feeling sorry for something that’s happened to me, I realize there are a lot worse situations happing to a lot more people than myself.

4. This may sound stupid but I am thankful for something as simple as email and fax machines. They have made my life so much easier. There were some days this fall when we would get 30 emails a day with results and maybe 10 or 12 faxes. I can’t imagine what it was like before we had such modern conveniences.

5. I’m also thankful that God has given me all these blessings.

6, I’m thankful lots of little things that I don‘t have time to mention here. A cold beer on a hot summer day, The tug of a big fish on the end of my line. Things like that.

I’d like to hear a few things that you might be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Still into football?

Just a couple of questions for anyone reading this today.
Here’s a chance to tell me a little bit more about you.
Even though it’s November and we have yet to hit Thanksgiving are you still in football mode or are you ready for other things?
Some people like myself love football, can’t get enough of it. That’s one of the reasons I don’t mind our high school football teams going deep into the playoffs. It’s something I enjoy and can’t get enough of. Maybe it’s the contact I don’t know.
I am not a big basketball fan maybe because I was a failed basketball player myself. Another reason is that basketball season seems so gosh darn long. The girls season begins this week and the high school boys and college seasons don’t end until mid March. That’s a long time to focus on a single sport.
At least in the fall we have soccer, cross country, tennis, golf and volleyball to break up the monotony bit. In the winter it’s basketball five nights a week with the occasional wrestling match, swim meet or hockey match. Oh and now we do have bowling.
So what I want to know is what is your favorite sport and why? Are you glad football season is coming to and end and basketball is getting underway?
Do you like high school sports, college or the pros best.

BGSU vs. TOLEDO: Who is going to win this titanic match up of Northwest Ohio powers? My pick is Toledo. It’s unusual for these teams to be playing at this time of year with essentially nothing on the line. I’ll be interested to see what the attendance is on this one. I think with there being so many late season MAC weeknight games attendance has suffered because the games are now televised on ESPN.

THANKSGIVING: What’s your favorite part of Thanksgiving? Is it seeing family you haven’t seen all year (or not maybe seeing certain relatives that don’t make it in to town)? The food? Gotta have my mom’s stuffing and make my own pecan pie. Give me a shout on this topic.

Wednesday: Things to be thankful for.
Thursday: No blog.
Friday: Girls basketblog (As time permits because I have to write a Black Friday column for the news side).

Monday, November 20, 2006

Big Ben & The Browns

It was a pretty good weekend, although Sunday could have been better at least for 32 seconds.

It cost $35 in gas, $20 to park and $40 for my ticket to Sunday’s Browns-Steelers game. But watching the guy parade around the concourse at Cleveland Browns Stadium with his large laminated cardboard sign with a picture of a smiling Ben Roethlisberger right next to a picture of a beat up car with a caption that read “Hit him like a Chrysler” was priceless.

But Big Ben got the last laugh.

During the first half when he threw the pick Browns corner Daven Holly returned for a touchdown I called my buddy Buster at work and against the background of a raucous Browns crowd I spoke into the phone and left him a voice mail that said “God Bless Ben Roethlisberger” In the fourth quarter I couldn’t bring myself to call back and tell him, “Damn that Ben Roethlisberger.”

That’s because as bad as Findlay’s favorite son looked in the first three quarters, and believe me he looked bad in the first three quarters, he was impeccably flawless in the fourth quarter.

He had a miniscule 6.4 quarterback rating through the first three quarters. He did little right throwing three interceptions while other passes missed the mark either high or low. But he was golden in the final frame. Roethlisberger threw 29 times in the fourth, completing 18. He engineered touchdown drives of 79 and 77 yards in the last 10 minutes as the Steelers clawed back from 20-10 down. The incredible fourth pushed his passer rating for the game to 61.9.

But I do have one complaint. He is treated like a China doll by the officials. Hell, he got blocked on a fumble or interception return and the Browns got called for a personal foul penalty. Ridiculous. On the final game-winning drive by the Steelers he was in the grasp of a Browns defender and defensive lineman Joshua Eason even let up and raised his hands as he was about to level Big Ben, who then completed a key pass play. Eason was worried about getting flagged for a personal foul penalty. It sure didn’t stop the Steelers from knocking around Charlie Frye out there along the sidelines.

The officials at the Browns game were pretty much clueless. And they were even essentially given an extra time out by the officials when Hines Ward went down with an injury with 2:09 to play and they went to a TV time out.

But hey, officiating aside, winning teams make plays when they have to and the Browns didn’t make the plays they had to make to put the game away.

I can’t help but respect Roethlisberger’s skills as a quarterback and at the same time hate him because he is a Steeler. That’s just the way it is.

L-B IN STATE SEMIFINALS: Congrats to the Liberty-Benton Eagles for making the Division V state football semifinals. After Saturday’s victory all I can say is man the Green Meadows Conference must really blow. A win like that is shocking. But I think things really get tougher this week when they take on St. Henry.

Findlay Courier local sports (Includes story on L-B beating Ayersville and UF men’s basketball)
Oak Harbor overcomes early mistakes
Coverage of Browns-Steelers game
Ohio State coverage from the Plain Dealer

Ohio State coverage from the Columbus Dispatch

L-B ends Ayersville’s season

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Chieftains-Flyers and Josh Falk

OK here Is a bonus blog for Saturday.

First order of business, last night’s St. Paul-Hopewell-Loudon game.

think if Hopewell-Loudon would have had 10 or 15 more seconds they would have probably been able to beat the Flyers. Instead, a gusty call to go for a 2-point conversion after a touchdown with 29 seconds to go allowed St. Paul to come away with a 29-28 win over the Chieftains in the Division VI Region 22 regional finals in Fremont.

St. Paul coach John Livengood probably would have had Wes Stein kick the PAT if holder Joe Graziani wouldn’t have been injured.

I even asked Fremont Ross coach Derek Kidwell, who was standing on the sideline, if he would have gone for two in the situation St. Paul was in. He said no way kick it and give yourself another chance in overtime. He also added if you make it you’ll look like a genius and if you don’t everyone will ask all kinds of questions.

St. Paul quarterback Brad Frank rolled right and found Dominic Dellisanti wide open in the front corner of the endzone. It was the exact same play that the Flyers scored their touchdown on the previous play.

Anyway I’ve gotten to see a lot of great high school football games over the years and last night’s contest was one of the best.

Second order of business.

Bluffton senior Josh Falk took advantage of the fall early signing period to sign a letter of intent to wrestle at the University of Findlay beginning next season.

The Roughnecks are probably the most underrated program at the University of Findlay. They’ve had more All-Americans than any other program at UF since joining Division II. The only other program with as much or maybe a little more success is the UF basketball program which is ranked nationally each year.

Not only is Falk an outstanding wrestler who was recruited by several Big Ten and Mid American Conference schools (Incluing Ohio State). He’s a nice kid and a smart one too. His research paper this year is whether or not the new hydration testing adopted by the OHSAA for the upcoming high school wrestling season is a good idea.

He is a small-town kid and wants to stay close to home and his family at a small school. He can still wrestle a very competitive schedule at UF and Coach Shawn Nelson is excellent at developing talent in the wrestling room.

He told me a story about wrestling at UF in the junior high district when he was in middle school and his Grandma Lil struck up a conversation with Nelson and she told him to watch out for my grandson because he’s going to be a good one. Nelson told her he’d probably be too good and wouldn’t end up coming to Findlay.

Who knew four or five years letter Falk would be coming to UF.

On a side note, the Roughnecks have plenty of Northwest Ohio talent on the team. NCAA champ Tony Guerra (Toledo Waite), heavyweights Travis Clark (McComb) and Cody Ruffer (Archbold) are at Findlay along with Bluffton graduated Justin Shannon and Alex Schumaker.

It’s good to see wrestling programs at UF and Heidelberg, which is coached by Hopewell-Loudon graduate and Berg All-American Jason Miller thriving.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Pigskin pig out

Time for a pigskin pig out.

I’ll be covering the regional finals between Norwalk St. Paul and Hopewell-Loudon tonight, then it’s watching Ohio State-Michigan with my family Saturday afternoon and then finally attending the other big game of the weekend with my 2 brothers -- the Browns-Steelers game Sunday.

And in the down time Saturday morning and early afternoon I get to take my beautiful 9 and 7 year old nieces out to breakfast and to the movies with good old Uncle Jamie.

I ask all of you out there does it get any better than that?

OK on to the games.

TONIGHT: It should be an interesting game, St. Paul is on a roll but my question is can they keep it up? Hopewell-Loudon just has so many weapons and if they running game isn’t working they can and will throw the ball on you. I think that gives them the edge over the Flyers. I do expect a quick game with both teams keeping it on the ground. Sure St. Paul beat Mohawk 18-15, who beat Hopewell-Loudon 21-0. But that was in a Week 10 Mud Bowl, with Sean Brickner on the sidelines and 7, count ‘em 7 turnovers.
My pick: Hopewell-Loudon 27, St. Paul 20

I haven’t had the chance to comment on the Liberty-Benton game. It will be interesting to see what the attendance is like at Lima Saturday for the noon game. I remember playing one day game when I was in high school and it was one of the worst games we ever played when. We beat Patrick Henry 6-0 in an afternoon game in Fostoria the year we were the Division V state runners up. It will definitely be different as many players on both sidelines will have never played a noon football game before (Yeah I know JV Games start at 10 a.m.). I think the Eagles continue their playoff run…for at least one more week. My pick: Liberty-Benton 21, Ayersville 10

OK Time to get down to business. The biggie: Ohio State vs. Michigan. OK I am an Ohio State fan and I want them to win but it’s not life or death for me like I know it is for a lot of Buckeyes Super Fans out there. Here’s the deal. I’ve studied the scores of common opponents and OSU has the edge. They have a better quarterback in Troy Smith and I think more playmakers like Ted Ginn and Anthony Gonzales than Michigan has. Playing at home is an advantage too. They have the edge in all areas but they have to win the game on the field Saturday afternoon. They will. My pick: Ohio State 24, Michigan 14

UPDATE: Throw everything I just said out the window…Just found out Bo Schembechler collapsed during a taping of a television show and died in the hospital. This throws everything out of whack and the Wolverines will be playing with a lot of emotion. Edge: Michigan.

OK this is my make or break game for the weekend. I went to last year’s Browns-Steelers game at the Stadium on Christmas Eve dressed in my Santa Suit. Last year’s 41-0 beating the Browns were administered by the Steelers and Big Ben sticks with me to this day. It was the first time I have ever left a Browns game early. I left the stadium even before the end of the third quarter. It wasn’t a Merry Christmas Eve and I was far from a jolly old elf. I was a spitting, enraged, seething Browns fan. There had better be a better effort on the field this year. If the Buckeyes lose Saturday and the Browns fall behind big early to the Steelers I have a feeling things might get real ugly, real fast at the stadium Sunday. Here’s holding out hope: Browns 24, Steelers 21.

BLOGGING SCHEDULE: Not sure of the blogging schedule this weekend but there will be a big wrestling annoucement in Saturday’s paper. Can’t let the cat or Pirate out of the bag just yet. But I may post a bonus blog tonight or tomorrow.

Findlay Courier local sports

Pilots, Eagles play for regional title
Marion Local, Mechanicsburg preview

Link to Plain Dealer special section on OSU-UM game

Plain Dealer Browns-Steelers coverage

Columbus Dispatch special OSU-UM section

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Wood County Mud Bowl

Talk about new playing surfaces.

I do believe after last night’s game Bowling Green is going to need one at Doyt Perry Field. Did any one watch that mud bath last night?

We flipped it on at work during the second half last night. All those living in this area that didn’t get adequate Ohio history lessons while in school might not know that much of Northwest Ohio was called the Great Black Swamp as it was being settled and BGSU is right in the heart of the old Black Swamp…if you watched last night’s game you could see why.

Not even Poe Ditch could drain all of the water that fell on Doyt Perry Field. Actually, the attendance on the boxscore was listed at something like 25,771. It looked more like 771 from what I saw on television. Did anyone reading this brave those terrible conditions? If you did, you are one helluva football fan.

As BGSU’s Sean Ellis trotted out there for his 25-yard game-winning field goal try you just knew it was doomed to failure. You ever have that sinking feeling where you are hoping for the best and but preparing for the worst? When the graphic flashed up on the screen saying that the poor kid was already only 4-of-8 on FG tries with a long of 38, I knew he wasn’t going to make it and Miami was going to escape the Mud Bowl with a 9-7 victory.

The snap was good, the hold went down but Ellis just couldn’t get enough footing in the muck and his kick looked like a duck getting hit by a shot gun as it fluttered wide left. Don’t blame the kicker, the conditions were so bad that I’m not so sure most kickers in the NFL could have made it.

We’ll be talking prep playoffs tomorrow and what a big weekend of football we’re all in store for this weekend!

DONNELL QUESTION: Great feedback on Donnell Stadium yesterday. I’m really not for getting out the bulldozers but I agree the track must go. And if you are going to put in a new synthetic surface, why not just renovate the entire stadium while they are at it. But the wheels grind slow in Findlay, indecision is often the rule rather than the exception. it’s time to get it done.

BROWNS TICKETS: I have three tickets to the Browns home game Dec. 24 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers if anyone is interested. Great seats and it would be the perfect Christmas gift for a Browns fan or someone in your family you want to keep from coming to your Christmas Eve celebration. Drop me an email if interested.

Findlay Courier local sports (Includes UF men’s basketball preview, H-L football preview and how area coaches think The Game will turn out)
HL eyes second straight regional title
Ottney, Kidwell honored by GBC
Chieftains-Flyers to battle in Fremont
Chieftains and Flyers in regional rematch
OSU-UM and Browns-Steelers coverage from the Plain Dealer
Michigan sending police to watch over fans in Columbus
Columbus Dispatch Buckeyes Coverage
BGSU kicks a dud in the mud against Miami
No lack of motivation for Ashland’s football team
Bucyrus reporter dies in apartment fire
Wynford’s Slone headed to UF
Fourth teen sentenced in deer decoy case
Pilots, Eagles clear roadblocks
Marion Local meets Mechanicsburg

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Donnell upgrades?

Change comes slow to Hancock County and Findlay. Sometimes I think we are stuck in some kind of time-space continuum.

Conservative in politics and often conservative in upgrades to facilities and changes in sports too.

It’s the just the way it is here in the heartland of Ohio.

That’s why I’m not surprised when stadiums like Fremont and Sandusky get renovated and we get the same old, same old at Donnell Stadium.
I guess I started thinking about Donnell Stadium last week when I covered McComb’s playoff game with Norwalk St. Paul. Some of the boys from Fremont Ross that I know took me through and gave me a tour of the renovated facility. Man it knocked my socks off.

I saw the new lockerroom, huge training room, meeting room, coaches’ office, equipment room complete with laundry facilities. It was a thing of beauty.

As much as we love history here I was surprised not to find one single shred of history about Findlay’s venerable old stadium on the Internet. When was it built? Last time it was renovated? Etc.

Don’t get me wrong I like Donnell Stadium. Even though I wasn’t a native Findlay resident, I remember my uncle bringing me over here as a kid and watching Moeller play Findlay High School in the 1970s and we ran many track meets against St. Mikes out there on the track growing up, hell I even remember running a 100-yard dash there in a junior high meet and no I didn‘t finish last.

But when I travel around and see some of the other facilities around the area like in Fremont and Tiffin. Donnell seems to lose some of its appeal. The concrete stands are chipping away in some places, the visitors bleachers are nothing to write home about and the facilities underneath the stadium seem antiquated when compared to Fremont and other places. Fremont even had a fundraising effort not only to renovate the football field, they also build a new swimming pool and wrestling room with lockerrooms adjacent to the high school --- all with private donations in a town half the size of Findlay and without the financial resources that are available here in Flag City USA.

Even the field surface is unplayable and Donnell Stadium, which is usually a hot bed of prep playoff activity because of its central location, has been dark on Friday and Saturday nights since the regular season ended. Not to mention the biggest complaint people have about the stadium, which is the lack of parking for big games and the big crowds the games draw.

So what happens now? Rumor has it that they are putting in a synthetic turf surface much like the ones they have in Fremont and Tiffin. No one from the high school is willing to confirm that but from everything I’ve heard from people in the know it’s almost a done deal. Hell as many times as they’ve dropped new grass down on the field it should have been done years ago. It’s a step in the right direction.

But they should do even more. My first thought was “Doze Donnell” make it a community project and start from scratch. In a town steeped in tradition that will never happen. Get rid of the track at Donnell, it serves little purpose but as a practice facility. A few junior high meets and a high school meet takes place at the stadium each year. It’s only six lanes and the lanes are very narrow at that. The city renovated The Cube, why not join forces with the schools, and UF to build a quality 8-lane track somewhere in the city that can be used by the entire community. Walkers and joggers of all ages use the all-weather track on a daily basis in Fostoria.

Donnell Stadium will undergo some changes this year or next but nobody’s giving away the plan just yet. In the end, if they do put a new surface in at Donnell Stadium, I hope they do it right and give the old girl the total makeover that she richly deserves.

Anyone out there want to weigh in with an opinion? Do you like Donnell, hate Donnell? What should be done with the stadium?

HOOPS GALORE: Ready to get your basketball freak on? You’ll have your chance this weekend. The Blanchard Valley Conference girls basketball preview is set for Friday night at Cory-Rawson beginning at 6 p.m. You can take a look at the girls teams in the MAL Saturday night at New Riegel when they host their annual basketball preview beginning at 7:30.

AP DISTRICT MEETING: The AP’s Northwest District meeting at the Courier went smoothly until Division V. Tempers became a little short sorting out the quarterback situation. Lots of stories but probably none that can be published here. The all-district selections will be released for the Northwest District will be released Tuesday.

Wild turkey lives, dies in the fast lane
Ohio State coverage from the Plain Dealer (Also a story about St. Edward’s football coach being placed on leave)
More OSU coverage from the Columbus Dispatch
Findlay Courier local sports
Tanker explosion leaves one dead in Lima
Owens Community College fires AD Welling

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


The Dan Simrell Watch didn’t last long.

Not more than 4 hours after I posted yesterday’s blog I had an email in my in box that said he had resigned. I think it was one of those, “Well you think I should resign huh? OK I will.”

In any event it’s time for new blood. He just couldn’t get the fire lit under those boys in black and orange.

On to other things.

The only thing I’ve heard anyone talk about this week, ever since Saturday night, is the Ohio State-Michigan game. Three or four stories a day are moving on the AP sports wire about the game every day this week. My contribution to the cause is talking to area coaches and finding out what they think about the game.

Here’s what I think. God bless Jim Tressel. He’s breathed new life into the rivalry from the Ohio State perspective. Remember the John Cooper era? Admit it, as an Ohio State fan you know you dreaded Michigan week because it seemed more than likely the Buckeyes were going to lay an egg.

Now since Ohio State has won three of the last four meetings I believe, Lloyd Carr has become the John Cooper in the series. He’s undeservedly taken a lot of heat. He’s done a pretty good job as head coach, but for some rabid super fans out there pretty good just isn’t good enough.

I think the difference in this game is Ohio State’s Troy Smith. He can do a lot of things at quarterback. He’s athletic, throws well and can avoid the rush. He is definitely a better Heisman candidate than Brady Quinn in my opinion.

Here is my question of the day to all of the readers out there. Lets say you have a pair of tickets to the game. Someone offers you $500 a piece for them. Do you go to the game or sell ‘em. What’s your price $200, 300, $1000 a ticket? What would you sell them for or would you hang on to them and go to the game.

Anyway here are a few Michigan jokes to brighten up your day!

Q: What's the difference between a University of Michigan fan and a carp?
A: One is a bottom-feeding, scum sucker, and the other is a fish.

Q: How many University of Michigan fans does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: One, but he gets 3 credits.

Q: Where was O.J. hiding right before the famous white Bronco chase?
A: On the University of Michigan campus. That's the last place you would find a football player.

Q: Why do they throw out a sack of manure at University of Michigan weddings?
A: To keep the flies off the bride.

Q: Why don't University of Michigan fans let their kids play in sand boxes?
A: Because cats keep covering them up.

A University of Michigan fan walks into a doctor's office and removes his hat to reveal a frog sitting on his head. The doctor asks, "How can I help you?" The frog replies, "I was wondering if you could help me get this wart off my butt."

Q: Did you hear about the University of Michigan fan who locked his keys in his car?
A: He couldn't get his family out.

Q: Why do University of Michigan fans keep their diplomas on their dashboards?
A: So they can park in handicap spaces.

Two University of Michigan fans were walking down the street when they came upon a dog lying on the sidewalk licking and cleaning his groin like dogs do. The first University of Michigan fan says to the second, "Boy, I wish I could do that." The second University of Michigan fan replies, "Yeah, me too. But I wouldn't try it." The first University of Michigan fan asks, "Why not?" The second University of Michigan fan replies, "Because I'm afraid the dog might bite me."

Q: What do you call a good looking girl on the University of Michigan campus?
A: A visitor.

Q: Did you hear about the power outage at the University of Michigan library?
A: Forty students were stuck on the escalator for three hours.

Q: Did you hear about the fire in University of Michigan's football dorm that destroyed 20 books?
A: The real tragedy was that 15 hadn't been colored yet.

Q: Do you know why the University of Michigan football team should change its name to the "Opossums"?
A: Because they play dead at home and get killed on the road.

Q: Did you hear the story about the semi-truck carrying pigs that flipped over on the University of Michigan campus?
A: The officials had to check ID's before letting anyone back on board.

Q: What does the average University of Michigan student get on his SAT?
A: Drool.

Q: What do you get when you breed a groundhog and a University of Michigan?
A: Six more weeks of bad football.

Q: What should you do if you find three University of Michigan fans buried up to their neck in cement?
A: Get more cement.

General Schwarzkopf was walking through the desert during the Gulf War when he found a lamp on the ground. He picked it up, rubbed, and out came a genie. The genie said to the General, "I will grant you one wish." The General replied, "I wish that we will win this war. Here is a map of the desert and all the war parties. Please make us win the war." The genie responded, "I'm not that powerful of a genie. I cannot grant you that wish." "Well," the General responds, "then can you have University of Michigan win a bowl game this year?" After a moment, the genie says, "Let me see that map again."

Q: How do you make University of Michigan cookies?
A: Put them in a big Bowl and beat for 3 hours.

Q: What do you get when you cross a University of Michigan fan and a pig?
A: Nothing. There's some things that a pig will not do.

Q: How many University of Michigan freshman does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None, it's a sophomore course.

FOOTBALL: Mark Heiman is covering Liberty-Benton’s regional final against Ayersville and will have a story on Wyatt Elbin’s move from QB to RB; I am working on a Hopewell-Loudon story as they prepare for their regional final game against Norwalk St. Paul.
BASKETBALL: Work On the basketball tab is in full swing. I could tell you specifically what we are working on but then I would have to kill you. It’s top secret.
OTHER STUFF: I am also working on a story about what area coaches think about the Ohio State-Michigan game as well as a story on the UF women’s cross country team heading to nationals.

Findlay Courier Tuesday Local Sports
Ayersville beats Fairview
St. Henry blows out Pleasant
Ohio State, Browns-Steelers coverage from the Plain Dealer
Columbus Dispatch Buckeye Extra
Ceramic deer attacked by a real deer
All-NOL Story from the Tiffin Advertiser Tribune

Monday, November 13, 2006

Countdown to a new coach at UF

So the countdown begins.

I know it’s only five days until Ohio State and Michigan get in on in their Battle Royale for all of the marbles in the Big 10 and a shot at who will play in the national championship. But I’m talking about the University of Findlay today.

The Oilers finished the season with a whimper and not a bang as they dropped a 33-15 decision to Michigan Tech to close the 2006 football season Saturday afternoon at Donnell Stadium. It marked the end to a second straight disastrous football season at the University of Findlay.

The Oilers beat Charleston to open the season and got fired up about a story in the Courier about Ashland and former Columbus Grove star Blaine Maag and they managed to beat the Eagles 7-0 in on a crappy day for football in Ashland.

Just like a lot of voters thought in the last election its time for a change. This year’s 2-9 record was the most losses in a season for the program since 1927. Yep, I know it’s tough for a private school to compete in Division II because of limited funding and higher tuition costs, but Ron Niekamp and the basketball program seems to do OK and so does Shawn Nelson’s UF wrestling program and he works on a shoestring budget compared to most Division II programs.

The football team, as I understand it, is fully funded. That means they have the full compliment of scholarships that every other Division II school has so they are essentially on an even footing in that regard with everyone else. The only local kid making an impact for the Oilers that I can think of is Leipsic’s Joel McDaniel. If you want to boost the program’s local following at all some players from area high schools should be in the lineup and you can’t tell me there aren’t solid NCAA Division II level football players right in UF’s back yard,

The heat was definitely on UF coach Dan Simrell the last couple of weeks. He finished his seventh season in charge of the program with a 31-45 record.

On WFIN’s Coaches Corner Show last week host Chris Miller asked Simrell about his job and he promptly ended the interview and hung up on Miller. He doesn’t even have the common courtesy to show up for the show live and in person each week. He did the same thing to Courier sports writer Brian Lester with a terse “no comment.” after the loss to Michigan Tech.

So the countdown begins. It might be this week, maybe next. But from everything I’ve heard Dan Simrell is going to be out as UF’s football coach and it will be up to someone else to right the ship.

AP ALL-DISTRICT: As I write this on an overcast Monday morning the brightest prep football minds in the Northwest District (sarcasm noted) are meeting to select the Associated Press All-District football teams just a block away from here at The Courier. The teams will be officially released next Tuesday.

SOCCER ALL-DISTRICT: The All-Ohio Soccer Team has been released but still no all-district teams for Northwest Ohio. Can’t say that I am surprised, it happens every single year. I just don’t get it, release the gosh darn all-district pairings BEFORE the all-Ohio picks are announced.

FREEDOM CRUSHED: The Findlay Freedom, you know our minor league hockey team in town traveled to Danbury, Conn. And got beat 14-1, here is a link to the story via Danbury, Conn.
Monday’s local sports from The Findlay Courier (Includes: L-B vs. Chanel game story, all-Ohio soccer selections)
Marion Local rolls past SCC
Browns coverage from the Plain Dealer
Buckeyes coverage from the Columbus Dispatch
Hopewell-Loudon offense too much for Grove
East-West Volleyball coverage from the Fremont paper
East-West All-Star volleyball match from the Fostoria Review Times

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Panther proud

Norwalk St. Paul just wore down McComb in last night’s regional semifinal game.

I thought the Panthers had a chance as they drove the ball down to St. Paul’s 9 yard line on their first possession of the second half. But Joe Stoll, stole the ball away from Noah Shoop just as McComb looked like it was going to take the lead in the beginning of the third quarter.

Then came one of the most impressive drives by a high school football team that I have ever seen, 19-plays, 91 yards taking nearly 9:00 off the clock. Add the 2-point conversion and the Flyers led the Panthers 27-14 with just 59 seconds left in the third quarter.

At that point you could see any momentum shift north to Norwalk and the drive took the wind out of the Panthers’ sails although they did manage to score a couple of more times on runs by senior Derrick Hill. St Paul so thoroughly won the battle up front that they never punted the ball in the second half and didn’t throw a pass.

A lot of people didn’t think the Panthers would even get this far -- McComb fans included. I heard Kris Alge tell his kids that maybe 4, 5 or 6 wins would be all a lot of people though they would win this season. They easily exceeded those expectations. Anytime you lose in the regional semifinals you are a little disappointed but you should feel a little pride too because many, many more coaches, players and fans who never got to Week 12 of the football season wish to be in your shoes.

I wasn’t impressed by the contingent of McComb fans on the visitor’s side at beautifully renovated Don Paul Stadium in Fremont. Kudos to all of you that went there and supported the kids but I thought there would be at least a little bigger crowd supporting the Panthers this week. Shame on you Panther fans that never did jump on the McComb Express this season.

HN THEY STILL HATE YOU: When the other regional scores were announced at Fremont Friday night the biggest cheers went up when it announced that Mechanicsburg beat Hardin Northern 34-0. Polar Bears, the St. Paul fans don’t like you obviously. But who cares? You have the state championship trophy and they don’t.

MONDAY: University of Findlay football, Dam Simrell’s final hurrah.
TUESDAY: It’s not the GBC’s fault that no Findlay High School girls soccer players got awards.
WEDNESDAY: Why it’s time to get the bulldozer out at Donnell Stadium.
THURSDAY: My alma mater (St. Wendelin) and why they are settling for mediocrity.
FRIDAY: Too far ahead of time to think about.

Findlay Courier local sports: Includes stories on Hardin Northern, McComb and the Columbus Grove vs. Hopewell-Loudon games
Hopewell-Loudon vs. Columbus Grove story from the Review Times
Oak Harbor dominates Coldwater
Mechanicsburg manhandles Columbus Grove
Coldwater runs into a wall
Marion Local pounds Springfield Catholic
Piqua ousts Wapakoneta
Grove comes up short
Goal line stand saves Ashland
Andy Griffith sues Andy Griffith