Local Sports

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Prep Football: Winning is what matters for O-G line
By DAVE HANNEMAN

sTAFF WRITER

OTTAWA -- Luke Recker has caught six passes as Ottawa-Glandorf's tight end.

He's gained 70 yards.

He's scored zero touchdowns.

The way Ken Schriner's tells it, though, there's only one number on the stat sheet Recker even cares about.

"If you ask Luke what his stats are, he'll just say, '10 wins, coach.' That's the type of kid you love to have," Schriner said when the Titans were preparing for the Division IV playoffs.

"I think that's the approach our whole offensive line takes. The stats may not always be fancy. The game might not be pretty. But 10 wins, that's the stat that means the most to these guys."

Those 10 wins have grown to 12, and O-G will be trying to make it 13 when the Titans, ranked No. 2 in the final Associated Press state poll, face No. 1-ranked Columbus Hartley (12-0) Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the Division IV, Region 14 championship showdown at Piqua's Alexander Stadium.

With tailbacks Tristan Parker (1,887 yards, 25 TDs) and Shane Schroeder (357, 4 TDs), quarterback Caleb Siefker (1,183, 21 TDs) and fullback Brad Racer (362, 7 TDs) operating behind a big, veteran offensive line, Ottawa-Glandorf has averaged 337.4 yards rushing and 45.8 points a game.

When it comes to rushing stats, Hartley is just as impressive.

With Notre Dame-bound Jacob Matuska, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound tight end who is considered the Hawks best blocker, leading the way, Hartley averages 400 yards a game on the ground and 45.9 points a game.

Spearheading that attack is 5-11, 230-pound senior Ja'waun Woodley, a University of Toledo recruit who has rushed for 1,709 yards and 23 TDs. Senior Marcellus Calhoun (1,435, 23 TDs) and junior Sam MacKowiak (680, 8 TDs) are effective weapons as well.

"They are everything they are advertised, a great football team," Schriner said this week as he readied O-G for the school's second regional final in four years.

"You look at them on film and they're athletic, they're fast and they have great size.

"It's going to be a huge challenge for our kids."

Schriner knows the play of his line will be crucial, on defense as much as on offense.

"(Hartley) has played on turf almost every game this season and their quickness is evident. They have a lot of speed," Schriner said.

"Offensively, they try to pack things in tight and get to the edge as much as they can. They're not a big throwing team, but when they do go over the top with their outside guys they are very dangerous in what they do."

And if the Hawks can't get to the edge or go up top, there's the power that a 230-pound back like Woodley can deliver.

"If you hit him, he's not going to go down," Schriner said.

"You better hit him, wrap him and tackle him to the ground ... and get your buddies to help."

O-G's best defense against a potent Hartley attack may be the Titans' offense.

"One thing you have to do is maintain possession," Schriner said. "You have to do your best to have long drives and put points on the board at every opportunity because (Hartley) is going to score, you know that."

Keeping O-G's offense on the move will be the work of a veteran all-senior offensive line of center Derek Rieman (6-5, 290), guards Matt Samuelson (6-3, 225) and Jacob Wells (5-11, 185) and tackles Wyatt Karhoff (6-5, 250) and Tanner Hohenbrink (6-2, 285). Luke Recker (6-0, 200) has been used at both tight end and tackle, with Ross Hashbarger (5-10, 215, sr.) and sophomore Ben Recker (6-3, 215) seeing time up front as well.

No one appreciates the ability of O-G's line to get an initial push and create seams than Parker.

"Tristan has such great vision," Schriner said.

"Those blockers get out in front of him and he does a great job of cutting back. Tristan has the option of cutting back anywhere: the A gap, the B gap the C gap ... His vision allows him to see that develop and that's how he makes big plays for us."

Siefker has been efficient throwing the ball, completing 71 of 137 passes (52 percent) for 924 yards and 14 touchdowns. Jacob Leopold (22 receptions, 279 yards, 3 TDs), 6-4 senior Brenden Drerup (9, 84, 1) and 6-6 senior Alex Westrick (8, 127, 4) have been O-G's top receivers and may play a bigger role Friday with Hartley's defense geared to stop the run.

"They're very aggressive and they load things up in what is like a 3-5," Schriner said.

"The strength of Hartley's defense is their linebackers. The guys up front will angle and slant and use their quickness to keep those linebackers clean (unblocked) so they can use their speed getting to the ball."

O-G's 10-0 regular season was a first. And every win since is like a separate chapter in the legacy of a deep and talented senior class.

Friday, Schriner knows that group will face its biggest challenge of the season.

"It's been a fantastic year," Schriner said.

"We're doing the things that at the beginning of the year we hoped we'd be able to do. We're running the ball well. The defense has been outstanding. We've been scoring points, but what matters most is keeping other teams out of the end zone, and we've been able to do that.

"So many things have played a part in our season, but one thing in particular has been our senior leadership. It's been simply outstanding.

"These guys came through the ranks. They've put their time and energy into this. They think this is their year and that's how they've played.

Hanneman: 419-427-8408,

davehanneman@thecourier.com


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