Local Sports

Friday, October 12, 2012

College football: Trapps sets a tone for younger Oilers
By BRIAN LESTER

STAFF WRITER

Demetrius Trapps has done almost everything but work the concession stand during his University of Findlay football career.

And for the record, he actually has worked the concession stand during UF basketball games.

All kidding aside, Trapps has become a valuable Oilers player on both sides of the ball.

The 5-foot-7, 170-pound redshirt senior out of Ayersville High School started his career as running back, rushing for 129 yards in the 2009 opener, before being sidelined by a broken leg two games into the campaign.

Trapps made his mark returning kicks and punts as a sophomore and saw time at running back. A year ago, he found himself making plays in the secondary, racking up 39 tackles.

This season, he is back on offense and thrilled about it. After starting out as a receiver, he is starting to see time in the backfield as well.

"I just look to get on the field and make a play, whether it's at receiver or running back," Trapps said. "As long as I'm on the field helping the team out, it's all that matters."

As one of the older players, Trapps has learned to make better reads on defense and understands what is expected of him.

His numbers aren't flashy (27 rushing yards, 2 catches, 31 yards) but he is still a player opponents have to account for. Not only is he an offensive threat, but he has returned seven punts for 82 yards.

"I know what to expect when I am on the field, and repetition has been a big part of my development," Trapps said. "It's great being a part of this offense. We have good depth at receiver and running back. The ball gets spread around and you never know who it's going to on any given play."

The Oilers will be looking to put that versatile offense on display when they host Ohio Dominican University at 3 p.m. Saturday in a pivotal Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game at Donnell Stadium.

UF (4-1, 4-1) needs a victory to stay in the hunt for a GLIAC South Division crown as first-place Ashland has yet to lose.

The Panthers (3-3, 2-3) entered the year with division title hopes but have lost all of their games to nationally-ranked opponents, including a 44-21 setback at then No. 9 Ashland last week.

ODU and UF were picked to finish second and third, respectively, in the division.

"This was a big game going into the year, and it's crept up on us," UF head coach Rob Keys said. "If we win this game, we are one step closer to what we want to accomplish."

The Oilers, who have hit the 40-point mark three times, are averaging 464 yards per game and will face a defense that is relentless.

Defensive back Justin Bell has a team-high 53 tackles for an ODU defense that is allowing 349.7 yards per outing.

"We had better be balanced, because if not, they are going to hurt us," Keys said. "It starts up front. They have one of the better defensive tackles I've seen on film in Eli Kovach and their secondary with guys like Billy Eakins and Eisen Hardy is very good. Their defense plays hard and plays fast."

But at times it has been inconsistent according to ODU head coach Bill Conley, a former assistant at Ohio State.

The Panthers had a 21-20 halftime lead over Ashland but gave up 24 points in the second half. In a 46-41 loss to Grand Valley State, they had a 41-40 lead before falling in the final minute.

"We are pretty athletic and we give great effort, and at times, we have made some tremendous plays," Conley said. "At other times, we have struggled to close the deal. It's all part of having a young defense."

The Panthers average 416.2 yards per outing and are anchored by freshman running back Brandon Schoen (546 yards, 3 TDs) behind an offensive line that features four players with three years of experience.

Ronnel Spates (291 yards rushing, TD), quarterback Mark Miller (1,115 yards passing, 12 TDs, 9 INTs) and Abe Johnson (26 catches, 304 yards, 6 TDs) are other ODU threats.

The UF offense has been successful as well.

Clay Belton is on his way to his second consecutive 2,000-yard season (1,418 yards, 10 TDs, 4 INTs), Monterae Williams has rushed for 529 yards and eight scores and is 169 yards away from passing Nelson Bolden (4,009) as the program's all-time leading rusher, six players have at least 10 catches and the offensive line, despite having just two seniors, continues to make strides.

"In my opinion, I don't think we have played our best game yet on offense," Trapps said. "We are still waiting to play that complete game."



Ohio Dominican

Coach: Bill Conley (3rd season, 12-15).

Record: 3-3 overall, 2-3 GLIAC.

Series: Tied 1-1.

Key Players: QB Mark Miller (81 of 140, 1,115 yards, 12 TDs, 9 INTs); RB Brandon Schoen (74 carries, 546 yards, 3 TDs); RB Ronnel Spates (76, 291, TD); WR Abe Johnson (26 catches, 304 yards, 6 TDs); WR Ronald McCloud (19, 428, 5 TDs); TE Andy Mick (9, 131, TD); DB Justin Bell (53 tackles); DB Billy Eakins (44 tackles, 2 INTs); LB Martavius Lewis (32 tackles, INT); DB Eisen Hardy (31 tackles, INT); DB Jeff White (30 tackles, fumble recovery); LB Warren Shields (24 tackles, 3 sacks); LB Kevin Guthrie (23 tackles, INT); DB Brad McCurdy (20 tackles, INT).

Noteworthy: Conley played on the Ohio State team that won a national championship in 1968. ... Panthers have scored on six one-play drives this season. ... Panthers had only one first down in second half at Ashland. ... Schoen has rushed for over 100 yards in three consecutive games. ... ODU has forced 14 turnovers and has turned the ball over 17 times.

Lester: 419-422-5151,

brianlester@thecourier.com


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