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Archive for August 7th, 2019

Capital Crusaders out to prove they’re better than 9th in Coaches, 10th in Media Polls at Annual OAC Football Preview

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Football season is around the corner. It’s not the leaves on the trees or the outdoor temperatures giving it away. Instead, the giveaway is the annual Ohio Athletic Conference Media Day, which was held on Tuesday, August 6 at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Each year, the Pro Football Hall of Fame welcomes the OAC and its member schools into its hallowed grounds to host the conference’s annual media day, the first opportunity for fans and media members to learn more about the upcoming football season. This year, Capital University Football selected seniors David Barnett (Springfield, Ohio/Shawnee) and Kole Carter (Gallipolis, Ohio/Gallia Academy) to represent the Crusaders at this year’s event.

The day began with a special visit from Pro Football Hall of Fame president and CEO, David Baker, who delivered a powerful speech to the room addressing how meaningful, powerful, and binding the game of football can be. Each team had an opportunity to address a full house regarding their team and the upcoming season. Fourth-year head coach Chad Rogosheske took to the podium and highlighted the senior class, addressed a road-heavy schedule, closeness of games last season that speak to how close the Crusaders are, and certain positions of strength in 2019.

“The strength for us is definitely our seniors,” said Rogosheske. “The challenge is that there is only nine of them … what I feel good about with these nine seniors that have been with us for four years is that they are very (much) on the same page with what our seniors last year provided for us, and I know it’s important to them in extending that culture of trust. When working with a large group of incoming players with what our expectations are and how we need to approach things to have a chance to be successful.”

Each team also sent a feature student-athlete to be interviewed by OAC Commissioner Tim Gleason. Senior linebacker Kole Carter took to the podium for Capital where he shared his love for Jordan sneakers, who he believed the toughest wide receiver in the OAC is (the answer may surprise you), and what he’ll remember most about his time at Capital (this answer will most likely not surprise you).

Senior wide receiver David Barnett and Coach Rogosheske then joined Adam Mendoza of S&S Productions for a quick preview interview, which will be made available later this week.

After a break for a catered lunch, the Bill Nichols award recipient was announced. Mark Znidar, former long-time sports reporter for the Columbus Dispatch and current correspondent for Press Pros Magazine, was named the 10th honoree of the annual award. The Bill Nichols Award was created to recognize a member of the media who has demonstrated an understanding and passion for amateur athletics while covering the students and programs of NCAA Division III and the Ohio Athletic Conference.

The Crusaders enter the 2019 season on a three-game winning streak that wrapped up the previous campaign. They return 14 total starters, five on offense and six on defense, and will welcome 105 student-athletes into preseason camp this month. CU will suit up for its first game on Thursday, September 5 when they hit the road to play Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa. for a 6:30 p.m. kickoff.

The OAC preseason media and coaches’ polls then were announced to the group at large. Capital was selected 10th in the coaches’ poll with 12 points and ninth in the media poll with 74 points. The University of Mount Union was picked as the preseason favorite in both polls. The full poll results are available below.

Preseason Media Poll   Preseason Coaches’ Poll
Rank School Points
(1st place votes)
  Rank School Points
(1st place votes)
1. Mount Union 259 (26)   1. Mount Union 81 (9)
2. John Carroll 233 (1)   2. John Carroll 71 (1)
3. Baldwin Wallace 214   3. Baldwin Wallace 70
4. Marietta 184   4. Ohio Northern 52
5. Ohio Northern 171   5. Marietta 47
6. Heidelberg 136   6. Heidelberg 43
7. Muskingum 89   7. Otterbein 29
8. Otterbein 85   8. Muskingum 27
9. Capital 74   9. Wilmington 18
10. Wilmington 40   10. Capital 12

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Ryan Gasser; COURTESY CAPITAL UNIVERSITY SPORTS INFORMATION

Otterbein Cardinals Football forgetting about 2-8 2018 campaign; looking for improvement this season

WESTERVILLE, Ohio – Otterbein has embarked throughout a very determined and workmanlike offseason after a frustrating campaign in 2018, striving to turn around some unfortunate results as another competitive schedule awaits.

The Cardinals finished with a disappointing 2-8 record last fall, its worst output in 16 years, after dropping two games in the final 10 seconds and another by less than a possession. Otterbein had previously finished at .500 or better in all but one season under now eighth-year head coach Tim Doup.

Otterbein opens the season with nearby Ohio Wesleyan once again before launching another challenging OAC slate with home games against Baldwin Wallace and John Carroll.

“The mood has certainly changed,” head coach Tim Doup said directly. “Our kids want to prove themselves, our coaches want to prove themselves, and nobody wants another season like last year. It was a trying and difficult stretch, but I think our guys have come together as a result of that. Our staff has done some different things in the offseason and we are all hungry.”

Otterbein was forced to begin rebuilding in 2018 after losing a slew of key performers from the 2017 season, including eight All-Ohio Athletic Conference standouts and other key contributors. The Cards had 25 freshmen or sophomores on the final two-deep roster last season and, as a result, are expected to welcome back 15 total starters (nine on defense, six on offense).

“Losing close games is tough, but the bottom line in our world of sports is that you either win or lose,” Doup explained. “We were unfortunately on the back end of some narrow losses last year and hopefully our young guys took that as a learning experience. We won’t dwell anymore because it’s time to get back to work, keep improving and use those situations as fuel going forward.”

A quartet of returning All-OAC selections are back to help lead the charge, three of those on the defensive side of the ball with one at each level; nose guard Nigel Chatman, inside linebacker Ryan Tuchow and free safety Niall Lewison.

Tuchow broke through to rank fourth in the league in tackles (94) and sixth in tackles for loss (15). He had double-digit stops in five games, including a career-high 17 against Heidelberg, to accompany four sacks and other key plays. Chatman turned heads in his first season for Otterbein, ranking tenth in the league in tackles for loss (10) and also registering 5.5 sacks. Lewison, a MAYO Clinic Comeback Player of the Year nominee, returned after missing a full season due to injury and contributed mightily. He ranked fifth in the league for most pass breakups, seventh with 86 total tackles and blocked a field-goal attempt in the closing seconds to beat Ohio Wesleyan.

Outside linebackers Colton Miles and Jacob Tiell are other returning starters to a defense that ranked top-four in the OAC for fewest total yards, rushing yards and points per game last fall. The duo combined for 110 tackles (14.5 for loss) as first-year starters on the edges.

“I feel good about our returning talent on defense but we still need to fill some holes,” Doup explained. “We have to get better and more balanced from both sides of the ball. It was the opposite two years ago in 2017, when our offense ranked high in scoring and our defense struggled a bit. We need to figure out a way to get all units, special teams included, in the top half of the league. That usually wins you some football games.”

Senior punter Luke Green-Lauber returns after cracking through for second team All-OAC status as a first-year starter. He ranked second in the league with a 39.3 net average, coming in only behind Heidelberg All-American Austin Baker, and downed 20 punts inside the 20-yard line.

Otterbein will be looking to turn around some frustrating offensive numbers after implementing many new faces, averaging just 13 points and 254 total yards per game a year after posting 35 points per contest. The 2019 effort will be made easier with nearly everyone back, beginning up front as five starters return to the offensive line. Senior Winston Spiker has started all 30 career games, classmate Jared Conover has 19 starts across the past two seasons, Josh Davis started all 10 last year, Nick Hopper started the final seven as a true freshman and veteran Anthony Andrews started five before an injury.

“Spring ball went well for those guys and we did a few different things,” said Doup, who oversees the offensive line in addition to head duties. “We still need to get better, but they all have extensive varsity experience in the trenches together at different spots. It will be a matter of gelling more consistently and being able to run the football. I’m excited for them to lead the way and create opportunities for our skill guys.”

The Cards will likely feature another quarterback competition in camp, as gunslinger Bryce Hall appeared in every game (starting the final two) last season as a sophomore but will be pushed by other potential signal callers. Whoever earns the nod behind center will stand beside a new primary running back after the departure of fifth-year senior Dakota Smith.

Almost all weapons in the passing game are expected to return. Speedy slot receiver George Redding led the club with 24 catches last year, Reed Tucker hauled in 23 for 288 yards in his first year after transferring from Ashland, while Dylan TuggleDom RossJacob Leonardi and Casey Cook all gained some key experience. Junior Tyler Ronk started almost every game at tight end.

“It comes down to how hard everyone worked in the offseason,” Doup said. “I’m excited for camp and I know a lot of other pieces of this puzzle are too. This senior class has harbored some feelings of redemption.”

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Adam Prescott; COURTESY OTTERBEIN SPORTS INFORMATION

Improving Marietta Pioneers picked in Top 5 of OAC; 5th by coaches, 4th in Media Polls at Annual Football Preview

CANTON, Ohio — The Ohio Athletic Conference held its annual Football Media Day Tuesday (August 6) at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The University of Mount Union was selected No. 1 in both the media and coaches preseason polls.

The Purple Raiders, NCAA Division III national runners-up in 2018, went 14-1 last season and captured the OAC crown with a perfect 9-0 conference record. Under the direction of seventh-year head coach Vince Kehres, Mount Union grabbed all but one of the 27 first place votes from the league media and nine of the 10 from the coaches to top both polls.

John Carroll and Baldwin Wallace were second and third, respectively, in both polls. Marietta, led by seventh-year head coach Andy Waddle, was tabbed fourth in the media poll and fifth by the coaches. The Pioneers are coming off their best season in over two decades after finishing 7-3 overall and 6-3 in the OAC last fall.

“With the players we graduated and where we finished last season I am not surprised by our ranking in the preseason polls,” Waddle said. “As a program, we want to continue to improve and win games. We want to accomplish things that have not been done at Marietta College before.”

Marietta opens the 2019 season with a 7 p.m. kickoff at Hiram College on Saturday, September 7th. The Pioneers travel to capital University for a 7 p.m. game on September 14th before returning home to host rival Muskingum University at 7 p.m. on September 21st.

The complete polls are below. First place votes are in parenthesis.

OAC Preseason Coaches Poll:
1. Mount Union (9) – 81 points
2. John Carroll (1) – 71
3. Baldwin Wallace – 70
4. Ohio Northern – 52
5. Marietta – 47
6. Heidelberg – 43
7. Otterbein – 29
8. Muskingum – 27
9. Wilmington – 18
10. Capital – 12

OAC Preseason Media Poll:
1. Mount Union (26) – 259
2. John Carroll (1) – 233
3. Baldwin Wallace – 214
4. Marietta – 184
5. Ohio Northern – 171
6. Heidelberg – 136
7. Muskingum – 89
8. Otterbein – 85
9. Capital – 74
10. Wilmington – 40

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF MARIETTA COLLEGE SPORTS INFORMATION

Despite 5-5 last season, Ohio Northern picked to rebound; picked 4th by Coaches, 5th in Media Poll at Annual OAC Football Preview

CANTON — The coaches liked Ohio Northern slightly better than the media Tuesday at Ohio Athletic Conference Media Day at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. The Polar Bears were picked to finish fourth by the conference’s coaches, while the media picked ONU fifth.

Northern garnered 52 points from the coaches vote, as national runner-up Mount Union was chosen to win the conference, reeling in 81 points and nine first-place votes. The Polar Bears collected 171 points from the media, and the Purple Raiders had 259 points and 26 first-place votes to sit atop that poll, as well.

“I think you learn some things when you’re an old dude,” 16th-year head coach Dean Paul said. “One thing I think you learn is, it’s hard to predict what’s going to happen. There have been times where we’ve been nationally ranked inside the top 10, and we finished in the middle of the conference. There have been times when we were not ranked at all, ranked preseason in middle of the conference, and we finished in the top 10 in the country.”

John Carroll was chosen to finish second in the conference in both polls, tallying 71 points and one first-place vote in the coaches poll and 233 points and one first-place vote in the media poll. Baldwin Wallace checked in at No. 3 in both the coaches and media poll with 70 and 214 points, respectively.

The Polar Bears finished the 2018 season with a 5-5 overall record and 4-5 mark in OAC play. ONU tied with Heidelberg for fifth place in the conference standings.

Ohio Northern opens the 2019 season traveling to Denison Sept. 7 at 7 p.m.

Coaches Poll

Rank School (First Place Votes) Points
1. Mount Union (9) 81
2. John Carroll (1) 71
3. Baldwin Wallace 70
4. Ohio Northern 52
5. Marietta 47
6. Heidelberg 43
7. Otterbein 29
8. Muskingum 27
9. Wilmington 18
10. Capital 12

Media Poll

Rank School (First Place Votes) Points
1. Mount Union (26) 259
2. John Carroll (1) 233
3. Baldwin Wallace 214
4. Marietta 184
5. Ohio Northern 171
6. Heidelberg 136
7. Muskingum 89
8. Otterbein 85
9. Capital 74
10. Wilmington 40

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Bud Denega; COURTESY OHIO NORTHERN SPORTS INFORMATION

 

 

BW, showing progress under Jim Hilvert the past two seasons, selected 3rd in 2019 OAC Football Polls

CANTON, Ohio – The Baldwin Wallace University football team was picked to finish third at the annual Ohio Athletic Conference Media Day held at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Yellow Jackets, who return 41 letterwinners and 10 starters from last year’s squad that went 8-2 overall, were picked third in by both the coaches and media.   Defending OAC, the University of Mount Union was selected first in both polls as it seeks its 29th OAC regular-season title in the last 31 seasons.

Third-year head coach Jim Hilvert, senior All-OAC defensive back and 2019 team captain Jordyn Johnson (Akron/North) and senior two-time Academic All-OAC  and 2019 team captain A.J. Miller (Coral Springs, Fla./Coral Springs Charter) represented BW at the event, which was attended by all 10 league institutions.   The Yellow Jackets report to preseason camp on August 13.

“Being pick third is a honor but honestly its not where you start but where you finish in the OAC,” said Hilvert.  “We appreciate the respect that the coaches and media gave us this preseason by moving us up in the poll from a season ago but we still have a lot of work to do.”

Hilvert enters his third season in Berea with a record of 14-6 and a 12-6 OAC mark.   He is in his 11th overall season as a NCAA Division III coach and has amassed a career record of 81-25 with four national playoff appearances.

Johnson led the OAC in 2018 with a career-high 11 pass breakups and was tied for fourth in the league with a team-high three interceptions. In three years, he has recorded 46 tackles in 18 games.

Miller enters the season as the favorite to take over the signal calling duties.  He appeared in his first collegiate game last season vs. Mount Union.

BW opens the  2019 campaign on Saturday, September 7 as it travels to Alma, Michigan for its lone non-conference game against Alma College at 1 p.m. OAC action is slated to begin with back-to-back road contests against Otterbein University on September 14 at 2 p.m. and Mount Union on September 15 at 1:30 p.m. The home opener is scheduled for Saturday, September 28 when the Yellow Jackets host Heidelberg University in an OAC and 42nd Lee Tressel Shrine Classic Game at 1:30 p.m. The season will conclude with the 31st Annual Battle for the Cuyahoga Gold Bowl Trophy game against crosstown rival John Carroll University at 1:30 p.m.

 

Media Poll
Ranking School Points
1. Mount Union 259 (26)
2. John Carroll 233 (1)
3. Baldwin Wallace 214
4. Marietta 184
5. Ohio Northern 171
6. Heidelberg 136
7. Muskingum 89
8. Otterbein 85
9. Capital 74
10. Wilmington 40

 

Coaches Poll
Ranking School Points
1. Mount Union 81 (9)
2. John Carroll 71 (1)
3. Baldwin Wallace 70
4. Ohio Northern 52
5. Marietta 47
6. Heidelberg 43
7. Otterbein 29
8. Muskingum 27
9. Wilmington 18
10. Capital 12
PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF BALDWIN WALLACE SPORTS INFORMATION

 

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