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Wapakoneta seeks winning formula against Kenton

September 5, 2013

Sports Editor

Speed equals distance divided by time, distance equals speed multiplied by time and time equals distance divided by speed.

Two of those elements cannot exceed nor fall short of the third. Balance must exist for them to equate properly.

The Wapakoneta Redskins will try to find that balance among speed, distance and time in order to calculate a winning formula against the Kenton Wildcats on Friday in both teams’ Western Buckeye League season opener.

In terms of time, for Wapak to emerge as a football power among WBL schools, consistency at a high level is required over long periods, much in the way that Kenton has constructed a football factory.

It starts with longtime coach Mike Mauk.

“They’ve had that program built for many years,” Frye said. “When you look across the Western Buckeye League, the teams that are really having the most success on an annual basis are the teams that have kept their head coach and assistants in place. Their kids know what to expect each year. They’ve bred success in their programs.

“Coach Mauk and his staff do an exceptional job,” he said. “They’ve had their system in place, and they’ve had some phenomenal athletes come through over the years.”

Kenton’s 2013 squad has its share of phenomenal athletes.

It first starts with senior quarterback Grant Sherman (6-foot-5, 225 pounds), who was a first-team All-WBL performer and a third-team All-Ohio selection last season.

Sherman’s primary target is fellow senior Justin Sawmiller (6-1, 185), who garnered second-team all-state honors in 2012.

Third, senior linebacker Noah Furbush (6-4, 240) committed to the University of Michigan on July 1. He was an all-WBL first-teamer at defensive end last year.

“Sherman is an exceptional quarterback,” Frye said. “He is featured as one of the top 10 area players, along with Sawmiller. “Those two kids jump out at you, along with Furbush on the defensive side, so they have three of the top 10 players in the area, including a kid going to Michigan, so they have some talent,” he said.

Distance is the key to defending the Kenton offense, and Frye eyes tackling as medicine to prevent long gains.

“They’re going to hit some passes on you, obviously,” Frye said. “I’ve been going against them for many years. It’s going to happen.

“The No. 1 thing you have to do is tackle well. You’ve got to make sure that 8- to 10-yard pass doesn’t turn into an 80-yard pass.”

Frye said his team will not specifically devise its game plan to account for Furbush.

“We don’t really adjust our game plan to anyone,” Frye said. “Furbush is an exceptional player, but in any ball game, we’ll make adjustments throughout the game to certain schemes or to certain kids. We don’t radically adjust our game plan.”

Kenton also features another solid linebacker in senior Matt Bahr, another All-WBL first-teamer from last season.

The above four Kenton players were named Division IV preseason first-team All-Ohio players by JJHuddle.com.

It is no secret that the Wapakoneta offense can play at a high tempo.

As hurry-up offenses are emerging rapidly at all levels of football, one concern over their use is how it in turn puts a team’s defense on the field for more plays and more possessions, allowing opponents’ offense to receive more chances to score.

Wapak’s tempo on offense, the speed at which it performs Friday, is an important factor in the game.

The Redskins will basically need to answer this question: how often are they willing to increase the tempo and give Kenton’s prolific offense more time on the field?

Each team enters the game 1-0 overall after Week 1 wins and are considered, at the very least, strong contenders in the WBL title race.

In their Week 1 wins last Friday, the Redskins held off a stingy Bellefontaine Chieftains squad last Friday in a 35-17 win, while the Wildcats handled the defending Division V state champion Coldwater Cavaliers with a 22-2 victory.

Friday’s game will be the second consecutive meeting in WBL play between the two schools. The two teams met in Week 10 of the 2012 season, and, due to a rotating league schedule, they are pitted against each other again in the first league game of this year.

Frye discussed the familiarity he has with Kenton.

“We’re somewhat familiar with each other, and Mike and I have played against each other for many years, so we know each other some, too,” Frye said.

Ultimately, from their perspective, the Redskins are seeking to improve on their own regardless of their opponent. A win would create much potential in terms of team success. Frye realizes that this year’s Week 2 opponent will determine how that course of improvement changes the rest of the season.

“It’s a little more difficult this year (because of Kenton),” Frye said. “but always in my 32 years of coaching, Week 1 to Week 2 is your biggest chance for improvement. So you have to, regardless of the opponent, you have to concentrate on improving yourself or you’re not going to have an opportunity to make the necessary improvement.

“All coaches say this but it is true: we have to take care of our own house,” he said.

Along with improvement, consistency in every regard is something the Wapak coaching staff is seeking from the players.

“We’re still on that roller coaster. We want to get on that rocket ship,” Frye said. “We need to keep going forward. That’s something we’ve been concentrating on. That’s probably the toughest thing in coaching, to get a consistent effort of commitment, work and daily attitude. That’s the challenge of coaching.

“When we quit riding that roller coaster, we’re going to be a pretty good team,” Frye said.

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