Three short years ago the Fostoria St. Wendelin football program was in dire straights. Injuries and other factors left the program with only eight players and the St. Wendelin administration was forced to terminate the season early. The Mohawks are still rebuilding the program and contributor David Gatwood takes a look at the upcoming season.
Alas, the soothsayers were wrong.
Under present coach Mike Cool, the St. Wendelin program has demonstrated steady improvement over the past three years. Although they have managed to win only two games over those three years coach Cool is pleased with what he has seen and looks enthusiastically toward the 2007 season.
The Mohawks lost only two starters from last season’s 2-8 team and return nine starters on offense and 10 on defense. Continued improvement is the expectation.
Leading the way for the unbalanced-I offense will be quarterback Levi Smith. Smith has the ability to throw the ball long and has a good corps of receivers to throw to.
With tight end Matt Roth and wide receivers, Brad Kistler (5-9, 151, jr.), Kevin Eibner (6-2 189, jr.), Tony Kuhlman, and Alex Reineke Smith should have plenty of options. Execution will be the key. Last season Cool noted considerable improvement in this area but he feels that the team must continue to show improvement if they hope to be competitive in the tough Midland Athletic League.
Execution begins along the offensive line and Cool looks toward two returning players, Michael Galgan (6-1, 175, sr.) and Noah Saxsetter (6-2, 174, jr.) and an inexperienced newcomer, Nathan Stuck (5-11, 186, jr.) to provide leadership.
Cool noted that “You can expect that we run a lot over Galgan” and Stuck “shows great potential.”
In evaluating his team’s offense, Cool stated: “Our league is tough and wins do not come easily. We must learn to cut down on turnovers and how to sustain long drives.”
On the defensive side of the ball, the key might not be the playing personnel but rather the addition of new coach – and former Fostoria head coach – Denny Studrawa. Studrawa brings years of experience and an impressive resume to his new position. He should greatly improve the Mohawk defense.
St. Wendelin will still utilize a 4-4 attack but with 10 returning starters the expectations are high. Anchoring this defense will be a trio of quality linebackers: Dan Faber, Tony Pieffer and Tony Kuhlman. Defensive backs Alex Reineke and Drew Saxstetter are solid.
“Enthusiasm is the key to our season,” Cool said. “Our kids have shown dedication in the off-season and it should pay off.”
For a program that was near extinction, St. Wendelin has demonstrated remarkable resilience. Cool is quick to credit the players and his assistant coaches but he reserves special gratitude to the efforts of the team’s strength coach, Ron Bowerman. Cool feels that Bowerman’s contributions have made it possible for his players to play both ways and do so effectively.
“For a school our size being able to play both ways is essential,” Cool said. “We don’t have kids, we have all men.”
Fostoria St. Wendelin
|9/21/2007||@ Sycamore Mohawk||5|
|9/28/2007||@ Attica Seneca East||6|
|10/12/2007||@ Tiffin Calvert||6|
|10/27/2007||@ Fremont St. Joseph||2|
With only two weeks to go before the opening of fall practice the Fostoria St. Wendelin football program must find a new head coach. In a surprising, but amicable, manner, Mike Cool, who has been St. Wendelin’s head coach for the past three years, has officially resigned his position.
The resignation, which was confirmed by Athletic Director, Maryanne Knopper, leaves the St. Wendelin program in an unfortunate situation but Ms. Knopper made it clear that the decision was fully Cool’s and, according to Knopper, was made because “he (Cool) received another job offer that was too good to turn down.”
Cool’s new position is with the Morral-Ridgedale school system but does not include any coaching responsibilities. He will, at least for the present, restrict his activities to his new teaching position.
As to what moves the St. Wendelin program will make next is unclear. “We don’t know what direction we might be going. We are waiting for one of the assistant coaches to return from out of the country. Once he returns we will meet and make a decision.”
Cool took over a program three years ago that had to terminate its season early due to a lack of enough players to field a team and was steadily rebuilding the program. Last season the Mohawks won their first two games before finishing the season with eight losses. Cool’s three year record at St. Wendelin was 2-28.