Columbus Bishop Ready ran the show in Region 19 last season, rolling through the playoffs with three wins of 20 points or more before falling in the state semifinals to Youngstown Ursuline. There was plenty of turnover from last year’s team, but the Silver Knights will be carrying the same expectations as last year.
PLAYERS TO WATH
TE Dana Dettassio (6-2, 205, sr.), OL Nate Thomas (5-11, 190, sr.), OT Dean Cullison (6-5, 310, sr.), WR Steve Christman (5-11, 155, sr.), LB Joe Culp (6-0, 210, sr.), DL Lucas Detty (6-0, 235, jr.), DL Tyler Collins (6-3, 270, sr.), DL Jeff Beatty (6-2, 245, sr.), FB Colin Leidinger (6-0, 210, sr.), K/P Mike Morgan (5-11, 190, sr.)
Columbus Bishop Ready ran the show in Region 19 last season, rolling through the playoffs with three wins of 20 points or more before falling in the state semifinals to Youngstown Ursuline.
Head coach Larry Wolf calls the season a big success and also feels the team’s health played a big role.
“I don’t know that you ever expect to get to Game 14,” head coach Larry Wolf said. “You know that you’ve got the potential to do so. We had a veteran club coming back, we had a lot of skill players coming back and we had some people up front coming back, but what a lot of people don’t understand is being a catholic school and not playing a small school schedule, it has some drawbacks. We were number one in the state of Ohio in computer points last year for all Division V schools, and we were 9-1. What that means is we were playing a brutal schedule for a Division V school.
“The point I’m making about all that is, is yes we had high expectations and yes we thought we could make a run in the playoffs and all that good stuff, but the reality of the situation is you’re looking at three or four or five teams on our schedule that year in and year out can beat us. When that happens, you’re only one injury or two injuries away from not getting any of that. So we avoided the injuries, we got the deep run, so obviously we’re very pleased with how the season ended, but to say that we expected to do that, I don’t think we expected to do that. I think that was the goal, but I think we were also realistic to know that there were a lot of obstacles along the way.”
The playoff run was a big event for Bishop Ready, who has been itching to bring home a state title in a team sport.
“It was a special time for this school,” Wolf said. “We had made a run to the finals in the softball tournament about five years ago and got beat in the final game, and we’ve always had a rich tradition here of athletics but just couldn’t quite get over the hump. The reality is, when we made this run, this place was pretty much electrified. The kids were all fired up. We had about 100 people at our Thanksgiving morning practice… The kids really got fired up. We had a good following, the teachers got fired up and the whole community got fired up, so it was a pretty electric moment for the school.
“We won a state championship in 1983, but back then there were only three playoff games, so the team we lost to wouldn’t even have made the playoffs back in 1983. In a lot of ways, it’s a little bit easier to make the playoffs now but it’s a little bit harder to win the state because there’s more quality teams that can make it. Back in those days, only the top two in each region made the playoffs, and now eight make it. You might think the eight seed can’t win it, but certainly they’ve made some deep runs. So those kinds of things can happen.”
There was plenty of turnover from last year’s team, but the Silver Knights will be carrying the same expectations.
“We graduated 16 seniors, so we will not be nearly as experienced next year, but the expectations will be the same,” Wolf said. “We expect to make it to the playoffs. We have enough quality kids coming back. Obviously we’re weak in some areas and we’ll have to make some people grow up in a hurry, but the expectations absolutely remain the same. They’re going to be the same as long as I’m here, and that’s we’ve got to make the playoffs. That’s the goal; that’s the expectation.”
This year’s team returns four starters on each side of the ball, led by 6-5, 310-pound senior lineman Dean Cullison.
“He’ll be our best offensive lineman next year and I expect him to be an All-Ohio candidate,” Wolf said.
Also playing an important role will be senior kicker/punter Mike Morgan, a three-time All-Ohio performer.
“Our three-time All-Ohio kicker’s going to have to be that this year,” Wolf said. “He’s a devastating weapon and he’s going to have to be.”
The Silver Knights will be also bringing back several experienced players outside of the returning starters.
“We had such a good year last year that a lot of kids got playing time, so they got experience even though they’re young kids,” Wolf said. “So that’s a good thing.”
The Knights could be one of the favorites once again in Region 19 this season, but a daunting schedule awaits. This year’s slate includes road games at West Jefferson, Columbus Bishop Hartley, and Plain City Jonathan Alder, as well as a home game against Lima Central Catholic. Bishop Ready’s conference consists only of them and Bishop Hartley, which means most opponents will be of the non-conference variety.
“This year’s schedule is a little bit harder than last year’s was,” Wolf said. “We’re basically an independent school, so the only people that will schedule us are the schools that need a paycheck or are schools that will beat our brains in. We lost a team that was 2-8 last year and picked up a team that was 12-1. That’s kind of what happens every year, so we just need to be ready to do that.”
Wolf says the team will need to be ready to go right away.
“We’ve got to hit the ground running,” he said. “There’s no room for error.”
8/22 at Columbus Franklin heights
8/29 St. Paris Graham
9/5 at West Jefferson
9/26 at Plain City Jonathan Alder
10/3 Lima Central Catholic
10/10 Notre Dame (Ontario)
10/18 Saltburg (Pa.) Kiski
10/24 at Columbus Bishop Hartley