When Scott Bartholomew came home from a Week 3 football game during the
2007 football season, the former Williamsport Westfall head football
coach had already made a decision. “After I came home from watching Game 3, my wife looked at me and said,
‘You’re going to coach again, aren’t you’, and I said ‘Yes’,”
Bartholomew said. The decision turned out to be a historical one.
CIRCLEVILLE – When Scott Bartholomew came home from a Week 3 football game during the 2007 football season, the former Williamsport Westfall head football coach had already made a decision.
“After I came home from watching Game 3, my wife looked at me and said, ‘You’re going to coach again, aren’t you’, and I said ‘Yes’,” Bartholomew said.
The decision turned out to be a historical one.
Bartholomew accepted the head coaching position at Circleville Logan Elm last February, a program that went winless (0-10) in 2007. The Braves made a complete turnaround this season, posting the school’s first-ever undefeated regular-season (10-0). Logan Elm captured the Mid-State League Buckeye Division championship, won (and hosted) the school’s first ever playoff game, advanced to the Division III regional finals and finished 12-1.
The Cinderella turnaround lands Bartholomew the Huntington Bank/Ohio High Magazine football coach of the year honor.
Bartholomew (125-64 career record) kept the decision quiet until after the 2007 season, when he looked at available opportunities.
“The opportunity at Logan Elm came up and it was the best for my family,” Bartholomew said. “We could continue to live in Pickaway County, my girls could keep going to Westfall and we didn’t have to sell our house.
“It was also a chance to rebuild a program and that was something that I was excited about having the chance to do.”
Despite the appearance, the cupboard was not bare. Logan Elm has a history of football success, winning the MSL-Buckeye and making the playoffs in 2000 and 2001, and appearing in the postseason again in 2004.
“One thing a lot of people overlook about everything at Logan Elm is they have a good football program,” Bartholomew said. “They were in a lot of games in 2007, and had the opportunity to win if they made a play here or there. It just didn’t happen.
“This season, we had a lot of situations where we needed a play here or there to win and always seemed to get it. It was a karma thing. Every time we had an opportunity for something to happen, something good happened and it built our kids confidence up and got them to believe we could win.”
The world “believe” is the key to the winning equation for the Braves. In the opening game of the season, Logan Elm pounced on four Washington Court House turnovers and built a 20-0 lead. Then came an important Washington Court House drive in the second quarter.
“Court House was going down the field to try and score before halftime, and we told the kids that if we got a stop here that we would win the game,” Bartholomew said. “They did and we won the game. Something like that gets the kids to believe in themselves and the message our coaching staff was preaching.”
The following week brought another challenge as Bartholomew went up against his former school.
“I came from Westfall, knew the Westfall kids and our kids wanted to prove they were better,” Bartholomew said. “They came back twice from 11 points down to win the game.”
Trailing 21-10 at halftime, the Braves were aided by a lighting delay that lasted over an hour. Bartholomew is often credited with firing up Logan Elm for the comeback.
There is only one problem with that – he wasn’t in the locker room during the crucial time.
“The first time we came out, we weren’t ready to go,” Bartholomew said. “The second time we came out and there was a different attitude. The kids were more confident and ready to go. I don’t know what happened, but they got themselves up.
“During that second break, I was outside the locker room on a bench talking to (Westfall head coach Scott) Keller and catching up with him.”
Keller was Bartholomew’s offensive coordinator at Westfall.
Bartholomew is modest about the many awards he has won for the turnaround of Logan Elm, deflecting praise to different avenues, including his players and coaches.
“I had a very special group of young men,” Bartholomew said. “They had very good work habits and they stepped up. Those 14 seniors are going to have a lot of success in life.
“We also have a good coaching staff that has a lot of chemistry and shares a lot of the same philosophy. I’ve worked before with Coach (Todd) Seymour and Coach (Evan) Galluagher at Westfall. Coach (Rod) Smith and Coach (Jason) Shepherd have a great love for Logan Elm football. I also had an opportunity a lot of people don’t have. It was very special for me to get to coach with my son, Wade. I got to watch and coach him at practice and during games at Westfall when he played, and this season, I got to coach with my son.”
Bartholomew also credited the past coaching the players received, and reflected about what a positive attitude can do for a program and community instead of a negative one.
“When we came here, we saw these kids were already taught and knew how to play football,” he said. “The credit for that goes to the past coaching they received. When a coaching staff comes in, a year isn’t enough to teach everything. These kids knew how to play football, all we did was to mold an attitude and make these kids believe they could be successful. A coach gets too much of the blame when something goes bad and too much of the credit when things go well. That’s a part of the job and we accept it. We saw what a positive attitude can do this season, and that’s an important lesson for the kids, coaches, parents and fans.
“In high school sports, sometimes we are quick to jump on the negative when it is much better to stay positive and have a better position to work out of.”