There are turnarounds – and then there are turnarounds.
The 180-degree spin the Logan Elm football program made last season under first-year head coach Scott Bartholomew was one rarely seen in sports at any level.
No longer under the radar, will the Braves be able to sustain that success in 2009?
Circleville Logan Elm (12-1)
* Players to Watch – QB/DB Johnnie Brown (5-10, 180,
Sr.), WR/DB Adam Blake (6-1, 150, Sr.), OL/DL Chris Spurlock (6-3, 300, Sr.),
OL/DE Logan Hauserman (6-7, 300, Sr.), WR/DB Corey Whaley (5-10, 140,
Sr.), WR/DB Brandon Depouw (5-9, 143, Sr.), OL/DL Kyle Eveland (5-11, 215, Jr.),
RB/LB Chris Eversole (5-10, 165, Sr.), WR/LB Caleb Sollars (6-3, 200, Sr.),
RB/LB Pete Laux (5-9, 160, Sr.), RB/LB Nick Hart (6-0, 170, Jr.), OL/DE Cody
Petitt (6-3, 215, Sr.), WR/CB Ean Stiles (5-10, 170, Sr.)
* Outlook – It is one of those turnarounds that is
rarely witnessed in high school sports.
Or at any level for that matter.
A year after finishing 0-10, head coach Scott Bartholomew
stepped into the Logan Elm program last season and led the Braves to a perfect
regular season and regional finals finish.
The campaign marked the first undefeated season, home
playoff game, playoff win and 12-win season in school history.
But Bartholomew, the D-III Coach of the Year last season,
refuses to take the credit.
“I didn’t do it, the kids did it,” he said. “It was a
complete change as far as the coaching staff went and I think it gave the kids a
reason for something to believe in. Whether we were selling anything different
from what the old coaching staff did – it was just different and new.”
The Logan Elm players embraced the new system early last
season, according to Bartholomew.
“We got a couple wins and the kids just kept buying into
what we were selling them,” he said. “Before we knew it, they believed in
themselves more than we thought they would. That just made a huge difference in
their attitudes and their belief.
“When they went into a game, they believed they were going
to win rather than just get by.”
And that belief was infectious.
“Winning is an attitude and it is contagious just like
losing is,” said Bartholomew. “Any time you can have that belief in kids and
come in with a little swagger and a little belief, it goes a long way. You’re
already a little ahead of the game if they believe in themselves and believe
they have a chance to be successful.”
The Braves will open this season with the same
non-conference schedule as last season before heading into Mid-State League
Buckeye Division play.
“I feel the league is going to be just as tough if not
tougher than last year,” Bartholomew said. “Canal Winchester, Hamilton Township,
Fairfield Union and Amanda-Clearcreek are heading back into an upswing. I think
those are the teams we are looking at the top of the list this year.”
Should Logan Elm make the postseason again, the Region 12
field will be quite different from last season with four of the top eight teams
having moved into different Divisions and Regions following the offseason
“You’ve got to take care of (the regular season) before
worrying about the playoffs. Making the playoffs is always the goal and if you
are fortunate enough to get in, you just never know what could happen,” said
Bartholomew. “You don’t worry about it until you get in because you can’t do
anything about it until you do get in.”
Brown will lead the 2009 campaign under center after
rushing for 1,407 yards on 235 carries at quarterback and passing for 912 yards
and 11 touchdowns.
Hauserman is Division I college prospect on the line.
With the success experienced last season, Bartholomew
admits his team was able to sneak up on some opponents. This year, those teams will
be gunning for Logan Elm.
“Last year we were earning respect and this year it is a
matter of validating what we did last year,” he said. “We are going to have to
be ready for everybody’s best game. No one is going to overlook us this time
around and we are going to be the team they want to beat.
“I think it is something you instill in a positive way in
the two-a-days practice. You use it as a positive. We just have to give our best
shot at people at this time.”
Aug. 28, at Washington Court House Washington, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 4, at Williamsport Westfall, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 11, Chillicothe Zane Trace, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 18, at Amanda-Clearcreek, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 25, Hamilton Township, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 2, Ashville Teays Valley, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 9, at Lancaster Fairfield Union, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 16, Carroll Bloom-Carroll, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 23, Canal Winchester, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 30, at Circleville, 7:30 p.m.