Second-yead coach Robinson pleased with direction of Fairview program

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Sherwood Fairview Apaches

Major change came to Sherwood
Fairview’s football program last year as veteran head coach Bob Olwin decided to
take the reins for the storied Versailles program. Stepping in was Dave
Robinson, who moved from an assistant position to the head coach spot. As it turned out, the team didn’t
miss much of a beat, winning nine regular season games and advancing to the
postseason.


Last year

Players To
Watch:
QB/WR Luke Kuhn (6-2, 200,
Jr.), QB/WR Brock Mosier (6-0, 185, Jr.), WR Rodney Webb (6-2, 225, Sr.), WR/DB
Nathan Yoder (5-10, 155, Sr.), DT Zach Lee (6-0, 210, Sr.), DT Tyler Merilat
(5-10, 235, Sr.), LB Kyle Trent (5-9, 200, Jr.), OL Eli Keesbury (6-3, 235,
Sr.), OL Bo Joost (6-4, 235, Sr.)

Major change came to Sherwood
Fairview’s football program last year as veteran head coach Bob Olwin decided to
take the reins for the storied Versailles program. Stepping in was Dave
Robinson, who moved from an assistant position to the head coach spot.

As it turned out, the team didn’t
miss much of a beat, winning nine regular season games and advancing to the
postseason.

“Last year, I was very, very, very pleased with the way the kids reacted to
the change in the head coach’s position,” Robinson said. “My mentor and longterm
head coach Bob Olwin left and went down to Versailles. Football’s pretty
important to the people and the kids in this community, and losing somebody like
him and replacing him with somebody like me who never had any experience being
the head coach, that was going to be a big change. But the entire staff stayed
on and the kids reacted very well, very positive to everything. It was pretty
much a big surprise that we won the league title and made it to the playoffs. I
would chalk the season up as being very successful and a good place to
start.”

Robinson cited the staff’s reaction to the head coaching situation as a
particularly rewarding aspect of his first season.

“One of the most rewarding things was just looking at the staff,” Robinson
said. “I’ve been an assistant coach with Bob here for ten years, and I’ve worked
with these guys. It was kind of like, ‘If you become the head coach, we’ll stay
on with you.’ I wanted that to happen, but just to watch them take that kind of
pride and want to prove to Coach Olwin that we could do it, that was a huge
surprise. Not that I was surprised because I know what kind of guys they are and
how hard they work, but just how they all took it so personal to make the season
so successful for the kids.”

Robinson also credits the staff with doing a strong job in getting the
players to accept the situation.

“Kids always question change,” Robinson said. “I think the staff did a great
job reassuring that change was a positive thing, and I think that the kids will
be able to draw from that. I felt that they became more confident in us, and we
became more confident in ourselves as the season went on… The kids are real
excited (about next year) and it’s kind of like we didn’t miss a beat without
our former head coach.”

One player in particular who played a role in the transition being a smooth
one was James Elchinger. The senior made a major position switch from receiver
to quarterback, filling the shoes of All-Ohioan Ryan Radcliff, who signed to
play football with Central Michigan. All Elchinger did was put up the same type
of eye-popping numbers that Radcliff did, including a state single-game record
779 yards passing in an 83-52 win over Elmore Woodmore.

“(Elchinger was) very unselfish moving from wide receiver,” Robinson said.
“He was an 800-yard receiver the previous year and he went ahead and went to
quarterback and took that on his shoulders. He stepped in and just had a
phenomenal season. He put numbers up very similar to the kind of numbers that
Radcliff had through the air and then also rushed for almost 1,000 yards. That
was big.”

Moving into this season, high hopes remain for the Apaches as seven starters
return on defense and six on defense. But with Elchinger having graduated, the
quarterback position is up for grabs.

“We go into every season talking to our kids that our expectation is that
we’re going to win the league title, and then we’re going to be back in the
playoffs,” Robinson said. “That doesn’t change. We never talk about anything
less than that. We have some huge voids to fill. Probably for the first time in
a long time, we have quite a few kids coming back on the defensive side of the
ball, but as far as quarterback experience, for the first time in quite a few
years we’re going to be lacking there. But we do have two juniors that will
probably be playing for that spot. They’ve put in time on their own throwing and
working and doing things to help prepare them to be able to get that.

“The offense is probably for the first time in a long time going to be a
question mark somewhat, but defensively we’re hoping we’re going to be a little
more solid.”

Schedule-wise the Apaches will face challenges from several teams, and
Robinson feels that the first half of the season could go a long way in
determining the overall fate of the team.”

“Our non-league schedule I think is pretty solid,” Robinson said. “We open
with Wauseon; they’re going to be good, like they normally are. They’re always a
big challenge, playing them first. It’s always a difficult game for us at the
beginning of the season. They’re going to have quite a bit returning. Woodmore,
they had some problems with us last year, but again I look for them to be pretty
solid. Then we go to Archbold. It’s always an epic battle between us and
Archbold. That one you can kind of throw the records out. It doesn’t really
matter; it’s going to be a barnburner no matter what. Then we go into our
league, and we open with Tinora. I would assume they’re going to be the
favorites in the league again this year. So the first half of our season I feel
is really going to maybe make or break or us.

“The (conference) overall I think is going to be a lot more balanced. I look
at Edgerton as being definitely on the upswing; they had a nice group and they
have a lot returning. Hicksville, they were a big surprise last year. I think
people are going to be looking at them. I think it’s going to be pretty
balanced, but the beginning part of the season is definitely going to be very
important to us, especially with our youth on offense.”


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