Northeast Ohio Huddle: Ashland rolling behind stout defense, potent offense


Northeast Ohio Huddle

Since losing 44-21 to Dover, one of the top teams in the state in Division III, Ashland’s football team has taken it personally the past three weeks. The Arrows have beaten Tallmadge, Wooster and West Holmes 45-7, 42-0 and 28-0, respectively since the loss and sit at 4-1. They aren’t the only team having success. Here’s a few others – with a couple individuals sprinkled in. Northwest Ohio’s finest for the week…

Since losing 44-21 to Dover, one of the top teams in the state in Division III, Ashland’s football team has taken it personally the past three weeks.

The Arrows have beaten Tallmadge, Wooster and West Holmes 45-7, 42-0 and 28-0, respectively since the loss and sit at 4-1. Their first string defense has not allowed a touchdown. It’s the first time since 1987 that Ashland has put together back-to-back shutouts.

Led by leading tackler Anthony Deppen, the defense is stout. The senior middle linebacker is a 3-year starter and has 58 tackles (28 solo). Matt Smith has tallied four interceptions while the frontline is anchored by Jacob Eagle, Jesse Hanacek and Paul Baker. Together they have nine sacks and 85 tackles.

Other players that stand out include defensive back Michael Bixler, outside linebacker Brandon Zeigler and end AJ Peters. And the Arrows have been without their starting end Ryan Carper since Week 1. That’s about to change, said defensive coordinator Dan Fuller.

Offensively, quarterback Marcus Fuller continues to roll. The junior has gone 76 of 137 for 1,270 yards, 10 touchdowns and four picks while rushing for four scores.

Defensive back Matt Smith also has 17 receptions for 313 yards and two scores.

The Arrows take on Mansfield at Senior Arlin Field this Friday night.


Vickie Havas, Stow Girls’ Soccer: Havas had four goals in her team’s 5-4 edging of rival Wadsworth.

Havas has 21 goals and three assists on the season for the 11-2-1 Stow team.

Havas scored 28 goals and had 10 assists a year ago in earning the North Ohio Conference Player of the Year Award for the 14-2-3 Bulldogs. Her freshman year, she also added nine goals with five helpers.

“She’s very smart and she’s such an unselfish player,” said Stow coach Chris Tipton. “She creates so many opportunities for herself and for her teammates. The offense runs through our midfielders, who do a good job of getting the ball to our forwards but our offense has a lot of chances to run through Vickie. She’s a true forward and a true finisher.”

Tipton said Havas is tough to handle by alone.

“She is very strong and very fast with quick foot speed,” he said. “She is an incredible athlete and in a 1-on-1 situation, it’s tough to get the ball away from her.”


Magnificat Girls’ Cross Country: Magnificat dominated the All-Ohio Catholic Meet at Indian Riffle Park in Kettering, Ohio. The meet, hosted by Dayton Carroll, was dominated with 17 points by the victors, who took the top four individual spots.

Madeline Chambers won the race in 18:04 while twin sisters Clare and Abby Fischer were second and third, respectively, in 18:49 and 18:53. Abigail Marquad was fourth in 19:07 and Erin Riley rounded out the scoring in seventh in 19:30.


Happy Hartung: Rootstown boys’ soccer player Brennen Hartung has been simply scintillating this season. He has 27 goals which is among the tops in the state for single-season scoring.

Tight Race:
At the Sandy Valley Cross Country Invitational last weekend, it was an interesting battle for the small school girls’ team title as Sandy Valley had the upper hand in the top 10 but Gilmour Academy straight up dominated as a pack.

Gilmour won with a score of 54 to Sandy Valley’s 55 as Meghan Pryatel took fourth in 20:11.81. While Sandy Valley had a first from Connie Collins (19:42.86), sixth from Hannah Huston, eighth from Megan Welker and a 10th from Jessica Paul, it was Gilmour’s 11 through 16 pack that won it as Sandy’s fifth runner was 30th.
Gilmour’s Patricia King took 11th and was followed by teammates Rachel Staton (12th), Kiera Finelli, Margaret Dick, Alexis Anton and Caitlin Brett.

Comeback Pirates:
After falling in every match and every tournament all year to rival Strasburg, Garaway’s boys’ golf team earned a win when it truly needs to happen as they edged the Tigers 318-323 for the Division III sectional golf title at Willandale Golf Course.

The two teams are in the same league, the Inter-Valley Conference, and Strasburg had won the preseason, in-season and postseason tournaments while also winning several other tournament titles over the Pirates. But on Wednesday the 2-time, defending state champion Pirates stepped up. Overall medalist Ryan Troyer led the way with a 74 while Kolt Andreas added an 81 with Greg Moomaw and Donny Beachy had an 82.

For Strasburg, Tyler Bell shot a 76, Adam Bitikofer a 79, Ryan Bell an 81 and Chase Willis and 87.

Balser a Blue Devil:
Magnificat volleyball junior Brittney Balser verbally committed to play volleyball at Duke University, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported. Balser is a 6-foot-2 middle hitter who averaged 2.9 kills and 2.14 blocks per game as a sophomore.

Crusaders Cruising:
The Canton Central Catholic boys’ golf team captured its seventh-straight sectional crown by winning the Division II sectional with a 312. It was 14 strokes better than second place.

Josh Clay led the way with a 74 while Logan Lagodich added a 76, Junior Miller a 78 and Thomas Regula an 84.

How-ard Amazing:
Reigning Mr. Football Erick Howard of North Canton Hoover continued to light up the competition in his team’s 35-20 win over Uniontown Lake. Howard rushed for 274 yards on 28 carries and hit paydirt five times.

Streak Snapped:
The Gilmour volleyball team snapped Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph’s eight-match win streak by beating them in three games. Mary Kramer tallied eight kills and five blocks and Brittany Links seven kills with 10 assists.

The Law-Less Won:
Tuscarawas Central Catholic senior Molly Lawless, who became the first girl in school history to top 1,000 kills two weeks ago, recently broke the 1,000-assist barrier as well, also a first in the storied program’s history.

Way Tough Williams: Cleveland Rhodes junior linebacker Irayel Williams tallied 11 tackles with four for a loss in his team’s 20-0 win over Cleveland South.

Big Time Soccer:
In a battle of girls’ soccer unbeatens, Cloverleaf suffered its first non win as it tied Massillon Jackson 1-0. Jackson is 9-0-1. Heather Buckwald had a goal for Cloverleaf.

Super Schultz:
Olmsted Falls’ Zach Schultz tallied a hat trick in the second half as he led his team to a 6-0 win over Cleveland Heights. He now has eight goals on the year.

Strongsville Tested:
Worthington Kilbourne entered its boys’ soccer match with Strongsville with a 1.5-4 record against Strongsville’s 8-0-2 mark. They left with a 1-1 tie. Michael Cook tied the match with 31:26 left in the match for Strongsville.

Way Awesome Walsh:
The Walsh girls’ soccer team beat St. Ursula 5-1 to improve to 10-0-1 as Elizabeth Bollinger had a hat trick with three goals and teammate Alyson Smigel added two.

Dynamic Dog Duo:
Canton McKinley rushing duo Bryce Wilder and Elijah Farrakhan teamed up to destroy Massillon Jackson in a 44-28 Bulldog win. Wilder carried 21 times for 117 yards and four scores while Farrakhan had 22 carries for 187 yards and two touchdowns.


Massillon at St. Ignatius Football, Saturday, 7 p.m.: With identical 5-0 records, St. Ignatius currently sits atop Region 1 in Division I and Massillon is second in Region 2. There is great tradition with both of these teams.

Wadsworth Grizzly Invitational Cross Country at Wadsworth Memorial Park, Saturday:
Division I boys run at 9 a.m. with Division I girls at 9:30. Division II boys come at noon with Division II girls running at 12:30.

Mayfield at Solon Football, Tonight,7:30 p.m.:
At 5-0, each team is positioning itself for the postseason.

Gilmour Cross Country Invitational at Gilmour High, Tonight:
There is plenty of action for both big and small schools. Boys’ Blue Division takes off at 4 p.m. for Division II/III while Girls’ Blue Division for Division II/III runs at 5 p.m. At 4:30 is the Boys’ Gray Division I race while the Girls’ Gray Division I race is at 5:30.

East Palestine at Crestview Football, Tonight, 7:30 p.m.:
East Palestine is No. 1 in its region in Division V and Crestview is fourth in that same region. Should be a great game with Crestview having the most recent playoff success.

Stark County Cross Country Championships at Glen Oak High School, Saturday:
The Canton area’s best teams and individuals step up with boys at 11 a.m. and girls at 11:40.

Cambridge Cross Country Invitational, 10 a.m., Saturday:
The Eastern District’s best runners come to Guernsey County to compete.

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