Few small school programs in state history have been able to pull off a run like Marion Local. And the bad news for Flyer opponents? ML isn’t slowing down anytime soon…The Flyers return enough talent to challenge for their fifth state title since 2000.
Maria Stein Marion Local
2009 Record: (8-6)
* Players to Watch – OL/DE Josh Berning (6-3, 200, Sr.), RB Niles Keller (6-0, 180, Sr.), QB Ryan Mescher (6-1, 200, Sr.); LB Greg Schwieterman (6-0, 170, Sr.); C Jason Reichert (6-2, 220, Sr.); LB Logan Albers (6-1, 180, Jr.); LB Brandon Arling (5-10, 185, Sr.); OL Craig Grieshop (6-0, 220, Sr.)
* Outlook – After a two-year run in D-V (which produced a state title and Final Four appearance), the Flyers made it to the state semifinals last year despite a five-game losing streak during the regular season. A key 28-21 win over Anna in Week 10 propelled Marion Local, 5-5 at the time, into the playoffs where it won three straight before losing to fellow MAC team Delphos St. John’s in the state semis.
During its previous run in Region 24, ML won three D-VI state titles and made four state finals from 2000-2006.
Expect the Flyers to contend for the regional title – and state championship – again.
“We are excited about 2010,” ML head coach Tim Gooodwin (119-33 in 11 years) said. “We have a team that should be strong and physical on both sides of the ball. We hope to be able to run the ball and stop the run. Our question marks this year are on the perimeter.”
Thanks to last year’s small senior class, the Flyers return plenty of talent and several starters.
Offensively the Flyers bring back all four of their leading rushers, including Keller (1,500 yards rushing). Most of the OL returns as well as does Mescher who made four starts last year and accounted for 371 yards passing and four TDs.
Defensively, Marion Local has to replace all four of its defensive backs, but the front seven will thrive with the return of Berning (76 tackles), Schwieterman (66 tackles), Albers (65 tackles) and Arling (63 tackles).
“We know that we will have to develop the passing game in order to beat the good teams,” Goodwin said. “We also know that the teams in our league will exploit any weaknesses that we have in the secondary. We have a solid senior class this year so we are expecting great things from them in terms of play and leadership.”
* Schedule – The Flyers made the playoffs at 5-5 last year, but would like to remove the doubt before Week 10, where they were forced to win last year. Springfield Catholic joins the non-league slate this year, while Versailles falls off the MAC slate due to the conference’s rotating schedule. Back-to-back games against Coldwater and Delphos St. John’s loom in weeks 8 and 9.
8/27 SHAWNEE (LIMA)
9/3 @ CATHOLIC CENTRAL (SPRINGFIELD)
9/10 @ NEW BREMEN
9/24 @ ANNA
10/1 ST HENRY
10/8 PARKWAY (ROCKFORD)
10/15 @ COLDWATER
10/22 ST JOHN’S (DELPHOS)
10/29 @ FORT RECOVERY