Morning Huddle: How to turn around an 0-22 football program


JJ’s Morning Huddle: A daily dose of News, Notes & Nuggets from around the state

• Ohio keeps two football teams on list of Top 25 best in the country
• Can the streak continue? ‘Inexperienced’ Padua romps Olmsted Falls

• Doran Grant’s focusing on football, not recruiting

• Columbus Franklin Heights makes emotional return to football field

How to turn around an 0-22 program: After two-straight 0-10 seasons, Rossford in Greater Toledo has turned to a coach who seems to have a knack for turning things around. Todd Drusback has done it twice, in fact, once at Edgerton and once at Fremont St. Joseph. He even turned Edgerton into a playoff team. “I’m not coming in with any special lotions or potions,” Drusback told the Toledo Blade. “The kids have to be accountable. You just try to put them in position to make plays but ultimately it’s up to them. They have to work hard to get it done. Talent and skill-wise, we have the athletes. They need to be able to look themselves in the mirror. And there has been effort in every drill.” Rossford lost their first game at Genoa Area, 6-57, and they’re slated to take on Eastwood tonight at Eastwood. Expect Drusback to be watching carefully, looking for the tiny improvements in each play that could eventually put a win in the books. Turning a program around isn’t an overnight thing, he says. Getting your players to get a little bit better every day can be, though.

Ohio keeps two teams on list of Top 25 best in the country: MaxPreps is constantly tweaking their Xcellent 25 National High School Football Rankings, which lists the Top 25 best football teams in the country. Ohio’s two teams made a good showing last week: Cleveland Glenville moved up two slots to No. 10, and Cincinnati Colerain moved up three slots to No. 17. Glenville will travel to Florida this weekend to take on the No. 7 school in the country, Dwyer of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., on Monday night, and Elder will travel to Colerain for a huge matchup tonight.

Is this the year for the Padua Bruins? It probably shouldn’t be. A lot of people thought the Padua Bruins were going to be rebuilding after losing a stable of seniors last spring. “I don’t want anyone to call us young,” Padua head coach Tony Shuman told the Sun News. “We have a lot of seniors playing. We’re inexperienced.” Still, the team surprised a lot of people with a 27-10 win over visiting Olmsted Falls. It wasn’t just the final score that was impressive, though; it was the way Padua did it. Three of their touchdowns were off plays that were 60 yards or longer. Xavier Means’ 68-yard run late in the third quarter put the cream on the the cake, after backup quarterback Jim Solano tossed a 67-yard TD pass to Nico Sidari and Zac Baumer scored on a 62-yard punt return.

Doran Grant’s focusing on football: Doran Grant of Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary is one of the most heavily recruiting cornerbacks in the state, and Ohio State isn’t shy about showing him how much they want him. Who knows where he’ll end up, but the Buckeyes will welcome Grant to the Ohio State-Miami game next week. Don’t call it an official visit, though. Grant’s being “tight-lipped” on those, so that he can focus on getting a win for the Fighting Irish. The team lost their opener against Bishop Watterson 20-7 last week. They take on the 0-2 Akron North Vikings tonight.

Columbus Franklin Heights makes emotional return to football field: One of last week’s closest games was also one of the most improbable: Columbus Franklin Heights vs. Columbus Bishop Ready. The last time these two teams met, Ready walked away with a 47-0 win. That was in 2008, and Franklin Heights wouldn’t have a football program for the next two years after a school levy failed. Now, they’re back on the field, and they nearly upset Ready last week.

On fourth down, with the ball on the 5-yard line, 19 seconds remained, and Franklin Hiehts was down by two points. Senior Cody Evans got the call to try to make the game-winning field goal. Evans, who shed nearly 70 pounds to get in football shape, had never kicked a ball in a game or scrimmage. When, he finally got the chance, “two sounds rose above the stadium din: the thud of Evans’ right foot striking the ball and the thud of a defender’s arm deflecting the 25-yard try,” Tom Reed writes in the Columbus Dispatch. With that, Franklin Heights lost an emotional opener, but they have a team again, and it’s one that plays with a lot more heart than it might have three years ago. Best of luck to a new old program.

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