Monthly Archives: August 2015

Coventry Comets

The Coventry Comets have struggled over the passed few year. They haven’t been able to string wins together. They certainly haven’t played to their full potential talent wise. They have left fans disappointed and hungry for more.

But this is a new year.

The Coventry Comets this year will look to build on what was a decent year, considering previous ones, last year. The Comets went a disappointing 2-8 in 2013-2014, followed by a slight upswing in 2014-2015 going 4-6 (2-4).

Will the Comets double their win total again?

Of course not. I cannot project the Comets to win eight games this year. But what fans should be wondering is, can this team improve further? Can this team show that it is ready to compete at a high level? Even if they don’t win a bunch of game, will the scores at least be close? Especially when going against the teams that will be at the top of the division, such as Crestwood, Field, or Ravenna?

It will certainly be interesting for fans to watch as the Comets strive to answer these questions this year. So while we wait for them to be answered, let’s look at what we’ll be seeing on the field.

Coach Edward Egan commented on his offense saying “We are an ‘Athletic’ Philosophy. Get the ball to our athletes, whatever it takes to win.” There’s no question that the Comets are a very athletic team. The have speed and height in all the right positions. They have the potential to be playmakers. But what I’ve talked about with other teams like Ravenna, and Woodridge, is that in addition to some great athletes they also do a great job of using the system to their advantage.

You look at the Ravens, on an upswing, starting to rise from the depths of despair. The Bulldogs are a model of consistency, and have shown that they will outsmart opponents when it comes to play on the field. When you look at the Comets athletically, and at their talent, compared to the two schools we’ve discussed, they are even, or at least not that far off. We know this team has the physical part of the game down, but can they make full use of their system, can they use their heads right? Talent without brains is useless, and we can’t wait to see if the Comets show that they are willing to take that next step.

Now to continue looking at the team.

“(Jaret) Skaggs is our third year starting Quarterback. He threw for over 2,000 yards and 24 Touchdowns last year. Looking forward of his leadership and command of the offense.” Coach said of his Senior Quarterback. Again, as I stated earlier, the numbers are their. But like Coach Egan said, we are all looking forward to seeing how the Senior QB takes control of the offense, what leadership he can show.

Now looking at the defense. The Comets are set up for success on defense. “We have four returning starters, including 6’5″, 255lb, DE Bryce Hargrove. We need to stop the run. Our athletes are in the defensive backfield, so if we can stop to run, and force them to pass, hopefully we will have the advantage.” This is a very key asset for the Comets. Their defense has the potential to be elite this year, if they can do just what their coach said. They have a front line that’s anchored by Hargrove, which not only can stop the run, but can also get to the QB. That combined with ball hawking play makers on the outside, and we could see the Comets making things interesting.

Now it’s time for the pre-game huddle:

The Comets are a team with talented Seniors at key positions. Watch for Jaret Skaggs under center, Tremayne Collins, DuVale Patterson, and Dominic Pegley all catching passes. This is a team that will certainly be looking to take the top of in the passing game.

We also cannot talk about the Comets without talking about standout athlete Bryce Hargrove. He is not only a football star, but a basketball one as well. Hargrove will be heading off to the University of Pittsburgh after the season to play Defensive End for the Panthers. I would like to congratulate him on his success, the Comet fan base cannot wait to see you play this year, and we all certainly look forward to following your career later on.

As I said earlier, can I predict substantial success this year? No. But I do believe that they will get one game better this year. I predict the Comets will go 5-5 this year, and be middle of the pack in their division.

Would like to thank www.portagetrailcentral.com and www.nfhsnetwork.com for their PTC standings information.

Woodridge Bulldogs

When I think of the Woodridge Bulldogs the first word that comes to mind is balance. They are the perfect example of how balance and stability can propel a team to multiple winning seasons. Over the past two years the Woodridge Bulldogs have gone 8-3 (6-0) in 2013-2014, and 8-3 (5-1) in 2014-2015.

Talk about consistency.

Then we look deeper into the team over the past few years. Coach Jeff Decker has implemented a system that will certainly provide players with a balanced consistent atmosphere with which to play in. He discussed such key aspects in an interview, saying “Our offense will be very balanced running and passing. We have very explosive, fast, athletes at the Receiving and Running Back positions  that we will try to spread the ball to.”

And Coach Decker went on to talk about his Quarterback, saying “Our QB, which seems to be our younger candidate Mason Lydic, has put himself in that position with excellent athleticism, great decision making, and just a natural instinct for getting out of trouble and not panicking, no matter what the situation.”

Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

Yes, the young Quarterback sounds as if he will be a perfect fit in a system that preaches patience and good decision making. And not just the mental aspects, but Coach Decker’s team is gifted with something almost as valuable as a good system and smart players, very athletic players.

We will discuss which players Coach Decker thinks will have high impact, breakout like year, later on. Now though we will discuss the Bulldogs defense.

Coach Decker pointed out one fact that will be of great importance for the Bulldogs this year. He said “Our Defensive Back are all returning from last years starting group, so we are very experienced there.” The Bulldogs have the luxury of having all four starters return this year, those being Nick Gaspro and Joe Novak at the Safety positions, along with Alec Shaheen and Jackson Taylor at the Corner Back spots. While this team may be young up front, which could present challenges, they are completely loaded on the back end, and will thus present a great challenge to opposing offenses looking to pass the ball.

But they do have areas of concern “We are young at the Line Backer position,” Coach Decker pointed out “But feel it could be a strength with some very aggressive and very skilled kids.” He pointed out that the Bulldogs Defensive Line was the same as their Line Backers, young but aggressive. While the Bulldogs Secondary will be one of the best in the PTC, you might see struggles on the Line and at the Line Backer spot early on. It’s only natural for anyone who doesn’t have a lot of in-game experience to struggle, especially when faced with the likes of a team like the Mogadore Wildcats a completely physical ground and pound team, or the Streetsboro Rockets that are always one of the most athletic teams in the conference. What will help the defense is reps, and as the reps pile up, so will the defensive stats.

Now to get to the Pre-Game Huddle:

Key offensive player to watch out for this year will be Joe Novak and Jacob Margroff at the Receivers spots, two players that Coach Decker said have Division 1 speed, with Novak taking the top off of opposing defenses and Margroff on the Yards-After-Catch.

Coach also said to watch out for possession Receiver Nick Gaspro, Running Back King Sanders, and Tight End Jacob Malley.

It will certainly be interesting to see how the younger Quarterback, Mason Lydic, handles the starting role, and if he starts making mistakes how long his leash will be.

Defensive standouts this year will be all of the Secondary players we mentioned before, as well as another interesting name. Coach Decker brought up Dontae Craft, a returning player on the Defensive Line. It will certainly be intriguing to see how well he can anchor the Line given the lack of experience early on.

I predict that the Bulldogs will have another solid year, but will suffer early on from lack of experience. I will say that the Bulldogs will end with a solid 7-3 season, fighting for the division lead once again.

I would like to thank www.nfhsnetwork.com and www.portagetrailcentral.com for their information on the standings.

 

Ravenna Ravens

For our first preseason review we’re going to take a look at the Ravenna Ravens.

The Ravens are a team of tradition and passion. When you think of the Portage Trail Conference a team like Ravenna is exactly the team you think of. When you think of great sports rivalries, almost none can compare to the rivalry between the Ravenna Ravens and the Kent Roosevelt Rough Riders.

One problem Ravenna has had over the past few years is being able to get over the hump of a .500 record. Now we know that they indeed have been over .500 the past few years. The 2012-2013 season they were able to notch a 7-5 (4-2) record. The 2013-2014 season saw a dramatic drop in the quality of play by the Ravens. They finished that season at a disappointing 2-8 (2-4) record. Then we come to last season. The Ravens did make a significant leap from the year before, but was only really able to get to the status they had in 2012, ending the year at 6-4. What really stood out was their division play, (5-1), which propelled them forward. If they had been able to notch a few more wins outside the division we could’ve seen the Ravenna Ravens that fans have been waiting for, for some time now.

That is what we’re looking for this year, growth. We saw growth from the 2013 season to the 2014 season, now they just need to keep it up.

One area of concern for Ravenna has been, simply put, a lack of skill. Unlike a school like Mogadore, that manufactures football players like a factory, Ravenna doesn’t have the natural size or skill of those players. What Ravenna has instead is heart a lot of heart and determination. What they have to do now is use that passion, and their brains, and figure out a way to consistently string together wins against tough opponents such as Kent, Woodridge, and Streetsboro.

Now it’s time to take a look at several quick points we discussed with Coach Lunardi that we’ll be watching for this year with the Ravens, in a segment we like to call our Pregame Huddle:

Coach Lunardi talked with enthusiasm about his offense for the upcoming year, stating that they will focus on more of a running attack. He seemed energetic about the idea of a solid running game, which will compliment Senior QB Derek Cross nicely, and hinted about play action schemes that they would try to use based off their running attack.

Speaking of Derek Cross: Coach Lunardi spoke very highly of his Quarterback, saying “He started half way through his Sophomore year, and has grown ever since. He’s smart, has good arm strength, and is a great decision maker!” I don’t know about all the other Ravens fans out there, but talk like that certainly makes me intrigued to see just what Cross has in store for us this year.

Coach also talked about his defensive strategies, saying that his team is going to try to keep the opposing offenses on their toes.

“We’re going with a 3-5 defense. I hope we can keep our opponents guessing.” Coach said “We’ll be bringing zone pressures based on offensive tendencies.”

Last, but not least, Coach Lunardi talked about key players this year.

“We return our entire offensive line, but had to replace some skill position players. I would say our offensive line is our strength, with a few contributing skill players behind it.” That is certainly music to Quarterback Derek Cross’ ears. You can have all the position players in the world, but if you play behind a bad offensive line things can quickly turn into a nightmare for any Quarterback or Running Back.

One last player to watch for this year is Senior FB/DL Willie Ross. Coach talked highly of his lead blocker, and of his future. Ross has had offers from every school in the MAC, which is a big accomplishment in itself, but the interest didn’t stop there. Ross has also received calls from the University of Wisconsin, and has gone for two visits at their request. I know that pains Ohio State fans to hear one of their own may be facing them someday, but at the same time it is an amazing accomplishment for Ross. Coach Lunardi said to watch out for him this year as he will be playing for not just the Ravens, but also is playing his way into a spot on a college team.

We are excited to see what the Ravens have in store for fans this year, and optimistic about that outcome for the team at the end of the year. I believe the Ravens will take another step forward this year and will go 7-3.

 

 

 

Hello PTC fans!

Hello fans,

My name is Zachary Bellar. I am a former sports writer for a local paper. During my time there I gained a lot of very valuable experience, not to mention the fact that I greatly enjoyed the job!

Sports are my passion. I have loved…really any sport, since I was little. My favorite sports are football and basketball, but I enjoy watching and playing anything that can be called a sport. I decided after I graduated in 2014 to make my passion for sports a career, and what helped was the fact that I am also passionate about writing. I love reading and writing very much, and consider both a very important part of our society. There’s nothing better than a writer that can inspire, bring together, and cause one to feel emotion.

I hope that I can bring out the best in any game that I cover, and hope that my readers enjoy every word. This is a small operation now, consisting of just me, but I have no doubt that we will be able to expand soon, which means more games being covered.

Fans will be able to enjoy team previews for every PTC football team coming up soon.

Thank you for your time, and please visit again soon.

-Zachary Bellar