Bulldogs aim to maintain success


By Max Householder - mhouseholder@aimmediamidwest.com



The 2017 Swanton coaching staff.


Max Householder | Swanton Enterprise

Swanton returns 21 letter winners for the upcoming season.


Max Householder | Swanton Enterprise

With some key players back, Swanton football has a chance to have a good season in the first year under new head coach Randy Kerns.


Photo courtesy Rose Photography

2017 Roster
No.NameGradePosition
18Crew Oberheim12TE/LB
5Zach Rankin12RB/DB
62Lukas Reiner12OL/DL
32Zack Leahey12RB/DL
87Reece Pawlowicz12WR/LB
51Josh Kohlhofer12OL/DL
10Anthony Howard12WR/DB
61Dustin Sego12OL/DL
68Ethan Frost12OL/DL
60Hunter Albert12OL/LB
76Isaac Thomas12OL/DL
9Gage Pachlhofer12RB/DB
55Greg Wilson12OL/DL
36Noah Saunders12RB/DB
2Dylan Cook12RB/DB
24Hunter Mix11RB/LB
19Kodi Jones11TE/LB
22Dylan Gilsdorf11QB/DB
23Michael Lawniczak11RB/LB
34Ryan Marvin11RB/LB
35Zack Zawodni11RB/LB
50Derek Floyd11OL/DL
43Zaven Waddell11RB/LB
56Xavier Williams11OL/LB
45Brad Parks11RB/DB
75Nathan Duarte11OL/DL
7Roman Epley11RB/DB
N/AJohn Townes11OL/DL
30Sam Sledz10WR/DB
20Austin Hayden10TE/LB
28Xavier Wiemken10RB/LB
33Tyler Gowing10RB/LB
66Damien Boyer10OL/LB
81Jake Crow10OL/DL
44Brendan Keith10RB/LB
1Josh Vance9WR/DB
82Josh Townes9TE/LB
12Andrew Thornton9QB/DB
38Blaine Pawlowicz9WR/DB
52Connor Cass9OL/DL
6Devon Crouse9WR/DB
57Eric Bettinger9OL/LB
3Trent Weigel9WR/DB
16Kadin Keivens9WR/DB
58Anthony Duarte9OL/DL
70Sam Dominique9OL/DL
4Zeth Zawodni9RB/DB
71Jacob Campbell9OL/DL
21Ian Saunders9RB/DB
42Gabe Swartz9TE/LB

It will be difficult to duplicate the success of the last three seasons, however, the Swanton Bulldog football program will give it their best shot.

The Bulldogs are coming off three straight winning seasons, a Northwest Ohio Athletic League title in 2015, and playoff wins in each of the past two seasons.

That success came under the direction of former coach Mike Vicars who stepped down in March. He remains with the district as its Director of Student Services.

The program is now left in the hands of Randy Kerns, who was approved as the Bulldogs’ coach in May. Kerns is optimistic heading into his first season at the helm.

“Even with a new coaching staff, and mass graduation that included two D-I signees, this is still a talented football team,” he said. “Numbers have improved, and there’s an established, energetic, winning culture. Our season will depend on some talented, but inexperienced players stepping into varsity roles and performing well. This team can potentially be contending for the top of the NWOAL again. Our goal is to return to the postseason in Division V.”

Swanton returns five starters on offense and five on defense.

One of their primary returnees is Michael Lawniczak, a second team All-NWOAL and second team all-district running back from a year ago. He is someone who coach Kerns thinks can be the top player in the league this season.

Another notable returnee is lineman Lukas Reiner (first team All-NWOAL), someone Kerns says has “loads of talent.” The Bulldogs also get back honorable mention all-league performers Gage Pachlhofer (RB/DB), Xavier Williams (OL/LB) and Zack Leahey (RB/DL).

Crew Oberheim is a returning tight end and linebacker for the Dogs.

However, they did lose a lot to graduation, including five players who received All-Ohio honors. Highlighting that list were wide receiver Gunnar Oakes and defensive lineman Zach Dziengelewski who both were named first team all-state at their respective positions.

They both received scholarships to play at the Division I level, Oakes at Eastern Michigan and Dziengelewski at Bowling Green. Other all-state players gone via graduation are kicker Nick Koback who made the second team, as well as Aaron Hazlett and Jonathan Shanks who were special mention.

They will also be without Marek Spiess (second team All-NWOAL, second team all-district), Tim Rankin (second team All-NWOAL, honorable mention all-district), Ben Burke (second team All-NWOAL, second team all-district), Connor Yaney (second team All-NWOAL), Brennan Spiess (honorable mention All-NWOAL), Cam Hitchen (honorable mention All-NWOAL) and Chase Avalos (honorable mention All-NWOAL).

Strengths for the team are a talented defensive front, good leadership, and a physical running game with the return of Lawniczak.

“Winning culture is implanted off back-to-back playoff appearances,” added Kerns.

Another positive is that they will be running the Wing T again this season, which is the same offense Vicars used. On defense they will run a 3-4.

The coach does have some concerns heading into the season.

“Must find other playmakers on offense (other than Lawniczak),” he said. “Talented but inexperienced at some positions because of transfers out of program.”

He particularly mentioned the loss of their quarterback and some defensive backs as well.

Although Kerns is new to the program and the league, he still has the confidence to pick them to finish third behind Liberty Center and Wauseon.

Swanton is at Richwood North Union Friday, followed by a trip to Start Sept. 1, and then home against Rogers on Sept. 8 to close out non-league competition. They open NWOAL play at Bryan on Sept. 15.

The 2017 Swanton coaching staff.
http://www.swantonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/23/2017/08/web1_Swanton-coaches.jpgThe 2017 Swanton coaching staff. Max Householder | Swanton Enterprise

Swanton returns 21 letter winners for the upcoming season.
http://www.swantonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/23/2017/08/web1_Swanton-letterwinners.jpgSwanton returns 21 letter winners for the upcoming season. Max Householder | Swanton Enterprise

With some key players back, Swanton football has a chance to have a good season in the first year under new head coach Randy Kerns.
http://www.swantonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/23/2017/08/web1_Swanton-team.jpgWith some key players back, Swanton football has a chance to have a good season in the first year under new head coach Randy Kerns. Photo courtesy Rose Photography

By Max Householder

mhouseholder@aimmediamidwest.com

2017 Roster
No. Name Grade Position
18 Crew Oberheim 12 TE/LB
5 Zach Rankin 12 RB/DB
62 Lukas Reiner 12 OL/DL
32 Zack Leahey 12 RB/DL
87 Reece Pawlowicz 12 WR/LB
51 Josh Kohlhofer 12 OL/DL
10 Anthony Howard 12 WR/DB
61 Dustin Sego 12 OL/DL
68 Ethan Frost 12 OL/DL
60 Hunter Albert 12 OL/LB
76 Isaac Thomas 12 OL/DL
9 Gage Pachlhofer 12 RB/DB
55 Greg Wilson 12 OL/DL
36 Noah Saunders 12 RB/DB
2 Dylan Cook 12 RB/DB
24 Hunter Mix 11 RB/LB
19 Kodi Jones 11 TE/LB
22 Dylan Gilsdorf 11 QB/DB
23 Michael Lawniczak 11 RB/LB
34 Ryan Marvin 11 RB/LB
35 Zack Zawodni 11 RB/LB
50 Derek Floyd 11 OL/DL
43 Zaven Waddell 11 RB/LB
56 Xavier Williams 11 OL/LB
45 Brad Parks 11 RB/DB
75 Nathan Duarte 11 OL/DL
7 Roman Epley 11 RB/DB
N/A John Townes 11 OL/DL
30 Sam Sledz 10 WR/DB
20 Austin Hayden 10 TE/LB
28 Xavier Wiemken 10 RB/LB
33 Tyler Gowing 10 RB/LB
66 Damien Boyer 10 OL/LB
81 Jake Crow 10 OL/DL
44 Brendan Keith 10 RB/LB
1 Josh Vance 9 WR/DB
82 Josh Townes 9 TE/LB
12 Andrew Thornton 9 QB/DB
38 Blaine Pawlowicz 9 WR/DB
52 Connor Cass 9 OL/DL
6 Devon Crouse 9 WR/DB
57 Eric Bettinger 9 OL/LB
3 Trent Weigel 9 WR/DB
16 Kadin Keivens 9 WR/DB
58 Anthony Duarte 9 OL/DL
70 Sam Dominique 9 OL/DL
4 Zeth Zawodni 9 RB/DB
71 Jacob Campbell 9 OL/DL
21 Ian Saunders 9 RB/DB
42 Gabe Swartz 9 TE/LB

Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010

Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010