Dogs look to seize their opportunities in season ahead

By Max Householder - [email protected]

The Swanton returning letter winners for the 2021 season.

The Swanton returning letter winners for the 2021 season.

The 2021 Swanton football team.

Max Householder | AIM Media Midwest

2021 Roster
2Niekko Wilson-Coleman10WR/DB
3Josh Tyburski9TE/ILB
4Kyler Stevens10WR/DB
6Drake Harris9QB/DB
7Camron Kirtz9FB/DL
8Kaden Curtis11QB/DB
9Riley Wilson10WR/DB
10Brennon Mersing10WR/DB
11Ethan Hensley11WR/DB/K
12Max Patterson9RB/OLB
15Cole Mitchey11QB/OLB/P
16Luke Arnold10WR/DB
17Lathan Pawlowicz12TE/DL
18Kayden Davis11WR/OLB
21Kaden Nofziger10TE/OLB
25Kamon Molina11RB/ILB
26Evan Reed9WR/DB
27Caleb Ostrander11WR/DB
28Xander Wiemken11WR/OLB
33Hunter Gowing12RB/ILB
36Trenton Eitniear9RB/ILB
43Crew Puhl9WR/OLB
45Nate Vance11RB/ILB
50Blake Foster11OL/DL
51Toby Solarek10OL/ILB
52Mason Hutchinson10OL/ILB
55Bryce Marvin12OL/DL
56Austyn Gossett12OL/ILB
57Noah Sperling10OL/DL
60Cameron Fay9OL/DL
61Ben Wilson11OL/DL
62Michael Cohn11OL/DL
64Luke Coon11OL/DL
65Johna Rico10OL/DL
66Drew Smigelski11OL/DL
67Evan Smigelski9OL/DL
68Brady Arnold10OL/DL
70Michael Holtsberry9OL/ILB
71Tyler Camp9OL/DL
73Brady Roytek9OL/DL
75Ben Tufts9OL/DL
76Aaron Thomas12OL/DL
78Drayton Rieger10OL/DL
80Walker Klingler9WR/DB
81Anthony Kozakiewicz9WR/OLB

Now entering his third year as coach of the Swanton Bulldogs’ football team, Denton Saunders hopes his team can rise up the ranks within the Northwest Ohio Athletic League.

Saunders wants his boys to take advantage of every opportunity they get and take nothing for granted.

“We’re gonna be tough, disciplined. We want to have fun playing this game. We want to be positive. And we just want to leave it all out on the field. Have no regrets. Play every game, every snap as hard as we can. And whatever the result may be, leave that field with our head held high and leave no regrets on that field,” he said on the primary message for his team going into the season.

A major change on the offensive side of the ball comes as leading receiver from last year, Cole Mitchey, shifts over under center as the new quarterback. Saunders and his coaching staff feels the move gives them the best chance for success on Friday nights.

Mitchey, who was honorable mention All-NWOAL at receiver in 2020, began throwing in the winter to get prepared for the position change.

“Cole is a fantastic leader. He’s a great athlete,” Saunders said on making the move. “We talked to him towards the end of the season last year about maybe moving him to quarterback, and he was for whatever’s best for the team. That’s just the kind of kid Cole is. We felt with his athleticism and his experience on Friday nights, and his leadership, just getting him the ball every play was what’s best for our team.”

Mitchey has been adjusting to the move, according to his coach, but there will still be challenges ahead for him.

“I’m really pleased with his decision-making on the field. He’s been playing quarterback for really (only) two months, so I mean he still has to work on some things. And he knows that. But he’s the best guy for that spot for this team,” the Bulldog mentor said.

The new signal caller will have some help around him, starting up front on the offensive line and also at skill positions.

Returning on the line are Drew Smigelski (honorable mention all-league), Bryce Marvin, Aaron Thomas and Austyn Gossett. Experience is a common trait among those four.

“We got three seniors up front. We’ve got Aaron Thomas, who’s the biggest guy on our team, anchoring us at left tackle. We really like how he fires off and moves people. We have Bryce Marvin as our center. He’s a three-year lettermen at center and on our football team. Great leader. Really can trust him to get the job done and we’re gonna be hurting next year when we have to replace him. Then we have Austyn Gossett at our right guard. Who’s not the biggest but he plays hard. He gives us everything he’s got and we can rely on him,” Saunders said.

Smigelski, a junior, will be at right tackle and the left guard position was up for grabs in the preseason.

Some key pieces back at skill positions are running backs Nate Vance and Kamon Molina, tight end Lathan Pawlowicz, and receivers Kayden Davis and Ethan Hensley (honorable mention all-league specialist).

Saunders likes what Vance brings to his backfield. “I think Vance can run the ball well. There’s no doubt about it. Vance will, if he can stay healthy, he’ll be a workhorse for us,” the coach said.

He also mentioned Caleb Ostrander running the ball well in Swanton’s scrimmage at Montpelier Aug. 7.

The Dogs hope that Davis, standing at 6’3” and a state placer in the high jump back in June, gives them a threat on the outside to fill in for losing Mitchey.

“He’s a great athlete. He’ll be our ‘X’ receiver. He played a lot last year and made an impact in our passing game. We’re gonna expect more out of him this year,” Saunders said of Davis.

Hensley was named by Saunders as a player to look out for this season. He has impressed the coaching staff in the preseason.

“He catches everything that he touches pretty much,” stated Saunders.

Xander Wiemken and Mike Cohn are two other returning letter winners for the Dogs this season.

On defense, Swanton will be stout along the line, hoping to make up for a youthful core of linebackers.

“We’ve got six defensive linemen who I think can play. Which is the best we’ve had in awhile. We got some size there too with Lathan Pawlowicz (6-4, 225), Ben Wilson (5-9, 225), Bryce Marvin (6-0, 210), Aaron Thomas (6-4, 240), Drew Smigelski (6-2, 220),” said Saunders.

“They all got nice size to them, so hopefully we can control the line of scrimmage better and keep our linebackers clean. We do have some inexperience at linebacker, but hopefully we can keep those guys clean and let them run to the football and make plays.”

Marvin was a second team all-league and All-Northwest District defensive lineman a year ago, and Pawlowicz was honorable mention all-league.

Swanton begins the 2021 campaign at Rossford this Friday. They close out the non-league slate with a pair of home games versus Ottawa Hills and Rogers the following two weeks, then visit Patrick Henry to open up league play in week four.

The Swanton returning letter winners for the 2021 season. Swanton returning letter winners for the 2021 season.

The 2021 Swanton football team. 2021 Swanton football team. Max Householder | AIM Media Midwest

By Max Householder

[email protected]

2021 Roster
No. Name Grade Position
2 Niekko Wilson-Coleman 10 WR/DB
3 Josh Tyburski 9 TE/ILB
4 Kyler Stevens 10 WR/DB
6 Drake Harris 9 QB/DB
7 Camron Kirtz 9 FB/DL
8 Kaden Curtis 11 QB/DB
9 Riley Wilson 10 WR/DB
10 Brennon Mersing 10 WR/DB
11 Ethan Hensley 11 WR/DB/K
12 Max Patterson 9 RB/OLB
15 Cole Mitchey 11 QB/OLB/P
16 Luke Arnold 10 WR/DB
17 Lathan Pawlowicz 12 TE/DL
18 Kayden Davis 11 WR/OLB
21 Kaden Nofziger 10 TE/OLB
25 Kamon Molina 11 RB/ILB
26 Evan Reed 9 WR/DB
27 Caleb Ostrander 11 WR/DB
28 Xander Wiemken 11 WR/OLB
33 Hunter Gowing 12 RB/ILB
36 Trenton Eitniear 9 RB/ILB
43 Crew Puhl 9 WR/OLB
45 Nate Vance 11 RB/ILB
50 Blake Foster 11 OL/DL
51 Toby Solarek 10 OL/ILB
52 Mason Hutchinson 10 OL/ILB
55 Bryce Marvin 12 OL/DL
56 Austyn Gossett 12 OL/ILB
57 Noah Sperling 10 OL/DL
60 Cameron Fay 9 OL/DL
61 Ben Wilson 11 OL/DL
62 Michael Cohn 11 OL/DL
64 Luke Coon 11 OL/DL
65 Johna Rico 10 OL/DL
66 Drew Smigelski 11 OL/DL
67 Evan Smigelski 9 OL/DL
68 Brady Arnold 10 OL/DL
70 Michael Holtsberry 9 OL/ILB
71 Tyler Camp 9 OL/DL
73 Brady Roytek 9 OL/DL
75 Ben Tufts 9 OL/DL
76 Aaron Thomas 12 OL/DL
78 Drayton Rieger 10 OL/DL
80 Walker Klingler 9 WR/DB
81 Anthony Kozakiewicz 9 WR/OLB

Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.

Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.