Swanton and Evergreen did not receive much love from their peers Sunday at the Northwest Ohio Athletic League Football Coaches Meeting held at Archbold. The Bulldogs were picked sixth and the Vikings seventh.
Liberty Center was picked to win the league by the coaches with four first place votes. Wauseon was second with two first place votes, Patrick Henry third with one vote, Bryan fourth with one vote, Archbold fifth, and after Swanton and Evergreen sat Delta at eighth.
However, the depth of the league was referenced by multiple coaches, highlighting that any team can beat another on any given night.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we have multiple champs,” stated Liberty Center coach Casey Mohler. “Just teams beating up on each other each week. I think we could have two, maybe three teams win the league.”
Swanton will simply look to keep the success train rolling, coming off yet another playoff appearance. It was the Bulldogs’ third straight trip to the postseason last year, a season which saw them hand Archbold its only league loss.
They will look to guidance from senior leaders Xavier Williams, Michael Lawniczak, Dylan Gilsdorf and Hunter Mix.
“We have 36 players right now. We return a good amount of guys,” said Swanton second-year coach Randy Kerns at the meeting. “We got six (returning starters) on offense and five on defense. So decent experience. A solid, strong senior class.
“Good, hardworking kids. (I’m) pretty impressed with our senior leadership.”
Kerns also pointed out the lack of changeover in terms of coaches in the league. All coaches from last year remain at their post.
Evergreen went from 0-10 the previous year to 4-6 last season under then first-year coach Aaron Schmidt. They will look to bump that win total up even more this season.
Continuity between the players, coaching staff, and the playbook should help the Vikings have success this season.
“This will be the second year that we’ve run our offense,” said Schmidt. “We’ll run the same offensive and defensive schemes as we did last year. Last year we were trying to install everything. Kids’ heads were kind of spinning all the way until we picked up stuff week 5 or 6.”
The Vikings return seven starters on offense – many on the offensive line – and nine on defense. They have roughly 40 kids total, including a few “basketball only” players who decided to come out for football this season.
Both teams have scrimmages this week. Evergreen hosts Hilltop Tuesday at 3 p.m. followed by another home contest against Tinora Saturday at 10 a.m. Swanton welcomes Montpelier Tuesday at 6 p.m. and travels to Elmwood this Saturday at 6 p.m.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010