FAYETTE CROSS COUNTRY: Fayette’s cross country teams sailed through the district tournament Saturday to qualify for regional competition this weekend.
The girls and boys teams both placed second at the district run Saturday in Ottawa. This Saturday in Tiffin, the Div. III boys will start the day with an 11:05 a.m. run. The girls wait until the Div. I and II boys are finished and are scheduled to begin at 1:20 p.m.
Fayette coach Bryan Stambaugh was pleased with his runners’ efforts, but he was shooting for first-place team finishes. The girls’ second-place spot was even more of a surprise than the boys, he said, but noted that Liberty Center ran really well to earn first.
The Eagles’ top runners both finished third individually.
Erica Goeltzenleuchter’s 20:02 was good for third behind Pettisville’s Tanner Hostetler (19:44) and Pandora-Gilboa’s Ashley Sprunger (19:51). The run marked the best time of the season for the Fayette junior.
She’ll face plenty of top-notch competition Saturday when five more girls join the race—all of whom ran under 20 minutes in other district runs.
Liberty Center finished first in the district with 67 points, followed by Fayette (76), Lima Central Catholic (87) and Pettisville (105).
Danni Wyse finished 11th at 21:01, trailed by Alexa Kessler (18th, 21:32), Hannah Schrock (19th, 22:00), Sarah Kovar (29th, 22:40), Mara Raker (46th, 24:04) and Olivia Molina (52nd, 24:59).
Kessler turned in her top time of the season while Schrock is still bothered by a shin problem. Freshman Sarah Kovar notched a personal best and beat the goal time set by her coach by nearly a minute.
From the other district run, Stryker qualifies for the regional meet race, along with Ottoville, Fairview and Montpelier.
Darrell Randall broke the 17-minute mark to place third at 16:56, behind Hilltop’s Cody Livensparger (16:31) and Tinora’s Gregg Gerken (16:51). Dakota Brooks’s ninth-place finish (17:28) and Trevor Cox in 10th (17:30) gave the Eagles a solid second-place team finish with 61 points, behind Hilltop with 49.
Randall will be challenged this Saturday as 11 additional sub-17 minute runners join in for the regional run.
Other Eagle finishers were Logan Keefer (19th, 17:58), Dalton Goeltzenleucter (23rd, 18:08), Hunter Colegove (32nd, 18:16) and Ben Kovar (50th, 18:41).
Fayette’s scorers—the top five runners—consist of two freshmen, two sophomores and one senior. The freshmen, Cox and Goeltzenleucter, both turned in season best times.
The other qualifying teams from Tiffin are Tinora and Ottoville from Fayette’s district and Delta, Stryker, Lima Central Catholic and Pettisville from the other district race.
Lima’s Jim Heider turned in the fastest Div. III boys time for the day at Lima, crossing the line at 16:18. For the girls, Ottoville’s Shayla Siefker ran a 19:07.
“It’s going to be pretty tough with the competition we’ve got,” Coach Stambaugh said, “but the kids are still focussed even though the season is coming to an end.”
The top four teams and top 16 individuals will advance to the state race.
MORENCI CROSS COUNTRY: Morenci’s cross country runners competed in three invitational meets during the past week, with the best times posted Saturday at Whitmore Lake.
Zach Phillips was back under 17 minutes at Whitmore Lake for a fourth place 16:42. Micah Gillen came in 45th at 19:17, followed by David Brown (54th, 19:57) and Logan Drummond (80th, 21:37).
The girls team was led by Candi Evers’s 33rd place finish at 24:07, tying her best. Jackie Paris was close behind, setting a personal record with a 36th place at 24:13, and Rachel Sodergren came in 61st at 27:35.
Monday at Sand Creek, Phillips crossed the line in third place at 17:34, followed by Gillen (23rd, 19:29), Brown (40th, 20:59) and Drummond (59th, 22:52).
The boys placed eighth with Jeff Nofziger still out of the lineup.
Evers led Morenci’s girls with a 27th place finish at 24:56. She was followed by Paris (28th, 24:58), Sodergren (52nd, 29:38) and Ashley Clark (38:23).
Thursday at the Madison Invitational, Phillips was second overall at 17:02. Gillen came in 13th at 19:36, Brown was 17th at 20:15 and Drummond took 25th at 23:10.
Morenci finished fourth.
Evers was out of action and Paris was tops for the Bulldogs with an 11th-place 25:19. Sodergren placed 20th at 29:25 and Clark was 30th at 38:23.
The girls took fifth place.
• Morenci travels Saturday to Lake Erie Metropark near Rockwood for a Div. IV regional meet. Phillips will be running for a return invitation to the state meet Nov. 1 at MIS. Last year as a junior he turned in an all-state performance.
“With an outstanding performance, the boys could be third in our regional and qualify for the state meet,” coach Brad Brown said. “It’s going to take a true team effort but it’s definitely within reason.”
Brown believes Phillips is all but assured of qualifying individually, while Gillen and Jeff Nofziger could sneak into the top 15 with career-best performances.
MORENCI VOLLEYBALL: Morenci’s volleyball squad won a league victory against Summerfield last week before dropping a non-conference contest Monday to Lenawee Christian School.
Everything clicked at home Oct. 14 when Summerfield fell in three games, 25-23, 25-13 and 25-16.
“Our serve reception was outstanding,” coach Dennis Owens said. “We missed only three of their serves.”
Kathleen Barron dug nine of nine serves, Chanler McCaskey missed one of 10 and Kate Joughin missed one of eight.
Passing was sharp overall, also, Owens said. Amy Gillman finished the night 12 for 12 and Barron went 11 for 11. Dana Joughin was good on 13 of 14 tries, McCaskey was good on but three of 23 tries and Mariah Bovee finished at 14 for 18.
Gillman came through with nine aces on a 19 for 21 serving night. She served 15 points. Tia Tompkins scored five aces on a 15-for-15 night.
Of 85 attacks, 28 were converted into kills. McCaskey led the way with 10 kills, followed by Bovee with seven and Tompkins with six kills and one kill block.
Gillman gave 12 assists, Dana Joughin gave eight and Tess Ramsey went 10 for 10 in setting with two assists.
The win raised the Bulldogs’ league mark to 5-7 and the overall record to 8-11-1.
LCS—The Cougars ended the match in three games, winning 25-15, 25-12 and 25-21.
At the serving line, Tompkins had a perfect 14-for-14 night with five aces. Bovee missed one of 10 attempts and scored an ace.
Owens was impressed with the Cougars’ outstanding digs that limited Morenci’s offensive aggression.
Gillman gave eight assists and Dana Joughin finished with five. Barron was strong in the back row with eight digs and an 18/20 mark in serve reception. McCaskey finished with 13 digs, Bovee with 12 and Kate Joughin with seven.
McCaskey scored six kills and a kill block. Tompkins and Bovee each finished with three kills.
• The Bulldogs travel Thursday to Britton and entertain Whiteford for a rescheduled double-header Friday at 4 p.m.
JV VOLLEYBALL: Morenci JV volleyball squad improved to 11-15-3 after a win over Lenawee Christian School and eight games Saturday at the county tournament.
LCS was dropped in two close games, 25-21 and 26-24.
Chelsea Phillips was perfect at the serving line (14/14) and she scored two aces. She served 12 straight in the second game to help seal the win. Phoenix Duncan scored an ace on a 10/11 performance.
Naomi Hoffman and Meghan Smith both provided 18 playable passes and Duncan added 21.
At the net, Smith made four kills on 11 attacks and Phillips scored one kill. On defense, Duncan put down 19 attacks and she had one block kill. Mercedez McCaskey gave 15 assists.
COUNTY—Morenci went 5-3 at the county tournament.
The Bulldogs opened with a loss to Madison, 12-25 and 22-25, then came back to down Onsted 25-23 and 25-20. They split with Adrian, 16-25 and 25-24, and defeated Britton, 25-9 and 25-13.
Duncan provided 42 playable passes for the day, aided by Hoffman and Carolyn Blaker. This led to an impressive 18 assists by McCaskey, coach Kindra Baron said.
Matea Garcia missed only one of 35 serve attempts and scored 15 aces. Duncan missed two of 32 and scored nine aces.
Phillips continues to improve at the net, Baron said, finishing the day with 12 attacks, five kills and two block kills. Duncan added 23 hits and eight kills. Smith came through with 37 hits and 16 kills.
SUMMERFIELD—At home last week, Morenci fell to Summerfield 26-28, 28-26 and 7-15.
Duncan scored nine kills.
MORENCI FOOTBALL: More yards on the ground, more yards through the air. Morenci just fell short on that all-important category called points.
Sand Creek kept the Bulldogs out of the end zone all night here Friday, and thanks to a couple of costly Morenci errors, the Aggies went home with a 21-3 victory.
“We’ve out-gained opponents in seven of eight games this year, but we’ve only won three of them,” coach Dan Hoffman said.
A little better passing game Friday, he said, and Morenci might have pulled off an upset.
The Bulldogs’ defense didn’t give up much—and came through with a pair of interceptions—but a couple crucial big plays that weren’t correctly covered, Hoffman said, made the difference.
One of those came early in the contest when quarterback David Hillard covered 65-yards before being brought down at the 10-yard line. The Aggies scored, but they couldn’t, but were stifled on their next few attempts.
Dustin Roller broke up a Sand Creek pass early in the second quarter and one player later intercepted and nearly scored. His long run was called back due to a penalty and the Bulldogs saw their chance to tie the game disappear.
On the Aggies’ next possession, Josh Hauser intercepted to stop a Sand Creek threat, but with time running out before intermission, Morenci hurried a play and lost the ball on a fumble. Nick Wilt grabbed the ball and scored to put the Aggies on top 14-0.
Morenci threatened in the third quarter, taking the kickoff working the ball to Sand Creek’s 23 on a 26-yard pass to Anthony Tompkins. They had to settle for a field goal by Nick Wilson to make it 14-3 with seven minutes to play in the third quarter.
The Aggies came right back for a third touchdown, first with a long kickoff return and finally with a pass for the score.
Graham kept his strong running game going to lead a Morenci drive to Sand Creek’s 26-yard line, but the Bulldogs could get no further.
Morenci tried risky fourth down conversions twice in the fourth quarter while deep in their own territory. Both failed, but the Bulldogs’ defense stiffened to keep Sand Creek from scoring again.
Morenci was out of synch due to injuries and a starter not playing for disciplinary reasons, Hoffman said, and his 19 players faced the large Sand Creek squad with 22 seniors.
His squad is still in good spirits, he said, and ready to tackle Clinton this week.
• The Bulldogs (3-5) end the season Friday at Clinton (4-4). The Redskins dropped a TCC contest last week to Whitmore Lake despite five lost fumbles by the Trojans.
“We’re excited to be playing Clinton,” Coach Hoffman said. “We’re playing hard to the end of the season.”
JV FOOTBALL: It almost went exactly as planned. Keep it close, capitalize on their mistakes, play it tough.
Morenci’s JV football team was ahead of Sand Creek last week with a little more than two minutes to play. A touchdown pass at 1:07 put the Aggies on top 26-22.
The Bulldogs nearly came back to win it, but it was Sand Creek that claimed the victory.
“We were in a position to win the ball game,” coach Mike McDowell said. “I was pleased with the way we played. Effort-wise, we gave everything we could.”
On the first play of the game, Jacob Baker carried on a play the Bulldogs had practiced and he ran 80 yards for a touchdown.
After Sand Creek punted, Morenci drove from their own 17 for a second touchdown. Brett Bovee completed a swing pass to Andrew White from 15 yards for the score. White made his second PAT kick for a 14-0 lead.
The Bulldogs had their first defensive breakdown on the next series. Sand Creek scored on a pitch play for an 80-yard run.
Morenci was inside the Aggies’ 30-yard line when a receiver in the open dropped a pass. Sand Creek came back for a second touchdown and Morenci was on top 14-13 at half-time.
After a Sand Creek fumble, Baker carried for a 24-yard touchdown on an inside trap to make it 20-13, but the Aggies answered with their own drive to tie the score.
Morenci added two points on a safety when a Sand Creek punt attempt resulted in a hike into the end zone. The score remained at 22-20 when the Aggies started a drive with 3:23 left in the game.
They ended up scoring on a pass with 1:07 to play. Bovee passed to Lucas Hollstein for a 34 yard gain at the Aggie 33. After a sack, Bovee spotted a wide-open receiver, but he was forced to throw off balance and the throw went over Baker’s head.
Baker ended the night with 212 yards on 24 carries. Bovee completed four of 10 passes for 70 yards. Both teams finished with similar offensive yardage.
Mitch Schmucker led the Bulldogs’ defensive efforts with 10 tackles (one for a loss) and a caused fumble. Jordan Bach finished with six tackles, two for losses.
Hollstein and Jay Howard each had fumble recoveries.
• The Bulldogs wrap up the season at home Thursday against Clinton. Coach McDowell expects another good contest.