The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

Jeffery Nofziger places 2nd in state wrestling tournament 3.18.09

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

It was the toughest call Morenci coach Scott Clark was ever forced to make: calling off a match in the state finals, when his own son was wrestling.

“It wasn’t a call I wanted to make,” Clark said Monday.

But only about 30 seconds into the championship bout of the 140-pound weight class, the referee came over to Clark and asked if his wrestler was all right.

Clark knew he wasn’t. Jeffery Nofziger, the Bulldogs’ top wrestler this season, suffered a shoulder injury in the semifinals the night before and he was obviously hurting.

“He’s wrestled through pain in the past, so we had to give him a shot,” Clark said.

Nofziger made it through two rounds and wanted to go for more, but Coach Clark had seen all he could take. The match was halted in an injury default and Nofziger learned later that he tore a shoulder muscle in the rotator cuff.

Nofziger advanced to the finals but never really had the chance to try for the top spot.

“He didn’t have an overpowering opponent,” Clark said. “Jeff just couldn’t do anything with one arm.”

Nofziger opened the tournament with an impressive 22-5 technical win against Kaleb Myer (38-20) of Dansville. Next came William Hodge (28-4) of Bangor and Nofziger posted an 8-1 victory.

The score shows a clear win for Nofziger, but the tall, lanky Hodge put up a challenge.

“His height made it more difficult for me,” Nofziger said. “I’m used to wrestling shorter kids.”

Nofziger’s favorite match of the weekend came in the semifinals when he faced Cassopolis senior Cory Lowe (45-4).

“He was pretty tough, but I got three takedowns on him,” Nofziger said.

Nofziger took the match 12-3, and it brought a special feeling: “I realized I was that close to reaching my dream.”

But before the match ended, Lowe was on top and Nofziger was working hard to escape.

“I was trying to get out and stretched my arm and it popped,” Nofziger said. “I still had a lot of adrenaline so I didn’t really feel it. I just hung in for the last three minutes.”

He still scored six more points and when the match ended, medics at the Palace suspected a shoulder displacement.

But the damage was done, Clark said. You just can’t wrestle with one arm and Aaron Smith (50-4) of Mio claimed the top spot.

Up until the finals, Nofziger never gave up a point other than those he gave away through intentional escapes.

“That was a good run,” Clark said. “I figured he could end up in the top three.”

He finished his senior season with a 37-4 mark, with two losses coming from state champs.

DUSTIN ROLLER—Morenci’s 130-pound junior, Dustin Roller, didn’t come up with a win at the state tournament, but he showed some skills at the Palace.

“He looked good in both matches,” Coach Clark said. “He wasn’t outclassed. He proved that he belonged there.”

Roller missed five weeks of competition due to an injury and returned to action not long before qualifying tournaments got underway.

He opened action Thursday against Bronson senior Preston Lucas (32-8) who ended up fifth in the state.

“Dustin scored a take-down right off the whistle and almost had him on his back,” Clark said.

Lucas recovered to score a 10-4 decision.

In his second match Friday, Roller took on Dansville senior Cody Mulhollen (41-13). Roller was trailing 4-7 when he was pinned in the final period. Mulhollen went on to place eighth.

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