FAYETTE CROSS COUNTRY—Don’t misunderstand Fayette cross country coach Bryan Stambaugh. He’s delighted to have a pair of runners qualifying for the state tournament Saturday in Columbus. He was just hoping for a few more Eagles to make the cut.
“It’s not exactly what we had planned,” Stambaugh said. “I was hoping we were going to click but it didn’t happen.”
He figured the boys team had a better shot than the girls to finish in the top four, but they had an incident early on that cost them some points.
In the first 200 meters of the race when runners are still packed tightly, Fayette’s leader Darrell Randall found himself about to get cut off by another runner.
He had to move to the side to avoid a collision. But that ended up causing teammate Dakota Brooks to fall and Dalton Goeltzenleuchter went with him.
The Eagles finished in eighth place with 196 points while Stryker will advance with a score of 169.
Bloomdale Elmwood finished on top with 101 points, followed by Delta with 104 and Hilltop with 156.
“Going in, we were probably fourth best, close to Stryker,” Stambaugh said.
Randall, a sophomore, will make his first trip to the state meet with a 10th place finish at 16:41. That’s an improvement of about 30 seconds from last season’s regional race.
Lima Catholic Central’s Jim Heider was the regional champion at 16:04.
Fayette freshman Trevor Cox was second for the Eagles, finishing 46th at 17:35, followed by senior Logan Keefer with a personal best 17:48 to place 55th. Keefer chopped half a minute from last year’s time.
Other Eagle finishers were Brooks, sophomore, (60th, 17:50), sophomore Hunter Colegrove (77th, 18:08), Goeltzenleuchter, freshman, (87th, 18:19) and senior Ben Kovar (102nd, 18:55).
In the girls run, Erica Goeltzenleuchter cut 30 seconds off her regional time from last year to place 13th and advance to Columbus. She crossed the line at 20:05.
The junior made a great effort at the end, Stambaugh said. With the finish line approaching, Goeltzenleuchter was passed by some runners, but she found the strength to advance passed them and preserve her state qualifying place.
Ottoville’s Shayla Siefker won the race at 19:00.
Senior Danni Wyse placed 43rd at 21:13, followed by sophomore Alexa Kessler (75th, 22:04), senior Hannah Schrock (93rd, 22:46), freshman Sarah Kovar (97th, 23:04), senior Mara Raker (110th, 23:52) and junior Olivia Molina (121st, 24:53).
The Eagles placed 12th as a team, with no area teams qualifying for the state run.
Saturday turned out to be a disappointing day for the seniors, Coach Stambaugh said, but his youthful squads will be back next season to try again.
MORENCI CROSS COUNTRY—Morenci senior Zach Phillips earned a repeat ticket to the state cross country finals with his fourth-place finish Saturday in the Div. IV regional race.
“The times weren’t great,” Morenci coach Brad Brown said. “The guys were expecting to run faster than they did.”
The ground was soft from rain the previous night and runners were up against windy conditions at Lake Erie Metropark near Newport. That might have contributed to slower times for many runners.
Phillips was far above his season best Saturday with a 17:32 finish. Lenawee Christian School’s Will Brown placed first at 16:41 and the Cougars were first in team standings.
Sand Creek’s boys team turned in a good performance, Brown said, to also make the cut for the state meet.
Phillips will join runners from all four state divisions Saturday at Michigan International Speedway. The Div. IV boys run the first race of the day, at 10 a.m.
As a junior, Phillips finished 21st in the state.
“Zach is hoping for a better performance Saturday,” Coach Brown said.
Now, at the end of the season, it’s no longer a matter of training, Brown said, but rather mental preparation.
Morenci had a pack of three runners led by senior Jeff Nofziger who placed 30th at 19:52. Sophomore Micah Gillen was 32nd at 20:10 and sophomore David Brown came in 38th at 20:39. Logan Drummond took 50th at 22:20.
Waldron’s Blake Fix will also advance to the state meet with his fifth place 17:33.
Three girls competed for Morenci. Jackie Paris finished 34th at 24:35, just a step ahead of Candi Evers. Rachel Sodergren came in at 50th with a time of 27:52.
Waldron’s girls qualified as a team, with a second-place finish, led by Allison Grimm (5th, 21:43, Ashley Jagielski (10th, 22:23) and Jennifer Doriot (14th, 22:40).
Winonah Krug of Newport Lutheran was the champion with a 20:19.
MORENCI FOOTBALL—Saving the worst for last?
That’s how it looked to Morenci football coach Dan Hoffman last Friday at Clinton.
The Bulldogs ended the 2008 season in a 35-0 shutout—their worst outcome of the season—to end at 3-6 overall and 2-5 in the Tri-County Conference.
Clinton improved to 5-4, with TCC losses to Sand Creek and Whitmore Lake.
“It was a total collapse,” Hoffman said. “I was really disappointed. We were flat. We seemed not ready to play.”
The Bulldogs’ troubles started early. Morenci had Clinton stopped on its opening drive of the game, but an interference call on third down gave the Redskins a new set of downs and they went on to score at 3:16 in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Clinton couldn’t manage an important first down, but they tried a field goal and went on top 11-0.
The Redskins used the big play to add another touchdown before half-time. Standout runner Jesse Sexton converted a draw play into a 55-yard touchdown run and a 23-0 lead by intermission.
Sexton finished the night with an impressive 202 yards on 14 carries.
In the third quarter, a swing pass to a Clinton receiver appeared to be bottled up at the line, but he somehow squirted out between a pair of Bulldog defenders for a 19-yard touchdown play.
In the fourth quarter, Sexton was at it again, breaking loose for a 60-yard run.
Morenci gained only 110 yards on the ground and 65 through the air while Clinton tallied 338 yards of offense.
“We gave up more yardage to them than to anyone all season,” Hoffman said, “and that came after a week of preparing to stop their ground game.”
Reese Graham was held to just 42 yards. Dustin Roller and Jarrett Keller finished with 27 yards each.
Clayton Wolf brought in one pass for 25 yards and Trey Tompkins landed three for 33 yards. Keller was intercepted twice.
Leading tackler Levi Hoffman finished with 11 and Tompkins added eight. Tom McVay followed with seven and Wolf collected six.
JV FOOTBALL—Morenci’s JV football team finished off the season with a 28-14 victory against Clinton, giving the Bulldogs a final 7-2 record.
“Clinton is a good, hard-hitting team, but we were able to move the ball pretty consistently,” coach Mike McDowell said. “This was a nice way to end the season. Our last two games were tough football games.”
The Bulldogs had little trouble moving the ball at home Thursday again Clinton. Morenci scored on its opening drive, with Jacob Baker capping a 10-play drive from five yards out. Andrew White kicked the first of four extra points for an early 7-0 lead.
The Redskins came right back for a touchdown and ran the conversion for an 8-7 lead late in the first quarter.
Morenci scored on another 10-play drive, this time with Brett Bovee passing to Lucas Hollstein for a 15-yard scoring pass and a 14-8 lead.
Clinton was forced to punt and the Bulldogs nearly scored again before intermission. Morenci fumbled into the end zone.
Clinton was held again on its first drive of the third quarter, but Morenci scored on a five-play drive for a 21-8 lead. Baker covered the final distance on a 27-yard run.
The Redskins were pinned deep and their punt gave Morenci the ball on Clinton’s 23-yard line. Bovee scrambled on a pass attempt and ran 22 yards to the one. White scored for Morenci’s final touchdown.
Morenci stopped a Clinton drive when Bovee intercepted at the two-yard line. With time running out, the Redskins made it into the end zone.
The Bulldogs tallied 276 yards on the ground and 18 in the air, led by White with 132 yards and Baker with 90 on 10 carries. Clinton gained 107 on the ground and 69 in passing.
Baker led the defense with eight tackles, followed by Hollstein with seven, one for a loss. White had a sack and Austin VanBrandt made two tackles for losses.
MORENCI VOLLEYBALL—Morenci spikers scored a three-game win Thursday at Britton, but suffered the same fate themselves at home Friday against Whiteford.
The Bobcats ended up claiming two wins here in a rescheduled double-header Friday. They took the opener 28-26, 25-7 and 25-22, then came back to win in four games, 25-14, 25-16, 23-25 and 25-11.
The loss ended a busy week with four matches in five days.
In the exciting opener, the Bulldogs went on top 24-21 with a kill by Chanler McCaskey, then watched it evaporate with the Bobcats scoring four in a row to take the lead. McCaskey scored again to tie the contest at 25 each and again at 26 each.
Whiteford finally ended the game with a well-placed attack to the back corner.
After the strong start, the Bulldogs collapsed in the second contest before playing close all the way in the final game of the opening match.
Whiteford had little trouble starting off the second match of the double-header until game three when the Bulldogs scored their win. Amy Gillman held steady at the serving line for the final five points while McCaskey scored a pair of kills.
McCaskey finished with 25 kills on 55 attacks. Mariah Bovee added nine points on 69 attacks and Tia Tompkins scored nine on 28 attacks. Tompkins also added six points on blocks and Dana Joughin scored on two blocks.
McCaskey was perfect at the serving line on 26 tries and finished with four aces. Gillman scored six aces.
Gillman gave 28 assists and Joughin added 15. Kathleen Barron went 32/35 on serve reception, Kate Joughin finished 19/22 and Jessica Feltz went 11/12.
Digging leaders were McCaskey with 43, Bovee with 35 and Dana Joughin with 19.
BRITTON—The Tories fell in three games Thursday, 25-20, 25-18 and 25-17.
“We played efficiently and took care of business on the night,” coach Dennis Owens said.
He praised the Bulldogs’ passing game with only eight digging errors. McCaskey finished 11/13 in digs and Feltz went 6/8.
Barron was errorless on eight serve receptions, McCaskey went 8/8 and Kate Joughin went 7/9.
McCaskey led at the net with seven kills, backed up by Bovee with six and Tompkins with three kills and three kill blocks.
At the serving line, McCaskey finished with seven aces and 16 points, going 20/21. Tompkins was 10/10, Bovee went 13/14 and Gilman 8/12. The three each scored three aces.
• The Bulldogs end league play Thursday at Deerfield and travel to Hudson’s invitational on Saturday.
LITTLE LEAGUE MEETING—Morenci Little League has scheduled a baseball and softball meeting at 4 p.m. Sunday, at City Hall.
Coaches and anyone interested in the summer ball program are encouraged to attend.
Agenda items will include closing out the 2008 season, planning the 2009 season, budget approval, election of officers and general discussion.