FOOTBALL FEATURE - National Trail Defeats Dixie in WOAC Game

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GETTYSBURG – It was a close first half between National Trial & Dixie with the Blazers taking a 17-14 lead at the break.  The Greyhounds were unable to take advantage of couple of fumble recoveries in the second half or stop Trails run game with the Blazers pulling away for a 38-20 Western Ohio Athletic Conference game.

Dixie scored first in the game on a 6-yard TD run by senior running back Logan Grubb culminating a 3-play, 12-yard drive, that was set-up after the Greyhounds recovered a National Trail fumble.  Chaz Miller kicked the extra point to give Dixie the 7-0 lead at 6:16 in the opening frame.

The Blazers responded on 5-minute drive doing damage on the ground with a big 38-yard run by sophomore running back Chase Ruebush.  Junior tailback Cayden Clark finished the drive jumping over a lineman and scoring on a 9-yard run.  The extra point kick by Drew DeWitt tied the game at 7-7 with 1:30 to go in the 1st quarter.

On Dixie’s next drive they moved the ball to mid-field, and it looked like Trail had them right where they wanted.  Facing 4th down and two yards to go, the Greyhounds elected to go for it, and what a great decision it would be as senior Ashford Grauman burst up the middle picking up the 1st down and much more turning it into a 50-yard touchdown run to put Dixie back on top 14-7 at 9:46 in the 2nd quarter.

National Trail responded with a 3-yard score from Clark, and it was starting to look like whoever has the ball last will win the game with trail tying it back up at 14-14.

On Dixie’s next drive they found themselves facing a 4th down with 4 yards to go on their own 32 yard-line.  They went for it once, so let’s try it again … only this time the Blazers held strong stopping the Greyhounds taking over on downs.

National Trail Drew DeWitt booted a 29-yard field goal to end the scoring and the first half with Trail taking a 17-14 lead into the locker-room.

Dixie scored first in the 3rd quarter when Jordan Butt received a short dump pass and then did the rest himself weaving through several defenders on his way for a 70-yard touchdown to regain the lead 20-17.

The Trailblazers turned the ball over on their next possession giving serious concern to National Trail coach Mark Hoffman.

“I wasn't happy the way we started out, we weren't really ready to play and made mistakes, it's uncharacteristic for us to really fumble the ball, you know we he had three fumbles and an interception,” Hoffman lamented.

The Dogs were quickly on the move looking to add to their lead but a good push by sophomore lineman Bryce Thompson rushed the pass allowing sophomore Joey Roberts to make an interception at the goal line to avert the score.

On the very next play Cayden Clark broke a few tackles and raced up the sideline all the way to the 2-yard line for a 75-yard run. 

Junior quarterback Bergan Hoffman snuck it in from two yards out on what would turn out to be a huge momentum shift in the football game with Trail now on top 24-20 at 5:47 in the 3rd quarter.

National Trail slowly started to take control of the line of scrimmage and the tempo of the game.

We’ve got a good ground game with some good running backs with Ruebush in the backfield, he’s so shifty and a little rascal.  Then you have Clark and give him the ball and he’s hard to tackle.  They’re different runners but a good combination together not real big.  Then we hand off to DeWitt and he’s like 270 lbs. and just runs over people,” Hoffman stated.

The Blazers capped a nice long drive with DeWitt running the ball taking time of the clock and Ruebush finishing a 4-yard run adding to the lead 31-17 early in the 4th quarter.

Trail added one more score using the same formula on a 50-yard drive with DeWitt having honors of getting into the endzone to make the final score of the game 38-17.

“I'm pretty happy about winning and the final outcome, but we need to we need clean things up a bit and come ready to go next week,” Hoffman concluded.

National Trail improves to 2-3 on the year and 2-2 in the WOAC and will play at Arcanum on Friday.

It’s been a hard luck season so far for Dixie losing a starting quarterback who broke his leg in a preseason game, then in the second game they lost a back-up quarterback and now they are into their 3rd QB. 

“Unfortunately, we’ve been hit bad with injuries, we finished this game with 10 kids on the sidelines.  Five who couldn’t play and another five going out during the game.  It’s just tough, we are trying to fill spots but it’s a big challenge.” Dixie Football coach Dave Worley said.

“We’ve got kids playing out of position, kids stepping in who haven’t gotten reps in practice and pretty much putting a junior varsity team out on the field,” Worley stated.

“It seems like every week we are trying to reinvent what we can do by plugging and playing with other kids. It’s still football and Friday night lights and that should be enough motivation for them to step up,” Worley added.

“But I’m still proud of our kids, they fought hard, and I respect them for that,” Worley concluded.

Dixie fell to 1-4 on the year and 1-3 in the conference and will host Bradford at home.

VOLLEYBALL FEATURE STORY - Tri-Village-Village Stays Undefeated In Win Over Arcanum

NEW MADISON – Two teams predicted in preseason to be challengers for a title in the new Western Ohio Athletic Conference met at “The Battleground”.  It was the Trojans who got off to a great start … but the Patriots settled in and fired back to win the first set 25-18 and then won the next two 25-17, 25-17 to take the match.

Arcanum came out fired up and took an early 12-7 lead over Tri-Village in the first set … but it didn’t seem to faze the home team.

“Unfortunately, we’ve tended to do that in the past … not as much this year but it reared its ugly head today.  I’m just glad the girls maintained their composure and recovered well,” Tri-Village Volleyball Coach Chris Brewer said.

In the first game of the season Tri-Village was down 2 sets to Marion Local then came back to win the final 3 sets to win the match.  It’s that kind of composure that gives coach Brewer confidence in his team.

“I wasn’t overly concerned about getting down considering this is a rivalry game, these girls all know each other, and they come to battle.  We scrimmaged them in the pre-season and it’s always a difficult match and they play each other hard,” Brewer noted.

Tri-Village winners of the Cross County Conference last year and a regional qualifying team last year means teams are going bring their best when they come to play.

The Patriots used the experience and talents from all their players showing great balance as a team to get the win.

Leading the way was senior Molly Scantland with 13 digs, 12 services points, 5 kills and 27 total attacks.

“Molly Scantland works hard every match and has such a good knowledge of the game, the best on this team and maybe in the league.  She is a smart player who knows where to be, where to cover and is a good server.”

“She has an all-around game and is very skilled at digging the ball.  Fans don’t necessarily always look at a dig as the key to a point .. but it keeps the play going or can lead to a kill and our girls feed off that,” Brewer exclaimed.

Arcanum has a good front row, so you must be able to dig up the ball.

Scantland led with 13 digs, Caeli Updike and Meghan Downing each had 10, Morgan Hunt 9 and Maria Petry 7, which reflects the balance of this Patriots squad. 

“Give Arcanum credit they were able to dig some hard-hit balls by Meghan and Maria Petry,” Brewer stated. 

Ellie Fout led the Trojans with 12 digs and Reece Blinn had 7.

Tri-Village service game is strong as well and led by Caeli Updike who had 18 points.  Meghan downing 13 and Molly Scantland 12.  Alexis Wilcox had 16 to lead Arcanum.

Coach Brewer gave special praise to his senior libero Caeli Updike after the game.

“She can almost beat a team sometimes by herself by where she places the serve and how she serves.  Even when they get the ball up they’re out of system and then we can use it to our advantage.  I don’t have to tell her how and where to serve, she always puts the ball in the right spot and it’s always hard to handle, which makes her a special weapon,” Brewer boasted.

Arcanum though is a gritty team and wouldn’t go away easy as they have some special players as well led by senior Taylor Gray who has 134 kills this year the 2nd most in the WOAC right behind Harlee Howard of Preble Shawnee with 165.

Gray registered 16 kills to lead all players and drew the attention of Tri-Village coach Brewer.

“She is a very good player on the front line and our goal was to use our size to try and block her and score as quickly as we can to move her along the front row and minimize the damage she can do,” Brewer said.

Madi Mead and Maria Petry each had 4 blocks up front.  Mead currently has 26 blocks on the year the 2nd most in the conference to date.

The Patriots have a very strong front line of their own with senior’s Petry, Downing and Mead.

Their size makes it difficult for other teams to score.  On the flip side they also use that size to attack and score too.  Petry slammed 13 shots to lead TV,  Downing and Hunt each had 6 and Mead 5.

Junior Morgan Hunt drew special praise from coach Brewer, who noted her improved hitting at the net this year.

“She has become another option for our setter to go to and can make a kill.  She had some hard-hit balls out there.  When you have other teams keying in on Maria and Meghan and now you can throw it to that third person who has as much a chance for the kill as the other two and  that is hard to defend and I wouldn’t want to be on the other side of that,” Brewer praised.

Of course, many of those kills can’t happen without have a setter who knows how and who to set the ball and the Patriots have that in Shelby Mintkenbaugh who had 27 assist and now sits at 179 on the season, 2nd most in the conference behind Preble Shawnee Carlyn George with 333.  Mollie Ericksen had 14 and Fout 9 for Arcanum.

The Trojans with the loss fell to 4-4 overall and 2-2 in the conference while Tri-Village improved
to 9-0, 5-0 in the conference. 

The only other undefeated team in the conference is Preble Shawne and they will meet up with Tri-Village on October 7th.  Franklin Monroe, Newton and Ansonia each have one loss in the Western Ohio Athletic Conference.

GOLF FEATURE STORY - National Trail Boys Golf Team Vastly Improved From Last Year!

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ARCANUM – The National Trail boys golf team is showing a marked improvement in their program from last year when they had just 4 golfers out and finished near the bottom of the

National Trail Ramon Rutan is in his 3rd year as boys golf coach, and enjoys the time he gets to spend with the kids including his son Zachary Rutan.

“With only 4 kids playing last year we knew it was going to be difficult to compete in the league, so we took the opportunity to make swing changes and practice a lot with the goal of working towards next year and it has paid off, the scores reflect it,” Rutan stated.

“Our kids have put in a lot of time over the summer, they all get along and that helps to get them out practicing and playing together,” Rutan added.

This is a good group of kids to be around, we have nine total: Three on JV (two freshman and a junior) and six on varsity. 

National Trail returned just 3 kids from last year but each of them have shown remarkable improvement.

“All 3 kids returning have dropped at least 5 strokes off their game,” Ramon commented.

Zachary Rutan is a junior and the coach’s son, he also was the teams medalist last year.

“He lives at the course, puts a lot of time in and is very hard on himself because he has such high expectation not only for himself but everyone and is constantly and pushing everyone on the team,” Ramon said.

Junior Chris Knapp was a 1st year varsity player last year.

“Chris is making a lot of improvement by dedicating himself to the game, he even got a swing instructor.  He is easy to coach and such a great kid,” Rutan exclaimed.

Fletcher Davies was a freshman last year and has probably shaved the most strokes of anyone on the team. 

“Coming in last year as freshman Fletcher didn’t play much golf and has dropped 12 strokes off his game, he’s one of those kids you really love to root for and is everyone’s friend,” Rutan confessed.

After a one-year absence from the team senior Khyler Grant returned to the Blazer program.

“Grant is our 1 player; he went to live with is uncle in Indianapolis last year and we are glad to have him back.  He’s a good player and being recruited by several colleges.  He’s been the leader on the team, he gets kids to the course, he lives at the course and puts in a lot of work,” Rutan boasted.

Two freshmen also round out the varsity program and have contributed right from the start.

“Freshman Nick Brubaker is quality golfer playing in the 2-spot.  He is a little inconsistent but has a lot of ability.  He won the county tournament, which shows his potential to be a great player,” complimented Rutan.

“Freshman Justin Turner has come out of nowhere.  He played in our middle school program in the spring and did ok.  Then played all summer showing steady improvement and now is contributing to the program.  Justin is sort of the “Jester” on our team, always cutting up and giving people a hard time, keeping everyone on their toes.” Rutan giggled.

On this night Trail was playing against undefeated Tri-Village and would fall 165-184 but still posted some good scores.

Khyler Grant posted a 39 just 3 over par tying Tri-Village CJ Osborne for medalist honors in the match.  Other scores for Trail were Nick Brubaker 45, Zachary Rutan 47, Justin Turner 53, Fletcher Davies 54 and Aidan Koehl a 64.

Tri-Village scores were CJ Osborne 39, Trey Homan 30, Kasen Hale 42, Wyatt Ketring 44 and Xander Collins 51 and Carter Finkbine had a 53.

National Trail is now 7-3 overall and 5-3 in the conference while the Patriots are 9-0 overall and 7-0 in the conference.

“We like the mix of talent we have with our older kids and some of our younger ones too.  I believe we have a bright future with this group,” Rutan concluded.

Arcanum defeated Ansonia in a Thursday Night Lights WOAC Showdown

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ARCANUM -  Two teams with contrasting styles went toe to toe in the Fox 45 Thursday Night Lights televised game between Western Ohio Athletic Conference rivals in Darke County.  Ansonia led 14-8 before Arcanum had two big plays leading to touchdowns in the final minutes of the half to take a 22-14 lead into the break.

Arcanum halted the Tigers first drive to start the game and then went to work in their spread offense.

Bryce Schondelmyer connected with Brennen Troutwine on a slant pass over the middle and he split the defenders racing into the endzone for a 26-yard touchdown.

Schondelmyer then kept it on a quarterback keeper to the right side and bulled over the goal line for the two-point conversion and at 6:59 they led 8-0.

Ansonia didn’t bat an eye; on their second drive of the game, it took them just 1:30 on a 4-play drive to answer.  Peyton Beam had two big runs: a 28-yarder and a 27-yarder for the score with the Tigers cutting the lead down to 8-7 at the 5:29 mark.

The two teams traded a couple of possessions heading into the 2nd quarter without scoring again.

Ansonia’s running game was in full force in the 2nd quarter with Peyton Beam churning big yards, 154 total in the first half.  Beam gave them the go-ahead tally dragging guys into endzone from 4-yards to lead 14-8 with 3 minutes left in the half.

Arcanum’s offense is loaded with weapons starting with the arm of junior Quarterback Bryce Schondelmyer and a bevy of receivers who can catch and run which sometimes can make 3 minutes seem like an eternity.

Bryce connected with Tyler Huber on a drag route and Huber did the rest by making defenders miss, breaking a tackle at midfield then outrunning everyone else for a 69-yard touchdown knotting the score at 14.

Ansonia stalled on the next drive punting back to Arcanum and with just 6 seconds left in the half the big play big the Tigers again.  This time a throw over the shoulder by Schondelmyer was hauled it in by Zade Shank and he raced 60 yards up the sideline for the go ahead score.


Schondelmyer then used his 6’2” length stretching his arm out with the ball just clearing the goal for a two-point conversion as Arcanum gained huge momentum heading into the locker-room.

Both teams made half-time adjustments, but it was Arcanum’s defensive effort to stop the powerful Tiger running game that made the biggest difference.

Ansonia gained just 31 yards on the ground in the second half and the passing game was unable to make up the difference.

Both defenses were stout in the second half, but the Tigers gave up one more TD with  Schondelmyer running it in from 2-yard out.  He also converted on a pass to Ian Baker to complete the scoring in the game.

In the end Arcanum had enough weapons, mainly a high caliber core of receivers for Bryson to select, going for 326 yards on 23-39 passing and 3 TD’s.

Leading receivers for the Trojans were Brennen Troutwine 12 receptions – 95 yards, Zade Shank 4 receptions – 92 yards, Tyler Huber 3 receptions – 79 yard, Garrett Garno 3 receptions – 48 yards and Ian Baker playing on a hurt ankle had 1 catch for 12 yards.

The 30-16 win keeps Arcanum perfect on the season at 4-0 overall and 3-0 in the WOAC and they travel to Tri-County North next week.

Ansonia falls to 2-2 on the season and 2-1 in the conference and host Tri-Village next week.

By winning the game the Trojans received the Fox 45 Thursday Night Lights trophy at the conclusion of the televised game and the fans from Arcanum are proud of the football team off to their best start in years.

“People are noticing you.  They’re coming out to watch, now we just have to build on this and keep winning,” Arcanum coach Jason Schondelmyer said after the game.

“It took guts and toughness for our kids to win a physical game and tonight we did that, we haven’t done that in years,” Schondelmyer said.

Our offense made the plays when we needed them and our defense stepped up in the second half, so I’m really proud of them for doing that,” Schondelmyer concluded.


GREENVILLE – Ansonia hosted Newton in boys golf at White Springs Golf Course and ran into a buzz saw. The Indians shot a 162 to 230 for the Tigers to run their record to 8-0 on the year and 6-0 in the Western Ohio Athletic Conference.

Last season Ansonia had a good year finishing 8-3 in the Cross County Conference during the regular season and slipped one spot after the league tournament into 4th place. 

“I was really pleased with the season we had last year but we graduated 5 seniors off that team,” Ansonia boys golf coach Devin Limburg said during the golf match with Newton.

It’s a new look for the Tigers this year as they returned just one player with significant varsity experience.

“We are a young team trying to learn how to play varsity golf,’ Limburg stated.

“Junior Owen Lock is playing the 1 spot, he played the 6-spot last year and has been solid shooting mid to upper 40’s, Limburg said. He’s put a lot of time in, and it shows with the improvements he’s made.”

“Sophomore Maverick Sanders is at the 2, he never played varsity last year and has vastly improved shooting in the high 40’s, lower 50’s, shedding about 16 strokes from last year,” Limburg praised.

“Devin McKenna is our 3 and has been averaging 55 and improves everyday as he plays more varsity golf.”

“Will Kammer is our 4 and struggled a bit early this year, but of late he is starting to have some good moments.

Garrett Brown is a junior and our 5, he is new to the program and improves everyday … but having never played he has a way to go to catch up,” Limburg continued.

Ansonia fell short in their match with Newton with just 4 golfers as Maverick Sanders wasn’t in the line-up.  Owen Locke turned in a 47, Will Kammer 58, Garrett Brown 59 and Devin McKenna a 66.

“Being a young team with no seniors we are laying the foundation for bigger things to come and look to get better every day we go out on the course,” Limburg concluded.

Newton has seen several outstanding golfers go through their program over the years, including 2007 graduate Kyler Booher who is now the course pro at Miami Shores Golf Club in Troy, Ohio.

Newton has won the 3 conference titles in the last 4 years including back-to-back over the last two years and is a favorite to challenge for the first ever WOAC league title. 

Tri-Village who finished 2nd last year in the league is the only other undefeated team at 7-0 overall and 5-0 in the WOAC with the two teams scheduled to play later this month.

Newton coach Ryan Karn’s team graduated 3 players from last year, including the Player of the Year.  But the Indians just reload and are playing excellent golf averaging around 165 per round.

“Chandler Peters is a senior, Hudson Montgomery and Aaron Colvin are juniors and they have been our top leaders so far this year averaging around 41,” Karn said.

“We also have 3 sophomores Quinn Peters, Brady Downing and Ty Schauer who are playing very well averaging between 40-47,” Karn added.

It was no surprise Newton won the match as Chandler Peters came in with a 38 to take medalist honors. Quinn Peter 40, Aaron Colvin 42, Hudson Montgomery 42, Ty Schauer 46 and Brady Downing had a 47.

Newton passed one of their biggest tests of the season a few weeks ago when they went head-to-head with Arcanum, another team looking to challenge for a WOAC title.  It came down to the last golfer with Newton pulling out a 164-166 win in that match.

Newton and Tri-Village will lock horns at Turtle Creek golf course on September 20th in another key Western Ohio Athletic Conference match.

Link to match photos -