99-yard drive, fourth-down stop critical in Marion Local win vs. Cuyahoga Heights

(8-1-17) Yesterday all OHSAA football member schools were allowed to start work-outs for the 2017 season. This season finds five of the six Mercer County schools in the same Division and Region for the playoffs, all of them will be in Division VI. This new alignment will only allow one of the five to possibly make it to a State Final game.

Coldwater Head Coach Chip Otten:

I hope it is just the way the #s came out and not a way to stop MAC schools from reaching the state tourneys. I guess it does stink that some of the best programs over the years could possibly meet early in the playoffs. But it has happened for years in the other sports around here. Volleyball comes to mind when our MAC great MAC teams beat each other early in the tourney and roll to the state. Just thankful to be in a great league and hopefully the numbers will change a bit in the next few years.

Celina is the only Mercer County team not in D VI, they remain in D III.



  • 2016 Record – Overall 5-5 Conference 5-4
  • Head Coach – Brennen Bader (1st Year)
  • Season Opener – at Versailles – 2016 lost 13-7

Celina has a new head man this season, former Assistant Coach Brennen Bader replaces Travis Temple (24-17) after a 5-5 season in 2016.

The Bulldogs lose 2nd Team All WBL running back/defensive back Ryan Harter (over 1,000 yard rushing last season), LB Lance Orick and DL Isaiah Eichler.

Kole Murlin vs Elida
Kole Murlin – courtesy Snap In Time Photography

Celina will bring back Senior Kole Murlin a 2nd Team All WBL LB on defense, as well as one of the favorite receiving targets of returning Junior QB Brett Schwieterman (almost 1,400 overall yards offense). The Bulldogs  are also returning 2nd team All WBL DL Junior Seth Houston.



  • 2016 Record – Overall 13-2 Conference 7-1
  • Head Coach – Chip Otten (92-13 – 8th Season)
  • Season Opener – vs. Kenton – 2026 won 45-14

Last year no one expected the Cavaliers to return to the State Finals, Coach Chip Otten and his staff put together an unproven group and led them to the D V State Finals.

It looks like this season will be another year that area fans see a ‘rebuilding’ of the Cavalier program. It worked last season so don’t be surprised if it doesn’t work again this year.

A key loss to graduation is Neal Muhlenkamp who was named three times to the 2016 All MAC squad and will be a hard man to replace, due to his impact on all three phases of the game, Offense (receiver), Defense (safety) and Special teams (kicker).

The Cavs also lose QB Dylan Thobe, who in many different conferences would have been a 1st team All Conference selection, was a member on the MAC second team on both offense and defense.

Sam Broering (Coldwater)
Sam Broering

Senior Sam Broering (6’3 170) looks to be in line to be the Cavs new QB. Last season seeing action in five game games he was 10 for 22 with 204 yards and two TDs.

Be sure to buy a program when Coldwater kicks off the season against Kenton after losing a strong group of Seniors.

All MAC Seniors who graduated—

First Team – Offense
Offensive End
Zach Klosterman – Coldwater – Senior

Kicker, Receiver – Safety
Neal Muhlenkamp – Coldwater – Senior

Second Team


Dylan Thobe – Coldwater – Senior
Thomas Schwieterman – Coldwater – Senior

Troy Sanning – Coldwater – Senior

First Team – Defense
Defensive End
Andrew Siefring – Coldwater – Senior

Second team
Dylan Thobe – Coldwater – Senior

Ft. Recovery

  • 2016 Record – Overall 8-5 Conference 4-4
  • Head Coach – Brent Niekamp (54-76 – 13th Season)
  • Season Opener – Lehman Catholic – 2016 won 21-20

Ft. Recovery went 4-4 in the MAC last season so the Indians are hoping to win both non-conference (Lehman Catholic and Valley View- made playoffs last season and went 10-2) games this season if they have hopes of making the playoffs after they were moved up from D VII.

Coach Brent Niekamp has back this season 1st Team All MAC running back and safety  Will Homan, who gained 1,805 yards (7.1 per carry) and scored 24 TDs last season. He also led the team with 46 solo tackles and was second in total tackles with 89.

Also returning is 1st team All MAC member DL Andrew Stocker.

Long-time QB Caleb Martin graduated and has moved on to play for the Rockets at Toledo.

Marion Local

  • 2016 Record – Overall 14-1 Conference 7-1
  • Head Coach – Tim Goodwin (211-43 – 19th Season)
  • Season Opener – vs Chaminade Julienne won 34-14

Coach Tim Goodwin picked up his 200th career win in 2016, including another D VI title.

A key Flyer loss to graduation was Linebacker Jack Homan who was the MAC’s Defensive Player of the Year and was also a 2nd team All MAC running back.

John Dirksen
John Dirksen

The good news for Coach Goodwin is that Notre Dame commit Tackle John Dirksen (6’5 305 lb) is back for his senior season. He will have a bunch of new line mates after graduation took most of them and that is the bad news for the Flyers.

Much like Coldwater you will need a program to see who all the new players are on the field for Marion Local with the loss of numerous All MAC players.

All MAC Seniors who graduated—

First Team – Offense
Luke Moorman – Marion Local – Senior

Nathan Bertke – Marion Local – Senior

Nick Heckman – Marion Local – Senior

Nate Moeller – Marion Local – Senior

Second Team
Receiver/Split End
Matt Kahlig – Marion Local – Senior

Jared Bergman – Marion Local – Senior

Duane Leugers – Marion Local – Senior

First Team – Defense
Defensive End
Jon Knapschaefer – Marion Local – Senior

Interior Lineman
Dylan Keller – Marion Local – Senior

Outside Linebacker
Cole Unrast – Marion Local – Senior

Second Team
Joel Goodwin – Marion Local – Senior


  • 2016 Record – Overall 1-9 Conference 1-7
  • Head Coach – Shane Wellman (1-9 – 2nd Season)
  • Season Opener – vs. Crestview – 2016 lost 40-27

Another tough season for the Panthers who went 1-9 last season. Their two non-conference games this season are against Northwest Conference members, Spencerville (8-3) and Crestview (9-4), who both made the playoffs last season.

Coach Shane Wellman brings back WR Caden May a 2nd team All MAC selection.

Caden May
Caden May – courtesy Pat Agler – pantherzden.com

St. Henry

  • 2016 Record – Overall 8-4 Conference 6-2
  • Head Coach – Brad Luthman (24-18 – 5th Season)
  • Season Opener – vs Covington – 2016 lost 27-13

The Redskins lost four games all last season, two (one in the playoffs) to Div VI state champion  Marion Local, one to Div V State Champion Coldwater and the other loss came against Covington who went 10-0 during the regular season.

Many think that St. Henry could be the team to beat this season in the MAC,the Redskins have not won a MAC title since 1996 and the last state football title in Div V came in 2006.

St. Henry will return their backfield of Senior QB Daylon Lange (passed for 1,200 yards), Senior RB Ryan Luttmer (almost 600 yards rushing) and Junior RB Jaren Fishbaugh (almost 500 yards rushing).

Senior Tyler Schlarman, who was a 1st team All MAC Linebacker and a 2nd team offensive end (almost 500 yards in receptions). Senior DB Parker Link who led the Redskins with interceptions, Junior Zach Niekamp who was one of the leader in sacks and tackles for the  defense are back this year.

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