OTTAWA — It played football deeper into the playoffs than nearly everyone in the area last year, but Ottawa-Glandorf is done celebrating the accomplishment and getting pats on the back.
The Titans are ready to leave the past exactly where it belongs, in the past.
“We need to move on from that,” coach Ken Schriner said. “It’s nice to look back at what we accomplished, but bottom line is this is a new team. We need to prepare ourselves as best we can to go into battle.”
Other than a trio of Midwest Athletic Conference schools, O-G’s berth in a Division IV state semifinal outstripped anyone else. Just like everyone else, the Titans lost plenty from that team. However, they’ve got many instrumental pieces coming back.
Quarterback Nathan Kahle (senior, 6-foot-3, 185 pounds) emerged as the season unfolded. In the final three games of the tournament run, he had nearly 700 total yards as a dual threat quarterback.
“We want to pick up where we left off. I know toward the end of last year our offense really started clicking,” Kahle said. “If you’re dropping back to pass and no one’s open or the pocket collapses, you just tuck it and run. I feel just as confident in my legs as I do my arm, sometimes more.”
Kahle spent this offseason in a different place than the previous. He was pulled as a starter during his sophomore year and went into last year’s camp as a question mark. The Titans don’t have any questions about Kahle this year.
“Beginning of the year, I still didn’t know what to expect. I was still nervous from the year before,” Kahle said. “As the season went on, things started clicking and it felt more natural.”
He’ll have company in the backfield with tailback Brandon Kuhlman also returning; he had around 300 rushing yards in the final three games of 2009. Clearing holes for him are three returning starters on the line.
The Titans (11-3, 7-2 Western Buckeye League last year) lost eight players on defense, but first team all-WBL linebacker Jeff Siefker is back. There will be much more pressure put on the 6-0, 180-pound senior who calls himself a “sneaky” linebacker.
“I can get through the line somehow when there’s no hole,” Siefker said. “On kick coverage, I can always find the ball.”
One thing similar to last year is a murderous first four games: Fostoria, at Shawnee, at Defiance and home for Kenton, four teams that won 24 games total last year.
“Every year I talk about early success,” Schriner said. “We need to make sure we’re getting things done early on. You don’t have time to grow up in this league.”
At a glance
COACH: Ken Schriner
YEARS, RECORD AT SCHOOL: 15th, 99-55
2009 RECORD: 11-3 (7-2 Western Buckeye League)
RETURNING STARTERS: Dylan Ellerbrock (Sr., DL), Ross Ellerbrock (Sr., OL), Nathan Kahle (Sr., QB), Matt Peck (Sr., TE), Adam Recker (Sr., OL), Grant Recker (Sr., DB), Jeff Siefker (Sr., LB), Brandon Kuhlman (Jr., RB), Craig Rieman (Jr., RB), Derek Rieman (Soph., OL)
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: 10
KEY NEWCOMERS: Cody Gerdeman (Sr., WR/DB), Adam Hershberger (Sr., WR/DB), Derek Alt (Sr., OL/DL), Josh Karl (Sr., OL/DL), Nathan Kruse (Sr., OL/DL), Tyler Powell (Sr., OL/DL), Dylan McFarland (Sr., RB/LB), Ben Durliat (Sr., OL/DL), Nolan Niese (Sr., OL/DL), Trey Parsons (Jr., WR/DB), Isaac Recker (Jr., TE/LB), Tristan Parker (Soph., RB/LB), Jacob Leopold (Soph., WR/DB), Caleb Siefker (Soph., DB), Wyatt Karhoff (Soph., OL/DL), Jacob Wells (Soph., OL/LB).
PLAYER TO WATCH: Nathan Kahle (6-foot-3, 185 pounds) emerged as one of the area’s best quarterbacks last season, a threat to either run or pass. In a regional semifinal win last year, he totaled 275 yards.
Aug. 27 FOSTORIA
Sept. 3 at Shawnee
Sept. 10 at Defiance
Sept. 17 KENTON
Sept. 24 at Wapakoneta
Oct. 1 ELIDA
Oct. 8 at St. Marys
Oct. 15 at Bath
Oct. 22 VAN WERT
Oct. 29 CELINA