COLUMBUS GROVE — Columbus Grove was extremely young and inexperienced last season. The result was a number of losses in which it either led, or were close, entering the fourth quarter.
“We really progressed as the season went on,” Bulldogs head coach Andy Schafer said. “We must find a way to get over the hump in those close games.”
Both the Columbus Grove offense and defense will be keyed by senior Joey Warneke from his running back and linebacker positions.
“He will be the key for us on both sides of the ball,” Schafer said of his 5-foot-10, 190-pound senior stan out. “He’s the real deal.”
The Bulldogs will operate out of the shot-gun spread formation and hope to find that good mix of the run and pass.
Columbus Grove will start a new quarterback for the third straight season.
Sophomore Reid Stechschulte (5-11, 160) will direct the Bulldogs’ attack. Schafer hopes the experienced players around him will take the pressure off and allow him to just play.
Aiden Fortman, David Bogart, and Baily Clement return as receivers. Rece Roney (6-3, 260), Christian Stechschulte (5-11,170) and Andrew Burgei (6-1, 185) anchor the offensive line.
The Columbus Grove defense features three returning linebackers and that should be a strong point for the Bulldogs.
Warneke, Andrew Nichols, and Brandon Grigsby will be counted on to provide stability and leadership to the Bulldogs defense.
Coach Schafer feels a big key for the Bulldogs will be to get a good off to a good start.
“We were so close in so many games last year,” Schafer said. “Many of our losses came at the end of games.”