OTTAWA – Making the postseason playoffs has been the norm for the Ottawa-Glandorf football program.
However, the past two seasons, the Titans have found themselves watching from the sidelines as they just missed making the playoffs. Previous to missing the playoffs the past two campaigns, O-G made it to the postseason eight consecutive seasons.
Last season, despite going 8-2 in the regular season, O-G failed to make the playoffs.
“Our seniors have a bad taste in their mouths after going 8-2 last year and not making the playoffs,” longtime O-G coach Ken Schriner said. “Here’s the hardest part for me – standing up in front of the team at the end of the year and saying, ‘You went 8-2, but goodbye.’ That was tough. … It was really tough on the group that we lost. Last year, we felt like we could get things going, but our region was really tough. We’re hoping to improve on that this season.”
The Titans, who went 7-2 in the Western Buckeye League last season, return just five starters (three offense, two defense).
Despite losing a slew of starters, Schriner has confidence in his players this season.
“We have a lot of guys that might not have been starters but have a lot of experience,” Schriner said. “We have guys who started a couple games here and there, due to injury, and maybe moved around to different positions and things like that. But all together, offensively and defensively, we have a number of guys with a lot of experience.”
One of the key returners for the Titans is senior wide receiver/defensive end Logan McDermott (6-3, 205).
“(Going) 8-2 and not making the playoffs — and plus having a two-year streak of not making the playoffs — is not very common here,” McDermott said. “So, we’re really looking to break that streak this year and have a good season. Going 8-2 last year and not making the playoffs was rough, but we have to put it in the past and work harder to be better this year.”
Last season, McDermott made 10 catches for 68 yards and one touchdown. Coming out of the backfield, McDermott rushed for 457 yards and four TDs.
Returning at quarterback is senior Zac Unterbrink. In 2014, Unterbrink passed for 1,956 yards and 20 TDs. Unterbrink led the team in rushing with 508 yards, while hitting pay dirt four times on the ground.
“We’ve got athletic kids,” Schriner said. “Zac (Unterbrink) is making good decisions. He’s a 4.0 student and a good kid. And we’re going to take advantage of him.
“We lost a lot of those guys who were key components. But this is a group that has been waiting their turn, and hopefully we can use that to our advantage. We’re not the biggest, but our kids are working hard. They’re going to have to be technique-sound to compete. That’s the goal, to go out and compete.”
Last season, the Titans’ offense ran out of the spread. And this season looks to be no different.
“We’re going to try to run the ball more. I guess I’m a stubborn mule,” Schriner said. “I want to run it more. So, we’ve put some things in to try to run it more. But, we will be running out of the spread.”
O-G will be looking to fill a void in the backfield. Gone from last season is running back Kyle Niese (365 yards, 9 TDs).
Players in the mix for a spot in the backfield are Daniel Beemer (5-10, 175, Soph.), Connor Niese (6-0, 170, Sr.) and Jordan Diemer (5-11, 175, Sr.)
Defensively, O-G will implement multiple three- and four-man fronts.
In 2014, O-G gave up 14.3 points per game. The Titans scored 30.3 points per game.
Schriner feels the WBL will be good from top to bottom.
“You have to be ready every Friday night,” he said.