Elida still eyes WBL football title


By Jose Nogueras - [email protected]



ELIDA – At the midway point through the season Elida has put itself in a position to end the 35-year drought of not winning the Western Buckeye League but standing in its way is the meat of the league schedule beginning with St. Marys on Friday.

Actually the Bulldogs began the tough part of their schedule by falling to Wapakoneta last week 36-33 after going unbeaten in their first four games. Elida head coach Bill Speller said the loss was a setback in the team’s quest for the elusive league crown.

“We have talked about hopefully winning the WBL this year,” Speller said. “The kids are really focused on doing it. We had a stumble last week so our backs are up against the wall if we want to keep that dream alive.”

Despite the loss, Speller said the team has refocused and hopes to rebound this week.

One of the major reasons for the Bulldogs being in league title contention is the offense led by quarterback Isaac McAdams. In its first four games, Elida outscored opponents 170-98.

McAdams has been productive on the ground and through the air. The Bulldog signal caller has gained 592 yards on the ground and has passed for 1,338 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Along with McAdams, the Bulldog offense is bolstered by Daniel Unruh and Cole Harmon. Both can hurt teams in a variety of ways. Unruh, who rushed for 108 yards last week, has 30 receptions for 277 yards. Harmon has 30 catches for 470 yards. Also making an impact is Calan Henderson who has hauled in 24 catches for 256 yards and a touchdown.

Speller said this year’s fast start was a product of what the Bulldogs did during the second half of last year that saw Elida go 4-1. The Bulldogs’ lone loss came in a tough 42-35 decision to Ottawa-Glandorf.

“Our offense has really clicked,” Speller said. “This is a carryover from last year with us returning experienced guys on the offensive side of the ball.”

Speller added that midway through last year the Bulldogs began to consistently execute the offense he had instituted at the beginning of last year and it began to pay off in wins and points. In Elida’s last five games last year, the team scored 40 or more points four times.

“Isaac McAdams is doing a great job as the field general and we have a plethora of receivers,” Speller said. “We have so many athletic guys to throw the football too. This is probably one of the biggest offensive lines I have ever had. It has been nice offensively and been a spark plug for us.”

Speller admits that last year’s seniors were made up of players who came in under Jason Carpenter and said they were not ready for the changes he was putting into the system.

“These seniors have really bought in and led the younger guys to want that winning mentality and that starts in the off season weight room and things like that,” Speller said. “They have been a great group of leaders.”

While the offense is clicking the defense is still in need of some consistency. In their first five games the Bulldogs have given up 20 or more points four times and 30 or more twice.

Despite strong play from the experienced defensive line, Speller said the Bulldog defenders came in young, having to install younger players at the linebacker and in the secondary and so the Bulldogs have been learning as they go.

“It is probably going to take a little time like it did last year to grasp things and figure them out,” Speller said.

In the loss against Wapakoneta, Speller said the Bulldogs’ defense got pushed around and if they are going to stop St. Marys they are going to have to do a little more pushing back, knowing the Roughriders’ offense is known for overpowering defenses.

If the Bulldogs defeat St. Marys, then they would have to win at home game against Van Wert, at Shawnee and then at home against Kenton and Ottawa-Glandorf to be assured of at least a share of the league title.

“We have the really beefy part of our schedule right now and we are going to find out how they are going to fight,” Speller said.

In other WBL action, Wapakoneta (4-1, 4-0), coming off the win against Elida, will travel to Bath (1-4, 0-4). Defiance (1-4, 1-3) defeated Bath last week and must now face Celina (3-2, 3-1). Celina held off Ottawa-Glandorf 14-7 last week. The Titans (1-4, 1-3) will look to get back in the win column when they face Shawnee. The Indians (3-2, 2-2) notched a 35-27 win against Van Wert (2-2, 3-2) and await Kenton (1-3, 1-4) which fell 30-13 to St. Marys.

Northwest Conference

Crestview (5-0, 2-0) remains atop of the conference standings after a convincing 36-13 win against Columbus Grove last week. The Knights will be tested this week as Spencerville travels to Convoy. After opening the season with two losses, the Bearcats (3-2, 2-0) have put together a modest three-game win streak by bumping off Perry, Allen East and this past week Ada.

Ada (3-2, 1-1) is looking to get back on the winning track. The Bulldogs, who stumbled against Spencerville, 21-17, will play host to Columbus Grove (2-3, 1-1). Bluffton (2-3, 1-1), which defeated Paulding (1-4, 0-2) last week, 42-14, tackles Allen East (1-4, 0-2). The Mustangs fell to Delphos Jefferson 42-32. Delphos Jefferson (3-2, 1-1) faces off against Paulding.

Northwest Central Conference

With back-to-back wins, Perry (2-3, 2-0) finds itself in the heart of the NWCC title race. Perry will battle Upper Scioto Valley (3-2, 2-0), another team that has worked its way in into the conference crown run. USV had its biggest outing last week with a 63-8 win against Ridgemont. Waynesfield-Goshen (1-4) is still searching for its first NWCC win and will have its hand’s full with a trip to Riverside (3-2, 2-0).

Others

Lima Central Catholic (4-1) heads out of state again to face Woodlan of Indiana, which boasts a 6-0 mark. The Warriors, ranked No. 2 in Division 2A in Indiana, have outscored their opponents 306-51.

Delphos St. John’s (3-2, 1-1) is coming off a hard-fought 21-13 loss against third-ranked Division V Anna. The Blue Jays battle New Bremen (3-2, 1-1) this week. The Cardinals picked up their first conference win after bumping off Parkway 34-20 last week.

In the Blanchard Valley, Pandora-Gilboa (5-0, 3-0), fresh off its win against Leipsic, takes on Vanlue, (1-4, 0-3). Leipsic (4-1, 2-1) looks to regroup with a trip to North Baltimore (3-2, 2-1).

By Jose Nogueras

[email protected]

Post navigation