WAYNESFIELD – Waynesfield-Goshen is off to its best start since 2009 after posting a 3-1 record and has matched it win total from the three previous years combined.
And while third-year head coach Shane Wireman is not ready to make up Northwest Central Conference championship T-shirts or print playoff tickets, the Tiger mentor is excited about the team’s early start.
“It’s cliché but we are keeping it at one game at a time,” Wireman said. “The road is not going to get easier the rest of the way. There is no game on the schedule where you say ‘hey this is going to be an easy win.’”
Wireman said he believes that the winning attitude began in the summer when the team was preparing for the season. Coming off a two-win season may not be considered a major accomplishment but the Tigers were caring a 20-game losing streak that was snapped last year.
“I am a firm believer that your summers have to be guys in that weight room and start that process of building some good team work and the biggest thing is that guys are starting to believe,” Wireman said. “I think the last couple of years it has been a little bit of is that we had physical abilities but now that confidence is startingto match up with those physical abilities and we are starting to see results on Friday.”
Wireman added that the team showed some resiliency and trusting the process after winning the first game of the season but then dropping the second game. Despite the loss the team rallied to win its next two contest.
“I think it was a humbling thing,” Wireman said. “We got that week one win which we haven’t done in a long time but you can’t just rest on everything you have to keep putting in the work. I always tell the guys you can’t cheat the game of football.”
The Tigers, who won their opening NWCC contest against Upper Scioto Valley faces a tougher challenge in Perry who also comes into the game with an identical 3-1, 1-0 record.
Defense has carried the Tigers in the last two games after giving up six points. W-G shut out Ridgedale 24-0 and followed that up with a 19-6 win over USV. The Tigers opened the season with a 34-27 win over Toledo Christian and then suffered their lone loss to Holgate (2-2) 19-8.
“I think defensively our biggest thing is we have four junior linebackers and they have been playing there since their freshmen year,” Wireman said. “It showed when they were freshman and sophomores but we are starting to see that they game has slowed down for them a bit and get their reads a little quicker.”
Wireman said he calls it eye discipline, or in other words, following the ball and not the misdirection and the Tiger defenders have matured and caught on on to how to stop teams.
Against USV, the Tigers gave up 234 total yards and in the shutout against Ridgedale the Tigers limited them to 35 total yards.
“A lot of it is alignment and assignment and keeping it simple,” Wireman said. “Defensively, it is not rocket science. It is just keeping it simple and run to the football and get 11 hats there and good things will happen. We have been fortunate enough to force several turnovers.”
Offensively, Wireman said it is still a day-to-day process. The Tigers continue to lean on the running game but is hoping to change that trend with more passing. One change is at the quarterback position where the Tigers are starting freshman Cooper Roberts.
“He definitely has that freshman growing pains but we know we are not building for the right now we are trying to shoot for long term and keep developing of the kids in the position that they are playing in the future.”
Wireman points out that this success has come with a team that has four seniors and starts five freshmen and are still a young team. At times he added that it shows, however, they have also produced three wins.
The Tigers will have their hands full with Perry. The Commodores are coming off a 75-13 thrashing of Hardin Northern. Perry amassed more than 424 total yards.
“Coach (Dan) Baker with Perry has those guys rolling and they have picked up where they left off from last year and being in the playoffs and they are on pace to do it again this year,” Wireman said. “Offensively, the thing that stands out and this not to take away from their defense is they scored 75 points last week and over 60 in the first week. They have a lot of athletes on the perimeter and they have a great quarterback and their offensive line does a nice job. It is hard to find a hole in it.”
Wireman said he wants to limit the big plays and hopes his offense can stick with them and added they want to pressure the quarterback.
Crestview (4-0, 1-0), ranked No. 6 in Division VI, comes into week 5 as the lone undefeated team in the conference. The Knights, who beat Bluffton 53-0, takes on Columbus Grove (2-2, 1-0) who picked up a win over Paulding 49-16. Spencerville (3-1, 1-0) faces Ada (2-2, 1-0). The Bearcats defeated Allen East 27-15 and Ada downed Delphos Jefferson 38-6. Paulding (0-4, 0-1) will tackle Bluffton (1-3, 0-1) and Allen East (1-3, 0-1) takes on Delphos Jefferson (1-3, 0-1).
Lima Senior (1-3) vs. Toledo Whitmer (3-1, 1-0)
The Spartans are coming off a 56-7 loss to No. 2 Toledo Central Catholic and it the road does not get any easier with a trip to Toledo to face Whitmer.Whitmer is coming off a thrilling 49-39 win over Toledo St. John’s.
Lima Central Catholic (4-0) vs. Toledo Rogers (0-4)
The Thunderbirds are coming off an impressive 67-20 win over previously unbeaten Toledo Waite. Toledo Rogers comes into the game winless and a 63-0 loss to Sandusky.
Pandora-Gilboa (4-0, 2-0 BVC) vs. Van Buren (1-3, 0-2)
Pandora-Gilboa will look to continue its winning ways when the Rockets battle Van Buren. Pandora-Gilboa produced a 41-0 shutout of Liberty-Benton and Van Buren was edged by Leipsic 25-20.
Leipsic (4-0, 2-0 BVC) vs. Hopewell-Loudon (2-2, 1-1).
Leipsic faces a tough test against Hopewell-Loudon after the Vikings picked up a close win over Van Buren. Hopewell-Loudon garnered a 47-0 win over Arcadia.
Delphos St. John’s (1-3, 0-2) vs. Versailles (1-3, 0-2)
Delphos St. John’s looks to bounce back against Versailles after the Blue Jays were beaten 53-7 by top ranked Marion Local. Versailles was defeated by Parkway 21-7.