Ottawa-Glandorf continues to be the embodiment of resiliency.
Going into the postseason, the Titans were riding a two-game losing streak. O-G had tough losses to Kenton and Wapakoneta by a combined total of six points and it cost them a Western Buckeye League title.
But true to form, this year’s Titans shrugged off those two defeats to bounce back against Galion in the first round of the playoffs with a 28-17 victory and are now preparing for the second round of the playoffs against Wauseon (9-2) at Defiance high School at 7 p.m. Saturday.
We talked to the kids and told them that we were 3-2 in tough games,” O-G head coach Ken Schriner said. “We had the win over St. Marys. The overtime win over Van Wert and survived the two point try against Celina. We did not stay on top of Kenton and we lost by a point to Wapakoneta. “We are battle tested, and we performed well in those two losses. Our kids are resilient and excited to be in the playoffs. They know those two games at the end we could have had.”
Against Galion, the Titans followed the winning formula that brought them to the playoffs by playing some hard nosed defense while being consistent on offense.
The Titan defense came up big with four interceptions and four sacks against the Tigers that allowed Ottawa-Glandorf to outscore the Tigers 14-0 in the second half.
“Our biggest thing is we are still improving,” Schriner said. “Our players and our coaches are adjusting throughout the games. We are still improving on both sides of the ball.”
Schriner credits assistant head coach Brian Heebsh for his ability to study his opponents prior to the game and then make the necessary adjustments during the game that has played a major role in the defense’s success.
While coach Heebsh is guiding the the defense, running back Erich Heebsh has provided a spark offensively. The senior tailback who dealt with early season injuries has become the reliable workhorse on offense. Against Galion, Heebsh amassed 97 yards and two touchdowns and delivered clutch runs to move the chains in the second half to milk the clock and keep the Tigers’ potent off the field.
“He can make plays,” Schriner said. “His strength is his vision and inside he is running very well. All our players bring their own strengths to a team.”
Heebsh’s efforts are part of a balanced attack that Schriner said makes the offense that much better.
“We are balanced team with the ability to throw the ball,” Schriner said. “We are a running team and I am a running coaching but we can adjust if we have to.”
Junior signal caller Jacob Balbaugh has been a mainstay behind center. Like Heebsh, Balbaugh is not flashy but effective. Against Galion, he passed for 11 of 17 for 119 yards but made some clutch third down passes when it counted.
We don’t have any superstars on this team,” Schriner said. “We have guys who are still accepting what the coaches are teaching and they are performing.”
The Titans will face another tough test this week when they tackle Wauseon. The Indians are coming off a 41-18 win against Bellevue. In that win, quarterback Cody Figy was 23 of 38 for 414 yards and five touchdowns and led the team in rushing with 48 yards and one touchdown on 13 carries. For the season Figy has passed for 2,660 yards and 23 touchdowns with 10 interceptions.
Receiver Connar Penrod has nine catches for 310 yards and four touchdowns.
“Wauseon is a team similar to ours,” Schriner said. “They are balanced and run the spread offense. They are a big, physical team that is stout, and they run downhill. It is going to be a big challenge for our defense.”
Schriner said the key to the game will be the battle in the trenches.
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.