OTTAWA — History has already repeated itself once for Ottawa-Glandorf’s football team this season.
If it happens a second time, it could turn out to be a very good year for the Titans.
O-G coach Ken Schriner’s biggest concern going into this season is the Titans’ offensive line.
A year ago, before his team went 9-4 and reached the regional championship game, the thing that Schriner worried most about in the preseason was also the offensive line.
If O-G is as good at finding answers to its line questions this year as it was last year, it could have one of the best offenses in the Western Buckeye League.
“Our skill group is back. We’ve got a lot of skill kids who are hopefully going to carry us. My big concern is offensive line and defensive line. We’re going to be playing a lot of new guys there and they’re going to have to grow up in a hurry,” Schriner said.
Quarterback Jacob Balbaugh, a second-team All-Western Buckeye League selection last season, and wide receiver Brennan Blevins, who was first-team All-WBL, are among the returning starters on an offense expected to do big things.
Balbaugh, who has started games as a freshman, sophomore and junior, completed 63 percent of his passes and threw for 2,009 yards last season. Blevins caught 28 passes for 589 yards and six touchdowns and his 21 yards per catch led the WBL.
“Jacob Balbaugh is a kid who nobody has given him a whole lot of credit his entire career and he’s been just a solid performer for us. He does great things and he makes good decisions and obviously he’s got a heck of a lot of experience back there. He’s doing a great job of leading us right now,” Schriner said.
“Heck, we overlooked him, too. As a freshman he was not named our quarterback coming in. As a sophomore he was not named our quarterback. Even last year we were not planning on him being our starting quarterback.
“Brennan Blevins was a big threat for us last year. He was first-team All-WBL. He’s got outstanding speed, he runs great routes. Once we get the ball in his hands he’s definitely a threat. We’re going to do whatever we can to get the ball to him,” Schriner said.
Wide receiver/running back Will Kaufman, wide receiver Murray Niese and linemen Marco Rosales and Tyler Leopold are also returning starters for the Titans on offense.
Rosales and Leopold were part of an offensive line which was one of the big reasons O-G got to Division IV regional championship game before losing 17-10 to eventual state champion Clyde. That line was led by Aaron Rieman, was first-team All-Ohio, and Logan Schmitz, who was special mention All-Ohio.
Blevins and Kaufman are also returning starters on defense as are Caleb Kuhlman and Trevor Cantrell in the secondary, Beau Nienberg on the line and Cy Rump at linebacker.
“Caleb Kuhlman is a starting defensive back and he did some good things for us last season and we’re going to expect a little more from him on the offensive side of the ball. Bo Nienberg is an offensive and defensive lineman. He played quite a bit on the defensive line last season but he’s looking to be a starter on the offensive line as well,” Schriner said.
“Murray Niese is a senior wide receiver and defensive back. He’s another guy we’re hoping for big things from. A lot of our skill guys weren’t necessarily starters last season but they got a lot of time on the field.”
The offensive and defensive lines aren’t the only positions where there are some questions. Last year’s leading rusher, Clay Recker, who was first-team All-WBL, is gone. So is kicker Ethan Alt, who kicked nine field goals last season, and led the WBL in punting at 37.1 yards per kick.
“We’ve got a lot of things up in the air now.”I wish I had some scrimmages so I could put some foreign fire against them and see what’s going on,” Schriner said.