Reflecting, Randy Clark can recall the years 1978 and 1994.
Only a 9th-grader, he nonetheless was part of the program as Brookfield High’s football team captured the ’78 Ohio High School Athletic Association AA state championship. That year’s Warriors went 11-0 under legendary coach John Delserone.
Fast-forward 16 seasons, and Brookfield built a 10-2 ledger before bowing to Benedictine in the Division IV Region 13 finals. That marked the last time the Warriors went to the postseason ... until tonight.
Brookfield (9-1) will travel to Lodi, Ohio to meet Norwayne (9-1) at Cloverleaf High in a D-IV opening-round game at 7 p.m.
“Believe me, we’re excited!” Clark confided recently. Ringing telephones notwithstanding, he wasn’t complaining.
“It’s very exciting, emotional; it feels great, having everybody behind us, the community, the whole school ...
“Me, especially,” he admitted. “I’ve been back here since ’99. My main goal was to put Brookfield back on the map, and I think we’ve done our part. But it’s really exciting, going from a couple 3-7 seasons, 1-9 seasons, 5-5 (last year); it’s exciting for me because I’ve been part of this since the mid-70’s.
“It reminds me of the mid-70’s, early 80’s with the community and the excitement,” Clark continued. “All of my staff are Brookfield alumni, and they’re all excited. All these guys played at Brookfield, coached at Brookfield, and none of us have ever been in the playoffs.”
While Brookfield has been buoyed by an indepent schedule, Norwayne will be a notch up in terms of caliber of competition. The Bobcats rebounded for a 33-22 win over previously-undefeated Hillsdale last week. According to The (Wooster) Daily Record that earned them a share of the Wayne County Athletic League championship with Hillsdale and Smithville. The latter laid the lone loss on Norwayne (19-14) in Week 9.
“They were in the playoffs last year, they lost in the second round to (eventual state champion) Ursuline,” Clark recalled. “They run a spread offense and have a very good running and throwing quarterback (Adam Wallace), who’s very similar to (Brookfield’s Jeremy) Quinlan. They run the same style of offense as us, but might throw the ball a little more than we do. Up front they’re not big, but athletic. They run a lot of zone-read and misdirection,” Clark continued, adding, “They run a lot of that stuff through their quarterback.”
Illustrating Clark’s contention, Wallace went 12 for 21 for 117 yards and a trio of TDs in last week’s win, orchestrating a 5-play, 68-yard, game-winning drive in the final 1:40, according to The Daily Record. He also posted a 30-carry, 145-yard, 1-TD rushing performance, and made a key defensive play with 2:45 left. After Norwayne notched the lead on Wallace’s 10-yard TD toss to Mitch Knieriem with 50.5 ticks, Jon Maibach, 33 seconds later, secured the win with a 38-yard interception return.
“Defensively, again, they’re not big,” Clark claimed. “They run a 4-2, and they’re led by that inside linebacker (Wallace).”
Under the direction of coach Joe Harbour, Norwayne notched wins over Wellington (35-0), Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (40-7), Western Reserve (56-7), Northwestern (55-8), Rittman (61-7), Waynedale (46-0), Chippewa (61-8), Dalton (69-15) and Hillsdale, avenging last year’s loss and snapping the latter’s school-record 17-game and WCAL 10-game winning skeins. Hillsdale advanced to the 2010 D-V regional finals.
Norwayne, not unlike Brookfield, has had some success, interspersed with droughts. According to The Daily Record, Norwayne won only the 1965 and 2008 WCAL championships before last week.
The game originally was scheduled for Friday night in Norwayne, but a saturated field necessitated the move. A synthetic-surface field may play to Brookfield’s bountiful Ryan Mosora (232 attempts, 1,895 yards rushing, 8.1 yards/carry, 17 TDs, 114 points).
“He’s not a ‘mudder’; he likes to hit the perimeter quick and go,” Clark confided.
Additionally, Clark pronounced the Warriors “one-hundred percent healthy ... healthier now than we’ve been all year,” including Quinlan, who accounted for almost 300 total yards in last week’s regular season-ending win over Beaver Local.
While Quinlan recuperated from a broken collarbone, Brandon Mosora “stepped in and did a phenomenal job in those four games!” Clark gushed. “Now he’ll be in the slot, his original position.”
Clark’s ideal game plan would be to “take control early with our size. With (the Bobcats’) lack of size if we’re able to run the ball at them, go to a different part of our game ... see what adjustments they make.”
Owing to Quinlan’s accurate arm, Brookfield has been “throwing the ball a little more than in the past,” Clark noted, regarding the Warriors’ 30.2 points and 374.3 yards per game (almost doubling opponents’ 15.1 and 189.5, respectively).
Will Brookfield be bug-eyed by the bright lights of the OHSAA playoffs for the first time since ’94?
“I think the kids, right now, are responding like it’s a normal week,” Clark confided. “I know there’s a lot of excitement at school, but practices have been normal as possible. The kids are excited, but practicing hard, real cooperative, eager — they’re ready to go.
“It’s been 17 years since Brookfield’s been in this situation, since ’94, so they’re excited,” Clark confirmed.
Delserone died from Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease). His last year coaching the Warriors was 1981, Clark’s senior season.
“I believe he’d be really proud,” Clark concluded. “I still use a lot of his philosophies. Everything I got from ‘Coach Dell’ I try to use as much as I can in today’s football. He was a great coach, ahead of his time, just phenomenal! He taught me a lot of football, and, hopefully, I’m using it in the right way.” — Herald sports writer Rob Malsom contributed research for this preview.
Reflecting, Randy Clark can recall the years 1978 and 1994.
Roundup: Wilmington track teams sweep WM
ä Wilmington 98, West Middlesex 51 — At West Middlesex, the visiting Greyhounds gave the Big Reds their first home, dual-meet loss in approximately 4 seasons according to Middlesex mentor Ed Pikna.
Cooper (400, 800, distance- and mile-relay legs), jumper Perrine and sprinter Scott (100, 200) gave the Greyhounds the giddy-up by winning multiple events.
HIGH SCHOOL SPRING SPORTS ROUNDUP
Baseball, softball and tennis teams were in action Monday as the nice weather allowed for high school spring sports action that has been limited so far by rain, snow and windy conditions.
Players relent, agree to play for reinstated football coach
Minnesota State University-Mankato's football team has ended its boycott of reinstated head coach Todd Hoffner, who successfully fought child pornography charges and other misconduct accusations that removed him from the job for 20 months.
Hickory track coaches near finish line
While the Shenango Valley lionizes legendary gridiron greats and hardwood heroes, the sport of track & field at Hickory High has resonated its relevance throughout District 10 and commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
For the better part of the last 3 decades that was due, to a great extent, to the efforts of Barb Dzuricsko and Mark Slezak.
More than 200 dual-meet victories combined between the girls’ and boys’ programs, 9 district championships (7 girls, 2 boys), 2 statewide runners-up berths and another pair of 3rd-place finishes, culminating in the Lady Hornets’ 2012 PIAA Class AA championship.
Their collective resumé would be envied by any coach, regardless of sport. Which makes this recent revelation regrettable: Dzuricsko and Slezak simultaneously will step down at this season’s conclusion.
SPORTVIEW: Cavaliers are example of how an owner impacts a team
WHEN LEBRON James vacated Cleveland for South Beach a few years ago, angry Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert declared that the Cavaliers would win an NBA championship before James and the Miami Heat.
How’s that working out, Dan?
Miami is seeking a third straight title this postseason while the Cavaliers are headed for the golf courses. Pretty sad.
Roundup: Trojans, Hounds win team titles at WM Invitational
Wilmington High girls and Greenville boys dominated the annual Big Red Track & Field Invitational Thursday afternoon in West Middlesex.
A half-dozen girls’ and 7 boys’ teams competed.
Wilmington overwhelmed the female field, as the Lady Greyhounds garnered almost twice as many points as runner-up Lakeview (236-5 to 133.5).
Roundup: WM diamondmen edge Reynolds, 6-4
ä West Middlesex 6, Reynolds 4 — At Transfer, the Big Reds snapped a 4-all tie by plating a run in the 4th inning and another in the 7th in a 2-run win over the Raiders.
Mark Colella earned the mound win in a relief appearance for WM. No pitching stats were submitted.
Roundup: Hickory, Wilmington softball teams win
Paced by Chelsea Marriott’s muscle, Hickory High hammered 4 home runs Saturday afternoon en route to a 19-1 rout of Sharon.
At Wengler, Marriott mauled 2- and 3-run round-trippers to right-center and straightaway center field, respectively. Her Lady Hornets’ teammates Hannah Gallagher and Morgan McBride mustered 3-run bombs, also.
Fired coach in Mankato unjustly accused of visiting porn sites
Minnesota State University-Mankato officials wrongly accused former football coach Todd Hoffner of viewing pornography sites on his work computer before firing him last May, a state arbitrator has disclosed.
Roundup: Hickory track coaches to step down following season
Hickory High track & field co-head coaches Barb Dzuricsko and Mark Slezak announced they will step down at the season’s conclusion.
Dzuricsko and Slezak, who led the Lady Hornets to the 2012 PIAA Class AA crown, jointly made the announcement via e-mail late Wednesday.
Roundup: Devil diamondmen roll past Sharon
An old-school baseball bromide states that, early in any season, pitching is always ahead of hitting. However Sharpsville shunned that axiom Wednesday afternoon.
The Blue Devils banged 15 hits, and Sharpsville short-circuited Sharon, 16-4, in 5 innings.
Roundup: Hounds, Hornets notch track sweeps
ä Wilmington 116, Reynolds 44 — At New Wilmington, the host Lady Hounds were led by Rikki Brumbaugh (4x8, 4x4 relay legs, 400- and 800-meter runs); Hannah Drake (long, triple jumps, 4x4 relay); Allison Baldwin (4x8 and 4x4 relay legs); Lexi Brumbaugh (1600-, 3200-meter runs, distance-relay leg), and Tessa Sikora (high jump, 200-meter dash, sprint-relay anchor).
SPORTVIEW: Pirates, Indians fans looking for big things this year
LIFE IS GOOD if you are a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates or Cleveland Indians. At least for now!
Heading into Saturday, both teams were 3-1 and looking pretty sharp. Since both made the playoffs last year, there are high expectations for both clubs. But in baseball, every year is a new season and there are no guarantees.
Still, it’s always nice when your favorite teams get off to a good start. In too many seasons, Pittsburgh and Cleveland fans were only talking about the NFL draft because hopes were bleak for their baseball teams.
Hickory's Arbanas 1st team All-State; KC's Hood 3rd team
ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) — Teams from the WPIAL won three of the four PIAA girls basketball championships this year, and southwestern Pennsylvania is turning out to be just as dominant when it comes to postseason honors.
Pittsburgh-area programs produced seven of the eight major award winners on this season’s Sports Writers Pennsylvania High School Girls Basketball All-State Team, including all four players of the year.
WM's Staunch named 2nd team All-State
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Finishing on the winning side in a championship game — or coming mighty, mighty close — scored plenty of points with the panel that selected Pennsylvania’s all-state boys’ basketball team.
Especially when it came time to choose those — whether players or coaches — who claimed the top individual awards.
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- Roundup: Wilmington track teams sweep WM