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.
Brookfield boys win season-opener against Py Valley
It was a typical season-opener: Too many turnovers, some questionable shot selection, and careless personal fouls. But for Brookfield High boys’ bench boss Bill Kovach, “ ... always happy with a win.”
The Warriors were 7-for-10 from the free-throw line during the 4th frame, and held off Pymatuning Valley, 59-48, Tuesday night.
Hornets advance to semis with win over Central
DuBOIS, PA. — Some people could say the “third time is a charm.” For the Hickory High Hornets it was much more than that. In fact, it was glorious.
After losing in the first round of the PIAA Class AA playoffs the last two years, the Hornets finally nailed down a victory with a 37-27 triumph over the Central Dragons from Martinsburg.
Lakeview falls to Clarion Area in PIAA quarterfinals
SLIPPERY ROCK — In the scholastic athletic arena, “mercy rule” — while not politically correct in hyper-sensitive 2013 society — is a relatively accepted term.
Clarion High’s football had mercy-ruled all 13 prior opponents this season. And the Bobcats seemed bent on continuing their commanding conquests during Saturday’s PIAA Class A quarterfinal-round meeting with Lakeview.
Hickory focused on winning PIAA opener
The calendar reminds us that Thanksgiving arrives a little later than usual this year. But as holiday traditions go, this one has been pretty productive for Hickory High head football coach Bill Brest.
“My wife always has me put up our Christmas tree on the Friday after Thanksgiving ... and the next day, we’ve won. So I’ll be more than happy to help my wife put up the tree this Friday,” Brest related.
During the past 2 years Hickory has won District 10 titles on Thanksgiving weekend. But this year the Hornets harvested their 3rd consecutive crown last week, jettisoning Girard (21-10). Now Hickory (11-1) has a 1 p.m. date in DuBois Saturday against surprising Central-Martinsburg (11-2) in the PIAA Class AA quarterfinals.
Smart move by PIAA to schedule games early this weekend
Congratulations to the PIAA for making a good move that helps teams and fans of high school sports.
Wow, I haven’t been able to say that often enough!
But many of the high school football games this coming weekend will be played in the afternoon which is a real plus for traveling on possibly snow-blown highways at this time of the year.
Hornets 3-peat as D-10 champs with win vs. Girard
EDINBORO — When legendary coach Vince Lombardi said “the only good thing that comes from losing is the desire never to lose again,” he could very well have been referencing the future for Coach Bill Brest and his Hickory Hornets.
Since Hickory lost to Sharon, 14-6, in the 2010 District 10 finals in Brest’s first year at the helm of the team, the D-10 Class AA title game has belonged to Hickory. And Saturday afternoon at Edinboro University’s Sox Harrison Stadium, it was no different as the Hornets topped Girard, 21-10 for a third straight crown.
Sailors beat Devils to capture 1st District 10 title
NEW WILMINGTON — Lakeview may have a long way to go to equal Sharpsville’s success in the sport of football, but the Sailors jump-started the process Friday night.
With Blake Reddick roaring into the record book, the Sailors shut out Sharpsville, 27-0, in the District 10 Class A championship game at Greyhounds Stadium.
Hornets seek 3-peat Saturday vs. Girard
Bill Brest ... buffer?
Hickory High’s head football coach has broad shoulders and that’s necessary, because he’s taking on all distractions as his Hornets prepare for Saturday’s District 10 Class AA championship game.
Hickory (10-1) will attempt to hoist the D-10 trophy for a 3rd consecutive season when the Hornets journey to Girard’s backyard — Edinboro University’s Sox Harrison Stadium — to meet the Yellow Jackets at 1 p.m.
Hickory rolls past Northwestern in D-10 semifinals
SLIPPERY ROCK — They say that “Familiarity breeds contempt.” You can bet the Northwestern Wildcats are feeling a bit of the latter for the Hickory Hornets!
For a third straight season Hickory eliminated the northerners from the District 10 Class AA playoffs, this time by a 52-14 score in the semifinals Saturday night at Slippery Rock University’s Thompson-Mihalik Stadium.
Greenville falls to Girard in D-10 semifinals
ERIE — District 10 was destined for a Class AA championship game between reigning 2-time titlist Hickory and Greenville.
But no one informed the Girard High football team of the plans.
“ … This is pretty cool … I’m pretty fired up about it,” admitted 4th-year Yellow Jackets’ head coach Jim Funk after Girard jolted Greenville, 16-14.
SPORTVIEW: Season fate could be decided today for Browns, Steelers
IT MAKES NO sense to say that one game determines the rest of the season. That’s why I’ll simply say: Today’s one game determines the rest of the season.
Since when did my predictions make sense anyhow?
The Cleveland Browns’ visit to Cincinnati today will go a long way to deciding if the Browns have a shot at making the playoffs — and even winning the AFC North title — or if they should start planning for the NFL draft.
GCC tops Thiel in OT to win Mercer County Cup
The Grove City and Thiel College football teams closed out their seasons on Saturday with a thrilling game at Alumni Stadium in Green-ville as Grove City posted a 50-44 overtime win in the 30th annual Mercer County Cup Game.
Quarterback Brian Pell scored on a 13-yard run for the Wolverines (3-5, 5-5) to give GCC the win in OT.
Devils beat WM; will play for 3rd straight D-10 title
Two-time defending District 10 Class A champion Sharpsville is returning to the D-10 title game for a third straight year and Coach Paul Piccirilli has a simple explanation for the team’s success:
“We believe. Kids in Sharpsville believe.”
A lot of people are believing as well after watching the Blue Devils dismantle West Middlesex, 40-3, Friday night at Hickory High Hornets Stadium.
Spence, Sailors roll past Mercer, 52-21
NEW WILMINGTON — Pat McClearn lived Lakeview High football program’s previous gridiron glory days. Unfortunately for him on Friday night he was on the business end of the current Sailors’ resurgence.
McClearn and his Mercer High Mustangs were eliminated by Lakeview from the District 10 Class A semifinals, 52-21.
Long gone basketball league leaves a costly legacy
If you want to mark yourself as a graying old-timer, bring up the American Basketball Association – the professional league that featured large Afros, slam dunk contests, three-point baskets and a red, white and blue basketball.
Oh, yes, it also had a great collection of players - perhaps the best on the globe - who brought athleticism, skill and excitement to a game that had become somewhat stodgy in the more established National Basketball Association.
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- Brookfield boys win season-opener against Py Valley