Northwood faces Edon in the Game of the Week

Yaneek Smith

Press Sports Editor

After an 0-3 start to the season, Northwood is in position to finish the season strong and earn a spot in the postseason.
The Rangers have won two straight games and find themselves ranked 18th in the Division V, Region 18 standings with 2.27 points, less than a point behind Otsego (2.95) for the 16th and final playoff spot.
In The Press Game of the Week, Northwood faces Edon, which is a member of the Toledo Area Athletic Conference in football.
The Bombers, who are 3-2, lost to Ottawa Lake-Whiteford (MI), 58-18, last week.
Northwood Coach Ken James talked about the challenges that come with playing an offense that likes to spread a defense out and throw it around. They are coached by former Lake coach Bob Olwin, who has won at a bevy of schools in Northwest Ohio for the last 30 years.
“A lot of their passing game is screens. They might run a bunch of screens and fake the flat pass and go deep on you. It’s a tense game, if you’re ahead of them, you know they can score on you,” said James. “The best thing we can do for our defense is possess the ball on offense.”
Unfortunately, the Rangers will have to make the trip to Edon, which is located a short distance from Indiana. The distance between the two towns some 76 miles.
Northwood was blown out in its first two games but lost to Lakota, 15-13, in week three before defeating Erie-Mason (MI), 42-18, and Vanlue, 51-28.
Running back Montay Coleman has been on a tear, rushing eight times for 109 yards and five touchdowns in the win over the Wildcats, and he carried the ball 13 times for 223 yards for three touchdowns (59, 12, 47) and had an 85-yard punt return for a touchdown in the victory over the Eagles.
“He’s fast; he can also be shifty, which is not what you see with guys with great speed. If he gets out in the open, and you’re 1-on-1 with him out in the open, you’re in trouble. He’s got a great combination of having straight-line speed, and he put a couple of moves on guys against Vanlue. He’s got real good burst,” said James. “We’re trying to find ways to get him the ball out in space. He’s not carrying the ball 25 to 30 times per game. The guys are doing a good job blocking for him. We’ve got to keep finding ways to continue that.”
Julien Chappell ran for 75 yards and two scores on seven carries in the win over Vanlue. The Rangers trailed 22-14 at halftime before scoring 30 points in the third quarter to take the lead.
“It was nothing too crazy at halftime. The biggest thing was they had a really good game plan. They were bigger than us up front. They ran the play clock down to the last second. They ran it deep in our territory and scored early, and they recovered two onside kicks,” James said. “That allowed them to hang onto the ball for much of the first half. We just didn’t have the ball much (in the first half). We were pretty vanilla on defense because we didn’t want to show much with league play coming up.
“Nobody panicked at halftime, we made some adjustments. We played well on offense in the first half, so we didn’t have to make many changes there. We have some fast kids, and we blocked well.”
There have been some growing pains, but the light bulb is going off, as James likes to say, for some players as the Rangers find themselves 2-3.
“The run game has been a lot better. We have a lot of young players that are playing, about seven to eight underclassmen, and the seniors have been doing a good job of getting the young guys into shape. We’ve started four or five freshmen at different times this year,” said James, now in his 37th season leading Northwood. “It’s taken a little while to find our identity on offense. We’ve started to get better with our execution. We’re playing better on offense, and on defense, they’ve played well, too. We’re turning (the corner).”
The Rangers finish the season with games against stout competition like Montpelier (4-1) and Western Reserve (5-0), so there will be plenty of opportunities to gain valuable computer points.


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