The annual NWOAL football coaches meeting was held at Copper Bar and Grill in Malinta on Sunday evening. Whether it be as a result of their past success with having only lost three games in the past two seasons, or with having 16 returning letter winners, Wauseon was tabbed as league favorites by the coaches and media in attendance.
Swanton was picked second after a 6-4 year in 2014, their first winning season since 1995. Delta was tabbed for third, Bryan at fourth, Patrick Henry fifth, Liberty Center sixth, Archbold seventh and Evergreen rounded out the voting.
While the hype is still there for Wauseon after last season’s league championship, they will undoubtedly have competition for the league crown.
“Our numbers are pretty low. We’ve got 16 seniors, good seniors,” said Wauseon coach Travis Cooper to the group of coaches and media.
But with that success comes the mindset needed to keep it going.
“We got a lot of kids that know winning and that’s a good thing,” said Cooper.
Swanton looks to dethrone the Indians, but second-year coach Mike Vicars states that they still have some work to do.
“I think getting us out of that old mode of 19 years of losing, we are still struggling with that. I worry about that a lot,” said Vicars. “Hopefully somewhere (during the season) we can build some momentum to try to change that the other way because that definitely has been a struggle.”
Delta returns 14 letter winners with numerous starters back on both offense and defense. However, the Panthers will have their fourth coach in four years as Jeff Wolford takes over for Jim Kubuske who was relieved of his duties after one season.
“Depth is a huge issue for us this year, and we’ve got to stay healthy. If we stay healthy we are going to be pretty solid,” said Wolford of his Panthers.
Archbold has over 60 kids out this season and are looking to improve upon a 2-8 campaign a season ago.
“I think we’ve got a pretty good group of seniors as far as leadership and character. A group of guys that I really enjoy. But we are going to be young,” said Blue Streak mentor Bryan Miller.
“Obviously, we are hoping to bounce back from a tough year last year.”
Evergreen coach Paul Amstutz was not in attendance but his defensive line coach Joe Prchlik stood in for the third-year head coach.
Despite not having much success recently, Prchlik stated that the excitement around the program is high. They will lean on their 13 seniors to lead the way into what they hope is a more successful season.
Scrimmages begin this week for most teams, while the regular season gets under way on Friday, Aug. 28.
Max Householder can be reached at 419-335-2010