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Rockets hope for spot in playoffs

Rockets hope for spot in playoffs

By Yaneek Smith (byline)
Sports Editor (bycredit)
Since taking over for former head coach Gary Quisno, Mike May has helped to revive a program that fallen on hard times. During May's tenure, the Rockets have gone from being a mediocre team to one that is consistently competing for league titles and playoff berths.
In fact, the Rockets have gone a combined 13-7 in each of the last two seasons and have been in the hunt for both the Sandusky Bay Conference crown and a playoff spot.
However, the Rockets lose their share of production on both sides of the ball, but do return 10 starters, including five on offense and five on defense.
Offensively, Oak Harbor employs a standard two-back, two-receiver system that focuses on running the football. Running back Mark Konieczny, who rushed for over 1300 yards in 2011, is expected to have another stellar season. In fact, the season Konieczny has could go a long way in determining the success of the offense. May feels that the offensive line is improved from last year and, as a result, expects big things from Konieczny.
Senior Austin Wiegand, who played wide receiver last season, replaces Brian Mallernee. Like Mallernee, Wiegand is a dual threat who can throw the ball downfield and make plays with his legs.
“We've been real pleased with (Austin) throwing the ball and I think that he will be good (this season),” May said.
A.J. Cecil returns at wide receiver and helps to provide a downfield threat. Currently, seniors Chris Tabbert and Jamie Balboa and sophomore Cole Wierich are competing for the second spot at receiver.
The offensive line was effective last year, but May expects them to be slightly improved this time around. Zane Troknya, a former tight end, takes over at center and is flanked by guards Nate Segaard and Mitch Hayslett with Dalton Reau filling in at right tackle. Vince Szabo and Aaron Hopkins are currently battling it out for the all-important left tackle position.
“We feel like we'll be improved up front from last year,” May said. “We are looking for steady improvement out of Mark and some big plays.”
Defensively, the Rockets will have to replace several key players, among them Brian and Joey Mallernee, Allen Boss, Ryan Helle and Adam Losie, all of whom were lost to graduation.
The defensive line features the likes of Reau, Hayslett, T.J. Lawrence and Troknya while the linebacking core is comprised of returning starter Kaleb Maguire, Ben Genzman, Jared Chambers and Coby Brough. The secondary, meanwhile, is made up of a rotation of Weigand, Cecil, Wierich and Balboa. Should the defense perform well like it has in the past two seasons, there's no reason to believe that Oak Harbor can't compete for the SBC crown.

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Danbury continues rebuilding process

 

By Yaneek Smith
Sports Editor
Over the past few seasons, the Danbury football program has made progress.
The Lakers have gone from wondering whether or not they would even be able to have a program to becoming consistently competitive to in the Toledo Area Athletic Conference.
Needless to say, it won't be easy to take that next step.
Gone from last year is TAAC Defensive Player of the Year Lucas Kennedy, who is set to play football this fall at Baldwin Wallace College. The defensive back had 101 tackles, four interceptions and four fumble recoveries. Kennedy also earned first-team league honors for his play at quarterback, doing damage with both his arm and his legs as he threw for 1621 yards and 11 touchdowns and ran for 1266 yards and 15 scores.
The Lakers also lost standout players Ben Adams (OL/LB) and Justin Tester (OL/DL) Cory Schenk to graduation. In 2011, Schenk set the school record for receptions (62) and receiving yards (1087) in a single season.
Taking over for Kennedy under center is senior Zach Kalinoski, who has previously seen time at quarterback, wide receiver and even center. While faced with the task of replacing one of the best players in school history, head coach Bryan Dudash is confident that Kalinoski can do a sufficient job of replacing the production left by Kennedy's graduation. (Former head coach Tim Heffernan is staying on as an assistant.)
“(Kalinoski) throws a nice football, he throws accurately — he's got a pretty good arm,” said Dudash, who served as the team's offensive coordinator for the past two seasons. “I think he throws the ball a little better than Lucas, but doesn't run it as well. I think he was 17-of-28 for 160 yards passing in our last scrimmage. He's done some nice things for us.”
Wide receiver Brandon Bahnsen returns after missing the last five games of the season with a back injury. Aside from Bahnsen, the Lakers lost all of their starting receivers to graduation and must replace, according to Dudash, approximately 90% of their offensive production from '11. Cody German, who will split time between running back and wide receiver is expected to see an increased load.
“We expect him to get 20-25 touches per game,” Dudash said.
Passing the ball is what the Lakers do. They like to run a lot of four-wide receiver sets and focus on a short passing game that gives their receivers a chance to make plays in the open fields. And, while they don't run many plays, they do use a variety of formations to confuse the defense.
Defensively, Dudash sees the defensive line as being one of the team's strengths. Austin Morin will be the primary run stopper and Cooper Eller and John McClellan will rush from the edge. Taylor Molnar is taking over at middle linebacker and fills the void left by Adams.

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Gem Beach V Rocks on Sept. 8

 

 

Now celebrating its fifth year, Gem Beach Rocks is an annual fundraiser for United Way in Ottawa County. This festive outdoor event brings thousands to Gem Beach on the shores of Lake Erie. Over the past four years, more than $200,000 has been raised to support United Way’s efforts advancing education, income and health in Ottawa County.

 

Gather with friends at Gem Beach on Catawba Island from noon to 8 p.m. on Sept. 8 to enjoy a day filled with live entertainment, cold beverages, great food, raffles and just plain fun while showing your support for the people of our community.

 

You can ask questions, learn more and see photos of last year's event by liking the United Way in Ottawa County Facebook page.

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Appliance, scrap metal collection Saturday

On Saturday, Aug. 25, Ottawa County residents may bring their old appliances and scrap metal to the Ottawa County Fairgrounds at W. Ohio 163, Oak Harbor from 9 a.m. to noon for recycling.
Items accepted include washing machines, dryers, ovens, stoves, hot water heaters, refrigerators, freezers, microwaves, dehumidifiers, furnaces, air conditioners, water fountains, etc. Items made of steel, such as grills, lawn mowers and propane tanks will also be accepted. We will not be accepting televisions, computers or electronics at this collection. This collection is free to all Ottawa County residents and appliances with CFC’s (Freon) will be accepted. All of these items will be taken to a scrap metal yard.

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Visitors Bureau receives OSS grant

The Ottawa County Visitors Bureau (Lake Erie Shores & Islands West) is pleased to announce the receipt of a grant of $1,475 from the Ottawa, Seneca, Sandusky County Joint Solid Waste Management District.

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Task Force on Aging plans countywide blitz

The Ottawa County Task Force on Aging is planning a countywide blitz to distribute their newly developed Senior Abuse Protocol cards. The blitz is planned for Wednesday, Aug. 29, and involves members of the Task Force visiting local businesses, agencies and institutions that interact with the senior population.

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FIrst Jet Express Triathalon September 9

The Jet Express Triathlon is coming to Lakeside - Marblehead on Sunday, September 9th. This first-year triathalon will have around 100 participants who will start the swim portion of the event by jumping off the Jet Express about one mile off the shore of East Harbor State Park.

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