By ROSS BISHOFF
A big part of me loves it when things are messy and chaotic. I’m not a fan of following the script.
Templates, my friends, are for weaklings.
So, through three weeks of the Western Buckeye League, I’m loving what I’m seeing. Any week, for now it seems, anything could happen.
And that’s fun.
Entering the season, those of us on the outside looking in probably suspected Wapakoneta, St. Marys and Ottawa-Glandorf to be the teams to beat as usual with another team, maybe Elida—another McAdams is in the house after all—or Celina, thrown in to make it interesting. Kenton? Always a threat, amIright?
Then, Wapak, O-G and Kenton lost their first two games, including WBL losses. Shawnee, Elida and Van Wert started 2-0; Shawnee and Elida cruising along the way while Van Wert knocked off mighty Wapak in Week 2.
Then Week 3 happened. And I’m not sure if I think the chaos continued or if things are settling down. Elida got a 27-yard field with all of five seconds left to stay unbeaten with a 45-43 win over Celina.
Co-defending champ Wapak handed Shawnee its first loss, O-G took down Bath, St. Marys churned up 446 rushing yards to hand Van Wert its first loss and Kenton got its first win by beating Defiance.
So, if you’re keeping track, Elida (3-0) and St. Marys (2-1) are in first at 2-0 followed by six teams in second place. Yes, we’re only in Week 4, a lot is going to shake itself out. But with three weeks in the bag, we’re not entirely sure what’s going to happen from week to week. That makes it interesting. With that in mind, let’s look take a look at some of the big matchups each team has to look forward to.
Elida plays host to 0-3 Defiance this week then dives into a murderer’s row. The Bulldogs travel to Wapak and St. Marys to end September. October is friendlier because they’ll be home for Van Wert (Oct. 6), Kenton (Oct. 20) and Ottawa-Glandorf (Oct. 27). Their road game will be rival Shawnee on Oct. 13.
St. Marys, which already got a major win in Week 2 at O-G, plays host to Shawnee this week, is at Kenton (Spet. 22) then hosts Elida (Sept. 29). The Roughriders finish the season season in Auglaize County showdowns traveling to both Celina (Oct. 13) and Wapakoneta (Oct. 27).
The Titans are at Celina (Sept. 22), Kenton (Oct. 13) and Elida (Oct. 27) but get Shawnee (Sept. 29) and Wapak (Oct. 20) at home.
Shawnee has a tough stretch ahead, traveling to St. Marys on Friday followed by Van Wert at home the following Friday. The Indians then have road games at O-G (Sept. 29) and Kenton (Oct. 6). They’ll get Elida at home (Oct. 13) before
traveling to Bath and hosting Celina to end the season.
Van Wert welcomes in O-G this week before traveling to Shawnee. The Cougars welcome in Kenton on Sept. 29, travel to Elida on Oct. 6 and host Bath (Oct. 13) and Celina (Oct. 20).
Wapakoneta’s schedule has the team welcoming in Kenton this week followed by Elida heading to town the following Friday. October is brutal with a home game against Celina on Oct. 6 and the final two weeks of the regular season including a trip to O-G in Week 9 before a Week 10 showdown against St. Marys in Wapakoneta.
Celina has to recover from Friday’s tough loss to Elida with O-G (home, Sept. 22), Wapak (away, Oct. 26), St. Marys (home, Oct. 13) and two road trips to end the season, at Van Wert and at Shawnee.
Bath plays host to Celina this week and Wapakoneta (Sept. 29) before traveling to both St. Marys (Oct. 6) and Van Wert (Oct. 13). The season ends with a Week 9 game against visiting Shawnee before the Wildcats end the season at Kenton.
Kenton has it rough the next two weeks, at Wapak before hosting St. Marys. Shawnee (Oct. 6), O-G (Oct. 13) will be home games before a game at Elida (Oct. 20).
The trend seems to be that most every team will have a healthy challenge each week. And that’s exactly what we all want.
Numbers of the Week: 6
– Ada’s Chase Sumner has reeled in six interceptions for the Bulldogs’ defense in just three weeks.
Quote of the Week: “I see a mentally tough guy. He’s got to play better. We’ve got to play better. We’ve got to coach better.”
– Ohio State coach Urban Meyer