Flyers getting ready for Tigers

Orrville, Ohio — the home of Bobby Knight and Smucker's.
Mike Greco
Nov 14, 2013

For Saturday night, Red Rider Stadium will be home for the St. Paul Flyers and Wellsville Tigers.

The Division VII, Region 23 football teams will play in the second round at 7 p.m. with the winner moving on and the loser going home.

St. Paul (10-1) opened the postseason with a 55-7 win over Southington Chalker, while Wellsville (9-2) gained a 39-21 decision over Mapleton in first-round action.

“It’s nice to get that first playoff win under our belts,’’ Flyers coach John Livengood said. “It was great for our seniors to get a win in their last game at Whitney Field. We were able to get everyone on the field for a significant amount of time.’’

The Flyers are the second seed, while the Tigers check in third.

Livengood was able to see the Orrville facilities earlier in the week.

“We got to see the Bobby Knight gym,’’ he said. “They have new turf field and new stands. We look forward to traveling that way. It’s near Massillon — the heart of football in Ohio.’’

St. Paul has experience on field turf, playing teams such as St. Mary Central Catholic (at Strobel Field), Tiffin Calvert and Huron during a given season.

“It’s something we’re on once or twice a year,’’ Livengood said. “We have some quickness and we’re able to utilize that quickness.’’

Wellsville, which is located near the West Virginia border, finished the regular season with an 8-2 mark.

They opened with five straight wins, before falling to Lowellville 27-21.

After three more wins, the Tigers closed the regular season with a 25-8 loss to Berlin Center Western Reserve — Region 23’s top-ranked team.

Wellsville trailed Berlin Center Western Reserve, before the eventual 17-point loss.

In the playoff win over Mapleton, junior halfback Zack Mellott led the Tigers with 112 yards rushing on 11 carries.

Senior fullback Brandon Carr added 70 yards on eight attempts.

Wellsville picked up 507 total yards, including 250 on the ground.

Senior Jordan Slone went 8-of-14 for 222 yards passing.

Senior Marcus Moxley made four receptions for 105 yards.

“They’re big upfront and fast in the backfield,’’ Livengood said . “They have a  290-pound left tackle (junior Travis Furbee) and 284-pound right guard (Greg Beatty).

“Their tight end is good-sized (senior Seth Bradford 200 pounds) and fullback (Carr) goes 215,” the coach added. “They’ve got some speed and we have to be prepared for that speed. They’re mostly a spread team, but have a run-oriented offense. They use a lot of wing-T concepts, the tight end runs seam routs and they like to send Moxley deep.’’

Familiar names also appear on Wellsville defense.

“They’re mainly a 50 team,’’ Livengood said. “They’re mainly man coverage, but we’ve seen them jump into a 4-3.’’

The Tigers are making their fourth overall postseason appearance, the last time in 2011.

They have a career 5-3 mark with other playoff appearances in 1994 and 2001.

Wellsville is coached by Rich Wright. He graduated from Ashland University in 1990.

Wright was an Eagle wrestler for former head coaches Mark Osgood and Tom Linder while also under the watch of then-AU assistant Ray Kowatch, whose son, Corey, now is a starter for Mapleton.

Meanwhile, St. Paul jumped on Chalker early and often.

They tallied 21 first-quarter points and added 34 in the second for a 55-7 halftime advantage.

In that first half, St. Paul ran 23 times for 247 yards and six touchdowns.

“I liked the way our kids executed,’’ Livengood said. “Anytime you make the playoffs and are able to have that success, you have to be happy.”

The offensive group up front of Paul Carson and Andrew Spettel at tight end; Ryan Reikowski, Matt VanDootingh and Caleb Riley at left tackle; Cal Meyer left guard; Nate Meyer center; Kyle Rospert and Jacob Ruffing right guard and Eddie Simon right tackle have paved the way for 3,249 yards rushing and 1,037 passing through 11 games.

“We’ve been able to rotate 10 kids in six positions,’’ Livengood said. “That has allowed us to build depth and keep our kids fresh. They guys are communicating well and doing a good job of learning the schemes. We feel like we have four really good running backs.’’

Berlin Center and Danville are the other teams in the region.

“We have to contain their speed offensively, control the line on both sides through great fundamentals and discipline, play great special teams, not allow the big play and pass the ball effectively on our terms,’’ Livengood said.