Rocco Dobran understands, but looks deeper.
The second-year coach of the Conneaut Spartans realizes the 51-12 loss at Conneaut Area, Pa. last Friday night is ugly in terms of the bottom line.
However, in attempting to rebuild a program that has lost 73 of its last 86 games (a winning percentage of .151) over the last 81⁄2 years, Dobran, whose team hosts Gilmour Academy on Friday night at Conneaut Stadium (7, WWOW) will settle for steps in the right direction.
“We did play very hard, though, and our defense made a lot of big plays,” he said of the game at Conneaut Area. “Billy Post continued to dominate on the defensive line and Dallis Waldo had a big interception to end the half, giving us momentum going into the second half.
“(Sophomore) Troy Colucci took over at quarterback the second half. He threw a 67-yard touchdown pass to Aslan Shearer first play of the second half. Troy also had 50-plus-yard run early in the fourth quarter to set up his 4-yard TD run.
“Our kids played hard and took a step in the right direction.”
Gilmour Academy comes into this matchup at 1-5. However, second-year coach Shawn Dodd’s Lancers earned their only win of the season right here in Ashtabula County, invading and conquering Grand Valley in Week 5, 21-8. The Mustangs defeated Conneaut in the season-opener, 14-6.
Dobran said the Lancers, who lead the all-time series with the Spartans, 5-0, including a 34-20 verdict on a Saturday afternoon last fall for its only win in a 1-9 season, run a spread offense. The attack features some zone read, sprint pass and wide receiver screens. On defense, Gilmour uses a 3-3 stack set and likes to bring pressure.
Quarterback Matt Botek (6-foot-2, 185-pound junior) runs Gilmour’s spread attack, which features Benoit Mapango (5-9, 150, senior) at tailback and big-target A.J. Wright (6-3, 220, junior) at wide receiver, who can squat 425 pounds and is a nightmare matchup for any defense. Mapango is one of only two seniors on Gilmour’s roster.
“They have a lot of big-play potential,” Dobran said. “We have to contain them and prevent the big play.
“Offensively, we have to adjust to their 3-3 stack since we haven't seen that defense yet.
“And, once again, we must win the turnover battle.”
The Spartans are an area-worst minus-18 on the plus/minus chart this fall. Conneaut has fumbled the football 22 times, losing 11 of them, and has thrown 14 interceptions.
Conneaut will once again be without Nick Blood (hamstring( and Cody Kirk (knee) is out for the season.
Despite the struggles this season, Dobran said his players and staff remain steadfast in doing the right thing in terms of work ethic and effort.
“They are showing great heart,” the former Poland High School star said of his players. “Our attendance at practice has been good. They’ve been working hard.
“As coaches, we keep pushing them, and they have no quit in them.”
Conneaut hosts 1-5 Gilmour Academy on Friday night
Rocco Dobran understands, but looks deeper.
Wahoos whipped in a wacky one
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History is not only a great teacher, but it can also serve as a great motivator. Last year, the Geneva softball team failed to win a game in the Division II postseason tournament.
A Bob Ettinger column: Big players deliver in big moments for Eagles, Falcons
Neither Geneva softball coach Eleshia Pitcher nor Jefferson skipper Don McCormack were surprised that, with their team’s fates hanging in the balance, they each had athletes deliver.
Geneva 5, Jefferson 2
at JAGS Complex, Field 3
Geneva field events advance in Day 1
With the first day of events in the book at the Division I district meet at Austintown Fitch, the Geneva boys and girls track teams have several competitors already qualified for the regional meet next week at Fitch.
THURSDAY, MAY 23
at Serra Field, Stanic Field, Euclid
n (5) Riverside vs. (1) Mentor
n (8) South vs. (7) Mayfield
A Don McCormack column: Letter hits home about mutual friend
Paying another visit to the varsity store...
From the heart
Whenever my inbox lights up, it’s usually never a dull moment.
But when the message comes from a state representative, it does require immediate attention.
Area High School Softball Statistical Leaders:
INDIVIDUAL BATTING (minimum 40 at-bats)
PLAYER SCHOOL AVG OB% SLG% AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB
Lexi Zappitelli Conneaut .605 .632 .921 76 28 46 22 6 2 23 17
Brittany Baitt Riverside .518 .560 .831 83 32 43 5 6 3 21 0
Deanna Comp Jefferson .511 .582 .851 47 17 24 6 2 1 10 9
Amanda Mangelo Madison .486 .537 .806 72 23 35 2 6 3 20 0
Nikki Ochoa Madison .476 .533 .890 82 29 39 12 2 6 23 0
Abbie Thompson Madison .453 .500 .523 86 23 39 0 3 0 13 0
Late rally can’t save PV at Euclid
The Pymatuning Valley Lakers’ baseball season came to a close on Tuesday night at Euclid as they fell to Wickliffe, 4-2, in a Division III district semifinal.
Area High School Softball records:
Geneva 19-2 * 11-1 (PAC)
Riverside 22-4 9-3 (PAC)
Jefferson 21-5 * 9-1 (AAC)
St. John 9-3
PV 15-12 11-7 (NAC)
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