The Van Wert County Courthouse

Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022

Recker, Owens discuss upcoming season

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

It’s safe to say it’s been the strangest offseason ever for all fall high school sports, including football.

Due to restrictions put into place because of COVID-19, weight rooms on school properties were closed in February, March and April and team gatherings were prohibited by the “10 or less” rule. In addition, many summer camps and activities, including 7-on-7 passing drills were canceled because of concerns about the virus. 

Jared Owens
Keith Recker

However, Van Wert head football coach Keith Recker and Crestview head coach Jared Owens said they’ve tried to make the best of a difficult situation.

“We have really had a typical summer,” Recker said. “We started off June with workouts and did a few short summer practices and in July we ran our typical summer camp with our high school players. One thing that was different is that we stayed out of the weight room for our workouts. We worked out on the practice field with weighted plates and body weight for our lifting. The other thing that was different was not having 7-on-7.”

“Those 7-on-7’s are typically very good sessions to learn from against other teams,” Recker added. “We will miss having film of those and being able to show our players on film what needs fixed and what is being done well.”  

“We have had to do our workouts this summer in smaller units and at staggered times,” Owens explained. “So, we have been fortunate to get our athletes in shape, but we have really missed that feeling of being able to workout as a complete team. Thankfully we were able to have a few days of camp where we could get everyone on the field at the same time.”

“With the waiving of the 10-day coaching limit, we were able to do a lot more install and skill work, so I feel good about where we are at from that standpoint, Owens continued. “It will be interesting to see how we gel as a team as the practice progress into the season.”

Fall sports practices are scheduled to begin tomorrow, August 1, but earlier this week, the Ohio High School Athletic Association suspended scrimmages for football and other contact sports, something that concerns all coaches. It’s not known if or when that ban will be lifted by the OHSAA. Regular practices can continue as planned. 

Crestview had three scrimmages on the schedule – at Fort Recovery on August 10, then home scrimmages against Antwerp and Van Wert on August 14 and 21. In addition to the Crestview scrimmage, Van Wert had Parkway lined up for August 10 and a four-team scrimmage at Allen East on August 14. 

“We have guys competing for spots and scrimmages help us sort through some of those decisions,” Owens said. “Without scrimmages, we will have to be creative in how we create opportunities for players to win jobs.”

“Scrimmages to us are a big deal,” Recker stated. “We learn a ton from those scrimmages and they really help our progression towards being a better football team. I can typically tell there is a difference between our execution during a first scrimmage to the third scrimmage. Fortunately, everyone is in the same boat on this so come Week No. 1 there won’t necessarily be a competitive advantage.”

The possibility of shifting football and some other fall sports to the spring of 2021 has been broached on more than one occasion. Several other state athletic associations have already made the change and some smaller college football conferences have done the same. 

“As long as our players have the opportunity to play then we will do whatever needs to be done to play a season,” Recker said. “What I don’t want to have happen, though, is it to be at the expense of another sport or our players having to choose between two sports. I believe the ship has sailed to do a spring season. We will continue to prepare and be as ready as possible whenever the state tells us we can begin playing other teams.”

“We obviously want to play football,” Owens said. “We want the class of 2021 seniors to get their last season in. We would love for that to happen this fall, but I wouldn’t be opposed to playing whenever we can. The thing that worries me is how that affects our other sports and those athletes that play two and three sports. I think those kids need to be considered when making these decisions.”

“I would never want to force an athlete to have to choose between sports in the spring,” Owens added. “All of our programs at Crestview are too valuable in the education of our athletes to miss out on any of those opportunities.”

The Ohio High School Football Coaches Association will discuss the upcoming season during a conference call with Lt. Governor Jon Husted on Tuesday, August 4.

As it stands now, Van Wert is scheduled to begin the regular season August 28 at home against Bryan, while Crestview is slated to host Parkway the same night. 

POSTED: 07/31/20 at 8:58 am. FILED UNDER: Sports