Thursday, July 19th, 2007
By Gary R. Rasberry
Cougars back for another IFL campaign
  As is the case with any team, the Mercer County Cougars have seen familiar faces depart after last season, while others step into the blue and white jerseys this season for the first time.
The semipro football team based out of Fort Recovery enters their fourth year in the Interstate Football League coming off an 8-2 regular season, losing in the second round of the playoffs, 7-6, to eventual Interstate Bowl runner-up Classic City Crush.
Several big personnel changes came up this season as long-time quarterback Adam Wenning hung up the pads after three successful seasons. Other vets like Colin Bechtol, Cody Overman, Kirk (Smoke) Link and Chris (Guggs) Guggenbiller also called it a career in the offseason.
Jose Faller, who came back late last season after serving the past several years in the Army overseas in Iraq, returns full time this season along with Eric Schmitz and Kevin (Pork) Wehrkamp to handle the day-to-day operations of the team while suiting up as well.
"We've got a lot of youth and experience this season," said Faller, who will play fullback and linebacker. "I think they'll come up big for us."
It helps that the team has made the playoffs the last three years, going a combined 20-6 in the regular season. The current Cougars roster has 29 players.
"That's what we were hoping," said Faller about attracting interested younger players. "We picked up more players from Coldwater and picked up a few young players from Fort Recovery. Maybe we'll spread it out and get guys from St. Henry and Marion to round the team out."
With some of the older players gone, younger players, several who earned diplomas just this past spring, have stepped in to help the team.
The league lost a couple of teams as Noble County and Madison County both will not field teams this season.
The Cougars add receiver/defensive back/kicker Trevor Stromblad, who was a key to Coldwater's 2005 state-title run. Stromblad becomes the first regular kicker the team will employ after Wenning handled most of the extra-point and field-goal chores. Fellow former Cav Devin Swartzel joins veteran Justin Kahlig in handing the receiving/secondary spots.
Former Fort Recovery quarterback Brad Bretz takes over as the Cougars signal caller. Bretz is second on the all-time list at Fort Recovery for yards and completions after finishing his football career in high school in 2000.
"It has been six years now," said Bretz. "I just started throwing in pads a couple of weeks ago. It didn't take long to get back used to it. I'll have Jon Kaup (another former Indian who is the all-time leader in pass receptions and receiving yards) to throw to and some of my old linemen. It'll be fun."
More recent Fort Recovery grads Tony Diller and Dusty Guggenbiller - who currently is out with a broken collarbone - will also play for the Cougars, handling receiving and defensive back duties.
The running game will stay strong as Chad Timmerman returns and he'll get some help from another recent Fort Recovery grad in Matt Tobe, who rushed for 666 yards and five touchdowns last season.
The offensive line is where a lot of the retirements hit hard. Zach Sudhoff and Doug Everman are both gone. Veterans like Dusty Johns, Jeremy Link and Wehrkamp will need help from newcomer Tyler Grieshop to help keep the line fresh.
Behind the defensive line, the leaders are back with Minster High School football coach Eric Belcher handling the secondary with linebackers Ron (Bull) Kahlig getting help from Greg Faller and Eli Grieshop in the middle. Dale Everman and Ryan (Butterbean) Rosenbeck will man the defensive line.
The season begins Saturday at rival Darke County. The Cougars play their home opener on August 4 at Barrenbrugge Park against the Indiana Generals.

Cougars Schedule:
July
21  at Darke County
28  at Kosciusko County
August
4  Indiana
11  at Classic City
18  West Ohio
25  at St. Joseph County
September
8  South Central
15  Darke County
Home games begin at 5 p.m. and are played at the Barrenbrugge Athletic Complex in Fort Recovery.

Cougars Roster:
#  Name  Ht.  Wt.  Pos.
1  Trevor Stromblad  5-11  165  WR/DB/K
2  Jon Kaup  6-1  175  WR/DB
3  Greg Faller  5-10  210  FB/LB
5  Chad Timmerman  6-0  185  RB/LB
6  Dale Everman  -  -  DL/OL
7  Brad Bretz  6-0  200  QB/DB
8  Justin Kahlig  5-9  165  WR/S
9  Tyler Wuebker  6-1  210  WR/DB
12  Jose Faller  5-10  250  FB/LB
14  Devin Swartzel  6-2  195  WR/DB
21  Matt Tobe  6-0  190  RB/LB
22  Kevin Schoenherr  6-2  210  TE/DB
23  Tony Diller  6-0  185  WR/DB
25  Dusty Guggenbiller  6-0  190  WR/DB
26  Eric Belcher  6-1  190  DB/WR
33  Eric Schmitz  5-10  205  DB
34  Pat Hart  5-9  185  LB
35  Eli Grieshop  6-0  205  RB/LB
44  Aaron Guggenbiller  6-0  230  RB/LB
50  Tyler Grieshop  5-10  245  OL/LB
51  Jeremy Link  6-2  275  DL/OL
63  Brad Yerick  6-2  250  DL
64  Jason Wenning  6-0  215  LB
65  Jon Homan  5-10  255  OL/DL
66  Al Rinderle  6-1  220  DT/DE
68  Ryan Rosenbeck  6-4  290  DL/OL
70  Kevin Wehrkamp  6-0  290  OL/DL
73  Dusty Johns  6-2  285  OL/DL
Additional online stories for this date
Print edition only stories for this date
• Lightning strikes interrupt electricity to parts of Grand Lake area
• Minster teen leads 230,000-member group
• Sidewalk gathering spot gets visitor smoking at council
• Revolving loan sought to buy bakery
• Cruiser may come earlier than expected
• Lock One in New Bremen nearly done
• Officials opt not to replace outdated, failing boiler
• Public may view artwork in variety of techniques
• Grand Lake wins eighth straight
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Friday Night
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Cloudy
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Saturday
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Cloudy
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Saturday Night
25°
Mostly Cloudy
7%
Sunday
37°
Mostly Cloudy
6%
Sunday Night
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Mostly Cloudy
8%
Monday
42°
Chance Rain
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Monday Night
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Chance Rain
60%
Tuesday
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Rain Likely
69%
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Wednesday
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Wednesday Night
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Chance Snow Showers
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3 Day
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