Friday, June 14th, 2013
By Ryan Hines
Celina football staff coaching All-Stars
It's still several weeks before the start of the 2013 high school football season but Celina head coach Jared Rolfes and the rest of the Bulldogs' coaching staff are still working with a contingent of standout players from the 2012 campaign.
Celina's coaching staff will coach the Western Buckeye League All-Stars on Friday night against the Midwest Athletic Conference/Northwest Conference All-Stars in the 14th annual Van Wert County Hospital All-Star football game at 7:30 p.m. at Eggress Stadium in Van Wert.
Rolfes is excited for the opportunity after being approached to coach the WBL All-Stars by Van Wert athletic director and game organizer Kent Smelser.
"Kent has done a great job with this game since it started 14 years ago. He called me and asked if I would be willing to coach the WBL side and I accepted," said Rolfes. "It's another chance to coach some of our guys and work with kids that we have played against, so it was appealing for me."
Rolfes and eight assistant coaches - Trent Temple, Tyler Foulkes, Derek Wenning, Jay Imwalle, Dean Miller, Brennan Bader, Matt Hodge and Steve Bader - have had 33 former WBL standouts at their disposal with just four practices this week to implement Celina's offensive and defensive schemes.
"It's never easy to implement a new offense and defense in a short amount of time but these guys have really impressed me with the way they have picked up on things," said Rolfes. "Some of the guys come from a power-running scheme but they have adjusted really quickly to what we are going to try and do."
The MAC/NWC side will be coached by Lima Central Catholic's Jerry Cooper. The only MAC representatives are Mark Boggs and Kody White from Delphos St. John's with the remaining 31 players coming from the NWC.
Rolfes has a pair of talented quarterbacks to lead the spread offensive attack with Celina's Braden Billger (first team All-WBL) and Bath's Doug Sanders (second team All-WBL). Billger was a three-year starter for Rolfes.
"Having Braden on the team running our offense is a big advantage for us since he's comfortable and familiar with it all," said Rolfes. "Doug is a very good athlete that has picked up on things really well too. Doug gives us a running threat at the position too."
Billger and Sanders will have a solid collection of receivers with the likes of Celina's Collen Byer, Ottawa-Glandorf's Jacob Leopold, Elida's Nick Pauff, Bath's Cody Schuerman and Defiance's Ryan Voll.
The backfield will also feature a talented one-two punch with Ottawa-Glandorf's Tristan Parker (WBL Offensive Back of the Year) and Celina's Zach Hembree.
Although Celina's offense is known more for passing, Rolfes is relishing the chance to let Parker and Hembree run behind a potentially dominant offensive line with first team All-WBL performers like Celina's Kyle Fortkamp, Bath's Andrew Garland and Ottawa-Glandorf's trio of Derek Rieman (Co-WBL Offensive Lineman of the Year), Matt Samuelson (Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year) and Wyatt Karhoff (WBL Defensive Lineman of the Year). Celina's Matt Buschur and O-G's Tanner Hohenbrink were second team All-WBL performers that will also play in the trenches.
All-Star game rules dictate that offensive playcalling must be roughly 60 percent passing and 40 percent running.
Also representing Celina for the WBL squad will be defensive lineman Jalen Knous while offensive/defensive lineman Adam Neal is the lone player from St. Marys.
"I think we may have an advantage on the offensive line, we're seven deep with really good players. They are all big, strong and smart kids with two good running backs behind them," said Rolfes. "We have a lot of good players in this game. You figure out really quick why you get beat by some of those teams because of the talent of these guys."
While the winning the game is obviously on the minds of the players and coaches involved, Rolfes has enjoyed the camaraderie he has witnessed in practices.
"These guys have been battling against each other for the past couple of years but they have really developed friendships with each other this week in a short amount of time and that's pretty cool to see," said Rolfes. "It's been a fun week and I know the guys are looking forward to playing the game."
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Mostly sunny, mild
Mostly sunny, mild