CRESTLINE — The Crestline Bulldogs football squad will enter the 2017 season in a Mid-Buckeye Conference that now only contains two teams: themselves and the Lucas Cubs. Due to the Danville Blue Devils departing the MBC to join the Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference (K-MAC) and the Loudonville Redbirds playing their football in the Principals Athletic Conference, the ‘Dogs and the Cubs will essentially play their respective seasons as independents.
With overall roster numbers low, head coach Kevin Sipes will enter his fourth season (6-24) with Crestline with just three returning offensive starters and seven defense starters. The Bulldogs will be see the likes of 12 total returning letter winners suiting back up in the blue and white from a year ago.
Crestline finished with four wins in 2016, finishing 4-6 overall but just 0-3 in the MBC. Throughout their 10 games, the ‘Dogs were narrowly outscored by their opponents; 278-259. The ‘16 squad did lose 10 total players to graduation, including key elements to their continued improvement; JR Wolfe, JC Clark, Timmy Thompkins, Chandler Gaskill, Tyler Sipes and Diego Gonzales.
But, have no fear Crestline football fans. The mixture of experience partnered with the youth should create a bond that will provide the program with the spark needed to continue their push for betterment.
“We will have a young team this year and will have to establish leadership on the field,” says coach Sipes in an email. “We have a lot of solid young athletes that will impact the way our season will go,” the coach continued. A few on the young athletes to keep an eye on are incoming freshmen Ethan Clark, Austin Silverwood and Chris Schlupp, all three of which are trying to claim their place and make an impact at positions on both sides of the ball.
Senior Bailey Woolard will be back in search of his fourth varsity letter at the receiver position as well as the safety position on defense. Crestline will also be returning multiple-letter winners Tommy Hale, Dakota Wireman, Caleb Moore, Ty Clark, Davon Triplett and Dillon Foltz. Dustin Chapman, Ethan Clum, Jaden Stewart and Logan Parrella will also be returning to take snaps for the ‘Dogs, all after winning their first letters a year prior.
Coach Sipes ponders the year ahead of the young team. “We are very optimistic moving forward to this years’ season. We will need to replace the leadership we lost from last year and continue to improve and progress throughout the season. First year quarterback Ty Clark needs to step up and take control of the offensive side of the ball. He (Clark) will have help from Wollard, Wireman and Triplett to help with the transition. A lot of kids are playing their position for the first time this year.”
Crestline will kick-off their 2017 campaign on the road at Monroeville on Friday, August 25. Hutson Stadium will host its’ first home match up of the year on Friday, September 8 when the South Central Trojans travel to Crestline. Due to the Bulldogs playing an independent schedule this season, they will face-off twice against the Ridgedale Rockets. Ridgedale, a member of the Northern-10 Athletic Conference will not play officially in N-10 play this upcoming season. The Bulldogs regular season will close at home on Friday, Oct. 27 against the Bucyrus Redmen.