A good time for a good cause is always a good thing.
Throw in a little heated competition in the form of flag football, and that’s a perfect afternoon in Ohio.
Crestline High School alumni turned last Saturday out for what organizers hope will become a long-term summer tradition for the blue and white. What started in 2014 as a Bulldogs alumni football game, this year morphed into a flag football tournament at the new Hutson Stadium on the high school campus.
Mindy Sipes, wife of Bulldogs head coach Kevin Sipes, took on the task of organizing the event last year and was still the key player off the field for the alumni tournament this time around. As the head coach’s wife, Mrs. Sipes is the de facto team mom for the Bulldogs, including taking a leadership role in fundraising events like the alumni football tournament.
“We feed the boys on Thursday nights, sell apparel, just anything that Kevin needs done that he doesn’t have time to do,” she said. “We throw the moms together and help out. It works well.”
Each alumnus participating in the tournament paid a $20 entry fee that will help support the Bulldogs football program this season.
“They get a shirt and playing time,” said Mrs. Sipes. “That goes strictly for the football program. Last year, I think there was close to 50 (alumni playing), and this year I think we’re close to 40, 42. The number dropped a little, but not much. We narrowed it down to three teams this year, because their only complaint last year was that they wanted to play longer.”
Coach Sipes, a 1995 graduate of Crestline, said it’s rewarding for him to see so many alumni support the current edition of the Bulldogs.
“It’s a good fundraiser for us and it’s a good time for everybody to come back into town,” he said. “There are people who came from Pickerington, Columbus, down south, up north, a lot of people came back for this. We had a lot of people sign up for it that weren’t able to make it, unfortunately. It’s a good time where we can get together and revisit old stories.”
The Sipes — both lifelong residents of Crestline — share a larger vision for the event in the future.
“I’m hoping we can make it into a festival,” Mrs. Sipes said. “Maybe start off in the morning with a 5K (run), and in the afternoon do a cookout, then do the football tournament, and at the end do parent activities. I’m hoping to take a step every year, maybe.”
Back in black
Three Bulldogs who graduated with the Crestline Class of 2015 played on Saturday. Nate Coffman, Codi Cooke and Austin Norwood all suited for Team Black.
Team Black emerged as the champion of the double-elimination tournament, posting a 3-1 record. After dropping the first game to Team Blue, 28-24, Team Black rallied to edge the blue shirts, 14-8, in the third game of the afternoon, and then handed Team White consecutive losses, 28-20 and 24-20, to claim the title.
Team White stayed in the winner’s bracket thanks to a 22-20 victory over Team Blue in the second game.
The Team Black roster featured the following former Bulldogs: Ben Hocker, David Chatman, Joe Hipsher, Brett Blubaugh, Austin Norwood, Nate Coffman, Jason Goddard, Brandon Ronk, Steve Soria, Jeremy Crawford, Matt Carroll, Chad Miller, Ed Wirick, Adam Schrack, Codi Cooke.
Team White’s roster included the following alumni: Aaron Eckert, Jon Schreck, Justin Feeman, Scott Sipes, Kyle Parsons, Hastings Robinette, Craig Burkhart, Cameron Wagner, Josh Goddard, Brian Wells, Corey Seyfors, John Hazen, Bryce Biglin, Cody Green.
Team Blue was composed of the following Crestline alumni: Nick Reynolds, Mike Spade, Jeff Trent, Steve Glauer, Josh Stumpf, Zack Taylor, Jordan Smith, Pete Coleman, Stephen Coffman, Zach Carroll, Bill Roberts, Bob Sayre, Jerry Clark, Chad Schrack.
Oldies but goodies
Members of the 2015 Bulldogs squad helped at the tournament, serving as the sideline crew and performing other duties. Coach Sipes said the “old guys” impressed his young charges.
“You listen to some of the kids’ comments on the sidelines, they said, ‘Coach, those guys are old and they can still move,’” he laughed. “Crestline has had some good athletes. There was a lot of competitors out there and there was a lot of good athletes out there. It got a little bit chippy. It’s to be expected.”
Andrew Carter can be reached at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048. Connect with him on Twitter @ACGalionSports.