Friday, September 22, 2017

Wolverines Fight, Fall at Chardon
August 30, 2017 by Jamie Ward | No Comments

Beginning a new chapter under new head coach Brian Craemer, the West Geauga Wolverines had a chance to win Friday night against rival Chardon. But the Hilltoppers took over in the third quarter after a key special teams play.

GAME PHOTOS: http://smu.gs/2wfpnW5

Beginning a new chapter under new head coach Brian Craemer, the West Geauga Wolverines had a chance to win Friday night against rival Chardon. But the Hilltoppers took over in the third quarter after a key special teams play.

The game was a successful start for many of the Wolverines’ leaders.

West Geauga actually received both kickoffs to start the game and the second half because the Hilltoppers chose to play defense first rather than defer their decision to the second half.

Rather than the officials making sure Chardon understood what they were doing, they allowed the Hilltoppers to make a mistake that was easily fixable. Preventative officiating was not something any of the zebras on the field could be accused of, as it was also the first game of the season for them.

After the Wolverines scored on a Frank DiPaolo strike from QB Jax Shenkel, and then recovered a fumble that led to a Michael Osters 6-yard TD run, the Hilltoppers found themselves losing ground.

“I thought, OK, it’s 0-0 again,” Niehus said of the tie score. “Everybody’s like, let’s get back out there on offense and get back to work.”

The Wolverines are led by new head coach Brian Craemer, who is instilling a new no-huddle spread offense that runs the ball but also attacks the defense seams with long passes down the field.

At times, that offense had Chardon beaten down the field, but the Wolverines could not always connect on their passes.

DiPaolo, Christian Dibra, Anthony Coneglio and Klevi Rybak could all have big years catching the ball this year.

While West Geauga will have its learning curve, the team looks to be a force in the Chagrin Valley’s Chagrin Division this year.

“It was an exciting football game,” Craemer said. “I take my hat off to Chardon and Mitch Hewitt and the things he has going here.”

Osters finished with 123 yards on 25 carries. He was stopped just short of the goal line to end the first half, an important play in hindsight.

“The game of football, it truly is about the inches, like we saw at the goal line,” Craemer said. “It is the little things that are going to make or break you. That’s our whole focus right now. Our focus is tomorrow morning, and fixing mistakes and having a great plan for next week.”

Craemer thinks Shenkel will thrive in the Wolverines offense as he becomes more comfortable with it.

Chardon will take on a Canadian high school for the second straight season in Week 2 in a home game against Ottawa St. Joseph. That game can be heard live on www.geaugatv.org.

The Wolverines host Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin in its home opener at Howell Field.

GAME PHOTOS: http://smu.gs/2wfpnW5

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