(Week 1) Columbus Crusaders @ West Jefferson


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WJ- 42 Zane Trace- 21 Final if you kept score last night!

WJ scrimmages are in the books and now it is time to move on to week 1.
WELL, that is how it usually is except for this season!
WJ will have another scrimmage in week 1 when they host the traveling team of the Crusaders.
From what I understand, it was supposed to be Ready in week 1 but something happened and this game got set up.
Not to worry though, Ready visits WJ week 2 next season!

The scrimmage last night against Zane Trace was a big stepping stone for the Riders.
I hear ZT should have a real good season, win their league and probably make the playoffs for the 3rd strait season.
WJ started off slow in the 1st qtr but coach B was subbing players every few plays so it was hard to keep up with who was in there.
The wj D was really good getting 4 INT's and the 9th grade had 1.
The Dillion kid will be a difference maker this season and will be fun to watch on special teams and when the O-line gets up and going.
The defense looked so much better then last year already and the offense can be pretty good except for the penalties.
It was probably another game over 100 yards again but ZT started getting a lot of flags as well in the 2nd half.


Does anybody know anything about this team? I believe it's homeschooled kids? Other than that I haven't heard much....


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Here is the site for the Columbus. Crusaders.http://www.columbuscrusaders.org/football/highschool/

And a quick note who they are.
The Columbus Crusaders were founded in 1996 by Mike Cheeseman, Victor Melfe, and Tom Ensign.

Crusader high school football is a Christ-centered, athlete-focused, Division VII competitive football program with experienced coaches and state-of-the-art training programs and facilities. Players benefit from one-on-one instruction and opportunities to play early and often throughout their high school careers. Crusader coaches focus on preparing players for college-level football with the newest techniques and up-tempo offensive schemes. Crusaders compete against top high school and prep school teams throughout Ohio and the surrounding Midwest. Family and friends from the around the world can listen to our game-day broadcasts. Our high school team is open to all young men from any school background: online, home school, public, or private. Contact head coach Ben Barlow to learn more.
They always have had talent on their teams when I had seen them play a few times.

The Crusaders have had just 4 head coaches since 1996.
Tom Ensign 1996 – 1998
Mike Stanley 1998 – 2008
Brian Stier 2009 – 2011
Ben Barlow (2002 Crusader Alumnus) 2012 – present

Last year the Crusaders (D-7) finished 7-3 and posting a win over a D-2 school.

And their fight song is? What do you think?
What else but "ON Wisconsin" So we will hear a lot of the fight song Friday night!

Their qb is a sr. and I believe is 6' 4" and weighs around 210 and have good size and good WR's around him.


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I forgot to mention in my posts above that #29 for wj is a freshman and when he came in and played Friday night, he was a big hitter.
The kid was flying all around the ball and making huge hits.
#35 for the freshman team scored with the starters in on a long td run and had a few good runs with the freshman team in.
But, if I was to bet on it I would think that #29 was going to get some playing time in on Friday night.
If things go well for wj, I bet a lot of the younger players get to see some playing time this season for the Riders.

Not looking ahead, but Madison Plains beat Adena Friday night in their scrimmage 44-7.
Adena was really young last year, mainly soph's so not really sure what is going on out there.
Here is the "Unofficial Harbin Computer Point Rankings" by Bruce Monnin of the JJhuddle site.
Region 20
Predicted Forecast Finish Team For 2017

1 Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy 27.2440
2 Brookville 22.3280
3 West Milton Milton-Union 15.3792
4 Carlisle 15.3708
5 Cincinnati Mariemont 13.7512
6 Jamestown Greeneview 13.5500
7 Middletown Madison Senior 12.8167
8 Casstown Miami East 12.7560
9 Reading 11.1748
10 Bethel-Tate 11.0809
11 Cincinnati Summit Country Day 10.2526
12 Versailles 9.7958
13 Blanchester 9.6173
14 Cincinnati Madeira 9.3273
15 Anna 8.1125
16 Camden Preble Shawnee 8.0711
17 Cincinnati North College Hill 7.3346
18 West Jefferson 7.2858
19 Cincinnati Purcell Marian 6.4783
20 London Madison Plains 3.5988
21 Batavia Clermont Northeastern 2.6110
22 Cincinnati Clark Montessori 1.9550
23 Waynesville 1.8667
24 Lees Creek East Clinton 1.4184
25 Cincinnati Finneytown 0.0000
26 Springfield Greenon 0.0000
27 Cincinnati Riverview East Academy 0.0000

Zane Trace is picked to finish #2 in D-4 region 15 and should finish somewhere around there cause they will be a good team.
The rest of our schedule doesn't look like last years schedule.
A few schools haven't won but a couple of games in the last few years like Greenon, Cedarville, Southeastern and Triad.
Burg, WLS and Springfield NE are picked to finish 3rd, 10th & 19th in the jammed packed region 24.
Springfield Central Cath is picked to finish 10th in region 28th in D-7, they should have a little better season then last year.
Here are the teams records from last year!

Crusaders- 7-3
Adena- 3-7
Greenon- 0-10
Cedarville- 0-10
SCC- 6-4
Fairbanks- 2-8
Burg- 12-1 *
Northeastern- 5-5
WLS- 6-5 *
Triad- 1-9

Combined records not counting the Crusaders!
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Thanks for the updates on WJ. As for the schedule, WJ only has 9 games that count towards the Harbin Computer Points/playoffs. With only 19 players out for football who knows if Springfield Central Catholic will be able to field a team for the entire year. Springfield Greenon is on a 31 game losing streak (2nd longest in the state). Cedarville is riding a 18 game losing streak. I'm thinking WJ will need to go 10-0 or at least 9-1 to ensure making the playoffs. Whoever wins the OHC North and South could be 9-1 or 10-0 and have no idea if they are any good, what their weaknesses are, their true strengths; week 11 could be a rude awaking for any potential playoff team(s) from the OHC.


Number 35's name is Gabe Jones. Brother Matt was a standout basketball player for West Jeff and his brother Tyler graduated just a couple years ago was a standout football player, I believe he wore the same number and now plays for Wright State. Gabe just may be more athletic than both of them and when he gets his chances he's gonna make the best of them you can be sure of that. He's both quick and fast with good hands good vision and as small is he is right now has not an ounce of fear in him. Unfortunately he's behind Dillion which I think may set records this year and Higgins who isn't going anywhere. And that's just the run game. Lambert should also put up some impressive numbers this year. It may be a little cocky but I think this team easily goes undefeated in the regular season. Not counting the Crusaders because I know nothing about them. That's going to create a problem going into the playoffs. That's where coach B comes into play. Someone's going to have to keep these kids in check and I'm not sure there's a better coach to do that than him. Will be an interesting year for sure.


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Thanks for the info on Gabe, I can see the kid will be special.
Tyler was a good football player on both sides of the ball but it looks like younger bother Gabe will be a really good RB.

As for this season, they defiantly have a better senior class then the last 2 seasons that should help to keep the team more focused.
This seasons schedule doesn't really look good for getting a team real prepared for the playoffs.
It would have been nice if Zane would of been the 1st game even though the team had to get some good experience out of playing them.
Not like having a MAC school back on your schedule though but Ready should help out next year.

Moving on, if you wanted a coach to help keep you and get you ready and focused for the playoffs, it would be coach B.


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Should be a great night for football, especially for week 1.
I remember a lot of years when week 1 and week 2 games were around 100 degrees.
This Friday night will feel great!


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Can't wait for another year of HS football!!!! Looking for the Riders to bounce back after a couple of tough years and the 1st losing seasons in several years except when Coach B first arrived at WJ.

What I like so far:
- Coach B and staff, what they teach these young men is HUGE
- experienced QB
- a couple of solid returning O linemen
- really good athlete moving to help anchor the line
- tough back, speed back
- explosive big play offense
- supertoe kicker (just had to throw this on in)
- some young studs (35, 29) showing they want to play
- kids getting to the ball on defense
- increased level of intensity on defense, some really big hits

What needs work (IMO)
- catching the ball consistently
- O & D linemen slow foot movement, put these kids on jump
ropes for at least 1 hour a day
- tackling, too many missed tackles
- tackling, not many backs laying on their backs, too many yards after contact
- not finishing plays or letting up towards end of play
- schedule reminds me of weak schedule we had prior to Mid-State league realignment and moving to middle division

Step 1 starts Friday night at home and even if still a club team, they do have some talent so we need to defend home turf and impose our will on them.

Go Riders!!!!


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Pretty well said Cville, don't have to add a lot to that except for, get rid of all the stupid penalties.
Kickoff team needs some work, just get a little better kicker to get the ball down the field instead of letting the opponent start at mid-field.


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Pretty ugly game but a win none the less, turnovers and penalties got to.

Defense did pretty well, with some big hits and plenty of hats to the ball.

Offensive needs work and really disappointed in overall running game in not being able to pick up short yardage when needed. Lambert did have a couple of really nice throws down the field.

Always take a win and the confidence that goes with it. Lots of work still to do.