Mississinawa Valley football team aims to end losing streak


UNION CITY – None of the players on Mississinawa Valley’s roster know what it’s like to win a high school football game, and Coach Mike Griffin wants that to change this season.

Mississinawa Valley is 0-30 over the past three seasons, having last won in its 2013 season finale against Bradford. The Blackhawks are determined to end their losing streak this season

“You’re just looking to win a game. You just go in and compete hard every week, try to win a game,” Griffin said. “It would be nice. It would be a change of pace, especially for the seniors. I feel bad for them. They’ve never won a high school football game. It would be nice for them to experience that. No one wants to go through high school 0-40.”

In their quest to win a game, the Blackhawks will benefit from consistency this year. For the first time in their high school careers the MV football players enter a season with the same head coach as the previous year.

“Trying to get some consistency in here so they can actually learn the intricacies of the offense and defense,” Griffin said. “They’ve got a better understanding of what we’re trying to get done.”

Along with having the same schemes as last year, Mississinawa will benefit from having a veteran squad with numerous returning starters.

“To have this second year where everybody pretty much contributed that’s contributing again, it’s kind of exciting because we can practice a lot faster and a lot harder because we’re not having to explain every little detail of it,” Griffin said. “We’re definitely much improved.”

Griffin started out at Mississinawa Valley as an assistant coach in 2015 prior to taking over the head coaching position last year. In his three years at MV he’s seen the Blackhawks improve greatly.

“From the time I walked into the door until the time I took over as head coach to now … this team would destroy the team that we walked in with, and there was some good players on those teams that have left, but just from the understanding and the knowledge and having that consistency of having the same ideas and schemes in place and the same terminology, you can see the kids, they’re picking it up quicker,” Griffin said.

The consistency starts at quarterback where Trent Collins returns as the signal caller. Cody Dirksen will provide depth behind him as a capable backup.

Nate Gladdish also returns to start at running back.

“Basically a three-year starter back there,” Griffin said. “Has looked great so far this preseason. Looks primed and ready to have a good year.”

Gladdish, who is a two-way starter, will be able to get some rest with backup Billy Bridges spelling him at times.

Dilyn Rammel will start at one receiver position while Kyler Mote and Blake Scholl will vie for playing time at the other receiver spot.

Will Hall, Alex Scholl, Josh Fett and Max Dirmeyer all will rotate in at the slot position.

Zeb Hannan returns to start at center while Colton Hines is back to start at guard. Elijah Livingston, who saw some varsity action last year, will move into a starting spot at guard.

Trey Godfrey and Alex Anguiano will take over starting spots at offensive tackle while Mason Hardwick pushes for playing time as well.

The Blackhawks, who will look to run a balanced offensive attack, have been encouraged by the strength of their run game in the preseason.

The defense also has shown improvement throughout the preseason.

Bridges, Kenny McFarland, Hardwick and Hannan will have significant roles on the defensive line. But they’ll get plenty of rest as MV looks to employ a rotation along the line.

“We don’t see there’s a big drop-off from linemen three through eight so we’re trying to platoon our line as much as possible,” Griffin said. “We’re a little undersized up front. At least they could be fresh.”

All four starting linebackers – Dirmeyer, Hall, Gladdish and Dirksen – return from last year.

Playing time in the defensive backfield is still up for grabs with Alex Scholl, Blake Scholl, Fett, Mote, Collins and Rammel contending for the one safety and two corner spots.

“That hasn’t worked itself completely out yet,” Griffin said.

When he evaluates his team, Griffin sees a roster that is much improved from last year and a team that will benefit from the CCC’s new scheduling format that keeps the league’s top teams off the Blackhawks’ schedule.

“We open with Union City,” Griffins aid. “It’s the last time we’re going to play them for at least the next four years. They’re off our schedule. You want to try to win that one. New Bremen is a new opponent for us, (Midwest Athletic Conference) school, always tough type of situation. Then we go into Bradford and Tri-Village and (Twin Valley) South and Ansonia just trying to win one of those. The nice thing is we kind of got out of the gauntlet. We still have to play a lot of tough teams, but we don’t have to play Covington, Miami East and Tri-County North back-to-back-to-back so maybe we can stay a little healthier in the beginning of the season and get through and squeak out a few wins this year.”

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Mississinawa Valley wants to end its 30-game losing streak this season.
http://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/08/web1_MV-WEB.jpgMississinawa Valley wants to end its 30-game losing streak this season. Dale Barger | For The Daily Advocate

By Kyle Shaner

kshaner@dailyadvocate.com

Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.