Jason Schondelmyer starts rebuild with Arcanum football team


ARCANUM – Jason Schondelmyer knows the Arcanum football team will return to the Ohio High School Athletic Association playoffs. Whether that’s this year or sometime in the future, though, is less certain.

Schondelmyer returns this year to coach Arcanum, a program he led from 1999-2005. During his first stint in Arcanum he led the Trojans to the playoffs in 2002 and 2005 and was named the Cross County Conference Coach of the Year twice, Miami Valley Coaches Association Division V Coach of the Year twice, Southwest District Division V Coach of the Year and Darke County Coach of the Year.

Since leaving Arcanum, Schondelmyer was a head coach at Versailles, Twin Valley South and Tri-Village along with spending time as an assistant at Kettering Alter and the University of Dayton.

“I really enjoy it,” Schondelmyer, who spent the past two years at Tri-Village, said of returning to Arcanum. “Like I’ve said before, it’s a place that I enjoyed when I was here before previously and it was a place we always kind of talked about as far as the opportunity if it ever presented itself for my family to move into the community and raise our boys here.”

Now back at Arcanum, the veteran coach sees a program that is capable of contending in the CCC and competing for an OHSAA playoff spot.

“I think we can be competitive,” he said. “There’s no doubt about it. But we’re just going to have to take it one game at a time.”

How fast Arcanum is able to compete for championships will be determined by how quickly the players buy in, Schondelmyer said. So far the Trojans have done a good job of understanding the changes the new leaders have implemented.

“It’s not easy,” Schondelmyer said. “It never is. It’s different philosophies. It’s change. Our kids are doing a great job of grasping it. I’ve been very fortunate in that I have many former players and many former assistants that have worked or played for me as Arcanum football players or coaches, and the transition has been easier because of that.”

On offense the Trojans will look to pass more than they have in the past although they’ll still be a run-first team.

“We are going to be a run-oriented offense,” Schondelmyer said. “There’s no doubt about that. We definitely have the capabilities of throwing the ball, and we plan on utilizing the pass more than they have in previous years.”

Juniors Evan Atchley and Austin Fourman are competing for the starting quarterback position, and both have had good preseasons.

Senior captain Daniel Coats along with juniors Wade Meeks, Devin Keckler and Ethin Hoffman all are in the mix at running back. Sophomore Cory Ross and junior Dylan Burns are competing for the fullback position.

Junior Trevor Fry, senior Isaiah Krauss, sophomore Austen Cutarelli and senior Wills Troutwine are in competition for playing time at tight end.

The offensive line is anchored by senior captain Andrew Baker at center, senior captain Alex Weiss at right guard and senior captain Caleb Harter at right tackle. Junior Dane Craport will play at left guard while sophomore Jayden Heltsley will line up at left tackle.

On defense Arcanum will deploy a variety of fronts that can react to their opponents’ formations.

“We’re a read-and-react team,” Schondelmyer said. “We’re trying to get as many hats to the ball as possible.”

Arcanum will utilize defensive schemes that include four, five or even six defensive linemen.

“We have multiple fronts that we can get into,” Schondelmyer said. “That allows us to play formations to our strengths more.”

Craport will start at nose guard for the Trojan defense while Harter, Heltsley and Weiss will see time at defensive tackle. Baker is slated to start at defensive end.

Krauss, Ross, Keckler and Burns are in the mix for time at linebacker. Fourman and Troutwine will play the Trojan position, which is a strong safety-type player for Arcanum.

Coats, Hoffman and freshman Logan Stastny are in competition for playing time at safety. Atchley, Meeks, Stastny and junior Trevor Fry are in the mix at cornerback.

Arcanum has quite a few players with varsity experience but also has several key contributors who are new to the varsity game.

“We have a lot of kids that are getting some of their first full varsity season so I would say we’re kind of green in some areas,” Schondelmyer said.

While there is room for growth, Schondelmyer has been pleased with the team’s physical strength and willingness to learn.

“I think we’re a strong football team,” he said. “We’ve put in the necessary time to be physically strong. I think our kids are very coachable right now. I think they’re like sponges.”

The energy is getting better every day, which could lead the Trojans back to the playoffs.

“Every day we plan on getting better,” Schondelmyer said. “That’s kind of our goal right now.”

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Arcanum is starting to lay the foundation for a return to the Ohio High School Athletic Association playoffs.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/web1_Arcanum-WEB-29.jpgArcanum is starting to lay the foundation for a return to the Ohio High School Athletic Association playoffs. Kyle Shaner | The Daily Advocate

By Kyle Shaner

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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.

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