NEW MADISON – Tri-Village is riding high over the last year with the success of its basketball team winning the Division IV Ohio High School Athletic Association state basketball championship, going 30-0.
To top that off 2013 graduate Clayton Murphy captured a gold medal for the United States at the Pan-American games in Toronto in the 800 meters and then followed that up with a silver medal at the North American, Central American, Caribbean Championships and with a little good fortune found his way onto the USA team competing in Beijing, China, in the World Outdoor Tracking and Field Championships.
So with all this success going on at Tri-Village there couldn’t be a better time to start a football program.
Leading the way in building that program is the ultra successful coach and experienced leadership of Jason Schondelmyer.
Coach Schondelmyer comes to Tri-Village from Kettering Alter High School where he served as an assistant coach on the Division IV state runner-up team from this past season. He also has served as an assistant coach at the University of Dayton and held head coaching jobs at Arcanum High School, Versailles High School and Twin Valley South High School.
Joining Schondelmyer is as assistant coaches are Dave King, Corey Zickefoose, Dale Ary and Tracey Brown.
“We are very fortunate to have Dave King, who is a retired teach and an offensive line coach for 30 years at Northmont High School. I’ve worked with him at Alter High School and in my opinion if he’s not the best he’s at least in the top three in the Miami Valley as far as offensive line coaches go,” Schondelmyer said.
“Corey Zickefoose is a former player of mine and is a teacher at Eaton and a track coach and an active member of our military in the reserve and coaches our secondary and receivers and is a very detail oriented guy, not to mention a great role model for our kids,” Schondelmyer added.
“Dale Ary has been a big help to us and is a hometown guy that also works in the school and very committed to the program and to the community. He is helping a lot with our scout team, coordination, parents, cheerleading groups and organizing things and we are glad to have him on staff,” Schondelmyer said.
“Tracey Brown is our strength coach, and he puts together programs and workout routines for the kids to improve their overall strength and conditioning, plus he also films for me and has done a lot of behind the scenes work and we are very fortunate to have him on staff as well,” Schondelmyer added.
The Patriots will play a junior varsity schedule this year as a first-year program and have six juniors, nine sophomores and six freshmen that make up the 21-man roster.
Key players to keep an eye out for this year are Johnny Wilson, Noah Burns, Jared Buckley, Trey Frech, Austin Bruner and Mason Sullenbarger.
“Junior Johnny Wilson is a great leader on both sides of the ball and is playing quarterback and linebacker. He is a vocal guy who can demonstrate athletically how to play the game on the field and is the best example of what varsity game speed will be like for the rest of the team,” Schondelmyer said.
“Sophomore Noah Burns is starting to come on and is playing running back, fullback and linebacker. He’s not a big kid and only weighs 140 pounds, but he’ll hit you like a 200 pounder. He has a huge heart, and he’s doing a nice job so far,” Schondelmyer added.
“Sophomore Jared Buckley has played a little fullback and linebacker, but we feel he can help us more on the defensive line, and we will turn him loose a little bit at the defensive end position,” Schondelmyer continued.
“Freshman Austin Bruner will play corner for us and has a lot of speed and will see some action as a running back. Sophomore Trey Frech is another corner for us and a back-up quarterback and a very coachable kid who is getting a lot of reps,” Schondelmyer said.
“Freshman Mason Sullenbarger has been a pleasant surprise for us both the offensive and defensive line and is improving his technique, and it’s starting to click mentally and so far has been our best offensive and defensive lineman,” Schondelmyer said.
Coach Schondelmyer has been pleased so far with the Patriots’ scrimmages against Preble Shawnee and Twin Valley South.
“Against Preble Shawnee we lost 3-2, but we were very competitive, and they had some big boys on that team. If not for giving up a last second touchdown on a fourth and 7 we could have ended in a tie,” Schondelmyer said.
“Against Twin Valley South we scored two touchdowns including one with one tick on clock in the half to go up 14-0 at the half.
“But in the second half we faded a little maybe a little bit of conditioning and a bit mental and gave up two scores in the third quarter to tie it up 14-14.
“But the best thing is we overcame that adversity and took over with four minutes to play and drove the ball down the field and scored with under a minute to play to finish the scrimmage with a 21-14 win. That was very positive for us,” Schondelmyer said.
“Our goals this year won’t be measured so much as in wins and losses but will be measured daily and measured by the accountability to one another as teammates,” Schondelmyer said.
“We have a lot of kids who have never played football and some who have never played an organized sport, and it’s new concept for them to know that they are playing not just for themselves but for the guys next to them and that they are all accountable to one another and when one breaks down we all break down,” Schondelmyer said.
“I want our kids to learn to be accountable; that is the No. 1 goal.
“We are working on developing more physical toughness to know what it feels like to strain multiple times during a game and to know what it takes to develop a mental and physical toughness to go on.
“We are working on building a trust factor. It’s not about personal accolades and what best for the guys in the jersey but what best for the whole team and the team accolades,” Schondelmyer said.
“And finally, we want to teach fundamentals, as a new program we have lots of fundamentals to teach. We want to teach the correct way to tackle with our heads up throughout our system as I’ve spent time even at the youth football level teaching the coaches on how to correctly tackle and the fundamentals of the game.
“Our coaches and players know this season is about showing improvement and building a solid foundation for the future of our program and so far we
off to a great start,” Schondelmyer concluded.
The Patriots will embark on history when they open their season at home at 7 p.m. Aug. 29 against Bethel under the lights.