What John Reed started for Coldwater High School football, Chip Otten has upgraded. Both Cavaliers head football coaches are integral parts for an unprecedented run through the Midwest Athletic Conference and the playoffs.
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A journeyman coach, Reed found his place at Coldwater. The Cavs were already highly regarded in football and baseball, but under Reed the football program rocketed to a perennial state title contender.
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In 15 seasons Reed’s Coldwater teams were 102-14 in the MAC, qualified for the playoffs all but once, advanced to the state semifinals eight times and played for five state titles, winning twice. The town and MAC community was rocked when he succumbed to esophageal cancer in the spring of 2010.
»ALTER: Top 7 all-time Knights
Like Reed, Otten also was a journeyman head coach and was uncertain if he wanted to go that route again, then relented. With fingers crossed, he would follow his father Barney Otten (1974-76) as a Cavaliers head coach. Good call, because Coldwater football hasn’t been the same since.
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Including Reed’s final season before Otten took over, the Cavs have played for a state championship eight straight years, winning four straight Division V titles from 2012-15.
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Its facilities have undergone a makeover, christened the Coldwater Pride Athletic Complex. What hasn’t changed are the familiar roster names who wear the orange and black. Coldwater is a village of about 4,500 residents anchored at the crossroads of routes 219 and 118. Celina is to the north, St. Henry to the south.
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Coldwater also is the place to be for home games on football Friday nights. Victory celebrations are mandatory. These are the best of times for Coldwater football.
»WAYNE: Top 7 all-time Warriors
Here’s who we consider the all-time seven best football players at Coldwater High School in a continuing series. Have something to say about this alphabetical list? Email your comments to email@example.com.
Location: Coldwater, Mercer County.
Affiliation: Midwest Athletic Conference, 1972 charter member.
Division: D-VI, Region 24.
1. Chuck Alig, LB, 1985: Considered among the best LBs in program history, which is saying a lot. Anchor of a 10-0 team as a junior that couldn’t qualify for the postseason. Longtime Coldwater science teacher and Cavs assistant football coach. Rejuvenated wrestling program as head coach for 12 seasons.
2. Ron “Gig” Grieshop, FB/LB, 1963: At 6-2, 264 pounds, no wonder Woody Hayes wanted him to play for the Buckeyes. “Gig” just said no. Western Buckeye League player of the year who also excelled in basketball and baseball. Burly and an unrelenting force; just the kind of presence that would become the norm for Coldwater standouts in later championship eras.
3. Ross Homan, FB/LB, 2006: Only three-time All-Ohioan in Cavs’ history and should have also made it as a freshman. At 6-1 and 230, a two-way hammer in Grieshop’s mold. Still ranks No. 1 in the program for most single-game tackles (32), season tackles (219), career tackles (639) and career sacks (22). Also No. 3 all-time career rusher (2,541 yards). State defensive player of the year as a senior. Major impact at OSU as a three-year starter at linebacker. Sixth-round draft pick by Vikings in 2011. NFL career prematurely ended due to effects of concussions. Cousin of former Buckeyes Bobby and Tommy Hoying (St. Henry). Younger brother Adam Homan played fullback at OSU.
4. Brody Hoying, QB/DB, 2015: Another outstanding two-way player and two-time, first team All-Ohioan and D-V offensive state player of the year as a senior. More of a running back who was hiked the ball. Holds Cavs’ season record for most rushing TDs (33), career rushing TDs (64), season rushing (1,860 yards) and career rushing (3,435). Starting outfielder on state-title baseball team. A redshirt sophomore DB at Eastern Michigan this coming season. First cousin to Bobby Hoying and Ross Homan.
5. Kevin Hoyng, QB/DB, 2003: That’s right; he could use a vowel. But there was no lacking in offensive ability. The ultimate dual threat, passed for 2,800 yards and ran for nearly 1,800 yards as a senior. Ranks top five in most significant Cavs’ season and career QB stats. Failed to land top All-Ohio honors because he also played during the Ben Mauk era at Kenton.
Reset most significant passing records at the University of Dayton from 2003-07. A two-time captain, holds Flyers career total yardage (9,528), passing yards (8,862) and TD passes (59). Also made a run as an NFL free agent DB in Browns’ 2008 preseason. Offensive assistant coach at UD and Wittenberg’s offensive coordinator last three seasons.
6. Caleb Siefring, WR/DB, 2013: A two-time All-Ohioan, but what sets him apart from other heralded Cavs is he did it as a junior DB and a senior WR. As a WR had 101 career catches for 1,816 yards (17.9 yards per catch). Put four receiving TDs on Versailles in 2011. Won state D-V titles as a junior and senior.
7. Keith Wenning, QB, 2010: The history 101 lesson for every football player who waits until his senior season to log significant playing time. Couldn’t crack Cavs’ starting lineup until 2009, but then it was on.
As a senior passed for 40 TDs and accounted for 3,629 yards passing, both single-season program records. Connected with Adam Rammell for 14 receptions in a state title loss to Youngstown Ursuline. That game he also set an all-divisions record for most completions (40) and yards (414) in regulation.
As a sophomore backup for Cory Klenke, completed two passes for 115 yards and an 80-yard TD to Ryan Geier to kick start Coldwater’s comeback upset of Youngstown Mooney in the 2007 D-IV state title game.
Backed all that up by becoming Ball State’s career leader in passing yards (11,402), pass attempts (1,642), completions (1,035) and passing TDs (92). His 4,148 passing yards as a senior trails only Byron Leftwich (Marshall) and Ben Roethlisberger (Miami) in MAC history.
The 6-2, 232-pounder was taken in the sixth round by the Ravens in 2014 NFL draft. Signed twice since by the Bengals (20015-16) and again by Giants (2016). Currently a free agent.
»Honorable mention: Kyle Bergman, P, 2012; Malave Bettinger, DL, 2016; Steve Borger, QB, 2006; Mark Brunet, DL, 2012; Austin Bruns, QB, 2013; Matt Bruns, WR, 2001; Joe Cron, OL/LB, 1982; Zach Dickman, DL, 2013; Mitch Fullenkamp, DL, 2015; Brady Geier, DB, 2005; Tony Harlamert, RB/WR, 2009; Mike Hay, OL, 2003;
Jack Hemmelgarn, QB, 2016; Adam Homan, FB/LB, 2009; Joe Huwer, OL, 2004; Dan Kanney, DB, 2003; Cory Klenke, QB/DB, 2009; Reese Klenke, WR, 2011; Adam Klosterman, DB, 2014; Tyler Kunk, DL, 2008; Eric Lefeld, OL, 2010; Neal Muhlenkamp, WR, 2017; Brock Pleiman, DL, 2009; Adam Rammel, WR, 2010;
Mario de la Rosa, K, 2009; Mitch Schoenherr, LB, 2014; Andrew Siefring, DL, 2017; Cole Steinbrunner, OL, 2002; Trevor Stromblad, L, 2006; Dylan Thobe, QB, 2017; Keith Uhlenhake, DL, 2010; Steve Vagedes, P, 1994; Tyler Vogel, RB/LB, 2001; Keith Walls, WR, 1999; Paul Werling, DL, 2000.