High school football: Colvin, players take on challenge of rebuilding at Beavercreek

Spencer Johnson was in the Beavercreek weight room at 7 a.m. in January when his new head football coach, Marcus Colvin, came to meet some of his football players. Colvin couldn’t stay long. He had to get to his job by 7:30 as assistant principal at Chaminade Julienne.

“It was really impressive to me,” Johnson said.

First impressions between Colvin, who left CJ after 11 seasons, and the Beavercreek football players, who didn’t win a game last year, have been good.

“I love him,” Johnson said. “He brings so much energy, brings a whole different vibe. It’s awesome.”

Junior linebacker C.J. Crawford feels the same way.

“I love him,” he said. “He’s loving all of us kids and just bringing great energy to this program. Definitely a new step for us.”

An unexpected opportunity

Colvin was set at CJ with a strong program. He started there when he was 22 after playing football at Dayton.

“I always want to make sure I communicate that CJ did nothing wrong,” Colvin said. “In fact, it says a lot about Beavercreek that they could entice me to consider and then close me out on leaving such a great place. What CJ did for me in terms of my personal growth and professional growth and my opportunities and coaching I will never be able to repay that.”

At 41, Colvin felt ready for a new challenge, and Beavercreek offered a package he couldn’t pass up. In addition to coaching, he will supervise a new alternative education program.

“I get to work with some students who are really struggling and that’s right up my alley,” he said. “I really enjoy being in front of young people and just finding a way to get them to understand how great they can be.”

The challenge

Colvin says he and his staff, which includes six who came with him from CJ and three holdovers, won’t lie to the players. They have confronted the recent past of 11 straight losses and a 5-36 record over the past four years.

The Beavers last winning season was 2017 and they last shared a GWOC title in 2012. They have never qualified for the playoffs.

“People are like, there’s no way that Beavercreek will ever win,” Colvin said. “And I understand that because that’s what history tells you. But I’m a pretty proud person, I love to surround myself with good people and I just believe there’s a lot of infrastructure here. If we put our time and energy into what I think we can do, I feel like we’re going to be able to do it.”

Colvin said his team has some talented players. Right now, it’s just that teams like Springfield and Wayne have more. One of those players is Crawford, who is ready to lead a turnaround and not relive last year’s blowouts and second-half running clocks.

“It was very difficult, especially just walking through the hallways at school, everyone clowning you because you play football,” he said. “And it shouldn’t ever be that way – should be able to walk through the hallways and everyone’s like, ‘Hey, you won last night. Good job.’”

Colvin, Crawford and Johnson believe the Beavers will win some games this season. But perhaps the most important goal is to change the attitude. The first good sign of change is that more players than last year have been at summer workouts and are expected to be on the practice field Monday for the first official day of practice.

Colvin and his staff are challenging the players to respond well to adversity. He wants them to move onto the next play when something goes wrong. He wants to watch game film and be able to compliment his team for playing well on the play the follows the bad play. When he watches game film from last year he sees a team that didn’t respond well.

“I tell them every day, ‘You guys are winners,’” Colvin said. “They need to hear that. When you’re getting beat up on continuously, it’s easy to believe you’re not good enough. And that’s something we’ve really tried to work on through our summer, our team camps and our conversations with our team.”

Good response so far

Johnson has a new quarterback coach in Corey Freed, who came over from Centerville. Johnson said he’s already learned a lot he didn’t know about playing the position.

“Just Improving my throwing mechanics first of all,” Johnson said. “There’s always something he points out: footwork, arm mechanics, eyes or just consistently moving the feet. There’s always something.”

Johnson has one season left. He knows he won’t be part of the best times of the program turnaround he and his teammates expect. But he wants to lead his team through adversity and be part of the change in mindset and attitude that Colvin is teaching.

“A couple wins obviously, but building more of a team chemistry and starting the foundation of building this school to be good at football and making people want to join,” Johnson said. “We’re going to be something.”

With a change in attitude, Colvin believes there will be a change in perception of what it means to play football at Beavercreek. He expects even more kids to join the team next year. And he will get to know them starting with those 7 a.m. weight lifting sessions after the season.

“I love the sport,” Colvin said. “But you coach football, at least I think, for the young people that you’re going get to interact with and you’re going to call your family.”

Other new area head coaches

Jim Dimitroff, Catholic Central: In his fifth decade of coaching, Dimitroff, 65, takes over at his alma mater after serving as offensive coordinator during last year’s 7-4 season. He started as an Irish assistant in 1976 and has coached at North, South, Upper Arlington, Springfield and Wittenberg.

Brian Bogenschutz, Cedarville: After nine years as an assistant at his alma mater Xenia, Bogenschutz takes over a program that was 2-8 last season. The Indians’ last winning season and playoff appearance was 2013.

Earl White, Chaminade Julienne: White brings a strong resume to CJ. As head coach at Belmont and Thurgood Marshall, White compiled a record of 124-76 eight playoff appearances.

Larry Cox, Fairborn: The Skyhawks hired a proven winner in Cox, who began his 26-season career as head coach for two years at Bellbrook. After 21 years, over 100 victories and five playoff appearances at Lakota West, Cox resigned in 2018. He followed that with a 10-8 record and a home playoff win in two seasons at Oxford Talawanda. Last year he coached Franklin to a 4-6 record.

Luke Hurst, Franklin: Hurst gets his first opportunity as head coach. He has been offensive coordinator at Northmont under Tony Broering.

Micah Faler, Lebanon: Faler served as Lebanon’s quarterback coach and passing game coordinator since 2019. He previously coached in the Mason program for several years.

Derrick Shepard, Meadowdale: Shepard returns to his alma mater. He had a successful career at Georgia Tech and played several seasons of arena football.

Troy Everhart, Troy: Everhart’s resume includes a 2009 state championship at Cincinnati Winton Woods where he went 80-41 in 11 seasons. He has also been head coach at Middletown and most recently in San Diego.

Matt King, Valley View: King replaces Ken Moyer and is the Spartans’ third head coach in three years. He has been on the staff for seven years.

Chris Mobley, West Carrollton: Mobley will try to turn the Pirates into a winner like he did in six seasons at Cincinnati Hughes. He was 26-28 at Hughes, including 17-8 the past three seasons with two playoff appearances.

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