EATON TWP. — Many football teams come up with short, snappy team slogans or mottos that are used to adorn T-shirts and banners, and break huddles.
Midview is hoping when the 2018 season draws to a close it will be remembered with a proverb, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
With just two returning starters from last year’s 8-3 team, the Middies haven’t charted a different course or lowered their expectations — they are hoping to follow the path of previous Midview teams that have made the playoffs each of the last four seasons and five times since 2012.
“All of the success we’ve experienced in the past is carrying over into this year,” senior wide receiver/defensive back Seth Sanders said. “I remember my sophomore year having guys like Dustin Crum and Alec Forrer and last year Seamus (Higley) and (Conner) Wolfe and the leadership they brought to the team. They showed us their ways and we’re trying to implement that now.”
Although the Middies only return seven letterwinners, coach D.J. Shaw said the team is coming off a successful offseason in the weight room and had most of its offense and defense installed over the summer.
“The kids have worked hard and put in a ton of time since December,” he said. “We’ve been very successful over the last four years. When you have that level of success you hope the young guys, and the guys playing on JV, paid attention to how those guys prepared and practiced.”
Since joining the Southwestern Conference in 2015, Midview is 24-3 in league play.
When the Middies open the season against Lorain on Aug. 24, they may not have the depth or experience of the Midview teams that went 40-7 over the last four years but the expectations will remain the same.
“When we enter the field we expect to win,” Shaw said. “There’s no maybe or we’re going to play well, we come out expecting to win.”
Andrew Gooch will take over at quarterback for Midview. Gooch, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound senior, battled Higley for the quarterback job last summer before suffering a season-ending injury. Shaw said Gooch is a, “strong, talented kid, who throws a nice ball.” Despite his limited varsity experience, he saw some action as a sophomore, Gooch will bring veteran leadership qualities to an offense that only returns two starters.
Senior wide receiver Isiah Johnson thinks the talent is in place for the Middies to have the same style of prolific offense it’s had in years past.
“Our skill position players have looked really good in practice,” Johnson said. “We have a lot of new players in the lineup, so it’s going to be a challenge to be ready but that’s nothing we can’t handle. We’re going to be the same Midview team, just with different people.”
Along those lines the Middies coaching staff is making sure the team won’t stray away from the things that have made Midview one of the top programs in Lorain County.
“We have our core philosophies on offense, defense and special teams,” Shaw said. “We always tweak those a bit depending on the personnel we have but we’re not going to get away from what has made us successful.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Midview has totally turned over its lineup with 11 new starters heading into the 2018 season.
This year’s version of the Middies defense is trying to replace a squad that held six opponents to 13 or fewer points last season and forced 16 turnovers.
According to two-way starting junior starting tackle Daniel Bucknavich, what the Middies are lacking in experience and depth along the line of scrimmage they are making up for with tenacity and teamwork.
“The first week (of two-a-days) went as good as it could. Everyone on the line is really getting everything down,” Bucknavich said. “Everybody knows their job and we know what each other is doing. The key is going to be working hard and being physical. We can’t get tired and we can’t quit when things get tough.”
Midview will play it’s first three SWC games on the road before coming home for the annual Week 5 clash against defending league champ Avon, one of only two team to beat Midview the last two seasons. The Middies will play five of their first eight games on the road before closing at home against Lakewood and Avon Lake.
Bucknavich said this year’s Midview team is working hard to continue the lineage of playoff football.
“Gotta continue that tradition,” he said. “We’re been to the playoffs a few years in a row now, you’d hate to be that team that breaks the streak and doesn’t make it.”