Blue chip vs blue collar Wapak opponent loaded with top athletes
Wapakoneta Redskins varsity football coach Doug Frye is old school.
The veteran coach isn’t a real flashy guy, and his players reflect that.
Go to work. Do your job.
Then there is Maurice Douglass, the head man on the Trotwood-Madison Rams’ sideline. In between stints playing for the NFL’s Chicago Bears and New York Giants he worked as an exotic dancer. His wardrobe once earned him a comparison with musician Prince.
No one has ever compared Frye to Prince.
The two coaches will square off when the Rams battle the Redskins in a Division II regional semifinal 7:30 Friday night at Piqua’s Alexander Stadium.
Both coaches each achieved success in their own way. Each has a state runner-up trophy to his credit — Frye with the St. Marys Roughriders in 2004 and Douglass just last season with the Rams — as well as multiple playoff appearances.
Both turned around sagging programs.
Frye has led Wapak from a 1-9 season in 2009 to its first back-to-back winning seasons in 20 years and just the second playoff win in the school’s history.
In 2002, his second season as the varsity coach at Trotwood, Douglass led the Rams to the playoffs for the first time since he was a running back on the Rams’ 1981 state runner-up team.
Trotwood went to the playoffs again in 2006 and 2007 before scandal hit.
In July 2008, Douglass was suspended for three games, an assistant coach was fired, two players were ruled ineligible for falsifying documents, and the program was placed on probation for two seasons by the Ohio High School Athletic Association for recruiting players from other schools.
The Rams bounced back to make the playoffs in 2009 and advanced all the way to the Division II title game last year before falling 44-33 to Maple Heights.
Along the way, Trotwood has earned a reputation as a factory for college athletes. Douglass has sent dozens of players to Division I colleges, including Mike Shaw and Roy Roundtree, who transferred from other schools to Trotwood prior to their senior seasons and now play on Saturdays for the Michigan Wolverines.
The 2011 Rams got a much needed boost when Dayton Chaminade-Julienne quarterback Michael Simpson transferred to Trotwood during the offseason.
Simpson, who is getting interest from Michigan, among others, was the final piece in a puzzle that was flush with blue-chip athletes.
• Senior safety Bam Bradley (6-foot-2, 215 pounds)
Bradley is the most heavily recruited of the Rams, with offers from as many as seven BCS schools.
• Junior safety Cam Burroughs (6-1, 190)
The University of Alabama flew Burroughs down to Tuscaloosa for last Saturday’s epic battle against LSU. Ohio State, Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Stanford are also reportedly interested.
• Senior fullback Darion Heath (6-0, 257)
At 257 pounds, Heath is the No. 15 ranked fullback in the nation according to one recruiting Web site.
Others include senior offensive linemen Lawrence “L.J.” Mosley (6-4, 328) and Jordan Ashe (6-1, 260).
Frye knows his Redskins have their work cut out for them.
“Obviously they have all the combinations of a great football team,” Frye said. “But if you’re going to proceed in the playoffs, you’re going to run into a team like this, whether it be Week 12, Week 13, Week 14. ...
“I think our kids believe that we can be successful and we’re going to go there and put up a great effort, that’s for sure.”
Piqua is the only team to give Trotwood a scare this season. The Rams needed a touchdown pass with 14 seconds to play in the game to edge Piqua 26-23 in Week 6.
“Piqua did a nice job of running the football on them,” Frye said. “They’re big up front. They’re quick. Probably the biggest challenge is getting on the edge on them. They try to box you in and sometimes when you think you’re on the edge, their speed closes on the edge and their safety controls the alley.”
Frye said two keys will be to win the turnover battle and time of possession.
“If those two things happen, I think we’ve got a whale of a shot to win the ballgame,” Frye said.
Offensively, the Rams will lead with the tailback tandem of junior Isreal Green (5-8, 189) and sophomore Ashton Jackson (5-10, 173). Green has rushed for 1,352 yards and 17 touchdowns this season.
Jackson has gained 828 yards and has found the end zone 14 times.
Of course, having the 257-pound Heath at fullback doesn’t hurt.
“We’re going to have to make sure we do a good job of not letting him get a push on us,” Frye said.
Tackling has become an issue in recent weeks for the Redskins. Frye said that has to change Friday night.
“If they do move the ball down the field on us, we have to make them earn that. ... We’re going to have to tackle better than we have all season,” he said.
In other words —
Go to work. Do your job.
That’s Frye’s style.