Bohren reaches 55th season of coaching

When Niles kicked off its season Aug. 29 against Howland, it marked the start of Bill Bohren’s 55th year of coaching high school football.

Bohren is an assistant with the Red Dragons.

“Being an assistant is tough at times, you really have to learn when to keep your mouth shut and for me that’s not always easy,” Bohren said with a laugh. “I always wanted to be a head coach. I would still love to lead a program. But I absolutely love working with (Niles head coach) Jim Parry and this staff. They are a great group of guys who are building up the program, bringing in discipline, increasing the numbers.”

“They are doing everything the right way.”

Of Bohren’s 55 years in coaching, he has served as a head coach in all but three of those years. He was previously an assistant at Champion for one year. This is his second year on the Niles staff — a program which he once guided for seven years from 1996-2002.

Bohren began his coaching career in 1963 as a graduate assistant at Illinois State University. A year later, he served as both the head football and basketball coach at Ohio High School (Illinois). He spent the vast majority of his coaching career in the Mahoning Valley.

“The game has changed drastically in that everyone is now in a spread formation,” said the 85-year-old Bohren. “You have a quarterback back there by himself, or sometimes no quarterback with the wildcat formation. Teams have done away with run blocking, it’s all about pass blocking. And in practices and scrimmages, you have to limit the tackling because the skilled players are such a valuable commodity.”

“Teams like Navy and Army, even when they are heavily outmanned, they can be dangerous because their running games present great challenges for opponents who aren’t used to defending the run.”

Bohren last served as a head coach in 2016 at Chalker.

“Would I like to become a head coach again, absolutely,” Bohren said. “If anyone knows of an opening, give me a call.”

RAM TOUGH

After struggling through a 2-8 season a year ago, Mineral Ridge has already equaled its 2018 win total with victories over Pymatuning Valley and Lisbon.

On Friday the Rams defeated the Blue Devils, 33-0, to start off 2-0 for the first time since 2013.

“These kids are excited about the start, but they aren’t complacent, they aren’t satisfied,” said Mineral Ridge first-year coach Brian Shaner. “In fact, they are extremely eager to learn. They come to practice every day understanding that this is an ongoing process. They want to do whatever it takes to keep getting better.”

While Shaner-coached teams have historically been known for their high-octane offenses, Shaner is quick to praise the efforts of his defense. The Rams limited Lisbon to just 150 yards of total offense. The game’s final score was a Jalen Royal-Eiland 99-yard interception return for a touchdown — the longest interception return in school history.

“I said from the start that Mineral Ridge kids are hard-nosed, they are as tough as it gets,” Shaner said. “We came into this season knowing that we had the skill to play fast and nasty on defense. We’re relying on our defense to take some of the pressure off our offense.”

Mineral Ridge plays its first home game of the season Friday when it hosts Newton Falls.

TRIUMPHANT TROJANS

Sebring senior quarterback Zane Peterson threw for 242 yards and three touchdowns as the Trojans defeated Chalker, 37-29. The victory snapped a Sebring 23-game losing streak.

“What an incredible feeling, it was something that us seniors haven’t experienced since we were freshmen,” Peterson said. “Singing our alma mater after the game, doing Trojan jacks in the middle of the field, there was a great feel of unity. And, we got to ring our victory bell for the first time since we were freshman.”

“Our last win I watched from the sidelines. To be a big part of this win was special.”

Prior to Friday, Sebring’s last win came on Oct.14, 2016, at Lowellville.

Peterson is one of 11 seniors on the Sebring roster. The three-year starter said that he and his teammates never considered throwing in the towel during the two-year skid.

“It was just the opposite,” Peterson said. “This past offseason we begged our coaches to push us, to make us work harder and become stronger.”

Against Chalker, Sebring’s first offensive drive of the night ended in a fumble. The Trojans rebounded in their next possession to put together an 80-yard touchdown drive.

“We just don’t ever get down on ourselves. We’re going to keep fighting no matter the situation, and I believe we can put together some more wins this season,” Peterson said.

THIS ‘N’ THAT

With Sebring’s victory, Mathews now owns the area’s longest losing streak at eight games. … Leetonia defeated Mathews 35-0. Mathews called the game with eight minutes remaining in the third quarter due to mounting injuries. … The area’s longest regular-season winning streak continues to belong to Girard, which has won 10 straight. … McDonald is off to an 0-2 start for the first time since 2003. … At one point on Friday, nine games involving area teams were being played under the continuous clock rules. … Thirteen teams in the Mahoning Valley are 2-0 — four each from Trumbull and Columbiana counties, and five from Mahoning County.

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