By ANDY WOLF
FOR THE COURIER
FOSTORIA — When time is limited, it’s always best to keep it simple.
That’s the approach being taken by the coaches of the 31st Annual East-West All-Star Game sponsored by the Fostoria Athletic Boosters as noted in a press conference Monday night.
The game will take place Saturday at 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.
Van Buren’s Kevin Shoup will coach the West team and Sandusky Perkins’ Jason Ziegler will call the shots for the East.
“It’s all about the experience of getting those kids out there and playing physical football,” Ziegler said.
“They are the best of the best and it’s going to be fun coaching them.”
The two squads met Monday to take photos and get acquainted with each other. Practices are set to begin today.
“You’ve been playing against a lot of these guys for years and now you get an opportunity to come together as teammates,” Van Buren assistant coach Ryan Hite said, filling in for Shoup, who was unable to attend the press conference. “For most of these guys, it’s going to be one the last times they’ll pad up. It’s going to be a great way to send off some of these seniors.”
At Monday’s photo session, the coaches increased their knowledge of players’ familiarity with various positions to draw up a simple strategy.
“We’ve got a lot of athletes,” Hite said. “We’re looking to use guys in ways that they’ve worked before. We’re also trying to platoon as much as possible and get everybody out there.”
Due to limited roster sizes, Hite expects everyone to be utilized to the best of their ability without trying any trickery.
“A lot of these guys are used to playing two ways,” Hite said. “We’re excited to see what practice shows. We’re going to maximize their efforts with the limited amount of practice that we get.”
Even though the game is a fun exhibition, Ziegler expects nothing but competitiveness from the bunch he has assembled.
“As a coaching staff, we talked about getting kids that were leaders,” Zielger said. “In the grand scheme of things, you’re competing and you want to win. … They aren’t going out there for a walk in the park. They’re just winners.”
Ziegler said his offense will be spread-based, looking to get the ball to multiple targets.
Though Ziegler isn’t doubting the ability of his roster, he is more concerned about keeping the verbiage of his plays simple.
“We have plays at Perkins where our kids know exactly what to do,” Ziegler said regarding terminology of play calling. “Because you have so many guys from different backgrounds, we’re going just say you’re going to come off the ball and drive the guy 10 yards down the road.”
Hite said he expects to see his squad’s roster to iron out and fall into place over the next few days.
“We’re still trying to figure out what we’re doing at quarterback,” he said. “We’ve only got a few true running backs and a bunch of receivers.
“We’ll get something going and play to our strengths. We want to make it simple and still have some fun out there.”