What were the 10 biggest sports moments of the 2013-14 high school sports season in Madison County?
There were a number of memorable events and unforgettable moments that took place this past school year, but a select few stood out above the rest. The Madison Press sports staff sifted through a mountain of newspaper clippings and email feedback to rate the top moments. This is the first of a two-part series, counting down spots 10 to six.
10. Football coaching changes
There’s no doubting that football is king when it comes to Ohio high school sports.
So it should come as no surprise that it’s news when half of the varsity football coaches at four of the high school coaches in the county resign.
Jonathan Alder’s Steve Coate and London’s Jerry Wasserman both stepped down following disappointing 2013 seasons.
The Pioneers were 3-7, marking the second straight year they failed to make the state playoffs. Alder had made the playoffs for 11 straight years prior to the two-year drought. The Red Raiders were 2-8 under Wasserman and struggled to play four quarters with good teams due their struggles with the low number of players in the program.
Brett Glass, Jonathan Alder’s defensive coordinator, was named as the new Pioneers’ coach, while Brett Glass, a Madison County native and Jonathan Alder graduate got the job at London.
“I think Coach Cutler will get people excited about our football program and maybe get some of those athletes that might not have been interested in football before to think about playing,” London director of athletics Jimmy Wolverton said about the hiring of Cutler.
“I think I’m extremely passionate about what I do and the kids pick up on that,” Glass said after getting the job. “I’m full of energy and passion and I think that comes out in how I coach. I’m excited about this opportunity.”
9. Lady Roughriders hits six home runs in one inning
It’s believed to be a state record, but the OHSAA record book doesn’t have a category for team home runs in an inning.
The West Jefferson softball team hit six home runs in the first inning of a 20-0 thrashing of Worthington Christian on April 25.
Taylor Bowman and Madison Gatley hit back-to-back home runs to lead off the game. Emily Stevenson hit a two-run blast a couple batters later. Kennedy Campbell then hit her first of the inning and then Emma Fisher smacked a three-run shot. Campbell’s second capped the long-ball barrage.
“Wow is about all I can say,” West Jefferson coach Jim Stevens said. “In all my years of coaching I’ve never seen a first inning play out the way this one did. It was just crazy.”
8. Golden Eagles make first district golf tournament
The Madison-Plains girls golf team put together a stellar 54-6 record last fall, but the most impressive thing the Golden Eagles accomplished was making the Division II district championship tournament for the first time in school history.
The team fought valiantly behind the play of its top four golfers, juniors Kaylin Dill and Bailey Stephens, sophomore Christan Bowshier and freshman Morgan Hunter, finishing a solid fifth at the district and a mere 12 strokes out of qualifying for the state tournament.
“We played the best of the best today,” Madison-Plains High School coach Jim Miller said. “To finish fifth, just 12 strokes away from making it to the state is not too shabby.”
7. West Jeff’s Caleb Ferguson is drafted by Los Angeles Dodgers
A total of 1,215 players were drafted in the 2014 Major League Baseball draft, but only one of them was from Madison County, Ohio.
West Jefferson’s Caleb Ferguson was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 38th round (1,149th pick). The hard-throwing lefty was picked despite an elbow injury his senior season that required Tommy John surgery.
In his first two starts of his senior year, Ferguson fired back-to-back shutouts. But the injury prevented him from pitching the rest of the season. The talented player who originally planned on playing baseball at West Virginia University, recently signed a pro contract with the Dodgers organization making him a professional player.
6. MPHS’ Jeff Spradlin dies unexpectedly
While most of the news surrounding top stories is positive and encouraging, this story was anything but.
Longtime Madison-Plains boys basketball coach Jeff Spradlin suffered a massive heart attack and died just prior to the start of the 2013-14 season. The coach had just conducted a practice and given his team an impassioned speech before sending them on their way for the weekend.
He was walking from the intermediate building back to the high school when he collapsed and died.
His death was a huge blow to the community and one that still lingers.
“Jeff was a life-long coach,” Madison-Plains High School director of athletics Matt Mason said. “His passion was coaching. He coached for well over 20 years here. He just loved being around the kids.”
The Plains’ boys basketball team went on to have a dismal season and was eliminated in the first round of the D-III district tournament.
Chris Miles can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.