Defending league champ Bryan not underestimating Delta in early tilt


It's not surprising to see defending Northwest Ohio Athletic League champion Bryan undefeated after the first two weeks of the season.

On the other hand, an undefeated Delta team after two weeks of play can be shocking for some, considering the Panthers registered only two wins last fall.

But Bryan coach Kevin Kline isn't among the Delta skeptics.

“I'm not really surprised that they're 2-0 with Mike Vicars coming in,” Kline said. “People know he turns programs around.

“What is surprising is he's done it really quick.”

The Golden Bears (2-0, 1-0 NWOAL) will find out what the Panthers (2-0, 1-0) are made of when the league rivals meet today at Bryan.

“I think it's going to be a good game,” Kline said. “For us, it's another challenge and another week.

“This is a chance for us to see where we stack up in the league.”

Bryan, which posted a 10-0 regular season record last season, marched to a league championship by finishing 8-0 in league play.

If the first two weeks of the season are any indication, then there's plenty of potential left for Bryan to challenge for a league-title repeat.

The Golden Bears have posted blowout victories in each of their wins. They dismantled Van Wert 69-31 in a season-opener and dominated Archbold 54-29 last week.

“It's not as easy as it might seem,” Kline said. “We've been pretty fortunate with a good group of seniors [leading the way]. They keep working hard.”

Austin Schimmoeller, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound senior quarterback, has been an integral part of the Golden Bears’ early season success. After throwing for 368 yards, including six touchdowns in their opener, Schimmoeller passed for 324 yards against Archbold while rushing for four TDs and passing for two.

“He's playing really well right now,” Kline said. “He's doing a solid job of leading our offense.”

Vicars, who previously coached at Delta and led the Panthers to two league titles before coaching at Genoa, has stirred up excitement surrounding the team. Delta rolled Toledo Christian 42-0 to kick off the season and came right back to romp Evergreen 31-6.

Although Bryan is considered the favorite to win the league and is favored against Delta, Kline has watched video of the Panthers’ games and sees a different team from the one they shared the field with last year when the Golden Bears rolled to a 47-3 victory.

“He knows what he's doing as a coach,” Kline said of Vicars. “The things that they do, they do very well. He's known for his offense, but he's probably underrated as a defensive coach.”

Bryan showed plenty of offensive firepower during its game with Archbold, a team that had hopes of contending for the league championship. Daniel Pendergrast, who rushed for 112 yards and scored a pair of TDs, and Brandon Poncsak, who pulled in TD passes of 39 and 54 yards from Schimmoeller, are bring offensive prowess to Bryan’s attack.

They help to make the Golden Bears a team tough to bounce from the top of the league standings.

Contact Donald Emmons at:, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.