SIDELINES

Undefeated Comets wing it

Genoa nearly unstoppable with its old-style offense

10/2/2013
BY STEVE JUNGA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Genoa senior David Nutter rushed for 307 yards against Eastwood. Nutter has gained 751 yards for the 5-0 Comets. He also leads the team in tackles with 43.
Genoa senior David Nutter rushed for 307 yards against Eastwood. Nutter has gained 751 yards for the 5-0 Comets. He also leads the team in tackles with 43.

Tim Spiess is 16-1 (including playoffs) as coach of the Comets, who have won 63 of their last 64 regular-season games.
Tim Spiess is 16-1 (including playoffs) as coach of the Comets, who have won 63 of their last 64 regular-season games.

GENOA — Genoa is 72-8 overall since the start of the 2007 football season when a new coaching staff implemented an old offense.

With various versions of the spread offense in place just about everywhere, the Comets have thrived with their old-school Wing-T scheme, first under coach Mike Vicars and now led by Tim Spiess.

The latest example was last Friday’s impressive 41-7 victory over Eastwood. With that Northern Buckeye Conference win, the Comets are 5-0 (2-0 NBC) and ranked No. 3 in the Division IV state poll.

“The boys played outstanding on Friday night,” said Spiess, who took over as head coach last season. “After the last few years, we are in charted territory. We’re used to being here.”

The Comets claimed the final four Suburban Lakes League crowns (2007-10) under Vicars without a league loss, then made it five titles in six years last season in Spiess’ first year. They have suffered just one loss in their last 64 regular-season games and ride a 15-game streak.

Genoa has outscored its five opponents 293-46, an average of 59-9 per game.

Numbers like these are now the norm at Genoa.

The bad news for the opponents is that the 17 Genoa seniors have been running this same offense since they were sixth-graders.

“It [seven years experience] allows us to do some things with the offense that we weren’t able to do in the past,” Spiess said. “This is a very intelligent group. In the top 20 of the 2014 class, I have to believe we have eight or nine of those kids or our football team.

“When you have that much intelligence to go with that much experience, it allows you to do some things you might not normally be able to do.”

Michael Deiter, a 6-foot-5, 308-pound two-way lineman, is a rare blend of size, strength, speed, and agility who plays left tackle, some guard, and has already committed to Wisconsin.

Senior quarterback Logan Scott directs the Wing-T offense for Genoa, which is ranked No. 3 in Ohio in Division IV.
Senior quarterback Logan Scott directs the Wing-T offense for Genoa, which is ranked No. 3 in Ohio in Division IV.

“We all just have so much experience, and we all work hard in practice,” Deiter said of the line. “When game time comes, we’re just ready to go and play hard. We play fast and mean, and we’re aggressive. Everyone’s on the same page and ready to go.”

Deiter, who doubles at tackle on defense, has 14 tackles for loss.

“At this age, some kids may have some size, and some may have some athleticism,” Spiess said. “Michael is actually an elite athlete who has great size.

“When you’re able to combine those two traits at this level, he just stands out in the game.”

The primary ball-carrying duties in the run-heavy offense go to 6-foot, 227-pound senior David Nutter, whose older brother, Kyle, set school single-season and career rushing records in 2012.

Kyle now plays for the University of Cincinnati. Brother Andrew, a tight end and defensive lineman, graduated the year before.

“It’s very big in my family,” David Nutter said of Genoa football. “They’ve always pushed me to do my best. You never want to be slacking. No doubt he [Kyle] left some huge shoes to fill.

“I work very hard in the weight room. I was 145 pounds my freshman year, was 190 last year, and now I’m at 227.”

Nutter has carried 96 times for 751 yards and scored eight touchdowns. Against Eastwood he rushed 40 times for 307 yards and three TDs. As a linebacker, he tops the Comets in tackles with 43.

Genoa's Casey Gose pushes past Eastwood's Devin Snowden. The senior has rushed for 400 yards on just 23 carries and scored 13 touchdowns.
Genoa's Casey Gose pushes past Eastwood's Devin Snowden. The senior has rushed for 400 yards on just 23 carries and scored 13 touchdowns.

“Outside of his brother Kyle, I’d said he was the hardest worker I’ve ever had in my coaching career,” Spiess said. “He’s also a great student and a great leader.

“He’s a 227-pound kid who has the moves of a kid much lighter. He reminds me of Nate Kmic from Delta 10 years ago. He’s able to find the opening and cut back.”

The speed option for the Comets is 5-10, 174-pound senior split end Casey Gose, who has gained 400 yards on just 23 rushes and has scored 13 TDs.

“Without our line doing so good, I wouldn’t be able to make half the plays I make,” Gose said. “I give them most of the credit when I score.

“I just stay patient [with limited touches]. It’s a team thing. The only thing that matters on Friday night is the outcome, and that means getting the win.”

Three of Gose’s TDs have come on kickoff returns, three others on punt returns, and one on a pass reception.

“We’re still trying to define him,” Spiess said. “Is he going to be maybe the lightning to go with David Nutter’s thunder? Is he going to be more of a slot receiver?

“The return game is always there, but we hope to be able to define his [offensive] role over these next five weeks.”

The quarterback is 5-10, 183-pound senior Logan Scott, whose adept hands and crafty footwork create the all-important deception in the Wing-T.

Scott has a firm grasp of the offense. He has rushed 17 times for 109 yards and four TDs and completed 10 of 19 passes for 324 yards and three scores.

“Logan’s most valuable skill Friday night was that he basically became my new offensive coordinator,” Spiess said.

“I think he checked off 49 times out of 71 plays. We put a lot of pressure on his shoulders.”

Running backs Jake Wojciechowski (29 rushes, 369 yards, 5 TDs) and Ryan Espinoza (15 rushes, 159 yards, 2 TDs) add depth to the attack.

Genoa senior Michael Deiter blocks against Eastwood. Deiter, who has committed to Wisconsin, also plays defense and has 14 tackles for loss.
Genoa senior Michael Deiter blocks against Eastwood. Deiter, who has committed to Wisconsin, also plays defense and has 14 tackles for loss.

Genoa has rushed 227 times for 2,104 yards (9.3 average) and 27 TDs.

The top receiver is 6-2, 194-pound senior tight end Quentin Spiess (7 catches, 272 yards, 2 TDs), who doubles at safety (27 tackles) on defense.

Complementing Deiter are senior returning starter Nick Herrick (right tackle, 6-3, 261), and three juniors — left guard Blake Traver (5-10, 181), center Tyler Baird (5-10, 204), and right guard Jay Nino (6-0, 232).

“I think it’s a blast blocking in the Wing-T,” Traver said. “In the spread, you just sit back there with your hands. But, in the wing-T, you find someone, lower your shoulder, and take them out.

“We’ve grown up with [Wing-T] since we first started playing. It’s normal to us. We didn’t have to learn anything new. That’s why we are always clicking on all cylinders.”

Contact Steve Junga at: sjunga@theblade.com, or 419-724-6461 or on Twitter@JungaBlade.