The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


October 9, 2012

Improving Spartans face tough task next

Unbeaten Brookfield comes calling Friday

The Conneaut Spartans couldn’t come much closer to victory without accomplishing than they did Friday night, when Gilmour Academy escaped with a 29-28 double-overtime victory at Conneaut Stadium.

Despite the loss — and despite the fact undefeated and state-ranked Brookfield comes calling Friday night (7, WWOW) — Dobran sees some light at the end of the tunnel.

And, no, the second-year coach doesn’t see that light as a freight train, either.

“It was a very good game,” the former Poland High School standout running back said. “Both teams battled for 48 minutes, plus two overtimes.

“I was very pleased with our O-line. They controlled the line of scrimmage all night long.”

The paved the way for some outstanding performances, too.

“Troy Colucci had a special night, rushing for over 200 yards and scoring four touchdowns,” Dobran said. “R.J. Nelson also added 120 yards on the ground.”

Colucci, a sophomore, in particular, stood out.

“That was definitely the best performance of a player since I’ve been here,” Dobran said. “He works extremely hard. He stays after practice just about every day to get extra work in and prepare himself mentally.

“Friday night, he did a great job of controlling the offense, being patient and following his blockers. He also is doing a great job of finishing runs and getting a couple extra yards on every carry.

Conneaut’s solid effort wasn’t limited to offense, however.

“Our defense played very well most the night,” he said. “They drove right down the field  on their first possession. After that, we played extremely well.

“Our front eight stopped the run very well. Gilmour scored another TD on a turnover by  us, giving them the ball on the 15. Then in the fourth quarter and in overtime, they spread the ball out and we had a hard time shutting down the passing game.”

Dobran realizes it was truly a near-miss for his thin, green 0-7 squad.

“A costly interception, a missed field goal and three missed extra points were enough to let the game slip away from us,” he said. “I was very proud of our guys and they left everything they had out on the field.”

With playoff-bound Brookfield, coming off a convincing 49-13 win against visiting Edgewood on Friday night, Dobran knows what his Spartans are up against. Brookfield leads the all-time series, 12-2, including a 35-7 win last fall at Brookfield.

“They are a very good team and they have some special players,” he said. “They run the ball very well. They have put up some amazing numbers.

On offense they spread the defense out and run the ball with their TB and QB.

“Defensively, they stay pretty basic with a 4-4 cover-3 scheme, but the play aggressive and run to the ball.”

The Warriors of seventh-year coach Randy Clark are by far and away the top-rated team in the Division IV, Region 13 computer ratings. They are averaging 47.7 points per game and allowing 12.6.

Quarterback Jeremy Quinlan and tailback Ryan Mosora lead the Brookfield offense, while Quinlan’s brother, Jimmy, anchors the defense from his middle-linebacker spot.

“Quinlan, the quarterback, is a great player, who is a great runner and can still pass very well, although they haven’t had to pass all that much this year,” Dobran said. “Mosora is an excellent tailback. His numbers speak for themselves. He is averaging more than 11 yards per carry.

“The other Quinlan, the middle linebacker, is a very good tackler and runs to the ball well.”

Dobran’s thought process toward hanging with the potent Warriors sounds simple, though actually accomplishing it certainly isn’t.

“Stop their run game — we must do that by controlling the clock and keeping the ball out of their hands,” he said. (That would) limit their offensive possessions.”

Though disappointing in terms of the final result, Dobran sees the experience gained in the double-overtime loss in a game that the Spartans scored the second-most points in his tenure will pay dividends, although they may not be this week, considering the opposition.

“We (had every opportunity to win the game), but we still had too many mistakes in key situations,” he said. “At the end of the day, it came down to them having a better PAT/field-goal team than we did.”

Playing without Cody Kirk (knee), who is out for the season, and Nick Blood being day to day with a hamstring after not playing against Gilmour, Dobran doesn’t see his Spartans hanging their heads after the tough loss last week.

“I think we will recover just fine,” he said. “(The Spartans) finally realized the potential we have.

“If anything, I think this will give us confidence moving forward the rest of the season.”

Click here to subscribe to The Star Beacon print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Star Beacon replica edition.

Text Only
  • The Final Countdown A Don McCormack column: If you could go back...

    Over the weekend, yours truly had an opportunity to catch on of his favorite, albeit more than a bit cheesy, movies — “The Final Countdown” — which starred Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, Katherine Ross, James Farentino and Charles Durning.

    April 21, 2014 5 Photos

  • Don A Don McCormack column: AAC seems A-OK for Edgewood

    For the first time since the demise of the storied Northeastern Conference, teams from Edgewood High School are competing for conference championships this spring.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scholastic Schedule:


    PV at Windham (4:30)
    Conneaut at Seneca (4:30)
    Wickliffe at Madison (4:30)
    Niles McKinley at Jefferson (5)

    April 21, 2014

  • Dale Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Waitin’ on a woman...

    Let’s face it — we will never know exactly what a gobbler is thinking. However, we have a good idea of what his motives are during the spring. In one word, girls, he’s waitin’ on a woman.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jefferson flying high

    Jefferson boys track coach T.J. Furman didn’t know what to expect from his young team coming into the 2014 season.

    April 20, 2014

  • Scholastic Statistics:

    Jefferson 130, Pymatuning Valley 88, Springfield 75, Southeast 73.50, LaBrae 67, Liberty 56.50, Conneaut 44, Maplewood 39, Chalker 32, Windham 18
    at LaBrae

    April 20, 2014

  • Advantage, Diemer

    Every pitcher wants to get the advantage against every batter she faces. Edgewood lefty Taylor Diemer gave herself that edge and it proved to be key as the Warriors topped Madison, 1-0, Friday at Edgewood.

    April 19, 2014

  • Scholastic Statistics:

    Edgewood 1, Madison 0
    at Edgewood

    April 19, 2014

  • Scholastic Schedule:


    Brookfield at Conneaut (1)
    Grand Valley at Berkshire (10)
    Chardon at Madison (DH, 11)
    Edgewood at Fairport (11)
    West Geauga at Riverside (11)

    April 19, 2014

  • Spartans knock around Dragons

    After being cooped up in gymnasiums for the better part of the season so far, the Conneaut and Lakeside softball teams were just happy to get onto a diamond. Playing for the first time in nearly a week, the Spartans toppled the Dragons, 11-2, Thursday afternoon at Lakeside.

    April 18, 2014

Sports Week in Review April 14 to 19
Sports Week in Review April 7-12
Spring Sports Practice in Ashtabula County
2014 AP BB Tourney Top 25
2014 AP BB Tourney Scoreboard
2014 AP BB Tourney News
2014 AP BB Tourney Photos
Star Beacon-Ed Batanian Senior Classic
Girls Regional Basketball Action
Week of Champions
Sports Week in Review February 21, 22
Grand Valley at Edgewood Boys Basketball
Sports Week in Review Feb. 3 to 8
Sports Week in Review January 30 to Feb. 1
Sports Week in Review January 13-18
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video