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“Brian’s done a great job of leaving the program in good shape,” O’Laughlin said. “I know our record wasn’t what we wanted last year, but the pieces are there and the foundation is there that he set.”
The Trojans will have seniors Charlie Bertemes, Owen Flannery, Timmy Tincher and Ben Schuler. Bertemes was all-Ohio Heritage Conference and all-Southwest District honorable mention in Division IV. The top returning juniors are 6-foot-4 Bryce Grimm and Tucker Ericksen. Grimm missed much of last season with an injury as did then-senior Chase Billet.
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“I’ve got a good group of kids,” O’Laughlin said. “They’ll work hard and try to do everything you ask them to do.”
O’Laughlin also has a strong freshman class to look forward to. He’s hoping they can take a year to mature on JV, but he’s not ruling out some help from that class on varsity this year.
“I’m hoping to keep them on JV, but I’m also hoping they push me to make that decision,” O’Laughlin said. “A lot of that’s on them. If I pull one of them up, they’ve got to play. I’m not going to let them watch.”
O’Laughlin has also coached JV teams at Mechanicsburg and Triad. But after eight seasons in the Southeastern program, he knows what works and doesn’t expect big changes in style of play.
“Main thing is we’ll play aggressive man-to-man defense,” he said. “Offensively, we’ll push it if it’s there.
“We’re just going to try to build on the tradition that’s already been laid.”