Shelby Daily Globe
Team camp: The bond that ties Shelby connects at Ashland University
Daily Globe Sports Editor
ASHLAND — There’s no substitute for camaraderie in any sport and Shelby football coach Rob Mahaney lists it as the single most important thing for a team.
“In my opinion, I don’t think you can do anything more important than bond as a team,” said Mahaney as the Whippets wrapped up a three-day gathering at the Ashland University team camp which concluded with a 7-on-7 competition Wednesday.
“It’s good to get away and be with the team and be with the guys,” said the third-year SHS coach. “The bond you create from something like this is irreplaceable. Then you come out and compete the last day. All we can ask for as a coach is to come out and compete.”
Shelby finished the day with four wins and no losses in the 7-on7 competition that was capped with a rousing 9-1 win over Medina Buckeye. Points were awarded for touchdowns (six) and interceptions (three).
The red and gray also defeated Columbus Grove, Coshocton and Orrville.
Mahaney feels the Whippets have had a productive summer coming off a 9-1 season and a regional runner-up finish where they graduated all-time leading rusher Owen Fisher and a few of his stalwarts on the offensive line.
“Obviously, we lost a really good senior class, but we’re bringing back some really good players too,” said Mahaney.
One of those key returnees is senior quarterback Marshall Shepherd who will be starting for the second straight season.
“Marshall’s done a great job being a leader this year,” said the SHS coach. A number of his aerial targets return, including Blaine Bowman, Andre Hill and Connor Henkel. A pleasant surprise at receiver this summer is sophomore Issaiah Ramsey. They’ll also return some linemen in Camden Armstrong, Xander Wilkins and Luke Shepherd, pointed out Mahaney.
“The hard part obviously and looking at the class we lost… the offensive linemen we’re a big part of that. We bring back some guys with experience. We have some who are banged up and we’re getting reps for some others. That’s the group we’ll need the most growth in. Things are going well and when you look back to our first day in June to our last day, we’ve done what we’ve needed to do,” said Mahaney.
Compared to summers of years past, this one is like no other.
“This summer with unlimited practices and the season starting so fast, we’ve got a lot of work in, but I’ve never had this many practices without shoulder pads,” said the coach.
Going into the 2021 season, Mahaney said expectations are pretty high.
“We want to take it week-by-week. Right now our focus is on Madison. We’ve won back-to-back conference championships and we would like to win a third. We have the talent to do it, but we have to grow. Right now we’re not ready to do that, but if we can grow up front and solidify some things, we’ll be ready,” said Mahaney.
Shelby opens the season Friday, Aug. 20, on the road at Mansfield Madison. Their home opener is Friday, Aug. 27, against Lexington. The Whippets will open defense of their Mid Ohio Athletic Conference title on Friday, Sept. 10, at Ontario.