July 23, 2016

Mostly clear

Watts is top coach in NCAC


First-year Ohio Wesleyan football coach Tom Watts was named the North Coast Athletic Conference Coach of the Year after leading the Battling Bishops to a 9-1 record and share of the conference championship for the first time since 1989.

It marked a remarkable turnaround for Ohio Wesleyan, which hadn’t won five games in a season since 2005. Under Watts, a 1998 Cloverleaf graduate, the Battling Bishops scored come-from-behind triumphs over DePauw (26-22) and Carnegie Mellon (34-26), as well as a thrilling 17-14 decision over Case-Western Reserve in which Miles MacKenzie kicked a 46-yard field goal with 4 seconds remaining.

Their only loss was to perennial conference power Wabash.

Unfortunately for Ohio Wesleyan, it lost the league’s automatic berth to the Division III playoffs with Wittenberg on a tiebreaker.

Junior quarterback Mason Espinosa received the Mike Gregory Award as the NCAC Offensive Player of the Year after finishing second in D-III with 337.1 passing yards per game. Senior defensive end James Huddleston and sophomore MacKenzie joined Espinosa on the All-NCAC first team.

Before coming to Ohio Wesleyan, Watts was an assistant at Waynesburg (Pa.), the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Westminster College and Baldwin Wallace. Co-offensive coordinator Ian Formaz is a Wadsworth native, while the other co-offensive coordinator, Mike Ward, is the son of longtime Cloverleaf assistant Dave Ward.

— Albert Grindle

Albert Grindle About Albert Grindle

Albert Grindle is a sportswriter for the Gazette. He can be reached at 330-721-4043 or agrindle@medina-gazette.com.