By: John Raffel
Ovid-Elsie duo doing the job on defense
Tate Coleman and Jeff Houska are key contributors on offense as quarterback and fullback for the Ovid-Elsie football team.
But defensively, they've been giants for O-E. In a win over Chesaning the third week of the season, Houska (5'9", 192 pounds), an outside linebacker, had 15 tackles including four for losses. Coleman, a strong safety, had nine tackles, with one of those resulting in a loss.
Offensively, they've contributed to the Marauder attack. In the Chesaning win, Coleman (6'3", 211 pounds) rushed twice for 73 yards and a touchdown while Houska carried nine times for 43 yards.
Coleman was 4 for 6 passing for 116 yards and a touchdown.
Both players had impressive defensive numbers after the first two games of the season. Coleman had 41 tackles, while Houska had 43 tackles and three sacks. “We've played pretty decent I think,” Houska said. “We've improved quite a bit on offense.”
Defensively, “I've improved,” Houska indicated. “I'm able to get to the ball better. I put a lot of time into the preseason and was in the weight room everyday. I want to improve on my pass coverage.”
Coleman also had a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
“Tate has improved his overall strength and quickness and has stepped up to be a great leader,” said coach Travis Long. “Jeff has improved his size and strength, and also his blocking has greatly improved. Tate's quickness makes him a great defender, as well as his nose for the football. On offense, it's his ability to make plays with his feet and his toughness.
“Jeff loves the game of football, whether it be games, practice, watching film, or playing video games, he just enjoys everything about it. Defensively, Jeff has great awareness to what the team is trying to do and executes the game plan well; he has quick feet which helps him get to the ball and make a tackle. Offensively, Jeff has brought a toughness to that fullback position and has used his quickness to make effective blocks.”
Long likes the versatile skills of both players.
“Tate has made some good decisions on offense that has helped us,” Long said. “He is capable of leading the team in every offensive category for the rest of the season. Defensively, I see Tate making a strong case for being first-team all-conference if he continues to play the way he is.
“Jeff has been a good leader on offense as well as defense. I look forward to him continuing to lead us in tackles and blocking on offense. He is capable of being a leader on both sides of the ball. Both have put in a lot of time in the off-season program, as well as some other teammates, and I believe all that time that they have put in is starting to pay off on Friday nights.”
Coleman said he's gotten stronger and faster through off-season work, including weight-lifting.
Defensively, “we pretty much play assignment football,” Coleman said. “We have a good linebacker corps. It comes down to doing our assignments.”
Both players would love to see their team make the playoffs and have a long postseason.
“Our potential, I think, is pretty high,” Houska said. “We have a lot of talent on this team.”