Published: Monday, November 06, 2017 @ 10:38 AM
By: Mike Hartsock - WHIO TV
— It’s not supposed to be this easy.
Centerville coach Brent Ullery said he’s heard that a time or two this season as the Elks have rolled to a 10-1 record that includes a Greater Western Ohio Conference National East title and a first-round playoff win.
“Everybody has really high expectations for these players,” the Elks first-year head coach said. “They’re really nose-down, work hard kind of guys. … They just keep working hard and we keep raising the expectations and they keep rising up with them.”
Ullery took over a team that finished 5-5 last season. He was part of that frustration as one of the Elks assistant coaches so when he got the top job he knew there was talent to work with.
“I knew they were good, I knew they could play football,” Ullery said. “But week in and week out we’ve seen amazing plays made from blocked field goals, to touchdown catches, to interceptions … these guys are really electric, they’re really fun to watch.”
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Six months ago, Ullery became a first-time father the day before he became a first-time head coach at his alma mater. Now he’s overseeing a rebirth of a program he grew up watching and playing for.
“I’ll tell you when it sank in was when my Dad (longtime former Elks coach Ron Ullery) actually spoke to the team Friday night before the game,” Brent Ullery said. “He told them they embodied a real Centerville football team from what he remembered from Bob Gregg and from the years he coached here.”
The top-seeded Elks are coming off a 35-0 win over Hilliard Darby in the first round. Next up is a rematch with Pickerington North on Friday night in Springfield. The two teams played back in Week 3 at Centerville. The Elks rallied for a 27-26 win.
“Maybe these guys are growing and maybe they’re meeting some expectations, but now we have to raise the expectations and ask them to do more,” Ullery said.