A pair of struggling high school football programs in Licking County will have new coaches.
In mid-January, Newark hired Mike Kopachy to replace Gregg Forsythe, who resigned in early November.
In four seasons under Forsythe, the Wildcats went 4-36, including 1-9 last fall.
Kopachy led Salem to a 22-11 mark from 2009-11 that included two playoff berths. Salem had gone 0-10 the season before he took over.
Kopachy, who served as an assistant at Canfield the last two seasons, also coached Berlin Center Western Reserve to playoff appearances in 2006 and 2008.
Among the members of his coaching staff will be Kenya Black, a 1993 Newark graduate who had been an assistant at Beechcroft under former coaches Tom Dunlap and Bruce Ward.
Kopachy will be among three new head coaches in the OCC-Ohio Division. Ward left Beechcroft after five seasons to take over at Gahanna on Dec. 17 and Mike Lanza was named Grove City's coach Jan. 14.
Also in the process of hiring a coach is Lakewood, which has had 12 consecutive losing seasons.
The Lancers went 36-55 under Forsythe from 1996-2004, making the only postseason appearance in program history in 2001 when they went 7-4 and earned a Division III playoff berth.
Lakewood went 6-34 from 2005-08 under Scott Elwer and 4-46 from 2009-13 under Rex Sponhaltz. Last season, the Lancers went 1-9.
According to The Columbus Dispatch, the Lakewood school board voted 3-2 on Feb. 12 against hiring Dave Daubenmire as coach.
Daubenmire, a 1971 Lakewood graduate, coached Fairfield Christian to two postseason berths in four seasons, including last fall when it went 7-4 and made the Division VII, Region 25 playoffs.
He guided London to the playoffs five times from 1992-99 but resigned after the 1999 season. During his final season with the Red Raiders, Daubenmire was reprimanded by the school board for mixing religion with coaching and education.
He also previously coached Heath.
Aces edge Johnnies for LCL boys title
The Granville boys basketball team beat Johnstown 51-47 on Feb. 13 to capture the LCL championship.
The Blue Aces finished 16-2 in the league, while the Johnnies went 15-3. Granville won the first-round matchup between the teams 55-30 on Dec. 17.
Newark Catholic finished third in the league at 14-4.
Hunter Orth, who is among central Ohio's best in 3-point shooting percentage, and Jack Parsley have been among the Blue Aces' top players.
Green Wave girls win LCL title
The Newark Catholic girls basketball team wrapped up the LCL championship with a 57-34 win over Lakewood on Feb. 8.
The Green Wave was 20-2 overall before opening the Division IV district tournament Feb. 15 against Madison Christian. The top-seeded squad would play host to 15th-seeded Shekinah Christian in a second-round game Thursday, Feb. 20, if it won its opener.
The second-round winner plays ninth-seeded Delaware Christian or 10th-seeded Tree of Life in a district semifinal Feb. 27 at Whitehall.
The Green Wave closed the regular season Feb. 12 with a 68-40 win over Ready. Ashleigh Parkinson scored 28 points and Jill Blacksten had 21.
The Green Wave won the LCL at 17-1, ahead of Johnstown (16-2), Licking Valley (13-5), Granville (9-9), Licking Heights (8-10), Northridge (8-10), Utica (8-10), Lakewood (5-13), Watkins Memorial (4-14) and Heath (2-16). Its loss was to Granville 33-29 on Jan. 4, but Blacksten did not play because of injury.
Newark teams prep for postseason
The Newark boys and girls basketball teams are among the top five seeds for their respective Division I district tournaments.
The boys were 16-4 overall and 10-3 in the OCC-Ohio before playing Lancaster on Feb. 14.
They lost to Grove City 50-49 on Feb. 11 to fall into a second-place tie with Gahanna behind Pickerington Central (11-2). Gahanna played Central on Feb. 14.
The boys team is seeded fifth for the tournament and opens Friday, Feb. 21, at home against 43rd-seeded Central Crossing. The winner plays 37th-seeded Westland on Feb. 26 at the site of the better-seeded team.
The girls team was 17-5 overall before opening the district tournament Feb. 15 against 39th-seeded Hilliard Davidson. The third-seeded Wildcats would play 46th-seeded Hilliard Darby on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at home if they won their tournament opener.
The second-round winner would play 15th-seeded DeSales, 20th-seeded Delaware or 24th-seeded Worthington Kilbourne in a district semifinal Feb. 27 at Westerville Central.
The girls team came up short of earning a share of the OCC-Ohio title Feb. 7 when it lost to Reynoldsburg 43-36. The Raiders went 12-2 and won their fourth consecutive league title, while Newark tied Gahanna for second at 10-4.