Anthony Baum has been the starting center since the middle of last season for the Ready High School football team, but his role goes beyond snapping the ball to the quarterback.
His intelligence and an ability to remember details have proven to be beneficial for an offense that has gradually improved since an opening 31-0 loss to Columbus Academy on Aug. 25.
Baum, a senior who recently was given an award for his work in the school’s STEM department, is one of the players whom other members of the offense are likely to talk to if they have a question about a play or assignment.
“Honestly, memory more than anything helps, and I think I have a pretty good memory,” Baum said. “I take pride in knowing what I do on every play and what the other players do. If we come up to the line, they’re not afraid to ask me what they do on a certain play if they don’t remember. Having someone on the line that knows what everyone is doing can really be beneficial.”
Baum is just 5-foot-9 but weighs 240 pounds and makes up for his lack of height with lower-body strength.
The offensive line was the team’s biggest strength entering the season with the return of Baum as well as seniors Lance Gallion and Ryan Spoon and junior Cade Canter, and it hasn’t disappointed thus far.
The Silver Knights had won five in a row before losing to Hartley 42-10 on Oct. 6 to fall to 5-2.
Despite losing a two-time Division VI district Offensive Player of the Year when running back Devin Dukes transferred to Grove City for his senior season, Ready averaged 29.6 points during the five-game winning streak.
In a game that will be held at DeSales, the Knights play host Friday, Oct. 13, to London, which improved to 7-0 by beating Grandview 50-8 on Oct. 6.
“(Baum’s) a leader on the field,” coach Brian Cross said. “He’s very smart and he puts a lot of work in in the weight room. He’s very intelligent and he knows how to use angles and leverage to be a good, solid offensive lineman.”
Baum also is a starter at nose guard. He first became a starter on the offensive line as a sophomore when his older brother, 2016 graduate Zach Baum, suffered an injury while playing guard.
Anthony started at guard the rest of his sophomore year and for part of his junior season before moving to center.
A Grove City resident, Anthony also has two younger brothers who play for the Knights in Josh, a sophomore, and Jake, a freshman. Like their older brothers, Josh and Jake are two-way linemen.
Anthony, who isn’t planning to play football in college, is considering attending Ohio State or Miami University to study data analytics. His older brother is studying a similar field at Ohio State.
Their father, Phil, is an actuary and their mother, Teri, is a teacher’s aide at Our Lady of Perpetual Health, where Anthony attended before coming to Ready.
Anthony likes the way his team’s offense, which features junior quarterback Austin Aiello and sophomore running back Jack Foley, has come together.
“This year we’re a lot tighter of a unit than in the past and a lot more balanced offensively,” he said. “(There’s been) a lot more passing involved than the attack of the past few years because we’re more diverse. Our turnover margin has been really good.”
Volleyball team grows during tough schedule
The girls volleyball team is doing its best to stay
upbeat with the postseason approaching.
After winning the first game Oct. 3 against Utica, which is one of the top Division III teams in the Central District, the Knights fell 20-25, 25-21, 25-17, 25-17 for their sixth loss in seven matches.
Ready was 7-12 overall before playing Worthington Kilbourne on Oct. 9 and Galion Northmor on Oct. 11. The Knights finished 0-8 in the CCL, which features two Division I teams in DeSales and Watterson as well as Hartley, which is in Division II.
Senior setter Jordan Kusan has led the way. Other standouts, according to coach Mike Kusan, have included seniors Hannah Williams (outside hitter/right-side hitter), Brenna Forrest (middle hitter), Bella Hoersten (defensive specialist) and Jaide Lehnert (middle hitter), junior Lauren White (outside hitter) and freshman Bella Illig (defensive specialist).
“Oct. 28 (which is the day of district finals) has been my focus for the last 30 days,” coach Kusan said. “It’s easier to win district than it is to win the CCL. I’m trying to stay calmer and let them play through their mistakes.”
Soccer teams prep for postseason
The boys and girls soccer teams open the Division III district tournament next week.
The girls team was 2-11 overall and finished 0-4 in the CCL after losing to Watterson 9-0 on Oct. 5 and to Columbus School for Girls 3-0 on Oct. 7. The Knights played Columbus Academy on Oct. 11.
With injuries to several players, Ready sometimes has had only 11 players available. Senior forward Morgan Ritterbeck is expected to be out for the season.
Seniors Natalee Patel (center midfielder) and Kim Lloyd (goalkeeper) have been leading the way, according to coach Bob Piper.
In a 5-1 win over Tree of Life on Sept. 16, senior Ashley Buell and sophomore Lindsey Bair both had two goals and senior Payton Ritterbeck scored one.
“We’re doing the best we can do with 11 strong,” Piper said.
The boys team was 3-8-2 overall after beating Williams-port Westfall 9-0 on Oct. 7 and before playing West Jefferson on Oct. 10. The Knights finished 0-4 in the CCL.
Girls tennis season ends at sectional
The girls tennis team’s season ended in a Division II sectional Oct. 6 at Columbus Academy.
In singles, Lindsay Dickerson and Emily Mathew lost in the second round and Eva Freeman lost in the first round.
In doubles, the team of Lucia Beickman and Claire Nagy lost in the first round and the team of Iveth Saucedo and Jenna Ruth lost in the second round.
All of girls golf team eligible to return
All six of the competitors in the girls golf program are eligible to return next season.
The Knights competed in the OCC B League during the regular season. They then finished eighth (544) in a nine-team Division II sectional Sept. 25 at Blacklick Woods behind champion Newark Catholic (340) as the top three teams advanced to district.
“It has been fun,” coach Tom Watson said. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being with the girls and trying to help them learn some things. We’ve got three brand new players who have not touched a club until (this season). They’ve all improved by 30 to 40 shots.”
Junior Eva Grace was the team’s most experienced player heading into the season and shot a personal best for 18 holes with a 106 at sectional.
Freshman Clarissa Bach-elder shot 114 at sectional. Also competing were freshmen Fionnuala Criswell-Carder, Makenna Freeman and Gabri-elle Phillips.
Rounding out the roster was sophomore Mikayla Pennington.
Below are the coming schedules for the Ready cross country, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 14 – CCL meet at Otterbein
Oct. 12 – At Tree of Life
Oct. 16 – At fifth-seeded Johnstown in first round of Division III district tournament. Winner plays ninth-seeded Fisher Catholic in second round Oct. 18 at home of better seed. Winner plays second-seeded Grove City Christian or 18th-seeded Harvest Prep in district semifinal Oct. 24 at site to be announced. Ready is the 17th seed.
Oct. 14 – At Westland
Oct. 17 – At sixth-seeded Johnstown in first round of Division III district tournament. Winner plays at fourth-seeded Wellington or at home against 14th-seeded Tree of Life in second round Oct. 19.
Oct. 12 – At Grove City
Oct. 21 – At ninth-seeded Centerburg or at home against 18th-seeded Africentric in second round of Division III district tournament. Ready is the 10th seed.