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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ashland High School Football: Former OSU QB Krenzel passes along words of wisdom


Ashland High School multi-year letterman at Sponsor Banquet ft:John Bolin, Marquise Jones,Adam Wolbert, Jake Wolfe, Greg Galloway, Connor Hopton, Spencer Cooper. In the back row from left are BACKCoach Valentine, Brandon Nardo, Steve Mowry, Josh Duewel, Zach Bernhard, Derek Ward, Steven Gill, Craig Krenzel.

By LARRY STINE

August 15, 2011

Craig Krenzel's message to the Ashland High School football players on Arrow Pride Night 2011 in Ashland University's Myers Convocation Center was simple.

Enjoy yourself when you hit the field this fall and make sure you take time to stop and smell the grass you play on. Even if it's artificial turf, find some nearby green stuff and inhale the sweetness it has to offer.

Krenzel said it will also help you get ready for what lies ahead.

The quarterback who led Ohio State University to its first national championship in 34 years during the Buckeyes' 14-0 season, including a win over the Miami Hurricanes in the 2002 championship game in which he was named MVP, Krenzel was modest in his opening remarks.

"It's an honor for me to be here," Krenzel said. "For what I've heard and seen just this evening, you all don't realize how good you have it.

"I grew up about an hour north of Detroit and we had nothing like this. We did not have the community involvement and support behind a football team and program at the high school level but it's truly a blessing and an honor and I'm very humbled to be here."

Arrow Pride Night was reinstated many years ago by Ashland dentist Dr. Bill Ihrig, bringing together local sponsors who mentor with the Arrow football players.

It's that local support which Krenzel admired and said makes him get "jacked up" at this time of year.

So much so, when he got done mowing the grass a few nights ago, his wife caught him cleaning off the mower and grabbing a clump of grass and smelling it.

"When the weather cools off, that fescue, that bluegrass, it's got a different smell," Krenzel said. "It just smells like football and back in the good old days I use to walk into the 'Horseshoe' at OSU and pick up a handful of grass and smell it. I'd do it at every stadium we went to.

"But there's just so many senses the game brings to me and the greatest thing I want to encourage you guys to look at the game and what it's going to teach you about life as a whole," he added. "I look back on my career and I've been so blessed, so fortunate. But when I look back at the game, it's so amazing how football will prepare you for anything and everything life has to throw at you."

Krenzel said the first thing football taught him was how important it is to have a foundation.

In almost his first three full seasons, he held a "nice cozy warm spot on the bench, which was frustrating and humbling."

But he said when things are going bad, "It's the people, it's your beliefs, it's everything that picks you up. And, when things are going well, it's those same people and beliefs that will keep you humble and keep you grounded and keep you working hard and grinding to get better."

Before Krenzel spoke, former AHS football player Noel Watson gave a tribute to legendary Arrow Roosevelt Robinson, who in most local circles is considered the best football player ever to don the orange and black, if not also the best-ever overall athlete, as he also played basketball and baseball.

Robinson passed away July 7 at the age of 64.

Watson noted how Robinson, 45 years after the fact, still holds four AHS football records, including rushing yards in a single season (1,963 in 1964); career rushing yards (4,085 from 1963-65); career touchdowns (56); and total career points (408).

Arrow Pride Night emcee Ev DeVaul pointed out Robinson set those marks playing nine-game seasons.

AHS head coach Scott Valentine introduced his coaching staff, thanked the sponsors for their commitment to the program and noted how through hard work, Krenzel persevered in his career.

Krenzel earned his first start as QB for the Buckeyes in 2001 against the Michigan Wolverines in a 26-20 Ohio State triumph in Ann Arbor.

It was the first win for OSU in Ann Arbor in 14 years.

The grass likely smelled pretty sweet for the former Buckeye that season, and in the next, when he brought the national crown back to Columbus.


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