Tag Archive for: Harding


COLUMBIANA, OH- In a recent episode of YSN “Coach’s Corner,” DJ Yokley sat down with Rick Shepas, the newly appointed athletic director at Warren G. Harding High School. Shepas, a veteran in the realm of high school sports administration and coaching, shared his insights and vision for the new role, emphasizing his student-first philosophy and commitment to community building.

Shepas, who has had a storied career with many stops along the way, expressed his enthusiasm for joining the Warren G. Harding community. “When you look at what Steve Chiaro is doing with the school district, the brand new buildings, the way the buildings are kept, the pride that the community has in their traditions over at Warren Harding, I think they’re in a great place to do some special things,” said Shepas. He highlighted the school’s new center, which aims to blend athletic and academic excellence, particularly through innovative STEM programming.

At the core of Shepas’s approach is a focus on students. “Every decision is based off of what they’re doing to serve their young people in the community. That’s what I’ve always been about from day one in my career,” he emphasized. Shepas firmly believes that the well-being and development of students should drive every decision made within the educational and athletic frameworks.

Warren G. Harding boasts a rich athletic tradition, and Shepas is committed to reviving and building upon this legacy. “You have to embrace your past as you move towards the future, to maintain that standard that we’re talking about,” Shepas noted. He articulated a clear strategy for program development, one that begins with strengthening the foundation: “It starts with a top-down philosophy where you put the right coaches in place at the top of the food chain with those varsity sports.”

Shepas is known for his “velvet hammer” approach—soft yet firm. “You have an approach and you’re not going to go in and get in a bunch of people’s faces and tell them how it is. You have a velvet hammer approach,” Yokley remarked. Shepas’s method involves setting high standards while maintaining a nurturing environment. “The accountabilities on how you run your program is where the focus should be. If we’re buttoned up and we’re doing the very best that we can for our kids in the development, in the mental processes as well right now, the training process and then the nutrition process,” he explained.

For Shepas, building a successful athletic program is more than just fostering talent—it’s about creating a holistic culture that supports students on multiple levels. “You’d be surprised the esports population out in Warren. They’re getting more people involved in esports,” he mentioned, showcasing his inclusive vision that extends beyond traditional sports. He also stressed the importance of nutritional support: “I was thoroughly impressed that there’s an active kitchen, a live kitchen in each school,” highlighting how even meal times can be opportunities for growth and bonding.

Collaboration is key to success in Shepas’s eyes. “We need to share athletes. We need to share athletes without any coaches feeling either paranoid or nervous that any one of those coaches was going to try to force a kid not to play another sport,” he said. By fostering a cooperative environment among coaches, Shepas aims to provide a balanced and enriching experience for students.

As Shepas embarks on this new journey, he is optimistic about the possibilities. “I think you’re going to see a well-disciplined group of athletes come out of that athletic department. I think that’s going to have a great impact on the school,” he predicted. His goal is to instill a sense of discipline, respect, and excellence that extends beyond the athletic field and into all aspects of student life.

Shepas’s appointment marks an exciting new chapter for Warren G. Harding, and with his student-first philosophy and experienced leadership, the future looks bright for this storied athletic program. As he succinctly put it, “We’re going to do this the Warren way and move forward together on that with all of our coaches.”

With a commitment to honoring the past while innovating for the future, Rick Shepas is poised to help bring Warren G. Harding to new heights.



BOARDMAN, OH- The Spartans edged out Harding in a nail-biter on Monday, winning 2-1 thanks to some stellar pitching and timely hitting.

Collin Resetar took the mound for the Spartans and was a force, handling the Harding lineup with ease. He chalked up 16 outs, held them hitless through over five innings, and allowed just one run while striking out seven.

The Spartans struck first in the second inning when Charlie Young knocked a single to bring in two runs, giving his team the early lead they needed.

Resetar snagged the win for his efforts, while Harding’s starter, who went six innings and surrendered two unearned runs on four hits, took the tough loss. Ryan Neifer also stepped up for the Spartans, throwing one and two-thirds scoreless innings in relief, allowing just one hit and striking out three.

Young, batting ninth, didn’t let his spot in the lineup hold him back, driving in both of the Spartans’ runs on a 1-for-2 day at the plate. He, along with Grayson Eicher, Marty Stachowicz, and Tyler Kirlik, each managed to pick up a hit. Landon Whippo was a threat on the bases, snagging two steals as part of the Spartans’ four total on the day.

The Spartans are back at it against Harding again on Tuesday to decide the season series.


Rebounding and free throws, redundant in practice but key to winning games. And those were the two areas of struggle for the Lady Cardinals tonight in their loss to the Warren Harding Raiders.

A strong first quarter, with Mooney’s trademark defense, held the high octane Raider offense to only 9 points. But the bigs for Harding, specifically Faith Burch, dominated the glass from the opening moments of the second quarter. Burch would finish with a double double, 20 points and 10 rebounds. Mooney was outscored 22-9 in the quarter. Mooney also struggled from the line, shooting just over 50% on the day.

The Cardinals made a small run at the start of the third quarter, 6 straight points from Catie Perry cut the deficit to 10. But Burch and Heilman were simply too much underneath. Mooney would lose 56-39, their first loss in over a month. Mooney has a quick turnaround as they will host the Crestview Rebels on Monday.


YOUNGSTOWN, OH- It only got tougher for Walt Sweeney, playing in his second game as the QB for the Cardinals, this week as Mooney would post only one score against a talented Warren Harding Raiders squad.

Each team came into the game with a record of 4-3 and, most importantly, each was currently in the playoff picture for their respective regions. Needing a win to keep pace, Warren Harding would strike quickly, taking their first offensive possession into the endzone with a 3-yard touchdown by Elizah Smith. The Cardinal’s incurring possession would result in a punt, but the defense stood tall and forced a punt as well. Leading the charge was Michael Pastella, who led the Cardinals with 8 solo tackles and 2 sacks.

In the second, Mooney’s offense would click into high gear. The sophomore sensation, Zyere Rodgers, ripped off big run after big run. The drive was capped by Sweeney finding Mike Scavina up the middle for a 26-yard touchdown pass, the first for Walt Sweeney. But turnovers would become the story for the Cardinals. The first of two fumbles occurred in the first quarter, however, Mooney’s defense was able to hold. The second came in the second half on a muffed punt. Tack on 3 interceptions, a couple of them tipped balls, and the opportunistic Raider defense gave the offense plenty of short fields.

Marcus Brown, who came in as the wildcat formation QB, finished with two rushing touchdowns and 86 yards on the ground. QB Elijah Taylor also had a great game, 6/10 for 101 and a touchdown, a 56-yard bomb to his number one target Ty Artis. The Raiders would go on to win the game 31-7.

Cardinal Mooney finds themselves in a must-win situation next week, against arch-rival Ursuline.

The Holy War draws near…


WARREN, OH- The Falcons defeated the Raiders 10-0 in conference play to push the Falcons to 4-1 in their conference.

Offensively,  Maddy Taylor led the hitting going 3-3 with a double and 3 RBI.  Lanie Simons, Kayla Kelty, and Abby Brown also recorded two hits each.  Jenna Chemlick also picked up a 2 RBI single.

Defensively,  Lydia Spalding racked up 7 strikeouts in just 3 innings and Ryleigh Morgan was Houdini of the Hot Corner snagging a line drive down the third base line and doubling a runner off of first base.

The Falcons face off against Harding again tomorrow at home on 911 Field.


**Story Written by the Voice of the Austintown Softball, Britt Taylor**