It seemed just like old times again. Mohawk and Convoy Crestview meeting in a regional softball game.
However, only the coaches remembered the days when the two schools kept crossing paths, playing three times in the tournament from 2003-07. Mohawk defeated the Knights in the state final in 2003. Crestview knocked Mohawk out of a pair of regionals in '06 and '07.
Crestview again got the best of Mohawk Saturday in a regional final, 4-1, but as the Knights make a return trip to state, Mohawk is making a return to prominence.
It was the Warriors first trip to the state's elite eight since that '07 game, but with the state of the program, it's a fair bet that Mohawk will be challenging for another trip to state before too long.
If Crestview is the measuring stick for softball programs, with 10 state trips in the last 13 years, it's hard to argue it's not, then Mohawk is right up with the elite.
A group of four seniors - Ashley Cooper, Molli Cartwright, Dani Tyree and Nikki Kieffer - have been instrumental in bringing Mohawk back to that elite level.
In a year when the Warriors had to overcome hardships on and off the field, the seniors helped bring the team together to take it back to the level Mohawk softball is accustomed to being at.
"I think we have great leadership and determination and I
feel like we (are good people) to look up to," Cartwright said. "We just are good leaders and we work well together. We get along; we're all four so close so it makes it easy."
Mohawk coach Jenny Weinandy said it was a nice blend of seniors and underclassmen that made the team so successful.
"The seniors have really pulled this team through with the help of aggressive underclassmen. It was just a good combination," she said.
There's a difference between a team that can string together a good class or two and make a couple tournament runs, and programs that continue to be good year after year.
Weinandy understands that good softball players don't just magically appear the first day of practice. The schools that are good programs, like Mohawk and Crestview, know the importance of building talent from the youth levels on up.
"I have a junior high program that's just wanting to get to that varsity level," Weinandy said. "I have some freshman this year; I have a good JV team. I'm not going to complain for the next couple years because we're going to be strong."
Cartwright sees the talent coming up through the Mohawk system and says she believes the program will remain at a high level.
"I feel that there's a lot of talent coming up from the junior high and so on. They have a lot of talent come up and I feel they can make it to state in the years coming. Mohawk softball is going to be back in it."
Six of the 10 girls in the Mohawk starting lineup will be back next season and when they get back on the field, they will be armed with the experience of this year's tournament run and the lessons passed down from the class of 2012.
"I think we gave the underclassmen hope now that they can go far and they can do whatever they want to do if they set their minds to it," Cooper said.
As the Warriors left the field Saturday at Findlay, one of the last things Weinandy could be heard telling her team was "we'll be back."
This year's team laid the groundwork and the foundation is set for the Mohawk teams of the future to keep the Warriors among the state's elite.
Crestview, the reigning queen of Northwest Ohio Division IV softball, should be well aware its old rival is back, and not going anywhere.