Issuu on Google+

Page 8 Page 15 Page 18 Page 23 Page 26 Page 31 Page 39 Page 43 Page 47 Page 51 Page 54 Pa ge 7 0 Page 74 Pa ge 7 8 Pa ge 1 0 3 Pa ge 1 0 6 Page 107 Page 109


Thank you

Players to watch, Page 91

Alyssa Shingle is ...

Getting her kicks p. 111

Derrick Stickles is ...

New man at Edison p. 115

Our annual Pigskin Preview is a team project that has combined the efforts of many members of our staff, including: ≤ Herald-Star/Weirton Daily Times sports department staff of Mike Mathison, Fred Younce, Ralph Cox, Ed Looman and Aaron Petchal. ≤ Sports departments of the Times Leader, the Intelligencer and the Review. ≤ Michael D. McElwain for his work throughout the publication, starting with the cover photo shoot. ≤ The creative design team and composing and advertising departments. ≤ The coaches and players for their cooperation with the cover shoot. ≤ Special thank you to Action Images and Newbrough Photo for their kindness and help during the media days.




Cover boys 2 years ago

The thought came up two years ago. Fred Younce, Brent Sobleski and I were talking in 2011 that our 2103 cover boys would be Steubenville Catholic Central’s Brenton Colabella and Weirton Madonna’s Ross Comis. We had an inkling they would be two of the best quarterbacks in the Valley and they deserved to be on the cover of our annual Pigskin Preview. It was a no brainer. Colabella stands on the brink of becoming the first person in Crusaders football history to be a four-year starting quarterback. Comis, on the other hand, is looking to match his older See MATHISON Page 94




Seniors Looking More This and the forward rivalry King

to games returns another burger please yearly season


Time certainly does fly. The 2013 football season marks my fourth as a sports writer with the Herald-Star and Daily Times. That means the group of kids that were freshmen during my inaugural season covering local sports are now entering their senior year. It’s difficult to grasp that names like Brenton Colabella of Steubenville Catholic Central, Ross Comis of Madonna, Nolan Marcus of Edison, and Blake Roar of Indian Creek are coming to the end of their high school careers. I remember Big Red’s Bryan Pierro being just Anthony and JoJo’s little brother and now he’s made a name for himself as a leader and competitor. See YOUNCE Page 14

Is it the athletes or the coaching staff that makes a good football team? I’m sure that if you ask around, you’ll get arguments favoring each, but I’ve come to believe that it’s a combination of the two. There are years when it seems there is a wealth of talented athletes all going through high school together. The Madonna senior class is a good example of that. This particular Blue Don class has been winning football games since their days in middle school. Fans were really excited about them getting to high school and they haven’t disappointed. They went all the way to the See COX Page 68

When a team’s schedule is announced one of the first things most fans do is to check and see when the big games are scheduled. For the most part, those big games are rivalry games. Some rivalries between cities or schools go beyond one sport, while some are known mainly for one sport. Football is probably the most popular sport in the area, but for me, my interest in the sport has gone down a little in the past few seasons. The biggest reason for that is the killing off of rivalries. On the college level for example, many longtime rivalries have gone away due to the all of the restructuring the conferences have gone through in recent years, See PETCHAL Page 58 ➪

I’ve been associated with the newspaper business since the 1970s (yes, I admit that makes me older than dirt). And each year, I get that “kid at Christmas” feeling when The King (also known as high school football) makes his annual return. The King rules the fastest 10 weeks of the year (a description once given to the pigskin campaign by Big Red’s Reno Saccoccia). Week 1 is upon us and there’s definitely a buzz in the air. In Indiana, folks love their high school basketball. In Europe, it’s soccer. In some states, it’s baseball. In Steubenville, however, it’s football, particularly the games played at the high See LOOMAN Page 54

54 starts later, Colabella & Comis are still ...

L e a d i n g t h e way 5

By MIKE MATHISON Sports editor

Leading the way. That’s what quarterbacks do. It’s No. 1 on the job description — be a great leader. For Steubenville Catholic Central’s Brenton Colabella and Weirton Madonna’s Ross Comis, the end result is the same as they lead their respective teams into their senior seasons. Regardless of the state or the competition, both starting senior quarterbacks want one thing and one thing only — a state title. But, before that, is that “simple” task of making it to the postseason. That’s where the two have no problem throwing that responsibility on their shoulders, much like they do daily with their shoulder pads. The pair has 54 s t a r t s between

them — 31 for Colabella and 23 for Comis. The Crusaders make the playoffs last year for the first time since 2007. “It was a huge and it was a goal of last year’s seniors,” said Colabella, who was third-team allOhio in Division VI a year ago. “I knew I had to do my job to help reach that goal. It was a great feeling for our team to reach the playoffs again and represent our school. “This year we want to build on last year’s accomplishments and go even further in the playoffs. We want to bring back the pride and tradition of Crusader football and make our mark on that tradion.” The Blue Dons have been to the playoffs every year since 2007. They won a Class A state championship in 2009 and lost in overtime to Wahama last year. “We’ve been busting our butts this summer because we know this is our last opportunity to win a state championship,” said Comis, a first-team Class A all-stater a year ago. “We’ve talked about it and realize that it’s going

to be even harder to get back to the finals this year. “We’ve occasionally talked about what happened last December and it motivates us to get back there and win it.” Colabella is on target to be the first four-year starting quarterback for the Crusaders and it’s an honor he doesn’t take lightly. “I look back at the past quarterbacks like Mike Orlando, Stevie Spence, Benjie Clause, Joe Prest and Brain DeFranco,” he said, “and I try to build on what they brouht to Central and its football program. It hasn’t been easy at some points but I know that if I go out there every week and play as hard as I can for my team then we can accomplish our goals as a team.” Central went 1-9 and 3-7 in Colabella’s first two years behind center. “It taught me a lot about being tough and getting back up,” he said. That’s basically job description No. 2 for a quarterback — get back up. Comis did that last year against the Crusaders when he broke a bone in his left hand that eventually kept him out of basketball and baseball. “I hurt it in the second quarter of the game and knew something was wrong but didn’t think it was broken, I just thought it was just a sprain,” he said. “I always tell myself there’s a difference between being injured and hurt. And you can play hurt, and that’s what I did because I knew I wasn’t going to bail on my teammates.” That was Week 9. Comis eventually led Madonna to the state title game with that same broken hand. He finished the season with 1,663 yards rushing on 221 carries and 29 touchdowns, including a five-score See QUARTERBACKS Page 6


Quarterbacks Continued from Page 10 performance in the state title contest. Comis also passed for 1,672 yards on 106-for167, 18 touchdowns and five picks. “I love knowing that there is a target on our back because that keeps us on our ‘A’ game and lets us know that teams are going to challenge us regardless of their record,” he said. Colabella owns five Crusaders passing records. ¯ Most yards in a game — 377 ¯ Most yards in a season — 2,484 ¯ Most career yards — 5,513 ¯ Most TD passes in a season — 28 ¯ Most career TD passes — 53 Colabella got the nod as a freshman from former coach Gregg Bahen. “I was a little nervous before the beginning of the game but once we completed the first drive I settled down and relaxed,” said Colabella. “I had waited my whole life to run out onto Harding Stadium and hear the fight song and to do that as a freshman quarterback was a wow moment for sure. I think I was more anxious than nervous. I didn’t want to let coach Bahen, coach (Frank) Spence or my team down. “It was a dream come true. I had been going to football practice with my dad since I was 4-years-old and I knew then that I wanted to be a quarterback for Central. I always had looked up to all the past Central quarterbacks and to have the opportunity to be a quarterback and follow in their footsteps was an honor. I love to compete and I when I was given the opportunity to help lead my to team and to help them win, it was a great challenge for me. “Coach Bahen is one of

the best coaches that has ever coached me. He has always been a great inspiration to me. He taught me a lot about working and playing hard and keeping focused on my goals. It was an honor to me beacuse he chose me to lead his team and I know a lot of his past quarterbacks and I was really humbled. “Knowing that coach doesn’t do that normally, I took my job as quarterback very seriously and worked at earning it every day.” Last year Colabella was 175-for-282 for 2,484 yards, 28 scored and six interceptions. He was 146-for-252 for 1,986 yards, 18 tds and seven picks as a sophomore and 96for-183 for 1,081 yards, seven scored and nine INTs as a frosh. “I think after the Toronto

game (a 26-6 win) I started to feel comfortable with everything,” said Colabella. “We started to do things in that game that I knew we were capable of doing as a team all along. I threw my first TD pass and after that I felt that I belonged as a starter.” Comis said it took him a year to get comfortable with then-new coach Doug Taylor’s playbook. “I felt completely comfortable at quarterback coming into my junior year, having played a season with the new coaching staff and knowing the playbook inside and out,” he said. Comis threw for 1,122 yards and nine scores and ran for 702 yards and nine more touchdowns in nine games. He missed the last two games due to injury. “I love being the man in

charge and having the ball in my hands every play,” said Comis, who has accounted for 65 touchdowns in 23 games. “I set high standards for myself because I realize as a quarterback you can’t choose to be a leader, you have to be one and that’s what I take pride in most.” For Colabella, he’s had his dad Joe on the sidelines for every snap. “He has always been there for me,” said the younger Colabella. “He pushes me to be the best I can be and it hasn’t always been easy but I am better for it. Looking back, he has always been there when I think of football and Central.” Mom has been there every step of the way, too, just on another path. “We really don’t talk about football or sports,” he said.

“We talk about life and faith. We talk about what I need to do so that I am giving my best out on the field. We talk alot about my resposibilities as a leader of the team.” Comis owns two state championships — basketball as a freshman and baseball as a junior. But, that only ties older brother Lou — football and baseball in 2009-10. Oldest sister Leah leads the family with three in track her senior year in 2006. “Knowing that those two were so good at what they did, I knew I had big shoes to fill coming into high school and just try to carry on the name as best as possible,” said Comis. “Knowing Leah has three state championships and Louie has two, I know I have to get two more to top them both.”

Big Red (Games at 7 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 29 Detroit Catholic Central Sept. 6 Cleveland Benedictine Sept. 13 Pinehurst Spartans Sept. 20 at Brooke, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27 Massillon Oct. 4 at Barberton Oct. 11 Salesianum, Del. Oct. 18 at Ursuline Oct. 25 at Wheeling Park Nov. 1 Renaissance Christian

Catholic Central (Games at 7 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 31 at Bellaire, 12:30 p.m. Sept. 6 at Frontier Sept. 13 at Columbiana Sept. 21 Toronto Sept. 28 Oak Glen, 1:30 p.m. Oct. 5 Conotton Valley Oct. 11 at Barnesville Oct. 19 Weir Oct. 26 at Madonna Nov. 2 Magnolia

Buckeye Local


(Games at 7 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 31 Westinghouse Sept. 6 Union Local Sept. 13 at John Marshall, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at Indian Creek Sept. 27 Bellaire Oct. 4 at Edison Oct. 11 at Martins Ferry Oct. 19 Western Reserve Academy Oct. 25 St Clairsville Nov. 1 Harrison Central

(Games at 7 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 30 at Oak Glen Sept. 6 Carrollton Sept. 13 at Weir Sept. 21 at Bellaire, 12:30 p.m. Sept. 27 Union Local Oct. 4 Buckeye Local Oct. 11 at Harrison Central, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18 at St. Clairsville, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25 Martins Ferry Nov. 1 Indian Creek

East Liverpool

Harrison Central

(Games at 7:30 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 30 at Carrollton, 7 p.m. Sept. 6 Indian Creek Sept. 13 Salem Sept. 20 Cambridge Sept. 27 John Marshall Oct. 4 at Wheeling Park, 7 p.m. Oct. 11 Warren Oct. 18 at Oak Glen, 7 p.m. Oct. 25 at Beaver Local, 7 p.m. Nov. 1 at Weir, 7 p.m.

(Games at 7:30 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 29 at Wheeling Central Sept. 6 at Weir, 7 p.m. Sept. 13 Western Reserve Academy Sept. 20 Union Local Sept. 27 at Martins Ferry, 7 p.m. Oct. 4 at St. Clairsville Oct. 11 Edison Oct. 19 at Bellaire, 12:30 p.m. Oct. 25 Indian Creek Nov. 1 at Buckeye Local, 7 p.m.

Indian Creek


(Games at 7 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 29 Weir, 5:30 p.m. Sept. 6 at East Liverpool, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 13 Oak Glen Sept. 20 Buckeye Local Sept. 27 at St. Clairsville, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4 Bellaire Oct. 11 at Union Local Oct. 18 Martins Ferry Oct. 25 at Harrison Central, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1 at Edison

(Games at 7:30 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 30 at Morgantown Sept. 6 Taylor Allderdice, Pa. Sept. 13 University Sept. 20 Steubenville Sept. 27 at Wheeling Park, 7 p.m. Oct. 4 Point Pleasant Oct. 18 Parkersburg South Oct. 25 at Weir, 7 p.m. Nov. 1 at John Marshall Nov. 8 at Cabell Midland

Toronto (Games at 7 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 31 Wellsville Sept. 6 Bridgeport Sept. 13 at Fairport Harding, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21 at Catholic Central Sept. 27 at Shadyside Oct. 4 St. John Central Oct. 11 at Beallsville Oct. 18 Conotton Valley Oct. 25 at Hundred, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1 Madonna

Oak Glen (Games at 7 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 30 Edison Sept. 6 at Beaver Local Sept. 13 at Indian Creek Sept. 20 John Marshall Sept. 28 at Catholic Central, 1:30 p.m. Oct. 4 Weir Oct. 11 Williamstown Oct. 18 East Liverpool Nov. 1 at Point Pleasant, 1:30 p.m. Nov. 8 at Magnolia, 7:30 p.m.

Weir High (Games at 7 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 29 at Indian Creek, 5:30 p.m. Sept. 6 Harrison Central Sept. 13 Edison Sept. 20 Grafton Sept. 27 at Liberty Harrison, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at Oak Glen Oct. 11 at Magnolia, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at Catholic Central Oct. 25 Brooke Nov. 1 East Liverpool

Weirton Madonna (Games at 7 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 29 vs. Beallsville at Indian Creek, 7:45 p.m. Sept. 7 at Tusky Catholic, 1:30 p.m. Sept. 14 Wheeling Central Sept. 27 Cameron Oct. 4 Bridgeport Oct. 11 Bishop Donahue Oct. 18 Notre Dame Oct. 26 Catholic Central Nov. 1 at Toronto Nov. 8 at Clay Battelle, 7:30 p.m.


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Young and hungry: Big Red looking to lose a bad taste

(Games at 7 p.m. unless noted)

Aug. 29 Detroit Catholic Central Sept. 6 Cleveland Benedictine Sept. 13 Pinehurst Spartans Sept. 20 at Brooke, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27 Massillon Oct. 4 at Barberton Oct. 11 Salesianum, Del. Oct. 18 at Ursuline Oct. 25 at Wheeling Park Nov. 1 Renaissance Christian

By ED LOOMAN Sports correspondent

STEUBENVILLE — A 9-3 season may be worth remembering in most high school football circles. For Big Red, however, those three losses just didn’t sit well. “Our kids have worked extremely, extremely hard,” said Reno Saccoccia, who is entering his 31st season at the Big Red helm and sports a career record of 311-56. “”They want to get the taste of last year’s three losses out of their mouths. “These kids can accept constructive criticism and that’s Saccoccia important in athletics. You are going to get criticized but if you take the constructive criticism and learn from it, which is what our guys are doing right now, that’s a good thing.” Big Red will begin its 2013 Thursday when Detroit Central, one of four new teams on the schedule, visits Harding Stadium. For the first time since 2002,

Seniors (12) Bryan Pierro, Cody Saltsman, Perrier Coleman, Camron King, Michael Jett, Robert Hayden, Kai McClurg, Garon Lytle, Arin Goldsmith, Tyler Ingram, Jaylin Williams and Chris Starlipper. Juniors (18) Robbie Agresta, Bradley Newburn, Lucas Herrington, Travis Wolfe, Oko Anyabwile, Zach Burch, Donte Brown, Tevon Gary, Dondre Brown, Kahil Owens, Branden Jones, Devin Smith, David Lulla, Jake Boni, Joey Mastroianni, Darrell Solomon, William Harvey and Jordon Gamble. Sophomores (20) Mandela Lawrence-Burke, Dimitri Collaros, Jeremy Blue, Johnnie Blue, Niko Petrides, Devin Ferguson, Matthew Sherrell, Paul Runkle, Anthony Zorne, Amir Richmond, Seth Biacco, William Poploski, Timmy Albertson, A.J. Cochran, Bryce Ferrell, Vinny Craig, Rocky Gardner, Joey Walkosky, Ethan Stover and Tavian Williams.

Big Red will play four regular season games on the road (visiting Brooke, Wheeling Park, Barberton and Youngstown Ursuline). Saccoccia-coached Big Red squads have advanced to the Ohio playoffs 12 consecutive years. This season, Big Red will be competing in Division IV, since the Ohio High School Athletic Association made the call to expand to seven

divisions. Twelve lettermen return as Big Red looks to keep its playoff streak going. Saccoccia’s 50-man roster includes 12 seniors, 18 juniors and 20 sophomores. “We’ve had young teams before but this might be one of the youngest recently,” Saccoccia stated. “But, remember with youth comes enthusiSee BIG RED Page 11 ➪

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Big Red Continued from Page 10 asm and when you are enthusiastic, good things happen. Youth is still hungry. “You can have a bunch of veterans out there and sometimes they do things with a little less enthusiasm. The young kids may not always get lined up right, but they have that enthusiasm. We’ll be fine once as they start getting lined up right and know what they’re doing. That’s my goal right now.” During the early days of camp, Saccoccia indicated his offense has “been real good with base plays.” Several underclassmen are looking to replace Corey Stinson as the Big Red quarterback. Stinson passed for 1,347 yards and 11 touchdowns in his only season as Steubenville’s signal See BIG RED Page 12


Big Red Continued from Page 11 caller. Sophomores Dimitri Collaros and Mandela Lawrence-Burke are competing for the job as is junior Robbie Agresta. Freshmen Shyonne Petteway and Alec Davis also were mentioned as candidates. “The quarterbacks are taking even reps right now,” Saccoccia said. “Lawrence-Burke is not at 100 percent just yet. Whoever comes out after the second scrimmage will start the season. If things continue to go as they are, we’ll probably have two quarterbacks going into the third game, but not after that.” Heading into the 2012 season, the tailback position was a major concern for Saccoccia. This time around, there are plenty of candidates. Senior Robert Hayden (233 yards), junior Donte Brown (361 yards) and sophomore Johnny Blue

(179 yards) combined for 103 carries last year. Senior Garon Lytle, sophomore Matt Sherrell and junior Kahil Owens also are in the hunt for playing time. “We have a group of tailbacks returning with a lot of carries,” Saccoccia noted. “This season, we want them to play a more significant role in our offense. We want to get more yards without blocking, more yards after contact and we want them to do the grunt work. “We’re trying to instill in our tailbacks the need to do that grunt work because if they do, the big yards will come. We want our attitude to be its third and three on every play. That will help us be in the right frame of mine.” Fullback candidates include senior Kai McClurg, sophomore Devin Ferguson, sophomore Jeremy Blue, junior Dondre Brown and sopho-

more Amir Richmond. Big Red also has plenty of depth at the wide receiver positions. Candidates include: Senior Bryan Pierro (three catches in 2012), senior Michael Jett (five catches), junior Lucas Herrington (five catches), sophomore Niko Petrides, senior Cody Saltsman (12 catches), junior Bradley Newburn, junior Jordan Gamble, senior Perrier Coleman, Agresta, sophomore Joey Walkosky, junior Zack Burch, junior Travis Wolfe, junior Oko Anyabwile and sophomore Tavian Williams. Looking for playing time at tight end are senior Camron King, senior Arin Goldsmith, junior Branden Jones, sophomore Anthony Zorne, sophomore Paul Runkle and junior Devin Smith. Seniors Jaylin Williams and

Chris Starlipper, who saw considerable playing time in 2012, are back at offensive tackle. Others seeking playing time are senior Tyler Ingram, junior Darien Evans, junior Joey Mastroianni, sophomore Rocky Gardner, junior William Harvey and sophomore Vinny Craig. The guard candidates include junior Jake Boni, sophomore William Poploski, junior Darrell Solomon, sophomore A.J. Cochran and sophomore Bryce Ferrell. Junior David Lulla is competing for the starting job at center along with sophomore Timmy Albertson and sophomore Seth Biacco. “When it comes to the line, I really don’t care much about how many starters are back,” Saccoccia said. “For me, it’s more about the attitude and the line attitude on both See BIG RED Page 14

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Big Red Continued from Page 12 offense and defense has been very good and much improved.” Petrides, Lawrence-Burke and junior Tevon Gary are looking to replace Luke Smith as the Big Red punter. Smith also handled kickoff, field goal and extra point chores in 2012. Gary and sophomore Ethan Stover are battling for the right to be Big Red’s kicking specialist. Goldsmith (six sacks) and King (22 solo tackles, two sacks) are back at defensive end for Big Red. They’ll be supported by Harvey and Poploski. Solomon leads the candidates for the nose tackle. Starlipper, Williams, Boni, Runkle and Ingram also will see time along the defensive line. McClurg (24 tackles), Donte Brown (39 tackles and two sacks) and Hayden (34 tackles and two sacks) top the returnees at linebacker. Others looking for time are: Saltsman, Johnny Blue, Ferrell, Gamble, Ferguson, Sherrell, Don-

dre Brown, Owens, Smith, Lytle, Jeremy Blue, Jones, Zorne and Biacco. Pierro (47 tackles and two interceptions) and Jett (22 tackles and one pick) are the top returnees in the secondary. Herrington, Petrides, Coleman, Lawrence-Burke, Agresta, Collaros, Walkosky, Newburn, Wolfe, Anyabwile and Williams will also see duty. “Defensively, I think are our foot speed and our athletic ability will make a big difference,” Saccoccia stated. “We might throw in some different looks this year. We’ll still be focusing on getting off the ball, getting lined up, getting our alignments and getting our assignments.” Serving on the Big Red varsity staff are Bob Lamantia, Rick Camilletti, Dan Filtz, Jason Kernahan, Mike Haney, JoJo Saccoccia, Anthony Pierro, Gus DiMarzio and Josh Meyer.

Younce Continued from Page 4

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With this job you know the names you cover will change to some degree, from year to year, with graduation, but thinking about this group moving on is pretty difficult. I’ve come to know many of the athletes along with their families. Watching this group grow, not just on the field, but as young adults has been one of the great joys of my job. The 2013 season marks another milestone as well. It’s been 20 years since my senior year of high school began. Those who know me have heard over and over about the great 1993 Steubenville Catholic Central state champion football team. During the Crusaders homecoming game against Oak Glen the school is honoring that team along with the 1994 state baseball championship team. As I look back on those fun times of my youth I look forward to getting together and reminiscing with the old friends with who I shared those memories. Everything from remembering Coach Greg Bahen’s

Bellaire pregame speech to eating Big Macs every Thursday with Ronald “Bubs” Clark and Donald “Duck” Thorn. We even ate Big Macs on Thanksgiving the week of the state semifinal game. While I’ve gone on to experience much greater joys than that year, such as my marriage to my wife Angela, the birth of my daughter Norah, and the first time I ate at InN-Out Burger when I lived in Las Vegas, the 1993 season and my entire senior year are times I’ll always cherish. As this year’s senior class begins their final high school journey I hope they all have the opportunity to create the amount of good memories I have of my senior year. More than that though I hope, as they go out into the world, they experience blessings in their adult lives that make those memories pale in comparison. Seriously, if you head out west, you’ve got to hit up In-N-Out Burger. Order a Double-Double, Animal Style. You can thank me later.


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Numbers up as Riders also seek more in W column

(Games at 7 p.m. unless noted)

Aug. 29 at Indian Creek, 5:30 p.m. Sept. 6 Harrison Central Sept. 13 Edison Sept. 20 Grafton Sept. 27 at Lib. Harrison, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at Oak Glen Oct. 11 at Magnolia, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at Catholic Central Oct. 25 Brooke Nov. 1 East Liverpool

By RALPH COX Sports correspondent

WEIRTON — Building a football program is what Weir High coach, Tony Filberto, does best. He did it at Weir High in an earlier stint with the Red Riders in the first few years of the new century, did it from 2008-2011 at Oak Glen and feels he’s on his way in the second year of his second stint at Weir High. Filberto took over a Red Rider football program that had posted just three wins in 40 games over four years. He was optimistic about the 2012 season, but lacking a Filberto solid senior class and injuries that piled up as the season went along found the veteran coach going through 10 games without a victory, the first time in his almost 30-year coaching career. Because of the injuries, Filberto was forced to start nine freshmen by the time the season was over. “I do not like to start freshmen or even play them in varsity games and I rarely

Seniors (8) Isaac Wetterau, Daniel Mohoroski, John Frankovitch, Devin Dollison, Chris Baldwin, Clarence Bennett, Nick McCartney, Alyssa Shingle. Juniors (9) Jonathan Rice, Dylan Keyes, Josh Kolling, Jacob Nation, Jeremy Freeland, Matt Hartman, Mark Parr, William Larch, Chase Crow. Sophomores (14) Own Pearson, Sam Williams, Joe Caldwell, Matt Thompson, Cole Davidson, Jake Wypasek, Pat McCoy, Danny Sarles, C. J. Reed, Jacob Parr, Kyle Baldwin, Kameron Davis, Brandon Taylor, Dillon Reckner. Freshmen (14) Donovan Spencer, Blade MacGregor, Cody Enrietti, Domenick Murphy, Michael Mills, Adam Cowden, Jordan Allen, Jimmy Whitlatch, Alvyn Hernandez, Lyric Washington, Tyler Dulaney, Dustin Kegs, Owen Boyd, Isaac Piatt.

had done that over the course of my coaching career,” Filberto said. “We were forced into it because of the injuries. It was a new experience for me—one I’d never been in. “Last year wasn’t a bad team, it was just inexperienced. We played nine freshmen. They were just pups—young kids, but they never gave up and kept battling till the

end.” Filberto is counting on that experience, another year of maturity plus a lot of talented football players to begin to get the Red Riders back on the winning trail. “We have 46 kids out this year and that compares to 27 last year,” Filberto said. See WEIR Page 17 ➪

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Weir Continued from Page 16 “That’s the first battle. You need numbers before you have anything else. I commend our coaches. They worked hard informing the Weir High students of the benefits of playing football and the positive goals that we have.” Five seniors on the 2012 team departed. They are Darin Baldwin, who had an outstanding game with the victorious West Virginia team in the annual OVAC All Star game in July, Eric Piatt, James Owens, Matt Davis and Austin Wolverton. Using all those freshmen and sophomores a year ago could pay dividends this year as the Red Riders have 16 letter winners returning. “We made strides last year,” Filberto explained. “They had to learn the hard way and because of it I think we’ll have a pretty good football team this year. We’re still going to be young. We have only eight seniors and that’s our smallest class, but we’re building a good foundation and that will pay off.” Heading the list of returnees is junior William Larch, who will be entering his third season as the starting Red Rider quarterback. That would lead you to believe that he is experienced, but injuries have played a role in his development. Larch broke a collar bone in the second quarter of the second game of his freshman season and he didn’t return till the final game of 2011. Then, last year he started the first five games

before getting injured against Oak Glen. So he has played in only eight of Weir High’s 20 varsity games over two seasons. “Larch was real productive in those five games last year,” said Filberto. “He adapted to our offense and is doing a great job with it.” Since sophomore Jake Wypasek replaced Larch for the final five games at quarterback last year, and Filberto says he has two promising freshmen, there is much more depth at the position this year. “Wypasek finished the year for us and did a great job,” Filberto continued. “He returned this year a lot more matured and we have

high hopes for him. Sophomore Kameron Davis, is another of those freshman that got a lot of playing time a year ago. He’ll be the starter at running back and Filberto said he has come back with 30 more pounds on his frame. Davis is listed at 5-foot, 8-inches and 175 pounds. Matt Hartman, a junior transfer from Brooke High School, adds depth at running back along with senior Nick McCartney (6-0, 190), who is out for football for the first time, and sophomore Danny Sarles is in the mix. Filberto said he is blessed with a lot of depth at wide receiver, too. JoJo Rice, a junior and the leading receiver

a year ago returns along with senior Clarence Bennett. Bennett (6-1, 175) is a two-year letterman, who left the team midway through the season in 2012 due to personal issues. “Rice and Bennett were part of Weir High’s 4x100 track team that won the state title last spring and Rice was second in the state at 100 meters, so we’re blessed with a lot of speed on the outside,” Filberto said. Vying for playing time on the outside are juniors Dylan Keyes, Josh Kolling and Jacob Nation. The Red Riders use another wide receiver, See WEIR Page 62

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Great expectations? Veteran Crusaders looking to produce

(Games at 7 p.m. unless noted)

By ED LOOMAN Sports correspondent

STEUBENVILLE — The Catholic Central football team probably will be called a lot of things during the 2013 season. One tag the Crusaders should be able to avoid, however, is this-young. Steve Daley, entering his third season at the CCHS helm, has a roster featuring 21 lettermen, 15 seniors and 12 returning starters. “We’ve outgrown the young part,” Daley said Seniors (14) following a recent pracKhalil Jones, John Paul McNamara, Aleks Porreca, Louis Fallon, Brenton Colabella, Ryan tice. “We’re at the point Fletcher, Gabe Erickson, Johnny DiCarlantonio, Luke Potenzini, Tony Godich, Jake McCann, now where we have a Jimmy Joe Mort, MJ Marchetta, Marty Engle four-year starter, some Juniors (7) Daley three-year starters and Chris Murphy, Stone Romano, Nate Neely, Jonathan Shrieve, Jacob Borden, Jake Karovic, even some of our juniors are two-year Cam Lupinetti starters. Sophomores (10) James Howard, John Fallon, Tony Barber, Robbie LeFever, Cody Raymond, Cedro Parise, “We’re definitely not young anymore. Jesse Zamberlan, Seth Potenzini, Daniel Franckhauser, Bradley Berkey The mistakes we talked about in year one Freshmen (10) and slightly in year two related to our William Thompson, Luke Coniker, Eddie DeBenidetto, Brody Mihalyo, Daniel Harris, Anthony being young and maturing-we’re way past Leluika, Vinnie DiCarlantonio, Hayden Daley, Tommy Mort, Stephen Marcino that. We don’t expect to see those mental mistakes we’ve made the last two years. We are a veteran team.” season in 2012 and make the playoffs. Now sader are up for that challenge. With such an experienced squad comes “We have seen a progression in the last See CENTRAL Page 21 ➪ high expectations and Daley feels his Cru- two years,” he noted. “We had a winning

Aug. 31 at Bellaire, 12:30 p.m. Sept. 6 at Frontier Sept. 13 at Columbiana Sept. 21 Toronto Sept. 28 Oak Glen, 1:30 p.m. Oct. 5 Conotton Valley Oct. 11 at Barnesville Oct. 19 Weir Oct. 26 at Madonna Nov. 2 Magnolia

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Central Continued from Page 20 the expectation is we should make it back there and hopefully take it further than one week. “There are expectations in the minds of the coaching staff, our players and our fan base. We’ve preached to the players that potential and expectations don’t mean anything unless you produce and we’re looking to produce this year.” Daley’s spread offense once again will be directed by Brenton Colabella, who is about to become the school’s first four-year starter. The 6-2, 190 quarterback already owns five Central passing records including: ¯ Most yards in a single game, 377 ¯ Most yards in a season, 2,484 ¯ Most career yards, 5,513 ¯ Most TD passes in a single season, 28 ¯ Most career TD passes, 53 Colabella passed for 1,081 yards as a freshman, 1,986 as a sophomore and 2,484 last season when Central went 6-5 and reached the Division VI playoffs. “Brenton’s worked really hard in the off season on his speed and he’s gotten faster,” Daley said. “Can we count on him to run the ball a little more this year? Probably. That will take some pressure off him. “He has attended some camps and continued to improve when it comes to reading defenses. He now at the point where he is able to see things just as quick as I am and he knows where

to go with his checks. There’s always room for improvement and he has worked to make those improvements.” Sophomore Tony Barber will serve as Colabella’s primary backup with junior

Chris Murphy also available when needed. Three of Colabella’s top targets (Zack Herrington, 52 catches; Kyle Laukert, 39 grabs; and Michael Carapellotti, 23 receptions) have graduated. But Cen-

tral’s receiving cupboard is far from bare. Seniors Ryan Fletcher (31 catches for 437 yards and four touchdowns) and speedy Khalil Jones are the top See CENTRAL Page 22 ➪



Good Luck To All Area Teams


Central Continued from Page 21 candidates for the slot positions in Daley’s offense. Jones averaged 23 yards a grab in 2012. Murphy and Barber will serve as the backups. Aleks Porreca and Johnny DiCarlantonio, both seniors, will see plenty of time at split end. Also in the mix are sophomore James Howard, Barber and sophomore Seth Potenzini. “We have good hands coming back and good speed,” Daley stated. “We don’t have the size we had a split end last year but as a group, our skilled guys have better speed overall.” Central’s running game will be “more by committee” in 2013. A season ago, Doug Maslowski burst upon the scene, gaining 884 yards and scoring 15 times. Daley indicated junior Stone Romano, who had 32 carries as a sophomore, Murphy, Fletcher and Jones all will “get touches.” Sophomore Cedro Parise also is in the hunt. “We don’t have that explosive get to the edge and outrun people type guy like we did with Doug,” Daley explained. However, we should be better when it comes to running the ball between the tackles.” When Central goes to a two-back set, Daley noted he’ll be able to add senior Luke Potenzini “to the mix.” Potenzini, 6-4, 220, also will see time at tight end. Three starters return to the offensive line. Seniors Jake McCann and Marty Engle are back at tackle while junior Jonathan Shrieve will again man the center spot. Seniors Jimmy Joe Mort, M.J. Marchetta and Mark Dettorre along with junior Jake Karovic are battling for time at the guard spots. Dettorre, 6-1, 255, is a transfer from Carrollton. Senior Tony Godich and junior Cam Lupinetti will provide support at tackle. Junior Nate Neely will backup Shrieve. “We’re better on the line this year,” Daley said. “At this point, the line is really coming together. You can only put five out there at a time and we have eight guys in the mix. McCann, Engle and Shrieve are going to be there so we have five other guys battling for two positions. “If you look at us across the front, we are 200 pounds or more per position. We’re going to be a lot bigger up

front that we have been the last two years.” Daley added that overall, the 2013 Crusaders will have “better speed” than they had last year. “We don’t have that one guy like Doug who had just great speed, but overall our team speed is better and that should help us on both sides of the ball. “One problem we had last year offensively was slowing the game down. We did a great job with our uptempo attack but there were times when that actually wore us down. We’ve put some things together we can use when we need to take our foot off the pedal. We’ll be better at that this year.” Defensively, Daley has seven starters back in the fold. Central again will use the 4-3 as its base D but also can employ multiple looks. McCann will again man a defensive end spot. L. Potenzini, Howard, Engle and senior Gabe Erickson are fighting for time opposite McCann. Engle, who started on the line in 2012, will bounce between end and tackle. Marchetta and Mort, both parttime starters last season, top the list of candidates at tackle. Dettorre and Karovic also are candidates. Romano and Murphy return to their linebacking spots. Senior Louis Fallon is looking to nail down the third position. Godich and Parise are fighting for time also. Fletcher and Porreca, both starters in 2012, man the safety positions. Jones returns to his cornerback post. Barber, DiCarlantonio and sophomore Robbie LeFever will see time at the other corner. Daley pointed out Colabella may also appear in the defensive backfield in some “situational” moments. “We don’t go real deep at the defensive skilled positions,” Daley stated. “We like our offensive depth but we can’t rest of our defensive guys. These are our guys. We might have a backup here or there, but our defensive starters won’t be resting much. “We have a veteran and good group returning but they can’t come off the field defensively. We’ll work to get them some rest on offense. It bodes See CENTRAL Page 72


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Unfinished business: Blue Dons look to make that final step

(Games at 7 p.m. unless noted)

Aug. 29 vs. Beallsville at IC, 7:45 p.m. Sept. 7 at Tusky Catholic Sept. 14 Wheeling Central Sept. 27 Cameron Oct. 4 Bridgeport Oct. 11 Bishop Donahue Oct. 18 Notre Dame Oct. 26 Catholic Central Nov. 1 at Toronto Nov. 8 at Clay Battelle, 7:30 p.m.

By RALPH COX Sports correspondent

WEIRTON — Despite having an enviable 12-2 record in 2012, the Madonna football team has been living with a bad taste in their collective mouths for nine months and they are really glad to get back into pads and start playing football again. In the eyes of the 18 returning lettermen, including 15 seniors, the only thing that will wipe out the bad taste is a victory in the state championship game come December and they’ve been working hard over the past nine Taylor months to give themselves every chance to get there. The Blue Dons were the victims of a one point loss to Wahama in last December’s Class A state championship game at Wheeling Island Stadium. Tied at 35 all at the end of regulation, the Blue Dons scored first in overtime and elected to have Matt Green kick the extra point only to have the White Falcons march to a matching touchdown. The 4342 difference came when Wahama suc-

Seniors (15) Anthony Antinone, Austin Bell, Garrett Bever, Marcello Biondillo, Travis Brown, Will Bowser, Ross Comis, Tyler Ewusiak, Nate Guio, Gabe Hypes, Shain Livada, Josh Martin, Stevie Maus, Eliott Nero, Adam Robertson. Juniors (6) Austin Connell, Christian D’Angelo, Matt Green, Marquise Jeter, Grant Retton, Levi Shreve. Sophomores (6) Adam Davis, Thadius Dillie, Ryan Egyud, Nate Martin, Ryan Phelps, Dillon Shaw. Freshmen (9) Dustin Brown, Justin Canei, Joey Ewusiak, Gaetano Fuscardo, Phillip Good, Jimmy Mazzone, John Serafini, Nathan Smith, Tavon Jeter.

cessfully got the two-point conversion. “The outcome last December was not exactly what we wanted,” said Doug Taylor, who is beginning his third season at the helm of the Blue Dons. “We’ve had nine months to think about it and now we want to start playing some football again.” The Blue Dons, of course, are led by

senior quarterback Ross Comis, a first team All-Stater a year ago and Madonna player of the game in the championship tilt. 2013 will be Comis’ fourth year as a starter. He has been the Blue Don starting safety all four years and the starting quarterback since his sophomore year. See MADONNA Page 25


Madonna Continued from Page 24 “A lot of teams would die to have a starting quarterback returning,” said Taylor. “We have one with two years as a starter coming back. We put a lot on Comis’ back. He’s a gamer and just has the will to win.” The Blue Don senior rushed for 1,662 yards last year and passed for another 1,561 for a total production of 3,223 yards in 14 games. Taylor greeted 36 players when two-a-days began on Aug. 5. He has a veteran player returning at just about every position with only four holes to fill. Graduated starters from the 2012 squad that posted an outstanding 12-2 record are Charlie Kotten at center, guard Quintin Hukill, wide receiver Garrett Hypes. James Fulcinetti, who started some at inside linebacker and saw plenty of playing time there also picked up his sheepskin. “We lost a lot of experience with those that departed and they were multi-year starters, but because of the veteran players we have available this year, I think the transition will be somewhat smooth.” Taylor also has a couple of other holes to fill since Nick Ossman decided to transfer to Brooke for his senior season. He was the Blue Don running back and inside linebacker last year. Taylor will fill one of the sports, at center, with Shain Livada, a 5foot-11 230-pounder, who was the starter at that position last season at Weir High.

Senior Garrett Bever returns at one guard position while seniors Austin Bell and Travis Brown battling to replace Hukill on the other side. Bell was slated to see a lot of action last year, but injured a knee that required surgery in August putting him on the shelf for the season. Taylor said Tyler Ewusiak (6-3, 210) will move from tight end where he saw plenty of playing time a year ago out to wide receiver to help fill the vacancy there. Another transfer student, Dillon Shaw, a sophomore, is vying with Travis Brown and Stevie Maus, both seniors, at inside linebacker. Taylor said Shaw played middle school football with the Junior Dons, but decided to attend Brooke High School last year. “In a small school like

ours, the athletes often participate in multiple sports, but for the most part our kids have been very dedicated to football,” said Taylor. “They have worked very hard in the weight room and during summer workouts. I expect us to have a decent year again in 2013.” Taylor’s early depth chart shows senior Anthony Antinone as the backup quarterback and he hopes to find some playing time for freshman signal caller, Joe Ewusiak, to get him some experience for 2014 when Comis and Antinone will have graduated. The departed Ossman was the running back for the Blue Dons last year, but senior Eliott Nero (5-10, 205), a second team All State selection at linebacker, got a lot of carries. He See MADONNA Page 73 ➪





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Aug. 29 Weir, 5:30 p.m. Sept. 6 at East Liverpool, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 13 Oak Glen Sept. 20 Buckeye Local Sept. 27 at St. Clairsville, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4 Bellaire Oct. 11 at Union Local Oct. 18 Martins Ferry Oct. 25 at Harrison Central, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1 at Edison (Games at 7 p.m. unless noted)

By FRED YOUNCE Sports writer WINTERSVILLE — The 2012 Indian Creek High School football team made school history when it reached the playoffs for the second consecutive season. With an experienced line and backfield on offense and hard-hitting, ballhawking defense the 2013 team appears poised to push that run to three years. The Redskins offensive front is led by a trio of returning starters joined by a pair of returning lettermen. “The middle three are back,” said Indian Creek head coach Connor Andrew Connor. “Mark Wojciechowski is at center. He’s been there since his sophomore year when he started four games. Justin Gibson will be our right guard. He’s been playing there for two years. Paul Eakle is our left guard. “We’re very fortunate that our two tackles, Tyler West and Nate Beatty, are returning lettermen who played an

Seniors (12) Zach Williams, Corey Goodrich, Blake Roar, Johnny Haught, Jonathan Woodbury, Tyler Lathem, Tran Huynh, Mark Wojciechowski, Nathan Beatty, Paul Eakle, Tyler West, Austin Bianchini. Juniors (15) Zach Connor, Zac Crawford, Anthony Krager, Sean Tipton, Christian Getsy, Justin Cummings, Chris Plotts, Michael Puorro, Jacob Holloway, Justin Gibson, Nick Fortunato, Luke Carroll, Donnie Merritt, Greg Burrow, Corey Springer. Sophomores (12) Chris Mazar, Jacob Wigal, Isiah Pavlic, Cody Sinsel, Zach Cole, Jonathan Dailey, Zach Williams, Brandon Neville, Eddie Homol, Tristan McDonald, Tyreece Papola, Scott Kosek. Freshmen (14) Trey Harton, Greg Wade, Austin Vandeborne, Robert Coppa, Bryce Throckmorton, Miles Mazik, Austin Freshwater, Sam Robinson, Jacob Wounaris, Nathan Thomas, Dylan Simmons, Michael Butler, Ryan Zrinyi, Shane Powers.

awful lot for us so we feel we have a lot of experience with those five. “We also feel we have some depth with Luke Carroll at either guard or tackle, (sophomore) Zach Williams at guard or center, and Nick Fortunato at tackle give us a good core of offensive linemen right now.”

The backs benefiting from the holes that front line creates consist of a pair of seniors who are a stark contrast in their running styles. “In the backfield were pretty blessed,” said Connor. “We’re fortunate to have two See REDSKINS Page 29

Good Luck Creek! Have A Great Season!


Redskins Continued from Page 28 tailbacks in Blake Roar and Tran Huynh that give us a little bit of a thunder and lightning idea. Blake’s more of a straight ahead, tackleto-tackle kind of running back while obviously we’ll try to get Tran on the outside. Tran averaged about nine yards a carry last year. “We also have a junior, Michael Puorro, who is going to see some action back there at tailback so we feel we have some good kids back there at tailback.” While they are set at fullback, there is less experience at the position lead blocking for Roar and Huynh. “Right now Zach Connor will be a starting fullback,” said Connor. “We moved him from tight end to fullback. He’ll get some help there from Jonathan Dailey. “They’re going to be inexperienced in a way because one (Connor) is playing a new position, and the other (Dailey) is just a sophomore.” Making the backs job of racking up yardage a little easier is that the Redskins have a strong combination of size and athleticism at tight end. “Again we’re blessed with some size at tight end,” said Connor. “(Senior) Zach Williams (6-foot-1, 240 pounds) will be our starting tight end, and when we go double tight we’ll go with Christian Getsy (61, 210) or Zach Cole (6-0, 200). “We feel we have some bulk there that if we have to go double tight we’ll be good

there.” The biggest question mark in the Redskins offense is who will be calling the signals. A quarterback battle has developed between a senior and a sophomore that could come down to the final scrimmage. “We have a good competition going on between Jonathan Woodbury, who’s our senior, he’s been with our program since he was a seventh grader, and our sophomore quarterback, Chris Mazur. “Chris played J.V. ball last year as our starting quarterback. We have a good, spirited competition going on right now. “Jonathan is obviously the leading candidate as the senior, but we have a Red-Gold Game and three scrimmages so a lot can change.” Connor believes whoever starts will benefit

from the experience he has both in front and in back of him. “We’re going to try to do things where we don’t make whoever the quarterback is win a game on his own,” he said. “We have a good offensive line, we have some good backs, we’re going to be multi-formationed again, we’re going to have a couple different speeds we’ll run our offense. “We’ll still run the offense the way we did, but keeping in mind the quarterback is going to be inexperienced at that position. We feel like with all the things we do it will aid the quarterback. “It seems like it could confuse him, but it will make it so he doesn’t have to do too much early. We can rely on our senior offensive line and or See REDSKINS Page 65 ➪

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Blumette welcomed 27 lettermen in push for playoffs

(Games at 7:30 p.m. unless noted)

Aug. 30 at Morgantown Sept. 6 Taylor Allderdice, Pa. Sept. 13 University Sept. 20 Steubenville Sept. 27 at Wheeling Park, 7 p.m. Oct. 4 Point Pleasant Oct. 18 Parkersburg South Oct. 25 at Weir, 7 p.m. Nov. 1 at John Marshall Nov. 8 at Cabell Midland

By ED LOOMAN Sports correspondent

WELLSBURG — Sean Blumette, the second year coach at Brooke, has a simple goal for his 2013 Bruins — get to the playoffs. “Triple A football in West Virginia is what you make of it,” Blumette said recently. “We could be 8-1 and not play anyone but I’d rather be battled tested, play the top teams and see where we land. “There’s not an easy game on our schedule, but we feel we can compete. If we were playing a normal schedule, our expectations would be to go 9-1 or 8-2. With the Blumette level of competition we are going to play, our goal is simple—get to the playoffs.” Brooke, which went 3-7 in 2012, starts its tough slate Friday with a road trip to Morgantown. It opens at home on Sept. 6 opposite Pittsburgh Taylor Allerdice. University and Big Red visit Memorial Stadium the following two weeks before the Bruins head to Wheeling Park. “We have five of the top teams in

Seniors (19) Shawn Ashbrook, Nigel Bowland, Todd Clark, Aquil Dameron, Nick DeStefano, Zach Ferrari, Logan Green, Heath Hildreth, Joe Hood, Joe Lancaster, Matt Mazzone, Joe Montgomery, Bobby Moore, Casey Munger, Nick Ossman, Ethan Sole, Joe Staffilino, Alexander Tate and Preston Wise. Juniors (11) Kyle Bowman, Colin Burns Scott Edgell, Justin Elliott, Luke Grizzel, Eugene Jones, Michael Kurcina, Jacob Ohler, Ryan Parrish, Cody Rine and Aaron Walker. Sophomores (22) Tyler Bailey, Jeff Braun, Seth Burek, Blake Burns, Thomas Cole, Aaron Cox, Matt Doll, Levi Doyle, Nathan Green, Bryan Hanlon, Chad Harper, Joe Hood, Thomas Lancaster, William Law, John Lazear, Matthew Lazear, Dillian Lilly, Justin Loughrie, Patrick Taylor, Marquon Underwood, Cody Younciak and Christopher Zonker

West Virginia on the schedule then you throw in Steubenville,” Blumette stated. “There are games on the schedule that we look at and know we can and have to win them. In the other games, we have to compete, do the best we can and maybe catch a break. “We are going to need to pull some upsets and get a big win under our belts.

If we can do that early, we can get on a roll. We have to stay healthy early. Last year, we lost four starters in the first three weeks. If we can get through those first six games healthy and get to our bye week with three or four wins, we’ll be feeling pretty good about ourselves See BRUINS Page 35


Bruins Continued from Page 34 going into the last four games of the year.” Brooke will host Point Pleasant on Oct. 4 before taking its mandatory week off. It hosts Parkersburg South on Oct. 18 before finishing with road games at Weir, John Marshall and Cabell Midland, which dropped a 38-14 decision to Martinsburg in the Class AAA title game last season. “As we go into the second year, both the coaches and the kids are more familiar with our system,” Blumette added. “Our kids have a new belief in themSee BRUINS Page 36


Good Luck All Area Teams!

Bruins Continued from Page 35 selves. Last year was rough all around. I think our expectations are really simply stated: we are pushing for the playoffs.” Twenty-seven letter winners are back to help Blumette in his push for the post-season. “Last year, we opened up the competition for a lot of positions and our younger kids seized the opportunity,” the Bruin coach said. “We were very happy with how they played even though they made youthful mistakes. We know that will serve us well in the long run. “It has shown during the summer. The kids that took their lumps last year have developed into leaders and guys we are happy to have back as part of this program.” Running back Justin Loughrie is one of the young players who seized his opportunity in 2012. As a freshman, he led Brooke in rushing, going for more than 400 yards and scoring five times. Against Parkersburg South, Loughrie toted the pigskin 20 times for 155 stripes. Joining him in the Brooke backfield is senior Nick Ossman, a transfer from Madonna. A season ago, Ossman compiled 11 rushing touchdowns as the Blue Dons reached the state Class A championship game. “Loughrie stepped in last year and did a great job for us,” Blumette noted. “He was our leading rusher. Ossman adds a new dimension to our backfield. He is a little more physical than Justin.” Junior Aaron Walker will direct Blumette’s pistol spread attack. He saw action last year when veteran quarterback Alec Buchmelter went down with an injury. “Losing a leader like Alec is hard to overcome,” Blumette admitted. “Fortunately or unfortunately, Alec took some bumps last year and Aaron stepped in against Weir and Parkersburg South and did a nice job for us. “We worked closely with him during the offseason and he had a real good showing in a couple of the seven on seven scrimmages this summer. He’s developed into a team leader and the guys are rallying around him. He has a different kind of skill set than Alec, who was a

capable runner with a bigger arm. Aaron is more of a sprint out guy, a play action passer and he may be a little more dynamic as a runner. We plan to use him to the fullest extent.” Sophomore Chad Harper and senior Ethan Sole will serve as Walker’s backups. Senior Nigel Bowland and junior Ryan Parrish are the top candidates at fullback. The Brooke wide receiver cupboard is well-stocked with three returnees. Leading the way is sophomore Thomas Cole (6-5, 220) who grabbed more than 20 passes as a freshman. Senior Heath Hildreth (17 catches) is back as is junior Nick DeStefano, who had four receptions in last year’s Big Red game. Sophomore Matt Lazear, senior Aquil Dameron and junior Kyle Bowman also are competing for time. “Cole had a great season for us last year and did a great job in basketball,” Blumette said. “We’ve watched him grow and get better. Hildreth can do everything for us. He’s definitely our smartest wideout. We have other guys that saw time last year and they have developed to the point where they can push to be starters during any given week.” Blumette pointed to Brooke’s skilled positions (wide receivers and backs) as being a “position of strength” for this 2013 club. Senior Joey Staffileno returns at tight end (he had double-digit catches a season ago). “He has tremendous hands and deceiving speed,” Blumette said of Staffileno, who stands 6-4. “He is very physical and is going to be a huge component in our passing game and also will be significant in making our running game work.” Backing up Staffileno is sophomore Nathan Green, who goes 6-5. “With Staffileno, Green and Cole, we can go 6-4, 6-5 and 6-5 and we are going to create matchup problems for the defense,” Blumette noted. “I like that.” Two starters (senior Preston Wise and junior Justin Elliott) See BRUINS Page 37


Bruins Continued from Page 36 return to the offensive line. Wise started at a guard a season ago but has been moved to center. Elliott is back at right tackle. “We graduated three starters up front, but the two coming back are good ones,” Blumette said. “Wise (who is coming off a knee injury suffered at the state wrestling tournament) has adjusted well to the move from guard to center. He’s done a tremendous job of picking up the calls. “Probably the biggest addition for us in this area is our new line coach Chris Hill, who came over from Weir High. He has done a tremendous job with the line. Players in the mix for the three open spots are senior Logan Green, junior Cody Rine, senior Joe Montgomery, junior Colin Burns, junior Luke Grizzel and senior Joe Lancaster. “We’re going to be versatile on offense,” Blumette noted. “We’ll stay with the pistol and no huddle but if we want to go with four or five receivers, we can. We can go with two tight ends and pound it or we can run our quarterback. All those things will put pressure on the defense. “I think our depth at the skilled positions is

good. I’m a little concerned with our depth at quarterback and the offensive line concerns me the most. I like to be eight or nine deep there. Right now, we have six. I’m hoping we can get up to eight or nine by the end of camp.” Defensively, the Bruins will stick with the 4.3 Rine and senior Casey Munger (6,2 205), a transfer from Cannonsburg, Pa., are the top candidates at defensive end. Senior Todd Clark is back at defensive tackle and Blumette noted he is looking “for a plugger who can beat up the centers for us) to start at the nose. Senior Shawn Ashbrook, who Blumette described as the “captain of our defense,” will move from outside linebacker to the inside. Bowland returns as the Will LB and Parish as the Sam. Loughrie is back at corner with junior Jacob Ohler returning at the other. Walker is slated to start at free safety with Ossman or Lazear getting the call at strong safety. “We’re looking for a couple more bodies to take some reps at linebacker,” the Bruin coach added. “We need to find guys who can spell our starters.

“Our starting 11 on both sides are pretty well on their way to being set. There will be competition going on for a few starting sports and for those key backup roles.” Blumette, who had 52 on his varsity roster at the start of camp, admitted his Bruins “will be very young in the secondary even though we are returning three starters. He added those in the secondary have “gotten much better with their technique and are much more physical.” Hildreth will again serve as Brooke’s punter and also is the holder for field goals and extra points. Senior Bobby Moore is back to handle the kicking duties. “He has a big leg and is pretty accurate,” Blumette said of Moore. “He hit a big one against John Marshall last year for us. He’s really a weapon. We’re confident that if we get inside the 35, he will give us a realistic shot at three points. That takes a lot of pressure off the offense.” Serving on Blumette’s staff are Terry Rea, Paul Julio, Ted Arneault, Anthony Royal, Chris Hill, Chuck Taylor, Doug Lamp, C.J. Besece, Jason Williamson and Jeff Blundin.

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Stickles’ club focusing on little things in big picture

(Games at 7 p.m. unless noted)

Aug. 30 at Oak Glen Sept. 6 Carrollton Sept. 13 at Weir Sept. 21 at Bellaire, 12:30 p.m. Sept. 27 Union Local Oct. 4 Buckeye Local Oct. 11 at Harrison Central, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18 at St. Clairsville, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25 Martins Ferry Nov. 1 Indian Creek

By AARON PETCHAL Sports correspondent

RICHMOND — The Edison football team is focusing on the little things in hopes of achieving some big things this season. This season, the Wildcats are under the guidance of first-year and first-time head coach Derrick Stickles. He replaced Mike McKenzie, who resigned shortly after seven years at the helm. Stickles served as an assistant coach at his alma mater Oak Glen last year after spending time on Edison’s staff under McKenzie. The Golden Bears and the Wildcats opened last Stickles season by playing at Harding Stadium in Steubenville. The two teams will meet to open the season for the fourth-straight season this year. This year’s meeting will be the first one held at Oak Glen. The first meeting was held at Edison, and the last two years the teams have played at Harding. The Wildcats finished last season with a 2-8 record, defeating Weir and Martins

Seniors (15) Nolan Marcus, Josh Pasek, Storm Allese, Jevin Leggett, Devin Haese, Corey George, Neil Moore, Devan Tennant, Hunter Sweat, Blaine Cline, Dustin Huggins, Matt Coppa, Tyler Stagani, Jonah Haught, Rich Springer Juniors (14) Carter Andreozzi, Robert Daley, Jayce Robinson, Russell Shannon, Collin Skeeles, Ethan Shannon, Mitchell Wells, Nate VanHorn, Cody Kosegi, Tyler Schmitt, Dustin Dayton, Tyler Bly, Nick Fisher, Robert Shannon Sophomores (15) Nick Sinicropi, Jay Louks, Nick Glenn, Dakota Byron, Robert Smith, Andy Matta, Colter Whitmore, Uziah Yetts, Anthony Scalise, Collin Scott, Nick DellaPenna, Clayton Wilson, Michael Ford, Dylan Boyuk, Evan Longo Freshmen (18) Storm Vincenzo, Dominic Rogers, Joe Nave, Travis Wright, Mark Johns, Josh Alexander, Chris Kosegi, Cameron Redovian, Mason Balzano, Logan Glenn, JT Dillon, Cody McCain, Jake Connelly, Cole Clutter, Jon Kemmer, Cody Westling, Michael Speedy, Vincent Bonar

Ferry. Edison will be without 13 seniors who graduated last spring, including the team’s leading rusher Chris Graziani. He ran for 829 yards and 11 touchdowns, including a 99-yard touchdown run against Oak Glen, on a 141 carries. The team returns 15 lettermen. Eight

are two-year lettermen — Nolan Marcus, Josh Pasek, Jevin Leggett, Devan Tennant, Dustin Huggins, Matt Coppa, Tyler Stagani and Rich Springer. The one-year lettermen are seniors Storm Allese, Corey George and Jonah Haught, and juniors See WILDCATS Page 41


Wildcats Continued from Page 40 Carter Andreozzi, Ethan Shannon, Mitchell Wells and Tyler Schmitt. All told, the Wildcats have 15 seniors on the roster. “Things are going pretty well,” Stickles said. “We are working hard to get better. We want to take care of the small things. We want to pay attention to the details. We are taking care of the small things, and if we do that the big picture will take care of itself. We are spending a lot of time focusing on the small things and those little details.” Led by signal-caller Marcus, the Wildcats See WILDCATS Page 42 ➪

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Wildcats Continued from Page 41 will once again feature a talented offensive unit. Stickles has high expectations for his offensive unit. “I have high expectations all the time,” he said. “I want to hold them to a high standard to get the best out of them. Offensively, we have had a lot of success running and passing. We want to be the type of team that will take what the other teams gives week to week. It will depend on who we play to see if we are going to be a primarily passing or running team. I think we have the horses to be able to do that. We have the talent that will help us become well balanced and to adapt to whatever team is coming to town or who we are going to face that week.” Marcus is the latest dual threat to play quarterback in the last dozen years. Last year, Marcus (5-8, 165) threw for 1,345 yards with 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, and he also ran for 633 yards and 10 touchdowns on 132 carries. “He’s the type of kid coaches dream about having around,” Stickles said. “I am blessed to have the opportunity to coach him. He does everything right. He brings a lot of excitement to the team. He brings a lot of laughter. He is a laid back kind of cat. “When the time comes, he knows to stay focused on what is imprortant and the task at hand. He can throw the football. He can pass the football. He is one of smartest football players I have been around. He is a good knowledge of the game. It is exciting as a coach to have a confident kid like him. He is always positive. He is a leader. He makes the right decision. He is going to handle the football on everysingle play.” Junior Collin Skeeles (5-9, 160) will backup Marcus. Skeeles is more of a pocket passer than Marcus. Sophomore Nick Glenn (5-6, 135) and freshman Dominic Rogers (5-11, 175) are young players who are developing at the position. Edison has a lot of pair of talented running backs in the last two seasons — Shane O’Brien (2011 grad) and Graziani. This year’s group is led by Pasek (5-9, 160) and Shannon (5-10, 180). “I think we will be OK,” Stickles said. “Josh Pasek is our speed runner.

He will get out and run on the perimeter. Ethan Shannon will be our between the tackles runner. He is a hard runner. Josh has really blossomed. We think he is going to have a positive season running the ball. Ethan Shannon is going to get the brunt of our carries. Jevin Leggett will sometimes be in the backfield with him, and sometime he will be by himself. Ethan runs hard. He never stops moving his feet, and that is important. He is willing to do the extra things that will make himself better.” Leggett (5-9, 200) will be the team’s primary fullback, and he will also get opportunities to carry the pigskin. Glenn could also see time at the position. When it comes to the running back position, Stickles, who was a standout running back at Oak Glen and at West Liberty, knows what he is talking about. “It takes lot of dedication, hard work and the next aspect is you have to watch film,” Stickles said about what it takes to excel in the backfield. “It is important to know your opponents weaknesses are and to know what to do when things don’t go as they are supposed to go. After that, you have to be an intelligent player who understands the game. You have to have that toughness that you are the badder made when you meet in the hole. That is what wins the battle. You have to have that attitude as a running back. You can’t be afraid of contact.” Stickles has spent a lot in practice working with the running backs. “We’ve had a few coaching changes,” Stickles said. “I hired a coaching staff that would fill all of the positions, so I would be able to kind of wander around and evaluate everything that is going on. I’m primarily working with the running backs right now. I am spending a lot of time with the running backs, developing them as athletes. It is my comfort zone. “I have coached the offensive line. I loved coaching the linemen. I felt like I had more control of the offense. I loved coaching there, but running backs are my comfort zone. I feel like we have an excellent group of kids. I See WILDCATS Page 98


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Whittington’s squad seeking to use its speed, athleticism

(Games at 7 p.m. unless noted)

Aug. 30 Edison Sept. 6 at Beaver Local Sept. 13 at Indian Creek Sept. 20 John Marshall Sept. 28 at Cath. Central, 1:30 p.m. Oct. 4 Weir Oct. 11 Williamstown Oct. 18 East Liverpool Nov. 1 at Point Pleasant, 1:30 p.m. Nov. 8 at Magnolia, 7:30 p.m.

By RALPH COX Sports correspondent

NEW MANCHESTER — After two straight trips to the West Virginia Class AA playoffs, the Oak Glen football team fell on hard times in 2012, but second year coach Ian Whittington is looking to get the Golden Bears back on the winning track. The Golden Bears of last year had most of their interior linemen back from the 2011 playoff team along with a couple of skill players, but injuries played a big role in the disappointing 4-6 record. Whittington has 11 lettermen returning, but only one starter from the offensive line, but he feels that while this Whittington year’s club is younger and inexperienced, it has much more speed and athleticism. “We’re very young and very inexperienced,” he said, “but our kids are ambitious to win and each one of them is striving to be the best football player he can be. We just want to get better each day.” Fifteen seniors picked up diplomas

Seniors (11) Chris Burnham, Cody Wishon, Colton Speece, Dalton Champ, David Campbell, Drew Bailey, Keith Orr, Mike Shenton, Skyler Fluharty, Josh Cornell, Tyler Campbell. Juniors (8) Joe Wells, Micah Swiger, Nate Bebout, Noah Mills, Patrick Arneault, Chase Hartley, Lakota Grimes, Addison Sayre. Sophomores (16) Aaron Gray, Alec Swiger, Bradly Hitt, Brandon Skeeles, Cyle Perez, Devon Chadwick, Edison Gatrell, Justin Campbell, Justin Cornell, Kalib Bailey, Michael Campbell, Noah Flowers, Ron Moore, Ryan Cunningham, Tommy Hawken, Zac Porter Freshmen (13) Richard Bowen, Stevie Cool, Lance Collins, Chase Crago, Kaleb Merton, Solan Mueller, Isaac Rosohac, Logan Kranis, Travis Lowther, Shane Theiss, Dakota Price, David Devoux, Taylor Edgell.

Whittington’s toughest job will be last May and the 2012 starting quarterback, Vincent (Bub) Haddox, who was replacing the departed Preston Murray, a injured through most of the second half four-year starter and two-time Class AA of the season, decided he wanted to pass See BEARS Page 45 ➪ up football in lieu of playing fall baseball.

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Bears Continued from Page 44 first team All State selection at tackle. Other seniors gone are: Nate Wright, Tyler Steed, Josh Weltner, Jeffrey Stivason, Justin Stivason, Zach Staley, Clayton Flowers, a special All State honorable mention selection, Cole Holloway, Cody Howell, Trey Smith, Nation Whittington, Richie Davis, Brady Pittenger and Logan Curtis. Whittington returns Chase Hartley at quarterback. He started several games last year as a sophomore when Haddox was injured. “Hartley throws the ball well and really See BEARS Page 86

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Experience, depth make Meek’s Red Knights formidable

(Games at 7 p.m. unless noted)

Aug. 31 Wellsville Sept. 6 Bridgeport Sept. 13 at Fairport Harding, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21 at Catholic Central Sept. 27 at Shadyside Oct. 4 St. John Central Oct. 11 at Beallsville Oct. 18 Conotton Valley Oct. 25 at Hundred, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1 Madonna

By FRED YOUNCE Sports writer

TORONTO — A little more experience plus some added depth should equal a formidable Toronto High School football team in 2013. Coming off a 3-7 season that saw Toronto use a new spread offense with a freshman signal caller, you can expect to see a much more confident group of Red Knights this season. That confidence may not be more evident than in their secondyear starter at quarterback, sophomore Blaze Glenn, who threw for threw for 1,073 yards Meek with nine scores and nine interceptions while rushing for 539 yards and six more scores as a freshman. “I think he understand the system better,” said Toronto head coach Eric Meek. “We’ve added more of our playbook this year. We didn’t throw a lot at him as a freshman. He has just enough of a chip on his shoulder that I like. He’s

Seniors (12) Derick Lawrence, Chez Glenn, Sam Pinkerton, Ryan Cline, Logan Allen, Justice Ross, Tyler Miller, Billy Solomon, Josh Roche, Jarin McIntosh, Jordan Allen, Shawn MacGregor. Juniors (5) Nate Stewart, Charles Ross III, Mitch Reese, James Reed, Alec Haynes. Sophomores (10) Joe Jordan, Blaze Glenn, Hayden Saner, Donnie Starkey, Blaine Rawson, Cody King, Chantz Cassella, Sean Spence, Tim West, Drew Lowery. Freshmen (10) Ty West, Danny Zdinak, Joe O’Brien,Thomas Fordham, Max Tice, Ben Davis, Joven Householder, Dan Braniff, Dylan Warren, Griffen Allison.

a good kid, but confident in himself. He’s not afraid to compete. “I’ve told him a dozen times this summer and spring if he makes good decisions I’ll give him the green light to take chances. I think he’ll do that. He understand the game of football pretty well.” Backing up Blaze Glenn is Blaine Rawson with Dan Zdinak and Ty West battling to add depth at the position.

Expect to see three players line up at running back with returning players Charles Ross III, Chez Glenn, and Chantz Cassella. Chez Glenn led the team in rushing in 2013 with 563 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also led the team in receiving yards with 393 and receiving touchdowns with four. See RED KNIGHTS Page 49


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Red Knights Continued from Page 48 Zdinak and Max Tice are pushing for time in the backfield as well with Derick Lawrence and Tom Fordham also in the mix. Toronto’s running backs will also line up in the slot at times. Nate Stewart returns at wideout. Stewart proved to be a solid outlet for Blaze Glenn last season leading the team with 19 receptions to go with 160 yards. He is being pushed by Rawson and Donnie Starkey. Joe Jordan, Sam Pinkerton, Ryan Cline, Logan Allen, West, and Justice Ross are all fighting to get on the field as well. “Stewart is a very good possesion receiver,” said Meek. “The good thing about it is with him and Rawson and Starkey we have possesion guys. “With our running backs in slot we get speed out there with Ross, Chez Glenn, and other kids as well. If teams go all out to stop our run we’ll put the ball up, and not be afraid to do so.” A trio of Red Knights are battling at tight end with Cody King, Hayden Saner, and Joe O’Brien all hoping to man the position. The place expected the see the most improvement is across the front line. Meek believe an improved offensive line will facilitate good things for his ballclub. “I really think the line is going to be better,” he said. “If not it will be a huge disappointment. I’m confident we will be better. “If we eliminate turnovers and get better production from the O-line I think we can pose problems to defenses.” Dylan Warren looks to start at center with Wellsville transfer Jarin McIntosh pushing him for time after he sits out the first five games. Dan Braniff is also vying for time. Drew Lowery, Tyler Miller, and Alec Haynes are fighting for the guard slots with Josh Roche, Billy Solomon, Jordan Allen, and Tim West battling at tackle. Others pushing for time on the offensive line are Mitch Reese, Ben Davis, Joven Householder, Sean Spence, Shawn MacGregor, James Reed, and Griffen Allison. Meek is to the point when he describes what needs to happen in order for his team to improve on the defensive side of the ball. “Defensively we must tackle much better,” he said. “Last year was the worst I’ve seen in my career.” Helping that cause is a roster that grew from 31 to 37 players, and the knowledge he can can go a little deeper to his bench than last season. “As a staff we take a little bit of a blame (for the poor tackling),” said Meek. “We are a little more confident this year. Last year we had to be careful how much contact because we had so little depth. See RED KNIGHTS Page 102

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Entering 9th year, Kropka has some holes to fill

(Games at 7:30 p.m. unless noted)

Aug. 29 at Wheeling Central Sept. 6 at Weir, 7 p.m. Sept. 13 Western Reserve Academy Sept. 20 Union Local Sept. 27 at Martins Ferry, 7 p.m. Oct. 4 at St. Clairsville Oct. 11 Edison Oct. 19 at Bellaire, 12:30 p.m. Oct. 25 Indian Creek Nov. 1 at Buckeye Local, 7 p.m.

By SETH STASKEY Special to the Pigskin Preview CADIZ — Talk about filling some holes. “We lost our all-time leading rusher, leading tackler and scorer in that class, so it’s tough to say good-bye to those guys,” Harrison Central football coach Justin Kropka admitted. “That’s the way high school football goes, though.” Along with Mauritce Hython and Nick Pelegreen, the Huskies also lost via graduation 12 more pieces to the puzzle — Tyler Rose, Rashaen Mitchell, Josh Moore, Ryan Rose, Terrance Lindsey, Josh Leggett, Kropka Rhett Kuryn, Justin Friend, Colton Houston, Tyler Hood and Kyle Smith. The Huskies are coming off their second trip to the postseason, but 14 key pieces have moved on via graduation. Harrison Central finished the 2012 regular season with a 7-3 record, losing to a trio of playoff squads (St. Clairsville, Bellaire and Indian Creek). In the playoffs, they ran into the Red Devils and were belt-

Seniors Sean Donato, Cody Evans, Dusty Fulton, Cole Howes, D.J. Jones, David Miser, Nurgeldi Nekesov, Nate Olmstead, Geoff Pecar, Cyle Riedel, Jonah Rodgers, Austin Thompson, Dalton Rutter, Nico Williams. Juniors Zach Manbeck, Nate Maykowski, Kalub Mitchell, Ean Moore, Casey Runevitch, Austin Sambuco. Sophomores Zach Arbogast, Denadre Claring, Max Hall, Anthony Heavilin, Brian Heavilin, Sam Hill, Danier Hunt, Tison Johnson, Jake McPeak, Brandon Mitchell, Austyn Porter, Bryson Porter, Anthony Risley, Gionvanni Rocchi, Travis Stenson, Jake Williams. Freshmen Jesse Ball, Jacob Barr, Malcom Boyer, Tyler Carter, Wyatt Cornish, Jacob Giffin, Clay Gilliam, Nevada Kuryn, Shaun Logsdon, Kyle Roberts, Shane Shook, Lance Smith, Logan Smith, Grant Sproul, Brenton Stull, Bobby Taylor, Corey Van Camp.

“Obviously, we had some injuries and ed, 41-6, in the regional quarterfinals. “The original plan was to maybe things happen that season and we didn’t squeeze in (the playoffs) in 2011, get some make the playoffs. But, we felt, all the way playoff experience and then hopefully, make a deep run last year,” Kropka said. See HUSKIES Page 53 ➪


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Huskies Continued from Page 52 up through, that last year’s senior class was going to be a playoff-caliber group. Unfortunatley, we ran into St. Clairsville, which was a powerhouse. But, I was still happy with how things turned out and happy to send those seniors out as they should have been sent out.” Kropka is preparing himself for some ups and downs as he begins his ninth season at the helm of the Huskies. “As the years have progressed, in my career, I’ve been able to handle the ups and downs a little bit better than I did when I was a little bit younger,” Kropka said. Don’t think for a minute Kropka and his staff have changed their approach or goals. “Nothing’s changed for us,” Kropka said. “We’re still working toward making the postseason. That will never change here. I think we’ve gotten to the point in our program where that’s a legitimate goal because we’re a good, solid football program, which I am pleased about. But, you get a little taste of it and you always want to take that next step.” Kropka is well aware that there’s a belief around the area that the Huskies are going to be down a bit from where they’ve been. “If I was an opposing coach and looked at our roster this year and our film from last year, you’d definitely notice some new people,” Kropka said. “Obviously, that’s what people are going to think, but it’s

what you consider down because I’ve enjoyed coaching this bunch of kids as much as any other group. These guys are young, showing up excited and go 100 miles an hour in practice because they don’t know any better.” Because of so many new faces, Kropka knows his team is going to be a work-in-progress throughout the campaign, which gets under way Thursday at Wheeling Island Stadium against Wheeling Central in the McDonald’s OVAC Kickoff Classic. “We know sometimes these kids are going to make a play, but sometimes they’re not,” Kropka said. “The key will be whether or not they make the play the second time around, especially when you’re playing young kids. Against our schedule, a lot of times people don’t see that improvement. But, my goal as a coach is to

make sure we’re still getting better and still playing good, sound football.” The Huskies boast a 49-player roster despite a junior class that has just six members. A large number of freshmen and sophomores are expected to contribute on both sides of the ball. “The talent’s there,” Kropka said. “Our freshmen and sophomore classes have a chance to be special. How quickly we can polish what we have, get better and gain experience is going to determine our record. I hate the word potential, but we have a lot of it. We have 32 freshmen and sophomores and these kids have all stuck around. They’re all good kids, who will play hard and do things the right way.” Though the Class of 2013 took with them plenty of stats and accolades, their ability to

lead has trickled down into this year’s squad. “We’ve had some pleasant surprised in terms of kids stepping up into a leadership role, but I am hoping that we continue to get some more,” Kropka said. “You can’t just appoint a guy as a leader. You have to earn that.” Kropka loves the attitude his players have come to work with all summer. “Most of our guys are just tickled pink to be playing varsity football,” Kropka mentioned. “They’re probably too young to know any better. That’s really made it fun.” The Huskies’ offense will take on a slightly different look. Kropka expects to work a little more in the air than they have the last few seasons because veterans are in place at quarterback and in the receivSee HUSKIES Page 113 ➪


Looman Continued from Page 4

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school level. I guess I never really fully understood our fascination with The King until I spent some time recently with Major David Riley of the U.S. Air Force. Riley, a 1994 graduate of Steubenville Catholic Central High School, was a member of the 1993 Crusader squad which earned an Ohio Division V championship. He and his teammates are marking the 20th anniversary of their championship this year and will be honored during and after the CCHS homecoming game with Oak Glen (Sept. 28). As the anniversary drew near, Riley spent a couple of years working on a documentary entitled Crusaders Bold: The Making of Steubenville Catholic Central’s 1993 State Championship. For Riley, the area’s passion for football represents “the way we pass on our values.” “If it weren’t for my experience at Central, I wouldn’t be where I’m at in life today,” he said recently. “I certainly wouldn’t have an interesting story to tell, let alone the persistence to complete a documentary.” Riley’s documentary, which will have its public debut following the CCHS homecoming contest, does an extraordinary job of showcasing Central football in addition to the great values and traditions found in our area. “I’ll paraphrase Mike Orlando’s closing comments in the film — playing football for coach (Gregg) Bahen at Central gave us the opportunity to become good young men,” Riley noted. “My experience was very balanced. The practice field served as an extension of the classroom where community values of mental and physical toughness, hard work and teamwork were passed on to us.” Orlando, now the head coach at Cincinnati Archbishop McNicholas High School, quarterbacked Central’s championship squad. He passed for more than 1,400 yards and 15 touchdowns. He is one of several CCHS graduates featured in Riley’s documen-

tary. As Riley writes in his film: “Steubenville sits on the Ohio River, about 65 miles downstream from Pittsburgh. At its height of affluence, Steubenville’s lifeblood flowed from the area’s countless steel mills and coal mines. The tough labor associated with these industries brought a certain type of resident to the town.” Rich Wilinski, a former Central football coach and now the school’s principal, appears in the documentary and makes some great points. “The idea of working really hard to achieve a goal, whether it’s in sport or work or family I think comes from the immigrant that came to this area to work in the coal mines, steel mills and on the railroads,” he says. “They brought that ethic with them to work hard and succeed and to take care of their families. “And when they settled here, they sort of passed that work ethic on to their kids along with the belief that if you work hard, good things are going to happen. Not was a strong work ethic passed on to the kids, but they were instilled with a strong sense of community and rugged selfreliance.” Along with the town’s grit, as Riley writes, comes a love of football that dates back to 1898 when Steubenville High School fielded its first team. It’s obvious to me that our love affair with football remains as strong today as it did in 1898. Steve Daley, the current head coach at CCHS, made a very good point after watching the film with his 2013 team. “It not only does a great job of telling the story of the team, but also the school as well as the area as a whole,” he said. “It really hit home with our kids. Very few of the players on our roster have traditional Central names, so to speak. Having them see something like this really helps them understand the tradition of our school and our area.”

Daley added his players were able to see some similarities when he compared the 1993 club with the 2013 squad. “Our kids heard some of the things we have been preaching about being a family, a team and the importance of work ethic,” he stated. “Ohio expanded to five divisions and this year the state moved to seven. Bellaire was a key game that year and we start our season with a key game at Bellaire. “Now there is a connection between our kids and that team. Our kids saw their story on the screen and now can relate to those guys. When the 1993 team comes back for homecoming weekend and maybe visits our practice the day before, there will be a connection and that will be nice to enjoy.” So, The King is back. Fasten your seat belts and enjoy his annual trip because before we know it, he’ll be gone again. However, his impact on our area will continue to linger. Near the end of Riley’s documentary, Orlando states “the values that were instilled in us, the work ethic that was instilled in us, the character, really came to light and was showcased on that day (the state championship game). “I’ll be forever grateful for what I learned here. Most importantly the things of character and work ethic. The wins were great but those are the things I take with me, the intangible stuff.” If you care to get a better feel for our love affair with The King, I encourage you to purchase a copy of Riley’s film. It really doesn’t matter what colors you bleed during the season, I’m positive you’ll enjoy the documentary. Copies of the film will go on sale following the first public showing on Sept. 28 and a website, will be running soon accepting pre-orders. Riley said any proceeds made will be used to create a Class of 1994 leadership scholarship at Central.


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Panthers return 17 lettermen, but lack depth

(Games at 7 p.m. unless noted)

Aug. 31 Westinghouse Sept. 6 Union Local Sept. 13 at John Marshall, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at Indian Creek Sept. 27 Bellaire Oct. 4 at Edison Oct. 11 at Martins Ferry Oct. 19 Western Reserve Academy Oct. 25 St Clairsville Nov. 1 Harrison Central

By RICK DeLUCA Special to the Pigskin Preview RAYLAND — Buckeye Local head football coach Phil Pest opens his second season with a veteran staff and 17 returning lettermen. “We were happy at the end of the season,” Pest said despite the three-game losing skid to finish the season at 4-6late slump. “We played St. Clairsville very well for a half, and we did some good things late in the year that we hope will carry over. Pest “Our schedule this year is pretty decent. We are hoping to get off to a good start and build some confidence that will carry us through the season. We start off the season with Pittsburgh Westinghouse. They are pretty athletic so that will be a challenge.” “Bellaire has Badia back. He is probably the best quarterback in the valley. Harrison Central always plays us tough. Martins Ferry is Martins Ferry.

Seniors (11) Adam Borkoski, Andrew Cammer, Denny Czuchran, Josh Figurski, Austin Flaherty, Chase Hopkins, Devin Pyciak, Dominic Rose, D.J. Rusnak, Steve Sable, Derek Sebring. Juniors (11) Eric Banal, Damion Beall, Corey Darrah, Logan Denhart, Billy Glover, Brent Kandrach, Devan Marques, Tyler Miller, Brandon Panepucci, Nick Pielech, Shawn Tustin. Sophomores (15) Nathan Bloom, Tyler Boyd, Dylan Dokes, Alex Donley, Zach Fair, Tristan Jones, Zac Merkel, Sean Moore, Zach Moore, Ryan Morrow, Austin Mosser, Bobby Myers, Mason Patterson, Simeon Smith, Michael Weaver. Freshmen (9) Logan Barsch, Danny Callarik, Wyatt Cornish, Andrew Hillman, Jake Ingram, Abel Maxwell, DonRay Mayle, Jared Moore, Corey Neavin.

They are also good and play hard-nosed nents. With Buckeye 8 teams again filling in football. Coach (Andrew) Connor has Indian Creek on the upswing and St. seven weeks of the Panther schedule, Clairsville should be good again this See PANTHERS Page 57 ➪ year,” Pest said in assessing his oppo-

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Panthers Continued from Page 56 Buckeye will face three non-Buckeye 8 opponents. Buckeye opens the season hosting Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse and following a Week 2 matchup with Union Local, travels to John Marshall. In the second half of the season, the Panthers will host Western Reserve. “We lost some good skilled players from last year’s team and we will have to replace those players,” the Panther coach pointed out. “It won’t be easy replacing them, but we have some speed in the backfield and that’s a plus.” Graduation losses, no matter how large or small, have an affect on a team the following season. In the case of Buckeye Local, Pest is faced with dealing with the graduation of a very talented group of seniors that left some mighty big shoes to fill. Atop that list is a trio that provided the Panthers with the bulk of their offensive punch. Austin Marshall , one of the area’s quickest running backs, left after lettering three seasons and rushing for 770 yards in his career as well as being a threat catching the ball. Shane Duncan See PANTHERS Page 80


Petchal Continued from Page 4 whether that means making divisions within a particular conference or teams leaving one conference for another. When I was growing up, some of the big games on a national scale are no longer being played. That list of games includes West Virginia vs. Pitt, Pitt vs. Penn State and Oklahoma vs. Nebraska just to name a few. There are other reasons why some rivalry games have disappeared, but no matter the reason or reasons the disappearance of these classic rivalries is hurting the sport. Things are even worse on the high school level. A lot worse. When it comes to high school football in the Ohio Valley, rivalry games are few and far between. Like with college football, there are many reasons why rivalries on the high school level have come and gone. The list of reasons includes the closing of some schools, the consolidation of schools and a bunch of other reasons that make very little sense. There are 11 high schools in the paper’s main coverage are that have football teams, and this fall those 11 teams will produce just 16 games in which two local teams are involved. Only five of the 16 games feature two teams from the same county. There are six schools in Jefferson County with football teams, and those six teams will produce only four games featuring two teams from the county. Those games are Catholic Central-Toronto, Indian Creek-Edison, Indian Creek-Buckeye Local and Edison-Buckeye Local. Due to numerous reasons, Big Red once again does not play a team from Jefferson County this season. There are three schools in Hancock County with football teams, and those three teams will produce only one game featuring two teams from the county. That game of course is Weir-Oak Glen. While Madonna does not play either of the other two schools in Hancock County, the Blue Dons are scheduled to meet up with a couple local opponents. The other two local conferences are Harrison County in Ohio and Brooke County in West Virginia. There are two high schools in Har-

rison County — both have football teams — though only one of the schools is local. Harrison Central is the local team in the county, while Conotton Valley is the non-local team in the county. The Huskies and Rockets do not play each other. There is only one high school in Brooke County and that is Brooke. Of the 11 local teams, Edison and Indian Creek lead the way by playing five games involving local competition. The Wildcats and Redskins, along with the Panthers and Huskies, are members of the Buckeye 8, so the teams ended up playing each other every year. Also, the Blue Dons, Red Rider and Golden Bears also match up with teams from Jefferson County. Madonna plays Catholic Central and Toronto, Weir plays Catholic Central, Indian Creek and Edison while Oak Glen faces off against Catholic Central, Indian Creek and Edison. The other two local games involve Brooke. The Bruins play Big Red, and they play the Red Riders. Many schools in the Ohio Valley are hurting financially. One of the ways to help the problem is through athletics and a big part of that are the rivalry games. The lack of rivalry games hurt schools in multiple ways. First of all, when local teams play teams from outside the area those teams often do not bring a lot of fans to the game. Also, the lack of local games means the local teams have to travel outside of the area resulting in more money being spent that could be kept in house. In all of my years as a sportswriter, I have heard plenty of people throughout the Ohio Valley complain about the small number of fans who attend games. One of the biggest reasons for the small crowds is the lack of local opponents. The bigger the distance a school has to travel to play a game, the fewer fans that school is going to bring to the game. Some schools, like Big Red, tend to travel well, while others simply do not, and I don’t think that is going to change anytime soon. See PETCHAL Page 94


Weir Continued from Page 17 who also can become a running back in certain schemes called an H-back. Filberto says Wypasek, Hartman and Davis all are interchangeable as running backs and wide receivers in that formation. Sophomore C. J. Reed, who lettered as a freshman, also is in the mix. John Frankovitch (6-0, 200), a three-year letterman, returns at tight end. Backups are Jeremy Freeland, a junior, and sophomore Patrick McCoy. Graduation hit the Red Riders hardest in the offensive line, but with a couple of starters back, Filberto thinks there will be improvement there. Seniors Devin Dollison (6-2, 230) and Dan Moorcock (6-1, 275) lead the line group as returnees at

tackle and guard respectively. Mark Parr (5-11, 180), who lettered last year on defense as a sophomore, is the other guard with senior, Isaac Wetterau (5-11, 235) in the mix. Wetterau was on the Red Rider team three years ago as a freshman and decided to give football another go. It looks like sophomore Matt Thompson (5-10, 235) who started last year at defensive end will get the nod at the other tackle. Also in the mix is sophomore Brandon Taylor (6-3,320), the biggest of the Red Riders, who transferred to Weir High from Midland, PA. On the defensive side, Kyle Baldwin (6-3, 260), who started last year as a freshman, returns at

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defensive tackle. Davidson will man the other side with Taylor expected to get some time there. Thompson and Dollison return at defensive end with a year of experience under their belts and Mark Parr is vying for playing time. Frankovitch, who started last year at defensive end, will move to inside linebacker where he’ll be joined by McCartney. Jacob Parr and Sarles are backups. The outside linebackers on the strong side will be Reed, who got some starts at free safety last year, or Sarles while the weak side will be manned by Rice, who started at cornerback a year ago. See WEIR Page 67

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Redskins Continued from Page 29 two senior backs to carry us early.” Whether Woodbury or Mazur comes out on top they will have a strong group of playmakers to throw to on the outside. “At wideout Corey Goodrich is back at our flanker,” said Connor. “He was our second leading receiver last year. He made some big catches for us in some critical games. Johnny Haught will be the other wideout. We feel we have some kids that can help us here. “Tyler Lathem, who just played defense for us last year, will see time here. Zach Crawford will also be playing here so we feel we have some kids that can help us out at wideout.” The Redskins defense will be in their base 4-3, and Connor states they do a good job of limiting big plays from opposing offenses while creating big plays of their own. “Defensively we get to the ball,” he said. ‘We’ve done better in the past in space tackling wise. It’s something we’ve emphasize a lot in practice. I think we’ve done a very good job trying to create turnovers. I thought last year the kids began putting more of an emphasis on it, and our coaching staff does a better job with it. “I think what we’ll try to do is keep people in front of us, and try not give up big plays. It’s something we’ve done the past couple years. Even though you still give up big plays I think we’ve reduced the big plays we’ve given up. The idea would be like with a cut. You want to slowly bleed. You don’t want to just give up one big play and it changes the entire game. “I think we’ve done a great job of creating big plays defensively whether it be with an interception or with forced fumbles and fumble recoveries.” Connor’s defensive line is deep and will see a

rotation at both defensive tackle and defensive end. “We’re going to go with Justin Gibson and Tyler West at defensive tackle with Paul Eakle and Nate Beatty getting reps in there. It will be kind of a rotational plan at defensive tackle. “We’ll also go with four players at defensive end. (Senior) Zach Williams who played there a lot last year and Christian Getsy. We’ll also rotate in Luke Carroll and Jonathan Woodbury.” There is a new look at linebacker this season with Lathem and Zach Connor manning new positions and four others battling to man the third linebacker spot. “We moved Tyler Lathem from strong safety to Will linebacker,” said Connor. “We moved Zach Connor from Sam linebacker to our middle linebacker. “Basically the other position is being battled for by four kids right now. We have (sophomore) Zach Williams, Isiah Pavlic, Zach Cole, and Jonathan Dailey. Those kids are trying to give us depth at linebacker.” The secondary is led a three-year letterman. “We’re fortunate in the secondary,” said Connor. “Blake Roar has been back there for three years ball hawking at strong safety. Johnny Haught will be at the other safety. They’ll get some help back there from Cody Sinsel and Zach Crawford. “At the corners we’re going to start Tran Huynh and Corey Goodrich. They both played some last year. Corey played a lot at strong safety last year. Jacob Holloway and Anthony Krager will probably get a look there at DB.” Seniors are the key to Connor’s special teams play. “We’re lucky (senior) Zach Williams has been

punting for us for three years,” he said. “(Senior) Nate Beatty will probably back him up. Right now the two of them are also fighting for the job of kicking off and kicking field goals. “(Senior) Mark Wojciechowski will do all our long snapping.” With all that in place the Redskins are poised to make their third consecutive trip to the playoffs. “We talked about last year we wanted to make it so we weren’t a one-hit wonder,” said Connor. “Last year kind of proved how hard the kids worked to get more consistent. This year it’s the same thing. We want to show we’re a program that understands what takes, how much work it takes, to achieve postseason aspirations. I think the kids don’t want to be the class that stops the streak. “This senior class has been a playoff team as sophomores and juniors. They don’t want to be the class that doesn’t make it. That’s something that pushes them, and I think they understand what it takes to get there. If you’re part of a program that makes it there maybe the wonder of what you have to do to get there is gone, and you can set the bar and realize what it takes to get to that Week 11. The same thing applies as the past two seasons. We can only play one game at a time. “We play a very challenging schedule. Our three out of conference opponents have been rivals to the school for the 20 years we’ve been playing football. We feel the Buckeye 8 is one of the best conferences around with great head coaches, great staffs, and great kids. “The kids know they’ve got to work hard if they want to be successful because every game we play will be a difficult atmosphere to play in and it will be a very difficult team to play against.”


Weir Continued from Page 62 Wypasek will share time on the weak side as well. Kam Davis and Bennett will be the cornerbacks this year with Wypasek as a backup, and Hartman will get the call at safety. Filberto doesn’t want to play Larch on defense, but if necessary, he can return to the safety position he played last year until being injured. In a surprise move, Filberto has named senior Alyssa Shingle as the place kicker. Shingle, who has been a starter on the Weir High soccer and basketball teams since her freshman year, actually got her tryout for kicker late in the season last year after volunteering most of the year as a team manager and ball girl. Larch and Davis will handle the punting and Cody Enrietti, a freshman, will do the kickoffs. Kick returners for the Red Riders this year will be Rice, Bennett and

Davis. “I think we have a lot of pieces to the puzzle, but we’re still a bit young,” Filberto summed up. “We have speed with those guys being some of the fastest in the state, we have decent size, we have athletes and they are working hard to be the best they can be. “It makes me feel comfortable with this team. Now, how will these young kids handle adversity when it comes? That’s what we’ll find out come Aug. 29 at Indian Creek.” Filberto has added some new faces to his staff in Mike McKenzie, who was the head coach Edison the past seven years, Anthony Pompa, Frank Sissini, Mark Ujevitch and Mark Cowden, whose son, Adam is on the freshman team. Returning to the staff are Gerard Spencer, whose son, Donovan, also is a freshman on the squad, and Tom Taylor.



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Cox Continued from Page 12 Class A state championship game in 2012 as juniors and lost by a single point in overtime. While I know the boys and coaches were extremely disappointed, that is a good thing. A positive thing, and regardless of the outcome this year they should be proud of what they have accomplished. Life isn’t necessarily graded by wins and losses. Then, there are high school classes that don’t seem to have a lot of talented athletes, just a few. When that happens, there are fewer wins. However, you look at a football program like Steubenville Big Red and they seem to have talented athletes every year. When you see programs like that, the tendency is to think that perhaps it is coaching. In the last 12 years, Weir High coach Tony Filberto has taken over football teams that weren’t doing very well and had them become playoff teams. He did it at Weir High in 20022004 and at Oak Glen 2008-2011. He and his coaching staff took teams to the playoffs in those years. Was that because of their coaching

or was it an opportune time for that staff to be there when there was more talent. Certainly, it couldn’t have been an opportune time for Filberto and his staff because the Red Riders were winless. I asked Filberto about what it takes. “My goal has always been to make the schools where I coach a better place,” he said. “I believe that even in a down cycle when there aren’t as many good athletes together, that teams should still be competitive. “You don’t want the down years to be that bad and when you have talented teams, you make your run at the playoffs.” And that seems to be what a lot of the high school football teams are striving for. Sometimes at the smaller schools, it takes longer for the talented group of athletes to go through at the same time than it does at the larger schools (recently Madonna has been an exception to that). The Blue Dons have developed an attitude of winning since 1998 when the football program almost disappeared. Perhaps the key words here are attitude and

program. Kids who grow up with an attitude of having to work hard with a desire to be the best don’t grow on trees, they are made. Athletic ability usually is something kids are born with, but the attitude of working hard to be the best you can be starts at home and in the early years of competing whether that is in midget football programs or the middle school. That’s where coaches take over and develop that work ethic and desire. Then, when the kids and their parents see that these attitudes pay off with success, it evolves into a culture and the winning program develops. So, here’s to all those youngsters and coaches out there striving to develop that culture. I admire your hard work, sweat and perseverance. After more years of watching high school athletes compete than I care to think about, I still enjoy being at the stadiums and associating with you. I am looking forward to another outstanding football season.



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EAST LIVERPOOL — East Liverpool dropped six of its first seven games a year ago and was outscored, 221-80, in the defeats. However, the Potters rallied down the stretch to claim victories in each of their last three contests. “We were a very inexperienced team,” head coach Rick Prescott said. “We started the year with only two guys who had ever started a high school football game. Basically, we had 11 new starters on each side of the ball. We started to grow as the year went along and we started to click. It was a year of growing, a learning process for all involved.” The Potters return nine on both sides of the ball. After splitting time with Payton Newlun last season, junior Kade Reynolds takes the reins under center on a full-time basis this year. In 2012, Reynolds threw for 566 yards with six touchdowns and 13 interceptions on 46-of-107 passing. “He came in as a sophomore with only three games played at quarterback,” Prescott said of Reynolds. “He was a running back in junior high. We knew he was going to be inexperienced, but he was a willing student. He was eager to learn. He had some young moments, but he also had nights when he filled up the stat sheet. I saw a lot of growth mentally with him as the season went along.” In what should be one of the team’s biggest strengths, East Liverpool returns all of its starters in the trenches from a season ago. A total of seven players are back who started at least two games last year. The group is led by seniors Jacob Michael, Cole Hamilton Jimmy Lisk, Chad Reed and Dalton Brewer as well as juniors Josh Wooley, Dalton Cornman and Jared See POTTERS Page 84

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Central Continued from Page 22 well if we stay healing on the defensive side.” Colabella will handle the punting chores for Central. Senior John Paul McNamara, who also is a member of the Crusader soccer team, has joined the football squad as a kicking specialist. Central opens its 2013 season Saturday, making a trip to Nelson Field for an afternoon battle with Bellaire. The Big Reds rallied late a year ago to clip the Crusaders 44-42. Daley and company then will travel to New Matamoras Frontier and Columbiana in weeks two and three before hosting Toronto. “It’s just the way things worked out,” Daley said of the schedule. “That’s going to happen when you


are involved in two year and four year schedules. The good thing is we get our three longer road trips out of the way early. “It shouldn’t be a real problem. The kids know it and accept it. After that we come home for three straight and we play five of our last seven at home.” Oak Glen will visit Harding Stadium to help Central celebrate homecoming (the kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m.). Conotton Valley will visit in Week 6 before the Crusaders travel to Barnesville. Central will then host Weir High, visit Madonna and entertain Magnolia to close out the regular season. Three of Central’s four regular season losses in 2012 came by a total of six points.

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“Those close losses are something we’ve been focusing on, starting back in December,” Daley, who has a total roster of 42, pointed out. “We were six points away from being 9-1, the exception being Magnolia, who put a thumping on us. “We are going to do everything possible to avoid that this season. We’ve been preaching the need to finish games and are focusing on all the little things that will lead you to being able to finish. We want to do everything, mentally and physically. the right way to achieve finishing this year.” Daley’s coaching staff again includes Tom Daley, Joe Colabella, Mike Lemal, Frank Marcino, Rick Gillette and Jeff Clark.

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Madonna Continued from Page 25 returns this year as the featured back. He’ll get help from senior Stevie Maus (6-0, 225), Shaw and freshman, Dustin Brown. Seniors Marcello Biondillo and Will Bowser return at wide receiver to join Tyler Ewusiak. Others vying for playing time at wideout are Levi Shreves and Marquis Jeter, both juniors out for football for the first time, and freshmen Jimmy Mazzone, Nate Smith and Tavon Jeter. Nate Guio (6-3, 215), who was named a first team All-Stater at defensive end, returns at tight end on the offense. Backing him up will be junior Austin Connell and Phillip Good, a freshman. The giant of the squad, Josh Martin, who stands seven feet tall and weighs in at 295 pounds, returns at tackle with Adam Robertson (6-3, 230), another senior, on the other side of the line. Martin’s younger brother, Nate (6-6, 265), a sophomore, Christian D’Angelo (6-6, 215) and freshman Justin Canei, also 6-feet, 6-inches tall, are vying for playing time. Canei’s father, Robert, played college football at the University of Miami, according to Taylor. Backing up the three seniors at offensive guard will be sophomore Adam Davis and freshmen, Gae-

tano Fuscardo and John Serafini. Ryan Egyud, a sophomore and senior Travis Brown are listed as backups behind Livada at center. “Our linemen are not only experienced, they are athletic as well,” Taylor explained. “They get along with each other, hang out with each other and are friends. They are a good group of kids.” Green, junior soccer style kicker, returns along with Robertson, who kicks off and kicks field goals. The cast is basically the same on the defensive side of the ball with Bever and Josh Martin at the tackles and Guio at one defensive end spot and either Tyler Ewusiak or Austin Connell at the other. Sophomore Thadius Dillie is a backup. Travis Brown, Maus and Shaw will see most of the action at inside linebacker while Nero, Gabe Hypes and Grant Retton are listed at outside linebackers. Biondillo and Bowser return at cornerback, and Comis is back at safety. “With all the experience we have returning, we’ll add a few new wrinkles this year, especially on offense,” Taylor explained. “We have scrimmages scheduled against Oak Glen and Bellaire,

two schools that are bigger than us, but I believe that any time you play better competition it helps the team get better. “That’s one of the things we talk about all the time—getting better. We want to go day by day one practice at a time. When we come off the field after practice or after a game, we want to be better.” With all the success, talent and experience the Blue Dons have, there is a chance the team could begin counting on wins even before the games begin. “We can’t be complacent,” Taylor injected. “That’s another thing we talk about all the time. It’s up to us as coaches to be sure we don’t get complacent. Of course luck and being injury free are a part of it, too, but I like the position we’re in. I like it a lot better than if we were on the other end of the spectrum. “It’s no secret that we return quite a lot of talented players, but so do other teams that we have on our schedule and others that we hope to see in the playoffs like Wahama, Wheeling Central, Steubenville Central, Clay Battelle and Cameron. People forget that Cameron ended up 17th last year and just missed the playoffs.”

Knights seek return to Class A podium 74


Special to the Preview

WHEELING — For the first time in 13 years, the members of Wheeling Central’s football program spent a Thanksgiving Day with their families and not practicing for a state semifinal. ‘‘We’d much rather have been practicing,’’ said Maroon Knights coach Mike Young, whose club has played for nine titles in those 13 years and won seven of them. There are plenty of folks who think they’ll be back on the practice field on Turkey Day

2013, as Wheeling Central is, again, being looked at as one of the premier teams in West Virginia’s Class A. At least one statewide media poll — and likely a few others — have the Knights entering the preseason as the No. 1 team in the class. ‘‘We appreciate that, but more importantly, we want to be No. 1 in the postseason,’’ Young said. ‘‘Our goal is to be playing the first Saturday in December. ‘‘There’s probably better competition in single-A than there has

been in a long time. Wahama, Madonna, Bishop Donahue, Magnolia, Moorefield, Williamstown, East Hardy. You’re having more names as contenders. Part of being picked as No. 1 is our reputation. I’d rather

have that reputation than the opposite.’’ Wheeling Central experienced something of a down year in 2012 — at least by its own standards — having gone 7-3 in the regular season, then losing 60-34 to East Hardy on the road in the playoffs in a game where ‘‘the roof fell in,’’ and ‘‘we couldn’t stop the bleeding,’’ Young said. That happened, in part, because the young man they planned on having at quarterback, Parker Henry, tore up his knee

in an August practice and missed the entire season. How big of a loss was that? Well, Henry was coming off a season in which he rushed for 1,259 yards and 17 touchdowns. He added 32 completions in 75 attempts for 696 yards, 11 touchdowns and only one interception. That injury forced then-junior CJ Burch over to quarterback after he was penned in to be the team’s workhorse running back. Burch still wound up leading the club in rushing by a mile (251 carries, 1,673 yards, 21

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TDs), but it wasn’t what it could have been with both players on the field and the Maroon Knights knew it from the get-go. Burch also completed 44 of 94 passes for 763 yards and nine touchdowns. ‘‘We’re going to see (Burch) even running better because he’s not going to be in drudgery,’’ Young said. ‘‘He was our main staple. We went to the well, and he was the well. He knew it, and he responded.’’ They hope to see this year what they envisioned last season. ‘‘They will complement each other,’’ Young said. ‘‘They’re both intelligent players, both great kids. We’re going to have two quarterbacks on the field. That’s a threat, and that’s a blessing.’’ Henry (5-foot-10, 180) is back and ready to pick up where he left off at quarterback in the Maroon Knights’ spin offense. ‘‘His leadership is his tempo he plays with, not his verbiage,’’ Young said. ‘‘It’s just how he plays. He’s a force out there.’’ Sophomore Matt Gruber (5-8, 175), the backup QB as a freshman where he completed 10 passes and added seven rushes in spot duty, returns to the position, along with freshman Isaac Rine (5-8, 145). Joining Burch (5-9, 160) in the backfield are seniors Joe John (60, 175), junior Ben Duplaga (5-8, 159), sophomores Jeff Gwynn (5-9, 165), Joe See KNIGHTS Page 88 ➪



Baltimore at Denver, 8:30 p.m.


New England at Buffalo, 1 p.m. Seattle at Carolina, 1 p.m. Cincinnati at Chicago, 1 p.m. Miami at Cleveland, 1 p.m. Minnesota at Detroit, 1 p.m. Oakland at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. Kansas City at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. Atlanta at New Orleans, 1 p.m. Tampa Bay at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m. Tennessee at Pittsburgh,1 p.m. Arizona at St. Louis, 4:25 p.m. Green Bay at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m. N.Y. Giants at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.


Philadelphia at Washington, 7:10 p.m. Houston at San Diego, 10:20 p.m.


WEEK TWO N.Y. Jets at New England, 8:25 p.m.



St. Louis at Atlanta, 1 p.m. Cleveland at Baltimore, 1 p.m. Carolina at Buffalo, 1 p.m. Minnesota at Chicago, 1 p.m. Washington at Green Bay, 1 p.m. Tennessee at Houston, 1 p.m. Miami at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. Dallas at Kansas City, 1 p.m. San Diego at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. Detroit at Arizona, 4:05 p.m. New Orleans at Tampa Bay, 4:05 p.m. Denver at N.Y. Giants, 4:25 p.m.

Jacksonville at Oakland, 4:25 p.m. San Francisco at Seattle, 8:30 p.m.

Jacksonville at Seattle, 4:25 p.m. Chicago at Pittsburgh, 8:30 p.m.


Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, 8:40 p.m.




Kansas City at Philadelphia, 8:25 p.m.



Houston at Baltimore, 1 p.m. Green Bay at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. N.Y. Giants at Carolina, 1 p.m. St. Louis at Dallas, 1 p.m. Cleveland at Minnesota, 1 p.m. Tampa Bay at New England, 1 p.m. Arizona at New Orleans, 1 p.m. San Diego at Tennessee, 1 p.m. Detroit at Washington, 1 p.m. Atlanta at Miami, 4:05 p.m. Buffalo at N.Y. Jets, 4:25 p.m. Indianapolis at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m.


Baltimore at Miami, 1 p.m. Philadelphia at N.Y. Giants, 1 p.m. Jacksonville at St. Louis, 1 p.m. Kansas City at Tennessee, 1 p.m. Carolina at Arizona, 4:05 p.m. Denver at Dallas, 4:25 p.m. San Diego at Oakland, 4:25 p.m. Houston at San Francisco, 8:30 p.m.

Oakland at Denver, 8:40 p.m. (Byes: Carolina, Green Bay)

San Francisco at St. Louis, 8:25 p.m. MONDAY, OCT. 7 N.Y. Jets at Atlanta, 8:40 p.m.

Baltimore at Buffalo, 1 p.m. Cincinnati at Cleveland, 1 p.m. Chicago at Detroit, 1 p.m. Seattle at Houston, 1 p.m. Indianapolis at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. N.Y. Giants at Kansas City, 1 p.m. Pittsburgh vs. Minnesota at London, 1 p.m. Arizona at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. N.Y. Jets at Tennessee, 4:05 p.m. Philadelphia at Denver, 4:25 p.m. Washington at Oakland, 4:25 p.m. Dallas at San Diego, 4:25 p.m. New England at Atlanta, 8:30 p.m.


(Byes: Atlanta, Miami)


N.Y. Giants at Chicago, 8:25 p.m.


Green Bay at Baltimore, 1 p.m. Cincinnati at Buffalo, 1 p.m. Detroit at Cleveland, 1 p.m. St. Louis at Houston, 1 p.m. Oakland at Kansas City, 1 p.m. Carolina at Minnesota, 1 p.m. Pittsburgh at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m. Philadelphia at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. Jacksonville at Denver, 4:05 p.m. Tennessee at Seattle, 4:05 p.m. New Orleans at New England, 4:25 p.m. Arizona at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m. Washington at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.


Miami at New Orleans, 8:40 p.m.


(Byes: Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington)



Indianapolis at San Diego, 8:40 p.m.


Buffalo at Cleveland, 8:25 p.m. New Orleans at Chicago, 1 p.m. New England at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. Detroit at Green Bay, 1 p.m. Seattle at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.

Minnesota at N.Y. Giants, 8:40 p.m.


(Byes: Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, San Diego, Tennessee)


Carolina at Tampa Bay, 8:25 p.m.


Dallas at Detroit, 1 p.m. San Francisco vs. Jacksonville at London, 1 p.m. Cleveland at Kansas City, 1 p.m. Miami at New England, 1 p.m. Buffalo at New Orleans, 1 p.m. N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. Pittsburgh at Oakland, 4:05 p.m. N.Y. Jets at Cincinnati, 4:05 p.m. Atlanta at Arizona, 4:25 p.m. Washington at Denver, 4:25 p.m. Green Bay at Minnesota, 8:30 p.m.


Seattle at St. Louis, 8:40 p.m.


(Byes: New Orleans, Oakland)


Seattle at Arizona, 8:25 p.m.

(Byes: Arizona, Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, N.Y. Giants, San Francisco)


Cincinnati at Detroit, 1 p.m. San Diego at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. Houston at Kansas City, 1 p.m. Buffalo at Miami, 1 p.m. New England at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m. Dallas at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. Chicago at Washington, 1 p.m. San Francisco at Tennessee, 4:05 p.m. Cleveland at Green Bay, 4:25 p.m. Baltimore at Pittsburgh , 4:25 p.m. Denver at Indianapolis, 8:30 p.m.

Tampa Bay at Atlanta , 1 p.m. St. Louis at Carolina, 1 p.m.


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Cincinnati at Miami, 8:25 p.m.


Kansas City at Buffalo, 1 p.m. Atlanta at Carolina, 1 p.m. Minnesota at Dallas, 1 p.m. New Orleans at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m. Tennessee at St. Louis, 1 p.m. San Diego at Washington, 1 p.m. Philadelphia at Oakland, 4:05 p.m. Tampa Bay at Seattle, 4:05 p.m. Baltimore at Cleveland, 4:25 p.m. Pittsburgh at New England, 4:25 p.m. Indianapolis at Houston, 8:30 p.m.


Chicago at Green Bay, 8:40 p.m.


(Byes: Cleveland, Kansas City, New England, N.Y. Jets)


Washington at Minnesota, 8:25 p.m.


Seattle at Atlanta, 1 p.m. Cincinnati at Baltimore, 1 p.m. Detroit at Chicago, 1 p.m. Philadelphia at Green Bay, 1 p.m. St. Louis at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. Oakland at N.Y. Giants, 1 p.m. Buffalo at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. Jacksonville at Tennessee, 1 p.m. Carolina at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m. Houston at Arizona, 4:25 p.m.


Denver at San Diego, 4:25 p.m. Dallas at New Orleans, 8:30 p.m.


Miami at Tampa Bay, 8:40 p.m.



(Byes: Dallas, St. Louis)


Indianapolis at Tennessee, 8:25 p.m.


N.Y. Jets at Buffalo, 1 p.m. Baltimore at Chicago, 1 p.m. Cleveland at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. Oakland at Houston, 1 p.m. Arizona at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. San Diego at Miami, 1 p.m. Washington at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. Detroit at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. Atlanta at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. Kansas City at Denver, 4:05 p.m. San Francisco at New Orleans, 4:25 p.m. Minnesota at Seattle, 4:25 p.m.


Green Bay at N.Y. Giants, 8:30 p.m.


New England at Carolina, 8:40 p.m.

(Byes: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Seattle)


New Orleans at Atlanta, 8:25 p.m.

New Orleans at Seattle, 8:40 p.m.




Houston at Jacksonville, 8:25 p.m.

San Francisco at Washington, 8:40 p.m.

Minnesota at Baltimore, 1 p.m. Indianapolis at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. Cleveland at New England, 1 p.m. Oakland at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m. Carolina at New Orleans, 1 p.m. Detroit at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. Miami at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. Buffalo at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. Kansas City at Washington, 1 p.m. Tennessee at Denver, 4:05 p.m. St. Louis at Arizona, 4:25 p.m. N.Y. Giants at San Diego, 4:25 p.m. Seattle at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m. Atlanta at Green Bay, 8:30 p.m.

N.Y. Jets at Baltimore, 1 p.m. Pittsburgh at Cleveland, 1 p.m. Tampa Bay at Detroit, 1 p.m. Minnesota at Green Bay, 1 p.m. Jacksonville at Houston, 1 p.m. San Diego at Kansas City, 1 p.m. Carolina at Miami, 1 p.m. Chicago at St. Louis, 1 p.m. Indianapolis at Arizona, 4:05 p.m. Tennessee at Oakland, 4:05 p.m. Dallas at N.Y. Giants, 4:25 p.m. Denver at New England, 8:30 p.m.


WEEK 13 Green Bay at Detroit, 12:30 p.m. Oakland at Dallas, 4:30 p.m. Pittsburgh at Baltimore, 8:30 p.m.


Tampa Bay at Carolina, 1 p.m. Jacksonville at Cleveland, 1 p.m. Tennessee at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. Denver at Kansas City, 1 p.m. Chicago at Minnesota, 1 p.m. Miami at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m. Arizona at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. Atlanta vs. Buffalo at Toronto, 4:05 p.m. St. Louis at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m. New England at Houston, 4:25 p.m. Cincinnati at San Diego, 4:25 p.m. N.Y. Giants at Washington, 8:30 p.m.



Cincinnati at Pittsburgh, 8:30 p.m. Baltimore at Detroit, 8:40 p.m.



Miami at Buffalo, 1 p.m. New Orleans at Carolina, 1 p.m. Minnesota at Cincinnati , 1 p.m. Denver at Houston, 1 p.m. Tennessee at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. Indianapolis at Kansas City, 1 p.m. Cleveland at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m. Chicago at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. Tampa Bay at St. Louis, 1 p.m. Dallas at Washington, 1 p.m. N.Y. Giants at Detroit, 4:05 p.m. Arizona at Seattle, 4:05 p.m. Pittsburgh at Green Bay, 4:25 p.m. Oakland at San Diego, 4:25 p.m. New England at Baltimore, 8:30 p.m.


Atlanta at San Francisco, 8:40 p.m.


Dallas at Chicago, 8:40 p.m.




San Diego at Denver, 8:25 p.m.

Carolina at Atlanta, 1 p.m. Green Bay at Chicago, 1 p.m. Baltimore at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. Philadelphia at Dallas, 1 p.m. Jacksonville at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. N.Y. Jets at Miami, 1 p.m. Detroit at Minnesota, 1 p.m. Buffalo at New England, 1 p.m. Tampa Bay at New Orleans, 1 p.m. Washington at N.Y. Giants, 1 p.m. Cleveland at Pittsburgh , 1 p.m. Houston at Tennessee, 1 p.m. San Francisco at Arizona, 4:25 p.m. Denver at Oakland, 4:25 p.m. Kansas City at San Diego, 4:25 p.m. St. Louis at Seattle, 4:25 p.m.


Washington at Atlanta, 1 p.m. Chicago at Cleveland, 1 p.m. Houston at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. Buffalo at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. New England at Miami, 1 p.m. Philadelphia at Minnesota, 1 p.m. Seattle at N.Y. Giants, 1 p.m. New Orleans at St. Louis, 1 p.m. San Francisco at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. Arizona at Tennessee, 1 p.m. N.Y. Jets at Carolina, 4:05 p.m. Kansas City at Oakland, 4:05 p.m. Green Bay at Dallas, 4:25 p.m.



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Red Devils on the rebound from 2012 78


Special to the Pigskin Preview

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The memories of the 2012 St. Clairsville football season may forever resonate in the minds of Red Devils’ players and fans. However, as Red Devils’ head coach Brett McLean points out, they’re just memories as the 2013 season opens Friday at Claymont. “Obviously, last season was quite a ride for everyone, but we’re totally focused on the tasks that lie ahead for this team,” McLean said. “We’re focused on being the best team we can be this season and preparing like we know how to get ready for Claymont.” St. Clairsville experienced its finest campaign in school history, winning 14 consecutive games, advancing to the Division IV state championship game for the first time in its history. The Red Devils came up short in the title game, falling, 46-36, to Clarksville Clinton-Massie. “It was a great game, but unfortunately, we didn’t play very well in the first quarter,” McLean said. “That put us behind the 8-ball and we had to chase all night long.” Along the way, the Devils captured the OVAC Class 4A, Buckeye 8 and Region 15 titles. They also knocked then defending state champion Creston Norwayne in the state semifinals at Massillon’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. “This season got here quicker than any other I’ve coached,” McLean said. “We didn’t waste any time getting to work, but the extension of last season, carrying into this season just made everything seem like it happened that much faster.” Like many teams that experience success similar to the Red Devils did last season, seniors played a See RED DEVILS Page 85

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HIGH HIGH SCHOOL SCHOOL FOOTBALL FOOTBALL Big Red (Games at 7 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 29 Detroit Catholic Central Sept. 6 Cleveland Benedictine Sept. 13 Pinehurst Spartans Sept. 20 at Brooke, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27 Massillon Oct. 4 at Barberton Oct. 11 Salesianum, Del. Oct. 18 at Ursuline Oct. 25 at Wheeling Park Nov. 1 Renaissance Christian

Buckeye Local

Catholic Central (Games at 7 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 31 at Bellaire, 12:30 p.m. Sept. 6 at Frontier Sept. 13 at Columbiana Sept. 21 Toronto Sept. 28 Oak Glen, 1:30 p.m. Oct. 5 Conotton Valley Oct. 11 at Barnesville Oct. 19 Weir Oct. 26 at Madonna Nov. 2 Magnolia


(Games at 7 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 31 Westinghouse Sept. 6 Union Local Sept. 13 at John Marshall, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at Indian Creek Sept. 27 Bellaire Oct. 4 at Edison Oct. 11 at Martins Ferry Oct. 19 Western Reserve Academy Oct. 25 St Clairsville Nov. 1 Harrison Central

(Games at 7 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 30 at Oak Glen Sept. 6 Carrollton Sept. 13 at Weir Sept. 21 at Bellaire, 12:30 p.m. Sept. 27 Union Local Oct. 4 Buckeye Local Oct. 11 at Harrison Central, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18 at St. Clairsville, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25 Martins Ferry Nov. 1 Indian Creek

East Liverpool

Harrison Central

(Games at 7:30 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 30 at Carrollton, 7 p.m. Sept. 6 Indian Creek Sept. 13 Salem Sept. 20 Cambridge Sept. 27 John Marshall Oct. 4 at Wheeling Park, 7 p.m. Oct. 11 Warren Oct. 18 at Oak Glen, 7 p.m. Oct. 25 at Beaver Local, 7 p.m. Nov. 1 at Weir, 7 p.m.

(Games at 7:30 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 29 at Wheeling Central Sept. 6 at Weir, 7 p.m. Sept. 13 Western Reserve Academy Sept. 20 Union Local Sept. 27 at Martins Ferry, 7 p.m. Oct. 4 at St. Clairsville Oct. 11 Edison Oct. 19 at Bellaire, 12:30 p.m. Oct. 25 Indian Creek Nov. 1 at Buckeye Local, 7 p.m.

Indian Creek (Games at 7 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 29 Weir, 5:30 p.m. Sept. 6 at East Liverpool, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 13 Oak Glen Sept. 20 Buckeye Local Sept. 27 at St. Clairsville, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4 Bellaire Oct. 11 at Union Local Oct. 18 Martins Ferry Oct. 25 at Harrison Central, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1 at Edison

Toronto (Games at 7 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 31 Wellsville Sept. 6 Bridgeport Sept. 13 at Fairport Harding, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21 at Catholic Central Sept. 27 at Shadyside Oct. 4 St. John Central Oct. 11 at Beallsville Oct. 18 Conotton Valley Oct. 25 at Hundred, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1 Madonna

Oak Glen (Games at 7 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 30 Edison Sept. 6 at Beaver Local Sept. 13 at Indian Creek Sept. 20 John Marshall Sept. 28 at Catholic Central, 1:30 p.m. Oct. 4 Weir Oct. 11 Williamstown Oct. 18 East Liverpool Nov. 1 at Point Pleasant, 1:30 p.m. Nov. 8 at Magnolia, 7:30 p.m.

Brooke (Games at 7:30 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 30 at Morgantown Sept. 6 Taylor Allderdice, Pa. Sept. 13 University Sept. 20 Steubenville Sept. 27 at Wheeling Park, 7 p.m. Oct. 4 Point Pleasant Oct. 18 Parkersburg South Oct. 25 at Weir, 7 p.m. Nov. 1 at John Marshall Nov. 8 at Cabell Midland

Weir High (Games at 7 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 29 at Indian Creek, 5:30 p.m. Sept. 6 Harrison Central Sept. 13 Edison Sept. 20 Grafton Sept. 27 at Liberty Harrison, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at Oak Glen Oct. 11 at Magnolia, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at Catholic Central Oct. 25 Brooke Nov. 1 East Liverpool

Weirton Madonna (Games at 7 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 29 vs. Beallsville at Indian Creek, 7:45 p.m. Sept. 7 at Tusky Catholic, 1:30 p.m. Sept. 14 Wheeling Central Sept. 27 Cameron Oct. 4 Bridgeport Oct. 11 Bishop Donahue Oct. 18 Notre Dame Oct. 26 Catholic Central Nov. 1 at Toronto Nov. 8 at Clay Battelle, 7:30 p.m.


Panthers Continued from Page 57 finished as the school’s second leading receiver in career yardage and had the third most productive season last year. Also gone is starting quarterback Nathan Kirk who also excelled in the defensive secondary. In addition, the Panthers lost through graduation Caleb Agnew, a versatile athlete who is taking his talents to Waynesburg, Andy Stock, defensive stalwart Brian Zeroski, Eric Bell, Cody Crawford , Dakota Flaherty, Lucas Hoaglund, Christian Hopkins, Lucas Ostijich and Michael Telek. Agnew excelled as a

kick return specialist. Rounding out the list of graduated players from the 2012 team are Chad Durbin, Tre’ McGee, Landon Partelli, Jonathan Roth, Trevor Sebring, JP Solomon and Logan Hall. “We have plenty of speed in our backfield and our offensive line is one of the quickest we have ever had here,” Pest remarked in discussing his team’s strong points. “Our quarterback has a very good arm and every one of our returning senior lettermen is filling a starting position. Our senior players are really con-

tributing both on and off the field.” “We don’t have a lot of depth. Our depth is our young kids. We can’t afford a lot of turnovers and we can’t afford a lot of injuries. We will need to keep the turnovers down because we can’t afford to have our defense on the field all game.” “Looking at our team right now, we need to work on our special teams and we still need to find a kicker. Devan Pyciak will be our punter, but we are still search for a kicker.” “This season we won’t be fielding a

freshmen team, but we do have two or three freshmen that will be seeing a lot of action on the varsity. We have big numbers at the junior high level, but we had only eight freshmen out this season.” Buckeye’s senior contingent for the 2013 season is another good one. Strong-armed Chase Hopkins returns to start at quarterback this season. Hopkins (6-0, 185) is a multi-talented athlete who moved to the defensive secondary in Week 2. Devin Pyciak (6-1, 235) is one of the area’s premier linebackers and will start at fullback as well. He is one of those players that will rarely leave the field. Seven seniors lettered last season and the class will provide the bulk of the power up front. Along with Hopkins and Pyciak, the senior lettermen returning are guard/defensive tackle Denny Czuchran (5-8, 185), center/linebacker Josh Figurski (6-1, 195), center/defensive tackle Austin Flaherty (5-4, 190), two-way tackle Dominic Rose (6-0, 185) and two-way tackle DJ Rusnak (6-1, 200). Four other seniors looking to contribute are split end-safety Adam Borkoski (5-6, 130), tackle/defensive end Andrew Cammer (6-0, 165), two-way tackle Steve Sable (6-3, 195) and tackle/defensive end Derek Sebring (6-3, 195). Nine of the 10 jun-

iors on the roster are returning as letterwinners. That group includes speedy running back/safety Eric Banal (5-7, 155), fullback/split end Damion Beall (6-0, 170); tight end/linebacker Logan Dehnart (5-10, 180), guard/defensive tackle Billy Glover (5-10, 180), two-way tackle Brent Kandrach (5-10, 230), wide receiver/center Devan Marques (5-6, 130), quarterback/safety Tyler Miller (5-10, 135), wide receiver/center Brandon Panepucci (6-0, 155), tailback/defensive back Shawn Tustin (5-5, 135) and fullback/linebacker Nick Pielech (5-10, 225). “We still have a lineup that is up in the air as far as starters, but our backfield will be quick with Hopkins at QB, Pyciak at fullback and Banal and Tustin as the running backs. Of course, we’ll probably open with a sophomore (Dylan Dokes) at tailback.” Pest noted that Panepucci and Miller will see a lot of time at the ends. Rose is moving from guard to tackle, Figurski will be at center and the rest of the line will be filled by his senior group along with Kandrach. Defensively, the Panthers will be have some to-way players while trying to mixing some fresh bodies. His defensive ends will be Figurski and Dokes and he has a few options in the secondary. Pest’s tackles and

linebackers will be decided as the season nears, but Pyciak is certain to be a key figure there Pest has a large and talented sophomore group that will fill a lot of slots and playing time with the varsity this season. The group is led by lone letter winner Dylan Dokes (60, 180) a very talented playing who was a starter last season and will open in the back for the Panthers this year. “We don’t have a freshmen team, but Jared Moore will see a lot of action with the varsity. Corey Neavin should see lot of action with the special teams and DonRay Mayle will see a lot of action at both offensive and defensive guard. Assisting Pest this season are a bunch of familiar faces. Nate Skrzypek is the offensive coordinator; Blair Closser will handle the secondary and inside backers, Mason Boyce, the offensive line and defensive tackles and ends; Caleb Myers, the offensive line and defensive tackles and Chris Heaton. Pest has added a few new faces to his staff, but also added experience in the process. Former ST. John Central head coach Jason Merryman, along with Tom Merryman (Jason’s father and veteran coach) and Brett Clough, former Wheeling Park and Bethany College gridder, have joined the Panther staff.


OHSAA football has 7 divisions By ED LOOMAN Sports correspondent

STEUBENVILLE — The Ohio High School Athletic Association has added a seventh tournament division in football beginning this season. The move was approved by the OHSAA’s Board of Directors in April. The plan places the top 10 percent of schools based on enrollment in Division I, with the remaining 644 schools divided evenly among the next six divisions. This will leave 72 schools in Division I with the other six divisions averaging approximately 108 schools. Each of the seven divisions will continue to qualify 32 teams to the state tournament. As of last season, the six OHSAA football divisions were comprised of an average of 120 schools per division. The plan for adopting an additional division came in response to a concern by some OHSAA member schools about the enrollment disparity that existed in Division I, where the previous range was 494 males at the lower end to 1,164 at

the top. Based on current enrollment They all will be part of Region 13. They all data, the lower end of Division I competed in Division III a season. increases to 600 males. Harrison Central has been assigned “Adding a seventh divito Region 15 of Division V while sion not only helps address Catholic Central and Toronto will comthe enrollment disparity in pete in Region 25 of the new Division Division I but also helps creVII. Harrison was in Division IV in 2012 ate 32 more tournament while Central and Toronto were part of opportunities for studentDivision VI. athletes, their schools Eric Meek, the head Toronto and their communities, coach, believes the OHSAA move many of which have could be a very positive developnever or rarely experiment. enced the playoffs,” “We’re a big seven,” he said OHSAA Commissioner recently. “We are in the southern Daniel B. Ross said when the region cut off at Columbiana. Catholic Central change was announced. “The comand us are in the south instead of the north with mittee member believe that this is an Columbiana and Youngstown teams. issue unique to football, especially since not all “They broke up the D1 schools because there schools qualify for the state playoffs.” were some huge schools with smaller ones. It’s Under the new arrangement, four local schools going to be a little easier to get in the playoffs (Big Red, Indian Creek, Edison and Buckeye See OHSAA Page 92 ➪ Local) will be part of the new-look Division IV.

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STEUBENVILLE — Here’s a look at the regional assignments for area football teams based on the new divisional structure approved earlier this year by the Ohio High School Athletic Association. Division IV, Region 13: Columbus South, Vincent Warren, Zanesville Maysville, Columbus Bishop Watterson, Fairfield Union, Columbus Linden McKinley, Bexley, Indian Creek, Newark Licking Valley, Claymont, McConnelsville Morgan, Warsaw River View, New Concord John Glenn, Meadowbrook, Philo, Big Red, Edison, Columbus East, Indian Valley, Bloom-Carroll, New Lexington, Buckeye Local, Amanda-Clearcreek,

Heath, Johnstown Monroe, Tuscarawas Valley, Utica. Division V, Region 15: Harrison Central, Girard, Navarre Fairless, Massillon Tuslaw, Beachwood, Orwell Grand Valley, Wickliffe, Akron Manchester, Canton Central Catholic, Warren Champion, Warrensville Heights, Sullivan Black River, Campbell Memorial, LaBrae, Garrettsville Garfield, East Palestine, Gates Mill Hawken, Youngstown Liberty, Hanoverton United, Andover Pymatuning Valley, Middlefield Cardinal, Columbiana Crestview, Gates Mill Gilmour, Independence, Youngstown Ursuline and Lutheran West. See REGIONS Page 92


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Potters Continued from Page 70 Yanik. Sophomore Austyn Dozier will start at tight end. “Having that many guys with game experience will be a big difference for us,” Prescott said. “They’re going to play with a lot more confidence and aggressiveness. You always hope to win the game up front. We’re not all that big, but we’ve got some tough guys.” The Potters graduated their leading rusher from a season ago, Stefan Yoho, who gained 918 yards and scored 14 touchdowns. However, the team returns senior John Miscuk who carried 67 times for 318 yards (4.7 avg) with five scores. Miscuk will be joined in the backfield this year by fellow seniors John Rickerd and Kaleb Tallent as well as sophomore Dylan Reynolds. “We have four very talented kids back there,” Prescott said. “We’re going to utilize all four because they

Seniors (17) Justin Barr, D.J. Austin, Marc Douglas, Kaleb Tallent, Marcus Beebout, Jacob Allen, Davonte Oates, Zach English, Chad Reed, John Rickerd, John Misuk, Jimmy Lisk, Dalton Brewer, John Exline, Cole Hamilton, Chris Russell, Jacob Michael Juniors (8) Brent Waggle, Kade Reynolds, Jared Yanik, Dalton Cornman, Josh Woolley, Eddie Roberts, Nick Cotter, Jzason Kutzner Sophomores (15) Jullian Cowart, Raequan Eliam, Austyn Dozier, Dallas Brewer, Dillan Reynolds, Austin Vranesevich, Luke Bowers, Ryan Lilly, Andrew Durk, Nick O’Hanlon, Austin Morris, Devon Zubay, Charles Iacobucci, Jacob Buckel, Tyler Bennett Freshmen (24) Noah Shaw, Austin Mayfield, Xavier Carter, Logan Bouscher, Zac Mott, Corey Cotter, Dylan Ice, Hayden Jackson, Devin Streets, Ronnie Woods, Nathan Jackson, Trevor Shenton, Evan Dieringer, Zac Gill, Andrew Shreffler, Donavan Boyd, Caleb McHenry, Chris Omrien, David Locke, Scotty Tanner, Danny Wells, Devon Hall, Robbie Penn, Freddie Plum

each have their own strengths. We’ll spread the carries around and see who has the hot hand every Friday night. Running the football is going to be our focus so they’ll be plenty of opportunities for each one of them.” While the Potters didn’t air it out much last season, they do return their top wideout in senior Zack English who hauled in 16 passes for 235 yards and four touchdowns a year ago. Also back is D.J. Austin who finished 2012 with 10 catches for 156 yards and two scores. Also seeing time at

receiver will be senior Marcus Beebout and junior Jason Kutzner. “People will have to respect our passing game,” Prescott said. “We’re going to run the ball a lot, but if teams pack the box, we have four very good wide receivers to throw to. We feel like we’ll be able to move the chains through the air if we need to.” The Potters want to be known as a team that controls the line of scrimmage. Their defensive front isn’t quite as experienced as their offensive counterparts, but East Liverpool boasts sizes,

athleticism and depth in the trenches. Filling up the middle with be senior defensive tackle Chris Russell, a 300-pounder who started toward the end of last season. Russell will be joined inside by sophomore Charles Iacobucci, while the defensive ends will be Reed, Dozier and sophomore Ryan Lilly. “Our first and main goal is to stop the run,” Prescott said. “We want to force teams to put the ball in the air. There’s not many teams out there that can pass the ball efficiently on a regular basis so that’s the posi-

tion we want to put them in.” East Liverpool has what is arguably the best set of linebackers in the area. Miscuk was seemingly in on nearly every tackle last year for the Potters and headlines a deep and talented group. Joining Miscuk on the inside is Rickerd, while Tallent and Dylan Reynolds will man the outside spots. “We’ve got four linebackers who are big, physical and can play sideline to sideline,” Prescott said. “This group is the soul of our football team. They’re our motor, our engine and our emotional leaders. They are extremely tough and physical guys, but they are also blessed with athletic ability.” The Potters return nearly every starter in the defensive backfield from a season ago. Austin, Beebout, Kade Reynolds and English are all back and should provide East Liverpool with the luxury of

being creative with their front seven. “These guys understand how to play,” Prescott said. “They’re making the defensive calls on their own now. They’re obviously going to be defending the pass, but we’re also going to ask them to be a part of stopping the run as well.” Senior kicker Justin Barr returns for East Liverpool after connecting on 25-of-38 PATs last season but did not kick any field goals. Brewer and Lilly will likely handle the kickoff duties, while English returns as the team’s punter. “Our team strength is senior leadership,” Prescott said of his large senior class.

(Games at 7:30 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 30 at Carrollton, 7 p.m. Sept. 6 Indian Creek Sept. 13 Salem Sept. 20 Cambridge Sept. 27 John Marshall Oct. 4 at Wheeling Park, 7 p.m. Oct. 11 Warren Oct. 18 at Oak Glen, 7 p.m. Oct. 25 at Beaver Local, 7 p.m. Nov. 1 at Weir, 7 p.m.

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•Salem High School •Lisbon High School •East Liverpool High School •Oak Glen High School

•Edison High School •Steubenville High School •Catholic Central High School •Bellaire High School •Buckeye Local High School

•Brooke High School •Indian Creek High School •John Marshall High School •Beaver Local High School


Red Devils Continued from Page 78 huge role. Included are seven players who are currently playing at the collegiate level. Those include: Dan Monteroso (Purdue), Jerrid Marhefka (Ohio), Matt Kinnick (West Virginia State), Luke Smith (Mt. Union), Jay Gossett (Waynesburg), Corey Ernest (West Liberty) and Cole Stephen (West Liberty). Also lost to graduation were: Derek Shunk, Tom Parker, Haylee Skukan, Justin Callarik, Dalton Nolte, Titus Lepic and Brandon Westlake. “That group changed our program to where we can set our sights high,” McLean said. “They were the ultimate group of kids that a coach would dream about.” While the bar has certainly been raised, McLean has been stressing to this year’s senior class that nothing in the past — except for game experience — will matter this season. “This returning senior group has its own identity and they know they have to earn every inch that they want on their own,” McLean said. “The good news is they got to spend that time with last year’s group, so they had good people demonstrating how to do that.” When McLean talks about identity, it has nothing to do with Xs and Os. “The identity I am talking about deals with our team chemistry, what kind of people these kids are on and off the field, what kind of students they are and

Seniors (15) John Bland, Brandon Bosworth, Jaylon Brown, Bryce Burnett, Ben Coleman, Daniel Elerick, Evan Elliott, Michael Ferns, Joel Giffin, C.J. Harding, Colby Lindsey, Abbey Maroon, Zach Musilli, Tanner Nemeti, Nick VanVoltenburg. Juniors (13) Dakota Bacon, Matt Carnes, J.C. Coleman, Zack Denoble, Zach Dopkiss, Daulton Freeman, Malik Gummer, Michael Jacob, Jake Miller, Michael Monteroso, Jake Orr, Austin Rine, Isiah Sears. Sophomores (24) Mikey Berardi, Chris Blackwell, Tyler Blomquist, Grant Cameron, Brandon Carrothers, Brandon Ducker, Carson Ernest, Brendan Ferns, Mike Furbee, Isiah Green, Ty Hawley, Tanner Heath, Dylan Ketter, Brad LeCron, Haydn Lewis, Kyle Moulder, Blake Peroni, Shane Peroni, Troy Powell, Cole Skaggs, Jake Stewart, Logan Thompson, Daniel Trouten, Christian Witchey.

how tight they are as a group,” McLean said. “The chemistry is the biggest thing I’m looking for, and it’s growing, but I want it to grow faster.” On top of identity, McLean and his staff have stressed almost daily about not becoming complacent or having a sense of entitlement because of past success. “We have to have the thought that we’ve not done anything in the back of our mind,” McLean said. “We’re zero and zero. We have just as good a shot as anyone to win or lose a game if we don’t come to practice and get prepared like we should.” McLean has been as excited as ever during camp and summer drills because of the level of unknown around his team. “I get a lot of doom and gloom from people, but we’re chomping at the bit to get going,” McLean said. “I can’t wait. We’ve had some of the wildest doubles I’ve ever had because there’s an energy to get going. One of the coolest things about this camp has been all of the competitions that have been going on.” The past success has led to a big increase in

numbers for the Red Devils. The Devils will dress nearly 80 players this season. While the likes of Kinnick, Monteroso and Marhefka are gone, McLean doesn’t plan on altering the approach on offense too much. “We ran the ball more than maybe most people realized,” McLean said. “We adapt our offensive schemes to our personnel. I’m never going to sit here and say we’re strictly a run or strictly a passing team. We want to be balanced as much as possible and try to utilize our talents and skills the best we can.” One of the many battles during the Red Devils’ camp this summer has been to see who will replace Kinnick at quarterback. The all-Ohioan passed for more than 6,000 yards and 70 touchdowns in his two seasons at the helm. The competition to be the Devils’ quarterback has been a three-way battle between junior Michael Monteroso (6-0, 150), sophomore Brendan Ferns (6-3, 205) and freshman Zach Bigelow (5-6, 160). “We’re not in any controversy because they all know they’re going to be called on at some point, in some way shape or form, to go in there

during the season and take snaps,” McLean said. “We’ve literally played rock, paper, scissors to see who’s going to take each snap during the passing scrimmage or at the start of practice. We’ll be evaluating those guys the entire season.” Helping to ease the growth of the quarter-

backs are senior leaders Jaylon Brown (5-8, 160) and Michael Ferns (6-3, 235). Both return to the Devils’ backfield. “We’re going to lean on both Jaylon and Michael quite a bit, but that’s not any surprise to them,” McLean said. “We want them to be a big part of the offense, but if we don’t achieve balance, we’ll be backing ourselves into a corner.” Brown, who committed to Youngstown State just a few days before doubles began, is coming off a huge junior campaign in which he ran for 1,834 yards and 34 touchdowns as the Devils’ feature tailback.

Ferns, who has been committed to the University of Michigan for more than a year, will lineup as a fullback. He saw time at tight end as well as last season. All told, he accumulated better than 500 yards of offense and scored eight touchdowns. Senior Ben Coleman (5-10, 165) is another option and McLean foresees him playing a bigger role this fall. Junior Isiah Sears (60, 160), who transferred from Martins Ferry, is another who McLean feels could make a significant contribution as a running back. See DEVILS Page 100 ➪

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Bears Continued from Page 45 excelled last June in 7on-7 drills,” Whittington explained. “He can run when needed and is a hard nosed kid. He was our second leading tackler last year at linebacker.” Whittington plans to feature the running game again this year and he’s looking for senior David Campbell, a returning starter, and sophomore Alec Swiger to get most of the calls. Another sophomore, Ryan Cunningham, who started three games last year at linebacker, moves into the fullback slot. Lakota Grimes, a junior, will spell him. Six players are vying for playing time at the

wide receiver positions — Tyler Campbell, Micah Swiger, Nathan Bebout, all juniors, Chris Burnham and Josh Cornell, seniors, and Cyle Perez, a sophomore. Whittington says that Colton Speece (6-2, 190), a senior tight end, is one of his best pass receivers. Skyler Fluharty, another senior, will get some snaps at tight end. “Since we have only one starter returning on the line, we don’t have a depth chart there yet,” Whittington explained during the first week of two-a-days. Noah Mills is the only returning starter.” Mills is a 6-foot, 240-

pound junior. Others battling for starting spots on the offensive line are: seniors Michael Shenton, Cody Wishon, Drew Bailey and Keith Orr; junior Joe Wells and sophomore Justin Cornell. Orr is the biggest of the group at 62, 275. On the other side of the ball, Orr, Michael Shenton and Wishon will be the defensive tackles while Bailey, Mills, Skyler Fluharty and Tyler Campbell are the defensive ends. Cunningham returns at inside linebacker. He’ll be joined by Alec Swiger, Grimes and Patrick Arneault, a junior.

The outside linebackers will be Hartley, who is the leading returning tackler on the defense, and senior Colton Speece. The defensive backs will be Burnham, Bebout, sophomore Josh Cornell and Micah Swiger, a junior. “Our linemen aren’t as big as they were last year, but they are quicker and more athletic, especially on defense,” Whittington said. “Our strengths will be the run game and getting the ball to some of the playmakers on the outside. We definitely have more overall speed than in the past two years.” A weakness again

this year could be in the Golden Bear place kicking game. “We didn’t have a kicker last year and at this time we don’t have one this year,” Whittington said. “However, we have an Oak Glen soccer player, Addison Sayer, a junior, working out with the team in the conditioning phase and he will be trying out as a place kicker.” Speece returns as the punter and Alec Swiger, who did most of the kickoffs a year ago, also returns. Last year, a lot of the hype was around the new football stadium with the artificial turf. The excitement this

year will come when the Golden Bears host Edison in the season opener on Aug. 30. “I look for that first game with Edison to be emotional and high octane because Derrick Stickles is the head coach,” Whittington said. Stickles, former star running back for the Golden Bears, who also was an assistant coach at his alma mater in 2012, was named head coach of the Wildcats earlier this year. Because of that, Whittington expects the games with Edison will become more of a rivalry. The Golden Bears have a couple different opponents on the schedule this year in Beaver Local and Williamstown. “I firmly believe that with the addition of Beaver Local, which would be a Class AAA school in West Virginia and the perennially powerful Williamstown, who are in the playoffs almost every year, that we have the toughest schedule among the Class AA schools in West Virginia. Whittington has only one holdover from his 2012 coaching staff in Justin Lipps-Watson. New this year are Patrick McGillian, Oak Glen’s head wrestling coach, Frank Crain, Doug Murray, Nathan Parry and Jason Kekseo, who was head football coach at Weir High during the 2011 season. Kekseo, a teacher at Oak Glen Middle School, will be the offensive coordinator and Whittington serves as the defensive coordinator.

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Knights Continued from Page 74 Chappelear (5-8, 165), Kevin Keane (5-8, 155), and Brandon Angalich (5-10, 160), and freshmen JaQuan ‘‘Brother‘‘ Jackson (5-8, 140), Tyler Reidel (5-8, 145), Dominick Stevenson (5-8, 135), Ryan Gossett (5-7, 140), and Dillon Baker (5-7, 130). Of Duplaga, Young said he’s ‘‘not real big, not real fast, but he’s a smart runner. He knows where the blocks are coming from and that’s key in our offense.’’ Of the freshmen, he added, ‘‘They all weigh about 80 pounds, but they’re all very coachable, they’re all very focused on what

Seniors (9) CJ Burch; Parker Henry; Joe John; Bubba Slyder; Coty Knecht; James Tankovits; Tom Watkins; Derrick Yocke; Christian Zane Juniors (3) Ben Duplaga; Peter Hartzell; Matt Pleva Sophomores (14) Brandon Angalich; Brett Blazier; Alexander Calvert; Isaac Calvert; Brian Campbell; Joe Chappelear; Dalton DeLong; Matt Gruber; Jeff Gwynn; Lucas Herrick; Kevin Keane; Wesley Khale; Caleb McCord; August Schmidt Freshmen (16) Dillon Baker; John Burkhalter; Conner Calmbacher; Chantz Chambers; Luke Fahey; Ryan Gossett; JaQuan Jackson; Brandon Johnson; Joey Main; Zachary McAbee; Clayton McCabe; Michael Niggemyer; Jacob Pleva; Tyler Reidel; Isaac Rine; Dom Stevenson

they’re doing, and they’re all underclassmen, so they’re going to be around for a while. And they’re good kids.’’ Manning the receiver positions are senior transfer Tom Watkins (6-2, 215) out of New York, junior Matt Pleva (6-1, 165), sopho-

more Brian Campbell 6-2, 180), and freshmen John Burkhalter (6-1, 180), Clayton McCabe (6-1, 185), and Luke Fahey 6-0, 170). Young said Burkhalter and McCabe are ‘‘both doing admirable jobs for us in terms of what we see and how they’re catching the

ball,’’ and they’re seeing some sparks from Fahey. Fellow freshmen August Schmidt (6-0, 155) and sophomore Wesley Khale (5-7, 145) are also in the mix. ‘‘We have spots open, and they know it,’’ Young said. ‘‘We’re giving them every chance to shine.’’ The leading returnee, in terms of catches, is Duplaga, who had three for 71 yards. The offensive line has some veterans and some versatility to it, led by third-year starter and senior Derrick Yocke (5-8, 175) at center. These are guys who plowed the way for the Knights to run up 2,353 yards and 27 touchdowns a season ago. Senior Christian Zane (6-0, 200) mans the right tackle position, while classmate Bubba Slyder (6-0, 230) is the right guard. Senior Jimmy Tankovits (6-0, 210) is the left guard, and sophomore Brett Blazier (5-9, 220) is the left tackle. But, as Young notes, there are others vying for snaps in those positions in junior Peter Hartzell (5-10, 220),

senior Coty Knecht (511, 245), who is primarily a defensive player, both sophomore Calverts — Isaac (6-1, 190) and Alex (6-1, 195) — and junior Dalton DeLong (5-9, 170). ‘‘Those guys are all interchangeable at the guard and tackle spots,’’ Young said. ‘‘We’re versatile enough where Blazier could go to center, Yocke could go to guard. Our line coaches in Coach (Jim) Wolfe and coach (Ed) Anderson do a tremendous job preparing these guys to get off the ball and block and make it happen.’’ The defense lost its leader in tackles and sacks (Braxton Nolte), forced fumbles (Nick Naumann), and interceptions (Michael Pleva), but brings back its leader in fumble recoveries and its second-leading sack artist (Knecht). Slyder and Watkins flip over as defensive ends, with Tankovits and Knecht at tackles and Blazier being the top backup there. Other defensive linemen are Alex Calvert, Hartzell, sophomores Caleb McCord (6-2, 270) and Lucas Herrick (5-10, 185), Zane, and freshmen Zach McAbee (5-10, 200) and Joey Main (60, 165). The linebackers are John, Yocke, Isaac Calvert, Angalich, Gruber, Chappelear, Keane, and freshmen Reidel, Chantz Chambers (5-9, 170), Fahey, Gossett, and Michael

Niggemyer (6-1, 170). In the defensive backfield, Matt Pleva is joined by Campbell, Stevenson, Jackson, Rine, Baker, Burch, Burkhalter, Khale, Duplaga, and Gossett. Henry could play here too, ‘‘if absolutely necessary at this point in time,’’ Young said in early August. Henry is the team’s punter and Schmidt is the placekicker. ‘‘I think we can (make a run),’’ Young said. ‘‘We know injuries can play a huge part in that. I think our kids feel optimistic because of how they did finish last year, which wasn’t on par with our tradition. ‘‘I think we’ll be in the hunt.’’ Though they thought they might be playing their home games at Wheeling Jesuit, they’ll be back at Wheeling Island Stadium in 2013, where they have eight home games and all 10 of their contests will be played on artificial turf. Young’s coaching staff includes offensive coordinator Jason Rine, defensive coordinator Jamie Bordas, Wolfe, Jimbo Wodusky, Felix Bruno, Anderson, Shannon Kuchinski and DeVaughn Gordon.

(Games at 7 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 29 Harrison Central, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 6 Westinghouse Sept. 14 at Madonna Sept. 21 Linsly Sept. 28 Magnolia Oct. 4 Kiski Oct. 11 Shadyside Oct. 26 Renaissance Nov. 2 Bishop Donahue Nov. 9 at Spring Mills, 1 p.m.

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Players to watch 91

Steubenville Big Red




Catholic Central Crusaders

Buckeye Local Panthers



Brooke Bruins

(not counting quarterbacks)


Harrison Central Huskies




Indian Creek Redskins




Edison Wildcats




Weirton Madonna Blue Dons
















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Oak Glen Golden Bears

Toronto Red Knights

Weir High Red Riders




because there are fewer teams in the region. I think that’s good for the kids to get experience.” Justin Kropka of Harrison Central noted the divisional structures aren’t nearly as important as the end results of the playoffs. “The thing about the playoffs is either you’re better or you’re not and I can sleep at night,” Kropka said. “If we’re fortunate enough to get in, play someone and we get beat in the first round or fourth round, what’s the difference? There is only one champion.” “High school football is about change. Things change daily,” said Derrick Stickles, the firstyear coach at Edison. “You have to find ways to adapt to those things. You can’t spend too much time focusing on those things that are out of your hand. They

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are things you can’t control. You can’t get too worked up or overwhelmed. Changes happen. We have a good coaching staff, and it will help us adapt to whatever comes at us.” Steve Daley, head coach at Catholic Central, indicated he has no strong feelings “one way or another” regarding the OHSAA decision. “You just have to go out there and play,” he said recently. “We are playing some division seven teams, some in division six and even a few in division four. It only really matters during the post-season. “The big thing that remains in this—you still have to make the playoffs first. You just have to accept what’s been given to you and deal with it when the time comes.”


Continued from Page 82

Continued from Page 82

During his 30 seasons at Big Red, Reno Saccoccia has captured championships in divisions II and III. Also, his squads competed for a D IV crown. When asked about the new structure, he simply replied, “we go where they tell us.” “We’re like Pavlov’s dogs,” Saccoccia stated. “We hear a bell and we go.” Big Red has qualified for the playoffs 12 consecutive years. This is the first time the OHSAA has expanded the number of football tournament divisions since 1994 when a sixth division was added. Five years later, the number of tournament qualifiers in each division expanded from 16 to 32. When the tournament first began in 1972, there were three football divisions

Division VII, Region 25: Glouster Trimble, Willow Wood Symmes Valley, Catholic Central, Toronto, Columbus Africentric, Frontier, Shadyside, Caldwell, Waterford, Lancaster Fisher Catholic, Corning Miller, Racine Southern, Grove City Christian, Conotton Valley, Bridgeport, Reedsville Easter, Malvern, Millersport, Crown City South Gallia, Strasburg, Columbus Harvest Prep, Fairfield Christian Academy, Tuscarawas Central Catholic, Bishop Rosecrans, Beallsville and Bellaire St. John. Under the new guidelines, there will be 72 schools competing in Division I (male enrollment in the upper three grades of 608 and more. Division II will have 108 schools with enrollment between 403 and 607. The D III enrollment figures are 402 to 281 and there are 108 schools assigned there. Schools competing in Division IV (there are 109) have enrollment between 280 and 213. Division V has 108 schools with enrollment between 212 and 156. The two smaller divisions (VI and VII) both have 105 schools. Enrollment figures for D VI are 156 to 112 and D VII is 111 and less.

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Petchal Continued from Page 58 All too often, teams end up having to play teams from outside of the area, outside of their state and even outside of the country in order to fill their schedules, and that is not a good thing. I have heard many reasons why some local teams do not play each other on the gridiron, however, many of the reasons don’t make a lot

of sense, especially considering many local schools do play each other in every sport but football. Next year, when the football schedules are released for the 2014 season, I hope there are more local games. The more local games there are the better things are for everyone in the area.

Mathison Continued from Page 4 brother Lou with a Class A state championship ring in football. He has one for basketball and baseball and is looking for the trifecta. Colabella and Comis led their squads to the playoffs. Central found the postseason for the first time since 2007 and Colabella’s right arm was a big reason for it. Madonna has been in the playoffs since 2007, winning the crown in 2009 and missing last year by a point in overtime. The original theme of the cover was going to be based on the 1988 movie “Young Guns” with Emilio Estevez, Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips and Dermot Mulrooney. Granted, not the best movie ever produced, but, back then we thought we could have fun with the cover. The theme changed, but we did have fun shooting the cover. We laughed, joked and harrassed each other. Comis couldn’t stop smiling/laughing and we had Colabella cracking up. A fun time. The pair are the elder statesmen of quarterbacks. They have 54 starts between them — Colabella 31 and Comis 23. Comis also has an additional 11 starts at free safety, a place he has roamed since being a freshman. Of the 11 teams we cover, five will have a first-year starter — Big Red, Brooke, Buckeye Local, Indian Creek and Oak Glen. Edison (Nolan Marcus) and Toronto (Blaze Glenn) will have a pair of two-year starters. Harrison Central’s David Miser saw a lot of PT as a sophomore when

he replaced injured starter Rashaen Mitchell and Weir’s William Larch will begin his third season behind center, but he has only started eight games in two seasons due to injuries. Quarterbacks are leaders for various reasons. They make decisions, quick ones at that. They also have to have a thick skin, much like their head coaches. They get patted on the back for a touchdown pass and kicked in the rear for an INT. They read defenses and must rely on their natural ability to be correct. They need to see the mike linebacker and what the safeties are doing. It is said over and over that defenses wins championships. Although true (but not always), offenses and its quarterbacks must score points. After all, score is kept and it’s really hard to win with that goose egg under the team name. The quarterback, like the pitcher, has the the ball in his hands every play. They dictate what happens on every play. Do they chuck it deep or throw it out of bounds? Do they scramble and slide, scramble and deliver a hit or get out of bounds? Not everyone wants to be the focal point of the offense. Not everyone wants that pressure. Not everyone wants to make THAT decision. Quarterbacks have to be vocal, hardworking, intelligent, disciplined and set the tone for the team. It’s in the job description. Some are better at it than others. These two are really good at it.

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Wildcats Continued from Page 42 have a real nice opportunity to work with the guys. They are a great group. They listen. They hang on every word you say. They are type of kids you like to coach.” An experienced group of receivers return for Edison this year. The group includes Pasek, Springer (6-2, 180) and Tennant (6-1, 175). Last year, Springer recorded 25 receptions for 509 yards and six touchdowns. Springer averaged more than 20 yards per reception. Seniors Storm Allese (6-0, 200) and Hunter Sweat (5-11, 185) will be the tight ends. A couple of spots on the offensive line will be

battled for throughout practice leading up to the start of the season. Seniors Blaine Cline (6-2, 190), Stagani (5-9, 250) and Huggins (6-2, 230) will man three of the spots up front. Cline did not play last year. Huggins is expected to be the starting center. Stagani will be a guard, and Cline will be the team’s left tackle. Junior Nate VanHorn (5-9, 200), sophomore Collin Scott (6-1, 225) and Wells (511, 200) are battling for time along the line. Edison will be running a 4-2-5 defense. “It is basically a hybrid 4-4,��� Stickles said. “At times we will be in a 4-4, and at times

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we will be in a 4-3. Our outside linebackers will be our outside safeties. They fall into the defensive back category. We are going to do a lot of things defensively depending on the offensive formation we see. That will determine what our defense looks like.” Like the offense, Stickles has high expectations for his defensive unit. “I think we are going to be very active,” Stickles said. “We are going to have a lot of communication. That is going to help the kids who are in coverage. Our defensive line is pretty quick. They do a good job of getting the offensive line off of our middle linebackers, so our middle linebackers can run from sideline to sideline to make plays.” Cline and Coppa will be the defensive ends. Legget and Wells will be the defensive tackles. Haught (6-5, 375) along with Huggins, Scott and VanHorn are all expected to see time as well. Shannon and Sweat lead the linebacker core. Wells and Leggett will also see time at middle linebacker. Schmitt (6-0, 185) and freshman Chris Kosegi (5-5, 150) are also in the mix. In the secondary, Marcus will serve as one of the team’s outside safeties. Glenn, Allese and Tennant will all also see time on the outside. Andreozzi (5-8, 150) will be one of the team’s starting cornerbacks. Andreozzi was rated as the No. 1 cornerback at a recent defensive back

camp. Pasek is also a cornerback. Springer will be the free safety. “With Nolan, we are going to have to find creative ways to get him some rest,” Stickles said. “We are going to have to manage his time throughout the season. We are going to have to find ways to get him off of the field on defense. He is going to have to take some snaps off.” Senior Devin Haese (5-9, 215) is also in the mix in the defensive backfield. Haese missed time while attending boot camp. Stickles said he will evaluate Haese when he is able to return to the team. Another area of focus for Stickles is special teams. “Special teams is something we have spent a lot of time on,” Stickles said. “It is a very important aspect of the game. We need to evaluate our special teams to see what our special teams’ package is going to be. Right now, we are looking to evaluate our athletes to see who fits. “We are going to take time on our special teams. They are important. We are trying to establish what our identity will be like. It is very important we spend time evaluating these positions.” Springer and Pasek are expected to return kicks and punts, and Shannon is also expected to be a kick returner. Marcus can kick and punt. “It is a great opportunity for us to have our starting quarterback as our punter,” Stickles

said. “It kind of puts the defense in a bind, because they don’t know if he is going to kick it or pitch it. They are going to have that in the back of their mind with him as our punter.” Allese will see time in some form. Allese can kick off, and he is also one of the team’s top long snappers. Huggins, Stagani and Skeeles can also serve as snappers. The seniors are the leaders of the team. “I said a few days ago, I can’t narrow it down to one person,” Stickles said. “The senior class, all of them are positive leaders. They have all stepped up to the plate. They have all taken the young kids under their wings. They spend time with them. They show them how do to things the right way. They show them the things to do at practice. They have shown them how to approach the coaches. They have really instilled the right values in the younger players. “As a first-year coach, there is nothing like inheriting a senior class like this. Any coach would love to have a group like this. They are all positive leaders. They lead by example. We have a mixture. Some lead by example. Some are vocal leaders. We have the best of both worlds. Our leaders are our seniors. Every one of them is a leader. We usually have the team vote on the captains, but we didn’t do that. I think all of our seniors are our captains.” Stickles has sur-

rounded himself with a good group of coaches. Alex Pappas will be the team’s new offense coordinator. Troy Fetty will serve as the team’s defensive coordinator. Jim Marcus will be an offensive coach, and he will be in the press box during games. Clint Chevalier, a former player at Edison, is also on the staff. Justin Greenley-Baynes, who played with Stickles at West Liberty, is new to the staff. Dave Marshall returns to the staff. John Grabling is a volunteer assistant. “I always expect to win,” said Stickles. “We are going to take things on a week to week basis. We want to get better every day. That is our main goal. We will have success and be able to win if we do that during the season. We have to take care of the little things. I am looking forward to the season. We are going to take things day to day. We have small goals that if we take care of them we will be able to achieve our big goals of winning week to week and making the postseason. “If we do those little things we are going to have success. If we neglect the details and the small things aren’t going to go our way. If we come to work hard and take everything day to day we are going to be able to put the best possible team on the field every week, and we will put a great product out there every Friday night and on the Saturday afternoon when we play at Bellaire.”


Devils Continued from Page 85 Junior Jake Orr (5-8, 150) is also trying to get into the rotation. Sophomore running backs looking to make an impact are: Daniel Trouten (5-7, 135), Brandon Ducker (5-9, 175), Logan Thompson (5-9, 165), Mikey Berardi (5-6, 165), Cole Skaggs (6-0, 165), Brandon Carrothers (5-11, 150) and Tyler Blomquist (5-5, 145). The Red Devils will be seeking new big playmakers with Monteroso

off to Purdue and Marhefka at Ohio University. More than 2,000 yards receiving and nearly 30 touchdowns combined from last season went with them. Junior J.C. Coleman (6-1, 155) saw action at receiver in all 15 games last season and senior Tanner Nemeti (5-8, 135), who McLean said “had an outstanding camp,” will be the mainstays in the receiving corps.

Junior Malik Gummer (5-9, 150) shifts to the outside after playing as a running back during the first two seasons of his prep career. Senior Brandon Bosworth (6-1, 185) and junior Daulton Freeman (5-7, 150) are also working into the mix The depth at wide receiver is supplied by senior C.J. Harding (5-5, 120), juniors Dakota Bacon (5-7, 145), Zack Denoble (5-7, 145) and sophomores Isiah Green


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(5-5, 110), Christian Witchey (6-0, 150), Blake Peroni (6-1, 150), Shane Peroni (5-8, 140), Dylan Ketter (5-7, 135) and Grant Cameron (5-6, 135). With Gossett’s departure, the job at tight end has also been a battle. In the mix have been junior Michael Jacob (5-9, 160), sophomore Jake Stewart (6-1, 185), junior Zach Dopkiss (5-9, 180), junior Jake Miller (5-9, 135) and sophomore (6-0, 160). For the first time in a few seasons, the Red Devils also have holes along the offensive line. Stephen, Parker, Ernest and Shunk have all graduated. However, the cupboard isn’t totally bare as seniors Joel Giffin (62, 230), Colby Lindsey (63, 225) and Nick VanVoltenburg (5-9, 240) all return after starting or playing a lot last year. Senior John Bland (58, 220) is penciled in as the center. Senior Abbey Maroon (5-8, 175) is also vying for action at center. He missed much of last season with injury. Sophomore Brad LeCron (6-0, 185) is also in the mix. Giffin has shifted to left tackle from right guard. Lindsey will serve as the left tackle. Van Voltenburg will remain as a guard. McLean is extremely high on his sophomore linemen Haydn Lewis (6-2, 240), Michael Furbee (5-10, 235) and Carson Ernest (6-1, 315). Others hoping to get into the mix and supplying depth are seniors Evan Elliott (6-0, 240),

Daniel Elerick (6-0, 245), Bryce Burnett (5-10, 180), juniors Austin Rine (5-6, 165), Matt Carnes (5-5, 190), sophomores Tanner Heath (5-8, 165), Troy Powell (6-0, 185), Kyle Moulder (5-7, 175) and Ty Hawley (6-0, 240). If the Red Devils had any weakness last season it was on the defensive side of the ball. The Red Devils will once again employ the 44 format. The leader of the unit will be Michael Ferns, who is coming off a firstteam all-Ohio season in which he recorded more than 130 tackles from his linebacker post. While Ferns returns, Smith and Stephens are gone. Both recorded more than 100 tackles from their respective linebacker posts. Ben Coleman is a returning starter at outside linebacker and will be counted on to take on a bigger role. Stewart, who lettered as a freshman, will be looked at at linebacker. Abbey Maroon and Jacob are also vying for time. At the outside backer spot, Brendan Ferns, Sears, Thompson and Skaggs are all vying for playing time alongside Ben Coleman. On the defensive line, Lindsey had a big season at defensive end. He’ll maintain one of those spots again this season. The defensive tackle and other end jobs have been “one of the biggest battles in camp” according to McLean. Battling for the jobs are Giffin, Ernest, Furbee, VanVoltenburg,

Bland and Elliott. The secondary is led by Brown, who returns at a cornerback. Gummer, Nemeti, J.C. Coleman and Freeman are all being looked at in the secondary. Special teams should a strength for the Red Devils. Senior placekicker Zach Musilli (5-7, 145) returns to handle the majority of the kicking duties. He’s coming off a junior campaign when he blossomed with 72 PATs and four field goals. “Having Moose is a luxury,” McLean said. “He’s had ice in veins for us. He’s a very valuable asset to our team. He can kick extra points and field goals. He’s worked hard in the offseason.” That hardwork allows McLean to feel comfortable sending out the field goal unit from possibly beyond 40 yards. “That’s a weapon and we plan to use it,” McLean said. Musilli is also expected to handle more of the kickoff duties, but Giffin will also see time there as he did a season ago. The punting duties are expected to be handled by Lindsay, who saw some time in that role as a sophomore.

(Games at 7:30 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 30 at Claymont, 7 p.m. Sept. 7 Cleveland Whitney Young, 7 p.m. Sept. 13 Renaissance Christian Academy, 7 p.m. Sept. 20 at Martins Ferry Sept. 27 Indian Creek Oct. 4 Harrison Central Oct. 12 at Bellaire, 12:30 p.m. Oct. 18 Edison Oct. 25 at Buckeye Local, 7 p.m. Nov. 1 Union Local

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Red Knights Continued from Page 17 “With added depth this year we can be more physical in August to find out who our tacklers are going to be.” Lawrence returns at inside linebacker as the team’s leading tackler from a year ago with Lowery and King also expected to see time there. Reese and Braniff are hoping to get in the mix as well. The quartet of Starkey, Stewart, Chez Glenn, and Saner are vying for the outside linebacker spots. Tom Fordham remains in the hunt for playing time as well. The defensive front will see Solomon, Haynes,

and West lining up at defensive tackle. Davis, Warren, and MacGregor are also looking for playing time. Roche, Miller, Jordan Allen, and McIntosh are expected to take turns manning defensive end with Householder, Spence, Reed, O’Brien, and Allison hoping to make their mark as well. Charles Ross III is the man at safety with Blaze Glenn, Zdinak, and Cassella playing at corner. Jordan, Justice Ross, Pinkerton, Cline, Logan Allen, and West are all in the mix in the defensive backfield.

Blaze Glenn will handle the punting duties with Zdinak kicking extra points and kicking off. Meek also sees his coaching staff as a reason for Toronto’s expected improvement. “We have a large staff this year,” he said. “Which is great because I have a guy to coach every position. We also have a lot of experience on our staff. “We are able to give out players more individualized attention.” The Red Knights open up Saturday when they host Wellsville.

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WHEELING — Wheeling Park has a rich tradition of lining the field — sideline-tosideline — on Friday nights with athl e t i c s p e c i mens. The downside to that of course, is that the Patriots generally have lacked the sheer size needed to deal with the Morgantowns, Universitys, Martinsburgs and Cabell Midlands that await almost yearly in the West Virginia Class AAA playoffs. The general consensus among Mountain State media and fans, is that was the one thing keeping Coach Chris Daugherty’s club from truly contending for a state championship. That thought process will be tested this fall because the Patriots look to have it all, including the necessary bulk. To put it another way, this could turn out to be the school’s best team since 1991, when Park lost 20-13 to Capital in the final AAA title contest played in Charleston. “That’s putting a lot of pressure on us and I was around that team in 1991,’’ Daugherty said. “I see a lot of similarities from when I came through. I was here and we had a real nice run in ’89, ’90 and ’91. But we had help from every class. ‘‘My senior year we had a really nice sopho-

more class and it was that ’91 class. ‘‘I see that in this locker room.’’ The Patriots coaching staff is treading lightly when it comes to expectations because, after all, these are still 1518-year olds, and its easy to g e t caught up in the whirlwind. Instead of being talked up within the locker room, players are being cautioned. “We talked about potential is getting used with us a lot and that’s really a dirty word, because it kind of means you’re not where people think you could be,” Daugherty said. “We’re trying to build the mentality of potential is ugly. ‘‘We want to go do it, and until we do, that’s all it amounts to, is a little bit of press and a little bit of talk.’’ People are talking, all right, and for once the chatter is focused on what’s up front. It starts with, but is certainly not limited to senior Matt Hackathorn (6-foot-4, 260 pounds), an Honorable Mention all-state player last season at right tackle, where he returns for his senior season. “He was a quarterback his entire life but (his sophomore) year we asked him to move to tackle because of how long and big he was and he said ‘yes, sir,’ and that was the end of it. “This is his third year and he’s up to 260 and is

getting college looks.” Eric McCave (6-3, 230) is listed at the starter at right tackle and is getting rave reviews for his mentality and work ethic. Senior Josh Messner, who is up to 225 pounds, is penciled in at center a season after he likely would have had the job were it not for injuries. The surprise is left guard Elliott O’Brien who has shed some serious weight, getting don from 330 to about 275 pounds. Daugherty said he has made himself into a football player and the coaching staff is “very happy with him.” Henry Gompers (6-2, 230) looks to be the left

Seniors (28) Josh Angalich, Eric Banks, Keandre Benjamin, Liam Casey, Chris Freeboroug, Elijah Ford, Matt Hackathorn, Gary Hagan, Casey Hewitt, Bryce Ingram, Niko Kefauver, Jacob Key, Brandon Luff, Dustin McAdams, Eric McCave, Jordan McCormick, Josh Messner, Matt Muffney, Zach Musilli, Geremy Paige, CJ Pelky, Zach Phillips, Devon Rose, Aaron Schrimp, Joe Sharpsky, Max Steinman, Austin Vance, Nick Wolfe. Juniors (18) Zach Amend, Theo Blackston, Michael Corum, Killian Coyne, Tyler Fleming, Cody Flick, Henry Gompers, Dylan Grimm, Michael Grove, Shane McGee, Chalmer Moffett, Sebastian Nolan, Elliot O’Brien, Logan Pickens, Tommy Ricker, Damon Rouse, Nick Vargo, Spencer Wiley. Sophomores (26) Chase Adams, Jaelan Bartlet, Mike Bator, Elijah Bell, James Coles, Davion Cooper, Richard Cummings, Austin Curnes, Brandon Foose, Max Hammonds, Harrison Harttong, DeMonte Johnson, Savion Johnson, Jake Laing, Dalton Mattern, Clay McDonald, Isaiah Myers, Nick Nardone, Zach Nolte, Jake Pedelose, Tyler Robinson, Spencer Rodgers, Troy Salantino, Isaac Turner, Cole Velas, Antonio Venskoske.

tackle. Austin Curnes has a chance to help a little bit, as does Troy Salatino. Both are sophomores. Senior Chris Freeboroug could also see time. “I think we’re going

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to come out of the tunnel and some people are going to find out we look like a Triple-A team should,’’ Daugherty said. “You look back two years ago and we were lucky to be 215 — that was probably one of our

biggest linemen across the board. We had great skill and linemen I would go to battle with, but God only made them 190, 205 pounds. “But we don’t want to See PARK Page 104 ➪


Park Continued from Page 103 just put big out there ... we want to be athletic.’’ To that end, you have to like what the Patriots have at tight end. Junior Chalmer Moffett burst onto the scene last season and ended up as a terror from his defensive end spot. But he’s forced Daugherty and company to use the tight end, something they haven’t done in a while. “We haven’t for three years because I think tight end is the toughest thing to find,’’ Daugherty said. “I think we have a true tight end in Chalmer Moffett that is going to play Saturday football. We’ve got to find a second tight end to go with him.’’ Sophomore Davion Cooper and seniors Jordan McCormick and Dustin McAdams were vying for that opportunity in preseason. They’re hoping to

pave the way for an explosive set of skill players that were a bit banged up in the preseason. Bryce Ingram, a second team all-state utility selection who ran for more than 1,200 yards a season ago is back for his senior season, but was nursing a nagging injury. Joining him on the sideline early on was first-team linebacker Geremy Paige, who is another senior that will double as one of the team’s fullback options. He’ll share blocking duties with junior Theo Blackston to give the Patriots a dominating tandem. “Geremy’s something special. He’s strong and explosive and finished the season out at 196 (pounds), but he weighs 218,” Daugherty said. “He squatted 560 in the summer, so


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he’s a different animal than he was last year. Shepherd’s already offered him a full ride. ‘‘I’m hoping that someone in the MAC comes along and says they don’t care that he’s 5-11, 6-foot.’’ Blackston really came on as a sophomore and has the look of an all-state player. The 1991 connections continue in the form of sophomore running back Savion Johnson. He’s the son of former Patriots standout back Daryl ‘Boogie’ Johnson, now a coach with the team. Savion Johnson can play either tailback or fullback. The returner at quarterback is a good one in senior Zach Phillips. A first-time starter a season ago, Phillips completed 59 percent of his passes for more than 1,200 yards, and even

bigger things are expected this time around. “He’s been able to do some things that we really have never asked our quarterbacks here to do,’’ Daugherty said. “If we were going to throw a 15-yard out we were going to move our quarterback. I can leave him in the pocket and he can get that ball out there and it makes it nice calling plays. “He’s the one kid that if we have an injury, and not to say Killian Coyne couldn’t do it, but he’s the one kid we can’t afford to lose.’’ One surprise could be the running ability Phillips possesses. Even though he wasn’t asked to do it much a season ago, that won’t be the case this season. “A lot of colleges are looking at him because he can run and move in

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the pocket,’’ Daugherty said. At receiver, the focal point will again be diminutive second team All-West Virginia standout Eric Banks, a senior coming off a season in which he hauled in better than 30 passes for more than 500 yards, despite not having a great grasp on the position. The rest of the receiving chores will be left up to a committee that includes Josh Angalich, Michael Grove, Nick Vargo and Elijah Bell, the younger brother of former Park multi-sport stars Richard Hall and Vondel Bell. Wheeling Park will change to a 50 defense this season in an attempt to make teams throw the football. The size up front, though Daugherty said he isn’t sure exactly who will patrol the area, will aid this task tremendously. Big Gary Hagan, at 340 pounds, will platoon at nose tackle with McCave. Hackathorn will see some time at end, as will Moffett. Other than those four, positions were up for grabs late into the preseason. The availability of sophomore Isaiah Myers was also still in question following a lawnmower accident. Paige and Blackston will be the inside linebackers, with Savion Johnson and Max Steinman capable of providing a rare breather now and then. CJ Pelky has a chance to play what the Patriots call their ‘Badger,’ which is a safe-

ty/linebacker hybrid position. He could see time there, as could Savion Johnson and Niko Kefauver. Plenty of people could see time in the secondary, all dependent on the situation. Those probably seeing playing time are Ingram, Banks, Grove, Bell and junior Nick Vargo. The kicking game is in the capable hands (foot) of senior Liam Casey, who came on strong as last season progressed. Chase Adams was challenging for the punting duties. It’s no surprise that Banks will handle the majority of the return chores. But Grove will be used in certain instances. Coming off two straight postseason appearances, the goals have changed at Park. “Making the playoffs is now not that special,’’ Daugherty said. “We want to host a game and it’s one of the things we have talked about. I think these kids know that and our coaching staff knows that.’’ Assisting Daugherty are Drew Beihl, Chris Dunaway, Shane Glass, Tim Ickes, Johnson, Rick Marsh, Keith Phillips, Bob Pyle, Andy Seals, Joey Subasic, Jack Doyle and Doug Boyd.

(Games at 7 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 30: Keyser Sept. 6: at Bridgeport, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 20: University Sept. 27: Brooke Oct. 4: East Liverpool Oct. 11: at Morgantown, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18: Elkins Oct. 25: Steubenville Nov. 1: Parkersburg South Nov. 8: at John Marshall, 7:30 p.m.

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Numbers are back up for Purple Riders By SETH STASKEY

Special to the Preview

MARTINS FERRY — The Martins Ferry Purple Riders have a long and storied tradition on the football field. Veteran head c o a c h D a v e Bruney, who is embarking on his 35th season at the helm of his alma mater, is hopeful that another exciting chapter can be added as the 2013 campaign opens Friday night. “I think we have a chance to be a really solid team,” Bruney said. The Riders welcome back a deep and talented nucleus which saw a lot of quality action during a 5-5 season. It was a season in which the Purple Riders were just a handful of plays away from possibly being in the playoffs.


At one point, Ferry stood at 5-1, but dropped its final four, including a heartbreaking 34-28 setback in overtime to archrival Bellaire. “If everyone’s healthy, we’re probably better than a 5-5 team, but injuries are a part of footb a l l , ” Bruney said. “You have to make the best of the cards you’re dealt. In some games, I thought we did and others were a disappointment to me.” The Purple Riders’ goals never change in terms of desire to reach the postseason and battle for the OVAC and Buckeye 8 titles. However, Bruney, who just wrapped up his 41st consecutive summer of going through double sessions, won’t even begin to let his club look ahead to any of that. “There’s an old saying,’before you can be

2-0, you have to be 1-0,’ so you can’t lose sight of the task each week,” Bruney said. “You can’t dwell on things either if something doesn’t go your way. I think all of that has to do with maturity.” Bruney has been very pleased with the maturation of his team. “They’ve matured attitude wise, workethic wise, but we’ll have to see on game night, when the lights come on, if they’ve matured poise wse and performance wise when you’re under the gun,” Bruney said. “They’ve practiced well.” That maturation process began almost immediately after the 2012 season ended. “We had a good winter, a good spring and we’ve got five or six kids in the senior class who are really good players. Plus, we have a really good junior class. There aren’t any really great players, but there are a lot of really good players, so we have a

Seniors (14) Ricardo Alvardo, Taylor Cotoure, Austin DeLeonardis, Daniel Dokes, Eric Flowers, Logan Kinney, Hondo Palmer, Dustin Schau, Seth Scott, Luke Straub, Bryan Styles, Marcus Sutton, Robert Vargo, JaVaughn Wade. Juniors (17) Lucas Agnew, Nick Bain, Jake Barritt, Cody Beavers, Jonathan Bodkin, Bruce Burger, Bryce Coleman, Mark Douglas, Jack Fitch, T.J. Jacob, Jahad Joyce, Shawon Manns, Sam Redinger, R.J. Reed, Brian Sadosky, Kyle Staley, Andrew Watts. Sophomores (7) Emilio Appolloni, Matt Barbour, Arjay Burress, James Edwards, Andrew Hython, Brandon Mayle, Steffan Ries. Freshmen (16) Dominic Bell, Darren Clark, Nick Cummings, Jack Davis, Ryan Fox, Malik Hill, Keegan Hupp, Rich Lechner, Cade Lloyd, Dan Melewski, Connor Patterson, Drake Rice, Sam Russell, Logan Selby, George Stan, Jared Straub.

chance to have a good team.” Numbers are up, attitudes are right, but Bruney especially likes the chemistry his team has shown through the summer months, which is often times the ultimate ‘X’ factor in a team’s success. “You can tell these guys genuinely like each other,” Bruney said. “I really like their togetherness. When you have that kind of chemistry, it becomes hard to let your buddies down because you don’t want to be that weak link so to speak.” Because of some of

the injuries to the players who Bruney thought could be impact guys, some of the younger Riders were thrown into the fire early, which could pay dividends this season. “A lot of our guys got a lot of reps so far in their career and they’re only juniors,” Bruney said. “Our junior class has gotten to play a lot of football sooner than they maybe would have if it weren’t for different circumstances.” With so much experience and talent back in numerous places, Bruney believes that his club has the capability to come firing on all cylinders right out of the gates. “We sure hope that’s the case,” Bruney said. “We’ve (had) three scrimmages to see what we have in game situations, but it’s still going to come down to being able to stay healthy. If we learned any lessons last year, it’s that things can go south in a hurry.” Avoiding that injury bug is simply paramount for many teams in the area and the Purple Riders are no different despite the fact that

Bruney does like his team’s depth. “It doesn’t take too many injuries to cause some changes,” Bruney pointed out. “You’ve still got a schedule to play and you can’t go out and sign a free agent, recruit a new kid or make a trade. You go with what you have, so we’ve spent a lot of time this summer trying to develop that depth.” Bruney and his staff have stressed over and over to their players that it only takes one play and someone new could have their number called. “When the opportunity (to play) presents itself and you’re ready to grab it by the throat, regardless of your talent level, you could go in and not hurt us,” Bruney said. “Then you’re making a meaningful contribution.” Outside of staying healthy, Bruney points to things such as winning the turnover and penalty battles as what could be the ultimate determining factors this season. “If we do those See FERRY Page 108 ➪

Union Local starting anew with Stiles 107


Special to the Preview

MORRISTOWN — Entering his first season as head football coach at his alma mater, B r u c e Stiles is learning on the fly at Union Local. The 1981 graduate is also learning of all the challenges that face a rookie head coach. He served on the St. Clairsville staff for the past nine seasons, most recently as defensive coordinator. “Introducing the kids to a new program is never easy,” he said. “But they are buying into it and they’re working really hard. “The biggest challenge has been teaching the kids how to win and how to expect to win,” Stiles noted. “Sometimes when things aren’t going real well, kids don’t understand what it takes to win. That’s what we’ve been trying to instill over the summer, along with mental toughness and doing things the right way. “I’m hoping that will help us turn things around here,” he added. Winning hasn’t come easy over the last three seasons as Union Local has won just once in its last 30 contests. “The kids’ attitudes have been really good,” Stiles said. “I can’t complain about that. The kids are understanding what they have to do in the structure of the new

program.” The Jets return 17 lettermen from last fall’s 1-9 squad. “A lot of underclassmen were forced into action last year due to a tremendous number of injuries,” he offered. “Hopefully, that experience will play off for us down the road.” Among that group are seven seniors — Eric Dunfee, Nathan Ferda, Mason Friede, Travis James, Jake Leishman, Brandon Rutter and Zac Sowers. “It’s a small class, but they’ve really bought into the program. We’re working on their leadership skills, leading by example and stuff like that,” Stiles continued. “They’ve been a positive group all the way through. They’re learning how the program is going to work, and they’re doing a nice job so far. “They’re a small group, but they are mighty,” Stiles said of his seniors. Dunfee, Friede, Ferda and James will be back for their third season as lettermen. Pritts, Blake and Ware will be two-year letterwinners. Leishman, who missed last season, lettered as a sophomore. As far as starting lineups go, Stiles admitted there are no positions etched into stone. “Right now all the positions are open. None are picked,” he stressed two days before official practice began in early

August. “This being my first year, I’ve seen some of the kids in the weight room working really hard, but as far as starters, that’s still up in the air until we put pads on and see who steps up. “We’ve got a couple of players in mind for certain positions,” he continued. “But some guys look like Tarzan in the weight room, and then play like Jane on the field.” When Stiles took over the program late last year after Mark Cisar stepped down after seven seasons, it appeared the Jets had some veteran skilled players returning, including their starting quarterback (junior Gavin Porter) and a standout wide receiver (sophomore Kaleb McDiffitt). However, neither are a part of the team, according to the head coach. “We had a couple of players quit earlier in the pre-season, but we’ve moved on,” Stiles said adamantly. “We aren’t looking in the past because that’s what it is ... the past.” Porter completed 98 of 205 passes for 1,060 yards in limited action as a freshman and as a starter last season. He tossed five TDs and was intercepted 11 times. Last season he ran for 294 yards and three scores on 122 carries. McDiffitt landed 32 passes last fall for 457 yards and five six-pointers. To compound issues at quarterback, talented sophomore Trenton Tipton, who could have stepped into the role,

Seniors (7) Eric Dunfee, Nathan Ferda, Mason Friede, Travis James, Jake Leishman, Brandon Rutter and Zac Sowers. Juniors (7) Bryan Bannan, Tater Blake, Eric Haverty, John Howell, Colton McKivitz, Nick Pritts and Spencer Ware. Sophomores (15) Patrick Abboud, Seth Anderson, Joey Brown, Colton Burnheimer, Jacob Fijalkowski, Isaac Goodson, Jacob Johnson, Nik Lemasters, Dale Mann, Matt McFarland, David Paulick, Tristan Price, Bobby Stewart, Trenton Tipton and Demitree Turner. Freshmen (11) Nick Bilyeu, Josh Bolyard, Devin Crum, Cory Jones, Jamie Kelich, T.J. Kelley, Isaiah McCloe, Brian McWhorter, Shane Smolenak, Nate Stubbs and Josh Taylor.

has been lost for the season with knee surgery to correct an ACL tear he suffered during basketball last winter. “We wish Trenton the best,” Stiles said of the 6-4, 175-pounder. “The good thing is that he’s going to stick around and help us out.” Tipton saw some playing time as a freshman, running for 31

yards and a TD on 11 carries. Battling for the quarterback spot are James (5-11, 170), sophomore Bobby Stewart (5-8, 140) and promising frosh Shane Smolenak (5-6, 125). “Travis has never played quarterback, but he and the other two are really working hard,” Stiles said. “All three

will probably see playing time.” According to the head coach, who played collegiately at Salem College as a cornerback, the offensive line will be the Jets strong point early on. “We’ve got some really good size up front, both offensively and See JETS Page 110 ➪

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Ferry Continued from Page 106 things and play great defense, and I think we should be able to stay fresh enough, we should do well,” Bruney said. “Turnovers were an issue for us last year. We turned it over five times against Edison, which cost us and they hurt us again against Bellaire.” Martins Ferry’s offense will once again attempt to seek as much balance as possible, but the Purple Riders do feature a deep and talented stable of running backs. The quarterback job is ticketed for senior Eric Flowers (5-11, 205), who saw quality action last season after Strama was injured. Other quarterbacks who supply depth are sophomore James Edwards (5-11, 155), junior R.J. Reed (5-9, 185) and freshmen Cade

Lloyd (5-10, 135), Dominic Bell (5-7, 125) and Sam Rossell (5-9, 145). The Purple Riders’ tailback contingent deep, talented and fast. Senior Marcus Sutton (5-8, 177) is expected to get the first crack at earning the bulk of the carries. Sophomore Arjay Burress (5-11, 190), junior Andrew Watts (5-10, 170), junior Jahad Joyce (5-10, 195), who had a huge game against Bellaire, is back in the mix as well along with sophomore Andrew Hython (6-0, 155). Freshmen candidates include: Malik Hill (5-11, 170), Jack Davis (6-0, 160), Logan Selby (6-0, 140) and Jared Straub (5-9, 140). At the fullback spot, junior Bruce Burger (511, 198) returns after seeing quality time a

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season ago. Hard-nosed classmate Bryce Coleman (5-7, 172) will also see time at that spot. Seniors JaVaughn Wade (5-8, 210), Daniel Dokes (5-10, 165) and frosh George Stan (5-9, 140) are also vying for time as the lead blocker. The Purple Riders’ home-run hitter on the offensive side of the ball could be senior Bryan Styles (5-6, 147). He’ll line up in a bevy of spots, including quarterback from time to time as Flowers’ top understudy. His primary position will be at one of the wide receiver spots. Junior Jack Fitch (511, 155) is back at a wide receiver spot after seeing significant playing time on both sides of the ball. Junior Jake Barritt (5-8, 150) is also ticketed for a wide receiver post and will see quality time. Bruney also spoke highly of junior Lucas Agnew (6-0, 155), junior T.J. Jacob (6-0, 160) and seniors Taylor Coture (6-3, 172) and Seth Scott (6-0, 180), both of whom are out for the first time. Depth at wide receiver is being provided by junior Shawon Manns (5-7, 140), freshmen Ryan Fox (5-5, 120) and Zac Selby (5-9, 145). Martins Ferry also features arguably the premier tight end in the Ohio Valley in senior Robert Vargo (6-6, 255). He had a big season last year, including a game in which he caught 11 passes. Seniors Austin DeLeonardis (6-0, 180), who will handle the long

snapping duties, and Logan Kinney (6-0, 185) are the top understudies. Senior Dustin Schau (5-11, 210) has returned to football after taking a few seasons off. Sophomores Emilio Appolloni (6-8, 227) and Matt Barbour (6-0, 220) are also listed as tight ends. Freshmen Rich Lechner (6-0, 160) and Dan Milewski (5-11, 165) supply additional depth. While Bruney likes the makeup of his skill players, he’s especially high on his offensive line, which returns a myriad of experience. “I really like those guys and they have a chance to be pretty good,” Bruney said. “There is some size there and they’re athletic. It should be a real strength for us.” Junior Jonathan Bodkin (5-8, 230) anchors the line at center, while Cody Beavers (6-1, 220) is ticketed for left guard. At the left tackle spot, junior Brian Sadosky (6-3, 218) is penciled in. Senior Luke Straub (6-0, 260) is a three-year starter at guard. Junior Nick Bain (6-0, 267) returns as the starting left tackle. Senior Hondo Palmer (6-0, 260) has returned to football for the first time since his freshman season. He’s the top backup at left tackle. Junior Mark Douglas (5-9, 200) is one of the more versatile Rider linemen. He’s the top backup at center and guard. Junior Kyle Staley (5-11, 270) is another who could battle for

action in the trenches. Other linemen who are vying for playing time include: senior Ricardo Alvardo (5-11, 200), junior Sam Redinger (6-4, 200), sophomores Brandon Mayle (5-11, 180) and foreign exchange student Steffen Ries (6-2, 220) along with freshmen Nick Cummings (5-10, 215), Keegan Hupp (6-0, 185), Connor Patterson (5-9, 235), Drake Rice (5-10, 170), Dom Wallace (5-11, 280) and Darren Clark (6-3, 280). “We have some promising young kids up front,” Bruney said. On the defensive side of the ball, the Purple will once again employ the 4-4 formation. “We feel comfortable with our defense because we have a lot of experience back,” Bruney said. “I think our defense is going to have a little bit of nasty in it, too. We have good foot speed as well.” Along the line, Vargo is set to serve as one of the ends with DeLeonardis and Kinney in the mix. The other end has been a battle between Sadosky, Beavers and Schau. A foursome of defensive tackles will be utilized. Bodkin, Bain, Palmer and Douglas are all expected to see time. At the inside linebacker spot, Straub and Burger are set to lead the way. Sutton and Burress saw quality time as an outside linebacker last season and both will maintain those duties again this season. Dokes and Hython

are the top subs and could see time as well. The secondary has been a battle as well for jobs with as many as seven players in the mix. Styles, Fitch, Watts, Agnew, Barritt, Jacob and Flowers are all vying for the jobs as corner and safety. Burress is expected to handle the Purple Riders’ placekicking duties, while Flowers is the Riders’ punter. Bill Bruney, Dave’s brother, is back as the defensive coordinator, while Dirk Fitch serves as the offensive coordinator. Gregg Bahen is back on board, working with the tight ends and outside linebackers. John Bennett coaches the wide receivers and defensive backs. Plus, he oversees the Purple Riders’ computer scouting. Rich Materkoski is the passing game coordinator and works with the defensive backs and receivers. Jim Hoover and Nick Stankovich coach the line. Anthony Reasbeck is the quarterbacks coach and works with the freshmen and junior varsity. Chas Yoder and Taylor Yoder work with running backs and linebackers as well as the junior varsity.

(Games at 7 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 30 Allderdice, Pa. Sept. 6 Wickliffe, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 13 Linsly Sept. 20 St. Clairsville Sept. 27 Harrison Central Oct. 4 at Union Local Oct. 11 Buckeye Local Oct. 18 at Indian Creek Oct. 25 at Edison, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 2 at Bellaire, 12:30 p.m.

Expectations high at pass-happy Bellaire 109


Special to the Preview

BELLAIRE — Five years ago, Jose Davis took control of a onceproud Bellaire program when it was at a low level. Since then, he’s steadily helped to rebuild the tradition that had been accustomed for the Big Reds’ teams and got them back to the Ohio postseason thanks to their berth in the Division V tournament. But, in no way, is the former Big Reds’ standout signal-caller satisfied, nor should he be. With 20 lettermen back — including a 3,000-yard passer and a 1,000-yard receiver — from an 8-3 squad, expectations are very high once again in the All-American Village. “When you have a lot of guys returning from a successful season the year before, obviously the expectations are going to be high,” Davis said. “But like I tell people, and the kids, games aren’t played on paper. So, our guys need to continue to improve all the way across the board for us to be competitive, and keep on climbing the ladder like we’ve been doing.” The Big Reds open the season Saturday afternoon when Steubenville Catholic Central invades Nelson Field for a 12:30 kickoff in a game the Crusaders will no doubt be seeking revenge in after a pair

of tough-to-swallow setbacks the past two seasons on the Harding Stadium turf in Steubenville. “We all know they are going to come in here fired up because of what has happened the last two years up there,” D a v i s said of the Crusaders, who were blown out 63-27 in 2011 before watching the Big Reds pull off a dramatic 44-42 come-from-behind victory last season, winning on the final play of the game after trailing 42-19 late in the third quarter. When you talk about Bellaire, the first thing that pops into your mind is the strong tradition the Big Reds have when it comes to quarterbacks. From Mike Sherwood to P.J. Woods to Jose Davis to Ty Masciarelli to Matt Materkoski to Nate Davis to Nick Rocchio to Anthony Rocchio, all have thrown the ball all over the field, and done it often and well. However, third-year starter Spencer Badia (5-10, 180) has a chance to erase some more of those aforementioned names as he enters his senior season as the Big Reds’ field general. He has already eclipsed many of the career and single-season passing marks in Bellaire lore. In just two seasons, the strong-armed Badia has racked up 5,383 yards passing on 365 of 686 in the Big Reds’ pass-happy attack. He has 52 career touchdown

tosses, but has been picked off an alarming 30 times. Last fall, he hit on 212 of 387 for 3,001 stripes, 24 TDs and 13 INTs. He was 153-for299 and 2,382 yards as a sophomore when he fired 28 six-pointers and 17 picks. During Bellaire’s first round playoff loss to Cuyahoga Heights, Badia injured his right knee early on, but continued to play on basically one leg. He eventually went to the sidelined and underwent surgery a while later, forcing him to miss the entire baseball season his junior season. “He’s fine,” Davis stressed. “He’s been cleared since June and he’s been playing baseball, so he’s good to go.” However, Davis, who has a pair of championship rings from his professional indoor playing career, knows that a great quarterback is only as good as the players around him. “A lot of our success is going to depend on how we are up front, how we run the ball and how we are at receiver,” he acknowledged. “A lot of it goes hand-in-hand. Sure, everything starts with offense for us, but

Seniors (15) Spencer Badia, Nick Patrone, Skylar Jeter, Kyle Hess, Robert Kovalyk, Collin Nolan, Brendon Ross, Kenny Hess, Myliek Green, Seth Pickens, James Dunfee, Robby Kalinowski, Jeff Nelson, Wyatt Back, Ryan Callarik. Juniors (12) Bralen Snell, Tyler West, Hunter Westlake, Austin McConville, Dom Vinka, Chace Braden, Jonathan Longwell, Brandon Laughman, Jeremy Rife, Donivan Taylor; Cody LaRoche, Michael Kovalyk. Sophomores (8) Dylan Marling, Alex Hibbitts, Anthony Piper, Anthony Price, Austin Anastasia, John Price, Cody Tredway, Steven Krupa. Freshmen (15) Ty Taylor; Tyson Camsky, Gage Eden, D’Eondre Burney, Justyn Keyser, Cody Hamilton, Lance Norman, Derek Schybal, Jacob Smith, Logan St. John, Trent Gibson, David McConn, Josh Sabinski, Todd Morris, Devin Violet

we’ve got to continue to improve across the board, and that means on defense, as well. Davis also knows he’s got a special talent in the shotgun. “Spencer’s film study has gotten a lot better and his knowledge of what we are trying to accomplish has also gotten better,” Davis allowed. “He’s also gotten bigger, he’s put on some weight.”Badia also ran 93 times for 321 yards and four touchdowns. To give Badia a break, Davis will utilize the talents of junior Hunter Westlake (6-1, 185) in a variety of ways. “We’ve got some things that we’d like to try and do with Hunter,” Davis said. “We did the same thing a couple of years ago with Manny Ray.”

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Freshmen Tyson Camsky (5-9, 145), D’Eondre Burney (5-7, 120) and Ty Taylor (6-0, 160), a transfer from St. John Central, are listed as the backups. “Ty Taylor is getting better and better every day,” the head coach said. According to Davis, who played collegiately at Kent State University, the Big Reds’ running backs will be a committee, so to say. “Losing Nick Maffe will certainly hurt a little, but they way we look at it, he wasn’t even counted on before the season started. He got the call when Logan (Koshenka) got nicked up. He stepped up and played a big role in our success.” Maffe picked up 527 yards on 94 carries, scoring 10 touchdowns.

He also caught 25 passes for 267 yards and another two TDs. Cat-quick junior Bralen Snell (5-8, 170) will be the Big Red’s first option, with classmate Tyler West (5-10, 160) also expected to see a lot of time in the backfield. “We’re looking for some big things from Bralen this year,” Davis allowed. “He kind of fits the mold of what we want back there.” Another player that could develop into something big is junior transfer Brandon Laughman (5-8, 185), who comes over from rival Martins Ferry where he ran for 392 yards and seven touchdowns on 73 carries last season. However, Laughman may have to sit out the first five See BELLAIRE Page 112 ➪


Jets Continued from Page 107 defensively,” he advised. “Offensively, our line is going to be our strongest point to start.” During Cisar’s tenure the Jets started throwing the ball when they left the lockerroom and didn’t quit. “We’ll do whatever we have to in order to win,” he stated. “If that means running the football, then that’s what we’ll do. If we have to throw passes, we’ll do that as well. “The biggest thing with our offensive line is that they need to learn how to run block,” Stiles continued. “With nothing against the prior staff, they threw the ball 40-50 times a game and, basically all the linemen did was pass block.”

Anchoring the offensive line will be mammoth tackles Colton McKivitz and David Paulick. McKivitz is a 67, 240 pound returning letterman, while Paulick is a 6-4, 234 pound sophomore. Others in the mix for starting spots on the front line are Rutter (58, 210); juniors Bryan Bannan (6-6, 230) and Eric Haverty (5-11, 185); sophomores Patrick Abboud (6-1, 180), Colton Burnheimer (6-3, 190), returning letterman Jacob Fijalkowski (5-11, 230), Jacob Johnson (6-0, 240) and Tristan Price (5-10, 260); and freshmen Cory Jones (5-9, 150), T.J. Kelley (5-10, 173), Nate Stubbs (5-9, 175) and Josh Taylor (59, 200).

When the ball is handed off, a bevy of experienced running backs will get the call. Those will include Leishman (5-11, 180); juniors Tater Blake (5-8, 175), Nick Pritts (5-11, 220) and Spencer Ware (5-9, 155); sophomore Joey Brown (5-9, 165). Leishman played a lot as a sophomore. He lugged the leather 22 times for 97 stripes. Blake has accumulated 150 yards and a touchdown on 43 carries, while Ware has rushed for 101 yards and a sixpointer on a dozen attempts. “We have some experience at the running back position and we’re going to put the ball in their hands early and often,” Stiles said. Others seeking playing time will be sophomores Nik Lemasters (57, 145) and Dale Mann (5-7, 145) and Matt McFarland (5-9, 170); and freshmen Nick Bilyeu (5-7, 150), Devin Crum (5-8, 140) and Brian McWhorter (5-5, 128). Dunfee (6-0, 180) will be the top target when UL looks to air it out. He

has caught 45 passes for 518 stripes and a touchdown. Blake has 17 receptions for 136 yards, while Ware had landed 14 aerials for 139 yards. Also in the mix will be seniors Ferda (5-10, 170) and Zac Sowers (5-8, 150); junior John Howell (6-0, 135); sophomores Seth Anderson (5-7, 120) and Demitree Turner (61, 175); and freshmen Josh Bolyard (5-11, 150), Jamie Kelich (5-7, 110) and Isaiah McCloe (5-9, 115). “Spencer Ware is a good wideout and Stewart will take some reps at wide receiver,” Stiles said. “Dunfee will lineup at either tailback or wideout. He’s our most versatile player. He’s a good athlete.” The tight ends are Friede (5-11, 170) and Isaac Goodson (5-11, 165). “Goodson had a real nice summer,” Stiles noted. Stiles said he won’t change much on the defensive side of the football. “We’ve got a good nucleus of players returning on the defensive side of things,” he

allowed. “That will definitely help out.” The defensive front will be led by ends McKivitz and Paulick. They will be backed up by Abboud, Stubbs and Burnheimer. Pritts and Price are listed as tackles, while Bannan, Fijalkowski, Haverty, Johnson, Jones, Kelley, Rutter and Taylor are listed as down linemen. The inside linebackers are Blake, Friede, Brown, Lemasters and McFarland, while the outside ’backers are Ferda, Leishman, Goodson, Mann, Bilyeu and Bolyard. Manning the cornerback slots are Ware, Turner, Sowers, McWhorter, McCloe, Kelich, Howell, Crum and Anderson. Dunfee will be the free safety with Smolenak as his backup. The strong safeties are James and Stewart. “We’ve had to make some adjustments in our secondary due to injuries and defections,” Stiles admitted. “That has been a work in progress.” Billy Timko has been brought aboard as the

special teams coach, something that Stiles said is very important. “We’ve got a guy, in Billy, who will concentrate solely on special teams,” he noted. “I think he will be a great addition to our staff.” Dunfee is listed as the starting punter, while he and Stewart will share the kicking duties. When Stiles looks across the field Friday in his first varsity contest in Woodsfield against Monroe Central, he will facing a coach, Jay Circosta, embarking on his 42nd season. “Coach Circosta has had a winner for years and years,” Stiles said. “I’m excited about playing them in Week 1 because they are a quality program. “It should prove as a good measuring stick for us.”

(Games at 7 p.m, unless noted) Aug. 30 at Monroe Central Sept. 6 at Buckeye Local Sept. 13 Barnesville Sept. 20 at Harrison Central, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at Edison Oct. 4 Martins Ferry Oct. 11 Indian Creek Oct. 18 Shadyside Oct. 25 Bellaire Nov. 1 at St. Clairsville, 7:30 p.m.

Shingle to boot PATs and field goals for Weir By RALPH COX Sports correspondent WEIRTON — Weir High football fans are in for a treat when the season opens Thursday. After the Red Riders score, they’ll see a diminutive 5-foot-5 female run onto the field with a kicking tee to score the extra point. Alyssa Shingle probably will be in a Red Rider uniform that will appear a bit large for her, but Weir High coach Tony Filberto is confident that, while she has a small body, Shingle has an explosive foot. A senior, Shingle has been a star for the Lady Red Rider soccer, basketball, softball and track teams since her freshman year. You get the picture — she is an athlete. And, she’s a delightful young lady to talk to. She has her head on straight and exudes confidence. Not braggadocio, confidence. Wearing a broad smile that shows off her pearly white teeth, Shingle says she feels that the boys on the football team already have accepted her. They’ve seen her play the other sports and she saw them rally behind her recently in practice. “I think I gained their confidence the other day in practice when after a hot day, coach Filberto said that if I made a 32-yard field goal they all could go home,” Shingle related. “I made it, and they all cheered for me. “It’s like having 46 body guards and brothers,” said Shingle, whose only sibling is older sister Courtney. Shingle, who obviously is a “gym rat,” found time in her busy schedule to help out with the football team last year as a manager and ball girl. Being the leading scorer on the soc-


cer team, she naturally began kicking the football around in practice. It was toward the end of the season, and by the time she felt ready to kick for real, there was only two games left, so she and the coaching staff decided to give it a go when drills began this summer. Shingle scored 24 goals for the Lady Rider soccer team as a freshman, 27 as a sophomore and 16 last year, so there’s no doubt she can boot the ball. Necessity required her to move from forward to an offensive midfielder last year, but she still led the team with the 16 goals and 7 assists. “I’ve been playing soccer since I was about three years old,” she said. “But I always enjoyed playing football in the back yard of my cousins in West Alexandria, Pa., where my father and mother are from.” Her dad is Coty Shingle, a former sports reporter for The Weirton Daily Times and HeraldStar and now the director of maintenance for the City of Weirton Recreation Department. “Just about everything I’ve learned about sports is from my dad,” she explained. “He never played soccer, but we learned the rules together and we played soccer, basketball and softball in our back yard. He spent hours teaching me. I’ve had good coaching along the way, but I know I wouldn’t be nearly as athletic if it weren’t for dad.”

After starting her freshman and sophomore years as the center fielder on the

softball team, Shingle decided to give track a try last spring. She wound up on the Red Rider 4x100 relay team that placed sixth in the state. During the season, she also competed in the 100 and 200 meter events. She has a grueling schedule since the required pre-season conditioning drills for both the football team as well as soccer began on Aug. 5. She goes to football practice from 8-10 a.m., then to soccer at 12:30 p.m. and returns to football for the afternoon session. “It is strange being in football pads,” Shingle said. “I’m small, but I

really felt small the first time I tried on those pads.” She said she’s not concerned about the possibility of receiving contact. “I was taught to welcome contact in every sport,” she said. “And I really have fun playing football with the boys in my family when we get together for family gatherings in Pennsylvania, and I’ve played some flag football. Some of my cousins play football at McGuffy High School and my dad played there, too.” Shingle, who has an overall grade point average of 3.3, has hopes of going into nursing like her mom Lisa and is looking for a scholarship in either soccer or basketball. “I don’t care which college it is, I’m just hoping to get a substantial offer,” she said. Shingle isn’t sure what will happen if she gets nominated for homecoming queen. “I’ll have to decide if I want to be in a dress or football uniform,” she laughed. “But I will say that if I have to prioritize, sports comes first.” Shingle had a breakout game when the Lady Rider basketball team made it to the state tournament three years ago. She poured in 19 points as a freshman under the pressure of the state tournament, so she says she isn’t concerned about the pressure of having to make an extra point or field goal with the game on the line. “I’m confident that I will handle the pressure,” she explained. “I feel that if you know what to do and how to do it and you don’t second guess yourself, everything will work out. “In fact, I like pressure and actually look for pressure situations because that means the team is doing something right. I think pressure helps me perform. I feel like I work best under pressure.”


Bellaire Continued from Page 109 weeks due to transferring. “We’ve got some bodies that we can mix in there,” Davis added. “Like I tell people, we’re not going to have a 1,500yard rusher, but as a group, if we can get between 1,500-2,000, then we’re doing what we need to be doing.” Senior Skylar Jeter (6-0, 190); sophomore Alex Hibbitts (5-6, 185); and freshmen Lance Norman (5-8, 150), Derek Schybal (5-9, 135) and Trent Gibson (5-10, 145) are also listed as running back candidates. When Badia goes up top, which he does quite frequently, he has an arsenal of talented wide receivers, led by senior Nick Patrone (5-9, 165). Joining him on the outside will be the aforementioned Westlake and West, along with seniors

Kenny Hess (6-0, 190) and Brendon Ross (6-2, 185). Patrone had a breakout junior campaign in which he caught 66 passes for 1,009 yards and a team-high seven touchdowns. He landed 22 catches in 2011 fir 204 stripes and a six-pointer. “Without a doubt, he was a surprise for us last year,” Davis said of the shifty Patrone. “He had a great year of being our go-to guy when we needed him to be. He progressed a lot during the course of last season. He’s gotten a lot more explosive this year and he has picked up some weight. “But what goes off Nick goes off the other guys,” Davis explained. “Having those other guys around allows Nick to do whatever he can to get open. It keeps the defenses honest.”

Westlake caught 31 passes for 492 yards and four scores last season, while Hess had two more receptions for 503 yards and a like number of touchdowns. West came up with nine catches for 94 yards and a pair of six-pointers. Gone is graduated Quinton Crosby who finished with 41 grabs for 580 yards and five TDs. “We have some guys and I like our talent at wideout, but then again, some of these guys have to be able to step in and understand what we’re trying to accomplish.” Other wide receivers include seniors Kyle Hess (5-10, 170), Robert Kovalyk (6-4, 215) and Collin Nolan (5-8, 135); juniors Austin McConnville (6-0, 170), Dom Vinka (5-8, 165) Jonathan Longwell (6-0, 150) and Chace Braden (5-10, 160); sophomores

Dylan Marling (5-6, 135), Anthony Piper (5-10, 160) and Anthony Price (5-7, 160); and freshmen Gage Eden (5-6, 120), Justyn Keyser (6-0, 150), Cody Hamilton (5-5, 110) and Jacob Smith (5-10, 175). Three of five starters return on the offensive line, those being junior center Cody LaRoche (60, 255) and senior tackles Wyatt Back (6-0, 265) and Ryan Callarik (6-1, 210). Back and Callarik will be fourth-year starters. “We lost our two starting guards from last year,” Davis pointed out. “But we like the guys that we’ve got replacing them. We are continually moving guys around, but it’s hard to gauge what a kid can do in practice. It’s not until that first scrimmage that we start finding out about different players.


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We’ve got a lot of bodies, but until the bullets start flying, we can’t tell.” Davis said senior Robby Kalinowski (6-4, 290) will spot in at a guard, but can also play tackle. Classmates Seth Pickens (5-10, 205), James Dunfee (5-9, 215), Myliek Green (5-10, 175) and Jeff Nelson (5-9, 180); and junior Donivan Taylor (6-0, 335) are also in the mix for playing time. Others listed as linemen include juniors Jeremy Rife (6-2, 185) and Michael Kovalyk (510, 205); sophomores Austin Anastasia (5-6, 185), John Price (5-9, 215); Cody Tredway (5-9, 175) and Steven Krupa (6-1, 200); and freshmen David McConn (6-0, 180), Josh Sabinski (5-9, 170), Todd Morris (6-3, 265) and Devin Violet (59, 190). Most observers will look at Bellaire as a team that will pass about 80 percent of the time, while running only 20 percent. However, Davis will dispute those numbers. “People look at us as a 70-30 or 80-20 pass-torun mix, but when you add up our passes and rushes, we’re about 6040 when it comes down to the actual math,” he noted. “To us, we count the screen passes as run plays. They’re just long handoffs to us. Even though they count as passing yards, we don’t look at it that way. “As long as we’re not dropping back 40 times a game, we’re in good shape,” he continued. “We’re happy with 25 to 32 passes a game. That’s feasible for us. We’d like

to gave that 60-40 mix because if it’s 70-30, that’s that much harder on our offensive linemen.” Defensively, Bellaire, according to Davis, needs to continue improving on this side of the ball if the Big Reds are going to be successful. “We’ve got a lot of bodies with game experience,” he allowed. “That’s something that we didn’t have the luxury of last year, but those guys must progress and improve on some of the weaknesses they had last year.” Back, Callarik, Dunfee and Kalinowski are all back along the defensive front. “Those four started at some point last season and all of them got quality playing time which should help out this year,” Davis continued. Other frontliners are Robert Kovalyk, LaRoche, Morris, Donivan Taylor, Michael Kovalyk, Anastasia, McConn, John Price, Rife, Sabinski, Tredway, Krupa and Violet. The linebackers in the 4-4 alignment will be Green and Kenny Hess on the inside, with McConnville and Pickens and Vinka vying on the outside. Also listed as linebackers are Anthony Price, Snell, Ty Taylor, Hibbitts, Camsky, Eden, Kyle Hess, Keyser, Braden and Schybal. Heading up the secondary is the heady Patrone, who charted a team-high six intercepSee BELLAIRE Page 114 ➪


Huskies Continued from Page 53 ing corps. “I think we have some guys who can make plays for us and stretch the field,” Kropka said. “We’ve got some speed and we plan on using as best we can.” Senior quarterback David Miser (6-4, 210) is back in command of the Huskies’ offense. Miser, who Kropka says possesses a strong arm, started much of the 2011 season because of an injury to Mitchell. “David’s progressed nicely,” Kropka said. “He’s been focused, practices hard, works on little things, and I think that’s really helped him. We’re happy with where David is. How many times do you get a new quarterback and you know what they can do?” Other quarterbacks listed on the roster include: sophomore Zach Arbogast (6-0, 150), freshmen Corey Van Camp (5-8, 145) and Bobby Taylor (5-8, 140). Though the Huskies plan on throwing a bit more, Kropka is by no means ready to fully abandon the running game. Junior Nate Maykowski (6-0, 175) saw quality action a season ago and will be one of the featured backs along with sophomore Travis Stenson (6-1, 170), who Kropka said “had home-run hitter kind of speed.” The Huskies do return their every down fullback from a season ago in senior Nico Williams (5-9, 220). “We feel like we have a pretty good backfield,” Kropka said.

Supplying depth at running back are: sophomores Bryson Porter (58, 165), Sam Hill (5-9, 160), Tison Johnson (5-8, 150), Anthony Risley (58, 165); freshmen Grant Sproul (5-10, 165), Shaun Logsdon (5-11, 150), Wyatt Cornish (5-9, 160) and Tyler Carter (5-9, 155). Along with Kropka being excited about Miser’s, he’s also quite pleased with his wide receiver group. Senior Nate Olmstead (5-10, 160), junior Kalub Mitchell (6-0, 165) and senior Dalton Rutter (59, 160) all had strong campaigns in 2012 and are looking for bigger roles this fall. Kropka also spoke highly of sophomore Gionvanni Rocchi (6-1, 170), senior Austin Thompson (5-10, 160), senior Cody Evans (5-10, 170) and sophomore Brandon Mitchell (5-8, 130). “Those guys worked really hard on the weights during the offseason,” Kropka said. “I really feel like there are six or seven kids who we can throw the ball to. We’ve got some depth at receiver.” Other wide receivers vying for playing time include: senior Nekesov Nurgeldi (5-9, 135), sophomores Anthony Heavilin (5-6, 135), Austyn Porter (5-11, 145), Danier Hunt (5-10, 160); freshmen Kyle Roberts (5-8, 145) and Jacob Giffin (5-7, 130). Freshman Jesse Ball (6-0, 225) is set to replace Pelegreen as the tight end and Kropka is extremely high on him. Other tight ends

pushing Ball are sophomore Max Hall (6-0, 170) and frosh Jacob Barr (61, 180). The Huskies also boast some experience in the trenches. Senior Cole Howes (6-1, 225) and Sean Donato (5-9, 250) both return as three-year starters. Howes is shifting to tackle from guard this year. Freshman Brenton Stull (5-11, 245) is penciled in for a starting tackle spot. Junior Zach Manbeck (6-0, 240) is shifting from a guard to the starting center spot. Junior Casey Runevitch (5-9, 210) is set to start at a guard spot. “Other than (Stull), our first five (linemen) aren’t too, too green,” Kropka said. “We’ve got decent size. Not great, but we’ve started smaller lines. We’re really comfortable with the first group.” Kropka is also high on frosh Nevada Kuryn (5-10, 250), sophomore Deandre Claring (5-9, 165), senior Cyle Riedel (5-9, 175), sophomore Jake McPeak (6-2, 220) and junior Ean Moore (62, 215) are the top subs for the line. The balance of the offensive line candidates include: senior D.J. Jones (6-1, 215), junior Austin Sambuco (5-6, 170), sophomores Brian Heavilin (5-8, 155) and Jake Williams (5-10, 170); freshmen Malcolm Boyer (5-7, 165), Clay Gilliam (5-10, 210), Shane Shook (5-10, 230), Logan Smith (5-10, 255) and Lance Smith (5-10, 255). On the defensive side

of the ball, the Huskies will once again employ a 4-4 allignment. “You talk about a green group ... wow,” Kropka said. “I think we return four or five starters, but most of those guys are defensive backs, so we’re going to have to grow up in a hurry. The experience is what concerns me the most. I don’t think I’d want to play us later in the year. I’ve had to learn patience. We’ve got young talent, so we can be scary at times.” Along with the defensive front, Howes has shifted to an end position. Barr is expected to hold down the other end spot. Hall will also be in the rotation at end. Inside, the Huskies will go with Donato and Manbeck. Stull will also see quality time at the defensive tackle spot. The linebackers will have a huge hole to fill with Pelegreen and his 134 tackles now playing baseball at Wheeling Jesuit. “That’s tough to replace that kind of production,” Kropka said. “Nick was one of the best two-way players I’ve ever coached. You don’t replace that kind of kid, you just have to fill in.” Williams, who had 70 tackles last season, will be asked to shoulder much of the load as a returning starter. Runevitch, who saw spot duty last season, will assume one of the inside linebacker posts. Riedel and Risley are ticketed for the outside linebacker spots. “We’re extremely

thin on depth at linebacker,” Kropka said. “We’ll be relying on those four guys to do a lot for us.” The defensive backfield features Olmstead as a returning starter at corner. Kalub Mitchell takes over at free safety for his older brother, Rashaen. Rutter is ticketed for the other corner spot. Rocchi and Porter are the top two backups. “We’ve got guys who played and have been successful in other sports, so they won’t be afraid of the Friday Night Lights,” Kropka said. The addition of soccer at Harrison Central for this season has strengthened the Huskies’ special teams. Senior Geoff Pecar (5-9, 150) will handle the placements. Jonah Rodgers (5-8, 145) will also figure into the kicking mix. The Huskies will play this season with heavy hearts. Jimmy Cameron, who passed away during

the 2011 season, would have been a senior on this year’s squad. “I’ve not decided how we’re going to honor Jimmy,” Kropka said. “He was just a great kid and we miss him like crazy. He was just a Harrison Central kind of kid.” Miser will once again handle the Huskies’ punting duties. Kropka’s coaching staff has a relatively new look. “Unfortunately, in my time coaching, we’ve had a lot of turnover in the staff, but it’s never been because of a falling out or someone got mad,” Kropka explained. “It’s just circumstances. We don’t have that pool of alumni just yet to the point where we’re people’s destination, but it’s getting there.” Working with the varsity squad are: Bryan Mays, Mike Valesko, Blake Allen, Cain Noble, Mike Palmer, Ian Watt, Nick Pecar and Anthony Hayes.

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Weekly schedule 114

(Games at 7 p.m. unless noted) Week 1 Thursday, Aug. 29 Weir at Indian Creek, 5:30 p.m. Detroit Catholic Central at Big Red Harrison Central at Wheeling Central, 7:30 p.m. Madonna vs. Beallsville at Indian Creek, 7:45 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30 Edison at Oak Glen Brooke at Morgantown, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31 Catholic Central at Bellaire, 12:30 p.m. Westinghouse at Buckeye Local Wellsville at Toronto Week 2 Friday, Sept. 6 Cleveland Benedictine at Big Red Union Local at Buckeye Local Bridgeport at Toronto Harrison Central at Weir Oak Glen at Beaver Local Catholic Central at Frontier Carrollton at Edison, 7:30 p.m. Taylor Allderdice, Pa. at Brooke, 7:30 p.m. Indian Creek at East Liverpool, 7:30


Saturday, Sept. 7 Madonna at Tusky Catholic, 7 p.m.

Week 3 Friday, Sept. 13 Ontario Spartans at Big Red Edison at Weir Oak Glen at Indian Creek Catholic Central at Columbiana University at Brooke, 7:30 p.m. Western Reserve Academy at Harrison Central, 7:30 p.m. Buckeye Local at John Marshall Saturday, Sept. 14 Wheeling Central at Madonna Toronto at Fairport Harding, 7:30 p.m.

Week 4 Friday, Sept. 20 Buckeye Local at Indian Creek John Marshall at Oak Glen Grafton at Weir Big Red at Brooke, 7:30 p.m. Union Local at Harrison Central, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21 Edison at Bellaire, 12:30 p.m.

Catholic Central at Toronto

Week 5 Friday, Sept. 27 Massillon at Big Red Cameron at Madonna Brooke at Wheeling Park Bellaire at Buckeye Local Toronto at Shadyside Harrison Central at Martins Ferry Indian Creek at St. Clairsville, 7:30 p.m. Weir at Liberty Harrison, 7:30 p.m. Union Local at Edison, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28 Oak Glen at Catholic Central, 1:30 p.m.

Week 6 Friday, Oct. 4 Bellaire at Indian Creek Bridgeport at Madonna Weir at Oak Glen St. John Central at Toronto Big Red at Barberton Point Pleasant at Brooke, 7:30 p.m. Buckeye Local at Edison, 7:30 p.m. Harrison Central at St. Clairsville, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5 Conotton Valley at Catholic Central

Week 7 Friday, Oct. 11 Salesianum, Del. at Big Red Bishop Donahue at Madonna Williamstown at Oak Glen Buckeye Local at Martins Ferry Catholic Central at Barnesville Indian Creek at Union Local Toronto at Beallsville Edison at Harrison Central, 7:30 p.m. Weir at Magnolia, 7:30 p.m.

Week 8 Friday, Oct. 18 Big Red at Ursuline Martins Ferry at Indian Creek Notre Dame at Madonna East Liverpool at Oak Glen Conotton Valley at Toronto Parkersburg South at Brooke, 7:30 p.m. Edison at St. Clairsville, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 Harrison Central at Bellaire, 12:30 p.m. Western Reserve Academy at Buckeye Local Weir at Catholic Central

Week 9 Friday, Oct. 25 Big Red at Wheeling Park Brooke at Weir St Clairsville at Buckeye Local Martins Ferry at Edison, 7:30 p.m. Indian Creek at Harrison Central, 7:30 p.m. Toronto at Hundred, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26 Catholic Central at Madonna Week 10 Friday, Nov. 1 Renaissance Christian at Big Red Madonna at Toronto East Liverpool at Weir Harrison Central at Buckeye Local Brooke at John Marshall, 7:30 p.m. Indian Creek at Edison, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2 Oak Glen at Point Pleasant, 1:30 p.m. Magnolia at Catholic Central Week 11 Friday, Nov. 8 Ohio playoffs Oak Glen at Magnolia, 7:30 p.m. Brooke at Cabell Midland, 7:30 p.m. Madonna at Clay-Battelle, 7:30 p.m.

Bellaire Continued from Page 109 tions from his free safety spot. “Having Nick back there is like having a quarterback on defense,” Davis said. “He did a tremendous job for us last year.” Also returning are Westlake at strong safety, while Ross and West will man the corners. “I like our secondary,” Davis admitted. “Ross did a good job for us last year. West played half the season back there as a starter, and Westlake is a very good athlete.” Other defensive backs are Badia, Marling, Jeter, Burney, Hamilton, Nolan, Norman, Longwell, Smith, Gibson, Laughman and Piper. The Big Reds lost allstate kicker Dalton Conroy to graduation, but

LaRoche is ready to take over the kickoff and placekicking duties, according to Davis. “Cody worked hard all last season even though he knew he wasn’t going to kick much,” Davis recalled. “He did just as much as Dalton. He seems to have found his groove so far.” Conroy had a powerful leg and served as Bellaire’s secret weapon, winning the Harrison Central game on a walk-off field goal. He finished with a Bellaire single-season record nine three-pointers and 61 points. “We can’t depend upon 40-yard field goals like we did last year,” Davis stressed. “That was a luxury that comes around once in a lifetime for us and we took advantage of it. We’ll

have to prepare accordingly this season, but we’ve talked to Cody and told him that if he can be consistent between 2530 yards, then we’re talking.” Westlake is back for his third year as the Big Reds’ punter. “I think our special teams will be alright,” Davis said. Only one new face dots the Big Reds’ schedule, but it’s a familiar name and only a few miles south — Shadyside. “It’s a natural rivalry,” Davis said of the Tigers. “The history of their program speaks for itself. They’ve established a winning tradition and their kids don’t give up. We’ll have to strap it up for fourth quarters when we play them.”

Shadyside replaces East Liverpool. “We don’t get a break,” Davis said of the brutal slate which includes seven Buckeye 8 clashes. “We’re D-VI and we only play down twice, those being weeks one and three and those are two very good programs in Steubenville Catholic Central and Shadyside. The two programs are good even on their down years. “The Buckeye 8 is always tough. We’ll have to battle it out.”

(Games at 12:30 p.m. unless noted) Aug. 31 Steubenville Central Sept. 6 at John Marshall, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 14 Shadyside Sept. 21 Edison Sept. 27 at Buckeye Local, 7 p.m. Oct. 4 at Indian Creek, 7 p.m. Oct. 12 St. Clairsville Oct. 19 Harrison Central Oct. 25 at Union Local, 7 p.m. Nov. 2 Martins Ferry

Stickles making changes as first-year coach 115

doing. I followed them. I followed the kids. I followed the team. I wanted them to have success. The relationships I formed I kept. “When something would happen with the team, a lot of times I knew about it right away. When things happened, I had kids calling to let me know what was going on. I kept the relationships I built prior to leaving. I followed them throughout the season. After our game last year, I spoke to some of the kids, and I wished them luck. I made sure they knew I wanted them to have success and

By AARON PETCHAL Sports correspondent

RICHMOND — In the words of Bob Dylan, “the times they are a-changin” for the Wildcats. This year, changes are being made throughout the entire Edison football program. There is a new head coach, new assistant coaches, new players, new uniforms as well as other changes at Cartwright Memorial Field in Richmond. Edison will be led on the field by first-year and first-time head coach Derrick Stickles. Stickles previously served as an assistant coach for two years under former coach Mike McKenzie at Edison before leaving last year to return to Oak Glen, his alma mater, to coach under Ian Whittington. This will be the third straight year the Wildcats open with the Golden Bears. “They are always hard working,” he said of the Edison players. “They are tough kids. They come from a good community. They always try to do things the right way. They certainly are not afraid to work hard. Hard work is something we want to instill in our program. Our kids are

not afraid to work. They are not afraid of working long hours. They are willing to do what they have to to have a successful program. To me, that is their biggest strength.” During his two years at Edison, Stickles built a lot of good relationships with the players, the coaches and the people in the community. As a result, Stickles continued to keep in contact with his new friends he made even while he was coaching in Northern Hancock County. “When you go to a place you build relationships that last forever,” Stickles said. “Although I was at Oak Glen, I was interested in what they were

things like that.” After leaving to go back to Hancock County, Stickles did not expect to return to Jefferson County, but when the door opened up he jumped on the chance to come back to the ‘Cats. “Honestly, I always thought that I never expected to come back,” he said. “I didn’t think I would get the opportunity. When I made the decision to go to Oak Glen, I certainly thought that door closed was closed, but I always said that if I had the opportunity to go back I would. The door opened back up. The opportunity was there, and I jumped on it quickly. When I came back, I was welcomed with open arms by the kids and the community. The relationships I

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3316 Main St.,Weirton, WV 26062

built are important to me, and I tried to keep them. I am very excited. I had the opportunity to come back, and I made sure I took advantage of it.” It is a big jump going from an assistant coach to a head coach. “It is a lot different,” Stickles said. “I have got a lot of feelings and emotions. I am excited about this opportunity. I am truly blessed by God to be put in this position. I am going to do the best I can to overcome any obstacle thrown our way and to take advantage of the opportunities we have. I wanted to be able to overcome any obstacles and to make the right decisions to take advantage of our opportunities. We are taking things on a day to day basis. I am worksteubenville

ing to become a better coach to make this team as productive as possible.” This year, Stickles has made some changes to the way things were done in the past. “We are doing some things differently,” he said. “I have brought in a new defensive package. We are going to stay about the same offensively. I want to expand the running game, and I want to give Nolan more responsibility. I think Nolan handle it. Mike let Nolan take some of that responsibility last year. “This year, we are not practicing as long. We want to be more efficient with our practice sessions. We want

See STICKLES Page 119 ➪

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Taylor enters his third season with the Blue Dons with an 18-7 record. Madonna finished as the West Virginia Class A state championship runner-up last year and won the OVAC Class 1A title.

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Connor enters his 11th season as the Redskins’ head coach with a 55-47 record. The program is coming off backto-back playoff appearances and 8-3 season. Creek won the OVAC Class 5A title last year.




Saccoccia enters his 31st year as Big Red’s head coach. He is 31156 and has led the program to three state titles (1984, 2005, 2006), three state runner-ups, 12 regional championships and 12 straight playoff appearances.

Daley enters his third season as the head coach of his alma mater. The Crusaders were 6-5 last year after making the Division VI playoffs for the first time since 2007. He was St. John Central head coach from 2000-05.


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Kropka enters his ninth season with the Huskies. He is the school’s alltime winningest football coach and longest tenured football coach. He is 4437 and led the program to two playoff appearances (2009, 2011).





Stickles enters his first year as head coach of the Wildcats. He was an assistant coach at Oak Glen for three years, Edison for two years and West Liberty for one year. Stickles is an Oak Glen graduate.

Filberto Filbertoenters starts his second his second year stint inas histhe second Red stint as head Riders’ head coach of the coach. HeRed Riders. He isOak in comes from his fifthwhere season Glen, he withspent Weir four where he holds aleading 23-22 seasons, therecord. school He to the earlier coached playoffs in 2009 theand Red2011. Riders from 2002-04.

Meek enters his fourth season with the Red Knights. He is 13-17 in his second stint with the program. Meek was the head coach in 1993-94 and is 21-29 overall. He won a state title while Weir’s head coach in 2005.

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Blumette enters his second season with the Bruins, who were 3-7 last year. A 1994 Serra Catholic graduate, he coached at his alma mater, Franklin Regional and Waynesburg University before landing at Brooke.


Whittington enters his second season with the Golden Bears. He was 4-6 in his first year at his alma mater and has spent a total of five years coaching at Oak Glen. He won a state wrestling title his senior year at Oak Glen.




Prescott enters his third season with the Potters. East Liverpool won three of its last four games a year ago to finish at 4-6. He was an assistant coach with Beaver Local and the Potters before becoming the head coach.

Pest enters his second season with the Panthers, who were 4-6 a year ago. He has been a member of the Buckeye Local coaching staff since 2006. He has been coaching high school football since 1982.

Go Panthers Go!

MATTHEWS Brilliant, OH 740-598-3120

-Clean Car Faxed Used


Stickles Continued from Page 115 to focus on having quality time and not so much on quantity of time. We want to be able to accomplish a lot like Mike accomplished a lot. We just want to have shorter practices to save our legs. We want to be more efficient in practice and things like that.” Offensively, the Wildcats will continue to run a spread offense, but Stickles has tweaked it a little bit. “We are still going to be using a spread offense,” he said. “Sometimes, we may line up in a two-back pistol formation. At times, we will have our tight end attached. It all depends on the situations we are in. I want our offense to be more-well rounded than it has been in the past. I want to spread the ball around to our athletes. We have one of our top athletes in Nolan Marcus at quarterback, and that helps a lot to have one of the best athletes on your team handle the ball on every play. “He is one of our best athletes, and he is going to have the ball in his hands on every play. He is going to make good things happen.” Stickles has also made changes on the defen-

sive side of the ball. “I brought in a new guy with a new style of defense,” Stickles said. “We are spending a lot of time on our defense. I know in the past we have not had a lot of success defensively as a program. We are going to be making changes to help the guys communicate, so they know what is going on in front of them, and so they can lineup properly. That is something that has not been real great in the past. We are trying to emphasize eliminating mistakes and properly lining up. We are hoping the changes we made will help us throughout the year.” Alex Pappas is the team’s new offensive coordinator, while Troy Fetty is the new defensive coordinator. No matter what happens this year, the Edison program is headed in the right direction. “Things are going great,” Stickles said. “We have a large number of kids in the program. Our middle school teams have gone from 25 kids to 37 or 38 kids this year. They are looking good. “There are a lot of exciting things going on. We are getting new bleachers in the stadium. We want to thank Weirton for helping us get those.

We are improving the stadium. We are improving the locker room. There are a lot of improvements going on. We are going to install play clocks at our field. All of these things are exciting bought new home and new away uniforms. The program is advancing, and hopefully it continues to advance.” The only question remaining is how will all of the changes workout for the Wildcats this season and in the future.

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Wear your team’s gear and get 10% off your meal!


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2315 Sunset Blvd., Suite E, Steubenville, Ohio 43952

Good Luck To All Area Teams!!

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2013 High School Pigskin Preview