Girard struggled through a 1-9 season after competing in the Division IV Regional Championship contest in 2011. One would have to look back sixteen years to 1997 to find the last time that the Indians had lost nine games in a single campaign (1-9). The Tribe’s streak of five consecutive winning seasons was snapped. Now, Girard must replace a total of thirteen starters (7 on offense/6 on defense) to try to get back on track.
“The returners we have coming back are working hard and getting better each day,” says Coach Nick Cochran. “They’re making our young players better.”
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Before last year’s 1-6 finish in the National Division, the Indians had posted a 14-4 mark in the league’s first four years of existence.
Girard opens the new season with three straight match ups against playoff teams (Niles, Hubbard and Warren Kennedy).
2013 Girard Indians’ Football Preview
by Vince Pellegrini (@Vince_MYVS)
Head Coach: Nick Cochran, 4th season (18-15)
2012 Record: 1-9 (1-6), All-American Conference – National Division
2012 Post-Season Finish: Did Not Qualify
Returning Starters: Offense – 4, Defense – 5
2012 Team Statistics
Points Scored: 21.6 (40th in Area)
Passing Yards: 174.7 (174.7)
Rushing Yards: 158.7 (1587)
Points Allowed: 32.2 (51st in Area)
Passing Yards Allowed: 96.6 (966)
Rushing Yards Allowed: 238.6 (2386)
Passing: Nick Cardiero – 1366 yards, 56.6 Comp % (103-182), 9 TDs
Rushing: James Cupan – 148 att, 777 yards, 11 TDs
Receiving: Jordan Graziano – 44 rec, 622 yards, 2 TDs
Aug. 29 – Niles, 7 PM
Sept. 6 – at Hubbard, 7 PM
Sept. 14 – at Warren JFK, 7 PM
Sept. 20 – Newton Falls, 7 PM
Sept. 27 – at Lakeview, 7 PM
Oct. 4 – at Champion, 7 PM
Oct. 11 – Liberty, 7 PM
Oct. 18 – LaBrae, 7 PM
Oct. 25 – at Jefferson, 7 PM
Nov. 1 – Campbell, 7 PM
Offensive Strength: Passing the football has been one of Coach Cochran’s trademarks since joining the Indian staff in the late 1990s. Last year, Nick Cardeiro completed 57% of his passes (103 for 182) for 1,366 yards and 9 scores in 8 contests. As a team, Girard finished second among all All-American Conference teams with an average of 174.7 yards per game (behind Jefferson, 179.9). Cardeiro has one of the area’s best targets to toss the ball to in Jordan Graziano. The senior play maker caught 44 passes for 622 yards (2 TDs), ran for 566 stripes (6 TDs) and threw for another 526 yards.
Offensive Weakness: The offensive line lost two players who were named to the All-American Conference team. Graduating seniors Brandon Martuccio, a first-teamer, and John Norman, who was named to the second-team, leave a big hole along the front line.
Defensive Strength: Girard’s defense averaged almost 2 takeaways a game in 2012. The Indians recovered 12 fumbles and intercepted 7 passes.
Defensive Weakness: Slowing down the run. Girard was gashed for an average of 5.4 stripes per carry and 35 touchdowns on the ground.
Storylines Facing the Indians
1. Quick Start Against a Grueling Schedule. The Indians’ first three games come against teams who combined for a winning percentage last year of 73.5% (25-9). Girard will try to avoid another slow start. In 2012, the Indians began 0-7 before they were victorious over LaBrae on October 12 (34-25).
2. Defensive Woes? A year ago, Girard permitted the most points (32.2) since 2004 (32.8).
3. Power Outage on Offense. Girard’s offense was able to accumulate yards in bunches. The Indians finished third among the entire All-American Conference with a 333.4 yards per game average of total offense (behind Hubbard and Niles). Compiling points was a different story. Girard scored over thirty only twice and were held below twenty 4 times. The 21.6 point average in 2012 was the lowest since 2006 (18.9).
Did you know? The last Girard offensive lineman to be named to the AP’s All-Ohio team was Pat Meyer in 1989. Meyer is currently the assistant offensive line coach of the Chicago Bears.