Jackson-Milton football preview

Last season, the Blue Jays posted the highest point total in five years (2008: 18.2) by averaging 17.2 points per game. However, the Jays’ defense allowed the most points in the area (466) and closed out the regular season with a 0-10 record.

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Jackson-Milton is returning to the Lower Tier of the ITCL this season after playing only Mineral Ridge (new to the division lineup) a year ago.

Despite playing more youth than one would prefer, the Jays do return a solid group of experienced players in 2013 (7 starters on offense/8 on defense).

2013 Jackson-Milton Blue Jays’ Football Preview
by Vince Pellegrini (@Vince_MYVS)
Head Coach: Mark Assion, 7th season (12-48)
2012 Record: 0-10 (0-7), ITCL Upper Tier
2012 Post-Season Finish: Did Not Qualify
Returning Starters: Offense – 7, Defense – 8
Offense: Spread
Defense: 4-3

2012 Team Statistics
Points Scored: 17.2 (52nd in Area)
Points Allowed: 46.6 (62nd in Area)

Returning Leaders
Passing: Jeremy Fitzpatrick – 1976 yds, 45.3% Comp PCT (106-234), 13 TDs
Rushing: Tyler Shaffer – 126 att, 876 yds, 6 TDs
Receiving: Thomas Gatewood – 42 rec, 876 yds, 7 TDs

2013 Schedule
Aug. 30 – Southington, 7 PM
Sept. 6 – Rootstown, 7 PM
Sept. 13 – at Windham, 7 PM
Sept. 20 – at Western Reserve, 7 PM
Sept. 27 – at Wellsville, 7 PM
Oct. 4 – Sebring, 7 PM
Oct. 11 –at Mineral Ridge, 7 PM
Oct. 18 – at Leetonia, 7 PM
Oct. 25 – Lowellville, 7 PM
Nov. 1 – McDonald, 7 PM

Offensive Strength: The offensive line returns a bevy of talent with four of the five starters returning this fall.

Offensive Weakness: Scoring has been improving but it is a work in progress. Last year, the Jays topped 20-points four times. That was the most in one season since 2008 (6 times).

Defensive Strength: Eight starters return to a defense which faced five teams who finished with a winning record and eight schools who were from a larger classification.

Defensive Weakness: Jackson-Milton allowed each opponent a year ago to score 30-points or more. Four of the last six years, the Jays’ defense has allowed their opponents to score 30-points or more.

Storylines Facing the Blue Jays
1. Jackson-Milton’s Big Three. This will be year #2 in their offensive scheme with their 1900-yard passer (Jeremy Fitzpatrick), 800-yard rusher (Tyler Shaffer) and receiver (Thomas Gatewood). Fitzpatrick (2012 1st-Team All-ITCL) completed 106 of 234 passes (45.3%) for 1976 yards and 13 scores. Shaffer ran for an average of 7 stripes per carry (126 attempts, 876 yards) while Gatewood (2012 2nd-Team All-ITCL) caught 42 balls for 876 yards and 7 touchdown catches.

2. Streak Coming to an End? Jackson-Milton has dropped their last thirteen games. With another year of experience under their belt and the fact that they will be dropping to the Lower Tier again, the Jays should find more success this season than they had in 2012.

Did you know?Jackson-Milton won the Inter-County League (ICL) in 1981 under the leadership of coach Tony Vechiarella.

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