Coach Dan Williams is entering his 14th season at the helm of his alma mater. His teams have had 8 winning campaigns and 6 playoff appearances. However, these last two seasons have been difficult for a program which is used to winning and advancing to the post-season. The Blue Devils have compiled an 11-9 record and have scored 21.3 while allowing 21.8 points over their last twenty games.
McDonald was victorious in each of the final four games including a week nine contest against Columbiana (10-7). The Blue Devil offense came alive during the streak to score 34 points or more in three of those four outings. Optimism is on the rise in McDonald.
The Blue Devils begin the season on Friday, August 30 when they welcome East Palestine.
2013 McDonald Blue Devils’ Football Preview
By Vince Pellegrini (@Vince_MYVS)
Head Coach: Dan Williams, 14th season (91-49) at McDonald
2012 Record: 6-4 (4-3), ITCL Lower Tier
2012 Post-Season Finish: Did Not Qualify
2012 Team Statistics
Points Scored: 25.0 (32nd in Area)
Points Allowed: 19.7 (20th in Area)
Aug. 30 – East Palestine, 7 PM
Sept. 6 – at Streetsboro, 7 PM
Sept. 13 – at Cuyahoga Heights, 7 PM
Sept. 20 – Sebring, 7 PM
Sept. 27 – Western Reserve, 7 PM
Oct. 4 – at Mineral Ridge, 7 PM
Oct. 11 – Leetonia, 7 PM
Oct. 18 – at Lowellville, 7 PM
Oct. 25 – Wellsville, 7 PM
Nov. 1 – at Jackson-Milton, 7 PM
Offensive Strength: The offensive line should be a strength of McDonald’s offense. Senior Carson Williams leads the bunch from his tackle spot. A year ago, he was named to First-Team All-ITCL. Juniors Albert Yates and Caleb Dimery will add experience after posting an impressive 2012.
Offensive Weakness: The team must replace Christian Rusinowski, who led the offense over the past two seasons as their signal caller. Junior Zach Conley has limited varsity experience as he served as Rusinowski’s backup last year.
Defensive Strength: The defense went five consecutive seasons of being ranked in the top 15 among area teams in scoring (2006-2010). With the amount of players returning, that statistic is not out of reach for this bunch. Last year, the defense improved by 4 points from the previous season (2011: 23.9; 2012: 19.7).
Defensive Weakness: Two of the team’s defensive stalwarts are gone in linebackers P.J. Mansky and Cody Colburn.
Storylines Facing the Blue Devils
1. Tough OOC Schedule. The increase in competition says a lot of what Coach Williams must have coming back. The Blue Devils have added perennial power Cuyahoga Heights and Streetsboro onto an already difficult Lower Tier schedule. The Redskins (10-2) defeated Western Reserve in week one last season and then lost to Ursuline in the Regional Semifinal. Cuyahoga Heights’ two losses came against the Irish and Kirtland. Streetsboro (7-4) knocked off West Branch in Beloit before having their season come to an end against Liberty.
2. Talk Offense? How About the Defense? McDonald’s defense has been smothering for some time now. The Devil defenders have held the opposition below 20 points in eight of their last ten seasons.
3. All-ITCL Returnees. McDonald returns a wealth of experience this summer. The Blue Devils welcome back three All-ITCL First-Team selections (Cameron Ifft, Tom Rebraca, Carson Williams) and four Second-Team members (Caleb Dimery, Matt Morrell, Randy Walters, Albert Yates).
Did you know? Since 1979, McDonald has only endured through one losing campaign (2002: 3-7).