Southern began 2012 with wins in three of their first four contests only to falter late by dropping three of their final five match ups. When the Indians scored 20 points or more, the Tribe was 6-1.
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This will be the first season that Southern will compete in the Upper Tier of the ITCL. Since the Tri-County League and the Inter-County League merged in 2006, the Indians have compiled a 10-5 record against Upper Tier opponents. Southern was a member of the TCL with many of the Upper Tier’s current residents for many decades.
Coach Mike Skrinjar has led the Indians to a 15-6 mark in the league play since 2010. Prior to Skrinjar’s arrival, Southern had compiled their previous 15 division wins in eight seasons (15-41).
Southern begins the season on Saturday, August 31 when they welcome Waterloo.
2013 Southern Indians’ Football Preview
By Vince Pellegrini (@Vince_MYVS)
Head Coach: Mike Skrinjar, 4th season (23-8)
2012 Record: 6-4 (4-3), ITCL Lower Tier
2012 Post-Season Finish: Did Not Qualify
2012 Team Statistics
Points Scored: 30.9 (16th in Area)
Points Allowed: 24.1 (34th in Area)
Receiving: Jared Shilot – 52 rec, 921 yards, 11 TDs
Aug. 31 – Waterloo, 7 PM
Sept. 6 – at Wellsville, 7 PM
Sept. 13 – at Mineral Ridge, 7 PM
Sept. 20 – at United, 7 PM
Sept. 27 – Columbiana, 7 PM
Oct. 4 – at Crestview, 7 PM
Oct. 11 – East Palestine, 7 PM
Oct. 19 – South Range, 7 PM
Oct. 25 – at Lisbon, 7 PM
Nov. 1 – Springfield, 7 PM
Offensive Strength: The 1-2 punch of Mike McKenzie and Jared Shilot have proven to be a winning combination. McKenzie ran for 221 yards on 31 carries in a week nine 20-16 victory over Leetonia. Mike gained over 1,000 yards and was named to the All-ITCL Honorable Mention. Shilot, a 6’2 receiver, set the school record for receiving yards (921) while hauling in 52 catches and a plethora of post-season awards.
Offensive Weakness: Who will play quarterback? That’s the million dollar question. No one could be expected to step in and fill the shoes of Luke Griffith. Number 7 completed 157 of 257 passes for 2,170 yards and 19 touchdowns. Last year’s team accumulated close to 3,800 yards of total offense in just 10 games.
Defensive Strength: A year ago, the Indians’ defense held six of their ten opponents below 21 points. Returnees Jared Shilot, Mike McKenzie, M.J. Williams and Jesse McClurg were all honored by the ITCL at the conclusion of the 2012 season.
Defensive Weakness: Hard to figure but since Southern’s playoff season, the defense has allowed more points each season. In 2010, the Tribe permitted just 12.5 points per game. In 2011, that figure rose to 20.1. Finally, last year, it increased another 4 points (24.1).
Storylines Facing the Indians
1. Punishing League Schedule. Welcome to the Upper Tier, Southern. Your first three games are at United, home versus Columbiana and a road trip to Crestview. What a huge test for the Indians.
2. Offensively Speaking.Since defensive minded Coach Skrinjar arrived, the offense has been one of the most explosive in all of the area. The Indians have posted 914 points during the past three seasons (29.5 ppg). Over the course of the previous ten years there has been just one to average 28 points or more (2008: 34.3).
Did you know? Southern shared the Tri-County League crown with Lisbon and United in 1977.