The way last fall began it appeared as if Struthers would make their first visit back to the post-season since 1999. Unfortunately, that would not be the case. The Wildcats, under first-year head coach Curt Kuntz, began 2012 with a record of 3-0 following wins over Campbell (27-20), Lakeview (32-14) and Field (28-14). Struthers closed out the regular season winners of just two of their last five including a devastating 21-14 loss to Beaver Local on October 5.
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Struthers played against seven opponents who finished with a winning record (4-3). Throughout the year, the ‘Cats notched road victories against a pair of playoff teams – Hubbard (34-20) and Niles (36-26). In the end, Struthers finished in 9th place in the Region 11 rankings.
The Wildcats will begin the 2012 season at Campbell on Thursday, August 29.
2013 Struthers Wildcats’ Football Preview
By Vince Pellegrini (@Vince_MYVS)
Head Coach: Curt Kuntz, 2nd season (6-4)
2012 Record: 6-4 (3-3), All-American Conference – American Division
2012 Post-Season Finish: Did Not Qualify
2012 Team Statistics
Points Scored: 25.7 (28th in Area)
Passing Yards: 121.3 (1213)
Rushing Yards: 190.9 (1909)
Points Allowed: 22.5 (28th in Area)
Passing Yards Allowed: 97.4 (974)
Rushing Yards Allowed: 172.7 (1727)
Passing: Gary Muntean – 1176 yards, 66.9 Comp. % (93-139), 12 TDs
Aug. 29 – at Campbell, 7 PM
Sept. 6 – Lakeview, 7 PM
Sept. 13 – Field, 7 PM
Sept. 20 – at Brookfield, 7 PM
Sept. 27 – Hubbard, 7 PM
Oct 4 – at Poland, 7 PM
Oct. 11 – Beaver Local, 7 PM
Oct. 18 – at Canfield, 7 PM
Oct. 25 – Niles, 7 PM
Nov. 1 – at Howland, 7 PM
Offensive Strength: Entering his third year as the team’s quarterback, Gary Muntean, will lead the offense towards a playoff run. The senior has completed 136 of 201 tosses (67.7%) in his time as the Wildcats signal caller.
Offensive Weakness: No way to get around it. The loss of running back Dave Stewart is a huge blow to Struthers’ running game. Last year the ‘Cats averaged 190.9 rushing yards (5.6 ypc) with Stewart starring as a senior. During his junior campaign, Struthers compiled just a 3.5 yard per carry average (129.6 ypg).
Defensive Strength: Linebacker Braxton Koup appears primed for a tremendous senior season.
Defensive Weakness: In 2001, Struthers’ defense held their opposition to 15.1 points per game. Twelve years later, the Wildcats are looking for their first season where the defense is able to hold their opponents to less than 20 points per game.
Storylines Facing the Wildcats
1. Takeaways. Struthers was unable to force turnovers often last fall. The Wildcats recovered just 6 fumbles and intercepted 2 passes. The number of takeaways has declined from 19 (2010) to 15 (2011) to now 8 (2012).
2. Replacing Kimbrough & Stewart. The Wildcats must replace the production of their top two all-purpose yardage leaders. Dave Stewart gained 1,815 yards while Tommy Kimbrough picked up 865 stripes total. Stewart clobbered opponents to the tune of 230 carries for 1,571 rushing yards. Kimbrough finished second in receiving yards in the National Division with 515.
3. Punter Donnadio. Struthers featured one of the better punters last fall in Marcus Donnadio. The senior booted 27 punts for 849 yards and an average of 31.4.
Did you know? Last fall, Struthers posted their first winning season since 2000 (6-4).