Springfield football preview

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Last fall, Springfield was coming off of their first post-season appearance since 2002. Graduation rocked the Tigers as they were without their top passer (Nick Russell), rusher (Nick Russell), receivers (Tommy Mastran, Jeremy Weingart & Joey Ohlin), tackler (John Lavender), sack artist (Lenard Lewis) and ball hawks on the defensive side of the ball (Tommy Mastran, Joey Ohlin, Nick Russell, & Brian Johnson).

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In 2012 – when Springfield allowed their opponents to score 20 points or more – the Tigers finished 0-5. Coach Sean Guerriero’s group posted a 4-0 mark against teams who had losing seasons. However, they were 0-6 versus teams who closed out the season with winning marks. After winning all five of their home contests in 2011, the jungle cats did not win a single game in New Middletown last year (0-5).

The Tigers will begin the 2013 season at Brookfield on Friday, August 30.

2013 Springfield Tigers’ Football Preview
By Vince Pellegrini (@Vince_MYVS)
Head Coach:Sean Guerriero, 6th season (27-34)
2012 Record: 4-6 (3-4), ITCL Upper Tier
2012 Post-Season Finish: Did Not Qualify
Offense: Power Spread
Defense: 3-5

2012 Team Statistics
Points Scored: 18.1 (47th in Area)
Passing Yards: 75.4 (754)
Rushing Yards: 171.8 (1718)
Points Allowed: 24.3 (35th in Area))

Returning Leaders
Passing: Hunter Snyder – 681 yds, 57.4 Comp % (66-115), 2 TDs
Rushing: Hunter Snyder – 122 att, 611 yds, 10 TDs
Receiving: Mark Schuler – 17 rec, 161 yds
Tackles: Nick Wells – 65
QB Sacks: Nick Wells – 1.5
Interceptions: Mike Allgower – 3

2013 Schedule
Aug. 30 – at Brookfield, 7 PM
Sept. 6 – Youngstown Christian, 7 PM
Sept. 13 – Lowellville, 7 PM
Sept. 20 – Columbiana, 7 PM
Sept. 27 – at United, 7 PM
Oct. 4 – East Palestine, 7 PM
Oct. 11 –at Crestview, 7 PM
Oct. 18 – Lisbon, 7 PM
Oct. 25 – at South Range, 7 PM
Nov. 1 – at Southern, 7 PM

Offensive Strength: A bright sign for Springfield is that the core of their offensive production came from underclassmen a year ago. Junior quarterback Hunter Snyder led the team in passing (681 yards, 57.4%) and rushing (611 yards, 10 TDs). Their top six receivers all return after catching at least 12 passes (Ryan Kohler, Jake Ohlin, Mark Schuler, Mike Allgower, Brandon Chamerlain, & Anthony Scandy), yet none of them finished with a 10 yards per catch average.

Offensive Weakness: The play of fullback Alex Wharry and the blocking ability of the graduating seniors (i.e. Mike Lewis) must be replaced to clog the defensive front for Hunter Snyder and company to work effectively.

Defensive Strength: With the 3-5 alignment, the Tigers should have plenty of depth at the linebacker position. Mark Schuler (51 tackles), Chris Wells (54 tackles), Trenton Ball (48 tackles) and Shane Forame (39 tackles) all will be back in the fold.

Defensive Weakness: Can Springfield find suitable replacements for a few of their stalwart defensive players? Alex Wharry received 2nd-Team All-ITCL honors after registering 83 defensive stops and 2 quarterback sacks from his inside linebacker spot. Defensive tackles Derek Gbur ended his career with a 1st-Team nod. Over the last two seasons, Gbur has accumulated 126 tackles and 9 sacks. Also gone are Joe Johnson (61 tackles) and Christian Feezle (52 tackles).

Storylines Facing the Tigers
1. Tough Schedule out the Gate. Springfield begins 2013 with a trip to Brookfield. They then return home to take on Youngstown Christian and rival-Lowellville before beginning the Upper Tier slate.

2. ITCL Struggles. Since the merging of the ITCL in 2006, Springfield has had just two winning seasons within the conference (2006, 2011). After a tough 2012, the Tigers seem determined to right the ship.

3. Quarterback Play.Last year, Hunter Snyder led the team in rushing and passing. The feat has now been accomplished four times in the last seven years by Springfield’s signal callers (2012: Hunter Snyder, 2011: Nick Russell, 2007 & 2006: Nate Schuler).

4. Losing Margin.Over the past nine years, when Springfield has a losing margin for the season by 6-points or more, the Tigers finish with a losing record. In 2012, they margin was -6.2 (18.1-24.3) and Springfield closed out the season with a 4-6 mark. Two years prior (2010), the Tigers were 3-7 and the margin was -6.7 (18.1 – 24.8). Finally in 2007, Springfield was outscored by 12.6 (15.3 – 27.9) and they finished 2-8.

Did you know? Within the last thirty-three years, there has only been one Tiger player who was recognized by the Associated Press as a defensive First-Team All-State selection. In 2000, Isaac Smolko (Penn State TE) was honored as a defensive lineman as a senior.

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