United football preview

The Golden Eagles’ offense soared to new heights in 2012. United finished in the top-10 among area teams in scoring (9th, 33.8) for the first time since 2003 (3rd, 36.8). In each of their last three games, the Eagles topped 42 points (2-1). With a flock of returning offensive players coming back to the nest, 2013 could be even more fun for the fans in Hanoverton.

Coach Mike Ward will welcome back his starting signal caller for his third year at the helm. Senior Garrett Beech threw for over 1,000 yards (1017) and rushed for over that plateau (1427) also. Beech will have his right-hand man, Mike Martin, alongside for the upcoming season. Martin rushed for 1,116 yards and 10 touchdowns last fall.

The Golden Eagles suffered through four losses against winning teams; however, two of those were decided by a combined four points (South Range, 23-20 & Mineral Ridge, 54-53).

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United opens the new campaign with a huge test from Malvern at home on Friday, August 30.

2013 United Golden Eagles’ Football Preview
By Vince Pellegrini (@Vince_MYVS)
Head Coach: Mike Ward, 13th season (74-122)
2012 Record: 6-4, 4-3 ITCL Upper Tier
2012 Post-Season Finish: Did Not Qualify
Offense: Multiple I-Formation
Defense: 4-3

2012 Team Statistics
Points Scored: 33.8 (9th in Area)
Passing Yards: 105.3 (1053)
Rushing Yards: 280.8 (2808)
Points Allowed: 29.1 (44th in Area)
Passing Yards Allowed: 114.1 (1141)
Rushing Yards Allowed: 218.5 (2185)

Returning Leaders
Passing: Garrett Beech – 1017 yds, 42.9 Comp % (75-175), 12 TDs
Rushing: Garrett Beech – 181 att, 1427 yds, 21 TDs
Receiving: Mike Martin – 16 rec, 242 yds, 1 TD
Interceptions: Garrett Beech & Mike Martin – 3

2013 Schedule
Aug. 30 – Malvern, 7 PM
Sept. 6 – at Salem, 7 PM
Sept. 13 – at Newcomerstown, 7 PM
Sept. 20 – Southern, 7 PM
Sept. 27 – Springfield, 7 PM
Oct. 4 – at South Range, 7 PM
Oct. 11 –at Lisbon, 7 PM
Oct. 18 – Crestview, 7 PM
Oct. 25 – at East Palestine, 7 PM
Nov. 1 – at Columbiana, 7 PM

Offensive Strength: Senior quarterback Garrett Beech gained 2,444 yards of total offense while scoring 22 touchdowns. He gained 7.9 yards per carry while compiling a quarterback rating of 105.2. Beech has four of his five offensive linemen returning (Lucas Cooper, Eric Blosser, Charlie Smith, Stephen Leyman).

Offensive Weakness: In three of their four losses, United averaged just 18 points per game.

Defensive Strength: The defense took advantage of 27 takeaways last fall. The Eagles intercepted 10 errant passes and recovered 17 fumbles. That’s good for almost 3 forced turnovers a contest.

Defensive Weakness: Over the Eagles’ last twenty-one games, they’ve allowed 616 points. That averages out to being 29.3 points per game.

Storylines Facing the Golden Eagles
1. Not to be overlooked. Senior Mike Martin saw his carries increase from 68 in 2011 to 185 in 2012. Martin collected a 6.0 yard per carry average. Mike was also effective in the passing game as he caught 16 balls for 242 yards.

2. ITCL Contenders. In four of the last five seasons, United has finished with a winning record in the Upper Tier. The Eagles have amassed a 20-15 mark during that stretch in the conference.

3. 2012 Junior Varsity. United’s JV team closed out the 2012 season with a 4-1-1 record.

Did you know? With Mineral Ridge’s move to the Lower Tier this fall, the United-Ridge rivalry will have to take a year off. Over the last three seasons, there has been 251 points scored among the two teams. The Eagles have averaged 43.3 compared to the Rams’ 40.3.

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