Champion began 2012 with a 1-3 mark; however, won four of their last six to end the season with a 5-5 record. The Golden Flashes’ campaign came to a close with a 28-20 victory over Liberty in week ten. Trailing 20-14 entering the final frame, Champion scored the game’s final fourteen points to post the season finale win. James Naylor threw for 135 yards on 12 of 18 passing.
Coach Terry Howell has brought in a familiar name in the area to help assist his team. Bill Bohren, who stepped down from LaBrae following the 2012 season, will help with the quarterbacks and running backs at Champion. Offensive coordinator Rich Palumbo and Howell both worked under Bohren at Niles and at LaBrae.
The Golden Flashes begin the upcoming season with back-to-back home games against Streetsboro and Conneaut. Champion closes out the campaign with three of their final four contests away from home.
2013 Champion Golden Flashes’ Football Preview
By Vince Pellegrini (@Vince_MYVS)
Head Coach: Terry Howell, 5th season (14-26)
2012 Record: 5-5 (4-3), All-American Conference – National Division
2012 Post-Season Finish: Did Not Qualify
2012 Team Statistics
Points Scored: 25.0 (32nd in Area)
Passing Yards: 98.6 (986)
Rushing Yards: 206.0 (2060)
Points Allowed: 20.1 (23rd in Area)
Passing Yards Allowed: 145.5 (1455)
Rushing Yards Allowed: 125.2 (1252)
Rushing: Mike Cyrus – 186 att, 1050 yards, 16 TDs
Aug. 30 – Streetsboro 7 PM
Sept. 6 – Conneaut, 7 PM
Sept. 13 – at Garfield, 7 PM
Sept. 20 – Lakeview, 7 PM
Sept. 27 – at Newton Falls, 7 PM
Oct. 4 – Girard, 7 PM
Oct. 11 – at Campbell, 7 PM
Oct. 18 – Jefferson, 7 PM
Oct. 25 – at LaBrae, 7 PM
Nov. 1 – at Liberty, 7 PM
Offensive Strength: The running game saw a resurgence last fall. In 2010, Jimmy Rasey raced for 1,449 yards to lead Champion’s rushing attack to a 5.7 yards per carry average (2,479). The following year, the ground game took a step back as they accumulated just 1,306 yards. However – in the 2012 – behind the play of Mike Cyrus, the Golden Flashes gained over 2,000 yards (2060) and topped 5 yards per carry (5.1).
Offensive Weakness: In each of the last two seasons, Champion has turned the ball over 23 times. Last fall, they fumbled the ball away 15 times, one more than the previous season (14).
Defensive Strength: Champion’s defense was stingy last year allowing just two opponents to score 24-points or more (Campbell & Jefferson).
Defensive Weakness: The last two seasons has seen the Golden Flashes intercept just 14 passes and allow the opposition to compile a 15.2 average in yards per completion (2,758 yards).
Storylines Facing the Golden Flashes
1. Runnin’ Cyrus. Senior Mike Cyrus finished 2012 with 1,386 all-purpose yards (1050 rushing, 236 receiving, 100 return). The Golden Flashes were at the top of the division in yards per carry (5.1) as a team. Cyrus scored 16 of the team’s 25 rushing touchdowns.
2. AAC Contender? During the All-American Conference’s first four years of existence, the Golden Flashes had accumulated a 3-15 record in their respective division. However, last year, Champion compiled a winning conference season by posting a 4-3 mark.
3. Defensive Effort. Champion’s defense has done a solid job in two of the past three seasons. In 2010, the unit placed 27th in the area by allowing 20.6 points. Last year, they ranked 23rd (20.1). This season, the Flashes return linemen Derrick Forney and Brennan Grace along with linebacker Jacob Rasey and defensive back Mike Cyrus.
Did you know? In 1997, Chris Roberts gained 1,772 yards on 234 carries to lead the Trumbull Athletic Conference in rushing.