Howland football preview

When Dick Angle took over the Howland program in 1998, the Tigers’ did not field a freshman or eighth grade teams. Boy did the culture change in a hurry. In his 15 years, Howland advanced to the post-season nine times including six consecutive appearances (2007-2012). Coach Angle stepped down in early March and turned the keys to the program over to his former player and long-time assistant, Dominic Menendez. The former Ursuline offensive lineman and inside linebacker joined his head coach in Howland in 1998. The Tigers won 108 games and eight conference championships during their stay.

Menendez has acquired the services of Eric Ungaro, who will return as the Tigers’ Defensive Coordinator.

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In 2012, Howland won the All-American Conference’s American Division with a 5-1 record. The Tigers began the year with a 6-1 mark. During the regular season, the Howland offense scored over 30 points five times. However, the year came to a close in the opening round of the playoffs for the second straight season.

The Tigers lost six First-Team All-AAC members to graduation including Trumbull County’s All-Time Leading Rusher De’Veon Smith (Michigan).

Howland begins the Menendez-era with a home contest against Kenmore before they travel to Harding for a week two showdown.

2013 Howland Tigers’ Football Preview
By Vince Pellegrini (@Vince_MYVS)
Head Coach: Dominic Menendez, 1st season (0-0)
2012 Record: 8-3 (5-1), All-American Conference – American Conference
2012 Post-Season Finish: Lost in Division II Regional Quarterfinal to Chardon, 42-16, on November 2.

2012 Team Statistics
Points Scored: 28.5 (20th in Area)
Passing Yards: 99.5 (1095)
Rushing Yards: 223.5 (2459)
Points Allowed: 19.9 (21st in Area)
Passing Yards Allowed: 100.9 (1110)
Rushing Yards Allowed: 155.5 (1711)

Returning Leaders
Passing: Jake Smith – 27 yards, 33.3 Comp. % (2-6)
Rushing: T.K. Fortson – 18 att, 259 yards, 2 TDs
Receiving: Tom Bailey – 10 rec, 195 yards,
Tackles: T.K. Fortson – 112
Sacks: T.K. Fortson – 19.0
Interceptions: Steve Kondilas – 2

2013 Schedule
Aug. 30 – Kenmore, 7 PM
Sept. 6 – at Warren Harding, 7 PM
Sept. 13 – Lakeview, 7 PM
Sept. 20 – at Hubbard, 7 PM
Sept. 27 – Bowsher, 7 PM
Oct 4 – Marion Harding, 7 PM
Oct. 11 – Poland, 7 PM
Oct. 18 – at Niles, 7 PM
Oct. 25 – Canfield, 7 PM
Nov. 1 – Struthers, 7 PM

Offensive Strength: Under Coach Angle, the name of the game was pounding the football at your opponent. Menendez will have a plethora of young talented runners who will be capable of gaining large amount of yards for the Tigers. Jaquore Marrs (231 yards) T.K. Fortson (259 yards, 2 TDs), and R.J. Robinson (211 yards, 3 TDs) all rushed for over 210 stripes last fall.

Offensive Weakness: Obviously, one of the main concerns will be to find a replacement for Trumbull County’s top rusher De’Veon Smith. Last year, he picked up 1,838 yards and scored 27 times on the ground. As a junior, he gained 2,161 yards and crossed the goal line 25 times. Smith now moves on to the University of Michigan.

Defensive Strength: Howland has ranked in the top ten in points allowed among area teams in five of the last six years (2011: 8th, 14.9; 2010: 1st, 8.3; 2009: 4th, 10.2; 2008: 6th, 10.2; 2007: 1st, 9.3).

Defensive Weakness: The defensive front lost Manoli Magiassos and Andrew Rolfe, who were both selected to the All-AAC First-Team.

Storylines Facing the Tigers
1. Road Warriors. Since October 3, 2008 – the Tigers have won 18 straight regular season road wins.

2. Howland Conference Dynasty. In 2012, Howland won their sixth consecutive conference championship (2008-2012 AAC; 2007 MAC).

3. High Scoring Tigers. Can Howland keep pace with what the Tiger offense did over the last four years? In each of those seasons, the offense averaged over 28 points per game.

4. Giveaways: Hard to Come by. Howland has turned the ball over just 20 times over the last 3 years. That’s 33 games with only 20 turnovers.

Did you know? Since 2000, Howland has only suffered through one losing season (2005: 4-6). In the 1990s, the Tigers enjoyed just two winning campaigns (1995: 7-3; 1990: 8-2).

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