Southington football preview

The Wildcats have made substantial improvement from their winless 2010 campaign. Coach Ryan Slone took over the keys to the program from Dan Harclerode in 2011. During the next two seasons, the defense has allowed just six opponents to score 34-points or more. In 2010, nine of their ten opponents topped that mark. The offense failed to score 20 points three years ago. The Wildcats surpassed the plateau eight times.

In 2012, Coach Slone’s team finished 2-4 in games decided by eight points or less. The ‘Cats closed out the season with the same record (2-3) at home as they had on the road.

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Southington will begin on the road over the course of the first two weeks at Jackson-Milton and Sebring.

2013 Southington Wildcats’ Football Preview
By Vince Pellegrini (@Vince_MYVS)
2012 Record: 4-6 (1-3), Northeastern Athletic Conference
2012 Post-Season Finish: Did Not Qualify

2012 Team Statistics
Points Scored: 17.9 (49th in Area)
Passing Yards: 44.5 (445)
Rushing Yards: 201.8 (2018)
Points Allowed: 24.5 (37th in Area)

Returning Leaders
Passing: Austin Casper – 400 yards, 31.0 Comp. % (26-84), 3 TDs
Rushing: Brendon Baugher – 113 att, 676 yards, 5 TDs
Receiving: Justin Len – 7 rec, 161 yards, 2 TDs
Tackles: Brendon Baugher – 94
Sacks: Travis Lehman – 2.0
Interceptions: John Mazzola & Austin Casper – 2

2013 Schedule
Aug. 30 – at Jackson-Milton, 7 PM
Sept. 6 – at Sebring, 7 PM
Sept. 13 – Waterloo, 7 PM
Sept. 20 – Open Door Christian, 7 PM
Sept. 27 – at Trinity, 7 PM
Oct 4 – at Grand Valley, 7 PM
Oct. 11 – Ledgemont, 7 PM
Oct. 18 – at Mathews, 7 PM
Oct. 25 – Windham, 7 PM
Nov. 1 – Pymatuning Valley, 7 PM

Offensive Strength: Southington’s backfield should be improved with the return of their quarterback Austin Casper (400 yards, 3 TDs) and senior runners Brendon Baugher (511 yards, 4 TDs), John Mazzola (303 yards, 2 TDs), and Dillon Nezbith (242 yards, 2 TDs).

Offensive Weakness: The Wildcats lost their top rusher (Jordan Dickey) and receiver (J.C. Comella) to graduation. Dickey gained 676 yards on the ground in just six games. Comella caught 11 passes for an average of 14.6 stripes (161 yards).

Defensive Strength: Southington’s defense has improved significantly since finishing last among area teams in points allowed (46.1 ppg) in 2010. Last year, the ‘Cats permitted nearly 22 points less than in 2010 (24.5 ppg).

Defensive Weakness: The defense forced just 12 turnovers (7 interceptions/5 fumble recoveries) and sacked their opponents 13 times.

Storylines Facing the Wildcats
1. Casper Leads. In Southington’s four wins, Austin passed for 15 for 44 (34.1%) for 231 yards while rushing for 3 touchdowns. In the Wildcats’ six losses, he completed 11 for 40 (27.5%) while throwing 3 interceptions.

2. Baugher Guards the Middle. Senior middle linebacker Brendon Baugher is now a senior after enjoying much success last year. Baugher finished with 94 tackles (10 for a loss) while compiling 9 defensive stops or more in eight games.

3. Nezbith: All-Purpose Player. Senior Dillon Nezbith ended 2012 as the team’s second leading all-purpose yardage leader with 595 stripes on the season. He was able to gain 242 rushing yards, 11 receiving, 324 off of kickoff returns and 18 punt return yards.

Did you know? Chalker’s longest streak of winning seasons was a four-year stretch between 1977 to 1980 which culminated with the Wildcats’ best record in school history (1980: 9-1).

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