2014 Leetonia Bears’ Football Preview
2013 Record: 2-8 (0-7), ITCL Lower Tier
Head Coach: Matt Altomare, 8th Year (33-39)
Last Trip to Post-Season: 2008< /br>
School Playoff Record: 1-5< /br>
Last League Title: 2007, co-champs
5-Year Winning Percentage: 36.0%
Aug. 28 – Lisbon, 7
Sept. 5 – at Columbiana, 7
Sept. 12 – Ashtabula St. John’s, 7
Sept. 19 – Southern, 7
Sept. 26 – Wellsville, 7
Oct. 3 – at Lowellville, 7
Oct. 10 – at Western Reserve, 7
Oct. 17 – McDonald, 7
Oct. 24 – at Mineral Ridge, 7
Oct. 31 – at Sebring, 7
2013 Returning Leaders
Rushing Yards: Trent Ferry, 476
Passing Yards: Trent Ferry, 409
Receiving Yards: Colton Gudat, 186
Tackles: Colton Gudat, 48
Quarterback Sacks: Quinten Van Giesen & Nate Inboden, 1.0
Year in Review: Leetonia opened the season with a 2-1 mark. However, the opportunity to seize victories seemed to slip through the Bears’ clutches as they fell three times in their first five games by 9-points or less. In the second half of the season, Leetonia struggled to score many points as they were only able to post 7 points in four of their last five games. Leetonia saw their average scoring drop by a touchdown (21.6 to 14.6) and their points allowed rise up by almost 8 points from last season (18.8 to 26.2).
Zack Van Giesen, who has since graduated, eclipsed the 2,000-yard rushing yardage mark for his career last season. Zack enjoyed the most success he has had in a single season by topping the 1,100 yard plateau (1169). Van Giesen also led the team in receptions (19), punting (37.0), quarterback sacks (6.0), tackles for a loss (9.0) and total touchdowns (12). Senior quarterback Trent Ferry saw his completion percentage increase for the second straight year (43.9% to 47.2%). Ferry has thrown for 1,012 stripes with his arm during his career and is now 41 yards shy of 1,000 yards via the ground.
Since advancing to the post-season in back-to-back years (2007 & 2008), Leetonia has been able to post a winning percentage of just 36.0% over the past five campaigns.
2013 Team Leaders
Points Scored Per Game: 14.6 (55th in Area)
Rushing Offense: 212.7
Passing Offense: 45.4
Points Allowed Per Game: 26.2 (39th in Area)
3 Things to Watch in Leetonia
Offensive Tradition: Run the Ball.
At Leetonia, the fans are used to seeing their offense churn out lots of yards running behind their front five. Over the last four seasons, the Bears have utilized run plays at least 78% of their offensive calls. During that time, the ground game has tallied 81 of their 97 touchdowns from the line of scrimmage. This year, Coach Altomare must replace 59% of their production from the running back position (most notably Zack Van Giesen). Trent Ferry and Colton Gudat were able to manage 866 yards on 164 carries combined (5.3 ypc).
Last fall, the Bears only forced 8 turnovers, all which were fumble recoveries. The prior three years, Leetonia intercepted opposing passers on average of 8 picks per season. In their secondary, the Bears graduated Bryce Turney (led team with 60 tackles) and James Shea (27 tackles). With that said, Leetonia returns seniors Drew Turney (34 tackles), Trent Ferry (23 tackles) and Devon Galvin.
Continued improvement in return game.
The importance of having a solid kick coverage unit is a vital piece to the game of football. One that results in a shift in field position and the ability to score more effectively. Last fall, Leetonia had a pair of kickoff returners who averaged 25 yards or more (Trent Ferry & Bryce Turney). The team finished with a 19.3 average on their kick returns. However, the punt coverage was down from last year’s mark of 14.7 to a 3.5 average.
2013: Trent Ferry – 409
2012: Trent Ferry – 590
2011: Cody Stokes – 1042
2010: Lance Tullis – 265
2013: Zack Van Giesen – 1169
2012: Zack Van Giesen – 849
2011: R.J. Pacella – 411
2010: Devan Miller – 1158
2013: Colton Gudat – 186
2012: Brandon Dattilio – 238
2011: R.J. Pacella – 535
2010: Devan Miller – 189
2013: Bryce Turney – 60
2012: Bryce Turney – 52
2011: Derek Grande – 76
2010: Devan Miller – 104
2013: Zack Van Giesen – 6.0
2012: Zack Van Giesen – 6.0
2011: Derek Grande – 4.5
2010: Andrew LaVogue – 2.5
Fact Finder: The Bears are one of six schools to have not had a winning season in the last five years (Lisbon, Sebring, Kennedy Catholic, Beaver Local, East)…Leetonia has won five of their last seven opening day games…The Bears have lost six in a row in the month of October…Leetonia has won just one of the past seven games at home.