2015 Boardman Football Preview

2015 Boardman Football Preview
Head Coach: Joe Ignazio, 3rd season (3-17)
2014 Record: 2-8
5-Year Winning Percentage: 39.2%
Division/Region: 2/3

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2014 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 8.1 (53rd in Area)
Scoring Defense: 20.8 (22nd in Area)

2014 Statistical Leaders
Rushing: Mario Graziani – 843 yards, 6.3 ypc, 4 TDs
Passing: Sean Birchfield – 359 yards, 34.8%, TD
Receiving: Travis Koontz – 7 catches, 133 yards, TD
Tackles: Erick Ritz – 79
QB Sacks: Devon Washington & Mario Graziani – 4.0
Interceptions: Matt Filipovich – 3

2015 Schedule
Aug. 28 – at Mentor, 7
Sept. 4 – Cardinal Mooney, 7
Sept. 11 – at Jackson, 7
Sept. 18 – at Perry, 7
Sept. 25 – Lorain, 7
Oct. 2 – Canfield, 7
Oct. 9 – at Warren Harding, 7
Oct. 16 – at Ursuline, 7
Oct. 23 – Fitch, 7
Oct. 30 – Lakeside, 7

Key Losses: Without defensive standouts Evan Croutch (223 tackles over last 3 years), Devon Washington (2014: 4 sacks), Marcus Smith (2014: 38 tackles) and safety Matt Filipovich (163 tackles over last 2 years), the Spartans will need to find give their unit – which allowed an impressive 21 point average – a facelift.

Key Returnees: Erick Ritz is back for his senior season after seeing his tackle total increase from 39 in 2013 to 79 in 2014. The Spartans also return their top rusher (Mario Graziani, 843 yards) and receiver (Travis Koontz, 133 yards).

Key Storyline: In coach Ignazio’s second year, the team showed a lot of grit as they were able to stand tall in the wake of a 0-7 start to finish with a 2-1 mark over the course of the last three weeks. In 2015, with a new stadium and a new league, Boardman will look to rebound from three subpar seasons.

Strengths: With a number of experienced players returning on offense, one may point to that group which was only able to score 17 points or more twice last season and averaged 8 points a game. The defensive unit is where I’ll focus my attention to. It’s obvious that they lost a number of prominent figures from the 2014 group (Croutch, Filipovich, Washington, Smith, Doug Kephart – 27 tackles, Jaysen Young – 26 tackles). However, this year’s unit could be another strong bunch with Alex Duda (57 tackles) and Alex Birchfield (50 tackles) both back up front. Linebackers Graziani (72 tackles, 4 sacks) and Gavin Dill (22 tackles) both returning with junior Gaven Strines (42 tackles) back in the secondary.

Weaknesses: Over the team’s last 20 games, Boardman has scored over 21 points just one time. Can the offense move the ball into the end zone this season more often than what they’ve been able to in the past?

Game to Watch:October 9 at Warren Harding
…For the first time since 2003, Boardman will play a league game in an area conference. The last time the Spartans and the Raiders met was on October 3, 2003 – Harding won, 43-14.

New AAC Gold Division
Warren Harding

Odds and Ends
Leading Rushers since 2010
2014: Mario Graziani, 843
2013: Darius Sanders, 554
2012: John Babos, 909
2011: Devin Campbell, 1285
2010: Nick Buonavolonta, 535

4-sack seasons since 2011
2014: Mario Graziani & Devon Washington, 4.0
2013: Evan Croutch, 4.0
2012: Justin Babos, 6.0
2012: John Babos & Evan Croutch, 5.0
2011: Justin Babos, 9.0
2011: Zach Machuga, 5.0
2011: Dan Popip, 4.0

Recent League Finishes
2013: 6th Federal (1-5)
2012: T-4th Federal (2-4)
2011: T-1st Federal (5-1)
2010: T-4th Federal (4-3)
2009: T-2nd Federal (5-2)

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