2015 Girard Football Preview

2015 Girard Football Preview
Head Coach: Pat Pearson, 2nd season (8-3)
2014 Record: 8-3 (6-1), AAC National
5-Year Winning Percentage: 59.3%
Division/Region: 4/11
Returning Offensive Starters: 5
Returning Defensive Starters: 7

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2014 Team Stats
Rushing Offense: 162.7
Passing Offense: 110.2
Total Offense: 272.9
Scoring Offense: 24.4 (31st in Area)
Scoring Defense: 21.7 (24th in Area)

2014 Statistical Leaders
Rushing: Jacob Ryser – 1142 yards, 5.1 ypc, 14 TDs
Passing: Christian Bello – 1096 yards, 47.8%, 13 TDs
Receiving: Collin Cramer – 22 catches, 347 yards, 2 TDs
Tackles: Matt Brink – 127
QB Sacks: Treyvon Mills – 4.5
Interceptions: Kyle Harris – 5

2015 Schedule
Aug. 27 – Niles, 7
Sept. 4 – Hubbard, 7
Sept. 12 – at Warren JFK, 7
Sept. 18 – Champion, 7
Sept. 25 – at Jefferson, 7
Oct. 2 – at Campbell, 7
Oct. 9 – Brookfield, 7
Oct. 16 – at Newton Falls, 7
Oct. 23 – at LaBrae, 7
Oct. 30 – Liberty, 7

Key Losses: Girard lost a bunch in terms of senior contributors from last fall. Their quarterback Christian Bello left following a season which saw #5 throw for 1096 yards and 13 touchdowns. Two of his favorite targets – Collin Cramer and Chaston Williams – both played significant roles on offense as well as in the secondary. Cramer led the Indians with 22 catches and 347 yards (2 TDs) while intercepting 2 errant passes and 68 tackles. Williams caught 18 balls for 307 yards (3 TDs) while picking off opposing passers four times and accumulated 68 defensive stops. Departing lineman Brian Spence played a key role in last season’s success. Randy Walters and Treyvon Mills both leave a hole on the Indians’ 2015 roster. Walters closed out the 2014 season with 68 tackles and ran for 295 yards. Mills, once again, played a key role by providing the Tribe with 4 ½ sacks and 76 tackles on defense. Kyle Harris served as the team’s kicker (2/3 field goals) while also being an efficient receiver (7 catches, 24.7 ypr, 2 TDs) and intercepting 5 passes out of the secondary.

Key Returnees: Jake Ryser returns for his senior season. Last year, Ryser ran for 1142 yards (14 TDs) and caught 19 passes for 223 yards (5 TDs). Jake took over for James Cupan as the team’s featured back last offseason. Matt Brink led the team in tackles with 127. Over the past two seasons, Brink has delivered knock down blows to 177 ball carriers and has compiled 2 ½ sacks. On defense, Collin Harden had a strong junior season while he was involved on 87 tackles and picked off 2 passes. Kenny Griffin also is back for his senior year. Griffin had made 8 receptions for 82 yards (TD) while finishing fourth on the team in tackles (69). Just as junior, Trevor Gump has already registered 99 tackles (67 in 2014).

Key Storyline: In 2014, Girard advanced to the post-season in Pat Pearson’s inaugural campaign at the helm of Indian football. That feat was the first time in school history that they played in week eleven under a first-year head coach. Since 1999, the Indians have had just three losing seasons and have advanced to the playoffs six times. Can they make it seven?

Strengths: Despite just returning six seniors, the Indians welcome back three of their four leading tacklers (Brink, Harden, Griffin) as well as an All-District talent (Ryser – 55 tackles) and a couple of juniors in defensive lineman Trevor Gump and linebacker Kenny Walters (43 tackles, 1 ½ sacks).

Weaknesses: Losing 11 seniors, who all were major contributors, takes a toll on the team as a whole from a leadership and production standpoint. The youth has the Indians’ coaching staff excited about what is coming up through the program although a patient approach will be taken as the newcomers get their feet wet.

Game to Watch: October 30 vs. Liberty
…Girard vs. Liberty. For residents in both communities, it doesn’t get much better than this matchup. The Indians are seeking their first win against their rival since 2011. Girard holds the series advantage, 30-15.

New AAC Blue Division
Newton Falls

Odds and Ends
Leading Rushers since 2011
2014: Jacob Ryser, 1142
2013: James Cupan, 1465
2012: James Cupan, 777
2011: Dan Graziano, 1573*
2010: Dan Graziano, 721

Leading Receivers since 2011
2014: Collin Cramer, 347
2013: Jordan Graziano, 1037
2012: Jordan Graziano, 622
2011: Brandon Byrd, 540*
2010: Landon Smith, 928
*-Regular Season Statistics

Recent League Finishes
2014: 2nd AAC National (6-1)
2013: 3rd AAC National (5-2)
2012: T-6th AAC National (1-6)
2011: T-1st AAC Blue (3-1)
2010: T-2nd AAC Blue (2-2)

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