2015 Jackson-Milton Football Preview

2015 Jackson-Milton Football Preview
Head Coach: Mark Assion, 9th season (21-59)
2014 Record: 3-7 (0-7), ITCL Upper Tier
5-Year Winning Percentage: 26.0%
Division/Region: 7/23
Returning Offensive Starters: 7
Returning Defensive Starters : 7

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2014 Team Stats
Rushing Offense: 154.3
Passing Offense: 117.3
Total Offense: 271.6
Scoring Offense: 20.6 (38th in Area)
Scoring Defense: 32.1 (43rd in Area)

2014 Statistical Leaders
Rushing: Joey Burnside – 1006 yards, 5.6 ypc, 6 TDs
Passing: Mike Assion – 1173 yards, 56.0%, 11 TDs
Receiving: Nate Kramer – 34 catches, 385 yards, 2 TDs
Interceptions: Adam Smith – 4

2015 Schedule
Aug. 28 – Southington, 7
Sept. 4 – at Newton Falls, 7
Sept. 11 – at Windham, 7
Sept. 18 – Leetonia, 7
Sept. 25 – at Crestview, 7
Oct. 2 – McDonald, 7
Oct. 9 – at Sebring, 7
Oct. 16 – Western Reserve, 7
Oct. 23 – at Lowellville, 7
Oct. 30 – at Mineral Ridge, 7

Key Losses: The loss of such receivers as Nate Kramer and Nick Goodlin are evident but the graduation of lineman Brandon Eddinger also must leave the coaching staff with an uncomfortable feeling entering camp. Eddinger and his line mates were able to open holes for Joey Burnside to achieve a 5.6 yard per carry average and to give Mike Assion enough time to complete 56% of his 193 passes.

Key Returnees: The one-two combination of Assion’s passing and Burnside’s rushing will give the Blue Jays an advantage this season. The senior quarterback completed 108 of 193 passes a year ago for 1173 yards and 11 scores. His classmate, Burnside, averaged over 100 yards per game (100.6). Both were named to the Second-Team of the All-ITCL in 2014.

Key Storyline: In the new ultra-competitive North Division in the ITCL, Jackson-Milton should stack up well against a group of former lower tier foes. However, many of those opponents are stock piled with plenty of historic success which the Jays have not had much of. Still, Jackson-Milton has an abundance of talented returning standouts. The Blue Jays are seeking their second winning season in league play since 2007 (2013: 4-3).

Strengths: Whether it’s Brennan Morrison or Tyler Shaffer or Joey Burnside carrying the football, a Mark Assion-coached team has always had their way of grinding out yards on the ground. Last year was no exception; Burnside led the Jays with 1006 yards as the team gained 1543 rushing yards (154.3 per game). Jackson-Milton’s quarterback Mike Assion also churned out 563 yards and scored 10 touchdowns with his legs.

Weaknesses: The receiving corps will see a major drop off with the loss of Nate Kramer (34 catches, 385 yards), Nick Goodlin (17 catches, 187 yards) and Alex Thornburg (17 catches, 158 yards). Will Adam Smith (27 catches, 360 yards, 5 TDs) be able to improve upon his 2014 numbers? On the defensive side of the ball, the Blue Jays must turn their attention to stopping the ground game. Last year, they were run over by their opponents to the tune of 246 yards per contest. That figure will have to improve this season.

Game to Watch: October 2 vs. McDonald
…The Jays’ first opponent in the new league will be perennial power McDonald on October 2. This match up appears to be a contest where Jackson-Milton could make a name for them in the ITCL. Since their week ten win in 2006, the Blue Jays have fallen to McDonald in six straight meetings by an average of 41 to 11.

New ITCL Blue Division
Mineral Ridge
Western Reserve

Odds and Ends
Leading Passer since 2010
2014: Mike Assion, 1173
2013: Jeremy Fitzpatrick, 2270
2012: Jeremy Fitzpatrick, 1976
2011: Zach Nagy, 497
2010: Brennen Morrison, 512

Leading Rusher since 2010
2014: Joey Burnside, 1006
2013: Tyler Shaffer, 1078
2012: Tyler Shaffer, 876
2011: Brennen Morrison, 1007
2010: Brennen Morrison, 1008

Recent League Finishes
2014: 8th ITCL Upper (0-7)
2013: 4th ITCL Lower (4-3)
2012: 8th ITCL Upper (0-7)
2011: T-7th ITCL Lower (1-6)
2010: T-7th ITCL Lower (1-6)

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