2015 Columbiana Football Preview

2015 Columbiana Football Preview
Head Coach: Bob Spaite, 22nd season at Columbiana (144-80)
2014 Record: 4-6 (2-5), ITCL Upper Tier
5-Year Winning Percentage: 51.0%
Division/Region: 6/19
Base Offense: Multiple formation spread
Returning Offensive Starters: 8
Base Defense: 4-3
Returning Defensive Starters: 6

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2014 Team Stats
Rushing Offense: 157.7
Passing Offense: 219.4
Total Offense: 377.1
Scoring Offense: 30.3 (15th in Area)
Scoring Defense: 36.2 (52nd in Area)

2014 Statistical Leaders
Rushing: Mitch Davidson – 906 yards, 4.8 ypc, 11 TDs
Passing: Mitch Davidson – 2180 yards, 57.6%, 25 TDs
Receiving: Jake Ward – 48 catches, 565 yards, 4 TDs
Tackles: Sean Congemi – 124
QB Sacks: Tim Davin – 5.0
Interceptions: Connor Stacey, Cooper Smith, Matt Weidner, Dalton Miller – 2

2015 Schedule
Aug. 27 – at Western Reserve, 7
Sept. 4 – Crestview, 7
Sept. 11 – at East Palestine, 7
Sept. 18 – at Sebring, 7
Sept. 25 – Mineral Ridge, 7
Oct. 2 – at Southern, 7
Oct. 9 – at Springfield, 7
Oct. 16 – Lisbon, 7
Oct. 23 – at Wellsville, 7
Oct. 30 – Leetonia, 7

Key Losses: Linemen Dylan Ferraro will be tough to replace. An honorable mention nominee from a year ago, Ferraro finished second on the team in sacks (4.0) and third among defensive linemen in tackles (56). Hunter Durbin (56 tackles) and Drew Cyrus (25 tackles) were also key contributors on defense who were lost to graduation in the off-season.

Key Returnees: Entering his junior season, Mitch Davidson is the Clippers’ all-time leading passer (single season: 2180; all-time: 3362). Davidson and his teammates hope that 2015 will be a more successful season than their previous two campaigns (7-13). Columbiana returns a stockpile of talent including Jake Ward (48 catches, 565 yards) and Dalton Miller (46 catches, 523 yards), who combined for 94 catches and 1088 yards as juniors. The defense should improve with the return of their leading tackler junior Sean Congemi (124 tackles) and a slew of talented stalwarts such as Nate Armstrong (95 tackles, 3 sacks), Tim Davin (69 tackles, 5 sacks), Keenan Green (37 tackles, 3 sacks), Connor Stacey (60 tackles), and Tim Rankin (91 tackles).

Key Storyline: With their new set-up in the five-team South Division of the ITCL, Columbiana will be matched against teams who they’re very familiar with (Leetonia, Lisbon, Southern, Wellsville). Since coach Spaite took over the program in 1994, the Clippers are 45-13 against their South members. That’s a winning percentage of 77.6%.

Strengths: The offense will be led by three-year starter Davidson, who will be at the controls of one of the most explosive units in the area. Mitch has completed more passes (265) than anyone else in school history. Number 2 will have his pick of who to throw the ball to with such talented players as Jake Ward, Dalton Miller and Dylan Davin (23 catches, 395 yards, 8 TDs) all hauling in passes from him. Miller has caught 78 passes for an average of 12.9 yards and 13 touchdowns in his three-seasons at the varsity level. Although the line is inexperienced, the Clippers return three of their five starters (guards Matt Fay and Devin Covert and tackle Keenan Green) from a year ago.

Weaknesses: A slight decline in the Clippers’ ground game has been apparent for the past five seasons. Last year, however, Columbiana rushed for 41 yards less per game than the season before which marked the second straight year that a single running back did not gain 675 yards. Davin ran for an average of 6.5 yards per tote but only rushed the ball 58 times for 378 yards. Over the past two years, the Clipper defense has been unable to slow down opposing offenses. In 20 games, Columbiana has allowed an average of 32.3 points with 9 of those opponents able to score 30 points or more.

Game to Watch: September 4 vs. Crestview
…It’s too bad that Columbiana and Crestview will be split up again in different divisions of the ITCL. With that said, the rivalry will move forward as a week two encounter in on tap for the 2015 season. The Clippers have lost their last six meetings with the Rebels as they’ve been outscored by an average of two touchdowns. Columbiana is seeking their fourth win against Crestview since 2000.

New ITCL White Division
Columbiana
Leetonia
Lisbon
Southern
Wellsville

Odds and Ends
1200-yard Rushers in School History
2000: Derek Garrod, 1630
2008: Brian Warchol, 1541
2007: Josh Hertel, 1404
1976: Jeff Johnston, 1346
2011: Austin Barbato, 1335
2006: Joe Winters, 1301
1994: Mike Winters, 1276
2007: Ryan Williams, 1265
2001: Derek Garrod, 1209

Leading Passers since 2010
2014: Mitch Davidson, 2180
2013: Mitch Davidson, 1182
2012: Drew Cyrus, 378
2011: Austin Barbato, 1014
2010: Austin Barbato, 1061

Recent League Finishes
2014: 7th ITCL Upper (2-5)
2013: 5th ITCL Upper (3-4)
2012: T-2nd ITCL Lower (4-3)
2011: T-2nd ITCL Upper (5-2)
2010: 5th ITCL Upper (3-4)

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