2016 Southern Football Preview

Southern will begin the 2016 campaign in Bridgeport on Friday, August 26.

Southern Local Indians High School Football

2016 Southern Football Preview
Head Coach: Rich Wright, 18th season overall (101-81)
2015 Record: 2-8 (1-3), 4th place in ITCL White
2016 Division/Region: 6/21

More:High School Football previews from other teams

Revisiting ITCL History
League Championships: None
Total League Record: 28-39 (41.8%)
Winning Seasons in League Play: 4 (2008, 2010, 2011, 2012)
Best League Record: 6-1 (2011)
Worst League Record: 1-6 (2009, 2013, 2014)

2015 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 15.0 (44th in Area)
Scoring Defense: 42.8 (55th in Area)
Passing Offense: 50.7
Rushing Offense: 154.5
Total Offense: 205.2

2015 Results
Wellsville 55 Indians 0
South Range 63 Indians 6
Indians 20 Leetonia 3
Lisbon 53 Indians 0
Columbiana 55 Indians 18
Springfield 63 Indians 6
United 39 Indians 20
Malvern 43 Indians 12
Indians 43 Conotton Valley 12
Paden City 20 Indians 19

Returning Statistical Leaders
Rushing: Jimmy Knepper – 251 yards, 8.4 ypc
Receiving: Jimmy Knepper – 10 catches, 186 yards

Recent Indian Post-Season Finishes
2010: Division VI (Region 23) Participant

2016 Schedule
Aug. 26 – at Bridgeport, 7
Sept. 2 – at Conotton Valley, 7
Sept. 9 – Malvern, 7
Sept. 16 – at United, 7
Sept. 23 – Springfield, 7
Sept. 30 – at Columbiana, 7*
Oct. 7 – Lisbon, 7*
Oct. 14 – at Leetonia, 7*
Oct. 21 – Clay Battelle, 7
Oct. 28 – Wellsville, 7*

Keys on Offense
Last Fall, Southen’s offense opened the season by scoring 62 points in their first two contests (31.0). Then, the Indians were only able to muster 82 for the remainder of the campaign (10.3). Gabe Richards was their primary quarterback last year as he completed 37 passes for 443 yards and rushed for a team-leading 757 stripes (12 TDs). He’s since graduated but returning is a group of seniors led by Jimmy Knepper and Dakota Wetzel. Knepper was the Indians’ top receiver as he finished with 10 catches for 186 yards. He also gained 251 yards on 30 carries (8.4 ypc). Wetzel rushed for 233 yards (6.0 ypc) and scored twice on the ground. Senior lineman Zack Almy returns to anchor the Indians up front.

Keys on Defense
In five of the Indians’ last six games a year ago, the defense allowed 53 points or more to be scored upon them. Now, Southern has gone back-to-back seasons by allowing an average of 40 points per game (2014: 40.2; 2015: 42.8). Names such as Joe Gibson and Jesse McClurg have since graduated. During the summer, Southern must find replacements that can step in right away and contribute to reclaim some of the luster that was associated with Southern’s from 2006-2011. During that six-year span, the Indians allowed their opponents to average 21 points or more only once (2007: 21.3).

Final Analysis
Coach Wright has had a history of turning around programs as he enters year #2 at Southern. A positive note could be found in his team’s point totals – Southern scored 144 points last season compared to just 148 combined over the previous two.

Since October 26, 2012 – Southern has posted a winning percentage of 16% (5-26).

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