On offense, East Palestine looks to soar again with 8 starters returning

The Bulldogs will play at Salem in week one.

East Palestine Bulldogs football – Palestine, Ohio

2017 East Palestine Football Preview
Head Coach: Tony Foster, 5th season (17-24)
Last Season: 6-4 (2-2), 3rd place in ITCL Red
Division: VI (Region 21)

Last 10 Years
Overall Winning Percentage: 38.2% (39-61)
Playoff Appearances: 2
Playoff Record: 0-2
League Championships: 1 (2015)
League Record: 23-41

More:High School Football previews from other teams

2016 Results
South Range 55 Bulldogs 14
Bulldogs 55 United 31
Springfield 48 Bulldogs 13
Bulldogs 49 Crestview 41
Bulldogs 47 Leetonia 3
Bulldogs 48 Sebring 26
Lisbon 49 Bulldogs 26
Columbiana 45 Bulldogs 19
Bulldogs 20 Wellsville 19
Bulldogs 37 Salem 35

2016 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 29.5 (20th in Area)
Total Offense: 404.1
Passing Offense: 192.1
Rushing Offense: 212.0
Scoring Defense: 35.2 (48th in Area)
…In six of the previous seven seasons, the Bulldogs have allowed their opponents to post an average of 32-points or more throughout the campaign.

New League: Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference
East Palestine

The Good News
Returning Starters: Offense – 8; Defense – 6
Their dynamic junior quarterback Parker Sherry returns after completing 54.1% of his tosses (126-233) for 1902 yards and 18 touchdowns. Sherry also ran for over 1,000-yards (1035) on 192 rushes (15 TDs). He’ll have his top ball carrier (Dominic Posey) and his favorite target (Branden Kemp) both back in the fold this coming Fall. Posey ran for 792 yards and scored 9 times while accumulating an average of 6.9 yards per carry. Posey also caught 24 balls for 413 yards (6 TDs). Kemp compiled 619 yards receiving while scoring 6 times through the air. The Bulldogs also return three starters along the line on offense (Clayton Murray, Jeff Rhodes, Cameron Walker). “We will have good experience at our offensive skill positions,” says coach Tony Foster. “We also have several upperclassmen that have developed into terrific leaders. That should transfer onto the field.” On the other side of the ball, Vincent Delaroza (116 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss) is back for his senior season. The linebacker utilized his speed and toughness to land on the First-Team All-ITCL list in 2016. He’ll be returning in his line backing group with Brock Cheurco. East Palestine will have three starters back in the secondary with Joey Monteleone, Zach Strickland, and Sherry all in the mix.

The Bulldogs drop a division down to VI from V this upcoming season.

2017 Schedule
Aug. 25 – at Salem, 7
Sept. 1 – Perry, 7
Sept. 8 – at Campbell Memorial, 7
Sept. 15 – United, 7
Sept. 22 – at Wellsville, 7
Sept. 29 – Southern, 7
Oct. 6 – at Leetonia, 7
Oct. 13 – Toronto, 7
Oct. 20 – at Lisbon, 7
Oct. 27 – Columbiana, 7

The Bad News
When looking back on the 2016 season – a recurring theme pops into one’s head – the Bulldogs needed to have better play out of their defensive unit. Over the past seven seasons (71 games), East Palestine has allowed an average of 34.2 points to be scored by their opponents. “Our defense needs to improve and develop an identity,” points out Foster. “With a lot of new players on defense, our young players will have to step in and be ready to perform well.” Last year’s 35.2 points allowed average can’t all be placed on the defense’s shoulders – the offense turned the ball over 21 times (12 interceptions, 9 fumbles lost).

Key Number
In 2016, East Palestine finished with a record of 1-4 when allowing opponents to score 40-points or more. In 5 of their 6 victories, East Palestine totaled 37-points or more.

Featured Stat
Parker Sherry has thrown for over 3,200 yards in his first two seasons and also compiled over 1,800 yards rushing during that time frame.

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