Southern expects to see major improvement with 17 returning starters

Southern will play host Bridgeport in week one.

Southern Local Indians High School Football

2017 Southern Football Preview
Head Coach: Rich Wright, 3rd season at Southern (6-14)
Last Season: 4-6 (1-3), 4th place in ITCL White
Division: VI (Region 21)

Last 10 Years
Overall Winning Percentage: 43.6% (44-57)
Playoff Appearances: 1
Playoff Record: 0-1
League Championships: None
League Record: 26-38

More:High School Football previews from other teams

2016 Results
Wellsville 42 Indians 0
Indians 39 Clay-Battele 8
Indians 24 Leetonia 21
Lisbon 41 Indians 8
Columbiana 52 Indians 16
Springfield 42 Indians 6
United 41 Indians 7
Malvern 27 Indians 7
Indians 39 Conotton Valley 20
Indians 33 Bridgeport 22

2016 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 17.9 (44th in Area)
Total Offense: 247.1
Scoring Defense: 31.6 (45th in Area)
Total Defense: 274.7
…For the 4th consecutive season, Southern failed to post an average of 20-points scored per game as well as permit their opponents to under 31-points per outing.

New League: Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference
Columbiana
East Palestine
Leetonia
Lisbon
Southern
Toronto
United
Wellsville

The Good News
Returning Starters: Offense – 8; Defense – 9
The Indians return senior quarterback Tyler Milhoan – who received honorable mention on the All-ITCL team a year ago – and their top rusher (Will Grodhaus). Milhoan, a dual-threat signal caller, passed for 348 yards while completing 52.8% of his passes (28-53) as he ran for 312 yards (4 TDs). Grodhaus posted a strong junior season as he rushed for an average of 7.9 yards per carry (104 attempts, 820 yards) and scored 12 times on the ground. Grodhaus also threw for 295 yards. The defense returns the talented defensive end Joe Dickson – who closed out 2016 with 68 tackles and 4 quarterback takedowns. The defense also improved from the year prior by allowing 11.2 points less than the year prior (2016: 31.6; 2015: 42.8).

2017 Schedule
Aug. 25 – Bridgeport, 7
Sept. 1 – Conotton Valley, 7
Sept. 8 – Shenandoah, 7
Sept. 15 – at Toronto, 7
Sept. 22 – Lisbon, 7
Sept. 29 – at East Palestine, 7
Oct. 6 – United, 7
Oct. 13 – at Wellsville, 7
Oct. 20 – at Columbiana, 7
Oct. 27 – Leetonia, 7

The Bad News
It’s been a tough go-of-it over the last few years for the Indians. Southern has posted a winning percentage of 22.5% within the last four years (9-31). The offense has averaged 11.9 points per game. The defense has allowed an average of 36.9 points during that span. “We need to tackle people,” stresses coach Wright. “We gave up too many points last year and had too many turnovers.”

Key Number
After beginning the 2016 season with a 2-0 mark, Southern faltered in their next five outings – being outscored by a combined 203-44 margin. However, the Indians won two of their last three games to improve to 4-6.

Featured Stat
Southern’s rushing leaders from the past two seasons appear to be very similar from a statistical standpoint and by the fact that each had served as the team’s quarterback during the season (last year, Grodhaus was paired with Tyler Milhoan at QB).
2016: Will Grodhaus – 820 yards, 7.9 average, 12 TDs
2015: Gabe Richards – 757 yards, 6.1 average, 12 TDs

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