Toronto enters newly formed EOAC with hopes of a return to playoffs

The Red Knights open the 2017 season with a trip to Shadyside.

Toronto Red Knights High School Football

2017 Toronto Football Preview
Head Coach: Erik Meek, 8th season (44-30)
Last Season: 8-3
Division: VII (Region 25)

Last 10 Years
Overall Winning Percentage: 49.0% (51-53)
Playoff Appearances: 3
Playoff Record: 1-3

More:High School Football previews from other teams

2016 Results
Warren JFK 38 Red Knights 0*
Red Knights 57 Madonna 7
Red Knights 47 Edison 22
River 38 Red Knights 31
Red Knights 66 Beallsville 7
Red Knights 62 Conotton Valley 0
Shadyside 31 Red Knights 30
Red Knights 18 Steubenville Catholic Central 7
Red Knights 43 Sebring 22
Red Knights 54 Bridgeport 8
Red Knights 36 Wellsville 16

2016 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 40.4 (equivalent of 5th in Area)
Total Offense: 321.9
Passing Offense: 105.0
Rushing Offense: 216.9
Scoring Defense: 17.8 (equivalent of 12th in Area)
Total Defense: 233.5
…During their three-year playoff streak, Toronto has averaged 37.5 points and has allowed 12.7 points per game.

New League: Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference
East Palestine

The Good News
Returning Starters: Offense – 6
“We have really good kids,” indicates coach Erik Meek, “they’ve helped us to three straight playoff appearances.” Junior quarterback Nathan Karaffa returns after completing 57.4% of his tosses (73-127) a year ago for 1155 yards and 11 touchdowns with only 4 interceptions. Karaffa also raced for 4 touchdowns on the ground while compiling 273 yards on 60 attempts (4.6 avg).
His favorite target from a year ago was senior Jake Keenan. Number 18 caught 25 passes for an average of 17.9 yards per reception and 4 touchdowns. The offense has averaged over 33-points per game during the last three years. Upfront the Knights return a pair of standout linemen in senior Luke Fogle and junior Trent Wright – each are guards. Carson Meek and Nick Sninchak both are pivotal to the offense’s success at their tight end positions.

The defense has held their opponents to 18-points or less per outing during the past three years. Toronto returns three starters – Luke Fogle (DT) and Jake Keenan (CB) and Nathan Karaffa (CB).

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

The Bad News
Returning Starters: Defense – 3
Coach Meek points out that experience could be an issue, “We’ll be very young and very inexperienced (this Fall).” The Knights will be without their top two rushers (Max Tice and Danny Zdinak) who combined for 1173 yards. Tice led the team in each of the past two seasons on the ground (2016: 735 yards, 12 TDs) while Zdinak gained 8.3 yards per carry last Fall (2016: 438 yards, 10 TDs). Toronto also graduated speedster Ty West – who caught 9 touchdown passes in the last two years. The Red Knights will have an overhaul along the offensive line as they graduated four key players including their center Dylan Warren, their tackles Griffin Allison and Ben Davis along with Dustin Henry.

Looking at the schedule, Toronto will close out the season with three conference road games in a row (East Palestine, United, Wellsville). Not an easy task to say the least.

Key Number
Toronto has taken care of their two main rivals – Steubenville Catholic Central and Wellsville – in each of the past two seasons. Wellsville got the better of the Red Knights on August 29, 2014 by a score of 24-7. Since that setback, Toronto has won 78.8% of their games (26-7).

Featured Stat
During the regular season, the Red Knights have won 12 of 13 road games dating back to September 5, 2014.

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