The culture & expectations remains the same at Harding

Harding will be matched against Canton McKinley in week one.

Warren G Harding Oakland Raiders High School Football

2017 Warren Harding Football Preview
Head Coach: Steve Arnold, 6th season (34-21)
Last Season: 11-2 (3-0), 1st place in AAC Gold Tier
Division: II (Region 5)

More:High School Football previews from other teams

Last 10 Years
Overall Winning Percentage: 56.2% (59-46-1)
Playoff Appearances: 4
Playoff Record: 3-4
League Championships: 2 (2012, 2016)
League Record: 21-18*
*-2007-08: Steel Valley Conference, 2010-2014: Lake Erie League, 2015-16: All-American Conference

2016 Results
Hudson 24 Raiders 21*
Raiders 49 Chardon 31*
Raiders 56 Brecksville-Broadview Heights 48*
Raiders 40 Howland 20
Raiders 49 East 0
Mooney 35 Raiders 34
Raiders 46 Boardman 15
Raiders 48 Lakeside 0
Raiders 34 Ursuline 19
Raiders 35 Fitch 0
Raiders 41 Massillon 28
Raiders 40 Cleveland Heights 6
Raiders 35 Shaw 0

2016 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 40.6 (4th in Area)
Total Offense: 403.4
Scoring Defense: 17.4 (11th in Area)
Total Defense: 269.2
…Last Fall, Harding’s defense held their opposition to an average of 17.4 points per game. The Raiders have held their opponents in 7 of the last 9 years to below 20-points per game.

The Good News
With all of the losses that Harding has experienced after the 2016 season due to graduation, the cupboard isn’t bare yet. The Raiders return key contributors who are determined to see more success at Warren G. Harding High School in the future. Coach Steve Arnold points out, “we have four of our five starters returning along the offensive line.” The Raiders return a bevy of talent at receiver, running back, defensive line and in the secondary. Junior Kayron Adams rushed for 484 yards on 64 attempts (7.6 avg) last Fall while scoring 5 times. Senior Jalen Hooks – who has received multiple Division I offers – picked off a pass on defense and caught 20 balls for 415 yards (led team with 20.8 avg) and 8 scores on offense. Harding will welcome back senior Dan Angelo (G) along the front line after being honored as a First-Team All-AAC Gold Tier offensive lineman. Angelo will be joined by Jowan Poole at guard and by center Mike Kuntz and tackle Jared Lenny. Evan Morgan, a junior tackle, will be a player to watch this summer. Senior defensive tackles Kaprise Sledge and Marquise Allgood displayed their dominance as juniors. Sledge totaled 52.5 tackles. Juniors Troy Jakubec (2 INTs) and JeSean Sledge are part of the defensive unit which will be counted on to contribute more in 2017.

“Our expectations are to qualify for the playoffs and to play in week eleven,” says Arnold. “We expect to be in the midst of competing for a state championship at Warren Harding. This is our culture.”

2017 Schedule
Aug. 25 – at Canton McKinley, 7
Sept. 8 – Massillon, 7
Sept. 15 – Fitch, 7
Sept. 22 – Ursuline, 7
Sept. 29 – Lakeside, 7
Oct. 6 – Boardman, 7
Oct. 13 – at Mooney, 7:30
Oct. 20 – at East, 7
Oct. 27 – Clarkson Football North (ON), 7

The Bad News
It’s going to be different at Mollenkopf Stadium this Fall without the likes of Lynn Bowden, Desemen Douglas, Marlin Richardson, Taj Harper, Mike Kuntz, Thad McCollough, Naz Batee-Diggs, Elijah Burch, Tavon Hooks and Juvar King just to name a few. The team lacks game experience at the varsity level at quarterback, linebackers and kicker. Bowden, the AAC Gold Tier’s Player of the Year, electrified on each Friday (or Saturday) night. He threw for 1367 yards and ran for another 2282. He saw his averages increase in completion percentage (54.3% to 59.2%) and yard per carry (10.3 to 10.9). He threw for 19 touchdowns and raced for 36 all in 2016. He even found time to lead the team in punting with a 33.3 average with 8 of his 13 kicks landing inside the 20-yard line. Douglas was the Raiders’ leading rusher (576 yards, 5 TDs) from the running back position. Richardson caught 6 touchdowns and averaged 18 yards per catch while also taking the lead on defense in interceptions (5). Harper and Kuntz were All-League offensive linemen last year. McCollough paced the team in tackles with 57 as he also finished with 3 sacks. Batee-Diggs (40 1/2 tackles, 1 INT) and Burch (40 1/2 tackles, 2 1/2 sacks) each earned First-Team All-AAC honors. Hooks and King utilized their skills in the pass game as well as in the secondary on defense. Hooks averaged 9.8 yards per catch and closed out the season with 22 1/2 tackles. King snagged 9 passes for a 15.2 average. He also registered 18 1/2 tackles and an interception. Defenders such as Tre Murry (38 tackles), Ju’wantae Harbin (38 tackles, 2 sacks), Collin King (19 1/2 tackles), Geno Gonzalez (2 INTs) and Jaton Lee (28 tackles, 4 1/2 sacks) will be difficult to replace as well.

Key Number
Harding averaged 40.6 points per game in 2016 – the highest points per game average by the Raiders since 2001 (42.1).

Featured Stat
Since 2012, the Raiders have featured a 1,000-yard rusher each year:
2016: Lynn Bowden – 2282
2015: Lynn Bowden – 1827
2014: Keemari Murry – 1178
2013: Keemari Murry – 1050
2012: LeShun Daniels – 1604

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