Howland must groom inexperienced skill players to regain playoff standing in 2017

Lakeview will play at Howland in week one.

Howland Tigers High School Football - Warren, Ohio

2017 Howland Football Preview
Head Coach: Dominic Menendez, 5th season (24-17)
Last Season: 7-4 (4-0), 1st place in AAC Red Tier
Division: III (Region 9)

Last 10 Years
Overall Winning Percentage: .734 (80-29)
Playoff Appearances: 7
Playoff Record: 3-7
League Championships: 7 (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2016)
League Record: 34-13*
*-2007 Metro Athletic Conference; 2008-2016 All-American Conference

More:High School Football previews from other teams

2016 Results
Hoban 37 Tigers 0*
Harding 40 Tigers 20
Tigers 21 Canfield 0
Tigers 56 Niles 32
Tigers 38 Perry Traditional 8
Tigers 42 East 0
Tigers 20 Hubbard 0
Tigers 35 Poland 34
Tigers 34 Lakeside 0
Green 37 Tigers 20
Tigers 31 McDowell 10
*-Post-Season

2016 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 26.9 (27th in Area)
Total Offense: 274.8
Passing Offense: 86.1
Rushing Offense: 188.7
Scoring Defense: 19.9 (17th in Area)
Total Defense: 315.7
…Howland’s offense has seen an uptick in each of the past 3 years. In 2013, the Tigers were able to generate 15.1 points per game. In 2014, they averaged 21.6. Then in 2015, they tallied a 25 point per game average. Just last year, Howland posted a 26.9 point per contest average.

The Good News
After a three-year hiatus, Howland returned to the post-season for the first time since 2012 last Fall. This year, the team returns their starting quarterback (Samari Dean), two All-League offensive linemen (Brandon Matlock and Noah Bell) as well as a couple of key defenders led by linebacker Chris Julian. Dean completed 60.4% of his 101 passes (61 completions) for 910 yards and 9 scores with only two picks. Dean also scored twice on the ground and gained 231 yards rushing. Matlock and Bell should bolster an offensive line, along with Jack Lambert, which last year allowed the Tigers’ ball carriers to gain an average of 5.3 yards per tote. Julian finished second on the team in tackles with 90 while getting after the quarterback 8 times for a loss. “A strength of ours should be our front seven on both sides of the ball,” points out coach Menendez where there was a lot of depth last year.

2017 Schedule
Aug. 25 – Lakeview, 7
Sept. 1 – at Boardman, 7
Sept. 8 – at Parma Padua Franciscan, 7
Sept. 15 – Poland, 7
Sept. 22 – at Hubbard, 7
Sept. 29 – at East, 7
Oct. 6 – Perry Traditional, 7
Oct. 12 – at Niles, 7
Oct. 20 – Canfield, 7
Oct. 27 – Akron East, 7

The Bad News
Returning Starters: Offense – 4; Defense – 2
Coach Menendez will have the unenviable task of replacing not only a multiple 1,000-yard rusher but also a number of elite defenders on defense. Tyriq Ellis ran for 1066 yards and scored 14 touchdowns on the ground to take the 2016 AAC Red Tier Offensive Player of the Year. Ellis gained over 3100 rushing yards (3137) in the last three seasons while scoring 43 offensive touchdowns. On defense, the team loses Victor Williams, Stephen Baugh, George Beatty-Marsh, Austin Baker, Alonzo Burriss, and Phil Ginnis. Williams was just as dynamic on offense (390 rushing yards, 577 receiving yards, 9 offensive TDs) as he was on the defensive side of the ball (90 tackles, 15 QB Sacks, 3 INTs). Williams was named the 2016 AAC Red Tier Defensive Player of the Year. Baugh led the team in tackling with 151 stops and amassed 11 quarterback takedowns. He also led the team in receiving yards per catch on offense with a 20.8 average (6 catches, 125 yards). Beatty-Marsh finished the 2016 campaign with 57 tackles and 8 sacks. Baker (51 tackles, 4 INTs) and Burriss (48 tackles, 5 sacks) each received Second-Team All-League honors while Ginnis was picked as a First-Team selection (49 tackles, 3 sacks). “We lost all of our skill positions on both sides of the ball other than our quarterback,” says Menendez. “Also, losing twenty seniors from last year’s team doesn’t help.”

Key Number
In 2016, Howland won their first league championship 2012. The Tigers won (or shared) the All-American Conference’s first five league championships (2008-2012).

Featured Stat
Howland has been as stingy as they come over the past decade in permitting opponents to score points. Here’s a look back at each of the prior 11 season averages:
2016: 19.9
2015: 18.5
2014: 17.3
2013: 19.6
2012: 19.9
2011: 14.9
2010: 8.3
2009: 10.2
2008: 11.2
2007: 9.3
2006: 13.3

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