With the foundation set at Poland, Coach Williams returns a number of talented Bulldogs

The Bulldogs begin 2017 with a familiar foe - the Marlington Dukes.

Poland Bulldogs football – Poland, Ohio

2017 Poland Football Preview
Head Coach: Ryan Williams, 2nd season (4-6)
Last Season: 4-6 (2-2), 3rd place AAC Red; 4-6 (3-3), T-3rd place AAC White
Division: IV (Region 13)

Last 10 Years
Overall Winning Percentage: 70.4% (81-34)
Playoff Appearances: 9
Playoff Record: 6-9
League Championships: 3 (2008, 2009, 2015)
League Record: 37-15

More:High School Football previews from other teams

2016 Results
Canfield 29 Bulldogs 14
Hubbard 17 Bulldogs 7
Lakeview 45 Bulldogs 13
Bulldogs 34 East 0
Struthers 28 Bulldogs 21
Bulldogs 42 Edgewood 7
Howland 35 Bulldogs 34
Bulldogs 45 Jefferson 8
Bulldogs 26 Niles 23
Marlington 35 Bulldogs 21

2016 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 25.7 (32nd in Area)
Total Offense: 259.5
Passing Offense: 105.2
Rushing Offense: 154.3
Scoring Defense: 22.7 (29th in Area)
Total Defense: 275.0
…Last year, Poland allowed 22.7 points to be scored. Over the previous 11 seasons, only once did they permit the opposition to average over 20-points per game (2011: 20.5).

2018 North East Eight Athletic League Lineup
Girard
Hubbard
Jefferson
Lakeview
Niles
Poland
South Range
Struthers

The Good News
Returning Starters: Offense – 7; Defense – 6
The Bulldogs will be competing in Division IV this year. The team welcomes back their leading passer (Cole Kosco), leading rusher (Jonah Spencer) and leading receiver (Michael Diaz) along with several returning players along the offense & defensive lines. Kosco (785 yards passing, 52.8%) started each of the first eight games before giving way to Spencer (267 yards passing, 64.1%) at quarterback. Spencer, a 2nd-team All-AAC Red performer, led the team in rushing behind 94 carries and 563 yards on the ground (5.8 avg, 9 TDs). The Bulldogs also return second leading rusher Dante Romano – who gained 428 yards on 56 attempts (7.6 avg, 6 TDs). Spencer and Romano will share tailback duties. Diaz, also a 2nd-Team All-AAC selection, caught 26 passes for an average of 16.9 yards per reception (439 yards, 2 TDs). Poland’s tight end Dante Ruozzo is a three-year starter who was offered by Robert Morris. The team will welcome back along the line All-AAC picks Drew Davies (1st-team) and Nick Sabrin (2nd-team). On defense, the Bulldogs return First-Team linebacker Alec Catsoules. The senior accounted for 10 quarterback sacks a year ago – which ties the school record for most in a single season. Also, Jared Carcelli (JR/DL) and Nick Miller (SR/LB) – a three-year starter – each had a pair of quarterback takedowns last year.

2017 Schedule
Aug. 25 – Marlington, 7
Sept. 1 – Niles, 7
Sept. 8 – at Jefferson, 7
Sept. 15 – at Howland, 7
Sept. 22 – Edgewood, 7
Sept. 29 – at Struthers, 7
Oct. 6 – at East, 7
Oct. 13 – Lakeview, 7
Oct. 20 – at Hubbard, 7
Oct. 27 – Canfield, 7

The Bad News
Last year, Poland missed the playoffs for the first time since 2006. This off-season, the Bulldogs must replace 13 seniors – many of whom were key contributors to the success of the program over the last few years. “We’ll need to replace several in our defensive secondary,” says coach Williams. The offense saw a dip from 2015 to 2016 in the rushing category. In 2015, Poland gained an average of 217.6 yards per game on the ground compared to just 154.3 last Fall.

Key Number
In 2016, Poland played six teams who finished with a winning record (combining for a 47-17 record). In those games, they finished 0-6. In all other games, they were 4-0 (against teams who combined to go 13-37).

Featured Stat
Since 2012, Poland’s signal callers have accounted for a completion percentage of 52% or better:
2016: (2) Jonah Spencer – 64.1% (25-39); Cole Kosco – 52.8% (56-106)
2015: Cole Kosco – 58.4% (45-77)
2014: Dom Petrony – 59.0% (82-139)*
2013: Jacob Wolfe – 65.0% (65-100)
2012: Jacob Wolfe – 59.7% (80-134)
*-regular season statistics

WKBN 27 First News provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. No links will be permitted. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s