Savin leads a young but hungry group in Niles

Niles will open against Girard on Thursday night (August 24).

Niles Dragons football – Niles, Ohio

2017 Niles Football Preview
Head Coach: Brian Shaner, 15th season overall (66-76)
Last Season: 5-5 (1-3), 4th in AAC Red Tier; (3-3), T-3rd in AAC White Tier
Division: III (Region 9)

Last 10 Years
Overall Winning Percentage: .426 (43-58)
Playoff Appearances: 1
Playoff Record: 0-1
League Championships: 0
League Record: 20-37*
*2007 Metro Athletic Conference; 2008-2016 All-American Conference

More:High School Football previews from other teams

2016 Results
Dragons 62 Edgewood 21
Dragons 32 Jefferson 20
Howland 56 Dragons 32
Canfield 23 Dragons 21
Hubbard 35 Dragons 21
Lakeview 21 Dragons 20
East 18 Dragons 12
Dragons 21 Struthers 20
Poland 26 Dragons 23
Dragons 47 Girard 26

2016 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 29.7 (19th in Area)
Total Offense: 366.5
Passing Offense: 173.1
Rushing Offense: 193.4
Scoring Defense: 26.0 (T-35th in Area)
Total Defense: 286.4
…Between 2013-2015 (3 years), Niles allowed their opposition to average 36.3 points per game. Last year, the Red Dragons allowed an average of 13-points less per game (26.0) and posted the lowest scoring defense since their playoff year of 2012 (23.3).

2018 North East Eight Athletic League Lineup
South Range

The Good News
As coach Brian Shaner has said at the onset of camp, “there’s been a total ‘all-in’ team atmosphere with the off-season work ethic that’s been displayed by the kids.” Senior quarterback Jordan Soda received some time under center a year ago as he completed 12 of 19 passes (63.2%) for 155 yards while replacing Tyler Srbinovich. Junior runner Robbie Savin had a strong sophomore season which saw #28 lead the Dragons in rushing with 905 yards (7.9 avg) and 12 touchdowns on the ground. Savin also finished second on the team with 81 tackles and 4 quarterback sacks. Senior Alex Lawrence will also return as a playmaker at the skill position for the Dragons as well as Trent Johnson. Linebacker Preston Turner, a returning 3-year starter, is also back after posting 81 tackles and 3 quarterback takedowns in 2016.

2017 Schedule
Aug. 24 – at Girard, 7
Sept. 1 – at Poland, 7
Sept. 8 – Struthers, 7
Sept. 15 – East, 7
Sept. 22 – at Lakeview, 7
Sept. 29 – Hubbard, 7
Oct. 6 – at Canfield, 7
Oct. 12 – Howland, 7
Oct. 20 – at Jefferson, 7
Oct. 27 – Edgewood, 7

The Bad News
Returning Starters: Offense – 3; Defense – 3
The Red Dragons lose their standout quarterback (Tyler Srbinovich), top three receivers (Tre Martin Marlon Pearson, Jasson Faison), one of their most reliable defenders (Ricky Palmer) and a pair of offensive linemen who were named to the All-League (Justin Beatty, Joe Kendall). “We’ll be young,” states Shaner. “We’re a hungry team without much experience.” Srbinovich tossed 13 touchdowns a year ago while rushing 11 in for six. Tyler completed 53.4% (95-177) for 1577 yards and also gained 707 yards on the ground. Since Kyle Paden graduated after the 2013 season, Srbinovich threw for 3643 yards and 29 scores. In 2015, Martin caught 18 passes for an average of 11.3 yards. Last Fall as a senior, Martin led the team in receptions (36), receiving yards (734) and yards per catch (20.4). Pearson again did a tremendous job catching the football and finding the end zone. Over the last three years, Marlon caught 18 of his 92 passes for scores. Faison averaged 15-yards per catch as a junior in 2015 (34 catches, 498 yards) and then last year in 2016 (12 catches, 219 yards). Palmer, a Second-Team All-League selection, compiled 168 tackles since 2014. The defense must also replace lineman Joe Lewis and defensive back Jaylon Sanders – who each were named All-League.

Key Number
Over the last 9 years, Niles has been only able to finish with a winning record just once (2012: 8-3).

Featured Stat
Since 2013, 7 receivers have finished with over 300-yards in a single season.
2016: Tre Martin – 734
2016: Marlon Pearson – 472
2015: Marlon Pearson – 810
2015: Jasson Faison – 498
2014: Leonard Bryant – 478
2013: Marcus Hill – 1083
2013: Chris Parry – 924
2013: Justin Lopes – 712

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