Canfield, OH (WKBN) – A new era of football has begun at South Range high school. The Raiders will have a brand new turf stadium this Fall, but finding people to play in it was not easy. A 10-game schedule is tough to build, when you don’t have a conference to call home.
After more than 50 years of league play and 13 conference championships, South Range will enter 2017 as an independent. The ITCL is no more, and most of the league has moved on without the Raiders.
“Coming into it, I’m actually kind of happy we’re not in the ITCL anymore” says Raider’s senior quarterback Aniello Buzzacco. “Now we’re challenged with bigger teams and more athletes, better athletes and kids that are sometimes D1 caliber. So it’s nice to go against kids like that and it’ll actually help us for our playoffs.”
South Range will play six new opponents this season, two of which are from Pennsylvania (Sharon and Sharpsville). The good news, seven of those games will be at home in their brand new stadium.
“It’s a schedule that… It’s going to prepare us for the future.” says South Range head coach Dan Yeagley “You know, where is South Range football going? You know we expect our kids to excel in the classroom. We expect our kids to excel our kids on the football field and. Great football schedule, it’s a phenomenal one, and we gotta survive it. We gotta come out every week to play. There’s not a week of rest.”
The numbers are encouraging. South Range averaged over 40 points per game last year, and has 7 returning starters on that side of the ball, that includes senior quarterback Aniello Buzzacco, running back Peyton Remish, and playmaker Mathias Combs, along with 4 of their 5 starting lineman from last season.
Buzzacco adds, “Pretty much our whole offense I’ve been friends with since 1st grade, and we’ve just been growing up together. We know each other.”
“Lot of excitement offensively because last year, as you said, they were explosive.” says Yeagley. “This year we expect the same thing.”