EAST PALESTINE (WKBN) – East Palestine was a winning football team last year, but not a playoff team. This year, the Bulldogs return a high-powered offense with high expectations.
“I said pick a number for me, i just wanted them to pick a number, and they picked 67. so that is a personal goal of mine to have 67 touchdowns,” Junior Quarterback Parker Sherry said.
That number may seem like a stretch—but the East Palestine offense is stacked this season.
Big 22 alum Parker Sherry returns at quarterback for his junior year with two years experience. On each end—two big—tall wideouts that poses matchup problems for an offense that averaged nearly 30 points per game last season.
“We are always on the same page,” said Senior Wide Receiver Branden Kemp. “We have been playing together since we were little, we just have that connection.”
“We have grown up together. pee wee thru high school, we have all been together,” Junior Receiver Dominic Posey added.
Sherry is looking to forward to an offensive explosion in 2017, based on the experience he gained in his first two years under center.
“They all just change the routes without me even telling me. I wanted a certain route that I was thinking of at the time and they just ran it. Because we have had those three years to experience together and it is really clicking for us,” Sherry said.
It especially clicked two season ago when Sherry, then a freshman, helped lead a week ten comeback at South Range that put the Bulldogs in the playoffs for the first time under Head Coach Tony Foster. But last season it was the defense letting E-P down, allowing over 35 points per game in 2016.
“I do not want to go into games trying to outscore people,” Foster said. “Our biggest work is our defensive production needs to increase. Although our offense put up a lot of points…for four games last season, the opposition put up more.”
This season, Sherry will play both offense and defense.
“Gradually he has gotten more and more responsibility,” Foster explained. “As a freshman we didn’t give him a whole lot, then a little more on his plate last year, and year we will add a little more too it including playing some defense this year.”
Sherry sees bigs things for E-P this Fall.
“This is a new ball team. This is a new defense you are going to see. This isn’t the old Bulldogs, this is something new,” he said.
The Bulldogs will play in a new conference this season. United, Wellsville, Southern, Leetonia, Toronto, Lisbon, and Columbiana will make up the Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference. E-P would love to be the first ever league champion, and they’ve got a great shot this season.
The Bulldogs kickoff the regular season on August 25th at Salem.