Here are team capsules of what to watch for each team this coming season. We are excited to bring you our 75th year of coverage.
Alliance 7-4 last season — EBC champions (Lost to Medina Buckeye in postseason 28-24)
HC: Seth Whiting 4th year
Key Returning Players: Brandon Alexander QB, Jeff Talbert WR/DB, Nick Oldfield OL/DL, Davieon Baker RB/DB, J’dynn Seals WR/DB, Jhon Howard FB/LB
Outlook: The Aviators are expected to compete for the EBC title again this year. QB Brandon Alexander is going to be a junior and has a cannon for an arm. Alliance moved up a division to D2, it will be interesting to see if they can get enough playoff points to make it to week 11.
Canton McKinley 9-3 last season — Co-Fed League Champs (Lost to Mentor in postseason 36-6)
HC: Marcus Wattley 1st year
Key Returning Players: Lameir Garrett RB, Jalen Ross WR, Jasper Robinson TE, Joseph Saipaia FB/LB, Brian Pinckney LB/DB
Outlook: New coach, lots of talents on both sides of the ball. Biggest question mark? Who will play QB with the departure of Alijah Curtis? If the Bulldogs can answer that question, watch out.
Central Catholic 4-6 last season — Started 2-2, finished the year 2-4
HC: Jeff Lindesmith 6th year
Key Returning Players: Austin Beck QB/DB, Chase Miller RB, Vinny DiRuzza DB, Brock Janowicz OL
Outlook: They play a tough enough schedule that a 6-4 record can get them into the postseason. Chase Miller should have a great year at running back, he has been starting since his freshman year.
Canton South 2-8 last season — After a 2-3 start, they finished 0-5…
HC: Greg Reed 3rd year
Key Returning Players: Tyler Karovic WR/DB — Must replace most of their skill position kids..
Outlook: Can they replace the likes of Riley James at QB & Nick Blackmer at RB? There are lots of question marks in North Industry this year, but if some young guys step up, they could surprise some people.
East Canton 8-4 last season — 3 straight years in the postseason
HC: John Spider Miller 4th year
Key Returning Players: Jaron Molla RB/LB, Natty Suntheimer RB/LB, Tony Reder RB/DB, Chase Vacco LB, Turner Giles QB
Outlook: This team could be Spider’s best team at East Canton if they stay healthy. They are athletic, experienced and extremely capable of making a playoff run.
Fairless 3-7 last season — 2-1 start, 1-6 finish
HC: AJ Sarbaugh 2nd year
Key Returning Players: Ethan Brindley QB, Justin Yoder WR, Logan Slutz RB/LB
Outlook: No Jack Laney at QB, but Ethan Brindley is ready. The Falcons are playing in a very tough PAC-7, but will be a tough out for every team that they play.
GlenOak 1-9 last season — They are looking to get back on track after back to back losing seasons
HC: Beau Balderson 1st year
Key Returning Players: Kindel Richardson QB/DB, Jamiel Randle WR/DB, Aeden Beague OL/DL
Outlook: New coach, lots of unknowns. GlenOak took their bumps and bruises last year, can they rebound this season?
Hoover 7-3 last season — Co-Fed League Champs with McKinley
HC: Brian Baum 5th year
Key Returning Players: Connor Ashby QB, Adam Griguolo RB, Drew Johnson WR, Trent Graham WR, JR Rupert LB, Ryan Prusinowski LB, Elliot Tornow DB/K, Connor Mayle H-Back
Outlook: This is the most talent a Hoover team has had in 10 years. Connor Ashby is a stud at QB, Adam Griguolo is a fantastic running back and JR Rupert and Ryan Prusinowski will make this defense really tough at linebacker.
Jackson 6-4 last season —- Lost 3 games by 10 points or less last year
HC: Tim Budd 5th year
Key Returning Players: Jake Ryan WR/DB, Hunter Geissinger QB (newcomer who could see playing time), Ethan Adkins RB, Nate Baumoel FB/LB
Outlook: Jake Ryan may be the most talented player in Stark County this year. He is oozing with talent. Is he enough though? The Federal League is going to be really tough this year, the Polar Bears are always part of the discussion. They were really close to being a playoff team last year, we will see if they can win the close games this season.
Lake 6-4 last year — started 3-0, ended 3-0, middle 4 weeks 0-4…
HC: Dan DeGeorge 7th year
Key Returning Players: Jake Eckels QB, Dreden Owens LB, Sean Michael-James RB/DB, Logan Fedor WR, Bryce Snow WR/DB, Tyson Blosser LB/DL, Joe Spohn OL
Outlook: SO MUCH TALENT IN HARTVILLE. Jake Eckels is going to be a stud, Sean Michael-James has the chance to be one of the best backs in the county. The Blue Streaks are going to make a lot of noise this season.
Louisville 6-4 last year — started 0-2, finished 6-2..
HC: Jeff Twiddy 1st year
Key Returning Players: Colton Jones QB, Davis Burick WR/DB, Justin Broad WR/DB, Ryan Pukys WR, Grayson Beamer WR/DB, Nathan Guiley RB, Jason Goard DE/TE
Outlook: Colton Jones is a really solid QB. He has a number of solid wide receivers to get the ball to. Can Jeff Twiddy keep the Louisville tradition alive?
Marlington 8-3 last year — Lost EBC title game to Alliance Week 10…
HC: Mark Gulling 1st year
Key Returning Players: CJ Greiner QB, Andrew Carr DL/LB, Nik Tortola DB, Anthony Sabatino RB/LB
Outlook: Watch for CJ Greiner to have a huge year at QB. This team could easily win the EBC.
Massillon 14-1 last year — State Runner Up… Lost to Hoban in close game in D2 title game
HC: Nate Moore 5th year
Key Returning Players: Aidan Longwell QB, Zion Phifer RB, Ben Krichbaum LB, Preston Hodges LB, Terrance Keyes RB, Anthony Pedro ATH, Jayden Ballard WR, Luke Murphy DB/WR, Andrew Wilson-Lamp WR, Nick Liebler LB/FB, Magnus Haines P, Terrance Rankl OL/DL, Manny McElroy DT, Robbie Page DB/WR
Outlook: Best team in Stark County. The Tigers are loaded. The goal is 15 weeks again. This could be the most explosive offense that the Tigers have ever had.
Minerva 0-10 last year — 40 straight losses
HC: Mark Hundley
Key Returning Players: Brayden Costea QB, Chance Martineau RB/LB, Garrison Markins (Fast kid as long as he plays), Numbers and size and talent are the problems…
Outlook: There is one goal this year: WIN A GAME. 40 straight losses has been really hard for this community. Mark Hundley enters his first year with a chance to win the town over immediately with a win.
Northwest 5-5 last year — Lost 3 games by 6 points or less… Could have been a playoff team
HC: Joe Harbour 4th year
Key Returning Players: Big time player is Jordan Mick at QB — He transferred in from Hoban where he was the back-up QB last season… Collin Houser RB, Colton Weber LB, Remington McClung OL/LB
Outlook: The PAC-7 is going to be really tough this year and you can add Northwest to the discussion. Jordan Mick has transferred back from Hoban where he was the back-up QB. The Indians will definitely challenge for a playoff spot.
Perry 8-2 last year — Losses to us Hoover and Lake
HC: Keith Wakefield 7th year back…
Key Returning Players: Josh Lemon RB, Kyle Middaugh RB, Devonte Armstrong SS/WR, Vinny Sciury OL/DL, Dominic Vinas ATH
Outlook: “Joshua Lemon on the carry” will become a common phrase in the PTO. Vinny Sciury is also a stud on the line.
Tuslaw 6-5 last year — Lost to Orrville in playoffs, the eventual D5 state champ… started 2-4, finished 4-1…
HC: Matt Gulling 1st year
Key Returning Players: Brier Marthey RB, Kaden Lau WR, Austin Cordeiro QB, these 3 players are very talented
Outlook: Brier Marthey is the best kept secret in Stark County. The Mustangs have a chance to be really good with Marthey at RB and Austin Cordeiro returning at QB
Sandy Valley 9-2 last year — Lost to Manchester in 1st round of playoffs
HC: Brian Gamble 3rd year
Key Returning Players: Cameron Blair QB, Demetrius Evans WR, Brodie Kelly WR, Brady Russell WR, Mason Tucci WR, Brendan O Bradovich RB, Elijah Eyster DL, Wyatt Moyer DL
Outlook: Cameron Blair is arguably the best QB in the county. He has weapons to get the ball too as well. Evans, Kelly, Russell, Tucci and other are going to be really solid skill position players. The Cardinals could make a really nice playoff run this season.
St Thomas Aquinas 2-8 last year — Trying to add to numbers that have been down
HC: Mike Cook 2nd year
Key Returning Players: About 30 kids this year — Ryan Hill their AD expects them to be better than last season… Avion Culler, Karief Culler, Treyton Mackey are kids to watch
Outlook: Numbers are up, can the Knights bring back their tradition of excellence this season? They seem poised to have a much better season than last year.