2014 Boardman Football Preview

2014 Boardman Spartans’ Football Preview
2013 Record: 1-9 (1-5), Federal League
Head Coach: Joe Ignazio, 2nd Year (1-9)
Division: 2
Last Trip to Post-Season: 2011
School Playoff Record: 6-8
Last League Title: 2011, tri-champs
5-Year Winning Percentage: 48.1%

2014 Schedule
Aug. 29 – Mentor, 7
Sept. 5 – at Cardinal Mooney, 7:30
Sept. 12 – Poland, 7
Sept. 19 – at GlenOak, 7
Sept. 26 – at Fitch, 7:30
Oct. 3 – Perry, 7
Oct. 10 – at Hoover, 7
Oct. 17 – Jackson, 7
Oct. 24 – Canton McKinley, 7
Oct. 31 – at Lake, 7

Returning Statistical Leaders
Rushing Yards: Marcus Smith, 125
Passing Yards: Alex Duda, 25
Receiving Yards: Jon Cina, 152
Tackles: Matt Filipovich, 96
Interceptions: Gavin Dill, 1
Quarterback Sacks: Evan Croutch, 4.0

Year in Review: In coach Joe Ignazio’s first season at the helm, not much went right for the Spartans as they sputtered to a 1-9 finish. The offense accumulated their lowest scoring output (9.2 ppg) in ten years (2004: 8.1 ppg) as they were only able to post more than 16 points once all year. The defense allowed opponents to score an average of 31.9 points which marked the second straight season that their foes were able to compile a 30-point or above average (2012: 34.8). The last time that their adversaries were able to accomplish that feat was in 2003 and 2004. Boardman’s defense had run off six consecutive campaigns of holding their opponents to 17 points or less (2006-2011) prior to their current stretch.

The Spartan defense forced just 11 turnovers in 2013. However, that side of the ball, featured four players who were recognized by the Federal League as first-or-second team performers. Matt Filipovich took first-team honors as he set the school record in tackles by a defensive back in a single season with 96. Nick Cordova also had 96 defensive stops and 3 quarterback takedowns. Evan Croutch led the team in sacks with 4 and finished with 78 tackles. The other player who was selected as an All-Federal League performer was Mario Graziani (69 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries). The defense will welcome back all but Cordova in 2014.

The offense averaged just 232.9 total yards of offense per game – down from 318.6 in 2012. The unit lost their starting quarterback (Darius Sanders) and top four rushers (Sanders, Isaiah Lyle, Turel Thompson, Ivan Adu-Poku) to graduation. Alex Duda (4 for 24, 25 yards) and Jon Cina (1 for 2, 14 yards) both attempted passes last year on the varsity level. Duda scored 2 touchdowns on the ground (22 rushes, 36 yards) while Cina is the leading returning pass catcher following a campaign which saw the then-junior haul in 13 receptions for 152 yards.

2013 Team Leaders
Points Scored Per Game: 9.1 (60th in Area)
Rushing Offense: 172.0
Passing Offense: 60.9
Points Allowed Per Game: 31.9 (52nd in Area)

3 Things to Watch in Boardman
Defense has potential to get stronger.
The departure of Nick Cordova will not be an easy transition. Over the last two seasons, Cordova has compiled 186 tackles. With that said, Boardman’s linebackers led by Mario Graziani and Evan Croutch appear to be on the brink of having a breakout season. Juniors Gavin Dill (45 tackles) and Erick Ritz (39 tackles) both had special seasons as sophomores. The defensive backfield lost Ivan Adu-Poku (33 tackles), Isaiah Lyle (33 tackles), Turel Thompson (INT) and Darius Sanders (16 tackles). However, they do return one of the area’s best defenders in Matt Filipovich. The defensive front will be anchored by senior Jaysen Young (20 tackles) and junior Alex Birchfield (31 tackles, 2 sacks).

Filling the void left by Sanders.
Darius Sanders led the team in passing (570) and rushing (554) in 2013. Now, Boardman must tab their third starting quarterback in as many years. The last time the Spartans had the same starter in back-to-back seasons was Ryan Pollifrone in 2010 and 2011.

AAC on the horizon in 2015
From 2003 to 2013 the Spartans were a member of the Federal League, taking a share of the conference title in 2011 (with Canton McKinley and GlenOak). This season, Sparty will play out their old conference schedule before joining the All-American Conference on a full-time basis in 2014. Over the next few years, Boardman will have an opportunity to rekindle old rivalries as well as forming new ones amongst area teams. In 2015, Boardman will be one of four teams who will make up the Gold Division of the All-American Conference, joining Fitch, Harding and Lakeside.

Recent Leaders
Passing Yards
2013: Darius Sanders – 570
2012: John Babos – 685
2011: Ryan Pollifrone – 1352
2010: Ryan Pollifrone – 1090

Rushing Yards
2013: Darius Sanders – 554
2012: John Babos – 909
2011: Devin Campbell – 1285
2010: Nick Bounavolonta – 535

Receiving Yards
2013: Turel Thompson – 223
2012: Turel Thompson – 282
2011: Devin Campbell – 513
2010: Dayne Hammond – 689

Tackles
2013: Matt Filipovich & Nick Cordova – 96
2012: Justin Babos – 91
2011: Dan Popio – 134
2010: Dan Popio – 129

Quarterback Sacks
2013: Evan Croutch – 4.0
2012: Justin Babos – 6.0
2011: Justin Babos – 9.0
2010: Justin Babos – 3.0

Interceptions
2013: Gavin Dill & Turel Thompson – 1
2012: Turel Thompson – 2
2011: Dayne Hammond – 4
2010: Dayne Hammond – 3

Fact Finder: Matt Filipovich led the Spartans in tackles with 96 as a junior last fall. The last time an underclassmen led Boardman in tackles was in 2010 (Dan Popio). Evan Croutch became the first junior to lead the Spartans in quarterback sacks since 2011 (Justin Babos)…Boardman has registered just a 3-8 mark over their last eleven lid lifters…The Spartans have not won a home game in their last seven chances. They’ve also just posted just a 1-7 road record in their last eight match ups away from Spartan Stadium.

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