2014 Southington Football Preview

2014 Southington Wildcats’ Football Preview
2013 Record: 5-6 (2-3), Northeastern Athletic Conference
Head Coach: Ryan Slone, 4th season at Southington (12-18)
Division: 7
Last Trip to Post-Season: 2013
School Playoff Record: 0-2
Last League Title: 2009
5-Year Winning Percentage: 34.7%

2014 Schedule
Aug. 29 – Jackson-Milton, 7
Sept. 5 – Sebring, 7
Sept. 12 – at Ledgemont, 7
Sept. 19 – at Windham, 7
Sept. 26 – Newbury, 7
Oct. 3 – at Grand Valley, 7
Oct. 10 – at Pymatuning Valley, 7
Oct. 17 – at Sts. John & Paul, 7
Oct. 24 – Mathews, 7
Oct. 31 – Conneaut, 7

Returning Leaders
Rushing Yards: Cody Helmuth, 66
Passing Yards: Travis Lehman, 5
Receiving Yards: Justin Len, 370

Year in Review: Southington began the 2013 season with an impressive two-point victory (21-19) over Jackson-Milton on the road. The Wildcats won two of their next three to post a 3-1 mark after four contests. Chalker fell to Windham (28-27) and to Pymatuning Valley (28-21) to end the regular season with a .500 record. However, the Wildcats qualified for their first post-season appearance in twelve years.

Coach Ryan Slone took over a team which did not win a single game in 2010 to improve the win total in each of the last three seasons. Slone’s bunch went from a 3-win team in 2011 to a 5-win team in 2013. The offensive production has seen improvement, as well. In 2011, the unit averaged 17.4 points onto 17.9 in 2012. This past fall, the Wildcats averaged 22.2 points which was their personal best since 2008 (31.4). Still, the team has many goals which have not been reached yet, most notably, the opportunity to take the NAC championship and to have a winning season.

Southington will begin the 2014 season with two home games against Jackson-Milton and Sebring.

2013 Team Leaders
Points Scored Per Game: 22.2 (35th in Area)
Passing Offense: 89.1
Rushing Offense: 189.1
Points Allowed Per Game: 27.7 (44th in Area)

3 Things to Watch at Chalker
Replacements.
Coach Slone must find a way to replace tons of production from last season’s playoff team. On defense, the ‘Cats will look to supplant their top two pass rushers (Brendon Baugher & Chris Warnick) along with their top five tacklers (Baugher, Warnick, Austin Casper, Dillon Nesbith, John Mazzola). On offense, their two-year starting quarterback (Austin Casper) and virtually anyone who touched the ball in the backfield has graduated. Senior receiver and defensive back Justin Len returns after a 26 catch (5 TDs) and 2 interception season. Senior Tyler Regal-Sullivan is back along the defensive line. Last year, he accumulated 3 sacks and 21 defensive stops.

Lehman, the punter.
Junior Travis Lehman picked up where Jacob Zolna left off with the punting duties. In 2012, Zolna averaged close to 34 yards per boot (33.8 yards on 25 punts). Last year, Lehman kicked for a 32-yard (31.7) average on 28 punts as a sophomore.

Gaining momentum.
Southington’s football program has not experienced a winning season since 2009 (5-4). However, Slone has rerouted the ship since he took over in 2011. The Wildcats will look to achieve more success in 2014.

Recent Leaders
Passing Yards
2013: Austin Casper – 886
2012: Austin Casper – 400
2011: Kyle Reynolds – 836

Rushing Leaders
2013: Dillon Nezbith – 580
2012: Jordan Dickey – 676
2011: Connor Oakford – 830

Receiving Leaders
2013: Justin Len – 370
2012: JC Comella & Justin Len – 161
2011: Dillon McCoy – 453

Tackles
2013: Brendon Baugher – 104
2012: Brendon Baugher – 94
2011: Connor Oakford – 85

Quarterback Sacks
2013: Chris Warnick – 6.0
2012: Mike Moody – 3.0
2011: Jordan Dickey – 4.0

Interceptions
2013: Justin Len – 2
2012: Austin Casper, John Mazzola, Hunter Romigh – 2
2011: Dillon McCoy – 4

Fact Finder: The Wildcats ended their four game losing streak on opening day last season when they were able to score a two-point win (21-19) over Jackson-Milton…From 2005-10, Southington accumulated a 14-45 record. Since 2011, the ‘Cats have tallied a 12-18 mark…Senior Justin Len has caught 34 passes for 541 yards (15.9 ypr) and 7 TDs throughout his career. Len has also compiled a stat line on defense of 94 tackles and 4 interceptions during his three-year career on the varsity level…The Wildcats have accumulated four wins in the past six home games.

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