2014 United Football Preview

United Football

2014 United Golden Eagles’ Football Preview
2013 Record: 5-5 (4-3), ITCL Upper Tier
Head Coach: Mike Ward, 14th Season (79-127)
Division: 5
Last Trip to Post-Season: 2010
School Playoff Record: 0-1
Last League Title: 1999, co-champs
5-Year Winning Percentage: 51.0%

2014 Schedule
Aug. 29 – at Malvern, 7
Sept. 5 – Salem, 7
Sept. 12 – Newcomerstown, 7
Sept. 19 – Columbiana, 7
Sept. 26 – at Jackson-Milton, 7
Oct. 3 – at Springfield, 7
Oct. 10 – South Range, 7
Oct. 17 – Lisbon, 7
Oct. 24 – at Crestview, 7
Oct. 31 – East Palestine, 7

Single Season Leaders
Rushing Yards: Mike Martin, 1657 (2013)
Passing Yards: Josh McLaughlin, 2627 (2010)
Receiving Yards: Ryan Powell, 1248 (2010)
Interceptions: Mike Gruszecki (1994) & Tyler Boyle (2005), 8

Returning Leaders
Rushing Yards: Colton Antram, 29
Passing Yards: Tyler Powers & Colton Graham, 13
Receiving Yards: Braden Davison, 189
Interceptions: Braden Davison, 3

Year in Review: Last fall, United missed out on two opportunities early in the season when they dropped their first two contests to Malvern (34-28) and at Salem (24-21) by a total of 9 points. The Eagles won just one of their five match ups against teams who finished with a winning record.

Offensive stars Garrett Beech and Mike Martin have both departed. Beech eclipsed the 1,000-yard plateau in passing and rushing in each of the last two seasons. Last year, Martin set the school record for the most rushing yards in a single season (1657).

The Golden Eagles will open their non-conference schedule at Malvern and then return to Hanoverton for a three-game home stand against Salem, Newcomerstown, and their league lidlifter against Columbiana.

2013 Team Leaders
Points Scored Per Game: 35.1 (9th in Area)
Rushing Offense: 288.0
Passing Offense: 112.3
Points Allowed Per Game: 26.9 (41st in Area)

3 Things to Watch in Hanoverton
Strong up front.
Senior linemen Charlie Smith, Lucas Cooper and Eric Blosser all are back in the mix after a monumental season which saw the Golden Eagles’ rush for 288.8 yards per game as a team while featuring two players who ran for over 1,000-yards. The team’s front five played a key role into the team’s overall production of averaging 401 total yards of offense. Only to think that three years ago (2011), the Eagles were able to only manage 216 yards of total offense.

Improvement needed on defense.
It’s safe to say that more often than not over the past decade – in order to beat United – you have to outscore them. In the past three years, United has only held six teams to less than 20-points. To demonstrate over the past ten years, the Eagles’ defense has allowed on average below 20-points per game just once (2008: 19.4). They’ll have to improve on not only the amount of points which are scored upon them but the amount of yards which are gained against them. Last year, opponents averaged 328 yards per contest. A bright sign was their turnover ratio was +9 a year ago.

Replacing a ton of talent.
In terms of rushing, 3% of the amount of yards returns in 2014 (77 of 2,888). The team’s leading returning rusher (Colton Antram) toted the ball just three times. Tyler Powers and Colton Graham threw the ball a total of 3 times on the varsity level last fall. The offense does return two of their top five receivers in Braden Davison (16 catches, 189 yards) and Bryan Weyent (9 catches, 155 yards).

Recent Offensive Leaders
Passing Yards
2013: Garrett Beech – 1097
2012: Garrett Beech – 1017
2011: Garrett Beech – 479
2010: Josh McLaughlin – 2627
2009: Josh McLaughlin – 1938

Rushing Yards
2013: Mike Martin – 1657
2012: Garrett Beech – 1427
2011: Garrett Beech – 733
2010: Josh McLaughlin – 1065
2009: Josh McLaughlin – 765

Receiving Yards
2013: Tyler Lewis – 314
2012: Mike Martin – 242
2011: Mike Martin – 274
2010: Ryan Powell – 1248
2009: Zach Taylor – 598

Fact Finder: United has won just one of their last eight season openers…The Golden Eagles have seen lots of success in the month of October. The last time they finished the month with a losing mark was in 2007 (1-3). Since then, United has posted a 16-10 record in the tenth month of the year…Last year, the Eagles finished 3-2 on the road. They had lost their previous two contests away from Hanoverton.

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