2014 Champion Football Preview

2014 Champion Golden Flashes’ Football Preview
2013 Record: 3-7 (1-6), AAC National Division
Head Coach: Terry Howell, 6th season (17-33)
Division: 5
Last Trip to Post-Season: 1994
School Playoff Record: 1-2
Last League Title: 1998, co-champs
5-Year Winning Percentage: 34.0%

2014 Schedule
Aug. 29 – at Streetsboro, 7
Sept. 5 – at Conneaut, 7
Sept. 12 – Garrettsville Garfield, 7
Sept. 19 – Liberty, 7
Sept. 26 – at Lakeview, 7
Oct. 3 – Newton Falls, 7
Oct. 10 – at Girard, 7
Oct. 17 – Campbell, 7
Oct. 24 – at Jefferson, 7
Oct. 31 – LaBrae, 7

Year in Review: After the Flashes loss to Streetsboro (40-7) in their opener, many had to think that this could be a long season. However, Champion came back to post consecutive wins against Conneaut (36-19) and Garrettsville Garfield (49-19) – two teams who combined to finish with an 11-9 mark. The Golden Flashes went onto win just one more (Newton Falls) but were able to compete against many that they squared off against. Champion lost four games by 9 points or less including against Lakeview (36-28) who advanced to week eleven.

Following last season’s 25.1 scoring average, the Flashes have posted 24 points per game or better in three of the last four years. The offense relied on the running game to record 262 yards per game, which was an increase of 56 yards from the previous season. Champion’s quarterbacks passed for only 10 yards per game.

The Golden Flashes will try and end their 20-year drought since last advancing to week eleven. Coach Terry Howell’s bunch will make two road trips (Streetsboro & Conneaut) to begin the season before returning home to challenge the G-Men of Garfield.

2013 Team Leaders
Points Scored Per Game: 24.4 (32nd in Area)
Rushing Offense: 262.1
Passing Offense: 9.6
Points Allowed Per Game: 25.1 (34th in Area)
Rushing Defense: 137.0
Passing Defense: 163.7

3 Things to Watch at Champion
Replacing Rasey& McFarland.
To lose both Jacob Rasey and Brandon McFarland in the same off-season is going to be a big hurdle for Champion. Rasey scored 14 total touchdowns, ran for 782 yards and 80 tackles on defense. McFarland finished 29 rushing yards shy of 1,000 while tallying 6.1 yards per tote. Brandon compiled 14 touchdowns and 6 two-point conversions.

Turnover ratio.
In each of the past three seasons, Champion has compiled a 10-20 mark (.333). Much of their problems have been attributed to the turnover ratio. Last season, the Flashes had 15 turnovers and just 11 takeaways (-4). In each of the previous two years, they had a ratio of -5.

Punting hasn’t been an issue.
Eric Fenstermaker finished fourth (25 punts, 30.3 average) among punters who had booted the ball at least 15 times in the National Division as a sophomore.

Recent Leaders
Rushing Yards
2013: Brandon McFarland – 971
2012: Mike Cyrus – 1050
2011: Justin Rasey – 511
2010: Jimmy Rasey – 1449

Punting Average
2013: Eric Fenstermaker – 30.3
2012: Jacob Rasey – 32.8
2011: Robert Douglas – 30.4
2010: Brandon Brazina – 38.1

Kickoff Return Average
2013: Jacob Rasey – 32.7
2012: Jason Cyrus – 21.3
2011: Jason Cyrus – 21.9
2010: Travis Damron – 32.4

Fact Finder: Champion has won five of their last six contests played in the month of September. However, in the month that follows, the Golden Flashes have won just twice over the course of their last thirteen games. Also, Champion has dropped four of their last five season openers.

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