2014 Girard Football Preview

2014 Girard Indians’ Football Preview
2013 Record: 6-4 (5-2), AAC National Division
Head Coach: Pat Pearson, 1st season
Division: 5
Last Trip to Post-Season: 2011
School Playoff Record: 7-6
Last League Title: 2011, co-champs
5-Year Winning Percentage: 63.6%

2014 Schedule
Aug. 28 – at Niles, 7
Sept. 5 – Hubbard, 7
Sept. 12 – Warren JFK, 7
Sept. 19 – at Campbell, 7
Sept. 26 – at Newton Falls, 7
Oct. 3 – Lakeview, 7
Oct. 10 – Champion, 7
Oct. 17 – at Liberty, 7
Oct. 24 – at LaBrae, 7
Oct. 31 – Jefferson, 7

Returning Statistical Leaders
Rushing Yards: Jacob Ryser, 15
Passing Yards: Christian Bello, 30
Receiving Yards: Collin Cramer, 339
Tackles: Jacob Ryser, 56
Interceptions: Chaston Williams, Collin Harden & Treyvon Mills, 2
Quarterback Sacks: Treyvon Mills, 12.0

Year in Review: Girard closed out the 2013 season by registering 6 wins in their last 8 games. Of the Indians’ four losses, only one was by more than 7 points. Two of their setbacks were by a total of 3 points. Known for their ability to score on offense, Girard tallied at least 50 points in four of their last five games.

Quarterback Nick Cardiero almost doubled his passing yards from 2012 (1366) to 2013 (2602). His completion percentage also went up drastically from 56.6% to 63.8%. Cardiero was joined by his offensive weapons in James Cupan at running back and Jordan Graziano and Chris Vince at receiver. Cupan ran for 26 touchdowns and compiled a rushing total of 1,465 yards. He was also effective catching the ball as he made 40 grabs for 426 yards (7 TDs). Graziano led the team in receptions (58), yards (1037) and touchdown catches (8). Vince hauled in 43 passes for 620 yards (14.4 ypr). With any new season comes the chore of replacing the seniors who’ve meant a great deal to their program. In Girard’s case, there are plenty of those not just the aforementioned standouts. On defense, the secondary was ravaged by graduation with the loss of Cupan (68 tackles, 7 sacks) and Vincent Maderitz (47 tackles, 2 INTs). At linebacker, Zach Cochran finished second with 11 quarterback takedowns in 2013.

In late-February former coach and Girard great Nick Cochran decided to step down as the leader of the football program (effective June 30) to take over as the school’s athletic director. Almost a month later, the Indians’ hired Pat Pearson to guide to the team into the 2014 season. Pearson is a Girard-graduate and their former defensive coordinator for the past three seasons. The new look Indians will take the field on Thursday, August 28 when they meet the Niles Red Dragons.

2013 Team Leaders
Points Scored Per Game: 41.3 (4th in Area)
Rushing Offense: 212.2
Passing Offense: 263.2
Points Allowed Per Game: 22.9 (28th in Area)
Rushing Defense: 189.5
Passing Defense: 122.3

3 Things to Watch in Girard
New coach, philosophy has been defense.
With Pearson as the defensive coordinator, the Indians had allowed 23.3 points per game in his 33 outings. That number is a bit skewed as Girard went through a 1-9 season in 2012 where the defense allowed 30 points-or-more six times. Just last year, the Indians’ defense saw improvement in the rushing yards allowed (238.6 to 189.5) and the forced turnovers (19 to 23). Girard returns a lot on defense including Jacob Ryser (56 tackles), Treyvon Mills (52 tackles, 12 sacks, 2 INTs), Matt Brink (50 tackles), Chaston Williams (36 tackles, 2 INTs), Christian Bello (35 tackles), Trevor Gump (32 tackles) and Collin Harden (32 tackles, 2 INTs).

Running the football?
Of the 2,176 rushing yards the Indians were able to compile last season, only 21 returns in 2014. Girard lost James Cupan (1465 yards, 26 TDs), Nick Cardiero (581 yards, 12 TDs), and Isaiah Mann (114 yards, 2 TDs) from last year’s group. Junior Jacob Ryser (15 yards, 2.1 ypc) is the leading returning rusher.

Can Girard keep up the scoring?
The Indians have averaged over 41 points per game in two of the last three years. Since 2009, Girard has had a propensity to score more in odd-numbered years. In 2009, they averaged 36.3 points. Two years later, they averaged 43.9 and just last fall the Tribe put together a 41.3 average. However, in 2010, Girard posted a 25.3 average while in 2012, they scored just 21.6. Still, the Indians have averaged above 21 points in each of the last seven campaigns.

Recent Leaders
Passing Yards
2013: Nick Carderio – 2602
2012: Nick Carderio – 1366
2011: Dan Graziano – 1427*
2010: Dan Graziano – 1949

Rushing Yards
2013: James Cupan – 1473
2012: James Cupan – 777
2011: Dan Graziano – 1573*
2010: Dan Graziano – 721

Receiving Yards
2013: Jordan Graziano – 1034
2012: Jordan Graziano – 622
2011: Brandon Byrd – 540*
2010: Landon Smith – 928

2013: Chaston Williams – 3
2012: Anthony Bryant – 3
2011: Brandon Byrd – 2*
2010: Landon Smith – 4
*-Regular Season Stats

Fact Finder: Girard will look to end their two-year drought of not advancing to the playoffs…The Indians have opened the season with a loss in three of their previous four lid lifters…Girard has won 8 of their last 13 games in the month of October.

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