Sharon appears ready for a deep run with tons of talent on offense

The Tigers return four of their 5 starting offensive linemen

2017 Sharon Football Preview
Head Coach: Jim Wildman, 30th season (238-94-6)
Last Season: 8-4 (5-3), T-3rd place in Region 2
Classification: AAA

Last 10 Years
Overall Winning Percentage: 62.4% (73-44)
Playoff Appearances: 8
Playoff Record: 10-8
Region Championships: 3 (2009, 2010, 2015)
Region Record: 42-25

2016 Results
Hickory 45 Tigers 13*
Tigers 56 Titusville 24*
Tigers 45 Corry 0*
Sharpsville 42 Tigers 35
Tigers 55 Lakeview 6
Tigers 28 Holy Name 14
Tigers 42 Mercer 0
Tigers 49 Slippery Rock 7
Hickory 42 Tigers 14
Tigers 34 Greenville 24
Tigers 45 Reynolds 10
Wilmington 30 Tigers 13

2016 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 35.8 (9th in Area)
Total Offense: 359.8
Passing Offense: 202.9
Rushing Offense: 156.9
Scoring Defense: 20.3 (19th in Area)
…Sharon goes back-to-back years with a scoring average of 36-points per game (2015: 36.3; 2016: 35.8).

The Good News
Returning Starters: Offense – 8; Defense – 8
Their standout junior runner Jordan Wilson returns after rushing for 515 yards as a freshman (8 TDs) and registering 1337 yards last year on the ground with 16 scores. Wilson was also a key receiver for J.P. McComb’s passing attack as he caught 14 passes for 185 yards. Two of Sharon’s top three pass catchers are back on offense – Ziyon Strickland and Jayquan Odem. Strickland, once again, went over 1,000-yards receiving for the second consecutive season. In 2015, Strickland caught 60 passes for 1215 yards (15 TDs). As a junior, he was able to increase his receptions (66) and touchdowns (17) while still managing to eclipse 1100 yards (1188). Odem caught 31 passes for 297 yards and 6 touchdowns as only a sophomore last Fall. Senior transfer receiver Tristan Ballard is in the fold this Fall after making 13 catches for 154 yards (11.8 average) at Ursuline. Last year, Nick Alexander and Lane Voytik both saw mop up duty at the quarterback position. Alexander completed 11 of 19 passes (57.9%) while throwing for 109 yards (2 TDs). Voytik completed 85.7% of his passes (6-7) for 81 yards. Sharon also welcomes back four of their five starting offensive linemen from 2016. Most of the defensive stalwarts return as linebackers Zach Dignall (74 tackles), Zach Steines (57 tackles) and Frank Shaffer (42 tackles) will all be back in the fold. Dionte Colwell (3 sacks) and Tyshawn Root (17 tackles) anchor the defensive line. In the secondary, you’ll find Ziyon Strickland (6 INTs) and James McKinney (3 INTs) as the ball hawks again. Ballard also picked off a pair of passes as a junior for the Fighting Irish. Coach Wildman is pleased with the way this off-season has gone thus far, “We’ve had a great winter and spring. The work ethic and participation has been great. We have a number of returning seniors and juniors who must show that twelve games of varsity experience mean something.”

2017 Schedule
Aug. 25 – Wilmington, 7
Sept. 1 – Reynolds, 7
Sept. 8 – at Greenville, 7
Sept. 15 – Hickory, 7
Sept. 22 – at Slippery Rock, 7
Sept. 29 – at Mercer, 7
Oct. 6 – at South Range, 7
Oct. 13 – at Lakeview, 7
Oct. 20 – Sharpsville, 7
Oct. 27 – at Grove City, 7

The Bad News
Last offseason, the Tigers kind of knew what they had in their quarterback who served as the main backup to Andrew Tomko in J.P. McComb. After seeing the results, even the coaching staff had to be impressed by what #11 was able to accomplish last season. McComb threw for 30 touchdowns and 2245 yards on 151 of 265 passing (57.0%). McComb leaves a void in the Sharon offense that returns their standout runner (Wilson) and a couple of receiving threats which includes an All-State honoree (Strickland). The team’s second leading rusher (336 yards) and receiver (459 yards) is also gone in Jeremiah Norris. Jeremiah also intercepted 3 passes on defense. Who will replace Jaquan Waller at the rush end position? Waller registered back-to-back seasons with at least 70 tackles (2015: 70; 2016: 73). His 4 quarterback takedowns led the Tigers along with another graduated player in Dante Dellibovi.

Key Number
Since just winning 3 games in two seasons (2011-12: 3-17), the Tigers have not finished with a sub-500 record since. Over the last two seasons, Sharon has posted a winning percentage of 80% (20-5).

Featured Stat
Three-straight years of 2,000-yard passers in Tiger Town:
2016: J.P. McComb – 2245 (30 TDs)
2015: Andrew Tomko – 2701 (29 TDs)
2014: Andrew Tomko – 2061 (17 TDs)