Football Preview 2018

Abundance of Talent Returns for St. Clairsville

By SETH STASKEY ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Whether it’s a practice, an opponent or even as it pertains to evaluating itself, St. Clairsville doesn’t plan to leave a stone unturned. Quite simply, for Brett McLean, the entire season boils down to the word “prepared.” And by that, the ...

Paden City Has The Makings for Success

By BUBBA KAPRAL PADEN CITY — Brent Croasmun starts Year 20 at the Paden City helm with a problem all too common to his program. The veteran grid boss enters the campaign with just 21 gridders on his roster. Croasmun, however, has come to make the most with the manpower shortages the last ...

Morris Back in Charge at Frontier

By MIKE MORRISON NEW MATAMORAS — After a 12-year hiatus, Russ Morris returns for his 13th season as head coach of a very young Frontier Cougar squad in 2018. Frontier will be looking to rebound from a pair of 1-9 seasons with a roster of 24 kids that includes two seniors. Morris has ...

Zeps Eye Return Trip to Playoffs

By MIKE MORRISON SARAHSVILLE — Heading into the 2017 prep football campaign, the Shenandoah Zeps felt “It Was Time” for their team to take the next step forward after back-to-back 4-6 seasons. The Jesse Wells-led Zeps indeed took a giant step forward as they qualified for the ...

Fort Frye Looking for Big Things

By RON JOHNSTON BEVERLY — Fort Frye High’s football team has been on a roll ever since Tate Engle earned the starting quarterback job as a freshman back in 2015. In three years of taking center snaps, Engle has helped the Cadets compile a combined 32-4 record and make three straight ...

Pitt Beats the Big Boys, Struggles Against Others

By TRACY WATSON PITTSBURGH — With three losses to nationally ranked teams and three more losses by six points or less, the 2017 college football season may be one to forget for Coach Pat Narduzzi and his Pittsburgh Panthers. However, while Pitt finished off a 5-7 campaign, and 3-5 in the ...

Marshall Looks to Start Another Bowl Win Streak

By KYLE LUTZ HUNTINGTON — After its five bowl-game winning streak was snapped during the 2016 season, Marshall got a reminder of what’s it’s like to hoist the hardware during the 2017 season. The Thundering Herd won six of their first seven games before dropping four of their last five. ...

Shepherd Is the Overwhelming Favorite in MEC

By DON CLEGG BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — The winds of change are blowing a gale through the Mountain East Conference on and off the football field these days but one thing remains the same. Shepherd was made the overwhelming favorite to win its fourth straight MEC title when the league’s ...

Defense Could Lead Notre Dame Into Playoff

By JOSH STROPE SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Last October, Notre Dame was ranked No. 3 in the College Football Playoff standings. The Fighting Irish were going to crash the party and leave a conference champion on the outside looking in. Then Notre Dame went to Miami and got stomped by the ...

Franklin, Penn State Face Favorable Schedule

By SHAWN RINE STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — At first glance it might appear this is going to be a rebuilding season in Happy Valley. One would not be out of place coming to such a conclusion by looking at whom Penn State is missing from last season — Saquon Barkley, most of the back seven on ...

Crestview Roster Is Loaded With 19 Seniors

By TRACY WATSON COLUMBIANA — Veteran Crestview coach Paul Cusick has definite holes to fill, but at the same time has the nucleus to get the Rebels right back where they are used to being — the postseason. In his 20th season at the school, Cusick has had Crestview in the Ohio playoffs ...

Ludwig Feels Potters Ready to Turn Corner

By TRACY WATSON EAST LIVERPOOL — Winners of only three games the last four seasons, including three consecutive 3-7 campaigns, East Liverpool coach Josh Ludwig believes his Potters are ready to burst onto the scene and make some noise in 2018. “Coaches aren’t dumb, they know what they ...

Players Buying in Year-Round at Buckeye Trail

By RICK THORP OLD WASHINGTON — When Donnie Kerns took over the Buckeye Trail football program one of the things he wanted to do was change the culture. “I wanted the ‘buy in’ Kerns, entering his third season at his alma mater, said. “We had a lot of ‘August 1’ ...

Beaver Local Is Older, But Inexperienced

By TRACY WATSON LISBON — Beaver Local ran off six wins in its first seven games of 2017, establishing itself as a local power, before injuries caught up with Coach Mike McKenzie’s Beavers, who lost two of its final three. While that kind of season might be something to build on for some ...

Lowery Takes Over as Coach at Cambridge

By BUBBA KAPRAL CAMBRIDGE — Josh Lowery did a superb job of leading Cambridge as a quarterback. Now, the affable 34-year-old steps into the role as the Bobcats’ head coach. Lowery takes over for Kevin Gunn who resigned after last season, just a year after being named the Eastern ...

Nowhere to Go But Up for Warren

By RON JOHNSTON VINCENT — On the third day of Warren football practice, the United States Marine Corps visited the campus and provided some training tips for the players. “Everybody was up at 7 a.m. and bright-eyed and bushy-tailed,” first-year Warriors coach Dan Day said. “It was ...

Wellsville Hopes To Build On Strong Finish

By KYLE LUTZ WELLSVILLE — In Rob Ramsey’s first year at the helm at Wellsville, he experience some growing pains. However, when a team is young, it is imperative to let the players know the main goal of the season. That’s pretty much what happened with the 2017 Tigers. “Last year ...

Oak Glen Filled With Youth, Experience

By ANDREW GRIMM NEW MANCHESTER — The Oak Glen Golden Bears finished 2-8 last season, dropping each of the last six games of the season after a 2-2 start. The culprit for that may just be the reason Ted Arneault’s team takes a step forward this season — young players. The Golden Bears ...

Rockets Want To Be Better Conditioned for 4th Quarter

By TRACY WATSON BOWERSTON — Entering his second season at Conotton Valley, Coach Brant Gardner is concentrating on conditioning and having the chance to play meaningful fourth quarters. Gardner felt confident entering the 2017 campaign, however, early injuries played a big part in the ...

Injuries Behind, Hilltoppers Thinking Big Things

By DON CLEGG WEST LIBERTY — A series of injuries short-circuited a promising start to West Liberty’s 2017 campaign but head coach Roger Waialae expects a brighter 2018 when the Hilltoppers return to West Family Stadium this fall. “I like our talent level and I’ve been around this ...