High School Spotlight - Week 8
This week the eighth edition of our High School Spotlight series takes an in-depth look at some of the local football programs in the Greater Cleveland Conference.
Greater Cleveland Conference
Brunswick Blue Devils
Head Coach – Mark Pinzone (2nd season)
2017 Record – 5-5
Key Returners: QB Josh Stacho
Key Losses: OL Tom Kall, OL Steve Spickler, LB Kayden Harter, LB Jake Vadini, DB Seth Clark, WR/DB Ethan Flanigan, RB Cole Zamiska
Mark Pinzone returned for his second stint as Head Coach of Brunswick in 2017, leading the program to a 5-5 record but unfortunately missing out on a spot in the playoffs.
This year, the Blue Devils return their veteran signal-caller Josh Stacho despite the loss of a large senior class that included the likes of Ethan Flanigan and Cole Zamiska.
Head Coach – Sean Arno (2nd season)
2017 Record – 1-9
Key Returners: WR Izaiah Thomas, OL Nick Arno, DL Lewis Aguilar, DL Joseph Emerson. LB Qwanda Woodson, LB Michael Knapp, DB Sinquae Grant, DB Jimmy Schill, DB Noah France
Key Losses: QB Dontae Beckett, RB Tristan Arno, WR Keyshaun Glover, WR Deviian Williams, OL/DL Johnanthony Lowery, OL Luke Palos, DB Jordan Lucky-Baker, DL D’Aundre Rosoboro, OL Evan Hogan, OL Riley Sexton, WR Scott Ethington
The Elyria Pioneers are looking to make a leap up the standings of the Greater Cleveland Conference despite the 1-9 finish in 2017. Second-year Head Coach Sean Arno returns his son Nick on the offensive line as well as junior linebacker Michael Knapp, although the team will be looking for a new quarterback this season, having lost Dontae Beckett to graduation.
Head Coach – Jeff Rotsky (4th season)
2017 Record – 9-3
Key Returners: RB Brandon Wright, FB Raylan McGuire, WR Dre’Von Lindsay, OL Ashawn Berry, OL Darrius Johnson, OL Phil Patterson, OL Jaylen Jackson, LB Chris Parker, DB Damien Brown, LB Jalen Jacobs, LB Sean Jackson, DB Titus Jackson
Key Losses: QB CeeJay Hale, RB Ronald Lee, WR Jovan Owens, WR/DB Arquon Bush, OL/DL Ryan Johnson, WR Aubrey Shabazz, DL Phil Hawkins, DL Davion Sleeper, DL Larenz Wright
It was a fantastic 2017 for Head Coach Jeff Rotsky and his Euclid Panthers football team. Finishing at 9-3 for the year, the Panthers picked up big wins over Glenville, Aurora, Solon, and Massillon Jackson throughout the regular season and playoffs before ultimately falling to St. Ignatius in the second round of the postseason.
Euclid suffered heavy losses over the off-season in losing quarterback CeeJay Hale and running back Ronald Lee, but the return of running back Brandon Wright (Michigan State commit) and wide receiver Dre’Von Lindsay will surely help to soften the blow of those subtractions.
The Panthers are certainly expecting to contend for the Greater Cleveland Conference crown in 2018, as well as a deeper run in the OHSAA playoffs come November.
Head Coach – Larry Laird (2nd season)
2017 Record – 4-6
Key Returners: WR/DB Chris Kelly, RB Daylonte Davis, RB Dylan O’Dear
Key Losses: WR Dylan Fultz, QB Levi Pokersnik, DB J.T. Scoarste, QB Gavin Montgomery, FB/MLB Keith Tector, TE/DE Will Mercurio, OL Patrick Ross
The Medina Bees finished with a 4-6 record in 2017 but a Week 10 victory over the Solon Comets sent the Bees into the offseason with confidence that next season the program can make a push toward the top of the Greater Cleveland Conference.
The team loses their star receiver in Dylan Fultz but the returns of Chris Kelly and Daylonte Davis at the offensive skills positions give Medina threats to score any time they touch the ball.
Head Coach – Steve Trivisonno (22nd season)
2017 Record – 13-2
Key Returners: WR Braeden Gefert, OL Ryan Jacoby, OL Nick Samac, DL Noah Potter, LB Dan Adams, LB Brady Benz, DB Jackson Paglio, DB Billy Gorka, K Conor McIntosh, QB Luke Floriea, RB Nick Saginario
Key Losses: QB Tadas Tatarunas, RB Chris Edmond, WR Logan Shea, WR Steven Baird, WR/P Derek Kleinhenz, OL Tyler Schonauer, LB Mike Brey, DL Dominic DeFranco, DL Dan Garcar, OL John Kidner, OL Tyler Churney, LB Dominic Shelley, DB Mike Warren, DB Will Laganke, RB Eli McDougall
It was a memorable run for the Mentor Cardinals during the 2017 OHSAA playoffs. After finishing with a 9-1 mark in the regular-season the Cardinals went on an improbable run, which included a 49-17 victory over Stow in the first round, a 21-13 upset victory over St. Edward in round two, another upset victory over St. Ignatius, 23-21 in the regional final, and then a 27-21 win over Olentangy Liberty in the state semi-finals before falling in the Division 1 State Championship game to Pickerington Central.
The Cardinals lose their quarterback Tadas Tatarunas but the return of a trio of FBS commits (Ryan Jacoby/Ohio State, Noah Potter/Ohio State, Nick Samac/Michigan State) should give Head Coach Steve Trivisonno every reason to believe that Mentor is about to make another deep postseason run in 2018.
Shaker Heights Red Raiders
Head Coach – Jarvis Gibson (8th season)
2017 Record – 4-6
Key Returners: LB Nasir Rashid, RB Kenai Cooper, OLB/RB Victor Ford, QB Dakota Cochran, RB Rasheen Ali, DB Blare Sawyer, DL Nick Ferguson, DL Jaelen Johnson
Key Losses: LB Jaylin Garner, LB Sam Meinhard, QB/DB Jamir Dismukes, WR/DB Micah Hills, TE Billy Dunn, OL Maurice Jarrell, OL Dajuan Herring, DB Courtney Phillips, WR William Greer
Head Coach Jarvis Gibson and the Shaker Heights Red Raiders are looking forward to the 2018 season after finishing with a 4-6 record last season. The return of their veteran linebacker, and Air Force commit, Nasir Rashid, in addition to a number of high quality skill position athletes on both offense and defense give the Red Raiders confidence that this is the season they return to postseason play.
Head Coach – Jim McQuaide (16th season)
2017 Record – 5-5
Key Returners: WR Trevon Raphael, DB Dominic McGhee, DB Nate Miller, DL Nate Leskovec, OL Ron Carr, TE/DE David Marbury
Key Losses: WR/DB Taj Ward, RB Thomas Wilks, QB J.T. Caver, WR/DB Andrew Mason, OL Chris Glaser, QB Joe Cartellone, DL Jack Miller, DB/WR Ryan McCurry, OL/DL Da’Veon Parker
After a 5-1 start to the 2017 season, it was an uncharacteristic finish to the campaign for the Solon Comets, losing four in a row and finishing with a 5-5 record that resulted in the Comets missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2012 season.
Heading into 2018 the team loses Taj Ward and Thomas Wilks and have to fill their quarterback vacancy, but 16th year Head Coach Jim McQuaide knows how to push all of the right buttons and the return of wide receiver Trevon Raphael as well as defensive end Nate Leskovec gives Solon a great shot at returning to the playoffs this season.
Head Coach – Lou Cirino (2nd season)
2017 Record – 6-4
Key Returners: QB Jony Major, WR Nick Adams, OL J.D. Duplain, RB Taylor Griffin, WR Kevin Lawler, WR Joe Gillette, OL Wes Jones
Key Losses: OL Ryan Keating, WR Mitch Hoerig, OL Ben Carrara, DL Aaron Savel, DL Peter Schumacher, LB Tommy Zacharyasz, DB Christian Williams
Head Coach Lou Cirino and the Mustangs just missed out on a playoff spot in 2017 after winning four in a row to finish with a 6-4 record.
This season the program returns star quarterback Jony Major in addition to numerous contributors across both sides of the ball, as the Mustangs will be competing for a chance at a Greater Cleveland Conference championship in 2018.