STRUTHERS, Ohio (WKBN) – There’s certainly a rich tradition of football at Struthers High School, and now in year three for head coach John Bayuk, he’s looking to make his imprint on the program.

“We are finally turning the corner on what we’ve been preaching,” Bayuk said.

The excitement over this football team is starting to build again in Struthers.

“The past couple years, we haven’t really lived up to it, so senior year to make our best run ever as far as we can go,” said senior wide receiver and defensive back Chaz Ekoniak.

“You know, Brady Clyde, Chaz Ekoniak is a four-year starter. We have Anthony Carter, this is his junior year and he’s really physically developed,” Bayuk said. “I can keep going all day, but we have a lot of kids that just have worked so hard, their bodies have changed, they’re learning the game. We’re finally comfortable in our offense and defense, and it’s just we’re finally getting to that step.”

For Bayuk, watching this senior class grow together is a big reason for that raised expectation going into the 2022 season.

“For us, you know, it’s a great time out here with a lot of fun, with great chemistry, with all of them, so it’s going to be fun to play with them this year and see how they do and how I do and how the team does this year,” said junior running back Anthony Carter.

Especially as most of these players have risen through the football ranks as Wildcats.

“It’s very special, like all the history here. So everything has been stepped on this field. All the historical athletes, everything, so it means a lot,” said senior offensive and defensive lineman Brady Clyde.

For those like Clyde and Ekoniak, it can definitely mean a little more as a senior leading the team into a new season after being on the bottom of the totem pole for so long.

“It’s a lot better than being a freshman,” Ekoniak said. “Freshman year, you got to earn your respect and senior, you kind of walk in with the respect and the freshmen got to earn it for you.