LOWELLVILLE, Ohio (WKBN) – Entering Week 10 of the high school football season, Lowellville has already clinched a share of the MVAC Scarlet title, but they are looking for more than that as they are a win away from their first perfect regular season since 2002.
“Yeah, it is really crazy, honestly,” said senior quarterback Vinny Ballone. “That was before I was even born the last time we did it. So, knowing we have a chance to do it this week is crazy to think about.”
In fact, none of the Lowellville players on this year’s roster were alive for that 2002 run that didn’t just see the Rockets go 10-0 but brought the program their first-ever playoff win. Even though the players don’t know much about 2002, their head coach knows a lot about that year.
“Coach Palumbo and I were both on that team so we let them know,” said head coach Andrew Mamula. “This has been their goal, this is our goal, we want to be the best Lowellville team in history.”
Coach Mamula was a senior that season. Now 20 years later, he is helping this year’s Rockets prepare for a date with history.
“They have done it before,” said Ballone. “They know what it takes so they are teaching us, telling us what to do and they know what it takes.”
“It is really cool,” senior tight end Anthony Lucente says. “He has a really special relationship with all of us. It is more like a family not like a team, and we really connect really well around here.”
Coach Mamula said the biggest thing he can share from his 2002 experience is that a 10-0 regular season is great, but it is what you do in the postseason that matters.
“I do not think we realized the next season is more important,” Mamula said. “The season was to prepare them for the playoffs, the schedule was to prepare them for the playoffs. Because that success means a little bit more, and it does. It is a special time of the year.”
Lowellville hosts Western Reserve this Friday as they look to complete the perfect regular season and make it a season to remember.
“This is the most excited I have seen my friends and everyone so we are ready,” says senior wideout Brady Bunofsky.
“I think we are all pretty hungry for it,” Lucente said. “Just to kind of show everyone what we are all about compared to last year and prove everyone wrong.”