CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – After finishing the regular season in each of the previous two campaigns with the #1 seed in Region 9, Canfield took a step back last year and didn’t qualify for the post-season. After a 2-2 start, the Cardinals finished strong by winning five of their final six games. However, it wasn’t enough as they closed out the year with a 7-3 mark and on the outside of the playoff hunt.
The Cardinals have not suffered through a losing season since 2013 (3-7).
2019 Record: 7-3
Head Coach: Mike Pavlansky, 20th season at Canfield (142-68)
Scoring Offense: 31.3 (10th in Area)
Scoring Defense: 17.8 (13th in Area)
Total Offense: 383.0
Rushing Offense: 313.2
Passing Offense: 69.8
Total Defense: 222.0
What you need to know about Canfield’s offense
-For the 6th time in the past 7 years, the Cardinals’ offense has churned out over 300-yards of total offense per game. The average scoring has been around 29-points per contest for the previous three years (2016: 28.9; 2017: 29.5; 2018: 29.0); however, last year was the first since 2011 (32.7) that they averaged above 30 points per game (31.3).
The offense lost their First-Team All-AAC RB in Nick Crawford to graduation. Crawford, the league’s Co-Player of the Year, averaged 9.0 yards per carry (166 attempts, 1477 yards) as he scored 18 times on the ground and an additional 2 touchdown catches. The team returns plenty of talent including Ethan Fletcher (812 yards rushing; 369 yards passing) and Jackson Crist (289 yards passing). Michael Crawford also returns for his junior year after racking up 284 yards rushing in 52 attempts. Tony Pannunzio (10 catches, 84 yards), Oliver Kovass (8 catches, 145 yards) and Chris Sammarone (7 catches, 107 yards) all return. “We’re looking at senior (Tony) Paunnunzio and juniors (Michael) Crawford and Paolo Paplia to replace Nick Crawford,” says Pavlansky.
“We also need to develop replacements on the offensive line.” Up front, senior Michael Minenok was named to the First-Team All-League.
What you need to know about Canfield’s defense
-That defense, last fall, was about as stingy as they come as they allowed an average of 62.1 yards of rushing by the opposition per game. Canfield welcomes back to their 4-3 alignment – Connor Hritz (51 tackles), Chris Sammarone (44 tackles, 7.5 TFL), Ethan Fletcher (28.5 tackles, 3 INTs) and Luke Morell (18.5 tackles) – who were all recognized by the All-American Conference a year ago.
First-team linemen Anthony D’Alesio (4 QB sacks) and Richie Hofus (3 QB sacks) will need to be replaced as both have since graduated. Coach Pavlansky points out, “We need experience on the defensive line. We’re looking at seniors Andrew Morchak (starter last year), Landon Russell, Nick Hewko, Evan Beistel, Antonio Ricciardi and Luke Rubin. Also, juniors Andrew Seaman, Toby Smith and Nick Bowen will be expected to contribute as well.”
Canfield’s Key Player(s)
-The Cardinals need to find successors along both the offensive and defensive lines to continue Canfield’s wealth of players who open holes for their vaunted rushing attack or are able to plug those same holes on defense.
Aug. 27 – Poland
Sept. 4 – at Dover
Sept. 11 – New Philadelphia
Sept. 18 – Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin
Sept. 25 – at Chaney
Oct. 2 – Collinwood
Oct. 9 – Highland
Oct. 16 – at East
Oct. 23 – Howland
Oct. 30 – Boardman
The Big game on the schedule
August 27 – Poland at home
…Could there be a bigger one on the Cardinals schedule? Poland-Canfield. Doesn’t get bigger than that along 224.
Since 2011, Cardinals’ 1,000-yard rushers
2019 – Nick Crawford, 1477
2018 – Mehlyn Clinkscale, 1178
2017 – Vince Fiorenza, 1501
2016 – Jake Cummings, 1028
2013 – Kimu Kim, 1728
2011 – Jordan Italiano, 1038