Coach Reardon has Ursuline poised for a big year

Sports

Ursuline lost just 6 seniors from last year's team

Ursuline Irish High School Football

Credit: DavidPrahl/iStock/Getty Images Plus

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Over the past 4 seasons, Ursuline has averaged just 2-wins per year (8-32). With the amount of optimism surrounding this group this summer you’d never guess it. The Irish appear destined to be in the playoff hunt this fall – a week 11 trip would be their first since 2015.

This is coach Dan Reardon second-year of his second-stint. “A lot of experience coming back,” he says. “I don’t know if there’s another team in the area – maybe in the state of Ohio – that has that type of experience.” This year, Ursuline has about 60 players in camp.

Last year, the Irish topped their rival-Mooney in week 9 – to share the SVC title – that could be used as a springboard into this upcoming campaign. “That game gave us a lot of momentum heading into the off-season,” Reardon indicated.

2019 Record: 2-8 (2-1), T-1st place in Steel Valley
Head Coach: Dan Reardon, 10th season at Ursuline (74-37)

2019 Stats
Scoring Offense: 16.7 (45th in Area)
Scoring Defense: 31.0 (49th in Area)
Total Offense: 225.3
Rushing Offense: 64.8
Passing Offense: 160.5
Total Defense: 352.2

What you need to know about Ursuline’s offense
-Many starters return for the Irish including junior QB Brady Shannon – who threw for 968 yards while completing 50.9% of his passes (81-159) and 10 touchdowns. Senior playmaker Matthew Reardon – committed to Miami (OH) – is so key to what Ursuline does. Last year, Reardon caught 28 passes for 448 yards and 7 scores. He also threw for 642 stripes and 5 touchdowns as a junior. Last fall, it was a complete makeover up front as they opened 2019 with five new linemen. This year, that group – minus Matt Phillips – returns.

The offense improved from a unit which averaged 12.8 points and 209 yards per game in 2018 to 16.7-points and 225.3-yards last fall. The increase doesn’t jump off the screen. However, with as many young players that suited up in 2019 – those figures should take another step forward.

What you need to know about Ursuline’s defense
-After allowing opponents to score 36-points per game over a 20-game period (2017-18), the Irish defense held half of their foes to 28-points or less last year. A move in the right direction. Look for the defense to improve upon last year’s numbers again including total defense (352) and points allowed (31).

Junior Trent Hill accumulated 3 interceptions and recovered 3 fumbles from his defensive back position. He finished second on the team with 60 1/2 tackles. Senior Dante Walker put together a brilliant 2019 season as he led Ursuline with 87 tackles, 11 for a loss, and 4 1/2 quarterback takedowns. They’ll both be asked to compete at a high-level this coming year.

Ursuline’s Key Player(s)
-You can look at a number of student-athletes on Ursuline’s roster as being key to their success. Brady Shannon, the team’s quarterback, will look for Matthew Reardon and a slew of talented returnees in 2020. Shannon will look to improve upon his yards-per-completion of 12 yards.

2020 Schedule
Aug. 27 – Bishop Hartley
Sept. 4 – Fitch
Sept. 10 – at Lake Catholic
Sept. 18 – at East
Sept 25 – at Harding
Oct. 3 – at Chaney
Oct. 9 – at St. Vincent-St. Mary
Oct. 16 – at Boardman
Oct. 23 – Mooney
Oct. 30 – at Hickory

The Big game on the schedule
October 23 – at home vs. Mooney
…All the bragging rights are on the line each year when Ursuline and Cardinal Mooney meet. For an outsider, it’s difficult to fully understand what this game means to those who attended one of these schools. When both teams are playing at a high-level, there aren’t many rivalry games within the state that can rival it.

Since 2015, Ursuline runners who gained over 1,000-yards
2018 – Daivon Jones, 1007
2017 – Joe Floyd, 1065
2015 – Kimauni Johnson, 1287

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