Confident, experienced Champion’s playoff drought could be numbered

Sports

Golden Flashes return 17 seniors from last year's 7-win team

Champion Golden Flashes High School Football

Credit: DavidPrahl/iStock/Getty Images Plus

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – After dropping their season opener last year by one point to Warren JFK (7-6), the Golden Flashes ran off 7 consecutive wins before dropping their final two to Crestview and Brookfield. Champion would’ve made the post-season if they would’ve came away with a win in one of those two contests.

“You want to go to the playoffs,” coach Tim McGlynn states. “That’s their main goal. That’s why you’re here. That’s why you coach. Our big thing is we want to keep doing what we’re doing and keep making really good young men out of Champion kids, and just keep striving for what we’re doing.”

Champion saw the largest increase in wins since their last winning campaign. In 2009, Champion went 1-9 but rebounded nicely in 2010 to post 6 wins behind Jimmy Rasey. In 2018, they recorded a 2-8 record. Last fall, they won 7 games.

The Golden Flashes are scheduled to open the season at home versus Warren JFK.

2019 Record: 7-3 (4-2), 3rd place in AAC Blue
Head Coach: Tim McGlynn, 3rd season at Champion (9-11)

2019 Stats
Scoring Offense: 19.7 (41st in Area)
Scoring Defense: 17.9 (16th in Area)
Total Offense: 250.3
Rushing Offense: 200.6
Passing Offense: 49.7

Returning Starters
Offense: 8
Defense: 8

What you need to know about Champion’s offense
-Coach McGlynn’s offense went from a unit that was able to score on average of 12.8 points in 2018 to 19.7 in 2019. The offense also saw an increase in total yardage from 198.2 yards per game to 250.3 yards.

The Flashes’ 3-year starting signal caller Nick Stahlman graduated this past spring. Stahlman passed for 497 yards on 36 completions while throwing for 4 touchdowns. He also gained 314 yards on the ground (2 TDs). Many of Champion’s top players on offense return including their top two runners in Austin Willforth (1162 rushing yards, 13 TDs) and Nick Costianes (317 rushing yards, 3 TDs) along with Stahlman’s favorite target Noah Vesey (11 catches, 171 yards) and their junior guard Levi Grimes.

What you need to know about Champion’s defense
-The defense improved immensely as they went from a defense which allowed 34 points per game to 18 points – a decrease of 16 points. This coming year looks promising as they return four All-League selections – Jacob Pawcio (50 tackles, 4 QB sacks), Austin Booth (72 tackles), Noah Vesey (3 INTs) and Zack Scher (12 tackles, 1 QB sack). They’ll return 6 of their top eight tacklers from last season.

Champion’s Key Player(s)
-Under coach McGlynn, the name of the game is ‘run the ball’. In 2018, his running game accounted for 82.8% of the offense’s yardage. Last fall, it was almost identical as the team ran for 80.1% of the total yards gained. Senior Austin Willforth will be called upon to take on more of the same as last year. Willforth toted the ball 214 times and averaged 5.4 yards per attempt while scoring 13 touchdowns on the ground.

2020 Schedule
Aug. 28 – Warren JFK
Sept. 4 – at Rittman
Sept. 11 – Pymatuning Valley
Sept. 18 – Windham
Sept. 25 – at LaBrae
Oct. 2 – at Newton Falls
Oct. 9 – Liberty
Oct. 16 – at Campbell Memorial
Oct. 23 – at Crestview
Oct. 30 – Brookfield

The Big game on the schedule
October 23 – at Crestview
…Every game is huge for Champion this year with the 26-year drought of advancing to the playoffs on the line. Boy, it’s hard not to think that those last two games (at Crestview and at home against Brookfield) are two that the Flashes want to register victories in.

Willforth’s Achievement
-Austin became the first Champion ball carrier to rush for over 1,000-yards since 2012
2019 – Austin Willforth, 1162
2012 – Mike Cyrus, 1050

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