The East High Golden Bears have amassed a 10-year streak of finishing each of those seasons with 6 or more losses. Since 2008 (10 years), the Bears have compiled a 24-76 mark after enjoying a lot of success in year #1 back in the fold in 2007 with their 8-2 record. East joined the All-American Conference in 2015. The Golden Bears have had it rough as they’ve been able to come away with 2 wins and 10 losses in three seasons of league play. Coach Brian Marrow begins his second season as East’s head coach, and returns 8 starters on offense, in 2018.
2018 East Golden Bears’ Football Preview
Head Coach: Brian Marrow, 2nd season at East (1-9)
Record: 1-9 (1-3), 4th place in AAC Red Tier
What you need to know about the East Offense
Five times since October 18, 1997 have East scored 40 points or more in a game. On that day, East compiled 42 points in their win over Admiral King. However, the scoring output from East hasn’t been flourishing since their return in 2007. The Golden Bears have failed to average 20-points per game in each of the last 10 years (2007: 23.9). However, on June 16, East took the championship at the University of Akron 7-on-7. Even though, the Golden Bears have not had a rusher who has gained over 350 yards in each of the last two seasons – there is room for optimism. Senior Gei’vonni Washington comes over from Harding (794 rushing yards in 2017). Also does Zane Cyler, a senior, who has shown the ability to play the quarterback position. Senior Thomas Steele has thrown 177 passes during his career on the varsity level (1089 yards passing). Last year, junior Isiah McBride completed 35 of 105 for 489 yards. The team did lose a lot due to graduations of the likes of Jawan Showers (301 rushing yards), Ilijah Donley (469 receiving yards), Matt Whittenberger (144 rushing yards), Carlos Jones (11 catches) and Will Howard (All-League First-Team lineman).
Key to the East Offense
The offense in 2017 saw the amount of points increase by almost half (2016: 6.6; 2017: 12.3). However, the yards dropped from (213.0 in 2016 to 188.9 in 2017). Those numbers will have to climb and not regress. The talent appears to be there from a skill point of view – how will the line hold up could be the key to this offense.
What you need to know about the East Defense
It’s been an uphill climb to slow down opposing offenses for East. Over the past two years, East’s defense has allowed an average of 36.1 points in 2016 and 34.0 points in 2017. They’ve permitted 15 of their last 20 opponents to reach 30-points or more in a game. The Golden Bears’ defense has not had a season where they’ve held their opposition below 26-points per game since 2011 (21.2). Last year, East’s underclassmen collected three All-League honors – Chris Fitzgerald (67 tackles) was a First-Team selection as well as Eddie Bryant (87 tackles) and Marcus Finkley (59 tackles) were Second-Team choices.Of the top tacklers from last year, four of the top five were underclassmen while the top sack artist is also back in the mix in 2018.
Key to the East Defense
Improving along the way. East had a stingy bunch for the most part of their first five years back (2007-11). Now, the Golden Bears must find that right blend of talent and want to get the team back into playoff contention.
Offensive player(s) to watch for
…Missing a key piece in Will Howard will play a role into the development of the front five. Last year, Dawan Martin was a Second-Team All-League selection. This year, the team takes a look behind their stud-Chris Fitzgerald – who verbally committed to Youngstown State at the end of July.
Defensive player to watch for
Senior/LB, Gei’vonni Washington
…Last year, Washington amassed 29 tackles, 7 of which were for a loss, with the Harding Raiders. He was honored as a First-Team All-American Conference Gold Tier selection.
Aug. 24 – at Boardman, 7
Aug. 31 – Ursuline, 7
Sept. 7 – Lakeside, 7
Sept. 14 – Niles, 7
Sept. 21 – Fitch, 7
Sept. 28 – at Howland, 7
Oct. 5 – at Poland, 7
Oct. 12 – Canfield, 7
Oct. 19 – at Harding, 7
Oct. 26 – at Hubbard, 7
East plays four of their first five games at home. The Golden Bears will seek their their third winning campaign in the last 21 years.It all starts with that stretch of games in front of the home crowd.
2017 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 12.3
Total Offense: 188.9
Passing Offense: 104.6
Rushing Offense: 84.3
Scoring Defense: 34.0
2017 Statistical Leaders
Passing: Thomas Steele – 493 yards, 46.2% (30-65), 5 TDs
Rushing: Jawan Showers – 301 yards, 4.3 avg, 4 TDs*
Receiving: Ilijah Donley – 17 catches, 469 yards, 7 TDs*
Tackles: Eddie Bryant – 87
Quarterback Sacks: Jarail Jenkins – 6
Interceptions: Jawan Showers – 2*
Big 22 Recipients
2007: Sal Battles