Girard increased their win total by 7-victories (3 to 10) a year ago – a feat which was last accomplished back in 1991 – when Joe Jeswald’s team won 9 games and advanced to the post-season for the first time in school history. More of the same is expected this year as Fordham commit Mark Waid is back as the Indians’ signal caller to lead the team as a senior.
2018 Girard Indians’ Football Preview
Head Coach: Pat Pearson, 5th season (23-20)
Record: 10-2 (5-1), 2nd place in AAC Blue Tier
What you need to know about the Girard Offense
Girard went over 40-points in 8 of the team’s 12 games a year ago. That matched the same amount of contests in 2011 where they eclipsed the 40-point plateau. The Indians’ offense has been ultra-explosive as they averaged 44.8 points per game last year. That marked the third time in the last seven years that they’ve been able post a 40-point average (2011: 43.9; 2013: 41.3; 2017: 44.8). Entering his fourth season as the Indians’ starting quarterback, Mark Waid has increased his passing totals from 1152 (as a freshman) to 2624 (as a sophomore) to 3506 (as a junior). A stat that I believe may be his most impressive is that of his 784 pass attempts on the varsity level – he’s thrown just 12 interceptions. That’s once every 65 throws. The Indians also return Morgan Clardy – who ran for 840 yards and scored 12 times on the ground as a sophomore. A trio of the team’s top pass catchers (Michael Belcik, 81; Anthony Backus, 42; Devin Wilson, 27) have all since graduated. The top returning target is junior Nick Malito – who hauled in 27 receptions for 457 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Indians also return a pair of All-League linemen in Haeden Gump and Anthony Pratt.
Key to the Girard Offense
Is it possible for Girard to duplicate last year’s average of 45 points per game and 499 yards of total offense? One would say doubtful but this offense has a history of generating video game-like numbers. Will the Indians’ receivers step in and produce the same numbers that last year’s senior class was able to accomplish?
What you need to know about the Girard Defense
The Indian defense improved their points allowed average from 37.3 points in 2016 to 17.9 in 2017. That’s 19.4 points fewer last year and part of the reason why the team was so successful. The unit lost 7 of their top 13 tacklers to graduation including Carlos Bach (86 tackles) and Nino Mayle (84 tackles). Girard’s defense welcomes back five All-League performers (Jamil Bannister, 156; Jack Delgarbino, 117 tackles; Terrance Davis, 4 INTs; Daryl Smith, 9 QB Sacks; Aidan Warga, 116 tackles). Senior Jamil Bannister led the defensive group in tackles a year ago with 169 total stops and 125 solo tackles. Number 10 also accumulated 7 quarterback sacks in 2017.
Key to the Girard Defense
The pieces are in place for Girard to have another successful season along the defensive side of the ball. The Indians will look to find key pieces to replace those who have graduated.
Offensive player to watch for
Senior/QB, Mark Waid
…We know that Waid is an accomplished passer; however, he saw his rushing totals go through the roof a year ago. Last year, he ran for 1129 yards and scored 19 times while averaging 7.4 stripes a tote. In his previous two seasons, he gained 1119 yards on 333 carries (20 TDs).
Defensive player to watch for
Senior/DL, Jack Delgarbino
…As a sophomore, Delgarbino finished with 88 tackles and 3 quarterback sacks. In 2017, he increased both as he closed out the season with 117 defensive stops and 7 quarterback takedowns.
Aug. 23 – at Niles, 7
Aug. 31 – at Hubbard, 7
Sept. 7 – Warren JFK, 7
Sept. 14 – at Champion, 7
Sept. 21 – Jefferson, 7
Sept. 28 – Campbell Memorial, 7
Oct. 5 – at Brookfield, 7
Oct. 12 – Newton Falls, 7
Oct. 19 – LaBrae, 7
Oct. 26 – at Liberty, 7
Entering week 9 of the 2017 season, Girard was clipped by Liberty (41-28) at home to end their perfect campaign. This year, the Indians are focused in on another big year. At the finish line is Liberty again. This time, Girard will travel across Belmont to get their payback.
2017 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 44.8
Total Offense: 499.2
Passing Offense: 293.8
Rushing Offense: 205.4
Scoring Defense: 17.9
2017 Statistical Leaders
Passing: Mark Waid – 3506 yards, 62.4% (214-343), 37 TDs
Rushing: Mark Waid – 1129 yards, 7.4 avg, 19 TDs
Receiving: Michael Belcik – 81 catches, 1546 yards, 18 TDs*
Tackles: Jamil Bannister – 156
Quarterback Sacks: Daryl Smith Jr – 9
Interceptions: Terrance Davis – 4
Big 22 Recipients
2017: Michael Belcik & Mark Waid (2)
2016: Mark Waid
2013: Nick Cardiero
2011: Ahmad Eggleston & Dan Graziano (2)
2010: Dan Graziano & Landon Smith
2009: Adam Charles
2008: Kyle Stadelmyer (2)
2007: Kyle Stadelmyer