Expectations rise after playoff trip & 19 starters return at Southern

Sports

The Indians shared the EOAC title a year ago and made their 1st appearance in the playoffs since 2010

Southern Local Indians High School

Indians shared the EOAC title a year ago

SALINEVILLE, Ohio (WKBN) – The Indians shared the Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference championship last fall and advanced to their second playoff appearance in school history. The league title was their first in 41 years (1977, Tri-County League). Their trip to the post-season was the first since 2010. Now, Southern returns for a chance to head back and garner their first playoff victory with a group of experienced seniors.

Coach Rich Wright says, “We play a very tough schedule this year. Like every team in the league, we must stay healthy. We have to continue to work hard, add to the playbook and develop leadership from our seniors. Find depth and roles for the younger players.”

Southern Indians
Head Coach: Rich Wright, 5th season at Southern (18-23)
2018 record (EOAC): 9-2, T-1st place
Five Key Points
1.Southern has scored 30-points or more in 13 of the past 21 games
2.Indians are seeking their first back-to-back winning season since 2011 (9-1) and 2012 (6-4).
3.Last 21 games, Southern has scored 726 points. That’s more points than the team has scored in their previous 43 1/2 games.
4.Indians have won 3 consecutive openers
5.Southern has posted a 7-0 record at home over their last 7 outings.

Offense
Returning Starters: 9
Scoring Offense: 33.5 (13th in Area)
Rushing Offense: 214.8
Passing Offense: 164.0
Total Offense: 378.8
…The Jayce Sloan to Cam Grodhaus connection will be heard from this season time and time again. Last year, Sloan tied the school’s single season touchdown passing mark (18) and Grodhaus set the most TD receptions (11) and yards (1025) in a single season. Now, Grodhaus is 16 catches shy of setting the all-time reception record (97) and 3 away from the touchdown record (20) as well. Jayce completed 58.2% of his tosses (88 of 151) for 1553 yards while rushing for 6.3 stripes per carry (104 attempts, 653 yards, 6 TDs). Cam hauled in 60 passes for an n average of 17.1 yards per catch. He also gained 431 yards on the ground for an 8 yard per carry average (4 TDs).

Dylan Milhoan led the team in rushing touchdowns with 7 (92 attempts, 519 yards). Bradly Sloan caught 13 passes for 395 yards and 5 scores. His 30.4 yard per catch average led the team. Last year, the likes of Steven Craig (2nd Team), Kyle Young (2nd Team) and Steven Richards (Honorable Mention) were all selected up front for the All-EOAC team.

Coach Wright points out that the key to the offense’s success is “to continue to be balanced with the run and the pass.”

Defense
Returning Starters: 10
Scoring Defense: 18.4 (18th in Area)
Total Defense: 196.9
…The decrease in defensive points allowed over the past few years is astonishing. In back-to-back seasons, the Indians allowed an average of over 40-points per game (2014: 40.2; 2015: 42.8) and won just 3 contests over that stretch (3-17). In 2016, Southern began to show signs of improvement by winning 4 games and allowing 11-points less than the year prior (31.6). Within the last two seasons, the Indians’ defense has been lights out allowing 21.6 in 2017 and 18.4 in 2018. In 2018, the Indians forced 21 turnovers (9 INT, 12 FR) during the regular season.

This coming fall, Southern returns 7 of their top 8 tacklers who tallied 30 tackles or more. The team’s leading tackler – junior Hunter Morris – compiled 124 defensive stops, 20 for a loss, 3 quarterback sacks and 3 forced fumbles. Senior linebacker Cam Grodhaus is returning following his junior campaign which saw 68 tackles (12 TFL) and 4 sacks. Jayce Sloan (3 INTs) and Bradly Sloan (2 INT) both are welcomed back in the secondary. A pair of seniors – Mark Soukup (68 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries) and Dylan Milhoan (3 1/2 QB Sacks, 13 TFL) – will be looked upon to improve on last year’s numbers.

“We need to improve on tackling,” Wright said. “And also to continue to create turnovers.”

Schedule
Aug. 30 – at Edison
Sept. 6 – River
Sept. 13 – Steubenville Catholic Central
Sept. 20 – at Columbiana
Sept. 27 – at Crestview
Oct. 4 – Lisbon
Oct. 11 – at East Palestine
Oct. 18 – United
Oct. 25 – at Wellsville
Nov. 1 – Leetonia

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