EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – Beaver Local is seeking their third consecutive winning season which would be a first for the program since Rich Wright’s Beaver teams went eight straight campaigns (1999-2006) with a winning mark.
A year ago, the Beavers began the season by dropping their first two contests before surging towards seven consecutive wins before falling in their last two against Wheeling Central Catholic (21-7) and Glenville in their playoff opener (48-0).
Through their first nine games of the season, Beaver Local averaged 41.9 points per contest. During their last two, they scored a total of 7 points.
Junior Austin Cline returns to lead the offense from under center. Cline put together a strong sophomore campaign which saw him throw for over 2000-yards (2032) and complete 67% of his passes (121-181) while tossing 20 touchdowns. He also finished second on the team in rushing with 572 yards on 95 totes (6.0 avg) and 12 scores.
“Austin has a year of experience under his belt,” states coach Mike McKenzie. “We’ll be a little more advanced with some of our pass game/RPO progressions. Caleb White’s return from injury will provide us another homerun hitter. Caleb and Blake Lucas will split carries in backfield. We have a number of explosive playmakers on offense that’ll allow us to distribute the ball across the entire field.”
The offense must replace their top rusher (Joe Monte) and two of their three leading receivers (Logan Blissenbach and Dorian Jackson).
Anchoring the front line on offense will be their third-year starter Zane McCoy at center. Coach McKenzie likes the depth he has on the line. “We feel there will be great competition [up front]. Our line is a work in progress [right now].”
The defense allowed 42-points per game to be scored in their four losses last fall. During their 7-game win streak, the defense clamped down to hold the opposition to 11.9-points per outing.
McKenzie points out, “We feel we have playmakers at all three levels on the defensive [side of the ball]. Noah Bowyer and Dylan Ferguson will be looked upon to be the leaders.”
Beaver Local opens the season with a matchup at Indian Valley on August 19.
“We need to control what we can control,” McKenzie says. “We need to work to get better each day. As with every team at our level, health will be an important factor. Our motto is ‘Win the Day’.”
Beaver Local Beavers
Head Coach: Mike McKenzie, 6th season (29-22)
2021 Record: 7-4
Last 5 Years: 29-22 (56.9%)
Home Field: Beaver Local Stadium
Base Offense: Spread
Base Defense: 3-3/4-2
2021 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 34.9 (11th in Area)
Scoring Defense: 22.8 (23rd in Area)
Total Offense: 394.3
Rushing Offense: 202.8
Passing Offense: 191.5
2021 Individual Leaders
Passing: Austin Cline – 2032 yards, 66.9% (121-181), 20 TDs
Rushing: Joe Monte – 610 yards, 5.9 avg, 7 TDs
Receiving: Logan Blissenbach – 614 yards, 20.5 avg, 6 TDs
Glenville 48 Beavers 0*
Wheeling Central 21 Beavers 7
Beavers 49 Martins Ferry 18
Beavers 41 Indian Creek 7
Beavers 48 Harrison Central 14
Beavers 47 Lutheran East 16
Beavers 27 Edison 21
Beavers 48 East Liverpool 0
Beavers 56 Minerva 7
Salem 62 Beavers 35
Indian Valley 37 Beavers 26
Aug. 19 – at Indian Valley
Aug. 26 – Salem
Sept. 2 – Minerva
Sept. 9 – at East Liverpool
Sept. 16 – Keyser, WV
Sept. 23 – Oak Glen
Sept. 30 – at Harrison Central
Oct. 7 – Indian Creek
Oct. 14 – John Hay
Oct. 21 – Wheeling Central Catholic