East Palestine High School football preview

High School Football Previews
East Palestine Bulldogs, High School Football

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EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) – Things haven’t gone well in East Palestine over the past two seasons. The Bulldogs have compiled just one win in their last 21 games.

However, Coach Tony Foster thinks this year will be different.

“We expect to improve and be competitive this season. We have three seniors returning from last year’s team. Tyler Bistarkey, JD McBride and Tommy Shasteen have done a very nice job of leading their team this off-season.”

Coach Foster saw his Bulldog bunch accumulate 21 wins in a three-year span (2015-17), the most wins in program history since 2000-02 when Brian Blevins’ group finished with 22 victories.

East Palestine will travel to Malvern to kick off the season Friday, August 20.

2020 Record: 1-9 (0-6, 8th place in EOAC)
Coach: Tony Foster, 9th season (31-51)

Previewing East Palestine’s Offense
Scoring Offense: 7.6 (60th in area)
Total Offense: 173.7
Returning Starters: 6
Key Returnees: Tyler Bistarkey, SR/RB; Jesse Lipp, SO/RB; JD McBride, SR/QB; Thomas Shasteen, SR/WR
Key Losses: Nick Fierro, OL; Damien Jackson, OL
Name to watch for: Tyler Bistarkey, RB

The Bulldogs were able to score double-digits just twice last year. East Palestine ran the ball on 86% of its offensive plays (406 of 472) for 1,607 yards and scored 9 times.

Senior Tyler Bistarkey rushed for 541 on 127 carries (4.3 avg) a year ago.

“Tyler put up noteworthy stats by scoring 6 touchdowns,” Foster said. “He had 4 rushing touchdowns and 2 receiving.”

It’s almost an overhaul up front this summer for the Bulldogs.

“We’re replacing a lot of players on the offensive line. Juniors Eddie Buskirk and Wyatt Gingher will have to anchor the line and help bring the new players up to speed.”

Previewing East Palestine’s Defense
Scoring Defense: 43.7 (61st in area)
Total Defense: 287.9
Returning Starters: 6

Last fall, opponents were able to score 53 touchdowns. Their foes gained an average of 6.3 yards per rush and were able to complete 65.1% of their pass plays. Each of their opponents scored 34 points or more with the exception of St. John (East Palestine’s lone win, 15-14).

“We’ll have more experience in the secondary this season,” Coach Foster said. “So that should help.”

Since Week 2 of the 2015 season, East Palestine has posted a 13-0 mark when holding the opposition to 21 points or less.

2020 EOAC Standings
United – 5-1 (7-3)
Leetonia – 5-1 (7-2)
Southern – 5-1 (5-3)
Wellsville – 3-3 (4-6)
Columbiana – 3-3 (4-5)
Valley Christian – 2-4 (2-6)
Lisbon – 1-5 (4-7)
East Palestine – 0-6 (1-9)

Aug. 20 – at Malvern
Aug. 27 – Windham
Sept. 3 – at Campbell Memorial
Sept. 10 – at Leetonia
Sept. 17 – Wellsville
Sept. 24 – Lisbon
Oct. 1 – at United
Oct. 8 – Columbiana
Oct. 15 – at Southern
Oct. 22 – Valley Christian

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