JEFFERSON, Ohio (WKBN) -Jefferson began 2021 by posting three victories to open the season; however, dropped their next six outings before winning the finale against Lakeview (23-3).

Second-year head coach Brandon Hanna returns many pieces from what potentially appears to be a high-powered offense entering the upcoming season.

“This group of young men deserves to win some ball games,” says Hanna. “They’ve taken many lumps throughout their high school careers. They’ve put in lots of work this [past] winter and spring to change the direction of the program. We’re expecting a competitive and high-energy summer.”

Senior quarterback Grant Hitchcock averaged 8 yards per carry (126 attempts, 1010 yards, 14 TDs) and completed 57.2% of his tosses (114-199, 1423 yards, 8 TDs). Both of their top two ball carriers are back in junior Luke Funtash (613 rushing yards, 5 TDs) and senior Wade Woodworth (489 rushing yards, 5 TDs). Hitchcock’s favorite target Trent Hodge will be back as well after catching 54 passes for 585 yards and 4 scores last fall.

Senior Mason Pawlowski, earned Second-Team All-League nod last year, will anchor the offensive line that also welcomes back Reed Edgar, Sam Discher and Cole Brake.

Coach Hanna likes what he has on offense, “I believe we’ll be able to establish a solid run game behind our offensive Line and put the ball in the air when needed. This summer, we’ll be moving some pieces around to figure out what works and who fits best where.”

Over Jefferson’s last 50 games, the defense has allowed an average of 37.2 points per game. That number has to drop to be able to compete in a league such as the Northeast 8 Conference.

“We’re working on creating confidence and an identity from the defensive standpoint this summer,” points out Hanna. “We’ve had tremendous leadership from Wade Woodworth since December. He’s always led by example, but he’s been very vocal lately. You need a confident and vocal leader sitting in the middle of the defense and we’re expecting him to be that guy for us. [Grant] Hitchcock will lead in the secondary as will [Mason] Pawlowski along with Preston Reams alone the defensive line. We’ve gotten a little faster and a little stronger. Those are two big factors in having a solid defense.”

The Falcons begins the 2022 season with a home date against rival-Grand Valley on August 19.

Jefferson Falcons
Fast Facts
Head Coach: Brandon Hanna, 2nd season (4-6)
2021 Record: 4-6 (1-5), 7th place in Northeast 8
Last 5 Years: 9-41 (18%)
Home Field: Falcon Pride Stadium
League: Northeast 8 Conference
Base Offense: Spread
Base Defense: 4-2-5

2021 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 25.9 (30th in Area)
Scoring Defense: 30.8 (45th in Area)
Total Offense: 356.8
Rushing Offense: 214.5
Passing Offense: 142.3

2021 Individual Leaders
Passing: Grant Hitchcock – 1423 yards, 57.2% (114-199), 8 TDs
Rushing: Grant Hitchcock – 1010 yards, 8.0 avg, 14 TDs
Receiving: Trent Hodge – 585 yards, 10.8 avg, 4 TDs

2021 Results
Falcons 23 Lakeview 3
Poland 35 Falcons 7
South Range 63 Falcons 21
Struthers 56 Falcons 27
Hubbard 46 Falcons 7
Sharpsville 28 Falcons 21
Girard 35 Falcons 34
Falcons 48 Edgewood 21
Falcons 23 Painesville Harvey 19
Falcons 48 Grand Valley 8

2021 Northeast 8 Standings
South Range – 7-0 (13-1)
Hubbard – 6-1 (10-2)
Poland – 5-2 (8-4)
Girard – 4-3 (7-5)
Niles – 2-4 (4-5)
Struthers – 2-5 (4-6)
Jefferson – 1-5 (4-6)
Lakeview – 0-7 (0-10)

2022 Schedule
Aug. 19 – Grand Valley
Aug. 26 – Painesville Harvey
Sept. 2 – at Edgewood
Sept. 9 – Girard
Sept. 16 – at Niles
Sept. 23 – Hubbard
Sept. 30 – at Struthers
Oct. 7 – South Range
Oct. 14 – Poland
Oct. 21 – at Lakeview