JEFFERSON, Ohio (WKBN) – The 2022 Falcons achieved something that no other team in Jefferson’s football history had done – win a playoff game. They just didn’t win one, the Falcons put together four consecutive post-season victories to come away with the Regional championship.

The Falcons saw the program’s highest increase in wins, by 7, from one year (2021: 4) to the next (2022: 11). It was just five years ago that Jefferson had posted a winless season (2018: 0-10).

Jefferson begins year #1 in the Chagrin Valley Conference, moving from the Northeast 8.

“After last year’s great run, we’re hoping to carry some of that momentum into this summer,” states coach Brandon Hanna. “These young guys that were around last year saw what it took to make that run. Our main goal is to establish strong relationships in the locker room and put the team in the most competitive environments we can put them in.”

Jefferson’s tandem of quarterback Grant Hitchcock and receiver Trent Hodge have both graduated. Running back Luke Funtash and wideout Kaige Boczar will be relied on heavily as two major contributors this year.

“We’re going to spend lots of time developing timing with our quarterbacks and wide receivers,” Hanna points out. “We’re hoping Funtash and Boczar can keep giving us the production they gave us last season. Caden Heinly, Matthew Webster, Devin Salinas and Dylan Burlingham have worked hard this off-season and we’ll be relying on them to produce as well.”

Alex VanGieson and Jose Rivera are two seniors who will be looked upon to lead the group up front. “Our offensive line is coming together,” Hanna indicates. “Alex and Jose have been two of the hardest workers in the weight room all year long.”

In the center may be the strength of the defensive unit with the return of Anthony Shank and Funtash at linebacker.

“Anthony seems to be taking over the leading role,” Hanna points out. “He sits in the middle of the defense and plays the game with an attitude. Where we may lack in size we’ll hopefully make up with speed. I’m hoping we play fast, physical and together.”

Girard will welcome Jefferson to town on Friday, August 18 for the season opener. The two teams met twice last year, splitting each game.

Jefferson Falcons
Fast Facts
Head Coach: Brandon Hanna, 3rd season (15-10)
2022 Record: 11-4 (4-3), T-3rd place in Northeast 8
Last 5 Years: 19-36 (34.5%)
Home Field: Falcon Pride Stadium
League: Chagrin Valley Conference
Base Offense: Spread
Base Defense: 3-3-5

2022 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 27.7
Scoring Defense: 24.3

2022 Results
Glenville 52 Falcons 7*
Falcons 41 West Branch 37*
Falcons 49 Canton South 35*
Falcons 26 Girard 20*
Falcons 14 Poland 13*
Falcons 27 Lakeview 7
Falcons 27 Poland 13
South Range 42 Falcons 7
Struthers 42 Falcons 14
Falcons 25 Hubbard 13
Falcons 31 Niles 14
Girard 21 Falcons 6
Falcons 56 Edgewood 14
Falcons 20 Painesville Harvey 14
Falcons 66 Grand Valley 27

2022 Northeast 8 Standings
South Range – 7-0 (16-0)
Struthers – 5-2 (7-5)
Girard – 4-3 (8-4)
Jefferson – 4-3 (11-4)
Poland – 4-3 (5-6)
Hubbard – 3-4 (6-5)
Lakeview – 1-6 (3-7)
Niles – 0-7 (2-8)

2023 Schedule
Aug. 18 – at Girard
Aug. 25 – Lakeview
Sept. 1 – at Beaver Local
Sept. 8 – at Perry
Sept. 15 – Lutheran West
Sept. 22 – Conneaut
Sept. 29 – at Lakeside
Oct. 6 – Madison
Oct. 13 – Edgewood
Oct. 20 – at Geneva