MINERVA, Ohio (WKBN) – Mark Hundley begins his 3rd season at the helm of Minerva football. When he took over in 2019, the Lions were on a 40-game losing skid.
Last year, Minerva was riding another losing streak (13-games) at 0-8 on the year when they ran off a pair of victories to close out the season against Rootstown (22-0) and over 7-win United (21-14).
The Lions are hoping to find their way back to a winning season – something they haven’t enjoyed since 2013 (6-4).
“We expect to continue to add to our win column,” says Hundley. “We have great leadership and work ethic. We’re improving as a team but we won’t have much if any depth. We expect our leaders this season to be 4-year starter Brayden Costea, 3-year starter Erik Murray, Dylan Phillips, Nolan Kibler and Nick Chaddock.”
Minerva will travel to Hanoverton to face United in the season opener on August 20.
2020 Record: 2-8 (0-6, 7th place in EBC)
Coach: Mark Hundley, 3rd season (3-17)
Previewing Minerva’s Offense
Scoring Offense: 13.9 (comparable to 53rd in Area)
Total Offense: 251.6
Returning Starters: 5
Key Returnees: Nick Chaddock, SR/WR; Brayden Costea, SR/QB; Anthony Fletcher, JR/RB; Kaiden Haines, JR/OL; Erik Murray, SR/TE; Dylan Phillips, SR/TE; Matt Phillips, JR/OL
Key Losses: Jimmy Common, RB; Garrison Markins, WR
Name to watch for: Kaiden Haines, OL
Senior Brayden Costea returns as the team’s starting quarterback. Last fall, he tossed for 429 yards and 4 scores. He also ran for 147 yards and scored twice.
The offense must replace First-Team All-EBC selection Jimmy Common, who gained 759 yards on 118 attempts (6.4 avg) and a pair of touchdowns. Also, their top receiver has graduated in Garrison Markins – who hauled in 9 balls for 138 stripes (15.3 avg).
“We’re very young and inexperienced across the offensive line,” says Hundley. “We’ll have four new starters at the beginning of the season. Matt Phillips’ injury will keep him sidelined at the beginning of the season.” Kaiden Haines will look to anchor the offensive front this summer.
Previewing Minerva’s Defense
Scoring Defense: 37.3 (comparable to 58th in Area)
Total Defense: 347.2
Returning Starters: 6
Key Returnees: Brayden Costea, SR/DB; Nick Chaddock, SR/DB; Kaiden Haines, JR/LB; Nolan Kibler, SR/DB; Erik Murray, SR/LB; Dylan Phillips, SR/LB
Key Losses: Jarrett Burgess, DL; Jimmy Common, LB
Name to watch for: Brayden Costea, DB
The Lions’ defense allowed 6 of their 10 opponents last fall to score 45-points or more.
“Our linebackers and our secondary appear to be where we’re strong at,” says coach Hundley. “We have many holes to fill up-front along our line on defense.”
Returning at linebacker will be Erik Murray, Dylan Phillips and Kaiden Haines. In the defensive backfield, the Lions will welcome back Brayden Costea (3 INTs), Nick Chaddock and Nolan Kiobler.
It’s been 7 years since Minerva held the opposition to less than 30-points per game for a season. In 2014, the Lions permitted just 27.4 points to be scored. That year, Minerva went 4-6.
2020 EBC Standings
West Branch – 5-0 (8-2)
Canton South – 4-1 (5-3)
Carrollton – 3-2 (7-3)
Marlington – 3-2 (3-5)
Salem – 3-3 (5-6)
Alliance – 1-5 (2-8)
Minerva – 0-6 (2-8)
Aug. 20 – at United
Aug. 27 – at Sandy Valley
Sept. 3 – Beaver Local
Sept. 10 – at Alliance
Sept. 17 – Marlington
Sept. 24 – at Salem
Oct. 1 – Southeast
Oct. 8 – Canton South
Oct. 15 – at West Branch
Oct. 22 – Carrollton