POLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – In February, Poland hired Lakeview’s longtime head coach Tom Pavlansky (131-98, 22 years) to the same position. The Pavlansky name is very familiar in Poland. The Bulldogs’ stadium is named after his father, Dave, as he served as the head coach from 1968 to 1978. Tom graduated from Poland Seminary in 1987.
“I’m very excited and humbled about the opportunity to be at Poland,” says coach Pavlansky.
Poland has finished with a winning record in 14 of the last 15 years; advancing to the post-season 12 times during that stretch.
In each of the last three Bulldog head coaches first season (Paul Hulea in 1996, Mark Brungard in 2005, Ryan Williams in 2016), Poland went 4-6. Coach Pavlansky will look to buck the trend.
The new season opens up against rival-Canfield and their head coach Mike Pavlansky (Tom’s brother) on Thursday, August 19.
2020 Record: 7-2 (5-1, 2nd place in Northeast 8)
Coach: Tom Pavlansky, 1st season at Poland
Previewing Poland’s Offense
Scoring Offense: 30.2 (20th in Area)
Total Offense: 331.4
Returning Starters: 5
Key Returnees: Bryce Barringer, JR/RB; Christian Colosimo, SR/ATH; Ross Dedo, SR/WR; Jack Fulton, SR/QB
Key Losses: Andrew Centofanti, WR; Karter Kellgren, OL; Peyton Mrakovich, RB; Nate Williams, OL
Name to watch for: Jack Fulton, QB
Last season, Poland amassed an average of 331.4 yards per game. The highest since 2013 (353.0) that the Bulldogs were able to accumulate.
As a junior, Jack Fulton threw for 739 yards and 5 scores. He also gained 424 rushing yards on 78 carries (5.4 avg) and crossed the goal line 7 times. Now, Fulton enters his third season at the team’s quarterback. “Jack has demonstrated a tremendous work ethic,” states Pavlansky. “A real desire to be the best he can be. We’re excited about the opportunity to coach him on the field when our teaching days begin.”
The offensive line lost a pair of all-league first-team selections in Karter Kellgren and Nate Williams. However, the Bulldogs welcome back lots of experience. “They’ve demonstrated that they are not afraid to work,” points out Pavlansky. “Our guys have been working very hard this spring in the weight room.”
Poland won 7 games in a row after dropping their season opener at South Range (24-21). During that span, the Bulldogs’ offense averaged 34.9 points per contest.
Previewing Poland’s Defense
Scoring Defense: 13.7 (6th in Area)
Total Defense: 230.0
Returning Starters: 5
Key Returnees: Christian Colosimo, SR/LB; Jack Fulton, SR/DB; Jeff Muslovski, SR/DL; Dom Parker, SR/DL
Key Losses: Andrew Centofanti, DB; Brandon Eichert, DL; Dean Gessler, DB; Peyton Mrakovich, LB
Name to watch for: Dom Parker, DL
Senior defensive end Dom Parker finished 2020 with a team-high 65 tackles and 5 quarterback sacks. His classmate Christian Colosimo also is back after closing out his junior season with 55 tackles and 3 interceptions.
Poland must replace the contributions of Andrew Centofanti, Brandon Eichert and Peyton Mrakovich on the defensive side of the ball.
Pavlansky states, “The strength of the team, as of now, is that there is a bond between them that is strong. They continue to demonstrate a desire to work hard.”
Poland has had a reputation of working extremely hard on defense. In 8 of the last 9 years, the defense has allowed less than 19 points per game. Over the past three seasons, the defense has permitted an average of 230 yards per game or less (2018: 209.4; 2019: 199.9; 2020: 230.0).
2020 Northeast 8 Standings
South Range – 6-0 (9-1)
Poland – 5-1 (7-2)
Hubbard – 4-2 (5-3)
Niles – 4-2 (5-4)
Girard – 2-4 (4-6)
Struthers – 2-4 (2-5)
Jefferson – 1-5 (3-7)
Lakeview – 0-6 (1-7)
Aug. 19 – Canfield
Aug. 27 – Louisville
Sept. 3 – at Howland
Sept. 10 – at Hubbard
Sept. 17 – South Range
Sept. 24 – at Niles
Oct. 1 – at Girard
Oct. 8 – Lakeview
Oct. 15 – at Jefferson
Oct. 22 – Struthers