STRUTHERS, Ohio (WKBN) – After a 2-1 start to 2020, the Wildcats fell in each of their final four games to close out the season at 2-5. Two of their 5 losses were by a touchdown (to Hubbard, 14-7; at Niles, 35-28).
“Last year tested us as a young squad,” says coach John Bayuk, who’s entering year #2 as Struthers’ head coach. “I saw the fight in them and their determination to get better. No one in the program, including me, is happy with how the last few games ended last season. As I watched them fight through the adversity that they faced and watching them grow this off season, I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
Dating back to Gary Zetts’ 1st stint in 1986, the Wildcats have seen an increase in wins in six of their previous seven head coaches’ second season.
Struthers begins the new season at St. Thomas Aquinas on Friday, August 20.
2020 Record: 2-5 (2-4, T-5th in Northeast 8)
Coach: John Bayuk, 2nd season (2-5)
Previewing Struthers’ Offense
Scoring Offense: 18.3 (43rd in Area)
Total Offense: 274.9
Returning Starters: 9
Key Returnees: Gino Calabrette, SR/TE; Chaz Ekoniak, JR/WR; Dylan Greenwood, SR/QB; Alec Grzyb JR/WR, Jonathan Horton, SR/OL; Josh Marshall, SR/WR, Anthony Mudryk, SR/OL; Tyler Sanchez, JR/RB
Key Losses: Zac Felleti, OL; Aidan Hall, ATH
Name to watch for: Tyler Sanchez, RB
Struthers gained 168 yards per game on the ground a year ago in their seven games. Tyler Sanchez led the team in rushing with 490 yards on 100 carries and 2 scores.
Dylan Greenwood connected on 47.1% of his tosses (40-85) as he amassed 628 yards through the air, completing 4 touchdown strikes. He’ll return a trio of double-digit pass catchers from a year ago in Alec Grzyb (15 catches, 239 yards), Josh Marshall (11 catches, 208 yards) and Chaz Ekoniak (10 catches, 103 yards).
“Having key skill players back this year will have a great effect on what we can do creatively on offense,” states Bayuk. “Having a shorter off-season last year limited what we could as we were putting in a new offensive scheme. The off-season work ethic of (Dylan) Greenwood, (Tyler) Sanchez, (Josh) Marshall, (Chaz) Ekoniak and (Alec) Grzyb has been impressive and it will have a vital impact on our success this season. All five of those players can be dangerous with the ball in their hand in their own unique way.”
Anthony Mudryk and Jonathan Horton will anchor the offensive front for Struthers this year.
Previewing Struthers’ Defense
Scoring Defense: 26.3 (T-37th in Area)
Total Defense: 314.9
Returning Starters: 8
Key Returnees: Camron Bryant SR/DB, Gino Calabarette, SR/LB; Anthony Carter, SO/DB; Nico Farina, JR/DB, Alec Grzyb, JR/DB; Ayden Isabella, JR/LB Josh Marshall, SR/DB; Anthony Mudryk, SR/DL; Bill Torreance, SR/LB
Key Losses: Alex Cummings, LB; Nate Marshall, DL
Name to watch for: Anthony Carter, DB
The Wildcats’ defense saw an increase in points (by 5 points) and yards (by 34 yards) allowed per game from 2019 to 2020.
With many starters returning, the defense appears to be in line for a bounce back year.
“We need to fill spots up front,” points out coach Bayuk. “Our skill positions are the biggest strength right now. We have sophomore defensive back Anthony Carter (24 tackles, 2 INTs) – who was named to First-Team All-Northeast 8 as a freshman – is going to play a key role this year. He’ll be joined by Josh Marshall (21 tackles) and Alex Grzyb (23 tackles) in the secondary. We also return 3-year starter linebacker Gino Calabrette (47 tackles). He’ll be the general of our interior.”
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. 20 – at St. Thomas Aquinas
Aug. 27 – Crestwood
Sept. 3 – Streetsboro
Sept. 10 – South Range
Sept. 17 – Hubbard
Sept. 24 – at Lakeview
Oct. 1 – at Jefferson
Oct. 8 – Niles
Oct. 15 – at Girard
Oct. 22 – at Poland