WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Since winning the state title in 2016, Kennedy has advanced to the post-season each year. Last year, the Eagles’ memorable season came to an end the Friday before Thanksgiving in the Division VII state championship game against New Bremen (31-0, loss).
Over the last 20 years (since 2001), the Eagles have won 9 games or more in a single season nine times.
“We’ve told our kids since we got here in 2014 (with coach Jeff Bayuk),” said coach Dom Prologo. “Make no mistake, there’s a responsibility playing for this program, to play for and win championships. That’s the culture created by coach Nappy (Tony Napolet) and was rebuilt by coach (Jeff) Bayuk.”
Kennedy opens their 2021 season with a contest against Champion on Friday, August 20.
2020 Record: 9-3
Coach: Dom Prologo, 2nd season (9-3)
2020 Big 22: Cam Hollobaugh
Previewing Warren JFK’s Offense
Scoring Offense: 27.7 (25th in Area)
Total Offense: 365.5
Returning Starters: 6
Key Returnees: Caleb Hadley, SO/QB; Eddie Kiernan, SR/OL; Brady Mocella, SR/OL; Sharosh Sheth, JR/K; Will Toth, SR/OL; Patrick Valent, JR/OL
Key Losses: Cam Hollobaugh, QB; Gabe Green, WR; Mike Gumino, OL; Jesse Likens, RB
Name to watch for: Caleb Hadley, QB
Cam Hollobaugh leaves behind a huge void on both sides of the ball. On offense, the former quarterback completed 57.3% of his passes (51-89) for 623 yards. He ran for 1492 yards (6.1 avg) and scored 31 touchdowns. He also caught 7 passes for an average of 22 yards per reception.
Sophomore Caleb Hadley took a significant amount of snaps last year as a freshman. Hadley connected on 59.5% (22-37) of his throws as he tallied 216 passing yards. “Replacing Cam’s production will be a challenge,” states coach Prologo. “Caleb returns with some experience at the position, we also have a freshman who looks promising as well as a transfer from Liberty (Antwon Brown) who may see time there.”
Prologo sees the running back position “as a huge question mark.” “We have Chris Campana, Ambrose Hoso, Mike Mauro, Hunter Bungard, Abe Rivera plus Antwon Brown (134 yards rushing for Liberty) as being candidates to fill some big shoes.” Jesse Likens graduated after rushing for 893 yards on 144 carries (6.2 avg) and scoring 7 touchdowns.
“Our offensive and defensive lines should be the strength of the 2021 team,” says Prologo. “You win up front and for us to be successful, those guys have to play up to their potential. Pat Valent, Eddie Kiernan, Will Toth and Brady Mocella are the leaders up front for us.”
Previewing Warren JFK’s Defense
Scoring Defense: 18.4 (14th in Area)
Returning Starters: 9
Key Returnees: Alex Desalvo, SR/DB; Ambrose Hoso, JR/LB; Eddie Kiernan, SR/DL; Mike Mauro, SR/LB; Aidan Rossi, JR/LB
Key Losses: Nick Fordeley, DB; Michael Gumino, DL; Cam Hollobaugh, LB; Jesse Likens, DB
Name to watch for: Eddie Kiernan, DL
A year ago, JFK’s defense held 7 of their 12 opponents to less than 21 points. Over the past three years (37 games), the Eagles’ defense has held 24 foes to 14 points or less. That’s a percentage of 65% during that span.
“On defense, we return all but one on our front seven,” Prologo indicates. “Those guys have to dominate games until our young inexperienced secondary gets some experience. If guys like Christian Fordeley, Alex DeSalvo, Thomas Valent, Aiden Rossi, Chris Campana, Antwon Brown, as well as a couple freshmen can hold up in the secondary – I expect our defense to be pretty darn good.”
Aug. 20 – at Champion
Aug. 28 – Western Reserve
Sept. 3 – Garrettsville Garfield
Sept. 10 – at Conneaut (PA)
Sept. 18 – Fairport Harding
Sept. 24 – Mogadore
Oct. 1 – at Rootstown
Oct. 8 – St. Thomas Aquinas
Oct. 16 – at Cleveland Central Catholic
Oct. 22 – at Southeast