HOWLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – Howland dropped its final five games of the 2021 season to finish 2-8. The Tigers took unbeaten West Branch to the limit before falling 37-34 in Beloit in week six. Howland suffered through setbacks in six games that were decided by 13 points or less.
Steve Boyle begins his fifth season at the helm of the Tiger program.
“We expect this group to make improvements. We need to become more disciplined with penalties, finish drives offensively, eliminate the big play defensively and have our quarterback play at a high level,” Boyle said.
Howland graduated their offensive playmaker Matthew Woomer, who rushed for over 1,000 yards (1191 yards, 14 TDs) and caught a team-high 14 passes for 121 yards.
Junior quarterback John Perry is back. Last fall, he completed 50.4% of his passes (57-113) for 613 yards and six scores.
“We’ll need John [Perry] to step up [this fall at quarterback],” states Boyle. “We’re looking to Marco Massucci to step in for Woomer at running back. We’re excited to see what he can do. On the outside, we’ll Carter Mock, Alex and Michael Vacha to push the field vertically.”
The Tigers also lost Gage Gibson and Grant Myers, a pair of linemen who anchored a front five that allowed the team to rush for 180-yards per contest. Carter Baugher, Simon Merkel, Jakob Baxter and Aiden Helsel will all return along the front line.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Tigers return a trio of contributors at each level in defensive back Sam Vacha, linebacker Marco Massucci and defensive lineman Carter Baugher.
“We need to make some huge strides on defense,” said Coach Boyle. “Last year was a disappointment, to say the least. We gave up too many big plays and didn’t tackle well in the open field. We must fix those issues and then capitalize on turnovers when they are presented to us.”
Michael Goussios, Sam Vacha and Nolan Rudesill will be relied on heavily on the defensive side of the ball. Safety Luke Delida must also step into a larger role this season.
Howland begins the 2022 season on Thursday night (August 18) with a visit from rival Niles.
Head Coach: Steve Boyle, fifth season (12-27)
2021 Record: 2-8
Last 5 Years: 18-31 (36.7%)
Home Field: Lombardo Field
League: All-American Conference
Base Offense: Wing-T
Base Defense: 3-4
2021 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 19.1 (46th in Area)
Scoring Defense: 26.2 (32nd in Area)
Total Offense: 250.3
Rushing Offense: 179.7
Passing Offense: 70.6
Total Defense: 269.8
2021 Individual Leaders
Passing: John Perry – 613 yards, 50.4% (57-113), 6 TDs
Rushing: Matthew Woomer – 1191 yards, 5.3 avg, 14 TDs
Receiving: William King – 134 yards, 44.7 avg, 2 TDs
Canton South 42 Tigers 14
Canfield 42 Tigers 14
Chaney 32 Tigers 21
Cardinal Mooney 23 Tigers 12
West Branch 37 Tigers 34
Tigers 42 Waite 6
Boardman 33 Tigers 21
Poland 27 Tigers 14
Ravenna 20 Tigers 13
Tigers 6 Niles 0
Aug. 18 – Niles
Aug. 26 – at Ravenna
Sept. 2 – Hubbard
Sept. 9 – Boardman
Sept. 16 – West Branch
Sept. 23 – Warrensville Heights
Sept. 30 – at East
Oct. 7 – Chaney
Oct. 14 – at Canfield
Oct. 22 – at University School