Jackson-Milton to rely on sophomore class

Mason Robison and Cole Grope are two of the sophomores to lead the Jays

NORTH JACKSON, Ohio (WKBN) - Since sharing the ITCL Lower Tier championship in 2011-12, its' been difficult for the Blue Jays to secure many victories. They've posted 6 consecutive losing seasons since they finished 13-9 (10-4 in league) during their title run season. Jackson-Milton has registered a winning percentage of 19% (26-111) during that span. Last year, the Jays dropped their scoring average from 58.6 (in 2016-17) to 41.5. This year, without Guy Costello, the team will be younger but hungrier as they hope for a successful campaign. The Blue Jays open the season on November 30 when they host United.

At a Glance

HEAD COACH: Steve Procopio, 3rd season

2017-18 RECORD (MVAC): 2-21 (0-14), 8th place

2017-18 POSTSEASON: lost to Springfield in Struthers Sectional Semifinal (69-32)


Guy Costello (8.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.2 apg)

Sebastian Lay (1.4 apg, 1.2 spg)

Past 5-year Win Total: 17

Record against Top 10 opponents (since 2008): 0-6



Expect the Blue Jays to play up to seven sophomores, "They'll make up for their youth with hard work and their desire to compete," points out coach Procopio. "This group plays with a lot of energy and they'll come ready to compete every single day.  The development of our team is going to be key and our goal is to get better every night." That group includes Mason Robison - who shot 32.0% from three-point land (33-103) - and Cole Grope (led team in FT%, 80%). Robison averaged 9.1 points as a freshman. Grope started several games down the stretch a year ago. Seniors David Vega and Bryce Davis will be expected to provide the team with senior leadership. Procopio says, "After a great summer - our expectations are high for this team. Our young core really stepped up this off-season so we are excited to see them get after it. They bring a whole new attitude and work ethic to our program."   

Area of Concern

With such a young team, the loss of Guy Costello was a key one this past spring says coach Procopio. Costello averaged 9 points and 5 rebounds per game, not to mention his production as a distributor as well (2.2 apg). "We counted on him for a lot of things last season." The Blue Jays must not beat themselves. "That has been a problem in past years," Procopio states. "Winning the turnover, rebounding and free throw battle is a main focus of ours. Changing the culture and tradition is our main focus right now.  Mental toughness is important, we expect some growing pains with such a young team, but we also expect to go out there and win plenty of games this year.  The kids have to believe in themselves and keep working hard.  Also, with playing a different style than we have had in the past the kids have to really work at it leading up to opening night."



Nov. 30 – United, 7

Dec. 4 – Lordstown, 7

Dec. 11 – Springfield, 7

Dec. 14 – Sebring, 7

Dec. 18 – at McDonald, 7

Dec. 21 – at Waterloo, 7

Dec. 27 – vs. Columbiana (Jackson-Milton Invitational)

Dec. 28 – vs. Maplewood/Mogadore (Jackson-Milton Invitational)

Jan. 4 – Lowellville, 7

Jan. 8 – at Mineral Ridge, 7

Jan. 11 – at Western Reserve, 7

Jan. 15 – at Heartland Christian, 7

Jan. 18 – at Springfield, 7

Jan. 22 – at Sebring, 7

Jan. 25 – McDonald, 7

Jan. 29 – Waterloo, 7

Feb. 1 – at Lowellville, 7

Feb. 5 – Mineral Ridge, 7

Feb. 8 – Western Reserve, 7

Feb. 12 – at Southeast, 7:30

Feb. 15 – at Lisbon, 7

Feb. 19 – at Mathews, 7

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