EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) – 2019 wasn’t a year to remember in East Palestine for the Bulldogs. A winless season, in fact, dating back to 2018, EP has lost 11 straight games.
“It left a horrible taste in our mouths,” says head coach Tony Foster. “And we cannot wait to get rid of it.”
“We are starving, we want it bad,” said senior running back Parker Bonace. “We play for our town. And letting our town down, that was rough for us last year. At least for me, that weighed pretty heavily on my shoulders.”
One positive to come out of the 0-10 season, a chance for a youthful Bulldogs unit to get some valuable Friday night experience.
“More people started to get used to the aspect of playing on Friday nights under the lights and everything,” junior quarterback Tyler Bistarkey said.
“I think it was phenomenal for the younger guys,” Bonace said. “Because you come in, the game is pretty fast when you first start. More years you get under your belt the slower it seems and the faster you can react. So it was phenomenal for us.”
It wasn’t all that long ago this East Palestine football team was in the postseason. This year’s senior class were actually freshman on that last Bulldog team that made the playoffs in 2017. And they want to share those experiences to show it can be done again.
“I’m glad we had the chance to witness the playoff runs and know what it takes to be a team like that,” senior lineman Nick Fierro said. “And then we can pass it on to them and try and do it ourselves.
“8-2 and went to the playoffs,” said Foster. “So they have seen how it works when it is working well. And they were also here for last year and they saw how bad it gets when it isn’t working well.”
With over a dozen letterman returning, including their quarterback Tyler Bistarkey, runnning back Parker Bonace and entire offensive line, the Bulldogs are hoping to bring a bit more bite to 2020.
“That is the goal for these guys,” Foster says. “They want to shock people on our schedule and make them realize that last year was a fluke.”
Bistarkey “It would feel great to get some revenge,” says Bistarkey. “Show that the East Palestine Bulldogs are back and that is all we want to do.”