East Palestine looking for fresh start in 2021

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EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) – The East Palestine football team recorded just one win in its last 21 games, but the Bulldogs believe this year’s team can right the ship.

“In the offseason, there was a different energy,” East Palestine head coach Tony Foster said. “The guys that were there were very focused and very motivated. I haven’t seen as great of gains in the weight room as we have this year in the last probably five years and the attitude and the effort is definitely there, so it’s a nice change”

“It’s definitely a different atmosphere than it was last year,” said East Palestine senior Tyler Bistarkey. “We definitely have more kids coming out and more kids actually determined to want to play and win more games this year.”

In the hope of getting those wins, the Bulldogs are turning to freshman quarterback Owen Jurjavicic to lead the offense this fall.

“Our goal is to not have the weight of the game to be put on his shoulders and we want him to just distribute the ball,” Foster said. “And if we can run it and be successful, great.”

East Palestine is no stranger to running the ball. Last season, the Bulldogs ran the ball in 86% of its offensive plays. Bistarkey is set to carry the load.

“Towards the end of the year, I ran the ball most of the time.” Bistarkey said. “So, we’re really looking forward to running it as much as I can if it will help the team.”

The Bulldogs have not had a season above .500 since 2017 and feel they have a lot to prove in 2021.

“All we want is to just not be the laughing stock,” Bistarkey said. “We really just want to win games and prove that we’re good.”

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