Two minutes with Mark Assion: East head coach previews upcoming season


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Mark Assion was hired as the new head football coach at East back in December.

“I think right now that we’re strong overall,” Assion said. “We’ve got a lot of kids in some positions that are in some different positions than they’re probably used to playing, but they’re coming out. When we’re all together, we’ve got about 42 kids. And that’s really something to build on and we’re excited about that.”

Watch the video above to hear more from East Head Coach Mark Assion about the upcoming football season.

2020 Record: 0-7 (0-3, 4th place in SVC)
Coach: Mark Assion, first season at East

High school football coaching changes abound this summer locally
Previewing East’s Offense
Scoring Offense: 8.1 (57th in area)
Returning Starters: 4
Key Returnees: Frank Harris, SR/RB; Robert Higgs, SR/OL; Delonta Kalaskey, SR/OL
Key Losses: Knowledge Matlock, OL; Reuben Talley, WR; DJ Waller, ATH
Name to watch for: Robert Higgs & Delonta Kalaskey, OL

The Golden Bear offensive attack saw a dip from the previous year as East was able to manage just 8.1 points per game compared to 23.6 points in 2019.

As a freshman, Andrew Blackmon completed 47% of his 117 passing attempts (55-117) for 650 yards and three scores.

Blackmon will be in competition with senior Raveon Carter and sophomore Nazier Howard for the starting quarterback role.

“It’ll be interesting to see how this battle plays out,” Assion said. “At wideout, Mario Wright [senior transfer from Chaney] has been excellent. He’s a fierce competitor and tremendous route runner who longs to make big plays.”

Luther Bell and IJ Jackson are expected to be in line for touches as well.

The team returns two starters up front in seniors Robert Higgs and Delonta Kalaskey.

Previewing East’s Defense
Scoring Defense: 27.7 (43rd in area)
Returning Starters: 3
Key Returnees: Frank Harris, SR/DB; Robert Higgs, SR/DL; Willie Jones, SR/LB-DL
Key Losses: Jamez Brooks, LB; Shawn Cain, DL; Vincent Steele, DL
Name to watch for: Frank Harris, DB-LB

East’s defense played well against a handful of teams that finished with a winning record. The Golden Bear defense allowed 27.7 points per game and was able to hold its opponents to four touchdowns or less in four games. That included its Week 3 matchup with Mooney, when the Cardinals came away with a 7-0 decision.

The team will be without Vincent Steele and Shawn Cain along the defensive front. Cain finished his senior year with 65 tackles (10 for a loss) and six quarterback sacks.

Defensive lineman Robert Higgs will anchor the front line. Frank Harris – a versatile defensive back, who also can play linebacker, will be a spark plug for the defensive unit. Linebackers Rayeon Carter and Mario Wright are a couple of hardworking players who should contribute on that side of the ball.

2020 SVC Standings
Ursuline – 3-0 (7-3)
Chaney – 2-1 (3-6)
Mooney – 1-2 (2-6)
East – 0-3 (0-7)

Aug. 20 – Shaw
Aug. 27 – at Warren Harding
Sept. 3 – at Niles
Sept. 10 – Ellet
Sept. 17 – at Boardman
Sept. 24 – at Mooney
Oct. 1 – at Howland
Oct. 8 – at Canfield
Oct. 16 – Ursuline
Oct. 22 – Chaney

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