CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – Dan Yeagley has been the face on the sidelines at South Range for nearly three decades. And after 322 career games, Yeagley will finally coach in his first state championship game.
“Especially this week, he is one of the biggest motivating factors that we have,” South Range senior quarterback Billy Skripac said.
“It really means a lot to us that this senior group is the one to get him to that,” said South Range senior receiver Shane Lindstrom.
“It feels fantastic,” said Yeagley. “The kids are excited, the coaches are excited. The community, there is just so much excitement in South Range right now, and it is just so much fun.”
It is Yeagley’s 28th year with the Raiders, racking up 247 wins throughout the years. As much of an impact that he has had with the program on the field, it’s the lasting lessons off the field that have stuck with his players.
“He has meant more than he will ever know,” Lindstrom said. “The lives that he has touched and the lives he has impacted, all of us are going to know Coach Yeagley and will be impacted by him.”
“He is kind of the part of the team that kind of meshes together from,” Skripac said. “He brings everyone together every single practice day and keeps us focused, keeps us motivated.”
Now Yeagley and the Raiders are not only just a win away from personal history but school history as well. South Range is looking for its first state championship in program history.
“They are very hungry, and we talk about all the teams that didn’t get there — all the South Range teams that were close and never got a chance,” Yeagley said. “And they realize that is who we are playing for, too — all the South Range teams of the past and even in the future, saying, ‘This is where you want to be in the future.'”
“It would mean everything,” Lindstrom said. “Every day, I would wake up and know I am a state champion. Forty years from now, I would meet up with Joey Plunkett at a bar, reminiscing about this time. It would mean the world to get a ring.”
South Range will go for that ring Friday morning as the Raiders take on Ironton. It’s a battle of 15-0 teams, but just one will go to 16-0 and be crowned state champions.
It all goes down at 10:30 a.m. from Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton.