YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The 2018 season was one to remember at Youngstown East. The Golden Bears posted their first winning record since 2007. They also advanced to the playoffs for the first time in 21 years before falling to eventual state finalist Girard.
“It’s a drive because it’s really that gut feeling that we didn’t accomplish what we wanted to, our main goal,” said Head Coach Brian Marrow. “A lot of people didn’t expect us to get there and we really fell short of our goal, which is making it to the state championship.”
To get back to week eleven, Marrow has plenty of shoes to fill, with only one starter back on the roster. Six key players from last year’s team chose to leave the East program to play at Chaney, fueling a heated rivalry that will be renewed in week ten.
“You have guys who played against each other or with each other in Little League and, obviously, on the team last year,” Marrow said. “So it’s like if you had guys that you felt you were better than or vice versa and they’re split up right now, you can prove it right now when you get to go against them — full-go, full-blast. So it will prove a lot of things there.”
The Golden Bears will be loaded with skill, speed and athleticism.
One key newcomer is Isaiah Hackett, a transfer from Warren Harding. He has more than a dozen college offers as the number-three rated cornerback recruit in Ohio.
“We’ve probably got the best group of athletes in the state right now,” Hacket said. “I want to leave high school with a ring. Obviously, I want to make everybody around me better.”
Likewise, fellow senior Robbie Sullivan has high hopes for the Golden Bears this season.
“The bond and brotherhood that we have, a lot of skill — we have a lot of skill. Hopefully, get to week 15,” Sullivan said.
“We’re flying under the radar so that way, you can come up and shock some people. But it’s not a shock to us when we do certain things like that,” Marrow said.
East will kick off the season on Friday, August 30 at Liberty.