A pair of starters return along the offensive front for the Warriors
BROOKFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – The Warriors enter their final season in the All-American Conference (before moving to the MVAC next year). Brookfield was one of the original 16 teams back in 2008 when they league was formed. After a brief hiatus, the Warriors won their first league crown in 2015. Boy, another championship would be very nice for the Warriors after the type of disappointment they had in league play last year. Coach Randy Clark returns a solid foundation on offense and a group of experienced defenders. Could this be a comeback year for a program which made 4 playoff runs within a 5 year window not even a half decade ago?
Head Coach: Randy Clark, 15th season (84-63)
2018 record (AAC Blue Tier): 3-7 (2-3), 5th place
Five Key Points
1.For the 1st time in 9 years, Brookfield did not outscore the opposition in their season average. First since 2010.
2.Warriors averaged over 200-yards per game in each of the last 3 years.
3.Brookfield’s offense has averaged over 20-points per game in 8 consecutive years (2011-18). Prior to this stretch, the last time they were able to average over 20-points was in 1999 (25.2).
4.In 2018, Brookfield’s defense allowed the most points (36.4) in a single season in 22 years (1996: 40.4)
5.Brookfield has gone 2-8 on the road over the last two years.
Returning Starters: 8
Scoring Offense: 24.2 (25th in Area)
Rushing Offense: 217.6
Passing Offense: 100.6
Total Offense: 318.2
…Third-year starting quarterback Hayden Gibson saw his numbers increase from 2017 (439 yards, 4 TDs) to 2018 (883 yards, 7 TDs). He also gained 851 rushing yards last fall as a sophomore and led the Warriors in touchdowns with 11. Senior Tyler Briggs went for over 1,000-yards rushing last year. He closed out the season with 1065 stripes, 8 touchdowns and a team-leading 7.2 yards per carry average. The top 4 pass catchers return as Gage Emery (19 catches, 275 yards, 5 TDs), Dakota King (17 catches, 318 yards), Stephen Hayes (17 catches, 187 yards) and Connor Filipovich (16 catches, 171 yards) all are back for their senior seasons.
Up front, the Warriors will have First-Team All-AAC selection Ethan McWilliams and Lucas Bechstine – who both started a year ago – back to anchor the line.
With all of the skill position players back, Clark sees his line as an area of concern early on, “We have a couple of key spots which we need to fill. The line is going to have to grow up fast. We have three kids that got a ton of playing time last year. We may have to move some bigger skill position players over to the line to help.” The offense has put together 5 straight years of averaging 300-yards or more of total offense.
Returning Starters: 11
Scoring Defense: 36.4 (50th in Area)
…From 2010 to 2016, the Warriors held their opponents to an average of under 20-points per game. In 2017, Brookfield permitted 23.4 points per game to be scored upon. Last year, they saw that figure jump by 13-points a game (to 36.4). The defense should be improved as they return a trio of All-League selections in DE Connor Filipovich (70 tackles, 4 QB sacks), LB Patrick Reardon (66 tackles) and defensive back Gage Emery (38 tackles, 3 INTs). Also back are LB Matt Burns (55 tackles), DT Tyler Briggs (46 tackles) as well as defensive backs Dakota King (2 INTs) and Ryan Logan (33 tackles, 1 INT).
Last year, the team forced 18 turnovers (9 INTs, 9 fumble recoveries) as they graduated a ton of standouts on that side of the ball in 2017. “We’re looking to be a lot better,” indicates coach Clark. “We have almost everyone back. We’re bigger and faster. We’ve got to be able to run to the ball. Plus, we have more leadership this year than we did (last year).”
Aug. 30 – at McDonald
Sept. 6 – Springfield
Sept. 13 – at United
Sept. 20 – Liberty
Sept. 27 – Newton Falls
Oct. 4 – at Crestview
Oct. 11 – at Columbiana
Oct. 18 – LaBrae
Oct. 25 – at Campbell Memorial
Nov. 1 – Champion