Boardman has qualified for the post-season in two of the past three seasons including last year’s 5-point loss in week eleven to the eventual-Region 7 Champ Massillon (28-23). The Spartans have not won a playoff game since 2007 (def. Euclid, 14-7). With their starting quarterback (Michael O’Horo) returning and their All-League defender (Kareem Hamdan), this year could be another special season for the Spartans.
2018 Boardman Spartans’ Football Preview
Head Coach: Joe Ignazio, 6th season (19-33)
Record: 6-5 (2-1), 2nd place in AAC Gold Tier
What you need to know about the Boardman Offense
A year ago, Boardman took a step in the right direction. For the first time since 2012 (25.5), Sparty scored above 17 points per game during the season. Senior signal caller Michael O’Horo has completed 52.7% of his passes (188-357) since becoming the team’s starting quarterback in 2016. O’Horo threw for 1233 yards and 8 touchdowns in 2017 while rushing for 653 yards (14 TDs). Senior running back Joe Ieraci (167 rushing yards, 3 TDs) is back in the fold after returning from injury. Coach Ignazio says, “We expect great things out of him this fall. Josh Rodriguez (12 carries, 46 yards) will get time at running back as well and is a powerful runner.” Senior tight end Alex Huzicka begins his third year in the starting lineup. Huzicka caught 15 passes a year ago for 180 yards (12.0 avg). Ignazio also looks for Connor Miller (12 catches, 129 yards), Nate Cuttica and Aidan Slocum to play a key role at the skill positions. First-team All-League Tino Arcuri will anchor the offensive line as he returns as a three-year starter. Nikitas Missos will be back at guard. The Spartans are looking for players like Jimmy Hoffman and Lou Craven to step up and replace 3-year starter Bobby Toth up front.
Key to the Boardman Offense
“The development of our offensive line and our young skill, especially at wide receiver is the key,” says coach Ignazio of his offensive strength.
What you need to know about the Boardman Defense
Over the course of the last 4 seasons, Boardman’s defense has held the opposition below 22-points per game each campaign. Their group of linebackers all return. Senior linebacker Kareem Hamdan is back after eclipsing 100-tackles a year ago (113) and accumulating 3 quarterback takedowns. Zach Hillard (20 tackles), Connor Miller (45 tackles), and Joe Ieraci all return at linebacker as well. The defensive line will be anchored by senior defensive end Alex Huzicka (76 tackles, 5 QB sacks) and Division I talent Tino Arcuri (46 tackles) at defensive tackle. In the secondary, Boardman welcomes back Mike Fetsko (51 tackles) and Michael O’Horo.
Key to the Boardman Defense
“We’ve got to build off of last year,” states Ignazio. “Our core nucleus returns from a year ago. The seniors need to prepare themselves to have their best year.”
Offensive player to watch for
Senior/QB, Michael O’Horo
…”Michael will be in his third-year as our returning starter. at quarterback,” points out Ignazio. “He’s the heart and soul of our offense.” O’Horo saw his touchdown totals increase from 5 to 8 and his completion percentage go up from 47.5% to 56.8% as a sophomore to a junior.
Defensive player to watch for
Senior/LB, Kareem Hamdan
…”He’ll be our leader returning as an all-state selection,” indicates coach Ignazio. Hamdan finished with 28 more tackles than the next closest Spartan a year ago.
Aug. 24 – East, 7
Aug. 31 – at Howland, 7
Sept. 7 – Jackson, 7
Sept. 14 – Erie McDowell, 7
Sept. 21 – at Mooney, 7
Sept. 28 – at Canfield, 7
Oct. 5 – Harding, 7
Oct. 12 – Ursuline, 7
Oct. 19 – at Fitch, 7
Oct. 26 – at Lakeside, 7
The back end of the Spartans schedule is brutal (Mooney, Canfield, Harding, Ursuline and Fitch). Boardman must do well when they begin the season. That means a week two victory at Howland would be beneficial to their playoff hopes.
2017 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 24.5
Total Offense: 305.6
Passing Offense: 116.0
Rushing Offense: 189.6
Scoring Defense: 21.5
2017 Statistical Leaders
Passing: Mike O’Horo – 1233 yards, 56.8% (113-199), 8 TDs
Rushing: Domonhic Jennings – 777 yards, 4.6 avg, 7 TDs*
Receiving: Jujuan Forte – 20 catches, 212 yards, 4 TDs*
Tackles: Kareem Hamdan – 113
Quarterback Sacks: Alex Huzicka – 5
Interceptions: Maurice Pickard – 4*
Big 22 Recipients
2017: Michael O’Horo
2015: Mario Graziani
2011: Devin Campbell
2010: Dayne Hammond
2009: Chase Hammond & J.T. Moore
2008: Damien Jarrett & Corey Linsley