POLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – The Pavlansky name is no stranger to Poland. It sits proudly on top of the scoreboard, with the field being named after longtime Bulldog Head Coach Dave Pavlansky. Now, another Pavlansky is heading the program as his son Tom takes over after 22 years at Lakeview.
“I am not going to lie, I take a peek every morning,” Tom said. “I am very humbled to be here. It is my hometown, it is a very special place, and hopefully we can put a product out there that everyone is proud of.”
“Definitely a good feeling that his dad coached here and now he is coaching here and that he has always wanted to coach here,” said senior linebacker Michael Gordon. “We know that he is committed as we are to get to where we want to go.”
“I love him as a coach. He has been really good,” said senior Jack Fulton. “Prepping us very well, I think behind him we can do a lot.”
Tom racked up 131 wins and seven trips to the postseason in his two plus decades at Lakeview. Reaching the playoffs is something he is hoping to continue at Poland who has been to the postseason 12 of the last 15 years.
“We want not only to maintain but build upon it,” Tom said. “And we are working hard each day to try and do that.”
He will welcome back three-year starting quarterback and senior Jack Fulton.
Fulton threw for 739 yards, rushed for another 424 and had 12 total touchdowns.
“I think the sky is the limit with this team,” Fulton said. “We have plenty of skill, line up front. Just comes down to if we will make the plays we need to.”
A familiar foe awaits Poland in Week 1: rival Canfield. It will be the first Battle of 224 since 2018, and not only Tom’s first game as head coach of Poland but the first time he will be going head to head against brother Mike.
“My brother and I joke a little bit that we can’t wait until August 20 when it is over,” Tom said. “I wish my brother was playing because then I would know who to attack. But he isn’t playing. It is about Poland and Canfield, about the kids and that is where the focus will be.”
“I think after last year, not winning the league,” Fulton said, “and taking a bit of a beat down in the playoffs, I think this team wants no more than getting after every single team we play.”