Protopapa’s offense looks to continue success they had last year at Mathews


The Mustangs are coming off of a playoff season which saw the team average 29 points (29.4) and rush for over 275 yards per game as a team. Mathews is seeking another playoff berth this year – which would be their 6th in school history and 4th in the past 5 years.


2018 Mathews Mustangs’ Football Preview

Head Coach: John Protopapa, 3rd season at Mathews (11-10)

Record: 6-5 (3-2), 3rd place in NAC

What you need to know about the Mathews Offense

The offense will take on a new look in 2018. The team which posted 62 points in back-to-back weeks last year must replace their starting quarterback (Dilon Canter), top rusher (Daniel Canter) and their top receiving threat (Tanner Hunt). Dillon completed 54.4% of his passes for 447 yards and 9 touchdowns. He also found the endzone on rushes 6 times. Daniel eclipsed the 1,000-yard plateau as he gained 1272 yards on the ground and scored 16 times of his own. Hunt caught 10 passes for 14.8 yards per reception. Tanner also hauled in 4 touchdowns.

Since Protopapa took over, Mathews has scored 4 touchdowns or more in a game 12 times in 21 contests. That’s a percentage of 57%. Pretty impressive.

Key to the Mathews Offense

“The big key for us as an offense,” points out coach Protopapa, “is to find replacements for the Canter brothers – Daniel and Dillon – who accounted for almost 2500-yards last year.”

What you need to know about the Mathews Defense

The Mustangs lost a number of their key players from a defensive unit which allowed 29 points to be scored per game (28.8). The likes of Tanner Hunt (39 tackles), Bryan Prentice (29 tackles) and Santino Lamancusa (4 sacks) are all gone. However, the return of a solid senior class led by Gabe Canter (44 tackles) and Andy Miller (7 sacks) should be the foundation that the Mustangs will rely on in the new campaign.

Key to the Mathews Defense

“We’ll have to defend the pass better than last year,” indicates Protopapa. “The safety and both corners return so we expect them to be improved with experience from last season.”

Offensive player to watch for

Senior/ATH, Gabe Canter

…”We’ll be leaning on Gabe Canter this summer,” says Protopapa. “He’ll be in a skill position, possibly quarterback.” 

Defensive player to watch for

Senior/LB, John Smith

…Coach Protopapa says, “Defensively, we need John to have a solid year. He should be one of our leaders on defense.”

2018 Schedule

Aug. 24 – St. John, 7

Aug. 31 – at Leetonia, 7

Sept. 7 – Sebring, 7

Sept. 14 – Trinity, 7

Sept. 21 – Valley Christian, 7

Sept. 28 – Windham, 7

Oct. 5 – at Grand Valley, 7

Oct. 12 – at Southington, 7

Oct. 19 – Pymatuning Valley, 7

Oct. 26 – at Newbury, 7

Key Game

The October 5th game in Orwell against Grand Valley is one that Mathews has had circled on their calendar for sometime now. The Ashtabula-Mustangs defeated Mathews at home – 48-13 – last October. They also handed Mathews a 39-21 loss the year prior. Mathews hasn’t come away with a win against Grand Valley in four years (2014: Mathews, 34-28). Will this be the year Mathews gets one against Grand Valley?

2017 Team Stats

Scoring Offense: 29.4

Total Offense: 315.9

Passing Offense: 40.6

Rushing Offense: 275.3

Scoring Defense: 28.8

2017 Statistical Leaders

Passing: Dillon Canter – 447 yards, 54.4% (31-57), 9 TDs*

Rushing: Daniel Canter – 1272 yards, 8.6 avg, 16 TDs*

Receiving: Tanner Hunt – 10 catches, 148 yards, 4 TDs*

Tackles: Gabe Canter – 44

Quarterback Sacks: Andy Miller – 7


Big 22 Recipients

2015: Brian Leipply

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