Wildcats join the Northeast 8 this fall
STRUTHERS, Ohio (WKBN) – In 2012, Curt Kuntz took over a program which hadn’t enjoyed a winning season in 11 years. With Kuntz as the head coach, the Wildcats have finished just once with a losing season in 7 years (2014: 4-6).
Now, Struthers moves into the Northeast 8 Conference with other traditional powers such as Hubbard, Lakeview, Girard, South Range, Niles and Poland. The ‘Cats begin the league schedule on September 20 when they welcome Hubbard – the team who won the AAC White Tier in 2018.
Head Coach: Curt Kuntz, 8th season (47-27)
2018 record (AAC White): 7-3 (5-1), 2nd place
Five Key Points
1.Struthers last won a league championship outright was in 1982. They’ve tied for the top spot 4 times since (1985, 1987, 1997, 2016).
2.The Wildcats have won 14 (AAC) league games (14-4) over the last 3 years. It took more than the previous 8 years to get to that plateau in conference wins.
3.Five of the last 6 years, Struthers’ defense has held their opponents to less than 19-points per game.
4.Hubbard defeated Struthers last year – 41-0. The Wildcats, however, did win their previous 3 meetings
5.Wildcats have won each of their last eight lid lifters (2011-18).
Scoring Offense: 31.7 (15th in Area)
Rushing Offense: 169.6
Passing Offense: 220.9
Total Offense: 390.5
…The offense returns each of their top 3 rushers and their top pass catcher from last year’s 7-win team. Adrian Brown (388 yards, 6 TDs), Tyrese Hawkins (362 yards, 4 TDs), and Dylan Donnadio (241 yards, 2 TDs) are all back in the fold after leading the Wildcat ground game to 169.6 yard per game average. Junior Aiden Hall caught a team-high 38 passes last year for 680 yards (17.9 avg) and 7 touchdowns. Senior Carson Ryan hauled in a team-high 18 yards per catch on 34 receptions and 4 scores a year ago.
The offense returns a lot of experience up front as they’ll welcome back All-AAC linemen Marcel Walker, Jake Vlosich and Zach Feleti – which should only help the team’s new signal caller. Outgoing QB JD Hall completed 59.1% of his tosses (228-386) for 3172 and 26 touchdowns as the team’s starter over the last two years.
Scoring Defense: 17.8 (17th in Area)
Total Defense: 240.0
…With all the hype surrounding the offense’s accomplishments, the defense has been the hallmark of the program in recent history. Eight defenders, a year ago, were named to the All-American Conference’s First or Second Team. A strong senior class returns with the likes of Adrian Brown (led team in tackles, 71), Robert Tomko (62 tackles, 2 INTs), Tyrese Hawkins (47 tackles, 3 INTs), Brandon Serrano (3 QB sacks) and defensive lineman Declan Sekol all back in the fold in 2019.
Gone from last year’s unit are players such as Keith Burnside as well as Tommy Kopnicky and Keyshawn Chism.
Aug. 30 – Lakeside
Sept. 6 – New Philadelphia
Sept. 13 – at West Branch
Sept. 20 – Hubbard
Sept. 27 – at Lakeview
Oct. 4 – at Jefferson
Oct. 11 – Niles
Oct. 18 – at Girard
Oct. 25 – South Range
Nov. 1 – at Poland