STRUTHERS, Ohio (WKBN) – After a 2-1 start to 2020, the Wildcats have fallen in each of their last four games to end the season at 2-5. Two of their 5 losses came by touchdown (against Hubbard, 14-7; at Niles, 35-28).
“Last year tested us as a young team,” said coach John Bayuk, who is entering his second year as head coach of the Struthers. “I saw the fight in them and their determination to improve. No one in the program, including me, is happy with the end of the last few games of last season. Watching them fight through the adversity they’ve faced and watching them grow this offseason, I couldn’t be more proud of them.
Since Gary Zetts first stint in 1986, the Wildcats have seen an increase in second-season wins from six of their previous seven head coaches.
Struthers kicks off the new season at Saint-Thomas d’Aquin on Friday August 20.
2020 review: 2-5 (2-4, T-5e in northeast 8)
Coach: John Bayuk, 2nd season (2-5)
Overview of the Struthers offense
Pointing violation: 18.3 (43rd in zone)
Total offense: 274.9
Return Entries: 9
Main returnees: Gino Calabrette, SR / TE; Chaz Ekoniak, JR / WR; Dylan Greenwood, SR / QB; Alec Grzyb JR / WR, Jonathan Horton, SR / OL; Josh Marshall, SR / WR, Anthony Mudryk, SR / OL; Tyler Sanchez, JR / RB
Key losses: Zac Felleti, OL; Aidan Hall, ATH
Name to watch: Tyler Sanchez, RB
Struthers gained 168 yards per game rushing a year ago in their seven games. Tyler Sanchez led the ground team with 490 yards on 100 carries and 2 points.
Dylan Greenwood connected on 47.1% of his throws (40-85) as he amassed 628 yards in the air, completing 4 touchdowns. He will return a trio of double-digit wide receivers from a year ago to Alec Grzyb (15 catches, 239 yards), Josh Marshall (11 catches, 208 yards) and Chaz Ekoniak (10 catches, 103 yards).
“The return of key players this year will have a big effect on what we can do creatively on offense,” said Bayuk. “Having a shorter offseason last year limited what we could as we put in a new offensive program. The off-season work ethic of (Dylan) Greenwood, (Tyler) Sanchez, (Josh) Marshall, (Chaz) Ekoniak and (Alec) Grzyb has been impressive and it will have a vital impact on our success this season. These five players can be dangerous with the ball in hand in their own way. “
Anthony Mudryk and Jonathan Horton will be the mainstays of Struthers’ attacking front this year.
Struthers defense overview
Pointing defense: 26.3 (T-37th in the zone)
Total defense: 314.9
Return Entries: 8
Main returnees: Camron Bryant SR / DB, Gino Calabarette, SR / LB; Anthony Carter, SO / DB; Nico Farina, JR / DB, Alec Grzyb, JR / DB; Ayden Isabella, JR / LB Josh Marshall, SR / DB; Anthony Mudryk, SR / DL; Bill Torreance, SR / LB
Key losses: Alex Cummings, LB; Nate Marshall, DL
Name to watch: Anthony Carter, DB
The Wildcats defense saw an increase in points (by 5 points) and yards (by 34 yards) allowed per game from 2019 to 2020.
With the return of many starters, the defense appears to be in line for a year of rebound.
“We need to fill positions up front,” said coach Bayuk. “Our skill positions are the greatest strength right now. We have second-year defensive back Anthony Carter (24 tackles, 2 INT) – who was named to the All-Northeast 8 first-team first-year – going to play a key role this year. He will be joined by Josh Marshall (21 tackles) and Alex Grzyb (23 tackles) in high school. We also return 3-year-old starting linebacker Gino Calabrette (47 tackles). He will be the general of our interior.
Northeast Ranking 8 2020
South reach – 6-0 (9-1)
Poland – 5-1 (7-2)
Hubbard – 4-2 (5-3)
Niles – 4-2 (5-4)
Girard – 2-4 (4-6)
Struthers – 2-4 (2-5)
Jefferson – 1-5 (3-7)
Lake view – 0-6 (1-7)
August 20 – in Saint-Thomas d’Aquin
August 27 – Crestwood
September 3 – Streetsboro
September 10 – South Channel
September 17 – Hubbard
September 24 – at Lakeview
October 1 – in Jefferson
October 8 – Niles
Oct. 15 – at Girard’s
October 22 – in Poland