Long-time assistant Gibbons takes the reins at Euclid

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Euclid Panthers

Tom Gibbons takes over as the Panthers’ new head coach after spending the last 12 years there as an assistant, including the last eight as the defensive coordinator.

Gibbons welcomes back six starters on offense and two on defense.



Euclid (9-2)

* Players to Watch – RB Jeffvon Gill (6-1, 200, Sr.), RB/LB John Franklin (6-1, 200, Sr.), OG/NG John Brnjic (5-10, 295, Sr.), WR/DB Ken Amos (6-0, 175, Sr.), QB/DB Dontravious Smith (5-11, 280, Jr.).

* Outlook – Tom Gibbons takes over as the Panthers’ new head coach after spending the last 12 years there as an assistant, including the last eight as the defensive coordinator.

“We think we can maintain some continuity,” Gibbons said. “Over the last 25 years, we have had a lot of winning records and won a lot of conference championships. Coach (Tom) Banc turned it over to Coach (Mike) Rezzolla and now he has turned it over to me. We want to keep that going. It was important to have that continuity.

“I definitely anticipated this day. I tried to put myself in this position and visualize things many many times. It is certainly very exciting. We have outstanding tradition and we have great support from the administration. We look to build on that and the guys who went ahead of me have said, ‘Don’t be afraid to take it up to another level.’ It is nice to know they are there.”

Euclid was the No. 3 seed in the Division I Region 1 playoffs. But the Panthers were upset by No. 6 seed Youngstown Boardman 14-7 at home in their regional quarterfinal match-up.

Gibbons welcomes back six starters on offense and two on defense.

“We are a young team, but we had a lot of seniors who saw time last year as juniors,” Gibbons said. “Our JV team was 7-3. We had a lot of kids playing behind good kids and they are ready for the challenge.”

Gill, a three-sport athlete, tallied 702 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior.

“Gill was used primarily on offense last year,” Gibbons said. “He will see some time on defense as well this year.”

Franklin also averaged an impressive 10 yards a carry last year.

“We have to find ways to get him the ball,” Gibbons said.

Brnjic is a three-year starter.

“John was a captain last year as a junior,” Gibbons said. “He is a smart kid with a 3.8 GPA.”

Smith tallied four interceptions on defense last year as a sophomore and will now get a chance to take over at quarterback.

“He is our leading candidate at quarterback,” Gibbons said. “He is a good athlete, but he did not get a lot of reps there last fall. He would project as a DB at the college level.”

2008 Schedule

Aug. 23 at Mentor Lake Catholic

Aug. 30 at Lakewood St. Edward, 7 p.m.

Sept. 5 Willoughby South

Sept. 11 Bedford

Sept. 19 Eastlake North

Sept. 26 at Mentor

Oct. 3 Cleveland Heights

Oct. 11 at Shaker Heights, 2 p.m.

Oct. 17 Maple Heights

Oct. 24 at East Cleveland Shaw

 

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