Although the cupboard was almost entirely decimated by graduation, Canton Central Catholic still has legendary coach Lowell Klinefelter manning the ship and should not be counted out to make a fifth straight trip to the postseason.
Canton Central Catholic (10-2; lost to Steubenville, 44-29, in regional semifinals)
PLAYERS TO WATCH
TB/S Marc Davide (5-9, 175, Sr.), OL/DL Jon Gorman (5-11, 195, Sr.), OL/DL Ivan Kyagaba (6-1, 225, Sr.), OL/DL Toby Pesich (5-10, 180, Sr.), K Andy Streb (5-11, 160, Sr.), OL/DL Brandon Ezzo (5-10, 220, Sr.), FB/LB Chris Heath (6-0, 190, Sr.), WR Nick Keller (5-11, 170, Sr.), TE/DL Beau Lindesmith (5-11, 180, Sr.) and OL/DL Harrison Dickerhoof (6-1, 220, Jr.).
For most teams, winning early in the season sets the tone for the rest of the campaign. Legendary head coach Lowell Klinefelter, who has roamed the sidelines for 35 seasons, said that is especially true for his young and depleted Crusaders. Canton Central Catholic was hit hard by graduation as 20 players walked the stage, including nearly every skill player.
Although the cupboard was almost entirely decimated, the Crusaders still have Klinefelter manning the ship and should not be counted out to make a fifth straight trip to the postseason.
Starters that were lost include: Ed Anderson (WR/CB), Chris Andes (WR), Theron Andrus (ILB), Max Colaner (TB/S), Oliver Dickerhoof (DT), Rudy Donatelli (OL), Rob Hoagland (WR/CB), Mike Kettler (OL), Mike Kyagaba (DL), Joe Leno (OL), Brett Loader (S), James Machuga (OL), Marcello Natale (ILB/FB), Joe Rhodes (QB), Mike Roman (OLB/TE) and John Shelestak (OL).
“Our season will be a big challenge,” he admitted. “We need to rebuild the offense and defense as we only have two returning starters on offense and two on defense. Our senior class is not very big, but we’re hoping for some leadership out of those players. They did work hard in the offseason. The team’s character will determine if we are to experience success.”
Besides character, Klinefelter said maturity will be another aspect that his Crusaders will have to display.
“This team has to mature quickly if we’re going to have a winning season,” he noted. “This is the lowest number of players I’ve ever had coming back. The lack of players with playing time is a concern. However, we do return a few returning starters and lettermen, but we will need a lot of help from players up from the junior-varsity level.”
One of Klinefelter’s biggest weapons could be Streb.
“We do return our kicker from last year’s team and that will be one of our strengths.”
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8/29 at Massillon Perry
9/5 at Dover
9/12 Parma Heights Holy Name
9/19 at Bedford St. Peter Chanel
9/26 at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary
10/3 Youngstown Ursuline
10/10 Youngstown East
10/17 Akron Ellet
10/24 Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas