In a seemingly level playing field in Region 11 heading into the 2008 season, Canton South could very well make a push for the title and a berth in the state tournament. The Wildcats have done nothing but improve as a program in the first two seasons under head coach Moe Daniska with its second playoff appeanace in school history, its first postseason win and its first back-to-back postseason berths.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
QB Matthew Trissel (6-0, 180, Sr.), OL/DL Montel Bush (6-4, 280, Sr.), OL/ILB Johnny Nolan (6-2, 225, Sr.), OL/MLB Mike McKinney (6-0, 205, Sr.), OL/DL Nick Mecurio (6-3, 230, Sr.), WR/DB Jerald Robinson (6-2, 175, Jr.), OL/DL Nate Randall (5-10, 240, Jr.), OL/DL Justin Darnell (6-0, 240, Jr.), RB/De Ryan Jialanella (5-8, 200, Sr.), OL/DL Mike McMillen (5-10, 215, Sr.), OL/DL Charles Warrick (5-10, 225, Sr.), OL/DL Steve Steiner (5-10, 220, Sr.), OL/DL Matt Bushong (6-3, 350, Sr.), RB/OLB Jordan Wanner (5-10, 170, Jr.), WR/OLB Rob Dale (6-0, 185, Sr.), WR/DB Jared Grigsby (5-8, 160, Sr.), DB Anthony Lanham (5-8, 125, Jr.), DB Matt Kopache (5-8, 135, Sr.)
In a seemingly level playing field in Region 11 heading into the season, Canton South could very well make a push for the title and a berth in the state tournament.
The Wildcats have done nothing but improve as a program in the first two seasons under head coach Moe Daniska. He led South to the playoffs for the second time in school history in his first season in 2006, which also included the school’s first playoff win.
Last year, the Wildcats won their first ever back-to-back playoff games with Daniska at the helm and that momentum could carry through to this year’s campaign with 13 starters and 18 lettermen returning.
“We are very excited about this upcoming season,” Daniska said. “We are hoping to gain momentum with our program.”
Trissel is a three-year starter and threw for 3,000 yards last season and has an experienced line returning to protect him in the spread offense.
“In order for our Wildcats to be successful this year, we are going to have to rely on our experienced offensive line to protect Trissel,” Daniska said.
Three-year starter and All-Ohio linebacker McKinney anchors a solid unit returning on defense. Dale and Wanner will fill in at the outside positions.
Jialanella, McMillen, Steiner, Bush, Warrick and Bushong will all have an opportunity to rotate along the three-man front on the defensive line, according to Daniska.
South lost all three starters in the secondary to graduation but Robinson, Grigsby, Trissel Lanham and Kopache will all be competing for those positions.
“As a unit, we are very excited about the young men we have returning on the defensive side of the ball,” Daniska said. “Once again, we will be relying on applying pressure and using our overall team speed and athleticism on defense.”
South opens its season against three 2007 playoff teams with Dover, Canfield and Ravenna before heading into a tough Northern Buckeye Conference schedule.
The Wildcats edged Dover 28-21 in the season-opener last year but the Tornadoes blew South right out of the postseason 11-7 in the opening round to finish 6-5.
“Once again, we play a brutal non-league schedule,” said Daniska. “It doesn’t get any easier as we enter our NBC play where we annually have three and four teams make the playoffs.
“If we are able to stay healthy, we hope to make a strong push for our first league title and third consecutive playoff appearance.”
8/21 at Dover
9/5 at Ravenna
9/19 Canal Fulton Northwest
9/26 at Beloit West Branch
10/10 at Alliance
10/17 at Louisville