Strongsville ready to ‘take that next step’

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Strongsville Mustangs

Strongsville enjoyed a big year in 2008, posting
playoff wins over Euclid and Mentor before falling to eventual Division I state champ Cleveland St. Ignatius in
the regional final. This season, Strongsville has a strong nucleus returning with seven starters
back on offense and four on defense.


Strongsville (11-2)

* Players to Watch – OT Andrew Sinko (6-4, 270,
Sr.), TE Ray Hamilton (6-4, 235, Jr.), OL David Kaminski (6-3, 225, Jr.), TB Lew
Holder (5-9, 175, Sr.), TB Matt Bianco (5-10, 170, Jr.), TB Kyrun Trigg (5-11,
185, So.).

* Outlook – The Mustangs enjoyed a big year, posting
playoff wins over Euclid and Mentor before falling to Cleveland St. Ignatius in
the regional final. Russ Jacques is back for his 17th year as the
Strongville head coach and he has a strong nucleus returning with seven starters
back on offense and four on defense.

“Our numbers are great and having a great season last year
that really motivated these guys,” Jacques said. “We went into the summer with a
great attitude to try and get some things done. We were there knocking on the
door and now we want to take that next step.”

Just a junior, Hamilton is already attracting interest from
some major colleges.

“Our lines should be our strength,” Jacques said. “We only
lost one kid on the offensive line and the tight end, Hamilton, is already being
recruited by a couple of big D-I schools.”

Jacques must find a replacement for departed starter Kellen
Pagel at quarterback.

“That is our biggest question mark, who that’s going to
be,” Jacques said. “But we have a lot of candidates to look at.”

The nonleague slate includes rematches from the playoffs
with Euclid and Mentor as well as a game against D-III playoff qualifier Parma
Padua. Strongsville could be a favorite in the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley
Division.

“In our division last year, four of the five teams made the
playoffs,” Jacques said. “We have Brunswick, Mayfield, Nordonia and Solon.
That’s our division.”

Schedule

Aug. 28, Euclid

Sept. 4, at Mentor

Sept. 11, at Parma Padua Franciscan

Sept. 18, Hudson

Sept. 25, at Lakewood

Oct. 2, Medina

Oct. 8, Mayfield, 7 p.m.

Oct. 16, at Brunswick

Oct. 23, Macedonia Nordonia

Oct. 30, at Solon

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