Chagrin Falls assumes label of “favorite” with drop down to D-IV

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Chagrin Falls Football

Chagrin Falls is blessed with enviable football tradition thanks in
large part to the drive of coach Mark Iammarino, who is entering his
14th season this fall in leading the Tigers. Chagrin Falls posted a 6-4 mark in 2007 and developed some key players last year, netting two more victories. The Tigers are on the prowl again after advancing to the postseason
last season in D-III and attaining immediate status as a contender in
D-IV.


Chagrin Falls (8-4)

* Players To Watch – RB/LB Chris Gorman (6-0, 200, Sr.); QB Chris Trinetti (5-10, 180, Sr.); TE/DL Connor Clegg (6-5, 220, Sr.); NG Scott Campbell (5-10, 190, Sr.); LB Bobby Winkelman (6-1, 210, Sr.).

* Outlook –
Chagrin Falls is blessed with enviable football tradition thanks in large part to the drive of coach Mark Iammarino, who is entering his 14th season this fall in leading the Tigers. One sign of what he has built is the glaring growth of the program’s summer football camp.

“I started after my first season in 1995,” Iammarino recently told the Chagrin Sun. “The first year we had 45 kids and we’ve had as many as 150.”

This year’s turnout was close to an even hundred and former Tigers such as Brian Robiskie and Sean McHugh were among the distinguished counselors. That has helped keep the pipeline flowing to Chagrin Falls, which manages to churn out winning campaigns year after year.

Chagrin Falls posted a 6-4 mark in 2007 and developed some key players last year, netting two more victories.

The Tigers are on the prowl again after advancing to the postseason last season in D-III and attaining immediate status as a contender in D-IV.

Posting seven wins while facing a loaded regular-season schedule last season, Chagrin Falls earned a 5-seed in Region 9 of the Division III playoffs, which ticketed the Tigers for a road contest to open the playoffs. They responded by promptly shutting out powerful Youngstown Liberty in the first round at Liberty High School Stadium.

Proving they were a tough out, the Tigers lost a tight 21-17 contest to Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit in the second round to finish at 8-4.

It’s safe to say Iammarino’s squad will carry confidence into the 2009 season despite the loss of several key players including Andrew Klindera, Matt Diles, Jack Karlovec and Dan Mignogna. In fact, the roster is headed by 25 seniors, including several of the top players in the Chagrin Valley Conference. Also, Falls returns several underclassmen who earned valuable time last season.

“The team has depth, good speed and experience,” Iammarino said.

The offense returns seven starters and a dozen lettermen, including a pair of skill players who were named All-Ohio last season in Gorman and Trinetti.

Gorman is sturdy and dependable and makes a living between the tackles. He wasn’t always a first option out of the spread but managed to put together some big games and rambled for more than 100 yards in both of the postseason affairs.

Meanwhile, Trinetti is coming off a record-breaking season as he set a new school mark with more than 1,900 yards passing and 18 touchdown tosses. He added 225 yards rushing a four more scores on the ground.

Trinetti is missing some of his top receiving targets from last season, but the Tigers believe they have an emerging weapon in Clegg, who can get open against smaller defenders. Clegg also is an outstanding blocker.

Others will need to come to the fore to keep this offense humming, but Iammarino can go into games knowing he’s got outstanding performers at the key positions of quarterback and running back and he also will field a senior-laden offensive line. That should help the development.

“Gorman and Trinetti were all-Ohio selections as juniors and are back poised to lead,” Iammarino said.

The Tigers run a 4-3 defense and will feature 15 letterwinners on that side of the ball, including six first-teamers from a year ago.

Winkelman enters his third straight season as a starter and is expected to lead the team in stops. He sometimes flies by ball carriers but is always looking to make a play. Winkelman will receive help from OLB David Powers, another two-year starter, and Campbell should continue to create havoc up front and flow the ball to the ’backers.

Put it all together and Chagrin Falls has star power, size, speed, depth, postseason experience and a hunger to rule the roost in Division IV. And best of all, the Tigers will operate in Region 13, which no longer houses Steubenville, Youngstown Mooney and Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary.

“This is the largest team we’ve had and most have experience,” Iammarino said. “Gorman, Trinetti, Clegg, and Campbell could be the best in the conference.”

The schedule includes a land mine Sept. 17 at Aurora, the defending champs in Division III, and builds to a regular-season finale with Perry, one of the elite teams in D-IV.

2009 Schedule

Aug. 28 – at Mantua Crestwood
Sept. 4 – Chardon Notre Dame-Cathedral
Sept. 11 – Peninsula Woodridge
Sept. 17 – at Aurora
Sept. 25 – Chagrin Falls Kenston
Oct. 2 – at Wickliffe
Oct. 9 – Painesville Harvey
Oct. 16 – at Chesterland West Geauga
Oct. 23 – at Pepper Pike Orange
Oct. 30 – Perry

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