Coach Ron Johnson welcomes back eight offensive starters and six on
defense from last year’s squad that advanced to a Division I regional
final before falling to rival Massillon Washington. It’s a good time to be a Bulldog fan.
Canton McKinley (8-5)
* Players to Watch – DE Steve Miller (6-4, 242, Sr.), QB Kyle Ohradzansky (6-1, 213, Sr.), RB Elijah Farrakhan (5-9, 192, Sr.), WR Malcolm Robinson (6-1, 180, Jr.), DT Eric Snow (6-0, 275, Sr.), DE Sevon Pittman (6-5, 235, Jr.), SS Freddie Barton (5-8, 188, Sr.).
* Outlook – Coach Ron Johnson welcomes back eight offensive starters and six on defense from last year’s squad that advanced to a Division I regional final before falling to rival Massillon Washington.
“We feel real good about having a lot of experience back on both sides of the ball,” said Johnson, who is back for his third year at the helm. “We have some guys who have started since they were sophomores. On defense, we have a very aggressive and physical group of guys.”
Miller is considered one of Ohio’s top five prospects for 2011. Miller, a second-team All-Ohio pick last year, has already committed to Ohio State.
“He is extremely explosive,” Johnson said. “He plays with a great motor. He is just a rare athlete who is very special.”
Ohradzansky is in his fourth year as a starting quarterback, including the last two at McKinley.
“Kyle is an intelligent player,” Johnson said. “He has a big football IQ. He has an ability to manage the game at the line of scrimmage. He is also extremely physical.”
Farrakhan had 800 yards last year.
Pittman is one of the state’s top juniors.
“I really like his willingness to learn and his willingness to model what Steve Miller has done,” Johnson said. “He takes coaching very well. He is willing to sacrifice to be a great football player.”
McKinley opens Saturday against Gallatin, Tenn.
“That team went to the semifinals and beat the state champion in the regular season,” Johnson said. “That will be a huge test right out of the gate.”
McKinley also faces Huber Heights Wayne in the Kirk Herbstreit National Kickoff Classic Sept. 5 at Ohio Stadium. Wayne won their match-up last year.
McKinley could be a team to watch in the Federal League.
“The Federal League is the finest league in the state of Ohio,” Johnson said. “We play a lot of tough teams there week in and week out. The teams always seem to accumulate so many nonleague wins that they are always in position for the playoffs.
“I think Boardman will be very strong. GlenOak has their back (Brionte Dunn) back and he is a load to deal with. And North Canton Hoover should also be strong again as well.”
Aug. 28, Gallatin, Tenn.
Sept. 5, vs. Huber Heights Wayne (Kirk Herbstreit National Kickoff Classic at Ohio Stadium), 3:30 p.m.
Sept. 11, Uniontown Lake
Sept. 17, at Austintown-Fitch
Sept. 24, Massillon Jackson
Oct. 1, at Canton GlenOak
Oct. 8, Massillon Perry
Oct. 15, North Canton Hoover
Oct. 21, at Youngstown Boardman
Oct. 30, at Massillon Washington, 2 p.m.