Austintown Fitch 2023

falguin

Well-known member
Well Falcon followers, we had another good year. We beat some good team, won a playoff game, and had a bunch of players get post season recognition. But we did not achieve the main goal, which is a state championship. This senior class is the class that I've been pointing to as our best chance to win it all. So let's get into the discussion. First of all, we lost some really good players. Smith, James, Fitzgerald, Eley, all have offers from colleges and most of them are DI offers. Fitzgerald had committed to Sacred Heart and Smith has committed to Iowa State. James keeps getting more offers everyday. And if you are wathching Jamell, YSU, YSU. They need running backs Jamell. But these guys are going to be really hard to replace. We also lose, Barrett and Latone at linebacker and Odom and Knight on the line. Losing the first four is basically losing eight players because they all went both ways. Smith and Fitzgerald are really going to be hard to replace becasue they basically never left the field. Fitzgerald was also first team all state. So what do we have coming back?

Let's look at the big names first. Well we have Robinson (multiple DI offers, four star recruit), D.J. Williams (Offer to Toledo, state finalist in the discus), DaShawn Vaughn (Toledo offer, Third team All State), Xavier Dahn (Toledo offer, All conference, NEO all star honorable mention), Dan Evans III (All conference, second team NEO Inland all stars), and Davion Pritchard (Kentucky and Toledo offers, Second team all state). With this much all star and DI talent, we should be able to compete with almost anyone, but we do have some holes to fill. Lets look at positions. First QB. That's obvious. We're good. Vaughn has proven to be every good as Sherwood. If we had him at QB, we beat St. V's by two TD's. Smith missed a couple of passes that he would have completed and if they were completed, those receivers were gone. Running back: we're good. Williams is great. A hard nosed, fast runner who has lettered all four year. But do we have somebody to spot him? Yes, J'Allen Underwood has looked good when he filled in for the injured Williams. He was only a sophomore last year, so I look for him to greatly improve.

Receiver: Believe it or not, even with the loss of Smith and Eley, we may be better. We have Evans, Perry, and Dante Hill Jr. back. I look for Perry to play more of a role. We was our deep threat, and while it didn't seem that he caught a lot of passes, most of the passes he caught were TD's. Here's why I think we are going to get better. If you're following Falcon basketball you probably have noticed that we are undereated with wins over Hudson, Poland, and Mooney. Usually we lose two of these games of not all three. What is the difference? Two freshman 6' 4" twin brothers: Allen Hill JR. and Alex Hill. They are dominating the inside game, pulling down boards and blocking shots. Allen Hill Jr. already has offers from Penn State, Kentucky, and Michigan, and he hasn't stepped foot on a varsity football field. At tightend we have Donnovan Bell-Sullivan returning and Robinson.

Let's get to the issue: The o-line. We lose three starters from a decent but not great o-line. Here is where we lose to the big boys. We can't compete in the trenches. There is some good news here. we do have three guys who started some: Stankorb, Armes, and Ciccarelli. Stankorb is a typical Falcon lineman smallish at 5'10'' and 225 pounds but tough as nails. I look for him to move to center, though I would really like him to stay and guard and find a bigger guy to play center. Armes and Ciccarelli were guards and both are like 6'1,'' 290. I imagine they are going to play Dahn on this side of the ball more, at least a little. Dahn at 6'4'' 260 will be a good lineman. If he puts on ten more pounds of muscle, which can be expected, he'll destroy people. After these three, it's up in the air. Dasean Johnson, who plays on extra-points, is 6'7'' 330; however, when you're that big and you don't start, there's a reason. He has gotten in on mop-up duty and looked okay. If he can develop into something over the off season, we might have a really good line. But the line is the main problem. We have a decent line but the big boys (Massillon, Hoban, TCC, Avon) will be better than us here.

On defense, we should be good. On the d-line, we return four guys who started or played a lot. Robinson, Dahn, and Bell-Sullivan are all back. Stankorb also played a lot until his season was cut short. I like that kid. He wished everyone a Happy Thanksgiving on Twitter and then said they would be practicing at that time next year. That's the attitude that is needed. There is also the freshman, Booker Newberry, who played in games at the end of the year. That kid is getting big and he held his own against some good lineman as a freshman. Who knows who else might be on the roster who is an under classman who we migh not have seen. But we have to be better here. We can't get pushed around like we did against Massillon.

Linebacker should be interesting. Williams, Foster, Diflorio, and Underwood all saw a lot of action. Williams can't be exprected to carry the load running the ball and play a lot of snaps on defense. I liked Diflorio. He was a 5'11'' sophomore. Underwood looked pretty good as a sophomore, so I expect him to play even better. Foster usually plays linebacker when they go to the 3/5 or when they bring up two guys to the line to make that five man front. He's good size at around 6' 205, so he might be able to do some damage. This is a position where we have been undersized, and it has cost us. When we go to 3/5 or that five man front, the small linebackers have been dominated by big, quick o-linemen. We saw it against Massillon and Ursuline. I would really like to see Foster go back to d-end and move Bell-Sullivan if he can cover and has speed to middle linebacker. We need someone who is in the 6'1'' 215 range to fill that middle. Maybe Diflorio grows a little or puts on ten to fifteen pounds of muscle and he becaome that guy. We'll see.

We should be great at defensive back. With Vaughn, Evans, and Pritchard back. If Vaughn wasn't hurt against St.V's, there is no way they complete some of the downfield passes they completed. Who will fill out the other spots is going to be the question, but at this position we never seem to have an issue. On special teams we have our punter, Ruggles, back. He looke pretty good. We have to replace Berni at kicker. This is going to be an issue obviously. But because of a good soccer program, it seems we just reload here.

Now comes the analyses of the coaching. Gotta like what Parker is doing. He is really developing a lot of talent. If there are two things I would like to see happen it is to stay in the four/ three defense and run more plays from under center and make everything develop quicker on offense. I was really worried how we were going to do against St. V's because I saw another scenario like we saw against Massillon and Ursuline. They had a big o-line and ran the ball really well. We came out in 4/3 and shut them down for the most part. I think if we ran this against Massillon, they would not have pushed us around like they did. No one should ever be outside of Robinson. He can dominate almost anyone one on one. You put him inside the tightend, he's going to get double teamed, and the teams we play will have DI players who can play, so we can't just expect him to dominate players that are on his level. The few times we have gone under center I have been pleasantly surprised. We have actually gotten good push. Expecting undersized lineman to hold someone who is a couple of inches taller and ten to twenty pounds heavier four five second while the receivers run down the field is asking too much out of our lineman. Plays that develop quickly are need, so we don't have Vaughn running for his life. Now he can do it because he is that good, but I want him to get rid of the ball quickly.

All of this being written, I am stoked for next year. I think we have the potential to be the next Canfield or South Range. So kids, get in that weight room and get it done. Go Falcons!
For you Ytown
 
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simkon

Well-known member
Something to think about is that winning a state championship in D-II requires going through a lot more obstacles than all of the lower divisions. You have to get through Hoban, TCC and Massillon. In D-III and lower divisions Fitch would probably beat everyone but Canfield and Glenville if they played today, although South Range would be an interesting match-up. D-II consistently has 10 teams or so that are better than every team in lower divisions and it is these teams that Fitch has to figure out how to consistently beat.
 

falguin

Well-known member
Something to think about is that winning a state championship in D-II requires going through a lot more obstacles than all of the lower divisions. You have to get through Hoban, TCC and Massillon. In D-III and lower divisions Fitch would probably beat everyone but Canfield and Glenville if they played today, although South Range would be an interesting match-up. D-II consistently has 10 teams or so that are better than every team in lower divisions and it is these teams that Fitch has to figure out how to consistently beat.
I agree with you. There are about five teams that Fitch would have a lot of trouble beating. I do think we have skill position to matchup with anyone in DII. It's the line where we have problems. We are not going to be as good or as deep there, or at least, we haven't been. How we can change that is the problem we face.
 

Squintz

Member
"Let's get to the issue: The o-line" - This answers it for you.

I don't care if you have twin 6'7" mega athletes at WR. Without a line, teams have zero percent chance to win a state title.
This past year, I saw two freshman games. The 'superstar' twins didn't impress me. They look like kids that haven't had to work hard their entire life in athletics. In both games, when they were challenged even a little, they quit. Neither ran routes hard and forget about any blocking. You don't win regional or state titles with athletes that think they're better than they are. I saw a couple nice catches, but zero drive or desire from either kid in both games. Just my opinion.
 
I agree with you. There are about five teams that Fitch would have a lot of trouble beating. I do think we have skill position to matchup with anyone in DII. It's the line where we have problems. We are not going to be as good or as deep there, or at least, we haven't been. How we can change that is the problem we
"Let's get to the issue: The o-line" - This answers it for you.

I don't care if you have twin 6'7" mega athletes at WR. Without a line, teams have zero percent chance to win a state title.
This past year, I saw two freshman games. The 'superstar' twins didn't impress me. They look like kids that haven't had to work hard their entire life in athletics. In both games, when they were challenged even a little, they quit. Neither ran routes hard and forget about any blocking. You don't win regional or state titles with athletes that think they're better than they are. I saw a couple nice catches, but zero drive or desire from either kid in both games. Just my opinion
I guess Penn State, Kentucky, and Michigan opinions means way more than your opinion.
 

Squintz

Member
I guess Penn State, Kentucky, and Michigan opinions means way more than your opinion.
Not every kid that gets 'offers' as a freshmen then gets those same scholarships. Power five takes body structure and potential over high school performance.

Both of these kids could go to Ohio State, yet never win a high school regional game. Last I looked, teams with awesome receivers but no offensive line very rarely play in late November.

Heck, I'd be more concerned if the kids aren't getting their stats that they may be swayed to go play somewhere that will get them the ball.
 

falguin

Well-known member
I haven't seen or heard anything about it. I would guess we need to find someone to fill in the Vegas and Buffalo teams spots. I would like to see us keep the schedule we have now and pick up Canfield and Chaney. Those are games that should happen looking at where all of these schools are located.
 

Red-Lep

Well-known member
I haven't seen or heard anything about it. I would guess we need to find someone to fill in the Vegas and Buffalo teams spots. I would like to see us keep the schedule we have now and pick up Canfield and Chaney. Those are games that should happen looking at where all of these schools are located.
Would like to see Fitch pick up another Fed school:
Weeks 1-10 could be
Chaney
Ursuline
McKinley
GO
Dover
Lake
Mooney
Boardman
Massillon
Harding
 

simkon

Well-known member
Just because Canfield beat Fitch and would have beat them this year late in the season, doesn't mean they would be able to compete with Fitch year in and year out. In fact most years Fitch wins easily, Canfield had negative rushing yards against Fitch when they played in 2003. Jamie McNally had to throw Hail Mary/jump balls and hope not to get intercepted because Canfield could not run the ball at all on Fitch and that would likely be the case more often than not. Without the exceptional teams and players like Lowry of late, Canfield doesn't consistently have the personnel and team to compete with Fitch.
Fitch is a very solid program and Canfield can only compete with them when they are way up, in a normal year Fitch wins easy.
 

Red-Lep

Well-known member
Just because Canfield beat Fitch and would have beat them this year late in the season, doesn't mean they would be able to compete with Fitch year in and year out. In fact most years Fitch wins easily, Canfield had negative rushing yards against Fitch when they played in 2003. Jamie McNally had to throw Hail Mary/jump balls and hope not to get intercepted because Canfield could not run the ball at all on Fitch and that would likely be the case more often than not. Without the exceptional teams and players like Lowry of late, Canfield doesn't consistently have the personnel and team to compete with Fitch.
Fitch is a very solid program and Canfield can only compete with them when they are way up, in a normal year Fitch wins easy.
There are more than enough D1& D2 schools for Fitch to play and don't need to play smaller schools outside of maybe Ursuline and Mooney.
 

hdvhsmgr

Well-known member
AUSTINTOWN-FITCH
1 - @ Euclid
2 - (H) Central Valley (PA)
3 - @ Canton GlenOak
4
5 - (H) Stow-Munroe Falls
6 - (H) Youngstown Ursuline
7
8 - (H) Massillon Washington
9 - @ Boardman
10 - @ Warren Harding
 
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Scipio

Well-known member
Fitch plays a good schedule. You just never know how good Strongsville, McKinley, Wadsworth or Harding will be year to year.
 

Maxie

Well-known member
AUSTINTOWN-FITCH
1 - @ Euclid
2
3 - @ Canton GlenOak
4
5 - (H) Stow-Munroe Falls
6 - (H) Youngstown Ursuline
7
8 - (H) Massillon Washington
9 - @ Boardman
10 - @ Warren Harding
Arbiter has AF hosting Strongsville in game 2.
 
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jtigerjoe

Active member
Would like to see Fitch pick up another Fed school:
Weeks 1-10 could be
Chaney
Ursuline
McKinley
GO
Dover
Lake
Mooney
Boardman
Massillon
Harding
I just don't understand why Fitch didn't stay in the Fed. They seem to play their teams anyhow.
 
This is going to be a great off season for the Falcons leading to a great year! Looking forward to seeing the full schedule, hopefully sooner than later
 
Not every kid that gets 'offers' as a freshmen then gets those same scholarships. Power five takes body structure and potential over high school performance.

Both of these kids could go to Ohio State, yet never win a high school regional game. Last I looked, teams with awesome receivers but no offensive line very rarely play in late November.

Heck, I'd be more concerned if the kids aren't getting their stats that they may be swayed to go play somewhere that will get them the ball.
Fitch has one of the best Offensive Line coaches in the area. They had two 1000 yard rusher this past season. They will be fine up front.
 

falguin

Well-known member
Fitch has one of the best Offensive Line coaches in the area. They had two 1000 yard rusher this past season. They will be fine up front.
We lost three important players: Fitzgerald, Knight, and Odom. These guys will not be easily replaced. We have some good sized guys coming up, but they will have to really step up. Our interior lines had trouble against the tougher competition. To win it all we need to be able to go toe to toe with Massillon, TCC, Hoban, Winton Woods, and maybe LaSalle. I do think we have guys that if put in good situations, they can get it done. Slow developing plays will hurt them when they go against guys that are simply more talented or bigger. That being said, this may turn out to be our best line in years. Based on past perfromances, I think we have some real talent. Again, I'm very excited for this 2023.
 

305NoTomato

Well-known member
There are a lot of great points. But we circle the wagon and will always come back to- can Fitch control the line of scrimmage against the upper echelon. I hope so. I know I’ve bashed Fitch enough but I would love to see them make a run.

Also, that freshmen class coming up has some real monsters.
 

falguin

Well-known member
There are a lot of great points. But we circle the wagon and will always come back to- can Fitch control the line of scrimmage against the upper echelon. I hope so. I know I’ve bashed Fitch enough but I would love to see them make a run.

Also, that freshmen class coming up has some real monsters.
There was a freshman who got some varsity playing time. I think it was Newberry. He put on a lot of size from the time he enterred Fitch. There are a couple other freshman that were pretty big. The numbers were way down, but there was a lot of talent on that freshman team. If a few of the underclassmen develop, we could have some real size on the line. If our line can get to the level of our skill players, we will have potential for a great season. We do have three guys who got a lot of varsity time, and they were pretty good. I look for them to keep improving. I do thin we will be better than most on the line of scrimmage next year.
 

jtigerjoe

Active member
We lost three important players: Fitzgerald, Knight, and Odom. These guys will not be easily replaced. We have some good sized guys coming up, but they will have to really step up. Our interior lines had trouble against the tougher competition. To win it all we need to be able to go toe to toe with Massillon, TCC, Hoban, Winton Woods, and maybe LaSalle. I do think we have guys that if put in good situations, they can get it done. Slow developing plays will hurt them when they go against guys that are simply more talented or bigger. That being said, this may turn out to be our best line in years. Based on past perfromances, I think we have some real talent. Again, I'm very excited for this 2023.
Massillon wasn't overly large upfront last year. Matching up with Hoban is a real task. Gave the Tigers fits.
 

falguin

Well-known member
That surprised me that Massillon struggled with Hoban up front. I thought they would be able to move the ball on Hoban. the defense Fitch ran against Massillon last year played right into Massillon's hands. We went to a five man front and brought up two of the 5'10" 190 pound linebackers to go against your line. As you know, it didn't go well.
 

jtigerjoe

Active member
That surprised me that Massillon struggled with Hoban up front. I thought they would be able to move the ball on Hoban. the defense Fitch ran against Massillon last year played right into Massillon's hands. We went to a five man front and brought up two of the 5'10" 190 pound linebackers to go against your line. As you know, it didn't go well.
By the way, how is the renovation of your ball park going? I thought it was pretty good as it was.
 
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