Alright Falcon fans, now that the high school and college football seasons are over, it's time to talk Falcon football. Coach Parker has had two very good campaigns. In his first two years, he has been able to get the Falcons into the playoffs despite numerous key injuries and brutal schedules. The question is: Can he get us to the promise land? If it's going to happen, it's going to be this year or next year. We do lose some key players, but injuries on both sides of the ball allowed many young kids to valuable playing time. Key losses are Oliver and Hively on the d-line, Moxley, Jones, King, and Moore on the o-line, RB and MLB Mitchell WR Tyler Evans. There are also guys who contributed in the defensive backfield and as linebackers, but I think these guys here are guys that are really going to be missed. I didn't mention Byrd because he got hurt early in the season and really didn't affect the outcomes of many gams. The main guy we're losing is the greatest QB in Falcon Football History: Devin Sherwood. He was such a huge part of the offense that I don't know how we are going to replace him. It's easy to get wins when you have a QB who was clearly the best player on the field. Now he's gone, and we have to replace him. That is where I will start. Parker and company have a huge decision to make: Do they move Cam Smith to QB or play Deshawn Vaughn? Vaughn garnered a lot of post season accolades for his defensive back play. We know the guy can play. But Smith was rated as one of the best dual threat QBs for his freshman class. He is a great receiver who saved games for us with big plays. He can dominate a game. I say keep him at receiver if Vaughn or somebody else on the team can get him ball. If you don't have someone who can do that, then play him at QB so he's able to make plays. I don't know if he can be as good as Sherwood, but his athletic skills would make him difficult to contain. At running back we are loaded as long as we avoid injuries. DJ Williams and Jamell James are both DI guys. If James played this year, we would have won at least two more games. At receiver I think we are going to be better than last year. If smith plays at WR, he will be unstoppable. The tight end, Sullivan, was only a sophomore and he looked good last year. We also get back Dominic Perry and Vaughn will probably play WR if he isn't the QB. Replacing three of the five starting O-linemen is going to be tough, but the center Rocco Odom, the center, is back as is two way player Josh Fitzgerald. This is probably going to be the toughest area of the team we need to replace. That being said, there are some young players with good size. The question is "Can they play?" We should be golden on defense. Because of the injuries, six sophomores were playing, and they did great. We have Smith and Vaughn back in the secondary. Dan Evans III was also great. At MLB, Noah Thomas came in and did a really great job as a sophomore. The two defensive ends, Kylen Foster and Brian Robinson, were sophomores who really started to come into their own by the Harding Games. On the line, Fitzgerald will be a three year starter. Another year of wrestling is going to make this kid almost impossible to block. The one thing that must stay the same is running the 4/3 defense. We can't go back to the 3/4. That was terrible. When we went to the 4/3, we were more able to stop the run and get pressure on the QB. I got to say that I am excited for this team. I think there will be five or six DI guys on the team: Smith, Fitzgerald, Vaughn, James, Mitchell, and Fitzgerald. In Austintown, that is unheard of. If out schedule doesn't change, it will be tough to go undefeated, but seven or eight wins is possible. Canfield and Massillon will be the toughest teams on the schedule because they were both very young teams who had a lot of success. I'm pretty sure both of those schools think that these are their teams that can win it all. I think Wadsworth will make huge strides next year too. They are someone to watch if they are still on the schedule. Of course Harding will be tough. Jett is a great QB, but they do lose their two best receivers. Ursuline is losing its whole backfield, and those guys will not be easy to replace. Hoban will be the cream of the crop in our region, but after playing them this year and having some success, I don't think we will be intimidated by them; plus, I think we have enough talent to play with them. This might be the year that a bunch of scrappy tough kids from A-town will get it done. I'm interested to see what you guys think.