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By Mike Copper, Tom Reisenweber, Jeff Kirik Erie Times-News staff bloggers
The Varsity blog is the 2013 winner of an international EPPY award for best sports blog. EPPYs are awarded to media-affiliated websites by Editor & Publisher, an industry trade publication. Varsity is primarily maintained by Times-News sports writers Mike Copper and Tom Reisenweber and sports editor Jeff Kirik.   Read more about this blog.
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Posts tagged "Conneaut football"
Posted: July 6th, 2014

Elijah Anderton

Hunter Merritt

Conneaut Eagles
Coach: Pat Gould (10th season, 65-40)
2013 overall record: 7-4
2013 region record: 3-3 (tied for fourth)
2013 playoff results: Lost to Oil City 24-21 in the District 10 Class AAA quarterfinals.
Top players lost: Jarred Hannold, Jace Pardee, Shane Goodman, Brian Lipps, Clay Bortnor
Top returning players: Hunter Merritt, Elijah Anderton, Brennon Miller, Justin Ledford, Chris Richardson, Jake Gutierrez, Joey Litwin
Assistant coaches: William Stevenson, Todd Greenawalt, Doug Williams, John Waterman, Jason Schell, Chuck McConville
Outlook: After two years stuck in Region 1, Conneaut will finally get a schedule against teams its size. The Eagles are moving over to Region 5 and will take on mostly Class AAA teams this season. Conneaut has some holds to fill after the graduation of Jarred Hannold, Jace Pardee, Shane Goodman, Brian Lipps and Clay Bortnor. Pardee was voted to the all-region first team on the offensive line and second team as a linebacker. Bortnor was a second-team offensive lineman and is part of a big loss on the offensive line. In fact, the Eagles will have to replace their entire offensive line except for Jake Gutierrez. Chris Richardson is back as a first-team defensive lineman and will be counted on to contribute on the offensive line as well. Conneaut also has to replace two linebackers lost to graduation who were good about stopping big plays. The Eagles return a strong group of key players in Hunter Merritt, Elijah Anderton, Brennon Miller, Justin Ledford, Joey Litwin along with Richardson and Gutierrez. Merritt started at quarterback and safety last season and was one of the more explosive players in Region 1. He ran for 1,937 yards and 24 touchdowns on 251 carries and threw for 475 yards and six touchdowns Merritt was voted to the all-region second team as a quarterback and is a player to keep an eye on in Region 5. Anderton developed with Merritt as a terrific combination last season. Anderton, a second-team all-region running back, carried the ball 167 times for 834 yards and 13 touchdowns to go along with four catches for 37 yards. Taylor Williams led Conneaut with 24 catches for 288 yards and four touchdowns but will not be suiting up for the Eagles this season. Instead, Merritt will turned to Brennon Miller, a second-team defensive back. He was Conneaut’s second-leading receiver with eight catches for 58 yards, while Justin Ledford had six catches for 51 yards. Ledford is also a starting safety, and Litwin is a starting linebacker and wide receiver. Bailey Sanderson is a returning defensive lineman, and Grant Stevenson, Sam Lenhardt and Aaron Brown could all step up at linebacker. Isaiah Gillette and Connor Mattera could contribute in the secondary and sophomore Kane Keil on the line. Conneaut went through transition two years ago when three schools consolidated into one. The Eagles will go through more change this season as they move into a Class AAA region. Conneaut has a strong group of young players coming back and could be a surprise team in Region 5. The Eagles made their first-ever playoff appearance in 2013 and barely lost to Oil City in the first round. With the experience Conneaut gained, they are back for more this fall.

29 at Northwestern 7
5 Franklin* 7
12 at DuBois* 7
19 Strong Vincent 7
26 at General McLane 7
3 Meadville* 7
10 Mercer 7
17 at Bradford* 7
24 Central Tech 7
31 at Oil City* 7
*Region 5 game

Next up: Corry

–Tom Reisenweber

Posted: June 28th, 2013

Elijah Anderton rushed for 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2012.

Pat Gould

Jon Onderko

Jace Pardee

Conneaut Eagles
Coach: Pat Gould (9th season, 51-33)
2012 overall record: 6-5
2012 region record: 2-4 (fifth)
2012 playoff results: Lost to Warren 21-12 in the District 10 Class AAA quarterfinals.

Top players lost: Tyler Bartlett, Matt Mihoci, Brandon Sherman, Darryl Miller, Dan Grudoski, Kyle Arkwright

Top returning players: Elijah Anderton, Hunter Merritt, Jon Onderko, Jace Pardee, Brennan Miller, Chris Richardson

Assistant coaches: Bill Stevenson, Todd Greenawalt, John Waterman, Doug Williams, Donny Zarembinski, Jason Schell

Outlook: Conneaut was able to deal with tough circumstances last year and make the District 10 Class AAA playoffs. The Eagles consolidated only four months before the season began and it was a rough start. After beating Girard 36-16, Conneaut lost three straight games. The Eagles recovered to blow out Conneaut (Ohio) 51-12 to spark a three-game winning streak. Although Conneaut finished in fifth place in Region 1, the Eagles made their way to the playoffs and came close to upsetting Warren. With a year of experience, Conneaut will look to compete for the Region 1 title and return to the postseason. The Eagles will have to replace graduates Tyler Bartlett, Matt Mihoci, Brandon Sherman, Darryl Miller, Kyle Arkwright and Dan Grudoski. Grudoski and Miller were voted to the all-region second team at offensive line, and Arkwright was a second-team defensive lineman. Bartlett was voted to the second team at defensive back and was Conneaut’s fourth-leading rusher at 152 yards and two touchdowns. Bartlett was also the Eagles’ top receiver with 18 catches for 175 yards and five touchdowns. Sherman is also a big loss on the outside as he had 10 catches for 112 yards.

Coach Pat Gould said that no starting spot is safe in camp but one of Conneaut’s biggest needs is establishing new wide receivers. Hunter Merritt was third last year with six catches for 95 yards and Chris Richardson caught six passes for 67 yards. Richardson is back at tight end and is a valuable blocker on the offensive line, while Merritt could be in the mix at quarterback as well. Merritt threw for 70 yards and two touchdowns along with Jon Onderko, who threw for 427 yards and six touchdowns. Both players are back and should find a spot on the field either at quarterback or another position. Onderko ran for 646 yards and 11 touchdowns, and Merritt ran for 697 yards and eight touchdowns. Also back in the backfield is junior Elijah Anderton, who ran for 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns and was voted to the second team at running back. Jace Pardee returns after being voted to the all-region second team at linebacker, while Brennan Miller is back to compete for a starting spot at wide receiver.

Linemen Kris Norris, Brian Lipps and Taylor Williams could step up to varsity and contribute right away along with wide receiver/defensive back Sam Lenhart. Other starters returning this season include lineman Jake Gutierrez and Shane Goodman along with Jarred Hannold on offense and linebacker Clay Bortner and defensive back Justin Ledford. Conneaut will open the season at home against Girard before a brutal September stretch. The Eagles will host defending District 10 Class A champion Sharpsville and hit the road to take on Lakeview, West Middlesex and General McLane. Conneaut also gets a rivalry showdown at Meadville on Nov. 1. The Eagles were able to gather themselves last year and put together a solid season. This fall, Conneaut is looking to become a region and district contender.

30 Girard 7
6 at Lakeview* 7
13 Sharpsville* 7
20 at West Middlesex* 7
27 at General McLane 7
4 at Mercer* 7
11 at Eisenhower 7
18 Farrell* 7
25 Kennedy Catholic* 7
1 at Meadville 7
*Region 1 games

Saturday: Corry
–Tom Reisenweber
Posted: August 16th, 2012

Cathderal Prep's Damion Terry on 2012 Kickoff cover

Kickoff magazine gives fans a look at What's New in 2012

Kickoff magazine is expected to be available at all Country Fair locations in Erie County and Crawford County today and then in Country Fair locations throughout northwestern Pennsylvania by Friday.

What is Kickoff? It’s District 10′s most comprehensive high school football season preview. All week, we’re giving fans a sneak peek of the magazine on the Varsity blog. Today, we’ll look at What’s New for football season in 2012.

Page 6 of Kickoff is dedicated to telling fans about the new developments in District 10. We discuss McDowell’s move away from the WPIAL, Conneaut’s first season, six coaches at new schools, new turf at Fairview’s stadium, rules changes and more.  The page also guides fans throughout the magazine to find more in-depth information about those topics and others. Read it all by picking up a Kickoff at a Country Fair.

This is the third edition of the award-winning Kickoff produced by the Erie Times-News, and we believe it’s our best. Fans can get 116 pages packed with information, feature stories and color photos, and it will be available for $5 by Friday at all area Country Fair stores.

Posted in: District 10, Football
Posted: June 30th, 2012

Conneaut Eagles
Coach (season, record): Pat Gould (1st season at Conneaut, 8th overall, 45-28)
2011 overall record: Linesville 5-4, Conneaut Valley 1-8
2011 region record (place): Linesville 3-4 (fifth), Conneaut Valley 1-6 (tied for seventh)
2011 playoff results: Neither Linesville nor Conneaut Valley qualified for the District 10 Class A playoffs.
Top players lost: Jimmy Kearns, Jon Weidner, Dylan Merritt, Alex Smith, Nolan Varee
Top returning players: Brandon Sherman, Dan Grudoski, Chris Richardson, Jace Pardee, Elijah Anderton, Jon Onderko, Jarred Hannold, Jordan Krause, Nolan Griffin, Clay Bortner, Nik Griffin, Logan Stearns
Assistant coaches: Bill Stevenson, Wib Waterman, Todd Greenawalt, Doug Blood, Doug Williams
Outlook: The 2011 season was a unique one for coach Pat Gould. He had to blend his Linesville players with several Conneaut Lake players as the Indians’ program was shut down. One year later, Gould has to combine Conneaut Valley players as well. The only advantage to the Conneaut merger this season will be all players under one roof at Linesville High School. Conneaut will be starting from scratch after the two schools combined for five wins in 2011. Nolan Varee graduated from Conneaut Valley after being named to the all-region first team as a wide receiver and defensive back, while Linesville graduated all-region selections Jimmy Kearns and Dylan Merritt. Keans was a first-team defensive back and second-team all-purpose selection and Merritt was a second-team offensive lineman. Jon Weidner and Alex Smith are also gone, leaving some big holes for Conneaut to fill.

Brandon Sherman, Dan Grudoski, Chris Richardson, Jace Pardee, Elijah Anderton, Jon Onderko, Jarred Hannold, Jordan Krause, Nolan Griffin, Clay Bortner, Nik Griffin and Logan Stearns are back this season and could all be impact players for the Eagles. Chemistry is going to be the most important thing for Conneaut this fall as rivals turn into teammates. Gould expects to have good numbers this fall with three communities coming together but it could take time to sort out playing time and developing starters.

The most interesting situation this fall could be the District 10 playoffs. Conneaut is the only Class AAA team in Region 1, which is primarily a Class A region. How many wins will Conneaut need to make a case for the playoffs? 6? 7? 10? The Eagles did the best they could in scheduling solid non-region teams. Conneaut has Class A Eisenhower, Class AA Girard and Class AAA Meadville as well as Conneaut from Ohio. The Ohio Conneaut has an average male enrollment of 375. The PIAA only counts three classes from one school, so taking away the senior class would put the Spartans as a big Class AA team. If Conneaut is borderline for the postseason, its Week 10 game against instant rival Meadville could act as a de facto play-in game.

31 at Girard 7
7 Lakeview* 7
14 at Sharpsville* 7
21 West Middlesex* 7
28 Conneaut (Ohio) 7
5 Mercer* 7
12 Eisenhower 7
19 at Farrell* 7
27 at Kennedy Catholic* 1
2 Meadville 7
*Region 1 games

Sunday: Corry

– Tom Reisenweber

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