Coach (season, record): Jim Funk (3rd season, 7-12)
2011 overall record: 3-6
2011 region record (place): 2-4 (fifth)
2011 playoff results: Did not qualify for the District 10 Class AA playoffs.
Top players lost: Hunter Jones, Hayden Erdman, Jake Kalicky
Top returning players: Kendall Bonnett, Brian McNally, Joe Dunn, Christian Bock, Brandon Hall, Forrest Smith
Assistant coaches: Mike Zona, Pat Erdman, Bill McNally, Tracy Dinger, Josh Chiocco, Jason Johnson
Outlook: Despite having a young team, Girard was actually in the playoff race in the final weeks of the season. The YellowJackets lost only a few players to graduation, including Hunter Jones, Hayden Erdman and Jake Kalicky. Kalicky was a second-team all-region linebacker, while Jones was a big part of Girard’s offense. Jones ran for 971 yards and nine touchdowns on 170 carries and he caught 24 passes for 266 yards and three TDs.
Girard could have one of the top offenses in Erie County this fall. Quarterback Joe Dunn along with tight end Brian McNally and wide receiver Kendall Bonnett made up a potent offense as the 2011 season wore on. Dunn completed 110-of-177 passes for 1,450 yards and 14 touchdowns. McNally, an all-district selection and all-region first-team selection at tight end, finished with 583 yards and six touchdowns on 33 catches. Bonnett had 22 catches for 308 yards and four touchdowns and was voted to the first team as a wide receiver and second team as a defensive back. Girard’s line will feature four seniors, led by three-year starter Brandon Hall and returning two-way starting tackle Forrest Smith. Christian Bock also returns at fullback. Bock carried the ball 15 times for 49 yards last year and could see an increase in carries as the ‘Jackets search for a replacement for Jones. McNally and Bock could be impact players at linebacker, while Buster Johnston and Bonnett are back at defensive back. Forrest Smith, Jake Hatton and Justin Eaton return on the defensive line.
Girard started seven sophomores last year and that move could pay off this fall. Region 4 is wide open this year after the departure of perennial power General McLane. The ‘Jackets have a potent offense and experience on the line. Girard will be a part of history as it will be the first team to take on the newly formed Conneaut Eagles. The ‘Jackets then jump right into the region schedule with two tough road games at Fairview and Northwestern. The biggest stretch comes in October where Girard will play North East, Corry and Fort LeBoeuf.
31 Conneaut 7
7 at Fairview* 7
14 at Northwestern* 7
21 Seneca* 7
28 at Harbor Creek* 7
5 North East* 7
12 at Union City 7
19 at Corry* 7
26 Fort LeBoeuf* 7
2 Saegertown 7
*Region 4 games
– Tom Reisenweber