Ellwood City Lincoln

Ellwood City Lincoln

Joe Lamenza has seen Ellwood City Lincoln make progress in his first two seasons as head coach.

The Wolverines haven’t been able to break through into the win column, though. With a lot of experience back this fall, Ellwood City hopes to snap its 0-17 streak.

“I think we had a pretty good offseason. Attendance was good and there were some nice gains made in the weight room. We had a really good summer. I am pleased with the progress everyone has made,” he said. “We return a lot on both sides of the ball. Some of those guys, for better or worse, have been starting since they were freshmen or sophomores. That’s been part of the process.

“We’re excited about that experience. Throughout our summer program and some of the passing scrimmages we’ve done, you can see that the guys are playing with a lot of confidence. We’re pleased with that.”

The Wolverines welcome back seven starters on offense. Ashton Wilson transitions from wide receiver to quarterback. Peyton O’Brien and Zach Gatto could be two of his top aerial targets.

“We have some younger guys battling for time there, too,” Lamenza said. “They all bring different skillsets to the table that can help us. I think we have some depth there and can work some guys in.”

The backfield has a lot of options, too, with Carter Lutz, fullback Kadin McClymonds and Gatto, a three-year starter, working in as well. There are some younger players who could earn carries.

“That’s kind of open for us. I think all the guys we have working there can contribute on Friday nights and they bring their own unique strengths to the table,” Lamenza said. “It may be we go by committee or someone might separate themselves as the lead back.”

The Wolverines have a veteran offensive line with right tackle Bob Bobbert, center Donavin Stiffler and left tackle Anthony Baird as three-year starters.

“There’s a lot of healthy competition going on for the other spots,” Lamenza said. “We’re looking forward to seeing how that plays out.”

Bobbert and Stiffler will be looked at to anchor the defensive line. Outside linebackers Aaron Hobel and Brighton Mariacher are two of eight returning defensive starters. O’Brien is back at inside linebacker and McClymonds will play a key part there also. The secondary returns three starters in cornerbacks Wilson and Gatto and strong safety Lutz.

“The guys are playing with confidence and playing fast, which you would expect when you return guys like that in their third years in the program,” Lamenza said. “They have shown a willingness to work really hard. They’ve been consistent in that area. Their gains are evidence of their commitment.”

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