GALION — Experience and speed will make Galion a formidable foe this season in the rugged Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference and beyond.
The Tigers open the 2020 campaign Friday at River Valley, kicking off at 7 p.m. Due to COVID-19 regulations, fan participation will be much less than previous years. Check with your local athletic department or school district office for information on who will and will not be able to attend football games at Unckrich Stadium in Heise Park and on the road this season.
Galion head coach Matt Dick said the Tigers need to become more focused, and more disciplined in order to be successful this season. How those characteristics develop will play a huge role in the team’s success.
The Tigers’ offense will revolve around senior quarterback Wilson Frankhouse and a host of other talented players.
“The strength of our offense is Wilson’s ability to distribute the ball to our wide variety of athletes,” Dick said. “Wilson is a really fun player to watch and coach. I am excited to watch his knowledge of our offense and his ability to lead take us to the next level.”
Receivers Hanif Donaldson (junior) and Jackson Staton (senior) return. Both are 6-foot-1 inches tall and provide good targets and plenty of speed and experience.
“Donaldson will be a big part of our offense, both catching and running,” Dick explained. “Staton has lots of experience and great hands. “
Othery key pass catchers include Jacob Williams, Caleb Branstetter, Kyle Foust, Jordan Borders and Carson Teynor.
“Branstetter had a great off-season and camp,” Dick said.
Gage Vanderkooi and Brayden Eckels are the key returning running back and are expected to have good seasons.
If there is a weakness for the Tigers on offense, it is a lack of experience on the line as Galion has lost three offensive lineman since last season ended.
“But with Christian Robinette returning at left tackle and Clayton Yost returning at keft guard, we really only have one side to sure up,” Dick said.
Both are 250 pounders, Robinette a senior, and Yost a junior.
Dominic Pittman spent time last year at tackle and is looking to build on that experience. Several players, including Caden Roberts, Landon Kurtzman and Justin Lester are battling for time at center and right tackle.
A key on offense for Galion will be how quickly the offensive line can develop.
Pittman returns as Galion’s kicker.
On defense, speed is the best word to describe the Tigers.
“This should be the fastest defensive line we’ve had in a while,” Dick said. “Ends Jacob Williams and Caleb Branstetter are extremely explosive athletes with endless motors. Tackle Christian Robinette and Lavin Ramsey are big guys and move well. Nose guard Max Fisher is cat quick.”
Dick said Ramsey could become a breakout player this season for the Tigers.
While breaking through the defensive will be a chore for opponents, there is plenty of talent returning at linebacker and in Galion’s defensive backfield.
“At linebacker, Brayden Eckels and Staton both return, and look to be all-conference players again,” Dick said.
Sam Wegesin and Garret Ison are battling for the third linebacker spot, and their coach said both have looked good in practice.
Donaldson, Frankhouse and Vanderkooi all return in the defensive backfield.
“They all played great football last year,” Dick said. “Kyl Fousta also spent time in the backfield last season and looks to build on that experience.”
However, as much talent as there is returning on defense for the Tigers, there is not a lot of depth.
And building depth will be a key to Galion’s success.
COVID-19 is doing nowhere fast, and already has had a big effect on the 2020 season.
Galion’s only scrimmage was last week at Heise Park, and fans were not allowed within the stadium due to health rules, regulations and orders.
The regular season has been reduced to six seasons.
Week 7 begins the state playoffs, and every team in Ohio is eligible to take part.
Shelby won the MOAC title last season, with Clear Fork winning league titles in 2018 and 2017.
“The MOAC looks tough this year, as always,” Dick said. “But we will fit in, too.”
Rules and regulations about the playoffs were announce earlier, but the plan developed by the Ohio High School Athetic Association is to crown state champions before Thanksgiving.
Goals have changed in the world of COVID-19
“Winning the MOAC and winning our region would have been our clear goals,” Dick said. “But with COVID-19, we think it is important to celebrate every day we get to play the greatest game in the word, Ohio high school football.”
Galion does have recent playoff experience and will get more experience if the season concludes as everyone in Ohio is hoping.
Speed in the defensive backfield will be a strength for the Galion Tigers this year. That speed was evident in the Tigers’ scrimmage last week vs. Tiffin Columbian.
Galion’s defense has strength, size, speed and experience this year. That talent was evident on this play during last week’s scrimmage vs. Tiffin Columbian. Due to COVID-19, it was Galion’s only scrimmage this year. The season kicks off Friday night vs. River Valley, in Caledonia.
Galion head coach Matt Dick returns speed, talent and experience this year. But Dick said a key for the Tigers will be to be more focused and more disciplined than in recent yeas.
The 2020 Tigers return lots of experience and talent on offense. Coach Matt Dick said the ability of senior quarterback Wilson Frankhouse to direct a dynamic, multi-faceted offense will a key to the team’s success.
Email Russ Kent at email@example.com