CALCUTTA - As Beaver Local head football coach Jeremy McElroy enters his second season at the helm, he has a good feeling about the makeup of this year's squad.
"Last year, we got a late jump on things, so it seemed like we were always trying to catch up," said the second-year mentor. "The players understand our expectations. While we don't have an established star, we have very good group dynamics. These are really good kids."
What contributes to McElroy's good feelings was the Beavers' performance recently at Hiram College. The Beavers spent three days at Hiram where they had the opportunity to test their wares versus Mantua Crestwood and Chardon. Crestwood is the alma mater of Pro Football Hall of Famer Jack Lambert. The Beavers and Chardon have a history, having waged some intense battles during the past decade.
"We had the chance to get a lot of things in during the time we were at Hiram and also when we had summer camp here at Beaver Local," McElroy said, who was hired as Beaver Local's coach in June of 2012. "We're making a solid progression. I'm hopeful that we're on the right track."
McElroy has a veteran staff assisting him this year, including Rich Washinko (QB), Ed Rankin (OL), Rich Schilling (RB), Ken Chupa (LB/defensive coordinator) and David Allen (OLB). Three former Beaver Local standouts, Steve Mercer (backs), Kyle Brown (OL) and Jeremy Christen (DB) are also assisting. Christen was hired in June as the varsity boys basketball coach.
The Beavers went 2-8 in 2012, notching wins over East Liverpool and Struthers.
Oak Glen returns to the Beaver Local schedule this year after a one-year absence. Other newcomers to the 2013 slate include East Palestine, Ashtabula Edgewood and Cambridge. They replace Jefferson Area, Canfield, Howland and Hubbard.
"With the East Liverpool game being Week Nine, that should give us a focus for late in the season," the second-year head coach said. "Opening with three local teams in Crestview, Oak Glen and East Palestine will give us an idea of what kind of team we will have. It's also nice to end the season with two home games."
McElroy, who was the head coach at Lisbon from 2008-2010, appreciates the tradition of Beaver Local football.
"I had the opportunity to be on Rich Wright's staff in 2011," McElroy said. "Rich did a great job of establishing this program. Football is very important here; not only to the students, but also to the staff and the community."
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