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  New Coaching Staff, Bevy Of Seniors Lead Boardman Spartans Football Team In 2021  
  August 19, 2021 Edition  
     BY JOHN A. DARNELL JR.
      associate editor
      Boardman High School will take the field this season with a senior-laden team, looking to earn a berth in Div. II playoff action for a second, straight season and facing a strong schedule that includes Massillon Jackson, and three All-American Conference powerhouse teams in Warren Harding, Austintown Fitch and the Ursuline Irish, not to mention the Spartans opener against rival Cardinal Mooney.
      As well, Boardman opens under first-year head coach Seth Antram and a revamped coaching staff.
      Boardman went 4-4 last year, falling out of play with a loss to Painesville Riverside in second-round playoff action.
      Most notably, the Spartans will take the field this year without last season’s starting quarterback, Jason Triveri, who opted-out of playing on the gridiron while announcing on social media he will play baseball next year at Youngstown State.
      Triveri missed the first four games of last season with a leg injury and in his place was Terrence Thomas, who has signed to play football at Big Ten Purdue Boilermakers next fall.
      But Thomas will be out of action for at least the first two games this season, as he is dealing with a leg injury.
      The talented Thomas rushed for 655 yards and six touchdowns last year and also hit on 26 of 61 passes for 380 yards and five TDs. He also spiced Boardman’s special team play with three kick returns for touchdowns. Thomas was named last season’s Most Valuable Player on Boardman’s offense.
      That leaves the quarterbacking duties among three candidates for the starting job in sophomores Nico Holzschuh and Tomas Andujar; and senior Anthony ‘Ant’ Hightower, who was featured as a wide receiver last season for Boardman.
      Boardman figures to enter play on their offensive front averaging 252-lbs. a player in 6-0, 230-lb. junior Tyler Cherne and 6-3, 285-lb. senior Joe Sferra at the tackles slots; 6-3, 240-lb. junior Caleb French and 6-3, 280-lb. Cortland Love at the guard position; and 5-10, 225-lb Ty Terlesky at center.
      Candidates for starting tight end include probable starter Jared Mahood, a 5-11, 180-lb. junior; as well as 6-0, 225-lb. junior Isaiah Torres.
      On the outside, the Spartans will be led by senior Cam Thompson and Hightower, with plenty of support from Brayden Joseph-Robinson, KeJuan Robinson and Phil Clark.
      Thompson had 16 receptions for 411 yards and five touchdowns a season ago, while Hightower had 11 grabs for 172 yards and a pair of scores.
      In the backfield, 6-0, 195-lb. senior Sean O’Horo is back. He led the team in rushing last year and over his two seasons as a starting running back has carried the ball more than 300 times while accumulating 1500 yards over the turf, mostly on runs up the middle of the line.
      Also figuring in the backfield is junior Fernando Ortiz who rushed for 225 yards last year on 22 carries. Waiting in the wings is 6-0, 218-lb. sophomore Willie Torres.
      Isaiah Torres, Sferra, Love and Ortiz figure to start on Boardman’s defensive front with Mahood and senior Ashton LaBelle at linebacker.
      Rotating around the field will be a bevy of safeties in O’Horo, who led the team in tackles last season and was named the team’s Most Valuable Player on defense; and Hightower, Braden Joseph-Robinson and Thompson, with support from Stephen Conti.
      Hightower logged 42 tackles, while leading the team in interceptions (4) and pass break-ups (5) last season; and as a sophomore he had 29 tackles, a pair of interceptions and a pair of pass break-ups.
      Handling place-kicking duties will be Carson Essad while Cole Congson figures to kick on kick-offs. Both also play for the Spartans soccer team. Essad set a school record last year for the most extra-point kicks in a single game, seven, in a playoff win over Cuyahoga Falls. He will also serve as Boardman’s punter.
      “We have the potential to be a good team,” Coach Antram told The Boardman News, adding especially on defense. We have shown promise, but have to be more consistent.”
      Five Spartans on this year’s team earned All-American Conference all-star laurels last season, including Thomas, O’Horo, Hightower, Thompson and Sferra.
      Antram said his team has a great attitude and he and his coaching staff have been working to make this year’s team a family.
      “We tell our kids, if you outwork others in practice, you will do a good job on the playing field,” Antram said.
      The Spartans had two pre-season scrimmages, the last being last week against Findlay.
      “I think we took a step in the right direction against Findlay,” Antram said.
      Antram’s staff this season includes Mike Popio Jr., head defensive coach; Andre Elliott, secondary and special teams coach; Jessie Curry, linebacker coach; Steve Stahura and Bob Poghen, defensive line; Jason Congo, wide receivers and junior varsity offensive coordinator; Kris Reash, running backs and tight ends; and Bob Toth and Paul Butto, offensive line. Nick Colla and Anthony Sluss serve as defensive assistant coachs, and will also coach Boardman’s freshman grid team.
      The Spartans open the season at home on Fri., Aug. 20 against rival Cardinal Mooney. The Cards hold a 29-18 margin in the series but could take the field without their talented running back Zy’ere Rogers, who has been battling a knee injury.
      Boardman ends the season playing four teams with highly-touted quarterbacks that are Warren G. Harding, Ursuline, Austintown Fitch and Canfield.
 
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