Despite injuries, setbacks, and challenging schedules, coaches for all six diocesan high schools football teams are hopeful for improved records and births in the playoffs.
As the mid-season mark approaches, the combined record for the six schools—Ursuline High School (Youngstown), Cardinal Mooney High School (Youngstown), John F. Kennedy High School (Warren), Canton Central Catholic, Saint John School (Ashtabula) and St. Thomas Aquinas (Louisville)—stands at 11-13. Yet all the coaches—including two first-year head coaches—contend that their respective teams are improving each week.
Below is the mid-season gridiron report for Ursuline High School. You can find detailed reports on the other schools here: Cardinal Mooney High School, John F. Kennedy High School, Canton Central Catholic, Saint John School and St. Thomas Aquinas High School.
Ursuline Fighting Irish off to good start—hopes to maintain momentum
The Ursuline High School football team, led by veteran coach Dan Reardon is undefeated in its first four games, triumphing over traditional power Steubenville “Big Red,” as well as Parma Padua Franciscan, Ashtabula Lakeside and an improved Youngstown East squad.
In 2022, with only two losses in Region 9 of the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) Division III, Ursuline advanced to the regional semi-finals state playoffs—losing to the eventual Division III state champion Canfield 33-25 in a hard-fought game.
The Fighting Irish, who have advanced to the OHSAA playoff each season since 2020, did lose key players to graduation from last year’s team—including all five starters on the offensive line,” Reardon noted. Three of those have gone on to play football at the college level—Issac Lucas (Ball State University), Colton Ross (Baldwin Wallace University) and Brian Frasco (St. Franics University).
Yet Reardon cites the return of various starters including senior quarterback Jack Erickson. “He had a good first year last year,” Reardon said. Erickson passed for 1,715 yards last year while also running for 445 yards. “We’re glad to have his leadership.” In addition, D.C. Ferrell, Erickson’s primary receiver last season with 779 yards, is back at wide receiver. Train Davis has also returned at wide receiver, with others seeing action as well, Reardon said.
Christian Lynch, senior running back, having rushed for 1,857 yards in 290 attempts in 2022, is also back.
On the offensive line, Reardon explained, a number of less-experienced players have been competing for their positions with many of them seeing action. “They have a chance to be good, but they need experience.”
“We’re be running multiple offenses,” Reardon said.
“On defense, we’re going with a 3-3-5 formation,” the coach continued. Ty’Req Donlow, a senior who had 94 tackles last year, is again at defensive end. Many of those in the mix for offensive line are also seeing action on defense.
In the linebacker corps, Lorenzo Rohrbaugh, a senior, and John Frangos, a junior who had 79 and 103 tackles respectively last season, are back in action.
For the defensive backfield, Ferrell, in addition to his offensive duties, is serving as cornerback as he did last year.
With four wins under their belt, the Fighting Irish now turn to the rest of the schedule, including traditional power Warren Harding; Austintown Fitch and Akron St. Vincent St. Mary (the only two teams to defeat Ursuline in the regular season in 2022); Cleveland power Villa Angela/St. Joseph; traditional rival Youngstown Chaney; and arch-rival Cardinal Mooney High School.
“We have a good corps of guys back and we’re pleased with how they have stepped up so far.” Reardon said. “We’re off to a good start but we have to keep the momentum going.”