East Palestine Bulldogs (1-9 Overall) (0-6 EOAC 8th Place)

Bulldogs Pile Up Yards On The Ground in 2020

The East Palestine Bulldogs may have had a disappointing 2020 season record-wise, but on the other hand, they found an identity for their program going forward. As the season progressed, the Bulldogs developed a rather efficient rushing attack, led by junior Tyler Bistarkey. By the end of the season, the Dogs had become one of the top rushing teams in the EOAC.

"Our offense struggled to pass the ball throughout the season but we began to find an identity towards the middle of the season with our ground game. After the first several games, we began to run the ball effectively and made it to third in the league in rushing yards," Bulldogs coach Tony Foster said.

The slow start the Bulldogs experienced was a result of a complete stoppage of pre-season practice, "One disappointment for us was having the whole team go into isolation in the middle of summer camp. That was time lost that definitely hurt us in the very beginning of the season," Foster stated. "Our defense struggled all season. We have a lot of work to do in all aspects of our defensive play."

Photo Curtesy of Looking at Lori's View

​"Our offensive line began to realize that they could run block pretty well and I think it stood out in the last half of the season. We were also able to move some players around and put them in better positions to be successful. Nick Fierro, Nick Loyd, Damian Jackson, Kenny Holly, and James Buckius all played wee as seniors on our offensive line. Tyler Bistarkey, Tommy Shasteen, and Jesse Lipp did a nice job rushing the ball and blocking for each other on the offensive backfield," Foster remarked.

Senior lineman Nick Fierro was the Bulldogs lone first-team All-EOAC honoree, with Bistarkey landing on the second team. Damian Jackson was named to Honorable Mention. Bistarkey would finish the season with 537 yards while Lipp added 383 yards to help lead the Bulldogs offense.

Photo Curtesy of Looking at Lori's View

The Bulldogs certainly felt the effects of the covid pandemic in their 2020, but Foster also is thankful that they had the opportunity to complete their season, "The high of the season was simply being allowed to continue playing. There was always this cloud hovering us making us think that it could be pulled at any moment."

He added, "The offseason and lack of strength and conditioning time was affected the most in my opinion. Also, the logistics of getting kids in to do workouts and practices while following regulations took a lot of extra planning and consideration."

Next season, the Bulldogs will welcome back those skill players in Bistakey, Shasteen, and Lipp, but they will lose those starting linemen that opened holes for them in the second half of the season. How quickly the Bulldogs can develop their next group of linemen will go a long way in how successful the Bulldogs will be in 2021.