Leetonia Bears (7-2 Overall) (5-1 EOAC-1st Place)

Bears Capture 1st EOAC Title and League's first Playoff Victory

The 2020 high school football season may have been filled with uncertainty with the covid-19 pandemic, but the Leetonia Bears made it a memorable one in their program history. Not since the Josh Selway era of the Bears from 2005-2008 had the program been such a force in the league and playoffs. The Bears won a share of the EOAC title, and for an encore, the Bears won the first ever playoff game in the league's four-year history.

Head coach Paul Hulea has brought back a tough, physical style of play that showed a lot of grit which was a staple of Bears football for many, many years. The Bears were led by running back Marco Ferry as he ran for a league leading 1,618 yards and scored 19 touchdowns on the season. And that was with him missing the game against United in week #6. In fact, the Bears led the EOAC in rushing with over a 275 yards per game average. That production helped the Bears to score over 30 points per game while their defense only surrendered 17.8 points per contest. Defensively, that was a league best.

With their success, the Bears landed 11 players on the EOAC's 2020 all-football team including five on first team and five on second, plus one honorable mention. Ferry, Mike Miller, Gannon Shepherd, Mason Mellinger, and Dylan Durick on the first team, while Jake McCool, Jaedon Finley, Dylan Lennon, Brayden Duko, and Jordan Baker all on the second team. Hayden Cibula was named has an honorable mention recipient.

The Bears head into the off-season with a lot of momentum with a number of players that coach Hulea will be excited to see how they have developed and grown. Josh McCool will return to the backfield in 2021, while Joe Guido will replace Dylan Lennon at quarterback. Also returning is tight end Mike Miller and a number of linemen that had an opportunity to get some varsity experience.

Perhaps, the only disappointment that the Bears experienced in 2020 is that Ferry was hurt going into the league decisive game with United. It would have been interesting to see how the Bears would have fared if they were at full strength in that big contest. That being said, the Bears couldn't have scripted a much better year with all the uncertainty of the football season. If Hulea can continue to build the program, the Bears should have high hopes again in the 2021 season.