Girard’s experience roars
Waid, DelGarbino have Indians’ hopes soaring
By Brian Dzenis
The Girard High School football team had the breakout year it was supposed to have in 2017.
Now it’s time to see how far the Indians can go.
After going 10-2 with quarterback Mark Waid becoming Trumbull County’s all-time leading passer, he’s back for more as one of 12 four-year lettermen on the team.
“They’ve had a long ride in those first years and they weren’t so good and they learned a lot of lessons,” head coach Pat Pearson said. “We’ve had a lot of success last year and we learned from that too.
“There’s been a lot of focus this offseason and we’re continuing get better at the little things and work hard everyday.”
The Indians have nearly everything they need to succeed in 2018: one of the area’s best quarterbacks, a state champion in the trenches and returning experience at every position.
“Girard football is going to look good. I’m excited,” Waid said. “You’re going to come out here and see a group that plays together and plays as one and that’s really special to think about.
“No one out here is playing for themselves. We’re playing for Girard and we’re playing for this community.”
Any conversation about Girard’s offense starts with Waid. He was The Vindicator’s Offensive Player of the Year last season with 3,506 passing yards, 1,129 rushing yards and 56 total touchdowns.
He wasn’t too inclined to talk about himself, but he’s got some new weapons that he’s excited about.
“You’re going to hear a lot about Terrance Davis. He was a lockdown corner for us last year, but on offense this year, he’s really come into his own,” Waid said. “It’s incredible to see as a quarterback.
“Nick Malito is another guy — he’s got a [6 foot 1] 6-2 frame and can run like a deer — with those two on the outside and Aiden Warga in the slot, those are going to be big names this year.”
The Indians’ only real losses to graduation is the team’s top three receivers. Davis and Warga are seniors while Malito is a junior. Seniors Mike Johnson and Jamil Bannister also will contribute at wideout.
Seniors Marco Donatelli and Daryl Smith Jr. return at fullback and juniors Margan Clardy and Jimmy Jones return at tailback.
On the offensive line, state champion wrestler Jack DelGarbino is a four-year starter at left tackle who will not get off the field on either side of the ball. Junior Hayden Gump — a first team, all-state selection — returns at right tackle. Senior Anthony Pratt is a returning starting while the new comers include junior center Ben Lileas and senior right guard Diego Santiago.
Davis is a new face on offense, but his defensive credentials are established. He pulled in four interceptions while earning all-district honors last year.
“Our defense is looking better than it did last year,” Davis said. “I think this group of guys will bring the energy that people want to see on Friday nights.”
DelGarbino and Pratt are the interior lineman while Gump and Smith start at defensive end. Donatelli, Clardy, Lileas and sophomore Tyler Maddox are linebackers.
One tweak for this year is moving Bannister from linebacker to strong safety. He’ll patrol the secondary with Davis, Warga, Malito and senior Tyrese Cato. Johnson and senior Jeff Denard can also play DB.
Malito returns at punter and senior Bailey McDermott returns to assume the placekicking duties while senior Donald Miller handles the kickoffs.