The Suburbanite
  • Sunday Special: A quiet offseason for Pups' Filtz

  • For the first time in a few years, McKinley High School’s football team is having a quiet offseason. No controversy. No coach’s jobs on the line. No internal bickering.

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  • For the first time in a few years, McKinley High School’s football team is having a quiet offseason. No controversy. No coach’s jobs on the line. No internal bickering.
    That’s just how head coach Todd Filtz wants it in his first full offseason.
    “It’s been quiet, which is good,” Filtz said, before delivering the punchline. “Last year, you had too much to write about. It’s slower this year, and hopefully, it stays that way.”
    Distractions are at a minimum. But there is some activity.
    Bulldog linebacker Jamal Davis is the second returning player to receive interest from college programs. Davis has been offered by Louisville, Toledo, Bowling Green and Kent State.
    Filtz believes that is just the start for Davis, who goes 6-foot-3, 215 pounds.
    “I think he can play at BCS schools,” Filtz said. “He’s tall, he’s fast, and his arms and legs are very long. He has the dimensions and the skill set to play at that level. I wouldn’t be surprised if some SEC schools came in on him very soon with offers.”
    Depending on the defensive scheme, Davis can play inside and outside linebacker. He also played some tight end for the Pups last year, but Filtz would like to see others step up and take some of the two-way load off Davis.
    “If we need to, he will play tight end, too,” Filtz said. “He’s willing to, if need be.”
    Davis isn’t the only player on college football recruiters’ radar. Quarterback Eric Glover-Williams has hauled in many BCS offers already. Davis will be a senior. Glover-Williams will be just a junior. He has been offered by Ohio State, Nebraska, Illinois, Michigan State, Kentucky, Pittsburgh, Toledo and Tennessee.
    Filtz indicated that Glover-Williams has beefed up a little in the offseason. That is welcome news for McKinley. Last year, the dynamic quarterback played at just 155 pounds. With baseball starting, Glover-Williams will miss some weight-room time. He also is a college prospect in that sport.
    “I think it’s great for him and for our team,” Filtz said of the added weight. “The bigger and stronger he can be only adds to the dimensions he brings, and it will help him on the defensive side.”
    Filtz said McKinley is working on filling its Week 2 opponent, but he would not provide specifics. It isn’t likely to be a blockbuster game, though. The Pups have Dublin Coffman in Week 3.
    Filtz is well aware of the controversy that has hit his hometown of Steubenville. Two Steubenville High School football players have been charged with rape. The case has received national attention and raised questions about the way Steubenville treats its football program.
    Page 2 of 3 - Filtz was an All-Ohio linebacker for the Big Red. His father was a coach there, and he remains close to the program and legendary head coach Reno Saccoccia.
    “I know the general information of what’s happening,” Filtz said. “It’s no secret I talk to those coaches all the time. I grew up in that system. They’re like family. But when I talk to them, it’s football related. I don’t know any more than the average person reading the papers or following it from the outside.
    “I don’t get involved in that situation. I know they always have their players’ best interest in mind. I support what they’ve done for a number of student-athletes down there over the years.”
    The OHSAA is monitoring the situation. The rape case is expected to go to trial later this month after a delay.
    “It does hurt,” Filtz said of the publicity his hometown has received. “You grow up and it’s a big part of life there. Big Red football will always be a part of me. A few bad apples can cast a big cloud over what is a great thing they have going on down there. ... A few bad things happened, and it’s turned into something maybe it wasn’t.”
    GlenOak High School’s Kickoff Club (football) and Roundball Club (basketball) have teamed up for an interesting fundraiser in April. GlenOak is putting together a team of players that will include football coach Scott Garcia and former two-sport star Derek Fox, as well as media members and others to play a team of Ohio State football alumni in a basketball game.
    The best part about this game is Derek Fox will play on the GlenOak team and his younger brother Dustin Fox will play on the Ohio State team. If you haven’t seen these two go at one another in a gym, it’s worth the price of admission.
    Tickets for the April 7 game at GlenOak High School are $8 and are available at the school. Proceeds from the event will go toward the two booster clubs. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tipoff is 7 p.m.
    It should not have come as a surprise to anyone who follows girls basketball in Stark County that McKinley did not play for a district title this year, snapping a string of six straight years. The Bulldogs’ program took a hit with the graduation of Ameryst Alston and others. Alston was such a good player, because she could clean up for shortcomings at any spot. The Bulldogs don’t have a player like that now.
    But, head coach Pam Davis and her husband and assistant coach Willie Davis, should be commended for the coaching job they did this year. They might have gotten more out of this team and did a better coaching job this team than the team that won the state title.
    Page 3 of 3 - “Pam and Willie are great coaches,” Lake head coach Henry Cobb said. “They’re not going to miss too many district games in the future.”
    It wasn’t too long ago when some people, inside and outside of Lake High School, wondered whether the Federal League’s smallest school was a fit for the league. Many years, football coach Jeff Durbin usually is competitive for a league title and a playoff run, although the Blue Streaks have been thin recently. Lake, however, has proven itself on the football field. This season, the boys basketball team won the school’s first Federal League title. The girls basketball team won the league last year. This year, the girls beat McKinley in overtime to get to the district championship game for the first time. I would venture a guess that says Lake would be competitive against Massillon in all three sports most years, as well.
    If the league’s smallest school can be competitive, shouldn’t the rest of the league be willing to test itself against a new league member, such as Massillon?
    Nike held its SPARQ training camp at the Paul L. David Athletic Training facility at Washington High School and Massillon players performed extremely well. In fact, tight end Beau Huffman had the highest score among all participants with a 109. The camp measures speed, agility and other abilities as it relates to football. Tigers receiver Marcus Whitfield had the 18th-highest score.
    “Beau, Marcus and all of our players worked extremely hard,” Massillon head coach Jason Hall said. “Although their success isn’t a surprise to those of us around them, it is an accomplishment to be proud of.”

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