UNION CITY – A new era of football is about to begin at Mississinawa Valley.
Gone is veteran coach Jonny Graher, who leaves behind a few significant wins, one that includes the school’s first victory ever in program history over the Ansonia Tigers.
The Hawks have a new field general, Pat Baker. Baker, who is an Ohio native, has experience as a college assistant coach with stints at the high school level as well at Fairmont and in Georgia. He is very happy to be home in Ohio and is looking forward to the opportunity of building the program at Mississinawa.
The Hawks added a couple of new assistant coaches as well with veteran experience.
Mike Griffin will be the defensive coordinator and is a former assistant at Richmond High School and National Trail.
Steven Trobridge remains on staff at Mississinawa and has been a great resource for the new coaches. He is a former player at Bluffton College and also was on staff at Fort Recovery High School.
Rounding out the staff is Jason Nowlin; he comes from Jamestown Greenview High School. He will bring experience as an offensive coordinator gleaned from a high school in Texas as well as collegiate experience at Carroll College in Wisconsin.
The Blackhawks have six seniors, seven juniors, six sophomores and six freshmen that make up the 25-man roster.
Key players to keep an eye out on this year are Dalton Geesy, Tyler Jenkison, Brad Slyder, Levi Livingston, Zac Dirmeyer, Dominic Rammel and Cameron Anguiano.
Dalton Geesy will see time at outside linebacker and on the defensive line.
Tyler Jenkinson after having good season last year running the football returns at running back and linebacker.
Brad Slyder and Levi Livingston will anchor the offensive line and defensive lines.
Zac Dirmeyer and Dominic Rammel both will be contributors at wing back and as defensive backs.
Cameron Anguiano also will be looked at to step forward as a fullback and linebacker.
“Our kids have done a great job this summer preparing for the upcoming season,” Coach Baker said. “We have seen steady improvement since day one and after each scrimmage, and the kids have responded well to the new staff.
“Our goals are very simple this year,” Baker said. “We want to put our best foot forward and we want to play with full effort and full character, and if we do that we are moving in the right direction.
“My expectations for this team is to show improvement game by game and to play with maximum effort at all times. We want to bring enthusiasm to Union City and Mississinawa Valley football,” Baker added.
“We are looking forward to the challenge of playing in the Cross County Conference and very excited to get started,” Baker concluded.
Mississinawa Valley plays cross-town rival Union City Indians in their season opener Aug. 28 in a 7 p.m. start.