Trojans have seven starters back on both sides of the ball and hope to be more competitive.
SOUTH CHARLESTON — Southeastern is ready to put its recent struggles behind and get back to competitive football.
The Trojans have finished 2-8 each of the last two seasons and 1-9 in 2013. But seven starters return on offense and defense, and the team hopes tackling helps it earn more wins.
Southeastern lost its first three games of the season in lopsided fashion but rebounded with wins over Catholic Central and Cedarville. After a one touchdown loss to Northeastern in week six, the Trojans lost their final four games by an average of 38 points. They lost multiple starters to injuries throughout the season.
Head coach Greg Bonifay, who’s entering his ninth year, said the team has focused on improving tackling in preseason camp and looks to be better on defense. He said the team should be better than it’s been in recent seasons.
“We have gained experience over (last) season,” Bonifay said. “This is a great group of kids to work with. We look to be much more competitive this season.”
The team will try to be more consistent on offense after averaging 11.5 points per game last year.
Hunter Davis (sophomore) took over at quarterback late last season and will start at the position this year. He threw for 268 yards in the last two games of 2015.
Several receivers return for Southeastern: Hayden Toops (junior), Charlie Bertemes (sophomore), and Jay Connor (senior). Toops, who played at quarterback before being limited by a shoulder injury, led the team with 293 receiving yards last year.
The Trojans lost their leading rusher in Aaron Banion, but running back Kenny Smith (senior) returns and will get most of the carries.
Garrett Hunter (senior) and Robbie Mills (senior) are returning starters on the offensive line, and Hunter Parker is a key returnee. Newcomers Hayden McKee (freshman) and Marcus Whitt (senior) will add depth up front.
Southeastern has a big weapon back in kicker Andrew Lyons. Lyons kicked a game-winning field goal against Catholic Central last year.
Hunter will likely be the leader of the team’s 4-2 defense again at linebacker. He had a team-high 87 tackles last year and was first team all-conference. Mitchell Hennigan (junior) also returns at linebacker, and McKee will play at the position as well.
Mills, Parker and Whitt will anchor the defensive line. Cam Snodgrass (junior) also returns at defensive end. Connor, Toops and Bertemes return at defensive back.
The Trojans open the season at home against Northwestern and then travel to Chillicothe Southeastern in week two. The Panthers were 2-8 last year. Southeastern wraps up nonconference play against Madison Plains (who joins the OHC next year) before starting conference play at Catholic Central.
Southeastern has 26 players on the roster.
2016 Program Quick Facts
Division: VII, Region 28.
Conference: Ohio Heritage Conference.
Head Coach: Greg Bonifay, (Miamisburg ‘94, Wilmington ‘99). 9th season.
School, Career Record: 29-53, 29-53.
Assistant Coaches: Chris Kitchen (offensive coordinator), Ed Hennigan, Craig Isaac.
2015 Record: 2-8 (2-5 OHC, tied fifth place).
Returning Starters: 7 offense, 7 defense.
Last Conference Title: 2001
Total Playoff Appearances: 5
School Website: http://www.sels.us/#!athletics/c23kk
Stadium Name: Trojan Stadium
Stadium Address: 195 E. Jamestown Street, South Charleston OH 45368