For the first time since 2019, the Conneaut Spartans will play a District 10 game in Pennsylvania.
Last season, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Spartans went against Ohio teams, except for Girard (Pa.). But that game was at Conneaut, and it was a non-conference contest.
“We’re getting back to our own reality,” Conneaut coach Rocco Dobran said. “We’re in a different region so all these teams are new. We’re concentrating on ourselves.”
The first District 10 game this season is at Grove City on Friday. The remaining teams in the Spartans’ region are Hickory, Slippery Rock, Sharon, Titusville and Fort LeBouef.
This is the second of a two-year alignment with these schools in the region, but first on the field.
“It’s out of our control,” Dobran said. “Our concept is to take one game at a time. We look at winning the conference. That goes back to fundamentals ... blocking, tackling, and doing what we do and do it well.”
In 2016 and ‘17, the Spartans were in a region with Corry, Titusville, Girard, Harbor Creek, Fairview and Mercyhurst Prep.
In 2018 and ‘19, Conneaut’s region consisted of Iroquois, Seneca and Northwestern.
The Spartans captured conference titles in 2016, 2018 and 2019.
But Conneaut (2-1) has a new set of circumstances, starting with Grove City (1-1).
Grove City opened with a 50-48 win over Meadville, before falling to Fort LeBoeuf 17-14 last Friday.
“They’re very solid and have good size,” Dobran said of GC. “They run a similar offense to us ... definitely a lot of spread and screen passes. Defensively, it’s a 4-4 and they go to the ball.”
Through two games for GC, quarterback Hunter Hohman has thrown for 476 yards with four touchdowns. Gavin Lutz leads the way with 16 receptions.
Curtis Hovis paces the ground game with 265 yards and four TDs.
Meanwhile, the Spartans rebounded from a tough loss to Medina Buckeye to earn a 46-14 convincing win over North East last Friday.
“We learned a lot from Buckeye,” Dobran said. “Are we doing the little things right? We focused on small steps for the whole game.”
Through three games, running back Zack Rice has picked up 428 yards with seven TDs for the Spartans.
“He’s continued to get better,” Dobran said. “He has a little more explosiveness and overall a little faster. He’s done a lot of catching and running.”
Rice also leads the team with 113 yards receiving.
Chase Carpenter returned against North East. He’s posted five receptions for 105 yards through three games.
“That opens things up for Zack with Carpenter back,” Dobran said.
Junior Nathan Koston, who has thrown for 301 yards, is slated to start at QB on Friday.
With the lopsided win over North East, Conneaut was able to get younger players on the field in varsity action.
“We already had six sophomores at the end of the Edgewood game [Aug. 19],” Dobran said. “Max Gleason is a starter on defense, but played quarterback. Wyatt Payne is a starting safety, but got some carries. Freshman Jaydon Anderson is starting on the offensive line.
“The more opportunities these kids get on the field, the better.”