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Ellwood City puts focus on defensive improvement

| Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Ellwood City's Jared Meyers works out Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, in Ellwood City.

Ellwood City's ability to score points in bunches kept it in games last season. Its inability to stop opponents from doing the same kept it from winning most of those games en route to a 2-7 record.

“We couldn't keep people out of the end zone,” said coach Don Phillips, whose squad averaged 23.7 points offensively but conceded a ghastly 38.2 on the other side of the ball.

The problems weren't limited to defense, either. Phillips said some of the special teams scores his team gave up “should never happen.” He said the team has acknowledged the struggles, though, which he believes is an important step in getting better.

Phillips also is confident in several players returning to what was a potent offense. He said three-year starting center Bradley Grinnen and left guard Adam Hunter have gotten stronger over the summer and will anchor the line. They'll look to pave the way for tailback and fellow senior Jared Meyers, who rushed for 1,064 yards and 16 touchdowns last season.

Given their experience, Phillips believes the Wolverines have the talent to win more games if they can get better on defense.

“We have some kids who can play,” Phillips said. “We're hoping their leadership and their experience will help bring some of those young kids along.”

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