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STRUTHERS OH- The 2000s era to now has been up and down for the struthers wildcats. After the 1999 season where the team finished 7-5 under Gary Zetts, the team went 12 seasons without making the playoffs until Curt Kuntz second season with the team. After Kuntz left in 2019 to be on the coaching staff for the Miami Dolphins under then head coach Brian Flores, the team needed a new leader. Bring in John Bayuk, who was the defensive coordinator under Kuntz the last three seasons. He also coached for the Campbell Memorial Red Devils under his father/ Hall Of Fame coach Jeff Bayuk who is now the head coach at Warren JFK.

His first season was tough when he was appointed as just two months in, the season for the wildcats and all high school sports looked to have been in jeopardy after the lockdown of the pandemic in 2020. The season did continue as planned a little differently with their only being six games and everyone making the playoffs. In his first season, the Wildcats finished two and five, losing to Salem in the playoffs 34-19. The next season, the Wildcats finished 4-6, missing the new 16 seed playoffs. This year, looked to have been the same, until Bayuk and his talented group of kids won five straight and last week beating Poland 35-7, locking them into the playoffs with eighth seed.

On this coach’s corner, Ian O’Brien talks with coach John Bayuk about the season, the big win to lock them into the playoffs and what to expect against Edgewood this Friday. The 8th seed Wildcats (6-4) will host the 9th seed Edgewood Warriors (6-4) 7pm at Laddie J Fedor Field. You can catch the game on YSN under NE8 and Struthers.

*contributed by YSNs Ian O’Brien*

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