The 2021 Karns City Gremlin football team has pretty much had its way with opposing teams thus far this season. The 2021 squad brings a plethora of talent and has featured the ability at times to spread the ball around the field. However, the focal point of their success has been a stout defense and a ground game that features the senior running back duo of Luke Garing (6’-3"-225) and Jayce Anderson (5’-10"-170).
The Gremlins are currently 7-1 overall and 6-1 in league play in the large school division.
Garing and Anderson through eight weeks of play have combined for nearly 1300 yards on the ground to go along with 22 touchdowns which is not only a credit to their respective styles of running but also to an offensive line that takes pride in doing their job (Aaron Taylor, Lucas Wright, Josh Griffiths, TJ Vlassich, Austin Brown). In week five against Brookville the Gremlins put up 306 yards on the ground enroute to a 41-7 ball control win.
Offensively the Gremlins have outscored their opponents 304-98 going into week nine against Bradford. Offensive coordinator Zach Kepple who was a standout player for Karns City and in college has the respect of his players. As head coach Joe Sherwin states, the kids admire his desire to give back to the program and they respond accordingly.”
6’-1" jr. Quarterback Eric Booher the Gremlin signal caller has put up decent numbers through the air with 763 yards passing and 8 td’s through eight weeks of action. Against Central Clarion Booher threw two td passes in a 37-13 win.
In week two against Punxsutawney, the Gremlins opened up the offensive arsenal as five different players found the endzone. (Zach Blair -2, Luke Cramer, Jayce Anderson, Luke Garing and Zach Kelly with a kick off fumble return). Kelly a 5’-10" So., kick returner has the ability to change the game on one play. Kelly had a 73 yard kickoff return against Moniteau in week 4. 5’-10" jr. wide receiver Cooper Coyle also found the end-zone on a 61 yd. pass play from Booher against the Warriors. The Gremlins spread the ball around in the contest as nine different players carried the ball.
On the year, Jr. Micah Rupp (6’-4"-195) leads the team in receiving with 16 receptions for 305 yards and 4TD’s. Jr. Cooper Coyle is averaging nearly 23 yards per reception on the season.
The Gremlins have faced some adversity along the way and their depth just might be their strength. “We have overcome a lot of injuries and loss of players due to Covid. We have been able to plug in players into spots and still have been successful”, lamented head coach Joe Sherwin.
Defensively the Gremlins have limited their opponents in the early going. They built a 35-0 halftime lead in the opener against Girard out of District 10, a 28-0 halftime lead against Punxsutawney, a 28-6 halftime lead against Central Clarion and shut out against Ridgway 35-0 which limited the Elkers to just 198 yards of total offense for the entire game including 4 turnovers. In fact the only game in which the Gremlin defense has been tested is the 35-28 loss to St. Mary’s in which Karns City led 28-27 with 3:52 left to play in the game. Aside from the St. Mary’s game the Gremlins have only yielded 63 points. Luke Garing and Jayce Anderson lead the team with 63 and 53 tackles respectively. Garing has a team leading nine tackles for a loss.
Even though as good as his defense has played, heading into the playoffs and better rivals ahead, head coach Joe Sherwin and defensive coordinator Jeff Wagner would like to improve upon their defense. “After the St. Mary’s game we have strived to get better on defense and I think the last couple games we have shown improvement. We need to just continue to fix our mistakes and improve on our techniques. We want to be playing our best football at the end of the season. We want to continue to play a physical style of football and continue the tradition that has been established by past teams,” stated head coach Sherwin who is 25-14 since taking over for Ed Conto. Sherwin is quick to give praise to both is offensive and defensive coordinators and staff. Asked how he would explain his team in a few words, “dedicated and determined he responded.
The Gremlins will finish out the regular season with two home games; October 22nd vs. Bradford (0-8) and the final regular season game on Oct. 29th against Dubois (5-2).
Coach Sherwin is assisted by Brad Miller, Jason Hackwelder, Jeff Wagner and Zach Kepple.