The 2023 Stark County High School Football season is here and we had a chance to head out to practice with the Canton McKinley Bulldogs. We preview the 2023 Canton McKinley Bulldogs high school football season with Head Coach Antonio Hall and what it is going to take for the Bulldogs to step forward as a team. Coach Hall looks to build on the groundwork laid over his first two years with the team and re-establish McKinley as a premier program in Stark. Featuring a cast of returning players and a crop of new talent, the Bulldogs coaching staff has emphasized getting out of the gate with a win and establishing success early in the year.
Along with talking with Coach Hall, Billy Bebee from 1480 WHBC was able to talk with Senior Quarterback Keaton Rode and do a quick round of This or That, where we learn about Keaton’s Gatorade preference and his thoughts on Barbie.
The Bulldogs face greater expectations, among them, winning the Federal League, making the playoffs and putting up a win in week 10 against the Washington Massillon Tigers.
Key points for the Canton McKinley Bulldogs 2023 Season
Returning talent with a new line
The Bulldogs are experienced in areas, as they bring back quarterback Keaton Rode, running back Nino Hill and Division 1 bound two way player Dante McClellan for their senior years. This established core of leaders will have to set a standard for their teammates, which include a slew of new starters on both lines. Young lines are known for accumulating penalties, so early flags may be something for Bulldog fans to be concerned about and an indication of the discipline of the team.
Starting off on the right foot
Last year was a rough start for the Bulldogs, as they didn’t pick up a win until week 5 of the 2022 season. The team was able to rattle off 5 consecutive wins and put themselves in the playoffs, but a better start to the year may have changed the season. This year, Coach Hall and staff are looking for their first week one win ever, which would help their team believe that they can win.
While it’s not the only game on the schedule, everyone knows it’s the most important game on the schedule and the Bulldogs need a win over the Massillon Tigers to call their season a success. It won’t come easy, as Massillon has another loaded team and momentum on their side, as the Tigers have beat the Bulldogs for the past 7 years.