Season in Review: 2018 Staunton Football Bulldogs
By Jackson Wilson
After their memorable run to the state championship game in 2013, the Staunton football Bulldogs had to go through a massive rebuild that included a roulette of three different head coaches, a winless season in 2015 and a mighty 1-8 struggle in 2016. In 2017, the Bulldogs replaced B.J. Ogata with Zach Ferguson as their head coach. The team improved tremendously but came up short of a playoff berth with a record of 4-5.
Staunton started off the 2018 season with a 48-0 statement win in Litchfield. Despite dropping their home opener to Greenville 40-14, the Bulldogs won three of their first four games – their best start since 2013.
Staunton was hit with some adversity over the next couple of weeks. Back-to-back blowout losses to conference powerhouses Pana (41-13) and Vandalia (46-12) set up a huge rivalry matchup between two 3-3 teams.
With state-ranked Carlinville coming to town next week, the Week 7 road contest against Gillespie was a “must win” game that the Dogs needed to have in order to undeniably keep their playoff hopes alive. As always, the Miner fans created a very unforgiving and raucous environment to play in, especially with it being their team’s homecoming game. Still, the determined Dogs were up for the challenge and stunned their most hated arch-rivals with a 55-14 slaughtering in hostile territory.
With two games remaining, the Bulldogs only needed to win one to clinch a playoff spot. They were blanked 42-0 on senior night by Carlinville, so it all came down to a “win or go home” season finale at Roxana. Staunton fans rejoiced as the team celebrated the 28-6 clinching victory.
Staunton finished 5-4 for the regular season and was awarded a sixteen seed in the Illinois High School Association Class 2A state playoffs in just Ferguson’s second season as head coach. The Bulldogs season ended in the first round with a 45-0 loss against top-seeded St. Teresa in Decatur on Oct. 27.
The 2018 Staunton football seniors are Joseph Fischer, Jadon Ritnour, Tyler Grandidier, Tony Dittmaier, Cody Castaldi, Lucas Sievers, Griffin Bianco, Cullen McBride, Drew Mullenix, Jeremy Anderson, Kendal Boyd, Ryan Best, David Deweese, Blake Reathaford, Daniel Jarden, Andrew Zenner, Nicholas Baracani, Haiden Zumwalt and Bryan Parker.