Freddy Houlihan / Staff Writer
After an electrifying season of high school football, the Stow-Munroe Falls Bulldogs played their last game on Nov. 5. Stow lost to the St. Ignatius Wildcats in a 42-12 defeat in the second round of the playoffs. Although the team did not make the championship, they had a very successful season on and off the field.
Although the season is finished, that does not mean the athletes’ careers are done. Coming off their 9-3 season, our senior student athletes still have much going on for them after their season came to a close. Some might never pick up a football again, but some might take their talents somewhere else to continue their pursuit in a successful career in the sport.
Keen Shyjka has been a force to be reckoned with on Stow’s line for years now. This past season, he won the honor of being named First Team All Conference and was described as an amazing teammate by other players on the team. Shyjka spoke in an interview about what his plans are after high school.
“Now that high school is over, I’m going to graduate early and study education wherever I go. I have an offer to Youngstown State but I have also had interest from schools like Bowling Green and Buffalo,” Shyjka said.
Shyjka will not be the only senior leaving the team this upcoming summer. Listed on the roster from the 2021 season, there are twenty six seniors who are leaving after this year. This will shape up to be huge for the program, as losing this many players will make it hard to fill in the spots that they will now be missing.
Another one of the seniors moving on from the football team is middle linebacker Ryan Orosz. Orosz was also named to a First Team All Conference placement and left his own mark on the field. He was always vocal on both sides of the ball and he was known to have crazy electrifying plays that would jumpstart his team into overdrive.
Orosz mentioned what his favorite aspect was about playing for his high school team this year.
“My favorite part of the football team this year was probably how close our offense and defense were because everyone would notice a good block or a nice run, and it helped us throughout the tough games,” Orosz commented.
His crazy playstyle and his dominance at his position will be sorely missed by everyone remaining on the team. Oroz also mentioned what his plans are after he finishes high school.
“My plans are to play football in college. I’m talking to division three and division two schools all around Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Indiana,” Orosz noted.
Football around Stow-Munroe Falls can become a huge component to the lives of many of the student-athletes and their families. Growing up playing football in the Stow Youth program and going all the way to the playoffs at the high school meant a huge amount of commitment to the sport. The bitter loss in the playoffs was not the best way to end the seniors’ final season at Stow, but many still believe their seasons were a success.
The season was very bittersweet with the amount of injuries the team had to withstand to get where they wanted to go. Shyjka explained his feelings on the past season, and how happy he was to be a part of it.
“I believe the 2021 season was a great success because of winning the Suburban League Championship and just the amount of injuries we had on the team,” Shyjka said. “They made it hard, but we wanted to win it all, and we ended up taking the conference championship.”
The 2021 Stow-Munroe Falls football season is over, but the overall feelings about the season are quite high. It is true the team dealt with an abnormally large amount of injuries and that they did not make it all the way to the state championship, but with all these negatives placed upon them, they broke every expectation they were supposed to have never met. The season is done, but the experience will always live on.