Our 120th  Season

By Frank “Digger” Dawson
Team Historian

Coming off a 3-7 campaign in 1916, Coach Josh Ludwig is looking to get on the winning side of the ledger for the first time in his four seasons at the helm of the Potter program.

The affable Ludwig, entering his fourth year as the Blue and White’s head coach and seventh season with the program, was graduated from East Liverpool High School in 2000, where he played under Coach Bob Thayer. He was a member of the first and second ELHS teams to make the playoffs in 1998 and 1999, and was named second team All-State in his senior year.

He then went on to Ashland University before transferring to Mount Union, where he was a starter on the Mount’s 2002 National Championship Team, prior to receiving his degree in 2005.

Ludwig, who has also served as the school’s athletic director over the past two years has handed over the AD role to assistant coach Nate Boyd in an effort to place more emphasis on his coaching duties. In addition to Boyd, who will handle line backers and tight ends, he will be assisted by:

Alvan Thompson, who will serve as offensive coordinator, is a 1986 Wellsville High before going on to Marietta College where was a member of the football team before graduating in 1991; 

A new addition to the staff this season is Ian Whittington, who is a former head football coach at his alma mater, Oak Glen High School. He will serve as defensive coordinator and coach the defensive backs, along with the quarterbacks. Following an outstanding high school career, he played his college ball at West Liberty;
One of the most prolific receivers in ELHS history, Jeff Wright, will coach the wide receivers and defensive backs. He was graduated from Mount Union University in 2003, after being named first team All-State at ELHS in 1997, graduating in 1998;

Andy Vulgamore is back to coach both the offensive and defensive lines for his fourth season under Ludwig. He was graduated from Oak Glen High School in1996, and West Liberty with the class of 2002;

Willie Leavell, one of the few four-year starters in the history of ELHS football, will serve as head freshman coach. Following an outstanding career at ELHS with the Class of 2011, he went on to star at Waynesburg University;

William Potts, a member of the ELHS Class of 1990, will serve as offensive and defensive line coach for the freshman and reserve teams;

“Mr. Everything” might well describe Jimmy Crane, a member of the ELHS Class of 1983, who serves as kicking coach, assistant frosh and JV coach, and assistant equipment manager;

Kyle Weyand, who was an outstanding member of the 2010 Potter team before a broken arm shelved him at mid-season, will serve as assistant freshman coach. Although the arm injury ended his football career, he went on to participate in baseball at Waynesburg University where he was graduated in 2015;

Returning for another season as the longest-serving assistant coach on the staff, Eric McMahon was graduated from ELHS in 1999. He serves as coordinator of film and technology, while assisting as team record keeper;

Finally, Nate Boyd joins the staff following an outstanding stint as an assistant at Warren JFK, where the team won the Division Six State Championship in 2016. He completed his high school career at ELHS where he was named to the All-State team in both 1991 and 1992. It was then on to the University of Akron football program where he was graduated in1998 prior to picking up a Master’s Degree from Youngstown State.


The 2017 Potters, with 26 returning lettermen, will play at the Division IV level in the Ohio High School’s Region 13. They are also part of the Buckeye North Conference and Ohio Valley Athletic Conference 4A. 

Looking to get back to the ground after a year of airing it out for clock management and game control, the team will be led by returning offensive backs, Peyton Reed QB #12 Junior, Peyton Adkins WR #6 Senior, Jalen Moman RB #32 Junior and Lane Kopras FB #25 Junior.

Incoming offensive backs include: Derek Carter #5 RB Sophomore, Troy Croskey WR #3 Junior and Noah Wheaton WR #84 Junior.

Returning offensive linemen are Jake Cornell #59 Senior, Joaquin Johnson # 67, PJ Morris # 52 Junior and Aidan Watkins #44 Junior.

Incoming offensive linemen are Kaz Zubay # 51 Sophmore, Skylor Wooley # 64 Sophmore, Koby Plum # 56 Sophmore, Caleb Learn # 53 Sophmore, Ryan Fox # 70 Senior and Matt Ketchum # 87 Senior

Returning defensive linemen are Jake Cornell #59 Senior, Joaquin Johnson # 67 Junior
PJ Morris # 52 Junior and Jalen Moman #32 Junior,

Incoming defensive linemen include Kaz Zubay # 51 Sophmore, Skylor Wooley # 64 Sophmore, Koby Plum # 56 Sophmore, Caleb Learn # 53 Sophmore. Ryan Fox # 70 Senior, Matt Ketchum # 87 Senior

Returning linebackers, Michael Loy #10 Senior (Honorable Mention All-State with 151 tackles as a junior), Lane Kopras #25 Junior and Logan McKenzie # 47 Sophmore,

Incoming linebackers include Wellsville transfer Blayke McCloud # 13 Senior

Two members of the ELHS soccer team, Junior Kamren Klakos #37 and Junior Dominik Valera #45 will share place kicking duties with Woodyard expected to be the team’s punter.

Above all the team is looking to have a successful year with team speed and discipline to overcome a lack of experience.