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Canfield, Buchenic ready to rebound

August 20, 2013
By MATTHEW PEASLEE - Tribune Chronicle (mpeaslee@tribtoday.com) , Underthelights

CANFIELD - Alec Buchenic lives for Friday nights in the fall. Weekday mornings in the late summer aren't too shabby, either.

"It just feels so amazing to be back on the field," said Buchenic, a senior on the Canfield football team . "We have a bad taste in our mouths from last season and we couldn't wait to get back out here and work to improve."

The Cardinals went 2-8 in 2012, their first losing season since 2003.

"It hit me that we have to pick it up," Buchenic said. "That's not acceptable - especially not for my last year here."

He's a 5-feet-10, 195-pound defensive lineman who had 52 tackles and eight for a loss last year. He also had one interception.

"All-around, pound-for-pound, he's one of the most valuable guys on the team," Canfield coach Mike Pavlansky said.

Canfield baseball coach Mike Koenig would also share similar words.

Buchenic is a starting pitcher for the Cardinals and went 5-0 as a sophomore, leading them to a regional runner-up finish and a 20-6 record. This spring was a bit tougher as Canfield had its 10-year district tournament streak snapped by Niles in a sectional final.

The Cardinals finished 13-11.

"There's a lot left to prove before I graduate," Buchenic said.

His heart is on the gridiron, though, and he anticipates playing at the college level.

"It'd be weird without football," Buchenic said. "Real weird."

The Cards have already began their path to redemption with a strong showing in their first scrimmage, last week against West Branch. They scored seven touchdowns and allowed just two scores.

"It's something to get happy about," Buchenic said, "but not something to be satisfied with."

There's another scrimmage on Friday with a Pavlansky vs. Pavlansky showdown as Canfield plays Lakeview, led by by Mike's younger brother, Tom.

Then, the real fun starts on Aug. 30 at Louisville.

"We've definitely improved from last year and that's when we get to show it," Buchenic said. "That's when it really counts."

Buchenic, a starter on both lines, is excited for a somewhat new offensive scheme. Canfield is a true run-first program, and Nick Annichenni is a rock in the backfield.

"He hits the holes so hard," Buchenic said.

But the Cards will also run some formations out of the shotgun. Kimu Kim, Drew Rogers and Aaron Jenkins will all rotate playing quarterback.

"There's different schemes and those guys can handle it and so can the offensive line," Buchenic said. "No matter who the quarterback is, we're comfortable and ready to block for them."

Buchenic is a leader, no doubt, and he's been one since his sophomore year. He started on the lines for the past two years and has always felt that he belongs playing with the ones.

"I felt like a younger guy, but learned so much from the juniors and seniors when I was littler," he said. "Now I'm leading the younger guys and can see myself in them - especially sophomore Jared Bunch."

This, more than likely, isn't his last year playing football. But it is with the Cardinals and Buchenic knows where he wants it to end - the playoffs.