Sylvania Southview should be in hunt again for D-II playoffs, NLL title

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Sylvania Southview Cougars

It is difficult for any public school program to maintain a winning program year after year. Not every entering class brings talented athletes and the public school coaching staffs are forced to mold their teams from the talent that they are given. Somehow, however, Sylvania Southview’s Jim Mayzes, has done the extraordinary  – build a consistent winner at a public high school. This year should be no different.


It is difficult for any public school program to maintain a winning program year after year. Not every entering class brings talented athletes and the public school coaching staffs are forced to mold their teams from the talent that they are given. Somehow, however, Sylvania Southview’s Jim Mayzes, has done the extraordinary  – build a consistent winner at a public high school.

To hear Mayzes talk you would believe that he has a potential state champion every year. He consistently speaks glowingly of every team that he fields and, even when addressing his team’s weaknesses, he tends to minimize them by diverting the conversation to the team’s strengths.

Against this background, it is not easy to get a good assessment of one of Mayzes’ teams but his positive nature and abundant confidence must be having an effect because the Southview Cougars are a regular entry in the state playoffs. Despite huge losses every year due to graduation, the Cougars just seem to reload and this year is no exception.

Last season’s team featured good team size and an outstanding running game but this year the attack will likely be somewhat different. With no returning veterans in the backfield other than senior quarterback Griff Whalen, the Cougars will be forced to find someone new to hand the ball to. Senior Sean Cardone is the leading candidate to take over the responsibilities in this area but his limited play last season makes it difficult to assess how he might handle the job.

Whalen is likely to see the majority of the action at QB but Mayzes has demonstrated that he is not afraid to use more than one player at that position. Unlike many head coaches who prefer to saddle their fortunes on one player, Mayzes has chosen to play the quarterback that he feels is best for a particular situation. According to Mayzes, this will again be the situation this year and, as he so humbly points out, “how many teams have five quarterbacks on their roster that have won an NLL title at some point in their career?” 

Due to the lack of experience at running back and the lack of size across the offensive line, look for the Cougars to pass more this season. The big fullback is not present to grind out the yardage and the Cougars will have to attempt to keep teams off balance through quickly developing plays and one-on-one isolations.

On defense Southview is also lacking size but they will be quick to the ball. Seniors Matt Joseph and Greg Thomas will provide leadership but juniors Shane Gracyk, Greg Isley and Shaun Joplin will be in the mix as well. Although the Cougars will be likely undersized to every team that they play this season, you can bet the house that they will not be outhustled.

The Northern Lakes League is a competitive conference and has shown steady improvement from top to bottom over the last 10 years but no other team in the conference has been in the mix as often as Southview during this same time span. There are few guarantees in life but one of the safer bets is that when the season is over the Cougars will be either at the top or near the top of the league. If for no other reason than the fact that Mayzes wills it that way.

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