Cortland Lakeview set to build on last year’s surprise season

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Cortland Lakeview Bulldogs

The glass slipper just didn’t quite fit for Cortland Lakeview last year. After making its first playoff appearance since 2000, Lakeview was the surprise of Region 9 knocking off No. 4 seed Aurora and top-seed Walsh Jesuit before falling to state semifinalist Mentor Lake Catholic 28-13 in the regional finals.



PLAYERS TO WATCH

RB/DB Ben Moody (6-2, 170, Sr.), OL/DL Nathan Bradley (6-4, 250, Sr.), QB/DB Justin Clark (5-10, 170, Sr.), WR/DB Jared Clark (5-9, 160, Sr.), WR/DB Michael Graham (5-11, 165, Sr.), OL/DL Nick Kohuth (6-2, 250, Sr.).

SEASON OUTLOOK

The glass slipper just didn’t quite fit for Cortland Lakeview last year.

After making its first playoff appearance since 2000, Lakeview was the surprise of Region 9 knocking off No. 4 seed Aurora and top-seed Walsh Jesuit before falling to state semifinalist Mentor Lake Catholic 28-13 in the regional finals.

Lakeview’s Cinderella season ended at 10-3.

“We did have some success last year and you have to attribute that to the great effort that the kids put forth,” head coach Tom Pavlansky said. “We were fortunate enough to catch lightening in a bottle a little bit.”

Lakeview has to find six starters to replace this season, including three players that each started 33 games. But the Bulldogs boast 12 lettermen returning from last season’s squad.

“We have a good nucleus returning but we are going to have to understand that this is the team of 2008 and if we think about 2007 we’re going to be in for a different story here,” said Pavlansky. “We need to continue to understand how we got there by tremendous hard work and the kids were incredibly unselfish and very determined.”

Bradley and Kohuth anchor the line upfront on both sides.

“Those two kids are our leaders upfront,” Pavlansky said. “They are seniors and they understand as seniors that they are going to have their career best year to be successful. For us it all starts in the trenches and those guys are our cornerstones and we need them to play well,” Pavlansky said.

Moody, a three-year starter, rushed for 1,368 yards on 242 carries and 11 touchdowns last season behind that strong line earning All-Ohio Honorable Mention recognition. He currently holds a scholarship offer to Air Force.

The Clark twins are each three-year starters as well as Graham, who is a co-captain.

“They’re all seniors and they understand this year is going to be a different season,” said Pavlansky. “All eyes are on them and they have to continue to lead and lead positively.”

With three extra weeks of practice through last year’s playoff run, Pavlansky is excited about the experience the younger players that will be stepping into key roles got in that time.

“We’ll find out underclassman-wise just how far we’ve come along,” he said. “They got better as the year went along but weren’t quite ready for varsity football. This year, they are a year older and hopefully a year wiser. Those 15 extra days for practice for them last year were very beneficial.”

With the combination of the Trumbull Athletic Conference and Metro Athletic Conference into the All-American Conference, Lakeview has five new teams on its schedule, including three in-conference games (Poland, Hubbard and Salem).

“That is a tremendous learning curve as coaches you’ve got to have during the summer and the off-season to learn as much as we can about those teams,” Pavlansky said. “We’re doing our best here to break things down and this time of year we’re just trying to familiarize ourselves with everybody.”

SCHEDULE

8-22 Painesville Harvey

8-29 at Campbell Memorial

9-5 at Geneva

9-12 Poland Seminary

9-19 Hubbard

9-26 at Newton Falls

10-3 Youngstown Liberty

10-9 at Struthers

10-17 at Salem

10-24 Warren Champion

 

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