Parma Normandy was the No. 3 seed in Division II, Region 5 and advanced to the regional finals with a pair of postseason wins. This year’s squad will be led by RB/LB Jake Squirek, who is called “a freak” by head coach Rich Turner.
Dave Biddle has more on this year’s Invaders team.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
RB/LB Jake Squirek (5-11, 210, Jr.), OL/DT Alex Bobel (6-3, 320, Sr.), OL/DE Ryan Milligan (6-3, 225, Sr.), OL/DL David Hughey (6-1, 220, Sr.), WR/DB Mike Travvagliante (5-8, 165, Jr.), DL Keith Tapocsi (6-0, 280, Sr.), QB Casey Pierce (6-2, 180, Jr.).
2007 Record: 10-3, Regional finalists
Parma Normandy was the No. 3 seed in Division II, Region 5 and advanced to the regional finals with a pair of postseason wins.
This year’s squad will be led by Squirek who is called “a freak” by head coach Rich Turner. Last season, Squirek rushed for 869 yards (7 yards per carry) and 14 touchdowns, and recorded 94 tackles, 12 tackles-for-loss, three sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception for a touchdown on defense. He is the son of former NFL linebacker Jack Squirek.
Jake Squirek was named first-team all-district and first-team all-conference last year and even more accolades are expected to come his way this season.
“He can run the 40 in 4.55 seconds, consistently,” Turner said. “Recruiting is just now starting to really pick up for him. He’s going to be one of the best players in the 2010 class in the state, I would think. He’s started since his freshman year at linebacker. He actually started the year on our freshman team and he was so dominant on both sides of the ball that we moved him up almost right away.
“This year, he will carry the ball a lot more. But linebacker might still be his best position. He is going to be a great WILL linebacker for any team in college. He is going to play more of a SAM for us.”
Bobel is a returning all-conference performer and is the team’s top offensive lineman.
“Alex is a major blocker who had 15 pancakes on an offense that averaged 30 points per game and rushed for 2,600 yards,” Turner said.
Another returning all-conference player is Milligan who led the team with eight sacks a year ago.
“He’s our rush end, our playmaker on the D-line,” Turner said. “In addition to his sacks he had 66 tackles and 11 tackles-for-loss.”
There will be a first-year starter at quarterback for the Invaders, however Turner is confident that Pierce will get the job done.
“Casey was the JV quarterback and backup varsity last year,” Turner said. “He is a lefty. It’s always a concern when you’re breaking in a new quarterback and we’ve only played one quarterback the last three years. But Casey has a great arm and he will allow us to be more versatile because he can also run pretty well. He’s a tall, lanky guy.”
In terms of team goals, it’s pretty simple for Normandy.
“We hope to defend our conference title in the NOC and make the playoffs,” Turner said. “But our schedule is demanding. We have eight Division I teams on the schedule, including Brunswick and Massillon. In addition, Madison, Poland and North Royalton were all playoff teams in 2007.”
The Invaders have an impressive group of players back this year, but they must replace key graduates such as first-team All-Ohio LB Russ Galeti, first-team All-Ohio DB Josh Ebinger and second-team All-Ohio DL Andy Kowicki.
8/29 at Poland Seminary
9/5 at Massillon Washington
9/12 at Cuyahoga Falls
9/26 at Parma Heights Valley Forge
10/11 Lyndhurst Brush
10/24 North Royalton