Elyria Catholic made the postseason under first-year head coach Ben Malbasa last year. But after back-to-back first round exits, Malbasa is aiming to lead his Panthers further into the postseason.
2007 Record: 8-3; North Coast League Co-Champs
PLAYERS TO WATCH
LT Jared Schuster (6-2, 270, Jr.), LG Tom O’Malley (6-1, 230, Sr.), RT Michael Geletka (6-2, 285, Sr.), WR Josh Russ (6-5, 210, Jr.), FS Adam Kirsch (6-1, 190, Jr.), LB Zach Drews (6-2. 220, Sr.), QB Vince Scarpelli (6-1, 190, Sr.), QB Danny Reaser (6-2, 185, Soph.), WR Danny Accorti (5-11, 165, Sr.), WR Michael Weber (6-1, 185, Sr.), WR Connor Voreis (6-3, 190, Sr.), DL Alex Bialko (5-11, 210, Sr.), LB Mike Betka (5-11, 190, Jr.), CB Craig Wiehe (6-1, 185, Sr.)
In his first year at Elyria Catholic, head coach Ben Malbasa, the Panthers finished 8-3 for the second straight season.
This year, Malbasa is hoping to lead his team further into the postseason.
The Panthers return three starters on the offensive line, including second team All-NCL selection and Honorable Mention All-District left tackle Schuster. O’Malley and Geletka join Schuster up front again this season.
The big guys up front will be protecting quarterbacks Scarpelli and Reaser in the spread offense.
“They have each had outstanding off-seasons while competing for the starting position,” said Malbasa. “Their talent and hard-work make this a position of strength.”
The skill positions are a concern for Malbasa heading into his third season.
“We have inexperience at our offensive skill positions,” he said. “How quickly our younger players gain confidence will determine our success.”
Wiehe headlines an equally inexperienced defense.
“We expect him to be one of the fastest players in Lorain County,” Malbasa said. “He will contribute on both sides of the football.”
Elyria Catholic faces a tough non-conference schedule with Cleveland, Youngstown Cardinal Mooney, Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas and Warren JFK before heading into a challenging NCL schedule.
But Malbasa is confident in his team despite a hard schedule week in and week out.
“Our players have committed themselves to building upon our program’s recent success and proud tradition,” he said. “Their off-season work ethic has been outstanding and we have averaged over 35 players per day at our summer work-outs.”