Medina Highland could be postseason contender again despite key losses


Medina Highland Hornets

Highland was a regional finalist out of
Region 6 last year. The Hornets entered the postseason with the No. 4 seed and
defeated Avon Lake and Powell Olentangy Liberty. This season, Highland is moving
over to Region 5.

Medina Highland (11-2)

* Players To Watch – TB/DB Aaron Maslowski (5-10,
183, Sr.), TE/ILB Tyler Phillips (6-1, 220, Sr.), FB/OLB Jared Serafin (6-0,
195, Sr.), SS Anthony Petrilla (5-10, 175, Sr.), OL/DT Chris Justik (6-2, 225,
Jr.), OL/DT Colin Butler (5-10, 225, Jr.)

Outlook – Highland was a regional finalist out of
Region 6 last year. The Hornets entered the postseason with the No. 4 seed and
defeated Avon Lake and Powell Olentangy Liberty. This season, Highland is moving
over to Region 5.

Maslowski is ranked as one of the top 150 seniors in the
state by Ohio High. Last year, he had 432 rushing yards (7.2 yards per carry)
and six total touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving, one interception return).
His role will expand quite a bit this season and he will likely have more than
double the carries he did last year.

“Aaron has college scholarship ability,” head coach Tom
Lombardo said. “He’s fast and quick with great vision as tailback. As a DB, he’s
one of the tops in the league. We’re still deciding between corner or safety,
but he’ll be out there somewhere.”

Another top returning players is the versatile Phillips who
had 70 tackles and 4.5 sacks last year.

“Tyler is getting recruited by colleges,” Lombardo said.
“He’s a college-level player in my coaching opinion. Tyler played defensive end
for us last year, but he’s going to move to linebacker this year. He’s solid and

Serafin had 65 tackles last year at linebacker and will
also start at fullback this year.

“Jared is a very good blocker and this year he will be a
guy that can line up in different spots,” Lombardo said. “He has good hands. He
runs good routes and can carry the ball.”

Petrilla returns as the starting strong safety (65 tackles
last year) and he’ll also be the backup quarterback. (The starting QB will
likely be a sophomore and Lombardo didn’t want to mention him for this story
because the situation was still unsettled.)

“Anthony is a very good safety,” Lombardo said. “He might
also be our quarterback, but he’ll probably be the backup. He’s a 4.0 student
and he’s a good all-around athlete that plays baseball as well. He gets us in
the right spots and calls. He’s a very smart, heady player.”

Two other players that are drawing a lot of buzz for the
Hornets are Justik and Butler. They started at defensive tackle as sophomores
and they each look to be two-way players this year.

“They had real good sophomore years,” Lombardo said. “They
have great technique, they’re very strong and they’re going to be good for us on
both sides of ball.”

Highland graduated three players that were first-team
All-Ohio selections last year: RB/LB Chris Snook (who signed with West
Virginia), LB Tyler Houska and PK Eric Duale.

Overall, Lombardo isn’t sure if he has another regional
finalist on his hands, but he’s confident they’ll be in the playoff hunt.

“The best thing I like about this team is their attitude
has been outstanding,” he said. “We have a great bunch of kids that are together
as one team and there doesn’t seem to be any ego in the group. These guys, their
attitude is always, ‘Coach, whatever is best for the team, we’ll do it and we’ll
work hard.’

“We have some talented kids coming back. But we had a very
good team last year that was senior-driven. We had three kids get college
football scholarships and three other kids that will be playing D-III college
football. It’s a matter of how long it takes us to jell together and the kids
that have played know they are the leaders now.”

As for moving to Region 5, Lombardo has other things on his
mind for the most part. However, many high school football followers believe
Region 5 will be slightly more difficult than Region 6 this year.

“I don’t think too much into that,” he said. “I guess one
thing is I’m from the Cleveland area, so I guess that’s a good thing because I
know the teams in Region 5. But we are going to have a battle no matter where
we’re at and there are a lot of good teams in the region. It will be tough and
it will be a battle. You have to take care of business on your own. It’s a
matter of qualifying and then you go from there if you get in.”


Aug. 28, at Rocky River, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 4, at Medina Buckeye, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 11, at North Royalton, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 18, Tallmadge, 7 p.m.

Sept. 25, at Richfield Revere, 7 p.m.

Oct. 2, Green, 7 p.m.

Oct. 9, at Barberton,, 7 p.m.

Oct. 16, Wadsworth, 7 p.m.

Oct. 23, at Copley, 7 p.m.

Oct. 30, Lodi Cloverleaf, 7 p.m.


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