November 22, 2014

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High school football preview 2011: Lake Erie League breakdown

TEAM CAPSULES

Bedford Bearcats

COACH: Sean Williams, second year

2010 RECORD: 2-8, 2-3

Strengths: Two exceptionally talented defensive players in 6-foot-6, 240-pound end Myles Hilliard and 6-4, 185-pound defensive back Tyvis Powell.

Weaknesses: Overall inexperience and lack of depth.

Scouting Report: Bedford’s only wins a year ago came at the expense of Warrensville (1-9) and Lorain (2-8), so Williams has his hands full in the tough LEL.

Cleveland Heights Tigers

COACH: Jeff Rotsky, fifth year

2010 RECORD: 4-6, 2-3

Strengths: Overall size, speed and skill.

Weaknesses: Lack of depth.

Scouting Report: Rotsky is a proven winner but hasn’t been able to find the magic in his four years with the Tigers. Heights always has the athletes but lost its last three games last year after a decent start. It’ll be interesting to see how Heights starts off this season.

Euclid Panthers

COACH: Tom Gibbons, fourth year

2010 RECORD: 4-6, 3-2

Strengths: Good skill personnel returning, along with three offensive linemen.

Weaknesses: Depth on the offensive line.

Scouting Report: Euclid plays about as tough a non-conference schedule as anyone in the state. If the Panthers stay healthy, they should be in the run for the league title.

Lorain Titans

COACH: Mark Solis, first year

2010 RECORD: 2-8, 1-4

Strengths: Solid offensive line and good skill personnel.

Weaknesses: Learning a new system basically for the third time in three years.

Scouting Report: Solis’ return to Lorain County should be interesting. He’s headstrong but a very good motivator. He should be able to turn Lorain’s program around, but how quickly remains to be seen.

Maple Heights Mustangs

COACH: Todd Filtz, third year

2010 RECORD: 15-0, 5-0

Strengths: Maple returns a number of players from its state title run a year ago.

Weaknesses: Finding a replacement for Cincinnati-bound quarterback Shaquille Washington, who accounted for seven touchdowns in the state title game — three passes and four runs.

Scouting Report: Maple Heights is out to defend its Division II state championship — the first in school history. The Mustangs scored more than 600 points last season, better than 42 a game.

Shaker Heights Raiders

COACH: Anthony Watkins, fourth year

2010 RECORD: 2-8, 0-5

Strengths: Good size.

Weaknesses: Lack of depth.

Scouting Report: It’s been awhile since Shaker was considered one of powerhouse football schools in Northeast Ohio. The Raiders haven’t had a winning season since 2005 and it may take a little longer.

Shaw Cardinals

COACH: Rodney Brown, fifth year

2010 RECORD: 7-3, 4-1

Strengths: Team speed, especially returning receiver William Woods.

Weaknesses: Inexperience along both lines.

Scouting Report: Brown has been very successful with the Cardinals. Shaw finished last year with a 54-0 win over Warrensville and a 66-0 win over Cincinnati College Prep, but didn’t qualify for the postseason. The only losses were to Warren Harding, Padua and Maple Heights. The Cardinals are certainly capable of beating anyone on their schedule.

Warren Harding Raiders

COACH: Rick Rios, first year

2010 RECORD: 8-3, 3-1

Strengths: Junior wide receiver Avery Qualls can flat out fly.

Weaknesses: Replacing a solid senior class that led the Raiders to the playoffs for the first time since 2006.

Scouting Report: Many people were surprised when Harding didn’t renew the contract of coach D.J. Dota after a playoff run. Rios, formerly of Toledo Rogers, brings his spread offense, hoping to better utilize the athletes Warren Harding produces year in and year out.

Warrensville Heights Tigers

COACH: Eric Mitchell, fifth year

2010 RECORD: 1-9, 0-5

Strengths: Good athletes at the skill positions.

Weaknesses: Lack of overall depth.

Scouting Report: The only Division III school in the league, it’s tough for Warrensville to compete against the big boys. It hasn’t won more than five games since 2007.

THE TOP PLAYERS

Matt Cox, Lorain offensive and defensive lineman
Matt is the top student at Lorain and brings that work ethic and organization to the football field.

Colin Bryant, Lorain quarterback
In his second year calling the signals for the Titans.

Christian Nogueras, Lorain wide receiver
State track qualifier who has good hands. Will be a deep threat for the Titans.

THE TOP GAMES

Sept. 9, Lorain at Avon

Coach Mark Solis needs his team to get off to a good start against Midview and Parma. If that happens, the Titans’ trip to Avon could propel Lorain to a special year.

Sept. 30, Warren Harding at Lorain

One of the state’s premier programs makes its first visit to George Daniel Stadium for a matchup with the Titans.

Oct. 14, Maple Heights at Lorain

The defending Division II state champions travel to Lorain to see just how much the Titans have improved.

BY THE NUMBERS

32

Wins for Mark Solis at Twinsburg against 14 losses

1,002

Boys enrolled at Lorain, according to the OHSAA, making it the largest school in the LEL

27

Years since Admiral King made the city of Lorain’s only playoff appearance

THE SKINNY

Obviously, Maple Heights appears to be the team to beat coming off a 15-0 Division II state title run. And the Mustangs do not face Division I powers Euclid and Warren Harding.

Harding qualified for the playoffs last year, and Euclid and Cleveland Heights are expected to bounce back from 4-6 seasons.

Shaw must be considered in the mix.

Lorain could make some noise while Shaker Heights, Bedford and Warrensville appear destined to remain near the bottom of the pack.

2010 Standings

Erie Division

Lorain 1-3 2-8

Bedford 2-2 2-8

Shaw 3-1 7-3

Warrensville Heights 0-4 1-9

Maple Heights 4-0 15-0

Lake Division

Cleveland Heights 1-3 4-6

Shaker Heights 0-4 2-8

Euclid 2-2 4-6

Warren Harding 3-1 8-2

Mentor 4-0 7-3

PLAYOFF RESULTS

Division II, Region 6

Maple Heights 34, Toledo Central Catholic 14

Maple Heights 61, Sandusky 27

Maple Heights 48, Olmsted Falls 16

Maple Heights 27, Lake Catholic 17

Maple Heights 45, Trotwood Madison 33