B Page -- Aug. 29, 2010


Keystone Soccer Preview  

Continued from A Page


In order to prepare, Keystone played in the Soccer Preview last week at Oberlin High School, marking the first time the program has participated in it since 2007.

“We are rebuilding this year due to our team losing 9 seniors,” Wynn said. “We are a young team but everyone is willing to give 100 percent. We are striving to win more games than last year as well as wining our division.”

Returning players from last year include Andie Skinner (12the grader, defense), Nicole Bregar (12, midfielder), Tara Melton, 12, D/GK), Jocelyn Smith (12, D),  Emily Puka 11, M), Beth Shinsky (11, M), Janell Roeper, 11, D) Jamie Stokley (11, GK), Sami Cyrus, 11, D/M) and Alyson Broschk (11, Forward).

“We are a young team that has a lot to learn, but is very coachable and willing to learn,” Wynn said. “Our team is very positive and continues to work hard in games and at practices.”

Incoming players include Cheyanne Cooper (9, F), Kelly Sherlock (9, M), Paige Jameson-Foster (9, M), Brit Bulloch (9, M), and Sam Tompkins (9, M).

Wynn’s previous coaching experience was as a middle school track coach in the Keystone District.

“Our team is very active in many areas of the high school,” the coach said. “We have 6 girls who are also in the marching band.”

Carnage ensued. English has six new coaches on his staff. He lost 39 players from last season's team -- and just 14 were seniors. But after spring ball of 2010, English feels better about his staff, his roster and his chances of getting things moving in a positive direction.

"We've got a long way to go," English said. "We know that. But the feeling around here is very different from last year, because the players are buying in. Once they buy in, you've got a chance.

"The big challenge is to get the kids to believe they can win games, because they haven't won in so long. It's just changing the culture, and we're working hard to do that. We really have a BCS staff on defense, and I think that will make a difference this season."

A defensive coach by trade, much of English's frustration last season came on that side of the ball. The Eagles were atrocious, giving up 38.2 points and 276.8 rushing yards per game.

English pushed and pushed for better effort, more film study, more physicality, but many of his inherited players were not prepared for -- or accepting of -- his methods. The thing he's seeking is quite simple.

2010 "Toughness," he said. "The toughness to focus on the next play. The focus to play that play, execute technique and display courage. The ability to strike someone and be students of the game."

English wants a physical team that stops the run. Offensively, he wants a physical team that can run the ball right at people and set up the play-action pass. He needs to significantly upgrade the talent in Ypsilanti.

But English said the remaining players -- the active roster counted just 66 this spring -- made "a ton of progress" in the spring.

He has been in dire situations that became dramatic turnarounds before, as a player at Cal and as an assistant at Arizona State.

Eastern Michigan is in a difficult spot because the Eagles play in the shadow of nearby Michigan, where English was Lloyd Carr's last defensive coordinator. It's difficult to get much attention in that region of the state.

But Eastern Michigan's administration wants to win, has invested in English and a quality staff, and just opened a $3.9 million indoor facility.

That commitment and support is why English believes last season will eventually be viewed as the turning point for a winning program, not as merely another low point for a long-suffering program.

"This place is really rolling," English said. "There's no reason you can't win here. No reason."

 QUARTERBACKS
Alex Gillett (6-1, 201) was pressed into action as a true freshman last season when senior Andy Schmitt went down with a knee injury and now-departed backup Kyle McMahon struggled. Gillett played nine games, starting three, and showed off his power and athleticism. He ran for 484 yards, averaging 5.1 a carry.

"He could probably be a starting safety this year," English said. The question is, will he be the starting quarterback? Gillett quite predictably struggled to throw the ball as a true freshman in a new offense. He completed 68-of-137 (49.6 percent) for 763 yards, with three touchdowns and seven interceptions.

English liked the progress he saw from Gillett during spring ball, but he also liked what he saw from redshirt freshman Devontae Payne (6-6, 231). Payne is a definite contender to take the job from Gillett during fall camp.

Payne was one of the jewels of English's first recruiting class out of South High in Cleveland, Ohio. He may not run as well as Gillett, but he is mobile and tough to bring down.

Devontae Payne

Cleveland native Devontae Payne

"A talented guy, a big guy who can really throw the ball," English said of Payne. "He's a 6-6 prototype; he can really throw it and he has those leader-ship qualities you look for. The players respect him."

It sounds like Payne may be the long-term answer, particularly if the Eagles use more of a pro-style attack as English desires, but it's also possible Eastern Michigan will use Gillett and Payne in 2010. And it's possible Gillett's intangibles and athleticism will keep him at No. 1.

RUNNING BACKS
Junior Dominique Sherrer (5-9, 201) is moving up the depth chart after collecting just 34 yards on 17 carries last season.

"He had a terrific spring," English said. "We had him lose 10 pounds and now he's quicker and can make you miss."

And he already had the power. Sherrer figures to share carries with returning starter Dwayne Priest (5-8, 192), a senior who has 1,287 rushing yards in 34 games of action in his career. Priest ran for 633 yards last season -- on just 3.6 yards a carry -- and scored seven touchdowns.

Redshirt freshman Ben Axon (6-1, 202) will challenge here after a good spring. And junior Corey Welch (5-9, 175) is a candidate for carries as well, after picking up 154 yards on 34 carries last season.

Overall, English wants this position to be a lot more dynamic in 2010. To that end, he believes new running backs coach Doug Downing -- who has 18 years of experience coaching the position -- will be able to make a difference.

RECEIVERS
In the past, Eastern Michigan built its receiving corps around smallish spread receivers who specialized in picking up yardage after the catch. English wants bigger, pro-style wideouts who stretch the field and have the physicality to help in the run game as well.

Top 2009 receiver Jacory Stone is gone, but Eastern Michigan returns 10 lettermen at the position, along with strong talent at tight end. English is ex-cited about the potential at receiver.

That starts with sophomore Kinsman Thomas (6-2, 197), who was hurt for part of spring ball but should be a major part of the Eagles' attack in the fall.

"He's the most talented of the bunch, but he missed a lot of practices," English said of Thomas. "He has huge hands, he can catch the ball and he can block, too."

Thomas caught 15 passes for 275 yards as a true freshman, a whopping average of 18.3 yards per catch. That included three touchdowns, one of 77 yards.

Thomas figures to get the ball more this season, but there are other playmakers. Senior Tyrone Burke (5-11, 199) is the top returning pass catcher among receivers, with 16 for 253 last season.

"He came on late last year, now we've got to get him to play hard all the time," English said.

After Burke and Thomas, senior Josh LeDuc (6-3, 232) may be the most intriguing of a number of candidates for playing time. LeDuc was ineligible last season, then missed spring ball with a foot injury. He's a former tight end who has the speed to play receiver. That is, if his foot heals as expected.

"He's an All-MAC type guy if we can keep him healthy and get him going," English said. "If he's back, it will make a big difference."

Sophomore Nick Olds (6-2, 192) also has promise after catching 11 passes for 129 yards as a freshman.

At tight end, senior Ben Thayer (6-4, 240) is "the most solid guy," English said, a powerful blocker who also finished second last season with 29 catches, for 261 yards and two touchdowns. English thinks sophomore Garrett Hoskins (6-2, 233) will emerge and form a top-notch tight end duo with Thayer. Hoskins caught six passes for 48 yards as a true freshman.

"He can run and catch and he's also a good blocker," English said. "We're fired up about what he can do for us."

The Eagles need to develop more depth at the position, especially if they're going to run at people with more effectiveness. Sophomore Kyle DeMaster (6-1, 223) is the No. 3 guy at this point.

OFFENSIVE LINE
Three key contributors from last season are gone, but with junior Bridger Buche (6-3, 312) back after missing all of last season with a hip injury, the Eagles have an element of intimidation they were lacking in 2009.

"He's the leader," English said. "He's a big, nasty kid who plays physical."

Bucher is taking over at left tackle, allowing last season's left tackle, senior Dan DeMaster (6-5, 304), to shore up the rebuilt right side. DeMaster will play guard. A huge key for the Eagles is the return of their starting center, senior Eric Davis (6-2, 300). Davis missed the last three games of last season with a knee injury but proved to everyone during spring ball the knee is just fine.

"He had a great spring," English said. "He had to take a lot of reps after missing time last season, and he showed us what we wanted to see."

Sophomore Andrew Sorgatz (6-5, 266) is back at left guard after starting 11 games there last season as a true freshman. Sophomore Corey Neal (6-2, 294) leads true freshman Doniel Gambrell (6-5, 249) at right tackle. Gambrell is undersized, but English did not rule out using him this season. Overall, English is happy with the size and with his leaders and front-line players. But Eastern Michigan badly needs to improve its depth here, and it needs to avoid injuries in 2010.

DEFENSIVE LINE
The Eagles weren't good anywhere on defense in 2009, but this is an area English believes will be upgraded dramatically in 2010.

"The strength of our defense will be the defensive line," he said.

For one thing, English believes the hiring of Ken Delgado to coach the line will pay dividends. Delgado coached defensive line under English at Louis-ville, and before that coached the position at California and Utah. He was also defensive coordinator at San Diego State.

"He's a legit defensive line coach," English said. "The guys are now learning how to strike and stay square."

At the end position, sophomore Devon Davis (6-4, 215) has identified himself as a future quarterback crusher -- despite his lack of size.

"He's an undersized defensive end; it's amazing he's that small, but he's our best striker up front," English said. "He's one of those freakish guys."

Three starters are back, although starting positions are up for grabs at this point. Davis is a No. 2 right now, with junior ends Brad Ohrman (6-4, 263) and Javon Reese (6-2, 247) in front of him. Reese had nine tackles for loss last season.

Junior Brandon Slater (6-3, 291) is back at the three technique, and he had "a big spring," English said. Senior Ryan Leonard (6-2, 287) has established himself as the starting nose tackle after getting one start last season.

Promising sophomore Andy Mulumba (6-1, 245) has made the switch to end after playing strong-side linebacker as a true freshman.

And there are fresh bodies arriving who could rearrange the depth chart. The Eagles are bringing in three JUCO linemen -- tackles Jasper Grimes (6-2, 310), Jeramy Cutler (5-10, 274) and Jabar Westerman (6-2, 292). So Delgado has plenty of material with which to work.

LINEBACKERS
Some mid-sized programs find themselves outmanned in the trenches but are able to make up for it at linebacker. Not Eastern Michigan. The Eagles were subpar last season at the second level.

"We just have to get better at that position," English said.

Andre Hatchett is gone after leading the team with 113 tackles last season as a senior weak-side linebacker.

Junior middle linebacker Marcus English (6-1, 228) and senior strong-side linebacker Tim Fort (6-0, 225) are back after collecting 41 and 43 tackles, respectively, last season. But their positions aren't safe.

English is excited about some new players who will compete at the position. Darius Moffett (6-3, 225) is a freshman from Chicago who was recruited by several Big Ten schools but initially didn't make the cut academically. He may be talented enough to come right in and play.

"If he can learn, physically he's what you want," English said.

Another freshman, Colin Weingrad (6-0, 230), could be of immediate assistance. Same goes for freshman Jeremy Curry (6-1, 215), a speedy player who English said also had some Big Ten interest.

Curry is destined for the weak-side position, where a good position battle already is brewing. Senior Neal Howey (6-1, 224), a former walk-on, is battling with senior Nate Paopao (6-0, 213), who English said "was the best player in the spring."

So just like at defensive line, the Eagles at least have some depth and competition to help raise the overall level of play.

DEFENSIVE BACKS
An exciting addition headlines the defensive backfield. Latarrius Thomas (6-2, 210) was a safety at Louisville who played for English there. He transferred to Eastern Michigan to keep playing for English, and he's eligible after sitting out last season.

"What he did at Louisville tells you his talent level," English said of Thomas, who started 11 games and had 43 tackles with the Cardinals.

Thomas is the starting free safety. Senior Ryan Downard (6-1, 198) is the guy at strong safety after starting three games there last season. He has nine career interceptions.

"Downard can be a very solid MAC safety," English said.

Junior Martavius Cardwell (5-11, 202) is in the mix after finishing second on the team with 105 tackles last season. But English believes freshman Kelip Goodwin (6-1, 190) has the talent to wedge his way into the lineup immediately.

"I would be hard pressed to think he wouldn't be the third safety in there," English said. The No. 1 cornerbacks are senior Arrington Hicks (5-9, 170) and junior Marcell Rose (5-9, 185). Hicks started 11 games and had 32 tackles last season. As in every position on this defense, competition is welcomed and expected.

English said sophomore Ja'Ron Gillespie (5-11, 174) is "very talented" and will have a chance to start. Senior Brandon Pratt (6-2, 193) and junior Nate Wilson (5-11, 182) also are contenders.

SPECIAL TEAMS
Junior running back Corey Welch is back to return kicks after averaging 21.4 yards last season, but English will look at several options there. Punt return is wide open with Marvon Sanders gone. It's very possible the Eagles will find someone in the incoming class who can help in this area. Sophomore Mike Zupancic (6-5, 253) will handle the long snapping.

KICKERS
Joe Carrithers is gone after making 10-of-17 field goals last season. English went out and found Kody Fulkerson (6-2, 175), a prep kicker from Mays-ville (Ohio) High School, and gave him a scholarship. There are no other kickers on the roster, although some walk-on candidates should emerge in the fall. Obviously, this is a potentially concerning situation for a team trying to get over the hump in close games.

PUNTERS
Zach Johnson is gone after averaging 40.4 yards a punt last season. He signed a free agent deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. English went far from home to find Johnson's replacement -- Jay Karutz (6-2, 205) from New South Wales, Australia. English said Karutz has a big leg and should be a reliable punter immediately.

NEWCOMERS
Several members of the 27-man recruiting class could end up helping a team that badly needs to raise its talent level. The Eagles have a new punter and kicker, three JUCO defensive linemen, safety Kelip Goodwin, and linebackers Jeremy Curry, Darius Moffett, Desdan Hester (6-2, 221) and Colin Weingrad.

Garrett Gronowski

Gronowski


EDITOR'S NOTE: By the same token, coach English is also a hard one to get a read on as evidenced by his lack of insight on Avon's Garrett Gronowski, a mutli-talented and affable Student/Athlete. He was told by several coaches last summer that he had the "catch" of the recruiting class in Gronowski, failed to comment in depth on him when asked, moved him from defensive back to linebacker this season and does not appear to have him in his immediate plans. 

Notre Dame Football  

Continued from A Page


That first drive was stifled by Mercyhurst and both teams traded possessions before the Lakers put the game’s first points on the board with a field goal at 1:36.  That field goal, off the right foot of place-kicker Steven Wakefield, came at the end of a 10-play, 66-yard drive.

 

The Lakers (1-0) ran their lead to 10-0 with a 1-yard touchdown run by sophomore tailback Andrew Bailey in Mercyhurst’s first drive of the second quarter.

 

By the end of the second stanza, the Lakers had added another field goal and led, 13-0.  Notre Dame (0-1) was held to just 26 first-half yards, and the Falcons were whistled for seven penalties over the first 30 minutes of play.

 

In the third quarter, Wakefield added a field goal and then the Lakers scored their second touchdown on another 3-yard run by Bailey.  That put the visitors on top, 23-0.

 

The Laker defense clamped down on NDC, applying pressure on Falcon quarterbacks and stifling the NDC run. MC held Notre Dame to numerous three-and-outs throughout the second half and the game.  Laker linebacker Bryan Boyce was active against the pass and the run and was frequently in the NDC backfield harassing Dak Britt, who relieved Yan Cyr after Cyr left the game with an injury in the first quarter.  Boyce finished the game with nine tackles and three sacks.  Mercyhurst had seven sacks in all.

 

Euclid, Ohio, native Andrew Bailey finished the game with 31 yards on nine carries.  The Lakers’ leading rusher was senior Gerald Anderson, who garnered 47 yards on 21 carries.  Both were set up by a nice passing game -- Mercyhurst quarterback Garret Kensy was 16-of-27 for 205 yards, and he connected with 11 different receivers on the night.  MC racked up 293 total yards on the night.  The Lakers maintained a sizable edge in time of possession (34:18) by gaining 18 first downs.


Berea native Derrick Paster

 

Notre Dame’s offense was paced wide receiver Derrick Paster.  The sophomore from Berea, Ohio garnered 63 yards on a game-high six catches.  Dak Britt was 11-for-21 and threw for 93 yards.  The Falcon ground game was limited to 0.9 yards per rush on 36 carries.  NDC had 12 first downs on the night; the Falcons were just 3-of-14 on third downs.

JFK alum Gary Briggs

 

Defensively, the Falcons were led by Gary Briggs (13 tackles, 3-1/2 tackles for loss, forced fumble), John Hyde (10 tackles) and Bob Hansen (nine tackles, two sacks).



CRUSHERS CAPTURE KINGS


KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The Lake Erie Crushers finished the road portion of their 2010 schedule with a 10-2 rout of the Kalamazoo Kingson Sunday afternoon. 



For the third consecutive game Lake Erie jumped on the board in the first inning. The Crusher took advantage of some early eraticness from Kalamazoo starter Mike Zenko. Wayne Bond posted a one out single while Andrew Davis and Joel Collins walked to load the bases. Zenko unloaded a wild pitch to allow Bond to score the game's first run.



The lead held until the bottom of the third inning. Eric Suttle walked with one out, moved to second on a balk, and stole third. He scored on the first of three consecutive two out singles as Matt Greener posted an RBI single into left to score Suttle. Destan Makonnen finished the string with an RBI single to score Greener.



Lake Erie responded in the fifth inning to chase Zenko from the game by batting around and scoring four times. Wayne Bond led off the inning with a single and Andrew Davis followed by drawing a walk. Joel Collins was hit by a pitch with one away to load the bases. Matt Sutton singled into left to drive home two and put the Crushers ahead. With the bases again loaded after a walk to Raphael Turner, Jodam Rivera singled into right, scoring Collins and Sutton. Zenko was ejected moments after being lifted fro the contest.



Four more runs crossed in the top of the sventh as Lake Erie batted around for the second tie in the contest to go up 9-2. Joel Collins and Matt Sutton walked against reliever Greg Stolezenburg and were sacrificed to second and third. Jodam Rivera knocked in his third run of the contest with a sacrifice fly. Jake Krause was hit by a pitch and Dom Duggan posted his second hit of the game, an opposite field RBI single to score Sutton. Wayne Bond drew a walk to load the bases for Andrew Davis, who singled in two runs with a base hit to left. Davis drove in another run in the ninth to finish the scoring.  



Travis Risser pitched six innings to record his eight victory of the season. Jeff Cinadr tossed the final three frames to gather his second save in as many nights and his eighth of the season. 



Lake Erie will open the final homestand of the season on Tuesday following an offday tomorrow when the Washington Wild Things visit All Pro Freight Stadium. RHP Josh Roberts (9-5, 2.77) takes to the mound for the Crushers against RHP Zach Rosenbaum (1-9, 4.72). 



EXTRA SWINGS

Ø       The Crushers finished the roadtrip 4-2, winning both series for the first time since the final roadtrip of the first half; Lake Erie was 17-25 on the road this season

Ø       The 10 runs marked just the third time this season that the Crushers scored double-digit runs in a contest and the first since the opening game of the second half, a 12-1 victory over Windy City on July 16

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