A Page -- July 27, 2011

Zips and Flashes picked to finish fair to midland in MAC East; Miami selected to win division

 By Norm Weber

Student/Athlete-Cleveland Editor


DETROIT – Both Cleveland-area teams in the Mid American Conference were picked to finish in the lower half of the Eastern Division. Kent State was picked to finish fourth and Akron seventh in the MAC East.

Miami was picked to repeat as East champions after becoming the first collegiate football team to go from a season with double digit losses (2009) to one with double-digit wins (2010).

Akron had an off year last year after going through a coaching change and has nowhere to go but up this season. Offensively, the Zips are led by quarterback Patrick Nicely, a Willoughby South alumnus.


Despite a cellar-dwelling season by the Zips, Nicely still had flashes of greatness when passing the ball and also in general running the offense.

“With the coaching staff intact, it is still the same system so now it is a matter of executing it and doing it better,” said Akron coach Rob Ianello. “We got better on the pass as the season moved on; with three offensive linemen returning, Patrick should get good pass protection.

“Patrick improved with every game and showed toughness from whatever spot he might have been in at any time. Patrick goes into camp as the starter. Zach D’Orazio has improved in camp at quarterback.”

D’Orazio is a Cuyahoga Heights alumnus and Avon Lake native. Ianello also noted that they have depth in skill players to throw the ball to, including Midpark alumnus Anthony Meriweather.

Still the Zips need to start winning.

“I tell the team that we get better or we get worse; we have to get better,” said Ianello. “That should be enough incentive for them to give their best performance each time we step on the field.”

Kent has a new coach and new coaching staff. The biggest loss in the whole shuffle came when Bay Village native Pete Rekstis, the Flashes defensive coordinator who was the football foundation’s assistant coach of the year twice, left to head up the defense and defensive backs at Miami.

The new coaches inherit a fine defensive legacy Rekstis left behind but as usual, overall turned in another mediocre year in 2010. Much of the same is expected in 2011.

“It’s very promising here and is close to being a very good organization,” said new Head Coach Darrell Hazell. “We’re still trying figure out who our top 11 or 15 guys will be. Some of what we bring is a different language for them.”


Among those vying for slots are Solon’s Chris Humphrey, CVCA’s Xavier Douglas, Akron’s Larry Dawson, Chardon’s Andrew Christopher, Nordonia’s Luke Batton, Lake Catholic’s Tim Erjavec, big 300-pound tackle Brian Winters from Hudson and Stow High alumnus Andrew Horning.

Miami expected to repeat as MAC champions as well is win the East; Tim Beckman’s Toledo slated to win the West

 By Norm Weber

Student/Athlete-Cleveland Editor


DETROIT – Miami, defending champs in the MAC football race, is expected by most to repeat, and has also been picked to win the East Division.

Toledo, coached by Berea native Tim Beckman, was picked to win the West Division.

Miami has a new coach in Don Treadwell, but gained a real coup when bringing Bay native Pete Reksits to be the defensive coordinator. Twice Rekstis was named by the football foundation as the assistant coach of the year.


His defenses ranked high nationally both at Kent and at Youngstown State prior to his Portage County stint.

“It is an honor to return as an alumni (sic) to familiar territory,” said Treadwell. “We’re excited to come in here because it is not too often a new staff comes in following a championship football season."


One of the defensive leaders for Miami will be St. Ignatius alumnus and Westlake native Pat Hinkel. He ranked third on the team with 72 tackles in 2011.


Hinkel also aposted three interceptions for 11 yards, three tackles for loss, seven pass deflections and one fumble recovery.

Others expecting to contribute for the RedHawks are Benedictine alum Dave Zulandt, Slavic Village South alum John Steele, Hoban grad Brian Slack, Rocky River’s Rob Plagens, Shaker’s Roman Lawson, Solon’s Sam Camiener,  and Mentor’s Brad Bednar.   

Bowling Green, coming off a 2-10 season, was picked to finish fifth behind Kent in the East.

“We did really well in the off season to get really motivated for this season,” said Bee Gee Coach Dave Clawson. “On defense, we like our front seven and have a talented secondary despite being young. Both on offense and defense, we have great competition.”

Among those vying for spots for the Falcons are CVCA alumnus John Pettigrew, Ravenna native Jon Davis, Maple Heights’ Don Flewellen, Valley Forge alum Micky Wagner, Elyria’s Isaiah Byler, Heights’ Diontre Delk, Mentor’s Tim Moore and Bart Tanski.

Ohio U. was picked to finish second behind Ohio River rival Miami in the East. Those hoping to contribute to present a serious challenge to the RedHawks include Nordonia’s Ryan Clark, Hoover’s Brian Albrecht, St. Thomas Aquinas alum John DiBattista, Woodirdge alum Andy Fay, Barberton’s Thad Ingol, Chanel alum Art Jordan, GlenOak’s Justin Szink North Olmsted’s John Taylor, and Twinsburg’s Matt Weller.

Beckman had Glenville’s Terrance Owens take over at quarterback in the middle of the season. Owens, who followed with a commendable job, will vie for the starting spot again.

Padua grad Danny Molls will lead the Toledo defense again. Molls was among the team leaders in almost every defensive category.

Others expecting to contribute to the Rockets are St. Ed’s Diauntae Morrow, Elyria’s Danny Noble, Massillon’s Jeff Meyers, Padua’s Collin Perchinske, Elyria Catholic’s Zach Rogers, Glenville’s Andre Sturdivant, Mentor’s Ben Pike, John Adams’ John James, Glenville’s Jim Gordon and Jayrone Elliott, and Jackson’s Erik Carlson.

Ball State was picked to finish fifth in the West. Although in a next-door-neighbor state, Ball State has several key contributors from Cleveland, including Massillon’s Steve Schott, St. Ed’s Odis Prunty and Walsh’s Armand Dehaney.


Schott was the kick-off man, getting his best game against Southeast Missouri with 384 yards on six kicks.

Dehaney has a streak going after having played in all 12 Card games last year and all 12 two years ago.


 Prunty played in all 12 games as a freshman last year. He recorded at least one tackle in eight games.


 Shaker’s Perez Ashford finished fourth on Northern Illinois in receiving last year and is returning.

 Euclid’ Jeffvon Gill was the team leader for Buffalo in average yards per carry (4.3) and is also returning.





















GlenOak alumnus named assistant SID at Mount Union

ALLIANCE--Jay Fiorello has been named assistant sports information director at University of Mount Union.

He will aid in all facets of sports information for Purple Raiders' 23 intercollegiate athletic teams.

Fiorello graduated in May of 2011 with a degree in sport business from Mount Union and he spent the last three years working in the sports information office.

Also has an undergrad, Fiorello worked for the Canton Repository and its high football websiteFridayNightOhio.com

He also was an athletic department assistant at Akron East High School, did a ticket sales practicum with the Cleveland Cavaliers along with a sales associate for Velocity Sports in Canton.

A native of Canton and graduate of GlenOak High School, Fiorello resides in Alliance.



Miami and Toledo Picked to Win Respective Divisions; Toledo Selected to Win 2011 Marathon MAC Football Championship

Detroit, Mich. – The Miami RedHawks and the Toledo Rockets have been selected to win the East and West divisions respectfully in the 2011 Mid-American Conference Football Preseason Poll.  The poll was announced at the league’s annual Football Media Day at Ford Field in Detroit and was determined by members of the league’s media contingent.  

The Rockets also were selected to win the 2011 Marathon MAC Football ChampionshipBoth divisions were selected by the narrowest of margins, as the East Division witnessed Miami selected with the top spot with 97 total points, followed by Ohio with 96 points.  In the West Division, Toledo garnered 83 points, while Northern Illinois posted 81 points.

This obviously reflects the competitive nature of the MAC as in the last three years, the conference has witnessed six different programs compete in the MAC Football Championship Game and ten of 13 football programs have appeared in a bowl game in that span.Miami garnered four first-place votes en route to the top of the poll in the East Division.

The RedHawks return 49 letter winners and 17 starters from last year’s 10-4 team that won the 2010 Marathon MAC Football Championship and went on to defeat Middle Tennessee State, 31-17, in the Go.Daddy.com Bowl.  Miami capped a dramatic turnaround and finished the season 10-4, 7-1 in conference play, and became the first program in college football FBS history to go from double digit losses (1-11 in 2009) to double digit wins (10-4 in 2010) in consecutive years and become the most improved program in the country.

The RedHawks were followed by Ohio, who received eight first place votes in the East Division preseason predictions.  Temple was picked third followed by Kent State, Bowling Green, Buffalo and Akron.


Northern Illinois was picked second in the West Division and earned five first place votes.  Western Michigan was selected third and also garnered one first place vote, while Central Michigan placed fourth, also with one first place vote. Ball State ranked fifth followed by Eastern Mich.

Toledo racked up eight first-place votes in the MAC West Division.  The Rockets also welcome back 49 letter winners and 17 starters from last year’s team that went 8-5, 7-1 in conference play and made a bowl appearance in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. Third-year Head Coach Tim Beckman returns kick returner and wide receiver Eric Page, who was named to four All-America teams in 2010—first-team All-America as a kickoff returner by Sporting News, Walter Camp and Phil Steele Publications, and second-team by SportsIllustrated.com.  

The 2011 season kicks off on Thursday, September 1 with four MAC programs playing non-conference opponents.  The first MAC game of the year takes place September 10 when Temple travels to Akron.  The 2011 Marathon MAC Football Championship Game is Friday, December 2 at 7:00 pm from Ford Field in Detroit. 


The complete poll follows:

Team (First Place Votes)        Points


MAC East Division               

1.      Miami (4)                  97

2.      Ohio (8)                     96

3.      Temple (4)                 88

4.      Kent State                  57

5.      Bowling Green          48

6.      Buffalo                      37

7.      Akron                        25


MAC West Division

1.      Toledo (8)                 83

2.      Northern Illinois (5)   81

3.      Western Michigan (2) 76

4.      Central Michigan (1)  55

5.      Ball State                   27

6.      Eastern Michigan       24


ESPN Regional Television and Mid-American 

Conference Announce College Football Syndication 


CHARLOTTE, N.C. – For the fourth consecutive season, ESPN Regional Television, Inc., a subsidiary of ESPN, and the Mid-American Conference have announced a six-week regionally syndicated football package that will air in 27 television markets, including Chicago; Philadelphia; Detroit; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Cincinnati; Indianapolis; Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Buffalo, N.Y. The package will consist of MAC conference matchups, running six weeks, beginning Saturday, Sept. 17.

“We are extremely excited about the upcoming football season and the MAC Game of the Week schedule,” said Pete Derzis, senior vice president & general manager, ESPN Regional Television. “We have assembled an extensive group of MAC affiliates that reaches a significant base of college football fans. The demand for this content is a testament to the quality of MAC football.” 

All games will begin at noon ET, with the telecast window extending to 3:30 p.m. The games will be distributed nationally via the ESPN GamePlan pay-per-view package, which is available to fans via cable, DIRECTV and Dish Network.  The telecasts will also be available on ESPN3.com, ESPN’s broadband sports network.

“The Mid-American Conference is a proud partner with ESPN Regional Television and our syndicated package has brought tremendous value and exposure to our conference,” said Dr. Jon A. Steinbrecher, Mid-American Conference Commissioner.  “This year’s package presents a number of attractive match-ups.  Through the efforts of our partners at ESPN Regional Television, we have a strong group of affiliates throughout the MAC footprint that assist in our continuing efforts to foster and grow the MAC brand.”

The six-week package will begin Saturday, Sept. 17 with an in-state rivalry between Central Michigan and Western Michigan. The package will conclude Saturday, Nov. 5, when Ball State travels to Eastern Michigan.

The 27 markets that will air the package represent 24 million television households, or 21 percent of the U.S. Those markets and affiliates include: Chicago (WPWR – MNT); Philadelphia (WPVI – ABC); Detroit (WXYZ – ABC); Cleveland (WEWS – ABC); Indianapolis (WNDY – CW); Columbus (WWHO – CW); Cincinnati (EKRC – CW); Milwaukee (WMLW – Independent); Grand Rapids (WZZM – ABC); and Buffalo (WNYO – MNT). 

Michael Reghi will call the action each week with analyst Doug Graber. 

The 2011 football campaign marks the 65th season of MAC football and the 15th with a championship game. The season concludes Friday, Dec. 2, at Ford Field with the Marathon MAC Football Championship on ESPN2. With a conference record of at least four schools participating in bowl games in each of the last three consecutive seasons, the MAC has produced bowl teams from 10 conference schools in the past three years. In addition, the competitiveness of the league has seen six different schools represent their respective divisions in the last three championship games.

CWRU Mourns the Loss of First Football Coach Flory Mauriocourt

CLEVELAND – Flory Mauriocourt, the first head football coach of the Case Western Reserve University Spartans, passed away last night at the age of 78.

Mauriocourt was the first head football coach at CWRU following the Western Reserve University-Case Institute of Technology federation in 1967. He coached for six seasons from 1970-1975. Mauriocourt also played for the Western Reserve Red Cats during his time as a student-athlete.

A memorial service is being planned in his honor. More details will be provided when made final.