Coach: Bob Abbey, third year, 3-17
Last Year: 3-7 (1-6, SLL)
Forecast: The Flyers, who return seven starters on offense and five on defense, were picked to finish near the bottom of the seven-team SLL this season.
There has never been any question that over time Lake football would return to some of its former glory days. Coach Abbey, a Lake alumnus, is starting to see the future happen as his roster numbers improved immensely this season.
The question remains, "Can more players mean more depth for Lake?"
“We are looking to become a tougher football team,” Abbey said, “and improve on our 3-7 record.”
Returning offensive starters are junior running back Carl Brown, senior wide receivers Terry Tomanski and Greg Grove, senior tight end Brandon Tantari and senior linemen Kyle Lee, Alex Stefan and Jacob Pack.
Junior quarterback Alan Martinez will direct the Flyers’ offense, which features the spread and option attack.
“He has a good mix of being able to throw and run,” Abbey said. “He’s pretty athletic for us and he’s very competitive.”
Brown is Lake’s top returning rusher. Last year he ran for 278 yards on 63 carries with one touchdown.
“He has really worked to improve his foot speed and strength,” Abbey said. “He runs the ball hard when he has that opportunity, and he’s done a nice job so far blocking in our scheme.”
Martinez’s top two receiving targets should be Tomanski and Grove. Last year, Tomanski caught 15 passes for 377 yards for an incredulous 25.1 yards per catch, along with five touchdown receptions. Grove caught seven passes last year for 128 yards (18.3 per catch), along with catching three touchdown passes.
“They both complement each other,” Abbey said. “They are alike on both sides, and they have pretty good speed and good hands. They will make it tough for a defense to cover the entire field.”
Lake’s returning defensive starters are linemen Tantari, Pack and Brown, and senior linebackers Ben Sample and Ryan Hotmer, who was an honorable mention all-league selection a year ago.
“We expect our team strength to be our offensive and defensive lines,” Abbey said. “We have good strength and size at those positions and we have better overall team speed. Our D-line will be the strongest part of our defense. We’ve gotten quicker, faster and stronger and we’re hoping we don’t give up as many big plays as we did last year. That was our biggest problem.”
Tantari had 58 tackles, including 11 for a loss last season and two interceptions. Pack had six tackles for a loss and Brown and Grove each had two interceptions.
The coach added that Hotmer has emerged as the team’s senior leader on defense. Hotmer had 80 tackles last season.
“He’s very competitive,” Abbey said. “Being his senior year, he’s stepped up in that senior leadership position. We’re pleased with his work ethic and he’s a smart linebacker. He does a good job of reading things.”
Abbey added that the Flyers need to become mentally and physically tougher if they want to reach their goals this season.
“Also, our lack of depth at some positions may be a problem if we have some injuries,” he said.
For Abbey, an assistant under Coach Jim Kubuske for five years before taking the head job in 2008,and a biology and human physiology teacher at Lake the last 10, his new responsibility at his alma mater has been a dream come true.
“When you get into coaching you always dream about someday coaching at your old high school and, fortunately, I’ve been blessed with that chance,” Abbey said.