The Press Newspaper
Through six weeks of the 2009 season, Lake led the Suburban Lakes League with a 3-0 record, a half-game ahead of 2-0 Genoa.
Coach Bob Abbey's Flyers, who traveled to Eastwood on Friday, already own wins over league rivals Gibsonburg, Otsego and Woodmore.
"We are not surprised," said Abbey, whose team went 3-17 overall the past two years. "We set our goals in the offseason to work to get better as the season progressed and to be league champions. We are in the middle of that process. We have a tough game coming up, but that is just another hurdle we will have to find a way to overcome."
After taking on Eastwood, which suffered a 54-11 loss at Genoa a week ago, the Flyers host Genoa on Oct. 16. The Comets (6-0), ranked fifth in Division IV, hosted Gibsonburg on Friday and have looked every bit the two-time defending SLL champions that they are.
Genoa coach Mike Vicars said he was "speechless" following the win over Eastwood.
"We had a very complete team win," Vicars said. "We threw the ball well, we protected the quarterback well, we ran the ball, the backs and receivers were excellent in making plays and the offensive line was fantastic. The film after the game confirmed that. On defense we flew to the ball and stymied a very fine, fast offense. We were not out of position very often. We also were very solid in our kicking game.
"Overall, we were very ready to play and played very hard from start to finish."
Lake can expect to see the same effort from Genoa next Friday. The Flyers certainly intend to keep the score closer than last year's 73-7 drubbing at the hands of the Comets.
"They were physical and fast, and our kids did not respond well," Abbey recalled. "Hopefully, we will respond differently. One of the things that is great about high school football is that when you have a group of kids with the talent and leadership that Genoa had last year, anything can happen on the football field. Them getting to the state semifinals was not a surprise."
Lake improved to 5-1 overall last Friday with a 10-7 win at Woodmore. The Flyers' defense shined as Brandon Tantari had four sacks, Carl Brown caused and recovered a fumble and Kurt McKee had an interception in the end zone.
"A win is a win," Abbey said. "We haven't won enough games around here the last few years to not be happy with a win."
Quarterback Alan Martinez has completed 30-of-62 passes for 436 yards and two touchdowns, with six interceptions. He also leads the Flyers in rushing, with 518 yards in 98 carries.
Josh Tantari is second in rushing with 353 yards in 57 carries, followed by Brown with 41 carries for 276 yards. Greg Grove has five receptions for 151 yards, and Brandon Tantari has 10 catches for 140 yards.
Vicars said he isn't surprised that Lake has won five of its first six games.
"We really felt they had a shot to be in the position they are in," Vicars said. "We even thought they might be 6-0 at this point. They have an excellent coaching staff with a group of kids that has a strong desire to do well. We hear good things about this group and we expect a battle when we play over there."
Genoa, which has won 25 straight regular-season games, is led by senior quarterback Matt Bassitt, who has completed 44-of-73 passes for 837 yards and 13 TDs, with no interceptions. Against Eastwood, Bassitt threw for 148 yards and tossed scoring passes of 26, 29 and 24 yards to senior Connor Wendt, who also rushed for a touchdown.
Wendt has carried the ball 28 times this season for 435 yards and eight TDs, and he has 16 receptions for 422 yards and nine touchdowns.
Senior back Greg Hillabrand, who rushed for 181 yards including scoring runs of 10, 75, and 15 yards against the Eagles, leads the Comets in rushing with 774 yards and 11 touchdowns on 56 carries.
Junior Derek Allgier also has 26 catches for 195 yards and three touchdowns for Genoa, which is averaging 334 rushing yards per game.
Vicars said he isn't worried about the Comets having a letdown down the stretch following the big win over Eastwood.
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