The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

September 11, 2013

LaBrae next for Lakers

Now more physical, PV must execute to move to 2-1

ANDOVER TOWNSHIP — The Pymatuning Valley Lakers came into the 2013 season with an edict from their coach, Neal Croston:

Be more physical.

Through two games this season, the Lakers have accomplished that. The results — a 32-24 season-opening win at Berkshire and a 36-20 loss to Cardinal in their home opener at Laker Stadium — showed PV to be more physical.

And as they head into their Week 3 matchup at LaBrae, Croston said it was mental mistakes, not those of the physical nature, that did them in last week against visiting Cardinal, which sprinted out of the gates to the tune of a 22-0 advantage before PV knew what had hit it.

“We played hard and all that, but had a few mental breakdowns in our assignments on defense,” Croston said. “We had too many turnovers that gave Cardinal a short field.  

“Saying all that, we cut the score to 29-20 in the third quarter and ran a 2-point conversion play that could of went either way. We gave ourselves a chance for the comeback.”

Getting back into the game only magnified how important the mental mistakes were early on for the Lakers.

“We weren't consistent in all three phases of the game and Cardinal was able to take advantage of that in the first half,” Croston said. “We did a good job of creating some third-and-long situations for them, but gave them two long conversions by not executing on third down.  

“In both drives, Cardinal was able to put points on the board and keep our offense on the sideline.”

Which PV cannot afford in the second-ever matchup with LaBrae on Friday night in Leavittsburg. The Lakers defeated the Vikings in the only other matchup between the schools, a 26-21 Week 3 triumph on Sept. 22, 1967 in Andover Township.

The Vikings (1-1) escaped Jefferson with a 15-14 win in their opener at Falcon Pride Stadium, but weren’t nearly as successful a week ago against visiting Warren John F. Kennedy. The Eagles knocked off the Vikings last week, 34-14, in Leavittsburg.

“They have some talented skills players and play a physical style of football,” Croston said of the Vikings. “This a game we will need to play good football for four quarters.”

Croston has a very good idea of what LaBrae will be bringing to the table Friday night.

“On defense, they run multiple fronts and are aggressive with their front eight,” he said. “On offense, they run the spread and it starts with their quarterback, Justin Jenkins. He is a dual-threat guy who is a good player. His running back, Jamal Dawkins, is also good player who has exceptional speed. They have talented group of receivers, with Marcell Richards (6-foot-2, 195 pounds) leading the way.”

At Jefferson in Game 1, Dawkins ran for 88 yards on 15 carries, including touchdown runs of 13 and 34 yards. Jenkins completed 6 of 13 passes for 25 yards at Jefferson, running for 44 yards on a dozen carries.

Croston knows what must be done in order for his Lakers to move to 2-1 in the season.

“We must play sound defense, avoiding big plays,” he said. “ We need to win the turnover battle... be on the plus side usually leads to a win.

And we need to have a balanced attack on offense. We need to be able to run and throw on a consistent basis.”

Two games into the 2013 season, Croston said the Lakers, while on the right track, need more consistency.

“I know our guys feel they can play more consistent as a team,” he said. “We have seen sparks of that team we want to be.  

“Our guys will continue to work hard to up their level of play.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Danielle Zip-ing along

    Just minutes after Geneva’s Danielle Nicholson holed out on the 18th green at the Gray Course at Ohio State University during her freshman year to win the 2011 Division I state championship, the recruitment process of where she would go to college began.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Maruna headed for Mount

    LeeAnn Maruna never really expected to play collegiate golf. She was so taken aback when the opportunity presented itself, she didn’t know how to respond. After all, the Grand Valley graduate had only been playing the game for a few years.

    July 23, 2014

  • Crate Late Models featured

    The Evergreen Lake Park Campground Crate Late Models, the premier class at Raceway 7, will be featured Friday night as they race for $1,000 to win.

    July 23, 2014

  • Norm He’s the Norm

    In the early part of the 20th century, as golf was taking off in popularity, it was not uncommon for boys to take up the game after becoming caddies.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: The journey is what’s most important

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past couple of weeks, you’ve heard over and over and over how it’s been a half-century since one of Cleveland’s big three professional sports teams have won a championship.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Murdick wins as Big Block Modifieds return

    The BRP Big Block Modifed Tour returned to Raceway 7 with 21 of the region’s fastest Modifieds turning out for the scheduled 35-lap event, the first for the Modifieds at the northeast Ohio speedplant since 2005, an event won by Todd Burley.

    July 21, 2014

  • Dale Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Chances for controlled waterfowl hunting

    Waterfowl hunters are invited to participate in special drawings for controlled hunting opportunities, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife. The drawing dates and times are as follows:

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kingsville gets it done

    In a rematch of a previous softball clash between the Kingsville 9-10-year-olds and those from Conneaut, Kingsville had settled thing quickly and decisively in a mercy-rule triumph.

    July 20, 2014

  • TD Club golf A Chris Larick column: TD Club hopes to score

    Though its life was never seriously threatened, the Ashtabula County Touchdown Club has suffered in recent years.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Don A Don McCormack column: A heartfelt plea to curb violence

    Like everyone who loves soccer — and the rest of us whose interest level rises dramatically every four years when the World Cup comes around — Kevin Meier was appalled at the recent attack of soccer referee John Bieniewicz in Michigan by a player that resulted in Bieniewicz tragically dying.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

Little League All-Stars July 1 to 12
AP NASCAR Lastest News
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
AP Auto Racing Photos
West Side Shootout 2014
Ashtabula County at State Track Meet
Jefferson vs Akron St. Vincent St. Mary Regional Softball
District Track 2014
Jefferson District Softball Tournament
Bob Walters 50 Years
Geneva vs Perry Division II District Semifinal
Sports Week in Review May 12 to May 17
Sports Week in Review May 5 to May 10 2014
Sports Week in Review April 28 to May 3
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video