The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

October 24, 2012

Lakeside closes with Chardon

Dragons look for second win against 7-2 Hilltoppers

Ryan David knows what happened last week when his Lakeside Dragons were run over by the Madison Blue Streaks in a Premier Athletic Conference clash at Blue Streak Memorial Stadium, 54-20.

That was just it — they were run over.

Madison, led by Mark Murray’s 159 yards on 21 carries, ran for 315 yards on 46 attempts in the game.

That negated an Ashtabula County season-high 363 yards passing by Dragons quarterback Tyler Loftus.

“We played very well, offensively,” David, whose team will wrap its 2012 season against visiting playoff-bound Chardon (7-2, 4-2) on Friday night, said. “We had over 400 yards total offense.  

“Mark Murray’s running really hurt us. We just couldn't stop the run.”

That, along with a 33-point explosion by Madison in the third quarter, trumped a 10-catch, 198-yard effort by Lakeside’s running back-turned-wide receiver Chase Knight, whose 74-yard scoring strike from Loftus early in the third quarter cut Madison’s 14-6 halftime edge to 14-12.

“They have been doing this since the sixth game of the season,” David said of the Loftus-Knight combination. “Switching Chase to wideout has helped both Tyler and Chase.”

Lakeside (1-8, 0-6), which will be trying to snap a 19-game skid against Premier Athletic Conference foes, won’t have it any easier against Mitch Hewitt’s Hilltoppers on Friday night.

“They run the ball very well,” David said of Chardon’s famed wing-T offensive system. “(And) their defense is disciplined and plays with a lot of heart.”

David knows who Chardon’s main men are, too.

“Quarterback T.J. Benenati, safety Alex Muir and safety Joe Connick all are very aggressive players,” he said. “And Joey Fodor, who plays defensive end, plays tough, as well.”

Chardon, standing second in the Division II, Region 5 computer ratings headed into the final game of the regular season, leads the all-time series with Lakeside, 7-2, including a 63-0 thrashing last fall at Memorial Field. The Dragons’ last win in the series was a 42-13 triumph in Week 9 of the 2009 season at Lakeside Stadium by then-coach Bill Lipps’ squad.

David’s checklist toward emerging victorious in the final game of his second season at the helm at Lakeside is clear and concise.

“Cause 5 turnovers, have 400 yards total offense, the defense must stop the run and play good, clean special teams,” he said. “We cannot have a punt blocked.”

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