The 2009 Lake Erie football season kicks off on Thursday night, Aug. 27, at Gannon University. This is the first of a two-part season preview, focusing on a position-by-position breakdown of the Storm offense. Part two will look at the defense.
PAINESVILLE, OHIO -- The Storm offense is a quick strike unit
that utilizes the spread wing. The goal of the offense is to
use as many formations and playmakers as possible to attack the
defense. The Storm offense wants to be dangerous in both its
ability to run, and throw the football. Last year's unit
averaged 26 points per game, including a record 47 on October 11th
against The Apprentice School, and averaged 5.3 yards per
play. The Storm offense was able to live up to their quick
strike reputation by scoring on their first possession in 7 out of
11 games. The unit returns 12 players that started at least
one game last season and will look to improve their production in
Sean Bedevelsky (Brunswick, OH/Brunswick) returns after starting all 11 games in 2008 for the Storm. Bedevelsky was named to the ICAA and D2football.com Second Teams as well as earning the ICAA Freshmen of the Year award. He completed 180-of-323 passes for 2,417 yards and 22 touchdowns with just 12 interceptions. Other veteran returners include Matt Krumpak (McDonald, OH/McDonald), who according to coaches had an excellent spring, and Justin Bennett (Ashtabula, OH/Edgewood).
Tony Howard (Garfield Heights, OH/Garfield Heights/Kent State) returns at tailback after being named to D2football.com's first team. Howard was the Storm's leading rusher in 2008, gaining 795 yards on 147 carries in 10 games for an average of 5.4 yards per carry and 79.5 yards per game. He scored eight touchdowns, including the historic first score in program history. Kyle Kordich (North Royalton, OH/North Royalton), Eric Burlingame (Cambridge, OH/Cambridge), Kameron Alexander (Akron, OH/Buchtel) and Ryan Smith (Westerville, OH/Westerville Central) all return to compete at the tailback position. Dave Romeo (Eastlake, OH/Eastlake North) and Demetrius Gray (Cleveland, OH/Cleveland South) return at the wing position. Romeo recorded 669 total yards (483 receiving, 186 rushing) and 6 touchdowns while Gray totaled 579 yards (451 receiving, 128 rushing) and scored 4 touchdowns. Look for Steve Bensinger (Poland, OH/South Range), Nick Yeager (Madison, OH/Madison), Ray Walker (Grove City, OH/Grove City) and Travis Lepley (Franklin, PA/Franklin) to make an impact.
Brandon James (Mentor, OH/Mentor) and David Kryzs (Ashtabula, OH/Lakeside) return after starting 11 games in 2008. James was the team's top receiver with 723 yards on 56 receptions. He caught eight touchdowns and set a program record with 15 catches September 20th against St. Joseph University. Brandon earned second-team honors from both the ICAA and D2football.com for his excellent freshmen season. Kryzs had 14 catches for 165 yards and a score. Look for junior Tracy Evans (Cleveland, OH/East Tech/Kentucky State), and sophomores Ryan Robinson (Maple Heights, OH/Maple Heights), Caleb Stewart (Mansfield, OH/Ontario) and Andrew Wilkerson (Ashtabula, OH/Edgewood), who all had strong springs, to be contributors this season.
Six players - Nick Ellis (Thompson, OH/Ledgemont/Mount Union), Mike Gritz (Lyndhurst, OH/Brush), David Greenslade (Conneaut, OH/Conneaut), Mike Robare (South Euclid, OH/Brush), Kyle Glass (Euclid, OH/Madison) and Mike Colabuno (Perry, OH/Perry) - return with starting experience up front. The Storm offensive line is an experienced group that will be looked to in 2009 for their leadership. Other veteran returners include Mike Hounshell (Willoughby, OH/Notre Dame Cathedral Latin), Guy Cullision (Columbus, OH/Bishop Ready), David Rininger (Wyndham, OH/Wyndham), Matt Catron (Tipp City, OH/Tippecanoe), Greg Juhola (Ashtabula, OH/Lakeside), Barrett Fredrickson (Mayfield, OH/Mayfield) and Jordan Boots (Fombell, PA/Riverside).
The tight end position has been essential to the Storm offense when it comes to attacking the defense. John Hokovar (Perry, OH/Perry) returns after missing the entire 2008 season with a hamstring injury. He will be joined by a group of veterans that includes Kyle Wakeman (Mentor, OH/Mentor), Adam Coleman (Spencer, OH/Black River), Joe Aichle (Corning, OH/Miller), and Ben Ehrman (Cleveland, OH/Lutheran East).