PAINESVILLE, OHIO – For the fifth consecutive year, the Lake Erie College football season will open on a Thursday night with a nonconference game against Gannon University. The "Battle of Lake Erie" rivalry game, along with five home contests, highlights the 2012 Storm football schedule announced Tuesday (Dec. 20).
The Storm will travel to Erie, Pa. for the season opener against the Gannon Golden Knights on Thursday, Aug. 30. The two teams have opened each of the previous four seasons, including last year's inaugural battle for the Captain's Wheel trophy. That game was won by the Storm 13-10 in Painesville. Gannon had won the previous three meetings by a combined nine points.
This marks the third time the teams will play in Erie.
"We're very excited to be able to keep this tradition going. It's a fun atmosphere on that Thursday night and a game both teams really get up for," said head coach Mark McNellie. "It's a great first game and rivalry and something we're glad is in place for at least the next two years. The addition of the Captain's Wheel last year, I thought, really enhanced the game and now we will have the opportunity to defend it."
Lake Erie's third season in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) begins the following week at home against Ferris State University on Sept. 8. Then on Sept. 15 the Storm heads to Detroit for the second straight year to play at NCAA Division II national runner-up Wayne State University. The schedule continues to rotate home-and-away games the next two weeks with the Storm hosting Saginaw Valley State University on Sept. 22 and then playing at Ashland University to close out the month of Sept. 29.
"Each and every week in this conference is a challenge, it's a real meat-grinder," McNellie said. "But this is about as difficult an opening stretch as you can have. All four teams were nationally ranked at one point during this past season, and Wayne State just made a run to the national championship game. All four teams return a lot of talented players and we will certainly have our work cut out for us as we try to get off to a good start in league play."
October brings new challengers to the slate as Lake Erie will face the conference's three newest members in a four-week stretch starting Oct. 6 at GLIAC associate member Notre Dame College. It will be the first meeting on the gridiron for the two young Northeast Ohio programs. Lake Erie began football in 2007 and played its first varsity season in 2008. Notre Dame meanwhile followed that same model starting in 2009.
The Storm returns home on Oct. 13 to host another GLIAC newcomer, Malone University, on Homecoming/Alumni Weekend. Lake Erie welcomes the University of Findlay to Jack Britt Memorial Stadium the following week (Oct. 20) before closing out the month at the other league newcomer, Walsh University on Oct. 27. That game will be played in Canton at Fawcett Stadium and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"The GLIAC's expansion to include Notre Dame, Walsh and Malone creates instant geographical rivalries and continues to help grow Division II football within the state of Ohio," said McNellie. "We are looking forward to these new matchups and games that will create a lot of buzz locally and throughout the state."
The final two games are against familiar foes. The Storm will host Ohio Dominican University in the home finale on Senior Day Nov. 3 and then close out the season at Tiffin University Nov. 10.
Game times for each contest, along with additional special events and themes for home games, will be announced at a later time.
2012 Lake Erie College Storm Football Schedule
at Gannon Univeristy
FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY*
at Wayne State University*
SAGINAW VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY*
at Ashland University*
at Notre Dame College*
UNIVERSITY OF FINDLAY*
at Walsh University*
OHIO DOMINICAN UNIVERSITY*
at Tiffin University*
Key * denotes Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) game HOME GAMES IN BOLD CAPS All games are local to site and subject to change