(Statistical Information Courtesy of NWPASports.com archives)


Head Coach: Bill Hickman, 5th year (9-28)
Last Year: 3-7


By Joe Sager, NWPASports.com Senior Contributor

Momentum eluded Lakeview early in the 2021 season. The Sailors finally found it, though, at the end of the campaign. The team closed the year with a win at Franklin and a come-from-behind triumph at Mercyhurst Prep to finish 3-7. That jolt continued for the squad throughout the offseason.

“These kids bought into it at the end of last year. We didn’t have the greatest season. We had a lot of injuries last year and we never want to use that as an excuse,” Lakeview coach Bill Hickman said. “But, we finished the year strong. We’re carrying that momentum into this year. It excited the kids and they see what they are capable of doing.

“Our offseason is probably the best we’ve had since I’ve been here,” he continued. “I feel like, at this point in time, this is the farthest along we’ve been, as far as being prepared going into the season and the offseason transition.”

While Lakeview graduated quarterback Gavin Murdock, who accounted for nearly 2,000 offensive yards and 20 total touchdowns, the squad welcomes back a solid foundation on the offensive line.

“The strength of team will be our line. We have an extremely big line. We probably have 13 linemen that can play and they have been working together for months. They are jelling now,” Hickman said.

Brendan Malone, Kyle Devinney, Garet Guthrie, Will Guy, Hunter Yeager, Garrett Mentch, Kyle McFadden, Bryson McKean, Tanner Vincent, Brycen Heckman, Aaron Straub and Cassidy Richards could all see game action on the offensive and defensive lines. “It’s a good problem to have all these linemen. That line is the key to our Mercedes,” Hickman said. “I am very proud of them. They all have worked hard to get better.”

Lakeview has so many linemen, Hickman welcomed veteran assistant coach Mike Grimm to the staff to coach them, along with holdover line mentor Mike Barr. “The luxury we have this year is we have depth to rotate kids in and out and sustain the level of play we want to have during the year,” Hickman said.

Senior Cam Pence and sophomore Leyton Zacherl could both see time at quarterback. “Leyton was technically our starting quarterback the last two games because we moved Gavin to tailback. He proved he can handle the big lights. He can execute plays and is fast,” Hickman said. “Cam has been all in and we look for big things from him. There may be packages for both of them because they both have specific skills.”

Mitchell Tingley, a junior, enters as the team’s lead running back. He rushed for 201 yards and a touchdown last year in limited attempts. “When Mitchell did get touches last year, he was pretty electric. You would have seen a lot more of that. But, when you have a star like Gavin, he is going to get the majority of touches,” Hickman said. “We’re counting on him, not just on offense, but defense, too. He plays ‘beast mode’ the entire time.”

Danick Hinkson will get chances to run the ball as well. “He is a track star and we were counting on him, but he was hurt most of the year,” Hickman said. “He has recovered and got a little faster. We’re counting on him at running back and receiver.”

Fullbacks Aiden Osborne and Luke Klonowski will get carries as well. Evan Sanford, Blake Skiles, Jaden Cooper, Gavin Krupa, Clarence Barber and Sean Cole will catch passes in the team’s offense. “We’ll have some wrinkles in there this year,” Hickman said. “It’s going to be pretty good.”

With the line depth on defense, too, look for Kolton Osborne, Tingley, Cole, Devinney and Klonowski at linebacker. Julian Zacherl, Hinkson, Sanford, Barber, Pence, Skiles and Leyton Zacherl are in the secondary. Cole is the leader of the defense. “He will be a terrorizer on defense,” Hickman said. “He is extremely strong and fast. He will be our quarterback back there.”

Though Lakeview finished 3-7, the Sailors went 0-6 in District 10 Region 1. They hope to improve that mark this fall while playing in the eight-team Class 1A region. “This team is extremely focused. They know what it takes to get to where we want to go. We have very high expectations,” Hickman said.

“We’re not worrying about any other team. There are great coaches throughout the region and we know teams will come ready to play. We just have to focus on the things we can control. We can control how conditioned we are and how well prepared we are for game day and how well we know our playbook. If we do that, the rest will take care of itself. I am very proud of them.”