By charles grove

The Lakeview Bulldogs believe with the right amount of work, they’ll back in the playoffs this year.

Last fall, the team ended the regular season with wins over Champion (40-14) and Struthers (21-20) to finish 7-3 and sixth in their region to clinch a playoff berth. It was Lakeview’s fifth in the last nine seasons.

Last year, Lakeview lost to Crestwood in Mantua, 42-21, in the first round of the playoffs, but there’s plenty of reason to believe the team will get another shot to improve upon their seeding this year.

“Every year, the goal is to play as long as you can,” Lakeview head coach Tom Pavlansky said. “Guys know if we’re going to get back we can’t take days off.

“We have the opportunity for success and that’s all you can ask for. If we do the right things, we’ll factor into Week 11 again.”


A fair amount of starters return from a season ago, including three offensive linemen. Seniors Hayden Lazzari, Trevous Stineman and Will Danklefsen will anchor the line.

“We expect them to show continued improvement,” Pavlansky said.

Quarterback is the biggest question. The Bulldogs will replace three-year starter Angelo Marino with junior Zach Rogers. Rogers isn’t without experience. He started the final five games for the Bulldogs last year when Marino broke his wrist. The Bulldogs averaged 24.6 points per game last year during Rogers’ reign.

“It’s a real bonus in terms of experience,” Pavlansky said. “His work ethic excites us. There’s never any questions about his confidence either.”

Senior wide receiver Jatise Garrison and junior running back Evan Adair also return to skill positions.

“Both those guys started pretty much every game for us last year, so we have high expectations for them as well.”


It’s mostly fresh faces for the Bulldogs on defense. Lazzari and Danklefsen will anchor the line while Garrison will play safety. Last year’s defense was strong, allowing only 17.1 points per game and the team didn’t allow a single point until Week 3 at LaBrae.

“Everyone else is new,” Pavlansky said. “There’s a lot more experience coming back on offense than defense. The good news is there’s a lot of kids coming up who are young and full of desire. But there’s also no real game experience for many of them yet. So we expect them to get better as the season goes along.”

special teams

There’s two players battling for the right to kick for Lakeview this year. Junior Noah Busefink and senior Josh Kelly both have the coaches impressed.

“Those two are really battling it out,” Pavlansky said. “We feel really good with both guys.”


Lakeview plays the same regular-season teams from 2015 against teams who combined had a 50-53 record. The season opens up with Campbell at home before traveling to Liberty, two teams the Bulldogs shut out a year ago. LaBrae, one of two 2015 playoff teams, comes to town in Week 3 before a home game against Hubbard and a road test at Niles. The second half of the schedule opens at Jefferson before home games Edgewood and the other playoff team on the schedule, Poland. Road tests at Champion and Struthers close out the schedule.

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