2015 LaBrae Football Preview

2015 LaBrae Football Preview
Head Coach: John Armeni, 3rd season (11-9)
2014 Record: 6-4 (3-4), AAC National
5-Year Winning Percentage: 45.1%
Division/Region: 5/15
Returning Letter Winners: 20
Returning Offensive Starters: 8
Returning Defensive Starters: 7

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2014 Team Stats
Rushing Offense: 185.2
Passing Offense: 112.9
Total Offense: 298.1
Scoring Offense: 28.9 (16th in Area)
Scoring Defense: 16.1 (12th in Area)

2014 Statistical Leaders
Rushing: Justin Jenkins – 518 yards, 5.7 ypc, 6 TDs
Passing: Justin Jenkins – 759 yards, 55.9%, 9 TDs
Receiving: Keevon Harris – 25 catches, 356 yards, 4 TDs

2015 Schedule
Aug. 29 – at Youngstown Christian, 7
Sept. 4 – Warren JFK, 7
Sept. 11 – Lakeview, 7
Sept. 18 – at Campbell, 7
Sept. 25 – at Champion, 7
Oct. 2 – Liberty, 7
Oct. 9 – Newton Falls, 7
Oct. 16 – at Brookfield, 7
Oct. 23 – Girard, 7
Oct. 30 – Jefferson, 7

Key Losses: The Vikings will be without a group of recently-graduated seniors such as Justin Jenkins, who led the team in passing (759) and rushing (518). Joining Jenkins as departed players is Chris Mathews (445 rushing yards, 28 catches) and Branden Boone (356 passing yards).

Key Returnees: Keevon Harris, offered by Cincinnati, was one of the most exciting players in the entire county. Harris gained 11.2 yards per carry as a rusher (7 TDs) and 14.2 yards per catch as a receiver (4 TDs). Senior Joe Percich carried the ball 38 times and amassed 232 yards (6.1 ypc). Arjay Oliver is expected to play a key role this season as he ran for 167 yards on 20 totes (8.4 ypc) and caught 3 passes for 30 stripes. Juniors Tariq Drake (10 catches, 147 yards) returns to the pass catching mix. The defense welcomes back Conner Wilson, J.T. Wolke, Jacob Percich, Dalton Stout, and Ohio commit Andrew Cree.

Key Storyline: LaBrae saw their first winning season (6-4) since 2011 (6-5) and a decrease in the amount of points scored by the opposition (16.1) from the year prior (25.2). Can they continue this success into 2015 without a handful of important contributors from 2014? “We have talent,” indicates Armeni. “But hard work, determination and perseverance win high school football games in northeastern Ohio. We have built a culture here at LaBrae that embraces those three aspects and we believe that will make a difference this year.”

Strengths: Despite the loss of Mathews and Jenkins, the Vikings have a stable of capable ball carriers led by Keevon Harris. In two of the last three games from 2014, Harris eclipsed the 100-yard mark. Percich also showed signs of a gifted runner as he rushed for 118 yards against Campbell. LaBrae shouldn’t have much difficulty gaining yardage on the ground with four starting offensive linemen returning from last season’s roster.

Weaknesses: Inexperience can be found on special teams and at the signal caller position for the Vikings entering August. Graduating two-year starter Justin Jenkins at quarterback, the team will look to Carlton Brown – who last season caught 6 passes for 73 yards – will need game experience on Fridays. Both kicker Austin Jones and punter Charles Pifer both graduated so LaBrae will need to find replacements in camp this summer.

Game to Watch:October 2 vs. Liberty
…Last year, Liberty won the National Division and shut out the Vikings 33-0 at Leopard Stadium. On October 2, LaBrae gets the return game when the Leps come calling.

New AAC Blue Division
Brookfield
Campbell
Champion
Girard
LaBrae
Liberty
Newton Falls

Odds and Ends
500-yard Rushers since 2010
2014: Justin Jenkins, 518
2013: Jamal Dawkins, 517
2013: Justin Jenkins, 511
2011: Matt Szorady, 1117*
2010: Matt Szorady, 967
*-Regular Season Statistics

Recent League Finishes
2014: 5th AAC National (3-4)
2013: 4th AAC National (4-3)
2012: T-6th AAC National (1-6)
2011: T-3rd AAC Blue (2-2)
2010: T-2nd AAC Blue (2-2)

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