Behind Summers, Lisbon is poised for another playoff run

Lisbon will visit Malvern in week one.

Lisbon Blue Devils High School Football

2017 Lisbon Football Preview
Head Coach: Jim Tsilimos, 24th season (141-110)
Last Season: 9-2 (4-0), 1st place in ITCL White
Division: VII (Region 25)

Last 10 Years
Overall Winning Percentage: 32.4% (33-69)
Playoff Appearances: 2
Playoff Record: 0-2
League Championships: 1 (2016)
League Record: 13-51

More:High School Football previews from other teams

2016 Results
St. Thomas Aquinas 21 Blue Devils 18*
Blue Devils 47 Crestview 14
Blue Devils 46 Leetonia 0
Blue Devils 33 Columbiana 13
Blue Devils 41 Southern 8
Blue Devils 44 Wellsville 22
South Range 55 Blue Devils 8
Blue Devils 49 East Palestine 26
Blue Devils 30 United 0
Blue Devils 46 Mineral Ridge 14
Blue Devils 59 Tuscarawas Central Catholic 35

2016 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 38.3 (7th in Area)
Total Offense: 336.7
Passing Offense: 57.6
Rushing Offense: 279.1
Scoring Defense: 18.9 (14th in Area)
Total Defense: 240.3
…Much like in 2015, Lisbon finished with a top 10 scoring offense (2016: 38.3; 2015: 38.7) and a top 15 scoring defense (2016: 18.9; 2015: 16.7).

New League: Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference
East Palestine

The Good News
“We have a strong nucleus back for the 2017 season,” says coach Jim Tsilimos. “This group of athletes have been a part of two back to back 9-2 seasons, with playoff experience.” The Devils’ leading rusher last season returns for the upcoming season in Cam Summers. Number 42 averaged 10.9 yards per carry (94 attempts, 1022 yards) while scoring 9 times on the ground. Lisbon’s top receiving threat Seth Stokes are makes his return after a 10 catch, 161 yard season with 4 touchdowns. Stokes also picked off opposing quarterbacks twice from his defensive back position. Senior Dougie Minor produced a monster season in every aspect of the game including rushing (364 yards, 5 TDs), receiving (6 catches, 37 yards) and defense (78 tackles, 14 QB Sacks). Junior Justin Sweeney put together a strong sophomore campaign by catching TD passes (2), running in another pair of scores on the ground and compiling a defensive line of 45 tackles, 2 sacks and a pick for his trouble. Logan Bell steps into the quarterback position as a junior. Linemen Justin Larkins (25 tackles) and Brice Blackburn (65 tackles, 4 sacks) will be called upon to anchor the offensive line and play stout defense in 2017. The Blue Devil coaching staff is high on a pair of sophomores in lineman Justin Briand and a receiver and defensive back Nick Mundy. Coach Tsilimos indicates that the experience the team returns, having decent size and quickness up front, and the athleticism overall are all strengths which his group possesses.

Lisbon will be playing in Division 7 this Fall. Based off of computer points from 2016, the Blue Devils would’ve moved from #4 seed in Region 21 to the #3 seed in Region 25 (ahead of state champion Warren JFK).

2017 Schedule
Aug. 25 – at Malvern, 7
Sept. 1 – Mineral Ridge, 7
Sept. 8 – at Valley Christian, 7
Sept. 15 – Wellsville, 7
Sept. 22 – at Southern, 7
Sept. 29 – Leetonia, 7
Oct. 6 – at Toronto, 7
Oct. 13 – Columbiana, 7
Oct. 20 – East Palestine, 7
Oct. 27 – at United, 7

The Bad News
Lisbon will be without running back Jason Thompson in 2017. Thompson amassed 3,394 yards rushing with 47 touchdowns over the last four years. His 7.8 yards per carry average throughout his career is an impressive figure in itself. Thompson also was second on the team in quarterback sacks (9) in 2016. Quarterback Colin Sweeney will be missed in 2017 also. Sweeney took over for Josh Liberati under center, tossing for 11 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions on 57 passes. Sweeney also was productive in the ground game gaining 620 yards on 101 carries (6.1 avg) and scoring 10 times. Sweeney also picked off 4 passes. Also gone from last year’s defensive unit will be Seth Davis (82 tackles), Bailey McCullough (56 tackles, 4 sacks), Jake Liberati (53 tackles, 4 sacks), David Toot (52 tackles, 5 INTs) and Marcus Nenichka (42 tackles, 4 sacks). Lisbon’s most concerning areas as indicated by coach Tsilimos are, “to find a second corner and also we must develop back-ups – as always. We also lost our center (McCullough) and our guard (Liberati) to graduation so we’ll have young guys who must step up.”

Key Number
Lisbon has lost four games over the last two seasons (22 games), two of those setbacks were by 3-points (playoff loss to St. Thomas Aquinas) and by 6 in overtime (2015 regular season loss to Columbiana).

Featured Stat
Since 2012, here’s a listing of the players who have topped 1,000-yards rushing:
Brandon Barnes – 1192 (2012)
Jason Thompson – 1163 (2015)
Jason Thompson – 1023 (2014)
Cameron Summers – 1022 (2016)
Zak Leko – 1009 (2012)

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