LaBrae hangs their hat on an experienced line and stellar linebackers

The Vikings will play at Conneaut in week one.

Labrae Vikings High School Football

2017 LaBrae Football Preview
Head Coach: John Armeni, 5th season (28-16)
Last Season: 8-4 (6-0), 1st place in AAC Blue Tier
Division: V (Region 17)

More:High School Football previews from other teams

The Good News
Returning Starters: Offense – 5; Defense – 5
“Our roster will be a little younger than it has been the last couple of years,” says coach John Armeni, “but those guys are still very experienced. We have a good group of upperclassmen who have played integral roles on two playoff teams and those guys are itching to get back and pick up where we left off. This is also our strongest team we’ve had during my tenure at LaBrae, having 24 members in our 1000 pounds club.” LaBrae has advanced to week 12 (Regional Semifinal round) in each of the past two seasons. The Vikings return key pieces in Colton Stoneman, Benton Tennant, Rhen McConaughay, Walton Allie, Tyler Stephens and Riley McCleary. Stoneman was one of three rushers to gain over 400-yards on the ground a year ago. Colton grinded out a 5.2 average of yards per carry (552 yards) and scored 3 times. Tennant caught 22 passes last Fall for 283 yards and 3 scores. Both Tennant and Stoneman are only juniors for this upcoming campaign. Tackle McConaughay, who has set every strength number at the school, is back to anchor the offensive line after being named to the First-Team All-AAC Blue Tier as a junior. He’ll be joined by fellow starters Riley McCleary, Nathen McCroby and Konner Johnston upfront. “We will lean heavily on those guys offensively while our skill guys get acclimated to their roles,” says Armeni. McCleary is just a junior and he returns to the center of the defensive unit at linebacker along with Damian Airwyke and Colton Stoneman. Riley was selected to the Second-Team All-AAC last Fall. Allie was also selected to the First-Team as well for his work on the defensive side from his secondary position. Allie also hauled in 15 passes on offense for 261 yards. Tyler Stephens, a junior, was named to the First-Team All-League for his defensive play along the line. He also served as a tight end and averaged 9 yards per catch in 2016 (10 catches, 90 yards).

2017 Schedule
Aug. 25 – at Conneaut, 7
Sept. 1 – at Warren JFK, 7
Sept. 8 – Lakeview, 7
Sept. 15 – at Campbell Memorial, 7
Sept. 22 – at Champion, 7
Sept. 29 – Liberty, 7
Oct. 6 – Newton Falls, 7
Oct. 13 – at Brookfield, 7
Oct. 20 – Girard, 7
Oct. 27 – Jefferson, 7

More:High School Football schedules from other teams

Challenges
Coach Armeni will have the difficult task of replacing his starting quarterback, leading rusher and top receiver from last year’s playoff team. Carlton Brown, two-year starter under center, saw his completion percentage go from 49.2% (95-193) as a junior to 53.5% (122-228) last Fall. He threw for over 3,000-yds within the last two seasons (3114) and passed for 27 scores (14 in 2016). Armeni said, “We’re excited about the young guys we have in our program but Carlton leaves big shoes to fill.” Arjay Oliver led the team in rushing with 667 yards on 143 carries (4.7 average) and 9 touchdowns. Oliver also finished third on the Vikings in receiving with 15 catches for 270 yards (4 TDs). Tariq Drake did it all for LaBrae as he rushed for an average of 11.6 yards per tote (439 yards on 38 attempts), caught 45 passes for 729 yards and even served as a team’s punter (34.4 average). The Vikings must also replace a number of other players including linebacker J.T. Wolke (15 catches, 190 yards), kicker Kris Foor, and offensive lineman Alec Jerina.

Last 10 Years
Overall Winning Percentage: .538 (47-49)
Playoff Appearances: 4
Playoff Record: 2-4
League Championships: 2 (2008, 2016)
League Record: 32-28*
*-2007 Trumbull Athletic Conference; 2008-2016 All-American Conference

2016 Results
Garfield 33 Vikings 28*
Vikings 29 Wickliffe 26*
Jefferson 26 Vikings 7
Vikings 48 Girard 42
Vikings 20 Brookfield 14
Vikings 47 Newton Falls 8
Vikings 21 Liberty 0
Vikings 43 Champion 6
Vikings 28 Campbell Memorial 19
Lakeview 20 Vikings 10
Warren JFK 17 Vikings 0
Vikings 35 Conneaut 17
*-Post-Season

2016 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 26.3 (30th in Area)
Total Offense: 321.4
Passing Offense: 153.4
Rushing Offense: 143.9
Scoring Defense: 19.0 (15th in Area)
Total Defense: 223.8
…LaBrae’s defense has allowed an average of 15.7 points to be scored by opponents over the last three years (2014: 16.1; 2015: 12.1; 2016: 19.0).

Key Number
The Vikings have won 12 of their last 13 conference games dating back to Halloween 2014.

Featured Stat
Since 2012, LaBrae has featured a 1,000-yard quarterback in four of the last five campaigns:
2016: Carlton Brown – 1779
2015: Carlton Brown – 1335
2013: Justin Jenkins – 1279
2012: Peyton Aldridge – 1512

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