By Pete Chiodo
November 16, 2012 7:00 a.m. —
October 20 was not a fun night for the Lakeview football team. Up until that point in the season the Sailors had either defeated or at least hung with their opponents.
Not on Oct. 20, however. That’s the night the Sailors fell to Sharpsville 42-0. It was the first time Lakeview had been shutout in 14 games, and it stands as the team’s most lopsided loss of the year.
“Oh yeah,” said Lakeview head coach Dan York. “It wasn’t a good one.”
Tonight, the Sailors have an opportunity to put a better face on the matchup when they again take on Sharpsville, this time in the District 10 Class A semifinals. The game kicks off at 7 p.m. at Grove City High School’s Gene Forker Field.
Lakeview enters with a record of 7-4. One week ago, the Sailors disposed of quarterfinal opponent and Region 2 champion Eisenhower 36-6.
Sharpsville enters the game with a record of 9-1. The Blue Devils advanced to the semifinal round with last week’s 42-6 victory over Cochranton in the quarterfinals.
For tonight’s rematch with the Sailors, Sharpsville coach Paul Piccirilli said he expects Lakeview to try whatever it can to turn the tables.
“(Lakeview) is big,” he said. “They have a lot of talent. After shutting them out the first time, I think they’re going to make some changes ... I hope with the changes they make we’ll be able to adjust to them.”
It’s not likely that the Sailors will change too much, not with one of the top running backs in District 10 carrying the ball.
So far this season, junior Blake Reddick has amassed 1,857 yards and 14 touchdowns on 262 carries.
Junior quarterback Zach Bigley has also stepped it up in the rushing department. In last week’s win over Eisenhower he gained 153 yards on five carries and scored twice. He now has 485 yards on 45 keepers with six touchdowns on the year.
Bigley can also air it out. This season he is 24-for-78 for 422 yards, seven touchdowns and four picks.
Using Bigley’s arm a little more could be one way the Sailors try to change things up for tonight’s game against the Blue Devils.
“As for us,” said Piccirilli, “we’ll do what we always do.”
And what that usually entails is, first, play some stingy defense. The Blue Devils have pitched two shutouts this year (including the one against Lakeview) and are allowing just 11.4 points per game. Only twice during the campaign has an opponent scored more than two TDs against the Devils.
Added to that, Sharpsville possesses a nicely-balanced wing-T attack on offense. The Devils have three solid rushers in Ross Llewellyn (112 carries, 841 yards, nine TDs), Derrick Odem (113 carries, 633 yards, seven TDs) and Joey Pagliaroli (62 carries, 425 yards, 11 TDs), each of whom are seniors. And, they also have a healthy passing attack, led by senior quarterback Bryan Stafford, who has completed 59 of 99 attempts for 889 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions.
That air game has also produced the top receiver in Mercer County this season in senior wideout Tyler Luchey, who has 39 receptions for 659 yards and five TDs.
When Sharpsville and Lakeview last met, the Blue Devils ran in all six touchdowns. But the passing game did a lot of damage too, with Stafford completing 7 of 13 attempts for 154 yards. Luchey caught five of those passes for 140 yards.
“That Luchey kid hurt us a couple times,” said York. “They look to him a lot. He’s a heck of a receiver.”
And that passing game just adds to Sharpsville’s usual arsenal of weapons.
“Well, as long as I’ve been here they seem to have a big, physical offensive line and they’ve always had good backs and a good quarterback,” said York.
Similar compliments can be paid to the Sailors. But York and company just have to get their assets to measure up to those possessed by the Blue Devils.
“We had a pretty good practice (Wednesday) and we’ll see about (Thursday),” said York. “Then we’ll see how it goes (tonight).”