It is hard to believe, but we are at the midway point to the 2015 high school football season. What is not hard to believe, though, is the Lutheran East Falcons are 3-1 at the break, have the best start since the 2006 season, and are in the midst of playoff talk. There was a ton of build up for this season and the team, led by 7 seniors that are trying to progress from 2014’s 4-5 record, is performing very well. Returning are Isaiah Jackson (3rd year starter under center and shutdown corner), Rodney Paradise (playmaking wide receiver, specialist, and linebacker), Marquise Goodlett (the big man who anchors both sides of the line), Mark Churchill (doubling as the featured running back and outside linebacker), and Will Hartson (defensive enforcer who finds himself in a leading role on offense as well). Isaiah, Rodney and Marquise were all selected as captains by their peers, but Coach Bickel feels that Will, Mark and all of the seniors are responsible for leading this team to new heights.
“This is a new era for Lutheran East. We have very high expectations for what we can do on the football field, and who we can become as student-athletes,” said Coach Bickel, who was hired as the Head Coach of the Falcons in January by Athletic Director Anthony Jones.
Among the changes that the coaching staff has brought to the team include: an enhanced weight room with four times the amount of weights and equipment, an offensive scheme that distributes the football to multiple threats, and a defensive plan that attacks. The resulting attitude has been great- the student-athletes are positive, putting forth maximum effort, and are optimistic. “We’re really being challenged,” Paradise commented. The team has been working very hard since February to improve their physical and mental conditioning through a scripted weight room and speed development program.
“Together… We Will” reads on the back of 40 players’ t-shirts that were made up for the team. Togetherness and family are a major part of the football team’s culture. Players are being held accountable for their individual actions to not reflect poorly on the team as a whole. The 2015 Falcons have goals that include making the playoffs, and selfishness is not an ingredient in that recipe. Coach Bickel believes that the brotherhood and camaraderie built from such events as “Popsicle Day” will go a long way toward building a team. “As a team, we’ll face a ton of adversity- both on the field and off it. But we have to be there for one another, pick each other up when we’re down and move forward. Nothing will be given to us- we know that we have to work our butts off to reach our goals”, says Coach Bickel.
Other key players for the Falcons include: Trevonne Boyd (Jr., C/DE), Mark McCary (Jr., FB/FS), Marvell Harrison (Jr., TE/SS), Martell Thomas (So., OL/TE/DE), Julian Hicks (Jr., WR/FS), Anthony Durham (So., OL/DL) and Kaylin Heard (freshman) who has taken over the offense quite well due to Jackson’s injury (Jackson is optimistic for a return in the second half of the season). Depth will always be an issue for a small school team, but the roster has 42 players presently which is also an improvement from 2014. For the first time in school history, Junior Varsity games have been scheduled for the younger group of players as well.
The coaching staff consists of a great blend of experience and energetic individuals: Coach Chris Perrotti (Defensive Coordinator, LB/OL), Coach Jim Basha (OL/DL), Coach Terrence Donald (WR/DB), and Coach Chuck Steimle (QB/DL). Coach Donald is a 2007 graduate of Lutheran East, was a part of the last winning team in 2006, and cannot wait to bring this program back!
It has been a great start to the season for the 2015 Falcons, and the alumni, student body, teachers and administration are a part of it as well. The Falcons remaining schedule is:
10/2/15 7:00 @ Warrensville Hts
10/9/15 7:00 @ Newbury
10/16/15 7:00 @ Hannibal River
10/24/15 3:00 vs. Windham (Homecoming)
10/30/15 7:00 @ Pymatuning Valley
Come out and support your team!
“Together… We Will”