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High School Football: Takacs looking to bring character, pride to Lake Shore program

Lake Shore High School teacher Drew Takacs has spent the last three years as a varsity assistant with the Eagles\' football program after coming from Hamburg.
Eagles’ assistant takes over reins of varsity

Less than a week officially on the job, and Drew Takacs already has T-shirts made up for the next football season that read, “Building Character One Player At A Time.”

Takacs has had ideas about how he’d run a varsity program and now he’ll have the chance as Lake Shore’s new head football coach. The board approved the hiring of the teacher at the high school last Tuesday (Feb. 26).

First and foremost for him is building a rapport with his student-athletes and creating strong people on and off the field. He’s trying to focus on attitude as much as improving a program that’s won only three times in past two seasons.

“I’m trying to bring pride back to Lake Shore football and build character from inside out,” said Takacs, who’s served as a Lake Shore varsity assistant under Chuck Kowalski the past three seasons. “On and off the field, it’s so key. Win, lose or draw, I want these kids to be good people.”

Daryl Besant, Lake Shore’s athletics director, said he was most excited about Takacs’ character education initiative and the new head coach encouraging his players to buy into the program. It also doesn’t hurt that Takacs’ work in the high school makes it easier to stay directly in tune with his athletes and the athletics department.

“Even before Xs ad Os, building character is so important,” Besant said. “Having him at the school in our hallways, creating direct relationships and patting kids on the back, with the football team, is a must.”

Takacs doesn’t just have ideas about T-shirts; he’s already preparing for the upcoming season, on Friday attending a football clinic and prepping for player camps and offseason workouts.

He’s excited to soon incorporate what he believes are the strengths of the athletes at Lake Shore and those who are in the program.

Lake Shore has a good line coming up from the junior varsity, and the return of Tyler Mascio, who won a Monsignor Martin league championship as a starting quarterback with Canisius this past football season, only strengthens the potential roster.

“I want to run an offense and defense that’s best for the kids,” said Takacs, a coach and teacher since 2000, who has also been an assistant for Hamburg’s varsity team. “We have a lot of big, strong kids. I want to get behind those boys and get us going.”

Takacs plans to take some pieces from what his friend Chuck Tilley has brought to Eden, which over the past four seasons has run a double-wing offense, using a disciplined and deceptive running and blocking style in a tight formation.

Helping him institute some of those techniques will be William Ramsey, a former Lake Shore quarterback, who will come over as offensive coordinator after heading Eden’s junior varsity. Joe Marvin, a former head coach at the varsity level, will stay on with Lake Shore as the varsity assistant and line coach.

Takacs will head the defense, using many of the same schemes he learned from his father-in-law Lee Leavell, the former Hamburg head coach and current defensive coordinator at Eden.

Also on the football staff will be Brian Kader, who moves up from the modified to head the junior varsity, and Sean Kunkel, an elementary school teacher in the district, will take over as the JV assistant. Brett Lyford will head the modified team.

“There’s a strong coaching staff behind Drew with head coaching experience and varsity experience,” Besant said. “Even though Drew’s been an assistant coach, he’s been at the varsity level for many years and been at camps and clinics. He’s really been able refine his craft.”

Takacs also hopes to build the program from the ground up by creating a connection with the town’s youth program. He’s already spoken with Little Loop board members about how to reach program goals together.

Communication with players, parents and the district will also be paramount in Takacs’ philosophy. He believes Lake Shore has much to offer — he’s hoping that shows that on the football field and beyond.

“You’ve got to pat the kids on the back but at the same time hold them accountable,” he said.
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