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Lake Shore football on hot streak

Drew Takacs said that he and his Lake Shore football team got a little too caught up in making excuses for their slow start. Words such small roster numbers and youth came up often, during four straight losses, to start the 2013 season.

All the while, the first-year head coach said that he and the team should have been blaming themselves for the lack of execution and attack. He said that the athletes were sitting back and waiting for the play to come to them, too often.

The team’s seniors have now stepped up and the many contributing underclassmen have followed in their lead. The Eagles turned around, what was once a dismal season, with three straight victories, in which they have outscored opponents 128 – 29.

After division wins against Hutch Tech and Iroquois, Lake Shore’s latest victory was a runaway 58 – 0 decision against Riverside. Those Class A South wins catapulted the Eagles into an opportunity to play for a Chuck Funke Bowl Consolation Series title.

“They may have been a little lackadaisical play in the first few games, but the seniors are really leading these guys now and the sophomores and juniors started falling in line,” Takacs said. “The guys have really gotten after it. Our young guys are really getting a hang of things.”

The offense has been clicking, led by sophomore dual-threat quarterback Colin Fiutko and senior running backs Nick Miranda and Jovanni Klimowicz, while the defense, a young unit that uses multiple fronts, has been on the attack. Inside linebacker Josh Mullet has been the heart and soul of the defense, as the senior plays with a mean streak and continues to suit up while on a torn meniscus, according to Takacs.

“We’re a different team when he’s out there,” said Takacs, about Mullet, who has missed a few games with the injury.

Takacs said a more disciplined offense is no longer beating itself, as a ground-and-pound mentality has been instituted. Miranda and Klimowicz shared the rushing load against Riverside with the likes of juniors Parker Addison and Phil Wigdor each adding touchdowns. Takacs said Miranda has been running powerfully, breaking tackles and barreling through the holes.

Fiutko threw for a pair of scores in that game, just when the offense sucked the opponent in closer to the line of scrimmage. Fiurko said that his favorite target has been his twin brother, Corey Fuitko, a tight end.

“We haven’t lost since he’s started in Week Five,” Takacs said, about Colin Fiutko. “He had a nagging back injury for a while, before that. He’s a real playmaker.”

Up front, Lake Shore has gotten tougher, as well, with sophomores Charles Guadalope and Darren John leading the way. Seniors Luke Catalano and Mullet have also contributed on the line, while junior Zach Harms has been a pleasant surprise, stepping in the past two games in the trenches, according to Takacs.

The head coach also credited first-year Eagles offensive coordinator Will Ramsey and line coach Joe Marvin, for their teaching of techniques.

On defense, Lake Shore has moved Corey Fuitko from corner to an outside backer, opening up a spot for fellow sophomore Ron John, who’s up from the junior varsity and contributing in the defensive backfield. Wigdor led the team in its latest win, with six tackles.

In a win against Iroquois, usually a perennial power, the week prior, Miranda finished with 79 yards and two scores; Klimowicz added a rushing TD and Colin Fiutko added a score on the ground and through the air, to Ron John. Klimowicz and Wigdor each led the Eagles with 10 tackles.

Lake Shore’s winning streak sets up a first round bowl consolation game with Hamburg on Thursday, Oct. 24. The Bulldogs are coming off a 14 – 7 win against large school power Frontier, in the teams’ annual rivalry game.

The Eagles are looking to avenge an earlier season 35 – 14 loss to Hamburg, in which they led in the second half, before allowing several big plays and 28 unanswered.

“[Hamburg head coach] Pat Cauley and his staff did a great job turning it around this season,” said Takacs, who was formerly on the Hamburg football staff. “Our kids haven’t stopped talking about Thursday’s game. My kids are looking forward to it and want to finish this season strong.


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