Scouting the Lake Park Lancers
For the first time in seven years, Lake Park's roster doesn't boast a bona fide Division I-caliber football player.
That's fine with the Lancers.
Don't get the wrong idea. Antonio Shenault, now an assistant coach with the Lancers, and Mike, Jacub and Patrick Panasiuk were tremendous contributors the last several years.
The way this year's roster is set, however, allows for the sum to be greater than its parts. At least that's the plan for a Lake Park team that needs to blend youth with experience.
"We have some experience coming back, but we're still a young team," coach Chris Roll said. "The main thing is we've got some really good football players."
Six offensive starters return headed by running back Jordan Colon, who last year rushed for 458 yards. Dual threat junior quarterback Nathaneal Merchant learned on the fly as a sophomore but has improved in the off-season. Three offensive linemen are back along with receiver Nico Romano.
After scoring single-digit points six times last season, the Lancers know they must be better on offense.
"I think we've got more threats out there this year," Roll said.
Lineman Ryan Schleimer, linebacker Anthony Beacom and defensive back Ryan Zaprzalka are the only returning defensive starters. Anthony Tiritilli-Roberts is a 270-pound force at the nose, while a pair of sophomores -- lineman Cooper Cerese and defensive back Peter Roll -- are expected to contribute right away.
Three DuKane Conference teams posted double-digit victories in the league's inaugural season last year. Breaking through the competitive pack to the playoffs won't be easy, but that's the goal for Lake Park.
"I think it'll be pretty balanced," Roll said. "We'll need to be ready every week."
One to watch: Lake Park opens DKC play in Week 3 with a home showdown against Batavia.
Coach: Chris Roll (ninth year, 30-43).
2018 record: 2-7, 1-6, seventh in DuKane Conference.
Top players: RB Jordan Colon, sr.; OL Anthony Owen, sr.; LB Anthony Beacom, sr.; QB Nathaneal Merchant, jr.; DL Anthony Tiritilli-Roberts, sr.; DL-OL Ryan Schleimer, sr.; WR-DB Nico Romano, sr.; DB Ryan Zaprzalka, sr.; DL Cooper Cerese, so.; DB Peter Roll, so.
-- Kevin Schmit
Fri, Aug 30, Lake Park at DeKalb, 7:15 p.m.
Fri, Sep 6, Metea Valley at Lake Park, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Sep 13, Batavia at Lake Park, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Sep 20, Lake Park at Wheaton North, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Sep 27, St. Charles North at Lake Park, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Oct 4, Lake Park at Glenbard North, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Oct 11, WW South at Lake Park, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Oct 18, Lake Park at Geneva, 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Oct 25, St. Charles East at Lake Park, 7:30 p.m.