Large veteran nucleus bolsters Mustangs football squad

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 26 August 2015 at 12:00 am

Photo by Mike Wertman – Anchoring the Medina/Lyndonville lineup this season will be this group of returning starters. In front are Dylan Lewis, Kalvin Packer, Noah Banazwski and Charles Beach. In back are Dawson Joy, Tom Follman, Tyler Howard and Eric Neace.

Eight returning starters head a large contingent of 16 veteran players anchoring the lineup for the Medina/Lyndonville varsity football squad which is prepping for the September 4 home opener against Lew-Port.

Offensively, running backs Tom Follman, a senior, and Eric Neace, a junior, along with senior wide receiver Dylan Lewis are returning starters at the skill positions while the senior trio of Kalvin Packer, Charles Beach and Noah Banazwski provide the experience on the line.

Lewis caught 29 passes for 519 yards and 5 touchdowns last season.

Beach earned first team B North Division honors while Neace and Banazwski were both second team selections.

Senior Tyler Valley, who saw some action last year, and freshman Izaiah Rhim, who is up from the JV ranks, step in to share the key quarterback position taking over for three-year starting signal caller Jason Hellwig who graduated in June. Hellwig threw for 1,361 yards and 16 touchdowns last fall and finished his career as the Mustangs all-time TD passer with 45 scoring strikes.

The Mustangs backfield also has to fill the void left by the graduation of running back Brett Pecoraro who rushed for 1,001 yards and scored 13 touchdowns last season.

Sophomore Jalin Cooper will help bolster the wide receiver ranks while seniors Gage Grabowski and Trent Cotriss are working at tight end.

Up front, seniors David Moore, Andrew Dusett and Baylee VerCruysse help round out the line.

“We’ve got a good corps of receivers and running backs and Tyler and Izaiah both have their strengths so we’re going to mix it up,” said Coach Eric Valley.

Defensively returning linebackers including Neace, Follman and juniorsTyler Howard and Dawson Joy anchor the unit which also returns Lewis in the secondary.

“We’re pretty solid at linebacker but we lost most of our secondary so we’ll have to have some guys step up there,” said Valley.

Senior Charlie Enderby and junior Jake Cotter also both look to see time at linebacker as well as running back.

Junior Frank Carrasquio looks to see time on the defensive line along with Beach, Packer, Banazwski, Dusett, VerCruysee and Moore as does sophomore Mason Lewis in the secondary.

“We’ve got great depth,” sad Valley. “We’re solid across the board both offensively and defensively. We’ve got a good mix of returning starters and upcoming players.”

The Mustangs lineup also includes seniors Zach Jones (wide receiver/defensive back), Tevin Riley (line), Jared Zinkievich (wide receiver/defensive back), Scott Smith (wide receiver/defensive back), David McRae (line), Jeff Gress (wide receiver/defensive back), Damien Norrish (line) and Brooklyn Moore (line) along with junior Emmanuel Sones (line).

The Mustangs, which went 4-2 in the ‘B’ North Division and 5-4 overall last fall are in the new ‘B’ East Division this season along with Albion, Barker/Roy-Hart, Alden, Depew and East Aurora/Holland.

“Every year it’s something different but there is some real good football to be played in this division so you can’t look past anybody,” said Valley whose Mustangs will begin division competition on September 11 at East Aurora/Holland.

The Mustangs will tuneup for the season opener by facing Wilson in a scrimmage at 10 a.m. Saturday that will be held at Lyndonville.

Mustangs’ Schedule

Sept. 4 – Lew-Port, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 11 – at East Aurora/Holland, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 18 – Riverside, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 25 – Barker/Roy-Hart, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 2 – at Alden, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 – Depew 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 16 – at Albion, 7 p.m.