Veteran quintet leads Mustang gridders

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 23 August 2017 at 9:22 am

Photo by Mike Wertman – Anchoring the lineup for the Medina/Lyndonville football squad this season will be these five returning starters. In front are Jalin Cooper, left, and Izaiah Rhim. In back are Ian Joseph, Mason Lewis and Brendan Luthart.

Bolstered by the return of a veteran quarterback and receiving corps the Medina/Lyndonville varsity football squad is prepping for the September 1 interdivisional season opener against Burgard at Buffalo’s Riverside Field.

Junior quarterback Izaiah Rhim returns to lead the Mustangs attack and he has a trio of veteran receivers in seniors Jalin Cooper, Brendan Luthart and Mason Lewis.

Cooper, who has given a verbal commitment to accept a football scholarship from the University of Toledo, had team leading totals of 1,213 all purpose yards and 16 touchdowns last fall. He earned first team B East Division honors as did Lewis while Rhim and Luthart were both second team honorees.

The Mustangs running back spots face a bit of a rebuilding task with the graduation of the very productive duo of Jake Cotter, who is now playing Division 1 lacrosse at Canisius, and Eric Neace, who is now playing  football at Cortland. Senior DaRon Bellan along with juniors William Braswell and Damon Shatara look to help fill that void.

The offensive line also faces rebuilding as senior Ian Joseph is the lone returning starter with the graduation losses of Tyler Howard, Dawson Joy, Frank Carrasquillo, DaJohn Brown, Emmanual Sones and Powell Stephens. Joseph was a second team B East Division All-Star honoree.

Seniors Jesse Uniquez, Thomas Culmo, Zach Hill, Jorge Phillips, Mike Eckerd and Ed Sones along with juniors Cody Crane, Justice Hughes, Tim Roy and Blaire and Chase Prest are vying for spots on the line.

“We’re looking to spread the ball around a little more this year,” said Coach Eric Valley. “We’ve got some experience at the skill positions and the line is ahead of what we expected and hopefully that will continue.”

Medina, which captured the B East Division title last year at 5-0 (6-3 overall) is in the B2 Division this season along with Roy-Hart/Barker, Newfane, Tonawanda, Alden and Lackawanna.

The Mustangs will prep for the season by competing in a five team scrimmage on Saturday at Middleport along with Roy-Hart/Barker, Newfane, Wilson and Bennett.

Sept. 1 – at Burgard, 7 p.m.
Sept. 8 – at Tonawanda, 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 – Newfane, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 22 – Lackawanna, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 29 – Roy-Hart/Barker, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 6 – at Alden , 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 – at Albion, 7 p.m.