CORTLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – After enjoying 15 years of non-losing seasons (2003-17), Lakeview has hit a rough patch. The Bulldogs have been able to compile just seven wins over the past four years (2018-21), posting a winning percentage during that span of 18.4% (7-31).

Coach Sam Bellino enters year #2 at the helm of the program. “It’s easy to look at our record last year and say nothing worked. But there was a lot of hard work put in behind the scenes dating back to last off-season. The boys need to continue to gain confidence, believe in themselves and in their teammates, and success will follow.”

Only graduating five seniors from last year’s team including quarterback Nate Fox (397 passing yards; 360 rushing yards). Senior Damien Natali and juniors Boom Gillis and Ryan Gee are all competing for the starting nod this summer. “Damien is a tall, big-armed guy that got some meaningful snaps last year,” indicates Bellino. “Boom ended up starting our final game against Jefferson. Ryan is another tall, smart quarterback who really came on at the junior varsity level.”

The offensive line welcomes back a handful of players who rotated in-and-out a year ago. “We lost Evan Davies to graduation,” points out coach Bellino. “There’s going to be a lot of competition along the front line that I’m excited to see shake out.”

Defensively, the team returns a lot of experience with eight starters back in the fold. “Senior Nonda Makroglou and Tyler Hovance will anchor the front end,” Bellino states. “Our defensive MVP was Nolan Toth (55 tackles, 4 QB sacks). We’ll look to him and junior Jake Nicholas to return as starters at linebacker. In the back end, Boom Gillis and Andrew Brown along with Damien Natali will be back in the secondary.”

Lakeview will welcome LaBrae on Friday, Aug. 19 for their 2022 opener.

“Our expectations are to compete for the conference title,” says Bellino. “Our goal is to make the sixteen-team playoff. We believe that with the experience a lot of our young guys got last year, and all the hard work put in this offseason, we can see a big improvement.”

Lakeview Bulldogs
Fast Facts
Head Coach: Sam Bellino, 2nd season (0-10)
2021 Record: 0-10 (0-7), 8th place in Northeast 8
Last 5 Years: 16-33 (32.7%)
Home Field: Don Richards Stadium
League: Northeast 8 Conference
Base Offense: Spread
Base Defense: 4-3

Returning Starters
Offense: 7
Defense: 8

2021 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 8.2 (59th in Area)
Scoring Defense: 36.7 (57th in Area)
Total Offense: 125.5
Rushing Offense: 79.9
Passing Offense: 45.6
Total Defense: 349.0

2021 Individual Leaders
Passing: Nate Fox – 387 yards, 46.1% (47-102), 3 TDs
Rushing: Colton Maiorca – 496 yards, 3.8 avg, TD
Receiving: Gavin Mauger – 163 yards, 6.8 avg, TD
Tackles: Nate Fox – 62
Quarterback Sacks: Nolan Toth – 4

2021 Results
Jefferson 23 Bulldogs 3
South Range 49 Bulldogs 10
Poland 40 Bulldogs 0
Hubbard 49 Bulldogs 7
Struthers 26 Bulldogs 0
Girard 31 Bulldogs 14
Niles 28 Bulldogs 14
Liberty 34 Bulldogs 28 OT
Garfield 47 Bulldogs 6
LaBrae 40 Bulldogs 0

2021 Northeast 8 Standings
South Range – 7-0 (13-1)
Hubbard – 6-1 (10-2)
Poland – 5-2 (8-4)
Girard – 4-3 (7-5)
Niles – 2-4 (4-5)
Struthers – 2-5 (4-6)
Jefferson – 1-5 (4-6)
Lakeview – 0-7 (0-10)

2022 Schedule
Aug. 19 – LaBrae
Aug. 26 – Garfield Heights
Sept. 2 – at Liberty
Sept. 9 – at Niles
Sept. 16 – Girard
Sept. 23 – at Struthers
Sept. 30 – at Hubbard
Oct. 7 – Poland
Oct. 14 – at South Range
Oct. 21 – Jefferson