ANDOVER, Ohio (WKBN) – Pymatuning Valley went through a rough stretch within an eight-year span without posting a winning record (between 2012-19). However, the Lakers are seeking their third consecutive playoff appearance as they’ve accumulated a winning percentage of 74% (14-5).

The goals are simple in Andover. “We want to win our conference and qualify for the playoffs,” said Coach Neal Croston, who is beginning his 13th season.

Sophomore Ryan Croston will open the season at quarterback. He began his freshman year, a year ago, at tight end before finishing the season as the starting signal caller in their final three games. Croston passed for 442 yards and five touchdowns. He also gained 180 stripes on the ground.

He’ll have Ty Vickery behind him at running back. Vickery, also a sophomore, ran the ball nine times for 45 yards filling in for senior ball carriers – Devin Ray (685 yards), Robert Verba (624 yards) and Andrew Root (264 yards), who have all since graduated.

Jaron Nowakowski leads the receiving corps into the 2022 season. The offensive line returns four veterans with a single newcomer up front.

“Ryan [Croston] and Ty [Vickery] were All-Ohio [defenders] as freshmen. They’ll look to lead our defense. Seniors Kamron Cargill and Chase Vickery will be back along the defensive line for us. We’ll need some new faces to step up around them,” Croston said.

The Lakers return nine letter winners in 2022. Pymatuning Valley opens against Mineral Ridge in week one on Friday, August 19.

Pymatuning Valley Lakers
Fast Facts
Head Coach: Neal Croston, 13th season (55-64)
2021 Record: 6-4
Last 5 Years: 24-25 (49%)
Home Field: Laker Stadium
League: Northeastern Athletic Conference
Base Offense: Power Spread
Base Defense: 4-4

2021 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 20.4 (42nd in Area)
Scoring Defense: 19.5 (20th in Area)

2021 Individual Leaders
Passing: Ryan Croston – 442 yards, 48.0% (24-50), 5 TDs
Rushing: Devin Ray – 685 yards, 6.5 avg
Receiving: Robert Verba – 412 yards, 17.9 avg
Tackles: Ty Vickery – 98.5
Quarterback Sacks: Robert Verba – 7.5
Interceptions: Ryan Croston – 3

2021 Results
Norwayne 57 Lakers 8*
Lakers 24 Mathews 16
Toronto 20 Lakers 14
Mercyhurst Prep 27 Lakers 8
Lakers 36 Windham 28
Lakers 12 Fairport Harding 0
Lakers 48 St. John 0
Lakers 32 Grand Valley 19
Cardinal 21 Lakers 0
Lakers 22 Mineral Ridge 7

2022 Schedule
Aug. 19 – Mineral Ridge
Aug. 26 – at Cardinal
Sept. 2 – at Grand Valley
Sept. 9 – Rootstown
Sept. 16 – St. John
Sept. 23 – Fairport Harding
Sept. 30 – Windham
Oct. 7 – Conneaut
Oct. 14 – at Toronto
Oct. 21 – at Mathews