LEAVITTSBURG, Ohio (WKBN) – LaBrae took their lumps last year, posting their first losing record in seven years. But with those losses came valuable experience for their young roster.
“We got unfinished business,” said LaBrae senior linebacker Anthony Harris. “Coming from last year, we got a chip on our shoulder. We don’t want to be remembered by a 3-7 team.”
“I like the competitiveness. I like guys that like to challenge themselves. I like guys that want to be great,” said LaBrae head coach John Armeni. “I think it’s no secret that we got knocked down a little bit last year and we plan on coming back in a big way in 2020 and 2021 and the near future.”
The Vikings have five seniors on the roster and a junior class that is also loaded with talent. That includes running back Devin Carter, who racked up over 1,500 yards rushing as a sophomore.
“I think what I enjoy most about him is he’s unselfish,” Armeni said. “I think he’s one of those guys that would sacrifice personal stats for team goals, but we’re going to need him to rack up as many yards and touchdowns as humanly possible.”
The Vikings will also lean on junior playmaker Aidan Stephens, a dual threat quarterback who averaged over eight yards per carry last season.
So the skill positions will be a strength. The big question will come upfront.
“I think’s that’s what will make or break in 2020, is that offensive line,” Armeni said. “A lot of those guys are juniors that started last year as sophomores and got bumped around a little bit. And we like that because that made them come to this off-season pretty hungry to get stronger and more aggressive. I think that’s a pretty good group of guys, that are pretty big and pretty strong. I think they’re starting to develop that nastiness that you need in the trenches and they know that we have good skill behind them. They know that the spotlight will be on them and so far, they’re embracing that.”
“I feel like our team is really strong,” Carter said. “We have a lot of really strong players. Everyone got a lot stronger in this off-season and a lot faster. We have really good skill, too, and a really good line that nobody knows about yet but they will this year.”
“We were really young [last year],” said Aidan Stephens, junior quarterback. “Kids weren’t so strong. We were playing teams that think they’re going to just roll over us this year because we had a downfall last year, but they don’t know how hard we were working this off-season. They’re not going to expect what’s coming for them this year.”