The Lakota East football team will be tested this Friday night when it hosts Middletown in a scrimmage at 7 p.m. Last year, the Middies were the co-champions of the Greater Miami Conference with a 10-1 overall record and a 7-0 mark within conference play.
Middletown features one of area’s top athletes in quarterback Jalin Marshall. As a sophomore in 2010, Marshall rushed for 1,426 yards on 173 carries (8.24 yards per carry) and scored a total of 29 touchdowns (12 passing, 17 rushing). Last season, Marshall rushed for 308 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries in a 49-35 win against Lakota East. Marshall also threw for one touchdown in that game.
Marshall, according to Yahoo! Sports, already has accumulated scholarship offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Tennessee and UCLA.
Meanwhile, Lakota East also returns its young signal caller from a year ago in junior Rob Harpring. In 2010, Harpring threw for six touchdowns and ran for six more for the Thunderhawks.
“I think Rob has improved tremendously, not only in knowing what we want him to do, but he has gotten bigger, quicker and faster,” Lakota East second-year head coach Rick Haynes said. “He has done everything we have expected him to do this offseason, so I believe that Rob is going to have a good year.”
The Thunderhawks hope to improve upon its 3-7 overall record and a 2-5 mark in the GMC from last year.
“The biggest advantage is that our kids know exactly what we are doing on both sides of the ball,” said Haynes, who implemented the triple-option attack on offense last fall. “Last year, it was all new for them in terms of offense, in terms of running the triple … now they are used to what is expected of them.”
Trying to shutdown the triple option will be Middletown senior defensive back Cody Quinn, who has committed to Illinois after having offers from Cincinnati, Marshall, Purdue and West Virginia, among others.
Other standouts for Middletown include senior wide receiver Zach Edwards (offers include Akron, Bowling Green, Cincinnati and Miami) and senior quarterback Geovonie McKnight (who shared time with Marshall in 2010).
Middletown and Lakota East will not play each other during the regular season.
The Thunderhawks will kickoff their regular season Aug. 26 at home against Western Hills, while the Middles kickoff their season Aug. 27 at 7:30 p.m. against Wayne at Welcome Stadium at the University of Dayton.
Other preseason scrimmages for Lakota teams, includes Saturday’s Lakota West at Springboro game. Next Friday, Aug. 19, Lakota West will host Wayne, while East will host Anderson. Contact the schools’ athletic offices for game times and other information.