Lakota West (3-7 overall, 2-5 in the Greater Miami Conference in 2011) kicks off its season against La Salle (7-3 overall, 1-2 in Greater Catholic League in ’11) as a part of the Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown at Nippert Stadium at 8 p.m. this Saturday. In its history, Lakota West has played La Salle once – losing by the score of 28-6 in 2010.
La Salle: University of Dayton baseball recruit Brad Burkhart is expected to take over the starting quarterback duties this fall for the Lancers. However, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Mike Dyer, Burkhart is questionable and there is 50 percent chance he will play in this game. If he plays, his top target would likely be 6-foot-5 junior Derek Kief, who caught 44 passes for 612 yards and 7 touchdowns last season. On defense, La Salle features highly touted defensive back Jaleel Hytchye, who has narrowed his college choices to Arizona State, Northwestern, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Kentucky. Other talented players to watch include senior offensive lineman Dave Baumer and sophomore defensive lineman Jordan Thompson.
Lakota West: Senior left tackle Kyle Meadows, who has offers from many of college football’s top programs, believes this could be the year that Lakota West returns to the postseason after it has suffered back-to-back losing seasons. If the Firebirds make that leap, junior quarterbacks Malik Grove and Tyler Jones could help. Lakota West head coach Larry Cox didn’t name a starter this summer, but both players have been practicing at QB and at WR – meaning they could be on the field at the same time. Another player, who hopes to help the team, is incoming junior Mikel Horton. The running back, who is listed at 6-foot-1 230 pounds by Rivals.com, has transferred in from Lakota East where he led the team in rushing with 662 yards and nine touchdowns as a sophomore in 2011. Defensively, Lakota West is led by senior linebacker Mike Kelly, who has attracted the attention of college programs in the Ivy League and in the Mid-American Conference.
Bottom line: La Salle enters the game No. 6 in The Cincinnati Enquirer coaches poll, while Lakota West is ranked No. 10. Both teams appear to have talent, but with La Salle’s previous success in the Crosstown Showdown (10-3) and its overall better season last fall – the Lancers appear to be the favorite in this season opener for both teams.