Lakota West went into the final game of the 2012 season in position to make the postseason for the first time since 2009. The Firebirds were at home and facing school district rival Lakota East, a team they had beaten seven straight times.
The Firebirds, however, lost 33-20 and after winning their first eight games of the season for the first time in school history, the team missed the postseason.
After the loss, Lakota West head coach Larry Cox said his team deserved to be in the playoffs and called the loss “a bitter pill to swallow.”
This fall, West appears to have another strong team – returning senior quarterback Malik Grove, senior wide receiver Tyler Jones and senior running back Mikel Horton. Grove has an offer from Georgetown College and has a 10-3 record as a starter. Jones, who led the team in receptions, is starting to attract attention from MAC schools and has offers from Ohio, Kent State and Akron. The 6-foot-1, 228-pound Horton is committed to Kentucky after piling up offers from Florida State, Boston College, Louisville, Cincinnati, Vanderbilt and others.
Kentucky also recently offered junior linebacker C.J. Stalker. In addition, 2012 Lakota West graduate Kyle Meadows signed with UK in February.
Along with Meadows, West will have to replace 2012 graduates offensive lineman Ben Pendery (Dayton), cornerback Nick Bengal (Gannon), offensive lineman Drew Garbenis (Robert Morris), defensive back Michael Carter (Heidelberg), offensive lineman Daulton Frasier (Miami), offensive lineman Liam Maloney (Morehead State), defensive lineman Ryan Martin (Capital) and linebacker Mike Kelly (Navy).
The first game of the season could dictate how West will do this season. In 2011, the Firebirds lost by the score of 27-21 to Winton Woods and finished the season with a 3-7 record. In 2012, West defeated La Salle by the score of 46-34 and finished the year 8-2.
In 2013, West will open against Winton Woods Aug. 31 at Fairfield as part of the Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown. West will then host Glen Este before facing Dayton-area power Wayne on the road.
The following week, the Firebirds will start its conference schedule with games at Hamilton, vs. Sycamore, at Mason, vs. Fairfield, at Princeton, vs. Oak Hills and at Lakota East.
Here is a look at the 2013 schedule (2012 record):
Aug. 31 – vs. Winton Woods (8-4) at Fairfield
Sept. 6 – vs. Glen Este (4-6 overall, 3-3 in Eastern Cin. Conf.)
Sept. 13 – at Wayne (7-4 overall, 3-2 in Greater Western Ohio Conf.)
Sept. 20 – at Hamilton (3-7 overall, 1-6 in GMC)
Sept. 27 – vs. Sycamore (9-2 overall, 6-1 in GMC)
Oct. 4 – at Mason (6-4 overall, 4-3 in GMC)
Oct. 11 – vs. Fairfield (2-8 overall, 0-7 in GMC)
Oct. 18 – at Princeton (1-9 overall, 1-6 in GMC)
Oct. 25 – vs. Oak Hills (5-5 overall, 3-4 in GMC)
Nov. 1 – at Lakota East (8-4 overall, 5-2 in GMC)
This past fall, the Firebirds complied a 8-2 overall record and 5-2 mark within the GMC.
(All 2013 Lakota West football games are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. with exception to the opener against Winton Woods, which will be played on a Saturday at 7 p.m.)