Union Elementary first grader Jeff Back didn’t understand why recess was being held inside on such a beautiful day or why so many of his classmates were being picked up from school by their parents.
A firefighter’s hat rests on names of firefighters at the south reflecting pool who died in the attacks at the World Trade Center, during the 11th anniversary observance at the World Trade Center Memorial, in New York, Tuesday Sept. 11, 2012. Associated Press.
Meanwhile, at Liberty Elementary, Anna Starr was starting to get jealous.
Why wasn’t her mom picking her up?
What was so special about today?
It was Sept. 11, 2001.
It was a day not easily forgotten by Hannah Lee.
Lee remembers briefly watching the news coverage in her first grade classroom.
“The World Trade Center! I was just there,” said Lee, who went on a trip to visit relatives in New York City three weeks prior to the attacks.
Her teacher looked at her. The television was quickly turned off.
While she was only in first grade, Lee knew something terrible had just happened. She knew her uncle worked at the World Trade Center. She knew that her other uncle was a New York City fire fighter.
A lot of her family lives there.
She wondered: Are they ok?
Fellow first graders Keith Brady and Jake Chestnut remember their teachers whispering in the hallway.
Junior-to-be Eric Eichler took over the quarterback duties during the third game of season in 2011. He ended up rushing for nine touchdowns last year. Photo taken Barb Trimble of Trimble Photography.
Lakota East (4-6 overall, 2-5 in the Greater Miami Conference in 2011) kicks off the 2012 regular season in front of its home fans tonight at 7:30 p.m. when it hosts Western Hills (5-5 overall, 5-1 in Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference in ’11). The two schools faced off in the opener last fall with Lakota East winning that matchup, 28-6.
Western Hills: The offense is run through senior quarterback Cameron Washington, who is coming off a 2011 season where he threw for 783 yards and rushed for 516 more. His top target this season could be Tiantee Washington, who sat behind Division I recruit Josh Smith in 2011. The team also returns three offensive linemen. According to Tom Skeen of the Western Hills Press, the deepest part of the team is at defensive line – and the weakest part of the team is its depth. Last season, the Mustangs got off to a slow start – losing their first three games. After that, the team won five in a row before losing the final two. Lakota East: With nine returning starters on offense, including junior quarterback Eric Eichler, who was a backup at this time last summer, Lakota East head coach Rick Haynes feels that his team should get off to a fast start in 2012. Eichler, who replaced Rob Harpring at quarterback in Week 3 last season, averaged just more than 42 rushing yards per game and had a total of nine rushing touchdowns in eight games. Overall, the team has almost 30 seniors. That senior leadership is most apparent on the defensive side of the ball, where linebackers Jake Chestnut (second team all-GMC, second on East in total tackles in 2011) and Keith Brady (sixth on East in total tackles in ‘11), along with defensive lineman J.T. Turner (led East in tackles for loss and in sacks in ’11) and free safety Harpring (converted quarterback) lead the way.
Bottom line: In the 28-6 win, in the season opener last year, Lakota East received much of its offense from fullback Mikel Horton, who rushed for 161 yards and 3 touchdowns on 22 carries. Horton has since transferred to Lakota West. However, the Thunderhawks do return four experienced running backs in seniors Will Mahone and Chamada Palmore, as well as juniors Bobby Brown and Nate Mays. The overall advantage in depth and experience should make East a favorite to win in Week 1.
Lakota East head coach Rick Haynes runs an offensive drill during a summer practice session July 31, 2012. Haynes is heading into his third season as the Thunderhawks’ head coach and has a combined 7-13 win-loss record. Photo taken by Adam Kiefaber.
With nine returning starters on offense, including a junior quarterback who was a backup at this time last summer, Lakota East head coach Rick Haynes feels that his team should get off to a fast start in 2012.
“There is not a whole lot of teaching. There is some reviewing, but these kids are very, very smart, so they still remember all the things we talked about last year and their assignments,” said Haynes, who is entering his third season as head coach with a combined 7-13 record at Lakota East. “It is going to allow us to get started a little quicker than we had in the past.”
Getting off to a good start wasn’t the issue last fall, as the Thunderhawks won three of its first four games. The only loss, during that run, was at La Salle, 27-23, a game Lakota East led, 23-21, with about two minutes left in the fourth quarter.
The problem for East wasn’t the start, but sustaining that early season success, as Lakota East went on to lose five of its last six games.
“The coaches talked about it, whether we got tired or we were out of shape because we started off 3-1 and ended the season 1-5,” Haynes said. That is obviously something that we are going to address.”
The team, which returns five starters on defense and features almost 30 seniors, responded by working this offseason on improving their strength and conditioning.
“I believe this is the strongest team we have had. It might be the strongest team East has ever had,” Haynes said. “The kids have done a great job in the weight room and I also think we are faster than we have been.
Lakota West avoided a late rally and snapped a two-game losing streak against Lakota East by defeating its school district rival by the score of 56-51 at a packed Hawks Nest Tuesday.
In practice, leading up to the game, Lakota West junior Monty Boykins put the score of last year’s loss to Lakota East – 74-34 – up on the scoreboard.
“We didn’t forget about that,” Lakota West head coach Sean Van Winkle said.
“We have almost everyone back from that situation last year. To them, that was inspiration. To me, it was just our next game. Its East, we just got to beat them. Now, we are 3-0 in the GMC. That is something to be said.”
Fueling off last year’s embarrassment at home Lakota West spoiled the evening for East fans, who celebrated their 2011 state championship baseball team at halftime.
Playing the role of spoilers were two players who remembered last year’s loss well in sophomore point guard Tyler Williams and senior forward Kayaune Ross.
“Our team came in hard to win and they were ready to play, so we knew it was going to be fight,” Ross said.
“Honestly, we didn’t get the win the way we wanted it, but a win is a win so we will take it.”
After scoring two points in last season’s blowout loss, Ross converted four free throws in the final minute to seal the win for the Firebirds.
Meanwhile, his teammate, Williams broke a 49-49 tie with 2:16 left in the game with a three pointer. The sophomore, who has been attracting the attention of Division I scouts, finished with a career high 15 points.
The heroics of Williams and Ross wouldn’t have been needed if not for a Lakota East fourth quarter comeback, which featured a 10-0 run that turned a 42-33 deficit into a 43-42 lead with five minutes to play.
Junior Stedman Lowry led Lakota East with 15 points. His teammates, juniors Keith Brady and Zach Panzecca, each finished with 12 points.
Boykins, who used last season’s blowout to inspire the Firebirds, finished with 11.
Lakota West 56, Lakota East 51
Lakota West (3-0, 3-0 in the GMC) – Ross 1 4 6, Blue 3 4 10, Barnes 4 0 8, Stalker 1 0 2, Williams 5 2 15, Boykins 5 0 11, Grove 2 0 4. Totals 21 10 56.
Lakota East (1-3, 0-3 in the GMC– Leppert 1 2 4, Emrick 0 1 1, Harpring 1 0 3, S. Lowry 7 0 15, Brady 5 1 12, D. Lowry 1 0 3, Panzecca 6 0 12, 0 1 1. Totals 21 5 51.
Halftime: Lakota West 26-16. 3-pointers: LW 4 (Williams 3, Boykins), LE 4 (Harpring, S. Lowry, Brady, D. Lowry).