LAKOTA EAST THUNDERHAWKS Division I, Region 4 Head Coach: Rick Haynes (7-13 @ Lakota East, two years, 7-13 overall) 2011 Record: 7-13, 2-5
Overview: This could very well be the year that Lakota East turns the corner and starts to win consistently on a yearly basis. The Thunderhawks have an experienced squad that if they can blend in the newcomers they are going to be dangerous. Head coach Rick Haynes has seen a more focused attitude on the field. Now translating that into more victories is the next obstacle to conquer.
The triple-option attack finally started to take form at the ‘Hawks Nest last fall. Quarterback Eric Eichler made it his own. He ran for 339 yards and nine touchdowns as a sophomore. Classmate Mikel Horton ran for a team-high 662 yards and nine scores. Will Mahone proved to be very versatile with 695 total yards and five touchdowns. Chamada Palmore and Rob Harpring add depth at the skill positions. Receiver Issac Cosculluela and Mahone are the top threats to catch the ball.
Linebacker Jake Chestnut and lineman JT Turner are as good as anyone in the league at their respected positions. Defensive back Tyler Schlensker had two of the team’s 10 interceptions as a junior. The Thunderhawks will only be successful if they can get a push into the backfield. Lack of pressure only accounted for 9.0 sacks in 2011.
Kicker Nick Gasser is a real threat. He went 24-of-25 on extra points and 4-of-5 on field goals, including a 40 and 38-yarder on his way to Second-Team All-GMC honors. Harpring averaged 35 yards per punt. He is also dangerous throwing the ball on fourth downs.