The Highland football team put together a season to remember in 2013 by winning the Suburban League championship and advancing to a Division II state semifinal game.
Hornets players, coaches and fans enjoyed the ride, which included playoff victories over Avon Lake, Massillon and Avon, and a loss to Cleveland Glenville.
Coach Tom Lombardo guided Highland to a 13-1 overall record and a 7-0 league mark, and he is optimistic that the Hornets can create more memories this season.
“We have 24 seniors this year after graduating 17 seniors off of last year’s team,” Lombardo said. “We have eight starters back on defense and five on offense.
“Anytime any team plays extra playoff games, it gives you an added advantage for the following year. We got in four playoff games and got in additional practices that a lot of teams did not get. We played several quality teams and gained valuable experience.”
Coltin Kinsey and Nick Corvo are part of a senior class that includes Michael Doak, Connor McCune, Blake Phelps, Tanner Ramey, Grant Wallace and Keith Williams.
“This senior class has been solid since middle school,” Lombardo said. “They tasted that experience as contributing juniors. It is their show now, and so far so good in terms of what we have been trying to accomplish in practice.
“As always it is a battle week in and week out. We go right off the bat against [visiting] Nordoina in our league schedule [in Week 4]. They have great players and have been knocking at the door. Then we have Wadsworth, Copley and Tallmadge. Green has new coaches and Revere and Cloverleaf are up and coming teams.”
Here is a preview capsule for the 2014 season:
League: Suburban League. 2013 record: 13-1, 7-0.
Coach: Tom Lombardo, eighth season at Highland; 11th overall. Coach’s record: 81-34 overall; 53-25 at Highland.
Players to watch: Coltin Kinsey, Sr., WR-CB; Nick Corvo, Sr., DE-RB; Michael Doak, Sr., OL-DL; Connor McCune, Sr., TE; Blake Phelps, Sr., QB; Tanner Ramey, Sr., C; Grant Wallace, Sr., LB-RB; Keith Williams, Sr., LB-OG; Tyler Frederick, Jr., OL-DL; Nick Haas, Sr., DE; Zach Levine, WR-CB; David Leach, OL; Dan McCartney, LB; Luke Allen, Sr., PK.