MONFORT HEIGHTS – The expectations have never been higher, nor has the confidence for the red and white team on North Bend Road. La Salle’s coming off its first ever state championship and a three-way share (with St. X, Moeller) of the Greater Catholic League South title.
Jim Hilvert has taken over as head coach for Nate Moore. It’s Hilvert’s first high school head coaching job after spending eight seasons at Thomas More College and the seven prior to that at Mount St. Joseph.
Hilvert inherits a deep, confident roster with a rabid fan base eager to compound on last season’s success.
“Our guys are not complacent — 2014 is over with and they want to keep having success year in and year out,” said Hilvert, adding the Lancers haven’t shied away from the work. “The guys have a good chemistry, they get along really well. They welcomed me (and the other new coaches) with open arms, too.”
Offensively, the Lancers are loaded with eight returning starters from a team that averaged over 42 points per game last year.
Senior running back Jeremy Larkin, the reigning GCL South Co-Player of the Year and a Mr. Ohio finalist, committed to Cincinnati, scored 41 total touchdowns last season with 2,584 yards rushing. Larkin averaged an astounding 9.4 yards per touch.
Senior quarterback Nick Watson returns with senior offensive lineman Luke Doerger, committed to Toledo, bolstering the line alongside junior Thayer Munford, who’s listed at 6-foot-6, 342 pounds.
Also returning on offense are senior wide receiver Josh Gebing, senior tight end Jake Junker and junior wideout Ben Brabender. Punter Drue Chrisman, committed to Ohio State, gives La Salle an advantage in field position every time he takes the field.
Last season, Jarell White split time in the backfield with Larkin. A bulked-up White, now a junior, made the move to strong safety and has looked impressive early in camp. Junior running back Christian Turner has emerged as Larkin’s new running mate.
Senior linebackers Hayden Jester and Kyle Farwick both started last year, and Hilvert said the pair are “our leaders on the defense.” Senior defensive tackle John Wilcox, junior defensive ends Jaylen Murray and Ethan Campbell will provide depth up front. Juniors TreSean Smith and Marvin Gentry are both strong secondary players, said Hilvert.
Hilvert said after helping his players turn the calendar on 2014, the next task became “being disciplined and adjusting to a new staff. Now it’s being able to take care of the little things, from finishing a drill to running the right route, to embracing the grind.
“I haven’t been involved in Friday nights in a long time,” Hilvert said. “High school football is a big thing in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky; to be a part of that is awesome and to be able to play the teams we play week in and week out, there’s a lot of great competition. It gets me excited.”
Aug. 29 – Carmel (Ind.), 6 p.m. at Nippert Stadium
Sept. 4 – At East Central (Ind.)
Sept. 11 – Colerain
Sept. 19 – Christian Brothers (Tenn.), noon
Sept. 25 – At Northwest
Oct. 2 – At Moeller
Oct. 9 – At St. Xavier
Oct. 16 – St. Charles
Oct. 23 – Winton Woods
Oct. 30 – Elder
All games are 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.