Only a small percentage of high school football programs can claim to have won 4 state titles in the past 10 years. However, Lakewood St. Edward high school, located on the outskirts of Cleveland, Ohio, is part of this small percentage.
They have claimed Division I State titles in 2010, 2014, 2015, and 2018, making them one of the top high school football programs in the midwest. Over the past 10 years the Lakewood St. Edward Eagles have had a 113-20 record, and have made the OHSAA playoffs every single year.
A big reason for their success is head coach Tom Lombardo, who took over the head coaching job in 2015. Coach Lombardo had big shoes to fill in replacing Rick Finolti, St. Edward’s former coach, especially when Finolti led the Eagles to two state titles in 2010 and 2014.
Coach Lombardo didn’t miss a beat, leading St. Edward to a State title in 2015 and 2018, and boasting a 55-11 record over the past 5 years. The Eagles are looking to get back to the State finals in 2020, after losing to rival Mentor high school by a score of 35 to 36 in overtime in the Regional finals last year.
In 2019, the Eagles had an 11-2 record and averaged 39.1 points on offense, and gave up an average of 19.8 points on defense. This means Lakewood St. Edward was beating teams by an average of 20 points, but their two losses were both by one point to Mentor High School. It’s safe to say that the Eagles are looking to improve on finishing close games in 2020, especially when the playoffs come around.
Lakewood St. Edward had an explosive offense last year, as they averaged 39.1 points per game. There is no reason that they shouldn’t be just as explosive this year, though they lost star wide receiver Montorie Foster to Michigan State, and starting running back Joey Formani to Bowling Green.
Christian Ramos (6’1” 180-pounds) looks to be the starting quarterback again as a junior, after having a stellar quarterback campaign his sophomore year. The Eagles lost 3 starting offensive lineman this past year, but offensive Guard Thomas Aden (6’2” 285-pounds) will lead a young offensive line core and holds offers from Grand Valley State, and Louisiana College. Aden should turn more college coaches’ heads if he has a solid senior year. Chris Moran (6’3 295-pounds) is a key returner and Richard Wolverton (6’3 300-pounds) is a great young prospect in the 2023 class.
Malachi Watkins (5’10” 200-pounds) will serve as the workhorse running back behind the offensive line. And even though St. Edward has lost a majority of their wide receivers, Carter Potts (5’9” 150-pounds) will look to be the new speedy wide receiver as a sophomore. Last year, Potts had 25 catches for 304 yards and will need to step up big to give Ramos a reliable weapon through the air.
The strength of this team is definitely the Eagle’s front seven on defense. Even with the loss of stud outside linebacker Jeff Pietrowski, rising senior CJ Hankins (6’0” 220-pounds) will be anchoring the defense at middle linebacker, so there will be no shortage of leadership there. Hankins committed to Georgetown University last week. He fielded offers from Akron, Kent State, and Grand Valley State. Michael Kilbane (6’3 205-pounds) is a talented 2023 linebacker prospect that will shine this season.
Trey Bixby (6’5” 245-pounds) looks to be a monster at defensive end as a rising junior and is already committed to Minnesota. He also had offers from Michigan State, Penn State, Arkansas, Akron, and Cincinnati after his sophomore year. Caden Costo (6’2” 250-pounds) will serve as an experienced defensive interior lineman, holding an offer from Valparaiso heading into his senior year. CJ Harvey (6’1 260-pounds), Chance Robinson (6’1 235-pounds), and Charles Calhoun (6’2 215) are talented defensive linemen for the Eagles.
One area of concern for this Eagles defense would be their secondary, as they lost 4 defensive backs from their depth chart. Fortunately, though, Jaylen Castleberry (6’0” 180-pounds) and Joel Castleberry (6’0” 165-pounds) will try to keep the skies clear as they will both be starting at cornerback. Jaylen is already bringing in multiple Division II school offers, and Joel is getting looks from Michigan and Penn State heading into his junior year.
With this defense holding opposing offenses to 19.8 points last year, look for this Eagle’s defense to step up in a big way this upcoming season.
The main focus of this Eagle’s team will be finishing close games, such as the ones they dropped last year to Mentor. Lakewood St. Edward is super talented and if they can get that done, and develop their new starting players, expect another deep playoff run for the 2020 season. The Eagles will open up against Washington Massillon in Week 1.