|Emans seeks success at Lake (06-18-13)|
|Written by KEVIN GORDON Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Tuesday, 18 June 2013 08:44|
Mark Emans believes the Flyer football program can contend for conference championships, too.
The former standout defensive player at Eastwood High School and Bowling Green State University recently was hired as Lake's football coach.
Emans replaces Bob Olwin, who resigned for "personal reasons" in March after one season. The Flyers were 4-6 overall and 3-4 in the NBC last fall.
Emans was the head coach at Wauseon for 21 seasons before resigning after the 2010 season to pursue his master's degree in education.
The Indians were 118-99 under Emans, winning a Division III state championship in 1993, and Northwest Ohio Athletic League titles in 1993, 1994, 1999 and 2007.
Wauseon also went 11-1 in 1994, advancing to a regional final, one of its three playoff appearances under Emans.
"The school has great facilities, their basketball was successful last season, their baseball team has been very, very strong over many years," Emans said of Lake.
"It was appealing to see if we could get the football program back on par with some of the other programs within the district. Like everyone else, our goal will be to win league titles and make the playoffs."
The Flyers' major task is shoring up a defense that allowed 45 points per game last season.
"You look at anybody in the old SLL (Suburban Lakes League) or the NBC, and Eastwood runs the ball and stops the run. Genoa runs the ball and stops the run," said Emans, who is 51. "Those are things you have to do to be successful in that league."
Eastwood and Genoa have won the last 11 SLL and NBC titles, and those teams beat Lake by a combined 121-22 score last season.
"We're going to have to run the ball and we're going to do a better job of stopping the run than we did last year," Emans said. "We have to stop them from scoring as much as they did last year."
The Flyers will use a five-man front defensively because it's adaptable to most high school offenses.
But he hasn't decided on what offense the Flyers will use He'll make that decision once he evaluates his personnel.
The Flyers ran the spread offense last season and returns quarterback Jared Rettig, who completed 176-of-278 passes for 2,838 yards and 32 touchdowns. Receiver Connor Bowen also returns after catching 59 passes for 844 yards.
Lake scored 35.4 ppg last season.
"I am a Winged T guy, but I've run the run and shoot, I've run the spread, I've run the I and I've run the pro offense," Emans said. "I've done a lot of different things and the one thing I like to do is mold my offense around my personnel.
"If we have some great athletes and some skilled kids on the edge, then we're going to throw the ball a little bit more. If I've got a couple big bruising running backs, then we're going to pound the ball a little bit more."
Emans, a 1980 graduate of Eastwood, was a four-year starter at linebacker for BGSU. He was a first-team All-Mid-American Conference pick in 1982 and 1983.
"I know we have a nice returning quarterback and some receivers returning," Emans said. "They threw the ball all over the place last season, but I'm not throwing it five wide and 50, 60 times a game. I want to be a lot more balanced. I still like physical football, being a defensive guy."
Emans' other priority is increasing participation in the weight room during the offseason.
"Football is a year round sport now, so we need to get kids in the weight room, but we have to share kids amongst the programs," Emans said. "If a kid's just a basketball player or just a football player or just a baseball player, we're not doing ourselves a service as a total program."
Emans returns to coaching after sitting out the last two seasons to "re-energize and recharge" his batteries. He stayed away from the game for the most part, except to watch his nephew, Ryan, play for Bowling Green High School a couple of times.
"Last year, I got the itch to coach again and started to throw my hat into the ring for a couple of opportunities," Emans said. "I really enjoy seeing the kids develop physically and emotionally, and I really enjoy the competition, and the Xs and the Os. Those are the things that kept me interested."
Emans also has been an assistant coach at Eastwood and Rossford, and a head coach at Arcadia.
He'll live in the Lake district. His parents, Bob and Mary Lou, live in the Eastwood district, just 10 minutes from Lake High School.
"I'm just a Wood County boy," said Emans, who will teach physical education at the high school. "It'll be great to be closer to my parents, and I need to be here for us to be successful. Having a 40- to 45-minute drive to school every day won't help make us successful."
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