Looking for Respect: 2021 Lakewood High School Football Preview
It's time to put an end to the losing, make a statement and head back into the playoffs.
Lakewood Piners head coach L.J. Clark hopes to accomplish all that and more in the 2021 season.
How do they get there though? What do they have to do to remind the outside world of the kinds of talent they've had come through the program in the last decade?
The Piners are hungry to show they're back and able to make a splash in the playoffs.
"We're looking for a little respectability and to just be competitive, we got a chip on our shoulder," Clark told Shore Sports Network. "The last three years haven't been as good as we would have liked and we're just trying to regain some respectability and compete and try to get back into the playoffs."
Heading into the season, Clark is looking to his seniors to help get things going back in the right direction.
"My seniors have been doing a very good job of being leaders," Clark said.
He's hoping that long yearning for winning these players haven't tasted much of since middle school has made them hungry enough to set the table for a feast in 2021.
"This will be their four year and they haven't had a winning record while in high school compared to when they were in 6th, 7th and 8th grade," Clark said. "And growing up, we were in the playoffs every year, won a couple of division championships. They were used to winning and now their legacy is on the line to be in the Lakewood history of saying they didn't really do that much or won that many games in high school so they're trying to get back and draw their own legacy as seniors."
At A Glance
Offense: Shotgun Wing-T
QB: Jayvon Gonzalez, Jr., 6'2, 185, RS
RB: Keyon Tims, Jr., 6'0, 180, RS
WR: Soloman Brown, Jr., 6'3, 160
WR: Andre Peace, Sr., 5'9, 170, RS
TE/FB: Alexis Montes, Sr., 5'8, 210
LT: Jaylen London, Sr., 6'1, 240, RS
LG: Alexis Torres, Jr., 6'0, 225, RS
C: Lamir Clark, Sr., 5'10, 270, RS
RG: Alexis Baustia, Jr., 5'9, 295, RS
RT: Josh Rangel, Jr., 5'10, 280
Defense: 3-4 Multiple
DE: Jaylen London, Sr., 6'1, 240
DT: Frank Romero, Jr., 6'1, 210
DT: David Dominquez, Fr., 6'2, 220
DE: Geraldo Vindel, So., 6'0, 185
OLB: Kevin Regaldo, Sr., 6'0, 200
ILB: Alexis Montes, Sr., 5'8, 210
OLB: Keyon Tims, Jr., 6'0, 180
CB: Andre Peace, Sr., 5'9, 170
CB: Anthony Tucker, So., 5'9, 145
FS: Jayvon Gonzalez, Jr., 6'2, 185
SS: Edgar Silva, Jr., 5'7, 160, RS
K: Jayvon Gonzalez, Jr., 6'2, 185, RS
P: Jayvon Gonzalez, Jr., 6'2, 185, RS
Head Coach: L.J. Clark, 11th season
Career Record: 43-56
Team Record Last Five Seasons:
Assistant Coaches: Evan Baubles (Assistant Head Coach/OC/OL/DL); Ben Pivetz (WR/DB); Bob Terringo (FB/LB); Darius Hart (QB/S); John Bernask (RB/LB); Kevin Popek (WR/DB); Tim Brown, Mike Muth, Tim Reddan.
Player to Watch: Andre Peace, WR/CB, Sr.
Wins have been hard to come by for the Piners over the last couple of seasons but they've had a good crop of talent on the roster to make you believe they could turn a corner at any time. Andre Peace is a standout on the team and will be key to bringing Lakewood to where it wants to be.
"He's a senior, he will be a 4-year starter for us and he's really taken the leadership role as a first-year captain," Clark said. "He has aspirations and is being recruited to play at the next level. He knows it's now or never."
Clark said that Peace is currently being recruited to Pace University and New Haven
Player Under the Radar: Jaylen London, LT/DE, Sr.
Both sides of the line will play a vital role in the Piners playing winning football in 2021. Jaylen London is a big piece of the puzzle, perhaps not talked about as much now, but if Lakewood has success he will be a big reason why.
"He'll be a 3-year starter on the defensive line for us. He might spend some time on the offensive line but we have a pretty good offensive line with a lot of solid backups so we're trying to keep him going one way," Clark said. "He's another great kid, he's got aspirations to play football in college. He's one of those kids that that is just tired of hearing the stigma that 'Lakewood is nothing, they're washed up'."
London is also being recruited by Division II schools.
Impact Newcomer: David Dominquez, DT, Fr.
On the defensive line, Lakewood has one player from every grade level represented. David Dominquez could be a big sign of positive things to come in the next couple of years in addition to this season by the way he plays on the line. His ability to get into the backfield and make plays will be a difference-maker this season.
Top Position Group: Offensive Line
Clark praises this group as being "a really good offensive line". They need to be as well for the Piners to be able to have success in the Shotgun Wing-T offense this season. If they provide the blocks and protection, Lakewood may very well be on their way to a division crown and being able to make some noise in the postseason.
Big Shoes To Fill: Keyon Tims, RB, Jr.
Haaziq Barksdale was one of the fastest athletes in the Shore Conference last season. His quick legs had a major impact on the Piners football team. Keyon Tims, even in the current offensive setup, has a big role to play in short passes, blocking and being able to run the ball out of the shotgun look.
X-Factor: Skill Players
Keyon Tims, Soloman Brown, Andre Peace and Alexis Montes are among those who will be heavily relied upon to make significant gains in their own games this season in order for Lakewood to hit on all their goals. If they all play well, Lakewood should have an easier time running through their schedule.
Friday, Sept. 10 -- at Point Beach, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 18 -- vs. Pinelands, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 25 -- vs. Monmouth Regional, 1 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 2 -- at Keansburg, 12 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 9 -- at Keyport, 12 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 16 -- vs. Manchester, 1 p.m.
Lakewood High School Football Over The Years