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By Mike Copper, Tom Reisenweber, Jeff Kirik Erie Times-News staff bloggers
The Varsity blog is the 2013 winner of an international EPPY award for best sports blog. EPPYs are awarded to media-affiliated websites by Editor & Publisher, an industry trade publication. Varsity is primarily maintained by Times-News sports writers Mike Copper and Tom Reisenweber and sports editor Jeff Kirik.   Read more about this blog.
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Summer Huddle – Fort LeBoeuf

Cy Carroll is Fort LeBoeuf's top returning rusher after running for 578 yards in 2012.

Jeff Nichols

Fort LeBoeuf's Austin Combs rushed for 463 yards last season.

Nate Conti

Fort LeBoeuf Bison
Coach: Jeff Nichols (10th season, 36-48)
2012 overall record: 5-5
2012 region record: 3-4 (sixth)
2012 playoff results: Did not qualify for the District 10 playoffs.

Top players lost: Ian Sweeney, Nik Dombkowski, Joe Bugdon, Evan Daley, Sam Gambill

Top returning players: Cy Carroll, Nate Conti, Jacob Marzka, Austin Combs, Garrett Reinwald, Collin Fish, Jack Bridgeham Bengal, Anthony Rivera, Tyler Alexander

Assistant coaches: Jason Beer, Friede Lundell, Rich Kolahs, Adlin Strimmel, Dave Andrews

Outlook: Fort LeBoeuf got off to a quick 2-0 start in the region last year before running into several Erie County powerhouses to derail a chase for the region title. The Bison were young last fall, but if they can use that valuable experience to get better this year, LeBoeuf could be a dangerous team. The Bison will have to replace Ian Sweeney, Joe Bugdon, Evan Daley, Sam Gambill and quarterback Nik Dombkowski. Daley was voted to the all-region first team and is a big loss on defense, while Dombkowski has been a leader for LeBoeuf over the past few years. Dombkowski ran for five touchdowns as a senior and threw for 345 yards and four touchdowns as he facilitated the offense. Bugdon is another big loss in the backfield as LeBoeuf’s leading rusher. He had 586 yards and five touchdowns on 117 carries as a senior. Gambill was Dombkowski’s favorite target last year with 12 catches for 216 yards and four touchdowns.

With the starting quarterback, leading rusher and leading receiver all gone to graduation, the Bison will have some camp battles going on next month to fill out the starting lineup. Justin Galvin and Cody Falk were junior quarterbacks last fall and could be in the mix along with several underclassmen. Austin Combs, who will be a junior this fall, was the only other Bison to throw a pass last year as he went 1-for-3 for 33 yards and one interception. LeBoeuf has a strong group of experienced players back this year, including Cy Carroll, Nate Conti, Jacob Marzka, Garrett Reinwald, Collin Fish, Jack Bridgeham Bengal, Anthony Rivera, Tyler Alexander and Combs. Carroll ran for 578 yards and three touchdowns last year, while Combs ran for 463 yards and four touchdowns. Carroll, Fish, Combs and Rivera are returning running backs, while Marzka is a returning starter at wide receiver. Alexander, Reinwald, Conti and Bridgeham Bengal are returning starters on the offensive line. Conti was voted to the all-region first team at OL last year. LeBoeuf could also receive immediate contributions from the lower levels in Lucas Tokarzyk, Gabe Dylewski and Jacob Stull. The Bison have an experienced group of running backs to contribute in the Wing-T offense but LeBoeuf needs a quarterback to step forward and run the offense efficiently. The Bison open the season at rival General McLane and have a chance to win a few games in September before a crucial stretch in October. LeBoeuf will play Northwestern, Fairview and Girard in the second half of the season, which could determine if the Bison have a chance at the postseason.

Schedule
August
30 at General McLane 7
September
6 at Harbor Creek* 7
13 Seneca* 7
20 at Corry* 7
27 North East* 7
October
4 at Northwestern* 7
11 at Cambridge Springs 7
18 Fairview* 7
25 Girard* 7
November
1 East 7
*Region 4 games

Saturday: Franklin

–Tom Reisenweber

Posted in: Football, Summer Huddle

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