Lakota East defeated Mason 20-17 in the first round of the D-I, Region 4 playoffs last season. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

High school football: Lakota East Thunderhawks preview

The following is a high school football preview. The preseason begins Thursday, Aug. 1. Most teams will play Week 1 games on Friday, Aug. 30.

High school: Lakota East Thunderhawks, public.

Location: Liberty Township, Butler County.

Division/Region: D-I, Region 4; same as last season.

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Affiliation: Greater Miami Conference.

Head coach: Rick Haynes; 10th season as East’s head coach; 51-45 overall record.

Assistant coaches: Dave Koger, DC/OL; Ed Brady, LB; Daryn Chenault, OLB; Rodney Heath, DB; Jimmy Turner, DB; Carl Longworth, QB/RB; Brandon Oker, WR; Jared Haynes, OL.

2018 record: 8-4, 6-2 GMC.

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2018 highlights: Went 4-1 second half of the regular season and tied Fairfield for third in the GMC. Qualified for playoffs as a No. 7 seed and stunned No. 2 seed Mason 20-17 in a first-round matchup. Fell 34-6 to Elder in a regional semifinal. That was the third playoff appearance by the Thunderhawks, all with Haynes as head coach following postseason teams in 2012 and ’14.

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The eight wins was the most since East was 9-3 in 2014. That team also went two games deep into the playoffs, falling to rival Lakota West in a 52-27 regional semifinal shootout.

Key returners:

• Evan Yockey, 6-6, 340, sr., OL.

• Adam Hundemer, 6-3, 235, sr., DL.

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• Corey Dick, 6-0, 190, sr., RB/DB.

• Michael Howard, 6-0, 210, sr., LB.

What to know: Coach Haynes gave a nod to work ethic and overall team size as positives.

There are three schedule changes. Cincinnati Walnut Hills (4-6) and Kings (9-2) have bee bumped by Turpin (6-4) and Kettering Fairmont (7-4) in Weeks 1-2. Also, Sycamore (6-4) has been replaced by Mason (8-3) in Week 3 of the GMC rotation.

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East is at West (4-6) in a Week 8 rival showdown. East has defeated West the last three regular seasons by a combined 92-17.

Six home games, including four the first half of the season, favors East. But that also means without a schedule change, that will be flipped for the 2020 season.

Finding capable replacements for RB Jack Dobrozsi and QB Sean Church will be key for the run-heavy offense. The grads combined for nearly 2,000 yards rushing and the bulk of the carries.

Schedule, all at 7 p.m.

Week 1: Fri., Aug. 30, Cin. Turpin

Week 2: Fri., Sept. 6, Fairmont

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Week 3: Fri., Sept. 13, at Mason

Week 4: Fri., Sept. 20, Middletown

Week 5: Fri., Sept. 27, Princeton

Week 6: Fri., Oct. 4, at Fairfield

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Week 7: Fri., Oct. 11, Oak Hills

Week 8: Fri., Oct. 18, at Lakota West

Week 9: Fri., Oct. 25, at Colerain

Week 10: Fri., Nov. 1, Hamilton

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