ROYERSFORD >> Rumor has it that Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker can be seen with a miner’s helmet, flashlight on during practice.
In reality, no, this is false, but Brubaker has been mining for something, someone during the 2017 offseason, a diamond in the rough per say.
That’s what happens when your team loses all 11 starters on a defense that led the Pioneer Athletic Conference in total yards per game (236.8), points allowed per game (12.5) and rushing yards per game (94.4).
Will he find one? More than likely judging on the well-known success of a Rams squad that comes into 2017 ranked No. 10 in the Pa Prep Live Preseason Rankings. When will he find one? Well that’s up in the air.
“Our instincts need to be right with who should be playing where,” Brubaker said. “We have to create as much competition as possible. There’s guys who we know will be in the mix.”
“We’ve always been a senior oriented team. No doubt we’re going to need help from a lot of underclassmen. A lot of sophomores are going to have to at least contribute on special teams.”
The amount of seniors that have graduated becomes lengthy. In total, 18 starters departed from a Rams squad that went 9-3 last season while advancing to the District 1 Class 6A playoffs. Gone are leading rushers Matt Gibson (757 yards, 124 carries) and Selwyn Simpson (756 yards on 111 carries). Same goes for leading receiver Stone Scarcelle (now at Marshall), Nick Salomone, Ryan Yanulevich, Lee Albert, Casey Callahan, Toby Poet, Tanner Romano, Matt Booth and Billy Frazier among others.
“We need a lot of people to step up really fast,” returning athlete Justin DeFrancesco said. “There’s going to be a lot of diamond in the roughs, some hidden talent, that will be stepping up this summer. It’s going to help us a lot when we’re replacing 11 starters on defense.”
DeFrancesco highlights the four returning starters on offense that also includes senior left tackle Noah Silva, senior center Matt LePore and senior quarterback TJ Pergine. DeFrancesco figures to get a lot of touches after waiting behind Gibson and Simpson while Pergine will look to take another step forward after throwing for a school-record 2,324 yards and 27 touchdowns last season.
“TJ has matured off the field and filmwork became a huge value to him,” Brubaker said. “We’re going to need more than that. He’s going to play with a chip on his shoulder and we welcome that and we think he’s going to have a great senior year. He’s going to be responsible for not only himself, but for a lot more. He’s got to help guys if they’re in the wrong position and read defenses but I know he’s up for it.”
Spring-Ford has partnered with GoRout, on-field wearable playmaking technology that houses real-time playmaking software that helps teams practice perfect. According to the product’s website, GoRout leads to a 60 percent average increase in practice reps and 90 percent increase in scout team efficiency. The purpose of the product is to push the limits of the status quo to help coaches rethink how they teach, engage and communicate with their players at practice.
We Meet Again
Spring-Ford hosts Wilson West-Lawn in Week 3 after an epic two-overtime thriller that landed on Pa Prep Live’s Top 10 Games from 2016.
By Sam Stewart; firstname.lastname@example.org