WEST NORRITON >> Norristown and Spring-Ford may be at different stages in their respective program building, but they have a similar core belief.
With each week that goes by, the Eagles and Rams want to finish it a little better than they started. Spring-Ford got a pretty complete game on both sides of the ball Saturday afternoon at Norristown and the Eagle, despite a loss, saw some guys step up.
A breakout game from Nick Teets helped the Rams to a 36-6 victory in the PAC Liberty Division opener for both teams.
“We were able to do a few more things, but there’s still a few more things to clean up here early in the season,” Spring-Ford coach Chad Brubaker said. “As long as you see progression in each week, that’s what you’re after right now.”
Saturday favored the passing attack for both teams. Norristown (1-4, 0-1 division) never really established a running game, but quarterback Daniel Watson was able to connect with a few of his receivers for some nice gains. On the other side, the Rams ran the ball 20 more times than Norristown but found yardage tough to come by.
Outside of a 64-yard keeper by quarterback Ryan Engro, the Rams (4-1, 1-0) couldn’t break off many significant gains against a tough Norristown front.
“We’re still trying to see who’s going to rise to the occasion,” Eagles coach Joseph Milligan said. “Expectations are pretty high for what we want out of the kids and we’ve let them know they have to play at a certain level. Right now, we’re not getting it out of everyone so we have to keep pushing, pushing and pushing.”
Engro rushed for 95 yards with a touchdown and threw for 228 yards and three scores. His 15-yard keeper put Spring-Ford on the board on its first drive and his 64-yard jaunt set up Stephen Brill’s one-yard plunge, which only came after the Eagles stuffed him three times at the goal line.
The Rams’ passing game was a little up and down early, due to the play of Norristown’s secondary but once Engro hit Teets for the first time, things opened up. The 5-foot-6, `140-pound sophomore shined at slot receiver, catching five balls for 163 yards and two scores.
His 14-yard catch put Spring-Ford up 19-0 at the half, then he went 78 yards for a touchdown on the Rams’ third play of the second half.
“We’ve been waiting for Nick, he’s been switching in and getting some time and he’s been struggling as sophomore sometimes do, but today he was in the right spots,” Brubaker said. “We felt like we could make some plays over the middle. He made the one big play, made it to the end zone and showed some speed too.
“He finally had that breakout game and when you look at our receiving core with him stepping up, we have some kids that if teams want to continue to go man against us, we’re going to make some plays.”
Brubaker also felt his secondary played well against Norristown’s passing game. The Rams picked off three Eagles passes with safety Alex Kortetke snaring two of them.
Norristown’s passing game is still a work in progress, but there are clearly pieces to work with. Travis Cummings had 86 yards receiving while Christian Thomas had 68 yards and Thomas threw for 198 yards. Nick Dinolfi got in for a few snaps at QB as well, but had to exit the game with an injury.
“It comes down to working at it and getting them to trust each other,” Milligan said. “We have a first-year player at quarterback, a sophomore at quarterback. It’s basically a whole new receiving corps, we had a guy that came in from Carroll, so for us to be together and doing what we’re supposed to be doing after only having the job for four months is big.”
Engro made it 33-0 when he hit Noah Baker for a 19-yard touchdown. Taylor Smith hit a 22-yard field goal to make it 36-0 before Norristown moved down the field and scored on a three-yard keeper by Watson.
“People aren’t going to get credit unless you win and we win together and we lose together,” Milligan said. “As much as they’re playing at a certain high level, they know they have to play at an even higher level until we can get the rest of the crew together. It’s all about being a team.”
Spring-Ford hopes early-season tests lead to success
By Rob Senior
When the Pioneer Athletic Conference went to its current two-division format and dropped the round-robin league schedule in 2016, it opened the doors for league members to start up some new non-league rivalries of their own. PAC teams have the opportunity to test themselves against schools from different classes, areas — even out-of-state opponents — before embarking on a five-week, divisional round-robin in conference.
After a season-opening shutout of Central Bucks South, last week’s 33-22 setback at the hands of Wilson, and Friday night’s tilt with Exeter, there’s no questioning that Spring-Ford will enter PAC play plenty battle-tested.
“That was a heck of a football team,” Spring-Ford coach Chad Brubaker said after his team’s thrilling 33-27 overtime victory. “They had depth, size — I’m really proud of our effort.
The squads went back and forth in the first half and the lead changed hands four times before Spring-Ford was able to attain the first two-score lead on quarterback Ryan Engro’s fourth scoring pass of the night to Dante Bonanni that saw the junior receiver break several tackles en route to the end zone. Engro finished 16-for-39 for 314 yards passing and 4 TDs plus the game-winning TD carry in overtime. His top targets were Noah Baker (4 catches, 80 yards, 3 TDs) and Bonanni (7 rec, 130 yards, TD). Exeter quarterback Colby Haag impressed going 13-for-19 with 187 yards and 2 TDs before exiting due to injury.
“It was the kind of game where if I try to describe the highlight plays … I would be here all night,” laughed Brubaker. “Just so many kids, from both sides, stepping up time and again.”
Exeter’s man defense employed no safeties, loading the box to quiet the Spring-Ford rushing attack, forcing Engro to put the ball in the air 39 times. As is often the case with such defenses, the strategy suppressed the junior QB’s completion percentage, but when the Rams connected, they made it count. Engro averaged almost 20 yards per completion.
“I give [Exeter] credit,” said Brubaker. “I didn’t think any team could do that to us for 48 minutes, but they made their plays. They have some tremendous athletes in that secondary.”
But just as it looked like the Rams were pulling away, Exeter’s Alex Javier stepped up with a 12-yard TD off Engro’s lone interception of the evening. With seconds remaining in regulation, Sean Henry treated the crowd to some free football, courtesy of a 41-yard field goal.
High school football overtime features each team taking a turn to score, starting with a first-and-goal at the opponent’s 10-yard line. Exeter went first, working their way into a 4th-and-goal after Spring-Ford stopped Feeney short on a 3rd down reception. As the Eagles decided to go for it and put the pressure on the Rams, the SF defense stacked up Jeremiah Nixon (31 carries, 153 yards) at the goal line to give their offense a chance to win it.
The two coaches offered differing viewpoints on the 4th down decision.
“I should’ve gone for the field goal,” Exeter’s Matt Bauer second guessed. “I told my kids we can put this loss on me.”
“I certainly agreed with his call,” countered Brubaker. “They were killing us with the run all night (205 yards on 47 carries) so it wasn’t a longshot to punch it in there.”
No matter. Engro rendered the point moot with his fifth TD of the evening, this one a QB sneak inside the one-yard line to bring the instant classic to a close.
Coming off their first loss of the season, Brubaker pondered the character-building nature of Friday’s win as opposed to an easier outing against a less challenging opponent.
“As a coach, you always enjoy those [40-50 point] victories from a lack of anxiety standpoint,” he laughed. “But the way we played tonight, getting ourselves out of jams — the next time we’re in a similar situation, we can draw on that experience, knowing we’ve done it before.”
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Offensive Player of the Week >> Spring-Ford QB Ryan Engro made the most of his 16 completions, throwing for 314 yards and compiling five total touchdowns (four passing, one rushing) in Spring-Ford’s OT win over Exeter.
Spring-Ford edges Exeter in overtime, 33-27
by Tucker Bagley
ROYERSFORD >> Exeter coach Matt Bauer came into Friday night’s game at Spring-Ford with an aggressive mindset. His Eagles blitzed and played with no deep safeties for much of the game as they took the hosting Rams down to the wire.
But eventually, Bauer’s aggressiveness backfired.
“I should’ve went for the field goal,” the coach admitted minutes after Spring-Ford defeated Exeter, 33-27 in overtime, in a game that couldn’t be settled in just four quarters of football. “I told my kids, we can put this loss on me.”
After Spring-Ford won the overtime coin toss, the Rams elected to play defense, setting up Exeter with four plays to score from just 10 yards out. The Eagles pushed the ball to the 1-yard-line on a pair of runs by Jeremiah Nixon and a pass to Matt Feeney. But instead of taking the chip-shot field goal, Bauer trotted his offense out there on fourth down and Spring-Ford stuffed Nixon to end the possession.
“I certainly agree with his call,” Rams head coach Chad Brubaker said. “They were killing us with the run all night, so it wasn’t a longshot for them to punch it in there.”
Brubaker’s offense won the game three plays later when quarterback Ryan Engro sneaked the ball in from one-yard out for his fifth touchdown of the night.
However, things didn’t start well for the Ram offense, as Spring-Ford was flagged for a false start before their first play from scrimmage and Ryan Engro was sacked on the next snap. Buried in a second-and-19 hole, Engro lofted a ball deep down the sideline to Blaize Scarcelle, who snuck behind the Eagle defense and caught the pass for a 33-yard gain.
From there, the Rams were off to the races. Halfback Stephen Brill ripped off a 23-yard run and Engro ended the drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Noah Baker for the game’s first score.
“We knew they were going to play a real aggressive style of defense,” Brubaker said. “We couldn’t run the ball when they had all the extra men in the box, so we had to protect our quarterback and hope our receivers could beat their man coverage.”
Spring-Ford had a chance to extend their lead later in the first quarter after an Engro pooch punt pinned the Eagles inside their own 1-yard-line. However, after three unsuccessful runs, Exeter’s punt was muffed by the Rams and the Eagles recovered at midfield.
A 14-yard run by Jeremiah Nixon then put the Eagles at the Spring-Ford 32, but three plays later, Exeter was facing a fourth-and-10. However, quarterback Kolby Haag hit Feeney over the middle and a vicious block by Joe Rohrbach sprung the tight end for the tying score.
If there was any doubt their first scoring drive was a result of good fortune, the Eagles took over at their own 1-yard-line again on their next possession and proceeded to march 89 yards on 15 plays to set up a 27-yard, Sean Henry field goal that gave Exeter their first lead of the game.
It took the Rams just two plays to respond as Engro hit Baker on a slant, and the tight end beat the Eagles cover-zero defense, racing to the end zone for a 62-yard score that put the Rams in front, 14-10. Baker finished the night with four catches for 81 yards and three touchdowns.
“Noah is a basketball player,” Brubaker said. “At least in his mind, he is. I think he is a good example of someone who can succeed at multiple sports and help different teams win.”
But once again, Exeter had an answer. The Eagles put together another methodical drive, with the 8-play, 80-yard possession highlighted by a 38-yard pass to Devon Scott and punctuated by a 5-yard fade to Rohrbach for the go-ahead score and a 17-14 halftime lead.
The Eagles seemed to be on their way to posting a two-possession lead in the opening minutes of the second half, but a botched snap derailed their momentum and led to a missed 43-yard field goal attempt.
Spring-Ford took advantage of the over-eager Eagles defense in the second quarter, racking up 144 passing yards on their two drives, but more importantly, the Rams scored 13 points on passing touchdowns to Baker and Dante Bonanni to take a 27-17 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Eagles turned the ball over on downs on their next drive, but climbed within one possession when Javier Austin intercepted Engro and returned the ball 10 yards for a touchdown.
Gavin McCusker, who took over for the injured Haag in the third quarter, led the Eagles down the field in the closing minutes in an attempt to even the score. Exeter tied the game at 27 with just seconds remaining in the fourth quarter thanks to a 41-yard field goal by Sean Henry.
“It was hard for our guys in the fourth quarter,” Brubaker said. “We we’re struggling running the ball and controlling the clock against the stacked box. It led to us having to throw the ball in hopes of moving the chains and keeping possession.”
The Spring-Ford offense lived and died by the long ball on Friday night, with Engro finishing the night with 314 passing yards, despite completing only 16 of his 41 attempts. On the flip side, Exeter clawed their way back into the game thanks to a dominant second half by Nixon, who had 176 yards from scrimmage.
High school football preview capsule: Exeter vs. Spring-Ford
High school football preview capsule: Exeter vs. Spring-Ford WRITTEN BY MIKE DRAGO
Exeter (2-1) vs. Spring-Ford (2-1) Kick: Friday, 7, at Royersford. Series: Eagles trail 4-0 after losing 45-21 last year. Eagles update: Have bounced back with consecutive wins after playing Berks Catholic tough in season-opening 31-7 loss. ... Starting QB Kolby Haag left in second quarter last week after banging up left (non-throwing) shoulder, but offense did not miss beat under soph backup Gavin McCusker and went on to 43-10 victory over Lower Dauphin. .., Haag is expected to practice this week and be on field Friday night, according to head coach Matt Bauer. ... Haag completed 9-of-12 passes before leaving; he's Berks' third-ranked passer, with 60.3 percent completion rate, 5 TDs and 0 INTs. ... McCusker hit on 5-of-7 with TD passes to TE Matt Feeney and TE Michael Stout. ... TB Steven Rose and TB Jeremiah Nixon each topped 100 rushing yards last week and will continue to split time . ... Bauer praised play of offensive line – center Nate Brady, guards Michael McNish and David Filipello and tackles Anthony Zabala and Robbi Unruh – saying it's unit he has been most pleased about this season. ... Defense recorded 4 sacks, limited Lower Dauphin to 52 rushing yards and got INTs from S Alex Javier and CB Joe Rohrbach. ... ILB Feeney had 7 tackles, sack and blocked punt. ... ILB Riley Knapp had 7 tackles and S Nick Schaefer 5 tackles. ... WR Devon Scott is second in Berks with 14 receptions. ... Trailed 45-7 after three quarters last year against Spring-Ford. ... Have been outscored 83-27 past two seasons by Rams. Rams update: Rallied from 21-point halftime deficit to make it one-possession game in third quarter but couldn't get enough defensive stops vs. Wilson in 33-22 loss. ... Outgained Bulldogs 294-252 and had more first downs, 15-11, but had some special teams breakdowns and had trouble protecting passer. ... QB Ryan Engro connected on 18-of-30 passes for 224 yards but was sacked 6 times. ... Engro is also team's leading rusher and is averaging 7.8 yards per carry. ... Standout receiver Dante Bonanni had 8 receptions for 99 yards against Wilson; has team-leading 12 receptions for season. ... LB Nick Delromno, who had 71 tackles last season, is back to lead defense. ... Opened with 21-0 win over state-ranked Central Bucks South. ... Picked to finish second in PAC Liberty Division behind Perkiomen Valley. ... Finished 6-5 last season, losing to Neshaminy in opening round of D1 Class 6A playoffs. Fast fact: Eagles are ranked No. 1 in Berks in total offense, averaging 392 yards per game. Did you know? Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker was longtime assistant coach and offensive coordinator at Wilson. This is ninth season with Rams. Quotable: “The last two years we've been beaten pretty handily (by S-F), and we stumbled into league play. They've really embarrassed us. We're going to do everything we can to give a much better effort. It's important to the kids. We want to get a little respect back. We're excited for the opportunity.” – Eagles coach Matt Bauer.
Isaiah Gilmore and his Wilson teammates found a way to plug up some holes Friday night — the one in their defense, and the one in their hearts.
Taking the field for the first time without their injured leader, Nick Johnson, the Bulldogs dug a little deeper and held off Spring-Ford 33-22 in a non-league game at Gurski Stadium.
“He's a gigantic piece to our defense and offense, and it's really hard to replace that,” said Gilmore, a lifelong friend of Johnson's who wore his No. 44 jersey. “We were making a lot of adjustments on the fly. It definitely hurts (playing without him). We all are hurting together. We just lost a brother.”
The Bulldogs (2-1) rose to the occasion on defense, blanking the Rams' passing game in the first half and holding it in check again when things got tight in the second half.
The Rams (2-1) used two quick third-quarter touchdowns to pull within 21-14 with 5:53 left in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs answered with a pair of scores, the second a 74-yard punt return by Troy Corson that essentially put it away.
Wilson's defense never truly rested. Quarterback Ryan Engro and the Rams kept coming at them. They scored a TD and two-point conversion with 4:10 left to make it a two-possession game but the Bulldogs forced them to turn it over on downs on their next possession.
Engro completed 19-of-32 passes for 224 yards and a pair of TDs.
Eight of those completions went to standout wide receiver Dante Bonanni, but the Bulldogs were able to keep most of those passes in front of them and didn't give up any huge plays.
They also kept a steady pass rush on Engro, enough to disrupt the passing game. He was sacked six times, twice by linebacker Cameron Magalotti.
The Bulldogs showed a variety of defensive fronts and constantly sent linebackers at Engro. He was able to avoid several sacks with his feet but the pressure prevented him from looking downfield.
“We needed to send a lot of pressure and the DBs needed to lock up,” said Gilmore, a senior cornerback. “We did it pretty well in the first half; second half we came out flat and gave 'em two quick scores.”
“Our front line did a nice job,” said Wilson coach Doug Dahms. “We wanted to get the pressure. I thought our secondary played pretty well overall; sometimes we didn't get quite where we wanted to.”
The Bulldogs were dominant in the first half in building a 21-0 lead.
The defense forced four punts and a turnover on downs on Spring-Ford's final five possessions. They allowed just 53 first-half yards.
Anthony Futrick and Brent Gibble stung the Rams twice in the first half, hooking up for TD passes of 21 and 14 yards.
Corson's 31-yard punt return to the Spring-Ford 34 set up a late first-half score.
Elijah Morales ran 31 yards to the 3 on first down, then finished the job on the next play.
“It hurts that he's not on the field,” Gilmore said of Johnson. “It's a little different without him there.”
High school football: Wilson prepares for air assault
Spring-Ford's pro-style passing game will test Bulldogs secondary
Spring-Ford's pro-style passing attack has given Wilson's defense fits the past two seasons.
The Bulldogs were scrambling all over the field to contain all-league quarterback TJ Pergine and keep his deep well of receivers in front of them a year ago at Royersford.
Pergine passed for 277 yards and wasn't stopped until the Bulldogs dialed up a couple of sacks in the final minutes.
Pergine is gone, but Chad Brubaker, the former Wilson assistant, returns to Gurski Stadium Friday with the same offensive style that has pushed the Bulldogs to the limit.
The Rams are 2-0, but Brubaker says his offense "hasn't even begun to scratch the surface."
His new quarterback, athletic junior Ryan Engro, was knocked out early in the season opener and is still untested.
"We haven't been able to unleash him yet," Brubaker said. "Hopefully, Friday we can."
The Rams show up at an inopportune time for the Bulldogs (1-1), whose defense is reeling after losing its leader, senior linebacker Nick Johnson, to what appears to be a season-ending injury.
At full strength the Bulldogs would've been pressed to defend the Rams' array of weapons; without him in there they'll be on their heels.
"Besides the fact that he's an incredible linebacker, he makes sure everybody's in place," Wilson coach Doug Dahms said of Johnson, who broke both major bones in his lower right leg. "He gets everybody lined up right, makes sure they're straight on calls."
Wilson's burgeoning rivalry with Spring-Ford is just one of several intriguing Week 2 matchups.
Berks Catholic, fresh off a monster matchup vs. Central Dauphin, gets an equally big challenge from Maryland powerhouse McDonogh School.
Gov. Mifflin looks for payback, and its first win, against Cocalico.
Spring-Ford took a graduation hit with its offensive skill players, but plenty of talent remains.
Dante Bonanni, an all-league wide receiver who caught 41 balls as a sophomore, will be Engro's top target. He'll be flanked by 6-3 senior Noah Baker, a basketball player who has returned to football for the first time since ninth grade, and 6-1 junior Blaze Scarcelle.
The Rams flood the secondary with four and five receivers, overloading certain zones and forcing mismatches.
"They run some nice combinations and try to rub you, get matchups on linebackers," Dahms said. "They've got a lot of height, and they run their routes pretty well. The key will be whether their quarterback can get 'em the ball."
"We feel good about our skill guys," said Brubaker, who expects to get top running back Steve Brill back in the lineup (he was out last week). "We do have some experience at certain positions. We want to take advantage of things we think we do well."
The Bulldogs' secondary should be better equipped to handle the passing game this year. They were relying mostly on underclassmen in last year's 28-21 win. Now, sophomore Troy Corson, junior Matt Fry and senior Isaiah Gilmore are all a little more battle-tested.
"We're much better there than we were this time last year," Dahms said.
Brubaker concedes the Bulldogs are the stronger team and will have an advantage up front.
They did last week and were able to spring Isaiah Morales for 217 yards and three long TD runs in a 42-28 win over Mifflin.
"You're not gonna see us line up like Central Dauphin did (against them) and go nose for nose; that's not what we can do right now," Brubaker said. "They're very strong, and we are way behind them, so we'll have to make up for that in other ways."
Contact Mike Drago: 610-371-5061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wilson (1-1) vs. Spring-Ford (2-0) Kick: Friday, 7, at Gurski Stadium. Series: Bulldogs lead 2-0 after 28-21 win last year. Bulldogs update: Earned first win with 42-28 victory over Gov. Mifflin last week but suffered big loss early in game when senior LB Nick Johnson broke 2 bones in his leg and was lost for season. ... Johnson, Linebacker of Year in Section 1 of Lancaster-Lebanon League last year, is expected to have surgery. Johnson also was starting at TE. ... Junior Anthony Koper will fill Johnson's spot at ILB; senior Greg Smith will move into starting TE spot... Avanti Lockhart will begin seeing time at both ILB and TE... Elijah Morales had breakout performance against Mifflin, going for 217 yards and 3 TDs on 14 carries. Morales is averaging 11.0 yards per carry. ... S Matt Fry had 2 interceptions to help hold off late Mifflin rally. ... S Troy Corson had team-high 15 tackles. ... LB Cam Magalotti had 2 tackles for loss and INT. ... Defense allowed 193 passing yards. ... Senior QB Anthony Futrick has completed 62 percent of passes for 299 yards in 2 games. ... Iggy Reynoso scored 4 TDs, 3 on receptions, in last year's win. Rams update: Graduated most of top skills players, including all-league QB TJ Pergine and all-league RB Justin DeFrancesco. ... Junior QB Ryan Engro has completed 10-of-25 passes for 141 yards in first two starts. ... He played just one series in opener before behing knocked out... WR Dante Bonanni took over at QB in opener... Top RB Steve Brill was also lost early in that game... Bonanni had 41 receptions last season... He is one of just two returning starters on offense... LB Nick Delromno, who had 71 tackles last season, is back to lead defense that includes six return starters. ... Beat Wayne Valley, N.J., last week 31-21. ... Opened with 21-0 win over Central Bucks South. ... Picked to finish second in PAC Liberty, behind Perkiomen Valley. ... Finished 6-5 last season, losing to Neshaminy in opening round of D1 Class 6A playoffs. ... Listed among teams to watch in PennLive.com's Class 6A state rankings, along with Central Dauphin. Fast fact: Rams are looking for first 3-0 start since 2015, when they recorded perfect regular season. Did you know? Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker was longtime assistant coach and offensive coordinator at Wilson. This is his ninth season with Rams. Quotable: “They've got a lot of height, and they run their routes pretty well. The key will be whether their quarterback can get 'em the ball.” – Wilson coach Doug Dahms. Quotable: "(In terms of strength) we are way behind them, so we'll have to make up for that in other ways and take advantage of things we think we do well." -- Spring-Ford coach Chad Brubaker. Series flashback: Spring-Ford's Stone Scarcelle was stopped inches short of goal line on 2-point conversion bid as Wilson held on for a 41-40, double-overtime victory at Gurski Stadium in 2016. Bulldogs got 29-yard FG from Nick Borelli to tie it at end of regulation. Wilson trailed 14-0 after quarter and 24-21 after three quarters. -- Compiled by Mike Drago
Yoon comes up big as Spring-Ford downs Wayne Valley
By Tucker Bagley
ROYERSFORD >> Heading into his first varsity start on Friday, Andrew Yoon was feeling pretty nervous. Pressed into action after an injury to Spring-Ford’s starting safety, the sophomore felt a little intimidated as he stared across the field and saw the size of his opposition.
But unfortunately for the Wayne Valley Indians, Yoon got comfortable real quick, intercepting a pass, rushing for 57 yards and leading the Rams to a 31-21 victory at Coach McNelly Field.
“I feel really good,” Yoon said minutes after being hoisted on his teammates’ shoulders in the home locker room. “I was feeling nervous today, but I calmed down once the game started and was able to make some plays to help us win.”
Spring-Ford got on the board first in the second quarter on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Engro to Dante Bonanni. The touchdown ended a 14-play, 85-yard drive that saw Spring-Ford convert three fourth-down opportunities, two due to defensive encroachment penalties and one on a 24-yard quarterback draw by Engro.
Just two plays after taking a 7-0 lead, the Rams forced a fumble inside the Indians’ own 20-yard-line and capitalized on the turnover with a 14-yard Engro touchdown run.
However, Wayne Valley responded quickly on their very next drive as Elijah Lugo snuck behind the Ram defense and was hit in stride by a pass from Ryan Michels for a 54-yard touchdown. Spring-Ford went three-and-out and Wayne Valley took over just 27 yards from the end zone after Taylor Smith was tackled while attempting a punt.
The Indians quickly went to work as they moved the ball inside the 10-yard-line with less than a minute remaining in the first half. Facing a fourth-and-4 from the 9, Wayne Valley elected to kick a field goal, but a Spring-Ford defender jumped offside, negating the missed kick and giving the Indians four more shots at tying the game.
Wayne Valley capitalized on the mistake three plays later when Michels hit Lugo on a play-action pass to tie the game just 10 seconds before the half.
“I was really disappointed in our effort in the first half,” Spring-Ford coach Chad Brubaker explained. “We made a lot of mistakes, especially on offense that cost us some points and put our defense in a bad position.”
The Indians continued their attack in the second half as they forced Spring-Ford into a three-and-out before James Jun blocked a punt and gave Wayne Valley the ball inside the 10-yard-line to start their first drive of the second half. The Rams run defense held strong, forcing a third-and-goal from the 12-yard-line, but Michels tossed his third touchdown of the game to give the Indians their first lead of the game.
Minutes later, the Indians had a shot to put Spring-Ford away, but faced a fourth-down situation at the Rams’ 28-yard-line.
That’s when Yoon took over.
The sophomore picked off the fourth-down pass from Michels and returned it 35 yards to the Wayne Valley 40, before taking his talents to the offensive side of the ball and scampering for 23 yards to set up a 32-yard touchdown pass from Engro to Noah Baker.
“My running backs coach said I probably wasn’t going to play on offense since I was starting on defense,” Yoon said. “I was a little surprised when they told me to stay out there.”
“We have a lot of inexperience on our team and we were a little shorthanded tonight,” Brubaker explained. “Andrew, to his credit, plays hard and knows his stuff and that’s what we need from our guys.”
On the ensuing Wayne Valley drive, Yoon broke up a pass on third down before Leo Van Hulst returned a punt down to the Indians’ 15-yard line. Two plays later, Engro kept the ball on a zone read and bulled his way into the end zone to put the Rams ahead, 28-21.
“My offensive line did a great job blocking tonight,” Engro said. “I just had to put my head down and find some space.”
Wayne Valley responded with a 13-play, 57-yard drive, but stalled at the 4-yard-line and ended up turning it over on downs after an incomplete pass on fourth-and-goal. From there, Engro ripped off Spring-Ford’s longest offensive play of the night, a 37-yard scramble on third-and-12 to set up a field goal and effectively ice the victory for the Rams.
“I knew we needed a first down and I knew I needed to keep the clock moving,” Engro said. “I got around the edge and there was so much space, I just kept running.”
Engro finished the night with 200 total yards and all four of Spring-Ford’s touchdowns. Michels tossed all three of Wayne Valley’s scores and finished the day 10-for-21 with 126 yards.
Defense, special teams shine in Spring-Ford’s winning debut
Heading into their season-opening matchup at Pa. Prep Live preseason No. 11 rated Bucks South, Spring-Ford’s players and coaches heard plenty about the Titans’ loaded, experienced defense. CB South returned seven starters from 2017, including All-State linebacker selection Matt Norris.
Instead, it was the Rams’ defense — and special teams — that loudly announced their arrival as one of the area’s top units in an impressive 21-0 victory in Warrington.
Two of Spring-Ford’s three touchdowns were produced by the defense and special teams, as Central Bucks South accumulated only 117 total yards of offense and seven first downs for the evening. CB South’s rushing attack was completely neutralized, ultimately losing 10 yards in total on the night.
“Thorough team effort,” Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker acknowledged. “We got contributions from everyone on the unit, and our special teams kept us in good field position throughout the game.”
In fact, it was the Rams’ special teams that gave the team the early shot in the arm they needed. After an initial CB South three-and-out, senior Nick DelRomano broke through to get a hand on the ensuing punt, which bounced into the hands of Noah Baker. Baker’s 15-yard return put Spring-Ford on top 7-0 less than two minutes into the contest.
Minutes later, senior running back/safety Stephen Brill avenged a Rams turnover by undercutting an out route and taking it 69 yards to the house, outracing a pair of CB South pursuers. The Titans found themselves down 14-0—and their vaunted defense hadn’t allowed a point.
Despite losing starting quarterback Ryan Engro and later watching Brill leave due to injury, the Spring-Ford offense stayed afloat thanks to wide receiver Dante Bonanni moving behind center and steadying an inexperienced and suddenly undermanned offense. Those efforts paid off in the third quarter when Armante Haynes powered across the goal line from 23 yards out to give the Rams the final score of the evening.
(Brubaker added that he expects to have Engro and Brill available Friday night against Wayne Valley.)
In the interim, the Spring-Ford defense stifled any attempts at a Titans rally, surviving four turnovers thanks in large part to the efforts of DelRomano and James Albert at linebacker.
“James and Nick were the best linebackers on the field,” said Brubaker, high praise considering the presence of All-State performer Norris for CB South.
Meanwhile, Blake Terrizzi and Nate Orkfritz-Robertson held down the fort at the defensive end, while Nick Uba, Leo Van Hulst, and Alex Koretke ably manned the secondary in Brill’s absence. In all, the unit accumulated a sack and 12 tackles for loss. K/P Taylor Smith (36.6 yards per punt) consistently made CB South traverse the length of the field with booming punts pinning the Titans deep time and again.
Spring-Ford (1-0) battles Wayne Valley (N.J.), a perennial contender in North Jersey who returns 17 total starters this season. “I’ve seen their film, and that’s going to be a very strong team,” said Brubaker.
The scary thing for Wayne Valley? “A team’s biggest improvement,” Brubaker concluded, “occurs between games 1 and 2.”
Defensive Player of the Week >> Spring-Ford LB Nick DelRomano got his squad off to a flying start, charging through and blocking a Central Bucks South punt that was scooped up and returned 15 yards by Noah Baker for the game’s opening score less than two minutes into the contest. From there, DelRomano anchored a stifling Rams defense (five tackles, 2 TFL) that completely stymied the Titans’ rushing attack in a 21-0 road victory.
Wayne Valley football's best asset this year is versatility
Doug Scancarella, Correspondent, Northjersey.com
Published 9:10 a.m. ET Aug. 23, 2018
Stopping the Wayne Valley football team this year, it would seem, would require a pretty straightforward approach. Staying doggedly focused on stopping Nick Trani sounds like a reasonable strategy. After all, Trani was an all-purpose performer last year. The senior accumulated 928 total yards (640 rushing, 207 receiving, 81 passing) and accounted for nine touchdowns (seven rushing, one receiving, one passing).
Coach Roger Kotlarz just announced that Trani will serve as a captain for the second straight year. He is the first two-time captain in Wayne Valley football history.
“He’s been a very important player for us for the two years in a row and that will certainly be the case again this year,” Kotlarz said.
If opposing defenses are focused solely on stopping Trani, though, that could end up being a major blunder.
“This is one of my most versatile teams I’ve had here,” Kotlarz said. “Trani is just one of several players who can be used in a variety of ways. We’re going to substitute players and go with multiple sets this year. As coaches, we have to do a good job managing those sets. We have careful not to bite off more than we can chew by going with too many different looks.”
The challenge in the backfield will be replacing the graduated Greg Poloso (304 rushing yards, 111 receiving yards) and Vincent Marrone (480 yards passing, 182 yards rushing).
Speedy junior Elijah Lugo will be expected to pick up a lot of that slack. Last year, Lugo recorded 309 total yards, most of which came returning kicks (204). As the season wore on Lugo factored more and more into the rushing and receiving game and is expected to have a more prominent role this year.
Senior Selum Maksut only got 11 carries last year, but managed to average 6.6 yards a pop. Senior Nick Duncan, primarily a defensive player last year, will also contribute on offense this year.
Sophomore John Testa led the freshmen in rushing last year and is expected to contribute to the varsity this season. Junior Jake DeLuccia and senior David Trinidad will be big, strong, blocking backs.
The team’s versatility also prompted Kotlarz to play the quarterback position close to the vest this summer. Senior Ryan Michels threw for 840 yards while starting in just six games last year. Michels is locked in a battle for the top job with junior Tommy Moran, who had a big year passing and running as the JV quarterback last year.
“I’ve been very happy with the quarterback competition,” Kotlarz said. “Both have good arms and both are very intelligent with extremely high football IQs. They’re making my decision very difficult.”
Trani, who threw 10 times last year, will likely be used in similar fashion this year.
Whoever ends up throwing the ball will have plenty of talented, yet inexperienced options downfield.
Lost to graduation are AJ Tedesco (525 yards receiving) and James Pollack (357 yards receiving). Senior Sam Bumbaco is the lone returning receiver with a lot of experience. Several prominent JV players from last year are vying for playing time. That includes outside receivers senior Sean Roberts and junior Chase Hemming; and inside receivers senior Max Flicker and sophomore James Jung.
Senior tight end Danny Murphy (captain), utilized more as a blocker last year, is expected to be a bigger downfield threat this year. Junior Anthony DePalma will also be utilized as a tight end this year.
The offensive line, meanwhile, will feature four returning starters: junior center Ricky Ruggiero, senior guard Joe Esposito (captain), junior guard Jordan Botero and junior tackle Ian Lancelotti.
Senior Greg Fox, primarily a defensive player, will also factor into the plan on offense. Juniors Steve Simonetti and Frank Tortora are expected to contribute up front.
The defensive line returns three starters: Fox (37 tackles), Trinidad (36 tackles) and Lancelotti (23 tackles). All three were hampered by injury last year, but are currently 100 percent. Ruggiero, Botero, senior Shaquai Anderson and junior Justin Lopez will provide depth on the defensive line.
Despite losses to graduation of Shane Connelly, Tyler DiMaio and Gabe Ortiz, Kotlarz considers both lines to be “stout and strong” this year.
“We have a lot of starters back on both lines,” Kotlarz said. “This has a chance to be our best offensive line since 2015, when we had all seniors starting. Trinidad started at linebacker (in 2016 and 2017), so he’s technically not a returning lineman. But that still gives us three very good defensive returnees on the line.”
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The linebacking core loses Poloso (94 tackles), Isaac Rosado (60 tackles) and Trinidad (to the defensive line), but returns Trani (108 tackles). DeLuccia, a key linebacker off the bench last year, will start alongside Trani in the middle this year. Murphy and Maksut, key contributors off the bench last year, will man the outside. Senior Kevin Schneeloch, Testa and Tortora will add depth at linebacker.
Safeties Bumbaco (70 tackles) and Duncan (57 tackles) are the leading returning defensive backs this year. Senior Ali Gega will add depth. The cornerbacks will be senior Liam Dring, Moran and Lugo.
“I’m very optimistic,” Kotlarz said. “With our versatility we will have a lot of options and that should keep defenses off balance. We’re also strong up front on defensive (line and linebackers), so I’m expecting this team to be very good against the run.”
Wayne Valley opens up August 31 at Pennsylvania powerhouse Spring Ford.
“They have very good skill players and a lot of speed,” Kotlarz said. “The team around here that I would compare them to is Ramapo. It’s a big challenge for us right off the bat.”
Wayne Valley football seniors driven to reverse fortune
Doug Scancarella, Correspondent, Northjersey.com
Published 10:50 p.m. ET Aug. 13, 2018
As Wayne Valley football coach Roger Kotlarz walked off the field after the season-ending loss to Jefferson last year, he turned to a group of assistant coaches and made a quick comment. “Well, at least we now have a rally cry for next year,” he said.
Wayne Valley had just finished the season with a 1-9 record. That automatically gave the team its mission for 2018 - prove that 2017 was a fluke.
Wayne Valley went 9-3 and reached the state sectional finals at MetLife Stadium in 2016. They went 9-2 and reached the state sectional semifinals in 2015. Those two years, according to Kotlarz, are still “recent history” and very much “ingrained” in the memories of his players.
But for four current players, MetLife is a lot more than a memory. Seniors Nick Trani, David Trinidad and Greg Fox, and junior Jake DeLuccia, were all prominent members of that 2016 team. In fact, Kotlarz says they were “difference makers.”
“We had a lot of seniors that year (2016). When that’s the case, any underclassmen you have playing are usually guys that are just rounding off the team,” Kotlarz said. “But as experienced as that team was, we still had four young, inexperienced guys, who were very instrumental in getting us to MetLife. They know it can be done and they know how it can be done. They’re telling the other guys that we can do something like that again.”
Trani and Trinidad started the entire 2016 season as sophomores. Trani, a middle linebacker, recorded 87 tackles. Trinidad, an outside linebacker, had 38 tackles, eight for a loss. He was also credited with several forced fumbles.
Fox, as a sophomore, spent part of 2016 on the JV and as a varsity backup before being inserted as a starter at the end of the regular season. The lineman recorded 16 tackles in just four games. DeLuccia spent most of the year on the freshman and JV teams before being inserted onto the varsity as the starting long snapper.
“Trani and Trinidad had incredible years for us and were significant factors in our success all year long,” Kotlarz said. “Fox and DeLuccia got thrown onto the field in some huge games late in the year. They proved to be more then up to the challenge and were big factors in those playoff wins.”
Trani had another amazing year as a junior, recording 108 tackles. On offense, he proved to be exceedingly versatile, accumulating 928 total yards (640 rushing, 207 receiving, 81 passing). He also accounted for nine touchdowns (seven rushing, one receiving, one passing).
“Everyone on this team is working hard to make sure we put ourselves in position to win the championship,” Trani said. “The goal is not just to make it to MetLife. We want to win the championship. In 2016 we worked hard and put themselves in position to win it. We didn’t win it because the ball bounced the wrong way. We’re working hard to get into that same position again.”
Trani, however, doesn’t feel that this year’s team is similar to 2016.
“This year’s team, in my opinion, is more similar to 2015, when we (the current seniors) were freshmen,” Trani says. “We were very fortunate because there were great seniors that year and we learned from them. Guys like Will Kearney, John Duncan and a lot of the other guys were great leaders on and off the field. Wayne Valley was down a bit before that and those seniors turned the team around. Now I feel like we’re in a similar position this year. Hopefully, we will have similar results.”
Fox and Trinidad were bothered by nagging injuries last year, but still had strong seasons with 37 and 36 tackles, respectively.
“I like what I see so far this summer,” Fox said. “We’re in good shape. Everyone is hyped up. We’re all pushing each other hard in practice. We are going to prove that last year was a fluke.”
“The word we keep using over and over again is ‘compete,’ ” Trinidad added. “That doesn’t just mean competing in games. We are competing in everything we do - drills, sprints, conditioning, etc. We are motivated to have another great season. That’s why we’re competing in everything we do.”
DeLuccia was utilized again mainly as a long snapper as a sophomore last year, also filling in at linebacker (18 tackles) and fullback. Kotlarz envisions DeLuccia having a major role on offense and defense this year and next.
“Being at MetLife two years ago was surreal,” DeLuccia said. “It’s hard to explain, but I was so focused on what I was doing that I really wasn’t nervous. Now, I want to get their again as an upperclassmen. We’ve been working hard. I can’t wait until the end of the season when it all pays off. The possibilities are limitless because we have great senior leaders in Trani, Trinidad, Fox and a lot of other guys.”
“It is said that you learn more from losing then you do from winning,” Kotlarz said. “I hope that’s true because that would mean that we learned an awful lot last year. Our guys were devastated about what happened last year. The guys that are back this year have the opportunity to turn it around. That’s the motivation.”
Nick Delromano – 71 tackles-10 TFL-4 Sacks-1 INT
James Albert – 71 tackles-11 TFL-3 Sacks-
Nick Uba – 29 tackles-10 Passes Defended
Leo Van Hulst 18 tackles-8 Passes Defended-2 INT
Taylor Smith – 36-37 PATs – 8 FG – 60 Points
2018 Offensive Outlook: Although mostly young and inexperienced, we like our returning skills kids. We lost a lot on the offensive line and do not have a ton of depth, so that is an area of concern. We will need senior leadership from James Begg and Dante Ciocci up front. Ryan Engro (Jr.) won the QB spot.
2018 Defensive Outlook: We return our two leading tacklers in Nick Delromano and James Albert, as well as 3/4 of our secondary, Stephen Brill, Leo Van Hulst, and Nick Uba. Due to depth issues on the defensive line, we are going to have to move guys around to try to fortify our unit.
2018 Special Teams Outlook: Taylor Smith had an outstanding junior year and is back for us. He has had an excellent off-season for us and will be even better.
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Stuart-to-Kapp connection sparks Team Freedom in PAC Senior Bowl
RED HILL >> When it came time for Owen J. Roberts football coach Rich Kolka to draft his team for the Pioneer Athletic Conference Senior Bowl, he definitely had a plan in mind. He selected OJR all-time career touchdown pass leader Dawson Stuart and Jerry Kapp, who set a record for career receiving yards at Boyertown, to spearhead a prominent passing attack.
That selection strategy worked like a charm as the talented duo teamed up for two touchdowns in the first half Sunday afternoon that sparked their Freedom Team to a 36-20 win over the Independence Team in the seventh annual all-star contest at Upper Perkiomen’s Indian Stadium.
Freedom’s Dawson Stuart (Owen J. Roberts) tries to avoid the sack attempt of Independence’s Simeon Little (Spring-Ford) during the PAC Senior Bowl Sunday at Upper Perkiomen. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)
Stuart went 12-for-18 for 135 yards and also threw a TD pass to Spring-Ford’s Mitchell Vagnozzi as the Freedom squad built a 29-0 halftime advantage. Pope John Paul II’s Jake Bildstein ran 32 yards for a score and Pottsgrove’s Dez Austin caught two passes for a total of 81 yards from Spring-Ford’s T.J. Pergine for the Independence Team.
“That was a priority of mine to get those two together,” Kolka said concerning Kapp and Stuart.
“All I had to do was put it anywhere close and I knew he’d go and get it,” Stuart said concerning Kapp. “It was a nice feeling.”
Independence’s Kobey Baldwin (Pottsgrove), left, deflects a pass intended for Freedom’s Hunter Hinrichs (Owen J. Roberts) during the PAC Senior Bowl Sunday at Upper Perkiomen. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)
The Independence squad had a tough time holding onto the ball in the first half, fumbling it away five times due to a combination of errant snaps and pitches and some hard defensive hits.
Upper Merion’s Preston Hampton returned one of those fumbles 41 yards for the game’s opening score. Then Stuart hit Kapp from 13 yards out soon after another fumble in the opening quarter and lofted a pass into the right corner of the end zone to Kapp early in the second quarter for a 20-0 lead.
Independence got on the board in the second half on a 10-yard touchdown toss from Pergine to Pottstown’s Jamal Adams and closed to within 29-12 on Bildstein’s burst. But Spring-Ford’s Justin DeFrancesco countered with a 20-yard touchdown run and front flip into the end zone to wrap up the win with under seven minutes to go.
Freedom’s Anthony Wiggins (Pottstown) sacks Independence quarterback TJ Pergine on a two-point conversion attempt during the PAC Senior Bowl Sunday at Upper Perkiomen. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)
“It was amazing,” said Class 6A All-State First Team defensive back Kapp, who led the state with 11 interceptions last fall and added another with an acrobatic move at the right sideline on Sunday. “I thought it was cool to play one more game against high schoolers you’ve been playing against for three years.”
“It was fun, being it’s kind of a laid back game,” said Stuart, who completed four passes to Wildcat teammate Hunter Hinrichs. “There was a lot of trash talking.”
Independence’s Jamal Adams (Pottstown) catches a touchdown pass in the third quarter during the PAC Senior Bowl Sunday at Upper Perkiomen. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)
Head coaches Kolka and Tom Hontz from Upper Perk drafted the teams in February. Any PAC senior was able to declare himself eligible. Kolka also selected Pottsgrove record-setting running back Rahsul Faison, who did not play since he is on the Pennsylvania roster for the Big 33 Football Classic on June 16.
The Freedom Team practiced three times, on a Sunday and two weekdays.
“It’s hard to get everyone on the same page,” said Kolka. “They did a nice job of picking it up. Defensively, we played really well. We were tough up front. I think both teams had a lot of fun.”
Freedom’s Eleazar Hill (Norristown) deflects a pass intended for Independence’s Dez Austin (Pottsgrove) during the PAC Senior Bowl Sunday at Upper Perkiomen. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)
Both Stuart and Kapp had good things to say about Norristown defensive end Tyler Tate, who was a key factor in shutting down the Independence side in the first half.
“He was impressive against us, so I picked him,” added Kolka.
Independence’s TJ Pergine (Spring-Ford), left, runs away from the pressure of Freedom’s Tyler Tate (Norristown) during the PAC Senior Bowl Sunday at Upper Perkiomen. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)
The Independence team wound up with a 199-165 advantage in total yards.
“Hats off to the other team,” said Kapp. “They played really hard. I want to thank the Owen J. Roberts coaching staff for getting us ready for the game.”
Kapp had the chance to play against some of his high school teammates, as did many others on both sides.
“You scrimmage against them in practice,” he said. “It’s a lot different playing against them. There was a lot of trash talking, but the referees knew it was between teammates.”
Kapp (Seton Hill) and Stuart (East Stroudsburg) could face each other in September when their college teams meet in Week 2 of the season.
Freedom’s Mitchell Vagnozzi (Spring-Ford) is congratulated by teammates after his receiving touchdown in the second quarter during the PAC Senior Bowl Sunday at Upper Perkiomen. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)
Freedom’s Preston Hampton (Upper Merion), left is congratulated by Anthony Wiggins (Pottstown) after his fumble recovery returned for a touchdown during the PAC Senior Bowl Sunday at Upper Perkiomen. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)
Freedom’s Malik Gardner (Pottsgrove), left, looks for running room after a catch as Perkiomen Valley’s Brendan Schimpf (24) closes in for the tackle during the PAC Senior Bowl Sunday at Upper Perkiomen. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)
Independence’s Colby Goldsmith (Spring-Ford) tackles Freedom’s Hunter Hinrichs (Owen J. Roberts) after a reception during the PAC Senior Bowl Sunday at Upper Perkiomen. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)
PAC Senior Bowl - June 4th @ 3p
Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association all-star game set for Sunday
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Lincoln’s Sammy Karr trying to escape the grasp of an Olney defender in a Public League game last season.
by Rick O'Brien, Staff Writer @ozoneinq | email@example.com
The 17th annual Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association all-star game will be played at 2 p.m. Sunday at Mansion Park Stadium in Altoona.
Spring-Ford’s Chad Brubaker will guide the East squad vs. the West team. One of his assistants will be Chas Cathers, who stepped down as Central Bucks West’s head coach after last season.
Here are the rosters:
Local players in bold.
No. Position Player School Ht. Wt. College
1 DB Rahiem Bowens Penn Wood 5’10 163 Undecided
2 QB Michael Ruisch Parkland 6’4″ 185 Susquehanna
3 WR Jake Novak Manheim Central 5’11 175 Kutztown
4 DB Devon Dickerson St. Joseph’s Prep 5’10 165 Undecided
5 WR Xavier Roman Manheim Township 6’1 198 Shippensburg
1 DB Robert Kennedy Jeannette 5’10 175 Lackawanna C.C.
2 QB Drew Saxton South Fayette 6’2 195 Case Western
3 RB Tanner Volpatti Bethel Park 5’10 195 Slippery Rock
4 WR Tim Sturgis Central York 6’1 170 Kutztown
5 DB Kavon Morman Montour 6’2 180 California of PA
6 LB Ken Cooper Danville Area 6’2 238 Penn State
7 ATH John Varadzel North Allegheny 6’1″ 175 Pittsburgh
8 DB John Harper McKeesport 6’0 175 Undecided
9 DB Rodney Dennard Woodland Hills 6’1 182 Howard
10 DB Jayquan Smith Woodland Hills 6’1 177 Lackawanna C.C.
11 LB Tyler Petucci Altoona Area 6’1 210 Shippensburg
12 WR Garret Fairman Thomas Jefferson 6’2 200 Robert Morris
14 LB Christian Arrington Cumberland Valley 6’2 210 Rhode Island
15 ATH Cam Suman Penn Trafford 6’2″ 205 Indiana Univ. of PA
17 LB Bryce Lauer Franklin Regional 6’3 250 Towson
18 QB Logan Leiby Selinsgrove 6’0 195 Bloomsburg
20 TE/HB Ryan Langdon North Allegheny 6’1 235 Indiana Univ. of PA
21 WR Ronnie Stevenson Montour 6’5 205 Temple
22 P/K Carter Raupach Berlin 5’10 185 Undecided
28 WR Cam Laconi PCC 5’11 185 Mercyhurst
33 RB Tim Smith Penn Hills 5’9 175 Fairmont State
50 OL Bryce Ramer Beaver Area 6’5 300 Ohio University
53 DL Chase Heath Dover 6’3 265 Bloomsburg
54 DE Jackson Heasley State College 6’1 240 Indiana Univ. of PA
55 DE Gerald Brown West Mifflin 6’0 250 California of PA
56 OL Devega Byrd Woodland Hills 6’1 320 Bethany
58 OL Collin DeBoef State College 6’6 275 Penn State
71 OL Ben Johnson South Williamsport 6’3 265 Marist
72 OL Jayvion Queen Altoona Area 6’5 280 Colegate
74 OL Jake Smetak Norwin 6’4 290 California of PA
75 DL Jacob Neiderhiser Ligonier Valley 6’1 320 Geneva College
78 OL/DL Jacob Fetterolf Cumberland Valley 6’3 280 Johns Hopkins
84 WR Jarrett Inch Selinsgrove 6’2 185 Undecided
99 DE Gavin Vargesko Bethel Park 6’1 250 Slippery Rock
West head coach: Eric Kasperowicz, Pine-Richland
2018 Slogan Release Video
2018 Youth Camp Hype Film
SCARCELLE FINDS PERFECT FIT, HOME IN HUNTINGTON
April 11, 2018
By Chuck McGill
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – As a walk-on wide receiver, and the Marshall football program’s only player from the state of Pennsylvania, Stone Scarcelle has made it a mission to stand out.
The 6-foot-1, 198-pound freshman from Collegeville, Pennsylvania, first did this last August during preseason camp. As a true freshman, Scarcelle flashed the potential of a player who could immediately be involved in the mix as a pass catcher. Then, during a Saturday practice on a sunny day, he landed awkwardly out of bounds attempting to make a catch and fractured his left elbow. He missed the 2017 season, used a redshirt and began working his way back.
“He reminds me of me,” said Marshall receivers coach Dallas Baker. “He’s going to have a little chip on his shoulder and he’s going to work hard.”
Scarcelle has shown he is a consistent, steady receiver this spring, Baker said. Scarcelle had football scholarship offers to Patriot and Ivy League schools after a standout career at Spring-Ford High School in Royersford, Pennsylvania, but wanted to pursue opportunities at the Division I level.
“I wanted to see if I could make it,” Scarcelle said.
He caught the eye of assistant coach Todd Goebbel and impressed head coach Doc Holliday, and received an invitation to join the program as a walk-on during a visit to campus.
“From the moment we walked on campus we fell in love with the place,” said Mike Scarcelle, Stone’s father. “On our seven-hour drive back to Pennsylvania he had made up his mind that he didn’t want to look at anything else.”
Stone was born at Phoenixville Hospital, which is about 25 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Stone has a distinctly Philadelphia accent, and grew up idolizing Eagles great Randall Cunningham because Cunningham, like Stone, was a quarterback who moonlighted as a punter. Stone played QB, running back, safety and cornerback, too, but found his home at receiver. The Marshall coaching staff is happy about that development.
“He has nice size,” Baker said. “He’s willing to block. That’s the thing with blocking; everybody can block, it’s if you want to. He’s willing to block; he’s willing to go across the middle. When you piece everything together he’s a really good receiver.”
That caught the coaching staff’s eye last August, too, before injury struck. Stone put in the extra effort to leap and reach for a ball that initially looked uncatchable, and he ultimately fell harshly to the ground on his left side. His first collegiate season ended before it began.
“It was hard mentally, but you have to push through it every day,” Stone said. “It’s been a long road, but you have to have the mindset to go your hardest and it’s not going to bother you. It was just a freak accident.”
The redshirt season did not go to waste. Stone watched a talented trio of starters – Tyre Brady, Willie Johnson and Marcel Williams – break out in their first full seasons with the Herd. That gives him hope that he, too, can find a role right away.
“I really sat back and observed everybody’s actions,” Stone said. “I took in the speed on the field, learned the plays and got my body right. I’ve gotten a lot stronger, and I feel like mentally the strength coaches do a great job of getting you mentally tough so you are prepared to fight through the pain.”
If you’re wondering, there is no back story to Stone’s name.
“We have about 10 Anthonys in our family,” Mike said. “My wife wasn’t going for that.”
The Scarcelles essentially picked the name out of a hat, and then gave Stone the middle name of Patrick. He also has a younger brother named Blaize. Stone currently majors in Geology, which seems apropos given his name, but after enduring the injury and recovery, Stone has his eyes on an education that would steer him toward athletic training or the medical field.
Stone studies football, too. His father calls him a gym rat, and Stone immerses himself in watching film. He believes he was meant to flourish in the offense of first-year coordinator Tim Cramsey, a native of Allentown, Pennsylvania, about 40 miles from Stone's hometown.
“He's a local guy to me," Stone said. “I love the offense. It’s a perfect fit.”