Bigger isn't necessarily better, but it might work for Red Lion's football team this season.
There's a group of huge linemen in camp who are aiming to help the Lions' team rebound in a big way from last season's 4-6 finish.
"This is the biggest line we've had," said Red Lion head coach Pat Conrad, who's beginning his seventh season. "We've had seasons where we had a big guy here, and a big guy there, but not like this year. This year's guys probably average 240 to 260, and they move well, too."
The biggest of the big guys is Andrew Zeller, a 6-6, 290-pound senior offensive and defensive lineman. Zeller's campus residence next year will be in College Park, Md., where he'll play on scholarship for the University of
Zeller, a right guard, is one of four returning starters on the offensive line. The others are: Matt Goddard (Sr., 6-2, 235 center), Grant Innerst (Sr., 6-0, 245, left guard), Warren Johnson (Sr., 6-2, 220, right tackle) and Mike Romano (Jr., 6-3, 255, left tackle). Zeller, Goddard, Innerst and Johnson are returning starters.
Zeller and Johnson are also back on defense, along with two other linemen, Nick Kocman (Jr., 6-0, 235) and Brooks Arnold (Jr. 6-0, 230).
The average weight of the seven veterans is 244 pounds.
"We've become really close over the summer and bonded together," Innerst said. "With having four returning linemen back, we should be able to dominate."
Innerst said he and his teammates have been looking ahead to the 2010 season since last November.
"The Monday after the Dallastown game (the final one of 2009), we looked to put the past season behind us," he said. "If we run into tough spots this season, with the senior leadership we have, I feel we'll get through it."
The Lions have 23 seniors and 21 juniors on their roster.
Red Lion quarterback Tanner Klinefelter is a junior, but he's familiar with varsity football. The 6-2, 180-pound Klinefelter played in six games last year and passed for 536 yards and six touchdowns.
"The speed of the varsity game was a lot different than JVs," he said. "You have to make decisions a lot quicker in a varsity game. That was one of the main things I learned last year."
Klinefelter plans to put the things he learned last year to use this year while directing the offense behind a veteran line.
"We have a great line up front," he said. "I definitely feel we'll have time to throw the ball. We also have a bunch of good running backs."
Jeremy Knaub returns in the backfield after rushing for 996 yards last year.
"Jeremy is a tough kid and a hard runner," Conrad said. "We also have Mike Gray, Billy Lloyd and a sophomore, Jason Milton, as running backs."
When Klinefelter drops back to throw, he can choose from a number of tested receivers.
"We used seven receivers last year, and five of them are back," Conrad said. "Joe Baublitz (one of the returning receivers) caught 30 balls last year. I'm anxious to get started and see where the chips fall."
Red Lion's players and coaches are expecting to be part of what appears to be a wide-open Division I title chase.
-- Reach Dick VanOlin da at dvanolinda@yorkdis patch.com or at 505-5407.