Northeastern waiting to see what changes new coach brings: 2022 football preview

Dante Green
York Dispatch

The Northeastern football program has only been around for 14 years, and Jon Scapanski was the coach for nine of those seasons.

When Scepanski informed Bobcats’ coaches and players in May that he was leaving the school to become the new head coach at Conestoga Valley, Northeastern athletic director Bryan Stephens didn’t look too far for their next leader of young men.

Kirby Brubaker, the defensive coordinator for the last five seasons, is taking the helm for the Bobcats this fall. Brubaker has said he will bring back the same staff from a season ago, but he's going to make some changes in how the team plays.

Northeastern made the District 3 playoffs four times in five seasons from 2015 to 2019 but has gone just 3-14 the past two seasons. Last year they were 2-8 and finished seventh in the division. 

They’ve struggled to put points on the board, averaging under 15 points per game (14.9 in 2021). 

Brubaker said this year the Bobcats will run a multiple-I offense based around a power run game after using the triple-option the past two seasons. The new head coach is a former offensive lineman and was offensive coordinator while assistant coach with Dallastown.

Northeastern coach Kirby Brubaker at Media Day for the local high school football teams in York on August 2, 2022.

The multiple offense spreads the field with multiple wide receivers to utilize fullbacks and tight ends to establish a power running game. It is usually implemented to fit the skills of available offensive personnel and can be difficult for an opposing defense to prepare for. Controversially, it creates an offense that is usually not known for moving the ball through the air. 

The head coach has made it clear since he was hired that he plans on the team being a run-first offense.

“Our offense fits the players that we currently have,” Brubaker said.

Northeastern safety and running back Neisen Taylor (4) at Media Day for the local high school football teams in York on August 2, 2022.

Senior running backs Neisen Taylor and Adrian Constano will play major roles in the backfield and help to open up things for the quarterback.

“We just want to show people we can play. Last year was rough for us,” Taylor said.

Taylor tore both his labrums last year and had off-season surgery on both shoulders. His two dislocations affected him last season even though he didn’t miss any games. He’s said he’s hoping to stay healthy this season and have more of an impact on the field.

Brubaker also said that the offense needs to catch up to the defense at this stage. With a defensive coordinator running things, expect a team that is ready to win games on the defensive side of the ball, although last year they allowed teams to score 35.7 points per game against them. 

Northeastern tight end and safety, Xavier Erazo (14) at Media Day for the local high school football teams in York on August 2, 2022.

Safety Xavier Erazo will be one of the players who needs to step up defensively. He said that the team needs to be patient this season.

"Taking things one day at a time and one game at a time. I’m ready to get out and show what we can do as a team,” Erazo said.

Here's a capsule look at the Bobcats: 

Team: Northeastern Bobcats

Head coach: Kirby Brubaker, first season

2021 record: 2-8 overall, 1-6 in York-Adams League Division I

Key losses (Division I All-Stars in bold): Konnor Reeser (OB/DB), Owen Willhide (TE, DE), Levey Wzorek (FB, DT), Caden Perez (RB), David Perry (T)

Key returns: Houston Morder (QB/FS), Matt Sterner (MLB/C), Alexander Castono (G/T), Neisen Taylor (DB/RB), Xavier Erazo (TE/S), Adrian Castano (RB),

2022 schedule  (Division I games in bold): Aug. 26 vs. Dover; Sept. 2 at Red Land; Sept. 9 at Central Dauphin East; Sept. 16 vs. William Penn; Sept. 30 vs Spring Grove; Oct. 7 vs. Central York; Oct. 14 at South Western; Oct. 21 at Red Lion; Oct. 28 vs York Suburban