This is the 18th installment of our daily preview capsules leading up to the start of the York-Adams League high school football season on Sept. 4.
Who: Northeastern Bobcats.
2014 record: 5-5 overall, 2-5 Division I.
Coach: Jon Scepanski, third season.
Key returners: Kody Reeser, senior, running back; David Ankney, senior, wide receiver; Tate Lau, senior, defensive end; Chris Whack, junior, running back; Jordan Zirkle, senior, wide receiver; Blake Einsig, junior, quarterback; Gary Gobernik, senior, wide receiver/linebacker.
Notable losses: Peyton Wolgamuth, offensive guard; Jordan Farmer, defensive tackle.
2014 All-Stars: Peyton Wolgamuth, offensive guard; Jordan Farmer, defensive tackle; Tate Lau, defensive end; Kody Reeser, running back; David Ankney, wide receiver.
2015 schedule: Sept. 4, @ York Catholic (7 p.m.); Sept. 11, vs. York Suburban (7 p.m.); Sept. 18, vs. Susquehannock (7 p.m.); Sept. 25, at Central York (7 p.m.); Oct. 2, vs. Red Lion (7 p.m.); Oct. 9, at Dallastown (7 p.m.); Oct. 16, vs. York High (7 p.m.); Oct. 23, at Spring Grove (7 p.m.); Oct. 30, at South Western (7 p.m.); Nov. 6, at New Oxford (7 p.m.).
Outlook: Northeastern shocked a lot of people last year by going 5-5 in its first year in Division I and nearly squeaked into the District 3-AAA playoffs. It was a big improvement in Jon Scepanski's second year at the helm after only winning once in his first season. Now, expectations are going to be even higher in 2015.
The Bobcats are going to be one of the most experienced teams in the entire York-Adams League, returning numerous key players on both sides of the ball. All-Stars Kody Reeser, David Ankney and Tate Lau are all back after having big junior seasons. Reeser had a strong junior season running the ball, averaging 100 yards/game in seven games, while leading a three-headed monster in the backfield. The other two pieces of that attack, junior Chris Whack and sophomore Fred Mulbah, will also be back, giving Northeastern a running game that could present a lot of problems for opposing defenses.
On the outside, Ankney is just one of a number wide receivers returning for the Bobcats. He caught seven touchdowns in 2014, while leading receiver Jordan Zirkle returns after catching a team-high 23 passes last year.
All of that sets up for a breakout junior season for quarterback Blake Einsig, who will be the starting QB for the second straight year, but enters as the go-to guy for the first time in his career. He took over for Marcus Josey last season in the first game, after Josey tore a ligament in his foot, causing him to miss the remainder of his junior season. Josey won't return for his senior campaign as he's undergoing treatment for leukemia.
Still, when you couple a full season of experience for Einsig and all of his offensive weapons returning, 2015 could be a special year for him and Northeastern.
And don't look past the defense either. Leading tackler Gary Gobernik returns for his senior season at linebacker and Tate Lau will lead a strong defensive line, making this year's Bobcats squad a well-rounded team that is poised to, not only make a run at the playoffs, but to compete for the Division I title.
Coach speak: "Offensively and defensively, we have a lot of guys returning, so our expectations are pretty high, so we have to stand up to that and work hard and have a positive outcome on this season." — Northeastern head coach Jon Scepanski on team's high expectations entering 2015.