COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: Littlestown Thunderbolts
- Littlestown finished 2-8 overall last season and 2-5 in York-Adams Division III.
- The 'Bolts have typically been a D-III contender under Mike Lippy, who has a career mark of 97-50.
- Wes Storey returns at running back for Littlestown after nearly rushing for 1,000 yards in 2015.
This is the third installment of our daily preview capsules leading up to the start of the York-Adams League high school football season on Friday, Sept. 2.
Who: Littlestown Thunderbolts.
2015 record: 2-8 overall, 2-5 Division III.
Coach: Mike Lippy, 14th season.
Key returners (2015 Division III All-Stars in bold): Wes Storey, senior, running back/defensive back; Tyler Barthel, senior, wide receiver; Brandon Morey, senior, offensive line/defensive line; Brandon Pittinger, tight-end/defensive line; Ben Snouffer, senior, wide receiver/linebacker; Malachi Fodor, sophomore, offensive line/defensive line; Drew Matthews, senior, running back/linebacker; Trey Noble, senior, wide receiver/linebacker;
Notable losses: Cody Boyd, quarterback/defensive back; Jacdson Hornbrook, wide receiver; Dylan Sizemore, running back/linebacker; Ryan Dickensheets, offensive line/defensive line; Will Smith, offensive line/defensive line.
2016 schedule (Division III games in bold): Sept. 2 vs. Boiling Springs (7 p.m.); Sept. 9 vs. Hamburg (7 p.m.); Sept. 16 at Eastern York (7 p.m.); Sept. 24 at York Tech (1 p.m.); Sept. 30 vs. Delone Catholic (7 p.m.); Oct. 7 at York Catholic (7 p.m.); Oct. 14 at Hanover (7 p.m.); Oct. 21 vs. Biglerville (7 p.m.); Oct. 28 at Bermudian Springs (7 p.m.); Nov. 4 vs. Fairfield (7 p.m.).
Outlook: Lippy (97-50 overall record) has a lot of experience heading a winning program at Littlestown. He’s coached five division title squads, including one (2004) that won the District 3-AA crown. Losing seasons, like the ones he’s suffered through the past two campaigns, have been few and far between. So, it should come as no surprise, that Lippy is eager to turn the Thunderbolts back into a contender for the D-III title.
Doing so in 2016 will take some things falling into line. Two of the biggest keys hinge on getting off to a good start and the play of quarterback Tanner Noble. The Thunderbolts are coming off back-to-back seasons in which they played district favorites Greencastle and Lancaster Catholic. Neither is found on the 2016 schedule. The non-league lineup instead includes Boiling Springs, Hamburg and Eastern York.
Noble, a senior, will take over the position from Cody Boyd, who threw for nearly 1,000 yards and five touchdowns a season ago. While Noble may not be the most gifted athlete on his squad, he’s perhaps the most mentally-strong QB that Lippy has ever coached. Noble has Lippy's full confidence to manage the game offensively. Another reason to be optimistic if you’re a Littlestown fan is the return of do-everything back Wes Storey. The senior all-star ran for nearly 1,000 yards a year ago while tallying more than 100 yards receiving.
Coach speak: “I’m excited to getting back to this season. We’ve now had two disappointing seasons. We’ve been through the good and we’ve been through the bad and I can tell you which one we like better. And I talked to (Noble and Storey) on the way over that, as seniors, if this team doesn’t have a winning record they will be the first class to go three years like that in a long, long time at Littlestown. And I think that is partly motivating for them to make sure that doesn’t happen.” — Lippy.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.