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COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: York Suburban Trojans

ELIJAH ARMOLD
505-5406/@YDSports
  • York Suburban is the defending York-Adams Division II champion.
  • The Trojans will need to replace the league's leading passer and receiver from last season.
  • The Trojans will lean on a number of experienced returners to lead their division title defense.

This is the 15th installment of our daily preview capsules leading up to the start of the York-Adams League high school football season on Friday, Sept. 2.

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Team: York Suburban Trojans.

Coach: Andy Loucks, second season.

2015 record: 8-3 overall, 6-0 York-Adams Division II (division champion).

Key losses (2015 All-Stars in bold): Thomas Merkle, quarterback, Collin Mailman, wide receiver; Jonas Atkinson, kicker; Derek Lehman, center; David Kline, defensive end; Justice Gettle, linebacker; Dustin Knaub, defensive back; Dajour Henderson, running back and defensive back, Brad Smith, wide receiver; Lew Wright, defensive tackle; Adrian Sanchez, offensive guard.

Key returners (2015 All-Stars in bold): Gavin Barclay, senior, offensive tackle; Teague Hoffman, senior, linebacker and running back; Colin Deardorf, senior, wide receiver; Ben Igo, senior, quarterback and safety.

2016 schedule (Division II games in bold): Sept. 2, vs. York Catholic (7 p.m.); Sept. 9, vs. Northeastern (7 p.m.); Sept. 16, at Columbia (7 p.m.); Sept. 23, vs. Kennard-Dale (7 p.m.); Sept. 30, at Northern Lebanon (7 p.m.); Oct. 7, at Susquehannock (7 p.m.); Oct. 14, vs. West York (7 p.m.); Oct. 21, at Dover (7 p.m.); Oct. 28, vs. Gettysburg (7 p.m.); Nov. 4, at Eastern York (7 p.m.).

Outlook: Reigning York-Adams Division II Coach of the Year Andy Loucks refuses to call this season a rebuilding one for the defending division champion Trojans.

Although the team lost a lot of talent to graduation, Loucks is quick to note that he has a lot returning in terms of experience. Loucks credits a large senior class that is ready for its turn to succeed.

Most notable among the Trojans’ losses is the dynamic duo of quarterback Thomas Merkle and wide receiver Colin Mailman.

Merkle was the league's leading passer a year ago and also broke the York-Adams career passing mark in the process. He threw for more than 2,500 yards and 26 touchdowns in 2015.

Mailman was also a first-team all-star, the's league leading receiver and the only player to crack 1,000 yards receiving on the year (1,094).

The team will also be without leading rusher Dajour Henderson, who rushed for 630 yards a year ago.

STROHECKER: Division II football looks up for grabs

Thankfully for Suburban, one of the players tapped to replace Merkle is no stranger to the system. In fact, quarterback Ben Igo had started at previous levels before being surpassed by Merkle two seasons ago.

The Trojans will also see the return of receiver Collin Deardorff and running back Teague Hoffman. That pair saw significant action on last season’s division title team.

Perhaps the area that Loucks is most pleased with his returning depth is on the lines. Leading the way up front will be returning all-star lineman Gavin Barclay.

Barclay checks in a 6-feet, 6-inches and was recently named by the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association as one of the top 105 seniors entering this season.

Sam Hont and Ralph Casper also look at add considerable size to the Trojans front lines.

Quotable: “We have a big senior class, and most of those guys have played a role for us in the past. We have five linemen that have either started or played substantial amounts for us. We had a decent amount of depth last year, (the returning players) got to play, they just weren’t the ones with the big numbers.” — Loucks.

Reach Elijah Armold at earmold@yorkdispatch.com.