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COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: South Western Mustangs

Patrick Strohecker
505-5402/@P_Strohecker
  • South Western went 7-4 overall in 2015 and 5-2 in Y-A League Division I play.
  • Drew Hartlaub is back for his senior season after suffering a torn ACL in Week 1 of 2015.
  • Mustangs face Red Lion, Dallastown and Northeastern in a four-week stretch in second half of season.

This is the 21st 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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Who: South Western Mustangs.

2015 record: 7-4 overall, 5-2 York-Adams Division I.

Coach: Damian Poalucci, fifth season.

Key returners (Division I All-Stars in bold): A.R. Reusing, senior, offensive guard/defensive tackle; Bubba Carbaugh, senior, offensive and defensive tackle; Nat VanCampen, senior, quarterback/defensive back; Bubba Carbaugh, senior, offensive and defensive tackle; Drew Hartlaub, senior, running back/cornerback; Carson Perry, senior, running back/linebacker; Evan Raubenstine, senior, offensive guard/linebacker; Wes Sneeringer, junior, kicker.

Notable losses (Division I All-Stars in bold): Jeff Green, running back; Noah Staub, wide receiver/defensive back; Corbin Byers, tight end/defensive end; Tyler Fulmore, linebacker;  Scotty Dickmyer, center; Skylar Bowman, offensive guard/defensive tackle; Josh Zeroth, defensive tackle; Matt Smolko, outside linebacker; Miles Francis, wide receiver/defensive back; Brock Geiman, quarterback; Zack Hughes, running back/outside lienbacker; Robby Harbison, fullback/linebacker; Mike Farace, offensive guard/linebacker.

2016 schedule (Division I games in bold): Sept. 2 vs. Gettysburg (7 p.m.); Sept. 9 at Manheim Township (7 p.m.); Sept. 16 at Carlisle (7 p.m.); Sept. 23 vs. New Oxford (7 p.m.); Sept. 30 at Central York (7 p.m.); Oct. 7 vs. Red Lion (7 p.m.); Oct. 14 at Dallastown (7 p.m.); Oct. 21 vs. York High (7 p.m.); Oct. 28 at Northeastern (7 p.m.); Nov. 4 vs. Spring Grove (7 p.m.)

Outlook: If you want to pick a dark horse to contend for the Division I crown, South Western could be it. The Mustangs lost a lot from 2015, but Poalucci is very high on potential starting quarterback VanCampen replacing Geiman. On top of that, Hartlaub has all the potential to be the Division I Player of the Year, despite coming off a torn ACL suffered in Week 1 last year. That's enough of a reason not to write off South Western.

The beginning of the season could tell us a lot about the Mustangs. They face a 4-A school in Gettysburg and then two 6-A schools in Manheim Township and Carlisle, both on the road. Going 3-0 in those games would be a huge boost for South Western’s playoff hopes. A light start to the league schedule could potentially see the Mustangs open the year 4-1 or 5-0 before facing Red Lion, Dallastown and Northeastern in a four-week stretch.

HEISER: York-Adams football teams have motivation

Coach speak: “We never talk about records. We talk about winning titles and stuff like that, but I always set those as the ultimate goal. I think Bubba (Carbaugh) made a good point about not worrying about state championships, but worrying about Gettysburg. I think, even narrowing that down less to winning the practice and winning the day, I think that’s a very important thing.” — Poalucci.

— Reach Patrick Strohecker at pstrohecker@yorkdispatch.com