COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: Northeastern Bobcats
- Northeastern went 9-3 overall in 2015 and 5-2 in Y-A League Division I play.
- The Bobcats were the only large school from the Y-A League to make it past the first round of the 2015 district playoffs.
- Shannon Valenti is back for his second year as starting quarterback after totaling nearly 1,400 yards in 2015.
This is the 22nd 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: Northeastern Bobcats.
2015 record: 9-3 overall, 5-2 York-Adams Division I.
Coach: Jon Scepanski, fourth season.
Key returners (Division I All-Stars in bold): Anu Johnson, senior, running back; Shamari Young, junior, defensive end; Fred Mulbah, junior, defensive back/running back; Chris Whack, senior, running back/linebacker; Shannon Valenti, senior, quarterback; John Wadkins, senior, offensive and defensive tackle; Coby Motley, senior, wide receiver/linebacker; Mason Kling, senior, tight end/linebacker; Taemar Willis, senior, wide receiver/defensive back.
Notable losses (Division I All-Stars in bold): David Ankney, wide receiver/defensive back; Adam Kipp, offensive guard/defensive end; Fernando Flores, outside linebacker; Gary Gobernik, linebacker; Cameron Artman, kicker; Kody Reeser, running back/inside linebacker.
2016 schedule (Division I games in bold): Sept. 2 vs. Daniel Boone (7 p.m.); Sept. 9 at York Suburban (7 p.m.); Sept. 17 at Solanco (7 p.m.); Sept. 23 vs. Central York (7 p.m.); Sept. 30 at Red Lion (7 p.m.); Oct. 7 vs. Dallastown (7 p.m.); Oct. 14 at York High (7 p.m.); Oct. 21 vs. Spring Grove (7 p.m.); Oct. 28 vs. South Western (7 p.m.); Nov. 4 at New Oxford (7 p.m.)
Outlook: This is just the ninth year that Northeastern will have a varsity football team, but it seems like as good a year as any for the Bobcats to win their first Division I title.
Northeastern enters the season as the popular choice to grab the division crown, partly because it’s coming off a season in which it was the only Y-A League large school to make it to the district quarterfinals, but also because it brings back a lot from that quarterfinal team.
To start, Valenti is one of the most versatile dual-threat quarterbacks in the league, and after being a late-summer transfer into the school prior to 2015, he’ll have a better grasp of the offense and should make it click. He’ll have Johnson in his backfield, a quick and shifty runner who will be one of the most dynamic backs in the league. Everything is shaping up for the Bobcats to be great this year, so expectations are already through the roof.
What’s interesting about Northeastern’s schedule is a rare Saturday night contest in Week 3 at Solanco, giving the Bobcats a short week to prepare for their first league contest in Week 4 against Central York.
Coach speak: “(Valenti) had a lot to handle in a little bit of time. Now, we’re running the same offensive system, so it’s a year under his belt where he understands things and isn’t trying to learn so much on the fly. So, he’s growing in that aspect where he’s starting to understand the offense, which helps him make his reads in certain situations.” — Scepanski.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at email@example.com