Area coaches discuss the lack of coaching changes this offseason, and how that's good for the league Elijah Armold
This is the 13th installment of our daily preview capsules leading up to the start of the York-Adams League high school football season.
Team: Eastern York Golden Knights.
Coach: Jeff Mesich, second year.
2016 record: 4-6 overall, 4-2 York-Adams Division II
Key losses (2016 All-Stars in bold): Keegan Corwell, running back/linebacker; Jimmy Kurnik, quarterback/receiver/defensive back; Landon Mapstone, offensive/defensive line; Kevin Royce, offensive/defensive line; Wyatt Smith, offensive/defensive line.
Key returners (2016 All-Stars in bold): Jashim Snyder, senior, receiver; Carl Carbaugh, senior, offensive/defensive line; Logan Kline, senior, running back; Demonte Martin, junior, receiver/kick returner/defensive back; Brennen Shenk, senior, linebacker; Corey Rietscha, senior, defensive line; Cole Witman, junior, linebacker/kick returner; Kaleb Corwell, sophomore, linebacker.
2017 schedule (Division II games in bold): Sept. 1, vs. Lampeter-Strasburg (7 p.m.); Sept. 8, vs. York Tech (7 p.m.); Sept. 15, at Littlestown (7 p.m.); Sept. 22, vs. West York (7 p.m.); Sept. 29, at Dover (7 p.m.); Oct. 6, vs. Gettysburg (7 p.m.); Oct. 13, vs. Susquehannock (7 p.m.); Oct. 20, at Kennard-Dale (7 p.m.); Oct. 27, at Central York (7 p.m.); Nov. 3, at York Suburban (7 p.m.).
Outlook: While his first season with the Golden Knights didn’t produce the overall success that Mesich would have liked (4-6), Eastern was able to compete within the division by posting a 4-2 mark.
Mesich said last season’s wins were built on the Knights’ strengths defensively, and this season should be no different. Eastern brings back seven of 11 starters on that side of the ball, including all-star linebacker Brennen Shenk.
The area hit hardest by graduation in Wrightsville is up front. Only one starting lineman, Carl Carbaugh, returns on either side of the ball.
Looming large will be the loss of starting quarterback Seth Bernstein, who along with younger brother, and starting center, Trey, transferred to York High in the offseason.
However, the Knights do return their second-leading rusher as well as six of its top seven receivers from a season ago. If Eastern can shore up the line and find itself a quarterback quickly, good things could follow.
The Knights will hit the road for three straight to close out the season. Among those games are tilts with Division I’s Central York and Division II rival York Suburban to finish the regular season. The Trojans are two-time defending division champions.
Quotable: “We have a lot more starters back on defense than offense. Our linebackers and defensive backs, look for us to be athletic. The thing for us will be finding new linemen to go along with our returning starter.” — Eastern head coach Jeff Mesich.
Reach Elijah Armold at firstname.lastname@example.org.