COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: A preview look at the Spring Grove Rockets
- Spring Grove is coming off a second consecutive 5-5 regular season under head coach Kyle Sprenkle.
- After making districts in Sprenkle's first year in 2015, a 1-3 finish in 2016 prevented the Rockets from repeating that postseason appearance.
- Spring Grove graduated four Y-A League all-stars, including Co-Defensive Player of the Year, Owen Jacobs.
This is the 19th installment of our daily preview capsules leading up to the start of the York-Adams League high school football season.
►Team: Spring Grove Rockets.
►Coach: Kyle Sprenkle, third season.
►2016 record: 5-5 overall, 3-4 York-Adams Division I.
►Key losses (2016 All-Stars in bold): Owen Jacobs, senior, offensive/defensive lineman; Brady Stein, senior, wide receiver; Ronnie Lawson, senior, linebacker; Nate Young, senior, offensive/defensive lineman; Jake Messersmith, senior, quarterback; Ryan Daugherty, senior, running back/linebacker; Anthony Beddia, senior, wide receiver/cornerback; Austin Piety, senior, linebacker; Seth Shively, senior, linebacker.
►Key returners (2016 All-Stars in bold): Connor Reed, senior, wide receiver/safety; Nick Shaqfeh, junior, quarterback; Patrick Anderson, senior, wide receiver/defensive lineman; Braden Brandt, junior, running back/linebacker; Drew Gordon, senior, kicker/punter; Chance Jackson, senior, wide receiver/cornerback; Ryan Miller, senior, offensive/defensive lineman. Zach Ruggerie, senior, offensive/defensive lineman.
►2017 schedule (Division I games in bold): Sept. 1 at Hershey (7 p.m.); Sept. 8 vs. Mechanicsburg (7 p.m.); Sept. 15 at Garden Spot (7 p.m.); Sept. 22 at Dallastown (7 p.m.); Sept. 29 vs. New Oxford (7 p.m.); Oct. 6 vs. York High (7 p.m.); Oct. 13 at Central York (7 p.m.); Oct. 20 vs. Northeastern (7 p.m.); Oct. 27 at Red Lion (7 p.m.); Nov. 3 vs. South Western (7 p.m.).
►Outlook: The Rockets are entering Year 3 with Sprenkle at the helm and still looking for an above-.500 season.
After finishing strong to make the playoffs in 2015, that momentum carried over for Spring Grove last year, beginning the season 4-2. However, a 1-3 finish saw the Rockets finish 5-5.
Spring Grove graduated four all-stars, including Co-Defensive Player of the Year, Owen Jacobs. Last year, two-year starter Jake Messersmith got hurt at quarterback, opening the door for Nick Shaqfeh to see significant time as a sophomore. Still, Sprenkle entered the preseason with the starting job up in the air, with senior David Taglieri waiting to get his chance to start.
There's plenty of seniors on the roster for the Rockets this year, many of which were part of Sprenkle's first varsity roster in 2015. Division I is always a gauntlet, especially for those middle-of-the-road teams such as Spring Grove. But, the Rockets don't lack any confidence that they can contend for a Division I title and berth in the district playoffs.
Quotable: “We gotta get over that hump of 5-5. This is our third year within the program and it takes time to get things that you want in place, and now that we have this senior group that has been with us two years, they understand and have bought into the program. So, things are going a lot more smoothly during this offseason and that will help propel us over the hump." — Sprenkle
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org