Editor's note: This is one in a continuing series of team previews for the 2019 York-Adams League football season:
Despite losing his starting quarterback to graduation, Susquehannock High coach Steve Wiles is excited about the players coming back at key positions this season.
“I think we’re in a good spot,” Wiles said. “We’ve got a lot of returning starters. In high school football, there’s really no replacement for that.”
To help new starting quarterback Matt Allen, a rising senior, are a pair of fellow seniors in the backfield with him.
York-Adams Division II All-Stars in 2018, Daniel Clapp and Allen Clapp return in 2019 and Wiles said that Allen had experience playing with the duo and that he didn’t expect the transition to starter for Allen to be difficult.
A big factor in how successful the quarterback and running backs will be this year is how solid the offensive line play is.
Wiles said he didn’t worry about X’s and O’s in the offseason as much as the focus was on getting his players stronger. With weight-room sessions three times per week in the summer, Wiles was eager to see how the younger players progressed since last season.
“They’ll have plenty of opportunity in those practices to show how they’ve gained physically,” Wiles said. “I just believe physically you’ve got to be able to hold your own up there. You got to know what you’re doing, but if you don’t have any physical strength behind it, you’re probably in trouble.”
In addition to being physically prepared to battle up front, the Warriors’ returning linemen are focused on making sure the new starters have the intensity needed to create holes for runners. Rising senior Luke Ohman said it’s about having a mentality that nobody will push you around, no matter your age or experience.
“You gotta be the predator, you can’t be the prey,” Ohman said.
Rising senior lineman Jacob Barnhart said the offense performed well overall during offseason workouts, but agreed that they won’t know how good they can be until they put their pads on.
While he said communication will be key for the offensive line to have success this season, Barhart also said there’s a mentality needed to make plays on the field. If the skill position players are going to be able to have success in 2019, it will start with the guys on the line and the attitude they bring to the field.
“Just knowing when to flip that switch. When you put on that helmet, you need to change and get angry,” Barnhart said.
Following is a capsule preview of the 2019 Susquehannock season.
►Team: Susquehannock Warriors.
►Coach: Steve Wiles, fifth season.
►2018 record: 4-6 overall, 3-3 York-Adams Division II.
►Key losses (Division II All-Stars in bold): Kenny Rhyne, quarterback; Avery Ghant, wide receiver/defensive back; Carter Slaton, lineman; Matt Mussmacher, tight end/lineman; Dustin Shipley, tight end/linebacker.
►Key returners (Division II All-Stars in bold):Daniel Clapp, senior, running back/linebacker; Allen Clapp, senior, running back/linebacker; Luke Ohman, senior, lineman; Chris Moss, senior, running back/defensive back; Kadeem Stewart, junior, running back/linebacker; Zach Green, senior, tight end/defensive end.
►2019 schedule (Division II games in bold): Aug. 23 vs. Hanover (7 p.m.); Aug. 30 vs. Littlestown; Sept. 6 at York Catholic (7 p.m.); Sept. 13 vs. Dover (7 p.m.); Sept. 20 at Gettysburg (7 p.m.); Sept. 27 vs. West York (7 p.m.); Oct. 4 at Northern York (7 p.m.); Oct. 11 at Eastern York (7 p.m.); Oct. 18 vs. Kennard-Dale (7 p.m.); Oct. 25 at York Suburban (7 p.m.)
Reach Rob Rose at email@example.com.