COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: Gettysburg returns lots of talent, but defending title won't be easy

Matt Heiser, Gettysburg
Football Media Day, Thursday August 1, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo
  • Gettysburg is the defending York-Adams Division II football champion.
  • The Warriors return a lot of talent from a team that went 8-3 overall.
  • Among the returners for the Warriors is starting quarterback Zach Ketterman.

Editor's note: This is one in a continuing series of team previews for the 2019 York-Adams League football season:

Despite capturing the program’s first-ever York-Adams League Division II title in 2018, the Gettysburg Warriors are anything but sure bets to repeat this season.

Even with a ton of returning talent in many of the key offensive skill positions — quarterback, running back and receiver — the Gettysburg boys know that repeating as undefeated division champs will require a lot to go right.

“They’re working hard,” Warriors coach Matt Heiser said. “They’re a great group of boys and they have great chemistry together. They’re focused and they put in a lot of time this summer. I know there’s a lot of excitement and they’re ready to go.”

Success in football can often be directly attributed to the quarterback position. With Zach Ketterman, an all-star as a junior, back for his senior season, the Warriors know they should be set there.

Defensively, there’s even more to be excited about. Coach Heiser’s son, Austin, returns a season after earning the D-II Defensive Player of the Year award. So are fellow all-stars in Charles Warren (WR/RB/LB), Devin McIntosh (OL/DL), Gunner Pennington (RB/LB) and Hunter Williams (OL/DL).

The Warriors will have one very big hole to fill. Ammon Robinson, the 2018 D-II Offensive Player of the Year, graduated in the spring after setting a school record with 1,534 yards rushing.

Even with a great deal of talent back in the fold, coach Heiser isn’t quite counting his chickens yet. The other D-II teams — particularly York Suburban and Susquehannock — have quite a bit of experience and talent returning, as well.

“I expect it’s going to be really tough in Division II,” Heiser said. “I mean everyone has a lot of talent on their teams and they’re well coached, so it should make for another exciting season.”

Following is a capsule preview of the 2019 Gettysburg season.

Team: Gettysburg Warriors.

Coach: Matt Heiser, eighth year.

2018 record: 8-3 overall, 6-0 York-Adams Division II.

Key losses (Division II All-Stars in bold): Ammon Robinson, running back/defensive back; Simeon Davis, quarterback/defensive back; Charlie Burnett, running back/linebacker; Jake Bridel, kicker/linebacker; Kurtis Woerner, wide receiver/linebacker; Robert Hatfield, offensive/defensive lineman; Jacob Schaub, offensive/defensive lineman, Toby Day, offensive/defensive lineman; Eric Hemler, wide receiver/linebacker.

Key returners (Division II All-Stars in bold): Charles Warren, senior, wide receiver/linebacker; Austin Heiser, senior, tight end/defensive lineman; Zach Ketterman, senior, quarterback; Devin McIntosh, senior, offensive/defensive lineman; Gunner Pennington, running back/linebacker; Hunter Williams, junior, offensive/defensive lineman.

2019 schedule (Division II games in bold): Aug. 23 vs. South Western; Aug. 30 vs. Bishop McDevitt; Sept. 6 vs. Waynesboro; Sept. 13 at West York; Sept. 20 vs. Susquehannock; Sept. 27 at Eastern York; Oct. 4 vs. Kennard-Dale; Oct. 11 at York Suburban; Oct. 18 vs. Dover; Oct. 25 at Greencastle-Antrim.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at