REGION 1 PREVIEW

2013 CHAMPION: Lakeview*

OTHER PLAYOFF QUALIFIERS: West Middlesex, Mercer, Sharpsville and Conneaut (Class AAA)

 

PREVIOUS CHAMPIONS

2012: West Middlesex

2011: *Sharpsville

2010: *Farrell

2009: *Farrell

2008: *Farrell, Linesville and Mercer

2007: Mercer

2006: ^West Middlesex

2005: *Kennedy Catholic

2004: *Sharpsville

*=also won district title, ^=also won district title and reached PIAA Championship game

 

 

1. WILMINGTON GREYHOUNDS

HEAD COACH: Terry Verrelli

2013 RECORD: 3-4 Region 3 (fifth), 4-5 overall

CUMULATIVE RECORD IN LAST 5 YEARS: 43-16

CUMULATIVE RECORD IN LAST 10 YEARS: 101-24

PLAYOFF APPEARANCES IN LAST 10 YEARS: 8 (2005-2012)

DISTRICT TITLES IN LAST 10 YEARS: 4 (2006-2009)

PIAA FINALS APPEARANCES: 2

1988: lost 11-26 to Bethlehem Catholic (as member of WPIAL)

2008: beat West Catholic 35-34 (2OT)

 

 

OFFENSE

Averaged 25.0 points per game last season

RANK

Amongst eight teams in Region 3: 6

Amongst 16 Class AA teams in district: 9

 

Wilmington brings back eight starters from last year's team, including its only all-region selection in second team wide receiver Marc Peoples, who caught 21 balls for 341 yards and six touchdowns in 2013. Peoples' senior classmate Cody Llewellyn enters his third season as the team's starting quarterback and has passed for 1203 yards, 17 touchdowns and only four interceptions in that time. Senior Jacob Sotter and Spencer DeMedal are returning starters at running back, while DeMedal's sophomore classmates Kyle Slicker and Reese Bender also see time in the backfield. Senior Marcus Morris is another player who could see some time at running back. The line includes four year returning starters with senior Josh Wrightson, a third year starter, and sophomore Anthony Berardi the tackles, junior Ben Patterson the center and senior Shae Clarke one of the starting guards. Junior guard Tyler George is the only new starter on the line and senior tight Brendan Montswil completes the list of offensive starters.

 

 

DEFENSE

Allowed 16.9 points per game last season

RANK

Amongst eight teams in Region 3: 4

Amongst 16 Class AA teams in district: 7

 

Last year was the first time since 2003 that the "Hound Hammer" defense allowed opponents to average more than two touchdowns per game and while all three of the team's all-region selections (two first team, one second team) graduated, seven starters do return to help try and improve this year's group. Even with the loss of first team all-region defensive end Casey Hilton and second team all-region inside linebacker Riley Kollar the defensive line and linebacker back units should be strong with each of the other six members all returning starters. Wrightson and Dakota Boyle are back as the defensive tackles as is the duo's senior classmate Mitchell Whiting as one of the defensive ends with George filling the other end position. Outside linebackers Bender and Montswil and inside linebacker Sotter are all returning starters and either Slicker or junior Dom Gargiulo will take Kollar's spot as the other inside starter. DeMedal is the only returning starter in the secondary and he's joined at cornerback by senior Ian Behm with Llewellyn the safety.

 

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Senior James Gardner is the kicker, Slicker is the punter and also a potential kick/punt return man along with Bender, Sotter and DeMedal.

 

 

OUTLOOK

Wilmington saw a streak of nine consecutive postseason berths come to an end last year, but with all that it has back and the drop to Class A, the team still enters this season as the favorite to win both region and district crowns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. SHARPSVILLE BLUE DEVILS

HEAD COACH: Paul Piccirilli

2013 RECORD: 3-3 region (fourth), 8-5 overall (lost 0-27 to Lakeview in District 10 Championship game)

CUMULATIVE RECORD IN LAST 5 YEARS: 52-13

CUMULATIVE RECORD IN LAST 10 YEARS: 94-30

PLAYOFF APPEARANCES IN LAST 10 YEARS: 9 (2004-2006, 2008-2013)

DISTRICT TITLES IN LAST 10 YEARS: 3 (2004, 2011-2012)

PIAA FINALS APPEARANCES: 1

1997: beat Riverside 13-7

 

 

OFFENSE

Averaged 19.7 points per game last season (not including playoffs)

RANK

Amongst seven teams in region: 5

Amongst 14 Class A teams in district: 9

 

Sharpsville was the only District 10 playoff qualifier, regardless of classification, that averaged fewer than 20 points per game during the 2013 regular season, although the Blue Devils did get it going late in the year, putting up 35 in a week nine win over Warren JFK (Ohio) and respective totals of 31 and 40 in postseason triumphs over Eisenhower and West Middlesex. This year's team looks to be especially strong at running back with seniors Tyler Wansack, Greg Popatak and George Keck and juniors Khaliq Ragster and Tyrin Peavy. Wansack  was a second team all-region choice last year and led the team with 739 yards rushing and nine touchdowns, but was injured in the postseason opener against Eisenhower and in his absence both Popatak and Keck stepped up big time, scoring four touchdowns apiece during the playoff run. Sophomore Luke Henwood is back as the starting quarterback and the top three receivers are junior Mitch Fyffe and senior Miles Bowser and Nick Henwood with seniors Logan Eckles and Dayne Smith the top two tight ends. On the line Sharpsville must replace three all-region selections, including first team choices P.J. Campoli and Jacob Llewellyn. Center Brady Hogue and guard Michael Swartz are both returning starters and the duos junior classmate Bobby Demofonte holds down the other guard spot until senior Bobby Polochak returns from injury while the starting tackles are senior Jacob Solomon and junior Chris Mueller.

 

 

DEFENSE

Allowed 10.2 points per game last season (not including playoffs)

RANK

Amongst seven teams in region: 2

Amongst 14 Class A teams in district: 2

 

While the offense took a while to get going, the 2013 Blue Devil defense was a constant, giving up more than 20 points just once all year long and holding seven teams to no more than one score, including its playoff victories over Eisenhower and West Middlesex. Last year's defense included five all-region picks and of that group Wansack (first team) and Popatak (second team) are back, although Wansack has moved from the secondary to one the outside linebacker positions where he'll replace fellow first team all-region choice Derrek Smith. Nick Henwood is the other outside linebacker and Ragster joins Popatak as a starting inside linebacker. Dayne Smith and Swartz are the defensive ends, Mueller's the defensive tackle and Hogue is the nose tackle with the secondary made up of safety Peavy and cornerbacks Bowser and senior Jake McCall.

 

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Nick Henwood is the kicker, Popatak's the punter and kick/punt returners are Wansack and Peavy.

 

 

OUTLOOK

Last year was the third straight season that Sharpsville reached the District 10 Championship game - winning crowns in both 2011 and 2012 - and it has won at least one playoff game in each of the last five years. In a region where all seven teams could be playoff caliber the difference between winning and losing could be slim and that could be where having one of the top coaching staffs in the area could all the difference in the world.

 

 

 

 

3. WEST MIDDLESEX BIG REDS

HEAD COACH: Ed Roberson

2013 RECORD: 4-2 region (tied second), 7-5 overall (lost 3-40 to Sharpsville in district semifinals)

CUMULATIVE RECORD IN LAST 5 YEARS: 33-24

CUMULATIVE RECORD IN LAST 10 YEARS: 68-46

PLAYOFF APPEARANCES IN LAST 10 YEARS: 6 (2005-2006 and 2011-2013)

DISTRICT TITLES IN LAST 10 YEARS: 1 (2006)

PIAA FINALS APPEARANCES: 1

2006: lost 14 56 to Southern Columbia

 

 

OFFENSE

Averaged 21.4 points per game last season (not including playoffs)

RANK

Amongst seven teams in region: 3

Amongst 14 Class A teams in district: 8

 

Last year was the sixth straight season that West Middlesex averaged more than 21 points per game and the 2013 offense included four first team all-region selections. Of that quartet, both quarterback Trey Staunch and running back Eric Lucich return for their respective senior seasons and along with his first team pick last year, Staunch was a second team selection in 2012 and has passed for 2745 yards and 24 touchdowns, while rushing for another 13 scores over the past two seasons. Lucich finished last season with 1410 yards and 17 touchdowns and joining him in this year's backfield are senior Joey Trippy and junior Luke Hemminger. In the team's opening scrimmage against Mercyhurst Prep this year, both Lucich and Trippy had touchdown runs, while Hemminger had a 40+ sprint to setup a score. Isaac Williams is the starting wide receiver and his senior classmate Nate Patten is the tight end and also the backup quarterback. Tackle Mike Bachetti and guard Chris Mulkerin are both returning starters with the duo's senior classmate Gator Thompson the other tackle, junior Colton Smith the other guard and sophomore Tommy Lewis the center.

 

 

DEFENSE

Allowed 18.2 points per game last season (not including playoffs)

RANK

Amongst seven teams in region: 4

Amongst 14 Class A teams in district: 5

 

Like on offense, Lucich was a first team all-region member on defense last season and he's joined as a starter on the inside by Patten with Trippy and sophomore Dustin Murray the starting outside linebackers. 2014 graduate Davey Cox was the other first team all-region selection on last year's defense and Smith replaces him at nose tackle with Staunch and junior Josh Porterfield the defensive ends. The secondary is made of three new starters, all of whom are seniors in cornerbacks Canyon Pratt and Gavin Groesen and safety Andrew Long.     

 

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Trippy is the kicker, Lucich is the punter and the kick/punt returners are Andrew Long and junior Dylan Long.

 

 

OUTLOOK

The Big Reds are looking for a fourth straight postseason appearance and any team that gets out of this region has a realistic chance to win the district.

4. MERCER MUSTANGS

HEAD COACH: Pat McLearn

2013 RECORD: 9-3 region (tied second), 9-3 overall (lost 21-52 to Lakeview in district semifinals)

CUMULATIVE RECORD IN LAST 5 YEARS: 34-22

CUMULATIVE RECORD IN LAST 10 YEARS: 64-45

PLAYOFF APPEARANCES IN LAST 10 YEARS: 6 (2007-2011 and 2013)

DISTRICT TITLES IN LAST 10 YEARS: 0

PIAA FINALS APPEARANCES: 0

 

 

OFFENSE

Averaged 29.6 points per game last season (not including playoffs)

RANK

Amongst seven teams in region: 2

Amongst 14 Class A teams in district: 3

 

Last year was the fourth time in six seasons that Mercer averaged more than 29 points per game and led by first team all-region quarterback Logan Clarke, the Mustang offense should be just as potent this season. Now a senior, Clarke, who is in his third season as the starter, completed 168 of 302 pass attempts for 2487 yards, 27 touchdowns and nine interceptions, while also leading the team with 127 carries for 644 yards and adding four touchdowns on the ground a season ago. Four different Mustangs had at least 24 receptions and 366 receiving yards receiving last season, and of that group, senior classmates Brayton Edwards (49 receptions, 700 yards, six touchdown receptions) - and T.J. Peters (32-682-10) are back and Edwards is joined as a starting split end by junior Austin Hall with junior Levi Bequeath joining Peters as a slot receiver. Junior Jonathan Wegryznek (17 carries, 51 yards, one touchdown) is the lone running back, while the line features a pair of returning senior starters in second team all-region center Troy Sagulla and guard Clay Ruffo. Sophomore Cody Forrester is the other guard and the tackles are senior Mark Cresswell and sophomore Nate Cameron.

 

 

DEFENSE

Allowed 16.6 points per game last season (not including playoffs)

RANK

Amongst seven teams in region: 3

Amongst 14 Class A teams in district: 4

 

The 2013 Mustang defense featured four second team all-region selections and of that group both defensive end Edwards (76 tackles, six sacks) and safety Peters (61 tackles, one interception) are back. Cameron and Ruffo complete the list of starters on three man line and Clarke and sophomore Isaiah Bartolone join Peters as starters in the secondary. Even with the loss of second team all-region selection Zane O'Brien (158 tackles, three interceptions, two sacks) and Luke Leonard (84 tackles, one interception), both of whom were three year starters, the linebacker position should again be strong with Sagulla (135 tackles and 13 sacks over the past two seasons), Wegryznek (115 tackles, one sack last year) and Hall (59 tackles, one sack, one interception last year) leading the way and Bequeath and senior Zach Peck the other starting linebackers in Mercer's 3-5 stack defense.

 

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Clarke is back as the punter Cameron is the new kicker.

 

 

OUTLOOK

Mercer has reached playoffs in six of the past seven seasons and should be in the hunt again this year.

 

 

 

 

5. FARRELL STEELERS

HEAD COACH: Jarrett Samuels

2012 RECORD: 3-3 region (tied third), 6-5 overall (lost 0-42 to West Middlesex in district semifinals)

CUMULATIVE RECORD IN LAST 5 YEARS: 43-18

CUMULATIVE RECORD IN LAST 10 YEARS: 78-41

PLAYOFF APPEARANCES IN LAST 10 YEARS: 8 (2004-2006 and 2008-2012)

DISTRICT TITLES IN LAST 10 YEARS: 3 (2008-2010)

PIAA FINALS APPEARANCES: 3 (all as member of WPIAL)

1996: beat Southern Columbia 14-12

1995: beat Southern Columbia 6-0

1990: lost 12-13 to Marion Center

 

 

OFFENSE

Averaged 18.3 points per game last season

RANK

Amongst seven teams in region: 6

Amongst 14 Class A teams in district: 11

 

Before it even took the field for a scrimmage Farrell's offense took a hit when senior running back Brandon Gavins (69 carries, 498 yards, five touchdowns) was injured on the second day of training camp. Gavins will miss at least at least the first two games and, pending the results of an MRI, could be done for the year. In Gavins' absence the top four backs are juniors John Jackson and Devaughan Green, sophomore Braxton Chapman and senior Corey Atkins and Jackson led the quartet with 14 carries for 52 yards last year. Alex Myers took over as the starting quarterback late season and begins this year as the top guy with his junior classmates Malachi Newell (11 receptions, 139 yards), Deante Phillips (one receptions, 30 yards, one touchdown), Marcus McCoy and Angelo Jackson the top four options at both wide receiver and tight end. The line is led by two returning starters at guard in senior Derrick Carter and junior Romeo Jackson with juniors Chase Butler and Chris Hollie the new tackles and senior Rashaad Phillips the center. Senior Rob Gueledge began last season as the starting quarterback and will miss the early part of this year due to another commitment, but once he returns he'll be on the field somewhere.

 

 

DEFENSE

Allowed 22.9 points per game last season

RANK

Amongst seven teams in region: 7

Amongst 14 Class A teams in district: 8

 

After allowing a total of 44 points in its first five games (8.8 per) the Steeler defense came undone down the stretch allowing 169 points in its final four outings (42.25 per). Newell led last year's team with 102 tackles, adding a sack and is joined at linebacker by Chapman, John Jackson and Phillips. On the line, Carter (45 tackles, three sacks) and Angelo Jackson and, at least until Gavins (31 tackles, two sacks) returns, the defensive ends are Butler and McCoy. Myers led last year's team three interceptions, adding 33 tackles and one sack and is one of five players who will see time in the secondary along with Green, Atkins, senior Zach Chapman and Gueledge (33 tackles, two interceptions) once he returns.

 

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Junior Josh Trepanoski is the kicker, McCoy is the punter and the kick/punt return guys are Atkins, John Jackson and Green.

 

 

OUTLOOK

Farrell had a streak of six consecutive postseason berths snapped last year coach and Samuels believes that the success of this year's team will be determined by how fast the offensive line comes together as a unit.

 

 

 

 

6. REYNOLDS RAIDERS

HEAD COACH: Josh Mull

2013 RECORD: 2-5 Region 3 (sixth), 4-6 overall

CUMULATIVE RECORD IN LAST 5 YEARS: 15-35

CUMULATIVE RECORD IN LAST 10 YEARS: 30-71

PLAYOFF APPEARANCES IN LAST 10 YEARS: 1 (2005)

DISTRICT TITLES IN LAST 10 YEARS: 1 (2005)

PIAA FINALS APPEARANCES: 0

 

 

OFFENSE

Averaged 26.1 points per game last season

RANK

Amongst eight teams in Region 3: 5

Amongst 16 Class AA teams in district: 8

 

Reynolds averaged more than any other District 10 team that failed to make the playoffs last year and is led by senior running back Mike Millero, who was a second all-region selection last season and eclipsed the 1,000 yard rushing mark both of the past two years (1218 yards, 16 touchdowns last year). Sophomore Joel Leise is the starting fullback, while junior Adam Ballish and sophomore Dylan McDanel will also see time in the backfield. Senior Jake Leipheimer makes the move from running back to quarterback and the top two split ends are junior Daniel Blaney and senior James Slater. Juniors Aaron Garansi and Chad McConnell share time at tight end, while Reynolds brings back four starters on the line in seniors Jake Stoyer and Mike Williams, junior Gene Ringer and sophomore Cole Rickert. After starting at guard last year, Ringer has been moved back to tackle, where he started as a freshman, and will be joined as a starter by Logan Payne, who is also a junior, with Williams and Rickert the guards and Stoyer in his third season as the starting center.

 

 

DEFENSE

Allowed 21.1 points per game last season

RANK

Amongst eight teams in Region 3: 5

Amongst 16 Class AA teams in district: 10

 

Last year was the first time since 2005 - when it won the district and reached the state semifinals - that Reynolds held opponents to an average of fewer than 24 points per game and in its four wins the team gave up a total of 27 points. Like on offense, fellow outside linebackers, Millero and Leipheimer are two of the featured players on defense as both began starting in 2012 (Leipheimer was then at Kennedy Catholic). On the inside junior Sam Faber is the MIKE, Garansi is the SAM and both Blaney and Leise see time at the WILL position. On the line Ringer is the nose tackle and Rickert and McConnell are the defensive tackles and the starting secondary includes cornerbacks McDanel and Ballish and sophomore safety Garrett Daniello.

 

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Junior Mike Ryhal is the kicker, Daniello is the punter and Leipheimer and McDanel are the kick returners with McDanel joined deep on punts by sophomore Damion Gearhart.   

 

 

OUTLOOK

As it makes the move to Class A and Region 1, coach Mull believes the key for the 2014 Raiders is to set the tone and the tempo, not be the underdog and believe they can compete and win.

 

 

 

 

7. LAKEVIEW SAILORS

HEAD COACH: Dan York

2013 RECORD: 5-1 region (first), 12-2 overall (lost 20-35 to Clarion in PIAA Quarterfinals

CUMULATIVE RECORD IN LAST 5 YEARS: 37-20

CUMULATIVE RECORD IN LAST 10 YEARS: 64-44

PLAYOFF APPEARANCES IN LAST 10 YEARS: 4 (2006, 2010 and 2012-2013)

DISTRICT TITLES IN LAST 10 YEARS: 1 (2013)

PIAA FINALS APPEARANCES: 0

 

 

OFFENSE

Averaged 36.8 points per game last season (not including playoffs)

RANK

Amongst seven teams in region: 1

Amongst 14 Class A teams in district: 2

 

Without a doubt, the biggest question facing the 2014 Sailor offense is how to replace 2013 Region 1 player of the year Blake Reddick, who rushed for over 2000 yards both of the past two seasons (2974 and 33 touchdowns last year) and eclipsed the 1000 yard mark as a sophomore in 2011. Now senior, Marquis Spence earned first team all-region all purpose back honors, by rushing for 728 yards and 16 touchdowns, last season and sees time at both tailback and fullback with juniors Austin Rice (24 carries, 171 yards, one touchdown) and Tanner Reddick, who is Blake Reddick's younger brother the other primary running backs. Wide receiver Zac Van dusen and guard Sam Breese join Blake Reddick as first team all-region selections who must be replaced, quarterback is another position that must be filled and on the eve of its second scrimmage the starting signal caller spot was between Clayton Miller and Jake Doddo, both of whom had performed well at camp. The loser of the quarterback competition will see time at receiver as will both Rice and Tanner Reddick, junior Colson Atwell and sophomores Braden Yeager and Aaron Armstrong, the last two of whom could also play some tight end along with senior Hunter Armstrong and sophomore Landon Yoder. The line is made up of tackles Austin Hostetler (senior) and Jarrett Troy (junior), guards Marcus Bowser (senior) and George Hooker (junior) and senior center Zach Shoup.

 

 

DEFENSE

Allowed 6.6 points per game last season (not including playoffs)

RANK

Amongst seven teams in region: 1

Amongst 14 Class A teams in district: 1

 

During the 2013 regular season Lakeview had the No. 1 scoring defense amongst all District 10 teams, regardless of classification, and that unit featured seven all-region selections. That is the good news, but the bad news is that of those all-region members, only first team all-region linebacker Spence (122 tackles, two sacks, one interception) and others looking to see time at linebacker this year are Rice (95 tackles, three sacks), Tanner Reddick (31 tackles, one sack), Yeager, Aaron Armstrong and sophomore Wyatt Armstrong. Nose tackle Breese (104 tackles, 12 sacks) and defensive back Blake Reddick (41 tackles, seven interceptions) joined Spence as two-way all-region choices in 2013, while defensive end Matt Sterling (63 tackles, 7.5 sacks) is another first team all-region player, who must be replaced on this side of the ball. Even with the two first team all-region losses, coach York believes depth will be a strength on this year's line with Hunter Armstrong (54 tackles, two losses), Hooker (47 tackles), Bowser (22 tackles, one sack), Troy (17 tackles, 1.5 sacks), Shoup (16 tackles) and Yoder all in the rotation. Just like on offense, Rice will see time at multiple positions on defense as along with see time at linebacker, he'll see time in the secondary along with Doddo (32 tackles), Miller (30 tackles, one interception), Atwell (22 tackles), sophomores Owen Clayton and Dylan McConnell and freshman Garrett Gasby.

 

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

In addition to his chores on offense and defense, Spence could also handle all kicking and punting responsibilities and be deep on both kick and punt returns. Hunter Armstrong is the other option to be the kicker and Atwell a second option to punt, with Rice, Tanner Reddick, Miller and Doddo other possible return guys.

 

 

OUTLOOK

With all that it lost to graduation, Lakeview isn't likely to be as dominant as it was last year, but a serious push for a third consecutive playoff berth is certainly a realistic goal.