2019 Season Preview: LFC Division IV
Coaches Consensus Predictions:
1. Old Forge
2. Lackawanna Trail
Most people will remember 2018 for the Lackawanna Trail run to Hershey, but Old Forge actually won LFC IV last season and gave the Lions their only loss outside of Chocolatetown. Those two will be battling it out for the division title and District 1A title in 2019
OLD FORGE BLUE DEVILS
Coach Mike Schuback (18th season, 151-57)
2018 Record:8-3 (4-0)
Stadium: Old Forge Veterans Memorial Stadium
Old Forge will have a nice mix of veterans and young players. The key will be how quickly the young players step up and with small numbers, depth.
The Blue Devils return starting quarterback Dante Lucarelli and running back Kevin Pepsin. Tyler Carey and Michael DiGregorio will take the roles of the playmakers in the passing game and special teams. Jonathan Nicholoff is the most experience offensive lineman and will be joined Nick Ramus, Demetrius Dolinish, Jacob Burkhart and Lou Castaldi. Fullback Colin Holzman and tight end Jackson Uhrin will be a big part of the blocking scheme.
On defense, Jayden Rose, Zack Weaver, Burkhart and Nicholoff will be on the line and Holzman, Pepsin, Dolinish will be joined by Jackson Lynwood at linebacker. Freshman Casey Holzman joins Carey and DiGregorio in the secondary. Evan Kerrigan will handle the kicking and punting duties.
LACKAWANNA TRAIL LIONS
Coach Steve Jervis (11th season, 71-54 at Trail; 17th season overall, 94-84)
2018 Record:14-2 (3-1)
Stadium: Lions Pride Stadium
It was an amazing run for the Lions last season and they will be poised to have even more success. “We have five returning starters on both sides of the ball who played critical roles in our 16 week season a year ago that ended in the state championship game in Hershey,” said Coach of the Year Steve Jervis. “Those kids will need to supply the leadership. We have some quality players moving up from the jr. high team that will be counted on to mature and play a very high level very quickly. We are hoping to recapture some of the magic that we had at the end of last season.”
Nico Berrios replaces Offense Player of the Year Nate Rolka at quarterback while the rest of the backfield returns – FB Ray Melnikoff and RB Jeffrey Resto. It will be a new receiving corp with Miguel Ella, Evan Litwin and Johnny Halter and new tight ends Kilar Wallace and Miles Edwards. LFC IV Lineman of the Year Mark Dunckle and Richard Rodenbach are two-way starters on the lines. Cole Choplosky, Ty Vokes, Josh Semken and RJ Schirg will fill the other spots.
Semken, Schirg, Wallace, Choplosky and Edwards will join Dunckle and Rodenbach on the defensive line. Josh Brown will lead the linebackers with Melnikoff and Resto. Kody Kresswell will fill the other spot. Berrios is an all-league defensive back while Ella, Luke Baldwin, Owen Lisk, Tyler Rozanski, Halter and Litwin will compete for playing time in the secondary. Several players will try to replace Rolka as the kicker.
Coach Kyle Cook (7th season, 30-37)
2018 Record: 7-5 (2-2)
Stadium: William Emminger Memorial Field
The Sabers were hit hard by graduation as they celebrate their 50th season of football.
“We will be extremely inexperienced and will rely on our upper classmen,” said Coach Kyle Cook. “We will need our sophomore class to learn quickly and adjust to the varsity speed of the game.”
Garret Decker will be the new quarterback to handle the Sabers offense. Newcomer Calvin Scheideler will be inserted at tailback and Ryan Koziol will be the fullback. The line will be decent with returning starters Ryan Armitage and Eli Aldrich. Jake Morris, Hayden Wayman and Hunter Conklin will fill the other spots. Jesse Delouisia will be the primary receiver.
Gavin Baker is the best returning defensive lineman, but won’t be available until the second half of the season. Isiah Rosa, Brad Cottrell, Armitage, Morris and Conklin will anchor the line. Decker is one of the best returning linebackers in the LFC having lead the team in tackles the previous two seasons. Koziol and Scheideler will fill the other two spots. Spencer Beamer, Jake Downton and Delouisia will man the secondary.
Coach Bill Sandly (1st season)
2018 Record: 0-10 (0-4)
Stadium: Ambrose Mullen Memorial Stadium
New coach Bill Sandly knows it won’t be easy as the Meteors are coming off a winless season. But he is determined to build from the ground up.
“We first and foremost looking to play some meaningful football. There have been lots of changes, but the most important has been the process of changing the culture. We have a small core of players, but those players have bought in and I’m very pleased with that. We’re looking to be competitive week in and week out, and we feel that will lead us to the results we’re looking for.”
He will have his quarterback Ethan Cina returning, one of three on offense. Brendan Kanna will carry the workload at back while Dominic Palmatier, Damion Rohan and Dylan Geertgens will be the wide receivers. Riley Baker is the tight end. Veteran Brayden Tims will be joined up front by Gabe Lawton, Neil Gamble,Derrick DeMann and Logan Pitcher.
On defense, Lawton, Tims and Gamble will be on the line and Kanna, Derrick DeMann, Dominic Bruno, Lance Rought will be the starting linebackers. Palmatier, Geertgens, Cina and Rohan are the defensive backs.