2019 Season Preview: WVC Small School

Coaches Consensus Predictions:
1. Wyoming Area
2. Lake-Lehman
3. Northwest Area
4. Hanover Area
5. Holy Redeemer

Wyoming Area walked through their WVC schedule last season going unbeaten and will be the heavy favorite to do the same in 2019. Lake-Lehman will be their biggeste challenger while Northwest plays their last season in the conference. Hanover Area and Holy Redeemer have new head coaches.

Wyoming Area Warriors
Coach Randy Spencer (12th season, 64-57)
Class 3A
2018 Record: 11-1 (6-0)
Stadium: Jake Sobeski Stadium

It was a perfect regular season for Wyoming Area but the Warriors are now aiming for a district title. With a solid nucleus returning, Coach Randy Spencer knows an opportunity is there.

“This year’s team returns talent and experience from last year’s 11-1 season. If this group can stay healthy, they will be poised to make a District/State playoff run.”

The Warriors bring back their two most effective offensive weapons in QB Dominic DeLuca and RB Corey Mruk. Brian Williams returns at wide receiver and will be joined by Riley Russyn. Derek Ambrosino is also a returning starter at tight end. The biggest holes to fill are on the offensive line where Bryce Hinckle is the lone returning starter.

Samuel Solomon, Nick Elko and Dante Bovani are returning to the defensive line while FJ Braccini, Mruk and Ambrosino are returning starters at linebacker. Dillion Williams will get a shot at the other spot. Darren Rodney,  Leo Harros, and DeLuca return to the secondary while either Jacob Williams or Zaquay Williamson will fill the other spot.

Lake-Lehman Black Knights
Coach Gerald Gilsky (10th season, 63-39)
Class 3A
2018 Record: 6-5 (5-1)
Stadium: Eddie Edwards Stadium

The Black Knights were clearly the second best team in the division last year and now, they hope they have gain enough ground on Wyoming Area to challenge for a title.

Lehman has all their skill players returning. Ethan Adams is back at quarterback, Ryan Eiden at fullback,  Zach Kojadinovich at tailback and Casey Kaminski at wide receiver. Luke Spencer takes over at tight end.  The offensive line will be a work in progress with Wyatt Lopasky, Logan Hoyt, Blaise Napierkowski, Damian Conklin and Justin James

Sean Sabaluski, Lopasky, James, and Conklin will man the defensive line while Scott Robbins, Dan Kutz, Josiah Thomas, Matt Galasso and Eiden will compete for linebacker positions. Kaminski is al all-conference defensive back while Marshall Woodrosky, Giavanni Ferrari and Spencer will fill in the other spots.

Northwest Area Rangers
Coach Lon Hazlet (5th season at Northwest, 26-17; 21st season overall, 111-97)
Class 1A
2018 Record: 4-6 (2-4)
Stadium: Lewis-Miller Memorial Stadium

The Rangers struggled in 2018, but Coach Lon Hazlet is determined to make Northwest’s lasy year in the WVC a memorable one.

“We will fight every game and as the season goes on we will mature and find our identity. We will lean on our guys up front and take our shots as they come. We will play hard and run to the ball every play.”

Ryan Wassell will take over at quarterback for the Rangers while George May steps in as the full time tailback. All new receivers at the position – JT Brubaker, Landon Huffford, Chase Burke and Mike Crawford. John Savokinas and Chase Biller are the new tight ends. The offensive line has some experience with three returning starters – Brendan Dixon, Blake Miller, and Jack Wessler.  Seth Milich and Nick Wilson are the newcomers at the other two spots.

The defensive front will be a strength will all four starters returning – Wessler, Miller, Dixon and May. The linebackers are all new with John Savokinas, Jake Bobersky and Hufford as is the secondary with Carter Hontz, Crawford, Wassell and Brubaker. Wessler is an excellent kicker and punter. 

Hanover Area Hawkeyes
Coach Rick Hummer (1st season)
Class 3A
2018 Record: 3-8 (3-3)
Stadium: Hanover Area Memorial Stadium

A familiar name and face takes over the Hawkeyes program. Rick Hummer, who has been an assistant and former coach Ron Hummer’s brother, will try to get Hanover going in the right direction.  We want to put in hard work and preparation and to be competitive in every game, remarked the new coach.

The cupboard isn’t bare for the Hawks. However, either Joe Curcio or Matt Salowski will be the new quarterback. Hunter Karpowich will be the primary tailback although Curcio could see reps there too. Justin Stefanowicz is the returning starter at fullback. Bobby Sabecky and Tanner Bednarski are also returning starters at wide receiver. Connor Hummer is also back at tight end.  Hanover is experienced up front with returning starters Mike Mieldazis, Jacob Mercadante, Seth Strouse and Zach Halenda. Tavon Hines will fill the other spot. Auggie George is one of best returning kickers in the WVC.

Anthony Palermo, Halenda and Mieldazis are returning starters on the defensive line. Hummer and Stefanowich are back at linebacker and will be joined by Hines and Karpowich. Sabecky and Salwoski return to the secondary while Jeremy Vega and Curcio will fill the other two spots.

Holy Redeemer Royals
Coach Tyson Kelley (1st season)
Class 3A
2018 Record: 0-10 (0-6)
Stadium: Wilkes-Barre Memorial Stadium

The Royals made a late change promoting assistant coach Tyson Kelley to the head job. The former Berwick Bulldog will try to build a culture rather than focus on wins and losses.

“We have a lot of returning starters on both sides of the ball so we are going to lean on their experience. Our younger players show a lot of potential and will provide depth as they improve throughout the season. As long as we can stay healthy, I think we have the ability to be successful”.

Colin Conway, who only played two games because of injury, will be the starting quarterback. Ryan Williams returns at tailback and will have new fullback Joe Colavitti leading the way.  Jack Daoud and Peter Shay are returning starters at wide receiver as is tight end Alex Hajkowski. Four returning starters should help the Royals – Cole Mayhue, John Callahan, Ben Schell and Owen Martin. Dan Schuler will fill the other spot.

Mayhue, Callahan and Schell will return up front on defense and Schuler fills the other spot. Both linebackers return – Tom Williams and Boich. The secondary is also very experienced with  Ethan Stoltz, Shay and Daoud all back. Conway will also play defensive back.