Williamsport passes on traditional offense

September 03, 1999|By AL DITZEL

WILLIAMSPORT - Out of sheer necessity last year, Williamsport switched its offense and now the Wildcats hope to turn that change into a major force.

[cont. from sports page]

Quarterback Ryan Grabill, the all-everything at Williamsport (he's the point guard on the basketball team, as well as the shortstop on the baseball team), stands about 6 feet tall. While that's above the norm for U.S. male population, it's not usually enough for a quarterback in a passing offense.

"We used to use a straight drop back, pocket-passer look,'' coach Eric Michael said. "We had a bigger guy then. Ryan is no bigger than me and he had trouble looking over the line. So, we decided to move him around.''

Michael likens his offensive style to that of the San Francisco 49ers.

"We roll out quite a bit and that allowed Ryan to get the ball to many different receivers,'' Michael said.


Grabill was able to complete 91 of 149 passes for 1,084 yards and eight TDs.

Three Williamsport receivers cracked the Top 20 in the area last year in receptions, including Les Martin, who caught 14 passes for 237 yards.

"It took some time for Ryan to get comfortable in the offense last year, but he's pretty comfortable now,'' Michael said. "We've made some changes on the offensive line to put some beef in the middle to give Ryan a little better protection. I thought that was a major problem last year.''

Mark Thompson moves from guard to center and Ryan McDonald and Jimmy Manion move from tackles to guards.

Transfers Nathan Henderson and John Massey figure to see time at both halfback and linebacker.

"When I got these guys, I didn't think I'd have enough footballs to go around,'' Michael said. "But, that's a good problem.''



Nickname: Wildcats

Coach: Eric Michael

Experience: 4th year, 18-12

Conference: Monocacy Valley Athletic League

1998 record: 6-4

Returning starters: 5 off., 6 def.

Key players: Ryan Grabill, QB/DB; Les Martin, RB/DB; J.J. Delinois, RB/LB; Danny Rand, RB/LB. Ryan McDonald, OL/DL; Mark Thompson, OL/LB; Jimmy Manion, OL/DL; Chris Barton, WR/DB; Nathan Henderson, RB/LB; John Massey, RB/LB.

Key stat: While Williamsport features a pretty strong team, it's thin with about 25 suiting up on the varsity level. The ability to stay injury free and endure a tough schedule will tell the tale.


  • Sept. 3, Westmar; Sept. 9, at Catoctin; Sept. 17, at Brunswick; Sept. 24, Middletown.
  • Oct. 1, North Hagerstown; Oct. 9, at Smithsburg; Oct. 15, at Boonsboro; Oct. 23, South Hagerstown; Oct. 29, at Walkersville.
  • Nov. 6, Francis Scott Key.
The Herald-Mail Articles