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Blue Devils' seniors want playoff victory

September 05, 2008|By Tim Koelble

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Adam Ritchey and his senior teammates got a taste of the playoffs last season on the way to an 8-3 record.

As a new campaign unfolds, 22 Greeencastle-Antrim seniors will spearhead a team goal that is very simple for 2008.

"Our goal is to win a playoff game," said Ritchey. "We know the (Mid-Penn Capital) still goes through Northern. We came close last year in the playoffs."

The Blue Devils lost to Daniel Boone in the District 3-AAA playoffs, and they're looking ahead to another positive season. Ritchey is expected to provide much of the leadership.

"There's definitely a lot of weight on your shoulder, being a senior," said Ritchey. "I'm not a big vocal leader. I just try to lead by example on the field. We've got a group of seniors that together are trying to help the underclassmen along."

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Ritchey's talents shine on both sides of the ball. At 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, Ritchey will line up as the starting quarterback, but coach Chuck Tinninis will also use the speedster as a receiver, as he did last year. Ritchey earned Herald-Mail All-Area defensive honors last season in addition to scoring 12 touchdowns.

"I like the idea of playing different positions," said Ritchey, also an outstanding track performer. "I like being able to run, throw, catch and block in the same game. You've got to play heads-up."

The cupboard is not bare behind Ritchey. The Blue Devils return five offensive and seven defensive starters.

"I look for a lot of good things from (Adam)," said Tinninis. "I think of him as one of the best athletes in the area, if not the state. But we are senior-laden and it's like having 11 coaches on the field."

That includes the likes of Dustin Barry (5-7, 165) and Grant Meyers (6-0, 195) offensively.

Barry gained 743 yards rushing with seven touchdowns last year and is being counted on for more of the same.

"Last year (Barry) was not in as good a shape as he could have been and he learned from it," said Tinninis. "He turned it around, hit the ground running and is one of our best-conditioned now. I'm pleased with him and he's been helping the younger players."

When the play selection calls for Ritchey to go to a wideout position, Meyers will get the call at quarterback, working behind a line anchored by seniors Drew Bittner (6-0, 235) and John Frick (6-4, 250).

Tinninis is excited about his experienced defensive unit, one opponents might find harder to pick on this year in the Blue Devils' secondary.

Ritchey and Barry are at the cornerback spots and seniors Seth Shindle (5-9, 160) and D.J. Cordell (6-0, 165) will be the safeties. Seniors Paul Peer and Alex Izer and juniors Brandon Trefelner and Josh Short, along with Meyers, will provide a solid linebacker nucleus.

"I expect our defense to be one of the best in the area," said Tinninis. "We'll be aggressive."

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