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Spangler remains in Indians' corner

September 05, 2008|By MARK KELLER

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Dylan Spangler wants to be there when the Waynesboro football team turns the corner.

It's been a slow, steady process, but Spangler's been there every step of the way. From a 1-9 season in 2005 to 2-8 in 2006 to 3-7 last year, the Indians are on a climb.

And Spangler can't wait to take the next step.

"We've built a lot on last year," Spangler said. "We have a lot of returning starters and we lost four or five games last year by only a touchdown or so. Seeing how we have all those guys back, I don't think it's going to be the same old Waynesboro team this year."

While few programs would consider a 3-7 season a success, or even a building block, a team like Waynesboro which hasn't had a winning season since 1992 has to view it as the start of something good.

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"I think last year did a couple of things for us," coach Darwin Seiler said. "It fulfilled the idea that we can play with a lot of these teams and that we can win. Most of the kids we have now have been through that. I like to think that is a positive for us."

Seiler is well aware that one of the biggest positives he has is Spangler, a linebacker/fullback who is drawing the attention of Division I schools -- some with his ability to block and run, some with his ability to hit and tackle.

"He got a lot of spring looks, some MAC schools, some Big East," Seiler said. "Syracuse, Louisville, Akron, Buffalo ... but nobody offered. So they're kind of in that wait-and-see mode right now."

Maybe colleges are waiting and seeing to decide which side of the football Spangler best fits their programs. Akron employs three linebackers and sees him as a potential middle linebacker, Spangler said. Meanwhile, Buffalo felt he fit its system as a fullback.

"If you ask Dylan, he'd say he envisions himself as a defensive player," Seiler said. "But if (a school's) offensive system uses I-formation ... he runs so well and catches the ball out of the backfield. He could fit right into that situation."

Spangler admits a preference to defense. He led the Indians in tackles last season, flying to the ball every chance he got.

"I'm always looking at the eyes of the running backs especially," Spangler said. "Most running backs, when they get to the line, take at least a little glance at the hole they're running to. That's my read. Then the play sort of unfolds in slow motion."

So, thinking like a linebacker, Spangler uses his knowledge when he lines up in the offensive backfield, too.

"I always like to play around with the (opposing) linebackers," Spangler said. "I'll look around at all the holes when I line up, just to mess with the linebackers. Because I know what they are looking at."

Spangler is excited that the Indians are drawing some attention this preseason, noting that one publication called Waynesboro "a gator in the grass" with an opportunity to surprise opponents.

That does Spangler and his teammates proud.

"I think it shows how everyone cares about this school and this program, that slow progress," Spangler said. "I'm not going to say we'll make the playoffs, but you never know. It depends on how we show up on game day."




Xs & Os



Offense

Coach Darwin Seiler said after a hard-fought battle in camp, junior Jesse Mowen will get the start at quarterback over senior Kegan Crider and junior John Blubaugh. No matter who runs the offense, Seiler said he has no expectations of his quarterback duplicating Terrell Rickard's performance last year.

"Terrell is arguably the greatest athlete to come out of Waynesboro High, so to expect someone to do that is unrealistic," Seiler said. "What we do expect is Jesse to manage the game and understand he's surrounded by kids who are weapons. He doesn't need to be Terrell."

It's easy for RB Ian Smith to get lost in the shuffle at only 5-foot-5, particularly when he follows FB Dylan Spangler through the hole. Smith's speed is his best attribute, and he has a nose for the end zone. He'll have four returning starters in front of him on the line, led by 6-3, 320-pounder Greg Brewster.

Defense

Two of the four starting offensive linemen - juniors Brandon Robinson and Ethan Reed - will go both ways.

Spangler was an All-Area pick last year at linebacker and will get solid help from Robert Atkinson. The secondary is also strong, with SS Nathan Kauffman, FS Marcus Brown and CB Tyler Swope all returning to start.

Special Teams

Smith was solid as the Indians' point-after man last year, but Seiler was not sure who would take over the punting duties that Rickard handled. Smith also will be the primary return man, with help from Swope.

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