New blood pumps Devils' fortunes

September 04, 2009|By BOB PARASILITI

Chuck Tininnis isn't one for looking back.

"New team. New season," the Greencastle-Antrim football coach professes.

It really is. Many of the players who were almost household names in Greencastle have graduated and moved on. What is left is part of an offense that saw playing time last year, while he Blue Devils will be looking to rebuild the defense with junior varsity-proven talent.

"We have a bunch of guys who have had two years on JV," Tininnis said. "They have put in their time. They have worked hard in the offseason. Now, it's their time."

It isn't exactly "Remember the Titans," but the time is now for the new Blue Devils.

Brett Meyers takes over as starting quarterback after sharing the spot with Adam Ritchey last season.

Ritchey spent 2 1/2 years as Greencastle's starter, leading the Blue Devils to the PIAA District 3 Class AAA playoffs the last two years. Ritchey ran for 482 yards and seven touchdowns and hit on 62 of 98 passes for five touchdowns last season.


"He's a different kind of quarterback," Tinninis said. "(Meyers) has a better arm, but he doesn't run as well. It's going to be a switch from last year."

That's because Greencastle has a stable of runners with some experience to replace Dustin Barry. In fact, a few of them replaced him while he was injured last year. Meanwhile, it will be Tyler Szaflarski's time at fullback, even though he is only a sophomore.

"We are solid with the skill guys," Tinninis said. "Last year, (Brandon) Trefelner and (Devin) Schaeffer each got work at halfback. This year, Trefelner will be on the wing and Schaeffer will work as the halfback."

The big project for the offense is to get continuity on the offensive line, one of the steady components to Greencastle's success in the past.

The defense is in the same boat.

"We only have one returning player on defense," Tinninis said. "(Joshua) Short led us in tackles last year. We are going to need some help on defense. All of our guys that are coming up are a mixture of seniors and juniors."

That is where looking to the future will help Tinninis. The Blue Devils have a group of players who can play defense, they just haven't played it on the varsity level.

Until now.

"The only thing our defense lacks is experience," Tinninis said. "They aren't young. They have been playing our defense the whole time, they just don't have varsity level experience. The kids have played in our system for the last few years. Now it's time for their shot."

The future will be the only way to unlock just how well the Blue Devils might fair this season.

"Only time will tell," Tinninis said. "The kids have looked good so far. Our approach will remain the same -- take one game at a time, be prepared and to be physical."


Coach Darwin Seiler admits the Indians will be continuing their uphill climb to respectability.

Still, he is getting a cardio rush from it all.

"I feel good," he said. "We have a lot of seniors returning this season."

It means the Indians will be much more experienced when they take the field on Friday with a number of seniors starting on both sides of the ball.

"There isn't much out there all these kids haven't seen yet," Seiler said.

The key to the offense will be the line, which has four seniors returning to the five positions. Marvin Gaskill, Brandon Robinson, Robert Atkinson and Shane McFerren will lead the way.

Waynesboro's most potent offensive threat comes in a pair -- quarterback Jesse Mowen and wideout Aaron Beck.

"Mowen has grown two or three inches in the offseason and he is stronger with more presence on the field. He is a leader," Seiler said. "Beck started some for us as a sophomore and he has great hands. He and Jesse have a great connection together."

The running back slots are new, but they have seniors playing. John Blubaugh and Corbin Youder will be sharing time at fullback while Greg Wade will be the tailback."

On defense, Waynesboro will be trying to fill the big hole left by the graduation of Dylan Spangler, The Herald-Mail's All-Area Defensive Player of the Year last season.

Most of the senior experience will come from seniors playing both ways.

Gaskill will be the nose guard, while Robinson and Blubaugh will be at tackle. Blubaugh's size will be his asset as a fullback and his speed will make him a threat defensively. Atkinson and Craig DeRoss will split time at defensive end.

Youder will be the outside linebacker, while McFerren and junior Nick Rounceville will play the inside slots.

Wade and Jeff Donoughe will be the cornerbacks, while Beck and senior Mitchell Hudson will play safety.

The Indians finished 4-6 last season in the Mid-Penn Capital meatgrinder after a 3-0 start. This year, Seiler hopes for the same start with a different finish.

"If we stay healthy, I feel good about this team," he said. "We will have to get off to a great start and then we have to carry it all the way through to the end."


The Trojans have athletes, but haven't had success.

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