Thursday, August 31, 2017

Lycoming Football Sizing Up This Year's Receivers

Nick Costello (Havertown, Pa./Haverford) with an over-the-shoulder catch. (A Photo)
Wide Receivers
Kyle Slivka-Fralin (
Bristol, Pa./Bristol)
In Montreal, Canada
The Breakdown: In 2015, Coach Clark was excited about a young group of receivers that was coming to camp and the impact the group could make on the team. Two years later, that potential is ready to pay off. The bottom line on the battle at quarterback can really be answered at the wide receiver position – whoever can get the ball to juniors Nick Costello (Havertown, Pa./Haverford), Kyle Slivka-Fralin (Bristol, Pa./Bristol), Mike Mulvihill (Tabernacle, N.J./Seneca), Brock Zollicoffer (Owings Mills, Md./Owings Mills) and John Kim (Haverford, Pa./Haverford) the most consistently will win the job.

That quintet accounted for 73 percent of the team’s 1858 receiving yards in 2016 and could become an even more dangerous factor in 2017, even with the projected emergence of sophomores Stephen Toczylousky (Catawissa, Pa./Southern Columbia), Dezmen Johnson (Browns Mills, N.J./Pemberton Township) and Christoff Minott (Upper Darby, Pa./Upper Darby).

John Kim (Haverford, Pa./Haverford) 
Costello, a 6-5 receiver that makes his living off being physical after making a catch, developed into one of the top pass catchers in the MAC in 2016, finishing third in the conference with 78.1 yards per game. He had a 30-yard reception in each of his last six games of the year and led the team with 27 money receptions (for first downs or touchdowns) as a sophomore.

Slivka-Fralin gives the team a tough short-yardage receiver with sure hands and quick feet. He finished second on the team with 27 catches for 307 yards and three scores as a sophomore.

Mulvihill, who appears poised to join Costello in the starting lineup, will give the Warriors one of the most imposing receiving corps in the MAC. At 6-3, the Seneca grad finished with 226 yards and 16 catches as a sophomore. Toczylousky, like Mulvihill and Costello, will give the team a tall receiver that will see increased snaps in his second year with the program.

Mike Mulvihill (Tabernacle, N.J./Seneca)
In the slot, both Zollicoffer and Kim will provide reliable outlets. Zollicoffer developed into one of the team’s stealthy weapons late in his sophomore year, catching six passes for 43 yards and rushing 10 times for 65 yards. Kim, meanwhile, caught 14 passes for 149 yards and a score.

Who Returns: Nick Costello, Jr., Havertown, Pa./Haverford; Dezmen Johnson, So., Browns Mills, N.J./Pemberton Township; John Kim, Jr., Haverford, Pa./Haverford; Christoff Minott, So., Upper Darby, Pa./Upper Darby; Mike Mulvihill, Jr., Tabernacle, N.J./Seneca; Jarrett Pfeifer, So., Eldersburg, Md./Liberty; Kyle Slivka-Fralin, Jr., Bristol, Pa./Bristol; Stephen Toczylousky, So., Catawissa, Pa./Southern Columbia; Brock Zollicoffer, Jr., Owings Mills, Md./Owings Mills.

Newcomers: Niko Arhontakis, Fr., West Grove, Pa./Avon Grove; Tyjah During, Fr., Accokeek, Md./Surrattsville; Graham Glueck, Fr., Douglassville, Pa./Berks Catholic; Rob Martucci, Fr., Flemington, N.J./Hunterdon Central; Rickie Williams, Fr., Ellicott City, Md./Mt. Hebron.

Coach’s Take: “Nick’s and Michael’s size really differentiate the two of them. The other guy that is in that role that has had a nice start to preseason is Steve Toczylousky. Brock has become a really good route runner. John has had a pretty good preseason, too. That doesn’t include Christoff Minott and Dez Johnson, who are athletic kids that have gotten better as sophomores. That is a talented group that we are really excited about.”

Tight Ends
#4 Erik Wagner (Warriors Mark, Pa./Tyrone Area)
The Breakdown: It seems as if every year since the graduation of three-year starter Greg Kovacs ’14, the Warriors have been looking for a consistent presence at the tight position. In 2016, after an injury ended Matt Adams ’17’s season, senior Erik Wagner (Warriors Mark, Pa./Tyrone Area) developed into that presence.

The 6-0, 235-pounder has taken an interesting road to the tight end position. A high school quarterback, he moved to the defensive side of the ball as a freshman before moving back to offense as a sophomore. In the ensuing three years, the team captain has developed into one of the team’s strongest players, a great run blocker and he also caught five passes as a junior.

Senior Tyler Gardner (Williamsport, Pa./Williamsport Area) has also developed into a player that gives Clark multiple options for the tight end spot, including using two tight ends in some formations. Juniors Joe Oquendo (Upland, Pa./Monsignor Bonner), Payton Crosson (Harrisburg, Pa./Susquehanna Township) and Logan Mirolli (Coal Township, Pa./Shamokin Area) have all also developed into game-ready players that can filter in to provide breaks for Wagner and Gardner.

Who Returns: Payton Crosson, Jr., Harrisburg, Pa./Susquehanna Township; Tyler Gardner, Sr., Williamsport, Pa./Williamsport Area; Logan Mirolli, Jr., Coal Township, Pa./Shamokin Area; Joe Oquendo, Jr., Upland, Pa./Monsignor Bonner & Archbishop Prendergast; Erik Wagner, Sr., Warriors Mark, Pa./Tyrone Area.

Coach’s Take: “Tyler Gardner has really improved as a blocker. Erik has had an outstanding preseason. He’s really strong and in both of our scrimmages, he has been a presence. Joe Oquendo is so smart. He is a guy that possesses really strong football intelligence. Payton Crosson is coming back from an injury and he is a guy that can help us there.”