Thursday, September 5, 2019

Lycoming Football - Warriors Vs River Hawks Pregame Notes

Moving On Up.
Source: Lycoming Sports Information
Williamsport, PA - After reaching the MAC-Centennial Bowl Series for the first time in 2018, the Lycoming College football team returns a group of 61 players and 14 starters that are looking to take the next step and get the Warriors back into contention for a MAC title.

So QB Elijah Shemory (Jersey Shore, Pa./Jersey Shore Area)
MAC-Centennial Bowl Series game.
There is reason for both optimism and caution after the Warriors finished 5-6 overall and 4-4 in the MAC and in a tie for fourth place in 2018. On the optimistic side, the team returns a 2,000-yard sophomore passer in sophomore Elijah Shemory (Jersey Shore, Pa./Jersey Shore Area) and four starting offensive linemen, as well as nine defensive starters. However, all three starting wide receivers and two all-conference defenders do need to be replaced by 12th-year head coach Mike Clark.

The Warriors open the season with two non-conference games, facing rival Susquehanna on Sept. 7, before facing Widener in a non-conference matchup on Sept. 14. Stepping into conference play, the Warriors will face Wilkes (Sept. 21) and King’s (Sept. 28) before hosting No. 14 Delaware Valley on Oct. 5. Alvernia (Oct. 12), FDU-Florham (Oct. 26), Misericordia (Nov. 2) and Lebanon Valley (Nov. 9) follow before they head to Stevenson (Nov. 16) to wrap up the year.

Head Coach Mike Clark
Coach’s Take: “What we talked about through spring practice was about how last year was great in that we got back to a postseason game, but we still haven’t one a conference championship in over four years and another class has graduated that didn’t do that. We keep talking about making positive changes. We competed against teams that won eight or more games, for the most part, but we’ve lost 15 games in the last four years by seven or fewer points, so we have to find a way to win those games. We have made some progress. We’re excited about who we return and we think we can be a good team, but we have to perform and be consistent like a good team. We have to be more consistent in how we prepare for everybody and if we do that, I think those things will take care of itself.”

So QB Elijah Shemory (Jersey Shore, Pa./Jersey Shore Area)
After a rookie campaign in which he became the first freshman quarterback at Lycoming to pass for more than 2,000 yards, sophomore Elijah Shemory (Jersey Shore, Pa./Jersey Shore Area) returns for another season behind center. Shemory tossed for more than 300 yards once during the season and, with his strong arm, has the ability to quickly rise up the career record charts after averaging 199.6 yards per game through the air.

Shemory also has the ability to rush, as he ran for eight touchdowns during his rookie year and gained 156 yards of positive yardage.

Sophomore Chase Snavely (Middletown, Pa./Middletown Area) served as Shemory’s backup in 2018, as he passed for 19 yards in four games. Snavely directed Middletown Area to the PIAA Class AAA final in 2016. Sophomore Markus Sidwell (Glen Burnie, Md./Glen Burnie) has also seen snaps behind center during the preseason.

Head Coach Mike Clark
Coach’s Take: “We knew early on in preseason that Elijah was the starter. He separated himself. He’s so smart and makes good decisions and he didn’t really hold the ball. After the opener, I went home and watched it I don’t know how many times, because as that game unfolded, it was easy to second guess yourself. When you saw why we made some of the mistakes we made, it made sense. Then he went down and was really impressive at Widener. I think, mentally, he gave us a chance to win against Delaware Valley and he played really well against Stevenson even though we lost that game. He gave us a chance. The thing that he has to do better is as the game continues to slow down, if he can get to a point where he is better with the ball and not allow a single turnover to become multiple turnovers, I think that is where he can separate himself from being pretty good to being very good. I think Elijah is similar in his mental capacity, arm strength and accuracy to Tyler Jenny. Can he take care of the ball like Tyler Jenny did in his last three years? I hope, because then we will have a chance to win a lot of games.

“Chase had a really nice spring. He has been here now for three semesters. He is a talented guy, but he needs to play with a little more confidence. He knows the playbook well enough, he is certainly athletic enough. His arm strength is good enough. The difference last year was that Elijah processed information a little faster and got the ball out of his hands quicker. If we can get Chase to trust himself, there is no doubt that if he has to play for us, he can be a good quarterback for us.”

Who’s Back: Elijah Shemory, So., 6-1, 215, Jersey Shore, Pa./Jersey Shore Area; Markus Sidwell, So., 6-1, 195, Glen Burnie, Md./Glen Burnie; Chase Snavely, So., 6-1, 204, Middletown, Pa./Middletown Area.

Newcomers: Dylan Paul, Fr., 5-9, 202, Crown Point, Ind./Boone Grove.

Sr RB Keith Batkowski
(Montoursville, Pa./Montoursville Area)
MAC-Centennial Bowl Series game.
Running Backs
While the Warriors may not return a feature running back, it does return five backs that enter camp with varsity game experience.

At tailback, senior Keith Batkowski (Montoursville, Pa./Montoursville Area) is the top returning rusher after posting 381 yards and four touchdowns in his first year as a starter. Junior Len Wyda (Nescopeck, Pa./Berwick Area) added 228 yards while stepping into a starting role at times during the season and freshman Chase Cramer (Andover, N.J./Newton) earned carries in just one game, but managed to rush for 45 yards on eight carries.

Finding the tailback that can be relied on for 180-200 carries is going to be a top priority for Clark during the preseason. Batkowski was the team’s top option last season, rushing 114 times.

At fullback, the team returns two players that saw some time during the 2019 season. Senior captain John Schmidt (Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic) moved to the position late during his junior year, but provides a strong, bruising body and heads the depth chart at a spot that the Warriors are planning to utilize more in 2019. Sophomore Pacey Howard (Watsontown, Pa./Warrior Run) gives the team another strong, physical blocking back that can see action.

Six freshmen also entered preseason looking to make an impact in the backfield.

Head Coach Mike Clark
Coach’s Take: “We need someone to step up at running back. Our best teams have not had tailbacks by committee. I’d like to get back to the point where we have a main guy who can handle 2/3 to 75 percent of the work, a second guy to do a quarter and a third guy who plays a little bit. Keith got a lot of work last year. Lenny did play well against King’s. Chase got some work against King’s. Those guys are capable. Chase didn’t play as much last year because he didn’t learn it as quickly and we had some more depth there. There is also a handful of freshmen who were all good high school players. Some are bigger and more downhill guys and some are smaller, but all of them were productive in high school. Keith’s carries last years were just over 100 and I would like to have the top guy have more than that. There is enough skill there, but we have to figure out who is going to run it and who is going to catch it.

“It’s easy to get caught up in the trends of football. We were good at wide receiver and tight end last year, so we played three receivers and a tight end a lot. I still think, especially in October and November, in Pennsylvania that there is something to be said for not just throwing the ball, but running the ball. Many people have moved away from traditional two-back, I-formation football, but John allowed us to get back to that a little bit last year. Pacey Howard played a bit last year. He is a big athletic kid, too. There are a couple freshmen who are capable at fullback, too. We have to figure out who our best groupings are and to get those people on the field as much as possible. I like the flexibility of having those guys.”

Who’s Back: Keith Batkowski, Sr., 5-7, 160, Montoursville, Pa./Montoursville Area; Chase Cramer, So., 5-11, 188, Andover, N.J./Newton; Pacey Howard, So., 6-0, 210, Watsontown, Pa./Warrior Run; John Schmidt, Sr., 5-11, 208, Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic; Len Wyda, Jr., 5-7, 170, Nescopeck, Pa./Berwick Area.

Newcomers: Nick Breiner, Fr., 5-10, 209, Tamaqua, Pa./Tamaqua; Hunter Budman, Fr., 5-9, 175, Montgomery, Pa./Montgomery; Tyler Foster, Fr., 5-11, 200, Feasterville-Trevose, Pa./Neshaminy; Joey Guida, Fr., 5-5, 180, Allentown, Pa./Parkland; Kyle Powell, Fr., 5-9, 217, Philadelphia, Pa./Lincoln; Amarae Witter, Fr., 5-7, 210, Montclair, N.J./Montclair.

Sr WR Christoff Minott (Upper Darby, Pa./Upper Darby)
Wide Receivers
With four of the team’s top five receiving targets from 2018 having graduated, the Warriors will have a completely new receiving corps, with the team in need of possession receivers, roles filled the past four years by players like John Kim and Mike Mulvihill, and big-play receivers, roles filled by First Team All-MAC pick Nick Costello and Brock Zollicoffer.

Senior Christoff Minott (Upper Darby, Pa./Upper Darby) showed a bit of the big play ability in 2018, as he caught four passes for 151 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown at FDU-Florham. Junior Tyjah During (Accokeek, Md./Surrattsville) also showed some big-play ability, as he made seven catches for 97 yards, including a season-long of 30. He also showed ability to make defenders miss as an electrifying punt and kick returner.

Seniors Dezmen Johnson (Browns Mills, N.J./Pemberton Township) and Stephen Toczylousky (Catawissa, Pa./Southern Columbia) have also worked into the receiving corps throughout their career, with Johnson making six catches for 65 yards and a score and Toczylousky making four grabs for 45 yards as juniors. Both have long frames and good hands, making them likely candidates to become favorite targets of the Warrior quarterbacks.

Midseason transfer sophomore Nasir Green (Phoenixville, Pa./Phoenixville Area) from Mount Union, sophomore Dan O’Hare (Phillipsburg, N.J./Notre Dame) and Marcus Chambers (Brooklyn, N.Y./Hudson Catholic) also provide large frames and could step into the two-deep this year.

The team also welcomes back junior Niko Arhontakis (West Grove, Pa./Avon Grove) and a group of sophomores Kevin Krawczyk (Dupont, Pa./Pittston Area), Tre’ Leach (Middltown, Pa./Middletown Area) and Sidwell as well as four freshmen will have a chance to move into the rotation.

Head Coach Mike Clark
Coach’s Take: “Between Tyjah, Christoff, Dezmen and Stevie T., we might return 28 catches. It’s not a big number, but there are enough capable guys there. Starting with Tyjah, if we can keep him on the field, he is an explosive player. Christoff is really athletic, Dezmen was solid last year when he got opportunities and Steven has been on the field as well. Nasir Green got here in the spring and we think he has a great upside. Danny O’Hare is a big guy. We have to figure out who is the best group there. We have to develop some depth and consistency there. It will be interesting to see who wants to step up and play, because we do think we have a guy who can get the ball to them.”

Who’s Back: Niko Arhontakis, Jr., 5-9, 161, West Grove, Pa./Avon Grove; Marcus Chambers, So., 6-1, 178, Brooklyn, N.Y./Hudson Catholic; Tyjah During, Jr., 5-10, 142, Accokeek, Md./Surrattsville; Dezmen Johnson, Sr., 5-10, 165, Browns Mills, N.J./Pemberton Township; Kevin Krawczyk, So., 5-10, 200, Dupont, Pa./Pittston Area; Tre' Leach, So., 5-9, 170, Middletown, Pa./Middletown; Christoff Minott, Sr., 5-9, 191, Upper Darby, Pa./Upper Darby; Dan O'Hare, So., 6-2, 165, Philipsburg, N.J./Notre Dame; Markus Sidwell, So., 6-1, 195, Glen Burnie, Md./Glen Burnie; Stephen Toczylousky, Sr., 6-2, 195, Catawissa, Pa./Southern Columbia.

Newcomers: Ryan DeSomma, Fr., 5-10, 177, Mahwah, N.J./Mahwah; Nasir Green, So., 6-1, 200, Phoenixville, Pa./Phoenixville Area; Brady McClintock, Fr., 6-2, 200, Littlestown, Pa./Littlestown; Elijah Palmer, Fr., 5-7, 145, Frederick, Md./Tuscarora.

Tight Ends
With the graduation of Mike Mulvihill and Joe Oquendo, the Warriors had no more glaring need in the offensive skill positions than at tight end, where no returning player had experience.

During the spring, as a result, junior Trent Riggs (Centreville, Md./Queen Anne’s County) began to transition to the position from the defensive line and senior Bryce Berresford (Cogan Station, Pa./Montoursville) began to learn the position after playing offensive line for his first two years on the team.

Two freshmen also enter camp and provide lengthy, strong frames. Both could see action early in the season to compliment Riggs and Berresford.

Head Coach Mike Clark
Coach’s Take: “Bryce and Trent are going to have a physical advantage in terms of their maturity and having been in college longer, but when you talk about how long they have played the position, they are realistically 12 non-padded practices on the field ahead of the freshmen. We are excited. Tight ends are hard to recruit at this level and we are excited about both of the freshmen. Are they mature and strong enough to play and adjust to the speed of the game? We think they have a shot.”

Who’s Back: Bryce Berresford, Sr., 5-11, 215, Cogan Station, Pa./Montoursville Area; Trent Riggs, Jr., 6-4, 220, Centreville, Md./Queen Anne's County.

Newcomers: Matt Jaeger, Fr., 6-4, 228, Woodland Park, N.J./Passaic Valley; Aaron Wolcott, Fr., 6-4, 185, Woodbine, Md./Century.

Offensive Line
Although the Warriors lost two-time First Team All-MAC center Brad Stubbs to graduation, the team returns four players that have a combined 69 starts between them.

At the tackle spots, senior captain Cody Botts (Millmont, Pa./Mifflinburg) and junior Jacob Estevez (Bayonne, N.J./Bayonne) both started all 11 games in 2018. Botts provides a reliable and smart presence on the left side and Estevez a strong, big body on the right.

Senior Dan Sipps (Philadelphia, Pa./Father Judge) started the last 21 games at guard, but will transition to the center position in 2018 to replace Stubbs. Junior Ethan Newton (Middletown, Pa./Middletown) has started 16 games on the line in the past two years and will once again play a factor on the line, along with his brother, sophomore Brent Newton (Middletown, Pa./Middletown), who transferred in after he began his career at Millersville in 2015.

Sophomore Dan Shoup (West Chester, Pa./Bayard Rustin), senior Owen Covert (Wellsboro, Pa./Wellsboro), senior Josh Purnell (Allentown, Pa./Emmaus), and sophomore Tyler Gallagher (Gettysburg, Pa./Gettysburg) all also will work to find time in the rotation, with Shoup impressing early in camp.

Eight freshmen also worked into the depth chart during the preseason camp.

Head Coach Mike Clark
Coach’s Take: “We moved Dan to center in the spring. We need to be consistent getting the ball to the quarterback and that could be through Dan or Ethan. Cody is a two-year returning starter who has grown a ton. Jacob is an athletic guy. What we need is one or both of them to step up and be more consistent because they can both be all-league players. Jacob is really strong and powerful and explosive and Cody has worked really hard to get strong, but probably doesn’t possess the natural athleticism that Jacob does. He is a really smart player, though, too. We did give up some sacks last year and didn’t always run the ball that well either. We do have some work to do up front. We do have some good experience, but we have to continue to take a good look at some other pieces. Dan Shoup had a good offseason and he is similar to where Cody Botts was between freshman and sophomore years. Brent Newton is a guy who came in that enrolled in the spring can help us inside a little bit. As we look through the group, we are going to have some decent depth. Is there a freshman or two that we will have to plug in? Between the Newtons and Dan Shoup, I think if we are healthy, there is enough there we can piece together.”

Who’s Back: Cody Botts, Sr., 6-4, 280, Millmont, Pa./Mifflinburg Area; Owen Covert, Sr., 6-0, 267, Wellsboro, Pa./Wellsboro; Jacob Estevez, Jr., 6-3, 285, Bayonne, N.J./Bayonne; Tyler Gallagher, So., 5-11, 240, Gettysburg, Pa./Gettysburg Area; Ethan Newton, Jr., 6-0, 247, Middletown, Pa./Middletown Area; Josh Purnell, Sr., 6-3, 275, Allentown, Pa./Emmaus; Dan Shoup, So., 6-1, 260, West Chester, Pa./Bayard Rustin; Dan Sipps, Sr., 6-0, 275, Philadelphia, Pa./Father Judge.

Newcomers: Anthony Cerrutti, Fr., 5-10, 315, Philadelphia, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep; Brian Dziczek, Fr., 5-11, 212, Frackville, Pa./North Schuylkill; Jared Everett, Fr., 5-9, 250, Northampton, Pa./Northampton; Paden Frey, Fr., 6-4, 310, Cogan Station, Pa./Montoursville Area; Joe Gusler, Fr., 6-0, 260, Middletown, Pa./Middletown Area; Brent Newton, So., 6-3, 280, Middletown, Pa./Middletown Area; Patrick O'Reilly, Fr., 6-3, 285, Ridgefield Park, N.J./Ridgefield Park; Logan Szabo, Fr., 5-9, 247, Nazareth, Pa./Nazareth Area; L.J. Woodward, Fr., 6-0, 310, Bloomsburg, Pa./Central Columbia.

Defensive Line
If games are won in the trenches, the Warrior defensive line is built to be disruptive from the middle out, led by senior Ahmad Curtis (Effort, Pa./Pleasant Valley) and junior Kyle Pierce (Berwick, Pa./Berwick Area). It won’t be a solitary effort from those two, though, as six of the seven returning lineman can play inside in the defensive tackle spots, giving the team one of its most powerful fronts in years.

Both big defensive tackles, Curtis, checking in at 6-1, 340, developed into a First Team All-MAC player as a junior, and Pierce, at 6-0, 267, was athletic enough to start both offensively and defensively on the line as a sophomore.

Curtis will continue to provide that disruptive force that led to 50 tackles and seven tackles for loss while Pierce, dedicated to the defensive side of the ball this year, will look to improve upon his mark of 32 tackles in 2018.

On the outside of the line, the Warriors will mix a dash of speed with power. Sophomore Willie Garner (Brick, N.J./Brick Memorial), who posted 19 tackles and 2.0 sacks in an injury-filled season, and senior Duane Boone (Tyrone, Pa./Tyrone Area), who had 29 tackles, 1.5 for loss, in 2018, provide the speed and junior Matt Galasso (Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic) will provide the power after posting 30 tackles and two sacks as a freshman in 2017.

Sophomores Marshall Charles (Inglewood, Calif./Verbum Dei) and Stephen Zakrzewski (Conshohocken, Pa./Roman Catholic) both saw time on the field as freshmen and will look for a larger role this year, as both have the ability to play inside and outside on the line, as well as senior Nate Lash (Clearfield, Pa./Clearfield). Twelve freshmen will also join in the mix as well.

Head Coach Mike Clark
Coach’s Take: “Ahmad is obviously a returning all-conference player that is coming back for a fifth year. Kyle is just a really solid, steady, tough, old-school football player. He is really good player. At ends, between Matt and Willie, we will have to teach those guys some things because Willie played inside a lot and so did Matt as a freshman. They can both be swing guys. If we get into pass rush situations, when you throw Duane into the mix as an edge rusher, we can be good. How does Marshall Charles continue to develop? I think with all those guys coming back, we have some flexibility to play a lot of people. There a couple big freshmen D-tackles that might help us as well.”

Who’s Back: Duane Boone, Sr., 6-1, 205, Tyrone, Pa./Tyrone Area; Marshall Charles, So., 6-0, 258, Inglewood, Calif./Verbum Dei; Ahmad Curtis, Sr., 6-1, 340, Effort, Pa./Pleasant Valley; Matt Galasso, Jr., 6-3, 250, Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic; Willie Garner, So., 5-11, 225, Brick, N.J./Brick Memorial; Nate Lash, Sr., 6-2, 240, Clearfield, Pa./Clearfield Area; Kyle Pierce, Jr., 6-0, 267, Berwick, Pa./Berwick Area; Stephen Zakrzewski, So., 6-0, 235, Conshohocken, Pa./Roman Catholic.

Newcomers: Abubakar Audu Jr., Fr., 6-1, 286, Potomoc, Md./Richard Montgomery; Dan Beckley, Fr., 6-0, 220, Montgomery, Pa./Montgomery; Domir Brown, Fr., 5-10, 217, Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Prep; Zac Cost, Fr., 6-1, 213, Dalton, Pa./Lackawanna Trail; Steven Hankey, Fr., 6-2, 355, Frederick, Md./Tuscarora; Dakota Hiester, Fr., 6-0, 215, Lehighton, Pa./Lehighton Area; Daniel Jennings, Fr., 5-10, 270, Allentown, Pa./Salisbury Township; Nathan Reedy, Fr., 6-0, 220, Schuylkill Haven, Pa./Schuylkill Haven; Cole Senior, Fr., 5-9, 215, Middletown, Pa./Middletown Area; Gerald Smith III, Fr., 5-8, 185, Lansdale, Pa./Monsignor Bonner; David Tomb, Fr., 5-10, 184, Jersey Shore, Pa./Jersey Shore Area; Colby Tracy, Fr., 6-2, 247, Shippensburg, Pa./Shippensburg Area.

With four players returning that started at least five games in 2018, the Warriors will have some much-needed depth at linebacker.

With a group that has experienced its fair share of injuries in the past two seasons, it has led to two positive outcomes – several of the team’s linebackers already have plenty of game experience and when all of them are healthy, the team has great depth at the spot.

Seniors Sam Pawlikowski (West Creek, N.J./Seneca), Zach Kovach (Duncansville, Pa./Hollidaysburg Area) and Jarrell Payne (Jersey City, N.J./Liberty) head up the group. All three have speed and explosiveness a plenty, as well as plenty of experience in the team’s system. Pawlikowski, 6-0, 195, posted 30 tackles and two sacks from the strong-side position in 2018, Kovach, 5-9, 200, had 17 tackles and a sack in six games in the middle and Payne, 5-9, 175, had 33 stops, a sack and two interceptions from the weak side.

Behind those three, sophomore Trey Borger (Dallas, Pa./Lake Lehman), who had eight tackles in as many games, junior Andre Jackson Jr. (Paterson, N.J./Hawthorne), who had six tackles in three games, and senior Tyler George (Clifton Heights, Pa./Upper Darby), who had six tackles in 2018, are all expected to play a bigger role. Junior brothers Matt and Mike Kalyan (Auburn, Pa./Schuylkill Haven) will also factor into the linebacking position after combining for 49 tackles, 7.5 for loss and an interception in 2018.

Junior Colin Munley (Carbondale, Pa./Mid Valley) and sophomores Sam Pittsman (Archbald, Pa./Valley View) and Josh Paul (Gettysburg, Pa./Gettysburg Area) will also try to move into the linebackers rotation. Six freshmen will also work to earn time at the spot.

Head Coach Mike Clark
Coach’s Take: “Last year, the way we played defense, we kind of had some hockey shifts. I do think we have some talented linebackers and playing behind our front should make life easier for those guys. What we really need there is consistently because the injuries have hurt us there. We need some guys to stay healthy and really become every down players for us. Zach Kovach is absolutely athletic enough to be a really good three-down linebacker. This is the best group of linebackers since the Bukasa-Denike-Sullivan days. All three of those guys were all-conference players at one point, but none of these guys have been. We need some guys to separate themselves and not be just one of six guys, but come in and take the spot. I think Jarrell is a dynamite player when he is healthy. He’s so athletic and so fast, but so are some of those other guys. Sam Pawlikowski was a high school running back and the Kalyans are big, physical guys and good athletes.”

Who’s Back: Trey Borger, So., 5-9, 174, Dallas, Pa./Lake-Lehman; Tyler George, Sr., 6-0, 205, Clifton Heights Pa./Upper Darby; Andre Jackson Jr., Jr., 5-10, 192, Paterson, N.J./Hawthorne; Matt Kalyan, Jr., 5-9, 205, Auburn, Pa./Schuylkill Haven; Mike Kalyan, Jr., 5-9, 214, Auburn, Pa./Schuylkill Haven; Zach Kovach, Sr., 5-9, 200, Duncansville, Pa./Hollidaysburg Area; Colin Munley, Jr., 5-9, 162, Carbondale, Pa./Mid Valley; Josh Paul, So., 5-9, 195, Gettysburg, Pa./Gettysburg Area; Sam Pawlikowski, Sr., 6-0, 195, West Creek, N.J./Seneca; Jarrell Payne, Sr., 5-9, 169, Jersey City, N.J./Liberty; Sam Pittsman, So., 5-11, 205, Archbald, Pa./Valley View.

Newcomers: Taytdum Fortson, Fr., 5-10, 210, Lewistown, Pa./Mifflin County; Stephon Payne, Fr., 5-10, 171, Bronx, N.Y./Hudson Catholic; Jon Riley, Fr., 5-11, 195, Old Tappan, N.J./Old Tappan; Ramessis Rolon, Fr., 6-0, 200, Bensalem, Pa./Bensalem; Shawn Truhe, Fr., 5-10, 215, Lehighton, Pa./Lehighton Area; Jase Wright, Fr., 5-11, 223, Muncy, Pa./Hughesville.

Defensive Backs
With all-conference safety Joe Pizka the only loss in the two-deep to graduation, the Warriors will have solid experience in the secondary, starting with two significant contributors over the past four years in each of the corner positions in D.J. Boyd (Seat Pleasant, Md./Fairmount Heights) and Korahn Williams (Reading, Pa./Reading).

Boyd had 25 tackles in nine games as a junior, adding a sack and an interception as teams tended to throw away from the standout cover corner. Williams played in all 11 games, making 24 tackles and defending three passes. Both of them have more than 100 tackles in their careers.

Junior Gianni Bryant-Lopez (Delran, N.J./Delran) is a welcome compliment as a third cornerback that has made an impact, as he started four games in 2018 and made 22 tackles and had a key interception in the win against FDU-Florham.

At safety, senior Jeff Coplin (Philadelphia, Pa./Central) returns after earning a starting spot in 2018 when he made 32 tackles and added three interceptions. In the other safety spot, sophomore Samir Brisbon (Bensalem, Pa./Bristol) and junior Allen Martin (Secane, Pa./Ridley) have worked throughout camp to gain an edge, though, both will likely see a share of playing time.

Senior Jake Strassner (Montoursville, Pa./Montoursville), sophomore Joshua Shermeyer (Harrisburg, Pa./East Pennsboro) and a group of four freshmen will also work to see time throughout the year as well.

Head Coach Mike Clark
Coach’s Take: “I think we have a chance to be good in the secondary. D.J. being back for a fifth-year will help. Korahn has been on the field for a lot of the past three years. Jeff, really last year, started to figure it out. He’s worked hard to develop his body and that paid off. Losing Joe is going to be tough, but we think Allen is a talented guy. Gianni has to play some and Samir Brisbon is someone that we have to get something out of. We don’t have great numbers, but we do feel good about the group of guys there. If we keep them healthy, they are athletic.”

Who’s Back: D.J. Boyd, Sr., 5-11, 208, Seat Pleasant, Md./Fairmount Heights; Samir Brisbon, So., 5-9, 174, Bensalem, Pa./Bristol; Gianni Bryant-Lopez, Jr., 6-0, 203, Delran, N.J./Delran; Jeff Coplin, Sr., 6-0, 195, Philadelphia, Pa./Central; Allen Martin, Jr., 5-11, 190, Secane, Pa./Ridley; Joshua Shermeyer, So., 5-9, 170, Harrisburg, Pa./East Pennsboro; Jake Strassner, Sr., 5-10, 190, Montoursville, Pa./Montoursville Area; Korahn Williams, Sr., 6-2, 181, Reading, Pa./Reading.

Newcomers: Austin Breon, Fr., 6-1, 190, Jersey Shore, Pa./Jersey Shore Area; Antwoine Carter, Fr., 5-11, 149, Greencastle, Pa./Greencastle-Antrim; Preston Gehring, Jr., 5-6, 165, Schuylkill Haven, Pa./Schuylkill Haven; Austin Rowley, Fr., 5-11, 160, Schwenksville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley.

Special Teams
Although the team lost four-year starting punter Connor Bell to graduation, it does return First Team All-MAC kicker Jamie Fisher (Folsom, Pa./Ridley).

Fisher tied for the league lead in field goals made with 10 and canned three 40-yarders for the second straight season, which is a first for a Lycoming kicker. He will adjust to a new holder in 2019 after the graduation of Joe Oquendo, but Sidwell appears ready for the role. Pierce will handle the snapping duties on kicks for a second year.

At punter, the team will likely turn to a freshman, as two kicking rookies entered camp. Munley will handle the snapping duties.

Head Coach Mike Clark
Coach’s Take: “With Jamie, consistency has been an issue. Some of it has been snapping issues, but his percentages weren’t as good last year as the year before and that wasn’t all snapping. Jamie is really talented, but the hope is this year he puts it all together. He is always in the top two in the league in touchbacks and field goals. If he can be consistently good, then he is clearly the best kicker in the league. Kicking in the fall when its 75-90 degrees and there’s no wind isn’t so bad and then late in the year, the temperatures have dipped and the wind is ripping, it’s a little bit different thing. All of those things have an impact on it. We need Jamie to focus consistently and he will be the best kicker in the league again. Michael Coe was a good high school punter and we’re going to evaluate all those things. I wish I could say we don’t plan on punting this year, but that’s an inaccurate statement. We’ll have to look at it and figure it out – Coach Landis does a great job scheming our punts and limiting opponents’ return yards. We have to figure out which guy gives us the best chance at covering kicks and limiting returns. It’s a big question mark, but someone will punt for us.”

Who’s Back: Jamie Fisher, Sr., 6-1, 175, Folsom, Pa./Ridley.

Newcomers: Cameron Griffin, Fr., 5-5, 145, Jersey Shore, Pa./Jersey Shore Area; Michael Coe, Fr., 6-0, 210, Pittston, Pa./Pittston Area.

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