Meadville Tribune

Sports

August 28, 2013

High school football: Rebuilding makes Region 2 anybody’s race

MEADVILLE — Eisenhower

Head coach: Jim Penley (10th season)

2012 record: 8-3 overall, 7-0 Region 2

Opening week opponent: At Mercer, Friday at 7 p.m.

Eisenhower had some talented kids last season. Quarterback Aaron Lundmark went on to Grove City College. The school’s all-time leading rusher, John Pascuzzi, went to Clarion. And leading receiver Nate O’Brien (who was also a first-team all-region kicker and punter) is now at Lock Haven. Those players took a lot of yardage and points with them.

The Knights will now look to restock. Senior Rob Wilston will take over a quarterback. He was among the team’s top ball-carriers last year with 28 takes for 242 yards and five TDs. Senior Alex Johnson will resume duties at fullback, where he had 69 carries, 576 yards and nine TDs last year. And seniors Carter Farrell and Bryce Garris will take over at tailback after some scattered carries in 2012.

The bottom line is, Eisenhower had 22 returning letterwinners last year and went on to win the Region 2 championship. This year, they have 10 letterwinners coming back. The Knights can still be trouble for some. But they won’t quite have the impact of the 2012 edition.

Mercyhurst Prep

Head coach: Matt Morgan (9th season)

2012 record: 8-3 overall, 6-1 Region 2

Opening week opponent: At St. Joseph, Saturday at 3 p.m.

Mercyhurst Prep boasted quite the trio in the backfield in 2012, with Cornelius Barlay, Thomas Higgins and Ryan Connor compiling 3,001 rushing yards and 36 touchdowns all on the ground. However, all three rushers have since graduated and the Lakers are looking for another group of backs to carry the ball. And they’ll also need some new big guys to block for them with the graduation of first-team all-region picks Joe DeSanti, Alex Parson and Kyle Drabic. And the team’s top three receivers — Barclay, Brandon Peebles and Higgins — all graduated

Apart from the couple remaining linemen the team has, the only player that saw a lot of snaps last year was quarterback Nick Evanoff, who is now a junior. He was 35 for 67 for 426 yards, seven TDs and six INTs. Now he just needs a couple new guys to whom he can to deliver the ball.

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