It's not the same, but the Biglerville football team is determined to behave as though it is.

"The transition actually has been really smooth. The other players have reacted a lot better than I thought they would," senior Zach Campo said of Anthony Graham's switch to head coach for one season. "I felt a lot of kids wouldn't come out this year, but we actually had a few more kids turn out than we hoped."

 

In the huddle:
General Class: AA

Enrollment: 475 (231 male)

Offense: Spread wing

Defense: 4-3

 

Coaching staff Coach: Anthony Graham

Assistants: Travis O'Brien, Nate Becker, Joe Wagner, Tim Frey, Brian Clark, Frank Klein, Derrick Kuhn, Chris Hicks, Scott Howell

 

Key returners

  • OL/DL Danny Thomas

     

  • WR/LB Tommy Kranias

     

  • RB/LB Zach Campo

     

  • DL D.J. Sebastian

     

  • OL/DL Jordan Rodgers

     

    Key losses

  • RB/LB Parker Showers

     

  • QB/DB Jared Picarelli

     

  • OL/DL Brett Smyers

     

  • TE/DE Mike Wagner

     

  • WR/DB Nic Lieberum

     


  • Graham, a former assistant coach and the school's athletic director, replaces Tim Hibbs, who moved to William Penn after leading Biglerville to its first District 3 Class AA playoff appearance.

    "We're surrounded by a bunch of good kids, no doubt about it," Graham said. "It really makes it easier."

    However, of the team's 32 players, many have little varsity experience.

    Offense: The Canners were carried in 2008 by Parker Showers, who rushed for 1,480 yards and 24 touchdowns. Biglerville also lost its second-leading rusher, Nic Lieberum.

    And, with projected running back Taylor McMaster sidelined by a broken ankle, the task of rushing the football may fall largely to Campo, who had no varsity carries last fall.

    However, he can run behind a line anchored by senior Danny Thomas.

    Taylor Melemai will likely succeed Jared Picarelli at quarterback after only seven varsity passes, two of which were completed, in 2008. It helps that Tommy Kranias returns after he caught 17 passes for 217 yards and two TDs in 2008.

    Defense: Biglerville's defense last season allowed fewer than 100 yards rushing in four games, but more than 150 in four others.

    The Canners might produce more of the former numbers because of the return of a veteran defensive front led by Thomas and D.J. Sebastian, as well as newcomer Jordan Rodgers.

    Campo will anchor the linebacking corps.

    The Canners will look to improve upon the four interceptions by their secondary in 2008.

    Intangibles: Graham's task as interim head coach only for 2009 could spell trouble if things go wrong, but he does not foresee any problems.

    "I did (put myself in a box), but at the same time I didn't because I'm here as athletic director," Graham said. "I care about how all of our Biglerville sports do. ... I'll be around the kids."

    However, after the coaching transition, Graham said the team will be stronger if it can handle adversity well.

    "If we can ... come out on top and win a couple of close ones, we can do some good things," Graham said.

    Verdict: Graham feels Delone Catholic may be the team to beat in YAIAA Division III, but he sees a more balanced division than in past years.

    Graham, also filling a new role for the first time, will need his young players to mature quickly into their roles for the Canners to repeat as winners.

    Then again, if the Canners develop a leader who can carry Biglerville's football fortunes once again, success may become a perennial occurrence.

     

     

    Two-minute drill

    ZACH CAMPO: Running back/linebacker

     

    What's the best football advice you've ever received? Adapt and overcome. You can't let little things affect you.

    Do you have any pregame superstitions? I just like to get my stuff on really early. I don't feel ready if I just put my stuff on and go out on the field.

    Who's the one player on your team you wouldn't want to face? It'd have to be Tommy Kranias. Pretty strong kid, tough, gritty. Pretty intimidating.

    What practice drill do you hate the most? Eye openers. That's for linebackers. We line up with another linebacker and, in between two pads, we drive through.

    What's your favorite TV show? 24 and Entourage.

    What's your favorite Web sites? I'm a real big sports fan, so I go to the Mets', Jets' and Knicks' blogs on SNY.

    Which NFL player would you compare to yourself? Chad Pennington because he's a team leader, and I like to think of myself as a leader. ... He's my favorite player.

    What's your favorite pregame meal? Hamburgers and hot dogs.

    What's the best book you've read? Harry Potter.

     

    Great game: Oct. 10, 2008

    Biglerville 31, Bermudian 15: Senior tailback Parker Showers rushed for 183 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries, as Biglerville went on the road and defeated rival Bermudian Springs. That big night upped Showers' season totals to 990 yards and 15 rushing touchdowns seven games into the campaign.

    "Mentally and physically, he's a horse," said Canners coach Tim Hibbs. "He's on the field all the time, except ... kickoff returns and extra points."

    The Canners also got a 63-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jared Picarelli to Mike Wagner in the third quarter. Wagner also forced a key fumble in the game, when he stripped Bermudian Springs' Derek Mummert.