By STEVE PATTERSON
For Public Opinion
There is only one way to go for the Waynesboro Indians, who lost nine games and ranked near the bottom of the Mid Penn Conference in total offense and defense in 2010.
Entering his second season, coach, Scott Shacreaw believes some of the pieces are coming together - 14 starters return, including eight on offense.
"The bottom line is we're getting better," Shacreaw said. "As far as putting wins and losses out there, I can't do that because the game has to be played on Friday nights. We want to get a full 48 minutes out of our kids, and if we can get back to where we're a respectable team and be competitive against every single team we play - that's what I'm looking for."
However, a tough schedule awaits once again. One game shouldn't make or break a season, but the opener against Susquehanna Township at home is vital. Starting this campaign off on the right foot is crucial, especially with a treacherous division slate that features dates at Greencastle, West Perry, and Shippensburg.
Shacreaw said, "That first game is a big one, and that goes right back to being competitive. We've got to show that we're going to be a competitive football team."
The Indians, who were shut out five times in 2010, haven't had a winning season since 1992. Waynesboro won the Mid Penn Conference Division III title that year with a 9-2 record.
The one thing Waynesboro should do is score more points than last season. The Indians finished last in the Colonial Division,
averaging a paltry 7.5 points a game. Shacreaw replaced the team's smashmouth running attack with a spread offense before the start of the 2010 season, and the offense should run smoother now that starting quarterback Matt Wade and other skill players have more experience. Wade, who made 10 starts a year ago, completed fewer than 27 percent of his passes with 11 interceptions.
"We're a lot more confident in what we're doing this year," Shacreaw said. "We've had a lot more time to shore up our blocking schemes, both on the passing side and the running side, so I think we're looking for a nice breakout type of year with our offense."
There are plenty of weapons, beginning with tailback Johnnie Adgers, who rushed for 497 yards and four touchdowns last season. The junior has game-breaking ability, but he must become more consistent and remain healthy. Adgers and halfback Trey Andree will be running behind an improved offensive line anchored by key figures Matt Young and Andrew Paterno. But like most of the roster, it's a work in progress.
The Indians' deep and versatile receiving corps includes Brandon Yurek, who had a team-high 10 receptions a year ago. Ryan Heinrich will be used liberally at tight end.
The Indians surrendered a staggering 37.3 points and 362.8 yards per game last season. Things could have been worse - teams outscored Waynesboro 229-42 in the first half before easing up.
The defenders need to walk away from the recent past and play with more wisdom and toughness. Shutdown corner Andree was one of the lone lights in last season's defensive darkness. The senior, who finished second on the team with 46 tackles, blends speed, a fist-waving emotional style and bone-jarring hitting. Adgers will make the transition to cornerback, while the options at safety will be plentiful.
The line, which was badly outmanned at times last season, has the potential to be a strength this season. Paterno and Matt Bricker man the ends, and Young is solid at nose tackle. But after that threesome, depth is a big question. Not to be overlooked is a hard-nosed linebacker group led by senior Matt Reed.
Practice makes perfect, right? Any wonder then that Reed was one of the league's top punters with a 35.3-yard average? Jesse Smith likely will take over field goal and extra-point duties, as well as kickoffs. Adgers and Andree give the Indians a dangerous tandem on both kickoff and punt returns.
It's always easier for a new staff in the second year, and Shacreaw believes he has a foundation in place to return to Waynesboro's glory years. At the same time, it will be a tough battle for the Indians to overtake the league's top five teams in 2011. Waynesboro may win a few, but perhaps not enough to challenge the top.
Stadium: Indian Stadium at Rip Engle Sports Complex
Location: Behind the high school, off Third Street.
Ticket prices: Adults $5, students and senior citizens $3.
Sept. 2 H Susquehanna Twp. 7:30
Sept. 9 H Chambersburg 7:30
Sept. 16 A New Oxford 7:30
Sept. 23 H Northern 7:30
Sept. 30 A Greencastle-Antrim 7:30
Oct. 7 H Big Spring 7:30
Oct. 14 A West Perry 7:00
Oct. 21 A Shippensburg 7:00
Oct. 28 H Gettysburg 7:30
Nov. 4 A James Buchanan 7:00
Last Year (1-9)
L 49-0 Susquehanna Twp.
L 49-0 Chambersburg
L 21-10 New Oxford
L 36-0 Northern
L 44-0 Greencastle-Antrim
L 41-6 Big Spring
L 30-13 West Perry
L 35-0 Shippensburg
L 42-14 Gettysburg
W 32-26 James Buchanan
Indians at a glance
Coach: Scott Shacreaw, 2nd season.
Last year: 1-9 (1-6 Mid Penn Colonial Division).
Starters lost: Nick Rounceville (P.O. first team); Brandon Shanholtz (P.O. second team); Levi Biesecker; Jeff Donoughe; Patrick O'Brien.
Returning starters: Johnnie Adgers (jr., RB/CB, 5-7, 140, P.O. Honorable Mention); Trey Andree (sr., HB/CB, 5-8, 155); Ryan Heinrich (jr., TE/LB, 6-0, 195); Thomas Monroe (sr., WR/CB, 6-4, 160); Andrew Paterno (jr., OL/DL, 5-10, 225); Matt Reed (sr., RB/LB, 5-10, 210); Cody Shank (sr., OL/DL, 6-4, 310); Matt Wade (sr., QB/LB, 6-1, 180); Matt Young (sr., OL/DL, 5-11, 255); Brandon Yurek (jr., WR/S, 6-0, 160).
Other top players: Matt Bricker (jr., OL/DL, 5-11, 180); Aaron Conrad (jr., WR/CB, 5-11, 150); Nathan Eisenhauer (jr., WR/CB, 5-6, 135); Dylan Gaylor (jr., RB/LB, 5-8, 165); Galen McDonald (jr., WR/CB, 6-0, 155); Brenien Morrow (sr., TE/DL, 6-0, 195); Matt Mylod (sr., WR/CB, 6-3, 160); Ben Petrie (jr., WR/CB, 5-7, 135); Nick Roefaro (jr., OL/LB, 5-10, 170); Ryan Shanholtz (jr., OL/LB, 5-8, 195).
Predicted record: 2-8.