PHOENIXVILLE — With winning overall records in all but two of the past nine seasons, Phoenixville has been one of the Pioneer Athletic Conference's most consistently successful football squads.
In order for that to continue this fall, the Phantoms will need to get some key contributions from a boatload of new faces.
"We have some guys back we like,' Phoenixville coach Bill Furlong said. "They're just a little unproven, so it could come down to how good will those guys be.'
Phoenixville (6-3 PAC-10, 7-5 overall last year) incurred heavy graduation losses, most notably the All-Area first team quartet of 1,000-yard rusher Ryan Yenchick, Mercury Two-Way Player of the Year Ryan Pannella, guard Bryan Hyland and kicker/punter Ian Harrigan.
Senior Kyle Karkoska returns at safety and will take over at quarterback for an offense that will likely have a backfield-by-committee led by Justin McDougal.
"We don't have a superstar, so we're going to have to play as a team,' Furlong said. "We're going to have to play ball control, do some play-action, that sort of thing.
"They're just going to have to be touch, well-coached, disciplined kids and not make mistakes. There are several teams in this league that have pretty explosive players, and in order to be in games with those teams our guys are going to have to be very disciplined. Everyone needs to do their job and we have to play together.'
Linebacker Zach Gallow, an All-Area honorable mention selection last year, returns on defense.
"We have a lot of new guys stepping up,' Karkoska said. "We always have a tough defense, and we need that to continue, and on offense we need to put points on the board.'
Coming tomorrow: Owen J. Roberts.
Follow Darryl Grumling on Twitter at @MercSmokinD.