The Perkiomen Valley football team will have to adjust to life without star quarterback Rasaan Stewart this fall, with the two-time All-Area Player of the Year having graduated after a record-setting three-year varsity career.
The Vikings also bid farewell to big-play receivers Dakota Clanagan and Clay Domine; 1,000-yard rusher Mark Bonomo; and nine starters from a stingy defense, including linebacker Danny Light.
Conventional wisdom seems to indicate that someone should queue up Dandy Don Meredith singing, "Turn out the lights, the party's over,' at Thomas J. Keenan Stadium.
But there are several potentially promising signs that the Vikings (who are a combined 14-4 in PAC-10 play over the past two seasons) can continue to successfully plunder many of their league foes.
"We've got guys,' PV coach Scott Reed said. "But they're unproven.'
How the Vikings' horde of new faces adjusts to the varsity level will dictate whether they can continue to run with the league's big dogs (Pottsgrove and Spring-Ford) or whether they take a step back.
"I think it's just going to take a lot of hard work in practice,' said senior offensive lineman Seth Jonassen, a first-team All-Area pick last season who helped PV go 10-3 and advance to the District 1-AAAA semifinals. "Our seniors are going to have to step up — as well as our juniors and sophomores — to fill the shoes of the guys who graduated.'
Reed said he still plans to employ a no-huddle offense, albeit a more toned-down version. The Vikings main offensive weapons include the receiver tandem of Taiyir Wilson and Liam Grande and running back Ryan O'Donnell, while sophomores David Williams and Justin Jaworski could also get touches.
The quarterback options are big-armed sophomore Stephen Sturm and senior Bobby Pagel.
"I think there's potential,' Reed said. "The group that's coming up was successful in JV last year, and I think the good thing we have on our side is that a lot of these guys got to compete with those kids last year. They got to compete in practice at a pretty high level, and got to be around that atmosphere of big games and the playoffs.
"Throughout the offseason they seemed pretty excited about it, and they know what it's going to take, it's just a matter of whether we can go out and do that.'
That includes defensively, where linebacker Sean Sedgewick and cornerback Grande are the squad's lone returning starters.
"Right now I'd say more the emphasis would be there,' Reed said. "How we handle ourselves on defense, and how physical we are, and how well we execute as far as tackling and getting off blocks and coverage. That's going to be pretty much the most important thing.'
Follow Darryl Grumling on Twitter at @MercSmokinD.