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The massive amount of turnover on area football rosters this year is not just confined to players.

Five new head coaches will dot the area gridiron landscape, including four rookie Pioneer Athletic Conference coaches.

George Parkinson takes over at Boyertown, Evan Breisblatt takes charge at Phoenixville, Tom Hontz assumes command at Upper Perkiomen, Rory Graver takes the reins at Pope John Paul II, and Dave Rackovan takes the helm at Hill School.

Phoenixville new head coach Evan Breisblatt speaks to his players during training camp practice. (Photo by Barry Taglieber)
Phoenixville new head coach Evan Breisblatt speaks to his players during training camp practice. (Photo by Barry Taglieber)

Parkinson is the lone newcomer with previous PAC-10 head coaching experience, having served at St. Pius X from 2006-2009 — where he compiled a 12-34 record highlighted by an 8-6 mark his final season, when the Winged Lions advanced to the PIAA-A playoffs.

The 52-year-old Parkinson, the head coach at Boyertown Junior High East the past four seasons, succeeds Mark Scisly — who left in the offseason to take the head coaching position at Northampton. Parkinson was also an assistant at Pius from 2004-05.

"My biggest thing with any team is that they play together, play for one another and play as a team,' said Parkinson, who inherits a team that went 5-4 in the PAC-10 and 7-4 overall last year. "And not just talk about it, but do it. We want to make sure we stress discipline and have a disciplined team.'


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Breisblatt served as head coach at Pequea Valley for the past three seasons, compiling a 10-20 mark at a program that had gone just 22-108 overall over the previous 13 seasons. The 40-year-old also had assistant stints at Coatesville (2000-03, 2007-10), Kennett (204-06) and Unionville (1996-98). He succeeds Bill Furlong, who resigned in the offseason after guiding the Phantoms to a 70-63 mark over 11 seasons. Phoenixville was 4-5 in the PAC-10 and 4-9 overall last year.

Boyertown’s new head coach George Parkinson speaks to his team during training camp practice. (John Strickler/The Mercury)
Boyertown's new head coach George Parkinson speaks to his team during training camp practice. (John Strickler/The Mercury)

"My coaching philosophy is to create an environment where my players can excel and grow academically, physically and emotionally,' Breisblatt said. "I want to instill great pride and character so that one day they will become productive members of society. We want to create a positive atmosphere and make football fun. If we can do this, winning will take care of itself, because we will attract all the athletes in our school.'

Hontz, a 47-year-old who presided over the highly successful Upper Perkiomen wrestling program for the past 24 seasons, succeeds Steve Moyer (now an assistant at Spring-Ford). He was a middle school head coach in the Tribe's system for 14 years as well as a varsity assistant for five years. Hontz hopes to help right the ship for a program that has won just one game in the past two seasons.

Pope John Paul II football coach Rory Graver, a former quarterback, gets involved on the first day of practice in his first season. Rick Kauffman/Times
Pope John Paul II football coach Rory Graver, a former quarterback, gets involved on the first day of practice in his first season. Rick Kauffman/Times Herald Staff (Rick Kauffman)

"My objective is to try and convince the kids that although we may be a smaller (Class AAA) school, we can still have an aggressive attitude,' Hontz said. "We want to instill a desire to fight and scrap out on the field. We've worked hard to improve our conditioning and our overall work ethic, and we hope to translate that into improvement in the win column.'

At 28, Graver is the youngest of the new coaches. He takes over for Mike Santillo, who coached Pope John Paul II for its first four seasons and is now an assistant at Norristown. Graver was the offensive coordinator at Upper Merion last year, and had previously served as quarterbacks coach at PJP in 2010, and was also the passing coordinator the following year and the co-offensive coordinator in 2012. The Golden Panthers are coming off back-to-back seasons in which they went 1-8 in league play and 1-9 overall.

Upper Perkiomen head coach Tom Hontz, left, watches practice. (John Strickler/The Mercury)
Upper Perkiomen head coach Tom Hontz, left, watches practice. (John Strickler/The Mercury)

"Our goals are to compete to the best of our ability and improve each day,' Graver said. "If we can achieve this, we will have a successful season. Right now we have great competition at each position and camp should very interesting as these play out. Every game should be challenging and we will have to be at our best to compete with every team in the PAC-10.'

The 62-year-old Rackovan comes to the Hill from Central Bucks South, where he compiled a 26-18 mark over the past four seasons. A wide receiver and quarterback at Millersville (Class of 1973), Rackovan served as head coach at Purchase Line High in Commodore from 1976-83.

He was an assistant at Indiana University of Pennsylvania from ' 83-'86 (coaching the offensive line and wide receivers) before spending six years as an assistant at the University of Pennsylvania and eight more at Dartmouth, where he coached the running backs and special teams.

Rackovan succeeds Grey Simpson, who coached the Rams for the past three seasons. Hill went 1-4 in the Mid-Atlantic Prep League and 1-7 overall last season.

"We are going to instill a fast-paced spread offense, and attacking defense and aggressive special teams,' Rackovan said. "Our goal is to get better every practice.'

 

SAINTS OF THE GRIDIRON

A couple of area talents -— Pop Lacey and Eric Bodolus, who each reside in the Daniel Boone district — are key contributors for Berks Catholic.

The Saints, who compete at the Class AA level, are coming off a 14-1 campaign in which they reached the PIAA semifinals before falling 20-0 to Imhotep Charter.

They are considered heavy favorites in Section 2 of the Berks Football League and could be the team to beat in District 3 as well.

Lacey, a 6-foot, 180-pound running back/linebacker, rushed for 918 yards and scored 13 touchdowns last year.

Bodolus, the son of former Boone coach Dave Bodolus, is a 5-10, 200-pound junior inside linebacker/offensive guard.

Longtime Berks Catholic head coach Rick Keeley, by the way, is a St. Pius X grad who was a star offensive guard/linebacker for the Winged Lions (Class of 1971). He has a combined 191-124-3 mark in 27 seasons at Holy Name and Berks Catholic.

 

PRESEASON POTPOURRI

Pottsgrove's Patrick Finn was named to the Pennsylvania Football News all-state Class AAA first team. The two-time defending PAC-10 champion Falcons were ranked at honorable mention in the PFN Class AAA preseason rankings, while Spring-Ford was named an honorable mention team in Class AAAA.

Follow Darryl Grumling on Twitter at @MercSmokinD.