Christian Arnold and Teddy Feinberg talk about the upcoming season of YAIAA division II football.
The defending YAIAA Division II champions lost their top players statistically from a season ago, but the cupboard at York Suburban is far from bare.
Gone is the record-setting combo of quarterback Thomas Merkle and receiver Collin Mailman. Merkle threw for 2,613 yards and 26 touchdowns, while Mailman led the league with 66 catches for 1,219 yards and 14 scores.
The two helped the Trojans win their final eight games of the regular season and secure a spot in the District 3 Class AAA playoffs.
While Merkle and Mailman are gone, Suburban does return a lot of the players who led to such success, particularly with the big guys up front.
“It’s configured different in our experience on our offense and defensive lines where last year it was a lot of our skill positions,” Trojans coach Andy Loucks said.
“We will have some good size, and they have played together a long time. They grew up together, played youth football together, as well as junior high. Having those guys will help us out early.”
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Quarterbacks: Ben Igo figures to fill the shoes of Merkle. A three-sport athlete, the senior Igo played in five games last season, and he showed an ability to lead the offense.
Running backs: Back are Teague Hoffman (349 yards rushing) and Jadon Haynes (240), who split time with the graduated Dajour Henderson (621). Hoffman and Henderson tied for a team-best seven rushing TDs apiece.
Receivers: Known as the “other Colin,” Colin Deardorff is back after a solid junior season of 21 catches for 173 yards and four scores. Called upon to do more, he could be quite dangerous.
Offensive line: There’s no shortage of size up front with towering Gavin Barclay (6 foot 6, 300 pounds), Ralph Casper (6-1, 215) and others leading the way.
YAIAA Division II football players discuss a variety of topics, including their most embarrassing moment and what NFL player they'd like to have dinner with.
Defensive line: Casper had 35 tackles and forced two fumbles last season, while Barclay added 32 stops. Loucks said the key is making sure “they don’t have to do more than their jobs.”
Linebackers: While not the biggest at this position, the 5-8 Hoffman is a tackling machine, coming off a season in which he made 147 stops, seven for losses and forced four fumbles.
Secondary: Although the Trojans lost most of their starters in the secondary, Loucks can take solace that many returning players saw time against the pass in 2015.
This is an area of concern after the graduation of soccer player-turned-kicker/punter Jonas Atkinson, who had 39 extra points, five field goals and five touchbacks.
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Save the date
Neighbor York Catholic is back on the schedule for a non-league game to open the season. The matchup against last year's District 3 Class 2A runner-up could set the tone for the season.
"This is a totally different season, it’s a totally different team, all these teams were different than they were last year,” Loucks said. “You can’t go and say we were good last year so we will be good again this year. It doesn’t work that way in sports.”
As long as the Suburban players remember that, it could be another memorable season at Dick May Field.
In the huddle
Coach: Andy Loucks (8-3 in one season) (DC)
Assistant coaches: Brian Marshall (OC), Craig Zortman (OC), Joe Hasson, Scott Luckenbaugh, Scott Toman, Chad Garner, Matt Marshall
Class: 4A, YAIAA Division II
Enrollment: 648 (332 male)
Defense: 4-front, multi
Sept. 2 — York Catholic at York Suburban, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 — Northeastern at York Suburban, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 — York Suburban at Columbia, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23* — Kennard-Dale at York Suburban, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 — York Suburban at Susquehannock, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 — West York at York Suburban, 7 p.m.
Oct. 21 — York Suburban at Dover, 7 p.m.
Oct. 28 — Gettysburg at York Suburban, 7 p.m.
Nov. 4 — York Suburban at Eastern York, 7 p.m.
L // @ Red Land // 7-17
L // @ Northeastern // 24-31
W // Spring Grove // 29-22
W // @ Kennard-Dale // 24-12
W // Ephrata // 38-6
W // Susquehannock // 47-14
W // @ West York // 23-22
W // Dover // 55-27
W // @ Gettysburg // 45-14
W // Eastern York // 30-7
District 3 Class AAA
First Round // L // Northern York // 16-30