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Zach Miller and Teddy Feinberg talk about the upcoming season of YAIAA Division I football.

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A lot of teams have reason to envy Northeastern's position entering the season. The Bobcats will see a significant number of their starters return for the 2016 campaign.

But that also puts plenty of expectations on the Bobcats' shoulders. Northeastern went 9-3 last season, which included a playoff win, and they will enter the season as one of the favorites in YAIAA Division I.

While head coach Jon Scepanski said he's glad to bring back such experience, he acknowledged nothing will be given to his team this season.

“In Division I, there’s never a game where you can chalk up as a win,” Scepanski said.

READ MORE | Cover story: Northeastern, Suburban, Hanover out to prove 2015 was no fluke

Offense

Quarterback: Shannon Valenti returns for his senior season with the Bobcats after a stellar 2015 campaign in which he threw for 1,057 yards and seven touchdowns.

Running backs: The Bobcats return Anu Johnson and Chris Whack. Both finished last year among the top 20 rushers in the league — Johnson ran for 629 yards and Whack had 543 yards — while helping the Bobcats run 1,949 yards as a team.

Receivers: Jonathen Butler will move over from the tight end spot to wide receiver, and Taemar Willis will move from his role as a returner last year into a wideout spot. Coby Motley will also join the receiving core.

Offensive line: Tackle John Wadkins returns for the upcoming season, as does guard Chase Kann on the offensive line. Northeastern will have to find replacements for graduates Adam Kipp and Tate Lau.

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YAIAA Division I football players discuss a variety of topics.

Defense

Defensive line: Northeastern was the best defense in the YAIAA, and they’ll have a big piece returning in Shamari Young. The 6-foot, 213-pound defensive end was a first-team GameTimePA.com all-star last season.

Linebackers: Mason Kling returns to the linebacker position for 2016, while Wyatt Hughes is also in the mix.

Secondary: The best defense in the YAIAA last year returns a number of their secondary starters: Justin Franklin, Willis and Michael Cooper, along with Motley, who can be rotated into the secondary.

Special teams

In addition to his wide receiving and secondary duties, Willis will return punts and kicks.

• • • 

Save the date

If Northeastern is going to capture a division crown they’ll need to beat defending champion Dallastown on Oct. 7. The Wildcats scored 15 fourth quarter points to beat the Bobcats last year.

Bottom line

The Bobcats are coming off one of the most successful seasons in program history, and return most of their starting lineup. With plenty of experience under their belts, the Bobcats will be the early favorites in Division I.

In the huddle

Head coach: Jon Scepanski (15-17 in three seasons)
Assistant coaches: Brian Freed (DC), Gary Morrison (OC), Jon Urey, Josh Olver, Mike Smith, Milt Bushey, Tyler Wolgamuth, Jamie Snyder

Class: 5A, YAIAA Division I
Enrollment: 828 total (430 male)
Offense: Spread wing
Defense: 3-3-5

2016 schedule

Sept. 2 — Daniel Boone at Northeastern, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 — Northeastern at York Suburban, 7 p.m.
Sept. 17 — Northeastern at Solanco, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 — Central York at Northeastern, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 — Northeastern at Red Lion, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 — Dallastown at Northeastern, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 — Northeastern at William Penn, 7 p.m.
Oct. 21* — Spring Grove at Northeastern, 7 p.m.
Oct. 28 — South Western at Northeastern, 7 p.m.
Nov. 4 — Northeastern at New Oxford, 7 p.m.
* homecoming

2015 results

 

W // @ York Catholic // 40-7
W // York Suburban // 31-24
W // Susquehannock // 30-21
W // @ Central York // 42-0
W // Red Lion // 14-13
L // @ Dallastown // 12-15
W // William Penn // 35-8
W // @ Spring Grove // 30-0
L // @ South Western // 7-24
W // New Oxford // 45-7
District 3 Class AAA
First round // W // Northern Lebanon // 12-48
Quarterfinals // L // Susquehann Twp. // 42-14

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