Christian Arnold and Teddy Feinberg talk about the upcoming season of YAIAA division II football.
In 2015, when he took over a Susquehannock program that had strung together a few wins over several seasons, Steve Wiles knew all his team needed was a couple of victories to turn the corner.
The Warriors' first four games – all against District 3 playoff teams — produced a 1-3 start. Not exactly earth shattering, but things were changing.
“I think the kids were like, ‘Here we go again. It’s another one-win season.’ Then we started to win a couple of games, they started buying in and believing and attitudes changed,” Wiles said.
A two-game streak helped Susquehannock cap its comeback season with a 5-5 record that spoke volumes of how far the team had come in a few short months under Wiles.
“With the schedule that we had, I was pretty happy with the end result … especially with the way we were playing down the stretch,” Wiles said.
Now, the key is maintaining that momentum to continue the upward trend.
Quarterback: Multi-year starter Josh Stoneberg graduated after throwing for 15 touchdowns and completing 55 percent of his passes. Next in line is senior Chase Summers, who Wiles said has a lot of potential.
“Josh had a heck of a year at quarterback. Chase is a really a hard-working kid that has been to many camps,” said Wiles.
Running backs: Senior Jack Allred split time in the backfield last season and led the Warriors with 526 yards. Another strong season from the fullback spot will help the Wing-T succeed.
Receivers: Chris Norris is one of two juniors who will be relied upon to fill the shoes of speedy playmaker Nick Tannura, who had 47 receptions for 935 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Offensive line: While not huge, seniors Alex Weincek (G), Caleb Ostrike (C) and Andrew Senft (T) are athletic, which is equally important in the Warriors scheme.
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: Weincek is an excellent tackle, and Allred provides speed from the end. Wiles likes the group, saying: “Up front we are going to be pretty good.”
Linebackers: Being able to swarm to the ball will be crucial for the group, which showed huge improvement from years past. Ostrike is going to move from end to linebacker.
Secondary: Finding the right combination will be one of Wiles’ challenges, especially with the number of spread offenses around the league. Summers and Norris will be called upon to help.
Adam Hedgeland returns to be the placekicker, while there will be plenty of competition for both the punting and return positions.
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Save the date
The Warriors open league play at Gettysburg. Last year, Susquehannock won that game, sparking the Warriors' 4-2 finish.
Things are looking up at Susquehannock, and a quicker start to the 2016 season will help the team build on its momentum.
“Coming out of those four (non-league) games, I would like to see more than one win,” Wiles said. “Going into your league schedule it would be nice to have more positives when we step on the field."
In the huddle
Head coach: Steve Wiles (5-5 in one season, 108-68 overall) (OC)
Assistant coaches: Bill Kerr (DC), Scott Mathena, Rory Hertzog, Jack Stoneberg
Class: Class 4A, YAIAA Division II
Enrollment: 708 (352 male)
Sept. 2 — Susquehannock at Northern York, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 — York Catholic at Susquehannock, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 — Susquehannock at Biglerville, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 — Twin Valley at Susquehannock, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 — Susquehannock at Gettysburg, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 — York Suburban at Susquehannock, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14* — Eastern York at Susquehannock, 7 p.m.
Oct. 21 — Susquehannock at West York, 7 p.m.
Oct. 28 — Kennard-Dale at Susquehannock, 7 p.m.
Nov. 4 — Susquehannock at Dover, 7 p.m.
L // Northern York // 14-38
W// @ York Catholic // 24-14
L // @ Northeastern // 21-30
L // @ Exeter Township // 0-35
W // Gettysburg // 21-7
L // @ York Suburban // 14-47
W // @ Eastern York // 42-20
L // West York // 31-34
W // @ Kennard-Dale // 35-17
W // Dover // 44-13