With five weeks left to the start of the high school football season, The Evening Sun’s Countdown to Kickoff continues with a look at the Delone Catholic Squires. Brandon Stoneburg and Zach Miller will continue highlighting one team from the Hanover-Adams area every Friday leading up to the start of the season.
By Brandon Stoneburg and Zach Miller
Delone Catholic Squires
Seniors Jake Kadis and Jake Wiles celebrate after a play last season. Delone Catholic has to replace both players in 2015. (File -- GameTimePA.com)
Last year: 6-5, third in Division III
Coach: Corey Zortman (first season)
Key players lost: RB/KR Jake Kadis (976 rushing yards, 8.6 yards per carry, 9 TDs, 491 return yards), RB Alex Little (842 rushing yards, 8 TDs), TE/LB Justin Gobrecht (263 receiving yards, 3 TDs, 65 tackles, 8 sacks), LB/S Tyler Loucks (86 tackles, 3 INTs), LB/DL Jimmy O'Boyle (75 tackles, 1 sack), DL Michael Rider (69 tackles, 4 sacks), K Jay Strickland (24 PATs, 4-4 FGs), QB Jake Wiles (120 passing yards, 1 TD***played with injured knee)
Key players returning: QB Brian Shermeyer (810 passing yards, 7 TDs, 8 INTs), RB/S Tavian Dorsey (858 all-purpose yards, 7.4 yards per carry, 7 TDs, 1 INT), RB Sean Sneeringer (145 rushing yards, 5.8 yards per carry, 1 TD), WR/CB Brandon Zumbrum (199 receiving yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT), OL/DL Chase Kint (89 tackles, 1 sack), OL/DL Bryce Perkins (62 tackles, 1 sack), K Ben Fehsah (54 yard kickoff average, 5 touchbacks)
Key stretch: Sept 25 - Oct. 16 (at York Catholic, vs. Littlestown, at Biglerville, vs. Bermudian Springs)
Here you go, Delone, your three biggest rivals and a division title contender all in less than a month. Last season, the Squires went 2-2 in the stretch with wins over Littlestown and Biglerville, then reeled off three straight wins to close the regular season. The most intriguing game in this stretch may be the first one at York Catholic. The Squires would love some revenge against their Catholic school rival after the Irish won 29-27 on a last-second field goal at J.T. Flaherty Field last September, despite 182 rushing yards and two touchdowns from Tavian Dorsey. The Squires could be in good position to make a postseason run if they can scratch out at least two wins here.
Circle this game on the schedule: Sept. 18 vs Union City (Tenn.)
How often does a York-Adams team get to play a team from the south? And Union City's mascot is the Golden Tornadoes. How cool is that? The Squires vs. the Golden Tornadoes! Union City has won two straight state titles in Tennessee so this should be a good test for Delone. Let's say Delone pulls off the win over the Tennessee champs who are making a 850-mile trip. That could be quite the confidence boost heading into their division schedule.
Storyline to follow: How far can a rookie coach and young team go together?
Fresh off a district playoff appearance, the Squires enter the 2015 campaign with a new head coach and a team that may take a few weeks for fans to get used to. The Wing-T system and classic gold helmets will remain the same under first-year head coach Corey Zortman, but gone are starters Jake Wiles, Justin Gobrecht, Jake Kadis, Michael Rider, Tyler Loucks and Alex Little among others. Replacing so many starters from a team that finished fourth in the league in total offense and seventh in defense will be a tall task for Zortman. But there is reason for the Black and Gold to be optimistic.
Junior standout Brian Shermeyer will take full control of the offense after splitting time last season with Wiles, who was battling an ACL injury. In limited time, Shermeyer still threw for 810 yards and seven touchdowns. Shermeyer has a rocket arm, but will need a receiver to step up. Gobrecht is gone, but Dorsey, Zumbrum and Larry Lefler return after combining for 500 yards and four touchdowns.
The Squires were the fifth-best running team last season but lose Little and Kadis, who were both among the league’s top 10 tailbacks after combining for 1,827 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. Keep an eye on Dorsey to step up behind a huge offensive line that returns Chase Kint, Bryce Perkins and Spencer Trump. Dorsey ran for 564 yards and five touchdowns, while averaging 7.4 yards per carry in 2014.
Zortman's biggest challenge may come on the defensive side of the ball where the Squires lost Gobrecht and Rider (12 combined sacks) and their leading tackler (Loucks). That side of the ball may be fairly inexperienced as well, but there's young talent there.
With Division III in the shape its in, expect the Squires to finish at or above .500 and be in playoff contention come November.
2015 ScheduleSept. 4: Trinity
Sept. 11: at Columbia
Sept. 18: Union City (Tenn.)
Sept. 25: at York Catholic
Oct. 2: Littlestown
Oct. 9: at Biglerville
Oct. 16: Bermudian Springs
Oct. 23: at Fairfield
Oct. 30: York Tech
Nov. 6: at Hanover
Delone Catholic's Jake Kadis is one of several key players who graduated, leaving the Squires with a new cast of characters for first-year coach Corey Zortman. (File -- GameTimePA.com)
Countdown to kickoff scheduleJune 12: New Oxford
June 19: Hanover
June 26: Littlestown
July 3: Spring Grove
July 10: Biglerville
July 17: Fairfield
July 24: South Western
July 31: Delone Catholic
Aug. 7: Gettysburg
Aug. 14: Bermudian Springs
Aug. 21: Over/Unders
Aug. 28: Top returning units