One of the more unique storylines of the upcoming Week 1 of the high school football season will play out at Susquehannock High School this Friday.
There, Warriors head coach Bill Kerr (above, at a recent practice) will lead his new team against York Suburban. Yes, the same York Suburban squad Kerr left during the offseason.
But if you're envisioning some sort of bad-blood encounter rife with animosity, forget it. Kerr is still highly respected at Suburban, where he led the Trojans to back-to-back 7-4 seasons in his final two years.
Back at YAIAA media day, I asked Trojans senior lineman Brian Hacker about how he felt played against his old coach.
"We have to show him what he's missing," Hacker said with a good-natured smile.
His coach, Craig Zortman quickly chimed in. "I'm sure there will be a lot of hugs after the game. It is sort of ironic," he said.
Hacker has his own redemption story for this season. As I wrote about at YAIAA Media Day, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound lineman saw half of his season erased last year by bouts of MRSA -- a bacterial infection -- in both his legs. One case required a trip to the hospital.
"I thought last year I was in the best shape I could have ever been in," Hacker said. "Going to camp was great, and the first scrimmage went well. But after that it was all pretty much downhill."
Luckily, Hacker has another year to make up for lost time. He also got a nickname out of the experience -- his teammates jokingly refer to him as "Merse."
This year, he'll be one of the cornerstones of a York Suburban team which must replace several key skill position players from last season.
"I'm thinking of seeing big things from him this year," Zortman said. "He's not only big, but he's a good athlete, too. He's not one of those cliché, big, slow lineman."