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GREENCASTLE >> The middle of the 2014 season was a rough time for the Greencastle-Antrim football team.

After suffering a tough loss to East Pennsboro – G-A's first of the season – the Blue Devils got some heart-breaking news.

"Last year, what happened was right after we lost to East Penn in a tough game, both Derek (Measell) and I came into film that Monday and said we couldn't play the rest of the year," Greencastle tight end Brae Peck said. "Everyone was kind of down on their luck from there on out."

After starting the year 4-0, the Blue Devils went 2-4 to close out the season with a just-above-.500 record.

But don't expect that to happen this year.

Not only have Peck and Measell returned, but Demetrius Burton – the Blue Devils' highly-anticipated freshman last year – is also back from injury.

Burton tore his rotator cuff during a preseason scrimmage and played in only three games last year. Peck shattered his thumb in a pileup during the East Pennsboro game, and Measell tore a ligament in his ankle against Big Spring.

"Injuries are part of the game," Greencastle coach Chuck Tinninis said. "What you have to be able to do is rebound. I thought our kids regrouped and played hard, but it was definitely a factor. We're crossing our fingers this year that we don't have freak injuries, or any kind of injuries this year."

Both Measell and Burton will anchor a defensive secondary that struggled mightily in 2014. Burton will play at cornerback, giving Measell the opportunity to move inside to a safety position. All three will likely be two-way starters, with Peck continuing to hold down a starting job at defensive end.

"I can get my job done on defense and be a defensive force," Peck said. "Then I can also be there when I need to offensively, behind Derek, Demetrius and Bailey (Parker), our skill players."

Last season, Peck had 10 catches totaling 106 yards in just four games at tight end.

Burton and Measell provide some speed offensively that was sorely missed last year.

"I think with Spencer (Meyers) throwing the ball, we have a good quarterback in him," Measell said. "We have some strong wide receivers, and if we all stay healthy, I think we can contribute well together."

As a receiver last year, Measell caught six passes for 136 yards and three touchdowns. He also gained 90 yards on the ground on a mere 14 carries.

"At the point (Peck and Measell) got injures last year, I thought they were our two best players," Tinninis said. "They were the two playmakers. They've already shown what they can do, we just hope they can do it for a full year."

Burton also proved himself in the time he did play. Although he didn't see much action against East Pennsboro, he got plenty of reps in contests against Hershey and James Buchanan. In those two games, he racked up 257 yards on 31 carries.

"I have a good reading ability and following my blocks," Burton said. "With my line, I have to slow things down and wait for them to create blocks for me. Being small helps, too, because when it gets to be a mess out there, I can hide behind people and move right through."

Tinninis said, "Burton proved that he's a home-run threat. He can score any time he touches the ball, and he also turned into a real good deep corner. I'm expecting big things out of all three of these guys."

To view Greencastle's full season preview, visit GameTimePA's digital football preview.

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