Waynesboro returners have big shoes to fill
Jake Wertz. Matt Peck. Charlie Patterson.
The three Waynesboro powerhouses that combined for more than 65 percent of the Indians' total offensive yards last year have been replaced.
The new tribe of leaders in 2016 will have big shoes to fill, but Brady Beckner, Cameron Keck and Mason Frampton are up for the challenge.
Although it lost a handful of the area's top players to graduation, Waynesboro returns an elite linebacker in Forrest Rhyne, a strong arm under center in Brady Riddell and a trio of returners with the potential to put up big offensive numbers.
"I think a lot of those guys are ready to jump in," Waynesboro coach Steve Myers said. "We lost Wertz, who had a lot of rushing yards, but we have Beckner and Frampton jumping right in there, and Keck for Peck. He is ready to go and can put up the same type of numbers that Matt did."
Keck, projected to be the team's top receiver, caught 39 balls for 615 yards last year to average more than 15 yards per reception. He also rushed for 136 yards. Beckner will step into Wertz's shoes in 2016. He rushed for 371 yards despite not playing in the final four games. He also had six catches for 88 yards.
Even with limited touches last season, Frampton averaged 5.88 yards per carry, with 147 yards. Patrick Swiney also returns as a running back-linebacker combo. Last year he had 27 solo tackles and 53 all purpose yards.
"The core group we have coming back is really strong," Keck said. "The guys we lost last year were really great, but the team we have this year is a lot closer and I think we can do whatever we want; we just have to keep going."
Riddell returns for his senior season with a year under his belt and expectations running high. Riddell threw for 1,475 yards last year, but struggled with his accuracy. He completed the season with a 37.9 completion percentage and 22 interceptions.
"He has the strongest arm of any quarterback I’ve ever had, he just has to clean it up," Myers said. "He is ready to go and he’s going to be able to do that and clean that up well."
Twins Jake and Justin Gouge, Dylan Cummins and newcomer Mitch Neterer will also be viable receivers for Riddell. Last year while playing in the secondary, Cummins had 55 tackles and 6.5 sacks. Rhyne, who was named All-State last year, returns at linebacker with no intention of slowing down. He produced 151 tackles last year including 51 solo and 3.5 sacks.
'Boro lost four of five on the starting D-line and will have a younger core of players fill in, but Myers is confident in what he sees from his defense.
Daniel Worthy, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, will move in to start on the young defensive line. Junior Jimmy Hoffman will join the secondary.
"We are at the spot where we like what we are seeing and we are going to make it work," Myers said. "We have a little bit of a return in the secondary, but the guys who are jumping into the secondary are older guys and ready to go."
Returning to the offensive line are seniors Clay Wolfe and Brock Persons, while Austin Bish will move in as a first-year starter as a senior. Ben Potts will also step into a starting lineman position.
The Indians also return their kicker, George Souders, who was 36-for-49 on extra-point attempts.
Waynesboro will look to improve its 6-4 record from each of the last two seasons to have a chance to make it to the postseason as it moves up to Class 5A. The Indians have never made it to the playoffs.
"We want to make it to the 5A playoffs," Keck said. "The past two years we've been right there, one spot or two spots out. Anything to get us in the playoffs is all we want."
Coach: Steve Myers, second year, 6-4 (.600).
Returning starters: Forrest Rhyne (sr., RB/LB), Brady Riddell (sr., QB/DB), Cameron Keck (sr., WR/DB), Brady Beckner (sr., RB/DB), Clay Wolfe (sr., OL/DL). Patrick Swiney (sr., RB/LB), Brock Persons (sr., OL/DL), Dylan Cummins (sr., WR/DB).
Other top players: Jimmy Hoffman (jr., QB/DB), Mason Frampton (jr., RB/LB), Ben Potts (sr., OL/DL), Mitch Neterer (sr., WR/DB). Justin Gouge (jr., WR/DB), Jake Gouge (jr., WR/DB).
Predicted record: 8-2
In the huddle
Stadium: Buchanan Automotive Stadium
Location: Behind the high school, off Third Street.
Ticket prices: $5 for adults, $3 for students and seniors.
Sept. 2 — at Red Lion, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 — at Lancaster Catholic, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 — Gettysburg, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 — at Shippensburg, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 — Northern York, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 — at West Perry, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 — Big Spring, 7 p.m.
Oct. 21 — Greencastle-Antrim, 7 p.m.
Oct. 28 — at James Buchanan, 7 p.m.
Nov. 4 — Mifflin County, 7 p.m.
W // Kennard-Dale // 60-28
W // Biglerville // 14-13
W // Gettysburg // 33-0
L // Cedar Cliff // 55-32
L // Northern York // 13-7
L // Shippensburg // 31-27
L // East Pennsboro // 43-35
W // James Buchanan // 60-3
W // Greencastle-Antrim // 53-19
W // Big Spring // 47-14