William Penn building from the ground up
Winless a season ago, there's nowhere to go but up for William Penn, which suffered through its worst season since 1981.
The Bobcats have inserted the energy of Russ Stoner as head coach.
"York High was dead last in every statistical category last year, whether it was offense or defense," said Stoner, who did not coach last year following four years as Spring Grove's head coach.
"I haven't really changed my approach much," Stoner said. "I'm very demanding and set our expectations very high. I love the kids."
He inherits a team that lost by an average of 35 points per game last season, but the players and staff are ready for Week 1.
"It was hard. It was something none of us want to go through again," senior Durvel Wilson said.
"The talent level is unbelievable and I've been able to put together a really good staff and its been a great experience so far," Stoner said.
READ MORE: Culture changing around William Penn football
Quarterback: Junior Tallian Lehr hasn't played quarterback since his youth days, but he will get a shot as the signal caller for the Bearcats.
"I have Matt Baker on the staff, and to me he's the premier quarterback coach in the area, so the strides Tallian has made have been tremendous," Stoner said.
Running backs: Khalid Dorsey and Dejour Stewart will lead the stable of running backs for the Bearcats.
Receivers: Wilson and sophomore Robert Rideout and senior Kahleik Savery will be relied upon to make big plays down the field.
"Savery will be used all over the field at wide receiver, running back, quarterback — he's very talented," Stoner said.
Offensive line: Sophomore center Xavier Ramos will anchor the line that also features Marcus Mitchell, Malik Perkiss and left tackle Jiair Banks.
"We are excited about our offense and where everybody is sitting right now," Stoner said. "We have some depth with really young offensive lineman. The young kids just have to learn to play a little faster."
Defensive line: Mitchell and Shaquan Palmer will play defensive tackle with Justin Stough at end.
Linebackers: Jynl Crosby and Perkiss will patrol the middle of the field for William Penn.
"There are a lot of seniors on the defense, and we have a talented group," Stoner said.
Secondary: Dorsey, Savery and Wilson, Erik Mann head up a senior-laden group here.
Stoner said the Bearcats expected to welcome a kicker who is moving from Maryland, and that he got some help this summer from former Spring Grove kicker Andrew Luckenbaugh.
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Save the date
Stoner called this season a redemption tour for the Bearcats. They'll host Stoner's former team, Spring Grove, on Oct. 7 in what is sure to be a highly charged atmosphere.
Stoner's goal is for the Bearcats to win Division I.
"There is no reason why we can't," he said. "The talent is there. It comes down to when there is some adversity, what are they going to do?"
In the huddle
Head coach: Russ Stoner (first season) (18-25 in 4 seasons at Spring Grove)
Assistant coaches: Matt Baker (OC), Shane Corriere (DC), Vince Jamison, Andy Stauffer, Brad Sprenkle, Tony Desenberg, Digreg Stevenson, Kittrel Barnes.
Class: 5A, YAIAA Division I
Enrollment: 1,008 total (492 male)
Sept. 2 — William Penn at Reading, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 — J.P. McCaskey at William Penn, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 — William Penn at Cedar Cliff, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 — Red Lion at William Penn, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 — William Penn at Dallastown, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 — Spring Grove at William Penn, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14* — Northeastern at William Penn, 7 p.m.
Oct. 21 — William Penn at South Western, 7 p.m.
Oct. 28 — New Oxford at William Penn, 7 p.m.
Nov. 4 — William Penn at Central York, 7 p.m.
L // Reading // 0-36
L // @ J.P. McCaskey // 12-31
L // Harrisburg // 0-41
L // @ Red Lion // 6-70
L // Dallastown // 14-50
L // @ Spring Grove // 20-48
L // @ Northeastern // 8-35
L // South Western // 0-46
L // @ New Oxford // 14-26
L // Central York // 0-42