Penns­bury eye­ing SOL Na­tional crown

The Advance of Bucks County - - COMMUNITY - By Vince Par­avec­chia

There is no doubt that PENNSBrRv is set­ting the bar high for 2012.

Af­ter a mem­o­rable 2011 that brought a run into the Dis­trict I Class AAAA playoffs, the Fal­cons have most of the pieces in place to go even fur­ther. ves, there are still ques­tions and con­cerns, but as long as Penns­bury is able to an­swer them, there is no rea­son to think more can’t be done once the sea­son gets un­der­way this Fri­day night.

“We can go pretty far,” said se­nior wide re­ceiver An­thony Bullaro. “We have a lot of re­turn­ing play­ers who have ex­pe­ri­ence, so the more ex­pe­ri­ence, the bet­ter.”

The Fal­cons look to be well stocked when it comes to all as­pects of the game, but that may be es­pe­cially true of the de­fense. That is be­cause eight play­ers with at least some start­ing ex­pe­ri­ence are back to lead that unit, which gave up less than 16 points per game and KHOG fiYH RSSRnHnWV, LnFOuGing Subur­ban One League (SOL) Na­tional Con­fer­ence co-cham­pion Coun­cil Rock South, to 10 point or less in 2011.

The place of big­gest un­cer­tainty in terms of stop­ping other teams is the sec- ondary, where the Fal­cons lost two re­li­able play­ers in strong safety Ethan Para­boschi and cor­ner­back Adam Lewis, who also played at run­ning back. Bullaro will help with the unit, as he started at safety last year but has been moved to cor­ner to re­place Lewis. Op­po­site of him will be class­mate Ryan Muse, while fel­low se­nior Bobby Walls will man the strong safety spot.

The free safety po­si­tion is led by An­thony Dono­van, an­other se­nior who needs to stay healthy since he is also slated to start at quar­ter­back IRU WKH fiUVW WLPH. 8S unWLO this sea­son, he had been pri­mar­ily a de­fen­sive player since Bruce Camp­bell was un­der cen­ter in 2011. He fared well in that re­gard, DV KH OHG WKH WHDP wLWK fiYH in­ter­cep­tions and added 27 tack­les.

Camp­bell has since grad­u­ated, so the reins now fall in Dono­van’s hands, and they are fairly big ones at that. Camp­bell man­aged the Fal­cons’ triple-wing, “ground-and-pound” of­fense and con­trib­uted over 400 pass­ing yards, nearly the same num­ber of rush­ing yards and a to­tal of nine touch­downs in the process.

“I’m try­ing to be able to be a dual-threat quar­ter-

back,” said Dono­van.

If he can do so, it would likely take some pres­sure off the unit with the most ques­tion marks go­ing into this cam­paign, namely the offensive line. Gone from last year is ar­guably one of the Fal­cons’ best line­man in re­cent mem­ory, J.J. Den­man. His 6-7, 300-plus pound frame drew in­ter­est from sev­eral FBS col­leges, and ul­ti­mately, Den­man opted for Rut­gers rniver­sity.

Den­man is not the only line­man to de­part the ranks of the orange and black as Jake An­drassy, Mike Reynolds, Alex Mol­lo­han and Dy­lan Pep­per have also grad­u­ated. While this seasRn’s unLW Ls fiOOHG SULPDUily with ju­niors and se­niors, only cen­ter Jack Mee­han is back from last year’s start­ing core. To his right, fel­low se­nior hyle Potcuk will start at tackle, while ju­nior Mycah Mol­lo­han is slated at guard. Se­nior John Later is the likely starter at left guard, while sopho­more Austin O’Neill will break in at left tackle.

“It’s a work in progress right now, but ev­ery game, we get bet­ter,” said Dono­van about the line. “Ev­ery snap, we get bet­ter.”

If that trend con­tin­ues, the Fal­cons should be in good shape. In terms of the de­fense, there are fewer ques­tions when it comes to the front seven. Ju­nior Blake hovin heads up one of the de­fen­sive tackle spots, while ends Bran­don Lee and con­verted split end/de­fen­sive back Chad Hen­sor look to be­come main­stays. This unit also ap­pears very deep, as re­turn­ing starters Luke John­son and Sy­keem Ste­wart are also part of the URWDWLRn WKDW sDw sLJnL­fiFDnW time in a scrim­mage against LaSalle Aug. 24.

Then there are the lineback­ers, who have three key starters back in se­niors Tommy Hose, Shawn Pep­per and Char­lie Fisher. They were among the big­gest con­trib­u­tors de­fen­sively last year, as Hose led Penns­bury with 112 tack­les and 11 tack­les for loss, in­clud­ing four sacks. Pep­per was the top man in terms of sacks with six, while Fisher had 94 tack­les and a pair of in­ter­cep­tions.

In the LaSalle scrim­mage, the de­fense fared well, as it stopped the Ex­plor­ers, a Class AAAA state semifinDOLsW ODsW sHDsRn, Rn DOO but one drive. That, though, was enough scor­ing for LaSalle to win by a 7-0 score in what was a two-quar­ter, 24-minute con­test.

Dono­van nearly com­pleted a touch­down pass to Bullaro in the sec­ond quar­ter that could have changed the game. That play fol­lowed a nice run by Shawn Pep­per, who also plays wing back and will have a much more sLJnL­fiFDnW UROH Ln WKH UusKing at­tack with­out Lewis or DDvLG *UDy Ln WKH EDFN­fiHOG. Lewis’ 604 yards on the ground were sec­ond on the team last year, and he was also a threat re­ceiv­ing wise thanks to a 19.3 yard av­er­age in that re­gard.

Pep­per did see 35 car­ries last year and had two touch­downs, but those num­bers fiJuUH WR LnFUHDsH TuLFNOy. Be­side him will be Chuck Snor­weah, who stood out as a fresh­man in 2011, thanks to his 5.6 yards per carry av­er­age and 478 yards rush­ing.

“Charles,

he’s

fast and real speedy,” said Pep­per, adding that he’s more the pro­to­typ­i­cal power back.

Both Pep­per and Snor­weah, as well as Dono­van, wLOO EHnH­fiW Ln WKH UusKLnJ and op­tion schemes if 6-1, 245-pound se­nior full­back Daquan Mack can continue his pace from last year. Both his 1,006 yards and 15 touch­downs led Penns­bury, as did his 194 at­tempts.

While Mack was nurs­ing an in­jury and missed the LaSalle scrim­mage, he is expected to be ready for the Aug. 31 opener at Eas­ton. In his ab­sence, Bran­don *DUUHWW WRRN WKH fiHOG.

It ap­pears the Fal­cons should be able to keep de­fenses hon­est, as well, due to a group of wide­outs in­clud­ing Bullaro, Dan Chau­dri and Mike Har­rah. All of them have at least 6-0 frames, while Eliot Muka adds a ca­pa­ble tar­get at tight end.

Spe­cial teams wise, se­nior Mikhail hni­aziewicz is back to han­dle kick­ing du­ties and can also punt. That said, if Dono­van and the line jells, the of­fense KDs HnRuJK fiUHSRwHU WR im­prove on its 23 point av- er­age from last year. While Penns­bury reached the 40-point plateau four times, in­clud­ing a sec­ond round play­off win over Coatesville, it was also shutout once and scored a com­bined 17 points in its four losses. One of those set­backs was a 27-3 de­feat to North Penn Ln WKH GLsWULFW sHPLfinDOs, which ended the Fal­cons sea­son at 9-4 over­all. They were also 5-2 in the SOL Na­tional and avenged one of those losses with a 35-24 play­off win over Abing­ton Ln WKH fiUsW URunG.

This year’s slate could be even tougher, though. The

Pho­tos by Gregg Sla­boda

Pho­tos by Gregg Sla­boda

Penns­bury tack­ler Tommy Hose has Rovers’ RB James Mid­dle­ton in the grasp in last year’s opener. The Fal­cons open Fri­day night at Eas­ton.

Photo by John Glee­son

CRUSA’s Kayla Nitka wins the fight for a 50-50 ball.

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