Brubaker, Rams look­ing for di­a­mond in rough

The Phoenix - - SPORTS - By Sam Ste­wart sstew­art@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Sa­muel_Ste­wart7 on Twit­ter

Ru­mor has it that Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker can be seen with aminer’s hel­met, flash­light on dur­ing prac­tice.

In re­al­ity, this is false, but Brubaker has been min­ing for some­thing, some­one dur­ing the 2017 off­sea­son, a di­a­mond in the rough per say.

That’s what hap­pens when your team loses all 11 starters on a de­fense that led the Pi­o­neer Ath­letic Con­fer­ence in to­tal yards per game (236.8), points al­lowed per game (12.5) and rush­ing yards per game (94.4).

Will he find one? More than likely judg­ing on the well-known suc­cess of a Rams squad that comes into 2017 ranked No. 10 in the Pa Prep Live Pre­sea­son Rank­ings. When will he find one? Well that’s up in the air.

“Our in­stincts need to be right with who should be play­ing where,” Brubaker said. “We have to cre­ate as­much com­pe­ti­tion as pos­si­ble. There’s guys who we know will be in the mix.”

“We’ve al­ways been a se­nior ori­ented team. No doubt we’re go­ing to need help from a lot of un­der­class­men. A lot of sopho­mores are go­ing to have to at least con­trib­ute on spe­cial teams.”

The amount of se­niors that have grad­u­ated be­comes lengthy. In to­tal, 18 starters departed from a Rams squad that went 9-3 last sea­son while ad­vanc­ing to the Dis­trict 1 Class 6A play­offs. Gone are lead­ing rush­ers Matt Gib­son (757 yards, 124 car­ries) and Sel­wyn Simp­son (756 yards on 111 car­ries). Same goes for lead­ing re­ceiver Stone Scar­celle (now at Mar­shall), Nick Salomone, Ryan Yan­ule­vich, Lee Al­bert, Casey Cal­la­han, Toby Poet, Tan­ner Romano, Matt Booth and Billy Fra­zier among oth­ers.

“We need a lot of peo­ple to step up really fast,” re­turn­ing ath­lete Justin DeFran- cesco said. “There’s go­ing to be a lot of di­a­mond in the roughs, some hid­den tal­ent, that will be step­ping up this sum­mer. It’s go­ing to help us a lot when we’re re­plac­ing 11 starters on de­fense.”

DeFrancesco high­lights the four re­turn­ing starters on of­fense that also in­cludes se­nior left tackle Noah Silva, se­nior cen­ter Matt LePore and se­nior quar­ter­back TJ Pergine. DeFrancesco fig­ures to get a lot of touches af­ter wait­ing be­hind Gib­son and Simp­son while Pergine will look to take an­other step for­ward af­ter throw­ing for a school-record 2,324 yards and 27 touch­downs last sea­son.

“TJ has ma­tured off the field and film­work be­came a huge value to him,” Brubaker said. “We’re go­ing to need­more than that. He’s go­ing to play with a chip on his shoul­der and we wel­come that and we think he’s go­ing to have a great se­nior year. He’s go­ing to be re­spon­si­ble for not only him­self, but for a lot more. He’s got to help guys if they’re in the wrong po­si­tion and read de­fenses but I kno whe’s up for it.”

Go Rout

Spring-Ford has part­nered with GoRout, on-field wear­able play­mak­ing tech­nol­ogy that houses real-time play­mak­ing soft­ware that helps teams prac­tice per­fect. Ac­cord­ing to the prod­uct’s web­site, GoRout leads to a 60 per­cent av­er­age in­crease in prac­tice reps and 90 per­cent in­crease in scout team ef­fi­ciency. The pur­pose of the prod­uct is to push the lim­its of the sta­tus quo to help coaches re­think how they teach, en­gage and com­mu­ni­cate with their play­ers at prac­tice.

We Meet Again

Spring-Ford hosts Wil­son West-Lawn in Week 3 af­ter an epic two-over­time thriller that landed on Pa Prep Live’s Top 10 Games from 2016.

BOB RAINES — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE

Spring-Ford run­ning back Justin DeFrancesco finds him­self sur­rounded by North Penn de­fend­ers dur­ing the Rams’ dis­trict play­off ap­pear­ance last sea­son. DeFrancesco is one of four re­turn­ing starters on of­fense as the Rams look to find a so­lu­tion to re­plac­ing all 11 on de­fense.

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