Pen Ar­gyl adopts an old-school look head­ing into new sea­son

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By Keith Groller

Pen Ar­gyl coach John Smith said his 2019 Green Knights foot­ball team has a “typ­i­cal old-school men­tal­ity … they’re not loud; they just work hard.”

Along with that old-school men­tal­ity will be an old-school of­fense that Smith hopes to keep un­der wraps as long as pos­si­ble. But the Knights’ of­fen­sive scheme, or at least parts of it, will likely be seen Satur­day morn­ing in a triscrim­mage against North­west­ern Le­high and Dieruff at J. Bir­ney Crum Sta­dium and will be given even more ex­po­sure Aug. 23 in the sea­son opener at Sal­is­bury.

The old-school of­fense is a per­fect fit in a sea­son that will cre­ate a lot of nos­tal­gia since it will end Oct. 26 with the 100th meet­ing be­tween Pen Ar­gyl and Ban­gor.

It will be an of­fense that, while a throw­back in na­ture, can still have a great im­pact in to­day’s game if run ef­fi­ciently. Smith be­lieves he has the per­son­nel to ex­e­cute it.

“We have very coach­able kids,” he said. “But I have an all-star coach­ing staff and I do

mean an all-star staff.”

Long­time Eas­ton as­sis­tant coach Doug Pow­ell re­turns for a sec­ond sea­son as Smith’s as­so­ciate head coach and de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor. The new of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor is Paul Shanklin, who spent many years teach­ing and coach­ing in New Jersey.

“Paul and I taught to­gether in the late 1970s at North Hun­ter­don and he’s a tremen­dous teacher of fun­da­men­tal of­fense,” Smith said. “It’s the first time I’ve had an of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor, and when you have the kind of guys we have on this staff it’s easy to del­e­gate.”

Other coaches in­clude for­mer Pen Ar­gyl ath­letes Eric Samp­son and Mike Bortz.

While the team scuf­fled through a 3-7 sea­son last year, Smith be­lieves a pos­i­tive foun­da­tion was laid.

“We have a lot of vet­eran kids who learned and are now com­ing along,” he said. “They gave us a lot of ded­i­ca­tion in the off­sea­son.”

“Ag­gres­sive­ness and play­ing to the best of our abil­ity are go­ing to be the keys,” se­nior line­man Derek Her­furth said. “Last year I don’t think we played as well as we should have. This year we’re go­ing to play bet­ter.”

Her­furth said go­ing through a sec­ond sea­son with Smith and the coach­ing staff will be ben­e­fi­cial.

“At one point there were ru­mors that [Smith] might not be coach­ing again, but he’s back and now we don’t have to adapt,” Her­furth said. “We know what he’s like and he has done very well.”

As for the new of­fense with an old-school feel, Conor Fehr, a run­ning back, said: “Coach Shanklin is do­ing a great job and we’re work­ing hard to get used to it.

“We trust Coach and be­lieve his scheme will put us in the best po­si­tion to use the best of our abil­i­ties.”

“Ag­gres­sive­ness and play­ing to the best of our abil­ity are go­ing to be the keys.” —Derek Her­furth, se­nior line­man, Pen Ar­gyl

KRIS­TEN HAR­RI­SON/ THE MORN­ING CALL

Pen Ar­gyl head foot­ball coach John Smith says his team works hard and has a “typ­i­cal old-school men­tal­ity.”

KRIS­TEN HAR­RI­SON/THE MORN­ING CALL

The Pen Ar­gyl foot­ball team is look­ing for some brighter mo­ments dur­ing the 2019 sea­son. A key to that will be im­prov­ing the pro­duc­tiv­ity of the of­fense, which av­er­aged just 213 yards per game in 2018.

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