Pen Argyl adopts an old-school look heading into new season
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
Pen Argyl head football coach John Smith says his team works hard and has a “typical old-school mentality.”
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.