Coach: Shawn Heinold (17-34 in five seasons) // YAIAA Division I // District 3 // Class AAAA
Brett Keener / For GameTimePA.com
The William Penn program has something very valuable to offer its players this season: opportunity.
The Bearcats are facing an almost wholesale lineup turnover after losing a slew of contributors to graduation. With just three starters returning on each side of the ball, that means plenty of spots in the starting lineup are waiting to be had.
"It's exciting because there's an opportunity for these guys," William Penn coach Shawn Heinold said. "We're all excited to see how they are going to respond. We want to see if they can take it to the next level for us, because it's a great opportunity for them to do that."
The Bearcats' laundry list of camp battles includes those for spots at the skill positions, in the interior lines, and across each of the levels of the defense. The last of those will be particularly important: William Penn went just 2-4 last season when scoring 21 points or more.
Quarterback >> The search for new blood begins here, as the Bearcats no longer have the services of dual-threat standout James Way III, a multiyear starter under center. Preseason practice is going to determine the starter from among the trio of Napoleon Snellings, Jose Curet and Justin Colston.
Running backs >> More turnover here, as William Penn also lost Bryshon Sweeney, a coaches' pick on the Division I second-team. He and Way formed the 1-2 rushing punch last season for the Bearcats, and that production needs to be picked up by a group that includes Ruben Mendes and Andrew Radzik.
Receivers >> The trend continues: the Bearcats' top four pass-catchers of a year ago have departed. Nyshaun Ritter will lead a group of receivers that includes Erik Mann, Justin Franklin, and Markeis Cash. The tight spot will be manned by Nykam Beverly.
Offensive line >> Finally, some returning starters: Jadontay Beatty and Jynl Crosby both return up front, while Jiair Banks saw significant varsity time last season. That trio will likely man the center and guard slots, although the specific spots were to be determined in the preseason.
Defensive line >> The situation isn't much different on defense, where William Penn will replace its top five tacklers from a year ago. That turnover is particularly apparent on the defensive live, where the Bearcats have a big but raw crop of hopefuls.
Linebackers >> Beverly, a big bruiser, will headline the linebacking corps after missing time with an injury a year ago. Marcus Mitchell should handle another spot, while preseason competition will determine the other positions.
Secondary >> This is another area of competition, with a number of players in the mix, including Ritter.
This is an area in which Sweeney will be missed, as he drew division first-team honors last season as a specialist. The Bearcats will have an array of options in the return game, led by junior Edgar Centeno -- a sprinter on the track team. They will have a new kicker to replace the graduated Ethan Fogelman.
Save the date >> William Penn's position within Division I -- and the fitness level of the Bearcats' two-way players -- will be decided quickly, as the Bearcats open league play with back-to-back measuring-stick games against Red Lion (Sept. 25) and Dallastown (Oct. 2).
Bottom line >> William Penn enters the season with a lot of question marks. The Bearcats hope that improved chemistry and some pleasant surprises from a hungry roster are enough to establish the week-to-week consistency that eluded them last season.
Date/Result // Opponent // Time/Score
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
Result // Opponent // Score
L // Reading // 25-26
L // J.P. McCaskey // 21-28
L // Harrisburg // 12-34
L // Red Lion // 12-13
L // Dallastown // 7-28
W // Spring Grove // 21-17
W // Northeastern // 20-17
L // South Western // 29-41
W // New Oxford // 43-7
L // Central York // 21-42