Franklin/Fulton preview

2015 Overview

By Lizi Arbogast

liziarbogast@GameTimePA.com

@LiziArbogast on Twitter

For three years in a row, a Franklin County football team has made noise in the Mid Penn Conference. Shippensburg earned the Mid Penn Colonial Division title in 2012 and 2013, and Waynesboro had a share of the Colonial crown just last year. 

The trend might be difficult to continue in 2015, as the area's Colonial Division teams have some unanswered questions heading into the season, and Chambersburg continues to look up at a tough Mid Penn Commonwealth Division schedule.

Here are five things to watch during the 2015 season: 

 

Can Blue Devils stay healthy?

Greencastle-Antrim heads into the year with high expectations after suffering a myriad of injuries in 2014. The Blue Devils had injuries to Derek Measell, Tyler Graham and Brae Peck, who are all returning to the squad. But Sam Sprague, one of Greencastle's leading offensive weapons, suffered an injury during basketball season that could keep him out this year. Questions abound for Chuck Tinninis' squad heading into the year.

Rockets' quarterback returns without top two targets

James Buchanan has been on a bit of an upswing of late, but there are some unknowns heading into the regular season after losing a solid senior class. Rockets quarterback Dillon Sanders returns after missing nearly half the season last year because of injury, but he no longer has his top two receivers, Peter Hughey and Blake Egolf. Seth Carbaugh will be heavily leaned on in the run game, and he's looking to fill the shoes of Shamar Pates, the reigning Public Opinion Player of the Year.

Can Greyhounds' underclassmen step up?

After having two strong senior classes full of leadership and experience, Shippensburg is facing the question of how it will perform with only four seniors on the team so far. Tyler Gustafson, Wade Mills, Nathaniel Sheffield and Dylan Rotz are the only Greyhound seniors who have been consistent during summer workouts. Coach Eric Foust is expecting Cole Friese to return, but there are still some uncertainties about the roster this year.

Indians looking to continue upward trend

Last season was a tumultuous one for the Waynesboro Indians, who went from 0-10 to co-division champs in one year. Following some early season controversy under new coach Brennan Marion, the Indians made a big turnaround, and Marion was named Public Opinion Coach of the Year. But that has all changed again, as Waynesboro is now under the direction of coach Steve Myers. There is one question that won't need to be answered for Waynesboro, and that is the reliability of Matt Peck, who was the area's only 1,000-yard receiver last year.

Trojans have big shoes to fill

Likely the biggest questions in the area come for Chambersburg, which struggled to produce much of any offense in the 2014 season. The Trojans finished 1-9, and their defense is what kept them in most games. But now Chambersburg has to fill some of its biggest pieces lost to graduation: Colton Brookens, Mitch Hollar and Boaz Pogue. The Trojans do return the area's best kicker, Nazeer Taylor, who was just a freshman last year, and they are hoping for big things from leading running back Darius Johnson.

The theme is obvious for this year's Franklin County football teams, but until it's Friday night with the bright lights on, some of those questions will remain unanswered. 

Players to watch
Team listing
Mid Penn capsules

Lizi Arbogast / GameTimePA.com

After an in-depth preview of each of the Franklin County teams, it’s always a good idea to know a little bit about the competition.

Here are capsules of each of the other Mid Penn Conference football teams.

Colonial Division

BIG SPRING >> The Bulldogs were winless in the division last year, but are now under the direction of coach Cory Hoffman. Garrett Chestnut, last year’s starting quarterback, will play at receiver, and Triston Cooper returns at running back. Tristan Robb, a Colonial Division First-Team All-Star, returns at linebacker, and Rhett Nixon will anchor the defensive line.

EAST PENNSBORO >> The Panthers made a big statement in their first year in the Colonial Division, earning a share of the division title with Waynesboro. Although East Penn lost a few key pieces, Kyle Purnell is ready to take over under center and has tight end Matt Dunkleberger and wide receiver Zach Wertz as his supporting cast. Defensively, the Panthers posted three shutouts a year ago.

NORTHERN YORK >> Greg Bowman is one of three new coaches in the Division, and he has quite a few returning starters to work with. Bobby Shelly and Michael Kearney are the running back duo, and Curtis Robison is back under center. Defensively, the Polar Bears bring back seven starters, including Noah Smith, who will be relied upon to be a force up front.

Commonwealth Division

CARLISLE >> For the past three years, the Thundering Herd have relied heavily on quarterback Billy Burger, but all that has changed this season. Carlisle also lost their top wide receiver but return Tyler Greene at running back. On the defensive side, the Herd allowed just 22 points per game last year and are hoping to match that or better. Three starters return on the line to create holes for top linebackers Nate Barnes and Grant Shughart.

CENTRAL DAUPHIN >> The Rams could have one of the top defenses in the division this season. They are led by Micah Parsons, a defensive end who was named a freshman All-American in 2014. Offensively, CD is pretty stacked also. Raleigh Sirb, who was a 1,000-yard rusher last season, returns, and AJ Millar will take over under center. CD shared the division title with CD East and Cumberland Valley last year.

CD EAST >> Central Dauphin East, which had a share of the Commonwealth Division title last year, returns starting quarterback Jahad Neibauer and running back Tyshaun Pollard. The linebacking crew of Brandon Hickerson-Rooks, Darrion Livingston and Wendell Banks returns, and the Panthers are look to come back even stronger than they were in 2014.

CUMBERLAND VALLEY >> The third team in the Commonwealth triumvirate, Cumberland Valley is hungry for more. Running back Nick Rhodes and wide receiver Connor Long both are back to anchor an offense that didn’t have its best stuff last year. Taking over at quarterback will be Josh Ferguson. Long was also a MPC Commonwealth First-Team selection a year ago at defensive back, and second-team linebacker Cole Kline also returns.

HARRISBURG >> Quarterback Yahmir Wilkerson now has a year under his belt, and he’ll look to lead Harrisburg alongside top receiver Shaquon Anderson-Butts, who averaged more than 20 yards per catch last year. Harrisburg will continue to hang its hat on defense, which includes Damion Barber, Andrew Young and two-way lineman Chad Cooksey-Easter.

MIFFLIN COUNTY >> The Huskies did not win a game in the Commonwealth last year, and may have a difficult time of it again in 2015. They return just five combined starters. Drew Williams and Isaac Maclay have been competing for the starting quarterback job, and there are several other position battles where a victor has yet to emerge. Brent Hartman is the new coach of the Huskies.

STATE COLLEGE >> State College was the District 6-9 Class AAAA champion last year and went on to the PIAA quarterfinals, and there’s a good chance the Little Lions will be in prime position to do the same. They have one of the top running backs in the area in Jordan Misher, who gained more than 1,500 yards on the ground last year.

Capital Division

BOILING SPRINGS >> The Bubblers lost some of their top skill players from a successful 2014 campaign, so this year, Tristan Enck will take over under center. Defensively, Val Arena and Dylan McCoy will be two of the team’s strongest linebackers.

CAMP HILL >> Quarterback Michael Shuster returns for his fourth year as a starter, and he’ll now have a more experienced line in front of him. Zack Kuntz also returns after being named an All-American in 2014, and he’ll be playing both tight end and defensive end.

MIDDLETOWN >> The Blue Raiders could have one of the top defenses in the Capital with top linebacker Caleb Leggore running the show. Corbin Stetler is also a solid LB, and Middletown made need a strong defense as it tries to find a new quarterback.

MILTON HERSHEY >> The defending division champ, Milton Hershey returns quarterback Keonte Lucas, who threw for 957 yards and added 1,175 on the ground. On the flipside, defensive back Ahmir Manning will lead the secondary as a returning Capital Division first-team selection.

PALMYRA >> The Cougars, who joined the Capital Division last season, have a solid defense with Mason Sosnoski, Mason Cooper and Tyler Gallagher all finishing 2014 with more than 50 tackles, but several of the top athletes will be playing both ways.

STEEL-HIGH >> Malachi Young will now play quarterback for what was an inconsistent offense a year ago, but the defense should be a strong point. Tyreek Williams, Shamari Jones and Quentin Taylor-Porter are all returning starters in the secondary.

TRINITY >> The Shamrocks return just six total starters, but Hunter Geisel is one of those. At quarterback last year, Geisel threw for nearly 1,500 yards and had 11 touchdowns. Alexander Schlager returns at linebacker.

WEST PERRY >> Coming off a winless season, the Mustangs will be relying heavily on running back Hunter Wilson, who had 423 yards on the ground last year. But West Perry will need a lot of improvement on both sides of the ball this season.

Keystone Division

BISHOP MCDEVITT >> After suffering a narrow defeat in the PIAA Class AAA semifinals, the Crusaders are hungry for more. McDevitt returns eight starters on offense, including Kobay White, Bryce Hall and Kyree Calli. The trio had nearly 3,000 receiving yards combined last year.

CEDAR CLIFF >> The Colts will be looking to improve on defense this year, but offensively, they return Keystone Division MVP Jayden Demmy, who rushed for 1,789 yards and 27 touchdowns.

HERSHEY >> The Trojans were winless in the division and had only two victories overall last year, and there are questions still being answered. One of two sophomores will start at quarterback, and Hershey returns only four starters defensively.

LOWER DAUPHIN >> Tommy Klock will take over at quarterback, but expect a heavy run game from the Falcons again this year with the return of George Hatalowich, who gained more than 1,000 yards last year.

MECHANICSBURG >> The Wildcats have big shoes to fill after top running back Shyheim Brown transferred to Central Dauphin East, but the defense should be solid with three returners up front.

RED LAND >> Justin Johnson has a lot of pressure on his shoulder as Red Land’s top rusher for the first time, and defensively, Wes Brantner and Ricky Tamanosky will anchor what should be a top line.

SUSQUEHANNA TOWNSHIP >> After a 3-7 season last year, the Indians return eight players on both sides of the ball. Ben Moser, who threw for more than 2,000 yards, is back under center.

Schedule

Week 1

Friday, Sept. 4

Big Spring at West Perry, 7 p.m.

Cedar Cliff at Penn Manor, 7 p.m.

Central Dauphin East at Milton Hershey, 7 p.m.

Cumberland Valley at Spring Grove, 7 p.m.

Greencastle-Antrim at Chambersburg, 7 p.m.

Hanover at James Buchanan, 7 p.m.

Harrisburg at J.P. McCaskey, 7 p.m.

Kennard-Dale at Waynesboro, 7 p.m.

Littlestown at Boiling Springs, 7 p.m.

Lower Dauphin at Middletown, 7 p.m.

Manheim Township at Central Dauphin, 7 p.m.

Mechanicsburg at Carlisle, 7 p.m.

Mifflin County at DuBois, 7 p.m.

Palmyra at East Pennsboro, 7 p.m.

Red Lion at Hershey, 7 p.m.

Shippensburg at Dover, 7 p.m.

State College at Spring-Ford, 7 p.m.

Susquehanna Township at Conrad Weiser, 7 p.m.

Trinity at Delone Catholic, 7 p.m.

Upper Dauphin at Camp HIll, 7 p.m.

York Suburban at Red Land, 7 p.m.

 

Saturday, Sept. 5

Bishop McDevitt at Steelton-Highspire, 7 p.m.

 

Week 2

Friday, Sept. 11

Bermudian Springs at Boiling Springs, 7 p.m.

Big Spring at Dover, 7 p.m.

Camp HIll at Halifax, 7 p.m.

Cedar Cliff at Lower Dauphin, 7 p.m.

Central Dauphin at Susquehanna Township, 7 p.m.

Central York at Cumberland Valley, 7 p.m.

Chambersburg at Shippensburg, 7 p.m.

East Pennsboro at West Perry, 7 p.m.

ELCO at Palmyra, 7 p.m.

Elizabethtown at Hershey, 7 p.m.

James Buchanan at Fairfield, 7 p.m.

Littlestown at Greencastle-Antrim, 7 p.m.

Mifflin County at Williamsport, 7 p.m.

Milton Hershey at Muhlenberg, 7 p.m.

Northern York at Middletown, 7 p.m.

Red Land at Carlisle, 7 p.m.

Spring Grove at Mechanicsburg, 7 p.m.

State College at Bishop McDevitt, 7 p.m.

Waynesboro at Biglerville, 7 p.m.

Wilson at Central Dauphin East, 7 p.m.

Wyomissing at Trinity, 7 p.m.

 

Saturday, Sept. 12

Harrisburg at Reading, 1 p.m.

Berks Catholic at Steelton-Highspire, 7 p.m.

 

Week 3

Friday, Sept. 18

Bermudian Springs at Shippensburg, 7 p.m.

Bishop McDevitt at Cumberland Valley, 7 p.m.

Boiling Springs at Big Spring, 7 p.m.

Carlisle at South Western, 7 p.m.

Cedar Cliff at Cocalico, 7 p.m.

Central Dauphin at Wilson, 7 p.m.

Chambersburg at Lower Dauphin, 7 p.m.

Columbia at Trinity, 7 p.m.

Dover at Red Land, 7 p.m.

Downingtown West at Mifflin County, 7 p.m.

Harrisburg at WIlliam Penn, 7 p.m.

James Buchanan at Camp HIll, 7 p.m.

Mechanicsburg at Northern York, 7 p.m.

Middletown at Elizabethtown, 7 p.m.

Milton Hershey at Hershey, 7 p.m.

Palmyra at Donegal, 7 p.m.

Steelton-Highspire at Newport, 7 p.m.

Susquehanna Township at Central Dauphin East, 7 p.m.

Susquenita at East Pennsboro, 7 p.m.

Upper Darby at State College, 7 p.m.

Waynesboro at Gettysburg, 7 p.m.

West Perry at Greencastle-Antrim, 7 p.m.

Week 4

Friday, Sept. 25

Camp Hill at West Perry, 7 p.m.

Cedar Cliff at Waynesboro, 7 p.m.

Central Dauphin at Chambersburg, 7 p.m.

Greencastle-Antrim at Big Spring, 7 p.m.

Hershey at Red Land, 7 p.m.

James Buchanan at Northern York, 7 p.m.

Mechanicsburg at Bishop McDevitt, 7 p.m.

Middletown at Boiling Springs, 7 p.m.

Mifflin County at Central Dauphin East, 7 p.m.

Shippensburg at East Pennsboro, 7 p.m.

State College at Carlisle, 7 p.m.

Susquehanna Township at Lower Dauphin, 7 p.m.

Trinity at Palmyra, 7 p.m.

 

Saturday, Sept. 26

Cumberland Valley at Harrisburg, 1 p.m.

Steelton-Highspire at Milton Hershey, 1:30 p.m.

 

Week 5

Friday, Oct. 2

Big Spring at James Buchanan, 7 p.m.

Bishop McDevitt at Hershey, 7 p.m.

Boiling Springs at Trinity, 7 p.m.

Carlisle at Mifflin County, 7 p.m.

Central Dauphin East at Cumberland Valley, 7 p.m.

Chambersburg at State College, 7 p.m.

East Pennsboro at Greencastle-Antrim, 7 p.m.

Harrisburg at Central Dauphin, 7 p.m.

Lower Dauphin at Cedar Cliff, 7 p.m.

Milton Hershey at Camp Hill, 7 p.m.

Northern York at Waynesboro, 7 p.m.

Palmyra at Steelton-Highspire, 7 p.m.

Red Land at Susquehanna Township, 7 p.m.

Shippensburg at Mechanicsburg, 7 p.m.

West Perry at Middletown, 7 p.m.

 

Week 6

Friday, Oct. 9

Cedar Cliff at Mechanicsburg, 7 p.m.

Central Dauphin at State College, 7 p.m.

Cumberland Valley at Carlisle, 7 p.m.

Harrisburg at Central Dauphin East, 7 p.m.

James Buchanan at East Pennsboro, 7 p.m.

Lower Dauphin at Red Land, 7 p.m.

Middletown at Milton Hershey, 7 p.m.

Mifflin County at Chambersburg, 7 p.m.

Northern York at Big Spring, 7 p.m.

Palmyra at Boiling Springs, 7 p.m.

Steelton-Highspire at Camp Hill, 7 p.m.

Susquehanna Township at Bishop McDevitt, 7 p.m.

Trinity at West Perry, 7 p.m.

Waynesboro at Shippensburg, 7 p.m.

 

Saturday, Oct. 9

Greencastle-Antrim at Hershey, 7 p.m.

Week 7

Friday, Oct. 16

Bishop McDevitt at Cedar Cliff, 7 p.m.

Camp HIll at Palmyra, 7 p.m.

Carlisle at Central Dauphin, 7 p.m.

Central Dauphin East at Chambersburg, 7 p.m.

East Pennsboro at Waynesboro, 7 p.m.

Greencastle-Antrim at James Buchanan, 7 p.m.

Hershey at Susquehanna Township, 7 p.m.

Mechanicsburg at Lower Dauphin, 7 p.m.

Middletown at Trinity, 7 p.m.

Mifflin County at Cumberland Valley, 7 p.m.

Milton Hershey at Boiling Springs, 7 p.m.

Red Land at Big Spring, 7 p.m.

Shippensburg at Northern York, 7 p.m.

West Perry at Steelton-Highspire, 7 p.m.

 

Saturday, Oct. 17

State College at Harrisburg, 1 p.m.

 

Week 8

Friday, Oct. 23

Big Spring at Shippensburg, 7 p.m.

Boiling Springs at Camp HIll, 7 p.m.

Carlisle at Chambersburg, 7 p.m.

Cedar Cliff at Susquehanna Township, 7 p.m.

Central Dauphin East at State College, 7 p.m.

Cumberland Valley at Central Dauphin, 7 p.m.

East Pennsboro at Bishop McDevitt, 7 p.m.

Harrisburg at Mifflin County, 7 p.m.

Lower Dauphin at Hershey, 7 p.m.

Mechanicsburg at Red Land, 7 p.m.

Northern York at Greencastle-Antrim, 7 p.m.

Steelton-Highspire at Trinity, 7 p.m.

Waynesboro at James Buchanan, 7 p.m.

West Perry at Milton Hershey, 7 p.m.

 

Saturday, Oct. 24

Palmyra at Middletown, 2 p.m.

 

Week 9

Friday, Oct. 30

Big Spring at East Pennsboro, 7 p.m.

Boiling Springs at West Perry, 7 p.m.

Central Dauphin East at Carlisle, 7 p.m.

Cumberland Valley at State College, 7 p.m.

Greencastle-Antrim at Waynesboro, 7 p.m.

Hershey at Cedar Cliff, 7 p.m.

Middletown at Steelton-Highspire, 7 p.m.

Mifflin County at Central Dauphin, 7 p.m.

Milton Hershey at Palmyra, 7 p.m.

Northern York at Lower Dauphin, 7 p.m.

Red Land at Bishop McDevitt, 7 p.m.

Shippensburg at James Buchanan, 7 p.m.

Susquehanna Township at Mechanicsburg, 7 p.m.

Trinity at Camp Hill, 7 p.m.

 

Saturday, Oct. 31

Chambersburg at Harrisburg, 1 p.m.

 

Week 10

Friday, Nov. 6

Bishop McDevitt at Lower Dauphin, 7 p.m.

Camp Hill at Middletown, 7 p.m.

Central Dauphin at Central Dauphin East, 7 p.m.

Chambersburg at Cumberland Valley, 7 p.m.

East Pennsboro at Northern York, 7 p.m.

Hershey at Mechanicsburg, 7 p.m.

Red Land at Cedar Cliff, 7 p.m.

Shippensburg at Greencastle-Antrim, 7 p.m.

State College at Mifflin County, 7 p.m.

Steelton-Highspire at Boiling Springs, 7 p.m.

Susquehanna Township at James Buchanan, 7 p,m,

Trinity at Milton Hershey, 7 p.m.

Waynesboro at Big Spring, 7 p.m.

West Perry at Palmyra, 7 p.m.

 

Saturday, Nov. 7

Carlisle at Harrisburg, 1 p.m.