By Adam Kulikowski:
Coach: Glen McNamee
2019 season: 12-3 (7-0 Commonwealth)
Postseason: Defeated Harrisburg 27-20 in District 3 Class 6A championship; lost to St. Joseph’s Prep 35-13 in PIAA Class 6A championship.
Passing: Comp-Att, Yards, TD
Max Mosey: 145-236, 2062, 15
Rushing: Att-Yards, Avg, TD
Timmy Smith: 196-1,356, 6.9, 17
Receiving: Rec-Yards, Avg, TD
Timmy Smith: 26-279, 19, 10
Key returners: Timmy Smith, sr., RB-LB; OL-DL Blaise Heshler, sr., OL-DL; WR-DB Malachi Bowman, sr., WR-DB; Paul Clark, sr., LB; Dan Ficca, sr., RB-LB; Max Mosey, jr., QB.
Outlook: After a storybook run to the PIAA Class 6A title game, it is easy to look at this team as a favorite to make another deep run into the postseason. But head coach Glen McNamee is quick to point out that this is a new chapter, not a continuation of last year. Still, it’s hard not to like the Rams, even after losing emotional leaders like Elijah Vargas, Nick Chimienti, and Chad Layton (just to name a few) to graduation. Key to another deep run might how the big eaters put front fare, especially on defense where the green and white will replace its entire line.
3 Things to Know:
- Building a lasting legacy: Max Mosey has the potential to be the best quarterback to ever grace the halls of Central Dauphin, according the McNamee. As just the second sophomore quarterback to start for Central Dauphin (bonus points if you can name the other, see the end of this preview for the answer) all the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Mosey did was toss the rock for nearly 2,100 yards, 15 TDs. Oh, and he led the team to the state championship against perennial powerhouse St. Joe’s. “Last year, he really checked all the boxes as a sophomore, and that’s kinda scary,” McNamee said. “The biggest thing is just size and strength. He physically looks bigger and stronger, and it shows in the arm strength. He has a better command, as good as it was last year. … He is so competitive. He naturally has a great understanding and can absorb things quicker and better than most kids. When you combine that fierce desire to win along with a gift, you get Max. He hasn’t played a snap yet as a junior and he is already at an extremely high level. Max has an opportunity to leave here as potentially the best quarterback that we have ever had.”
- Finding stoppers: Perhaps the biggest question mark for the Rams entering 2020 is who will emerge along the defensive line as opening day approaches. McNamee must find replacements for a full complement of defensive linemen who played their final circuit in 2019. Among the names to watch as the pads pop include Jamaal Bellamy (6-1, 285 pounds, sr.). Quentin Hatcher (6-0, 265), Darrion Thomas (5-10, 225) Myles Wallace (6-1, 235) and Tim Dao (5-9, 210). “You can work in theory and on protections all you want, but whenever you have a bunch of guys graduate and you have open spots, you have to put the pads on to find out who the guys are going to be,” McNamee said. “There is no substitute up front.”
- Strength at linebacker: Year after year Central Dauphin produces a crop of linebackers that could be the envy of other schools across the Mid-Penn. This year carries true with a trio of returning starters in Paul Clark, Dan Ficca and Timmy Smith all back. It’s a combination that tallied 273 tackles collectively while providing a bruising brand of football. Add in senior Shamarr Joppy, who has a bead on an impact role on the second level, and this is another group that has the composition to strike fear into opponents. “Those three returners plus Shamarr can really get after it,” McNamee said. “And that’s huge because we put a lot on them in the run game and the passing game, a lot of different types of blitzes. People know we like to throw different things at opponents.”
(Answer: The only other CD quarterback who started as a sophomore was Brandon LaVia)