By Adam Kulikowski:
Coach: Bob Boden, 7th season (20-42)
2019 season: 6-4 (3-3 Colonial)
Postseason: did not qualify
Passing: Comp-Att, Yards, TD
Eli Puchalsky: 3-4, 146, 2
Rushing: Att-Yards, Avg, TD
Eli Puchalsky: 13-99, 7.6, 1
Receiving: Rec-Yards, Avg, TD
Hunter Thoman: 3-77, 25.7, 1
Key Players: Rosenberry, sr., OL/FB-LB; Laszio Ternay, sr., OL-DL; Dan Dress, sr., OL-DL; Ty Wonders, sr., OL-LB; Eli Puchalsky, sr., QB-ILB; Zach Coldren, sr., OL-DL
Outlook: The Mustangs are searching for a new sparkplug to replace the dynamic quarterback Kenyon Johnson who now sports the colors of Slippery Rock. Who steps up to carry the load and how quickly they can find their footing will determine how successful the Mustangs can be in 2020. “We need to find out who our hitters are,” Boden said. “Especially at our skill positions. We’re very young there. We need to find out who can deliver a hit and who can take one.”
3 Things to Know:
1. Strength up front: One area where Bob Boden can pencil in his starters without much thought is along the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The Mustangs didn’t lose a single player up front due to graduations. That’s a good foundation to build from when your team is breaking in a number of new skill position players. The group of big eaters is anchored by Laszio Ternay (5-foot-9, 250 pounds), Dan Dress (6-2, 230) and Zach Coldren (6-2, 220) with Ryan Long, Josh Trostle and Trevor Kelly vying for the other starting roles.
2. Next man (men) up: Bob Boden knows coaches don’t get to pencil in guys like Kenyon Johnson in their starting lineup very often. Replacing a young man who amassed nearly 4,000 rushing yards during his final two circuits in green and white isn’t that easy. “You just move on and work to find some other pieces that can share the load,” Boden said. That starts at quarterback where Eli Puchalsky, now recovered from a torn ACL, will take the reins of the offense when the Mustangs kick off their season Sept. 25 against Mechanicsburg. Beyond Puchalsky, a new group of playmakers must emerge from a contingent that includes Seth Rosenberry, a left tackle who is transitioning this year to fullback; Ian Goodling, a 6-1, 150-pound receiver with good hands, speed and the ability to run good routes; Marcus Quaker, Gunner Taylor and Bryce Smith. Hunter Thoman, Isiah Weller and Trent Herrera are all in the mix to split carries in the backfield.
3. Young on the back end: Boden’s defensive unit returns a healthy dose of talent including seven starters. The line, like on offense, is a strength with the full gambit of starters back for another circuit. Among the group, look for Coldren, an incoming senior who moved from defensive end to tackle last year, to take another step forward. Tyler Wonders and Seth Rosenberry, a duo that combined for nearly 100 tackles last season, anchor the linebackers. And Puchalsky slides down from safety to help out at inside linebacker. “Our secondary is our biggest question mark,” Boden said. “We’re very young there, and the same guys that are fighting to help on offense, we will need them to step up on defense as well.”