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2021 Preview: Mechanicsburg Wildcats

Coach: Anthony Rose

Classification: 5A

League/division: Mid-Penn Conference/ Colonial Division

2020 record: 9-1, 7-0 in Division

Postseason: Lost to Governor Mifflin, 68-14 in the District 3-5A Semifinal

RETURNING LEADERS:

Passing: Comp-Att., Yards, TD

Not available

Rushing: Att-Yards., Avg., TD

Not available

Receiving: Rec.-Yards, Avg., TD

Not available

KEY PLAYERS: 

Sam DeLuca, sr., TE-LB; Marlon Aristy, sr. OL-LB; RaShawn Early-Holton, sr., WR-DB; Sam Geraty, sr., OL-DL; Ben Grill, sr., OL-DL; Daniel Francis, sr., WR-LB; Glenn Robinson, sr., RB-LB; Talbot Reed-Jacquay, sr., OL-DL; Michael Jones, sr., OL-DL); Parker Sample, jr., RB-DB; Sage Thomas, jr., RB-LB; Jeff Lougee, so., QB; Seth Brubaker, jr., QB-DB.

OUTLOOK: We’ve seen it happen a thousand times before, where the teams with the uber-exceptional player crash and burn after graduation. But there seems to be a different air around the Mechanicsburg program following the loss of do-it-all quarterback Micah Brubaker. Yes, a big chunk of the playbook is now off the table, but the Wildcats are loaded in so many other places that it’s hard to see them falling off the pace they set last year. Mechanicsburg, sporting a 75-player roster, has a huge offensive line to complement a deep pool of returning skill players, while the defensive front seven gives the Wildcats plenty of pop go blow-for-blow against the toughest teams in the Colonial. Even if Mechanicsburg can fill just one of Brubaker’s shoes, that could very well be enough to propel the Wildcats to a playoff berth, and possibly a division title.
3 THINGS TO KNOW
1. Battle for QB1

Teams in the Colonial had to have taken a collective sigh of relief when dynamic QB Micah Brubaker took his final snaps for the Wildcats last season. Brubaker, now at Salisbury University, gave opposing defenses nightmares with his ability to run, throw, and improvise his way to a monster season. Brubaker is gone, but the QB cupboard at Mechanicsburg isn’t exactly empty. Three multi-sport athletes — Jeff Lougee, Seth Brubaker, and Tony Glinatsis — are battling to be Mechanicsburg’s signal-caller. Lougee, a 5-foot-11 and 165-pound sophomore, is a Duke baseball recruit and possesses the best deep-throw abilities, while junior Brubaker is a big and strong competitor at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, who can bowl guys over. The good news for whoever wins the QB competition: A chance to throw to explosive senior RaShawn Early-Holton, one of the best WRs in the division. The bad news for opponents: The two guys who don’t win the starting QB spot will still be featured in the offense, likely as receivers. “Even with losing Micah, I think we can absorb that loss better than teams in the past,” Wildcats coach Anthony Rose said. “All three guys competing to be our QB are very athletic. One of them will emerge to be the leader, but the other two guys will still be essential pieces.”

2. Built to Run
In a perfect world, Mechanicsburg would like to be the exception in the run-heavy Colonial as a squad that can both pound the rock and air the ball out with equal efficiency. But don’t be surprised if you see the Wildcats lean on the run a bit, while the team breaks in a new QB. That shouldn’t be a problem for Mechanicsburg, which has all the pieces in place to be among the Colonial’s best running teams. We’ll start in the trenches, where the returners bring back some big guys in Sam Geraty (6-2, 220), Ben Grill (5-10, 240), Talbot Reed-Jaquay (6-7, 335), and Jayden Connors, who wrestles at 220 for the Wildcats. Toss in 6-foot-6, 275-pound Mike Jones, who is back after missing last year to injury, and there should be some huge holes to run through for a quartet of RBs: Trevor Sample, Glenn Robinson, Sage Thomas, and Shahie Gardner. Sample brings an explosive element to the running attack, while Thomas gives Mechanicsburg a big and physical back. Robinson, Rose said, carries many of the same qualities as Sample and Thomas. “Yes, I think our running game could be a strength,” Rose said. “We’re going to be tested week in and week out, and I think our guys up front are up to the challenge.”

3. Hard-hitting defense
With only five returners on the defensive side of the ball, it’s fair to wonder whether Mechanicsburg can stop teams as effectively as last season. But if you ask Rose, this year’s defense is more about quality than quantity. The leader of the Wildcats ‘D’ will be linebacker Sam DeLuca, who’s certainly not afraid to make contact. “Sammy is a big kid who has worked hard in the weight room,” Rose said of his senior, who is listed at 6-1.5 feet and 210 pounds. “He’s an intelligent kid who relishes contact and one of the leaders of our defense. He’s an all-around great kid and we’re lucky to have him on our defense.” DeLuca is joined in the linebacking corps by Marlon Aristy, while up front Sam Geraty, Mike Jones, and Ben Grill have the ability wreak havoc in the backfield. Mechanicsburg is replacing its entire secondary, but Rose likes his chances with Seth Brubaker and RaShawn Early-Holton, who have both put in good camps. “It’s more about who we’ve got at what positions than guys coming back,” Rose said. “I’m pleased with the way the defense is coming together. We’re in a good position to have some success.”

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