Coach: Eric Foust
League/division: Mid-Penn Conference/Colonial Division
2020 record: 4-3, 4-3
Postseason: Did not qualify
Passing: Comp-Att., Yards, TD
Rushing: Att.-Yards, Avg., TD
Nathan Beam: 84-450, 5.4, 1
Traevon Kater: 24-154, 6.4, 0
Receiving: Rec.-Yards, Avg., TD
Anthony Smith: 14-213, 15.2, 1
KEY PLAYERS: Anthony Smith, sr., DE; Nathan Beam, sr., RB; Erby Weller, jr., Wr-DB; Tucker Chamberlin, jr., QB-FS.
OUTLOOK: The Greyhounds know what it takes to reach the top of the Colonial Division summit. Shippensburg struggled to a 4-3 record in a COVID-impacted 2020, but with a return to a more normal offseason, look for Shippensburg to regain its footing in 2021. It might take some time for the offense to reach full stride as Foust plugs in a new quarterback, reloads along the offensive line and out wide, but that shouldn’t be a problem with nine returning defensive starters in tow to keep opponents in check as the offense gears up.
3 THINGS TO KNOW
1. Bringin’ back the D
Shippensburg’s young defensive crew sharpened as the 2020 season churned forward. After yielding nearly 30 points per game in three season-opening losses, the Greyhounds found their footing, surrendering more than 10 points just once (22 against East Pennsboro in a 25-22 victory) in the final four contests. That bodes well for Foust’s squad heading into a 2021 season in which nine of 11 defensive starters return. Senior Carter Funk and 6-foot-7, 255-pound Penn State target Anthony Smith anchor a defensive front which should apply plenty of pressure to opponents while the ‘Hounds’ entire linebacker corps returns intact as well.
2. Who is at QB?
Finding the next man to take the reins of the Shippensburg offense is a top priority for Foust and his crew. Zack Manning exits as one of the Mid-Penn’s winningest quarterbacks of the last four years — posting a 25-6 record as the leader of the ‘Hounds’ offense. Manning, who is continuing his athletic career at Washington and Jefferson College, wrapped up his Greyhounds career with 2,835 passing yards and 28 touchdowns, leading Shippensburg to a pair of Colonial Division titles in 2019 and 2018. The good news? There are two strong candidates battling to be under center when the Greyhounds open their season on the road against Hershey — Tucker Chamberlin, a baseball standout who Foust praised as a tremendous athlete, and Keegan Kissinger, who possesses strong vision of the field and started at free safety in 2020. Bonus note: Don’t be surprised to hear “QB1 hits Erby Weller” often in 2021 as the 6-foot, 135-pound junior wide out has been a standout during preseason workouts and is poised to be the next dynamic receiver in the Greyhounds attack.
3. Three backs a runnin’
When it comes to toting the rock, the Greyhounds are well stocked in the backfield heading into the 2021 campaign with Nate Beam, Tra Kater and Amari Kerr all expected to earn carries. Beam, who chalked up 450 stripes in the COVID-shortened circuit as a lead back in Foust’s offense, returns for another go, and Kerr possesses breakout potential after a season-ending injury derailed his sophomore season. “There are a lot of pieces to him (Kerr) that we’ve seen through the summer and as this year has developed that we are pretty excited about,” Foust said. “We were in team camp and playing a game, and he slid through this crease and got himself small to get through, then big. We knew then that he was going to be able to do this.”