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Saturday, June 15, 2024

2021 Preview: Steel-High Rollers

Coach: Andrew Erby

Classification: 1A

League/division: Mid-Penn Conference/Capital Division

2020 record: 10-0, 4-0

Postseason: Won the PIAA Class 1A championship, defeating Jeannette 32-20.


Passing: Comp-Att., Yards, TD

Alex Erby: NA-NA., 2,742, 35

Rushing: Att-Yards, Avg., TD


Receiving: Rec.-Yards, Avg., TD

Tyrone Moore: 42-600, 14.2, 8

KEY PLAYERS: Tyrone Moore, sr., WR-CB; Taeyon Bratton sr., FB-DT; Marlyn A. Davis, sr., OT; Daivin Pryor, sr., SS; Tyshaun Holland-Alli, jr., LB-DE; Alex Erby, so., QB; Andrew Erby, so., DT; Jaeion Perry, so., LB; Amair Williams, so., LB; Eugene Green, so., DE; Rell Ceasar Jr., so., FS.

OUTLOOK: Steel-High will look to run it back after winning the PIAA Class 1A championship in 2020. The men on Cottage Hill return eight of 11 starters on defense — a young unit that should take a step or two forward thanks to the reps gained last season. A stellar group of wideouts no longer don the blue and silver including Penn State recruit Mehki Flowers and Damein Hammonds, but with incoming sophomore Alex Erby under center, the new cast should be quick to hit their stride. A District 3 title and more is well within reach for the Rollers.

1. Next-level D

Steel-High knew its defense would need time to settle in 2020 as green underclassmen comprised many of the starting positions. As that championship run progressed, this defense continued to clamp down, capped by strong performances in the semifinal and championship games in which the unit yielded 14 and 20 points, respectively. The Rollers should reap the benefits of that seasoning in 2021 and beyond with eight of 11 starters set to return. Eugene Green (23 tackles, 4 sacks) and the 6-foot-4, 275-pound sophomore Andrew Erby Jr. (43 tackles, 3 sacks) anchor the trenches while linebackers Jaeion Perry and Amari Williams combined to notch more than 140 tackles as freshmen. Daivin Pryor, the most seasoned veteran of the group as a senior leads the defense as an anchor in the secondary. “We’re going to make mistakes, but we want to learn from them and we spent a lot of time on how we can improve,” Steel-High coach Andrew Erby said. “We still feel like we haven’t reached our potential with so many young players coming back. … The defensive side of the ball has the potential to be our strength.”

2. Shuffling the skill positions

Many of the cats who fueled Steel-High’s high-octane offense in 2020 exited the program — Penn State recruit Mehki Flowers now calls CD East home, while All-State first-team selections Odell Greene and Damein Hammond turned their tassels after the COVID-altered 2020 campaign. That’s more than 3,400 yards of production combined. That opens the door for a new batch of playmakers to make their mark alongside Erby. Junior wideout Tyrone Moore, often an unsung player in Erby’s offense, returns after notching 600 yards and eight touchdowns last year. Sophomores Durrell Ceaser Jr. and Jaieon Perry will help round out the speedsters outside. Carlisle transfer Jakhai Noss will help comprise a revamped backfield that will also include Taeyon Bratton and Daivin Pryor. Noss, the 6-2, 205-pound junior, last played football two season ago, but Erby believes he’ll contribute to the Rollers success this year. “I like how he carries himself,” Erby said. “He fits our culture and is a hard-working kid. He’s a great fit for the program. He can run a little bit, he’s fast enough to run away from you but physical enough to run through you.”

3. Maturation of Alex Erby

Steel-High coach Andrew Erby is ready to take the cover off his Corvette  —that is he’s taking the restraints off his 6-4, 210-pound quarterback and son, Alex Erby. A year removed from a broken foot that limited Alex, Erby’s gunslinging son is ready to showcase his refined ability to throw on the run and become a true dual-threat passer. The Pa. Football Writers All-State selection filled the stat sheet with 2,742 passing yards and 35 touchdowns en route to the PIAA Class 1A title. Tutelage from former Cedar Cliff Colts standout Andrew Ford — a fellow lefty quarterback — helped to improve his footwork and build more mental toughness needed to compete at the highest level. “He worked hard at keeping his body lean,” Erby said of Alex’s offseason work. “We worked on his speed and agility, his mobility from the pocket, being able to throw on the run. That will be an added component to his game that will really take off for him as far as the team and college recruiting… He has all the tangibles to be a high-end quarterback.”

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