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Saturday, June 15, 2024

2021 Preview: Waynesboro Indians

Coach: Josh Sprenkle

Classification: 5A

League/division: Mid-Penn Conference/Colonial Division

2020 record: 5-3, 4-3

Postseason: Did not qualify


Passing: Comp-Att., Yards, TD


Rushing: Att-Yards., Avg., TD

Mikel Holden: 84-420, 5, 8

Aiden Mencia: 84-420, 5, 2

Receiving: Rec.-Yards, Avg., TD

Rhyan Day: 13-145, 11.2, 2

Aiden Mencia: 5-96, 19.2, 1

KEY PLAYERS: Louie Lindsay, sr., SS-QB; Rhyan Day, sr, DB-WR; Mikel Holden, jr., RB-LB; Aiden Mencia, sr., RB-LB; Logan Parris, sr., OL; Jessie Julias, sr., LB-TE; Callin Kauffman, sr., LB; Cody Tharp, jr., OL-LB; Jon Huff, sr., DB-WR; Marcus Smith, jr., DE

OUTLOOK: Solid defense, strong running game, toughness and now improved team speed. Waynesboro is checking all the boxes for what it takes to be a contender in the Colonial. The Indians also boast a highly experienced roster, which will be crucial as the team navigates a schedule that begins with three tough YAIAA teams — Spring Grove, Red Lion and Gettysburg — and ends with four of the last six games on the road against the toughest teams in the division. Shippensburg, Northern and Susquehanna Township all have to be seething after losses to Waynesboro last year, and all three squads will be on their home turf seeking revenge this time around. If the Indians’ offense can dictate the pace of the game, and if the defense can keep the games low-scoring, don’t be surprised if Sprenkle’s boys have a chance to compete for a division title in the final weeks of the season.

1. A different offseason training program

Take a stroll around Waynesboro football camp and the first thing you may notice is head coach Josh Sprenkle, who has dropped nearly 15 pounds since the last time we saw him. Well done! But football games aren’t won or lost based on the fitness of the coach, but rather the players. Instead of the standard “we’re gonna lift” routine, Sprenkle recruited an ex-teammate from his Shippensburg University playing days — Antonio Williams, who now runs Next Level Athletic Fitness — to create and implement offseason workouts for Waynesboro every Monday for six weeks. Sprenkle supplemented those workouts with training in the True Athletic Performance program, which promotes the growth of speed, agility, flexibility and injury prevention. Sprenkle said he was happy with the results, which were gathered via pre- and post-program NFL-style combines measuring 40-yard dash, pro agility, vertical jump and broad jump. Waynesboro’s top-ranked player from the workouts? That would be free safety/return man Brody Rhodes, the fastest man on the Indians. Rhodes drew attention at the Ship U. prospect camp, and Sprenkle says to not be surprised if we see the speedster catching a few passes on offense this season. “With the kids we have, we don’t have a bunch of power lifters,” Sprenkle said. “So, we really preached speed and agility through the offseason. We think we’re going to have faster overall team speed for the season.”

2. Have a Day
It’s no secret that the Colonial Division loves to run the ball, but just in case teams have any visions of airing it out against Waynesboro, they might want to think again with all-state cornerback Rhyan Day patrolling the secondary. Day, who logged seven interceptions in eight games last year, will be used to mark the opposing No. 1 receiver. If opponents try to game plan around Day, they’ll still have their hands full (or perhaps empty) contending against an experienced secondary that includes the likes of Jonathan Huff, Louie Lindsay and Rhodes. With a strong pass defense in place, Sprenkle also likes his chances against the run with a defensive unit that returns eight of 11 starters. “It’s not going to be easy to create situations to isolate a guy to make plays, because Day and those other guys have the experience to fill in where they need to be,” Sprenkle said. “We also feel good about stopping the run. We only graduated three kids from the starting defense, so our guys out there understand where we’re at from a scheme standpoint. I think we’ll be in good shape to handle whatever teams throw at us this season.”

3. Bringing toughness to the QB position
Take a players poll on who the toughest player on Waynesboro is, and you just may be surprised to find that the starting quarterback is near the top of the list. Louie Lindsay has already earned his due for Waynesboro delivering bone-jarring hits from his strong safety position, and this year the senior takes on an even bigger responsibility of piloting the Indians offense. A quick and slippery ball carrier, Lindsay takes over at QB after occasionally manning the position for designed runs last season. Sprenkle said that Lindsay has made improvements in his throwing mechanics and, with an experienced offensive line paving the way, will be a great complement to RBs Mikel Holden and Aidan Mencia, two of the hardest-running backs in the Colonial. “Louie is about as tough as they come. He’s a leader, and a competitor and a great player to be our quarterback,” Sprenkle said. “I have no reservations about him playing on both sides of the ball. If he does make a mistake and turn the ball over, he’s able to go on defense and make plays, because he wants to get the ball back into his hands.”

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