By Adrian Martin
Who is the next big name in the Mid-Penn Conference? We're gearing up for the 2015 season by introducing you to a few players on each Mid-Penn Conference team that may be primed for a breakout campaign.
By Adam Kulikowski
Susquehanna Twp.’s 3-7 record in 2014 didn’t portray a realistic assessment of the Indians’ talent. While the flashes of high-caliber production were showcased sporadically, injuries and inconsistent play derailed Joe Headen’s squad. Redemption can come in 2015, but coach Joe Headen doesn’t want his team to forget the feeling they experienced in ’14.
“I’ve taken the approach of relishing it,” Headen said. “I tell the kids, do you know how you felt experiencing a 3-7 season last year. Especially when that 3-7 season could easily have been 4-6 or 5-5 looking at the Red Land game and Cedar Cliff. Both came down to the last minute. There were situations where we showed good flashes… We really want to take a look at the things that we didn’t accomplish last year. We took an all-in mantra. We spent the summer working on us.”
Head coach: Joe Headen
Other Assistants: Eric Ramsay, Doug Atticks, Rich Patucka, Charles Vaughn, Larry Holley, Rick Pierce, Brock Ward, Kody Mills, Terry Clark
Returning starters on offense: Ben Moser (QB), Trael Seegars (RB), Sylas Pope (RB), Chris Ciotti (WR), Jahkele Bascome (OL), Aaron Seigle (OL), Christian Uzokwe (OL) Kyree Downing (OL), Ben Walker (TE)
Returning starters on defense: Aaron Seigle (DT), Chris Uzokwe (DT), Ben Walker (DT), Kyree Downing (DL) Devin Evans (LB), Dre Banks (LB), Trael Seegers (SS), Malcolm Cobb-Wingfield (DB), Sam Allen (LB), Isaiah Ramsay (DB)
More on the team’s outlook:
The connection: Senior quarterback Ben Moser is earning looks from Layafette and a number of PSAC schools including Shippensburg. Moser, a bit undersized at 5-10, threw for 2251 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2014. He’ll need to break in a new receiving corp with just one wide out, Chris Ciotti, returning. Ciotti, a standout baseball player, is a pure speed guy, but the only receiver with varsity experience. Headen believes the stock is rising on senior wideout Alonzo Rivera. “He is as athletic as any wide receiver that we’ve had,” Headen said. “We’ve been blessed with a number of good ones that last few years. He has very good feet and route-running ability. He gets in and out of his breaks well and is deceptively quick. He can stick a route and create a little separation. But he does lack varsity experience.”
The question mark: The Indians secondary may be the biggest area of concern on defense for Headen. With just one starter, corner Isaiah Ramsey, returning, a new cast needs to step in. Corners Alonzo Rivera and Brian Gardner will see time outside while Marquez Wright, Trael Seegars, Malcolm Cobb-Wingfield and Isaiah Millberry will all vy for roles at safety.
Up front: The Indians’ will trot out a line in Week 1 that contains good size and can play multiple positions on both sides of the ball. The big men are headlined by Villanova commit Aaron Seigle, Jahkele Bascome, Christian Uzokwe and Khyree Downing. “We have 10 guys that we can count on right now, the first five all have varsity experience, then that second wave a couple do, but others are in their first year on varsity," Headen said. "...the key is they have to stay healthy."
By committee: Four running backs will share the load in the backfield, Trael Seegers, Marquez Wright, Sylas Pope and Devin Evans. Wright suffer a leg injury that cut is 2014 season short and Seegers missed time with a shoulder injury. Seegers, a 5-11, 198-pound back, possesses elusiveness, while Wright has the best vision among the backs. Pope is a mix of both. “ He has good size and good vision. He isn’t the fastest guy, but he is patient,” Headen said. “I’m not comparing him to Emmit Smith, but Emmit wasn’t a 4.4 guy but he was a patient runner. And a patient runner sometimes will get you more than that guy that thinks every run has to go to the house. I think they compliment each other.”
Addressing injuries: The Indians’ injury rash wasn’t aided by the team’s full-out tackling practices in 2014. At one point during the season, eight starters were out with injuries. Headen plans to alter the workouts in 2015 to lessen the effects of tackling drills his team experiences between games. “Last year, we beat ourselves up a little bit at practice tackling,” Headen said. “We’re trying to take a different approach to that because I’ve never experienced a season where we had that kind of injuries. when you lose guys like Dominic Caruso, Aaron Seigle and Alijah Burno all at the same time, that’s a tough pill to swallow.”
K’s Call: The Indians have talented experience and--right now--health. Love what Devin Evans brings to the table at linebacker. There aren't many easy ones on the schedule, so if Headen's crew reaches our potential, it will be earned.
Editor’s note: A special thank you to Susquehanna Twp. wide out Jaquan Blair for sharing his experiences during the 58th Annual Big 33 June 20 at Hersheypark Stadium. Blair and team Pennsylvania defeated Maryland, 20-3 in the rain shortened contest.
By Andy Sandrik
Marques Colston. Quinton Cobb. Tajh Turner. Just to name a few.
There have been many great wide receivers to pass through the halls of Susquehanna Township.
By Andy Sandrik
Call him crazy, but Susquehanna Twp. coach Joe Headen won’t hesitate to say that this season, the Indians’ first losing campaign since 2008, was one of his most rewarding years at the helm.
By Adam Kulikowski
Central Dauphin rushed for 481 yards en route to a 52-24 victory against Susquehanna Twp. Sept. 5 at Landis Field in Harrisburg.
By Adrian Martin
By Andrian Martin
Two yards is not a great physical distance.
For Susquehanna Township, those six meager feet took on a lot more importance than their appearance would indicate — they were the difference between a losing season and a successful one, between a premature ending and strong playoff showing.
By: Adam Kulikowski
Welcome to 4th Down’s Mid-Penn Conference previews! Our local teams are grinding through two-a-days in preparation for the 2014 season. We’re starting our own two-a-days to bring you up-to-speed with everything you need to know about your team and their competition this season. Today, we’re going Through the Tunnel with Susquehanna Twp.
Red Land running back Justin Johnson earned 4th Down Magazine's Player of the Week honors for his performance against Bishop McDevitt. Johnson and the Patriots kicked off the 2016 season in fine fashion, defeating their Keystone Division foe, 17-6, August 26 at Rocco Ortenzio Stadium in Harrisburg.