By Tom Robinson, NPF Football
2016: 8-2 in regular season to finish first of seven teams in WVC Class 4A Division; 9-3 overall; Reached District 2 Class 4A semifinals, beating Dallas, 13-12, before losing to Berwick, 38-6.
Coach: Randy Spencer, 10th season, 50-48
2017 Class: 4A
Returning starters: 2 offense, 5 defense
Returning WVC Big all-stars: P.J. Angeli, HM-DB; Justin Joseph, HM-P.
Offense: Multiple I, pro, spread
Wyoming Area returns a pair of four-year starters to lead its offense, but the Warriors have just one other part-time starter back while trying to fill the rest of the unit.
“Our team returns experienced and talented players at the skill positions,” said Wyoming Area coach Randy Spencer, who must rebuild the offensive line if the Warriors are going to repeat as the division champion.
P.J. Angeli, who has also played other offensive positions at times throughout his career, is back as a dual-threat quarterback.
Marc Anthony Minichello, a big-play threat and Angeli’s leading receiver, is also back for his fourth season.
Justin Joseph took over at fullback when Dylan Kostak was lost to injury before the midway point of the 2016 season.
The rest of the offense is new.
Darren Rodney is the tailback. Corey Mruk could share playing time with Joseph at fullback.
Rob Trottini, Steve Yordy, Brian Williams and Dominic DeLuca are working with Minichello at receiver.
Shane Eslick is the tight end.
Stephen Sokach-Minnick, Damon Barhight, Matt Wycoski, Noah Johnson and Cameron Carr form the offensive line. Carr has some experience at tight end.
The defense is similar, with more experience in the back and mostly new faces up front.
“We will be athletic and run to the ball,” Spencer said.
Angeli is experienced in the defensive backfield but could wind up at linebacker or even defensive end.
Minichello and Rodney return to the secondary where Trottini, Williams and DeLuca are also getting work. Both returnees played cornerback last season, but Rodney is likely to be at safety.
Mruk and Joseph are back at linebacker.
Damon Barhight returns in the line. Wycoski, Carr, Eslick and Jesse Cegelka are working to fill the remaining spots.
Patrick Nelson, Michael Amato and James Gashi are other possibilities to get some playing time in the line on either side of the ball.
Joseph was effective as a punter last year. F.J. Braccini and Ryan Carter are working at kicker.
“If our offensive line can develop, we will be very competitive.”