SPRINGFIELD — Adam Krauter could have been a quarterback.
He was just a freshman at the time, but he was looking for a way to get noticed and make varsity. It didn’t take long for him to stand out, but not for his ability to sling a football around. It was because he was bigger and more physical than most kids his age.
“I remember I tackled the standup dummies and one of the coaches pulled me aside and said, ‘˜You’re with varsity,” Krauter said. “I knew I wanted to hit people.’
In his freshman year at Springfield, then first-year head coach Tom Kline turned him into a full-time linebacker. By sophomore year, he was playing virtually every down with the Cougars. Krauter emulated All-Delco linebacker and former teammate Mike Dougherty.
“I looked up to those older guys,’ Krauter said. “They picked on me a little to make me tougher, so I feel like I was just that much better as a player because I had a so-called older brother to push me all the time.’
It worked out for Krauter. In 2014, the senior guided Springfield to its first Central League title in 20 years. Krauter was the heart and soul of a defense regarded as one of the best in program history, and certainly tops in the Central League and Delco.
For his efforts, the middle linebacker has been named 2014 Daily Times Player of the Year.
Krauter headlines a 2014 All-Delco team selected after consultation with county coaches. Krauter is one of four Springfield players named All-Delco.
Joining Krauter on All-Delco offense are quarterback Kevin Carter (Haverford School), running backs Adrian Sapnas (Marple Newtown), Phil Poquie (Haverford School) and Dee Barlee (Episcopal Academy), wide receivers Mark Everton (Interboro), Abel Hoff (Marple Newtown) and Nick Costello (Haverford), and linemen Christian DiGalbo (Bonner-Prendergast), Lou Lombardo (Bonner-Prendergast), Brian Denoncour (Haverford School), Alex Andersen (Radnor) and Jonah Jackson (Penncrest)
The All-Delco defensive team consists of linemen Dante Ghee (Academy Park), Brian Layden (Springfield), Mike Cropper (Ridley) and Joey Granahan (Garnet Valley), linebackers Diego Zubieta (Penncrest), Connor Faith (Garnet Valley) and Dario Falcone (Radnor), and defensive backs Clarence Buchanan (Academy Park), Lucas Spence (Springfield), Dox Aitken (Haverford School) and Kevin White (Upper Darby).
Springfield quarterback Brian Allen and Ridley linebacker/specialist Ryan Dougherty were selected for their all-purpose abilities, while Haverford School’s Jack Soslow is the specialist. Granahan and White are two-time All-Delcos.
Krauter had stiff competition for the Player of the Year award with Sapnas, Carter, Poquie and Allen in the mix. Krauter, though, stood out above the rest despite the fact he was mainly a defense-only player.
Krauter proudly wore the No. 32 after Dougherty graduated in 2013. The next player to wear it will have to earn the right. It’s a number that is now synonymous with greatness. It began with a request from the late Bob Shull, who was an All-Delco and all-state linebacker at St. James in 1990. Shull died in 2010 following a brief bout with leukemia while the head coach at Chichester. Springfield boss Chris Britton was an assistant with Shull at Springfield from 2005-07, and remembers a conversation the two shared regarding the number Krauter would go on to represent.
“Bob Shull was (No.) 32 when he played. He told me when I was coaching with him to make sure that the best linebacker wears 32,’ Britton said. “It’s a number you have to earn. I’ve been trying to build it up a little bit. No. 25 was (All-Delco running back and former Daily Times Player of the Year) Chuckie (Robinson’s), so who can be the next great one to wear 25? Certain numbers are for certain people, and hopefully you can grow into that number. Adam did that with 32.’
Krauter was happy to uphold the tradition and wore the number with great honor.
“I take pride in it,’ he said. “I wish the best of luck to whoever else has to wear it next year and in the future.’
In 2014, Krauter wanted to go out with a bang. In his previous three years with the Cougars, the team struggled to get over the hump, losing in the opening round of districts all three seasons. This year, he vowed, would be different.
“We showed we’re a team to take seriously and not a team to take lightly,’ he said. “I think it kind of started with the coaches and worked its way down.’
Krauter made sure 2014 would be an unforgettable year. In 10 regular-season games, the Cougars allowed a measly eight points per game. Krauter and the Cougars defeated Interboro and Pottsgrove in the District One Class AAA playoffs to set up a clash with Great Valley. Although Krauter and the defense limited the Patriots to one touchdown and 227 yards of offense, the Cougars fell, 21-0. Krauter (6-1, 230), who excelled in pass coverage and at tracking down running backs, finished a stellar senior season with 123 tackles.
“It was cool to win the Central League, being the first team at Springfield to win it in 20 years, but it was kind of incomplete losing in districts,’ he said. “But I couldn’t have asked for anything more, really. I know everyone gave 100 percent in the games that we played, so I’m proud of everyone’s effort and couldn’t ask for more.’
And that’s how Krauter, who is hoping to catch on with a Division II program (Lehigh and several PSAC schools have expressed interest), would like to be remembered. He’s always been about the team.
“In starting to get good as a program, we haven’t had too many leaders. Adam was one of the first to become a great leader,’ Britton said. “That’s how you’re supposed to act on and off the field, and now you can finally point to someone and say that this is how it’s done. Now our underclassmen know what you have to do to be a captain and to be successful. That’s Adam.’