Pennridge looks solid up and down the line

EAST ROCKHILL — While Helman Field gets some finishing touches on its new concession stand and weight room, as well as locker rooms for the home team and visitors, the team that plays there could benefit from a pretty sizable wall up front — on both sides of the football.

“We’re bigger than we have been in a long time,” Pennridge coach Jeff Hollenbach said after Saturday morning’s intrasquad scrimmage. “We have good size — especially defensively, but offensively too.”

Riley HagerBob Raines--Montgomery Media Riley Hager carries the ball out of the backfield at Pennridge football practice Aug. 24, 2015.
Austin Herrlinger carries the ball out of the backfield at Pennridge football practice on Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. (Bob Raines/Montgomery Media)

Pennridge’s offensive line will try to create a pathway to another playoff run while the defensive line — both a pleasant and hefty surprise during summer camp, could anchor what should be a stingy Pennridge defense.

“Our question coming in was the defensive line,” Hollenbach said. “We lost some really good seniors on the d-line but we have some kids playing there. We play out of three fronts so it’s an odd front, and the kids that are down there are doing some really nice things.

“I thought that was going to be a weakness, and now I’m not sure it’s gonna be a weakness — I think it could be a strength.”

Anchored by big nose guard Jon King, a 6-foot-3, 290-pounder, the Rams look to hunker down and shut down opposing running attacks. Guys like Alex Schmidt (6-2, 240) and Mark Funk (6-1, 255) could provide speed on the edge.

“We have some young kids that are big — 250- and 260-pound kids that can move a little bit,” Hollenbach said.

Pennridge’s Wing-T attack, meanwhile, has a tradition linked to rushing excellence. While the running backs are coming along, the men up front are already in place.

Bob Raines--Montgomery Media Judenis Desrosiers runs the ball at Pennridge football practice Aug 24, 2015.
Judens Desrosiers runs the ball at Pennridge football practice on Monday, Aug 24, 2015. (Bob Raines/Montgomery Media)

“We have a lot of returners and I think that’s gonna help us a lot,” said senior right tackle Daniel Branch (6-2, 235). “We have some good young guys in there too and we’re getting them up to speed.

“We pride ourselves on going out, trying to outwork the other guy,” Branch said, “and be intense with everything we do.”

The final days of summer practices will allow the Rams time to find the right combination of ball carriers.

“The running backs are gonna be kind of the question for this team,” Hollenbach said. “In the big picture, we’ve had Mike Class and some other good people, Joey Unangst and Imeir Simmons last year, so the question is who is gonna step up in their place.

“That’s kind of my big question for this team.”

Top Photo: Linemen run a blocking drill at Pennridge football practice on Monday, Aug. 24, 2015 (Bob Raines/Montgomery Media)

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