Nomads Methacton, Norristown to open season at Phoenixville

PHOENIXVILLE >> Call this one the Nomad Bowl.
With both Norristown High’s football field and Methacton’s football field unusable this weekend, the Eagles and Warriors will kick off the 2015 campaign at that neutral site of neutral sites – Phoenixville High School (Friday, 7 p.m.).
“All I know is, we have to put on jerseys, pants and cleats and get a ride somewhere,” quipped Norristown head coach Jason Powel as the Eagles prepared for their initial action of the season.
And while the site doesn’t appear to have much of a bearing on the outcome of this one, one can be sure the two teams will be focusing on an opening-week win.
Norristown would like to get going in the right direction after a disappointing 2014, which saw the Eagles end a long losing streak in the opener, then get caught up in the emotion of the moment and forget that it was hard work and dedication that put them in that position.
The Birds seem to understand that it’s going to take a consistent effort if they are to put together a season that’s not over, emotionally, in late September.
“We’re fully loaded,” Powel said. “We’re healthy, and we’re ready to go. And I know Paul (Methacton head coach Paul Lepre) will have his team ready.”
As for Lepre’s Warriors, last season’s 8-3 mark was the program’s most successful since 2000, but when the Methacton seniors walked off the field for the final time a year ago, they took a lot of experience and knowledge with them.
This year’s Methacton club is numbered in the low 30s, with game experience a rarity and varsity experience at, perhaps, an all-time low.
The preseason camp was spent hitting blocking bags instead of each other to lessen the risk of injury, while the number of seniors passing down their wisdom stood at five.
The Warriors hope Jason Eckman can take over at quarterback after the graduation of Conner Derrickson, who both passed and rushed for better than 1,000 yards last year.
Eckman will be joined by running back Kyle Fleming and two-way lineman Scott Stueben as some of the few squad members who can remember what a varsity football game looks like.
As for Norristown, the Eagles welcome back plenty from a year ago, most notably quarterback Diavante Lloyd, who has been drawing raves from everyone connected with the program since camp began.
“He’s made all the throws he’s had to make,” Powel said.
And Lloyd will be called upon to execute a little more this year. Used as a change-of-pace quarterback a year ago, Lloyd has the reins full time this year, and talented weapons around him, including running back Cory Davenport and wideout Khalif Sinclair, he of the incredible leaping ability and spectacular catches.
Plus, Powel has added a wrinkle or three to the offense, which will now focus on spreading the ball around and, hopefully, getting as many players available involved in the scheme.
“We want to work off each other,” Powel said.
Being, as Powel put it, “senior and sophomore-heavy,” Norristown may suffer a growing pain or two along the way. But the idea is to lean on the seniors until the sophomores come of age.
And this week, to beat Methacton.
“This is going to be a good test for us,” Powel said.

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