The experience is there.
Now it’s about execution.
“There is a lot of hope from a skill position standpoint,” Souderton coach Ed Gallagher said of his team. “We have some strong kids (on the line) who are a little bit smaller, but they’re faster kids too. It will be one of the quicker lines that we’ve had in years. I’m looking forward to seeing what we’re able to do from an execution standpoint.”
Big Red returns eight starters on offense and nine on defense as the team looks to make an upward climb in the rugged Suburban One League National Conference.
“We’re definitely hyped up,” said senior guard Phil Stolfi, a three-year starter. “Everyone that’s here loves this team, loves being here.”
There wasn’t much need for introduction at this year’s camp, as Souderton returns the bulk of its roster from a year ago. Big Red’s Wing-T attack will feature veterans Blake Gular (FB) and Jamar White (HB) while veteran tight end Matt Pierce gives quarterback Joe Curotto a dependable target downfield.
Stolfi, along with senior guard-center Andrew Horton, provide leadership on the line.
“We have a lot (of plays) in because of the experience we have,” Gallagher said. “Some of the linemen are not as experienced so we’re trying to make it a little easier on them and put a little more onus on the backs, to understand different formations and run some plays from different formations.
“We have 12 or 13 guys who have started a varsity game,” Gallagher said. “So we definitely have some experience and some depth this year, which is something we have not had in a while.”
The Indians’ 3-4 defense will be led by a solid linebacking core that includes both Gular and Pierce. In fact, Souderton returns all four starting linebackers from last season, with Jack Morgan and Koby Khan back for Big Red.
Dajone Averett, who has received a Division 1 scholarship offer from Villanova, will start at wide receiver and defensive back.
This solid mix could give Souderton a shot at its first postseason appearance since 2010. The Indians have reached the playoffs four times under Gallagher.
“We went 4-6 against the schedule last year and I’m hoping for improvement on that number,” Gallagher said.
Top Photo: Souderton offensive line coach Wayne MacFarland sets a play as the team runs through drills during an afternoon practice at Souderton Area High School on Tuesday. Aug. 18, 2015. (Mark C Psoras/The Reporter)