Zane, Bucs want their feast to be a playoff one
GLENOLDEN >> Michael Zane has seen both sides of Delaware County’s fiercest rivalry, and the Interboro senior quarterback would rather have absolutely no part of a Thanksgiving game with Ridley.
Not that Zane wouldn’t love to beat the Green Raiders, but he’s got a bigger mindset for his first year as Interboro’s starter under center.
“My personal goal is that I don’t want to have a Thanksgiving game this year. I want to be further in playoffs this year,” Zane said. “Last year, we were up 21-0 on Penn Wood and we let it get to us and we lost.”
Zane went to Ridley, where he didn’t play sports, as a freshman and sophomore, but sees Interboro as the better fit for him. If the Bucs and Ridley aren’t in the playoffs, he won’t shy away from the matchup, but him and the Bucs want to use that loss to the Patriots as fuel to bolster a deeper playoff run.
“It’s driven us a lot. Up 21-0 right before the half, they score,” said Zane, who primarily played defense last year. “Then we ran a tight end around pass where I come in at tight end and I overthrew it. I overthrew a player by a couple yards. In the second half, they adjusted to everything and went on a 42-point streak. (Daily Times Player of the Year) Kennedy Poles and (All-Delco quarterback) Desman Johnson were just clicking on all levels. It makes us have that much fire this year.
“I look at it that I had a chance to put us up 28-7 and that might have been just enough, and it wasn’t, and I feel like I let my teammates down for that. I played really poorly on defense and let up two touchdowns,” the 5-11, 165-pound Zane added. “Not a great game.”
Zane will be the one tasked with running the offense, but there’s help around him. Right tackle and defensive tackle Mike Billups (6-0, 280) figures to be one of the more mobile linemen in the county with his ability to get out in space and block. Zach Keeney (5-11, 195) is a senior center, while seniors Vince Kalodner (5-10, 190) and Sean Meyers (5-9, 175) should see their fair share of carries.
It’ll be more of the same offense that everyone has come to expect under head coach Steve Lennox, so there likely won’t be a ton of opportunities to air it out, but Mike Wittorf (5-11, 155), Ray Scanlan (5-11, 140) and Dante Barnes (5-9, 150) will likely see the lion’s share of pass attempts sent their way.
Just like it has with Zane, the loss to Penn Wood has eaten away at the Bucs.
“When we lost to Penn Wood and we were up 21-0, it left us hungrier than ever, so we’ve got big goals to work for this year,” Billups said. “We were the underdog going into the game, and when we got to game time, we all knew what it was. We all had that energy, and we just have to carry it over.”
Kalodner is a returning starter who will man the middle linebacker role, and he’ll be tasked with bringing the unit together into a cohesive, aggressive one.
“Most of our defense has been playing their positions before,” Kalodner said, “so we’re all in tune, and know how we’re running together and what each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”
“Our defense wasn’t in the place last year, but this year, it seems like it’s a puzzle and all the pieces are falling into place,” Keeney added.
Interboro 2019 Schedule
OFFENSIVE PLAYER TO WATCH
Mike Billups, Offensive Line >> At a recent practice, the Bucs’ starting offense dialed up a running play to the right, and it was curtains for an unsuspecting defender when Billups deftly swung out and launched him a few feet into the air to open a cavernous hole for the back to run through.
Expect plenty of that this year. The 280-pounder is tailor-made for Interboro’s power run offense.
“It’s a power offense with a lot of running. I love driving. I love to pull and crush people,” Billups said with a smile.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER TO WATCH
Vinnie Kalodner, Linebacker >> Kalodner took a year off from football as a sophomore, so he learned a ton on the fly last year. Some of those lessons came in tougher ways than others, but all of them helped mold him into a player who could wreak havoc on offensive gameplans.
“I know what I’m doing more than I did last year,” he said. “Last year, I was just kind of wherever they needed me, but I’m pretty sure I found my spot here and know how to teach the other positions.”
By Matt Chandik, For MediaNews Group