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Pioneer Athletic Conference 2019 Preview and Team-by-Team Breakdowns

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Pottstown Trojans

Pottstown quarterback Josiah Wiggins, seen here in a game last season, returns for one more year after rushing for 800 yards last season. (Austin Hertzog – File Photo)

Pottstown out to prove last season wasn’t a coincidence

The Trojans will be out to prove that not only was last season no fluke, it was the beginning of something bigger in Pottstown.

Pottstown put together a 5-5 regular-season record, enough to qualify for the Class 4A District 1 playoffs and host an opening-round game. The Trojans upended Springfield-Montco before falling to rival Pottsgrove in the district championship matchup.

New head coach Jeff Delaney, hired after Mark Fischer stepped down on Jan. 14, will be the man in charge of overseeing the effort—an opportunity Delaney’s waited some time to receive.

Delaney has worked in the Pottstown School District since 1998 and did some reshuffling in terms of his position within the school to allow him to take the coaching opportunity. As you can imagine, he’s hit the ground running since being appointed on March 20, but he says taking the next step is up to his players.

“We talk about [taking that next step] all the time,” Delaney said, “but with 15 seniors this year, it’s on them to get everyone to buy in so we can beat those next-tier teams.

“They’ve done it. We’ve averaged 36 kids per day in the weight room in the offseason. We did speed training. They’ve put the time in, and I’m very happy to see the level of commitment.”

Pottstown brings in first-year head coach Jeff Delaney to direct a Trojans squad that went to the District 1 Class 4A title game last season. (File Photo)

Pottstown has a lot of key contributors back on both sides of the ball, but will need some of those contributors to step into leadership roles vacated by All-PAC center Destyn Snyder and all-state safety Nehemiah Figueroa’s graduations.

Offensively, it starts with quarterback Josiah Wiggins, back for one more year after emerging as a dangerous dual-threat QB in 2018 with over 800 rushing yards. Daniel and Dereck Darden will see time in the backfield and the slot, with Malachi Neely and Ezra Figueroa seeing numerous carries as well. Jorge Mundo and Jon Oister fill tight end/H-back roles.

They’re all protected by a big, physical offensive line looking to pick up the slack after Snyder’s departure. “We’ve been playing together as a unit since we were sophomores,” said senior guard Cole Miller. “It’s not up to any one person—it’s a whole unit, working together.”

With four returning starting offensive linemen, Delaney feels he has the ability to try a number of looks and approaches on offense this season.

With ten returning starters on the defensive side of the ball, Pottstown doesn’t figure to see much of a drop-off from a unit that made opponents earn their yards and points all last season. Replacing Figueroa will be important, but the pieces are there, according to defensive end/tight end Jorge Mundo.

“We have a lot of athletes, returning starters, a lot of parts to make this thing work,” said Mundo. “We know how to run our defense, we’re familiar with our whole coaching staff.”

Offensive Player to Watch >> Wiggins’ experience at quarterback will be key, but he has a plethora of weapons around him. The ability of Mundo and H-back Jon Oister to emerge as dual blocking and pass-catching threats will go a long way to determining Pottstown’s ability to take a step forward on offense.

Defensive Player to Watch >> Only one starter departs, but it was all-state safety Nehemiah Figueroa. In his stead will be Jahzeel Watson, who drew rave reviews from his teammates for his work in getting up to speed in the preseason.

OUTLOOK >> Pottstown went through the growing pains of a young team two years ago, and last year emerged as an up-and-coming threat in the Frontier Division. “Pottsgrove is a game we mark every year,” said Delaney, “and until we beat them, we’re not over that hump.”

With sustained improvement on the offensive side and another year of experience on defense, Pottstown figures to be in position to perhaps have two shots at the Falcons yet again—once in their regular-season matchup Sept. 20, and again in the Class 4A District playoffs.

 

By Rob Senior; For MediaNews Group

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Pottstown Trojans

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