[tps_title]Methacton Warriors [/tps_title]
Warriors looking to make progress in ’19
Michael Torcini made himself a promise when he joined the Methacton football program four years ago.
“The biggest thing I wanted was to leave this program better than I found it,” Torcini said.
Torcini started his varsity tenure in 2017 with an 0-10 sophomore campaign. The Warriors were much more competitive in 2018, but came away with just one victory, a 36-7 win over Boyertown.
After a tough past two seasons, Methacton’s seniors are hoping they can attain something better this year, coach Dave Lotier’s second at the helm of the program.
“Once you get that first win, you know you can get there. You’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel,” senior offensive lineman Ryan Eckman said. “This year we’re hoping to get a lot more and more.”
The Warriors were outscored 81-0 in their first two games last season in losses to Harry S. Truman and Pottsgrove. However, all but one of their remaining eight remaining games were decided by two scores or fewer. That was a big step forward for a team that was outscored by more than 37 points per game in 2017.
Methacton’s defense kept it in most contests in 2018. Outside of a 41-7 loss to Spring-Ford in September, Methacton held its opponents to just a tick more than 13 points per game in the final eight games of the season.
The unit loses first team all-area defensive lineman Tonee Ellis, along with linebackers Colby Stahl and Gary Knox, who Lotier called the heart and soul of last year’s defense.
Torcini and Brent Romano will be two of the leaders of the Warriors’ defense at linebacker. Defensive back Nicholas Oliveri and outside linebacker Ron Fondots are two other key contributors returning for Methacton on that side of the ball.
“The defense improved a lot,” Torcini said. “We went from getting blown out 48-0 to keeping our opponents to within 14 points every game. I think the schemes were a lot better, the coaching improved a lot, and now we’re just looking to put some more points on the board on offense.”
Methacton struggled to score the ball last season, but has plenty to build on with its top skill position players returning.
Quarterbacks Dylan Schultz and Mike Merola both saw time last year. Torcini, the team’s leading rusher, returns at running back, and Larry Dickerson, the team’s top receiver, returns at wideout.
Like the defense, the line will have the least returning experience for the Warriors this season. Methacton graduated five starters, including Ellis, Stahl and Knox.
“Although we lost five starters, I believe we are more athletic and bigger on the offensive line this year,” Lotier said. “We have some guys who are going to step in and fill those roles.
“We are athletic and we have bigger kids, so as long as we come together as a team, we should be fine,” senior offensive linemen Keino Kinard added.
Though there is optimism surrounding this year’s group, the Warriors are taking a patient approach.
“A goal in general is to just keep building it up, keep getting those wins,” Eckman said. “However slow or fast it goes, we’d like to strive for progress, however little or big the progress is.”
Offensive Player to Watch >> Whether it is Schultz or Merola under center, the Warriors will have a quarterback with starting experience. Methacton will look to either one of them to spark an offense that struggled to consistently put points on the board last season.
Defensive Player to Watch >> Without Stahl and Knox, Lotier is look for new leaders on the defensive end. Torciini and Romano seem primed to fill that role at the linebacker position.
OUTLOOK >> Lotier’s goal last year was to bring energy and enthusiasm to the program. The result was a team that was competitive in the majority of their games last season. Though Methacton likely isn’t poised to compete for any division titles in 2019, the goal for Lotier’s year two is to climb the ladder. “We want to take it one rung at a time,” Lotier said. “Start at the bottom, work our way up and see how far we can climb this year. That’s kind of our motto.”
By Owen McCue; firstname.lastname@example.org