Souderton looks to steady ship after up-and-down 2018
FRANCONIA >> Souderton’s story in 2018 had a little bit of everything. But the book closed with the Indians out of the District 1-6A playoffs for the season straight season.
“Last year was kind of like a tale of three seasons,” Indians coach Ed Gallagher said. “We started off bad and were just about good enough to beat anybody in the middle of the season and kind of finished on a very low note.”
Big Red opened 0-3, won its next three games to get to .500 but a tough loss to North Penn was the start off a 1-3 finish to left Souderton with a 4-6 final mark.
“We started 3-0 in the league last year and had North Penn on the ropes and just couldn’t put them away,” Gallagher said. “If we win that one I think we carry the momentum but we didn’t win that one, lose the last two so we finished 3-3 in the league. And there we are, back to the middle.
“We need to find something that’s going to put us over the hump. I’m hoping this year we’re going to do that.”
The Indians are now onto the next chapter, a little smaller up front but with a talented offense ready to succeed in the Suburban One League Continental Conference.
“We’re using that kind of don’t make this end up like last year I guess, like we don’t want to be in the same circumstances we were,” senior Ethan Smerecki said. “We want to exceed (last season).”
The Indians have just one returner on the offensive line so getting the group to gel is be key to getting the most from an experienced backfield in Big Red’s Wing-T attack and improve on the 21.9 points per game it posted in 2018.
“We’re not real big up front but we’ll be the fastest team I’ve had,” Gallagher said. “So I’m not sure how that combination is going to work yet but we certainly have enough talent to be successful. We’ve just got to make sure that our line is able to execute and come together.”
Senior running back DeAndre Wakefield returns after an all-conference first-team junior campaign in which eclipsed 100 yards on the ground three times and led the Indians in rushing with 734 yards and 11 touchdowns on 87 carries. Junior Willie Goods (47 carries, 217, 1 TD), an all-conference honorable mention at running back, was second last yard in yards while Guthrie (21 carries, 138 yards, 1 TD) makes the move to fullback.
“I think honestly we have one of the better backfields in the Suburban One,” Guthre said. “Especially because we’ve all been playing together for three years, four years and some of us have been playing all the way since 7th grade.”
Quarterback Andrew Vice was an All-SOL Continental honorable mention pick at the position after throwing for 1,030 yards and five TDs and running for another four scores. Vince also earned all-conference first team honors at defensive back in 2018.
“He’s just a warrior out there,” said Gallagher of Vince. ”He’s certainly a great leader on and off the field and we’re looking for him to have a great senior year.
Big Red’s linebackers should be the strength of the defense with Guthre and Wakefield on the outside with all-conference honorable mention picks Smerecki and junior Jacob Horton on the inside.
“Our linebacking corps, I’d would say, probably one of the most experienced and probably the fastest, I’d say, in the Suburban One,” Guthre said. “Me, DeAndre on the outside, of course Ethan and Horton holding down the middle, I think our linebacking corps is really going be a staple for our defense. I’m really excited to see what we can do.”
Souderton’s special teams gets a boost from the return of Will Leyland, the senior a first-team all-conference selection at placekicker and honorable mention punter.
Souderton 2019 Schedule
OFFENSIVE PLAYER TO WATCH
Nick Guthre, FB/LB >> The shift to the fullback position means more blocking and runs between the tackles but the senior has put into work for the switch and has added 25 pounds to his frame.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER TO WATCH
Ethan Smerecki, LB/TE >> The senior was an All-SOL Continental honorable mention pick at the position last season and formed a solid inside linebacking duo with Jacob Horton in a position that should be a strength for the Big Red defense.
By Mike Cabrey; firstname.lastname@example.org