Bears expect to share the wealth in 2019
Experience is now a strength for Upper Moreland.
“They got a little older — they’re still sophomores and juniors, with a light amount of seniors,” coach C.J. Szydlik said of his squad. “Those seniors are our leaders and some of our best players but there’s not a lot of them.”
The Bears lost Caleb Mead — who accounted for most of their offensive production — to graduation, but return nine starters on the offensive side.
“It’s just gonna be up to everybody to spread it around,” Szydlik said. “(Our offense) is more spread to run the football than it is to throw the football. This year, it will be a little different with the wide receivers that we have, being able to spread people out. And (opponents) won’t be able to load up the box against us.”
One of those wide receivers is senior T.J. Troxell.
“I’m really excited. I think we have a great squad this year,” he said. “A lot of people are coming back from last year, with varsity experience. So I think we can do something pretty special this year.”
Upper Moreland should be able to attack its opponents with a greater mix between the run and pass. There is no shortage of weapons in the passing attack.
“We have a lot of connections with the passing game,” Troxell said. “We have Jahaire Johnson and myself coming back from last year playing receiver and we have a competition at quarterback right now between Byron Hopkins and Jon Knight so we’re gonna be pretty good at quarterback.
“I’m just looking forward to catching some passes this year. This is the perfect offense for me.”
Upper Moreland will run an even set defensively, as the Bears look to climb up in the SOL American.
“I think it’s gonna be a good year in the SOL,” Troxell said. “The teams I’m looking out for late in the year are Upper Dublin and Cheltenham. It’s not gonna be easy but I think we can do really well this year.”
“We’re gonna be okay. We’re young, but we were young last year,” Szydlik said. “As a strength, our experience now is probably one of them.”
Upper Moreland 2019 Schedule
OFFENSIVE PLAYER TO WATCH
Jahaire Johnson, Wide Receiver >> The Bears’ leading receiver a year ago, Johnson looks to be an even bigger part of the offensive puzzle as a junior. Upper Moreland knew they had something special in the 6-foot-1 wideout, and he has exceeded expectations. As long as he continues to put the work in, the Bears see Johnson being able to excel on the next level.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER TO WATCH
Dai-Jahn Dukes, Middle Linebacker >> He is the natural born leader of the Bears. He has started since he was a freshman and now continues to lead them as a senior. The Bears call him the grown man of the team and a coach on the field.
By Kev Hunter, email@example.com