Football Preview: Line on Carroll is veteran play-makers need blockers to grow quickly

RADNOR — A year ago when Archbishop Carroll football coach Kyle Detweiler looked at his offensive depth chart at the start of the season, he saw experience on the line and not so much at the skill positions, save for quarterback Russel Minor-Shaw and running back Brennan Robinson.

This year, that’s reversed.

Almost all of the veterans are in the skill positions while the line is made up of mostly sophomores. And with the offseason virtually wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic, Detweiler and his staff have subscribed to the KISS theory in preparation for this season’s shortened schedule.

So for those raw linemen, the rallying cry is Keep it Simple…

“We really had to limit the menu and water down the things that we wanted to get done,” Detweiler said. … “We’re fortunate that we got a scrimmage in against Roman Catholic last week. There are a lot of teams that had to take the field with no preseason and no scrimmage. We’ve been spoon-feeding the X’s and O’s stuff and we’re going to keep things really simple because we don’t have time to prepare.”

The good news is that the Patriots are off to a 1-0 start, thanks to that veteran group of skill position players led by senior quarterback Nick Lamey, Robinson, and senior wide receivers Malachi Hansen and Billy Coppock.

Archbishop Carroll’s Malachi Hansen breaks through a crowd of Neumann-Goretti tacklers to return a kick-off for a touchdown late in the second quarter of a game last year. (Pete Bannan/MediaNews Group)

Lamey is back for his second tour of duty at QB, as well as safety and punter. He filled in at quarterback when Minor-Shaw missed four games due to injury. He threw for 643 yards and seven touchdowns and helped the Patriots finish 7-6 and reach the Catholic League Class 4A final, where they lost to Bonner-Prendergast.

That experience will come in handy as he moves into the starter job full-time.

“I know the playbook and I know what to do on and off the field, which is the most important thing,” said Lamey, who earned second-team All-Delco and first-team All-Catholic Blue Division honors as a defensive back and second-team all-league as a punter. “If you know what you’re doing on and off the field you’re going to play 100 percent better every single time.”

Hansen, a returning second-team All-Delco and first-team All-Catholic Blue Division player, led the Patriots in receptions (33), receiving yards (541) and touchdown receptions (nine). He also carried the ball 10 times for 46 yards, returned a kickoff for a TD, averaged 26.8 yards per kick return and had three interceptions on defense.

Also second-team all-league as a defensive back, Hanson is ready for a leadership role with the Patriots.

“I feel like I’ve always chipped in with the leadership of the team,” said Hansen, who also runs track. “I feel like I have a good relationship with all the guys.”

Coppock caught 22 passes for 299 yards and one score. Robinson rand for 310 yards and three TDs and had 197 yards receiving with two scores.

“He’s very dynamic,” Detweiler said of Robinson. “We’re going to try to get him the ball in a lot of different ways.”

Another key returnee is senior Darryl Simpson Jr. The 6-4, 240-pound tight end/defensive end missed the last eight games with an injury. He caught three passes for 38 yards and two TDs before the injury. Sophomores A.J. Dilks and Jack Fry (6-2, 250) head the youth movement on the offensive line. They’ll both see action on the defensive front, too. Anthony Spurio, a 6-1, 225-pound sophomore, is being counted on to fill one of the voids at linebacker.

“We feel very good about the athletes that we have,” Detweiler said. “Nick has big-game experience and we think that he can lead us to victory. Just how quickly that young group of offensive linemen in front of him can gel together is going to be critical to our success.”

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