FOOTBALL: Mercersburg Academy hoping for improved season
MERCERSBURG >> The last couple years haven't been kind to the Mercersburg Academy football team.
Over the last two seasons, the Blue Storm are a combined 3-16 with a 1-9 record in the Mid Atlantic Prep League, but they are hoping that will change this season.
With stability at quarterback and a crop of young talent, Mercersburg is looking up and hoping to turn around a losing trend.
"It's been a great year so far," Blue Storm coach Dan Walker said. "We are a very young team with just one returning senior, but we have some post-grads coming in and some young kids that have bought in and have a positive attitude."
Last season, the Blue Storm never found consistency at the quarterback position. Post-grad Mason Kholi figures to change that.
"We really like what we're seeing so far," Walker said. "He has a quick release, and he's really been a leader both on and off the field. We had a scrimmage against a team from Philadelphia, and he looked good."
The Blue Storm will lack experience at times on the field, but they have also been gaining more athletes as the preseason has progressed. Alex DeGrange and Nick Schulkin are both new to football at Mercersburg, but they both play lacrosse and decided to join up with the team.
"There's a lot of excitement around the program, and that's got the attention of some of these kids," Walker said. "We've had such a positive camp and the chemistry is great. We've had kids coming to us wanting to play, and that's great."
Tom Cremins and Nick Nelson will return to lead the Blue Storm receiving corps, and Slater Laird, Nick Rubino and Daniel Davis will slot in on the offensive line.
Defensively, Mercersburg will have to replace the production of standout linebacker Boo Jordan. Rubino will move from the defensive line to linebacker to try to help fill the void, and Brandon Thomas and Parker Hancock could also see time at linebacker.
Walker said, "We had some big losses at linebacker, so we have to figure out who will fill in there. I think we will be pretty deep at the skill positions in the secondary, and we will be good up front."
Overall, wins will be important for Mercersburg, but Walker also wants to see his young players improve throughout each game.
"I expect to win some games this year," he said. "But at the same time, at the end of the day, we just need to ask ourselves if we got better. We have so much youth, so it will be important for us to grow and improve."
BLUE STORM AT A GLANCE
Coach: Dan Walker, 13th season, 37-70 (.346)
Last year: 1-6 (0-5 MAPL)
Returning starters: Tom Cremins (Jr., WR/OLB), Nick Nelson (jr., WR), Slater Laird (so., OL/DL), Nick Rubino (so., OL/LB), Daniel Davis (jr., OL/DL).
Other top players: Mason Kholi (pg, QB), Jake Rist (pg, WR/DB), Colin Adams (jr., WR/DB), Brandon Thomas (jr., OLB), Parker Hancock (so., C/LB).
Season opener: Saturday at St. Stephens & St. Agnes, 2