The Upper Perk Indians football team got their first taste of action against another team on the field last Saturday with a scrimmage at home against Hatboro-Horsham. Above members of the offense gang up on a Hatters' ball carrier, halting his advance.
The upcoming 2013 football season has a completely different feel for head coach Steve Moyer and the rest of the Upper Perkiomen Indians.
Last year, Moyer was in his first year of guiding a new program. That led to a completely new teaching philosophy, changes to the offensive and defensive schemes and new terminologies.
Those growing pains led the team to a 0-10 finish overall, as the relatively young squad learned in a hurry the pace of varsity football.
This season, Moyer and company are hoping those hard lessons pay off.
“We’re much further ahead this year than last,” Moyer said. “The kids understand what we’re trying to do; and we have known what we’re doing since December –we’re strides ahead in that regard.”
Moyer hopes the biggest change in the team will be its toughness and attitude. And what the team lacks in terms of size and depth, Moyer hopes will be made up in pure grit and resolve.
“What I’m hoping will characterize the team would be its toughness,” he said, “mentally and physically. We’re not the biggest, so we need to be scrappy and not back down. If we can accomplish that, we’re on the right track.”
Upper Perk officially started its summer practices this past Monday, though voluntary workouts began last winter and continued throughout the spring and summer. This past Saturday, the team entertained Hatboro-Horsham in a scrimmage.
Moyer said the overall outcome of the scrimmage was positive, with the expected first-time mistakes of new varsity players. The team will travel tonight to J. Birney Crum Stadium in Allentown to take part in a tri-scrimmage with William Allen and Palisades high schools. The season will open a week after that at home against Quakertown Friday, Aug. 30 at 7 p.m.
Offensively, junior Wyatt Brumm will see his first varsity action at quarterback. He will be helped in the backfield by senior running back Aidan Schaffer, who rushed for over 1,000 yards last season, and senior fullback Randy Godshall.
Up front, the line will be anchored by centers Rico Marrero and Mitch Fretz, guards Mahlon Schaffer and David Weller, tackles Justin Crossley, Kyle Neumann and Nate Dunn and tight end Owen Leister. Wide receivers include senior Travis Kline, junior Jake Pirri, Chandler Carberry and Mark Saucedo.
Defensively, the team will be anchored at safety by Kline and Aidan Schaffer, with the linebacking corps consisting of Marrero, Leister, Chad Butler and Dylan Croissette. Up front, the line will feature Mahlon Schaffer, Dunn and Crossley, with Fretz, Weller and Jack Hovanec at ends. Pirri, Carberry and Mike Felix are expected to see action at cornerback.
The team will be led by its senior tri-captains Kline, Aidan Schaffer and Marrero.
“If we can be more physical, and play tougher, that should help us play better defense,” Moyer said. “If we can do that, we will get better as a football team.”
Besides improvements on defense, one of the other keys to the Indians’ success will be its health. With a roster in the mid 50s, which includes the freshmen team which will play a JV schedule, Upper Perk doesn’t have a whole lot of depth behind its starters. Any injuries would be especially significant as many players are expected to play on both sides of the ball.
“Our scrimmage was positive, and we liked our first week of two-a-days,” Moyer said. “As far as what we can expect this year, I really don’t know, there are a lot of guys who will see their first action.
"Our overall approach is good, and we’ve made changes offensively and defensively to make it simple enough but consistent to help the kids know what they’re doing day in and day out.”