The Indians will see the return of senior quarterback Dylan Wesley, who had a solid season as a junior (1,402 passing yards). Above, Wesley looks to the outside to make a pass during play in last Friday night's scrimmage at home against William Allen.
It would be fair to say things have not gone exactly as planned for Upper Perkiomen’s football team. And it would be a stretch to say Indian head coach Steve Moyer knows exactly what to expect from his squad.
Nonetheless, a good bit of that uncertainty will be cleared up tomorrow night around 10 p.m. in Quakertown. That’s when the Indians will close out their first game of the 2012 season against the Panthers.
The game will be a good test for a young Indian team with a lot of heart but not a whole lot of varsity experience to go along with it. Over a third of the team are sophomores, with the junior and senior class 15-strong each. But take a closer look at the 47-man roster and you’ll be hard pressed to find more than a dozen of those players who have seen regular varsity action.
“What characterizes this team is their ability to prove themselves,” Moyer said. “A lot of them haven’t had a varsity start, and those who have haven’t done it a lot. These kids are out to show that they are worthy and ready to be considered varsity football players.”
The Indians, who lost a slew of talent to graduation, will be without a number of its statistical leaders from last season from a squad that went 3-6 in the league, 5-7 overall. Gone are players who led the team in rushing (John Olson, league-high 1,487 yards), receiving (Ronnie Gillespie, 739 yards), tackles (Dalton Fleming, 98), sacks (Zach Chatman, 4) and interceptions (Jesse Freer, 5).
Besides experience, the team has also been slowed by a handful of nagging injuries and sickness. Moyer was quick to point out none of the maladies were season ending, but enough to hamper a team that already doesn’t have a lot of depth.
Moyer, who is in his first year of his second stint as head coach of the Indians, will have the luxury of a senior quarterback. Dylan Wesley, who had a solid season as a junior (1,402 passing yards), is back under center and is expected to lead the Tribe offensively. His offensive weapons include receivers Travis Kline, Robert Brett, Robbie Hinson and tight end Jack Hovanec. Junior Aidan Schaffer will get the start at tailback as senior Quinn Perlstein is on the mend with a hamstring injury, with Randy Godshall at fullback.
Up front, the offensive line will consist of center Dan Heinrichs, guards David Weller and Mahlon Schaffer (freshman) and tackles Tyler Stephenson and Chris Limbert. Junior Brandon Landis will handle the place kicking duties, and Wesley the punts.
Defensively, Upper Perk will see Hovanec, Weller, Rico Marrero and Nate Dunn on the line, with Heinrichs, Godshall and Perlstein at linebacker. The secondary will consist of Hinson, Aidan Schaffer and Kline.
The Indians’ preseason action wrapped up last Friday in a home scrimmage against William Allen. According to Moyer, the effort was lackluster after a solid outing the week before in a scrimmage at Hatboro-Horsham.
“We didn’t feel very good after last Friday night,” Moyer said. “We didn’t think we played very well. I thought we did better than we thought against Hatboro, but worse than we thought against Allen – we just made too many mistakes. We didn’t have a good second week of practice and we will be looking to rebound.”
After tomorrow night’s game against Quakertown, the Indians will open the Pioneer Athletic Conference portion of the schedule Sept. 7 at home against a similarly young Boyertown squad. With no Thanksgiving Day game between the rivals, the two schools will get a chance to lock up in September rather than November.
From there, Upper Perk will be tested at home against ever dangerous Pottsgrove, defending champion Spring-Ford and Methacton.