Barons ready for another heated Section Two race

By on August 16, 2017

Representing Manheim Central at the L-L League’s Football Media Day last Friday were seniors (left to right) Garret Fittery, Jake Novak and Dalton Gainer. (Photo by Bruce Morgan)

If there’s one thing local fans can count on every year, it’s that Section Two of the Lancaster-Lebanon Football League is going to be a dogfight.

That shouldn’t change in 2017.

A year ago, Manheim Central shared the Section Two championship with long-time rival Cocalico, then advanced to the District Three 5A championship game, ending the season at 11-2.

As MC seniors Garret Fittery, Dalton Gainer and Jake Novak explained to Lititz Record sports Bruce Morgan in a Q&A last Friday during the annual Media Day festivities at Enck’s Catering in Manheim, the Dave Hahn-coached Barons are looking reload for another run despite heavy graduation losses.

Bruce Morgan: Your team graduated some key guys from last year like Kody Kegarise and a couple of linebackers. What does the season hold in store for your guys?

Jake Novak: We expect nothing less from last year. We’re expecting to have the same success we had last year, maybe just not in the same ways. Kody was a running quarterback &tstr; it’s not going to be the same with Evan, our new quarterback. But we’ll find ways to throw (against) defenses and still be able to get to where we were last year.

BM: How is Evan a different quarterback than what Kody was?

JN: Evan is in the pocket more. Kody was in the pocket and then right out and he was just ready to run the ball more. Evan can still run the ball and he’s fast, but he’s a very pass-first kind of guy.

BM: What are the strengths and weaknesses of this year’s team?

Garret Fittery: The O-line. Our O-line looks good. We have big guys up there and they’re athletic. And then running the ball, we have Tyler Flick and Gio Lester and they both look real good.

Dalton Gainer: The line’s looking pretty good. We definitely do have size and it’s hopefully going to pay off.

BM: What are the biggest concerns of this team?

GF: We’re a little bit younger than we were last year. We graduated a lot of seniors, but our young guys have been working hard.

JN: Our age, but still we expect nothing less from the seniors, from the juniors … if you’re on the varsity team, you’re expected to play at the varsity level.

BM: How important do the non-league games become with a young team and trying to get some momentum going in that part of the schedule?

JN: Those games are very important, especially with District rankings. We play bigger schools, so they’re better for the District rankings. But yeah, those games are obviously very important and that’s why we’re training so hard in the summer so we’re conditioned and ready to go for those first three weeks.

BM: Manheim Central shared the Section title with Cocalico last year. How big of a rivalry has that game with Cocalico become?

DG: It’s always been a rivalry with them.

BM: Do you guys have that game circled on your calendar?

JN: We take every week the same.

BM: Losing Nick Brown and Tyler Lutz from last year’s linebacking corps, they accounted for a lot of your tackles. How confident are you guys that you have others to step up and fill those shoes?

GF: We have myself and Tyler Simon, we just transitioned to inside linebacker, but we’re taking it one day at a time and we’re getting used to it and getting ready for it.

BM: Tyler was a pretty big hitter last year at safety. Talk about what he brings to the defense.

GF: Tyler brings a lot to the defense. Like you say, he’s a hard hitter and he can run the field well. He knows what he’s doing from being back there.

BM: Just getting back to Evan Simon at QB, how does he look at this point in the summer?

GF: He looks good. He looks good throwing the ball, he’s confident and knows what he’s doing. He knows what other people are supposed to do. He looks sharp.

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