Kegarise, Lutz set to play at LVC

By on May 3, 2017
Manheim Central QB Kody Kegarise eludes a tackle last fall en route to one of his 28 rushing touchdowns.

Manheim Central QB Kody Kegarise eludes a tackle last fall en route to one of his 28 rushing touchdowns.

 

Barons’ inside linebacker Tyler Lutz (25) closes ground to help bring down a Cedar Crest ball carrier last season.

Barons’ inside linebacker Tyler Lutz (25) closes ground to help bring down a Cedar Crest ball carrier last season.

 

Together, QB Kody Kegarise and linebacker Tyler Lutz helped the Manheim Central football team reach the District Three 5A finals last fall.

Moving forward, their goal is to contribute to big things at Lebanon Valley College.

The two Baron stars recently committed to continue their football and academic careers with the Dutchmen, where MC coach Dave Hahn believes they will be an “awesome” fit.

“I think they’ll both have a lot of success,” Hahn said. “They’ll have to go in there and compete, but I think think that they can compete and give themselves a good shot to play at that level.”

LVC got Lutz’s signature in late March or early April, just ahead of Kegarise.

Asked if he played a part in recruiting his friend, Lutz laughed and said, “I might joke here and there, but I think we both know that at the end of the day, it’s his decision to make. But right when I heard the news (that Kody committed), I was going crazy. We’ve been close friends (since) through Midgets. It’s cool to see how things come together and now we’ll be spending another four years together.”

“We’re in the same group of close friends,” Kegarise said, “and with (LVC) being on my list as one of the top two, I knew that that could be a pretty cool experience. I’m rooming with (Tyler) next year, so that should be fun times.”

For Lutz, it was pretty cool to see things came together at LVC from an academics standpoint, which was a high priority for him. Wanting to study accounting in college, he was attracted to the good business program available there.

The chips then fell into place for football.

“I know they have a good tradition there. It was definitely on the radar for me at first,” Lutz said.

The 5-foot-11, 192-pound linebacker had attended a couple showcases and made a game day visit to Susquehanna University last fall, but LVC had the upper hand.

“I liked it (at Susquehanna), but at that point in the college search, I was kinda already leaning toward Lebanon Valley,” Lutz said. “LVC was really the one where I connected with the coaches and they connected back with me … It’s a small campus, but it has that nice home feel. I feel it will be a great fit for me. I like that small, personal feeling where you actually know most of your classmates.”

Kegarise, too, connected with the LVC coaches. But he was waiting to hear back from Robert Morris University, located in a suburb of Pittsburgh, about a full tuition scholarship. The catch, however, was that he wouldn’t play football at RMU.

Eventually, when Kegarise received word that he didn’t get the scholarship, his final decision a couple of days later became much easier.

“I was thinking, ‘I feel like I’m really going to miss football (if I didn’t go to LVC),’” said Kegarise, who plans to study actuarial science, “and Robert Morris is four and a half hours away from my house. So I was like, ‘Yeah, I think being able to play football, being closer to home and not having to make that long drive,’ I think that really pushed me over.”

Dutchmen head coach Joe Buehler, upon getting the news from Kegarise, stood up out of his chair to welcome him to Lebanon Valley.

“I just felt more wanted (at LVC),” Kegarise said. “The coaches were very persistent and I just felt like everyone there knew me by name.”

Lutz was certainly known around the L-L as a quality linebacker, earning Section Two Second-Team All-Star honors at inside linebacker in 2016 after recording 160 tackle points (second-best for the Barons), 2 1/2 sacks and an INT.

“Defense is my first love,” Lutz said. “I’ve always loved laying the hits. That’s just where I belong … I feel like I can use my speed. I might not be the biggest guy out there, but I feel like I can get to the ball quick and also lay a hit when I get there. I’ve definitely got a lot of off-season workouts and I’m going to try to pick up my speed and get quicker and faster, react quicker.”

Hahn describes Lutz as a very well-versed linebacker.

“(Tyler) knows his reads and he’s very good at reading his keys,” Hahn said. “He was coached up very well by Tom Getz, so I think that that’s going to translate for him at the next level.”

Kegarise’s skills also figure to translate very well at the college level. A dual threat QB for the Barons, he became just the seventh player in L-L football history to rush for 1,000 yards and pass for 1,000 yards in the same season. Overall, in 13 games, the 6-0, 180-pound QB ran for 1,610 yards and 28 TDs, while passing for 2,349 yards and 19 TDs, earning First-Team Section Two and Pennsylvania Football Writers 5A All-State Team accolades, and receiving the Frantz-Rider-Yohe Award as the Outstanding Player in Section Two.

“(LVC) does a lot of roll-out passes and stuff like that,” Kegarise said, “so just having that option, even if the receivers aren’t open, to be able to run, that’s got my name all over it. I think it should be a real fun four years.”

The Dutchmen bring back a pair of senior-to-be QBs in Tim Pirrone and Tyler Sterner from the team that finished 4-6 overall in 2016.

Asked how soon he could challenge for a starting spot, Kegarise said, “They told me that they want to see me compete right away, but possibly my sophomore year.”

Hahn believes that Kegarise, like Lutz, has all the tools to be successful at LVC.

“His athleticism (translates) and he kinda fits their offense,” Hahn said. “They’re a sprint draw, get outside the pocket type of offense. Kody can use his feet. I’d be excited if they did a little bit of option with Kody just because of his ability to run. I think that would be exciting for him and I think it would be exciting for Lebanon Valley … I think they both have a great opportunity to play there.”

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