Barons optimistic for new season

By on August 15, 2018
Manheim Central coach Dave Hahn (third from left) is shown with three of his key returning players (l-r) Tyler Flick, Josh Painter and Evan Hosler at last Friday’s L-L League Football Media. Photo by Missi Mortimer

Manheim Central coach Dave Hahn (third from left) is shown with three of his key returning players (l-r) Tyler Flick, Josh Painter and Evan Hosler at last Friday’s L-L League Football Media. Photo by Missi Mortimer

Just over eight months ago, the Manheim Central football team was going head-to-head against Gateway in the PIAA State 5A semi-finals.

Last Friday — with the off-season behind them and a week of heat-acclimation practices under their belt — Baron coach Dave Hahn and three of his key returning senior players were at Enck’s Catering in Manheim tackling questions from scribes about the upcoming campaign at the Lancaster-Lebanon League Media Day.

Representing Manheim Central were running back/linebacker Tyler Flick, who rushed for a team-leading 1,465 yards and 20 TDs, while adding 69 tackle points before suffering a season-ending elbow injury in the District Three 5A semi-finals, along with tight end/defensive back Evan Hosler, who finished with 113 tackle points and an INT a year ago, and lineman Josh Painter.

Flick, Hosler, and Painter sat down for a Q&A with Lititz Record sports editor Bruce Morgan to discuss the team and their goals.

Bruce Morgan: Tyler, are you back to 100 percent?

Tyler Flick: Yeah, I’m back to 100 percent. I haven’t had any problems with the elbow over the off-season.

BM: You missed the District championship game and State semi-final playoff game last year. Does that help fire you up to get back to that point and experience that with these guys this year?

TF: I was on the sideline, I was helping them every step along the way, but yeah, it’s certainly hard not being able to get out on the field and play the game with them.

BM: Evan, how is the transition going from quarterback to tight end?

EH: Good, it’s a lot of fun.

BM: Tyler, talk to me about the offense. You will obviously be expected to carry a big part of the load this year. What are your thoughts going into the season?

TF: We have a good line. We have three of the five starters returning — Josh Painter, Tyler Dougherty, and Brett Wolgemuth. We have two guys stepping up to fill those spots we’ve got to replace — Cayden Warner and Troy Kolk. So far, they’re fitting in nicely, so that’s a really good thing. The wide receiver corps is looking really strong. Over the 7-on-7’s, they’ve been doing a great job. And then of course, we’ve got (junior) Evan Simon back there, so the quarterback spot is looking pretty solid right now.

BM: How are you a different back this year?

TF: I’m just trying to do the same thing I did last year — really perfect the running plays, know where my blocks are coming from, know who I’ve got to get behind. So I’m just really trying to perfect.

BM: Josh, how is this year’s line compared to where you guys were last year?

JP: Certainly, we lost Dalton Gainer and Jarod Hauser, those are going to be big losses. But the three (returning linemen) — me, Brett Wolgemuth, and Tyler Dougherty — and the two guys we have coming back, Cayden Warner and Troy Kolk, they’re going to fill those positions quite fine. They’ll be good.

BM: Among that group of guys, what would you say is your strength?

JP: We’re pretty good at pass blocking. We still need to work on things. We just need a lot of repetitions to perfect everything.

BM: Speaking of pass blocking, what’s it like blocking in front of Evan and opening up holes in front of this guy (Flick)?

JP: It’s pretty fun watching Flick run through your holes right next to you and take off into the open field. And blocking for Simon is pretty fun because if you get beat, he’s smart. He knows how to avoid it. We just try not to get beat.

BM: Evan, regarding the switch to tight end, what is the biggest adjustment you’re dealing with?

EH: Blocking is the new thing for me. I’ve been really working on that over the off-season. I played QB all my life, but I love it — tight end is a really fun position, I love catching footballs, that’s the best. We’re a heavy run game, so I’ve really got to perfect the blocking.

BM: And you’re one of three guys back in the secondary. How exciting is that knowing you have a lot of experience back there?

EH: I mean, we’ve just built ties with our secondary, so it’s great. Losing Jake Novak, he’s a terrific athlete, so that’s a big loss. But we’ve got Ben Wagner and Will Rivers and Isaac Perron, so just having that connection, it’s really good. We’re flowing together. We’re taking steps to perfect it, rather than making steps to just connect, so it’s really good.

BM: What would you say is the strength of the defense?

EH: It’s kinda hard to say before we strap the pads on for three-a-days, but I think we communicate really well. We’re very knowledgeable at defense, we just have to perfect what we have to work on.

BM: Tyler, what are your thoughts about the linebacking corps? What would you say the strength is of that group?

TF: I like the linebacker next to me, Landan Moyer, he’s returning and he’s a pretty good guy. The D-line, there’s a lot of good guys up front there, but the DB’s behind us, I really like them. Communicating the fronts, the wide receiver sets — they do a really good of that, so it really gets us all on the same page. That’s what defense is about. Line up and go hit someone.

BM: Manheim being Manheim, you guys are expected to challenge for the Section and District titles and go to States. What are the goals of this year’s team? How well can you guys do?

JP: We’re just trying to take it one game at a time. Week One, Susquehanna Township. Week Two, Hempfield, and so on. We’re just going to keep going a week at a time, and hopefully we get that Section championship again this year. It was pretty nice having that to ourselves last year. And we’ll just keep taking it on week-by-week.

TF: I think Coach always says go for that Section title first, get that and then go to Districts and go to States. You can’t be thinking about the big picture first. You’ve got to go small first and work your way up.

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