Wyoming Area will have a different quarterback and a different look on the football field this season as it tries to defend its Wyoming Valley Conference AA/A Division and District 2 Class AA titles.
Conference Player of the Year Nick O’Brien and other skill position players have graduated from a wide-open offense. Behind O’Brien, a first-team Class AA all-state quarterback, according to state sports writers, the Warriors averaged 45 points per game during a nine-game winning streak.
“Obviously, we’re going to be much different,” Warriors coach Randy Spencer said. “Nicky O’Brien, that type of athlete and skill set, only comes around every so often. We’re going to look a little different.”
O’Brien, who set the school rushing record with more than 5,000 yards in his career, is having a strong preseason camp as a cornerback at Bucknell University. A new quarterback will mean a new way of approaching a game plan.
“Our base is the same, but last year we were a little bit more opened up, spread formation and attacking the edge,” Spencer said. “We’re certainly going to need to be more effective running the ball downhill and being a bit more traditional from that perspective, establishing that, then working off that to get on the edge and down the field.”
The ability to spread the field came from some of the other weapons as well.
“We lost a lot of outstanding athletes,” Spencer said. “A very good group of seniors graduated for us last year.”
The Warriors have enough returning that Spencer said the goal remains the same, to contend for the same championship and postseason berth the team secured a year ago.
Senior Kyle Borton and juniors Jeremy Zezza and Ryan Gorki are working at quarterback. Spencer said that if they do not end up at quarterback, Zezza will be at wide receiver and Gorki will spend time at running back.
Junior Jeff Skursky, an all-star linebacker, returns for his third year as a starting tailback.
“He’ll be one of our primary ballcarriers,” Spencer said.
Marty Michaels, another junior who already has experience there, will also spend time at running back.
Skursky, Michaels, Zack Seabridge and Robert Wargo are working at fullback.
Farad Condry, Ben Steve and Ryan Murray all have experience at wide receiver where Evan Skene and Bobby Acacio could also be in the mix.
Jeremy Seabridge and Michael Lumley are tight ends.
Tyler Resciniti, a 270-pounder who could be at guard or tackle, and center Matt Dimick return to start in the offensive line. Elijah Lafratte, Joe Campbell, David Vincent and Frank Yurek also have some experience up front.
The Warriors will generally use a five-man front offensively.
“Some teams will spread us out and we’ll go to a four, but we’re primarily a five-man front,” Spencer said.
Skursky, who was named honorable mention all-state by Pennsylvania Football News, leads the defense from his linebacker position. Michaels, Lumley and Wargo will also play there.
Dimick returns at an interior line spot where he could be joined by Lafratte, Resciniti, Yurek and Campbell.
Jeremy Seabridge and Zack Seabridge are the defensive ends.
Gorky, Condry, Murray, Acacio, Steve and Skene are expected to see time in the secondary.
All-star A.J. Lenkaitis returns at kicker where he is backed up by Danielle Stillarty.
Condry, Murray, Acacio and Gorky are being considered for returning kicks.
Lake-Lehman, which returns size and experience, appears to be the top divisional threat to the Warriors after splitting with Wyoming Area last season.