By Bill Engelhardt
The Mustangs of South Western return to gridiron action Friday night,August 31, as they host the Warriors of Gettysburg to kick off the 2012 season. The Mustangs are looking forward to a successful season as they enter the 53rd year of the football program. They have a career 337-206-8 record with a .621 winning percentage and a .626 non-losing percentage. They are 332-197-8 in regular season play. This year the Mustangs have a good group of returning seniors, returning starters and lettermen, and some exciting new players to watch, and hope to continue the winning tradition, which includes 12 league titles since 1990 and 16 in the history of the school.
The Mustangs begin a brand new era as Damian Poalucci steps into the head coaching position that had been under the very capable hands of Don Seidenstricker for the past 26 years. Don retired from the position but remains the Athletic Director for the school. Damian takes on the role of head coach with a very impressive resume of his own. He was a star quarterback for the Bees of Bayonne High School in New Jersey, set records at quarterback for the Warriors of East Stroudsberg University, and has been coaching in the Mustangs program for 15 years, most recently as assistant varsity coach and head junior varsity coach. So the beat goes on for the Mustangs.
Seniors Devon Ackerman, Mike Duffy, Aram Moffit, Dakotah Moses, Jerome Robinson, and Jacob Tracy, and juniors Logan Bowman and Dillon Thomas are returning starters. Seniors Aaron Doll, A. J. Jones, Mike Mooradian, Gabe Morela, Shawn Secola, Brady Shultz, Chris Weibe, and Bobby Wildasin, and juniors Eddie Lane and Tyler Sterner are also returning lettermen. Juniors Ryan Lane, Jordan Markle, Zach Osborne, and Payton Taylor, and sophomores Kurt Creamer, Ryan Krebs, Matt Helwig, and Hunter Palmer are up and comers to watch this year.
The graduation of key players Rich Delea, Ryan Dotson, Mike Felton, Carnie Fryfogle, Jeremy Laughlin, Keith Pappas, Zach Gross, and Zach Townsend still leaves the Mustangs with a very good group of seasoned players. Senior Mike Duffy and junior Tyler Sterner are contending to be the starting quarterback and both are expected to see a lot of playing time. Departed Zach Gross was the starter last year but Duffy and Sterner both saw playing time. The stiff competition should bring out the best in both of them and leave the Mustangs in good shape at that position.
We look for Moses, Thomas and Wildasin to lead the vaunted rushing attack and Bowman, Osborne, Shultz, and Taylor will vie for playing time and continue the great running tradition of the Mustangs. Thomas led the rushing attack last year with 1,058-yards.
We are looking for Doll, Mooradian, Morela, Robinson, to form the nucleus of a solid receiving corps, with help from Markle and Palmer. Robinson is the most experienced with 8 catches for 114-yards and 2 touchdowns last year. Bowman, Moses and Thomas have experience catching the ball out of the backfield.
Among the returning players, Ackerman (46 tackles), Eddie Lane (15 tackles), Moffit (13 tackles), and Secola (3 tackles) in 2011, have significant experience on either the offensive or defensive line and should figure prominently again this year, with help from Creamer, Helwig, Jones, and Morela. The trenches will be a significant factor in the success of the Mustangs this year.
Eddie Lane (15 tackles), Moses (14 tackles), Thomas (12 tackles), and Mooradian (6 tackles) in 2011, leave the Mustangs in great shape at the linebacker position. All are seasoned veterans. And Shultz, Sterner, and Weibe should fit in nicely here as well. And Krebs, Ryan Lane, and Osborne should also get into the act here.
Robinson (29 tackles), Duffy (24 tackles), Bowman (17 tackles), Wildasin (7 tackles), Doll (2 tackles), Markle (2 tackles), and Palmer, Morela, and Taylor should all see plenty of action in the secondary.
The punting game should be in the capable hands of senior Gabe Morela. Departed Mike Felton was the punter last year but Morela got in 5 punts for 162-yards, for a 32.4-yard average and the longest going for 37-yards. Felton also handled kickoffs last year but Ryan Lane and Tracy have some experience in this area. Tracy is also the go to guy for extra points. He kicked 35 extra points last year, putting him in 4th place in school history.
Damian Poalucci is ready and eager to lead the Mustangs into a new season against the Warriors of Gettysburg. In his preseason outlook he said, “Some things have changed around the corral but the fabric and tradition of South Western Football has stayed the same.
The old cliché’ that “it all starts with the line” has never been more applicable. The fate of the Mustang Football Team clearly rests up front. We will return a solid nucleus of skill position players with Jerome Robinson, Logan Bowman, Dillon Thomas, Bobby Wildasin, Dakotah Moses, Mike Mooradian, and Brady Shultz all vying for starting roles. In addition, senior quarterback Mike Duffy and junior Tyler Sterner will both see playing time at quarterback. The offensive and defensive line will be anchored by Devon Ackerman and Aram Moffitt who both earned significant playing time last season. Newcomers to the offensive and defensive line will be AJ Jones, Eddie Lane and David Schaub.
We do return significant playing experience in the defensive backfield with both Jerome Robinson and Mike Duffy returning as cornerbacks where they made a lot of contribution last season and newcomers Logan Bowman and Payton Taylor at safety. The outside backer position has great depth with seniors Mike Mooradian and Brady Shultz leading the way. Juniors Ryan Lane and Zach Osborne, and sophomore Ryan Krebs will also play a major role in this position.
Earned…Never Given is the new mantra in the South Western Corral. The off-season work ethic in the weight room, 7v7s, voluntary camps, and instructional sessions was excellent, actually the best in many years. The up and coming sophomores (Kurt Creamer, Ryan Krebs, Matt Helwig, Mitch Muir, and Hunter Palmer) worked tirelessly this summer and may contribute to the returning players and lettermen.
The absolute, number one, positive with this group has been the bond of classes and willingness to work together. There has been outstanding senior/junior leadership from those players noted above (starters, lettermen, and “players to watch”) and these young men really want to continue the strong tradition of Mustang Football!”
From here it looks like the South Western Mustangs are primed and ready to provide all the thrills and excitement their faithful fans have come to expect in their 53rd season. I think the Mustangs are up to the challenge of continuing their winning ways. I can’t wait for the start of the 2012 season. GO MUSTANGS GO