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By Mike Copper, Tom Reisenweber, Jeff Kirik Erie Times-News staff bloggers
The Varsity blog is the 2013 winner of an international EPPY award for best sports blog. EPPYs are awarded to media-affiliated websites by Editor & Publisher, an industry trade publication. Varsity is primarily maintained by Times-News sports writers Mike Copper and Tom Reisenweber and sports editor Jeff Kirik.   Read more about this blog.
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Summer Huddle: Youngsville

Youngsville Eagles
Coach (season): Luke Alex (1st season)
2010 overall record: 2-8
2010 region record (place): 2-6 (tied for eighth)
2010 playoff results: Did not qualify for the District 10 playoffs.
Top players lost: Aaron Niemeyer, Nathan Smith, Jared Camp, Christian Bundy, Derek Gifford
Top returning players: Sawyer Dininny, Sam Lucas, Cory Craig, Jordan Gurdak, Rocco Gatta, Sage Sivak, Ryan Rickerson, Dalton Maze
Assistant coaches: Chad Edwards, Mike Wright, Eric Rozanski, Adam Vincent and Don Hardy
Outlook: Youngsville is looking to turn things around this season under new head coach Luke Alex. Not only with the Eagles have a new system in place and a fresh approach, but quarterback Cory Craig is back after sitting out most of 2010 with injury. Also back for Youngsville are Sawyer Dininny, Sma Lucas, Jordan Gurdak, Rocco Gatta, Sage Sivak, Ryan Rickerson and Dalton Maze. All provide experience and depth for the Eagles this season. Alex knows he has a veteran group back and commented that this group has been in the system the longest and they know it well. Lineman Jake Marino and wide receiver/defensive back Kyle Rafalski are new to the varsity level and are looking to make an impact right away.

The biggest issue for the Eagles last year was scoring in the red zone. Youngsville is looking to cut down on its turnovers and to start putting points on the board when in the red zone. The Eagles are deep at the skill positions but will need to develop the offensive and defensive lines a little more. Youngsville’s passing game suffered without Craig last year but could be vastly improved.

The Eagles have a strong defense and that will be especially important in Region 2. Youngsville will go up against big teams that love to run the ball and slowing them down will be key. The Eagles hit the road three of their first four games with only a home game against Maplewood in the mix. Youngsville will get Mercyhurst Prep at home but the Eagles might need to pull the upset in order to compete for the Region 2 title. The Eagles have experience and talent this fall and if they can stay healthy, they might be looking at a District 10 playoff spot in November.

2 at Seneca 7
9 at Union City* 7
16 Maplewood* 7
23 at Iroquois* 7
30 Mercyhurst Prep* 7
7 at Eisenhower* 7
14 at Cambridge Springs* 7
21 Conneaut, Ohio 7
28 at Cochranton* 7
4 Saegertown* 7

Look for the Kickoff magazine at a Country Fair near you beginning Aug. 15. The 112-page magazine previews the upcoming District 10 football season, including top returning players, schedules, stats and more.

Thursday: Region 1 and 2 previews

– Tom Reisenweber

Posted in: Football, Summer Huddle

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