Strong Vincent Colonels
Coach (season, record): Scott White (3rd season, 12-9)
2011 overall record: 8-3
2011 region record (place): 5-1 (second)
2011 playoff results: Defeated Mifflin County 42-21 and lost to State College 42-31 in a PIAA subregion tournament.
Top players lost: Denzel Jones, Shikeal Page, Mike Neavins, DeAndrye Henderson, Matt Rodgers, Blake Quirk, Robert Jones
Top returning players: Corey Henry, Chris Kirkland, Anthony Twillie, Kyle Mathis, Tashan Jordon-Mitchell, Hassam Farooq, Donald Bender, Antonio DeBerry, Troy Honard, Donny Tatum, Divon Jones, Kyle Bogel
Assistant coaches: Dan Olson, Chris Spooner, John Ferraro, Kevin Boxer, Allan Kavelish, Joe Gabbard, Shawn Carlson, Bob Helsely, Jim Fuller, Eric Jones, Brian Bires
Outlook: Strong Vincent had a fairly successful run in Class AAAA. The Colonels participated in the PIAA playoffs both years and won a state-playoff game last fall. The Colonels are back down into Class AAA this season and will need to win the District 10 championship to get to the state playoffs. Vincent has some holes to fill, especially at quarterback and running back. Denzel Jones was named to the all-district team at defensive back and was an all-region first-team defensive back and second-team quarterback. Jones threw for 890 yards and 12 touchdowns and ran for 1,085 yards and 16 touchdowns on 102 carries. He also had 49 tackles and two interceptions. Vincent also graduated running back Mike Neavins and wide receiver DeAndrye Henderson. Neavins ran for 1,248 yards and 15 touchdowns on 106 carries and caught 10 passes for 136 yards and one touchdown. Henderson led the Colonels with 12 catches for 395 yards and five touchdowns. He was voted to the all-region first team at wide receiver. Vincent has most of its line back but the Colonels have to replace first-team offensive lineman Blake Quirk and second-team defensive lineman Robert Jones. Shikeal Page, Matt Rodgers and Robert Jones also leave big holes for the Colonels. Page was a first-team defensive back and Rodgers and Jones provided depth on both lines.
With all of the standout players Vincent lost, the Colonels have a solid group back. The offensive line is strong, including second-team lineman Tashan Jordan-Mitchell. Second-team tight end Donnie Tatum returns along with second-team defensive lineman Antonio DeBerry. Tatum caught four passes for 73 yards and two touchdowns last fall. In the backfield, Chris Kirkland and Corey Henry return for their senior seasons. Kirkland ran for 745 yards and nine touchdowns last year on his way to being voted to the second team at running back and at defensive back. He also caught 10 passes for 88 yards and one touchdown. Henry ran for 741 yards and five touchdowns and was voted to the first team at running back and linebacker. He finished with 44 tackles, including two sacks. Hassam Farooq, a first-team linebacker, returns after recording 43 tackles in 2011. Mark Akerly, Chris Strocci and Craig Heidelberg are new players this season that could make an impact right away.
Vincent has an experience group back this year but finding a new quarterback and a few running backs to add depth will be important. Vincent loaded its non-region schedule with talented teams that could get the Colonels ready for the D-10 playoffs. Vincent opens with defending D-10 Class AA champion Hickory before back-to-back brutal games with Cathedral Prep and St. Ignatius (Ohio). Vincent also has Youngstown Ursuline, Brashear and North East on the non-region schedule along with General McLane and McDowell on its Region 6 schedule. The Colonels have some holes to fill but their schedule is loaded and the program is strong. There might be a rematch between Prep and Vincent in the D-10 AAA championship in late November.
31 at Hickory 7
7 Cathedral Prep* 7
15 St. Ignatius (Ohio) 2
21 at East* 7
27 at Brashear 7
6 at Central Tech* 7
12 at Youngstown Ursuline (Ohio) 7
19 General McLane* 7
26 McDowell* 7
2 at North East 7
*Region 6 games
– Tom Reisenweber