West Middlesex Big Reds
Coach (season, record): Jason McElhaney (6th season, 26-26)
2011 overall record: 7-5
2011 region record (place): 4-3 (tied for third)
2011 playoff results: Defeated Youngsville 47-0 and Mercer 44-34 in the District 10 Class A playoffs before losing to Sharpsville 21-13 in the D-10 championship.
Top players lost: Colin Patten, James Wills, Clay Allen
Top returning players: Austin Mirizio, Sage Pope, Jeremy Jancso, Luke Patten, Trevor Harrison, A.J. Barris
Assistant coaches: Ed Roberson, Mark Means, Joel Murray, Brad Powell, Rob Townsend
Outlook: West Middlesex has made strides recently and took its program to the District 10 Class A championship game last fall. The Big Reds will need to replace several standout players in the backfield to repeat that success. Colin Patten, James Wills and Clay Allen are gone this year. Patten, Wills and Barris graduated, while Allen decided to focus on track and field this year. Patten led Middlesex with 895 yards and 10 touchdowns, while Allen had 891 yards and 11 touchdowns. Patten also caught 12 passes for 151 yards and one touchdown. Wills paced the Big Reds with 19 catches for 335 yards and two touchdowns. Barris leaves a big hole on the line after starting the past two years at guard.
The Big Reds have a rushing attack to reload but they have most of their line back and quarterback Jeremy Jancso, who is also an all-region punter. He threw for 1,148 yards and 13 touchdowns and ran for four touchdowns as a junior. His favorite target, Sage Pope, returns as well. Pope was voted to the all-region first team at wide receiver and second team at linebacker. Pope caught 14 passes for 265 yards and four touchdowns and recorded 60 tackles. Trevor Harrison (offense) and Austin Mirizio (defense) will anchor the line after being named to the all-region second team in 2011. Luke Patten, a second-team linebacker, returns to add depth for the Big Reds. Patten ran for 310 yards and two touchdowns last fall and caught seven passes for 82 yards and one touchdown. He had five sacks last year and provides leadership for Middlesex.
Expectations are high for the Big Reds this season. Middlesex has one of the most experienced teams back in Region 1 but it will need to find some ballcarriers to make up for the loss of the Big Reds’ top two rushers. Jancso is a leader of Middlesex and could see some time at running back. Trey Staunch could also be utilized in the backfield in different ways, including quarterback. The Big Reds might have to get creative in finding some running backs but they will be a tough team to beat this season. Middlesex opens at Wilmington before an immediate bye week to recover. October could be the Big Reds’ crucial month with games against Sharpsville and Lakeview lined up.
31 at Wilmington 7
7 Moniteau 7
14 Farrell* 7
21 at Conneaut* 7
28 at Mercer* 7
5 Sharpsville* 7
12 Sharon 7
19 Kennedy Catholic* 7
26 at Lakeview* 7
2 at Seneca 7
*Region 1 games
– Tom Reisenweber