Strong Vincent runs an offensive play Saturday against Fairview at Keck Field at Jack Bestwick Stadium.
Strong Vincent’s starters looked strong against Fairview on Saturday during the first day for scrimmages for PIAA teams.
The Colonels dropped to Class AAA from AAAA in the offseason. Fairview, playing on its new turf at Keck Field at Jack Bestwick Stadium, is Class AA.
“We did well,” Vincent coach Scott White said of the scrimmage. “Going against ourselves the first week of practice we don’t get a good look. For the first time, we went against an opponent, and we looked good. We’re not there yet, but we’re making progress.”
The Colonels looked particularly solid on the line, where they have all but one starter returning. Center Kyle Bogle (5 feet 11, 230 pounds) and tackle Tashan Jordan-Mitchell (6-1, 290) lead the big group of returnees.
“That seems to be where our strong point is,” White said. “We only graduated one lineman last year, so we’re going to lean on the line more. That’s where our experience is.”
However, the Colonels also have key players back in fullback Corey Henry (741 yards in 2011) and halfback Chris Kirkland (745). Kirkland showed his big-play ability by breaking a 60-yard touchdown run Saturday on a sweep with Henry leading the way. Henry, meanwhile, displayed his bruising, physical running style on several runs up the middle.
Vincent position battles: Two places where Vincent’s White is looking for starters to emerge are the right halfback and quarterback positions.
Seniors Craig Heidelberg and Kyle Mathis are competing to replace 1,200-yard back Mike Neavins. Both players had their moments Saturday. Heidelberg, a former Cathedral Prep player, had several tough runs up the middle.
Meanwhile, there’s a three-way battle for the starting quarterback spot. Chris Starocci, a junior who transferred from Prep, has been getting the most repetitions in practice, but seniors Anthony Twillie and Tyreek Green also are competing for the starting job. The winner of that competition will replace standout Denzel Jones, who ran for 1,085 yards and passed for 890 yards.
Fairview runner shows promise: One Fairview player who might have caught fans’ attention at Saturday’s scrimmage against Strong Vincent is senior Tanner Tregaskis.
Tregaskis is a former wide receiver who led the Tigers with 16 catches for 135 yards in 2011. However, he was running out the tailback spot Saturday with junior Shannon Jackson.
Tregaskis exhibited some solid moves and good vision, and he ran tough inside.
Jackson is Fairview’s leading returning rusher with 474 yards on just 88 carries in 2011. Tregaskis’ emergence could give the Tigers a solid one-two punch at tailback.
Bad news for McDowell, Koper: McDowell is dealing with a tough blow after starting quarterback Jarrett Koper suffered a broken leg in practice. Koper’s father confirmed that he has a broken tibia. It’s not certain if Koper will be able to return in 2012.
Koper is McDowell’s leading returning rusher after running for 681 yards and seven touchdowns in 2011.
There’s no word yet on who is in line to start at quarterback in Koper’s absence.
It’s always rough when a high school athlete suffers an injury. But it’s particularly devastating when that player is a key contributor who had big plans for a senior season. The Varsity blog wishes Koper a speedy recovery.