General McLane's Clay Smith excelled on offense and defense in 2012.
Mike Suminski figures to be one of the Lancers' premier players in the backfield this season.
General McLane Lancers
Coach: Jim Wells (17th season, 142-39)
2012 overall record: 9-3
2012 region record: 3-2 (third)
2012 playoff results: Defeated Oil City 56-35 in the District 10 Class AAA quarterfinals and Slippery Rock 46-42 in the semifinals before losing to Cathedral Prep 48-14 in the championship.
Top players lost: Quinn Thompson, Aidan Graham, Zack Leicht, Tyler Hendricks, Marcus Erdman, Logan Weschler
Top returning players: Mike Suminski, Clay Smith, Brett Kulka, Zane Berger, Jarrell Johnson, Tyler Sanders, Zach Fox, Chris Laird, Matt Costa
Assistant coaches: Bill Frick, Brad Wheeler, Elliot Leplaca, Zach Lucas
Outlook: General McLane has some important holes to fill this year in camp. The Lancers moved up to Class AAA last year and made their way to the District 10 Class AAA championship game before falling to eventual state champion Cathedral Prep. McLane’s biggest issue will be at quarterback after the graduation of Quinn Thompson and Marcus Erdman. Thompson, a Connecticut recruit, was voted to the all-region first team at tight end and spent time under center running the offense. He was also voted to the all-region first team at defensive line. Thompson threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 721 yards and seven TDs. Erdman threw for 164 yards and one touchdown and Aidan Graham completed 4-of-5 for 207 yards and three touchdowns in several trick plays. The Lancers also lost Zack Leicht, Tyler Hendricks and Logan Weschler to graduation. Graham ran for 925 yards and 12 touchdowns to be voted to the all-region second team at running back and defensive back, while Weschler as first team at punter and Hendricks was voted to the first team at linebacker. With plenty of graduation losses, McLane will be young this year.
The Lancers will have some experience to turn to in Mike Suminski, Clay Smith, Brett Kulka, Zane Berger, Jarrell Johnson, Tyler Sanders, Zach Fox, Chris Laird, Matt Costa. Kulka, who committed to Maryland earlier this offseason, was voted to the all-region first team on the offensive line last year. He is one of the top returning linemen in District 10 this season. Smith is another returning all-region selection as he was voted to the second team at wide receiver. Smith caught six passes for 171 yards and three touchdowns, while Johnson led McLane with nine catches for 181 yards and one touchdown. The two will be counted on to produce on offense as the Lancers have to fill in the rest of the skill positions with new players. Fox could be in the mix at quarterback along with Evan Dillen. Dillen is among a group of new players that could contribute right away, along with Kyle Sult, Mike Allison, Ian Mallory and Mike Novel. Suminski and Berger will look for more carries this season behind a rebuilding offensive line. Kulka and Costa are back to lead both the offensive and defensive lines, while the Lancers might look to Mallory and Novel to start right away.
Kulka was second in tackles for McLane last year with 54, while Sanders was fourth with 50. Kulka also had seven sacks and Laird had four last year and both are back to lead a strong McLane defense. The Lancers open the season at home against rival Fort LeBoeuf before a brutal road game at McDowell to open the region season. McLane has plenty of crossover Class AAA games this year with Franklin, Oil City, Conneaut and Bradford with a huge game looming in Week 10 at Prep. The Lancers’ program is strong enough to reload instead of rebuild. McLane will need to reload its backfield quickly, including a leader under center to run the complicated option offense. If the Lancers can stock their backfield with running backs and build its line back up, they will be, once again, one of the top Class AAA teams in District 10.
30 Fort LeBoeuf 7
6 at McDowell* 7
13 at Oil City 7
20 Franklin 7
27 Conneaut 7
4 at East* 7
11 at Bradford 7
18 Strong Vincent* 7
25 Central Tech* 7
1 at Cathedral Prep* 7
*Region 6 games