For all of the offense in General McLane’s 46-42 shootout win over Slippery Rock in the District 10 Class AAA semifinals, Zachary Fox made two game-changing defensive plays in the final two minutes. Fox, a 5-foot 9-inch, 140-pound junior defensive back, broke up a pass on fourth down and intercepted another to help eliminate the Rockets.
Fox has 17 tackles this season along with two interceptions, one fumble recovery and he has knocked down six passes. The Lancers’ defense faces a tough test tonight against Cathedral Prep and Fox will likely get more opportunities to make big plays.;
Some quick notes from Friday night’s area playoff games:
– McDowell rushed for 446 yards in a 61-14 win over Perry but amazingly didn’t have the highest rushing total among the three Erie County teams. General McLane rushed for 470 yards in its 46-42 win over Slippery Rock.
– McDowell star James Conner scored in three ways — on a run, a reception and a sack that resulted in a safety. The Pitt recruit finished with 129 rushing yards on just eight carries.
– Like McDowell’s Conner, Sharpsville’s Tyler Luchey had a big all-around game in the Blue Devils’ 41-34 win over Lakeview. Luchey had TD receptions of 2 and 43 yards. He also scored on a 55-yard return of a Lakeview fumble. His 2-yard TD catch in the fourth quarter proved to be the game winner.
– Cathedral Prep’s Delton Williams, a Michigan State recruit, had just three rushing attempts Friday in a 54-12 win over Warren but each resulted in a touchdown — 1, 6 and 11 yards. Williams also broke Prep’s single-season record with 48 receptions after making four catches Friday.
– Prep’s Damion Terry, another Michigan State recruit, became the first player in District 10 history to pass for 40 touchdowns in a season. He now has 41. He also extended his D-10 records with 6,447 career yards and 78 career TDs.
– One of Terry’s primary receivers, Brendan Klemensic, tied the Prep record for single-season touchdown catches with 11. He had a 25-yard TD reception Friday
– Slippery Rock’s Frank Conlon had a monster game in defeat against McLane. He rushed for 284 yards on 15 carries while scoring on runs of 83 and 71 yards.
– General McLane had two rushers with big games: Quarterback Quinn Thompson, a UConn recruit, was busy as he rushed 30 times for 145 yards and two TDs. Michael Suminski had 13 carries for a team-high 195 yards. Suminski had scoring runs of 2, 28, 49 and 60 yards. His 49-yard TD run provided the winning margin in the fourth quarter.
– Lakeview’s Blake Reddick rushed 23 times for 243 yards in defeat against Sharpsville. Reddick scored on runs of 2, 41, 68 yards.
Fans can check out all of Friday’s District 10 game statistics.
Meadville’s Artrel Foster is the latest in a series of District 10 skill-position players who have committed to major colleges.
When Foster announced that he had picked Temple recently, he became the fourth high-profile skill-position player from the district to commit to a major college before his senior season.
At least two other skill-position players in D-10 are being recruited: McDowell running back/defensive end James Conner and Cathedral Prep running back/safety Delton Williams. Pitt is among those interested in Conner, while Williams has more than a dozen offers, including Michigan State and Nebraska.
General McLane football standout Quinn Thompson has verbally committed to Connecticut. He also had offers from Boston College, Ohio, Buffalo, Bowling Green, Akron, Massachusetts and Temple. The 6-foot 5-inch, 225-pound tight end/defensive end decided on UConn after a recent visit to campus. He met with coaches and even ran into former Lancer Blidi Wreh-Wilson, a starting cornerback for the Huskies.
Thompson is an intimidating blocker and a force when he has the ball. He carried the ball 30 times for 292 yards and five touchdowns and caught nine passes for 250 yards and six TDs. On defense, 80 tackles, including seven sacks.
Thompson is the third District 10 player to commit to a Division I school this offseason. Hickory running back DeShawn Coleman is heading to West Virginia and Cathedral Prep quarterback Damion Terry will play for Michigan State.
– Tom Reisenweber
General McLane Lancers
Coach (season, record): Jim Wells (16th season, 133-36)
2011 overall record: 10-3
2011 region record (place): 5-1 (second)
2011 playoff results: Defeated Greenville 54-32 in the District 10 Class AA quarterfinals and Wilmington 21-18 in the semifinals. Lost to Hickory 35-13 in the District 10 Class AA championship.
Top players lost: Chad Kulka, Josh Ponsoll, Drew Browning, Ethan Strobel, Jamie Symanowski, Brian Suminski, Matt Astorino, Joey Gierlak, Jake Krimmanich
Top returning players: Quinn Thompson, Zack Leicht, Tyler Hendricks, Aidan Graham, Marcus Erdman
Outlook: General McLane coach Jim Wells has dealt with massive graduation losses before but this season could be a tough one. The Lancers were hammered by graduation and might go through some real growing pains this season. Among the players lost are all-region selections Chad Kulka, Josh Ponsoll, Drew Browning, Ethan Strobel, Jamie Symanowski, Brian Suminski, Matt Astorino, Joey Gierlak and Jake Krimmanich. Kulka was named to the all-district team at linebacker and was a leader for McLane. He led the Lancers with 67 tackles, had one sack and one interception. Kulka also ran for 716 yards and 11 touchdowns on 104 carries and he had three catches for nine yards. Ponsoll was another leader throughout his career for the Lancers. Ponsoll, a first-team quarterback and second-team defensive back, threw for 603 yards and six touchdowns and ran the ball 150 times for 860 yards and eight TDs. On the line, Browning was a first-team offensive lineman, Strobel was a first-team offensive lineman and second-team defensive lineman, while Krimmanich was a second-team offensive lineman and Symanowski was a first-team defensive lineman. Also gone is Suminski, a first-team linebacker, Astorino a first-team defensive back and second-team all-purpose selection. Astorino ran for 996 yards and 12 touchdowns on 91 carries and caught eight passes foir 158 yards and one touchdown. Suminski contributed with 810 yards and 13 touchdowns on 137 carries. Gierlak, a second-team wide receiver, caught 11 passes for 430 yards and three touchdowns.
McLane does have some experience back this fall. Division I prospect Quinn Thompson was voted to the all-region first team at linebacker last fall and the second team as a tight end. His size, 6 feet 5 inches, 225 pounds, is a big draw for colleges and has translated to offers from major schools like Boston College and Connecticut. Thompson played some quarterback at the lower levels but will likely stay on the line to block this fall. The Lancers could look to Marcus Erdman, a second-team defensive back, to take over at quarterback. Erdman threw for 112 yards and one touchdown as a junior. He also ran for 66 yards and two touchdowns and could be called upon to take over at running back instead. Zack Leicht, a second-team offensive lineman, is back to anchor a young line, while second-team linebacker Tyler Hendricks returns along with second-team defensive back Aidan Graham. Graham (212 yards, 5 touchdowns) and Hendricks (117, 1) also saw time in the backfield as juniors and could see a noticeable increase in carries.
McLane went through a rough started in 2011. The Lancers were 0-2 and were staring 0-3 down before a monumental second-half comeback against Harbor Creek. McLane might go through the same issues this fall with a road game in Waterford to start the season before its home opener against Class AAAA McDowell. The McDowell game could get interesting as the Trojans and Lancers are similar teams in their offensive and defensive approaches. In fact, McDowell coach Mark Soboleski used to coach with Wells. The jump to Class AAA will be tough for McLane, especially its move to Region 6. The Lancers only have one region game in the first half of the season with their playoff life on the line in the second half. A key second-half game could be the regular-season finale against Cathedral Prep. If McLane pulls it together this season, that Week 10 game could be a playoff preview.
31 at Fort LeBoeuf 7
7 McDowell* 7
14 Oil City 7
21 at Franklin 7
5 East* 7
12 Bradford 7
19 at Strong Vincent* 7
25 at Central Tech* 7
2 Cathedral Prep* 7
*Region 6 games
– Tom Reisenweber
General McLane and Hickory are 67 miles apart, but over the past few years, the two schools have developed into rivals. The Lancers and Hornets boast successful football and basketball programs each year and have met in several crucial games. Here is a look at their head-to-head matchups from the past two school years.
2010 – Hickory 29, General McLane 28 in the District 10 Class AA semifinals.
2011 – Hickory 35, General McLane 13 in the District 10 Class AA championship.
General McLane 62, Hickory 30 – Second round of the Fairview tip-off tournament.
General McLane 55, Hickory 49 – District 10 Class AAA quarterfinals.
General McLane 52, Hickory 38 – Opening round of the Fairview tip-off tournament
Tuesday – District 10 Class AAA semifinals.
General McLane 50, Hickory 46 in the District 10 Class AAA quarterfinals.
Wednesday – District 10 Class AAA semifinals.
– Tom Reisenweber
Here is a look at General McLane’s football schedule for the upcoming season. We will post each District 10 football schedule as it becomes finalized and submitted to the Erie Times-News.
The Lancers moved up to Class AAA in the new PIAA two-year cycle and were slotted in Region 6. McLane will play its Homecoming game on Oct. 5 against East and Senior Night will be the following week against Bradford on Oct. 12.
Aug. 18 at Corry 10 a.m.
Aug. 24 Harbor Creek 7
Aug. 31 at Fort LeBoeuf 7
Sept. 7 McDowell* 7
Sept. 14 Oil City 7
Sept. 21 at Franklin 7
Sept. 28 Open
Oct. 5 East* 7
Oct. 12 Bradford 7
Oct. 19 at Strong Vincent* 7
Oct. 25 at Central Tech* 7
Nov. 2 Cathedral Prep* 7
– Tom Reisenweber
Four area teams — one in each class — are ranked in the first Harrisburg Patriot-News state poll of the season.
McDowell, which competes in the WPIAL Northern Seven Conference, is ranked ninth in Class AAAA.
Grove City, the 2010 District 10 Class AAA runner-up, is No. 8 in AAA. Cathedral Prep, the two-time defending D-10 AAA champ, is listed under teams to watch.
General McLane is ranked No. 10 in AA after a 10-2 season in 2010. Meanwhile, Mercyhurst Prep is No. 10 in Class A.
Other D-10 teams to watch are Hickory and Sharon in AA and Farrell in A.
Click below to see the state poll:
The Erie Times-News and GoErie.com are continuing District 10 football preview coverage this week, leading up to Friday’s season openers. Starting Sunday, the preview coverage included Region 6, McDowell and Region 4. The coverage will continue through Thursday. Included in each preview are complete rosters for each team.
Earlier, the Times-News published the 112-page Kickoff preseason guide and posted the online Summer Huddle series on the Varsity blog.
Two District 10 teams are ranked and seven others are listed among “others to watch” in the Pennsylvania Football News preseason state rankings, which were released Wednesday night.
Cathedral Prep leads all D-10 teams with a No. 4 ranking in Class AAA. The Ramblers are coming off a trip to the PIAA Class AAA semifinals and return record-breaking junior quarterback Damion Terry.
Defending District 10 AA champion Sharon is ranked 10th in AA.
Meanwhile, listed among “others to watch” are the following D-10 teams: Grove City in AAA, General McLane, Hickory and Wilmington in AA, and Farrell, Linesville and West Middlesex in A.
Click below for the complete rankings:
General McLane Lancers
Coach (season, record): Jim Wells (15th season, 123-33)
2010 overall record: 10-2
2010 region record (place): 6-0 (champion)
2010 playoff results: Lost 29-28 to Hickory in the District 10 Class AA semifinals.
Top players lost: Kyle Shinn, Derek Schultz, Alan Buckel, Josh Niswonger, Travis Bryant, Zach Lucas
Top returning players: Josh Ponsoll, Chad Kulka, Matt Astorino, Quinn Thompson, Jacob Krizmanich, Drew Browning, Brian Suminski
Assistant coaches: Luke Graham, Brad Wheeler, Bill Frick, Tim Campbell, Tim Casey, Elliott Laplaka
Outlook: General McLane’s program is one of the strongest in District 10 and looks to win another region title this fall. The Lancers lost several offensive weapons to graduation, including speedy running back Kyle Shinn and wide receiver Josh Niswonger. Shinn, an all-region all-purpose back, ran for 833 yards on 46 carries and 11 touchdowns, while Niswonger was a first team selection as a wide receiver and defensive back. Niswonger led the Lancers in 2010 with 12 catches for 374 yards and five touchdowns, while Shinn had six catches for 156 yards and one TD. McLane also lost three key linemen in Travis Bryant, Alan Buckel and Derek Schultz. Bryant was the Lancers’ fourth-leading tackler with 63 tackles, while Schultz had 60 and Shinn recorded 49. Zach Lucas, who also graduated, led McLane with 99 tackles.
Despite McLane losing several leaders and standout players, the Lancers have a solid core back. Josh Ponsoll, an all-region quarterback and defensive back, completed 31-of-58 passes for 884 yards and 11 touchdowns, while rushing for 683 yards and seven TDs. Ponsoll has emerged as a standout in several sports over the past few years and is a big plus for the Lancers. He is joined in the backfield by Matt Astorino and Chad Kulka. Astorino was McLane’s second-leading rusher last year with 709 yards and seven touchdowns, while Kulka carried the ball 98 times for 584 yards and nine TDs.
All three have received collegiate interest as well as up-and-coming junior Quinn Thompson, an all-region tight end and defensive lineman. Thompson caught six passes for 198 yards and four touchdowns as a sophomore and is an imposing force on defense at 6 feet, 5 inches.
Brian Suminski started to come on strong last season and could see more carries after rushing for 442 yards on 73 carries and seven touchdowns last year. He will look for holes in the line opened up by returning linemen Jacob Krizmanich and Drew Browning. David Olszewski, McLane’s long-time kicker, has graduated but soccer player Kirk Dillen is in line to replace him after kick six extra points last year.
The Lancers, once again, have a solid non-region schedule filled with three Class AAA teams and Class AAAA Strong Vincent. McLane opens with two tough home games against Vincent and North East before an interesting four-game road trip later in the season featuring Bradford, Meadville and Fairview. Usually regions aren’t decided early in the season, but the Lancers’ Week 2 date with North East could determine the Region 4 champion.
2 Strong Vincent 7
9 North East* 7
16 at Harbor Creek* 7
23 Seneca* 7
30 at Northwestern* 7
7 at Bradford 7
14 at Meadville 7
21 at Fairview* 7
28 Girard* 7
4 Franklin 7
– Tom Reisenweber