Mercyhurst Prep Lakers
Coach (season, record): Matt Morgan (7th season, 58-21)
2010 overall record: 12-1
2010 region record (place): 8-0 (champion)
2010 playoff results: Lost 39-0 to Farreel in the District 10 Class A championship.
Top players lost: Aaron Horton, Zack Palmer, Chris Kurzik, Brad Hesch, Brandon Czerwinski, Jeff Annunziata, Zach Murzynski, D’Andre Connor, Tyler Pullium
Top returning players: Cornelius Barclay, Mike Weber, Dwayne Canady, P.J. Wycech, Darrin Donikowski, Josh Agresti, Joe Desanti
Assistant coaches: Ryan Abbott, Nate Hain, Rich Krafty, John Graeb, Pete Szoszorek, James Cowles, Drew Botelho, Scott Gorring
Outlook: The three biggest strengths of Mercyhurst Prep in 2010 may be its biggest weaknesses this year. The Lakers were hit hard by graduation at running back, linebacker and offensive line. Mercyhurst has three starting offensive linemen back, but the departure of Zack Palmer, Brandon Czerwinski and Jeff Annunziata will be tough to replace. Mike Weber, a 6-foot 3-inch, 300-pound two-way starter will anchor the line along with Darrin Donikowski and Joe Desanti.
Mercyhurst’s rushing attack could wear teams out last fall. Speedy Aaron Horton, who set the District 10 single-season rushing record with 2,444 yards, and powerful Chris Kurzik made up a brutal offense to slow down. All three backs have graduated leaving a huge hole for coach Matt Morgan. Cornelius Barclay is hoping to fill that hole by transforming from a home-run threat to an every-down running back. Barclay was named to the Nike Combine All-Combine team in Pittsburgh in the offseason and his speed is impressive. He finsihed with 840 yards and 11 touchdowns on only 53 carries and could be a difference-maker for the Lakers.
The Lakers lost two of its top linebackers in Brad Hesch and Kurzik to graduation. They were leaders on the field and were a big part of a terrific defense. D.J. Mahoney will be in the mix at linebacker along with Mackenzie Kranz. The competition in camp for starting jobs should be intense. Mercyhurst has some experience back at quarterback with P.J. Wycech and in the secondary. If the Lakers can develop a few linemen and maybe get some help for Barclay, they will likely be back on top of Region 2 once again.
2 Mercer 7
9 at Iroquois* 7
16 at Cambridge Springs* 7
24 Eisenhower* 7
30 at Youngsville* 7
8 at Oliver 1
14 at Cochranton* 7
21 Saegertown* 7
28 at Union City* 7
4 Maplewood* 7
Tuesday: North East
– Tom Reisenweber