Coach: Matt Shesman (20th season, 105-90-1)
2012 overall record: 7-4
2012 region record: 4-3 (tied for third)
2012 playoff results: Lost to Grove City 56-14 in the District 10 Class AA quarterfinals.
Top players lost: Corey Voorhis, Tyler Koszewski, Rocky Owens, Tyrus Murphy, Brett Swan, Steve Kocher, Chase Doyle
Top returning players: Jordan Bryan, Josh Gillespie, Jeff Smith, Mike Macaulay, Brendon Tinko, Ben Stritzenger, Craig Zuccolotto, Jarod Rathman, Grayson Hill
Assistant coaches: Shawn Humes, Bill Renne, Joe Shesman, Curtis Bailey, John Beaumont, Tom Pyle, Steve Righi, Bob Sensor
Outlook: North East had another season with two 1,000-yard running backs and a trip to the playoffs in 2012. The Grapepickers will need to rebuild quickly to return to the postseason this fall. North East lost Corey Voorhis, Tyler Koszewski, Rocky Owens, Tyrus Murphy, Brett Swan, Steve Kocher and Chase Doyle to graduation, while defensive starter Hunter Emerson transferred to Cathedral Prep. Voorhis ran for 1,125 yards and scored a total of 11 touchdowns to be voted to the all-region first team at all-purpose and defensive back. Owens ran for 1,490 yards and scored 20 total touchdowns. He was voted to the all-region second team at running back and linebacker. Koszewski, a first-team defensive lineman and punter, hauled in five catches for 90 yards and one touchdown and had six sacks as a defensive end. Murphy and Swan were voted to the all-region second team on the offensive line, while Kocher had two interceptions and Doyle connected on 29 extra points and two field goals last season.
With plenty of size and production gone, the Grapepickers will look for playmakers in camp. Jordan Bryan, Josh Gillespie, Jeff Smith, Mike Macaulay, Brendon Tinko, Ben Stritzenger, Craig Zuccolotto, Jarod Rathman and Grayson Hill are all back to lead the young team. Macaulay took over at quarterback last fall and threw for 319 yards and two touchdowns and collected two interceptions on defense. He will be back under center, while Bryan looks like a starting running back. Bryan ran for 70 yards on 12 carries. Tinko is back at wide receiver after hauling in six catches for 140 yards last fall, while Bryan caught three passes for 14 yards. Gillespie, Stritzenger and Andrew Phelps are back to anchor the offensive line, while Stritzenger and Rathman are returning starters on the defensive line. North East has a strong linebacker corps back with Hill, Zuccolotto, Macaulay and Smith, while Tinko and Bryan are back to start in the defensive backfield. North East could also receive contributions from up and coming underclassmen Jonah Sargent, Josh Hecht, Kevin Cooney, Trey Tanner, Tyler Carris, Matt Huntley, Kyle Helffrich, Logan Reynolds, Garrett Owens, Luke Still and Nic Hupp. Tom Rust transferred in from Titusville and could be a starter in the defensive backfield this season. North East needs several running backs to step up this season for the ‘Pickers. North East will open at developing rival Greenville before its home-opener against Corry. The ‘Pickers have a loaded schedule, including East and Strong Vincent, but they will get to host Fairview, Girard and Northwestern. If North East can develop as a team and find some steady backs before the second half of the season, the ‘Pickers could be headed back to the postseason, once again.
30 at Greenville 7
6 Corry* 7
13 at Harbor Creek* 7
20 Fairview* 7
27 at Fort LeBoeuf* 7
4 Girard* 7
11 East 7
18 Northwestern* 7
25 at Seneca* 7
1 at Strong Vincent 7
*Region 4 games
Here is a look at the North East football schedule this fall. We will publish schedules as we receive them from schools.
All times p.m. unless otherwise noted.
|North East Grapepickers|
|Aug. 17||at Titusville||6|
|Aug. 23||at Iroquois||7|
|Aug. 30||at Greenville||7|
|Sept. 13||at Harbor Creek*||7|
|Sept. 27||at Fort LeBoeuf*||7|
|Oct. 25||at Seneca*||7|
|Nov. 1-2||at Strong Vincent||TBA|
*Region 4 games
North East Grapepickers
Coach (season, record): Matt Shesman (19th season, 98-86-1)
2011 overall record: 9-2
2011 region record (place): 6-0
2011 playoff results: Lost to Hickory 35-0 in the District 10 Class AA quarterfinals.
Top players lost: Alex Svetz, Tyler Johnson, Brady Lynn, Dustin Sweet, Cory Bailey, Max Knight, Eddie Sheldon, Mike Wydro
Top returning players: Chase Doyle, Tyler Koszewski, Corey Voorhis, Rocky Owens, Brett Swan, Tyrus Murphy
Assistant coaches: Shawn Humes, Bill Renne, Joe Shesman, Curtis Bailey, Ed Orris
Outlook: North East will be rebuilding this season after heavy graduation losses on the lines and in the backfield. The Grapepickers lost Alex Svetz, Tyler Johnson, Brady Lynn, Dustin Sweet, Cory Bailey, Max Knight, Eddie Sheldon and Mike Wydro to graduation. Svetz, an all-region first-team running back and defensive lineman, ran for 1,760 yards and 23 touchdowns and recorded 67 tackles as a senior. Johnson made up a powerful rushing duo with Johnson, North East’s all-time rusher. Johnson was voted to the all-region first team at running back and defensive back after rushing for 1,487 yards and 13 touchdowns on 175 carries, caught 14 passes for 144 yards and three touchdowns and collected 67 tackles. As if Svetz and Johnson weren’t big enough losses in the backfield, quarterback and leader Cory Bailey also graduated. Bailey was voted to the all-region first team at defensive back and second team at quarterback last fall. He threw for 591 yards and 14 touchdowns and he ran for 118 yards and one touchdown. Lynn, Sweet, Sheldon and Wydro were all-region linemen, while Knight was a first-team linebacker.
North East will have to fill in massive graduation holes with new players and underclassmen. The ‘Pickers have some experienced players back to lean on. Brett Swan, Tyrus Murphy and Tyler Koszewski are back on the line. Murphy will also see time at linebacker on defense. Kicker Chase Doyle was voted to the all-region second team after connecting on 43 extra points last fall. Corey Voorhis and Rocky Owens are back to lead a young offense. Voorhis finished with 117 rushing yards, 61 receiving yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He could step in and play quarterback this fall. Owens ran for 116 yards and one touchdown and could see a huge increase in carries. North East doesn’t have a lot of experience back this season and will have plenty of work to do in training camp.
North East is lacking in experience but the growing pains the ‘Pickers go through this season could pay off in the next two years. North East has a big sophomore class, some of which could start this season. After its usual showdown with Greenville in Week 1, North East has five brutal region games to get through. If the ‘Pickers are in range of a playoff spot heading into their final two region games, they would have a great chance at returning to the postseason.
31 Greenville 7
7 at Corry* 7
14 Harbor Creek* 7
21 at Fairview* 7
28 Fort LeBoeuf* 7
5 at Girard* 7
13 at East 7
19 at Northwestern* 7
26 Seneca* 7
2 Strong Vincent 7
*Region 4 games
– Tom Reisenweber
District 10 teams Cathedral Prep, Grove City, Hickory, Linesville and Mercyhurst Prep remain among the top 10 in the state, according to this week’s Pennsylvania Football News rankings. Click below to see the rankings:
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.
North East Grapepickers
Coach (season, record): Matt Shesman (18th season, 89-84-1)
2010 overall record: 8-3
2010 region record (place): 5-1 (second)
2010 playoff results: Lost 14-0 to Wilmington in the District 10 Class AA quarterfinals.
Top players lost: Spencer Cornelius, Alex Mobilia, David Robbinson, Josh Klenz, Kyle Regan, Austin Schied, Jake Haeseler
Top returning players: Tyler Johnson, Alex Svetz, Cory Bailey, Brady Lynn, Dustin Sweet, John Greer
Assistant coaches: Shawn Humes, Bill Renne, Mike Coletta, Joe Shesman, Curtis Bailey, Ed Orris, John Beaumont, Tom Pyle, Steve Righi
Outlook: North East seems to have at least one solid running back each year but the Grapepickers will have two 1,000-yard running backs to turn to this fall. Tyler Johnson and Alex Svetz return, making up one of the top rushing attacks in District 10. Johnson was named to the all-region team as a running back and defensive back last year after rushing for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns, while collecting two interceptions. Svetz carried the ball 177 times for 1,007 yards and 11 touchdowns and had five sacks as a defensive end. The two are complemented well by returning quarterback Cory Bailey, the all-region second team quarterback in Region 4. Also back are Brady Lynn, Dustin Sweet and John Greer to anchor the offensive and defensive lines.
North East’s biggest losses from last year include Spencer Cornelius, Alex Mobilia, David Robbinson, Josh Klenz, Kyle Regan, Austin Schied and Jake Haeseler. Cornelius was an emotional leader and first team selection at tight end and linebacker. Mobilia, Robbinson and Klenz made the all-region teams on the line, while Regan was a second-team defensive back. The senior group provided plenty of experience and leadership last fall and will be hard to replace.
With an experienced backfield and defensive line back, North East will work hard on the rest of the defense along with the offensive line in camp. Haeseler is a big loss as the icker and coach Matt Shesman is hoping to find a new kicker in camp.
2 at Greenville 7
9 at General McLane* 7
16 Fairview* 7
23 at Harbor Creek* 7
30 Girard* 7
7 Corry 7
14 Northwestern* 7
22 at Strong Vincent 7
28 at Seneca* 7
4 at Fort LeBoeuf 7
– Tom Reisenweber
North East is a perennial title contender in District 10 Region 4, and this year might be no different. The Grapepickers lost All-District 10 player Jimmy Bailey, but they have some talent returning, including quarterback Corey Bailey and tight end Spencer Cornelius, and their line is always tough. A year after North East went 9-3 and made the Class AA playoffs, coach Matt Shesman and Cornelius talk about the season ahead:
Farrell remains the only District 10 team ranked No. 1 in the state polls as the second weekend of the postseason approaches.
The Steelers (11-0) are ranked No. 1 by the Pennsylvania Football News and No. 3 by the Harrisburg Patriot-News.
McDowell (No. 7, Class AAAA), Cathedral Prep (No. 8, AAA), Wilmington (No. 6, AA) and General McLane (No. 8, AA) also are ranked by the Patriot-News.
Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Football News ranks the following D-10 teams (in addition to Farrell): Cathedral Prep (No. 9, AAA), General McLane (No. 4, AA) and Wilmington (No. 5, AA).
For complete state rankings, click below:
After reviewing the statistics and overall performances, here are our nominees for the Breakout Player of the Week. In an oddity, receivers dominate this weekend’s poll.
Vote in the poll at upper right. We’ve added one player from Friday and several players from Saturday.
The winner will be announced Tuesday on the Varsity blog and will be featured in Friday’s sports edition.
Josh Niswonger, General McLane: 4 receptions, 49 yards; TD catches of 10, 18 and 5 yards, including the game-winner in the closing seconds.
Courtney Harden-Pullium, Strong Vincent: 4 receptions, 170 yards, including a 64-yard TD catch
Josh Rzepecki, Harbor Creek: 9 receptions, 125 yards; TD catches of 3, 3, 13 and 7 yards.
Braidy Westfall, Corry: 3 receptions, 132 yards, including TD catches of 80 and 49 yards. Also caught a two-point conversion pass.
Justin Wiley, Cathedral Prep: 8 carries, 91 yards; TD runs of 6 and 49 yards, 12-yard TD receptions — all in the first half Saturday
Ryan Myers, Union City: 80-yard TD reception, 74-yard kickoff return for a TD, 8-for-12 passing for 106 yards, 2-point conversion pass
Dan Odem, Farrell: 20-yard interception return for TD, 5-of-8 passing for 85 yards and and four touchdowns, 11-yard TD run
Chris Kurzik, Mercyhurst Prep: 18 rushes for 122 yards and a TD.
Matt Stapleford, Warren: 16-of-24 passing for 227 yards and 2 TDs, two-point conversion pass, TD runs of 3 and 10 yards
Note: North East’s Jimmy Bailey and Mercyhurst Prep’s Aaron Horton were previous winners and were not eligible to win this week.
Two photo galleries are available from Friday night’s football action.
Look for more photos from this week’s game, including the Strong Vincent-East showdown.