Summer Huddle – Mercyhurst Prep

   July 21, 2013 8:00 am    2

 

Mercyhurst Prep's Nick Evanoff passed for 426 and seven touchdowns in 2012.

Chris Kickel

Joe Swanson

Matt Morgan

Mercyhurst Prep Lakers

Coach: Matt Morgan (9th season, 75-26)
2012 overall record: 8-3
2012 region record: 6-1 (second)
2012 playoff results: Lost to Farrell 35-7 in the District 10 Class A quarterfinals.

Top players lost: Tom Higgins, Alec Parsons, Cornelius Barclay, Joe DeSanti, Kyle Drabic, Ryan Connor

Top returning players: Joe Swanson, Eric Baer, Scotty Gorring, Chris Kickel, Nick Evanoff

Assistant coaches: Ryan Abbott, Rich Krafty, John Graeb, Pete Szoszorek, Scott Gorring, Nate Hain, Jayson Nickson

Outlook: Mercyhurst Prep is going to have to dig deep to get through this season. Currently, the Lakers have 21 players on the roster. Mercyhurst Prep has dealt with smaller rosters in the past, but 21 players can pose issues if injuries start to occur. Tom Higgins, Alec Parsons, Cornelius Barclay, Joe DeSanti, Kyle Drabic and Ryan Connor are gone to graduation, while the Lakers lost more than 10 players to transfer or other reasons. Barclay was named to the all-district team at linebacker after recording 74 tackles as a senior was one of the top running backs in the area. Barclay ran for 1,783 yards and 26 touchdowns and caught eight passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns. Barclay was voted the Region 2 player of the year and was voted to the all-region first team at running back and linebacker. The Lakers were gutted on the line as Drabic, Parson and DeSanti were first-team offensive linemen, while Parson was a first-team defensive lineman. Higgins is another big loss as a first-team linebacker. He had 61 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions. Higgins also ran for 696 yards and six touchdowns and caught six passes for 70 yards. Connor ran for 522 yards and four touchdowns and had four interceptions, while Garrett Palmer had 60 tackles and four interceptions. The Lakers also lost Brandon Peebles, who transferred to McDowell. He caught seven passes for 53 yards and one touchdown, and he had 61 tackles.

Mercyhurst Prep will look to its experienced players to lead a young team. Joe Swanson, Eric Baer, Scotty Gorring, Chris Kickel and Nick Evanoff are back this fall, while Tommie Elias, Ryley Moneta, Seth Hiegel, Mike Sweeney, Josh Yochim, Daavon Davis could contribute as well. Swanson had 44 tackles last year and is moving from tight end to fullback and linebacker, while Kickel is a returning starter on the offensive line. Baer is back at running back and linebacker and Evanoff returns at quarterback and defensive back. Evanoff threw for 426 yards and seven touchdowns last year and will be important as a leader, while Baer ran for 47 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries. Baer will be the primary running back to fill out the backfield with Evanoff. The Lakers must stay healthy this year or the second half of the season could be tough to get through. Mercyhurst Prep coach Matt Morgan mentioned that several players will be asked to play three positions to help on offense, defense and special teams. Region 2 is wide open this season but the Lakers’ depth could be a big issue. If Mercyhurst Prep can deal with its numbers issue and come together as a team, the Lakers could be in contention for a playoff spot, once again.

Schedule
August
31 at St. Joe’s 3
September
6 Union City* 7
13 at Cochranton* 7
20 Eisenhower* 7
27 at Youngsville* 7
October
3 Maplewood* 7
11 Mercer 7
18 at Iroquois* 7
25 at Cambridge Springs* 7
November
1 at Northwestern 7
*Region 2 games

Sunday: North East
–Tom Reisenweber

 

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