40 Teams in 40 Days – Day 27 – Wellsboro (4) – Small School Team # 7
Wellsboro returns one of the top small school quarterbacks in Eastern Pennsylvania. Michael Pietropola completed 118 of 190 passes for 2,755 yards and 39 touchdowns and only six interceptions.
“One of his strengths is decision making. He doesn’t force a lot of balls in there. Last season he had 39 touchdowns and only six interceptions. He has great arm strength. He has the ability to make plays with his arm and can make all the throws. Sometimes in practice he’s throwing it too hard for certain receivers. We have to tell him to bring it down a little bit. He does a great job finding the open receiver. Last year we had three receivers over 20 catches.”
The Hornets lose Jermain Brooks a 1,000-yard runner due to graduation. Levi Mack returns at running back and will be the feature back. He played a limited time on offense and when he was in he averaged over 10 yards a carry.
“Levi played mostly on defense last year as a linebacker. He did see time last year but we had a 1,000-yard rusher who had the bulk of carries. He’s a very similar runner to Jermain who we had last year. You may see the same results we had last year with Levi. He’s a physical runner.”
They have a few kids coming back that played some last year. Nick Levindoski was a guard last year and will play some fullback this year.
“He’s a kid that is versatile and has great hands. At times we may line him up at tight end or wide receiver. He can catch the ball out of the backfield.”
Jarret Dean is another guy to watch in the backfield.
“Jarret is more of our third down guy at the fullback position.”
Junior Anthony Cooper could get some carries this year.
“He was a defensive player for us last year and we are going to move him to tailback this year. He will be splitting some time with Levi this year. He has good speed and is a elusive runner.”
On the offensive line the Hornets return two starters from last year’s team.
“I am really excited about the line this year and this will be one of the strengths.”
They are junior offensive tackle Owen Covert and junior offensive guard Phil Straniere.
“They both are staples of the weight room. They lead by example and both have a good work ethic. They are the heartbeat of the offensive line. Phil had a MCL injury last year and missed some games at the end of the year. We’re looking for him to do good things and he has come back strong and he’s 100% now.”
In the mix is Michael Brostrom at center position. At guard they have Ben Davis.
Michael is a big kid at 6-foot-3, 260-pound. He started last year at defensive tackle. He did play some offense. Both those guys were mainly defensive lineman last year. This year they are going to be asked to play double duty.”
Sophomore Ethan Nichols will give them depth on the line. He will end up being a guard or tackle.
Wyatt Wood is another guy battling for the center position. Freshman Colin Pietropola could be in the mix.
At wide receiver the Hornets have to replace all-state receiver Brandon Owlett who caught 45 passes for 1,126 yards last year. You ask yourself who will be the main guy this year? The go to guy is going to be 6-foot-5, 205-pound receiver Kieron Smethers.
“He’s going to be a big time recruit getting recruited by division one schools. He brings size and physically and he catches the ball extremely well. He can catch the ball down field and is a big target across the middle. At times if we need to run a tight end set you may see him there. ”
Also returning at wide receiver is Nick Marple. He averaged over 20-yards a catch last year.
“Nick played mostly defense and will be the other starting receiver. He’s a physical kid and has great speed. He’s a deep threat for us and will stretch the defense.”
The third wide receiver will be Dylan Widows.
“He will be more of a slot guy for us. He played a little bit for us last year. He’s quick and shifty that runs great routes. He gets himself open.”
Anthony Cooper will be the guy rotating in at receiver.
“This year we moved him to receiver to add some more depth. He will probably split some time with Dylan in the slot position.”
The Hornets return a lot of experience on the defensive line returning three players from last year’s team.
Defensive end Kieron Smethers returns and is the leader on the line.
“He’s very athletic kid and his size and his wing span we will be able to do a lot of things with him off the edge. If we need to we can drop him back in coverage from the end spot. So, he brings a lot of versatility on what we can do on the defensive line.”
Seniors Ben Davis and Michael Brostrom both return at the defensive tackle position.
“These guys are similar in size and weight. They anchor the middle of our line. They are tough to move and are very physical players.”
Owen Covert can play some nose tackle.
“If we want to go to a five man front at times, we can put Jarret Dean down there if we want to go a little smaller but quicker.”
Phil Straniere will play some defensive end along with Nick Levindoski. Also James Burns will be in the mix.
At linebacker the Hornets return three players from last year’s team. Senior Levi Mack is the leader of the group.
“He brings the physicality to that group and is not afraid to stick his head in there. He has been playing that position for about three-years.”
Another guy returning is Jarret Dean and it’s his second-year starting at linebacker.
“He’s very versatile and we can put him as a down lineman if we wanted to. We can start him out at a Mike linebacker and drop him down to a nose guard.”
Tony Cooper is the third linebacker returning.
“Tony is a guy that started out as a defensive back. We transition him to outside linebacker. He did a lot of good things and is our best coverage guy out of the linebacker spot.”
Trystan Wheatley is a physical kid and will rotate in at middle linebacker.
In the secondary they return a cornerback and strong safety. Nick Marple is the strong safety returning and is a four-year starter.
“We like to play man-to-man coverage and I would put Nick up against any wide receiver in district four. He works with our guys and is one of the best coverage guys I have ever coached. He’s very physical and will smack you every play.”
Michael Pietropla returns at corner back.
“This is Michael’s fourth-year starting on defense. He was all-conference his first two years on the defensive side of the ball. He’s a physical kid as well and has good size. He’s a smart kid and runs our secondary. He can play free safety if we need him too.”
Sophomore Brandon Lamphier and two freshmen, Parker Mann and Quinn Henry will be in the mix at corner.
Special Teams Preview:
Dylan Widows, Nick Marple and Levi Mack all of experience at kick and punt returns.
Kieron Smethers is our punter and Jack Chambers is the kicker.
Nick Marple is the long snapper.
Head Coach: Matt Hildebrand
2013 Record: 10-1, won the NTL large school division
Key Starters Lost: Brandon Owlett-WR/FS, Dylan Prough- WR/DE, Blake Gamble-OL, Brian Doty- OL/LB, Wyatt Covert FB/LB, Jermain Brooks RB/SS
Offensive Starters Returning: (7)
Sr. Michael Pietropola QB
Sr. Kieron Smethers WR
Sr. Nick Marple-WR
Sr. Levi Mack RB
Jr. Owen Covert OT
Jr. Phil Straniere, OG
Sr. Nick Levindoski FB (moved from o-line)
Defensive Starters Returning:(8)
Sr. Michael Pietropola CB
Sr. Kieron Smethers DE
Sr. Nick Marple-SS
Sr. Levi Mack LB
Sr. Jarret Dean-LB
Sr. Ben Davis- DT
Sr. Michael Brostrom- DT
Jr. Tony Cooper, LB
Key Newcomers: Sr. Dylan Widows- WR/FS, Jr. Wyatt Wood-C, Sr. Bill Lupowski-OT, So. Ethan Nichols-OG, So. Brandon Lamphier- QB/FS,
D1 (FBS & FCS) Prospects: Sr. Michael Pietropola QB, Sr. Kieron Smethers WR,
Key Stats: 10-1 Record best in program, 2,755 passing yards, 39 TD’s by Michael Pietropola. Michael Pietropola AP PIAA All-State team. 3rd overall Defense in District IV last year. #1 passing defense.
2014 Outlook: We bring back a good group of skill position players including all state QB Michael Pietropola. Michael has a big target to throw to in 6-5, 200 lb. senior wide receiver Kieron Smethers.
We lose two guys from our offensive line and have a lot of experience upfront with some depth as well.
On defense we bring back every D linemen but one and the entire secondary.
We look to be very competitive again this year and continue to have very high expectations. We bring in one of the biggest freshman classes we have ever had to give us some great depth this year.
The kids have been putting in a lot of time in during the offseason. We have 17 seniors with great leadership and experience that knows how to win.
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