PLYMOUTH – P.J. Angeli and Marc Anthony Minichello return for their fourth year as starters to lead a Wyoming Area team that will need to rebuild the line on both sides of the ball while trying to repeat its Wyoming Valley Conference Class 4A Division title.
The Warriors went 9-3 overall and reached the District 2 Class 4A semifinals where they lost to Berwick, a team they had beaten on the way to the division title.
“A point of emphasis this will be our offensive line,” Warriors coach Randy Spencer said during WVC Media Day Aug. 6 at Wyoming Valley West. “We’ve got talented players there. It’s a matter of developing them.
“They don’t have a lot of game experience entering the year. What we’re hoping for is an opportunity to get those guys to grow and develop quickly to get us in our best position.”
There are plenty of established players behind those lines.
Angeli has played quarterback while also moving to other offensive positions at times throughout his previous three seasons. He was the team’s main passer last season, is the top returning rusher after the loss of 1,000-yard runner Brian Miles and has last year’s top receiver back in Minichello.
The same two players figure to be among the defensive leaders.
Angeli returns at safety, but might also be found among the players who fill the defensive end/outside linebacker role at times.
“He’s played safety the last three years, but he may drop down and come off the edge sometimes,” Spencer said.
Minichello will play cornerback.
“Defensively, especially on our back end, secondary and linebackers, we return some outstanding talent and experience,” Spencer said. “Defense, I feel is our strength going into the season. We’ll run to the ball well.”
Up front, Spencer is hoping to develop a rotation of players to keep them fresh became some of that group will also make up the rebuilt offensive line.
Justin Joseph and Corey Mruk, who started last season as freshmen, are back at linebacker.
Darren Rodney, who started last year at corner, will move to safety.
Robbie Trottini and Brian Williams are also expected to be in the secondary. Dominic DeLuca and Donovan O’Boyle could also be in the mix, particularly when the Warriors go to five or six defensive backs in some situations.
Damon Barhight figures to be the leader up front. He returns at defensive tackle and is also likely to start at guard.
Jesse Cegelka is the nose guard.
Thomas Wycoski could start both ways in the line.
Stephen Sokach-Minnick will be the center, converted tight end Cameron Carr will also be in the offensive line and 285-pound senior Noah Johnson is at tackle.
Patrick Nelson, Michael Amato and James Gashi give the team depth and options up front.
Donovan O’Boyle, who had some success in part-time duties, and Rodney are working at tailback.
Joseph, who took over midway through the season when Dylan Kostak got hurt, and Mruk are the fullback options.
Shane Eslick is the tight end.
Trottini, Yordy, Williams and DeLuca are the players who could join Minichello at wide receiver. Yordy is a senior in his first year on the team. Williams was a kick return threat last year as a freshman.
The Warriors open Aug. 25 at Wallenpaupack. They play at Crestwood Sept. 1 before the home opener against Berwick Sept. 8.
The rest of the schedule is: Sept. 16, at Coughlin; Sept. 23, at Scranton Prep; Sept. 29, HANOVER AREA; Oct. 7, at GAR; Oct. 13, DALLAS; Oct. 20, WILLIAMSPORT; Oct. 27, PITTSTON AREA.