S. ABINGTON TWP. — Abington Heights head coach Joe Repshis is optimistic that the return of many players with varsity experience will translate into better results on the football field this season.
Although the Comets finished with a 1-10 record last season, Repshis feels the team took several positives out of the campaign.
“Last year was a learning experience for a lot of our players,” Repshis said. “A lot of young guys were getting their first opportunity in varsity game and that’s something you can’t simulate in practice. They played with a great attitude and we think that experience will help us as we head into this season.
“We’ve had a very productive and positive offseason. The players are working extremely hard in the weight room and in our speed program. There has been great leadership from our sophomores, juniors and seniors.”
Senior George Tinsley returns at the starter at quarterback.
“George is a great competitor, great athlete and a very good leader,” Repshis said. “He has a very good grasp of our offense; it’s like having another coach on the field.”
Tinsley is hopeful that the offense will click better as a group this season.
“Last year was our first season playing together (on varsity),” he said. “Now, we’re all on the same page.”
Senior Noah Braid, who played fullback last season, and sophomore Julian Blanco are expected to contribute at running back.
Juniors Matt Lastauskas and Mike Pusateri are working at fullback.
Junior Corey Perkins returns at wide receiver. Seniors Conor Newman and Seth Drake along with juniors Robby Horvath, Ian Stanton and Tristan Burns are also competing for time at the position.
Junior Mike Malone, Pusateri, junior Nick Colombo and sophomore Connor Dempsey are working at tight end.
Sophomore Will Stevens returns at center, senior Chris Kane returns at right guard, senior Chris Callahan may see time at left tackle, sophomore Griffin McGinley is working at left guard and junior Zach Wheeland is working at right tackle. Juniors Tre Kerrigan and Shea Parry along with sophomore Derek Justave are also competing for time on the offensive line.
Malone returns at defensive end. Callahan, Seth Drake and Dempsey will also be in the mix at the position.
Repshis believes that Malone is a key piece of the Comets’ defensive unit.
“He’s played a significant role since his freshman year,” Repshis said. “He’s a hard-worker with a great attitude. He serves as a leader on and off the field.”
Sophomore Gavin Drake, Stevens, junior Zach Melville and Kane are competing for time at defensive tackle.
Braid, Lastauskas, Pusateri, Burns, junior Lou Natale and sophomore Brian Pronitis are working at linebacker.
Perkins returns at cornerback. Junior Griffen Noone and Stanton are also competing for time at the position.
Newman and Horvath are working at safety.
Sophomore Zach Boersma returns as the kicker and is also expected to handle the punting duties.
Abington Heights will open its season at 7 p.m. Friday at Berwick.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.