After making slow but steady progress in York-Adams Division I over the past few years, Spring Grove catapulted itself to the top of the standings last year.
So the question heading into the 2022 season is: can the Rockets maintain their position?
There’s optimism in Papertown that the answer is yes, but it certainly won’t come easily.
If last year’s nine-star outing wasn’t enough, the Rockets are also under new leadership this season, with Will Thompson as their new head coach.
Thompson, who compiled an 11-14 record in three seasons as head coach of Francis Scott Key High School in Carroll County, Maryland, seems off to a good start. At Media Day earlier this month, his players in attendance got a favorable first impression of their new mentor.
More: Spring Grove High School’s new football head coach ready for the ‘challenge’ ahead
“Change can be scary,” Spring Grove senior quarterback Andrew Osmun said. “But as soon as Coach Thompson was hired, we spoke on the phone and I realized we were in good hands. If we all buy into the process, everything will be fine. »
Big role in attack: Osmun, who has already committed to play next year at Fordham University, will be called upon to take on much of the offense this season. Thompson is installing a fast tempo, no-huddle type of system that will rely on Osmun to be both fast and efficient.
Part of that setup has to do with Zyree Brooks, a 2,000-yard rusher a season ago, graduating.
“It’s going to be more of a committee than just one guy,” Thompson said. “So this is going to get us all on the same page and united together. We could have a game where Andrew does it, and it could be Logan’s (Altland) game next.
The Rockets will employ a 3-4 defense, where linebackers will be watched to swarm to the ball.
Thompson has been nothing but impressed so far with what he’s seen from the program’s players. He is well aware of the pitfalls of resuming a program but has not seen any so far.
“My first impression is that all of these kids are dedicated and hard-working,” Thompson said. “They want to keep pushing the program to a high and consistent level. And the guys bought into the philosophy and helped me transition to where we are and where we need to be.
Thompson’s first three out-of-league contests will provide a barometer of where the Rockets stand before they begin league play. Battles against last year’s playoff teams — at Waynesboro, at Kennard-Dale and against Shippensburg — will likely go a long way in determining whether the Rockets can challenge for a Division I and District 3 title.
Here is a capsule presentation of the Rockets:
► Crew: Spring Grove Rockets.
► Coach: Will Thompson, first season.
► Record 2021: 10-2 overall, 5-1 in York-Adams League Division I.
► Key losses (Division I All-Stars in bold): Zyree Brooks (RB), Darien Osmun (OLB/P), Hayden Emory (OT), Brayden Merrill (S), Cameron Braxton (G), Austin Crites (DE), Andrew Zeigler (MLB), Justin Godman (TE/DB), Logan Herbst (C).
► Key turners (Division I All-Stars in bold): Andrew Osmun (QB/S/K), Lane Hersh (G), Kyle Lillich (OT), Michael Hershey (DT)Logan Altland (WR/CB), Teague Connover (RB/LB), Cowan Ruhland (QB/DB).
► timetable 2022 (Division I games in bold): Aug. 26 at Waynesboro; September 2 at Kennard-Dale; September 9 against Shippensburg; September 16 vs. Central York; September 23 in Eastern York; September 30 to the northeast; Oct. 7 vs. Red Lion; Oct. 15 vs. York High at noon; October 21 in Dallastown; October 28 at South Western.