Tailback duo to lead Shady Side Academy
Dave Havern enters his eighth season as coach at Shady Side Academy riding a streak of six straight playoff appearances.
He is confident this season's edition can make it seven.
“We have 18 lettermen returning,” Havern said. “There are eight offensive starters and six defensive starters coming back, though some of them may be at different positions.”
SSA also boasts returning all-conference players led by the senior running back combo of Jarred Brevard and Dennis Briggs.
Briggs, who made a verbal commitment to Pitt, rushed for 473 yards while mainly blocking for Brevard, who has drawn interest from Penn, Cornell and Fordham.
Senior Chuck Calabrese was a first-team selection at inside linebacker and second-teamer at tight end and punter. Wide receiver Tyrell Hill, defensive back Jackson Fitzgerald and junior offensive lineman Pat Loughran also were honorable mention selections.
Senior Tucker Gillman will take over for graduate Matt Granato at quarterback. Calabrese also could see some snaps.
“Both are real good athletes who can play multiple positions pretty well,” Havern said.
In the past, the Indians have treated the forward pass as an oddity. That could change this year as they return a pair of talented receivers in Hill and Louis Berry IV.
“They're serious deep threats and very athletic,” Havern said.
Havern has concerns about his offensive line, which returns two starters: Loughran at tackle and junior Sky Baxter at guard.
On defense, Briggs will move from safety to linebacker.
“He's so versatile, and he'll help us there,” Havern said. “Overall we will have some talented guys on both sides of the ball, but our younger guys, especially up front, will have to grow up real fast.
“We like the chemistry. We have some talent, but our depth could become a problem as the season progresses.”