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Skill players to lead way for Summit Academy

| Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

In most cases, coaches can use the offseason to plan around starters and key reserves returning.

Things are different at Summit Academy, a school for court adjudicated youth in the Herman section of Summit Township.

Rosters at Summit reflect almost a complete turnover from season to season.

This year, J'Ron Hill-Phillips is the only member of the 2012 Knights returning to the pastoral setting in Butler County.

A number of athletes possess raw talent, but have not played organized football.

“It's all about getting kids to understand the game and what it takes to play the game,” Summit coach Steve Sherer said. “That's the process.”

Hill-Phillips, a flanker last year, will be the Knights' quarterback this season.

“We have some kids who are not real big, but they do have some speed and quickness we hope to utilize,” Sherer said. “We'll be a little more wide-open on offense this year than we have been in the past. I would say we are quietly optimistic.”

In the backfield will be Larry Richardson, only 5-foot-6 and 150 pounds, but a player who Sherer said shows some promise, along with Elijah Hardy.

“Elijah's extremely talented, very small, a glider,” Sherer said “He's going to be a player.”

Summit appears well stocked at receiver, with Matt Cofer, Anthony Mitchell, D'Angelo King and Shaquan McFadden.

Mitchell and Cofer also are expected to head the secondary, and lineman Ryan Stone will be at center and defensive end.

Sherer is using training camp to develop guards and tackles.

Last year's team sputtered to a 2-7 mark overall, 1-7 in Allegheny Conference play. A series of injuries and players leaving once they were released contributed to the losing record.

“Last year we didn't finish well, losing in the fourth quarter to Deer Lakes and Valley,” Sherer said. “We want to see our players reach down and focus on holding a lead.”

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