Peters Township looking to take next step in postseason
Reaching the playoffs isn't enough for Peters Township senior linebacker Jake Uhler.
“Since we've been going to this high school, we've been going to the playoffs every year,” Uhler said. “We've lost the first game every time. We don't want to just get to the playoffs; we want to win games, make an impact and prove people wrong.”
Though Peters Township has reached the postseason every year since 2010, the Indians haven't won a playoff game since 2003.
The return of Division I quarterback recruit Cory Owen offers plenty of hope, but Peters Township will need contributions from a large group of first-year starters if it plans on making a serious playoff run.
Peters Township finished 5-5 overall, 4-4 in the Quad Central last season — and has to replace 22 seniors from that team.
Back is Owen, who holds scholarship offers from Albany, Buffalo, James Madison, Toledo and New Hampshire. In addition to his passing numbers, Owen was second on the team last season with 762 rushing yards and 10 scores.
“He's a Division I quarterback,” fourth-year coach Rich Piccinini said. “We feel we can put a lot on his shoulders because he's a leader. We're anticipating a big season out of him.”
Owen will hand the ball to 5-foot-9, 175-pound sophomore running back T.J. Kpan, who steps into a prominent role once occupied by workhorses Andrew Erenberg, Mike Minjock and Marcus Ubinger.
Piccinini said Kpan bench presses more than 300 pounds, runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash, has a 35-inch vertical leap, and his broad jump measures 9 feet, 6 inches.
“He has all the tools, but he's going to be learning on the fly. Any time you get thrown in there that early, as a sophomore, you're going to be learning as you go.
“As usual, our tailback has some big shoes to fill. But I think he'll be fine.”
Kpan will run behind a line that lost four starters. The only holdover is three-year starter Christian Phelps (6-0, 275) at tackle.
Owen has a ton of targets, three of them listed at 6-4: seniors Connor Freely and Tim Swoope and junior Ethan Anderson.
Uhler was the team's best defensive player a season ago after accumulating 60 tackles, three sacks and two fumble recoveries.
He will get help from Swoope at the other outside linebacker spot and cornerback Nick Kirsch, another returning starter.
“We need to come together as a team, know what we're doing, and a lot of that is on the seniors,” Owen said. “We need to know what we're doing. And to win in the playoffs, we have to minimize mistakes.”