Shaler working from clean slate under new head coach
Every season brings a clean slate in a sense for every team, but in the case of Shaler football, the slate couldn't be cleaner.
The team lost veteran coach Neil Gordon as well as star quarterback Ryan Mincher and jack-of-all-trades tight end/fullback/linebacker J.P. Holtz, who will play for Pitt this fall.
Leading rusher Niko Thorpe also transferred to Central Catholic.
The task of rebuilding the program was awarded to former Shaler quarterback Chris Siegle. The 1998 graduate spent several years playing and coaching in the college ranks and said the Shaler job was the only high school position he wanted.
“It's going to be tough to replace guys like Holtz and Mincher, but I will prepare the young kids and coach them up to the standard,” Siegle said.
The goal Siegle is shooting for is to get the new players to buy into him and his system and not dwell on the past.
“If I am doing the right things, the kids will see that and buy into that,” he said. “I am hoping that starts the domino effect.”
Shaler will begin to replace the loss of so many weapons on offense as senior quarterback Brad Good and junior signal-caller Josh Crawford will battle for the starting quarterback position. In the backfield, four players will help spearhead the attack; seniors Wayde Barkey and Cody Kernic will compete for carries with juniors Lou Lezzi and Trent McClosky.
Although Siegle will have to build the program in his likeness from the bottom up, he has the opportunity to hold honest open competitions and let the best players compete for the wide array of positions.
“We have a good senior class and some guys have experience,” Siegle said. “Some guys don't have that experience, but our effort will take a back seat to nobody. The kids have done a great job so far; they punch the clock and get to work when they get here.”
Siegle expects his players to show enthusiasm and play with a high motor in order to compete.