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High School Sports

Deer Lakes to go as far as running backs can carry it

| Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, 8:14 p.m.
Deer Lakes linebacker Cody Keenan returns an interception during practice at Camp Bacoco near Slippery Rock on August 14, 2012. 
Eric Felack  |  Valley News Dispatch
Deer Lakes linebacker Cody Keenan returns an interception during practice at Camp Bacoco near Slippery Rock on August 14, 2012. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch

An effective running game is a good recipe for success for any team.

After finishing 2-8 last season, Deer Lakes will look to lean on its rushing attack in hopes of repeating the success it had during the 2010 campaign.

The backfield will be led by senior Cody Keenan, the team's returning leading rusher. Joining Keenan in the backfield in the Lancers' Wing-T offense will be seniors Tyler Seitz and Ian Biernacki, and sophomore Ryan McGrath.

“Our running backs are the strongest they've been in two years,” Lancers coach Todd Hazlett said. “We were strong in 2010 with Brian Palmiere and Mark Wesolek. We have four quality individuals we can put in the backfield and compete that are just as big of a threat to catch the ball as they are running.”

Balanced, unselfish football is the goal, according to Hazlett. Despite not having a primary running back, having four who can run the ball at any time can cause problems for opposing defenses.

“I make a lot of comparisons to the seasons past with Palmiere and those guys,” Hazlett said. “We won't have one single 1,000-yard rusher. We will have three or four guys that will run for 300 or 400 yards. With this group of guys, it can be any of their nights. Someone may rush 100 yards one week and may not do it until week six, but the others will pick up the slack.”

After starting a lot of underclassmen last year, the Lancers will be returning 13 starters, including leading passer Josh Plocki, a junior.

Paving the way for Keenan and company will be an offensive line that features some experience. They will be anchored up front by the return of junior Mike McGraw, who started every game at center last year but moves to tackle.

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