MECHANICSBURG – Record-setting running back Aeryton Erwin has graduated, but the Mechanicsburg football cupboard is far from bare this season.
Sixth-year head coach Kurt Forrest has a plethora of experienced players returning from last year’s 8-3 playoff team, including standout junior quarterback Kaleb Romero.
“Kaleb is just a tremendous athlete with an incredible competitive desire,” said Forrest. “No matter if it’s football or wrestling or playing cards, he finds ways to win.”
Senior Phil Cook will be replacing Erwin after backing up the star running back the last two years.
“Phil has a real toughness and he brings a lot of confidence to the team,” said Forrest.
Vying for the fullback position will be junior Gavin Erwin and sophomore Drew Myers.
Wide receivers will be seniors Colton McMannis, Bobby Welch and Wade Smiddy, who transferred in after being a starter on defense for two years at Shawnee.
The tight ends will be seniors David Harvey and Jacob Bowers.
Vying for playing time on the offensive line will be senior Trent Fuller, juniors Dylan Hartley, Dylan Hartman, Alex Walton and Ethan Elliott and sophomore Connor Propst.
“Our offensive line brings a physical mentality,” said Forrest. “It’s one of the most complete groups I have coached. Their versatility is the big thing. They are physical, explosive athletes.”
Vying for playing time on the defensive line will be Propst, Walton, Bowers, Hartley and junior Josh Kaster.
The linebacking corps will include Cook, Myers, Harvey and sophomore John Samples.
The safeties will be Romero and Smiddy, with McMannis, Welch and junior Alex Rhine vying for playing time at cornerback.
“How far we can go will depend on how the kids come to practice and how well they reach their potential,” said Forrest. “If we reach our potential, I believe we will be able to compete with anybody in Ohio in Division VI.”
The Indians open the season Friday night by hosting West Jefferson.
Reach Steve Stout at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @udcstout