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ANNVILLE – He would like to build upon the success fostered by his predecessor. But Matt Gingrich would like to do it in his own way, with his own personal touch.

When it’s put that way, it almost sounds simple. Sometimes there’s no reason to make things harder than they really are.

IMG_0148The success of Annville-Cleona’s 2015 season rests squarely on how quickly first-year head man Gingrich adjusts to his new position, and how quickly his charges adapt to him. Certainly the pieces are in place, the talent is there and the experience is available to be drawn from.

Of course, settling a fluent, good-problem, quarterback situation wouldn’t hurt either.

“Each day I learn,” said Gingrich, a former offensive coordinator who took over for local coaching legend Terry Lehman six months ago. “I have Coach (Joe) Heckard, Coach (Mike) Miller, Coach (Frank) Hetrick to lean on. Those guys are amazing. I’ve got a lot of people helping me out. They keep me sailing. So far, it’s been pretty smooth.

IMG_0159“I first came in as a math teacher a year-and-a-half ago, and I think it’s easier at a small school,” Gingrich continued. “I’ve coached track the last two springs, so I’ve actually coached these kids longer than some coaches who only coach football. These kids know what I want out of them. This isn’t about football. I want them sitting in the front of class rooms. I want them taking tough classes. What I want is their best effort, all the time, in every situation. As long as your heart is in the right place, you’re going to be OK.”

IMG_0212Certainly having two talented quarterbacks like senior Adam Fox and sophomore Noah Myers is a positive thing for the Little Dutchmen. But these uncertain, platoon scenarios have a way of lingering and festering.

The sooner it is revolved, the better for Annville-Cleona. Whether it’s Fox as the starter, or Myers starting and Fox playing a wide receiver position.

IMG_0150It would be prudent to keep in mind that Fox is also a stand-out defensive player.

“For me, running option football at a small school, you  need two good quarterbacks,” said Gingrich, who was a lineman during his playing days at Annville-Cleona. “But as soon as Noah can be a better starting quarterback, the better we’re going to be. Adam is Nate’s biggest cheerleader. Adam is a little better right now, and Noah knows it. We’re going to have to use them both at quarterback, and we want to use both.

IMG_0087“On the field, my biggest thing is I’d like to see us in every game,” Gingrich continued. “I want these kids to walk out of here every night with their heads held  high, and with them knowing that they represented their town well. Seventy percent of our students are involved in an extra-curricular activity, and if you put band in there, I’d bet it’s 80 percent. It’s tough to find kids here who don’t play a sport. We’re trying to get it that this is a three-sport school.”

Annville-Cleona is taking a bit of an outside-in approach to the make-up of this year’s team. The Little Dutchmen are hoping good backs and skill people will make their offensive line better.

IMG_0091In addition to Fox and Myers, senior back Will Langan, senior receiver Alec Barr and junior back Cameron Hoch are proven and known commodities. Senior Chris Boltz will play all over the field, on defense, special teams, offense, and in supporting roles.

“We’ve got a hundred kids per grade, and we’ve got 42 kids out for football,” said Gingrich. “Those are awesome numbers. And we’ve got great numbers at the junior-high level. We have depth. We have talent. We’re going to rely on our backs and secondary to make up for any shortcomings up front. Last year, we were better up front.

IMG_0103“For me, it’s not a concern,” Gingrich added. “High school football is not college football. If you’re willing to lay it on the line, you’re going to win a lot of games. If we can come off the ball, get after people and don’t turn the ball over, we’re going to win. These kids know they can do great things together.”

Annville-Cleona’s offensive line will be built around senior Brandon Light, senior Lucas Bush, 6-8 junior Isaac Burris and converted center Drew Speraw. Senior kicker Matt Light is an offensive threat in his own right.

“I think they love each other,” said Gingrich, of his squad. “They like being around each other. They’re good friends and they enjoy being together. I don’t have to deal with much garbage. I’ve got 42 kids, and with 38 of them, I know when I go to bed what I’m going to get when I wake up. And we have really knowledgeable kids.

IMG_0156“We’re always concerned about our depth,” added Gingrich. “Another question is: ‘Can we get a passing game that’s serviceable?’ We will always not come off the ball fast enough for me. And we’ve got to do a better job with turnovers. Every game we lost last year, we had four or five turnovers.”

The men who will anchor the Annville-Cleona defense are linebackers Kurtis Reigle and Mark Wagner, end Brandon Uhrich and back Griffin Hertz.

IMG_0165“The approach to training camp is different each year,” said Gingrich. “With this training camp, we had backs and receivers who knew what they were doing. Our focus has been coming off the ball. I knew we had six or seven good linemen, but we need 12 to 14. We’ve been trying to get the kids to go fast and be on time.

“Going into this year in Section Three (of the Lancaster-Lebanon League), Northern Lebanon is clearly the favorite, and right behind them is Elco,” continued Gingrich. “It’s nice to see that there’s some juices between Northern Lebanon and us, and the same with Elco. It would be neat to keep this section championship in the county for years to come. I think they’re clearly the teams to watch. If we play as hard and as well and as smart as we can, we can compete with anyone. If we ended up with the section championship at the end of the year, I don’t think anyone would be surprised. There’s certainly something to be said for not being talked about.”

IMG_0166As it turned out, Lehman’s last season proved to be a memorable one. The Little Dutchmen went 8-3 in 2014, finished second in Section Three of the Lancaster-Lebanon League and hosted a District Three Class AA opener.

“Last year we started running the offense you saw out there today,” said Gingrich. “We had some talented linemen. When we look back at all of our losses, the thing we couldn’t get through to ourselves was how fast we needed to be playing. A big focus for us is eliminating mistakes.

“You can let it (the effect of last season) be what you want it to be,” Gingrich added. “You’ve got to take the good things from it and work on the mistakes. The thing is, we can’t rest on our laurels.”

To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to see more go to www.http://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/gallery-nine/.




 2015 Annville-Cleona Football Roster

50 Brad Balmer MLB, OT 2017
4 Caleb Barnhart CB, RB 2016
23 Alec Barr CB, WR 2016
24 Zak Barr MLB, RB 2018
9 Chris Boltz OLB, WR 2016
33 Dylan Bomgardner MLB, RB 2017
62 Cedric Brandt DT, OG 2017
75 Isaac Burris DE, OT 2017
56 Lucas Bush DT, OG 2016
40 Saen Domencic CB, WR 2016
10 Julian Dyreyes-Kapp CB, FS, WR 2016
5 Adam Fox CB, QB 2016
3 Luke Frattaroli CB, WR 2016
78 Nate Gardner DE, OT, OG 2018
64 Morrison Greg DT, OT 2016
65 Matt Heisey DL, OL 2017
36 Griffin Hertz SS, WR 2017
22 Cameron Hoch CB, WR 2017
11 Victor Hoffer MLB, RB 2017
76 Mark Jimenez DT, OG 2017
68 Hunter Kelley DE, DT, OT 2018
14 Will Langan CB, RB 2016
52 Brandon Light MLB, OG 2016
88 Matt Light K 2016
52 Devon Long MLB, OG 2016
26 Dominic Macmillan CB, RB, WR 2018
77 Robert Mayfield MLB, OT 2017
8 Sam Mintz CB, WR 2017
73 Alex Musante DE, OT 2016
15 Noah Myers QB, SS 2018
53 Darien Peris DT, OG 2017
28 Noah Pfautz OLB, WR 2018
30 Kurtis Reigle OLB, SR 2016
62 Chris Schearer DT, OT 2016
66 Joe Schubert C, DT 2017
68 Dylan Seward DT, OT 2016
44 Mike Sowers MLB, QB, RB 2018
70 Andrew Speraw OLB, QB 2017
55 Kole Stout OG, OLB 2017
45 Damien Thompson CB, FS, RB 2016
58 Brayden Turner DE, OT, OLB 2017
12 Brandon Uhrich MLB, TE 2017
31 Mark Wagner OLB, RB 2016
6 Cameron Watts CB, WR 2017
72 Warran Willets DT, OG 2018
77 Alex Wilson DL, OL 2017
71 Jack Yengo DE, DT, OG 2018



2015 Annville-Cleona Football Schedule

7:00 PM Biglerville High School
7:00 PM Annville-Cleona High School
Schuylkill Valley
7:00 PM Annville-Cleona High School
09/25 *
7:00 PM Donegal High School
10/02 *
7:00 PM Annville-Cleona High School
10/09 *
7:00 PM Ephrata High School
7:00 PM Kutztown High School
10/23 *
@Northern Lebanon
7:00 PM Northern Lebanon High School
10/30 *
7:00 PM Annville-Cleona High School
11/06 *
Pequea Valley
7:00 PM Annville-Cleona High School


































































































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