Penn Manor football sees strength in numbers | high school football

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It took a while, but the Penn Manor football team finally found its footing last fall in its seventh season under coach John Brubaker. The Comets finished 5-5 on aggregate, their first unbeaten season since 2014.

“It was a culture building process,” Brubaker said. “As a coach, it should have happened a lot quicker. It’s good. Throughout, I think we’ve changed things, and changed things in a positive way, and it hasn’t always been linked to Friday night wins. Last year was great, but 5-5 left those kids a little hungry.

Hungry for more.

“We’re a confident group,” Penn Manor senior quarterback Eli Warfel said. “We believe we can go out and compete with the best in the first section.”

Comets haven’t done this for about a decade. But confidence stems from building 2021 with eight starters returning on both sides of the ball this season, with a group of 16 seniors on the roster to collectively lead the charge.

“It’s the biggest group of seniors I’ve had here,” Brubaker said. “A lot of these kids are going to be an integral part of what we’re trying to accomplish this year.”

About the offense

Warfel, who passed for 712 yards, rushed for 416 yards and had 13 touchdowns last fall, is a sophomore QB on the Comets’ Spread/Option offensive offense.

It will be led by returning linemen Jordan Martin, Peyton Witmer and Kyle Sullenberger. Meanwhile, Ty Washington and Sebastian Rivera, both D-line starters last season, will also take on O-line starting roles.

Those graders will open up gaps for the Comets’ deep rushing room, led by workaholic Jonathan Osman, who rushed for 246 yards last season.

Tight end Dhamir Wesley returns, and Mike Evans should also be a key cog there.

The Comets also return their top three receiving threats to DeShawn Stanley (16-285, 3 TDs), Clark Wagstaff (9-180, 2 TDs) and QJ Hanna (6-69, 2 TDs).

Assistant coach Joel Boas, a Penn Manor alumnus and third-year Comets assistant, takes on the role of offensive coordinator, under John Manion, who is returning to the coaching game after a historic career at Lampeter-Strasburg.

“Having Manion on the coaching staff now really helps,” Warfel said. “When we train, he will be behind me, helping me with my readings.”

About the defense

Brubaker will again take the lead in calling the Comets defense, which should be a mix of 4-2 and 3-3 fronts.

Line D sees the return of Wesley (31 tackles, 2 sacks), Rivera (25 tackles) and Washington. They will be supported by returning linebackers Spencer Stuart (24 tackles), Jimmy Keck (43 tackles, 2 INT), Adam Ditmer (57 tackles, 1 INT) and Hanna (26 tackles, 1 INT).

Stanley (20 tackles) and Wagstaff return to the defensive backfield, and specialist Peter Skiadas returns to take care of the kicks and punts.

Last word

Martin on the team mantra: “The tough guys win. We say this at the end of each workout.

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