(Statistical Information Courtesy of NWPASports.com archives)
GREENVILLE TROJANS 2022 FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW
Head Coach: Brian Herrick, 16th year (99-69)
Last Year: 7-4 overall, advanced to District 10 Class 2A semifinals
As a player, assistant coach and head coach, Brian Herrick has experienced almost everything imaginable in four decades of association with the Greenville High School football program: conference championships, undefeated regular seasons, long playoff runs, winless seasons, dramatic wins and heartbreaking defeats.
The 2022 season presents a new challenge for the Trojans, however. Greenville will field perhaps the smallest roster in program history as only around 35 players comprise this year's squad. Greenville's junior high program features a very large roster, so the downturn in roster size may be temporary.
Another more imminent positive is that Greenville features plenty of quality and position flexibility on its smaller roster.
"We haven't been in this situation very often. We're trying to stay healthy because we don't have a lot of depth," Herrick said. "The kids have really bought into the fact that they have to know multiple positions. It's a really smart group, which helps. But staying healthy with our brutal schedule is the most important part."
Three returning starters on the offensive line will help lead the Trojans up front. Junior All-Region selection Logan Leskovac, senior Cayden Nellis and junior Tucker Musser all started in 2021 and will help clear the way for what will likely be a ground-oriented offensive attack. Letterman Joey Peterson is also expected to earn a starting spot. Several other players are competing for the fifth spot, including junior Bennett Hayne and Ethan Moore.
At tight end, junior Jack Strausser takes over as the starter after moving from wide receiver. He caught five passes in 2021.
Greenville returns its leading receiver from 2021, senior All-Region selection Jase Herrick. Herrick led the Trojans with 27 catches for 410 yards and six touchdowns. Noah Philson, a 6-foot-4 converted quarterback, will likely start opposite of Herrick at the other wide receiver spot. Senior Braydon Porter returns in the slot after catching six passes in 2021.
"We like what we have on the outside," Brian Herrick said.
With Jalen Ritzert's graduation and Philson moving to wide receiver, sophomore Nick Solderich will take over as the Trojans' starting quarterback. He quarterbacked Greenville's junior varsity squad as a ninth-grader.
"Nick has a good arm and he can run a little bit too," Brian Herrick said.
The bulk of rushing will be handled by a trio of veteran running backs, however. Junior fullback Malachi Hyde ran for 570 yards and four touchdowns last season while seniors Mason Dickens and Aden Sasala respectively posted 363 and 311 rushing yards. Dickens averaged 8.4 yards per carry. Both men scored four rushing touchdowns.
Sophomore running back Teage Calvin will also battle for time.
"We'll lean on those guys," Brian Herrick said. "The thing that I like about all of those guys is that they'll all block for each other. They're good blockers and they'll do a good job."
Defensively, the Trojans will again use the 4-4, with Hayne and Hyde manning the end spots. Leskovac, Musser, Nellis and Peterson are expected to all see action at tackle. Calvin, Moore, Sasala and Strausser are battling at linebacker. Jase Herrick moves from cornerback to outside linebacker and will likely hold one of the four starting spots.
"We're pretty excited about all of those kids at linebacker," Brian Herrick said.
Dickens switched places with Jase Herrick, going from linebacker to cornerback. He will compete with Porter and Solderich to start in the secondary, although all three are expected to see extensive time. Philson has the inside track at free safety.
Senior Rasce Stefanowicz returns as the placekicker. Twin brother Bryce Stefanowicz will battle with Solderich for the punting duties. "We're pretty set there. We feel good about our kickers and punters," Brian Herrick said.
Greenville will compete in Region 3 this year, facing Farrell, Grove City, Hickory, Sharon, Sharpsville, Slippery Rock and Wilmington. Greenville's respective series with Grove City, Sharpsville and Sharon all pre-date World War I, while the Greenville-Farrell series dates to 1918.
"It's going to be exciting to play local teams," Brian Herrick said. "The kids know each other. There are rivalries built in other sports, like basketball, baseball and track, so that part is going to be exciting."