(Statistical Information Courtesy of NWPASports.com archives)
Head Coach: Paul Piccirilli, 27th year (220-87)
Last Year: 7-3 overall
It is safe to say that things are a little closer to normal this season for the Sharpsville Blue Devils after a topsy-turvy, yet successful 2021 season. The Blue Devils entered into a co-op agreement with West Middlesex mere days before the start of preseason camp last year, but still finished 7-3 overall, despite the unusual start to the season.
Now, with a full offseason program within the arrangement, the 40-man Sharpsville squad looks to return to the postseason after being ineligible for the District 10 postseason last year due to the co-op agreement.
Sharpsville averaged 200 rushing yards per game last season but with graduation claiming the Blue Devils' top three rushers, head coach Paul Piccirilli expects his team to go to the air more frequently with 2022.
The return of junior starting quarterback Caullin Summers also plays a major role in that decision. Last season, Summers threw for 1,075 yards and 12 touchdowns, including a 272-yard, four-touchdown outing in Week Six against Wilmington. He earned Second Team All-Region recognition.
"He is very athletic and he throws the ball as anyone that I've had here," Piccirilli said. "As long as we can block up front, we're going to throw the ball."
Sharpsville will again use the Delaware Wing-T offense but will also incorporate "Pistol" and spread sets into the scheme.
Sharpsville returns Summers's favorite target, senior wide receiver Garen Levis. A First Team All-Region honoree, Levis caught 28 passes for 542 yards and eight touchdowns. He ranked third in Mercer County by averaging 19.4 yards per catch.
Senior Braeden Summers will take over as the fullback while senior Christian Snyder, junior Dalton Byerly and junior Killian Whalen are battling for time at halfback. Whalen caught six passes last season.
Senior Blaze Campbell takes over at tight end. Campbell caught 11 passes last year at Kennedy Catholic.
Senior Braden Scarvel will lead a shuffled offensive line from the left tackle position. He earned All-Region recognition at center last season. Junior Nick Bell is penciled in to replace Scarvel at center. Junior Josh Myers and sophomore Brian White are the leading candidates at the guard spots while junior Kevin McCullough aims to take over at right tackle.
"The line is trying to get our pass blocking down," Piccirilli said. "The run blocking in the Wing-T also takes time. Our skill is very good and if our line comes together, we can have an exciting year."
Sharpsville will again use a 4-3 defensive alignment with White and Scarvel anchoring the front four at defensive tackle. Braeden Summers moves from linebacker to defensive end. Piccirilli noted that several candidates are looking to fill the other end spot.
Campbell and Snyder are slotted for two of the three linebacker positions. The third starter is undecided.
Whalen will start at one cornerback spot and freshman Kalvin McCullough has the inside track on the opposite side. Senior Blaze Knight and Caullin Summers will be the safeties.
Senior Liam Campbell returns to handle the kicking and punting. "We're fortunate to have him," Piccirilli said of Campbell, a two-year letterman as the kicking specialist.
Sharpsville will compete in Region 3 as one of the four Class 2A teams in the eight-team league, joining Farrell, Greenville and Wilmington. Class 3A foes Grove City, Hickory, Sharon and Slippery Rock round out the conference.
"I've been on both ends, being the higher classification school in the league and now we're the lower end," Piccirilli said. "There are going to be at least two or three great games every week in the region, especially with rivalries coming back. It's going to be a bloodbath every week. Teams' backups are going to have to contribute.
"It's going to be a very difficult region. We want to be able to get through it and get into the playoffs."