No team may have been hit harder at the skill positions in the Berks Football League than Schuylkill Valley heading into this season.
The Panthers lost Kyle Beissel, who threw for 2,273 yards with 22 touchdowns last season, to graduation. Beissel finished as the top-rated passer in Berks and led the county in every major passing category.
Schuylkill Valley also graduated its top two rushers from 2012, Ryan Matthews and Eryk Cerankowski. Matthews rushed for 887 yards and 11 TD’s while Cerankowski had 728 yards and eight TD’s.
Finally the Panthers lost the county’s top receiver, Garrett Strobel. He led the county in receptions (45), yards (902) and tied for first in touchdowns with teammate Adam Drumgoole (7).
In addition to Strobel’s departure, Schuylkill Valley lost Drumgoole (496 yards at tight end) and Troy Koch (265 yards at receiver).
It’s fair to predict the Panthers will be rebuilding this season, but such was the case after losing Derek Gaul and Dylan Scheidt in 2010. The 2011 squad, led by Beissel, responded to the heavy graduation losses with a 6-5 record and a District 3-AA playoff berth.
Head coach Jeff Chillot and his team will be tested early in the season with non-league games against Pottstown and Panther Valley at Leesport. Practice time and scrimmages will be crucial for the Panthers if they plan to compete for the Section 2 title once again.
Here are three key players projected to start at the skill positions for Schuylkill Valley:
Tanner White (QB): White completed all two of his attempts last season, but is a dual threat at the position. The senior also had two carries for 26 yards in 2012.
Nick Scheidt (RB): Scheidt was third on the Panthers in rushing in 2012. He had 76 carries for 572 yards with an average of 7.5 yards per carry. Expect the senior to be the featured back in Chillot’s offense.
Tanner Mish (WR): The senior had nine catches for 135 yards in his junior campaign and is projected to be White’s top target in the passing game this season.