Without Jake Bowen & Clayton Parrish, Big Reds must find replacements
WEST MIDDLESEX, Pennsylvania (WKBN) – For the third time in 7 years, West Middlesex won 9-games or more last winter. In their 9 wins, a year ago, Middlesex scored at least 27 points in each contest and averaged 37.2 points. In their 3 losses, the Big Reds scored a total of 25 points (8.3 ppg). West Middlesex was eliminated from the post-season by the eventual state champion Farrell Steelers (50-6) in the District 10 final on November 10 at Wilmington High School.
Coach Mark Means – who begins his second season at the Big Reds’ head coach – must replace the team’s starting quarterback (Jake Bowen), the school’s all-time leading rusher (Clayton Parrish) and their top receiver (Kaz Hoffman) not to mention their leading tackler (Zach Long).
West Middlesex Big Reds
Head Coach: Mark Means, 2nd season (9-3)
2018 record (Region 1): 9-3 (2-1), 2nd place
Five Key Points
1.Over the last 8 years, West Middlesex has won 60 games. That’s an average of 7 ½ per year.
2.The Big Reds have had a player who has rushed for over 1,000-yards in 6 of the last 7 years.
3.It’s been 6 years since West Middlesex averaged over 100-passing yards per game during a season. The last time was in 2013 during Trey Staunch’s junior season (106.4).
4.Last year, Middlesex raised their scoring average from 11.3 to 30.0 points per game. Also, they allowed an average of 34.8 points per game in 2017 and lowered that number to 16.2 in 2018.
5.The Big Reds last lost a game where they scored 20-points in a contest was on September 5, 2014 (at Lakeview, 22-20).
Returning Starters: 7
Scoring Offense: 30.0 (T-19th in Area)
Rushing Offense: 207.1
Passing Offense: 91.9
Total Offense: 299.0
…Clayton Parrish (1622 rushing yards, 24 TDs; 172 receiving yards, 2 TDs), graduated running back, gained over 1,000-yards on the ground in each of the last three seasons. He became the school’s all-time leading rusher last fall in a playoff matchup with Union City on November 2. The offense will be without QB Jake Bowen – who led West Middlesex a year ago to 9-wins and became the first signal caller to throw for over 1,000 yards (1088) since 2015 (Nick Cannone). Parrish and Bowen both compiled over 1,000-yards (rushing and passing, respectively). A first at West Middlesex since 2012 when Trey Staunch threw for 1468 yards and Luke Patten ran for 1515.
Coach Means indicates, “We’ll need to groom a new quarterback and running back. We believe Ty Tate at QB and Zeb Rubaker at fullback could possibly bring the leadership and spark we need on the offensive side of the ball. The loss of Zach Long, Morgan Slicker, Tom Blair and Kyle Klumph on the offensive line hurts but we have several returning guys (Noah Weiser, Josh Bender, Kaleb Turcotte, Chase Tomko, Terry Grimwood, Scott Lego, Chris Morton) with experience. We’ll need our linemen to step up and have a great summer camp in order for us to be successful this season.” Last fall, Jason Davis and Rubaker rushed for 176 and 169 yards respectively. Rubaker scored 4 touchdowns on the ground and also hauled in 22 catches (for 212 yards) – which was good for 2nd on the team.
Returning Starters: 7
Scoring Defense: 16.2 (15th in Area)
…”We have quite a few returners up front and at the linebacker spot,” points out Means. “We’ll need the young guys in the secondary to step up and cover well. Chase Tomko will step in where Zach Long left off at the middle linebacker position. Our linebacking core will need to come together and have a great camp in order for our defense to have another successful season.”
Last year, the defense saw a major decrease in the point allowed from 2017 (34.8) to 2018 (16.2). This season, the defense will be without linebackers (Long, 124 tackles; Morgan Slicker, 51 tackles; Clayton Parrish, 47 tackles) and defensive backs (Jake Bowen and Kaz Hoffman – who each had 3 interceptions). The team returns linebackers Zeb Rubaker (80 tackles, 19 for a loss, 10 QB Sacks), George Troyer (63 tackles), Tomko (52 tackles, 3 QB Sacks), Brandon Smith (39 tackles) as well as defensive lineman Noah Weiser (35 tackles) and free safety Jason Davis.
Aug. 23 – at Eisenhower
Aug. 30 – at Lakeview
Sept. 6 – Maplewood
Sept. 13 – at Farrell
Sept. 20 – at Cochranton
Sept. 27 – Reynolds
Oct. 4 – Cambridge Springs
Oct. 11 – Mercer
Oct. 18 – at Sharpsville