LOWER GWYNEDD — When teams come up with their mottos before the season “adversity” isn’t a word you often see on the workout t-shirt, but it might be most appropriate for Wissahickon. That starts with learning brand new systems on both offense and defense, due to the hiring of Randy Cuthbert as head coach.
“We’ve seen them get better,” Cuthbert, who played running back in the NFL with the Steelers and Panthers, said. “What we’re doing on offense is drastically different than what they did last year. I think our linemen enjoy it though, because it’s a more aggressive system. We have a lot more diversity in our offense, I think, than we did last year.”
The proof is in the pudding — or in this case on the scoreboard – and the Trojans proved it to the tune of a season-opening 42-27 win over Martin Luther King Friday night.
Cuthbert also doesn’t have a huge team number-wise this season, so a lot of kids are playing both offense and defense. That includes quarterback Mike Schoenleber.
“You don’t normally want to play your quarterback at outside linebacker, but he might be the toughest kid on the team. We need him…he’s a great leader.”
Despite what his coach normally wants to do, Schoenleber is just fine playing both QB and LB. The senior had 79 yards passing and 2 TDs, both to Tyler Caso, along with 66 yards rushing on offense. He also started the season scoring for his team with a 40-yard fumble return for a touchdown on defense.
Wissahickon won its season opener last season and finished the season 1-9. Schoenleber knows that. He’s determined not to repeat the rest of last season.
“Last year I feel like we won and we just felt happy with it,” Schoenleber said. “This year we gotta go into film, instead of looking at all the highs we have to look at the lows and improve on that for next week. We’ll get better that way.”
The offseason adversity is obvious. In-game adversity came unexpected for the Trojans Friday night.
“We had a lot of guys go down with cramps and injuries, and we had a lot of guys come in and make plays,” Cuthbert said. “It was really, truly a team win.”
Schoenleber went down with cramps and John Dickson filled in at quarterback without missing a beat. Darryl Balwin, who had 67 yards rushing and two touchdowns, went down with cramps and Darnell Watson picked up the slack.
“Half the team cramped up, I think,” Schenleber said. “The backups did a tremendous job. Its basically next man up…you don’t know how many injuries there’s going to be during the season. Everybody’s gotta be ready.”
Wissahickon was ready Friday night, and now it appears they’re ready to put 2015 well behind them.
“That’s the big concern, just their mentality. I wasn’t here last year but I know it was some tough sledding,” Cuthbert, who was also hired on as the Wissahickon Athletic Director this year, said. “You worry about being mentally tough. That’s what we’re harping on – we’ve got to be mentally tough when bad things happen.”
Cuthbert certainly isn’t preaching an alien mentality. But he is getting through to his team.
“He has a new philosophy, I guess. He’s more laid back…if you make a mistake you gotta keep your head up and keep going on to the next play. That’s the only way you’ll get better.”
Wiss — Schoenleber – 40-yard fumble return for TD. Menhardt PAT GOOD. 7-0 Wissahickon
MLK — #3 – 32-yard run for TD. 2-point conversion NO GOOD. 7-6 Wissahickon
Wiss — Baldwin – 10-yard run for TD. Menhardt PAT GOOD. 14-6 Wissahickon
MLK — #3 – 34-yard run for TD. #12 PAT GOOD. 14-13 Wissahickon
Wiss — Baldwin – 3-yard run for TD. Mendardt PAT GOOD. 21-13 Wissahickon
Wiss — Schoenleber pass to Caso 34 yards for TD. Menhardt PAT GOOD. 28-13 Wissahickon
Wiss — Schoenleber pass to Caso 33 yards for TD. Menhardt PAT GOOD. 35-13 Wissahickon
MLK — #12 pass to #11 15 yards for TD. #12 PAT BLOCKED. 35-19 Wissahickon
Wiss — Chad Dubin 41-yard kick return for TD. Menhardt PAT GOOD. 42-19
MLK — #12 pass to #14 12 yards for TD. 2-point conversion GOOD. 42-27 Wissahickon