Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Camp Kovak, fourth stop – Peters Township
Blogger's note: This is the fourth in a short series documenting Observer-Reporter staff writer Mike Kovak's travels to local high school football camps.
All it takes is one look and one thing is clear about the 2009 edition of Peters Township football – these Indians are one big outfit.
First, there's the numbers. Peters Township opened camp with 81 players. Heading into its first scrimmage, that number was a healthy 78 with only one freshman, which gives Peters Township the largest varsity roster in the Washington-Greene region.
And, for the most part, these guys aren't playing football to kill the time before baseball or basketball season.
"When I first got here, only a handful of kids considered football their primary sport," Peters Township coach Nick Milchovich said. "For this group of kids, this is it for them. Football is their sport."
That's unusual at Peters Township, where championships are frequently won in soccer, golf, tennis and baseball. Just last year, the Indians concluded its season with a lopsided loss to Canon-McMillan. Milchovich estimates he had 30 players on the sidelines.
"You need players, you need bodies and you need depth at Quad-A," he said. "That last game against Canon-Mac, we were out of options."
There figures to be a few more of those at Peters Township, which hopes to compete for one of four playoff spots in the wide open Great Southern Conference.
Quarterback Austin Hancock is evolving into a solid dual threat and possible Division I prospect. Receiver Brandon Hoffman caught 40 passes last year and the addition of running backs Andrew Erenberg and Chris Olivo provides offensive balance.
In previous years, the toughness of Peters Township football came under question. The Indians want to erase that stigma this year. And they certainly look like they spent a lot of time in the weight room and at the dinner table.
The players are noticeably bigger.
"When I first got the job, I wanted to see fourth-and-one kind of guys. We didn't have a lot of them," Milchovich said. "I want guys who can get a yard on fourth down and who can stop the other team when they need a yard on fourth down. If we can get this, then we're headed in the right direction."