SUMTER ACADEMY: Replacing Reed a big task
Wed. August 22, 2012 at 10:00 p.m. | By Becky Hopf
Players participate in drills during football practice at Sumter Academy in York. (Photo by Dusty Compton )
YORK | It's not enough that Jake Wingo faces the everyday challenges and discoveries that come along with any new job. One of his first orders of business as he begins his first season as head football coach at Sumter Academy will be to figure out how to replace seemingly irreplaceable running back Paul Reed.
Reed was an offensive dynamo, carrying the ball 311 times for 2,797 yards and 38 touchdowns as a senior for the Eagles last season.
"Paul is going to be hard to replace," said Wingo, who is also Sumter Academy's head baseball coach and was the football team's defensive coordinator for two years before stepping into the head coaching position in June. "Paul played a big role. He scored 38 touchdowns. A lot of those were on his natural, God-given ability that you can't draw up on paper. But I feel confident with our offense this year. It's a good offense. If you can block and do the little things right and have a decent running back, you can be successful."
Sumter Academy outscored opponents 437 to 297 last season en route to a 9-4 record and the AISA Class A semifinals.
"Our base offense will be the same," Wingo said. "We've added some different things in there but our base offense will be the split-back veer. I feel good about my running backs. We have four or five guys who can run. It's going to be a community effort this year, not just one guy. It will be more of a team effort.
"Last year everybody knew what we were going to do. They knew we were going to give it to Paul. This year, it's going to be a little different."
Among those expected to be featured prominently is senior Christopher Yonker, who had 78 carries for 463 yards and three touchdowns last season.
Senior running back Blake Dial, who had 28 carries for 190 yards and four touchdowns in 2011, is also back.
The offense will be led by junior quarterback Austin Dirksen, who doubles on defense at safety.
"It will be his first year at quarterback," Wingo said. "I've been really pleased with him. He's a dual threat. He can run it and he's got a pretty good arm."
The Eagles will continue to run a 4-3 defense, throwing in some 5-2 looks. Senior defensive end Mitchell Fox, who had 120 tackles last season, and linebacker Yonker, who had 130 tackles, will lead the Eagles defense.
"We've got great potential, a great corps of players, Wingo said"
School: Sumter Academy
Classification: AISA Class A, Region 2
2011 record: 9-4
2011 playoffs: 1-1
Head coach: Jake Wingo (first year at Sumter Academy)
Assistant coaches: Tanner Armstrong, offensive coordinator; Blake Vaught, offensive line/defensive line; Rich Wingo, linebackers/offensive line/defensive line
Returning starters: 16
Keep an eye on: DE/LT Mitchell Fox (6-4, 230, Sr.), LB/RB Christopher Yonker (5-11, 180, Sr.), TE/CB Matt Truelove (5-11, 190, Sr.)
Key games: Aug. 31 Pickens Academy, Sept. 28 Tuscaloosa Academy, Oct. 19 Marengo Academy
Aug. 24 at Meadowview*
Aug. 31 Pickens Academy*
Sept. 7 at Sparta Academy*
Sept. 14 Southern Academy
Sept. 21 at Patrician Academy
Sept. 28 Tuscaloosa Academy
Oct. 5 Eastwood Academy*
Oct. 12 at Jackson Academy*
Oct. 19 Marengo Academy*
Oct. 26 at South Choctaw Academy
*Denotes region game