(Statistical Information Courtesy of Professor Briggs' archives)
SHARPSVILLE BLUE DEVILS 2020 FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW
Head Coach: Paul Piccirilli, 25th year (210-79)
Last Year: 3-6 overall
It's the silver anniversary season for Paul Piccirilli as Sharpsville High School's head football coach. Piccirilli has guided the Blue Devils to 210 victories since taking over prior to the 1996 campaign. While he and his veteran group of assistant coaches have ample experience and knowledge, the same cannot be said for the 2020 Sharpsville squad. Sharpsville has only five seniors on the 2020 roster and the Blue Devils return three offensive starters and five defensive starters from last year.
That combination has opened the door for several younger players to earn starting spots this season.
"Their enthusiasm has been great," Piccirilli said of his youthful squad. "They're eager to play. They listen to whatever you say and they do whatever you ask them to do. It's a fun group to coach."
Of the three returning offensive starters, only one is in the same spot as last year: senior guard Devin McCurry. Senior Danny Henwood has moved from quarterback to wide receiver while junior Ethan Cusick is in the backfield after playing tight end in 2019.
Henwood caught 16 passes during his sophomore season in 2018. Last year, Henwood threw for 342 yards and two touchdowns as Sharpsville's starting quarterback. He also ran for a pair of scores and received All-Region Second Team recognition. However, he returns to the outside as sophomore Stephen Tarnoci takes over as the starting quarterback.
"Danny has been a great leader for us," Piccirilli said. "This is what is best for him and for our team. He wanted to be a wide receiver again. Tarnoci is very talented and this will also help us long term."
Cusick and junior Chris Roth will join Tarnoci in the offensive backfield. Roth led Sharpsville with four rushing touchdowns and ranked second on the team with 341 rushing yards. He carried the ball a team-high 100 times and earned Second Team All-Region honors.
Sophomore Garen Levis will join Henwood at receiver. Levis served as the backup quarterback last season. Sophomore Andrew Frye (6-2, 235) will be the tight end.
Junior Jacob Rust will join All-Region honoree McCurry at guard. Sophomore Braden Scarvel will be the center. Junior Dominic Alfredo and senior Noah Turuck will man the tackle positions. "We're hoping the line can get us moving forward," Piccirilli said. "Right now, that's the strongest part of the offense."
Sharpsville will employ a 5-2 defense this season. Roth and Rust are penciled in at the end spots. Rust earned All-Region Second Team in 2019. Scarvel and Alfredo are the defensive tackles and Frye will play nose tackle.
All-Region honoree McCurry returns at inside linebacker. Cusick will man the other linebacker position. Levis and junior Zack Tedrow are the projected starters at cornerback while Henwood and Tarnoci are the safeties.
Frye will punt. Senior Gideon Jones, senior Drake Carte and sophomore Liam Campbell are battling for the place-kicking duties. Campbell went 9 for 12 on extra points last year while Jones went 3 for 5 on conversions.
Sharpsville will play Farrell, Greenville and Wilmington in region play this season. The Greenville-Sharpsville rivalry will be celebrating its 110th anniversary as the teams first met in 1910.
"We're young," Piccirilli began. "It's going to be a learning year for the kids. We are going to battle through it and that could lead to good things in the future for us. We're hoping to get better."