Garrett Deltuva and his Manchester Valley football teammates sported their white uniforms late last week for team photo day, which likely gave the Mavericks that feeling of a new season right around the corner.
Then the actual countdown to the 2019 opener hit Deltuva as he retreated into the school to change.
“Exhilarating, that’s the word to describe it,” Deltuva said. “It’s a reset from last season, ready to kick it off with a bang I should say.”
The senior quarterback leads the Mavs into action beginning Sept. 6 with a road matchup against Williamsport. Man Valley lost to the Wildcats in last year’s first game, 17-14. The setback was one of five in which the Mavericks lost by one score.
They finished 3-7 (1-5 in Carroll County Athletic League play), but second-year coach Bernie Koontz said Manchester Valley is healthier and hungrier for success this fall.
And happier, perhaps.
“You take 10 plays and we might have been 7-3 instead of 3-7,” Koontz said. “So, I think with the kids being on the same page and working together a little bit better, hopefully the outcome on the scoreboard will be better. … It’s not always the wins and losses, but how they treat each other and get along goes a long way in life.”
Manchester Valley lost quarterback Dallas Engel and running back Brandon Yingling, among others, to graduation. Engel threw for more than 1,300 yards out of MV’s spread offense, while Yingling ran for 679 yards and scored four touchdowns.
Deltuva said he’s ready to assume his role as both the Mavericks’ signal caller and one of the squad’s leaders.
“Last year I got a couple reps in, but I’m excited to hopefully lead this team and … just be there for everyone,” Deltuva said. “If we win, we win together. If we lose, we lose together. Fix each other’s mistakes.”
Manchester Valley’s backfield is a bit inexperienced, but Koontz said it’s a healthy bunch. Look for junior Jackson Boothby and senior Nathaniel Costley to take carries, and Koontz said Costley is back from injury.
The Mavericks also lost receiver Sam Riley to graduation after he led Carroll County in receptions (55) and collected 603 yards and four touchdowns. But senior Josh Chanaud is back after grabbing 26 catches for 447 yards and four TDs.
Koontz said the offense should exhibit more balance, but Deltuva gets his chance to take control.
“He’s going to do some good stuff,” MV’s coach said. “He’s pretty versatile. He can run the ball, he’s got a good arm. I think he’s a good decision-maker. Hopefully with those good attributes he can have a good season.”
Senior Tyler Davis returns to man the defensive line in Man Valley’s Base-4 set. He had 39 tackles a year ago. Fellow senior Tyler Allen is back from Tommy John surgery, Koontz said, and should be set at inside linebacker. Deltuva and senior Thomas Chenoweth are listed as linebackers too.
And Koontz said Manchester Valley gets another talented player back from injury in senior defensive back Grant Boerner.
“The kids are doing a good job offensively and defensively,” Koontz said. “We’re doing some of the stuff we’ve done in the past, but we’re doing some new stuff. They’re picking the new stuff up well.”
Several skill players that were key contributors are gone, but the Mavericks bring back a dozen or so with experience (starters and regulars alike). And they get three home games in September (the opener is Sept. 13 against North Hagerstown).
Getting off to a good start could go a long way toward the Mavs’ wanting to better solidify their bond as teammates. Deltuva said it’s paramount in 2019.