As soon as the dust settled on Manheim Township's season-ending, double-overtime loss to Central Dauphin in the 2019 District Three Class 6A semifinals, the Blue Streaks have used the initialism WIT as a theme and a rallying cry.
It stands for "whatever it takes."
In 2020, whatever it takes has included wearing masks and social distancing and holding on to hope for an uninterrupted campaign on the gridiron. For Township, whatever it takes also means replacing all but one starter in a lineup depleted by graduation.
"We are starting from square one," coach Mark Evans said. "I have never done this before in my 23 years as a head football coach, to have to start with such a lack of experience."
About the offense
Anthony Ivey represents the lone Streaks' starter returning to the lineup. The junior wideout compiled 582 yards and four touchdowns on 22 catches last year, and plans to choose between Penn State, West Virginia and Arizona State — among others — after an active recruiting period.
Ivey and his fellow receivers, including Dan Engle, Elijah Fonseca and Chris Negron, will collaborate with a senior signal-caller — Evan Clark or Mike Vega or both — to catalyze Township's offense.
"A two-quarterback system is not beyond the realm of possibility," Evans said, "until someone declares himself to be the guy."
A majority of the Streaks' rushing attack rides with the quartet of Isaiah Jones, Matt Torres, Cade Clancy and Shamir Alberto behind an offensive line anchored by junior center Mike O'Hara.
About the defense
Despite their relative inexperience, several Streaks' players did see the field with defensive reps last fall, including linebackers Clancy and Aaron Paul, as well as Clark at safety.
"They might not have been starters," Evans noted, "but they were role players, so I think we can build around them."
The Streaks have earned at least a share of the L-L League's Section One title in each of the last three seasons.
Key to the season
While his team lacks experience, Evans thinks it has the athleticism to impress on the gridiron. How well the Streaks apply their athleticism as they gain experience will determine their success throughout the season.
"These guys have been part of success," Evans said. "They know what success tastes like, and I hope they're hungry for more."