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Al Thomas' Eagles are ready for a run

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Published on: Friday, September 02, 2011

Under football coach Al Thomas, Seneca Valley has traditionally relied on its defense to stymie opponents. In 1986, however, it appears the Screaming eagles will resort to a potent offensive backfield to bolster their winning ways throughout the county.

In fact, Thomas, the 13- year veteran coach, has admitted that this is his best backfield ever. Operating in a “wingbone” formation which is similar to a Delaware wing-T, will be quarterback Jim Signora, fullback Mike Kraus and tailbacks Ricky Davis and Twain parker. Speed is everywhere to be found- Davis and parker both run a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash, Kraus a 4.6 and Signora a 4.8- and Kraus will bruise defenses with his powerful 6-foot, 210 pound frame. Kraus, Signora and linebacker Richard James are Seneca Valley’s team captains. “I think we’ll have a real explosive offense,’’ said Kraus, whose brother, Joe, played at Penn State and Maryland. ‘’There’s no way they can key on anyone in the backfield and anyone is capable of breaking a play on any situation. Ricky and twain have speed enough to break to the outside on any play and the backs can read it any way they want. Thomas will be gambling more on offense than in the past. “I think with the ability of out back teams won’t be able to key on anyone,” Thomas said, I look for teams to defense us more according to down, distance score and formation tendencies.” Kraus, otherwise known as “Bubba” is the nucleus of their backfield. He played one season at Walter Johnson, transferred to a high school in Florida and came back to perform for the eagles last season. But because if ‘’bad habits’’ the missed playing time in some games and received limited action at full back still picking up 270 yards on 53 carries. Now, after sitting down and gaining the staring roll, Kraus may take opponents cringe with his combination of speed and power. “The coaches have told me I had a bad attitude and missed a lot of practice.” Kraus said. ‘’I just started doing what (Thomas) told and he said I’ll get to run the ball.” Behind Kraus are Davis and parker, players with the ability to side step opponents and turn the corner. Davis a sophomore is so fast that in eighth grade in Texas, he crossed first in the 100 meter dash with a time if 10.99 and last spring shined in the county junior high track meet. Also, parker starred on an undefeated junior varsity team last season team last season, gained 342 yards and seven touchdowns. The varsity went through a 10-2 campaign in 1985, losing a 21-3 heart breaker to Churchill in post-season play. Signora, who stepped in for the injured tom McAleavey, quarterbacked the final 10 games and completed 40 of 82 passes for 853 yard and nine touchdowns. Still, signora at 6-1 175 is a roll-out quarterback known for his agility, and he displayed that by rushing for 175 yards and five touchdowns. “It’s the quickest, backfield I’ve ever been with,’’ said signora. ‘Last year, ‘Bubba’ got outside and ran over corners and safeties and just destroyed people.”

Nevertheless, with a young unit composed of 15 seniors and 36 juniors, the veteran coach knows experience is vital and is approaching the season with cautious optimism. “The more juniors you play the more problems you have,” Thomas said.

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