After a 2016 season riddled with injuries, Radnor Head Coach Tom Ryan is confident that his Red Raiders can bounce back from last year’s 5-7 record.
Last year saw 31 Red Raiders miss at least one game. “I’ve been doing this for 25 years and I’ve never had a year like that,” said Ryan. “If we stay healthy we have a pretty good chance to be good.”
One notable return from injury is captain and senior running back Jack Horvath. Horvath missed seven games in 2016, but is now fully recovered from the injuries that derailed his junior season.
Coach Tom Ryan talking to his players during a Radnor football summer camp session (Photo Credit - @RadnorFootball - Twitter)
In 2015, during his sophomore season, Horvath rushed for 1,300 yards and led the Red Raiders to a 7-4 record.
In addition to Horvath, Ryan is excited about the offense’s potential with junior quarterback Sean Mullarkey.
Mullarkey started five varsity games as a junior and his coach said he believes this helped prepare him to take command of the offense. “He worked super hard in the offseason to put himself in a spot to be a leader of this team, just a kid every coach would want on his team,” said Ryan.
Mullarkey will have no shortage of targets to throw to with both wide receivers junior Vern Harper and senior Fahad Manzoor on the outside and senior captain Kyle Addis in the slot. Both Harper and Manzoor stand 6’3 and 180lbs and are expected to be big targets for Mullarkey.
The strength of the offense, however, is the offensive line. With returning senior starters left tackle Patick Lofton and captain and guard George May, Ryan said that he feels confident in his offense line and praised offensive line coach Dave Bowen.
Bowen, a Red Raider from 2008-11, is entering his 2nd season as an assistant coach after playing college ball at Boston College and participating in minicamps for the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
On the defensive side of the ball, Ryan praised his players for focusing on their technique. “We really pride ourselves on being a very good tackling team and we’ve gotten better over the last few years because the kids have embraced being a good tackling team,” he said.
He also expressed excitement at having senior defensive backs Jack Treangen and Najeh Fowler return for another season, as well as senior defensive lineman Joaquin Hollero.
Radnor’s season opener is today at 7:00 PM at Upper Merion High school against the Upper Merion Vikings. This will be the 3rd straight season the two teams have opened against each other, with Radnor winning both of the previous two years.
The game plan for this week’s season opener, and the rest of the season, is to utilize their solid offensive line. “Well I think we have to run the ball. We have a couple of really good running backs,” said Ryan. In addition to Horvath, Ryan praised running backs sophomore Taylor Margolis and junior Matt Cohen.
In terms of expectation for this season, Ryan didn’t want to look too far ahead or make any predictions. “I don’t want to put a number on it. I just want my guys to improve every week,” he said. “Staying consistent for 48 minutes is what we’re looking for.”
When asked about their annual rivalry game against Lower Merion, Ryan said, “It’s one of the oldest rivalries in the country. It’s something that not just the school, but the whole team and community looks forward to.”
This season will mark the 121st meeting between the two schools. Radnor has not lost to its rival since 2011. This year’s game will take place on Saturday, November 7th at Radnor.
Ryan was quick to add though, “Way too early to look to that, way too early to talk about LM. We’re just all focused on Upper Merion. Let’s just play well in the first one and we’ll go from there.”