Purple Eagles aim for rebound season
Looking to rebound from last fall’s 2-6 campaign, the Albion Purple Eagles return a strong nucleus of 11 starters with which to challenge for B North Division honors.
A trio of three-year, two-way senior linemen including Steven Stauss (6-5, 300), Dylan Burkhart (6-1, 245) and Jon Trembley (6-1, 255) heads that veteran contingent which also includes John Warne (QB/DE, 6-0, 190), Trey Hart (WR/DB, 6-0, 170), Ed Wolfe (TB/LB, 5-11, 175), Kollin Reynolds (FB/LB, 5-10, 215), Brett Zicari (LB, 5-10, 210), Dylan Black (LB, 6-1, 170), Mike Eldred (OL/DL, 5-11, 200) and Robert June (OL/DL, 6-0, 200). All are seniors except Hart who is a sophomore.
Stauss and Trembley both earned first team B East Division honors last year and Hart was a second team selection.
“We return four of five starters up front. They know the system and really anchor our offense,” said coach Tony Osburn.
Warne will share the quarterback duties with sophomore Kyle Smith who had one varsity start last fall throwing two touchdown passes in a win over Newfane.
“It’s the first time we’ve tried a two quarterback system but we really want to try to utilize each of their strengths,” Osburn said who noted that with the big, veteran line that “we’re going to want to run the ball.” Wolfe at tailback and Reynolds at fullback head the running back contingent.
The Purple Eagles also look to have a strong 1-2 receiving duo in Hart and junior Des Blackmon with junior Gary Moore at tight end.
Defensively, Stauss and Trembley anchor the 4-3 lineup with boasts a veteran line backing corps in Wolfe, Reynolds, Zicari and Black. Junior Alex Bison is also vying for time at linebacker as are senior Aaron Mulroy and junior Clayton Stanton on the line and juniors Dominic DiCureia and Manny Thompson in the secondary.
Having those two three-year guys up front really anchors our defense,” said Osburn. “And we’ve got good linebackers and we’re pretty athletic in the secondary.”
Albion’s losses to graduation include running back/defensive backs Tyler Hughson, John Page and Ed Narburgh; wide receiver/defensive backs Jack Narburgh and Tre Allport and linemen Chris Smith and Dean Pittman.
The Purple Eagles have an interesting B-North Division opener against Barker/Roy-Hart at Middleport on Sept. 6. Last year, the Purple Eagles dropped a narrow home field 33-30 decision to Barker/Roy-Hart as Jacob Haight booted a field goal with four seconds remaining.
“We really don’t talk about last year. The kids remember but we don’t talk about it. This is a new season,” said Osburn. “The big thing for us is how well the kids jell together. The key for us is to play as a team.”
The Purple Eagles schedule is as follows:
Sept. 6 – at Barker/Roy-Hart, 7 p.m. at Middleport
Sept. 13 – Burgard, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 20 – at Cheektowaga, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 – at Newfane, 2 p.m.
Oct. 4 – Maryvale, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 11 – at Lew-Port, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 – Medina, 7:30 p.m.