Monday, August 13, 2012

Camp Mackey: Day 1

The first stop on my tour of area football camps was at Washington High School where head coach Mike Bosnic led the Little Prexies to an 8-3 record and the WPIAL Class AA quarterfinals last season.

That record came as a bit of a surprise, but the other night I looked up how the Little Prexies really did: Those eight wins came against only two teams with a winning record, and the three losses came against a group – Clairton, Seton-La Salle and Aliquippa – that went 41-2.

The two “winning teams” were South Fayette (7-4) and Mt. Pleasant (6-4).

Translated, Washington beat the teams it should beat … but didn’t knock off any elite teams. Bosnic, of course, hopes to change that this year.

“I think the guys want to build on the success that we had,” he said. “Maybe take it to the next level.”

Washington lost a decent amount up front on offense and defense, but it does return a group of talented skill guys in quarterback Josh Wise and running backs Shai McKenzie and Jaylin Kelly, a junior and a senior, respectively.

Wise completed 34 of 77 passes for 585 yards. He threw nine touchdowns and eight interceptions and added five rushing touchdowns. McKenzie ran for 1,202 yards and 21 touchdowns on 189 carries. Kelly helped out with 516 yards and three touchdowns on 65 carries.

McKenzie and Kelly are both getting Division I looks, Bosnic said.

Bosnic also pointed me – literally, he walked to the side where I was watching and pointed – toward a pair of seniors in Mijerean Witcher and Jordan Allen, two guys who can play both running back and receiver and two players he expects big things from this season.

One thing that stood out to me during the afternoon offensive session was the throwing of quarterback Josh Wise, who’s known more as an athlete than a gunslinger.

Wise was throwing 15-yard comebacks on the run and to his left – hardly easy throws for a high school kid. He also displayed a nice touch on deep crossing patterns, including one to Allen during skeleton drills (passing plays without a defense).

“Right now he’s throwing the ball really well,” Bosnic said. “He’s definitely a very athletic kid, but right now he’s also throwing the ball well.”

I did more reporting on Wise today, but you’re going to have to wait for our football preview tab for those little nuggets. I will say this: If Wise gives Washington a vertical threat, that will be a huge help to McKenzie and Kelly.

Couple more things to note:

>>Brenton Jones moved into the area from South Carolina over the summer. This is notable because he’s 6-foot-6, 290 pounds … and I can attest, he looks every bit of that. He also a strong candidate to start, Bosnic said. (On the line. Doubtful he’ll supplant McKenzie.)

>>Bosnic was frazzled. In a good, first-day-of-camp way. It’s funny, no matter how many times anybody goes through this stuff, it’s always rough the first day; coaches’ heads are spinning, kids are dead tired. But he did manage to sum things up pretty well with this quote, which I’ll leave you with.

“The first day is always crazy,” Bosnic said. “The chaos here just between practices … I think right now, talking to you the first day, my wheels are turning, and I’m going a thousand different directions.

“Like I said, we have some guys with some experience, some really nice skill players. We’re just hoping to build on the success that we had last year.”

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