Spent the afternoon at Wash High today, watching the Prexies prep some offense. Here are a few things I noticed from the defending Interstate Conference champions and last year's WPIAL Class AA runner-up.
>>A big story for Washington this season will be replacing Josh Wise's leadership and the stability he gave the Prexies at quarterback. No, Wise wasn't South Fayette's Brett Brumbaugh. Nobody needed him to be. But he gave his team a reliable second source of offense behind running back Shai McKenzie.
Senior Chase Caldwell was supposed to fill that void, but a torn ligament in his right elbow, an injury that occurred during track season, forced Caldwell to move to wide receiver.
Saw a few different players take snaps today, but it looks like the competition will come down to junior Jonathan Spina and senior Quorteze Levy.
>>Funny moment: Caldwell chiding junior DeQuay Isbell for dropping a pass, only to let the next attempt slip through his fingers. "That's not me," Caldwell told me after practice. Ten pushups for both.
>>Encouraging No. 1: While doing skeleton passing drills, Shai McKenzie hauled in one in the flat with one hand. No doubt McKenzie's contributions as a pass-catcher will be warmly welcomed with Spina or Levy under center.
>>Encouraging sign No. 2: First play of team drills. Spina finds tight end Nate Swart running a deep corner route and lofts a beauty. That connection would go a long way toward opening up some running room for McKenzie.
>>Shai McKenzie … the linebacker. McKenzie's supposed to play strong side outside linebacker this season and at one point tried to get reps with a few other starters, as the offensive reserves worked. He was quickly removed from the defensive huddle.
"It was something more for younger guys," McKenzie explained. "I think we're going defensive practice next, so I'll probably be in that series."
McKenzie said he has not played offense and defense in the same game since his freshman year.
>>Levy on replacing Wise, who was the team's vocal leader: "We don't really have that kind of guy anymore, but we're doing well without him. We really can't replace Josh and what he said; he always had something to say."