|Wash High running back Malik Wells|
It’s rare for a high school football team to lose one of the top offensive players in the state to graduation and return the next season stronger.
That’s the case with Wash High.
The Prexies are going to be loaded in 2014 with the return of senior quarterback Jonathan Spina and senior running back Malik Wells. The two make up the most athletic backfield in the conference and will be tough for teams to match up with.
Wells saw a lot of playing time as junior after Virginia Tech recruit Shai McKenzie suffered a torn ACL against Charleroi. The 5-8 running back helped Wash High overcome the loss of the school’s all-time leading rusher and will benefit from an offensive line that will feature a Division I prospect and several key returners.Zach Blystone missed all but one game last season and is still gaining interest as a Division I prospect. Already receiving interest from Pitt, West Virginia, Virginia Tech and Boston College, the 6-2 two-way lineman impressed at the U.S. Army National Combine in San Antonio, Texas, in early January. Blystone bench pressed 185 pounds 28 times, ran the 40-yard dash in 5.16 seconds and the shuttle in 4.4.
After being forced to sit all but one game after transferring from Charleroi, I’m sure Blystone will be motivated to use the frustration he gained from the WPIAL hearings and take it out on his opponents.
Wash High will be strong in the trenches, but the biggest question mark is at wide receiver after losing three seniors, including Quorteze Levy. A young group will look to fill Levy’s shoes in 2014 and the emergence of a few could make the Prexies a favorite to reach Heinz Field.
Prexies head coach Mike Bosnic has the reputation of developing young players and with a large stable of running backs to support Wells, including Jordan West, Wash High will likely use the running game to set up the pass.
They do have three returners at tight end, including Nate Swart, who has displayed his athleticism on the basketball court and for the Prexies’ track team. At 6-4 and weighing 210 pounds, he could cause matchup problems for opposing defenses. A player like that will help ease the transition of the departing playmakers on offense.
While questions remain, Bosnic will sort them out this summer when camp begins. I don’t know you, but I am anxiously awaiting Wash High’s matchup with new conference rival McGuffey, which returns running back James Duchi – one of the top offensive threats in Class AA.