Deer Lakes adopts ‘why not us?’ mantra in quest for playoff berth

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Sunday, August 18, 2019 | 11:41 AM


Tim Burk is a Deer Lakes guy through and through, so he took great pride in watching the Lancers’ boys soccer team make a run to the state championship game and the boys basketball team win the first PIAA playoff game in school history and advance to the quarterfinals.

Now he wants the football team to get in on the playoff action.

The Lancers have made the playoffs twice in their history, but Burk, who is entering his second season at the helm, wants to emulate the soccer and basketball programs to make football a perennial postseason contender.

“For me, I take that personally,” Burk said about making the playoffs. “I don’t want to be that team in the district. I was a part of both (Deer Lakes football) playoff teams in 2010 and ’15. One of our sayings this year is ‘Why not us?’ There’s no reason why we can’t do the little things that can get us into the playoffs.”

Burk has a pair of seniors in quarterback Aris Hasley and tight end Jack Hollibaugh as a foundation to build upon.

Hasley and Hollibaugh were contributors on the basketball team last winter and hope to use that experience as a benefit on the gridiron.

“A couple of us played basketball last year, and we’re using that experience to lead some of the younger kids,” Hasley said. “We want them to jump on board and understand that we can accomplish our goals. It was just such a good experience with our entire community behind us, and I’d like to replicate that in football.”

Hasley took over at quarterback at halftime of the season opener as a sophomore and had a breakout campaign as a junior last year, passing for more than 1,600 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also threw 15 interceptions and has worked this summer on trying to limit mistakes and turnovers.

“We expect big things from Aris,” Burk said. “He has the understanding that everyone else is aware of him, so things are going to be a little more difficult, but I think he’s up for it.

“He’s focused more on not turning the ball over. He had quite a few picks, but he also had a lot of touchdowns. He’s overall embraced being a better leader. Not that he was a bad leader before, but you can always be better, and he’s really been impressive this offseason.”

The Lancers graduated many of Hasley’s top targets, including Jared Colton, Colin Kadlick and Ethan Bender. Kadlick is at Slippery Rock.

Hasley does have one prominent returning receiver in Hollibaugh, who was in the midst of a strong season that was derailed by a torn pectoral that forced him to miss final three games. Zac Herbinko, Trey Darrah and Ian Clark are expected to step into the roles of the departed graduates.

Hollibaugh, who is known for his jovial nature, lost 30 pounds to help him get quicker off of the ball on both sides of the field.

Along with Hasley, he will be asked to guide the less experienced group of receivers.

“Like Aris, Jack is learning to take that leadership role,” Burk said. “He realizes that this is his final go-round. He’s still himself, but I think he understands what he has to do above and beyond that, as well.”

Deer Lakes plays in the Class 3A Big East Conference with Freeport, Burrell, Derry, North Catholic, Mt. Pleasant, Yough, Elizabeth Forward and Uniontown. The Lancers started 3-2, but dropped their final four games.

The first loss of the streak to end the year was a 14-10 heartbreaker to Freeport where they lost the lead in the final two minutes. Burk and Hasley admitted the loss took the wind out of their sails, but provided some good lessons for this season.

“It was really the first time in football going back to my youth days that I was in a close game from start to finish,” Hasley said.

“We didn’t have that, so putting that game under our belt gave us the experience to know that you have to persevere the whole time. It was disappointing how it ended, but at the same time our season wasn’t over. But after that game I think we hung our heads, and if we keep our heads right and trust each other this year we’ll be OK.”

Schedule

Coach: Tim Burk

2018 record: 3-6, 3-5

All-time record: 168-301-9

Date, Opponent, Time

8.30, Elizabeth Forward*, 7

9.6, at Uniontown*, 7

9.13, at Yough*, 7

9.20, Mt. Pleasant*, 7

9.27, at Burrell*, 7

10.4, at Freeport*, 7

10.11, Keystone Oaks, 7

10.18, Derry*, 7

10.25, at North Catholic*+, 7

*Class 3A Big East Conference game

Statistical leaders

Passing: Aris Hasley

115-243, 1,622 yards, 15 TDs

Receiving: Colin Kadlick*

37-458 yards, 3TDs

Rushing: Hasley

80-441 yards, 5TDs

*Graduated

Deer Lakes roster

Name, Cl.

Dustin Affinito, Fr.

Bruce Allman, Jr.

Chris Blatnik, Fr.

Casey Bowser, Fr.

Ian Clark, Sr.

Christian Claus, Sr.

Brandon Colledge, Fr.

Reed Conlon, So.

Nick Cristillo, Fr.

Trey Darrah, Sr.

Luke Davis, Jr.

Aiden Detman, Fr.

Weston Dickey, So.

AJ Dorman, Sr.

Austin Duddy, So.

DJ Eversole, So.

Fletcher Hammond, So.

Aris Hasley, Sr.

Cody Hazlett, Jr.

Jimmy Hazlett, Jr.

Zak Herbinko, Sr.

Tyler Hill, Jr.

Jack Hollibaugh, Sr.

Jasean Hughes, Sr.

Josh Jordan, So.

Austin Lang, So.

John Lisotto, So.

Adam Loper, So.

Seth Minor, Sr.

Dylan Moore, Fr.

Devin Nowak, Jr.

Drew Pavlik, Sr.

Brendan Pomaybo, Fr.

Nate Putz, Fr.

Robert Quillen, Fr.

Adam Rejniak, Sr.

Gio Rizzo, Jr.

Nigel Rossman, Jr.

Nate Ryan, Fr.

Ryan Sandor, Fr.

Joey Scanga, Fr.

Cody Scarantine, So.

Seth Sciubba, So.

Carmen Sciullo, Jr.

Paul Sciullo, Jr.

Justin Siford, Fr.

Corey Smith, Sr.

Dakota Tahon, So.

Kaleb Talmadge, Fr.

Jake Thimons, So.

Kameryn Trim, So.

Conner Walker, Fr.

Brandon Williams, Fr.

Noah Wright, Fr.

Kyle Yanssens, Sr.

Isaiah Yoder, Sr.

Isaac Zaremski, Sr.

Jaden Zier, Fr.

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

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