Led by a staff of former Lancers, Deer Lakes ready to turn the corner

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Tuesday, September 8, 2020 | 10:28 PM


Deer Lakes football coach Tim Burk found himself in an interesting situation earlier this year.

After last season, all of his assistant coaches went in different directions. Two decided to chase opportunities elsewhere, one moved to take over a family business, and the last received a teaching job at another school. All of a sudden, the second-year head coach who graduated from Deer Lakes in 1997 was looking for a whole new coaching staff.

In June, Burk announced his new staff, and it’s full of Deer Lakes alumni, just like himself. Now, the group is looking to create a new culture and build for the future.

“With all the new coaches, they are bringing a different type of passion, a different type of energy,” Burk said. “The kids are working hard and we are excited. Our line is mostly back, we have the guys to lead the way, and with the new coaches bringing a different dynamic, we feel we can still be successful and we are looking forward to it.”

Chad Spokeman, who played at Clarion and coached at Pine-Richland, is the new offensive coordinator. Albie Fletcher, who played and coached at Carnegie Mellon, handles the defensive coordinator responsibilities, and former Lancers head coach Todd Hazlett is the line coach.

Former Lock Haven tackle Buck Ferber is the strength and conditioning coach, and former Lancers quarterback Pat Jones, who led the program to its first playoff appearance in 2010, is coaching wide receivers and defensive backs.

Through the first few weeks of voluntary workouts, Burk said he could feel the Lancer pride all over the field, and he believes in “Passion Ignites Intensity,” which is their slogan for this season.

“The passion that these guys have for our district is going to come off as being intense, and that’s OK,” Burk said. “I think it’s starting to rub off on the kids that we have all played here, so it means more. It’s different, and they are getting that.”

With as much turnover as the Lancers had in the offseason, an adjustment period as the coaches get back into the swing of things on the sidelines would be expected. But senior running back Bruce Allman said the players are starting to embrace that change as well.

“We’ve all adjusted well to the changes, and a lot of these guys are from the area. They’ve coached before, and I think it’s been good,” Allman said.

Allman and junior running back Cody Scarantine will handle the duties in the backfield for the Lancers, and the experienced offensive line will help move the chains.

But the Lancers will have one major question to answer on offense: How do they replace the Alle-Kiski Valley’s all-time passing leader?

Aris Hasley threw for 2,368 yards as a senior last season and finished his high school career with 4,752 yards, surpassing Highlands’ Seth Cohen’s A-K Valley passing record of 4,083 yards. Given his statistical success under center, it won’t be easy for Burk to replace a player like Hasley, but the second-year coach has options.

Burk said junior Fletcher Hammond and Burk’s son, freshman Derek Burk, are battling for the position. Both quarterbacks provide different skills sets.

“Fletcher has nice touch and he’s a little more dynamic, so to speak, and he throws a good touch ball,” Burk said. “Then Derek, he just has a laser, so it will be getting him up to speed on the game. The game is a little too fast for him right now.”

With the change in staff and the turnover of players, the Lancers are ready to take on the challenge of rebuilding with a young program and a new staff that has its eyes set on the future.

Schedule

Coach: Tim Burk

2019 record: 3-7, 3-5 in Class 3A Big East

All-time record: 171-308-9

Date, Opponent, Time

9.11, at Freeport*, 7

9.18, Derry*, 7

9.25, at Valley*, 7

10.2, East Allegheny*, 7

10.9, at Burrell*, 7

10.16, North Catholic*, 7

10.23, South Allegheny, 7

*Class 3A Allegheny Conference game

Statistical leaders

Passing: Aris Hasley*

159-315, 2,377 yards, 25 TDs

Receiving: Jack Hollibaugh*

47-788 yards, 7 TDs

Rushing: Hasley*

71-406 yards, 2 TDs

*Graduated

Fast facts

• Deer Lakes’ wins last year came during a three-game winning streak from Sept. 6-20.

• Along with becoming the Alle-Kiski Valley all-time passing leader last year, quarterback Aris Hasley produced 2,776 yards of total offense for the Lancers.

• Every Lancer that caught a pass last year was a senior, other than one. They produced 2,267 receiving yards.

• The Lancers will be young in 2020 and they have a class of 21 sophomores to build from for the future.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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