Class AA, Division I
LAST SEASON: 5-5
The Express had their best season in years, overcoming a 1-4 start to win four in a row and earn a berth in the Section 4 Class AA title game before losing 56-22 to Binghamton.
Junior Jerry McPeak returns after rushing for 1,355 yards and 18 touchdowns. He shared the Ernie Davis Award with Tom Agan of Notre Dame and Glenn Watson of Horseheads.
Senior Eli Thomas and sophomore Allaah Sessions join McPeak in what should be a potent double-wing backfield that includes senior fullback Kevin Snyder.
Who will be handing them the ball remains undecided, as senior Rasean Brooks and junior Brad Baldwin are battling for the starting quarterback job.
“They both have good command of the huddle,” Elmira coach Jim McCauley said.
They will be throwing to seniors Darius Ham, Kyrel Guinta, Luke Proudfoot and Deonte Jenkins.
The Express have depth and size along their offensive line with junior Frank Piper (6-foot-4, 270 pounds) at center; seniors Levi Stevenson and James Mechalke (6-0, 216), and junior Dom Clark (6-1, 203) at guard; and senior Tony Penn (5-11, 265), CJ Nichols and junior Randy Banks at tackle.
Banks, Ham and Proudfoot will also work on the three-man defensive line with nose tackles Anton Brown, a senior, and Matt Burge, a sophomore.
The linebackers are Snyder, Clark, Sessions, Guinta, senior Josh Townsend and Baldwin, who can also line up at safety.
Elmira will play three deep in the secondary, led by Thomas at free safety.
McPeak, Brooks, senior Jeremiah Cade and sophomore Jamey Wellington are the cornerbacks.
— Joe Mink