PV has big plans for Drnek

ANDOVER — The Pymatuning Valley coaching staff has big plans for senior quarterback Logan Drnek this season. And he certainly is up for the challenge.

Coming off a 3-7 season in which he passed for 1,138 yards and 11 touchdowns, Drnek is asked to carry even more of a load in 2018.

“As a quarterback, of course I want to throw more,” he said. “It’s fun, you get to spread out the field, which opens up the run game. It’s exciting.”

The Lakers started out 0-4 in 2017, then won three of their last six as things started to click.

With Drnek’s progression and the loss of 1,400-yard running back Gaige Willis, coach Neal Croston and his staff have decided to use a spread offense in 2018.

“I really think he’s progressed from game five on last year,” Croston said about his 6-foot, 225-pound passer. “He had some games where he threw for 150, 200 yards at the end of the year. I really think he reads the defense well.

“Especially in high school, if you can spread that defense out, make them cover sideline to sideline, it can create holes.”

PV has had an injection of youth, athleticism and enthusiasm at the receiver position, another factor figuring into the switch.

“The receivers we have this year seem more enthusiastic about playing receiver. They seem like they want to be out there, the younger guys,” Drnek said. “They will have a little bit of a learning curve, but once we get over that I think we’ll be great. I trust I can throw to any one of the guys.”

Improvement in the passing game is important with Willis, a two-time wrestling state champion, competing in both football and wrestling at Edinboro University.

“He’s a great running back, he’s a great defensive player,” Drnek said. “There’s no way we’re going to be able to replace everything he brings, but we can piece things together.”

In a program that went 7-23 over the past three seasons, attitude is a key factor. Drnek said he thinks his teammates are headed in the right direction.

“We’ve got kids thinking we can actually win if we work hard. We’ve had more kids in the weight room than the previous year,” he said. “All around, I think everyone works harder because they saw the potential we had last year. In the offseason, if you don’t work, you lose. If you work, you win.”

The Lakers hope their hard work translates into victories. That would go along with their goals for 2018.

“Just to win, going week to week,” Drnek said. “Every game we want to go into the game thinking we can win this one.”

Drnek agrees with his coach’s assessment regarding his improvement throughout the 2017 campaign.

“There’s a spot where I really noticed where I improved. We played Cardinal in week two, it was a close game and I threw a couple picks and we ended up losing.

“Later in the season (week four) we played Garfield, a good team. I started out the game seven-for-seven and didn’t throw a pick until late in the game.

“It showed me the progression from making bad decisions one week, to later in the season playing smarter.”

His Laker teammates are hoping that improvement continues this season.