Third-year football coach Bill McDonald brought sophomore Devyn Clair along with seniors Cade Robinson and Zach McNitt to Lancaster-Lebanon’s 2017 Media Day.
Robinson, an All-State safety and wide receiver, was the leading tackler for the Bears in 2016 with 139 (13.9 average). He also had eight tackles for a loss, seven pass deflections, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, one interception and one blocked field goal.
Robinson’s presence in the secondary was a big factor in the Bears ranking second in Section 2 and fourth in the Lancaster-Lebanon League in terms of points allowed at 16.1 points per game. The unit especially stifled opponents when they were on the road. They allowed 8.8 points per game on the road.
Eight starters return on the defensive side of the ball, including Clair. As a freshman last season, Clair was third on the team in tackles with 60 (6.0 average) and he also recorded 8.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks with 3 forced fumbles and one recovery.
On offense, Clair was a running back that carried the ball 26 times for 148 yards (5.7 average) and two touchdowns.
Clearing the way for Clair and the other running backs this season will be McNitt, a center/nose guard.
“On the run blocks we’re focusing on the combos so we can work together and trying to create a wall. On the pass blocks we’re mostly picking up linebackers because we’re usually playing against a 4-3 so nobody is usually head up on me,” McNitt said while describing his blocking assignments.
McDonald and the Bears will be tasked with replacing last year’s starting quaterback, Micah Garber. He completed 60 percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
McDonald has said that this year’s job is an open competition between senior Dane Hilsher and junior Cole Patrick.
McDonald said that he was comfortable with how they have both performed so far and that they each have a slightly different skill set and level of experience.
The Bears offense under Garber was a very balanced one. The team passed for 1,823 yards and rushed for 1,431 yards. They began the season 3-0 before finishing 6-4 in McDonald’s second season.
In his first year, the team went 2-8 following an 0-10 season.