Pictured above: Two-way tackle Paul Higgins
The return of District 2’s receptions leader and eight starters on each side of the ball comes at a good time for the Riverside football team.
The Vikings join Carbondale as the two teams from Division 3 in the previous four-division format who are still Division 3 members in the realigned Lackawanna Football Conference. That means joining smaller school programs from the LFC, four schools that used to be in Division 4 – Old Forge, Lackawanna Trail, Susquehanna and Holy Cross.
Reese Gaughan, who caught 56 passes for 433 yards and 3 touchdowns, returns at wide receiver and safety.
Center/defensive end Zach Chilek and two-way tackle Paul Higgins are returning starters in the line on both sides of the ball.
“With an abundance of experienced players and an extremely productive offseason, we will be highly competitive in all three phases this season,” Vikings coach Harry Armstrong told NEPAFootball.com, our partner website. “Our O-Line and D-Line are likely to be our most improved position groups.”
Ed Snee returns at guard and could take over at the other defensive tackle position.
Chad Hoskins returns at defensive end and, along with Connor Sansky, is working at left guard.
Anthony Norris or Tavian Branch will be the left tackle and they are also part of the mix looking for time in the defensive line.
“We will rely on them to set the tone and bring back a physical brand and dominate the line of scrimmage,” Armstrong said of the linemen.
The Vikings also return two-way starters in fullback/outside linebacker Robby Garvey, running back/outside linebacker Miracle Okoroji and tight end/inside linebacker Richie Kostoff on offense.
Casey O’Brien returns at cornerback and Quinn Puchilowski at inside linebacker.
Either Chase Taddonio or O’Brien will be the new quarterback.
The Vikings also return their specialists – kicker Nick Damico, punter Gary Mrozinski and long snapper Anthony Norris.
Armstrong said the special teams unit “will be a weapon in the field position battles.”
All that experience gives the Vikings hope of showing significant improvement after going 0-4 in divisional play and 2-9 overall last season.