MIDDLETOWN -- "The vision of a champion is someone who is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion when no one is watching
." - Anson Dorrance
Pennsylvania's Middletown High School lies in the shadow of Three Mile Island, the site of the United States' most infamous partial nuclear meltdown in 1979.
Gridiron die hards in this football-radioactive community regard last season's two-win campaign as a near-catastrophic disaster.
Head coach Rob Deibler had tremendous success at his alma mater Steel-High School, where he won the state title in 2009 behind Penn State All-American defensive lineman Jordan Hill. Deibler got the Middletown job late last year and couldn't implement his full game plan and strategies he had planned for the Blue Raiders.
With the regular season scheduled to kick off on August 31 against rival Lower Dauphin, this off-season has been different.
A full schedule of preparations, including three-a-days, before the normal pre-game practice routine is implemented.
The grueling pace is right up junior Mel Fager III's alley. He had a busy summer preparing for the upcoming kickoff. He trekked to Happy Valley for both the Nittany Lions Advanced Skills and 3-Day Camp. He followed that up with a one-day combine at the University of Delaware.
The versatile 6'0" star is one of several major college prospects on the Middletown squad. Fager averaged over 23 yards a catch on ten receptions as a wideout while averaging 42 yards a punt as a sophomore. He is regarded as a solid defender as the team's starting free safety and will likely handle place-kicking duties as well.
He does everything except sell popcorn at the refreshment stand at half time.
Fager's expectations for team and self are significantly elevated for the 2012 season.
"We are a better conditioned group than a year ago," stated Fager. "Coach (Deibler) has been able to implement his entire game plan for us. I've been able to get quality practice reps at all wide receiver positions. I'm excited about the spread offense and the progress of our senior quarterback Jared Truesdale."
Others to watch for on the Middletown roster include lineman Nick Drawbaugh and running back Chris Hollanam, both juniors.Dan Picca is the Executive Sports Editor/National Recruiting Director for Upper Hand Promotions. Used with permission.