From just 17 players on the roster when he took over the program to now 60, even though 41 are freshmen and sophomores, Kropka has this program moving in the right direction.

“We don’t have a lot of returning guys back so we’ve had to take it very very slow this off season I’ve had to patience this off season. But everybody is showing up and working hard so the arrow is definitely pointing up were going to go through some growing pains this year.”

Justin Kropka

The good news for coach Kropka he does return some outstanding skill players starting with junior quarterback Ayden Ludolph along with junior running back Tevin Williams and junior tight end Alex Reese.

On the line, they return seniors Travis Trout and Shaden Fogle, and also look for fellow senior Andrew Leiffer at guard. Unfortunately at least to start the season they will be without senior wideout Baron Lucy who suffered a leg injury in a scrimmage. To try and fill the spot they will lean on seniors Turner Kroll and Carter Bennett.

“Were going to count on those three juniors we think are pretty special football players. Were going to kind of lean on our skill guys for a while until the other guys catch u with them because I think four out of our top eight are freshmen and sophomores maybe five out of eight of our guys up front are freshmen and sophomores so there’s talent there we just have to develop. “

Justin Kropka

Defensively they have Reese and senior Cam Beasley at the ends, Trout at a tackle. Fogle and Leiffer at linebacker Williams at a corner and Ludolph at safety. The key on that side of the ball is their speed.

‘ We’re fast, we’re just young. A couple times we get caught out of position here and there, we’ve gotten better defensively as the two-a-days have progressed. I think we’re an ascending team on both sides of the ball and it’s how fast we ascend will determine our wins and loses this year.”

Justin Kropka

Kropka and the Purple Riders will try to grab their first win of the year when they visit Shadyside on the 18th.