Archbishop Wood's Kyle Adkins among first-year head football coaches

New Archbishop Wood head football coach Kyle Adkins gives directions to his players during a practice.

Kyle Adkins realizes the expectations that come with taking charge of a football team that went 133-22-1 and won five PIAA state championships in the last 11 seasons under his predecessor.

“I know it’s there, but I can’t control any so-called pressure,” the 24-year-old Adkins said. “My concern is having a good practice today and then another good practice tomorrow.”

Adkins was named the new coach in April. Steve Devlin, who last year guided the Vikings to a 12-2 record and their fifth state crown in seven seasons, left to become the defensive coordinator at Ursinus College.

Camera icon WILLIAM THOMAS CAIN / For The Inquirer
New Archbishop Wood head coach Kyle Adkins.

Adkins was a defensive back and linebacker at Wood (class of 2012) and a defensive back at Ursinus. He was the Vikings’ defensive coordinator the last two seasons.

Wood, seeking its 10th consecutive PIAA District 12 title, returns seven starters on defense and five on offense.

“We have 27 seniors, which is a lot for us, but a lot of them are inexperienced,” said Adkins, a medical sales representative.

Adkins said two of Wood’s veteran assistants, offensive coordinator Chip Ross and wide receivers and defensive backs coach Kurt Stengel, “are guys that are very important moving forward.”

Rick Pennypacker, who won 237 games in 29 seasons at Pottsgrove, stepped down after last season. Bill Hawthorne, who spent the last 19 years as the Falcons’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, is now at the helm.

“A lot of people think it’s a negative replacing a legend,” Hawthorne said. “But I see it as a positive because Rick established a winning tradition and left the program in a pristine state.”

Camera icon Courtesy of Pottsgrove.
Pottsgrove head football coach Bill Hawthorne.

Hawthorne was a freshman at Pottsgrove when Pennypacker, who was an offensive lineman at West Virginia, took over the Falcons. Pennypacker, who coached for 41 years, had a run-heavy offensive strategy.

“We’re still going to try to establish the running game,” Hawthorne said, “but we’re planning to spread the field out a little more with the pass.”

Hawthorne, 43, played quarterback and outside linebacker at Pottsgrove (class of 1993) and was a quarterback at Dickinson.

Camera icon Courtesy of Frankford
Frankford head football coach Bill Sytsma.

Another new head coach is Frankford’s Bill Sytsma, a 1997 graduate of the school. He was the Pioneers’ offensive coordinator last season and the quarterbacks coach the previous three years.

“This is real exciting for me, especially since I grew up in Frankford,” Sytsma said. “It’s probably one of the most historic teams in the country.”

Camera icon Credit of Archbishop Carroll
Archbishop Carroll head football coach Kyle Detweiler.

Kyle Detweiler is Archbishop Carroll’s new boss. The 30-year-old coach replaced Dan Connor, a standout linebacker at Strath Haven and Penn State who left after two seasons to become Widener’s defensive coordinator.

Carroll last season went 3-8 overall and 0-6 in the talent-heavy Catholic League Red Division. The Patriots have since moved to the Blue Division.

“Our kids have had to get adjusted to a whole new system,” Detweiler said. “They did some nice things in our scrimmage Saturday against Penn Wood.”

Coaching Changes

School: new coach; former coach

Archbishop Carroll: Kyle Detweiler; Dan Connor

Archbishop Wood: Kyle Adkins; Steve Devlin

Central Bucks West: Rob Rowan; Chas Cathers

Conestoga: Matt Diamond; Marquis Weeks

Delco Christian: Lloyd Hall; Drew Pearson

Frankford: Bill Sytsma; Dominic Doyle

Kennett: Lance Frazier; Josh Kaufman

Lower Merion: Evan Breisblatt; Bryan Scopelliti

Methacton: David Lotier; Paul Lepre

Morrisville: Steve Schweiker; Derrick Savage

Norristown: Joseph Milligan; Jason Powel

Palumbo: Josh Kaufman; Scott Pitzner

Pennridge: Cody Muller; Jeff Hollenbach

Phoenixville: Don Grinstead; Evan Breisblatt

Pottsgrove: Bill Hawthorne; Rick Pennypacker

Prep Charter: Dan Skalski; John Wagner

Upper Moreland: C.J. Szydlik; Adam Beach

Valley Forge Military: Brian Goettner; Mike Korom

W.C. Henderson: Stefan Adams; Steve Mitten

William Tennent: Rich Clemens; Leo Plenski

Wissahickon: Bruce Fleming; Randy Cuthbert