by Robin Prestage
In many ways, the coming season represents a fresh start for Morrisville High School Bulldogs. A new head coach and assistant coaches and a handful of new, younger players are all eager to succeed and put the team’s recent less-than-stellar seasons behind them.
“We’re a little young with only a few seniors but we have a really good core group of juniors,” says head coach Bill Quill, during a break in practice sessions on the field at the West Palmer Street campus.
Quill, 45, was appointed by Morrisville School Board in March to lead the team into the new season, following 17 years as president and coach of the Little Bulldogs, which he describes as a feeder program for the high school team. He believes that a weak schedule last year with matches against smaller schools did the team no favors.
“I want to try and get a tougher schedule to help better prepare us for the top teams in the league and especially for the Thanksgiving Day matchup with Bristol.”
The Turkey Day game with archrivals Bristol Warriors is nothing less than the equivalent of a Super Bowl for these two teams and their towns, he says. Quill mentioned several players to watch for this season, among them his “main man,” quarterback Eric Wilcox, who earned his spot after filling in during last season for the injured Matt Cookson, who graduated this summer. Described by his coach as a fine athlete, Eric also shines at baseball.
“We’re young, but we’re coming together as a team with a lot of heart,” says Eric, who grew up in Morrisville and is entering his senior year.
Offensive lineman Gary Boyd joined the team when his family moved to the town during last season and will be a junior this year. He’s excited about the Bulldogs’ prospects, especially with new coaches and players and improved training facilities at the school. He believes the team is better disciplined this year.
Coach Quill’s other top picks are two juniors: running back Jimmy Miller and tight end Elijahr Rankins, who is also the team’s backup quarterback. Quill’s new “great group of assistants,” as he calls them, includes assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Jason Bresnan and assistant defensive coordinator Steve Cominski, both of whom are Morrisville alumni.
Quill makes a point of saying he is grateful for the support the Bulldogs receive from local restaurants who donate food and refreshments for the players: Dacy’s Pub, Ben’s Deli, Anthony Pizza, LaVilla and Original Pizza.
The Bulldogs are eager to improve on last season’s 3-4-0 league tally (7-5-0 overall) and their major competition is again likely to come from Lower Moreland, Calvary Christian Academy and Springfield Township, three of the four teams that finished ahead of them in the Bicentennial League.
The Bulldogs begin their new campaign on the road at New Hope-Solebury on September 9th, followed by their home opener against Springfield Township on September 16th.
Of course, the Thanksgiving Day clash with Bristol, who finished just above them in the league table last year, is the game everyone is waiting for.
PHOTO CAP: Bulldog Head Coach Bill Quill (left) with quarterback Eric Wilcox.