The military upbringing is easy to see when you first meet Tommy Misiak. The Saucon Valley High School two-way lineman answers a visitor’s question with “yes sir” and “no sir” in virtually every response.
His father, Chris, served six years in the Navy and the apple does not far from the tree. Misiak is also a catcher on the Saucon Valley baseball team as well as the Hellertown American Legion team, so being in front of the action fits right into his militaristic wheelhouse.
Even the colleges Misiak is looking at — Coast Guard Academy among others — fit Misiak’s career plan.
“I’ve always loved attention to detail,” Misiak said. “Some guys get bored by it but I never do. The discipline part of it, too, I like. I really like baseball, but right now football is my focus. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the greatest sport ever invented.”
Misiak, at 5-foot-11, 215 pounds, is a four-year starter for Saucon Valley as a defensive end. He’s entering his third year as a starter at offensive guard.
This training camp is not his first rodeo, and he knows exactly what to do to prepare himself for the long grueling 10-game Colonial League schedule with the hope that there will be some bonus (postseason) football at the end of the rainbow.
“I don’t want to set any number (of wins) for the season,” Misiak said. “Playoffs are an option and the main thing in training camp is we become assignment perfect. We need to develop some team building.”
Misiak is part of a defensive line that returns intact for coach Matt Evancho, who enters his seventh year at Saucon Valley. Also back are sophomore Mike Kane, who started last year at end, and tackles Marco Santiago and Matt Ehritz.
Defense is a big part of Saucon Valley’s focus in camp. The Panthers gave up 239 points in 11 games last year during a 4-7 season, much too much for Evancho’s liking.
Misiak’s big moment on defense last year was a forced fumble and subsequent recovery against Northern Lehigh in Week 3.
“I hit the quarterback as he was handing off, the ball got jarred loose and I fell on it,” Misiak said. “I tried to get back up and run with it but you can only do that in the NFL. So we got the ball where I fell on it.”
Despite the Panthers returning eight players on offense and six on defense, most of the preseason hype has been focused on defending league champion Catasauqua and defending District 11 Class AA titlist Pen Argyl.
“All that matters is what we feel in our locker room,” Misiak said. “It’s not surprising no one is picking us. But if that means we can sneak up and surprise people, that’s OK.”
Offensively, Misiak and Tyler Kehs return at the guards along with Ehritz at center and Santiago at tackle. Keith Mosher, who threw for 765 yards and six touchdowns last year, is back at quarterback with running back Nick Savant, who ran for 1,504 yards and 11 TDs last year, also back.
Evancho is moving Justin Blobe from tight end to fullback to take advantage of his lead blocking. So look for Savant to be an even bigger part of the offense this fall.
Coach: Matt Evancho (seventh season, 28-37)
2012 record: 4-7 overall, 4-6 league
Returning starters: Sr. C/DT Matt Ehritz, Sr. G/DE Tommy Misiak, Sr. G/MLB Tyler Kehs, Sr. OT/DT Marco Santiago, Sr. WR Josh Shuck, Sr. QB/CB Keith Mosher, Sr. RB/CB Nick Savant, Sr. RB/OLB Justin Blobe, So. DE Mike Kane, Jr. SS Justin Propsner.
Key returnees: Sr. WR Mathias Burdumi, Sr. LB Andrei Gausling.
Top newcomers: So. OT/OLB Brandon Blobe, So. G Christian Carvis, Jr. TE Chris Magan, So. WR Nate Harka, So. FS Zach Thatcher.
Home field: Montford Illick Stadium
Loading Photo Gallery