North Pocono quarterback has his sights set on a playoff return
“We came into last season chasing us, but now we are the ones that have to chase the other guys if we want to get back on top,” said North Pocono’s Donny Blaine.
Since making his debut with the Trojans as a freshman, Blaine knows all about the hunt.
During his term as the quarterback, he’s been with the team when they were they were on the upswing, saw them through to a district championship, and helped keep them in the mix after losing some key components following their title taking season.
“We didn’t do too bad last year,” Blaine said. “I think a lot of people weren’t really expecting us to do as well as we did. We had a good run toward the end of the year and made it to the second round of the playoffs.”
The Trojans closed with a 7-5 overall record last fall.
Their losses came at the hands of Scranton High, Delaware Valley, Valley View and Scranton Prep during the regular season.
The local lads eventuall fell to Berwick in the D2 tournament.
Prep handed the Trojans a heavy blow, but the losses to the Cougars and Knights weren’t that severe. What stuck in Blaine’s head was the smackdown they got from the Warriors.
“We got shut out by DV,” said the North Pocono senior. “After that we knew we had to get some things dialed in and work even harder.”
Blaine struggled with his own rushing as a freshman and sophomore, closing both seasons with a loss in yardage, but pulled things together as a junior, picking up 90 yards on 40 carries.
He also ran the ball twice as much during his junior season than he did in both previous years combined.
As a frosh, Blaine split time in the slot with Luke Fetter. That season he connected on 65 of 121 attempts for 817 yards which resulted in nine touchdowns with only three picked off.
He also completed one 2-point pass conversion and ran for a score.
Sophomore season was largely a running game for the Trojans. Nevertheless, Blaine threw for 1,158 yards, hitting his receivers 69 of 161 times for nine TDs while giving up a half-dozen picks.
The exodus of talent after that title winning season meant Blaine would have to step up more during his junior year.
He reached the end zone seven times rushing and connected for another 13 TDs on pass plays as a junior. While he still gave up six interceptions, his overall passing yardage increased to 1472, making 78 completions on 142 tries.
Twice he passed for 2-point conversions and ran one in himself. Defensively, Blaine also picked off two opposing quarterbacks.
Athletically, Blaine has been recognized for his achievements on the grid.
He's been named to the Lackawanna Football Conference First Team for Division II.
Academically, he has been a high honor roll student and has been inducted into the National Honor Society. He belongs to SADD and also is a member of the North Pocono Track & Field team.
Donnie gets inspiration from several athletes.
Among his favorites are Saquon Barkley, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.
He’s a fan of the Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Flyers, and the New York Mets.
The Trojans will welcome Old Forge on August 18 when the Blue Devils come to town for a scrimmage.
They’ll commence their LFC schedule on August 24 when they head to West Scranton and will stay on the road during Week #2 when they visit Western Wayne.
Trojan fans will have to wait until September 7 to see the team in action at home. That night they will take on Scranton High.
Senior season will be a time to shine for Blaine.
While he has his sights set on majoring in economics in college, he’d also like the opportunity to continue playing football.
He’s already been in conversation with a few Eastern Pennsylvania universities, but right now, it’s just that.
“If the opportunity to play comes from a school with a good program in my major, that would be great,” Donnie said.
“But, I know I could walk off the field at the end of the season having played my last game too. I want to have a fun season and end the year knowing I gave all I could.”