After close calls, Latrobe searching for signature win

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Wednesday, August 18, 2021 | 6:01 AM


Latrobe has made things interesting late in the season the past two years, hanging around teams it wasn’t supposed to get in the ring with and nearly pulling stunners.

Last year, the Wildcats took Upper St. Clair for a wild ride, finally coming up short in a highlight-filled 52-44 shootout.

They also gave Woodland Hills all it could handle in a 34-31 loss in the season finale, falling just short of a WPIAL playoff spot in the Class 5A Big East.

“It’s nice to be in those games and have a chance all the way to the end (of the game and season),” Latrobe coach Jason Marucco said. “But we want to get over the top and win those games. We want that signature win.”

The Wildcats finished 2-4 (1-3 in conference) in a season marred by covid pandemic cancellations and schedule changes. They weren’t even supposed to play Upper St. Clair, but the Panthers were added when South Fayette had to change opponents.

Latrobe scored 27.8 points a game but allowed 32.3.

In its quest for sustainability, the team will rely on experience from those close games to potentially get it over the final hurdle this season.

The team must replace its leading passer, rusher and receiver.

It will start with senior quarterback Bobby Fetter, a dual threat who can be dangerous on the perimeter.

“He has stuck with it, and each game has gotten better,” Marucco said. “We’re confident in our running game. We have a lot of juniors and seniors — a veteran team.”

Fetter only attempted six passes last season and ran for 121 yards, but his production should pick up.

Senior Drake Clayton also returns at running back, and senior Kyle Brewer again will line up in the slot. Other pass-catching targets include junior Kollin Stevens, senior Marco Mongelluzzo and senior Chase Sickenberger.

Clayton led the team with 56 tackles and also rushed for 134 yards. Brewer had nine catches for 108 yards and returned a kickoff for a score.

Marucco’s front line will include key returnees in senior left guard Tyler Lynch and senior left tackle Jake Brisky.

Other linemen are senior Josh Brown, senior center Erick Landry, junior Dan Calabrace and senior Aidan Sweeney.

Lynch, Brisky and Brown are defensive ends, and Calabrace plays defensive tackle along with junior Wyatt Held.

Clayton, Brewer and junior Corey Boerio are key linebackers, a position that has produced a number of run-stoppers in recent seasons.

“I believe a big part of our team’s strength will be our bond, ” Boerio said. “This is the closest team atmosphere I’ve been around for football. We have all played together for so long that everyone trusts each other out there, which has caused the team’s confidence to skyrocket.

“I think we are definitely going to surprise people with the amount of success we have this year.”

Latrobe is disappointed the Steelers did not have training camp again at nearby Saint Vincent, but they were anxious to begin their camp with the promise of a new season.

“We were happy to get a season last year,” Marucco said. “We’re looking forward to seeing what we can do with a full season. We wondered that last year.”

Latrobe

Coach: Jason Marucco

2020 record: 2-4, 1-3 in Class 5A Big East Conference

All-time record: 457-540-38

SCHEDULE

Date, Opponent, Time

8.27 Derry, 7

9.3 at Norwin, 7

9.10 Kiski Area, 7

9.17 Mt. Pleasant, 7

9.24 at South Fayette, 7

10.1 at Gateway*, 7

10.8 Connellsville*, 7

10.15 Franklin Regional*, 7

10.22 at Woodland Hills*, 7

10.29 Penn-Trafford*, 7

*Conference game

STATISTICAL LEADERS

Passing: Landon Carns*

59 of 120, 869 yards, 6 TDs

Rushing: Dylan Gustafson*

107-674, 9 TDs

Receiving: Tucker Knupp*

16-274, 3 TDs

*Graduated

FAST FACTS

• Former Mt. Pleasant standout quarterback Johnny Yester, who played at Saint Vincent, has joined the coaching staff. He will coach receivers.

• The Wildcats will play six home games.

• Latrobe’s 27.8 scoring average from last year ranked third-best in the conference.

• Marucco is in his eighth season leading the Wildcats.

ROSTER

#, Name, Pos., Ht./Wt., Cl.

1, Tanner Popella, K/P, 5-8/150, Sr.

2, Brayden Reott, WR/CB, 6-0/165, Sr.

3, John Wetzel, QB/S, 6-1/175, Fr.

4, Corey Boerio, TE/LB, 6-1/204, Jr.

5, Chase Sickenberger, WR/S, 6-1/165, Sr.

6, Kyle Brewer, SB/LB, 6-0/180, Sr.

7, Aidan Roach, WR/CB, 5-7/120, Fr.

8, Owen Ortiz, TE/LB, 5-8/175, Jr.

9, Connor Lakin, RB/LB, 6-1/185, Jr.

10, Drake Clayton, RB/S, 5-11/195, Sr.

11, Kollin Stevens, WR/S, 5-10/165, Jr.

12, Bobby Fetter, QB/CB, 5-11/180, Sr.

13, Aidan Butina, WR/CB, 5-11/150, Jr.

14, Ben Stratton, WR/LB, 5-11/150, So.

17, Mason Krinock, WR/CB, 5-10/170, Sr.

18, Dominic Flenniken, SB/CB, 5-8/150, Jr.

20, Jace Banner, SB/LB, 5-7/145, So.

21, Ja’Tawn Williams, WR/CB, 5-9/135, So.

22, Nick Stumpf, WR/CB, 5-9/140, So.

23, Marco Mongelluzzo, WR/CB, 6-0/167, Sr.

24, Jack Drnjevich, TE/DE, 5-10/185, Fr.

25, Alex Tatsch, RB/LB, 5-11/155, Fr.

26, Aidan Vigilante, RB/LB, 5-10/160, Sr.

27, Zach Geiger, RB/LB, 6-1/195, Sr.

28, Declan Murphy, RB/LB, 5-8/160, Fr.

32, Riley Smith, QB/S, 5-10/165, So.

33, Adam Musick, WR/CB, 5-6/130, So.

34, Brady Prohovic, RB/CB, 5-5/147, Fr.

35, Tyler Bauer, SB/CB, 5-7/120, Fr.

39, Caleb Lehman, WR/LB, 6-2/170, Fr.

42, Vince Gaskey, WR/S, 5-11/140, Fr.

43, Ben Bradley, WR/CB, 5-9/110, So.

44, Braden Bronson, TE/LB, 5-7/160, Fr.

45, Christian Haskins, G/DT, 6-0/200, Fr.

50, Jacob Hixson, G/DE, 6-2/210, Jr.

51, Anthony Scarton, G/DE, 5-11/175, Fr.

52, Erick Landry, C/DE, 6-0/195, Sr.

53, Jacob Brisky, T/DE, 6-3/225, Sr.

55, Dan Calabrace, C/DT, 5-10/200, Jr.

56, Josh Brown, G/DE, 5-6/200, Sr.

58, Clayton Weaver, T/DE, 6-4/210, Sr.

59, Ray Dupilka, T/DE, 6-2/200, Jr.

60, Austin Kuhns, G/DT, 5-10/220, So.

62, Mike Jaffre, G/DT, 6-0/200, So.

63, Ben Gera, T/DE, 5-11/245, Fr.

64, Marco Galando, G/DE, 5-6/162, Fr.

66, Zach Shuey, C/DT, 5-5/290, So.

67, Connor Ellison, G/DE, 6-0/175, Sr.

68, Drew Honse , G/DT, 5-7/211, So.

71, Cody Krall, C/DT, 5-11/225, Fr.

72, Wyatt Held, G/DT, 6-2/250, Sr.

74, Aidan Sweeney, G/LB, 6-2/210, Sr.

75, Jared Bailey, G/DT, 5-11/200, So.

76, Brayden Madey, T/DT, 5-10/245, Jr.

78, Marco Scarton, T/DT, 6-0/260, Fr.

79, Tyler Lynch, G/DT, 6-0/240, Sr.

80, Justis Newman, WR/CB, 5-2/110, Fr.

81, Jacob Withrow, WR/S, 5-11/186, Sr.

85, Enzo Rodi, TE/DE, 6-1/185, Sr.

87, Tyler Weisel, WR, 6-5/175, So.

89, J.J. Sweeney, WR/CB, 6-0/170, Sr.

90, Tim Myers, TE/DE, 6-4/180, Fr.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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