After trying season, Greensburg C.C. presses forward with talented roster, high hopes
Monday, August 22, 2022 | 12:01 PM
Nothing could have prepared Greensburg Central Catholic’s Marko Thomas for what he and his team faced in his first year as head coach of the Centurions.
Two of his assistant coaches — William “BJ” Farrell and Joe Oslosky — died within less than a week of one another, just days before the WPIAL Class A playoffs, leaving the program in a state of shock and dismay.
The Centurions decided to go forward with their playoff game against Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and, despite a 28-8 loss that was closer than the score indicated, they are glad they did.
The move helped the team push on. Healing is ongoing, but the Centurions are back to the grind.
“BJ and Joe would have wanted us to play,” Thomas said. “The kids needed to play. It was tough for all of us. I still tear up when I talk about it.”
Farrell died from an undisclosed reason and Oslosky was killed in a vehicle accident on the way to Farrell’s funeral.
“For some of the kids, that was their first time at a funeral,” Thomas said. “You hope there is a lesson here. Life is short. Make the most of each day and appreciate what you have.”
Farrell’s catchphrase was, “Embrace the suck,” meaning to face tough times head on. There is an odd irony in it with his passing.
GCC also had another assistant, Shane Goydich, suspended for a year because of a recruiting violation.
Thomas and his new-look staff are not taking anything for granted as they move the program forward.
“You wonder if there’s a curse or something,” Thomas said. “It can take a turn quickly.”
The Centurions will remember Farrell and Oslosky fondly when they take the field for a new season with a skill-stacked roster that could make noise in Class A.
“We’re excited,” Thomas said. “There is some nice potential there.”
Six starters return from a 6-5 team, including senior Nate Dlugos, who makes a full-time switch to wide receiver, junior quarterback Tyree Turner, senior lineman/linebacker Ryan Kimmel, senior running back/defensive back Jaydin Canady and senior receiver/defensive back Amari Mack.
Also keep an eye on junior Da’json Craggette, a running back and linebacker.
Freshman Samir Crosby, a Jeannette transfer, also is expected to make an impact as a quarterback or receiver.
The lines possess the most question marks. Senior Elijah Washington returns, and Thomas hopes to develop sophomore Jarrell Braxton, seniors Dean Crissman and Mike Locotch and first-year player Nick Hauser.
Junior Nick Dlugos, another WR/DB, is set to return from a broken leg he suffered during track and field season.
Turner passed for 882 yards and nine touchdowns, Canady ran for a team-best 469 yards, and Nate Dlugos led with 20 receptions. (Mack had 19.)
Kimmel was a defensive leader with 33 tackles, seven for loss, and a team-best eight sacks.
Turner could also see increased time on defense.
Another player to keep an eye on is Yough transfer Shane Swope, a junior who played quarterback at Monessen and Yough but could play receiver and defensive back.
Other players looking to find a role in the team’s success include senior Dom Vitula (WR/DB), sophomore Ethan Shawley (RB/LB), junior Pete Mazowiecki (WR/DB), sophomore Tucker Lloyd (WR/LB), and senior Dean Crissman (WR/LB).
With big-play potential, GCC should score some points and move the ball. Anything that stunts that ability had better not be self-inflicted, Thomas said.
GCC had three one-score losses.
“Against Canevin, we had five turnovers,” Thomas said. “Against Clairton, we couldn’t finish. When we played Leechburg, we took the lead then let them dink and dunk down the field.
“It’s about the little things. We can’t kick ourselves in the butt. We can’t beat ourselves, and we have to limit penalties. We have to worry about the things we can control, not the things we can’t.”
Defending WPIAL champion Bishop Canevin is no longer in the Eastern Conference, but the Crusaders will play GCC early in the season.
“We play some good games early, so we should have a good idea of what we have,” Thomas said. “We like our offense and hopefully we can build off of it. We’ll make a few little tweaks and bends to our five basic plays.”
Coach: Marko Thomas
2021 record: 6-5, 4-3 in Class A Eastern Conference
All-time record: 361-244-18
Date, Opponent, Time
8.26 at Mt. Pleasant, 7
9.3 at Bishop Canevin, 7
9.9 West Greene, 7
9.16 at Washington, 7
9.23 at Springdale*, 7
9.30 Clairton*, 7
10.7 at Frazier*, 7
10.14 Jeannette*, 7
10.22 at Riverview*, noon
10.28 Leechburg*, 7
Passing: Tyree Turner
62-124, 882 yards, 9 TDs
Rushing: Jaydin Canady
51-469, 4 TDs
Receiving: Nate Dlugos
20-334, 3 TDs
• A few new assistants have joined Mark Thomas’s coaching staff. Rocco Yauger is the strength and conditioning coach, while athletic director Dan Mahoney will work with the offensive line and former Connellsville coach Bill Maczko the defensive line. AJ Tarpley is the running backs coach, while Sergio Bell will assist with the offensive line.
• Sonny Thomas, the father of the head coach, has retired after 50-plus years on the sidelines and numerous stops around the WPIAL.
• Nonconference games include Mt. Pleasant, Bishop Canevin, West Greene and Washington.
• The Centurions will wear new uniforms, including black helmets with a maroon stripe.
• GCC went away for training camp again this year. The Centurions visited Pine Springs Camp in Jennerstown for the first week of camp.
No., Name, Pos., Ht./Wt., Cl.
0, Dasjon Craggette, RB/CB, 5-10/190, Jr.
1, Jaydin Canady, 5-9/180, Sr.
3, Tony Nickischer, RB/CB, 5-5/120, Fr.
4, Camden Petrunak, QB/WR/CB, 5-9/160, Jr.
5, Amari Mack, RB/FS, 5-11/185, Sr.
6, Nate Dlugos, QB/CB, 6-2/180, Sr.
7, Issac Swope, 5-11/180, So.
9, Shane Swope Jr., 5-10/150, Jr.
10, Tyree Turner, QB/CB/OLB, 5-11/183, Jr.
11, Nick Dlugos, WR/SS, 5-11/180, Jr.
12, Samir Crosby, QB/FS, 5-10/150, Fr.
13, Peter Mazowiecki, WR/CB, 5-8/180, Jr.
14, Dom Piper, Wr/CB, 5-9/145, So.
15, Aidan Allison, WR/CB, 5-9/155, So.
16, Jackson McMullen, QB/WR/CB, So.
18, Landon Honick, WR, 5-8/135, Fr.
21, Dom Vitula, WR/CB, 6-0/190, Sr.
22, Ethan Shawley, RB/WR,MLB, 5-10/180, So.
23, Jackson Lowden, WR/CB, 5-8/120, Fr.
24, Brayen Hill, WR/FS, 6-2/205, Sr.
26, Evan Stasko, WR/CB, 6-0/170, Jr.
32, Tucker Lloyd, SB/OLB, 6-0/185, So.
50, Nick Hauser, DE, 6-0/220, Sr.
54, Ryan Kimmel, C/DE, 6-2/225, Sr.
55, Joseph Rehak, OT/G/DT, 5-6/240, Jr.
56, Dean Crissman, G/MLB, 6-1/215, Sr.
58, Mikey Lucotch, G/MLB, 5-9/202, Sr.
63, Henry Detwiler, T/DE, 5-9/150, Fr.
68, Jacob Reitler, G/DE/K, 6-0/185, So.
70, Matt Mazowiecki, 5-8/185, Fr.
73, Joseph Kudla, OT/DE, 6-4/245, Jr.
75, Elijah Morgan-Washington, C/DT, 6-2/265, Sr.
78, Jarrell Braxton, C/NG, 6-0/270, So.
88, Ty Rozier Jr., WR/OLB, 6-2/175, So.
Note: Due to a production scheduling conflict, the preview for Eastern Conference member Frazier will appear on Trib HSSN later this week.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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