Albert Gallatin football loving the independent life

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Thursday, August 25, 2022 | 1:10 AM


These are the glory days of high school football at Albert Gallatin.

The story is familiar by now. In 2018, the Colonials finished 0-10 and were outscored 479-46, an average score of 48-4 with most of the games ending with a running clock. The program hadn’t had a winning season since 1983.

School officials decided to leave the WPIAL for football only and play an independent schedule made up of teams from the WPIAL, West Virginia and Maryland.

In the last three years, the Colonials are a combined 16-6, including a 6-2 overall record last season.

“I feel the 2021 season was a very special one for us,” Albert Gallatin coach Drew Dindl said. “It was a great way to send out my first four-year class of players that started this transformation at Albert Gallatin.“

The Colonials players have also enjoyed the thrill of going from zero to 16 in three seasons.

“It has been such a fun experience,” junior wide receiver/defensive back Cyrus Potkul said. “I enjoy not only playing football, but being around my teammates and coaches. The success really contributes to the fun we have on and off the field.”

The success by the Colonials has not only affected the team, but Friday nights are special again at this Fayette County school.

“I definitely see more fans in the seats at the end of games than I remember,” Dindl said. “The atmosphere is a positive one and the school spirit has increased.”

If the AG success train is going to keep on winning on the independent circuit, it will have to do so with a lot of fresh faces on board.

The Colonials return only one starter on offense and three on defense.

While inexperience will be everywhere on the Albert Gallatin roster, Dindl remains optimistic that the program’s success can be maintained.

“We have some talented skill players and ended with a successful strength and conditioning program that began in November of 2021,” he said.

Some of the players to watch include Potkul, senior running back and linebacker Jace Bowers and sophomore running back and safety Caleb DeHaven.

“Jace is a physical linebacker and big leg punter,” Dindl said. “Cyrus is athletic and has a nose for the football, and Caleb is a tough kid who runs hard and likes contact.”

Even though he’s only a junior, Potkul is embracing his new leadership role.

“I do see myself as one of the team leaders due to the fact that our team is so young,” he said.

Albert Gallatin is set for a nine-game schedule in 2022 that includes former WPIAL and City League teams now also playing an independent schedule in Carrick, Uniontown and Brownsville along with three schools from West Virginia and two from Maryland.

“Some of our team goals for this season are to win games, play hard and have fun while we are doing it,” Potkul said.

There are no championship goals for the Colonials. Just continued growth of a program that was barely surviving for the last three decades but has tasted the sweet nectar of success over the last three years.

“We just want to keep improving as a team,” Dindl said. “Continue to show growth in the program from youth all the way up to varsity. Our goal is to get back in the WPIAL whenever we feel we are ready.”

Albert Gallatin

Coach: Drew Dindl

2021 record: 6-2

All-time record: 230-354-12

SCHEDULE

Date, Opponent, Time

8.26 Connellsville, 7

9.2 at Carrick, 7

9.9 at Northern Garrett (Md.), 7

9.16 at Uniontown, 7

9.24 at Allegany (Md.), 1

10.7 at University (W.Va.), 7

10.14 at Weir (W. Va.), 7

10.21 Brownsville, 7

10.28 Spring Mills (W. Va.), 7

STATISTICAL LEADERS

Passing: Caleb Matzus-Chapman*

6-12, 140 yards, TD

Rushing: Shawn Loring*

603 yards, 6 TDs

Receiving: Bruno Fabrycki*

7-172 yards, TD

*Graduated

FAST FACTS

• Drew Dindl begins his fifth season as head coach at Albert Gallatin. He has a combined record of 16-16 in his four-year tenure.

• The Colonials rolled out to a 3-0 start last season with wins over Yough, Northern Garrett (Md.) and Uniontown. AG lost to Allegany (Md.) and University (W.Va.) with a forfeit win over Southern Garrett (Md.) in between, before the Colonials beat Charleori and Spring Mills (W.Va.) to finish with six wins, their most since an 8-2-1 season in 1981.

• Albert Gallatin only has a WPIAL football playoff record of 3-5 but has earned two district crowns. The Colonials won the district championship in 1961, beating Penn Joint in the Class AA finals, 19-6. The program’s only other postseason wins came in the 1974 season when they beat Burgettstown, 24-8, in the semifinals and rolled past Freeport, 41-6, in the Class AA title game.

• This is the 61st season of Albert Gallatin football, which merged from German and Fairchance-Georges high schools to form first Tri-Valley HS in 1987, then Albert Gallatin HS in 1994.

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