Baldwin strong at skill positions

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Friday, August 16, 2019 | 3:49 PM


Their priority is to win, and keep winning.

With halfback Angelo Priore and quarterback Mason Stahl in the backfield once again, Baldwin’s quest to secure a playoff berth appears doable.

Priore is a 5-foot-10, 220-pound senior and third-year starter. He is all muscle and he has speed, posting a 4.52 in the 40.

“Angelo is a strong, physical runner who is healthy this year,” coach Loran Cooley said. “We have pretty good skill this year so it will be difficult to load the box, and that’s where he has to take advantage of those opportunities. I’m looking for him to have a huge impact this year.”

Stahl is a 6-2, 210-pound senior and third-year starter at quarterback. He also owns the team’s fastest 40 time with a 4.49 mark.

Last season, Stahl accounted for more than 2,000 yards, passing for 1,481 yards and 16 touchdowns in 10 games.

Priore and Stahl combined for 1,231 yards on the ground, with Priore rushing for 693 and four scores on 111 carries. Stahl tacked on 538 and three scores.

“Mason is a dual threat; he can hurt you with his arm or legs,” Cooley said. “The expectation for Mason is to be smart and make great decisions offensively. He will also be utilized on defense.”

Two other catalysts are Jarren Kelly and Nasser Penn, both senior wideouts.

Kelly was the team’s leading receiver a year ago with 34 catches for 683 yards and seven touchdowns. He averaged 20.1 yards per reception.

And he displayed a nose for the end zone, leading the team in scoring. Kelly returned a kickoff and interception for a touchdown in 2018. He and Stahl were first-team all-conference selections.

“This team is something special,” Kelly said.

Penn tacked on 19 receptions for 227 yards last season.

“It will be some interesting competition that we’ll keep in-house during camp,” Cooley said. “Mason has the fastest 40 time on team. So, if Mason and Angelo race 40 yards, it has to be Mason (as the winner). If they race 100 yards, it would have to be Angelo. In a 20-yard sprint, Jarren Kelly might be the fastest.”

Two other top receivers are junior WR/LB Connor Lavelle and senior FB/LB Zach Pettit.

Baldwin’s returning players also include juniors Dorien Ford (OL/DE), Maisen Bourquin (OL/D) and C.J. Robbins (DB), and senior Matt Bauman (LB).

Junior C.J. Lucas (WR/DB) also is expected to make an impact.

This year, Baldwin faces a rebuilding job on the offensive line, as four starters departed via graduation. Bourquin manned a tackle position, while senior Joey Pracel rotated at guard and tackle.

Ford, a 6-4, 287-pound junior, should make his presence felt. He is listed as a DT, OG, FB and TE, and was selected to the Trib HSSN Preseason Football All-Star team.

As a sophomore, Ford racked up 10 tackles for a loss, and was named all-conference at defensive end.

“I will truly miss some of the senior guys,” Ford said. “They (provided) the building block as far as showing we can compete. In 2019, it’s more than that. Everyone’s starting to realize what we can do.

“We were good last year; however, teams in our conference were great. So we are are working to become great.”

Ford already has received offers from Pitt, Penn State, Maryland, Syracuse, Nebraska, Ball State, Howard, Robert Morris and Toledo.

Another impact player last fall was Robbins, who with six interceptions and three scores from his cornerback post was a first-team all-conference pick.

Pettit and Bauman finished one-two in tackles, and were complemented by Kelly, Lavelle and Penn, among others. Juniors Riley Voelker and Luke Loeffert, sophomore Nick Petrilli and senior Robbie Keefe also saw time on defense.

Baldwin ended up 4-6 overall and 2-5 in the Class 5A Allegheny 8 Conference last season.

“I definitely think the culture (of the program) is changing for the better,” said Cooley, who is in his third year as coach. “We believe in playing 48 minutes now. We know in this great conference that’s what we need to do in order to be successful.”

Baldwin opens the season at 5 p.m. Aug. 23 against The Avalon School, from Gaithersburg, Md., in a Week Zero showcase event at the Wolvarena in Turtle Creek.

“Avalon has speed, speed and more speed,” Cooley said. “They are a great football team and very well-coached. It will be a great test for us.”

Schedule

Coach: Loran Cooley

2018 record: 4-6, 2-5

All-time record: 329-386-26

Date, Opponent, Time

8.23, at The Avalon School (Md.)+, 5

8.30, at Butler, 7

9.6, at Upper St. Clair*, 7

9.13, Moon*, 7

9.20, Woodland Hills*, 7

9.27, at Chartiers Valley*, 7

10.4, at West Allegheny*, 7

10.11, Bethel Park*, 7

10.18, at Penn Hills, 7

10.25, Peters Township*, 7

*Class 5A Allegheny 8 Conference game

+At Wolvarena

Statistical leaders

Passing: Mason Stahl

106-207, 1,481 yards, 16 TDs

Receiving: Jarren Kelly

34-683 yards, 7 TDs

Rushing: Angelo Priore

111-693 yards, 4 TDs

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