Behind alum Ben Hoffer, Yough aims to turn program around

Friday, August 19, 2022 | 12:01 PM

Watching the Yough football program fall into disrepair was a cringe-worthy endeavor for proud alum Ben Hoffer, who used to shed tacklers and score touchdowns with ease when he played on Cougar Mountain.

The new coach has big plans for his alma mater — “big” being a relative term.

He has to pump the brakes sometimes when he talks about the season starting.

“We have to get that first win first,” Hoffer said. “We have to compete. We need to be down by four in the fourth quarter and score a touchdown late to win. We’re a young team, but if we can get a win early, our kids can start believing it can happen.”

Yough finished 1-9 last season and has not won more than three games in a season since 2016. It has not appeared in a playoff game since 2013. Blah, blah, blah, say the Cougars who are tired of hearing about the past and want to forge ahead into the future.

“I hope I am here for a long time and can turn it around,” Hoffer said. “Moving to 2A will be a big help for us.”

Down from Class 3A, Yough will compete in the Allegheny Conference with Apollo-Ridge, Burrell, Derry, Imani Christian, Ligonier Valley, Serra Catholic and Steel Valley.

A more experienced line could be a strong suit for the Cougars, who have several potential ball carriers behind sophomore quarterback Raidon Kuroda.

Kuroda saw limited time last year but, “he started the game we won last year,” Hoffer said.

Senior Gavin Roebuck, who also played quarterback in the past, will move to running back and also catch passes as a receiver.

Senior JJ Waller and junior Terek Crosby are others in the backfield stable.

Freshman Nate Bell will back up Kuroda.

To the line: sophomores Aidan Humenik and Colin Casper will be key cogs, along with seniors Dustin Fitzgibbons and Tanner Jarmon, junior Deandre Harvey, freshmen Corbin Reinstadtler and RJ Salazar, and sophomores Lukas Waltonbaugh and Bryce Harvey.

“We should be about 60-40 run to pass,” Hoffer said. “We have some versatility with guys like Roebuck, Sarver and JJ. And Raidon can run the ball, too.

“They can play multiple positions, which should help with our play-calling.

Sophomore Beau Yuhas and junior Julian Varrenti are H-back/tight end types, while freshman Ryan Sarver is another pass-catching threat.

Defensively, the Cougars have Varrenti, Kuroda, Ian Sarver, Reinstadtler, junior Colby Fender and sophomores Aidan Thornton, Justin Carlheim and Kiron Yates at linebacker.

Junior Mikey Nogy will be at corner, joining defensive backs in Roebuck, Waller and sophomores Joey Weinhoffer and Collin McGill in the secondary.

Blake Ulander (RB/LB) and Hunter Fallecker (OL) also will compete for spots.

“If we go with an odd front with five guys, that might work better against some teams in our section,” Hoffer said. “A lot of them like to run.”

Hoffer was an assistant at East Allegheny for nine years so the Cougars might show some spread formations like the Wildcats used, while working out of a 3-5 set on defense.

“I might call the defense,” Hoffer said. “We’ll be multiple. I want to keep it simple.”


Coach: Ben Hoffer

2021 record: 1-9, 1-5 in Class 3A Interstate Conference

All-time record: 159-333-11


Date, Opponent, Time

8.26 South Allegheny, 7

9.2 at Mt. Pleasant, 7

9.9 Charleroi, 7

9.16 Derry*, 7

9.23 at Burrell*, 7

9.30 Ligonier Valley*, 7

10.7 at Serra Catholic*, 7

10.14 Apollo-Ridge*, 7

10.21 at Steel Valley*, 7

10.28 Imani Christian*, 7

*Conference game


Passing: Gavin Roebuck

45-96, 304 yards, 0 TDs

Rushing: Tristan Waldier*

50-231, 2 TDs

Receiving: Waldier

26-183, 0 TD


• Hoffer was the all-time leading rusher at Yough until Dustin Shoaf broke his mark a few years ago.

• Yough’s lone win last year came in Week 9 against Brownsville, 49-26.

• Joe Korpar, 66, an assistant when Gary Dongilli coached Yough, takes over the coaching duties as the offensive coordinator.


No., Name, Pos., Ht./Wt., Cl.

2, Brendon Converso, RB/DB, 5-7/135, Sr.

3, Cole Keller, WR/DB, 5-11/160, Sr.

4, Ryan Sarver, WR/Db, 5-9/150, Fr.

5, Raidon Kuroda, QB/LB, 5-10/175, So.

6, Beau Yuhas, TE/DE, 6-3/200, So.

7, Blake Ulander, RB/LB, 5-11/170, Sr.

9, Nathaniel Bell, QB/DB, 6-1/165, Fr.

10, Gavin Roebuck, WR/DB, 5-10/190, Sr.

11, JJ Waller, WR/DB, 5-10/170, Sr.

12, James Shoman, WR/DB, 6-0/160, Sr.

13, Colin Magill, WR/DB, 5-11/155, So.

15, Joey Weinhofer, WR/DB, 5-10/160, So.

17, Aidan Thornton, WR/DB, 5-8/140, So.

18, Aidan Werner, K, 5-10/150, Sr.

20, Michael DeBernardo, WR/DB, 5-8/130, So.

21, Dylan Gebadlo, WR/DB, 5-9/160, So.

22, Antonio Marra, WR/DB, 5-10/140, Jr.

24, Sam Smalich, RB/LB, 5-7/170, So.

25, Mikey Nogy, WR/DB, 5-11/160, Jr.

29, Ian Sarver, RB/LB, 6-1/185, Sr.

34, Julian Varrenti, RB/LB, 6-2/200, Jr.

51, Tanner Jarmon, OL/DL, 6-0/280, Sr.

53, Collin Kasper, OL/DL, 5-8/240, So.

55, Evan Kenders, OL/DL, 5-11/200, Fr.

58, Brett Suehr, OL/DL, 6-3/220, Sr.

59, Colby Fender, OL/DL, 5-10/200, Jr.

60, Jose Salazar, OL/DL, 5-9/220, Fr.

61, Lukas Waltonbaugh, OL/DL, 5-9/300, So.

64, Bryce Harvey, OL/DL, 5-11/190, So.

66, Corbin Reinstadtler, OL/DL, 6-0/220, Fr.

68, Hunter Fallecker, OL/DL, 6-0/210, Jr.

71, D’Andre Harding, OL/DL, 6-4/345, Jr.

73, Chris Blair, OL/DL, 5-11/260, Fr.

74, Dustin Fitzgibbons, OL/DL, 6-0/230, Sr.

75, Aiden Humenik, OL/DL, 5-11/220, So.

Note: Due to publishing scheduling conflicts, the preview for Allegheny Conference team Serra Catholic will appear on Trib HSSN next week.

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

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