Brownsville embarks on independent schedule following another coaching change

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Thursday, August 25, 2022 | 1:11 AM


After years of despair in the WPIAL, Brownsville’s football program is on the move.

The Falcons, who’ve won just 26 games in 21 seasons since their last non-losing record (5-5) in 2000, are set to begin play this year as a PIAA Class 3A independent program after a long affiliation with the WPIAL.

They’ll do it with yet another new coach, their eighth since the late Don Bartolomucci stepped down in 1999 following a successful five-year run that included a trip to the WPIAL Class 2A championship game in 1998.

Longtime Brownsville baseball coach and athletic director Scott “Skooter” Roebuck takes over the football program from Brian Gates, a year after Gates took on the challenge but resigned after an 0-8 season led to the school’s decision to leave the WPIAL.

“To make this work, we think we need somebody in the building to keep an eye on the kids and develop relationships,” Roebuck said.

Gates, who like Roebuck is a Brownsville alum, is not employed by the school district.

“We asked a lot of people we felt were qualified to consider taking the job, but nobody stepped up,” said Roebuck, who somewhat reluctantly agreed to take charge.

“It’s going to be quite stressful,” he said, “but we felt we needed to save the program. It’s personal to me.”

Roebuck inherits a team that extended the school’s losing streak to 22 games dating to the 2019 season. Nearly half (11) have been by shut out, including four by a combined 207-0 to start the 2021 schedule.

Brownsville joins two other Fayette County-based schools — Class 4A Albert Gallatin and Class 3A Uniontown — as independents. AG seceded from the WPIAL in 2019 and Uniontown in 2020.

Brownsville is scheduled this season to face Uniontown twice and AG once.

“We actually had a couple kids say that if we’re going to be playing Uniontown and Albert Gallatin, they would like to come out and play,” Roebuck said. “There’s interest in local rivalries.”

Roebuck, 57, said a goal is to add as many players to the roster as possible, something the team has had trouble accomplishing during its ongoing struggles.

“With the program being so down, as it is, summers have been tough on coaches,” he said. “We’d been getting 20-25 for summer workouts and hoped 10 or 15 more guys would show up for heat acclimation. But the kids who’d been coming all along have been there religiously, so I think that shows there’s some promise.”

Senior Marevo Grayson and sophomore Mike Ulery, a pair of offensive linemen, already have gotten the attention of Roebuck for their dedication in preseason workouts. Their size alone — Grayson weighs 255 pounds and Ulery 230 — has impressed the Falcons coaching staff.

“We’re looking at a kid, (junior) Harlen Davis, who is going to be an athlete for us,” Roebuck said. “We’re not yet sure where he’ll be, but we’re hoping he can grasp the quarterback position because we have nobody who has any experience at quarterback.”

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound, left-handed Davis last season played mainly at H-back and linebacker.

Bryce Horabik, a 5-9, 180-pound sophomore, also will work out at quarterback, Roebuck said.

“He’ll probably be at strong safety and we’ll use Davis most likely at free safety,” he said.

While in the spring Roebuck completed his 29th season as Brownsville’s baseball coach — the Falcons have won 12 WPIAL section championships along the way — he’s also previously served as a football assistant at Belle Vernon, Geibel Catholic and, you guessed it, Brownsville.

“We’re going to give it all we’ve got to keep this thing going. We don’t want to lose our bond with football,” he said.

Even if it means the team has had to fill its schedule with unfamiliar opponents, such as Berlin Brothersvalley and Meyersdale from District 5 as well as Shadyside (Ohio), among others.

“It doesn’t matter who we play at this point,” Roebuck said. “It’s going to be good to just take a step back and get our footing. I’ve seen really good teams here, some really bad ones, unfortunately, and in between. We’re just trying to get back to some sort of respectability. We’ve tried to explain to the kids what it used to be like here. We have them looking at the trophy cases of teams from the ’80s and ’90s. It’s foreign language to them. They just don’t know, but we want to change that.

“We want to create a culture that everyone can be proud of.”

Brownsville

Coach: Scott “Skooter” Roebuck

2021 record: 0-7, 0-5 in Class 3A Interstate Conference

All-time record: 415-508-34

SCHEDULE

Date, Opponent, Time

8.26 Bentworth, 7

9.2 at Uniontown, 7

9.16 Carrick, 7

9.23 at Shadyside (Ohio), 7

9.30 Berlin-Brothersvalley, 7

10.7 Uniontown, 7

10.14 Meyersdale, 7

10.21 at Albert Gallatin, 7

STATISTICAL LEADERS

Passing: Hunter Pelehac

22-47, 295 yards, 4 TDs

Rushing: Cam’ron Howard*

3-45 yards

Receiving: Ayden Teeter*

3-150, 2 TDs

*Graduated

FAST FACTS

• First-year coach Scott Roebuck during his childhood was given the nickname, “Skooter” by his grandfather, whose favorite baseball player was New York Yankees Hall of Fame shortstop Phil “The Scooter” Rizzuto. Roebuck said he isn’t sure why the spellings differed.

• Dylan Brosky, a former pitcher for the Brownsville baseball team, coached by Roebuck, will spend his final year of college eligibility at Cincinnati. Brosky last season threw the first no-hitter at Division II Cal (Pa.) since 2014.

• Opponents last season outscored Brownsville, 319-32, in seven games. The Falcons forfeited another scheduled contest while two others were canceled because of covid-19 concerns.

• Brownsville’s scoring offense of 4.6 points per game ranked last in the WPIAL. Hopewell’s average was next at 5.0.

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