Burrell vows to ‘play fast,’ push the tempo

Sunday, August 18, 2019 | 11:41 AM

When the Burrell offense takes the field this season, don’t blink, because you might just miss the entire offensive series.

Second-year coach Shawn Liotta wants to light up the scoreboard and “play fast,” a saying that has been established as this year’s team motto.

“We want to push the tempo,” Liotta said. “We run an extremely up-tempo system, and we want to get a lot of snaps, give defenses a lot of different looks, formations, shifts, motions, exotic stuff, gadgets. We do all of that.”

Last season, when the Bucs lacked experience at quarterback, rising senior Logan Phillips was placed behind center with no real familiarity of the position. He just wanted to have the opportunity to help his team in anyway he could.

“No one else wanted to do it, so I stepped up,” Phillips said. “It was a good experience for me, learning a new position. I thought it was a pretty good fit for me.”

The Bucs finished 2-8, 2-6 in the Class 3A Big East Conference, and scored 202 points. Look for things to change in Year 2 of the Liotta era because he has more of a natural fit at the quarterback position: Central Catholic transfer Alex Arledge.

“He’s a talented kid, and he’ll fit in well with what we want to do in terms of throwing the football because we want to throw the ball all over the place,” Liotta said.

Liotta also was handcuffed by limited numbers on the roster last year. During some games, he had only 18 or 19 players suited up. But that also has changed as he is starting to pull players from other sports.

“We have a lot of these first-year guys that are coming out that are older kids that are wrestling stars or baseball stars,” Liotta said.

“So we are starting to pull our athletes, which is what we were missing. We are starting to get our athletes into football, and that’s a great thing for us to see.”

Although he expects a lot out of the newcomers this season, Liotta still believes players from last season will take their talents to the next level.

Phillips moving back to wide receiver will add another offensive weapon alongside Seth Fischbach, who was Burrell’s leading receiver last year with 30 receptions for 484 yards and five touchdowns. The 6-foot-1 senior, who also had four interceptions last year as a defensive back, is excited for the amount of options they will have this season.

“A lot of people came out this year, so we have a bigger group of people on the field to throw to. We have a lot more options,” Fischbach said.

Liotta also expects a big season from Mikey Scherer, a senior who was third on the team in tackles last season with 67 and also ran for 404 yards as the team’s second running back behind 1,000-yard rusher Luke Kastelic.

Overall, Liotta believes his second campaign at Burrell is off to a great start. He has started to build numbers, implemented his systems and has formed a culture that will continue to grow over the course of the season.

“I have a plan, and we believe in the plan that we have, and I know that it will work,” Liotta said.

“The kids believe in it, and the coaches believe in it. We have great support here in the community, administration, athletic directors, principals, everyone. So that part of it has been easy. The hard work has been coming from the kids, and I knew that we were going to get this program headed in the right direction.”


Coach: Shawn Liotta

2018 record: 2-8, 2-6

All-time record: 281-252-9

Date, Opponent, Time

8.23, at Valley, 7

8.30, at North Catholic*, 7

9.6, Elizabeth Forward*, 7

9.13, at Uniontown*, 7

9.20, Yough*, 7

9.27, Deer Lakes*, 7

10.4, at Mt. Pleasant*, 7

10.11, Freeport*, 7

10.18, at Waynesburg, 7

10.25, Derry*, 7

*Class 3A Big East Conference game

Statistical leaders

Passing: Logan Phillips

61-131, 681 yards, 8 TDs

Rushing: Luke Kastelic*

186-1,025 yards, 12 TDs

Receiver: Seth Fischbach

30-484 yards, 5 TDs


Burrell roster

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

1, Thirstone Acierno, WR/DB, 5-6/135, So.

2, Trevor Hazlett, WR/DB, 6-0/160, Sr.

3, Cody Sims, WR/LB, 5-11/175, Jr.

4, Jack Henderson, WR/DB, 5-10/175, Sr.

5, Trent Valovchik, WR/DB, 5-6/140, Sr.

6, Logan Phillips, WR/RB/DB, 6-0/180, Sr.

8, Alex Arledge, QB, 6-3/190, Jr.

9, Seth Fischbach, WR/DB, 6-1/175, Sr.

11, Micahel Scherer, RB/LB, 6-0/190, Sr.

12, Kamden Marmo, QB/DB, 5-9/165, So.

19, Justin Ulizio, WR/LB, 5-11/170, Jr.

21, Caden DiCaprio, RB/LB, 6-1/200, So.

22, Connor Wojcik, WR/LB, 6-0/188, So.

24, Zach Miller, WR/LB, 5-10/185, Sr.

25, Josh Boak, RB/LB, 5-10/170, Jr.

30, Ian Durci, WR/DB, 5-8/135, Jr.

32, Cole Clark, RB/LB/DL, 5-11/170, So.

36, Nijere Floyd, RB/DB, 5-4/130, Fr.

42, Andrew Gratzmiller, WR/DB, 5-7/130, Fr.

45, Breydon Kibe, OL/DL, 5-8/147, Fr.

52, Aaron Mele, OL/DL, 5-6/180, Fr.

54, Chase Fenner, OL/LB, 5-9/150, Fr.

55, Zachary Adams, OL/DL, 6-0/220, Jr.

56, Nick Sofaly, OL/DL, 5-6/210, Jr.

58, Michael White, OL/LB, 5-10/185, So.

59, Joey Shybloski, OL/DL, 6-0/210, Jr.

60, Ricky Feroce, OL/LB, 6-3/215, Sr.

61, Ian Quinn, OL/DL, 5-10/210, Fr.

63, Connor Coleman, OL/DL, 6-0/250, So.

65, William Zeiler, OL/DL, 5-7/180, So.

68, Hunter Aites, OL/DL, 6-0/270, Jr.

72, Seth Fisher, OL/DL, 5-10/200, Jr.

74, Aaron Gates, OL/DL, 5-11/210, Jr.

75, Gavynn Thompson, OL/DL, 6-3/230, So.

77, Ryan Neville, OL/DL, 6-1/260, So.

80, Jonathan Bain, WR/DB, 6-7/175, Jr.

84, Dom Holmes, WR/LB, 6-0/175, Sr.

86, Austin McCarrell, WR/LB, 6-3/150, Fr.

88, Tyler Herman, WR/DB, 5-7/140, Jr.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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