Charleroi seeks to maintain winning ways under new leadership

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Monday, August 24, 2020 | 11:55 PM


Charleroi has a new coach for the second time in three years, and the Cougars didn’t have to go far to find him.

Charleroi athletic director and former California head coach Brady Barbero was hired as the Cougars’ new head football coach in April, and he is excited to return to the sidelines after a few years away from coaching.

“After couple years off, you forget how much you miss it,” Barbero said. “Watching games here and being the athletic director, it really willed me to come back out and created that desire to come back and coach.”

Barbero was head coach at California from 2009-12 and tallied a record of 19-19 in four seasons. He joined Nick Milchovich’s Ringgold staff in 2014 and coached the wide receivers for two seasons before being named the offensive coordinator in 2016 when the Rams made a run to the WPIAL semifinals.

Now, Barbero is back at the helm and ready to help the Cougars continue their winning ways.

His predecessor, Lance Getsy, led the Cougars to the playoffs the past two seasons, including a trip to the WPIAL Class 2A semifinals in 2018 and a first-round appearance last season. Barbero will take over a team that has its entire offensive line returning but needs to replace several skill players.

“We have a lot of young guys stepping into our skill positions that we are excited about,” Barbero said. “We are hoping that our line can anchor us and lead the way.”

Senior Dyelan Edwards (6-2, 240) and junior Jake King (6-4, 280) helped pave the way for four rushers who combined for 1,854 yards and 27 touchdowns last season. Edwards was also big on defense for the Cougars last season as he racked up 57 tackles.

“Without a doubt, they are solid and they work hard,” Barbero said. “With the guys that are ready to take over the skill positions, I think we’ll have a nice mix.”

The Cougars will have to replace their leading passer, rusher and receiver from a year ago, but Barbero likes what he’s seen from the younger players so far this summer.

Barbero said junior Brendan Harps (5-9, 165) will step in at quarterback after senior Alex Conrad threw for 1,173 yards and 14 touchdowns last season. He’ll be accompanied in the backfield by running backs Nikko Pellegrini and Levi Hutchin.

As a sophomore, Pelligrini ran for 265 yards and four touchdowns on 36 carries last season. Senior Darius Cooper, who was a linemen last season and recorded 99 tackles on defense, including a team-high 13 for loss, will make the move to tight end and could possibly earn a couple carries.

With only eight seniors, the Cougars will have to overcome a lack of experience early on. To counteract that inexperience, Barbero is hoping to put his players in the best position possible.

“Just getting their feet wet and getting that first game and those first snaps under their belt to let them gain that confidence back,” Barbero said about bringing the younger players along. “From a coaching perspective, you want to put them in position to make plays, where they don’t have to do too much and go from there.”

Schedule

Coach: Brady Barbero

2019 record: 7-3, 5-2 in Class 2A Century

All-time record: 564-444-60

Date, Opponent, Time

9.11, at Frazier*, 7

9.18, McGuffey*, 7

9.25, at Waynesburg*, 7

10.2, Chartiers-Houston*, 7

10.9, at Beth-Center*, 7

10.16, Washington*, 7

10.23, at Albert Gallatin, 7

*Class 2A Century Conference game

Statistical leaders

Passing: Alex Conrad*

93-147, 1,173 yards, 14 TDs

Receiving: Legend Davis*

33-436 yards, 8 TDs

Rushing: Brayden Milhalcin*

180-972 yards, 14 TDs

*Graduated

Fast facts

• The Cougars went 7-3 last season and put together a five-game winning streak in the middle of the season.

• Behind Washington, McGuffey and Burgettstown, the Cougars had the fourth-highest scoring offense in Class 2A last season.

• Dom Pellegrini set Charleroi’s career tackles record last season with 342.

• During Barbero’s year as an offensive coordinator at Ringgold, the Rams averaged 32.9 points, which was the fourth highest in Class 4A.

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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