Chartiers Valley looking to improve, compete in tough Parkway Conference

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Friday, August 11, 2023 | 11:17 PM


Led by Penn State recruit Lamont Payne Jr. and several other returning seniors, there was hope for Chartiers Valley in the first year of the Aaron Fitzpatrick era.

However, 2022 became a painful season for the Colts, as they finished in sixth place in the eight-team Class 4A Parkway Conference with an overall record of 2-5.

“The 2022 season was an emotional ride and a learning process,” Fitzpatrick said. “Reflecting on the season and having a true offseason has allowed the implementation of items to help change the climate and begin to develop the culture within the program.

“We can take a lot from last year, good and bad, and grow. It’s always about growth. Regardless of the outcome of the season, the boys held their focus to finish strong. I will forever be grateful for that as it has developed a hunger and the will to do better.”

Fitzpatrick talked about being smarter on the field as an area of improvement for a team that averaged just over 15 points per game while allowing over 37 points a contest a year ago.

“We need to have a better knowledge of the game and take the time to develop smart and confident football players,” he said. “Understanding situations and how to align and carry out assignments. Slow things down and get quality reps. Consistency through all phases of the game.”

That hunger drives the Colts as they prepare for the new season with the team’s first scrimmage scheduled for Aug. 19.

“I’m excited to see what we have,” Fitzpatrick said. “A lot of questions can be answered when the pads go on. We have had a great attitude and buy-in that has been a product of the offseason. We have competed throughout the summer. I’m excited for it to all come together.

“We will be young. But with that, it paints a convincing picture moving forward.”

Chartiers Valley will return six starters on offense and six on defense.

One of them is senior Tyler Glover. The 6-foot-2, 218-pound middle linebacker, defensive end, tight end and occasional punter is excited for Fitzpatrick’s second season.

“There have already been improvements such as leadership, work ethic and accountability,” Glover said. “Coach Fitz has reshaped the team from last year. I believe the improvements will make us better on offense and defense, have a more positive mindset and lead to more wins.”

Fitzpatrick offered a brief synopsis of each of his other five returning starters.

Nick Evangelista, junior offensive and defensive tackle: “He has great size and athleticism as a lineman.”

Austin Efthimiades, senior running back and linebacker: “Leading rusher last year who has gotten stronger and faster. It’s his senior year and he has something to prove. Excited to see what he can bring.”

Justin Terhune, sophomore tight end and linebacker: “He started as a freshman. He has a great knowledge of the game and is a determined worker. He has bought in and leads by example.”

Rudy Morris, senior wide receiver and cornerback: “Rudy has had a great offseason. He’s coaching guys up, leading others and encourages them to push through. Rudy brings experience from both sides of the ball.”

Dylan Czarnecki, junior wide receiver and safety: “Dylan had a great offseason. He is competitive and intelligent and has a great work ethic on and off the field.”

Glover hopes to be a strong leader this fall, leading by example to make the team better.

“The Colts have to work hard, fear no one and make big plays,” Glover said. “Everyone has to be on the same page and play like brothers in a war. Every game should be played like it’s our last. With it being my final year, I want to go as far as possible.”

Playing in the uber-competitive Parkway Conference, Fitzpatrick realizes there could be improvements overall with the team that still might make it tough to return to the postseason for the first time in three years.

“Week after week, you are competing against great teams that are big, strong, fast, and well coached,” Fitzpatrick said. “I said it before and will say it again: This is what you want. You battle week in and week out, embracing all the adversity when it comes and pushing to the limit. That’s football. There’s a lot of respect toward each team in this conference. Class 4A is filled with exciting football.”

Chartiers Valley

Coach: Aaron Fitzpatrick

2022 record: 2-8, 2-5 in Class 4A Parkway Conference

All-time record: 246-361-5

SCHEDULE

Date, Opponent, Time

8.25 South Fayette, 7

9.1 Trinity, 7

9.8 at Highlands, 7

9.15 Central Valley*, 7

9.22 at Blackhawk*, 7

9.29 West Allegheny*, 7

10.6 New Castle*, 7

10.13 at Montour*, 7

10.20 at Aliquippa, 7

10.27 Ambridge*, 7

*Conference game

STATISTICAL LEADERS

Passing: Gavin Owens*

105-195, 1,217 yards, 8 TDs

Rushing: Austin Efthimiades

142-621 yards, 7 TDs

Receiving: Lamont Payne Jr.*

34-524 yards, 3 TDs

*Graduated

FAST FACTS

• Aaron Fitzpatrick begins his second season as head coach at Chartiers Valley after nine years as a Colts assistant.

• The Colts missed the district playoffs for a second straight year. In 2021, they lost the final game of the regular season in a win-and-in scenario against Montour. Last fall, they lost their first six games and ended up missing the postseason by two games in the tough Parkway Conference.

• Speaking of the playoffs, Chartiers Valley hasn’t won a postseason game in 16 years and is 2-13 all-time in the WPIAL football playoffs. Their most recent postseason win came in 2007, when they beat Franklin Regional in a Class AAA first-round game, 28-21. The other Colts playoff win came two years earlier in a 2005 Class AAA opening-round game against Hopewell, 45-13. The Colts’ first playoff appearance was 42 years ago in a Class AAAA first-round loss to North Hills, 13-10.

• This is the 63nd season of Chartiers Valley football, including preceding schools in the district.

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