Chartiers Valley looks to keep ball rolling

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Monday, August 23, 2021 | 6:01 AM


It seems like every fall, there are those high school football programs around the WPIAL that are a gridiron force. No matter how many players they lose to graduation, they always find a way to be in the championship mix.

However, there are also teams each season that burst on the scene and turn tough times from the previous year into Friday night success through September and October.

One of those teams in 2020 was Chartiers Valley.

After missing the playoffs for four straight years and limping through a 2-8 campaign in 2019, the Colts galloped to a second-place finish in the tough Parkway Conference and a 6-2 overall record.

“(It) was a nice season and the players learned how to win games,” Chartiers Valley coach Dan Knause said. “We felt we made strides as a program, but recognize it was the product of years of work by our leaders.”

The successful season came to a sudden end when Chartiers Valley lost to Belle Vernon in the 4A quarterfinals.

“We were disappointed with our playoff performance against Belle Vernon because we played a terrible third quarter,” Knause said. “When you do that versus a top team like Belle Vernon, you look up and are down by 28 points.”

Newcomers will be leaned on heavily by the Colts as they return five starters on offense and four on defense.

“We graduated a lot of production on the football field,” Knause said. “We need to develop depth, and a lot of guys will have to prove themselves for the first time on Friday nights. We will be young up front and don’t have a lot of varsity experience from our big guys.”

Some of those with experience include senior quarterback Anthony Mackey, who was first team all-conference a year ago with over 1,000 yards passing.

Others include senior running back Pat Mulligan, senior all-conference wide receiver Abraham Ibrahim, senior lineman Ben Oehm and senior inside linebacker Austin Stein.

Another player to watch is junior Lamont Payne. The wide receiver and defensive back has offers from Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, Syracuse, Rutgers and Kent State, among other colleges.

“It’s been great, getting all of these offers, but as of now, the focus is on my junior season,” Payne told a Kennywood Park crowd after being honored as a member of the Trib HSSN football preseason all-star team. “We got our first win in the playoffs since 2005, so it was just cool to be a part of the culture and change it around.”

In the six-team Parkway Conference, the top four teams will qualify for the WPIAL Class 4A playoffs; Knause knows every conference game will be important.

“We recognize that the Parkway conference will be very competitive this year,” he said. “Many of the teams were young last year and will be battle tested. We envision a conference that will produce close competitive games each and every week.”

Chartiers Valley

Coach: Dan Knause

2020 record: 6-2, 4-1 in Class 4A Parkway Conference

All-time record: 240-347-5

SCHEDULE

Date, Opponent, Time

8.27 West Mifflin, 7

9.3 Belle Vernon, 7

9.10 at Keystone Oaks, 7

9.17 at South Fayette, 7

9.24 Hopewell, 7

10.1 at Blackhawk*, 7

10.8 Aliquippa*, 7

10.15 at Beaver, 7:30

10.22 at New Castle*, 7

10.29 Montour*, 7

*Conference game

STATISTICAL LEADERS

Passing: Anthony Mackey

79-116, 1,056 yards, 11 TDs

Rushing: Jordan Demus*

93-593, 7 TDs

Receiving: Anthony Collura*

34-504, 3 TDs

*Graduated

FAST FACTS

• Dan Knause begins his fifth season as head coach at his alma mater, Chartiers Valley.

• Chartiers Valley ended a four-year postseason drought in 2020 by finishing in second place behind Aliquippa in the Class 4A Parkway Conference. It was the first playoff appearance for the program since the expansion to six classifications.

• After losing to Belle Vernon in last year’s 4A quarterfinals, Chartiers Valley has not won in its last six WPIAL postseason games. The Colts’ last playoff victory came in November of 2007 when they defeated Franklin Regional, 28-21, in a Class AAA first-round game.

• This is the 61st season of Chartiers Valley football, including preceding schools in the district.

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