Chartiers Valley makes giant leap forward with return to playoffs

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Sunday, November 22, 2020 | 11:01 AM


While moving down in classifications after four years of struggles in Class 5A to Class 4A this fall, it was one small step for the Chartiers Valley football.

However, the season itself was one giant leap for the Colts program.

“Overall, we made strides as a program,” Chartiers Valley coach Dan Knause said. “Our players now believe that if they do the right things, good things can happen on and off the field. This year can act as a stepping stone to consistent success. We have some things to build on for the future and learned how to finish and win close games.”

From 2016-19, Chartiers Valley won only four conference games and amassed a record of 10-30. This season, the Colts finished second behind Aliquippa in the 4A Parkway Conference with a 4-1 record and ended up 6-2 overall.

It was Chartiers Valley’s first winning season since 2009.

“We had so many guys contribute as we reflect on our season,” Knause said. “We were led by senior Anthony Collura, Jordan Demus, Socrates Boulis, Jacob Adwar, Sam Pocci, Seth Bauman and Chase Bruggeman on both sides of the ball. We had juniors like Abraham Ibrahim, Patrick Mulligan and Anthony Mackey step up in a big way also. We could mention multiple others, and this is what made us turn a corner this season.”

Mackey, the junior quarterback, led the team in passing with 1,056 yards and was second on the team in rushing with 533 yards, only 60 yards behind the senior running back Demus.

Knause, concluding his fourth year as Colts coach, has a special place in his heart for those seniors he mentioned.

“Our seniors were a special group,” he said. “I believe the main lesson they will take away from this experience is perseverance. Also, they stayed positive through tough times, which is a great skill in life. We emphasize surrounding ourselves with positive people because there are always negative sharks in this world. We are proud of their positive mindset and perseverance.”

The season began with four straight wins before a 35-6 loss at Aliquippa. Victories over Beaver and New Castle clinched second place and a playoff berth as the regular season came to an end. The postseason did not last long for the No. 5-seed Colts, as they lost at Belle Vernon, 49-21.

“We went 6-1 during the regular season against a lot of traditional programs,” Knause said. “Beating South Fayette on a last-second field goal was a special night. Overall, the whole campaign was a special journey. We overcame a lot of adversity together, and the bonds between the coaches and players are why we coach and play the game.”

Like many of the coaches who were part of this unique season, there was one large obstacle that made everything else a bigger challenge.

“Covid-19 was a huge obstacle,” Knause said. “We had to practice as a split-squad, which created challenges from a logistic standpoint. The daily unknown was mentally exhausting, but the coaches and players were awesome and met the many challenges covid-19 presented. Overall, as we reflect on 2020, we recognize the challenges we faced will be an asset moving forward.”

The process of moving forward has already begun as Chartiers Valley looks to build on the many accomplishments from this season.

“The past does not equal the future as the 2020 team demonstrated,” Knause said. “That will be our focus all offseason. If we want to develop consistency as a program, it won’t be due to anything fancy. Our success will depend on how we take on our daily tasks.

“We have some nice skill players returning in Anthony Mackey, Abe Ibrahim, Lamont Payne Jr. and Patrick Mulligan, but will have to develop a new offensive and defensive line. We embrace the challenge of developing new starters. The character of the players in our locker room has us optimistic about the future of Colts football.”

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