Coach Ron Prady doesn’t want Latrobe football to be 1-hit wonder

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Sunday, November 27, 2022 | 11:21 AM


Things couldn’t have gone much better for Latrobe football coach Ron Prady during his first season.

The Wildcats finished 7-5 and reached the WPIAL Class 4A quarterfinals.

The remarkable season included the program’s first seven-win season since 2001, the first winning season since 2011, the first playoff win since 1968 and a record-setting performance from senior running back Robert Fulton, who broke Dave Cox’s rushing record by gaining 1,590 yards and scoring 20 touchdowns.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the team, especially the 13 seniors who bought into the system and made my job easier,” Prady said. “The biggest changes were the confidence and attitude of the players.”

Latrobe finished fourth in the Class 4A Big 7 Conference behind co-champions McKeesport, Thomas Jefferson and Laurel Highlands. All four conference teams won WPIAL first-round games, and two reached the semifinals.

“Our conference was really strong,” Prady said. “All the seniors played a role in the success of the season.”

Latrobe rallied to defeat Highlands, 28-21, in the opening round of the playoffs. The Wildcats then dropped a 21-6 decision to Thomas Jefferson in the quarterfinals.

The season also included an overtime win against Franklin Regional.

Latrobe had four players earn first-team all-conference honors: Fulton, sophomore linebacker Alex Tatsch, senior wide receiver Kollin Stevens and junior defensive back Ja’Tawn Williams.

Earning second-team honors were senior linebacker/tight end Corey Boerio, sophomore all-purpose back/defensive back John Wetzel and senior offense lineman Daniel Calabrace.

Senior defensive back Dom Flenniken, senior offensive lineman Ray Dupilka and defensive lineman Calabrace made the honorable mention list.

Latrobe will graduate numerous two-way starters: Boerio, Calabrace, Stevens, Fulton, Wyatt Held, Conner Lakin and Dupilka. Others to contribute included Buddy Young, Aidan Butina, Flenniken, Owen Ortiz, Brayden Madey and Vinny Oddo.

“We don’t want to be a one-hit wonder,” Prady said. “The players returning know with success comes greater expectations. They understand that hard work paid off.

“The seniors established a good foundation, and now it’s up to the underclassmen to build on it. We’ll have some holes to fill, but we played a lot of sophomores and freshmen, and the future looks good.”

Prady said he’ll give the players time off until mid-January and then get them back in the weight room.

“We want to continue to build,” Prady said. “I believe the players are up for the challenge.”

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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