CTK 2011 – WPIAL AA INTERSTATE Conference Preview
Thursday, August 25, 2011 | 10:50 AM
Greensburg Central Catholic has won or tied for the Interstate Conference title five times since joining in 2002. Jeannette has won or tied for the Interstate title three times since 2002.
Don’t look for much to change this season.
Greensburg Central Catholic and Jeannette again are pegged as two top teams in the Interstate and most coaches are picking one of them to win the title again.
Since 2003, only two other teams have finished atop the conference standings. Mount Pleasant won the title in 2009, and Yough tied Jeannette and Greensburg Central for the 2006 title.
Here is a look at the 2011 Interstate Conference:
Brownsville finished 2-7 last year, but that is progress for the Falcons. It was the first time Brownsville won more than one game in a season since going 4-5 in 2005.
Making the playoffs for the first time since 2000 seems a little bit of a stretch, but maybe the Falcons will continue on the improvement trail. But the offense needs to improve after averaging only 10 points a game last season. Isaiah Spencer returns at receiver-running back. Junior defensive lineman Noah Saxon showed plenty of promise last year on the line.
There is something totally new with Charleroi this season. The Cougars are playing in a new stadium at the school, moving from the one in town.
Quentin Briggs had two highly successful seasons as a freshman and sophomore, rushing for more than 1,000 yards in both years. After missing most of last season with an injury, he is hoping to return to his old form for his senior year. How well Briggs does will be a key to the Cougars’ season.
Eight other starters return from last year’s team that went 3-6 overall and 2-6 in the conference. They are linemen David Strope (6-2, 220), Mike Kope (6-1, 280), Brandon Bowman (6-0, 230) and Jesse Duvavei (5-11, 285). Bob Luckasevic is a 5-11, 200-pound senior and a center-linebacker.
Tony Bristol (WR-DB, 5-9, 165)) is one of the team’s top players and John Granato could develop into a talented running back-linebacker. The other returning starters are receiver Eric Johnson (6-1, 175) and linebacker Stone Stefen (6-0, 190).
EAST ALLEGHENY WILDCATS:
After going 2-7 in 2009, the Wildcats rebounded last season, went 5-5 and made the playoffs with a 5-3 conference record.
Look for Deonte Allen to possibly to have a big season at running back after a good 2010 year. East Allegheny might rely on a strong defense, too. Last year, the Wildcats allowed only 106 points in conference games.
GREENSBURG CENTRAL CATHOLIC CENTURIONS:
Coach Muzzy Colosimo likes his set of skill-position players, but believes the line must come together to have another big season. Five starters return on offense and eight on defense.
Bob Noble (6-3, 210) returns for his senior season at quarterback. Other returning skill position players are a host of players who could see time at receiver – Justin Kempka, Corey Marshall, Zach Herman, Dan Swank and Marc Rodriguez. Those players also play on defense. Kempka is a 6-3, 225-pound linebacker.
Tyler Alt is the lone returning starter on the interior line. He is 6-2 ½, 281 and one of the best linemen in the conference. Travis Andring (6-4, 250) shows promise at tight end.
Zach Guiser (6-0, 190), a junior, figures to be one of the best defensive backs in Class AA.
A quarterback who can run and also is a standout defensive back. The last time Jeannette had a player with that combination was a kid named Terrelle Pryor. Demetrious Cox might not be on Pryor’s level, but he is talented on both sides of the ball and has many Division I college scholarship offers, including ones from Pitt, Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan State and Texas A & M. Cox is 6-1, 190 pounds.
But besides Cox, coach Roy Hall’s team is inexperienced at many positions. Running back Shavonta Craft did some good things in the first scrimmage against Belle Vernon. Receiver Anthony Canady also is one to watch.
Jeannette was the top scoring team in the conference last year.
MOUNT PLEASANT VIKINGS:
With six starters returning on offense and defense, things are looking up for the Vikings. They played a number of sophomores last year and a freshman and they have valuable experience now.
Promising sophomore Ryan Gumbita (6-3, 190), who played DB last year, is the new quarterback. Tyler Mellers rushed for 373 yards last season, Taylor Allison 173 an dKevin Yanok 300. Joey Paul and Tim Hostettler also are back at receiver.
Other returning starters are linebacker Dalton Ball, linebacker Paul Caletri, and three linemen – Seth Wright, Dylan Poole and Jake Treber.
The Scotties have a new coach this season in Dominic Pecora, who was most recently an assistant at Baldwin under Jim Wehner. Pecora is a graduate of Norwin High School.
The Scotties were 4-5 last year and missed the playoffs by a game, going 4-4 in conference play. They have the makings of a nice passing game as quarterback Dakotz Datz returns after making first-team all-conference a year ago. He completed 83 of 171 for 1,188 yards and 13 touchdowns a year ago. His top receiver also returns in Connor McKlveen.
While the offense could be solid, Southmoreland must improve its defense, which yielded 201 points in eight conference games a year ago.
A strong running game can lead to offensive success for many high school teams. If that’s the case, then Waynesburg could have a nice season because of its running game. Nick Zupper ran for 963 yards last season as a junior.
But even if Waynesburg has a strong running game, it must fix a defense that big holes last season. Waynesburg gave up 325 points in nine games, the most of any team in the conference.
Mark Crovak is still looking for his first win as coach. After taking over for Jim Ward last season, the Cougars went 0-9 and averaged only seven points in conference games. But a number of starters return on the offensive line.
Improvement also is needed on the defensive side also, as the Cougars allowed 314 points nine game overall last season.
MSA SPORTS PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH:
1. GREENSBURG CENTRAL CATHOLIC CENTURIONS
2. JEANNETTE JAYHAWKS
3. MOUNT PLEASANT VIKINGS
4. EAST ALLEGHENY WILDCATS
5. SOUTHMORELAND SCOTTIES
6. CHARLEROI COUGARS
7. WAYNESBURG RAIDERS
8. BROWNSVILLE FALCONS
9. YOUGH COUGARS
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