Deeper, stronger Yough looking to build win total

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Monday, August 16, 2021 | 6:01 AM


There is a buzz on Cougar Mountain these days.

No, it’s not the cicadas that were here this summer or a swarm of bees.

It’s the Yough football team that has been making noise, working to improve on a two-win season in 2020.

Second-year coach Chris Chunko learned a lot during his first season. The Cougars were 2-5 overall and 1-4 in the Class 3A Interstate Conference.

First, the squad needed to get stronger. The Cougars have been in the weight room since Dec. 6, and Chunko said he has seen a boost in the team’s strength.

Second, the team needed to improve its depth. Yough’s roster has grown to 44 after Chunko went searching for players in the school.

The third thing Chunko needs to find is replacements for three key graduates: receiver C.J. Waldier, quarterback Gamal Marballie and lineman Austin Caudill. All three were two-way starters. There are plenty of candidates.

Gavin Roebuck’s knowledge of the offense gives him the edge at quarterback. Tristan Waldier, the younger brother of C.J. Waldier, moved from quarterback to wide receiver. Sam Dippolito will be counted on to lead the line.

“Gavin has a better grasp of the offense because he’s coming back.” Chunko said. “But we have others who will push him.”

Tristan Waldier was Yough’s starting quarterback to begin last season until an injury ended his season. He completed 18 of 35 passes for 207 yards and five touchdowns. He also rushed for 73 yards.

“Injuries hurt us badly,” Chunko said. “It also affected our depth.”

Chunko went with Marballie and Roebuck the remainder of the season. Marballie rushed for a team-high 687 yards and six touchdowns and completed 26 of 45 passes for 399 yards and three scores. Roebuck completed 16 of 28 passes for 287 yards and two scores.

C.J. Waldier was the Cougars’ top target, catching 46 passes for 668 yards and seven touchdowns. Only J.J. Waller, who caught one pass for 19 yards, returns. He and Tristan Waldier should be the Cougars’ top targets for Roebuck.

“Tristan is healthy, and he looked fantastic in the (Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association 7-on-7 tournament),” Chunko said. “He was cleared a couple days before.”

Shane Swope Jr., who transferred from Monessen, looks to be the leading candidate to be the Cougars’ top running threat. Swope played quarterback for the Greyhounds.

“We have a couple others that should push him: Shane’s brother, Isaac, Khadeem Marballie and Ian Sarver,” Chunko said. “As for the offensive line, we have a veteran line. Dippolito plays center, and we hope to get him back by the third game. Tanner Jarmon returns at right guard, Dustin Fitzgibbons started as a sophomore and he’s back. The line should be a strong suit for us.”

Defensively, Waldier will play outside linebacker, and both starting ends return in Jake Magill and Julian Varrenti. Dippolito, Fitzgibbons and Jarmon are back at defensive tackle.

“The offensive and defensive lines will be the strength,” Chunko said. “We have a couple other kids that we can rotate in on the line to keep them fresh. RJ Romano is back. He didn’t play last year. Collin Kasper is a freshman who we expect to help.”

Chunko said he must find some linebackers. Those spots are up for grabs.

“We have four or five players competing for those jobs,” Chunko said. “We won’t know until our scrimmage. I’ll have a better gauge on that spot.”

Yough opens the season Aug. 27 at home against Albert Gallatin. The following week, it plays at Ringgold and then the third game is against Trinity at home.

Chunko said he’ll learn a lot about his team in those nonconference games.

Yough opens Interstate Conference action Sept. 17 at home against South Park.

Yough

Coach: Chris Chunko

2020 record: 2-5, 1-4 in Class 3A Interstate Conference

All-time record: 158-324-11

SCHEDULE

Date, Opponent, Time

8.27 Albert Gallatin, 7

9.3 at Ringgold, 7

9.10 Trinity, 7

9.17 South Park*, 7

9.24 at South Allegheny*, 7

10.1 Mt. Pleasant*, 7

10.8 at Southmoreland*, 7

10.15 at Valley, 7

10.22 Brownsville*, 7

10.29 at Elizabeth-Forward*, 7

*Conference game

STATISTICAL LEADERS

Passing: Gamal Marballie*

26-45, 399 yards, 3 TDs

Receiving: C.J. Waldier*

46-668 yards, 7 TDs

Rushing: Marballie*

111-687 yards, 6 TDs

*Graduated

FAST FACTS

• Yough is a merger of West Newton, South Huntingdon and Sewickley. Its first season was in 1969.

• The last time Yough reached the playoffs was in 2013. The Cougars defeated Kittanning and then lost to Beaver Falls.

• The first time Yough reached the playoffs was in 1990. The Cougars fell to Hopewell, 25-23.

• The Cougars have won five conference titles. They shared the Keystone Conference in 1990 (3A) and the Interstate Conference in 2006 (2A). The other 3A titles came in 1992, 2005 and 2008.

ROSTER

No., Name, Pos., Ht./Wt., Cl.

2, Wyatt Dess, WR/DB, 5-9/136, Jr.

3, Khadeem Marballie, RB/LB, 6-1/200, Jr.

4, Tristan Waldier, WR/DB, 6-2/200, Sr.

7, Cohen Sager, RB/DB, 5-4/148, Sr.

9, Hannah Biros, K, 5-5/133, Sr.

10, Gavin Roebuck, QB/LB, 5-9/180, Jr.

11, J.J. Waller, WR/DB, 5-7/150, Jr.

12, Cole Kastronis, WR/DB, 5-8/155, Sr.

13, Kaden Bizzozero, WR/DB, 6-2/185, Sr.

15, Shane Swope Jr., QB/DB, 5-11/150, So.

17, Aidan Thornton, WR/DB, 5-5/121, Fr.

18, Madison Hodge, K, 5-3/126, Jr.

19, Kiron Yates, WR/DB, 6-3/205, Fr.

20, Nate McKenzie, WR/DB, 6-0/165, Sr.

21, Issac Swope, RB/LB, 5-11/60, Fr.

22, Antonio Marra, WR/DB, 5-8/140, So.

23, Colin Magill, WR/DB, 5-8/140, Fr.

24, Billy Feltes, RB/LB, 5-7/150, Fr.

25, Mikey Nogy, WR/DB, 5-9/145, So.

29, Ian Sarver, RB/LB, 6-0/175, Jr.

30, Justin Carlheim, RB/LB, 5-6/145, Fr.

33, Raidon Kuroda, QB/LB, 5-8/180, Fr.

34, Beau Yuhas, WR/LB, 6-3/170, Fr.

35, Ni’Jere Schuler, RB/LB, 5-9/185, Sr.

44, Gage Ashbaugh, WR/DB, 5-9/148, So.

51, Tanner Jarmon, OL/DL, 5-11/280, Jr.

52, RJ Romano, OL/DL, 6-4/285, Sr.

53, Collin Kasper, OL/DL, 5-7/230, Fr.

55, Axel Reed, OL/DL, 5-9/160, Jr.

58, Brett Suehr, OL/DL, 6-2/215, Jr.

59, Colby Fender, OL/DL, 5-9/205, So.

60, Julian Varrenti, OL/DL, 6-0/185, So.

61, Lukas Waltonbaugh, OL/DL, 5-8/245, Fr.

64, Bryce Harvey, OL/DL, 5-8/190, Fr.

65, Austin Ely, OL/DL, 6-1/205, Fr.

66, Jacob Magill, OL/DL, 5-10/190, Sr.

68, Hunter Fallecker, OL/DL, 5-10/220, So.

71, De’Andre Harding, OL/DL, 6-3/310, So.

73, Andrew Gervasoni, OL/DL, 5-6/160, Fr.

74, Dustin Fitzgibbons, OL/DL, 5-10/250, Jr.

75, Aidan Humenik, OL/DL, 5-8/200, Fr.

76, Diesel Ford, OL/DL, 5-8/207, Fr.

78, Angelo Dippolito, OL/DL, 5-6/203, Fr.

79, Sam Dippolito, OL/DL, 5-9/270, Sr.

88, Levi GeBaldo, WR/DB, 6-0/150, Sr.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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