Defense, passing game to lead Brentwood

Saturday, August 21, 2021 | 6:01 AM

There’s a significant number of new faces in the Brentwood lineup this season.

But first, returning starters include seniors Jase Keib (QB/DB), Lamarr Williams (WR/LB), Mitchell Fox (WR/DB), Jack Wisenauer (OL/LB), Alec Troy (OL/LB), Tate Jones (RB/NG) and junior Jason Redlinger (FB/DL).

“As always, we expect to make the the playoffs,” coach Kevin Kissel said. “We have a good nucleus coming back. We have some good skill people. We aren’t tiny, but one thing we don’t have is size. If we stay healthy, we should have a good season.”

Keib was a first-year starter at quarterback last fall, completing 52 of 110 attempts for 774 yards and five touchdowns with seven interceptions.

“I think overall, we could have been better,” Keib said, “but we still played very well. The second half of the season, I think I progressed a lot between staying calm mentally and staying calm in the pocket and making better throwing decisions.

“I’m expecting to have a winning season and make the playoffs because we have built up our team chemistry from last year.”

Keib threw for 100 or more yards four times in 2020, including a 6-for-9, 180-yard performance against Quaker Valley. Among his goals for 2021 are to make the playoffs, win the conference and, individually, pass for 1,500 yards.

“Jase started every game for us last year,” Kissel said. “He’s going to be a big weapon for us. He’s a fast kid, a tough kid. We need for him to really step it up this year; we need a big year from him.

“We’ve got to mix it up. We’ve got to get Jase more involved in the running game. He has good speed, and he’s a very good runner. He’s a good athlete. He just needs to work at being a little more consistent.”

Senior lineman Kevin McCleary, a returning letterman, joins the starting lineup at center/tackle this season, as do three key skill position players — Jones at running back, junior C.J. Fox at fullback and sophomore Zach Wuenschell at tight end.

“Tate Jones played halfback, fullback and nose guard last year,” Kissel said. “He missed some games with a neck injury. When he got hurt, that really hurt us. He’s been working hard.

“C.J. Fox played a lot for us last year, too.”

Jones has a big pair of shoes to fill in the offensive backfield. He inherited the starting job at running back from Aiden Wardzinski, a four-year starter who accounted for more than 3,000 offensive yards the past three seasons.

One of 10 seniors on last year’s squad, Wardzinski led the Spartans in rushing (795 yards, 13 TDs) and in tackles from his linebacking position.

While the Spartans aren’t anticipating putting on a pass-heavy aerial show on Friday nights, Keib does have a solid group of receivers to connect with — led by Williams, Mitchell Fox and junior WR/DB Tavian Miller, a returning letterman.

“Lamarr is very talented, unbelievably talented,” Kissel said. “We have to try to get him the ball.”

Sophomore Blake Davis and junior Jeff Beck will see playing time on the left side of the offensive line, while first-year starters on defense include senior Riley Jesensky (DB) and juniors Tahjaire Ross (LB) and Miller.

“Our passing game and defense are definitely our strengths,” said Keib, who along with Wisenauer and Troy will serve as team captains in 2021.

The Brentwood coaches are looking for Wisenauer, Troy, Williams and Ross to emerge as a formidable linebacking corps. Wisenauer will be the leader at linebacker as a two-year starter; the others are first-time players at that position.

“Jack started every game last year,” Kissel said. “He won’t come off the field. And he’s coachable. He listens to what you’re coaching him. He’s a good leader, and very intense. He’s another tough kid.”

The Spartans should have depth on the offensive line with Ross and junior Tyrin Bowie in the mix along with Beck, Davis, McCleary, Wisenauer and Troy.

Other contributors this season will include freshman Forrest Betz (WR/DB), along with two incoming transfers, junior WR/DB Anthony Herisko from Brashear and sophomore RB/LB Drew Daelin from Keystone Oaks. Herisko was listed as an “athlete” at Keystone Oaks last year.

“Our team speed seems to be better than we thought going into the summer,” said Greg Perdziola, the Spartans’ defensive coordinator. “It’s just a questions of how fast they develop.”

Brentwood was 3-4 overall last year and finished fourth at 2-3 in the Class 2A Three Rivers Conference.

The Spartans kicked off the 2020 season with back-to-back wins against Seton LaSalle and Quaker Valley but lost four of their next five decisions.

They open up this year’s schedule Sept. 3 at home against Frazier.


Coach: Kevin Kissel

2020 record: 3-4, 2-3 in Class 2A Three Rivers Conference

All-time record: 423-408-28


Date, Opponent, Time

8.27 at Keystone Oaks, 7

9.3 Frazier, 7

9.10 at Leechburg, 7

9.17 Quaker Valley, 7

9.24 at Steel Valley, 7

10.1 Carlynton*, 7

10.9 at Western Beaver*, 12:30

10.15 at South Side Beaver*, 7

10.22 Sto-Rox*, 7

10.29 at Seton LaSalle*, 7

*Conference game


Passing: Jase Keib

52-110, 774 yards, 5 TDs

Rushing: Aiden Wardzinski*

135-795, 13 TDs

Receiving: Amire Spencer**

17-298, 2 TDs




• The top four teams in the Three Rivers Conference last fall were Sto-Rox (4-1), Western Beaver (4-1), South Side Beaver (3-2) and Brentwood. The Spartans averaged 26 ppg in 2020 while allowing 27.6 ppg.

• Lamarr Williams (WR/LB), Mitchell Fox (WR/DB) and Jack Wisenauer (OL/LB) are the team’s only returning players that started on both offense and defense last fall.

• Over the past 15 seasons, Brentwood has qualified for the WPIAL playoffs 11 times and advanced to the quarterfinals four times. The Spartans competed in the playoffs seven consecutive years from 2008-2014.

• Kevin Kissell, in his 25th season as head coach, is joined again by long-time assistants Dan Golvash (OC), Greg Perdziola (DC), Mike Vickless, Nick Caponi and Mike Zdrojewski.


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