High school notebook: Derry football coaches bridging the age gap

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Tuesday, August 17, 2021 | 5:03 PM


Football teams are learning how to read gaps at camp this week so they can open running lanes this season.

At Derry, coaches are learning what a generation gap feels like.

Derry second-year coach Vince Skillings is 62 years old. Take the combined age of three of his assistants, and you might hit that number.

The new-look staff, which is dealing with a more normal preseason than the one Skillings and some other coaches encountered in a covid-controlled 2020, is nothing if not diverse.

JR Smith is 43 and Justin Hill, 42. After that, you have Levi Humberger (23), Justin Hayes (22) and Justin Fallat (20).

Here’s another layer to the age gaps: Skillings has 23 years of coaching experience. Smith and Hayes have one each, and Hill, Humberger and Fallat, who literally just played for the Trojans, have none.

“All these young guys, they make me feel smart,” Skillings said with a laugh. “Some of them played a couple years ago. They all love the game and want to help us out.”

Zimmer’s energy

GCC assistant football coach Tyler Zimmer has the players on their toes at practice. No daydreaming on his watch, not with his high-energy approach.

“His energy is incredible, from like 8 a.m. on,” senior running back/linebacker Danny Dlugos said. “It’s like he had 10 espressos, but he didn’t. It’s contagious. He picks everyone up.”

Thomas was glad to have Zimmer, a soon-to-be Seton Hill hall of famer, on staff this season.

“The kids respect him, they know he’s been there and done that. He’s a hall of famer,” GCC coach Marko Thomas said. “He is just a burst of energy, and the kids feed off of that.”

Green to Seton Hill

Carter Green could be the quarterback at Penn-Trafford this fall, but he will play lacrosse in college.

The 5-foot-10, 190-pound senior recently made a commitment to Seton Hill.

PaPreps lists Green as one of the top midfielders in the state.

Hempfield junior quarterback Jake Phillips also is a talented lacrosse player.

Preseason buzz

MaxPreps recently came out with its All-Pennsylvania preseason football team, and some local players made the list.

Penn-Trafford’s Cade Yacamelli, a Wisconsin commit, made the first-team offense as an all-purpose player, and Belle Vernon’s Devin Whitlock (all-purpose) and Cole Weightman (linebacker) were listed on the second-team defense.

Other WPIAL and City League first-team selections included Tyreese Fearbry of Perry (DL), Patrick Brody of Gateway (DB) and Ta’Mer Robinson of Brashear (DB).

Second-teamers were Rodney Gallagher of Laurel Highlands (DB), Cadin Olsen of Armstrong (QB), Donovan Hinish of Central Catholic (DL), Jeremiah Hasley of Pine-Richland (DL), Noah Bhuta of Mt. Lebabon (P) and Justin Caputo of South Fayette (K).

See the full team here.

Mahoney coaching

Greensburg Central Catholic athletic director Dan Mahoney is coaching the school’s boys golf team this fall. He also coached last season after former coach Will Merchant left to become an assistant principal at Seton La Salle.

The WPIAL golf season for boys and girls teams opens Thursday.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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