Latrobe works toward more victories after move to Class 4A

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Monday, August 15, 2022 | 12:01 PM


It is better to be the shark than the minnow, and Latrobe might be ready to raise its fin in a new classification.

A conditioning drill, implemented by Wildcats team partner FSQ Sports Training, is called “sharks and minnows.”

“It’s fun,” Latrobe senior tight end and linebacker Corey Boerio said. “Everyone chases you around in a full sprint.”

Winning also is fun and Latrobe could do more of it as it moves to Class 4A under first-year coach Ron Prady.

“It will be a process, but the kids want to change the culture here,” said Prady, a former defensive assistant at Penn-Trafford, which won WPIAL and PIAA Class 5A championships last season. “I don’t know how we’ll do, but it’s going to be exciting. We have a lot to learn about all of these new opponents.”

Of course, they all will be new to Prady, who has not been a head coach since 2004 when he coached Caroline County (Va.).

Prady got used to winning and expecting nothing short of excellence at Penn-Trafford, where John Ruane’s teams are skilled, structured and prepared.

He assures there is no magic formula to winning games, but plans to carry over some trends and techniques he learned from Ruane.

“I like the kids’ attitudes and work ethic here,” said Prady, a math teacher at Latrobe. “They are putting in the time, and they want to win.”

Latrobe was 3-7 last year in the 5A Big East, where it played for the previous six years.

The Wildcats won the 11th Westmoreland County Coaches Association Larry Sellitto Memorial 7-on-7 Championship, beating Penn-Trafford in the final for a big burst of confidence.

“We still have some big opponents,” Boerio said. “We still have to be ready to play. We’re talking about playing a name, not individual kids. We just have to go out and perform.”

Boerio brings experience to a well-mixed group of upper and underclassmen, as do fellow seniors Kollin Stevens (WR/DB) and Daniel Calabrese (OL/DL).

“They have been there before,” Prady said.

The running game was integral to Penn-Trafford’s success, and Prady will look to move the ball on the ground.

Central Catholic transfer Robert Fulton (5-11, 205) could spur on the rushing attack. He will be joined in the backfield by sophomore Alex Tatsch.

At quarterback, where the Wildcats have sought continuity, sophomore John Wetzel (6-2, 185) will take the reins. He played safety last season.

Wide receiver will feature Stevens, juniors JaTawn Williams and Ben Stratton, and senior Dom Flenniken, among others, while senior Connor Lakin will play a similar tight end/H-back position to Boerio.

Calabrese and senior Wyatt Held return on the newly-forming offensive line, with senior Ray Dupilka looking to contribute.

“We’ll have a lot of guys playing both ways,” Prady said. “We’re trying to develop depth.”

The Wildcats will run a multiple offense, often predicated on outside zones, and likely a 3-4 defense.

“We want to give teams a lot of looks,” Prady said.

Prady coached linebackers at Penn-Trafford. While he has a soft spot for the position, he truly believes the Wildcats will be strong in that department.

Boerio, Laken, Fulton, Tatsch and Stratton will line up there, with Wetzel in a hybrid, corner-outside ‘backer spot. Boerio led the team last season with 52 tackles.

Also watch for senior Buddy Young as a receiver and linebacker.

In the secondary, Williams, Stevens, senior Aidan Butina and sophomore Brady Prohovic will look to slow the pass.

Latrobe opens the season Friday at neighboring rival Derry.

Other nonconference opponents include Franklin Regional and Hempfield, while the Big Seven opener is Sept. 16 at Thomas Jefferson.

Laurel Highlands, which features West Virginia commit Rodney Gallagher at quarterback, is another conference opponent. The Mustangs visit Latrobe on Sept. 23.

Latrobe

Coach: Ron Prady

2021 record: 3-7, 1-4 in Class 5A Big East Conference

All-time record: 460-547-38

SCHEDULE

Date, Opponent, Time

8.26 at Derry, 7:30

9.2 at Franklin Regional, 7

9.9 Hempfield, 7

9.16 at Thomas Jefferson*, 7

9.23 Laurel Highlands*, 7

9.30 at Trinity*, 7

10.7 Ringgold*, 7

10.14 at Connellsville*, 7

10.21 McKeesport*, 7

10.28 Butler, 7

*Conference game

STATISTICAL LEADERS

Passing: Bobby Fetter*

31-64, 528 yards, 6 TDs

Rushing: Drake Clayton*

134-890, 7 TDs

Receiving: Kyle Brewer*

19-338, 5 TDs

*Graduated

FAST FACTS

• Prady’s staff includes Bob Armstrong, Josh Hammack, Lou Keyser, Tom McIntyre, Chad Schmeling, Tom Wilkins and John Yester.

• Latrobe last played in 4A in 2015 and finished 0-9 that season. The Wildcats have one playoff win, the 1968 WPIAL championship. They beat Kiski, 19-7, in the final WPIAL final at Forbes Field.

• Jason Marucco coached eight seasons before his resignation in December.

• The Big Seven Conference will include Latrobe, Connellsville, Laurel Highlands, McKeesport, Ringgold, Thomas Jefferson and Trinity.

ROSTER

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

1, Buddy Young, WR/LB, 5-10/175, Sr.

2, Kollin Stevens, WR/DB, 5-10/180, Sr.

3, Robert Fulton, RB/LB, 5-11/205, Sr.

4, Corey Boerio, HB/LB, 6-1/220, Sr.

5, Chris Cochran, RB/LB, 5-11/180, Fr.

6, Jack Drnjevich, HB/DL, 5-10/190, So.

7, Gaige Kettren, QB/LB, 5-9/175, So.

8, Brady Prohovic, RB/DB, 5-8/175, So.

9, Connor Lakin, HB/LB, 6-1/210, Sr.

10, John Wetzel, QB/DB, 6-2/185, So.

11, Aiden Roche, WR/DB, 5-8/150, So.

12, Justis Newman, WR/DB, 5-8/165, So.

13, Aidan Butina, WR/DB, 5-11/180, Sr.

14, Ben Stratton, WR/LB, 5-10/175, Jr.

15, Andy Tatsch, RB/LB, 5-8/155, Fr.

17, Ben Bradley, WR/DB, 6-2/165, Jr.

18, Dom Flenniken, WR/DB, 5-9/175, Sr.

20, Luke Tomko, RB/LB, 5-8/150, Fr.

21, JaTawn Williams, WR/DB, 6-1/170, Jr.

22, Nickolas Stump, WR/DB, 6-0/165, Jr.

23, Vincent Gaskey, WR/DB, 6-0/170, So.

24, Owen Burket, HB/LB, 5-11/190, Fr.

25, Alex Tatsch, RB/LB, 6-1/195, So.

26, Todd Frye, HB/LB, 5-10/175, Jr.

27, Izzy McMahon, RB/LB, 5-7/155, Fr.

28, Danny Noonan, WR/DB, 5-10/150, Fr.

30, Sawyer Butina, WR/DB, 5-6/145, Fr.

32, Ben Bigi, HB/LB, 6-0/190, Jr.

33, Adam Musick, WR/DB, 5-9/165, Jr.

34, Evan Pancoast, WR/LB, 5-7/150, Fr.

35, Tyler Bauer, WR/DB, 6-0/160, So.

38, Logan Szekely, TE/DL, 5-10/160, Fr.

39, Grady DePalma, RB/LB, 5-5/145, Fr.

42, Cody Robinson, WR/DB, 5-8/150, Fr.

44, Bradan Bronson, HB/LB, 5-8/155, So.

45, Russell Fry, HB/LB, 5-7/150, Fr.

46, Cash Achhammer, WR/LB, 5-5/145, Fr.

47, Jeffrey David, TE/DL, 5-11/170, Fr.

50, Jacob Ross, OL/DL, 5-9/170, Fr.

51, Alessandro Castillo, OL/DL, 5-8/180, So.

54, Anthony Scarton, OL/DL, 6-2/245, So.

55, Daniel Calabrese, OL/DL, 6-2/265, Sr.

56, Owen Ortiz, OL/DL, 5-10/200, Sr.

58, Caleb Lehman, OL/DL, 6-1/225, So.

59, Ray Dupilka, OL/DL, 6-2/220, Sr.

62, Michael Jaffre, OL/DL, 6-1/220, Jr.

63, Ben Gera, OL/DL, 6-1/240, Jr.

66, Zach Shuey, OL/DL, 5-8/290, Jr.

68, Andrew Honse, OL/DL, 5-9/200, Jr.

71, Cody Krall, OL/DL, 5-10/220, So.

72, Wyatt Held, OL/DL, 6-1/255, Sr.

73, Travis Ludwig, OL/DL, 5-9/210, Fr.

75, Jared Bailey, OL/DL, 6-1/240, Jr.

76, Brayden Madey, OL/DL, 5-11/245, Sr.

78, Marco Scarton, OL/DL, 6-2/260, So.

79, Lucas Kolenc, OL/DL, 6-1/270, Fr.

80, Devin Webster, K, 5-10/180, Jr.

81, Austin Hazen, HB/DE, 6-0/150, Fr.

87, Tim Myers, TE/DL, 6-3/185, So.

88, Vinny Oddo, K, 6-0/165, Sr.

Note: Due to publishing scheduling conflicts, previews for Big Seven Conference teams Connellsville, Laurel Highlands and Ringgold will appear on Trib HSSN next week.

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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