Mt. Pleasant aims to build on WPIAL playoff experience

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Thursday, August 18, 2022 | 12:01 PM


Mt. Pleasant’s starting quarterback from 2021 won’t be lining up behind center this season.

That’s because Mt. Pleasant coach Jason Fazekas is pleased with the progress that sophomore Cole Chatfield has made in the offseason which allows him to utilize the talent of Tyler Reese in different ways to benefit the team.

Chatfield saw time at quarterback as a freshman when Reese was injured, and Fazekas liked what he saw.

“He started and got a lot of experience in those games,” Fazekas said. “We expect him to be really good.

“As for Tyler, he’s a good athlete and we’ll be able to move him around. He’s a dynamic playmaker.”

The Vikings finished the 2021 season 6-5 and won a WPIAL playoff game for the first time since 2014 when they defeated Burrell, 34-7, in the opening round. The season ended in the quarterfinals with a loss to Avonworth, 49-7.

The Vikings return 18 lettermen including five starters on both sides of the ball.

Back on offense along with Reese is senior running back Robbie Labuda and three linemen — guard Willie Eicher, tackle Micah Roadman and center Jacob Kraus.

Labuda rushed for a team-high 1,004 yards, had 11 catches for 104 yards and scored 13 touchdowns and 21 extra points. Reese scored five touchdowns, rushed for 350 yards and completed 26 of 61 passes for 431 yards and four touchdowns.

“We’ll still be a young team, but with more experience,” Fazekas said. “Last year, we played a lot of first-year seniors and young players.

“Robbie is a tough, downhill runner. I’m expecting to have another big season.”

Fazekas also expects other backs to chip in. He’s counting on Jackson Hutter, Lane Golkosky, Garrett Eicher and Dante Giallonardo to see action.

“It all starts up front,” Fazekas said. “The skilled positions are good, but we need to control the line of scrimmage.”

Devin Kuhns and Joseph Laychak are expected to battle for playing time on the offensive line.

Leading the way on defense is tackle Kolby Hudec, Hutter at linebacker, Reese at defensive back, Labuda at safety and Casey Shaffer at linebacker.

“We have good players on all three levels on defense,” Fazekas said. “We have to develop some depth.”

Others expected to see action on defense include Ethan Eicher at linebacker, Jack Knopsnider at tackle, Brady Poole at defensive back, Lucas Nicotera at defensive back, Golkosky at defensive back, Sean Cain at defensive back, Giallonardo at linebacker and Jacob Baker at tackle.

The WPIAL Class 3A Interstate Conference also got a lot tougher with Belle Vernon and Greensburg Salem dropping from Class 4A to go along with a tough Elizabeth Forward, South Allegheny and Southmoreland.

“It going to be a really competitive conference,” Fazekas said. “We just have to take care of ourselves. The conference is going to be a challenge.”

Mt. Pleasant’s nonconference schedule is also tough. The Vikings open the season against Greensburg Central Catholic and then battle Yough, McGuffey, Valley and Freeport.

“We’ll be tested right of the bat with Greensburg Central Catholic,” Fazekas said.

Mt. Pleasant

Coach: Jason Fazekas

2021 record: 6-5, 3-2 in Class 3A Interstate Conference

All-time record: 340-277-9

SCHEDULE

Date, Opponent, Time

8.26 Greensburg Central Catholic, 7

9.2 Yough, 7

9.9 McGuffey, 7

9.16 at Valley, 7

9.23 at Freeport, 7

9.30 Greensburg Salem*, 7

10.7 at Elizabeth Forward*, 7

10.14 at Belle Vernon*, 7

10.21 South Allegheny*, 7

10.28 at Southmoreland*, 7

*Conference game

STATISTICAL LEADERS

Passing: Tyler Reese

26-61, 431 yards, 4 TDs

Rushing: Robbie Labuda

147-1,004, 13 TDs

Receiving: Aaron Alakson*

13-201, 12 TDs

*Graduated

FAST FACTS

• Mt. Pleasant has qualified for the WPIAL playoffs 11 out of the past 13 seasons. The Vikings missed the playoffs in 2017 and 2018. The last playoff win was in 2021 against Burrell (34-7).

• In the Vikings’ glory years in the early 1980s, they reached the WPIAL Class AAA finals three times and won twice. They defeated Aliquippa, 16-14, in 1983, lost to Aliquippa, 20-15, in 1984 and defeated Kiski Area, 14-13, in 1986.

• Mt. Pleasant is a merger of Mt. Pleasant Hurst and Mt. Pleasant Ramsay in 1961. Hurst was a three-time WPIAL champion, tying Dormont, 14-14, in the 1942 Class A game and defeating Wilmerding, 7-0, in the 1938 Class A game; and Ramsay won one title, defeating East Pittsburgh, 20-6, in the 1933 Class B title game. Hurst was awarded the Class B title in 1931.

• Mt. Pleasant has won or shared nine conference titles and it has appeared in the WPIAL playoffs 28 times. Its playoff record is 17-26, and it has had six undefeated regular seasons.

ROSTER

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

1, Cole Chatfield, QB/DB, 6-0/165, So.

2, Lane Golkosky, RB/DB, 5-9/145, Sr.

3, Dane Firmstone, QB/DB, 5-5/130, Fr.

4, Jonathon Eicher, RB/DB, 5-9/155, Jr.

5, Tyler Reese, WR/DB, 6-2/185, Sr.

6, Lucas Nicotera, WR/DB, 6-1/170, Jr.

7, Brady Poole, RB/DB, 5-9/150, Jr.

8, Aiden Shimmell, WR/DB, 6-0/150, Jr.

9, Dante Giallonardo, RB/DB, 6-1/190, Jr.

10, Rage Suchar, QB/LB, 5-9/160, Fr.

11, Garrett Eicher, RB/DB, 5-11/165, So.

12, Jackson Hutter, RB/LB, 6-1/200, Jr.

14, Kadin Kuhns, So.

18, Robbie Labuda, RB/DB, 6-3/180, Sr.

19, Jonathon Mentzer, WR/DB, 5-8/140, So.

20, Ethan Eicher, TE/LB, 5-10/185, Sr.

21, Brody Hutter, RB/LB, 5-11/165, Fr.

22, William Shipley, WR/DB, 5-7/120, Sr.

23, Sean Cain, WR/DB, 5-6/135, Sr.

25, Brayden Caletri, WR/DB, 6-4/175, Sr.

26, Casey Shaffer, TE/DB, 5-11/210, Sr.

29, Michael Felbaum, TE/LB, 5-11/195, Jr.

30, Ethan Benteler, WR/LB, 6-0/150, Jr.

41, Logan Parson, TE/LB, 6-0/180, So.

44, Camden Moore, TE/LB, 5-11/175, Jr.

45, Gage Valone, TE/LB, 6-0/175, Fr.

50, Devin Kuhns

53, Joseph Laychak, OL/DL, 5-10/225, So.

58, Mike Reese, OL/LB, 5-5/170, Fr.

60, Charles Stader, Fr.

61, Douglas Hamm, OL/DL, 5-7/220, Jr.

62, Austin Phillipi, OL/DL, 5-11/210, Jr.

63, Jacob Kraus, OL/DL, 6-0/235, Sr.

65, Caleb Pease, Fr.

66, Wiliam Eicher, OL/DL, 5-11/215, Sr.

67, Cole Patterson, Jr.

68, Arron Helman, OL/DL, 6-0/300, Sr.

70, Jacob Baker, OL/DL, 5-9/205, Sr.

72, Micah Roadman, OL/Dl, 6-1/230, Jr.

73, Jack Konpsider, OL/DL, 6-0/315, So.

76, Payton Schaum, OL/DL, 5-11/270, Fr.

77, Kolby Hudec, OL/DL, 6-0/255, Jr.

78, Alex Ferencz, OL/DL, 6-1/265, Fr.

79, Donovan Kalemba, OL/DL, 6-2/200, Jr.

81, Robert Hixson, Fr.

87, Jarrett Garn, WR/DB, 6-2/165, So.

89, Richard Shawley, Fr.

Colton Ament, OL/DL, 6-3/320, So.

Duncan Blose, RB/CB, 5-9/140, Jr.

Logan Campbell, OL/DL, 5-10/195, Jr.

Carter Strayer, TE/DL, 6-4/215, Fr.

Note: Due to publishing scheduling conflicts, the previews for Interstate Conference team Elizabeth Forward will appear on Trib HSSN next week.

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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