Mt. Pleasant eyes return to winning ways

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Sunday, August 18, 2019 | 11:41 AM


A stretch of productive seasons that began shortly after the turn of the century earned Mt. Pleasant repeated postseason trips before the Vikings’ fortunes went south the past two years.

In other words, it’s time to refocus.

“We want to make sure the culture is right after our disappointing year last year,” coach Jason Fazekas said, referring to a 2-8 record, the school’s worst in nearly two decades.

Make that two disappointing seasons since Fazekas, a former longtime Mt. Pleasant assistant, assumed his first head coaching job at his alma mater.

Mt. Pleasant was 4-6 in 2017.

“No one gets you ready to be a head coach. That just takes some time,” he said. “I feel like I’m learning every year, getting comfortable with things. The kids should see some carryover from what we’ve done in the past. I feel we have the ability to have things jell coming into my third year.”

Mt. Pleasant returns eight starters, accounting for 13 positions — five were two-way players — with seven on the defensive side. The Vikings, 2-6 a year ago in Class 3A Big East Conference games, open their schedule Aug. 23 at home against Southmoreland.

With the return of the team’s leading rusher and receiver, as well as a large portion of the defense, Fazekas is encouraged things will turn around.

Jake Johnson, among five two-way returnees, could be the centerpiece of Mt. Pleasant’s plan. The 6-foot-3 senior wide receiver/defensive back led the Vikings last year with a school-record 43 receptions, including 11 for touchdowns.

“He’s going to get the ball a lot. He’s my best kid, so we’ll focus on taking advantage of that,” Fazekas said.

Fullback Pete Billey, a 220-pound junior who also plays defensive line, anchors the backfield.

But the Vikings must operate with a new quarterback following the graduation of Lucas Pieszak, who passed for more than 1,100 yards last season.

Fazekas said junior Asher O’Connor would be the likely successor to Pieszak.

“He’s real good at making his reads and listening,” Fazekas said.

“We’re expecting him to do well for us.”

Other returning starters include tight end/linebacker Jake Fazekas, offensive/defensive lineman Ian Fasano, running back/linebacker Jared Yester, offensive lineman Connor Prevenslik, defensive lineman Colton Zelmore and defensive back Jonas King.

Fazekas said he expects Prevenslik (also defensive lineman) and King (also defensive back) to add duties by playing on both sides this year.

Prior to taking over the program, Fazekas served the Vikings for 14 years as an assistant coach, working primarily with offensive linemen, a position he played in high school and at Division II Clarion, where in 1993 he achieved second-team all-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.

“Probably the biggest disappointment I had last year, because I’ve always been an offensive line guy, was our offensive line,” he said. “We had a lot of problems there with injuries and depth. We have to make it right there because it embarrassed us the way we played.”

Fazekas expects better play all around.

“We’re looking for improvement in all three phases of the game,” he said. “We’re trying to get kids to fit, so we want to have our best 11 on the field.

“We never lost the kids last year. They didn’t quit, and we ended up winning our last game against Uniontown. You would almost see it coming together at times. That’s what you use to build on.”

Schedule

Coach: Jason Fazekas

2018 record: 2-8, 2-6

All-time record: 325-262-9

Date, Opponent, Time

8.23, Southmoreland, 7

8.30, at Hopewell, 7

9.6, Yough*, 7

9.13, at Derry*, 7

9.20, at Deer Lakes*, 7

9.27, North Catholic*, 7

10.4, Burrell*, 7

10.11, at Elizabeth Forward*, 7

10.18, Freeport*, 7

10.25, at Uniontown*, 7

*Class 3A Big East Conference game

Statistical leaders

Passing: Lucas Pieszak*

71-147, 1,162 yards, 11TDs

Receiving: Jake Johnson

43-911, 11TDs

Rushing: Pete Billey

105-484, 4TDs

*Graduated

Mt. Pleasant roster

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

1, Asher O’Connor, QB/DB, 6-0/170, Jr.

2, Nick Loughner, RB/DB, 5-10/165, Sr.

3, Regis Sofranko, QB/DB, 5-10/140, So.

4, Jacob Johnson, RB/CB, 6-3/180, Sr.

5, Brady Johnson, WR/DB, 6-0/170, Sr.

6, Ryan Borkowski, WR/LB, 5-10/170, So.

7, Luke Hauger, K, 5-11/150, Sr.

8, Cayden Zawalsh, RB/LB, 5-7/170, Sr.

10, Jonas King, WR/DB, 6-5/205, Jr.

11, Aaron Alakson, RB/LB, 6-0/180, So.

12, Jared Yester, RB/LB, 6-0/200, Jr.

15, Ben Davis, RB/DB, 5-8/145, Jr.

16, Jake Levendusky, RB/LB, 6-0/160, So.

18, Robbie Labuda, QB/DB, 5-11/150, Fr.

19, Lane Golkosky, RB/CB, 5-3/125, Fr.

20, Maximus Moore, TE/LB, 6-0/180, So.

21, Jaret Brown, RB/DB, 5-10/160, So.

22, Trenton Abair, WR/DB, 5-9/160, Sr.

23, Zac Sellinger, RB/LB, 6-0/170, Sr.

24, Lucas Eicher, RB/LB, 5-7/140, So.

25, Donovan Bair, RB/DB, 5-11/155, Jr.

26, Casey Shaffer, RB/LB, 5-11/165, Fr.

31, Gabe Tatters, WR/DB, 6-0/160, Sr.

32, Pete Billey, RB/DL, 6-2/225, Jr.

34, Jacob Baker, RB/LB, 5-6/170, Fr.

36, Matthew Dean, RB/LB, 5-10/175, Jr.

42, Ian Hutter, TE/LB, 6-1/165, So.

45, Jake Fazekas, TE/LB, 6-0/215, Sr.

48, Luke Trimmer, TE/LB, 6-2/170, Sr.

50, Jack Kramer, OL/DL, 5-10/180, So.

51, Jacob Laychalk, OL/DL, 5-10/1250, Jr.

53, Ryan Eutsey, OL/DL, 5-9/190, So.

58, Mike Dean, OL/DL, 6-0/230, Sr.

60, Ethan Eicher, OL/DL, 5-8/170, Fr.

62, Cole Marker, OL/DL, 5-8/215, Fr.

63, Jake Proctor, OL/DL, 5-11/215, Fr.

64, William Eicher, OL/DL, 5-10/185, Fr.

65, Jonathan Majercak, OL/DT, 6-6/305, Jr.

67, Conner Prevenslik, OL/DL, 6-0/230, Sr.

68, Arron Helman, OL/DL, 5-8/262, Fr.

69, Eric Patterson, OL/DL, 5-10/260, Sr.

70, Ian Fasano, OL/DL, 5-11/250, Jr.

73, Colton Zelmore, OL/DL, 5-10/250, Sr.

74, Kenneth Biller, OL/DL, 6-0/280, Sr.

75, Justin Kobistek, OL/DL, 6-1/250, Sr.

76, Hunter Dean, OL/DL, 5-9/200, So.

77, Devon Abair, OL/DL, 5-8/200, Fr.

79, Donovan Gray, OL/DL, 5-11/205, So.

81, Sean Cain, WR/DB, 5-4/125, Fr.

82, Tyler Reese, WR/DB, 6-1/165, Fr.

88, Demetrio Sherbondy, WR/DB, 6-0/170, So.

89, Brant Garn, WR/DB, 5-11/160, So.

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