New coach Bret Colbert to rely on talented returning roster at Greensburg C.C.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019 | 9:51 AM

New Greensburg Central Catholic coach Bret Colbert comes from rich football pedigree. His father, Bob, has 44 years of coaching experience at various levels — high school to the pros — while his uncle, Kevin, is the general manager of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“Football shaped me and has been everything to me,” said Bret Colbert, 38, a former wide receiver at William & Mary and Bridgewater (Va.) College. “It’s what we know and what we do.”

Bob Colbert, 72, will serve as an assistant with his son. His coaching stops include Saint Vincent, Galludet, Colgate, Dartmouth, Cornell, Ohio Wesleyan, James Madison and Bridgewater, as well as the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Colts.

The father-son combination should make for a subtle blend: notes of old- and new-school football.

“Dad is always just a phone call away,” Bret said. “I know I can always go to him. I’m sure he’ll be dusting off his defensive playbook from the Baltimore Colts.”

Having been around the game as a player and college coach himself for many years, Bret Colbert knows the value of preparation. But he isn’t big on summer workouts.

GCC played in only one seven-on-seven passing competition, and Colbert did not introduce a single play — not an X or O — until late July.

Experience, albeit a limited variety at the high school level, apparently gives him a license to go from the gut.

“When I played, we learned everything in August,” Colbert said. “That’s when positions are earned. We don’t want to rush into things. I am big on fundamentals. After we get those in place, we’ll figure out how to get the ball in the end zone.”

Colbert, who has served as a wide receivers coach for GCC the last two years, was a three-year assistant at Duquesne from 2014-16 and also had assistant coaching positions at Cornell and Pitt.

A native of Harrisonburg, Va., Colbert lives within walking distance of the high school and has a work-from-home job as an abstractor for a local property search company. He replaced the man he used to coach, Aaron Smetanka, who left GCC after two seasons to take the lead football position at Saint Vincent.

Colbert was an assistant at SVC when Smetanka was the Bearcats’ quarterback. Smetanka, a hands-on coach who routinely played scout-team quarterback in practice, approached Colbert about being his replacement, doing his best to leave the program in a good place.

“Aaron instilled the work ethic here,” said Colbert, who assumes his first high school head coaching position. “My job is to keep the program going in the right direction.”

GCC finished 7-3 last year but missed the WPIAL Class A playoffs despite a 3-3 mark in the skill-heavy Eastern Conference.

Colbert likes his athletes, from a fast-looking defense and special teams unit, to a stable of quality two-way players.

“We have a number of guys who have the potential to play some type of college football,” Colbert said. “There is a lot of talent here.”

As for that playbook, which will work from — ho-hum — multiple formations, Colbert would not commit to vanilla or spice in the style department.

“There are only five spots on the field to get the football to,” Colbert said. “Maybe we’ll have some fun with that. It’s just a game. Why not?”

During camp, two players were competing for the starting quarterback spot: junior David Altimore and freshman Nate Dlugos. Altimore appeared to be the front-runner heading into camp as the team worked to replace Max Pisula, who accounted for more than 1,100 yards and 20 touchdowns.

As a former wide receivers coach, Colbert has a special place for his pass-catching group. It includes seniors Brandon Brown, Luke Mazowiecki and Ben LaCarte and sophomore Joe Blahovec, among others.

A base 3-4 defense that has room to stretch its legs will include sophomores Dan Dlugos (inside), Zach Dlugos (outside) and senior Zach Kuvinka as key linebackers, while LaCarte, Brown, Mazowiecki and Blahovec are a formidable group in the defensive secondary.

“The key to our defense will be our speed,” Colbert said. “Our new defensive coordinator, Mike Brown, watched some highlights, and we were blown away by their speed and aggressiveness.”

Running back took a hit when senior Tommy Voelker opted out of football because of concussion issues. But a number of other ball carriers have emerged, including junior Zach Dlugos, Kuvinka and sophomore Dan Voelker.

Seniors Isaac Kuhns (tackle), Chase Pisula (center) and junior AJ Tobuston (guard) are key linemen and returning starters up front.

Colbert also raves about the potential of his special teams, particularly the return game.

“We should have at least one game-breaking play every game,” he said.

Senior soccer standout Nate Ward was expected to get a shot to be the placekicker.

Other coaches on staff include former Duquesne assistant Mike Brown and former IUP and Shippensburg tight end Khaliq Coleman.


Coach: Bret Colbert

2018 record: 7-3, 3-3

All-time record: 346-230-18

Date, Opponent, Time

8.23, Monessen, 7

8.31, at Riverview*, 12

9.6, Clairton*, 7

9.13, at Leechburg*, 7

9.20, at Imani Christian*+, 7

9.27, Springdale*, 7

10.4, at Mapletown, 7

10.11, Jeannette*, 7

10.18, at Cornell, 7

10.25, Southmoreland, 7

*Class A Eastern Conference game

+At Wilkinsburg’s Graham Field

Statistical leaders

Passing: Max Pisula*

60-112, 937 yards, 14 TDs

Receiving: Brandon Brown

23-386 yards, 6 TDs

Rushing: Brando Ciccarelli*

62-325 yards, 5 TDs


Greensburg C.C. roster

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

2, David Altimore, QB/DB, 6-0/155, Jr.

4, Ben LaCarte, WR/TE/DB, 6-1/175, Sr.

5, Paul Rice, WR/OLB, 5-10/175, Sr.

6, Nate Dlugos, QB/DB, 6-0/150, Fr.

8, Alec Sukay, WR/DB, 5-2/100, Fr.

9, Joe Blahovek, WR/DB, 6-2/170, So.

12, Nate Ward, K/WR/P/DB, 5-11/145, Sr.

13, Brandon Brown, WR/CB, 5-10/165, Sr.

15, Dom Vitula, WR/DB, 5-6/130, Fr.

18, Danny Dlugos, HB/ILB, 6-0/205, So.

19, Dan Voelker, RB/DB, 5-7/145, So.

22, Aaron Stasko, WR/DB/OLB, 6-1/65, So.

23, Zach Kuvinka, RB/ILB, 5-9/180, Sr.

26, Luke Mazowiecki, WR/DB, 5-10/165, Sr.

29, Dean Crissman, WR/OLB, 5-11/65, Fr.

32, Zach Dlugos, RB/OLB, 5-10/165, Jr.

45, Luke Garvin, TE/LB, 5-10/165, Jr.

48, Daniel Morgan, HB/LB, 5-10/220, Jr.

50, Tyler Shafer, OL/DL, 6-1/240, So.

53, Joe Semelka, OL/DL/LB, 6-1/195, So.

54, Dom Weber, OL/DL/LB, 6-2/220, Jr.

56, Chase Pisula, C/DE, 6-1/205, Sr.

57, Alexander Colcombe, OG/DE, 6-0/195, So.

60, Mike Lucotch, OL/DL, 5-6/165, Fr.

63, AJ Johnston, OG/DL, 6-2/235, Jr.

68, Isaac Kuhns, OT/DE, 6-0/230, Sr.

72, Cole Spivak, OL/DL, 6-3/240, So.

73, Connor Petrunak, OG/NT, 5-11/280, Sr.

75, Elijah Morgan-Washington, OL/DL, 5-11/220, Fr.

76, Emery Kindel, OL/DL, 5-9/200, Fr.

77, Andrew Mazik, OG/NT, 6-2/290, Sr.

80, Aiden Minniti, TE/DL, 6-3/185, Jr.

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


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