New coach Colbert leans on senior players at Greensburg Central Catholic
By: Bill Beckner Jr.
Sunday, August 11, 2019 | 6:01 PM
Senior leadership should not be a problem this football season at Greensburg Central Catholic.
About one-third of the roster — 10 players— are seniors. Of the 10, eight have college interest, six of them for football.
The group has run the gauntlet. They have won. Theyhave lost, and they have watched coaches come and go.
“We all have been friends for awhile and have played together here,” said senior Luke Mazowiecki, a wide receiver and safety. “We’ll be well-prepared because we have seen just about everything. We’ve been in just about every situation, so we’ll know how to handle it. We trust each other.”
Whether the crop of experience and athleticism translates into wins remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: The Centurions are a confident bunch as they play for first-year coach Bret Colbert.
“It’s invaluable to come in and have a group of guys who have been around and are so close,” Colbert said. “They all compete hard and want to win. Our job is to put them in the best place for success.”
Football could help put several players through college.
Mazowiecki has low-level Division I interest, including schools in the Ivy League.
The other key seniors who will look to guide the Centurions back to the WPIAL Class A playoffs are Brandon Brown (WR/DB), Isaac Kuhns (OL/DL), Zach Kuvinka (RB/LB), Ben LaCarte (WR/DB), Chase Pisula (OL/DL), Paul Rice (WR/DB), and Nate Ward (K).
The seniors have been around the program longer than Colbert, an assistant last year, or his staff.
“The thing about (the seniors) is that we’ve had three different coaching staffs in three years,” Kuhns said. “Each time we learned something. We tried to help Bret when he came in.”
Rice is headed to Alderson Broaddus to play baseball as a catcher.
Ward is a soccer standout and is drawing some Division I attention in that sport.
The other six have smaller college football interest, with coaches waiting to see how they perform in their final year of high school.
Brown led the team in receptions last season with 23, for 386 yards and six touchdowns. Colbert thinks Brown can be a scholarship player.
With the talent, GCC certainly has curb appeal.
“Our chemistry is great,” Kuvinka said. “Bret has done a great job, and Tank (former coach Aaron Smetanka) did a great job, too. He got us in our best physical shape. We’re ready to put our best 11 on the field.”
GCC finished 7-3 last season but missed the playoffs, a year after finishing 3-7.
LaCarte, who also played basketball and baseball, said Colbert has made for a smooth transition. Structure was in place before he was named the coach, a tribute to the seniors.
“We all know what each other is going to do out there,” LaCarte said. “We have a great bond.”
Rice did not play football last year but said he has noticed the tightly knit fabric of this year’s team.
“I think we’re going to do really well,” he said. “We’re going to be able to work well together.”
Ward, a four-sport athlete (basketball, track), knows how valuable the upperclassman guidance can be.
“We lost some key guys from last year, but we have really improved,” he said. “We also have a lot of younger guys, and we can provide leadership.”
The other seniors are Andrew Mazik (OL/DL) and Connor Petrunak (OL/DL).
Tommy Voelker, a senior running back and linebacker, decided not to play because of issues with a concussion last season.
The seniors have forged a bond despite differing zip codes. So goes life at a Catholic or private school.
Mazowiecki and Kuhns are from Latrobe. LaCarte grew up in Belle Vernon. Kuvinka and Brown hail from Monessen. Pisula is from the Southmoreland School District. Rice is from Leechburg, and Ward lives in Connellsville.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .
Tags: Greensburg C.C.