New coach wants to change direction at Beaver
Monday, August 23, 2021 | 6:01 AM
Cort Rowse is certainly no stranger to the tradition of the Beaver football program.
Rowse, a Beaver grad and long-time assistant who had two sons play for the Bobcats program, was named head coach in February.
He became just the third coach at Beaver in the last 55 years, following in the footsteps of a legend in Pat Tarquinio and, most recently, Jeff Beltz, who resigned after last season.
Beltz held the job for 21 years after Tarquinio led the Bobcats for 34. Combined, the two men won 403 games.
“Getting a chance to carry on that legacy, that tradition, I was privileged and I was humbled,” Rowse said. “But I also understand what’s expected of us and the program, what we need to do and how we need to do it going forward.
“It’s a dream come true and I couldn’t be more excited.”
That dream, however, could come with some restless nights. After winning a minimum of seven games every year from 2010-18, the Bobcats have gone 4-13 over the last two campaigns, including a 2-5 mark in 2020.
“We haven’t been as successful as we need to be,” Rowse admitted. “These guys understand that. We sat down and talked about it. They’re taking that as a challenge and I like what they’re doing.
“I’ve asked them to do a lot more this summer, because we have to change the direction we were heading.”
Part of getting the train back on the tracks will involve Rowse, a 15-year assistant under Beltz, implementing his strategies and philosophies.
“Like with anything, everyone has to come in and put their own stamp on it,” Rowse said. “The culture that I’m creating has to be under what my vision and my goals are.”
Between the lines, Rowse feels the offense will rely more heavily on the run game and will be primarily paced by a group of relatively inexperienced juniors, as the Bobcats return only five starters.
A senior, however, will be at the forefront, as Wyatt Ringer is back after leading the team in rushing in 2020.
“He’s going to stir the drink for us,” Rowse said. “He’s going to be who the majority of the offense goes through.”
Ringer will take snaps at quarterback, line up as the feature tailback and work in the slot as a receiver. A permanent quarterback will be decided by a “wide open” battle, with numerous options for Rowse to decide from.
“We have all of the ingredients between all of the guys,” he said. “But someone is going to have to step up and perform.”
Whoever emerges will have some exciting weapons, including junior receivers Josiah Santiago and Gerrell Leeper, who project as starting cornerbacks, as well. Omari Smith and Noah Reagan will be the key pieces of the offensive line.
The defensive play caller from 2020 is back, linebacker Jacob Hilton. Nick Oliver is a key returnee on the defensive line.
Newcomers to the program in JJ Shallcross and Isiah Ramsey have been impressive in the summer and may factor into both sides of the ball, according to Rowse.
There are some internal obstacles which the Bobcats will need to overcome, but those may not compare to the schedule that awaits. In addition to Class 4A Parkway Conference clashes with the likes of Aliquippa and Chartiers Valley, Beaver also will meet defending PIAA Class 3A champ Central Valley in Week 1.
“To be the best, you’ve got to go play the best and eventually beat the best,” Rowse said. “Those are the kinds of benchmarks you look at and say, ‘guys, this is what we’re shooting for.’
“You have to go out there and compete. I look forward to the challenge.”
Coach: Cort Rowse
2019 record: 2-5, 1-3 in Class 4A Parkway Conference
All-time record: 651-412-55
Date, Opponent, Time
8.27 Quaker Valley, 7:30
9.3 at Central Valley, 7
9.10 at Hopewell, 7
9.18 at Western Beaver, 12:30
9.25 Seton LaSalle, 1:30
10.1 at Aliquippa*, 7
10.8 New Castle*, 7:30
10.15 Chartiers Valley*, 7:30
10.22 at Montour*, 7
10.29 Blackhawk*, 7:30
Passing: Marco Mamone*
39-83, 631 yards, 5 TDs
Receiving: James Finch*
28-469, 5 TDs
Rushing: Wyatt Ringer
132-519, 4 TDs
• Cort Rowse’s two sons, Alex and Nik, played for Jeff Beltz. Alex Rowse played at Washington & Jefferson, passing for 27 touchdowns as a senior in 2017. He is now a member of Cort Rowse’s coaching staff.
• The Bobcats will celebrate the 40-year anniversary of the program’s second WPIAL title, a 12-7 triumph over Knoch in the Class AAA title game. The following year, Beaver claimed gold in Class AA with an 18-13 win over Jeannette. Beaver also won the 1972 Class AA title.
• Jeff Beltz resigned last September after being named to an administrative role at Moon Area School District.
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