Waldier brothers hope to provide winning combination for Yough football

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Saturday, September 5, 2020 | 10:13 PM


It’s been a little more than a year since Tristan Waldier’s sophomore season at Yough came to a drastic, premature end.

The Cougars’ starting quarterback suffered a season-ending injury after a hit to the knee during a Week Zero matchup against Serra Catholic Aug. 23.

The injury occurred after Waldier saw pressure and rolled out of the pocket. He ran to the corner of the end zone and while diving, he took a helmet to the knee and landed on it awkwardly.

MRI results gathered a week after the injury confirmed a torn ACL and slightly torn MCL in Waldier’s left knee.

“It was very hard,” said Waldier, who went through four months of rehabilitation after surgery. “It all just kind of happened so fast, and I felt like I let my brothers down.”

Tristan’s older brother, CJ, witnessed the injury.

CJ Waldier, a wide receiver/linebacker for the Cougars, said he knew the injury was significant when he saw the hit.

“I was blocking in front of him and saw a helmet go directly into his knee. He grabbed it immediately, and, from that point, I knew I had to step up big time,” CJ Waldier said. “I dedicated my season to him because he deserved to play and was due for a huge season. I played for the both of us.”

While Gamal Marballie stepped in at quarterback, the Cougars struggled without Tristan, finishing with a 1-9 record and a 1-7 mark in Class 3A’s Big East Conference.

“Last year was not what we wanted at all. Tristan was a huge part of the team and losing him cost us greatly,” CJ said. “We all still tried to stay positive and keep pushing, and that is what we did even though we did not get the outcomes we desired.”

While younger brother watched from the sidelines and worked behind the scenes to return to 100% health, older brother put up big numbers on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.

CJ led the WPIAL with 70 receptions and finished his junior season with 929 yards and five touchdowns.

Defensively, he led the team with 79 total tackles and 65 solo stops. He averaged 7.9 tackles and added a sack along with a pair of fumble recoveries.

“It really meant a lot knowing he dedicated the year to me and had such a breakout year,” Tristan said of his brother, who was an all-state and first-team Mon Valley Independent-BeeGraphix Finest 30 selection last season.

The Waldier brothers always have had a close relationship.

They enjoy hanging out with one another off the field, and they push each other to be the best they can on the field.

That was never more evident than last fall when CJ pushed Tristan to keep his head up during his rehab process. And in turn, Tristan reciprocated that support.

“Off the field, we are always together whether it’s lifting weights, playing video games or hanging with friends,” CJ said. “I would definitely say it translates onto the field because we know we can trust each other and know where each other are on the field.”

The Waldiers began preparing for the upcoming season as soon as Tristan was cleared to resume football activities.

Whether they were lifting weights or just playing catch, the brothers were together, putting in work.

“We have lived in the weight room, and we were always throwing routes up at the field and in our backyard,” Tristan said. “Being able to throw to him is so nice because we have chemistry from years prior.”

Both Tristan and CJ feel as if they have something to prove this fall.

Tristan believes he has more to prove than his brother, though.

“Last year, he had an amazing season and you can expect him to have another great one, too,” said Tristan, a junior who will be back under center for first-year head coach Chris Chunko and the Cougars.

“I have not really been able to show anyone what I can do, having only played defense my freshman year and about three quarters my sophomore year.”

“We both definitely have something to prove. Tristan has to prove that he’s even stronger now after his injury and a way better ball player now,” CJ said. “I have to prove that I am a top-tier player on every part of the field.”

After a season of ups and downs, the brothers are eager to get back on the field and play alongside one another once again.

They intend to enjoy the experience, but that doesn’t mean they’re not also laser-focused on helping the team make some noise in Class 3A.

“It’s going to be truly special,” CJ said. “No one expects us to be good, but we have something brewing on Cougar Mountain this year that could land us a spot in the playoffs.”

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