Westmoreland County football Q&A with GCC’s Max Pisula

Wednesday, October 4, 2017 | 6:06 PM

Greensburg Central Catholic quarterback Max Pisula and some teammates gathered at his house earlier this season to watch some YouTube video.

They got their popcorn ready to watch highlights of their coach, Aaron Smetanka, in his not-too-distant playing days.

A strong-armed passer, Smetanka was a standout quarterback at North Catholic and St. Vincent and played semiprofessionally in the arena league.

The team was impressed, particularly Pisula, the Centurions' first-year starter who has helped lead the team to a 2-4 start (1-2 Class A Eastern Conference).

“He always tells us to run through the line,” said Pisula, a junior. “There were a couple plays we saw where he wasn't doing that. We joked with him about it. His arm strength was really good.”

Pisula is learning from one of the best as he tries to get GCC back to the WPIAL playoffs. The team missed the playoffs last season for the first time in 13 years.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound left-hander has completed 62 of 120 passes for 798 yards and six touchdowns. He also has rushed for four scores.

“You can see as the season has gone on how he has taken on a leadership role,” Smetanka said. “He has worked harder because he sees what it takes. As a QB, you're the face of the team, on and off the field. Max wants to win.”

Pisula said this week's game against Riverview is critical if the team wants to stay in the playoff race.

“We want to beat them because last year, they beat us to knock us out of the playoffs,” he said.

Pisula, who also plays some defensive end, answered a few questions after a recent practice this week:

How would you assess your first season as the starter?

It's been going well. We had a lot of guys who didn't know simple routes and needed to learn basic footwork. Now they're learning slants and go routes. We are all coming along.

What has coach Smetanka taught you about playing QB?

Throw the ball quicker. When the route breaks, it's time to throw. And keep your arm and shoulder up.

Some people have noted that you resemble Tim Tebow from how you play, to your size, to your jersey number. Is he one of your favorite players?

Yes. I have always liked him. And (former West Virginia QB) Skyler Howard, too. He has done big things coming from a small school.

Did the team stand on the field last week for the National Anthem, as planned?

Leechburg had their homecoming so we stood in the entrance to their tunnel (during the anthem). Standing for the anthem is the right thing to do.

Your cousin, Tommy, was a standout basketball player at Southmoreland. Did you ever beat him at one-on-one?

Maybe one or two times. We have hoops at our houses.

What did you think of sophomore teammate Tommy Voelker running for 259 yards last week?

It was both our line opening holes and him breaking tackles. It was very impressive to see.

Favorite football movie?

“The Blind Side” is one of the best.

Do you like to listen to pregame music?

Yes. Last year, Alvin Ross used to play Christian rock.

Were you surprised to see Imani Christian knock off Clairton last week?

We were shocked. We weren't sure who the five players were that were suspended so we thought Clairton would win. Imani is tough.


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