Westmoreland County football Q&A with Latrobe’s Branden Crosby

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019 | 6:39 PM


When Branden Crosby transferred from Greensburg Salem to Latrobe as a freshman, Latrobe football coach Jason Marucco knew little about him.

He saw Crosby had athletic ability but didn’t find him a regular position on the team until last season when the 6-foot, 160-pounder took the reins at quarterback.

A year later, Marucco is glad he handed Crosby the keys to the offense. The senior has moved into the fast lane and will lead the Wildcats into their season opener Friday at Derry.

Crosby helped guide Latrobe to its first WPIAL playoff berth since 2009. The Wildcats have eight wins across the last two seasons. In a stretch before that, it took them five-plus seasons to reach that total.

“I still can’t believe how far he’s come as a quarterback,” Marucco said. “He’s grown by leaps and bounds. He has earned it, and he’s had a great camp. He looks like a kid who has started 11 5A football games.”

Crosby completed 61 of 132 passes for 967 yards and eight touchdowns, while rushing for 200 yards on 80 carries.

Crosby replaced dual-threat Jason Armstrong, who went on to play at Mercyhurst. Crosby, while built quite differently than the bruising Armstrong (6-2, 230), also is an effective rusher and passer.

“Jason gave Branden a lot of confidence,” Marucco said.

Crosby is the subject of this week’s Westmoreland Q&A.

What did you learn from your first year as a starting quarterback?

I learned a lot about leadership and what it takes. Jason (Armstrong) taught me everything I know.

Did the offense change when you took over?

Not really. There are a lot of RPOs (run-pass option plays). Jason ran a lot of the same plays.

How do you envision your first touchdown play of 2019?

At Derry. First quarter. First drive. A touchdown pass to Kam Stevens.

How significant was it to make the playoffs?

I was excited to be a part of that team. To make it meant a lot to the school and the community. They loved it. We need to keep it going.

Did you and your teammates help out at Steelers camp as usual?

Yes. When a band was done playing, we helped clean up and took down the stage. I made the linemen carry the heavy stuff.

What was the best movie you saw this summer?

“Toy Story 4” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” I saw them at the drive-in.

Any interesting hobbies?

I play Fortnite with (former Latrobe lineman) Trent Holler. I’m a boring kid.

Football runs in your family?

Yes. My uncle, Jack Kirkland, played at Michigan State. He took me up there and it was great to see everything there.

Best place to eat in Latrobe?

Dino’s. No doubt. I get the sweet-hot wings. I go there once or twice a week. I am going to take my linemen there and let them pig out.

Are the Steelers better or worse without Antonio Brown?

The Steelers still look good. I’m a big Steelers fan.

Who is your favorite all-time athlete?

Michael Vick. He was the ultimate dual-threat.

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

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