With key players back, South Fayette poised for big year
Wednesday, August 9, 2023 | 12:01 AM
Over the last two seasons, the South Fayette football program has dealt with a lot of roster turnover.
This fall, coming off a .500 season, the Lions bring back a majority of starters who have played valuable varsity snaps.
And the Lions (5-5, 2-3) will be led by an important piece of their program – senior running back/defensive back Nate Deanes.
Last season, Deanes finished with 1,020 all-purpose yards and 15 touchdowns. Deanes rushed for 509 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns as well as 326 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns.
“He has been playing for us since his freshman year. He was a captain last year. It was only the second time in my 22 years I have named an underclassman as a captain. We as a staff felt like he deserved that,” coach Joe Rossi said.
“He had to do a lot last year, and honestly, I feel like he has to do less this year. He has some guys around him that are going to open things for him a little bit.”
The Lions will have senior Nico Lamonde returning at quarterback. Last season, Lamonde threw for 1,171 yards, 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Sophomore Drew Welhorsky will back up Lamonde. Welhorsky started a couple games last season when Lamonde was out with injury.
“It’s always good to have someone backing up that has game experience just in case something would happen to Nico,” Rossie said. “We like to throw it around a little bit, and Nico does a good job of running the ball as well.”
The Lions will have a veteran receiving corps led by seniors Michael Gimigliano, Dom Monz and Noah Knox. Rossi has big plans for Monz after he missed significant time last year due to a hand injury.
Junior Aiden Martincic will also play a huge role at receiver.
Senior lineman Tim Haviland will anchor the offensive line after missing significant time last year.
“I think we have enough experience, especially up front, where I think we could compete in 5A,” Deanes said.
On defense, the Lions have 10 starters who played significant varsity time in previous years.
Deanes, an all-conference first-team selection last season, headlines the Lions defense. The line will include Haviland and seniors Shane Berger and Matt Boyce.
Gimigliano, Monz, Knox Martinicic and juniors Talan Mizenko and Noah Mathias are all returning on defense for the Lions.
Senior kicker Tyler Nicholson is also returning.
“We just have to have some playmaking ability,” Rossi said. “The guys have to make plays. Our staff is going to give them an opportunity to do it and take care of the ball. You have to have some guys under the lights make some plays.”
Last season, the Lions found themselves giving up halftime leads that led to losses to Peters Township and Canon-McMillan. This season, South Fayette looks to finish games in the second half. A focus has been on the team’s overall conditioning.
“I think the guys are ready to get back to the tradition of South Fayette football,” Deanes said. “The guys are putting in the time. The guys were in the weight room all summer and working hard.
“The guys will know what we need to do to win close conference games. In the Peters Township game, we didn’t have the experience to finish that game. We were a first-half team. We always started out fast and never finished.”
Coach: Joe Rossi
2022 record: 5-5, 2-3 in Class 5A Allegheny Six Conference
All-time record: 506-389-39
Date, Opponent, Time
8.25 at Chartiers Valley, 7
9.1 West Allegheny, 7
9.8 at Montour, 7
9.15 Peters Township*, 7
9.22 at Canon-McMillan, 7
9.29 at Moon*, 7
10.6 Plum, 7
10.13 Baldwin*, 7
10.20 at Bethel Park*, 7
10.27 Upper St. Clair*, 7
Passing: Nico Lamonde
83-132 1,171 yards 11 TDs, 7 INT
Rushing: Nate Deanes
85 carries, 509 yards, 10 TD
Receiving: Nate Deanes
30 receptions, 326 yards, 5 TD
• South Fayette has won WPIAL titles in three classifications: Class A in 1936 and 1964, Class 2A in 2010, 2013 and 2014 and Class 4A in 2018.
• The Lions have won two state titles in program history – 2013 and 2014.
• This will be South Fayette’s fourth season in Class 5A with only five conference wins in those seasons.
• This is the South Fayette football program’s 95th season.
Tags: South Fayette
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