Meadville Tribune

Sports

November 9, 2012

H.S. FOOTBALL: Cardinals face tough task in return to playoffs

November 9, 2012 7:00 a.m. MEADVILLE — The Cochranton football team will be looking to relive a little bit of history when it takes on Sharpsville in the quarterfinal round of the District 10 Class A playoffs today at 7 p.m. at Slippery Rock University’s N. Kerr Thompson Stadium.

Tonight’s game will be the Cardinals’ first playoff appearance since 2003. And in that prior appearance, the Redbirds notched their first-ever playoff victory.

Over which opponent? Sharpsville. Cochranton bumped off the Blue Devils 38-17 in that year’s D-10 semifinal round. The Cards would later fall to West Middlesex in the championship game, 7-6 in double overtime.

Here we are nine years later.

Cochranton got a new start with first-year head coach Nate Liberty. And the Cardinals managed to finish the regular season with a 6-3 record, good enough for third place in Region 2 and a playoff berth.

“Pretty exciting,” said Liberty. “They deserve it. It’s been a long time. They worked really hard for it and I’m excited for them.”

Sharpsville, on the other hand, is no stranger to the postseason. It’s the Blue Devils’ fifth straight playoff appearance and ninth out of the last 10 years. They’ll be going for the program’s eighth district title, the last of which was picked up just one year ago when the Devils beat West Middlesex 21-13 in the 2011 championship tilt.  

The Blue Devils come into tonight’s game with a record of 8-1, finishing in second place in Region 1 behind Middlesex.

Devils head coach Paul Piccirilli said he’s pleased with how far his team has come this year after graduating eight seniors from last year’s squad.

“Yeah, very much,” he said, “especially after we lost two of our better players in the first game of year.”

Those two players were running back Joey Flynn and linebacker/tight end Greg Popatak, who were both injured in a season-opening 35-0 win over Moniteau.

“We had to regroup and ended up doing pretty well for the year,” Piccirilli said.

The Devils certainly made do in the backfield without Flynn. Although their wing-T system hasn’t produced a standout rusher. Instead the Devils boast a trio of guys that can get the job done, like fullback Ross Llewellyn (654 yards, seven TDs rushing) and halfbacks Derrick Odem (596 yards, five TDs) and Joey Pagliaroli (406 yards, nine TDs), each of whom are seniors.

“We don’t have a big breakaway runner,” said Piccirilli. “We’re usually three yards a crack. We try to grind out a 15-play drive and score.”

The Devils’ rushing game is also set up by a consistent passing attack. Senior Bryan Stafford has completed 53 of 90 pass attempts for 785 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions.

“Well you have definitely got to do your job, stay disciplined,” Liberty said about the mindset that his defense has to have tonight. “You can’t over-pursue, can’t give any cutback lanes. And with Sharpsville playing as physically as they do, you’ve got to be ready to hit. You’ve definitely got to have no fear.”

Cochranton’s offense also has to find a way to score some points. Sharpsville is allowing just 12.0 points per game, putting them third in the district in team defense this year behind only Cathedral Prep (9.6 ppg.) and Hickory (11.8 ppg.).

Cochranton’s ‘D’ isn’t too shabby either, allowing 18.1 points per game. And the Cards certainly have some offensive tools to work with.

Junior quarterback Chad Eisenhooth, for example, has had a stellar campaign in 2012, emerging as one of the top passers in District 10.

This year, he’s completed 79 or 145 passes for 1,290 yards and 16 touchdowns and has only been picked off four times.  

“Chad is a very, very tough kid,” said Liberty. “As a coach you always hear, ‘Quarterbacks are fragile. You’ve got to watch what you do with them.’ Chad’s the total opposite. He performs. He wants the challenge. He asks for the challenge.”

Some of Eisenhooth’s top targets are senior receiver A.J. Nageotte (20 catches, 320 yards, two TDs), junior Jesse Staudt (17 catches, 310 yards, five TDs) and senior tight end Garrett Adams (17 catches, 230 yards, five TDs).

The Cardinals also have a top-notch running back in Austin Andrews, who has 880 yards and 15 touchdowns on 116 carries.

Andrews is one of a small but dedicated group of seniors that, according to Liberty, are responsible for getting the team to this point in the season.

“One thing that we’ve been lucky with is our senior leadership this year has been outstanding,” he said. “We have five outstanding seniors. And they have heard enough, they have taken enough on their shoulders, and they wanted to turn it around their senior year. And they did. I’m very proud of these seniors that stuck with the program and never quit. They had Cochranton pride all the way through.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Hawley scores District 1 finishes off dominant pool performance by trouncing New Jersey

    Pitchers often get the most credit in shutout victories. And Emma Osborne, Katy Dunn and Emily Beddick have certainly been deserving for District 1.
    Its defense, though, has been equally deserving.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sliding into second District 1 remains unbeaten after two routs

    Becca Siple’s response to a question on Twitter may have said it all.
    “Best experience of my life,” Siple said, when asked by The Meadville Tribune via Twitter to describe her experience thus far at the Senior League Softball East Regional Tournament. Following her response was the hashtag #D1isfamily.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Steelers camp Steelers LB Spence caps lengthy comeback

    The whistle blew and Sean Spence sprinted forward, each cathartic step distancing the linebacker from the horrific knee injury that threatened to end his NFL career before it even really began.
    Spence almost gleefully smashed into fullback Bryce Davis during the Pittsburgh Steelers’ first full contact drill of training camp on Monday. The two tussled for several seconds before Davis — his fists full of Spence’s jersey — pulled them both to the ground.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • District 1 dominates at East Regional

    Outscoring its opponents 32-0, District 1 moved to 3-0 at the Senior League Softball East Regional Tournament on Monday with a pair of wins.

    July 28, 2014

  • Kissing the bricks Gordon wins at Indy for record 5th time

    With a tinge of gray hair at his temples, his hat on backward and his two young children by his side, Jeff Gordon celebrated as if he was 23 years old again.
    Gordon won a NASCAR-record fifth Brickyard 400 on Sunday, eight days before his 43rd birthday and on the weekend Indianapolis Motor Speedway celebrated the 20th anniversary of his first Brickyard victory.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Roethlisberger OK with choice to wait on new deal

    There are days when Ben Roethlisberger can feel every single hit he’s absorbed during a decade as one of the NFL’s most fearless quarterbacks.
    And there are days when the Pittsburgh Steelers star sees the young faces surrounding him in the huddle and it seems like he can play forever.

    July 26, 2014

  • Teen doping Survey: Teens experimenting with HGH on the rise

    Michael Guerreri wanted to try human growth hormones so he could look like a pro wrestler. Joe Badalanato hoped HGH would help him become a better football player. James O’Brien figured the drug would improve his fastball.
    The three 18-year-olds from suburban Philadelphia told The Associated Press this week that they bought bottles of HGH online in the past year. Turns out, what they bought was fake.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Montoya back at Indy intent on winning for Penske

    Juan Pablo Montoya is back at Indianapolis Motor Speedway — one night only, an encore of sorts, in a guest-starring role for Team Penske.
    The Colombian is entered in the Brickyard 400 for the explicit purpose of winning at Indy in NASCAR and giving team owner Roger Penske one of the few trophies missing from his collection.

    July 25, 2014

  • Haley Wise District 1 looking forward to bigger goals

    The members of the District 1 Senior League softball team haven’t spent a whole lot of time playing together.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Meadville's magical season comes to an end

    The state run is over for the Meadville Junior League All-Stars.
    Guess they’ll just have to content themselves with a District 1 championship, a Section 1 championship and an incredible turnaround from the year before.

    July 24, 2014

Sports Scoreboard
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Business Marquee
AP Video
Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
Poll

A South Carolina woman was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The decision has created a debate over “free-range” parenting and whether it’s a good idea or not. What’s your take?

I’m fine with it. If she cannot afford childcare, what choice does she have?
This is horrible and very bad parenting.
I’m torn. It’s not right what she did, but it sounds like the mother had few other options.
     View Results
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks