Cathedral Prep Ramblers
2012 record: 15-0 overall, 5-0 Region 6
Head coach: Mike Mischler (15th season)
Opening week opponent: At Perry, Friday at 7 p.m.
Cathedral Prep is looking to follow up on a 15-0 undefeated season and a Class AAA state championship. Yet, the Ramblers will have to do it without some of their key players from that run. None will be missed as much as quarterback Damion Terry, who was named the state’s Class AAA Player of the Year after passing for an astounding 3,599 yards and 50 touchdowns in 2012 and leading Prep in rushing with 700 yards and 12 TDs. He’s now playing for Michigan State.
Also gone is dual threat Delton Williams, who was second in rushing and tops in receiving last year; first-team receiver Brian Klemensic; three first-team all-region offensive linemen; two first-team defensive linemen; two first-team linebackers; and first-team kicker John Chereson.
What’s left to build around? Well, the Ramblers still have a couple tough runners in DeAngelo Malone and ShaQuon Thrower, as well as a quality set of hands in Alex Greenawalt, Jake DeHart and Charlie Fessler.
Terry’s back-up at QB last year, Billy Fessler, returns. He’s a candidate to take over at QB this season.
2012 record: 7-6 overall, 4-1 Region 6
Head coach: Mark Soboleski (9th season)
Opening week opponent: At Mentor (Ohio), Friday at 7 p.m.
McDowell lost two key offensive weapons last year in current Pitt freshman James Conner (1,680 rush yards, 21 TDs) and Khyre Drayer (857 rush yards, 13 TDs). However, the Trojans still have a couple sharp arrows in the quiver.
Junior quarterback Jake Tarasovich returns after passing for 356 yards and five TDs and rushing for 359 yards and four TDs. The Trojans also have a decent rushing/receiving threat in senior Tyree Spearman; a dead-on kicker in senior Ethan Stark; a first-team offensive lineman in senior Scot Augustine; a second-team wide receiver in senior Jamie Szymczak and a second-team defensive lineman in senior Tanner DeCrapio.
General McLane Lancers
2012 record: 9-3 overall, 3-2 Region 6
Head coach: Jim Wells (17th season)
Opening week opponent: Home vs. Fort LeBoeuf, Friday at 7 p.m.
General McLane lost plenty of talent to graduation and has to do quite a bit of rebuilding this season. But somehow that never seems to faze the Lancers. They manage to stay competitive year after year. And 2013 should be no different.
The Lancers had three quarterbacks that graduated last year, each of whom threw the ball some but rushed it even more. Senior Zachary Fox looks to be the replacement under center. He’s expected to take plenty of keepers this year. When he does hand it off, it could likely go to senior Michael Suminski, who is the team’s top returning rusher from 2012 with 121 carries for 910 yards and 14 TDs. Other running backs in the rotation include Tyler Sanders, Zane Burger, Clay Smith and Jarrell Johnson.
Of that group, Johnson is the team’s top returning receiver with nine catches for 181 yards and a TD.
Strong Vincent Colonels
2012 record: 3-7 overall, 2-3 Region 6
Head coach: Scott White (4th season)
Opening week opponent: Home vs. Hickory, Friday at 7 p.m.
Strong Vincent has a couple good starting points this season with the return of quarterback Chris Starocci and running back Jared Carlson. Starocci completed 56 of 104 passes last season for 905 yards, seven TDs and seven INTs. Carlson led the Colonels with 78 carries for 443 yards and four TDs in 2012. After those two, however, the skill positions will all be relatively new.
The line has experience, though. Four starters return in Jayson Curry, Thomas King, Kyle Pointer and Myles Simmons.
2012 record: 1-8 overall, 1-4 Region 6
Head coach: Leonard Ford (6th season)
Opening week opponent: Home vs. Hickory, Friday at 7 p.m.
East’s biggest graduation last season was quarterback Jauwan Ford, who had held down the starting role effectively for two seasons. Last year, he completed 95 of 218 passes for 1,383 yards, eight TDs and seven INTs. Also gone is leading running back Craig Heidelberg; and the team’s leading receiver, Avery Kirksey.
The Warriors will need some younger players to fill those shoes. A strong candidate at running back is senior Anthony Gates, who last season was second on the team in rushing (71 carries for 321 yards) and third in receiving (19 catches, 246 yards). And senior Eddie Williams was the team’s second-leading receiver a year ago, grabbing 21 catches for 328 yards.
Central Tech Falcons
2012 record: 3-7 overall, 0-5 Region 6
Head coach: Rob Matz (3rd season at Central, 5th overall)
Opening week opponent: Home vs. University Prep, Saturday at 7 p.m.
Central Tech is essentially starting from scratch this season. Quarterback Paul Kafando is gone. He was quite a weapon for the Falcons last year, rushing for 1,507 yards and 16 touchdowns while completing 18 passes for 197 yards and one score. Also gone is Eugene Husband, the team’s second-leading rusher and top pass-catcher in 2012.
There are some bright spots for the Falcons, though. Senior Anthony Duck is a returning second-team all-region offensive lineman. Senior Calvin Franklin returns after recording 37 carries, 172 yards and a touchdown last year. And receivers Eddie Tate and Albert Jones, both seniors, may see some more passes coming their way after a couple touches each in 2012.
Cathedral Prep Ramblers
Breese closes career with second straight title
Sam Breese now knows how it feels to be perfect.
Breese finished with an undefeated season record of 35-0, with win No. 35 being the sweetest one of all.
The Lakeview senior stared into the face of the pressure that comes with defending a title, and made the Giant Center in Hershey feel like home. Undeniable talent and an incredible determination are the hallmarks of Breese’s approach to wrestling, and for the second straight year, he can call himself a champion.
McLane’s Wheeling comes up short in final
On a night when six wrestlers repeated as PIAA Class AAA champions, Chance Marsteller and Thomas Haines stole the show.
Marsteller, of Kennard-Dale, and Haines, of Solanco, became the 11th and 12th four-time gold-medal winners in Pennsylvania history. Marsteller (166-0) also is the first four-time champion to complete his career without a loss since Cary Kolat (1989-92) and the fourth overall.
Serra outlasts Cardinals
For the second time in as many days a basketball team from Cochranton High School played a private school from the WPIAL, put forth a valiant fight, but ultimately had its heart broken.
On Friday, it was the Cochranton boys team, which fell to Vincentian Academy 95-85.
Breese lone local to reach Class AA finals
A busy and entertaining Day 2 of wrestling at the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships in Hershey came and went, as did the dreams of a gold medal for a handful of local wrestlers.
The one local wrestler that doesn’t apply to is Lakeview’s Sam Breese, who had the Giant Center crowd in aw during his two matches Friday. The two bouts equated to two wins, which means a shot a defending his championship.
Lee, Wheeling survive Day 2 in Hershey
Ehrin Lee’s smile following his quarterfinal win Friday at the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships told the whole story.
Lee has had his eyes on the state championships all season long, and just getting there wasn’t enough. The Titusville 160-pounder has wrestled like one of the best grapplers in the state during the tournament thus far, and his 3-2 overtime win over Northampton’s Bobby Fehr proved that if nothing else, he’s one of the four best wrestlers in his weight class.
Cards can’t slow Vincentian
The starters on the Cochranton boys basketball team probably slept like logs on Friday night.
They left every ounce on the hardwood of Meadville High School’s House of Thrills, going up against the high-intensity attack of Vincentian Academy in the opening round of the PIAA Class A playoffs.
McLane rolls past Neshannock
Sarah Jay has made a habit of presenting her players with in depth scouting reports prior to each and every game.
But the report she handed them on Neshannock, the Lady Lancers’ first round opponent in the PIAA Class AA playoffs, was nothing like they had seen before.
Class AA first round filled with highs, lows for locals
It was a day full of highs and lows for the 11 local Class AA wrestlers on the opening day of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships in Hershey.
For some, it was business as usual, and for others, the atmosphere of a crowded Giant Center proved to be a little much. By the time the preliminary and Round 1 consolation rounds were finished, eight wrestlers are still alive, with state wrestling experience proving to be invaluable Thursday morning.
Lee, Wheeling stay in hunt for Class AAA state title
A win is a win, and when it comes to the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships, as long as your score reads higher in the end, it really doesn’t matter how you get there.
During the preliminary round of the tournament Thursday afternoon at the Giant Center in Hershey, the six local qualifiers certainly had mixed results, but in the end, two wrestlers are still in the championship bracket, exactly where they want to be.
Cards look to slow down Vincentian
“The best way to sum it up is,” said Cochranton head coach Scott McCurdy, “it’s like they’re down five and there are 30 seconds to go. Only, they play like that for the entire 32 minutes.”
McCurdy is talking about the Vincentian Academy boys basketball team, which employs a style that’s ... well ... calling it up-tempo just doesn’t seem to suffice.
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- Breese closes career with second straight title