Preseason football camp takes a toll ... in many different ways.
Sure, there’s the top-to-toe aches, pains, bumps and bruises that the players face.
Yet, it’s not easy on the coaches either. Take the gravel-filled voice of Meadville head football coach Mike Feleppa as it uncontrollably hops up a couple octaves in the middle of a word as he issues instructions to the team during Friday’s final practice session.
“ I don’t quite have my coaching voice underneath me yet,” he says, scraping out a laugh. “It went on me this morning for whatever reason.”
Yet, that rapidly fading talk box appears to have been spent to good effect. The Bulldogs report a productive first week of camp.
“This week it was wonderful,” said senior middle linebacker/offensive guard Jake Jageman. “We’re making it through the grind, we’re learning from our mistakes and we’re pushing through.”
Is it different from last year?
“It’s a lot more emotional,” he said. “We’re pushing each other a lot harder. We’re seeing a lot more leadership out here.”
Josh Trimble, a senior offense center/nose guard agrees.
“It was a pretty good week for us. The best first week of two-a-days I’ve been to,” he said. “The offense is really playing good ball. The defense is really starting to come around. Some of the younger guys are stepping it up.”
The Bulldogs certainly had their share of boxes to check off on the 2013 to-do list.
Just in the offensive backfield they had to replace a two-year starter at quarterback (Tyler Minnis), a running back with more than 3,000 yards to his career (current Temple University defensive back Artrel Foster) and an All-Region 5 first-team all-purpose back (Trevor Martin).
This past week they’ve worked to fill in those holes. Sophomore Tanner Frye has been slotted at quarterback. Juniors Jarrid Miller and Nathan Martin and senior Derek Neimann will all be a part of Meadville’s Wing-T backfield, joining returning all-region halfback and 1,130-yard rusher Ryan Harkness.
Yet, even with some new names in new places the Bulldogs appear to be hitting a nice stride.
“It was an excellent week,” said Feleppa. “I thought the kids were really upbeat. They came here to work every day. They showed great enthusiasm. They showed great emotion. I thought they had a great week of practice. I really did.”
Now it’s time to see how they do against another team.
The Bulldogs see their first real action today when they host Central Tech in a scrimmage that starts at 10 a.m. at Bender Field.
On one hand, the scrimmage is being looked at as one more practice session.
“Goals tomorrow: Hit hard, learn what we can learn, do what we can do, make improvements,” said Jageman.
On the other hand, after weeks of going head-to-head with their teammates, the opportunity has finally come to go full-on against a real live opponent.
“We get to hit a different color finally, not our own guys,” said Trimble.
And the ’Dogs seem eager to show how far they’ve come with one week down.
“Senior year, it’s going quick,” said Trimble. “It’s hard to believe the first week is over already. One more week to go and then the real season begins. It’s fast. Too fast.”
Preseason football camp takes a toll ... in many different ways.
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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