EDINBORO — Rich Cerro was one of those dymanic, do-it-all players during his high school playing days at Franklin.

In fact, during his four-year career with the Knights, Cerro set career records for all-purpose yards (5,381) and passing yards (3,861). He also led the Knights to the District 10 Class AAA title game in 2003, while earning all-Northwest Conference first team honors as a quarterback.

That turned out to be just the beginning.

Five years later, Cerro is working his way into the record books at Edinboro University and has helped the Fighting Scots’ receiving corps become one of the best in the PSAC. Edinboro currently ranks third in the PSAC in passing offense with an average of 253.8 yards per game.

The Scots are tied for second in the conference with 13 touchdown receptions.

Quarterback Trevor Harris deserves much of the credit for the Scots’ success on offense. But as Edinboro head coach Scott Browning noted Wednesday, Harris will be the first to acknowledge that his success comes with a lot of help. And a lot of that help can be attributed to Cerro and Co.

Of course, Harris’ receivers are also unwilling to take the credit.

“We take a lot of pride in our offense, but a big part of it is just a trust factor in Trevor,” said Cerro, who played defensive back at Clarion University for one season. “Having him back there at quarterback just gives us a lot of confidence that he’s going to put the ball right where it needs to be.”

But there’s much more to it than that.

Not only does Harris need a tough offensive line to give him protection he also needs his receivers to step up and make plays whether it’s hauling in a pass or providing a key block. And while Edinboro’s receivers lack the physique of a typical receiver, they are guaranteed to step up and give it everything they have to make the play.

“I think as a group, this is one of the more gritty groups of wide receivers we’ve ever had here,” Browning said. “You look at them and a lot of them don’t pass the look test maybe. But when you watch them practice, they practice hard and play every snap.

“Coach (Mike) Yurcich has done a phenomenal job of really developing them, but in the same token their work ethic and work habits are second to no one.”

Again, all while averaging just 5-foot-11, 185 pounds.

Rybicki is Edinboro’s biggest wide receiver at 6-2, 215 pounds. Tight ends Denayne Dixon (6-3, 255) and Brad Gossett (6-4, 250) do provide the Scots with some size down the field.

“We’ve made a living with murphy wide receivers, I guess,” Browning said. “But that’s what we have and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.”

Edinboro has had 14 different players catch at least one pass this season.

Cerro leads the way with 17 catches for 288 yards and five touchdowns. Jeremy Burr also has over 200 yards receiving. Denayne Dixon (183), Ryan Rybicki (104) and Josh Brown (174) have over 100 yards.

“Everyone talks about Trevor,” Browning said. “And not to take anything away from Trevor … He’s a great kid; he’s worked hard; he’s a student of the game; he’s improved. But the people around him have improved a lot also and have put a lot of time into it.

“Our offensive line has gotten a lot better this season. Our tight ends have gotten better; our receivers, our running backs.

“I think there are a lot of things that play into Trevor’s success and he’ll be the first to admit it.”

And Harris is not alone.

“It’s a team effort,” Cerro said. “There are 11 guys out on the field playing football. Nobody can take all the credit. There’s timing with the offensive line. They have to protect and give Trevor time. And then Trevor needs to go out there and put the ball where it needs to be.

“And then we (the receivers) have to be where he wants us. It’s a team effort.”

“Everyone has a job,” Rybicki said. “We pride ourselves in doing our job.”

Cerro and Rybicki are two fine examples of just that.

Both continue to climb up the list of all-time leaders in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown receptions. Heading into Saturday’s homecoming game with Gannon, Cerro sits seventh in career receptions (102), ninth in receiving yards (1,363) and eighth in touchdown receptions (13). Rybicki is 10th in career receptions (90), 14th in receiving yards (1,045) and 11th in touchdown receptions (11).



Lisa Byers can be reached at 724-6370, ext. 277 or by e-mail at lbyers@meadvilletribune.com.

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