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2008 LHAC Section 2 Preview

Teams are in order of my projected finish for them within their respective section. 
 
Please note, not all coaches responded to my inquiry but if I get any additional information I'll post it. 

BISHOP MCCORT

Coaching Staff: Ken Salem is entering his 13th season as Head Coach of the Bishop McCort Crimson Crushers. His record over those seasons is 101-37. Salem is assisted by Dave Seidel, J.D. Jones, Dan Santoro, Kevin Sheridan, Rick Delsginore and Dean Gindlesperger.

Key Returning Starters: Eric Lowry RB/DB, Dane Domonkos WR/K, Jack Schrey WR/DB, T.J. McAneny LB, Mike Bako OT, Steve Belskey OG, Shane Rugg OT

Key Losses to Graduation: Jordan DeFrances QB, Matt Varga WR/DB, Mike Cruz TE and Shawn James LB

Varsity Newcomers to Watch: Coach Salem only says “time will tell”.

Games to mark on the calendar: It seems like the Crushers are everyone’s big game and that’s what happens when you’re successful. However, it’s hard to beat their city rival Johnstown. Week 7 has the Trojans coming to Point Stadium to take on the Crushers. McCort has dominated this series lately and no doubt will look to continue that trend in ‘08.

Comments from coaching staff: Salem says, “We are very excited about the ‘08 season. Although we’ve lost some outstanding players from the LHAC and D6 championship tame, there will be tremendous competition for many positions, both offensively and defensively.

Analysis: The Crushers are the odds-on favorite to win not only the LHAC but District 6-A as well. The move down a class will make them not only a threat locally but statewide. Even though they lose a lot of talent from last year’s outstanding squad, they still return a great nucleus. Right now, on either side of the ball, the only question mark appears to be quarterback as Coach Salem will look for someone to step up and replace Jordan DeFrances.

 

JOHNSTOWN

Coaching Staff: Kevin Marabito is entering his second season as Head Coach of the Johnstown Trojans. He was 7-3 a year ago. Marabito coached nine seasons at Ferndale and 2 Penns Manor. His career record is 57-56. He is assisted by Neil Cobaugh, Tony Penna, Jr, Tony Penna, Sr., Adam Dugan, Brad Janidlo, Mike McMonagle, Chuck Wyatt, Mike Dadey and Pat Barron.

Key Returning Starters: Dave Istanich OT/DT, Quadir Christian RB/DB, William Claar OT/DT, James Haggerty C, Ben Brezovic G/DE, Richard Agurs E/LB, Kashmir Pretlor RB, Chris Bilak G, Tyler Boyd LB, LaQuinn Stephens-Howling RB, Jon Maruizio P/K, Adam Leechak LB

Key Losses to Graduation: Antwuan Reed, Will Harris, Adam Harris, Rex Hoffman, Rabin Kirkland, Shawn Lehman, Jay Pierce and Mackenzie Curcija.

Varsity Newcomers to Watch: Carlton Wyatt WR, John Sweet LB, Ryan Sisco RB/DB, Zayne Jenkinson LB, Quatrell Rose RB, Donnie McKinley TE, Zac Gobbell OT, Daveon Simms DE, John Sicilano QB.

Games to mark on the calendar: Week 5 and Somerset, as the Trojans took a stinging loss last year to the Golden Eagles in a game that ultimately cost them a playoff spot in the 6-AAA field. Look for the Trojans to avenge last year and win big.

Comments from coaching staff: Marabito comments on things thus far, saying: “To this point in camp the players have been working very hard. We have a few injuries that will leave some players out until the week of the Bedford game.”

Analysis: It’s tough to lose a talent like Antwuan Reed but this year’s version of the Trojans have strength and depth. The offensive line is one of the strong points as Division 1 prospect David Istanich anchors the group. Look for a more balanced look on offensive and more guys getting involved in the Troajns’ offensive this year. Defensively, if they can strengthen their pass defense, they will be a solid, all-around unit.

 

BISHOP CARROLL

Coaching Staff: Craig Sponsky is entering his tenth season as Head Coach of the Bishop Carroll Huskies. His record at BC entering the 2008 season is 87-27. He is assisted by Tim Lucko, Tom Serenko, Pete Buich, Chuck Sponsky, Dan Gueguen, Dave Lightner, Don Kozlovac, Joe Shook and Joey Shrift

Key Returning Starters: Steve Greene OG/DT, Brendan Julock RB, Chad Panick WR, Matt Repko RB/SS

Key Losses to Graduation: Sean Billings OT/DT, Nate Gerber C/DE

Varsity Newcomers to Watch: no response

Games to mark on the calendar: Week 1 and Ebensburg rival Central Cambria and Week 4 with Bishop McCort are two games to focus on for the Huskies this season.

Comments from coaching staff: Sponsky is “anticipating a tougher, get-after-it attitude. There is a lot of work ahead, but expecting a total team positive great attitude.”

Analysis: The past few years have been pretty tough for what has been a small school powerhouse in recent years. The Huskies are 6-13 over the past two seasons but this may be the season the break out of that slump and get back to their winning ways. Having an all-state lineman in Greene is a great luxury and he’ll help Julock to another strong season on the ground.



WESTMONT

Coaching Staff: Matt Glennon is in his first year as coach of the Westmont Hilltoppers.

Key Returning Starters: no response

Key Losses to Graduation: no response

Varsity Newcomers to Watch: no response

Games to mark on the calendar: Week Six and hosting Bishop McCort. Although the Hilltoppers will likely lose this contest, it will be Coach Glennon’s first experience with the bitter rivalry that is Westmont/McCort.

Comments from coaching staff: no response

Analysis: The word on Matt Glennon is that he’s a good young coach and great with the kids. This is exactly what is needed on the hilltop as the past two coaches have dealt with their fair share of turmoil at the school. Price Field will continue to be the tough venue for other LHAC teams that it has in the past (must be something about playing on Saturday afternoons), and this will be no different this year with a group of players willing to buy into what Coach Glennon is offering.



RICHLAND

Coaching Staff: Brandon Bailey enters his 7th season as coach of the Richland Rams. He is 20-39 coming into the 2008 season. He is assisted by Dick Mock, Fred Yanity, Tim Koshute, Mike Sabol, Tom Smith, Eber Verhovsek, Larry McCracken, Chris Hunter, Jeff Slatcoff and Ron Hobbs.

Key Returning Starters: Tim Ripple WR/DB, Chad Miller DB, Jordan Curcija LB, Brooks Lohr DE, Joe Marsh DT, Nate Adams WR, Jordan Rozich TE, Steve Laslar OT, Doug Tiffany OG

Key Losses to Graduation: Marco Pecora, Ryan Krouse, Dan Fenton and Joe Rizzo.

Varsity Newcomers to Watch: Alex Walton RB/DB and Jordan Czinko RB/LB

Games to mark on the calendar: Week 3 at Bishop Carroll could be a fun game to watch from the standpoint of watching two teams with shotgun, open style offenses go at it. Although the Rams are more likely to pass while BC seems to prefer to run from the spread formation.

Comments from coaching staff: Bailey on the upcoming season: “The players are excited for the 2008 season. After losing some outstanding player to graduation, our young team has much to prove in the LHAC.”

Analysis: When you lose the ninth best passer in the history of the state of Pennsylvania, it’s an understatement to say those are tough shoes to fill but that is what Coach Brandon Bailey has to do this year. Look for Tim Ripple to be the playmaker in an offensive that will no doubt put the ball in the air 40 times a game this year. However, the loss of Pecora, Krouse and Fenton may just be too much to overcome and make it difficult to repeat last year’s success.


SOMERSET

Coaching Staff: Steve Costea

Key Returning Starters: no response

Key Losses to Graduation: no response

Varsity Newcomers to Watch: no response

Games to mark on the calendar: Week Seven at Bishop Carroll is a chance for the Eagles to pull off a late season upset.

Comments from coaching staff: no response

Analysis: Same story with the Richland Rams above, there may be too much to overcome in the form of graduating players to repeat last season’s success. The Eagles of 2007 were built for that season over the prior years. 2008 will be a tell-tale sign as to whether the Eagles of a year ago are a one-year wonder or if Coach Costea is truly building a winning tradition at Somerset.

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