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Greensburg Salem grad excited for football season at Seton Hill

| Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

Seton Hill sophomore Josh Falatovich could have left home to attend college and play football — he drew interest from schools far away from his native Greensburg.

He actually wanted to get away for a time.

But, ultimately, Falatovich conceded, home is where his heart remains.

For the past 10 years Falatovich has played his football in the heart of the city at Offutt Field.

“I love it there,” said the former Greensburg Salem quarterback who was second in tackles (91) as a freshman defensive back at NCAA Division II Seton Hill in 2012.

“I've been playing on that field since I was in rec league.”

Seton Hill, which does not have an on-campus football stadium, plays its home games a short distance away at Offutt Field. Beginning in 2013, the Griffins will welcome some familiar names — Indiana (Pa), Mercyhurst, California (Pa.) and Slippery Rock among them — as they commence play for the first time in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.

“Moving to the PSAC I think will start to help us to become successful, like the successful schools you hear about year-in and year-out,” Falatovich said. “After the year we had last season, we're not banking on a national championship. We're banking on winning some games. We're banking on being better than we were last year.”

Seton Hill concluded its final season in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, which disbanded, with an overall 0-10 record, leading to the dismissal of coach Joel Dolinski.

In his place, the school named former Widener coach Isaac Collins, who immediately set some new guidelines, starting with a discipline theme.

“He's brought in a lot more structure,” Falatovich said. “Academics was what he focused on more. Seton Hill had the lowest (team) GPA in the (WVIAC). He quickly had a program set for checking class schedules.”

Then, there was the concept of “Four Strikes and You're Out.”

“The term we kept hearing was, ‘Weed out the bad ones,' ” Falatovich said. “Obviously, we don't have much of a choice, but I feel that's the best thing for us right now — that structure. Last year, we kind of ran free, and our record showed it. Our performance showed it. With coach now, we can't run free.”

Falatovich, predominantly a strong safety in college who has added a bit of size from last year — he's 6-foot, 197 pounds — was part of a three-season run at Greensburg Salem that produced a combined record of 22-8 and three WPIAL playoff appearances. As a senior in 2011, he passed for 1,379 yards and 20 touchdowns as the Golden Lions produced a 7-3 mark.

Many of those games were staged at Offutt Field.

“I love to play football at Offutt Field,” he said. “I still stay in the same locker and have the same routine, same prayer that I've done the whole time in rec league, junior high, high school and now in college.

“I feel like I made a good decision with Seton Hill. I'm happy where I'm at now. Nobody knows what the future holds, but I'm happy now. I love playing in my hometown, and I love the same old people coming to the games.”

Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at dmackall@tribweb.com.

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