Central Catholic will be well-represented at Pitt-Syracuse game
The temperature reached 103 degrees on the field at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, and players kept stumbling to the sideline with cramps.
Oblivious to everything except his job, Dan Vaughan kept playing — on offense and defense — while helping lead Central Catholic to a 34-6, season-opening victory against Northmont (Ohio).
“He didn't come off the field for a single play,” Central Catholic coach Terry Totten said. “He was one of the toughest players I've ever been around.”
It's five years later, and Vaughan, a backup linebacker at Syracuse, and Central Catholic teammates Tino Sunseri and Andrew Taglianetti will meet for the final time on a football field Friday when Pitt visits the Carrier Dome.
Much has changed in the past half-decade since Central Catholic won the 2007 PIAA Class AAAA title, its second in four years, with a 16-0 record. Vaughan and Taglianetti are graduate students. Vaughan is seeking a master's degree in TV, radio and film, and Taglianetti is pursuing an MBA.
Both are backups after spending much of last season as starters. Sunseri, a three-year starter, is playing better than at anytime in his career, improving to 15th nationally in passing efficiency.
The tie that binds the three players grew roots at Central Catholic.
“The best thing about our team, you felt like you were playing with brothers,” Sunseri said. “That's the one thing at Central that you can't get anywhere else.”
Said Vaughan: “Everybody knew everybody. Everybody cared about everybody.”
Pitt offered Vaughan a scholarship, but Syracuse was first in line. He also considered Stanford.
“I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do,” he said. “Eventually, Pitt ran out of scholarships, I believe.”
Totten said the team was special for the senior leadership provided by Vaughan, Quentin Williams (now a defensive end at Northwestern), Sunseri and Taglianetti.
“We got tremendous leadership from our captains,” Totten said. “We still talk about it. That kind of drove the sled. They refused to give in.”
Pitt wide receiver Cam Saddler remembers Vaughan after his Gateway team lost, 35-34, in triple overtime in the WPIAL title game.
“In the third quarter, he hit me one time. ...” Saddler said. “I told (Gateway and Pitt teammate) Shayne Hale, he better not hit me no more because I don't want no more of that.”
Vaughan's father, John, an offensive line coach at Central and a 35-year coaching veteran, will be in the Carrier Dome on Friday after Totten excused him from their game against Pine-Richland.
“Family's first,” Totten said.
After starting 11 games last year, Vaughan was demoted this season. He was disappointed, but — much like Taglianetti — embraced special teams.
“I didn't like the decision, obviously, but I am just here for the team,” Vaughan said. “My dad always told me, ‘Control the controllables.' ”
Sunseri said he stays in contact with Vaughan, just not this week.
“It's one of those things where you have a bond with somebody that goes past football,” Sunseri said.
Friendship, though, only goes so far.
“You want to make sure you get the win,” he said.
Note: Pitt received its 18th verbal commitment from the Class of 2013 when Cranford (N.J.) wide receiver Reggie Green (6-foot-3, 205 pounds) told coaches he plans to enroll.
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7997.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Slumping Pitt keeps chin up
- Pitt’s 2015 schedule includes 5 road games in 1st 7 games
- Dixon vows to fix Pitt’s long-distance dilemma
- Gorman: Not just a no-brainer for Pine-Richland’s DiNucci
- Pine-Richland’s DiNucci to Pitt; Kittanning’s Bowers opts for PSU
- Pitt, Louisville square off after unusually long layoffs
- Pitt notebook: Pitino: This year’s Pitt team not as talented as past years
- Panthers drop heartbreaker in overtime to Virginia Tech
- Former WPIAL diving champ finds success at Pitt
- Pitt coach Narduzzi adds N.J. linebacker recruit