Serra football team adapting to rigors of WPIAL play
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart's football program is readying for its third year of playing in the WPIAL, and the team has begun to establish itself as a postseason contender out of the Big Seven Conference.
It was certainly a tough squad for Serra Catholic to face Saturday in its first preseason scrimmage. But that will be nothing compared to what the Eagles will face when the regular season begins Aug. 31 against Brentwood.
Serra Catholic will be playing in the WPIAL's Class A Black Hills superconference, a 10-team section with seven teams that qualified for the 2011 WPIAL playoffs.
“It's a brutal schedule, the conference we're in,” Serra Catholic coach Jamie Eckels said. “It's going to be a big, physical game every week, and we have to get as good as we can get with a sophomore-dominated team.”
One of the key sophomores will be quarterback Zack Quattrane, who the team will rely on to run its complex triple-option offense. Though he doesn't have the game experience a signal-caller generally needs to run a multiple offense of this type, the Eagles are hoping he can quickly pick it up.
Then again, considering what has happened to Serra Catholic quarterbacks in recent years — East Allegheny sophomore starter Kyle Whipple enrolled at Serra Catholic before opting to stay with the Wildcats; its 2011 backup, sophomore Anthony Rosso, opted to play soccer — Quattrane's development is essential to the progress of the program.
“He's doing real well and he's learning, and the ‘trip' is a lot more difficult to learn, but we'll make some strides,” Eckels said. “He's gotten bigger physically since last year and is starting to understand his job as a triple-option quarterback.”
Quattrane won't be the only Serra Catholic player learning as he goes. The Eagles have only two seniors and four juniors, so most of the starting lineup will be playing its first varsity game in nine days.
“They're so young, and most of the kids that come to Serra haven't really played before, and the underclassmen — they have to (progress) a little bit at a time,” Eckels said. “We're just improving every day a little bit and we don't have a lot of kids, so we just try to do the best we can.”
Serra Catholic has struggled learning the triple option during the past two seasons. The Eagles are 5-14 since Eckels took over for Rich Bowen in 2010, and they will have one more opportunity to prepare for the season when it travels to Avella on Friday.
One of the few saving graces will be senior fullback Zack Varga, who has been the team's best performer in training camp. And he has the one intangible the team needs more than anything.
“He has great leadership,” Eckels said. “He's done really well playing at running back and … we moved the ball well against OLSH, but we're young at key positions. We're making progress, but we just don't have a lot of seniors and juniors that are playing.”
Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-664-9161, Ext. 1977.
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.
- Peduto blasts Wolf’s plan to borrow $3B to shore up pensions
- Steelers notebook: LB Dupree sits out backs-on–backers drill
- Starkey: Garoppolo baffles Steelers
- Inside the Steelers: Williams’ quickness out of backfield evident in drills
- McCutchen, Pirates cruise to interleague victory over Twins
- Man arrested in Marshall-Shadeland barbershop killing
- Extremes in weather hurt crops in Westmoreland
- Beaver County widow won’t lose home over $6.30 late fee
- Tight ends’ role in Steelers passing game continues to lessen but players remain selfless
- Steelers’ Bell unsure why NFL reduced his suspension
- United Airlines hack coincided with incursion into government employee data