New East Allegheny coach inherits playoff team
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Jason Ruscitto has spent the last seven months getting the East Allegheny football team to buy into his philosophy.
Now the first-year coach is looking forward to seeing their efforts pay off.
“The kids have been really tremendous,” Ruscitto said. “The kids have worked hard, they've put their time in, and they're looking forward to the season.”
Ruscitto, who coached Sto-Rox from 2004-09 and helped the Vikings to a 36-20 record, was hired in January to replace Dennis Edwards, who coached the last eight seasons. In 2011, he led the team to a fourth-place finish in the Interstate Conference and a berth in the WPIAL Class AA playoffs.
Though East Allegheny qualified for the playoffs, the team dropped its final three games and was outscored in their last two by a combined 92-12 in a nonconference loss to eventual WPIAL champion Aliquippa in their regular season finale and a first round playoff loss to Seton-La Salle.
Those losses have given East Allegheny incentive coming into the season. But though the team has adapted to a new regime, questions abound on how quickly the Wildcats will make in-game adjustments in a new system.
“Change is always difficult for everybody, and this team did go to the playoffs last year, so it's a neat situation in and of itself,” Ruscitto said. “We just have to come together as a team, work hard and, hopefully, the chips fall favorably for us.”
It's not like Ruscitto took over a program with nothing in the cupboard. East Allegheny has several talented skill position players that could help the Wildcats remain in contention in the new-look Allegheny Conference, which they will join this year.
Senior wide receiver/defensive back Shawn Adair might be one of the best multi-purpose athletes in the classification and a breakaway threat with the ball in the open field. He caught only 11 passes last season, but averaged 42.4 yards per reception and converted seven of his grabs into touchdowns.
About the only thing he hasn't grabbed is the attention of collegiate scouts, but that might happen if he has a breakout season in the team's new multiple offensive set. The same could also be said of senior K.J. Marshall, who is a solid runner and receiver.
“They both have great speed, they're both 4.5 (second 40) guys, so the speed is there,” Ruscitto said.
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.
- Through the years: Bell-Avon rings out in program’s finale
- Close loss in title game cannot diminish Clairton’s ‘great season’
- Clairton, Bishop Guilfoyle football teams match vaunted defenses
- Clairton falls short vs. Bishop Guilfoyle in PIAA Class A title game
- Archbishop Wood runs past Central Valley in PIAA Class AAA final
- High school notebook: WPIAL adjusts to accommodate Armstrong merger