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Uniontown banking on youth to lead team to postseason

| Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, 6:54 p.m.
Uniontown's Jacqui Taylor photographed at Bill Power Stadium in Uniontown on Friday, August 3, 2012. Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Uniontown's Tristan Sandrosky photographed at Bill Power Stadium in Uniontown on Friday, August 3, 2012. Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier

Uniontown's John Fortugna is concerned about how quickly his team will mature as it attempts to snap a two-year playoff drought.

“This is probably one of the youngest teams I've ever coached,” Fortugna said. “Young kids are going to play, but when will they grow up? We're going to put a lot of young kids in the fire.”

Uniontown won just two games and finished near the bottom of the Keystone Conference standings last season after turnovers plagued the team throughout the season.

“We're going to be fundamentally sound, we work on that all the time,” Fortugna said. “But turnovers are something you can't have.”

After taking over as the starting quarterback late last season, junior Xavier Ellis is back to lead the offense.

“Xavier made some sophomore mistakes when we put him in the last two games as a starter,” Fortugna said. “But he handled the job well. He did a lot of good things and he grew up really quick.”

Senior Doug Lewis and junior Tristan Sandrosky are expected to lead a crowded group at running back.

Both saw increased playing time toward the end of last season.

“Doug didn't start right away, but we put him in for the last couple of games,” Fortugna said. “He got better and better. Then he broke his collarbone before our last game. Tristan started the whole year on defense, and eventually worked his way into the starting lineup on offense.”

Fortugna said he expects senior Jucqui Taylor and junior Bru Martin to see playing time at wideout.

The Red Raiders are undersized and inexperienced up front.

“We're probably going to start a lot of underclassmen,” Fortugna said. “Right now, we don't know who's starting up front.”

On defense, Fortugna expects a lot of new faces as well, but he said the unit will be anchored by Sandrosky and senior Joe Linderman at linebacker.

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