Youthful Indiana short on experience after losing top-skill players
TribLIVE Sports Videos
For Indiana coach Mark Zilinskas, finding replacements for a pair of offensive stars won't be easy.
But he's eager to find out whether there's enough talent on a thin roster to make up for the losses of quarterback Logan Weaver and wide receiver Tyrayl Veney, both of whom are in their first college season at Indiana (Pa.).
“I feel like we've got a solid group of skill kids, so we'll see who emerges,” Zilinskas said.
Quality, he hopes, will outweigh the lack of numbers.
“We only have seven seniors, and our numbers are down because of that class. We're only going to have about 45 players on our roster,” Zilinskas said.
Weaver accounted for 20 passing touchdowns — 13 to Veney — and six rushing while combining for more than 2,100 total yards as Indiana posted a 7-3 record, despite losing in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs to Hopewell and sensational running back Rushel Shell, the WPIAL's all-time leading rusher, who went on to sign with Pitt.
While the quarterback job is a work in progress between junior Dequan West and sophomore Sean Thompson, there is a stable of athletic receivers available.
Junior Darrious Carter and sophomore Riley Stapleton are a pair of 6-foot-4 prospects for the position. Both have been regulars on the Indiana basketball team. Derek Stapleton, a 6-3 junior, and 6-0 junior Darnae Clemons, a state high jump placewinner, also figure to be in the mix.
“There's a lot of potential there for playmaking,” Zilinskas said.
The team's experience is slim, with just a pair of two-way veterans returning in 6-5, 285-pound senior center/linebacker Justin Spencer, who is considering an offer from Youngstown State, and 6-2, 190-pound senior running back/linebacker Nick Cornell.
Cody Squiric, a 6-2, 285-pound junior who played defensive tackle last season, is expected take on a spot at offensive tackle this season, Zilinskas 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.
- Clairton wins 11th WPIAL football championship
- WPIAL’s Top 10 football champions of all time
- Explosive offense carries Pine-Richland into finals
- Plenty of respect between Parkway Conference rivals
- From venues to playoff format, much has changed in 100 years of WPIAL championships
- Central Catholic wildcat Petrishen wild card in game vs. Pine-Richland
- WPIAL final wins over Aliquippa haven’t changed South Fayette’s underdog mentality
- Liotta, Petrishen represent AK-Valley at WPIAL football finals
- End of an era for Ford City football and its coach; Bartolovic steps aside
- Law makes Big Nine first team — on defense
- Avonworth faces ‘tall order’ against unbeaten Clairton