North Catholic seeks postseason return with new lineup
After five straight seasons of qualifying for the WPIAL playoffs, North Catholic was in the unfamiliar position of watching the postseason from the bleachers last year.
North Catholic was part of a three-way tie for fourth place in the Eastern Conference with Northgate and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, but Northgate got the playoff nod on the point differential tiebreaker criteria.
Now, it's back to the drawing board for the Trojans and seventh-year coach Bob Ravenstahl, who will see a considerable number of new faces wearing the Scarlet & Gold.
“We lost 12 seniors, so we're going to be pretty young this year,” Ravenstahl said. “But I think we can be competitive.”
Among the graduated players was quarterback Brandt Gribbon, who led the team in both passing and rushing. Also gone is Pat Corcoran, a three-year starter at center.
Ryan Kirby looks to get the nod at quarterback, where Ravenstahl suggested that multiple signal-callers could be used at times.
Last year's leading receiver, Shawn Tunstall, is back, along with linemen Ryan Long, Josh Churchin, third-year starter Nick Ramsden and tight end Ronnie Meder.
Most all starters will see action on both sides of the ball, and North Catholic hopes to develop some depth from a talented group of sophomores.
“We try to get as many kids as possible involved, and let them grow by learning,” Ravenstahl said.
Bishop Canevin and OLSH have moved out of the conference, and Apollo-Ridge and West Shamokin have moved in, making the conference more oriented to Route 28, which sits below the high school located in Pittsburgh's Troy Hill section.