Deer Lakes starting fresh with new coach
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Two years ago, T.J. Wiley took over the Northgate football program and instantly turned the Flames into a WPIAL playoff contender.
Now the Titusville native hopes to usher in a new football era at Deer Lakes.
“I wasn't hired there until June 25 (2011), but with hard work, we changed the culture of the program,” Wiley said of Northgate. “But my wife and I live in Allison Park, and when I heard the Deer Lakes job opened up, I told her I wanted to go for this. There was something about that school that appealed to me — maybe because it's rural and outdoorsy, like Titusville.”
Wiley takes over a program that has made the WPIAL playoffs once (2010) and has just 10 winning seasons since 1969.
“I was hired in January, and to the kids' credit, they've bought into our way of doing things,” Wiley said. “The transition has been very smooth. The players have gotten stronger and improved their speed and quickness.”
Among Wiley's assistants is his father, John, who will stay in T.J.'s basement during the season for nearly five days a week, the same arrangement the Wileys had while at Northgate and Penn-Trafford.
“I tell the players my dad is making this huge sacrifice, coming down from Titusville, because he cares about you,” the younger Wiley said. “My dad gets the most out of kids than anyone I've seen.”
One of Wiley's first moves was to declare all the starting positions open.
He said the seniors will get looked at first, but attitude and work ethic will be major ingredients in determining which 11 athletes will take the field Friday against Valley at Lancers Stadium.
Deer Lakes returns its leading passer from last season, Josh Plocki, who threw for 530 yards and seven touchdowns.
Wiley will emphasize learning multiple positions, even though about 50 to 55 players are expected to be on the roster.
“The slot receivers should know a backs position and a cornerback should know how to play safety,” according to Wiley.
Other returnees include senior running back/linebacker Brandon Newmaster and Arlind Karpuzi, a former lineman who has been moved to the offensive backfield.
Lining up as a slotback should be sophomore Hunter Burns and senior Anthony Sammartino. Sophomore Geoff Matthews, at about 6-foot-1 and 315 pounds could play multiple line positions.
Also opening some eyes is freshman Mark Fubinger, who reportedly played well in the 7-on-7 camps.
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.
- Monz resigns as Carlynton football coach
- HS highlight reel: Vulcano named AD at Canon-McMillan
- McKeesport won’t waver after shutout loss to Penn-Trafford
- Connellsville uses big plays to beat Latrobe
- Penn-Trafford receiver Vecchio has big-time performance against McKeesport
- Apollo-Ridge’s pair of dual-threat QBs shine in instant classic
- Southmoreland football team looks to rebound from defeat
- Hempfield pulls away for 55-20 victory over Kiski Area
- Ringgold wears down Knoch in 20-12 victory
- High school roundup: Bethel Park takes down rival Upper St. Clair
- WPIAL high school football coaches address issue of lopsided wins