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Norwin sets postseason goals for coming season

| Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Norwin's Kyle Baum catches a touchdown pass during the Westmoreland County Coaches Association 7 on 7 football tournament at Franklin Regional High School on July 18, 2013, in Murrysville.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Norwin quarterback Nick Amendola passes during the Westmoreland County Coaches Association 7 on 7 football tournament at Franklin Regional High School on July 18, 2013, in Murrysville.

Two seasons after a program low point, Norwin is setting high expectations for the 2013 season.

With talent returning at several key positions, Norwin believes it has the personnel to make a push for the postseason.

“Our minimum expectations are to make the playoffs and to have a winning season this year,” coach Art Tragesser said. “That's what we're looking forward to. Obviously, that's our minimum goals. Hopefully we can achieve more than that.”

Should the Knights advance to the WPIAL playoffs, it would mark their first postseason appearance since 2010, Tragesser's first at the helm.

It also would represent remarkable growth from 2011, when the Knights went 0-9 and were outscored, 375-70 — including an 85-0 loss to Gateway.

“From 0-9 to now, things are completely different,” senior lineman Luke Milcic said. “Everything's changed. We just have a different mentality. We're going to fight for everything now.”

The Knights showed slight improvement in winning two games last season, but the players weren't satisfied with that performance.

“It's a step forward, but we're not happy with it at all,” senior Kyle Baum said. “We want to make the playoffs every year and be consistent.”

Norwin will have some work to do up front in order to achieve its postseason goal, as Milcic is the only returning starter on the offensive and defensive lines. However, Tragesser said the team had some other experienced players up front as well as young players with a bright future.

Unlike several of their Quad East rivals, the Knights will benefit from a returning starter at quarterback.

Sophomore Nick Amendola passed for 671 yards and five touchdowns and led the team in rushing a season ago with nearly 500 yards.

“I still have to keep reminding myself he's only a sophomore,” Tragesser said. “He has shown great improvement, great strides at that position.”

Leading receiver and second-leading rusher Casey Rebosky graduated. The Knights expect to replace him in the passing game with seniors such as Baum and Jake Kljucaric, juniors Logan Deri and Zeke Kljucaric and sophomore Peyton Deri.

Senior Zach Tinsley and juniors Cavante Goins and Zeke Kljucaric could see time at running back.

The skill position players shined at seven-on-seven tournaments this summer as Norwin finished in second place at the annual Westmoreland County Coaches Association tournament in July.

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