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Southmoreland adjusting to new, yet familiar coach

| Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Southmoreland quarterback Brennan Coles passes 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
Southmoreland head football coach Mark Adams coaches during the Westmoreland County Coaches Association 7 on 7 football tournament at Franklin Regional High School on July 18, 2013, in Murrysville.

When a new coach takes over a football program, changes occur.

That's the case with Southmoreland this season. The Scotties are adjusting to former assistant Mark Adams, who has taken over the reins following a two-year stint by Dominic Pecora, who is now coach at East Allegheny.

“It's been an easy transition,” Adams said. “The community and the kids know me, so that's been easy. Putting my fingerprint on the program has been the most difficult thing.”

Adams is dealing with several big losses, not the least of which is quarterback Dakota “Bo” Datz, who was proficient at guiding Southmoreland's offense. But Datz has graduated, which leaves the door open for another player to fill the role of starting quarterback.

“Bo is a big loss because everything runs through the quarterback,” Adams said. “We have some kids, but you don't know how they are going to do when things are actually put into play.”

Juniors Brennan Coles and Brennan Bunner are the top candidates for the job.

Jake Pisula is expected to be the featured running back.

“The great thing there is that we have a returning player that put up some yards,” Adams said of Pisula. “He is a hard-nosed runner, and I like him a lot.”

Pisula figures to see a lot of action considering the Scotties will try to change from a more wide-open offensive style to a system that depends on churning out yards on the ground.

“We're going to run the ball,” Adams said. “It's a huge difference going from a spread offense.”

That's music to Pisula's ears.

“I feel like I can do more this year,” he said. “I know I can get the job done.”

Pisula will be running behind an offensive line that features guards Joe Espey and Jake Beistel. Doug Leighty, Dean Barbus and Jordan Pawlikowsky are in the mix for starting tackle positions. Center remained a question mark coming into camp.

Chas King will be a starting tight end while Justin Livengood and Aaron Bailey are wideouts. Bailey is also expected to handle the kicking.

Defensively, the Scotties have a veteran group with Pawlikowsky, Leighty, Barbus and Espey playing along the line. Travis Jones and Bert Leasher could work into the mix. Pisula and Kyle Beistel are cornerbacks with the support of Bailey, Coles and Livengood at safety.

“The great thing about our defense is we didn't lose anybody,” Adams said.

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