Competitive Peters Township hopes to contend in Quad-A
There was a time not long ago that Peters Township would have been elated to sniff the WPIAL playoffs.
From 2004-09, the Indians never won more than two conference games in a season and sat out the postseason. All but one of those campaigns were at the Class AAA level, too.
Now, Peters Township has established itself as a Class AAAA playoff regular. The Indians, who last year had their first .500 conference record in the highest classification and first overall since 2003, have made the playoffs three consecutive seasons.
Now, it's time for the next step.
“We've made the playoffs the past three years, and that used to be our goal, but now our goal is to go even farther in the playoffs this year,” quarterback Cory Owen said. “I think it could happen this year. I think a lot of my teammates believe it. I'm looking forward to my junior year, and I think it's a real possibility.”
The Indians return Owen, defensive back Conner Kachowski and a bevy of quality lineman in their quest for their first WPIAL quarterfinal berth in a decade (and first in Class AAAA). The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Owen is drawing college interest after passing for 715 yards last season.
Dane Sehnert and Chris Corrado are senior leaders who have multiple years of starting experience on the offensive and/or defensive lines. Tight end Max Augenstein and center Lukas Cervenak are other returning starters along the offensive line, and the 6-3, 240-pound Greg Watts and the cerebral, strong Connor Pope are back on the defensive line.
In all, 23 seniors are on the roster.
“That means a lot,” Owen said. “When you get into those game situations, they know what to do and can rely on experience.”
The most glaring hole caused by graduation is at running back, from which Mike Minjock had 1,323 rushing yards last season. But coach Rich Piccinini is convinced there are options on the roster to fill Minjock's shoes in the same way Minjock capably replaced record-setter Andrew Erenberg.
Seniors Marcus Ubinger and Mark Minjock (Mike's brother) will get carries for the ascending program.
“We've turned it around, but we still want to make a name for ourselves,” Piccinini said. “We want to be a perennial playoff team, and I hear the players talking how they want to make it a step further now. We don't want to be one-and-out this year.
“The goal is to always get in the playoffs — and advance in the playoffs.”