Chartiers Valley's Loebig wants to see progress in 1st season
After being named Chartiers Valley's football coach during the offseason, Niel Loebig and his staff began recruiting through the halls of the high school.
“We wanted to get players who weren't playing who should be,” Loebig said. “It has surprisingly turned out to be a very good asset.”
Loebig replaces Chris Saluga, who resigned at the end of the 2012 season. The 30-year-old South Fayette grad is a former Duquesne quarterback and was a member of the Dukes' coaching staff for the better part of the past seven years.
Loebig said he would like to wait until camp is completed before he names starters but has plenty of talented players to chose from.
Senior quarterback Josh Lapiana entered camp in competition for the starting spot with sophomore Jake Collins and senior Dom Castello, who is making his return to the team after a hiatus.
Whoever gets the starting job will have an instant target in senior Andreo Coury, who averaged 15.4 yards per catch last season. Coury also will be mixed in at running back.
“It is going to be tailback by committee,” Loebig said. “Junior Austin Gromek is the front-runner. Young guys like Phil Pesano will also get looks.”
The offensive line will provide the skill-position players plenty of protection thanks to the return of experienced players such as seniors Hunter Steele and Ben Kumpf.
“Christo Boulos is a junior and will be mixed in,” Steele said. “We have experienced people stepping up, and we are hoping the young kids put a lot of work in.”
While the line isn't the biggest or deepest, Loebig has been impressed by the group's work ethic.
“We have a good core of guys,” Loebig said. “They have been working their butts off. They have been in the weight room and at on-field workouts.”
Loebig described the defense as having multiple sets, and he will leave the play calling up to coordinator Bob Kitchen, who previously was on staffs at West Mifflin and Steel Valley.
While some coaches might set a conference or WPIAL title as goals for their team, Loebig is keeping it simple — he wants Chartiers Valley to get better every day, one practice at a time.
“We don't want to talk about playoffs or championships,” Loebig said. “All we are concerned with is Moon on Aug. 30 at home. As crazy as it sounds, I couldn't even tell you the second team on our schedule.”