New coach hopes to lead Greensburg Salem in GAC
The return to the Greater Allegheny Conference in 2012 didn't go as planned for Greensburg Salem.
Injuries to key starters, inexperience and lack of depth led to a 2-7 record. After the season, Casey Cavanaugh decided to resign as coach to spend more time with his family.
Greensburg Salem didn't look far for a new coach. The district hired assistant Dave Keefer, who had been on Cavanaugh's staff since 2006.
Keefer's goal is getting the team in position to compete in the conference. And with numerous starters returning, Keefer said he feels that goal is within reach.
“When we played in the Keystone Conference in 2011, we had a pretty good team and things came easy,” Keefer said. “We had a couple good players returning, but we didn't have the supporting cast.
“We weren't mentally prepared for the adversity we met. It was a year of growing pains. We have to learn and grow. The job is to get more consistency and build a program like Franklin Regional.”
Quarterback is one of the most important positions for any team. Dan Waters started as a freshman but transferred. So Keefer is looking to seniors Adam Indof and Nate Sweeney as well as junior Brady Mason to secure the spot. Sweeney also can play wide receiver.
Keefer said he likes Indof's leadership.
“I'd rather have a competitor who can lead the team than someone who cannot,” Keefer said. “It should be a healthy battle.”
Dom McKinley, who shared time with Tyler Shook in 2012, is expected to handle the load in the running game.
Keefer has fine-tuned the offense, going to a two-back set with spread tendencies.
Simeon Stevens and newcomer Marvin Barclay are among the top receivers along with tight end Kenny Clark.
The strength of the team could be the offensive and defensive lines. Senior center Don Chedrick is back after missing the 2012 season with a knee injury. Also returning are senior guard Grant Mularski, junior tackle Ryan Caldwell and junior guards Bob Stafford and Grant Slezak.
“We have nine players who can play on the offensive and defensive lines,” Keefer said. “Up front, we are really sound.”
The defense should be solid, especially if the offense is successful. Keefer said too many times the defense didn't get much rest last year.
The defensive line and Clark at middle linebacker will be key in the 4-2-5 stack. The secondary also returns three starters in Sweeney, McKinley and Stevens.